BLUE/Government

My Fellow Americans: Good Government is a Good Thing

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Shortly after Donald J. Trump took the oath of office, one of this country’s most treasured celebrities posted a new status update. I’m talking about George Takei. He told us we had to “remind ourselves that good government is a good thing,” and added a warning that,” Without this belief, we are lost.” He navigated the Star Trek universe so Takei’s lead is a good one to follow. This belief in good government helps us make sense of our past and think through the citizen’s role today. It helps us parse the words of elected representatives who understand who we are…

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Inauguration 2013: The Bridge between Words and Realities

Inauguration 2013: The Bridge between Words and Realities

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This bridge between our words and the “realities of our time” is how Barack Obama described our “never-ending journey” in the United States. There is much to think about in the words the President chose for his 2nd Inaugural speech yesterday and the various snapshots the media has provided us of Americans who either made the trek to the nation’s capital or their local coffee shop to watch the event as a community of people. This post is a glancing blow, a first shot at sharing some of the ideas in the air this week. Many of our alumni are welcoming students…

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Detroit’s Hiedelberg Project: Questions of liveliness at the edges & organized complexity

Detroit’s Hiedelberg Project: Questions of liveliness at the edges & organized complexity

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It was like walking through a graveyard. We found ourselves talking in hushed tones or, mostly, not talking at all. Spookiest of all was the hope that still occupied the hollow spaces of the Hiedelberg Project. Horror and hope. Calling out from the empty houses, there was at once a community abandoned and a community committed to persevere. A four minute intro to the space that includes community voice and the artist, Tyree Guyton, who grew up in the neighborhood: Keith (Hobbes21), his family and mine walked through the Hiedelberg Project in Detroit enjoying the whimsy of giant polka dots…

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Project Citizen

Project Citizen

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Having been briefly introduced to Project Citizen at the National Academy, I decided to try it out this year.  It’s an ideal, outcome-based activity as much about the journey as the finish.  And the great thing about the finish is that it’s really just the beginning, for students receive the tools to research and formulate public policy.  In the end, it is incredibly empowering for the kids to discover the pathways through which they can enact change. A few words from my fourth-graders (non-speakers) when asked today by the panel what they had learned from the experience: “I learned what…

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It’s America and We are One

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Did you see the We are One celebration yesterday? It was a powerful combination of our best words, music, and ideas. From the MLK and JFK quotes you’d expect to Reagan quotes you wouldn’t. I wouldn’t call myself a fan of Mary J. Blige or Jon Bon Jovi but they provided a moving performance with a gritty civil rights classic “A Change is Gonna Come.” Most know me as a U2 fan and it’s Bono’s words that provoked this post. Brian Williams from NBC’s Nightly News interviewed Bono after rehearsals Saturday night. Bono was overheard to say it felt like…

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Wall-E: Perfectly Constituted Disorder

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I saw the most frightening childrens’ movie this weekend, Pixar’s “Wall-E.” The child in the row behind me squealed with delight over every adorable character. She punctuated each screen debut with the character’s name. She faithfully announced Wall-E and Eve each time, convinced we were as excited as she was. She had no idea I was simply horrified. The shrill screams seemed appropriate. The giddy enthusiasm did not. Humans have left the Earth behind in an their never-ending trail of trash. While one solitary robot, Wall-E, continues the clean up effort on Earth, Eve comes to scan the planet for…

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Campaign 2008 in the Box

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Sparking curiosity and provoking puzzled stares, Professor Harris proposed his model of Federalist and Antifederalist thinking provides a useful lens for understanding this year’s presidential candidates. Those of us who want to draw a straight line to match today’s political parties to the Federalist and Antifederalist perspectives were baffled. How in the world did Hillary end up in the same set of boxes as McCain and Bush? The categories proposed for each candidate include… Barack Obama is a red box Federalist driven by his understanding of us as a people committed to particular principles and one another. Hillary Clinton is…

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