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Daily Archives: November 4, 2020
Posted: November 4, 2020 at 10:53 am
Yvonne Abraham (Lessons in democracy, sorely tested, Page A1, Nov. 1) rightly asks what can be learned from the Trump presidency, but her answers do not address probably the most important question: Why do so many Americans vote for Donald Trump?
A friend who was a judge was instructed to declare daily to others in court that his pronouns are he, him, his. Gone with the Wind has become proscribed, along with the book Doctor Dolittle and many other now-censored classics. Such silliness pushes many who disagree with Trump on important issues such as climate change to vote for him out of resentment of the excesses of political correctness, which has been foisted on Americans over the past few decades.
Addressing this resentment offers the only hope for reaching a middle ground in our deeply divided nation. Sadly, I see no evidence that any recognition of this barrier to reconciliation, much less an effort to address it, has developed over the past four years.
If there is anything that Americans across the political spectrum must learn from recent experience, it is to heed the words of cartoonist Walt Kellys Pogo: We have met the enemy and he is us.
Originally posted here:
Posted: at 10:53 am
I have always maintained that political correctness would be the death of the U.K. Witnessing the facts emerging from this weeks inquest into the Manchester bombing it appears my predictions have tragically begun to materialize.
Political correctness in the UK. According to his testimony, the security guard responsible for allowing this despicable piece of pigs will to continue his mission of death admitted he hadnt challenged him because he didnt want to appear racist! This was despite the monster transparently ticking every suspicious box on the list. The colossal backpack he was carrying should alone have aroused suspicion, even if it had been carried in by the Pope himself!
No, Im afraid this witnesss admission simply shows us that all those who advocate political correctness and the suppression of free speech, basically have the blood of all those young people on their hands. To my mind, they are all traitors and are guilty of treason. If we had allowed thousands of young able-bodied Germans, to enter and be succoured in the UK before the First World War, there wouldnt have been a second!
If we had also decided to subsequently implement laws of Political Correctness and the suppression of free speech it would have been a kin to handing the German interlopers weapons of mass destruction and the country would have been destroyed within weeks. Someone truly does have to get a grip. Scotland Yard has admitted there are at least 5,000 Jihadists in Britain alone, with more than 30,000 operating in terrorist cells, and reinforcements are arriving every day!
How much more will it take for our politicians to act or even acknowledge the true menace of Islamist extremism? In the last two weeks, there have been three major terrorist attacks in France. Three of the innocent victims were actually beheaded in public by individuals screaming Allahu Akbar. Ah, bleat the so-called moderates, but the majority of Muslims are not like that. No, and not all the Germans were Nazis.
There are twenty-five million Muslims living in Europe (yep!) six million in France alone. So where are all these moderates? Why they are not out packing the streets and city centers bearing signs denouncing the extremists, along with their religious leaders decrying these violent and unacceptable acts of violence in concerted efforts to bridge the enormous gulf that exists between our two societies? Well, dont hold yer breath! The advice given by the oft misquoted John Stuart Mills and reiterated by JF Kennedy comes glaringly to mind.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is those good men should look on and do nothing. Im also getting extremely peeved at being made to feel guilty for being white. But that, of course, is for another column entirely.
Please look out for my new record released this week. It is a Covid remake of my hit, now entitled Those Little Arrowsand all proceeds are going to Help Musicians UK. Available to download on Amazon, Spotify, Itunes and all major outlets.
Keep the Faith
expat radio Scotland Mon. Wed. Fri. Sat. (Rpt.) 12 noon till 3pm
Thank you for reading this column, Political correctness in the UK. For more from Leapy Lee, visit the Euro Weekly News website.
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Why labeling disabled students as just ‘differently abled’ does a disservice to them – Inside Higher Ed
Posted: at 10:53 am
A department chair recently announced at a meeting that students challenged by cognitive, psychological or emotional issues are to no longer be referred to as "disabled." We must henceforth call them differently abled. The change is well-meaning but harms many students it was aimed at helping. I know this because I am not only the adviser to Phoenix Rising, our colleges support group for students with learning challenges, but I am myself learning disabled.
The element of political correctness is correct, but we must be equally thoughtful in our attempts to linguistically intervene. The central insight of political correctness partly comes from two figures in Continental philosophy, my area of specialization. The first is Friedrich Nietzsche, who in The Genealogy of Morals pointed out that those who have the most political capital also have the power to define the central terms in our language. How we speak invisibly contains the biases of those in control.
The other is Simone de Beauvoir, who in The Second Sex points out that in setting out a description of who she is would start by saying that she is a woman, a move a man would not have to make. To be Other is defined in the negative, as a deviation from normal. And since norms are enforced, to be Other is to be less than. The hope of political correctness was that by coming up with new terms that do not derive from traditional power structures, they could be cleansed of the power to diminish those in the outgroups.
Thus, we should prefer new terms referring to the socially Othered in order to help undermine the oppressive structures that have been built to keep them down. Those of us with cognitive challenges, the line goes, are thus like women, people of color and members of the LGBTQ+ communities in being oppressed and thus we need a new uncorrupted celebratory label. We are to be differently abled.
Well intended, yes; but no. I am learning disabled. I am not differently abled. I have heard the story of a colleague at another institution who after suffering a stroke lost his sense of spatial awareness and relied on his GPS to get him from his home to his office -- a trip he has taken five times a week for 30 years. But after the stroke, he suddenly found that he has computational capacities he had never before possessed. He could do quantitative work he had been incapable of before. This person became differently abled.
That is not true of me. I have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, minor dyslexia, dysgraphia and several other learning challenges. These are not some double-edged sword that conveys both advantages and disadvantages to me academically. They just make my life harder.
