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BILLBOARDS AND OTHER BILLS • State Rep. Nancy Farmer wants to give St. Louis control over its billboards — a worthy goal every city in Missouri

should have. However, Ms. Farmer faces tough foes: the well-heeled billboard lobby. Her bill was defeated. When the measure is offered again, her colleagues, who routinely give lip service to local control, should practice what they preach. Access the full item at stltoday.com/opinion

Democratic socialism in U.S. has yet to be defined To really make it work, Americans must drop the screens, get involved. last year. Around the same time, one of the website’s staff writers said in an Democratic socialism is article for Vox that social having something of a moment. It isn’t just Bernie democracy’s ultimate goal is to “end capitalism.” Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Since Pres- Jacobin has pointed the way in various articles: ident Donald Trump was nationalize vast swaths of elected, the membership the economy, abolof the Democratic ish wage-slavery Socialists of Amerand turn every ica has grown nearly workplace into a tenfold. Admittedly, miniature democthat amounts to racy. only 56,000 memIt’s a radical bers, so it remains vision not simply a fringe movement. McArdle of redistributing But now it’s a full, the fruits of our labor, but luxuriant fringe, rather fundamentally altering than threads fluttering at how that work is organized, the political periphery. to something less like the And what exactly is army and more like the democratic socialism? prom committee. On the Democratic socialists are left, this seems to be gainstill arguing about that. ing on Sanders’ “Norway, For Sanders, democratic but bigger” model of socialism is Scandinavia. democratic socialism. Not good enough, retorts But if democratic socialthe website Jacobin, which ism is truly going to be declared “Democratic democratic, we have to ask: Socialism Isn’t Social Do people actually want Democracy” in a headline BY MEGAN MCARDLE

more democracy in their lives? Not just a higher minimum wage and better workplace protections, but actual day-to-day worker control over operations? True workplace democracy would replace the power of the boss with the power of your peers — a power that, as innumerable “small town” novels attest, can be at least as oppressive as the capitalist kind. In small towns, the best counterweight to that tyranny is civic participation: Protect yourself from minority rule by yourself becoming a pillar of the churches, civic groups and clubs that shape the community. America has a long tradition of such engagement; as far back as 1835, Alexis de Tocqueville remarked on our propensity for forming community groups. But as Timothy P. Carney shows in his new book, “Alienated America,” those community bonds have begun to fray. And you can’t simply blame capitalism, or a “neoliberal order” that

suppresses labor unions. We’re not joining unions, yes, but we’re also not joining churches or bowling leagues or literary societies, things we did with abandon a century ago, when capitalism was much less fettered than it is now, and long working hours left much less time for group activities. Instead of an explosion of personal and community development once predicted for our comparatively newfound leisure, we’re mostly at home, staring at screens. Those developments may not be unconnected. Until roughly 100 years ago, the only source of entertainment most people had was their neighbors. Today, ubiquitous cheap entertainment provides wittier dialogue and zippier plots than the Rotary Club, and higher performance quality than the church organist. You can argue — as Carney and I both would — that we’d be better off going to a PTA meeting

or, for that matter, the union hall, than passively entertaining ourselves. But engaging with people in real time means stretches of tedium and some interpersonal friction; the considerable rewards of long fellowship only materialize later. No wonder that at any given moment, the screen wins. Yet democratic socialism somehow presumes a large body of workers eager to rush into the time-consuming and often tedious work of what social scientists call “thick civic engagement”: doing things not one-on-one, but as a group, with all the politicking, boring meetings and inconvenient obligations that implies. Unless most American workers are prepared to be active participants in their union local or work council, the radical new system would look a lot like the old one, except with the power resting in the hands of a government bureaucrat or union leader just as unaccountable and pettifogging as the hated

“boss.” Unfortunately, America seems to be running in the opposite direction, avoiding as much as possible any direct interaction with other people: ordering from an online site rather than going to the store, texting or emailing rather than making a phone call. Which leaves democratic socialists with something of a dilemma: selling a system that can only work as promised in tandem with a culture of civic engagement we no longer have. Can democratic socialists persuade a majority of voters that they’ll really prefer a three-hour work council meeting to binge-watching Netflix? Or will democratic socialism require a democratically unpopular state action to curtail those alluring temptations — or, perhaps, simply an economy too hobbled to produce them? Megan McArdle @asymmetricinfo Copyright The Washington Post

