The Morning After The Election: 3 Reasons To Be Hopeful

After the results of the 2016 election started coming in and it became clear that the country was electing an awful, awful man to lead our country, I felt way more than just “disappointment.” I experienced a sort of existential crisis. One of my core beliefs is that humanity is obviously screwed up, but that — little by little — we are improving. That we are learning from our mistakes. That we are getting BETTER. It’s the belief that even though the moral arc of history is long, it is bending toward Justice. And the fact that so many people in this country were even CAPABLE of voting for such a clearly horrible human being made me question that whole moral arc. So it was with quite a bit of trepidation and uncertainty that I tuned in to watch the returns last night.

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At least I voted… Unlike some of you A-Holes. 

After some initial feelings of dread, I went to bed feeling hopeful. There were definitely wins AND losses. Let’s start with some of the reasons to be hopeful…

A GROWING MAJORITY. Yes, republicans picked up Senate seats in this election, and that sucks… But have you seen the actual numbers of people who voted? Check this out…

And these numbers are trending UP. More and more people are realizing the revolting nature of this republican administration. And though it is an injustice that this is the way things work (currently… we have the ability to change it) — and even though the Electoral College is a relic of an unjust time where slave-owning states wanted more representation — we can be encouraged that MORE AND MORE people, percentage-wise AND in actual numbers, are voting FOR equality & justice, and AGAINST the party of the narcissist who is splitting his time between the White House, political “rallies” that mirror Klan gatherings, and his golf courses.

And what’s even MORE encouraging is that young people are voting in higher numbers… They can smell the hypocrisy of this GOP administration like a fart in an elevator. And that is good news…

MORE VOTERS. In addition to larger numbers of people voting in this election, larger number of people are going to be ABLE to vote in the next election. Voter suppression is the political embodiment of people in positions of power clinging to their privilege. When more black and brown people vote, white people’s votes “weigh” less. When more young people vote, the votes of middle-aged homeowners “weigh” less. When people who have been convicted of crimes lose the right to vote, and when black and brown people are convicted a much higher rates for the same crimes, it makes the votes of white folks “weigh” more. And when steps are taken (by the man who is running for Governor, who is inexplicably also in charge of the election process) to to ensure that lines in urban areas of Georgia are unreasonably long, it makes the votes of the white folks living in rural areas “weigh” more. And when your vote weighs more, that is a privilege people cling to and fight to protect. A while ago, I wrote a post titled, “When You’re Accustomed To Privilege, Equality Feels Like Oppression.” More voters, more immigrants becoming voters, and more voting equality FEELS like oppression to many people who have grown very accustomed to their privilege. This is why republicans fight so much to make it harder for people to vote.

But in some key places, voters approved changes that ADD voters and make it easier for people to exercise their right to vote. In Florida, voters approved Proposition 4, which restores the voting rights of more than a million people who have committed non violent felonies and have completed their sentences. Adding 1.2 million people to the voter registry is always a good thing… But it’s especially a good thing in a state where the following is true:

In addition to this, voters in Nevada and Michigan adopted AUTOMATIC VOTER REGISTRATION. This means that if you are a resident of the state, and you are of legal voting age, you are automatically registered to vote. Makes sense, right? How could anyone be against this? Why would anyone put barriers and hurdles in front of citizens fulfilling their right and duty to vote? The only reason is because they are desperately clinging to their dwindling privilege. And And one more…

THE WOMEN’S WAVE. Last night was probably more of a Women’s Wave than it was any sort of “Blue Wave.” This is easily the biggest reason for me to be hopeful. As far as I’m concerned, the more women in positions of power, the better (not counting Marsha Blackburn, of course). So this election was historic. Or HERstoric, I suppose…

For the first time ever, over 100 women were just elected to the House of Representatives. And even though it was historic — even though it was a step in the right direction — we are STILL SO FAR from where we need to be in this country with gender equality in our representation. Still… So much to be hopeful for. There are TWO Muslim women who have been elected to Congress… Which led to one of my favorite tweets of all time:

And the people of Kansas have elected a Native American woman who is also a lesbian. This is AMAZING. But again, even though it is a step in the right direction, there are still so many more steps to go…


There are also reasons to be sad… The Mourning After, if you will. There are still a whole lot of people in this country who are willing to vote for some of the worst examples of humanity we can come up with. White supremacist Steve King was reelected in Iowa. Voters in Florida failed to elect Andrew Gillum, the candidate who was clearly more qualified and impressive, and instead elected a racist, xenophobic bag of flop sweat as their next governor. Not even someone as impressive and articulate as Beto O’Rourke could inspire the majority of Texans to pull their red state heads out of their asses… But some parts of the country are so blindingly red that they would rather vote for a dead pimp than vote for a democrat (which actually happened in Nevada, though given the choice between electing a dead pimp and Ted Cruz, admittedly I’d probably choose the dead pimp too). So many white women still haven’t figured out that the GOP is not on their side. And in Tennessee, where I live, voters chose fear of immigrants, corruption, and incompetence when they chose Marsha Blackburn… Genuinely one of the worst people on the planet. There are other losses… And other wins. This does a good job of summarizing how I feel today…

But what we do now is we get back to work. We keep having difficult conversations… We keep highlighting the examples of corruption and hypocrisy and immorality we see… We keep calling out white supremacy where we see it, and we keep educating the people in our lives about what white supremacy actually is… We keep telling the stories of vulnerable and oppressed populations, and we let those stories melt the hearts of people who are blinded by fear… We keep standing up for those who are being oppressed and looking for justice… And we get involved by showing up, writing letters, and making calls. Voting is just one part of the change that needs to take place. Take some time to be sad. Take some time to celebrate. And then let’s get back to work. We’ve got a world to change, and no one is going to do it for us.

I’ll leave you with one final reason to be hopeful. Look at this amazing picture:

 

Thanks again for reading. I needed this. If you’d like to support this blog, there are ways you can do that. One is to BECOME A PATRON. Another is to LEAVE A TIP on PayPal. You can also share the stuff I write or follow me on Facebook and on TwitterNow… Let’s get back to the work of being good citizens and active participants in our democracy.

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13 Tweets To Inspire You (AND OTHERS) To Vote

Alright, today is the day! If you are like me, you already voted during early voting… But even if you’ve already voted, your job is NOT DONE. It’s time to the remind the people around you that when we don’t vote, we end up with immoral and corrupt leaders. There is a fascinating map I want to show you… If “Did Not Vote” were a candidate in the 2016 election, “Did Not Vote” would have won ALL BUT NINE STATES. Check it out:

did-not-vote-2016-update

Most of these “Did Not Votes” have not gotten out during Early Voting. There are MANY people who are are thinking “What’s the point?” People who are “Too busy.” People who are planning on skipping because they are imagining the lines are too long. These people need some inspiration. Some of these elections could very well be decided by a HANDFUL of votes. If you have already cast your vote, you can still make a difference… Here are some of the best tweets I’ve found to inspire people to get their asses out to the polls… Starting with America’s favorite astrophysicist.

