December 4, 2021 | Reading Time: 3 minutes

It’s not about self-defense, the real roots of anti-Roe, Michael Flynn isn’t funny, 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. 

First off, please welcome our newest contributor Thomas Lecaque! Thomas is a medieval historian who told us a lot this week about Michael Flynn and his apocalyptic mind.

Welcome, Thomas! 

And now to the week that was …

Mia Brett debunks the claim that the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict was a victory for the practice of self-defense. Instead, she says it was more of the same: white people have better rights and better protection under law than non-white people. “Courts are less likely to apply stand your ground laws to Black defendants, but there is an assumption that it is understandable for white defendants to be scared of Black men.”

Rod Graham writes about how we talk about white supremacy and what that means for anti-racism. “How America’s racial hierarchy is maintained today is not the same as it was a century ago. In 2021, we don’t need white supremacists for there to be white supremacy.”

Thomas Lecaque tells us to quit laughing at Michael Flynn. “The former Trump advisor is spearheading a project to build a violent, ultra-nationalist, ultra-Christian right to take control of America. Everything Flynn has been doing suggests that QAnon or not, his audience, his rhetoric and his goals are far more concrete and far more sinister than the mocking media coverage suggests.”

Mia Brett offers the best explanation you will find anywhere on how the fight against reproductive rights is rooted in the history of chattel slavery. “The truth is that taking reproductive control away from white men and putting it in the hands of women and pregnant people of all races is the biggest threat to white supremacist patriarchy.”

Richard Sudan writes about two men exonerated for the murder of Malcolm X. “In the decades since the assassination of Malcolm X, it might be comfortable to imagine we have traveled some way down the road of racial justice. But it’s a long road and not an easy one.”

Trent R. Nelson demands the abolition of capital punishment, calling it a barbarous practice that bastardizes our freedom. “One has the freedom to get the best healthcare, if one can afford it, and if one cannot, then one is equally free to die without care, or else become free to live under extreme debt for the foreseeable future.”

Before we go on, a reminder that all of my commentary (below) is available without a paid subscription. I hope, since it’s for free, you will be inspired to become a paying subscriber. That’s the chance I’m willing to take. I hope you see why that’s worth supporting. For those who are supporting us, the above is for subscribers only.


Last week, I wrote about our current crisis as one of humility. “You could say the election of Donald Trump, the anti-democratic turn we have seen from the GOP and all the shooting massacres we’ve seen since the reelection of a Black president altogether constitute one giant wounded ego. The result has been one giant lashing out against democracy the way mass murderers lash out against innocents.”

On Monday, I wrote about the history of the rhetoric of slander, and how it prevents many Americans from seeing what’s obvious to non-Americans. “It’s so pernicious it’s hard, if not impossible, for a lot of (white) Americans to see what might be obvious otherwise. When the right accuses liberals of being communist (or socialist), they are covering up the common purpose they share with actual communists.”

And: is the United States “truly one nation”? “There may be no better counterargument than Connecticut’s and Florida’s opposing approaches to the covid pandemic and their opposing definitions of success. For one of them, it’s living. (Yay!) For the other, it’s dying. (Don’t tread on me!) In the difference lies a profound truth.”

Plus, overturning or gutting Roe will create a two-tiered system of law for American women. That might be acceptable given the morality of abortion, but “pro-life” people aren’t nearly as moral as they claim to be. “That abortion is a moral issue is almost universally accepted, even among those who otherwise stand firmly for reproductive rights. To the extent that it is a moral issue, however, its parameters are exceedingly pinched.”

Finally, overturning or gutting Roe means all federally protected rights are on the table. The Supreme Court will have abandoned legal equality. “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.'”


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

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