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When Ideology Invades Politics; In Other Words: The Importance of Theory vs. Practice

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So, if you’ve been reading, you’ll have noticed this post about my political views, where I touched on my stances on political issues as a whole.

At the end, I noted that, according to the test I took, ideologically, I fall “right on the line of Anarcho-Communism and Anarcho-Syndicalism/Collectivist Anarchism“.

Politically, however, I’m much more moderate. Though still in the bottom left quadrant, I’d be much more near the middle, simply due to the fact that, in addition to the fact that I’m an idealist, I’m also a realist.

If I could craft the world, I’d make it fit my ideological views, because, ultimately, I have too much faith in the positive nature of humanity.

However, since I can’t, and since humanity isn’t as great as I’d like to believe, when it comes to voting, politics, what I’ll stand for in an intellectual perspective, I take a slower, more methodical, approach.

While I do agree that a more aggressive approach is best to get things done, I also understand that progress, of any kind, is made in steps. Going 0 to 60 in three seconds is great, but if you do that, you can’t see the car coming up right behind you fast enough to react properly.

If you try to make a big change before taking the proper steps to implement those changes, you could have harmful consequences that impact more than you thought.

Whereas if you go in steps, you can deal with those consequences as they arise, making the proper changes needed to combat them while still working towards your overarching goal.

One of the problems, if it’s not the foremost problem, in the United State’s current political climate is that people lack either the intellect, the capacity, the will, or some combination of the three, to discern hopeful ideology and what the harsh reality of the world and just how much power we have over it actually is.

As I’ve stated before, people dislike hearing bad news. They go to such high lengths to avoid it that things that sound nice, no matter how false, are more believed, simply because they don’t want to face the fact that reality kind of sucks.

Those who are more intellectually inclined, realists, or even just cynics, know the world isn’t as good as we’d like to believe. Those who deal with depression, abuse, discrimination, and many more issues, have been through a great deal and have had to work through it, all while dealing with everything else in the world.

They, and I include myself when I say ‘they’, understand that the world isn’t fair; that things don’t always go your way; that everything isn’t always good. Life has made them realists.

Some people, like myself, manage to still be hopeful, to believe in the good.

It’s difficult being an optimist and a pessimist; a realist and an idealist. To be quite honest, it’s infuriatingly irritating and stressful.

On one side of the argument, I know exactly how things are in the world and can plan accordingly to deal with the consequences of it.

On the other side, I hold a fancifully positive outlook on life and the world, to the point that, though I know that things may not go the way I want them to, I’m still achingly disappointed when they turn out that way.

This shows up in my posts often. I, somehow, manage to keep hope that maybe, just maybe, someday in the future people will be as good as they can be. That the Rebellion, the Resistance, whatever you want to call it, will succeed.

After all,

Rebellions Are Built On Hope

To get back to the point, it’s possible to be both an idealist and a realist. It’s not easy, but then, nothing worth anything ever really is.

If you can recognize that the way you view the world isn’t how everyone else does, you can realize that ideological views can’t always align with your political views.

As I’ve stated before, a vote isn’t just an opinion, it is an action. When you have idealistic views, that’s just an opinion, but when you transfer those same views over to your politics, meaning who you vote for, what you stand for, etc. so on and so forth, that’s an action, because it’s directly affecting other people’s lives.

Hillary Clinton caught a lot of flak when she mentioned ‘a public and a private position’.

“You just have to sort of figure out how to … balance the public and the private efforts that are necessary to be successful, politically, and that’s not just a comment about today. Politics is like sausage being made. It is unsavory, and it always has been that way, but we usually end up where we need to be. But if everybody’s watching, you know, all of the back room discussions and the deals, you know, then people get a little nervous, to say the least. So, you need both a public and a private position.”

While I can understand the sentiment behind the controversy, and even the issue behind the controversy, I don’t understand where why people objected so hard to the ‘public vs private’ part specifically.

Any intellectual knows that reality doesn’t always align with what you want it to be and that you have to compromise in order to get closer to your goals. That’s exactly what she was saying.

