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Paul Rogat Loeb

The Impossible Will Take a Little While

Soul of a Citizen


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My articles appear chronologically, most recent first, but you can go directly to a good overview of The Impossible, of Soul, or on Teaching for  Engagement.  or on Engaging Students in Elections. My newspaper articles tend to be aimed at more of a general audience, while the online ones are aimed more at people already engaged in social justice movements. Both are more topical, issue oriented and sometimes more partisan than my general talks and my books, which focus more on civic engagement: If you'd like to see all my articles and the discussions that have followed them, the best place is the Huffington Post archive of my work.


Youth Vote at Record Low--Here's How to Reverse the Trend


"My Vote Doesn't Matter": Helping Students Surmount Political Cynicism. From


Burying Your Victories: What if Obama Taxed the Rich But Never Told Anyone? Why Americans don't know about the $20 billion-a-year tax on the wealthiest 2% that's core to Obama's health care law.


From Occupy Wall Street to Occupy the Neighborhoods. Community outreach as the next step for the Occupy movement.


Glued to the Weather Channel As the World Burns How the recent extreme weather should teach us the urgency of acting on climate change.


Three Cups of a Flawed Hero: The Limits of Greg Mortenson’s Model of Change Reflecting on the engagement model of Three Cups of Tea author Greg Mortenson


Ten Suggestions for More Effective Activism: A summary of key themes from Soul of a Citizen with links to some of the relevant excerpts.

Engaging Students in the Election—45 Ways To Still Make a Difference Last minute suggestions to get your campuses more engaged


Stop the Anonymous Hit Men--Make Shadowy Campaign Money the Issue From the Baltimore Sun..The politics of money in the 2010 elections


The Election Needs You, Broken Heart and All The stakes of individual engagement or withdrawal in the 2010 elections.


Jesus and Climate Change: The Journey of Rich Cizik How National Association of Evangelicals Vice President Rich Cizik became a key voice on climate change. Adapted from Soul's new edition.


From Drunken Party Girl to Climate Change Activist. The journey of Virginia Tech student AngieDeSoto from total disengagement to becoming a powerful climate change leader. Adapted from Soul's new edition.


How MoveOn and The Christian Coalition Helped Save the Internet. How the unlikely coaliiton of MoveOn and the Christian Coalition helped save the Internet as we know it. Adapted from Soul's new edition.

Unforeseen Fruits. How actions of courage can create unforseen ripples. Adapted from Soul's new edition.

Reclaiming the Youth Vote What the Democrats can do to reclaim young voters.


What Cynicism Costs Us Adapted from Soul's new edition, the traps of cynicism

Eight Reasons the Democrats Lost Virginia & New Jersey—And How to Recover

Looking at the November 2009 Democratic gubernatorial defeats in New Jersey and Virginia, and their lessons going forward.


Gutting the Health Care Plan: The Scorpion and the Congress How the Obama administration may be falling into a trap similar to that of the Clinton health care efforts by trusting the insurance companies



Stiffed: Did the Bail-Out Help Pfizer Buy Wyeth? How the initial bail-out is being used for corporate consolidation.

Saving America, One Furnace at a Time
Lessons from my new high-efficiency furnace about how to mix sustainability and economic renewal. (San Jose Mercury & Seattle Times)

Engaging Students as Volunteers and Voters Co-written for Inside Higher Ed on how campuses can egage their students in the election. This builds on the campus election engagement project I coordinating with the national higher ed service learning network Campus Compact. I co-wrote the piece with their executive director Maureen Curley and University of Colorado Colorado Springs graduate communications director Sherry Morreale. If your'e on a campus, please circulate it for next round.

Wild Weather Creates Chances for Political Progress. How the recent surge of extreme weather events may create new political openings to act on global climate change.

Responsible Investment: Gates Foundation and the California Model Why the Gates Foundation and other major foundtions and pension programs should follow the socially responsible lead of California's massive public retirement system, CalPERS. From the Seattle Times.

Target Gobal Warming, Target Exxon
How Exxon funded key global warming deniers and why an active boycott makes sense. Foreign Policy in Focus

Fraudulent Firings The audacity of Bush claiming that the Justice Department was concerned with election fraud when they fired the U.S. Attorneys. From the Baltimore Sun

A Storm of Denial The cost of media not linking catastrophic local weather events with global climate change. Example of a Seattle storm of the century that left over a million people without power and heat. From Earth Island Journal

Gerald Ford's Failures of Nerve How Ford's burying his reservations about Iraq parallels the Nixon Pardon. Seattle Times

Think Globally, Protect the Vote Locally How local voter protection efforts can help ensure fair elections.

The Seductions of Clicking

How we get seduced into believing that just clicking on petitions or forwarding email equals politics.

Grassroots Matching Grants: My Five Mnutes as a Donor
Thoughts on the Democratic National Commitee's innovative challenge to have ordinary citizens match the grants of others..

