annathepiper: (Thinking)

If you’re someone in my social circle, whether offline or online, and I find out you’re a Trump supporter, I’m not going to necessarily automatically disown you. I’m not going to automatically defriend you or block you or stop speaking to you.

What will provoke me to defriend/block you is if you come at me with dismissive, divisive language such as “drinking the DNC Kool-aid” or “libtard” or “social justice warrior”. Or if you refuse to give credence to my personal life experiences, or attack my logic or my rationality. I will give you the courtesy of assuming that your personal political views are born out of your life experiences and the conclusions you have drawn about what is appropriate for you and your life. I will assume that you have a brain and that you know how to use it, and that the possibility exists that two different people with different brains and different life experiences can reach wildly different conclusions. Grant me the same courtesy, or we have nothing to discuss.

I will not come into your Internet space and fight with you about what you believe. My space is mine. Your space is yours. If you invited me over to your house for a meal, I would not attack you for your beliefs in your own living room, and I will also not do so on your blog or your social media accounts.

However, I also reserve the right to stop reading your space. I do not dispute your right to be happy about your guy winning the White House. If you are in fact happy about that, good for you; I’m glad at least somebody is happy about the election results.

But please also realize that there is a huge divide between how happy you may be, and how terrified I, many other queers, and many other persons of minority populations are. Understand that for us, it’s going to be really difficult for us to be able to deal with seeing happiness about the election of an administration that has a very real chance of making our lives meaningfully and measurably worse.

This doesn’t mean I hate you personally. It doesn’t mean I never want to hear from you again. By all means, if you’re somebody in my offline social circle, or if you’re related to me, and you want to share news with me, come talk to me. Post directly to my timeline, or PM me, or email me, or whatever.

But it’s probably best if you avoid talking to me about politics. Because right now, I don’t have the heart to hear it.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Viva Las Vegas WTF)

I said on Facebook and I’ll say it here: my feed is likely to become a lot more political in the coming months and through the coming administration. If this is a thing that’s likely to bug you, you are welcome to stop reading my blog and social media accounts. If you like my writing but need to limit the amount of politics in your internet, believe me, I understand.

With that in mind, yep, this is going to be a political post. And it’s going to be a long one.

One of the things I’ve seen in the news this week is a general call for unity in the wake of the election results. Obama’s been saying that, and yeah, that’s fine; he’s the outgoing President and it’s kind of his job to urge the American people to come together.

Another thing I’ve seen is that people are not understanding why queers are freaking out about Trump. I have had multiple iterations now of a conversation that goes something like this:

Me: I’m stressed out and terrified about this election because I’m queer.

Other Person: But I thought Trump was pro-gay. I saw an article about how he was waving a rainbow flag at one of his rallies.

Me: I am way less concerned about Trump personally than I am about his cabinet. His VP is virulently anti-queer. His cabinet members are virulently anti-queer. His party is on record as being opposed to marriage equality, and his VP and other cabinet members are people who think that not only should I not have the right to be married to my wife, my wife and I are abominations against their God, and we should be legislated right back into the closet if not outright put to death. So yes, I am terrified.

What happens next in the conversational flow is one of these three options:

Other Person: …

Or,

Other Person: *weakly* Well, try not to worry, I’m sure it’ll be fine!

Or,

Other Person: I don’t believe you! Trump is the most pro-gay President the Republicans have ever elected! And also, the Orlando shooter was a Taliban-supporting Muslim!

Now, how does this tie into the call for unity?

Trump put out a pretty speech about how he intends to be a President for “all Americans”. But here’s the thing: some Americans are queer. And when he has been elected by a party who has as a solid tenet of its platform that queers should not be allowed to marry one another, he cannot claim to be pro-gay no matter how many rainbow flags he decides to wave around.

When he said during his campaign that he would not personally oppose rolling back marriage equality (as of back in January 2016), he cannot claim to be pro-gay.

When his supporters have already started lashing out against queers and other minorities, and he says absolutely nothing to stop it or condemn it, he cannot claim to be pro-gay.

When the people he is appointing to his transition team and cabinet are virulently anti-queer, believe queers are an abomination, and believe they have a religious mandate to code into law that discrimination against us is allowable on religious grounds, he cannot claim to be pro-gay.

When all he has to try to prove that he is pro-gay is “I will keep Muslims from getting into the country so they can’t shoot queer people”, that is not enough. I am not scared of Muslim immigrants shooting queers. I’m scared of Americans who are already here shooting queers. I’m scared of my fellow Americans legislating against us. Denying us medical treatment, or the right to be at the sides of our spouses if, gods forbid, we have to go to the hospital. Assaulting us. Killing us. And of there being an uptick in this kind of violence because the party that’s about to be in power condones it.

