The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion Let’s see the next Indiana Jones climb a pyramid in bloomers

5 min

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In today’s edition:

The essential toddler’s guide to Paris

Imagine ambling the banks of the Seine on a sun-dappled day in Paris, your only concern the madeleine crumbs tumbling into your tote. Is that “La Vie en Rose” carried on the breeze from a distant accordionist? Mais non. It is “Baby Shark” on your toddler’s iPad.

In the latest of our Post Pandemic series of essays about life after covid (which you can sign up to receive in your inbox as soon as they publish), writer and artist Kate Gavino illustrates how pre-covid, she was mastering the French art of flâneuring — the aimless and pleasant exploration of one’s surroundings.

The pandemic changed all that; so did the two children she had during it.

Gavino’s visual essay is still a gay romp through Paris — just, as she writes, “at my toddler’s pace.” As she instills “the beginnings of flâneur-dom” in her own kids, she’s grateful to be learning things about the city in a whole new way.

Meanwhile, what about the children back stateside who aren’t exploring the Left Bank with a baguette under their arm? Who’s looking after them?

More often than not, a big mix of folks, columnist Alyssa Rosenberg writes, which is why flexibility should be a priority for U.S. lawmakers trying to build out child-care infrastructure.

Alyssa collects a bunch of ideas that have been proposed or tried on a small scale, ideas that would better serve parents who aren’t on a regular 9-to-5. Round-the-clock care centers would help, as would subsidies for in-home providers such as nannies.

Perhaps the most exciting idea Alyssa raises is a “stipend that parents could use for whatever kind of care they prefer,” whether that means paying grandma, themselves or the friendly gargoyles who live atop the bell tower down the street.

Chaser: And when those kids get a little older? The Editorial Board lists five ways states can help improve youth mental health.

GOP: Do you accept exchanges?

The Republican Party has long counted on Mormons the way Mormons have counted on the Great Salt Lake. Well, the Great Salt Lake is drying up, and so, slowly, is the church’s support for the GOP.

Data columnist David Byler explains the trend: Not only are younger Latter-day Saints members increasingly flirting with Democrats, but also the raw number of American Mormons appears to be in decline, possibly along the lines of 1 million adults over the past 15 years.

Existing members are leaving the church as America writ large becomes less religious, and still-devout Mormon families are less reliably rearing enough children to fill a pew. Ironically, David explains, one of the biggest factors driving the decline might be members’ distaste for the church’s close alignment with the GOP.

But, as all Mormons know, when God closes a door, He opens a window. Republicans might more than make up for LDS losses with increasing Hispanic support.

Contributing columnist Ruy Teixeira writes that trend-ications still look good for the GOP years after Hispanics’ big 2020 shift to Donald Trump; polls indicate that they both “prefer Republicans to Democrats on inflation and handling the economy” and find Democrats too extreme on culture issues.

As with Mormons, the flip isn’t a done deal yet. But Ruy writes that Democrats are on their back foot now and are going to have to do a lot more convincing of Hispanic voters than simply “mobilizing” them.

From New America fellow Lee Drutman’s essay arguing that “modest multipartyism” could help heal our gridlocked, polarized politics.

Drutman dismantles the argument that political parties (boo! rot!) are an obstacle to democracy; instead, “we should see them as facilitators of healthy democracy” capable of preventing power grabs and providing quality candidates.

But to work right, parties need competition, and our two-party system actually creates a de facto one-party system in a lot of the country. Drutman explains how, along with what structural reforms could deliver us the “vibrant multiparty democracy” that could, well, deliver us.

Chaser: Columnist Jennifer Rubin wrote that would-be third party No Labels (not the kind Drutman envisions, to be clear) can’t hide its right-wing ties.

Less politics

Brenna Hassett didn’t become an archaeologist because of Indiana Jones; she became one in spite of him.

Growing up, her generation of girls saw in Indy’s movies that the digging sciences are “a man’s game” — and that’s a problem, Hassett writes, because “to be it, you need to see it.”

Her essay contains some wild tales of female adventurers throughout history, including one who climbed the Great Pyramid of Khufu in her bloomers.

Put that sort of daring on the big screen, and it’ll sell. Hassett says it might also give today’s little girls a smoother path to becoming tomorrow’s archaeologists.

Smartest, fastest

It’s a goodbye. It’s a haiku. It’s … the Bye-Ku.

“Indiana Jones

And the Gatekeeper of Dreams”

Twist! One and the same


Have your own newsy haiku? Email it to me, along with any questions/comments/ambiguities. See you tomorrow!