Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

During times like these, when the world is screaming along at Mach 2 with its hair on fire (which, I think it fair to say, it is currently doing), we must not be afraid to practice some self-care.

Take a breath.

Step to the side.

Look up, look around.

Take note of something that pleases you. Music. Art. Nature. Your kids. Your partner. A piece of work well done.

Relax for a bit. Just a few moments of indulgence. Something just for you. A respite from the chaos, the frenzy, the tragedies large and small.

I’ve needed a lot of self-care lately—an escape from the cruelty I see each day—and have found it in a very unlikely place.



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Full disclosure: I am a white, male, middle-class, soon-to-be senior citizen with liberal tendencies.

That said, I’ll tell you that I simply do not understand racism.

Oh, I understand that we humans like to draw distinctions, define the “Other” in the face of conflict. Such dichotomies make it easier to argue, to fight, to hate, to kill. I get that. Not a fan, but I get it.

But why skin color?


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Yesterday, I received my Voter’s Pamphlet for Washington’s August primary election. At the federal level, we’re voting for a senator. There are a total of thirty candidates vying for the seat, so it’s a packed primary.

Packed with what, I cannot say in polite company.


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if you

say it’s “too soon” to talk about guns
say laws and bans wouldn’t stop it
blame it all on mental illness
are against common sense gun control laws
vote for people who refuse to act
pay dues to the NRA
value your right to own an AR-15 over the lives of children
accept slaughter as the “price of freedom”

then you are complicit


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Yesterday, I donated my ninety-second pint of blood at Bloodworks Northwest (a name that is much cooler, and more quasi-gruesome than the previous “Puget Sound Blood Bank”).

Yep. 92 pints. That’s 11 ½ gallons.

That’s a lot of blood.

But I digress. (more…)

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Let’s have a discussion about Free Speech.

To begin, let’s go over the basics. The First Amendment does not give you or me the right to say whatever we want; our freedom of speech does have limits. Incitement to violence, threats of violence, and defamation are three of the very few exceptions to this freedom. Hate speech, though, actually is a protected form of speech, as Justice Brennan pointed out in a Texas v. Johnson, concerning flag burning:

If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.

Given this as a foundation, it is clear that the white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and others of that racist ilk who descended upon Charlottesville last weekend had every right, under our Constitution, to assemble and spew their hate.


They do not have a right to be heard.

They do not have a right to be accepted.

They do not have a right to an audience.

And they most certainly do not have a right to beat, assault, maim, or murder.

As a result…

They should expect to be shouted down at every turn of every street corner of every town.

They should expect to be shunned, ostracized, and condemned by every reasonable person who lives outside their twisted clans.

They should expect to be turned away, denied access, canceled on without notice, and prohibited any privately managed venue.

And they should expect to engender our disgust, and our retributive fury, for the crimes they commit.

Some people have tried to equate the two sides that faced off in Charlottesville, saying that there were violent acts from both factions. While we will never know who threw the first punch, we do know which side came with shields, torches, clubs, and guns. We do know which side surrounded a church and chanted Nazi slogans while the congregants were praying inside. And, of course, we do know which side drove a car, at speed, into a crowd.

I do not condone violence, but if I have to choose between the Nazis and the Maquis, between the Gestapo and the Jewish resistance, between the slavers and the slaves, I know which side I choose.

There is no moral equivalence between these two sides. None. And anyone who cannot see that deserves to be called out for it, shamed, castigated, and voted out of office.


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Dragons AheadIn 1889, my great-grandfather and his brothers left their home in Lucca, Italy and traveled to the port of Le Havre, France, where they boarded a ship bound for New York. They left their homeland to escape the economic misery and political chaos that typified the Kingdom of Italy in the late 1800s. They came to build a new life in a new land.

For them, the immigration process was not long. They were asked a few questions, were inspected for disease, and were allowed to enter.

Upon entry, they were met by a populace that despised and denigrated them for their peasant background, their Catholic religion, and their cultural differences.

Yay, America.

Today, the immigration process is a good bit longer. Without American relatives or sponsors, an immigrant can wait up to six years for a visa, only then to begin the months-long process of background checks and vetting. Refugees fleeing the chaos and upheaval of war-torn regions such as the Levant may actually have a shorter wait-time, but their vetting process will take up to two years and includes interviews, background checks, screenings, security checks, cultural orientation, and registration with an American resettlement agency. Even getting a tourist visa — a requirement for most people outside of Europe and the Far East — is a relatively long process.

And when these immigrants finally enter the U.S. — if they are allowed to enter — they’ll now be met by a government that despises and denigrates them for their background, their religion, and their culture.

Yay, America.


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