On September 24th 61.5 million German voters will decide on the central decision in their democracy: who should represent them in Parliament and eventually govern the country? Elections to the German Bundestag (like our House of Representatives) are held about every four years, with the last election having been held in fall of 2013.
In grade school, most Germans are taught about the five principles in the Basic Law which stipulate that the members of the Bundestag be elected in “general, direct, free, equal and secret elections”. “General” means that all German citizens are able to vote once they have reached the age of 18. The elections are “direct” because citizens vote for their representatives directly without the mediation of delegates to an electoral college. “Free” means that no pressure of any kind may be exerted on voters. “Equal” means that each vote cast carries the same weight with respect to the composition of the Bundestag. “Secret” means that each individual must be able to vote without others learning which party or candidate he or she has chosen to support.
Where Do You Vote?
Germans have the options of voting at polling stations for example in community centers or schools, or sending in their vote by mail.
So. Many. Parties.
Germany has a lot more political parties than the United States. This is due to the fact that the German electoral system uses a proportional system, which means that all parties get a share of the available seats that reflect their share of the popular vote. However, not to have too many political factions which would make the decision making process nearly impossible – and Parties can get pretty specific as to what they stand for – Germany implemented the “five per cent clause” which means a party needs at least five percent of the votes cast to be represented in the Bundestag.
According to the German Research Institute the following parties are likely to be represented in the next German Bundestag, as they are expected to satisfy the five per cent clause:
CDU/CSU (the Union parties): a political alliance of the two parties
representing conservative Christian-democratic policies, political home
of the current Chancellor Angela Merkel and part of the governing “grand
SPD: the center-left social democratic party promoting “socially just”
policies, the other member of the currently governing “grand coalition”
Die Linke: “the left” party – a democratic socialist and left-wing populist party
BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN: the green party which traditionally focuses on topics such as environmental protection
FDP: the “free democratic” party - a (classical) liberal political party
AfD: a right-wing populist and Eurosceptic party newly founded in 2013
First and Second Vote
Voters actually have two decisions to make when they go to their polling booth. This part can get tricky.
The first vote is for the representative of your district. There are 299 electoral districts in Germany and the winner of each district gets a seat in the Bundestag.
The second vote is debatably the more important vote, which is cast not for a person but for a party. The number of seats a party gets in the Bundestag is based on what proportion they get of the second votes. Since the first votes for district representatives take up 299 seats of the Bundestag, the remaining 299 seats are filled up by representatives of each party until each party is proportionally represented.
And now it’s going to get really complicated (also for Germans, believe it or not): In case a party gets more directly elected candidates by the first votes than proportional seats by the second votes, these candidates nonetheless remain part of the new Bundestag. This is called an “Überhangmandat”. The other parties then get seats added proportionally which makes the Bundestag even bigger. The last four years, because of this phenomenon there were in total 631 Members of the German Bundestag instead of the legally foreseen 598.
“Coalition” is not a word used in American politics. Coalitions are alliances formed by different parties in the Bundestag to end up with a group that makes up more than 50% of the seats. Traditionally the party with the most votes tries to form a coalition first. Typically coalitions have been comprised by two parties in the past, but in the future coalitions of three or more parties could be a reality. Why do this? Due to the voting system which is a proportional and not a majority one, this is in most cases the only way to create a majority in the Bundestag which is necessary to pass laws. The coalition parties tend to negotiate a coalition agreement at the start of their cooperation which lays out their policy goals for the coming legislative period. Though the majority party within the coalition typically has more sway in what stance the coalition will take on certain issues – such as who the Chancellor will be – the smaller party benefits from the coalition by typically receiving several Minister positions (think Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, etc.) which are filled with members of their party. They might also enforce some stances on their core political issues as long as they can get the “bigger” coalition partner to agree in the negotiations.
German elections are general, direct, free, equal, and secret
Germans vote in person or via mail
There are a bunch of parties to choose from representing the full political spectrum from far left to far right
Two votes: a first vote for a specific candidate representing your
district and a second vote for your party determining the number of
seats per party
A Coalition is formed after all votes are in to create a group that holds more than 50% of the Bundestag seats
Got more questions? Shoot them to us in the comments below!
“And our final tribute for district 8 is…” a deafening pause filled the air as every young woman in district 8 held their breath.
