“A republic if you can keep it.”*

An unprecedented callousness has crept into our public discourse, and in the land of me first, the other no longer seems to matter. Bullies are not to be confronted but emulated. Lies are not to be exposed but repeated until they have become indistinguishable from the truth. And only a sucker says I’m sorry.

Confronting the Past and Building the Future in Montgomery, Alabama

My daughter, Annie, and I just spent two days in Montgomery at the opening of the Equal Justice Initiative’s Legacy Museum:  From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration and The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which covers a small hilltop above Alabama’s capital city. It is an extraordinarily uplifting name for what is, in fact, a heartrending tribute to the more than 4,000 African American victims of lynching in America.  

An Immigrant, an Artist and an American Mythmaker

Two hundred years ago 17-year-old Thomas Cole emigrated from England to the United States, where he would revolutionize painting in his new country by creating “wild landscapes that were unmistakably American.” Born at the onset of the industrial revolution, Cole discovered in the American wilderness an antidote to the polluted rivers, poisoned air, and exploited working people that he had witnessed in the land of his birth.

Politics is fleeting, art endures

In Kalman Aron’s life, art quite literally prevailed over power, allowing him to survive in a place where he was powerless. On a broader level, I wonder whether there may yet be a role for art in a world in which power is the supreme – and increasingly the only – value.