While I agree on principle that, no, we shouldn’t have to compromise to get important things done, I understand that it’s necessary in the world we live in.

Again, it’s about theory vs. practice.

We need to take a step back, take a breath, and look at things as objectively as we can, separating ourselves from the issue for a moment.

Rather than just applying it wholly without thinking of the consequences, we need to implement our theory in a practical way.

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Hatred and Bigotry Are Not Valid Ideologies, Political Opinions, or Viewpoints

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There’s been this ‘controversy’ about something in the non-political sphere lately having to do with video games, specifically Playtonic Games’  Yooka-Laylee, releasing April 11th, 2017.

So, why am I talking about video games on a political blog? Because one of the voice actors, a YouTuber by the name of Jon Jafari, better known as JonTron, was taken out of the game following a debate in which he exhibited some racist views.

Following Playtonic’s decision to take him out of the game, they received backlash. A lot of backlash.

People denouncing the decision citing ‘free speech‘ as an opposition to taking a racist out of a game, even though it’s well within the company’s rights to do so, not to mention just being the right thing to do.

You set and make an example; that’s the only way we progress.

Moreover, promoting racism/homophobic/sexist/etc. views, is, in essence, exhibiting those same views yourself, just like voting.

Speaking out and making a stand against those views is not going against free speech.

One, they’re a private company, not the government.

Two, they’re based in the UK.

Three, and this one is important, discriminatory views are not valid opinions or viewpoints.

You, as a consumer, have every right to boycott the company for silencing a racist xenophobic person’s voice, but don’t pretend it’s because of some injustice against that person by the company.

It’s because, on some level, you agree with his views.

If your political ideology stems from a place that harms others, it’s not valid. It’s not right.

It is explicitly wrong.

When you dehumanize a group of people based on some arbitrary reason, you’ve lost the argument, no matter what you’re arguing. You’ve chosen to say that these humans are not human to you without any legitimate reason or based on any merit.

There will be some who argue that by me saying this, I’m inherently doing the same.

That’s false.

There’s a logical, intelligent, legitimate reason for my view: I’m not saying these people aren’t human or unimportant, nor am I dehumanizing them in some way; what I am doing is pointing out their fallacious, unintellectual, morally bankrupt views and presenting a reason why such views are invalid and wrong.

If you fail to see that, you’re missing the point I’m trying to make.

At the end of the day, we’re all humans. We all have lives, desires, hobbies, feelings, and everything else. We need to stop focusing on our differences, especially ones that have no bearing on our implicit humanity, and focus on our similarities.

Why You Need To Realize That You’re Not A Millionaire

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I’m going to take you on a small little journey, simply to make my point that much easier.

So often in the US you’ll come across those that are called ‘the backbone’ of the US; these people are white people, heteronormative people, Christians, small business owners, or any other people ‘whose rights are slowly being taken away’.

These people are put up on a rickety pedestal by Republicans…a pedestal that they slowly push down into a hole in the ground.

Now these people don’t care that they’re being pushed into a hole in the ground because, Hey! They’re on a pedestal! It doesn’t matter that the top of the pedestal is below the ground above the hole. They’re on a pedestal.

This is the attitude that conservative people hold. They don’t see the forest for the trees. (Or the ground for a pedestal, as the case is.) They believe that, because they aren’t touching the ground, it’s all good, even as the hole is slowly getting deeper.

(Keep this in mind; I’m going to be coming back to it in the future.)

Surrounding them is a sea of people on pedestals: large, secure, golden pedestals. But they’re reduced to a rickety pedestal. In a hole. That’s getting deeper. And flooding. Because the 1% is not only slowly deepening the hole, no, no; they’re dumping polluted water in it.

(I’ll talk about DAPL this week. If I remember and don’t get distracted by something else. I may push it so I can do a really nice, in-depth post about DAPL, rather than what I usually do, which is condense it down to small talking points. I’ll do that too, but I want to show how important DAPL is by really digging deep and researching, posting facts, sourcing, etc.)

These people on these nice, golden pedestals are the 1%: career politicians, big businesses, millionaires, billionaires, etc.

