Recent Articles

Here are the most recent articles!

RSS feed susbscribe to our RSS feed



Disconnecting War from Its Consequences

By Robert C. Koehler Twenty-two years ago, Congress put sanity up for a vote. Sanity lost in the House, 420-1. It lost in the Senate, 98-0. Barbara Lee’s lone vote for sanity — that is to say, her vote against the Authorization for the Use of Military Force resolution, allowing the president to make war […] more

Creating a Cooperative World?

By Robert C. Koehler “Go back to where you came from.” This is basic American politics – what I might call spiritual ignorance: a dismissal of refugees fleeing war, famine and poverty as global sludge, clogging up our way of life. So many media stories about the border – our border – begin with an […] more

Stepping over the Border, onto Planet Earth

By Robert C. Koehler “. . . we belong to the Earth rather than to a nation . . .” These words stick in my heart like a wedding ring. They emanate a cutting glow, a crying wish and hope that slices to the core of me. At the same time, I feel surrounded by […] more

Lost Souls with Nukes

By Robert C. Koehler More mass killings. More bloody “normal” — not just in Texas, not just in the United States, but around the world. Eerily, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott inadvertently reminded us of the international nature of this scourge when he referred to five recent murder victims, in a tweet announcing a $50,000 reward […] more

Killing Our Way to the Truth

By Robert C. Koehler Hey China, quit threatening us! We’ll kick your ass. Yeah, bad China, maybe worse than Russia, e.g.: “The People’s Republic of China, which is increasingly challenging the United States economically, technologically, politically and militarily around the world, remains our unparalleled priority.” The words are those of Avril Haines, director of national […] more

Love Thy Neighbor: A National Conversation

By Robert C. Koehler Can we form a circle big enough to fit 330 million Americans? Do we have enough folding chairs? I don’t know, but somehow we’ve got to launch a national conversation about . . . war, security, guns, fear and, oh God, the global future. Ultimately we need to pull the whole […] more

Revisiting the Counterculture

By Robert C. Koehler When’s the last time you had your mind blown? Was this something that only happened in the 1960s? Well, I had my mind blown a few days ago, when I took part in a sort of reunion I could never have imagined. It wasn’t a “reunion” so much as a reopening […] more

Mass Murder: Our Wounded Humanity

By Robert C. Koehler Once again . . . once again . . . once again . . . I’m sure you know what I’m referring to. Yeah, another — the latest (?) — mass shooting in the United States, this one at Old National Bank in Louisville, Kentucky, on April 10, two days ago […] more

From Heaven to Bali: Taro’s Journey

By Robert C. Koehler “At school he was told he would never write . . .” Here was a kid – here was a man – who refused to listen to the authorities, and refused to be anything but fully human. And yeah, he could write. His spelling may have been iffy, but he could […] more

Murder, and War, Begin with Dehumanization

By Robert C. Koehler “Chief Drake said it was too early to discuss a possible motive for the shooting, though he confirmed that the attack was targeted. The authorities were reviewing writings, and had made contact with the shooter’s father. . . .” Yeah, they’ll figure it out. The latest mass shooting: Six people dead, […] more

Blowing Out the Candles in Iraq

By Robert C. Koehler I read the news – invasion of Iraq! twentieth anniversary! – and struggle to transcend the abstraction of my remorse. A million killed? Half a million? The mortality stats vary depending on the source’s politics. But beyond the numbers looms an indifference that defines what is called “news.” “Today, 20 years […] more

Staying Woke: Revering Life

By Robert C. Koehler This is from one of the people I’m least likely to bother quoting: “We need a national divorce. . . From the sick and disgusting woke culture issues shoved down our throats to the Democrats’ traitorous America Last policies, we are done.” The words are those of our fellow American, Marjorie […] more

AI Robots Invade the Classroom — So What?

