Change is Good

Thanks to the latest horrible thing to fall out of Bill Maher’s mouth, I’ve just added a disclaimer to my On This Day page and to the top of every post that is more than two years old noting that the post may not reflect my current beliefs.

I sincerely believe that learning, growing, examining, and often changing beliefs is an integral part of being a responsible human being. My personal journey socially and politically has been ever leftwards, and there are many posts in the archives that I would not write the same way today, if at all.

Things I know exist in my archives that I would not write today:

  • General mockery of Britney Spears for no real reason other than being a pop queen. (Which, honestly, she’s very good at.)
  • Very suburban-white-background “I listen to all kinds of music except country and rap” sentiments. Lots of at-the-time unexamined racism and classism in those statements, plus they were never really all that true (classic country and “acceptable” rap were always part of my listening habits).
  • Probably a fair amount of other statements with then-unexamined ableism, classism, racism, sexism, homophobic, or transphobic aspects or roots.

I’m sure there is a lot more; those are just the ones that pop into my head because I’ve come across them at one point or another recently while digging into my archives.

I’ve always considered myself to be open-minded and politically liberal, and while that’s true, the older I get, the more I have realized how many ingrained societal biases still exist within that basic framework. Working through those biases, recognizing them, and endeavoring to change them is an ongoing process, and one I hope I never give up on. It’s not always comfortable; it is always necessary.

My local indigenous history

Reposting for this year’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

According to this map, I (along with many of my Seattle-area friends) live on Duwamish tribal land, part of the Puget Sound Coast Salish tribal group (is that the right term to use?). The closest village was “sawh-WAHWH-weh-wad (‘place of whistling’). Duwamish. On Cedar River about 2 miles above present-day town of Renton. This village was occupied by the riverine Duwamish or doo-AHBSH, after doo (‘inside’) referring to (present-day) Duwamish River, Black River and Cedar River, along all of which this group resided.”

Lushootseed (which has several dialects) was the language spoken in the area.

The land was part of Cession 347, taken by the United States in the Point Elliott Treaty in 1855, ratified and proclaimed in 1859 (19KB .pdf). The signatory for the Duwamish was Chief Si’ahl, namesake of the city of Seattle. For all the land taken by this treaty, the tribes were “paid” $150k (roughly $4.3 million in today’s dollars — or roughly 1.3% of the cost of Avengers: Infinity War), distributed over nineteen years not as direct funds, but “to be applied to the use and benefit” of the tribes as directed by the government.

Despite being the first signatory tribe of the Point Elliott Treaty and having cultural history and stories dating back to the last ice age, the Duwamish Tribe is still not recognized as an indigenous nation by the United States Government.

President Boring

John Scalzi, in President Boring:

I suspect I will be exasperated with Biden a lot, and remember that I am a well-off cishet white dude who is not, in fact, a radical liberal. However exasperated I will be is a mere fraction of what others, more affected by the nonsense of the last four years, will be feeling. What I’m going to try to remember in those moments is that every step away from the abyss our nation almost toppled into is a good step. Biden will be my president (thank God), but he’s not the president for me. He’s the president for White People Who Still Haven’t Realized How Bad It Just Got, and hopefully through him, things get better for a whole lot of other people. Every day of that will be a victory of sorts.

I’m not as well-off as Scalzi is, and my impression is that I skew a bit left of him. Even with those caveats, he’s spot on here.

Biden wasn’t my first choice. There will be lots of times when I’ll wish he was doing more, or pushing harder. But he’s going to be so much better than what we’ve had and what we would have had if that continued.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

From his daughter Bernice King on Twitter:

Martin Luther King, Jr., from Letter from Birmingham Jail:

I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Councillor or the Ku Klux Klanner but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says, “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically feels that he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time; and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a “more convenient season.”

From Teen Vogue, in “Martin Luther King Jr. Was More Radical Than We Remember“:

Figures like President Barack Obama have reminded us that King once said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” But over time, the great orator’s writings became less magnanimous and ever more convinced that white supremacy was the most significant obstacle in attaining liberation for all black people.

In his final book, Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, originally published in 1967, King wrote that “Whites, it must frankly be said, are not putting in a similar mass effort to reeducate themselves out of their racial ignorance. It is an aspect of their sense of superiority that the white people of America believe they have so little to learn. The reality of substantial investment to assist Negroes into the twentieth century, adjusting to Negro neighbors and genuine school integration, is still a nightmare for all too many white Americans.”

He continued: “These are the deepest causes for contemporary abrasions between the races. Loose and easy language about equality, resonant resolutions about brotherhood fall pleasantly on the ear, but for the Negro there is a credibility gap he cannot overlook. He remembers that with each modest advance the white population promptly raises the argument that the Negro has come far enough. Each step forward accents an ever-present tendency to backlash.”

From Timeline, in “By the end of his life, Martin Luther King realized the validity of violence“:

One of the foundational notions of nonviolence is that in order to be respected, one must behave well and abide by the social contract: work hard, follow the rules, and prosper. The problem is that since the beginning of the Atlantic Slave Trade, black people had worked harder and followed more rules, more strictly than anyone in America. And still they found themselves in an impossible and impoverished situation. King might not have been as militant as the militants would have liked, and he may have become an even greater citizen of the world while cities were on fire, but by the time he spoke in the fall of 1967, he recognized that it would no longer be effective to tell black folks to only protest peacefully, kindly, and respectfully. They could not prosper in a game where they were the only ones expected to play by the rules. King closed that speech with a stark truth:

“Let us say boldly that if the violations of law by the white man in the slums over the years were calculated and compared with the law-breaking of a few days of riots, the hardened criminal would be the white man. These are often difficult things to say but I have come to see more and more that it is necessary to utter the truth in order to deal with the great problems that we face in our society.”

Trump could be removed from office today, if Pence would actually act to uphold the oath he swore to protect this country. I’m absolutely fine with letting Pence be POTUS46 for the next two weeks, and letting Biden take up the mantle of POTUS47.


I hoped, but didn’t expect, that Georgia would come through. I am so happy to have my expectations proven wrong and my hopes realized.

NPR GA Results at 98% Reported

As I write this, Warnock has been declared the winner, and Ossoff is leading by more votes than Biden won GA’s presidential ballot by. This is momentous: GA elected a Democrat President, two Democrat Senators, and flipped one House seat blue (which GA with a 6-8 Republican majority in House seats).

Which means that, for the first time since 2011, Democrats will hold the House, Senate, and Presidency.

And Mitch McConnell will finally lose his Majority Leader position and, with it, his ability to block legislation from being passed (somewhere upwards of 400 bills passed by the House stopped at his desk).

Pale Man from Pan's Labyrinth

And we need to make that count.

Democrats need to do everything they can to pass legislation that actually helps as many people as possible, to right the imbalances that have mounted over the past years, and to trumpet their successes so that we hold on to this advantage when the 2022 midterms come around.

The first two priorities that come to my mind are COVID-19 relief and expanding voting protections and accessibility, but there are many more.

There’s still a lot of work to do, of course, especially considering the number of judges that Trump has been able to seat throughout the country. But at least now, we have a good chance of actually being able to get things done.