13TH

I just finished watching “13TH,” an incredible documentary by Ava DuVernay. It breaks down the long, painful history of racial oppression and mass incarceration in the U.S.

Seriously, if one film is “required viewing” to educate yourself on racial issues and how history has contributed to today’s climate, “13TH” is it.

Parties Evolve

I still see a handful of Republicans suggesting that Donald Trump isn’t a “real Republican.” But the party nominated him, so by definition, he is.

If you identify as a Republican and the party has drifted from your values, it’s you who’s not the “real Republican” now.

This is why I don’t like party loyalty or the two-party system we’ve established here in the United States. Parties evolve. Individuals evolve.

I consider myself a progressive and voted Democrat in November. But I don’t owe the Democratic Party anything. If the Democrats drift too far from my values, they lose my vote.

Thoughts On President-Elect Trump

Yesterday, we elected the most dangerous U.S. presidential candidate in modern history to the most powerful office in the world.

Donald Trump—a lifelong racist who wants to deport 11 million people on the grounds that Mexicans are “criminals and rapists,” ban Muslims from entering the United States, and appoint right-wing Supreme Court justices to overturn the decisions supporting marriage equality and women’s reproductive rights—will be our next president.

Trump’s entire campaign has revolved around bigotry. Us vs. them. Make America Great Again is a dog whistle slogan for white supremacy. Whatever minority group you happen to hate—black people, LGBTs, Mexicans, Muslims—Trump’s got you covered. And beneath the crunchy outer layer of hate is an ooey-gooey center of gross incompetence: no concrete policy positions, a long history of bankruptcies and monumental failures, and a lack of scientific literacy.

Today I’ve heard from more than a few people who fear for their rights and personal safety in Trump’s America. Children are being bullied. African Americans are being harassed. Gay people and Muslims are being violently attacked. Young women are being taught that a man can brag about committing sexual assault and then become fucking president.

If you voted for Donald Trump, you voted for racism, misogyny, homophobia, Islamophobia, xenophobia, and ignorance. Anyone who supports these ideals is fundamentally unwelcome in my life. Knowingly supporting a hateful white supremacist candidate who threatens the rights and safety of people I care about is a massive character flaw—one I will not tolerate. It’s not about politics—it’s about human decency. Supporting Donald Trump is indefensible.

By electing this guy, we’ve sent a clear message to women, people of color, immigrants, Muslims, and the LGBT community: you don’t matter.

In the aftermath of this disastrous election, it’s time for all of us to boldly stand up and let them know that they do matter. Complacency is no longer an option—we have just given ultimate power to a vengeful megalomaniac, and we cannot sit back and watch while he destroys everything that makes this country great.

I Voted

Today I officially cast my vote for Hillary Clinton, as well as a number of progressive down-ballot candidates. While not perfect, she represents the most progressive platform in DNC history, and electing her is how we keep a fascist out of the White House.

This election is important. If you’re thinking of sitting this one out, I implore you to reconsider.

You can register to vote, check your registration, or request an absentee ballot at Vote.org.

Capital Punishment Kills Innocent People

I am absolutely, unequivocally opposed to the death penalty. My reasoning is simple: capital punishment kills innocent people.

Don’t get me wrong. When I hear about guys like Pedro Alonso López, who raped and killed more than 300 South American girls—you know, basically the worst humanity has to offer—I want nothing more than to rid this world of the worthless scum that they are.

But, unfortunately, the death penalty is not perfect.

Last year, a study found that at least 4.1 percent of all defendants sentenced to death in the U.S. are innocent. That means four out of every hundred people executed in the United States are losing their lives for crimes they did not commit.

Wrongful conviction is a shitty situation regardless of the sentence, of course. But you can release someone from prison. You can’t dig up an innocent corpse and revive it.

By the way, I know someone reading this is thinking, “But it’s only 4.1 percent!” And that’s true, but think of it this way: what if one of those four people was your child, your mother, your spouse, or you? Suddenly those human lives mean something, don’t they?

This isn’t my only beef with capital punishment, but it’s the one that makes me unwilling to consider it as a part of any good justice system.

The Onion, Dishing Out Reality

This Onion headline speaks volumes:

‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens

From the article:

In the days following a violent rampage in southern California in which a lone attacker killed seven individuals, including himself, and seriously injured over a dozen others, citizens living in the only country where this kind of mass killing routinely occurs reportedly concluded Tuesday that there was no way to prevent the massacre from taking place.