Accusers and accused deserve due process Existing campus rules are biased, do not honor #MeToo movement. what has happened in states with similar laws and campus policies since In 2017, in the middle these were enacted by the of the systemic sexual Obama administration. assault revelations in the Finally, as a mother of entertainment industry, a son in one of our state’s I wrote about and was colleges, I fear what this interviewed on my own process could do to the life #MeToo story. I did this of an innocent student. because I realized the I have now read several significant effect these cases of lost semesters, brave women were having on others simply by telling scholarships being revoked, escalating legal their story. fees incurred by the family I also knew an imporof the accused, and many tant part was being left other negative outcomes out of the discussion: — even when the sexual abuse of student is cleared children. I was of wrongdoing. assaulted at age I understand the 11. I come from a victim’s perspective family that knows and want people this evil well. My prosecuted when sister was about they have harmed this same age Rehder someone. Sexual when she was assault should be dealt first sexually abused, and with through our judicial my mother was much younger. My daughter was system, not through a partial process that only also sexually assaulted as a young teenager. We filed seeks to find if the accused is seemingly guilty. We do charges and pushed for a not live in a perfect world conviction. and I’ve known both men It is because of these and women who have lied. personal experiences that I truly understand the I have become a vocal gravity of sexual assault. proponent for campus I truly understand the due-process reform in strength that it takes to Missouri. Under current speak up. Even when campus policies, students you are young. But, I accused of sexual assault simply cannot agree that are brought into Title IX investigations, supposedly we need to remove the designed to determine the constitutional rights of truth in such highly sensi- one student to give more protections to another. tive matters. With that The #MeToo movebeing said, the process is ment has been tremenwoefully lacking, dangerdously important. New ously biased and, quite norms have been created. simply, unconstitutional. These investigations fail Women are now speaking out and refusing to to preserve due process be silent when they have protections for students. been treated inappropriIn these hearings, the ately or assaulted. accused do not have a Are we where we need right to know what they to be? No, we are not. But have been accused of or we are leaps and bounds to see evidence against further than we were just them. Let that sink in a two years ago. I know this moment. They also are movement will continue not allowed to have a to grow and empower lawyer advocate for them women and men to no or to cross-examine witlonger be silent. nesses testifying against I thank the many brave them. To me, this is just women who came forward unbelievable. These to expose the entertainfundamental, Constitument industry. Silence is tional rights that we are what holds this great evil all afforded as Americans and allows it to grow. The are being ignored by Mismany victims lit the room souri’s colleges. with their honesty and As a victim, I recognize strength. When the norm our colleges’ interest becomes speaking up, we in believing women, will see fewer and fewer protecting victims and assaults. I am confident keeping our campuses we can seek justice withsafe. But a process that out removing someone fails to preserve justice else’s rights in the process. and due process is unfair We must preserve the to both the accused and rights of all Missourians. the accuser. As a Missouri It’s time to preserve due lawmaker, I am deeply process on our campuses. concerned about the cost taxpayers will incur State Rep. Holly Rehder is a when students begin Republican who represents Sikeston successfully suing our and surrounding areas in the Missouri Legislature. institutions for infringing on their rights, just like BY HOLLY REHDER

SALWAN GEORGES • Washington Post

Rep. Ilhan Omar (center), D-Minn., is shown at the Capitol on Jan. 4, the day after she was sworn in. Omar is a Somali immigrant who moved to the U.S. as a teenager.

Let’s stay united against bigotry Anti-Semitism is utterly antithetical to anything that deserves to be called liberal or progressive. E.J. DIONNE Washington Post

The polling is imperfect, but it’s fair to say that more than 70 percent of American Jews and Muslims vote Democratic. They do so, in part, because Democrats have spoken out strongly against both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. And now, both groups are horrified by Trumpism’s embrace of discrimination against Muslims and its trafficking in anti-Semitism. Just watch the Trump campaign ad attacking what it claims is “a global power structure that is responsible for economic decisions that have robbed our working class,” while flashing images of prominent Jews. And you can’t help but cheer the fact that Jews and Muslims across the country have stood in solidarity when the local institutions of either group were defaced or attacked. Bigotry is bigotry. It must always be opposed. This is why the dangerously careless use of language by Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., about Jews and Israel — she spoke of people who “push for allegiance to a foreign country” — has been cause for both heartbreak and anger. I get that some readers will see my use of the word “careless” as too soft because the dual-loyalty charge has historically been so poisonous. But in refraining from stronger language I’m putting my bet on hope. I’m wagering that Omar’s personal history ought to mean that she understands the dangers of prejudice better than most. Last fall, many of us celebrated

her breakthrough election. She won strong backing from the Jewish community in her district. Maybe I’m also giving her a break because she’s progressive. Anti-Semitism is utterly antithetical to anything that deserves to be called liberal or progressive. Surely Omar doesn’t want the Democrats ensnared in the sort of left-wing anti-Semitism now haunting the British Labour Party. Opposing anti-Semitism should be axiomatic for everyone. And for me, it’s also personal. My observant Catholic parents moved to our city’s most Jewish neighborhood shortly after I was born, and my sister and I were raised to see anti-Semitism as sinful. My very first friends in the world were Jewish, and my late mom regularly sat down with our next-door neighbor to compare notes on Catholic and Jewish views about the nature of God. As I’ve written before, my informal second father was Jewish. A dear man named Bert Yaffe informally took me into his family after my dad died when I was a teenager, and his kids welcomed me as a brother. Partly because of this history, but also in common with almost all liberals and social democrats of a certain age, I have always — and will always — support the existence of Israel as a democratic Jewish state. I spent a month in Israel in the spring of 1974, as the country experienced searing existential anxiety after its close call in the Yom Kippur War, and I visited Kiryat Shmona, a development town in the north that suffered under regular Palestinian attacks. It was an enduring lesson in the constant fear that haunts Israelis over the prospects of their country’s survival. But Israel’s commitment to

democracy is also an important reason for my admiration, which is why I support a two-state solution and oppose continued settlements in Palestinian areas. Israel will not remain democratic if it continues to occupy the West Bank and Gaza, and justice requires Palestinian selfdetermination. When I covered the war in Lebanon in the 1980s, a Palestinian friend underscored for me the cost of being stateless. All he wanted, he would say, was the legitimacy that citizenship and a passport confer. It did not seem too much to ask. Thus, my sympathies have always been with the beleaguered peace camps on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides. This has led to deep frustration with Palestinian rejectionists, but also with the politics of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu has done enormous damage to Israel’s standing with young Americans who did not grow up with my gut commitment to Israel’s survival.His appearance before Congress in 2015 to trash President Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran greatly aggravated this problem. His alliance with a virtual fascist party leading into next month’s elections is unconscionable and a gift to antiIsrael propagandists. So, yes, I know full well that you can love Israel, be critical of its current government, and truly despise antiSemitism, all at the same time. What you cannot do is play fast and loose with language that cannot help but be seen as anti-Semitic. I pray Omar now realizes this. At this moment, opponents of bigotry must be able to rely on each other. E.J. Dionne @EJDionne. Copyright The Washington Post