I Am With You, France, No Matter Where I Choose To Live

Date: June 5th, 2017

Emmanuel Macron put this on his Facebook four days ago:

In pulling the U.S out of the Paris Accord, Trump quickly went from douchebag to dangerous. This is not a series of jokes. This is a series of hard blows against our integrity, safety, and capacity for compassion. And this is a big deal. A big, scary deal. Let yourself get scared by this. You are afraid because you are aware, and because you aware, you have the power to fix these problems, however daunting they are.

But the funny thing is, the worse it gets, the better my outlook is.

These are just the first few results I got from Googling “companies and mayors paris agreement:”

1. Bucking Trump, These Cities, States and Companies Commit to Paris Accord

2. PressTV-US cities, states, companies commit to Paris accord

3. US states and businesses will still meet Paris targets | Environment | The Guardian

4. Which Cities Have Pledged To Follow The Paris Agreement? Over 150 Mayors Have Agreed

(Please actually look at these links. I try to write about some good stuff, but I don’t know everything, so I cite people who know more than little old me. It’s educational, guys.)

This is happening, guys, gals, and non-binary pals.

Trump screwed up, and now, maybe because it falls on us no matter whether we accept it or not, we are taking charge. And then there’s my man Macron. He knows that the current President of the United States only represents a small but loud group whose headquarters lies in Trump’s hairy, wrinkly, orange armpit. He knows most U.S citizens share something powerful with most French citizens…and most Indian citizens, and most Chinese citizens, and most Japanese citizens, and most German citizens. There are going to be bad, sucky, horrendous people everywhere. No country is perfect. Not even Sweden. (However, Sweden is willing to admit it.) But there are also going to be good and great, innovative, kind people everywhere. Macron’s favorite type of person. Everywhere. Regardless of age, race, culture, sex and sexual orientation. It is all fine and nice to be patriotic, and it is wonderful to let the borders dissolve when we need to. Countries can be countries. We don’t have to try and build a world government (that would be disastrous). But countries and nations can and should work together without spite, because it is not the government or reputation that matters, it is the people. Every country holds people worthy of love within it. Not one country is better than another, not in that way.

The French spirit is the Brazilian spirit and the Morrocan spirit and the American spirit and the Bulgarian spirit and the Kenyan spirit and the British spirit. Because the best people share it no matter where they are. We are not our worst: The KKK, ISIL, Boko Haram, the Nazis – nope. And we are not our dictators. Saudi Arabia, the U.S, Russia…we pride ourselves on our best because we are forced to. We are not who is in charge.

Which brings me to Macron’s offer.

He asks the scientists, engineers, and designers of the U.S, the innovators fighting climate change in a sea of bullshit and hate, to come to work and live in France.

My point isn’t that I am not going to go to France ever. My point is that I am probably not going to France anytime soon.

I am a writer and designer, and I hope to own a bed-and-breakfast when I am older, so I may write and design when I want to as opposed to on a deadline. With that in mind, I can be relocated nearly anywhere, as long its pretty enough to support a cutesy bed-and-breakfast. And it is not as though I do not like France. I have never been there, but I have learned about the country from my French language class and – *sighs* – Google. It is very aesthetically pleasing, the schools are – generally – better, and they are prepared to deal with global warming. “As in the UK, France has adopted a series of carbon budgets with the first three running 2015-2018, 2019-2023 and 2024-2028. To meet its 2050 target the country needs to cut 9-10 megatonnes of carbon dioxide every year says the report, and cut energy emissions 96% by mid century.” From France delivers 2050 climate plan to UN.

But even though I can easily be picked up and plopped down somewhere else, there are still things I cannot control that keep me here. My parents need to be in Los Angeles for their work. Not only that. My school is here. And while the French education system might be better, this particular school I go to is one I’d miss. It is not traditional, very open, relaxed, and filled to the brim with use and value. How do you take a school with you on a plane? One of my favorite teachers just retired, but there are the students too, and my remaining wonderful teachers. My best friend moved away to Napa, and the other’s always busy – but Napa’s easier to visit than France! (Unless I kidnapped her and took her with me.) Then there’s my other friends, slowly becoming besties. I can’t make anybody move just because I want to. I suppose this is decision making, weighing the things in your life to help you decide what to do. But the decision isn’t only mine. As I may have mentioned, I have two parents I can’t get rid of until at least college. Each with their own lives, friends they won’t want to move away from, careers. Not too mention – we like our house. My house is a good one.

And then there’s the whole guilt/anger factor to moving away to “escape Trump.” Read: Movers And Shakers.

There is much to think about.

But if you do move, France is a great place to move to!

Maybe my family and I will move to France in a year. Two and a half years. Four years, after Trump is out of office anyways. Maybe we’ll move to Singapore, or Barcelona, or a part of Croatia. Maybe we’ll stay in the U.S.

But wherever we are, we will stand with France.

It is not one President we are fighting. It is a lack of progress. So whether you fight in the U.S or overseas, you are fighting with peace and love, and that is what matters.

I will stand with you, France. Stand with me?

#makeourplanetgreatagain

#vivelarevolutionforearth

Good luck, everybody.

It’s Not My Fault That I’m Optimistic About The Future!

Date: May 28th, 2017

The difference between daydreams and visions is that with one, you’re hallucinating.

