Kidnapping isn’t protected speech

Shame on you, Buddy Carter, for celebrating DeSantis’ immoral stunt in your weekly newsletter. How dare you support using the most desperate and helpless among us as pawns in a publicity stunt.

Shame on you. Not just for celebrating it but by misrepresenting the support the people illegally transported, and then abandoned, were given by the community and then the state’s governor.

Buddy failed to mention the fact that the people Florida’s governor kidnapped weren’t even in Florida. They were lured by false promises and lies by someone employed by Florida’s governor outside a shelter in San Antonio.

We can have differences of opinion over immigration policies. Kidnapping people as part of a publicity stunt isn’t legitimate political discourse.

Buddy has lost the plot. He’s not in office to help the first district or represent his constituents. He’s lost in the vortex of partisan games.

I’m tired of being embarrassed by Mr Carter.

Time for him to go. Please, please vote for Wade Herring in November. He’s a good, earnest man and will represent all of the first district with integrity.

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I’m a single issue voter now

The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Roe v. Wade, and Clarence Thomas’s “roadmap” for which freedoms the extremists on the court and their allies will attack next has crystalized something in my mind that has been percolating since Alito’s draft was leaked.

I’m a single issue voter now.

That issue is bodily autonomy and our right to self-determination. The court and conservative extremists are hell-bent on imposing their views on our bodies, and I will not have it.

You will not push my sisters into an alley, or my LGBTQIA+ siblings back in the closet. You will not deny their right to exist as full members of society with the same rights to self-determination as I have as a cishet white guy.

It’s too easy to say “go vote,” but I’m going to. Please vote. Make sure you choose candidates that support our right to determine the right choices for our bodies. I don’t care if you like them. I don’t care if you disagree with them on some other minor issue. This is literally the most important thing in the world because it will dictate how our children and their children will be allowed to exist in the world for the next century (and that’s not hyperbole).

Beyond voting, we need to support organizations already in this fight, join them however we can, and think seriously about running for office. Especially in the South, too many conservatives go unchallenged. It’s time to fight for every seat in every election and turn back the tide of hate and extremist being inflicted on us by a hateful minority.

I’m sorry I didn’t see it sooner.

The Gun is Fear

The shootings in Buffalo and Texas have wrecked me – and I can’t keep watching the same old arguments fly by in screenshotted tweets in Instagram stories.

It’s all so predictable and isn’t going to change anything. And that makes this grief feel worse.

This thought keeps pinging around in my head and it won’t go away. It’s not fully formed yet. But it’s something like this…

America was built on fear – fear that Europe would come and take it from us; as slavery was ending, that all of these people we’d imported and enslaved would rise up and do us in, and then fear of immigrants and the “others”.

So, we built the biggest military in the world. We have the most overly funded police forces in the world. We made rules about who could vote and who could come here, who could marry who, and where they could go.

We wrapped our fear in laws and religion and called it culture.

We have more guns than people and the mere presence of those guns (the facts are irrefutable, but I know that won’t stop you) is why so many thousands of people die by them every year. Just having a gun in your house, yes, even you “responsible” gun owners, makes you many many times more likely to die by gunshot.

Guns take bad moments and turn them into tragedy. Having access to a gun means that at your lowest moments you might not just drink yourself into a stupor or harm yourself, you could kill everyone you love – in a moment.

We take our fear, wrap it in the flag or camo, and call it patriotism. We arm it to the teeth so we never ever have to confront what it’s guarding: our own inability to face our collective fears.

Until we admit that fear drives our actions – that it drives all of our passion and drive around gun culture, it will not change.

The opposite of fear is love. We need to love ourselves, our children and our communities more than we fear them.

Give up the fear, and we’ll give up the guns.

Meh, Humbug

I’ve been feeling pretty blah about the holidays, and I think Josh Marshall gets to the core of it. I’m just tired of COVID, tired of the constant debate, unknowns, the raging of morons, the lack of common sense and shared sacrifice, of not knowing if I’m doing enough to protect myself and my family, and feeling like I’m not doing enough to help.

I’m just tired.

I’m planning on doing a whole lot of mindful nothing during my time off to see if I can kick the meh out.

It’s going to be a lowercase holidays around here. I hope yours are happy and full of rest. We need it.

Write Your Reps

Yesterday, my representative objected to the electors from Georgia based on nothing more than rumors. He continues to support Trump, and well, that’s unacceptable. I wrote him this afternoon. If Buddy Carter is your rep, I think you should let him know how you feel.

