Awhile back, I came upon an article on how conservatism “has curdled beyond recognition” (which you can view here) What I wasn’t prepared for was how the coming weeks would show how true this had really become. Conservatism hasn’t simply curdled, it has festered from myriad open wounds. Contempt and hatred now rule the right wing party.

There was a time when conversation was a voice in defense of the interests of domestic finances with its opposition to rapid social change a secondary characteristic. As social justice movements gained momentum during the turn of the 20th century, with women’s suffrage, African American rights, feminism and the birth pangs of the gay rights movement starting to make tangible promise in a United States which had now guaranteed equal rights to every American citizen and now seemingly having no way of making exceptions on the classes which were so clearly undeserving, the right wing began to lean more and more heavily upon social commentary, specifically resentment and disdain for those classes which were now threatening the established way of life for white middle-class heterosexual Christian America.

It was in the 1970s and 1980s that this became intentional, rather than a secondary characteristic of the opposition class. The Republican party began using purposefully coded language to evoke contemptuousness and righteousness against others by hiding allusions to racism within their political messages, utilizing concepts such as states’ rights standing in opposition of an overbearing federal government, and drumming up fear and outrage over criminal elements being allowed to run rampant in urban environments. The Republican party capitalized upon, fostered, and encouraged unfettered hatred of African Americans, gay Americans, women who wouldn’t be subservient to men, and religious groups which defied protestant traditions.

None of these were new concepts. Americans have always, always engaged in zealous strife with people unlike themselves, and going back, the same behavior was ubiquitous to the British empire before them. It is present throughout so very much of the world and always has been. So why, then, does it hurt so much to see it unleashed with so little restraint today?

I think it’s because I came to expect better of people. Seeing the progress made toward the causes I championed and the number of people willing to throw support behind rights which had been considered exceptionally controversial not so very long ago, I had been lulled into assuming that progress was now inevitable, and the voice of conservatism was now reduced to dying embers alongside a fire of historical significance — a reminder, but no longer a threat.

I no longer think this, and the illusion of unanimity has been painfully shattered. While I remain confident that there are somewhat more people in favor of progressivism than conservatism, I can no longer allow myself the soothing delusion of thinking that conservatives are merely a voice of opposition casting sound and fury into the ocean of inevitable, eternal waves. I have seen too much now, and it is too common to ignore the obvious pattern of thought and behavior.

Donald Trump represents the current pinnacle of decades’ worth of engendered contempt and disgust. His is a voice which speaks directly to that segment of the populace which has been nurtured on sneering disdain for liberals and their endless crusades for sin and voice, wasted money spent on welfare queens and lazy people who could work and merely refuse, and billions upon billions of dollars spent overseas propping up failed civilizations of uncultured savages. Until, and even for awhile after the election, I had believed this voice spoke to a minority. To an extent I still do, but now I recognize that minority for what it is.

Open any recent news thread and you’ll see them numbering in the hundreds or thousands, depending on the target audience of the writing. Concerns about Trump’s conflicts of interest and the laughably inadequate way he allegedly resolved them, the constitutionality of his executive orders, the interference in the election posed by foreign governments, are all brushed aside by a monolithic school of thought which doesn’t so much as reject the evidence of their leader’s lack of fitness for his position as utterly ignore it.

The difference is crucial. Theirs is not a mind which examines evidence and finds it wanting; they do not even regard the source of the information as itself too suspect to trust. To this new brand of conservative, the fact that the information causes dismay for liberals is itself proof that it is to be disregarded, even lauded, without regard for its actual content. Policies are fast-tracked through this conservative school of thought without interest for their long OR short-term impact based purely on whether they seem to cause harm to their liberal opponents. Financial policies are deemed suitable based purely on the cries of alarm they receive. Indeed, the very structure of our government is being reshaped and many conservatives have no other remark to make upon the fact other than the inevitable, “Suck it up snowflakes!”

Nowhere is this more evident than in the impending repeal of the Affordable Care Act and the surprise and upset this has caused numerous conservatives, who until discovering how badly it would hurt them, had apparently never found it worth considering whether liberals had a point that it would, indeed, hurt them. “Stop bitching about how much you want free stuff!” they would proclaim, and now some of them have abruptly discovered how much they depended on the ACA’s protections for their own family. Until then, the fact that liberals “cried” over its loss was apparently justification to be rid of it as quickly as possible.

America is nearing the precipice of another civil war; this is no longer even remotely hyperbole. Trump has specifically targeted multiple states for federal intervention, financial and potentially military, and in response, those states have declared their intent to revolt against his fascist (for no other word adequately describes it) regime. The balance between states and federal government has always been a delicate once since the fourteenth amendment reduced the spectrum of powers accorded to state governments by the tenth amendment. Alliances are being drawn up between states grimly contemplating a future of being surrounded by state and federal enemies, and yet the modern conservative is only amused and contemptuous of the possibilities, rallying quickly to another invocation of Trump’s increasingly ironic slogan. “Go crying back to your safe places, snowflakes!”

