Underlying all the media focus on the cardinals' selection of a new pope, and the predictable focus on personality over meaning, was a much greater struggle between tradition and reform, conservatism and progress. That struggle mirrors politics in America and most western democracies.
It is my right to exercise free speech and it is the government's duty to uphold that right. So, what are my minimum duties as an American to my government, my nation, and my fellow citizens, and how do I know those are my duties?
For the second time in little over a year, the Obama Administration has made a pre-emptive offer to change the formula for adjusting Social Security's Cost of Living Adjustment formula as part of a "Grand Bargain." What is at stake?
Some think we should let the Democrats and Republicans continue their ruinous policies of selling out the American people to Big Business. I can't in good conscience let that happen, so let me explain why 2014 will be the year we see at least one Independent in the House.
To my Muslim friends, I respectfully suggest that life will improve for Muslims in Palestine and Pakistan, and for all of us in America, the day that thousands of American Muslim families show up at Disney World all wearing green t-shirts.
President Obama won because for the first time Democratic voters felt the same driving passion that has been motivating the Republican right since Reagan's first win in 1980: pure fear and disgust at where the country would be headed if (in this case) Romney and Ryan won.
After last night's election, secular Americans can do things they haven't done in years: They can celebrate. They can feel a smidgen optimistic about the future of their country. And they can stop prattling on about repatriating to Canada.
I wonder if most parents would be proud if their children interacted the same way at school during passionate disagreements about playground life as their parents do during passionate disagreements about politics?
There are clear choices in the 2012 election, but precious little vision. Our political dialogue is about debt, deficits, taxes and emotionally felt peripheral issues. We don't talk any more about what would constitute a good and just society and how to achieve it.
Those who do not see any personal benefit to paying taxes to help those in need frequently also have lots of money to invest in political outcomes. Does anyone honestly believe that the numerous groups of poor have the resources to change this reality?
Buried underneath the heap of controversy caused by that pesky 47% video sits an equally revealing tidbit from last week's news cycle: Mitt Romney prefers Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi to Alana "Honey Boo Boo Child" Thompson.
Like Wisconsin, America at large is bitterly at odds with itself. A starting point for recovering our national community is to acknowledge that we all, whichever side we're on, face the same question: What kind of country do we want to live in?
Anyone who knows Pakistan knows that it's simplistic to chant (like the sheep in Animal Farm), "Civilians good, military ba-a-a-ad." But it's also true that a military takeover is not only far from out of the question, but likely only to make things worse. So where can we look for leadership?