Coronacast 25: Professor Cheit

“In public policy there is this notion of the policy window, and things that are in the policy window are things that are in the realm of possibility,” Ross Cheit said. “And I think that what’s happened in the last few months is the policy window has changed. I think it’s gotten a lot bigger. I think that there are now things that are possible and are happening that three months ago we might have said were impossible. So the window’s open.”

Yes, I thought. Yes! That explains the vague but persistent sense of opportunity that this terrible pandemic has brought upon us.

Ross Cheit is a professor of political science at Brown University. He wrestles with issues of ethics, criminal justice, and public policy. I know him from Twitter, where he offers sage and witty commentary. I was therefore totally unsurprised that, in a 10-minute conversation, Professor Cheit covered political science concepts I haven’t thought of since college, touched on the quirkiness of Rhode Island’s two degrees of separation, and clearly delighted in his students.

The uncertainty is challenging and at times overwhelming, but Professor Cheit left me with a new perspective. “Some good things are happening with this policy window open,” he said. “So things are possible.”