“… A lot of us forget that. You know, we got in that Obama bubble bath, and we were just, Oh man, this feels good. Eight years later, you get out and you’re kind of wrinkly and weak and you’re not really prepared to fight. You’ve got to remember, democracy is hard. It’s hard work, and you can’t take any of these elections off.”
— Van Jones, CNN commentator, in BeyondtheMessyTruth: HowWeCameApart – HowWeComeTogether (2017)
This article will appear in the next issue of The New York Review.
Does the First Amendment need a rewrite in the era of Donald Trump? Should the rise of white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups lead us to cut back the protection afforded to speech that expresses hatred and advocates violence, or otherwise undermines equality? If free speech exacerbates inequality, why doesn’t equality, also protected by the Constitution, take precedence?
After the tragic violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12, these questions take on renewed urgency. Many have asked in particular why the ACLU, of which I am national legal director, represented Jason Kessler, the organizer of the rally, in challenging Charlottesville’s last-minute effort to revoke his permit. The city proposed to move his rally a mile from its originally approved site—Emancipation Park, the location of the Robert E. Lee monument whose removal Kessler sought to protest—but offered no reason why the protest would be any easier to manage a mile away. As ACLU offices across the country have done for thousands of marchers for almost a century, the ACLU of Virginia gave Kessler legal help to preserve his permit. Should the fatal violence that followed prompt recalibration of the scope of free speech?
The future of the First Amendment may be at issue. A 2015 Pew Research Center poll reported that 40 percent of millennials think the government should be able to suppress speech deemed offensive to minority groups, as compared to only 12 percent of those born between 1928 and 1945. Young people today voice far less faith in free speech than do their grandparents. And Europe, where racist speech is not protected, has shown that democracies can reasonably differ about this issue.
People who oppose the protection of racist speech make several arguments, all ultimately resting on a claim that speech rights conflict with equality, and that equality should prevail in the balance.* They contend that the “marketplace of ideas” assumes a mythical level playing field. If some speakers drown out or silence others, the marketplace cannot function in the interests of all. They argue that the history of mob and state violence targeting African-Americans makes racist speech directed at them especially indefensible. Tolerating such speech reinforces harms that this nation has done to African-Americans from slavery through Jim Crow to today’s de facto segregation, implicit bias, and structural discrimination. And still others argue that while it might have made sense to tolerate Nazis marching in Skokie in 1978, now, when white supremacists have a friend in the president himself, the power and influence they wield justify a different approach.
There is truth in each of these propositions. The United States is a profoundly unequal society. Our nation’s historical mistreatment of African-Americans has been shameful and the scourge of racism persists to this day. Racist speech causes real harm. It can inspire violence and intimidate people from freely exercising their own rights. There is no doubt that Donald Trump’s appeals to white resentment and his reluctance to condemn white supremacists after Charlottesville have emboldened many racists. But at least in the public arena, none of these unfortunate truths supports authorizing the state to suppress speech that advocates ideas antithetical to egalitarian values.
The argument that free speech should not be protected in conditions of inequality is misguided. The right to free speech does not rest on the presumption of a level playing field. Virtually all rights—speech included—are enjoyed unequally, and can reinforce inequality. The right to property most obviously protects the billionaire more than it does the poor. Homeowners have greater privacy rights than apartment dwellers, who in turn have more privacy than the homeless. The fundamental right to choose how to educate one’s children means little to parents who cannot afford private schools, and contributes to the resilience of segregated schools and the reproduction of privilege. Criminal defendants’ rights are enjoyed much more robustly by those who can afford to hire an expensive lawyer than by those dependent on the meager resources that states dedicate to the defense of the indigent, thereby contributing to the endemic disparities that plague our criminal justice system.
Critics argue that the First Amendment is different, because if the weak are silenced while the strong speak, or if some have more to spend on speech than others, the outcomes of the “marketplace of ideas” will be skewed. But the marketplace is a metaphor; it describes not a scientific method for identifying truth but a choice among realistic options. It maintains only that it is better for the state to remain neutral than to dictate what is true and suppress the rest. One can be justifiably skeptical of a debate in which Charles Koch or George Soros has outsized advantages over everyone else, but still prefer it to one in which the Trump—or indeed Obama—administration can control what can be said. If free speech is critical to democracy and to holding our representatives accountable—and it is—we cannot allow our representatives to suppress views they think are wrong, false, or disruptive.
