Today’s dual cover photos depict beers in the act of being consumed, three years apart, illustrating my fundamental position affirming the value of conversation, even when the participants disagree. As an aside, did you know the Non-Aligned Movement remains in existence? I didn’t. The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is a forum of 120 countries that are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. After the United Nations, it is the largest grouping of states worldwide. The movement originated in the aftermath of the Korean War, as an effort by some countries to counterbalance the rapid bi-polarization of the world during the Cold War, whereby two major powers formed blocs and embarked on a policy to pull the rest of the world into their orbits. If I consider myself a misplaced European (I do), find my social-democratic-like political orientation to be completely marginalized in the American context (it is), and make peace with the fact that being an expatriate is unlikely at this juncture (alas), then the notion of being non-aligned has considerable appeal. As such, I’m free to remain a leftist as it pertains to larger issues, and to vote accordingly, while also judging local grassroots political affairs by criteria unique to th ......Read more