Simon Greer

Here are 9 simple ways to practice 'radical neighboring' while maintaining social distance

As we create “social distance” to protect ourselves and our loved ones and “flatten the curve,” we are also facing fear.

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'Trump’s divisiveness will soon be over': How Biden converts progressive values into mainstream support

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s stunning Super Tuesday victory, in which he swept at least nine of 14 states, has been attributed mostly to a variety of important tactical developments. These include South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn’s endorsement, leading to the momentum producing a blowout victory in South Carolina, and the consolidation of moderate candidates such as Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar behind Biden.

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Many progressives have a conservative belief system — can we all come together?

It’s part of my regular commute, but I continue to draw inspiration as I drive into Manhattan’s Midtown tunnel and read the words E Pluribus Unum minted on the giant golden door of the newly renovated tunnel. To me, it means that through our individual uniqueness and our diverse, different traditions, a whole cloth can be made—but the distinctiveness of each (individual and group) thread is allowed to flourish. By stitching these fabrics together, the beauty of each particular tradition is more visible.

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This key element is missing from progressive politics

When George W. Bush coined the term “compassionate conservatism,” it sounded like an oxymoron to many of us who had lived through the harsh and unforgiving conservatism of the ’80s and ’90s. It sounded disingenuous. Ideas like compassion, forgiveness and redemption were more typically associated with progressives and liberals. Their rhetoric was very much influenced and informed by the faithful inspiration of the civil rights movement, and these ideas were abundant.

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Why it matters that the spirit of love is missing from progressive politics

When George W. Bush coined the term “compassionate conservatism,” it sounded like an oxymoron to many of us who had lived through the harsh and unforgiving conservatism of the ’80s and ’90s. It sounded disingenuous. Ideas like compassion, forgiveness and redemption were more typically associated with progressives and liberals. Their rhetoric was very much influenced and informed by the faithful inspiration of the civil rights movement, and these ideas were abundant.

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Is there common ground on the immigration debate between conservatives and progressives?

The divides in America aren’t just a media creation, or expressions at the ballot box. They exist at the values level—and they can be hard to swallow if the values aren’t yours. But understanding others’ values is a key to breaking through our divided politics.

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The surprising stereotype is actually an obstacle to reforming America’s incarceration crisis

The American criminal justice system is broken. On this, most Americans agree, regardless of their political leanings. President Trump’s announcement that he supports a moderate bipartisan incarceration reform bill moving through Congress, called the First Step Act, was met with Van Jones’ enthusiastic applause.

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Here's How We Can Create a Common-Good Politics

Way back in 2004, I was in Ohio in the run-up to that year’s presidential election. I had a chance to talk to a woman who was one of the undecided “values voters” who would become folklore among political strategists and pundits in the ensuing years.

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Should Progressives Demonize or Try to Find Common Ground With 60 Million People Dealing With Economic Anxiety Who Vote for Racist Politicians?

In a recent conversation with a friend, I yet again found myself grappling with an opinion shared by many liberals: that Trump supporters are motivated not by “economic anxiety,” but by sheer racism. This notion is now quite widespread, having been passed around and repeated until it’s treated like received wisdom. The reality is, while race is always at play in the United States, it’s simply inaccurate to reduce 60 million Americans to racist voters. Treating them as such will prove ineffective in advancing Democrats’ electoral goals, and is also dangerous to the entire project of turning our country around.

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The Democratic Party Should Adopt These 4 Priorities to Win Back Blue-Collar Voters

Recent coverage of Ohio’s leading Democrats, Sherrod Brown and Richard Cordray, has shown a pattern of Democrats trying to return to their blue-collar roots and talking about bread-and-butter economics—issues like retirement security—as a way to gain traction in the run-up to the 2018 elections. By juxtaposing truly populist ideas against a number of the economic policies that the Trump administration is advancing, these and other Democrats hope to gain ground with white working-class voters, among others.

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Here's Why Florida’s Possible Next Governor Andrew Gillum Has a Winning Message for Democrats

Andrew Gillum’s campaign for governor of Florida and his recent victory in that state’s Democratic primary have gained national attention, but not always the right kind. Gillum, who is African-American, is being heralded by President Obama, national Democratic Party donors and leaders, and thousands of inspired supporters as a true progressive who can re-activate the Obama coalition. His progressive views on climate change, gun violence prevention and abuses by ICE are held up as evidence that he is the kind of Democrat who can excite the base and lead us into the future.

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The Subtleties of Donald Trump's Demagoguery

In reflecting on last week’s State of the Union it is important to remember that there were calls, going into it, for Trump to be presidential and the script was written, on the surface, to provide exactly that. He delivered a common ground, bi-partisan, coming together veneer that his advisers believe might take some wind out of the sails of the resistance and also appeal to the independents who have been abandoning the Trump ship over the last year.

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The Stain of Anti-Semitism at the White House Isn't Going Away

What is it with President Trump and anti-Semitism? He kicked off his inauguration with a sermon by pastor Robert Jeffress, who has declared that Jews are going to hell. Just one week in, the administration marked Holocaust Remembrance Day without once mentioning Jews. He is harboring Sebastian Gorka – a frequent associate of Hungary’s anti-Semitic far right – on his national security staff. And who could forget Sean Spicer's claim – during Passover no less – that Hitler never used "gas on his own people" like Syrian President Assad had?

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Union and Conservative, Better Together

In the current New York Times Saturday Review piece, The Decline of Unions and the Rise of Trump, author Neil Gross begins to explore some important questions about the white working class and unions. He points out that unions have lost the presence they once had in our society and names the political implications of that change. Yet it is also true that what still happens inside the life of a union is vital for forging the politics of our future and countering the worst elements of what is afoot today.

