Raise the Bar in Philadelphia

The Republicans set the bar so low last week in Cleveland that it seemed impossible that anyone could go lower – but the Democrats are not off to a great start, what with more email scandals and the resignation of party chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz – long overdue in the opinion of Morning Joe’s Mika Brzezinski (and me).

Despite all the distrust of both candidates and the collective damnation of both parties, there is a difference, particularly in this election. While America has never had a woman president, it has had several male presidents who have been equally vilified, including some who turned out to be pretty good.

On the other hand, we have never had a candidate like Donald Trump, and I hope we never will again. Why it seems so hard for so many to see through the dangerous emptiness of this man is beyond me; but the ugliness he paints of the world – and of our country – seems to resonate with those who are angry and fearful. Even as he has demanded we surrender all hope, he has not offered a single idea, a single program, a single solution. As Gertrude Stein said of her childhood neighborhood that had been replaced by an industrial park, “There is no there there.”

Last week ended on the 167th birthday of Emma Lazarus, whose words are inscribed on the Statue of Liberty:

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman . . . . her name, Mother of Exiles. . . .

“Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

We haven’t always lived up to those words, but we have yet to erase them.

PS Check out these two intern photos . . . and then tell me there is no difference between the parties.

Interns 1Interns 2

James G. Blaine

About James G. Blaine

Most of us undervalue what seem our tiny contributions to our communities and the world. As a result, we feel powerless, even victimized. But, like the butterfly effect in science, the lives we lead with our families, in our communities, and at work – all the so-called little things we do – collectively change the world. As I grow older, my ambition grows more modest but not less important: to participate fully and to contribute what I can. That’s my goal with this blog.