Mike Pence, a heartbeat away from the presidency? Now that’s frightening

Published: Salon (September 22, 2016)

Why isn’t Mike Pence a major issue in this campaign?

In any other election, Pence would be to a Republican presidential nominee what Sarah Palin was to John McCain back in 2008 — that is, an extreme right-winger whose presence on the ticket is widely regarded as a liability. Of course, this is the year in which the GOP tapped Donald Trump to be its standard-bearer, and when the main attraction is that prone to controversy, it makes sense that anyone running with him will wind up being more or less ignored by the media. read more

The Significance of Mike Pence

Published: The Good Men Project (July 16, 2016)

As The New York Times recently reported, there are an awful lot of social issues in which Donald Trump doesn’t now or didn’t in the past line up with his new vice presidential running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. These range from abortion and gay rights to whether smoking kills people. Considering that Trump has flip-flopped on a number of issues in this election cycle alone, it may not seem particularly noteworthy that he has chosen a veep whose views are so out of whack with what he used to believe. 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

“It’s Always Sunny” gang goes to hell: The long-running “Seinfeld” heir skewers rape culture, homophobia and religious hypocrisy in two-part finale

Published: Salon (March 8, 2016)

If we live in the golden age of television, the FXX comedy “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” is one of the underappreciated gems. Often billed as “Seinfeld on crack,” the show has a distinct comic sensibility of its own, cynically reveling in the monstrosities of its five main characters, who have been described in-series as “the most horrible people alive.” Although it’s one of the longest running live-action comedies in history (its first season aired in 2005), “It’s Always Sunny” hasn’t received much critical recognition or won any awards (which the show itself has pointedly referenced). It also hasn’t lost any of its edge, mining dark comedy out of a twisted mythology that it has had more than a decade to develop. read more

Kim Davis, Donald Trump, and the Maddening Paradox of Ignoring the Obnoxious

Published: The Good Men Project (January 12, 2016)

The Internet is understandably indignant that Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who was jailed for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses, has been invited to appear at President Obama’s State of the Union. Insofar as they are outraged at this doffing of a symbolic hat to a walking symbol of homophobia, they are absolutely correct. At the same time, it is highly problematic that – as I write these words right now – Davis is currently trending on both Facebook and Twitter. By virtue of feting her with attention, we empower the very beliefs that we should be striving to delegitimize. read more

5 reasons why 2015 was the year of the social justice warrior

Published: Salon (December 31, 2015), The Daily Dot (December 26, 2015)

Although the term “social justice warrior” was constructed as an insult against progressive activists, the year 2015 has amply demonstrated why liberals should embrace the term. Social justice issues dominated the year, from race to sexual identity and beyond. Here are five ways the United States grappled with with social issues in 2015:

1. Same-sex marriage was legalized throughout America

Sixty-one years ago, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown v. Board of Educationdeclared that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. As a result of that decision, the year 1954 is often regarded as a milestone in the history of the civil rights movement for African-Americans. read more

Stop comparing Kim Davis to Rosa Parks

Published: Salon (September 10, 2015), The Daily Dot (September 8, 2015)

In a mission to cast Kim Davis—the Kentucky clerk who has been temporarily jailed for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses—as a martyred culture warrior, conservatives are comparing her to the heroes of the civil rights movement. Iowa Congressman Steve King tweeted that Davis should win the Rosa Parks Award, a sentiment echoed by conservative talk show host Jesse Lee Peterson, who wrote on Twitter that Davis is a “modern day Rosa Parks.” read more

Understanding (and Misunderstanding) Gay Rights

Published: The Good Men Project (September 1, 2015)

Matthew Rozsa deconstructs the dangerous logic being used by the anti-gay rights movement in America today.

Over the last week or so, there has been a growing problem with the logic of the anti-gay rights movement. Let’s see if this article from the right-wing blog InfoWars about Vester Lee Flanagan, the African-American gay man who shot two reporters in Virginia, gives you a clue:

“Police reportedly confiscated a gay pride flag from Flanagan’s apartment on Wednesday, but in an example of hypocrisy, this hasn’t sparked outrage from liberals who wanted to ban the Confederate flag due to its association with Charleston, S.C. church shooter Dylann Roof.” read more