There is no having unity with this. There is no “agree to disagree” when one side is “I agree that queer people should have the right to marry one another and live their lives in peace” and the other side is “not only do I think gay marriage should be illegal, I think queers are an abomination and should be locked up and/or put to death, and I will be doing everything in my power to pass laws against you.”

This is why queers are terrified about the impending Trump administration.

I am not going to go so far as to claim Trump is not my President, because, well, I’m an American, and he was rightfully elected. Is he the next President of this country? Yes.

Is he going to be a President who actually cares about me and people like me?

That’s the thing, isn’t it?

And right now, I’m not seeing evidence that this is going to happen. I don’t care how many photos there are of him waving rainbow flags. I care about what he actually said during his campaign, and the contradiction between his blithe “ask the gays” remarks on Twitter and how he’s also on record as saying he won’t stand in the way of rolling back marriage equality. And how his transition team is full of people who think my wife and I are abominations.

If he really wants to make me believe that he’ll be a President for all Americans, I need to see him come right out and say, for the record, that he will oppose revoking marriage rights. And then I need to see him put his money where his mouth is. I need to see a distinct lack of executive orders against queers. I need to see him vetoing any attempt of a Republican Congress to roll back marriage equality–and I don’t believe for an instant that a Republican-controlled Congress is not going to try to do that, just so’s we’re clear on that, too.

I need to see Trump specifically and explicitly condemning the violence his supporters have started slinging against queers and other minorities. He needs to make it clear to the country, now that he is the one who’ll be taking office, that such acts are unacceptable in a civilized society–that they are unacceptable in America.

(And yes, I am aware that there have been acts of violence against Trump supporters in the news this past week, too. For the record, yes, I do in fact condemn that too. I will say that loud and clear right here, and I’ll say it again any time you like. As I am not in fact an idiot, I do not claim that all progressives are blameless paragons of virtue. Please do not try to come at me with any arguments of that nature.)

If you’re a Trump supporter and you’re not happy that progressives are expressing our terror about this, if you’re wondering why we’re not trying for that unity, this is why.

If you’re a Trump supporter and you actually personally care about the rights of queers, people of color, the disabled, immigrants, etc., then listen to us when we tell you we are terrified. Do not dismiss our fears as “drinking the DNC Kool-aid” when we’re coming at this from our own life experiences, and in many cases, all too much discrimination actively thrown directly into our faces. Do not tell us to “wake up” when we’ve been spending our entire lives fighting that discrimination.

Go read John Scalzi’s post on The Cinemax Theory of Racism. I co-sign every word of that post. Although he chose to focus on the racism aspects of the Trump campaign, everything he says in that post is equally applicable to sexism and homophobia. If you’re a Trump supporter, even if you are not personally racist, sexist, or homophobic, you signed up for this as part of the package when you voted for him. You need to own that.

And if you really care about that unity being called for, then get on board with helping make sure that your candidate, now that he’s got the White House, will not be wrecking the lives and the rights of the people who are not you. Listen to us and believe us when we express our fears to you.

Say to us, “We hear you, and because you are fellow citizens, we’ve got your backs, and here is what we’ll do to show you.”

Then and only then will I believe that unity can happen.

Editing to add: Jim Hines has an important post along these lines up over here, with some links off to incidents of harassment this past week, specifically ones for which there is supporting evidence (photos, videos).

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Path of Wisdom)
Where Do We Go From Here?

Where Do We Go From Here?

Those of you who are fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and in particular of the sixth season musical episode “Once More With Feeling”, are very likely finding yourselves songvirused by the same song that’s been in my head since the events of Tuesday night: “Where Do We Go From Here?”

For me, that’s certainly been the ongoing theme of what I’ve seen coming over my social media feeds. As I wrote in my last post, I’m seeing a lot of despair from people–especially from people who are relaying word of a sickening rise in overt, violent bigotry, as documented on ithasbegun2016.tumblr.com. People are already being attacked. People are already dying, and others, as reported by USA Today, are being trolled by white supremacists who are getting their jollies on by trying to provoke them into suicide.

I have seen some hope that the electoral college vote might pull us out of this, if enough of the electors bailed on handing Trump his electoral votes. It’s a nice thought. It’s even worth a shot. But I am not counting on this happening, if nothing else because we do not actually live in that kind of feel-good-surprise-ending fictional storyline. If you want to hope for that, absolutely, take whatever hope you can right now. But plan for it not to happen. It’s the only way to be rational and practical about how the hell to get through the next few years.

So where do we go from here?