If your vote didn’t matter, they wouldn’t be trying so hard to keep you away from the polls…

In FIFTEEN states, they allow same day voter registration (I have no idea why there are only fifteen, but anyway)…

Vote because our shitty president is trying to intimidate people AGAINST voting…

Vote because being courageous is better than being filled with fear.

Vote because Jerry Falwell, Jr. is an awful human being and a hypocrite, and if Democrats take back the House and the Senate it will totally piss him off…

Vote because Ted Cruz is a total douche who uses the same joke over and over and over, and because Beto O’Rourke is an awesome dude who doesn’t kiss the ass of a man who called his wife ugly and blamed his dad for killing JFK…

Vote because over 50% of Americans have a pre-existing condition, and republicans are trying to take away requirements for health insurance to cover those…

Vote because you don’t have to stay this racist forever…

Vote because the president is a LIAR. Such a total and complete liar…

Vote because the GOP deserves to get destroyed…

Vote because a whole lot of people bled and died for your right to do just that…

And vote because the world is a mess, and people deserve better than this…

 

I love you all. Vote like your vote matters, because it does. At the end of today, there will almost certainly be disappointments… Stay hopeful, even when everything feels hopeless. Thanks for the ways you support me, my writing, and this blog. Be good to each other…

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Regarding the Immigrant Caravan: Dear White Evangelical Hypocrites…

Listen… If you’re going to pass along the lie that America is anything resembling a “Christian Nation,” you should probably expect a few caravans of immigrants showing up at our borders, looking for help and asylum. You’re aware that Spanish-speaking brown people have Bibles too, right? We’ve been sending American missionaries over to their countries, handing out Bibles, for DECADES… And the Bible is very clear about how we are supposed to treat immigrants in need. It’s all in there — All over the Old Testament AND the New…

One of the main themes of the Bible is the divine call and command for those who would call themselves “People of God” to treat the stranger, the immigrant, and the alien as one of their own. If you know ANYTHING about the Bible, you know it’s in there from the front to the back. Hospitality. Remembering the time WE were strangers. Loving our neighbor. Here are a few verses from the Old Testament:

“Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!” ~ Deuteronomy 27:19

“Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt.” ~ Exodus 23:9

“For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.” ~ Deuteronomy 10:17-19

“When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the LORD your God.” ~ Leviticus 23:22

There are SO MANY MORE examples. Hospitality to outsiders and strangers was so integral a part of Israel’s foundational philosophy that they used the right treatment of immigrants and aliens as an example of how they should treat their fellow Israelites. Read this remarkable verse:

“If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger, so they can continue to live among you.” ~ Leviticus 25:35

Can you believe that?!? Read it again… For the Jewish people, their good treatment of foreigners was the example — the STANDARD — of how they should treat a member of their own tribe who had become poor or unable to take care of himself.

And I’ve written about this before (in a post titled “We’re A Nation Of Sodomites…. Just Not In The Way You’re Thinking”), but when the Bible refers to “Sodomites,” it’s NOT making a statement about homosexuality — It’s talking about people who were horribly inhospitable to visiting strangers. Here is what Ezekiel 16:49 reads: “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” And when Amos compares Israel’s sin to Sodom & Gomorrah, it’s because they “oppress the poor and crush the needy.” (Amos 4:1) There are a bunch of poor and needy people walking toward us right now… How do you think God would want us to handle that?

Caravan

Here they are — The “dangerous” caravan of immigrants the president is deploying 15,000 troops to defend us from. Don’t let them fool you… They are all probably packing heat.

But it’s not just that big ol’ sentimental softie of an Old Testament God who calls and commands us to treat immigrants with justice, mercy, and love… The New Testament is filled with it too.

“Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality… Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.” ~ Romans 12:13,16

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” ~ Matthew 25:35

“Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” ~ Hebrews 13 1-2

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” ~ Matthew 25:40

The Venn diagram of people who are demonizing immigrants and people who would characterize themselves as “White Evangelical Christians” is nearly a perfect circle. But these fake “christians” don’t want to think about verses like “whatever you did for one of the least of these” when it comes to immigrants looking for asylum. They don’t want to consider Jesus as an immigrant looking for help. They are too busy putting up Nativities in their yards to consider the fact that they are they the very embodiment of the voice which greeted Mary with the words “No room in the inn.”

For them, “loving their neighbor” is taking an occasional “mission trip” to places where they can briefly play tourist to some poverty, get some photo ops with some brown kids, maybe apply a coat of paint, and then return home to the warm safety of their gated communities. We are not a “city on a hill.” We are a turret on a guard tower. America is as far from a “Christian Nation” as Donald Trump is far from a “Christian President.”

But imagine a woman came to your door… beaten and bruised… crying for help, and begging for protection from her violent attacker… What kind of person looks through the spy hole and locks the deadbolt? The answer this: The kind of person who is way more consumed with selfishness and fear than with anything resembling “compassion” or “love.” The same is true for the fear-filled man (along with the GOP administration and all the people who support him) who sends 15,000 troops — armed with lethal ammunition — to the Southern border to “greet” our neighbors who are fleeing violence and oppression.

A caravan of “the least of these” is walking toward us… How are we going to respond? Are we going to let a small, narcissistic, evil man strategically whip up our fears of a group of poor, desperate immigrants — still two months away from reaching the border — in order to scare people into voting republican/”build that wall” in the mid-term elections? Or are Christians going to respond the way the God of the Bible calls us to respond — As if it was Jesus himself walking toward us looking for a safe place… Looking for asylum… Looking for help…

I’ve got one more Bible verse for you, and this one comes straight from the mouth of Jesus…

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” ~ Matthew 23:13

If you know even the most BASIC things about Christianity or the Bible or Jesus, you KNOW that the actions of this nation, this president, and this GOP administration are about as far from “Christian” or “neighbor-loving” or Jesus as something can get… But you don’t care. Your FEAR is stronger by far than your LOVE… But for some reason, you insist on still calling yourselves “Christians.” Stop it. You’re not. Not even close. You’re as fake as the faith of our spray-tanned president. You’re Pharisees. You’re hypocrites. Either start acting like Jesus, or stop claiming to be his followers.

 

It’s been a while since I’ve written something as Jesus-y/Bible-y as this. Just in case you’re a new reader, I don’t think we should be loving our neighbors because a 2000 year old book tells me we should… I believe we should love our neighbors because it is the moral and right thing to do, REGARDLESS of your faith, your name for God, or if you even believe in a higher power. Love is better than fear… Not because the Bible says so, but because it just IS. Anyway, if you’d like to support this blog (and me with it), you can LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL. Or you can BECOME A PATRON. Otherwise, follow me ON FACEBOOK, follow me ON TWITTER, or just share this post with the people in your life. Take care of each other…

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No. He’s Not Going To Repeal The 14th Amendment.

