Happy Fourth of July weekend! Do you have any special plans? Do they include watching the cinematic classic Independence Day? I’m cheating a little bit, because I went back and read my newsletter from last year, and I also referenced the movie because the speech by Bill Pullman’s President Thomas Whitmore gets me every time. It’s corny, but it’s a reminder that our freedom is precarious, that it’s necessary to come together to fight for it, and that we should be grateful that we live free of tyranny.
I’m feeling particularly grateful this week, for one simple reason. It was probably the most “normal” week I’ve experienced in the last 16 months. I went to the gym three times, hit the neighborhood pool a few days, and on Thursday night we went to a Cincinnati Reds game. They were playing the San Diego Padres and our 14-year-old wanted to see their dynamic young shortstop, Fernando Tatis Jr.. The Reds won on a walkoff single in the bottom of the ninth, but that wasn’t the best part. Okay, it was the best part. But what was almost as awesome is that there was a good crowd. And we didn’t have to sit 10 feet from other fans. I’m guessing the family sitting next to us might have preferred that after our 12-year-old got up about four times to go to the bathroom, but … normalcy is a good thing.
The pandemic was not entirely unlike an alien invasion, if you can indulge the slightly tortured analogy. It came out of nowhere and took us by surprise, and it exposed a lot of weaknesses in our society. When we needed our leaders to react to protect us as best they could, they at first let us down. The tension and uncertainty caused us to turn on each other.
We won’t have a satisfying Hollywood ending to this predicament. While everything is pretty normal here in Ohio and most of the United States, other countries are still struggling. We decided to stop posting the daily COVID statistic charts in The Morning Dispatch, but people are still dying every day.
And we still have to contend with the damage the pandemic has left in its wake. Families are still grieving. Business owners who made it through are still trying to recoup their losses. Those who didn’t are figuring out how to start over. Our divisions are still raw. But if anything “good” can come of it, I hope it will make us more grateful for the freedoms that we took for granted up until last March.
Have a wonderful weekend and thank you for reading.
After months of issuing statements from the comforts of Mar-a-Lago, former President Donald Trump held a rally in Ohio last weekend on behalf of Max Miller, a former administration staffer who is running a primary campaign against Rep. Anthony Gonzalez. Gonzalez drew Trump’s ire by voting for impeachment after the events of January 6. Trump used his speech to attack Gonzalez as “a grandstanding RINO, not respected in D.C., who voted for the unhinged, unconstitutional, illegal impeachment witch hunt. … He’s a sellout, and a fake Republican, and a disgrace to your state.” Declan called Gonzalez afterward to get his reaction. Gonzalez explained that he’d missed the excitement by taking his wife on a date and when Declan shared some of Trump’s insults, joked, “Actually, that’s not so bad.” But he grew more serious about Trump’s continued insistence that the election was stolen: “I couldn’t care less about what the former president says about me. I really couldn’t,” he told Declan. “What I do care about is the fact that he continues to double and triple down on the election lies that led to insurrection on January 6 and very likely could lead to more violence in the future.”
It can be frustrating to watch celebrities prostrate themselves before the Chinese Communist Party. Whether it’s LeBron James calling out a Houston Rockets executive for supporting Hong Kong, or John Cena weakly apologizing for calling Taiwan a country, or Disney thanking the CCP for the opportunity to film (in the shadow of concentration camps) in Xinjiang. It’s cringe-worthy, and it’s easy to feel high and mighty. But then we turn to our favorite online shopping sites and fill our carts with clothes and goods without considering where they might be made. We sock away money in our 401(k)s without asking what stocks and funds make them up. Danielle Pletka cautions, forcefully, that it’s on all of us to do better. “At an individual level, a legislative level, the national level and the supranational allied level there is a great deal more that can be done to push back,” she writes.
The ideological divide of the Supreme Court is always a popular topic, but became even more so after Donald Trump was able to appoint three justices in his single term to give conservatives a nominal 6-3 advantage. But, as David pointed out in his Tuesday French Press (🔐), it’s also an overly simplistic one. He looks at the real legacy of the term that just ended, and he concludes, “At a time when the nation’s classical liberal order is under assault from both ends of the political spectrum, the collective effect of the court’s opinions has been to maintain a kind of ‘rule of reason’ jurisprudence.” He points to decisions that uphold free speech for students, limit the ability of police to enter a person’s home, and religious liberty.
I don’t use this space to break news but if you missed the announcement in TMD, our intrepid reporter Haley Bird Walt has taken on an important role that is going to keep her away from The Dispatch for a little while. In her place, Harvest Prude and Ryan Brown are taking over her Uphill newsletter, and we’re pretty excited about how it’s going so far. On Friday they tackled two important topics: the controversy over Rep. Paul Gosar’s association with white nationalist Nick Fuenties and the vote by the House of Representatives to form a select committee to investigate the January 6 Capitol riots. Check it out.
And now for the best of the rest:
The House has had 435 members since 1912. But it wasn’t supposed to be this way. Thomas Koenig reminds readers of the Congressional Apportionment Act, the “first” First Amendment that, had it been ratified, would have guaranteed the House would always have one member for 50,000 constituents. Had it been, the House would have more than 6,000 members today.
Many on the left want to implement universal preschool and childcare to help working families. Abby McCloskey looks at the track record of programs targeted to disadvantaged youth and reports that they can work,but that the success doesn’t translate to universal programs.
This week the NCAA implemented a policy allowing athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness. Schools can’t pay athletes directly but they are free to enter their own endorsement deals. Price explains how it might work, and what questions remain.
Iran’s new president, Ebrahim Raisi, is a hardliner who took part in the execution of thousands of political prisoners in the 1980s. And the West has responded to his election by … continuing negotiations for the U.S. to re-enter the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Bradley Bowman and Behnam Ben Taleblu explain why this is a bad idea.
On the pods: I’m biased because his district is near the town I grew up in, but you don’t want to miss Anthony Gonzalez on The Dispatch Podcast. On The Remnant, Jonah talks to political strategistMo Elleithee about Joe Biden’s first six months in office. On Advisory Opinions, David and Sarah explain Bill Cosby’s release from prison. And while you might have thought The Hangover was over, Chris Stirewalt comes in with an epilogue to wrap things up.