Linkdump for November 14th through November 29th

Sometime between November 14th and November 29th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!

Thanksgiving 2018

First off, and most importantly: Happy Thanksgiving to you if you celebrate; if you don’t, I hope you have a pleasant day doing whatever you do.

I’m increasingly of two minds of Thanksgiving.

On the one hand, we have a lot to be thankful of (a year and a half into being back in the Seattle area, both of our jobs are going well, we’re continuing to rebuild our social connections over here, we really like where we ended up, the midterms overall went in a promising direction, etc.), and we’re having a very pleasant day here at home resting and making and eating all sorts of tasty food.

On the other hand, I have a lot of friends from indigenous American heritage who rightly point out that this day isn’t so celebratory for them, especially at a time when our country is dealing with rampant nationalism and racism. For many people, especially anyone who is part of the many social groups who find themselves targets of oppression, it may be hard to find quite as much to celebrate on a day like today.

This year, more so than many, it seems particularly (and distressingly) apt to post William S. Burroughs’s cynical, but all too topical, even after all this time, Thanksgiving Prayer.

To John Dillinger; I hope he is still alive.
Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 1986.

Thanks for the wild turkey and the passenger pigeons,
destined to be shat out through wholesome American guts.
Thanks for a continent to despoil and poison.

Thanks for Indians to provide a modicum of challenge and danger.
Thanks for vast herds of bison to kill and skin,
leaving the carcasses to rot.
Thanks for bounties on wolves and coyotes.

Thanks for the American dream,
to vulgarize and falsify until the bare lies shine through.

Thanks for the KKK.
For nigger-killin’ lawmen, feelin’ their notches.
For decent church-goin’ women,
with their mean, pinched, bitter, evil faces.

Thanks for “Kill a Queer for Christ” stickers.
Thanks for laboratory AIDS.

Thanks for Prohibition,
and the war against drugs.

Thanks for a country where
nobody’s allowed to mind his own business.

Thanks for a nation of finks.

Yes, thanks for all the memories —
all right let’s see your arms!

You always were a headache,
and you always were a bore.

Thanks for the last and greatest betrayal
of the last and greatest
of human dreams.

Transgender Day of Remembrance

On the one hand, I don’t know that I’ve known any transgender people who have died through suicide or violence from others. But there’s a very real chance that I have, and simply not known that they were transgender (they didn’t know at the time, they didn’t trust me enough to tell me, it was none of my business, etc.) before they died. (I’ve also not known very many people who have died in these manners, either.)

But I do know and count as friends a number of transgender (including genderqueer, genderfluid, etc.) people today, and I’m very glad to know each of them, and to know them as they are. As horrible as this world can be, I hope that through ever-increasing education, visibility, and acceptance, each of them can continue to be true to themselves, and to stay safe and healthy, and are people I know for a long time to come.

Transgender Day of Remembrance
Transgender Day of Remembrance

The ERA May Have A Chance of Finally Being Ratified

Landmark court rulings, laws and constitutional amendments have allowed women the right to vote, to make decisions about their reproductive health and to some degree, to receive equal pay for equal work. But women are not guaranteed equal rights under the United States Constitution. That’s why, for decades, women’s rights advocates across the country have supported an Equal Rights Amendment.

Nearly 50 years ago, Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment, barring sex discrimination. But thirty-eight states had to ratify it before it took effect. Earlier this year, Illinois became number 37 and a bipartisan group of lawmakers is campaigning to make Virginia the final, historic vote.

It’s not a given — there’s still pushback from conservatives in Virginia (grrr), and even if Virginia does become the 38th state to ratify the ERA, the deadline for ratification passed “decades ago”, but apparently there’s precedent for Congress extending or rescinding the deadline to allow an amendment to pass — but this is a long-overdue step, and this effort has bipartisan support. Good luck to Virginia, to the ERA, and to all the women in the country who could benefit from the ERA finally being ratified!