On Caricature the Cacophony

So today I have been honoring a man who’s life is, far too often, invoked as a condemnation of my efforts.

Of the efforts of any person of color, of any woman, of any disabled person, of any LGBT person.

“You are too vulgar, too confrontational, too angry, too egotistical, too masculine, too aggressive, too loud”

This is their words, their too and their much, and their too much of me in their head and in their eyes and in their face and space and I am just over and through and around and within them and that offends them into defends of their too and their much and their too much.

They start seeing me in my paleness, bleached by the dark and the hiding from the sun, and think me like them even as I call out my darkness and my difference and shed the things they put on me to reveal my many colored robe and all the truths within it.

Patchworked and frayed, like some country tune, my robe of many colors is cast in drab hue and cry and the then they see me only as the black one that deceives and lures and now they forget that I am more than one thing and so never so easily contained, oiled and slick from the failures of their own efforts to punish and silence me by drowning my brilliance in the darkness they concoct and convene and conveniently they tell themselves they can escape now.

“Be like King!” They extol and exhort and exhale and hex bring this marvel of a man as a shield for themselves, coopting and co-owning and appropriately appropriating the approximation of what they see as acceptable and allowable and apple pie a man with dark skin and a dream they breathe to lift themselves up and never my peoples, never my tribes, never my families.

They catch a drift and caricature the cacophony and complain about the noise like a short king to a wizard, hey man the peasants are revolting and you can say that again.

But hey, they are good and they are loving and you cannot grasp what love is without knowing what you are loving and like they have made me they are too thin and pale to grasp the color of love and the weight of it and burden of having to be the ones that love when all that is returned is hate.

Love is telling you that you are wrong, and love is you listening and asking and thinking and realizing that you are wrong.

If I say to you that you need to step back and let that black or brown sister step up and you need to point to her and say hey, listen up, that is me being loving and me loving you and loving the work and yet you turn to me and you say that you cannot find a woman to lift up or that woman isn’t deserving or good enough or useful enough or pretty enough or why don’t you just say it plain and real that she ain’t white enough you saltine looking piece of work.

Love does not mean you, with your newfound struggle, are better at this than we, for whom this struggle is as old as the blood and bone in our bodies, weaned on The Talk that you don’t even have to have to have because to you the Talk is about sex and for us it is about living and how your code switching in your newfound world is stolen from we who have done it from the moment we learned that the world was out there.

If I tell you that rap is your poetry slam, your spoken word art and you roll your eyes at fuck tha police and can’t tell a Run from a DMC and say yeah, but that ain’t your jam I am gonna laugh.

Because who gave you your jam, but we?

You call it eggshells, correctness, politics, and what that is is you being careful not to be nonracist but to not show how fuckin racist you already are and how sleeping you are while we are woke and shaking in the middle of a long dark night you don’t even know is there.

You think of me and you think of rambling lessons and crystalline posts that make you feel good or feel bad but make you feel without feeling it, and then I bust a piece of heart like this here and you blow it off and wonder why I don’t just stick to shouting at windmills since my lance has been broken and my Pancho is a coffee bean you drink with a pretty label that says the right words even though we all sit in a nation where even a child makes more as an allowance than that coffee bean farmer does in a year.

I don’t want your guilt. I want your blood, your sweat, your tears, your risking your job and family and hopes and dreams because that is what we risk walking down the street around you every day.

And now, no matter how many of you get this and cheer this and celebrate this know that it wasn’t We who put hell in office.

It was you, and you are they, and we do t have the luxury and the privilege of saying but it was those bad ones.

Remember this on the Day of the King, and Know that love never tears down, that love can sting, and that love sometimes means discipline to show you a better way.

On the Path Forward, 5 of 5

So for those wanting to red the whole thing in a print format, there is a PDF of all five parts at the bottom of this post.

One and one and one is three. One thing I can tell you is you got to be free!

Come Together.

All of this stuff I am telling you, this whole deal about how you can be part of a massive change in the way things are done with only 20 hours a month — less than a part time job — has been about *you*, individually.

But you aren’t doing this alone. I write this to get those who are not already doing this stuff involved. To get them up and active and spending the time and energy and yes, money (because gas ain’t cheap, and hunger doesn’t stop just because you are busy, and winter is cold and summer hot and water wet) and get out there and make this happen.

But truly, you will not be alone in this.

In the Indivisible guide, they tell you to get together with people in your area. Here is where social media is really useful. You have a precinct.  You will meet people at your party meetings, you will meet people at your city, county, state and federal officials offices, you will meet people online if you want to put in the time for it.

Now, you don’t have to get together in person. You do need to get together. To come together.

It doesn’t have to be many of you.  Five is enough.  Meet at a house once a month, swap stories and snacks and maybe have a viewing party of some tv show or movie.

A small group like that needs to happen in every single precinct.  You end up going to places together. Share the cost, the burden, the babysitting.

Help each other out. Bring other people in.

Have fun.  Truly.  Because fighting against oppression does not mean that you can’t get into Game of Thrones. Or Westworld.

Hell, go out for pizza and beers after you drop by your COngressman’s office in mass to talk about a bill.

A good group will have someone who watches the local council, legislature, and related websites, watches for new legislation.

Another person will focus on the people. Hell you are all essentially neighbors. You might even be int he same city councilman’s district, but in different districts for State and federal offices.  Fine.

Belong to a couple groups, and let them get together once in a while.

The basis of the group should still be Oppression opposition, should still be based in Human Rights. Talk about them once in a while. Talk about how human rights involve you, personally, and each of the others.

When you go to the precinct meetings, you will be a group of people, and you will get listened to, because there is likely going to be one of you that has a big mouth.  Which is good — even if it is an annoying big mouth.

A moment is made when one person starts acting in a way that is different. A statement is made when three people join in. A movement is made when five to seven other people join in.

That’s all it takes.  You stand up, you stand out, and you speak truth.  Truth that is this nation is founded on the opposition to oppression; that what makes us strongest is the power of human rights; that we are a nation built on the idea that all of us are created equal, and endowed with certain inalienable rights that we must always and forever be vigilant about protecting.

That is the heart of America.

Truly, that is the heart of everything.  Religions around the world hold that the key to being a good person is treating everyone equally.  The followers suck at it, but the religions are pretty good about it.

I have explained to you how there is a constant presence within a section of America where the opposition to Human Rights is pretty much a given.

So let’s talk about that. In light of the ten things I say we should do. TO give you an idea of how you can speak to your list of things.

Minimum Basic Income

It has taken me a very long time to get to a point where I support this idea. The turning point for me was when I realized that we already do provide such, just on a more limited basis (a basis that was grounded in compromise with those who oppose human rights).

Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, TANF, SNAP, ACA – these are all programs that seek to provide a minimum basic income to people. There is a lot of resistance to these programs. They are expensive, they are disliked in principle by those who “don’t need it”, and they are disliked by those “who have to pay for it”.

Some will argue, right now, that Medicaid, Medicare, and the ACA are not part of this.  Fine.  Go ahead.  But remember the Earned Income Credit and Bush 2’s here, have a bunch of a money. They are part of this same issue.

Yes, the money has to come from somewhere. I get that.  Getting the money is a challenge. But first and foremost, let’s understand that we are not arguing about *should we do it*.  We have to — we support human rights.

In my list, several of them point to this: 

1.3.1. The Government, recognizing the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger, shall take the measures, including specific programs, which are needed:

1.4. The Government has an obligation to ensure that any person whose rights or freedoms as herein recognized shall have an effective remedy.

1.5. The Government shall ensure that any person claiming such a remedy shall have is right thereto determined by the Constitution and the authorities it vests.

1.6. The Government shall ensure the equal right of all persons to the enjoyment of all civil and political rights as set forth herein, by law, by action, and by intent.

3.11. All Citizens shall have the right to an adequate standard of living for themselves and their family, including

3.11.1. adequate food,

3.11.2. clothing and housing,

3.11.3. and to the continuous improvement of living conditions.

9.2 Each citizen shall have the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and

9.2.1 the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control,

9.2.2 Through the action of the State, for the duration of their lives, in a manner which is reasonable and affordable for them, in accordance to the Without Distinction Rule. This action on the part of the State shall be without regard to risk measures.

So, in my Line (my list of Human rights, pulled from reputable sources), it is fairly apparent and obvious that since the government’s job is to ensure these rights, that the government needs to do it.

Moreso, in guaranteeing *everyone* a basic minimum income (the rich and poor alike) we actually simplify the basis by which we do it.  Social security becomes something we do for everyone, all the time.

Aside from giving a boost to the economy (and inflation), it makes sure that people don’t starve, that the unemployed can survive, and that the infirm or ill can make ends meet.

We have a moral, ethical, community duty to see that his happens.

You want details now? How much per person, how to pay for it, how to do it? AWESOME!!!!

That’s where we need to be.  But we aren’t there yet.  First we have to recognize that this is a human right, and it is the government’s job to attend to it, and that is not where we are.

We can actually do this — and answer all of those questions — within the next decade.

But, again, first, we have to change the culture of our Government to one that recognizes that its job is to protect our human rights.

So that is one example.

Me, I say we tie the rate to a baseline of minimum standards and then increase according to costs.  Right now, I think that would be around 15K a year. Not enough to lift one out of poverty, but enough to make sure that those in poverty have a chance to get out of it.

500 million people getting 15k a year is not going to be done without taxes. Have to be realistic about it. We also have to defend our nation well, and we have a lot of enemies. While a lot of them will go away over time, it will take time, and we need to be secure in the meantime because, well, let’s remember: some folks never get the message.

(yes, I know there are not 500 million people in the US. There will be. Soon.)

Universal Healthcare

The other part — and here you can’t argue that we aren’t talking about the ACA and Medicare and Medicaid.

The money we give them with the MBI is going to be swallowed up super fast by medical bills among the poorest if we don’t take care of them medically, and, if you look at the examples I pulled from my list above, you can see they also argue this one.

Co-pays are fine. Insurance companies are fine. They can do it. THey just can’t say no, and they do have to cover things, and yeah, they need to set firm lines on that cost.

This one is a no brainer.  It is being done all over the world, in all manner of ways, and hey, we are supposed to be Americans, the best of the best.  Act like it for a fucking change.

And, again, here we are talking about not if it should be done (that thinking is in opposition to human rights) but how to do it.

Are you now seeing the power of that simple thing about making the Law be about human rights?

Our laws are, for the most part, about Property. People were once property — Black people, women, children — all property.

Not all our laws — we have the bill of rights, which only covers 10, and from which we have built the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act and so forth, but the basis of our laws is quite different from a focus on Human Rights.

This is the Radical aspect of what we are trying to do, and you likely never even realized how radical it was when I mentioned it in part two.

Remember that? Here’s a refresher:

A bill that says, simply, that Law and Justice are in the Service of Human Rights, because the United States is about human Rights. And here are those human rights that we hold to be self evident.

Law and Justice are in the Service of Human Rights

Did you realize that is a radical concept when you read it?

That it is so far fucking left it essentially counts as an extremist position?

Now, here’s the kicker.  That line is pulled from the goals of the Framers. The folks who met in 1787 and 1788. As the sorta government they had going at the time was falling apart and the freedom of the nation was at risk in that 6 year window.

We went a long way away from that, didn’t we?

IT doesn’t seem like such a big deal because the US is founded on that idea — it lies in the back of the heads of all the folks I told you about in the last part.

