Really? Let it go, you guys

Monday, November 16, 2020

You'd think by the title of this post I'll be talking about tRump and his pathetic refusal to admit his loss and proceed with the peaceful transfer of power to President-Elect Biden. You'd think that, but you'd be wrong. I'm past being shocked or even surprised by that misanthrope's behavior, and so will probably never write about it again. He lives for attention to stroke his ego and massive inferiority complex, so like Mary MacGregor in Rob Roy, "I will think on you no more."

No, this post is about the counter-protesters in Washington, DC over the weekend. 

I read that approximately 300 counter-protesters showed up to the MAGA March on Saturday, and - surprise, surprise - violence ensued

Here's the deal, liberals. This "Million Man MAGA March" or whatever they called it consisted of tens of thousands of die-hard, incendiary, violent tRump acolytes. These were the true believers, the Proud Boys lunatics, the frothing at the mouth hero-worshiping cultists that consider tRump the second coming, the racist non-critical-thinking brain-washed followers, the believe anything he says enablers. There certainly wasn't a million of them, but the ones that were there were convinced the election was "rigged" and "stolen," lack of evidence to the contrary. They believe the lies and the spurious claims without question or analysis, and here's the thing: You will never change their minds, no matter what you do, no matter what evidence you present, no matter how many election legal challenges are thrown out of court, no matter what happens. You will never, ever change their minds. The most you can hope for is some publicity for your cause, and even that's a double-edged sword, as shown by the coverage of the altercations. 

Why, exactly, was it necessary to personally confront these people as they railed against reality? To rub in the fact that Biden will be our next President come January 20th? To try and force them to admit their hero is, in fact, a big fat loser? To gloat? What possible good would come of that strategy, especially if you incited violence? 

Here's the thing. If you think tRump was a classless, lying asshat of a President, and his supporters don't know how to act, why are you yourself acting in such a way that echoes his cult members' behavior? 

From where I sit, the time has come to try and rebuild. As I said in my post-election blog post, I have hope for a Biden presidency. I think bridging the division in our country is the one of the primary tasks of the next four years, and I think liberals have an obligation to lead in this. It's up to us to behave fairly, respectfully, and compromise with the loyal opposition. I'm not talking about the tRumpism cult of personality members - they will never try to find common ground with people they oppose. I'm talking about the individual citizens who voted for tRump for what they believe are economic reasons, or policy reasons, or single-issue voter reasons. I'm talking about the reasonable conservatives who held their noses and voted for tRump because they couldn't bear to vote for a Democrat. I'm talking about those who continue to be misled by tRump's lies, and may be convinced he was nothing but a grifting demagogue if presented with the evidence. Why are you deliberately antagonizing these people by inciting violence against people who are "on tRump's side" on national television? 

You're not helping the cause. You're hurting it. If you have ANY expectation of tRump voters accepting defeat graciously and moving on to focus on governance, then you have to be gracious winners. 

Thinky Thoughts about the Election

Monday, November 9, 2020

I have thoughts and feelings about the election because of course I do. It's been hard for me to describe my feelings in an articulate way, so as is my custom, I've come to HCDSM to write in order to clarify my thoughts and get a handle on my feelings. This is how I calm the bagful of cats that resides in my brain. 

Please note: I am not looking for a debate, or for trolls to come and inundate my space with their whataboutism and all lives matter obtuseness and her emails and conspiracy theories and other general fuckery. Questions or comments posed in good faith will be answered in the same way;  shittiness in the guise of a question will be met by the Shovel of Doom.™

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When CNN called Pennsylvania for Biden/Harris, I cannot express my relief. It literally felt like I had dropped a weight I'd been carrying around for so long I'd forgotten it was there, and then I cried, more than once, in both relief and joy. And if I, a middle aged, CIS, straight, white woman who is a member of the 10% felt that way, I cannot even imagine how BIPOC felt. Well, actually I can, as expressed by the (normally) articulate and thoughtful Van Jones of CNN:


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Kamala. Madame Vice-President Elect Harris. 

I’ve worked in male dominated fields my entire life. And when Kamala Harris took the stage to introduce President-Elect Biden in her white suit, I wept. She's my age, and she's the first woman elected to the Office of the Vice President. Women still have so much work to do to achieve equity in this society, but she broke a pretty big glass ceiling, Nothing but respect, Madame Vice-President Elect. 

How I wish Moe had lived to see this day. 

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I am still registered as unaffiliated. There has been nothing in the last four years (or in this election cycle) that has convinced me to change my mind on this score. Just because I'm a liberal doesn't mean I'm a Democrat, and I have some serious issues with the way the DNC has constructed their platform and selected their candidates. I also have some issues with the current Speaker of the House, who decided it was better to deprive the American people of the relief they so desperately needed in the Time of Covid so she could score points against a President she hates. She failed in her duties to her constituents because of an emotional, partisan response, and that's just not okay. Get your shit together, Nancy - you lost some credibility with that move, and you'll have to work pretty hard to get it back. 

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Speaking of losing credibility, after the last four years, I am absolutely furious with the GOP. I have voted for Republicans in the past, even after I left the party, but right now, that seems like a pipe dream. After the entire GOP tacitly accepted tRump's constant violations of the law, his racist policies, his hateful rhetoric, his bloody incompetence, I will never again vote for a Republican who was in office during tRump's administration unless there is documented proof that they showed some moral fortitude in trying to stop tRump's egregious behavior. A short list, to be sure. The list of Republican candidates I'll consider will get longer as time and attrition removes the cowards from office, but for now, fuck you, you line-towing, immoral, party first lickspittles. When push came to shove and the time came for you to prove that your constituents, the rule of law, and the concept of character is what mattered to you, you failed in the worst way imaginable. You are without honor and courage, and your oath to the ideals you swore to uphold have been suborned by your own ambition and greed. Fuck you. Character matters, and you proved, over and over again in the last four years, that your character is fundamentally flawed. 

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I am shocked and saddened that the margin of the Biden/Harris win wasn't higher, but really - I shouldn't be. If the tRump presidency has shown us anything of value in the last four years, it's the flashlight it's shone on the deep, dark corners of American white supremacy. From a statistical, systemic perspective, there is only one way to interpret the data: white America as a group is racist AF, and white people who try to vote thoughtfully, who try to vote only after educating ourselves with reputable sources, who try to vote with empathy for the well-being of others, are far fewer than we'd like to believe. The data doesn't lie, and the bottom line really is that if you choose to vote for a mean-spirited, racist, bigoted bully, then you're supporting mean-spiritedness, racism, bigotry and bullying as cultural norms for our country. At the very least this constitutes passive racism in my mind. To the tune of 70 million Americans. Angels and ministers of grace, defend us.

