REV. DR. EMMA JORDAN-SIMPSON – There is no healing without first acknowledging the sickness, and even then, healing requires truth and work. Everything else is fake.
REV. DR. EMMA JORDAN-SIMPSON – There is no healing without first acknowledging the sickness, and even then, healing requires truth and work. Everything else is fake.
MEL GURTOV – As the Biden administration settles in, let’s pause to take stock of where American politics now stands. It’s not a pretty picture, but it has the potential for improvement.
EILEEN FLANAGAN and GEORGE LAKEY – Two of the organizers who trained Americans to defend against a Trump-led coup explain how to minimize the threats to democracy going forward.
WINSLOW MYERS – Are we wholly defined merely by our opinions? The great Sufic poet Rumi said: “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” Kate Johnson, a Buddhist teacher, writes: “The Buddha said that friendship is the whole of holy life. To accomplish it, we need only overcome our fear of reaching out to one another.”
EZRA KLEIN – Democrates have two years to prove that the American political system can work. Two years to show Trumpism was an experiment that need not be repeated. Two years. This is the responsibility the Democratic majority must bear: If they fail or falter, they will open the door for Trumpism or something like it to return, and there is every reason to believe it will be far worse next time. To stop it, Democrats need to reimagine their role. They cannot merely defend the political system. They must rebuild it.
ROBERT C. KOEHLER – The questions, as President Biden takes office, turn increasingly paradoxical: Is a coup, and resulting fascism, the nation’s biggest worry? What about the return to normalcy? I fear the latter as much as I fear the former.
EMMA JORDAN-SIMPSON – We must face the truth: This is America, and this is who we will always be until we can tell ourselves the truth about the lies we keep alive.
EILEEN FLANAGAN – Choose Democracy — the whirlwind start-up that trained 10,000 people to prevent an election-related power grab — started with just three folks. Two had full-time jobs and small children. The other was 82 years old. Over the summer of 2020, Daniel Hunter, Jenny Marienau and George Lakey observed alarming signs that Donald Trump might not go quietly if defeated at the polls. As experienced trainers and organizers, they knew that preparation helped people to act powerfully. So they decided to prepare people to resist a potential coup based on nonviolent strategies that have worked in other countries.
ROOTSACTION.ORG – On December 16, the progressive activist group RootsAction.org announced the launch of “No Honeymoon” — a sustained campaign that will mobilize grassroots pressure on Joe Biden from across the country. The group’s NoHoneymoon.org website invites activists “to join with RootsAction to push back against the destructive forces of corporate power, racial injustice, extreme income inequality, environmental assault and the military-industrial complex.”
GREG COLERIDGE and JESSICA MUNGER – The electoral crisis, the decline of trust in government, and gross income inequality in the United States may seem like separate issues. But they have a surprising, common origin: the US Constitution, or more accurately, its shortcomings. Indeed, the depth of multiple crises in our nation in 2020 — if not their existence entirely — are all rooted in our flawed Constitution and the judicial decisions that it has facilitated.
ANDREW BACEVICH – As Americans learned in Vietnam, the only way to end a war gone wrong is to leave the field of battle. If that describes Trump’s intentions in Afghanistan, then we may finally have some reason to be grateful for his service to our nation. With time, Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell might even come to see the wisdom of doing so.
MEL GURTOV – A complete overhaul of the political system is impossible because the system itself is rotting at the foundations and immune to fundamental change. Addressing the structural problems has to begin somewhere, and the voting system seems like that place.
RALPH NADER – It is difficult to overestimate the continuing harm to our beleaguered democracy and its people, should Trump and his cohorts not be brought to justice.
ROBERT C. kOEHLER – Joe Biden, in blatant defiance of the wishes of Donald Trump and the Republican Party, has won the vote and claimed the presidency. He will now, as he told the nation in his acceptance speech, begin attempting to “restore the soul of America” and “marshal the forces of decency,” which sounds great but means virtually nothing unless the words are linked to a clear and courageous agenda.
GEORGE LAKEY – The point of claiming a stolen election is not to set the stage for a coup, but to add to the right’s list of grievances for building political power in the future.
MEL GURTOV – In the next several weeks, President-elect Joe Biden will be preoccupied with creating a 100-day action agenda. It might be called “Operation Renewal.” Here are top-10 choices, in no particular order.
STEPHANIE LUCE – Strikes are rare but political strikes are on the agenda more than they have been in many years. Labor Action to Defend Democracy has come together to “plant seeds and stir the pot,” and work with community partners to protect the vote.