But we keep fuckin up because we have not put that idea into practice. That is what we need to do, now as The Resistance.

TO put that simple and easy to recognize but incredibly radical and holy shit there are a lot of human rights to the point.

The United States of America essentially bullied the rest of the world into creating the United Nations. The Soviet Union — and now Russia — joined mostly to keep us in check and keep it from becoming a US toy.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was one of the major reasons that the UN came into existence. Making that the centerpiece of its existence, the basis for which it worked. Not all the members joined in on that, but a lot of them did.

We have never made it law in the US.  Never made it part of the Bill of Rights.

We need to.  Most of it was created from lessons we learned here in the US already.

And we start by using it as our path forward.

The incoming Administration and Congress are going to be dismantling the systems that were built over decades of effort to meet that goal.  That goal of  Law and Justice are in the Service of Human Rights.

Now, imagine how hard it is going to be for them to deny that their efforts are in opposition to human rights?

They don’t give a damn that millions of people are losing their health care. That millions more are at risk of being fired or kicked out of their homes for being gay or trans. That women get paid less than men and are raped at utterly unacceptable rates. That a woman cannot have control over her own bodies and that black people are being gunned down in the streets in the name of Law and Order or imprisoned more harshly and for longer than white people.





a shit





IF they did, they would be introducing bills about it. If they did, they would be calling for investigations. If they did, they would not be doing everything about money money money money when money is what shields them from the realities of the death of the middle class.

Tax and Spend Democrats is what these people used to call folks on the left.

Money politics is white politics.

Yet note that I took just one suggestion above, about money, and grounded it in the moral, ethical, human decency basis of human rights.

The third item I would cover is recognizing the human rights of all Americans.

In my list, this is referred to as the without distinction rule. That rule represents everything that those who oppose human rights have been fighting against for decades.

1.2. The Government has an obligation to undertake and ensure to all citizens within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction these rights without distinction of any kind, such as

1.2.1. Age, Race and Color,

1.2.2. Gender and Sex Inclusive of identity, sexuality, and heteronormativity

1.2.3. Language, Ethnicity, and National or Social origin, Although reasonable definition of common language for governmental purposes is allowable

1.2.4. Religion, Creed, Political, or other opinion,

1.2.5. Property, Birth, Social Class, or other status.

1.2.6. This code, 1.2 inclusive, shall be referenced herein as the Without Distinctions Rule, and shall apply, wholly, to all these rights herein, with only the specific exceptions so stated.

That is it.

That is what we are fighting for, and if you stop for a few moments to think about it, you come to realize that is what we are fighting about.

The idea that the government is supposed to fight for our rights, supposed to defend them, ensure them, protect them.

That is what makes us The Left, why we are The Resistance.

Because if law and justice are in service to human rights, then all politics must be in the service to human rights. And when politics, law, and justice are all in the service to human rights, the peoples beneath them are, as well.

That is how we regain our country, and that is why we start locally, and work our way up.

And why we can do it in two years and in four years and make it a reality within the next 20.

For another 240 years.

I am a Liberal. Because as a Liberal, I hold this truth to be self evident: that Law and Justice shall be in the service to Human Rights. As that, first and foremost, is what being a Liberal is about.

On The Path Forward1 A PDF containing all five posts, plus On Oppression and On The Line.

On the Path Forward, Part 4 of 5

So there is, if you are sharp, more reasons for getting to know your local legislators than just being able to ultimately make an impact on them, and possibly even get them to vote against damaging proposals.

In the past, I have taken flak from religious people for not being willing to hear their concerns.  Like most people, I have often reacted negatively — defensively, to such accusations. One of the things that happens when you get defensive like that most commonly is that you think “oh hell no!” and then you look for a reasons why you aren’t whatever you are accused of.

Following that most common of thinking is the most common of responses: “well, no, and here’s an example of why — I have friends like Kathy Baldock and Lance Jayden who are deeply religious people.”

Seriously, if you don’t know who Kathy Baldock or Peterson Toscano are, you should go and find out.

But understand something else — it is really fuckin horrible when someone does shit like pull out the “Friend” card. Because there is no logic, no honesty, no value in doing so.  You do it to evade and avoid, to shield and to obscure, to distract and to ward away the actual problem, which is not listening to the accusation about you.

And worse — defensiveness hits only when you don’t really want to face something about yourself you already know to be true, but don’t like.

Now, knowing that, and recalling that earlier I said “in the past”, understand that I haven’t done such when it comes to religion in a very long time. I can say that I don’t need to do so, in no small part because unlike a lot of folks, I recognize the value that religion has in our lives, personal and collective.

I do listen. Closely. My being outspoken like I am is not a new thing, but, really, while I have long had strong opinions, my willingness to express them have not always been as strong as they have been the last decade or so.

More common for me is a willingness to help other people express their opinions, and crafting things around those opinions to support them. I enjoy the task of thinking things through.

These days the accusations are more likely to center around race (in my case, that I am not sensitive to the needs of white people by folks who have obviously never looked at my family, lol, let alone where I live or what I have done most of my life), and partisan politics.

Partisan politics.

I liked the fact that Bernie Sanders entered the Democratic party primary. Yes, I will note that his particular brand of populist politics is “#whitepolitics”, and I will note that people of color overwhelmingly opposed him.

But that doesn’t change that I liked what he did. He moved the discussions in the party to the left and kept them from moving more right than they already had moved. History is almost certain to record him favorably for that task — and others, such as Warren and even Booker, will likely be remembered as well in that vein.

I spent 21 years as a member of the Republican Party.  The ideals I celebrated, I enjoyed, I embraced, that I was raised on, were why I was in that party. The very ideals I often speak to now.

Chief among them was human rights, which almost certainly is worth a good belly laugh, because we know now that for much of the last 60 years, the Republican party has done its best to dismantle such.

But, really, is it the Republican party?  No, no, I get it – they are the enemy. Tea Party and Religious right and all that. But for several thousand years, when you have an enemy, one of the first things a smart mother fucker does, something known from the boardrooms of business and the gilded chambers of the rich down to the local street thug peddlin safety to skinny kids is “know your enemy”.

In the novels Catching Fire and Mockingjay, Katniss Everdeen is told more than a few times to “remember who the enemy is” — and we, carried along in this journey with her, buffeted by people and circumstance when all she wants to do is keep Pris and her Mom and Gale and Peeta safe, feel the same emotional reaction to that statement: the enemy is Snow.

Just like we have been told the enemy is the Republican party.

But that isn’t really true, is it?

It is a general statement, and has value there, but, really, now, bear with me, and let’s look at something important here.

When I was in the Party, my particular section of it was called Rockefeller or Goldwater Republicans. I grew up, both in the world at large and in terms of my political growth, surrounded with that. It meant a distrust of globalization, but it meant a reverence for human rights, a strong favoring of intelligent thinking. And with it, truly, came a deep and abiding mistrust of the extremism of the Religious right that came to dominate all the politics of the eras.  Especially after Carter.

OMG< after Carter — the most openly religious President in ages. The guy who gave away the Panama Canal. Who opened the door for the repatriation of Hong Kong. He actually offended the Religious right so much they did the very same things that the Tea Party did decades later. And they never stopped doing it. This is part of why there is so much overlap there.

An interesting thing about that — the core of the Religious right, the real fire and brimstone folks who pushed this stuff through, who drank the Rushdooney flavored pisswater, they *chose* the Republican Party. And it was a big deal, because most of them had been Democrats.  These were the people whose parents had been saved by the New Deal. They had supported it, benefited from it, and they had survived the Dust Bowl and the Depression and a World War and they were fucking pissed like you cannot imagine at Truman for integrating Blacks into the Armed Forces.

And they lived, primarily, in South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, Missouri, Kentucky, and Arizona.

The Religious Right. That is their core region.  We even have a name for it: The Bible Belt.

These days we can add Utah to that list.

Now, for an even more interesting thing for you to think on.

The Religious Right began to dominate Republican Politics beginning in Carter’s term. They claimed massive local victories in the mid term elections in 78. They did it on the backs of the victories involving those damned gay teachers and with the support of the Catholic Church and the Baptist Churches.  The closed down Johns Hopkins gender center through the appointment of their pet Good Christian who went in saying that was what he was going to do before he even got the job.

They had help from the oppressed groups they hated in the process, by leveraging the internal fight that was going on among them to divide — a division which is still not fully healed today.

They did that. They claimed the moral high ground and then they got pretty drunk with power. They shut down the ERA, they took Nixon’s strategy nd ran with it — Law and Order means keep those poor crazy people in line and DOnt forget Twinkies and now we have trickle down economics and holy doodoo and pass the ammo.

Then came Cable.

In the mid 90’s, they owned Politics. Then a guy from Alabama — one of those states that is their stronghold — grabbed the Presidency, and they grabbed Congress.  The rise of Gingrich was not accidental, it was entirely part of the goal there.

They essentially declared war on everything that FDR was about. Truman was the real villain, remember, but he wasn’t talked about as much as the three time President with the decidedly not a role model wife and the Intellectual, effete disdain for religion that so offended them.

He was a Northerner, after all. Dismantle those things, they said, the Churches should do those things. Government was a business, should be run like one, and look at how God fearing folks had succeeded doing it and look how they are good white people.

They didn’t say “white people”. That’s just all they showed.  And it got worse when a Black family was top of the TV ratings. Meaning Popular.

The Government is a business deal was not new — it had been pioneered in those states mentioned earlier at the local level. In one case, as a push to recognize a holiday for Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr reached a cresendo, one Governor they had supported (a used car salesman by trade) refused — outright refused — to do so.

The state was damaged tremendously.  Internally, it led to s shakeup where Dems kinda regained control for a while, but they had to be moderate.

There was a rebirth of Dems under that Alabama boy, though, at the local level, and that in turn triggered a shift in those folks in those states.

The Religious RIght began to lose power, because their message wasn’t doing what others wanted.  Others wanted Power, for its own sake.  They wanted wealth. They wanted no taxes, and no government, and they loved the ideas of people like the billionaire Ross Perot about how people need to be fuckin standing on their own two feet, not weighed down by governmental regulation and not by the people who had been in power for freaking ever, and BY GOD when you say no new taxes, there had damn well better not be any new taxes.

They bitched. They moaned. They got their Randian savior to run. And, again, and this is key, they had their core power base situated around South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas, but also Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, Missouri, Kentucky, Utah, and Arizona.

This group, too, *chose* the Republican party. Their rise to power, especially in its early stages, drove the last of the Moderate Republicans out. Killed the Goldwater/Rockefeller Republicans. Gerald Ford was such. Only time one ever really occupied office. Not too memorable except for his pardoning Nixon and being shown by Chevy Chase as a bumbler.

Sounds like history to most, but really, all of this is sociology.  All of this is the stuff that goes on when a Structure is being attacked by the very people that it exists to Oppress, and this is what people who benefit from that Structure do.

Did you notice anything there?

This new group became the nucleus of the Tea Party — they were not many, and if you want a nice concise idea of how they did what they did to the Republican Party, read Indivisible.

A long while ago, when this site was crammed full of posts going back a decade before my bad times hit and it went offline, I wrote about a gathering together across the nation in small groups and hammering out ideas and then working, separately, across the country, and sending representatives to a single big meeting to hammer out details of a really cool thing and the response to that post was “eh, not really possible” despite it happening over and over again not only every two years, but around 240 years ago in a bunch of places while the people doing so were declared seditious and traitors.

