153 episodes

Beltway Banthas is a monthly Star Wars podcast about the intersection of Star Wars and politics. Host, Stephen Kent, draws from politics IRL and connects the big problems we face to lessons in the Star Wars universe. Whether it be discourse about redemption, empathy, humility or hot button topics ranging from racial justice to cancel culture, Beltway Banthas takes it all on.

Beltway Banthas Stephen Kent

    • TV & Film
    • 4.7 • 116 Ratings

Beltway Banthas is a monthly Star Wars podcast about the intersection of Star Wars and politics. Host, Stephen Kent, draws from politics IRL and connects the big problems we face to lessons in the Star Wars universe. Whether it be discourse about redemption, empathy, humility or hot button topics ranging from racial justice to cancel culture, Beltway Banthas takes it all on.

    Empathy, anger and Qui-Gon Jinn meditating during battle (Reflections on How The Force Can Fix The World)

    Empathy, anger and Qui-Gon Jinn meditating during battle (Reflections on How The Force Can Fix The World)

    Have you ever spoken in anger or put your foot in your mouth? It's sort of the way of the world these days, in case you haven't noticed or been online much. Today's podcast is an honest reflection on an experience I had with my own anger, understanding its source and a lesson on empathy. The Greek stoic Zeno once said, “Better to trip with the feet than the tongue.” This is true in so many ways. 

    If you read How The Force Can Fix The World, you'll recall Chapter 2 on Empathy and the importance of being present when engaging with others. One should then in theory, be extra present when engaging with the world...which is what Twitter is. The words we choose matter more than the viewpoint they're meant to communicate. 



    Tweets mentioned in the podcast

    https://twitter.com/Stephen_Kent89/status/1472745173532790790

    https://twitter.com/TriadOfTheForce/status/1472767880584384512



    Email me at BeltwayBanthas@gmail.com

    Subscribe to newsletter at www.politicizeme.substack.com

    • 8 min
    Named your fear must be, before banish it you can (Reflections on How The Force Can Fix The World)

    Named your fear must be, before banish it you can (Reflections on How The Force Can Fix The World)

    We live in a frightening time. Star Wars is steadfast in reminds us that Fear is the start of a road toward darkness. Fear leads to Anger, Anger leads to Hate, and Hate leads to Suffering. So says Yoda to a young Anakin Skywalker who admitted he missed his Mother. Understandably so, he was 9 years old and away from her and home for the first time in his life when he stood in the Jedi Council chamber on Coruscant. Surrounded by beady eyes and suspicion. What are you really afraid of? This is a meditation on FEAR, and you need to know your fear. name your fear and spend time reflecting on what it is that lies beneath the thing keeping you up at night. 

    This is excerpted from the new book by Stephen Kent, How The Force Can Fix The World. Out on TUESDAY November 9th. 

    Buy it here! https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08Y8LNNG8?tag=hacboogrosit-20

    • 7 min
    How Kylo Ren, Rey and love brought balance to the Force (Reflections on How The Force Can Fix The World)

    How Kylo Ren, Rey and love brought balance to the Force (Reflections on How The Force Can Fix The World)

    Why were the Jedi so obsessed with the prophecy of balance being brought to the Force? And why did they clearly fail so badly? It's because balance is easier said than done, and their moral commitments were out of step with the principle of what balance really is. This episode is an explainer on how Rey and Kylo Ren eventually brought balance to the Force, and why the Jedi and Sith both fail when it comes to having a healthy relationship with the emotion of LOVE. 

    This reflection is a new line of episodes leading up to the release of How The Force Can Fix The World, the new book from host Stephen Kent.

    Get the Hard Cover book or Audible edition here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08Y8LNNG8?tag=hacboogrosit-20

    Meditation #2: Balance

    Produced by Riley Blanton

    Narrated by Stephen Kent

    • 17 min
    Rey Skywalker and your power to choose (Reflections on How The Force Can Fix The World)

    Rey Skywalker and your power to choose (Reflections on How The Force Can Fix The World)

    Do we have free will and the power to choose our own destiny? Star Wars is clear eyed about both the power and reality of choice, but also the gravity of choices that were made FOR us. How have you had choices in your life limited by circumstance for the actions of others? We've all been there. But you can do something about it. In this Beltway Banthas miniseries, Stephen Kent offers a reflection on how to find and preserve your free will to shape the life you want to have. This reflection is a new line of episodes leading up to the release of How The Force Can Fix The World, the new book from host Stephen Kent. 

    Get the Hard Cover book or Audible edition here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08Y8LNNG8?tag=hacboogrosit-20

    Meditation #1: Choice

    Produced by Riley Blanton

    Narrated by Stephen Kent

    • 19 min
    How Star Wars Mirrors The American Culture Wars ft Tom Luongo

    How Star Wars Mirrors The American Culture Wars ft Tom Luongo

    Star Wars, like any worthwhile piece of art, will always reflect the tensions of trials of the time in which it was created. This was the case for the original trilogy in a post-Vietnam America, and it was for the prequels during the Bush years and the War on Terror. Star Wars clicked with the mood of the times, because the mood impacted the films while they were made. The Disney Star Wars sequels are no different. Tom Luongo joins Beltway Banthas to talk about the ways in which the culture wars of American politics today can be found playing out in the new Star Wars films, and what that says about both our entertainment establishment and the political climate. We cover Kylo and Rey's tense dynamic in the films, masculinity, femininity and where chaos and order collide in the JJ and Rian Johnson iterations of Star Wars. 

    • 42 min
    In Star Wars, Faith & Life, Empathy Is A Dangerous Necessity

    In Star Wars, Faith & Life, Empathy Is A Dangerous Necessity

    Opportunities to discuss morality, virtue, and living well through the lens of Star Wars are all around us. For fans, this is part of what makes the galaxy far far away so special. Today's episode is a somewhat spontaneous look at the subject of Empathy, by way of a piece of writing by David French. A past guest of Beltway Banthas, French has a unique grasp of theology and a perspective on the Christian faith that ties neatly into numerous elements of the Star Wars story. Combining elements of French's post on his Substack, FrenchPress and my upcoming book, How The Force Can Fix The World, this episode lays out why Empathy can be dangerous, but exactly the kind of danger we need to face head on.

    Get the book! HOW THE FORCE CAN FIX THE WORLD by Stephen Kent of Beltway Banthas

    Read David French's piece: The American Crisis of Selective Empathy

    Follow on Twitter @BeltwayBanthas and @Stephen_kent89

    • 42 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
116 Ratings

116 Ratings

Tomes JT ,

Civil yet Provocative Star Wars and Political Commentary

I have been listening since the start, and appreciate Stephen’s stewardship of the show. He brings his opinion and principles into the show with full disclosure and sound logic without the shrill emotive arguments that permeate both Star Wars and political commentary.

It is a place that people of many views can participate in a challenging and fruitful discussion on two of my favorite topics.
If I could make one suggestion I would love for him to incorporate more international politics/relations into the Star Wars discussions as there is significant relevancy behind domestic political discussions.

I look forward to many more seasons and his upcoming book. Also I enjoy this newer format as him as the singular host with compelling guests.

DestructiveCriticism! ,

A thoughtful and fresh perspective on my two biggest passions

I have been following this show for the last several years, and it seems to just get better and better. Stephen really does a great job of getting a wide range of opinions and perspectives, and has so much nuance in his insights into politics and Star Wars.

Davidmwein ,

Great show!

While not the biggest Star Wars fan in the world I can still appreciate this one! The hosts have a lot of passion behind Star Wars and politics which leads to a really unique combination of ideas.  

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