Showing posts from February, 2013

Can "Lincoln" Still Happen Here and How?

One lesson most moviegoers picked up from Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” was that the workings of Congress have always involved downright ugly wheeling and dealing. Votes were bought, sold, and traded to pass both good and bad legislation. The laudatory goal of that January 1865 backroom and back-alley horse trading was to pass the Thirteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, outlawing slavery and involuntary servitude. Lincoln and Secretary of State, William Seward, were uncomfortable with offering direct monetary bribes to buy the necessary votes, but instead authorized agents to under-handedly contact Democratic congressmen with offers of federal jobs in exchange for their support. Americans can cling to the idea that their country is somehow virtuous, even uniquely so. But contrary to what we might want to believe about America as an exceptionally pristine nation moving in some providential way toward the expansion of liberty, the fact is that the good that’s been accomplished h…

Love and Sex on Valentine's day

Valentine’s Day encourages a whole season of love, whatever that means in American culture. At least it means that the new year begins with stores overflowing with candy, flowers, cards, stuffed animals, jewelry, and other paraphernalia needed to show how buying proves we’re in love. Valentine’s Day is a patterned American written and oral exam testing whether you really do love someone, and whether you’re really loved by someone. If they truly love you, they’ll show it through the day’s products. It’s not all bad. If it is a reminder to take the time in a busy life to express love, how can that in itself hurt? Yes, someone shouldn’t need a special day to do this, but the commercialism that defines the Day also restricts how regularly we get the space to celebrate love. The problem is that instead of celebrating love between two people just as they are as human beings, the Day is more a celebration of culturally defined patterns that are not only meant to sell products and services b…