Ongoing state violence, oppression and injustice provoked Ferguson riots

I’d love to know what Darren Wilson, the white police officer who killed an unarmed black teenager, thinks of the rioting, looting, gunfire, and tense protestor/police standoffs that erupted in Ferguson when a grand jury, well after dark on Monday evening, announced its decision not to indict him. Based on Wilson’s testimony to the grand jury and the story he and his department have told ever since Wilson put six bullets in Michael Brown back in August, he might feel like none of this is his fault. Continue reading

The holiday season is America’s cultural low point

Black Friday is just around the corner, and with it will come the beginning of America’s annual cultural low point: the holiday season. This isn’t about being a Grinch – peace, love and giving are all fine ideas to base a time of celebration around. It’s just that these themes of the holiday season only really show up on greeting cards and television specials; they aren’t what the holidays, in practice, end up being about. Continue reading

GOP backlash to Denton fracking ban reveals a dark hypocrisy

Amid last week’s Republican sweep of the 2014 midterm elections, there were some notable progressive victories. Marijuana decriminalization, gun control laws and minimum wage increases all passed on various states’ ballots. But perhaps the most inspiring initiative voters put into law was a ban on fracking in Denton, Texas. Unfortunately, Texas politicians, bureaucrats and business interests are pledging to fight, repeal and/or ignore it. Continue reading

The 2014 election was a big hustle, and it proved voting is not enough

America has just finished another midterm election, and the results were overwhelmingly in the Republicans’ favor. The GOP picked up a majority in the Senate and strengthened its majority in the House, holding more seats there than they have since 1928 with 248. Republicans were also given a great deal of control in state legislatures and governor’s offices.

This map shows just how dominating the Republican performance was, particularly in the House of Representatives.

This map shows just how dominating the Republican performance was, particularly in the House of Representatives.

This, predictably, has led to fretfulness in liberals. Many are reading the huge Republican victory as a rejection of the policies of President Obama. That’s certainly a big element. But what the election results really signify is a population that is utterly confused and desperate for a solution. Public approval for elected representatives and the way the country is moving remain at dismal lows, so it’s not hard to imagine that any change must be for the better. Republican victories are as much a reflection of the left’s disillusionment as they are of the right’s continued mobilization. Continue reading