In the sanctuary above an herbal tonic bar, before a seated Buddha and a pair of mandalas, 48 volunteers for congressional candidate Marianne Williamson close their eyes and meditate as Annelise Balfour, the manager and head facilitator of the Source Spiritual Center, intones a welcome prayer.
In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt invited naturalist John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club, to be his guide for his famous camping trip through Yosemite National Park. Muir was about to decline when a friend warned him that one must always accept the president’s invitation. Muir was offended by this notion, because it seemed to treat the president like a king. In the end, Muir decided to make the journey after all: “I suppose I shouldn’t refuse just because he happens to be president,” he said.
U.S. political junkies are being treated to a feast this summer: David Maraniss’ acclaimed new book on Barack Obama, the durable Mitt Romney biography by two Boston Globe reporters and, of course, another installment of Robert Caro’s classic series on Lyndon Johnson.
There is a feeling today among too many Americans that we might not make it. That we have become Britain, or ancient Rome or Greece. Not that we, as a people, have lost anything of our potential, but that we as a republic have.
Even most American history buffs know only the broad outline of the crime: On July 2, 1881, four months after taking office, President James A. Garfield was gunned down in a Washington train station by a man named Charles Guiteau.