Should our nation’s shameful history of racism change the equation? There is no doubt that African-Americans have suffered unique mistreatment, and that our country has yet to reckon adequately with that fact. But to treat speech targeting African-Americans differently from speech targeting anyone else cannot be squared with the first principle of free speech: the state must be neutral with regard to speakers’ viewpoints. Moreover, what about other groups? While each group’s experiences are distinct, many have suffered grave discrimination, including Native Americans, Asian-Americans, LGBT people, women, Jews, Latinos, Muslims, and immigrants generally. Should government officials be free to censor speech that offends or targets any of these groups? If not all, which groups get special protection?
And even if we could somehow answer that question, how would we define what speech to suppress? Should the government be able to silence all arguments against affirmative action or about genetic differences between men and women, or just uneducated racist and sexist rants? It is easy to recognize inequality; it is virtually impossible to articulate a standard for suppression of speech that would not afford government officials dangerously broad discretion and invite discrimination against particular viewpoints.
But are these challenges perhaps worth taking on because Donald Trump is president, and his victory has given new voice to white supremacists? That is exactly the wrong conclusion. After all, if we were to authorize government officials to suppress speech they find contrary to American values, it would be Donald Trump—and his allies in state and local governments—who would use that power. Here is the ultimate contradiction in the argument for state suppression of speech in the name of equality: it demands protection of disadvantaged minorities’ interests, but in a democracy, the state acts in the name of the majority, not the minority. Why would disadvantaged minorities trust representatives of the majority to decide whose speech should be censored? At one time, most Americans embraced “separate but equal” for the races and separate spheres for the sexes as defining equality. It was the freedom to contest those views, safeguarded by the principle of free speech, that allowed us to reject them.
As Frederick Douglass reminded us, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” Throughout our history, disadvantaged minority groups have effectively used the First Amendment to speak, associate, and assemble for the purpose of demanding their rights—and the ACLU has defended their right to do so. Where would the movements for racial justice, women’s rights, and LGBT equality be without a muscular First Amendment?
In some limited but important settings, equality norms do trump free speech. At schools and in the workplace, for example, antidiscrimination law forbids harassment and hostile working conditions based on race or sex, and those rules limit what people can say there. The courts have recognized that in situations involving formal hierarchy and captive audiences, speech can be limited to ensure equal access and treatment. But those exceptions do not extend to the public sphere, where ideas must be open to full and free contestation, and those who disagree can turn away or talk back.
The response to Charlottesville showed the power of talking back. When Donald Trump implied a kind of moral equivalence between the white supremacist protesters and their counter-protesters, he quickly found himself isolated. Prominent Republicans, military leaders, business executives, and conservative, moderate, and liberal commentators alike condemned the ideology of white supremacy, Trump himself, or both.
When white supremacists called a rally the following week in Boston, they mustered only a handful of supporters. They were vastly outnumbered by tens of thousands of counterprotesters who peacefully marched through the streets to condemn white supremacy, racism, and hate. Boston proved yet again that the most powerful response to speech that we hate is not suppression but more speech. Even Stephen Bannon, until recently Trump’s chief strategist and now once again executive chairman of Breitbart News, denounced white supremacists as “losers” and “a collection of clowns.” Free speech, in short, is exposing white supremacists’ ideas to the condemnation they deserve. Moral condemnation, not legal suppression, is the appropriate response to these despicable ideas.
Some white supremacists advocate not only hate but violence. They want to purge the country of nonwhites, non-Christians, and other “undesirables,” and return us to a racial caste society—and the only way to do that is through force. The First Amendment protects speech but not violence. So what possible value is there in protecting speech advocating violence? Our history illustrates that unless very narrowly constrained, the power to restrict the advocacy of violence is an invitation to punish political dissent. A. Mitchell Palmer, J. Edgar Hoover, and Joseph McCarthy all used the advocacy of violence as a justification to punish people who associated with Communists, socialists, or civil rights groups.
