Trump tweets himself back into the muck

As near as I can tell, the readers of this newspaper are pretty evenly divided on whether I should continue writing columns about President Donald Trump. I get emails, letters, Facebook messages and comments from readers I bump into at church or in the grocery store who assure me that I am contributing something meaningful to our democracy and urge me on, as a member of the much-maligned free press doing my best to speak truth to power. At the very least, those of us in the media who are willing to take on Trump are providing some measure of relief or catharsis to those who feel threatened, disgusted or alienated by the president.

The cracks are beginning to deepen

There has never been a president like Donald Trump. There has never been a campaign like the campaign that Trump waged to win the election. And there has never been a first month of a new administration like the first month of the Trump administration.

His detractors — and I am one of them — need to stop saying, “This is not normal.” Of course it is not normal. It was never supposed to be normal. The appeal of Trump was built upon that precipice. The American people were fed up with “normal” as it pertains to American politics, so to use that particular phrase as a rallying cry of the resistance is to miss the point entirely.

Most presidents learn from criticism — not this one

By Martin Dyckman • Guest Columnist

The press must be the keyboard on which the government can play.

— Joseph Goebbels, Nazi propaganda minister, March 15, 1933

Donald Trump’s tantrums when he’s criticized or doesn’t get his way betray an emotional maturity that did not get beyond the “Terrible Twos.” Unfortunately, there is no one and no way to send the man-child in the White House to time out. To the contrary, grownups around him and in Congress are encouraging and enabling his behavior because it serves their own dark purposes.

Federal hiring freeze will have local impacts

A blanket freeze on federal hiring is having a local impact as the agencies tasked with managing Western North Carolina’s roughly 1.5 million acres of public land halt the hiring of seasonal employees responsible for keeping the area’s national parks and forests safe, clean and educational for the millions of visitors who seek them out each year. 

Our allegiance is to the ideals, not to a president

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

—1 Corinthians 13:12 King James Version (KJV)

As I was looking through the photographs from around the country from the Women’s March last Saturday — including more than a few of my wife and daughter, who marched with a group of friends in Asheville — I was struck by the many expressions and images of sheer joy, when I guess I was expecting something more along the lines of anger and defiance. By all accounts, the turnout for the marches across the country far exceeded anyone’s most optimistic expectations, and the overall theme seemed to be the restoration of some lost hope for a lot of people who have not had much to celebrate in the past few months.

The art and activism of Panhandle Slim

Savannah, Georgia-based artist Scott “Panhandle Slim” Stanton was born in Maryland and raised in Pensacola, Florida, but he has been known to pop up in all quarters of these United States, including Asheville — owing to his family’s vacation cabin in Swannanoa.

WNC marches for women’s rights

“Care more, judge less,” “Love trumps hate” and “Rise up” were just a few of the battle cries heard in downtown Asheville last Saturday as an estimated 10,000 people marched to protect women’s rights.

The pink hats are coming

By rain-slicked granite sidewalks they came, early that morning. 

In rubber boots, sneakers and sandals they came, not knowing exactly where bound but following — only following — in the footsteps of those who’d come earlier. 

Congressman Meadows optimistic about Trump

Although Rep. Mark Meadows, R-Asheville, has been Western North Carolina’s Congressman for only two terms, constituents in his heavily Republican district have watched his stock skyrocket nationally. He’s become a conservative media darling while at the same time rising to become chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, a powerful and influential Tea Party-leaning group of Republican lawmakers advocating for smaller, more responsive, more fiscally responsible government.

North Carolina GOP celebrates inauguration

Inaugurations make for early mornings. Getting into or out of the tangle of security and Humvees blocking the streets of Washington, D.C., requires an early-to-bed, early-to-rise mentality that quickly acquaints one with the deep blue hues of dawn punctuated only by the phosphorescent orange glow of municipal street lighting.

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