Opinion: The Commandments According to Roy Moore Take a Hit
Pride goes before a political trouncing — and the more humble man goes to Washington

In the Alabama Senate race, both sides went to church — Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones took their appeals to their faithful, which, for the most part, worship the same God but came to wildly different electoral conclusions.

On Tuesday, Jones won. The miracle of a Democrat winning a statewide race in deep-red Alabama actually happened. It was not the divine intervention Moore had prayed for, perhaps pointing out the danger when you so shamelessly use the word of the Lord to divide.

Opinion: The Need for a Royal Distraction on This Side of the Pond
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle offer relief from White House and congressional dysfunction

Though it was heresy in some quarters at the time, I cared not one whit when Prince Charles took Lady Diana Spencer as his bride — and yes, it was pretty much him choosing her as a suitable spouse. I did not indulge in the ritual some Anglophile friends bragged about, setting clocks to wake up to view the 1981 spectacle in real time while nibbling on some British-like snack.

I did not care about the carriage, the bridal party or the design of the wedding dress. These were folks with a guaranteed income, home and life, and I had more serious concerns.

Opinion: Will Tax Bill Open Church Doors Wider Still for Politics?
Knocking down the Johnson Amendment would cheapen America’s pluralism

A place of worship has never been completely clear of politics in America. But that physical and spiritual space for contemplation and reflection may grow smaller still, and moments without intrusion from the bitterness and division in the world could grow shorter.

Tucked into the House version of the tax plan that Republicans dearly crave as “a win” is a provision that would remove a check on places of worship — churches, synagogues and mosques — and some nonprofits. The in-danger Johnson Amendment of 1954, one with more intent than teeth, supposedly prohibits pastors and other faith leaders from endorsing or opposing political candidates from their perches of religious authority or risk losing their tax-exempt status.

Opinion: When Holiday Values Meet Policy, It May Be Awkward
From Roy Moore to immigration, there’s plenty of food for thought this holiday season

Just as the generosity of Angel Tree donations and turkey giveaways clash with the kill-or-be-killed stampede of folks looking for a Black Friday bargain, the warm holiday greetings lawmakers disseminate this time of year might strike a dissonant cord when compared to the current policies and politics coming out of Washington.

Pre-holiday news has included a tidal wave of charges and accusations of sexual harassment and sexual assault, with some lawmakers preferring to view the stories of women and some men through a lens of partisan politics rather than right and wrong — surely not a positive lesson for the kids gathered around the turkey.

Opinion: Remembering Recy Taylor and the Too Familiar State of Alabama
The Yellowhammer State has real heroes. Why Roy Moore?

In “The Rape of Recy Taylor,” a recently released documentary, you see the face of bravery. It is Recy Taylor, the 24-year-old African-American — a wife and mother of an infant daughter — kidnapped in 1944 by a carful of young white men, some the sons of the “respectable” leaders of Abbeville, Alabama, where they all lived. A gun held to her head, she was blindfolded, driven to a remote spot and violated in unimaginable ways. She escaped being killed by promising to keep quiet.

But she did not keep that promise.

Opinion: Will 2018 Midterms Follow Scorched-Earth Playbook?
Look to lessons from 2017

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – It was a nice little mayor’s race in the largest city in North Carolina, considering that Charlotte has gone through a lot of mayors (seven) in the past nine years. And that’s even taking into account Democratic incumbent Jennifer Roberts losing, in the primary, her chance to defend her spot because of her part in a “bathroom” bill that labeled the state in all the wrong ways and her handling of protests that turned violent after a police-involved shooting.

But all that aside, the scorched-earth campaign between two mild-mannered city council members competing to move into the mayor’s office was a bit unexpected. It reached a heated crescendo with a digital ad from the N.C. Values Coalition, which supported Republican Kenny Smith. The ad said Democrat Vi Lyles “is Jennifer Roberts” and featured an ominous voice-over, a man entering a bathroom to the frightened chagrin of a girl already claiming the space, scenes of rioting and the image of comedian Kathy Griffin holding a blurred severed head.

