Welcome to Perspectives, a blog of thoughts, commentary and observations ranging from autistic adolescents to intimate portraits of urban communities.


Three Institutions (Part I)

In 1967 I graduated from Harvard College (way easier to get into then); was inducted into the US Army (we had something called the draft) and joined the Democratic Party (I was a liberal). Almost half a century later I remain a Harvard alumnus, a veteran and a Democrat. As I consider these three enormous institutions, all much in the news, I sometimes think I have most affection for the one I most detested when I was in it. Perhaps that’s because the army isn’t always hounding me for money. Take the Democrats, from whom I get several emails a day. Such as:

We’re about to LOSE. James, We’re on the brink of defeat. There’s no way to sugar-coat it. If we let $125 million worth of Koch Brothers-funded attack ads go unanswered, the 2014 Elections are over and the Tea Party wins again. Please chip in $10 before the midnight deadline.”

“James, In the couple of minutes it takes you to read this email, an attack ad funded by the Koch Brothers' network will run 27 times across the country. Please rush $10 by midnight.

I loathe the Koch brothers’ politics more than most, but simply and constantly bashing them is a pretty pathetic political strategy. Pitting half the country against two old men, however rich and cunning, gives them a mythological power that is actually counterproductive. Money is a great evil in modern politics, primarily because it is crushing creative ideas, thoughtful platforms, and strong and independent candidates. Maybe we should start there.

Three Institutions (Part II)

Stick Your Head in the (Tar) Sand