Moments of Clarity

How Gendered Is Firefighter Culture in Delaware?

Who doesn’t love fire fighters? The brave men and women who risk their lives to put out raging fires, risking painful injuries or a horrendous death for the good of others – and in Delaware they volunteer to do it.

So I was stunned to read in the Washington Post this morning that systemic misogyny exists in many fire companies, and it got so bad in Fairfax that a young woman, who gave up a promising career in IT to pursue her dream job, killed herself because of the cyberbullying, sexism, and harassment she received from her male colleagues in the Fairfax County Fire Department.

She was friends with my spouse.Read More »How Gendered Is Firefighter Culture in Delaware?

What will it take to move a democracy reform agenda forward in Delaware?

Yesterday, I drafted an email to Common Cause Delaware members about our legislative accomplishments during the 2016 session. We did have some big wins. We helped pass a number of bills – rescission of all calls for a constitutional convention, removing financial barriers to the restoration of voting rights to people returning from prison, reducing the waiting period for municipal voting, and a couple relatively minor transparency bills. And we beat back two more attempts to increase the amount of money in Delaware politics. (Add that to the two similar bills we killed in 2015.)Read More »What will it take to move a democracy reform agenda forward in Delaware?

Let’s Ban Gifts from Lobbyists to Legislators

Margie Fishman recently published an expose in the News Journal of a “private” meeting that took place “behind closed doors” during the Democratic National Convention, at which “lobbyists and their well-heeled clients” treated Delaware politicians to food and an open bar — and did so in a way that allowed them to avoid disclosure. Read More »Let’s Ban Gifts from Lobbyists to Legislators

What To Do Next? Six Ideas for Advancing the Revolution

Tomorrow my spouse and I will join thousands of activists in Philadelphia for the DNC, and we are very excited about it. We do not have credentials to enter the Convention proper, but we will be on the streets with other everyday people who have something to say.

We expect a huge convergence of the Left in Philly, and we look forward to standing with our allies, making new friends, and building community. It’s going to be a blast with people celebrating the huge success of the Bernie Sanders campaign — for winning 22 states, 43% of the popular vote, and almost 1900 delegates, as well as raising nearly $230 million from small donors and putting democratic socialism on the agenda — and people celebrating the nomination of the first female candidate for President of the United States, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Read More »What To Do Next? Six Ideas for Advancing the Revolution

Getting Back into the Groove of Writing

Well my article on reality television has finally been published: “The Mean Girls of McWorld: Reality Television and the Attack on Strong Democracy” in Strong Democracy in Crisis: Promise or Peril?, edited by Trevor Norris (Lanham, MD: Lexington Press, 2016). Believe it or not, I originally wrote the piece back in 2011.

I had just left academia in 2011, and I planned to write full-time. Read More »Getting Back into the Groove of Writing

Thomas Frank on the Democratic Party and Delaware — Excerpts from “Listen, Liberal”

The following is an excerpt from Thomas Frank, Listen, Liberal or What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2016).

‘One of the reasons that inequality has probably gone up in our society is that people are being treated closer to the way that they’re supposed to be treated.’

—– Larry Summers

‘Sometimes the task of government is to make incremental improvements, or try to steer the ocean liner two degrees north or south, so that ten years from now, suddenly we’re in a very different place than we were. But at the time, at the moment, people may feel like, we need a 50 degree turn, we don’t need a two degree turn. … And you can’t turn 50 degrees. And it’s not just because of corporate lobbyists, it’s not just because of big money, it’s because societies don’t turn 50 degrees. Democracies certainly don’t turn 50 degrees.’

—— President Obama (2015), quoted in Frank

book Frank“If our goal is to rescue the reputation of a hero who turned out to have clay feet, this is surely the way to go. Ocean liners are hard to turn. Presidents don’t have a lot of power. Republicans are in league with the devil.Read More »Thomas Frank on the Democratic Party and Delaware — Excerpts from “Listen, Liberal”

Citizens Returning from Prison Shouldn’t Face Voting Barriers

I was pleased to have the op/ed I wrote on behalf of Common Cause Delaware published in the News Journal:

The United States was founded by people who came to these shores in search of a fresh start. And as our current debates over immigration remind us, the country remains a magnet for people around the world who are looking for a better life.

So it’s unsettling to find that millions of contemporary Americans seeking their own fresh starts, including hundreds and perhaps thousands here in Delaware, are being denied their most basic right as American citizens: the right to vote.Read More »Citizens Returning from Prison Shouldn’t Face Voting Barriers

On the Brink of Change?

The United States may be on the cusp of a new political era — and we are either on the brink of disaster or the edge of a democratic awakening. Just getting by has been so hard for so many people for so long that they are finally rising up on both the left and the right, demanding change from the political establishment.Read More »On the Brink of Change?