pollychromatic

the world through rainbow eyes


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Stop Equivocating

Dear Trump voters, third party voters and non-voters, I get that you have not really been affected by what has happened and see all of politics as mostly theater. So it feels mostly inconsequential to you.

You’ve listened to media pundits who literally have made their living hyperbolizing that the media is unbalanced to such a degree that things like “Jade Helm” went beyond the tinfoil hat circuit and became an actionable item by a state government.
We have internet sites that hyperbolize from the left to the right, and hell, even in the middle.

It’s easy to get stuck in the middle and equate all of it as a big ball of bullshit that is impossible to detangle.
Critically analyzing information as being divorced from confirmation bias, peer reviewed, and reputable, is difficult in this time and age.

So what can be done is look at the actual history of people. Pence has a political history. It’s verifiable. Sure, people hyperbolize it, but honestly nobody needs to. His political actions have been disastrous for women, trans people, the disabled, the poverty stricken, and gay people in Indiana.

Trump has a recorded history as a political pundit and political financier. He also has a recorded history as a business person.

These are known quantities.

The campaign promises of both are ugly and dangerous. Nothing much may come of them, except for the SCOTUS appointment that Trump will assuredly make. Likely to be multiple SCOTUS appointments because of the current ages of the sitting SCOTUS, too.

Now, a lot of what a POTUS does is standard diplomacy mixed with some directional jazz for the country. The SCOTUS part is much farther reaching, though, because of the nature of the job.

We have a carefully balanced federal government that relies on the checks and balances of President, Congress, and SCOTUS keeping each from unbalancing the country into dictatorship and danger. With the terms of each position being a careful part of that balance.

Hyper politicizing the SCOTUS is an incredibly dangerous direction to go in. SCOTUS appointments are lifelong appointments, and the SCOTUS are supposed to be people dedicated to keeping the long term balance of civil rights and the rule of Constitution from overturning on the citizens of the US and our foreign relations (including immigration).

There can be no equivocation that the Republican party has absolutely opted out of that careful balance. They refused the process, and when faced with the possibility of an elected Democrat POTUS declared they would refuse the process for an entirely unprecedented four years (or longer).
There is not and has *never* been an equivalent on the Dem “side.”

So there’s no equivocation.

The Republican goal is absolute ownership of the country. Which is dictatorship. Their stated goals from *there* have been to enact the rule of Christian law (which upends the entire history of this country), and to deregulate all financial and business doings in this country. This is not hyperbole. This is their stated purpose. You can read it straight forward in their statements on actual published by them platforms. You can see the history of it in their actions.

They also intend to reverse Roe vs. Wade, which would similarly have very little historical precedent. There have been very few SCOTUS rulings that have been reversed. The Republican party as a whole has been driven to office over and over in the last 20 years on this promise alone. It’s why preachers and priests stood in front of their congregations on November 6th (and before that) and told their congregations that they would literally be committing a mortal sin and go to hell if they did not vote Republican in the recent election.

There’s no equivocation there. If equivocation is too hard a word, let me use a different one.
This is not a matter of sides that both have points of view that are favorable and unfavorable for people and everything mostly equals out so it’s kind of a wash.

This is a matter of a party that has a stated purpose of upending the careful balance that keeps the stable government of this country from descending into dictatorships and fiefdoms, and another party that likes for it’s citizens to have access to the rights and privileges of the Constitution that our government is founded on.

Those two things aren’t equal.

If you don’t like the direction that the government is going in, and it’s two party system, then you have a possibility of working on that. You have the ability to get involved and help steer us away from First Past the Post voting, and away from Winner Takes All Electoral College elections (and towards population proportional Electoral College appointed votes that create proportioned third party representation).
You can’t do any of that with a party in office that has literally gerrymandered districts so hard that it’s continued small voting pool has dominated US politics (because Trump got even less of the vote than Romney, and yet won the Electoral College). You can’t do that with a party in office that has as a stated purpose to refuse to act with any other party.
They don’t want balance.

And that’s dangerous.

It’s not equal.

Whether or not you combine that with their actions and their stated goals is up to you, but that alone shows that they are actually more dangerous than Dems. No equivocation.

That we keep pushing forward with the idea of media balance and “it’s all the same, why bother?” is ridiculous. Be a grown up and take a hard look.

Just because it hasn’t affected you yet doesn’t mean it won’t.

