On Friday, I took off for a long weekend with a group of local friends to celebrate two 50th birthdays. We visited the wineries of the North Folk of Long Island. It was very fun and silly and worth the COVID risk, which is actually pretty low around here right now.
It was weird leaving Steve and Ian. We haven’t been parted beyond a few hours here and there since March. I haven’t totally stepped away from work and chores for months. It was a much needed brain and social skill reboot.
Just a couple of quick notes about the weekend before moving on to other topics.
It wasn’t a super political weekend, because the friends are normal people, but Trump and the election did come up for discussion a few times. It was a political diverse group, and the friends agreed that it was stupid to let politics destroy friendships.
Also, while people were going to vote differently, there was a broad agreement that there were concerned about the crime rate in New York City and felt that there needed to more pushback again BLM protesters who hold ACAB (all cops are bad) signs. With two real estate agents in the group, they had plenty of stories about selling homes to fleeing New Yorkers and all the people who were now living permanently at their second homes in the Hamptons.
Getting out of the Hamptons always has a massive suck factor. Long Island is one skinny strip of land with tons of people and only two highways. I rarely go out there for that reason and mock my friends who live out there. It can take two hours to get from my house to the Hamptons. Or it might take five hours. You never know. Sure, if you have a private helicopter, it’s fine, but mine is in the shop.
On the way out, traffic was even worse than normal because we got stuck behind a massive Trump rally. There are a lot of cops out in Long Island. Democrats have to come out stronger on policing issue, because I am increasingly worried about November. Biden’s mental health is causing serious concerns, too.
When I was out there, I got a text from a friend back at home telling me that RBG died. Oh, fuck, right? Like we need another drama this fall.
Schools are going to be an issue, too. I’m not totally unhappy right now, because Ian’s school is doing a decent job, but my friends in the city are crying on Facebook.
Alright, those were just some notes. I’ll be back with something more coherent later this afternoon or tomorrow morning.
66 thoughts on “Winery Moments”
Isn’t it “All Cops Are Bastards”?
MH wrote, “Isn’t it “All Cops Are Bastards”?”
Yep, that was my understanding.
Yes. Maybe Laura’s friends are too squeamish to say it that way. BTW, Laura’s report does confirm that suburban women (presumably all or mostly white, though she doesn’t say) are fair weather friends of the BLM movement, more concerned with warm fuzzy feelings than genuine radical social change. Not that there’s anything wrong with that: my liberal male urban friends talk a good game, but have no actual desire for genuine radical social change. (Although it’s more their public image than their inner feelings that concerns them.)
Wow. I guess it is pretty easy to not let politics destroy friendships when you aren’t gay so their political decisions aren’t directly threatening your rights.
or brown or an immigrant or someone who is seeing people who look like your children be shot in the back by police.
I do not think I could be friends with a Trump supporter. It mostly not an issue because I don’t seem to know any Trump supporters (the few acquaintances about whom I had minor worries have come out as anti-Trump, while a few others keep silent and won’t become friends). I neither want or need many friends, so that is OK with me.
I am deeply concerned about the election and am not living in fantasy world where I think everyone agrees with me. But https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/151031/freedom-5d7a48504dcd5
By Langston Hughes
Freedom will not come
Today, this year
Through compromise and fear.
I have as much right
As the other fellow has
On my two feet
And own the land.
I tire so of hearing people say,
Let things take their course.
Tomorrow is another day.
. . .
bj wrote, “I do not think I could be friends with a Trump supporter. It mostly not an issue because I don’t seem to know any Trump supporters (the few acquaintances about whom I had minor worries have come out as anti-Trump, while a few others keep silent and won’t become friends). I neither want or need many friends, so that is OK with me.”
Also, needless to say, there is a lot more to politics than being pro or anti-Trump.
No, there’s not.
bj said, “or brown or an immigrant or someone who is seeing people who look like your children be shot in the back by police.”
You realize that polling shows that a huge majority of black respondents want either more or the same amount of policing? They want better policing, not less policing.
Also, there have been a lot of black children shot to death by non-police over the past several months during a surge in shootings–in fact, far more than have been killed by police. Also, over the last several months dozens (probably hundreds) of people have been injured in sloppy shootings at events where the shooter wants to kill one particular individual, but shoots into a crowd at a BBQ or a funeral.
Those lives matter, too, and probably half of those shootings and deaths would not have happened under more normal circumstances.
Also, “bail reform” and the COVID-based reluctance to arrest and hold violent criminals have been a continuing disaster, especially when it involves unhinged people doing anti-social things. I keep hearing of different awful cases of this, but one that comes to mind was this one in Oregon:
“A man was arrested on Sunday for intentionally setting a brush fire near Interstate 205 in Portland then, just hours after he was released, he was taken into custody again for lighting six more fires, according to Portland police.”
Thank goodness the fires were put out quickly, but a functioning society needs to be able to protect itself from people committing acts that have the potential to cause great harm.
“bj said, “or brown or an immigrant or someone who is seeing people who look like your children be shot in the back by police.”
You realize that polling shows that a huge majority of black respondents want either more or the same amount of policing? They want better policing, not less policing.”
I don’t see how your comment contradicts bj’s comment.
