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political spectrum

Bipartisanism & Other Blunders in U.S. Political Consciousness

The United States today is a nation divided. We’ve all witnessed the way that both liberals and conservatives attack one another on social media at the first indication that someone upholds the opposing political stance. Considering that we exist in an age of post-truth, data harvesting, and infowars, this rift continues to widen and calcify. It has gotten to the point that a recent survey, conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, suggests that Americans have “become radically split in their basic perceptions of reality.” The resulting damage can feel massively irreparable. Yet, perhaps this so-called polarization isn’t actually the root of our nationwide psychosis, but a symptom of something deeper. Our entrenchment in an atmosphere of American exceptionalism and historical amnesia deludes us into believing the falsehood that this polarization is based on a legitimate opposition of two political ideologies. In actuality, the divide between liberal and conservative has more to do with party branding than it does with concrete reality. While the policies and political history of the United States display relatively little systemic …

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The Role of Grievability in the State’s Monopoly on Violence

This post was originally published on Left Voice. You can find it here. The Stoneman Douglas mass shooting has launched a nationwide movement against gun violence. Student activists and their supporters have rallied in the hundreds of thousands across the country in acts of protest including school walkouts and at the end of last month, the March for Our Lives. On the surface, it’s hard not to agree with these organizers. As young people, they have brought a refreshing amount of honesty into political discourse by confronting mainstream politicians for being in the pocket of the NRA. They’ve managed to take the trauma they’ve faced and use it as a rallying cry for social change. For much of the American public coming out in support of a ban on assault rifles and other gun reforms is a no-brainer, but when we examine the specific policy demands set forth on behalf of the movement, there are apt critiques to be made. In doing so, we have the opportunity to pinpoint its shortcomings in securing conditions of nonviolence for …