Those lessons led the Supreme Court, in a 1969 ACLU case involving a Ku Klux Klan rally, to rule that speech advocating violence or other criminal conduct is protected unless it is intended and likely to produce imminent lawless action, a highly speech-protective rule. In addition to incitement, thus narrowly defined, a “true threat” against specific individuals is also not protected. But aside from these instances in which speech and violence are inextricably intertwined, speech advocating violence gets full First Amendment protection.
In Charlottesville, the ACLU’s client swore under oath that he intended only a peaceful protest. The city cited general concerns about managing the crowd in seeking to move the marchers a mile from the originally approved site. But as the district court found, the city offered no reason why there wouldn’t be just as many protesters and counterprotesters at the alternative site. Violence did break out in Charlottesville, but that appears to have been at least in part because the police utterly failed to keep the protesters separated or to break up the fights.
What about speech and weapons? The ACLU’s executive director, Anthony Romero, explained that, in light of Charlottesville and the risk of violence at future protests, the ACLU will not represent marchers who seek to brandish weapons while protesting. (This is not a new position. In a pamphlet signed by Roger Baldwin, Arthur Garfield Hays, Morris Ernst, and others, the ACLU took a similar stance in 1934, explaining that we defended the Nazis’ right to speak, but not to march while armed.) This is a content-neutral policy; it applies to all armed marchers, regardless of their views. And it is driven by the twin concerns of avoiding violence and the impairment of many rights, speech included, that violence so often occasions. Free speech allows us to resolve our differences through public reason; violence is its antithesis. The First Amendment protects the exchange of views, not the exchange of bullets. Just as it is reasonable to exclude weapons from courthouses, airports, schools, and Fourth of July celebrations on the National Mall, so it is reasonable to exclude them from public protests.
Some ACLU staff and supporters have made a more limited argument. They don’t directly question whether the First Amendment should protect white supremacist groups. Instead, they ask why the ACLU as an organization represents them. In most cases, the protesters should be able to find lawyers elsewhere. Many ACLU staff members understandably find representing these groups repugnant; their views are directly contrary to many of the values we fight for. And representing right-wing extremists makes it more difficult for the ACLU to work with its allies on a wide range of issues, from racial justice to LGBT equality to immigrants’ rights. As a matter of resources, the ACLU spends far more on claims to equality by marginalized groups than it does on First Amendment claims. If the First Amendment work is undermining our other efforts, why do it?
These are real costs, and deserve consideration as ACLU lawyers make case-by-case decisions about how to deploy our resources. But they cannot be a bar to doing such work. The truth is that both internally and externally, it would be much easier for the ACLU to represent only those with whom we agree. But the power of our First Amendment advocacy turns on our commitment to a principle of viewpoint neutrality that requires protection for proponents and opponents of our own best view of racial justice. If we defended speech only when we agreed with it, on what ground would we ask others to tolerate speech they oppose?
In a fundamental sense, the First Amendment safeguards not only the American experiment in democratic pluralism, but everything the ACLU does. In the pursuit of liberty and justice, we associate, advocate, and petition the government. We protect the First Amendment not only because it is the lifeblood of democracy and an indispensable element of freedom, but because it is the guarantor of civil society itself. It protects the press, the academy, religion, political parties, and nonprofit associations like ours. In the era of Donald Trump, the importance of preserving these avenues for advancing justice and preserving democracy should be more evident than ever.
—August 24, 2017
*The leading collection of essays advancing this critique is Mari J. Matsuda, Charles R. Lawrence III, Richard Delgado, and Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, Words that Wound: Critical Race Theory, Assaultive Speech, and the First Amendment(Westview, 1993). For a thoughtful defense of hate speech regulation on liberal premises, see Jeremy Waldron, The Harm in Hate Speech (Harvard University Press, 2012).
“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.
“What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
“And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”
–from Howard Zinn (1922-2010), American historian, playwright, and social activist
. . . the politics of 2016—from nativism in the United States to anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe, which facilitated the rise of President-elect Donald Trump and Brexit, respectively—suggest that in 2017, we might do well to adopt a different lens for viewing such issues.