ASHLEY SMITH – The COVID-19 pandemic shows no signs of abating as the death toll climbs ever higher around the world. Spectre’s Ashley Smith interviews epidemiologist Rob Wallace about the global capitalist roots of the current pandemic, the likelihood of future pandemics, and the types of organized resistance necessary to prevent them.
ROBERT C. KOEHLER – The scariest part about the legacy of Columbus, and Europe’s “Age of Discovery” — ah, the white men break out of their cage and find the rest of the world — is that it’s still alive. And while there’s a growing demand that we should dump Columbus Day as a national holiday and replace it with Indigenous Peoples’ Day, I think something else is necessary as well: We need to look deeply at the legacy of Columbus and begin to own it. No more whitewash!
NORMAN SOLOMON – The case of Mike Pence should be an ongoing urgent reminder that — as toxic and truly evil as Donald Trump is — the current president is a product and poisonous symptom of an inherently unjust and anti-democratic status quo.
BRETT WILKINS – The Belmarsh Tribunal—named after the notorious British prison where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is imprisoned as he faces possible extradition to the U.S.—was convened remotely Friday morning by Progressive International (PI). The activists “put the United States government on trial” for crimes ranging “from atrocities in Iraq to torture at Guantánamo Bay to the CIA’s illegal surveillance program—and draw attention to the extradition case of Julian Assange for revealing them.”
GEORGE LAKEY – We’re making amazing progress mobilizing people to choose democracy. Large national progressive organizations are now quietly creating alliances to be able to move swiftly after the November election, even if some that are now going all-out to get out the vote.
LAWRENCE WITTNER – It’s hard to take seriously Trump’s claim that U.S. workers have thrived during his presidency. Indeed, even before the disasters wrought by the coronavirus pandemic, American workers received a raw deal.
ROBERT C. KOEHLER – Democratic majorities were crucial this summer to the defeat of three separate bills, introduced by progressive Democrats, to reduce military spending and/or undo the militarization of police departments. These included amendments in both the Senate and the House to the National Defense Authorization Act, diverting 10 percent of the Department of Defense budget to health care, education and jobs; as well as a Senate proposal to end the 1033 Program, which allows the Pentagon to transfer military gear to the police. The amendment’s defeat in the House was especially an outrage in that the Dems hold a majority in the House and could have passed it.
ANDREW BACEVICH – Free of charge, Joe, here is an action plan that will get you from Election Night through your first two weeks in office. Follow this plan and by your 100th day in the White House observers will be comparing you to at least one President Roosevelt, if not both.
PETER BERGEL – In the wake of the COVID epidemic, the movement to ensure that Black Lives Matter, the inadequacies revealed in our health care system, the movement to address climate change and the growing disgust our people feel for the U.S.’s ongoing foreign wars and international bullying, the time has come for system-wide changes.
WIM LAVEN – We will start healing as a country, as a people as soon as we start finding the humanity in each other. We are so busy angrily shouting at each other that we have forgotten to listen; let’s take our power back, find our shared humanity, and take care of ourselves—we’ve got work to do.
ROBERT C. KOEHLER – America’s reluctant democracy: It demands a lot more of us than we’re taught to believe. Yes, voting is important (if you can), but claiming the right to vote and have your vote counted — and being able to vote for more than simply the lesser evil and the maintenance of the status quo — requires continual struggle in the face of lies and teargas. Election season never ends.
ANDREW MOSS – For many people, the thought of this November’s general election inspires anything from apprehension to outright dread. Writing in the Atlantic recently, Adam Harris warned of a “voting disaster,” as historic forms of voter suppression disproportionately affecting minority voters (precinct closures, long waiting lines, onerous restrictions on vote-by-mail balloting) are now colliding with the immense challenges of conducting the election during a pandemic.
TOM H. HASTINGS – Bring the issues raised by Black Lives Matter back to the best policing possible and remove the politics by removing the violence. We as US citizens deserve nothing less.
FINTAN O’TOOLE – Over more than two centuries, the United States has stirred a very wide range of feelings in the rest of the world: love and hatred, fear and hope, envy and contempt, awe and anger. But there is one emotion that has never been directed towards the US until now: pity.
TAMIKO BEYER – As K-pop fans and Black organizers and artists are demonstrating, joyful, powerful movements draw more people in and reflect the kind of world we want to live in.
KATHY KELLY – The world that our global empire is swiftly creating, through our devastating oil wars in the Middle East and our arriving cold wars with Russia and China, is a world without winners. We must resist signing contracts with weapon makers profiting from endless immiseration of the Middle East and needless superpower rivalries inviting full nuclear war. Such contracts, inked in blood, doom every corner of our world to perish as a battleground state.
