What Hasn’t Changed

Don’t get me wrong. The recently-concluded season of American presidential politics—the longest and costliest in the history of the universe—was a much-needed time of introspection for the American people. After eight years of constitutional degradation, unnecessary warfare, and the erosion of America’s reputation abroad, we’ve needed a period of internal dialogue, and there’s clear evidence that the great national soul search was beneficial for us. In Barack Obama we’ve chosen a thoughtful, intellectually curious, articulate, and inspirational leader at a time when even mediocrity would feel refreshing. Historians will forever remember this election because after 219 years of electing white men to the Presidency, we have elected a man with an African father, and we put two women within spitting distance of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

So three cheers for introspection; but unchecked introspection can turn to narcissism, and the last thing our world needs is a narcissistic America so self-satisfied, so pleased with the transformation in Washington, that it ignores what has not changed around the planet.
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A Whopper of an Injustice

This column ran on UPI’s Religion and Spirituality website on November 26. 2007.

Those who, like me, were lucky enough to enjoy the blessing of a well-cooked and lovingly shared thanksgiving meal last Thursday already have a good reason not to eat at Burger King; after all, eating fast food is an assault upon the blessed memory of wonderful meals. However, if eating a well-trimmed turkey in a state of gratitude and grace has not cured you of your Whopper jones, consider this: unlike Yum! Brands (a family of businesses that includes Taco Bell and KFC) and McDonalds, Burger King has yet to commit itself to guaranteeing that none of the food in its supply chain was produced using slave labor. Continue reading