disenfranchisement

With the posts going around reminding people how crucial the 2018 midterm elections will be, this is your reminder that there are going to be a small handful of elections in the US this year. There will be gubernatorial elections and state legislature elections in New Jersey and Virginia, as well as a few special Congressional races elsewhere.

If you live somewhere where there’s an election this year, it’s REALLY crucial for you to show up. Weird off-year elections aren’t an accident, it’s a deliberate attempt at disenfranchisement because the powers that be figured (correctly) that people wouldn’t even think to show up to the polls when there’s not a major election. Don’t fall into that trap. NJ and VA are both going to be electing new governors as neither incumbent will run again, and the state governorships and legislatures being run by republicans are part of the reason why the country has been gerrymandered to shit.

Know your elections, know your candidates, figure out if you have to go to the polls this November. Volunteer. Organize. Vote. It starts now, this year, and this fight will be a lot longer if you’re not vigilant and active.

5

”We will shelter freaks and outcasts - those who have no hope. We will get past the lies. We will hunt monsters. And when we are at a loss amidst the hypocrisy and casual violence of certain individuals and institutions, we will, as per Chief Jim Hopper, punch some people in the face when they seek to destroy the meek and the disenfranchised and the marginalized.”

The thing is, capitalism has never been reformed ‘peacefully’.

Reform movements which have formally disavowed violent means - from the Civil Rights movement in 1960s America, to Attlee’s Labour government in 1940s Britain - have only been historically successful because mass, organised, revolutionary movements of the politically disenfranchised outside of the formal reform movement have forced those benefiting from the status quo to cede concessions to non-violent, often middle-class, reformist leaders. Malcolm X, the Socialist Party of the USA and the Communist Party forced the American elite to come to the table with Dr. King; the syndicalist and communist trade unions in post-War Britain made opposition to Attlee’s NHS and limited nationalisations foolhardy.

Those who preach non-violence as a strategy rather than as a flexible tactic fatally mistake capitalism for a rational, logical system which plays by its own rules and respects human life.

We know better.

It’s understandable that the world didn’t much care about Gamergate. The 2014 hashtag campaign, ostensibly founded to protest about perceived ethical failures in games journalism, clearly thrived on hate – even though many of those who aligned themselves with the movement either denied there was a problem with harassment, or wrote it off as an unfortunate side effect. Sure, women, minorities and progressive voices within the industry were suddenly living in fear. Sure, those who spoke out in their defence were quickly silenced through exhausting bursts of online abuse. But that wasn’t why people supported it, right? They were disenfranchised, felt ignored, and wanted to see a systematic change.

Is this all sounding rather familiar now? Does it remind you of something? If you’re just discovering the world of angry, anonymous online dudes masquerading as victims – hi, come in. Some of us have been here for a while.

The similarities between Gamergate and the far-right online movement, the “alt-right”, are huge, startling and in no way a coincidence. After all, the culture war that began in games now has a senior representative in The White House. As a founder member and former executive chair of Brietbart News, Steve Bannon had a hand in creating media monster Milo Yiannopoulos, who built his fame and Twitter following by supporting and cheerleading Gamergate. This hashtag was the canary in the coalmine, and we ignored it.

Dear Trump/Pence Supporters,

I realize you don’t know how to execute a boycott (e.g., buying coffee at Starbucks to protest Starbucks), so I’m going to help you out. I’ve seen some of you say that you have “cancelled” your Hamilton tickets. Now, you know you’re fibbing a bit, right? You can’t really cancel tickets to a Broadway show. Sometimes, you can get an exchange. But, come on, it’s Hamilton. I know you think it’s hilarious that you found a Google ad offering “75% off Hamilton tickets”; you not only think the ad is legit, but you also think your angry “boycott Hamilton” tweets somehow magically tanked the show overnight. But let’s get real:

If you have tickets to Hamilton and you want to boycott it because you think a vile, racist, homophobe, evil liar shouldn’t have to face the real fear and concern minorities and the disenfranchised feel because he and the cheeto lost the popular vote and may put all of our lives in peril, you’re going to have to eat those tickets.

Yep. Hundreds of dollars down the drain. Maybe thousands. 

