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 outside his native Britain. But his apt phrase neatly justifies how much societies around the world today need more democracy—and more citizen engagement.

When democracies limit citizen participation to voting for political parties, we can blame our misfortunes on the politicians. Under such circumstances, we easily fall prey to demagogues who promise the earth, but who merely are in it …

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 …

It’s 2020. Do You Know Who Your Government Is Serving? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

It’s 2020. Do You Know Who Your Government Is Serving?

America Has Been Conflating Politics and Business for Years—And if We’re Not Careful, We Could Go the Way of Post-Soviet Eastern Europe

In broad daylight, dozens of masked police and plain-clothed strongmen burst into the foyer of the swanky Sofiyskiy Fitness Club. It was May 25, 2017, and the posh gym—located in …