Two podcasts ~ Choose a side
This weekend I caught up with a couple of podcasts, and I’d like to highlight a few things.
First is a segment on Pod Save America. I’ve set this up so it goes directly to an interview with Strict Scrutiny‘s Kate Shaw, a lawyer talking here about the Supreme Court hearing Moore v. Harper last week. (Strict Scrutiny itself is another excellent podcast, if you’re looking for some top-notch legal minds discussing the issues of the day.)
This case presents the “Independent State Legislature Theory”, which you will no doubt hear about a lot in the near future. It is one way that the authoritarians in the Republican Party plan to overturn the will of the voters, now that the voters are making choices that Republicans don’t like.
I’ve pulled together a lot of material on this subject and will try to at least post a link list soon, for educational purposes. But Kate Shaw gives a good overview here about the ways in which this Supreme Court decision could have very dangerous impacts on democracy.
And of course we have an episode of Politics Girl, Leigh McGowan, and her guest, historian Thomas Zimmer.
I’ll sketch out the segments so you can skip to whatever interests you, but honestly the whole discussion between these two is worth the time if you’ve got it.
The first 18 minutes start with a discussion of the two major political forces in the world today, frozen in combat. Parsing the political situation post-election, they discuss the right-wing force which dearly wants the world to adopt a white Christian patriarchal order, and the opposing force (that includes me and I hope you as well) which works just as hard to bring about a truly pluralistic, multiracial, multicultural democracy.
In a country where politics revolves around these two irreconcilable visions, how can you possibly have democracy? How can those two Americas co-exist? The patriarchal forces are radicalizing now, giving themselves permission to resort to violence in order to prevail. How can resistance activists respond?
After the first break — around 22:10 — they discuss some of the politicians who back this patriarchal order, people like Tr*mp and MTG. These people are not harmless and simply ignoring them will not succeed. This includes a discussion of whether it’s useful to make charges of hypocrisy against these folks — i.e. how can they call themselves pro-life when their actual policies lead to so much death and misery? Zimmer argues that it is not hypocrisy once you understand that their stated policy goals are secondary to their will to impose this white Christian patriarchal structure.
The right clearly believes that only some groups are worthy of power, and all other groups must be kept under control. That principle is rarely expressed in the open, but when you look at their actions you can see the underlying truth.
Around 43:20 — after the second commercial break — comes a subject near and dear to my own heart. They talk about Twitter and its importance as a global organizing tool. Our social media and other communication systems are not democratized, and we are fighting over whether the will of the minority (and white Christian patriarchs by definition will always be a numerical minority) will control the rest of us.
Twitter is the world’s most important political communications channel, one of the largest at any rate, and Musk controlling it is a disaster. He is not politically neutral. He wants freedom from regulation for his ideological allies alone. What the white rich men want is to be unfettered in any way, to be free to do whatever they wish and treat people as they like without even a whisper of criticism. Controlling the public dialogue is a part of that.
Corporate control of the Internet could generate several essays all on its own. Twitter should be a public utility. It has been essential in amplifying voices that traditionally have been suppressed and that’s why the white boy authoritarians (often calling themselves libertarians) hate it. They want the voices shut back down. Killing Twitter will slow our efforts to create a pluralistic world, which is why Musk wants to break it.
His demonization of marginalized groups will lead directly to violence, and that is what we are seeing today. These discussions are at the heart of today’s politics, and as David Frum has written, “If conservatives become convinced that they can not win democratically, they will not abandon conservatism. They will reject democracy.” We are watching this play out right now.