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Divided We Fall - Chapters 6 - 10

#181: Apr. - Jun. 2022 (Non-Fiction)
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Chris OConnor

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Divided We Fall - Chapters 6 - 10

Divided We Fall
Chapters 6 - 10
Please use this thread to discuss the above referenced chapters.
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Re: Divided We Fall - Chapters 6 - 10

In Ch. 8, French recounts a discussion he had with a group of liberals, moderates, and conservatives. He wanted to see if this diverse group could envision a return to civility in America, tackling some of the issues so prevalent in our culture war. Then he asks this question: Is Caitlyn Jenner a woman?
The words hung there for a moment. We looked at each other, and I could see the wheels turning. Did they want to take up the challenge? Did they want to prove that we could have a discussion about gender identity that was every bit as civil as the genuine search for constitutional common ground that had dominated previous sessions? But no one took it up. No. We can’t possibly talk about that. That question is truly beyond debate.
Is it beyond debate? I would say, no, Caitlyn Jenner is a transgender woman. Do you guys think that answer would be acceptable to everyone? Isn't it true?
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Re: Divided We Fall - Chapters 6 - 10

What was meant by "beyond debate?"

Was it meant that the topic is not worthy of debate because the matter has been settled, or was it meant that it is not debatable because debating it is too politically charged and dangerous?

I'm guessing it was meant that debating the topic has become taboo and engaging in such debate will get you cancelled or worse rather quickly. And that's a damn shame in my opinion. No topic should be off the table for debate. This is one of those subjects where I feel liberals are going way overboard with silencing their opponents.
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Re: Divided We Fall - Chapters 6 - 10

Chris OConnor wrote: Sun Jun 12, 2022 11:19 am What was meant by "beyond debate?"

Was it meant that the topic is not worthy of debate because the matter has been settled, or was it meant that it is not debatable because debating it is too politically charged and dangerous?
I think it's the latter, Chris. French doesn't explain who organized the meeting, only that the members were politically diverse. When the question about Caitlyn Jenner's gender came up, I wasn't very convinced that this issue was "beyond debate." I know the transgender issue is hard for some conservatives to accept. But if Caitlyn Jenner identifies as a woman, who is going to tell her she's wrong? On the other hand, Caitlyn Jenner isn't biologically a woman. She's transgender. There's no question that some people's gender identity does not conform to their biological sex. There's plenty of data to back this up.

If I had been at this meeting, I would have said Caitlyn Jenner identifies as a woman and so if you have to label her something she's transgender. I would use the female pronoun "she" because it's more or less accurate. If some liberals want to challenge me on this, I would be very happy to discuss it.

I know J.K. Rowling has gotten a lot of flak for saying a person with a vagina is a woman, but the problem here has to do with a confusion over biological sex and identity. Some on the right refuse to accept the notion of sexual identity, and some on the left want to cancel anyone who disagrees with them. In Rowling's case, she was villified for expressing an opinion, even when she later clarified her position.
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Re: Divided We Fall - Chapters 6 - 10

By moving the Overton window, an ideological movement can "win" no matter the partisan outcome of the election. After all, if both sides consent to the cultural change, the issue is settled regardless of who winds the race. Going back to gay marriage, there is not a single serious national Republican politician who will try to reverse Obergefell. No one will run on that platform. No one will govern on that platform. No one will even pay lip service to that platform. Why? Because the entire framework for debate has shifted. A position once mainstream in both parties - and then mainstream in one party - now is no longer mainstream in either party.
- Chapter 9, page 94 in hardback
That was published in 2020 and yet here we are only two years later with Clarence Thomas' concurring opinion in the Dobbs V. Jackson abortion decision. He states "substantive due process lack(s) any basis in the Constitution" therefore Scotus should "reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents." Those precedents include contraception, consensual homo sex, interracial marriage, and gay marriage.

French may still be correct about Obergefell, but a quick sniff in the air senses a right wing urge to exert power when available and overturn all of their cultural losses above.
The result is that the forces pushing the right edge of the Overton window have grown so strong that on many issues they've pulled the window apart. There is no longer a single window; there are two. And negative polarization means that the two windows are moving away from each other so fast that it's now difficult to engage in even the most basic of good-faith conversations on some of the most critical issues that define American politics.
- page 96
If the Overton window has stretched so far it has broken in two indicating a lack of consensus, then jerked back & forth this much in just the last two years, perhaps the glass is about to shatter, with the implication there will be no generally acceptable range of political discourse.
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Re: Divided We Fall - Chapters 6 - 10

In fact, the First Amendment would not explicitly apply to the states until the Supreme Court's 1925 decision in Gitlow V. New York. Thus, throughout slavery and for much of the Jim Crow era, black Americans were helpless in the face of state government suppression of free speech, as numerous American states implemented reqimes that tyrannized their African American citizens.
- Chapter 10 page 108
That is just amazing. As stated in another thread, I thought the 14th amendment (adopted 7/9/1868) would have guaranteed first amendment rights at the state level. Wherever you turn in American history there is another brutality.
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