Going back to the ‘backbone’… they still believe they’re the same as those other people on pedestals; they still equate themselves because they all have pedestals.

At the bottom of the hole are people who don’t even have a pedestal. They’re stuck there with no means to get out of the ever-deepening, flooding hole.

These people are the disenfranchised: the poor, the racial minorities, the LGBTQ+ community, the religious minorities, etc.

Ever stuck in a hole, the disenfranchised are desperately trying to get the person on the pedestal off of the pedestal, onto the ground above so that they can slowly climb up the pedestal and get onto the ground themselves.

The backbone, still in the hole, mind, is pushing and shoving the people down as they climb, not understanding that they’re just trying to get him back on the ground so they can get there too. But he doesn’t want them on his pedestal.

They’d rather sink on the pedestal than get onto the ground, onto safety, and allow them onto what he believes is his, even as they’re all slowly sinking.

Because, see, they’re on a pedestal. They believe they’re exactly the same as the 1%.

They dislike looking at context, at critically thinking, because that would put their own views into question, both of themselves and of everything else.

If they really think about where they are (on a pedestal in a sinking, toxic, flooding hole), and what’s really going on (the people below), they have to eschew their pedestal, their privilege. They have to get on the ground, off of that pedestal. They have to face the fact that their pedestal isn’t as good as the 1%’s pedestal.

The vast majority of the people on the rickety pedestals are the ‘backbone’, rather than the backbone and the disenfranchised. (Who, I mean, I could easily argue that the disenfranchised are the actual backbone, but…later.)

They don’t take into account that their pedestal isn’t the same as the 1%’s, because they see themselves as prospective capable genius millionaires.

To anyone outside (Or with half a brain, really…), this is ridiculous. Of course everyone isn’t a prospective millionaire. (Let’s have some focus here.) Of course context matters and the type of pedestal matters. (Even though pedestals shouldn’t exist, but that’s another post entirely.)

Americans are taught all throughout their lives that they’re better; that they’re more capable, smarter, and richer.

But Americans are also taught that you can do anything; not a bad thing, in and of itself, but it’s paired with the idea of ‘The American Dream’: the core idea of which is that, if you work hard, you can achieve anything.

Which makes sense, though when taken in context, it’s not only flawed, but toxic. This is where the problem lies. It’s not obvious, and it may seem like it’s not even there with these two specific things paired, but let me explain, because it’s not just those two things.

While, yes, telling people (children especially) that they can do anything, that the world is their pickle* is a good thing, because it removes limitations, when it’s paired with the ‘labor = achievement’ aspect, the broader ‘American Dream’, and specifically, especially, the belief that they’re better, it creates a sort of ownership, a superiority, over the pedestal and over the disenfranchised, respectively.

Because they’re already told that they’re better, then they’re told that they can do anything, especially if they work for it (which gives them complete ownership over them,) then they’re given a pedestal because of their achievements, those individual aspects put together, that alone are fine, warp.

Except for the idea that they’re better; that’s trash. And also the root of the problem.

The idea that Americans and the USA are better than any other nation or its people is wrong. It’s wholly un-American.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Declaration of Independence

This is where the initial cognitive dissonance is in all of American politics.

Because, see, you’re taught about the ‘American Dream’ and America’s supposed superiority before you’re taught about the Declaration of Independence in most cases.

Even if the term ‘American Dream’ isn’t used, the idea of it is everywhere; it’s in our television shows, our movies, our books, our music.

You consume any media set or made in America:

  • There’s a non-American; “I came to America to make my dreams come true/give my kids a better life/etc.”
  • There’s an up-and-coming celebrity/musician/billionaire/businessman; “I worked for all that I’ve done and all of this is mine (and Jesus’), you can do it too!”
  • There’s a person from a less-progressed nation/society; “Here, let me teach you the right way“/”I’m so glad I’m not from there.”/etc.

That’s typically American’s first introduction to what America is. Not through any harmful means, but just because that’s what our society is.

It’s not a real view of the world; it’s a view of the world through the lens of, again, a prospective capable genius millionaire.

