14 books – part 2

Today marks the second in our series regarding the Intramuralist’s still incomplete journey, sharing some of what I’ve learned in my pursuit of racial and ethnic diversity and harmony. Know that my desire is two-fold: (1) to be part of a greater coming together; and (2) to fulfill what I wholeheartedly believe is the second greatest commandment for us all — to love another as ourselves. [Note: if you have not read Part 1 of “14 Books,” allow me to encourage such now, as it will provide necessary context.]

Drawing from the insights of 14 articulate, diverse authors (… Carson, Kendi, and Picoult… DiAngelo and Loritts, Stevenson and Steele… Yancey and more… oh, my… George Yancey…), I found multiple perspectives vital, as almost from the onset, I sensed a mounting confusion. None denied racism’s existence; all believe racism is morally wrong. But yet, as I read — while listening to additional, insightful others — an inconspicuous disconnect quickly unfolded. Intelligent, honorable people keep talking past each other on this issue — people of solid integrity, varied age and ethnicity. They simply, sincerely can’t get what another is trying to say.

I increasingly gleaned a huge source of the confusion: people are assuming two different, dominant definitions of racism. Simplifying the definitions for the purposes of today’s discussion, some define “racism” as judging another person by the color of their skin. Others define “racism” as a socially-constructed marginalization of people of color. This distinction is key because how racism manifests itself appears strikingly different based on which definition one assumes. It also impacts what one believes to be an effective approach in dealing with the disgrace [to be addressed more in Part 3].

If I define racism as judging another by the color of their skin, I can logically conclude that racism is based solely on the individual. If I believe then that I personally never engage in that behavior nor adhere to such thinking — am even abhorred by it — I may be tempted to minimize the extent to which racism still exists in this country.

If, on the other hand, I define racism as a social construct marginalizing people of color, I can also logically conclude, if I belong to a minority race, it’s impossible for me to be racist, as racism is based solely on the system (aka “institutional” or “structural”). If I believe racism is a systemic social construct, I may be tempted to minimize the work I need to do to contribute positively to racial harmony.

Remember, friends, I am not advocating any singular perspective. I actually am learning how harmful embracing a singular perspective can be, even if it’s shared by 47 likeminded people. If I read only to reinforce a desired paradigm, my growth will be stunted, as paradigms are made to be challenged — not insulated. Wisdom is revealed when pressed paradigms hold up over time to unlike thinking.

Consider, for example, the unquestionably polarized reactions to both the notable OJ Simpson verdict and more recent Colin Kaepernick NFL-kneeling protest — two situations where good people simply don’t get how another may feel completely, totally differently… Do I see Simpson as one angry ex-spouse potentially responsible for a vicious, heinous crime? … or do I see a man who had a racist system stacked against him from the start? … Do I see Kaepernick as one disgruntled, once-starting QB who openly mocked police officers? … or do I see a marginalized man who finally had the guts to stand up to injustice within the context of an all-white ownership situation?

No doubt how I view racism doesn’t dictate my response, but it certainly impacts my empathy for each of the one time football professionals. Empathy affects outcome. Empathy affects communication. Empathy affects what each of us thinks is wise to do next.

Reading through the 14 books, I found each of the respected authors with a huge challenge on their hands: how do they not minimize or overstate what’s individual and what’s systemic? How do they wrestle with both definitions without neglecting or rewriting either historical sin or current progress? Where have we made progress? Where have we not? Several of the authors boldly averred a sole definition; one in particular even created a series of binary choices to in my opinion, too-easily explain away that which clashed with his paradigm.

As for my ongoing journey, I found myself resonating with author John Piper’s definition, where he recognizes individuals and institutions which exhibit “an explicit or implicit belief or practice that qualitatively distinguishes or values one race over other races.” That happens through our  prejudice and implicit bias, as author Latasha Morrison points out, noting that prejudice is chosen; implicit bias is not. Some individuals and institutions exhibit racism in their beliefs or practices and aren’t even aware. Sometimes that’s a racist act — intentionally valuing one race over another; sometimes, too, as author Emmanuel Acho distinguishes, it’s more an expression of racial insensitivity. In either case, whatever race, there is knowledge to glean and work to do, continuing to listen and learn from those whose experience is different than our own.

