What Would Society Look Like Without Police? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

What Would Society Look Like Without Police?

All over the world, law enforcement violence and corruption have reignited anti-racism movements that seek the reform and defunding of police—or even their outright abolition. Advocates of defunding the police say it would open up possibilities for addressing social challenges, from improving mental health and developing more sustainable neighborhoods and economies, to repairing the damage from centuries of discrimination and …

| Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Can Innovation Really Solve Society’s Problems?

Since World War II, the United States has famously funded research to advance all fields of science and innovation. The resulting wave of discovery and knowledge has benefited Americans by creating new disease-fighting drugs, increasing economic productivity, and sparking an information revolution through advances like the internet and GPS. Yet not everyone has benefited from innovation equally, and our society …

Why Is It So Easy To Get Away with Murder? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Why Is It So Easy To Get Away with Murder?

If you commit murder in the United States, there’s a 40 percent chance you’ll get away with it. That shocking statistic belies other realities; you have better than even odds of getting away with murder if you kill people who are poor, powerless, or non-white, or if you do your murdering in less wealthy and developed places. Why are Americans …

How Much Can Californians Expect Of Our Leaders In Crisis? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How Much Can Americans Expect Of Our Leaders In Crisis?

The United States is beset by crises—from the pandemic to climate change, and from policing to our toxic politics. And no American place has more experience with crisis than California, and no American politicians have dealt with more disasters than its politicians. What can we reasonably expect from our leaders when crisis strikes? What lessons do previous crises—giant recessions, earthquakes, …

What Do We Do Now? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

What Do We Do Now?

“What do we do now?” asks Robert Redford at the end of The Candidate, the 1972 political satire that ends in an election upset—and existential despair. After a presidential election defined by an international pandemic and rampant misinformation and a post-election period that seems destined to be marked by bitterness and conflict, America must ask itself the same plaintive question. …

Are American States Better at Protecting Human Rights Than the U.S. Government? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Are American States Better at Protecting Human Rights Than the U.S. Government?

The conventional American narrative since the civil rights era has been that states tend to violate our rights, and the federal government intervenes to protect people. But much of American history runs the other way, offering numerous examples of states acting to protect the rights of their people—notably Indigenous peoples, African Americans escaping slavery, and undocumented immigrants—from federal authorities. What’s …