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The More Things Change ...

Dec 11, 2017

I was humbled when Dr. Laura Vazquez of Northern Illinois University invited me to work with her on a documentary about the history of racism and exclusion in DeKalb.

My interest in this topic was piqued several years ago when I learned Sycamore was a stop on the Underground Railroad but DeKalb was not.

While it was an unwritten ordinance, DeKalb was a “sundown town” until roughly 50 years ago -- meaning African-Americans should not be in town once the sun goes down. Many African-American NIU students had to live in Sycamore.

How Is A Voter Like A Sports Fan?

Dec 8, 2017

In a previous Perspective we considered the idea — a bad idea — that the American voter is a passive consumer. Now let’s think about another model: the American voter as sports fan.

Political scientists tell us that our voting habits are tribal to a fault.

If you’re a Republican who dislikes the idea of privatizing Social Security but your party’s candidate for President advocates the idea, you won’t switch parties. You’ll change your position on privatizing Social Security. You’ll think, “Well, maybe it’s a good idea after all.” 

The New Tax Plan Will Help Someone

Dec 7, 2017

The new tax bill is likely to be signed into law by the end of December. Happy holidays, everyone!

There’s one person who will get a significant holiday gift, and that’s the president. The new tax law will change two taxes that have been costing him and other wealthy people a lot of money.

How big a gift can be seen by looking at two pages of the president’s 2005 tax return, released last March by a journalist -- not the president.

Love Is A Choice We All Can Make

Dec 6, 2017

Whenever I used the word “hate” as a child, adults always asked me, “Do you really hate it, or do you dislike it?”

Today, “hate” keeps people divided. The media remind us of hate groups, hate crimes, and hate speech -- for example, CBS’s coverage of the White Supremacy march in Charlottesville.

We receive underlying messages through our televisions to pick a side in all the chaos. The message we don’t receive, however, is that we belong to the same side: humanity.

Change Of Pace Can Reawaken Beauty

Dec 5, 2017

I am no gearhead, but cars are cool.  For six years, I drove a very utilitarian minivan.  It’s great for family, but turning the key, I just feel stale. 

Last spring for a change of pace, I acquired a classic car-- a bright red, v8 engine  Mustang.  It’s been around, but it still has lots of life.  I giggled the first time I turned the key.  I gave the car some gas, laughing as the engine roared.  I revelled in Little Red’s power.