Monday, May 20, 2024

Why civil rights icon Fannie Lou Hamer was ‘sick and tired of being sick and tired’

  It wasn’t called voter suppression back then, but civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer knew exactly how white authorities in Mississippi felt about Black people voting in the 1960s.

  At a rally with Malcolm X in Harlem, New York, on Dec. 20, 1964, Hamer described the brutal beatings she and other Black people endured in Mississippi in their fight for civil and voting rights.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

The Alabama gambling debate, stuck in reruns

  The gambling debate comes back to the Alabama Legislature every year or two, like a 40- or 50-year-old rerun of a sitcom.

  The characters, all performing on a tiny, windowless set, return from the previous adventure to perform a variation on the story we’ve seen countless times before.

  A plan is made. The plan goes awry. The players make some quips and perform a few pratfalls.

  Toward the end of the show, there’s a beat where the hijinks halt, the piano and strings come up on the soundtrack, and the actors suddenly try to tie the narrative to a social concern or some issue in the news.

  Then, suddenly, the story ends. The conflicts get put aside; the status quo is restored. And nothing meaningful changes.

Friday, May 17, 2024

Arizona’s now-repealed abortion ban serves as a cautionary tale for reproductive health care across the US

  When the Arizona Supreme Court ruled on April 9, 2024, that the state’s Civil War-era law banning nearly all abortions was enforceable, it brought into stark reality the potential impacts of leaving reproductive rights up to the states to regulate and the related consequences for women’s health.

  The ruling, set to go into effect in late June 2024, will only remain active for a few months because Arizona lawmakers repealed the law on April 30. Starting in the fall, a previous state law banning abortion after 15 weeks will be reinstated.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Why not abolish all foreign aid?

  Americans who object to the Israeli government’s military campaign in Gaza rightly object to the massive amounts of money and armaments that the U.S. government has provided — and continues to provide — the Israeli government to wage its campaign. Why should American taxpayers who oppose the Israeli government’s actions be forced to fund a military campaign to which they object?

  But doesn’t that principle apply to all foreign aid? The question that every American should be asking, especially in the context of foreign aid to Israel, is: Why should American taxpayers be forced to fund any foreign regime whatsoever?

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

The number of religious ‘nones’ has soared, but not the number of atheists – and as social scientists, we wanted to know why

  The number of individuals in the United States who do not identify as being part of any religion has grown dramatically in recent years, and “the nones” are now larger than any single religious group. According to the General Social Survey, religiously unaffiliated people represented only about 5% of the U.S. population in the 1970s. This percentage began to increase in the 1990s and is around 30% today.

  At first glance, some might assume this means nearly 1 in 3 Americans are atheists, but that’s far from true. Indeed, only about 4% of U.S. adults identify as an atheist.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Trump promises to deport all undocumented immigrants, resurrecting a 1950s strategy − but it didn’t work then and is less likely to do so now

  While campaigning in Iowa last September, former President Donald Trump made a promise to voters if he were elected again: “Following the Eisenhower model, we will carry out the largest domestic deportation operation in American history,” he said. Trump, who made a similar pledge during his first presidential campaign, has recently repeated this promise at rallies across the country.

  Trump was referring to Operation Wetback, a military-style campaign launched by the Eisenhower administration in the summer of 1954 to end undocumented immigration by deporting hundreds of thousands of Mexicans. “Wetback” was a widely used ethnic slur for Mexicans who illegally crossed the Rio Grande, the river dividing Mexico and the U.S.

Monday, May 13, 2024

Supporting ‘democracy’ is hard for many who feel government and the economy are failing them

  Americans, it seems, can both value the idea of democracy and not support it in practice.

  Since 2016, academics and journalists have expressed concerns that formerly secure democracies are becoming less democratic. Different measures of democracy, such as scores produced by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Freedom House, and the Varieties of Democracy Institute, have suggested as much based on data over the past decade.

Sunday, May 12, 2024

We need to reclaim the original intent of Mother’s Day

   I vividly recall the first time my kids made me breakfast for Mother’s Day. I lay in bed patiently listening to them giggle and rustle around the kitchen … wait, was that the blender? They brought their creative concoction out to the yard, where we had an idyllic, quiet morning in the May sunshine. As a single mother, I cherished this moment of respite and respect.

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Happier, more connected neighborhoods start right in the front yard

  A salve for America’s loneliness epidemic could exist right in front of its homes.

  Front yards are a staple of many American neighborhoods. Lush plantings, porches, or trinkets can capture the attention of passersby and spark conversation. Other lawns say “stay away,” whether it’s through imposing fences or foreboding signs.

  But to what extent do yards serve as a window into the people who tend them – and how they feel about their home, neighborhood, and city?