The courtyard went deadly silent for what felt like hours before the piercing scream of Jughead Jones broke through the air
“NO! NO! I VOLUNTEER PLEASE, I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE.”
He was being pulled away by guards, tugging him out of the courtyard as his baby sister was placed on stage next to a shivering little boy and a woman dressed extravagantly in colors that district 8 had never seen.
“Oh” the woman in the light purple wig tsked “how very valiant, unfortunately we already have our male tribute.” Her eyes were blank as she went back to congratulating the two terrified children on stage.
“No, please.” The dark haired boy sobbed, his eyes meeting his sisters, she was crying now as well, thick tear drops dripping from her eyes.
It was all over before it began, people went home to their families somberly, mothers held their children and cried, fathers released anxious breaths as Jughead lay desperately on the floor of his home, slamming his fist into the dusty hardwood.
“We have to say goodbye.” His mothers cold, distant voice spoke from above him, her purse on her shoulder as she kept her distance from his father and left the house . F.Ps eyes were red rimmed as he clutched Jugheads shoulder
“We have to be strong for her, we need to show her we believe in her.” He choked out.
Jughead whipped to face him
“She’ll die in the arena! You know that! She won’t make it a full day!” He yelled shakily.
“I know boy, I know.”
They arrived at the station and were instantly shuffled into a plain white room, jelly bean was sitting in the center looking smaller than ever. Jesus Christ she was only 9.
Her eyes met Jughead instantly and she leaped towards him, clinging to his body.
“I’m going to die.” She weeped.
Jughead caught his fathers eyes over jellybeans head and pulled away
“No you won’t, you’re going to live, you’re going to fight and you’re going to do everything you have to do to make it out of their alive. You are not leaving me alone with these looney tunes.” He made a silly face and Jellybean giggled through a sniffle.
“Okay Juggie.” The tiny brown haired girl looked up at him with watery blue eyes so desperate he had to look away.
After hugging her father as he whispered in her ear, Jugheads mother turned to her daughter.
“Don’t embarrass us, you’ll be on national television.” She turned quickly and left the room.
Jughead growled as F.P shook his head sadly.
“That’s all for visiting, out now.” A capitol guard grunted, shoving the two men out of the room as Jellybean waved sadly.
“We won’t ever see her again.” F.P whispered, watching as the train pulled away.
Jughead stared at his fathers profile
“You don’t know, she’s been known to surprise us.” He dropped a hand to his fathers arm and they both made their way home
“You never know.” The older man mumbled.
A week later everyone gathered in the popular food trading port, it was called Pops and it had the largest screen to watch the games.
“It’s just interviews today, she just has to be herself, she’s adorable. She can atleast win a few sponsors.” Veronica lodge, the mayors daughter gently pat Jugheads back as they took a seat.
Joaquin slid beside them
“I believe in her.” He grumbled.
Jughead took a deep breath and suddenly the screen was playing as his fingers dug into his seat
Let the games begin.
The tributes were interviewed, dressed exceptionally and dramatic representing their district. Second to last was his sister, she walked on screen beside the shivering little boy tribute and her smile was dazzling. Jughead bit back tears and allowed pride to fill his body, she was so strong. The dark black dress she wore was covered in hand painted flames. Coal.
His little sister, the girl on fire.
Caesar Flickerman proceeded to ask questions, multiple times speaking about how beautiful she was and how she was definitely the cutest little tribute they had ever seen.
“She’s working that angle, the woman sponsors will love her.” Veronica whispered beside him.
“Speaking of beautiful it appears you’ve made a friend in the training arena.” Caesar wiggled his eyebrows and Jellybean giggled.
“Let’s recap shall we.” The purple haired man gestured to the ginormous screen above his head.
Video filled the screen
Jellybean was sitting in the corner of the practice arena shivering as everyone chose their weapons, beating on each other and screaming. Suddenly a girl with long blonde hair and noticeably bright green eyes was leaning beside her
“It is a little scary isn’t it?” She asked the little girl. Jellybean nodded, pushing her long brown hair out of her face, eyes terrified. The blonde looked concerned
“My names Betty, what about you?” Her voice was sweet as honey and while he knew his sister should always be on her guard he felt as though she could trust this new friend.
“Jellybean” she shivered.