By the time you do learn what the USA actually is, you’ve already been bombarded with all of the other views. You’re either conflicted, think nothing of it, or go with logic and reason and change views, getting rid of the toxicity.

You realize that, no, you’re probably not going to become a famous millionaire, but you can be happy; you can be a good person.

But that’s not what America is. America is full of prospective millionaires; of ‘backbone’ people who are on a pedestal (or disenfranchised and not on a pedestal) who see the other people on pedestals (the 1%) and equate their rickety pedestal with the sturdy, golden pedestals.

People, please! You are not a prospective millionaire.

 

 

 

*If you recognize this, you’re awesome.

Why Identity Politics Isn’t A Bad Thing

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Often, those on the right use ‘identity politics’ as an insult or a disqualifier to policies or opinions.

In doing so, they’re effectively attempting to minimize, and even neutralize, humans and humanity itself. Let me explain.

To harken back to my post on saturday, What It’s Like To Be Gay In Trump’s America, I said this:

The moment I say this, every single word I say will be completely disregarded by a portion of people.

They will be completely blind to everything else I say because of who I am.

The message that I’m trying to get out, the facts, the points, everything will be completely thrown out because I’m simply “using identity politics” to make a point and not looking at things objectively, even when that’s the majority of what I do here. That’s what I’m setting out to do, anyway.

I would very much like to expand on that and how, not only is that a bad thing, but so-called “identity politics” is a good thing and wholly unavoidable.

From Merriam-Webster:

plural

identities

  • 1a:  sameness of essential or generic character in different instances
    • 1b:  sameness in all that constitutes the objective reality of a thing :oneness
  • 2a:  the distinguishing character or personality of an individual :individuality

So, in other words, we all have an identity, both as humans and as individuals.

However, that’s not what I’d like to focus on, though I will be referencing it.

No, what I’d like to focus on is how Republicans and conservatives also use identity politics.

They use identity politics as Republicans, Americans, conservatives, Christians (and its surrounding religions), monetary value, and, by their views, moral superiority.

While these things aren’t a problem in and of themselves, they like to use these identities to push those who don’t fit into these categories down.

Rather than trying to make other people equal or strive for things that are good for humanity as a whole, they use them to push those things down in order to push their agenda.

While, again, this isn’t an issue without context, when you look at what their agenda actually is and look at how they implement it, it becomes clear that they are not on the side of humanity, or even just good.

That’s because the Republican agenda is greed and money, and the conservative agenda is to get rid of those who aren’t exactly like them.

When you compare that to the Democrats, or really, more left, liberal, and progressives, when they use identity politics, it’s to promote equality and to dispel injustices.

Their goal is to pull everybody up to the same level as those at the top, which, ironically or not, those on the other side perceive this as an attack in an attempt to push them down and put them below.

This is a classic act of projection, which is defined as:

Definition of projection

6b:  the attribution of one’s own ideas, feelings, or attitudes to other people or to objects; especially:  the externalization of blame, guilt, or responsibility as a defense against anxiety

They know that’s what they do, so they assume that’s what everyone does.

As I’ve said before, Republicans/conservatives like everything to be simple, to be black and white. They dislike having to take context into account to form an accurate viewpoint or opinion because that requires more work than the inconsequential amount they use; it’s more difficult.

I’ve also spoke about how they object to being kind to one another; that they view it, that they view being human, as a weakness.

Because they believe these things and think this way, they automatically assume and project that onto others because they’re unable, or unwilling, to wonder or think about how everyone is different.

Those differences, be they in opinion, physical appearance or performance, emotional capability or conduct, etc. so on and so forth, are what forms our identities.

Every single person is an individual with their own identity, but those on the right don’t like that. They would prefer if everyone were the same.

But if that happened, humans would cease to be humans, both as a society and as a species.

Were we all the same, we would cease to do anything; our complex cognitive reactions and interactions would halt, our impact on the world would cease, and our species would not progress.

(I’m not going to go in-depth at this point, but I felt it was worth noting; I may come back to this at a later post.)

