Letter-Writing Wednesday: Don’t Help Republicans Govern

[For 2017, I made a New Year's resolution to make sure my elected officials hear from me more often. To hold myself accountable to that pledge, and hopefully to inspire others to do the same, I intend to post the letters I send on Daylight Atheism. I sent a version of this letter to my senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. Feel free to reuse it or adapt it for your own purposes.]Dear Senator:After Barack Obama was inaugurated in 2009, Mitch McConnell declared that Republicans' … [Read more...]

Lord of Misrule

Before the Christian church renamed the day Christmas and tried to co-opt it with their own rituals, the winter solstice holiday was traditionally a raucous pagan festival. One of the old customs, which persisted into the medieval era, was called the Lord of Misrule. A person of low social standing, like a peasant or a servant, was chosen to be king for a day and to conscript everyone else into debauchery:Presiding over these rowdy celebrations of Christmas-tide, held over the twelve days … [Read more...]

“Because of Politics”

I was reading "Life in Obamacare's Dead Zone", about poor Americans stuck in a coverage gap that arose because the Supreme Court made it possible for red states to refuse the Medicaid expansion. I'll get to their stories, but first, I have to vent about the appalling subhead:"Excluded from the Affordable Care Act because of politics, thousands of poor Americans grapple with the toll — physical and psychological — of being uninsured."Whether the author meant it this way or not, the phr … [Read more...]

Why America Needs Identity Politics

The debate about what lessons American progressives need to take from the 2016 election is just beginning. One of the first shots in that war was fired this month in an editorial by Mark Lilla, "The End of Identity Liberalism", that implores us to stop thinking or talking about race and gender so much. It leaves a lot to criticize:In recent years American liberalism has slipped into a kind of moral panic about racial, gender and sexual identity that has distorted liberalism's message and … [Read more...]

You Get What You Vote For

With a Republican Congress and president set to be seated in 2017, it's a good bet that all the coverage gains of Obamacare will be rolled back. Paul Ryan has been open about his desire to dismantle every piece of safety-net legislation since the Great Society, and it's likely that he's going to get his wish. That's very bad news for the residents of depressed Clay County, Kentucky:For Freida Lockaby, an unemployed 56-year-old woman who lives with her dog in an aging mobile home in … [Read more...]

The America I Thought I Knew

[Note: I've still got a lot of raw emotions, and this post is written in the spirit of catharsis. If that's not what you need right now, feel free to skip it. You may also like this one: Dear America, Stop Gaslighting Me]Over the last few days, I've been cycling back and forth through all the stages of grief, trying to come to terms with what's happened. I've come to realize that the reason that last week's election results were such a devastating and unexpected blow - even besides the … [Read more...]

Election 2016, Everybody Stop Freaking Out Edition

First things first: Vote. Vote. Vote. Vote for president. Vote in downballot races. Vote if you live in a swing state. Vote if you live in a safe state. Find your polling place. Make a plan for how and when you'll get there. Most of all, get out and vote. And after you've voted, if you have the time and the inclination, help others do it too: Phone bank. Knock doors. Help drive eligible voters to the polls.Have you done all that? Good. Now, here's what I have to say to liberals: For the love … [Read more...]

Hillary Clinton’s Silent Majority

With the 2016 presidential election less than a month away, Hillary Clinton has a commanding lead in the polls and in most swing states. In fact, she's been consistently in the lead this entire campaign. Barring some almost unimaginable last-minute change in the race, she's set to become the next president.Especially since decision day is so near, you'd think the media would find it worthwhile to delve into her base of support. Who's voting for Clinton and and why? What are their hopes and … [Read more...]

Women Deserve Equal Rights, Not Chivalry

Donald Trump's boasting about his ability to "grab [women] by the pussy" has opened the floodgates.Since those remarks came to light, corroborating stories are popping up all over. In a 2005 interview with Howard Stern, Trump chortled about how, at beauty pageants he owned, he would barge into the contestants' dressing rooms in the hope of seeing them naked. Five women in the Miss Teen USA pageant have confirmed that he did this to them - yes, peeping on teenagers.Other women have also … [Read more...]

When Should a President Prosecute Their Predecessor?

The standout moment at Sunday's debate had to be Donald Trump's thuggish threat to jail Hillary Clinton:"If I win," Donald Trump threatened Hillary Clinton during Sunday night's debate, "I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation... People have been, their lives have been destroyed for doing one fifth of what you have done. And it's a disgrace.""You know," Clinton later responded, "It's just awfully good that someone with the … [Read more...]