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Five Senators Join the Fight to Learn Just How Bad Ring Really Is: “…if police want to request footage from a person’s front door in reference to a car break-in on that street, there is no need for police to verify that footage would be helpful to solving that incident, or whether the footage would even be used for that particular incident and not for other purposes. If a person agrees to share their footage with police, police then have that footage forever and can share it with whoever they want without oversight or restrictions. This means footage from your door, requested by local police to catch an alleged thief in the neighborhood, could end up being used by another law enforcement agency for a completely attenuated purpose, such as identifying someone for deportation—without your knowledge or direct consent.”

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Apple sleuths hunt Northwest for varieties believed extinct: “E.J. Brandt and David Benscoter, who together form the nonprofit Lost Apple Project, log countless hours and hundreds of miles in trucks, on all-terrain vehicles and on foot to find orchards planted by settlers as they pushed west more than a century ago.”

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Staying out of politics is privilege

Hey, I’ll be honest. I’m one of those for whom it would be very easy to just “stay out of politics”. To post snide remarks about how all of you can argue about politics, but I’m just not going to waste my time with the bother. To shrug it all off. After all, I’m a well-educated, 45-year-old straight white cisgender man, in a heterosexual marriage, in good health, within accepted norms of physical attractiveness, employed, and (even with the move back to the Seattle area and going back to apartment living) fairly comfortably middle-class with a healthy financial cushion in the bank. I have so, so much privilege, and could so easily use it to just “stay out of politics”.

But on very real, personal, ethical and moral grounds, I cannot and will not do that. I know far too many people, many of whom are very close to me, who do not have the privileges I do, and who stand to be — or already are — in very real, present danger because of where our country stands right now. They have no option to “stay out of politics”. For them, “politics” isn’t some esoteric theoretical concept to be debated in classrooms or over coffee (or booze) and cigarettes in the wee hours of the morning, but a very real, very present, life-or-death situation.

Women, minorities, the non-Christian religious or non-religious, poor people, people with medical issues, people whose sexuality or gender identities and expressions fall somewhere other than cisgender and straight, and various combinations of those identities and more. I have many friends and loved ones that fall into those groups, who do not have the option to choose to “stay out of politics”, and for me to do so would be callous, uncaring, and cruel.

So, yes. I’m going to continue to post the links, articles, and occasional profane rants. Because it is far, far better for me to use the privilege I have to call attention to the concerns and plights of those who do not have the advantages that I do. As I do that, I have been and will continue to make an effort to quiet my own voice in favor of amplifying the voices of those who are oppressed. Of linking to those who speak from a place of personal knowledge about experiences I have never and in many cases can never experience. Of recognizing when I need to listen, rather than speaking out about things I can never truly understand. Of doing my best to call out my fellow straight/white/male/privileged people when they overstep their bounds, and listening and learning when I’m called out for overstepping mine.

Because this is what needs to be done. Not just to ease my conscience, but to do what I can to let those people in my life who are struggling know that they’re not alone, that we haven’t abandoned them entirely, even if it so often seems like it. Because I believe that we can be better than we seem to be right now. Because I grew up on Star Trek and its vision of an optimistic future, and that’s the future I want to live in, and to do that, we have to work towards it.

And we can’t do that and “stay out of politics”.

(Originally prompted by the embedded photo when seen on Facebook, posted to Facebook, and then re-posted here. Very minor apologies to those who are seeing this twice.)

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More Shaming

Faced with the unceasing cruelty and degradation of the Trump presidency, liberals have not taken to marching around in public with assault weapons and threatening civil war. I know of no left-wing publication that has followed the example of the right-wing Federalist and run quasi-pornographic fantasies about murdering political enemies. (“Close your eyes and imagine holding someone’s scalp in your hands,” began a recent Federalist article.) Unlike Trump, no Democratic politician I’m aware of has urged his or her followers to beat up opposing demonstrators.

Instead, some progressive celebrities have said some bad words, and some people have treated administration officials with the sort of public opprobrium due members of any other white nationalist organization. Liberals are using their cultural power against the right because it’s the only power they have left, and people have a desperate need to say, and to hear others say, that what is happening in this country is intolerable.

— Michelle Goldberg,  We Have a Crisis of Democracy, Not Manners