Why Hillary Clinton’s shift to the left makes some liberals so mad

Published: Quartz (March 30, 2016)

With many months to go before the conclusion of the US presidential primaries, battles lines in the Democratic party have become deeply entrenched. Just as right-wingers love to claim that Hillary Clinton is a radical liberal disguised as a moderate, so too are many progressives inclined to see her as a conservative corporatist whose liberal stances merely pander to the Democratic Party base. This is partially because her 2016 campaign received contributions from various wealthy interests. But it also stems from the clear way that her ideology has evolved from centrist to progressive over the past quarter-century. It is tempting to characterize this evolution as proof that she lacks core convictions—especially if one is a Bernie Sanders supporter or a jaded liberal. read more

My Political Review of “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice”

Published: Salon (March 29, 2016)

The reviews are in for “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice”… and they aren’t good. It currently scores a 29 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and a 44 on Metacritic, with the general consensus being that it has a muddled and confusing plot, an over-reliance on special effects, and so many characters that it’s hard to feel emotionally invested in anything that happens on screen.

Yet despite this critical shellacking, “Batman v. Superman” is arguably resonating with audiences (emphasis on the word “arguably”). Certainly its record-breaking $166.1 million opening weekend indicates widespread interest and positive word-of-mouth, although its relatively low Cinemascore of B – on par with duds like “Catwoman” and “The Green Lantern” – suggests this initial enthusiasm may eventually cool into a tepid response. read more

The Wall of Hate

Published: The Good Men Project (March 29, 2016)

Let’s talk, for a moment, about the Wall of Hate.

It may not look like much, but it was enough to grab my attention as I walked home from the Fairchild-Martindale Library at Lehigh University. Various students were standing in front of it with markers, scribbling words that I could not as of yet discern, and several more were present to hand out pamphlets and talk to curious passersby. I asked one such student, Aleksandra Popova, and she agreed to email me more details about the movement (which she co-founded with Brishty Khossein, Arnie Diamond, and Sydney Bagley). Her response deserves to be republished in full: read more

The Danger of Ideologues

Published: The Good Men Project (March 26, 2016)

“The only index by which to judge a government or a way of life is by the quality of the people it acts upon. No matter how noble the objectives of a government, if it blurs decency and kindness, cheapens human life, and breeds ill will and suspicion—it is an evil government.”
– Eric Hoffer

I posted this quote not only because I agree with its contents, but because it perfectly encapsulates my reason for not considering myself to be an ideologue, either liberal or conservative. Ideologues on both sides are prone to making a terrible mistake – i.e., they start to care less about whether their policies are adequately serving important human needs than they do about the strictness with which those policies are hewing to a set of abstract philosophical concepts. read more

Does hashtag activism work?

Published: The Daily Dot (March 24, 2016)

There was an interesting debate at the University of Pennsylvania this week. TheFoundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, hosted a panel discussion on the effectiveness of hashtag activism.

The debate featured Zeynep Tufekci, an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Zellie Imani, an educator whose protest career was forged in the literal fire of the Ferguson protests.

Indeed, there have been many hashtag movements–Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, the Arab Spring, KONY 2012. Yet as I listened to the discussion, I kept waiting for conservative movements to be mentioned as well, only to be struck by their conspicuous absence. read more

Why I Write About Asperger’s Syndrome

Published: The Good Men Project (March 24, 2016)

When my first article was picked up by Mic in February 2012, I thought that my dream of becoming a political columnist had finally started to come true. I wasn’t wrong, but I never anticipated one turn that my career was destined to take. Although I still love writing editorials on political and social issues, I also find that more and more often I discuss Asperger’s Syndrome – a condition that I have had for as long as I can remember.

I write about being a high-functioning autistic (HFA) for three reasons: read more

Obama needs to stop undermining Sanders

Published: Salon (March 22, 2016), The Good Men Project (March 19, 2016)

Shame on you, President Obama, for trying to undermine Senator Bernie Sanders’ campaign.

As The New York Times reported on Thursday, Obama privately told a group of Democratic donors in Austin, TX that they needed to unite behind Hillary Clinton because Sanders would soon have to end his presidential bid. “Mr. Obama acknowledged that Mrs. Clinton was perceived to have weaknesses as a candidate, and that some Democrats did not view her as authentic,” Maggie Haberman and Michael D. Shear wrote. “But he played down the importance of authenticity, noting that President George W. Bush — whose record he ran aggressively against in 2008 — was once praised for his authenticity.” According to those in attendance, the president’s comments seemed to be intended “as a signal to Mr. Sanders that perpetuating his campaign, which is now an uphill climb, could only help the Republicans recapture the White House.” read more

Clintonism deserves its due

Published: The Huffington Post (March 21, 2016), The Good Men Project (March 17, 2016)

Whenever I talk to potential voters who doubt Hillary Clinton (not outright oppose her, mind you, but simply have reservations), I find there are two arguments which are most likely to convince them to develop a more favorable view of her potential presidency. One is the possibility that not turning out to give her an extra vote will help elect Donald Trump; the other is that, when all is said and done, she was the single most influential adviser to one of the most consistently popular presidents in modern history – her husband, William Jefferson Clinton. While the former is great for scaring them away from The Donald, I find that one of the best ways to convince voters to want a term for Hillary is by arguing that it’s tantamount to a third one for Bill. read more