From the Left



A Tale of Two Cities out on the Streets

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

WASHINGTON -- It was the worst of times.

But the best of times are far from here. President Donald Trump is veering toward martial law, as announced in the Rose Garden the very moment peaceful resisters were tear-gassed in nearby Lafayette Square. Mounted police were a nice touch, too -- part of the plan. Flanked by the president's men, Trump...Read more

A key place for Trump: If only he knew

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

Political wisdom says the 2020 election is simple: a referendum on President Donald Trump, even if he ran against the village idiot. It's about the strong feelings he stirs up.

You have your unforgettable Trump moments. I have mine. The nation's would fill a salty sea. Memorial Day in Baltimore made me see red, white and blue.

Baltimore's ...Read more

The House of Democracy falls silent

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

WASHINGTON -- I went to the House to hear the noise of democracy. It might be my last chance. Amid the pandemic, members met for a day and rewrote the rules of American politics, perhaps for good.

Within the Capitol walls, the marble halls were hushed. The plush Speaker's Lobby, where we do press interviews under chandeliers, was dark. That ...Read more

Pence's disrespect for medical caution telegraphs contempt for science

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

WASHINGTON -- The vice president's refusal to wear a mask in the Mayo Clinic began a big reveal: his pattern of exposing others to COVID-19, including the nation's top doctors and a close aide.

Vice President Mike Pence unmasked his true character that April day in Minnesota, and again every day in May since. He put vulnerable patients at risk,...Read more

Survival skills rise from a Wisconsin girl's roots

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

You may see me as a Washingtonian journalist, but there's a Wisconsin girl more than skin deep. Facing the pandemic alone has turned me back to simpler times for consolation.

First things first: bacon fat and real butter on the stove, just like Grandma Hicks used to keep. Eggs in the fridge, next to milk and cream for coffee. Wisconsin isn't ...Read more

Trump's plot to take out the Post Office

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

"The post office is a wonderful establishment! ... If one thinks of all that it has to do, and all that it does so well, it is really astonishing!" -- Jane Austen, "Emma."

Author Jane Austen loved the post office. So did Benjamin Franklin, the Philadelphia postmaster later appointed our first postmaster general by the Continental Congress. They...Read more

Trump takes over the virtual public square

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

The pandemic means President Donald Trump has people where he wants them: at home watching him on television as a captive audience. His likely opponent, Joe Biden, is confined and chained in a virtual political dungeon -- his Delaware basement.

Count on Trump to pounce on the COVID-19 crisis for a path to victory in November. The cunning deed ...Read more

Death in the Kennedy family: A graceful goodbye in tragic times

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

I know the place where they got lost on the water. Shady Side was in my mind's eye through the mother and son's celebration of life gathering, with 3,000 in the Zoom ether. The Kennedy family pioneered a new form of mourning amid the pandemic.

First, from South Africa came a song with a promise, "We're together in spirit." For this we prayed.

...Read more

What we need now: A governor of New York

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

When the nation plunged deep into despair and crisis, the governor of New York rose out of ashes and gave the American people a reason to hope for the future.

Something in the man's distinctive voice, not just words he spoke, consoled to the core. He gave no false comfort. Looking hard times in the face, he discussed ways to conquer them: ...Read more

Trump's personal politics mean a cruel April for American cities

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

President Donald Trump's mind does not work in mysterious ways. Facing a pandemic, the president's ways and words stayed the same, but with blunt force flattening the American people.

Crisis defines character. The president's personal politics enlarged in the month of March, shaping a jagged response to a dark hour of national need.

Some ...Read more

Notes from the new normal

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

"The old custom of shaking hands fell into disuse."

The line comes from Philadelphia in the 1793 yellow fever epidemic. No hand sanitizer was available. The city was the nation's capital. Many, like Thomas Jefferson, fled. In all my history books, that simple snippet ran right up to the present tense.

And we are tense as ever. In the privacy ...Read more

A bitter spring lies before us

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

WASHINGTON -- Spring is famously sweet here. Daffodils and cherry blossoms paint the land in lush colors.

My March calendar was full of fun: a concert, a bar mitzvah, a birthday dinner, a trip to my college campus in Philadelphia, an English friend coming to visit.

Sigh. The coronavirus changed all that. It came crashing down on the country ...Read more

Cure for the blues: A historic veep pledge

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

WASHINGTON -- March plans are gone with the spring wind, so I'm stuck "on the pavement, thinking about the government," as Bob Dylan's lyrics go. Me and many other blue women.

Amid fears of the coronavirus contagion, Sen. Elizabeth Warren's exit from the Democratic presidential primary spread psychic pain among many American females. The ...Read more


Social Connections


Darrin Bell Jeff Danziger Lisa Benson Dan Wasserman Gary Varvel Mike Shelton