Opinion: Did Everyone in the White House Take a Nap During History Class?
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly wrong to repeat “Lost Cause” mythology

In forward-looking America, history is sometimes regarded as a roadblock to progress, a nuisance. And that, as has been repeatedly proven, is a mistake.

Why look back when the future is so important? Well, because failure to do exactly that has consequences.

Opinion: When the Price Is Too High to Be an American
While military families grieve, Trump and Kelly disparage and disrespect

 

If I had been in that briefing room when White House Chief of Staff and retired Gen. John Kelly stated that only journalists who had a personal connection to a fallen soldier were allowed to ask a question, I could have raised my hand. But that would have cheapened the memory of a Marine, my beloved nephew, treating his life and death as currency in an unholy transaction.

Opinion: Working Around Trump on Issues That Matter
Reaching for compromise, change seekers are tuning out the president

The kiss-and-make-up press conference with President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was one of the most awkward dates in the history of, well, dates, as my Roll Call colleague Walter Shapiro pointed out. They need each other, sure, but will tax cuts be the glue to hold intermittent and shaky truces together for any length of time?

Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Rand Paul of Kentucky looked to stay on Trump’s good side over genial rounds of golf, but they’d better not relax. All it takes is a bit of criticism, and the president shows that the loyalty he demands goes only one way. They need not reach all the way back to the personal insults of last year’s GOP primary race for proof.

Opinion: In a Culture War, American Values Lose
Nation’s top leaders have already picked a side

Over the weekend, a group of white nationalists returned to Charlottesville, Virginia, faces proudly uncovered and tiki torches in hand, with a message of division.

White supremacist leader Richard Spencer said to applause, “You are going to have to get used to white identity” — and warned of more to come.

Opinion: When Silence Says Everything
Elected officials are not about to take a stand

The parable of the frog being boiled alive — with the poor creature jumping out immediately if the water is red hot, but, if the heat is cranked up slowly, not realizing its plight until it’s too late — may not be based on science (so don’t try this on little Croaky). But in politics, sweating officials are still doing the backstroke.

Americans are becoming used to abhorrent events, shocked, and wondering if anything can be done to make things better. After every man-made or natural disaster, or every statement from a leader that crosses the line, we wonder if the water will ever be hot enough to get a rise out of those in charge. So we do the best we can.

Opinion: The Language of Diplomacy, Democracy — and Division
Trump’s last thought is bringing people together

“He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured,” then long-shot candidate Donald Trump said in 2015 of Sen. John McCain’s service and time as a prisoner after his plane was shot down by North Vietnamese troops in 1967. It was a quote that many thought would end Trump’s White House dreams.

That it did not slow the Trump train was a clear sign that something fundamental was broken in America’s definition of what it means to be a patriot.

Opinion: In Reaching for Deals, Will Parties Overlook Certain American Voices?
Lawmakers shouldn’t ignore divisive or unpleasant issues of justice and race

“He likes us,” Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer said of his fellow New Yorker Donald Trump last week. This was after “Chuck” joined “Nancy” — House Democratic leader Pelosi from California — in a White House gathering that resulted in a deal on DACA reform, unless it didn’t.

Whatever the interpretation of what happened during that chummy get-together, and there was a different one for every person who attended or heard about it first, second or thirdhand, the president reportedly reveled in the relief of positive headlines that followed.

Opinion: The Terror Within — Those Who See Danger in Diversity
Focus should be on bringing America together

It was a stirring message of unity. On Monday, 16 years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on American soil that saw planes flown into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, and brave passengers divert one into a Pennsylvania field, President Donald Trump honored the memories of the dead and the heroics woven through the actions of so many.