I was fortunate to come from a family of sufficient means with a savvy and caring mother who had me, at a young age, tested and diagnosed and formulated a plan of action to allow me to succeed. If I had come from a poor family, I would have been labeled stupid and out of control. But with the proper tutoring, medication and schooling, I was able to go to college, earn a Ph.D. and become the tenured chair of Jewish studies at an elite liberal arts institution.
I am proud of what I am, and prouder still because it was much harder than it would have been if I did not have these particular learning challenges. I have a dear colleague who listens to me for hours and who helps me write. My insights are those of a professional academic, but my neurological wiring often makes it difficult for me to organize them in a way that renders them professionally publishable. My colleague helps me organize the ideas (he helped me with this piece, too) and that is one of many coping strategies and mechanisms I use to allow me to contribute to the professional discourse community to which we belong.
He does not have these handicaps -- another word that we should not sacrifice to political correctness. I have difficulties, challenges that he does not. Yet, each year, when our provost determines merit raises, we are measured by the same yardstick despite the fact that it is much more challenging for me to do what he does.
We do the same job. We teach. We publish. We serve the institution and professional community. That is our job as professors, and it is on our degree of success that we are assessed. But my successes are much more hard-fought than those who are normally abled (or in academe, often extraordinarily abled).
The same may be true of many of our learning disabled students. To call them differently abled may falsely attribute to them helpful qualities that would give them an advantage they do not really enjoy and diminishes the real struggles they endure and work around or overcome to succeed and present themselves as able. These people work harder in the nuts and bolts of doing college. They suffer emotionally from it and yet keep plugging away, trying to keep up with their peers in the seats around them. They deserve credit for this. Indeed, they deserve to be celebrated for it.
Linguistically turning a blind eye with differently abled -- pretending these challenges arent real, but only different -- does not help these students and perhaps does a shameful disservice to them. Learning to read with dyslexia or doing math with dyscalculia is exceptionally hard, but it has to happen if one hopes to navigate the world. Calling one differently abled doesnt achieve this. A child unable to read or do math is still going to be measured by reading and math tests. Their challenges are always here, sometimes much more acutely than at other times, but always with them in the way one with Tourette's syndrome always has it.
They are not differently abled, they are learning disabled, and I applaud them for all they do despite their challenges.
Posted: at 10:53 am
With the election ever so relevant, the gap between Democrats and Republicans couldnt be wider. Nearly every issue is hotly debated, and the chasm between ideologies is larger than at almost any other point in history. Especially with the rise of social media, many people remain in partisan echo chambers, firmly entrenched in their own point of view.
But it hasnt always been this way. Even as recently as 2008, Obama and McCain engaged in civil discourse, with McCain even at one point defending Obama as a decent family man [and] citizen that just I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and thats what the campaigns all about. Past politicians, and by extension the people they represented, treated one another with respect, decency and courtesy.
That isnt the case today. As the political climate becomes more polarized, people are often charged with a difficult decision: Should someone stop being friends with a person on the other side of the aisle? Historically, that answer has been no. However, with the rise of extremism and radicalism, the shifting of social circles due to politics may now be as justified as it ever will be.
Nowadays, news channels and social media circles have created echo chambers of extreme political thought, which has spread it dramatically. Even in a recent Congressional hearing on Section 230 involving several technology companies, senators asked Facebooks CEO Mark Zuckerberg what his company was doing to limit their involvement in the increase of radicalization, with Facebook being used as a communication platform for extremists planning to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer or engage in the Kenosha shootings.
In politics today, the left is moving farther toward cancel culture and extreme political correctness, while the right is moving farther toward a Christian, conservative, pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps mentality.
Both ends of the political spectrum have evidently demonstrated ethically unsound behavior. Take, for example, the city of Portland, Oregon where violent riots following George Floyds death cost approximately $23 million in damages and loss of business. Or look at the presidents disparaging remarks to Congress members of color, in which he said that some of them, including American-born Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, should go back to their crime-infested countries.
This election is no longer about what this country needs from its leader. Instead, its about which side has done a better job infiltrating the minds of American voters through their phones and their television sets. We, as a nation, have been locked in to a certain brand of politics, where opposing ideas are ridiculed or shunned. Im not advocating for cutting reasonable or courteous people from your circle because of their political affiliation. But we can not condone this kind of radicalization in our politics to the point of violence or bigotry. We cannot condone looting and pillaging of our cities, nor active discrimination against our immigrant population.
So if you know someone who is in the process of becoming politically radicalized, no matter if its towards the left or the right, do yourself a favor and cut them out of your life.
Arjun Ramachandrula is a first-year computer science and business administration combined major. He can be reached at [emailprotected].
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Posted: at 10:53 am
Stephanie Sepulveda, 27, Democrat
Courtesy Stephanie Sepulveda
I grew up back and forth between Miami and Venezuela. I moved permanently to Miami when I was 16 years old, when the situation in Venezuela escalated. I recently became a U.S. citizen, and I'm now finally able to participate in elections and give back in a way to the country that has given me so much.
There are so many issues at stake in this election that motivate me to vote: considering the political climate right now, issues of social justice and race relations. As a Latino woman and a woman of color, I think these are essential to the functioning of our country and to saving our democracy. And in general, I don't like extremism.
I come from a country where extremism ruined our democracy or democratic institutions. Populism or a cult of personality whether it be from the right or it be from the left is very dangerous. I'm very aware of it because I've lived it.
Concerned About Political Extremes
Cassidy Cosgrove, 21, Republican
Courtesy Cassidy Cosgrove
"I'm the president of the College Republicans club at Florida Atlantic University. I'm a double major in political science and criminal justice. I've only voted in the midterm before in 2018, which was still exciting to vote for the first time. But, obviously, the presidential election is the highest election of them all. I felt I was actually participating in something, having my voice heard.
