opinion

Ken Cuccinelli wants to be a poet. First he needs a history lesson
It’s easier to rewrite Emma Lazarus than face up to the past

Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, has spent his week revising poetry — and evading history, Curtis writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — It happened like clockwork. Every few weeks, especially in the winter months, when snowbirds traveled to my then-home in Tucson, Arizona, from parts north that included Michigan and Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois, a letter to the editor would turn up at the paper where I worked. With slight changes, it would go something like: “I stopped in a store and overheard some people speaking Spanish. Why don’t they speak English?”

It took a little bit of time and a lot of convincing to explain that the families of many of these folks had been on the land the new arrivals so expansively and immediately claimed for generations, in the state since before it was a state, which Arizona didn’t become until 1912. It also has the greatest percentage of its acreage designated as Indian tribal land in the United States. And would it hurt you to know a word or two of Spanish?

When we stop talking to each other, democracy dies in silence
Social media is valuable for our political discourse, but it‘s time to tone down the rhetoric

A protester takes photos in front of the White House at an anti-Trump rally in July 2018. The anonymity of social media and its reach are rapidly changing the country’s political environment and not for the better, Winston writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — What happens to a democracy when people stop talking to one another about what matters to them and the country?  When people are afraid to speak their minds because they fear the personal blowback likely to come their way? Or worse, when they come to believe that their concerns, their views and their values just don’t matter to anyone anymore, and so they “turn off and tune out,” to quote an old line?

What happens?  That’s when democracy dies. Not necessarily in darkness but in silence. 

The lessons of Toni Morrison: Words matter, now more than ever
Trump may be missing what America needs, but late author’s writings light a path forward

With the death of Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison, the world lost a giant when so many of our leaders are so small, Curtis writes. (Brad Barket/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — “Language alone protects us from the scariness of things with no names.”

Of course, that language from Toni Morrison perfectly suits this time, when the names we give the things that scare us hardly seem enough.

How about a crime bill for white people instead of black people?
Crimes that keep Americans up at night are no longer out of some scene from “Law & Order”

It’s time to pass a new crime bill for the mostly white, almost entirely male, population of mass shooters who are steadily transforming our country into a shooting range to make up for their own sick frustrations with life, Murphy writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — At nearly every Democratic presidential event I’ve been to this year, the candidates have talked about the devastating effects of the 1994 crime bill on the black community.

The legislation, which President Bill Clinton signed and Joe Biden, then a Delaware senator, pushed through the Judiciary Committee, was written as a response to an explosion in violent crime in urban areas across the country. In New York City, for example, there had been 2,245 murders in 1990. (There were 289 last year.)

Tobacco policy shouldn’t be one-size-fits-all
Premium cigars aren’t contributing to the rise in teen tobacco use so why should this niche industry be penalized?

Premium cigars do not pose the same health risks as other tobacco products, Pearce and Habursky write. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Tobacco policy is back again on the main stage of political discourse, thanks to the rise in youth usage of vaping and e-cigarettes. We recognize the need to address adolescent nicotine addiction prompted by this new popularity and the public health effects.

However, not all tobacco products are the same. Unequivocally, premium cigars are not part of this youth access issue. Data recorded by the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration in their Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health, or PATH, study asserts that the average age of people enjoying their first premium cigar is 30.

What did voters think of the Mueller circus? It wasn’t pretty
The media has weighed in ad nauseam. Now it’s the public’s turn

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler continues to claim the Mueller hearings were a win, but the latest polls show otherwise, Winston writes. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Well, the three-ring partisan circus also known as the Mueller hearings is over. The hours of testimony, and the hundreds of hours of media and political commentary leading up to the highly anticipated grilling, are in the history books. The days of analysis, most based on little but educated guesses, are thankfully in the rearview mirror.

A week later, the dust has settled and the political class has rendered their verdicts. Democrats declared victory. Many in the media, surprisingly, called it a disaster, while Republicans said it was time to move on. What we haven’t heard much about is what the American people thought of Jerry Nadler and Adam Schiff’s latest attempt to back up their claims of collusion and obstruction by the Trump campaign.

Biden vows to be less polite with Harris in Detroit debate. That won’t be enough
Ex-veep has to convince a changing party he’s the one to take them forward

Former Vice President Joe Biden needs to show the same fire and finesse onstage this week that California Sen. Kamala Harris did when she attacked him in their debate last month, Murphy writes. (Tom Williams/Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photos)

OPINION — Before Kamala Harris and Joe Biden were bitter rivals, they were friends. That much was obvious in 2017 on the day Biden, then the outgoing vice president, swore in Harris as just the second African American woman ever elected to the Senate.

“Promise me, when I’m no longer vice president, you won’t say, ‘Joe who?’” he joked to a dozen of Harris’s closest friends and family who had come to see her get sworn in. With everyone in happy laughter, Harris gave Biden a pat on the back, the way you might a kindly grandfather. “Why don’t we have a standing get-together for coffee?” she said. “You can tell me some stories and give me some advice.”

Pelosi’s problem with socialism is bigger than a 4-person ‘squad’
A red army of socialists has taken over her party. All 235 House Democrats will have to answer for it

Voters will hold all House Democrats accountable for their party’s radical socialist agenda, NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — My grandfather’s Democratic Party is officially dead.

The embrace of socialism has become the official stance of the Democratic Party and poses a direct threat to every American.

Is a blue city in a purple state having second thoughts about hosting a red convention?
Charlotte, site of 2020 GOP convention, condemns Trump’s “racist and xenophobic comments”

Charlotte saw green, not red or blue, when it bid for the 2020 Republican National Convention, Curtis writes. Now leaders and residents are having second thoughts. Above, Republicans celebrate their 2016 convention in Cleveland. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — CHARLOTTE, N.C. — When the Democratic National Convention hit town in 2012, the dancing traffic cop made headlines for his smooth moves and entertaining approach to law enforcement. The officer captured the party atmosphere of that event, leading up to the renomination of no-drama President Barack Obama for a second term.

City leaders and residents now look back at that time with nostalgia as they prepare for the Republican National Convention coming to town from Aug. 24-27 next year to renominate a president who is all drama, all the time — as chants of “Send her back” at a Trump rally in Greenville, North Carolina, earlier this month have reminded everyone of exactly what’s at stake.

‘Squad,’ impeachment enthusiasts leave Democrats in Trump districts to fend for themselves
As party lurches further left, the ‘Forgotten 31’ will likely pay the price

Democratic impeachment enthusiasts, including members of “the squad” are not doing their House colleagues in Trump districts, like New Mexico’s Xochitl Torres Small, any favors, Winston writes. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Sixty-three lawmakers from two House committees will question Robert Mueller on Wednesday. Thirty-seven Democrats and 26 Republicans will each get five minutes to drill the former special counsel over the contents of his 448-page report and the process he put in place to complete his mission.

But the number that is more important today isn’t any of these. It’s 31. That’s the number of congressional districts that voted for both President Donald Trump and a Democrat for the House. While Republicans may justifiably question the definition, these so-called moderate Democrats, who managed to win in Trump territory, were the bellwethers of what was a good election for their party in 2018. They may play the same role in 2020 but not if the current toxic political environment overwhelms their ability to claim middle-of-the-road ideological status again.