If voicing your reasonable, substantiated concerns about a person’s reliability to fairly and equally safeguard the rights of American citizens is cause to be silenced and dismissed, we’ve got big problems.

We need to ask ourselves why engaging in a pattern of racist (etc) oppression is not grounds for immediate dismissal, but pointing out such a pattern is.

We need to ask ourselves why, in an established tradition of reading letters into the record, a woman was not allowed to do so, yet men read from the same letter later that same day and this was considered perfectly fine.

Respectability Politics & Tone Policing

I have issues with this article.

Of course you don’t want to give the police an excuse to arrest you or brutalize you, or the media an incident to plaster all over the news, or DJT’s team a way to leverage against you. However, simply being an upstanding law-abiding patriotic-as-hell citizen won’t guarantee anything. Excuses and incidents are easy to manufacture and have always been manufactured. And seriously, since when has DJT been limited to truth or reality when attacking people?

I’m REALLY gonna push back on the “tone policing” bit. The reason people/politicians don’t listen to protestors has nothing to do with presentation. It’s not because protestors are too loud, too unruly, too rude, too angry, too anything. It’s because people/politicians *don’t want to hear*. They don’t want to change anything. They LIKE it like this. They want you to sit down and shut up. Being “nice” and “polite” might get you a polite not-listen before you are dismissed, AT BEST.

Pure bullshit has been authored from thin air, delivered in the most offensive manner possible, and still been whole-heartedly accepted by those who *wanted it to be true*. Even proven to be false, people still believed it, because they *wanted* to. That uncle who listens to Rush Limbaugh? It doesn’t matter how you say it, if it isn’t what he wants to hear, he ain’t listening. But whatever Trump says is gold.

As far as getting DJT’s team to listen- this is the man who calls federal “so-called” judges “disgraceful” when they don’t automatically cave to his demands. (That’s the only “nice” way to get him to listen to you, btw: fawn over him and cave to his demands.)

You know who is listening to the protests? Possibly? Congress. They sure as hell aren’t liable to do anything otherwise; they are BARELY taking action even with all the marches and letters and daily phone calls. Protests didn’t stop the Iraqi war, no. But they did take the country from a place where the media _would_NOT_ question the war in any way, shape, or form and absolutely nobody was allowed to speak negatively (or give nonsupportive facts) about the war, lest they be deemed unpatriotic and an enemy of America, to a place where open, realistic discussion and analysis about the war was taking place without censorship and where Congress was standing up to the president in that regard. Which would NOT have happened otherwise.

As for that bit about who should be marching, yes, I’d love for it to be more inclusive. I’d love for women police officers to have been up there. It wasn’t because they would have been rejected by the march organizers. If they didn’t show, it’s because they rejected the march. That’s on THEM.

And hell yeah Angela Davis was there at the Women’s March. Have you heard her speak? Her message is important, people. Hell yeah Angela Davis was there.  Why would she NOT be at a Women’s March???

I absolutely refuse to bow to respectability politics: no sex workers in the pride parade, no poor people in ragged clothes in the worker’s march, nobody with prior convictions in the civil rights march. Only respectable people! You know, white cis hetero middle class Christian men, or their really cute and well-trained pet women. We can’t have those OTHER people. Who would listen to us then??? = Nobody should listen to those others because they’re not real (they are lesser) people, there’s no need or reason to listen to them, their experiences and voices and lives and outcomes don’t matter (at all, or at least not as much as “ours”).


If they refuse to hear us, IT’S ON THEM. They are the ones who don’t care about us, what we say, what we need, what we’re doing. They are the ones who only listen to people who agree with them. (We should be careful not to do the same, of course.)

We’re ALREADY real, patriotic Americans. We don’t have to look only a certain accepted way for that to be true.

We need to speak the language of the opposition because why? Why do we need to cater to the language of the people who are by definition not listening to us? How is using words with twisted meanings (identity politics, politically correct, alternate facts, fake news) not reinforcing those twisted meanings and, by implication, their insinuated barbs against us? How is allowing the opposition to control and manipulate the dialogue NOT playing into their hands?

Why do we need to accept their criticisms as reality when they are not? Why do we need to defang our (potentially offensive) criticisms of them when they are perfectly valid?  Why do we need to accept their worldview and validate it for them? ESPECIALLY when validating THEIR worldview necessarily invalidates our own???

Sure, marching won’t solve all problems. Sure, marching can be problematic. In fact, I thought this article was going to talk about other means of resistance. You know, general strikes? Refusing to pay taxes? Boycotts, voting in local and state elections as well as turning out in droves to vote on who goes back to Congress next time, calling representatives? How to run for office yourself? How to frame and engage with news stories? How to catch up on history lessons, fact checking, how to spot bullshit?

I mean, anything?  Though they did mention serving cake…. at a strategy meeting, I assume.  What exactly are we strategizing about?  Passing laws?  First off, laws take years to pass.  Years.  Secondly, I can call my reps and tell them I support this bill, but I can’t write the legislation nor arrange meetings promoting bipartisan support for it nor pass any bill.  I’m not Congress.  So… what are we doing besides taking names and eating cake?