But I can fix that. You see, I still haven’t seen Hamilton. My son is dying to see Hamilton. If you want to boycott, message me and I’ll buy your tickets. If you want, I’ll even send you the playbill so you can use it for target practice. (I don’t save them.)

Have fun with your boycott. I’m sure it will work out just as well as the many “family values” Disney boycotts. Good luck!

Been wanting to say this for a long time so here we go:

Can we please collectively stop making fun of the “meth fandom” or w/e the fuck nomenclature we’re using to describe real people who finally have a space and community to talk about their substance use? Like I’ve seen posts lump this part of tumblr in with literal fucking neo-nazis and if that doesn’t strike you as fucked up i don’t know what else i can fucking say to you.

I’ve even seen this shit from leftists. Like how can we recognize that capitalism is built on the exploitation of labor and mass disenfranchisement of working class people - and then turn around and mock people who use stimulants to cope with the godawful hardships of that life? If you can’t recognize meth users humanity, then what the fuck are you even fighting for?

I have adhd, but I still abuse my stimulants because my body literally cannot produce the amount of labor necessary for my survival. Thousands of others do the same. We’re not that different from the people on here using meth. Everywhere ~drug users~ turn, we’re denied the chance to talk about our own experiences in our own fucking language. We’re denied the chance to find our own community and engage with it on our own terms. Especially us women who use. Why propagate that shit here? What do you gain by mocking us and people like those in the ~meth fandom~? Who are you helping?

And i know this probably describes only a sliver of my followers, but I hope it’ll reach further. Because honestly? Some people on here need to step the fuck off. 

I’ve never seen a post on my dash condemning this phenomenon (which is often treated like a joke, like it’s not about you know, real fucking people), and that’s fucking bullshit. I’m not saying no one’s said this before, but I sure as fuck haven’t seen it. We can do better. We must do better.

Today is for the Cubans

It is not for (WHITE) socialists to “mourn” the death of Castro- it is not for them at all. It is for the Cuban people, who were dragged out into streets and executed. It is for those who sacrificed their homes, wealth, and culture to provide a life of freedom for their families away from a tyrannical dictatorship by escaping their home country on rafts made of fucking trash, knowing full well that they could (and more than likely would) die in their attempts to escape and seek asylum. It is for the people who have been politically disenfranchised for so long, yet still survived and persevered. Today is for Cubans everywhere. I am so happy for all of you. The future is yours to prosper.

And rot in fucking hell, Castro

Me: We need to not disenfranchise those people new to active political engagement and be understanding about having misguided positions on things, because almost every single radical was a Liberal at one point. We are the ones who can start the thought process rolling


Also Me: 

2

A huge portion of the population doesn’t have the right to vote

Three in 10 black men can expect to lose their right to vote at some point in their lives, according to data from 2010 compiled by the Sentencing Project, a nonprofit that works to reform the criminal justice system. In Florida, Kentucky and Virginia, which have some of the harshest felon disenfranchisement laws, 1 in 5 African-Americans is denied the right to vote.

Why this issue has gone unnoticed Follow micdotcom

Even if someone were to begin the process [of legally changing their name and gender] before election day, there is no guarantee that all of the necessary procedures will be processed in time — and in the meantime, trans voters are being left out. Therefore, there is important work that needs to be done to ensure equal voting opportunities for trans and non-binary people, no matter what state they live in.
I was so angry, but I know we see loads of young, liberal, compassionate people every night. This is our world. This is the world that we see. So when things go in odds of that, it’s really confusing and it makes you feel really angry. I know it’s very sad to see these young voices of progression and change being drowned out by regressive ideals of bullshit. And it appears to be paradigms of race, and it is about that and it is about gender and it is about age and it is about sexuality but it’s also about all of these people that voted against what we stand for: they feel so disenfranchised by both sides of political systems, that that felt like the right thing to do. So if we’re young and liberal and compassionate, and we’re Muslim and we’re black and we’re gay, then it’s our responsibility to listen to everybody, to their concerns, to move things forward. And you are our people, and we love you so fucking much.
—  Matty Healy at The O2 [x]
i feel like

There are few words that can adequately articulate the overwhelming dismay we already feel when faced with the reality that our country voted a con man to be president. A con man that we had blatant evidence of him being a:

- Racist

- Liar

- Tax Evader

- Sexual violator

- Rapist

As a nation we are coming together and are forced to deal with the disheartening reality that our country is so broken that such a man can be elected president. And on top of such an already dark reality, we now need to process each new measure, action and law that goes through at the hands of this administration geared towards further disenfranchising the marginalized.

