The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an independent federal agency created in 1965. It is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States.
As entire groups of his former supporters abandon him in waves – business leaders who have pushed for both economic and environmental deregulation, military commanders, a growing number of Republicans in Congress – Donald Trump hunkers down and lashes out. He shows no interest in bringing us together, in healing our wounds. He seems a man, a president, wholly without empathy, and without that he is no good to us now, for he cannot, he will not, heal us.
To combat a vision as malevolent as that currently hovering over America, it’s not enough to counter it with a series of bland policy bullet points aimed at attracting disparate groups of people by offering each something that won’t drive the others away – the way the Democrats keep trying to expand their coalition by appealing to just one more identity group.
Think like a mountain, Aldo Leopold exhorted us 68 years ago in A Sand County Almanac. But how does a mountain think, I wondered one recent peaceful morning in Acadia National Park, as I climbed Brown Mountain (elevation: 852 feet)?
One of the problems raised by the Trump creation story I wrote about last time is that America already has a creation story of its own. It begins in Boston Harbor in 1630, when John Winthrop counseled his parishioners to build “a city upon a hill.” His was an exclusive vision, his community included only the Puritan elect, but over the course of our history that vision expanded in response to an increasingly diverse America.
Two questions kept recurring to me as I returned briefly to western Pennsylvania where Donald Trump won overwhelmingly in November.
Bob Hollick and Larry Maggi are Democrats, one a local officeholder, the other, a current county commissioner, is the biggest vote getter in Washington County, Pennsylvania. Both enthusiastically voted for Donald Trump in November, and they’re frustrated the constant sniping and bickering that has become its aftermath.
It was raining heavily the morning I drove into Johnstown, Pennsylvania, which gave me pause as I drove down the steep gorge where, 128 years ago, 20 million tons of water breached the South Fork dam, gathered force as it surged 14 miles down Little Conemaugh Creek, and hit the city at 40 miles per hour. Ten minutes later, Johnstown was gone.
Although it’s a traditionally Democratic region, with a strong labor history and an 8.5% edge in Democratic voter registration, this is Trump country. Donald Trump crushed Hillary Clinton by 25 points in the county, and he remains hugely popular here.
Why are you in such a hurry
Here, in this divergence of great minds, is a clue to understanding the chasm in America over climate change. Scientists, who see themselves as seekers of true knowledge, are united on the reality of climate change and the role humans play in it.
Yesterday the United States joined the only other countries that have not signed the Paris climate accord: Syria and Nicaragua.
When Harvard president Drew Faust recently told the 50th reunion class of 1967 that “this fall’s freshman class will be the first majority minority class in the college’s history,” the audience applauded. The incoming freshmen will look very different from those who arrived in the fall of 1963, when black students – both African American and African – were only one percent of their number, and men outnumbered women by 4-1. In effect, the audience, which was composed preponderantly of old white men, was applauding its own passing.