Eliminating the Causes of Trumpism

Even if Trump is gone, will Trumpism remain? This reflection is not about him. It is about us and where we go from here.

Most of us understand where Trump is coming from and how he got the way he is. We even understand how he became President of the nation by a non-majority vote through electoral structures established centuries ago by compromise. We understand his TV performance appeal. …

Collaboration is radical not compromise

Thinking involves categorizing. And our categories make a difference as to how we see, construct our world, and act. An excerpt of a book by George Packer in the Atlantic Magazine presents four categories to define the factions in which Americans divide themselves in order to provide some insight into the polarization that threatens American democracy. “Ideal types” are a tool sociologists use to understand a social order by distinguishing its components. Packer’s four categories do that and make us think.

Packer is searching for a reconcilition among four American tribes in order to solve…

Enjoyed this immensely. The greatest and most unforgivable sin is that against the sense of humor. Even the dominant (and domineering) religions acknowledge this in their condemnation of idolatry and iconoclasm. That is when they take themselves and their symbols too seriously--enough to go to war over. My greatest theologian is Terry Pratchett. Fortunately even within the "great" religions there are heretical, seditious movements that return to humor--the Joke of the Universe.

Thank you for this essay. I have recommended to students and all citizens that we stop using the words "socialist" and "capitalist" as part of our political vocabulary. These words have become anti-political words to destroy politics. Politics is the space where people come together as equals to envision and design what they want their interactions with each other to be, their institutions, their habits of the heart. They create power in the all. Not in the few (which is properly named control or force) which is the desire of the authoritarian and plutocrat of which the Republican Party has become the Party.

The new radical conservatives citing cancel culture deplore the increasing secularization of America. Many say that the nation is losing its Christian moorings. An excellent dispatch by Shadi Hamid in the latest April 2021 Atlantic Magazine asks the question about the relation of the decline in America’s unity to the decline in religious faith. It is a good challenge to this former Jesuit theologian with a degree in social ethics from the University of Chicago Divinity School. Please read it. My comments are not quite an analysis of this article, but more an attempt to answer its question: is religious…

Or How Can Christians be Trumpists?

Political Scientist Rogers Smith (Civic Ideals: Connecting Visions of Citizenship in U.S. History) finds three stories that woven together make up the story of America: 1) progressive democratization, 2) societal pluralism, and 3) universal rights. But he warns of another tradition found in America linked to the European colonialization of America that led to its division into nation states. He calls it the “ascriptive” tradition in which people are ascribed a place in society based on a quality beyond their control. Race, sex, age, class at birth, religion, ethnicity, residence, and country of origin are examples of these qualities.


As I watched the inauguration the other day, I felt what I called a redemptive moment. Many articles in very secular, i.e., non-religious, non-theological, publications also spoke of redemption of democracy or of the soul of the country.

I do not like the concept of “redemption.” It connotes a pay-off to bad guys like a ransom paid to terrorists, pirates, and kidnappers. In religious context even worse. It connotes a bribe to a god for a favor. Like Agamemnon sacrificing his daughter to get favorable winds to get to Troy to avenge the taking of Helen by Paris thus starting…

Reflection on his Jan 21 column: Trumps Kinship with his Critics

O George, there you go again! Perhaps it is the nature of punditry to be over-simplistic.

You start making a good point about Trump’s nostalgic return to pre-enlightenment thinking and then you characterize it as “postmodernism” and so condemn thinkers that criticize the ideology of free-market “capitalism.”

Most of us in many ways have criticized and moved on from modernism which make us all “postmodern.” What was great about the period historians call the Enlightenment and the modern age is that it ushered in the scientific method or critical thinking including continued questioning of previously held beliefs, seeking new and…

Reflections on Fukuyama’s “Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment”

Hand in Hand by Vivien Feyer

The Washington Post recently published an article on the Catholicity of President-Elect Joe Biden. He is a fervent Catholic who attends Mass and receives Communion regularly. Nevertheless, priests have condemned him from the pulpit as a standard bearer of the “party of death.” Some Catholic Bishops have denounced him because of his stance on reproductive rights including access to contraception and abortion. Biden has been quoted as saying: “Reproductive rights are a constitutional right. And, in fact, every woman should have that right.” And many Catholic clerics don’t like that.

American Catholics, according to the Pew research center, are playing…

Rollie Smith

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