War at Home: The Seattle Shooting
. Reflections on the shootings at my local Seattle Jewish Federation, and on Lebanon and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. From Seattle Times, Portland Oregonian, Riverside Press Enterprise, Detroit Jewish News, and others

The Fugitive Girl Act
Parallels between the Fugitive Slave Act and the recent bill barring minors from out-of-state abortions

Global Warming, Local Hope
Hope from local cities taking the lead on global warming. Common Dreams, Working For Change etc

Joe Lieberman's Loyalties
Why Joe's first value, alas, is to look out for Joe. Huffington Post, Common Dreams, South Florida Sun Sentinel, etc

An Inconvenient Video Game
Idea to make a video game out of Gore's powerful movie. Huffington Post, Grist, Wired News

Enron's Good Fight
The ethic of Enron. Huffington Post, Yahoo news etc

Dying for Nixon, Dying for Bush Growing parallels between Nixon and Bush, Iraq and Vietnam., Common Dreams, Huffington Post, etc

Out of the Shadows
Seattle's immigrant rights march and the politics of immigration. From CommonDreams, Huffington Post, etc

Alito and Extraordinary Circumstances Why changing political circumstances would have given an Alito filibuster a chance of succeeding. From, HuffingtonPost, Tikkun, CommonDreams, DemocraticUnderground, etc

The Real Rosa Parks
Originally in the Los Angeles Times My most reprinted op-ed--on the myth that Parks came into involvement out of nowhere

Precarious Lives
  On why individual solutions to hard times don't work. Fort Worth Star Telegram, Huffington Post and others

Drowning the Hard Questions
: Questions missing from NOVA's documentary on New Orleans. Huffington Post & others

Hard Conversations About the Big Easy
. Why community conversations about New Orleans matter even more now that the disaster is receding from the headlines.

911 & Katrina Why the New Orleans disaster is even more consequential than the 9/11 attacks, and the lessons we need to heed. Earth Island Journal

Paul Allen's Other Yacht The Estate Tax, massive wealth and New Orleans. From the Detroit Free Press

Speaking Truth to Roberts. Why challenging Judge Roberts matters even if the odds seem stacked in his favor. From the Huffington Post and other sites.

The Enemy of our Enemy May be the Enemy of Democracy Why an Alberto Gonzales Supreme Court nomination should be opposed even if the religious right is also against him.  From the Huffington Post and other sites.

They Died for Their Country
  Reflections on dying for your country, for noble and ignoble causes. From,,, etc

More Damning Than Downing St
  What it means that we were effectively fighting a war on Iraq even before the Congressional vote. From the Boston Globe & San Francisco Chronicle

Extraordinarily Rancid Justice
Why the confirmation of justices Owens, Pryor and Brown suggests the "nuclear option" compromise is a moral failure. From,, etc

Nuking Democracy

The parallel between those willing to wage winnable nuclear wars and those willing to destroy 200 years of Senate procedures to ram through right win judges.

Abortion & Schaivo--The Stories We Tell

A longer version of a USA Today article of mine on why support for death with dignity has increased while support for abortion choice has plateaued or declined.

The Impossible Will Take a Little While Post-election overview of hope in a time of fear, adapted from the book's introduction. Parts appeared earlier in The Nation

Shut Up and Color: The Politics of Bullying
,  How the Bush administration is threatening democracy with the politics of bullying.

Time to Act From Experience Life magazine, reprinted in Hope Magazine. How increased time pressures make it hard to act as a citizen.

How Bush is turning the US into a Lootocracy, where the rule of plunder is all that matters.

The Hundredth Volunteer--how the actions of ordinary citizens can make the key electoral difference. &

Invisible Casualties and Organica Magazine. Why some crises and tragedies seem real, but not others.

A Thousand Points of Hype, Christian Science Monitor
The hypocrisy in Bush's embrace of Americans volunteering

Breaking the Cycle of Vengeance,
from the book America's Tragedy, a Spiritual Response
My reflections on the World Trade Center attack

A Final Plea to Nader Supporters The Unforeseen Fruits of Hope, and On how citizen movements produce unexpected fruits of hope.

The Lone Ranger of Righteousness
From Why Ralph Nader running is a terrible idea.

Reclaiming Hope: The Peace Movement After the War
How to overcome the demoralization that many of us felt in the wake of the Iraq war.

Stopping the Next War
. How the peace movement should act now that Bush has gone to war with Iraq. And how we can keep on acting no matter what happens.

Reclaiming our Courage How social justice activists can reclaim courage and hope in this difficult political time.

Which Deaths do we Mourn?
  Seattle Times Why we mourn the lives of dead astronauts more than all the other needless deaths we allow to happen. [Some overlap with Invisible Casualties]

Stopping the Confederate Charge
  Atlanta Journal-Constitution Why Maine's Senators should learn from the courage of the Maine troops who turned the Gettysburg tide--and  stop our current neo-Confederates.

Volunteer and Vote Why we need to overcome our disappointments and do more than just vote. Making our Voices Heard How to keep acting against war in Iraq, even after Bush's Congressional victory.

Patriotic Ballads, Different views of what it means to be a patriot..

Teaching for Engagement, Academe Adapted from conference talks and  workshops I've been giving nationwide for faculty and staff--how to teach in a way that helps nurture future citizens

The Money Defense Shield, Christian Science Monitor
The money politics of the missile defense program

The Perils of Civility, Christian Science Monitor
Impact of the Democrats caving and confirming John Ashcroft. How they can challenge George Bush without recreating Newt Gingrich's scorched-earth politics

No Second Chances
How a president who built his career on unearned breaks is creating a regime of no second chances.

Public Squalor Betrays Our Nation's Soul, Los Angeles Times
How Bush cut earthquake preparedness funding the morning of the Seattle earthquake. what this and his proposed tax cuts say about our national priorities.

The WTO Protests
, Organica
New possibilities of hope from the WTO protests

A Big Con for the Democrats, Christian Science Monitor
How the vote supporting permanent favorable trade status for China was guaranteed to fracture the Democratic coalition.

. Uncivil Justice, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Article on the politics of civility, taking off from a speech by Clarence Thomas

Soul of a Citizen, Updated version of Soul of a Citize:cover excerpt from Utne Reader
the best single overview of the book.


Book Cover: Soul of a Citizen

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