Robert C. Koehler

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

The first institutional change would have to be in our criminal justice system and our underlying theory about the maintenance of social order. Disarm policing. Rethink justice: It’s not a matter of punishment but a matter of healing. (Photo: Reuters) Views
Thursday, May 14, 2020
Racism and the National Soul
How deep does American racism go? And is it possible to uproot it? Or will it simply—endlessly—shift shape, wrap itself in the political correctness of the day and morph, say, from slavery to Jim Crow, from Jim Crow to stand-your-ground laws, gerrymandering and voter suppression? At some point, the...
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Why does it take a pandemic to get the world to stop fighting? Are we being led by 3-year-olds?  (Photo: Shutterstock) Views
Thursday, May 07, 2020
Can We Achieve Nuclear Adulthood?
“I’ll never tire of repeating: We need to demilitarize world affairs, international politics and political thinking.” What if a world leader — someone with extraordinary power, even, my God, control over nuclear weapons — were to talk this way? Well, this is as close as we can get for now. The...
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The prison system doesn’t work. (Photo: Derek Goulet/cc/flickr) Views
Thursday, April 30, 2020
A United World Must Break Out of Prison
At a time when the president wants to reopen the economy—but not the borders!—it’s time to grab ahold of the moment and start groping in our minds beyond what’s politically possible and start envisioning serious social change. Life is fervid chaos right now for those who are on the front lines of...
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(Photo: flickr / cc / The Accidental Photographer) Views
Thursday, April 23, 2020
Moral Injury and the Pandemic of Violence
"The vet in the mirror may be wounded in the soul—and it is your duty to carry this one last vet for help." This is not an easy reach—into the soul of the loneliest man or woman on Earth, which is the definition of everyone who is on the brink of committing suicide. For decades, Roland Van Deusen...
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"It’s hard not to conclude that the American government’s national security priorities have been so askew of reality that they left the country dramatically unprepared for an acute threat to millions of its people." (Photo: U.S. Army/flickr/cc) Views
Thursday, April 16, 2020
War, Irony and the New Normal
The uber-irony about the deadly coronavirus is that, as it claims lives, endangers millions and interrupts the social normal, threatening unprecedented global chaos, it is also quietly informing us what we must do to create a better world — and, indeed, creating it, in certain ways, as we look on...
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My hope is that we are at the dawn of a revolution of awareness. (Photo: Noah Seelam/AFP/Getty Images) Views
Thursday, April 09, 2020
What World Shall We Create?
As the quarantine continues, as I gaze out my window at the quiet street in front of my house—wow, look, there’s a cardinal . . . oh yeah, there’s a neighbor walking her dog—I swell with wonder at the paradoxical unity, “the shared humanity,” I feel in the emptiness. We’re barely in contact with...
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A Georgian soldiers wearing protective masks stop a car at a checkpoint in Tbilisi on April 1, 2020 amid concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The coronavirus pandemic has claimed more than 30,000 lives in Europe alone, a global tally showed April 1, 2020, in what the head of the United Nations has described as humanity's worst crisis since World War II. (Photo by Vano Shlamov/ AFP via Getty Images) Views
Thursday, April 02, 2020
The Fury and the Folly: We Need a Vaccine to Stop Endless War
What if the vaccine that’s eventually developed is so large in scope it includes the words of UN Secretary-General António Guterres and Pope Francis? I revisit Guterres ’ words of a week ago: “The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war. That is why today, I am calling for an immediate...
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Even now, palms can grasp palms, at least in spirit, across the borders that we can see, at last, are not real. (Photo: jotily/Getty Images) Views
Thursday, March 26, 2020
The Virus Is Our Teacher
Last Sunday at 11 a.m. I went for a walk. Even if it’s nothing special, a walk isn’t a normal thing to do these days. But this brief walk — around the block, consuming maybe ten minutes of my time — had a transcendent dimension to it that continues to awe me, and I’m going to do it again. It was a...
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Just as all of us are, of necessity, isolated from each other, we are all participants, via our creative empathy, in this shift in human consciousness. (Photo: Bart/flickr/cc) Views
Thursday, March 19, 2020
Creative Empathy in a Pandemic
One thing about a pandemic: It’s inclusive. We cannot survive it, move beyond it, by protecting merely some people. We have to protect everyone. Of all the disruption, paradox and chaos that have been unleashed by the coronavirus, this is the most stunning: It has something to teach us that we...
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We live in a dangerous and paradoxical world. (Photo: Banaras Khan/AFP via Getty Images) Views
Thursday, March 12, 2020
War, Profit and the Coronavirus
If you want expertise, don’t bother reading any further here. I know as much about coronavirus as any stunned disbeliever with a sudden, irresistible urge to touch his face. This is a news story that’s spookily personal — far more personal, somehow, than all those other ongoing horror stories out...
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