I don’t want to elect anyone commander in chief: not the xenophobic misogynist and egomaniac, not the Henry Kissinger acolyte and Libya hawk. The big hole in this democracy is not the candidates; it’s the bedrock, founding belief that the rest of the world is our potential enemy, that war with someone is always inevitable and only a strong military will keep us safe.
While remaining committed to these goals, I’ve been disturbed by a fundamental inconsistency in much of the pro-life movement. People who are passionate about combating abortion often seem unconcerned about other ways that human lives are destroyed. Why, I wondered, did many pro-life leaders fail to support programs designed to reduce starvation among the world’s children? Why did others oppose government funding for research into a cure for AIDS? Why did an important pro-life senator fight to save unborn babies only to defend government subsidies for tobacco products, which cause six million deaths around the globe each year? When Congressman Barney Frank quipped that pro-lifers believe that “life begins at conception and ends at birth,” he was not being entirely unfair.
On the issue of war and nuclear weapons, it is actually Hillary’s policies which are much scarier than Donald Trump who does not want to go to war with Russia. He wants to seek modes of working together, which is the route that we need to follow not to go into confrontation and nuclear war with Russia.
But a growing number of Americans have had their eyes opened to the reality of American politics. That’s the one positive legacy Trump is likely to leave. After what we’ve been through during this election it’s hard to believe that the mainstream media and the people who turn to them for news will quickly forget how close a call we had.
Our democracy needs fixing. And that means addressing the problem with low information voters I set out to draw attention to eight years ago. That’s why I’m grateful to Donald Trump.
…we are living in the most fearmongering time in human history. And the main reason for this is that there’s a lot of power and money available to individuals and organizations who can perpetuate these fears.
In 1980, the Republicans won the game: they were able to start dismantling liberalism, tearing apart the New Deal, destroying unions, sending the good jobs overseas, and sending all the economic gains to the rich rather than to the whole population. So it’s a bit provoking when conservative pundits offer this story that the Democrats abandoned the working class.
It’s true that Trump has appealed to economic anxiety— among other things. But his very framing of the issue shows that he doesn’t understand the issues or have any notion on how to solve them. He talks as if the problem is foreigners— either Mexicans coming to this country to steal jobs, or Chinese somehow taking advantage of us by selling us cheap things. He isn’t running for President of Mexico or China, so he can’t actually do anything about either problem, nor would building walls (whether made of bricks or tariffs) actually re-create manufacturing jobs.
Seriously. Stop making this about Trump! That case has been made and 3/5 of Americans are sold on it. Time to move forward! It is time to get moderate conservatives to leave the undead elephant.
So why do I bring all that up? I believe we need consumer personal data protection rights. Almost like credit reporting. The big three (AGM) personal data aggregators and Facebook and LinkedIn collect a lot of personal data about each of us. We should have the right to know what they keep about us, and to possibly correct that record, like we do with the credit bureaus. We should be able to get a free digital copy of our personal data at least annually. The personal data aggregators should also have to report who they share that information with, and in what form. Do they pass along our phone contact information, or email accounts to 3 rd party providers or license that to other companies to help them do their business? The Europeans are ahead of America in protecting privacy rights on the internet, with the right to be forgotten, and the right to correct data. We should not be left behind in making our lives safer from invasion of our privacy and loss of personal security.
Email drives me crazy the way it drives everyone else crazy, but I can set aside certain times of the day in which to use it. If I had to have my work interrupted eleven times a day for phone conferences, at someone else’s convenience, or had to have a Slack window open and pinging merrily away all day long, I’d never get anything done. Churchill’s famous comment about democracy — “the worst form of government, except for all those others that have been tried” — might be adapted here: email is the worst form of business communication, except for all the others that Manjoo recommends.
But Trump is revealing contradictions in the Republican coalition in a really profound way. The neo-liberalism in the Republican agenda has never been popular. I have polls from 1984 showing people thought that the level of regulation was perfectly fine, they were perfectly happy paying the level of taxes they were paying, all these sorts of things, and yet, Reagan won 49 states. It must have been something else, right? Trump complicates the analysis because he’s shored up his support among the Conservative establishment by outsourcing his tax plan to Stephen Moore and looking more like a traditional conservative, but he certainly doesn’t talk a lot about it on the campaign trail. On the campaign trail, it’s all about the fecklessness of Republican elites who have allowed his voters’ hometowns to turn into ghost towns. How do Republican leaders respond to that?
People worry that computers will get too smart and take over the world, but the real problem is that they’re too stupid and they’ve already taken over the world.
WHAT MIGHT BONHOEFFER make of his “Moment” in American politics? Born in 1906 into a prodigiously humanist family, Dietrich Bonhoeffer had rarely discussed politics in his university years; when he had, it was mostly in response to his brothers, who, radicalized by the Great War, never missed an opportunity to butt heads concerning the finer points of the Weimar government or the morality of its democratic reforms. A university friend complained of Bonhoeffer’s inclination to escape into ethereal regions of “comprehensive” ideas and thus “avoid the murk and mists of boiling-hot politics.” Indeed, during Bonhoeffer’s postdoctoral year at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, there is not even mention in his notes or letters of what was the lead item in the Times on the day of his arrival: “Fascists Make Big Gains in Germany.
”This changed during that transformative year in America. Between August 1930 in May 1931 Bonhoeffer would journey into new regions of experience: into the tenement buildings of New York, into the Harlem Renaissance, into the Deep South weeks after the Scottsboro Boys went to trial, into a six-month immersion in the black church in Abyssinian Baptist in Harlem. He spent time with the National Women’s Trade Union League and the Workers Education Bureau of America; he wrote notes on the labor movement, poverty, homelessness, crime, and the social mission of the churches. He met with officials from the American Civil Liberties Union, the nation’s premier defender of civil liberties, which after its founding in 1920 had focused heavily on the rights of conscientious objectors and on the protection of resident aliens from deportation. After returning to Berlin, he told his older brother that Germany needed an ACLU of its own. And in the spring of 1931, Bonhoeffer took a road trip through the heart of the Jim Crow South, after which he wrote that he had heard the Gospel preached in “the church of the outcasts of America.” In these unfamiliar regions, among a nearly forgotten generation of American radicals and reformers, Bonhoeffer found the courage to reexamine every aspect of his vocation as theologian and pastor and to embark upon what he would call “the turning from the phraseological to the real.” No other thinker in the modern era crosses quite so many boundaries while yet remaining exuberantly—and one must always add—generously Christian. This is why his story has attracted both liberals and evangelicals, Catholics and Protestants, Christians and Jews, church-goers and secularists alike, people of all faiths. What all admire is Bonhoeffer’s indisputably authentic witness to the dignity of life.
In the end, Metaxas’s Bonhoeffer resembles no one so much as Metaxas.