Back in early May, the infamous ink-butcher George R. R. Martin submitted to an interview with Davie Itzkoff of the New York Times. There had been a public uproar over a rape scene in a recent episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Many in the fandom wanted desperately to know why so much blood had to mar the compelling Westeros story. This (abridged) exchange followed:
Anthony Rek LeCounte | All Articles
Virginia is in many ways fumbling at crossroads. The Commonwealth is at once a Southern state and a Mid-Atlantic haven for the geographically transient and government-employed or -affiliated. It is in places traditional and cosmopolitan. It is the suburban sprawl of Arlington and Fairfax and the timeless traditionalism of Richmond and the Shenandoah. It is, in short, a useful bellwether of the New South that will inform how Republicans and Democrats will and should adapt to the evolving dynamics of 21st Century politics throughout America.
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court announced its long-awaited ruling on the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. By a 5-4 vote, the Court struck down Section 4, the part that determines which states and jurisdictions must seek permission --- or “preclearance” --- from the federal government before changing their electoral laws. Section 4 applied to areas where fewer than 50 percent of minorities were registered to vote in 1972.
I left the hospital to go home for the first time in the back of a car. Thereafter, I grew up driving everywhere. After the Army took our household away from Florida, our habitual roundtrip drives stretched across the Southeast to locales as distant as Maryland. But whether I was heading down half the Eastern seaboard or simply to football practice, the mode of transport was an SUV, minivan, flatbed, or sedan — all of which were fixtures of my youth. That’s life in suburban America.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil …” -- Psalm 23:4
Freshman U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) took the political world by storm last week with his Mad Men-era throwback: a talking filibuster against President Obama’s nominee for CIA director, John Brennan. Paul’s stand against the most questionable aspects of the Obama administration’s drone program was as simple and straightforward as it was — or should have been — avowedly nonpartisan. The Kentucky senator wanted to highlight and clarify official U.S. drone policy — which Brennan helped author — on such seemingly important questions as whether executive discretion allows for the extrajudicial killing of American citizens on American soil. After 13 hours or so, he finally got his answer.
I remember what it was like to get into Yale. At seventeen, that mildly sunny Friday afternoon in December opened into an oceanic river yawning into a skyline of vague but destined brilliance. All the sacrifices I'd made, compromises I'd swallowed, and hardships I'd weathered had suddenly yielded the finest dividends I could have hoped for. By the time May rolled around and I had conquered my International Baccalaureate exams, I was incorrigible. My star was rising, and the idea that anything this side of matriculation mattered was a nearly impossible sell.
“We can overpower the extremists with intelligence and with reason and with common sense, and that’s what we’re going to do.” – Andrew M. Cuomo
On January 9, 1913, a future president of the United States was born into a conservative Quaker family in Yorba Linda, California. A few weeks from now, 40 years ago, Richard Milhous Nixon was inaugurated into his second term in office. Having won more electoral votes than any American president in history (to that point) by a still-unprecedented margin of 18 million popular votes, he seemed the herald of a new era of American politics after a generation of New Deal dominance, bitter Civil Rights battles, and lukewarm Democratic wars in Southeast Asia.
Long ago, in a world where Andrew Sullivan was still hauntingly conservative, there were supporters of gay Americans who disdained the push for gay marriage. On the one hand, scions of wilted flower power thought the institution as irredeemably alien to the gay identity as a Whole Foods Market in a quaint Southern town. On the other hand, some liberal activists thought it a distraction from more pressing concerns such as bullying, anti-discrimination policy, poverty, health care and a broader fight for “social justice.”
“Lower rates of taxation will stimulate economic activity and so raise the levels of personal and corporate income as to yield within a few years an increased --- not a reduced --- flow of revenues to the federal government.” -- John F. Kennedy
Watching Fox News on the day after the election, you saw a fascinating dynamic at play. A number of pundits spoke sympathetically of amnesty and openly criticized Arizona SB 1070 amid discussion of how to appeal to the growing Hispanic population. “The O’Reilly Factor” featured the unflinching admonition “to stop this Bible-based bashing of gay people,” while other segments noted the unprecedented four for four sweep gay marriage advocates won at the ballot box. The telling sentiment of the day, however, was that conservatives cannot and will not compromise on principles. So where do we go from here?
I was a Democrat once. At various stages of my intellectual development, I even thought I was a liberal. I was never particularly good at it, being liberal, so it required some impressive feats of ideological gymnastics. But my stubbornly innate conservatism wouldn’t allow me to shy away from a project simply because it required hard work. That should have been the first sign.
Given that we have a black president, and some of his supporters have conveniently discovered that criticizing him is tantamount to racism, it’s hardly surprising that I’m responding to an article — in a mainstream publication, no less — entitled “Is the Republican Party Racist?”