He can’t. But what he CAN do is he can distract us from the other festering awfulness he is working on. This is what he does. He says outrageous things which gets people to forget about the other outrageous things he says and does. It’s like when a person with cancer hits his thumb with a hammer… For a short time afterward, all he can focus on is his throbbing thumb, and how pissed he is that it just happened. Trump’s tweets are like a hammer on the thumb of America, to distract us from the Cancer of Racism and White Supremacy… of which he is a malignant tumor. In America’s anus.

Notice no one is talking today about how his LIES about the caravan seeking asylum directly led to a neo-nazi murdering 11 Jewish people in a synagogue? Notice no one is talking about how his hateful and divisive rhetoric is leading to a flurry of acts of terrorism committed by his racist, white nationalist base? And no one is talking about how Mike Pence brought a “Christian Rabbi” to a memorial service/political rally (supposedly honoring the victims of the attack in Pittsburgh) who prayed to Jesus for republican wins in the midterm election (observe the craziness below).

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This is what happens when you encourage violence at your “rallies.” This is what happens when you demonize immigrants. This is what happens when you call the press “the enemy of the people.” This is Trump’s base. And it’s America’s shame…

In one week, we just had a Trump supporter send pipe bombs to a bunch of different people who criticized the president… We had another Trump supporter open fire in at a Kroger in Kentucky an murder two people of color (after telling a man “Whites don’t kill whites”)… And then we had a nazi (angry about the lie that Jews were behind the immigrant caravan seeking asylum — a lie Trump passed along) open fire in a houe of worship and murder 11 people… People murdered by nazis in America. In 2018. And as a response to all this, what does he do? He sends military troops to the border to prepare for people fleeing violence in Central America A FULL TWO MONTHS BEFORE THEY WOULD EVER REACH THE BORDER. This is all about fear. It’s about demonizing brown people.

And it leads to disgusting garbage like this unbelievably hateful and racist ad from one of the worst people on the planet… Marsha Blackburn.

Keep your eyes on the ball. Trump is being given these talking points to accomplish two things: Firstly, it throws a racist bone to his base. They have been pissed off about the 14th Amendment since it was ratified. Birthright citizenship has long been a burr in the saddle of people who dream of America as a white ethno-state. Please read this entire Twitter thread:

And secondly, it enrages and distracts us from this GOP administration’s constant barrage of attacks on morality and social norms. Right when people’s eyes are starting to clear, and sanity is starting to creep into the minds of the people who are supporting him, as they see a grieving community and think, “Maybe our words matter. Maybe all his hateful rhetoric has real-world consequences. Maybe all the lies he passes along AREN’T harmless.” And as people are reminded of morality by seeing inspiring acts of humanity and goodness (like the Muslim community who raised over $150,000 for their Jewish neighbors)… WHAM!!! America’s Ass Cancer slams his hammer down on our thumb. And we’re in an uproar.

America is a nation of immigrants. It is a nation of people fleeing persecution. If you are an American, you are either the descendent of Native Americans, immigrants, refugees, or slaves. Clear your eyes, America. See this hatred and bigotry for what it is. Don’t let this small man whip your fears into a distracted frenzy. Watch a Captain America movie, and realize that no decent person roots for Hydra. Be loving and strong and true, and for the sake of all that is loving and strong and true, VOTE TO REMOVE THIS CANCER FROM OFFICE… And until that is possible, vote to limit his ability to do more damage by taking back the House and the Senate. There is one week until November 6th. VOTE! We can do this…

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White people… The original “Anchor Babies.”

 

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The Rise of the Immoral Majority

You know what? Screw it… Maybe Donald Trump is the president America deserves.

I was asleep. I was sound asleep tonight. I actually went to bed at a reasonable time. I thought to myself, “The world is a goddamn mess — I should probably write something tonight,” but instead I watched a couple episodes of Big Mouth on Netflix, and I faded off to sleep. I had a dream of being chased… I was in a “bad part of town” (that means a BLACK part of town… because I’m a white person, and as hard as I may try, I will NEVER escape the racism and fear at the heart of me) and these dudes were chasing me through dark alleys, and I was saved by making it to a well-lit soccer game with a whole bunch of white people watching. Now all of a sudden, I am wide awake… And lying here thinking “WHY CAN’T PEOPLE SEE THAT TRUMP IS A LYING, SELF-SERVING, NARCISSISTIC, RACIST, MISOGYNISTIC TOXIC DUMPSTER FIRE??” And my lack of an answer to that question results in my heart being somewhere between a persistent state of deep sadness and a persistent state of deep outrage. It’s taking a toll on me. So here we are…

I  keep wanting to believe people are better than this. I keep wanting to believe that if  the majority of people had accurate information, that they would make good choices and vote for better people. I’m not so sure. We might just be outnumbered. In 1979 Jerry Falwell and others started a movement called “The Moral Majority,” where they paired the “Christian Right” with the Republican Party. It turned into an unholy union which forever damaged both brands. Now the Christian Right and the Republican Party have completely abandoned principles like Honesty and Integrity and even Morality in favor of a corrupt and immoral leader who promises them POWER. And there might be more of them than there are of us… a new win-at-any-cost IMMORAL MAJORITY.

Donald Trump,Jerry Falwell Jr.

The new feces… sorry, FACES of the Immoral Majority.

And people will CERTAINLY build false equivalencies between parties, and say that “BOTH parties are win-at-any-cost” and “BOTH parties are total garbage.” And it’s true that the democratic party has a lot of flaws and things about it which need to be changed… But  we are in a situation right now where one of two sides is going to win, and one side is objectively worse. And for some reason, SO MANY people people in this country are unable to see that. That is a problem. And it needs to change.

I’m trying to pragmatic about this… I’m trying to figure out WHAT WORKS, and then do THAT. And I understand no one likes being called an asshole. We are in a time where “You are wrong about this” is interpreted as “You are a bad person.” We live in a time of deep fragility, where people are clinging to their privilege with everything they have, and any step toward equality feels like an attack. I realize that white fragility is a very real thing, and that sometimes when you push back at people, they dig their heels in even harder… I’m NOT saying “You are a bad person without any hope of redemption.” But maybe what people need is a dose of the TRUTH. And here is the truth: If you can’t tell that Trump and this whole GOP administration is corrupt and dishonest and immoral, there is something very, very wrong with you. Even if we are friends, I need you to know that I believe this.

