Elayne Clift

The power of hope

The Parkland generation, shaped by gun violence six years ago, is moving from activism to leadership

Ever since David Hogg, X González, and other high school student leaders began organizing against gun violence, when their Florida school experienced a massacre in 2018 that killed 17 people and injured 17 more, I've clung to the belief that if we could get to the Parkland generation as political leaders, we just might save our country.

I believe that now more than ever.

David Hogg is 23 now and a student at Harvard University. It should come as no surprise that he has reached a new level of political advocacy. Working with Kevin Lata, the 2022 campaign manager of Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.), the two activists have launched a new organization that seeks to put more young people in elected office at the state level and in Congress.

Leaders We Deserve has a PAC to coordinate with selected campaigns and a super PAC to raise funds for those campaigns. The organization has a diverse advisory group that includes U.S. Reps. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) and Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.) and Tennessee state Rep. Justin Jones (D-Nashville). It plans to hire staff.

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Israel and Hamas: both guilty of civilian slaughter

Kudos to Kate Casa for calling for historical context and fair and balanced media coverage of the terrible conflict between Israel and the terrorist organization Hamas. Both Israel and Hamas are guilty of the slaughter of innocent people. We must bear witness to all the brutality occurring in an...

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A is for ‘absent’

So many good teachers, at all levels, who are leaving their chosen, and often undervalued, profession, for numerous valid reasons

Her name was Shirley Myers, and she was a gift in my life when I needed one. I was in middle school and a loner, unlike most kids that age, because my mother suffered from depression and was hospitalized for long stretches. Ms. Myers was a calm teacher and...

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Relishing every moment

All my life I have disagreed with Henry David Thoreau: Unlike him, I think it is "worth the while to go round the world to count the cats in Zanzibar." That's why inveterate travelers find the return to post-pandemic travel an exhilarating experience. This spring, my husband and I were excited to resurrect an aborted trip abroad that was planned almost four years ago. We were so excited, you might have thought it was something we'd never done before. The...

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Labor leaders and workers have had enough

When I think about labor movements and unions, two favorite stories come to mind, and both are true. The first one is about a group of girls and young women known as the Lowell Factory Girls. They worked in the mills and factories of Lowell, Massachusetts in the 19th century. Little more than children who labored for long days doing dangerous and exhausting work, they revolted in 1836 when their dismal wages were cut while their factory-owner-mandated living expenses went...

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Which four freedoms?

When Franklin Delano Roosevelt uttered his famous phrase, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself," at his first inaugural address in 1933, he recognized that fear of the Great Depression could paralyze people and interfere with ways to address an unprecedented economic crisis. He realized that catastrophic thinking and overwhelming anxiety had the power to harm his plan for economic (and political) recovery. He recognized, as Auschwitz survivor Viktor Frankl did, that "between stimulus and response there...

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Aviation has ratcheted up my anxiety

Erica Jong, author of Fear of Flying, wrote about more than her own fear of flying in her bestselling novel, but she did manage to capture my own feelings whenever I board a hunk of a silver vessel about to hurtle across the sky. “My fingers (and toes) turn to ice,” she wrote, “my stomach leaps upward into my rib cage, the temperature in the tip of my nose drops to the same temperature in my fingers, [...] and for...

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The least we can do is pause, reflect, and honor the lives of women

In this Women's History Month - especially on March 8, International Women's Day - my mind and heart fill with thoughts of women and girls around the world. Having worked globally, I have witnessed women's lives, heard their stories, seen their grief, abuse, and abject poverty. I have been at the side of women when they gave birth or lost a baby, strong and stoic, and watched more fortunate women advocate for, educate, and comfort their poorer village friends. Whether...

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