This is the danger of right-leaning, conservative thinking; their goal is not just to slow down progress, as others may tell you, but to conserve it completely: to halt it.

This is where the left-leaning, progressive thinkers come in. They attempt to assemble people to combat this, to keep us progressing, by using identity and identity politics.

The way for us, as humans, to survive, and, indeed, thrive, is by progressing further as, not just a species, but a society. (There are so many commas in this sentence, but I love it.)

To jump just a little further into the possible ramifications of halting progress and becoming, effectively, all the same, if that were to happen, not only would those immediate things take effect, but, over time, we, as a species, due to lack of progress, would evolve.

That’s how evolution works, broadly. X doesn’t change, impact, or thrive, and because nature is constantly changing, X doesn’t continue to survive. So X begins adapting, or, as we should put it, evolving, slowly becoming Y over time because of X’s inability to continue on as X.

(Y’know, I am going to come back to this topic in the future after I do some more research and gain some more knowledge.)

You can see this in the overwhelming spread of left-leaning young people as the right-leaning older people are having children, getting older, and dying.

People, as a whole, are realizing that other people matter, that other people’s lives matterthat the world does not revolve around them. And that reflects by people leaning more left.

This is a reflection on people placing importance on individuals and their identities.

Because, in the end, we’re all human and that’s what matters.

New Rules! Blog Update

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From this point forward, there will only be posts M-F, simply because the weekends are slow for news and I need to make an effort to bring my stress levels down.

Hope you understand.

What It’s Like To Be Gay In Trump’s America

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I’ve been putting this off for quite a while, I’ll be honest. I’ve wanted to avoid speaking about this as long as possible because this blog isn’t really about me.

It’s about politics and factual truth. Yes, my views are a major part of the blog, but I’m not the focus; the politics are.

While that’s not changing, I feel it’s important to speak up on who I am, for context’s sake. My second post was a deeply personal letter that I published here because I felt it was important to share.

I’ve been up front about things when they come, but I’ve never really addressed this particular side of me on the blog, for reasons I didn’t really know about until just recently:

The moment I say this, every single word I say will be completely disregarded by a portion of people.

They will be completely blind to everything else I say because of who I am.

The message that I’m trying to get out, the facts, the points, everything will be completely thrown out because I’m simply “using identity politics”* to make a point and not looking at things objectively, even when that’s the majority of what I do here. That’s what I’m setting out to do, anyway.

*More on this in a later post.

It’s like whenever you say anything on the internet and someone who doesn’t know who you are comments and you reply with something that’s logical or pushing against them or even just presenting new facts they didn’t know; the immediate reaction from them is “oh, you’re one of them” or something to that effect.

Except…for members of the LGBTQ+ community, this transfers over to real life as well.

People aren’t stereotypes; they’re individuals. While there may be a correlation, that doesn’t always hold true, in either direction.

Prior to the election, people, strangers I should say, would assume I was straight, mostly out of, I believe, politeness or some pseudo-equivalent in their minds; just a quiet way of pushing my existence back into hiding.

Guys (and I use that term for everyone), I know what my voice sounds like. I know what it sounds like when I speak, how I move, how I interact with people I don’t know.

I’m not “traditionally masculine”; I’m a geeky gay guy with glasses and dyed hair who wears flip-flops all year round and carries around a book bag and kind of acts like a “strong female character”.

I don’t know, I’m trying to make it easy to show who I am outside of the written word and…I’m basically Piper Halliwell from Charmed meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Rachel Morgan from The Hollows by Kim Harrison meets Yuna from Final Fantasy X/X-2 meets Gin from Elemental Assassin by Jennifer Estep. Throw some Sora from Kingdom Hearts in there and you’ve got me almost completely.

I’m not a bro-y, tough guy, sports fanatic with a deep voice and disregard for general appearance. (I’m not saying that all straight guys are like this or anything, just pointing out the stereotype.)

I’m not flamboyantly bouncy either. (I’ve got masculinity issues from bullying.)