One way to understand last year’s events is through a theory in social psychology known as “othering.” It explains how identity formation, as well as group cohesion, is facilitated in part by distinguishing oneself from those viewed as different. The distinction can be based on traits that are inherent, such as skin or eye color, or socially constructed, such as the distinction between Hutus and Tutsis. Identifying the “other” is part of what binds a group together, by creating mental rules for identifying who is in—and who is out. Othering can be pretty harmless, even beneficial, when it builds community among, say, sports fans rooting against the New York Yankees or the Dallas Cowboys (which is why sports leagues hype artificial rivalries between teams).
When it comes to national identity, though, othering carries substantial risks. Policymakers seem to have vastly underestimated the need for othering—and its consequences. Sure, scholars always knew it existed and there has been some good research on it. But many did not recognize the extent to which othering was a central threat to liberalism and globalization, and even started to think that cosmopolitan integration was inevitable.
Here’s the key: if a nation’s “other” is suddenly removed, it can and often does fall into internal disharmony and dysfunction—and it often takes years or even decades to fully manifest. Consider the evidence. Since the end of World War II, there have been two big cases of an international “other” suddenly disappearing. One was decolonization. When the United Kingdom or France or another colonial overlord retreated, most ex-colonies, no longer united by a common enemy, found new ones among each other. They faced serious crises of national unity, often splitting along ethnic or religious lines.
When Britain left India, previously workable relations between Hindus and Muslims quickly soured, splitting the country in two—with the creation of Pakistan in 1948—and then in three—with the birth of Bangladesh in 1971. In Africa, most newly independent states had a weak national identity, because they were composed of multiple tribes or groups forced together under colonialism. As a result, anti-colonial movements devolved into internecine violence between ethnic groups, sometimes rapidly (Angola, Nigeria) and sometimes decades after decolonization (take Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Sudan, for example).
The second instance of a foreign “other” suddenly disappearing was with the fall of the Soviet Union. In the United States, this created political difficulties, disproportionately for the Republican Party—long the party of anti-Communism—in both the short and long run: without the Soviet Union, there was no point in deriding Democrats as soft on Communism and national security. (The question of which party was actually tougher on Communism was irrelevant. It was all about voter perception, just as the question today of which party is more fiscally responsible is only loosely connected to the facts, at best.)
But the full consequence of the loss of this “other” is only now appearing. The political scholars Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein have convincingly described how the Republicans moved from being a small-government party to an anti-government party in the 1990s and 2000s, where they basically found that everything the government did was bad. What Mann and Ornstein did not incorporate in their analysis, however, was how that shift was partly due to the need for othering in party politics. It seems that only now are the full consequences of the collapse of the Soviet Union, and what that meant for the Republican Party, coming into view.
With the Soviets no longer a threat, “Washington elites” replaced “Communists” as the Republicans’ favorite bête-noire. That message of othering reached fever pitch in 2016, aided, no doubt, by the twin policy failures of the Iraq war and the financial crisis of 2008. Its roots, however, lie in 1991.
For national politics, three features of othering are salient. First, the “other” must be sufficiently central to the nation’s foreign relations that its identity and sense of correct behavior can be formed in reaction to it. For example, when it came to the Soviet Union, othering meant that Americans deepened their commitment to capitalism and democracy, resisted direct government participation in the economy (such as in health care, at a time when other industrialized nations set up public health care systems), and structured U.S. foreign policy in ways to attract and retain other countries to “our side” of geopolitics. Second, the “other” can take two forms: “enemy” or “inferior.” The latter leads to bigotry, of course, but tends to pose less of a risk of international war. And third, a group of leaders must construct and reinforce a narrative about how the United State’s challenges and opportunities are related to the “other.”
These three features help explain why, after the fall of the Soviet Union, the United States could not easily identify a new “other.” Americans see Mexico as inferior, but it is not sufficiently central to define American identity (though there is plenty of bigotry). Since the 1990s, there have been only two real candidates. The first is Islam, thanks to the 9/11 attacks. But American leaders refused that option, justifiably worried that it was overly broad and would lead to immoral discrimination. Ten days after those attacks, President George W. Bush said, “The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends.” The second is China. But again, U.S. leaders refused to frame it as the “other.” Labeling Beijing an “enemy” could have hampered business and trade and depicting it as “inferior” just didn’t work given its economic dynamism. Without an external “other,” both parties turned to domestic ones. Republicans increasingly turned their ire on educated experts, scientists, and elites. Democrats turned identity politics into a Manichaean moral battle, prioritizing it over almost everything else—and labeling anyone who opposed them as bigots.
