• Insightful thoughts here from Exton’s other blogger, Martin Longman: “Progressives Are Finally Ready to Be the Culture Instead of the Counterculture.”
That step is, alas, intolerable for many progressives who seek and require a more romantic, self-affirming emotional reward from politics. Liking that cool, edgy band that nobody’d heard of used to set them apart as cooler than the masses. But now that their records are going platinum and they’re getting tons of radio airplay and everybody likes them, what’s the point? For some folks, it was never really about the music.
Or, as Noam Chomsky recently put it, “Voting should not be viewed as a form of personal self-expression.”
• The speech linked to there by President Barack Obama again reflects the Niebuhrian theology that informs and infuses his thinking. You should read that whole speech. And watch it. It demonstrates why realism shouldn’t be mistaken for cynicism or pessimism. Or, as Reinhold Niebuhr put it, in a passage that ably summarizes that speech:
Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime; therefore, we are saved by hope. Nothing true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore, we are saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore, we are saved by love.
• Atrios has more on the very recent development that a woman running for president is something we — almost — take for granted now. (Almost because, so far, no woman has ever been elected. Ever. Possibilities that have never happened shouldn’t really be assumed possible until proven so.)
Consider, for example, that Katherine Hepburn was criticized for wearing “trousers” instead of skirts and dresses. This “mannish” behavior was considered uppity and unseemly — a woman attempting to usurp the place of men by dressing like men. That was a long time ago, of course, and it seems silly now, right?
Well, not really, because the term “pantsuit” lives on — still, today — as a pejorative shorthand for the same thing. Still.
The peak use of that term — the peak of disdain for pantsuits and for the pantsuited themselves as a way of putting uppity women back in their place — was the 1990s. And the No. 1 target for that was the then-first lady — the very same woman who now, a quarter-century later, just became the first woman ever to be nominated as a candidate for president by a major political party.
• Molly Lambert writes about Hillsong, the desperately “cool megachurch.” It’s gently devastating.
• “New Rules Would Require Debt Collectors Have Proof You Actually Owe Money.” Those new rules are needed because, right now, debt collectors can harass someone, destroy their credit-rating, sue, and even siphon from the paycheck of someone without proof that person actually owes the debt they’re supposedly collecting.
The new rules come from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau — an amazing, effective pitbull advocate for the public created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank reforms. (You know, the law named after that guy who got booed Monday for supposedly being a sell-out to Wall Street.)
The continuing existence of the CFPB is at stake in this November’s election. Explicitly, a vote for Donald Trump is a vote to kill the agency and every similar attempt to create more just and rational rules for our economy. A vote for Trump is, among many other things, a vote to ensure that debt collectors never need proof you actually owe money.