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.
Texas Democrats fled the state to prevent a quorum after protesting SB 7, a voting protection bill that Democrats have criticized as being too restrictive.
Texas Democrats fled the state to prevent a quorum after protesting SB 7, a voting protection bill that Democrats have criticized as being too restrictive. [ SERGIO FLORES | Getty Images North America ]
Published Jul. 17

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 “We Are Two Nations, Divisible,” by Ed Kilgore in New York Magazine.

The context, from the author: While I do pray a benevolent God may keep us Americans from ripping one another apart over our political and cultural differences, it’s time to recognize that they are real, not contrived; deep-seated, not superficial; and an authentic reflection of divisions in our population, not an invention of manipulative elites, politicians, or the news media.

The excerpt: More likely, we are destined in the very near future to acknowledge and resolve our differences by choosing sides and having it out. That’s far healthier than denying those differences or blowing up the whole system to avoid defeat.

From “Leave the Billionaires in Space,” by Paris Marx in Jacobin.

The context, from the author: The space race playing out among billionaires like Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk has little to do with science — it’s a PR-driven spectacle designed to distract us from the disasters capitalism is causing here on Earth.

The excerpt: At a moment when we should be throwing everything we have into ensuring the planet remains habitable, billionaires are treating us to a spectacle to distract us from their quest for continued capitalist accumulation and the disastrous effects it is already having.

From “My Black Generation Is Fighting Like Hell to Stop the Whitelash,” by Elie Mystal in The Nation.

The context, from the author: It now appears likely that I will be part of the first generation of Black people to do worse than my parents and leave a crueler world for my children than the one I inherited.

The excerpt: I inherited a legacy of civil rights, a stone of freedom each Black generation since emancipation has pushed relentlessly through peaks and valleys towards the summit of equality, but mine will be the first generation to lose more ground than we’ve gained. We will leave our kids further from the promised land than our parents left us.


From “Forget Critical Race Theory. I Don’t Trust Elites to Teach Kids Basic Civics,” by David Harsanyi in the National Review.

The context, from the author: You have to laugh at the notion of Barack Obama — so antagonistic to individual rights, especially religious liberty — assembling a team that honors “all sides.”

The excerpt: We the People, a new Netflix show produced by Michelle and Barack Obama, “combines music and animation to educate a new generation of young Americans about the power of the people.” Like many other such efforts, the show confuses busybodyism with good citizenship, downgrading republican virtues and individual freedom while elevating dependency and statism.

From “The Danger Of Wokeness In Uniform,” by Douglas Macgregor in the American Conservative.

The context, from the author: The surrender to leftist ideology among military leaders endangers all Americans.

The excerpt: It would be wrong to suggest that today’s senior officers (three and four stars) are gold collar globalists. It would be more accurate to suggest that steadily rising defense spending combined with the absence of accountability for performance has devalued the importance of character, competence, and intelligence in the selection of senior officers. In addition, Washington has lots of revolving doors. Just as political appointees move from the defense industries or think tanks to and from the Pentagon, retired senior officers work or consult for defense contractors and sit on the boards of defense conglomerates. For appointees and retired senior military officers, the opportunity for self-enrichment is substantial.

From “Here Comes the Taliban,” by Brian Karem in The Bulwark.

The context, from the author: Let it be said plainly: President Joe Biden is willing to accept Taliban leadership in Afghanistan.

The excerpt: The president and his administration won’t plainly admit that they’re willing to accept the Taliban as the rulers of Afghanistan because that would raise the question of why we spent twenty years there. Admitting that also would taste too much like defeat — and the bile of Vietnam — as reporters noted during the Q&A with Biden. But Afghanistan is not Vietnam. There has been some sustained, though limited, stability in the country because of the United States. Afghanistan’s political leadership and armed forces now have to learn to take care of the country one way or another, because Uncle Sam the surrogate parent is heading for the exit.