There’s a lot going on right now. As John Oliver (whom I simultaneously think of as both the father I never had and the son I want) constantly stresses, each Trump headliner hides something even more sinister underneath its fifteen-second fame. This is not normal. And as I and many others have mentioned before, it is not just Trump – Trump is simply the amplifier. This is what we have to remember, getting rid of him will not magically solve all of our problems, but it will confuse and damage the ego of those currently being amplified, which will certainly make room for progress.

However, there’s an insane amount of obstacles in our way, the very least of which is a man who never ever gets in trouble no matter what he does or says. There is always some justification given to us. Between Trump and all the other problems we face, it’s hard to imagine that there could ever be a sunny day.

Yet even now, I have very specific, very positive daydreams about what the future will hold. And I don’t even try. They just are there for me to look at and hope for. Right now, I shall tell all of you about each daydream and how it could correspond to realistic progress:

1. The Frozen Yogurt Stop

The daydream always begins in a medium-size courtyard. Look forward, you see small trees – palm trees and Japanese maple – and benches everywhere. Look up and around, you see we are on a hillside, crowded with natural vegetation. Blue sky. The plants are relatively lush, but present a lighter green than most plants thought of as “lush,” such as the ones on the sides of freeways in New York, Washington, and Wisconsin. Look to the right, and you see a train stop. Fairly modern architecture. Open to the air. A basic white, block-like design with stripes and polka-dots added on in just the right size and amount for color. There’s only enough space for two trains right next to each other. One train is waiting. It is white, with blue and pink stripes flowing front to back. One of the wider blue stripes has the name of the train system on it: Dragons Of The Midwest. There is owl and eyeball art on the wall defining the barriers of the stop. Look to the left, and across the platform, you see an ice cream/frozen yogurt shop. It is narrow but wide, with its own seating area. The colors are blue and pink, again, but pastel this time. Flavors include vanilla, chocolate, and raspberry.

Correspondence: I have to talk about California, it’s where I live. And California actually gives us a good example of regional transport – there is a project coming up to spread high-speed rail throughout the state. The project “will eventually encompass over 800 miles of rail, with up to 24 stations. Because the project is so large, and will run through areas of the state with extremely different geographical, environmental and economic issues, the project has been broken into ten separate sections.” (From http://www.hsr.ca.gov.) Each section has to go through ecological “footprint” testing before construction can begin. The total project goes from Sacramento, and the Transbay Transit Center on a separate train line, down to San Diego. Impressive. But I said the Dragons operated in the Midwest. Turns out, there is an equivalent – actually, two: the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative and the Midwest High Speed Rail Association. Both are Midwestern train organizations set up to become major players in the U.S transport game, even as it evolves. Trains are thought to be the most environmentally conscious transportation option, and environmental consciousness is still rare in many states. The latter of the two is aptly tag-lined “Reinventing Travel. Reinventing The Midwest.” So guys – it’s your move! – get some fro-yo up in there.

2. The Spreadcity

The daydream starts up high, in an invisible helicopter (that is totally not realistic). We are slowly panning over one of those four-leaf-clover highway loops. The highway is an interstate highway, and right now, we are between northern Nevada, Idaho, and Utah – in Idaho, exactly. The highway has made minimal negative impact on the plain it lays over due to the way it was designed. The flowing golden grass gives the whole thing a shimmery effect. The city is essentially a rural county, but everything is modern and connected by bike paths and sleek, small roads. There should be at least one mile of natural space for every building. The only buildings right next to the highway are hospitals, malls, and one huge school that looks like a university except it functions for all grades.

Correspondence: Most of Idaho is already open country, so if one wanted to found a spreadcity, all they would need to do is connect a soon-to-be-not-county – anywhere, really – and create a system by which transportation is quick and efficient, and the governmental buildings and larger parks and service-buildings form a spreadcity center.

3. Sittyhils

Sittyhils are an original idea of mine – a particular type of arcology. The etymology of the word is “city + hill + fun way of spelling = sittyhil.” Sittyhils are basically huge cities, compacted and opened at different areas so they form a mountain-like structure. The idea was formed because I was thinking about Barcelona as it is described in this article: Built-Out Barcelona Makes Space for an Urban Forest. I was delighted, and began to wonder – what if some cities were made with this attitude in mind? What if cities no longer displaced wildlife, what if they just lifted it up? Bushes in the windows and on apartment decks, flowers on the outer walls. Cities are as tall as hills at their core, why not become hills? So dense, but so ecologically stable and positive, that it literally becomes Figure 1 – big, green, and gnarly.

Figure 1: Is this a bad drawing? Yes, yes it is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Correspondence: Barcelona is already doing a very good job of minimizing its negative environmental impact and encouraging biodiversity, as I mentioned. So is Singapore, with its National Biodiversity Centre, and Gardens By The Bay, and then there’s this: “We have recorded a total of 392 species of birds and at least 2,100 native vascular plants, of which more than 1,500 species are classified as extant in Singapore. Find out more about our Wildlife in Singapore and learn about the different Ecosystems that exist in Singapore.” (From https://www.nparks.gov.sg/biodiversity.) And just 1 day ago from the time of writing, the Straight Times reported that “NParks announced that over 500 species were discovered or rediscovered over the last five years in joint surveys with nature groups. The agency has also put the afterburners on its Species Recovery Programme, increasing the number of species to 94, up from 46 last year.” Cooooooool. Coincidentally (or not), Singapore and Barcelona are now my two favorite cities. I want to clone myself and send one of me to each city.

