Jim Taylor's Columns - 'Soft Edges' and 'Sharp Edges'

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7

Feb

2021

Watching soldiers between speakers

Author: Jim Taylor

People all around the world watched the inauguration of the new president of the United States of America.

            Most of us, I expect, watched mainly Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. We watched Biden take his oath of office with his hand on a family Bible. 

            Biden is only the second Roman Catholic president; the first was John Kennedy. That speaks volumes about the dominance of one branch of Christian religion in American politics. 

            We watched Kamala Harris’s radiant smile as she became, not just the first non-white woman to be vice-president, but the first woman. Period. That too speaks volumes about American politics. 

            But I wonder how many of us watched the troops, occasionally visible in the background. 

 

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29

Aug

2020

A tale of two conventions

Author: Jim Taylor

Over the last ten days I have watched -- reluctantly, I admit -- parts of the Democratic and Republican national conventions in the U.S.

            Long ago, I had to write essays to “compare and contrast” Shakespeare’s sonnets with, say, Wordsworth’s. Or John Milton’s metaphors versus T.S. Eliot’s.

            It can be an illuminating exercise. But it’s easier when you can lay out two manuscripts side by side.

            I wish technology enabled me to compare the two political conventions side by side. Perhaps with 30 seconds of this audio, then 30 seconds of that one. So that I could flip back and forth, instead of relying on memory of two separate events.

            Still, the most obvious difference was visual. The Republican convention paid lip service to the COVID-19 pandemic, but its body language didn’t. During the speeches by both Melania and Donald Trump, Republican dignitaries sat cheek-to-cheek, buttwise. No physical separation. No masks that I could see. Lots of handshaking and back-patting.

            The Democratic convention didn’t have masks either. But they didn’t need them. No one else in the room – they actually practiced isolation.

 

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