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False Equivalencies
Aug 16th, 2017 by Dr Karma

Today, the world is reeling at Trump’s statement in which he compared the alt-right with anti-fascists. (He tried to coin the phrase “alt-left,” but being anti-fascist has been a mainstream position on both the sides of the political spectrum for almost a hundred years.)
Fascists now think Trump was saying the anti-fascists were worse, even–that we are somehow the terrorists.
By the way, having the KKK praise your speech while no one else is might just be a sign that you’re racist.
This morning, though, I’m thinking about false equivalencies.
Trump’s is obvious.
But the problem of Trump was partially caused by another one–remember all those people who said Clinton and Trump were equally bad?
That seemed absurd to a lot of us during the election.
Now, the absurdity is terrifyingly clear.
First there are two issues we might concede they’re close on:
Clinton was supposed to be bad because she was too cozy with bankers. Trump has, of course, appointed all those people to high positions in his administration.
Clinton was supposed to be bad because she was careless with classified information. Trump has had some problems with this as well.
As for the “she’s a liar!” charge, studies show that she’s better than most politicians. And I doubt we’d have “alternate facts” as a phrase if she’d won.
As for the “she’s a war-monger!” charge, would she be having a penis fight with Kim right now, or would she be trying to de-escalate the threat of nuclear war?
The reason many of us supported her, imperfect as she is, is because she’s on our side. Trump isn’t.
If Clinton were in:
–we wouldn’t have Pence, the guy who wants to torture gay children and who can’t trust himself around girls, as VP
–we would have a much better new justice to the Supreme Court
–most government positions currently vacant would be filled
–qualified people would be in cabinet positions
–the President wouldn’t be attacking trans people in the military
–Planned Parenthood would be better protected (along with our right to choose and with actual sex education)
–we wouldn’t have a President who continually embarrassed us around the world by being ignorant about politics or by doing inappropriate things with female leaders and first wives
–science wouldn’t be considered debatable
I could go on, but let me point out the super-obvious here.
CLINTON WOULD NOT be on the side of the white terrorists, of the KKK, of the alt-right, of the anti-semitic, of the sexists, of the Nazis.

They are not–and have never been–“equally bad.”

Let’s remember that as we think through Trump’s statements about guilt on both sides.

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The Continuing Adventures of Karma’s OnLine Dating: Entry 69: Resolutions
Aug 13th, 2017 by Dr Karma

As I’m on an academic calendar, I’m nearing the start of a new year, and I find myself making resolutions–I want to take more walks, to see more movies, to experiment with document design for my students, etc.

I have a few dating resolutions as well. A recent “meh” first date and a recent awesome first date have brought them into clearer focus.

Nobody is perfect, but . . .
1. If I shy away from giving a guy my phone number when asked, then I don’t really want that next date. I should trust my gut instead of trying to justify another date because he’s nice.
2. If he can’t keep up with me, I’m gonna be so bored, so soon.
3. If I would not recommend him to my friends, because I know what they deserve, then I should pretend to be my own friend, and counsel myself with the same love.
4. Finally (with images from Allie Brosh):

 

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Notes toward a Eulogy
Aug 2nd, 2017 by Dr Karma

This weekend, we will put my Daddy’s ashes in the ground.

It will be the first time I’ve been home since we buried Grandma.

And I feel awful about that–and guilty. I know Daddy would have wanted me to come home more often, but it was logistically and financially difficult (and the onus to fly to see family has always been 100% on me).

I also didn’t get to say anything to him the day he died. I called, but he was asleep–I was going to call again, but before I got the chance, he was gone.

We hadn’t been able to have a good conversation for a while–his mind had gone so much that he couldn’t follow the thread.

But he did say goodbye to me, in his way, last year.

We were on the phone; when it was time to go, he said, “I love you. The way you are.”

I was stunned, and found myself quickly in a conversation with my therapist.

Therapist: He said that?!?

Me: Yes. It means he’s getting ready to die.

He’d said he loved me before, but I know that I was a disappointment in so many ways, so I wasn’t expecting the second part.

I wasn’t always a disappointment, of course. I went to live with him when I was two–his memoirs say he became a father again that year. He had just retired from the military–as a very decorated man–to take up his dream of being a gentleman farmer.

And that made him a different dad from the one he’d been before. I, the oldest granddaughter/youngest daughter, was treated differently than my mother and her siblings had been. I got to be with him 24/7. He was nurturing and patient–and didn’t physically discipline me as he had the others. He taught me how to milk goats, how to make concrete–because I followed him from task to task.

He taught me to rhyme and to find new ways to end the stories we read.

He threw marbles into the deep end of the pool to teach me to dive. And them built me a box–by hand–to keep my marbles in.

When my mother took me back several years later, it was awful–because I wasn’t with him. One day, I told her I felt like Heidi–despondent, taken from her loving, gruff grandfather and the mountain into the cold world of the city.

She slapped me.

Which, let’s admit, proved my point.

It was me growing up, and making choices and mistakes, that really messed things up between Daddy and me. I read the platforms of the two major parties–and discovered I was a Democrat. I spent my summers working instead of basking in his light. I got pregnant and had my child.

He wanted me to go to college so I could support myself, but he and the rest of the family put pressure on me to be an accountant. He didn’t want me to like “liberal arts.” When I showed him the recruitment letter from UCD, one that promised me healthcare, which I could not access in Florida, he said he was disappointed in me and went to his room for the rest of the night. When it became clear that I would be a teacher in higher education, he was disappointed again–he said college makes people communists and said I’d been brainwashed into being progressive.

And as I was getting more progressive, he was moving to the other side–toward racism, hysterical gun rights fears, thinking he needed a garden again for when Obama started that race war.

I wrote him a letter a long time ago, asking him to consider that my job–my beliefs–are my efforts to make this country better–that they are in fact acts of patriotism, not the intentional dismantling of the country. I tried to argue that we wanted the same thing–a better country–but that we went about trying to get it in a different way.

He wrote back and said he knew I’d come to my senses when I left academia.

(I pictured myself, leaving my packed up office several decades from now, having a flash of insight: oh, right! I do hate people who are different from me! And fuck the poor! They deserve it! Even if you’re an orphaned infant with severe health issues, my tax dollars shouldn’t be used for your benefit!)

So it’s been hard.

And I know I’m not alone–all of his children are afraid of disappointing him. And people kept parts of themselves and their pasts from him (like one person’s couple of weeks on public assistance forty years ago).

And now I am in the process of mourning–him and the closeness we once had.

I become an absolute puddle when I think of him being disappointed in me–it’s why he never had to spank me, I guess.

This man had a truly happy marriage.

This man used his words carefully.

This man was a decorated war hero–one who didn’t want a gun salute–because that’s not how he wants us to think about him this weekend.

This man had a wonderful sense of humor.

This man cut a flower from the garden every morning for his wife in the last years of her life.

This man tried to retire from the military after serving in Korea. Then his wife got pregnant–with triplets. And so, needing to provide for his family–he went back in for another two decades and another war.

This man worked hard to get my weight up when I was small–when a doctor said I wouldn’t make it to five feet.

This man pocketed cigars on the way to taking me to the ER when I couldn’t breathe. He told grandma, “If she has to stay, I’m staying with her.”

This man then gave up smoking. Cold turkey.

This man showed me what strength was–what dependability was.

This man is the only one who hasn’t abandoned me.

May we all have the romance, the humor, the wisdom, the devotion, the intelligence, the determination, and the sisu to honor his legacy.

 

My brother, Granddaddy, and Grandma

 

 

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