That’s what the Tea Party did.

That’s what the Religious Right did — only they had the meetings every sunday.

But I want you to really note that these groups are only republicans by default. These days, they essentially control the party bottom to top, and there is no one currently in office except for a handful of Northerners whose small states are more libertarian in nature anyway who is not beholden to one or both of those groups.

Including the so called Maverick who started out a Goldwater disciple and then sold out after he tried to interfere with a federal investigation of a savings and loan magnate.

Power for Power’s sake.

This is why I call the Republican Party by a different name these days.  I call them the Regressive Party.

The goals of the groups in power there are to roll everything back. Newt Gingrich recently noted that killing the ACA and them Medicare are the first steps in rolling back the New Deal.

Now we have the remaining malcontents who have, once more, as their power base, those states of South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, Missouri, Kentucky, Utah, and Arizona.

One difference — and it is an important one. This group has been active online, and been radicalizing online, and their message is contemptuous, embracing the very heart of what should be obvious to anyone who has made it through this post to this point.

They oppose human rights openly. They mock those who do support the idea. They operate in bands, in groups, in mobs that use social media as a lynching ground to intimidate and terrorize those who openly dare defy them.

They are the most extremist of all the rises, and they have catapulted their allies because, really, their allies did all of that stuff they did for the same reasons, but weren’t interested in being open about it.

The catalyst?

Barack Obama. President.

Which, when their brains translate it, reads “A Black Man as President.”.

There is no greater threat to structure, to Power for Power’s sake, than when the very people who that Power is supposed to harm rise to the top of that power’s system.

Now, I am pointedly not saying that Racism is the basis behind all of this.  It is not.  It is part of the excuse for this, it is the emotional basis for a lot of it, but it is not the basis.

Oppression is.

Oppression: the combination of social power with aversion, anxiety, and/or animus, singly or in any combination.

The source of this oppression is an ongoing failure to deal with the understanding that South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, Missouri, Kentucky, Utah, and Arizona were all states where the rights of some human beings were ignored, and the basis of this refusal to permit them to have human rights was that they were less than, of less value, less capable, less deserving, less useful, and generally good only as property.

So we ask ourselves, now, who is the enemy.

Perhaps it would be better to ask what is the enemy. 

Because the enemy isn’t a Party — they are merely the convenient scapegoats.  A way to attack a large and while not particularly diverse group of people, still people.  It is a great generalization tool, but there is a risk that comes of such a use.

The enemy really isn’t that.  They are the tools of that enemy. They are acting, mostly, without understanding in a truly conscious and aware way of what it is they are defending, and they are defensive about it when confronted with it.

But they are only the tools of it.

The enemy is the Structure itself. The ideas, the systems, the policies and the laws and the basis by which they argue — and it is not wise nor smart to forget that the very document which was created to fix the problems of a government that failed to govern itself incorporates that lesser existence and continues to provide validation.

Remember the Revolutionary War ended in 1783.  George Washington was not named President until 1789.

It took six years to create a nation founded on the principles of Human Rights.

Six years after a war against Oppression to create a nation founded on it with a document that itself propelled Oppression.

Another war was fought over Oppression.  Some like to argue that it was about money.  White folks, who have ties to those states listed above, really.  Who see nothing wrong with flying the flag of betrayal and of a desire to perpetuate Oppression.

It was the bloodiest war in the nation’s history.

Then we did it again, having finally reached a point where we were able to compete on a global stage, as the Oppression of Empire was challenged and the process of breaking them up began. Wasn’t happening fast enough, and some folks didn’t get the message (some folks never do — important to remember here, since we just talked about a bunch of them), so we had to do it again, and in both cases, those wars we bigger than us, and in both cases we did our damnedest to stay out of them.

We aren’t perfect. As a nation.

And a part of the problem is that we like to fight over whether or not we should do something about oppression, instead of actually doing something about it.

Even on the Left.

Over the next two years, we are going to watch what Structure does when the Agency of the Oppressed becomes too strong.  This is, truly, the fight of our lives.

This is the fight before we become a force so overwhelming that the electorate is changed forever.

They know it is coming, those who favor Oppression. They know it, and it scares the fuck out of them, so they shift the conversation to money, knowing that money can insulate you from such things.

Money can protect you from oppression, from seeing it, from feeling it, from having to deal with it. This is why the wealthy are “above” all this, and why they so often make mistakes when trying to speak to it.

It cannot protect you from stigma, but stigma is only a manifestation of part of Oppression.

When you get to know your local legislators and city councilmen and even your congressmen, you personalize their acts of oppression. You embody it.

But, more importantly, when you do so without being defensive about it — and there is never a need to be defensive about Human rights and opposing oppression (although we often have a need to do such and be such when it comes to racism, or transphobia, or homophobia, or misogyny and sexism, or ableism) — you open something that you don’t always realize you have the ability to open.

A way forward that promises that America is the Land of the Free (those who are not oppressed) and the Home of the Brave (those who oppose oppression).

The last part will come tomorrow. The history lessons and asides are done.

All of this will be available as a single download at the end of the next part.

On the Path Forward, part 3

Why is a diamond ring the thing you buy to get married?

The answer is “A diamond is forever.” Nearly every single thing you can think of relating to a diamond ring being the thing you buy to say I love ya is linked to that sales pitch, that commercial series, that was first aired in I think the late 1940’s.

That awesome Marilyn Monroe routine so well known, was written at the request and via the funding of the same people as part of that campaign.

The Bond movie was named after the campaigns’ slogan.

And the purpose of that was to make you think a few different things: first, that you need to buy a diamond; next, to further the idea that diamonds are rare.

Diamonds are not rare. Their supply is limited, intentionally, but there are gazillions of them. Sapphires are more rare than diamonds. Gold is more rare than diamonds.

I tell you this because part of what we need to do is sell an idea to people that is as capable of changing the way people think about things as that campaign is.

The idea of Human Rights being what America is about.

It is not going to be as easy as you might think, since odds are pretty good that the Dems or the Greens or other political party aren’t going to take out TV spots that sell people on the notion.

They should, mind you. How the fuck do you think people either laughed at or cheered the orange nightmare until it was too late?  One of the most important tools of the Reagan era campaigns was their reliance on some really powerful commercials to sell an idea of America.

With microtargeting and online interaction and a rushing need to reach those key demos, the basis of selling America to Americans was missed — see that whole four dots thing from before I was talking about.

Now the trick is selling them the idea that Human Rights are what America is about, but the value in doing so is really simple:

We are going to tackle the big problems, head on. Climate Change. Wealth inequality. Racism. Sexism and Misogyny. Homophobia, biphobia, Transphobia. Homelessness. Poverty, Hunger. Affordable healthcare.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Sounds like a freaking social justice warrior’s wet dream! Well, at least to the other side.

But we aren’t going to talk about those things. At least, not in that way.  We are going to talk about ending oppression.

Because everyone is oppressed. If you doubt me, go put up a booth and offer free something to anyone who is oppressed.

Everyone is oppressed. They just don’t think others are as oppressed as they make out, or as oppressed as them. It is an olympic caliber sport, the competition.

We use that.

Sounds kinda slimy, doesn’t it?  Hello, its politics, and its the fate of our country, and our very lives, and I think that if it sounds slimy that’s because you underestimate some basic facts about social beings called humans that no one wants to tell you and no one wants to hear.

Its owning the narrative and controlling the discourse, something the other side has been doing since those Reagan Era ads I told you about with the entire story that created a crapton of “fiscal conservative, socially liberal” types that do not realize that is part of the trickle down economics currently being shoved down our economy’s throat even further. Because it has been part of things for so long, and the ideas behind it are so commonly ignored except in long winded think pieces no one reads to make a difference to them.

You know, like this one.

If you have followed me for a while, one thing you can easily note is that one of my chief tools in overcoming those who hate is to use their own words and ideas against them, and I do it by knowing their ideas and their words really well, because they simply aren’t that creative.

But the best part of it is that I do not hit them in a way they expect.  And trust me, the other side does not expect us to go human rights.  They expect Civil Rights (which becomes 1960’s chaos and disorder), they expect Racism (which doesn’t exist anymore) they expect Gay rights and Transgender Rights (which are special rights and perversions).

They expect all those things.  Their arguments about those things are boring. Reruns. Like watching old episodes of a bad 70s sitcom on the channel only old people ever turn to when they are too cheap to spring for cable.

Yawn. Hell, we are tired of them — seriously, the run of the mill person who would vote if they had a good reason to doesn’t want to hear about the culture war anymore.

The other side knows that.

We cannot argue white Politics, which is money, because white politics ignores the needs of everyone who isn’t white — and money won’t solve those issues. Plus, it feeds into the very narrative that is being set up because it divides the country by forcing people of color to stand up and say hey, can we talk about Racism, and women to step up and say hey, can we talk about sexism, and so forth, and they have to do that but what happens is that in the mind of the average voter, who has been surrounded by white supremacy their entire life, it becomes the scary folks and the womenfolk (mostly scary womenfolk,) are whining about how poor they are.

So we lose.

I’m pretty sure more than a few of you are expecting me to bust out some sort of long winded explanation of how that works, but, really, I already have, and I get tired of cut and paste stuff, so right now, if you have a hard time buying that, its on you.

So the job is selling it to them.  That means talking about them. To talk about something, you need to understand it. Hence why for so long I have been trying to get people to look at the various incarnations of The Line.

I do get to talk about them with folks on occasion, and I pay attention to other things as I have gone on over the years, and so yes, the Line has changed a bit here and there as I have tweaked something here or added a bit more there.

When the UN Human Rights body noted that internet access was a human right, I sorta had to rethink some stuff, for example.

So let me explain something here.  If laws exist to support human rights,  and, for example, they were to need to follow the human rights listed in that, then it would be really hard for lawmakers to stop some things.

It would, in fact, not be possible, especially if we got them to a point where they were part of an extension to the Constitution, but that’s reaching, so lets just settle for now for making a law that says laws have to focus on them.

If you think we already do that, then you don’t understand what human rights are.  The US is not well known for human rights support and maintenance.

Right now,  there are laws on the books that are directly in opposition to the Human rights in my Line. Laws that people are not happy about.

The dismantling of the Affordable Care Act is in direct opposition to the Line.

Yes, really. Indeed, the ACA does not go far enough, in my opinion, but barely meets the requirements and is not even close to perfect in terms of doing what it does without going to single payer.

Because there is a human right to health care. Competent health care, inclusive of in a language that can be understood.

The human rights there also support the Establishment of a minimum basic income for everyone. Oh, look, a major boost to wealth inequality. That has to be paid for, which means taxes, yes, but you know what else it means?

It means being much more responsible and accountable in our budget.  Indeed, much of the value in human rights is that they sorta make it hard to waste money on things like, oh, I don’t know, war machines.

The criminal justice system has a rather notable problem with the way that sentencing is done. White kids getting sentenced in one state for a crime that is essentially the same crime but done by black kids in a different state, and the white kids get a lighter sentence.

There is a mechanism for that in human rights.

Now I am saying this, and I am also saying that my Line is not perfect. It is a start. A point of reference.

A place to ground our efforts going forward.

This is what I mean when I say that everything we do must be grounded in human rights. Because when you start in human rights, you no longer get to say “oh, that’s too hard” or “oh, that’s too expensive”.  It is human freaking rights people. Now you have to figure out how to get it done. How to work within it.