Trump worked the othering tendencies of both parties to his advantage. His victory is often explained as a product of racism and anti-immigrant nativism, but it is not as though the American electorate suddenly became more racist than ever before. Indeed, Americans are, on average, more racially tolerant than ever. What changed is that Trump took a longstanding Republican narrative about smug elites one step further. Vulgar “political incorrectness” was a badge of honor to be worn in protest of Washington elites—embodied by his rival Hillary Clinton. Even if many Trump voters did not like his racist or sexist views, they loved his willingness to tweak the noses of polite society. Othering was part of what allowed a billionaire to portray himself as a man of the people.
In Europe, the politics of othering since the fall of Communism have been less straightforward, partly because of the European Union, which gave governing parties an ideology in favor of international integration, and partly because anti-Communism was less central to European leaders’ political narrative than it was for Americans. The absence of an external “other” did not transform European right-wing parties as it did the U.S. Republican Party. The British Conservative Party, for example, mostly repressed its nativist wing because its key constituents, finance and big business, wanted access to the EU. Instead, the need for othering created political space for new parties on the far right, such as the U.K. Independence Party and Marine Le Pen’s National Front in France. Those parties were perfectly willing to capture a segment of the electorate, disproportionately drawn from the white working class, who wanted their bruised national identity salved by vilification of an “other”—in this case, immigrants and the elites of Brussels.
Canada, the exception in the trend toward rising illiberalism in the West, is also well explained by “othering.” Canada celebrates multiculturalism, welcomes Syrian refugees, and has a well-functioning democratic system. Why? No single factor explains this outcome, but one reason is that Canadians have a persistent “other,” namely the United States. Canadians see Americans not as an enemy but as inferior. Popular Canadian magazines have no trouble asserting that “Canadians are just better people.” Canadians are not the only ones to look down on Americans, of course, but nowhere else is it so central. Moreover, Canadians distinguish themselves from Americans on enlightened criteria: greater racial tolerance, universal health care, better acceptance of immigration. That seems to be just enough othering to cultivate national unity, without wrecking its relationship with its greatest economic partner.
Singapore is an example of how, even in an illiberal society, a regime can manage the ethnic “othering” that might otherwise produce tensions and dysfunction. Its population is 74 percent ethnically Chinese, 13 percent Malay, and nine percent Indian. Singapore decided in November 2016 to make the presidency, a mostly ceremonial post, rotate between the three major ethnic groups. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that he wanted every citizen to “know that someone of his community can become president and in fact, from time to time, does become president.” That means that the regime periodically decrees that only members from a particular ethnicity can run for president in a given cycle. The system is clearly illiberal and problematic. But Singapore’s race relations and civic society are remarkably good, especially compared to neighboring Malaysia. The point is that successful regimes do not ignore othering. They harness and channel it.
But when elites fail to give reasonable cues about who the “other” is, people decide for themselves. Sometimes they turn on the elites, as the rise of the Tea Party movement suggests. Sometimes the people turn to racism and xenophobia, as the rise of white nationalism suggests. Regardless, it is never good.
Perhaps the key point for classical liberalism is that abstract, cosmopolitan principles of tolerance and equality do not seem to be enough to be the basis for a national culture. It might work for some, especially intellectuals, but it is not enough for the vast majority of people. Othering is too deeply rooted in our primal psyche. So as we think about how to prevent the creeping illiberalism, we might give serious thought to how to address the need for othering instead of pretending it does not exist.
Like democracy and the Cold War, European populism after the financial crisis had its origins in Greece. The leftist Syriza party swept to victory in January 2015 promising to dismantle the elite, thumb its nose at European creditors and restore prosperity through radically worker-friendly policies.
Yet less than two years later Syriza has become part of the problem. It has failed to revive employment or growth: half of all young Greeks are still out of work, and GDP is expected to have flatlined in 2016. The centre-right New Democracy party, which Syriza ousted, is more than 15 percentage points ahead in the polls. Once associated with cronyism, it has reinvented itself under leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis as a pro-reform and moderate alternative. If Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras holds an election in 2017, he will probably lose.
