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World Turned Upside Down 5


[American misogyny has become still more evident since August 2018 when this pamphlet first appeared.]

INTRODUCTION: Is American politics today the new Titanic? Are we steering towards a giant iceberg, or was Nov. 8 2016 the day we actually collided with an iceberg, since when we have been living on a slowly sinking the ship? Such a view of the US government in crisis, regardless of whether the disaster is impending or already underway, is widely shared. Daily headlines increase the alarm. Disaster when Trump meets his NATO . . . .

Full pamphlet text via the link above. More detailed information about some of the items in the pamphlet below.

Ireland’s Catholic population voted to end the prohibition on abortion.

Abortion and contraception were seen as equally pernicious under the Comstock Law 1873. The Supreme Court ruling on Hobby Lobby, which returned contraception to the forefront of these debates on women’s bodies, came out in June 2014. Media coverage explaining it varied of course. Here is the NY Times coverage.

The US Women won yet another Soccer World Cup but they are still struggling for equal pay with the men who have NEVER won.

Writing about sexual predators in this year of Jeffrey Epstein is so disturbing I cannot do so. However, I will say that in his funder/donor/patron, the founder of Victoria’s Secret Epstein was able to go into partnership with a man whose company brought the exploitation of Las Vegas floor shoes to every mall and main street in the USA. Seeing Wexner as Epstein’s victim is to forget the degree to which Wexner also thrived on the public exploitation of young women’s bodies.

Brooks on the system that invented Justice Kavanaugh.

DEEPER THAN ELECTIONS Parts of this segment turned out to be quite personal — about childhood and immigration and school testing. But another part focused on traditions deep in the soul of the United States. That slavery wrenched families apart is a given. The violence endemic in the US form of slavery is not the way slavery “has always been.” The cruelty to families was a specialty here and a recent specialty at that. Wrenching Native American families apart went on much longer thanks to the “boarding schools” to which Indian children were sent to strip them of their ethnic heritage.


For those who find it hard to imagine that anyone still believes in checks and balances let me bring in another of my favorite books, Murray Edelman’s Constructing the Political Spectacle. Even thirty years ago when his book came out Edelman seemed somewhat despairing: our public life was more like a circus than a forum for deliberating about intricate policy choices. Trump is no doubt making Edelman turn in his grave. But Edelman was no simple-minded pessimist. He also argued that when citizens hold a consensus opinion about the situation they are living in, they then recognize that themselves to be at a fruitful starting point for change. Oppositions, he said, tend to be static, holding themselves in tension one against the other. It is consensus that can bring new options over the horizon.

MARY OLIVER died in early 2019. Wild Geese appeared in Dream Work in 1986.