“A writer’s notebook is not a diary. Writers react. Writers need a place to record these reactions. That’s what a writer’s notebook is for. It gives you a place to write down what makes you angry or sad or amazed, to write down what you noticed and don’t want to forget. A writer’s notebook gives you a place to live like a writer.” - Ralph Fletcher
We are facing a radical right that has abandoned all interest in truth and fact. We face not only their specific policies, but a kind of cultural decay that comes from not valuing truth, not trying to understand the complexities and nuances of our situation, and not making empathy a force with which to act. To oppose them requires us to be different from them, and that begins with both empathy and intelligence, which are not as separate as we have often been told.
Being different means celebrating what you have in common with potential allies, not punishing them for often minor differences. It means developing a more complex understanding of the matters under consideration than the cartoonish black and white that both left and the right tend to fall back on.
Some of them believe Barack Obama was born in Kenya. Others want to force raped women who become pregnant to have their child. There are those who vilify Obama as a socialist and want to do away with most of the federal government. A fair few doubt the theory of evolution or hold that gays can be “cured”.
As Mitt Romney arrives at the Republican national convention in Tampa, Florida, where he will be nominated to run for president, he faces the difficult task of dealing with a party base that has become one of the most radical in recent American history.
Paul Harris, The Observer
As House Budget Committee chairman, Mr. Ryan drew a blueprint for a government that would be absent when people needed it the most. Medicaid, food stamps, and other vital programs would be offloaded to the states, but the states would not be given the resources to run them. The federal government simply would not be there to help the unemployed who need job training, or struggling students who seek college educations. Washington would be unable to respond when a city cannot properly treat its sewage, or when the poor and uninsured overload emergency rooms as clinics close.
More than three-fifths of the cuts proposed by Mr. Ryan come from programs for low-income Americans. These cuts are so severe that the nation’s Catholic bishops protested the proposal as failing to meet society’s moral obligations, saying the plans “will hurt hungry children, poor families, vulnerable seniors.”
To Mr. Ryan, the poor will benefit when they no longer rely on government handouts. But his plans contain no pathway to self-reliance for the tens of millions of people who are either poor, unemployed or uninsured. In his world, they will be entirely on their own, or will rely on charity.
(Source: The New York Times)
(Source: The Atlantic)