You know that T Rex that pops up on your screen when you can’t connect to the internet? It’s a game, and it helps you occupy your time while you are waiting to get back online. I feel like higher education has been staring at a screen with that T Rex since spring of 2020. Like an impatient browser, we’ve been attempting to reboot our campuses. But much of the system is still down. When we can restart, we’ll need some new guidelines, to keep students, faculty, staff, and communities safe. And the truth is, we’ll need more than that.

Barack Obama on March 18, 2008

A little more than 12 years ago, harassed by racists and his primary challenger, Hillary Clinton, expected to disown the opinions of pastor Jeremiah Wright, Obama stepped forward to provide a coherent statement on race in America, offering his “A More Perfect Union” speech.

He choose the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, to emphasize that America’s racial sins are part of our origins, encoded in our DNA. I encourage you to go find that speech. Read it. Here’s a passage that has always captured my attention:

“William Faulkner once wrote, ‘The past isn’t dead and buried. In fact, it isn’t…

Quality art and effective entertainment do more than amuse and divert us. At their best, they connect us to meaningful insights about ourselves and the world in which we live. The first season of the Amazon series Homecoming did this.

At the center of Homecoming’s narrative is the troubling question: what if the work we do, regardless of our intentions, and what we believe about it, harms others? What if our job, without our full knowledge, is to take broken people, and fix them just enough to put them back on the job? …

Donald Trump in his high school baseball uniform

Baseball, for generations, has been called America’s National Pastime. Yet, football and basketball have been ringing up better television ratings than baseball for several decades. NFL broadcasts typically capture 10.5 million viewers, nationally broadcast baseball games attracted about half that number. Attendance at major league ballparks is dropping too — about 70 million people line up to see baseball games each season. That translates into an average of 29,000 fans per game, enough to fill about half the seats in Dodger Stadium.

Broadcasters and commentators have been fretting about the decline of the game for years. Much of the worry…

In 2016, Donald Trump did well in the rust belt. At least he did well enough to win those states. On the campaign trail, Trump threw red meat to his audiences — raging about NAFTA and “job-killing” trade agreements and tax policies that pushed investments and work overseas, and promising to bring manufacturing jobs back to America. He didn’t — still doesn’t — have a plan for positioning America in a global economy, and to fulfill his promise to create new, good paying manufacturing jobs.

But for some Democrats, the question was: didn’t Trump, and didn’t his audiences, understand the…

Anonymous illustration on 4chan thread devoted to discussion of Toy Story 4

Yesterday I saw Toy Story 4 with my daughter. Toward the end of the movie, a scene occurs that made me stop and catch my breath. In the scene, a group of toys encounter a little girl, lost at a carnival, crying, because she is separated from her parents. The toys decide to comfort the girl, and help her, in whatever way they can, to be reunited with her parents. …

Thatcher Therapy Dot-to-Dot Puzzle №1 (1984) by Paul Morton

Sarah Palin brought us here, to this crossroads in our long national journey, where fervent nationalism is our traveling companion, and the next destination is difficult to see.

Maybe it makes more sense to say: at the start of the journey was Sarah Palin. We made many wrong turns along the way.

What I mean is this: way back in 2008 — now dimly remembered by many of us — Sarah Palin stepped on to the national stage, as our moose-slaying, lipstick-on-a-pitbull, frontier-town Margaret Thatcher. She promised to turn the clock back on the transformation of America, halting our progress…

Steve Laymon

Ph.D. Senior continuing education executive and Associate Professor at the University of Virginia School of Continuing and Professional Studies.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store