DAVID SWANSON – The past month’s activism has changed a great deal. One thing it’s helped with is brushing aside the tired old argument over whether government should be big or small. In its place we have the much more useful argument over whether government should prioritize force and punishment, or focus on services and assistance.
WIM LAVEN – Police departments all across America keep proving the same point: they are not training officers to honor the protection of human life.
LARA PUTNAM, JEREMY PRESSMAN, ERICA CHENOWETH – Across the country, people are protesting the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and demanding action against police violence and systemic racism. National media focuses on the big demonstrations and protests against policing in major cities, but they have not picked up on a different phenomenon that may have major long-term consequences for politics. Protests over racism and #BlackLivesMatter are spreading across the country — including in small towns with deeply conservative politics.
ERIC STONER – Momentum organizer Nicole Carty discusses how the Black Lives Matter movement built consensus on racial justice and the strategy needed to make the goal of defunding police a reality.
DAILY KOS COMMUNITY MEMBER – To respond fully to the present circumstances, we should understand how Trump’s recent actions fit into his election strategy, which we can expect will focus more on stealing the election than winning it fairly. So let’s start by looking at things from his perspective.
GEORGE LAKEY – People trust a system that reliably supports security, solidarity and individual freedom to make major life choices. They learn that trust — or don’t — through how well the system comes through for them. The contrast between Nordics and Americans these days reveals their contrasting systems.
ANDREW BACEVICH – Deferred for far too long, Judgment Day may at long last have arrived for the national security state.
GEORGE LAKEY – The trouble with pragmatism these days is that our country is becoming less predictable by the minute. What is going on among the 40 percent of the electorate that didn’t bother to vote in 2016’s general election? How about the new voters who’ve become naturalized citizens in the meantime, or the many who’ve turned 18? How much will the Russians skew the results?
ROBERT REICH – The Democratic establishment is viewing American politics through obsolete lenses of left versus right, with Bernie on the extreme left and Trump on the far right. This may have been the correct frame for politics decades ago when America still had a growing middle class, but it’s obsolete today.
HAL FREEMAN – On January 15, 2020 Vladimir Putin delivered a speech to the Federal Assembly that attracted quite a bit of attention. I was reluctant to write a blog on it. There were many articles that appeared in English which focused on the speech. Yet, the vast majority misrepresented what Putin actually said while missing the speech’s very important main topics.
WIM LAVEN – The Trump administration’s proposed budget is alarming in what it presents as the actual priorities of the White House. Among many other disastrous priorities, Trump’s budget for 2021 includes funding “for the orderly closure of the [National Endowment for the Humanities].”
LESLIE D. GREGORY and TOM H. HASTINGS – We can regain our global image as champion of human rights, which is currently undone. We can be the leader in environmental protection, which Trump is wrecking. And we may even catch up to the rest of the tech-advanced world in universal health care if we choose to drop the politics of division and start the politics of unity.
NORMAN SOLOMON – The extremely rich Americans who are now frantically trying to figure out how to intervene in the Democratic presidential campaign make me wonder how different they are from the animated character who loved frolicking in money and kissing dollar bills while counting them. If Uncle Scrooge existed as a billionaire in human form today, it’s easy to picture him aligned with fellow plutocrats against the “threat” of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
ANDREW BACEVICH – Here’s the strange thing for the self-proclaimed greatest power in history, the very one that, in this century, has been fighting a series of unending wars across significant parts of the planet: if you exclude Operation Urgent Fury, the triumphant invasion of the island Grenada in 1983, and Operation Just Cause, the largely unopposed invasion of Panama in 1989, Washington’s last truly successful war ended 74 years ago in August 1945 with the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japanese cities. Every war of even modest significance since — and they’ve been piling up — from the Korean and Vietnam wars to the ones in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Libya, and elsewhere in this century (and the last as well, in the cases of Afghanistan and Iraq) has either ended badly (Vietnam) or not at all (see above).
GEORGE BEEBE – Today, that old dread of disaster has all but disappeared, as have the systems that helped preclude it. But the actual threat of nuclear catastrophe is much greater than we realize. U.S. lawmakers on both sides of the aisle need to start addressing the danger.
CHRIS HEDGES – We must organize to replace existing structures of power with ones capable of coping with the crisis before us.
NICK ENGELFRIED – It began as a call to action from a group of youth activists scattered across the globe, and soon became what is shaping up to be the largest planet-wide protest for the climate the world has ever seen. The Global Climate Strike is the result of a whole new generation taking bold action and could be the turning point for grassroots resistance to fossil fuels.