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Member since: Fri Feb 14, 2020, 07:34 PM
Number of posts: 7,397

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Do we live in an age of false empowerment?

Having had a week to observe the reaction to the Roe leak, I've seen hundreds to thousands of articles, posts, and op-eds discussing the situation, and maybe 95% of the time, I find myself leaving the piece thinking, "That's all very nice, but what are you going to actually do to change things?"

I've long had a fairly negative opinion of what has come to be known as "slacktivism" in social media spaces. Someone writes a post or changes their profile picture to a flag or banner that addresses the Issue of the Moment. And it seems like there is this illusion of something having been done or accomplished. "I have retweeted this Very Important Half-Thought from Phil in Beaverton. I can do no more for my country."

There was a comedian some years back - I can't remember who - who joked about how people and celebrities were forever "raising awareness." They weren't doing anything. They were just raising awareness. It was a cost-free, no inconvenience necessary way of feeling virtuous, being "one of the good guys" out there making the world a better place with pixels.

With the sea change that the overturning of Roe will bring to this country's women, our laws, and how the government controls our personal choices, I keep looking for solutions of gravity. I think, "Ok, let's see some good ideas. Maybe a general strike. Let's see some action items of impact."

And . . . it's Twitter. "I will not be silenced . . . on Twitter!" I guess some people want to make more hats now? I suppose the increased yarn sales at Hobby Lobby will be darkly ironic.

So in all this cacophony of speaking out and not sitting down and taking it and this total lack of silence, I kept thinking and asking, "Do social media channel voices in such a way that they are rendered inconsequential while allowing the users the illusion of productivity?" Are you empowered, or are you given the illusion of empowerment by being able to direct your voice and energies in a way that will ultimately not change any structures of power and consequence?

Has technology literally put everyone on a hamster wheel without them noticing it? We're speaking out more than we ever have in history, so why does it feel like we never go anywhere with it? No one can say the past ten years have been particularly kind to an America that is more empowered than ever to speak their minds, both individually and collectively. Where is the power behind all those voices? We're very good at Sound and Fury.

So in the hundreds of posts on DU I read in the past week, I saw one by WhiskeyGrinder (sp?). It was a short post about what you can do. It gave advice about assisting local abortion provider networks. No Twitter. No ten dollar donations to national organizations like Planned Parenthood to assuage the conscience. Community level. Women who live near you. People who need money with no overhead. Women who need transporation, an ear, and a support.

The tangible, the concrete, and the unpixelated.

That post got maybe four replies.

Once finals are all done, I'm going to go do that. The unpixelated. I'll know, without a sliver of doubt, that I have "done something" and I'm going to encourage those around me, in person, to help out.

Imagine if people decided, "For every hour I spend on social media talking, I will devote 15 minutes to in-person assistance on this issue." How many lives could be tangibly, concretely changed and helped?

Or are we just really happy with the current illusion? Because maybe, just maybe, real work is something that is hard to be bothered with.

Opposition to abortion isn't generally men vs. women

I was listening to Bill Maher's show this morning, and he was reading off some facts about abortion he was unaware of. One of them is that it isn't really men vs. women when it comes to wanting to ban it. I was curious, because my assumptions had been that the numbers between men and women would be fairly different.

I wanted to find polling. However, I wanted to find polling that wasn't affected by recent events, so I looked around for polls from about two years ago. Just to see what people said before the latest Court situation. Here was one example of the breakdown. Other polls yielded similar results:


So how is opposition being determined? Age, education, and religion.

Why post this? I just want to highlight that women's equality and rights isn't necessarily a battle between the sexes. It isn't racial. It's a battle between equality and conservatism/regressivism. I've spent my whole life working towards LGBT equality, and one of the things I've always kept in mind is that my battle isn't against straight people as a general force. It has always been against religious influences, conservative impulses, and people who simply resist any kind of change.

One of the things that I think the LGBT community has done successfully and what turned a corner over the past 20-30 was how many of us came out. It's hard to be ignorant when we're people you know, your friends and family, your coworkers, the person from church or on your softball team, your doctor or your mechanic.

I think one of the most powerful weapons in our arsenal is when women share their stories.

Half of Online Political Media right now:

"Who cares about the leak? The leak's not important! People need to stop talking about the leak!

And now here are eight paragraphs on my personal theory of who leaked and why.

Please like and subscribe!"

I've been sort of enjoying it. Maybe it's just me.

Anyone want to ask Manchin about that child tax credit now?

Since he seems so keen on not rocking any boats to combat the Court's likely decision.

Gonna be a few more kids in the future for families who can't entirely afford them.

We're losing Latinos. Marist Poll shows Latinos prefer GOP 52%-39%

We've observed this shift/trend for a while now. Now this result from an A-rated poll.


How does our party deal with this before midterms?
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