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What matters now. A publication from Medium about politics, power, and culture.
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In 2010, Hillary McFarland’s Quivering Daughters was a unique breakout book in my area of fascination: women raised under Christian patriarchy and those who escape it. McFarland offered a text that reflected what I would hear from sources over and again throughout the coming decade, how much they loved their parents, how much the faith they imposed hurt them.

It was a book that gave a lot of comfort to many young women who grew up burdened with helping parent their plentiful siblings, while shouldering restrictive doctrines that dictated their clothing, education, and relationships. …


I was born in the fall of 1974. My mother was a teenager when she became pregnant with me. Living in a small blue-collar town in Western Pennsylvania, about a year after Roe v Wade had been decided, she found herself with child and without many options. Abortion, while newly legal at the time, was still nothing easy to come by. In 1972 when my mother was still in high school, abortion was still unequivocally against the law in her home state. …


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The other day, I came to a stop at an intersection a few miles from my house. The intersection is a whopper, with four wide, divided streets crossing, creating a huge starburst of concrete. As far as I know, there has never been a stoplight at this intersection. It’s controlled only by stop signs. Drivers proceed through it in an orderly, civilized way. You might have to sit a while, since there are often as many as eight cars waiting to work their way across, but I’ve never seen anyone jump their place in the commonly understood first-in-first-out process. By…


The “Justice for J6” rally tomorrow aims to address the purported injustice in the prosecution of those who rallied at the Capitol on January 6. As President Trump stated this week (after saying on January 7 “To those who engage in the acts of violence and destruction: You do not represent our country, and to those who broke the law: You will pay.”),

Our hearts and minds are with the people being persecuted so unfairly relating to the January 6th protest concerning the Rigged Presidential Election.

I don’t think that anyone is being “persecuted.” But I do believe that there…


There is a lot of news going on in the world right now, as there always is, and how much it affects your life in many ways depends on how closely you decide to pay attention to it. California recall, the Texas abortion law, Afghanistan … it can feel overwhelming, and it’s a downright slow news drip compared to what we went through most of 2020.

But for most of the parents I know, there is only one news story that they care about, that they are focused in on with laser-like fashion. All other stories fade away, and that’s…


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You guys.

I don’t even know where to begin.

I’ll start this letter to you with full disclosure.

For three years, my family has lived deep inside the belly of an elite midwestern university. We are a “faculty family,” here to provide some balance to the culture of campus life. We are encouraged to engage, but we have few actual residential life responsibilities. …


NOTE: Within this text, wherever gender is not key to the explanation, I am using the Elverson ey/em construction of the Spivak Pronouns.

Photo by Efren Barahona on Unsplash

In the 1970s people believed things. They believed that Richard Nixon was a crook. They believed that the war in Vietnam was essential to preserve democracy around the world. They believed that The Beatles were the best band in history. Some people even believed that Jesus had been reincarnated in Texas. People believed things as they have always believed things. Among most people, those beliefs were private possessions. If pressed, an individual may express a belief; but…


Politicians focusing on emissions during climate disasters are playing a deadly con game, whether they know it or not.

Last year, when California’s fire season was destroying homes and lives again, Governor Gavin Newsom responded by banning the sale of all new gas-powered cars by 2035.

This year, when parts of Germany, Belgium, and Luxembourg washed away, whole communities flooded to the point of destruction, EU President Ursula von der Leyen announced a proposal for a 55% emissions reduction by 2030, and also potentially banning the sale of new gas cars by 2035. …


19th century illustration of the trial of Martha Corey, source: The Washington Post

For context:

The Alabama abortion ban made headlines in 2019 as the strictest abortion ban at the time. House Bill 314 made abortion illegal, even in cases of rape and incest, and foresaw prison sentences for women who terminated their pregnancies, as well as the doctors who performed the procedures (up to 99 years of imprisonment!). The Alabama abortion ban allows abortion to be performed only in cases when either the mother’s or the child’s life are endangered during pregnancy.

An additional reason Alabama caused outrage was its senate. There were 35 senators, out of which only four were women (none of…


Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

I would not have said I was prejudiced, certainly not against people who are poor. I’ve been poor myself, and I did not see my lack of resources as being indicative of shortcomings in my character. I would not have said my low net worth was reflective of my low worth as a person.

When my financial situation improved, I continued to believe that poor people, in general, were the products of a number of misfortunes — the lack of inherited wealth, certainly, but also the circumstances of their inherited social class, their upbringing, their culture, and untold other influences…

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What matters now. A publication from Medium about politics, power, and culture.

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