ProgressiveValues.e-letter                                        January 24, 2017
Imagine America - the BIG idea
"… All the big things that were once taken for granted are now under assault…The definition of America is up for grabs. Our fundamental institutions have been exposed as shockingly hollow… The central challenge is to rebind a functioning polity and to modernize a binding American idea…."
David Brooks, New York Times, 1/24/17
Ideas simply want a place to fit , by Tanner Christensen, January 18, 2017 ,   The only thing ideas want is to fit. Ideas are out there in the world, waiting to be captured or imagined. They travel around us in all different sorts of ways: from communication to entertainment to dreams. All ideas want is to find a place to fit, to exist. There may be ideas that have been trying to fit for a very long time, it’s only when things are right and ready can the ideas fit into place, into existence.
The Reality-Based Community And Trump’s Orwellian Dystopia by Dr. Milton Mankoff, Huffington Post, 12/08/2016 Updated Dec 12/09/2016     Back in 2004, journalist Ron Suskind interviewed a top aide to President George W. Bush, later identified as Karl Rove. As Suskind reported:“The aide said that guys like me were ‘in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” ... “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors...and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”...Karl Rove was a cynical political visionary, but Donald Trump’s surreal road to the White House is that vision’s nightmarish embodiment. The term “truth,” which once indicated a claim supported by incontestable facts, has, because of Trump, been re-defined...

Donald Trump Is Becoming an Authoritarian Leader Before Our Very Eyes By Jeet Heer, The New Republic, January 23, 2017  …The new administration’s bewildering boasts and outright lies are what make it so frightening, as they’re early signs of what many of us in the media have warned about for months: Authoritarianism…. …what Trump did in his CIA speech, which was rife with deceptions and examples of a narcissistic will to reshape the truth…Turning a speech at an intelligence agency into a political rally is a deep betrayal of political norms….One of the defining tactics of his campaign was disinformation, coupled with accusations of the same against the media. That hasn’t changed now that Trump is president...

The Banal Belligerence of Donald Trump By Roger Cohen, New York Times Magazine, 1/24/17  Trump’s outrageous claims have a purpose: to destroy rational thought. When Primo Levi arrived at Auschwitz he reached, in his thirst, for an icicle outside his window but a guard snatched it away. “Warum?” Levi asked (why?). To which the guard responded, “Hier ist kein warum” (here there is no why). As the great historian Fritz Stern observed, “This denial of ‘why’ was the authentic expression of all totalitarianism, revealing its deepest meaning, a negation of Western civilization.” Americans are going to have to fight for their civilization and the right to ask why against the banal belligerence of Trump.

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“And when the arc of progress seems slow, remember: America is not the project of any one person. The single most powerful word in our democracy is the word ‘We.’ ‘We the people.’
‘We shall overcome.’
‘Yes, we can.’” 
President Barack Obama
as posted on Facebook by
Senator Al Franken, 1/19/17


"We must move forward in the days ahead with audacious faith.
The moral arc of the universe is long but it bends toward justice."
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.
George Orwell

Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and other government official,
but the voters of this country.
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world… would do this, it would change the world.
William Faulkner
The human heart is the first home of democracy. It is where we embrace our questions. Can we be equitable? Can we be generous? Can we listen with our whole beings, not just our minds, and offer our attention rather than our opinions? And do we have enough resolve in our hearts to act courageously, relentlessly, without giving up—ever—trusting our fellow citizens to join with us in our determined pursuit of a living democracy?
Terry Tempest Williams


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Phyllis Stenerson, Paideia LLC
612.331.1929 -
Paideia (pu-di'uh) is an ancient Greek philosophy of educating for citizenship to create an ideal society

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