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Category: Political Rhetoric

#NotAll Commentary: Unpacking Tangential Responses

#NotAll Commentary: Unpacking Tangential Responses

This week on the AS FB page I’ve been accused of attacking a wide variety of groups as per usual, simply by posting memes that critique unhealthy systems and behaviors. This happens fairly regularly here at the Assertive Spirituality page, mind you—but this week was special as I can’t remember the last time I remember having been accused of attacking so many groups in a few days. At any rate, I’ve been wanting to do a general post for awhile…

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When Capitalism Gets Confused with God

When Capitalism Gets Confused with God

This week on the AS Facebook page I posted a meme that no longer seems controversial to me at all. It’s about how the plots of the classic Christmas narratives It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol are critiquing predatory capitalism. And yet, when I posted it, it stirred up a firestorm. The conservative responses that came in helped me remember why such an idea would have been controversial to the right-leaning people I grew up with, and helped…

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Nick Offerman, Martin Bonham, and the Narratives of Possibility

Nick Offerman, Martin Bonham, and the Narratives of Possibility

A while back, I blogged here about the film Women Talking and how its dialogues tended to break down dichotomies and help its viewers’ minds break through to narratives of possibility about grieving out abuses and moving forward. In this week’s blog post I plan to look at two recently released books–one by Nick Offerman and the other by Robert Hudson–and discuss the ways they present differing but similar visions of what Assertive Spirituality could look like. Both of these…

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“Do Your Own Research”: When Facts and Ethics Get Seen as Partisan (Part 2)

“Do Your Own Research”: When Facts and Ethics Get Seen as Partisan (Part 2)

In a previous blog post I talked about some of the strange things that happen when facts and ethics get seen as partisan. This week I plan to continue that theme, but with a different example—specifically, looking at the various uses and interpretations of the phrase “do your own research.” It struck me recently in an in-class discussion that I’ve heard this term used on all sides of the partisan divide in political conversations in the US in recent years….

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When Mothers Are Aging Faster than Presidents

When Mothers Are Aging Faster than Presidents

So I always teach a unit of my university courses on stress, because it has such an impact on communication. And I tend to show this video in class that talks about how mothers of disabled children are too often aging 6 years for every year of caregiving of a sick or disabled child. When I get to that point, I’ve taken to stopping the video lately to explain that presidents, for all the stress of their jobs, actually age…

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When Facts (and Ethics) Get Seen as Partisan

When Facts (and Ethics) Get Seen as Partisan

I’m going to be real, here. Watching the rhetorical situation change over the last few years has been absolutely WILD from the perspective of teaching communication concepts in a university classroom as well as working through these things within this project. It’s been both fascinating and disturbing to see what it takes to teach students the basic principles of communication in a world where fascistic rhetoric is attempting to portray facts, ethics, and empathy as partisan, as well as to…

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When Unhealthy Christian Nationalism Has the Loudest Voice

When Unhealthy Christian Nationalism Has the Loudest Voice

Okay, so it’s been quite awhile now since fascistic Christian nationalism has been working hard to get an increasingly loud voice in US politics, and I’ve been noticing some increasingly complex dynamics at play because of this. Since a huge part of why I founded this project is to convince people to raise their voices against the unhealthy dynamics in this specific abuse of the fusion of religion and politics (alongside other unhealthy dynamics), I wanted to take some time…

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When Salvation Is Used as a Culture Wars Weapon

When Salvation Is Used as a Culture Wars Weapon

Well, if you haven’t heard, another forecasted “rapture” came and went on Friday, September 22, 2023. While I didn’t grow up in a tradition that overtly used the end times as a weapon for terrorizing people within the denomination (at least not regularly that I’m aware of!), I’ve come to realize that some of those I grew up with in my right-leaning moderate denomination did—and very much still do—either wittingly or unwittingly use salvation as a weapon. In today’s blog…

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When Anti-Trans Legislation Just Keeps Coming

When Anti-Trans Legislation Just Keeps Coming

I’ll confess that I was rather casually looking around for another aspect of anti-trans rhetoric to analyze for this week’s blog post. Like most of us, I knew on an intellectual level that it was absolutely a huge thing that was still happening, and I was considering writing about bathroom bills, but I’d been hearing them for so long. Were they still a thing? When I found a great source that tracks anti-trans legislation (keep reading for a link!), I…

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When Conservative Pastors Rail Against Consent

When Conservative Pastors Rail Against Consent

So apparently there’s yet another conservative Christian article out about the theology of sex from a patriarchal perspective. (Apparently that narrative is super important to defend—all the eyeroll emojis.) Anyway, I couldn’t bring myself to look that particular article up after the trainwreck that was the last one I wrote about, but hearing about it got me thinking this week about a sermon I heard a few years back from a nuanced but right-leaning pastor in which the idea of…

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When Conservative Male Politicians Cry Witch Hunt (Repeatedly)

When Conservative Male Politicians Cry Witch Hunt (Repeatedly)

Okay, so if you’ve been paying attention to the right-wing political rhetoric lately, you’ll be noticing that a lot of the rhetoric from (mostly male) proponents of The Big Lie about the 2020 Election “being stolen” have once again contained the phrase “witch hunt.” This phrase has been used many times in the past by the same people, and honestly I’m a little tired of it, but as so often happens with rhetorical analysis, new layers of meaning were popping…

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When Ordinary Conservatives Defend Billionaires: A Rhetorical Analysis

When Ordinary Conservatives Defend Billionaires: A Rhetorical Analysis

This past week, on the AS Facebook page, I posted a meme comparing Smaug, the greedy dragon villain in Tolkien’s The Hobbit, to billionaires. As usual, the responses from the conservative trolls were extremely illuminating, saying the quiet parts out loud. Thanks to these responses, this week’s article looks at the ways ordinary conservatives find themselves defending dragons…I mean, oligarchical billionaires that are trying to keep their loyalty through shady rhetoric. Where I’m Coming From Here As always, I’m coming…

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Book Banning, “Age Appropriateness,” and LGBTQ+ Content

Book Banning, “Age Appropriateness,” and LGBTQ+ Content

In recent weeks, I’ve posted several memes at Assertive Spirituality’s Facebook page that have, for whatever reason, gone what I like to call “troll viral.” One thread of rhetoric that has popped up a lot in this recently has had to do, interestingly to me as a scholar, with gaslighting the idea that there’s a “book banning” trend at all. No, these folks say, books are just being removed pending “finding a way to make them more age appropriate.” While…

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That Duggar Documentary and Unhealthy “Biblical” Conflict Management

That Duggar Documentary and Unhealthy “Biblical” Conflict Management

Like many people I know, I just finished watching Shiny Happy People—that documentary about the Duggar family of the TLC reality show 19 Kids and Counting, their recent sexual abuse scandals,and the religious extremism behind that helps provide context for so much around this show and other American religio-political issues of the last few years. If you haven’t yet watched and want to, it’s on Amazon Prime video in the US. Today, I’m going to provide as few spoilers as…

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Right-Leaning Folks and the Viking or Victim Mindset

Right-Leaning Folks and the Viking or Victim Mindset

In the last week I’ve had the dubious privilege of dealing with hundreds of alt-right trolls on a few selected posts on the FB AS page. This has obviously not been my favorite thing—not sure where they all came from, honestly. But since they came along, it was actually pretty helpful (if disturbing) to see the quiet parts the more covertly right-wing folks I came up with said out loud. In thinking about it, one of the things these (now…

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