PAT-BROWN

RIP 2016

Would y'all quit saying “2016 can’t possibly get any worse!” cause it’s taking it as a fucking challenge

Yesterday’s shadows can’t spoil today’s sunshine.
—  Mod Sun
8

LEGEND

The film tells the story of the identical twin gangsters Reggie and Ronnie Kray, two of the most notorious criminals in British history, and their organised crime empire in the East End of London during the 1960s.

I love watching people play this game, its so much fun!! Seriously, go check everyone out on their youtube channels (lordminion777, garuku bluemoon, patrckstatic, and jpw03)
and obligatory @lordminion who’s on tumblr!!! If ya see it, i hope you like it lol

A Tale of Two Americas

        Let’s play a little game I like to call “Two Americas.” I’ll start by describing two states in this great country of ours.

        State X is a leader in clean energy. In 2006, it passed landmark legislation requiring the state to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Residents of this state are automatically given the option to register to vote when they obtain a driver’s license or state-issued ID. There is no Voter ID law in State X, so residents face no barriers to voting. Transgender public school students are legally protected from discrimination and allowed to use bathrooms and locker rooms matching their gender identity. The governor just signed a law raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022, the first state in the nation to do so. As part of the Affordable Care Act, State X expanded Medicaid in 2013, allowing millions of people to finally obtain health insurance and treatment for their chronic medical conditions.

        Now let’s take a look at State Y. This state’s governor summed up his position on climate change as follows: “I don’t get caught up in the ‘quote’ global warming debate because I frankly think there are some things that are out of our control.” State Y recently passed HB 2, which forces transgender citizens to use public bathrooms matching their birth gender and bars cities and counties enacting non-discrimination policies protecting gay or transgender citizens. That same law prevents cities and counties from enacting a higher minimum wage than the state level of $7.25/hour. State Y requires women seeking an abortion to wait 72 hours, have an invasive and totally unnecessary ultrasound, and then have that private medical record sent to the state Department of Health and Human Services. The state has a strict photo ID law, meaning a resident who lacks the required ID will be denied their Constitutional right to vote. State Y chose not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, denying nearly 600,000 of its poorest residents a chance at health insurance.

        Now for the fun part. Can you guess which political party controls the legislature and governorship in State X, and which in State Y?

        Hopefully this isn’t too taxing. State X is California, led by Gov. Jerry Brown (D-CA) and featuring solid Democratic majorities in the state House and Senate. State Y is North Carolina, where Gov. Pat McCrory (R-NC) and the Republican-controlled legislature have a similar grip on power.

        The razor-sharp contrast between these two states is illustrative of a larger phenomenon in 2016 America. We are a country at a turbulent crossroads. Some would go as far as to say we risk coming apart at the seams. At a minimum, it seems there are two Americas waging a bitter battle over the future of the country.

One that wants to move into the future, another that is clinging with all its might to the past.

One that embraces a rapidly diversifying population, and one that views these changes as threats to the traditional American power structure.

One that welcomes people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, and one that yearns for a return to the days when LGBT citizens were forced into silence.

One that believes government can and should make life better for average Americans, and the other that believes government is the root of all evil and must be sabotaged at all costs.

One that welcomes all people to this country, and one that scapegoats undocumented immigrants and exploits xenophobia and Islamophobia for political gain.

One that recognizes the urgent threat of climate change and wants to break free from fossil fuels, and one that denies such a threat and places little if any value on the environment that we will leave behind.

These diametrically opposed visions for America helps explain why our modern politics has such a schizophrenic quality and why Congress is hopelessly deadlocked. For every progressive victory, there is a conservative backlash. When the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide last year, one may have hoped Republican leaders would take it as yet another cue that times had changed and they needed to be more inclusive to survive as a national party.

Instead, GOP legislatures across the south have doubled down on bigotry by passing a flurry of “religious freedom” bills allowing restaurants, bakers, and other businesses to refuse service to gay customers on religious grounds. It speaks of a party that is bent on subverting progress and clinging to a romanticized, Leave It To Beaver-era America that never really existed. Clearly, the GOP will have to be dragged into the 21st century kicking and screaming.

Nationally, the Republican Party is in deep trouble. Even with a full-scale voter suppression effort, the country’s changing demographics combined with the party’s rigidity and unpopularity among minorities are making it harder for a Republican to win the White House with each successive election.

On the state level, however, the Republican Party is thriving. They control 31 governorships and 31 state legislatures. Democrats control 18 and 7, respectively. So we end up with a Democratic president doing whatever he can to enact a progressive agenda, and many states in the country working furiously to undermine him at every turn.

Part of this imbalance stems from voter suppression. Part of it is caused by the obscene amounts of money the Koch brothers and their ilk pour into local, state, and federal elections. But the most important cause is the one for which Democrats and left-leaning voters themselves are to blame. Their turnout rates in midterm/off-year elections are abysmal, while Republicans are reliable voters in these elections. This led to massive losses for the Democrats in 2010 and 2014 and six years of gridlock, both in Congress and at the state and local level. In essence, liberals gave Obama a Democratic Congress and a mandate to govern in 2008, and then let the GOP take it away because they couldn’t be bothered to vote in 2010 or 2014.

It’s not enough for progressives to wring their hands about regressive right-wing laws after the fact. We can’t rely on outrage and lawsuits to fix this problem. We have to start doing something to prevent it, and that something is very simple: vote in every election. If Democrats continue to spurn midterm and off-year elections, this sad state of two Americas will continue. Whether you get a living wage, breathable air, access to healthcare, and basic human dignity will depend entirely on your state of residence. This is unacceptable in 2016.

The inscription on the Supreme Court says “equal justice under law.” All those who truly believe those words need to start making them a reality by voting in every election.