Entries tagged "politics"

Why Did President Obama Post About DACA On Facebook?

While I’m glad President Obama addressed DACA, I am very concerned that he posted his response on Facebook. Facebook is a privately owned platform. The company chooses who sees the post in their feeds without explaining to anyone why or how it makes that decision. It is also a platform responsible (though we yet don’t exactly know how responsible) for targeted voter suppression campaigns run on the last election. President Obama has a web site. Why did he not first post his statement there? He could have easily had that post cross-posted to various other platforms like medium, twitter and yes, Facebook, if his concern was reaching the most people.

Privatizing our public space, not to mention handing over data about our political positions and stances to a private company, are incredibly relevant to DACA and immigrants safety. President Obama asked for Dreamers data while President. This data can now be used to target them by the current administration. Now he’s helping Facebook get data by posting his support of DACA only on Facebook.

Happy Pride: If you’re using that Facebook LGBT flag emoticon, a small request.

LGBT Pride flag photo credit: Ted Eytan cc
Happy Pride! I’ve got a few words for everyone who is excited about Facebook putting out a new rainbow flag icon during LGBT Pride month this June. Facebook sponsored the RNC after many many anti-queer stances by the GOP. A major Facebook shareholder has been a core part of Il Dupe’s campaign. Facebook sent its COO to help give Il Dupe a photo of business support when his new election was in doubt. Facebook also took a long time to address the real names policy which posed a true threat to many queer folks. Thanks to Roma Roma and more who advocated on this issue. Enjoy Pride but know that real LGBTIQQ2S leadership comes from lives lived, real risk and real backbone. Here’s to the drag queens and the civil rights activists and to every queer who came before me. Thank you. Here’s to every kid and every grown up coming out to themselves. Welcome! I care. Here’s to every small town queer, every swishy boy in the south, every person getting policed by someone else’s discomfort around gender.
 
If you’re not queer and you really want to be supportive, rather than focusing your energy on displaying something about you…ask queer folks you know about their lives, about the parts you don’t get to see, that people don’t always post about. Be an interested person and a willing listener to folks who have often been through a great deal. Among many other stories, there are people who have been through a plague and were never really heard by the straight part of the country. Signal boost their feeds this month. Realize that queer people you know are always reading your posts, all year long. Take some time and learn about the gay pogroms happening in Chechnya and the serious obstacles still here in the US for many queer folks legal and otherwise.
 
Queer folks often have to deal with their biggest challenges in the families they grow up in. This can mean anything from difficulty to outright abuse and losing a home and these things can begin as early as 3.
 
Now that Pride is a more popular and commercially acceptable thing to decorate for, I ask you to consider using Facebook for something that truly can matter and make a difference. And that will come from you, your witnessing, your time attention and caring, not from any symbol. Showing one queer person you care and are interested in really hearing what something was like to live through and deal with can make a meaningful difference. Queer lives are often code switched.
 
So this is my Pride wish: that every person on Facebook who isn’t queer and wants to use that flag emoticon thing also is willing to spend the time online to ask, listen to and acknowledge one queer person once this month.
 
Thanks for your time.

After Trump I Went to the Castro

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Youth Protesting in the Castro

I went to the Castro the night after Trump was elected to be with my people. I went there to fight Prop 8 and when marriage equality passed. It’s where queers marched the night Harvey Milk was killed by an elected white guy full of resentment and looking for someone he was allowed to blame. It’s where we lost a generation and where they were loved and mourned and fought for. It is the gay Jerusalem. After Harvey was killed, more people came out. When HIV/AIDS hit and decimated a generation and the President refused to even acknowledge this was happening, many well-to-do white, gay men came out and were outed, queer men and women united to work together and care for and bury our own. ACT UP was created. We organized. People learned about medicine and drugs. When Prop 8 passed in California, more straight folks joined us than ever before. Each time something unimagineably horrible has happened, something unimagineably powerful has been born in response. there has been no one leader. The change has come within each person and from what they have done.

I want to time travel to 1988 and tell everyone “We have the meds!!! You did it!! You cheated death! We have marriage, we’re not criminalized!! We have some trans* rights! Keep going! Come out.”

