Speakout is Truthout's treasure chest for bloggy, quirky, personally reflective, or especially activism-focused pieces. Speakout articles represent the perspectives of their authors, and not those of Truthout.
Across the country, state and federal legislatures are taking a recess after a long session of lawmaking. The legislative recess is a temporary break from proceedings in which lawmakers can review legislation, attend meetings and hearings and visit their district. In other words, they need this time to improve their legislative performance, socialize with their constituents and to mentally rejuvenate. Isn't this the same reason why our children need recess in schools?
Less than 24 hours after it was announced, President Trump's decision to remove the US from the Paris Agreement was being denounced as "incredibly shortsighted," as "wrong" and as "bad for the environment, bad for the economy." Yet what was significant about such criticisms was that they came not from Trump's opponents in Congress, but from leaders in the tech industry. They were the judgements of Jack Dorsey, Tim Cook and Mark Zuckerberg, and in representing at least the fourth occasion where tech CEOs have spoken out against Donald Trump's actions.
We are going to need to change the narrative. We are going to need to look deeply at ourselves and ask ourselves, in the absence of top-down leadership: How can we all throughout our communities, big and small, take the steps necessary to look clearly at the danger and to shine a light on the shadow? The science is clear. And much of the technology and know-how that we need to address climate change already exists.
In the time before Roe v. Wade established the legal right to abortion in the US, women were dying because they couldn't access safe abortion care, and faith leaders stepped in to help. On May 22, 1967, an article appeared on the front page of The New York Times announcing that a group including Protestant, Reform Jewish, and even some Catholic faith leaders had officially created a network to help women find and access safe abortion care. This was revolutionary -- both because the pre-Roe political and legal environment was so hostile to abortion and because faith leaders had seldom spoken out so publicly on the issue.
What do worldviews, ideas about human nature and the Scientific Revolution have to do with today's environmental and social crises? Everything, says Jeremy Lent, author of the groundbreaking new book, The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity's Search for Meaning. He reveals how our future will depend on what happens, not just in the streets, but in our minds.
What would Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. think of the changes in the US over the past five decades? Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson recently declared that poverty is mostly a state of mind. The Congressional Budget Office also noted recently that the American Health Care Act of 2017 would leave more Americans uninsured and cut critical programs to the poor. Fifty years since the publication of possibly his most prophetic and least celebrated book, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community, King highlighted the merits and challenges of Black Power, outlined the history of racism, advocated for a guaranteed income and declared he was a Democratic Socialist.
Explaining to students and colleagues the implications of Trump's rise to power has deferred the temporary unplugging of a semester's end and replaced it, for many, with renewed political mission. Since January 2017, tens of thousands of students and faculty nationwide have moved from "Wait, what the heck just happened?" to "Resist, resist, resist." From pro-immigrant student-faculty movements at the Universities of Southern California, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Harvard to a California Polytechnic junior's "50 percent towards charity, 100 percent against tyranny" anti-Trump lipstick, this semester's grassroots have a 1960s feel.
The net neutrality Federal Communications Commission vote follows an equally unpopular vote by congress allowing internet service providers to sell your browsing history. These decisions that few citizens seem to support demonstrate the notion that policy does not reflect the "will of the people." If we want better policy, we need schools that teach citizens how to engage in policy and government that supports public deliberation. At Northwestern University, where I research educational technology for civic education, I've had many conversations with students distraught by the presidential election.
Even as President Donald Trump continues his first-ever foreign trip to the Middle East and Europe, nations across the globe are awaiting his delayed decision on whether or not the US will withdraw from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change that is signed by 196 countries. His choice for inclusion or withdrawal will impact billions of people around the world -- especially those in the most economically vulnerable countries. Trump recently said he will wait until after the G7 Summit in Italy later this month to announce his decision.
Long before Donald Trump's 2015 presidential announcement speech, in which he castigated and disparaged Mexican and Middle Eastern immigrants, the United States already had the disgraceful distinction of maintaining the largest immigration detention system in the world. To make matters worse, a considerable number of the detention prisons are run on a for-profit basis by private prison companies.