Dara’s got a post up over here, and in that post she’s outlining exactly why Trump’s transition team and inner circle put the immediate lie to the idea that he will be a “President for All Americans”–because his inner circle people are on documented record as being virulently anti-queer. They are people who think that Dara and I are an abomination. They not only want our marriage illegal, they want us illegal, too.

So right there, there’s a thing you can do. If you’re not already, start supporting charities whose mission is to provide outreach and safe haven for queers–especially young people, especially queers of color, especially transgendered persons who are going to be scrambling to get official documentation of their genders before 2017 gets here. With an incoming actively queer-hostile administration, queers will need you.

Look also for charities that provide support and outreach to populations of color. Find out how you can support Black Lives Matter or similar groups. Look for organizations that will provide legal assistance to any Muslims who have been targeted just for being brown or for wearing a hijab in public. Look for organizations providing support to immigrants and refugees. These populations of color will need you.

Look for charities that provide support to the disabled, who are at huge risk from the imminent gutting of the Affordable Care Act. Remember also that some disabilities are not obvious, and that anyone fighting mental illness or depression will also be medically vulnerable. These people will need you. Even with the Affordable Care Act, we live in a country where it’s somehow acceptable for Americans to have to friggin’ crowdfund their own medical care, and pray that the Internet will save them from having to choose between health and having a roof over their heads and food on their tables. Expect that to keep happening. If you have an opportunity to support a friend or a loved one who will need your help with medical expenses, do it. They will need you.

Support Planned Parenthood and other organizations that fight for women’s reproductive freedom.

Support the ACLU. Because holy Jesus jumping Christ on a pogo stick, we will need them looking out for our civil liberties. They have already posted their open letter to Trump, announcing their coming vigilance. Help them.

If you are religious but also progressive, especially if you are Christian, then get your church to step up to the plate and be public in support of these marginalized populations. And have them be public in their decrying of bigotry and religious hatred. Because right now, the alt-right fundies are about to own both the White House and Congress. If they don’t speak for you and your brand of Christianity, now is the time to demonstrate that.

Support organizations that encourage actual science. Because Trump’s looking at appointing a Creationist to be Secretary of Education, and that right there is enough to make me very concerned for the state of American schools.

Support organizations that are working to counter the effects of climate change. Because Trump’s administration is also likely to be hostile to climate change, and at least from where the NY Times is sitting, the EPA sure looks like it’s going to be in trouble. Pro tip: all those aforementioned marginalized populations are going to be in even more trouble once climate change starts making us a lot more miserable. Second pro tip: putting your hands over your ears and going LALALALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU is not going to make climate change not happen.

Relatedly: if you’re not already doing so, start looking for ways you can live in a more environmentally-friendly way on the local and personal level, if the national level is going to fail us on this. It may not seem like much, but every tiny little bit you can do will help. Consult your local power companies to see what advice they have about more eco-friendly power consumption. And for all the bitching I’ve done about Puget Sound Energy, they do at least have a Green Power program. If you’re a PSE subscriber, info on this program is here. If you’re on Seattle City Light, go to their home page and look for the “Renewable Energy” header towards the bottom. They have data there.

Dara’s post that I linked to above links off in turn to this document on Google Docs, with some ongoing concrete suggestions for planning. Check that out too.

Most of all: look out for yourselves and each other. If you are in a marginalized population, do whatever is necessary to protect yourself. Your safety and your well-being are also important. You cannot help others without making sure you’re strong enough to do so first.

If you are a creative artist of any kind–writer, painter, photographer, singer, songwriter, podcaster, anything–try to hold fast to your art. We will need your art. If you are motivated to work your worry and frustration and fear into your art, do that. If you feel all you can do is colored pencil sketches of cute little puppies and kittens and bunnies, do that. Somebody out there is going to see your picture of a cute little bunny, and have their heart’s burdened eased just a bit. That is what art is for.

And at the same time, fellow creatives–remember as well that if you can’t produce your art, that is okay too. Sometimes extreme stress will short out your muse. Remember your self-care too. Do whatever you need to to maintain yourself. If that means you have to take a break from your art, do that and come back when you’re ready.

Hang in there, everyone. Love one another. Look out for one another. We’re all going to need it.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Thinking)

As I’ve periodically posted before, I’m a member of the Outer Alliance mailing list, a mailing list for queer authors and queer allies. One of our members, Dennis Upkins, is a gay man who also is black. And as you might expect, Dennis has been paying very hard attention to the events that have been taking place in Ferguson over the last many days.

He’s put up a post called Your Ferguson Resource Packet, which is pretty much a roundup of a lot of critical reading, especially if you’re a white person who might need to make sense of the massive shitstorm of FAIL that has been Ferguson’s handling of this entire affair.

Go read what he has to say. And if you’re a white person and you find yourself getting angry or defensive, read it anyway.