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There is so much work to be done. The destruction of our historical and current system of white supremacy will probably take generations. But this is positive work; work that proactively makes our society better and more equitable; work that is rooted in love and empathy, and supports the well-being of all of our citizens. 

The anticipation and commitment to this work is invigorating and positive in a way that the work of the last four years wasn't. For the last four years I've written countless letters to my Congressional representative and Senators and I've made donation after donation to organizations and groups who support fairness and equity in public life. I've marched and I've railed. But that was work that felt like sticking my finger in the dike - I only wanted to stem the tide, to keep things from getting worse before an electoral solution could be found. 

The work of my lifetime will be incredibly difficult, and so, so worth it. After we decompress for a bit, we will start working on a plan to be more proactive in our contributions. We need to research how to be better allies to BIPOC communities, and then act on those findings. We need to help police our own cohort, and call out racism and white supremacy when we see it. No more "passes" based on age or region, no more remaining silent in order to keep the peace. I have benefitted from the white supremacy of our country every day of my life, whether I asked for it or not. I owe it to BIPOC communities to use some of that privilege to support the equity of those who have been denied what was freely given to me based solely on the color of my skin and my socioeconomic status. 

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Because I live in an extremely conservative district, my U.S. Congressional Representative, my State Senator, my State Representative, and my local officials are all Republicans. There's nothing I can do to change this except to try and vote them out, year after year, until a) a Democrat wins; b) a Republican comes along who isn't a complete, lying douchecanoe; or c) I choose to leave the District. I'll continue to fight the good fight, but I've resigned myself to this truth, for good or for ill. 

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In spite of my Republican local representation, I'm proud to be a Coloradan today: 

  • We now have two Democratic Senators, sending a message that Colorado as a whole will not stand for moral cowardice in the upper house. 
  • Biden/Harris won our state by 13 points, and our state has gone blue in the last four Presidential elections. Based on our demographics, this will probably continue to be the case as the state becomes more and more liberal. 
  • We repealed the Gallagher Amendment. Gallagher is an extremely complex issue, but the bottom line is that Coloradans agreed to pay more in personal property taxes so that non-industrial communities would have sufficient tax dollars to support fundamental services such as public education, fire and police, and hospital services. Will urban homeowners pay more so that other members of our Colorado community will have a reliable tax base for essential services? Yes. Yes, we will. And good for us.
  • Colorado voted against a ban on late-term abortions by 18 points. Colorado routinely slaps down anti-choice legislation, and in this case the terms were especially egregious - only one exception was included, and that was to save the woman's life if she was in immediate danger. So if you're carrying a fetus that is absolutely nonviable, you get to carry it to term whether you want to or not, and then watch your baby die immediately after birth with no hope whatsoever that they'll live. There may be some couples that make this choice for their own reasons, but it should still be a choice. 
  • Colorado passed a proposition to create a state-run Paid Medical and Family Leave program by 15 points. This one made my heart sing. This is a REALLY expensive program - .9% of workers' salary plus matching funds by most employers - and it passed with a significant mandate. So Coloradans as a whole voted to significantly increase their state tax so that members of our community won't become homeless or have to declare bankruptcy as a result of an illness or injury, and will also have a chance to receive paid family leave when a new child joins the household. Our household will have to revise our budget in order to accommodate this additional expense, as will most Coloradans, but we agreed to do it anyway, because we care about the well-being of others. 
Of course there were other initiatives which passed (or didn't) that I don't agree with, such as approval of Colorado joining the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC). Sometimes I think that both parties are pretty short sighted when it comes to this type of legislation. Just because such a compact would benefit the Democrats at this time in our history doesn't mean this will always be the case. States are not blue or red forever (as the tRump campaign is discovering), and when deciding on these issues, you have to remember it's a double-edged sword. 
________

I'm so, so glad that his dark chapter in American history is almost over, and I hope for a better future. I hope President Elect Biden and Vice President Elect Harris will be able to convince both parties to work in a non-partisan way to better our country and stop the incredibly hateful rhetoric. I hope they're able to restore America's place on the international stage, and work towards making us a respected ally once again. I hope that America will evolve into a country where BIPOC communities don't have to fear for their lives simply because of the color of their skin. I hope we, as a country, can bury the hatchet with our fellow countrymen and women, and try to work together civilly and without hate, rancor, and bigotry. I hope our Armed Forces are used wisely and thoughtfully when such becomes necessary. I hope respect for the rule of law becomes not only popular again, but expected in all our public servants. I hope we find a way to embrace a value system where character is what defines a person, not money, or race, or religion, or who you know. I hope we grow into a country who protects and cares for ALL its citizens, and understands that basic human rights such as having enough to eat and basic medical care is a standard for a modern civilization, and can be easily achieved if we value it enough. 

I hope. 


Politics - A Civil Discourse

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

DISCLOSURE: Please note the title of this post. CIVIL discourse. If you are so emotionally hooked that you cannot discuss candidates and policy without resorting to name calling, personal attacks and other incivility, please do not engage. I will be summarily deleting comments that I consider uncivil, regardless of who posts them, nor will I tolerate any "whataboutism," "Fake News," or other logical fallacies. You don't have to keep it clean (have you met me?) but arguments must be well-thought out and defensible with facts and references from reputable sources. So if you want to engage in poo-flinging monkey fights, please redirect yourself to Reddit, that seething den of scum and villainy. 

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The other day, a 45 supporter on Facebook asked a question. He said he didn't understand why anyone would vote for Vice President Biden, and he wanted to know why people would make that choice. Understandably, he wanted answers other than "He's not Trump."

I've been thinking about this question since then, because I think it's a good one. While most elections end up being a contest between a bad choice and a worse choice, I have always tried to select the candidate who most closely aligns with the ideals and ideas I find most important. But since 45 came into office, I have found that I have been less likely to try and find commonality between me and my selected candidate. This is especially true of 45, since I hold him in such contempt, but after the last four years, my antipathy has spread to the entire GOP.

Such knee-jerk reactions are part of what has made American politics so divisive, personal, and nasty. And I want to be part of the solution, not the problem. 

So I want to articulate the reasons why I think Vice President Biden is a better candidate than the current resident of the White House. Buckle up - this is going to be a long one. 

CAVEAT I: I am a tax and spend liberal. For those of you keeping track at home, this means that if the American people want a specific service from the government, then we must pay for it, i.e., taxes must be raised to cover the cost of the program. I'm okay with paying more taxes for more services for the general population, and yes, I also believe in a progressive tax rate. It's obscene that there are people in the United States who suffer from food insecurity and homelessness while our wealthiest citizens are rich beyond the dreams of avarice. I pay my taxes each year if not gladly, then at least with the satisfaction of knowing I'm doing my part to enhance the standard of living for everyone in my community, not just myself. YMMV.

