Shut Up and Grieve Silently

We’ve been told, by some, that we shouldn’t politicize mass shootings. That it’s in poor taste to point out that guns kill people — or to mention that when we fail to properly regulate tools of destruction, people die. Yet Florida governor Rick Scott, then Donald Trump, quickly leveraged the latest mass shooting to serve their own political ends: the delegitimization of the FBI. Continue reading

Progressivism Has Always Been Failing (and My Blog Won’t Help)

It’s plausible that a different Republican administration would still have produced a travel ban like the one that went into effect last week. During the Republican primaries, Ben Carson called for an investigation of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) for links to terrorist organizations. The evidence: unprovided. Around the same time, Jeb Bush stated that Syrian refugees should be able to come to the US, provided they were Christian. The reasoning for such discrimination: unclear. And Donald Trump—well, we all know what Donald Trump thought. His polemics against America’s assorted others (including, somehow, the 51% of women who urinate, menstruate and/or breastfeed) entertained and captivated the nation through the election cycle. It was mean, ugly, nasty shit. And with Trump’s election, it found purchase in the mainstream of modern politics. Continue reading

Nobody Ever Asks, “Who Didn’t You Vote for?”

Photo by Spyros Papaspyropoulos

Last week in GOP-land, the Republicans had their come-to-Jesus moment and embraced Donald Trump as their nominee. “Sure, he’s a lunatic,” some suggested, “but look at the alternative.” They shuddered at the thought of Hillary Clinton, who, in addition to (or perhaps because of) her political leanings, was seen as corrupt, untrustworthy and prone to poor judgement. (Yes, all of these things have also been said of Trump, but I digress.) This left those of us on the Left scratching our heads: “How can anyone support Trump just because he’s from the same party as them? He’s done X, Y and Z! Hell, he’s invented his own letters and done those, too. If you vote for him, you’re embracing fascism.”

Ah, how I miss last week. It was a simpler time, before we had to go and have the same conversation within the Democratic Party about whether we liked our nominee. Continue reading

Stop Asking When Bernie Sanders Is Going to Drop Out

“Bernie Sanders, you just won the Michigan primary. When are you going to drop out?” – Various media members

Photo by Phil Roeder

Photo by Phil Roeder

For years, we have been told that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee. The adjectives in front of that title have included “eventual,” “inevitable,” and “presumptive” (presumptive being correct). All other comers, the thinking has gone, can come run for fun in the early states, but then they should back off and bow down.

Though I’m generally loath to partake in mainstream media bashing, this thinking has been abetted by many pundits and commentators. Indeed, immediately after Sanders’ impromptu press conference on Tuesday night thanking the people of Michigan for turning out to vote, a CBS News anchor—with a straight face—asked a correspondent if Sanders was going to step aside so Clinton could start focusing on the general election. Sanders, it seemed, had reached #PeakBernie. He’d win some pats on the back for getting his message out there—bravo, good chap—but now he and the people he represents should retreat back into the shadows. But there are plenty of reasons why Bernie should throw shade at any suggestion he quit the race. Continue reading

Why the Government Shutdown is Great for America

This week, the US government stopped working. Not figuratively—that happened a long time ago. No, it literally stopped working. Suddenly, pre-planned high school field trips to our nation’s capital had to be rescheduled because monuments and museums were closed. Air traffic controllers had to take longer than usual coffee breaks. Congress had to forfeit its salary. Oh, sorry, I meant Congress had to forfeit other people’s salaries. My bad. Continue reading

Won’t You Not Be My Neighbor: White Supremacy Goes Mr. Rogers

The Believer, a 2001 film starring Ryan Gosling in a breakout role, is about a young Jewish man who is also (paradoxically) fiercely anti-Semitic. He falls in with a crowd of racist intellectuals, led by Theresa Russell and Billy Zane, who want to put a new face on white supremacy. They wear eyeglasses and sweaters with patches. They read hardcover books from mahogany shelves. They use terms like “antidisestablishmentarianism”. But really, they’re just bigots who stroke their beards as they reheat tired pseudo-intellectual theories about ethnic differentiation. Continue reading

An Era of Nonchalance: What Nairobi Says About Us

When I was still in high school, I went with my mother to see George Carlin do stand up in Las Vegas. It was a bad idea. I had known him as that kinda funny old dude who popped up in movies like Dogma. While I knew his reputation as the man who made “the seven words you can’t say on television” famous, I assumed that in retrospect his act would appear tame. Perhaps not Sinbad tame—more like watching Midnight Cowboy. I quickly discovered that although Carlin can tone it down to play grandpa in the movies, his act was not for the grandkids. I endured an hour and a half of not laughing at funny jokes, lest my mother see me. Continue reading