IN 1789 — or about 230 years ago — the U.S. Constitution was ratified and approved by the Thirteen Original Colonies. This landmark legal instrument established the first democracy in the world. As a representative democracy, the people of the United States freely choose their political leaders at a general election, held every two to four years.

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SOME years back we discussed the extraordinary adventure of Maurice and Maralyn Bailey, an English couple whose sailboat was wrecked by a whale and who drifted in a life raft for 117 days, a record at that time. I recently read a book about their experience that teaches us vital lessons which we can all use, whether stranded in a raft at sea or stranded in a thankless job. First, a summary of their story, then some life lessons.

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ON Oct. 31, 1967, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield, D-Montana, informed his colleagues about recent news articles in Time Magazine and the New York Times that he said should serve as a “timely reminder that all is not well in the U.S.-administered Trust Territory of the Pacific.” The TT comprised of the NMI, Palau, the Marshalls and what is now known as the FSM.

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BECAUSE its denial is incessantly repeated, the following truth must be incessantly restated: we ordinary Americans are fabulously rich and getting richer. The irony is that we are so very materially prosperous — with a prosperity that is shared by nearly all Americans — that we take our happy condition for granted.

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IN one respect, at least, the Democratic nominating contest is running true to form: Sen. Bernie Sanders is getting the lion’s share of young adults’ votes. In New Hampshire, for example, voters under 30 represented 15% of the total but 28% of Mr. Sanders’s support. Voters 65 and older were 25% of the total but only 13% of the Sanders coalition.

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