Ask Jon 18 – The Times They Are a-Changin’

By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Jonathan Engel, J.D. is the President of the Secular Humanist Society of New YorkHere we talk about the demographic projections influencing current political reactionary moves.

*Interview conducted on September 21, 2020.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: So, you’ve been reading your hometown newspaper, which is regular for those who have been reading this series on the regular. Let’s talk about the political divides happening now, at a particularly acute clip, what comes to mind? What articles are standing out from the New York Times as of our last discussion?

Jonathan Engel: The issue of the day, these things go with such speed in the modern culture. The biggest item of the today is the United States Supreme Court. Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away this week. There are four conservatives, four liberals. It may be five because Chief Justice Roberts is conservative by nature, but has shown some liberal ideas in recent decisions.

So, this all goes back to 2016 when Antonin Scalia, a conservative justice, died in February of 2016. Many liberals like me thought, “Oh boy, we can get somebody picked by Obama.” Obama being Obama picked someone acceptable to Republican senators who were a majority. He wanted to get this picked through. So, he picked Merrick Garland. He is not liberal, but more center left and is an older person because these are lifetime appointments. All appointments to the federal Supreme Court are lifetime appointments.

So, someone not that young and not that liberal. As we all know, as what happens, Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Republicans in the Senate, said, ‘We don’t even find him acceptable. We are not going to give him a hearing. It is only 9 months to the election. Let Americans decide in the election, who the next president will be, then we will let that person pick the next justice.” Now, we are only 6 weeks from the election.

What do you know? What a shocker, McConnell has changed his tune and said, ‘No, no, no, we will have somebody elected by Trump before the election and too bad. Are we hypocrites? I don’t know. And who cares?” What can Democrats do anything about it? One of the big political issues ongoing here right now. Probably the single biggest now, Democrats have certain things that they can do. Will they or won’t they? It is an interesting question. Again, they could impeach Trump again because impeachment hearings take precedence over everything else, including Supreme Court justice selection.

Charles Blow in the New York Times wrote about this, in an article called “Conservatives Try To Lock in Power.” He talks largely about the things that are obvious and a lot of people are talking about; you have demographic shifts in the country that make it unlikely Republicans will win in terms of actual number of votes. Young people tend to be more liberal, especially about social issues like homosexuality and abortion.

Also, you have the country becoming less homogeneous. There is a rising Latinx population in this country. There is a rising Asian-American population in this country. So, it looks like demographically Republicans are in trouble. Therefore, they are trying to lock in power in the courts in order to preserve their power in a non-democratic way because they are not going to be able to win elections.

Here’s what is interesting to me, that is pretty standard stuff. Blow also talks about, not just that the country is becoming less white and younger people are somewhat more liberal with the primary concern being climate change, how the country is becoming less religious and, specifically, less Christian.

I thought that was worth noting because that is something many liberals and democrats are very hesitant to talk about. They are, at times, very defensive about religion, ‘No, no, no, we’re religious too. We’re religious too!’ They are very defensive about religion and fail to acknowledge the country is becoming more secular. Charles Blow, in his column, talks about this. A little quote from it, “As America becomes less religious and less white, more galvanized to find climate change, more open to legalizing marijuana, and more aware of systemic racism, the religious conservative spine of the Republican Party is desperate for a way to save a way of life that may soon be rendered a relic.” Then he goes on to talk about how the country is becoming less Christian according to surveys, less religious in general.

Just that fact that he points that out in terms of the demographic change in the country, it was a tremendous breath of fresh air. So many liberals are afraid of even just pointing out that we are becoming a less religious country, somehow, scares them. Somehow, it makes them feel like it is something that we just can’t say.

I was happy to see Charles Blow talking about the demographic changes in the country. That’s one of those changes.

Jacobsen: Jon! Thank you so much for your time and the commentary today.

Engel: It’s my pleasure as always. Take care of yourself.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-booksfree or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.

*Associates and resources listing last updated May 31, 2020.*

Canadian Atheist Associates: Godless Mom, Nice Mangoes, Sandwalk, Brainstorm Podcast, Left at the Valley, Life, the Universe & Everything Else, The Reality Check, Bad Science Watch, British Columbia Humanist Association, Dying With Dignity Canada, Canadian Secular AllianceCentre for Inquiry CanadaKelowna Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists Association.

Other National/Local Resources: Association humaniste du QuébecAtheist FreethinkersCentral Ontario Humanist AssociationComox Valley HumanistsGrey Bruce HumanistsHalton-Peel Humanist CommunityHamilton HumanistsHumanist Association of LondonHumanist Association of OttawaHumanist Association of TorontoHumanists, Atheists and Agnostics of ManitobaOntario Humanist SocietySecular Connextions SeculaireSecular Humanists in CalgarySociety of Free Thinkers (Kitchener-Waterloo/Cambridge/Guelph)Thunder Bay HumanistsToronto OasisVictoria Secular Humanist Association.

Other International/Outside Canada Resources: Allianz vun Humanisten, Atheisten an AgnostikerAmerican AtheistsAmerican Humanist AssociationAssociação Brasileira de Ateus e AgnósticoséééBrazilian Association of Atheists and AgnosticsAtheist Alliance InternationalAtheist Alliance of AmericaAtheist CentreAtheist Foundation of AustraliaThe Brights MovementCenter for Inquiry (including Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science), Atheist IrelandCamp Quest, Inc.Council for Secular HumanismDe Vrije GedachteEuropean Humanist FederationFederation of Indian Rationalist AssociationsFoundation Beyond BeliefFreedom From Religion FoundationHumanist Association of IrelandHumanist InternationalHumanist Association of GermanyHumanist Association of IrelandHumanist Society of ScotlandHumanists UKHumanisterna/Humanists SwedenInternet InfidelsInternational League of Non-Religious and AtheistsJames Randi Educational FoundationLeague of Militant AtheistsMilitary Association of Atheists and FreethinkersNational Secular SocietyRationalist InternationalRecovering From ReligionReligion News ServiceSecular Coalition for AmericaSecular Student AllianceThe Clergy ProjectThe Rational Response SquadThe Satanic TempleThe Sunday AssemblyUnited Coalition of ReasonUnion of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics.

About Canadian Atheist

Canadian Atheist is an independent blog with multiple contributors providing articles of interest to Canadian atheists, secularists, humanists, and freethinkers.

Canadian Atheist is not an organization – there is no membership and nothing to join – and we offer no professional services or products. It is a privately-owned publishing platform shared with our contributors, with a focus on topics relevant to Canadian atheists.

Canadian Atheist is not affiliated with any other organization or group. While our contributors may be individually be members of other organizations or groups, and may even speak in an official capacity for them, CA itself is independent.

For more information about Canadian Atheist, or to contact us for any other reason, see our contact page.

About Canadian Atheist Contributors

Canadian Atheist contributors are volunteers who provide content for CA. They receive no payment for their contributions from CA, though they may be sponsored by other means.

Our contributors are people who have both a passion for issues of interest to Canadian atheists, secularists, humanists, and freethinkers, and a demonstrated ability to communicate content and ideas of interest on those topics to our readers. Some are members of Canadian secularist, humanist, atheist, or freethought organizations, either at the national, provincial, regional, or local level. They come from all walks of life, and offer a diversity of perspectives and presentation styles.

CA merely provides our contributors with a platform with almost complete editorial freedom. Their opinions are their own, expressed as they see fit; they do not speak for Canadian Atheist, and Canadian Atheist does not speak for them.

For more information about Canadian Atheist’s contribors, or to get in contact with any of them, or if you are interested in becoming a contributor, see our contact page.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Help

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

WordPress theme: Kippis 1.15