Woke up and I'm not eager to fall asleep again
November 12, 2016 1:37 PM   Subscribe

What are the best resources for educating oneself about politics/current issues?

I am one of the millions feeling like I'm living in a surreal new reality where the unthinkable has happened. I've gone through many phases--grief, anger, fear--but right now my primary feeling is determination. Politics was always something I didn't pay much attention to, but I feel like I have a fire lit under my butt now. I want to be more aware and involved.

To that end, what are some good resources for learning more about our political process/the general political climate in our current times? Assumes that I'm starting from the very bottom--I could use a Politics for Dummies book, essentially. I want to be ready for the mid-terms. I want to learn more about how battles involving climate change, women's rights, racism, etc have been fought in the US in recent years, particularly in the political sphere. I think it's fairly obvious how I skew, but I welcome views from the other side, too. I want to understand/be aware of why and how people voted as they did, and the feelings motivating that.

I know this is a really broad question, but I also know that there are a lot of really passionate people here on MeTa who have specific political issues they feel strongly about, who know where to point others. Any input would be appreciated :)
posted by sprezzy to Law & Government (12 answers total) 62 users marked this as a favorite
 
A popular cultural anthropology blog put together a #teachingthedisaster syllabus that might help you. It links to the Trump Syllabus 2.0 and the Black Lives Matter syllabus. A few weeks ago, the same blog linked to the #StandingRockSyllabus. Those are all basically resources aimed at helping college undergrads make sense of current events, either from an anthropological POV or close to it.
posted by Wobbuffet at 1:47 PM on November 12, 2016 [20 favorites]


I've been watching Washington Week for nearly 20 years. Here's this week's episode. It airs every Friday evening on PBS, and it's less than half an hour long. Highly recommended for a well-moderated, roundtable discussion of the latest political topics.

In trying to understand this recent election, I've found this NPR podcast featuring George Packer to be very helpful.
posted by invisible ink at 2:13 PM on November 12, 2016


I really like the Politically Reactive podcast - it covers the intersection of race and politics, and explicitly aims at an audience that may not have a lot of background on the issues but cares and wants to learn. Plus, it's funny. I'm not sure if there will be any more new episodes (it was timed for the campaign), but the back catalogue is there.
posted by une_heure_pleine at 2:40 PM on November 12, 2016


Democracy Now! Airs five days a week and it's a global independent news hour that many people consider required viewing every morning. Some of these people are even considered "woke." You can listen to it and watch it every weekday at www.democracyniw.org
posted by history is a weapon at 3:18 PM on November 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


My local PBS runs the daily Democracy Now! newscast at 6 PM every day.
posted by COD at 4:20 PM on November 12, 2016


Adam Curtis documentaries. Be warned though, disturbing truths lie within.
posted by pepcorn at 6:28 PM on November 12, 2016


Buy a subscription to one of the major newspapers. They'll explain background when they report current events, and you can dig into their online archives. And you'll be funding desparately needed journalism.
posted by floppyroofing at 8:10 PM on November 12, 2016 [3 favorites]


You didn't ask for history, but maybe Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States if you haven't read that yet. Also, I feel like I understand more about how politics actually happens from watching the West Wing.
posted by katieanne at 9:11 PM on November 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


Prisoners of Geography is a fascinating and easy-to-digest primer on motivations in foreign policy, especially in relation to Russia and China.
posted by freya_lamb at 12:44 AM on November 13, 2016


Decode DC podcast gives some insight into how the mechanisms of electoral politics work and then how legislation and lobbying work.

On the Media podcast can give some perspective on how the whole craziness is reported. And, sometimes their interviews are great examples of how interviewers can and should really keep coming at a misleading or uncooperative subject.
posted by Gotanda at 7:57 PM on November 13, 2016


John Oliver's show on HBO... ain't bad.

For pretty much everything in the space, realize that *everything* has bias to it. Some sources bias by omitting facts; others simply make up facts. John Oliver is pretty good as I feel he's limited on bias; there's not some secret agenda there.

Looking at bias here, Zinn's book recommended above is *awesome*, but considered a heavily biased text by folks working as historians, that I've met.
posted by talldean at 3:40 PM on November 15, 2016


As for how the battles for change have been fought, I'm partway through Si Kahn's Creative Community Organizing (available through Audible if you prefer an audiobook) and enjoying that very much.
posted by MetaGrrrl at 4:11 PM on November 17, 2016


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