I have a lot of passions, some of which I advocate very strongly for. I think we all have things we care tremendously about, whether it is a way of life, or religion, politics or a particular hobby.
I hate to call myself an activist, I feel like it’s not the appropriate term for me, despite my level of political involvement. I would call myself a political writer, but I think I already explained in another post how I feel more like an “interpreter”. Mostly, I just live the life I wish to have – trying to be a positive example of the things I invest my time in. Continue reading See Me→
Wednesday night during an interview, I was asked to describe my writing style. I gave a little explanation about how I tend to speak from personal experience, I try to make the jumble of thoughts in my head accessible to other people, and to be conversational about it. I don’t ever want what I write to be difficult to read.
I started stewing over how this became my writing style, and hours later, I decided that blogging about the way I blog was not too meta for my own blog. So here’s my attempt at explaining it. Continue reading The Interpreter→
I was born and raised as a feminist by my mother, who is exactly 40 years older than I am. My mother went to college in the 1960s in New England, where she tried to open a bank account but they wouldn’t let her unless her husband or father co-signed as an account holder. She wasn’t legally allowed to have a credit card until 1974. She got married in 1975, and legally, she had no right to refuse to have sex with her husband until the late 1970s in some states (and 1993 in others).
The featured photo above this post can be found in Ashton Pittman’s beautiful photo essay here.
Today is May 31, 2014.
Five years ago today, Dr. George Tiller was assassinated. He was shot point-blank through the eye on a Sunday morning, in front of his family & his congregation. He was at his church, where he was serving as an usher. There were children and families there.
Dr. Tiller was no stranger to the violence of the most extremist anti-choicers – his clinic was firebombed in 1986, and he was shot five times in 1993. He was wearing a bulletproof jacket the day he was killed, which he’d been doing since 1998 due to threats.
He operated his clinic out of Wichita, Kansas, where he’d been performing abortions since the 1970s after hearing about a woman dying from an illegal procedure. He was known for being one of the only doctors in the US to perform abortions in the third trimester.
He performed numerous abortions to save women’s lives and often performed abortions for women who discovered their child would be born with severe or fatal birth defects. He was constantly pressured through violence and protesting to cease providing abortions, but he never caved to their demands, and someone murdered him for it.
There are now only four abortion providers who offer abortion services after 21 weeks in all of the US. They are under constant threat from violent anti-choice activists.
Today I make a donation to my nearest abortion clinic, in Dr. Tiller’s name. He will continue making a difference in the lives of women, every time he is remembered for his strength, courage and conviction.
In the US, since 1993, eight people have been killed by violent anti-choice activists. Since 1991, there have been 17 attempted murders, and since 1977 there have been more than 6,400 reported acts of violence against abortion providers, including arsons, bombings, kidnappings, assault, death threats and arson.
There are people who are legitimately pro-life.
The people committing these acts of violence certainly aren’t.
On Wednesday, my Facebook friend Antony Davis posted an excellent comparison in a status update that I had to share because I thought it was too good to ignore:
“Liberals see government as a complement to community. Libertarians see government as a substitute for community. So when liberals say “government should care for the poor,” and Libertarians say, “government should not care for the poor,” they are both saying that we should care for the poor.”
He posted a comment afterwards that I also thought was too good to get lost on a Facebook Timeline:
“This is the sort of thing we must stop doing: liberals characterizing libertarians as heartless, and libertarians characterizing liberals as brainless.
To be complete humans, our hearts and brains must work together. Without the former we are machines. Without the latter, we are mere animals.
Some Liberals are indeed brainless, just as some Libertarians are heartless. In both cases, they are minorities who should be ignored.”
This is something that I’ve noticed for a very long time (as in: my entire life) in the corridors of communication between and about liberals and libertarians: a lack of understanding of each other’s terms. To top it off, it often feels like there’s a willful desire to be misunderstood.
