07.11.16 | How American Politics Went Insane World

Jonathan Rauch | Atlantic | 21st June 2016

Imagine the 2020 race after one “wretched” term of President Trump. Kanye West is the Democrats’ best hope, running against Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty for the GOP. “I could continue, but you get the gist”. This absurdist scenario “is a linear extrapolation of trends on vivid display right now.” Political parties are collapsing into chaos. “Trump, however, didn’t cause the chaos. The chaos caused Trump. What we are seeing is not a temporary spasm of chaos but a chaos syndrome” (8,300 words)

Link: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/07/how-american-politics-went-insane/485570/ (sent via Shareaholic)

This is the inaugural piece for our newly-formed Monday discussion lunch group. This program, as many of you know, arose out of the old book discussion sessions. Many of us came to the realization that it was the focused discussion of a particular topic that animated the interaction rather than the book per se. 

We thus plan to serve up one tight well-written article/essay per week as a catalyst for a lunch discussion in the library (or elsewhere if need be). These will be regarded as social lunches i.e. members/guests gathering around to share their thoughts on the topic. My (or someone else's) role will be to facilitate the discussion as opposed to any presumption of some sort of "speaker" expertise.

Participation is open to those who have read the (always attached) article and are drawn to the topic. We will start soon after the lunch gathering rather than delaying until 12:30. You will be free to come and go as you please. Sessions will not be videotaped.   

The toughest part in a way is the choice of the article/essay in that there are so damn many wonderful ones/topics to choose from. I discovered the motherlode with the only online service I actually pay for i.e. The Browser. It serves up roughly five pieces per day on all kinds of topics. 

The fact that the first piece is on politics does not suggest that politics will be the theme of the series. It's just that this article from The Atlantic addresses the fundamental reason that our system (right now) seems to be teetering on insanity. The piece is longer (8,300 words) than typically going forward but is very good. It's also way shorter than a book.

I've also set forth below other other articles/topics for future consideration. By the way, the runner-up piece was the first one listed on "Kludgeocracy." It's also very good and undoubtedly will be a future selection. Please feel free and scan the list and give me your thoughts.

Steve SmithComment