This is the fourth time I’ve taken this test, though it’s been a few years — the first time was in 2002, the second in 2003, the third time was in 2012, and now, exactly eight years later, comes the fourth time. I continue to move ever further towards that bottom left corner…

2002 (age 29): -6.12/-5.90
2003 (age 30): -6.62/-6.41
2012 (age 39): -7.12/-7.33
2020 (age 47): -8.00/-8.26

Political Compass chart

From my friend Liz on Facebook (permission was granted to copy and paste, but the original post is friends-locked and not linkable):

To the people who ask why do we want to hate cops: WE DON’T.

I grew up on Mister Rogers. I grew up white and middle class. I grew up being taught that the police were the people in my neighborhood. That they were there to protect me. That if I was ever in trouble, find a police officer. Learning that they had become the villains was devastating. I resisted hard at first, but the evidence became overwhelming. It’s like Steve Rogers being revealed as Hydra, but in real life. Even more devastating was when I discovered that black people had known all along. When I learned the horrific conversations that all black people have to have with thier children. It broke my heart, and I can’t even imagine what it’s like for them. We don’t want to hate them, all we want is for them to stop being villains, we want them to become the heroes they were supposed to be, that white people are taught they are. But when we ask them to, they beat us and gas us and mace us, and tell everyone we started it. It’s like some heavy handed dystopian sci-fi story, except it’s REAL and we’re LIVING IN IT. I am constantly fighting back the tears while people ask why we are so full of hate. We are not. We are sad, and tired, and angry, and hurt.

Further thoughts from me:

I’m not an ACAB hardliner, but saying “not all cops are bad” is like any other “not all [group]!” response: Saying that does nothing but ignore the issue at hand.

I’m perfectly aware that there are “good cops” out there. But I’m also aware that our policing structure and culture, both nationwide and in local jurisdictions, is set up to the disadvantage of the public, especially any sort of minority or disadvantaged group. That even if the “good cops” outnumber the “bad cops”, too many of them either do not or cannot reign in the influence of the “bad cops”, and there are any number of reasons why that might be the case.

And so we are where we are now. Where the police are supposed to protect us, but we view them with distrust and suspicion, because we never know when we’ll suddenly be a target to be taken down instead of a citizen to be protected, or when they’ll stand up after taking a knee in performative solidarity just to deploy batons, flash bangs, and tear gas — and that’s me speaking as a middle-class white male, who can only imagine what it must like to grow up as a POC, knowing that you’re seen as a threat first and foremost.

Police can be better than they are — but it’s not going to be easy, and it’s not going to happen overnight, and it’s certainly not going to happen without a fair mount of upheaval in the process.

All the progress that has been made has happened not in spite of the protests, but because of the protests. And for that very reason, the protests will continue as long as the police as a whole act the way they do.

Something that people sharing photos of MLK walking in peaceful protests should keep in mind: 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.”

Something else they should keep in mind: One of the most commonly shared such photos was taken minutes before police moved in and brutally attacked the protesters.

MLK protest and police abuse photos

I have privilege as a White person because I can do all of these things without thinking twice about it…

  • I can go jogging (#AmaudArbery).
  • I can relax in the comfort of my own home (#BothemJean and #AtatianaJefferson).
  • I can ask for help after being in a car crash (#JonathanFerrell and #RenishaMcBride).
  • I can have a cellphone (#StephonClark).
  • I can leave a party to get to safety (#JordanEdwards).
  • I can play loud music (#JordanDavis).
  • I can sell CD’s (#AltonSterling).
  • I can sleep (#AiyanaJones).
  • I can walk from the corner store (#MikeBrown).
  • I can play cops and robbers (#TamirRice).
  • I can go to church (#Charleston9).
  • I can walk home with Skittles (#TrayvonMartin).
  • I can hold a hair brush while leaving my own bachelor party (#SeanBell).
  • I can party on New Years (#OscarGrant).
  • I can get a traffic ticket (#SandraBland).
  • I can lawfully carry a weapon (#PhilandoCastile).
  • I can break down on a public road with car problems (#CoreyJones).
  • I can shop at Walmart (#JohnCrawford).
  • I can have a disabled vehicle (#TerrenceCrutcher).
  • I can read a book in my own car (#KeithScott).
  • I can be a 10yr old walking with our grandfather (#CliffordGlover).
  • I can decorate for a party (#ClaudeReese).
  • I can ask a cop a question (#RandyEvans).
  • I can cash a check in peace (#YvonneSmallwood).
  • I can take out my wallet (#AmadouDiallo).
  • I can run (#WalterScott).
  • I can breathe (#EricGarner).
  • I can live (#FreddieGray).
  • I can ask someone to put a leash on their dog when it is required in the public park we are in (#ChristianCooper).
  • I CAN BE ARRESTED WITHOUT THE FEAR OF BEING MURDERED (#GeorgeFloyd).

White privilege is real. Recognize yours. Take time to consider a Black person’s experience today and every day. Find out what you can do to help. This is a start.

#BlackLivesMatter

Copied from a Facebook post making the rounds.

Bernie Sanders Drops Out Of Presidential Race, Ceding Nomination To Biden

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) ended his bid for the White House on Wednesday, effectively handing the Democratic nomination to former Vice President Joe Biden and ending hopes that a progressive challenger would take on President Donald Trump in November.

I know a lot of people on my list are going to be upset about this. There’s nothing wrong with that — I’m still upset that my candidate of choice this year dropped out, and I’m still upset that my candidate of choice in 2016 only won the popular election, but lost the electoral vote (\suchBS\). Take the time to grieve, to be angry, to rant and rave about how poorly our system works.