I’m glad it’s Friday because I’m going to be fresh out of fucks for a few days/weeks while I swallow all of this

What exactly is the purpose of taking away voting rights from felons?

The only reason I can think of is that the government wants to be able to pass bad laws without anyone stopping them. The government declares a completely victimless action as a felony, then disproportionately targets oppressed demographics when enforcing the law. The people who have been arrested for that victimless action are the only ones who know firsthand how unjust the law is, and stopping felons from voting silences them so the unjust law has less opposition. 

Even if the crime actually has a victim, what’s wrong with allowing them to vote? Allowing murderers and rapists to vote will not cause murder and rape to become legal. Besides, for every violent criminal who can’t vote because of a felony conviction, there are dozens who can still vote because they haven’t been caught yet.  

What the “Keens” have done to disenfranchise fans from Liz

This is not meant to be a diatribe of “why I hate Keen2” because I do not have any ill will toward any shippers. It is meant to outline what is FUNDAMENTALLY wrong with keeping Liz and Tom together as a romantic pairing for the duration—if you listen to John Eisendrath—of the series. The problem lies in the treatment of such delicate subject matter as Liz and “Tom” Keen’s relationship, what it says to the viewership, and what it means for the characterization of both of them symbolically and thematically.

What we were given in the beginning of the series was a worrisome puzzle more than anything. Was the mild-mannered school teacher what he seemed? It is a HUGE testament to Ryan Eggold that he could play the sensitive and solicitous husband and go straight from that to a stone-cold killer practically in the blink of an eye. But symbolically there was an irretrievable rift at that moment that was never properly seamed back together, nor should it have been. We are shown at first that there is something literally under the very foundations of their fantasy home, and it is fraudulent. There is no coincidence that Tom’s go box was under the floorboards. There is also no coincidence that when he was finally outed, they literally tore apart their home and each other, and thus the fantasy bubble they had been living in. Everything was a farce, a cover, and it was torn to shreds. Nothing had been real, and nothing was left at the end.

When Tom is finally unmasked, and we see the truth of him at last, he is unapologetic. Everything of the school teacher was a veneer, and what’s worse is that he showed true signs of sociopathy—he did not tell a story of how he met and fell in love with his mark. He did not show an ounce of humanity and say that he had compromised himself and fallen for her. There is no redemptive value in his story, because what he told was the story of a sociopath who successfully manipulated and controlled a woman who should have been able to notice the signs of a major personality disorder. He overcame her skills, her training, and made her doubt her instincts. The story he tells her when at last he cannot deny who he is, is that of a master spy who infiltrated and brought down his intended target—mentally and emotionally if not physically. He gaslighted her. Then he beat her, for a trifecta of abuse. First the mental and emotional anguish of having believed the lie, then the physical brutality of being thrown around, punched in the face, and body-slammed into their coffee table.

This is to say nothing of the emotional damage of rape by deception—that the man she consented to have an intimate sexual relationship with was someone else entirely, who she never would have consented to had she known. The image of him touching his wife in the shower and holding her in an intimate embrace while still having blood on his hands from committing murder is vibrant and irrevocable. What can be built from the squeamish feeling that evokes? That’s in addition to the feeling that she had from having to sleep with him just to keep up appearances so he didn’t suspect. It’s a version of the “freeze and comply” syndrome that sexual assault counselors and nurse examiners treat where the victim feels compelled to acquiesce, not due to actually giving consent, but out of fear of what will happen if they do not.

What this did for her characterization would be a test for her strength, but unfortunately she failed it by welcoming him back and mothering his child. Is it not stronger to forgive and try to build from the mistakes of the past? This seems to be the message the showrunners are trying to convey, or perhaps that anyone can be redeemed if they want it bad enough and work for it. The problem with their supposed message is two-fold, first because despite the fact that Reddington has done none of these things to her, she still finds fault with and cannot find it in herself to forgive him. He has done the exact opposite of Tom time and again, and serves as a strange juxtaposition of what the man in her life SHOULD do. He has saved her, proven himself truthful and trustworthy. He has shown concern and caring for her in ways she never expects. Again, it’s a strange juxtaposition that is both frustrating for the viewer because of the injustice of it, but also because it does not ring true as to what informs normal human behavior. She SHOULD clue in to the fact that Reddington has consistently pulled her out of the fire literally and figuratively, and that the threats have never come from him but from her running directly from him. The opposite is true with Tom, who she tried to run away with and wound up headlong into danger because of it. We wind up frustrated with her, because will she ever learn??

Secondly, as a character forgiving Tom did more damage to Liz, strictly because in any real world scenario there is no such thing as redemption after a certain point. The things that this character did are not “mistakes.” They go light years beyond a little gambling debt or even caving in and cheating once. Those are things a man can come clean to his wife about and possibly rebuild from. What Tom did to her is what should only result in a restraining order and several felonies. These are the types of behaviors that are true exhibitions of evil in the world and should not be forgiven. Ressler’s statement to the effect of saying that there’s no coming back from some things rings true here. What forgiving Tom did for her, in essence was make her a “but he loves me though” type of woman; Liz Keen is now the “Why I Stayed” hashtag, a domestic violence victim who stayed despite all reason, a cuckolded wife who bowed (because let’s not forget he really did have an affair with Gina and essentially Jolene). Furthermore, Tom did not do anything worthy of redemption and showed the desire for it way later than he should have.

Beyond the gaslighting and the physical abuse, he used his own wife as a human shield, held her at gunpoint more than once—even AFTER she spared his life, which belies the fact that she should not have bothered. He nearly let her go to trial for a murder he committed—and even at that stage, did not show remorse, concern, caring, or especially that he might be beholden to her in any way. Rather than Tom cooperating and being helpful by stepping up and being a man to save her, Reddington had to step in, drag him back into the country, threaten and coerce him into fessing up and getting her cleared. That is not a man worthy of redemption, not a man working for redemption. No man of any value would let the woman he purports to love go to prison for a crime he committed.

With all of this evidentiary of his true nature, what would have shown strength for her character would have been the strength that many women have to find daily in situations that in some ways are better than Liz’s was—the strength to gather what reserves they have and walk away with their lives. Some women have lived the nightmare of having a chair swung at them as Liz has. Some women have had husbands with affairs, who lived double lives—maybe not as a spy, but married to some other woman in another town—who have been beaten in the face and broken down. Who have been undermined until they do not know who or what they can trust anymore. THOSE women show strength and resiliency in recognizing a no-win situation and getting out. Sadly, the showrunners instead resurrected the fantasy bubble and even the fantastical nom de guerre of their dubious hero, which flies in the face of the symbolism of rending the old fabric of fantasy to build again from something better. Instead they are stitching a half-assed seam through the tattered remains of what should have been burned on a pyre of fabric scraps. What was a cover they are now trying to make and fashion into reality. Worse, they brought a baby into the mix. Anyone under the sun other than the worst choice imaginable could have fathered her, but instead we have Elizabeth Keen returning like a dog to its vomit and picking the least best choice out of sheer neediness. How weak for someone who was once known as “sir” to her classmates.

Which brings me to the fact that it is not entirely certain that the showrunners, especially the creator/s, realize what responsibilities they have to their viewers at large. When something of this magnitude is placed in your lap you are given decibels of volume. People listen to the message you impart week by week, as it is a testament and reflection of society and what our roles are therein. Are there necessarily children watching? Possibly. But more importantly are a large contingency of women who receive messages from media on a daily basis as to how we should look, eat, act, love and maintain relationships. What message does this send then to women in the audience who have lived this terror? That is not to say it doesn’t happen to men, but by and large the message is geared to women, from a female lead who is supposed to embody strength. How are women who have been cowed by their men and beaten supposed to take it? That they should have stayed? That it was “#truelove”? That is, as one showrunner said, she should be able to handle it?? Do these men, because the writers and producers are predominantly male, expect women to be able to relate to Liz’s character after this? Should they chain their lying, abusive husbands in the basement until Stockholm Syndrome sets in and they repent?