American will not be great under this regime; it becomes doubtful that America will even survive it, at least in the form we know it now. This morning Trump’s regime declared that the Executive office is not subject to the rulings of federal courts, effectively establishing a declaration that one of the major branches of government has no power to curtail unconstitutional laws, one of its primary purposes. As executive orders bypass Congress entirely, this would mean a total lack of opposition for any order Trump intends to sign. The fact that white nationalist and Nazi sympathizer Steve Bannon (who has recently received unprecedented promotions) has been drafting these executive orders falls upon deaf ears. “You lost! Deal with it!”

Some of it is authoritarianism, which Bob Altemeyer detailed thoroughly in his 2006 book The Authoritarians, available free from his website here

But I don’t think that’s all of it anymore. I think there is a vocal, powerful segment of our population which has reached a singularity point of unspeakable contempt for everyone outside their small, fragile bubbles. They can no longer even remotely tolerate anyone unlike themselves, and unlike the “delicate snowflakes” they so constantly deride, their response is not to withdraw to shelter each other and themselves, but to expand outward with vicious zeal and glee at the harm they cause. They strive to destroy, to consume, to ruin everything held sacred by those they so despise, and they only realize the danger caused by their actions if they themselves suffer a personal blow as a result of them. Until then, they are immune to criticism, to logic, to empathy, and to human decency. “Make America great again!”

I fear for the future, because I have no notion how to combat this virulent strain of diseased thought. There is no other word to describe it except a kind of insanity, one purposefully divorced from reality and incapable of perceiving how, one which poses an explicit threat to itself and others, and one which, heartwrenchingly, seeks to destroy any means of treatment or recovery for itself. I truly do not wish to see bloodshed between any people, yet I cannot conceive of a way to render powerless that movement which would seek the legal murder of others in a world where the law is ineffectual and the system itself has become tyrannous.

Now is truly the time for unity, yet it may also be a time for drawing up battle plans, forming alliances, and preparing to weather an onslaught of legal and extralegal terrorism wrought by bigots, Nazis, white nationalists, and self-serving opportunists glad to use all of the above as long as they need never deal with the fallout. We must come together and watch with unflinching perspicacity for every action which goes against our principles, and call these out without fail. Let it be known how dire this threat is becoming. Shout it from the mountaintops until every last wavering conservative comes to realize their support is in error.

And then we will have to deal with the rest, and I pray there is enough left of the world to do so with what tools we then have remaining.


The story so far

As promised, a state of address, so to speak.

Over the last year, I have changed residences, signed up for SNAP, received dialectical behavior therapy for my PTSD, and an alternative diagnosis for my APD. It’s the last that has shaken my life the most.

A couple of years ago when I revealed my initial antisocial personality disorder diagnosis to the Internet, someone suggested that my behavior was more consistent with someone on the autistic spectrum. I seem to recall granting that it was plausible, but ultimately dismissing the idea.

Since then, however, I’ve had more than one therapist suggest the same thing. What’s easy to dismiss when someone on the Internet says it is a lot harder to dismiss when more than one person whose profession is to make this diagnosis says it!

If I had the finances to seek consistent visitation with a single therapist, I could get a proper diagnosis instead of these one-off “you show consistent symptology with X” referrals , but I don’t. It leaves me in an uneasy position of wondering whether the way I’ve thought of myself for years now is truly accurate, and whether the way I could think of myself would “fit” better.

And I’m not sure. I don’t know what it’s like to have Aspergers because I don’t know what it’s like to be anyone but myself. My difficulty empathizing with and understanding others combined neatly with a troubled childhood (textbook case of conduct disorder) and teenage misanthropy to fit the diagnosis of someone with APD, but perhaps it fits just as well with someone on the autistic spectrum who has difficulty with social interaction.

It has only been recently that I’ve started to think of autism as a different way the brain can function, rather than a disorder to be treated and managed and prevented if at all possible. Now, just a few months after I began trying to change my attitude toward autism, I find out I may be on the spectrum myself. It’s an object lesson if I’ve ever had one, and one which has left me feeling drift and confused about my own identity.

This is an example of one of those times when I abruptly get self-conscious and end the post.

White culture

It’s been awhile since I posted, and I realized I was on the verge of a rant on Facebook which would likely receive a better audience on my blog. I’ll follow this up with another, more personal post in a moment.

I came across this today, and I admit, at first, it really irked me.

But then I got to wondering, what IS culture? The author doesn’t really define it except as some form of shared experience common to a group of people, and if that’s all, then how can white people NOT have some form of culture?

