Richard Elfers

Tough road to understanding our own bias

Are you a victim of the Dunning-Kruger Effect? Did you engage in confirmation bias during this political season?

Talking about words and meaning | Rich Elfers

“Patriotically correct”? A new right-wing term to compete with the left-wing “politically correct”? Actually, no. Some Donald Trump conservatives have come up with the new catchword to describe their position. Understanding the origin of the terms can give us an insight into the thinking of some on the right in this highly-charged election year.

Voting from frustration and loss of faith | Rich Elfers

I can tell something bothers me when I wake up thinking about it. That happened after the first presidential debate between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Work can get done in government | Rich Elfers

One of the criticisms of government is that nothing much gets accomplished. I served on the Enumclaw City Council for a four-year term. Now, nearly five years later, I reflect on what was accomplished both during my term and what has been accomplished in the five years since. I discovered there are lessons to be learned from looking back.

Ideas living in our heads rule our lives | Rich Elfers

"Trust and verify." These were the words of President Ronald Reagan in dealing with the Soviets during the Cold War. Reagan's words can also apply to the immigration issue currently being debated by the presidential candidates.

Discretion and understanding will guard you | Rich Elfers

When I taught history to American students in a U.S high school, I would often get laments like: "I am never going to need this material, why do I have to learn it?" and, "Is this going to be on the test?"

Electoral College is for the good of all | Rich Elfers

Why did the founders of the Constitution create the Electoral College? Why did they create a body of elites (electors) who actually decide who the president of the United States will be? Why have we not passed a Constitutional Amendment to rid ourselves of such an archaic institution?

High numbers may vote Libertarian | Rich Elfers

“As Libertarians, we seek a world of liberty; a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives and no one is forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others” (2016 Libertarian Party platform).

Don’t give into knee-jerk nationalism | Rich Elfers

Have you ever lived in another culture? I did when I decided to spend my senior year of college in England. I spent my summer of that year working with 49 other students from the U.S. and Western Europe on an archaeological dig on the southern and western end of the Temple Mount (Harim al-Sharif) in Jerusalem.

In sports, a socialist system prevails | Rich Elfers

Why is it that professional soccer in socialistic Europe is capitalistic, while in the U.S. all major league sports are monopolistic and socialistic?

Trump slogan relies on nostalgia, not reality | Rich Elfers

We have all heard Donald Trump's campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again." What does it mean? Not much, according to a "Straits Times" (Singapore) article by Jeremy Au Yong, entitled, "What Does 'Make America Great Again' Mean?" The slogan is vague enough to appeal to people differently, depending on the person and their age. It relates to nostalgia for a better time.

Same Sex Marriage Act before Supreme Court | Rich Elfers

You have probably seen signs in places of business that say, "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone." Those signs do not necessarily reflect current law in the state of Washington.

Humility is the key to dealing with conflict | Rich Elfers

"In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." This famous quote by Benjamin Franklin resonates more than 240 years after it was uttered. The irony of Old Ben's observation is that many people in our era act and speak with such certitude, especially in regard to religion and politics.

The shaping of America by geography | Rich Elfers

Americans are generally ignorant of how our geography has shaped our thinking and our nation. In our history, we have only had one major invasion – the War of 1812. We have weak neighbors to our north and south and vast oceans that buffer us from foreigners to our east and west.

Quest for power always bring conflict | Rich Elfers

A little more than a week ago we saw British citizens vote to leave the European Union, citing distrust of ruling elites in Brussels and a desire to retake lost national power.

European Union running out of time | Rich Elfers

To commemorate the World War I Battle of Verdun, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande met recently at the battle site to remember and honor the deaths of 300,000 German and French soldiers in that 10-month battle.

Equality vs. Equity: Black lives matter | Richard Elfers

Do you know the difference between equality and equity?

America’s self-doubt through history | Rich Elfers

"There is something in the American soul that wants to believe that it is facing disaster, that it has failed, that some corruption deep in its being will steal its success. I suspect that this has something to do with the familial recollections of immigrants."

Cultural change in schools, high price|Richard Elfers

President Barack Obama recently sent a directive to public schools around the country to let students use restrooms according to their gender identities. While this directive is not legally binding, the threat of potential civil rights lawsuits and loss of federal funding for Title IX looms large.

Putting future politics into perspective | Rich Elfers

The presidential primary season has seen an earthquake of shifting alignments for both political parties, something few if any predicted six months ago. According to Michael Lind, writing an article for "Politico Magazine" entitled, "This Is What the Future of American Politics Looks Like," the political changes we have seen are really the end of the process, not the beginning.