Joe Biden is working for the greater Democrat Party, and I think they're leaning more left every year. I see a great emergence with political-correctness culture. It's going too far left with cancel culture. Trump is a fighter against that. We have freedom of speech in this country. Trump is a real advocate for that. He might say the wrong things. He might not use the right terminology, but he's all for the freedom of speech. I don't see that with the Democrat Party.
We've been trying to get everybody involved in not only the Trump campaign, but also local elections in Palm Beach County. You know, real local grassroots campaigning. I see all the work and the time and the logistics that go through even a smaller campaign. I feel much more engaged."
Miles Mariano-Ortilla, 19, Libertarian
Courtesy Miles Mariano-Ortilla
"I turned 18 last year and I believe I registered to vote outside of Office Max. I was getting school supplies because it was toward the beginning of the school year. There was a person who was registering people to vote.
I voted for, I believe, my city council. During that time, COVID-19 cases were a lot higher. So I was a little bit scared to go out and vote in person. So me and my mom, we decided to do mail-in ballots. It felt empowering, actually, because you become a part of the American public life.
A lot of our elders see us as naive. But I think that my generation, our voices should be heard, and that we've been waiting for this election for a long time. 2016 really woke me up. That's why definitely this year is one of the most important elections in our history."
Coming Out As Third Party
Rosa-Maria Britt, 74, independent
Courtesy Rosa-Maria Britt
"I grew up in Italy and I finally became a citizen three years ago because I decided I needed to vote. I decided I needed to give my input. Also, my son told me, It's time for you to become a citizen.
The way COVID-19 was dealt with in Florida or in the United States, I knew they were going to be disorganized. I didn't have much faith in the way our politicians were going to react.
The situation is so difficult. I'm so stressed with the news. I just hope that we can turn a page and start a new chapter.
Lariza Dominguez, 53, Democrat
Courtesy Lariza Dominguez
"I've been a U.S. citizen for 22 years. I had never wanted to vote because I don't follow politics. But I was talking to my daughter and she explained to me the importance of voting this year because our vote could make a difference.
I disagree with Trump's politics, and I think my vote could be important in respect to the pandemic. He failed to listen to the experts and how that led to us having so much loss of life.
It's important to participate in the vote because it's a right we have as citizens. This is a right that we have here that we would have never had in our country [Cuba]. And I think that we should take advantage of this opportunity that we have."
Lariza's son Javier Dominguez helped out with the translation from Spanish to English.
New Direction On Covid Response
WLRN's Katie Lepri and Alyssa Ramos contributed to this report.
View original post here:
Posted: at 10:53 am
NICE, France When the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo republished caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in early September, it triggered a chain of events that included two stabbings, protests in Muslim nations, the boycott of French goods and criticism from allies. Tensions rose higher when one young Islamist extremist beheaded a teacher near Paris this month, and another slit the throats of two people and fatally stabbed another inside a church in the southern city of Nice this week.
But French officials have not only defended the right to republish the cartoons, some have gone further including regional leaders who announced that a booklet including those images would be handed out to high school students as a commitment to defend the values of the Republic.
In the tortured 14-year history of the cartoons in France, the response to the images there has undergone a profound transformation. Once denounced by the head of state for provoking and disrespecting Muslims, and later held at a cautious distance by other officials, the same drawings are today fully embraced across the political establishment often conflated with Frances commitment to freedom of expression.
The caricatures have put France at a dangerous impasse, widening its divide with Muslim nations and leaving many French Muslims feeling alienated. To Muslims outside France, and some inside, the cartoons are simply provocative and gratuitous insults leveled at their faith. One drawing depicts the Prophet Muhammad carrying a bomb in his turban.
The hardening of Frances defense of the images has also set it apart even from the United States and other Western democracies that, faced with increasingly diverse societies, have become more cautious about speech that could be considered offensive, especially to racial, ethnic, religious or other minorities. Many French regard those attitudes as a form of American political correctness that threatens French culture.
On Friday, a day after a 21-year-old Tunisian migrant killed three people at the main basilica in Nice, police announced they had arrested a second suspect. About 50 people gathered in front of the church to pay tribute to the dead. What started as a moment of solidarity was interrupted by a couple of local residents who blamed Islam for the attack to the protest of bystanders. A veiled woman called on people not to conflate Muslims with terrorists.
The mayor of Nice said the Constitution should be modified so that France could properly wage war against Islamist extremists. Frances hard-line interior minister, Grald Darmanin, set the tone by declaring, Were at war, against an enemy who is both inside and outside.
The martial language reflects an overall hardening of the French view of radical Islam. The fierce defense of the caricatures has put the French in a position with little room for maneuver, where any compromise could be seen as undercutting a core value Frances strict secularism, called lacit.
Pierre-Henri Tavoillot, a philosopher and expert on lacit at the Sorbonne University, said that the conflict over the caricatures has led France into a trap.
In fact, they have become symbols and that turns the situation into a conflict, he said. But its a conflict that in my opinion is inevitable: if French lacit gives up on this point, it will have to give up on all the others.
He added, If we abandon caricatures, for a French person, were abandoning freedom of expression, the possibility of criticizing religions.
In 2015, the attack on Charlie Hebdo and the killing of a dozen people including cartoonists and columnists led to mass mobilization in Paris under the banner of Je suis Charlie, or I am Charlie.
Representatives from Muslim countries like Lebanon, Algeria, Tunisia, Jordan and Qatar joined that march against terrorism and for freedom of speech. But all of these countries have in recent days criticized the republication of the caricatures, arguing that they offended Muslims.