I’d rather not be rude about it either. I’d much rather be respectful.  But if the opposition gets to define what “rude” and “respectful” are, that’s problematic and fundamentally unacceptable. Because then you end up with “rude/disrespectful” meaning anything that might harm their fragile egos: If you say repealing the ACA will leave you without insurance and your life-threatening condition will kill you, or if you point out a pattern of chosen engagement in racist practices and how that threatens the rights of other Americans, or if you argue that one needs clean air and water to live so please don’t take it away from you, then you’re accusing them of being heartless monsters.  You’re outrageously attacking them. You shouldn’t make them feel so bad and impugn their characters like that. And because of this, you and your concerns are silenced and dismissed.

And then again, it’s not only incredibly easy but also historically prevalent for the opposition to pay people (or send professionals) to infiltrate a march, rally, etc and be rude, violent, aggressive, destructive, ridiculous, etc. It doesn’t matter how well-behaved you are if people slip in among you and purposefully start a riot. Or start throwing bombs. (Haymarket, anyone?)

The bottom line is that there is no way to win at respectability politics because unless they agree with you, they will find a way to render you disrespectful in their eyes.

Trump could just say: “Protesters declare war on real Americans. Sad.” And people would believe it.*

You’ll never be good/respectable/acceptable/normal enough.

There is no way to win that game.**


*I am not trying to be funny.  That’s not funny.  It’s not a joke.  It’s horrifying and yes I could make it more realistic but why would I want to do that?  It’s already horrifying enough.

**And more than this, I do not care if they are offended.  If they are acting like fascists, and I call them on it, I do not care if they are offended by that.  THEY ARE ACTING LIKE FASCISTS; I DO NOT CARE ABOUT HURTING THE POOR FASCISTS’ FEELINGS.  I care about my country, my democracy, my rights, my very life here!  PRIORITIES, PEOPLE.

There is absolutely positively NOTHING reasonable about being nice when fascists are taking over your country.  Sometimes the only reasonable thing to do is to unconditionally and in no uncertain terms whatsoever REJECT unacceptable behavior.   This is going to involve making some noise.


“Identity Politics”

“Identity politics” means acknowledging that politics also rightly concerns people who don’t identify as white cis heteronormative straight ablebodied neurotypical Christian AngloAmerican upperclass men.

“Identity politics” is about listening to, respecting, and honoring all members of society.

So, no, that didn’t weaken any party, it didn’t lose any elections, and it’s not going away.

STOP LETTING PEOPLE SCREW WITH LANGUAGE.  When non-conservatives respond to a conservative attack on “identity politics” or “political correctness” without calling them on the absolute FARCE of a definition and the implications that are inherent in such terminology- but instead USE and even (swiftly! oh, so swiftly!) CO-OPT the words for their own arguments- you know, to show how fair and liberal they are-  People, that is letting the conservatives (the ones using such tactics) REDEFINE reality, the “right” way to think and talk about things, and also what things are “right” to think and talk about in the first place.

THAT IS WHAT WHITE MEN DO.  That is what they have always done.  They define the game, they define the rules, they define who gets to play, and if you LET THEM DO THAT, then they win.

Call out bullshit when you see it.  Or hear it.  Or whatever.





“lame and irritating”

I keep seeing a lot of liberal posts and I have a question to my conservative friends.

Do you understand now how lame and irritating you sounded over the last eight years?

If not, then you deserve the next four years (at least).

When white people claim their rights are under attack because they’re not being allowed to oppress nonwhite people

and Christians claim their rights are under attack because they’re not being allowed to oppress nonChristians

and men claim their rights are under attack because they’re not being allowed to oppress nonmen

that is NOT THE SAME (and should not be treated the same!) as when a minority group claims they are under attack because their fundamental human rights are being ignored or outright taken away from them.

Nobody has the right to oppress anybody else. Your fundamental human rights do not include the right to ignore anyone else’s fundamental human rights. Pitching a fit and causing a scene to play up how you are being “attacked” for being held to a social contract wherein you are required to treat other humans as actual humans insults people who are being actually attacked. Treating these scenes as newsworthy and respectable undermines the stories and voices of those who actually need to be heard.

Treating people who are, in fact, in danger of being stripped of their human rights (and possibly their lives) as if they are whiny crybabies for crying out against such treatment and calling out for help is. absolute. bullshit. and the ultimate hypocrisy.

white Christian (etc) men: ohhh the world is ending because I am still better off than everyone else in the world but I have to play fairly for once in my life

also white Christian (etc) men: ohhh the poor babies can’t stand losing their rights to healthcare and education and free press and jobs boo hoo they can’t stand being shot by the police and sexually assaulted and lynched what a bunch of snowflakes

easy targets

there are those who will tell you that treating a child with respect and acknowledging that their rights are as valid as our own is spoiling them. there are those that say children should mindlessly obey adults and authority figures no matter what, or else those kids are disrespectful little brats.

these are usually the same people who publicly share stories in which they mock and humiliate their own children for some perceived failing in a way that makes the parent seem clever and powerful and strokes their adult egos, and thus teaches the children that it’s okay to humiliate and belittle disadvantaged people to puff your own self up, to call that “love”, and also that that’s the only “love” they are worthy of, while proclaiming the lesson is actually about “respect”.

there is no reason to listen to anything these people say.

