Some Personal Rules for Posting

Same photo as yesterday. Different filters and tweaking.

It’s getting difficult to wade through the re-posted tweets and memes on social media regarding the presidential race. While I might not get too anxious or flustered in what I used to think of as “normal” times, these days, I am becoming more and more wary of bots and trolls. The thing is, they’re funny. They’re clever. They make acid points. And the thing behind the thing is: Russia is no longer even trying to hide the fact that it is trying to affect our election process through social media.

In light of this, here are some posting rules to consider.
1. No quizzes. I am taking absolutely NO quizzes online. Even if I am pretty sure that this one will tell me that deep down in my soul, I am a mermaid and my personal animal is a unicorn. No quizzes. No take ’em. No post ’em.
2. No re-posting tweets and memes that disparage political candidates. Except Bloomberg. Okay, none. News stories from major outlets, and insightful (as opposed to inciteful) essays from vetted publications are still fair game, in my book.
3. No name calling. No name calling. No name calling. If the candidate is misogynistic and known to insult women, or racist and known to insult people outside his own racial group, it’s still simply never okay to call him names. It might feel delightfully cathartic to insult him back, but I’m still trying to follow Michelle Obama’s encouragement: “When they go low, we go high.” Besides, there’s so much truth that needs to be spoken that mean names dilute the issues.
4. I am struggling with the newcomer to the Democratic field. I have a favorite candidate, and you might be able to guess who she is, and if you ask, I will tell you, but I am trying to stay out of the bloody fight. I dream of a day when a nominee rises to the top in an election moment like this, but without the bruising and bloodying from members of her own party. In that spirit, I will do my best to not disparage any of the others, especially since word came out that Russia is trying to influence this part of the process, too. (Caveat: This newcomer, though. He has a pretty shady past when it comes to treatment of black people and women. I won’t insult him, but I don’t know that anything is gained by ignoring his history of racism and misogyny.)

What else would you put on the list? I need to get ready for school. . .

Gratitude List:
1. Big batch of grading done. I’ve begun using my gratitude lists as my accountability space for keeping up with the grading. Sigh. Right now, it’s got to be a whatever-it-takes proposal. And I am incredibly grateful to have that batch finished.
2. Last night’s dream: I had found an adult-sized pogo stick, and I made enormous leaps around a stage. I was planning to use the pogo stick as a transportation method because it was such a thrill to jump high and far. But I woke up before I could try that.
3. The sun seemed to rise SO early yesterday!
4. Yellow crocus.
5. All the wingfolk in the sky these days.

May we walk in Beauty!

Forget Appearances: Focus on the Real Issues

I know. No posts for a week or more, and then two in one day. I’m out of school, and all the things I have not had time to think are now finding their way into my brain.

Here’s a plea: Can we please cut out the personal insults to the president’s appearance, please? It’s too easy, too below the bar, too off-point. We have too much at stake to muddy our message with meanness.

The tuxedo pictures with the Queen? Isn’t that just fat-shaming? Yes, Obama looked terrific in a tux, but I didn’t vote for Mr. Obama because of his body. I liked him because he did his best to try to level the playing field a little. I liked him because he read and understood liberation theology. I liked him because he was well-read and well-spoken, and a man of grace and character. I liked him because he had a plan to make health care accessible to all, and he tried his best to make it happen.

By the same lights, I don’t care what Mr. Trump looks like in a tuxedo. He could look classy and stylish and debonair, and he would still be someone who enacts fascist-style policies that tear children away from asylum-seekers without any intention of getting them back together again. He could be svelte and handsome and charming and still gut environmental protections while denying the climate crisis.

PThe fake tan? Can we just stop with the Cheeto references? Let’s not make fun of people’s skin color, okay? Even when it’s self-inflicted. Didn’t we learn that one a long time ago, from some wise man, that we should judge people on the basis of their character rather than the color of their skin? And there are more than a few aspects of Mr. Trump’s character that make me question his suitability to run a country: blatant misogyny, racism, religious bigotry, classism, narcissism. . . We really need to focus on those: they’re what make him a dangerous leader.

Basic Logic 101 teaches us about the ad hominem fallacy, attacking the person rather than the issue. We have plenty of strong arguments as to why this man is at best a poor leader and at worst a dangerous one, but we weaken our arguments with ad hominem attacks on his personal appearance. We lose our focus on the real dangers he poses to vulnerable people, and we trivialize the actual pain he and his policies cause, when we make fun of his appearance. Plus, it gives people an excuse not to take our very real concerns seriously. Also, would you make fun of your rotund cousin in his tuxedo? Would you make fun of your friend who has rosacea?

I am all for the work of the sacred clown in society, making fun of people who refuse to self-reflect. When a president has his press flunkies lie about the size of his inauguration crowd, then it seems fitting to point out the size of the crowd that turns out to protest his presence in the UK. When he uses Twitter as a platform to spew wild and conspiracy-laden ideas, as well as a forum for personal aggrandizement, then it seems right to point out the ridiculousness in his tweets. But the size of his belly and the color of his face have nothing to do with the size of his crowd or his Twitter status.

Meanwhile, children who have been torn from their parents (nursing babes, toddlers, all the way up to teens) are in camps and detention centers, receiving minimal care and no education, from what I am able to gather. They’re subject to sexual and physical abuse. Reporters are not allowed to film or photograph conditions, if they’re allowed in at all.

Meanwhile, transgender people are in danger of losing human rights protections for medical care. Meanwhile, women are losing reproductive rights. Meanwhile, the environment is being destroyed, and the warnings about impending ecological devastation are ignored or denied.

We need to actively work to remove this man AND his enablers from power, not sit around taking potshots at his appearance.

I hate to be a scold. I know it feels good in the moment to stoop to his level. I know that because I have done it. But it doesn’t feel good in retrospect, to get down in that mud. We don’t save this country by name-calling. We save it by truth-telling. By action on behalf of the vulnerable. By holding the greedy and power-hungry accountable for their speech and their actions. Let’s get to work.