Progressive events calendar

Click here to view progressive events in and near Chester County.  Agenda view (upper right of calendar) is easiest to use.

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SEPA Blogger Central

These local progressive bloggers are featured here regularly:

* Lawrence Davidson (see also To the Point Analyses and Facebook)
* John Grant (see also This Can’t Be Happening)
* Lisa Longo (see also Lisa Longo
* John Mason (see also The Mason Missile)
* Nathaniel Smith (see also Politics: A View from West Chester)

To see their writings on this site, click on their names above or in Categories (right sidebar). If you would like to suggest a blogger to join us, whether blogging at an extant site or yet without a site, please contact us.

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Filed under BLOGGERS, Progressive movement

A Culture War Against Tolerance – An Analysis

By Lawrence Davidson, To the Point Analyses, 7/16/17

Part I – Tolerance Amid Growing Intolerance

In case you haven’t noticed, the United States is a country deeply divided on a large number of basic issues: racial issues, gender issues, issues of sexual preference, the role of government in society, the role of religious views in shaping laws, and so on. Influential Institutions, such as media outlets, are being labeled as “left” or “right” depending on how they report or relate on these issues. Battles now rage on these topics in the halls of Congress. Finally, the Supreme Court’s legal decisions on cases that reflect these questions have been trending toward the “conservative” end of the spectrum. All of this makes it quite difficult to have a meaningful discussion or debate about such issues in the public realm. Such attempts have often led to further divisiveness instead of reconciliation – reflecting what some might describe as an ongoing culture war.

The one place where thoughtful debates are usually encouraged is on the university and colleges campuses. This is particularly so in the “humanities” and “social sciences” classrooms, where you find courses in history, English, foreign languages, sociology, anthropology, political science and the like. Such areas of study draw on diverse source material and examples. And so, running against the popular grain, so to speak, divisive issues often become legitimate aspects of study.

This process of study and discussion concerning controversial topics has been going on on U.S. campuses at least since the end of World War II. By the 1970s clear preferences as to how these issues should be thought about appeared. And, they consistently agreed with a tolerant stand that maximized the virtues of equality and social justice….

continue reading at To the Point Analyses

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Filed under Education and schools links, Lawrence Davidson

Voices of Fair Districts PA: Democracy in Action

by email, 7/14/17

The news is full of decisions pushed forward in both Harrisburg and DC with little reference to voters’ wishes. While polls may show an overwhelming number of voters in support or opposition of specific legislation, we continue to see leaders more interested in protecting special interests than in listening to constituents.

Last week we posted a video highlighting a few of the more than 200 informational meetings we’ve held in PA since January. We’re proud to be a non-partisan, volunteer-led organization, with supporters and volunteers from across the state and across the political spectrum. Take a look at Voices of Fair Districts PA, share it, and think about who you could invite to come watch it with you some summer evening. (And check the other videos on our Fair Districts PA Youtube channel. There’s plenty of good information to share).

We know that when election maps are drawn by partly leaders to protect their jobs and their party, voters AND communities lose their voice. Gerrymandering has diluted the representation of Pennsylvania municipalities and counties, allowing legislators to ignore local concerns while pursuing the agendas of outside interests. School districts and communities are chopped up to provide safe districts for incumbents and to allow party leaders to maintain political control. The leaders who draw the lines benefit while PA voters, communities and local economies are harmed.

Across the state, we have volunteers making this case in borough halls and county seats. They are presenting resolutions to municipal and county governing bodies and advocating for their passage. The resolutions call for fair, transparent and impartial redistricting done by an independent citizens commission.

From Erie to Bethlehem and from small boroughs to larger counties, citizens are demanding change. Fair Districts volunteers are flooding municipal meetings that they may never have attended before and engaging in their local communities. These volunteers educate and inform their local governments with presentations, data and sometimes petition signatures and email campaigns, supporting efforts to pass a resolution. This is true democracy in action!

Each resolution calls for a copy to be sent to the respective elected officials and party leaders. This means that a legislator is held accountable to his or her constituents to pass Senate Bill 22 and House Bill 722 to put the redistricting power in the hands of an independent citizens commission.

To date, 9 counties and more than 60 municipalities have passed resolutions and there are dozens more resolutions already in progress.

If no resolution has been passed or is in progress in your own county or municipality, you can visit our Fair Districts PA Resolutions page and fill out the “Get started with a local resolution” form (make sure to check the resolutions list first). Our State Coordinator for Resolutions, Jamie Mogil, will contact you with guidelines and materials and connect you with other Fair Districts PA volunteers in your area.

This is a genuinely grassroots effort. We’ve been told, many many times, that party leaders in Pennsylvania will never give up power without an outcry from citizens – all kinds of citizens – who believe democracy is bigger than any one party, and who insist that our leaders should serve all of us, not just their biggest donors.

We are funded by you and people like you.

And we’re counting on you to help us make the case for reform, in your townships, counties and in Harrisburg as well.

Thank you for being part of this work.

Carol Kuniholm
Fair Districts PA

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“What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?”

“What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?”

This immortal and fiery speech of Frederick Douglass was delivered July 5, 1852.

It is tempting to repurpose his words to our national crisis today, on behalf of all those in our country who suffer not slavery but their contemporary counterparts: discrimination, economic injustice, deprivation of adequate education and health care, denial of other basic rights, and violent death (text at TeachingAmericanHistory):

…At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could I reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour….

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Filed under History, Law, justice, Race, Ethnicity, Immigration