Angie’s Blogiversary Reflection
It has been almost two months since the Trump presidency began and I have come to hate any sort of political discourse. I am not even exaggerating. I have stopped using Facebook because I can’t read people’s opinions. Instead, I started following 20 more dog instagrams so I can fill my time with cute pictures that make me happy. I still read the news of course, but I have come to hate listening to people talk about it. This is a problem. Discussion was my favorite thing a year ago. Sitting around and talking about politics over 5-7 pots of coffee was something I lived for. It was the reason I wanted to join Unfettered Equality after a great vacation weekend of non-stop political conversations. But here is the thing: I want to keep talking about politics. I want to hear new thoughts on issues I care about.
Sebastian and Jeremy created Unfettered Equality three years ago to critique institutions and move beyond partisan thought. I made a goal on Inauguration Day (also my birthday) to reevaluate how I consume media. Media can be biased, but I need to up my media literacy to detect and combat that bias. Media can be worthy when it is from a conservative source (or a liberal source) because there are writers all over the political spectrum that care about the same issues, themes, and problems I care about. My goal for the blog going forward is to find those converging views, to not be jaded about politics, and to continue being a vigilant consumer of media.
About two years ago, Sebastian and Jeremy taught me about Universal Basic Income (UBI). I had no idea what it was before that point, but Sebastian’s article made me a UBI convert. I tried to read more about UBI at the time, but I realized we were one of the first sites to start talking about it. The article got tons of press as well. A friend at the London School of Economics was even passed the article by a fellow student. The best press to come from the piece lead to a lecture with Andy Stern where Sebastian was the moderator, as well as a TEDx talk. It is pretty idealistic, but in the age of pessimism sometimes idealism is the only way to stay afloat.
Jeremy — “Is The Drone War Total War?”
My favorite article from Jeremy is the first article I ever read from Unfettered Equality. It remains the article I see as the embodiment of the over-arching theme for the site: question institutions, even if that institution is a President you admire and voted for twice. “Is the Drone War Total War” harshly criticizes the Obama Presidency’s foreign policy when it comes to drone use in Pakistan and Yemen, and I respect that. If we can’t question our leaders, what is the point of living in a democracy with free speech? As drone warfare inevitably becomes a focal point of Trump’s presidency, it is important that we as a society continue to evaluate and examine its use on civilians in developing nations. Drone warfare might not lead to the deaths of American citizens, but as Jeremy points out, it does lead to the deaths of innocent people.
Luke makes an excellent case for the importance of national service in this piece. I have spoken many times with Luke about his time in Americorps, as well as the need for mandatory service, whether it be civilian or military. It is sad that programs like NCCC are losing funding when they hold an incredibly important role. Not only does having these service programs make it a lot cheaper to fight forest fires, build dams, and other infrastructural activities, but it gives young people a sense of service for their country. The sad part is its funding is being cut by legislators, both Republican and Democrat, who pay lip service to the program, but don’t want to actually fund it. In a time when it is difficult for American citizens to get out of their political and cultural bubble, programs like AmeriCorps let people of different backgrounds work and learn together to actually make America better.
I am still pissed off about Clickbait Feminism. I just reread this article and I feel the same ire that led me to write the post in the first place. When I scroll through my Facebook newsfeed, I see pretty much the same articles that pissed me off almost two years ago. But I took my own advice and I stopped reading articles that perpetuated negative views of feminism. I stopped giving clicks to sites that don’t even bother with analysis. And as I mentioned in the original article, I became more suspicious of media that “encourages outrage without critique– clicks without thought.”