Betty sat beside her
“Well jellybean, as pretty as your hair is, it might get in the way. Do you mind?” She held up an elastic band and jellybean nodded curiously.
In under a minute Betty had twisted the long brown hair into an intricate braid that pulled the lose strands away from her face.
“Much better, now we can see your pretty face.” She tweaked her nose and smiled.
“You stay strong Jellybean.” And with that she was off to her own training.
The screen disappeared and Jellybean was back on screen, smiling fondly.
“That was very nice of her” Caesar cooed.
“She’s the greatest, she gives me all of her extra food, she says I have to keep up strength.”
Cesar’s eyes widened surprised, as the audience awwwwed
“Well I think that’s all for you Jellybean and Dilton, good luck to you both.”
They were shooed off stage and jughead could finally breathe.
“That’s a good thing” Joaquin spoke “she’s forming an alliance.
"I don’t know” Jughead mumbled skeptically, his eyes drawn to the screen as the same beautiful blonde appeared on the screen, her arm linked with the most good looking boy he had ever seen he heard Veronica physically gasp.
“Elizabeth Cooper and Finnick Odair District 4!”
He gestured to the two teenagers dressed in matching seashells and aqua. The ocean, beautiful.
“So we’ll start with you ms.cooper, you volunteered for your sister Polly? It was very noble.”
“My sister is pregnant, she would not have made it, I’ve been trained for this, we’ve been trained for this.” She glanced over at her partner and Jughead felt his stomach clench, was that jealousy? This was not the time to be jealous, those two were walking into their death.
“Yes of course, you two are careers?” Caesar asked
The boy named Finnick shook his head
“We were raised to be in the games, but we are not cruel or vicious, not like some others.” He was talking about Jason and Cheryl Blossom form district 2, they were wild and almost feral.
“Let’s take a look shall we.”
The screen flickered back to the practice arena, it showed Finnick expertly swinging a trident, it was terrifying. It turned to Betty who smiling widely at Finnick as she showed her own talent.
Six knives were tucked into her belt, quickly she had thrown them, hitting every single target in less than six seconds. The whole of Pops gasped, oh, so she was most definitely a career.
When the screen flicked back Finnick and Betty were smiling proudly.
“But that’s not all.” Ceasar waved frantically a the screen came back down.
Betty was Helping Jellybean into the tight training suit and the little girl was giggling as Betty made silly faces and Finnick ran in and began throwing handful of sugar cubes at the girls.
Jughead felt his heart ache, that was his little sister and she was laughing, this beautiful district 4 tribute had given Jellybean the chance to be a child for just a little longer.
Ceasar filled the screen again as he wiped fake tears from his eyes
“It’s beautiful how you’ve taken the little jellybean under the wing.”
Betty turned to the screen, a look of pure defiance in her eyes
“She’s just a little girl, with a family out there. She has an older brother my age and I want to tell him, she will be safe for as long as I can help it. I promise you.” The screen flicked back quickly, it wasn’t safe to divulge plans especially when they disagreed with the capital.
“That’s all for today folks! We’ll see you in the games. May the odds be ever in your favor!”
The screen went black and Jughead pulled his hands from the seat, his fingernails were bloody from digging so hard but his heart felt lighter.
“descriptive representation alone won’t save you” Can you explain this in simpler terms for me, a small-time dolt?
A common thing in political science is to break down political representation (how citizens are represented by political officials) into two categories: “substantive representation” and “descriptive representation.” Substantive representation is a measure of how much your representative represents your interests and views- how closely a district’s congressman votes in line with the views of that district’s voters, for example. Descriptive representation is a measure of how representatives represent their constituents along demographic lines- like whether or not a majority-black district is represented by a black representative, how close a society’s gender or religious make-up is represented in it’s legislature, or whether or not a Texas district is represented by someone born and raised in Texas. Think of it like this: “substantive representation” is when your interests are represented, “demographic representation” is when your identities are represented.
There’s been an enormous amount of research done on each of these topics, and one important question always comes up: does descriptive representation lead to substantive representation? In other words: does one group being demographically represented in politics make it more likely that it’s interests will be represented? There’s a ton of research on this topic as well, and one can come to a lot of different conclusions based on how one reads the research (If you’d like, I could pull together some links on here for you).