And, we are reading this on the nearly all white Board on which I serve: https://medium.com/@letanell/the-white-supremacy-of-new-york-citys-progressives-a7f1937efae4
“Not only do black people need to prove their trauma, but they need to fight for justice in the “right way” for us to listen. When black people march peacefully, nothing changes. When their protest becomes disruptive, many people see this as disorderly, delinquent, and illegitimate. This puts them in a double bind. ” (the classic Catch 22)
The article, which is very challenging, was chosen by the white male president of the board.
I have no fantasies about your “normal” people. Tthat is, I do not comfort myself, as some progressives do, with the thought that they don’t exist or that their votes could not put us into the distress of a second term of an incompetent, vulgar, uncivil presidency that will cause long and lasting harm to the nation. But they are the friends you need to convince, not the people you don’t know and who won’t listen to you holding ACAB signs.
I have spent the weekend almost entirely off social media and was glad to see pictures of finding joy in our world. A trick about sunsets: sometimes the colors get even more dramatic after the sun sets.
Our smoke is gone (after two weeks). We are now into fog and rain, but after the baptism by smoke we are just joyful about air we can breathe.
My eldest has headed off to her dorm, where she will be quarantining for two weeks in her residence hall (and has had two covid tests already, one here, before she left and another her second day there). She is in a single that is normally a double (and occasionally a triple) and has been amusing herself in her spare time by setting up zones with the three desks and two beds.
The smoke reached the east coast this weekend. Totally upsetting
Laura said, “The smoke reached the east coast this weekend. Totally upsetting.”
We got some, too, but that’s not so crazy.
To be clear, the smoke was high up, producing beautiful sunsets, not low down where it chokes you.
bj said, ““Not only do black people need to prove their trauma, but they need to fight for justice in the “right way” for us to listen. When black people march peacefully, nothing changes. When their protest becomes disruptive, many people see this as disorderly, delinquent, and illegitimate. This puts them in a double bind. ” (the classic Catch 22)”
A lot of the extreme and violent radicalism of late involves white protesters.
Portland activism is both very violent and radical and very, very white.
Also, as suspected, the Minneapolis “Umbrella Man,” who smashed up the Auto Zone and touched off rioting, seems to be affiliated with a white supremacist group.
It has been noticeable that a lot of black advocates for reform are much more pragmatic than their more radical white “allies.” Over and over again, the families of black victims of police incidents have pleaded for peaceful protest and been ignored by the people who are ostensibly their allies.
We have also had repeated episodes where rioting breaks out, regardless of the facts of the case. (For example, a man killed himself in Minneapolis and riots broke out due to public belief that he had been shot by police and a number of recent violent protests have followed police shootings of armed assailants–see DC and Lancaster, PA.)
I question the idea that “disruptive” protest is so effective. The polled popularity of BLM has plummeted over the last several months.
Arguably, the events of the last 4 months have moved police reform significantly backward. I don’t know if anybody remembers this, but back in late May there was a real moment of virtual unanimity surrounding the need for police reform. And then 4 months of violent protests snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
I am not in Portland, and thus cannot personally attest to whether Portland is “very violent “, but Seattle, which is also being targeted by the Trump administration, is not very violent.
I don’t know what to say about the white supremacist violence except to say that the police don’t seem to be doing a very good job stopping it.
“A lot of the extreme and violent radicalism of late involves white supremacists.”
Wendy said, ““A lot of the extreme and violent radicalism of late involves white supremacists.”FTFY.”
If extreme and violent radicalism is primarily a white supremacist phenomenon, why not more enthusiasm for arresting and prosecuting rioters? After all, they’re probably cleverly disguised white supremacists!
I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen an awful lot of footage the last several months of white protesters insulting and harassing black police.
I haven’t watched the whole thing, but this is an interview with Portland’s Officer Jackson (a black police officer) talking about his experiences policing the Portland demonstrations.
He seems like a good guy, and he’s obviously emotionally and physically exhausted by dealing with what he has to deal with.
“If extreme and violent radicalism is primarily a white supremacist phenomenon, why not more enthusiasm for arresting and prosecuting rioters?”
There are 3 types of people who have been involved in protests:
3. thieves/looters who are part of organized crime organizations (watching Goodfellas again recently reminded me that Henry Hill’s main mob-based activity was basically robbing airports).
Protesters march, shout, stand in the way, and basically protest. I almost never think they are doing anything illegal, except sometimes they practice nonviolent resistance, which means they expect to be arrested (a la King and the civil rights movement). Cops need to get the fuck away from protesters and concentrate on the next two:
Rioters just want to smash things. I am not sure they are entirely mentally healthy, but breaking things isn’t my jam. Rioters are sometimes people who were not entirely healthy to begin with being pushed to a breaking point by external stressors (like, say, violent white supremacist actions by police and presidents). I have no issue with them being arrested and jailed and held accountable for their actions, though I do expect them not to be killed or beaten.
Looters – there were a bunch of them around during the June protests, especially in NYC. Drive up, smash a store, go in, grab as much as you can, then get back in the car and drive to the next store and repeat. This is organized crime and should be dealt with as such, though I grant that it’s difficult to do in the context of a protest and potential riot but all the more reason for police not to act in a rush of testosterone.
“After all, they’re probably cleverly disguised white supremacists!”
I don’t know why you find this funny. Did you even follow Gamergate and what is happening with online alt-right movement? Do you hang around men ages 15-25 and see what kinds of toxic male fantasies they are into? This is exactly what they would do. “For the lulz.”
