The Changing Faces of Nationalism

As a historian who sometimes teaches about Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, I have to give Trump credit for one thing: His constant upending of the broad political consensus that emerged after World War II and the Cold War means that basic historical terms are constantly making it into the news and national discourse as quasi new problems, new questions. As upsetting as these times are, as abhorrent as Trump is, it is hard to deny the value of Ron Elving’s reaction to the president’s recent statement about being a nationalist: “We are about to have a national conversation about the word nationalist.” And Elving wants to offer nuances to the term’s meanings in past and present—well, as much as anyone can in some 1,100 words. See the whole article at NPR.

Ruining the Army

Update, July 7: The A.P. appears to have got the story in the first paragraph below wrong. There is still a real problem, but of a different kind, which appears to be about the country’s confused imigration system: “No, President Trump Is Not Purging The Military Of Immigrants”.

“US Army quietly discharging immigrant recruits” . . . Corrupting the army like this is bad for the immigrants affected, their fellow soldiers, all U.S. citizens and residents, not to mention our military readiness and national security. It’s also unconscionable.

This is just one of the ways the current administration is misusing and spoiling the army in the homeland itself. There is also this: “The U.S. Military Is Preparing to Hold 32,000 Immigrants in Detention Centers”.

The army—and the country—can do better (and did). In 2016, for example: “Immigrant to citizen: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and U.S. Army work on naturalization”.

Image source: U.S. Army

Monsters in the News

If you have the stomach for more on relating to a filmmaker’s work who you now know (but perhaps tried to forget) is a child molester, this piece from May 2016 by Matt Zoller Seitz is worth considering: “I Believe Dylan Farrow.”

Such is the kind of reading I sometimes find myself doing these days when I least expect it. I’ll try to escape the everyday with a comedy, but then I’ll dig around the web to learn more about its makers or players. If this effort lands me back in the ugly everyday, pieces like this one help me see how other people deal with such contradictions, which are about much more than art.

Aaargh!

I have had health insurance through my employer these past seven years, but I still depend on the Affordable Care Act. It has made the scope of coverage meaningful, especially by including so-called preexisting conditions. It has also relieved me of anxiety caused by not knowing if I would have health insurance from one year to the next. Yes, coverage has been growing more expensive, but at least there have been those statewide exchanges and—if need be—subsidies, which, I thought, would still make insurance possible.

Enter bomb-throwing DJT.


Header image: Angela De Rosette, SP.M.0911, 2001, via LoC PPOC

The Limits of Fact-Checking

False information gains strength from its roots in stories that make sense to a lot of people; mow down the latest false facts and more will soon sprout until we address those stories themselves—and the reasons people believe them.

– Paul, J. Croce, “What We Can Learn from Fake News,” History News Network, July 23, 2017, http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/166400.