Because here’s the thing. You may not be a racist yourself. Your friends and loved ones may not be racist. You may personally know and love honorable members of your local police force. But you need to recognize that this isn’t about you. Or about people you personally know and love.

This is instead about the bigger picture of how the justice system in our society is massively skewed against anybody who isn’t white. Ferguson has been an all-too-graphic case in point about this. So was the entire Trayvon Martin case. So was the Marissa Alexander case–which, notably, was a black woman trying to defend herself against an abusive husband, which should have been a legitimate defense for Florida’s Stand Your Ground law and yet SOMEHOW was not applied to her. GEE I WONDER WHY.

And there are dozens of other examples. Dennis points at only some of them. Google. Educate yourself.

Recognize too that even if you yourself are also a member of a minority (e.g., you’re a woman, you’re queer, you’re cisgendered, you’re poor, etc.), if you’re a white person, you are not exempted from experiencing white privilege due to being any other kind of minority. And what does your white privilege mean? It means that chances are really good you’re never going to experience the kind of shit from the police that Ferguson citizens have been enduring from theirs.

Likewise, it means that if you stand up and say “this is bullshit and it needs to stop”, chances are likewise really good that your voice will be given more weight simply because you are, in fact, white.

This is what privilege means. It doesn’t mean you have to feel guilty for being a white person. It means that you simply need to recognize that by default, having white skin will give you more power in our society than being any other color will. It’s the same principle in play that gives straight people more power than queer people, rich people more power than poor people, the cisgendered more power than the transgendered, and men more power than women.

And if you also think that is bullshit and needs to stop, if you want to know what you as a white person can do to help, then again, go read what Dennis has to say. And seriously listen to what he’s saying, and think before you reflexively try to engage him or any other PoC in counterarguments. Pay particular attention to what microaggressions are, and learn to recognize when arguments you may want to put forth to people of color are in fact microaggressions that they hear day in and day out, ad infinitum, and which are way, way more common than you may think. Because I guarantee you that a lot of the counterarguments that may spring to your mind are ones they’ve heard before.

(And if you’re a member of any other minority, try the mental exercise first of seeing how you’d feel if a hypothetical other person tried to wing the same counterargument at you–about women, or the poor, or the transgendered, or what have you. If it would piss you off if somebody said that argument to you, that would be an indicator that maybe, just maybe, you shouldn’t say it.)

And don’t stop there, either. Here is a roundup of campaigns and fundraiders to help Mike Brown’s family and the people of Ferguson in general. If you want to put your money where your mouth is, that would be an excellent place to start.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Thinking)

As I’ve periodically posted before, I’m a member of the Outer Alliance mailing list, a mailing list for queer authors and queer allies. One of our members, Dennis Upkins, is a gay man who also is black. And as you might expect, Dennis has been paying very hard attention to the events that have been taking place in Ferguson over the last many days.

He’s put up a post called Your Ferguson Resource Packet, which is pretty much a roundup of a lot of critical reading, especially if you’re a white person who might need to make sense of the massive shitstorm of FAIL that has been Ferguson’s handling of this entire affair.

Go read what he has to say. And if you’re a white person and you find yourself getting angry or defensive, read it anyway.

Because here’s the thing. You may not be a racist yourself. Your friends and loved ones may not be racist. You may personally know and love honorable members of your local police force. But you need to recognize that this isn’t about you. Or about people you personally know and love.

This is instead about the bigger picture of how the justice system in our society is massively skewed against anybody who isn’t white. Ferguson has been an all-too-graphic case in point about this. So was the entire Trayvon Martin case. So was the Marissa Alexander case–which, notably, was a black woman trying to defend herself against an abusive husband, which should have been a legitimate defense for Florida’s Stand Your Ground law and yet SOMEHOW was not applied to her. GEE I WONDER WHY.

And there are dozens of other examples. Dennis points at only some of them. Google. Educate yourself.

Recognize too that even if you yourself are also a member of a minority (e.g., you’re a woman, you’re queer, you’re cisgendered, you’re poor, etc.), if you’re a white person, you are not exempted from experiencing white privilege due to being any other kind of minority. And what does your white privilege mean? It means that chances are really good you’re never going to experience the kind of shit from the police that Ferguson citizens have been enduring from theirs.

Likewise, it means that if you stand up and say “this is bullshit and it needs to stop”, chances are likewise really good that your voice will be given more weight simply because you are, in fact, white.

This is what privilege means. It doesn’t mean you have to feel guilty for being a white person. It means that you simply need to recognize that by default, having white skin will give you more power in our society than being any other color will. It’s the same principle in play that gives straight people more power than queer people, rich people more power than poor people, the cisgendered more power than the transgendered, and men more power than women.

