"Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-imposed immaturity. ... Sapere Aude! (Dare to know!) Have courage to use your own understanding!" Kant's famous 1784 essay about Enlightenment still has something of value for us today. He argues that the courage to think for ones self provides the impetus for a progressive society. To act maturely means to resist blind conformity and to respectfully question authority.
Donald Trump's latest international provocation, the decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, marches Trump-backing evangelicals a step closer to their deeply held desire for the fulfillment of Biblical end-times prophecies. A recent CNN article by Diana Bass suggests that, for many evangelicals, Jerusalem is about prophecy, not politics. I would partially agree: It is about prophecy, but it is also explicitly about politics.
Is kneeling during the playing of the national anthem unpatriotic? I served my country, and honor those with whom I served and those who have fallen in service of our country. I also acknowledge those who have fallen at the hands of a police officer during a traffic stop. It is not an either/or proposition. Love of country for me includes looking critically at things that need to be changed.
Aretha Franklin recently sang at the Kennedy Center Honors tribute to Carole King, reprising the song Carole wrote for her, A Natural Woman. The performance was glorious, and drew tears from the President, as well as from myself as I watched and listened to it later on video. Obama said of Aretha afterwords: 'Nobody embodies more fully the connection between the African-American spiritual, the blues, R. & B., rock and rollâ€”the way that hardship and sorrow were transformed into something full of beauty and vitality and hope. American history wells up when Aretha sings.'
Today's Republican Party, in choosing a clearly unqualified candidate for the presidency, in choosing to wallow in the deepest trough of political mud in my memory, in choosing to embrace the grossest of lies and the most laughable of conspiracies, in choosing to generate fear and hatred instead of exercising civilized, reasoned judgment, has embraced my 5th grade teacher's admonishment for a ten year old's bad behavior: "Crude, rude and impolite".
After viewing the mini-series O.J.: Made in America, Ta-Nehisi Coates looks back twenty two years and finds that as a young black college student he missed what most outraged white people missed: Many in the black community celebrated O. J.'s escape from a brutal justice system that they lived with every day.