Saturday, July 23, 2016

I was a Tim Kaine skeptic. That didn’t last for long.

Photo courtesy of Hillary Clinton on Facebook.
Full disclosure: When I found out that Hillary Clinton had chosen Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia to be her running mate in the 2016 presidential election, I groaned more than just a little bit.

I definitely wanted someone with more progressive credentials.

I wanted someone who would do more to assuage the reluctancies of Bernie Sanders supporters who will need to show up in force in November to assure that Donald Trump is not our next president.

I wanted someone with greater name recognition — someone who’s not so…boring.

Like, say, Elizabeth Warren.

I certainly wasn’t alone in this regard. Lots of left-leaning outlets expressed their unbridled disdain with the selection of Kaine before it was even formally announced.

They shouldn’t have. I shouldn’t have.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Ted Cruz only does what benefits Ted Cruz

If you pay any attention to politics, by now you’re surely aware that Ted Cruz refused to endorse Donald Trump for president during his address at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday night.

(Please, read my thoughts on this fiasco of a convention if you haven’t already.)

Plenty of people are saying that the Texas senator just wrote his own political obituary. As much as I’d love to believe that assessment, I’m afraid it’s likely not accurate.

To be sure, Cruz took a huge gamble with this move, and no one will know for sure whether it paid off for several years to come. Here’s my take on it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The GOP convention: A hideous display of what this party has become

Rudy Giuliani came across as unhinged in his 15-minute diatribe. Of course, that’s nothing unusual for him; what is remarkable is that his speech has thus far proved to be one of the least offensive aspects of this convention cult-like orgy in Cleveland.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Of course the Dallas shooter was a loner

NBC News reports that the sniper who murdered five police officers in Dallas last week was supposedly a “loner.”

Of course he was.

Have you ever heard of someone who did something horrific like this who was described as having healthy, rewarding friendships, a robust sense of community, and a stable family life?

Neither have I.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Racism: A human problem, not a regional or political one

This telling article shows how one of the main freeways in St. Paul, Minnesota, was constructed right through the heart of the city’s largest African American neighborhood during the 1960s, shattering a vibrant community and reinforcing racial segregation in Minnesota’s capital city. The effects of that segregation are still being felt today, according to the article.

St. Paul is hardly alone in this regard. Syracuse, New York, has a similar story.

Both, of course, are Northern cities in politically blue states, serving as a sobering reminder that one certainly needn’t look to places like Alabama or Mississippi to find striking examples of racial discord and injustice.

Indeed, in the wake of the recent tragedies in St. Paul, Baton Rouge, and Dallas, I’ve been made keenly aware of how easy it is to think of racism as a problem that exists “over there” — certainly not wherever I live.

And that’s a very dangerous line of thinking.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Brexit an example of why referendum power is usually a bad idea

In the days since British voters opted for “Brexit,” I haven’t heard (or read) anyone who knows what they’re talking about say that it was a good move. To the contrary, it’s now widely being condemned as a wide-reaching, historic mistake.

As the New York Times reports, last week’s vote has left “many Britons wondering if there was a plausible way for the nation to reconsider its drastic choice.”

Meanwhile, there’s already talk of another Scottish independence referendum and possibly even a vote on whether Northern Ireland should rejoin the rest of Ireland. Both of those places voted against leaving the European Union by large majorities.

The United Kingdom as we know it could soon cease to exist.

The Brexit vote was, at its core, a pronouncement of widespread anger, resentment, and xenophobia among Britons who felt that their way of life was being threatened and their country’s sovereignty dismantled. The sentiments behind this campaign were unsettlingly similar to those here in the United States that have enabled the rise of Donald Trump.

And the results of last week’s referendum in the U.K. underscore the risks of subjecting hugely consequential policy questions to the whims of a public vote.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

How tribalism can degrade humanity

As I’ve mentioned a number of times, I’ve spent most of the past year interning as a therapist at the world’s oldest LGBTQ-focused community mental health agency. There are a couple of interesting factors brought to bear by working at such a place (actually many more than just a couple, but two in particular that are relevant to my current train of thought).

First, most of my clients assume that I’m gay because I work there. (I’m not, though it doesn’t bother me when people think otherwise.)

Second, many gay clients who enroll in services at this agency will insist on having a gay therapist. Their belief, of course, is that only a gay therapist could truly empathize with what they’re going through — or what it’s like to be them.