The Quaking of America

  • The Quaking of America: An Embodied Guide to Navigating Our Nation’s Upheaval and Racial Reckoning, Resmaa Menakem.

    Through the coordinated repetition of lies, anti-democratic elements in American society are working to incite mass radicalization, widespread chaos, and a collective trauma response in tens of millions of American bodies.

    Currently, most of us are utterly unprepared for this potential mayhem. This book can help prepare us—and possibly prevent further destruction.

    In The Quaking of America, therapist and trauma specialist Resmaa Menakem takes readers through somatic processes addressing the growing threat of white-supremacist political violence.

    This preparation focuses not on strategy or politics, but on practices that can help us

    Build presence and discernment in our bodies

    Settle our bodies during the heat of conflict

    Maintain our safety, sanity, and stability in dangerous situations

    Heal our personal and collective racialized trauma

    Practice embodied social action

    Turn toward instead of on one another

    The Quaking of America is a unique and perfectly timed guide to help us navigate our widespread upheaval and build an antiracist culture. (Posted in Social/Race)

We Can’t Even Agree on What Is Tearing Us Apart

We Can’t Even Agree on What Is Tearing Us Apart (behind paywall), Thomas B. Edsall, May 25, 2022.

Today, even scholars of polarization are polarized.

This was not always the case.

…They haven’t yet related it to the wider literature or explained why so many centrist voters seem unable to elect centrists, or why it is when there is a national tide running against a party, it’s mostly moderates who lose.

Fowler and his co-authors, on the other hand, contest the view that voters are deeply polarized:

We find that a large proportion of the American public is neither consistently liberal nor consistently conservative…

There are, Fowler and his collaborators point out,

many genuine moderates in the American electorate…

Orr contended in an email:

Several experiments have successfully manipulated feelings toward people from the opposing party and found no effects on anti-democratic attitudes or other predicted consequences of affective polarization.

…There is another key factor underpinning growing polarization and the absence of moderate politicians.

“Most legislative polarization is already baking into the set of people who run for office,” Andrew Hall, a political scientist at Stanford, wrote in his book, “Who Wants to Run: How the Devaluing of Political Office Drives Polarization”: “Indeed, when we look at the ideological positions of who runs for the House, we see the set of all candidates — not just incumbents — has polarized markedly since 1980.”

This trend results from the fact that since “the winning candidate gets to influence ideological policies” in increasingly polarized legislatures and the Congress, “the ideological payoffs of running for office are not equal across the ideological spectrum.” As a result, “when costs of running for office are high or benefits of holding office are low, more moderate candidates are disproportionately less likely to run.”

In other words, polarization has created its own vicious circle, weeding out moderates, fostering extremists and constraining government action even in times of crisis. (Posted in Politics/Partisan Divide)

Bob Crawford on Hell & High Water

  • Bob Crawford, Hell & High Water with John Heilemann Podcast

    John Heilemann talks with Bob Crawford, bassist for The Avett Brothers and creator of Concerts of Change: The Soundtrack of Human Rights, a new audio docu-series on SiriusXM. Through conversations with artists including U2’s Bono, Bob Geldof, and Joan Baez, historian Douglas Brinkley, and civil rights icon Andrew Young, Crawford explores the surge in humanitarian and political activism by musicians — particularly focused on Africa — in the seventies and eighties. Heilemann and Crawford discuss the rise of star-studded benefit shows from George Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh to Live Aid; the genesis and behind-the-scenes stories of the chart-topping charity singles “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” and “We Are The World”; the singular influence of Geldof in launching Band Aid and Live Aid; the role played by Steven Van Zandt’s “Sun City” in ending apartheid in South Africa; and how Bono institutionalized his activist impulses to help combat poverty and AIDS in Africa. They also reflect on Crawford’s career with The Avett Brothers, and how his daughter Hallie’s battle with cancer changed him and his band. (Posted in Cultural/Music)

Why the School Wars Still Rage

  • Why the School Wars Still Rage, Jill Lepore.

    From evolution to anti-racism, parents and progressives have clashed for a century over who gets to tell our origin stories… But across the past century, behind parents’ rights, lies another unbroken strain: some Americans’ fierce resistance to the truth that, just as all human beings share common ancestors biologically, all Americans have common ancestors historically. A few parents around the country may not like their children learning that they belong to a much bigger family—whether it’s a human family or an American family—but the idea of public education is dedicated to the cultivation of that bigger sense of covenant, toleration, and obligation. In the end, no matter what advocates of parents’ rights say, and however much political power they might gain, public schools don’t have a choice… READ MORE (Posted in Social/Education)

New Posts on AmericansforHumanity.net

  • U.S. democracy is in grave danger, a new Economist report warns, Amanda Erickson.