At a 9/11 commemoration ceremony at the Pentagon, Trump recalled that moment: “On that day, not only did the world change, but we all changed. Our eyes were opened to the depths of the evil we face. But in that hour of darkness, we also came together with renewed purpose. Our differences never looked so small, our common bonds never felt so strong.”

Opinion: A Veteran Takes on a House Incumbent — and Other N.C. Political Tales
One candidate is ‘REPUBLICAN & SMART, WHITE, TRADITIONAL’

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Purplish-red North Carolina is hard to figure out. That may be why national eyes tend to watch local, state and federal races for clues of political trends, particularly whether or not the Donald Trump phenomenon is fading. Or perhaps it’s just the state’s unpredictability and the entertainment value of its outsize personalities who make news, even when they wish they had not.

Take the long-shot candidate in Charlotte’s upcoming mayoral primary. While it’s pretty certain that city council member Kenny Smith will be representing the Republicans in the November election against one of the Democrats fighting it out, one GOP candidate, Kimberley Paige Barnette, earned a rebuke from her state party when, on social media, she listed her qualifications as being “REPUBLICAN & SMART, WHITE, TRADITIONAL.” In a race that has drawn national money and will probably still turn out an embarrassingly low number of voters, it managed to be a lowlight.

Opinion: The Rule of Law, the Role of History
What happens if Arpaio runs with Trump’s backing?

It was as predictable as clockwork. When I worked at a newspaper in Tucson, Ariz., the letter would arrive or the phone would ring and the message would be filled with outrage and surprise. Imagine being in a store or on the street and hearing two or more people having a conversation — in Spanish.

The spanking new desert denizen— just arrived from Michigan or Minnesota or somewhere else where it got cold in the winter — could not understand a word and this is America, right?

Opinion: A Partial Eclipse of Bad News
Celestial event didn’t blot out Confederate statue stain

It’s hard to be mad at the neighbor you don’t know when both of you and everyone else are wearing goofy glasses and looking skyward. That was America in the grip of eclipse-mania, when people who may not have had one thing or opinion in common gathered in common spaces to be transfixed and transformed.

Maybe it was the reality that there is something, a universe, greater than all of us — and all you can do is give in to the majesty. For those few minutes and the days leading up to them, scientists, as unlikely as it seems, were kings. The kind of educated folks whose findings on everything from climate change to the effects of pollution have been disparaged and disputed were the experts, featured on news shows for perhaps the first and only time in their lives.

Opinion: Saying ‘Not Trump’ Is Not Enough for GOP
Time to embrace Abraham Lincoln again

When Donald Trump is the bad cop, everybody can be the good cop.

Republicans lawmakers looked good by comparison over the weekend after a Charlottesville, Virginia, protest turned violent, just by calling out white supremacists and uttering the words “domestic terrorism” — something the president was never able to do.

Opinion: Will Move to Purge Ohio Voting Rolls Kickstart Congressional Action?
Justice Department no ally on civil rights issue

Fifty-two years ago this week, John Lewis of Georgia was a young activist, not the Democratic congressman he is today. Yet he got a warmer welcome from the then-president of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, than from today’s occupant of the White House.

On the Twitter feed of the longtime member of the U.S. House of Representatives, you can see a picture celebrating that time a few decades ago, when, with Democratic and Republican support, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed and then signed.

Opinion: Trump’s Ratings Hold Steady, but Is He Losing Key Groups He Needs to Stay on Top?
Military, law enforcement and GOP stalwarts now questioning the star

“You’re fired!” was the reality show refrain of the now president of the United States, Donald Trump. So when, on the campaign trail, candidate Trump said, “I alone can fix it,” with “it” meaning whatever was ailing the country and each one of its citizens, it was easy to for someone looking for answers to transfer his my-way-or-the-highway TV decisiveness to Oval Office success.

Could “The Apprentice” boss have bought into his own hype on the way to the White House, forgetting the behind-the-scenes writers and producers, and the reality of life after the director yells, “Cut”?