The shootings in Arizona have shaken us to the core. Facts are still coming in and we must be cautious in jumping to conclusions. What we do know, as I wrote in my column for the WashingtonPost.com, was that the rampage was "an armed assault on citizens gathered to exercise the most precious of American rights—the right to free speech and assembly." Violence that targets citizens while practicing these most fundamental rights is one of the greatest threats to democracy. On the day of the attack, Senior Editor Richard Kim argued, "Everyone who seeks to engage the political process has been hurt today."
In the wake of this tragedy, The Nation has provided thoughtful analysis and coverage from a range of voices and perspectives. Columnist Melissa Harris-Perry wrote a powerful piece, "An Open Letter to My Students" in which she reflects on how, for years, she has encouraged her students to become politically active and run for public office—and her fear that she has not adequately discussed the potential dangers. "I am asking you, even now, to be brave enough to believe that we can be a better country," writes Harris-Perry. Ari Berman is hopeful as well, applauding Obama’s speech on Wednesday in his blog "In Arizona, Obama Appeals to Our Better Angels." And Katha Pollitt dedicated her column in this week’s issue to a discussion on the shooter’s use of the Glock 19, arguing for more sane gun laws in her piece, "Jared Loughner’s Glock: Weapon of Mass Destruction."
WIKILEAKS: Greg Mitchell, Live-Blogging for 50 Days
WikiLeaks coverage has waned in recent weeks—but The Nation‘s Greg Mitchell continues to blog daily on new revelations. Sunday marks the fiftieth day since the WikiLeaks release of diplomatic cables, and Mitchell’s blog is THE one-stop site for all you need to know to keep up with news and views about WikiLeaks. Check out his post from this morning here, and remember, he’ll continue to live-blog into the seventh week so check back for more.
NEW BOOK: Kabuki Democracy
Last July, columnist Eric Alterman published a piece, "Kabuki Democracy: Why a Progressive Presidency Is Impossible, For Now," that garnered much attention and sparked a lively debate. Now, Alterman has released a book that began on the pages of The Nation. In Kabuki Democracy: The System vs. Barack Obama, Alterman explores why President Obama has been unable to deliver on the promise of his 2008 campaign. He argues that while Obama’s compromises have disappointed many of his supporters, his failure is primarily due to a political system that stymies democracy and progressive change. Take a moment to listen to Alterman discuss his book on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show here.
INTERVIEW: Russ Feingold
This week’s issue features John Nichols’s interview with Senator Russ Feingold, conducted just minutes after Feingold finished his service as a senator. Nichols calls Feingold "a different kind of senator" one who "intends to embrace the role of citizen reformer, continue challenging corporate power and play a part in renewing and extending the progressive movement." When Nichols asked what progressives should do now, Feingold responded:
To me, the whole face of the country—whether it be the government, the media, agriculture, what happens on Main Street—has become so corporatized that the progressive movement is as relevant as it was one hundred years ago, maybe more so. It’s the same issues. It’s just that [corporate] power, because of money, international arrangements and communications, is so overwhelming that the average person is nearly helpless unless we develop a movement that can counter that power. I know we’ve all tried over the years, but this is a critical moment. We need to regenerate progressivism and make it relevant to what’s happening right now. But there’s no lack of historical comparison to a hundred years ago. It’s so similar; the only real difference is that corporate power is even more extended. It’s the Gilded Age on steroids.
Nichols also asked Feingold to elaborate on his thoughts on a primary challenge to President Obama:
I’m not one who believes that a primary challenge that would weaken him in a serious way is a good idea. Now, I understand some people are of the opinion that a challenge would strengthen him; but I’m a little bit skeptical. I look at these Republican candidates [laughs] and I know pretty well who I want to be president. You know, this is serious business, when you see what these people [Republicans] want to do. You give them a president, and we are really in trouble.
Be sure to read John Nichols full interview with Russ Feingold in this week’s issue of The Nation or online here.
GUEST-BLOGGER: Nancy Goldstein
We’re excited to add Nancy Goldstein to TheNation.com, where she began a guest-blogging stint on Tuesday. Nancy was the winner of the blogging round in The Washington Post’s recent "Next Great Pundit" contest. Already she has tackled issues such as justice for Bush’s torture memo team in Spain and Sarah Palin’s death threat claims. Check out her newest blog here.
Lastly, don’t forget to check back weekly to watch a new installment of The Nation‘s new weekly video series with On the Earth Productions, "Peak Oil and a Changing Climate." This week’s segment features Richard Heinberg, senior fellow with the Post Carbon Institute, discussing how depleting oil supplies threaten the future of global economic growth. Watch that video here.
As always, thanks for reading. I’m on Twitter—@KatrinaNation—and feel free to leave your comments below.