One way you can tell what alt-right people are going to do is by what they accuse Democrats/liberals/progressives of doing. I’m kind of convinced a lot of these people are some form of the spectrum and/or sociopaths because they seem to have no ability to see things from the perspective of others. The only actions they can conceive of their “enemies” doing are the same things they would think of doing. So, remember all the accusations of school shootings/mass shootings being “false flags.” In their limited imaginations, this has to be the case because it is what they would have done. This is like every time y81 or dave accuses someone of “virtue signaling.” Since they have no ability to imagine having moral principles based on kindness and the desire to help others, they assume all such expressions to be inauthentic, because theirs would be. Trump supporters can’t imagine why Joe Biden would be a career public servant if not to steal money and be corrupt because they can’t imagine being a public servant for any other reason.
“I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen an awful lot of footage the last several months of white protesters insulting and harassing black police.”
You are falling prey to the fallacy that all Black people are non-racist. This is not true, though it is true that many Black people are strongly anti-racist if even simply out of self-preservation. But Black police are in a very difficult situation. In order to become a police officer, they have had to buy into the ideology of police power and of white supremacy. This is the purpose of going to the police academy, to make sure everyone who becomes a police officer tows this line. I am sure there are Black police officers who manage to be anti-racist within this context, and they are true superheroes.
I think that was a fairly good taxonomy of people on the street.
I would add that there’s a big problem with doing the traditional civil rights break-the-law-intentionally-get-arrested thing in the middle of violent protests and pandemic when the police are overwhelmed, when it really isn’t a good idea to lock up large numbers of people in tight quarters, given the infection risk. I’m also not a fan of people who scream at others at close range, mask or no mask, even when it’s outdoors–it wouldn’t be that hard for a low-risk asymptomatic young person to infect a higher-risk middle aged normie cop or bystander with COVID.
I know people like to hand wave about masked outdoor protesting being perfectly safe, but talking or yelling outdoors in crowded conditions, even with a mask, gets you into the yellow zone on that chart. And I presume that is even more true for close-quarters, hostile screaming.
Also, being in road blocking traffic illegally is dangerous and thoughtless and people are going to get hurt or killed. People have places to go–they have jobs, kids to get to the ER, kids to pick up from daycare, school, etc.
If people want to demonstrate, pick a date and time and get a permit. This isn’t Belarus or Hong Kong. There’s literally no good reason not to get a permit. And if it’s not possible to get a permit legally because of local government COVID concerns–then maybe it shouldn’t happen at all. We are heading into the fall flu season and NYC is starting to get COVID clusters again.
I also think that at some point, a cause becomes responsible for not policing its movement. The anti-abortion movement caught holy heck for 1980s abortion clinic bombings and a handful of clinic shootings in succeeding decades and the March for Life somehow manages to be peaceful every year. Why isn’t BLM responsible for policing its movement and being more vocal about the requirements for being in the movement? For one, it’s time to stop the harassment of bystanders.
On pragmatic grounds, letting people get away with violent protest (as we’ve seen over and over again for months) encourages others to do the same thing for causes that you may find less warmly about.
If you fear alt-right violence, then the police needs to be positioned to be able to arrest and prosecute violent protesters. The weaker and the more timid the police is, the greater the possibility there is of all kinds of random people taking justice into their own hands.
And yes, things can get a lot worse and to stay bad for a long time. We all lived through the 1990s–it’s possible for things to get much worse.
Up until recent events, violent crime had fallen to half the level that it was in the early 90s. We can go back, and the people who will suffer the most will be the poor and minorities–anybody who can’t afford some insulation from lawlessness.
Wendy said, “You are falling prey to the fallacy that all Black people are non-racist.”
I really encourage watching at least a bit of the interview with the black Portland cop.
I’ve been reading a lot of commentary about RBG’s life in the past couple of days, and all the stories about her mention with praise that her BFF on the bench was Scalia, the most conservative member of the SC. They genuinely liked each other, despite their political differences, because they believed that the other came from a good place, but was just mistaken. There’s a lot to be learned from their friendship.
Intolerance is making the Trump voters more Trumpie. They resent being viewed as evil, rather than as mistaken, in their political views. They are pissed that the people who walk around with ACAB signs are not being called out by those of us on the left. They might not buy everything that Trump sells — certainly nobody around here cares about a wall — but they feel that there is no place for moderates in the Democratic Party.
The people in my group included people of color, parents of kids with disabilities, and parents of gay kids. Even Trump voters in this area are liberal on social and culture issues. Their big issues are things like taxes, law and order, and just not feeling comfortable with the liberal wing of the Democratic Party.
On our local town Facebook page, the most outspoken conservatives who are trying to drastically downsize the schools and town budget are Korean and Indian. They are closely affiliated with a local blog that openly supports Trump. Those individuals are currently calling anyone who disagrees with them racists. People are getting tired of this.
“They are pissed that the people who walk around with ACAB signs are not being called out by those of us on the left.”
Some of us on the left know cops.
I’m never going to apologize for generalizing about police. I have had direct experience with their racism and their self-righteous delusions about police power, I know where it comes from, and I know why it won’t go away.
Crime has increased during the pandemic and lockdown not because of BLM or protests but because people are scared and feel like they are being abandoned by institutions that used to at the very least make a pretense of trying to protect them. I have white privilege and relative (very relative) wealth to protect me. People who don’t have that are acting in all the ways scared, trapped and abandoned people act.
