Robert C. Koehler

Robert C. Koehler

Robert Koehler is an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist and nationally syndicated writer. His book, "Courage Grows Strong at the Wound" (2016). Contact him or visit his website at commonwonders.com.

Articles by this author

Donald Trump, U.S. president and supreme leader of the country’s white supremacists, prefers the pretend America, professing as much in a proclamation he issued this year on Columbus Day. (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images) Views
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Columbus Day in Pretend America
Before the fake holiday known as Columbus Day completely disappears for another year, I want to grab hold of it for a moment and look at what it really has to offer us: a dizzying dose of historical realism. The scariest part about the legacy of Columbus, and Europe’s "Age of Discovery"—ah, the...
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Protesters hold up signs as they march during a demonstration over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in Minneapolis Police custody, in Boston, Massachusetts on May 31, 2020. (Photo: JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images) Views
Thursday, October 08, 2020
What Comes Next Is Up to Us
What if we stopped separating the looming national chaos into separate categories —racism, climate change, war, vote suppression, election theft, pandemic, science denial, white supremacy, police brutality, etc.—and tried looking at it all at once? This may be the legacy of Donald Trump, our first...
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Trump was immune to anything remotely factual and felt no compulsion to act with decorum during the debate, turning it into an interruption-fest and essentially forcing Joe Biden to unleash his contempt back at Trump.  (Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images) Views
Thursday, October 01, 2020
Trump and the Lost Country
Where, oh where, is the United States of America—global leader, creator of democracy, hope of humankind? It certainly wasn't up there on the debate stage last night. When 9-year-olds start slinging insults at each other—"Is not!" "Is too!"—it's hard for platitudes to step in and re-establish a...
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Trump has made clear the likelihood that he will not accept the results of the election unless he’s the winner. (Photo: Ted Eytan/flickr/cc) Views
Thursday, September 24, 2020
Election 2020: The Coming Chaos
Is this the future, leaking into the present moment? “You have good genes, you know that, right? You have good genes. A lot of it is about the genes, isn’t it, don’t you believe? The racehorse theory. You think we’re so different? You have good genes in Minnesota.” The speaker, of course, is Donald...
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An aerial shot of the chemical plants and factories that line the roads and suburbs of the area known as 'Cancer Alley' taken on October 15, 2013. (Photo: Giles Clarke/Getty Images.) Views
Thursday, September 17, 2020
Life in Cancer Alley
Shut up and let corporate America—and also, for that matter, corporate Taiwan—get on with its business. We have ethane to crack and plastic to produce. We dare not let America run out of shopping bags! Environmental racism? Don’t be ridiculous. This is the message the activists of Louisiana’s “...
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"Only direct democracy has the will to stand up for the victims of these wars—the millions and millions of displaced—and demand that the wars stop, no matter who is president," writes Koehler. (Photo: Thiago Santos/cc/flickr) Views
Thursday, September 10, 2020
Standing up To Trump . . . and Biden
When I ponder the likelihood of looming electoral chaos—uncounted votes, a defeated president who won’t leave office, the possible termination of American democracy (coming soon!)—I can’t avoid putting it into a larger context: We’ve always been, at best, a partial democracy, skewed in favor of the...
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“The vast majority of all plastic made up to now, will likely not be recycled,” Zoë Schlanger writes at Quartz. “And it will exist virtually forever, crumbling into microplastics that show up most everywhere scientists look for them.”(Photo: vaidehi shah/Flickr/cc) Views
Friday, September 04, 2020
Is There Life Beyond Plastic?
“Plastics!” Yeah, it’s everywhere...not just in grocery store aisles and department stores and every other commercial outlet you can think of, not to mention your own cupboards and closets and trashcans, but on the grass and on the sidewalks, in the landfills, in the lakes and rivers, in the oceans...
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Policy walk, as tear gas fills the air, near the Kenosha County Courthouse during a third night of unrest on August 25, 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images) Views
Thursday, August 27, 2020
This Looks Like the Beginning of a Civil War
This looks like the beginning of a civil war. The chaos and violence in Kenosha, Wisconsin are unfolding as I write. I feel as though I’m watching some natural disaster develop, suddenly overpowering any hope for social change “before it’s too late.” Is it already too late—that is to say, too late...
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"What was missing—from the national convention, from the halls of Congress, from the party as a whole—was any official stance against war. By which I mean, today’s wars," writes Koehler. (Screenshot/ Democratic National Convention - August 17, 2020) Views
Thursday, August 20, 2020
War, Peace and the Democrats
“There’s something happening here/What it is ain’t exactly clear . . .” Or is it? Day one of the Democratic National (virtual) Convention. Bernie Sanders had just told his supporters: “Together we have moved this country in a bold new direction,” pointing out that “all of us . . .yearn for a nation...
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In March of 1946, eight months after the atomic bomb was dropped, the city of Hiroshima stood in ruins. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons) Views
Thursday, August 13, 2020
Learning From the Hibakushas
“They were covered with blood and burned and blackened and swollen, and the flesh was hanging from the bones. Parts of their bodies were missing, and some were carrying their own eyeballs in their hands. And as they collapsed, their stomach burst open.” But war is necessary, right? The speaker,...
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