Author: Jim McDermott

  • INTERNATIONAL

    America's new hope found in diversity

    • Jim McDermott
    • 09 November 2018
    3 Comments

    The chaos of the last two years will almost certainly continue in the next two (see: current occupant, White House). So will the deep divides between parties and between regional and urban America. But this week Americans seemed to remind themselves that even when the light grows dim, the possibility of a better day never fully disappears.

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  • RELIGION

    Past is present for the Catholic Church

    • Jim McDermott
    • 31 August 2018
    19 Comments

    The Annabel Crabb-led Back in Time for Dinner has some perhaps inadvertent lessons for society — and for the Catholic Church. Amid the frothy wonder of it all come unexpected moments of pain and dislocation. We are always in the process of seeing and becoming.

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  • RELIGION

    Policy vs penance amid US church crisis

    • Jim McDermott
    • 21 August 2018
    22 Comments

    The idea of some sort of communal action by bishops does speak to the deepest desire of many if not most US Catholics: that leaders of the US Church might finally take responsibility for their actions, and demonstrate that the pastoral needs of their people and the Church are more important than their own status or position.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    The world we choose to live in

    • Jim McDermott
    • 24 August 2016
    5 Comments

    Maybe standing there we weren't afraid about the fight that was happening across the street, but the fraying at the edges that it represents, the insecurity that the gospel both of Trump and against Trump seems to be creating in our society. It echoes the insecurity we hear in the Brexit vote, and the treatment of both ethnic British citizens and immigrants that followed. Likewise, the resurrection of Pauline Hanson and her One Nation party. None of it sounds good and where is it all going?

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    View from the brink of the age of Drumpf

    • Jim McDermott
    • 04 March 2016
    5 Comments

    On Sunday Drumpf demurred when asked how he felt about former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke voicing his support for a Drumpf presidency. And yet he still swept the polls in the American Super Tuesday primaries, racking up wins in eight of 11 states. Under Barack Obama the US has had eight years of largely responsible, idealistic executive leadership. Yet rather than shepherding in a new hope-filled era, we find ourselves standing before a chasm of largely uncontrolled id.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Electing a president in an age of superheroes

    • Jim McDermott
    • 08 February 2016
    5 Comments

    Many Americans want a President who speaks to their deepest dreams and ideals. A champion. Trump's vision of reality is the polar opposite of Obama's, a hellscape where foreigners, the unemployed (and women) are eroding society. But, like Obama, he has positioned himself as a champion of those filled with frustration, insisting it doesn't have to be this way. Bernie Sanders is in many ways the Trump of the left, a political outsider who says what progressive Americans have long been thinking.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Quietly uncovering a Church scandal

    • Jim McDermott
    • 28 January 2016
    4 Comments

    Not long ago a priest visiting from abroad told me that the story of Spotlight doesn't really apply to his country. 'We don't have that problem here.' It's a comment you get somewhat regularly from some parts of the world. Would that it could only be true. Without a much greater willingness on the part of the institutional Church to let itself be broken and changed by what we have learned since January of 2002, it's more likely a sign of disasters still to come.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    US gun law change can't come soon enough

    • Jim McDermott
    • 07 October 2015
    6 Comments

    In July, an NRA article entitled 'Australia: There Will be Blood' described Australia's gun buyback as a 'mass confiscation' that left guns in the hands of criminals and everyone else defenceless. Meanwhile, America has experienced more than one mass shooting per day so far this year. My hope is that we are in that time of unsustainable stasis Malcolm Gladwell talks about, during which nothing seems to be changing, while beneath the surface stability is being eroded, leading to sudden, permanent change.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Shorten and Clinton's joust with the past

    • Jim McDermott
    • 22 September 2015
    3 Comments

    US presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton is not just an astonishingly brilliant candidate; she is the wife of President Bill Clinton, who flamed out spectacularly in the late 1990s over revelations that he was having an affair with an intern. He has been mostly nowhere to be seen so far in the campaign, and that's undoubtedly an intentional move meant to keep that complicated, messy past out of the conversation. The past haunts Australian Opposition Leader Bill Shorten in a different but no less significant way.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Libs take some image advice from Mad Men's Don Draper

    • Jim McDermott
    • 02 March 2015

    The inner sanctum of the Prime Minister’s office, filled with smoke. DON DRAPER sits in a chair, cigarette in one hand, tumbler of Scotch in the other. Across, Prime Minister TONY ABBOTT. Around them, members of his cabinet. GREG HUNT (coughing weakly): We really don't allow smoking in here. CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Plus, how do you still look so good? It’s 2015. Draper turns Pyne's way. His eyes glitter like steel. DON: Really, that's what you want to talk about right now, my looks? TONY: Now listen, Don, I did it all just like you said. Pushed up the spill motion to keep the momentum from building, said I would be more consultative, got on with the business of governing. And yet two weeks later ... Read more

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Best of 2013: Gillard's game of thrones

    • Jim McDermott
    • 16 January 2014
    1 Comment

    Were you not there when I appointed Lord Slippery to the most honourable office in the land? Were you not there when I travelled to Western Sydney to be with my people and then did only carefully controlled media events? I do not need to make sense. I am Queen! Now, send me my Guild of Faceless Men.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Exasperated American's note to crazypants Republicans

    • Jim McDermott
    • 04 October 2013
    13 Comments

    That's right — the House Republicans shut down the government because they oppose universal health care. Which for the rest of the world is like crazy talk gibberspeak. Opposing people's right to have health coverage is like opposing Disneyland — in fact it's even weirder, because you can at least imagine someone saying 'I just don't like giant smiling mice'. Who in their right mind would say 'I just don't want people to have health care'?

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