Who am I to tell you anything about the Lord our God Creator of the Universe? Why should you listen? Any authority I have arises from the journey I made seven years ago. Santiago de Compostela was the end of that journey. Now I share with you the beginning, and from that you must determine whether or not to continue on with me.
You industrious ones among my readers are objecting. Vociferously.
Two summers ago, late one afternoon I sat on a low stone wall, swinging my legs—one of the advantages of being only 5’2”—and contemplated the expanse of a cathedral town square before me. I was in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. I had flown into Madrid that morning and immediately taken the train west, to Galicia and Santiago, the capital. It was chilly—I could feel a breeze off the Atlantic Ocean—and I realized I had brought clothes for Madrid and not Santiago. I was tired, but not unpleasantly.
In the spring of 2004, I was working at my desk, in my home in Oakland, California, when the phone rang.
A classic beginning – to a story that confirms the current revelations about U.S. government surveillance. Indeed my family’s experience shows that American eavesdropping is much more advanced than is being posited this minute in the press. (more…)
Many years ago my husband, then a trusts-and-estates attorney, opened a bank safe deposit box belonging to a client who had recently passed away. Astonished, he found himself looking down at a weight of gold. Why had such a wealthy woman squirreled away bullion? Answer: as a child in Belgium during the Second World War, the lesson she took away from those years is that a person can never stash away too much.
Barack Obama’s second inaugural address this wintry but sunny Monday morning was at one and the same time astonishing, unexpected in both its content and thrust, but also a perfect expression of the tonality of this man, our 44th president, and therefore unsurprising–at least to the handful of pundits, like me, who by the end of 2008 had come to understand him well.
This our nation’s 57th inaugural address is not what any of the former presidential speechwriters interviewed on TV over the last few days predicted. Obama did not deliver what political wise ones, such as the men and women quoted in the Sunday New York Times, asked for from him. (more…)
What was the election of 2012 about?
It was not about money or jobs or the unemployment rate. This was from the start a wrong assumption among our punditocracy and political operatives of both parties. In his election night victory speech, Barack Obama said “our economy is recovering.” I disagree, and I think most Americans were of the same mind when they voted Tuesday.
Even for Republicans, there is much to celebrate on this the day-after the presidential election of 2012.
Let’s get one thing straight. Willard Mitt Romney was never going to be the next president of the United States. So watching the first election debate tonight may be enlightening, entertaining, nerve-wracking, annoying, boring, high-minded, anodyne—in any combination—but the underlying dynamic will not be winning versus losing.
Most of my Twitter feed is in Arabic. I don’t read Arabic. Sometimes I ask my niece to translate, but I try not to impose too often. The men and women I “follow” in the Middle East (and not all of them are Arabs, not all of them are Muslims–some are Copts and Syrian Orthodox–some Berbers, some Turks) captured my attention during the so-called Arab Spring because they know English and therefore were able to give witness via Twitter, for the benefit of the western world, to what was happening across North Africa almost two years ago.
I have kept these men and women at the heart of my Twittter feed as a reminder to myself that they–whatever the frustrations they feel now, whatever their dark impulses, and let me tell you, the anti-Copt sentiment in Egypt even among people we would call liberals runs deep–nevertheless, they are the future. Why? Because by mid-century over half the world population will be Muslim. Why? Because the arc of history for this century, unlike the last, is bending away from secularism and materialism and towards faith. Yes, the Islamic world–whatever that means, for the cultures and countries are various–is grappling with an inheritance of western values–both burdensome and wished-for. But it is they, and not us in the West, and specifically in the (still) remaining one world power the United States, who will define for this new century “liberty” and “human rights.” (more…)