But once that’s done, please: Prioritize the good of the many, and recognize that however much you don’t like Biden, he will in no way be as bad as Trump. Sure, he’s not as good as you’d like, so push him to be better than he is! Continue pushing, fighting, and protesting in favor of all the causes that led you to support Bernie! Do everything you can to move Biden further to the left.

But please, please, please: Don’t throw a fit and refuse to support Biden, whether through giving your vote to a third-party candidate who has no chance of beating Trump, however ideologically closer they are to you than Biden is, or by not voting at all.

You’ve all seen what’s happened over the past four years. Please do everything you can to make sure we don’t have four more years of Trump in office.

A famous joke by Emo Philips:

Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, “Don’t do it!” He said, “Nobody loves me.” I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”

He said, “Yes.” I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?” He said, “A Christian.” I said, “Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?” He said, “Protestant.” I said, “Me, too! What franchise?” He said, “Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?” He said, “Northern Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”

He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.” I said, “Me, too!”

Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.” I said, “Die, heretic!” And I pushed him over.

This pretty much sums up how I see the Democratic party (and general left-of-center ideologies in the US) right now.

A lot of people who agree on 90%+ of what we want. But damned if we won’t eat each other alive over that last 10% and let everything burn down in flames in the process.

From Elizabeth Warren, 2020, and the Sexism Next Door – The Atlantic

“Electability” claims to be a benign and objective concern. It is neither. It merely outsources biases, rationalizing them by appealing to the moral failings of imagined others. It talks about neighbors, and “other people,” and “what the country is ready for.” It throws up its hands and washes them at the same time. And it suggests an especially insidious strain of sexism. The sexism of the political past has often been blunt and unashamed in its expression (“Lock! Her! Up!”/ “Iron! My! Shirt!” / “She-devil”). The sexism of the political present, however, is slightly different: It knows better, even if it fails to be better. It is a little bit cannier. It has lawyered up. It is figuring out, day by day, how to maintain plausible deniability.

I know that Warren’s campaign was looking like more and more of a long shot–but I’m disappointed and frustrated that she did as poorly as she did. I still believe that she is, by far, the single best candidate, and it’s frustrating that, yet again, an immensely intelligent and capable woman is being sidelined in favor of less qualified men.

I do hope she sticks around until the convention. Partially, sure, because I’ve already sent in my ballot for Washington’s primary with her name checked, but also because I think it’s important to have her voice as part of the discussion. She’d continue to push both Sanders and Biden on the more problematic aspects of their campaigns, make it so we’re not just listening to two old men yell at each other, and–and here’s a hail Mary pass for you–if the convention is so contested that it’s clear that neither Sanders nor Biden are a consensus choice, maybe she could end up being the consensus candidate. Yeah, a long shot that won’t happen, but it’s fun to dream.

I found this analysis of why Biden did so well in the south to be quite interesting. The argument here is that for many black voters, particularly older voters, the primary concern is which candidate is the best possible choice that most white voters will support.

My read of the South Carolina vote is that black people know exactly what they’re doing, and why. Joe Biden is the indictment older black folks have issued against white America. His support is buttressed by chunks of the black community who have determined that most white people are selfish and cannot be trusted to do the right thing. They believe if you make white people choose between their money and their morality—between candidates like Sanders or Elizabeth Warren (who somehow finished fifth in South Carolina, behind Pete Buttigieg) and candidates like Biden and Michael Bloomberg—they will choose their money every time and twice on Election Day.

The New York Times interviewed a 39-year-old African American voter in South Carolina. I found his analysis instructive. He told the Times: “Black voters know white voters better than white voters know themselves.… So yeah, we’ll back Biden, because we know who white America will vote for in the general election in a way they may not tell a pollster or the media.”

The best result, though? Bloomberg is out. Thank goodness. And I do hope that he follows through with his promise to put his immense wealth behind the eventual Democratic nominee.

I guess the other bright side is that there’s very little question of whether I’ll bother watching any of the Presidential debates. I would have enjoyed seeing Warren go up against Trump on the debate stage: not only is she always incredibly well prepared, capable, and very good at thinking on her feet as she’s answering questions, but she’d have the benefit of being able to study the Clinton/Trump debates. As it is, though, I have no interest in either a Biden/Trump or Sanders/Trump debate. I know I’ll be voting for the Democratic nominee no matter what, and it’ll save me more hours of watching old white men yell at each other.

I just wish Warren had a better chance at being our next President. She’d be great.

Addendum: Also: Yes, as many of my Sanders-aligned friends on Facebook are pointing out through links and memes, Biden is very problematic, with all sorts of questionable statements and votes in his history.

He’s still far better than Trump, and if he’s the nominee, please recognize this and vote for him instead of staying home or casting a “protest vote” (that has no functional result other than taking a vote away from the one candidate with a hope of beating the incumbent). So much depends on getting someone else in office (not least, our nation’s judiciary, from the Supreme Court seats on down, which Trump has already done a frightening job of skewing rightward in the past three years).

And then, once he’s in office, keep up your dissent. Point out when he fucks up. Call your representatives and senators and make sure they know where you stand and that they should push against any poor decisions and missteps. Make your voice heard, beyond just the once-every-four-years vote, and push for things to improve. Don’t give up just because your preferred candidate didn’t end up winning–push for the remaining candidates, the eventual nominee, and (hopefully) the new President to do better.