Some part of future me is here to tell you the same.

Losing Faith in the Media and Other People

November 11, 2016

I wrote this to someone sad and possibly in disbelief about the NY Times giving Trump the validation and narcissistic attention he has longed for without saying what he has done to get where he is, without making a moral and factual stand and calling things like racism and sexual assault and authoritarianism what they are.

This applies to much more than this one paper, or Jimmy Fallon mussing Trump’s hair like a playful fraternity brother. It applies to a lot of things and people that may begin to feel different that what you had believed. I urge you to consider that if something or someone seems different to you than you had imagined, that that is not just about someone else or something else changing. It is, most importantly, about you changing. When you do think, and not just feel about it (critical!) you will find that your own present conclusion means you now believe you were misguided before or did not see as whole a picture before. Consider why you didn’t and what that way of seeing and believing meant to you. These are suggestions I am offering from my own experiences of loss. Everything Is Subject to Change. #EISTC:

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It is painful to see the places and people one believed were safe and enduring “homes” appear to not be what we’d believed : an external consistent safe and reliable place. The “parent” element we look for and project into so much and so many. It is believe it or not, good that you feel the disappointment. It is healthy. It is so hard. I am sorry for the feeling and it is good to be in community to help as we have these feelings. But it is not feeling** that allows illusions and projections to rule us, to give our unwitting obedience to something other than our own connection to our inner guidance. It is a lonely, abandoning feeling path but it is one many millions are now on. You are not alone. You are becoming more yourself. With all of us.

Compassion and White Liberal 12 Step

Compassion and empathy are important things to have. But who needs it most right now from you? Where will it do some good immediately? Do you have compassion more for the people scared out of their minds about real impending persecution? Are you able to care first for yourself and see and handle your fear? Are you able to see first what are real risks and harms in the world today right where you are? Do you believe intellectually understanding something will make your feelings of fear or disorientation go away? Do you have a fantasy about placating someone who isn’t interested in what you’re saying? White liberals need to stop going to the hardware store looking for bread. Build bakeries.

What Trump Means

There’s been plenty of racism and homophobia and sexism as a basis for the Republican party for some time.

Most of the GOP candidates this year met with and supported a pastor who believed gays should be killed. Reagan’s history on HIV/AIDS was deplorable and the party then happily talked about tatttooing queer folks and putting them in concentration camps. There have been all  manner of dog whistle and direct racist campaigns: “welfare queens driving Cadillacs;” Ws phone campaign against McCain in South Carolina about his Black child, Will Horton ads run against Dukakis,Pat Buchanan’s racist/anti-immigrant platform, Ron Pauls writing in white supremacist publications, Ws entire get out the vote strategy based on a morality tale and anti-gay propositions across the country (including one that amended the California Constitution so I and others couldn’t be married or equal).

This is not a few people poking their nose out. It’s an ongoing strategy because these are ongoing “permitted” ways that people defuse and redirect their rage at those with less power. It’s the oldest divide and conquer plan in the book only in the United States its internal. It builds on histories of oppression so it’s been safe and easy. The GOP and a media system it’s built makes money from stoking rage and has run against the illusory “establishment” and the concept of government for a long time, while being the actual government now for decades. When all the magic they promised by being the “not government” wasn’t delivered to their constituents while stoking bias and oppression as a convenient political glue and walking closer and closer to the fire.

When you follow the path of  national GOP candidates (Reagan->Quayle->George W Bush->Palin): Trump was inevitable. Without a massive consciousness shift more will follow. The establishment lost control. News as an entertainment was built on stoking this. Undermining civility was a disruptive financial and power opportunity. The market force and shift of Internet media increased the reactivity .

Only a real change in culture and consciousness/ emotional maturity that makes a difference over time and it takes huge amounts of work. #BlackLivesMatter is doing it. It’s how we got marriage equality which is still facing backlash opposition laws in 34 states. Trump is way ahead in every Super Tuesday poll. Nate Silver is calling it for him.

The narcissism machine will keep reproducing itself only interrupted by generosity and kindness which you can’t arbitrage or game. The tragedy is when we repeat it by repeating the narcissism. Blaming the “permitted other” is learned to avoid the pain of what goes on in the family. The sad and tragic thing is what enables everything with the media and the politics of bias.