We have a president whose NAME IS SHOUTED AT MINORITIES TO INTIMIDATE AND HARASS THEM… and it’s almost always shouted by white people. This is where we are as a nation. And even with that level of clear depravity in front of us, we still have a “tight race” between a good man like Beto O’Rourke and spineless liar like Ted Fucking Cruz — a man whose wife was called a dog and whose father was called “in on JFK’s assassination” by the man who won the presidency, but who still manages to so thoroughly kiss the man’s ass that his breath smells like Trump’s Diet Coke farts. And Texas seems to have more people in the state who are willing to vote for a cowardly dishonest idiot than an impressive and articulate persona like Beto O’Rourke. It is mind boggling…

Sure, there are some white nationalists who are all in on white supremacy, proud of their Hitler tattoos, and are working toward some dream of some white ethno-state. And then there are the “everything is a conspiracy” people who are so easy to manipulate. And there are the ones who are VERY UPSET about “PC Culture” (boo fucking hoo)… People who are mad about being told they shouldn’t say “retarded” anymore… People  who are angry enough to vote for a villain just because they don’t want to apologize for calling that Asian kid “Fatty Fatty Chink Face” when they were in 6th grade. But there are always fringe groups and crazies… It’s also the uneducated masses, unable to distinguish a credible source from outright propaganda. It’s ignorance and anti-intellectualism. It’s “My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” It’s higher education seen as indoctrination. And it’s everywhere. But even all that is not enough to get us to where we are. 

A big part of the problem is the Political Left eating its own… The people who view themselves as so “principled” that voting for anyone but the VERY BEST candidate is seen as some sort of abandoning of their integrity. And so they would rather self-righteously vote for a third party candidate who has no shot of winning, even if their third party votes are what ends up giving the power to the ones trying to disenfranchise People of Color. And believe me, I know these folks are exhausting. They are the sort of people — when Taylor Swift steps up and finally makes a political statement, putting her support behind Phil Bredesen and calling Marsha Blackburn out as the horrible person she is — who decide to focus their attention on how she should have stepped up earlier. But “haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate,” right Taylor? Someone taking a step in the right direction doesn’t deserve to get dragged because they didn’t do it sooner.

Anyone with eyes or ears can see that Marsha Blackburn is a less principled, female version of Trump. And what that information SHOULD spur inside of you is this: REVULSION & SHAME. Instead, I seem to be surrounded by people who are spurred to put “Blackburn For Senate” campaign signs in their yards and on their cars. Marsha Blackburn has had millions of dollars spent on advertising and making attractive commercials, and yet she is so full of shit that she literally can’t get it together long enough to sound believable for the FIVE SECONDS at the end of the commercial where she says, “I’m Marsha Blackburn, and I approve this message.” And still Tennesseans line up to vote for her…

Representative Marsha Blackburn speaks during the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland

All the money in the world could not make this woman look like she knows what she talking about or gives a crap about anyone but her corporate donors…

I see people waving their shitty privilege around like a shiny flag and “boldly” declaring that Trump is the closest thing to burning it all down, so that’s how they’re voting this year: They’re voting Burn It All Down. But these people are voting to keep people in power who are STILL tearing immigrant families apart… And now their “solution” is to put those parentless kids up for adoption rather than reunite them with their families. What kind of person does something like this?

And maybe the worst of all are the group of Americans who don’t care enough to get their lazy asses off their fucking sofas once a year to vote for people who aren’t committed to hypocrisy, deception, and burning the fucking planet down in our children’s lifetime. The people SO APATHETIC and INDIFFERENT that standing in a line in November is too much of an inconvenience… Even if that inconvenience means moving our nation in the direction of more gender and racial equality. Or civil rights for LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters. UGH.

There is one party — the republican party — whose leadership is trying very hard to destroy confidence in the American system of government. Do you know WHY? Because the government is the only thing standing between an actual oligarchy (where the RICH rule instead of the people). And so they fill the courts with judges who are sympathetic to the “rights” of rich people and corporations to pour unlimited money into dishonest political campaigns… all while calling that dishonesty “Free Speech,” regardless of the harm those lies and unlimited monies do to the nation. And they push through an evasive and dishonest man into a Supreme Court seat… Not because there wasn’t anyone else who was qualified, but because they knew that in their attack on The Rule of Law, deteriorating the public’s trust of the impartiality of the Judicial Branch would make a powerful ally. 

I understand seeing all this disfunction and just wanting to give up. Or burn it all down. It’s this devastating combination of Hopelessness and Apathy that grows with every new victory the Immoral Majority wins. We are surrounded by stories of objective unfairness. All over the country, republicans are trying to make it harder to vote… ESPECIALLY for minorities. In Nebraska, the Supreme Court just made it much harder for Native Americans to vote, and probably affecting the Senate race there. In Georgia, the republican man who is running for Governor (in a tight race with Stacey Abrams, a black woman) just put the voter registrations of 53,000 people in jeopardy — 70% of which are black voters.

And all of this is backdropped by a U.N. study made by the world’s top climate scientists showing concrete evidence man-made climate change and global warming is growing at such an unprecedented rate that we are headed for a world-wide disaster in OUR LIFETIME… But you dip shits don’t want to believe it, because you have GOOGLE ON YOUR FUCKING iPHONES!!! And so you vote for the man who is doing everything in his power to roll back the steps and preventative regulations our country has taken toward being more environmentally conscious and averting this crisis. And this is the reason I can’t just say, “Screw it.” If we keep heading in the same direction, millions of people are going to die. 50 years from now no one is going to care about liberal vs. conservative. We cannot afford to continue to elect people from a party that denies that climate change is happening and the science showing humans are responsible. If the immorality of the Trump administration isn’t enough to inspire you to vote them out, perhaps a looming cataclysmic climate event is enough. God damn it… What will it take??

 

I am low on hope right now… I hope that’s okay. I want to be honest. Thank you to those of you who support me. If you want to be a Patron, YOU CAN DO THAT HERE. If you want to leave a tip on PayPal, YOU CAN DO THAT HERE. Maybe leave a comment with some reasons to be hopeful…

 

 

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When Someone Shows You Who They Are, Believe Them.

Ever since multiple women came forward detailing stories of sexual assault committed by Supreme Court appointee Brett Kavanaugh, there have been many people coming forward and testifying of personal understanding of his character. Like the stories from his college roommate who said Brett lied during his testimony… That he was very drunk very often… And that when he was drunk he became belligerent and aggressive. There have been multiple colleagues and personal acquaintances and drinking buddies who have some forward to say, “I Know Brett Kavanaugh, But I Wouldn’t Confirm Him.” But there have also been people who have come forward who have spoken about how they believe that the sexual assault described by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford in her sworn testimony would be wholly inconsistent with the Brett Kavanaugh they have come to know. But here’s my important question: WAS THE HATEFUL, SNEERING, EVASIVE, CONDESCENDING, OVERTLY PARTISAN MAN WHO APPEARED DURING HIS SENATE TESTIMONY CONSISTENT WITH THE BRETT KAVANAUGH YOU HAVE COME TO KNOW? Because if he is, that is some scary shit…

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Is this face consistent with the Brett Kavanaugh you know?

So many people think this vote is about whether or not there is “proof” that Brett committed the attempted rape in high school or the the sexual assaults in college. There isn’t proof. There was never going to be hard evidence — Both the other people in the room were drunk and say it didn’t happen. But as many have pointed out before, the thing which disqualifies Kavanaugh from being elevated is NOT whether or not he drunkenly assaulted Christine Blasey Ford in high school… The thing which disqualifies him is the way he acted while giving his testimony. It was his evasiveness and his dishonesty during questioning. It was his objective lack of judicial temperament. 

