Brown lost its balance yesterday. The healthy give and take between dissenting opinions and the ability to voice those opinions was disrupted during New York City Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly’s speech.
Without a doubt, Rhode Island’s two political stories of the summer were the two new verses in the long and meandering Ballad of Gov. Lincoln Chafee. First, in May, Rhode Island’s governor reaffiliated to the Democratic Party, giving Rhode Island its first unified party government since 1995. Then, scarcely three months later, in September, he announced that he would not be running for reelection in 2014. These surprises dramatically shifted the Rhode Island political landscape, sending pundits and operatives alike scrambling to make sense of a totally reinvented race for governor.
by DC, a Brown student from Turkey
A leader does not pass judgment on his people. On the contrary, a leader respects the uniqueness of each individual. It took me a long time to start writing this article. Every time I wanted to write something, I felt like it would not be enough to describe the atrocities that have been taking place in Turkey since May 31.
by Kevin Carty
There is a fascinating and far-reaching anxiety gripping America today. It is managing, counter-intuitively, to unite the libertarian Charles Murray, the liberal Chris Hayes, the dark comic Louis C.K, the communitarian Michael Sandel, the socially conservative Ross Douthat, the popular and ever-pertinent Lena Dunham, and sociologist Robert Putnam. It is expressed in many great books, a number of good articles, and a couple of amazing television shows. It is focused on an issue that is as opaque as it is essential to human flourishing, and it very well may prove itself to be the chief domestic challenge to America’s youngest generation.
Social media is understandably abuzz with the Supreme Court’s Wednesday decisions on same-sex marriage. Proponents of same-sex marriage are probably ecstatic. President Obama has released a statement claiming that the decisions have righted a wrong and that the country is better for it. CNN reports that the decisions are being hailed as an historic victory, which indeed they are to some degree. But it’s important not to be carried away with the implications of the high court’s decisions. The Supreme Court hasn’t offered cut-and-dried, broad rulings regarding the issue of same-sex marriage. The decisions are probably closer to a double than a home run, and their scope is more limited than it seems at first glance.
Ever since Gov. Lincoln Chafee reaffiliated from Independent to Democrat two weeks ago, his decision has been minced and analyzed from almost every angle. Some are hailing him as a kind of transcendent political genius who operates on a higher plane than the rest of us earthbound observers. Others say he’s doomed, no matter his affiliation.
They said he couldn’t do it. They said he was a hopeless romantic, dreaming the same way he had always dreamed throughout his career—with his head in the clouds and his feet in the air. He wanted too much from a political climate that budged too little. Governor Jerry Brown wanted to balance California’s budget. California: the Greece of the United States.
2013 has already been a watershed year for the same-sex marriage movement — the practice has been legalized in three states and is coming to a head in two others — but the tale of Rhode Island’s passage stands out from the two others in Delaware and Minnesota. Most commonly, the legalization of same-sex marriage is presented as a long march of progress followed by the triumphant bursting of the dam, but in Rhode Island it appears to have happened differently.
2013 was supposed to be the year America breathed a big sigh of relief from electoral politics, but there is no escape from the ever-turning wheel of democracy. Aside from a number of scheduled off-year elections, there are three upcoming special elections to fill vacated Congressional and Senate seats, in South Carolina, Missouri, and Massachusetts. One special election already occurred in Illinois in April, resulting in a win for Robin Kelly (D-Ill.)
After a prolonged legislative battle, Rhode Island has officially become the 10th state in the US to legalize same-sex marriage. Independent Gov. Lincoln Chafee, who made marriage equality a central tenet of his inaugural speech in 2011, signed the bill on the steps of the State House this past Thursday. He was joined by Speaker of the House Gordon Fox (D-Providence), the first openly gay Speaker of a U.S. state legislature; Sen. Donna Nesselbush (D-Pawtucket), the only openly gay member of the Rhode Island Senate; Rhode Island’s entire federal delegation; and many other guests.