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


Two Corinthians . . .

. . . and other random reflections on the Iowa caucuses. In Corinth Township, Iowa, Donald Trump’s notorious biblical gaffe did no harm. He easily carried Humboldt County, and the township’s 366 Corinthians were reportedly thrilled by his shout-out.

In other news, Carly Fiorina was a no-show at her own caucus party; Jeb Bush spent $2,888 for each vote; Ted Cruz apologized (Tuesday morning) for incorrectly announcing Ben Carson had dropped out; Hillary Clinton’s winning total of 701 votes would have put her second-to-last – between Rick Santorum (1,783) and Jim Gilmore (12!) – in the Republican field; and her stunning record of winning all six coin tosses in precincts where she and Sanders deadlocked have raised questions about the coin.

Such is the state of Iowa, where 183,410 Republicans and 1,398(!) Democrats just reset the entire 2016 presidential race.

It’s easy to scorn, but I loved Monday’s caucuses. I listened on the radio, and beneath the media silliness I heard the enthusiasm of people gathering to vote. In a year when the GOP’s vaunted “deep bench” has produced truly terrifying frontrunners and the Democrats have come down to a candidate who excites nobody and one who can’t win, it sounds strange to say the system works.

But over time this kind of retail politics succeeds pretty well. Yes, it’s produced some really bad results (James Buchanan, George Bush), but it’s hard to think of a better way to do it.

“Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” asked Mrs. Powell.

“A republic,” answered Benjamin Franklin, “if you can keep it.”

Letters Real and Imagined

Rescue at Sea: Postscript

Rescue at Sea: Postscript