What Fascists?

“The Marxists and Fascists in the DOJ & FBI are going after me at a level and speed never seen before in our Country, and I did nothing wrong. Joe Biden kept (keeps) thousand of documents, in many locations, some illegally taken from skiffs while he was a Senator, a big portion of which were classified. He didn’t want to give them back, and still doesn’t.”

Frankly, this quote from a DJT tweet is unremarkable, except that it provides an illustration of one of the disinformation plays in his playbook. “Fascist” is often used to aptly describe Trump’s political style. When an unflattering term hits home, the play is to use it strategically, that is misuse it to describe his opposition. Soon the meaning becomes fuzzy, and eventually the word doesn’t communicate anything but rancor.

There is a long list of such linguistic casualties, “woke” among them. Sadly, most who hear the term fascist don’t understand its meaning in a scholarly way; it becomes just another disrespectful expletive. The ploy: If you can’t shake the offensive label, render it meaningless.

Trump understands memes, derisive nicknames, bully humor, sarcasm, and innuendo–all of which are tools to slip deceit under the radar of reasoned thought.

Deadly Political Beliefs

US Citizens are experiencing declining life expectancy. Yes, it’s partly covid. But other countries are doing better than us, and some are doing a lot better. Why? It’s our political beliefs. Writer Doug Muder crunches the numbers for us.

Back to Civics!

This article from The View in Time Magazine’s current issue makes a case for a return to teaching basic civics. Democracy depends upon people being free to have differing opinions and learning to arrive at a compromise.

Our children (to say nothing of most adults) are ignorant of how our systems of governance actually work. Predatory opportunists now exploit that ignorance. Isn’t it curious how so many of our biggest national problems could be resolved if people had the goodwill toward each other to listen and seek equitable solutions?

We must learn to wage peace at home and abroad.

Perspective on US Debt

Doug Muder’s essay on the national debt is a fact-filled and masterful analysis. It is refreshing to read clear critical thinking in the face of the political theater and media hype surrounding the debt ceiling controversy.

Defending Democracy

Here is carefully thought-out, non-partisan advice on how individuals can and should speak out for good government and democracy. The Washington Post’s “Democracy Dies in Darkness” motto is only one of many signals that government of the people, by the people, and for the people is in peril.

All of us lead busy lives, and it’s tempting to think there is little we can do as individuals. I don’t accept such a cynical attitude of resignation. We are social animals, and peer confirmation is the most powerful of the persuaders that influence how people think. We must speak out for integrity and democracy. Here’s a practical guide:

Pondering What Ails US

There are two recent articles that I’m pondering because they point to something more of us need to attend to: the erosion of our core values.

The first article appeared in the New York Times under the headline “Money’s up, religion and patriotism are down.” It presents the statistics and makes the case that most of us are more interested in personal prosperity than we are in service to “goodness.” While religion can be practiced in solitude, most people identify with a religious community and would regard their observance as a social activity. We invest time and money and we bond with the people who are members of our faith community. So it’s noteworthy when fewer people are moved to be observant and practice their religion with others.

Patriotism is not just flags and Independence Day fireworks. It requires a commitment to a cause larger than one’s self. Military service, altruistic public service, working for good government, voting, not cheating on taxes–all of the civic activities we invest sweat and treasure in–that’s patriotism one can see and measure.

The second article comments on why so many Protestant churches are in decline. The author, a progressive minister, thinks the traditions and practices of many churches no longer call people to be deeply committed to one another or to the core values of their faith.

As I look at the many existential problems America faces (climate change, pollution, political stagnation, extremism, nuclear brinksmanship), all of them are sourced by individual and collective failure to honor core values.

How do I contribute to the unsettling trends these writers perceive?

And you?


Here’s my Sunday 3/12/23 column for the From a Faith Perspective feature of the Bucks Courier Times. I believe that we all have some calling to engage and serve the community. It’s a matter of individual discernment to discover what it is.

Applied Critical Thinking

Doug Muder is, to my mind, one of the best critical thinkers of our time. In this week’s Weekly Sift, Doug deconstructs Marjory Taylor Greene’s call for a national divorce that would return the US to a confederacy of independent states.

Virtually no thinking person is taking her idea seriously. But, informed by history, economics, and practical realities, Doug Muder carefully demonstrates why she is so very wrong. It’s a good exercise in Civics.


an Opera by Scott Joplin

Houston Grand Opera Orchestra

with an all-black cast of singers and dancers

Online Links

For those who would like to share this remarkable experience with off-campus friends and relatives, here are the YouTube links:


The libretto is also available both in document form and as a slide show keyed to the sound track:




One's identity is far more than one's profession.