Everyone has dreams about what the future will be like. They hope, and hope is good, but they hope, thinking that it is hoping that will make the thing happen. We need more.

Here’s how I like to think of this type of situation.

You are standing in an empty plot of land. There is rope in front of you, going up into nowhere. You reach out and touch the rope, and suddenly you see visions of your dream house, the one to be built on that plot of land. Instead of standing there touching the rope, letting the visions cloud your senses, pull the rope down. It is taking a huge risk, something that is confirmed when you hear a huge crash as dimensions collide and your house becomes what is there. Instead of it floating up there in a cloud, you brought it down into the grit and crust and mantle. But it is worth it, for the house is just as wonderful as you knew it would be, and you were not inactive. You pulled down your rope.

Find your daydreams of the future.

Pull down your rope.

Make it happen.

Movers And Shakers

Date: April 26th, 2017

During the campaign period for the 2016 election, I heard the usual: “I’ll move if Trump wins.” Once he did – still sometimes sadly incomprehensible to me, that he won – those types of comments were seen as jokes. Often a plain case of “Oh, I changed my mind.”

Why? Why would so many people change their minds on such a pivotal thing without giving it much thought?

If they saw his victory as urgently, terrifyingly negative then (enough to move!), why do they not now? More has come out, if anything, he should be seen as worse!

There were about only 9 people, who actually moved out of the country, that have been mentioned by a major news source. (The BBC wrote this.) At least 20 people have moved in general. At least 20. As the BBC writes, one woman “is ‘totally heartbroken’ and had always thought she would raise her two daughters in the US.” These people, who moved, all have one thing in common – fear. Fear can be a good thing, or a bad thing. These people were heartbroken and afraid enough to move. When I say afraid enough to move…you’ll notice that this post is tagged with many tags, including the word “complacency.” I tag my posts with it quite a lot. It is a fantastic vocabulary word.

Definition by Merriam-Webster.

 

 

 

 

 

Complacency is a funny little state of being. And it is “the public” of any country or nation in one word. The truth is, with the United States of America in particular (it is where I – currently – live, after all), enough has been unearthed about the government and our societal practices that there should have been a full-scale rebellion a few years ago. We are lulled to sleep. For example, look up the phrase “will the Hunger Games ever happen” or some variant on your preferred search engine. Most articles that answer this question end with “Probably not.” The common explanation is that as a species, which has many societal gains to back up our inborn humanity, we simply wouldn’t let it happen. But the people of the Capitol are just as emotional and sentimental as we are. They’re just more tolerant. Every good or bad idea will be opposed at first. But depending on who they idea panders to, soon, it will gain traction. ISIS (ISIL, DAIISH, etc) is doing a more modern and therefore more aggressive version of what the Christians did back in the old days to become a major religion. Unless we deal with it now (and in the correct way! It is an ideology, not an army), it will morph into common culture. There are always going to be people who will resist the public processes and ideas, but in today’s culture, they are conspiracists and harmless rebels who hide themselves in their run down house, hoarding newspapers and food. Once the snowball gets to a certain size, it will get bigger and bigger without encouragement from the person who started the roll down the hill. Sneak the snowball in without people knowing, and the people will except the snowball as one of their own. Eventually, everything becomes accepted.

Heartbreak and fear are two good ways to break out of the cycle of complacency.

So it appears that most of us are not sufficiently heartbroken and afraid.

Why the hell not?

LISTEN. 

Poverty is rampant. It has been normalized, and yet the impoverished people themselves have been alienated, to the point where you are taught to ignore and avoid, ignore and avoid. Homeless people are scary, and yet simultaneously, dirty and broken little humanoid sacks of meat bent on destroying your nice white picket fence. We think of them as bad pieces of furniture. They ruin our views. Even those who sympathize with them stay away from them. I sure do. And sure, mentally unstable people are dangerous to be around, but we act as if every homeless person is dangerous. We do nothing. When they ask, we act as if we have nothing.

We already lived in a dystopia before Drumpf was elected.

People with darker skin or the “wrong” facial features face humiliation and a higher chance of dying every day.

We noticed it. We pretended to cry over the fallen.

It is seen as bad to be a woman. By default. Without evidence to suggest that this is correct.

And yet we do nothing.  

Gender has become two neat little boxes we’re all supposed to fit in. To the point of abuse.

We are awARE WE?

Wake up.

Wake up now.

The revolution. I am not the stereotypical rebel. I am blonde, hazel-eyed, already 5’1 and I use a wheelchair. Adorable. Short. Smart. I’ve got glasses. And I’m a pacifist. I can never remind you people enough. To clarify, I am not a passive person. I made a promise once to never kill, and to never let anyone die.

The revolution is now.  

Moving…is not the right move. You’ll hear of a few celebrities who weren’t “kidding” about moving out of the country, but had decided to stay and fight.

The revolution has become a trend, of 15-second fame.

TRY TO FIGHT BUT FAIL. TRY TO RISE BUT SLEEP. BE LULLED TO SLEEP.  

If you are one of those who decided to stay and fight…FIGHT. Maybe not physically. But don’t just post on your favorite website. Don’t just use that hashtag. I don’t encourage you to damage the personal property of the innocent, but have an affect!

