A new reality? I hope not.

By Reade Brower | Aug 15, 2019

This week’s column comes from the website (http://mychildrenschildren.com/a-new-reality-i-hope-not/) of Dr. Robert Saul, an author of three books and a man with a simple, but profound message.

His writing provides a roadmap to a civilized world, one that we can confidently leave to our children and then to their children. One that is not paved by greed or hate and is not driven by fear or loathing. It is a road called “Common Sense” and wanders through the countryside we call America and on the highways that get us from “here to there.”

Dr. Saul hits the tall points; it’s the nuances that are interesting. It is the streets and avenues that will lead into a future which, hopefully, takes us back to a nation where neighbors help each other, and the color of our skin, our sexual orientation, or the gender we identify with, are accepted, as are differences of opinion. A country where all are treated fairly and viewpoints are respected and discussed, not vilified.

One can hope what we see now in our country is an aberration, not a new norm; hope is all we have.

Here is Dr. Robert Saul's blog from June 2, 2018.


I am concerned about the state of public discourse in the America. We don’t listen to each other, we shout past or over each other, we engage in name-calling and we apply labels without thinking. Is this a new reality? I hope not.

But then I ask myself the question — what can I do? As a physician, I must be non-judgmental, apolitical and empathetic as I engage with children and families. As a book author, I want to spread my messages (promoting citizenship, advocating for children, improving communities) far and wide without offending any people. Yet I feel complicit in the decline of public discourse unless I engage. I can engage as a citizen (seeking to help others), as a truth-seeker (on a journey of life-long learning and continuous improvement) and as an elder (having acquired an array of life-long experiences and seeking to use those in a positive fashion). Not being engaged is really not an option.

So let me offer some ideas going forward:

  • Truth Matters - Truth is an accumulation of facts. There is no such thing as “alternative facts” as has been famously mentioned recently. Unfortunately, an incomplete group of facts can be twisted into untruths. We must always be truth-seekers and willing to listen to all of the facts, not just the convenient ones.
  • Trust Matters - Trust is earned. Trust is earned when people use their knowledge, their humanity and their empathy to engage with other citizens. As a physician, trust is vital to my patients and families. If I don’t use all of my professional knowledge, acknowledge my humanity and employ all of my empathy, I will not be trusted. Saying “trust me” is not sufficient. If one’s cumulative behaviors are not trustworthy, it is very hard to trust someone. They must earn our trust and that is an ongoing process.
  • Science Matters - Science is an incredibly important component in today’s society. So many policy decisions (how to protect the environment and our planet, how to improve health, how to protect the public from life-threatening infection and many more) should be based on sound science. An incomplete application of science (just like an incomplete group of facts) is potentially dangerous and does not serve the public good, only those with a selfish agenda. We cannot allow science to be perverted.
  • Civility Matters - Civility is key to social interactions. Without civility, social discourse completely deteriorates. Name-calling serves no useful purpose and only serves to dehumanize and belittle our fellow citizens. Our ability to maintain civility needs constant attention. Treating each other as we want others to treat us is so important. How did we lose track of this basic principle of a civil society?
  • Diversity Matters - Diversity in America is a vital part of our society, now and at our founding. We must embrace our diversity. It is what makes us strong. And remember diversity means more than just ethnicity. It includes age, gender, sexual orientation and so much more.
  • Faith Matters - Faith provides a moral compass. We are a nation of many faiths. When observed with integrity, faith allows us to love others and practice forgiveness in a manner that serves all.

I am sure that others can add to this list, and I hope that they will. I submit these ideas as a concerned citizen who wants social discourse to be raised to a higher level. I refuse to accept the current situation as a new reality. I am compelled to speak out. I know that we can do better, and I vow to be a part of that process.


“We are social creatures to the inmost centre of our being. The notion that one can begin anything at all from scratch, free from the past, or unindebted to others, could not conceivably be more wrong.” — Karl Popper, philosopher, professor (1902-1994)

Comments (12)
Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Aug 17, 2019 19:15

Really, Eric?  Do you ever have a clue on what you're talking about or, like trump, do you just make up this crap as you go along?  Let's talk about how trump has "cut America down to size in the eyes of the world"

"America is regressing to have the economic and political structure of a developing nation, an MIT economist has warned.

Peter Temin says the world's’ largest economy has roads and bridges that look more like those in Thailand and Venezuela than those in parts of Europe.

He found that much of the low-wage sector had little influence over public policy, the high-income sector was keeping wages down to provide cheap labour, social control was used to prevent subsistence workers from challenging existing policies and social mobility was low."  

"The Wall Street Journal, has some dire news for President Trump about prospects for the upcoming midterm elections in light of his global trade policies. 'Good luck to Republicans running on the Trump tariffs in November,' warned Journal today in an opinion article.


"In a blunt and uncharacteristically sarcastic broadside aimed at Donald Trump’s administration, an obviously furious editorial board of the conservative Wall Street Journal trashed adviser Peter Navarro for being the driving force behind policies that appear to be driving the entire world’s economy into recession.

