Cory Booker bows out, Ben Carson backs off fair housing and issues of race recede in America

OPINION — It doesn’t take a candidate of color on a debate stage to raise issues of justice and inequality. But that has been the way it has worked out, mostly.

For example, it was exhilarating for many when then-candidate Julián Castro said in a Democratic debate, “Police violence is also gun violence,” while naming Atatiana Jefferson, killed in her Fort Worth, Texas, home by a police officer who shot through the window without identifying himself. Castro’s words were an acknowledgment of the lived experiences of many in America. He has since dropped out of the race, as has California Sen. Kamala Harris, who chided her party for taking the support of black women for granted.

Despite the Trappings, Holiday Spirit 2016 Looks Iffy

Since they usually jump-start around Thanksgiving, we are well into the time of Frosty and Rudolph and Tiny Tim fronting animated specials, annual favorites and tinsel-soaked movies of the week that end with the battling protagonists making up under the mistletoe.

Do we believe in Santa? I have to get back to you on that one. But I do have my favorites, all with the theme of redemption: Charlie Brown’s taunting gang recognizing the beauty of his scrawny tree; old Ebenezer Scrooge (Alastair Sim in the best version) waking up on Christmas morning, amazed that he indeed has time to be a good man, and, of course, the Grinch with his Grinchy small heart growing three sizes.

Most know these shows by heart, yet eyes moisten each time the Grinch, courtesy of Dr. Seuss, realizes “something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” These moments teach love and forgiveness and the meaning of the holiday, lessons that hit home because of their simplicity.

In any year, with retail and toy stores — both at the mall and online — becoming battlegrounds, a little reflection would be welcome. In 2016, with the results of Election Day still raging, and competing political operatives raising the stakes and their voices everywhere, including the halls of Harvard, only the Grinch, at his worst, could make sense of it.


Could a movie cure politicians of their slavery-metaphor addiction?

The film “12 Years a Slave” is one of great beauty about a great horror. Director Steve McQueen’s account of the American slave business – and it was an American economic institution that trafficked in flesh, blood and human suffering – is not particularly easy viewing, though you can’t look away. I saw it a few days ago, and once was plenty. But I would gladly see it again if politicians who can’t quit their slavery metaphors agreed to a movie date.

Note to Ben Carson: It’s not racism or a ‘plantation’ mentality; it’s just politics

Compared to politics, separating babies conjoined at the head in a 22-hour-long surgical procedure is nothing. I wonder if Dr. Ben Carson is thinking that right about now.

Carson has had a pretty rough time lately. The pediatric neurosurgeon studied hard and worked his way out of rough circumstances to make a name for himself at the top of his field. Today that name is being pummeled, and all because he opened his mouth.

Carson knows who to blame for the metaphorical beating he’s taking, though. White liberals. “They’re the most racist people there are,” he told radio host Mark Levin on Monday. “Because they put you in a little category, a box: ‘You have to think this way, how could you dare come off the plantation?’”

That was a quick turnaround.