“We’ve had budget deficit issues, we’ve had attacks by international terrorists, we’ve had domestic terror, pandemic, school shootings. You could go on and on and on,” Washington State University Professor of Political Science, Steven Stehr, said.
Over the past decade, we’ve seen a major divide among Americans as it relates to politics. Views leaning far down both aisles, public outrage with the government, and hostile social media platforms.
Communities are being divided and it’s not only at the national level, we’re seeing it right here at home, even on the most generic topics.
“Over the last decade or so, I’ve been kind of shocked by what’s going on in our politics, and as someone who studies American politics, I felt a deep need to try and piece together,” Stehr said.
A big challenge, but one he was up for. Through Stehr’s research, he discovered there were several factors that put America in the shoes it’s in today.
During talk at WSU, UCLA professor says U.S. stance on illegal immigration has led to more deaths
Jason De León, a professor of anthropology at UCLA, started his talk Thursday at the Foley Institute Speaker series with a clip from the 2006 movie “Children of Men.”
In the scene, the character Theo, played by Clive Owen, sits on a train as a voice reminds the passengers that housing, feeding or hiring what the movie calls illegal immigrants is a crime, while migrants who cannot get on the train are rioting.
“I show this because I believe this is both our current reality and a look into our future,” De León said during the talk at Washington State University.
De León then showed a clip from a few years ago of a caravan of people in Tijuana, Mexico, who were being pushed away from the United State border by both Mexico and border agents. Migration is not unique to the United States, but is a global issue, De León said.
President Joe Biden’s plan to change the Democratic presidential primary calendar could soon become a reality, but it likely won’t mean much for Washington.
The Democratic National Committee last week approved changes to the 2024 Democratic presidential primary calendar, switching which states get the first few primary dates. Under the new plan, South Carolina will hold the first primary on Feb. 3, followed by New Hampshire and Nevada on Feb. 6. Georgia would hold theirs next on Feb. 13, followed by Michigan on Feb. 27.
The proposal pushes Iowa, which for decades has been the first stop for Democrats, out of the first few spots, in an effort to better reflect the diversity of the party. Four of the five states are also considered battleground states.
Though the new calendar won’t affect Washington’s date, newly elected state Democratic Party Chair Shasti Conrad, the first woman of color to chair the state Democratic party, said she was proud of the changes made at a national level.
This isn’t the first time the calendar has been changed and it certainly won’t be the last, said Cornell Clayton, director of the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service at Washington State University. Almost every cycle there are changes as most individual states still have a say in when they can hold their primaries.
Theresa Sheldon wore a skirt Thursday that represents the four generations she came from. It had four colored sections: orange for her great-grandmother, black for her grandmother, purple for her mom and light purple for her.
Although she didn’t talk about her story within the color of her skirt, the others had stories of abuse and trauma that connect to the United States’ boarding schools policy of the 1800s and early 1900s.
Sheldon, director of Public Policy and Advocacy at the American Boarding School Healing Coalition, spoke Thursday afternoon in Pullman as part of Washington State University’s Foley Institute Lecture Series, with more than 20 students and faculty in attendance. Sheldon is a citizen of the Tulalip Tribes of western Washington.
Sheldon talked about the intergenerational trauma Native Americans endured because of boarding school policies, including her own family’s experiences. She also advocates for passage of the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies Act, which has been introduced in the U.S. Congress.
“Interestingly enough, very early on in the 1800s, it was very organized, this level of assimilation, colonization, and they actually had a scale that would go from savage to civilized,” Sheldon said. “The levels of treatment varied — and by 1816, they had a road map of who deserved to be abused the most.”
Following the National Day of Racial Healing on Tuesday, Spokane NAACP President Kiantha Duncan gave a talk on racial healing and politics in the Foley Speaker room on the Washington State University Campus in Pullman.
Duncan emphasized that the discussion was a place for everyone to have a conversation about what racial healing meant and how it could differ person to person. For some people, like Duncan’s grandmother, it could mean living in a white neighborhood without fear.
“Thinking about racism being of determinant of health — I think of it like cancer,” Duncan said.
She started with a story about two friends who both have cancer, one who found a bulge and went to get tested and the other who found it during a check up. Racism, Duncan said, is like cancer and can be out in the open or hidden. Jim Crow laws, for example, would be cancer you can see, Duncan said.
The whole discussion can be viewed online on the Foley Institute YouTube channel at bit.ly/3GR4bZw.