With the market plummeting and the president trying to blame the Fed for the crashing economy, the editors of the Journal said the source of the economic chaos can be found in the White House.

"In a blistering editorial, the Wall Street Journal is asking President Donald Trump what the point of a second term is since he hasn’t done anything in his first term.

For the rest of America, the Journal said: “they want to know why they should take a risk on Mr. Trump and his volatile character for another term.”

While he might be making the right-wing happy by appointing life-long, homophobic judges, there is a long list of promises Trump still hasn’t managed to usher in. After having both houses of Congress controlled by Republicans, he still couldn’t legislate. Now that

"Even trump's Russian friends can hardly keep a straight face when talking about his job as "president."

"Russian military expert and editor of National Defense magazine Igor Korotchenko suggested that Kim had succeeded spectacularly by elevating himself to the level of a U.S. president without conceding anything. Trump, conversely, looked like a failure, he said."

"Russian opinion makers recount the Kremlin’s victories with unmistakable glee. Popov smirked: “It seems to Americans that we won on every front: the U.S. Secretary of Defense has been removed, we unquestionably secured a complete, unconditional victory in Syria.” Skabeeva chimed in: “They’re also planning to leave Afghanistan...  On top of that, Russian sanctions have been lifted with Trump’s hands.” Panelists of the show, including Russian lawmakers, couldn’t hide their satisfied grins.

Sounds like trump has "cut America down to size" better than even Putin could have dreamed about, though I'm sure he did and I'm sure he's please as punch to have trump doing his dirty work for him, with the help of Moscow Mitch, of course, and the rest of the Republican quislings.

Posted by: Eric Schrader | Aug 17, 2019 18:30

Hey Domenic, I've got a news flash for you. The comments section is an open forum available to anyone who subscribes, since buying the local hard copy doesn't do much. If you don't like the comments, then it's easy. Don't read them. Just read the story. I am not going to sit back and let the local yocals spout their leftist, Euroweenie bloviations without being challenged.

Your argument about the believers and deniers is too simplistic. The former US Communist party, aka Green Party, aka Climate Change purveyors don't care on lick about the worlds' climate. It's all about control and redistribution of wealth. Remember the golden rule, those that have the gold make the rules. Trump pulled out of the farce of the Paris Climate Accords because only the USA was required to make major concessions on greenhouse gases and CO2. All other countries, including Russia, China, India, Brazil, etc. had until 2030 to even consider a voluntary reduction, so how does that make any sense to the average American that has to provide for their family. Obama tried for 8 years to cut America down to size in the eyes of the world and thank God, he didn't succeed and his anointed successor didn't succeed either.

Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Aug 16, 2019 18:54

(After Khalil Gibran)

Pity the nation whose people are sheep


And whose shepherds mislead them


Pity the nation whose leaders are liars


Whose sages are silenced


And whose bigots haunt the airwaves


Pity the nation that raises not its voice


Except  to praise conquerers


And acclaim the bully as hero


And aims to rule the world


By force and by torture


Pity the nation that knows


No other language but its own


And no other culture but its own


Pity the nation whose breath is money


And sleeps the sleep of the too well fed


Pity the nation oh pity the people


who allow their rights to  erode


and their freedoms to be washed away


My country, tears of thee


Sweet land of liberty!


by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Posted by: Domenic Ruccio | Aug 16, 2019 17:29

1.)  Here's what I don't understand about the climate change argument:  if the believers are wrong, all that happens is we end up with cleaner air and water; if the deniers are wrong, we're all dead.  Seems like kind of a no-brainer to me.

2/) To the editors:  please institute a policy limiting the number of times someone can post in a week.  There are one or two individuals who have made this their personal, often completely childish and nearly always ignorant, playground.   No one really wants to read the ignorant Trumpish insults that certain posters revel in like your average seventh grade kid.   Enough.

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Aug 16, 2019 13:54

Time for a comment policy?  "Be civil, respect opinions, stay on topic. No profanity, name-calling, threatening, trolling. Links are not accepted."

Posted by: Eric Schrader | Aug 16, 2019 11:25

Hey Horvath, you'll be dead and buried in 12 years, maybe less cause you believe all these fairy tales of climate change so I'll have the pleasure of taking a good p i s s on your grave. I'll bring my dog along and let her relieve herself too.

Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Aug 16, 2019 07:11

You've wandered just a little off topic there haven't you, Eric?  Having trouble staying on target are you or are you simply another "stable genius" who can't keep his mind on anything long enough to make a rational point?

"Dr." Michaels conclusions are "straightforward and understandable" because they are simple minded and aimed at the simple minded as well, hence your approval.  All that money from coal and other fossil fuel sources have clouded his mind and fogged his observations, kind of like a trump rally.  I'm not surprised that you're a true believer in such corporate spun nonsense.

As for Tlaib and Omar they are speakers of truth to power and bound to raise hackles among the corrupt and unethical propaganda pushers that put trump into office.  Putin must be tickled at how his scheme to divide and conquer the free world is working out.  

Wear that "Useful idiot" title proudly, Eric.  You've earned it.

