Author Archives: Jill Richardson

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

Stop calling harmful bigotry ‘religious freedom’

Anyone intolerant enough to disown a child is far less fit to parent than a gay person whose only ‘sin’ is living authentically.

The Supreme Court is considering a case, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, that once again pits LGBTQ rights against so-called religious liberty. In this case, one of the plaintiffs, Catholic Social Services, is arguing that it has the right to discriminate against same sex couples when placing children in foster care. Continue reading

The EPA’s war on science continues

The EPA wants to ban research that doesn’t violate the privacy of its subjects. That means less science—and fewer rules for polluters.

The Trump EPA wants to introduce a new rule: Its scientists can only use studies that make all of their data public. Continue reading

Why does Trump keep doing this?

Either our system is going to break, or Trump’s finally going to fail. It’s an exhausting drama.

Does Trump understand democracy? I’m really asking. Continue reading

It’s not about your straws or your light bulbs

Polluting industries want you to think the climate crisis is your fault, not theirs.

A few years ago, I had a cupcake problem. I’d go to the cupcake store almost daily and I’d eat at least one cupcake, sometimes more. Continue reading

Weapons of the weak

Americans are used to arguments about identity, but one of the most common coping mechanisms of impacted people is to remain silent.

As I navigate life as a queer disabled woman, I frequently think of Yale political scientist James C. Scott’s concept of the “weapons of the weak.” Continue reading

How do you celebrate a flawed nation?

To love America is to love the movements that have fought for centuries to make it better.

As the Fourth of July rolls around, I think plenty of us are eager for barbecues, corn on the cob, watermelon, and fireworks, but our feelings about our country are somewhat more complicated. Continue reading

Corporate pride is cheap

Churning out cheap rainbow swag during Pride Month is about marketing, not supporting LGBTQ people.

The satirical website McSweeney’s recently published a piece called “My Coming Out Story, Sponsored by Bank of America.” Continue reading

The disparity behind anti-abortion laws

Laws restricting reproductive freedom come out of a culture that doesn’t see women’s sexuality as equal to men’s.

In the past few weeks, my Facebook feed has exploded with posts about abortion. If you use Facebook, probably yours has too. Continue reading

The death penalty is getting crueler

A horrific new ruling would let states execute people in more painful ways, even when alternatives are available.

For years, most of the U.S. has been changing death penalty laws in the direction of phasing it out, or at least applying it in a more humane way. Continue reading

A Russiagate reality check

Donald Trump is bragging that the Mueller report did not prove he colluded with Russia during the 2016 election. Continue reading

Starving kids won’t help them study

Instead of looking at the real reasons students struggle, one Arkansas lawmaker wants to deny them school lunch funding.

An Arkansas lawmaker wants to cut school lunch funding for schools that fail to improve their students’ reading levels. Continue reading

Another billionaire presidential candidate who doesn’t get it

It’s human nature to be clueless about those with less privilege than you—which for billionaires includes nearly everyone.

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz just announced he may run for president as an independent centrist candidate in 2020. Continue reading

The transgender ban is about bigotry and distraction

Trump's attacking service members to provoke the left, throw red meat to his base, and distract the rest from things like the shutdown.

The Supreme Court just paved the way for Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military to move ahead, at least pending other court challenges. The ban will harm the military and help no one, while doing nothing to address the nation’s real problems. Continue reading

A war on science, morals, and law

Many ‘scientific’ questions are more accurately considered moral questions. The Trump administration's approach to the environment fails on both counts.

A new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists accuses Trump’s Interior Department of “relentless attacks on science ranging from suppressing and sidelining the work of the department’s scientists to systematically refusing to act on climate change.” Continue reading

Why holiday-season arguments with relatives are so frustrating

Most of us think if everyone just knew the facts, they'd agree with us. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way.

The weather has turned cool and crisp (or so I’ve heard . . . I’m in California, where it’s hot out and everything’s on fire). We’ve entered the time of year when soon we’ll get together with our loved ones, share a traditional holiday meal, and bicker over politics. Continue reading

The White House desperately wants this election to be ‘us’ vs. ‘them’

As the midterms approach, the administration is ratcheting up its attacks on anyone who isn't a straight, white, native-born Christian.

In the days leading up to the election, the news has been scary. “We” are under threat from all sides. “They” are threatening us. Continue reading

Sex and gender aren’t the same thing

The White House says its move to erase the civil rights of 1.4 million transgender Americans is "grounded in science." No it bloody well isn't.

Trump is having a problem with sex, and it’s not exactly what you might think. There are no Russian tapes, spankings with magazines, or confessions of grabbing anyone this time around. Continue reading

Voting matters, but staying engaged matters more

Real change means staying active long after Election Day.

After Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed, my Facebook feed filled up with people telling one another to vote in the midterms. “If you don’t like what’s happening in America, vote!” they said. Continue reading

The unbelievable cruelty of the GOP’s Kavanaugh charade

When I hear people shouting on TV that an assault in one's teens doesn't matter, it feels like they're shouting at me, too.

This past week, my private reality and the public reality playing out on the television have diverged. It’s hard to believe that I live in the same world as Senator Chuck Grassley, the Senate judiciary chair trying to Brett Kavanaugh onto the Supreme Court. Continue reading

Why women don’t report sexual assault

Delays should never be used to discredit accusers like Christine Blasey Ford.

When Christine Blasey Ford came forward to report that President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, sexually assaulted her in 1982, you could cue the response: Why didn’t she speak out then? Why didn’t she go to the police? Continue reading

Imagine our economy as a game of ‘Monopoly’

If you set up the board game like our actual economy, the poorest players quickly run out of money and the rich run away with the game. It's unfair, boring, and exactly what happens in real life.

As a sociology professor in a community college, I have my students play Monopoly. Only, I give them a special, rigged version. Continue reading