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Sunday, December 13, 2015

An Open Letter to Bill and Melinda Gates

Self-image is, indeed, a profound component in one's ability to learn. This revelation can create an entire narrative about our American identity and the means by which so many of our children are afforded an education. I ask you to reflect on the fact that a justice of our Supreme Court posed the narrowest and most unimaginable questions this week. And once the transcripts were made available, our media lauded him for not having made any assumptions, but merely posing questions about what had been deemed a thoughtful academic critique of affirmative action. I ask any white parent to spend time reflecting on having to explain that critique to their children and attributing it to them for their whiteness. I then ask those same parents to have a moment where they can explain to their children (after having found a way to explain it to themselves) why this argument is considered thoughtful and where, in 2015, this would have a place in a Supreme Court proceeding to determine if we are giving an equal chance at education to all of our children.

I could write a book about America's history and only focus on the myriad failings of 'reconstruction' after the Civil War, but its been done. And those who are intelligent can see that it has failed repeatedly and the very least among us with the loudest voices have been those to keep us from ever having found success. Those who take a reasoned look at our history realize that the failings were deliberate and targeted. No one with the capacity for critical thought would accept the stereotypes our society has allowed to permeate our collective psyche. But they are there. As a collective. And their maintenance are an imperative for those who use them to wield power, to the destruction of us all.

I applaud and genuinely respect your global initiative and I ask you to consider the role of America in that initiative. Regardless of whether or not it is warranted, America is seen as a world leader. Possibly the world leader. As such, what progress do you expect to see in the world when its chosen (or at least self-appointed) leader negates the histories and rights of its own citizens? If we cannot bring ourselves to finally offer a sincere Reconstruction 150 years after its initial attempt, what hope does the rest of the world have? One needs only look at the present GOP Presidential campaign field to realize we are regressing. We find the media and the citizens who are given leadership roles are celebrating condemnations of those with no means of defending themselves. We are witnessing expressions of hate with an acceptance of violence and terrorism against people of a specific religion and women who visit health clinics. We are allowing all conversations to end with an insistence that we should be building personal arsenals to defend against those monsters our own society has created. I, too, believe in global citizenship. But I am living in the country that you are compelling toward that understanding which lacks civility, while demanding its exceptionalism.

As you wrote this month regarding the fixed mindset and questioning your own, I ask you to expand that question to that of our nation. What have we accepted as truths about our capacity to move ourselves forward and, thus, determined unattainable? At present, we have inner cities that are falling apart. The children growing in those cities have few opportunities for education, much less advancement. If we allow a fixed mindset to embrace that as a truth, we disavow our own capacity for growth. We have a Supreme Court Justice who does not find it remotely outlandish to question the lesser capacity of those children. If society can accept that as truth, what hope do those children have? If society will dismiss and ridicule those children who march to demand that their lives matter when they come of age, what chance does our society have? I compel you to finance the movement forward that America must have before a global initiative can ever find success. I ask you to fund and expand on the grants you have been given to build our inner cities and make them a priority. I ask you to consider how the rest of your initiative will be successful if, once they find meaningful progress, the world is still led by a backward nation celebrating those who mean to denounce its own citizens and fray the very bootstraps they're meant to be pulling themselves up by.

I have no position in this or any community. I have no agenda beyond that of offering thoughtful discussion to those who hear too many irrational conversations. I have no platform or grant for you to fund. I do, however, have a voice. And I hope that my voice will reach enough people as to raise this idea to you:

(I ask that you allow my own acknowledged naivete and the simplicity in which I offer this plea to be part of my charm and spend no more time on them. Instead, I ask you to spend quiet reflection on the truth I am offering and your own capacity to grant our nation the only chance it will ever have at reparations and genuine progress).

