Medical malpractice, SOTU, Warren’s American Indian claim: Top columns


In today’s fast-paced news environment, it can be hard to keep up. For your weekend reading, we’ve started in-case-you-missed-it compilations of some the week’s top USA TODAY Opinion pieces. As always, thanks for reading, and for your feedback.

— USA TODAY Opinion editors

1. Sen. Dick Durbin: With Maduro out, democracy is finally coming to Venezuela — from within

By Dick Durbin

“The events in Venezuela have understandably raised some concerns of echoes of ill-fated military coups and U.S. intervention in Latin America. But a closer look at what is happening in Venezuela and the region shows it is anything but a throwback to the era of Cuban invasions or toppling elected Latin governments, and it is also much bigger than President Donald Trump or the United States alone.”

2. You can’t live every day like it is your last, but you can live every day with kindness

By Michael J. Stern

“When you love someone, there is a struggle between pushing him to make his life better and accepting him for who he is, with his flaws and limitations. I’m not sure where the right balance lies. What I am sure of is that every day, life presents us with situations in which we can pick one of two options. Pick the option that is kind. But don’t make the mistake I did and select the right option with gritted teeth. Find the pleasure in being kind without restraint.”

3. An epidural paralyzed my husband. But suing our doctor would make the medical system worse.

By Judy Goldman

“We count on our doctors to keep us healthy. Just as we count on our own wits. If lifting weights is good for us, we lift. We swim, if swimming is what we should do. … At some point, though, our efforts — and the efforts of all our doctors — will not be enough. They could even backfire. When things go wrong and we jump to sue our doctors, are we making sure they won’t ever speak freely with us? Are we guaranteeing they will not explain fully, show concern, openly apologize? Are all of us, as patients, at least partly complicit? “

4. Trump should have channeled Reagan, not Nixon, in his State of the Union address

By Aaron Kall and Joshua Clark

“The stars were aligned for President Donald Trump to emulate Ronald Reagan in the House chamber Tuesday night. Trump has gleefully compared himself to Reagan on several occasions, and there are numerous commonalities between the two. … Trump is obviously aware of this presidential stagecraft that Reagan perfected, but his attempt to replicate it has now failed twice.”

5. Why Gov. Ralph Northam should not resign: former Virginia congressman

By Jim Moran

“We do know some other things about Dr. Northam that seem counter to the charge of racism. He’s a pediatric neurologist who has devoted his adult life to healing children — especially within low-income communities. We know that as governor, he expanded Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of uninsured Virginians, a disproportionate number of whom are minorities. We know he used his position to reinstate voting rights to former felons. We know he has pushed hard to improve the quality of public education, particularly in traditionally African-American communities. We know his pastor is African-American and, although Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax could undoubtedly have been elected with any running mate, we know that it is important to Northam that he be succeeded by such an African-American leader.”

6. End of Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign? New claim of ‘American Indian’ heritage.

By James S. Robbins

“Why would Warren pretend to be an American Indian in the 1980s if later she downplayed the matter as a misunderstanding based on family lore? Fairly obviously it was for career advancement. Despite the current leftist mania to call out supposed ‘white privilege,’ the fact is that even in the 1980s minority status could confer distinct advantages in hiring and promotion in career fields dominated by liberals for whom affirmative action is an article of faith. For any young academic, identifying as a Native American could be the key edge for landing important faculty slots.”


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