Hence, I rawly but boldly ask myself… 

  • In regard to individual responsibility and collective history, what aspects am I minimizing, overstating, or even omitting? 
  • What flawed conclusions have I drawn because they better fit my paradigm? 
  • And where is my empathy lacking? 

As one of the absolute wisest voices I read, African-American sociologist Yancey, shared, “I discovered that racism was not just the other person’s problem but mine as well.”

Looks like I have work to do… learning to love all others as myself… which leads us to Part 3.



14 books – part 1

I will say before we start that this isn’t an easy post to pen. And yet, in many ways, it’s been long stirring in my heart, knowing it needs to be written. “Needs” is a funny word here. Let me be honest; next to “lie,” “lay” and what actually is a “travesty,” “needs” may be the most misused word in the English language. The reality is there is too much selfishness in all of us. When we say “needs,” we should be speaking of no one other than self. And thus I am.

What I share today in Part 1 and in Wednesday’s Part 2 is simply my journey. I share no expertise nor any claims to have “it all figured out” or even anywhere close to most. Hear me. I am simply a student, craving to learn, deeply desiring to be part of a greater coming together.

A year and a half ago, I felt a pretty clear prompting. It was actually my only resolution on the eve of 2020; it was my answer to the question, “What would I be most disappointed about if I didn’t grow/change in that area in the year ahead?” The prompt was to read more. And while nowhere near the novels and books devoured by the Carol’s, Collin’s, and parental units in my life, it was a significant, insightful step.

… who knew then that there could be a few positives amidst all this Covid crud?…

And so read I did.

(A little insight known by those in my innermost circles… I can be a little nerdy in my literary pursuits. I much prefer nonfiction; in fact, next on my list is a 400 page work on cultural amnesia and expressive individualism. Did I mention nerdy?)

By spring of last year, I had enthusiastically ventured through an approximate dozen books; that’s good for me. Six of those books wrestled with ethnicity and race. Note: that was before the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.

As our country then erupted in outrage and response, we witnessed many burst forth from their pandemic-partitioned bubbles to publicly protest. Some of those protests were healthy, honorable, and nonviolent; some were not. 

I am making no judgment on the prudence of any protest; hear me only in the acknowledgement that healthy and unhealthy exist. 

But as for me, on my journey, I knew I needed to learn more.

What I share now, without a doubt, is incomplete. It is an incomplete account of my learning. I simply, sincerely knew I needed to learn more, boldly confronted by the incontrovertible fact that my experience is not everyone else’s reality, and if I was going to fulfill what I wholeheartedly believe is the second greatest commandment for us all — to love another as ourselves — then I needed to understand more about ethnicity and race.

So I chose to sit. To listen. To sit and listen even with the uncomfortable. 

To hear stories — especially those different than my own.

And I chose to read.

This past week I finished my fourteenth book on ethnicity and race.

Notable, no doubt, is that I read from a diverse group of authors… black, white, Christian, non-Christian, atheist, politician, pastor, sociologist, male, female, left, right, younger, older, and even — different for me — fiction and nonfiction. It was a fascinating, insightful, life-giving pursuit.

Clearly, my experience is not everyone else’s reality. That, my friends, with all due respect, is something each of us would be wise to remember… black, white, Christian, non-Christian, atheist, male, female, etc. Oh, how I wish we would resist valuing one group over another!… no doubt such impedes us from loving all well.

With the trial set to begin tomorrow for Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis Police Department officer charged with the murder of George Floyd, I’d like to spend this week sharing a little more of what I’ve learned — like how and why we talk past each other, where we could grow, and other impressions. But allow me two humble pleas first.

One, a primary reason many quit pursuing and talking about racial and ethnic diversity and harmony is because it’s so easy to get wounded in the process. “Whatever strategy you try,” said one of the authors, “You will be criticized by somebody.” No doubt I will thus say something wrong. I ask here, therefore, that you know my heart; my heart is for all persons regardless of race, creed or color to feel honored in this space. If I unintentionally offend, please accept my sincerest apologies now; and let’s talk about it. That’s a conversation I’d love to have. As obviously, even when this is done, I will have more to learn.

And two, let me offer a brief reminder. Know that these posts — this work, my journey — are still incomplete. That’s part of what’s hard but also what’s so beautiful…

God isn’t finished working on any of us quite yet…

Respectfully… and looking forward to Part 2 (and 3)…


what’s happening at the border?

