Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Being a Liberal and a Democrat

I set this aside months ago, but I think it is worth a revisit. Wall Street did not change, and the realities of poverty have not changed,  so here are some thoughts I have on class, politics, and "party unity."

The other day, I had political thoughts. Weird, right? Ah, I am teasing you - politics are everywhere and I think about them all the time. I often say that I am a liberal that has to settle for the Democratic party, but it takes us on the far left pulling our political leaders so that they end up center left, because they will get pulled further and further right otherwise.Here are some thoughts on being a liberal and a Democrat when it comes to economics. This may seem choppy because this is my side of a dialog edited to make more sense here, but your milage may vary.

Ever notice that your issues are important while other peoples' issues are merely politics? Yeah, me neither...

Affirmative Action: For most of us, economic arguments are not Marxian theory - it is trying to make sure you have food on the table at the end of the month. And not only do we not give a damn about the feelings of the people that put us here, we might actually like to see them squirm some. That is right on target as far as I can see here from the bottom of the heap. I know that Bain is not going to actually pay for what it did to people, neither will Wall Street. But dammit, at least they should suffer some discomfort in our name. 

The best Democratic leaders have illustrated to the majority how helping minority populations helps everyone, including them. Example: affirmative action actually allows schools and employers to see candidates that are just as promising but would have been lost in the system due to a minority status that would have otherwise pushed them down. A good leader will talk about that, you know? Same sort of thing with women's rights and how that allows women to contribute in a more fulfilling way which makes them better social assets. All we, as liberals, need are leaders that can tie that together in a realistic way rather than in the metaphorical "rising tide" way. Because there seems to be a distinct lack of motivation to do things because they are right, correct, morally obligatory right now.

Frankly, while advocating for "minorities" looks like a losing strategy in the short term, the white male vote is meaning less and less as the USian populations changes. 

Traditionally Democratic voters are not just not Republicans, we are the future. We have been united by diversity in the past, and we need to revive that spirit.  Civil rights, women's rights, disability rights (to a lesser degree) were adapted and co-voiced by liberals. The definition of conservation is to retard and stop change whenever possible, so they cannot lead on any sort of real change.

Class-based Politics: I believe that political divisions matter and have real consequences that we should not be expected to ignore in favor of political unity. I also think that these divisions, when acknowledged and worked on together, can create strong political unity. It just is not that damn difficult to acknowledge that, say, racial boundaries are contributing to poverty, so to work on poverty we need to work on racial discrimination. And so on with all our social ills.

Bring in the folks that have dealt with it their whole lives or have dedicated themselves to these issues and give them equal places at the table. Make efforts to make sure those voices are heard. Hell, make efforts to make sure they can get to the table and feel safe and honored so truth can be spoken.

Liberals cannot go back to class based politics. Class based politics never left us.

Political Identity: As a poor liberal aligned with the Democratic Party (more because it is the best thing going, and better to be a red headed step child than an orphan) I do not stop being poor because "the Party" decided to stop dealing with it. I do not stop being a woman because the party shies away from gender issues. I do not stop being handicapped just because Democrats have never achieved uniform enforcement of the ADA. These issues never leave the party, no matter how fast the mucky mucks may insist on our votes, taking them and then slapping our hands and worse, our ideas away.

While I appreciate the history and academia - they matter less to me than my lived life and the lives I have witnessed. We, and our issues, did not leave the party - perhaps because there is simply no other politically viable place to go. 

The Base: The post [was] about caring for the feelings of Wall St. elites. You know, elevating the fee-fees of the Brooks Brothers crowd above people struggling with the lived reality of poverty. I added that the politics of poverty have not left the party, even though the party has sometimes not stood up for the poor. I say you illustrated the point because you went into history and academia - valuable but distancing the conversation from the lived reality of poverty (and wrestling with the party about it) or even the rich saying their feelings were bruised. This was a fairly accurate microcosm of the same thing the Party does when confronted with this issue (and others!). 

In the last three or so years the Party has divorced me at the rate of about once a month. I keep voting Democratic because the other guys (still pretty much guys) are worse, so where would I go? In any other setting, this would be the definition of an abusive relationship .

With all the indignities heaped upon me by the people that are supposed to represent me, I will be damned if they, you, or anyone else can turn around and call me their blasted Base. Especially when they rend garments and gnash teeth wailing about how any criticism of President Obama and/or his Administration [was] throwing the election. Do we not understand that our petty lives or morals or issues are so much less important than a facade of party unity? Sigh.

I felt like it was important for you to understand this aspect of lived lives, even if it was just mine. I am out of spoons, though, and I am sadly not sure we are going to get anywhere near that goal even if that were not so. 