The American healthcare system. The United States spends more on health care than any comparable country - a whopping 17% of GDP, compared to an average of 8.6% for other relatively wealthy countries. And yet, measurements of life expectancy, infant mortality, and unmanaged diabetes show the United States lagging significantly behind other relatively wealthy countries. 

There are a variety of reasons for these outcomes, but it seems apparent to me the main issue is that America's political machine is far more interested in healthcare for profit than in healthcare for people, and this is not okay with me. In a country as wealthy as ours, everyone within our borders should have access to basic healthcare. No one should have to choose between getting life saving medication or feeding their kids, no one should lose their house and have to declare bankruptcy because of a catastrophic illness or injury, and no one should be left to die because they couldn't afford to seek care. We can afford this. We just choose not to. 

While I personally do not think Biden's healthcare plan goes far enough, I believe it is a step in the right direction. A public option for all should be available if people need it in order to get care, and Biden's current plan is comprehensive enough to increase the number of people who will be covered. We can argue for years about the best methodology to accomplish this goal, but we can't, because I really haven't seen a comprehensive healthcare plan of any sort, good OR bad, from the current Administration. They've had four years to create one. The fact that they've done nothing regarding this critical issue (except try to repeal current protections, I mean) tells me something about their priorities, and I don't like what I see.

Foreign policy. Like it or not, the United States is a part of the global economy, and our economic health is tied directly to our trading partners. Additionally, the United States' standing as a leader of the free world is largely dependent on our relationships with like-minded countries. By acting in concert with our allies, the U.S. is capable of effecting global change for the better. 

Vice President Biden is a master at establishing, maintaining, and deepening these relationships. During his tenures as a Senator and then the Vice-President, he spent many years working with the leaders of foreign governments, and has earned the respect of other wealthy (and other not so wealthy) democracies/republics by doing the necessary diplomatic work to establish his credibility. 

Whether or not you agree or disagree with the current Administration's foreign policy, everyone can see that our standing on the global stage has diminished in the last four years. The free world no longer looks to the United States for leadership and consensus. They roll their eyes when our chief executive enters the room or tries to speak. Instead they look to Germany, led by Angela Merkle in Europe and New Zealand, led by Jacinda Ardern on the Pacific Rim. We have spent the last 80 years establishing ourselves as one of the last remaining superpowers, and sadly, it doesn't take long for that social capital to deteriorate. I believe Vice President Biden can repair our relationships, establish new ones, and hold global bad actors accountable when necessary.

I trust science and the scientific method. If anything has highlighted the difference between the candidates in this race, it's their vastly different attitude regarding science and scientific experts. There is consensus among credible scientists that climate change is real, that it is caused by human technology, and that there will be catastrophic results if we don't work to alleviate the effects, especially in low-lying areas. But that is not what the current administration believes, based on their withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, while climate change and environmentalism is a part of Vice President Biden's platform.  

The most obvious example of declining scientific advice, of course, is the management of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our current administration has ignored advice from recognized experts in favor of magical thinking, and has shaped their policies accordingly. The administration couldn't have been in better hands during this crisis, having Dr. Anthony Fauci as their primary advisor, who has served as the Director of NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984. And yet, the current administration continues to spread falsehoods and half-truths, and enacted policy that has resulted in the U.S. having the largest COVID infection rate and death rate per capita in the world, and that includes third world countries. 

Based on his published platform, I believe Vice President Biden will handle this ongoing crisis in a much more effective manner, because he doesn't think he knows more than a recognized expert whose life's work has been the research and treatment of infectious diseases, and he won't pander to those who think their high school diploma or bachelor's degree makes them a qualified epidemiologist and/or infectious disease specialist.

I believe in the rule of law, the dignity of the Oval Office, and our social norms. Vice President Biden believes in these things, too. 

Character matters. While I am fully aware that the vast majority of politicians in this country equivocate or mislead the population during their tenures, the last four years have been absolutely extraordinary in this regard. Based on the number of verifiable falsehoods 45 has uttered since entering the White House, it does not appear that he can speak on ANY subject without throwing in 10 (or 20) superfluous lies. 45 is a chronic, constant liar. I'm not going to speculate on why this is the case because I really don't give a damn why he lies. The bottom line is that he can't be trusted on any subject, and I require at least a minimal level of honesty from the U.S. President. 

Does Biden also periodically lie? Yes. Yes, he does. He's a politician. But his lies are periodic, and at this point in our country's political life, I think that's the best we can hope for. 

I will not accept misogyny, racism, bigotry, bullying of the weak or disabled, white supremacy, sexual misconduct, or incitements to violence from a candidate hoping to occupy the highest office in the land. While I concede that Vice President Biden is not a person of unerring character, it is my opinion, based on 45's own words, that Biden is miles and miles above 45 in this regard. This may not matter to you provided he delivers on issues you think are more important, and that's your privilege. Just as it's my privilege to eliminate 45 from my consideration based on these character flaws. 

Intellectual honesty, curiosity, competence, and a desire to serve. To be frank, I don't think anyone is "qualified" to be the President of the United States when they begin their first term. It's a job like no other, and the weight of responsibility has prematurely aged every president in history. But there are personality traits that can predict whether or not an individual may be a good or a poor president. In an ideal world, I want a President who is smarter than me. Better educated than me. Has intellectual curiosity about the world. Has shown sustained competence in their chosen field. And I want a President whose impetus to run is to serve the people. Not serve themselves, not seek immunity from prosecution for their misdeeds. not to engage in nepotism, not to make themselves rich by violating the emollients clause. I believe Vice President Biden wants to be President for the right reasons. 

My political values are rooted in the Constitution I swore to protect and defend with my life. This means any candidate I choose to endorse must also have values rooted in our Constitution. I'm especially devoted to the 1st Amendment, 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

As an Atheist, my own moral code is dictated by philosophical paradigms I have personally chosen that are outside of (but not necessarily contrary to) Christian teachings. The Constitution guarantees my right to reject religion, and when politicians try to force their non-secular belief systems down my throat via executive orders and judicial appointments, I consider it a violation of the 1st Amendment. 

The 4th Estate is the only commercial enterprise specifically called out anywhere in our Constitution for special consideration under the law. That's because the founders understood that the government required watching, and it required watching by institutions who could not be silenced by the very people they were holding accountable. 

I believe Vice President Biden shares these values. I believe 45 does not, as characterized by his constant berating of reputable news outlets, his cries of "Fake News" and "Alternative Facts," and his absolute obsession with his own press and inability to take responsibility for anything that has occurred on his watch. 

