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Quotes of the Day

Patti Davis, recalling the passing of her father, Ronald Reagan:

“My hope is that people remember this about the royal family: In the end, though they breathe rarefied air, they grapple as we all do with life and death, with the mystery of what it means to be human. When darkness falls, and they are alone, they sink into the same waters that everyone does when a loved one dies. And they wonder if they’ll make it to the other side..”

Jamelle Bouie quoting Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address: “‘A majority held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people,” [Lincoln] said. “Whoever rejects it does of necessity fly to anarchy or to despotism.”

“You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the government,” Lincoln added, “while I shall have the most solemn one to ‘preserve, protect and defend it.’ ”

SERGE SCHMEMANN: Part of [the Queen’s] appeal was the extravagant — some might say excessive — pomp and ceremony that accompanied her every royal appearance. While Scandinavian countries deliberately decontented their monarchies until their kings and queens could barely be distinguished from normal citizens, Britain proudly maintained the full medieval monty: gilded carriages, bearskin helmets, liveried footmen and volumes of tradition.

It was marketing, to be sure; the royals are central to Britain’s brand and identity. But Queen Elizabeth was prepared to treat it all, from wearing a five-pound crown while reading a canned message in Parliament to feigning delight in some tropical ceremony, as the service to which she dedicated her life. . . .Though democracy left her no real governing power, she was ahead of her time in championing equality and diversity in the Commonwealth and, by most accounts, she made her views discreetly known to successive prime ministers, whom she met weekly.”

Eugene Robinson: “I once had the opportunity to attend an investiture, the palace ceremony at which the queen conferred knighthoods and other honors to the great and the good. It was the first time I had seen her in person, and what struck me was how tiny she was.

This woman who had been a larger-than-life presence on the world stage since before I was born — the first prime minister who served under her was Winston Churchill — was minute, dwarfed by her regal accoutrements and surroundings. Her voice was thin and soft, her words hard to follow.

Yet she did have a presence that dominated the vast room. On reflection, it occurred to me that this aura of authority and command was not emanating from the queen herself. It was being projected upon her by the audience.

And so it is with all the anachronistic stature and privilege the British royal family still enjoys in an egalitarian age. Elizabeth’s character, stamina and skill persuaded her subjects to suspend any possible disbelief in the divine right of a mostly German family to reign over the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. Will they have such faith in Charles? In William?

“Après moi, le déluge,” King Louis XV of France is thought to have said, decades before the French Revolution. After Elizabeth, the British monarchy will find itself in rising waters and struggle not to be swept away.”

Seattle: Later that day, the congresswoman [Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Washington] was driving from her house to an event in Seattle, celebrating the introduction of a trans bill of rights. [Rachel] Berkson, her district director, was behind the wheel. In the passenger seat, Jayapal pulled out her phone and played some of the voice mails she’d received.

A man’s voice filled up the car.

“ … Your f—in’ day is coming. God damn, as soon as the president’s installed, like on Nov. 4 or 5, we’re f—in’ coming after all you motherf—ers. You’re gonna be scrubbing f—in’ floors for the rest of your life, you f—in’ wh—.”

Another man, a trace of a smile in his voice.
“ … Get ready for the worst year of your life. It’s gonna be turmoil every day. This is gonna be fun. This is gonna be fun. Your life is gonna be miserable. And we’re gonna get rid of that corrupt Biden, and that socialist Kamala, and the rest of the group, and you’re going right along with them.”

His voice deepened.
“You stupid f—in’ b—-. Get ready for turmoil. You’re gettin’ it. You’re gonna get exactly what you deserve, b—-. Have a nice day, b—-.”

Then another man.
“ … I’m gonna send you some knee pads, you f—in’ b—-. You worthless f—in’ c—.”
“ … We’re coming. And we’re really pissed off.”
“ … You are an evil b—- and you need to die and I hate you and I will never vote for you again.”

Jayapal stopped the recordings. Berkson, in the front seat, was one of the staffers who screened the messages. She decides what to forward to Capitol Police, and what to bring to Jayapal’s attention. As she drove, she started to cry. “Sorry,” Berkson said. “I honestly don’t think about it that much.”

At home later that night, Jayapal listened again to the threatening voice mails that [Rep. Adam]  Kinzinger and [Eric] Swalwell released this summer. She thought about how violence begins with the ability to dehumanize the subject of that violence. And she spent that evening replaying the voice mails that had been left for her. There was one calling her an animal. “The unleashing of it everywhere creates this space for other people to be unleashed as well,” she said.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington)

She thought about her decision to talk about what happened. What would she and [her husband] Williamson be saying, to themselves, to each other, to their loved ones, if they did?

“I don’t really want to admit that we’re in danger,” Williamson said, “because that’s not a place I want to occupy.”

“But at the same time,” said Jayapal, “it’s important people understand how ubiquitous this is, and how much a part of our psyche it is taking up.”

She thought about why she had never shared the voice mails before.
“Why didn’t I?”

“Is it like, ‘Oh you’re supposed to take it?’”

“Or you’re not tough enough if you release it?”

These were questions the congresswoman couldn’t answer.

Instead, she asked, “Have we somehow conditioned ourselves to think this is what we should expect?”

To Depolarize the USA, We Gotta Bust the Cultural/Educational Binaries

 

We need to move beyond the binary thinking of ‘us and them’ politics

Author Headshot By Jay Caspian Kang

Opinion Writer

New York Times — September 1, 2022

I am sad to announce that this will be the last edition of this newsletter. This decision was mine, and it was a difficult one to make because I’ve enjoyed the interactions I’ve had with you, my readers. Your emails and messages have made this, without question, the most enjoyable and satisfying writing gig of my career.
This project was always supposed to be free-flowing and open to my own interpretation. Such freedoms are rare in journalism, and while I was both excited and flattered by the opportunity to spill the contents of my brain on Mondays and Thursdays, I will admit that it took me a while to figure out what I wanted to actually say in this space. I am, by nature, a deeply ambivalent person about most things, and did not carry an agenda with me into the job.
But over the past year, as I’ve written about homelessness, education policy, nursing homes, and even dabbled a bit in the culture wars, a central argument began to emerge.
It goes something like this:

Continue reading To Depolarize the USA, We Gotta Bust the Cultural/Educational Binaries