Lie: "a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood" (dictionary.com). Pretty clear, isn't it? One person says "That light was red" and another says "No, it was orange." If each is sincere, this is simply a disagreement and neither is lying. What about the person who is invited to dinner and declines because of a "previous engagement?" In truth, there is no previous engagement — the person just doesn't want to go. This is a lie, i.e., an intentional untruth.
"Want to go to a concert with me?", my wife asked recently. "What kind of concert?", I asked. "It's called 'Masters of Scottish Arts.'" Silence. "Does that mean bagpipes?" I asked. "Yep. Featured, in fact." Every once in a while you're asked to go along with something you may not be inclined to do — in this case the invitation to attend a concert featuring bagpipes. It's a quandary of sorts.
I have recently been wondering how Donald Trump's supporters would grade him for his first year in office. So I approached a number of friends and family members — folks who had voted for Mr. Trump. Each of them knew that I had not voted for their candidate. Eight people — each someone I respect and care about — kindly allowed this intrusion. Here are the questions I posed and what I learned in response:
Got tribal lens? What's that, you ask? It's the idea that most of us tend to fall into a variety of "tribes," or social divisions, that create tribal unity around things like sports, family, friends, religion, and of course, politics. I refer to it as a lens because a lens can distort what is actually taking place right before our eyes. Tribal lenses result from various influences that have affected our lives. As the writer Anais Nin put it, "We don't see how things are, we see how we are." Some examples of tribal lenses you may recognize:
My last column covered some background on Wisconsin's redistricting process and the lawsuit over the new districts of 2011. This time we'll take a look at several related things: 1. How Republicans, who had full power over state government, went about redrawing district boundaries; 2. The impact of their actions; and 3. A question: Should Wisconsin change the way it handles redistricting?
Maybe you caught the recent news about the Wisconsin redistricting case now in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. Some questions and offered answers about that case: Why is the case at the Supreme Court? Republicans won the governor's race in 2010 and also won majorities in the state Senate and Assembly. With that came the right and power to tweak the boundaries for our legislative and congressional districts. They did the tweaking—which is OK. What's at issue in the case is how they did it. Why did the Republicans make the changes in the first place?
"Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. "The winds will blow their own freshness into you, "and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves." -- John Muir Oddly, fresh from an annual visit to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, I find myself wondering about its acronym—BWCAW. It's usually nice to be able to pronounce an acronym, but I've never met anyone who could actually form a word around BWCAW. So it's usually just referred to as "The Boundary Waters."
Not too long ago, an ugly incident occurred in Portland, Oregon. The incident says a lot about the unsettling ride I feel like I'm on, as fear and hatred appear to be seeping deeply into our national dialogue. And it causes me to wonder, what's going on in our country, at a deep, core level? Authorities say two teenage girls, riding on a commuter train May 26, were being harassed by a self-described "white nationalist." One of the girls was wearing a Muslim head covering. Maybe this is what triggered the man's shouting of anti-Muslim hate speech at the girls.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley recently commented on the President's decision to fire FBI Director James Comey: "The president is the CEO of the country. He can hire and fire whoever he wants," she said. Of all of President Trump's appointees, Ambassador Haley is one of my favorites, but she is off-track in describing the presidency under our system of government.