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So, in the interest of terminology: I’m going to start by telling you that I dislike calling liberals “liberals” for dozens of reasons (one being that I refer to myself as a Classical Liberal) but I’m going to go ahead and accept the term here as being somebody who wishes to advocate progressive policies by government with the intended consequence of making a more equal and just world in their eyes. That’s the general definition I’m using here, for clarity’s sake. Some of my libertarian friends prefer the term “statist”, which also displeases me, as it’s tremendously divisive and doesn’t foster respectful communication. So, “liberal” is the word, and the working definition is as stated above.
The word “libertarian” in this instance is going to apply to anybody who is at least aware of and somewhat guided by the non-aggression principle (the NAP).
Now that we’re defined our terms, let’s talk about how we respond to them:
An excellent example here is the knee jerk reaction of libertarians to the liberal proposal that “we should do something” is immediately equated to a proposal that the government must do something. If a liberal ever says the slightest hint of “but, how will we help the [insert oppressed group here]?” a libertarian instantly assumes that government is the proposed answer (it might be) and rails against that with such fervor that it scares the shit out of the liberal.
Last week, Senator Rand Paul was interviewed by David Axelrod, and spoke about the polarization in America over abortion. He talked about how he believes the country is “somewhere in the middle” on abortion and needs to be persuaded before abortion can be made illegal. His stance is surprisingly gentle considering his March 2013 introduction of the Life at Conception Act, which never made it to the floor of either the House or Senate.
The trouble I find with this whole “polarization” discussion is that there’s really just one group that doesn’t wish to compromise at all. They’re the ones who claim we want “abortion on demand” and try to ban emergency contraception. They’re the ones that hold up signs at clinics with pictures of dead fetuses, as if that represents what most abortions look like. They’re the ones that don’t rush to condemn domestic terrorism against abortion providers, even when that violence murders doctors.
But when you look at the public opinion polls and talk to people, reasonably, you’ll find that most people, even those opposed to abortion, aren’t actually like the people I just described above. Out of civility, I’ll refer to that whole group by the name they call themselves: pro-life.
In the interest of non-hysteria, let’s note that most pro-life individuals often support the option to abort in the instances of incest, rape or risk to life of the mother. And let’s also acknowledge that even pro-choice individuals speak out against things like “partial birth abortion“, which has been banned federally since 2003 (it was already illegal almost everywhere, but the “party of small government” apparently loves redundant laws), and nearly all pro-choice individuals defer to medical standards of viability when discussing acceptable restrictions.
But he’s dead now, and though his church and family is still around and may protest more funerals and cause more ruckus, he’s dead, and there’s one less bigot in the world. This appears to be a plus for humanity in general.
So what to do, to mark the occasion? Protests, celebrations — all of that is fair. Does he deserve the peace and quiet he refused to allow so many others at their funerals?
The world has plenty of hate. I don’t want to add to it. I want to improve something, try to make things better than Fred Phelps ever did.
Lately I’ve noticed a slew of news stories referring to a “bad batch of Molly” killing young partiers in the mostly north-eastern United States. This is a tragic story. Drug overdose is a tragedy. But the media compounds these tragedies further through their irresponsible misrepresentations of the facts.
I really wish the news media would stop using variations of the phrase “bad batch of Molly”. The drug they’re referencing is called MDMA, but this is not MDMA. It’s being represented as such, but it’s not. I’m skeptical that there are even traces of MDMA in this shit, but sure, maybe there’s some. We haven’t even gotten the toxicology reports back yet, but that doesn’t stop the news from blaming Molly because the victims allegedly thought they bought Molly and everybody’s got a fetish for speculation over facts. But MDMA is not what’s killing people here.
People are dying from shitty drugs sold by sketchy people because they have no way of knowing what they really are. Because they are illegal. And people are scared to ask for help, or ask the right questions at all, because what they’re doing is illegal.
So, Freedom Fest was held in July here in Las Vegas. I didn’t attend much of it, as I was busy, but I was around for a day – it was definitely interesting to see John Mackey and Peter Schiff and other big-shots of the quasi-Libertarian variety.
My friend Judd Weiss of Hustle Bear wrote a great article about his experiences at Freedom Fest. He also posted a number of pictures of the event, including a number of me.
I believe there’s an album on Facebook of all the photos I was tagged in, but here are a few of my favorites: