by Carla Seaquist

Table of Contents

  • Introductionviii
  • Manufacturing Hope
    • Reinventing “normalcy” (op-ed)1
    Responding to the call for normalcy in the aftermath of 9/11.
    • The American “street” and foreign policy (op-ed)4
    The sane public reaction to Bush’s saber-rattling on Iraq.
    • Behemoth in a bathrobe (dialogue)7
    In which America is roused by its can-do spirit.
    • America, we need to talk—seriously(op-ed)12
    On the “shock and awe” invasion of Iraq, 2003: Quo vadis, America?
    • Accidental convention delegate gripped by hands-on democracy (op-ed)15
    In which the author wades into the political fray in the 2004 election.
    • At heart of good political discussion: the idea (op-ed)18
    To reduce the polarization, focus on the idea, not the person.
    • In praise of a murdered “do-gooder” (op-ed)21
    In appreciation of aid worker Margaret Hassan, killed in Iraq.
    • Stop the burlesque!: American pop culture in a tinderbox world (essay)24
    Exalting the irrational and the pathological increases the risk of destruction—
    ours and the world’s.
    • Notes for a moderate’s manifesto (op-ed)36
    On the 4th anniversary of 9/11, a call to moderates to counter extremism.
    • Harold Pinter’s pen betrays his normalcy40
    On the contradiction in the Nobel prizewinner’s art and life.

    Manufacturing Shame: America Descends to Torture
    • Letter to The New York Times47
    • Abu Ghraib and the mirror (op-ed)48
    • Marching orders from a survivor of Auschwitz (op-ed).51
    • Democrats: Make torture a campaign issue and values a theme (essay)54
    • Bush’s torture policy hurts our soldiers (op-ed)65
    • In ’08: Reject torture—and redeem America’s soul (op-ed)68
    Manufacturing More Hope
    • Free speech, responsible speech, and the “right to offend” (op-ed)73
    On the controversy of the Danish cartoons caricaturing Islam.
    • Of hypocrites, “moralizers,” and Frank Rich (essay)77
    Hypocrites do not—repeat: do not—set the terms of the moral debate.
    • Wrong way to judge a candidate (op-ed)89
    A plea to the media: Don’t make ’08 another popularity contest.
    • Back to “Casablanca” (dialogue)92
    In which Ilsa returns from America to Casablanca for two things: for Rick and
    for the dream of America as moral beacon.
    • Humanities for a post-9/11 America (essay)103
    Toward a more active application of the humanities in dark times.
    • In defense of the conscientious public (op-ed)105
    Speaking up for the conscientious versus celebrity-starved public.
    • From disaster springs humanity (op-ed)110
    On the “phenomenal” volunteerism following a flood in my home area.
    • A call for responsible change (op-ed)113
    To the ’08 mantra of “change, change, change,” what kind of change?
    • Put Iraq back on the front burner (op-ed)117
    A message to super-delegates.
    • The anger of (feminist) experience (essay)120
    A plea to Hillary Clinton’s supporters not to bolt to John McCain.
    • Obama and American anti-elitism (op-ed)125
    How can a candidate of such humble beginnings, Barack Obama,
    be an elitist?
    • Goodbye, Tony Soprano. Welcome back, Atticus Finch. (essay)128
    About the return of heroes and hope.
    • Hope and virtue (essay)136
    In praise of President Obama’s stern Inaugural Address and nod to
    George Washington.
    • Resetting our moral compass with a torture commission (op-ed)141
    Of the options—to investigate, prosecute, or leave be—torture, being a moral
    issue, is best confronted in a commission setting.
    • Going after Godot about hope and torture (essay)145
    Don’t just sit there and wait. Go after Godot! Manufacture hope!
    • Goodbye, Tony Soprano. Welcome back, Atticus Finch: as op-ed149



    Carla Seaquist is an author, commentator, and playwright. Since 9/11 she has focused on commentary, writing on politics, culture, and ethical-moral issues, first for The Christian Science Monitor and since 2009 for The Huffington Post. An earlier book of commentary is titled Manufacturing Hope: Post-9/11 Notes on Politics, Culture, Torture, and the American Character. She also published Two Plays of Life and Death, which includes Who Cares?: The Washington-Sarajevo Talks and Kate and Kafka.

    Ms. Seaquist’s earlier career in civil rights culminated with the post of Equal Opportunity Officer for the City of San Diego and appointment to the Governor’s Task Force on Civil Rights. She majored in international relations in college (School of International Service, American University) and graduate school (School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University). Long a resident of Washington, D.C., she now lives in the “other” Washington (Gig Harbor), where she served on the board of Humanities Washington. Her husband Larry, a former Navy captain, served in the legislature as a state representative (Democrat) from 2006 to 2014, chairing for two terms the House committee on higher education.