We are finding out how many people we know are sociopaths who have no ability to empathize and care about others. I once had a student in my class who was a sociopath, and I have never been more scared as a teacher, and I’ve actually received a death threat from a (different) student. I only have 20-30 more years of life, and I am not sure I will ever be able to trust in the social order during the rest of my life. I hope my children will.
One of my sisters just posted on our group chat that “I cannot believe how my generation is a bunch of racist assholes. Ugh. I get so stressed about politics. Last night I woke up screaming. And I’m totally not joking. Not a joke, screaming.” I want to tell her, “Um, that is why when you were a teenager, I was way more alarmed than you were that your male friends from Hicksville* talked about being in neo-Nazi groups. You thought it was a joke. It wasn’t.” But you know, I was 10 years older than her and therefore I was overreacting.
*A real town, fwiw.
More pushback on ACAB signs? How much do your Trump friends push back against the incredible racism and sexism on their side? Not so much I guess since being insanely racist isn’t a deal breaker for them. No room for moderates in the Democratic Party? We just chose Joe Biden over Bernie! These people are showing you who they are—it’s ok to forcibly sterilize women, it’s ok to have police seek retributive violence, it’s fine to say people have “good genes”—these people are just fine with fascism as long as it lines their pockets and doesn’t hurt their feelings. “Good Germans”—I bet they were nice to have drinks with, too.
lauracstruve said, “More pushback on ACAB signs? How much do your Trump friends push back against the incredible racism and sexism on their side? Not so much I guess since being insanely racist isn’t a deal breaker for them. No room for moderates in the Democratic Party? We just chose Joe Biden over Bernie! These people are showing you who they are—it’s ok to forcibly sterilize women, it’s ok to have police seek retributive violence, it’s fine to say people have “good genes”—these people are just fine with fascism as long as it lines their pockets and doesn’t hurt their feelings. “Good Germans”—I bet they were nice to have drinks with, too.”
OK, let me do the flip side of this for you:
It’s OK to smash up stores (often minority-owned stores), loot, commit arson, beat and murder store owners, it’s OK to extort business people in the name of BLM, it’s OK to shoot a black 8-year-old girl dead in Atlanta because her mom made the mistake of driving near the Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks was killed, it’s OK to try to lock police in a building and then try to set it on fire, it’s OK to try to blind police with lasers and throw fireworks or frozen water bottles at them, it’s OK to set up CHOP/CHAZ in Seattle, arm randos, and then have them shoot two black kids (one fatally), it’s OK to scream at people who are just eating ice cream outside or trying to eat dinner outside, overturn their tables, drink their beer, bully them into doing that one-arm (!) gesture, illegally block traffic, jump on moving cars, march through residential neighborhoods at night making loud noises and shining strobe lights, habitually do protests at the private homes of police and politicians, drive the mayor of Portland from his home, and it’s OK to steal phones or break phones of people who are trying to film these events in public and/or to harass and assault them.
You don’t have to be racist to have a lot of reservations about all of these activities.
AmyP, Joe Biden condemns basically everything on your list. Lauracstruve’s list is actively stuff said, done or endorsed by Trump. If you want to flip it around, why don’t you list some things said done or endorsed by Joe Biden?
I think it’s important to distinguish between people who support Republicans, because of issues like taxes, and those who show up to rallies in Charlottesville.
I’ll not apologize for having a handful of friends and family who will vote for Trump. They are mistaken in their political views, but they are not racist or sexist. They just see the world entirely differently from the way we do.
“…And wouldn’t you know, because of both, I’ve gotten comments and emails and tweets from people upset that I pointed out that voting for a public racist with clear racist policies means that one is abetting racism. I assume that they know for sure that they’re not racist, and wouldn’t be racist, so being accused of racism stings. They didn’t vote for racism! They voted to make America great again!
“Well, so, okay. Let me give you an analogy here.
“Let’s say you want HBO. So you go to your local cable provider to get HBO and the only way they’ll let you get HBO is to sign up for a premium channel package, which includes HBO but also includes Cinemax. Now, maybe you don’t want Cinemax, and you don’t care about Cinemax, and maybe never personally plan to ever watch Cinemax, but the deal is: If you want HBO, you have to sign on to Cinemax too. You have to be a Cinemax subscriber to get HBO. And you go ahead and sign up for the premium channel package.
“Pop quiz: In this scenario, did you just subscribe to Cinemax?”
The whole thing, from November 2016, is worth reading.
So, by analogy, if you attend a demonstration to support a movement whose demonstrations frequently devolve into violence and looting, you support violence and looting? One comes with the other, so you are apparently not allowed to disavow the part you don’t like.
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“if you attend a demonstration to support a movement whose demonstrations frequently devolve into violence and looting, you support violence and looting?”
I can only speak for myself, but I have attended non-violent BLM marches and would again, because the organizers and the stated goals of the marches are anti-violent, and anti-looting. In the same way, I would hold Donald Trump responsible for his stated policies and goals and actions in office as the leader of his country, as opposed to not voting for him because, say, his campaign manager was corrupt. There is a significant difference for me there.
“I’ll not apologize for having a handful of friends and family who will vote for Trump. They are mistaken in their political views, but they are not racist or sexist. They just see the world entirely differently from the way we do.”