You may be thinking, as a close friend or Facebook user my mom knows, how dare I accuse you of being complacent? How dare I preach?

Well…I apologize.

We are all complacent. And it is time to break down the wall. Not just poke small dents into it.

BREAK IT DOWN.

You’re going to drive down your lane in your car listening to your music doing your business…having done nothing to solve the problems that need it most.

If History Is Going To Repeat Itself, Then History Has To Repeat Itself…

Date: March 18, 2017

Am I a huge nerd, being heavily influenced by my history class? Yeah.

Trump is driving us backwards. Whether you think this is a good thing or a bad thing doesn’t matter. It’s…literally…just…true. He’s going to erase years of hard work. I have this theory that true genius doesn’t really exist. In my opinion, even “smart” is just a label. There are people, just people, and then there are good ideas. “Smart” is simply what happens when a person has more good ideas at a higher rate. One man – who does not have many good ideas – is prepared to destroy all that the good idea people have done.

How do we respond?

By taking a page from the book of those good idea people who came before us.

If Trump wants to take away women’s rights, we have to remind ourselves, those behind the women’s suffrage movement had it worse, fought harder, and came out on top. Susan B. Anthony was raised as a Quaker, and was an abolitionist as well as a feminist. Trump wants to go back to the days when Boss Tweed and his ring went unchecked. (Ironically, I doubt he’s read any history books.) Well, after a closer look at this little ring, with help from Thomas Nast, they ended up arresting Tweed (who was a very interesting man, by the way). John Laurens, years and years and years before the Civil War even started, was a white man in Carolina, critical of slavery. (You may know him from Hamilton.) Theodore Roosevelt is on my list of “Presidents that deserve to be given a third and fourth (etc) term and/or brought back to life,” that also includes Lincoln, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and the Obamas. Teddy did the most for conservation out of all the Presidents (he once went camping with John Muir), and once said this: “The most practical kind of politics is the politics of decency.” The anti-Trump. We need another Teddy. Or Eleanor. Or FDR. #makeamericarooseyagain The thing is, a lot of the earlier Presidents were great. Ahead of their time. It’s just that generally, the culture of white men hadn’t quite gotten there yet.

If they’re moving backwards, we will too.

If the bad parts of history are going to repeat themselves, then the good parts of history have to repeat themselves as well.

Do your history homework.

Take a lesson from the past.

And do good.

A Letter From The U.S. To Her Citizens

Featuring original art.

Date: March 6th, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear – it’s only appropriate that I call you all this – Lovely Children Of Mine,

Being a single mother does not excuse what I’ve done, it does not excuse how bad of a mother I’ve been.

I am white. I am straight. I am cis. I am a woman. I am able-bodied. So many of my children have it worse – in way, yes, it is worse – than I do because of me.

I was born out of an angry three-way Spain had with England and France. I was very dysfunctional as an infant. I had difficulty understanding empathy.

I have been sexist.

I have been homophobic, and transphobic, and even, in my earlier years, Irish-phobic.

I have been racist.

I have been cruel.

And there is some sort of illness I have, similar to lycanthropy or alcoholism, where sometimes – most of the time in some places, almost never in others – I still am this way. This relapse happens often. But do I let it define me? Do I let it define us?

That is the philosophical argument I wake up every morning with.

The other countries hate me. I understand where they’re coming from. I’ve considered killing myself, ripping myself apart from the inside out, to save you, my children. The reason I don’t may be as simple as cowardice, but I like to think I have some future…out there…somewhere.

There’s no justification for all I’ve done. And I know that being aware of all that I’ve done doesn’t make it any better. I have to be cured of this.

There’s no way I can’t be defined as sexist, racist, cruel…broken. And this, my children, is why I wake up wondering if it’s worth it to try and make a new name for myself. Can I truly get better? With Dopleed Nurmp as President? With anybody as President? Can any President be a true cure? No one person can change me, even surrounded by good people who try their hardest, I’m still…like this. But I think, it’s because they’re not really trying their hardest to help me, and I’m not really trying my hardest to change. Even the Obamas, who worked their butts off (they actually gave me hope for the future!), couldn’t accomplish as much as if…everyone cared more. Cared enough to not just repost on social media. Cared enough to actually protest against, well, me, whenever I relapse. Cared enough to break the cycle of complacency. My children, you see my problems, my flaws, the truly bad ones, and you say, “Tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll deal with her.” And I do not blame you at all, the fact is, I blame myself, but don’t you need me intact? Don’t you feel you should assist me in my rehabilitation? I cannot express how truly sorry I am, but I cannot function alone, I cannot feel sorry – I cannot feel anything – if I am not in a safe, welcoming space.

Oh, but here I go again, finding some excuse, someone other than I to blame, finding some reason to give me a “safe, welcoming space.” I was heartless – I still am! I do not deserve such a space! I need to do some growing up!

Children, I must ask that you lead the way. I do not suffice. You have to be a citizen of the world, not just of me. You have to love, and love more, and love even more. You have to think rationally and hopefully and intelligently and honestly. You must get better, so I can follow. You have to be architects and poets and activists and you have to disregard and go around the stupid white people, all the while enlisting the smart ones for help. You have to believe in yourself and care about yourself and be yourself and no one else.

Please.

I can’t fall apart more than I already have. I can’t lose you more than I already have.