I could go on, but I won't. I think that's quite enough for one post, and to tell the truth, I'm really, really tired of politics. For good or for ill, I want this election cycle to be over. 

Everything you wanted to know about the Colorado 2020 General Election but were afraid to ask

Thursday, October 8, 2020


So. It's an election year. And this year is like no other, for a variety of reasons. 

As is my custom, I volunteered to act as an Election Judge for the election, and I've just finished my mandatory training from Douglas County on election rules, process, etc. Since so many people know I volunteer to do this, I end up getting a lot questions about it, and I want to answer them all. So here's my list of FAQs, which will be updated as additional questions come in. 

DISCLAIMER: The final arbiter of what's legal and what's not in Colorado is the Colorado Secretary of State, or if that fails, the Courts. Neither Douglas County nor the Secretary of State endorse this FAQ, and as such, I'll be providing links to the appropriate government offices as appropriate, in addition to my laywoman's perspective. I am not an election law attorney, nor do I play one on T.V. For complete details on election law and rules, see the Secretary of State's website. You can find everything you need to know there, from acceptable forms of ID, to sample ballots, to accessibility arrangements. 

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Q: Are there enough Election Judges to man polling places this year due to COVID-19? Are extra precautions being taken for the purpose of sanitation?

A: Yes. According to the election volunteer coordinator, Colorado residents volunteered in droves to be election judges this year, at the rate of about four applicants for every one position, and all election judges have been trained in the appropriate sanitation requirements. 

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Q:  Are Election Judges just picked willy-nilly?

A:  No. Election Judges must be screened, including a background investigation, before they can be sworn in. Additionally. Election Judges are selected based on experience and political affiliation. In Colorado, each polling place must have a balance between Republicans, Democrats, and Independent Judges. Ballot boxes are sealed by two individuals who cannot be of the same political affiliation, and the polling place must be manned at all times by at least two individuals who cannot be of the same affiliation. Ballots are moved from collection boxes to the election office in the same way. In the Navy, we called this "Two Person Integrity." You can identify your poll workers by the color of lanyard they wear. Red for Republican, Blue for Democrat, White for Independent, tan and teal for watchers/observers, and yellow for election staff. 

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Q:  Will I receive a ballot in the mail?

A:  Yes. If you are registered to vote in the State of Colorado, you will receive a ballot in the mail. Colorado sets the gold standard for mail-in voting, and every voter will receive a ballot in the mail by default. 

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Q:  What if my ballot doesn't arrive when my County says it should and I'm getting nervous?

A:  You can go to Go Vote Colorado and sign up for BallotTrax, or you can look it up by clicking the "Find my Registration" link. If the system shows that your ballot was supposedly delivered but it wasn't, you can call your local election office to find out how to get a replacement ballot. 

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Q:  With all the shenanigans surrounding the Post Office, I don't want to drop my ballot in the mail. Is there another way to make sure it gets to the election office on time?

A: Yes! Most election offices have ballot drop boxes throughout their county where you can drop off your ballot. These boxes are sealed and locked, and under 24 hour surveillance. They're emptied every day (sometimes several times a day, depending on how close to the election we are). And if all else fails, every polling place will have drop off boxes where you can put your ballot in the box. 

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Q:  What if I don't want to vote at home, but instead want to go to a polling place, vote in a booth, and put my paper ballot in a ballot box?

A:   You are absolutely able to do so - that's why we have Election Judges. Simply look for an open polling place in your County, and go there for early voting or on Election Day. But here's the rub: DO NOT MAIL THE BALLOT YOU RECEIVED IN THE MAIL AND THEN TRY TO GO VOTE IN PERSON. Seriously, don't. The District Attorney calls that "Voter Fraud," and you will be receiving a call from them later down the road. More on that later. 

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Q:  Will there be crowds at the polling place?

A:  Election authorities do in fact believe that polling places will be crowded on Election Day. This is the case for a variety of reasons, including COVID restrictions such as reduced polling locations and staff, fewer voting booths, limiting the number of voters inside the polling station, etc. If you want to vote in person, please plan accordingly, and know that as long as you’re in line by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day, you WILL be able to vote.

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Q: What if I don't want to wait?

A: Well, early voting is the shizzle! There will be polling places in Douglas County open from October 19-31, and again on November 2nd. Different polling places will be opening in phases 1, 2, and 3 here in Douglas County. Process and procedure will be the same whether you vote early or on Election Day, and we’ll even be open one Saturday (October 31st). If you need to find the schedules for your county, check your County Clerk’s election information page, or check the Colorado Go Vote page under "Manage my Registration."

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Q: Why are the Election Judges taking so long to move voters through the process?

A: Because both parties have communicated that lawsuits will be forthcoming post-election regardless of outcome, process will be strictly observed at every polling station. Please be patient with the election judges as they try to ensure everything is above-board for every voter. We’ll be doing the best we can, moving as fast as we can, and election judges are there to support the PROCESS, not a political party. All we care about is that EVERYONE gets a chance to vote, legally. So try to keep your temper with the volunteers. No one likes to be yelled at, especially when they’re trying to perform a public service.

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Q: What if I'm not registered and I still want to vote?

A: If you’re not registered to vote, you can register AND vote in the general election at any polling place up to and including on Election Day. Go you!

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Q: How do I know there won't be voter fraud?

A: Ah, the question of the hour. If you want to know how voter fraud is prevented here in Douglas County, you can start by watching an excellent video called "The Life of a Ballot" on the Douglas County Votes web page. However, I often get questions along the lines of "But how do you know if someone tries to vote twice?" The answer is both simple and complex.

Every ballot issued by the County Clerk has a bar code associated with it, and that bar code is associated with a Colorado Voter ID number. So when you get your ballot in the mail, that ballot is yours and yours alone to use. Once you fill it out and drop it off, it is scanned in at election headquarters (see the video linked above), and the scanning of that bar code makes a change in the Secretary of State's voter database showing that you (and your voter ID) have voted.

Which leaves a few scenarios:

  1. If you come to the polling place to vote after your original ballot is scanned in and your voter ID shows that you've already voted, you'll be informed that the County Clerk's office has already received a completed ballot for your voter ID. If you insist that the ballot was returned by someone other than you, you will be permitted to vote a provisional ballot, and when that ballot (also assigned to your voter ID) is put into the system, an investigation will be conducted to determine what actually happened. If election officials suspect that someone did in fact return your ballot without your consent, the matter is turned over to the District Attorney's office for action.
  2. If you come to the polling place before your drop off ballot is scanned in (say, during early voting), the Secretary of State's database will reflect that you have not voted. In that case, the election judge will have no way of knowing if you mailed it or not, and the ballot you cast in person will be the first and only ballot that is counted. When the mail ballot is received at election headquarters, an investigation is launched by the District Attorney to determine what happened, because turning in two ballots, whether you meant to or not, is voter fraud.
  3. If you vote in person at a polling place to cast your ballot and then on the way home drop your mail-in ballot at a collection box, again, the database will determine that you attempted to vote twice and an investigation will be launched.