Yeah, they see it in a racist way.
Loving someone means accepting them for who they are.
But, that said, my real belief is that, despite Avenue Q’s attempt to make it seem silly, everyone’s a little bit racist. We can’t *not* be racist. We live in a profoundly and brokenly racist society.
People don’t get to be pure non-racist people in this society. There ain’t no such thing. The only think you can do is to try to be as anti-racist as possible.
Trump voters are not being as anti-racist as they could be. If they’re voting for Trump, they’re really not even trying to be anti-racist.
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y81 said, “So, by analogy, if you attend a demonstration to support a movement whose demonstrations frequently devolve into violence and looting, you support violence and looting? One comes with the other, so you are apparently not allowed to disavow the part you don’t like.”
Yeah. This argument works in both directions.
MichaelB said, “AmyP, Joe Biden condemns basically everything on your list. Lauracstruve’s list is actively stuff said, done or endorsed by Trump. If you want to flip it around, why don’t you list some things said done or endorsed by Joe Biden?”
It was crickets during the Democratic convention with regard to all of that stuff, by which time a lot of it had been going on for months. Also, has Joe Biden spoken out with any kind of specificity since then? Bland talk condemning “violence” without any kind of details is not very helpful in this context. And what kind of measures has Joe Biden proposed? He’s been very much a non-player in this environment. And I’m not saying that out of pure partisanship. There are people (like the Democratic mayor of Atlanta) who have spoken out and acted much more swiftly and effectively.
Biden doesn’t hold any elective office right now, but one constructive thing Biden could do would be something that I’ve seen Van Jones suggest–namely, no more night-time rallies or marches. In practice, daytime marches are often quite peaceful, whereas the most violent, dangerous behavior is happening during night-time activities–perhaps because the normies go home when it gets dark, and the people who stick around after dark are not normal, law-abiding citizens.
He could also talk to BLM about cleaning up their tactics and drawing a brighter line between approved BLM marches and non-authorized events.
He is literally the Democratic candidate. How about a little leadership?
“Biden could do would be something that I’ve seen Van Jones suggest”
Ugh. I suspect Van Jones is a grifter. I used to think positively about him, but the grittiness keeps coming through in his words and actions (being a hanger-on of Prince, for example).
Wendy said, “Ugh. I suspect Van Jones is a grifter. I used to think positively about him, but the grittiness keeps coming through in his words and actions (being a hanger-on of Prince, for example).”
Is he wrong about night-time protests, though?
Why do protests need to happen at night?
Oh, yeah, and Biden could speak specifically himself about protest tactics, and the need to give bystanders a respectful amount of distance, not scream in bystanders’ faces, not try to compel participation in your protest, stay out of residential neighborhoods (especially at night), respect people’s legal right to photograph and film in public, and not stand in the road without a permit.
Well, sure. I can quite comfortably behind wanting Biden to condemn these things more often and more specifically. But that just illustrates how big the difference between Biden and Trump is. The objection to Trump is things he does, things he orders, and things within how power to control. The objection to Biden is a grab bag of bad things that he has no control over, done by people he has no power over, and the complaint is that he doesn’t condemn them with the enough enthusiasm or specificity. Fair enough, and I even largely agree with that. But there’s no equivalence between them.
It’s not just racism and chaos and law breaking. Trump has repeatedly threatened me (“liberals” in Democrat-run cities). His supporters are often more explicit about the threats. It’s happened too often for me to not to take obvious defensive steps such as making sure they know as little about my life as possible. I don’t think there’s anybody I’m in touch with since 2016 who would shoot me (at least for political reasons), but I know many of them have friends who might. There were people I avoided for being too racist or militia-y even in 1990.
So, one of the women in this group was a Trump supporter. Honestly, I just met her this weekend. She was a friend of a friend. She said that posted a pro-Trump message on FB, because she was upset at some antics at a local BLM march in town. She said that not only was she attacked on social media, but people found her daughter’s instagram site and posted rude stuff there.
I’ve never been on Instagram in my life, but I have an acquaintance who called for protesters to be shot even if nonviolent, and this was after the shooting in Wisconsin. And this wasn’t a random, anonymous person either.
On her own Facebook or on a group? People who post stuff on groups have to be careful because there are a lot of bored assholes out there. In my town, it’s the Trump supporters who go BSC on people, not BLM supporters, though I don’t think it’s a function of ideology but of general trollfulness.
(Sigh, I am teaching my course on new media again this semester, and new media controversy is big on my radar right now.)
Jonah is taking a class on the Politics of Media right now and name-dropped me in his last written assignment for the class. The assignment was about education journalism. Ha.
I used to teach Politics of Media and brought him along to class a couple times, when I couldn’t find childcare. Seems like a life-time ago.
We were talking about data capitalism today, and I kept wanting to bring it around to news and politics, but I held back. They need to work on truly understanding the concepts, which is that we are the product, not the media we consume.
Laura said, “Jonah is taking a class on the Politics of Media right now and name-dropped me in his last written assignment for the class. The assignment was about education journalism. Ha.”
That is funny! Not a stretch, either!
Carmen Best, the black police chief of Seattle (which is very, very white and Asian as US cities go) quit in August in the face of city budget cuts, force reduction of 100 officers, lack of support from the city, as well as having her neighborhood swarmed by protesters.
