Outside Paradise, government will never be perfect. But that's no reason to give up
on it—any more than the fact that we can't love our children perfectly entails giving up on loving them as well as we can.
The most famous farewell addresses in the history of the American
presidency are those delivered by two of the greatest military leaders
to occupy the office: George Washington and Dwight Eisenhower. Both
warned of the threat that military power and its interests posed to the
In 1859, an 11-year-old Catholic boy, Thomas Whall, refused to recite the Ten Commandments from the King James Bible in a public school. McLaurin Cooke, an assistant principal, whipped Whall's hands with a rattan rod for 30 minutes. With his hands bleeding and swollen, the boy finally gave in. Police arrested Cooke, but a court dismissed charges of assault and battery.
To European visitors in the first half of the 19th century, Americans were like their newfangled steamboats: noisy, combustible, always on the move—and dirty. "I hardly know any annoyance so deeply repugnant to English feelings as the incessant, remorseless spitting of Americans," Frances Trollope reported.
Alex, a six-year-old boy from Scarsdale, New York, wrote to President Obama, asking him to send a Syrian refugee to live with his family. “We will give him a family, and he will be our brother,” Alex wrote. He told the president that he has a friend at school from Syria. In his request Alex was referring to five-year-old Omran Daqneesh, whose picture was widely circulated after he was rescued from his bombed-out house in Aleppo. The White House published Alex’s letter, and the president read it at a UN Summit on Refugees (Independent, September 22).