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Rebuilding Jim Crow Nation

By Robert C. Koehler Dred Scott lives! With the Supreme Court’s declaration that President Trump’s third version of a Muslim travel ban is now enforceable, even as legal challenges against it proceed, the court and the country reopen the racism that permeates American history. “The question is simply this: Can a negro, whose ancestors were […] more

Reopening the Doors of Perception

By Robert C. Koehler In a time of endless war and triumphant cynicism, I found myself the other day unexpectedly walking through the doors of perception. Yeah, those doors. “You know the day destroys the night/Night divides the day/Tried to run/Tried to hide/ Break on through to the other side . . .” The words, […] more

Empowering the Vulnerable

By Robert C. Koehler OK, here’s a good one: What’s the position of women in the antiwar movement? This was circa 1967, when I was a college kid just coming of age, psychologically and politically. I was a hippie. I had stopped cutting my hair. I’d discovered pot. And I was outraged by the Vietnam […] more

Trapped in a ‘Man’s World’

By Robert C. Koehler Things fall apart, the center cannot hold . . . The “man’s world” I grew up in is shattering into fragments of shame, contrition and desperate denial. Allegations of sexual harassment and abuse are catching up with powerful perps, sometimes decades after the fact. On Capitol Hill, we now know about […] more

The Illusion of Armed Salvation

By Robert C. Koehler This time, the “the fire and the fury” of American mass murder erupted in church. Twenty-six people were killed, including children, one only 18 months old. How do we stroke their memory? How do we move forward? This is bigger than gun control. We should begin, I think, by envisioning a […] more

Bureaucracy vs. Humanity

By Robert C. Koehler Basically, it’s kidnapping. Were the Border Patrol agents wearing MAGA hats when they grabbed Rosa Maria Hernandez as she left her hospital room? “It’s a shocking case — the most outrageous case I’ve ever seen. Is it a preview of things to come?” ACLU attorney Michael Tan said to me about […] more

Praying for the Moths and Beetles

By Robert C. Koehler “. . . insects as a group are in terrible trouble and the remorselessly expanding human enterprise has become too much, even for them.” And instantly I’m beyond the realm of anything I know, as I consider the gradual disappearance not of whales but of . . . beetles, moths and […] more

A Country, and a Future, Worth Serving

By Robert C. Koehler America’s endless war quietly moves across the broken nations of the world. Every so often, U.S. soldiers die, as four Green Berets did several weeks ago in . . . Niger. And the news was more about the adequacy of presidential condolences to the families of the slain soldiers than the […] more

The Calm Before the Storm

By Robert C. Koehler Every time Donald Trump blurts or tweets a shocker — “maybe it’s the calm before the storm,” for instance — questions flood the media. Is he serious? What did he mean? Yes, of course, but beyond these, larger questions hover half-asked, cutting into the soul of who we are. This is […] more

The Violence Comes Home Again

By Robert C. Koehler In the wake of the Las Vegas massacre, as in the wake of all the high-profile mass shootings that preceded it, the big question looms: Why? John Whitehead puts the question this way: “What is it about America that makes violence our nation’s calling card?” This is the enormous question — […] more