Recent History Commentaries

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Our Bitter Harvest
“Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this sun of York.” —Richard III, Act I, sc. 1 In March 1954, Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson spoke to a crowd of supporters about the poison that had infected much of the American public by a demagogic United States Senator. “We are witnessing the bitter harvest from the...
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May 20, 2022
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We Are Americans
Character is a word that’s rarely used today; rarer still is finding leaders who demonstrate character. But there are a few. Republicans Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, against their party’s wishes, chose to participate in an investigation into the causes of the January 6, 2020 insurrection. It takes character and courage to choose principle over politics. Where would we be...
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May 13, 2022
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Profiles in Courage
In 1877, Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar, a former distinguished Confederate officer, was the hugely popular Democratic Senator from Mississippi. So revered for his commitment to duty and integrity that a Washington reporter said of Lamar, “he would be a conspicuous personality anywhere, with a character and quality of his own.” Lamar was now faced with an impossible choice in the...
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April 26, 2022
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You Can’t Kill Ideas
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”— writer, philosopher George Santayana In simpler terms: People who don’t learn from their mistakes don’t grow up. People who shut out the truth about the past, the present or both remain trapped in their own fear. “In Oklahoma,” The New York Times reports, “a bill was introduced in the...
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April 8, 2022
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The Liberal Republican
Sometimes, those who have contributed mightily to their country slip below history’s radar. John Gilbert Winant was one of them. After serving two terms as the Republican Governor of New Hampshire, Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt tapped Winant to be the first head of the Social Security Board. While Republican colleagues called him “a Republican New Dealer,” Winant’s work so impressed...
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February 18, 2022
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Waiting for a Miracle
The “vaccine might be a killer,” a broadcaster warned. It’s “unchristian,” a local clergyman said. When Jonas Salk, physician-scientist, first developed a vaccine for polio, influential radio broadcaster Walter Winchell told his listeners not to take the vaccine because it “might be a killer.” Salk tested the vaccine in secret. The March of Dimes approved the results and a virus...
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February 11, 2022
The Walking Dead
“Common sense is not that common.”—Voltaire Embed from Getty Images Yup, it’s official, the Republican Party is dead! The party of Lincoln, Reagan, Eisenhower, George H.W. Bush, and God Love ’em, John McCain, is dead from the neck up. On Friday, the Republican National Committee censured (formerly condemned) Republican Representatives Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney who “chose to join Nancy...
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February 8, 2022
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At the Throat of American Democracy, Conclusion
“To meet the challenge of our times, so that we can later look back upon this era not as one of which we need be ashamed but as a turning point on the way to a better America, we must first defeat the enemy within.”—Robert F. Kennedy How close did we come to the end of American democracy on January...
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January 25, 2022
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At the Throat of American Democracy, Part 1
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. — George Santayana, American writer, and philosopher On the one-year anniversary of the January 6 insurrection, President Joe Biden made clear that “The former president of the United States of America has created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election. . . . [and] held a dagger at...
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January 18, 2022
Will We?
“I’m suggesting, Mr. President, that there’s a military plot to take over the government.” —Seven Days in May “People have got to understand the danger of President Trump and the danger that he posed on that day.” —Wyoming Republican congresswoman Liz Cheney Embed from Getty Images After the Cuban Missile Crisis, where America came within inches of a nuclear war...
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January 7, 2022