Author Archives: Jill Richardson

Do any Republicans still support democracy?

Republicans should heed Churchill's warning about appeasing authoritarians: “Each one hopes that if he feeds the crocodile enough, it will eat him last.”

Investigative accounts of the Trump administration, like the recent Washington Post feature on the January 6 insurrection, routinely write about three kinds of conservatives. Continue reading

Spreading vaccine misinformation is dangerous and wrong

People can disagree about vaccine mandates, but the science on vaccines is clear: They’re safe and effective.

In the late 19th century, people protested against mandatory smallpox vaccines. Despite them, today we live in a world without smallpox. Continue reading

The GOP’s election lies are stale, but the stakes are high

Right now our nation still has two competing narratives about the 2020 election. Continue reading

Dial down the panic over ‘Critical Race Theory’

Wildly inaccurate accusations are flying all over the place right now. Don’t get sucked in—do this instead.

If you are worried about critical race theory in schools, here is some advice from someone who actually teaches it. Continue reading

Preventing an American Pinochet

If you believe violence instead of voting is justified, I implore you to at least consider the alternative viewpoint.

As the congressional investigation into the January 6 insurrection gets underway, we’re learning disturbing new details about Trump supporters’ violent attempt to overturn the 2020 election. Continue reading

The cynical war on ‘critical race theory’

One conservative activist is weaponizing resentment over diversity trainings into an all-out, red-baiting culture war.

The New Yorker recently published an article about the man who single handedly began the backlash against critical race theory, Christopher Rufo. It is enlightening. Continue reading

A dangerous moment for academic freedom

Florida officials say they want to promote “intellectual freedom”—by using political surveys to target university funding.

The state of Florida just passed a law that—to put it mildly—grossly violates academic freedom. Under the new bill, recently signed by Governor Ron DeSantis, students and faculty will be surveyed about their political views to ensure “intellectual freedom and ideological diversity.” Continue reading

The bigger picture in Israel-Palestine

My Jewish upbringing taught me to stand with the persecuted and the vulnerable. Today, that means the Palestinians.

Most of the news stories I see about Israel and Palestine focus on recent events. Continue reading

A textbook case of environmental injustice

People of color are more likely to be exposed to pollution than white people. A proposed Louisiana plastics plant shows how.

Even as the Biden administration commits to environmental justice, people in the Fifth District of Louisiana’s St. James Parish are mobilizing to stop a Formosa plastics plant accused of environmental racism in the majority-Black community. Continue reading

State lawmakers are cracking down on speech

On the one hand, conservatives complain about “cancel culture.” On the other, they slash budgets for schools that teach “social justice.”

The Idaho legislature just cracked down on colleges teaching “social justice ideology.” They cut $409,000 from Boise State University’s budget and forced a number of “social justice”-related classes to move online and “asynchronous,” without any more live discussion. Continue reading

We need democracy, not billionaire philanthropy

Instead of funding only the projects that a single billionaire esteems worthy, democracy demands something different: input.

Bill Gates has a new book about climate change. Continue reading

Education won’t stop conspiracy theories

Formal education is often a mark of privilege, not intelligence.

Conspiracy theories like QAnon are outlandish, dangerous, and often absurd. So why do people believe them? Continue reading

The GOP’s resentment theater

When President Biden condemned violent white supremacy, leading Republicans complained. Why?

President Biden recently became the first president to condemn white supremacy by name in an inaugural address. Then some Republicans got mad because, they say, it’s an attack on them. Continue reading

The time I got coffee with Hollywood Satanists

They were a lot nicer than QAnon conspiracy theorists seem to believe.

In the interest of stemming the QAnon conspiracy theories about Satanist pedophile rings in Hollywood, I’d like to share my experience with actual Satanists in Hollywood. The truth is so much more boring than the (completely false) conspiracy theories. Continue reading

Address the stagnation that paved the way for Trump

Trump had plenty of rich supporters, but left-behind communities have been fertile ground for extremism throughout our history.

Donald Trump won’t be around forever. But the political crises his attacks on democracy have caused will outlive his one-term presidency. Continue reading

We need a safety net for parents

The collapse of child care and traditional schooling is having a devastating effect on women in particular.

This week my students turned in papers relating news articles to what they learned in class about parenting. Every single student’s paper is about how the pandemic is exacerbating pre-existing inequalities. Continue reading

Put empathy back in the White House

I used to think policy was all that mattered in a leader. But after four years of Trump, my feelings have changed.

