New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Archive for the ‘Politics’

Spring Forward

March 20, 2017 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Current Events, Politics, Randall Amster

Beyond Our Winter of Discontent

by Randall Amster

Spring may be upon us, but the prevailing political winds foretell a long, cold season ahead. We’re two months into the Tr$mp presidency, and the template has been set: incompetence, intolerance, scandal, strong-arming, divisiveness, duplicity. If America was longing for a “reality show” at the top of the news queue, this moment certainly fits the bill — but this is actual reality, and as time passes the damage being done will only increase in its potential to have long-term corrosive effects. And this may well include the likelihood that this Administration’s conflict-centric ethos will manifest in a full-on war soon enough.

If that happens, all bets are off as to what ensues. For those with slightly longer memories, you may recall George W. Bush getting off to a shaky start, with a series of missteps and a penchant for being more interested in golfing than governance. Granted, this is a different era and context, and the players are different — to such an extent that Tr$mp almost makes Bush seem reasonable by comparison (yet not). In many ways, we’re living with the direct consequences of the Bush years, and Tr$mp is the clear beneficiary of a playbook that calls for an imperial presidency and blatant disregard for the Constitution. (more…)

Party Time

March 10, 2017 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Nancy Mattina, Politics

You’ve Got to Fight for Your Rights…

by Nancy Mattina

Pine if you will for the eloquence, dignity, and erudition of our 44th President. Tragically, history will not accord him the status of a transformative political figure. What our highly selective record of accident and argument will show is that our first African-American Commander-in-Chief took the stage when our country was wracked with economic apartheid, spawn of greed. His response was cautiously pragmatic. He assumed that the nation would come to its middle class senses once the immediate crisis had passed. For maintaining his faith in capitalism and American exceptionalism he was jeered by the right as dictatorial and cowardly, by the left as fatally compromised.

Obama’s cool as he stood alone in the cloaca of party politics made him a culture-hero. But his style and personal belief system did not translate into faith in the political party he represented. More like us than not, the Democratic Party ran the last election as if a moral victory guaranteed an electoral one. With Obama gone, electoral defeat has never been more consequential. (more…)

On Disruption

March 06, 2017 By: NCVeditor Category: Angeles J. Maldonado, Community, Current Events, Politics

Community Action and Immigration Justice

by Angeles J. Maldonado

{Editor’s Note: The following is adapted from a presentation for a keynote panel at the “Local to Global Justice” Conference at Arizona State University. The arrest referenced in the narrative refers to the physical blocking of a government van that was in the process of transferring Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, an undocumented immigrant woman, to a detention facility so that she could be processed for deportation, after she was detained at the ICE offices in Phoenix during what was supposed to be a routine immigration check-in. Seven were arrested on charges of obstructing governmental operations and obstructing a public thoroughfare: Walter Staton, 35; Manuel Saldana, 31; Beth King, 57; Angeles Maldonado, 36; Maria Castro, 23; Kenneth Chapman, 41 and Luke Black, 37. Garcia de Rayos was ultimately deported to Mexico, but her case illustrates the problematic intricacies of immigration law and the new executive orders by President Tr$mp, which make people like Garcia de Rayos a deportation priority.} (more…)

A Peace Journey

March 01, 2017 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Politics, Robert C. Koehler

Lessons from Costa Rica

by Robert C. Koehler

“This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”

Dwight Eisenhower gave the world some extraordinary rhetoric — indeed, his words have the sting of ironic shrapnel, considering how little they have influenced the direction of the country and the world in the last six decades.

“These plain and cruel truths define the peril and point the hope that come with this spring of 1953,” he told the American Society of Newspaper Editors nearly 64 years ago. “This is one of those times in the affairs of nations when the gravest choices must be made, if there is to be a turning toward a just and lasting peace. It is a moment that calls upon the governments of the world to speak their intentions with simplicity and with honesty. It calls upon them to answer the question that stirs the hearts of all sane men: Is there no other way the world may live?” (more…)

Weaving the Threads

February 25, 2017 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Politics, Randall Amster

And Reimagining What Can Be…

by Randall Amster

Good morning America, and welcome to those proverbial “interesting times.” We have a so-called President seemingly coming unhinged in public, a dystopian aura infusing politics at every level, a resurgence of hatred made safe by irresponsible rhetoric, and a cultural fascination with misdirection and blatant untruths. At the same time, there’s a burgeoning opposition movement contesting every brick in the apocalyptic wall, mobilizing in the streets and through its tweets alike, constituting a potential political counterforce—perhaps not only in this moment, but for the foreseeable future.

With football and baseball both on hiatus now, the national pastime seems to have swung to watching the unraveling of this Administration and the fantastic foibles of its terrific protagonist. This has all been a boon to the major media outlets, as well as to the Saturday night satirists and their ilk. It’s also a familiar posture for the general public to be in, regardless of political ideology, accustomed as many people have become to consuming “reality” programming, celebrity scandals, and infotainment gossip. (more…)

The Great American Awakening

February 16, 2017 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Politics, Robert C. Koehler

The Moment Is Here…

by Robert C. Koehler

Old wounds break open. Deep, encrusted wrongs are suddenly visible. The streets flow with anger and solidarity. The past and the future meet.

The news is All Tr$mp, All the Time, but what’s really happening is only minimally about Donald Tr$mp, even though his outrageous actions and bizarre alliances are the trigger.

“As the nightmare reality of Donald Tr$mp sinks in, we need to put our resistance in a larger perspective,” Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman wrote recently, describing Tr$mp as “our imperial vulture come home to roost.”

The context in which most Tr$mpnews is delivered is minuscule: more or less beginning and ending with the man himself — his campaign, his businesses, his appointees, his ego, his endless scandals (“what did he know and when did he know it?”) — which maintains the news at the level of entertainment, and surrounds it with the fantasy context of a United States that used to be an open, fair and peace-loving democracy, respectful of all humanity. In other words, Tr$mp is the problem, and if he goes away, we can get back to what we used to be. (more…)

So Now What?

February 14, 2017 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Politics, Randall Amster

Good Question…

by Randall Amster

Since the election last November, I’ve been searching for the right words to convey my concerns. It’s not primarily about who won and who lost, although clearly the outcome does have serious implications not only in terms of policies and principles, but also for the cultural messages it sends about acceptable behaviors and ideologies. And it’s not about political parties — assuming that construct can be pluralized anymore, with the power of the corporate purse strings tethered to those equivalently across the aisle.

No, it’s beyond the surface of this particular elephant-and-donkey show. This is different, requiring a language that hasn’t been invented yet to fully unpack the implications. What do I tell my children when they ask if things are going to be okay? What do I say to the young adults for whom this moment feels like a generational betrayal of the social progress they’ve made and where they thought the future was heading? What do I focus on to stay motivated and find the positive amidst the growing sense of doom? (more…)