And you want to know what makes all this work? The Secretary of State's software and associated database (called SCORE) is directly connected to every polling place in Colorado, on a secure connection, in real-time. So when an Election Judge prints out your in-person ballot for you, the change in your status from not voted to voted happens at once and is then reflected in every polling place, state-wide.

And the policy of the Election Office (at least in Douglas County) is to turn over every suspected case of voter fraud to the District Attorney. Every. Single. One. Because it's not the Election Office's job to determine intent and degree of illegality. It's the DA's.

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Q: Does the County Clerk expect there to be shenanigans at the polling places?

A: Not necessarily "expect," but all the Election Judges have been trained on what to do in case there are any:

  1. Activities such as poll watching and observers are being managed as they always have - coordinated between the political parties and the Secretary of State’s office. Watchers are pre-designated, and they will be obtaining a Certificate of Appointment and Oath of Watcher in order to be permitted in the polling place for this purpose. Observers are appointed by the Federal government or the Secretary of State. So folks who think they can just stroll in and make sure everything is being done “correctly” will be invited to leave, by law enforcement if necessary.  
  2. Electioneering within 100 feet will not be tolerated. So leave your political t-shirts, hats, buttons, etc. at home, and keep your political opinions to yourself while you’re in the polling place. Again, this is a bi-partisan law, and have been in place for many, many years. Nothing new here, just the enforcement of exiting rules and norms.

__________

Q: Does the Secretary of State anticipate violence at the polling places, and have contingency plans been made?

A: No, and yes.
__________

And lastly, make sure you VOTE, regardless of how and where you choose to do so. Now more than ever, exercising your franchise is probably one of the most important things you’ll do this year.

Maureen's Marchers, Walking the Good Walk

Sunday, September 27, 2020


Had the pandemic not occurred, today would have been the day our American Foundation for Suicide Prevention fundraising team, Maureen's Marchers, would have been at Coors Field for this annual event. But 2020 had other plans since it was evidently sent by Cthulhu to test American mettle. 

Yet, I still try to follow Mr. Rogers' advice, and look for the helpers. And nowhere are the helpers more evident than when our fundraising team seeks donations for suicide prevention. 

For the second year in a row, I am the number one fundraiser for the Denver Metro Walk (this year called an "Experience") on the day of the walk, and Maureen's Marchers is the the number one fundraising team by respectable margins. 




This year has been especially difficult since so many folks are out of work and have little to spare. Which makes the donations we did receive that much more meaningful. 

Thank you to ALL our donors, especially the anonymous donors who we are not able to thank directly. Your willingness to continue to support this cause means the world to us, as we try to turn this unimaginable tragedy into something worthwhile. Love to you all. 
______

The donation pages will be active for a couple of months following the event, so if you choose to donate even after today, you can do so here


Stalky Stalking Stalkers

Monday, September 21, 2020

As many of you may know, this year was the first time in my life that I chose to donate money to political campaigns in support of the candidates I want to win. I haven't done it in the past for a variety of reasons, including:

  • I don't think "campaign contributions" belong in politics. I believe the government should provide a set amount of money to each candidate for the duration fo their campaign, and that should be it. No Citizen's United bullshit, no big money donors, no billionaire self-funded dipshits buying the election, no buying the candidate's ear. If they win, each candidate should have an equal obligation to every constituent in their area of responsibility, and no one should have to pay for that obligation through political contributions. I'm such a dreamer. 
  • I knew, I knew, that if I chose to donate in spite of my misgivings, the campaigns in question would become Stalky McStalkersons, inundating me constantly with requests for more money, in spite of the fact that I already know how much (and when) I'll be making additional donations to the campaigns I care about. 
But I believe this election cycle is the most important one of my lifetime, and I strongly feel the Republic is in jeopardy. So rather than tacitly agreeing to live in a Banana Republic where our fearless leader (or his whackadoodle son) wears a funny hat for the rest of my life, I sucked it up and made modest contributions to several candidates of my choice. 

Crap on a cracker, I was SO RIGHT. 

As an experiment, I started keeping track of how often the campaigns I contributed to contacted me to beg for more money. These statistics are from September 11 through September 18th, and for what should be obvious reasons (have you met me?) only include Democratic candidates. But there is no doubt in my military mind that the Republicans are doing exactly the same thing to their own donors. 

Amy McGrath9
Mark Kelly12
John Hickenlooper29
Biden/Harris29

As you can see, Hick and Biden/Harris campaigns are the Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner in the Stalky McStalkerson Sweepstakes, with a whopping 29 communications in just a seven day period.* For those who are math-challenged, that's a little over four communications a day, every day. 



And politicians wonder why people of good conscience don't want to donate to their campaigns. BECAUSE THEY DON'T WANT REPRESENTATIVES OF ACTBLUE OR ACTRED OR WHATEVER PEERING IN THEIR WINDOWS AT NIGHT TO SEE WHEN YOU'LL DONATE AGAIN, THAT'S WHY.

________

*Disclaimer: These values do not include phone calls, because I just don't answer calls from numbers that are not in my contact list. I also only received one SMS from each candidate because I opted out after the first ones, which to their credit, they respected. So the ACTUAL number of attempts would be far higher were this a scientific poll with a control group. Which it's not. 

The Notorious RBG

Saturday, September 19, 2020

 
Last night's news of RBG's death has affected me in so many ways. 

First and foremost, I grieve the death of this amazing woman, and for her family. She was just...amazing. She had a towering intellect and a tenaciousness that defied societal expectations of her time. Her will was without parallel, and she was the one of the first Social Justice Warriors, with all that implied. Someone to aspire to, who worked with compassion and dignity her entire life to make life better for those without her natural gifts and her privilege. 

An amazing legacy of a life well-lived. 

So of course the Republicans will do everything they can to fuck it up, which brings us to my next emotion. Pure, unadulterated, rage. 

Of course, Mitch McConnell decides to announce that tRump's nominee (whoever that will be, but probably not a woman, because Ladybrains are not fit to decide important matters) will in fact get a hearing and a vote in the Senate during the latter part of this election year. Of course. 

Of course, the nominee will almost certainly be a bootlicking conservative of the same ilk as Brett Cavanaugh. Because tRump learned his lesson with Justice Gorsuch, with whom I don't agree politically, but nevertheless is dedicated to the rule of law and is beholden to no one. Not so Cavanaugh, an ass-kissing sycophant and possible rapist. Yeehaw. 