    “Democracy is in under siege around the world, according to a new report by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

    The annual Democracy Index tracks the health of the world’s governments. And the results for 2017 are depressing. In 89 countries, democratic norms look worse than they did last year, the report’s authors write. Just 4.5 percent of the world’s residents live in fully functioning democracies, down from 8.9 percent in 2015.

    That precipitous drop is thanks, primarily, to the United States…”

  • A Socialist in Canada

  • Foreign Policy Books:

    Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville and Henry Reeve.

    Healing the Heart of Democracy, Parker J. Palmer.

    The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels. Jon Meacham.

    The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It, Robert B. Reich.

  • The Guardian World News

  • Amanpour & Co. with Christiane Amanpour. Fascism and Human Rights interviews. April 7, 2022: Scroll to: Bosnia-born Dunja Mijatovic–the human rights commissioner for the Council of Europe and Author Jason Stanley talks about fascism and the dangerous spread of autocracy. November 11, 2023: A new report says U.S. democracy is backsliding. A look at why and the dangers of polarization.

  • Threat to Democracy, Fareed Zakaria interview with Doris Kearns Goodwin and Jon Meacham.

  • Interview with Masha Gessen begins at [10:40:42]

  • Fareed Zakaria: Columns and Global Public Square on CNN

  • Cultural Complementarity, Hector E. Garcia,

    “…All humans see only a small part of reality, which brings about a sense of insecurity (this is one of the assumptions of CC). Our tendency is to subconsciously allay anxiety by acting as if what our group sees in our time is all of the true reality; consequently, all other groups must be totally or partially wrong. Since all groups are doing the same, conflict easily develops and grows. We then try to validate our position, and often our aggression, by showing current and past evidence for that position. This is not difficult for any group to do since the present and the past hold multiple facts and human errors to pick from and take offense. (The time I have spent as a consultant has taught me that you can usually select from an abundance of facts to validate most positions you want to sell). Parties in conflict will continue to assign fault to each other until the more powerful one puts an end to the never-ending argument by exercising its power; as a victor, it will acquire the credibility to gain support for its position…” READ MORE

  • The American polity is cracked, and might collapse. Canada must prepare, Thomas Homer-Dixon.

    “The U.S. is becoming increasingly ungovernable, and some experts believe it could descend into civil war. What should Canada do then?… Once a hardline doctrine is widely accepted within a political movement, it becomes an “infrastructure” of ideas and incentives that can pressure even those who don’t really accept the doctrine into following its dictates. Fear of “true believers” shifts the behaviour of the movement’s moderates toward extremism. Sure enough, the experts I recently consulted all spoke about how fear of crossing Mr. Trump’s base – including fear for their families’ physical safety – was forcing otherwise sensible Republicans to fall into line…” READ MORE

  • renovations after surviving the worst of covid, devorah major. (Posted in Personal Growth/Poetry)

China’s Foreign Relations

  • China’s Foreign Relations, Wang Yi. The Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era laid out in the report of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is a major theoretical innovation by our Party, and the latest achievement and a significant advancement of adapting Marxism to the Chinese context. It provides a strong theoretical framework and guideline for the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.” READ MORE

Howard Thurman on Jesus and the Disinherited

  • Howard Thurman on Jesus and the Disinherited.

    While he was Professor of Spiritual Resources and Dean of Marsh Chapel at Boston University from 1953 to 1965, Dr. Howard Thurman became a mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is reported that when he traveled King carried with him Thurman’s small book, Jesus and the Disinherited. This Boston University resource presents twelve 1959 sermons by Thurman on the theme, “Jesus and the Disinherited.” (The sermons are numbered but they aren’t listed in sequential order.) (Posted on Personal/Spirituality)

How We Stopped Believing That People Can Change

  • How We Stopped Believing That People Can Change (behind paywall), Rebecca Solnit.

    “…We as a society seem unequipped to recognize transformations, just as we lack formal processes — other than monetary settlements — for those who have harmed others to make reparations as part of their repentance or transformation… [B]eyond the individual cases comes the need for something broader: a recognition that people change, and that most of us have and will, and that much of that is because in this transformative era, we are all being carried along on a river of change.” READ MORE (behind paywall) (Posted in Personal/Personal Growth)

Democrats, You Can’t Ignore the Culture Wars Any Longer

  • Democrats, You Can’t Ignore the Culture Wars Any Longer (behind paywall), Jamelle Bouie. (Posted in Social/Education)

    Almost 60 years ago, the historian Richard Hofstadter described what he saw as the true goal of McCarthyism. “The real function of the Great Inquisition of the 1950s was not anything so simply rational as to turn up spies or prevent espionage,” he wrote, “or even to expose actual Communists, but to discharge resentments and frustrations, to punish, to satisfy enmities whose roots lay elsewhere than in the Communist issue itself.”…

    …they are the foundation for an assault on the very idea of public education, part of the long war against public goods and collective responsibility fought by conservatives on behalf of hierarchy and capital. READ MORE (behind paywall)