This dispatch is slightly different from most posted on this site over the years.  Different in two dimensions: the use of the first-person pronoun, and the reference to a personal project.  Apologies for breaking my own rules, but I hope this may interest some of the loyal auditors of this site:

This fall friends, former supporters, and family will establish the Hart Center for Public Service at the Metropolitan State University in Denver.

As a member of the “ask not” generation, the orienting standard in my life has been public service.  It is the secular equivalent of the kind of religious service, teaching philosophy and religion, to which I was originally committed.  But the ideal of helping society here and now with immediate problems from hunger to nuclear arms control gave my soul direction almost sixty years ago.

I am blessed, some might say cursed, with that trudging single mindedness that age […] Continue Reading…

Happy Independence Day

Author: Gary Hart

Happy Fourth of July to one and all, including our friends in Canada and England, who continue to participate in this humble experiment in democratic dialogue and the promotion and protection of civility in an increasingly uncivil era.  It is a distinct honor for me to share your thoughts and ideas.  Thank you.  Gary Hart

It is pretty well-established 20th century American history that the Rooseveltian New Deal provided a very much needed series of steps out of the Great Depression, that part of the disparate package of stimulative and social safety net policies worked and part did not, and that the advent of World War II helped create virtual full employment and a rising economic tide.

Those were desperate times and Roosevelt was a pragmatist not an ideologue.  His motto was: “We’ll try something and if it works, we’ll keep it, and if it doesn’t will try something else.”

This is relevant history for today.  The democratic socialist and left progressive wings of the Democratic Party are proposing dramatic economic changes in education finance, health care insurance, wage floors, a wide variety of stimulant measures, and even Green New Deals.

The question is whether the U.S. has a pattern of accepting bold, innovative, structural changes when […] Continue Reading…

A Busload of Presidents

Author: Gary Hart

What can be made of two dozen or so Democratic candidates for president.

Based on recent history, one analytical approach is to sort by mini-primaries.  There might be contests by gender whereby only one or two of the six women candidates or no more than three, possibly four, of the 16 men candidates survive past the early round of caucuses and primaries.  Of the three candidates who come from minority communities, possibly only one or two will make it into the middle rounds.  There could be regional geographic sort outs…one or two from New England, the same from the Midwest, and the same from the West.

The sorting might be in money terms: the golden rule–the ones with the most gold rule.

The most effective sort will be carried out by the voters themselves.  After the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, and certainly after the now early California primary, do not […] Continue Reading…

Trump’s Folly

Author: Gary Hart

Considerable historical research would be required to discover an American commander in chief less qualified to make judgments of war and peace than our current one.

We launched the nation under a general officer and in the 1950s had, as president, the former commander of military forces that won World War II in Europe.  In between, America has had presidents many of whom had performed some degree of military service or who, as in the remarkable experience of Abraham Lincoln, had undertook the arduous task of learning strategy and tactics.

There are, of course, no provisions in our Constitution that a president be prepared, either by experience or learning, to make massively important military decisions.  Perhaps the Founders simply assumed that candidates for the office would prepare themselves for that immensely consequently responsibility before assuming office.

Part of the responsibility of being commander in chief is the selection of men and women […] Continue Reading…

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…