This morning, while brushing teeth, a 5-year-old asked:
“I have so many thoughts in my head all the time. Like, why is the sun hot? How do helicopter rotors make them fly? How do machines WORK? Why CAN’T cars fly? How do we stay on the earth when we are actually just in outer space ON the earth? Why don’t spiders come out of our faucet if they fall into the reservoir? How does the pump on the soap bottle actually get the soap to come UP? How does the water come out so strong in a firehose when the water is just under ground the rest of the time? Why does the sky turn different colors when the sun goes down?”
52) Stitch by Stitch: The Threads of Abolition
Stitch by Stitch is a gathering of artists and activists, quilters and abolitionists to be held in Chicago on July 15, 16, and 17. We’re honored to sit down with two of the organizers—Dr. Sharbreon Plummer, author of Diasporic Threads: Black Women, Fiber, and Textiles, and Rachel Wallis, an instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago—for a wide-ranging conversation about craftivism, building communities of resistance, and creating spaces to release the radical imagination. Contact them at stitchingabolition.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A couple of thoughts from the brilliant Juan Cole:
The Trump Supreme Court self-evidently does not believe in these principles of liberty and pursuit of happiness, on which the United States was founded. The justices hold that we have no right to personal autonomy or bodily privacy and liberty, and that an alliance of Evangelicals and Catholics in state houses can legislate the most intimate details of our lives.
The justices draw on a scam called “originalism” to argue that the constitution now means what it meant to the framers in the 18th Century, which ought to make these originalists turn to professional, academic historians. They do not, and the naive historiography to which we have been treated by Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas in recent weeks would earn any of my undergraduates an “F.”
Since they’re so hung up on the eighteenth century, it is worth considering what the first generation of Americans thought about abortion.
Eighteenth century Americans believed that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness included freedom from unwanted pregnancies during the first 16-18 weeks, and had their own equivalents of mifepristone and misoprostol, the abortion pill, which taken together will end a pregnancy.
In one of his books, Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers and a framer of the constitution, included a text that provided instructions for using herbs to “restore the courses,” that is, to start menstruation back up, i.e. they were abortifacients
My country tis of thee
Land of inequity
Of thee I sing
Land where my mothers cried
Fought, bled, and sacrificed
For rights we are now denied
Let freedom ring
It’s INDEPENDENCE DAY!
Do something independent!
Don’t get caught up in the conformist, obedient myth-making and the orgy of patriotic madness.
Start with the brilliant Frederich Douglass who delivered a speech on July 5, 1852, at an Independence Day celebration in Rochester, New York that rips the beneficent, smiling mask off US history—and reveals a nation built on genocide and slavery. Here are two short paragraphs from his dazzling and clarifying talk:
What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour.
Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the old world, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.