Friday, November 11, 2016

"It'll be FINE! Just give him a chance!"

"Well, golly. Folks sure do seem to have a bee in their bonnet about the new president. He hasn't even taken office yet -- what could they possibly be protesting?"

You could just write them off as sore losers... but you'd be badly mistaken. Maybe it's people reacting in horror that enough people were OK with voting for a racist, sexist, xenophobic bigot that a racist, sexist, xenophobic bigot got elected president. News flash: Voting for a racist who openly advocates racist policies makes you complicit in racism, no matter how noble you believe your intentions to be. And if being called out for enabling racism makes you angry or uncomfortable, maybe take a moment and consider the effect your actions have had on those whose lives have become exponentially more difficult thanks to what you've enabled.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

What now?

So, that happened. Now what?

I'm seeing calls to "unite", to "heal", to "come together as a nation" under the new president. Fuck that, and fuck anyone who thinks shrugging their shoulders and going with the flow will make things better. I refuse to "unite" behind a man who got himself elected on a campaign of attacking Mexicans, Muslims, women, LGBT people, the handicapped, people of color, immigrants, and others. I will not passively sign on to the aims of a government that seeks to roll back the Affordable Care Act, repeal the Obergefell decision and Roe v Wade, and make the United States a hostile environment for women and non-whites.

Odds are not all Trump voters are racist, sexist, xenophobic bigots -- some of them, I assume, are good people. But if their actions help a racist, sexist, xenophobic bigot become the leader of the country, the result is the same. Actions matter, not words or intentions. Half the country voted in favor of fear, hatred, and white supremacy. I count women, Muslims, LGBT individuals, African-Americans, Latinx, and other minorities among my friends -- am I supposed to just stand by and watch as the new regime takes over and starts eliminating the rights and protections they fought so hard to secure? Do I just go about my merry way, under the assumption that I -- a white, heterosexual American male -- will not be inconvenienced by my country's government?

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Confession of a reluctant Hilldawg

I'll make this short and sweet, because there's already an overwhelming amount of election coverage online. I have voted -- by mail, so there's no sticker to prove it, but the Nebraska Secretary of State's website says they've received and accepted my ballot. It's just that I was asked several times today, so I figured I'd go ahead and reveal my vote.

I voted for Hillary Clinton for president. No, I'm not particularly pleased with how everything has gone. Preserving the status quo is part of why American democracy feels so sclerotic right now, and Clinton is nothing if not the personification of business as usual (the whole "being a woman" thing aside). She is far too hawkish for my liking, and there is a long record of behavior that suggests that even if she does not consider herself above the law, she certainly acts thusly. There are real concerns that her close ties to Wall Street will hamstring any meaningful financial reform. Clinton is a very flawed candidate, and in any run-of-the-mill election she'd be well behind a generic Republican (step forward, Tim Pawlenty).

That said, the alternatives this year are worse. Gary Johnson and the Libertarians have some good policy ideas, but on balance I can't support them or a candidate who seemingly can't even take himself seriously. The Greens? I donated to, and volunteered for, the Green Party once upon a time. I voted for Ralph Nader in 2000 (albeit in Nebraska, where there was no danger of swinging the election). But Jill Stein? Wi-Fi fearing, conspiracy-mongering, more-progressive-than-thou Jill Stein? Nein, danke. My kingdom for a Green Party that can put forward serious candidates on a consistent basis and not just pop up for attention grabs every four years.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

"How come you don't drink?"

Of all the questions I've been asked during my adult life, the one about why I don't drink is either at or near the top (though 日本語を話せますか [Nihongo o hanasemasuka, or "Do you speak Japanese?"] is closing quickly). I'm not put off by it as, in general, it's asked more out of curiosity than malice. It does make me something of a odd duck -- not only am I among the 15 percent of American males who report never having consumed alcohol, but my not drinking flies in the face of the stereotype of an expat journalist. My people are commonly associated with heavy drinking and smoking, occasional drug use, and general irascibility, none behaviors in which I partake.