The editors at Charlie Hebdo republished the same cartoons to mark the start of a long-awaited trial of alleged accomplices in the 2015 attack, saying they were affirming Frances democracy.
The republication was quickly followed by a high-profile speech by President Emmanuel Macron detailing his plans to combat Islamism, and the governments widespread crackdown on what it described as Islamist individuals and organizations moves that contributed to the change in perspective abroad.
The publication and the republication are not the same thing, said Anne Giudicelli, a French expert on the Arab world who has worked for the French foreign ministry. The republication by Charlie Hebdo is seen as an obstinate will to continue humiliating. Thats what is different from 2015. Now there is the sense that France has a problem with Islam whereas, in 2015, France was the victim of terrorists.
Angered by the republication, a Pakistani asylum-seeker stabbed two people outside the former offices of the magazine, and a refugee of Chechen descent beheaded a middle-school teacher who showed in class two Muhammad caricatures, including one depicting him naked on all fours.
Freedom of speech or the freedom to say blasphemous things about religion is considered a tenet of French democracy, which was established by eradicating the power of the monarchy and the Roman Catholic Church, and has steadily become a pillar of Frances secularism, or lacit.
Rooted in a law established in 1905 when France lacked a significant Muslim community French secularism separated church and state and was based on the idea that faith is a private matter and must therefore be restricted to the private sphere, Mr. Tavoillot, the philosopher, said.
Jean Baubrot, a leading historian of French secularism, said that the idea was to give precedence to the state. Modern France considers that it established itself against religion, he said.
Frances strict secularism has also been indirectly strengthened by the increasing secularization of French society. Only 8 percent of French people regularly practice their faith today, according to a 2016 report by the Paris-based Institut Montaigne.
But how lacit is lived and enforced has hardened in reaction to the rising number of Muslims in France, Mr. Baubrot said. Today about 10 percent of Frances population is Muslim, and they are much more religious than their Christian or Jewish counterparts. The report found that 31 percent of Muslims visit a mosque or prayer hall once a week.
French secularism holds dear the right to criticize all religions though not believers. The line is often difficult to draw, and has left many Muslims feeling personally insulted with the publication of caricatures of Muhammad.
Complicating matters is that France does curb some freedom of expression banning, for example, attacks on people for their religion or skin color, and forbidding Holocaust denial.
The teacher who was beheaded had used two caricatures of Muhammad from the pages of Charlie Hebdo in a class on freedom of expression, angering many Muslim students and parents. The government regarded his killing as an attack on the state since public schoolteachers have played a key role in teaching about secularism.
A few days after the killing, the leaders of Frances 13 regions announced that they would publish a booklet for high school students featuring the Muhammad caricatures.
The art of caricature is an old tradition that is part of our democracy, said Iannis Roder, a middle school history teacher and a member of the Council of the Wise, created by the government in 2018 to reinforce lacit in public schools.
He added that he faced increasing difficulties teaching freedom of expression and the right to caricature because of a greater penetration of religiosity among many students who call themselves Muslims.
But Mohammed Moussaoui, the president of the French Council of Muslim Faith, said that there should be limits to offensive satire when it comes to religious beliefs. Limiting the publication of cartoons of Muhammad avoids fueling extremism, he said.
I dont think this is the right way to explain freedom of expression to children, Mr. Moussaoui said of the caricatures in an interview with France Info. The duty of brotherhood imposes on all to renounce some rights.
In a subsequent statement, Mr. Moussaoui said that his suggestion to renounce some rights had been clumsy. But he added: If freedom of expression gives the right to be satirical or humorous, we can understand that cartoons putting a prophet who is fundamental to millions of believers in suggestive and degrading postures cannot fall within this right.
As the caricatures have acquired a powerful symbolic significance since the 2015 attacks, it has become politically difficult to raise questions about them.
Clmentine Autain, a far-left lawmaker from the party France Unbowed, said that the debate over terrorism and secularism is dominated by emotion and is no longer rational.
Some politicians are using lacit as a way to ostracize all Muslims, she said. My concern is that, by doing this, a number of Muslims are being sent back into the arms of radicals.
Antonella Francini contributed research from Paris.
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Trump started a war against safe spaces, but then pledged to ‘Make America Safe Again’ – Open Democracy
Posted: at 10:53 am
At the end of George W. Bushs second term in 2009, few Americans were denying that the Iraq War had become a fiasco and that the federal government had failed both in its response to Hurricane Katrina and the financial crash. Even then, though, much of the public avoided facing the political and economic causes of those failures and grasped instead at vague, easy hopes that then Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama offered, but that his presidency proved unwilling or unable to fulfill.
The ongoing flight from reality only accelerated with Donald Trumps 2016 campaign, when millions of voters sought scapegoats to blame for rising dangers and craved simplistic directions to safety and salvation. Much of that acceleration can be blamed on Rupert Murdochs TV channel, Fox News, and his newspapers, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, as well other right-wing media, sundry impresarios and invaders of social media.
But democracy can be undone by a much older danger, inherent in human nature: millions of peoples incapacity or disinclination to pit reason against fantasy in the conduct of their own lives and public affairs. That disturbing tendency has been reinforced by Trump, as much as by destructive media, since well before 2016, intensifying public distempers that won't abate even if Joe Biden wins.
Unprecedented though this breakdown of public reason and trust may seem, American history itself offers ample reasons why matters have come to this. Whenever the republics civil society has been under great stress, defenders of its traditional values, joined by opportunistic free riders like Trump, who are driven only by power-lust and greed, have ginned up public paroxysms of alarm and rage at selected internal enemies whom theyve blamed for the crises.
