Links: Critical race theory, culture wars and dog cuddling

Who is that on Fox Channel 32 in Chicago, doing such a great job explaining the controversy about religious exemptions to vaccine mandates? I think it’s our own Heidi Schlumpf.

Yesterday, I called attention to an article in Politico that looked at the future of organized labor. Here is a second one that is more finely tuned: Noam Scheiber at The New York Times captures the fact that the choices facing labor do not break down neatly into opposing camps, one aiming to stay the course and the other seeking reform. Liz Shuler, who was elected president of the AFL-CIO on Friday, and Fred Redmond, who was elected secretary-treasurer, are as committed to organizing as anyone but also recognize the need to win legislative victories in Congress.

NASA has a new sea level change interactive map that allows you to see what the agency predicts will be sea level rise caused by climate change. Most East Coast cities will see just shy of one meter rise, enough to radically change the landscape in Miami, New York, Boston and cities in between.

If thinking about the devastating effects of climate change depresses you, and it is hard not to be depressed by it, researchers at the University of British Columbia-Okanagan conducted studies that show cuddling your dog will cheer you up. Dog owners everywhere are saying “Well, duh!” But, it is good to know that science backs up our intuitions. The Hill has the story.

At The Conversation, Ryan Gilfeather argues that we might not be as divided by the culture wars as it seems, and points to the fourth century as an example. I admit that, at first blush, I thought the argument was a stretch, but as I read on, I found myself at least hoping Gilfeather is right.

Relatedly, in The Washington Post, E.J. Dionne recalls James Davison Hunter’s early description of the culture wars, and Alan Wolfe’s argument that the different sides in the culture wars really exist within each of us. I wish I had E.J.’s eternal optimism, but I don’t. I think it is as likely that we can’t put the centripetal Humpty Dumpty forces in our culture back together again as that we can. I hope I am wrong and E.J. is right.

If Democrats want to recognize how unpopular some of their cultural ideas are, they have only to look to school board races around the country. The push against all kinds of diversity education is wrong-headed, of course, but it is happening. Elites in media and politics have no idea how badly their ideas play outside their own circles, especially when Fox News and other conservative media are a thousand times better than the left at reducing complicated issues to nasty sound bites designed to drive voters in a particular direction. The New Republic takes a look at the school board fights going on right now.

On the other hand, in California, we may be seeing the first wave of the pro-choice tsunami that is coming to our nation. Politico reports that in the state’s gubernatorial recall contest, incumbent Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom is emphasizing the ways a Republican could restrict access to abortion in an effort to retain his job. Normally, in off-year special elections, all of the energy has been with pro-life voters, but as the prospect of Roe v. Wade getting overturned comes into focus, look for that energy to equalize and, later, to shift.

Michael Sean Winters

Michael Sean Winters covers the nexus of religion and politics for NCR.

Join the Conversation

Send your thoughts and reactions to Letters to the Editor. Learn more here