Reason #317 why the Intramuralist is careful and intentional about which news sources are relied upon: the news is different depending on who we listen to. In regard to what’s happening at our southernmost border, for example…

From the right:  “Border Patrol Releasing Illegal Immigrants Into US Without Court Date” (Newsmax)

From the left:  “Migrants Are Heading North Because Central America Never Recovered from Last Year’s Hurricanes” (Vox)

From the right: “Team Biden’s Disgraceful Border Media Blackout” (the NY Post Editorial Board)

From the left:  “Biden Vows to Ease Border Surge as Republicans Sense a Political Opening” (CNN)

They’re each describing the same scenario. Hence, let’s acknowledge Reason #318: the language employed varies when describing the same scenarios…

“Challenge” vs. “crisis.”

“Overflow facility” vs. “cage.”

“Gag order” vs. “designated spokespeople.”

The words are describing the exact same thing. However, the words employed are dependent upon (1) who’s uttering the word, and (2) who/what they wish to paint in a more/less favorable light.

Allow me, therefore, to utter an early bottom line: that’s a disservice to those who listen. It’s not news; it’s manipulation.

As reasonably thinking, God-honoring Americans, we desire solution instead of spin. Spin serves to protect or demean, focusing most on how a narrative reflects upon an administration, policy or political ideology; it’s happening on the left and the right — on CNN, FOX, MSNBC and all those listed above; it impedes both truth and solution.

Hence, here’s what we know for certain…

  • There’s an immigrant surge at the southern U.S. border.
  • It’s been difficult for multiple, recent presidents.
  • The number of migrants has increased significantly in the past two months.
  • The Biden administration is now limiting the information U.S. Border Patrol can share with media outlets.

Next is an incomplete set of questions we would be wise to answer without any spin…

  • How do illegal/undocumented immigrants boost the economy?
  • How do illegal/undocumented immigrants burden the economy?
  • What is the appropriate level of public subsidies to provide for illegal/undocumented immigrants, especially for those not paying taxes but taking advantage of federal aid programs?
  • How much should it matter that the national debt now soars to over $28 trillion?
  • How then are we compassionate to both the illegal/undocumented immigrants in need and to current citizens?
  • What’s the relationship between illegal immigration and crime?
  • What’s the relationship between illegal immigration and human trafficking?
  • How do we prohibit the terrorists from entering?
  • What level of border security is effective and wise?
  • How are sanctuary cities effective, and how are they taken advantage of?
  • What other motives are the politicians/media outlets not admitting?
  • How can Democrats and Republicans come together and solve the problem rather than continuing to spin — making their position sound wonderful and their opposition terrible — since this has been a problem for both?

In the current illegal/undocumented immigration debate, cognizant of both security and the economy, we need to figure out what effective compassion looks like for those who wish to be here… and those already here…



a response to the awful Atlanta shooting

Let’s begin with an inconvenient question: what narrative are we trying to promote?

One of the zillion things I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is that we tend to promote narratives we most relate to. The filter through which we see the world is the narrative we oft promote. It doesn’t mean we’re insensitive nor deceitful. We may not be intentionally attempting to mislead another, but also true is that our perspective might not be accurate.

I’ve struggled this week as we’ve retold and relayed the recent Atlanta spa shooting. How anyone ever intentionally takes the life of the innocent is something I will never understand. Sorry. I just don’t get it. It fits somewhere under the umbrella definition of evil for me.

Let me also add that this most recent violence hurts my heart deeply for my friends of Asian American Pacific Islander descent whose hearts are rattled and who continue to wrestle with fear in response to this and other heinous acts. I hate that. I wish no one’s heart to be rattled. God be with you. Always. As I get older, I believe such is the only sustainable comfort, especially in the face of evil… especially when the world makes zero sense.

What I find grossly confusing in response to this week’s shooting, no less, is how we respond to what actually happened.

Here’s the inconvenient, uncomfortable bottom line…

We don’t know exactly why this happened. Not now, at least.

I wish we did. But we don’t know why…

We don’t know why 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long killed eight people and injured another. We don’t know why he opened fire at Young’s Asian Massage in Acworth, Georgia on Tuesday evening, nor why he drove another 30 miles into Atlanta and killed four more at Gold Spa and Aromatherapy Spa. 

Long was responsible for killing six Asian women, a white woman, and a white man, and for wounding a Hispanic man as well.

