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I don’t usually do New Year’s resolutions, but I’ve thought of two that would improve my life that I think I can actually carry through for an entire year.

One is to draw a leaf every day of the year. In this I was inspired by my friend Janet, who drew her way through a field guide to butterflies and posted the drawing each day. I like the field-guide approach because it skips right over the choosing. Whatever leaf is next in Audobon’s guide to trees of the western United States, I draw.

The other is to take a tech sabbath, just as Casper ter Kuile describes in his book The Power of Ritual–relevant excerpt here. Phone and computer away on Friday evening, not to be taken back out until Saturday night. I will permit myself exceptions for being on call or on family outings for which I ought to have my phone, but only to use it for necessary calls or texts (you know, the “Where are you? I thought we were meeting at Mission & Hayes at 2” type).

What about you? Do you use New Year’s for resolutions, as a rule? Have you had any particularly successful or unsuccessful ones?


I’ve missed a few days of my #100DaysOfArt, but mostly have stuck to it. One completed drawing:

Clearing, pencil on paper, 6 x 9″ (c) 2021 Amy Zucker Morgenstern

Dear Republicans with a conscience,

I know you’re out there. You don’t like Trump, and you do like a functioning democracy. Your party is going to nominate him again, it seems virtually certain. So, my friends: are you going to get serious about starting a new party? And are you going to put everything you’ve got into teaming up with those of us in any party who want a free, fair election? Because it’s really on you. Without you, we may well lose everything.

I know it is really hard to be a Republican with a conscience right now. Creating a new party will probably split the conservative vote and greatly increase the odds that a Democrat will win the White House again in ’24. Opposing the Trumpers’ efforts to replace election supervisors with people who will declare Trump the winner even when he loses will drive an even deeper wedge between you and the people who were once your partymates. In the short term, it might look like you can’t win.

But look at the alternative. You’ll have to choose between Trump and the Democrat anyway, just as you did in ’20, unless you back a candidate who represents responsible conservatism. And if Trump possibly can, he is going to claim victory and create chaos, just as he did last year but probably more effectively. If he gets into office, do you think he will ever leave? If he dies in office, do you think his successor will be any different than him? We could see the end of the US American experiment in democracy. Two hundred fifty years, then devolution into a corrupt dictatorship.

You can’t afford to think about just the next election. The United States can’t afford for you to do that. The world can’t afford it. History has its eyes on you. And who knows? Maybe the middle will win. Maybe all the Democrats who think Joe Biden is a left-wing firebrand will join you in a coalition of the center. I don’t want that, because I’m an actual left-wing firebrand, but I’m willing to risk it because an election system in the hands of the January 6 apologists is such a grim prospect. What are you willing to risk?

For the love of all that is good about our country, please don’t wait. We need you, and now. Democrats are already doing what they can to stop the nightmare we glimpsed in 2020 from becoming our waking reality. The country needs you to put your muscle into it too. Are you going to do that, or just wring your hands?

In hope,

Another lover of our country

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