I’m just kinda…me; someone who’s kind of in the middle and watched way too much Charmed. Seriously. I’m like 80% Piper.

Anyway…

Before the election, people kinda left me alone. I’d sometimes get the side-eye from some people (read: men), but for the most part, I faded into the background, discounting the looks I got from my blue/purple/teal hair.

And, yes, I can tell when I was being looked at because of my hair and my sexuality. It’s…a different feeling.

With my hair, the looks always give off the feeling of “that dude’s hair is blue/purple/teal”; with my sexuality, the looks always give the feeling of “how disgusting”. It’s easy to tell the difference.

For one, people at large aren’t as good at controlling their facial expressions as they would like to believe. For another, those feelings you get of people watching you, those instincts built up throughout evolution and growing up, they’re telling. Very telling.

More and more often since November 9th, I’ve been getting those “how disgusting” looks. And it’s terrifying.

It’s terrifying because some of those looks from some of those people, sometimes the feeling they put off very clearly says “I would hurt you, even kill you, if you were alone and I got the chance”. I’m not saying it’s common, but it’s not rare anymore. Before, I’d only felt like that twice. Before, most of the looks were just disgusted, irritated that I existed. Now…

Now, whenever I go out in public, I’m scared. I won’t go anywhere alone, unless it’s somewhere I know will have a lot of people or has a big enough public view where other people could see. I won’t wait outside of the bathroom at the mall for my boyfriend to finish using it when I notice that people are looking my way, giving me those looks, or when it gets too quiet. I won’t walk through the grocery store to grab something alone unless the store’s populated enough.

Some of these I don’t even do consciously and I only just realized I did them as I was typing that out. It’s just an instinct that I’ve somehow obtained or cultivated without realizing. Just noticing how many people are in the store through sound or not walking anywhere I know won’t be in easy view of other people.

Realizing that is almost as terrifying as living it.

I just kinda stopped for a couple of minutes. I feel the need to point that out.

This past summer, I went to a small town bar with my mother, aunt, uncles, and a few cousins, on vacation. The entire time, I felt people watching me; judging me; being disgusted with me; appalled that I had the gall to exist, to even step foot in their bar.

At one point, I got pushed, just a bit, it could’ve been unintentional drunken imbalance, but it wasn’t. At another, I got felt up; not overtly, not super intrusive, but still. That person proceeded to watch me the rest of the time we were there.

(This is what women go through every day. But, sure, men and women are totally equal. Go read this thing I wrote on feminism.)

I avoided the bathroom all night. Until I saw my big huge uncle go in there; then I went. He noticed me in the mirror and started talking to me. I went to the bathroom. That dude that had felt me up and was staring at me came in. My uncle stayed in until I was done. I know he did; I could tell.

Imagine that feeling, take it and ratchet it up even more; now apply that to every single day.

That’s what it’s like now. That’s what every day that I leave my house is like.

I leave my house and I’m terrified, sometimes even just walking outside. I don’t let it keep me from living my life; that’d be letting them win. But…

I’m constantly hyper-vigilant, scared for my safety. Luckily, I’m also incredibly perceptive and it just fades into the background until it’s necessary to notice.

(I’ve probably mentioned this, because I’m a super braggy person about it and it’s a decent-ish way to push back against the rampant idiocy, but I have an IQ of 156; I’m an actual genius.

Let me be clear: IQ is not how smart you are; it’s how easily you process information, how high your capabilities are, even how you process information.

I learn at a phenomenally fast rate and process information faster than I can usually comprehend unless I’m really focusing.

When I tell you that I’m incredibly perceptive, that I can take things apart, that I can see threads and connections where most people wouldn’t until it was obvious, know that I mean it.)

That’s what life is now. Add in the fact that there’s that niggling feeling that’s reminiscent of history lessons of WWII and more and more throwbacks to that time…

It’s terrifying to be gay in this country right now.

Apologies…

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Sorry about the lack of a post today (technically yesterday, but…the day doesn’t change for me until I go to sleep, so it’s still today until 5am even though it’s actually yesterday); my internet was shut off and I couldn’t access the site to write a post.