My understanding of the topic is this: descriptive representation contributes to substantive representation, but only moderately; how and how much it contributes changes significantly in different contexts; and other factors matter more. This means that if one wants policy to better represent women’s interests, or black people’s interests, or disabled people’s interests, and so on, then increasing the number of women, black people, and disabled people in office will likely help, but will be nowhere near enough.
I think a lot of people, particularly young and well-meaning social liberals interested in social justice politics, dramatically overestimate the connection between descriptive and substantive representation, so much so that they neglect the importance of the latter. They consider, to varying extents, descriptive representation enough to ensure descriptive representation (ex. having 51% of congress be women will deliver proportionate representation of women’s interests). On the contrary, my position is that this should be seen as necessary but not sufficient for true substantive representation: we need more women, more people of color, and more people in other marginalized positions in political office, but that should be only one piece of a much larger strategy for bettering their democratic representation and ensuring their views are taken into account equally to those in privileged positions.
Also, you’re not a dolt for not knowing the term, don’t sell yourself short.
We have general elections every year in the US. VOTE THIS YEAR.
Among other things it’s doing, the federal government is looking to devolve more power back to the
states. VOTE THIS YEAR, and help to swing your state’s government.
Off-year elections have the smallest turnouts and so they are EASY TO
SWAY by getting out there to vote.
VOTE THIS YEAR.
Off-year elections can affect Congress and they affect local and
regional offices whose policies can hold people accountable in their
bases of operations if the federal government refuses to. For 2017 we
1 US Senate seat (Alabama)
6 US House of Representatives (California 34th District, Georgia 6th
District, Kansas 4th
District, Montana At-Large
District, South Carolina 5th
District, Utah 3rd
2 State Governors (New Jersey, Virginia)
New Jersey General Assembly and Senate, Virginia House, North Carolina General Assembly (a special re-vote with the de-gerrymandered district lines!)
of mayoral and local elections that will MATTER IN COMING YEARS because city
mayors can carry a lot of influence in elections and also act as leaders
and innovators to model policies and programs (see: sanctuary cities)
In 1991, at the end of Desert Storm, a 19 year old US Army Cavalry Scout Private who had just spent 8 months at war sat out on a street at Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. He sat there on his duffle bag with his Battalion around him for 4 days waiting for the buses to come and take him to the King Fahad Airport so he could go home. Unfortunately, the politicians of the day never planned for how to bring so many soldiers home after the war ended so there was a shortage of planes. Finally, the buses came and took the young man to the airport. The planes waiting were from Tower Air. The owner of Tower Air had volunteered his planes and staff to bring soldiers home for the cost of fuel only. Happily, the young veteran got home just in time for Easter weekend in 1991, and spent that time emotionally healing with friends and family surrounding him. That Private was me. The airline owner was Donald J. Trump.
Ron Knouse who proudly voted for President Trump
And Maxine Waters was a Representative for CA 29th District at that time. So she and others like her have been continually screwing up for 26 years.
A Democrat running for a congressional seat in an ultra-conservative district is touting support from a Bernie Sanders-aligned group in the final days before a Kansas special election on Tuesday that appears to be unexpectedly close.
There’s been a swell of support for James Thompson, the Democrat running to fill the seat vacated by Tea Party congressman Mike Pompeo, who was tapped by President Donald Trump to lead the CIA. Republicans have stepped up spending in the race, signaling they could be worried about the result.
Along with the Kansas race, Democrats are looking to special elections in Georgia and Montana as early bellwethers of enthusiasm for candidates under President Donald Trump.
As Tuesday approached, Thompson ― running to represent the district that is home to Koch industries ― embraced support from Our Revolution, the progressive group that grew out of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.
Early vote numbers aren’t necessarily an indicator of final turnout, but Tom Bonier, CEO of Democratic electoral data strategy firm TargetSmart Communications, noted that the closeness of the race could signal larger problems for Republicans.
Imagine: Saying goodbye to your boyfriend,
Cato, when he is reaped for the Hunger Games.
WARNING: ANGST! I know the request
asked for a lot of fluff but my stupid brain got kinda carried away and this
imagine became very dark. So my dear readers, if you do not enjoy angst, just
stop reading once you reach the timeskip after the goodbye, but if you are absolute
psychopaths like myself who feed off of angst then read on!
