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Category: US Politics

When (Loan) Forgiveness Becomes a Conservative (Christian) Devil Term

When (Loan) Forgiveness Becomes a Conservative (Christian) Devil Term

There’s been some gold out there in the reasonable world the last few days since the student loan forgiveness policy was announced, especially in responding to the conservative Christian rhetoric critiquing the policy. In the remainder of this piece, I hope to build on these excellent critiques that are already out there as well as some previous pieces here. In so doing I plan to discuss the details of why at least some conservative Christians are decrying student loan forgiveness…

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The Human Cost of Unhealthy Politics

The Human Cost of Unhealthy Politics

I don’t know about you, but I grew up with a lot of political talk that cast both debating and politics as the types of activities that were presumed to have no cost EXCEPT to the home team. The home team (in this case, conservatives) were clearly the victimized ones. But no one else was likely to be hurt by any of these activities. The kind of “snowflake” rhetoric that’s emerged since then has come out of this attitude I…

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When Despising Democrats Becomes a Cover for Right-Wing Bigotry

When Despising Democrats Becomes a Cover for Right-Wing Bigotry

So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how a lot of the right-leaning people I grew up with would swear to the ends of the earth that they’re not bigots. (I mean, “bigot” is clearly the worst bad word, right? Cue many eyeroll emojis.) But at the same time, they saw Democrats as one of the biggest threats in their world. In this week’s blog post I plan to unwrap the complexities of how these fears of Democrats (created…

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Coping with Ambiguous Loss in an Age of Fascism

Coping with Ambiguous Loss in an Age of Fascism

I’ve been thinking a lot about ambiguous loss lately. And on the heels of a few recent blog posts here looking back at fascistic rhetoric and policies and their negative effects (see here, here, and here), I’ve been thinking about ambiguous loss in those contexts. Hang with me and I’ll try to unwrap what ambiguous loss means, how it can apply to life in an era where fascism is attempting to rise, and how we can all pour our stress…

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When LGBTQ+ Identity Becomes a WEC Battleground

When LGBTQ+ Identity Becomes a WEC Battleground

So yeah, in recent months and years, it’s been increasingly clear that the litmus test for whether you were a “real” white Evangelical Christian has surrounded the question of where you stand on the Culture Wars, and has been stunningly similar to the question of what made a “true conservative” in the US. And let’s be clear—the issue this has consolidated around in recent years and decades, beyond the question of whether you support abortion being illegal, is the question…

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Getting Past Cynicism: Why We Need to Organize Like It’s 2017

Getting Past Cynicism: Why We Need to Organize Like It’s 2017

Here in the US, there’s been yet another school shooting. Not long after yet another grocery store shooting (that one caused by a white supremacist). And I have heard sooooo much cynicism this week. This blog post is designed to empathize with those who are cynical but also to call those who are cynical (and others who may be overwhelmed and frozen) toward fighting for change moving forward, however you’re able. See, we need you and your efforts. They matter….

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White Supremacist Rhetoric and the Abortion Debate

White Supremacist Rhetoric and the Abortion Debate

Not shockingly, I’ve been thinking a lot about abortion laws and the Supreme Court this week, what with me writing this after a document was leaked suggesting strongly that the Supreme Court is on the edge of overturning Roe v. Wade. All week I’ve been both hearing and feeling deep concern about this, including concern from black women as those who demographically often suffer most from this if Roe v. Wade really gets overturned. In this blog post I plan…

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The Toxic Side of “All Lives Matter” Rhetoric

The Toxic Side of “All Lives Matter” Rhetoric

Okay, so we all KNOW a bunch of us get annoyed with the phrase “all lives matter”–for good reason– when it’s abused. A lot of us even know a lot of the reasons it bothers us. But com theory and related research can really help us see why it bothers us in a new light, and since that’s what I study and teach, I hope to explore what happens when seemingly good concepts like all lives matter “go bad,” and…

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Putin and the Culture Wars: An Analysis

Putin and the Culture Wars: An Analysis

Okay, so right now as I write this Russia, and specifically its leader Putin, are still invading the Ukraine, who is fighting back. As historian Heather Cox Richardson (along with others) have been pointing out, most American politicians, even those in the GOP, have been rolling back their support for Putin over the course of his invasion of Ukraine, but there are still some key politicians who are supporting Putin. As others have pointed out over at MSN.com, even the…

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The Toxic Side of “States’ Rights” & The Electoral College

The Toxic Side of “States’ Rights” & The Electoral College

Okay, so in the wake of the anniversary of 1/6, I find my mind increasingly drawn back to the disruption of the counting of electoral votes. Which makes me think about bullying regarding representation overall, including this conservative political rhetoric we’ve long had about STATES’ RIGHTS! As you’ll see, this often ties back to the Electoral College. In this blog piece I plan to unwrap this conservative rhetoric both from personal experience and my scholarly training to help us process…

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“Don’t Tread on Me!”: A History of Unhealthy Rhetoric

“Don’t Tread on Me!”: A History of Unhealthy Rhetoric

So if you google the history of the “Don’t Tread on Me” symbol and flag (often called the Gadsden flag), as I did last week, you’ll find a wide range of storytelling styles about it—most of which are either right-wing or very right-leaning “moderate” in nature. Today I’m going to unwrap some of these narratives from a rhetorical perspective, take issue with some of these interpretations, and discuss why this flag has been a strongly questionable symbol of militant masculinity…

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When Entitlement (Program)s Get Confused with “Pride”

When Entitlement (Program)s Get Confused with “Pride”

This week I saw an image from a dating profile whose owner identified as politically conservative as well as Christian. Here’s what it said: “…if you voted for Joe Biden do not hit me up..I don’t date liberals that feel they are entitled..I believe in hard work, self accountability, and God!!!!!” There’s a lot going on here, and there’s no way I will have time to unwrap all of it in this post, but I wanted to discuss how these…

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9/11, Conspiracy Rhetoric, WECs, and the “New World Order”: An Analysis

9/11, Conspiracy Rhetoric, WECs, and the “New World Order”: An Analysis

As I write this it’s the 20th anniversary of 9/11, a major trauma to the United States (my country). It’s also an event that’s caused a lot of negative events out of unhealthy trauma responses. As historian Kristin Kobes Du Mez points out in Jesus and John Wayne, this includes a turn in the white Evangelical religio-political community toward increasingly militant masculinity that became increasingly focused on fighting “culture wars” against other citizens of the United States. In today’s article,…

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When K-12 Education Becomes a Battleground: An Analysis and Call to Action

When K-12 Education Becomes a Battleground: An Analysis and Call to Action

UPDATE 4/2/22: Hey, look! Schools are still a battleground–it’s just that masking is no longer what’s being fought over. All the history (including my now-embarrassing personal history as a one-time unintentional Christian nationalist) below is still relevant. (Sheesh it’s vulnerable to even admit that I organized a See You at the Pole rally at my Christian school. Soooo cringey now!) –DS Leiter As I’ve been thinking about it, it doesn’t surprise me that once again educational settings—and especially K-12 education…

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Simone Biles: Speaking Truth to the GOP’s Unhealthy Positive Projections

Simone Biles: Speaking Truth to the GOP’s Unhealthy Positive Projections

NOTE: This piece was originally published during the Summer 2021 Olympics, when Simone Biles withdrew after getting the “twisties.” Its principles continue to apply, but it might be helpful to look back at her statements then here. At the time, she received all sorts of abuse from the GOP, which, as noted below, were just starting the January 6 hearings. This past week Simone Biles withdrew from competition for the all-around gymnastics finals after faltering in the preliminary rounds of…

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