Opinion

  • Life’s Brevity, Uncertainty, and Legacy

    On Monday, the Senate Chaplain Rear Admiral Barry Black, USN (Ret.) opened the Senate impeachment trial with a moment of remembrance for Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and the other souls lost in the helicopter crash last weekend in Los Angeles.  He said, “As millions mourn the deaths of Kobe and Gianna Bryant, and those who died with them, we think about life’s brevity, uncertainty, and legacy. Remind us that we … Read More

  • We’re All on Trial

    At some point in my misspent youth, I discovered the magic of films from Hollywood’s golden era. Somewhere between Academy Award winners like “Casablanca” and “The Best Years of our Lives,” I found a wartime musical with a thin story about a young soldier who met starlet Joan Leslie at the famed Hollywood Canteen. For people who might not know it, the Hollywood Canteen was an actual nightclub for service … Read More

  • It’s Up to Us

    The most important player in a republic like ours isn’t the president, it isn’t the speaker of the House, and it isn’t the chief justice of the United States Supreme Court.  It’s the citizen.  The citizen.  Whether she lives in a rural, farming community, or if he’s riding the subway to work in a skyscraper, each of us possesses a spark of sovereignty that collectively determines the direction of the … Read More

  • 2020: Civic New Year Resolutions

    The start of the new year always means crowded gyms and a run on exercise gear.  I do it, too.  I have my list of resolutions, things I want to do better in the year ahead.  But as I thought about my resolutions for 2020, I went beyond the gym to focus on some broader civic resolutions I want to make real in my life this year. Make sure I … Read More

  • The Enlightenment is at Stake, Too

    Earlier this week, a friend of mine sent me an article from Inc. magazine predicting that in 2020 liberal arts degrees would be popular among hiring managers.  The basic argument is that technology-heavy industries will need fewer and fewer coders as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning take those jobs first.  The expectation is that AI may be able to write computer programs, but it will have a hard time … Read More

  • 30 Years After the Fall of the Berlin Wall

    Last weekend, I found myself in my kitchen cooking dinner and humming a song from decades ago.  The German rock band “Scorpions” had a global hit in the song “Wind of Change” that may be my favorite “end of the Cold War” song.  I searched for the music video on my phone, and as I watched it, I was reminded that November 9th marks the 30th anniversary of the fall … Read More

  • Heroes

    Growing up, I watched more than my fair share of television.  One of my favorite diversions was a show I caught in syndicated re-runs long after it was out of production. “Baa Baa Black Sheep” was a fictional account of Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, the Marine Corps’ ace of aces in the Second World War, and his squadron, VMF-214—The Black Sheep.  The show got virtually everything wrong in the history of … Read More

  • Individuals of Honor and Good Intent

    When I was in high school, I kept a light-blue three ring binder full of quotes that inspired me.  It went to college with me, and grad school.  It’s moved every time I’ve moved since 1980-something.  At some point, I stopped adding quotes to it—the most recent entry being President George W. Bush’s address to the national prayer breakfast in 2001, not long after 9/11.  I don’t look at the … Read More

  • On Partisans and Truth

    On two separate occasions recently, I’ve heard variations of a critique: “Don’t be partisan,” someone said to me recently when I told him about a talk I’ve been asked to give in Washington next month.  “I’d like to share it, but it’s too partisan,” came from another friend who read a piece I wrote a couple weeks ago about the oath I swore to defend and uphold the Constitution.  In … Read More

  • The Real Meaning of “Deep State”

    One of the proudest moments in my life had no witnesses—at least none that I know personally.  On my very first day working on Capitol Hill, I reported to the Senate personnel office.  I think I was told to go down to complete some paperwork.  I signed a couple of documents, and then a clerk—I remember he wasn’t wearing his suit-coat—told me to raise my right hand.  I did, and … Read More