You can write to the Rev. Jesse Jackson care of this newspaper or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Democracy is based on the power of the people choosing their leaders in a secret ballot. The right to vote is central to the legitimacy of any democratic system. Yet in the United States Constitution there is no federal right to vote. Voting rights are determined by the states. And in the states we witness a fierce struggle between those who seek to suppress the vote and those who seek to protect and extend it.
We have suffered brutal direct hits. Over half of the state of Florida is without power, in the dark. It is too soon to know what the losses are. Houston, America's fourth largest city, suffered the most extreme rain event in U.S. history. Casualties are mounting; damages are estimated at a staggering $125 billion.
It is too soon to know the extent of the damage done by Hurricane Harvey. Estimates are that over a million people have been displaced. As I write this, 49 are feared dead -- a number that will continue to climb. The governor of Texas estimated that his state will need "far in excess" of $125 billion in federal funding to help rebuild. Harvey broke the U.S. record for rainfall from a single storm. Houston, the fourth largest city in America, was hit with 50 inches of rain.
Symbols are important. Donald Trump, whose fortune is built upon a brand, and whose presidential campaign brandished symbols far more than reform ideas, knows that well.
Racism, exposed once more in the terror visited on Charlottesville, Va., still scars America. Hundreds of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, klansmen and other fervid racists gathered -- some armed with assault rifles, wearing camouflage.
Campaigning for the presidency, Donald Trump argued that blacks and other people of color should vote for him. Given their current conditions, he argued, "What the hell do you have to lose?" Since winning election, however, Trump seems intent on proving over and over again just how much African-Americans and other minorities have to lose.
Donald Trump often seems more shock jock than president. He likes to shock, say or tweet outrageous things, prove that he's not just another politician. But now he is president; his words have impact, and his posturing can be dangerous.
There's a branch in philosophy called epistemology that deals with the theory of knowledge. How do we know what we know? How do we know what is true? What is believable? And what are the criteria we use to tell whether something is true or not? Considering his constant refrain of "fake news," maybe President Donald Trump should enroll in such a course.
Candidates say campaigns are about articulating programs, issues and priorities. But people vote for candidates based on how that person makes them feel. Consciously or unconsciously, elections are about giving voice to values.
The Trump administration has launched an unprecedented rollback of civil rights and voting rights. Those who care about building a more perfect union face harsh headwinds. We've gone from an administration seeking to fulfill these rights to one seeking to repeal these rights.