How to compromise not on what needs to be done, but how to do it.

Which is a huge shift from where we have been pretty much since Tricky Dick took office and started the long slog of dismantling the work of FDR and Truman to make America Great Again.

Without the cheesy slogan. IT fell to JFK and especially LBJ to push through the Civil Rights and do something concrete about racism — but Truman took the first step there.

FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, GoldenCalfhorseturd.

Look carefully, there. Nixon made Ike and Truman’s warnings real — and remember that Ike was a Dem two years before he ran for Pres, and was a friend of Truman’s. Truman and Ike built the nation’s highways, but also gave us the HUAC and the Red Scare that were essential to Nixon’s power, which was built on the first major stirrings of the white racist resentment we have seen flower today.

Ford, Reagan, Bush and Bush were all very different, but keep in mind that Clinton was closer to Bush 2 and Ford in policies. I know Clinton was pretty popular among Dems. I get that.

But politically, he was centrist in a time that centrist had moved right of center.

So we have effectively had Right of center leadership for all but four years of the last 55 years. And we are getting another four years of far right leadership now.

That is two generations. Gen X and Millenials really cannot remember a time when the main thrust of American Politics was not against the work of FDR, Truman, and even Eisenhower. Work which built the very foundations of the most recent popularly recalled era of prosperity (the 1950’s).

Work which was, largely, guided by the idea of human rights.  Especially by Truman (who is the person who made them a big deal, because, well, FDR was more about the idea of global peace), who kept the United Nations going and made damn sure it was an instrument of US policy.

Which was picked up by LBJ, who needed something, anything to get away from the unpopular war he was finding himself stuck with, after thinking it was going to be like Truman’s Korea. Which didn’t end well, you might recall.

Boomers might recall the time if they are of the older portion, but the younger portion were surrounded by a very different kind of thinking.

Now, all of this is still warm up, and is me selling you on the importance of reclaiming the mantle of Human Rights that essentially lies at the heart of Liberal efforts.

Because we let it drop.  Aside from the very Honorable John Lewis, who carries it now — and Lewis is never going to be President.

Now yes, I realize that I spent a lot of time previously talking about local stuff, but I know you are just as concerned about the federal stuff as I am. And the federal stuff is where we go after we get the local stuff, and we have time.

We start by fighting Oppression. Oppose Oppression. This is the heart of the Resistance!

Oppression is the anxiety about, aversion to, and/or animus towards a grouping of human beings based on some characteristic combined with the societal and institutional power of the group that benefits from that anxiety, aversion, and/or animus to form a whole which subjugates the group being oppressed.

It is violence, of the sort called evil.

Misogyny is oppression
Racism is oppression
Islamophobia is oppression
Homophobia is oppression
Ableism is oppression
Transphobia is oppression

Members of the group that holds power cannot experience oppression along that axis.

So here’s the next piece.  You’ve been primed by everything that has come before.

Think of ten Policies that you want to see happen.

Here’s my list:

Minimum basic income
Universal college education
Human rights defenses and protections
Single payer health insurance
Corporate tax deductions elimination
Increase to 25% tax on all incomes over 100k
Minimum wage
Ending reliance on fossil fuels
Preparing for the impact of and mitigating climate change
Sensible gun control laws

Your list can be anything that you want it to be — even most of the stuff on my list.
Everything on my list has a direct basis in The Line.  One that I understand and can explain to those interested — even though to me it seems obvious.
Make your list.  Be sure to draw it from human rights.
Go to your precinct meetings. Dem for certain, green or even Rep if you want. Speak out in favor of human rights.

Go to your city councilman, to your school board, to your state legislator. Speak out in favor of human rights.

Use those words: Human rights.

Do not talk about racism, sexism, poverty, taxes, the closing of the town mill…

Talk about human rights, because in doing that, you talk about all those things, but they might not realize that. Get them involved, supportive, find them in a place that you can now do because you know them — you’ve been visiting them for a few months now. They probably know you by freaking name.

Talk about “all people are created equal”. Another exact set of words.

Talk about common decency.

Talk about how Human Rights are a moral necessity.
Talk about how human Rights are an ethical imperative.
Casually mention something funky like:
Prescriptivist thinking limits people to known boundaries, conserves and regresses.
Descriptivist thinking frees people, is limited only by what they can see is possible, progresses and liberated.
A prescriptivist person describes you as either/or. A descriptivist one labels you as all and of…
As them where they fall.

Talk about How human rights apply to people no matter what they are.

Talk about three other things that you care about.

When people raise objections, say this:
“Well, how do we make these two things work together?”
Then figure it out.

When someone says racism and sexism are less important than classism, say “how do we do all of them?”

And then remind them you talked about human rights and mbi and single payer and free college for everyone and better pay for teachers and more funding for schools to do important stuff like teach kids how to manage their money and live together as roommates and do well in that free college.

Do this, constantly. Weekly and monthly.

About eight months from now, a few people in those precinct meetings will start to talk about candidates. Money will be mentioned, volunteers sought.

Seek out the one that listens to you, that understands these “radical” ideas are not radical at all, and back them.

In about 18 months, you talk about bussing voters. About raising funds for voting daycare. About registering new voters and doing door to door sweeps.

And in 23 months or so, you organize a march for fairness. For human rights.

Even if only two people show up, you make it into the greatest thing since sliced bread. This is the place where the internet and your social networks come in handy.

Then you vote. You help others vote. You do everything you can to turn the red blue and make a change for the better.

That is the plan we follow for the next six cycles. Remember that a cycle is two years. Every Four is a big one.
But the really big thing is that you no longer support people who are not big on human rights.  You look for people who do and you say “hey, let’s get some signatures and get you elected.”
Because that is how we change this stuff.  The folks who wrote #Indivisible know this.  They know that calling a legislator or senator or city councilman who is not *yours* is actually hurting more than it is helping.

That online petitions are only useful when the people in charge care about such things — and the folks in power don’t. If they did, the orange turdblossom wouldn’t be where he is.

You give 20 hours a month to these things, we can have all of them within a decade.

Now, think about this:

Abusive language is not politically incorrect. It is immoral, unethical, disgusting, violent, and cruel. Decent people do not make abusive statements.
Denial of human rights is always abusive. From denying a woman the right to her own body to denying a woman the use of the restroom because you think she isn’t woman enough to saying that couple of men cannot get married or adopt children because they aren’t approved of by your religious faith to mocking the disabled on national television to throwing coffee on someone because they happen to believe in their religion that keeping their head covered with a pretty wrapping is important.These are acts of violence and abusive. These are immoral, unethical, unprincipled, disgusting, loutish, filthy actions and words and those who do such things are anti-American, in opposition to human rights, and trashy.
Now realize that I just told you 20 hours a month for the next 12 years can make all those things possible, and you probably don’t really believe me.
Except that is exactly what the extremists in power now did. And that’s part of how they did it.
The rest is in #indivisible.
So do not tell me it cannot be done or that this wouldn’t work.
I mean, after all, what is it you think a lobbyist does?  They just do it with more money and as a job, so a lot more than 20 hours a month.
Now, what will really blow your mind is that I said all of this stuff about 5 or 6 times over the last 6 years or so.
And that I said if we didn’t do it, the Dems would lose the election.
Although, to be honest, when the time came for the election I didn’t think the fascists had a chance either…

On The Path Forward, 2 of 5

If only you knew the headaches I had getting the last part to post, lol.

So, moving on, you should have registered by now. Registered to vote, even if you were already registered Because yeah, they gonna try and take that away from you. Especially if you are not white, straight, cis, and have an income under 20k a year.

They are going to make it as difficult to vote as possible. Especially in the States of South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas, but also Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, Missouri, Kentucky, and Arizona.

I mention those states for specific reasons. The sharper among you will recognize that collection of states. Will be aware that for over 150 years that specific collection of States have resisted to the maximum ability they could the expansion of human rights in the United States.

It has always been those states, and so those states are the ones where the most effort needs to be applied. Not all of it — we have to defend the bastions of Democracy and US Values we do still hold — the large cities, the major states, all of which will come under fierce attack — but we must make inroads in their homes, destroy the lock of a century and a half of frankly, racist motherfuckers who think women should shut up and look pretty but not bother themselves with important work and who have consistently tried to hate off on LGBT and other groups as a tool to keep their bitterness alive.

There is a flag that is still popular in those states, still  not seen as a declared and open support of Slavery, of white supremacy, and they all manner of pretty suggestions to shy away from that, yet it remains that the symbol is a symbol that was created and developed to resist the march of Human rights, and that serves to declare opposition to such.

Might seem odd to you that I bring that up. Might even seem untoward. Perhaps even a bit hysterical or exaggerated.  Fine.  If you want to see it that way, then by all means, go right ahead.  We do live in a time where people are supposed to be thinking whatever their golden orange idol wants them to think, where truth is “fake news” and falsehood is accepted as Gospel of the New Era.

I am a sociologist.  These things are real, these things are current, and these things are part of what underlies the ongoing conflict. We can undo all of it, but to do it, again, we must concentrate, we must make sure that everything we do is based in a central proposition: Human Rights are the heart and soul of what it means to be an American.

There is a post here for what those Human Rights are.  You might want to read it.  It does not follow the usual conventions, and there is at least one that many Progressives will find shocking. But read them.  And remember that Human Rights exist first, and that these are the things we are fighting for — all of them. Laid out in black and white.  At least, I’m pretty sure it is black and white.  Could be Gold and Green, given the official colors of the new era…

So now we have a baseline of what Human Rights are, and a conviction and purpose of ensuring that they are the purpose to which we apply ourselves over the next decade and a half.

The next step is to the immediate effort.  We need to know who our legislators are, in person, and, more importantly, we need to make them aware of who we are, in person.

Throughout history, one of the most powerful tools of all time is the personal relationship.  It is really hard to be a complete asshole to someone you like. It is very difficult to be a dick to your friends, to make them suffer.

Politicians are generally an exception to this, but they are still susceptible to it.  So, the first order of business is to know who yours are.

When I have done various speaking engagements, I have used knowing who your representatives are as a tool to demonstrate to others how not knowing something can be dangerous to you.

Liberals, today, generally do not know who their legislators are at the local level. They don’t know the people on the staff.  They tend to think in terms of Congress, of national level effort, and forget that all this stuff starts at home — in part because without realizing it, they take it for granted that the folks at home won’t be dicks, or they have become cynical about those folks at home and no longer try at all because “it won’t make a difference”.

So they stopped doing the hard work of making themselves known.  This is perhaps the single most important part, though — because the folks currently in place are the ones who are most likely to move forward, from overseeing your little area to becoming Congressmen — and if we can shape their policies locally, we can shape policy nationally, as well.

So the first place to start is the school boards, the Elected Jurists, the “dogcatcher” jobs.  And, here, most importantly your city council member or Borough representative

Find out who they are, first.  Then you find out where their offices are.

Then you go and you visit them.

Here is the real trick: get to know the staff there.  When you go and visit them the first time, do not go with an agenda of being against some sort of bill or with a policy in mind, or even just to say hey, don’t be a dick.

GO there with the heart and soul of you, as a person, in all your good and bad and otherness and say Hi!  I thought it would be cool to meet the people who represent me.