Note: saying that PotUS could do things better, could be better, could appeal to our better selves rather than coddling rich cry babies did not cost him the election. But silencing the voices crying out for economic justice were ignored. Way to go.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Microsoft's Rape Joke at E3

Women and girls should not need to play games to play games. But we do. The following post is about sexism in gaming. You do not need to have a press pass to E3 or be into MLG to understand what happened or anything, just know that it is a gaming industry conference and that this industry is particularly hot spot for sexism and gender essentialism (along with dis/ableism, racism, and most social ills that come to the mind of rage quitting troglodytes).

Earlier this week, a cheap ass rape joke was made at a Microsoft press event. 
Feminist Frequency, no stranger to sexism and frequent target of the fetid MRA crowd, was given a reminder of their tantrum tactics when she mentioned Microsoft/Xbox's lack of female protagonists. The next day FF posted some offerings that do appear to offer women out in front. I like to think that she posted it just because it was news and an interesting juxtaposition. However, the bellowing boys of the web demand (you can see it for yourself in some of the offerings in the first FF link) that should any right, proper, human behavior happen anywhere near a sexist foul up, that it be reported on as well or nay, you are only telling an unfair part of a story to forward your misandrist agenda!

Microsoft issues an apology - so those would-be non-apologists attempting to downplay this or act like it was not wrong, can have a goddamn seat.

The trouble is not just the rape joke itself. The trouble is not just that it was issued by a superiorly experienced and equipped male player to a less experienced and equipped female player. The trouble is not just that it was made in a professional environment. The trouble is not just that it was made in a public environment.  The trouble is not that behavior like this but far more terrible is ubiquitous in not just gaming but in a lot of places in US culture - so much so that complaining about this one incident is seen as hair-splitting, nit-picking, and mountain-of-molehill making. The trouble is not just the message this sends to young gamers of all/any genders.

The trouble is all of the above. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

If Self Improvement is Masterbation...

I have not written much about me personally lately. I shy away from that sort of thing when I am stressed. So here is what is going on with me and mine for the folks that are interested. All of this is happening with tons of help from the family, particularly the Menfolk. I would still be splashing in a miasma of good intent, stalled efforts, and drama without their support.

A dark cat sleeps on the mousing arm of PatientC.
Umbra does not care if this post gets finished.

So if I get through today the same, this will be my first week at under 12 cloves a day. Or 12 cigarettes or under, but I hope for the former. While the eCigs are a wonder and I am using them frequently, I do think I am cutting down on my overall nicotine intake. I do not know if I will keep moving on nicotine reduction once I have the cigs kicked. Nicotine itself is not a health concern for me right now, and I am not sure that it should be one. 

"Once I have the cigs kicked" - I was not sure I would ever seriously use those words, but I just did. Woot!

My avoidance is not so bad when I stay in contact with people that reciprocate my caring and love for them. So I am using my emergency med less. But I prefer to take it when people stress is building and neither practical methods (STFU, GTFO, etc...) nor internal coping mechanisms are cutting it. If you are familiar with autoimmune illnesses like lupus/SLE, you know that other people's bullshit can literally make us lupies physically ill by stressing us into Flare's Ville. I do not talk about that much because people can be awful, but fuck it: that is the state of things. 

For about a year, with lupus in full effect but we were still unaware that it was there: I was stressing myself into the ER or a hospital room about once a month with a combination of physical and emotional stress. I just cannot let people do that to me anymore - what if the next flare convinces my immune system that my kidneys have become enemies and should be destroyed? I had to kick the part of myself that comes from abuse and neglect and remind her that she and I do not take shit anymore.

I have cut back on my caffeine, especially Red Bull. Now, I still drink a lot of it, there was just plenty of room for improvement. That and more generally weight reduction will not be a focus until the smoking thing is done, before the end of the year I hope

We are starting the Medical Mystery business that is my life back up again. Hopefully we can get some answers on the stuff that is not under the umbrella of lupus/SLE or fibro.

We are going to do more meditation at home and plan on going to more open sittings and the stuff we can afford to do with the local Buddhist group we met this spring.

I am working on writing more and actually putting it out there. I am getting better at actually posting what I write when I write it. I am also making time to write whenever I have the bug instead of letting it wait 'til I get back to my desk.

So, what sort of self improvement are you engaged in now? Is it working? Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate it!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Intersection of All and Nothing

When you do not fight for justice for everyone, you stand for justice for no one.

We cannot stand for racial justice without standing for gender justice because people of different races are also gendered. 

You cannot fight for gender justice without standing for QUILTBAG justice, because women are also sometimes lesbian or bi or queer. 

People cannot stand for QUILTBAG justice without standing for economic justice because sometimes trans* and queer folk are poor, often more poor.

They cannot stand for economic justice without standing for disability justice because sometimes the poor have disabilities. 

I cannot work for disability justice without supporting racial justice, because sometimes the disabled are black and brown.

Do you want justice? Then want justice for everyone. The fight is not either/or it is all or nothing. 
Equality is a state of being, not a race to be won.

Justice is not a prize to be hoarded if it is to mean anything at all.

Quit telling people to sit down and be quiet in favor of your cause. Their cause is your cause.