Opinion: The Rule of Law, the Role of History

It was as predictable as clockwork. When I worked at a newspaper in Tucson, Ariz., the letter would arrive or the phone would ring and the message would be filled with outrage and surprise. Imagine being in a store or on the street and hearing two or more people having a conversation — in Spanish.

The spanking new desert denizen— just arrived from Michigan or Minnesota or somewhere else where it got cold in the winter — could not understand a word and this is America, right?

Opinion: Demanding Dignity From Leaders Comes With a Complicated History

The room — 14 feet, 8 inches wide and 13 feet long — has no windows. It had been a restroom at the Monticello home of Thomas Jefferson in Virginia. But now, the small room adjacent to Jefferson’s, the one historians believe once belonged to Sally Hemings, will be restored and given its due, as will the enslaved woman who evidence indicates was the mother of six children of the third president of the United States.

As the current president, Donald Trump, is often lambasted for lowering the dignity and honor of the office, the news coming out of Monticello — where the role of its enslaved people is belatedly a part of the historical presentation to visitors — is a bracing reminder that our leaders have always been flawed. Founding Father Jefferson wrote stirring words of equality while owning fellow human beings.

Donald Trump — the Affirmative Action President and His Enablers

House Speaker Paul Ryan offered the excuse “He’s just new to this” for Donald Trump after former FBI chief James Comey’s testimony that the president has done and said things that were inappropriate, even if they don’t turn out to be illegal. It sounded like something you would say in defense of a toddler who dives face-first into the birthday cake because he hasn’t yet learned what a fork is for.

President Trump is that guy — and it’s a guy 99 percent of the time — who doesn’t bother to read the book but tries to bluff his way through the oral report. Sometimes that guy is funny. When he is in a position to weaken long-held European alliances, jeopardize troops on a base in the Middle East or shred America’s safety net as well as ethical guidelines set by the founders in the U.S. Constitution, no one should be laughing. A “gentleman’s C” won’t cut it when so much is at stake.

 

The GOP’s Civil Rights Amnesia

When the face of your opposition on any issue is John Lewis, you need to choose your words carefully: “Publicity stunt” probably should not be the go-to phrase.

Congressman Lewis, a Democrat representing Georgia, brings with him a moral gravity because of his courageous place in the country’s progress toward equality.

But it is very clear in the response of House Speaker Paul D. Ryan to the sit-in on the floor of the House over an impasse in gun control legislation that the Republican from Wisconsin is not a student of history – that of his esteemed and respected colleague, his country or his own party.

At DNC Charlotte, taking the ‘war on women’ seriously

CHARLOTTE — The National Women’s Political Caucus is about issues, not party affiliation, as it tries to get more women elected to office. But the issues it cares about — supporting a women’s right to choose, the Equal Rights Amendment and dependent care for women balancing responsibility for children and aging relatives — come with a party label these days.

At the organization’s packed reception at Ri Ra Irish pub on Sunday afternoon, before the official Tuesday start of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, shouts of “yes we can” echoed Obama campaign enthusiasm. National Organization for Women president Terry O’Neill, a familiar television presence, put it this way: “The radical fringe on the right wing has taken over the Republican Party.” She lamented the invisibility of GOP women with more moderate views, such as Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine) at the Republican convention in Tampa.