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Month: June 2022

Elections Are Not Therapy

The Nation’s Elie Mystal makes the case for why people who care about protecting our rights will vote for Democrats even if we aren’t happy with some of their failures.

It is important that people understand that elections are not therapy. Even if they don’t lead to all the results we want, they can reduce the harm inflicted upon many of our neighbors.

Protect the Right to Contraception

I would like to see the Democratic leadership do this immediately.

A Plan for Hope

Brian Beutler offers a plan for hope in his latest Big Tent newsletter. Yes! It’s true: there are things we can do to try to fight back against the radical Republicans and the rise of authoritarianism in our nation.

Herewith: how NOT to let a fascist party win federal power outright, when things are kinda crap, but the last semblances of American democracy are on the line.

It comes down to passing whatever energy bill Senator Joe Manchin will allow (or make it clear why he won’t and then run on passing it without him next year), running on “give us two more senators and the House and we’ll pass a law codifying Roe in January 2023,” and doing everything possible to make every Republican elected official own the Trump Coup of January 6.

Yes to all of this. It is a time to make the choice clear. We have to stop hoping Republicans will become sane again. We have to deal with the political party that exists today, not the one we wish still existed.

Today’s Thought: To Live in this World

Mary Oliver shared this observation in her poem, In Blackwater Woods, which is included in her Pulitzer Prize-winning collection, American Primitive:

To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

From In Blackwater Woods by Mary Oliver

Remember Checks and Balances?

While we may be used to giving the Supreme Court an extreme amount of deference, that isn’t how our system of government is supposed to work.

Remember how essential checks and balances are supposed to be in our Constitutional framework? The Washington Post’s Jamelle Bouie explains that the other two branches of our federal government are not powerless to respond to a radicalized Supreme Court doing the Federalist Society’s business:

It can impeach and remove justices. It can increase or decrease the size of the court itself (at its inception, the Supreme Court had only six members). It can strip the court of its jurisdiction over certain issues or it can weaken its power of judicial review by requiring a supermajority of justices to sign off on any decision that overturns a law. Congress can also rebuke the court with legislation that simply cancels the decision in question.

In the face of a reckless, reactionary and power-hungry court, Congress has options. The problem is politics.

That’s spot on. Democrats have shown little appetite to fight the battle in front of them.

A Horrible Decision for our Nation

Today the Supreme Court’s majority did with their ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization what the Federalist Society and radical Republicans selected them to do: overturn Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood.

This decision is the culmination of a five-decade effort to take away the right to abortion. It is a horrible decision for our nation. And Justice Clarence Thomas makes clear in his concurring opinion that the radical right’s work is not done.

Today’s emergency episode of the Strict Scrutiny podcast features an appropriate level of anger in its analysis of the decision and its implications. It also includes a discussion of what we need to do now.

I hope we will now start listening to the people like these hosts who warned us that Roe (among other rights) was in trouble. As discussed in the episode, Leah Litman spoke out in ways that put her at risk before she had tenure.

We keep bringing back the people who were wrong on the critical issues of the 20th Century. Wrong about the Iraq War. Wrong about the housing crisis. Wrong about Republican obstructionism in the Senate. Wrong about whether these Justices would respect precedent. Wrong about the radicalization of the Republican Party starting with Nixon. Wrong about the impact of Trumpism.

We don’t need to hear more from those who were wrong. Let’s listen more to people like Melissa Murray, Kate Shaw, and Litman, who have been right all along.

Pardons Are Complicated

The January 6th Committee continued to do great work outlining the conspiracy to execute a coup and keep Donald Trump in power despite losing the election.

One of the details that came out today was the list of Republican Members of Congress who asked Trump for a pardon before his leaving office.

This revelation led to a reaction from many people on Twitter and other places that there was only one reason you ask for a pardon: because you are guilty.

And that is one reason to do so. But, also, it is expensive to defend yourself against charges: even false ones.

Even innocent and falsely accused people are driven into economic ruin because of how expensive it is to defend oneself.

I doubt that is what is happening here. Pardons are complicated. But it is a reminder that we should do more to ensure people have all the opportunities possible to demonstrate their innocence.

Happy Anniversary to the Sandberg Game

Today is the 38th anniversary of the game that cemented Ryne Sandberg as my favorite baseball player. On NBC’s Game of the Week (when that mattered) against arch-rival St. Louis, Sandberg hit game-tying home runs in the ninth and tenth innings to help the Cubs come back from a 9-3 deficit to win 12-11 in 11 innings.

Sandberg finished the game 5-6 with two home runs and seven RBI. He earned the National League MVP that year, leading the Cubs to their first post-season appearance since 1945. It still brings me chills thinking about it.

Major League Baseball put together a highlights package focusing on Sandberg’s two late-inning home runs.

The Marquee Sports Network also produced a great documentary about the game a couple of years ago:

Until the 2016 season, this game was the most important in my time as a fan of baseball. Watching the Cubs win a World Series added a few games to that list. But for as long as I think about baseball, I’ll remember how happy I was watching the Sandberg game make #23 a national star.

Today’s Thought: Refrain from the Judgment of Others

Today’s Thought from my Readwise collection is from Amanda Knox’s Atlantic essay about how people continue to exploit for profit her identity and the lies told about her.

As someone who has been falsely accused, reading this impacted me in a significant way.

So now I also try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. We don’t know the whole story about any other person.

I know how it feels for a group of people to be wrong about me. That is a pain I don’t wish on others. So I work to refrain from the judgment of others. I don’t want to make that same mistake.

All of this has made me extremely skeptical of those who easily pass judgment. It has made me allergic to the impulse to flatten others into cardboard, to erase their human complexity, to rage against things about which I know only a snippet. Judgment only gets in the way of understanding. Refraining from judgment has become a way of life for me. Call it radical empathy, or extreme benefit of the doubt. I know how wrong people were about me, and I don’t ever want to be that wrong about another person. The world is not filled with monsters and heroes; it’s filled with people, and people are extraordinarily complex.

“My Identity Continues to Be Exploited,” by Amanda Knox in The Atlantic