To paraphrase Neimoller, just because you aren’t trans, or gay, or muslim, or poor, or a woman, or whatever, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t speak out.

This is how that happens. This is how it begins. When you complain about the whining of your countrypeople in speaking out you are advocating for them to be good Germans and sit down.

So either you don’t think you are in danger, or you believe you will be stepping in time with them.


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Clarity In the Checkout Lane

I was standing in the checkout line waiting my turn. Bored. Looking at the magazine covers rather than making eye contact with the other people in line.

As you do.

I was doing this, and something really clarified for me.

See, there was this horrible rag cover. Globe or National Enquirer, or Star, or something. It had the title of “Worst Beach Bodies.” There’s Kim Kardashian’s butt, front and center, titled “Double Wide.” Ha! Ha! Because Kim Kardashian has a butt that is wide, you see. Oh, and we all agree that big butts mean fat, and fat means ugly err, I mean not healthy. So we can all make fun of her butt being big because really we’re just concerned about her health and fuck if she doesn’t deserve it because what the hell is she doing thinking her big butt is okay to show off to the world as desirable! How dare she?! The nerve!

NEEEEEXT!

People I don’t know, people I don’t know, people I don’t know and… what? Is that the little person from that tv show? Amy Roloff? What in the actual fuck? They’re making fun of her? Because her body is different? And she dared to show it on the beach?

Are you fucking kidding me?

You know that point when your ears start to make that whooshing sound and your vision narrows, and you realize that you might just actually be one ragequit away from a for real stroke because you actually got that pissed off?

I was there. Right there.

And I want to use nicer language. I want to not use curse words, because I’d like for you to pass this around, and I know that using curse words makes that harder for you to do. I know that curse words are the retreat of a small vocabulary and that it takes finer skill and creates more power to write without them, but I am so enraged by this.

But it made something clear.

See, I’ve grown desensitized to the fat shaming. Every now and then it’ll get my ire up, but I have come to expect it. It’s what our media does. It’s what people in our culture do. It’s what our coworkers and friends and family do. Not all of them, sure, but enough. We can spread the body positivity from here to eternity, but the streak of shame and blame that we place on people, and ourselves, for fat, for daring to be fat? That’s wider than all the fat combined. It’s heavier, meatier, and I am here to tell you uglier.

Gabourey Sidibe can make her speeches about living past the hate and finding her own beauty, but at the end, we know, we all know, there are a world of comments that will come after about how she should still lose a few pounds. At the least, “for her health.”

And we’ve come to expect that, if not accept that. We don’t, as a culture, accept that fat is a genetic difference, we don’t, as a culture, accept that fat is just another one of the facets of beauty that exists in our species.

But.

I did not expect that to be put on a little person. I didn’t expect the highly critical eye of the media to turn to a person who was born with the genes that express themselves through one of the many varieties of drawfism. Amy Roloff is a little person. Her body is different. Making fun of her body for being different makes as much sense as making fun of Stephen Hawking because he’s in a wheelchair.

Here’s another horrible part of this. They cropped the picture carefully. They didn’t make fun of her husband for daring to be a little person on the beach. All the hate was reserved for her. Because that’s what we do.

And I really should have known better. Because we know better, don’t we? Of course the media is going to make fun of Amy Roloff. Just like they make fun of Gabourey Sidibhe. And it really is all the same. And it isn’t about a focused set of standards of beauty. It isn’t about the overuse of photoshop. It isn’t about fashion. It isn’t even about attraction, or health.
It’s about being bullies.

We’ve accepted a culture that bullies, especially, women. We take part in it. We consume it and regurgitate it and spread it far and wide on Tumblr and Pinterest and blogs and Instagram.

And god. I sort of want to thank that horrible magazine for clarifying it for me. Because damn if another picture dissecting what parts of whichever actress they took apart this week for being too fat was going to get through to me.

If you are a woman, you are less than. You are a consumable product. Here are your array of products and services to purchase so that you can be consumed. And you will consume it. $20 billion a year on the diet industry. $34 billion a year on beauty products and services  (I’m sure there’s some overlap there on beauty services/products and the diet industry, but you get the idea). There’s a lot of money to be made by telling you that you look like crap. And when you get fed up and feel down and depressed about it, there’ll be a whole row of magazines at the grocery store, and entire blogs dedicated to ripping apart actresses and female celebrities who didn’t live up to the expectations that you haven’t been able to live up to either. And maybe you’ll rip them apart, too. So you can feel better about how shitty you feel about yourself, inevitably.

And maybe it’s time that we see that we feel like shit because we have been consumed and processed through a machine that digests us to turn us into ready consumers for their products and services. Maybe it’s time we realize that this media machine is not celebrating the beautiful life, but the impossible life, simply so we will consume it and be consumed by it. That the reason will feel like shit is because we have been shat.

And maybe we need to step away from the bullies and stop giving them our voices and ears to use. We need to stop consuming this. There’s just no world where it is acceptable to make fun of people’s bodies for being different. We need to turn it around on ourselves. There’s just no world where it is acceptable to make fun of our own body for being different.

Dammit, we are the expression of a beautiful conglomeration of millennia of evolution. We are life. We are living, breathing, thinking, dancing, rolling, wrinkling, jiggling, taut, stretched, bunched up, beautiful life. In myriad forms. We are life.

And that is beautiful.


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Essentially Horrified


I am really fucking tired of people saying “Imagine if the Steubenville rape survivor was your sister, or your daughter.” There’s this idea that men shouldn’t rape women because we’re all someone’s sister, daughter, wife, etc. This is fucking wrong. Men shouldn’t rape women because a) we’re people and b) NO ONE SHOULD RAPE ANYONE.

I’m tired of being humanized because I’m, like, RELATED TO MEN.

AnneThériault   

Several months ago I clicked on a link that was shared on my Facebook. It took me to something called “The Steubenville Files” on the now blocked Local leaks site.
Trying to figure out if I should boost the signal, I read, and watched with growing horror.

I was pretty horrified by the content. I boosted the signal, but instead of linking directly to Local Leaks, I linked to a smaller media story about it. The Local Leaks content was a bit too much for me to link directly to it. It had the picture of the girl that is now famous, of her being carried by her hands and feet. It had video of a dead-eyed young man, surrounded by his friends, and boasting and laughing  about how he was enjoying raping this dead girl they had in the other room. About how he urinated on her. About how funny the entire situation was, and how inanimate and meaningless the girl was. He called her the dead body, if I recall correctly.

Him and a group of 5 others were known around town as The Rape Crew, and they seemed proud of the moniker.

It was raw, and horrible, and I just couldn’t advise my friends to watch what was, if not snuff porn (because, as we know, the girl lived), definitely torture porn.

That was the last I knew about the case until recently. I didn’t follow the trial. I didn’t read stories. It was pretty much too horrifying.

I know I keep using that word. Horror, horrible, horrified, horrifying. I don’t have an adequate word. Or maybe it’s that that word has been softened up by application to too many mundane things. The meatloaf I made where I absentmindedly added more than 2 tablespoons of salt over the course of mixing it was not horrible. It just tasted bad. This video, it was horrible.

If all you ever saw was the court case, or talking heads discussing it on TV, maybe you just have to take my word for it. Maybe you can’t quite get why I wasn’t fascinated along with the rest of the country with what happened. With how the prosecution and defense each presented the girl and boys. With how her friends turned on her. With how the sports obsessed town stood divided over this case of football stars with a promising college football and possible NFL careers had casually dehumanized this girl, assaulted her, raped her, passed her around for others to do the same, took pictures and shared it, boasted about it on video.

I’d seen enough. Thanks.

I told my husband about it, though, and when the news came out yesterday that two of the boys (I don’t even know if it was one of the boys in the video, to be honest) had been found guilty he said “good.”

And that was that.

Until last night.

See, since I wasn’t following the case, I hadn’t seen the coverage. So I had totally missed how completely failtastic the media response to the verdict was.

It blew up my feeds. So, I followed the links, and watched Candy Crowley (among many others) virtually weeping over how sad it is that this “happened” to these boys. Which is weird as hell. They did not fall into a hole. They didn’t have a horrible accident. They brutally raped a girl. Then she topped off this bizarro universe reaction with the phrase, “…of rape, essentially.”

Excuse me? How is this “essentially” rape? Isn’t this specifically rape?

Am I lost?

How are we still neck deep in rape being excused, dismissed, covered up, denied, and even approved of? Why do we, to paraphrase the incredibly clarifying words of Anne Thériault up there, still have work at simply creating a sympathetic and human connection to women? Why are we humanizing half of the entire human race so that they can stop being abused and assaulted?

Are women only essentially human? Or are we specifically human, much as men?

I know my answer, but I’m a bit worried about what Candy Crowley’s answer would be.