“I figured that most Trump supporters probably never met a Muslim so I figured that I’d give them the opportunity to meet one,” she said [the woman ejected from the rally], wearing a shirt that read “Salam, I come in peace.” “I really don’t plan to say anything. I don’t want to be disrespectful but if he says something that I feel needs answering I might — we’ll just see what strikes me.”
Originally posted on RHYMES&REASONS rebeccapells.com
The temperature of nationalism has been on the rise in Europe since the beginning of this century. Last week it came roaring it’s way over the threshold of the UK parliament seating itself firmly in the chambers of power. The middle ground is being pulled to the outer edges of fear and grievance.
At best nationalism is an invitation for the unwelcome guest to return home; at worst the exorcism of an unwanted presence in our homeland. We struggle to let go of the way we have decided to tell our story, embellished by time and enmeshed with grievance it provides us with a sense of belonging. Nebulous and lacking definition it longs for incarnation and roams with intent, seeking the portal of increasing support through which it can transmute and manifest. At the same time we are not quite knowing or recognizing the form of our intention. We explore the streets of our political landscape looking for firm ground but finding only rough terrain which keeps us off balance and unsure.
Instead of choosing to let go of the foundational memory of those we were wronged by, a false sense of self enables a collective pain to thrive and breeds fresh fear of a contemporary but false enemy. We cease to be afraid of our neighbours when we cease to carry the collective fear and injustice of our past, choosing instead to make friends with those we previously challenged with a beckoning hand to our future. To let go is to enable ourselves – our nation – to see our place in the world more elementally and clearly. It is to unburden ourselves from carrying the past and lighten the load, sweeping away the black cloud of history which was passed down to us and – without such bravery – we will inevitably pass to our children.
Withdrawal from the front line of demand and grievance enables us to realign and find a fresh perspective, viewed through a contemporary wide angle lens rather than the myopic glass of selective and painful memory. It is only from here we will find solid ground from which to step forward in friendship and have our voice heard in a different, clear fresh and powerful way.
Our problems won’t solve themselves…
During a closed-door gathering of major donors in Southern California on Monday, the political operation spearheaded by the Koch brothers unveiled a significant new weapon in its rapidly expanding arsenal — a super PAC called Freedom Partners Action Fund. The new group aims to spend more than $15 million in the 2014 midterm campaigns — part of a much larger spending effort expected to total $290 million, sources told POLITICO. It’s an evolution for billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch. The vast network of political nonprofit groups they helped build has mostly funneled its unprecedented political spending into issue-based campaigns that usually slam Democrats for supporting big government but seldom explicitly ask voters to support GOP candidates.
Posted by Libergirl
Reblogged from The Secular Jurist:
By Robert A. Vella
America’s institutional establishment – those politicians, business leaders, and media pundits who reside in a sanitized and incestuous bubble apart from the lives of ordinary citizens – has once again displayed a self-serving disregard for any realities which cast a negative light upon it.
The Pew Research Center’s report released this week on the nation’s worsening societal polarization provides yet another example of this detachment. The prevailing theme heard across the airwaves Thursday blamed “political partisanship” for the increase in polarization. As John Sides editorialized on The Washington Post:
The Pew report doesn’t get into the origins of these trends. But I think the prevailing view in political science — for example, in Matt Levendusky’s “The Partisan Sort” or this article by Marc Hetherington– is this: political leaders polarized first, and the public has followed.
Sides also trivially equated political partisanship with sports fanaticism as if public policy were of no more importance than athletic entertainment:
The key here is not that people have become more attached to their own party. It’s that they’ve become more hostile to the other party. So polarization in American politics shouldn’t be understood as purely about ideology or issues — although that is certainly a component. It’s also about how people feel about the parties as groups. Partisan politics is increasingly like sports: you not only root for your team, but you really dislike the other. (Think Redskins vs. Cowboys or North Carolina vs. Duke.)
Perhaps even more troubling was his inference that participation in democracy cannot be civil:
People who are consistently liberal or conservative are much more likely to vote or donate. This may not be surprising. But it speaks to a real tension that is often unacknowledged. On the one hand, many bemoan the fact that so many Americans don’t know facts about politics or don’t vote in elections. On the other hand, many bemoan partisanship and ideology and yearn for moderation and compromise. Well, to put it bluntly, we don’t get to have a politically engaged public and a moderate one.