Long told authorities his motive was based on the demons associated with an admitted sex addiction. Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds acknowledged the claimed “sexual addiction” and that the suspect “may have frequented some of these places in the past.” He also said it was too early in the investigation to say whether we were dealing with a hate crime. But what those involved in the investigation uncovered did not halt narratives from being pushed from multiple news outlets, politicians, pundits, and social media seemingly instantaneously… regardless of what was actually and factually known.

To be clear, law enforcement did not rule out a racist motivation. They also did not conclude that a racist motivation existed. They did not have such evidence (and reportedly still do not at the time of this posting).

And yet…

Multiple “new sources” declared the violence to be a hate crime. The evidence has not yet substantiated the declaration, but such was still the way some subjective news sources reported the awful attacks. Consider the reporting by CNN, for example; after their initial headline that “white supremacy and hate are haunting Asian Americans,” the lead sentence read, “It’s immaterial whether the accused killer in the Atlanta spa shootings admits to a racist motivation.”

Immaterial. That was reported as “news.” Let me go out on a semi-fragile but always respectful limb and suggest such equates more to a narrative being pushed. We’re not suggesting said news is an intentional attempt to mislead. But what is true is that said narrative might not be accurate. Hence, it’s not news.

Friends, as said, the Intramuralist hates the existence of evil and the killing of the innocent. I will also say, the facts matter. If this was an incident based on ethnicity, how awful. If this was an incident based on sexual addiction or mental health, how equally awful. All should be dealt with and reported accurately.

So let’s support our Asian American Pacific Islander community. 

Let’s support all people and zero evil. 

Let’s also support promoting the facts.



let the madness begin!

Ah, yes… once again it’s that maddening time of year… the time when even the fair-weathered fan engages, knowing they have equal opportunity to dominate the bracket. Note to all: the bracket busting potential is also inevitably equal.

Perhaps, no less, what many love best is the welcoming of diversity in a way that puts no one down in order to rise up self. If we haven’t noticed, as a country, culture, we aren’t always good at that. But at this annual event — albeit altered once more by the hopefully waning pandemic — all teams have a seat at the table… or a place on the court, that is. Each has a shot at their One Shining Moment. The ball is tipped. And there they are.

Some of the groups are surprisingly plenty…

We find three Mountaineers, three sets of Spartans, and four unique species of Tigers.

There are also four Eagle varieties, although only one claims to be Golden.

No doubt more than the Eagles intend to fly high… this would include both the Hawks and the Hawkeyes, the Jayhawks and Bluejays, but to be clear, no blue hawks or jay eyes. I suppose the Yellow Jackets may wish to be considered here, but the predatory wasp tends to thrive more in summer than in spring. 

The Ducks are oft confused with other members of the fowl family. Granted, they are not monophyletic, although some would suggest they are more comfortable on a different playing field — water or football. Our representative reptiles, the Gators, might also find increased ease in one or more of those venues… just saying.

We find two groups of Cougars and multiple others hailing from the cat and dog families — the Bears, Bobcats, Bruins, and a couple of Bulldogs, not to mention the Huskies, Wolverines, and a pair of Wildcats. I suspect there is the desire by some for said animals to be domesticated through this process; that will depend, however, on whose shining moment it actually is.

Still come animals that just seem a bit confusing on the hardwood… the Antelopes, Longhorns, Buffaloes, Badgers and Beavers, for example. I’d creatively comment that the latter two, while busy, seem selectively slow-moving, but dare we disrespect the seventh state’s Terrapins; that, uh, would be a turtle. Confusing still, though, are the Dragons. We’re talking folklore here, friends.

Lest we forget the Rams, Ramblers, and Razorbacks — each fast and fun to watch.

Others on the court may initially appear arguably more formidable… the Gauchos, Cowboys and Cavaliers, the Vikings and Volunteers, and the Raiders, Red Raiders and Scarlet Knights. Still more are defined solely by their color. Who knew an inanimate entity could be so competitive? Here we find both the Orange and the Mean Green. To be clear, the “mean” with the “green” sounds a little more intimidating. But what about the boys from Alabama. I mean, is the Crimson Tide actually a color or some aquatic, albeit creative kind of wave?

The colors are not alone in their inanimate quest. There are freedom’s Flames, actual Shockers, and some whose defining characteristic is speaking Gaelic. To be clear, the Hoyas are alive, albeit a sprawling evergreen shrub.

