I’ve been reading right-wing media - not all the time, because the point of the exercise is understanding and past a point it just breeds exhaustion. But my impression is that the way right-wing media interprets the protests and the outrage and the fear and anger at Trump’s presidency is something like this:
The left won a lot of battles in a row, and they got used to winning every fight they got into, so they picked fights that they couldn’t possibly really care about, just to grind our faces in the dirt. And then they lost! And we won! And they are handling this with immature hysteria and obstructionism and riots, and we basically have to wade through them to put the country back on the rails, and where we fail it’s their fault and where we succeed it proves that they’re ineffectual and intellectually bankrupt and have no tactics beyond crying and complaining and calling people racist. And they’re complaining about things they were fine with under Obama so they’re not actually sincere anyway. And they still have a stranglehold nearly everywhere, but maybe now people’ll start to see through them and we’ll have a chance to roll it back.)
(Some examples of fights we ‘couldn’t possibly really care about’: making employers cover health care plans that included contraception coverage, making bakers bake wedding cakes for gay people, letting trans people use restrooms of their choice.)
And the presence of the narrative imposes a sort of filter, where things you do that make sense within it, or reinforce it, don’t get seen by half the country. Sometimes that doesn’t matter. But sometimes it really does; sometimes I want to be able to talk to the people who voted for Trump and be heard and be understood to be saying what I’m actually saying and not just ‘blah blah liberals won and won and won and can’t handle losing and are going to call you racist no matter what racist racist racist’.
So, obviously, I think this narrative is unfair in many, many ways. But what I’m really interested in right now is, what could a person do or say in order to slip past the narrative? Because it’s, well, encompassing - narratives usually are. Peaceful protests fit into the ‘the left is all bluster and whining’ arm of it and violent protests fit into ‘the left is a danger’ arm of it and no protests fit into the ‘we are the silent majority’ arm of it. And there are battles which really are worth fighting but which are trivial and silly to people sufficiently removed from them, like fights over letting trans people use public restrooms.
But narratives are not all-encompassing - the vocal opposition of Senator McCain to Trump’s conduct doesn’t fit into it at all, the conservative judges overturning Trump’s executive orders doesn’t fit into it very well, the testimony of veterans about why their translators saved their lives and deserve the opportunity to live here which they were promised doesn’t fit into it.
Those are, of course, all examples of conservatives who can challenge the narrative by already having credibility within it. I can’t think of a great way for a liberal to establish that credibility - emphasizing that you understand why they believe the things they believe was tried very loudly during the campaign, and I think it mostly totally failed (both at establishing that, and at going from ‘we understand each other’ to ‘the filter you’re seeing me through isn’t capturing what I want and what I actually want is reasonable and comprehensible and human’.)
I feel like one important project of the next few months is figuring out how to communicate past the filter, how to say things that aren’t easily sorted into the narrative, and how to build from there enough trust that our concerns and fear and anger are heard as concern and fear and anger, instead of being easy to round off as ‘they lost and they’re sore losers’. I want past the filter. I want to be able to make myself understood. And I do still think that there’s some way that can be achieved.
Yesterday, my community had an off/off year election for many of its elected officials, including the two mayors of our respective twin cities. The results suggest a way we might stop the Trumpian wave and regain progressive momentum.
Two things about our local results stood out for me. First, more students than usual participated in the election. (Still not a lot, but more is better than less.) If you can bring young people into the process, traditional campaign demographic change, usually in ways that favor more progressive candidates.
Second, liberal and progressive candidates in this area bound themselves together and promoted each other. They sent out flyers; they talked each other up at events. (I live in a VERY Republican area.) They ran for offices no Democrat had run for in 40+ years.
And it appeared to work. Liberal and progressive candidates won lots of the available seats, including some no Democrat had even tried to win in decades.
This is a good first step. One cannot beat the Trumpist vulgarians by blogging. You have to engage i grassroots politicking, politicking that changes the political calculus for higher officials.
So, this was a beginning. It’s not enough: not by a country mile.
are Andrew Weaver's recent tweets/replies as awkward as they feel to me or??
They are. Here’s some of them:
Andrew Weaver (BC Green Party leader) is an arrogant asshole. He’s a party leader and he’s smearing citizens (he was accusing people who support teachers as NDP partisans), attacking other political leaders, name calling, blatantly lying (saying the NDP was absent during the 2014 teachers strike when they were actively there).
