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Practically Idealistic blog
 
The title for this blog originated with use of the term “practical idealist” in this 1996 opinion piece, which asked: “To what kind of work should a practical idealist aspire?” A century and a half earlier, Emerson, in his 1841 essay Circles, wrote: “There are degrees in idealism.  We learn first to play with it academically. . . .  Then we see in the heyday of youth and poetry that it may be true, that it is true in gleams and fragments.  Then, its countenance waxes stern and grand, and we see that it must be true.  It now shows itself ethical and practical.”  John Dewey and Mahatma Gandhi embraced practical idealism in the 20th century, as did UN Secretary General U Thant.  Al Gore invoked it in a 1998 speech. In the context of this blog, the term is meant to convey idealism tempered but not overwhelmed by realism: a search for the ideal on a path guided by common sense.

Monday, January 15, 2018

King Day Inspiration

 

For Martin Luther King Jr. Day, my family attended a related church service, with an excellent sermon by the Rt. Rev. Nathan D. Baxter and a performance by the Trinity Boys Choir.  Their selections included “Only Love Can Do That,” a song arranged by Mark Miller set to the words of Martin Luther King Jr.  Among the songs that everyone sang together were “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and “We Shall Overcome.”


“Lift Every Voice and Sing,” with lyrics by James Weldon Johnson and music by his brother Rosamond, was (in the context of Colin Kaepernick and the National Anthem controversy) the subject of a recent New York Times editorial by Brent Staples and is the focus of a new book (May We Forever Stand) by Imani Perry of Princeton.


Beyond the King Day service that we attended, my daughter continued reading a book about children’s roles in the Birmingham civil rights actions (We've Got a Job), while my son (having earlier read books one and two) read book three of the John Lewis March trilogy.

8:43 pm est 

Monday, January 1, 2018

National Mentoring Month
 
A new year brings January, National Mentoring Month.
10:14 am est 

Friday, December 8, 2017

“More Men Need to Join the (Ongoing) Women’s March”
 
Through the Good Men Project and then Medium, I published a piece arguing “stopping harassment and assault is our responsibility.”
6:40 pm est 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Discussing “Self-Evident Truths”

A 2017 book, Self-Evident Truths: Contesting Equal Rights from the Revolution to the Civil War, has been mentioned on this blog, for example in March 2017.

Over the next week, author Richard D. Brown (my father) will be discussing the book and related history on several occasions, at which everyone is welcome: 

   November 1 (tonight, 7:30 p.m.) at the David Library in Washington Crossing, PA;

   November 5 (3 p.m.) at the Litchfield Historical Society;

   November 6 (6:30 p.m.) at the Yale Bookstore (Facebook); and 

   November 8 (6 p.m.) at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in Hartford.

7:52 am edt 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

“Let’s Learn History—Not Political Bias”

At Medium and Connecticut Viewpoints, I published a response to some politically motivated, ill-informed comments about Columbus and history.

8:32 am edt 

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