What Everybody Believes, in 140 Characters

Conservatives: This is as good as it gets and we must keep things the way they are because any attempt to improve things will only mess them up.

Reactionaries: Things were so much better 50 years ago, before they got all messed up. We must do everything in our power to go back to those days.

Progressives: Things are really messed up for the majority of people and we should do everything in our power to improve things for everyone everywhere.

Moderates: We need to convene a bipartisan committee to look into the state of things and determine whether anything is messed up.

White Supremacists: Things were so much better when White people ruled the world, and everything would be so much better if White people ran everything (see also Reactionaries).

Neoliberals: Things were so much better before the state came along and messed everything up. Things would be so much better if everything was privately owned and run as a for-profit enterprise.

Old-School GOP: Things are messed up because big government keeps taxing and regulating small businesses, which keeps the average man from getting rich.

Trump’s GOP: Things are messed up because of Mexicans, Muslims, trans people, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib.

Mainstream Democrats/DLC: Things are not really messed up for the most part but we should all be making more of an effort to be nicer to the Republicans.

Evangelical Christians: Things are totally messed up but that’s ok because Jesus is on his way and he’s going to make everything better. Right after he sends all the Jews, lesbians, environmentalists, and vegetarians to hell.

Second Amendment Defenders: Things would be a lot more messed up if we didn’t have our guns. You want things to get a whole lot more messed up, try taking our guns.

Environmentalists/Conservationists: @#$&*#$@!!!!!!!

The tortured logic of blaming migrant parents

The tortured logic of blaming migrant parents

Thought experiment.

Let’s say I’m biking home one evening, and I see a box on the side of the road. My curiosity is piqued and I stop to examine its contents. I discover six abandoned kittens inside. Overcome with joy, I take the kittens home in the box in which I found them. Over the next few weeks, I delight myself by torturing, starving, ignoring, neglecting, and otherwise mistreating them. When my roommates discover what I am doing, they are outraged and call me a monster. A couple of them say they’re going to move out. One of them calls the SPCA and reports me.

I cannot understand their reactions. After all, if those kittens didn’t want to be abused, they shouldn’t have been abandoned in a box where I could find them. Whoever left them in that box on the side of the road is responsible for me torturing them. Otherwise, why would they have left them in a box for me to find?

… if those kittens didn’t want to be abused, they shouldn’t have been abandoned in a box where I could find them. Whoever left them in that box on the side of the road is responsible ….

If you have continued to read this far, congratulations. Now you see the fucked up and twisted logic driving the people who say that the parents of migrant children are to blame for the suffering they are enduring at the hands of CPB. They’re quick to tell us that it’s the parents’ fault, that they should not have brought them to the border. As though the USA is a known torturer of children, and those parents knowingly brought their children here to be tortured.

But all the parents did was travel to our border with their children. Whatever might have happened to those kids on the way, that’s on the parents. But everything that happens to them once they’re in CPB custody, that’s on CPB. And if we don’t denounce it in the strongest terms, then it’s on us too.

#cpb #KidsInCages #ImmigrationCrisis #immigration #BorderPatrol #bordercrisis #BORDERNEWS #border #crisisontheborder #ResistTogether #AbolishICEandCBP #AbolishICE

