Commentary

COMMENTARY

Following is my commentary for MEDIUM (from Feb. 2018 to date) and HUFFPOST (from Nov. 2009 to Jan. 2018).
Dear Readers: Buona fortuna to all in the coronavirus pandemic. My response to this life-altering event is to launch a series, personal and humanist in tone, offering ideas and tools useful in our new reality. CS

“In a Plague-Time, We Need Truth and Experts” (3/24/2020)

“In a Plague-Time, Reaching Out to Friends While Self-Isolating” (3/29/2020)

“In a Plague-Time, the Heroic (in Hospitals) and Not-Heroic (in the White House)” (4/8/2020). From an E.R. doctor in New York City: “Very beautifully written. And the highest praise to be thought of as the opposite of Trump!”

“In a Plague-Time, Redefining the ‘Essential’ Worker” (4/15/2020)

“In a Plague-Time, Seeking Beauty, Truth, Lightness” (4/24/2020)

“In a Plague-Time, Can-Do Nation Is Unmasked as Can’t-Do” (5/12/20)

“In a Plague-Time, Fat Cats Fatten and Little Guys Help Out” (5/29/20)

“In a Plague-Time, Doubly Plagued by Our Mask-Defying Independence” (7/07/20)

Select MEDIUM commentary, with reader comments

“’Lawlessness Normalized’: What Acquitting Donald Trump Means” (2/2020): “This so needed to be said! Thank you!”

“’A Low Dishonest Decade’: The Poet Points the Way Upward” (1/2020): “Auden’s poem is so appropriate. I am impressed how you wove in the current situation. One of your best.” “You give me new resolve to face down the monsters around us.”

“Censure, Not Impeachment: Make a Moral, Not a Political Statement” (10/2019): “This is the most sensible and achievable idea I have heard about how to react to Trump. Brilliant and appropriate! You deserve the Outstanding Thinker Award!”

“Capitalists Rethink Capitalism—Maybe” (9/2019): “So good you addressed this. Keep on writing!” “Nice story. I also agree with those who say, ‘Bah, humbug.’”

“My Fellow White Americans: Are We About Blood Identity—or America’s Ideals?” (8/2019): “This is wonderful, right on, superb writing and point well taken.” “Definitely a standing ovation.” “Wowie. Verdad. I have sent your essay to all my favorite people.”

“Impeaching Trump Would Be Right in Principle, but Disastrous Politically (5/2019): “Totally agree.” “Spot on!“ “Am 100% on board with you. Impeachment would only help Trump.” “Another in a continuing series of powerfully written, well-thought out persuasive opinion pieces. Please send to Nancy Pelosi—she needs to know there are people out here who applaud her wise leadership. Kudos to you!”

“Is America Having a Breakdown or a Reckoning? 7 Arguments for Reckoning” (10/2018): “Great column!” “I wish we were having a reckoning. But Trump’s base sticks to him like glue and the GOP does not speak out. I fear we will have four more years of dismantling. But keep on writing!” “Brilliant as always.”

“The Republicans and Donald Trump: A Faustian Bargain (Annotated)” (8/2018): “Great angle. Priceless!” “A wowser. Humans seem to do the same thing over and over. And we’re supposed to be intelligent?” “Exceptional, Carla. You outdid yourself.” “That was a lot of research, but it read like stream-of-consciousness. You go, girl!” And from a literature professor: “Great job on the Faust legend. I thought I knew my Goethe and Marlowe…..”

“How to Keep a Good Marriage During Bad (Trumpian) Times” (8/2018): “That spat you had really rings true—and the hashing out afterwards. So glad you had a happy ending.” “I laughed out loud. Very funny and all too real.” “My husband and I have noticed Trump is often at the bottom of our arguments. Getting away into Nature helps.” “I live with a Republican. Occasionally I will ask him his side of the political spectrum. How totally different our world-views are, and they don’t change. Yet we have been together for 37 years.”

“Can a Narcissist Comprehend the Meaning of Treason?” (7/2018): “Good question!” “Excellent. Sometimes when I hear Trump speak, I feel something I cannot describe. His power to twist the truth all the while dominating his audience is, frankly, terrifying.” “You really got the core of the man.”