It’s why people are looking for Daddy in these campaigns and often have. It has always sold. It’s a promise that isn’t delivered and it’s weirdly anti-Democratic. As long as people’s emotional goal is someone to take care of them it’s going to be this co-dependent political thing.

"The big breakthrough will come…when we are able to handle the truth about people." Van Jones

“The big breakthrough will come…when we are able to handle the truth about people.”

-Van Jones, Shirley Sherrod and me, NYTimes op-ed
Van’s entire piece is worth reading about what it feels like to be caught in Washington DC doing politics in real-time right now via the web.
I’ve been exploring the process what it means to be “Private” (aka yourself) in Public for some time now. It’s what solo performer, comedians, performance artists and many performers do. When it’s chosen an you provide the context it can be very powerful. Of course the latest political episode is particular poignant because Shirley Sherrod spoke in public on behaviour of her government employer but apparently of her own choosing and gave plenty of context which made her story about race and class understanding really powerful. And it’s that context which was taken away by Breitbart’s selective editing and the ensuing political playout of anxious reactions.
And I still believe that it is this act that makes the world safe for you as I said during my 20009 SXSW panel Everything I Need to Know About the Web I Learned From Feminism. But the always brilliant and challenging danah boyd noted that it’s a privilege to be yourself in public. And of course people behave differently in different publics.
The “public” of the media and the blogosphere and political DC are all different. Of course our political “public” is theoretically supposed to be the place in which we solve common problems but this kind of judgemental-ness and harsh manipulation which serves political and media business ends isn’t always in the interests of our common good.
This rend is an old media and political one. It’s not new. The fact that the real-time web is speeding it up is a little bit new. What will be new and is necessary is what Van Jones mentions: not the truth about how people are or what they’ve said but when we can handle it.
An individual matures when they can handle difference. It’s called differentiation ( “the ability to separate one’s own intellectual and emotional functioning from that of the family”). An individual heals from depression or trauma when they get to a point when they feel they can handle their feelings. Our body politic and publics seem to me to operate just like a person.  And I think Van is right, the key word is handle.

As an individual you can’t control the world, you can only get better at feeling you can handle it and the change and challenges it presents you with. It’s the same thing for the media and our politics. And sometimes you have to bottom out before you are motivated to change. And it looks like our politics are heading there.

The Net provides a place to attack each other better and I wager it’s connectedness (and our real-life connectedness with each other and our selves) could also help us get better at handling once we decide that’s what we need to work on.

Fun video link: danah boyd’s comments on how gendered behaviour plays out in social networks (thx @allaboutgeorge)

Posted via email from subvert with heather gold

Why, oh why can't I? Video of a beautiful moment in song pre-Prop8 trial.

Melanie DeMore sings Somewhere Over the Rainbow early morning Jan 11th before the start of the Prop 8 Trial in San Francisco. 
I love the gentle threading of Judy Garland into this hopeful moment. She was a social force in connecting the GLBT community. Some say heartache after her funeral emboldened the harassed to fight back that night when the Stonewall Riots happened the next day giving birth to the movement that has led to this trial. 

This trial is being led by Ted Olson, a lawyer with impeccable conservative credentials. The man who helped put George Bush in office. A man who had his own tragedy when his wife died in the 9/11 attacks. 

This story has quite an arc.

Thanks for the song Melanie. I’m happy to feel the melancholy and the community and the hope of the moment. Yes, “why oh why can’t I?” 

(via Elyse Singer, Michael Winn)

Posted via email from subvert with heather gold

heather + Lt Dan Choi at Meet in the Middle in Fresno

It was a thrill to meet Lt Dan who is a powerful speaker and person. He actually saluted me when we said goodbye, then apologized and explained that it was out of habit.

If you somehow don’t already know, he is a West Point grad who’s completed 2 tours of duty in Iraq. He’s about to be discharged under Don’t Asked Don’t Tell even though he’s an Arabic linguist. He’s one of the few people in the military who could actually ask or tell people in Iraq anything.

It was literally 100 degrees. That explains the hair.

Pink Ladies at Hunky Jesus in SF



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