Commencement Speeches, Lectures and Sermons Are Way Overdone

Humans love to pontificate. I’ve been guilty of it myself. This urge to share our views in a formal, dramatic fashion goes way back.

I was recently at the site of the Forum in ancient Rome. It was not far from the Colosseum and emperor’s palace. It was where philosophers and other orators gave long speeches to anyone who cared to listen. Many people couldn’t read then, and fewer still could get their hands on books. So speeches were a primary means of communicating ideas. Much has changed.

This time of year “successful” people are called upon to share their wisdom with college graduates. The news media reports on those speeches widely. Perhaps it’s a sign of my age, but my main reaction to all of this is, “enough already.” Continue reading

Trump Is What You Get When You Decide Everyone Else Is Evil

The Republican Party is imploding. It’s on the verge of nominating someone who doesn’t even embrace some of the bedrock conservative principles upon which the party has stood since Ronald Reagan (e.g., trade, entitlement spending, foreign policy).

It’s also ready to nominate someone who viciously attacks anyone who dares disagree with him, including pillars of his own party.

Some party faithful already have distanced themselves from the presumptive nominee, indicating they will sit this election out rather than vote for Mr. Trump. Even the Republican Speaker of the House has balked at supporting Trump.

Yet millions of people have voted for this man. No one knows how many will vote for him in the general election. Will it be enough to put him into the White House?

Whichever way the election goes, party leaders know that the party of Lincoln has been forever changed and even may be in danger of being dismantled entirely.

Personally, I could care less whether the Republican Party implodes (or the Democratic Party for that matter). I never have cared for party politics and, at best, view it as a necessary evil or something to be avoided altogether (a view shared by some of our founders). But more to the point: I really don’t care whether this party in particular implodes because they are getting what they deserve (although I am concerned the rest of us could end up paying the price). Continue reading

It’s a great time to be alive!

Sour news sells. Crabby commentators attract large audiences. Fear sells. Negativity draws readers and viewers like sugar draws ants.

Many of our politicians and preachers make a living out of selling fear and pessimism. They dwell on what’s wrong. If you buy their message, you’d think there was no worse time to be alive.

I think it’s time we get in touch with our history. It tells a very different story. Continue reading