16 Feb., A day without immigrants

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There’s an Asian buffet not far from the office that I visit almost every week. I have my news sites routed through the Feedly app, but I didn’t look at it yesterday. For a couple of months I’ve been getting takeout at the restaurant. There’s enough time to grab a few items and get back with a little time to spare before I have to start working again. So I left at about 11:30 to go get lunch. The first thing I noticed when I got in the parking lot was that it was empty. Normally the front and one of the side parking lots are nearly full. On Thursday there was nothing. My initial thought was that I had arrived at some really odd time and there’d be maybe two or three people in there eating. I get to the door and there’s a sign saying

CLOSED
SORRY FOR THE
INCONVENIENCE
FEBRUARY 16

Before I left I had noticed in Facebook’s ‘Trending’ sidebar something about the ‘A day without immigrants march,’ but I didn’t click it. Honestly I assumed that it was some sort of counter-protest held by the President’s supporters. It just seemed like some group bigoted showings-off that people who seem like sore winners would put together.

When I got back to the office I typed into Twitter, ‘Evidently there’s something called ‘A day without immigrants. Looks like Austin is getting its douche on today.’ I mentioned it to a coworker who told me what was really going on. This was actually a good thing, but it wasn’t universal. After I got off work I called another restaurant to see if they were open and the manager said that he’d gotten several calls asking the same thing but didn’t know why. I explained to him what had been happening.

The thing is, I’ve become so jaded with people that I often expect the worst from them. In this case this was a gesture to demonstrate just how much of what we enjoy here in America comes from people who weren’t born here. The fact that some businesses stayed open and their owners and managers didn’t know about the protest tells me that we’re going to need more reminders of this truth in the future.

Immigrants are part of our culture and always have been. We need to show our appreciation, not take people for granted. Especially now that things have become so clearly uncertain.

Majorities

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In 1970 I was in the 2nd grade. The teacher had been indoctrinating us with the notion of majorities and having us vote for stuff. So there was something that ‘we’ had decided to do as a class that I disagreed with or didn’t want to do, and a classmate said, “Oh well, majority rules.” It wasn’t something that I needed to be obstinate about to the point of getting shoved into the Principal’s office. Given that, I had no choice but to go along with whatever it was. I don’t fault the little girl for saying that. I know that she was just being a good little sheep-drone and all, but to be honest, over the years situations where it becomes clear that my agreement or disagreement is irrelevant in the face of some group dynamic has caused me to feel a certain amount of disenfranchisement.My desire is always to live life individually, and to allow society and other subset groups go this way and that at their whim.

The election 

Well as anyone who knows me has probably been able to tell, I have not supported and do not support the president-elect. Therefore my expectations aren’t very high for our culture during the next four to eight years. We will probably be in another ‘intervention’ sometime in the next two years. The folks on the right are going to continue to fight against marriage equality and the Affordable Care Act. They’ll continue to staunchly support closed borders and the exclusion of certain groups. They’ll be cheering on as we send our young men and women to kill other young men and women in other countries. This is not anything new. And it predates the president-elect’s time in politics. So we’ll have to see after January 20th what parts of the president-elect’s campaign speeches he is actually able to implement and what things can be restrained.

I’ll tell you what I’m going to do, I’m going to keep working and looking after my parents and living my life. I’m going to keep following my path. If anyone has a problem with that, well we’ve seen from the president-elect’s rallies that they are certainly not shy about showing it. And if any of that somehow becomes illegal, I’ll deal with that at that time.

Cognitive dissonance regarding ‘globalism’

I first heard the term “globalism” when I was in college in the early 80s. I was still very nationalistic in my outlook on the world and I saw lots of us-es and thems. And there were always so many more thems than us-es. It was 30 years ago. I wasn’t as free-thinking as I am now, and I have a long way to go. I bring up September 11th a lot because I see it as the single most significant turning point in world history since the BOMB. That’s how I view it. Others may see things much differently.

Growing up in the 70s we talked about “the year 2000” as this grand trip to a theme park of the future. It was supposed to be sort of a Jetsons ride at Disneyland. So when we got there we were in the recession from the 90s tech bubble and trying to regain the footing when WHAM. Then three buildings, a massive debris cloud, and 3 planes later we were chasing boogeymen in the desert and being fed truth, half truth, no truth, and their opposites about it all.

So coming up on 15 years after it all began I have to say I’m disappointed in the 21st century. I grew up expecting much better.

World_Map_Illustration_RabinkyArtThis is artist Maria Rabinky’s vision of it. Everyone’s perception is going to be different, but the way I saw the years we’re in now was something like this. A world of free and fair trade. Our social and economic issues being handled in a compassionate and equitable manner. And war a thing of the past. Instead of that, there’s Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, and now Syria. And the empire marches on.

afghanwarWhen I say cognitive dissonance regarding globalism, I mean that we’ve all been force-fed a dark and unpalatable version of the global village. We’re able to trade, sort of, and the world is a global LZ as far as empire is concerned. Will it, and when will it end? Not this century, and not for a number of generations.

What’s happening should be unpalatable. And it is to many. But humans have a curious ability to adapt to adversity. It allows us to survive but also has us tolerating way too much that we should throw off. Our answers are within. There is no savior coming to scoop everyone up and reset the world. It’s a cute idea on one level. But this is the life we have. Ideas about before and after are nothing but speculation. We have to take care of each other. Keep informing and encouraging one another. We have to reset ourselves. Eventually a generation will grow up that won’t buy the bulk of the anti-intellectual gruel from the so-called “leaders.”