It seemed at times during last fall’s presidential election that the most crucial issue facing the nation was the price of prescription drugs for senior citizens. Besides indicating the importance of the over-65 voting bloc, the candidates’ focus on this issue revealed how limited political aspirations are these days, especially on health care.
With his astonishing mix of blarney and brilliance, personal empathy and political calculation, Bill Clinton could have walked off the pages of a southern novel. The revivalist language of repentance and redemption is second nature to him, but so too are the practices of “war room” politics.
In his late December decision to support the establishment of a permanent International Criminal Court, President Clinton did the right thing—though it was also a relatively easy thing. Most of the heavy lifting on behalf of the ICC treaty remains to be done.
A recent New Yorker cartoon showed one man sizing up another man in a clerical collar: “I see you’re a member of a faith-based organization.” We’re bound to hear a lot more public conversation about “faith-based organizations” during the presidency of George W. Bush.
The extraordinary presidential election ended not with a bang but with a legal whimper from the U.S. Supreme Court. The 5-4 decision in Al Gore v. George Bush was a mishmash, provoking four separate dissents and leaving legal scholars with many loose ends and citizens with lots of questions.
Thirteen nuns who were kidnapped from their monastery north of Damascus last December were released in March in an apparent exchange for prisoners held by the Assad regime. Despite this good news, Christians in Syria continue to be under siege. A jihadist group in the city of Raqqa gave local Christians an ultimatum: convert to Islam, pay a protection tax, or be killed. Although accurate numbers are hard to come by, one estimate says that 450,000 of the 2 million Syrian refugees are Christians. Syrian Christians who have fled their war-torn country report kidnappings, murders, ransacking of their shops, and pressure to convert (Christian Science Monitor, March 10).