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Ruminations of a Feisty Old Quaker

An Open Letter to America's Conservatives

Conservative: of or constituting a political party professing the principles of conservatism, such as (a) tending or disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions (b) marked by moderation or caution; [or] (c) marked by or relating to traditional norms of taste, elegance, style, or manners.

- the Merriam-Webster online dictionary

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When did conservatives stop being conservative?

 

When did a political philosophy that used to stand for preserving the old order and demanding respect for existing institutions begin trying to overthrow the old order and destroy existing institutions? When did acting with prudence morph into acting with reckless disregard? How did "freedom" manage to become synonymous with "to hell with you, buddy, I've got mine"?

 

Read the Merriam-Webster definition above. Can anyone still pretend that these words come anywhere close to describing today's principal claimant to the conservative banner - the modern Republican Party?

 

So what happened?  Read More 

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A Central Part of the American Experience

In mid-November, 1969, several movements against the war in Vietnam coalesced to stage a series of massive demonstrations called, then and now, the November Moratorium. More than half a million people descended on Washington DC, filling the Mall and overflowing into the surrounding streets; smaller but still massive demonstrations in New York, Chicago, Boston, and San Francisco drew well over 100,000 each. Numerous other cities and towns held their own versions, large and small, on various days close to the middle of the month: Seattle's took place the day before DC's, on November 14. Somewhere between 3,000 and 10,000 people (histories of the movement today are usually content to simply say "over 3000") gathered at the city's Central Library at Fourth and Madison and marched the mile and a half from there to Seattle Center, where they were treated to a concert at the base of the Space Needle by blues singer Taj Mahal, who was playing a Seattle club that evening and was willing to put his art to work for the cause.

 

Melody and I happened to be staying with her parents in Bellevue, across Lake Washington from Seattle, at the time, Read More 

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No, Not Republicans

Warning: Rant.

I have been up since 5:30 this morning. I'm a night person, but I couldn't sleep for the anger. Anger at the travesty that currently passes for politics in Washington, D.C. Anger at the Kavanaugh "hearing" and "investigation" (quotes around both of those, please). Anger at party-line politicians who just "go along". Anger at Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell.

Anger, mostly, at "Republicans".

No, NOT "anger at Republicans." I want to make this clear. Anger at "Republicans". Quotes around the name only. Those using that name in Washington right now are not really Read More 

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What I learned in Washington, D.C.

This is a story from my long-past lobbying days. I'm telling it now because it has important implications for the current political season.

The story starts on a late April Monday in 1973, with a 6:00 AM phone call from Diane Meyer,  Read More 
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We are better people than this.

We are not so poor in material goods that we cannot share with others, nor so poor in spirit that we will refuse to share.

We are not so shallow that we care only for wealth, nor so short-sighted that we will destroy the only Earth we have to obtain it.

We are not so fearful that we must build walls against immigrants, nor so intolerant that we will shut our doors against neighbors who are not exactly like the rest of us. Read More 
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