Questions of Civic Proportions delivers questions, ideas, and good work from a political life worth sharing. 

It’s a power-up for the civic-minded.

 Each newsletter is a small act of thinking together, delivered twice a month, that transforms the endless scroll of headlines into questions aligned to American political thought and constitutional thinking.

We believe public dialogue is a civic duty but you need good questions. It’s not talking politics. It’s sharing what we can learn about political life.

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"Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers."


Our Latest Questions


Questions of Civic Proportions: What Can We Make of a World on Fire?

Questions of Civic Proportions: What Can We Make of a World on Fire?

There’s one phrase that keeps shouting at me over all the images of the protests. The phrase comes from Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book, Between the World and Me (2015).

Reflecting on his childhood, Coates describes what it was like growing up as a black boy in the United States. The phrase that haunts me today appears in that account. Coates says he learned to be “powerfully afraid.”

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Top Issues from 2019


Did You See the Magic at your Thanksgiving Gathering? It’s the Cure for Loneliness.


When a big holiday meal goes well, we all start to see the magic in a hundred small things.


Perhaps your holiday crew avoided political confrontations this year. Or you palyed board games without someone getting their feelings hurt…

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Is Democracy a Call-to-Arms or Something Else?


Leoanrd Cohen kept coming at me this week. I’m not his biggest fan, but I’ve figured out that he has something to teach us, something that’s important to hear right now.


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What Can We Learn from Thinking in Time, Even for Just a Minute?


I haven’t been able to get my bearings on events in northern Syria this week. There’s a book I keep within reach for moments like these. One of the most pragmatic skills of all lies in the study of history and politics.

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Won’t You Be My Neighbor?


Robert Putnam blamed television and urban sprawl. When we spend our time commuting or binge-watching, we don’t have time to talk to our neighbors. While most of us know some of our neighbors, few of us interact with them in any meaningful way.

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What can we learn from those questions that keep calling us back to them?


We mark a new school year in countless ways… In some of those distant places, we remember a question or an assignment that opened up our mind to discovering something new. The best questions make a lasting impression.

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Time to start telling the truth about the hardest work of democratic life


When you step into the arena, you risk everything. No one can tell you what happens next. The work of leading a cause requires a resilience that doesn’t get much air time.


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More Past Issues

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