“America Surrenders Its Most Precious Mantle, ‘Leader of the Free World’” (6/2018): “Another great column. We have young friends working at the State Department and they are not happy campers. And we have many friends across the globe, plus 30+ Rotary exchange students we have hosted, and to a person they are aghast at the damage Trump has done to this country.”

            

“Carla Seaquist is an essayist in the great American tradition of plain talk, common sense, strong ethics, and an understanding that one cannot understand current politics, foreign policy or domestic travail without a deep knowledge of history. Her work is informed, readable and provocative, in the best sense—making the reader think in new ways.”
-Seymour M. Hersh

Select HUFFPOST commentary, from 133 total, with reader comments

“A ‘Breaking Bad’ Culture Got Its President” (8/2017): “Very nicely written. Your diagnostics I think are precisely correct. However, I wish I could be so optimistic about the therapeutics, about our ability to ‘break good’ as a nation. But, without a moral compass, we are destined to remain a fragmented and rudderless culture. ‘Breaking bad’ has become so institutionalized in our America that our democracy has possibly become irretrievably subverted. I do not think any of this will change until the economics change and right now it all seems to be focused on grabbing what you can before the ship goes down. No one personifies this better than Trump! Please argue with me if you see this as grossly off track. Thank you, Carla, for your strong and constant public voice. It does make a difference.”

“Historic Reckoning on Sexual Harassment: In Low Times, a Good Sign” (11/2017): “You are amazing!” “Yes, Carla! I have wondered also, Why now? Hopefully this momentum will continue.” “Very thoughtful. I agree, this looks like a clear sign that America can self-correct.” “Good job as usual, Carla. Yes, isn’t it amazing to consider: America ‘backing into moral consciousness again,’ as you suggest?”

Books for Our Times: “The Retreat of Western Liberalism” (9/2017): “Brilliant! But scary prospects for our future.” “Oh, dear! Sort of what I had been sensing, but not able to express. Depressing!” “Very interesting. You mention ‘privatizing risk,’ a concept that has long troubled me. ‘Privatizing risk’ takes the responsibility out of the hands of government that at one time provided the response to, say, a natural disaster and instead puts the onus on private donations. Hits a nerve with me.”

“Mourning a Friend Who Saved My Life” (3/2017): “Eloquent, tender, and deeply descriptive of everything a friendship could be.” “Lovely and elegant tribute to your Friend.” “What a good friend, indeed! What a lifeline she gave you. Your thank you to her was beautiful.” “Very beautiful, very sad. I still cry for a woman friend who died more than 10 years ago.” “Very touching tribute. I never had a friend like yours. Some women have sisters or mothers or friends who recognize sad situations and can offer help. How lucky you are!” “What a beautiful memorial to your dear Friend. It is as though you have been doing all of your marvelous writing in order to be able to write this exquisite essay. Thank you.” And from the widower: “I loved your article about her. It was read at her memorial service.”

“The ‘Normalization’ of Donald Trump? Not!” (11/2016): “Great article, have circulated to my network.” “Bravo and kudos for the ‘normalization’ article, a well-summarized recall of Trump’s myriad failings.” “I want a button that says, ‘I refuse to normalize.’” “We loved your insights into these unspeakable events. Write on!”

“Beware the Disrupter With No Follow-Up Plan (A Post-Brexit Lesson)” (7/2016): “Excellent, you hit the nail on the head. Like Trump, there was no coherent plan when Boris Johnson et al. proposed Brexit. I can see why they were angry with Brussels and the E.U., but leaving was not the answer. I wonder what the future holds?” “Bravo, Carla—one of your best.” “Your post says it all. I sent it to friends.”

“Whatever Happened to the Famous American Ability to Say ‘Nuts’ to Charlatans, Crazies, and Fear-Mongers?” (1/2016): “DAMN GOOD!” “That’s a whole lotta ‘Nuts.’” “Looks like we both had the same thoughts at the same time.” “Sometimes people need to hear what they don’t want to hear.” “We, as a nation, are being tested in a big way. I honestly could not continue watching the last Republican debate. I kept wishing, like you say, that someone would just say, ‘Nuts!’ Scary times.”

Books for Our Times: Why Nations Fail” (7/2013): “’Extractive elites’ is a great phrase. Says it all, doesn’t it?” “Fascinating and depressing.” “I really admire your review. It is compelling me to read the book.” “Vraiment. In my international work, I have seen these failures time after time in so many countries. I will read the book.”

“My Republican Mother Says Yes to Gun Control” (12/2012), re the Newtown, CT, school shooting tragedy: “Please thank your mother for your lead-in. I am exploring all angles, from a physician’s point of view: Yes to regulation; yes to CDC researching gun violence; yes to better mental health treatment. And could we get rid of the Second Amendment? I can’t imagine how those parents feel. I kept thinking of our 5-year-old granddaughter, and our daughter who’s a public school teacher.” “I find it encouraging that a rational Republican like your mother supports gun control.”

“A Great Speech about Why America Isn’t Great Anymore (But Could Be Again)” (7/2012): “Eloquent speech, eloquent article.” “Sad to say, I have coined a phrase and use it often, ‘Dumb is the new smart.’ Why? Because there is a good dose of Dumb coming from everywhere I turn. But your article inspires me to speak out. We had better start celebrating the smart and the good. Keep reminding us, Carla.”

“Wislawa Szymborska, Nobel Poet: An Appreciation” (4/2012): “Beautiful! I knew of the work from my daughter, who also admires her.” “I was completely ignorant about this woman, but agree that her poetry is striking.” “My goodness, I sure enjoyed the lines you included. I can understand why you cherish her work.” “Beautifully written. Yes, I have read her work—in Polish—and it’s great and accessible and funny. You are a wide-ranging writer—it’s terrific.”

“A War’s Premise Must Justify the Troops’ Suffering” (3/28/2012): “We stretch our soldiers until they snap, with the understanding they’ll stand alone—undefended—as ‘rogues’ when they can no longer balance insanity. Your premise is correct, your aim true. Brilliant! Bravo!” “Wonderful article about a terrible thing.” “’Occupy the premise’: Love it!” “A much-needed take on foreign policy from a moral agenda. Sadly, not a priority, as history shows.” “I sent your excellent post to friends. And I agree about the draft: It is the only thing that will stop the warmongers from getting us involved in another war—Iran, anyone?” From an Army doctor: “Outstanding.” And from a Vietnam veteran: “I wept when I read this. Thank you.”

“Wall Street: Brush Up Your Melville” (Original title: “Risk Management According to Moby-Dick”) (11/2011): “Loved your essay. As a former banker (almost 20 years at JPMorgan, left in 2001 before the Ahabs truly lost their minds), I can tell you that you nailed it.” “I feel we are experiencing the Twilight of Capitalism.” “Your Moby-Dick/Wall Street essay is inspired and instructive.” “You have interesting ideas and a gifted way of expressing them.” “You just get better and better. Brilliant piece. It makes me want to read Moby-Dick, an assignment I dodged back in high school.”

“Recovery Without a Reckoning” (11/2009): “Brilliant, Carla. You continue to go from strength to strength in your writing. Thank you for bringing in the moral aspect to our so-called economic ‘recovery.’ Thank you for your important work.”

            

Listing of all HuffPost commentary:

2018

Films for Our Times: “Darkest Hour”

2017

“Alabama Votes for Sanity and Decency—and Inspires the Country”

Plays for Our Times: “The Humans,” by Stephen Karam

“Democrats Need a New Message: How About ‘Economic Justice for All’?”

“Dear PBS: Keep the ‘Charlie Rose Show,’ But Put a Woman in His Place”

“Republican ‘Values Voters’ Revealed as Serious Hypocrites”

“A Historic Reckoning on Sexual Harassment: In Low Times, a Good Sign”

“How to Deter Sexual Predators Like Harvey Weinstein? Career Ruination and ‘Good Guys’ Speaking Up”

The Conscientious ‘Peacenik’: An Underrepresented Voice in ‘The Vietnam War’”

Books for Our Times: “The Retreat of Western Liberalism,” by Edward Luce

“A ‘Breaking Bad’ Culture Got Its President”

“Of Love, Recommitment, and ‘Dover Beach’” [Letter to my husband on our 40th wedding anniversary]

“Donald Trump, Defender of Western Civilization? Not!”