How to talk like a conservative in 11 easy steps

  1. Announce loudly and frequently that everything is perfect just the way it is. This lets people know that you have a sharp mind and a keen understanding of human progress. (Bonus: if you also happen to be rich, white, male, Christian, heterosexual, cis-gendered, and native born, odds are high that your life is actually perfect, or at least pretty good).
  2. Vehemently deny that society’s values, norms, priorities, and preferences are man-made and therefore subject to change. Speak in binary terms and simplistic polarities—good and evil, man and woman, boys and girls, Black and White, foreign and American, hardworking and lazy, smart or stupid. This signals that you are familiar with contemporary philosophy. Also, avoid nuance like the plague. Being nanced means you recognize that more than one thing can be true at the same time, and this will make people doubt the staunchness of your beliefs. Who wants to deal with multiple truths anyway?
  1. To show off just how educated you are, find and refer frequently to any old text, preferably one that was written hundreds or thousands of years ago – the older, the better – by people whose culture could not have been more different from your own. If you happen to be an American Christian, the Old Testament of the Hebrew Bible is a good choice—especially the story of the Great Flood in Genesis. Quote from Leviticus when you want to show how much you hate gay people.
  2. Remember, anyone who says things are not perfect is: a lazy grifter looking for a handout; a communist/terrorist who hates America; a Mexican who wants to steal American jobs; a lesbian vegan hell-bent on destroying the economy … or a combination of some or all of the above. Miss no opportunity to let them know this.
  3. If by chance things are not actually perfect for you – maybe you are going through a period of hardship – not to worry. Simply blame one or more (or even all!) of the following for your hardship: minorities who prefer to live off welfare instead of working; illegal immigrants stealing jobs from hardworking Americans; sexually active women of reproductive age; liberals who are destroying the moral fabric of society with their movies, music, and TV programs. If you recently got out of a relationship, it’s probably because your ex met a nice Muslim. And if you recently lost your job, you were probably replaced by a foreigner.
  4. Always look for an opportunity to comment on how crazy the world is because you can no longer tell who’s a man and who’s a woman. This lets people know that you are not a raging bigot who is totally obsessed with how others live their truth. Instead, it will help them understand that you are just genuinely confused about why people never make the choices you want them to make.
  5. For greater efficiency, it is also acceptable to use the names of entire racial, ethnic, religious, national, social, or cultural groups to issue blanket statements about who is to blame for your life (or country) being less than perfect. For greater impact and to convey the real depth of your feeling, remember to use “the” when naming these groups that have made your life (or country) less than perfect—the gays, the Jews, the media. Extra points can be scored by using combinations, such as the Jewish media. If you are the squeamish type, or find yourself in polite company, the following euphemisms may be used as needed: urban; welfare queens; elites; globalists; unions; thugs; Democrats; rap music; aliens; loose women; orientals; liberals; foreigners; Hollywood types.
  6. Under no condition are you to concede the existence of the following: wealth disparity; inequality of any kind; the corrupting effect of money on politics; global climate change; human rights; trauma; women’s rights (or rights for any group to which you do not belong); the possibility of change. Doing so is a sign of weakness and will give the impression that you enjoy reading books, eating kale, and spending time with your children.
  7. Occasionally, you may find yourself without the upper hand. Maybe you were at your friend’s barbecue and foolishly decided to debate the influence of dialectical materialism on mid-century Czech cinema with that good-looking Wellesley grad. Or perhaps you were just trying to hook up with that attractive vegan activist at your local coffee shop. Do not panic. Simply repeat any of the following: human nature is basically greedy/racist/sexist/homophobic/xenophobic (select the appropriate attribute[s] for the topic); nothing can be done to change God’s will; things have always been this way and will always remain so; I just want to take care of my family; America is the greatest country in the world; capitalism is the best economic system ever; I just don’t trust the government. Flashcards may be used until these statements are committed to memory.
  8. Whenever possible, blame the victim. If people get hurt or suffer injustice or misfortune, always try to find a way to blame them. Remember, poor people are poor because they are dumb or lazy. Maybe even both. Sometimes they are also Black. Or Hispanic. Also, see if people’s choices can be blamed for their misfortune. Unarmed victims of police shootings should have stayed home that day. Unless they were killed in their own homes, in which case they should have gone out. And remember, anyone who ever smoked pot or was arrested for any reason at any prior point in their life deserves to be killed by police at any future date and for any – or no – reason at all.
  9. If you are unable to find ways to blame people for their misfortune – like when someone has cancer or a school is shot up – just say it’s part of God’s plan or share some other profound cliche. Never forget to offer thoughts and prayers. That is literally the least you can do.

Follow these simple steps and you’ll be talking like a conservative in no time. Remember, practice makes perfect. Be sure to follow these pointers in every conversation. Don’t get frustrated and give up if you have followed all these steps and your conversational partner is still there. Just start over at No. 1 and keep going. It’s only a matter of time before your message gets through. Never forget, the more people you tell these things – and the more often you tell them – the sooner they will become true.

Why you don’t get a straight pride parade just for being straight

But … why can’t *WE* have a straight pride parade?

Well, I’ll tell you why. You don’t deserve one, that’s why! Because if all you’ve ever done is simply exist – in your cis-gender body with your societally normative opposite-sex attraction – then you have not earned the right to a parade! You can be as proud as you want to be about being straight or cis but until you have experienced oppression, until you have been made to feel less – less human, less moral, less clean, less worthy of love, less deserving of safety, less entitled to the basic security and dignity to which all human beings are entitled – do not talk to me about straight pride!

Unless you have experienced the daily micro-aggressions of a bigoted society that despises you for being different, that detests you for things over which you have zero control, that resents you for daring to be open about who you truly are, you have not earned a parade. Until you know how it feels to have laws passed to regulate your body, to limit your professional growth, to restrict where you can live and work and with whom you can fall in love, you do not get a parade.

Until you can honestly look yourself in the mirror and say, truthhfully, how cruel and unjust the world is for treating you so badly because of how you were born, you do not get a parade. Until you have told yourself for the millionth time that you will not let this cruel and hateful world break you down, you have not earned the right to a parade.

When you have survived a hate crime, when you have lost friends to “gay panic,” then you will have earned the right to a parade. But until you have been evicted, or fired, or denied a job for no reason other than who you are, you do not get a parade.

When you have chosen to not kill yourself after your community ostracized you, then you will have earned the right to a parade. When you forgive your parents for choosing their religion over you, for forcing you to choose homelessness over the closet they keep open for you in their house, then you can have your pride parade.