In the 1690s, the enemy was witches, hysterical women and girls said to have been taken by Satan. In 1619 and in ever since, it has been African Americans and Native Americans, said to be inferior and therefore all the more dangerous to their oppressors. In the 1840s, it was Catholic immigrants, said by a presidential candidate to be besotted with rum, Romanism, and rebellion. In the 1920s, it was anarchists, Reds, and pushy Hebrews. In the 1950s, it was Communist spies for Stalin, the Satan of that time. In the 1960s, it was hippies, inner-city rioters, and opponents of the Vietnam War. Since 9/11, it has been American Muslims.
Trump drew much of his inspiration from another such paroxysm in 2015, when a yet another scapegoat was conjured up by another cohort of self-avowed civic champions, propagandists, opportunists, and keyboard-pounding alarmists (including more than a few sensation-hungry journalists). Civil society, they warned the public, was endangered by fragile, college-student snowflakes and petulant, censorious cry-bullies, obsessing, with their coddling, over-controlling parents, counsellors, and deans, about safety. According to this account, their perverse culture of safetyism censures all who don't follow its rules.
This was all well before the real threat to safety posed by COVID, which certainly does require that we follow strict rules. Yet public response to safety-obsessed college snowflakes was almost as intense as it had been in response to Puritan alarms about witches. A 7300-word article in Atlantic magazine, The Coddling of the American Mind, garnered over half a million Facebook shares with its claim that a new movement on American campuses was demanding protection from even stray phrases uttered in conversation or offending sentences in textbooks that might frighten discomfit students and their mentors.
Introducing readers to preoccupations with trigger warnings, microaggressions, and safe spaces, the authors Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt warned that safetyism and vindictive protectiveness, driven by generally left-leaning campus sensibilities, was spawning pathological thinking, such as catastrophizing, a malignant pessimism that turns commonplace negative events into nightmarish monsters.
Keyboard-pounding culture warriors, many of them older white men, including some of my own college classmates, responded, often anonymously but with alacrity, raging from internet safe spaces at videos of Black students demanding apologies for racism and sexism. Some students demands were histrionic and destructive of civility itself, but residential undergraduate college campuses, at least before COVID, have been civil societies on training wheels, where young adults sometimes experiment in a politics of self-discovery through moral posturing. Some act like hypersensitive barometers or canaries in a coal mine, registering tremors of a much larger civic implosion that they cant help but carry but certainly havent caused.
The same can't be said of their angry elders, presumably more mature but nostalgic for visions of their own youth (which they might wince to recall accurately). They exhibit a distinctive attitudinal structure that the political theorist Peter F. Gordon, in The Authoritarian Personality Revisited, reminds us has a tendency to be on the lookout for, and to condemn, reject, and punish people who violate conventional values. In 2015, conservative provocateurs, editors, and reporters obliged these keyboard authoritarians by prowling campuses, notebooks and video-cams at the ready, to catch the cry-bullies in action.
Necessary though it is to challenge wayward students' and mentors' affronts to free inquiry and expression, it's just as important to understand what's driving them. But well-funded orchestrators of a grand-inquisitorial take-downs of leftish social justice warriors and "safetyism" developed a strategy that was embraced by then presidential candidate Trump. Knowing a successful marketing gambit when he saw one, he promised his followers safety from "political correctness" in colleges and, soon enough, from urban anarchists, feral invaders of suburbs, and other nightmarish monsters.
Trump being Trump, he couldn't stop accusing his conjured-up adversaries of sins that he himself and his Republicans are guilty of: fear-mongering and craving the "safety" he supposedly defies; fomenting violence and the swamp of corruption that submerges his own family and supporters. In this year's campaign, Make America Great Again became Make America Safe Again, outdoing the obsessions about safety that the anti-"coddling" crusade had ascribed to college scapegoats.
In Joe Bidens America, you and your family will never be safe, Trump told a Tampa audience in July. In a perfect instance of catastrophizing, he warned that under Biden, rioters and criminals will be totally protected, law-abiding citizens will be totally disarmed, and American families will be at the mercy of the violent left-wing mob that youve been watching on television.
Adopting a more-coddling tone, Trump assured senior citizens
in Fort Myers, Florida in August that our groundbreaking therapies have significantly... improved our outcomes for elderly patients, but Ill not relent until all American seniors are safe. Youre going to be safe 100 percent safe. Losing his train of thought in the midst of that talk, he added, Suburban women want security, they want safety, they want law and order. They want their homes to be protected. You know why they like me? Because Im saving their homes.
In a later tweet, he added, revealingly, They want safety & are thrilled that I ended the long running program where low income housing would invade their neighborhood.
The biggest irony in Trumps "safety" gambit is that it doesn't really copy the campus left as much as it picks up a strong current in conservative thought that generated campus "safetyism" in the first place. In 1972, conservative activists David and Holly Franke wrote a book identifying towns including Holly's hometown of Wellesley, Massachusetts that they deemed safe from the social upheavals and maladies of that time. Catastrophizing that half of Americans felt afraid to walk the streets of their own communities at night and that 47% predicted "a real breakdown in this country, the Frankes commended only one rational route possible for the law-abiding citizen: escape.
Their book Safe Places sold well through several iterations (Safe Places West and Safe Places for the 80s). But to revisit the book's fear-driven, fear-inducing assessments of American society now is to uncover an instructive irony. The conservative turn from demanding safety for suburbs that, in 1972, weren't truly threatened by inner-city invaders, to condemning the more-recent demands for safe places by students and mentors, many of whom were raised in precisely the safe places defended so ardently by the Frankes.