Now he comes out and says, “I might have been too emotional.” The bile that he spewed all over that Senate Judiciary Committee was part of his PREPARED STATEMENT. When he blamed this on “The Clintons” and George Soros (without naming him), that was shit he WROTE DOWN. The face of the young man who assaulted a girl is not back in some 80’s yearbook… That slippery, sneering snake up there attacking “the Left,” that WAS the face of the dude who put his hand over a 15 year old girl’s mouth and forcibly felt her up. The person who demanded to get what he wanted thirty-some years ago is still around today…  And he’s fixin’ to be on the Supreme Court.

Listen… There are plenty of other highly qualified judges who are just as giddy about overturning Roe v. Wade who could be nominated to serve on the SCOTUS. You didn’t see people freaking out like this during Gorsuch’s nomination. Do you know WHY? Because Neil Gorsuch doesn’t have a bunch of women in his life who he drunkenly assaulted. This nomination is not about Kavanaugh’s qualifications… It is about the erosion of social norms. It is about giving a big middle finger to commonly-held notions of morality and goodness. It’s about displaying both the power and willingness of the republican party to sell their souls, and it’s about showcasing the ignorance and blind partisanship of the republican electorate.

By the end of today, the Senate will almost surely have voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh into the Supreme Court. And now people are talking about voting out the people who voted to confirm. A website set up to support whoever is running against Maine’s Susan Collins had so many people trying to give that it crashed yesterday. They will have probably collected over $3 million by the time this is posted. But really we lost this fight when we lost Citizen’s United. We now have two more Supreme Court Justices who believe that the rich should be able to give almost unlimited money to effect political races. We live in a country where the richest 1% of the population controls more wealth than the bottom 90%… So even if a whole lot of us give $20.20 to Susan Collins opponent, it is going to require a whole lot more than just political donations. It is going to require not giving in to cynicism. It is going to require educating ourselves and the people around us. It is going to require Hope in the face of apparent hopelessness. It is going to require people who understand how to organize. It is going to require unity. And I hate to tell you this, but it is going to require compromise. 

We — the people who are rightly disgusted with the turn this country has taken over the past few years — need to line up behind whoever has the best chance of taking seats away from these Trump-supporting hypocrites. For example… In Tennessee, where I live, there is a truly horrible person named Marsha Blackburn who is running for Bob Corker’s Senate seat. She is one of the grossest people you will ever find (I don’t have time to go into all the reasons right now, but it’s the truth. She is a damn monster). She is running against democrat and former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen. Yesterday, Phil released a statement saying that he believes Dr. Ford’s testimony, but he supports the Supreme Court nominee. Now, many progressives are all “Maybe we WON’T be supporting Phil Bredesen.”

I don’t know why Phil said this. I don’t know if he believes it. I don’t know if he was taking a calculated risk in a very red state. I don’t know. But here is what I DO know: If Marsha Blackburn gets elected to the U.S. Senate, it will be an unmitigated disaster. She is just another rubber stamp for Trump’s (& Putin’s) plan to redefine morality and declare war on social norms. When Barack Obama was elected, he was NOT openly supportive of same-sex marriage… But even though he was wrong on this, he was way CLOSER to right that the alternative. If we abandon the BETTER choice for the one we each believe is “best,” then I guarantee you, the WORST is going to win. For decades.

Anyway, today sucks. This time in history sucks. There is darkness all around us, and as encouraging as it is to see women taking the lead, women are not going to save us. They can’t do it on their own. People of Color are strong, but they can’t do it on their own. The LGBTQ+ vote is not going to save this nation from the moral and spiritual decay that we face. It is going to take a BROAD COALITION, and that coalition is going to have to include people from EVERY group and intersectionality… Even straight, white guys like me. But we have to come together. As the poet Jim Morrison said, They’ve got the guns, but we’ve got the numbers.” DON’T. GIVE. UP.

 

This week some wildly generous person I have never met before left me a $50 dollar tip on PayPal. Also this week, a Patron wrote me a message saying he really believes in what I’m doing here, but his financial situation changed, and had to stop supporting me. This kind of thing happens all the time and is totally understandable. I am so grateful that there are people in the world who care enough about this blog to help support it. If that’s you, and you are in a position right now where you are able to give, you CAN… You can BECOME A PATRON… You can LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL… Or you can just follow me on Facebook or on Twitter, and maybe even share this post. Thanks so much for reading.

 

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This Video Proves The President Is Pure Garbage

First things first… I need you to watch this video. It’s only 19 seconds long, but it might take you a couple tries to get through it, because the words that come out of this man’s smarmy mouth are so very, very disgusting. Please watch it.

Now I want you to think of a woman you know…

And then I want you to think of her as your little girl.

I want you to think of her walking into her first day of school, smiling and nervous, wearing a backpack that is too big for her.

I want you to think of watching her play soccer as a kid, and encouraging her to be aggressive… Cheering for her, and yelling across the field, “THAT IS YOUR BALL! GET IT! HUSTLE!!!”

I want you to think of her telling you, in tears, about how the boys never pass her the ball when they play at recess.

I want you to think of her entering middle school, as her body starts to change, and the awkward feeling as boys’ eyes start focusing on different parts of her.

I want you to think of her gravitating toward justice… And getting the facts right… And The Truth.

I want you to think of her entering high school, and being startled by her seriousness and beauty, but mostly startled by the adult standing in front of you.

I want you to think of her opening the one acceptance letter she cared about, and her hugging your neck, feet dangling in the air.

I want you to think of her sitting in a library by herself… At night… Working hard… Goals on her mind, and dreams in her heart.

I want you to imagine the phone call, from a busier and far away place, where she tells you she got the job.

I want you to imagine her standing on a lawn at the White House, confident and strong and intelligent as hell…

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And now I want you to imagine the smirking president of the United States — A man who somehow possesses the most powerful office in the world, yet also possesses an insecurity so debilitating that he feels the need to demean everyone around him — calling on a woman and having the exchange that you just saw in that video.

Imagine him being flanked with a bunch of other powerful white men… Men who laugh at his horrible comment, like advisors complimenting a naked king’s clothing.

Imagine seeing other women standing there… Somehow managing a blank-eyed smile, like the women holding down other women to be raped in The Handmaid’s Tale.

Now imagine seeing all this — Seeing the objective grossness of the man who conned his way into power… Seeing the stomach-turning misogyny of the men at his side… Seeing the embarrassing complicity of the token women near the podium — AND THEN IMAGINE BEING SUCH A GARBAGE PERSON YOURSELF THAT YOU NOT ONLY DEFEND HIS GARBAGE ACTIONS, BUT YOU PLAN ON VOTING FOR HIM AGAIN. What kind of a person do you have to be to defend this man? Seriously.