“Welcome, welcome to the 74th
annual Hunger Games!” The Capitol escort with bright pink hair announces a
little too cheerfully, “As always, ladies first!”
makes her way to the bowl on the right side of the stage, there’s hundreds of names in there Y/N, you won’t be picked, you
tilt you head down and squeeze your eyes shut, “Clove Smith!”
You let out
a breath of relief, but you are soon filled with a sense of pity when small
girl, who was at least 3 years younger than you walks up to the stage. The
children of your district trained for years for this moment, and most people here
considered it to be honourable to represent their district, but you had always
found the Games to be absolutely disgusting. You hadn’t even realized that the
escort had reaped a second name until she read it aloud, “Cato Hadley!”
fell, and you felt as if your world had come crashing down upon you. Cato had
been reaped. Your boyfriend was going into the arena. No.
Once the reaping
ceremony had been concluded, you were lead into the justice building in order
to say your final goodbyes to the tributes. You went into the small room and
saw your boyfriend standing with his back turned to you, “Cato?”
turned to you and his usual cocky smirk faltered. He quickly stepped in front
of you and put a hand against your cheek, wiping away a stray tear with his
thumb, “Don’t Y/N. Don’t cry.”
You pause, taking a deep breath to prevent yourself from crying, “I’m so scared
Y/N,” He pulls you against his chest, and you let out a sob. You stand there
for a while, crying into his chest while listening to the sound of his
pulls away, looking down at you genuinely, “You believe in me right Y/N?”
Cato,” You respond, your voice still quivering, “Even more than myself.”
That’s all I need,” He places a kiss against your forehead, “I promise I’ll
come back. Next year we’ll both be 19, and we’ll never have to worry about
these damn Games again.”
“I love you
“I love you
too Y/N. Forever,” He whispers before pulling you in for one final
day. It was the 18th day since the Games had started. The 18th
time that you had sat in front of the TV screen to watch your boyfriend fight
to the death. You had already watched the young girl, Clove, die in Cato’s
arms. You had already watched Cato kill the large boy from District 11 as
revenge for Clove’s death. There were three tributes remaining, the boy and
girl from District 12, and Cato. They stood atop the Cornucopia and Cato had
the advantage, he held Katniss’ lover in a chokehold on the edge. You’re almost there baby! You silently
prayed, Just two more kills, then no one
can come between us!
Katniss draws her bow and points it at him, she
won’t, she won’t do it, if she shoots then loverboy dies too. Cato finally
speaks up, you’ve never heard him like this. His voice shakes, he
sounds…afraid, “Go on, shoot. And we both go down, and
you win. Go on. I’m dead, anyway! I always was, right? I didn’t know that until
now. Isn’t that what they want, huh? No! I can still do this. I can still do
this. One more kill. It’s the only thing I know how to do. Bring pride to my
district. Not that it matters.”
“No!” You yell at your TV screen,
“Don’t you give up on me! Not now Cato!”
Katniss finally shoots her arrow, striking
Cato in the hand. He reflexively releases Peeta, and falls down to the Mutts
below. You jump up, “NO!”
You watch for the next hour as your
boyfriend desperately tries to fight them off with his sword, but eventually
his exhaustion takes over and the Mutts attack him brutally. Your family has to
hold you back to prevent you from lashing out. You eventually watch as Katniss
leans over the edge, the camera zooms into your boyfriend’s bloodied face as he
mouths the word ‘please’ and Katniss finally takes mercy and shoots an arrow
through his head.
You tear away from your family, and
violently smash the vase on the table next to you. There’s a loud ringing in
your ears as you scream out your lovers name. You’re filled with grief, anger,
disgust, and so much more all at once. You want to rip your heart out of your
chest, but it feels like someone already has.
You hear the sound of a cannon coming
out of the TV, which sounds like it’s miles away at this point, and the reality
of your situation hits you even more. Your body is shaken with a heart
wrenching sob as you fall to your knees. Cato’s last words run through your
head on a repeated, agonizing loop, I promise I’ll come back. Next year
we’ll both be 19, and we’ll never have to worry about these damn Games again.
YOU PROMISED CATO! You mentally scream back at the
voice. You sit on the floor in the middle of your living room for what feels
like hours, sobbing and taking periodic breaks to stare emptily at the wall.
promised me a forever Cato,” You whisper to yourself, hoping that where he was,
maybe he’d hear you, “You promised…”
Thank you Rep. Brown for addressing this hate crime!
