America is a country of strivers. Alas, having attained so much success, many Americans now strive to be offended. Polite agreement to disagree is gone. Now people log on to social media where they discover words that offend their delicate sensibilities. Then they make sure everyone knows they are aggrieved. Sometimes the perennially offended even win a trophy for their troubles - such as the scalp of ESPN analyst and former Major League Baseball pitcher Curt Schilling.
In this age of hypersensitivity, the more trivial an issue is, the more controversy surrounds it. This month, Oakland's City Council voted 5-3 to adopt "Love Life" as the city's motto. Supporters of the new slogan meant well - and really who can object to an exhortation to love life? But in an age where everything is overcomplicated, the snappy marketing phrase is fraught with potholes and politics. And because it's Oaktown - racial politics.
High school seniors are eagerly watching their mail this month, hoping for the "fat envelope" indicating acceptance by the college of their choice. Unfortunately, more American students are receiving the "thin envelope" because college acceptance rates are continuing their decade-long decline.
Donald Trump has brought out the largest crowds in the history of primaries. He has won the most victories, the most delegates, the most votes. He is poised to sweep three of the five largest states in the nation -New York, Pennsylvania and California.
Back in the 1980s, Bruce Springsteen and other rock stars formed Artists United Against Apartheid and performed a song proclaiming "Sun City" that referenced an entertainment resort in a region of South Africa. The song mocked the Reagan administration's constructive engagement policy to end apartheid. And rock stars also routinely performed in the totalitarian Soviet Union, believing that was incredibly constructive.
Why do Democrats love Bernie Sanders? OK, it's not just because he's "cute" (as some younger voters are calling him). In point of fact, could someone tell me when 74-year-old bald Jewish men became America's symbol of "cute"? Larry David pulls it off, but I'm not so sure about Bernie Sanders.
Donald Trump, when asked, "Do you believe in punishment for abortion?" said, "There has to be some form of punishment." "For the woman?" asked MSNBC's Chris Matthews. "Yeah," said Trump. Hours later, Trump walked it back, and said: "The doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman. The woman is a victim." But the bell was not to be un-rung.