To Make Families Good for Democracy, Broaden the Notion of Family Itself

An Insular Focus on Our Closest Relations Can Distort Our View of One Another and the World

Since at least the time of Aristotle’s Politics, families have been considered the building block of society. Strong families produce the stability—and reproduce the future citizens—needed for society to flourish.

But the inverse can also be true. When members of insular nuclear families lose understanding and empathy for those unlike them, the family can threaten liberal democracy itself.

This threat intensifies when citizens feel left behind, economically or otherwise. When a family’s own economic survival appears to hang in the balance, voters can ignore the interests or rights of groups of …

How the Memory of a Handshake Helps Put Tragedy in Perspective

The Overwhelming Stream of Depressing News From Around the Globe Makes Personal Connections Even More Meaningful

After mass shootings and other random acts of violence, the media responds in patterns all too familiar—heart-breaking accounts of the loss, a search to understand why (as if that answer …

To Start Talking, Stop Texting

Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age

Text messages can make us feel constantly connected to the people we care about. But texting, and the ubiquitous presence of our phones, can also have the opposite effect. Who …

My First Great Love Hates My Guts

I Fear That His Judgment of Me Is True

The first time I thought someone might actually hate me, I had just received an email from my first boyfriend, three years after we broke up. He was replying to …

To My Dear and Loving Husband

If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee;
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me ye women …


To be understood words are objective
yet we understand them subjectively.
When Willa Cather writes, “The long main street
began at the church, the town seemed to flow
from it …