If you can’t look at this video and know without a doubt that the president is pure garbage, then there is NOTHING — not any argument, not the most gifted orator, not William Shakespeare himself — that could convince you of his moral bankruptcy and unparalleled depravity. Donald Trump is an festering pimple on America’s anus, and he needs to be popped. And if you can’t see that, it is only because you are almost as gross as him. Shame on you…

 

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Brett, Georgetown Prep, and The Preservation of White Male Privilege

In two short years as president, Donald Trump has chosen two Supreme Court nominees and a new Fed Chairman… ALL THREE MEN ATTENDED THE SAME HIGH SCHOOL. I mean, that’s insane… Right? Jerome Powell, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh — One high school, three of the most powerful appointed positions in the nation? That high school is Georgetown Preparatory Academy, commonly known as “Georgetown Prep.” It is a private, all-boys Jesuit boarding school, it is one of the most exclusive, expensive schools in the nation ($60,280 per year), and it has recently come under fire as stories of sexual assault and even gang rape (though President Trump is prohibiting the FBI from looking into these claims) have surfaced with the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. And so, as we watch this cartoon happening in real time…

… I have been thinking about Georgetown Prep, and the lengths white men will go to to protect their power and privilege. During his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Brett Kavanaugh actually said the following nonsense:

“I got into Yale Law School. I had no connections there. I got in there by working my butt off.”

This sort of “I did it all by myself/Born-on-third-base-thought-he-hit-a-triple” BS narrative is classic White Privilege Delusion. BOTH his parents were attorneys — His mother a Circuit Court Judge in Maryland — And yet he somehow believes that he “pulled himself up by his own bootstraps” all the way into Yale Law. I’m sure his acceptance letter had nothing to do with the fact that his parents were able to afford to send him to a school that costs more for nine months of schooling than most Americans make in a year… A school that pops out Senators and CEOs and Supreme Court Justices like it’s just the “natural result” of the 8:1 student to teacher ratio, and had nothing to do with the considerable means of the families who can afford to send their kids there. And to top it all off, he is actually a YALE LEGACY, as his grandfather attended Yale for his undergraduate studies.

And so a lot of attention has been paid recently to what went down at Georgetown Prep in the early 80’s. And listen, EVERYONE knows this was a different time (HERE is a great article about the Rape Culture of the 80s). Getting girls drunk to take advantage of them sexually was like an 80’s movies trope. In Sixteen Candles, Jake basically hands over his passed out ex-girlfriend to The Geek to have sex with. By today’s standards, that is RAPE. In the 80’s, this was treated like a PUNCHLINE. But even for that time, the stuff that Brett Kavanaugh and his friends wrote down on their senior pages in the Georgetown Prep yearbook was pure craziness. Here is part of Brett Kavanaugh’s page:

lead_art_yearbook

I’m sure “Those Prep Guys Are The Biggest” had nothing to do with anything sexual… I sure that the word “Douches” was just accidentally cut off.

What kind of prep school allows high school boys to write whatever they want, and then prints it in their Yearbook?? There are even references to the KKK in other boys’ entries, but Brett Kavanaugh seemed more preoccupied with alcohol and sex. I was in middle school during the 1980’s, and I recognized a lot of what he wrote about. He testified before congress that the word “Boof” had to do with flatulence. It doesn’t. It is slang for anal sex. Butt F*ck — the “BF” sound that led to “Boof — All the same thing… And there are hundreds of thousands of suburban white guys who grew up in the 80’s who could tell you the same thing. It’s been on the Urban Dictionary for years. They know it, I know it, and Brett Kavanaugh knows it — AKA the guy who was the principle author of the Starr Report, which justified the impeachment of Bill Clinton based on the fact that he LIED UNDER OATH ABOUT SEX STUFF FROM HIS PAST (THIS ARTICLE is long, but it proves beyond any doubt that Kavanaugh knowingly lied). He also lied about “The Devil’s Triangle,” which is a sexual slang term for “two guys with one girl.” After two men (he and his good friend and classmate Mark Judge) were named as taking part in a sexual assault against one girl, it makes a little more sense why he would lie about the definition of THAT one (He said it was a drinking game… A dishonest definition which got changed IN REAL TIME on the Wikipedia entry for that term).

It SHOULD be obvious to everyone who watched him respond to these allegations that he does not possess the right temperament to sit as a Supreme Court Justice… But that is not what I’m writing about here. If you don’t already see that, chances are pretty good you are not still reading this post. My question is this: WHAT KIND OF SCHOOL LETS 16 YEAR OLD BOYS WRITE THAT SORT OF CRAP ON THEIR YEARBOOK PAGE?!? The answer is: A school that is acutely aware that the student body’s parents are all very powerful people. “Keg City Club?” “100 Kegs or Bust?” “Beach Week Ralph Club?” These are all CLEAR references to a 16 year old drinking to excess (Brett said he was 16 during his false “Boof” explanation, but then he LIED and acted like he was old enough to drink as a senior, when the legal drinking age changed from 18 to 21). Not to mention the lies about hurtful “Renate Alumni” the boys made up about a girl from another school…

His history of misogyny and heavy drinking continued into college with his participation in the DKE fraternity — a group of young men who were notorious for assaulting women on campus, and a fraternity that eventually got kicked out of Yale after their members chanted “NO MEANS YES! YES MEANS ANAL!” outside of the Yale Women’s Center. Brett even proudly carried a flag made of women’s panties. They were privileged white men from wealthy white families vowing to look out for each other, and promising to put themselves in positions where they can keep tilting the scales in their favor… To preserve their Power and their Privilege. Or, as this perfect tweet pointed out…

In a statement, Georgetown Prep condemned the treatment the school has gotten in the wake of these allegations, saying, “The image that has been presented on social media and in various news outlets depicts recklessness, illegal conduct, and lack of respect for persons. Worse, many blame these faults on institutional indifference.” “INSTITUTIONAL INDIFFERENCE.” THANK you!That’s exactly the phrase I was looking for… There existed (and still exists) a systemic, institutional indifference to the evils that were perpetrated by young, white men under a heading of “Boys Will Be Boys.” We have failed our boys…

And before you spend any time Not-All-White-Men-ing me, or explaining to me how the problems of abuse and general assholery are not limited to White Men, let me assure you: I’m aware. There are abusive, broken people everywhere… But the REAL problem is the combination of abusive people with Wealth and Power and Privilege. THAT’s when things get dangerous. And when the one’s with the the Wealth & Power & Privilege start stacking the deck in their favor (or in their kids’ favor) and funneling their kids into positions of power after a lifetime of never being told NO… Well, THAT’s when injustice thrives.

