We live in a partisan age, and our news habits can reinforce our own perspectives. Consider this an effort to broaden our collective outlook with essays beyond the range of our typical selections.
FROM THE LEFT
From "What We’ve Learned In Year One Of Russiagate" by Aaron Maté in The Nation at http://bit.ly/2EUmSv4.
The context, from the author: The relentless pursuit of this (Russian collusion) narrative above all else has had dangerous consequences.
The excerpt: Democrats and partisan media outlets ... continue to prioritize Russiagate over factors that likely cost their party far more votes than any stolen e-mails or Facebook ads: gerrymandering, voter suppression, declining unionization, exhaustive Trump media coverage, and the unregulated, worsening "dark-money" takeover of political campaigns. Or any number of domestic outrages around which large segments of the population, not just liberals, could be mobilized.
From "When Two Tribes Go to War" by Andrew Sullivan in New York Magazine at http://nym.ag/2srauQH.
The context, from the author: We are in a different zero-sum political world. This is a tribal scorched-earth war, underpinned by racial and gender divides, thriving regardless of the consequences for our democratic institutions, discourse, and way of life.
The excerpt: The problem with tribalism is that it knows no real limiting principle. It triggers a deep and visceral response: a defense of the tribe before all other considerations. That means, in its modern manifestation, that the tribe comes before the country as a whole, before any neutral institutions that get in its way, before reason and empiricism, and before the rule of law. It means loyalty to the tribe — and its current chief — is enforced relentlessly.
From "An Internet Troll Tried To School A Lawyer On Immigration. She Clapped Back," by Sarah Harvard on UpWorthy at http://u.pw/2CaBdAk.
The context: Rabia Chaudry, the immigration attorney you may know from the podcast Serial, was live-tweeting and fact-checking President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address and said he was wrong on his claims about chain migration. A Twitter user replied to Chaudry asserting, without evidence, that she was wrong since "chain migration has allowed sponsorships of in-laws, cousins, etc." In response, Chaudry did not mince her words, tweeting, "I’m a f---ing immigration lawyer."
The excerpt: There is undeniably a phenomenon of far-right trolls and some Trump supporters of refusing to accept or consider impenetrable evidence and/or facts debunking some of the misinformation and blatant lies coming from the White House. Chaudry said part of that is the Trump administration spending a "tremendous amount" of effort to undermine all forms of institutions.
FROM THE RIGHT
From "The GOP Budget Deal Throws Fiscal Sanity Out The Overton Window" by Robert Tracinski in The Federalist at http://bit.ly/2shPkEp.
The context, from the author: We may not care about the debt, but it cares about us.
The excerpt: Republican leaders forged this (big spending) agreement and passed it because the message sent by Donald Trump’s rise to the presidency is that the Republican base no longer cares about fiscal discipline or the size of government — because nobody would have chosen Donald Trump if that was their top concern. It stands to reason that if the voters don’t care about the size of government, politicians won’t either.
From " ‘Porn Literacy’ Class For Teens" by Rod Dreher in the American Conservative at http://bit.ly/2nPquXE.
The context, from the author: The ubiquity of pornography is an acute symptom of a general problem (in our society). We are fools if we think this is something that can be managed by porn literacy classes (for teenagers). We are not much better if we think that pornography is something that stands alone.
The excerpt: What they’re doing (as porn literacy educators) is "good" in the sense that a public health educator teaching teenage junkies how to shoot heroin without killing themselves is good. The whole thing is evil to the core. We live in a degenerate culture that believes it has to teach its children that despite what they’ve seen on their smart phones, not all women like to be sodomized, choked during sex, or to have men ejaculating on their faces.
From "Rethinking the Geography of Power" by Victor Davis Hanson in the National Review at http://bit.ly/2Exkmx0.
The context, from the author: Where the seats of power are located matters. Given the populist revolt in the United States and Europe against the so-called global elite, it is time to refigure the geography of governmental and transnational power. Take the United Nations. Much of the international body’s perceived negatives derive from being in the world’s richest and most visible city, New York. But what if U.N. elites did not have easy access to instant television exposure, tony Manhattan digs, and who’s-who networking?
The excerpt: Why not move the United Nations to Haiti, Libya or Uganda? The transference would do wonders for any underdeveloped country, financially, culturally, or psychologically. U.N. officials without easy access to Westernized media and the high life might instead have more time to concentrate on global problems such as hunger, disease, and violence — and be personally enmeshed in the dangers they address.