Something that hasn’t been discussed a lot is that police forces in US cities have a lot of new minority hires and the police officers who are going to lose their jobs in the face of “defund the police” will be disproportionately minorities.
Before the current unpleasantness, Seattle had just had a record year in 2019, with 39% of new police hires being minorities.
It’s been a very weird situation, with months of protests and riots in an environment where (at least initially) there was a consensus about the need for police reform. There has been minimal effort to get some sort of legislation going or to understand the issues in any kind of real detail. See, for example, the fact that Rand Paul (who introduced a bill against no-knock warrants in June) got harassed by demonstrators two months later while attempting to leave the RNC. The protesters were, ironically, trying to get him to say the name of Breonna Taylor–the woman who inspired his bill.
I have to conclude that the months of protests and the violence really haven’t been about police reform at all. If people actually cared about police reform, they would act differently.
I can only speak to here, but as a white woman with light-haired blue-eyed kids, I definitely lived in a bubble…until I was part of a long-term moms group with many brown-skinned mums and also started working at my local martial arts studio. What I didn’t understand (although I encountered it first in working with a writer in 2009 who penned a great essay about it) is that while I was teaching my kids to spot the police cars on the road, play Paw Patrol, and telling them “if you’re in trouble, go to the police,” other moms were teaching their kids, particularly their sons, how to behave so that they don’t get shot.
Here are things I have personally encountered, in a police force that had a black Chief and in a very diverse city:
– this writer mom had a 14 year old who was late for curfew at 10:45 pm so he ran from his friend’s house towards his own, wearing a hoodie. He was cuffed and questioned.
– I was at a street festival with a mixed-race family where some of the kids are lighter-skinned than their mom. She was praised by a police officer for being a great nanny. (!) Ok, it’s not a bad use of force but it shows a certain kind of thinking.
– I work with older teens/early adults quite a bit, it’s like being in charge of a whack of lifeguards. They all get their licenses, drive their parents’ cars. The white kids have, like me, never been pulled over unless there was an issue. The black kids get pulled over at least once a month. Same area, same parents’ cars, same university-bound clean-cut kids who work teaching martial arts, like – they are pretty clean-cut. One of my former staff is tall, black, an amazing instructor…and is on the autism spectrum. I worry so much for him and I know his mom does too.
These are things my privilege shielded me from for a long time. And now I see it. The black boys in my kids’ classes and after school program get called violent way earlier than the white kids…and if they lash out the consequences are larger. (I have read studies that support this.) It’s rotten all the way down.
I would not personally carry a ACAB sign and I have mixed feelings…but I do believe the way that we have continued to fund police for huge weapons systems, the way we train them, the job we give them to do in the system that we have permitted, has created a very bad environment. I support defunding the police in that I think we need to stop increasing police budgets while we suck housing and mental health supports dry, and really think about what we need and how to do that. Other organizations have had to change, and the police have been slower, in part because the narrative has been bad (i.e. that they need to militarize). And that’s in Canada. In the US they have tanks!
To get back to the point, I don’t think at this point a Trump supporter can avoid the fact that they have aligned themselves with a President who is openly racist, who has sent federal troops into cities to grab people and throw them in vans for political ends, interfered with the post office, encourages his followers to physically attack journalists, and who stands in front of his nation and states he won’t help *Democrats* survive a pandemic disease. It is disgusting and that there are a significant number of Americans who will support someone who openly leaves his citizenry to die because they’re not on his political team is shocking. It’s actually more shocking that people are not stunned. When it’s not shocking down there, that’s when I realize what a gulf there is in understanding the nation of my birth. And I guess I see it now…school shootings, poverty, allowing people to die for lack of health care, acceptance…we have similar issues like residential schools, but I think there’s a final line that hasn’t – yet – been crossed here.
So yes, I think that Trump supporters are making a moral and ethical choice that I do not support.
Jenn said, ” I support defunding the police in that I think we need to stop increasing police budgets while we suck housing and mental health supports dry, and really think about what we need and how to do that.”
I can’t find the stat right now and I don’t know how it is in Canada, but it isn’t actually true that police spending in the US has been soaring and soaring compared to other local spending. Again, I can’t find it, but police spending has been pretty flat compared to other local government sectors.
Laura – I know cops and the cops I know are creeps. Fun Irish creeps? Yes. Sexist and racist? Also yes. I live in the city and have never had a situation where I have thought “thank God the cops are here”.
Cop are not EMTs or fireman or who I see doing their jobs in dicey situations with no guns, no attitude. Why are we, the public, supporting cops and arming them as if we they are an occupying force and we are the *enemy*?
The Cinemax/HBO analogy is a good one. Sure, your friends want to pay low taxes. But they are also okay with leadership which supports white supremacy. These are people in this country who are actively working to go back to a day when it was okay to regard black people as subhuman. Should that day come, I am sure your friends would come out okay and you all could have another wine day. but yeesh, talk about the banality of evil.
I don’t want to get into the loser position of explaining the rationale of Trump voters, because there is no scenario that would cause me to vote for the guy in November, and I really don’t know what makes Trump voters tick. I do have a handful of friends and family that will vote for Trump in November. I will not get in their faces for their political decisions, because they are actually nice people, who have been very good to me and my family and are very supportive of their gay, black, female, disabled people in their lives.
Why do such people want to vote for Trump? IDK. I should probably watch more FOX TV, so I could have answers to that question.
