Showing posts from November, 2021

American Greatness

 By Robert Katz   Was Thomas Jefferson a great man who wrote the Declaration of Independence and co-founded the University of Virginia, or a slaveholder who benefitted from the most degrading of human relationships? Was the Louisiana Purchase a masterstroke that doubled American territory and gave opportunity to countless Americans, or was it a great blow to the sovereignty and viability of the Indian nations of the Midwest? Was America* the great country that liberated Europe from fascism, or was it a nation that conspired to overthrow democratically elected governments in Latin America and elsewhere?   If your answers to these questions were “All of the Above,” give yourself an A.   What kind of country are we? There is a longing by many for simple answers. America is a racist country or America is definitely not a racist country. But America, like Walt Whitman’s description of his Self, is large and contains multitudes. No one adjective or sentence can capture its essence.  

The Challenge of Democracy

By Steve Zolno Democracy is threatened around the world in our day, and many of us wonder what might be done to save it. The answer lies in each of us taking responsibility for its success. Democracy has been the exception throughout human history. As far back as we can see, most countries have been divided into rulers and those who are ruled. Although it was hoped, particularly after the fall of the Soviet Union, that increasing democratization would be an irreversible trend, we know now that is not the case. The attempt of people in countries once part of the Soviet Union to move in the direction of democracy – Poland and Hungary are examples – has largely been crushed. Other countries that once had a semblance of democracy – the Philippines, Burma, Turkey and Nicaragua to name a few – now are turning toward greater autocracy. Even in long-established democracies there are large “populist” movements working to create division, claiming they are oppressed and that minorities are