"Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease."
Those are some pretty powerful lyrics. More, these were political and prophetic lyrics.
Recall that the song and the French poem were written in 1847. The English version was written in 1855, six years before the American Civil War and eight years before the Emancipation Proclamation. O Holy Night, it turns out, was a song of political resistance and protest.
-- Richard Beck, Christmas Carols as Resistance Literature
If this is what “Democracy” looks like in the 20th century–Nazis throwing their Sieg Heil in a public building in Washington DC to celebrate the election of a Nazi President…then you can count me out.
Both my grandfathers went to war and risked their lives to keep people like this from ruling the world.
If this [is] America now…then “America” and I are now at war. Which is pretty scary, because America has the largest and most powerful military in the history of the world…and all I’ve got is this laptop.
-- Arinn Dembo, We Are At War
"America" has always been a piece of crap, genocidal, white supremacist settler state. Some of us have been dealing with this America for our whole lives. We didn't have the choice of whether or not to go to war with it, because it declared war on us.
But its message was not that we should be conciliatory towards actual fascists, or let them say horrible things at (American) Thanksgiving. Its real message was directed at the supporters themselves.
Content note: Spoilers for an episode of Steven Universe.
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My sympathy and condolences, to everyone living that story next week.
If you've been staying quiet to keep the peace, now is the time to fight back. Especially at Thanksgiving dinner. Now is the time to challenge bigoted people. Now is the time to burn your bridges, destroy your relationships, and never be invited back because you called someone out for their hate speech.
More people will die if you don't.
Trigger Warning: Talk of suicide, and an actual call to physical violence.
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I'm not planning on dying anytime soon. But I would like to have an AR app, which lets me see the blood on everyone's hands. It's always been there, but there is more than usual lately.
EDIT: I do not think the person who wrote this essay meant to chastise our friends here on Dreamwidth. It looks like a wake up call for the unaware and uncaring.
The United States: Leaving Great Britain 200+ years before it was cool.
I am so sorry, you guys. >_> Goddess help everyone who's having to deal with the disaster in the UK up close. And goddess help the poor dogs and military veterans with PTSD, who have to deal with fireworks here in the States. We know what it's like to be unable to get away from terrifying loud noises.
If you donate, put it towards "save the animals." Otherwise, we don't know you.
So, we read an excerpt from the intro to a history book on the First Succession War, which was a mad scramble for land and resources after a political upheaval.
It reminded us of how much we love BattleTech sometimes, and why:
It was a week before my nineteenth birthday when we learned that Amaris had been captured and the [coup] was over. Naïvely, we thought things would get back to how they were before, in our parents’ day. How quickly we were disabused of that notion. The dukes knew things would only get worse and all the patriotic noise Kenyon had made was soon supplanted by something more authoritarian. We were just the wrong age, the perfect age to serve.
My boyfriend, Joe, was one of those called up that autumn, thrown into a boot-camp and then shipped off-world to fill out a line unit. I never saw him again—he died on Anegasaki when the Capellans killed the Fourth Militia. I was luckier I suppose, drafted into the planetary militia, so at least I was near home where it was safe and quiet. At least at first.
Then Kenyon got a mind to take over all the Star League facilities, following up on the rumors that Kerensky had left vast stockpiles on-world. That may have been true, but after four years spent on that wild goose, with little more than field rations, toilet paper, and SLDF recruitment pamphlets to show for it, the FWLM shifted their attention elsewhere. That didn’t save me from a grilling by SAFE—several in fact—because of who Gramps was, and his involvement with the Engineering Sub-Command. He died when I was nine, but even so, SAFE struggled to accept that a pre-teen knew nothing about SLDF activity. Dad got it much worse, and was held at the facility in Freeport for three weeks before they decided that the English teacher from Durandel High wasn’t going to give them much help either.
In those days, the years before the start of the Succession War, I did wonder: if this is how badly we treat our own people, how are things going to go when we start shooting at people we don’t like?
Compare and contrast, with how 40k portrays warfare. And authority, and nationalism. Even if you read 40k as a dystopian satire, where the Imperium is meant to be seen as brutal, you rarely get such a personal look, at the price that ordinary people pay for you to dress up in armour and play as a "hero." To satisfy your vain ambition, for power or wealth or heroics.
40k isn't alone in erasing civilians and glamourizing warfare, of course. Don't get me started on dudebro shooters. >_>; With the extremely subversive exception of Spec Ops: The Line.
For another good take (IMO) on how BattleTech portrays conflict, check out the short story at the start of the Alpha Strike Quick-Start rules (PDF link). A private military contractor called Wolf's Dragoons catches a desperate foe completely off-guard, and an enemy MechWarrior has an obvious mental breakdown, but there's no guarantee that she won't recover once they've gone past. So Natasha just shoots her mech's legs out and moves on. Even though she has TEH RAEG because of something the other side's employer did to Dragoon dependents.
Finally, if you want to support a PC / tabletop game that tells the story of people who live in the ruins that "heroes" and generals fight over, check out This War of Mine:
Armed conflict is a terrific backdrop for drama. But it isn't a playground or theme park, and it shouldn't be treated as one.
(Content note for these links and this essay: Racism, sexism, classism, transphobia, and xenophobia.)
I'd just like to take a moment to remind everyone, including my friends who are also transgender, that if you live in the first world everything that you have and enjoy is made possible through unthinkable violence and slavery. Of humans, to say nothing of nonhuman animals.
It's not a matter of how moral you are, or how much you consciously choose not to inflict violence on others. This is an inherent feature, of a world where some people are valued so much more than others. Because the purpose of inequality, inhospitality, and inhumane treatment is to make people broken and desperate.
The purpose of immigration restrictions, for instance, is to enable human trafficking, which means (among other things) being able to keep people in sheds they pay rent on and beat them if they don't wash your car just right. Meanwhile, the reason that the United States lacks the social safety net that other so-called "liberal democracies" have is because one of its political parties (we all know which one) used its "Southern Strategy," of convincing white voters that welfare payments would go to the wrong kind of people.
You know, the ones who are supposed to avert their eyes when they see you walk by, and who call you "sir" and shine your shoes for you.
Trans World Problems?
No. No, the new laws here in the States, that make it even more dangerous for trans people to use public restrooms, aren't a "First World Problems" thing. A "be grateful that you aren't a literal slave" thing. As though becoming a sex worker with no legal protections weren't something a lot of trans people have to turn to, and as though there are no trans people who are black, immigrant, or enslaved.
What this is, is a reminder that we (as trans people) aren't the first to suffer this indignity, and we won't be the last. Unless we can join our grasping appendages with others who are resisting things like it*, and turn the tables on our capitalist oppressors.
(It's redundant to call them that, but sometimes it just helps to hammer it home.)
* Or even others who are affected by it, despite not being trans. Don't forget; besides barring people who don't pass as cis from using the restroom, North Carolina's HB2 also banned local living wage laws, and made it harder for any worker to bring a discrimination suit against their employer. These aren't unrelated coincidences; these things are all part of systemic inequality and oppression.
American Millennials are far more likely than older generations to say the government should be able to prevent people from saying offensive statements about minority groups, according to a new analysis of Pew Research Center survey data on free speech and media across the globe.
-- Pew Research Center, 40% of Millennials OK with limiting speech offensive to minorities
Women, people of colour, democrats, and the young are all more likely than other groups to support restrictions on hate speech, in the United States. Maybe because they've had the most of it directed at them, and have had personal and professional opportunities curtailed by people who spout it? And/or because they've been subject to the violence that hate speech is designed to incite?
Millennials in the United Kingdom are also ahead of the curve on this issue, along with most people in Germany. Which already has "clear laws against hate speech," at least according to Pew. Perhaps if the States had learned from the horrors of WWII as well as (some parts of) Germany did, there would be fewer things like this. (Content note: USian nationalist and religious bigotry.)
Yesterday, I got stranded a long way from home with no way back.
Content note: A longish story about the hidden costs of being poor, the inhumaneness of "personal responsibility" teachings, and how jewelfox learned to be mean to herself from her abusive family of origin. Contains swearing, transphobia, and poverty-shaming.
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I'm not writing this because I bear a strong grudge that I haven't let go of (although that may be part of it). I'm writing this because this is stuff that has really affected me, and has changed how I see myself whether I want it to or not.
My family of choice, my real loved ones, don't see what I did as unreasonable, and don't want me to see myself as "irresponsible" and a "burden." I don't want to see myself that way, either. So I have to deconstruct why I feel that way, so that I can maybe move past it.
I hope that this helps someone else, who needs to do the same thing. I hope you can learn to value yourself as a person.
* Willful ignorance is the defining trait of religious and political conservatism, as near as I can tell. It is also the defining trait of evil alignment, IMO.