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Author: Heather Cox Richardson

Writing an American story of hope: Our politicians often failed us but the American people did not

“Where can we find light in this never-ending shade?” America’s 22-year-old poet laureate Amanda Gorman asked today as she spoke at the inauguration of the 46th president of the United States: Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. For the past four years we have lived under an administration that advanced policies based on bullying; a fantasy of a lost, white, Christian America; and disinformation. We have endured the gutting of our government as the president either left positions empty or replaced career officials with political operatives, corruption, the rise of white supremacists into positions of power, the destruction of our international...

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Democracy is not a spectator sport: Americans have finally woken up but still have a lot of work to do

About a year ago, I wrote that 2020 would be the year that determines whether or not American democracy survives. And here we are. Our system has never lived up to its fullest potential, but until recently, its aspirations have driven us to fight to perfect it, guaranteeing everyone equality before the law and the right to a say in our government. The democracy that began as equality for a handful of the people in the new nation — just white men of property — expanded first to include poorer white men, and then immigrants, then African American men,...

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Life in Hell: A look back at the gift of moral damnation that Trump gave our imperfect nation

On January 20, 2017, Trump took the oath of office and gave his “American Carnage” speech describing America as a hellscape, and we were off to the races. Trump vowed he would smash norms and boundaries to “drain the swamp.” He filled positions in his administration with political operatives and appointed his son-in-law Jared Kushner to manage so many projects it would have been funny if it weren’t so deadly serious. The policies the administration advanced were usually hastily and poorly conceived; when the courts overturned them, Trump complained of “the Deep State.” Days after he took office, he...

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President-Elect Joe Biden outlines a new vision for America that reaches back to an older time

“Come Wednesday [ January 20 ], we begin a new chapter.” So said President-Elect Joe Biden on January 14 as he laid out a plan for a $1.9 trillion emergency vaccination and relief package to get the country through and past the coronavirus. The Trump administration created no federal program for the distribution of the coronavirus vaccine, leaving the nation woefully behind where we need to be to get our population vaccinated. And the virus is spreading fast. Since the beginning of January, we have had an average of almost 250,000 new cases a day of coronavirus, with daily...

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A clear and present danger: Would-be dictator impeached just days after Inciting Insurrection

At 4:22 on January 13, the House of Representatives passed the number of votes necessary to impeach Trump. In the end, 232 Representatives — 222 Democrats and 10 Republicans — agreed that the president had incited an insurrection and must be removed from office. But 197 Republicans disagreed. And so, Donald Trump makes the history books as the first president of the United States of America to be impeached twice. This is an indictment of him, of course, but also of the Republican Party that let him off the hook a year ago for undermining the national security of...

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Details emerge how Trump incited mob to lynch Vice President Mike Pence for not overturning election

More information continues to emerge about the events of January 6. They point to a broader conspiracy than it first appeared. Calls for Trump’s removal from office are growing. The Republican Party is tearing apart. Power in the nation is shifting almost by the minute. More footage from inside the attack on the Capitol is coming out and it is horrific. Blood on statues and feces spread through the building are vile; mob attacks on police officers are bone-chilling. Reuters photographer Jim Bourg, who was inside the building, told reporters he overheard three rioters in “Make America Great Again”...

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