Dispatches From the Culture Wars – Kneeling Standing Up Edition
- Red-State Blues – Jedediah Purdy (New Republic)
- National Anthem Protests Trickling Down to High-School Level – Kurt Voigt (Seattle Times)
- Former Prisoners Are Leading the Fight Against Mass Incarceration – Liliana Segura (The Intercept)
- Film and Reality Collide As 'Snowden,' 'Birth of a Nation' and More Address Today's Volatile Culture – Jeffrey Fleishman (Los Angeles Times)
- Standing Rock: Fighting the Black Snake – George Ochenski (Idaho State Journal)
By Jedediah Purdy
September 14, 2016
Trump claimed the Republican presidential nomination on an identity politics of white, nominally Christian nativism that has not been so explicit in American politics for many decades. Even if his blustering, scattershot campaign flames out in November, as many have expected or hoped, it will be survived by the millions who supported him, many enthusiastically. If they continue to embrace some version of Trump’s nationalism, what will that mean for the shape of the political landscape? For the rest of us, accepting the right’s white identity politics as part of normal life, year in and year out, is a bleak prospect. So is treating perhaps a third of your fellow citizens as beyond the pale of normal politics.
By Kurt Voigt
September 15, 2016
Colin Kaepernick’s protest against social injustice is being heard loud and clear by young athletes across the country and a host of high school football players have emulated the San Francisco quarterback in recent weeks by kneeling during the national anthem before their own games.
In football-crazy states such as New Jersey, Alabama and Massachusetts, some players have faced suspension and others have reported harassment or even threats over their stance.
[See also: Entire Seattle high school football team kneels during national anthem before game - http://q13fox.com/2016/09/16/entire-seattle-high-school-team-kneels-dur… - Dispatches moderators]
By Liliana Segura
September 16, 2016
Roughly 500 people convened in Oakland, California, for the first national conference of the Formerly Incarcerated, Convicted People, and Families Movement. Hailing from more than 30 states, it was a shared fact of life among participants that the change they need — including fundamental civil rights — will not simply be handed to them by people in power. They must fight for it themselves. This is the founding logic of FICPFM, led by a network of grassroots activists from across the country who have been beating back the tentacles of mass incarceration for years. With the national consciousness shifting around criminal justice reform — and the 1994 crime bill now acknowledged by the Clintons themselves to have gone too far — the FICPFM convention was a powerful testament to those who have been doing such work because their very lives depended on it, not because the political landscape suddenly allowed it.
By Jeffrey Fleishman
September 16, 2016
Los Angeles Times
Movies offer a momentary escape and a time to reflect on what Bob Dylan once described as forces that “shake your windows and rattle your walls.” The illuminating power of cinema, dimmed a bit these days by comic book franchises and cultural shifts toward the small screen, prompted Gigi Pritzker, a producer and founder of OddLot Entertainment, to ask: “What does film do? What does it mean in this environment?”
Those questions resonate across a landscape that includes such recent and upcoming pictures as Pritzker’s “Hell or High Water,” writer-director David Mackenzie’s stirring mediation on poverty and the aftermath of the 2008 recession; Nate Parker’s “The Birth of a Nation,” a searing retelling of a slave rebellion; Peter Berg’s “Deepwater Horizon,” a look at the biggest oil spill in U.S. history; and Disney’s “Zootopia,” a clever animated bunny tale about feminism and equality.
Members of over 100 tribes are banding together to fight a “black snake” oil pipeline in North Dakota in a truly inspirational display — and the whole world’s watching.
The dramatic standoff that has captured global attention is centered on the construction of the 1,170 mile-long Dakota Access Pipeline that would bring 470,000 barrels of Bakken crude oil a day through a 30-inch pipe south from North Dakota. At $3.8 billion and funded by the very largest of Wall Street speculators, it’s safe to say the Standing Rock Sioux and their growing number of both Indian and non-Indian allies are truly fighting the ugliest Goliath America has to offer.
Whether or not the Standing Rock Sioux win this battle, they have already sparked the greatest Indian uprising in more than a century. The Lakota have an ancient prophesy that a “black snake” will cross their lands to either end the world or unite it. Right now, the black snake pipeline is uniting indigenous tribal people and their non-Indian allies like nothing else has managed to do in hundreds of years.