Trumped up anger?

Donald Trump

Businessman Donald Trump on the campaign trail. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

I don’t recall the exact date. But I remember the moment approximately six years ago that I was standing around at a Tea Party rally on the Statehouse grounds to see whom I could see, when I noticed something.

A candidate for public office in South Carolina had said it again. “Republicans aren’t much better,” or some similar expressed affectation.

Right there, in that second, it struck me. I was hearing that expression a lot in those post-Obama victory days.

Continue reading “Trumped up anger?”


Putting the worldwide refugee crisis in context

Somalian family adapts to two worlds

My story about a Somali family’s journey

I pulled a box full of newspapers out of our guest room closet last night to find a 2009 story I wrote about a family of Somali refugees living in Columbia.

This was the second family I had interviewed for two stories I wrote for The Columbia Star.

Continue reading “Putting the worldwide refugee crisis in context”

A sensitive awareness–honoring the grieving after the Charleston church massacre

It’s been eight days since nine people were shot to death in a Charleston church. The past week has been a sad one for my home state of South Carolina, but seeing people from all sorts of backgrounds join together to mourn and to show support for the families of the nine has been encouraging.

Political operatives have also taken the opportunity to capitalize on the events surrounding those deaths, trumpeting their positions on race and gun rights. I’ve worked in and around politics—taking advantage of an event to advance a particular agenda is to be expected. I’d hoped that would come later.

Continue reading “A sensitive awareness–honoring the grieving after the Charleston church massacre”

On “Politics and the English Language”


George Orwell wrote his essay, “Politics and the English Language” nearly 70 years ago. And while our political jargon has changed, he offered some still applicable advice for crafting clear language.

His point was that political chaos and the decay of language are linked. But I consider the essay essential reading for anyone who communicates ideas through writing and speech. This probably applies to almost everyone.

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Rooted in South Carolina–150 years after the burning of Columbia

The burial place of Gen. Wade Hampton III

The burial place of Gen. Wade Hampton III


I visited the graveyard along side Sumter Street’s Trinity Episcopal Cathedral on Friday and felt something I didn’t expect—jealousy.

February 17 marked the 150th anniversary of the burning of Columbia led by Union General William T. Sherman. And like many other South Carolinians, I wanted to know more about the burning of my city during the American Civil War—or, War Between the States, if you prefer.

Continue reading “Rooted in South Carolina–150 years after the burning of Columbia”

Holocaust Remembrance Day–otherness and casualties of war

"Arbeit Macht Frei" hangs over the entrance to Auschwitz. It means work makes free.

“Arbeit Macht Frei” hangs over the entrance to Auschwitz. It means work makes free.


Etta James croons over my laptop speakers as I thumb through pictures I took during a group trip to several concentration camps in Poland almost eight years ago.

It’s dissonant. And weird. Continue reading “Holocaust Remembrance Day–otherness and casualties of war”