Of course, the newly stacked court will probably overturn cases that benefit minorities and oppressed people, cases that RBG spent her entire life championing, because fuck poor people, the BIPOC communities, women and the LGBTQ community. Fuck them. 

I'm going to quote my buddy Eric here on the impending doom of the next Associate Justice selection, because he's so very eloquent and encapsulates my feelings perfectly:

Of course McConnell is going to allow a vote. The Garland thing was obvious bullshit. Calling him a hypocrite is meaningless--he doesn't care. He has no shame. He has no pride. He has nothing but a cynical, nihilistic desire to win and ethics, morals, and principles have nothing to do with it. He doesn't care.

And for all my loathing of the son of a bitch, the thing of it is that he's the scorpion who stings the frog, the thawed-out snake who bites the sweet old lady: he is what he is and that's all he is. It's the rest of the people who still identify as Republicans who are the problem at this point. Because, unlike McConnell, they think they care; they say they have principles and it's the other side who doesn't, even if these days the other side will (just for instance) shiv somebody like Al Franken and dump him over the side of the boat faster than you can say "decontextualuzed ratfucking" because we actually do mean what we say about things like #metoo however imperfectly we match words with deeds.

Don't fucking tell me you have principles, Republicans. You don't. Trump already proved it but Mitch is gonna double down on it. You don't actually give a runny shit about any principle except scoring and your only ethic is "owning the libs". I don't want to hear any more of your sad garbage, your whataboutism and your both sides and your but her emails and all the rest of it. Take your SCOTUS seat and whatever Federalist Society bootlicker the grifter nominates, and you better hope like hell you're wrong about what we do when we eventually win--because if we decide to start governing like you jagoffs instead of like people who really do care about what we believe, you're right fucked.

So say we all. 

And finally, I am scared-to-fucking-death. I fear for the Republic. I fear for my minority friends and family who will now be marginalized and persecuted even further. I fear for the norms and institutions that make America what it is, things such as civility (yes, I know that ship has sailed), honor (however little of it politicians possess), service to the public good, voting with intellectual rigor (another sailing ship), and concern for our fellow humans. Because the disregard of our laws and norms and lack of morality embodied by tRump and his lickspittle sycophants have a very real possibility of becoming what our country is about. And that's not okay.

This is some shameful shit

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

 

Prior to her death, our daughter Moe had a large circle of friends. People she knew from her various fandoms, from school, from the LGBTQ+ community. And three very special women she always referred to as "The Girls." 

She first got to know them because one of them was her father's girlfriend's daughter, and she always referred to Sarah as her sister. The other two, Be and Terra, were friends with Sarah. These girls have always had a special place in our hearts because of how much Moe-Moe loved them, and we've kept in touch over the years. 

Here comes the shameful shit. 

Now Terra requires surgery for a diagnosed medical condition and - surprise, surprise - her insurance won't pay for it. So she's trying to raise the money on her own, through sales of her art and other endeavors, and she's also created a GoFundMe page so folks can contribute to her surgery fund.* Of course we contributed, because as the Smart Man notes, "Anytime any of those girls or Linda need anything, the answer is always going to be yes." 

But how fucked up is it that a fully functional adult, who pays her own bills and helps support other family members, has to ask for money on GoFundMe to pay for a medically necessary procedure? Our medical system is nothing but a gouging, for profit, fucked up construct that cares not for patients, but only for the bottom line. Honestly, this makes me absolutely apoplectic with rage. To allow this level of corruption in what should be a guaranteed human right says so much about America's national character, and none of it is good. At all. So say we all. 

In any event, if anyone has a few extra bucks, I'd appreciate it if you'd give Terra and her family a hand. They're artists, and while they make ends meet with their Atomic Pixies business, there's nothing extra for emergencies or large expenses. 

Thanks, y'all. May the force be with you, and your life be filled with love and light. 


*She named the URL "Big Racks Break Backs," which should tell you all you need to know about her sense of humor. 


Things I don't understand - a non-comprehensive list

Friday, August 14, 2020


1. Why people like form fitting shirts when they exercise. Even with the moisture-wicking fabric, I find these garments to be intensely uncomfortable, because as soon as I start to sweat, they remind me of seaweed sticking to my skin after exiting the ocean. Ew. 

2. How people who claimed they "only" supported tRump because of the economy can now live with themselves as they come up with other excuses for supporting a bigoted, misogynistic, white supremacist megalomaniac who has overseen the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. You might want to cover up, you guys. Your cognitive dissonance is showing, not to mention your intellectual dishonesty.

3. People eating broccoli. The Devil's weed. It even smells disgusting. ­čĄó

4. Why people put their ego above desired outcomes, especially when the outcome is a monetary one in a business environment. 

5. The idea that property is more important than people. 

6. Why it always seems like every woman who seeks to break a glass ceiling ("coincidentally") has one or more fatal flaws. And the older the person, the more likely they are to say, "It's not that I don't want a woman in the White House. I just don't want this woman." And you can substitute this for basically any woman who is in serious contention. You can protest your innocence all you want, people - it's still transparent. 

7. Why people still don't seem to give a shit about climate change. It's going to affect the human race in some pretty draconian ways - why don't we care more? Of course, a good percentage of Americans don't give a crap that the November election is being subverted as we speak, and that has more immediate consequences, so forget I asked.

Helping Others to Help Themselves

Monday, August 3, 2020

The memorial plaque at our local library
The memorial plaque at our local library
July 31, 2013 was the worst day of my life. It was the worst day of my life because that was the day the Police Department came to our home to tell us that our precious daughter Moe had died of suicide at the age of 22.

Moe died of uncontrolled mental illness. She experienced severe depression, and was under a doctor's care for her condition. But we lost her anyway, leaving a Moe-shaped hole in my heart that nothing is able to fill.

Every day I mourn her loss in this world, and I would give everything to have her here with us again. But I can't do that, so instead I choose to perform service projects in her memory such as being a good ally to the LGBTQ+ community, and donating money to institutions she cared about, like our local library foundation.

And I also support AFSP's mission in helping people who are at risk overcome their lack of hope and help those who have been affected by suicide.

This is the fourth year I've been up to participating in this event personally, but this will be the seventh year the Maureen's Marchers team is hitting the road in my baby girl's name on the annual Out of the Darkness Denver Metro Experience. The money raised in this event will go to fighting suicide and supporting AFSP's goal to reduce the suicide rate 20% by 2025. This goal is especially challenging in our current situation, where people are feeling isolated, anxious and uncertain of what the future will bring.

