Oh Me! Oh Life! is one of Walt Whitman’s classic poems about one of life’s most commonly recurring questions: why are we here? Public officials often ask themselves this question in a more limited scope, and often out of exhaustion or frustration. Public service can be a draining experience and is not always as rewarding as the servants often wish. An accomplishment in public service that can be labeled a “legacy” however, usually makes the service worthwhile. Legacies are historic. They matter. They proudly answer Whitman’s question and often with eternal tones. My wife and I were in California last month and were ...

On March 4, 1933, in his first inaugural address, President Franklin Roosevelt spoke the famous phrase “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Oh, how welcome that sentiment would have been in Cleveland last week. Like many Americans, I couldn’t look away during the Republican National Convention. I watched with fleeting hope that the GOP would at least try and find a way to put together a coherent message as to why we should have faith in their nominee’s ability to advance our common goals. It's not that the convention failed that is most bothersome. The clear lack of ...