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Jim Verhulst - Editorial Writer
Here’s what to read from the left and the right | Column
Here’s some interesting commentary from the opposite poles of the political spectrum.
President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Published Jul. 5, 2020

We live in a partisan age, and our news habits can reinforce our own perspectives. Consider this an effort to broaden our collective outlook with essays beyond the range of our typical selections.

FROM THE LEFT

From “A Question That Won’t Go Away: Why Does Trump Love Putin So Much?” by David Corn in Mother Jones.

The context, from the author: Following the news that Russia put a bounty on U.S. troops, this old puzzle takes on new significance.

The excerpt: For years, Trump’s actions have spoken clearly: He’s really into Putin. With his refusal to decry Russia’s bounty program, Trump is once again standing by his man. Even though U.S. soldiers have been endangered by this alleged Russian operation, even though Trump’s own election prospects are further undermined by this revelation, Trump has so far declined to take any action that would threaten his prized relationship with Putin. It’s puzzling, but it’s not complicated. For at least seven years, Trump has wanted to be Putin’s BFF. Whatever the reason, Trump always puts Putin first.

From “Defund the Police. Then Soak the Rich,” by Ben Burgis in Jacobin.

The context, from the author: We absolutely need to defund the police and put the money in social services. To attack inequality and invest in poor and working-class neighborhoods of color, we need a massive increase in public spending. That means wresting resources from the rich.

The excerpt: As scholars like John Clegg and Adaner Usmani argue, part of the reason why elites opted for a more violent and aggressive regime of policing and incarceration several decades ago was that it was a cheaper way of managing the social ills caused by poverty than expanding the welfare state. Reallocating funds from the police departments that soak up so much of city budgets is absolutely necessary.

From “Trump’s Geriatric Race War,” by Jeet Heer in The Nation.

The context, from the author: In an aging America, the central question becomes what do retirees fear most: racial diversity or the pandemic?

The excerpt: Deliberately tweeted or not, the video of an elderly Trump supporter in a golf cart yelling “white power” is a potent distillation of our moment. Age and race are two major sources of political division, and they are intertwined. ... White Americans are much more likely to be senior citizens than are people of color. The political success of the Republican party and of Trump has come from exploiting the fears of older white Americans in segregated retirement communities when faced with cultural and demographic change.

FROM THE RIGHT

From “Beijing’s Putsch Against Hong Kong,” by the editors of the National Review.

The context, from the authors: Chairman Xi has now implemented a sweeping national-security measure aimed at destroying the democracy movement in Hong Kong. The unjust affront to human dignity must be named for what it is: an aggressive Communist advance against free people.

The excerpt: The United States also has a special obligation to stand up for Hong Kong. America has made Beijing richer and more powerful than it otherwise would have been, because it opened trade relations in the hope that treating China like a non-Communist nation would make it one. In the case of Hong Kong, China has demonstrated how its growing commercial power sets the cause of free trade against that of political freedom. The NBA’s suppression of criticism of China in the United States is just a foretaste of what is to come if Beijing is allowed to play this game.

From “Tucker Carlson: Leader Of The Opposition,” by Rod Dreher in the American Conservative.

The context, from the author: I was never a fan of Trump rallies, but watching Tucker Carlson’s nightly monologue (when it goes online; I don’t have cable) has become must-see TV. There’s a reason this guy has the No. 1 cable news show in America. If you’re a conservative, especially if you’re a conservative demoralized by and disgusted with the Republican Party these days, Tucker is the place to go to keep your spirits high.

The excerpt: The future of the Republican Party is being worked out every night in the first segment of Tucker Carlson Tonight. ... As Trump fades, Tucker Carlson is taking what was good and true in Trump’s critique, and carrying the flag into battle. He’s going to be a kingmaker in Republican politics. Who knows? He might even one day be the king.

From “Why I Just Became An American Citizen, And Still Have Hope For The Future,” by Joshua Lawson in The Federalist.

The context, from the author: I waited 12 years to finally become a U.S. citizen. Don’t listen to her external or internal foes. America is still the greatest country in the world.

The excerpt: So, to those who disparage America: Why do so many risk imprisonment attempting to live illegally in a place so rotten? Or, why do so many spend decades and thousands of dollars to try to legally join an “unfair” or “racist” country? I can’t speak to the exact individual motivations of any immigrant other than myself, by I’m confident millions of people across the globe want a better life in America because it is an exceptional nation built on an idea that has been a beacon of hope for centuries.