“Not Merely ‘Anti-Trump,’ the Resistance Seeks to Re-normalize America”

“’Julius Caesar’ with Trump Assassinated: Not Helpful to Anti-Trump Resistance”

Plays for Our Times: “Oslo,” by J.T. Rogers

“France Votes for Rationality Over Fear”

“The (Rich) Dog Not Barking: ‘No More Tax Cuts for Me, Thanks, I’m Good’”

“Mourning a Friend Who Saved My Life”

“For Effective Resistance, Keep It Nonviolent, Respectful, and Clean”

“There’s a Whole Lot of Anti-Trump Resistance Going On”

“Barack Obama, President of Character and Integrity”

“How to Fight the Forthcoming Ethics Scandals? Make a Phone Call.”

2016

“Classic Films of Human Drama: Rx for our Fraught Times”

“Why My Young Nephew Resolves to Become More Political”

“The ‘Normalization’ of Donald J. Trump? Not!”

“Trump is Not the Solution to Your Anger”

“Hillary Clinton Polled ‘World’s Most Admired Woman’ a Record 20 Times: Why the Hatred Now?”

“For a New Day, Give Hillary and the Democrats a Massive Mandate”

“Atoning for Slavery, an Institution Grapples With Its Original Business Model”

“Hillary Clinton’s Vow to the 99%: ‘Our Economy Should Work for Everyone, Not Just Those at the Top’”

“Hillary the Lion-Hearted Does Battle with the Trumpasaurus”

Books for Our Times: “It Can’t Happen Here,” by Sinclair Lewis (a Novel)

“Clinton’s ‘Deplorables’ Gaffe Lets Trump Seize the High Ground”

“’Make Government Work Better’: What Every Democratic Politician Should Promise in This Election”

“If Republicans Repudiate Donald Trump on Moral Grounds, They Could Truly Reform Their Party”

“Bernie Sanders, Moral Hero”

Books for Our Times: “Listen, Liberal,” by Thomas Frank”

“Support the Police and Address Police Violence: The True ‘Law and Order’”

“Beware the Disrupter With No Follow-Up Plan (A Post-Brexit Lesson)”

“Elizabeth Warren for Secretary of the Treasury”

“Making History, Our First Woman Presidential Nominee ‘Remembers the Ladies’”

“London Rejects Fear and Elects Its First Muslim Mayor”

“Classic Political Films for This Historical Presidential Campaign”

“Is American Capitalism Becoming More Human?”

“Pop Culture Captures Campaign Politics”

“Trump’s Crudeness: A Crude American Culture is Shocked, Shocked”

“The Anger Election of 2016: How Will We Handle Our Anger?”

“Whatever Happened to the Famous American Ability to say ‘Nuts’ to Charlatans, Crazies, and Fear-Mongers?”

2015

“Refugees Are Not the Problem, My Fellow Americans. Fear Is.”

“Writing for Our Post-9/11 Times: Part I”

“Writing for Our Post-9/11 Times: Part II”

“Corporate ‘Talent’ Must Imagine Worst-Case Scenario, i.e., Ruination: VW, GM, Peanut Corporation

“The Speech Hillary Clinton Should Give to the 1% on Capitalism and Income Inequality”

“Atticus Finch as Racist Bigot: ‘More Human’?”

“To Ensure No Harm, Shouldn’t a Psychologist Be in the Interrogation Room?: The APA Ban on Torture”

Books for Our Times: “Winner-Take-All Politics,” by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson

“Post-Charleston, Ferguson, Newtown: How ‘Advanced’ Is America?”

Books for our Times: “Losing Our Way,” by Bob Herbert

“Fifty Shades of Shame: Playing at Torture”

“Racist Police, Courts, Fraternities: Who Says We Don’t Need Affirmative Action Anymore?”

“Free Speech vs. Responsible Speech: We Need to Talk—Again”

2014

“Torture Report: America Conducts a Moral Reckoning. Next, Moral Repair?”

