Tag Archives: Democracy

The Pillars of Democracy


The Lincoln Memorial along the shores of the Potomac River was designed by architect Henry Bacon as a likeness to the Parthenon, the ancient Greek temple. The Parthenon had 25 beautiful columns forming its rectangular sides. Some of them are still standing today above Athens as a monument to the enduring legacy of what became the cradle of democracy. The Parthenon was constantly being restored after centuries of storms, wars, and revolutions.

The Lincoln Memorial, a contemporary replica of the Greek temple, has 36 columns, the number of states in the Union Lincoln preserved. They symbolize the pillars of our democratic Republic, the enduring civic and governmental institutions that have girded our system of governance. Those 36 pillars literally hold up the Lincoln Memorial just as those institutions figuratively support our system of governance.

The Lincoln is more than its legacy. The Memorial should be a constant reminder that our democratic Republic has faced serious and corrosive challenges before and the nation has counted on those institutions to preserve the very structure of the Union. Continue reading

Patriotism Done on the Cheap

Reprinted from TheFeeheryTheory.com

I thought Sebastian Junger put it pretty well in yesterday’s Washington Post.

“The growing cultural gap between American society and our military is dangerous and unhealthy. The sense that war belongs exclusively to the soldiers and generals may be one of the most destructive expressions of this gap. Both sides are to blame. I know many soldiers who don’t want to be called heroes — a grotesquely misused word — or told that they did their duty; some don’t want to be thanked. Soldiers know all too well how much killing — mostly of civilians — goes on in war. Congratulations make them feel that people back home have no idea what happens when a human body encounters the machinery of war.”

I have been thinking a lot about war, patriotism, and how we express support for our troops. I suppose that is only fitting, being this was Memorial Day weekend, which is not only the traditional start of summer, but also the holiday set aside to remember the sacrifices of those who paid the ultimate price in fighting foreign wars. Continue reading

Time To Pack It In, Rush


If Rush were my Mother’s child, she would have washed his mouth out with soap, smacked his butt with a ping pong paddle and sat him in the corner for some quiet time with the Catholic missile to read.

But Rush is no child. He is a powerful voice in and for conservative America who influences both thinking and behavior.

Limbaugh, on Feb. 29th, called a female law school student, who testified at a faux hearing on Capitol Hill in support of insurance payments for contraception, the equivalent of a “slut” and a “prostitute”.

Limbaugh went way beyond the bounds of civility, maturity, simple human decency and most importantly, Christian behavior. Continue reading

American Republicans, Democrats


Reprinted from Atlantic Monthly and Iconoclast

Angry and frustrated, American voters went to the polls in November 2010 to “take back” their country. Just as they had done in 2008. And 2006. And repeatedly for decades, whether it was Republicans or Democrats from whom they were taking the country back. No matter who was put in charge, things didn’t get better. They won’t this time, either; spending levels may go down, taxes may go up, budgets will change, but American government will go on the way it has, not as a collective enterprise but as a battle between warring tribes.

If we are truly a democracy—if voters get to size up candidates for a public office and choose the one they want—why don’t the elections seem to change anything? Because we elect our leaders, and they then govern, in a system that makes cooperation almost impossible and incivility nearly inevitable, a system in which the campaign season never ends and the struggle for party advantage trumps all other considerations.

Continue reading