We should also acknowledge those yet to be cancelled — the Aztecs, Seminoles, and Illini. The Land of Lincoln’s representative is at least still Fighting, politically incorrect as such may be. 

Note that in response to the question, “what’s this?”… An Aggie is a “short way for saying agriculturalist”… A Hokie is the product of one senior student’s imagination from 1896 and now proudly describes those faithful to the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University… A Sooner is in reference to the early participants in the Land Run of 1889… And a Bonnie? Still working on that one. As for a Boilermaker… well, that’s a really witty, semi-humble, always engaging and fun blogger with lots of enthusiasm and always more to learn.

Let us not forget the Trojans and Tarheels and all the nuts from Ohio. Granted, my personal perspective — love them as I do — is that they’re a little nuttier during football season.

All for now, my friends. What a joy it is to be on life’s journey together… to sit and welcome all those at the table.

May we enjoy the Madness… the fun and games and last second shots. May we each have moments that shine.



relational currency

He isn’t quite like his two brothers — one older, one younger. No doubt the least gregarious sibling. The other two? They are typically touted as the life of the party. But no, not this one. He’s more likely to be lost in the shuffle, so-to-speak.

So when his vivacious grandmother was paired with him to dance at the wedding reception three years ago, he meekly but quietly-gleefully joined in the reverie. She would say later, “I thought I was investing in one evening; it turned out to be way more than that.” They formed a notable, special bond.

With three more years of interaction and investment, this budding teen has found great confidence in his relationship with his beloved Mema. He knows she values him. And because of that, they can talk about most anything. Even via varied locations, lifestyles, and perspective, their relationship is solid, excellent, and good.

When hearing recently the keen example of this sweet relationship, I couldn’t help but think of Chapter 15 from Chad Veach’s “Help! I Work with People.” To be clear, since each of us interacts with some kind of people, I’ve found this an inherently valuable work to read.

Chapter 15 is entitled “The Most Important Currency,” and it wittingly unpacks how an unseen currency can have the greatest value — specifically, the currency of relationship. Writes Veach: 

“We know intuitively that relationships matter… but how do we build them? How do we add value and build trust? How do we invest in people in such a way that our connection with them grows? 

Relationships don’t just happen. They take intentionality, work, and time. If we understand how to build relationships properly, they will withstand the ups and downs of life and the inevitable bumps in the road.

One way to think about building relationships is in terms of deposits and withdrawals. Not in the sense of reducing friendship and affection to a mere transaction, of course, but in the sense of investment. The more we put into a relationship, the more it will thrive, grow, and generate a return. But if all we do is take or withdraw from a relationship, the balance will quickly drop to zero and it will cease to be an asset we can count on…”

Relationships matter…

They take intentionality, work, and time…

They can withstand the ups and downs… the bumps, too.

They can withstand those bumps — those withdrawals, if you will — as long, too, as there are investments…

… a kind word… an affirmation… a request to learn more… maybe even, a request to dance.

As increasingly more refuse to engage in respectful dialogue — thinking “my way is right” and “your way isn’t worth even hearing” — as then, we watch society struggle to do relationship well, my sense is we’ve forgotten the beauty of deposits. We’ve spent so much time investing in self and in who/what we think we most identify with, we’ve lost the art of focusing on what’s meaningful to others outside of that perceived bubble.

Are we proactively depositing in the account of another? Are we affirming them? Are we hitting “like” more than sharing why once more we’ll have to agree to disagree? 

Are we expressing gratitude? Are we listening attentively? Are we cheering another on — even in difference?

Veach’s work challenges me, friends. Why? Because it reminds me of the tremendous value in taking the focus off of self, whether I think like the other person or not.

That vivacious grandmother would have loved to hit the dance floor with other adults that night. She can turn up the enthusiasm and easily, too, be crowned that oh-so-contagious, life of the party. But she chose to invest in one who needed it more. And that mattered. It has paid deep dividends for that young man still today.

It’s amazing, therefore, what a difference it makes — in public, in social media, and yes, even on the dance floor — when we intentionally and continually make deposits into other people… when we think more of them than of self.



Harry, Meghan & the wrong choice of words

Along with an estimated 17.1 million others in the U.S. on Sunday, I tuned into the long awaited interview of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. (No judgment, please… football season is over and March Madness is still a few short days away.)

