August 6, 2019

There is clearly something wrong in America. We didn’t need two more mass shootings over the past weekend to convince us of that, but they certainly did shine a glaring spotlight on our defects and instability. Anyone who is unaware of the crisis in this country need only peruse the media headlines in the days and weeks BEFORE the recent shootings,...

May 21, 2019

I want to apologize from the get go. I am, by virtue of writing and disseminating this article, contributing to the problem. The problem is only getting worse, and I am hereby guilty of aggravating it further.

The problem is the ubiquity of commentary and critique. So much commentary and critique! Everyone’s a pundit. An expert. Myself included. My...

April 29, 2019

There is a Police presence at my children’s school today in the wake of the shooting at a synagogue in San Diego. And there is a grotesque cartoon (which I refuse to reprint) in the New York Times from this past weekend which exposes deep and blatant anti-semitism in one of the country’s oldest and most trusted newspapers. It’s a troubling time! Tr...

February 19, 2019

Julia Dhar is a world debating champion.  In a time when “contempt has replaced conversation," her professed “mission in life is to help us disagree productively.”

In this timely Ted talk delivered in October of 2018, Dhar describes how the rules of formal debate and the techniques of the most successful debaters can assist us in restoring respect a...

December 20, 2018

As American social and political discourse grows increasingly contentious, a variety of theories have been advanced to explain and explore the source and root causes of our current division.  In his excellent piece “The Outrage Epidemic”, economist Russ Roberts begins with a succinct overview of the situation and a warning of the seriousness of the...

November 21, 2018

Thanksgiving is unusual in comparison to the other federal holidays.  It marks no specific event in history, nor does it commemorate any historic figures or honor those who have served our country.  

There are those who trace Thanksgiving back to 1621, when the 50 surviving Pilgrims who had sailed on the Mayflower invited 90 Native Americans to...

November 12, 2018

Fire doesn’t care who you voted for, who you hate, who you pray to, or the color of your skin.  Flames don’t distinguish between those who give charity and those who steal, between those who are “right,” and those who are “wrong.”  They don’t have eyes, morality, or a conscience.  They don’t see good and bad.  They are an equal opportunity destroye...

November 6, 2018

Today, Americans are called on to perform one of our most important civic duties - to vote.  The notion of a civic duty is that citizens have a responsibility or obligation to their government in return for the rights granted them by their citizenship.

Nearly all Americans - left, right, or center - seem to be in agreement that every citizen should...

October 29, 2018

We Americans are getting far too accustomed to tragedy!

But as disturbingly commonplace as these violent and hateful events are becoming, last week - with the mass shooting in Pittsburgh, the Kroger’s shooting in Kentucky, and the mail bomb attempts in various cities - was a particularly bad week.

In the aftermath of these terroristic events, the med...

October 26, 2018

Carolyn Lukensmeyer, executive director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse, appeared on PBS News Hour yesterday to discuss the risk of escalating political violence in the wake of the recent pipe bomb incidents.  

Lukensmeyer, and additional guest Joanne Freeman, professor of history and American Studies at Yale, were asked to provide a h...

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