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Chris Slupski / Unsplash

“If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”

Abraham Lincoln enunciated this profound truth when he was a young man of 28, a state legislator with stirrings of national ambition. In his Lyceum Address, he laid out his evolving understanding of the nature of American Democracy, then just 50 years old — a system of government created by our ancestors “to display before an admiring world” the “truth of a proposition,” hitherto deemed “problematical,” namely, “the capability of a people…


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Chris Slupski / Unsplash

“Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold.” Irish poet William Butler Yeats voiced his foreboding — of things falling apart — in 1919, after the conclusion of World War I, which for the poet settled little. He imagined a “rough beast” slouching onward, heralding more terror, and those terrors — World War II, the Holocaust — did come to be. “Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,” he wrote. “The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity.”

Things seem to be falling apart in America in this post-Trump, mid-pandemic moment. Even with the new…


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First in an ongoing series, “Lessons Learned, Post Trump”

After four years of the calamitous presidency of Donald J. Trump, a presidency that has knocked off every institutional and cultural guardrail of American Democracy, America needs to glean lessons learned. Of course, the challenge is gleaning the right lessons — which debate, in as varied and choleric a country as ours is now, will be hotly contested. This series will endeavor to sift the evidence and find those right lessons, on the premise that America is at a hinge moment, when our next steps must be wisely put.


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Fifteenth in an ongoing series, “Notes from a Plague-Time”

The following email exchange was instigated by a young mother — I will call her “D.” — who wrote me on New Year’s Eve. Family friends, we live on opposite coasts, D. on the East, I on the West. She reached out to me because of my series, “Notes from a Plague-Time,” asking a plague-related question — and now, later, reports a nice surprise. D. is the mother of two sons, aged 10 and 8.


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Without losing sight of the enormous repair work before us — repairing American Democracy after Donald Trump’s wrecking-ball of a tenure, repairing the devastation wreaked by the coronavirus pandemic — it was still possible to take a measure of cheer and encouragement from the sober and subdued Inauguration of President Joe Biden.

Nobody but nobody is under any illusion about the enormity of the repair work ahead, but the notes sounded this Inauguration Day — of truth, poetry, reality: the return to — are the notes that linger and, upon further reflection, seem just the right notes to the troops…


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Mr. Fake President:

From first to last, Donald Trump, you were the worst — the worst President, by many magnitudes, “yuge” magnitudes all your own — in the proud annals of American history.

From your scurrilous peddling of the birther hoax about your infinitely superior predecessor Barack Obama, to your ignoble finish — inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, earning you a historic second impeachment! shirking any responsibility to organize the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic, earning you the deaths of nearly 400,000 Americans! — well, if you wanted to be President in the worst way….

No need…


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“Reputation, reputation, reputation! Oh, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial.”

America has long enjoyed the proud reputation of the world’s oldest and most vibrant democracy. We are — were — the City on a Hill, Bastion of Democracy, Leader of the Free World, pointing the way for the world’s nascent democracies, yearning to breathe free and self-govern.

No more. Not after last week’s terrifying insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, incited by the nominal steward of American Democracy, “President” Donald Trump. …


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If January 6, 2021 — the horrific day when mobs incited by “President” Donald Trump breached and rampaged our nation’s Capitol — is not to be forever remembered in American history as a day of shame and infamy and ultimately Tragedy, then lessons had better be learned, and learned fast.

Chief lesson among many: You cannot enter a pact with an amoral and power-mad leader and expect a good result — as Republicans have rationalized their dealings with Trump for far too long. Faustian bargains — those done with the Devil, to whom you cede your Soul— come to hideous…


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Fourteenth in an ongoing series, “Notes from a Plague’Time”

Christmas 2020

Dear Family and Friends,

Some things never change: Even in a year altered beyond anything we could imagine — by the coronavirus pandemic — the Seaquists get to their Holiday letter the weekend before the Holiday. But this custom allows us to read the mail in a different way: By this point in a normal year, we are in receipt of 7–8 dozen Christmas cards, most with fulsome letters detailing family doings, travel, thoughts. But this year, no: The intake is half, with only a half-dozen letters. Instead, the…


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Thirteenth in an ongoing series, “Notes from a Plague-Time”

The following exchange is between my longtime friend, Sally Frame Kasaks, and me. Sally and I were roommates in college for two years and have remained excellent friends over the decades. Sally is retired from a successful career in women’s retail, serving as president, first, of Ann Taylor (which recently filed for bankruptcy), then Abercrombie & Fitch, and finally Talbots. She and husband Ivar split their time between their base in New York City and Florida. Sally and I maintain a weekly email exchange. This one began when I forwarded an…

Carla Seaquist

Our times examined via politics, culture, morality. Author, "Can America Save Itself from Decline?" Playwright. Contributor, HuffPost. www.carlaseaquist.com.

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