But as with many topics, today’s post pertains to far more than one more read about the Royals. Alas, for those choosing not to tune in, allow us to share a few facts prior to acknowledging how the post applies to so much more…

  • In January of 2020, Prince Harry and Meghan announced they would be stepping away from “senior” royal roles and would work to become financially independent.
  • In February of 2021, they chose to fully step away, confirming they will discontinue any responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service.
  • The Duke and Duchess of Sussex then sat down with Oprah Winfrey for a two hour interview. Oprah had initially asked for an interview prior to their marriage in 2018.
  • Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, joined only the latter hour of the interview. Meghan did most of the talking.
  • Meghan is former American actress; she is biracial.
  • Meghan said prior to marriage, she was not aware of the complexities of the Royal Family and their operations.
  • When pregnant with their first child, Meghan said some family members were concerned with “how dark his skin might be when he was born”; she would not identify the family members.
  • Meghan also said when first pregnant, she was informed the child would not be named a prince or princess and would not get the protection that accompanies said title; she says she received no reason why.
  • She said she struggled with significant suicidal thoughts.
  • Addressing tabloid headlines claiming Meghan had made her sister-in-law, Kate, cry over her daughter the flower girl’s dress, Meghan said it was instead Kate who made her cry. 
  • Prince Harry said his father, Prince Charles, stopped taking his calls.
  • He said there is “space” between him and his brother, Prince William.
  • Addressing their estimated $100 million deal with Netflix and $25 million deal with Spotify, Prince Harry said such was “never their intention,” but he needed the money “to keep my family safe.”
  • He said his family “cut me off financially” and that he was only able to remove himself from royal life thanks to money left to him by his late mother, Princess Diana.  
  • In reference to Princess Diana, he said, “I think she saw it coming.”

Some additional, insightful quotes…

  • Said Meghan: “Not only was I not being protected, but they were willing to lie to protect other members of the family, but they weren’t willing to tell the truth to protect me and my husband.”
  • In regard to her suicidal thoughts: “I went to the Institution and I said I need to go somewhere to get help … and I was told that I couldn’t, that it wouldn’t be good for the Institution.”
  • Also, Meghan on any regrets: “My regret is believing them when they said I would be protected.”
  • Said Harry of his father: “I feel really let down, because he’s been through something similar. He knows what pain feels like.”
  • Said Harry of royal life: “I was trapped but I didn’t know I was trapped. Trapped within the system like the rest of the family. My father and my brother are trapped.”

There are other nuggets of news for the curious to savor, but allow us to sum up the time as concisely as possible — and the why as to how this applies to so much more:

This was the sharing of a singular perspective.

Friends, allow me to be clear. The perspective shared may be completely, 100% accurate. At the very least, it seems to be what Prince Harry and Meghan actually feel. As much, therefore, as I’m hesitate airing family matters in public forums (as it severely impairs reconciliation efforts), Harry and Meghan’s feelings are valid simply because they feel them.

But the key distinction is that while feelings are valid and thus indicative of perspective, perspective does not equate to truth. 

So when Oprah encourages yet another to speak her “truth,” while the sentiment is sincere, it’s simply the wrong choice of words. There are many perspectives, but there’s only one truth. Harry and Meghan shared a perspective.

No doubt such is applicable to all situations… indeed, on all sides of the Atlantic.



questions of the week

As we do 2-3 times yearly, let’s take a look at the week in questions. Why do we do this? One, because it reveals the subjectivity of the news. And two, because the Intramuralist likes questions.

According to The 74 Million, ABC, American Greatness, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Bloomberg, Chicago Tribune, CNN, The Daily Beast, Deseret News, The Economist, ESPN, Film Daily, FOX News, The Hill, Huffington Post, Inside Hook, MSNBC, National Geographic, National Review, The New Center, New York Post, The New York Times, New Yorker, Politico, Poynter, Project Syndicate, Real Clear Energy, Real Clear Markets, Real Clear Politics, The Spectator, Sporting News, Substack, TK News, Townhall, USA Today, Vox, Wall Street Journal, Washington Times, and Yahoo!, here are 65 questions the left, right, and “in between” utilized to headline their “news,” attempting to get our attention last week…