And if you also think that is bullshit and needs to stop, if you want to know what you as a white person can do to help, then again, go read what Dennis has to say. And seriously listen to what he’s saying, and think before you reflexively try to engage him or any other PoC in counterarguments. Pay particular attention to what microaggressions are, and learn to recognize when arguments you may want to put forth to people of color are in fact microaggressions that they hear day in and day out, ad infinitum, and which are way, way more common than you may think. Because I guarantee you that a lot of the counterarguments that may spring to your mind are ones they’ve heard before.

(And if you’re a member of any other minority, try the mental exercise first of seeing how you’d feel if a hypothetical other person tried to wing the same counterargument at you–about women, or the poor, or the transgendered, or what have you. If it would piss you off if somebody said that argument to you, that would be an indicator that maybe, just maybe, you shouldn’t say it.)

And don’t stop there, either. Here is a roundup of campaigns and fundraiders to help Mike Brown’s family and the people of Ferguson in general. If you want to put your money where your mouth is, that would be an excellent place to start.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Path of Wisdom)

So in between the network outage fun we’ve been having today, and a whole mess of various unpleasant things happening to various friends of mine (seriously, Monday, KNOCK IT THE FUCK OFF), oh hey look the threatened U.S. government shutdown has happened. Because the Republicans have their damn shorts in a twist over the specter of Americans finally getting some goddamn healthcare.

How disgusted am I that the government is even arguing over this? Let’s review my and Dara’s health care timeline, shall we?

2003: I broke my arm.

2004: I had the first half of my thyroid out.

2005: I had the second half of my thyroid out.

2006: Dara got hit by the car.

2007: I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

2007-2009: Assorted lumpectomies, biopses, radiation treatments, and eventual mastectomy and reconstruction work.

2010-2011: Actually got some breathing room for once, and then…

2012: I get smacked with the h. pylori infection. Which, for the record: NOT FUN.

Throughout all of this, I have been fortunate to have regular enough employment with insurance that doesn’t suck that we managed to flounder our way through what out of pocket costs we had to handle–and even with the insurance, the cancer costs alone that Dara and I had to put down were well into five figures.

If we’d had to do this without insurance, it would have bankrupted us a long time ago. As it stands, I’ve simply had to learn to deal with a body that aches in various places from the various medical problems it’s undergone, and Dara and I both have gotten way more familiar with Evergreen Hospital than anyone should ever get with a hospital, except the people that actually work there.

I am beyond grateful that I’ve managed to maintain employment with insurance that doesn’t suck. I’ve been in a situation where that wasn’t the case–because I came out of a childhood and adolescence with a mother who had to fight cancer, and which killed her too damn young. My mother died when she was 38, people. Because we were too damn poor to continue to get her the care she needed. She went through grand mal epileptic seizures through all that I can remember of her life, because she’d had a goddamn tumor in her brain, and she remained in poor health up until the day she died.

And the thing that disgusts me? The thing that really disgusts me? It’s that similar situations continue to happen all over this country.

Time and time again I see good people having to turn to their friends on the Internet to ask for support to get care they desperately need–for surgeries, for cancer treatment, for any host of things that could possibly save their lives or at least lessen some goddamn misery. I see good people having to make their own ailments worse because they can’t actually afford to get treated. I see people having to choose between whether they go to the doctor, or whether they go to the grocery to get food.

But apparently we’re supposed to like this because it’s a free market health care system. Because it’s not a socialist/communist/whatever-ist health care system. Because AMURKA.

I not only don’t like it, I am outright disgusted by how certain parties in our government can turn a blind eye to the suffering Americans undergo every day. But apparently it’s the Americans who don’t actually count: the poor, the women, the non-white, the queer.

(And yeah, I don’t want to think about how much more difficult the medical crap Dara and I have been through would have been if we didn’t live in a queer-friendly part of the country.)

Look, I’m not a hundred percent behind Obama. He’s done some things I have massive issues with. But in this, in trying to get some health care to the Americans that need it the most, I’m actually with him. No, I don’t expect it to be perfect. But I’d much rather see the Republicans in the government pull their heads out of their asses and try to work with him to make the system suck less, rather than holding the government itself hostage.

I’ll be remembering this, people. In memory of my mother, whose birthday would have been TODAY, in fact. And in the name of every American who’s had to suffer rather than get the treatment he or she needs. Because this inhumanity has got to stop.

ETA: I see with grim satisfaction that Margaret and Helen are in accord with me on how the Republican part of Congress needs a bunch of emergency headfromassectomies.

