Allyship vs. Solidarity

If a friend is engaging in activities which you believe are counterproductive to their health and well being then you don’t simply remain neutral or worse encourage them to continue doing what they are doing. You intervene in the hope that you can reverse their current path. That’s what a good friend does. Now whether or not you are correct in your judgment that what they are doing is bad for them is an entirely different question. But the point is that, as their friend, you not only have the right but the obligation to intervene. That is solidarity in the context of a simple friendship. And such is the fundamental difference between solidarity and what has come to be known as allyship. Continue reading

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The Mythology of Bobby Kennedy

In his review of David Halberstram’s journalistic profile of Robert Kennedy, William Spragens writes that the author “feels Robert Kennedy was a transitional figure in American politics, with an understanding of the old politics but also with a rare feeling for the new politics.”[1]  Indeed, in the first chapter, Halberstram lays out this thesis quite matter-of-factly when he says that Kennedy existed “at the exact median point of American idealism and American power.  He understood the potency of America’s idealism, as a domestic if not an international force, and yet he had also exercised American power.”[2]  It is difficult to disagree with the latter assertion; Bobby Kennedy’s illustrious political career included stints on the McCarthy Committee and the Senate Racket’s Committee, time as John F. Kennedy’s campaign manager and one of his most trusted political advisors during his brother’s presidency, as well as an appointment to the most senior position in the Justice Department.  However, Bobby Kennedy’s evolving views on the Vietnam War from 1965 to 1968, ultimately reveal him to be, not an idealist, but, rather, a shrewd realist.  Continue reading

Lyndon Johnson & The Power of the Presidency

In response to Robert Caro and Lyndon Johnson’s other disparagers, Johnson historian Robert Dallek cautions that “we need to see Johnson’s life not as a chance to indulge our sense of moral superiority, but as a way to gain an understanding of many subjects crucial to this country’s past, present, and future.”[1]  Indeed, Dallek is correct in his implication that to view the decisions and the major policy initiatives made by Johnson during his presidency solely as products of a single mind and a single determination is an analytical mistake.  Continue reading

Disability Perspectives: The Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Polacco

Here’s another paper I wrote for my Masters Degree course on special education for students with disabilities.  It analyzes the perspectives on disability expressed in The Junkyard Wonders, a children’s book written by Patricia Polacco.  You can find the book at a library or bookstore near you.

Trisha had hoped to be able to keep her dyslexia a secret, but unbeknownst to her, the school’s exclusionary policy on students with disabilities mirrors the one at her old school, and as a result her fellow students have already been made aware that there is something different about the new girl.  Continue reading

Disability Perspectives: Sound and Fury

I wrote this paper for one of my Masters Degree courses on special education for students with disabilities.  It analyzes the perspectives on disability expressed by the Artinian Family and featured in the documentary films Sound and Fury (2000) and Sound and Fury: 6 Years later.  You can find both films in their entirety on Youtube.  Continue reading

The Motivation And Purpose To Boycott

This commentary is in response to this recently “Freshly Pressed” Post entitled “I May Shop On Thanksgiving.”

I say this respectfully and not with intent to draw ire but just to poke at your logic a bit…the problem is simply “want”. What I mean by that is that we currently live in an economic system in which workers in the jobs you reference are basically compelled to sell their labor to corporations in order to just have the basic means to survival-food, shelter, etc Labor is viewed and treated as a commodity just as a television or an xbox 360. The market is a disciplining force. It is a compelling force. It’s maxim is maximization of profit at whatever cost. And one of those costs is labor. So if every company in these sectors is offering shitty wages for long hours then the fact is workers have no where else to go. If the exploitation existed with just a few companies then those companies would quickly go out of business because no one would want to work under their conditions when they have the freedom to choose better conditions. The problem is there is a monopoly on exploitation in the sectors you reference, and so the conditions are set for the labor market to act as a compelling force. People need to have access to the basic means of survival. This is the reality of wage labor. Continue reading