EDITORIAL: The Biden-Harris era as an antidote to nihilism, full-spectrum

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Today’s the start of the Biden-Harris era. But more importantly, let’s make it the “End of Nihilism” era. Nihilism, the belief that everything is hopeless, is the ugliest ‘ism of all. It encompasses all the other ‘isms, encouraging a belief that nothing matters and there is no hope for a better world. It’s the one ‘ism that has the danger of uniting the far right AND the far left, white and Black, mystical pagans and fundamentalist Christians, jacked-up young adults and the frail elderly. Nihilism got a lot of fuel,…

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“Basic ethical principle that is equally good for everyone” is focus of two-parter

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Please partake of the information in this two-part attempt to close out The Real MainStream‘s commentary and analysis on the topics covered below! It’s been a tough conversation, but one focused (as the “Careless Whispers” blog states) on “a basic ethical principle that is equally good for everyone, including you.” Links provided: “Iowa City, Put Down Those Pitchforks:” Original Jan. 9 editorial Also, for broader context about The Real MainStream, here are links to other recent articles about other topics: • “Kindness Queers,” “queerantine kits” provide relief to LGBTQIA youth…

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EDITORIAL: Iowa City, let go of your witch hunt ways

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I love how the universe works. Just the other day, over the holidays, I took the time to watch “Richard Jewell.” It’s a movie about the over-zealous, low-self-esteem, naive 30-ish guy whose unusual personal views left him the perfect target to be accused of the 1996 Olympic Park bombing from which he actually saved scores of people. Jewell was manipulated by law enforcement and mistreated by the media; the very cops he idolized and cared for turned on him publicly as an easy scapegoat. We have a slight parallel developing…

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EDITORIAL: Emergency! Iowa’s sundown past of racism is still hurting us

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Please help! Some people are in trouble, right now. They’re in danger. Call the first responders. Hurry! Mobilize the support. Nope. A few weeks ago, a group of organizations on the front lines of racial justice declared a “state of emergency for Black Iowans.” They cited numbers, recent events, history … And then we all moved on. There has been little ongoing news coverage. No special projects. Few, if any, follow-ups. Hardly anyone is lifting a finger in response, so far. The press release, endorsed by nine social justice groups…

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‘Coming out’ again: The Real MainStream brighter, better, and reinvented

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Read about how The Real MainStream is reworking itself to better serve Iowa and Illinois. Whenever I run across one of my keepsake copies of the first 13 editions of The Real MainStream, published before the current worldwide pandemic, I feel awash in memories and sensations. “We’ll never give up the handshake!” joked a customer and I in early March. Mere days later, he and dozens of others in our circulation area announced they were saying “no” to not only handshakes, but all in-store traffic for a few months.  Back…

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Why newspapers matter

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The suspicion of media among LGBTQ people and people of color runs deep. So deep, that even a lesbian reporter writing a supportive piece about the LGBTQ community, for an LGBTQ-identified paper or column, can find herself getting verbally slapped in the face. When you’re trying to write regularly about both LGBTQ issues and those relevant to people of color, it can feel like a minefield. Case in point: I once wrote about an endeavor to bring a transgender health conference to Iowa City. With the death toll against transgender…

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Time again to gut-check your unacknowledged Trumpism

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With the Democratic presidential contest heating up, along with Donald Trump’s rhetoric, now is an important time to revisit a difficult truth: we all need to continuously purge ourselves of unacknowledged Trumpism. Trumpism is built around a few key hurtful tenets: • that it’s OK to present information out of context if it gets you what you need or want • that self-glorification, self-protection and self-interest are more important than self-dignity, self-examination and self-reflection • that all of life must be seen through a lens of constant victimization, always counter-punching,…

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Why stay in Iowa if you identify as progressive? Here’s why

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IOWA CITY, IA — When I first moved back to Iowa in late December 2016, I left behind Florida’s 88-degree weather and endlessly green lawns to plunge into Iowa’s deep winter chill and tip-toe on its ice-covered sidewalks. A stream of “why in the world would you do that” had started a few months before from those who learned of my planned move, and splashed me anew here in Iowa every time I shared my recent move. Just the other day, I heard the comment again from an out-of-state visitor.…

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When volunteering hurts so bad

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This is a really painful column to write. Painful, and difficult, as well as potentially embarrassing and highly vulnerable to misinterpretation. It’s also one of those things that will likely make things better, but not before it makes things worse. In addition to all of these things, this column is absolutely necessary. It’s about a big, messy break-up, rife with hurtful assumptions and unproven accusations. Like many hard break-ups, there won’t be any closure. And on at least one side, there will be endless efforts to fend off thoughts of…

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