Don’t even really try to get to know the Councilman or Alderman or whatever right then. Get to know the people who work for them. Are they young or old, do they have families or are they single, are they religious or meh, do they like country or pop, how do they feel about hip hop, rap, and Blues?

I mean, literally, get to know them as people. I don’t know about you, but I have lots of friends who I have, recently, called immoral, unethical, indecent, gullible, and ignorant. Those precise terms I have said of them, At least a few are in government work.

They are still my friends.  I am a woman of color, bisexual, mixed race, poor, trans and annoying.  The odds of me not having friends who are immoral, unethical, indecent, gullible, and ignorant are not in my favor. I have family that falls into that same trap.  It doesn’t change that they are my friends or my family.

But what it does mean is that they understand that I am affected by their actions and that there is a penalty there — and I am paying it, so when it comes time for helping me, they had damn well better be there.

Lo and behold, because they are friends and family, they do. Some take arm twisting, but, yeah.

So get to know these people.  You don’t have to make friends with them. But you should get to know them, and they will get to know you.

A weekly visit to your city councilman’s office is a good start.  A half hour, hell, if you can pull it off, a full hour. Once a week.  This early part of things, right now, isn’t going to make much difference anyway, and we are playing the long game here, not the short one.

Now, you might be thinking that I am going to say go visit the other city council folk.

Do not.  Avoid them.  THink of them — with the exception of the Mayor, who, technically, has the whole city — as kind of like scary people.  Avoid them, Hide from them.Unless you know them personally, in which case keep your interactions separate from their offices.

In my case, my City councilman is a woman.  She is also Vice Mayor, here, and she is close friends with the Mayor, who happens to be a liberal.  Moderate with centrist leanings. She’s pretty similar.

Getting to know their staff over the next month and a half or so, just stopping in to get to know them, will put you on the radar.  It will annoy them a little, as well, as you aren’t there for business.

But you are. Your business.  Which is, after all, human rights.

After about two months, you start in with the requests.  You will, by then, likely have email addresses, and know who to talk to about what topic and subject. You will know what they like, how they think and hey, maybe even a few birthdays and anniversaries.

And they will have come to know you.  In my case, I am that trans gal who is annoying but had the balls to stand up to a really disliked leader of the opposition in the State legislature.

But originally I was just that gal who was running a homeless shelter. I never talked about my blog. I never mentioned that I had been a member of any political party.  I was just a citizen who wanted to see the sausage made, and maybe I could help now and again.

Which is pretty much how I do things.

So as you get to know your city council person, and maybe your school board members (that could be a second hour, but monthly on that one).

That’s 5 hours a month, so far Plus travel time, and I will assume for you that’s a PITA, so we’ll add a couple hours travel time in there. Call it 7 hours a month so far.

Now, I also think you should look at your County leadership.  Here, in AZ, County isn’t quite as fancy and powerful in my area, but in the rural parts of this state, County leadership has a lot more pull and power.

Give them 30 minutes of time, plus 30 minutes of travel, once a month.  More, if county in your area — say, for example, Nashville –is a bigger power base.

That’s 8.

Then you get to your State Legislator. This one you want once a month, if the legislature isn’t in session. But when they are, you want it weekly as well.  Just like the city councilman. For some folks, that will be hard — especially rural folks.  But a good State Legislator has a local office.  They might not ever be in it, but they try to have one.

Go there. As often as you can, again, to get to know the people working for them. So they can get to know you.

Let’s call that 12 hours a month so far. Give you a little more room for travel time, call it 15 hours a month.

Now, you might be thinking that what with your working two minimum wage jobs to make ends meet that such a time request is beyond your ability.

Well, bad news: in about a year and a half, you won’t be able to make ends meet with those two jobs. So work them while you can.  Because the shit is raining down, and the devil has diarrhea.

But if you can’t spare the time, you can’t spare it.  But odds are good you know someone who can spare the time, so help them out in spending that time on your behalf.

A note, here: you can do this at any age.  Sixteen years old?  Go on, do this.  Now. Hell, you might even get a part time job out of it.

Eighteen, don’t feel like college, but the military isn’t on your radar either?  Try this out.  Do it. Get involved.

I started when I was 22, in earnest, but I had a slight advantage in that I knew a lot of this stuff already from being the grandchild of a woman who worked for Congressman. One who helped my uncle get into the Naval Academy. One who introduced me to Barry Goldwater. When I was like 12.

So, yeah, I know this stuff the way I know restaurants, but for years I hated politics because, well, I mean, seriously, have you read the news since 1973?

Then I went to work for some of them, contract basis. Helped them do things.

So I’m not a staffer type, like the folks who created Indivisible.  I’m more like one of those party types who have influence but you never know their names.

So now you have the local stuff figured out.

You know your precinct by now, and you are registered. If you registered for a party, go to their meetings. They can be god awful boring, and the amount of fawning that can go on is pretty icky and there are always a lot of grey hairs, but seriously, go.

Speak up and talk to everyone there that you know about the key things to be talked about.

Attend every meeting, and be vocal about the people you support, and keep hammering on the key things that we need to do.

Which is, first and foremost, Human Rights.

Before anything else, we need to make damn sure that people start putting into the order of the day and talking about Oppression and human rights, using those words.


Human Rights.

Let’s say you don’t like my list of human rights here. No, it doesn’t matter that my list comes from really great sources including the Bill of Rights.  Maybe you don’t like Section 8.  Maybe section 10 doesn’t work for you.

So sit down and right your own bill of rights. yes, Really.

You have some amazing resources:

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Bill of Rights

The Yogyakarta Prinicples

You also have the arguments that have been going on about various human rights for the last 70 years.

Dive in, figure it out, research it, come up with a list and then…

Go and talk to people about introducing a bill.

A simple bill.  In your local city council, in your school boards, in your county governments, in your state legislatures.

A bill that says, simply, that Law and Justice are in the Service of Human Rights, because the United States is about human Rights. And here are those human rights that we hold to be self evident.

No, you probably won’t get it to happen at first.

Yes people will roll their eyes at you.

Keep doing it.  Keep talking about Oppression.  DO not talk about racism, do not talk about misogyny, or homophobia, or transphobia, because by breaking Oppression down, in this climate we are in, we fall prey to the division of Oppression, the idea that somehow we can achieve this goal by miraculously doing one thing at a time.

DOn’t fall prey to that trap.  Stand up for human rights. Stand up against oppression, in all its forms.

When someone says to you “Hey, this won’t work.” Ask them why.  Then ask them “hey, how can we make it work?”

Because who is American and claims to be against human rights?

Remember those who are.  Speak their names, loudly, often, and always be sure to say they opposed a bill that says the United states is about Human Rights and they opposed human rights and they were working for Oppression.

DO not mince words, but don’t add anger to it.  Just keep hammering away about human rights.

At all those offices.

Get other people to do the same thing. Your neighbors. Your local businesses. Your co-workers.

I mean, its human rights.  If they are already guaranteed, then what is the harm in saying these are human rights?

Most folks will not read your list of them, just as most of the people who like my list of human rights haven’t read it.

Because we are Americans. We love human rights.

THe orange golden calf idol that is about to take office does not love human rights.

But then, they aren’t American.  People who oppose human rights are UnAmerican.

But of course, the big question will come up, eventually.  The important question, the one that is the point of working to make this discussion happen about America and Human Rights.

The question is “How does passing such a thing make my life better?”

How does making this simple effort to have a bill passed in every city, in every county, in every state that says, simply and elegantly, that human rights are what America is about, that law is about human rights, and here are these human rights, make a difference in the lives of people in the rust belt, of poor trans folk like me, of elderly struggling to survive on an ever dwindling social safety net….

That’s part three…

On The Antioch Review’s Racist, Transphobic, Uninformed “defense” of trans people

Long title, but it covers the high points, and folks, you knew it was coming if I was back on the internet. As a note, this is a long post. I am working on a way to enable pdf downloading again.

So, first off, the source material about to be looked at. This is a link to that source material. Provided for reference.

So what is the Antioch Review, and why do they matter? This is an important question since if we are going to be dealing with the idea of this nasty drivel, we should look at who provided it.

Ever heard of the the phrase “self fulfilling prophecy”? If so, you have Antioch Review to thank, since they published Merton’s article in 1948 that gave us that phrase and its meaning.

It was established just as World War II became a thing, in Ohio — a bastion of middle American Heartland understanding. It is a publication of Antioch College — hence the name. As a college, Antioch promotes social justice efforts, and does so both directly through educational programming, and also through student body efforts.

It isn’t Ivy League, but it isn’t much more than a step down.  And the Review is a top tier publication of liberal and Literary power that is rare these days.

The editor is Robert S. Fogarty. He is aware of the particular problem his team has created. I know this because he has written and posted a piece on the website for the Review. You can read it here.

One of three excerpts of that piece:

The Review is a long-standing literary magazine—not a scholarly academic journal—that prints creative fiction, essays and poetry on a wide variety of topics.

The second of three excerpts from that piece:

Perhaps more importantly, I sincerely regret any pain and hurt that the publishing of this piece has caused to members of our own community, transgender people, the LGBTQ community, and their families and supporters.

The final Excerpt:

Over its 75-year history, the Review has published a number of essays on identity and controversial cultural and historical subjects. As a literary magazine the Review does not encourage readers to accept at face value the ideas and opinions of the pieces housed within it pages. Rather, it encourages critical debate and dialogue. The Review welcomes responses, critiques, and letters to the editor regarding the Daniel Harris piece.

Those can be sent to submissions@antiochreview.org. The Review will publish a selection of critiques on its website and in future issues of the magazine to encourage and further the discussion.

Now, The Author of the piece is Daniel Harris. He is a different story. The Antioch Review has n gone to lengths to disassociate itself from his rather, um, bothersome views.

He wrote this essay that has caused such a furor. My friend Brynn Tannehill wrote a piece about it and the deal with midwestern thinking.

One guy. One guy who is generally referred to as a “journalist” and “cultural critic”. Who wrote a book called “The Rise and Fall of Gay Culture”.

Which he describes thusly: “By focusing as a test case on the changes that have occurred in the gay community, I describe the gradual dissolution of the ethnic diversity of a country that demands from its minorities nothing less than a voluntary act of subcultural suicide.”

Pretty impressive for a white guy to take it on himself to describe something related to “Ethnic diversity”. Especially given the book is written as a reaction to the mainstreaming of gay culture into American Culture.

Especially so when you remember that a huge chunk of Gay culture comes from, well, Trans culture. IT gets even more intersting when you realize that this guy, faced withe the break up of his relationship, turned to Drag, and makes a point of noting his six foot seven height in the process. That experience also became a book.

Diary of  Drag Queen (Amazon Books link that I do not get money for referencing)

But not just *any* kind of drag queen. Nope, this is from the link above:

Then Harris discovered for the first time dozens of men of all ages and sizes online shopping for sex partners in cyberspace. But he soon found that more than just gay men trolled gay sex sites; plenty of “straight” guys sought male sex buddies online, too, but often with one proviso: their male partners had to dress in women’s clothing. Although Harris had never before done drag and had no prior interest in women’s accessories, he set to work learning the ropes of cross-dressing once easy access to this pool of handsome, desirable and frequently off-limit men was made available to him. Diary of a Drag Queen is a revealing, comic, and sexually charged chronicle of hundreds of one-night stands in high heels.


Ok, some of you may not know what I did for a long time.  Some of you probably have no clue that I spent a lot of time, energy and effort dealing with trans gals trying to make a living and get off the street at the same time, and many of them were gals who were new to or who had been doing for decades, what he describes.

He was a date thief.  For those of you who don’t know what that means, don’t stress it. For those of you that do, well, it gives you an idea of just how little this man knows about “ethnic diversity and minorities driven to suicide.”

This also goes a long way to explain many of his ideas that he speaks to in the article. His experience with our community is going to be colored by that experience of his, and his sense of entitlement and the way he tends to look down on “ethnic Minorities” also shows that he never really took the time to learn anything about us, or our struggles, or the lives we lead, other than in that tiny segment of a community where he was, essentially, pretending to be a trans woman.

I have no doubt that some of his gay companions in those romps were straight men who were actually seeking a trans woman. Frequently to top. But didn’t know how to express it.

I can say that because I know a lot of men like that. They annoy me, but I know them. I have spent many hours in conversation with them, with the gals they pursue, and I have a ton of notes on them that went into various studies and quite a lot of data on them that someday I will do something with.

Kirkus Review notes of the book: 

Harris is not a transvestite or a cross-dresser, just “a shameless opportunist indulging in a fantasy rampant among gay men”: that straight men are sexier than gay men—more robust, more macho—and that they make ideal mates. “When one is taught from birth that gay men are morally reprehensible, diseased pariahs, child molesters, one may not want to select one’s Prince Charming from abominations of the same ilk,” he explains.

I want you to think on this for a moment.

So we have a gay man who dresses up in women’s clothes to meet a fantasy of his and of other men — straight men — out of an opportunistic and base desire.

Doesn’t that sound a lot like the standard line that trans women are gay men too scared to be gay, or that they are “really gay”?

On Goodreads, we find these nuggets:

At the same time, the underlying story is a rather sad and depressing account of a man confronting the remorseless advance of time, the realization that his life has not exactly lived up to his own expectations, and a crushing sense of lonliness which he attempts to stave off through a series of one-night stands. – Rick

It was not what I expected at all and could never grow to like the author – Michelle

The narrator of this “diary” was unlikeable, condescending and FULL
of self-loathing. – Jason

Over on Amazon we have:

A fascinating memoir that describes, with great intelligence, self-awareness and self-deprecating humor, a creative response on the part of the author to the dilemma of the aging gay male (of which I am one), at the same time offering an interesting anthropological study of the behavior and motivations of the men whom the author meets in the process. -A

So, yeah, limited appeal, mostly to other older, white gay men going through a later life search for love.

Hey, I just lost my husband, and I’m starting to feel the lonely and I’m in my 50’s. I get it. Shit sucks. The idea of dating in a world where youth is everything has me stocking up on wrinkle reducers and thinking Botox.

And I look good for my age.

Now, he has written other books. But what I brought all of this up to point out, in my 1500 words thus far, is that this is an older, white, male, cis, gay man who is very much a product of everything from the 70’s through the 90’s in the gay scene.

A gay scene that includes that really incredibly common trope mentioned earlier. A gay community that wrote Trans people out of its history, that campaigned against trans rights, that refused to even acknowledge the effort of trans people during the AIDS crisis, and that still tries to claim some of our icons for themselves.  This is the period when a film about a relationship between a trans woman and a straight guy is turned into an appeal for kindness towards gay folks, people.

He comes from that, and this was his main experience, his great exposure?

Hell, no wonder he’s so damned wrong about us that in his uninformed mind, he’s being pretty decent when he says it is a mass delusion.

He isn’t saying anything new. Indeed, that’s the problem. All of the above is important to understand to put what he’s saying in context, and realize this is where this man is coming from.

He is not alone. Ok, yes, the Breitbart team is totally loving the whole idea of a gay man trashing trans people and then getting trashed in return (though they say it far less pleasantly), but those are the folks at Brietbart, who couldn’t recognize Truth and Honesty if they needed to save their own lives.

They actively seek the end of civil rights for other people — so not exactly decent sources.

But there are a lot of gay men who think exactly the same way. I can think of one who now seems to be saying the right things but still has a really slimy way about him when he does it that was recently featured on a popular comedy-opinion show hosted by someone who regularly makes “tranny” jokes about the third guest who was their so she could argue against us.

I have friends who think that way that are gay men. They won’t say it to my face like that, because they know I have better nails than they do. But I hear it from them still.

Even more critical, there are a lot of gay men who will not go up against someone popular or good looking who makes an error in their own community, because they happen to think the same way I do since the gay community got through eating its own during the aforementioned AIDS disaster.

That’s not even counting the straight guys and other liberals who think that way — and in no small part because of the mainstreaming of gay culture that our aforementioned author wrote about.

So now we have a stage set, a context with which to analyze and look at the target, and at least some insight into the basis from which the author operates.

All critical things to know when you are about to eviscerate someone’s work.

So now, we get to the brass tacks.

Those who choose to alter or even mask their gender merit full protection under the law merely because their decisions, while they may divest them of breasts and birth names, do not strip them of their humanity.

That is how he opens the piece. From the get go — the very first line — he already sounds like the current generation of 16 to 32 year old “TERFs” who are trying really hard to deal with social media while hlding views that trans women are pretend, faking it, and generally trying to be horrible people.

He says “alter or even mask”.  Trans women are not altering or even masking. Trans men are not altering or masking. Genderqueer, gender fluid, androgyne, the rest are not masking or altering.

We are, factually, revealing. Every single study done in the last 16 years shows that. An enormous number of those done prior to that do the same. You have to go back to the 1980’s to find some that show otherwise, and they are all discredited now.

The first line — not even the first sentence as a whole — reveals that he does not understand or know even the slightest bit about current understanding of trans people. He is, literally, talking without doing what a journalist is generally expected to do.

I don’t think journalist is a good term for him, though. I think essayist is. Essayists aren’t held to the same rigorous standard for researching what they say. They get to have opinions.

Opinions which are based on falsehoods — such as his — are worthless and without merit.

Opinions which are based on falsehoods are worthless and without merit.

Now, I have an admittedly low tolerance for outright falsehoods. I can handle spin, I can handle elaboration and exaggeration, I can even take a little bit of the ole namby pamby sidestepping.

So I will keep going.

The rest of the sentence lays out his opinion that we should still have the full protection of the law.  The basis for that statement is that our decisions do not strip us of our humanity.

Gonna parapharse this somewhat:

Gay people deserve rights because choosing to be gay doesn’t strip them of their humanity.

Wait, no, I mean, Trans people deserve rights because chopping off their dicks doesn’t make them less than human.

Damn, sounds so much less shitty the way he says it. Spin is an amazing thing.

Well, no fuckin shit, sherlock.  The problem there, though, ‘that you think we deserve rights despite being a bunch of fucked up people. The problem is that you think we are a bunch of fucked up people.

Something I would think someone who studied gay culture enough to be able to write a book talking about its mainstreaming while ignoring the fact that gay culture is not a homogeneous whole but a fractured and segmented system divided by class, race, wealth, and — hold on to your horses — gender.

Some folks would say sex, not gender, but since this is something that takes place in the social sphere, we are going to call it what it is in order to avoid confusion among those who actually know what the fuck they are talking about.

And if I seem a bit arrogant and entitled myself there, well, hell, that’s because I am arrogant and I earned the knowledge the hard way. Then I wrote it into an easier to digest form and posted it here under “On fundamentals’ — go read.

He could have just written this sentence:

Those who are transgender merit full protection under the law merely because of their humanity.

He chose not to, though. He is an essayist. Since, well, really, this blog is the work of an essayist, I can tell you that when I say things like “No fuckin shit, sherlock” I do it for a very specific reason.  Essayists are folks that use words to stir thought and inspire or make you think or give you something they hope will be useful to you or to make you laugh.

Words do not just fall willy nilly to the page without thought — if they do, you are a piss poor essayist. He is not. He is an award winning essayist.

SO he chose those words. Intentionally. Willingly, demonstrably wanting to carry an idea forward and since this is the start of an essay, he did so with the goal of calling back to it, since he has a better and stronger grasp of form than I do.

I am a very wordy long form writer getting around to hacking up a piece that a lot of people knew I was going to have to say something about. That I do other things like work with actual real life trans people who are going through the worst stuff of their lives and are measurably harmed by this sort of contrived crap of his doesn’t matter.

What matters is the essay. And if you missed the joke here, wow, did you catch the others earlier? Humor is essential when doing this kind of thing. Alcohol is optional.

TGs face violence, murder, mass unemployment, homelessness, poverty, rampant HIV infection, inadequate healthcare, depression, and, at alarmingly high rates, suicide.

This is one of the giveaways about his experiences, combined with evidence that he at least pays some attention to the major organizations and their publications.

I really hope that he attends a Creating Change when I do and we can sit down and have a chat.

“TG” is a fairly innocuous term, though many in the community have returned to TS when abbreviating in that manner but, for the most part, the bulk of the community uses “trans”.

Transgender is what is used when you are dealing with uneducated cis folk. But not TG. TG is what is used on dating sites, sex work, Craigslist and support forums and fiction websites. Areas which many in the more wealthy background part of the trans community would prefer be ignored, but which people like me recognize as really kinda every day and proof in the pudding.

Indeed, you have to be pretty out of it to use TG, or — more accurately I suspect in this case — used to a certain area of interaction.

But he does get the rest right. Indeed, he pretty much uses the order of the injustice at every turn survey.

But ok.

Many commentators have singled out tolerance for this most vulnerable part of the population as the final frontier of civil rights, a new contest against bigotry and homophobia, one it would be irresponsible for both politicians and everyday citizens not to address.

This is true. Many commentators have said this.

Notably, I disagree with them, and therefore, with it.  I do not see it as a final frontier, and I do not see it as a new contest against homophobia.

But let’s look at that use of the concept of Homophobia instead of Transphobia.

Remember, essayists use specific words for a purpose. So why would he use Homophobia when the issue is transphobia?

Oh, we answered that already, when we looked into his background, didn’t we?

This gay man, who dressed up and had sex as a woman, thinks that trans people are gay men, who dress up as women (ostensibly, and one is going out on a limb to presume he thinks it though it is statistically likely, for sex).

So, since he thinks that we are, basically, just really, really flaming gay people, to him, it is about Homosexuality. About the aversion to, the anxiety about, and the intense dislike of Homosexuals and Homosexuality.

How predictable.

Meanwhile, it tells us that he is utterly missing the point and proceeds not to understand or see what is right before him because he only has his own, personal, limited understanding of situation.

Which he is sharing in a publication that defended him getting through their vetting process (which obviously was blind to trans issues) and let it loose, thereby tarnishing its reputations and making him the rightful laughingstock he is.

Brothers, sisters, and siblings, I give you a man who does not realize that trans people are not distinct from gay people, and that, on learning they are, will likely become a drop the T sort because of the backlash that he is receiving.

He will, for example, not understand why I said brothers, sisters, and siblings. Something I tell other people to say all the time.

That’s kinda sad. FOr him. FOr us it is just another in a hundred year old fight to get gay men to see us as something that pale imitations of them.

A fight, I note, we won in the places that matter, but he didn’t get that memo. Which makes me wonder that if he wasn’t in the places that matter, just where was he?

Oh, wait.  Yeah. That book he wrote.

Ok, maybe I am being a little too hard on him. Perhaps a touch harsh.  I am sure that if he finds it so and it matters enough to him, he will let me know.

Though, given how little trouble he went to learn anything about us before screwing up this badly (and keep in mind, we are just finishing with the first paragraph and he’s already demonstrated this much malfeasance to us, the rest gets worse), I doubt he will give a damn about what I say enough to comment.

Besides, if he does, he’s got some cisplainin to do.

Moving on to the second paragraph…

And yet just as the issue has come to the fore of public awareness, TGs have ambushed the debate and entangled us in a snare of such trivialities as the proper pronouns with which to address them, protocol as Byzantine and patronizing as the etiquette for addressing royalty.

One sentence, and he manages to lie, mislead, defame, reframe, restructure, demonize, and attack an entire class of people.

People different from himself. Part of that diversity of minority populations.

What do we learn…

We learn that the proper use of pronouns in the English language is a triviality to him, despite it being something we have to learn at a very young age and that is taught to us.

I suppose she’s right.  It isn’t like pronouns are something essential for us to understand him. They could have a point there, if ze wasn’t so damned thickheaded, defensive, and outright lazy about it.

Oh, look, most common pronouns, used and all referring to him. Wasn’t hard at all. But it does make it difficult to understand who is being referenced, since gender is such a deep and critical part of our culture.

So let’s look, shall we? He is a man. A gay man That’s how he describes himself. Those of you who are long time readers will know that I don’t use “identify”.  I use describe.

It matters, and like everything else, eventually people will get it and catch up.

That means that using pronouns other than he, him, his would be the thing to do.

Doing a quick google search on images of him, he definitely presents as a guy.

So we now know his pronouns. Someone we haven’t encountered and that isn’t a trans person in the public eye.

Hey — that wasn’t Byzantine (neither the “overly complex” reference nor the traditional Byzantine empire in nature, since, well, they didn’t use English). It does not appear to have much to do — either metaphorically as he suggests or in the more literal sense — with Royalty titles.

As a result, we can say, firmly, he lied about how the protocol is as byzantine as royal titles.

But he also said patronizing.

You know what is patronizing? A dude that writes book length essays saying that being bothered enough to use women’s pronouns for women is too complicated.

Because, and guys, sorry for this, he — like nearly all of them — is not talking about trans men when it comes to such things. He is talking about my siblings – those who are both men and women, neither men nor women, and assorted variations thereby.

But what he is thinking about when he writes that is trans women. We know because of all that crap we went through above.

Like nearly every person who has an issue with trans people, his issue can be boiled down to the idea that trans women are men.

You know what promoting that idea is? Violence. Which means that his entire piece, which starts with the description of us deserving protection under the law (and I will get to that in my response to him on Wednesday), is an act of violence.

Now we, have shown that he lies about it being complicated, we know that he lies about it being patronizing, but what else did he say there?

Ambushed. Debate. Entangled. Snare.

What, we jumped out and surprised them while they debated our ability to exist and we tied them up and then tricked them into having sex with us — that last because, sorry, but this is so much a dogwhistle for the trope of “Its A Trap” that I am actually laughing about it because if he wasn’t being a dick about it it would be genuinely funny.

Creatively funny.

So let’s unpack those bits.

We didn’t “ambush” anyone. Trans people have been saying they deserve human, civil, and civic rights since the mid 1800’s in the modern western European sense, and pretty much as long as there have been people.

No, what we did was step up to the mic when it was finally offered after different individuals sent their lives in pursuit of their fields to get into a place where they could be offered that microphone.

So he lied about that.

Debate. We jumped into a debate about us. What, we are supposed to sit back and let other people argue about wether we should be allowed to exist or not?  Did gay folks “ambush the debate” about themselves? Did people of color such as myself Ambush the debate about us?

Succinctly: fuck you and your patronizing bullshit. You do not have the right to debate my existence or the existence of my brothers, sisters, and siblings without us at the table.

So kiss my ass. This isn’t an issue of free speech — you have the right to say and write what you want, even this, but that right does not give you free ride to do so without folks climbing up your bunghole for being a twit.

That Debate was about us. People. part of that Diverse Minority — and that includes that ethnic minority bit where you so cunningly equated gay stuff with the struggles of black people and spoke about how gay culture is being erased even though Trans and Black gay people basically created the very culture you were whining about going away and you sure as fuck don’t seem to mind it, you racist turd.

Oops.  It got away from me there.

Or, given my earlier speaking about essayists, did it?

It is patronizing to talk about a class of persons and debate the value of their existence without knowing a fucking thing that is true about them.

We didn’t ambush anyone — we stepped up and called you the liars that you are and that hurt your little feefees and made you defensive about it and so you kept trying to argue with the folks who don’t hate us a little like you do but who hate us a whole lot using the same lies and half truths and misinformation and outright bullshit, making it a turkeyshoot on both sides.

It’s the OK Corral — a bunch of assholes with guns shootin at each other until someone’s left.

Not decent people having a reasoned, informed debate.

Do not fool yourself. You cannot have honest debate without honesty, and honesty requires at least truth, and if you do not know what you are talking about — and while I get that you think you do, factually, you do not — then you are not being honest and you are not having a debate.

“entangled” and “snared” — the only tangles are the lies you have been weaving n your own, and the only snares are the ones you set yourself. Because you don’t know what you are talking about but think you do.

That’s not just you, personally, either — that’s the collective “cis” world. If they are not trans people standing up there, then they fall into that unless they have taken the time themselves.

To learn about us. All the messy, ugly, happy, wonderful, terrible, sad, exciting, amazing things about us. We are not a singularity in your space; we are, by ourselves, amazingly diverse in a way that you cannot understand because your ability to reflect the world is too limited.

They insult us with the pejorative term “cisgender,” which they use to describe those of us who accept, however unenthusiastically, our birth gender, as opposed to the enlightened few who question their sex.

Cisness is the state of awareness or condition in society of someone who does conform in a majority of aspects to the way their society or culture sees them as behaving and living in relation to their culture’s social construction of physiological sex, usually due to an absence of variance between their physical sex and one or both of their social sex identity and/or internal sex identity. It exists at the same level as awareness of self, and it is, itself, an awareness, but because it is not at variance, is often unnoticed and unremarked.

A cisgender person is a person for whom cisness is the state of awareness.

It has NOTHING to do with questioning or not. With acceptance or not.

So, right off the bat, you lied yet again.  This is a habit with you. Lying.

Cisgender is not a pejorative — unless you are a balls out transphobe who doesn’t know what it means.

oh, wait…

Cis is not about gay people, by the way.

Cis is not about your oppression. It is not about how women have it hard or men have it easy. It is not about your race’s struggle to be treated as human. It is not about misogyny or ableism.

It is about how people treat trans people, and you may not try to change that into something else.

You likely buy into the current thing of calling white girls “becky” as “racist” — because its just as damn fool a thing to do and just as ignorant.

If you are insulted by it, then I certainly hope you will defend those who are insulted by being called straight.
Moreover, they shame us into silence by ridiculing the blunders

we make while trying to come to grips with their unique dilemmas, decrying our curiosity about their bodies as prurience and our unwillingness, or even inability, to enter into their own (often unsuccessful) illusion as narrow‑mindedness.

Just going to point out that right here is where things go so far off the rails that getting the train back is going to require five years of apologies.

“Curiosity about their bodies as prurience”.

Unless you are in a relationship with a trans person, their body is none of your fucking business. The idea that it might not be prurience is seriously troubling; it is intensely frightening that you feel that entitled, that you think you deserve to know simply because of your curiosity, what our bodies look like.

Guess what?  My body look like every other human being’s body on this planet. So do all the other trans people’s bodies.

You know why?

Because they are fucking people, not zooology experiments.


What illusion? You think I am not a woman? You think I am some man pretending?

You think I am like you?

Come on over for tea, daring. We’ll have a fabulous time. Three hours with me and you’ll realize I am Nothing Like You.

I am, at this point, beginning to question your humanity, because, like you, I have successfully written an essay that strips your humanity from you.

So I’m not even sure we can start there on the things in common chart.

I am a woman. I am female. You, personally, do not have the authority, the power, the right, the place, the skill, the knowledge, the most meager of modicums of ability to change that.

It isn’t illusion. It is fact.

I do not care if you want to accept that fact or not. Truly, I don’t. What I care about is that you do not get to use that disbelief as grounds to be a violent fuckwit.

When you talk about illusions, they are yours.

No matter how much you think you can argue that they belong to me, I promise you that I can not only undo it, I can do so while proving how indecent a human being you are in the process.

That is what an expert can do. That is what happens when you know what you are talking about.

Now your next bit goes into the Piers Morgan thing.

A case in point is the now infamous episode of Pierce Morgan Live in which transgender activist Janet Mock objected to the headline that appeared at the bottom of the screen, “Was a boy until 18”— a fact that, while incontrovertible, was apparently tactless and naïve, the correct caption being that she had always been a woman and had been born, not a boy, but “a baby.” Mock organized a kind of witch hunt in which she accused the liberal and tolerant Pierce Morgan of having, in her words, “misgendered” her merely because he had questioned her about her past and leapt to the conclusion—medical records would surely bear this out—that she had in her youth changed her gender.

So you are referencing that time when Pierce Morgan Live intentionally called her a man, even though doing so is an act of violence, and she didn’t find out about until after the show was done.

As a note, you lied again. She did not organize any witch hunt. Also, Morgan is neither tolerant nor liberal. He is a performer. Who tries to upset people so they will watch him. We call that “shock jock” journalism in the US, and it does quite well as TMZ has proven. You, as well — I mean, hey, look at all the attention you are getting now for opening your mouth and being a twit.

Morgan likes gay folks. He does not like trans people. He was transphobic before, which is part of why Janet Mock went on the show — to try and inform him so that he would stop being a twit.

You left that part out. Wonder why.

It wasn’t tactless and naive. It was violent and ignorant.

Words, again. They matter. A lot.

Such bullying interception of public debate should alarm anyone who seriously wants to understand the issues involved, which, while they may affect the transgender community most directly, are by no means their exclusive province, to be broached only by those on whom they most intimately impinge. TGs cannot expect to dictate to us the terms of the discussion, for we are thinking people, too, and nothing, notwithstanding many activists’ attempts to embarrass us into uncritical consensus, can stop us from thinking our thoughts.

I have to wonder how it was you managed to lift this off a teenaged radical feminist without her permission. I say that because it is precisely the kind of dogwhistle one encounters from these deeply misinformed and uninformed people.

So let me address the whole of your points here real quick.

There is no question that the issues affect a much broader swath of the population than transgender people. However, when one is talking about transgender rights, about the lives of transgender people, we are not speaking about those broader issues. We are speaking about trans people. And if you speak about a deeply oppressed minority population where folks say things like they live in an often unsuccessful illusion but suddenly, magically, want to make it about something bigger than them, well, you are being a creepy, dishonest dirtbag who probably should pull his head out of his ass in order to free his foot from his mouth.

You are thinking people, and, as such, one of the things thinking people when folks tell them about their lives and point out how those folks are wrong about something is go “hey, maybe, as a thinking person, I should reconsider my points and make sure I know what the hell I am talking about before some mixed race tranny tells me to pull my head out of my ass so i can free my foot from my mouth.”

At least, that’s my experience when it comes to thinking people. Now, emotional, highly manipulated people who aren’t thinking but reacting to things they have been told that are false are a different matter, and you didn’t bring them up, so we can skip them for now.

The problem here is you want the freedom to argue, passionately, for the harm and exclusion of trans people while being “supportive” of them. Something I am willing to bet is about to rear its ugly head.

We are trans people, not mind readers. We don’t go after your thoughts. We go after your actions. And, in my case, in the stuff that led you to those actions — because your actions reveal your thoughts.

THere is no such thng among thinking people s uncritical consensus except for those things that are part of the problem — social constructs. You are a product of and entrapped by them, and you don’t realize that I am not. Because, as a trans person, I exist outside those constructs and I challenge them.

So you want to have a real thinking persons debate on the topic it is going to start at a place you are not going to be comfortable in, and I suspect you are not going to go there. Because in ding so you are going to have to see just how much a shithead you have been.

I wonder if you have the strength to apologize for it. Over and over and over again. I don’t want you to regret having written it though — because I want it to be that point where you began to learn.

I do find it so absurd as to rate only a moment’s attention that you describe people defending themselves from social violence as “bullying”. But hey, you lie a lot, so another one isn’t that big a deal.

Now we get into your thoughts…

While I fervently support TGs’ rights to transition and to do so without fear of reprisal, I believe that the whole phenomenon of switching one’s gender is a mass delusion.

How wonderful for you that you choose your belief over facts, 100 years of science, and the lived lives of other people. I am so proud of you for rejecting thinking in favor of feeling and taking things on faith without need for proof or willingness to listen to actual truth and facts.

Oh, one thing though…

You just said you are a fucking lying hypocrite. Because you cannot support their rights — including the right to transition, which is a part of bodily autonomy — while thinking that they are not competent to do so, which is literally what you said.

Ok, time for a break, because I am about to get into the deeper more critical parts of your essay turned screed of filth.

So I will break this up into two parts as a result, since just getting here was 6700 words.

On Trans Celebrities and the Axis of Politics

Why hello there!  It is Saturday, and I am back from a lovely little walk and it is time to talk about the Friday thing, even if I am late doing it.
Not my fault — I was being treated for Mother’s day.

One of the absolute worst things I see is when a trans person gains a high profile during or shortly into transition — and by shortly into or during I mean in the first three years after “full time” and medical and that kind of thing.

This never works out well for trans people on the larger scale. There is a reason for this, and it is not the way the media sensationalizes everything, or how there is a bubble around that person.

That reason is that we, trans folk of every stripe and sort, have a crapton of misinformation and bad information and half heard, rarely understood bullshit combined with stuff passed down from 50 years ago that we still pass on and out and talk about today.

We have passing and disclosure and stealth and woodworking and daylight tests and are you trans enough and are you too trans.

That’s inside — that’s internal, not something from the out. They are survival strategies in a world and place and time that says to live you must be unseen.

We have ten gazillion non-doctors who will tell you exactly how much of this hormone to take and what strength and omg, you need to totally not wear that and your whole attitude is wrong and…

We have fights about how those who advocate for us in public should be or shouldn’t be paid for that work. We fight over who should and shouldn’t when we are so damned diverse a group that no single person can ever, even if they wanted to, represent all of us properly or reflect us all.

We have endemic racism, mass cultural appropriation, tremendous sexism, and that’s just on the more liberal side of things.

And all of that is just to start. All your faves are problematic, folks, and that includes you.

The current trans gal du jour of varying degrees of love and or hate is Caitlyn Jenner.

She inspires a tremendous amount of passion in things, but, factually, Caitlyn doesn’t know her shit. She gets attention because she’s newsworthy. She would get that attention even if she wasn’t related to a  sex tape star who parlayed being a  laughingstock thanks to slut shaming into a massive business.

Because Caitlyn Jenner is a trans woman who has won a holy moley ton of medals in the Olympics.

Stop for a moment there and think on that. Transgender Olympic athlete who held records for decades.

Being woke means you have to acknowledge that at the same time you realize this is also someone who supports one of the most prolific serial liars of the modern age, in or out of politics. Sorry to my readers who are Trump supporters, he really is a massive liar. Unabashed.

Then again, all the other candidates are politicians, and you know how to tell when a politician is lying right?

Their lips are moving.

So, now that I will have all the Trump supporters hating and the sharper Bernie, Stein, and Hillary lovers mad at me, let me point out that this isn’t about presidential politics.

This is about us.

trans people.

Now, the media is basically currently structured around getting people to pay attention. There are still many in the media who think telling the truth is a big deal, and a lot who care about sensitivity and we are trans folks — we are EVERYWHERE!!

We are in those media boxes and we are outside of them. We are part of them, just like we are part of the broader world in which we live.

I recently re-opened this blog. I have regular readers in Russia, in Uzbekistan, in Australia and South Africa and Thailand and — thank you for sticking around — even in a tiny little nation called Vanuatu.

There is no question that this is a US centric blog, and English language site, and that even though I very obviously give a damn, that I am not going to make an attempt to speak to things outside my area of understanding in other countries.

I know great trans writers in Russia who cannot be heard. I know several trans folk in South Africa — and I’ll be blunt, they are still in that dark period where hiding is essential.

So why would they want to read me? Because Here in the US, and especially now, in 2016, we are fighting not from the shadows but from the streets and in the light.

A woman I think of as a friend recently wrote a piece where she thanks cis folk for doing something “that we ourselves would not do”.

The emotional reaction was “what, bitch?”. Not gonna lie there.  Because I know for a fact that a lot of us have been trying to do it, only to often be shut down by the same cis people she was thanking.

So that should give you an idea here, and for those who are new to me, you should know something about Dyssonance: I don’t play the game here.

This isn’t my work, this is my living room. I don’t mince words and I don’t play the pleasing game. You want that, go to my work. Here you can be a great Trans Hero or Heroine and I will still tell you where to stick it when you start running your mouth and I note you need to find a place real fast.

I don’t do the party, so I don’t do the party line.

I do facts. You got a fact for me, cool. But there is a reason that as an Expert on Trans Lives I am simultaneously watched carefully and asked for help — sometimes what people think are facts about us are not, and I will not suffer fools easily, even if they have been lied to.

Unless they are trans people. Which brings me back to someone who has been lied to her whole life, and hasn’t had the time or opportunity to understand just life is like for most trans people.

IF you do not include, in your efforts around trans people, those who are the poorest as well as those who are the wealthiest, you are not doing your job properly.

IF you think you know what does and doesn’t make a trans person, and you speak to that issue outside your own living room, you do not know what the hell you are talking about.

Caitlyn Jenner has done these things. Now, I have all kinds of issues with that. Chief among them is disappointment because I remember those Olympics. They were the ones I fell in love the games during. I remember a cabin in southern Utah in a time when plumbing was what you did to get water from the giant water tank because this was undeveloped land in the mountains, and we had to figure out how to get a signal from the broadcast and it did include climbing a really freaking tall tree.

I saw those medals get won. I rooted for her.

So there was a bit of “awesome” being colored by “ugh, really? Can it not be just one of my faves one time?”

I do not watch the currently in vogue transgender television programs. I do not watch transparent, I do not watch the reality spectacle of Caitlyn’s.

So I won’t speak to the qualities of either show, or the way they are edited or the people chosen to be involved, or the rest.

At least, not yet.

I know a lot of those folks. Among those involved in those shows is another woman who I really think doesn’t get enough recognition and that’s Alexandra Billings.

That might change, of course. I am in the business of recognition, after all.

Part of the reason for that lack of watching is that much of that stuff is really heavily filtered through cis perceptions and the need to appeal to cis perceptions.  Realities of the marketplace.

But when you have something like The Trans Rating in your head, it takes something phenomenal — such as the HerStory project from Angelica Ross and Jen Richards — to make me sit up.

I want more than a positive 3 or four on my rating for a show to be worth my time.

Caitlyn’s overall media presence, generally speaking, rates about a -6.

Seriously. Go look for yourself.

But what bugs me is that we, collectively — and especially those of us on the liberal side of things — have more than occasionally forgotten that this woman is still uninformed and ignorant of much of our lives.

What does she know — what can she know — about the desperation of trying to find hormones when you cannot see a doctor?

What does she know about the challenges of navigating the world when you don’t meet the social expectations of appearance?

What does she understand about the risks of dating, or, to put a very fine and obscure turn on it, getting “donations” to make your living ?

What does she know about the lives of trans people?

What does she know about the history of trans people, about the science behind transness, about the nature of the way that someone in her position is structured to work against her?

She has surrounded herself with some fairly smart people — people who, I will note, do not always agree with me, and whom I am likely to hear from given some of the posts coming up in the future.

Now, to be fair, the overwhelming majority of trans people don’t know anything about our history, or the science behind transness or the way that things like passing and disclosure are part of the problem now and not a solution.

Let me put it like this:

In 2007, before the largest gathering of trans people ever, a “leader” of the LGBT movement made a promise even while his organization was working on backtracking from that promise.

From roughly 2001 until then, there had been a lull in trans activism. The marriage argument swept the nation, transphobia was rampant beyond imagining by today’s standards within the major organizations, and at one point this person’s predecessor had sworn they would never work for trans rights.

The mistrust was deep, and this speech was supposed to be a healing.

Instead, it ignited the current trans movement. it sparked all the older folks who were tired back into action, it breathed life into a new generation, it was the trigger point that created this massive number of people.

In a year, the number of trans related blogs exploded. The number of organizations expanded massively. In a five year period, more articles about trans people were published than in the entire 40 years previous.

What does she know about this? Damned little. She isn’t connected to it.

Now, let’s step back a bit. Look at another trans celebrity who was previously the du jour.

Lana Wachowski may have flubbed at the Trans 100 event a couple years back, but she is definitely connected — perhaps tenuously, but I suspect not — to these times and events.

By the time we saw her openly and on her terms she was much more informed. And it made a difference.

She is still sheltered — money, fame, whiteness, many of the same things that shadow Caitlyn Jenner — but she is also more present, and I don’t mean politically.

I mean in terms of the ability to grasp what is going on and what this is all about.

Some of that no doubt comes from her choice of inspiring material — Caitlyn’s inspiration as a youth was sports related in the 1960 and 1970’s folks, she’s gonna be conservative in that sense — but that can only take you so far.

It takes a willingness to hear and learn and then incorporate instead of doubt.  Caitlyn has shown signs of this, as we all do.

But she hasn’t had the time to do it. The freedom to do it. The liberty to do it.

We, collectively, need Republican Trans folk. We need green trans folk, and Libertaran trans folksand all the rest — because we are trans people, which means people who happen to be trans, for those who don’t understand how adjectives and modifiers work in English.

People. We are all different, and our strength and our power and our beauty comes from that diversity.

The Caitlyn of now is not the Caitlyn we will see in three years if she is given the time to grow and experience and learn as a trans woman.

I know this, so I am willing to not treat her like crap because she wants to be Ted Cruz’s trans Ambassador when the son of a bitch says we shouldn’t even use the bathroom in public.

But I will tell you something.  Kate Bornstein is far less likely to reach Ted Cruz and help him to change his mind about trans people than Caitlyn is.

But for her to be able to do so, she has to unlearn some old hateful crap she has rattling around in her head and get some real info, solid stuff, truthful stuff.

And she won’t do that without our help.

Because who else knows better than we do?

Next Friday, I’m going to talk about some of the sources for the Bathroom Bill talking points the Religious Extremists are using…