A second irony lies in David Frankes own history, since his student days in the 1950s, of mobilising campus conservatives against leftist radicals. In 1970, two years before publishing Safe Spaces, he co-founded the Intercollegiate Studies Institute to train college students to counter liberal betrayals of our nation's founding principles limited government, individual liberty, personal responsibility, the rule of law, market economy... ideas that are rarely taught in your classroom.
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Posted: at 10:52 am
USPS promises timely election mail
With a record number of people voting by mail, the 11,600 employees of the Northern Ohio District are actively working together with our postal colleagues throughout Ohio and across the country to ensure the secure, timely delivery of our nations election mail. This is our number one priority, and we are working closely with state, county, and local election officials to meet this goal.
We take our longstanding role in the electoral process very seriously and are confident in our capability and capacity to deliver in this election season. In October and November, the postal service has allocated additional resources including expanded processing procedures, extra transportation, extra delivery and collection trips and overtime to ensure election mail reaches its intended destination in a timely manner. Consistent with practices used in past elections, extraordinary measures will be used to accelerate the delivery of ballots including: expedited handling, extra deliveries and special pickups.
We recommend planning ahead and acting early when choosing to vote through the U.S. Mail. Our post offices and retail locations are open, our mail carriers are at the ready and our collection boxes will be monitored and cleared regularly. As we continue receiving ballots cast by mail, voters in Ohio can be assured that the women and men of the U.S. Postal Service are united and fully focused on our public service mission of secure and timely mail delivery.
Acting district manager, U.S. Postal Service Northern Ohio District
These are questions I have asked myself.What is American Exceptionalism?Would the answer be exceptionally stupid?Do I need to go to church?No, I dont, because I can commune better with God sitting on a tree stump than in a pew sitting beside a bunch of hypocrites in church and my soul is at peace.I cannot sit beside those sinners who support the breaking of the 10 Commandments by supporting the lying president and everything else he has done.Does religious freedom mean there is only one true religion? Should those who preach the word of God be wealthier than their average parishioner?Show me one and I will show you an unholy person.
Truth, Justice, and the American way:Truth is now only what we choose to believe.Justice is totally unequal and based only on ones material worth or skin color.As for the American way, it is now get all you can get for as little effort as possible and let someone else pay for it. If the average IQ is 100, doesnt that mean one half of the country is dumber than the other half?You better start asking yourself where you fit in. How do you think China acquired a lock on our prescription medicine?Could it be that wealthier people wanted it manufactured there so they could make more profit?
Every time I go out all I see is stupid, and I am not looking in the mirror.Why did God give you a brain if you refuse to use it?What I am waiting for is when the Democrats return to power the Republicans are sure to say lets work together.I cant wait to say sure!
James M. Wise, Bellville
A vote for Biden is a vote for communism in America.If elected president, he will only be a figurehead, the out-front voice of a party run by far left socialists and Marxist revolutionaries.
History shows that such socialism always devolves into communism.For communism to work, the populace has to be made subservient to government control.Thus, the middle class has to be eliminated, freedoms such as First Amendment freedoms of speech and religion have to be eradicated, any conservative opposing viewpoints have to be censored and silenced, and the populace has to be under constant surveillance by the ruling authorities.As a result, communism has been responsible for over 100 million deaths of law-abiding citizens in the 20th century alone.Why would anybody think it would be any different in America?
Those who have the misconceived idea that they will receive free health care, free education, free this or that, will soon learn that nothing is free.You will pay for it through heavier and heavier taxation that puts people on a near-poverty level dependent on and enslaved to the elites in government.Either we learn the lessons of history (e.g. Russia, China, Cuba, Venezuela, etc.) or we are doomed to repeat them.
Additionally, the Democratic platform is a demon-inspired, anti-God platform of death, immoralityand destruction.Carried out it would result in Americas demise.
Like many Americans, I dont care much for Donald Trumps personality nor many of his tweets.However, to vote for Biden because of a dislike of Trumps personality would be a grave mistake.It is policy, not personality, that will determine Americas direction.And it is widespread repentance first, along with Republican policy and adherence to the Constitution founded on Judeo-Christian moral principles, that will better help lead America in the right direction.
Richard Smith, Mansfield
I have tried to stay apolitical in my previous letters, but I have read one too many bashing Joe Biden and the Democrats.
The United States at one time was the nation every other one envied; people longed to come here for freedom, equality, and education.In the past fouryears some immigrants who arrived were separated from their children who were put in cages.Now, the parents of these children cannot be located.I cannot imagine being separated from my child, possibly forever.
Everyone I talk with supports President Trump because of his pro-life stand; there are other issues!He also is doing his best to eliminate the Affordable Care act in the middle of a pandemic!Pre-existing conditions, under the president is also on his hit list.
It is unconscionable that POTUS continues to lie to Americans about the pandemic.As I recall, it was going to be gone by Easter, then summer and now the cure and vaccine are right around the corner.In the meantime, more than 220,000 have died; some children, some healthy adults and, yes, senior citizens who are more vulnerable.Does that mean they are dispensable?
Why does the president refuse to speak against white supremacists?One group trained to kidnap and execute Michigans governor and Mr. Trump continues to taunt her.He also banned diversity training, because in his opinion systemic racism does not exist.
What about his efforts to derail voting?Drop boxes were removed in Texas and cuts made in the postal service because the postmaster is a generous POTUS donor.
Unfortunately, I am limited to 300 words here, which are not nearly enough to address the many divisions President Trump has created.If you have not already voted, please consider what a great nation this once was and vote Democratic to restore it.
Ruth White, Mansfield
I usually vote Republican, but I am tired of Trump's nonsense and lies. He said the virus would go away, but now it is even worse. He said factory jobs would come back here, but I don't see any. I will give Biden a chance.