ETA #2: Dara points out that our costs during my cancer care went into six figures, not five. Which only drives my point home harder. It took us until well into 2011 until we finally pulled out of how hard that hit us financially.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Path of Wisdom)

So in between the network outage fun we’ve been having today, and a whole mess of various unpleasant things happening to various friends of mine (seriously, Monday, KNOCK IT THE FUCK OFF), oh hey look the threatened U.S. government shutdown has happened. Because the Republicans have their damn shorts in a twist over the specter of Americans finally getting some goddamn healthcare.

How disgusted am I that the government is even arguing over this? Let’s review my and Dara’s health care timeline, shall we?

2003: I broke my arm.

2004: I had the first half of my thyroid out.

2005: I had the second half of my thyroid out.

2006: Dara got hit by the car.

2007: I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

2007-2009: Assorted lumpectomies, biopses, radiation treatments, and eventual mastectomy and reconstruction work.

2010-2011: Actually got some breathing room for once, and then…

2012: I get smacked with the h. pylori infection. Which, for the record: NOT FUN.

Throughout all of this, I have been fortunate to have regular enough employment with insurance that doesn’t suck that we managed to flounder our way through what out of pocket costs we had to handle–and even with the insurance, the cancer costs alone that Dara and I had to put down were well into five figures.

If we’d had to do this without insurance, it would have bankrupted us a long time ago. As it stands, I’ve simply had to learn to deal with a body that aches in various places from the various medical problems it’s undergone, and Dara and I both have gotten way more familiar with Evergreen Hospital than anyone should ever get with a hospital, except the people that actually work there.

I am beyond grateful that I’ve managed to maintain employment with insurance that doesn’t suck. I’ve been in a situation where that wasn’t the case–because I came out of a childhood and adolescence with a mother who had to fight cancer, and which killed her too damn young. My mother died when she was 38, people. Because we were too damn poor to continue to get her the care she needed. She went through grand mal epileptic seizures through all that I can remember of her life, because she’d had a goddamn tumor in her brain, and she remained in poor health up until the day she died.

And the thing that disgusts me? The thing that really disgusts me? It’s that similar situations continue to happen all over this country.

Time and time again I see good people having to turn to their friends on the Internet to ask for support to get care they desperately need–for surgeries, for cancer treatment, for any host of things that could possibly save their lives or at least lessen some goddamn misery. I see good people having to make their own ailments worse because they can’t actually afford to get treated. I see people having to choose between whether they go to the doctor, or whether they go to the grocery to get food.

But apparently we’re supposed to like this because it’s a free market health care system. Because it’s not a socialist/communist/whatever-ist health care system. Because AMURKA.

I not only don’t like it, I am outright disgusted by how certain parties in our government can turn a blind eye to the suffering Americans undergo every day. But apparently it’s the Americans who don’t actually count: the poor, the women, the non-white, the queer.

(And yeah, I don’t want to think about how much more difficult the medical crap Dara and I have been through would have been if we didn’t live in a queer-friendly part of the country.)

Look, I’m not a hundred percent behind Obama. He’s done some things I have massive issues with. But in this, in trying to get some health care to the Americans that need it the most, I’m actually with him. No, I don’t expect it to be perfect. But I’d much rather see the Republicans in the government pull their heads out of their asses and try to work with him to make the system suck less, rather than holding the government itself hostage.

I’ll be remembering this, people. In memory of my mother, whose birthday would have been TODAY, in fact. And in the name of every American who’s had to suffer rather than get the treatment he or she needs. Because this inhumanity has got to stop.

ETA: I see with grim satisfaction that Margaret and Helen are in accord with me on how the Republican part of Congress needs a bunch of emergency headfromassectomies.

ETA #2: Dara points out that our costs during my cancer care went into six figures, not five. Which only drives my point home harder. It took us until well into 2011 until we finally pulled out of how hard that hit us financially.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Path of Wisdom)

Followup post on yesterday’s reporting on the latest bloviating from Orson Scott Card, prompted in no small part by this post of Chuck Wendig’s in which he explains why he’s personally boycotting Ender’s Game.

I wanted to expand a bit upon a notion I’ve seen debated a lot in the SF/F realm the last few years: i.e., whether you can engage with art created by someone whose politics you don’t agree with, and in Card’s case, whose politics you find actively repellent. More than once, I’ve seen people assert that you should not conflate the art with the artist, and that if you refuse to read things by people who are assholes, you risk missing out on good stories. I’ve also seen it argued that if you refuse to read things by people who disagree with you, you’re not keeping a suitably open mind.

But here’s the thing.

The vast majority of the time, when I see people making this argument, they’re people who’re arguing from a position of privilege–people who are, in fact, not in the direct line of fire of the repellent politics in question. It’s very easy to say “but Orson Scott Card is an awesome writer and Ender’s Game is a classic, how can you possibly skip it?!” when you’re a straight white Christian.

