Polite company: Thoughts from a former statehouse reporter

Note: I want to make this blog a place where we can not only talk about politics in a nuanced way, but we can also hear from some different voices who might give us a new perspective on issues that are in the news. One of the ways I hope to do that is by having over some “polite company” from time to time to contribute a guest blog. My dear friend, Jeannie Hodes, a former statehouse television reporter, agreed to be the first guinea pig by sharing her experience as a journalist and her perspective on the current political media climate. I hope you enjoy her post–I know she does as well! 

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Scenes from the Women’s March

I thought I would share some of my pictures from the Women’s March in Washington, D.C.

Bernie Sanders tweeted out that by trying to divide us, we were brought closer together. I definitely felt that after this March. Those of us who publicly affirmed that this rhetoric is disgusting and destructive found ourselves in a crowd of new friends. After months of feeling alone, we finally saw visual proof that the world still is full of people who “hold certain truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Over the coming months, may we continue to reinforce with each other this basic American value and work to uphold it in both word and action.

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This is why I march

I’ve thought a lot lately about my great-grandfather who immigrated to the United States from Germany between World War I and World War II. He left just before the rise of Hitler and probably due to economic pressures more than political, but family lore also has it that he often said of Hitler, “I knew that guy was crazy.”

And that family legend has made me ponder this question many times during my life: How did he know?

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On the eve of the inauguration…

It’s my first time being in D.C. for an inauguration so I have no experience to draw on, but it really doesn’t feel like there is a big event on Friday. Sure, I’ve seen people setting up for the event. But I’ve certainly seen much bigger crowds (both on the street and the Metro) during the busy summer tourist months.

The city, honestly, feels a little empty and less energized to me. It seems there are other people who feel the same.

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What’s the big deal about NATO?

Much like the ignorant arguments about vaccines, I worry some of the great progress achieved by our grandparents following World War II may come undone due to its own success. I fear many take for granted the political structures and alliances in place that have allowed the United States to achieve security and prosperity.

Exhausted by two world wars, the “Greatest Generation” established the United States-led world order through diplomacy by setting up alliances designed to deter war. Rhetoric from the president-elect over the weekend has many experts in the field of international affairs concerned one of their greatest achievements may be at risk: NATO.

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The civil rights history of The National Mall carousel

One of the things I love about Washington is that, without even trying, you can stumble upon history.

Every corner surprises you with another important government agency. What at first seems like an ordinary street suddenly takes on new meaning once you read the bronzed paragraph of an historic marker.

This weekend, one that celebrates both the gains we’ve made and the progress we have yet to achieve in civil rights, was no exception.

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Friday roundup: Russia, OGE and more

Happy Friday, everyone! I’m going to end the week doing a quick roundup of some interesting things that you might put on your “ice storm survival reading/viewing/listening list” (for those of you back in the Midwest). I’m purposely avoiding some of the other main national stories because I figure you have already seen coverage of them, especially those relating to the hearings.

So here are just some interesting things to end the week with:

We need a public investigation: Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone has a thoughtful look at all of the swirling rumors about Russia’s alleged involvement in the 2016 campaign. He points out all of the conflicting information that needs sorting out, including this startling report from Israel’s Ynet saying that Israel is being advised not to share intelligence with the Trump Administration out of fear it will be passed to Russia, who will then pass it on to Iran. David Ignatius of The Washington Post outlines four questions that need to be answered about the situation as well.

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