Also, have Italians, Germans, Danish, Irish and Scottish people stopped being white (again), because I’m pretty sure they have a lot of culture and their skin tone tends toward the ivory. Is it that once they get into a position of privilege or emigrate to the United States, their culture stops being specific enough to describe as being part of “white” culture?

If we’re just talking about white US citizens who haven’t emigrated within a few generations, then it’s going to be harder to define the particular experiences shared by those people and no others because the past several generations have been explicitly taught that white culture is a melting pot* wherein sharing intercultural experiences is part of their culture. If white people in the US don’t have many isolated cultural experiences, it’s because the United States has, despite the efforts of white supremacists, never been particularly good at avoiding intermingling with other cultures.

On the flip side of the coin, US white people are among the most prolific in the world at exporting their cultural ideals (sometimes by force) to other countries. Whether it’s English or democracy or industry or Christmas or Leave it to Beaver, they’ve got it and think you should have it too! Yes, it’s very arrogant and rude behavior when pushed upon people who aren’t interested in integrating those interjections into their culture, but it seems to fit with the tendency to grab up intercultural experiences and make them their own.

“Hey, Europeans! Have you ever had a burrito before?”
“Taco Bell for everybody!”

“White culture” is perhaps a misnomer because, contrary to the disdainful racism purported by a number of its members, a lot of people in the United States are all about other people’s cultures. They’re like a Ned Flanders version of the Borg**, minus Flanders’ overall lackadaisical neighborliness.


Maybe that is white culture. Not remarking on whether it’s a good or bad thing.

* A concept that has been known and written of since at least the 1780s, I am surprised to learn. I thought it would be more recent than that. This means that it has been a concept associated with the United States since the very beginning.

** I searched Google and was shocked to find that no one has ever drawn this. I found Borg Homer and Borg Queen Lisa, but no Borg Flanders. Internet, I am disappointed in you.

1000 years of bread

When people set out to do something spectacular, sometimes they just make it silly or asinine. For example, the song Organ²/ASLSP (As SLow aS Possible) is currently being played out of a church in Germany, having begun in 2001 and intended to conclude in 2640. Despite having been playing for 13 years come this Friday, the song is currently only on its thirteenth note and the next note change will not occur until September 5th of 2020.

That’s not very interesting to listen to, obviously. It’s just an organ softly humming a single note for the next six years. Every couple of years, I check in to see their progress, but it’s not something I’d want to livestream, if you know what I mean.

This, however, is.

When I first read about Longplayer and its projected one millennium duration, I expected something similar to ASLSP, but it’s more than that. The notes change regularly. I’ve been listening to the song for about forty minutes now and my feelings are mixed, but only because I can’t decide whether the song is soothing or eerie. Produced by Tibetan singing bowls and gongs, it has a sonorous quality that I could see in the background of a horror movie just as readily as I could see it in more innocuous places (which, indeed, it has occupied).

I recommend you give it a listen.

For at least a little while.

Love in Christianity

I am not Christian. I read the Bible (typically the Revised Standard Edition, although I often compare with other translations) as an exercise in understanding the perspective and motivations of the most common religion in my culture, and there are some parts of it I genuinely enjoy. Whether I like reading it or not, however, it is inevitable that I will hear it quoted at me.

So sometimes I quote it back.

To build an extended case here in favor of Biblical approval of same-sex marriage, I submit the following.

1 John 4:7-21 establishes the premise that God is love, that loving is equivalent to godliness and that disdaining love is the very opposite. Point in fact, it states that anyone who claims to know God while disdaining love is a liar.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 explains the nature of love, which I quote here for emphasis: patience, kindness, never jealous or boastful, nor arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way. It is not irritable or resentful. It does not rejoice at wrong, only right. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things — and it is everlasting, whereas everything else, even scripture, is doomed to decay. Notice some of these qualifiers: it does not insist on its own way, it endures all things, believes all things, bears all things. If God is love incarnate, then how can these not apply to God as well?

The word “rejoice” invokes Romans 12:9-21, specifically verse 15 where it says to rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. This calls back to Mark 12:31 and Matthew 22:39 which invoke the law we have collectively come to term the Golden Rule.

Jesus commands love for each other in John 13:34-35 and states that the love of his followers will make them recognizable to others, evoking Matthew 7:15-20‘s “knowing them by their fruits” and then describing that the bad fruit is indeed evil. This love is commanded to be universal as both Matthew 5:43-48 and Luke 10:25-37 assure us.

All the law is summarized in Romans 13:8-10, and it is summarized as “Love your neighbor as yourself,” and further clarified, “Love does no harm to a neighbor.” If you should happen to be a person who thumps the Bible and invokes Romans 1 and 1 Corinthians 6 and say you do this out of love, and your neighbor tells you that your love is causing harm, then it cannot be love — and with that bookend, those who do not love, do not know God.