  1. A Grand Bargain on Wages and Immigration?
  2. A Swarm of Earthquakes Shakes Iceland. Are Volcanic Eruptions Next?
  3. America Uncanceled?
  4. Can America Escape the Stimulus Trap?
  5. Can Democrats Rig the Vote Forever?
  6. Can Democrats Stop the GOP Assault on Voting Rights?
  7. Can Duke Make the NCAA Tournament?
  8. Can Joe Biden Get America Out of the Middle East?
  9. Can the U.S. Economy Grow Without Immigration?
  10. Can We Put an End to the Vaccine Hunger Games?
  11. Could a Celebrity Candidate Roil the Newsom Recall Waters?
  12. Could Tiger Woods Have Been Asleep at the Wheel Before Crash?
  13. Cuomo allegations: What do Democrats Who Believed Kavanaugh Accusations Think?
  14. Do We Even Need the Golden Globes?
  15. Double Standard?
  16. How Does a Mass Vaccination Site Work?
  17. How Has a Year in the Pandemic Changed You?
  18. How Is Chris Cuomo Still On the Air at CNN?
  19. How Often Do Fact Checkers Write Off Trump’s Claims As ‘Misleading’?
  20. How Will Prince Harry and Meghan Make Their Money, Now that Royal Duties Are Behind Them?
  21. How Would Jesus Vote?
  22. Is a Spring Coronavirus Surge Inevitable?
  23. Is a Universal Basic Income Coming Closer to Reality?
  24. Is Biden Losing the Immigration Debate?
  25. Is Censorship the Answer?
  26. Is Dr. Seuss a Tipping Point in Left’s Cancel Culture War?
  27. Is Mob Justice Now Poetic Justice?
  28. Is It OK to Be Optimistic about Covid-19 Now?
  29. Is Plagiarism Legal?
  30. Is It Racist to Expect Black Kids to Do Math for Real?
  31. Is It Time to Admit That Tom Brady’s Witch Doctor Wellness Routine Actually Works?
  32. Is It Time to Put Wind Energy on Ice?
  33. Is the Biden Administration Stumbling Into War?
  34. Is The “K-Shaped” Recovery Con Finally Over?
  35. Is This the Covid-19 Endgame?
  36. In Land of Lincoln, What’s Wrong with Statues of Honest Abe?
  37. Neanderthal?
  38. Neera Tanden: First Cabinet-Level Casualty of the Twitter Age?
  39. The Indians Knew About Mickey Callaway’s Behavior. Why Didn’t They Do Anything About It?
  40. Was COVID-19 Our Neutron Bomb?
  41. What Are the Chances Tiger Woods Makes Another Comeback?
  42. What Constitutes A ‘Misleading’ Claim About Guns?
  43. What Do Democrats Who Believed Kavanaugh Accusations Think?
  44. What Do Predictions of ‘Herd Immunity’ Mean For Schools?
  45. What Does National Security Even Mean Anymore?
  46. What Exactly Are Uber-Woke Educators Teaching Our Kids?
  47. What Is an Earmark?
  48. What Will China Do With the World’s Largest Navy?
  49. What’s Happening with the University of Texas and ‘The Eyes of Texas’ School Song?
  50. What’s in the COVID Relief Bill?
  51. What’s Really Behind Corporate Promises on Climate Change?
  52. When Can We Go on Vacation Again?
  53. Where Did Millions of Dollars in Donations to Black Lives Matter Go?
  54. Who Do Sportsbooks Think the Patriots’ Starting Quarterback Will Be in 2021?
  55. Who Killed Chicago?
  56. Who Would Volunteer to Fact-Check Twitter?
  57. Who’s on the Bubble?
  58. Why Do Biden’s Handlers Have Him Back in the Basement?
  59. Why Have Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Ditched the Royal Family?
  60. Why Is Facebook Banning Myanmar Military Gages?
  61. Why Is Joe Biden Dodging the Public and the Press?
  62. Will Vaccines Help Newsom Survive Recall in California?
  63. Will the Real President Please Stand Up?
  64. Will You Still Get a Third Stimulus Check Under the New Senate Plan?
  65. Would More Funding for Low-Quality Schools Help?

Let’s keep asking questions. Let’s also be cognizant of subjectivity. 



teaching without tearing down

What’s too far to go?

In San Francisco, a school board voted to rename multiple schools with possibly objectionable names — including schools named after Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and the current Senior Senator from California, Dianne Feinstein.

We keep cancelling people — meaning vocal masses attempt to negate one’s entire life contributions because of a singular aspect, sentence or deed… J.K.Rowling, John Muir, John Wayne, and now Dr. Seuss. Note the inanimate are equally nonexempt; see Eskimo Pie and Mr. Potato Head. Business institutions are also becoming questionable, with increasing calls to remove or at least rename entities such as Five Guys (burgers) or moving co., Two Men and a Truck.

The voluminous voices seem to expect people before to think like people now — concluding they were bad; we are better. There is little grace in awareness of evolution of thought. In fact, if cancelling continues to be an accepted barometer of historic morality, I wonder what we will be cancelled for decades from now.

Please hear; we want to respect all people. We want to teach the generations that come. But too often as of late it seems the abrupt impulse to tear down is insisted on in place of incisive, mindful teaching. We tear down moments and monuments. We tear down even people.

Oh, the places we’ll go… have we gone too far?

Let’s be sensitive to what’s outrageous. Let’s also be honest about what’s not. 

Allow me to quote the oft outrageous Bill Maher, not one typically quoted here due to perceived disrespect. What I uncannily appreciate about Maher, no less, is his intolerance of the intolerant, albeit with a typical, bitingly-sarcastic bent. Note his recent rant on HBO’s “Real Time” (with editorial attempts to remove any denigration):

“Cancel culture is real. It’s insane. And it’s growing exponentially. And it’s coming to a neighborhood near you. If you think it’s just for celebrities, no. In an era where everyone is online, everyone is a public figure… is this really who we want to become?…

Think about everything you’ve ever texted, emailed, searched for, tweeted, blogged or said in passing. Or now even just witnessed. Someone had a confederate flag in their dorm room in 1990 and you didn’t do anything? You laughed at a Woody Allen movie? Andy Warhol was wrong. In the future everyone will not experience 15 minutes of fame but 15 minutes of shame. 

62% of Americans say they have opinions they’re afraid to share. 80% of Americans — young, old, rich, poor, conservative, liberal, white, minority — all hate the current atmosphere of hypersensitivity. Yet everyone hates it, and no one stands up to it because it’s always the safe thing to swallow what you really think and just join the mob.

So if someone asks you if Justin Timberlake owes Britney Spears an apology for not being a perfect boyfriend when they were teenagers, just say ‘yes.’ Easy…

‘The Mandalorian’s’ Gina Carano is a person I’d never heard of… She made some Nazi analogy — who doesn’t these days?! ‘You’re like the Nazis’ is the new ‘I don’t like you.’ And it’s always ok when Trump’s the Nazi. That disqualifies her?… By the way, you can’t work in Hollywood if you don’t believe what we believe. Yeah, in the 50’s that’s exactly what the left complained they were being told.

And the week before it was Chris Harrison’s turn in the barrel; he’s the host of ‘The Bachelor’ and is ‘stepping away.’ Stepping away to ‘educate’ himself on ‘a more profound and productive level than ever before.’ Oh, good. Good… and if I thought I couldn’t count on ‘The Bachelor’ for moral guidance, I don’t know if I could go on. 

Of course, he’s not stepping away because he’s the host of a televised snake pit where 32 female contestants are trapped in the sorority house… it’s because he wouldn’t throw one of them under the bus when it came to light that in college she attended a ‘Dress Up Like We’re in the Old South’ party, which is not a type of party we should be throwing, in that it winks at a civilization built on slavery, yes. But apparently in 2018, millions of people were still doing it. And mature people understand humans are continually evolving — as opposed to ‘Wokeville’… 

What’s Chris Harrison supposed to do? Build a time machine, go back to 2018 and knock the mint juleps out of their hands? Maybe while he’s time traveling, he can have a word with that [bleep] Abraham Lincoln who’s now cancelled in San Francisco — and they’re thinking about it in Illinois. Yes, ‘The Land of Lincoln’ might cancel Lincoln…”

Friends, how do we deal with what is no doubt a growing, glaring problem? From my limited vantage point, the “mob” is active. They are loud. What I don’t believe they are, however, is the majority. “Vocal” and “majority” are not synonymous. One is known most for its volume.

  • So how do we be respectful without being hypersensitive?
  • How do we teach without tearing down?
  • How do we allow for the evolution of thought?
  • And how do we not negate the entire contributions of another because a past aspect, sentence or deed doesn’t fit with how we think now?

There must be a wiser way.

Oh, yes… the places we’ll go…