Recent Cynicism Commentaries

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The Pit
Schools and community libraries have now become battlegrounds for political division. Fearing backlash from parents, school officials have quietly been removing books from libraries that discuss race, gender and LGBTQ identities. “A growing number of communities across America where conservatives have mounted challenges to books and other content related to race, sex, gender and other subjects they deem inappropriate,” The...
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April 19, 2022
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America’s Confidence Problem
In a national address to the country, Jimmy Carter described how he “invited to Camp David people from almost every segment of our society — business and labor, teachers and preachers, governors, mayors, and private citizens. And then I left Camp David to listen to other Americans, men and women like you. I got a lot of personal advice: “I...
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March 22, 2022
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The Way Forward, Part 1: Where We Are
America has lost its way. Once we were a shining example of democracy. We fought wars and helped the disadvantaged for moral reasons. We used to stand for something. The only thing we stand for now is outrage at anyone who disagrees with us. We are slipping away from the very ideals that make America unique: equality, liberty, and the...
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February 1, 2022
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At the Throat of American Democracy, Part 2
On February 9, 1950, Senator Joseph R. McCarthy stood before the County Women’s Republican Club in West Virginia and stated, “I have here in my hand a list of 205 [State Department employees] that were known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy of the...
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January 21, 2022
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At the Throat of American Democracy, Part 1
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. — George Santayana, American writer, and philosopher On the one-year anniversary of the January 6 insurrection, President Joe Biden made clear that “The former president of the United States of America has created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election. . . . [and] held a dagger at...
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January 18, 2022
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The Few. The Proud. The Stupid
It’s been little more than a year since the January insurrection where Senators and House members hid from an angry mob of Trump supporters, (And yes, Republicans, a majority of rational people know this. They’re just spending too much time on the bench to take action against what’s likely to come.) Now, with the surge of the Omicron, a variant...
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January 14, 2022
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A Christmas Prayer
A Christmas Carol in Prose Being a Ghost Story of Christmas first appeared in 1843, and for 180 years its message of redemption is more important than ever. Ebenezer Scrooge, a “squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner,” is quick to criticize his nephew, his put-upon bookkeeper, and everyone about the utter wastefulness of a season that brings joy...
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December 24, 2021
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The Cliffs of Insanity
There’s a scene in the movie, The Princess Bride, where the undaunted hero—with all the kindness, smartness, and decency required of heroes—is doing what heroes do: saving his beloved Buttercup from kidnappers. At one point, he chases them to the Cliffs of Insanity, a rocky crag so high and so treacherous it makes Yosemite’s El Capitan look like a picnic....
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December 17, 2021
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This is Not Us as a Democracy – Conclusion
In his weekly column in the Washington Post, Nicholas Kristof writes that despite Trump’s clear call for insurrection last week, “…a new poll finds that 75 percent of Republican voters continue to approve of Trump’s presidency. “As I was writing my column,” Kristof says, “I had a call with a childhood friend who told me about his ‘inside information’ that...
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January 15, 2021
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Lindsey Graham’s “Defining Moment”
“… And you could use my words against me and you’d be absolutely right.” – Sen. Lindsey Graham, in remarks to Senate colleagues shortly after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Here’s what the “principled” Senator repeated to The Atlantic’s editor-in-chief, Jeffrey Goldberg, at the magazine’s sponsored conference just two years ago: “If an opening comes in the last year...
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September 23, 2020