The presidential election looms. Even though it seems that Hillary Clinton will be elected, across the country, many thoughtful Americans, frantic and upset over the rise of Donald Trump, have had the same despairing conversation over and over for the past few months. How could this happen? Why didn’t more people recognize before now what a sociopathic, power-crazy, destructive madman he is? How could so many voters believe he has any qualifications at all to hold the highest office in the land?
2016 has not been a good year on planet Earth.
A holocaust is taking place right now in Syria. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum sees it: "Despite promises of Never Again, a regime is targeting its own people while the international community stands by". Yes, we stand by, helpless, numb.
Grace Paley was a known pacifist and, also, a famous short story-writer. She enjoyed being referred to as a "combative pacifist and a cooperative anarchist".
Grace Paley was not extreme in either her pacifism or her sense of government as reliably unreliable in the governing of the "Little Disturbances of Man" (the title of her most famous short story collection). She lived within the law, gracefully and with moral direction, though she protested and therefore refused to pay war taxes at times.
I have nothing uplifting or heartwarming to say about the way we came together — as a city, as a nation, as a world — after the attacks of September 11, 2001. We tried that uplifting, heartwarming stuff already.
After the attacks, we said "this will not break us". We said this with great feeling, and I was one of many who really believed that the shock and sadness of that terrible day had brought us together in a new way, that our righteous, freedom-fueled responsive to this horrible act of violence would provide a new beacon of injured hope for our whole troubled world.
Yesterday I nearly published a new article here on Pacifism21 called "What Would Leo Tolstoy Tell Us About Donald Trump?". At the last minute, I realized that I had a chance to cross-pollinate with my literary blog, Litkicks. I published it there; it's a good piece and I hope you'll check it out.
A pacifist analysis is a dissection of a controversial topic that aims for 360° awareness of both the topic and the controversy. When there are vastly different public perceptions of this subject (as there are about presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who many Americans love and many Americans hate) we try to understand the different vantage points from which each perception appears rational.
Following another ridiculous news cycle in which Donald Trump joked about assassinating Hillary Clinton, the time has come for Hillary Clinton to refuse to debate Donald Trump. She should instead announce a major televised town hall debate event in which she will answer serious questions directly from concerned American citizens.
It's important for Hillary Clinton to make this move for the following reasons:
It’s odd that we laugh at Donald Trump, and that we feel superior to him. For the past few days, we’ve all been having a good time pointing at the clown. We should be pointing at ourselves.
Some of us are spending the summer of 2016 laughing at the incredible absurdity of Donald Trump's candidacy for President. This foolish rich guy is easy to laugh at: he stands before us in extremis, his gigantic ego grotesquely exposed, twisting impossibly between the twin poles of astounding victory and humiliating defeat.
I heard a great televised speech by Barack Obama last night that helped me place the surreal trauma of the Donald Trump presidential candidacy in a broader context, that reminded me of certain core principles I'd managed to forget.