And here we walk into the dark chaos ahead of us, fully aware of the danger…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sincerely,

The U.S.A

. . .

A note from ZMKF (who really wrote that letter): One of the best ways I express myself is through music. I am an expert playlist-maker. Here is my Trump coping playlist: Fuckface Von Clownstick. And here is the U.S.A’s “The U.S. Is Sorry/Strong” playlist: The U.S Is Sorry/Strong.

The Futuristic World: There Are Two Options Left For Us, As Far As I Can Tell

Date: February 21th, 2017

The Futuristic World: The world of the future will be a complex one, regardless of whether you are an optimist or a pessimist. Technology – a big pixelated hand of man created to do what man wants, evolving before our very eyes – and nature – the elements of the universe, or multiverse, the never-blank slate we were born into and have been toying with ever since, the illusion of a God, the methodology of being born to run and made to work – must find a perfect equilibrium for Homo sapiens (and the other species born on Earth, as they are no less important) to survive. We must help that process.    

According to http://ridesharechoices.scripts.mit.edu, “carpooling first became prominent in the United States as a rationing tactic during World War II. It returned in the mid-1970s due to the 1973 oil crisis and the 1979 energy crisis. At that time the first employee vanpools were organized at Chrysler and 3M.” (Exact phrasing of the information presented taken from the Wikipedia page “Carpool.”)

Carpool lanes, as a concept, were accepted world-wide for two reasons.

1. Everybody hates traffic.

2. To cut carbon emissions.

The latter is kind of a big deal, because everyone has carpool lanes in their cities, even in the South of the United States.

Carpool lanes do help cut carbon emissions, not by much, but it’s the little things that count, and we’ve packaged them as something that everybody can enjoy, even those who don’t believe global warming is a real problem! Everybody hates traffic. Emphasis on everybody. The pill in the peanut butter is a tactic my mom uses to feed my dog her medicine. My dog needs the medicine, but she sure as hell doesn’t like it. This is how we fix the world. Think about Republicans, conservatives – people who stereotypically deny the truth. (This isn’t a behavior all Republicans have in common.) Democrats and liberals do it too, except it is more insidious, because they’re supposed to be “correct.” Ask an average Southerner if they’re willing to do anything about global warming, racism, or gun control, and you are sure to get a “Expletive no, you expletive expletive.” People like this are so stuck in their ways that the only way to get them to help – and with the bigger problems, we need everybody working to solve them – is to trick them.

We are in dire need of solutions.

The Doomsday Clock is a scientifically accepted method for predicting when the world will end.

This is the timeline: Doomsday Clock Timeline.

Yep – two minutes (two and a half minutes, actually) left. (It would do you some good to research this “clock” extensively, it’s very educational, and surprisingly hopeful, in the sense that they believe taking action would help at all.) The factors the clock counts include nuclear weaponry, climate change, and bio-security. “Two minutes” left on this clock isn’t literally 120 seconds, but it’s still plenty worrisome, as it was 17 minutes to midnight in only 1995 – this clock doesn’t necessarily rely on time. Instead, it calculates risk. The closer to midnight, the bigger chance of disaster striking at any moment. (See the Doomsday Dashboard for the main information the clock uses for its calculations.) The clock isn’t always accurate, but almost nothing is, and this is one of the most reliable sources in the world, created by top scientists, some of whom worked on the Manhattan project.

This clock shouldn’t paralyze you with fear.

It is the inaction of being paralyzed, by any feeling – fear, sadness, rage, embarrassment – that is the true danger. If these problems deter you emotionally, you should work even harder to solve them, rather than retiring into nonintervention.

We’ve got two main options left, if we want to re-wind the clock:

1. A “City Of Ember” (written by Jeanne DuPrau) thing. Move underground. Destroy the aboveground power plants, dams, and cities, and leave the Earth to the animals, plants, and weather patterns for at least 200 years. Come back out when the time is right, and begin again.

2. A massive change to the way people think. Less procrastination. Less complacency. More thinking, more doing. Kindness and intelligence being priorities. Weird ideas – attaching microbes to fish teeth so fish can eat materials found in trash, maglev trains, apps meant to maximize philosophical thinking – that are so “far out” they just might work.

REWIND THE CLOCK.

Native Americans*: We Screwed Up Big Time And I For One Apologize Sincerely

* And Descendants Of Said People

Date: January 23rd, 2017

The United States has so much potential to do good. We’re growing, slowly, getting better, even slower. I wouldn’t want to bomb this country into oblivion. And I don’t want to “leave the country if you don’t like it!”

But I’m white. And yes, I’m agender and female (gender and sex are different), asexual-panromantic, and a wheelchair user – don’t ask, that’s for another blog post, but the fact is, I have white privilege. “My people” hold the highest positions in nearly everything, and society praises them as superior. Even a homeless man looks more “pleasant” if he’s white, as opposed to black, brown, or frickin purple. “Your people” are scattered throughout the country, viewed as powerless although I know that is not true, made to live like illegal immigrants when really it was us who came in unwanted.

So maybe, I only think things are going well is because of my whiteness. Maybe I’m biased because I’m not treated like crap every day. I’ve got a great life, when I think about it. Great school. Really great family and friends. Great social situation. I’m…great. I’m so great that I’ve used the word great six – no, seven – times in this paragraph. Great. (Eight.)

When you guys first got here, you crossed the Bering Strait – maybe as early as 22,000 years ago – which disappeared after the Ice Age ended, leaving you to adapt to each environment you encountered. (You even learned how to hunt woolly mammoth – a pre-historic elephant-like creature with too much hair, and an attitude.)

You went from north to south, and developed into the American Tribes, as well as the Olmec, Maya, Aztec, and Inca. You lived on cliff sides and in canyon bottoms, and you had a multi-story buildings, and underground ceremonial chambers. You had complex governments, empires spanning thousands of miles, and I’m not even surprised about any of this. Of course, you’re just people, no one culture gets everything right, but you were fantastic. Better than we were. The more I read about you guys, the more “Sh*****t, we f*cked up!” is uttered from my mouth. I even made a playlist to express how sorry I am: I’m SO Sorry – from, Whitey. But I know my awareness doesn’t excuse anything.

So what can I do? To make it up to you, or, if it’s unforgivable, to prove that I would to make it up to you if that were possible?

It’s plain and simple that my ancestors were not involved. We came later, from Germany and Greece. But I still feel partly responsible. Is that weird?

Let’s have a thoughtful discussion about this.

This isn’t so I can feel better about myself. This is so I can make the world a better place.

What can I do?

I’m not willing to “fight” hard, but I am willing to write hard. I’m a writer. I wasn’t at the marches last Saturday because I was busy thinking up how to write this effectively. And writing, drawing, painting, works.

Now.

How may I be of service to the great number of communities we utterly destroyed?

HOW Would The GGPC Replace The Electoral College?

Date: January 6th, 2017

First of all: This is my first blog post after New Year’s Eve, so belated Happy New Years to you all.

And second of all: This is my second post on the Governmental Genocide Prevention Council (GGPC). In my first, I introduced the idea and fleshed it out a little. It’s a new idea, so it’s not like I have an official document typed up yet, but I do my best to make it “make sense.” You should read the first one (link here: The Electoral College Voted (Dec 19th), And…), otherwise you won’t understand what the heck I’m talking about.

Basically, the GGPC would replace the Electoral College. But the Electoral College is a very complex thing to replace. It is simple enough to explain, but if someone told me they had a plan to replace it, I’d ask “How?” and I have a feeling you’re wondering that same thing. HOW would the GGPC replace the Electoral College? How would the responsibilities transition from one group to the other?

If God is in the detail, congratulations, we’re the lucky few about to have tea with God.

I’d call this “The Basic Concept, Part 2”:

The Electoral College is responsible for preventing the rise of a demagogue, and even those few who refuse to believe that any U.S politician counts as one say that the Electoral College is a plain old “shit shield” (my term) for the election. Both things are true, technically. Alexander Hamilton once said “Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption. These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches from more than one quarter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union? But the convention have guarded against all danger of this sort…” He was speaking directly about the Electoral College. And Hamilton? He don’t kid around. (Ask Lin-Manuel Miranda.) According to archives.gov, “the United States Constitution and Federal law do not prescribe the method of appointment other than requiring that electors must be appointed on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November (November 8, 2016). In most States, the political parties nominate slates of electors at State conventions or central committee meetings. Then the citizens of each State appoint the electors by popular vote in the state-wide general election. However, State laws on the appointment of electors may vary.” The Electoral College is not a particular place of meeting, it is a process, administered by “The Office of the Federal Register at the National Archives and Records Administration.” There are 538 electors, and 270 electoral votes is a majority.

One important thing to remember is that once the Electoral College votes (and it has, for the 2016 Presidential election), it’s still not over. It goes to Congress next. And Congress can file complaints. According to archives.gov, “If any objections to the Electoral College vote are made, they must be submitted in writing and be signed by at least one member of the House and one Senator. If objections are presented, the House and Senate withdraw to their respective chambers to consider their merits under procedures set out in federal law.”

Alas, the Congress is mainly Republican, at least so far, and January 6th is…today. So I guess that’s that. It’s over now.

At least officially.

But not with the GGPC.

The concept, as it relates to the replacement process, is this:

1. The GGPC would screen the candidates, like the Electoral College. Unlike the Electoral College (you’ll remember this from my first GGPC post!), the GGPC would contain “at least three of each: diplomats focused on the overall wellbeing of the country/nation as well as the relations of the country/nation with other countries, humanists focused on the wellbeing of a previously or currently oppressed group as well as any group who is urgently and negatively affected by prejudice, environmentalists focused on maintaining a healthy and stable environment as well as removing dangers caused by environmental disasters/contamination, and finally, intellectuals focused on the overall effects of each Presidency as well as upholding the dignity and reputation of a country or nation.” They would therefore screen based on their own qualities: diplomatic and critical thinking, kindness, intelligence and scientific thinking, and logical thinking would need to be obviously and strongly present in a candidate for them to even be considered, and the opposites of those qualities would need to be largely absent.

2. The screening would continue into the candidate’s Presidency, if elected. This isn’t too hard to visualize, the GGPC would stay behind the scenes, they wouldn’t run the country, they would simply take a page from the UN’s book, and make any effort possible to remove a leader showing signs of the opposites (see 1).

And that was “The Basic Concept, Part 2.”

The Electoral College Voted (Dec 19th), And…

Date: December 20th, 2016

…I’m disappointed, to say the least.

This is the loss on the night of November 8th, 2016, all over again.

