My mom works part-time in a pet store. She’s white and blonde and very liberal, but people make assumptions based her whiteness and she tends to hear a lot of Opinions from assholes who think that she will agree with them.
Last week an older woman came into the store, and when checking out her purchases started to complain about the man living in the run-down house behind her own.
- “His name is Lopez,” she whispered conspiratorially to my mom. “You know what that means.”
- My mom did not, in fact, know what that meant.
- “He’s Mexican,” the old woman went on to explain, despite it being one of the most popular Latinx names in the country.
- My mom is an extremely wonderful, intelligent, and opinionated woman, but she can occasionally be hampered by her own good nature - she is perpetually surprised when she sees people being utterly horrible, and it tends to take her a moment to get into Argument Mode. Because of this, I’m pretty sure her response was along the lines of, “….What?”
- The old woman went on to explain that: a) She had seen an empty school bus going by the house once, b) which meant that he was probably harboring a ton of Mexican children in his house, c) which he was maybe illegally (?) busing into the country on federal dime (?) at great cost to taxpayers (?). She continued to explain that d) she had once seen a stack of his mail, and e) he’d gotten a letter from the local County offices (?) with the title (my mom’s not sure about this, but she thinks the acronym was) ‘FACS,’ and f) the old woman was positive that the ‘F’ stood for ‘federal’ and g) it was proof that he was getting federal aid for these possibly illegal children, again, at great expense to taxpayers.
- At which point my mom shook herself out of her haze of ‘????no????’ and managed to say that a) the old woman did not, in fact, know what the acronym stood for at all, and b) if the man was receiving federal aid it would probably not be coming from the offices of the local County.
- The old woman, however, was positive that she was correct, and went on to complain that these children were costing the country and its citizens money due to the supposed aid and massive education costs.
- And my mom, who is a sensible and compassionate woman, went, “Even if that were true, which it’s not, don’t we want children to be educated? Don’t we want them to have good lives and grow up to contribute to society?”
- And the old woman was like, not immigrant children, not on our dime.
- And my mom went, “We all come from immigrants originally.”
- And the old woman literally said, “Okay, thank you, bye,” and walked out.
- The shop assistant who helped carry her purchases out to the car came back and informed my mom that the old woman had said, and I quote, “I hadn’t known she was such a screaming liberal.”
- This is what we’re dealing with. This level of. Of. Bullshit. And ignorance. In every corner of the country.
Your Thoughts on Snape?
So paranye and I wanted to do a fan-made episode of Drunk History, but upon failing to come up with a topic, she suggested that we instead have a Drunk Argument about one of the few things on this planet we actively disagree on - Severus Snape. Who I despise, and she is rather fond of.
If you have any opinions, on either end of the love/hate scale, please let me know. Because we will be discussing them. Drunk. While yelling at each other on Skype. :D
I hope you enjoy?
So in more personal, non-depressing news -
A while back I entered the JET Program Video Contest with my wee vid Tanegashima - This is Our Island. I was lucky enough to win one of the prizes and get invited to the 30th Anniversary Commemorative Ceremony???
Here’s an NHK World segment on the contest that I did an interview for (AGH, MY FACE ON TV). /o\
And an interview for the local Japanese paper. \o/
Also, photos under the cut of me being awkward while getting awarded in Tokyo and stammering my way through this thank-you speech -
( ME, PRETENDING TO BE AN ADULT PROFESSIONAL HUMANCollapse )
I’d like to thank CLAIR and the other Ministries here today, not only for this award, but for providing me with the ability to support myself and my family through the JET Program. I also want to thank the other participants of the Video Contest, many of whom have skill and talent that leaves me humbled.
But most of all, I’d like to thank the many people from Tanegashima who dedicated their time and support to the creation of this video. If there’s anything I’m most proud of tonight, it’s that I can try to give back to the community that has given me so much.
So, this is for them. This is for my students, who I love for being brilliant and for being themselves and for driving me straight up the wall every day. And lastly, this is for my mother, who makes all things possible. Thank you.
So during election night - after crying on Skype with paranye and drinking literally an entire bottle of wine - we spent many distressed hours trying to figure out What The Fuck Happened and where on earth we were supposed to go from here. I also - once I could stomach doing so - poked through a lot of articles and polls for some understanding of the hows and whys. All of this has, I'm sure, already been said by people much more intelligent and well-informed than I am - but I need to puzzle it out in writing in order to make proper sense of it.
What the Hell Happened?
Some of these answers are easy, some of them are educated guesses, a lot of them I'm not sure of, and plenty of them I will never really, truly, actually get, but here goes.
( TRYING TO DECONSTRUCT THE NIGHTMARECollapse )
So What Do We Do Now?
This is the hard part, because all of this is horrifying to the extreme, but sometimes the idea of trying to do something about it is even scarier, especially for those of us who won't be personally effected by it? But there's things to sign and people to call and shit to do, so if anyone has been wanting to get involved but hasn't found out how yet, here's a mini starter list.
- Donate! John Oliver's call has spurred donation increase to Planned Parenthood, Center for Reproductive Rights, Natural Resources Defense Council, International Refugee Assistance Project, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Trevor Project, and the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund. Join them, and hey, maybe donate under the name of a politician you hate.