“’Madam Secretary’: A Reflection of ‘Deep’ Washington”

“Democrats Are ‘Disgusted’ With Politics? Boo Hoo”

“A Critic, a Play, and Do-It-Yourself Abortion”

“Immigration Reform: Go Incrementally, Mr. Obama, and Go Before November”

“Soccer’s Teamwork: Something That Works (When So Much Doesn’t)”

“America Can Still Lead the World—With Coalitions Abroad and By Getting Our Own House in Order”

“Behemoth in a Bathrobe: A Dialogue”

“Distinguishing Between Can and Should: What a Superpower Should Be Able to Do”

“Why President Obama Should Have Prosecuted the Bush Administration for War Crimes—and Still Can (By Other Means)”

“Dear Boeing: Next Time, Try Benevolence”

“Memo to Robert Gates: Duty, Sir, Lies in Getting a War’s Premise Right”

2013

“The Power of Moral Action: Nelson Mandela and Pope Francis”

“The Italian-American Experience—Another Immigration Story” (Book Review)

“Dear Banks: ‘Giving Back’ in Philanthropy is Fine, But Also Give Us Back a Financial System We Can Trust”

“Hatred: The Republicans’ Core Problem”

Books for Our Times: “This Town,” by Mark Leibovich

“Obama’s Principled ‘Red Line’ on Syria (Which, By the Way, Worked)”

Books for Our Times: “Capital,” by John Lanchester (a Novel)

Books for Our Times: “Why Nations Fail,” by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson

Books for Our Times: “The Unwinding,” by George Packer

“Get Thee to Geneva, Mr. Obama, Your Drone Strikes Make Targets of Us All”

“Memo to Mr. Scorsese: Women Are Heroes, Too”

“Society Instructs Hollywood on ‘Moral Ambiguity’ of Torture: Or, What the ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Controversy Means”

“Matthew Crawley of Downton Abbey: Moral Hero”

“The Children Are Watching Us”

2012

“My Republican Mother Says Yes to Gun Control”

“Notes on London Theater”

“The Tragedy of Mitt Romney”

“This Time, the Democrats Need to Keep Control of the Narrative”

“Crib Sheet for the Undecided Voter”

“Exceptional Nations Don’t Need to Bluster”

“Beware Theater in Politics”

“The Republicans’ No-Apology Tour”

“Finally, the Democrats Learn How to Fight”

“Needed: Eliot Ness, Bank Regulator”

“A Great Speech About Why America Isn’t Great Anymore (But Can Be Again)”

“In ‘Clybourne Park,’ President Obama Would Be an Impossibility”

“Not All of Us Were ‘Mad Men’”

“Let’s Just Say It: As Opposition, the Republicans Are Not Loyal”

“A Mother and Daughter Reconcile—Finally: A Personal Story”

“Wislawa Szymborska, Nobel Poet: An Appreciation”

“A War’s Premise Must Justify the Troops’ Suffering”

“Humor: There’s Funny—and There’s Symptom of Decline”

“Why Can’t Art Be Instructive?”

2011

“What Next, Occupy? Revise Gordon Gekko”

“Wall Street: Brush Up Your Melville”

“’Lost Airmen of Buchenwald’: Lost Tale, Finally Told”

“My Republican Mother Gives Thumbs-Up to Occupy Wall Street”

“Critics and Other Cultural Gatekeepers: Mind the Gate!”

“Fat Cat Pledge: ‘I Will Pay Higher Taxes’”

“Self-Criticism: A New Habit of Mind”

“Republicans on Torture, Post-Osama bin Laden: Defending Against Prosecution?”

“Fall of ‘Spider-Man’ Director Is Not ‘Stuff of Greek Drama’”

“The Dignity Revolutions in Egypt, Tunisia—and America?”

“Sputnik II: Relearn the Love of Learning—Now”

2010

“For Wall Street: A Loyalty Oath—To Main Street”

“Define ‘Change’—Or It’s Perpetual Pendulum for America”

“Is This a Culture That Wants to Save Itself?”

“How Democrats Can Harness the Public Anger (and Madness) for November”

“A Mosque at Ground Zero: Desperately Seeking George Washington’s Wisdom”

“Where is the Vatican’s Outrage About Child Molestation?”

“World Cup Final: Finally, the Good Guys Win”

“A Trek Through Cancer”

“’Government Take-Over’ of Healthcare? We Already Have a Corporate Take-Over”

“Wall Street Paints a Target on Main Street’s Back”

“Deep Breath, Democrats, Change Takes Time and Work”

2009

“Good Wars, Bad Wars, and Afghanistan”

“Recovery Without a Reckoning”