If you’re queer, on the other hand, you’re one of the people he wants to make illegal–a goal he’s been actively working towards, given that he’s a board member of an organization who has that as a stated goal. He’s cheerleaded efforts in Uganda to issue the death sentence to homosexuals. He is actively working, with his money, time, and reputation, to push people like me and my wife into the dirt.

So it’s a safe bet that some portion of the money he makes from his art is in fact going to go towards the goal of making people like me illegal, if not dead.

So, no. I’m never going to read a word of his. If a project has his name on it, I’m not touching it. I don’t give a rat’s ass, rat’s feet, or any other part of the rat how good a writer he is. I don’t care about whatever significance may lie in the stories he creates. I don’t care who else is involved in the Ender’s Game movie. I’m pretty damn sure they’ll all survive without getting any of my money.

Me, I’d just as soon give my financial support to people who don’t want to see me illegal or dead. And with over 1,100 things on my To Read list by people who aren’t flaming bigoted assholes, I’m pretty damned sure I won’t miss Card’s work one single bit.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Path of Wisdom)

Followup post on yesterday’s reporting on the latest bloviating from Orson Scott Card, prompted in no small part by this post of Chuck Wendig’s in which he explains why he’s personally boycotting Ender’s Game.

I wanted to expand a bit upon a notion I’ve seen debated a lot in the SF/F realm the last few years: i.e., whether you can engage with art created by someone whose politics you don’t agree with, and in Card’s case, whose politics you find actively repellent. More than once, I’ve seen people assert that you should not conflate the art with the artist, and that if you refuse to read things by people who are assholes, you risk missing out on good stories. I’ve also seen it argued that if you refuse to read things by people who disagree with you, you’re not keeping a suitably open mind.

But here’s the thing.

The vast majority of the time, when I see people making this argument, they’re people who’re arguing from a position of privilege–people who are, in fact, not in the direct line of fire of the repellent politics in question. It’s very easy to say “but Orson Scott Card is an awesome writer and Ender’s Game is a classic, how can you possibly skip it?!” when you’re a straight white Christian.

If you’re queer, on the other hand, you’re one of the people he wants to make illegal–a goal he’s been actively working towards, given that he’s a board member of an organization who has that as a stated goal. He’s cheerleaded efforts in Uganda to issue the death sentence to homosexuals. He is actively working, with his money, time, and reputation, to push people like me and my wife into the dirt.

So it’s a safe bet that some portion of the money he makes from his art is in fact going to go towards the goal of making people like me illegal, if not dead.

So, no. I’m never going to read a word of his. If a project has his name on it, I’m not touching it. I don’t give a rat’s ass, rat’s feet, or any other part of the rat how good a writer he is. I don’t care about whatever significance may lie in the stories he creates. I don’t care who else is involved in the Ender’s Game movie. I’m pretty damn sure they’ll all survive without getting any of my money.

Me, I’d just as soon give my financial support to people who don’t want to see me illegal or dead. And with over 1,100 things on my To Read list by people who aren’t flaming bigoted assholes, I’m pretty damned sure I won’t miss Card’s work one single bit.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Wrath of Gaz)

Just came back from getting my phone replaced to see the word going around the Net that Orson Scott Card has apparently decided to call the question of gay marriage “moot” and has asked for “tolerance from the victorious”. And for added WTFery, is calling on people to not boycott his movie.

It’s one thing to say that “I am against gay marriage on religious grounds” and to therefore apply that to your own life. I don’t like that, but it’s appropriate to accept that others who don’t agree with me are free to live their own lives as they wish. It’s quite another thing entirely to say that “because my religious views are against gay marriage, nobody should ever have gay marriage EVER”–to actively throw your own reputation, money, and life effort into not only trying to pass laws to enforce your views, but to promote the outright dehumanization of LGBT folk.

And now he has the nerve to ask people to not boycott his movie? I have two words for you, Mr. Card: fuck you.

Because no. I’m not tolerant of his toxic brand of bigotry. He has the freedom to believe what he likes, but when he starts trying to force his views down other people’s throats, no, I’m not going to put up with that. As the old saying goes, your right to swing your fist ends at my nose.

I never read Ender’s Game, so I have no particular sentimental attachment to that book. In fact, I’d only ever read one book of Card’s before I found out what a homophobic asshat he is. But I know a lot of SF/F fans who did love the book, and so I’m sad for them–because they’re unhappy that a beloved book turns out to have been created by a vile weasel of a person.

