The Weaponization of Loneliness

The Weaponization of Loneliness

At the Atlantic, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton looks at Americans’ growing isolation and the impact this has on America’s political landscape. Even before Covid-19, the average time that young Americans were spending with their friends, in person, declined by nearly 70% between 2003-2020. Social media has contributed to this rise in isolation, along with a decline in social connections and civic engagement, leading to an increase in mental health issues, polarization, and harassment. PRRI has found that while 57% of Americans primarily communicate in person, 37% primarily use phone calls or text messages and 4% use social media as their primary form of communication.

The Right Wants To Decide How States Decide on Abortion

In an analysis for The Washington Post, Philip Bump writes that although Republicans championed the idea of letting states decide the legality of abortion, they have repeatedly tried to limit how voters weigh in. Yesterday in Ohio, voters overwhelmingly rejected a Republican-backed measure that would have made it more difficult to change the state’s constitution and ultimately protect abortion rights. Further, Ron Brownstein observes that while red-state abortion rights supporters have triumphed in ballot initiatives, that support has not always translated into voting against Republican candidates who oppose those rights. Meanwhile, Rachel Roubein and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez report that in Arizona, abortion rights groups have launched a bid to enshrine abortion protections into the state’s constitution.

How a Sexual Assault in a School Bathroom Became a Political Weapon

For The New York Times, Charles Homans investigates the charged school board politics of Loudoun County, Virginia and how they have fueled the parents’ rights movement across the country. In recent years, the Washington exurb has received outsized national attention from Fox News and other conservative media outlets, particularly around a student’s sexual assault at Stone Bridge High School and its potential connections to the new transgender student policy being debated in the school district at the same time. Last fall, a PRRI survey found an 18-point shift in favor of restrictive bathroom policies among political independents since 2016, and a 17-point shift among all Americans.

Vivek Ramaswamy and the Limits of ‘God Talk’

Khyati Y. Joshi for Religion News Service reports that since Vivek Ramaswamy declared his candidacy for president, he has been attacked by Christian leaders and Republican party leaders for his religion. Anti-abortion activist Abby Johnson stated earlier this month that Ramaswamy is the “wrong choice” because those who are Hindu believe in many gods. Joshi points out, however, that the one specific reference to religion in the U.S. Constitution is that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust.” Joshi also writes that while there are plenty of reasons to oppose Ramaswamy’s candidacy, calling him unworthy of office because of his religion betrays the promise of this nation and its Constitution.

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