As for the nature of sin, Paul described it in Romans 14:13-23 as, to invoke Martin Luther King Jr., an inescapable network of mutuality. Those who love without reservation are closest to God regardless of their orientation, and if the sight of those lovers brings you such a crisis of faith… well, I won’t quote any of the three passages regarding what Jesus would rather you do to your eyes than stumble. We can be quiet in our love, but if you demand that our love cease or be hidden away so as to make us quieter still, then the time has come to lose the part of yourself that is so intent on violating the law.

In this case, I recommend it be the part of your faith that has demanded you invoke the final item in Proverbs 6:16-19, but ultimately, it rests with you.

Originally published in Kimberly Knight’s blog, Coming Out Christian, with slight modifications.

Words, binary and biphobia, or: why “bi” is binary but “FTM” is not

I found this pertinent to recent discussions.

Bi radical

This text also appears in my book Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution. If you like it, please consider buying a copy.

Before I write – a disclaimer: this post contains criticism of the non-bisexual-identified transgender community and discourse. Please be aware that I am writing this criticism not as an outsider, but as a genderqueer person involved in transgender community, and activism. I hope this criticism is taken in the same spirit in which it was written – that of passion and solidarity.

This is a long post. But trust me, it is good. Take your time in reading in, it will be worth it 😉

A(n) (long) introduction

It appears increasingly acceptable of late, in transgender/genderqueer communities and activist discourses, to portray bisexuality as a binary identity, and thus intrinsically transphobic. As the claim classically goes – since the word “bisexuality” has “bi” (literally: two) in…

View original post 2,556 more words

Bisexual / Pansexual discussion

I would like to open a discussion which has been on my mind quite a bit over the last year. I have heard the term “pansexual” used specifically to dissociate an orientation from bisexuality by suggesting that the former includes trans and intersex people, while the former excludes it. In my experience, this has never been true of any bisexual person who did not possess a negative attitude toward such people.

While the term “pansexual” may be more accurate (there are more than two possible biological sex categories, much less gender identification!), I find myself uncomfortable about this shift in terminology for reasons I am not entirely able to articulate. It sometimes seems like those who claim the term pansexual are doing so out of a wish not to be identified as bisexual, and that leads me to wonder if the specificity they claim is really unique.

Hence, I would like to ask a question: For anyone in my audience who identifies specifically as bisexual, if you are comfortable with making this information known, do you also experience attraction to trans and/or intersex people? Have you known any people who identify as bisexual and do not?

Basically, I would like to gauge how many people would hypothetically fall under the pansexual identification while instead identifying as bisexual for any or no reason.

Faith in humanity – I wonder if I have too much?

Following is an except from Good News:

Creative Commons License
Good News by Samael is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

“This was one of the first regions to dissolve their ban on capital punishment.” God, she made it sound like she was just reporting a fact. “You have executed 73 people in the past twenty years, including six men and three women for trespassing, three men and eight women convicted of adultery—“
     “That’s completely irrelevant,” someone tried to interrupt, but she went on without even pausing.
     “—nine women for prostitution, sixteen men and four women for murder—“
     “Enough!” shouted the first Councilman.
     “—and twenty four people in total for the crime of blasphemy.”

The last few days have had many ups and downs, and I wonder now, examining this piece of writing… 73 executions over 20 years for a village of a few thousand people. Even granting that it would take some time for a region with a long history of never using capital punishment to work up a full head of steam on it, is this too much or too little?

According to public records, Texas has executed 444 people over the past 20 years. The population of Texas is obviously much greater than a single village, and yet arguably, the village has the greater incentive to execute people wantonly, having the advantage of isolation and the privilege of claiming properties left by the deceased.

For some reason, it disturbs me that I am unable to intuit a reasonable number on this.

Slogging your way out of it

You know the worst thing about fighting depression? Having to pretend you care about feeling better when, really, you’re having such a hard time convincing yourself that there’s any point to trying, because it feels absurd to fight so hard to continue doing something you don’t enjoy. The terrible part is, maybe you would enjoy it if you weren’t depressed — but it messes with your mind. It sucks the joy out of memories. You can’t remember ever enjoying anything. It just seems like one big uphill slog for no good reason, but you’ve got to put on the brave front and pretend it’s all going to work out.

Being in the middle of it is the worst possible time to try and decide whether it’s worth fighting it. You’ll just have to take someone else’s word for it: It is. Whether life continues to suck or not, it’s still worth it. At least then you’ll know. You’ll have the choice, the perspective, the capacity to differentiate between outcomes.

Don’t take depression’s word for it. Depression is a lying jerk.