This isn’t even going into the Green candidate’s offensive MLK speech (and Weaver’s defence of that candidate’s racist caricature); another Green saying that he wasn’t concerned if the BC Liberals won the election, and comments surfacing that show Andrew Weaver has been making disrespectful comments towards teachers.
The BC Greens are a complete mess this election. If I was a Green supporter I’d have a hard time defending them after this week.
Happy birthday to Urvashi Vaid!
The Indian-American LGBT rights activist and author turns 59-years-old today.
Urvashi Vaid’s social justice work spans decades and she has been influential in the areas of prison reform, financial equality for LGBT Americans, and HIV/AIDS activism. She was named Woman of the Year by The Advocate in 1991 (x).
Urvashi Vaid was born on October
8, 1958 in New Delhi, India, but she moved to
Potsdam, New York
with her family at just 8-years-old. She became interested in social justice activism at an
extremely young age after witnessing an anti-Vietnam War protests when she was
just 11. Urvashi would later go on to earn degrees from Vassar College and Northeastern
University School of Law. It was while attending Northeastern that she created the Boston Lesbian/Gay Political Alliance, a group dedicated to
advocating for local political candidates who support the Boston lesbian and
Urvashi photographed with her partner, Kate Clinton, in 2015 (x).
She burst onto the larger radar of
LGBT activism in 1995 with the publication of her book Virtual Equality: The Mainstreaming of Gay and Lesbian Liberation,
which won a Stonewall Book Award in 1996. Her most recent book, Irresistible Revolution: Confronting Race, Class and the Assumptions of
LGBT Politics, was just released in 2012 and continues the conversation of
LGBT equality relationship with racial and class equality in America. Urvashi
is the CEO of her own company called Vaid Group LLC, and also runs LPAC, the very
first lesbian SuperPAC. She has been named one of the 50 most influential LGBT
people in the United States by Out
Magazine and currently lives in Massachusetts with her partner, comedian Kate
What’s important to understand is that segregation is not about test scores; it’s about denying full citizenship to a caste of children who have not, for one day in this country, been given full and equal access to the same educational resources as white children. So it’s not really about closing the test score gap. Segregation is about separating black children from white children, and therefore separating black children from the same resources as white children. I think we have to talk about it in these terms.
What people also don’t want to acknowledge is that schools are segregated because white people want them that way. It’s not simply a matter of zip codes or housing segregation or class; it’s because most white Americans do not wish to enroll their children in schools with large numbers of black kids. And it doesn’t matter if they live in the North or the South, or if they’re liberal or conservative.
We won’t fix this problem until we really wrestle with that fact.
earlier today my father forwarded two emails to me,
one along the lines of “all immigrants are sleeping agents sent here to organize and kill us” and another showing the head of the pirate party -
(liberal left, won seats in the recent parliamentary elections for the first time bc most uni students/activists voted for them bc they’re the one party that’s pro-human rights anti-capitalism which had any chance to place ok)
- at a “welcome, immigrants” rally and it was typed in a “True Colours Revealed, Bartoš is pro-immigrants, what will the youths who clearly voted for him just bc he wants to legalize torrent download do Now” manner
so i mailed back something like “💩💩💩 most of us voted pirates bc were not racist cretins but aight” and now im waiting to get disowned or something sjshhs
Somebody remind Clinton and her elitist liberal fans that she won the popular vote likely because Sanders’ supporters voted for her. She lost the election bc *all*of the conservative voters she catered to did not. Not only is she increasingly irrelevant, but she’s also full of shit.
For years, conservatives have been telling us that a healthy business-friendly economy depends on low taxes, few regulations, and low wages. Are they right?
We’ve had an experiment going on here in the United States that provides an answer.
At the one end of the scale are Kansas and Texas, with among the nation’s lowest taxes, least regulations, and lowest wages.
At the other end is California, featuring among the nation’s highest taxes, especially on the wealthy; lots of regulations, particularly when it comes to the environment; and high wages.
So according to conservative doctrine, Kansas and Texas ought to be booming, and California ought to be in the pits.
