Burns Strider, Clinton Campaign Aide

A Hillary Clinton aide was accused of repeated sexual harassment on the 2008 campaign.  Her campaign wanted to fire this aide, and Hillary Clinton refused.  The aid was docked pay and sent to counseling. He kept his job and the woman who accused him was moved to a different role.

This same male aide was brought back into the Clinton fold in 2016.  He was accused of repeated harassment of another women in that year’s losing effort and fired.  Time, it seems, was finally up.

His role in the first campaign was faith adviser.  Seriously.  The Clintons have access to a host of faith advisers.  For whatever reason, Mrs. Clinton chose Burns Strider.  That’s fine.  She then chose to protect him.  That’s not fine.

Is it?

“Why Liberalism Failed” by Patrick Deneen

Has liberalism failed? In a new book from Yale University Press, Patrick Deneen says yes, (and how).

“Of the three dominant ideologies of the twentieth century—fascism, communism, and liberalism—only the last remains. This has created a peculiar situation in which liberalism’s proponents tend to forget that it is an ideology and not the natural end-state of human political evolution. As Patrick Deneen argues in this provocative book, liberalism is built on a foundation of contradictions: it trumpets equal rights while fostering incomparable material inequality; its legitimacy rests on consent, yet it discourages civic commitments in favor of privatism; and in its pursuit of individual autonomy, it has given rise to the most far-reaching, comprehensive state system in human history. Here, Deneen offers an astringent warning that the centripetal forces now at work on our political culture are not superficial flaws but inherent features of a system whose success is generating its own failure.”

Source: Why Liberalism Failed | Yale University Press

I’ve been writing about the “end of history” recently in relation to contemporary Christian theology.  It’s important to note, as this blurb about Deneen’s book does, that so often, we really do “tend to forget that [Western liberal democracy] is an ideology and not the natural end-state of human political evolution.”

We forget it because we’re meant to.  We forget it because for most of the founders, liberalism was the natural end-state of human political evolution.  It was observable and empirically true, Jefferson said, written by the laws of nature and nature’s God.  The founders knew that the US Constitution was not the end-point, but most believed that political evolution in this vein would continue until all people everywhere were free.

That western liberalism is built on inherent contradictions isn’t breaking news.  It’s a scion of the Enlightenment, after all.  But Deneen’s juxtapositions seem particularly timely.

I’m afraid that he’s wrong about fascism being dead, and neither am I certain that non-fascist communism was ever on the table in any 20th-century regime.  With those caveats, this looks like a good read.


Haiku for AOL Instant Messenger

AIM had a good, long run.  From 1997 to last month.

No one who came of age using it still does, and still, it’s sad to see it go.

Here’s a story about it.

A few years ago I wrote this silly haiku that now seems more apropos:


A-I-M logo,

One day, you will stop running.

One day, you’ll be back.



On Submission Fees

On one hand, I think they’re terrible.  But to an extent, I get it.  In a way, I understand.  There are so many writers these days, and so many submissions, and not enough time.  And if I’m not spending a few bucks on postage and large manila envelopes (but that feels so writerly!), I can spend them on the reading fees.  I suppose that is a fair point. And we all benefit when journals have time and resources to read and edit and publish and not go under.  Absolutely.

A recent trend I’ve seen is journals accepting no-fee subs up to a certain point, say a certain day during the open call, and  charging after that.  Others have fee-free periods and fee-based periods. I like those approaches because just as writers recognize the need some journals have for fees, these editors and publishers are saying “we get it, too.  You’ll go broke submitting to as many journals as possible, and you need to submit to as many as you can, because there is so much competition (which is why we need the fees).”

It just feels like a better system.  Or maybe it’s solidarity.

I’ll pay a solidarity fee.

Just not too many of them.