The Electoral College behaved like any student at an actual college might: irresponsibly, immaturely, and dangerously.

But this ain’t over till it’s over.

We should end the Electoral College. (The New York Times agrees with me, and they can write about this in better depth than I can, so I suggest you read this: Time to End the Electoral College) This is ironic – my mother Diana is the creator of the “Prosecute Trump for illegal offenses before the Dec. 19 Electoral College Vote” petition. I know I’m not supposed to think my mom is cool, but I have to say, this is one of the coolest things she’s ever done. Her petition is different from the thousands of other variations that are out there, partly because it highlights one very important piece of information: the Electoral College was created to stop the rise of a demagogue. The Founding Fathers did doubt the collective intelligence of the people of the United States (that’s why we have a representative democracy); they must have somehow known that a demagogue would find it easy to manipulate most of the population, especially at a time when not many people could even read. A demagogue is defined as “a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument.” This is all true. To be honest, I am currently just as big a fan of the petition as I was before December 19, but sadly, the Electoral College has not fulfilled their purpose.

However, I feel that ending the Electoral College without putting another thing in place would 1) alter the structure of the electoral system, and 2) leave no system to prevent the rise of a demagogue.

The GGPC: Instead of ending the Electoral College and then just leaving what happens next to chance, we replace it with the “Governmental Genocide Prevention Council.” This is my original idea and I am proud of it. It is a new idea, I don’t have it all fleshed out, but the gist is this:

– According to Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the link goes to the full text of the Genocide Convention), genocide means “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.” (Article II)

– Genocide is a signal of the downfall of a society and/or empire. It is true that a group can bounce back from a genocide over long periods of time, depending upon factors such as the amount of people in the group left over after, but the fact that a genocide has been allowed to take place means that there is something already wrong with the social system in place.

– Genocide is arguably the worst thing that could happen to a society and/or empire, excluding purely environmental destruction. Any measure that can be taken to prevent it should be taken to prevent it.

– A demagogue in power should be considered an immediate violation of the rules laid out in the Genocide Convention. According to Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, even the attempt to commit genocide, complicity in genocide, and conspiracy to commit genocide can be punished (Article III), and “persons committing genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in article III shall be punished, whether they are constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals.” (Article IV) This means that in the event that President-elect/President Trump (or anyone like him) is constitutionally responsible, the GGPC could remove him from office on account of potential violations. (Trump is currently not accused of genocide.)

– The Governmental Genocide Prevention Council would replace the Electoral College, and act as a much needed upgrade. The GGPC would have a very similar purpose (to prevent the rise of a demagogue; to prevent genocide on the behalf of a country/nation via the careful selection of its leader), but the differences include: A) an absolutely equal number of people from each political party – eg. Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, etc, B) an equal, unbiased playing field in terms of gender/race/age, and C) at least three of each: diplomats focused on the overall wellbeing of the country/nation as well as the relations of the country/nation with other countries, humanists focused on the wellbeing of a previously or currently oppressed group as well as any group who is urgently and negatively affected by prejudice, environmentalists focused on maintaining a healthy and stable environment as well as removing dangers caused by environmental disasters/contamination, and finally, intellectuals focused on the overall effects of each Presidency as well as upholding the dignity and reputation of a country or nation.

So that’s the basic concept.

Remember, this is my original idea, and as I am sure I will keep updating this idea with new information and/or new additions to the idea itself, here is the link to the GGPC category on my blog: Governmental Genocide Prevention Council

I Am An Absolute Pacifist…Even During A Crisis

Date: December 16th, 2016

I am an absolute pacifist. (I love making playlists, so I made one for absolute pacifism: I Am An Absolute Pacifist on Spotify. Music is an excellent way to express the deepest of emotions.)

For anyone technical enough to want the exact definition of the word, the definition of “pacifist” is “someone opposed to violence as a means of settling disputes” according to vocabulary.com, and dictionary.com defines it as “a person who believes in pacifism or is opposed to war or to violence of any kind.”

I care about everyone. I am emotional. I find killing to be an unjustifiable, yet forgivable, act. I am just as “pragmatic” as anyone – I am an intellectual, and a philosopher, and that doesn’t mean I can’t be a fighter (to me, being an absolute pacifist means I will never kill anyone, but there’s still a multitude of painful things I can do to a person if necessary). I understand about “doing what needs to be done” – it is simply that I have found that there is never only one way to get it done.

The reason I write about all this now is because this past Wednesday, I had my last Model UN class of the semester. We talked about what’s been going on in Aleppo, Syria (obviously) and what happened in Rwanda a while ago (our Model UN class often goes historical, possibly so we have the benefit of discussing things in retrospect). We talked about political turmoil, and the causes and effects of it.

The teacher brought up an interesting hypothetical situation. She told us to imagine these events, in order: 1. Suddenly, a majority of U.S citizens cannot find jobs. 2. The economy goes downhill, and even those who have jobs leftover from before begin to lose money. 3. Welfare and other “poverty buffers” start to lose their power. 4. Food, shelter, and any form of stability become rare to all U.S citizens, except for the elite; just as rare.

