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Demonization and Authoritarianism

Demonization has been a central concern of mine as it is, I think, what the path to authoritarianism is paved with whether the demonizers are on the right or the left. It is one of the temptations that lead us down the slippery slope toward repression, state violence, and more. Why?

First, because demonization animates hyper-nationalism as nationalisms are fundamentally xenophobic, clarified in opposition to perceived enemies. And, very importantly, demonization also favors the right in the U.S., as far right movements lean into historical bigotries in order to build on the nationalist impulse and suggest that exclusion on the …

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Identity Politics, the Brexit Vote, and the American Election

What went down in England yesterday was a surprise to a whole lot of pundits and political analysts. Many of them missed the mark, believing the Leave side of the Brexit vote would fail. Obviously, it didn’t.

Why the surprise? I think they underestimated the power of identity politics.

All politics is identity politics. Identity is the beating heart of every social movement and the ticking time bomb of governance in the modern nation-state system, a system that too often attempts to marginalize ethnicity and other identity markers in support of singularizing national narratives. To understand what I mean by …

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That Was Then, This Is Now: No on 9, No on Trump

Way back in the way back, in 1992, an evangelical right wing group called the Oregon Citizens’ Alliance (OCA) circulated a petition called the Abnormal Behaviors Initiative. That initiative proposed to amend the Oregon constitution to ban civil rights protections for LGBTQ people while also labeling us “abnormal, wrong, unnatural, and perverse.” The initiative language lumped LGBTQ people in with pedophiles and those who commit acts of necrophilia and bestiality, making it seem almost laughable until it received the required number of signatures to qualify for the ballot in near record time. The initiative became Oregon Ballot Measure 9.…

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About the Stereotype Busting High Median Incomes of Trump Voters

Nate Silver’s findings regarding the median incomes of Trump supporters are worth taking a look at as what he has found busts the frankly offensive stereotype of the Trump supporter as a working class rube.

When trying to defeat a bigot, one would do best not to fall prey to bigotry. Doing so just polarizes an already dangerously polarized situation, and all while failing to address what may, in fact, be one of the most important bits of knowledge necessary to effectively fight the right: in order to beat right wing movements, you have to separate the leaders from their …

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Who Gets to Be American?

Remember Sebastien De La Cruz? He’s that 11 year old Mexican American singer who performed the National Anthem to open game 3 of the NBA final in a traditional mariachi outfit. Here’s his picture.

Cute kid, right? Also a great talent. But, apparently a brown kid in a Mariachi suit isn’t very cute to some of us, particularly if that kid happens to be singing the National Anthem on network TV.
Rather than celebrate the whole “nation of immigrants” thing and acknowledge that all of us are wearing some sort of national costume from another country, usually Europe, racists reacted,
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When Xenophobia Trumps Common Sense, Common Decency Often Goes By the Wayside

I’ve written here before about the dilemma Washington Apple Growers were faced with in 2011 because of crack downs on undocumented immigrants. It turns out that the majority of documented immigrants who answered a poll by saying that undocumented immigrants mostly take low wage jobs that no one wants are right. No amount of recruitment was able to produce enough American-born workers to replace immigrants who were scared out of the fields, and what should have been one of the best years on record for the Washington apple industry ended up being a bust. Farmers in Georgia and Alabama have …

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The UnCivilized World of Sarah Palin

On the September 13, 2012 installment of Hannity on Fox, Sarah Palin made the following comment concerning the uprisings in the Middle East:

Yes, Sean. We have to ask ourselves, and I sure wish that reporters would ask our president, how much longer can we afford to spill our blood and treasure, trying to quote/unquote, “promote democracy” in places that do not have any values for a civilized society, values like respecting minorities and women’s rights and independent judiciary and rule of law? How much longer do we now support and fund Sharia democracy?

Sarah Palin has spent the last …