“We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was ‘legal.’” -- Martin Luther King
In other words, what is legal is not necessarily what is right.
With that in mind, I find myself struggling to imagine what justice for Breonna Taylor would have looked like. After all, last week’s refusal by a grand jury to indict...Read more
Ultimately, it comes down to a set of rules.
Meaning norms, practices, guidelines — some written as law, some just respected as customs — to which we all adhere, even when that gives advantage to those with whom we disagree. It’s a covenant pluralistic self-government demands. And it’s one America is in the process of shredding — as ...Read more
This is for the people who keep asking me about Chicago.
Other cities too, sometimes, but it is mostly the City of the Big Shoulders, with its spiraling murder rate, that sends many of you rushing to your keyboards. Why are black people so exercised about police killings of unarmed African Americans, you demand, but not about so-called “Black...Read more
LOS ANGELES - We gave a damn too late.
Sometimes, I think that will be the legacy of this generation. Or maybe I’m just tired of seeing people walking around without masks as if a pandemic had not taken almost 200,000 American lives. Then again, it could just be the smoke.
On a normal morning, the sky here is a metallic gray. Today, it is ...Read more
We weren’t going to normalize this.
Remember that? Remember the way many of us solemnly vowed we would always maintain the ability to be outraged, hold on to our capacity for shock?
Well, after almost four years that have passed like geologic time, that declaration feels like an artifact from another era, a Polaroid from back when the kids ...Read more
The American Cemetery at Normandy sits on a bluff overlooking the beach where, on June 6, 1944, American soldiers waded ashore to begin the invasion of France. The old battlefield is marked with shell craters and gun pits offering mute testimony to the fury of that day. In the cemetery itself stand endless rows of white crosses and the ...Read more
Kyle Rittenhouse is not a hero.
Granted, many on the right are working overtime to paint him as such. “He’s a good kid,” his attorney, John Pierce, told Fox “News” last week. “He’s a patriot,” a man who declined to give his name told Politico. “He’s a hero,” a man named Alan Endries said. But he’s not.
And the concocted...Read more
This is almost four months early.
Ordinarily, Christmas trees are looking peaked, and George Bailey has long since realized that he had a wonderful life when pundits begin to summarize the year and assign it a theme. But given the eight long months of 2020 we’ve already endured, not to mention the awful week just past, waiting seems an ...Read more
Glenn “Doc” Rivers is reportedly paid $10 million a year to coach The L.A. Clippers. It is not enough.
That’s not a statement of his market value, but an answer to those who think he had no business saying what he said last week.
Rivers, who is African American, gave an impassioned post-game speech on Jacob Blake, the Black man who was ...Read more
It comes early in an African American life.
Before “Pomp and Circumstance” is played.
Before the corsage and the limousine ride.
Before final exam, favorite teacher and science project.
Before first kiss.
Before any of that, someone has appraised you — millions of someones who have never met nor even seen you. And they have decided ...Read more
“If people were given the choice between democracy and whiteness, how many would choose whiteness?”
Taylor Branch, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian of the Civil Rights Movement, drops that question like a bomb on Page 352 of “Caste,” the new book by Isabel Wilkerson, herself also a winner of Joseph Pulitzer’s prestigious prize. ...Read more
Well, that’s one speech Melania Trump won’t be plagiarizing.
Donald Trump’s wife, who famously stole parts of her 2016 address to the Republican National Convention from a speech Michelle Obama gave before the Democrats in 2008, won’t find much to work with in Obama’s latest oration. That’s because the speech, a galvanizing capstone...Read more
“They were covered with blood and burned and blackened and swollen, and the flesh was hanging from the bones. Parts of their bodies were missing, and some were carrying their own eyeballs in their hands. And as they collapsed, their stomach burst open.”
But war is necessary, right?
The speaker, quoted recently on NPR, is 88-year-old ...Read more
Editor's note: While Mr. Pitts is away Robert Koehler is filling in.
As election 2020 draws ever closer, the flawed, easily gamed nature of the American quasi-democracy becomes increasingly visible, thanks, of course to Donald Trump, our fuhrer wannabe, who sees no need to hide his contempt for any result in November other than his own ...Read more
Having made his name in real estate, it is oddly appropriate that President Donald Trump’s reelection efforts have steered him into a new version of panic peddling.
“Panic peddling” or “blockbusting” describes the now-illegal practice of persuading property owners to sell cheaply out of fear that people of another race, ethnicity or ...Read more
Editor's note: Mr. Pitts is away. Today's column is by the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
“Hitler had his Brown shirts and Mussolini had his Black shirts, now Donald Trump has his camouflage shirts.” Thus began a statement signed by 15 distinguished interdenominational religious leaders in Chicago that I joined, including ministers, priests, ...Read more
“Nobody likes me.” -- Donald Trump
“Truth or Consequences” is the name of a town in New Mexico, and of a game show dating from the 1940s. But it’s also one of the primal laws of existence. Where an important truth is denied, consequences follow.
So none of us can be surprised at the state of the union after seven months of Donald ...Read more
She was a teacher in Michigan.
She was in line at a Walmart in rural Ohio.
She was at a bar in San Francisco.
She was a post office supervisor in Miami.
He told her to smile, and she didn’t.
He wanted to buy her a drink, and she declined.
He didn’t like her driving. He didn’t like her T-shirt. He had been her friend for seven years, ...Read more
We are watching a show. It’s important to keep that in mind.
It has its villains — Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago, Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland and other supporters of the “liberal, radical left” idea that people have the right peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
It has ...Read more
I expected despair. I should have known better.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 had just been eviscerated by the Supreme Court. So I called Georgia Rep. John Lewis, for whom passage of the Act was the defining event of a heroic life, thinking his discouragement would mirror mine.
Lewis started talking instead about how he would push Congress to ...Read more