What Riding Trains Taught Me About Americans

Rail Travel Induces a Reverie and Intimacy Among Its Diverse Passengers

Amos, a one-legged Amish man, was having trouble with his new prosthesis. He left the leg in his sleeping compartment and came to the diner on crutches—a hazardous ambulation on a moving train.

Because Amish do not buy health insurance nor take Medicare or Social Security, he rode The Southwest Chief from Chicago to California and went to Mexico to see a doctor. He paid cash for the leg in Tijuana.

“A van picked us up at border and took us to a clinic,” he told me. “They have everything down …

More In: Americans

Trump Is Right That the System Is “Rigged”—and He’s Stacking It More

Average Americans Are Losing Power While Self-Serving Elites Lose Public Trust

Pundits nearly always attribute Donald Trump’s success to right-wing “populism.” This conclusion is dangerously misleading. Trump’s rise is rooted firmly in his ability to make an old-fashioned word—“rigged”—work in surprisingly …

Are Americans Fully Committed to Democracy?

The Best Form of Government Is Only as Strong as the People and Patterns of Behavior That Defend It

Among the many different forms of government, democracies are unique in the extent to which their stability depends on legitimacy—a belief on the part of the public that the system …

Winning Freedom From Guantánamo With Forbearance and Trust

In the Shadow of Torture and Isolation, an American Lawyer and an Afghan Prisoner Bond Over Melted Mocha Ice Cream

I first visited Obaidullah at Guantánamo Bay in the spring of 2009. Before that first meeting, all I knew were the disturbing accusations against him, that he had fired his …

Americans Mostly Kill the Ones We Know

For All the Media Obsession With Mass Shootings, Homicides in the U.S. Are Most Often About Familiarity and Contempt

Turn on your television in the coming months, and you will see and hear just how much Americans fear strangers and guns.

Yet when it comes to violent crime, especially …