The teacher then asked us to describe what would happen to society. (It was, and still is, my personal opinion, that nothing would happen to us per se, we would all just become libertarian farmers. Think of it this way: we all need food. So food needs to be farmed. Even if something was wrong with the food, it would be someone’s job to fix whatever’s wrong.) A consensus of opinion among the class was that “shit would hit the fan.” Utter chaos would ensue, and the U.S would become an abrasive, hostile environment (if it isn’t already). U.S citizens would “go back to nature” in the worst way possible – starving, desperate, and afraid, we would lose empathy for others and become not “humans” but “Homo sapiens sapiens” – the difference between the two, my friends, is that one is our name, and one is the name of a species of creature. (And just now I realize – crap, that is exactly what would happen!) A creature who not only kills for food, but kills those who have food to take it from them. A creature who succumbs to revenge until there is nothing left. A creature who sees their own world as the only world there is.

I spoke up. I said, as a sort of argument against the idea that every person would turn into this creature, “A few years ago, I made a promise. The promise was to never kill anyone, and to never let anyone die. It was a fail-safe mechanism. Even if I forgot why I made that promise, even if I ‘wasn’t myself,’ I would remember the promise itself. With that in mind, I doubt I would succumb to that kind of behavior.”

And almost everyone in that class proceeded to chime in with some variation of “You can’t do that.”

Mmmm.

Yes I can.

One girl was very polite about it. She was very careful to mention that “I don’t really know for sure what you would do because I’m not you,” but the basis of her argument was a non-verbal “Yes, I do know what you would do because you’re only human and you can’t escape that.” (Try me.)

The most common argument against my being a pacifist in times of crisis was that “a crisis is a crisis and you can’t think it away.” Growing up, I was always told to write like the person reading has no idea what you’re talking about, so – what they mean is that when you’re starving, desperate, and afraid, you lose the ability to think rationally. They’re saying I might be an intellectual now, viewing the situation from outside, but if I were experiencing it, I would behave differently from what I think, because what I think I would do has no bearing on what I would actually do.

That’s what the fail-safe promise is for.

I know that crises tend to push people to the brink. I know that prolonged crises can change people to a point where it’s hard to go back to their “standard” form. I know that I could be fine today but dangerously mentally ill tomorrow. And for crying out loud, I know that people tend to look out for themselves only when it comes down to it!

But you know what else I know?

I know that “morality” isn’t just some philosopher’s concept floatin’ up there in the ether. It is right here, right now. Empathy is your ability to recognize that yeah, other people’s lives suck too. You lose that; you become…scary. Let me give you all an example:

Zombie apocalypse. You and your group are wandering the streets, properly armed, yet in need of food. Your best friend’s little brother has a fever, and all the medicine has been contaminated, so he needs a little extra food if he’s going to make it through the coming winter. You come across another group, and you recognize the leader. This guy bullied you when you were in high school together. He’s still a bit of a dick, you can tell. And they’ve got all the food you need, plus a little more. You want their food and whatever supplies they have, but you know you can’t share, and you don’t want anyone trailing you looking to get back what you took from them. So after some consideration, you decide to kill almost all of them – or at least try and leave some of them for dead – but spare the little girl.

Sounds viable?

Okay, now read this excerpt, from the little girl’s POV, an hour after:

. . .

I shake Mommy’s shoulder. “Mommy, mommy, wake up!”

She doesn’t wake up. Her skin feels cold. I try again, and again, no results. I notice the dark red marks all over her chest, and remember what the man who left with all our things said: “Hey, kid…we only did it cause we had to. You’ll understand when you’re older.” Did what, did what, what did they do? Did they send Mommy, and Georgie, and Sam up where Grandpa went last year?

They did.

Mommy, Georgie, Sam, Wendy, Michael…no one responds when I call their name. Why let me stay here? My mother, my brother, everyone who took care of me, I needed them to help me, I needed them to give me hugs and tell me everything’s going to be okay, and now their skin is cold and they can’t say anything anymore.

What will I understand when I’m older? That everyone I loved is worth less than a few strangers?

. . .

This girl will take one item off each body left behind, a trinket or bandana or scrap of fabric, use her sewing needle and thread to put them all together – it is her hobby, after all – and then head off to the west with the memorabilia in tow. She won’t come across any humans for three more days, during which she will discover 1) she’s a good squirrel huntress, and 2) she’s afraid of the dark. She is 4 now. At 16, after all the zombies are gone and humanity is (relatively) safe again, she will give herself little scratches on her arms, hating herself for not remembering what her mother was like.

I’m not saying that “a few strangers” (the little girl’s name for your group) deserved to starve to death. I’m not saying that one little kid, the brother or the girl, was more important than the other. I’m saying…empathy, my friends, is here and now, it is no fairytale. The little brother and the little girl are both very human, and they both have their own unique perspectives.

It is time you realize that if you’ve got a little brother, someone is the little girl.

I am against the death penalty. Most often related specifically to the death penalty, another argument against absolute pacifism is that I “don’t know what really happened.” This is bullcrap. (I would say the s word, but children are watching.) Yes, I love to educate myself, I love to learn, and I do need to learn more, but not for that reason! I know what happened! Morgan Geyser (didn’t kill anyone but tried, very nearly succeeded), Austin Myers (technically did not kill, helped to kill), Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (yes, he killed, very directly) – all these people – I know what they did! I know what happened! I know, I know, I know, I know!

I will remember my promise. I will tattoo the promise on my frickin arm if I have to. I will never kill anyone, or let anyone die.

I will always be an absolute pacifist.