Donald Trump is bad

I’m not good at coming up with good blog titles.

I never really thought Trump would win. Surely there weren’t enough angry, bigoted white voters to outnumber the various other voting blocs. I was eager to marinate in the schadenfreude of his imminent defeat, and then for him and his ilk to fade away into the shadows where they belong. Such innocent times.

One of the reasons I was never able to believe in the God of Christianity is the existence of terrible humans who have good things happen to them. Roughly speaking, the problem of evil has never been satisfactorily addressed by the Abrahamic religions. The Eastern traditions posit the karmic cycle of samsara, which I think is a rather elegant philosophical solution: shitty people will get what’s coming to them in the next life. It’s nice to think of Trump reaping the reward he’s so justly earned in his next life. How about as an insect preyed upon by parasitoid wasps? But alas, only the emptiness of nonexistence awaits us all. Bummer. Maybe he’ll die soon? Like next week? A boy can dream.

Here are some kind of positive things:

  • Trump appears to not be a fan of continuing America’s role as world police. That’s probably good, right? US hegemony has been an abject failure. But really, he’s changed his mind so often and is so thin-skinned, it’s easy to see ISIS goading him into their desired apocalyptic war with the west.
  • Ummm… Hmm. I guess having someone so odious in the White House that has the backing of the House, Senate, and SCOTUS could galvanize opposition of all kinds, from those working within the system, to more radical anti-state/anti-capitalist types (full disclosure, I was a teenage anarchist).
  • That’s all I got. This is a bad list.

In adulthood, I haven’t been able to transition philosophically into the, in my eyes, benign ideologies of liberalism/progressivism. I voted for Hillary, but I did so feeling that performing my “civic duty” made me complicit in a sociopolitical system I think is shit. Historically, America has been irredeemably racist and sexist (in addition to other bigotries), and works best for the wealthy. Profound, heady stuff, I know. If you voted, you played the game and the end result, instead of being merely not great, is catastrophically bad. But that’s our hallowed democracy, right? Incremental progress has been made, but that progress, hated by the now fully de-closeted bigots, is being confronted with vengeance.

This is not to boil this year’s election to the very familiar “lesser of two evils” refrain. Nor is it to focus on my insipidly heart-wrenching complicity in that which I do not condone: Trump is far worse than Hillary. I am a straight, white, cisgender male. And I wish the worst for those among that wide swath of privilege that enabled that waste in human form’s rise to power.

I’ll end with two things from two friends. First:

I am scared for our country, for minorities, and for my family, my kids. My young kids watched the election all night because they were afraid of trump winning. Over the last year, they have been told because they are “brown”, when trump is president they have to leave. (They are 2nd generation American born citizens) My kids do not deserve to live in fear. They deserve better than trump.”

Infuriating and heartbreaking. I’ll never know what that feels like, due to my privilege. Second, from my good friend and proprietor of the fantastic metal label/distro Gilead Media:

I will protect women, people of color, immigrants, those of non binary gender identity, and non Christians, and by force if required. Be ready to do the same. If you see someone being harassed, you must act in some way.

“Those with unjust hate in their hearts think it’s open season on us and the ones we love. But this is when we see the faces of those that would oppress us. They will crawl out of the shadows and reveal their true face. Remember every face.”

“They will crawl out of the shadows and reveal their true face,” indeed. This is a good thing. Add that to list above.

School segregation and the liberal elite

Last night I got around to watching the most recent John Oliver piece on school segregation. As par for the course, it was equal parts funny, informative, and depressing. While it covered ground i was aware of, I didn’t know that the South was far more integrated educationally than NYC. I was also unaware of Malcolm X’s sadly still extremely prescient commentary about the hypocrisy of the Northeast’s liberal elite.

A few weeks back I was on a website that posted about Samantha Bee. In the comments there was a snarky post about how Bee and her husband Jason Jones were full of shit because they opposed a desegregation measure in their local school district. I didn’t give much credence to some random internet commenter and put it out of mind. At any rate, it had nothing to do with the article.

After I watched the segment on John Oliver I decided to head over to the Google to locate the origin of the Bee and Jones story. I found it on Chalkbeat, a website I was unfamiliar with (“Education news. In Context.”):

This week marked the second time in less than a year that parents on the sharply segregated Upper West Side gathered in droves to protest a rezoning plan with the potential to make their schools more diverse.

This round, it was parents from P.S. 452 opposing a plan to move their school into a building 16 blocks south, where it would have more space and a new zone that could potentially include more low-income families. The school’s population is 74 percent white and Asian and 9 percent low-income, in a district that is 43 percent white and Asian and 48 percent poor.”