Dear Mr. Carter,

Your objection to the electors from Georgia yesterday based on nothing more than rumor and innuendo is an act of sedition. Your continued support for President Trump as he put your life, and everyone else who works at the Capital, at risk yesterday is unacceptable.

You supported an illegal coup. You continue to support a president who has incited violence and lies continually about the results of the election. You help magnify his lies, destroying public trust in our democratic process, our institutions and the Constitution.

Please resign and allow the first district to choose a representative who will uphold their oath of office.

Sincerely,

Kevin Lawver

Strong Ties, Weak Ties, No Ties

Doug March sent me this Nieman Lab piece by Ben Collins that asks some good questions, but doesn’t have many answers. I keep thinking of our web of social connections that’s been tattering for a while; I think a lot of peoples’ just completely collapsed during COVID.

Without that web of strong and weak ties (strong = family, close friends; weak = coworkers, acquaintances, neighbors), we’re left to our own devices of what’s “real” and acceptable. If we fall into these bubbles (cauldrons?) of conspiracies and nonsense, there’s no one to pull us out. There’s no reference point back to the “real” world, and we just sink deeper.

And that’s the core of it, I think: loneliness. The world is a very lonely place for a lot of people, and the pandemic has turned that into a crisis. People are looking for a place to belong, and unfortunately, the internet has a WHOLE lot of corners to find it in, and most of them aren’t healthy.

There are a lot of bad actors willing to profit from that loneliness and the anger that comes along with it. It’s time to call them out, and start reclaiming our friends and family from these cauldrons.
I just wish some of those experts mentioned in the piece would tell us how to do it… because I have no idea.

Clinging to This

“Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”

Rabbi Tarfon

I don’t really have much else to say right now.

It’s Not a Sprint

I’ve been talking to my coworkers and a bunch of friends all week, trying to help them come to terms with privilege and racism. I can feel their urgency to know everything and do everything… and I get it.

I saw a tweet the other day that white people are all “cramming for the racism test”, which I think is a great metaphor for that urge to try to learn everything all at once and get right with it.

(the whole thread is great and largely inspired this post)

It’s not going to happen. You will burn yourself out. You’re not giving yourself time to process all this new-to-you information.

I’ve been working on a metaphor for the opposite of that, and I think I have one I’d like to try out on you.

Racism is not new, and the work to fix it has been ongoing. White people, we are late to the work – so very late. We are so far behind the work that it’s not a sprint to catch up, it’s a marathon.

You don’t win a marathon at a sprint. You win a marathon with pace. We need to find the pace for ourselves that allows us to catch up, without giving up, without stopping and deciding it’s too hard.

Marathons take training and patience and practice.

We need to pair up with other people and hold each other accountable for our progress. Look up SURJ and find your local chapter. Reach out to your friends and buddy up. Have regular check ins and make sure you’re keeping a pace that will allow you to catch up. Ask for help.

Your practice might be starting today. That’s OK. Welcome to the team.

Murder by 911

This Huffpost piece on Amy Cooper is really good and you should read it first before continuing.

It might have been subconscious, but it was attempted murder, and deep down she knew it. Just like Carolyn Bryant knew what would happen to Emmett Till. Just like countless others knew what they were doing when they committed murder by 911.

Racism is in our founding documents. It is in every era of our history. We’ve all been taught it in school, in church, by experience.
Racism is as much a part of our culture as anything else.

And if you, my fellow white people, think you don’t have a “racist bone in your body,” I invite you to rethink that. Do some reading. Do some soul searching. It’s in there.

It’s time to name it. It’s time to call it out. It’s time to do the work to counteract all those narratives that have been placed in our heads by 400+ years of racist indoctination.

We all have racist feelings. If you grew up in the US, it’s impossible not to.

IT IS NOT OUR FAULT WE WERE TAUGHT ALL OF IT.

Admitting you have racist feelings doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. It means you’re American. If you embrace those racist feelings and run with them, you’re A racist.

If you work towards curing yourself of those feelings (I don’t even know how to express this) and work against them, then you might be anti-racist one day.

It’s how we grapple with them and deal with them that counts.
We all have to do better. We have to do the work. We have to call it out when we see it and compel our friends, neighbors and family to do better.

I struggle with how to talk about it because I feel unqualified. But, I feel worse if I say nothing. So, please correct me when I’m wrong, and I’ll keep trying to be and do better.

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