#89 What’s So Great about Being White?

375 people have now been arrested, charged and intensively interviewed about their participation in the attack on the US Capitol January 6. A reliable picture is emerging of who they are and what motivated them.

It’s no surprise that they were overwhelmingly white and male and strongly influenced by Donald Trump’s campaign to overturn the November election

But it came as a bit of a surprise, at least to some, that only about 10% were members of known far right groups like the Proud Boys. And that the attackers as a whole we’re…


Two new books suggest that on January 6 we came far closer to losing democracy than we thought

Landslide, by Michael Wolff, describes Donald Trump’s increasingly unhinged behavior after his election loss. In I Alone Can Fix It, Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker detail how the top US military officer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley, was so shaken that then-President Donald Trump and his allies was organizing a coup that he and other top officials discussed ways to stop him.

We now know from many sources that the paramilitary groups that spearheaded the assault on the Capital on January 6 we’re no disorganized rabble. Many of their leaders were military and police veterans, and they…


There are huge lessons to be learned

The pandemic is easing in much of the United States. In the larger world, vaccines are finally beginning to flow from “have” countries to “have nots.”

As it ends in this country, I think it’s crucial not to rush onwards, without looking at these last, devastating months. There are huge lessons to be learned from what we’ve been through — about inequality, about race, about work, about ourselves — and we’d be monumentally stupid not to learn them.

I live not far from Mount Saint Helens, which famously exploded in May of 1980, devastating a huge swath of forestland, blowing…


A few days ago I was interviewed on Russian state television on a news show that draws over a million viewers inside Russia. The subject was President Biden’s trip to Europe and in particular his upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

This is perhaps my 30th appearance on Russian media and I remain mystified why they keep asking me on, since I offer balanced views of issues the United States and Russia don’t agree on.

NTV, the network that airs the show, is controlled by the Kremlin so somebody in that government in charge of what’s broadcast knows that…


Memorial Day 2021.

President Biden’s withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan will be completed before the deadline he set — September 11, exactly 20 years after the attacks on the US that were our reason for starting that long, unwinnable war.

As you know, the United States went into Afghanistan in December of 2001 to find and destroy the Taliban (the ultraconservative political and religious faction that ruled Afghanistan and gave sanctuary to al-Qaeda, the perpetrators of the 9–11 attacks).

But September 11, 2021 will not be the end of that war. We know where it goes from there because…


Let’s talk about courage. For the last 35 years I’ve helped lead a global movement that inspires people to stick their necks out to solve tough public problems. So I’ve got some standing on the matter of what’s courageous in public life.

Let’s look at a woman many people in the last few weeks have cited for her courage.

Of course I’m talking about Liz Cheney, the far-right congresswoman from Wyoming, the daughter of Dick Cheney, the former vice president, an architect of the Iraq war, a pro-corporate, small-government warrior who was pleased to be known as the Darth Vader…


Biden’s passionate defense of government as a force for good is Ronald Reagan in reverse

Photo by Library of Congress on Unsplash

In his address to Congress last Wednesday, President Biden sketched out an agenda packed with “once in a generation” government investments that would touch nearly every corner of American life. It was a passionate and comprehensive defense of government as a force for good. It was Ronald Reagan — in reverse.

40 years ago President Reagan told the country that government was the problem — that it “is too big, and it spends too much.” His words came to define politics for generations, including Bill Clinton’s famous statement that “the era of big government is over.” Indeed, most of the…


In his address to Congress last Wednesday, President Biden sketched out an agenda packed with “once in a generation” government investments that would touch nearly every corner of American life. It was a passionate and comprehensive defense of government as a force for good. It was Ronald Reagan — in reverse.

40 years ago President Reagan told the country that government was the problem — that it “is too big, and it spends too much.” His words came to define politics for generations, including Bill Clinton’s famous statement that “the era of big government is over.” Indeed, most of the…


The outline of what needs to be done is becoming clear

As you know, the former Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd was convicted on two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter.

Since then there’s been nonstop coverage and analysis of the trial. Many people feared that the killer would get off because history shows it’s extremely difficult to get a murder conviction of a police officer.

Juries give cops enormous latitude and, if that wasn’t enough, in too many cases, key facts are omitted, evidence disappears, reports are twisted — the “blue wall of silence” descends…


This should not be a question in a democracy, but it has become a real issue that could define our identity as a nation

Picture from New York Civil Liberties Union

In a country with universal suffrage, this has sadly become a very real threat to all we hold sacred. If you’ve been following the news, you know that the State of Georgia has just enacted the most extensive voting restrictions in generations and the other Red States are not far behind.

The Georgia legislation introduces a raft of new oppressive laws aimed at disenfranchising voters

These include but are not limited to curbs on mail-in and early voting, stiffer requirements for voter ID, absentee balloting and provisional ballots, and fewer drop boxes. …

John Graham

John Graham is an adventurer, a former Foreign Service Officer, a writer, speaker and political activist, and a leader of the Giraffe Heroes Project,

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store