You clearly do not understand that pride is about more than being gay or bi or trans or intersex or asexual. Pride is about surviving the prejudice, the bigotry, the scorn, the toxic shame that society has heaped on you for being different—and for daring to be okay with it. Pride is about surviving the worst that a cruel and unjust world has thrown at you, about falling down and getting back up, about living to fight another day. Most importantly, pride is about striving to be your best self in the face of a world that questions your very right to exist.

So you, straight cis person, you do not get a parade just because you won the lottery of birth by being born straight and/or cis. You do not get a parade simply for being normative. Besides being straight, what else have you done to deserve a parade? Are you uplifting your community by living your truth? Are you helping others like you to build a safe community in which they can be accepted for who they are? If you are, good for you! And if you’re not, are you just coasting on your straightness and expecting a parade?

If that’s the case, I’m sorry but you do not get a parade. Period. If all you’ve ever achieved is mere existence as a normative member of your society, then you have no idea what life is like for those who do not fit the mold. You have no idea what survival is because you have no idea what it means to be oppressed because of who you are. If you really understood oppression, if you knew how it feels to survive in spite of being detested by your society, you would never ask a question as stupid as why we can’t have a straight pride parade.

Solidarity in the Face of the Unthinkable

​I can say with some degree of confidence that Hillary Rodham Clinton will carry DC on Tuesday. I wish I could say with the same degree of confidence that the same will happen on the national level. But I can’t. Instead I feel helpless and paralyzed with anxiety, terrified that my worst fears about America’s destructive potential – all-out fascism if I have to give it a name – might come to pass. Come to pass in spite of all my education, my studies, my desperate – and ultimately futile? – attempts to understand political systems and human behavior . . . as though that knowledge could somehow inoculate me from the inevitable. The inevitable fear not that the United States will become fascist but that the United States will revert to fascism. This is how it feels to be a minority in a country that has exercised unimaginable brutality against not one but two populations – one native, the other not – in the name of enriching a few families. This is how it feels to be a minority knowing that the circumstances of my life – like the lives of millions of other people of color – depends less on my own personal efforts and most on the mood of the majority. In this time of anxiety I am comforted by the fact that millions of White people – members of the numerical, political, and economic majority – are up in arms and out in force campaigning, advocating, canvassing to get out the vote and keep Donald Trump, the fascist candidate, out of the now-more-than-every-tragically-named White House. I have read about White women braving the anger and hatred of conservative male relatives, publicly denouncing and severing ties in full view of social media. People I know personally are driving up to Pennsylvania, a battleground state, for get-out-the-vote drives, and others are phone or text banking from their homes. Such solidarity might be the greatest and most lasting contribution of Donald Trump’s fascist campaign to American politicsys. His campaign has brought people of goodwill together in recognition that what Trump says about Mexicans, Muslims, women – to say nothing of his nomination of a rabidly anti-LGBT running mate – bodes ill for America. Bad not just for the groups he has vilified but for all Americans. My hope is that this close encounter with fascism – regardless of Tuesday’s results – will jolt us out of our politics-of-identity stupor into a greater awareness of our shared humanity, our shared destiny, and greater recognition that what is bad for some of us is bad for all of us.

Konfounding Kwestions for Konservatives

Why do you oppose big government but think it is OK for government to restrict a woman’s right to choose whether, when, why, and with whom to have a baby?

How can you be pro-life but support the death penalty?

How can you be against government spending but in favor of limitless military spending?

How can you advocate family values but oppose paid maternity leave?

How can you be against government intrusion into people’s private lives and also OK with mass surveillance?

Why do you say you support the troops when you have never met a war you opposed?

Why are you so mad that the country’s most impoverished people pay no income tax yet praise a billionaire for doing the same?

How is it that you shout about individual liberty but don’t see anything wrong with mass incarceration?

Why do you blame unemployed people for not having jobs yet complain about immigrants taking your job?

Why do you complain about low-wage jobs and no-wage jobs yet support politicians who destroy unions?

Why do you preach rugged individualism and personal responsibility to minorities but blame them for your lack of prosperity?

Why do you talk about how much you value hard work but fawn over billionaires who have never done any?

How can you support a war to free women in Afghanistan and threaten to rape any woman who challenges you on Twitter?

The 10 Commandments, According to Donald Trump

  1. You shall worship no-one but me because I am wonderful . . . incredible . . . believe me, I am amazing.
  2. All idols must show just how amazingly large my testicles are. Amazingly large.
  3. You shall mention my name as often as possible.
  4. Forget the Sabbath. Only lazy people need rest.
  5. Honor your father for the small loan that allowed you to start your business. Your mother was a real dog.
  6. You shall not murder, unless you are murdering Muslims or ugly women.
  7. You shall not commit adultery with pigs, slobs, or disgusting women, especially when they are bleeding from their whatevers.
  8. You shall only steal from honest, hardworking carpenters and laborers.
  9. You shall not miss an opportunity to bear false witness against your neighbor, especially if your neighbor is Mexican. Or a Syrian refugee.
  10. You shall covet everything  because there is a gaping void in your chest where your humanity once was.