Robert C. Koehler

Robert Koehler is an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist and nationally syndicated writer. His new book, Courage Grows Strong at the Wound is now available. Contact him at koehlercw@gmail.com or visit his website at commonwonders.com.

Articles by this author

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Thursday, March 12, 2009 - 8:03am
Reversing the Cycle of Violence
So much experience in the room, so much wisdom, so much. . . concentrated hope. Poke at it slightly and the truth comes out, in brief, quick anecdotes:
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Thursday, February 26, 2009 - 8:01am
Kids for Cash
A number of bad ideas and virulent trends in American life converge, it seems to me, in the unfolding scandal in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., known as "kids for cash." The blurring of the line that separates profit from state, especially since the Reagan era, has had a far more devastating effect on American values - indeed, on the very notion that anything besides a good financial buzz even has value - than the blurring of that more famously wobbly line that separates church from state.
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Thursday, February 19, 2009 - 9:27am
Cross of Irony: Defense Spending of The Absurd
"Down the long lane of the history yet to be written, America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect. . . . Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose." So is it time to start doing this now, 48 years down that road?
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Thursday, February 12, 2009 - 8:13am
Truth and Healing
Can we find ideas - political ideas - big enough to be worthy of this moment? You know, before the cynicism and the disappointment and the recession and the dumbed-down media and, oh yeah, the regrouping Republicans, conspire to dull Barack Obama's election into the bitter memory of hope and harass his presidency into something that resembles Clintonism and business slightly to the left of usual (if that).
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Thursday, February 5, 2009 - 9:06am
Keeping The Bush Era Viable
Rest assured, there are powerful interests that will not put up with an Obama presidency if it's about even half the changes it threatens - I mean, promises - to make. Watch them circle, yipping at his integrity. "Obama's moralizing tone may not wear well," a Wall Street Journal headline archly surmised a few days ago. "How often do Americans want to hear how misguided they were before his arrival?"
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Thursday, January 22, 2009 - 8:51am
Childish Things
No matter how much celebrity they try to infuse him with, Barack Obama remains, somehow, as unassuming - so it appears - as that picture of him, which made the rounds on the Internet a few months ago, wiping his own table at a fast-food restaurant. Is it all a dream? Has "change" really come to America, and the world, or has business as usual merely shape-shifted?
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Thursday, January 15, 2009 - 9:31am
The Moral Dead Zone
"Mr. Ban said too many people had died and there had been too much civilian suffering." That almost bears repeating, but I won't because I don't believe it. Too many? In the moral dead zone of the human heart, perennially justified as "war" (evoking honor, triumph, glory), there's no such thing as too much suffering. There's no bleeding child or shattered family or contaminated water supply that can't be overlooked in the name of some great goal or strategic advantage, or converted to fodder for the next round of hatred, revenge and arms purchase.
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Thursday, January 8, 2009 - 10:46am
Be The Peace
"Surely, they say, there must, there has to be another way of doing this." OK, let's start here, with this flicker of anguish, this quick stab of despair and disbelief that war is a rational means to an end. These words, from an essay by Jeremy Ben-Ami, executive director of the Jewish peace lobbying group J Street, describe the complex discomfort felt by what he surmises to be a "third stream of Jews" in the U.S. and elsewhere — neither committed peaceniks nor "Pavlovian flag wavers" — over Israel's invasion of the Gaza Strip.
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Thursday, January 1, 2009 - 1:33pm
The Future of Civilization
The tight, absurd parameters of "peace," as they are drawn by the military model we continue to believe in, make real peace -neither bitter nor temporary - impossible even to imagine. God save us, for instance, from New York Times editorials, which inflict as much damage on civilians as F-16s.
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Thursday, December 18, 2008 - 10:46am
The Pacifist Tree
"Dad, did you know the governor of Illinois was arrested?" Well, no. This was last week. I was in Denmark, visiting my daughter, and this was my first news from Crazy Land in a while. It's dangerous to go online when I'm traveling. I learned, among other things, that my governor, Rod Blagojevich, was taped discussing the sale of the president-elect's old Senate seat because it's "a bleeping valuable thing. You just don't give it away." No way. Not in this economy.
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