Category Archives: Politics

Lefty Lucy, Righty Tighty

Suffrage

As I fell asleep last night after finding out that the Republicans now control the Senate.  I didn’t have any nightmares.

To be honest, I was pretty dismayed at first.  Even felt a little choked up, recalling the SNAP cuts last year (Republicans) the closing down of women’s health clinics in Texas (Republicans) and the government shutdown (Republicans) that created some serious consequences for many Americans just trying to get by.  Not to mention cuts to the CDC and health research (Republicans) which during this whole Ebola thing has come back to bite us in the butt.

In any case, I let the flash of disappointment wash over me and I just decided to let it go.  Sometimes a shake-up can be a good thing.

Obviously the Marylanders are tired of all the taxes.  I’m open to thoughts on cutting taxes that keeps children’s and arts programs running.  That treats our disabled and elderly and veterans with dignity and respect.  That keeps our air and water clean.  If there is another way to fund those things or cut the costs of them, I am open to that discussion.  And if Hogan can do that, I’m glad for that.

I also think that a lot of Marylanders would like to find it affordable to retire here and at the moment, it’s not for a number of people.  These are valid questions.  And who am I to say that a Republican governor can’t deliver some kind of benefit to Maryland?

I am not going to be reactionary.  I’m not going to predict a lot of horrible things.

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I’m going to wait and see if these new elected officials really DO care about The People more than they care about money and big business.  Truthfully, I’ve not seen much evidence of that so far.  But there are Dems that aren’t above being bought as well.  And I also realize I can’t know the motivations behind each and every one of them.  They can’t all be horrible, hateful, hypocritical examples of humans like Ted Cruz and Michele Bachmann.  I don’t even like of thinking of other humans in terms of “they” and “me” or “us.”  We’re all human beings.  We all have the same basic needs and desire for happiness.  We have a lot of common ground to work with.

Above all, I mostly just want us all to have an equal shake at our right to the pursuit of happiness, no matter what political party a person aligns themselves with.  Surely that’s not so crazy and is something we can find a few ways to come together on.  This isn’t North Korea.  We have a lot of good things going for us.

Today I saw a news story about police in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida arresting people for feeding homeless people.  It’s true that I think of conservatives as doing this kind of thing.  I don’t know who decided this was a good law or why.  But I did automatically assume it was a Republican effort.  Perhaps that’s wrong of me.  And I don’t want to think ill of people I don’t even know.  But there is a reason that I automatically assume that – and it’s because of history.  The disabled, hungry or poor people in my experience are usually maligned by Republicans.  Is it fair that I think of it that way?  Maybe not.  And that’s why I’m examining why I think of things this way.  I should look at the Ft. Lauderdale thing as simply a Ft. Lauderdale thing and not a larger reflection on all of these newly elected folks who are now in charge of things.  I want  to think they represent me and people I love.  I want to think they care about the best interests of my family.  But at this point I feel like all of the government is being bought and paid for by the extremely wealthy and our dwindling middle class has really taken a hit.  Will these new leaders change that?  I hope so.

SO, I said all that to say this:  I’m just going to do what I have always done – try to be the best me I can be.  I can’t be president or senator.  I can’t fix all the things I want to.  But there are lots of things I can do, for my life and to help with the lives of others.

Let’s try and find the common ground, shall we?

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Feminist In-Fighting

There is a lot of feminist in-fighting.  I realize that the word “feminist” can mean any number of things to people – depending on who you ask.  As far as feminism for me, it means not treating women as second class citizens.  It means treating them equally.  While, I personally like to acknowledge there ARE differences in men and women, either physically or evolutionarily, some people like to be gender-blind and they are entitled to that.  I think that acknowledging differences means we can celebrate them rather than pretend they don’t exist.

I also don’t believe most feminists want to elevate women above men, nor do they want to deny that men have issues of their own to deal with.  I don’t wish to diminish them as victims.  That isn’t what feminism is supposed to be.

At any rate, the issue I have taken recently has been regarding “age gap” and “power gap” (that’s what I’m going to call it) relationships.

The matter first arose when I was reading a John Green blog entry about a young man who took advantage of a young woman at a con, in which the young man represented part of Green’s empire – DFTBA.    I have little doubt that that relationship was ill-fated and ill-advised and there does seem to be elements of abuse and possibly rape (the girl was underage, but I don’t know how far apart their ages were – and I don’t have the whole story – this was internet based chatter).  The whole thing unfolded on Tumblr, and John and Hank Green were pretty upset.  Understandably.

That topic came up in a later Laci Green video.  I enjoy Laci Green tremendously and I have long wished there had been somebody like her when I was coming of age in the early 1980s.  We had Dr. Ruth.  Not bad, but Laci is vibrant, smart and hip and fun.  Plus, she’s in video format, which is incredibly helpful.  Anyway – in the video about how to practice good consent Laci Green says that a person who is a fan of a celebrity CANNOT give consent.  I TOTALLY DISAGREE WITH THAT.

YOU CAN WATCH THE VIDEO AT THIS LINK (I do recommend this for great consent tips!)

At 3:24 where “Consent CANNOT Happen Even With a Verbal Yes” under situation #3 When You Hold Authority” over somebody.  I agree that ethically therapists and physicians, teachers and so forth should NOT be having sex with any students, patients, etc.  I am less enthusiastic about the whole celebrity and YouTube celebrity thing.

In fact, despite Laci Green being a big proponent of feminism, mutual consent, empowerment, and a generally sex positive attitude, I think the idea that a person (in this case I am talking about women, since I am talking about feminism) cannot in some cases give consent if there is a power imbalance actually DIMINISHES women.  To me it is decidedly UN-feminist to suggest a 20 year old woman can’t give consent to have sex with with, say, David Bowie if the occasion should arise.   Or an 18 year old man can’t give consent to have sex with Beyonce or a favorite YouTuber he worships – male or female.  Or for that matter I – a 44 year old woman – couldn’t give consent to have sex with Viggo Mortenson.  Viggo – if you happen to read this – call me!

There are all kinds of ways power is in and out of balance in sexual relationships (and pretty much all relationships).  I think I understand why some girls and young women are getting a mixed message about feminism making victims out of them and they don’t like being seen as victims.  I can totally understand that.

The fact is that women can make choices to have sex with whomever they so desire.  Sometimes they will make mistakes.  Not every sexual misstep has to be a victim/victimizer situation.  Some are definitely unethical – but that still does not make them criminal.

What I think has happened here is that for so many years women’s concerns and abuses have been systemically ignored by the power structure.  And still are.  So there is a push back to keep it from happening and define what is and what isn’t assault or abuse.  We need those things in place to protect people.  Laci has a lot of fantastic advice in her videos and I highly recommend them.  But I do not agree with her on that particular point and I think it also drives this idea that the anti-feminists are picking up.  Even though Laci doesn’t say it’s only women – I think because of the situation and where it stemmed from sort of implies it to the audience.

This is never going to be easy.  We have to talk these things out, but we’ve got to stop fighting about it.

A Government Not Just By and For the Wealthy People

My friend Steve Johns posted this on FB today and with his permission I am sharing it with you because I think it’s really fucking important.

And this is a Fox News link —– is this real life?

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If you care about constitutional government or democracy in the USA, this is likely the most important thing that you will read about all year. I recommend you disregard all prattle about how it “could never pass” or be subsequently ratified and instead simply think clearly for yourself about what what a human being is, what human rights are, what “speech” is, what you think the political process is meant to accomplish, and whether you support the core idea of this amendment or not.

This struggle could be a long one (e.g. 1776-1865, or 1776-1920), or it might actually be accomplished sometime in the next few years. It depends entirely on what the people (you and I) insist on or are willing to let slide.

Not everybody has millions or billions to spend on buying elections, but everybody does have a mouth and tongue (think “organs of speech” here), and almost everybody could afford the tiny amount per-capita that would be necessary to publicly fund robustly communicative (and hopefully shorter!) election campaigns where the candidates did not owe their designation and success entirely to self-interested big money. Of course the winners of such campaigns could then spend their time actually learning and thinking about the complex issues that face our country and the world, instead of spending the lion’s share of their time hob-nobbing and dialing for dollars to keep themselves in the game for the next election.

IMO this issue transcends dualities such as Republican/Democrat, Conservative/Liberal, etc. (and these are just unhelpful labels anyway). This is the fate of the Republic, folks. The choice is Plutocracy vs. Democracy. The SCOTUS has sided with Plutocracy. Without an amendment, that’s the way it’s going to be.

Do we refresh the tree of liberty with a Constitutional Amendment, or do we let all hope of such peaceful refreshment die in our generation? This is the question that is upon us (like it or not).

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