Anthony Brown– US Representative for Maryland District 4
“I spoke on the floor about the life and death of Lieutenant Richard W. Collins III. His death was not some random act of violence. It was a heinous, despicable and unprovoked crime of hate. His murderer was a member of a racist neo-nazi hate group. But his murder was not an isolated incident. Nationally, there’s been an unprecedented spike in racist and hate activity on campuses since November.
This escalation of hate is not going to stop unless we take a stand - against the radical right and hate festering on campus, and against leaders that have been too content to remain silent and look the other way. Hate speech is not protected. Encouraging open dialogue cannot lead to inaction that creates a breeding ground for prejudice, discrimination and violent hatred. Richard Collins deserved better. Our children deserve better”
Each chamber of Congress will take a 1-week recess during the month of October — The House from Oct. 9-13 and the Senate from Oct. 16-20. This time is allotted for Members of Congress to work and engage with constituents in the states and districts they represent. It is also the perfect time for them to hold public town halls and hear the concerns of their constituents live and in person.
With only a couple months left in this legislative session, there are many urgent and high stakes issues Congress must address. Republican lawmakers are now working on ‘tax reform’ which will provide tax cuts to corporation and wealthy Americans by gutting the budgets for vital programs such as Medicaid and Medicare. The country has also faced a myriad of travesties which must be adequately rectified by swift legislative action, namely the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico & USVI as well as the mass shooting in Las Vegas. And not a week goes by where we don’t learn something new and concerning about the Trump campaign’s relationship with the Russian government. Call you reps today and activate.
Script: Hi, I’m [NAME], a constituent from [CITY, ZIP]. I’m calling to ask if Representative [NAME] is planning to have any town halls during the October recess?
[IF YES] I’d like to RSVP. May I please have the details?
[IF NO] Then I’d like to request that Representative [NAME] schedule one. There are many pressing matters we constituents should be able to voice our opinion on face to face.
Could you offer a bit of backround on Keith Ellison and Tom Perez?
Oh, sure! In this corner….
Tom Perez served as Secretary of Labor under President Obama during the latter’s second term, and other than Eric Holder, he was my favorite of Obama’s department heads. Indeed, in Obama’s first term, Perez worked under Holder as Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights division, challenging voter ID laws, advocating on behalf of LGBT kids facing discrimination at school, and investigating (among others) Joe Arpaio and the police department that handled the shooting of Trayvon Martin. I like him a lot, and he has valuable experience managing a large bureaucracy; if he becomes DNC chair, I will be perfectly content. But he brings with him more baggage than energy at this point, and the difficulty he’s had explaining his position on TPP (also one of my least favorite things about Hillary’s campaign) is a bad sign IMO.
And in this corner…
Keith Ellison represents Minnesota’s 5th Congressional district and is a co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. His policy focus has been on protecting Medicare and federal workers from Paul Ryan, while pushing for a path to single payer. He’s also a dedicated advocate of labor who has fought for union organizing as a civil right. He strongly supported Bernie in the primaries, but is respected enough by all wings of the party that he was able to mediate between the grassroots and the establishment in Nevada, where the divide has been bitter and intense recently. Ellison’s an intelligent and institutionally effective dude across the board, but two things above all else put me in his camp. One, he’s built a strong turnout machine in Minnesota, and the Democrats really need leaders with experience turning people out in that part of the country. Two, he was predicting Trump’s victory back when most reporters and other politicians (not to mention random assholes like yours truly) were scoffing at the very concept. Had I a vote, I’d vote Keith for DNC chair.
I understand your hatred for the school system and I honestly had no idea of this, is there any way we could stop this?
1) If you or someone you know has a disabled kid in the school system, talk to them about it, make sure they’re aware. If you can, go to local school meetings and broach the subject. Make people read some of the comments on that post so they know how it affects us, if they don’t believe you. If it’s your kid, and it happens to them, threaten to sue. You don’t even have to go to court, just name drop a lawyer and cite a relevant court case about IDEA.
2) Write your district representative, write your state congressmen, write your state senators, etc… If you live in a state where corporal punishment in schools is illegal, feel free to point out the double standard. If it wouldn’t be done to regular ed kids because it’s inhumane and damaging it shouldn’t be done to special ed kids.
