Sunday, August 26, 2018

John McCain and The Divided States of America

We can respect John McCain and critique his policies without canonizing him or ripping him to shreds. 

It's true, he sacrificed in ways 99% of us never have or will, and it's true he supported some very problematic domestic and foreign policy decisions. John McCain was every bit as human as the rest of us. On his best days he exemplified a life of service; on his worst days he made decisions that negatively affected the American people. 

In the last 24 hours, I've read articles and blogs that ranged from John McCain was, "one of America's greatest heroes" to he was, "a blood thirsty warmonger". The fact that so many people are so far apart in their assessment of his life and political legacy is a testament to how polarized our political landscape is. 

There are writers pushing out "clickbait" articles for the sole purpose of preaching to their ideological and political choirs. This is sad. John McCain isn't above scrutiny, but he and his family deserve respect. 

Saturday, August 11, 2018

10 Separate (but kind of connected) Thoughts About Race

1. On the one year anniversary of Heather Hyer's death there are still bigots who think of themselves as good people because they don't protest with Tiki torches.

2. Most of the people who equate protests over racism and police brutality with disrespect for the military do so willfully. Ignoring the racism cooked into the American system of jurisprudence is easier than fixing it.

3. Laura Ingraham's bigoted comments are part of the mainstreaming of racism. The overwhelming majority of racist people I've encountered didn't think of themselves as racist: even after sharing their problematic views about people of color.

4. Fear of changing demographics is evidence that too many "real Americans" are prisoners to their narrow conception of what it means to be an American.

5. Every day racial, religious, and ethnic minorities are implicitly reminded that the "founding fathers" didn't steal this land and slaughter the indigenous people who lived on it for us. They never intended on us benefiting from their labor. 

6. There is no nuanced way to interpret bigotry. There is no distance between supporting language and actions that categorizes people as less than. Silent support is still support.

7. Black people who engage in respectability politics are a bigger part of the problem than they realize. Trying to creating the illusion of perfect "Blackness" is a form of accepting the lie of black inferiority. Quit trying to prove things to people.

8. If you truly care about your minority friends, try to get outside of your comfort zone long enough to look at the overt racism of the last three years from their vantage point.

9. No one person is capable of ending racism: It's nearly impossible to cause shifts in some people's thought process. Once an idea becomes entrenched in the psyche it tends to stay their. There are people we have to leave behind.

10. As a rule, radical shifts in a society are almost impossible achieve over a short period of time. This is a never ending battle.