Sam Smith – After graduating from college, I found work in a basement office of a row house on New Jersey Avenue SE, a few blocks from the Capitol. Out of this long, sunken, slovenly one-room den qua office was published Roll Call, a weekly paper for those thousands who worked on Capitol Hill. In … Continue reading Getting started in alternative journalism
Sam Smith - The decline of morality in America - typified these days by Trumpism - actually has a variety of sources including corporatism, the media and educational systems that teach success but increasingly ignore moral issues. The Ethics Sage lists some of the problems: "Mass shootings, racial hatred, social injustice, incivility, fraud, and White … Continue reading How about a new religion?
Sam Smith - Attendance at history museums plummeted nearly 70% in 2020, thanks to the pandemic. Even in the best of times, though, history is not the easiest topic to gain broad interest, especially in an era in which it is given minor importance in public education and the media. I've been married to a … Continue reading Blending the past with the present
Sam Smith - When I first read about critical race theory, my reaction was, "there they go again." Not because I disagreed with the substance of history but that now was just not the time to try to make the rotten past a political tool. Sure enough, it seems to have been a factor in … Continue reading Making liberalism appealing again
Sam Smith - The rise of someone as evil and dishonest as Donald Trump reflects decades of change in the moral culture of our land. As in a mob controlled society truth has become just one more device to distort or destroy not as a rare presumed necessity but as a repeated aspect of life. … Continue reading Lies on the rise
Sam Smith - Lately I've been struggling with the obsession of the media and academia over the evils of past ethnic relations, not because they didn't exist but because they are given such priority over present solutions that it actually makes me feel depressed about the future. A lot of this comes from the culture … Continue reading Positive ethnic theory
Sam Smith - Writing to a friend recently, I noted that there was a strange similarity between those like myself in our 80s and teenagers, namely that our society can't figure out how to deal with either of us. It has slowly been dawning on me that 80 somethings are not considered particularly necessary or … Continue reading Just a thought. . .
Sam Smith – Some time ago I raised the issue of who had really won the civil war. True, slavery and the confederacy are over, but other practices and values of the old South – particularly the purported superiority of the white male - remain with us, expanded to not only to subjugate blacks but … Continue reading The Civil War hangs on
Sam Smith With Philadelphia a formal feeling came. Our house on Schoolhouse Lane was old and big and dark and tall and Victorian and sat back from the street on several acres. Other large buildings lay alongside and there was nothing in the untended hayfields across the street. The shutters were dark green, the stucco … Continue reading Ghosts
Sam Smith - One aspect of diversity that doesn't get enough attention is its diversity. With considerable help from the mediaand the voices it cites, we learn that we are black, white or Hispanic, gay or straight, religious or atheist. . . and so forth. A number of aspects of my life have caused me … Continue reading The diversity of diversity
Sam Smith – News that Harvard has selected an atheist as its lead chaplain brought real joy to my life because I have long considered myself an existentialist – including not opposing the good causes of religion but rather its general tendency to put faith ahead of them. Harvard’s Greg Epstein described it well in … Continue reading Putting the good before God
Sam Smith - Obsessed with race as a topic, even progressive Americans fail to deal with numbers that could bring fair minded ethnic groups far closer together, namely the number of those in poverty. Interestingly, 14.2 million of these folks are white as opposed to 8.1. black and 9.5 latino yet one seldom hears discussion … Continue reading The numbers they don’t talk about
Sam Smith – The past five years have been among the worst in our history. Add four years of the Trump regime to the pandemic to the GOP efforts to undermine voting rights to the attempted coup at the Capitol and we have seldom been faced collectively with so many problems we are unable to … Continue reading A demi-decade of disaster
Sam Smith - Myth and lie-based politics have been around for a long time before Trump. In its modern, dominant form, the Nixon administration is a good place to start. The Clintons' ability to conceal the reality of the Arkansas mob politics which they had led was another example as was the major dishonesty about … Continue reading Escaping our politics of myths & lies
To those who can’t figure out how someone like your editor, whom Marion Barry once called a “cynical cat,” can favor, for example, the positive teaching of multiculturalism over only telling the history of racism, this excerpt from an article I wrote in 2000 helps to explain it. Sam Smith - To view our times … Continue reading Confessions of a positive cynic