WASHINGTON -- It is the tragedy of America that a story of freedom, self-government, religious liberty, entrepreneurship and inclusion is also a story of forced migration, stolen labor, routine rape and murder, lynching, vote stealing, racist piety, segregation, red-lining and mass incarceration.
Both these versions are true; but I hope they ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- There is a whole movement dedicated to unplugging from digital devices on the theory that they are turning us all into slackjawed, empty-eyed, pasty-faced zombies. Having explored that option fully, I recently experienced an extended break from digital connection. This was not due to any virtue on my part. It was in a medical ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- My professional opinion? It was a below-average State of the Union address in a long, distinguished tradition of below-average State of the Union addresses. The speech was prosaic, disjointed and mediocre in theory and execution. But adjectives fail me. It is like a restaurant critic trying to analyze green Jell-O with carrot ...Read more
EDITORS -- Michael Gerson is taking a one-column vacation. We expect his next column to move Monday, Feb. 4, for release, Tuesday, Feb. 5. Until his return, you are welcome to run any of our other syndicated columns in his place, including by writers your publication does not subscribe to. Browse our full offerings at syndication.washingtonpost....Read more
WASHINGTON -- Many of the most interesting and consequential Americans of the 20th century found greatness in politics, military service and diplomacy. Only one took the path of the recently deceased Harris Wofford.
After a precocious childhood including extensive global travel and a stint in the Army Air Forces during World War II, Wofford ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Through a blooming diversity of investigations, we will soon discover if the world that has always surrounded Donald Trump -- the sleazy fixers, the disposable women, the questionable deals, the gold-plated vanity, the viciousness to subordinates, the casual prejudice, the obsession with enemies, the shady international contacts, ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Those who want to understand how Democrats manage to scare the hell out of vast sections of the country need look no further than the story of Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, and the Knights of Columbus.
In considering the confirmation of Brian Buescher to a federal judgeship last month, Harris and ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- What happens when immense bigotry gets lodged in a small mind? Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, is what happens.
In a recent interview with The New York Times, King asked, "White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization -- how did that language become offensive?" It is a question that could only be posed by a bigot. And ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- So far: President Trump has announced a crisis that isn't actually a crisis, requiring a wall that is not really a wall, funded by Mexican pesos that are really American tax dollars, to keep out murderous migrants who are (as a whole) less violent than native-born Americans, leading to congressional negotiations that involve no ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- In the carnage of American civic culture, some of the damage is obvious: the dehumanization of political opponents, the devaluation of truth, the rise of conspiracy thinking. But other less evident shifts are no less troubling. One concerns the use of the word "authenticity."
Most recently, we have seen the defense of vulgarity as...Read more
WASHINGTON -- By all indications, the reluctant support by white evangelicals for Donald Trump against Hillary Clinton in 2016 has solidified into something like devotion.
In his analysis of the 2018 midterm-election results, political journalist Ron Brownstein found many groups plagued by second thoughts about their support of Trump. But not ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Republicans used to shut down the federal government with the intention (generally) of curbing public spending. Donald Trump's GOP, in contrast, shuts down the federal government with the goal of constructing a continent-long wall of dubious utility that will require (by one estimate) three times the concrete poured in building the...Read more
WASHINGTON -- On no real evidence but with absolute certainty, I would submit that the defining emotion of our time is anxiety.
Some anxiousness, of course, is natural to a species whose ancestors were hunted on the savannah. But now the economy seems to manufacture it. Rapid cultural change encourages it. The media amplifies and monetizes it. ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- As Mueller time approaches, it is likely that President Trump's defense will consist of two phrases: "But that is not illegal" and "But that is not impeachable."
It is a strategy that prevails by the lowering of standards. Because Trump did not plot election fraud directly with Russian President Vladimir Putin by Skype, and ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Cleveland has written the latest chapter in the unfolding scandal of the American criminal justice system.
A report by the U.S. Marshals Service details a series of failures and abuses in Cleveland's jails: Overcrowding. Frequent lockdowns to make up for understaffing. Food denied as punishment. Pregnant inmates sleeping on the ...Read more
FLORENCE -- A tourist in Florentine museums is like a skipping stone above unfathomable depths. Here a Botticelli. There a Donatello. A single room at the Uffizi that would reward a lifetime of study gets five hurried minutes before lunch.
I have no intention of performing art criticism without a license (a capital offense here in Italy). But a...Read more
FLORENCE, Italy -- It was here in 1614 that Tommaso Caccini preached a sermon in the church of Santa Maria Novella denouncing Galileo and other scientists who held the heretical view that the Earth circles the sun. This was one of the main triggers that brought Galileo to the attention of the Inquisition.
There are many monuments to Galileo in ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- They wander the halls of public buildings and haunt receptions like the ghosts of the GOP past -- the cohort of Republican senators and House members who will be leaving office with the arrival of the new Congress. Some chose retirement because they did not want to do what is necessary to keep office in Donald Trump's party. Others...Read more
WASHINGTON -- All the talk about the attributes of this or that generation is usually overblown. But there is an exception when a cohort of young Americans shares a massive, overwhelming experience of depression or war. A certain view of their country is often formed and fixed.
This can be said of John F. Kennedy, the commanding officer of PT-...Read more
WASHINGTON -- President Trump recently tweeted: "Did you ever see an investigation more in search of a crime?"
It is usually a bad idea to raise a rhetorical question when the answer is both obvious and unfavorable. In the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, there are at least three offenses that could lead to indictment or ...Read more