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10 Political Wonders of the World

When you search “wonders of the world,” there is no shortage of lists that come up. There are natural wonders, scientific wonders and man-made wonders; lists of seven, lists of ten and lists of 100. When you search “political wonders of the world,” however, there is nothing but a chaotic mess of images: pyramids of presidents and greetings from people in faraway places.

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What Americans Can Learn From the British About Setting a Religious Vision For Change

(RNS) Nearly three months before the U.K.’s general election, the bishops of the Church of England are trying to frame the vision and values that should guide their country.

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Channeling Our National Fascination with 'Hunger Games' Into America's Real Rampant Economic and Social Inequality

Last week, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and a dozen other labor leaders shared selfies showing themselves giving a three-finger salute. If you’re asking yourself what a three-finger salute is, you probably weren’t one of the millions of people who packed theaters this weekend to see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

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Watch This Video and You May Have Some of Your Beliefs About Religion Challenged

Editor's Note: An Evangelical leader who found his calling in the Civil Rights movement? A Pentecostal pastor organizing against mass incarceration?  Far from the monolith the media portrays, Evangelicals aren’t all right-wingers and fundamentalists. They are diverse, complex, and undergoing change. Many are fighting for justice. 

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What Government Does for You

“Government, keep your hands off my Medicare!”

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D'oh! What We Don't Know About the White Working-Class

Remember Archie Bunker, the bigot everyone could relate to? He created and conformed to our expectations.

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Victory: 3 Ways Responsible Citizens Helped Get Glenn Beck Off the Air at Fox News

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mohandas K. Gandhi

In January 2010, a poll found that Glenn Beck was the second most popular television host in America, trailing only Oprah Winfrey. In August of that same year, hundreds of thousands of people turned out on the Mall in Washington, DC to attend a rally organized by Beck. This week, Fox News announced that it would no longer air the Glenn Beck Program.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Jewish Funds for Justice first engaged with Beck a year ago, when he attacked churches that engage in social justice, equating this core faith value with Nazism and communism. Since then, we have done our best to encourage Jewish leaders and others to speak out about Beck’s use of Nazi comparisons to demonize people with whom he disagrees, his claims that every policy that supports the common good is leading to another Holocaust, his fondness for global conspiracy theories populated overwhelmingly by Jews. And we have sought to hold him accountable for a constant stream of invective, racial bias and slander against vulnerable communities.

For those of us who have been wanting Beck off the air, today is a day to celebrate. Beck has done a lot of damage to social change movements in America and to the fabric of American life from his primetime perch on the most watched cable news network in America.

It is important to reflect on how we won.

There will be time in the weeks and months ahead for a full analysis, but a few key lessons come to mind.

1. Don’t be afraid to go after the biggest bully in the schoolyard.

There is a time to go after the proverbial low-hanging fruit. But if we only set our sights low, we will never have more than a marginal impact. When we began speaking out and standing up to Beck, many friends advised against it. They suggested ducking was the best approach when Beck lashes out. You can’t win, they said. You will only end up boosting his ratings, they said. The truth is, Beck had become powerful because he was a risk-taker, willing to say or do things others wouldn’t. It also made him vulnerable. But only if we found our David v. Goliath courage.

2. Find opportunities to engage allies from across the ideological spectrum.

All of us talk about how important coalitions are. But too often our coalitions are comfortable collections of the same old ideologically compatible organizations. Sometimes that’s enough to win, but usually it isn't. For far too long, Beck said things that were offensive to a wide range of Americans but the scenario in which a conservative network like Fox ends its relationship with an extremist remained unlikely until we could include centrists and conservatives in the ranks of those Beck had offended. It was these voices, from rabbis and other clergy, community leaders, historians and magazine editors, above all others, that placed Beck far outside the mainstream.

3. Strategic persistence pays off.

We know this to be true from all of the other victories we’ve had over the years. None come easy. All take time. Yet most of us limit our engagement with dangerous and demagogic figures like Beck to isolated statements of condemnation; a reactive approach. Collectively we must find the inclination and capacity to persist. In this effort we strategically assessed vulnerabilities, carefully considered our approach, held the bosses and businesses accountable, and pursued him all the way to the UK House of Commons. We put a stake in the ground – calling for his removal – when everyone said it was impossible. If no one persists, they will surely get away with it. Because groups like Media Matters and Color of Change and others did persist, that made all of this possible.

Fox News and Glenn Beck want the world to believe that all the people who spoke out against him had no impact on this decision. Don’t buy it. No one ever wants to give the opposition credit for their victories. But as Fredrick Douglass taught us, “power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." In January, 10,000 people joined our demand that Rupert Murdoch end Beck’s tenure on Fox. Today, power has conceded.

Together, everyone who was involved in this effort has shown that we can stand up to bullies, reject scapegoating and heal our nation by securing real solutions to the pressing problems facing so many Americans.

Clearing Up the Truth on Glenn Beck's Nazi Obsession and Repulsive Anti-Semitism

On Wednesday, Glenn Beck and the leadership of Fox News made a mockery of their commitment to me and two rabbis.

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Glenn Beck's Favorite Smear Tactic: Call What He Doesn't Like 'Nazi'

Editor's Note: Below Simon Greer's op-ed is a hilarious video of comedian Lewis Black's send-up of Glenn Beck's Nazi Tourette Syndrome, and Media Matters' video showing Glenn Beck's hypocrisy over Nazi comparisons.

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