The danger of suicide is especially high within the LGBTQ+ community. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth aged 15 to 24 and the third leading cause of death among youth aged 10 to 14. Among youth who identify as sexual minorities, the likelihood of death by suicide has been estimated to be two to seven times greater than the likelihood of death by suicide among heterosexual youth. These kids need help, and it's up to us to provide it in any way we can.

Please help us honor our lost, beloved Moe-Moe and consider donating to the AFSP. All donations are 100% tax deductible and benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), funding research, education, advocacy, and support for those affected by suicide. The AFSP is a Charity Navigator 4 star charity, and they spend 83.6% of their total budget on program expenses.

You can donate to the AFSP by clicking on the donation badge on the right, or you can go directly to my fundraising page. This year I'm offering incentives for donations at the $50, $100, $200, and $500 range, including hand-knitted items in the colors of your choice to keep you warm this winter. 

"When you are sorrowful look again at your own heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight." ~ Khalil Gibron

Thank you for your support!




On the 7th Anniversary of Your Death

Friday, July 31, 2020

I'm really struggling this year. 

The times when I feel I just can't accept the reality of your death are more frequent this year, and right now I literally cannot remember a time when I wasn't grieving for you, and for myself. I want to crawl out of my own skin at the unfairness of it, at the grief that permeates every aspect of my life, at the pain of missing you every minute of every day. I can't stop crying, and this is the first time since the year following your death that I had to take time off work because I couldn't function at a high enough level to fake it through the day. 

The constant ache that represents your passing, along with the current state of the union and the isolation resulting from the COVID pandemic has pushed me into a full-blown depressive episode. I'm not sleeping, I can't concentrate, my aphasia is back. My desire to do anything, no matter how small, is nonexistent. 

I just don't understand. Why? Why couldn't you have come to someone, anyone, who loved you to tell them how bad you felt, how hopeless? Why couldn't you let us help you to find a way out of the darkness? When you weren't sick, I know you knew how much I loved you, how I would have done anything, LITERALLY ANYTHING, to save you, to defend you, including giving up my own life to save yours. Why didn't you tell me? 

I know depression lies, it lies like a motherfucker, and I know it was lying to you. I know you felt you were weak, that you just couldn't cut it as an adult, and I know you felt you were out of options. And I know that none of those things were true. I know that with the appropriate help, you could have gotten better, and lived your life as you were meant to live it, making the world better with your intellect, your passion, your drive. But depression robbed you of that future, robbed the world of your gifts, and robbed me of a daughter for whom I would have stormed the gates of hell armed with nothing more than my love for you and the ferocity that comes with being a mama bear. 

And I am so fucking angry. I'm angry that you were the one who had to struggle with mental illness to the point where your despair overtook you. I'm angry that you died alone and scared in an anonymous hotel room with a bag over your head, without those who loved you to comfort you and reassure you of our love. I'm angry that you didn't come to the end of a long, long life with your own family and friends surrounding you, celebrating a life well-lived, and a legacy anyone would be proud to have. I'm angry that I didn't see your pain, and your hopelessness, and your inability to see the truth about yourself and your own struggle. And I'm angry, so angry, that of all the families in the all world, losing a child to suicide is something that happened to us.

But I'm still not angry at you. I understand in my heart how much pain your were in, how hard you fought to hang on for the sake of those who loved you, how you just couldn't bear living anymore. Every day, my heart breaks for you in your final, hopeless days, knowing now what I didn't see then, and my heart breaks for me, robbed of my chance to save my baby girl from herself in the darkest days of her life. I know these things, and I know that the grief that is losing someone you love to mental illness is an equal opportunity tragedy, that every family and any family is at risk. 

But I still rail at the unfairness of it all. 

It's unfair that you're gone from my life, from the lives of everyone who loved you. It's unfair that you'll never know romantic love, the experience of sharing decades of your life with someone who is on your side, no matter what. It's unfair that you'll never know the love, the joy, the crushing responsibility, the pride that is parenthood. It's unfair that you'll never find your life's work, or have the chance to dedicate your life to a vocation, or experience the pride that comes from being at the top of your field. It's unfair that I'll never meet your partner, your children, your grandchildren. It's unfair that I'll never be whole again, that I will spend the rest of my life being broken by the grief that is the result of your illness. 

I love you. I'll love you every day for the rest of my life, with a grief so crushing that some days it takes my breath away and narrows my world to a tiny dot of pain that burns with the heat of a thousand suns. 

I miss you. I miss you so much sometimes I feel like it's killing me by inches. My baby girl, who I couldn't save, and whose loss I can't accept. 

What the Fuck, America?

Monday, July 27, 2020


Recently I swore off Facebook until after the election is over. Depending on the outcome, and how people react to that outcome, I may stay off there forever.

I have very complicated feelings about politics in America right now for a variety of reasons. Like most Americans, I'm on edge due to the continuing pandemic restrictions (even though I agree with them 100%). This time of year is very tough for me, due to the proximity of the anniversary of my daughter's death. And I've now completely lost my patience with 45, his supporters, and his lickspittle hacks.

Seriously, I just don’t get it. At all. How can people not see where this is going? Are they stupid? Willfully ignorant? So enamored of the criminal in the White House they think he can do no wrong?

The most recent egregious abuse of power is occurring in - surprise, surprise - cities with Democratic leadership. I'm sure everyone by now knows that 45 has deployed his tRumpTroopers to "quell unrest" in these cities, against the wishes of the state and local government. They're using rubber bullets, tear gas (currently illegal in armed conflict with other countries, per the Geneva convention, but apparently okey-dokey against your own citizens), pepper spray, batons, and currently the pi├Ęce de r├ęsistance, hooding people, kidnapping them off the street, and taking them to an "undisclosed location." Yes, I said "kidnap." These people are taken into custody by federal officers without identification, they're not read their rights under Miranda vs. Arizona, and not charged. What do you call it?

There is a not insignificant portion of Americans who think this turn of events is just dandy, thank you very much. If they don't want to have chemical weapons used against them, then stay off the streets! If they don't want to be beaten, kidnapped, and terrorized, then they should just agree to stop protesting against...the abuse of power by law enforcement. Oh, the irony.

Of course, I strongly suspect their reactions would be very different if it was a Democratic President pulling this stunt against cities with Republican leadership. Like, say...white gun "enthusiasts" conducting an armed protest against a capital building, for example. But the tRumpTroopers are nowhere to be seen when that happens. And that's just dandy, thank you very much!

