New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted

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…)

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…)

Still Have a Dream

January 16, 2017 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Ecology, Jennifer Browdy, Politics

Time to Wake Up and Make It Come True

by Jennifer Browdy

On this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, his I Have a Dream speech has never seemed more imperative, or more poignant.

In 2008, Americans had the dream that electing our first Black president would lead to a permanent undoing of racism, opening the door to a new age of American egalitarianism. But here we sit on the other side of eight years of a stellar Black first family in the White House, feeling like Hamlet looking from Hyperion to a satyr.

As we gaze grimly at the nightmare of the Tr$mp inauguration, it seems like a bad dream — except that every day we wake up and it goes on, but worse. (more…)

Faux Real

January 09, 2017 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Politics, Randall Amster

What’s in Your Worldview?

by Randall Amster

We had to know this was coming. It was always here, but now it can be seen more clearly through the unvarnished lens of protofascism. Retrenchment and revanchism arrive with a new pitchman, selling rollbacks disguised as opportunities and promising to reclaim that which has been lost after decades of social progress and cultural liberalization. This isn’t a “new normal” but rather an old one reemerging, and the only sort of normality it represents is that which is perversely defined by a type of mass insanity.

Things have been heading in this direction for a long time now, but the pace obviously has accelerated in the digital age. The lamentations about the demise of truth and the advent of bogus “news” are legion, as are the observations about the omnipresence of technology and the implications thereof. But all this hasn’t happened to us — it has veritably been demanded. Obscured by the handwringing and finger-pointing is the deeper reality of a culture obsessed with on-demand indulgences, no matter the cost. (more…)

Graduating from the Electoral College

December 16, 2016 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Politics, Randall Amster

“Don’t Know Much About History…”

by Randall Amster

It’s understandable why some are viewing the Electoral College as the last bastion of democracy right now, even as this is also ironic given its ostensibly anti-democratic nature. Without delving into the historical debates, including the potentially gendered and racial roots of the system, it is generally accepted that the framers “feared a tyrant could manipulate public opinion and come to power” and thus “did not trust the population to make the right choice” every time. The genesis, then, was apparently the quite undemocratic notion of limiting the electoral power of the people.

Of course, this is also a republic, and the Electoral College reflects that reality. We can debate endlessly whether it’s a fair system, whether it skews power to smaller states or a handful of swing states, whether it decreases incentives for turnout, whether it reflects elitism, and more — but that won’t help us in the here and now. Instead, we might consider the paradox of how this structure applies to the present situation, one in which the “will of the people” actually “elected” the “losing” candidate by nearly a three million vote margin. As such, the call is being made for the Electoral College not to override the consensus of the majority, but actually to uphold it. (more…)

Peace Lessons

July 10, 2015 By: NCVeditor Category: David Swanson, Politics

New Book Covers Familiar Terrain with Original Perspective

by David Swanson

I just read what may be the best introduction to peace studies I’ve ever seen. It’s called Peace Lessons, and is a new book by Timothy Braatz. It’s not too fast or too slow, neither obscure nor peace lessonsboring. It does not drive the reader away from activism toward meditation and “inner peace,” but begins with and maintains a focus on activism and effective strategy for revolutionary change in the world on the scale that is needed. As you may be gathering, I’ve read some similar books about which I had major complaints.

No doubt there are many more, similar books I haven’t read, and no doubt most of them cover the basic concepts of direct, structural, and cultural violence and nonviolence. No doubt many of them review the 20th century history of nonviolent overthrows of dictators. No doubt the U.S. civil rights movement is a common theme, especially among U.S. authors. Braatz’s book covers this and other familiar territory so well I was never tempted to set it down. He gives some of the best answers available to the usual questions from the dominant war-based culture, as well: “Would you shoot a crazed gunman to save your grandma?” “What about Hitler?” (more…)