There is a powerful group of people in the world who feel like teaching our sons that they can’t “take what they want” is some sort of feminization of boys which will end up destroying the country. They look at empathy and compassion as weaknesses. They look at cruelty toward women as some displaced sign of strength. They scoff at accusations of “Toxic Masculinity.” And that same group of people looks at the Equality women are seeking as a THREAT to their power and privilege. They are starting to feel cornered… And when animals feel threatened and cornered, they make faces like this:

brett-kavanaugh-john-brennan-supreme-court

He’s either feeling cornered, or he is got a huge loogy going… If you haven’t seen the comparisons of Brett’s faces to the faces of angry opossums, you definitely should. They are on my FB page.

I went to a small, private high school in the early 90’s, and I can’t even begin to list all of the things I said and did while I was in high school for which I now feel ashamed. I am a completely different person NOW than I was in high school. I’m sure there were COUNTLESS times and ways that I said things which dehumanized people who were LGBTQ+. I’m sure the words “Faggot” and “Retarded” passed my lips on a daily basis. I know I made jokes about minorities. I can’t imagine all the ways that I demeaned and objectified young women. There were certainly times in high school and college that I put sexual pressure on girls to do things they weren’t ready to do. PEOPLE CHANGE. In so many ways, I was an unbelievable ass hole in high school. I don’t believe that every man who was an ass hole in high school deserves to sentenced to a life of only being allowed to work at a gas station…

But if someone I grew up with came to me and told me that my immaturity in high school… my 80’s consciousness… my gross Toxic Masculinity… my brokenness… If someone told me that these things HARMED them while we were in school together, I sure the hell wouldn’t be making the face of a cornered animal. I would be weeping. I would be asking for forgiveness. I would be making the face of a man who was focused on the righting of wrongs.

I didn’t drink in high school — I saw what it did to my father’s life — so I remember most of the things that happened (probably because I wasn’t treasurer of the “Keg City Club”). Brett Kavanaugh might be telling the truth about not having any memory of his assault on Christine Blasey Ford… But I guarantee you he remembers drinking to excess on multiple, multiple occasions. And his lies about this fact disqualify him from sitting on our nation’s highest court. There was INSTITUTIONAL INDIFFERENCE to him and those other young boys — by the high school, by the college, and by their parents. They let those kids brag about their drinking in a CATHOLIC SCHOOL YEARBOOK, for crying out loud… And there was and is Systemic, Societal Indifference to the TOXICITY of the definition of manhood we taught and teach our boys — especially white boys. And that is something we ALL will have to atone for… 

 

HEY! THIS PAGE IS FREE… Can you believe it? What a deal, right? If you’re feeling like you want to support my work and my writing, you can BECOME A PATRON. If you are particularly fond of this one and want to boost in on Facebook, you can LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL. Otherwise, follow me on FACEBOOK and on TWITTER. And for the love of all things good and holy, VOTE THESE JACK ASSES OUT OF OFFICE!

I other news, I messed up and initially spelled Kavanaugh with a “C.” One of the drawbacks of WordPress is that if you change the title, it doesn’t change it on the preview that people share. I apologize to those of you who got three notifications of a new blog post in your inbox… (so to speak). I’ll try not to let it happen again…

Posted in 2) Politics, 5) Not Quite Sure | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Here Is What People On Fox”News” Had To Say During Dr. Ford’s Testimony

I have spent the morning in tears. This testimony has been devastating. Heartbreaking. Hearing her recall “the laughter” of Brett Kavanaugh and Mark Judge as she was being sexually assaulted… Watching her being forced to relive this life-altering trauma… Witnessing the cowardly way that the all-male republican senators hand over their time to a female prosecutor, like a doctor handing the needle to a nurse… Seeing her bravely do something that obviously terrifies her… It’s almost too much for me. But I feel like I owe it to her to listen…

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One thing that made viewing her testimony slightly more bearable was seeing comments pop up with words of encouragement… Things like We believe you” and “Thank you for your bravery” and “You are strong. You can do this!” But then I though about the fact that I was watching the live video on a news outlet which is more on the “liberal” end of the spectrum, so it would stand to reason that the people viewing would be more likely to make comments voicing their support. Which led me to ponder, “I wonder what people are saying below the Fox”News” live video feed.” SO I took some screen captures (of which I’m not going to edit out people’s names, because they made their shameful comments on a public forum). Here you go — Please read…

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If hell were real, yes… That’s where you would go.

Many people had things to say about her appearance….

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You’re an awful person, Bob.

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Glass houses, Nina…

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There are few things more vile than a person who wears glasses to read… Or has HAIR!

There were people who were convinced of a vast conspiracy…

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Right wing playbook: When all else fails, blame everything on Soros.

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Lorraine knows, because she has spoken in front of many Senate Judiciary Hearings.

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Because, as we all know, if she reads a prepared statement, she can’t possibly be telling the truth…

There were people who were critical of her skills as a psychologist…

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Maybe she had a headache, Jodi.

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“TO” is a preposition signifying direction. “TOO” is an adverb we use when the word can be replaced with “ALSO,” or when we’re talking about a great amount of something. For example, “This comment is TOO dumb to post.” Get it?

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If only psychologists could solve being an asshole…

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Physiology is something different. But something tells me you’re not a person who is too concerned with getting the facts straight…

There was a plethora of really gross victim blaming…

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Maybe she was 15, ashamed, and didn’t want to get in trouble. You horrible person.

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Apparently, if you go on to any future success, you can’t be a victim of sexual assault.

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“She was drunk, the rape was her fault. He was drunk, the rape wasn’t his fault.”

There were a whole lot of people saying, “Meh… Get over it!”

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The inability to imagine how someone else could have a problem with something you didn’t find difficult is a hallmark of conservatism. 

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“Roughhousing.” This is a woman who roots for the wrong side when watching The Handmaid’s Tale.”

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Maybe they survive by figuring out they have the power to stand up and say, “This happened to me, and it wasn’t okay.”

There was the occasional “Who HASN’T sexually assaulted a few people?” 

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As always, there was no lack of concern for our SONS being accused of sexual assault…

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It IS terrifying to think your son might grow up to be a rapist. Also, I think she meant “Ford.” 

And there were a disgusting amount of people bringing God into it…

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It comforts me to know that the god you people believe in doesn’t exist.

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Dear eight pound, six ounce baby Jesus… Where do all these people come from?

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HEDGE OF PROTECTION!!!

And if someone displayed the occasional show of support, that person was quickly attacked…

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Stay strong, Deanna, and know that you are not alone.

 

There were over 30,000 comments at the time I published this, posted by people ranging from confused to afraid to ignorant to deceived to downright cruel… Usually a combination of all of these. But one thing all these people have in common: They are all going to VOTE this November. If you are disgusted by this sham hearing, if you are disgusted by the treatment of Dr. Ford, or if you are disgusted by these comment, there IS something you can do: YOU CAN VOTE. Vote them out. Look at how many of these comments were made by women… Women defending sexism and misogyny. Women of character and compassion, we need you now more than ever. To quote Madeleine L’Engle’s Mrs. Whatsit: “Stay angry, little Meg… You will need all your anger now.”

