I’ve never been sure what to do with the Sift on a week with a Monday holiday. This time, given that my weekend plans had me driving all day yesterday, I thought about cancelling. But I already knew I’d be cancelling next week’s Sift because I’ll be on vacation. So rather than cancel two in a row, I thought I’d try the experiment of a Tuesday edition.
Anyway, it was 4th of July weekend, so chances are you either heard a lot about the Founding Fathers or made an intentional decision not to hear a lot about them. (If any of you got in to see Hamilton, I’m envious.) On the Right, it seems like preserve-the-Founder’s-vision rhetoric gets more and more intense every year. And since the Right’s version of the Founders is so disconnected from actual history, it’s hard for progressives not to respond with our own Founders rhetoric. (I mean, if you start quoting Thomas Jefferson in support of a fundamentalist Christian point, or make an ideologue out of George Washington, you clearly don’t know these guys.)
We rarely have a conversation about whether this partisan battle to claim the Founders is healthy for America. So the featured post this week is a discussion of David Sehat’s book The Jefferson Rule: How the Founding Fathers Became Infallible and Our Politics Inflexible. His main point is that once you start invoking the Founders as prophets, you turn political arguments into religious arguments, and cast your enemies as infidels rather than just people with different political philosophies. That’s not good for democracy, and historically it seldom has led to good outcomes. We ought to be debating about what we the living want to do with our country, not what the honored dead wanted us to do with it.
That should be out sometime between 9 and 10 EDT.
The weekly summary has a lot to cover: several terrorist attacks overseas, the last whimper of the Benghazi pseudo-scandal and possibly the home stretch of the Clinton email pseudo-scandal, a stunning victory for abortion rights at the Supreme Court, new gun control laws in California, and the death of Elie Wiesel. And I’ll close with a stunning Hubble telescope photo of a massive aurora on Jupiter. Let’s say that comes out before noon.