* ESPN fumbled the ball on Monday morning; its top story wasn’t coach Dawn Staley and her South Carolina women’s basketball team that won the NCAA championship yesterday against Mississippi State women, the team that upended the seemingly invincible Connecticut women. Staley is the second African American woman to win a championship in women’s college basketball and is now one of the main faces of women’s basketball.
* More than one article recently has remarked on the militarization and escalation of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. And much of this is happening without any significant challenge either at the congressional or grassroots level. And to think that some suggested last year that a Trump administration would offer a redirection of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. How to change that is a major challenge for the movers and shakers in the progressive, left, and peace communities. Among other things, the many sided assault by Trump and his gang makes this easier said than done.
* Republicans are talking again about repealing Obamacare, notwithstanding their shellacking only two weeks ago. If they do, they will face the same dilemma:
“I don’t know what has changed,’’ said Representative Jim McGovern, Democrat of Massachusetts. “The bill went down because it was too bad for Republican moderates and not bad enough for their conservatives. I don’t know how they reconcile the divides within their own conference, never mind find any Democratic votes.”
And even if Trump and the various factions of the GOP do have some meeting of the minds and come up with a new version of Trump/Ryancare, there is little reason to think their own constituents – not to mention Democratic and independent voters – will like it any better. More likely is that they will use the ballot box to express their anger next year.
The fissures, tensions, and contradictions that rent the GOP have been evident for some time, but they have taken on a new coloration since the Republicans became the governing party. The health care debacle could be but the first of a new level of intra-party fighting. Let’s hope.
* I didn’t expect Trump to say anything about the brutal and unprovoked murder in New York of an older African man; he was too busy attacking Colin Kaepernick for exercising his democratic right to protest racist injustice and murder. But other public figures should have (and maybe some did that I don’t know about.) Racism kills. Always has, but in the atmosphere created by Trump – and the right and alt-right – we can expect more racially motivated hate crimes like this. Seems like each of us has to find ways – small as well as big – to protest these racist crimes as well as challenge the enablers of them in high places – the White House in the first place.
* I got to admit I don’t like or use the term “The Resistance,” to describe the array of organizations and people opposing Trump. I use resist and resisting, but I stay away from The Resistance. It seems, to me anyway, too clubby, too small circle, and too unfamiliar to many people. Not everybody is young. There are other ways, I believe, to characterize the diverse and far flung opposition to Trump’s policies that will more likely strike a chord with the American people. It’s not a big issue, but the more general point is – language matters in politics. And in choosing one expression over another to capture a political reality, the point of departure isn’t what sounds good to our ears, but what resonates with people far beyond our immediate circles.
*Poets very seldom rule the world, but they often stand witness to misrule. And in doing so, give us inspiration and courage. Yevgeny Yevtushenko stood witness.