Katha Pollitt

The Tired Myth That Progressives Lack Empathy Is Hardly the Problem

If I have to read one more article blaming liberal condescension toward the red states and the white working class for the election of Trump, I’m moving to Paris, France. These pieces started coming out even before the election and are still pouring down on our heads. Just within the last few weeks, the New Republic had Michael Tomasky deploring “elite liberal suspicion of middle America” for such red-state practices as churchgoing and gun owning and The New York Times had Joan Williams accusing Democrats of impugning the “social honor” of working-class whites by talking about them in demeaning and condescending ways, as exemplified by such phrases as “flyover states,” “trailer trash,” and “plumber’s butt.” Plumber’s butt? That was a new one for me. And that’s not even counting the 92,346 feature stories about rural Trump voters and their heartwarming folkways. (“I played by the rules,” said retired rancher Tom Grady, 66, delving into the Daffodil Diner’s famous rhubarb pie. “Why should I pay for some deadbeat’s trip to Europe?”) I’m still waiting for the deep dives into the hearts and minds of Clinton supporters—what concerns motivated the 94 percent of black women voters who chose her? Is there nothing of interest there? For that matter, why don’t we see explorations of the voters who made up the majority of Trump’s base, people who are not miners or unemployed factory workers but regular Republicans, most quite well-fixed in life? (“I would vote for Satan himself if he promised to cut my taxes,” said Bill Thorberg, a 45-year-old dentist in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. “I’m basically just selfish.”) There are, after all, only around 75,000 coal miners in the entire country, and by now every one of them has been profiled in the Times.

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Why I’m Ready - and Excited - For Hillary

My women college classmates (Radcliffe ‘71) aren’t so excited about Hillary Clinton. An e-mail to our New York City potluck group elicited distinctly modified rapture. They’re bothered by her high-priced speeches and the aura of favor-trading and favor-banking around the Clinton Foundation. They don’t like her Wall Street connections, and they don’t like Bill (a k a the “ick” factor). Plus, she’s not progressive enough. “It’s all so old and tired,” wrote one; “she’s been running forever.” “I’m definitely excited about the prospect of a woman,” another chimed in. “I am weary, not excited, about her in particular, and find it sad that she’s our best hope.” I should mention that these women are demographically much like Hillary (Wellesley ‘69) herself: prosperous, white, highly educated, sixtysomething feminists and professional women. You would think these women, of all people, would be jumping for joy at the prospect of someone so like themselves winning the White House.

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Katha Pollitt: Ending a Pregnancy Is a Common, Normal Event in Women's Lives - Let's Talk About It That Way

The following is an excerpt from Katha Pollitt's new book Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights (Picador USA, 2014). Reprinted here with permission.

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Pope Francis: Sexism With a Human Face?

Pope Francis seems a lovely man. He washes the feet of prisoners, drives a Ford Focus and lives in the Vatican guesthouse instead of the isolated papal apartments. He even calls people who write him with their troubles. In July, he made headlines when he said of gay priests, “Who am I to judge?” Most recently, he astonished the world with a long interview in America, the Jesuit magazine, in which he said the church is too “obsessed” with abortion, gay rights and birth control and risked becoming a “house of cards.”

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What Is Wrong With Our Education System? Almost Half the Population Doesn't Accept Evolution

The following article first appeared in The Nation. For more great content from the Nation, sign up for its e-mail newsletters here.

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Attachment Parenting: More Guilt for Mother

Was it just a few weeks ago that Time ran a cover story claiming women were poised to become “the richer sex”—getting more education than men, working up a storm and, in one out of four marriages, bringing home the fatter slice of bacon? That was followed by Katie Roiphe’s fact-free Newsweek cover story alleging that women have become so weary of being in charge, they long for men to dominate them in bed. Well, never mind all that. Now, according to Time, women are giving up on careers to embrace attachment parenting—breast-feeding their kids till age 3 or more; having Baby sleep in your room, if not your bed; and “babywearing”—carrying your baby in a sling every minute of the day and never, ever letting it cry. Corner office? Bondage and spanking? Turning yourself into a human kangaroo? It’s hard to keep up.

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6 Reasons You Should Give to an Abortion Fund

The following article first appeared on the Web site of The Nation. For more great content from the Nation, sign up for its e-mail newsletters here.  

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Dangers of a 'Submissive' Wife in Chief: Is a Vote for Michele Bachmann Really a Vote for Her Husband?

The following article first appeared on the Web site of The Nation. For more great content from the Nation, sign up for its e-mail newsletters here. 

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After Budget Showdown, Women Under the Bus

The following article first appeared on TheNation.com. For more great content from The Nation, sign up for their email newsletters here.

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