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YoungDemCA

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Gender: Male
Member since: Wed Jan 18, 2012, 11:29 PM
Number of posts: 4,907

Journal Archives

Out of curiosity, I was browsing the friends lists of my Facebook friends, and friends of friends...

It's amazing how many people in my network - even people from completely different social circles and states or even countries whom I would never expect for them to be connected to - are only a handful of degrees of separation from each other, at most.

Truly a small world!


Obama Is the Guy Who Made America Work Again

Even with two big tax cuts and a housing bubble, Bush Jr. managed to create only 10.9 million jobs. Obama, even with the headwind of Republican obstruction, has created 13.1 million jobs so far.


http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/07/obama-guy-who-made-america-work-again



Thanks, Obama!

The Trump-led Republican Party is the purest distillation of every aspect of the Right's bigotry

Racism? Check.

Xenopobia/nativism? Check.

Sexism/misogyny? Check.

Homopobia/transphobia/heterosexism in general? Check.

Self-serving, hypocritical bigotry against secularism and religious pluralism? Check.

Classism and contempt toward the poor? Check.

Anti-intellectualism + pandering to the basest irrational hatreds of a certain segment of the American public? Check.

Overwhelming fear of and hatred toward Muslims? Check.

Anti-Semitism (which had previously been pushed to the fringes by the mainstream Right, on account of their stance toward Israel)? Check.

And anti-liberalism and not-so-subtle accusations that liberal Democrats are merely a Trojan Horse for Communists to take over the US government and American society at large? Check.

It's like the Republican Party under the banner of Donald Trump has managed to exemplify literally every aspect of the extreme Right's irrational hatred in equal measure. Quite an "accomplishment."

I do not believe it is merely incidental to all of this that a black man - and a Democrat, at that - has been the President of the United States for the past 8 years. Nor do I believe it is irrelevant to the present state of the Republican Party that the (presumptive) Democratic nominee this year is a woman who, might I add, is a feminist icon and trailblazer for women in American politics. Likewise, I do not believe that the fact that the candidate who came the closest to defeating her for the Democratic nomination is a secular Jewish man and self-described democratic socialist is unrelated to just how horrifying the Republican Party is in 2016.

In short, the Democratic Party - our party - is now the embodiment of everything that Republicans and other right-wingers loathe and feel deeply threatened by regarding the ways in which American society and culture is rapidly transforming. That is what all of the stuff about "taking our country back" and "making America great again" is really about. That is why they can sincerely claim that they "don't recognize our country anymore." Everything about the direction that America is going utterly terrifies them.

We can indeed see a stark difference between the two choices we have in November. On the one hand, we can choose to embrace the inevitable direction our country is going as a positive trend that truly will make our country better and stronger than it has ever been. On the other hand, we can embrace the politics of fear, resentment, hatred, and division and choose the path of reaction and extreme bigotry - a path which, I am convinced, is a path of no return. I think our choice as progressives, as liberals, and as Democrats ought to be obvious.

Some reflection on what Hillary means to me - and to the women and girls in my life

Hi all, I hope every one of you is having a great weekend.

I wasn’t sure whether I should post this thread to DU because what follows is very personal and vulnerable for me to write, but I have decided to be bold and be brave.

In reflecting on the significance and importance to me of the candidacy, nomination, and very real possibility of Hillary Rodham Clinton, I have realized something extremely important: namely, that what Hillary has done, is doing, and will continue to do has very real implications for all women and girls – not just American women and girls – that will directly impact not just their lives, but the lives of their daughters, granddaughters, and every generation of women and girls that follows. I am not convinced that enough people truly understand the significance of that – not by a long shot.

By sacrificing so much in terms of what both (many) men and other women think of her, how much respect she receives from her fellow politicos, how she has been treated by American society in general, and all of the other personal and professional sacrifices that she has had to make over the course of her life, Hillary has made what was once only thought of as a “silly dream” by “silly girls/women” a reality. In short, she is the very woman who has broken the seemingly unbreakable glass ceiling.

As a young, middle-class white man, I don’t have to recognize the importance of what Hillary has done. I don’t have to support her. I could just as easily dismiss her, and everything she has accomplished. I could just as easily write her off altogether. But I would be neither intellectually nor morally honest if I did that.

You see, though I may be a privileged young man, there are plenty of women and girls in my life who are dear to my heart. I think of my cousins, beautiful and kind young women that they are, two of whom who are thriving in college and another two who have graduated and are now working toward integrating their passions and dreams into their vocations/careers. I think of all my female friends, young women who I truly admire for what they have accomplished already and what they will accomplish, and how they have all the while stayed compassionate and empathetic toward those less fortunate than they are. I think of my grandmothers, all of them incredible in their love toward others, yet all of them firm in their self-confidence and dedication to leaving a legacy for which their children and grandchildren can be proud. I think of my aunts, all of whom have also accomplished a great deal in life, yet all of whom also have a genuine social conscience. I think of my mom, whose unconditional love and support for me I still can’t fully understand, and likely never will – though that should certainly not be taken as an indication that I don’t accept her love for me, because I do. And last but certainly not least, I think of my younger sister, who has struggled with unbelievable and frankly, heart-breaking challenges in life as a developmentally disabled person - yet at the same time, is the sweetest, kindest, and most compassionate person whom I have ever met, and who will always hold a special place in my heart.

These people, these brilliant and incredible and awesome young women and girls, are why I support Hillary. Though they may not all know it now, a Hillary Clinton Presidency will affect their lives in ways that simply cannot be measured. You see, her being President will open so many doors for all of them – and I am not speaking merely of professional doors, but the ones that truly matter. Ones of unimaginable self-confidence. Ones of inconceivable self-respect. Ones of unbelievable hope for their futures, as well as the futures of every other woman and girl in the world – including all who are yet to be born. This is the true significance of what Hillary Clinton has done, is doing, and will do for our sisters, our mothers, our grandmothers, our aunts, our daughters, our girlfriends, our wives, our female friends in general.

Has Hillary been blessed with far more opportunities than most women and girls? Of course she has; no one is denying that fact, or should deny it. But it is precisely because she is so blessed that she is a position to lead the charge for justice, equality, and dignity for women and girls everywhere. Moreover, if we really want to be honest, Hillary Clinton’s ongoing story wouldn’t have been possible without the consistent and dogged support from “below” of so many women (and their male allies, of course) over the past several decades. I find it impossible to believe that Hillary doesn’t know this and recognize its importance.

In conclusion, I believe that Hillary Rodham Clinton genuinely wants to make our country and our world a better place for everyone, and the biggest piece of evidence for that is her being the champion of the women and girls of our world. For if we – and I am speaking specifically to my fellow men here - are not for them, if we do not recognize their power and their potential and their talents and their gifts, then we are making a grave mistake that does not simply rob our female loved ones of their humanity, but by extension, robs a huge portion of our own humanity as well. For what difference does our own success as men make if we can’t support and advocate for so many of our loved ones?

To all whom have read the entirety of this rather long-winded but hopefully, inspiring and encouraging post of mine: a sincere word of thanks and appreciation.

With love,
YoungDemCA

I seriously cannot believe that (white) people can say with a straight face

that "racism in America is over because we elected Obama." Have they all been living under a rock for the past 7 and 1/2 years? Have they not noticed the way in which our first black President has been treated by white conservatives (and a shamefully high number of white liberals as well)? To say nothing of the routine and outrageously disproportionate murders of black and Latino men by police officers, or horrific hate crimes like the Charleston massacre.

Such a fucking ridiculous notion, and one that is quite frankly, deeply offensive to many people - especially black people and other people of color. The NERVE of these people...

If Republicans were truly interested in reducing the harmful effects of pornography

- they would participate in efforts to normalize sex/sexuality in American society

- they would propose, support, and pass legislation that would provide students with sex education about both male and female sexuality and would encourage students to be safe, responsible, and consensual in their sexual practices

- they would propose, support, and pass legislation that would give the actors/actresses working in porn more protection from exploitation and abuse

- they would propose, support, and pass legislation that would significantly increase the range of economic opportunities and choices for the young women who disproportionately work in porn

and last but not least:

- they wouldn't shame the people who work in porn (particularly women, because let's be honest, women bear almost all of the societal shame for working in porn).

Of course, Republicans have no intentions of doing any of these things; on the contrary, they have consistently done the exact opposite. Go figure.



On the stereotype of black athletic superiority - and the racist underlying assumptions of it

The following excerpt from Sport: Sport and power relations by Eric Dunning was very informative to me, and I believe this knowledge can help debunk the pervasive essentialist views of black people being "innately better at sports" than other racial groups.

The factors underlying black athletic superiority emerge from a complex of societal conditions. These conditions instill a heightened motivation among black male youths to achieve success in sports; thus, they channel a proportionately greater number of talented black people than whites into sports participation. Our best sociological evidence indicates that capacity for physical achievement (like other common human traits such as intelligence, artistic ability, etc.) are evenly distributed throughout any population. Thus, it cuts across class, religious, and, more particularly, racial lines. For race, like class and religion, is primarily a culturally determined classification. The simple fact of the matter is that the scientific concept of race has no proven biological or genetic validity. As a cultural delineation, however, it does have a social and political reality. This social and political reality of race is the primary basis of stratification in this society and the key means of determining the priority of who shall have access to means - valued goods and services.

Blacks are relegates in this country, having the lowest priority to claiming valued goods and services. This fact, however, does not negate the equal and proportionate distribution of talent across both black and white populations. Hence, a situation arises wherein whites, being the dominant group in the society, have access to all means toward achieving desirable valuables defined by the society. Blacks, on the other hand, are channeled into the one or two endeavors open to them - sports and, to a lesser degree, entertainment.


Dunning, E. (2003). Sport: Sport and power relations (Vol. 3), p. 15. Taylor & Francis.

Bolding mine.

I would also add that the stereotype of black people (specifically, black men) being naturally superior to white people at sports is fundamentally a deeply racist one, despite it appearing to be a "positive" stereotype regarding black men. After all, is this stereotype not disturbingly similar to the popular (and also, deeply racist) assumption that black men are sexually superior to white men (both physically and in terms of sexual performance)?

What these supposedly "positive" racial cliches are really about is that the extent of black talent - and the associated skills that go along with that talent - is basically, limited entirely to the physical realm. To put it in blunt, crude terms, the underlying assumption is that black people are "too stupid/intellectually inferior" to white people for any black person to be good for anything other than purely physical tasks. Consider the fact that the people in positions of actual power and authority in sports - in the case of football, quarterbacks, but even more so (and this applies to all professional sports), the coaches, managers, and owners of sports teams - are mostly white men, and by a considerable majority.

The deeply ingrained assumption of white society that black people are only good at physical labor has been used to justify keeping them enslaved, barring them from both leadership positions and jobs that require more specialized skills (both fields of work in which the people who work in them are rewarded with higher incomes, benefits, security, power, prestige, etc.), and otherwise placing draconian restrictions on the life paths on which black people can travel.

The good news is that, thanks to the tireless efforts of the Civil Rights Movement, many occupations, vocations, and other career paths that were previously denied to black people have opened up to them. The bad news is that our society's deeply ingrained traditions of racism and white supremacy continue to thwart even the best efforts of black people (and their allies among other people of color as well as those white people who "get it") for equality and justice becoming realities - meaning, we still have one hell of an uphill battle ahead of us. Let us hope, pray, and hold on to any optimism that we might have that our society will one day be radically transformed for the better - if in our lifetimes, then perhaps in the lifetimes of our children and grandchildren.

To my black friends on DU: Thank you

You have consistently shone a light on the dark, horrifying, and completely inseparable evils that are racism and white supremacy. For that, I am eternally indebted to you. Now more than ever, we need to hear your voices, and listen.

Again, thank you for everything you do, and don't ever let them tell you that you are worthless, that you are less than, that your lives and your voices don't matter. That is completely and utterly wrong, and always has been.

Keep on fighting, agitating, demanding, day in and day out, until white society finally gets it through their thick-as-a-rock skulls that hate and fear can never come close to the power of love and solidarity. Peace!

- YoungDemCA

On a lighter note, here's a quote from playwright David Mamet.

"A homeless man is sitting on a New York City sidewalk right outside the offices of a prestigious investment bank. A very well-dressed man walks out of the bank; when the homeless man sees him, he asks the man from the bank if he has any cash to spare. The man from the bank, after searching through his wallet, gives the homeless man 50 cents and then says to the homeless man, "Neither a borrower nor a lender be - William Shakespeare." The homeless man replies, "Fuck you - David Mamet."

(Disclaimer: I added slightly more to the original quote because I wanted to add some extra layers of irony and meaning.)

Of the 561 people who have been killed by American police so far in 2016, 136 were black

Since the 2014 death of 18-year-old Michael Brown at the hands of police in Ferguson, Missouri, the media has reported extensively that police arrest and kill black men at far higher rates than other groups. Six out of 10 black men claim they have been treated unfairly by police because of their race, according to a 2015 study.

Based on The Counted’s data, black males between the ages of 15 and 34 were nine times more likely to be killed by police officers than any other demographic. This group also accounted for 15 percent of all 2015 deaths from law enforcement encounters, despite making up just 2 percent of the U.S. population.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/black-people-killed-by-police-america_us_577da633e4b0c590f7e7fb17

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2015/jun/01/the-counted-police-killings-us-database

It may well be that we will have to repent in this generation. Not merely for the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say, "Wait on time."


- Martin Luther King, Jr., from "Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution", sermon at the National Cathedral, 31 March 1968.
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