Category Archives: My (largely correct) political views

PROTECT • RESIST • REACH OUT: a liberal manifesto … with beer and BBQ.

In these Trumpist times, we liberals have three essential tasks.  Spoiler alert:  I propose we all come together at a “table of brotherhood” — possibly including BBQ and beer — to appreciate the important things liberals can do to save our country and its people.

PROTECT • RESIST •  REACH OUT

PROTECT

Protect individuals and groups under attack by the new administration and its fellow travelers.  Whether through lawsuits challenging discrimination and harassment, representation of immigrants, trans* people, and others seeking to secure their rights, or simply standing up to bullies and showing solidarity with their targets, we need to protect our brothers/sisters/siblings from this administration.

RESIST 

Resist the legislation, policies, and nominees who threaten civil society.  Call your congresspeople and tell them Sessions, Bannon, and other regressive choices are unacceptable.  Prepare to work with agencies largely hostile to civil rights, the social safety net, the environment, and other important values and policies.

REACH OUT 

Reach out to marginalized populations whose sense of hopelessness or despair led them to vote for Trump.  I’m not suggesting we reconcile with racism, sexism, ableism, or homophobia.  Instead, we need to reach out to people — yes, poor white people — who are feeling so desperate that they were willing to believe Trump would bring positive change to their lives.  People who rely on Obamacare, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, or food stamps, and yet voted for Trump.  People who have lost their jobs and are under the impression that Trump will bring them back.  These people are going to suffer over the next four years and we need an organized effort to not only protect them (see Item 1) but to let them know that Democrats and liberals are on their side.  My friend Carrie Lucas said it best:  we need to take credit for the things that are helping people.  We also need to be able to convey the ways that the GOP Congress and GOP governors made their lives miserable enough to make Trump attractive.

And we need to do all of this with a deep layer of mutual respect.  One of Trump’s most successful lines was that he opposed “political correctness.”  I personally hate that, because what I hear is opposition to attempts to be civil to traditionally oppressed people. For many folks outside the coastal/urban bubble — even many who are not themselves “ists” of any sort — “political correctness” has come to stand not just for the caricature of having to use specific words for specific groups of people, but for the entire perceived message from elites that they’re doing it wrong, that is, the class divide in a two-word catch phrase.  Everything from “you’re not supposed to say ‘homosexual’ or ‘handicapped’ anymore,” to “you’re feeding your kids the wrong things and I can’t get a decent cup of coffee for miles.”

We need to formulate, promote, and distribute widely a plan to save America from Trumpism — and elect Democrats in 2018 and 2020 — that can be quickly and easily conveyed and understood.  And then we need to convey it respectfully, compassionately, human to human; to to reach outside, drive outside, roll outside, get outside our coastal/urban bubble, connect with people, and talk about these important things.

Here’s the platform:

  • Mutual respect.
  • Medicaid for all.
  • Massive investment in public education including vocational education.
  • Free community college.
  • Higher minimum wage.
  • Sensible gun laws that treat guns like cars:  readily available if licensed and trained.
  • Progressive income tax and social security tax.
  • Sentencing reform focused on drug and mental health treatment and education toward successful release.
  • What else, policy wonks?

Let’s talk about these important points over BBQ and beer.  Not kidding.  My plan needs unifying food and drink.  An army of Democratic-sponsored food trucks.  It was no coincidence that Martin Luther King spoke of us “sitting down together at a table of brotherhood.”  I see a plan starting to come together.  Step 1:  the Democratic party adopts my platform; Step 2:  food trucks.  Who’s in?

 

Taking Trump voters’ concerns seriously, or, conservative thundershirt.

A recent article in Vox,  Taking Trump voters’ concerns seriously means listening to what they’re actually saying, ends where we need to begin.  It makes a very strong case for the proposition that Trump voters are not — as a matter of demographic fact — poor whites pushed to the economic edge by globalization or immigration.   They tend to be more affluent than Democrats, and were approximately the same as Cruz voters.

Trump voters aren’t economically fragile; they are angry, insecure white people.  The article concludes:

What’s needed is an honest reckoning with what it means that a large segment of the US population, large enough to capture one of the two major political parties, is motivated primarily by white nationalism and an anxiety over the fast-changing demographics of the country.

Yes, exactly.  But how do we do that?  We are not going to civilize this part of our population by telling them that they are anxious, evil, wrong-thinking racists.  (OK, of course, that’s what I’m doing here.  But I’m assuming no one reads this blog, especially anxious racists.)

What we need is something like an anxious white-person Thundershirt (TM), which works very well to calm our dogs when they start barking wildly at nonexistent things that freak them out.

(Image: brown and white beagle wearing a tight grey vest around its torso.

If that doesn’t work — or if anxious white people refuse to strap themselves into a tight, gray, felt-and-Velcro contraption — we need some hard thinking about how to make them feel like they belong in the multi-racial, progressive society we are on track to becoming.  Obviously, pandering to fear and racism is not the answer.  Nor is it appropriate to demand that the targets of Trumpist hatred (blacks, Muslims, people with disabilities, immigrants, women, anyone with a shred of decency) take on the task of being teachers, hand-holders, reach-outters, or kum-ba-yah singers for precisely the folks who are currently treating them like crap.

What, then?  How to raise the dialog, create an inclusive environment, and bring the Trumpists along with us?  This will be especially necessary after the election should Clinton win.  They will be even angrier, barking at even more outlandish imagined conspiracies.

This is a very real question that desperately needs an answer.

Mother Jones: I Spent 5 Years With Some of Trump’s Biggest Fans. Here’s What They Won’t Tell You.

The deep story was a feels-as-if-it’s-true story, stripped of facts and judgments, that reflected the feelings underpinning opinions and votes. It was a story of unfairness and anxiety, stagnation and slippage—a story in which shame was the companion to need.

. . .

We may never know if Trump has done this intentionally or instinctively, but in any case he’s created a movement much like the anti-immigrant but pro-welfare-state right-wing populism on the rise in Europe. For these are all based on variations of the same Deep Story of personal protectionism.

My sense is that we should not be making fun of Trump voters.  I depart from Elizabeth Warren on this.  If we are going to be stronger together, we need to include these folks — not by pandering to their fears and prejudices but by respecting them as people (if not their views) and figuring out how to build a future that includes them.

Source: I Spent 5 Years With Some of Trump’s Biggest Fans. Here’s What They Won’t Tell You. | Mother Jones

If people stopped throwing things away, this would lead to less anxiety for garbage collectors, who are only trying to do their job.

{Image: Clip from facebook. Post says, "Shaun King: Introducing a 25-part series on reducing police brutality. Solutions. Solutions. Solutions. Solutions. Solutions." A comment below the post, by "Robert McGrath," reads "how about people stop breaking the law. this might in turn lead to less anxiety for the police who are only trying to do their job. but then again its easier being the victim than it is admitting more could be done from the american people themselves..."

how about people stop breaking the law. this might in turn lead to less anxiety for the police who are only trying to do their job.

If people stopped breaking the law, there would be no job for the police to do.

It is their job to deal with law-breakers.  Preferably non-lethally.  The problem arises when they (demonstrably) deal with similarly-situated law-breakers breaking similar laws (CD/cigarette sales; traffic violations) or similarly-situated citizens not breaking any damn laws at all (driving with a legal concealed-carry permit; being a behavioral therapist trying to prevent harm to a client) based (demonstrably) on the color of their skin or their disability.

“They were breaking the law” is not an excuse for the unequal application of lethal or even non-lethal force by the police.  “Do your damn job,” is the appropriate response to this excuse.

I get that it is a hard and dangerous job, and I deeply respect the good people who have stepped up to do it.  But it is a job in which we as a society trust you and give you  — yes, give you; it’s not yours without the badge that we give you — the right to use force when appropriate.  If you’re not up for doing that fairly — regardless of how brave or heroic you may be — it is not the job for you.  Take your biases to a job where they are less likely to cause physical harm and death.

45 C.F.R. § 92.4; or yes, there is a difference between the parties.

For any Bernieite or other lefty grumbling that there’s really no difference between the parties, I hereby present section 92.4 of the implementing regulations of section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:

On the basis of sex includes, but is not limited to, discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, or recovery therefrom, childbirth or related medical conditions, sex stereotyping, and gender identity.

Sex stereotypes means stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity, including expectations of how individuals represent or communicate their gender to others, such as behavior, clothing, hairstyles, activities, voice, mannerisms, or body characteristics. These stereotypes can include the expectation that individuals will consistently identify with only one gender and that they will act in conformity with the gender-related expressions stereotypically associated with that gender. Sex stereotypes also include gendered expectations related to the appropriate roles of a certain sex.

Boom.  Now go forth and proudly vote for Democrats, up and down the ticket.  Because there is a difference.  A real difference.

 

School Policy Says It Can Kick Out Students With Gay Parents

Given the debate and confusion in our society about marriage and human sexuality it is vital that Trinity families agree with and support the school’s traditional, Christian understanding of those issues.  Therefore, when the atmosphere or conduct within a particular home is counter to the school’s understanding of a biblical lifestyle, including the practice or promotion of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) lifestyle or alternative gender identity, the school should have the right, in its sole discretion, to deny the admission of an applicant or discontinue enrollment of a current student.

Source: School Policy Says It Can Kick Out Students With Gay Parents | ThinkProgress

Waiting to hear how they’ll handle adultery, swearing, mouthing off to mom and dad, lying, and coveting thy neighbor’s fancy new electronic devices.

Who’s ‘They’? – The New York Times

From last Sunday’s NYT Magazine, called “Who’s They” online and “Multiple Choice” in the dead trees edition:

In December, the Post copy editor Bill Walsh called “they” “the only sensible solution to English’s lack of a gender-neutral third-person singular personal pronoun,” with “sensible” being the key word. The singular “they” gained favor with The Post’s standard-bearer partly because the presumptive “he” “hasn’t been palatable for decades,” but also because a generic “she” feels “patronizing” and “attempts at made-up pronouns” — like “xe,” “xim,” and “xir” — strike Walsh as “silly.”

But then, ten years ago, wouldn’t we have thought “text” as a verb or “blog” as any sort of word at all were silly?   How about “tweet”?   Or earlier, “fax”?  “Email”?

Xe, xim, and xir maybe new, unfamiliar, not-yet-widely-adopted, or (is it just me?) hard to pronounce, but they are not silly.

Asshole.*

***************

* Widely-adopted pronoun indicating (among others things) an arrogant, misguided fool.  Example: “Hey, asshole, take a sec to think about the fact that you sound like a cis-privileged old fart before you publish.”