For liberal politicians facing radical insurgents elsewhere in Europe, this tale has an encouraging silver lining. It suggests parties that make promises they cannot keep will face consequences. Continue reading →
from The New York Times – 12/22/16 – Sharon Otterman
INDIANAPOLIS — For about a year, the guys at the gym just called him Joe. He lifted weights in the early mornings wearing a skull-printed do-rag. He worked out on the elliptical, wiping it down when he was done.
Then one day Shaun Yeary, a salesman at a landscape supply company, asked him in the locker room what he did for a living. “I used to be a priest,” Joe recalled telling him. “And now,” he said, his voice growing quieter so as not to scare anyone in earshot, “I’m the archbishop of Indianapolis.”
“I was like, for real?” Mr. Yeary recalled. “This guy is benching two and a quarter!” — gymspeak for 225 pounds.
Joe, also known as Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, recently became one of the 120 men in the world who will choose the next pope. But he wants to be judged by his actions, not his lofty position in the Roman Catholic Church.
Though he has led the Archdiocese of Indianapolis since 2012, a status that usually comes with perks like a driver, he drives himself around in a Chevy Tahoe and helps with the dishes after lunch meetings. He introduces himself simply as Padre José to the children at a local Catholic school. He showers and shaves at the Community Healthplex gym like any other member, and calls his workout buddies his Band of Brothers.Continue reading →
Lady Gaga once talked about the doubters in an interview: “They would say, ‘This is too racy, too dance-oriented, too underground. It’s not marketable.’ And I would say, ‘My name is Lady Gaga, I’ve been on the music scene for years, and I’m telling you, this is what’s next.’ And look . . . I was right.”
Who does that sound like?
In “The Art of the Deal,” Donald Trump described what he was up to: “I play to people’s fantasies.”
Donald Trump treats the truth as only one of several props he’s willing to use to achieve an effect. Truth sits on his workbench alongside hyperbole, sentimentality, bluster and just kidding. Use as needed.
Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong. All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them. The truly civilized man is always skeptical and tolerant, in this field as in all others. His culture is based on “I am not too sure.” -H.L. Mencken, writer, editor, and critic
The Islamic world could not follow only the European path toward Enlightenment and modernity by way of reformation. Even Christianity and, more broadly, we in the West, didn’t really follow that path–“at least as it is often portrayed.”
“The Enlightenment was the outcome not only of the Reformation but also of centuries of violent religious conflict, after which sensible people concluded that they were not improving their lots by killing one another in the name of God.
“That is the grim lesson that Muslims in the contemporary Middle East may yet find themselves learning from European history.”
What the West was not spared on the way to Enlightenment the Muslim world is not being spared. History, including our own, has lessons to teach us all. Certainly, historically, we in the West have not been superior to what the Middle East is going through.
If you could do it, I suppose it would be a good idea to live your life in a straight line – starting, say, in the Dark Wood of Error, and proceeding by logical steps through Hell and Purgatory and into Heaven. Or you could take the King’s Highway past appropriately named dangers, toils, and snares, and finally cross the River of Death and enter the Celestial City. But that is not the way I have done it so far. I am a pilgrim, but my pilgrimage has been wandering and unmarked. Often what has looked like a straight line to me has been a circle or a doubling back. I have been in the Dark Wood of Error any number of times. I have known something of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven, but not always in that order. The names of many snares and dangers have been made known to me, but I have seen them only in looking back. Often I have not known where I was going until I was already there. I have had my share of desires and goals, but my life has come to me or I have gone to it mainly by way of mistakes and surprises. Often I have received better than I deserved. Often my fairest hopes have rested on bad mistakes. I am an ignorant pilgrim, crossing a dark valley. And yet for a long time, looking back, I have been unable to shake off the feeling that I have been led – make of that what you will.
Long Looking focuses on spiritual and financial growth in the context of broader cultural, economic, and political concerns. Teaching, preaching, workshops, fundraising and campaign guidance, as well as conference services are provided for religious and secular nonprofits including congregations and community organizations.