Podcast 90: Cindy Blackstock

Podcast Season 5

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See you in 2018

I’m taking a proper Christmas holiday. Here’s to a year of big ideas

✎  Wayne K. Spear | December 14, 2017 ◈ Updates


017 HAS BEEN MANY THINGS, and boring isn’t one of them. At waynekspear.com I launched the fifth season of The Roundtable Podcast, a program that first aired in June 2012, and I will soon produce my 100th episode. This website has grown steadily the past seven years and I’m leaving for the holiday having had my busiest and best month ever. I’m committed to the look and feel and format that I unveiled this fall: an article will come out Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 am, and Saturdays at 10 am The Roundtable Podcast will be published. I hope you’ll agree that Season 5 has been the best so far. And there is much more to come throughout the months of January–April.


I’m not going to reveal all of my big ideas for 2018. But here are some highlights. Next year I am planning to introduce guest posting and some longer investigative pieces. I will be focused on Indigenous people, politics, and current events, and there will be more coverage of the arts—including on the podcast, where I hope to feature writers, painters, musicians, and other creatives. My hope and my plan is that I will continue to do in 2018 what I’ve done in 2017—bring you guests who are (or, in my opinion, should be) making headlines.

On Saturday, December 16, the amazing Cindy Blackstock will be my guest on The Roundtable Podcast, Season 5 Episode 90. The podcast will then be on holiday until Saturday, January 13, 2018, and I will return with a new article on Tuesday, January 16.

Life in a time of moral clarity

My enemies are admitting they want to go back to a time when white men could own human beings. This is progress of a kind.

✎  Wayne K. Spear | December 12, 2017 ◈ Politics


NDER THE OLD dispensation politics was a bipartisan craft and the interests of the country superseded those of the party. Or so was the theory. In any case, that was then and this is now. Not long after this article is published, Alabama may well have elected to office a man already twice removed from office, for refusing to uphold the oath which he had sworn. As Senator, Moore will go to Washington in the mode of a Trumpist, which is to say contemptuous of the rule of law, of the constitution, of the norms of the legal profession, of most of his colleagues, of the separation of church and state, and of the American culture itself.

Before Roy Moore was notorious as a Gadsen, Alabama deputy district attorney with an appetite for teenage girls, he was the notorious champion of a Ten Commandments monument who was removed from office for (among other things) refusing to follow the law and for abuse of administrative authority. Roy Moore’s career has been a lifelong effort to play a both-ways game, as a simultaneous officer of the law and a conscientious objector to the law. Courts and judges and rules and norms are all fine and good, for you and for me, but Mr. Moore recognizes the legitimacy only of the subjective interpretations of his personal God. The law is what Judge Moore decides that God wants it to be.

The Trumpists have not simply endorsed or welcomed Moore, they have made him into a figure of existential significance. And it’s not wrong-headed for them to do so. Either the Party of Trump is going to take the country further along the trajectory of autocracy and vengeance, and in doing so flourish, or else it will stall and maybe even perish. The bits of their souls “establishment” Republicans were unable to sell they’ve now given away, by making a final bargain with the racists and authoritarians of which Moore is of a piece. Let’s go over the inventory: candidate Moore is now on record for linking 9-11 to American godlessness, for glancing nostalgically upon the era of American slavery, for recommending elimination of all constitutional amendments 11–27, for wanting to keep women and Muslims out of politics, for comparing homosexuality to bestiality, and for supporting Birtherism. And this is only a partial list.

His opinions are not illegal but they are necessarily a matter of law, or will be if once again the people of Alabama choose to hand Moore the power to legislate. It’s not hard to imagine what laws a Senator Moore would champion. He’s told us time and again. But apart from any individual law, Roy Moore is eager to take America back to the cultural norms and atmosphere of the 1800s, when African Americans were property and women knew their place and the South had not yet suffered ignominy. To get there Moore will doubtless support Trump in the work of persecuting, prosecuting, firing, intimidating, or otherwise eliminating any and every critic and obstacle, including institutional and constitutional checks and balances.

The onset of my adulthood arrived roughly at a time when the Roy Moores of our world were in retreat, forced by the advances of civil rights and feminism to rephrase themselves. The terms of that long yet superficial armistice have now been repudiated. We are now firmly in the Trump Era, where abolition of the 15th Amendment is a Twitter hash tag and where deliberations of the coming white ethnostate are occurring in an urban coffee house near you. Donald Trump has clarified the landscape in an exhilarating way. The people who love and admire him are emboldened to undertake his cause, and the rest of us should likewise be emboldened—to fight and to prevail. We are living in a time of moral clarity, and that’s progress of a kind.