Given that there’s always lots of speculation about who is supporting which candidate, let’s look at what an actual poll says and examine what that tells us. I intend to discuss the results of a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll. You can read about it and see all the numbers here. In particular, I’m interested in the demographics of each voting preference. Let’s see what conventional wisdom gets taken down a peg!
Yesterday, I offered up a positive review of Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow. Now, I present some salient criticism on what the book failed to include. In the course of researching more material foryesterday’s review, I came across an intriguing critical essay by Greg Thomas, an associate professor of Black Studies at Syracuse University. He asks the crucial question: why do some like The New Jim Crow so much? At first, I wasn’t sure I would be receptive to his criticism, but as I read through I was forced to admit he makes some excellent points.
Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow is already a national bestseller, so it certainly doesn’t need another positive review. But here’s one anyway! The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness was first released in 2010, but came to my attention over the past couple of years as the Black Lives Matter movement really got going. I had been on my “must read” list for a while, and so I finally got around to reading it.
Author Lionel Shriver recently gave a speech wherein she complained about criticisms of “cultural appropriation.” Was she on to something, or just making lazy arguments in defense of privilege and entitlement? It’s a good idea to start with her actual speech. This post may be construed as a direct response to her points. I’ll speak to what Shriver said. I will ignore breathless speculation about our inevitable PC dystopia, and go with the specific examples she gave:
Seems all it takes is Donald Trump doing well in a poll or two and it’s like the sky is falling. Trump is ahead in Ohio and Florida in 4-way polls that include Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green candidate Dr. Jill Stein. These results are suspect for a couple reasons: * They do not, thus far, represent trends held up by other polls. (Of course, future polls may back up a trend.
Trump is not an example of “the banality of evil.” In fact, he’s pretty much the exact opposite. There are few turns of phrase more misunderstood than Hannah Arendt’s brief description of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann. “The banality of evil” is an important concept that is nevertheless difficult to grasp fully, if the way people use it is any indication. First is that “the banality of evil” refers not to all evil, but only a specific kind of it.
The way US media are approaching this Presidential election is an absolute disgrace. On Friday, Hillary Clinton spoke at a fundraiser and referred to some Donald Trump supporters as a “basket of deplorables.” The full quote, in context: I know there are only 60 days left to make our case -- and don't get complacent, don't see the latest outrageous, offensive, inappropriate comment and think, well, he's done this time. We are living in a volatile political environment.
Fifteen years ago yesterday, the United States was attacked in a way it never had been before. It changed our country, perhaps forever. It’s funny how a major event can crystallize your memory. There have been other occasions of this type: everyone remembers where they were when Pearl Harbor was attacked, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, when Kennedy was shot, when we landed on the Moon. For my generation, 9⁄11 is that event.
I’ve written about American politics many times over the last several months, gradually putting together a broad survey of how our political culture works. Time to lay it all out! The focus of American political life is manifest in our two major parties–the Democrats and the Republicans. Everybody knows this. But what decides who belongs to one party or the other? What draws someone to the Democrats? What repulses a voter from the GOP?
Do you remember the Yugoslav Wars of the ‘90s? Kosovo, Bosnia, and all that? If you’re American, you could be forgiven for not remembering. It’s time to bring up a chapter not often discussed in this country. You might be young enough that the name “Yugoslavia” means little or nothing to you. It was a state that existed in Southeastern Europe from 1922 until the early 1990s. Today, the territories that once comprised Yugoslavia are now split up into Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Kosovo.