Diversity and multiculturalism

img_7070I ran the NYC marathon last weekend. It was amazing. My fourth marathon, and although it was my second best time, it was my favorite race in so many ways. My family came for the trip, and jumped from subway to subway to follow me along the course, and it was the perfect day for a marathon: bright and sunny, cool temps (low 50s), and no wind at all. Of course, my mind always comes back to the topics of Hitting Bregma, and my time in NYC was no different.

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So much happening, so little to say (another grab bag)

I’ve been neglecting this outlet in favor of Facebook and Twitter these days. I think it’s mostly because I’m spread so thin on my outrage about things, that I can’t decide which of the many things bothering me deserves a whole entry here. Like before, it’s deserving of a Grab Bag kind of post, just to get it all out there.

A Migrant Caravan Is Coming For Your Children!!!

Honduras sounds like a frightening place to live. The State Department has a travel advisory that recommends not travelling (at all) to Gracias a Dios Department (the Honduran equivalent of a state) due to crime. Needless to say, people from Honduras who aren’t criminals, want out. Thus, a group of migrants, mostly on foot, has started the slow march from Honduras to the United States, with the hope of being taken in as refugees/asylum-seekers. Reporters from various outlets are traveling with them (likely sleeping in better hotels, and riding in comfort instead of walking the whole way). Interviews with them are heartbreaking. They talk about needing to travel in a large group like this to avoid kidnappings that they fear if travelling alone.

When it’s thought of that way (which is how I see it), my reaction isn’t just to let them in, but to send some blankets and maybe an army of busses to give them rides. In the spirit of being a Bartlet Democrat, it reminds me of the first episode of the West Wing, when Cubans are thought to be floating on makeshift rafts on their way to the shores of the United States. The staff members are looking for ways to help them, going as far as saying that if we “suspected” (with a wink) they had drugs, “wouldn’t we have to to out there and search those rafts with, you know, guns and blankets?”

But, instead, in Fox News world, led by the President of the United States, they are something to be feared. Trump Jr tweeted, “The caravan thing is an obvious political stunt, but what better way to get terrorists into the country than imbed them in the flood?”

 

And the President tweeted:

“Sadly, it looks like Mexico’s Police and Military are unable to stop the Caravan heading to the Southern Border of the United States. Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in. I have alerted Border Patrol and Military that this is a National Emergy [sic]. Must change laws!”

The President doesn’t have to alert Border Patrol and the Military that there’s an emergency, those groups, and the intelligence community inform the President that there’s an emergency. It’s not like he was out there on his own learning about this group of people, and tipped off the rest of the country that they were coming.

Tree Of Life Synagogue 

The rhetoric and fear-mongering over the caravan of migrants did not stop, and the conspiracy that they are funded by Soros and by leftist organizations was meaningful enough to Robert Bowers, a 46-year old truck driver. He listened to the stories, stories perpetuated by Trump and his supporters, that George Soros (the new “Rothschild” boogeyman for antisemites). Stories that Soros is funding the caravan, and stories that the caravan represents a threat. His response to this was to kill Jews, while they were at Temple.

Many on the right have worked hard to distance Trump from the shooting, and have raised the comparison between the Sanders supporter, James Hodgkinson, who shot Congressman Scalise. The interwebs were flooded with statements that Trump is no more responsible for the deaths at the Tree of Life Synagogue than Sanders was responsible for the shooting of Scalise. Although I completely agree that Robert Bowers, and Robert Bowers alone, is responsible for the shooting in Pittsburg, I also think that if Trump had any sense of caring and compassion, he would worry that his words were part of what inspired the shooting. Trump specifically said that he won’t turn down the rhetoric, but instead will ramp it up. That’s not how a kind caring person responds to a murder event targeting people that kind caring person blamed for our problems. Contrast Trump’s response with that of Sanders. Sanders was clearly upset that anybody supporting him would do something like Hodgkinson did. He gave a floor speech condemning it. Watch here.

In other statements he showed remorse that any of his positions could have fueled the shooting. There was a sense of caring and concern.

That is not what we saw from Trump.

Pipe Bombs In The Mail

In the days before the Tree of Life Shooting, a man name Cesar Sayoc was arrested for sending pipe bombs in the mail to high profile democrats and to the office of CNN. Nobody was hurt, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, George Soros, Maxine Waters, Joe Biden, Cory Booker, James Clapper, John Brennan, Robert De Niro, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Eric Holder were all targeted.

Trump blamed the media.

 

The problem with showmen

I’m fascinated by people like Ben Shapiro. He’s smooth, well-spoken, and he gets up on a stage and rattles off stuff like it’s all real. He has a strong following on social media, and conservatives seem to love him. I watch his videos from time to time, not necessarily videos that he posts, but videos of him, and I’m taken by some common themes. Let’s use this one as an example, after the fold.

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No more experts!

Image result for john brennan

I do not like politics of fear. I do not like making policies based on fear. I do not like using fear to play with people’s emotions. But, I am afraid. Genuinely afraid. I see a willful erosion of expertise in this country, and I fear the consequences will be worse than we can imagine. This is not a new feeling, but the removal of Brennan’s security clearance made it especially salient this morning. I recognize that this is a punitive act, and not directed at his expertise, but it’s all part of a bigger problem from my perspective.

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Suicide

In the past week, two famous people died by suicide. This is not the first, nor the last time that a celebrity will take his or her own life. As humans, in our culture, we feel sad about this. When it is a celebrity, we feel sad because we feel a connection to celebrities, and it is as if we lost somebody we knew, even if we didn’t really know the person. For some celebrities, especially those who are still making music or art or film or theater, we feel a justified loss because we know that we lost the chance to ever hear a new song by Prince, or see (or own) a new design by Kate Spade, or learn about a new fascinating place by Anthony Bourdain. It seems reasonable to be sad about that, even if it’s not the loss of somebody who is in our real lives. Suicide is complicated though, and I have very mixed feelings about it, and my thoughts aren’t entirely consistent with each other, but like other things I write about, I find it a bit cathartic to put pen to paper (fingers to keyboard) and try to flesh things out a bit. The relative anonymity, and low volume traffic of this site of mine helps bring out the honesty too. Here goes…

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Politics and brand loyalty

I spend a lot of time writing about politics, thinking about politics, and conversing about politics in person and on social media. I am liberal in my approach to most things, and I almost always prefer the candidate from the democratic party over the candidate from the republican party. The things I write about, and comment about on social media, have a pretty clear left lean to them. Even if you don’t know me, and haven’t read anything else I’ve ever written, you would probably guess that I’m pro-choice, pro-gun control, pro-immigration, pro-universal health care coverage, I support safety net programs to help those in need, and I am against tax cuts for the rich. I fit the identity in many ways. You’d be wrong to guess that I was vegan (I love to eat, and love to eat a variety of foods, including meat), and you’d be wrong if you guessed that I was against agricultural innovations like GMOs. But here’s what got me thinking about the topic of this post: I don’t feel the need to hide it when I disagree with the democratic party, or when I disagree with something said by a politician that I otherwise support. I also don’t feel the need to hide it when I agree with something said by a politician that I otherwise loathe. That doesn’t seem like it should be shocking to anybody, but I’m not sure that it’s the norm.

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