From the Left



Athens and America: Helpful Hints for the Fix We're In

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

ATHENS, GREECE -- Greetings from the land where democracy began 2,500 years ago.

I came seeking shelter under the Aegean sun from American democracy running ragged.

Our own government is the oldest extant democracy in the world. But America is reeling from the revelations of the House select committee hearings on the Jan. 6 mob attack on the ...Read more

My Father's Father: The Traces He Left

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

My father's father died when he was 8, just before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Born in 1901, the grandfather I never knew died in 1941. It was the darkest of times for the family and country.

Dr. Reuben Stiehm left a wife and four children, including baby Elizabeth. He was on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin medical school. They ...Read more

Sharing a Cell in History Hell: Trump and Nixon

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

WASHINGTON -- Former Presidents Donald Trump and Richard Nixon share a cell in presidential history hell.

Their arc is apt, 50 years apart, from June 1972 to June 2022. No matter how much time they do down there, the damage their deeds did to American democracy lives long after them.

Trump and Nixon, first-class haters who viewed the world ...Read more

Reunion: A Thank-You Note to Friends in the Arc of Justice

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

You can't lie about your age at your college reunion. Returning to my verdant campus in Philadelphia was like watering a garden of friendship, strikingly lovely in late spring light.

Maybe you went to one, or a joyous graduation put off because of COVID-19.

Yet there's bitter salt in the air.

Is this my country 'tis of thee, with cold-blooded...Read more

Midterms: The First Stress Test for Democracy (And Trump) Since Jan. 6

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

Today is Tuesday, democracy's favorite day. There's a lot to talk about in that word.

Primaries are upon us. The national news media, especially The Washington Post, can't get the story straight about former President Donald Trump's sway in the midterms.

Barely a week ago, Trump's "potency" was front-page news, to be feared by all Republicans ...Read more

A Sad Situation, the State of the Nation

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

WASHINGTON -- Ineffable. The state and soul of the nation is just that. The National Cathedral bell tolls for thee and me.

But all I have are words. Let me try to explain the sharp sense of loss we carry these days. The fear is real, that the worst of us are stealing America's meaning from the rest of us.

At once, we're suffering four crises: ...Read more

The Fence: Which Side Are You On?

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

Now comes Justice Samuel Alito, the Princeton man and Eastern elitist who never met a woman he liked, save colleague Justice Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court. He's a "justice" sitting in judgment on us.

Known for his sharp and sour edge, Alito authored a 98-page "draft" opinion that takes away human rights, a rarity in American history.

...Read more

The Kindness of Women Who Made You Feel at Home

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

Mother's Day may also be Mothers Day.

My mother calls me every morning from Santa Monica, sounding like a lark, ever since the pandemic. A professor into her 80s, she has a subversive streak and went places all over the world, once to a civil war with a United Nations peacekeeping team. She sees her three daughters as a bit "unadventurous."

No...Read more

How Far the Party Fell Into the Abyss: From Hatch to McCarthy

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

WASHINGTON -- The Hon. Orrin Hatch, a staunchly conservative Republican senator from Utah, is no longer with us. He died in Salt Lake City at 88. Hatch's seven terms in the Senate are a record, and it's fair to say time changed him into a better man.

Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican Leader, is the perfect foil for Hatch. At 57, the vapid ...Read more

April Brings Uncertain Things, Now and Then

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

WASHINGTON -- Dear April, national poetry month, are you the cruelest month? The first line of "The Waste Land" says so, and poet T.S. Eliot wrote it 100 years ago, 1922.

So, 2022, let's look at you.

Spring snow after joyful opening days at baseball parks celebrating Dodger great Jackie Robinson isn't a good sign. Gardens are thrown off the ...Read more

Racing Away From Our Past With Judge Jackson

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

WASHINGTON -- The vortex of our vexed record on race came out with the cherry blossoms.

These three things: the Senate vote on a historic Supreme Court nominee; an anti-lynching law passed at last; and marking the cruel April day Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered in Memphis, Tennessee.

President Joe Biden's nominee, Judge Ketanji Brown ...Read more

Three Stages of Violence: Hollywood, Washington, Ukraine

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

Hollywood. Washington. Ukraine.

Violence is breaking out all over, in places we thought we'd never see it: on the Academy Awards stage, in the Capitol and a war in Europe.

Are these ugly events somehow connected?

Let's take the Academy scene first. Will Smith struck Chris Rock across the face. The scene seemed out of a movie. In an earlier ...Read more



A.F. Branco Dave Granlund Clay Bennett Gary Varvel Drew Sheneman Brian Duffy