Author Archives: hessd

About hessd

Here is all you need to know to follow this blog. I am an old man and I love to think about why we say the things we do. I've taught at the elementary, secondary, collegiate, and doctoral levels. I don't think one is easier than another. They are hard in different ways. I have taught political science for a long time and have practiced politics in and around the Oregon Legislature. I don't think one is easier than another. They are hard in different ways. You'll be seeing a lot about my favorite topics here. There will be religious reflections (I'm a Christian) and political reflections (I'm a Democrat) and a good deal of whimsy. I'm a dilettante.

Where totalitarianism comes from

The book I am reading now has three quotes at the beginning: one by JeanCasson, a Toulouse resistance leader and poet; one by Robert F. Kennedy; and one by Hannah Arendt.  The book is about the adventures of Virginia Hall, … Continue reading

Posted in Political Psychology | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“I wasn’t built to follow your rules”

Looking at it from the outside, I might call that a design flaw.  I’m sure she wouldn’t call it that. It may be that the woman who tossed this line at the hospital security guard, didn’t actually mean it.  As … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

How to grieve

Let’s start with how bad a title that is.  If you chose to read this because the title rubbed you the wrong way,  welcome.  Let’s talk. In my reading about the process of grieving, I see a lot of emphasis … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Abraham Lincoln to the Rescue. Again.

I have been thinking, especially during the Trump era, about our democratic political institutions.  Trump and “Trumpism” put a great deal of pressure on these institutions.  Trump offered an alternative model: the authoritarian leader.  To followers of such a leader, … Continue reading

Posted in Communication, Politics, Sustainability | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Two Cheers for the Wheaton faculty!

The last time I looked, 284 faculty has signed a statement called  Statement from Wheaton College Faculty and Staff Concerning the January 6 Attack on the Capitol.  See the Appendix for the full statement. Other Wheaton friends of mine grumbled … Continue reading

Posted in A life of faith, Political Psychology | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

The Warmth of Flowers

We are having a power outage here at the moment.  I have been going back and forth on the question of whether I should write a little note about Little Dorrit.  I get used to the power of Charles Dickens’ … Continue reading

Posted in Books | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Battle for the Soul of the Rs

A lot of discussion recently has focused on what is being called “the battle for the soul of the Republican party.”  By that, “Trump” or “not-Trump” is seen to be the battle line.  That’s not what it looks like to … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Forensic Pathology and Bible Study

Since the COVID pandemic hit Portland, I have been doing  unusual amounts of two things: teaching Bible study courses and watching forensic pathology shows on TV.  Eventually, the one had to start affecting the other, and that is what this … Continue reading

Posted in Biblical Studies, TV | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Diamond Dogs

I like institutions.   I admire people who can call institutions into being.  I have tried it myself from time to time and I know it isn’t always easy.  Knowing how hard it is, my heart goes out to Ted … Continue reading

Posted in sociability, Society, TV | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The (Former) President’s 1776 Report

Former President Trump convened a body of writers to produce a new version of American history.  He didn’t give them much time to do it.  They were appointed thirty-three days before the inauguration of President Joe Biden and it was … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment