The Long Way Down

Another day, another punch in the face when I first read news in the morning. And another one that hits close to home: I’m genderqueer myself, and have a ton of Trans friends. I’ve already been agonizing over the ghoulish health-care bill (I’m expensive to keep alive, and lifetime caps/pre-existing exclusions would kill me), not to mention agonizing about the misery of millions of people facing police violence, deportations and other awful attacks, so this is just one more thing. But the pile of one more things keeps getting bigger and bigger, and I’m wondering when it’s going to topple onto my head.

I know we still had problems. I know there was still plenty of work to do. I know things were very, very far from perfect. Yet I can’t help mourning for how different my life was under Obama. His election gave me a measure of hope I’d never really had before, and for the first time in my entire life, I started to relax a little bit, trusting that there were people in charge who believed in and were working for the right thing. I took a risk on buying a new house. I started saving up to pay for an adoption. I wrote three novels. I had a life, not just a long series of days that each ended in a silent sigh of relief that I had survived. That relative comfort is now gone, and I’m left wondering if it’s ever going to come back, or if I am forever stuck always looking over my shoulder, grieving and angry for the people already suffering, and always wondering when the fragile bubble of safety I exist in is going to pop.   Continue reading

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Rocking the Hard Place

It is my sincere hope that you’re having a good day, or at least are looking forward to doing something nice today, since I’m about to become thoroughly Debbie Downer on y’all. Short version: Settle in, because this administration isn’t dead, yet, and won’t be for a long time, but don’t give up the fight!

Since he announced his candidacy, the Trump-as-politician story has never lacked for something outrageous, often multiple things each week—or even each day. Just when it seems like we’ve reached outrage fatigue, he ups the ante. Some probably have already gone into a complacent state of new normal, but many of us are still paying attention. We wake up, check the news to see what terrible thing he’s done today, and then spend the rest of the day stumbling around in numb horror, a vague sense of queasiness coloring everything we do. It should be no surprise that we’re all eager to believe any hint that somehow, there’s been a break: something has been discovered that will finally, this time, get him out.

Folks, don’t hold your breath. Continue reading

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Blame Olympics: Finals

My previous post on this topic has gotten some good feedback (yay!) but something else has come up this week that’s making me revisit the question: Some rather good data crunching  pointing up the effects of voter suppression on turnout, particularly among Black voters. There’s some really terrific stuff in that thread, and I highly recommend reading it all.

Unfortunately, further analysis doesn’t bear out an assertion that correcting for this would have changed the result. While I don’t at all mean to imply that voter suppression is insignificant—it absolutely is, it’s horrific, and it needs to be stopped—in this particular case, it’s unlikely that it affected the outcome on its own. It factored in, definitely, as I’ll illustrate, but even if we isolated that particular variable, we’d still have the same result.

Let’s take another look at the spreadsheet I assembled for this project: Continue reading

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Blame Olympics

For some reason, we seem to have gotten a fresh round of “this is why she lost” blather of late, so please allow me to weigh in–with some actual data, pulled from CNN’s exit polls. Tl;dr version: Dudes. Primarily white. Primarily young. Primarily without a college degree. Primarily voting for Johnson.

First off, let me be perfectly clear: The biggest factor in this and every other election is race. White folks, about 70% of the electorate, vote Republican by about a 60/38 split, whereas people of color vote Democrat by even more lopsided percentages. This has been the case pretty much forever, and there can be no discussion of WTF happened without acknowledging that reality. Religion is also a big deal: White Christians, who make up ~57% of the electorate, split about 65/35 for Republicans, but everyone else votes Democrat. Lastly, education also factors in, though again race tells part of the story: Whites with less education tend to be more conservative, while people of color don’t change their votes all that much relative to education.

Gender, however, is also an enormous factor, and as I’m going to illustrate here, it was a bigger factor this time than it has been in the recent past–bigger than anything else. Continue reading

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New Short Story!

In addition to all the graphic work I’ve been doing lately, I’ve also done some writing. Still working on sequels for both Harper and Tesserae, as well as two more standalone novels, but I also recently banged out this:

The Man Who Drained the Sea

This project started as a bedtime story I made up for my son. He liked it so much I decided to tweak it for a more grown-up audience and get it out there. It’s contemporary fantasy/magical realism, though a bit different from my usual stuff. Check it out, and I hope you enjoy it!

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Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Not that there aren’t dozens of other things to flail about, but in the past couple of days, one of the ones I’ve seen people most agog about is Steve Bannon talking about wanting “deconstruction” of the government.

Coming, as I do, from a family steeped in the “patriot” movement, I think I might get this better than some who aren’t familiar with it first hand. Allow me to try to explain:

First off, yes, there’s a crapton of sheer bigotry and violent, toxic masculinity going on here. That’s the driving psychological force behind all of it. Above the Id level, however, this is all going according to plan. This is exactly why people voted for 45 and why they keep calling his reign “successful.”

The right wing has wanted to dismantle the federal government since the Civil War (and there’s also always been an anti-federalist faction going back much farther.) Everything they’re doing right now is designed with that goal in mind. They’re aiming to all but break up the U.S. in to 50 nation-states, with us sharing only very big things like currency, military protection, interstate transportation and border security. They want the U.S. to be more like the U.N., or at least the E.U. Most of these folks are also isolationist (at least in terms of our responsibility to help stop dictators, etc.) Aside from the desire to actually invade and take over oil-producing countries, and return Israel to its Biblical borders so the Rapture will come, this is all about total sovereignity: Much the same impulse that led to a lot of Brexit votes. Obviously, xenophobia and racism are behind much of this sentiment, but in their minds, that’s incidental. They’re looking to give each state the ability to self-rule as much as possible, because they believe centralized government can’t properly serve diverse states.

For those of us in blue states, that probably doesn’t sound so bad. I do occasionally entertain the idea of Pacifica, really. But the net effect of this is that marginalized people who are stuck in red states are absolutely screwed. We could set up our own little refugee programs–sponsoring the poor schlubs in red-state cities or whatnot–but that would still leave the children of these creeps in dire straits, and frankly, people shouldn’t have to move to a whole different state just to have their basic human rights recognized anyway.

There are legitimate debates to be had on whether centralized government is really capable of efficiently providing public services to 300 million people scattered across a very broad geographic area and cultural spectrum, but at the very least, Constitutional rights have to be protected, and if these asshats get their way, that’s going to collapse. Appealing to them on the basis of compassion and anti-racism isn’t going to work regardless, but if we really want to stop them from doing what they’re doing, we have to look at what it is they’re really aiming to do, and challenge them on that, too. Continue reading

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She Persisted

I did another graphic thing. (Zazzle link above, or you can hit my store on Café Press.) Because it’s appalling that Elizabeth Warren was denied the chance to read Coretta Scott King’s letter about Jeff Sessions. (And while four other senators were allowed to read it later, all four are men. Grrr.)

It’s heartening to me that more and more Democrat senators are getting the intestinal fortitude to stand up and make noise about this mess. Most of them are the usual suspects who did things like the post-Pulse gun-control protests, but even the mild-mannered ones are getting in on the act, now. If only Bernie would stop acting like a) Trump has any intention of actually helping workers and b) that doing so is the biggest priority over, y’know, basic human rights, we could present a pretty united front on the left. I wish we could do more to drag the wishy-washy moderate Republicans into the light (c’mon, Susan Collins and Lindsey Graham!) but it is what it is for now. They can’t risk pissing off Trump supporters or they’ll get primaried out (though they’re also going to have to tread carefully with regard to more-moderate voters, too.) Our only hope for getting him out of office is if he somehow gets convicted of something that requires jail time, so the Congressfolk who actually do dislike him don’t have to get their hands dirty. They can just tell voters that it was the will of the courts and thereby skate on having to take responsibility for opposing him.

I think we’re still kind of in shock-and-awe territory. It’s been less than three weeks, and I suspect he’s going to be there for a while, yet. Probably time to gird our loins for the long haul, horrific as that sounds.

In the meantime, two suggestions:

-Assemble an emergency kit/go bag. If you think you may be targeted, make sure you have a way to get the heck out if you need to. Also, if you live somewhere that’s prone to natural disasters (especially a blue state), make sure you’ve prepared and planned for that. I wouldn’t at all put it past Trump to withhold FEMA and other federal disaster aid to punish misbehaving states. Make sure you have calorie- and nutrient-dense non-perishable food, plenty of water, a few changes of clothes, toiletries, a first-aid kit, a flash drive with scans of important docs and any pictures and other things you want to save, batteries, a paperback or other non-electronic way to pass time, etc. Keep one in your car and one at home.

-If you have the money, donate (and see if your employer does matching funds!) Here’s a list of places I’ve sent money to recently, if you’d like some ideas:

  • International Rescue Committee
  • ACLU
  • SPLC
  • Planned Parenthood
  • Lambda Legal
  • Anti-Defamation League
  • Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
  • Native American Rights Fund
  • Council on American-Islamic Relations
  • Earth Justice
  • Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund
  • Trevor Project
  • Trans Lifeline
  • Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund
  • National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
  • Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
  • American Immigration Council
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Amnesty International

Plus some Standing Rock funds and a couple of individuals who are doing good work (the person who runs Medieval PoC, for instance.)

(Also, if you’d like to push some funds my way, please buy one of my books–link to the right–or shop at one of the stores linked above!)

Lastly, if you’re someone who is on the GOP’s target list–queer, PoC, PWD, etc.–you’re probably going to get overwhelmed and burned out. Take time to take care of yourself. Don’t do their dirty work for them by neglecting your health and well-being. And if you’re someone who’s NOT on the target list, or only has one or two relatively mild disadvantages, do what you can to care for the folks around you who are in more danger right now. We can survive this, but only if we work together.

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