December 11, 2021 | Reading Time: 2 minutes

Debt ceiling sadism, the phony idea of progress, PowerPoint coup, ‘equality among equals,’ democracy’s future and more

The week that was.

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Welcome to the weekend edition of the Editorial Board

I’m your host, John Stoehr. 

And now to the week that was …


I wrote about how all the civil liberties we have come see as normal are under threat by a Supreme Court apparently ready to overturn Roe. “Instead of being a democracy dedicated to the proposition that all human beings are created equal, we may end up being a democracy dedicated to ‘equality among equals.’”

I talked about about quote-unquote critical race theory with Alex Wise and why I see less democracy nationally and more democracy locally, as the Republicans Party seeks to strip equality from the republic. “I’d like to be more hopeful for your listeners’ sake, but it’s hard to have hope when all the incentives point in the opposite direction of democracy. You would think people who are tasked with informing the citizenry would be preferential to the truth, but they’re often not.”

Lindsay Beyerstein reports on the newest revelation regarding the investigation into the January 6 insurrection. A PowerPoint presentation outlining the coup step by step was submitted to Congress by Mark Meadows. “January 6 Committee Chair Bennie Thompson is suggesting, based on the documents turned over to his committee, that the president’s chief of staff was actively involved in a campaign to sell GOP members of Congress on Trump’s coup plan.”

Richard Sudan explains why Jeffrey Epstein and his partner Ghislaine Maxwell went their whole lives without triggering suspicion that they were trafficking children for sex. “Epstein and Maxwell were able to carry out their crimes for so long, plain and simple, is because Epstein was an incredibly powerful wealthy white man, who moved in similar circles, while being protected by those who looked like him.”


Noah Berlatsky explains why the Republicans don’t really care about the debt ceiling. “They are engaging in what we might call ‘vice-signaling.’ They aren’t actually promising to help anyone, or to make the country more stable, or even more virtuous. They’re mostly promising to hurt people Republicans believe should be hurt.”

Erik Loomis wrote the counter-obituary of Bob Dole. “He was mean early in his career. He was mean when he was close to Nixon. He was mean in his later career. He was mean in the Senate. He was mean as a presidential candidate. And he was mean as an old man being all-in on Donald Trump, unlike the rest of the Republican elite.”

I wrote about the opium of liberal politics, the idea that history moves in one direction and always toward “progress.” “I don’t think I realized how much Obama’s dulcet tones influenced my thinking until the Supreme Court heard a case over a state law restricting abortion to 15 weeks. Until last week, I had not thought about the unthinkable. Now I find myself thinking it. And I find myself doing something else, too. Adjusting my expectations.”

Thomas Zimmer, in an interview with John Stoehr, explains why we are on the cusp of becoming a truly multiracial democracy – if we can get passed attempts at an authoritarian takeover. “2021 is almost over – and the system has not been democratized in the slightest. The Republican Party is more determined than ever to entrench white Christian male dominance by whatever means.”


John Stoehr is the editor of the Editorial Board. He writes the daily edition. Find him @johnastoehr.

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