The only way that a society, finding itself content with ignoring its own atrocities and blaming the victims of its arrogance and ignorance, can move forward is for a profound action outside of its own will. No community is going to vote to raise taxes to an extreme so as to correct the failings of a nation blind to its own hypocrisy since its inception. Your foundation can afford to get schools built in neighborhoods with little opportunity. Your foundation can have them peopled with incredible educators and give them otherwise unattainable resources. Your foundation has the voice to compel those surrounding communities to contribute time, wealth and energy to these efforts. You have the voice to remind the country that our only chance for true exceptionalism begins with embracing and lifting up our own children. All of our children. 

Also, if you could fund an initiative to get the word out to the country about the fact that the Equal Rights Amendment was never passed, it'd be great. I feel confident that if women understood this simple truth, we could take it from there.

Thank you. Most sincerely.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Welcome to the Left

In November, I wrote a piece compelling the left to consider where they point their outrage at this moment when the Regressives give us so much fodder. My only mission in writing for you all is to offer rational, if not always dispassionate, reflections and opportunities for consideration. Having still not determined which of the Democratic nominees I will support for the primaries, it is curious that I received the backlash that I did from a few after writing that article.

Facebook has repeatedly put me on 'probation' because people are reporting me for being abusive. I was interested to find out this morning that there is literally a group of people who are reporting the voices they want silenced. Of course, they are too ignorant about my personality to understand that in doing this they're not creating limitations for me, they're creating determination. And when I am given a challenge, I persevere. Period. So, I will preface with a hefty 'fuck you' to those who determined it would be a good idea to shut me up. You are barking up the wrong bitch. I promise.

I ripped those from a NYTimes article written in May. Its a fascinating read for those of us who are always curious about why people say and do they things they do. I hope if you read it, any fascination will eventually also give way to a quiet moments pause about anyone who compels you to promise not to vote for any Democrat next fall. And then, of course, have a longer (much longer) quiet pause to reflect on what that would do to our country.

Last month I was unaware that the person who commented on my site was Victor Tiffany, a person I had naively friended on Facebook who had started a 'Bernie Or Bust' movement online and managed to get a lot of followers that were starting to creep me out. The comment was from someone who identified themselves as 'The Glenn Beck Review,' and who referred me to his own blog to learn more about myself in an article he'd written. The title graciously determined that the bulk of us on the left are sheep. I put him in his place and refused to read the article because I like to spend my time thinking for myself and seeking insight, not hate. But that's just me.

So I found out this morning (take your time there, Ang) that this guy put the word out about me in November after I wrote that piece compelling Democrats to be a united front against the Regressive Party and he told the admins of left-leaning groups that I am a troll. Anyone who knows what internet trolls are is laughing right now. No worries, I'll give you a minute ..........

Yeah. If I were a troll I would not spend all of my time writing thoughtful pieces and trying to create conversations around all of the shit that the Regressives are doing. I might, however, be creating groups and petitions to stir up shit on the left and perpetuate divisions in my own party. That would make me a troll.

With that little bit of a 'duh' out of the way, I offer you perspectives on the leader of this 'revolution' called Revolt Against Plutocracy and ask you for simple reflections:

Here he admits he was a Regressive until just recently.

Funny that this new convert to the left is calling us 'neo-liberals.' Don't you think? I've been over here on the far left for as long as I have been politically aware. Really, its been decades. There is nothing new about my mission or my passion.

Okay. Their big focus is to get 1,000,000 people to pledge to write-in a vote against Clinton next fall. So if you are a big Bernie supporter, why is your mission to focus on a write in campaign next November? Shouldn't the objective assume his viability and work for him to win the primary?

Good news! Instead of making a donation to your chosen candidate, you can give your money (and credit card information?) to this guy and he will use it to encourage Americans to vote against Democrats. I will generously assume that his motives are sincere and that is what he will be using the money for.

One of their main objectives is to get trending topics on Twitter like this one: #SheepNoMore. Since they just got here, the 'no more' is for you, not them. They are basically above it, right? They are the ones who just popped left to inform you of your ignorance and lead you to the wisdom they've determined you were living without. Backbone, please. This Is Your Party.

