We live in a partisan age, and our news habits can reinforce our own perspectives. Consider this an effort to broaden our collective outlook with essays beyond the range of our typical selections.
FROM THE LEFT
The context, from the author: The viral joy of that unmasking, the giving of the proverbial finger to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), raises the question: Did the pandemic make average Americans more anti-government? Did it bring us closer to what decades of right-wing propaganda had not quite succeeded in doing — generating widespread public support for the “deconstruction of the administrative state” (a phrase favored by Trump crony Steve Bannon)?
The excerpt: In the United States, rather than increasing trust in government, the relatively mild pandemic public-health measures instituted by the CDC and state governments only inflamed America’s “freedom” fetish. Claiming that mask and vaccine mandates were the slippery slope to Chinese totalitarianism was certainly a stretch, but one that many on the right have been all too eager to promote. For years, the right-wing echo chamber has been priming the info-siloed and mentally vulnerable with warnings about “FEMA camps” for Christians and conservatives (and, of course, while they were at it, the feds were always coming to get your guns, too).
From “What Do Black Americans Think About Roe v. Wade — and Why,” by Theodore R. Johnson in The Bulwark at bit.ly/3a0oyGJ.
The context, from the author: In the last two or three decades, though, Black Americans have become more pro-choice, a result of a significant shift toward pro-choice policies by Black men.
The excerpt: Black Americans holding more conservative views on abortion are not ripe for Republican candidates to pick off the Democratic electoral ledger. Winning 1 in 5 Black voters has been a GOP pipe dream since Lee Atwater made the claim in the 1980s that reaching the benchmark would give Republicans a permanent governing majority. But abortion will not help the party improve its historically poor performance with Black voters over the last two decades. I used to think leaning into social conservatism might be a viable strategy for Republicans hoping to attract Black voters, but that ain’t it —never mind that the party itself is muddling through a Trump-induced identity crisis.
From “The Democratic Party’s Leadership Is Trying to Destroy Progressives,” by David Sirota in Jacobin at bit.ly/3Nl91zP.
The context, from the author: Progressive candidates have established a few tenuous footholds in recent years. Democratic leadership and their corporate donors are now doing everything they can to destroy those progressives.
The excerpt: Democratic operatives don’t ever admit they are trying to help business donors pulverize rank-and-file voters and perform a hostile takeover of the party. Instead, they often make the “pragmatism” argument, asserting (with few facts) their primary interventions are designed to help corporate candidates who are allegedly the most “electable” in tough general elections.
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FROM THE RIGHT
From “The Georgia Law Biden Compared to Jim Crow Leads to Record Early Voter Turnout,” by Jim Geraghty in The National Review at bit.ly/3yJ3nn6.
The context, from the author: A funny thing happened in the first primary with this new elections law in place. Early voting turnout in the primaries is going to hit a new record.
The excerpt: If this was a voter suppression law as President Biden contended, it is doing a terrible job. If Americans are lackadaisical or nonchalant about racism — a debatable contention — perhaps one of the reasons they are is because ordinary election reform legislation, that was not designed to suppress voter turnout and that was never likely to suppress voter turnout, gets labeled “Jim Crow in the 21st century.”
The context, from the author: It is a cruel irony of nature that the female breadwinner cannot feed her child.
The excerpt: It would be practically impossible for a woman to return to an office full-time and also breastfeed her child without some sort of formula supplement. Nature’s supply-and-demand cycle requires she be with her child (or pump) frequently throughout the day, depending on the baby’s stage of development, something even the best office environment would be hard pressed to accommodate for. ... What is to be done? Several ideas come to mind, of which paid family leave, remote work and paying fathers a family wage are only a few. Repairing the corrupt state incentives that have led to our high divorce and single-motherhood rates would be another idea.
The context, from the author: Back in the days of yore, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition was reserved for the pinnacle of beauty and sexiness. The covers would make men stop and stare. They were collectors’ items and when a new annual cover dropped it was something of a public stir.
The excerpt: Sports Illustrated, like many publications, went woke, and soon they began utilizing their most anticipated issue to push a political narrative. In 2021 they made Leyna Bloom, a transgender person, their swimsuit model. Now, this year, the woke seemed to have returned to remembering what a woman is but have decided to push the “healthy at any size” narrative by making Yumi Nu their model. ... Nu doesn’t mirror the body perfection of (Tyra) Banks or (Kate) Upton. She’s what the artist would call “Rubenesque” and what the politically correct doctors would call “well-nourished.”