National Columns

Opinion: Too many of us lack courage

When, at Mamie Till’s insistence, the coffin was opened, she saw her son’s right eyeball sitting on his cheek, dangling by the optic nerve. Let that single grisly detail stand in for all the rest. Let it speak to the savagery two white men unleashed upon the body of a 14-year-old black ...

Opinion: Warren not suited to draw swing voters

Washington — Along the East River, which is not really a river (it is a 16-mile-long tidal estuary), perhaps 20,000 people actually chose to spend a gorgeous autumn afternoon last Saturday listening to socialist Bernie Sanders, who is not really a socialist — he just wants to confiscate ...

Opinion: The heroes of ‘gratitude in action’

Yerevan, Armenia — With so much bad news in the world these days, it was invigorating to spend last weekend here celebrating some courageous human-rights activists who reminded me of what’s best in the human spirit. The event was this year’s awards ceremony of the Aurora Prize for ...

Opinion: Trump call was corrupt quid pro quo

Washington — The impeachment of President Trump has reached an early point of absurdity. Just about everyone in Washington believes that a quid pro quo — in which Trump used American clout to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into an investigation of Joe and Hunter Biden — ...

Opinion: Take heart; we are far from helpless

One of my earliest lessons as a columnist came after I wrote about a tip jar that wasn’t. In 2004, I was standing in a coat-check line in Cleveland after a big event for a charitable group, watching one of the middle-aged women who had served our meals as she now stood behind the counter ...

Opinion: Voters don’t deserve misleading anecdotes

If you want to run for office, political consultants will hammer away at one point: Tell stories. People respond to stories. We’ve been a storytelling species since our fur-clad ancestors gathered around campfires. Don’t cite statistics. No one can remember statistics. Make it human. Make ...

Opinion: The necessity of self freedom

“If you’re white, you’re all right. If you’re brown, stick around. If you’re black, get back.” — African-American folk saying I was about to give a speech — I can’t remember when or even where — when this teacher brought a student up, hoping I could help her. The ...

Opinion: ‘Texodus’ bodes badly for Republicans

Washington — “I am a classically trained engineer,” says Rep. Will Hurd, a Texas Republican, “and I firmly believe in regression to the mean.” Applying a concept from statistics to the randomness of today’s politics is problematic. In any case, Hurd, 42, is not waiting for the ...

Opinion: Trump is turning ideology of America into a sham

Washington — Americans are starting to see the full, global implications of having a president who is ignorant of history, driven by impulse, immune to advice and dead to the romance of American ideals. The betrayal of the Kurds has damaged President Donald Trump so badly — including ...

Opinion: The nation could use a leader like Bob Dole

Twenty years ago, former U.S. Transportation Secretary, President of the Red Cross and future North Carolina Sen. Elizabeth Dole was a decidedly long-shot candidate for the Republican presidential nomination — an honor her husband, former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole had won four years ...

Opinion: Double down on support for Lebanon

Beirut — The aftershocks of President Trump’s abandonment of the Kurds in Syria are rumbling through the region, and a string of Lebanese officials told me last week that they fear they’re the next to be discarded by America. Lebanese politicians and security officials, in a series of ...

Opinion: Black people in white imagination

The beam from his flashlight reflects off the glass, so we can’t see what he saw. But in a sense, we don’t need to see what Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean saw to know what he saw, peering through that window. He saw something fearsome, a threat to life and limb. All this in the ...

Opinion: Too willing to cut constitutional corners

Washington — Presidential aspirant Beto O’Rourke, thrashing about in an attempt to be noticed, says tax exemptions should be denied to churches and other institutions that oppose same-sex marriage. O’Rourke’s suggestion, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s plan to tax the ...

Opinion: Trump’s betrayal sickens U.S. soldiers

Washington — At a gathering last Saturday night of military and intelligence veterans, one topic shrouded the room: President Trump’s decision to abandon Kurdish fighters in Syria who had fought and died to help America destroy the Islamic State. “It’s a dagger to the heart to walk ...

Opinion: O’Rourke works to reelect Trump

Washington — Beto O’Rourke, innovative for interpreting a failed Senate campaign as a steppingstone to the presidency, is now famous for (1) his use of profanity on the campaign trail, (2) his pledge that “hell, yes” he wants to confiscate AR-15s and (3) his proposal to tax religious ...

Opinion: Ignoring arms control is a big mistake

Washington — Last week’s news that President Trump is considering abandoning the Open Skies Treaty probably brought a yawn from most observers. Arms-control agreements like this seem to many people like yesterday’s problem. But ignoring arms control is a dangerous mistake, especially ...

Opinion: A president who thinks he’s above the law

Donald Trump is testing whether he can claim immunity from the rule of law. That’s the plain meaning of the announcement that his administration will not cooperate in any way with the House impeachment inquiry. The letter released by White House counsel Pat Cipollone brands the impeachment ...

Opinion: It can happen right here in America

I was maybe 10 years old when this happened. Mom is driving, I’m in the back seat. It’s night. She’s trying to cross Vermont, a busy L.A. thoroughfare, from a side street. Southbound traffic is jammed, but a guy in a truck makes a hole and waves us through. We’ve almost cleared the ...

Opinion: Trump adds self-impeachment to his repertoire

Washington — Donald Trump, an ongoing eruption of self-refuting statements (“I’m a very stable genius” with “a very good brain”), is adding self-impeachment to his repertoire. Spiraling downward in a tightening gyre, his increasingly unhinged public performances (Google the one with ...

Opinion: The serious danger of politics as tribal conflict

“Civilization is hideously fragile. ... There’s not much between us and the horrors underneath. Just about a coat of varnish.” — C.P. Snow Washington — The most serious, practical, pressing problem with politics as tribal conflict is the inability to draw moral lines against ...