Bee and Jones were present and oppose the plan:

‘Painting any opposition as classist or racist is as bad as it can get,’ said Jason Jones, the former “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” comedian, near the end of Monday’s nearly three-hour meeting.”

Really Jason? Getting morons to display their various bigotries consists of the vast majority of the Daily Show’s field pieces. And you were great at it! Easily in my top 5 (in no particular order: Bee, Jones, Colbert, Corddry, Williams).

From another parent:

‘Why do we have to fix that issue for the whole district?’ one woman asked…While many said that segregation was a serious problem in the district, they found it unfair that their school should have to shoulder the burden of integration”

Fuck. You. Although, I have to say I like it when people, both on the right and left, fail to couch their opinions within the safe confines of politically correct PR-speech. Let your bigotry and hypocrisy flags fly high, I say! It’s little wonder that, per WNYC, Jones urged his community to “stop talking to the press.” Sage advice.

Aside from Slate, the left-leaning media didn’t really cover the story. For the Slate article, the non-liberal commentariat were predictably delighted. An example:

Samantha Bee is a liberal, right up until she thinks about her children having to go to school with black kids. Then, she turns into Strom Thurmond.”

I wouldn’t go that far. And to be fair, I have no idea if Bee or Jones have done any pieces on school segregation. But it certainly seems like a topic that wouldn’t fall outside their oeuvre.

I wonder where Oliver will send his child in a few years. And I wonder about those whom rapturously share and consume the media of the Daily Show and its spin-offs. Do their progressive beliefs end where their children’s perceived well-being begins? And where do I send my kids to school? Nowhere, because my wife and I are deliberately childless. I’d like to think that we’d be compassionate enough to be on board with integration measures, but who knows? People understandably want what’s best for their kids. But I guess the societal benefits of school desegregation are too abstract for most to endanger their precious offspring possibly *gasp* not getting each and every privilege they’ve “earned.”

Fortunately my wife and I will never have to make any decisions in regard to this topic. I can sit on my high horse and look down on well-to-do liberals who fight tooth and nail to ensure their kids can attend the best schools without the poor fucking everything up. And those kids will grow up, have kids and probably work toward the same end, ad infinitum. Fuck.

DAPL activists kept in dog kennels

Not sure if someone else posted about this already. From the LA Times:

Protesters said that those arrested in the confrontation had numbers written on their arms and were housed in what appeared to be dog kennels, without bedding or furniture. Others said advancing officers sprayed mace and pelted them with rubber bullets.

“It goes back to concentration camp days,” said Mekasi Camp-Horinek, a protest coordinator who said authorities wrote a number on his arm when he was housed in one of the mesh enclosures with his mother, Casey.”

Meanwhile, the State is very proud of their magnanimity:

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kerchmeier said he was coordinating with Standing Rock officials to assist protesters in recovering teepees and other belongings, calling it a “a great example of communication, collaboration and cooperation.”  He added:  “I am very proud of our officers” who “responded with patience and professionalism and showed continuous restraint throughout the entire event.”

This happened in 2016 in America.

Update on a police shooting in Milwaukee

Sylville Smith was murdered by a police officer named Dominique Heaggan-Brown on August 13th. Since then, it appears the story has largely fallen off the national radar. Heaggan-Brown was arrested last week, but not for the murder and currently faces two charges of 2nd Degree Sexual Assault and two charges of Solicitation.

For the most part, these allegations have nothing to do with the murder, except for a few highlights. Most notably, prior to his arrest he texted the following to a sergeant, believed to be a mentor-like figure for Heaggan-Brown:

Need your help big time but need to handle this the most secret and right way possible.”

Hmmm. It almost seems as if there’s an unofficial system in place for mitigating legal problems for police officers.

Also noteworthy is that Heaggan-Brown was not in hiding, fearing for his life, as the police maintained. No, he was spending time at bars and alleged to have bragged about being able to get away with murder:

Prosecutors said the man — identified as Adult Victim 1 — said Heaggan-Brown bragged about being able to do whatever he wanted without repercussions.”

All of this adds new wrinkles to the ongoing investigation. There are still many unanswered questions about what happened on the day of the shooting. In the immediate aftermath, the police and mayor claimed there was unequivocal video evidence that Sylville was armed and pointing a gun at the officer. Later, once the unrest had died down, it was admitted that the footage was “ambiguous, [and] difficult to interpret.” The video still has not been released, and won’t be until the District Attorney decides not to file charges, because of course he won’t.

It seems as if the police are not willing or able to sweep these new allegations under the rug. It could signify they’ve turned their backs on Heaggan-Brown. On the other hand, no one should be surprised if he’s not arrested for the murder. After all, he is still a police officer and part of an institution that believes they have the right to murder whomever they deem a threat.