3) Correct people when they refer to disabled individuals in dehumanizing or infantalizing terms. Treat disabled individuals as competent people who understand what is being done to them, who recognize when they are being treated unfairly, and who want to be respected just like anyone else. And not just the articulate ones. All of us.
4) Be willing to evaluate what people say about disabled children critically. Are they trying to gain sympathy? Are they trying to distract from accusations of abuse? Are they acknowledging the difficulties the disabled child faces as a the child’s problem, or are they complaining about how difficult it makes handling the child? There’s a huuuuge difference between “Matt gets frustrated because he can’t express himself, and he can become violent, so our goal is to find alternative ways to communicate and deescalate” and “Matt is so impossible! We can’t talk to him to find out what’s wrong and he just blows up for no reason!”
5) Critically evaluate whether a “behavior problem” is actually a behavior problem. Stimming is often brought up as a behavior problem. So is echolalia. When you’re autistic, pretty much everything is referred to as a behavior problem. My teachers referred to me drawing as a behavior problem. Is it weird? Sure. Is it harmful? No. There’s your metric. Overcorrecting is a serious problem w/ special ed teachers. Not every behavior is a problem.
Powerfist Edit 9/∞ || Hunger Games AU || Peacekeeper Luke and District 6 Tribute Danny
When 18 year old Daniel is chosen to represent District 6 in his last culling, Peacekeeper Luke needs to find a way to save the one person who matters most from the clutches of the Hunger Games.
“What am I gonna do?” Asked Danny, eyes wide and pleading as they stood in his room. His hands shook and his eyes were wet; Luke’s heart broke for a second time that day.
The first time being when Danny’s name was called. The painted woman’s voice still echoed in Luke’s bones. This wasn’t supposed to happen, Danny had been so close to being safe forever. This was his last Goddamn year in the culling and Luke couldn’t believe it.
“You’re going to do exactly what we’ve been practicing for the last ten years. You’re going to survive, do you understand me?” Luke said vehemently.
Danny paused his pacing and stared; looking into Luke’s equally terrified eyes he must have found something empowering there because he nodded slowly.
Danny has been training for this since his parents died. Day after day of combat practice, weapon training, and strategy sessions that reduced his opponents pawns. He’d need to think of them that way in order to win.
Danny always knew he’d be called, 4 years his senior, Luke’s time in the reaping came to a close years ago, he couldn’t volunteer for Danny no matter how much he begged the officials.
A Peacekeeper wanting to volunteer for a tribute was unheard of, and as quickly as he stood to volunteer he was ordered to stand down. They would never let a man partake in the games. Their sick game was children only.
“Do you think I’ll win?” Danny asked into the heavy silence.
Luke paused to seriously consider the odds. Danny was trained beyond even what the luxury districts could provide. He was brilliant and strong. “Yes.”
Danny let out a held breath and smiled wetly, bottom lip wobbling. He was so beautiful, sometimes it pained Luke.
Danny was more than prepared to survive the Capitol’s tricks, but Luke knew it took more than training to win. You needed to be ruthless, conniving, and cold. The three things Danny could never be.
“You do everything you have to, clear? You come back to me, whole. Understand?” Luke warned, voice hoarse. He’d maybe yelled bloody murder to the sky a little too ardently before coming in.
“I- I promise.” He answered solemnly. Stepping closer, into Luke’s space he breathed in slowly, looking up with a question in his eyes.
Luke answered by leaning down and pressing his lips to Danny’s, breath catching and disappearing as Danny leaned into the kiss. Not exactly how he was planning to do this, he thought, but even now something felt so right about having Danny safe and whole in his arms.
This wouldn’t be their first and only kiss. If Luke had to March to the Capitol and burn it down himself he would. Danny was his, and they could never have him.
Thank you @ironwingedhawk for all your awesomeness. Couldn’t do it without ya.
how would we go about sending letters to people who should know our opinions on net neutrality? who would we send them to, and where could we find the appropriate addresses? Thank you!
Your first step would be to identify your state representatives to Congress, as it’s a federal issue!
The easiest way to do this is, believe it or not, Wikipedia. Each state has its own website and some of them can be a pain to navigate. So, for example, if you live in Missouri, here are your state senators: