Today I’m joining an interfaith fast against violence and in support of peace in Israel & Gaza. It happens to be a traditional fast day for both the Jewish and Muslim faiths - part of the holy month of Ramadan for the latter and a somewhat obscure fast commemorating the destruction of the 2nd Temple for the former - and, honestly, I feel so powerless and confused in the face of the spiraling conflict that this act of kinesthetic empathy and spiritual support seems like the most productive way I can engage.
“One began this way: “I’m currently worth more dead (with my life insurance policy) than alive (with my student loan debt).” Another writer said she became disabled during her college years, and went on SSDI. Her loan, worth $57,000, is now in default, and she is curious whether her disability payments will be cut as a result. One said simply, “Why do I have to make a life-changing decision of what job I’ll have for the rest of my life when only a week prior I had to ask to use the bathroom?”
“It’s so full of shit there’s a colon smack dab in the middle of it.
“But the pleasant autumn weather disguises a government teetering on the brink. Because, at midnight Monday night, the government of this intensely proud and nationalistic people will shut down, a drastic sign of political dysfunction in this moribund republic.
Living in London for a year - and thus getting an honest sense of how US politics comes across to the rest of the world - was an incredibly humbling experience. Nice job, Slate.
As we head toward renewed battles over the debt ceiling, sequester, and government funding, it’s important to understand why Republicans are disciplined and Democrats aren’t.
Well it’s not technically a throwback because Bob Reich published this post today BUT this idea feels very old-school to me. When I was first getting involved in politics about 10 years ago this was a common refrain - especially after Bush won reelection. Why, many liberals asked, can’t we get our sh*t together and rally around a unified/consistent message like the they do? If evangelicals and big-business fiscal conservatives can play nice with each other and fall into line, why can’t the greenies and labor and socially liberal hedge fund managers do the same?
But a lot has changed in 10 years. Frank Luntz (the originator of the term “death panel,” and a brilliant and bizarre communicator with whom I have had the eye-opening experience of working closely) no longer dictates messaging for the Republican party, via Karl Rove. And the Tea Party - which can hardly be described as authoritarian (or at least not monolithic) in nature - has caused serious, and public, rifts in the GOP. In fact, when it comes to communications, the “Growth and Opportunity Party” (hello, rebranding), is trying to catch up with Dems. Perhaps most importantly, social media didn’t really exist 10 years ago. Social media, it turns out, doesn’t lend itself to super-disciplined, corporate-style, authoritarian communications. It is a lot messier, and a bit more authentic. And, at least when it comes to Presidential politics, the Dems have excelled at this, while the GOP has failed.
The significance of this shift is up for debate - while the Dems have the Presidency, they have lost the other 2 branches of the federal government, and they certainly don’t shine at getting things done in Washington. But I wonder if this dichotomy between corporate/authoritarian and/disciplined and networked/decentralized/anti-authoritarian communications is still relevant. And, to the extent that it is, which one actually translates to substantive advantage in the politics of today.