The Search for Spiritual Man

Author: Gary Hart

Impeachment or no impeachment, blog life, such as it is, goes on.  But, given the importance of the impeachment question, which will increase as times goes on, the great Moderator in the sky promises to continue to receive and post further thoughts on the subject until and unless it becomes tedious.

In that spirit, may I recall, in a rare burst of self-reference, a talk I gave more than four decades ago at the divinity school from which I had graduated a dozen or more years before but well after I had made the transition from the divine to grubby political humanism.

But not so grubby as to eradicate thoughts on the human spirit.  For the topic had to do with the virtually total focus of politics on what has been called “economic man.”  And the more you think about it, the more that is true.  But what about “spiritual man”?

Public […] Continue Reading…

To Impeach, or Not To Impeach

Author: Gary Hart

Short answer: I don’t know.  But all who care to take a side, please do so.

The argument: to impeach is to appeal to a center and center-left America that is increasingly appalled by Donald Trump’s at best casual acquaintance with the truth, his rude treatment of dependable democratic allies, his persistent obsessions, not least with a dead hero John McCain, his privatization and commercialization of the nation’s natural heritage, his inhuman treatment of refugees, and much else.

More importantly, to impeach is to promote and defend the rule of law, a rule from which the President of the United States is not immune.  To do less is to permit Trump to treat that rule with impunity.

Not to impeach: politically, impeachment plays into Trump’s hands.  It inspires his “base”, brings out that vote and any vote that considers the process merely a political exercise by Democrats.  It will inspire tens of […] Continue Reading…

Memorial Moment

Author: Gary Hart

Please say a prayer of thanks to all those who have given their lives to protect us

and to say thanks to those who continue to serve out nation.

GH

The Second Civil War

Author: Gary Hart

Here we are on the first Tuesday night in November 2020.  The polls have closed and the Democratic Party nominee has just been declared the next President by all the networks with 49% of the vote to just over 46 % for Donald Trump and the rest for minor candidates.

From the White House, Trump has tweeted: “Networks?  Fugitaboutit!  Fake news.  Always FAKE NEWS.  Attorney General Barr has just called to assure me that there has been massive voter fraud across the country with illegal aliens lined up in every State the other guy won and he is filing law suits challenging the vote count and appealing to the Supreme Court to stay any official declaration of the outcome.  OUTRAGEOUS!  Put on your MAGA hats and take to the streets.”

And the “base” is doing so by the hundreds of thousands, eventually millions, accompanied by heavily armed members of right-wing militias […] Continue Reading…

Apocalypse Refocused

Author: Gary Hart

Many if not most of my generation envisioned apocalypse as nuclear.  That threat is still there.  Now, however, it turns out that nature’s survival is threatened by chemicals and the creators of chemicals, mankind itself

In the interim decade or two, science has required us to concentrate on the warming of the climate and the resulting glacier melting, sea levels rising, coastal inundating, crop destroying, inward mass migrations resulting from rising temperatures.

The recent United Nation’s consolidated report, however, broadens this new apocalypse.  Upwards of one million natural species are threatened not only by warming climate but also by habitat destruction, including massive deforestation, expanding urban populations, extensive transportation systems, and general destruction of biodiversity systems more intricate than we could have previously comprehended.

Why did it take even supposedly sophisticated humans to begin to appreciate how intricately interwoven were biological systems, soil that sustained tiny insects that in turn sustained birds […] Continue Reading…

There is very little chance for a return any time soon to good government in the national interest such as we have experienced during the nation’s best days.  Once again, it must be restated that two events have historically brought Americans together: depressions and world wars.

Right now, Republicans have a strong economic tailwind.  And, thank Providence, no epic war looms on the horizon.  So, there is little incentive for a Party in the White House and the Senate to moderate or seek Democratic cooperation.

In fact, Republicans reward office holders and candidates who promise not to cooperate with Democrats.  Given gross gerrymandering and polarization of the nation into red and blue enclaves, the worst fear of those Republicans with even a thought of moderation and bipartisan cooperation is a right-wing challenge within their own State or district.  Witness the march out the door of the handful of Republicans with this […] Continue Reading…

Rethinking American Democracy

Author: Gary Hart

Whatever else happens, and “else” in this case is meant to include a second Trump term, American politics has been altered.  How much and for how long remain to be seen.

Counting the ways confounds comprehension and expands almost daily.  The most obvious, if not also the most profound, is the gap that is becoming a chasm between the Democrats and the Republicans.  There are rare bipartisan legislative efforts, but their rarity illustrates the point.  There have been partisan confrontations in our history, most notably leading to the Civil War.  But ending slavery was epic.  Now there is a partisan divide over virtually everything from judicial and executive appointments, to foreign policy, to trade, to resources, energy, and the environment.

Now the president has declared war on the legislative branch, most notably the House of Representatives.  Principally this involves total resistance to Congressional subpoenas necessary to carry out the Constitutional oversight […] Continue Reading…

Turning on a Dime

Author: Gary Hart

How do political institutions change directions?  This question obviously arises regarding the Republic Party since 2016.

Since the end of the Cold War, at least, Republicans believed in several immutable fundamentals: balanced budgets; deep suspicion of Russia (and previously the Soviet Union); the “moral majority”; law and order; respect for the military; expanded international trade, among other solid doctrines.

Today, with the exception of “never Trump” Republicans, the Party has exploded deficits, held secret meetings with Russian authorities during and after the 2016 election, fallen in love with a twice divorced President with highly questionable conduct toward women, defied and demeaned domestic law enforcement agencies including the Department of Justice and the FBI, demonstrated contempt for the intelligence services, upset security and economic alliances, cast established trade agreements aside, and generally run rough-shod over the rule of law.

All this amazing transformation in about 24 months.

Did the traditional Republican Party lose its […] Continue Reading…

Judgment Silenced

Author: Gary Hart

What follows seems to be about religion, and especially about the Christian religion, but it is not.  It is about moral leadership.  So please don’t see “religion” and run away saying “enough already about religion.”

The question is why the so-called “mainstream” Christian churches and their leaders seem so quiet in this Trumpian era while “Christianity” seems to be represented in the public square almost exclusively by evangelicals, one tributary of the Christian river.

This is not one of those “I haven’t heard it, therefore it hasn’t happened” arguments.  For all I know, pastors and theologians of various denominations, including but not limited to, Episcopalians, Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, and many others, are speaking and writing daily either praising or judgmentally condemning Trumpian excesses.

After all, the seminaries and divinity schools across the nation virtually all teach the notion that Christians are called upon to render judgments between good and evil and […] Continue Reading…

By assuming that the Democratic Party will undertake massive voter fraud in 2020, Donald Trump has unleashed an effort to de-legitimatize the outcome of that election if he and/or his party loses.

His statement last week to the Republican National Committee Conference that all votes must be counted  and “be more paranoid”  20 months from now begins a drumbeat that will be endlessly repeated on Fox News and countless tweets.

This is the latest in an increasing series of presidential efforts to call into question the rule of law and dependability of political institutions upon which our Republic depends.

He wants the “base” to expect an illegitimate election, to consider the process of a national election fraudulent, to accept that one of our two major Parties is corrupt and sinister, that it will bring hoards of illegal aliens to the polls on its behalf, and that, despite all evidence to the contrary, […] Continue Reading…