Next week, we'll be celebrating the 239th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The eloquent cries for freedom and equality voiced in that properly revered document have become what professors Sid Milkis and Marc Landy call the "American Creed." It's a belief that all of us have the right to do whatever we want with our lives so long as we don't interfere with the right of others to do the same.
Listening to the political junkies discuss the 2016 presidential election more than a year ahead of time is enough to depress just about anyone who has a life outside the political bubble. It will get even worse next year with the avalanche of civic pollution known as campaign commercials.
What sometimes seem like epic battles to reshape the world generally fade to irrelevance very quickly. To take just one recent example, 20 years ago the Justice Department was trying to break up Microsoft because the software giant was perceived as too powerful to be challenged by other firms. Today, of course, all the talk is of Google and Apple with Microsoft struggling to find a niche.
Political reporters seem to enjoy the game of politics far more than the substance of issues. But recent Supreme Court rulings on the president's health care law, campaign finance reform and other topics may force a fundamental issue into the 2016 election. Upcoming rulings on same-sex marriage, immigration and another health care case will add fuel to the fire.
American government - at all levels - is losing the legitimacy it needs to function. Or, perhaps, some segments of the government have already lost it.
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Happy Fourth of July!
Pop culture is a better indicator of the public mood than political talking points, so it's interesting to see how two top-rated and long-running CBS television dramas have recently dealt with the issue of inequality. They suggest it's a real issue, but not in the way politicians talk about it.
In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ended legal segregation in public schools with a unanimous 9-0 decision in Brown v. Board of Education. While the ruling paved the way for future integration of American society, the court itself was far from integrated. The decision was reached by nine white men.
Conservatives and liberals had entirely different reactions to the recent confrontation between Attorney General Eric Holder and Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert. After the event, Holder expressed his view that no previous attorney general or president had ever had to deal with such treatment and that the reason had to do with race. Gohmert, on the other hand, said he was just performing congressional oversight because he didn't think Holder was doing his job.
I am an optimist. I believe that America's best days are still to come and today's children will live a life far better than their parents and grandparents.
It was passed by Congress, signed by the president and upheld by the Supreme Court. But the individual mandate - a requirement that every American buy the kind of insurance deemed appropriate by the federal government - is being repealed by the American people.
The political community is abuzz about the growing possibility that Republicans might win control of the Senate this November. But little attention has been paid to a larger and more significant trend.
The standard media coverage of President Barack Obama's new budget claimed the proposals included $600 billion of budget cuts over the next decade.
The big story about the federal budget this week was the Republican Party's struggle to deal with raising the debt ceiling. Last year's big budget story was President Barack Obama and the Democrats coming to grips with the so-called sequester, a policy gimmick that modestly slowed the growth of federal spending.
The biggest threat to President Barack Obama's health-care law doesn't come from Republicans in Congress; it comes from people like Stacie Brown.
A theoretical listing of the best states put together by a publication for Washington insiders rates New Hampshire as the best state in the union, and finds that nine of the 10 worst states are in the American South.
Like toddlers who believe they are the center of the universe, many in official Washington whine about the fact the American people don't devote more time to studying politics and talking about the things that matter in our capital city.
Before President Barack Obama's health-care law was passed, Americans were frustrated that insurance companies had too much control over the medical care they received. Now, Americans are frustrated that the government has too much control.
During the holiday season, many reflect on finding the right balance in their lives. As a nation, we're in a season of searching for the right balance between individual freedoms and the role of government.