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America

Garrett Epps on Birthright Citizenship

The first words of the Fourteenth Amendment, argues legal scholar and Atlantic contributor Garrett Epps, are the key to its meaning: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” In the newest Atlantic Argument, Epps details the history…

Jennifer Rubin on ‘Three big ideas to bolster democracy’

Jennifer Rubin writes of three ideas to bolster democracy (enhanced voting rights, independent and non-partisan justice, and robust speech rights): First, Republicans, in an effort to hang on to their declining electoral advantage based on white voters, have tried every trick in the book to limit voting by those they suspect will favor Democrats. Hence,…

Resolution & Defiance

Historian Blair L.M. Kelley describes What Civil Rights History Can Teach Kavanaugh’s Critics:

People watched Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony on monitors in an overflow room in the Dirksen Senate Building during Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings last month. Credit Damon Winter/New York Times

But in the end, these turn-of-the-20th-century African-American activists [in Richmond and dozens of other southern cities in 1904] could not stop Jim Crow’s advance. Their suits, sit-ins, letter-writing campaigns, boycotts, marches and impassioned pleas to lawmakers failed to make a difference when legislators were determined to segregate no matter the costs. Segregation or exclusion became the law of the land in the American South, and remained so for many years, separating black and white Southerners not only on trains and streetcars but also in schools, neighborhoods, libraries, parks and pools.

Progressives, liberals and sexual assault survivors and all those who desire a more just and decent America and who feel they lost when Kavanaugh was confirmed despite their protest should remember Mitchell, Plessy, Walker and Wells, along with Elizabeth Jennings, James Pennington, Lola Houck, Louis A. Martinet, Rodolphe Desdunes, P.B.S. Pinchback, W.E.B. DuBois, Mary Church Terrell, J. Max Barber and many others, including those whose names we do not know. All of these men and women were on the side of justice and lost. None of these people, who fought for full and equal public access as free citizens on trains and streetcars, stopped fighting. None abandoned what they knew was right. They all tried again. Most would not live to see things made right, but they continued.

Those who see Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation as a lost battle in the larger war for gender equality and dignity for women — and sexual assault survivors, specifically — should emulate the activists of generations past. They should keep organizing, connect with like-minded people, volunteer for organizations that advocate for survivors, consider running for office, and work on the campaigns of those they believe in. A week after his confirmation, a reminder is in order: Movements are about more than moments; they are about thoughtful networks of dissent built over time.

My scholarship has taught me that activism requires a certain resilience, and the willingness to be long-suffering in pursuit of the cause. I hope people remember this. I hope they keep going.

 

 

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Noah Smith on Diversity

Noah Smith of Bloomberg recently published a thirteen-tweet thread in reply to Tucker Carlson’s dismissive questioning of diversity.  The small town from which I write is a diverse place, of different ethnicities, occupations, and ages.  Smith’s defense of diversity as a social strength was first published on 9.9.18, beginning at 10:02 AM. His full remarks appear below,…

‘The Coalition of All Democratic Forces’

On Twitter, Garry Kasparov reflected on the diverse coalition of those opposed to Trumpism, and the need for accountability for Trump & his operatives. In reply, Benjamin Wittes wrote a series addressing Kasparov’s topic. Below, I have reproduced the original Kasparov tweet, and Wittes’s series in reply. Their conversation is (having started after an earlier…

Another Fellow Traveler Heard From

A fellow traveler is someone who supports a group – typically used pejoratively as a group adversarial to one’s society – without being a member; a fifth columnist takes active, but hidden, steps to undermine one’s society on behalf of a foreign adversary. (Neither term, of course, applies merely to people who like to vacation abroad…

‘A Free Press Needs You’

Following Trump’s repeated attacks on the press as the enemy of the people, hundreds of publications across America are today uniting in a defense of their right to free expression. The editorial board of the New York Times, in A Free Press Needs You, describes our heritage and the threat to it: In 1787, the…

Her Loss is America’s Gain

Laura Ingraham: “The America we know and love doesn’t exist anymore. Massive demographic changes have been foisted on the American people, and they are changes that none of us ever voted for, and most of us don’t like … this is related to both illegal and legal immigration” pic.twitter.com/s5G2qIY4W0 — Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) August 9,…

A Roadmap for Renewal

No map provides all the detail one encounters when traveling a terrain; it is enough that it makes one’s chosen direction discernible.  Our present national conflict will one day end, and when it does millions who will have swept Trumpism into the dustbin will then have to renew American politics, restoring to this society once…

We Unhelpful Many

Over at The Atlantic, Danielle Pletka of the conservative American Enterprise Institute scolds critics of Trump, as she believes The Anti-Trump Hysteria Isn’t Helping: President Donald Trump’s press conference with Russia’s Vladimir Putin was a debacle. The president went from an anodyne prepared statement to a question-and-answer session that ping-ponged between stunning and appalling (with…

We’re Going to Need a Bigger Cartoon

In 1865, cartoonist Oscar Harpel drew A Proper Family Re-Union, depicting notorious American traitors Benedict Arnold and Jefferson Davis drinking a treason toddy of Satan’s creation. I’ll not presume to make the theological claim that Trump will, in fact, one day find himself in the company of those three, but as a political matter, America’s going…