I used to think the only thing that mattered about politicians were the policies they supported. Continue reading

Voter suppression in a pandemic election

Voting is more difficult than it should be in the best of times. In the pandemic, many states are adding barriers, not removing them.

Although the United States hails itself as a bastion of representative democracy, voting regulations suppress the vote even in a normal year—and even more so during the pandemic. Continue reading

The surprising history of marriage in the U.S.

Right-wing judges want to delegitimize same-sex marriage, but these unions date back to the colonial era.

Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito just issued a statement implying they may seek to overturn the ruling that legalized same-sex marriage. That’s a dire threat to civil liberties and families, especially after Trump’s nomination of a hardline social conservative to the court. Continue reading

When men legally controlled women

In this 100th year after the 19th Amendment, we have so much to lose. But if we fight, how much more can we accomplish?

This year marks the 100-year anniversary of the 19th Amendment, when women got the right to vote in all 50 states. Limiting voting to men at the nation’s founding was part of the legal doctrine of coverture, in which a woman was legally represented first by her father and then by her husband. Continue reading

Where have I heard these Trump lines before?

Trump’s recent rhetoric sounds a lot like the Klan’s 100 years ago.

Rory McVeigh wrote The Rise of the Ku Klux Klan, a study of the KKK in the 1920s, in 2009—long before Donal Trump became president. But it could almost be about Trump today. Continue reading

Trump’s authoritarianism is ill-suited to a pandemic

Even if he’s wearing a mask now, he’s still trying to conceal data, silence experts, and block funding.

The Trump administration is apparently undertaking its latest effort to make 2020 more of a Kafkaesque nightmare than it already is. Yes, we’ve got murder hornets and a swarm of flying ants that can be seen from space over in Ireland, but maybe the scariest plague of the year is the president. Continue reading

What if we actually listened?

Here's what I learned when I stopped trying to convince anyone of anything.

However much half of this country hates the other half now, it’s only going to get worse leading up to November. I don’t look forward to it. Continue reading

Learning not to look away

Anti-racist work can be emotionally difficult. Take time to process your feelings—but don’t forget the big picture.

When those of us who are white are asked to engage with anti-racism, we are being asked to do something emotionally difficult: understand how we have benefited from a system that disadvantages and hurts others, so we can help dismantle it. Continue reading

Dear J.K. Rowling, I love Harry Potter. Please stop talking.

In your books, you were so concerned about the rights of house elves. This is about humans, so stick with me.

I can practically recite your Harry Potter books. I grew up in a family that felt like the Dursleys, and I began having chronic migraines at 14 so Harry’s scar hurting was very relatable. Continue reading

It’s absolutely not time to cut food stamps

Tens of millions of us are out of work. Why on earth is Trump trying to cut food aid?

In some ways, this horrible pandemic has brought out the best in humanity. Continue reading

A death sentence for meatpackers

Meatpackers are contracting COVID-19 and dying. Trump is requiring them to work—and shielding their employers from liability.

Meat processing plants are high risk for spreading COVID-19, and many are shutting down. Animals due for processing have nowhere to go, and they are being culled. Continue reading

Wisconsin’s unconscionable sham

The state’s election was a danger to public health and a democratic travesty—all to help Republicans suppress more votes.

Wisconsin might have just decided the November election for Trump at the expense of its own citizens’ lives. Continue reading

Efficiency vs. resilience

This crisis is pulling back the curtain on unfettered capitalism, showing that we are actually interconnected.

Many years ago, bestselling author Michael Pollan explained there’s a trade-off between efficiency and resilience. Continue reading

Stay in your home and stay angry

The economy's turned upside down, people are dying, and we're all cooped up because the people who are supposed to keep us safe didn’t.

Social distancing is hard, and it’s not fun. Continue reading

We’re all in this together

Why we can’t be okay with other people bearing the brunt of a pandemic or recession.

Western medicine is predicated on the “germ theory of disease.” That’s what it sounds like: the theory that germs like bacteria and viruses cause disease. Continue reading

Mike Pence is the worst person to lead a coronavirus response

The former Indiana governor presided over the state’s worst ever HIV outbreak. His ignorance made it worse.

A year after Trump took office, Saturday Night Live did a sketch called “What Even Matters Anymore?” Continue reading