Speakout is Truthout's treasure chest for bloggy, quirky, personally reflective, or especially activism-focused pieces. Speakout articles represent the perspectives of their authors, and not those of Truthout.
On August 5, 2014, Patrick O'Connor wrote in the Wall Street Journal about a WSJ/NBC poll that had just been released. It was a real downer, reflecting great unease about conditions in the US based on substantial economic anxiety and overwhelming pessimism about future prospects for the nation's children. By a significant margin, the respondents placed the blame on Washington and both political parties. The primaries for both major parties this year, and numerous accompanying polls reported in the press, have demonstrated that the 2014 attitudes have not changed. But the truth is this: the responsibility primarily lies elsewhere.
One dominant narrative on the white left these days is to connect the dots from homophobia to Islamophobia. And so, after the Orlando massacre, all those seeking political expedience to advance their cause were connecting the dots between homophobia and Islamophobia. There was one big problem with this dominant narrative: It ignored thevoices of Latinos -- long subordinate voices on the white left, even as the blood from the murders winded its way in a long river tothe Senate office of Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in Miami.
At this point in the ethically and democratically questionable process of choosing the next president of the United States, both "major" parties are ramping up the rhetoric of fear and intimidation to impress upon a rather disillusioned citizenry the imperative of "coming together," building party unity, in the impending battle of the unlikeable and theuntrustworthy. From one side we hear, "You must vote for Hillary, she's the first woman to receive the nomination of a major political party. More importantly, anything is better than Donald Trump!" From the other side we hear, "You must vote for Donald Trump, he will make America great again.
People continue to be amazed that Sen. Bernie Sanders has been doing so well during the primaries in running as a candidate for president -- the dark horse coming up from behind and continuing to win more and more states, despite all that was done to thwart him. The media pundits are surprised because they don't understand the age divide that separates them from younger people. All the reasons given to not vote for Bernie Sanders do not apply to the younger generation. Here's why. There are four key aspects to the divide that influence how people of different generations might view socialism, Judaism, being old and having hope.
As a former soldier who lives with the memories of a year of infantry combat in Iraq, I am alarmed by the rise of ISIS (also known as Daesh), but I am equally alarmed by the lack of significant thought that has been given into what our response should be; in particular from the presidential candidates who were vying to be the decision maker who will have to see us through this crisis. Here in New Hampshire, we heard a uniform message: "As President, I will crush ISIS!" This conclusion about how to deal with ISIS would perhaps begin to shift if we asked a few pointed questions.
On May 31, 2016, The New York Times published "How to Save Puerto Rico," wherein the Times' editorial board encouraged the passage of HR 5278 and the imposition of a Financial Oversight and Management Board in Puerto Rico. The editorial board acknowledged that the bill "has flaws," is "facing opposition on many fronts," has disturbing labor provisions and installs a board that will "override many decisions made by the island's elected lawmakers" and may resort to "old policies that have proved to be unworkable."
Since 1983, Sharon Tennison has worked to develop ordinary citizens' capacities to avert international crises, focusing on relations between the US and Russia. Now, amid a rising crisis in relations between the US and Russia, she has organized a delegation which assembled in Moscow on June 16 for a two week visit. I joined the group on Thursday, and happened to finish reading Sharon Tennison's book, The Power of Impossible Ideas, when I landed in Moscow.
After her victories against Bernie Sanders in the California and New Jersey primaries, Hillary Clinton is the presumptive Democratic nominee, but her road to the White House is paved with major obstacles. Clinton is facing two enemies at once: Republican candidate Donald Trump on the right, and the mass movement created by the Sanders campaign on the left. The presidential race is morphing from a contest between Republicans and Democrats, into a dramatic clash between the establishment, embodied by Clinton, and the mass dissent rallying around Trump and Sanders.
Inequality is a central issue in the 2016 presidential campaign -- at least among the Democratic candidates. The role of the 1% became a political issue when the Occupy Wall Street movement highlighted it in the wake of the 2007-2009 Great Recession. Its continuing political significance is testimony to that fact that so many Americans are suffering in an economic system that has left wages stagnant for four decades, mounting personal debt and a bleak-looking future.
Walking the campus of my alma mater this past graduation week reminded me of how the elation of that special weekend felt for me. I was, however, also sobered as I looked around at the faces that I saw represented by the young graduates streaming around me along the busy sidewalks -- with a striking lack of change in diversity. I completed my undergraduate and medical school degrees in the heart of the Midwest. Returning to the US for college, after nearly a decade in Africa with my family, I was wide-eyed at the glaring homogeneity of my classmates when I first walked into class.