What Is Our Responsibility for Our Government’s Wars? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
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What Is Our Responsibility for Our Government’s Wars?

It’s easy to pin responsibility for war on political leaders or soldiers who commit the worst atrocities, from rape and torture to bombings of civilians and ethnic cleansing. But experts note that, because of technology and other factors, modern conflicts in particular “[blur] the lines among soldiers and civilians, winners and losers.” And the injuries that accompany war—moral as well …

What Do We Want From the Next L.A. Mayor? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
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What Do We Want From the Next L.A. Mayor?

Mayoral candidates in Los Angeles love to offer plans and make promises. But in L.A., City Hall is more likely to follow than to lead. Change here has always come from Angelenos themselves, and the ways we interact with each other and cope with the accidents, disasters, and ongoing challenges that define life in L.A. Before June’s first-round mayoral election, …

Will Americans Ever Be In This Together? with Heather McGhee | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
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Will Americans Ever Be In This Together? with Heather McGhee

From tax cuts and voting rights to healthcare and labor coalitions, middle- and working-class Americans frequently vote for politicians and support policies that go against their interests. The reason, argues economic and social policy scholar Heather McGhee, is racism. Prosperity and success, as the majority sees it, is a zero-sum game: Whatever benefits Black Americans, as well as immigrants and …

Can We All Live in the Best Version of Los Angeles? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
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Can We All Live in the Best Version of Los Angeles?

Food, art, culture, weather, beaches, mountains—and people, from all over the world and with a broad range of talents and dreams—make Los Angeles an amazing place to live. A homelessness and housing crisis, drought, traffic, inequality, and political dysfunction can make Los Angeles an impossible place to live. The county is home to areas with the lowest and highest rates …

Zócalo Presents: How Immigrants Composed L.A. | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
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A Special Zócalo Music Presentation: How Immigrants Composed L.A.

In 1933, Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg immigrated to the United States, settling in Los Angeles; he would spend the rest of his life writing music and teaching composition at USC and UCLA. Following him, in 1940, came Russian-born composer, pianist, and conductor Stravinsky, who settled in Hollywood after making the move from France. Then, in 1942, fellow Russian-born composer, pianist, …

Is This What Direct Democracy Looks Like? With Shirley Weber | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
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Is This What Direct Democracy Looks Like? With Shirley Weber

Direct democracy is supposed to be a people’s process, allowing everyday citizens to enact their own ideas for laws or constitutional amendments. But does California’s system live up to that promise? Qualifying a measure for the ballot costs so many millions of dollars that only the richest people and interests can bring their proposals forward. Elected and appointed officials have …