This group is literally trying to start negative trending topics about Secretary Clinton. If you don't like her and you don't want to vote for her, fine. If you are a Bernie supporter and you want to say that on Twitter or on Facebook, fine. That is what a campaign is all about: candidates have positions and their constituents either agree or dissent. But I ask you to quietly reflect on what this does to every single left-leaning candidate in any race anywhere if the Twitter feeds of all constituents who are looking for information or opinions are littered with negative information (much I have reviewed here today has actually been proven false or come directly from the right wing talking heads). Because people associate party, this is poisoning their minds. Do you want to be a part of that? Honestly!?

In the last couple of weeks the media has covered these new converts from the right who are anxious to support Sanders. This migration will be very important for the left to win down ticket and it is actually part of my personal mission to find reasonable conversations for those on the right that are presently having a rude awakening about their own party. But ask yourself: How does a Regressive determine that (s)he is going to now not just move left, but move to the FAR left and work tirelessly for a far left agenda? The far left is where we, the most passionate and ardent liberals, live. The far left is where we fight for the environment. And Black Lives Matter. And LGBT rights. And women's rights. And education. And building a middle class. And voting rights. And sensible, compassionate immigration reform. I can see a handful of people having such a profound awakening. But it is more than a little curious to consider a rapid movement of an entire subsection of the Regressive Party into that realm. No?

I ask all of you who are in these groups, again, to spend time reflecting on the message you are receiving and what in the holy fuck will be gained from spending hours a day going back and forth with people who are only telling you to hate the candidates of your own party. If you want to vote for Bernie, I'm with you 100%.  I love him, too. Vote for him! But if you are going to sign a petition to say that you will refuse to vote for Hillary if she ends up winning in the primaries, I am here to tell you that you have absolutely NO INTEREST in a revolution. Because there is nothing revolutionary about pouting on election day. Is there?

We are presently battling to have health care. And exercise our Constitutional rights to get a goddamned medical procedure at Planned Parenthood (or anywhere else, for that matter). And create meaningful legislation around gun rights. And ensure no more Regressive nominees find their way to the Supreme Court. And build an inclusive society. Jesus Christ this list can go on for hours. My point is, ask these 'revolutionaries' about these topics. If you are a true Progressive, Liberal, Socialist, Democrat (I truly don't care what you call yourself as long as you comfortably sit here on the far left with me) I guarantee an introspective moment on the things they talk about will show you that their revolution will not do anything but hinder the things you have been passionate about and fighting for as long as you have been paying attention.

This movement can only create hardships for every candidate on the left next fall. How revolutionary! Are all of the things these signatories have been passionate about for so long and changes they know the country needs to have happen less important than a single candidate? The Supreme Court is not more important? Global diplomacy is not more important?

If you are already planning your temper tantrum on election day, that's on you. Remove me from your friends list. Kick me out of your group. And get the fuck out of my way because I have a lot to do and spending time trying to compel you to understand the importance of this election cycle is obviously just a waste of my time.

For any revolution, it will be an imperative for us to graciously welcome those from the center and the right over to the left. 

It will be equally important that we do not invite them to direct our narrative. 

If you can really #FeelTheBern then read the Revolt Against Plutocracy's first FAQ answer and reflect on what you are doing to HIS movement. Bernie is too nice to point out how destructive this campaign is or how questionable their motives are. I'm not.

Kiss Kiss...
The Mean Progressive

UPDATE: Within moments of my having posted this article I received this little gem on Twitter (notice that it was also sent to @berniesanders & @senWarren). Is this the type of person you want leading your revolution and taking your credit card information?

UPDATE: 3/29/16  I feel confident that Sanders is very much aware of this type of movement and he is taking it upon himself to exploit these bullies' motives. He seems to even be taking some of their moves. I am disheartened and disgusted by his childishness and if I end up having to support him in November, it will be with the least excitement I have worked for a campaign. And I worked for Kerry.