This is not the current thread, but I wanted to share an online school story.
My sister lives in a nice suburb of Seattle and has a kindergartner. They started the school year with about 4 or 5 30-minute Zoom appointments per day and then suddenly it was 7 Zoom appointments a day, plus seat work in between.
Sis was not happy. She talked to the teacher. The teacher said, parents were asking for more work!
What is wrong with people?
Can I just say that being a pleasant person is not the same as being a good person. And family is different – you have no choice.
But really, Facebook and Insta are just awful platforms which promote hate as a means of engagement. You are the product. You can leave. I did and it is amazing.
That’s not a bad idea. I just took it off my phone. I had been keeping it there because that’s how I see pictures of my nephew and nieces. But I can open in a browser if I want to do that. There’s no reason to let it ping me.
Most writers I know have to maintain a presence on some social media platform (although it can, if they are corporate writers, be LinkedIn) because a lot of editors do a social media screen before green lighting a query or an assignment. Sometimes it’s for platform, sometimes it’s to see if they really do immerse in conversation about a topic, sometimes it’s just to see if they have posted something terrible that will embarrass the publication when it inevitably comes out in the comments or on Twitter. There are of course exceptions, but for cold-pitching that’s sort of the way the cookie crumbles. It sucks and a lot of writers who appear super happy to be Very Online are gritting their teeth about it behind the scenes, if my professional cohort is any indication.
Seeking out someone’s family on social media is abhorrent.
Are Trump voters evil? Or are they merely mistaken? If they are are evil, then there’s no hope of dialogue or compromise, right? If they are evil, should they be imprisoned? Should they be allowed to hold jobs as teachers or hold political office? Should they be allowed to vote? It sounds like many of you think that I should publicly renounce friendships or even acquaintances with people who vote for Republicans. Just curious what else I need to do.
People are going to do what they want, but there’s a very open planning on Trump’s part to declare victory without counting or before counting mail-in ballots in several states, including mine. That will certainly result in larger amounts of civil unrest than the United States has seen since any of us have been alive.
Oh yeah. Totally agree. I think we’re looking at a shitshow this November. I am very worried.
My point is, if the shitshow starts, I’m not worried about the BLM kids or the anarchists. I’m worried about the cops, and more worried than I would have been a year ago.
I think supporting white supremacy is an evil act. I do not think people are intrinsically evil or irredeemable but people are judged by their actions.
If someone does things like: asking 4th graders to write ‘3 good things about slavery’ while employed as a public school teacher or responding to a US congressman’s request for better PPE distribution by tweeting ‘another f—– liberal jerk’ from the city’s official police account or who writes about how ‘Fauci is a fraud’ while employed as a spokesperson for NIH, maybe the public have some say in telling you to get a different gig. I feel zero sorrow for these folks.
As far as your friends , it’s up to you. But you are being affected by their words and worldview and not in a good way. As the saying goes ‘Lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas’.
Huh, I’m realizing that I have unfortunate experience in this area in that some of my extended family members were involved in the actual running of residential schools and in committing child sexual abuse which I think most of us would agree is pretty high on the Evil scale.
The first thing to understand is that your leap — should they be allowed to hold office, be teachers, etc — isn’t a question in personal relationships. You don’t have to answer it. If people have not committed a crime as defined by the law and as prosecuted by the law, then I don’t, as a person, have to worry about their right to employment or their right to hold office or whatever, because whatever the standards are for their employer/board or with voters is what will determine that.
The idea that there are Good People Who Deserve Things and Evil People Who Don’t sometimes reads a bit simplistic (and frankly, American) to me. I think even child molesters should get health care and welfare, because those are basic rights in my country. I will uphold that.
So dispensing with the idea that I have to arbitrate the entire world in my thinking helps me. Because then it’s just a question of which relationships I want to have, and who I want to uplift in my society. Just like I don’t hate all lazy people, I still don’t hire them to work in a busy environment; it’s not for them. My friendship or Christmas cards are just that, they are a personal connection and a commitment of my time and energy. Not everyone gets that.
My own line…I’m willing to be friends with someone who has moments of racism, because I do too. But if I have a friend who votes for say, The People’s Party of Canada, which has an explicitly racist platform, then for me…no, that’s not a relationship I want to nurture. If I’m at a party with them (in the Before Times), I’ll be polite unless they make a racist statement in which case I will probably say something, because I’m me.
Family can be more complicated. I would be happy to keep close to family — and have — who committed even out and out crimes (like physical punishment of kids in residential schools.) But for me to be okay with them, they have to both recognize the evil they participated in, and they have to not vote for genocidal policies now.
But if they aren’t willing to go that far, then no, I can’t. I just can’t. They have great lives without me!
Am I required to hold myself ready to “discuss” with them or help them see the light or be their redemption song? No. If they want the information, it is out there. So out there.
For my family who voted for Trump – last time, I gave them a sort-of pass because of the speed and craziness with which things went down. But as I posted earlier, this is an essentially genocidal President. He has deliberately withheld livesaving aid in the middle of a global pandemic for political ends and because people who didn’t vote for him are not, in his view, good people. Etc. etc. etc. These are not matters of opinion; he has openly stated much and his actions are really consistent. A vote for him is a vote for his leadership. It’s not like sitting with someone on a bus.