I may support Rep. Troy Balderson again to keep a check on a Biden presidency, but I cannot say his tenure has been impressive. I am willing to look into Alaina Shearer more.
Local Republicans are just as bad as the ones in D.C. and the corruption in the Ohio legislature is disgusting. Because of this, I cannot, in good conscience, vote for Marilyn John. She took Householder's corrupt money and has not been willing to face the voters and be accountable.
John Galvano, Mansfield
The presidential election campaign has revealed a split between spiritual Catholics and cultural Catholics. Spiritual Catholics ascribe to the dogma of the church and attempt to follow it as best they can. Cultural Catholics on the other hand pick and choose which church doctrine they will ascribe to. Frequently they allow politics to dictate their mindset.Abortion is a prime example. Spiritual Catholics believe life begins at conception while some cultural Catholics support Planned Parenthood and abortion.
The irony of all of this is that spiritual Catholics are now more aligned to conservative non-Catholic Christians than to their liberal cultural Catholic counterparts. The recent Supreme Court vacancy hearings illustrate this. Not one Democratic Catholic senator stood up to defend the teaching of the church. To go one step further, neither did the Democratic Catholic candidate for president.
I find it difficult to understand how one lives this facade. If you say you are an NFL football player, you better play the game. If you claim to be Catholic, you better believe the dogma. Catholics need to stand up for their church.
Paul Conry, Mansfield
You may know me Tim Grady I ran for state rep twice, last time as a Libertarian. Not ringing any bells? Fair enough. Anyway, my brother is Sam Grady and this year hes on your ballot for state representative. You probably know him;hes surprisingly good at generating media attention. Hes drawn a lot of flack for his lack of political correctness, and its likely deserved.
But the thing is, his lack of political correctness is the ONLY thing hes faulted for. Truthfully, hes a good candidate;hes the better choice in this election. He has pragmatic, thought-out policies that can draw bipartisan support. His opponent has no policies. He has no political ambitions; hes not a career politician like his opponent. In fact he practically revels in upsetting the status quo. Hes driven the state and local party establishment of BOTH the Republicans and Democrats to absolute madness. An accomplishment few can claim and not half bad for a political newcomer. But most importantly, he doesnt take tens of thousands of dollars from super PACs and corrupt legislators. If elected, hed be beholden to no one but the voters.
If you vote for Samyou can vote against corruption, you can vote against political partiesand you get someone who will, without question, zealously defend your personal liberties and call out the hypocrisy and corruption running rampant in our state government. Is Sam Grady the perfect candidate? No, because hes very rude on Facebook. But hell fight for you on the House floor because he enjoys it. And in two years its redistricting time and maybe we can choose someone else, maybe me (100% Ill run against him if no one else will), maybe Nathan Martin. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Tim Grady, Mansfield
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Posted: at 10:52 am
We had never done a Trunk or Treat at the church before. But, since so many others that normally do so had cancelled, we saw both a need and an opportunity and stepped up to do one. The office wing hallway got filled up with gobs of candy (and, while gobs likely does not have an actual, official definition to it, all Southerners know what gobs are) as well as gospel tracts, magnets, Bible verse bracelets, and other Bible-based gifts to give out to everyone who came.
I even carved two pumpkinsa pretty girl pumpkin and a wide-eyed boy pumpkin staring at her in amazement.
When the cars started pulling into the parking lot, I expected to see tons of cute kids, frazzled adults, and the occasional teenager giving the all-too-transparent this is for my little brother excuse. What I did not expect was a fantastic spiritual lesson in the form of two tiny super heroes
The Black Panther started making his way toward my truck, joined by a couple of little pirates. But this black panther was a little white kid of about five years old. I smile at him and said, Hey, Black Panther, hows it going? He smiled, made claws with his hands, then held out his bag for me. I gave him some candy and a magnet and said, Keep everybody here safe, okay? He smiled again, puffed out his chest and said, I will!
Maybe fifteen minutes later, Iron Man made his way to my station. But this Iron Man was a black kid of maybe eight or nine. I smiled at him and said, Iron Man is my favorite. I even have a tag on the front of my truck. He smiled and said, Mine too! and went on his way.
A white Black Panther, and a black Iron Man. I wonder how long it will be before political correctness sucks all of the joy out of their lives by indoctrinating them with the cultural appropriation mantra, I said to no one in particular.
As you can likely guess, I am no fan of killjoys.
It seems to me that there are certain things that come easy in childhood, things that have to be intentionally ruined in order for people to lose them by adulthood. One of those things is faith. In Matthew 17:3 Jesus said, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Children have such an easy time simply believing God; they usually have to be talked or taught out of that tendency to get them to go the wrong way.
But they also tend to have a joy of life about them, the ability to have fun without the fear of running afoul of the frowning, self-appointed arbiters of ever changing societal expectations. A little white kid decide he is the Black Panther, a black kid can decide he is Iron Man, and neither of them see anything odd about that, let alone anything inappropriate. Nor, by the way, did the cute little back girl who came by dressed as Ariel the Mermaid a few minutes later. It is almost enough to make me want to put children in charge of the world for a little while.
Some years ago an Asian friend of mine taught a bunch of white kids his Asian Guy Version of Im In The Lords Army, which ended each line with take a picture! instead of yes sir! as if sung by an Asian tourist. They howled with laughter and have sung it ever since. And you can bet that someday, despite the fact that an Asian taught it to them, and that it is entirely in good clean fun, they will be stunned to get blasted as racists for it.