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Aug 16, 2019 04:13

Thank you, Reade, for being the voice of reason and HOPE.   I don't know  who the "Heart Doctor" in town is, but appreciate all the chalk hearts placed  on the sidewalks.  Unless a real grump  a person would have to smile. We could all use a few more of those; no matter which side of the political equation we are on. :)

Posted by: Eric Schrader | Aug 16, 2019 03:28

Hey Horvath, go back under your rock or wherever you hang out. Dr. Michaels conclusions are straightforward and understandable. If you believe the "the world is going to end in 12 years" c r a p, then you better start liquidation soon. In this case, the Russians are right about reality of climate change, aka global warming. I'm sure Owl Gore will be playing up this next "tipping" point in earth's existence to bank another 100 million dollars to support his private jet travel. Can anyone say Gulfstream 650?

Tlaib and Omar’s trip to Israel? They're not going there to pray at the wailing wall. They're going there as agitators. We see the BS that comes out of their mouths here so why should the Israelis tolerate it in their home. The clock is ticking on these two losers, along with Occasional Cortex and Pressley. All one hit wonders that won't even be an asterisk in the footnotes of Congressional history when they are obliterated next year. Even the Dems have had enough of them and Pelosi will turn off the money spigot.


Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Aug 15, 2019 16:01

Sorry, Eric.  Wrong again.


A review of claims made by the Cato Institute's Patrick Michaels over the last quarter century shows that he has repeatedly been proven wrong over time. Michaels is one of a few contrarian climate scientists who is often featured in the media without disclosure of his funding from the fossil fuel industry.


Who Is Patrick Michaels, Cato's Contrarian Climate Scientist?


Despite Being One Of A Few Contrarians, Michaels Is Prominent Media Figure. Michaels made about 49 major media appearances from 2007 to July 2011 (13 of them on Fox News), according to a Nexis search. In addition, The Washington Times and Forbes often publish opinion pieces by Michaels and do not disclose his funding from the fossil fuel industry. Yet during that time, Michaels only published four peer-reviewed climate articles. In comparison, 97 percent of the most actively publishing climate researchers agree that "most" of recent warming is manmade, and 84 percent of climate scientists say the public should be told to be worried or "very worried" about climate change. Despite this, USA TODAY, The Washington Post, and CNN all hosted or quoted Patrick Michaels in 2012.

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: Can I ask you what percentage of your work is funded by the petroleum industry?

PATRICK MICHAELS: I don't know. Forty percent? I don't know. [CNN, Fareed Zakaria GPS, 8/15/10, via Think Progress]

Michaels Initially Did Not Disclose His Publication Was Funded By Coal Industry Association. The Society of Environmental Journalists reported in 2007 that Michaels initially did not disclose that World Climate Report, published by Michaels' PR firm New Hope Environmental Services, was partially funded by the Western Fuels Association, an association of coal mining companies and coal-fired utilities:

Michaels' web publication, World Climate Report, and its skeptical predecessors have been heavily funded by coal and electric utility industries with a large financial stake in preventing regulation of greenhouse emissions. In the 1990s, he published World Climate Review without clearly disclosing in the publication itself that it was funded by the Western Fuels Association - until after journalist Bud Ward brought this to light in the Environment Writer newsletter. [Society of Environmental Journalists, 9/19/07] [Western Fuels Association, accessed 7/8/13]

Patrick Michaels later refused to disclose the donors for New Hope Environmental Services in a trial where he was retained by automobile manufacturers and dealers attempting to prevent Vermont from regulating greenhouse gases, as he stated in an affidavit:

Yet Michaels Accused Scientists Of Adjusting Data For Money. Michaels wrote in a 2008 Wall Street Journal op-ed "If global warming isn't a threat, who needs all that funding?":


Another "non-partisan" Fox News expert?  Hardly.

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Aug 15, 2019 11:51

Personally, believe that we have passed the tipping point. When Trump can urge Israel not to allow congressmen to enter Israel and no one steps forward to stop him we have hone too far. :(

Senior Palestinian politician Hanan Ashrawi called Israel’s decision to block Tlaib and Omar’s trip “an outrageous act of hostility against the American people and their representatives.”

“This is a dangerous precedent that defies all diplomatic norms and an assault on the Palestinian people’s right to engage with the rest of the world,” Ashrawi said in a statement. “This trip was their right and duty as members of Congress, who oversee US policies and actions that affect Palestine, Israel, and countries worldwide. ...

“Israel is fittingly acting like any other rogue state engaged in widespread and systematic human rights abuses, wanting to ensure that its violations remain obscured by all means possible, including coercion and censorship,” Ashrawi said, adding that Trump’s comments on the matter amounted to “hateful incitement.”

Posted by: Eric Schrader | Aug 15, 2019 10:35

Under the category of "Science Matters", take a look at the following video,

https://youtu.be/fA5sGtj7QKQ, which is an interview with Dr. Patrick Michaels, who in plain English, explains what is really

going on with global warming, aka climate change. He is an expert in climatology and his conclusion will surprise open

minded individuals.

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