Considering the profound socioeconomic changes that have transpired in the U.S. over the last 3-4 decades, the hierarchical disconnect between The Establishment and The People exhibited by Mr. Sides seems most egregious. Over that span, inequality in America’s economic, political, and judicial systems have risen to alarming levels which threaten the very stability of the country. Americans are not becoming more polarized merely because of arbitrary politics, but because their deteriorating quality of life is making them more amenable to extreme political views.
Michael Eric Dyson vociferously expressed this populist angst from the political left on The Ed Show Thursday (see: The Nation’s Great Divide). The stunning upset of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor after Tuesday’s Republican primary election in Virginia captures well the populist angst on the political right – albeit for more complex reasons. Right-wing populism in America is further complicated by racial and religious tribalism, although the root economic causes are consistently shared across the political spectrum.
The issue of inequality-triggered populism is raising alarm bells throughout the developed world. Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has been trying – along with other notable figures – to convince world leaders to start addressing the problem. Even Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein has admitted the “destabilizing” potential of income inequality, as ThinkProgress‘ Bryce Covert detailed on Friday:
Rising income inequality comes with a host of negative consequences: It pushes Americans into more debt, makes them sicker, makes them less safe, and keeps them from moving up the economic ladder. It also hurts economic growth, while addressing it through modestly redistributive policies doesn’t.
And it destabilizes the political system, as Blankfein predicts. Research has found that high inequality leads to a less representative democracy and a higher chance of revolution as the less well off come to believe that the government only serves the rich. And those people would be right, as our current political system is far more responsive to the wealthy — like Blankfein himself — and doesn’t listen to what the middle class and poor want and need.
Unfortunately, these admonitions from within establishment circles seem to be largely falling on deaf ears (see: Someone finally polled the 1% – And it’s not pretty). Apparently, a stubborn commitment to the status quo will be maintained indefinitely by the entrenched power elite. The costs of their intransigence will be eventually realized, though no one can say right now just how painful or destructive it might be.
Meanwhile, increasing economic stress and the widespread availability of firearms has created an epidemic of gun violence in the U.S. (see: Another school shooting, and America is completely ignoring what’s causing it). The European Union is struggling to survive amidst a resurgence of political radicalization. The Middle East is awash in sectarian warfare, South Asia is in turmoil, anarchy rules much of Africa, and the callous machinations of geopolitical imperialism continue to wreck devastation upon unsuspecting peoples all around the globe.
But, in the halls of America’s institutional establishment, the sound of “all is well” chimes loudly.
Further reading on the Pew report: 7 things to know about polarization in America
It might appear that the U-S-of-A has gone bonkers. So let me clear up any confusion that you might have: Yes, it has!
Yet, it hasn’t. More on that in a moment.
First, though — whether looking at the “tea party” congress critters who’ve swerved our nation’s political debate to the hard right, or at the peacocks of Wall Street who continue to preen and profit atop the wreckage they’ve made of our real economy — it’s plain to see that America is suffering a pestilence of nuts and narcissists in high places. These “leaders” are hell bent to enthrone themselves and their ilk as the potentates of our economic, governmental and social systems, and they are aggressively trying to snuff out the light of egalitarianism that historically has been our society’s unifying force.
Bill Moyers, America’s most public-spirited journalist, summarized the…
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Hendrik Hertzberg has a good column in the New Yorker:
Soon after the Isla Vista mass shooting, an e-mail from Breitbart News, one of the slicker right-wing Web sites, popped into my inbox. Considering the source, the breathless subject line was startling: THE WORLD’S FIRST SMART RIFLE – NOW IN SEMI-AUTO
A smart gun, as you probably know, is one that can be fired only by an authorized person, such as the weapon’s legal owner. Anyway, that’s the usual meaning. The way a smart gun works, smartplanet.com explains, “is that the gun’s biometric system is set up to recognize the rightful user through a unique identity marker such as a person’s fingerprint, magnetic rings, RFID chips or other proximity devices.”
A smart gun is a technological fix. If guns were smart, we wouldn’t need to worry so much about their falling into the wrong hands—such as the hands…
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