 

My eyes are red and my beard is damp. Today has been a shit show. Give someone a hug or an act of kindness today… They probably need to get it, and you probably need to give it. Here’s how to BECOME A PATRON. Here’s how to LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL. Here’s me of FACEBOOK. Here’s me on TWITTER. I love you people.

Posted in 1) Jesus, 2) Politics, 5) Not Quite Sure | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

If You Don’t Believe Online Conversations Change Anyone’s Mind, Then WHY ARE YOU COMMENTING?!?

My Facebook page is home to some controversial and sometimes contentious subjects of conversation. In addition to my own comment-inducing posts, I have also surrounded my online persona with many people who feel very strongly about things (political, theological, and otherwise), so it’s not at all uncommon for me to comment on other people’s controversial/contentious posts. Inevitably on these posts, there will appear a strange creature: “The Person Who Believes No One Ever Changes Anyone Else’s Mind On The Internet.” This creature feels compelled to inform you (and the other people involved in an online conversation) of the futility of trying to change someone’s mind on the internet… And yet they seem blissfully ignorant to the fact that they’re trying to change your mind about this topic …[wait for it]… ON THE DAMN INTERNET!

This makes about as much sense as being really passionate about believing that “Nobody Can Read Something Written In Invisible Ink!” while trying to convince people of your belief by writing your argument down IN INVISIBLE INK.

tenor

I know online interactions can be frustrating, but please stop before you get to this point…

“The Person Who Believes No One Ever Changes Anyone Else’s Mind On The Internet” usually shows up in one of two forms: 1) The Fly By — A random person not involved in the conversation who feels like they need to let people know how fruitless time spent debating online is, and 2) The Secret Agent — A person who has spent significant time trying to change someone else’s mind in an online conversation, who then (usually after their argument has been found lacking) suddenly REVEALS himself to be a true believer PWBNOECAEMOTI. And again, just as a reminder, both of these forms are peddling their beliefs and trying to convince you of something …[wait for it again]… ON THE DAMN INTERNET!

In a lot of ways, discussing things in written form is BETTER than talking about it in person. Of course, there are drawbacks. You can’t interpret TONE as well when you are responding to text… Especially with people who are not very good at writing. Sometimes — especially when things get more emotional and heated — things which were meant to be benign can come across as mean or sarcastic. And it’s easier to forget that you are talking to an actual human being when you aren’t discussing things face-to-face. But there are advantages too. You can read things over before you post them. MANY times I have asked my wife to read a comment I was considering posting, and she talked me out of it… That’s something you can’t do in a face-to-face heated discussion. And when discussing things in person, sometimes people have differing recollections of what was said… In online conversations, you can just go back and READ what was said (unless people start deleting their comments, which is SUPER annoying).

Face-to-face conversations are more temporary and less shareable. I’ll find myself trying to remember something amazing someone said earlier, but the words are gone. But text is different. Sometimes there are tweets or a Facebook statuses that are distilled down to such pure Truth that hundreds of thousands of people recognize it as such, and they SHARE it… Something so true that gives off a sort of self-evidence… Something so true that it ENDS ARGUMENTS. Not every argument has this sort of answer available to it. But SOME do. And this is one of the amazing things about the internet: It has algorithms which allow the cream to rise to the top, and by so doing, it allows more people to witness those bits of distilled truth which other people have spent time working out.

I think many people believe that social media interactions “aren’t real.” For some, there are people who TALK, and people who DO. Which brings us to another creature who sometimes rears its peculiar head: “The Person Who Acts Like Talking About Things Is Worthless.” This related creature is the Very Pious Person who discounts the value of words compared to actions, and feels the need to let you know that THEY are the sort who DOES something about issue instead of just talking about them online. Ugh. As if speaking up isn’t an action… And as if they aren’t talking about it online.

Yes, actions speak louder than words… But this doesn’t mean words make no volume whatsoever, right? I mean, great — You’re going door to door trying to register people to vote, and there’s a good case to be made that this action is more important than talking to people about their need to vote. But just because we need people doing the good work of registering people to vote DOESN’T mean we don’t also need people doing the good work of convincing people it’s worth their time to vote. Or exposing the hypocrisy of one of their voting choices. Or sharing stories showing HOW they should vote if they care about Women’s Rights, or Racism, or Immigrant’s Rights, or Not Having Our Country Be An International Laughing Stock…

This is not to say I believe anyone’s mind can be changed… With some people, it is readily apparent that they are YEARS away from being able to hear the things people are trying to say to them. But even then, there are many times I have dedicated my time to an online conversation — not to change the mind of the lost cause I am directly involved with, but to expose the flaws in their argument to the people who are reading along without commenting. And believe me: There are MANY of them. I can’t tell you how many real life conversations I’ve had with people who talk to me about a discussion or an argument I’ve had online like THEY were right there in the thick of it… But they didn’t comment at all. Not so much as a “Like.” We don’t always stand up to the bully because we think he’s going to change — Sometimes we stand up to the bully because other kids are watching… And we’re trying to show them that bullying is garbage.

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You can’t change everyone’s minds… But if you believe you can’t change ANYONE’S mind, you should probably not be trying to convince other people of that.

I’m not sure why some people are so convinced that online interactions are hollow and ineffectual… But regardless of whether you believe that face-to-face conversations are a better means of communication or not, if you truly believe that social media interactions are worthless, either shut up about it online, or post your cynical comment and publicly acknowledge that you are a hypocrite. Because that is what you are if you are if you are using social media to preach the pointlessness of social media.

This phenomenon is nothing more than Cynicism and Pessimism dressed up as “realism.” What these people are REALLY saying is that no one has ever changed THEIR mind through an internet interaction or an online conversation, and so they can’t imagine the sort of mind who might let another person cause them to reexamine their own firmly-held beliefs. We all get that YOU, PWBNOECAEMOTI, have lost any hope of changing anyone else’s mind… What we DON’T get is why you feel compelled to proselytize your gospel of cynicism to US. Anyone wanting to find a reason to be cynical need only look at the news. We are living in a world where 62 million people actually voted for Donald Trump. We are living in a world where a political contest between a spineless shill like Ted Cruz and an eloquent person of integrity and character like Beto O’Rourke is actually a CLOSE RACE. We are living in a world where this the world’s journalists are forced to act like THIS NATIONAL EMBARRASSMENT isn’t a complete moron. Cynicism sells itself right now. Go sell your hopelessness somewhere else… I’m trying to quit.

 

Part of the reason I wrote this is because I regularly run into people who are trying to change people’s minds by convincing them that no one ever changes anyone’s mind, and I wanted something I could post the next time I encounter them online. Feel free to use it yourself. Also, if you value the stuff I write, and you want to support it, you can BECOME A PATRON. It’s fun and easy. Or you can LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL. That’s easy and sort of fun? Otherwise, just keep in touch on Facebook or on Twitter. Please stay brave, stay strong, and stay hopeful… Meanwhile, here is another GOOD THING TO READ.

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