By Robert C. Koehler The future tapped me quietly on the shoulder the other day and suggested that I take a moment to learn about the writing bots. They’re coming! Excuse me, they’re here. And they struck me as alien invaders, this recent manifestation of artificial intelligence on the Internet, which college students, high school […] more

A Looming Book of Soul Fragments

By Robert C. Koehler Confession: I have a few books out there that no one knows about because I haven’t written them . . . well, finished them. I’ve talked in previous columns about “wrestling with infinity” — the match I always lose — by which I mean, picking a subject too large to reduce […] more

Stirring Humor into ‘Old Age’

By Robert C. Koehler No doubt everyone grows old in their own way. But once you actually hit it — that three letter word, “old” — watch out: “An aged man is but a paltry thing,/A tattered coat upon a stick . . .” So wrote William Butler Yeats, back in the last century, conjuring […] more

Making Our Schools Safe for Propaganda

By Robert C. Koehler Curse that First Amendment! What were the Founding Fathers thinking? As Ron DeSantis has declared and legislated, the safety of Florida — and, yeah, the safety of the nation — isn’t a matter of gun control (or police control) but speech control, especially in public-school classrooms and libraries, where the innocent […] more

Uh Oh, Here Comes the Occupying Army

By Robert C. Koehler America, America . . . God kicks thee in the head. The twisted irony here — the irony of the brutal murder of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee last month — is that his killers were the ones hired and trained to keep the city safe. Instead, they created half an […] more

Disarming, and Empowering, Lost Souls

By Robert C. Koehler I had a passing moment of wonder the other day – as I read about the latest . . . you know, mass shootings. Troubled souls with guns. Big problem. My thought was simply this: What if . . .? And then I lapsed into uncertainty. What if . . . […] more

Are We on the Verge of Civil War II?

By Robert C. Koehler “Folks keep talking about another civil war. One side has about 8 trillion bullets, while the other side doesn’t know which bathroom to use.” The words — actually a 2019 Facebook post — are those of then-Iowa Republican congressman Steve King, loosing a puerile smirk as he stirred the pot of […] more

How Safe Can We Really Be?

By Robert C. Koehler It was the guacamole’s fault! That’s the guy’s defense, anyway — that plus his right to carry four handguns, an AR-15 and a 12-guage shotgun into a supermarket in Atlanta. Oh yeah, and he was wearing body armor. This was in March 2021, barely a week after an actual mass shooting […] more

Before the Bombs Come the Platitudes

By Robert C. Koehler What is democracy but platitudes and dog whistles? The national direction is quietly predetermined — it’s not up for debate. The president’s role is to sell it to the public; you might say he’s the public-relations director in chief: “. . . my Administration will seize this decisive decade to advance […] more

I’m Dreaming of a Warm Christmas

By Robert C. Koehler Two a.m. Boink! My eyes pop open. It’s Christmas Eve, but it’s not that I just heard Santa wandering through the house. It’s far more banal: gotta use the bathroom. I crawl out of bed, step bare-assed into . . . oh my God . . . a learning experience. Another […] more

Praying We Learn from Each Other

By Robert C. Koehler “How exactly is ‘diversity’ our ‘strength’?” Oh, the smug ignorance of Tucker Carlson! Sometimes, in his certainty of rectitude, he asks questions that actually matter — or would matter if they were asked with any sort of honesty. The above quote, blathered on his news show, recently started flickering again in […] more

Beyond Razor Wire: A Connected Planet

By Robert C. Koehler “Ducey insists Arizona holds sole or shared jurisdiction over the 60-foot strip the containers rest on and has a constitutional right to protect residents from ‘imminent danger of criminal and humanitarian crises.’” OK, he’s a politician — Doug Ducey, the exiting governor of Arizona, who recently began erecting “hundreds of double-stacked […] more

Dancing on the Edge of Hell

By Robert C. Koehler Two dogs walking. One of them says to the other: “I bark and I bark, but I never feel like I effect real change.” This is the caption of a New Yorker cartoon by Christopher Weyant from several years ago. It keeps popping up in my head — I mean, every […] more