Throwback Thursday- if the sky fell

For Claudia
and for Lisa, who said, if the sky fell, it would only rise again.

Apr 7, 2011

I stumbled over it one morning
in my bare feet and
pajamas, sprawling-
the drink on the night stand
overturned, dripping.
the cat nonchalant
as if she knew it would happen.
only I could possibly
trip over the sky.

We buried it in the backyard.
the way it folded up
and fit into a shoebox
was no less disconcerting than
the way it had fallen,
left nothing behind,
or the way ordinary dirt covered
it up and crab grass
tried to grow there.

All this time all our concern
had been focused on
things below us and
what would happen if the
bottom fell out and
we fell out of power.
so much time wasted on
watching our own
feet, and still tripping.

I think Up has our attention
now. it is all I think
about. not feet but
wings, and never mind that
humans fly like doves
confused by traffic
lights. still we shall have to
rise up and put in
a new sky

only light can drive out the darkness; and where you tend a rose, a thistle cannot grow

When we give so much publicity to what we don’t want, we actually make that stronger. If all we say is “No to Brexit/ Trump/ Bannon/ Sessions/ Tillerman/ etc”, that’s ineffectual. In fact, it’s reinforcing and normalizing the very things that are causing our horrified reactions. Even just saying “No to hate” is a mistaken strategy.

The human brain just throws out the word “no” and “not” when it comes to self-talk. If you tell yourself, “no more smoking for me”, that ends up being “more smoking for me”. And even if you are some incredibly enlightened being who consciously scrutinizes your own every thought, even a cleverly worded smoking-cessation mantra still winds up with you thinking about smoking all the time. Ok, you don’t want to smoke anymore. At some point you must ask yourself, what do you want to be doing? You must focus on THAT.

Really, when we say “no” to something, it’s kind of a “name and shame” thing. Calling out California’s infamous Proposition 8 as hateful (“No to 8; No to Hate”) didn’t stop it from passing. “Naming and shaming” isn’t the most robust strategy, imho. The people who support (Brexit, Trump, Proposition 8) usually react by rejecting your assessment (“we’re not hateful, we’re protecting families”) no matter how they have to reorder the universe to ease their cognitive dissonance (this is often an unconscious psychological defense). Some simply aren’t shamed by your assessment (“yes I hate gays and so does God”). It all seems ineffectual, plus somewhat lazy. It’s easy to say “no” and offer no solutions (and get ignored). You have to offer up an alternative plan or path.

Instead of “No to Hate”, how about “Marriage is a civil right”? Instead of “No to Tillerman”, how about “Rachel Carson for EPA head”? Instead of swamping urban media with stories of how the white working class got left behind and got revenge (ie, what went wrong), how about publishing more stories in rural newspapers about how urban people of color are also working class and they’re struggling as well and how to support a united effort for better outcomes for everyone?

So our long-range plan is still strengthening civil rights for everyone, regardless of class, race, sex, gender, age, ability, non/theistic beliefs, etc, right? (This was our plan all along, right?) Let’s get working on an equal rights amendment to the constitution. Did you know that women are not guaranteed equal rights under the constitution even now? And that’s cisheteronormative women. Couldn’t get enough states to ratify the amendment in 1982. Seriously. So whaddya say we take that amendment out, dust it off, add a few more people (everybody) to the list? Maybe catch up with the United Nations and all that? I’m not exactly the lawyer type, and legislation isn’t everything, but if equal rights aren’t a legally-enforcable expectation by now then we have got some serious work to do.

Something that is more in my line (as far as personal life work goes) is establishing universal preschool (plus before and after school) care, as well as educational reform. I was quite disturbed to know that at the public schools here the children are expected, at recess, to freeze in place when they hear one bell, sit on the ground exactly where they are, and when two bells ring they are to line up in front of their classrooms for further instruction (which they must immediately obey). Authoritarianism much? So it’s not just effective inclusion of all students regardless of genders/races/abilities, reinvigorating the curriculum (fact-based science, nonexclusive history and literature, consumer education, etc etc), teaching to instill a life-long love of learning instead of to memorize facts and tricks/ eliminating unnecessary testing, and bringing back arts, music, and languages to the classrooms (along with a heftier budget and pay for teachers), etc. We need to be teaching respect, compassion, community, self-worth, self-reliance, and how to question authority- in part by practicing all these things in all our dealings with children (and others). These areas need reform in teacher education, doctor education, all college education. This we can start teaching, supporting, and expecting of others and ourselves now.

This, and more, we must do now. I’m sure this is just continuing much of what we are already doing. But we must continue to do it. We must not be thrown off course or distracted. (We must stay safe- stay alive- while we do all this, but we must continue. Me not feeling safe doesn’t mean I stopped thinking I needed to do this- quite the opposite.)

We must fight against the present troubles, but we must grow a new future to take its place as well. Raising up a new world is the most important work of all.