September 2009 Archives

Populism Rarely Escapes Racism

September 19, 2009

Jimmy Carter says opposition to Obama is based in racial attitudes. New York Times columnists debate: David Brooks says no, it is based in populism. Bob Herbert says yes it is racism. Charles Blow responds that, if nothing else, it should be obvious to us all that race is still a problem in America. While Brooks's assessment about populism is probably accurate, he is clearly overlooking the consistent racial character of populist movements, and a number of obviously racist attacks on Obama (see Herbert; also pointed out by E.J. Dione on NPR Friday afternoon). Moving beyond the politics of it, what does all of this signify about American culture, and about the continuing struggle for people of color to be afforded an equal opportunity?

Consultation and Thinking Techniques

September 14, 2009

`Abdu'l-Bahá counseled that "[t]he shining spark of truth cometh forth only after the clash of differing opinions." I have always felt, based on the rest of His writings, that "clash" should not be seen in the negative light in which the word is usually used, but rather it is clear that it is meant to be a constructive encounter of differing forces, building up rather than breaking down. In the rest of the paragraph (below), he gives the "prime requisites for them that take counsel together," presenting a beautifully spiritual approach to group consultation.

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