- Call or Write to Your Senators! Here's two Tumblr posts on how and why you can do that.
- Petitions! Some of these won't get much done but - there's petitions to Abolish the Electoral College, appoint Garland to the Supreme Court Now, have the Electoral College Vote for Clinton (4 million signatures), two petitions to Stop Steve Bannon or say No to Steve Bannon, a Global Letter to Trump (3 million signatures), a pledge to Resist Trump's Agenda, and to Stand Up for Reproductive Freedom.
- Read this article from a Congressional staffer on how to make your Congressman listen. (Hint: Phone calls and meetings, not emails.)
- Keep an eye out for action against the planned Muslim Registry. (Some Jewish people have even pledged to register as Muslim in protest.)
- Not directly on topic, but still important - donate to the Flint Water Fund.
- Also not on topic, but here's a few ways to help the people at Standing Rock.
- Join the demonstrations. I wish I was home in the US and able to do this.
- GODDAMN VOTE IN THE FUCKING MID-TERM ELECTIONS.
- There's a lot more info on shit to do here.
- Drumpf's team has placed an open call for staff applications, so maybe sign up just to fuck with them, IDK.
If you're like me and need late night comedy to keep you sane, John Oliver, Samantha Bee, the Daily Show, Stephen Colbert, and Seth Meyers' 'A Closer Look' segment are all fighting the good fight. (We miss your show, Larry Wilmore.)
( VIDSCollapse )
I should preface this with a few statements -
First, I never, ever in my life wanted to vote for Hillary Clinton. I didn't vote for her in the primaries. There are a number of very legitimate issues from her political career to be upset about. Second, this isn't for any hardcore Trump fans - I don't think I have any following me on social media, and don't think a single thing I say could change their minds, so I don't intend to try.
This is about the men and women, usually left-leaning, who enthusiastically agree that Trump is a jerk of the highest order but refuse on principle to vote for Hillary Clinton, opting instead for a third party or not to vote at all. This is usually backed up by statements like 'the system is broken,' 'it doesn't matter,' they're 'equally bad,' we 'need a revolution,' it 'won't effect me either way,' yada yada.
The main problem I see with this is that it often comes from people who, yeah, won't get hugely effected either way by the outcome of the election. And, well, if that's the case, good for you? Except we live in the US with 300 million other people. We live on this planet with 7 billion other people. Please think about everyone else.
Clinton and Trump disagree almost entirely when it comes to both domestic and foreign policy, as well as issues related to the societal problems and prejudices we're facing in our country. There are millions of people, especially women and minorities both domestically and worldwide, who will suffer unjustly and immeasurably under a Trump presidency even if you will not, if he and Clinton fulfill even half of their campaign promises.
Trump wants to specifically target civilian family members of the enemy in the Middle East, which would be a war crime against the Geneva Convention, and even if it wasn't, the idea of trying to blow up non-combatant women and children would still be objectively horrifying. Trump wanted to ban an entire group of religious people from the country. Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women. Trump wants to block abortion rights for women. He blames crime on immigrants and incites violence against them at his rallies, and against minorities, and promotes unconstitutional programs like stop-and-frisk. He has threatened to curtail the free press for insulting him. He said that climate change was a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese. He has threatened literal, actual war in response to a rude goddamn hand gesture. He has said ridiculous things about gun rights, and complimented Putin and North Korea - both of whom have long histories of horrific human rights abuses. He has officially been endorsed by the KKK. Trump has said and implied so many racist and sexist things that I cannot list them here, and the problem is not that he is 'crude' or 'mean' - the crudeness of his speech has never, contrary to popular belief, been the problem. The problem is that words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, some very scary damn warning signs about what a man like Trump would do if he became the president of the United States.
....And while I completely understand the urge to vote with your conscience and choose someone from a third party, the very sad fact is that with our current political system, that person will not win. (Not to mention that Clinton is aguably more left-wing when it comes to things like right to choose, climate change, gun restrictions, and minimum wage than certain third-party candidates.)
A rehaul of our system, so that third-party candidates do have the ability to win, is absolutely worth working toward; I believe in that political revolution that many people want so much; I hate and despise the idea of voting for the lesser of two evils. People say that 'now is not the time' for a protest vote, because this election is too close, and the values at stake too important. And I completely understand why this could be infuriating to hear - because when is the time? When has there ever been an election where it seems that the outcome won't effect millions?
I hear all of those frustrations, and damn it, I agree with most of them. But a protest vote for the sake of the voter's conscience is not truly worth the suffering of millions of people. It is ultimately ineffective, except for the possible side effect of helping Donald Trump become president.
This election isn't - sadly - about who we like more, nor should it be. It's about who will positively or negatively effect the country, the world, and the people living in it.
Please, please, please vote on November 8th.
HOW'S THAT ELECTION GOIN' FOR YA?
So IDK if anyone remembers that I submitted a video to a contest here in Japan, but apparently I've won one of the awards??! Which is kind of shocking and very exciting. :D
I'd also like to add that there were a lot of REALLY AMAZING VIDEOS SUBMITTED that I loved and voted for but they DIDN'T WIN ANYTHING?? So here are some of the ones I wish there were extra prizes for.
( AWESOME VIDEOS ABOUT JAPANCollapse )