And what about those in domestic violence situations who DO wear a uniform and/or badge as Liz does? I am a female veteran myself, and the twitter messages that I’ve read indicate that because we have weapons training or combatives training we should be able to take what’s coming to us. Except that, as Red says, “love means you have no control.” Taking that one step further, love means you have no defense either, especially when the attack is coming from behind. For that reason, no matter our background, we do not necessarily react to defend when the attack is coming from the one place we do not expect. The shock alone is enough to render us helpless and stay our hand, whereas in other situations our instincts would serve to help us. Instead, from someone our instinct says to nurture and love, we are not as likely to raise our hands to defend and certainly not our fists to attack—in a hostile situation that kind of hesitation can prove fatal. But we’ve got training, so we can handle it right?

It is an extreme way to make this point, but it renders her entirely unrelatable and therefore flat. Liz is a lead, we should care for her and her wellbeing, but when she shows so little regard for it herself and even delves as low as she did by torturing and holding her husband hostage, the entire arc of their relationship leaves the realm of truth telling entirely. This is not what people do, and IF they do, they wind up in prison.

Some may argue that it is fiction. Yet there has to be a thread of truth to help the viewer relate. If it doesn’t ring true, and it gets too far beyond belief, people lose interest because it does not hold the same power over them. No matter what kind of world you write, even of Tolkien or Rowling, human nature remains. You could write in a dragon that lands on the roof of the Post Office. It’s still fiction, so it’s okay, but is it good? Is it true? The litmus test should be this, roughly: yes you can do it, because it’s fiction, but SHOULD YOU? Keen 2 is that dragon. We lost the truth.

The viewers of this show are not necessarily young and naïve enough to look at the Keens’ relationship and accept that all relationships should and can progress as this one has. Not every female will look at it and accept that this is acceptable behavior. However, I have pointed some of these things out online before and had one hapless fan say, “but he’s so cute though,” in all seriousness. This is an insult to Ryan. He’s more than that. And it’s an insult to women who have been taken in by a pretty face and then taken advantage of because of it. A relationship may start with that, but it should never end with acceptance of someone getting away with murder (Eugene Ames, rest in peace), abuse, betrayal and lies.

For these reasons and myriad others, the showrunners have missed the very salient point in that they do have a responsibility to us to be true, not only to what rings as truth to humanism, but truth to the characters and what they need to do to progress and grow. We lost Elizabeth Keen when she became weakened by a fantasy she continues to try to emulate. Now there is no one for us to relate to, and no honest actions we can get behind. But it begs the question: how do these guys not see this?? If nothing else, there is the hope that eventually she will clue in, eventually she will gain some insight with that psych degree and field experience of hers. She’s not supposed to be a stupid character, but thanks to the decisions these guys have made for her, it makes us wonder: will this insipid fantasy continue, or will she finally realize which corner help has come from and which corner holds her true opponent? Is there character growth to be had at this stage, or are we watching devolution of character?

Red has said time and again, “men like Tom don’t change,” and in every aspect of life we have seen the truth of this. News stories abound of men like Tom. Prisons are full of them. Yet we watch week in and week out a charade that all started with a fraudulent relationship that exploded into violence and has since been sold to us as a story of “true love.” What a departure from reality that is, even for fiction. It’s a lie that never should have been sold to us, and we are not buying anyway—most of us—but sadly, some are. That is what is scariest, that these guys can and do wield the power they have and reprehensibly are not using the power for good.

By all means, they still have it in their power to fix this. But will they? Or is this show that was once so promising going to crash and burn because the female lead, the one we initially related to, we have been disenfranchised from over a “true love” story of abuse, betrayal, deceit, and sociopathy, all tied up in the name of Redemption?

Originally posted by kateyfuller

We 1983 Midwesterners will repel bullies, we will shelter freaks and outcasts—those who have no home, we will get past the lies, we will hunt monsters, and when we are at a loss amidst the hypocrisy and casual violence of certain individuals and institutions we will, as per Chief Jim Hopper, punch some people in the face when they seek to destroy the weak and the disenfranchised and the marginalized.
—  David Harbour, SAG Awards Acceptance Speech, 2017