My wife as a teenager was a missionary kid in Grenada. Some of the little Grenadian girls used to do her hair in corn rows, just like theirs. If she ever runs for public office it will be inevitable that someone finds those pictures and hits her for cultural appropriation just for loving those kids enough to let them fix her hair. Some of the black gentlemen I used to minister to in prison taught me how to sway and clap and put soul into my singing. The horrors!
How exhausting. If I may be so blunt, whoever makes it their mission in life to sniff out transgressions against things that arent even wrong is in desperate need of this amazing thing called a life. Or maybe they could just take their medicine, as in Proverbs 17:22, A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. Kids generally come equipped by God with merry hearts and then have to be trained out of it by highly educated young adults with PhDs in Misery.
Life is too short to be miserable, and nothing makes people any more miserable than having to deal with the PC Police. So go appropriate a bowl of chips and salsa for lunch, listen to any message the late great black preacher E.V. Hill ever preached and then try to mimic him, use chopsticks for your Italian supper with baklava for desert, sing along with the delightful twang of Peg McKamey no matter where you are from, and fix your hair whatever way makes you happy, no matter what race it supposedly belongs to.
If you have a problem with that, not only do I have Proverbs 17:22 on my side, I am also now on pretty good terms with two super heroes, so just put a sock in it and move along quietly.
Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, NC, a widely traveled evangelist, and the author of several books. His books are available on Amazon and at http://www.wordofhismouth.com. Pastor Wagner can be contacted by email at [emailprotected]
Posted: at 10:52 am
David Brooks| The New York Times
Many of our best presidents have been underestimated. Harry S. Truman was seen as the tool of a corrupt political machine. Dwight D. Eisenhower was supposedly a bumbling middlebrow. Ulysses S. Grant was thought a taciturn simpleton. Even FDR was once considered a lightweight feather duster.
Ive been reading Joe Bidens speeches, and Im beginning to think even his supporters are underestimating him.
Hes walking across treacherous cultural ground, confronting conflicts that are shredding the nation, and hes mastering them with ease.
Biden is campaigning in a country that has lost faith in itself. Sixty-six percent of Americans believe our nation is in decline, according to a study from the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture.
Hes also running in the middle of a political and cultural civil war. Eighty-two percent of Biden voters believe that Donald Trump would like to gradually transform our country into a dictatorship, according to that IASC study. Ninety percent of Trump voters believe that the Democrats want to gradually turn America into a socialist country. According to a survey conducted by Braver Angels, a group that sponsors bipartisan conversations, 70% of Americans believe that if the wrong candidate wins, America will not recover.
Biden is campaigning in a land filled with fear, hatred and apocalyptic thinking. It would be so easy for him to reflect that fear and hate back to voters. Thats what Trump does.
But Biden is not doing that. Never in my life have I seen a candidate so confidently avoid wedge issues. Biden is instead running on the conviction that, despite it all, Americans deeply love their country and viscerally long for its unity. Hes running with the knowledge that when you ask America about the greatest threats to our future, political polarization and divisiveness comes out No. 1.
Its easy to say youre for healing division. But heres what Biden has actually done:
Hes de-ideologized this election. Hes made the campaign mostly about dealing with COVID-19. Thats a practical problem, not an ideological one. Conservatives and moderates dont have to renounce their whole philosophy to vote for him. They can just say theyre voting for the person who can take care of this.
Hes separated politics from the culture war. Over the past generation, culture war issues have increasingly swallowed our politics. Trump has put this process into overdrive. He barely talks about policies. Instead, his every subject is really about why our identity group is better than their identity group.
So now the positions people take on issues ranging from climate change to immigration are determined by whether they see themselves as part of the rural white Christian conservative army or part of the urban multicultural secular progressive army. Policies are no longer debated discretely; they are just battles in one big, existential fight over who we are.
But Biden goes back to the New Deal, to an era of policymaking when there really wasnt a polarized culture war. He sidesteps the Kulturkampf issues which statues to take down to simply talk about helping the middle class.
Biden has scrambled the upscale/downscale dynamic. The most important fissure in our politics is education levels. The Democratic Partys greatest long-term challenge is that it might become the party of the highly credentialed college-educated class and let some future Republican rally a multiracial working-class coalition. Even Trump is now making surprising gains among Latino and Black men.
Biden has avoided all the little microaggressions that cultural elites use to show they are morally superior. Wokeness, for example, is partly about fighting oppression, but its also become a status symbol. Its showing people that you are so intellectually evolved that you can use words like intersectionality, decolonizing and cultural appropriation. Political correctness is not just a means for the less privileged to set standards of behavior; it is also sometimes the way people with cultural power push others around.
Unlike, say, Hillary Clinton, Biden has a worldview and a manner that is both educated class and working class and defuses the divide.
Biden has avoided the stupid binaries about race. Trump went to Mount Rushmore and made a speech essentially saying you can either believe in systemic racism or you can love America. Biden went to Gettysburg and argued that you can honestly face systemic racism and love America. He argued that you can believe in fighting racism and believe in law and order. His worldview is based on universal categories the things we share not identitarian ones the ways we supposedly cant understand each other across difference.
Hes done a good job reaching out to white evangelicals. Right now, many of them think hes a godless socialist who will usher in a reign of anti-religious terror. In his campaign hes done a pretty good job reaching out to those voters. His campaign has run ads on Christian radio and reached out aggressively to evangelical leaders. If he can allay their cultural fears (by making it clear he will not shut down Christian charitable groups) and win them over with working-class economic policies, he can create a long-term governing majority.
Seventy percent of Americans in that Braver Angels survey say America is facing permanent harm, but 70% also say the most important job after the election is to heal our enmity, to do the hard job of working with people whose views we find completely objectionable. This unity impulse is powerful in the populace, but it is deeply hidden.
Biden knew it was there.
David Brooks writes for The New York Times.