Actually, it’s just the opposite. For years now, Kansas’s rate of economic growth has been the worst in the nation. Last year its economy actually shrank. Texas hasn’t been doing all that much better. Its rate of job growth has been below the national average. Retail sales are way down. The value of Texas exports has been dropping.
But what about so-called over-taxed, over-regulated, high-wage California? California leads the nation in the rate of economic growth — more than twice the national average. In other words, conservatives have it exactly backwards.
So why are Kansas and Texas doing so badly? And California so well?
Because taxes enable states to invest in their people – their education and skill-training, great research universities that spawn new industries and attract talented innovators and inventors worldwide, and modern infrastructure.
That’s why California is the world center of high-tech, entertainment, and venture capital.
Kansas and Texas haven’t been investing nearly to the same extent.
California also provides services to a diverse population including many who are attracted to California because of its opportunities.
And California’s regulations protect the public health and the state’s natural beauty, which also draws people to the state – including talented people who could settle anywhere.
Wages are high in California because the economy is growing so fast employers have to pay more for workers. And that’s not a bad thing. After all, the goal isn’t just growth. It’s a high standard of living.
Now in fairness, Texas’s problems are also linked to the oil bust. But that’s really no excuse because Texas has failed to diversify its economy. And here again, it hasn’t made adequate investments.
California is far from perfect. A housing shortage has been driving rents and home prices into the stratosphere. And roads are clogged. Much more needs to be done.
But overall, the contrast is clear. Economic success depends on tax revenues that go into public investments, and regulations that protect the environment and public health. And true economic success results in high wages.
So the next time you hear a conservative say “low taxes, few regulations, and low wages are the keys to economic business-friendly success, just remember Kansas, Texas, and California.
Mainstream Liberalism Is Now Just As Homophobic As The Right Was In The Sixties: An Analysis (And Rant)
You know what I find so insidious and infuriating about the neo-liberal “your sexual orientation is inherently discriminatory” narrative? It’s that it has, just as every other homophobic rhetoric has in the past, made being gay about something more than just who you’re attracted to and who you love.
Flashback a handful of decades and you’ll see that gay people were deemed obviously ill somehow. Sick. It was a mental illness brought on by trauma or brain damage or demonic possession. It was a perversion of the rules of nature. It was a slap in the face to God’s desire for man. It was an unnatural and deviant behavior akin to an addiction to heroin or cocaine in its inherently self-destructive roots. Homosexuality was a danger lurking in the streets that every parent needed to be wary of. It was a plague carried plagues that would envelop your children and snatch them away. Leave them for dead.
It was never just about loving your own sex. It was never about our unchangeable and harmless nature.
Grueling progress was made over those decades. Homosexuality was no longer considered a mental illness (at least in the DSM), and within the last ten years or so, give or take, we arrived at a place in the West where people were warming up to gay people. Maybe we weren’t all that different from everyone else. Maybe we just loved differently than straight people did, and maybe that was okay. We weren’t hurting anyone, after all. We just wanted to be granted the same rights as everybody else and lead safe, fulfilling lives. Was that really too much to ask for?
Being gay wasn’t about being mentally ill or deranged in these people’s eyes. The view shifted in our favor. It wasn’t about morals or ethics, nor was it an unhealthy and unnatural lifestyle that gay people either chose or were recruited into. Being gay was just about loving who you loved, and that’s something you couldn’t change even if you tried.
And for a little while, that idea won over liberals and it was the common theme among them when speaking on gay rights.
And now what is the thought that is winning over liberals?
i got an email from my department about it. in the tax bill there’s a part that “repeals
Sec. 117(d) which will result in tuition waivers being counted as taxable
income, in exchange for graduate students’ services as teaching or research
assistants. This would increase the taxable income significantly for most
Here’s what that looks like for comp sci at my school:
$29,566 (current stipend before tax) -> $22,191 (after tax with new bill)
it’s worse for the arts, which goes from $13,190 to $8,420which is literally below the poverty line.
My school’s a private institution so like they can probably find ways around this to avoid what’s basically a penalty for being a grad student, but public institutions probably can’t (pretty sure tuition levels are mandated). This is going to completely wreck higher education if it gets thought. I have to assume basically every grad student assembly has done this analysis for their schools.
so i guess if you need Yet Another Reason to Call Your Representatives there ya go