The former president’s memoir is a mixed bag of inspiration and revisionism

The White House from Washington, DC, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

When Barack Obama was elected president, I was still in elementary school.

I had no knowledge of the contemporary political debates of Washington, nor the magnitude of the global crises unfolding. All I knew was that a historic candidate had won the heart of America.

Driven by a desire to scrutinize this segment of recent American history, I read Obama’s memoir with great interest. Admittedly, I finished it late (nearly five months after the book’s release), but the topics are so wide-ranging that I found it easier to metabolize the book in pieces.

The early chapters are full of detail-ridden…


The inhumane and counterproductive War on Drugs must end

On March 13th, 2020, Breonna Taylor was killed while the police were raiding her home under the pretense that her boyfriend possessed illicit drugs.

The officers — who had a “no-knock” search warrant — forced entry into the home, leading to the shootout that took Taylor’s life. The Supreme Court has established that police raids without announcement are constitutional, claiming that suspects might flee or destroy evidence because of “today’s drug culture”.

Even though no drugs were found in Taylor’s apartment, the drug policy of the United States is largely to blame for her death.

Protest in downtown Los Angeles / California Breaking News

Like many aspects of American…


Our collective delusion about success has harmful consequences

Razvan Chisu / Unsplash

Lately, I have been reflecting on my place in America’s socioeconomic landscape. Specifically, I am pondering why it is that a college-educated tutor like me can earn more money than the average American worker while laboring fewer hours.

The undercurrent of human nature desires to believe that one’s success comes from one’s talent, perseverance, intelligence, and overall “merit”. We consistently have a bias to overestimate the value of our own contributions. …


The Dr. Seuss outrage is the newest story, but it’s the oldest trick in the book

Max Sulik / Unsplash

This month, an intense national debate ensued over a rather trivial event: the decision by Dr. Seuss Enterprises to suspend six children’s books that “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong”.

Stories like this one highlight the evolution of America’s cultural norms, creating a discourse on where we draw the boundary lines in polite society. How do we respond when we view past words that are clearly insensitive but were once publicly tolerated (like Dr. Seuss describing Asian characters as “helpers who all wear their eyes at a slant”)?

It is a conversation in which reasonable people can…


To gain power, the Squad may need to borrow a few tactics from the Freedom Caucus

On Election Day 2010, the Republicans wiped out the Democrats in a historic fashion. The shift of 63 House seats was the largest in any election since 1948. President Obama stood in the East Room of the White House the next morning and called the midterm result a “shellacking”.

How did the GOP do it? A new wave of unapologetic right-wing ideologues traversed the country in firm opposition to all new taxation, gun control, healthcare reform, immigration, and cultural change. No doubt they channeled a degree of racial backlash to the first African-American president.

The class of GOP representatives elected in 2010 (Photo by Mark Wilson / Getty)

As freshmen in Congress, these new…


This is important legislation and needs to be discussed more often in the political press. Thank you for covering this issue!


Credit: MIT Sloan School of Management

When over two dozen Democratic presidential candidates launched their campaigns in early 2019, young entrepreneur Andrew Yang (who was polling below 1%) proposed a $1,000/month dividend to all American adults. At the time, the idea seemed about as likely to happen as the U.S. declaring war on Canada.

Fast forward to 2020: The pandemic and economic recession prompted widespread direct payments from the government for the first time in U.S. history. They were wildly popular and passed with bipartisan support.

Although the checks have been relatively small ($1200 last March, $600 last December, $1400 coming up), they represent the crossing…


The United States has the most powerful military in human history, and it’s not even close.

We spend more money on the military than the next 10 countries combined (seven of which are U.S. allies). We have about 50% of the world’s active aircraft carriers and nuclear warheads. Most shockingly, we have a total of over 800 military bases across 80 countries.

This absurdity was entirely foreseeable. In his 1961 farewell address, Dwight Eisenhower warned of the “military-industrial complex” — the link between profit-minded defense corporations and the politicians who give them contracts.

Sixty years later, the military-industrial complex is…


The news on Saturday of Donald Trump’s acquittal over his incitement of the Capitol riots should not have surprised anybody. Despite Trump’s guilt, the votes in the Senate for impeachment were never there.

Yet as I watched cable news this weekend, many liberal pundits seemed baffled at the cowardice of Mitch McConnell and his band of 43 GOP senators who acquitted the President. Others tried to lavish praise on the 7 Republicans who voted to convict, leaving out the unsettling reality that 86% of Senate Republicans and 93% of House Republicans voted to stand with Trump.

The explanation for the…


Journalists and casual political observers are noticing a major stylistic change in U.S. politics.

The Joe Biden presidency — barely three weeks old — has been marked by its contrast to the previous administration. No more late-night tweets, personal attacks, bizarre rallies, or public fights with the media. Fewer blatant falsehoods and less self-promotional salesmanship. In these ways, the new administration is limiting the spectacle of American politics.

This is intentional. Biden sold himself as the calm, unifying candidate who would help end a “dark era” of bitterness in Washington. …

Dean

Georgetown grad, avid educator. Writing clear, well-sourced political takes from a liberal perspective.

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