Here's the thing about these shenanigans. As a liberal, I would be horrified if any president, regardless of political affiliation, engaged in such an abuse of power. Why? Because this is a common move of regimes engaged in the process of fascism. Fascism isn't a belief system or a political opinion. It's a process of normalizing what would have been considered unthinkable. And in order to do this, it uses five strategies to get to the end result:
And then, finally, calling for law and order solutions to self-inflicted problems (tRumpTroopers in liberal cities).

The pattern is clear. So clear. And yet, people continue to believe the far right whackadoo news reports. They'll keep on believing them, until, as the poem by Martin Niemoller says, "Then they came for me."

Four years ago I had a deep and abiding anger over a minority of this country's population electing such a terrible human being. If he wins again, I just don’t know how I’m going to feel about his supporters. There’s just no excuse for not seeing him for who he is at this point, and supporting him means you support a fascist regime for the U.S., as well as a truly horrible person with limited mental capacity and no concern for anything other than his own ego.  

Supporting fascist regimes is not why I chose to don the uniform of this country those many years ago, and it’s getting harder and harder not to take other people’s politics personally. If they think that megalomaniac is the best choice for our country, then what else do they believe?

I believe that American politics are based on compromise. Americans of good conscience can disagree about the role of government in our lives. In fact, the Republic is built on this dynamic, which in the past, has kept us from moving too far in one direction or the other. Sometimes the Republicans win, and sometimes the Democrats win. It's the nature of the beast, the nature of American politics.

However, it's not about politics or policy anymore, and it’s not about Republicans and Democrats. It's about morals and values. Americans of good conscience should not disagree about whether or not it's appropriate for the President's Gestapo to hood and kidnap people off the street and take them to undisclosed locations without due process or mirandizing them. Americans of good conscience should not disagree about whether or not it's appropriate for our head of state to tell 20,000 verifiable lies about public matters in 3.5 years. Americans of good conscience should not disagree about whether or not it's acceptable for our President to abrogate the Constitution whenever he damn well feels like it. Americans should at least have a common dedication to the rule of law and a representative democracy.

But we don't.

Instead we find a large percentage of our country willingly sliding into fascism on the back of a cult of personality, white fragility, victimhood, nationalism, fear and bigotry. And there is no compromise when the choice is our representative democracy on the one hand and a totalitarian, fascist regime on the other.  There is only the side of the patriots, and the side of the fascists.

How has it come to this? What the fuck, America?

________

Also: Here's an interesting read from the UCF's resident Historian, Dr. David. Because punching Nazis is always the right thing to do. 

The Price of Courage

Tuesday, April 7, 2020
So yesterday the acting Secretary of the Navy, a sniveling, obsequious little toad named Thomas Modly addressed the crew of the USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT regarding his decision to relieve their commanding officer, Captain Brett Crozier. Captain Crozier sacrificed his career by attempting to protect the sailors under his command from a poorly handled COVID-19 breakout on his ship.
This particular drama is one that gets under my skin in a very personal way.
When I was undergoing initiation as a Navy Chief Petty Officer, one of the things that I learned was real Navy Chiefs look after their sailors, no matter the personal consequence. And another thing that real Navy Chiefs do is train their junior officers to behave in the same fashion. We do this because it's our job. We do this because it's honorable. And we do this because that's what moral courage looks like, and it's what we aspire to.
I was... irked...when Captain Crozier was relieved of his command for attempting to care for his sailors the only way he knew how. Partly because I knew that if the Navy's senior leadership team had been doing their damn job instead of cowering in fear of the President, the Captain's actions would not have been necessary. And partly because Captain Crozier is exactly the kind of Naval officer I would have followed willingly, into the jaws of death and beyond, and the Navy can ill afford to lose him to these publicity shenanigans.
Back to the toad, Secretary Modly. During his address to the crew said their Captain was either "too naive or too stupid" to be in command. This is the same Captain, mind you, who received a standing ovation from his crew when departing his command for the last time. The Secretary then went on to say the Captain committed a "betrayal" and created a "big controversy" in Washington by disseminating his warning so widely among Navy officials.
Translation: When I was sitting on my hands worrying if the brat in the White House would fire me, you chose to publicly embarrass me by actually asking senior Naval leadership to DO SOMETHING about the clear and present danger to your crew's health. How dare you!
Was Captain Crozier naive? I seriously doubt it. Let's make no mistake, here - Captain Crozier knew EXACTLY what would happen to him when he sent this letter. He knew, and he sacrificed his career anyway. There is no way he will ever regain a sea-going command - once you've made your bosses look like ineffectual choads they are not going to assign you to a command position again, and for senior officers, this is career suicide. He knew the outcome, and he acted anyway, displaying the moral courage that all Naval leaders aspire to. He walked the walk, and lost his career because of it. 
Was Captain Crozier stupid to embarrass and jump his chain of command for what he considered to be a lack of effective action on their part to protect his sailors? I guess it depends on what you value. If the only thing you care about is the forward progression of your career, the well-being of others be damned, then yes, he was stupid. But if you care about your honor, your mission, your responsibility to the sailors under your command, then he made a profoundly courageous decision, and a smart one, too. The Navy moved with alacrity to protect and test his sailors after he informed senior leadership of the problem and started the "big controversy." This was the outcome he desired, and his decision led to this outcome.  
Another thing I learned as a Navy Chief was that you are responsible for the outcome of your decisions, regardless of what you intended. Did your decision result in your ship winning a battle? Did it result in vanquishing the enemy? Did it result in the quick action of senior leadership to protect your crew in the face of a clear and present danger? Then it was the right decision. Captain Crozier achieved his objective by this measure, and really - it's the only measure that counts.
So, as a former Senior Chief Petty Officer in the United States Navy and United States Naval Reserve, I have one thing to say to Secretary Modly.
Fuck you. Fuck you sideways. Captain Crozier's sailors would follow him into the mouth of Hell after what he did for them. And they'd just as soon shove you off the fantail while underway for your reaction. You fired him for the crime of exposing your incompetence, because you lack the moral courage to stand up to the President and do the right thing, in spite of the fact that his own chain of command recommended against his relief. And perhaps that is the "right" decision for a senior political leader to take when a member of their staff doesn't cover for them. But perhaps a better idea is for you to go back to being a junior officer where you can be appropriately schooled by the Goat Locker on your responsibilities and the real meaning of leadership. Or perhaps you can relieve yourself of your own position, since the Captain's actions were a direct response to your non-action and you apparently shit your pants every time the President glances in your direction.
In January of 2021, I would like to suggest Captain Brett Crozier be appointed as the Secretary of the Navy, because I think we all know who behaved with morality and courage, here.

ETA: Acting Secretary Modly resigned from his post this afternoon after the full transcript of his remarks to the TR crew were made public. After reading the transcript, I realized he was an even bigger knob than I thought, and that's saying something.