Why Social Distance Can Be Good for Democracy

Making Space to Reflect on Others' Beliefs and Our Own Makes Us Better Citizens

I wrote my new book in lockdown from a socially distanced corner of my home. That might seem an odd perch from which to write about citizenship, but it taught me something important.

We tend to think that democracy happens only in groups. To see what I mean, search for images of this is what democracy looks like. Unsurprisingly, you’ll get thousands of photos of masses of people, gathered in public to express a common political sentiment. Because of course democracy needs active citizens who stand ready to make their collective …

The Secret to Making Democracy More Civil and Less Polarized | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Secret to Making Democracy More Civil and Less Polarized

When Citizens Get to Decide Big Questions for Themselves, They Act More Responsibly Than Their Politicians

“When you take responsibility away from people you make them irresponsible,” proclaimed English politician Sir Keith Joseph almost half a century ago.

Sir Keith might not be a household name …

This Period of Crisis Can Help Lead Us ‘Closer to the Good’ | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

This Period of Crisis Can Help Lead Us ‘Closer to the Good’

From Studying Ancient Wisdom to Learning From Modern Emergencies, We Have the Tools to Be Better 

The final Zócalo/University of Toronto The World We Want event, “Can We Still Find the Good in the World?,” delved into a wide-ranging discussion of what finding the good in …

From Cleopatra to Clinton, Politics Is Never Out of Style | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

From Cleopatra to Clinton, Politics Is Never Out of Style

Fashion Is a Powerful Tool of Communication—And One Ripe for Leverage

Back in 2008, Michelle Obama was scheduled to be a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno right after campaign finance reports revealed that Sarah Palin’s new wardrobe, priced …

What the Remarkable Transformation of One Georgia County Means for America | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

What the Remarkable Transformation of One Georgia County Means for America

Gwinnett County Is a Testament to the Political Power of 'a Racially and Culturally Diverse Group' of New Suburbanites

Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia was surely the most surprising red state flip in the 2020 presidential election. Exploring the strikingly rapid transformation of Gwinnett County, the state’s largest suburban …

How a Charismatic Populist Destroyed Christmas | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How a Charismatic Populist Destroyed Christmas

One Hundred Years Ago, Italian Nationalists Went to War With Their Own Country, Bringing the Border City of Fiume a ‘Christmas of Blood’

In 1920, in a small town outside Turin, Italy, 17-year-old Luigi De Michelis was everything his middle-class parents could have asked for. His teachers liked him, which was important to …