5 Best Friday Columns

Outrage and apology for Hiroshima, the "campus collision" and more

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  • Peggy Noonan on America's Tipping Point  In an attempt to convey that "America is at risk of boiling over" with popular outrage, The Wall Street Journal writer cites the previous uneasy calm before the sweeping changes made in the 1994 midterms. But in the lead-up to this year's elections, there appears to be no hint coming from Washington that our leaders know, care or feel what average Americans are feeling. She concludes: "When the adults of a great nation feel long-term pessimism, it only makes matters worse when those in authority take actions that reveal their detachment from the concerns—even from the essential nature—of their fellow citizens."

  • Ronald Brownstein on the Campus Collision  Public universities are put in the unenviable position of dealing with soaring demand and scarcer resources, and if they aren't properly equipped to handle both there will be long-term consequences, warns The National Journal columnist. The hardest hit will be minority students, who will face an uphill battle to compete for high-paying jobs if they can't earn those skills at these cash-strapped institutions. "Public universities, the historic bridge to opportunity for students from the middle class and below, are losing funding, raising tuition, and canceling courses," Brownstein notes. "If states don't protect their public universities during this suffocating slowdown, they could suffer long after it lifts."

  • Karl Rove on Republican Governors Ascendant  How dire is the political climate for Democrats? Even Karl Rove is taking pity on them. "If congressional races look bad for Democrats," Rove writes in The Wall Street Journal, "the 37 gubernatorial contests are even worse." Ouch. Along with a favorable national climate, Rove attributes the success of Republican gubernatorial candidates to the "remarkable leadership of the Republican Governors Association chairman, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour" who has turned the RGA into a "political juggernaut." Rove believes a new class of Republican governors is key to jump starting "the Republican Party's reputation as the 'party of ideas.'"

  • Kenzaburo Oe on Hiroshima and the Art of Outrage  In a New York Times op-ed contribution, the Nobel Prize winning author recounts his feelings of outrage and pain about growing up in Japan in the nuclear era. The gruesome imagery of that fateful day (imparted to his mother by an eyewitness friend) is what eventually propelled him to become a writer. "But I’m haunted by the thought that, ultimately, I was never able to write a 'big novel' about the people who experienced the bombings and the subsequent 50-plus years of the nuclear age that I’ve lived through — and I think now that writing that novel is the only thing I ever really wanted to do."

  • Warren Kozak on (Not) Apologizing For Hiroshima  Writing in The Wall Street Journal, military historian Kozak warns that by sending Ambassador John Roos to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the atomic bomb, the United States government "raises the specter of moral equivalence, a problem that's grown worse over the years when it comes to judging right and wrong during World War II and throughout history." Kozak argues that Japan fosters a distorted view of the war. "Since 1945," the historian writes, "Japan's narrative has centered almost exclusively on the atomic blasts and its role as victim—with short shrift given to the Japanese invasions of China, Manchuria, Korea, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Indochina, Burma, New Guinea and, of course, the attack on Pearl Harbor." It is a mistake, in Kozak's eyes, to treat the Japanese as victims of World War II. "They were not," he insists. "The Japanese, like their German allies, were bent on global conquest and the destruction of other people who did not fit their bizarre racial theories."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.