Gwen's Take

In This Election Season, Pondering Peace & Harmony

Posted: October 22, 2010 at 12:01 pm

I’ve been giving a lot of thought during the waning days of this bitterly-fought midterm election campaign to the idea of peace and harmony.

“Come on,” you say. “What does peace or harmony have to do with dead heat campaigns that could determine control of the House and the Senate?”

Not a lot, it turns out. I thought about it when I watched one candidate refuse to shake another’s hand after a debate in Kentucky this week. I thought about it again when I saw what spurred the snub – a particularly toxic campaign ad.

Never Let Them See You Sweat: Notes from the Florida Campaign Trail

Posted: October 14, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Kendrick Meek was in the basement of St. John First Baptist Church, a black congregation in the impoverished South Florida town of Belle Glade, sweating up a storm. The post-Sunday service crowd was dressed to the nines and fanning themselves furiously with cardboard fans printed up on behalf of a local ballot initiative.

The Risks and Rewards of Party Purity

Posted: October 7, 2010 at 6:54 pm

If you want to sum up the challenges facing mainstream Democrats and Republicans this campaign season, hop a plane to Kentucky.

That’s what I did this week, and when I got there I discovered the political world must be a pretty lonely place for Barack Obama and Mitch McConnell this year.

Listening to the Other Side

Posted: October 1, 2010 at 11:32 am

I spent a day at the University of Vermont this week, getting up close and personal with my favorite people – the ones who like getting their news from PBS.

In the back of my mind, I had hoped the visit would give me a chance to take the pulse of American youth in much the same way President Obama did to great effect at the University of Wisconsin in Madison earlier in the week.

Telling Our Stories

Posted: September 24, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Two women I know have recently written terrific books that could easily have never seen the light of day.

By complete serendipity, each is a former colleague and friend. Isabel Wilkerson and I were both reporters for the New York Times. Michele Norris and I became running buddies while working together at the Washington Post.

I also wrote a book a few years ago, an exercise that ranks right at the top of the hardest things I have ever done. We three are also African American women who have closely followed the country’s national debates about race.

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