Category: Current events and social commentary

The birthday of our undemocratic democracy

When were kids, July 4 was a day to celebrate the nation that we learned in school was the world’s greatest democracy and a model for the rest.  My mood on this July 4 is more mournful than celebratory in the wake of recent Supreme Court decisions about abortion, the authority of the Environmental Protection... Read more »

Viewing Atticus through today’s eyes

To Kill a Mockingbird has long been my favorite book. I’ve become less vocal about it, however, as Atticus Finch, the white lawyer who defends a Black man falsely accused of raping a white woman in 1930s Alabama, is reevaluated through modern sensibilities.  The hero has been taken down from his pedestal. Critics on the... Read more »

Tired of the arguments against gun control

I had a different post written for today, but a personal focus felt crass after a week when 19 innocent fourth graders were gunned down in their classroom in Uvalde, Texas. That came 10 days after 10 African Americans were shot in a Buffalo grocery store. In both cases, the gunman was an 18-year-old male... Read more »

Still riding the “L”

Taking the “L” home on a Sunday morning, I watched a woman give $10 to a man who was begging. The man noticed another $10 bill in her wallet and asked whether he could have it. She handed it over. Having just come from church, I remembered Mother Teresa’s famous statement about seeing Jesus in... Read more »

Where is the line between frugal and cheap?

A restaurant check showed a $7 upcharge for substituting fruit for meat. The server had said that we could substitute anything, not mentioning a charge.  Although irritated, I wondered whether begrudging a few dollars when restaurants are hurting crosses the line from frugal into cheap. (I’m sidestepping the issue of feeling deceived.) But if it... Read more »

Shed the mask, get a cold

Illinois lifted its mask mandate on February 28. On March 9 I came down with a cold. Guess I’m being punished for support of lifting the mandate — although masks were intended as protection against COVID-19, not a cold. (A COVID test was negative.) Although scientists have not come to a consensus about masks’ effectiveness... Read more »

The working class and higher education

This is a tale about class differences and higher education. My sister’s daughters are both business majors. The older one, 23, a finance major, just began her career at a major corporation. The younger, 22, will graduate next spring with a combined BS/MS in data analytics and go to work for a major consulting company. ... Read more »

The anxiety about misspeaking with people different from oneself

Recently a person I’d just met accused me of being intrusive when I asked where she lived and whether she’d returned to working in the office yet. Although I didn’t think the questions were too personal, she said I’d crossed a line and was interrogating her, soliciting information and not sharing anything about myself. I... Read more »

Criticize US, but don’t despair

A June Gallup poll found that only 43 percent of Americans, and just 31 percent of Democrats, are extremely proud to be American. This Democrat isn’t surprised. A pandemic rages, yet in some states only one-third of adults have been vaccinated. Most of the unvaccinated say they won’t be vaccinated, arguing for a right to... Read more »

How much space do you need?

For those of us who live in small apartments or condos, our homes added to the challenges of the pandemic. We lacked a variety of rooms to offer a change of scene during isolation. Now that I’m going out again, I no longer feel cooped up in my 3½ rooms. But the experience of confinement... Read more »