16 Feb., A day without immigrants

orig_79284_inv

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.

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.

‘Socialism’ for real

shutterstock_66506893As the presidential election day approached in 2008 people were moaning about the evils of socialism, and that a vote for then Democratic candidate Barack Obama was selling out the country to socialists. There were many other things said back then, but I just want to hold the discussion to this word, because people’s biases are blinding them to their own socialist attitudes.

So eight years later Bernie Sanders, who over the years doesn’t seem to have changed his positions on how he feels the tax dollar should be spent, is yet another in a long line of “antichrists” leading the country into “socialism.” The thing is, we’re already there, and we have been for over a century.

People on the “Red Right” are just as socialist as the folks they’re busy demonizing, hissing at, and crossing themselves over. Those who identify as right wing, red state, conservative, Republican, or whatever other label you want to use also want to redistribute wealth, just not in the same way as someone like Sanders. They don’t mind a $1,000,000,000,000 in taxes here or there as long as it’s going to bomb countries they think are the baddies.

It’s one dollar. It can feed someone, fix something, or kill someone. The choice is in how it’s used, and it only stretches so far. If you want to see people fed, clothed, taught, roads and bridges built and repaired, vote that way. If you want to trample on the sovereignty of other nations, march more young people past roadside bombs that wouldn’t be there if we hadn’t been on an interventionist crusade, vote that way. Just know that it’s socialism, regardless of whether the taxes go to promote life or death.

The course of America

DESTINY

clouds_waves_sea_storm_lightning_ocean_640x360

People are constantly looking to the president to fix everything, restore the prosperity that they believe was squandered by either Congress or the previous administration, and set right the moral direction of the country. The phrase “turn things around” comes up often. And so we go to the polls. There are always going to be people dissatisfied with a sitting president or a party. We self-identify with the left and dislike and distrust the right. We self-identify with the right and hate the left. Then there are those of us who don’t like either.

Regardless whether you think of yourself as a this or a that, what do you really expect to gain from a Trump presidency? If this man is the one to “turn things around,” just where in Hell do you think we’re headed? Banning any religion is the state establishing religion. Think about that for a while. Let it work inside your noggin for a bit. Muslim, Christian, Atheist, Jew, Buddhist, Taoist, Sikh…it’s all the same from the state’s perspective. And we’re not many steps, once you bar the entry of Muslims into the country, from banning Islam altogether. Now that prospect appeals to some people. There are people out there who’d be quite happy if everyone were just like them. They’re to be pitied. They refuse to see that we’re dealing with demagoguery and manipulation. We’re talking about enhancing the bureaucracy and setting something in motion that cannot be controlled forever by any one group. The state does not care. Once the machinery is in place to bar one it’s very easy to bar another.

You’d better think about the implications of what you’re hearing from this man. This is a weapon you cannot aim and fire without shooting yourself.