A nod to Jimmy Carter’s 1979 Crisis of Confidence speech. Today we find ourselves battling three dueling crises with three clear outcomes.

The major outrage of our time is that a sizable proportion of our elected leaders and electorate suffer from an often-willful lack of competence, lack of understanding, and lack of virtue. But these crises, as insurmountable as they seem, remain resolvable so long as we commit to compassion.

Those who know me best know that Jimmy Carter — the famed peanut farmer, Naval engineer, and humanitarian from Plains, Georgia — is my favorite U.S. President. Looking beyond notable critiques of his administration and the cascade of crises he faced, there is no U.S. president who has ever dedicated themself more wholly, even despite mounting problems and growing political pressure, to two core principles: honesty and humanity.

As President, Carter never shied away from delivering the unadulterated, messy truth directly to the American people. He was willing to pay the political price if it meant he could retain his…


From economic advantages to military might, alignment with the great powers of the world has its perks. But what about potential implications and advantages in the legal realm?

UN Office at Geneva, Switzerland (UNOG); headquarters of the UN Human Rights Council. The International Criminal Court — where international tribunals are held — is located elsewhere, in The Hague, Netherlands. Credit: Mathias P.R. Reding

In a World Policy Journal article published in 2003, the current Chair of Political Science at City University of New York, Rajan Menon, boldly declared “The End of Alliances” [1]. After witnessing the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the ascension of the United States into the role of lone superpower by 2000, and the American shunning of both allies and the U.N. in the run-up to its 2003 invasion of…


By exploiting the naturally-limited bandwidth and blurry memories of human beings, the GOP continues to peddle the most dangerous of lies — false equivalencies — to stay in power, even after the insurrection attempt on Jan. 6th, 2021.

False equivalency is more than just a “spin,” it is more than just a tactic that masks the fact that you are losing a debate; it is the purposeful weaponization of the natural human propensity for blurry memories. It exploits the relative ease with which an illusion of truth can settle over repeated statements by those in power, even when false.

Innate within the human mind is the tendency to compare. This basic tenet of psychology consistently informs decision-making, inner thought, and social behavior across all humankind, regardless of politics, country, or continent.

Whether we like it or not, we have both performed and been on the receiving end of comparisons all our lives: academic rankings, sporting events, skills competitions, voting, dating, and more — the list goes on. Most of our routine comparisons are benign, at least to a peaceful extent. …

Lucien Wostenholme

Cornell '23 | Political takes informed by economics, psychology, urbanism, and empathy.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store