Last night, a remarkable new musical opened on Broadway. Dear Evan Hansen’s peppy but soulful score, breakout performance by Ben Platt in the title role, and intimidating set of 21st-century electronica are sure to enthrall audiences. But in the age of Donald Trump, perceptive theatergoers may be alarmed by the show’s take-home message about wall-to-wall, runaway social media – and they should be.
David Benkof | All Articles
Today’s Trumptrums on Twitter were mild compared to the damage an out-of-control president with direct access to social media could wreak. Demagogue-elect Donald Trump’s doubly unconstitutional call to make flag burners stateless and his assignment of the burden of proof to CNN to debunk his lie that he won the popular vote show the urgency of limiting his access to the 140-character social media behemoth.
A constant drumbeat of sharp headlines has heralded former Breitbart executive Steve Bannon, president-elect Donald Trump’s chief strategist, as an open anti-Semite. The attack is rooted in nothing more credible than an unverified accusation by a crusading left-wing journalist, namely that Bannon had “proudly” told her five weeks earlier, “We’re the platform for the alt-right.” To be fair, though, critics have amply demonstrated that during Bannon’s tenure Breitbart harbored some pretty noxious ideas – reflected in click-bait headlines, inflammatory columns, and virulent comment sections.
“Conservative Judaism” has always been a curious moniker for the “middle movement” in American Jewish life. For more than a century it followed the moderate path of “Tradition and Change” alongside traditionalist Orthodox and progressive Reform. But in recent years the movement has lunged leftward – both religiously and politically – and the name is no longer simply clumsy.
Liberal Jews (mostly American or American-born) have been escalating their protests against Israel’s unequal treatment of non-Orthodox worship at Judaism’s holiest site, the Western Wall in Jerusalem. They want the architecture of the Kotel (the site’s Hebrew name) to greatly expand a marginal section where heterodox, egalitarian worship has been permitted. Israel’s more traditional sector has fiercely defended the holiness of the site from those who want both styles of worship equally validated.
“At least we have checks and balances,” many Americans including conservatives are reassuring themselves these days, despite fear President-elect Donald Trump will enact his agenda freely and perhaps begin to encroach on American liberties, as he hinted during the campaign.
Donald Trump’s trademark allergy to apologies will hamstring America if he can’t learn to at least feign regret when the job requires it. Sometimes, American presidents must apologize on behalf of the nation (to defuse international tensions), the administration (to recover from unpopular policies), and himself (to regain the public’s trust).
Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s “homophobia” is perhaps this election’s most noisome shibboleth. Pence is no defender of LGBT rights, but the evidence Trump’s running mate is America’s nastiest anti-gay politician is surprisingly thin.
Americans who opposed Donald Trump have awoken in a stupor, shocked that his victory was no mere nightmare. For those who cannot envision living under a Trump regime, “I’m moving to Canada” or elsewhere no longer feels like election-year blather.
Yesterday, Donald Trump sent his supporters a fundraising solicitation that trumpeted a record-setting pledge toward his own campaign. “No candidate in presidential history has ever made this type of commitment” -- $10 million.
Anyone who dialogues with abortion rights supporters has heard it many times: “Nobody is pro-abortion. We’re pro-choice.”
Donald Trump’s hesitance to pre-accept the 2016 election results has elicited broad condemnation by the media and members of both parties. They paint him as a petulant child acting like a sore loser before he’s even lost.
Dennis Prager published a column today accusing “more than few Republicans and conservatives” of falling for “left-wing manufactured, media-supercharged hysteria” over Donald Trump’s controversial recorded comments from 11 years ago.
Earlier this week, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) added the cartoon character and internet meme Pepe the Frog to its “Hate On Display” database, saying it promoted “anti-Jewish, bigoted and offensive ideas.” The announcement gained major media coverage, from The New York Times to The Washington Post to TIME Magazine.
For Republicans, the 2016 election is an acid test that burns like acid. Donald Trump is so wrong for America that months ago I decided to squelch my ideological instincts and vote for Hillary Clinton. But as Trump further deteriorates and his prospects grow, members of our party must take extraordinary, even painful measures to avert national catastrophe.
In a tale marbled with irony, an Ashland bookseller is blaming her store’s closing on a boycott by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF). That organization, ostensibly devoted to artistic expression, has refused to do business with Shakespeare Books & Antiques because of the specific way it communicated a cherished idea.
Political prognosticators started last month to foretell a Democrat majority in the Senate, right after former Sen. Evan Bayh announced he would run for his old seat. Given the popularity of the Bayh name in the Hoosier State, holding the seat currently occupied by Sen. Dan Coats became a much steeper challenge for Republicans.