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Jim Verhulst - Deputy Editor of Editorials
Here’s what to read from the left and the right | Column
Here’s some interesting commentary from the opposite poles of the political spectrum.
Bottles of abortion pills at a clinic in Des Moines, Iowa.
Bottles of abortion pills at a clinic in Des Moines, Iowa. [ CHARLIE NEIBERGALL | AP ]
Published Jun. 11

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

From “Abortion Pills Will Be Crucial in a Post-Roe World. But They’re Not the Magic Fix Many Think They Are,” by Becca Andrews in Mother Jones at bit.ly/3H5jI7J.

The context, from the author: Medication abortion is not a magic fix. More specifically, it is not and will not be the solution for everyone. And the sooner we realize that, the sooner we can set about working toward desperately needed solutions.

The excerpt: Oriaku Njoku, co-founder of Access Reproductive Care (ARC) Southeast, says that telling people to simply go online, pay upwards of $250, and wait for the pills to come in the mail doesn’t align with the lived experiences and circumstances of most people. “They’re not thinking about how Black and brown bodies are consistently criminalized,” she says. ... Nor are they thinking about how often the physical ailments of Black bodies are also ignored. Njoku experienced this first hand: She grew up in Kentucky as a Nigerian immigrant and endured heavy, painful periods that were repeatedly dismissed by local physicians. It wasn’t until she moved to Atlanta at 36 years old and found a Black OB-GYN that she was finally diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome. Njoku’s experience is just one example of the endless disparities that exist between rural people and those who live in metropolitan areas, between Black bodies with uteruses and white bodies with uteruses, which could impact the accessibility of abortion medication. The truth is, a one-size-fits-all solution to abortion access simply does not exist because of the deep, lasting inequalities that exist in this country.

From “The CEO-to-Worker Pay Gap Is Climbing to Truly Obscene Levels,” by Alex N. Press in Jacobin at bit.ly/3Q3oxm2.

The context, from the author: A new report finds that the gap between worker pay and CEO compensation continues to grow at some of the United States’ lowest-paying firms. At dozens of companies, the ratio exceeds 1,000 to one.

The excerpt: As for near-term policy solutions to the CEO-to-worker pay gap, the IPS (Institute for Policy Studies) notes that a recent poll finds that 62 percent of Republicans and 75 percent of Democrats support capping CEO pay relative to worker pay regardless of company performance. The executive branch could grant preferential treatment to companies with lower CEO-to-worker pay ratios (not to mention refusing to work with companies that are engaged in violations of labor law).

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From “The End of the Nordic Ideal,” by Heikki Patomäki in The Nation at bit.ly/3aD05b3.

The context, from the author: Finland and Sweden long held that the Nordic social model was incompatible with NATO membership. The invasion of Ukraine has changed that.

The excerpt: Whereas during the Cold War the Nordic countries achieved a pluralist security community among themselves and promoted solidarity and common good in their external relations, the decision to join NATO comes amid a militarization of society and a new belief in the capacity of military might to prevent war through superior deterrence. The expansion of NATO is based on the theory of deterrence — including nuclear deterrence — which itself relies on the assumption that the actors are operating on the basis of rational logic. The concept of common good has vanished from these discussions, except in the form of hope that stability can be achieved through the principle of deterrence — inspiring fear in one who is feared. Its ultimate expression is mutually assured destruction.

FROM THE RIGHT

From “The President Needs to Stop Complaining,” by Jim Geraghty in The National Review at bit.ly/3zrDhoS.

The context, from the author: The White House is beset by three major problems simultaneously: a president wallowing in self-pity; an in-over-its-head staff that feels the need to keep the president away from cameras; and the few experienced voices of reason, like perhaps Treasury secretary Janet Yellin, getting boxed out by the Twitter Left.

The excerpt: Joe Biden, you’re the president. You asked for this job. You campaigned for this job. You assured us, over and over again, that you had the right kind of experience and judgment to do this job. You are now in the job that you’ve been trying to get since 1987. Stop whining about how difficult the job is.

From “Revisiting America’s Debt,” by Jeff Sessions in The American Conservative at bit.ly/3mpTLq4.

The context, from the author: I was the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee from 2011 to 2015, when the last serious budget debate occurred.

The excerpt: During that previous debate there was strong support for the idea that since the nation can carry only so much debt before a default or crisis results, the debt-to-GDP ratio is a key evaluation tool. Historically, a ratio that rises close to 90 percent is evidence of an economy in the danger zone. ... In 2020 our debt-to-GDP ratio hit 100 percent. Clearly, it is time for our leaders to take notice. They must explain the danger and take action.

From “Matthew McConaughey Op-Ed Calls for Gun ‘Responsibility’ After Uvalde,” by Bob Hoge in RedState at bit.ly/3Nyo61q.

The context, from the author: Many will disagree with some or all of (Matthew) McConaughey’s suggestions, but they are not the rantings of a fanatic like Beto “We’re Going to Take Your AR-15″ O’Rourke. The issue is incredibly complicated, but at least he’s trying to have a conversation.

The excerpt: Many will ask, why do we give two cents about what a Hollywood celebrity has to say? After all, don’t we have enough confetti-for-brains “stars” spouting off on Twitter all the time? McConaughey was born and raised in Uvalde, and recently visited there after the terrible tragedy of May 24. Instead of trying to get photo ops like Meghan Markle, he quietly visited the town and offered his support.

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