So just as I would consider it immoral to withhold, say, food stamps from anyone regardless of their voting habits, sure, if my family is about to starve or needs shelter or a place for their child to stay over a weekend because it’s so bad between them and the stepparent, I am there for that. But that’s it. I am not inviting them to outdoor Thanksgiving. I don’t want them influencing my children, and I don’t consider their niceness to me and their church tithe and their sandwiches for the ‘right’ poor people to balance out their world view. And I can do that because I am definitely not the judge of their immortal soul. I’m just the judge of who I seat at my table.
“Are Trump voters evil? Or are they merely mistaken? ”
That is a delightful mix of a straw man argument and an either/or fallacy.
I don’t have any reason to think of evil as a legitimate concept when applied to people’s personalities/brains. I believe acts can be evil, not inherently so, but in their contexts, yes.
I was telling my husband about this during our walk and he mentioned Isabel Wilkerson’s new book Caste, which I haven’t read. She apparently (on Fresh Air or wherever her heard her speaking) says that thinking about racism in terms of a caste system helps us fight racism without having to call people racist (and yes, that is pretty much a 3rd hand version of what she sid, so feel free to correct me and my husband). So, in other words, we should be thinking about how we were born into a racist system and how we do things to keep it going because it’s convenient to us and, in some cases, we have built our identities around it (yes, I’m looking at you, cops).
Also, at the same time that Trump supporters are clutching their pearls over being called racists, they’re going around calling people “Demon-crats.” My sister has to put up hearing that shit from the people she works with (she refuses to talk about politics at work, so her co-workers don’t know she woke up screaming after a nightmare about Trump continuing to be president after this election). They are literally demonizing people like you and me. Sometimes on Facebook I ask the Trump supporters I know, So, are you prepared to kill me because I’m a Democrat? Because the way it’s going, you’re going to be expected to soon enough.
They never answer. I’d be worried if I wasn’t already scared shitless.
“So, in other words, we should be thinking about how we were born into a racist system and how we do things to keep it going because it’s convenient to us and, in some cases, we have built our identities around it”
Never finished that thought because I had a rage blackout over cops, but … given that we’re born into a racist system and keep perpetuating it, accusing people of being racist is pretty much useless, IMO.
If supporting white supremacy is evil, and I am fine with saying it is, maybe you at the very least, have an obligation to talk to the people in your circle of family and friends about why voting for this is a bad idea. Why don’t you explain to them the way you are thinking? If you care about these people so much that you don’t want to renounce them, why don’t you care enough about them to have an honest conversation with them?
“If supporting white supremacy is evil, and I am fine with saying it is, maybe you at the very least, have an obligation to talk to the people in your circle of family and friends about why voting for this is a bad idea. Why don’t you explain to them the way you are thinking? If you care about these people so much that you don’t want to renounce them, why don’t you care enough about them to have an honest conversation with them?”
Laura literally has a blog and a twitter.
If people want to know her political views, it’s all there.
I’m not caught up with the thread, but I didn’t see this in Laura’s twitter:
The indispensable Carl T. Bergstrom notes that while everybody was bashing University of Illinois for their on-campus reopening plans, they’re turning it around. University of Illinois is apparently testing 10,000 students a day and have sub 0.5% positivity now.
Here’s the old xkcd cartoon making fun of them:
I have gone back and forth this morning about whether or not I should respond to some of the comments here. On the one hand, life is short. Who needs the grief? On the other, when people go after an IRL friend, it makes me want to bring out my baseball bat and start smashing things. Particularly, when that friend showed up to my house with ice cream and wine, after Ian got so deathly sick this spring. Did a teacher email me to ask how he was? Did any organized group show up to support us? No. Just this Trump voter. So, fuck it. She’s untouchable.
Now, how do I behave IRL about politics? Are you serious? I write political essays two or three times a week with my entire name — no hiding behind an initial for me, unlike the rest of you. I also speak up every time at bi-monthly school board meetings to make sure that they take care of poor, special ed and minority kids, not just the gifted and talented and AP kids. I attend political marches and political fundraisers. My kid interns for the Democratic congressperson. I regularly pen op-eds and articles that put vulnerable kids in the headlines. I’m on twitter almost constantly, again using my whole name, tweeting about these issues. Eyeroll. What do y’all do?
I also talk about politics with my friends, even those who vote for Trump. I’ll always be a political science professor, even if I don’t do it professionally anymore. It’s who I am. So, my friends all know my political preferences. When I talk with those who disagree with me, I am not concerned with converting them, because that won’t happen. I am mostly interested in why they think the things they do. I have these conversations, so I get smarter, not to shame them. I am confident enough in my beliefs that I think that by hearing and responding to opposing views, my arguments get stronger.
If you really believe that all Trump supporters are evil (said by someone upthread), racist, sexist, white supremisists, then you haven’t talked with them. There are 60 million of them out there. Go find one and talk with him/her. You might be surprised. You might not. Whatever. Conversations are good things.
And political conversations have their time and place. A birthday party is not really the place for a political conversation.
When I write articles and blog posts, I never know where the comments are going to go. I’m totally open to talking about how we deal with Trump voters in another blog post, maybe in a week or two, but when the conversation become an inquiry into my friendships and a condemnation of people who I adore, that’s crossing a line.
OK. I feel better. Now, I’m going to exert blogger’s privilege – something that I haven’t done in like 10 years – and close comments on this blog post.
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