Me, I’m a little sad just because Harrison Ford is in this movie, and as you all know, I’ve been a longstanding fan of Mr. Ford. But not even his presence in the film could make me give any money to anything with Orson Scott Card’s name attached.

Dara has pretty much echoed my thoughts here, and James Nicoll has commentary here.

ETA: Commentary at The Mary Sue over here.

ETA #2: For a counterpoint view Cory Doctorow chimed in on BoingBoing. I’m linking to him because even though I don’t agree with his stance, it’s worth noting as an opinion I’ve seen out there a lot every time something of this nature comes up: i.e., how much leeway can you give between the creator of a piece of art, and the art itself?

I’ve seen a lot of people advocate separating them and I can buy that up to a point. In Card’s case, he crosses the line for me specifically because he is an activist. I.e., he’s a member of an organization dedicated to the dehumanization of LGBT-folk; it’s not enough for him to just have these beliefs. And you know what? Fuck that. I don’t care how good a writer he is. I have no qualms whatsoever about potentially missing out on good stories despite my lifelong goal of Wanting to Read All the Books. My life is too short, and there are too many other great authors out there who aren’t trying to pass laws to make my wife and second-class citizens, to give dime one to him.

ETA #3: James has another post up linking off to a stunning comment from another author pretty much equating “refusing to buy an author’s work and therefore causing him economic harm” to “causing actual physical harm”, and asserting that these differ only by degree.

And I repeat: I don’t give a rat’s ass how good a writer Card may or may not be. Ability to string sentences together into a coherent SF/F novel does not excuse you for being a rampant, bigoted, hate-filled asshole. And it sure as hell does not mean I have to subject myself to your work. There are too many good people in the world who are far more deserving of my money.

Card’s already brought a gun to something that wasn’t even a knife fight, so y’know what? No, I do not give a fat flying fuck about whether I’m causing him any economic harm by refusing to support him or his work.

(The comment in question appears in this thread on thinkprogress.org, which actually raises good thoughts about what to do as an ethical consumer of art, in situations like this–where significant art has been created by terrible people. The post itself is worth reading, but as with many places on the Internet, for gods’ sake STAY OUT OF THE COMMENTS unless you’re feeling feisty.)

ETA #4: Chuck Wendig speaks eloquently on the matter right over here. Money quote:

That’s him doubling down and saying, “You need to tolerate my intolerance.” Which is a classic derailing tactic that smells so strongly of horseshit that when he says it I wonder if I’m actually living inside a horse’s ass.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Wrath of Gaz)

Just came back from getting my phone replaced to see the word going around the Net that Orson Scott Card has apparently decided to call the question of gay marriage “moot” and has asked for “tolerance from the victorious”. And for added WTFery, is calling on people to not boycott his movie.

It’s one thing to say that “I am against gay marriage on religious grounds” and to therefore apply that to your own life. I don’t like that, but it’s appropriate to accept that others who don’t agree with me are free to live their own lives as they wish. It’s quite another thing entirely to say that “because my religious views are against gay marriage, nobody should ever have gay marriage EVER”–to actively throw your own reputation, money, and life effort into not only trying to pass laws to enforce your views, but to promote the outright dehumanization of LGBT folk.

And now he has the nerve to ask people to not boycott his movie? I have two words for you, Mr. Card: fuck you.

Because no. I’m not tolerant of his toxic brand of bigotry. He has the freedom to believe what he likes, but when he starts trying to force his views down other people’s throats, no, I’m not going to put up with that. As the old saying goes, your right to swing your fist ends at my nose.

I never read Ender’s Game, so I have no particular sentimental attachment to that book. In fact, I’d only ever read one book of Card’s before I found out what a homophobic asshat he is. But I know a lot of SF/F fans who did love the book, and so I’m sad for them–because they’re unhappy that a beloved book turns out to have been created by a vile weasel of a person.

Me, I’m a little sad just because Harrison Ford is in this movie, and as you all know, I’ve been a longstanding fan of Mr. Ford. But not even his presence in the film could make me give any money to anything with Orson Scott Card’s name attached.

Dara has pretty much echoed my thoughts here, and James Nicoll has commentary here.

ETA: Commentary at The Mary Sue over here.

ETA #2: For a counterpoint view Cory Doctorow chimed in on BoingBoing. I’m linking to him because even though I don’t agree with his stance, it’s worth noting as an opinion I’ve seen out there a lot every time something of this nature comes up: i.e., how much leeway can you give between the creator of a piece of art, and the art itself?

I’ve seen a lot of people advocate separating them and I can buy that up to a point. In Card’s case, he crosses the line for me specifically because he is an activist. I.e., he’s a member of an organization dedicated to the dehumanization of LGBT-folk; it’s not enough for him to just have these beliefs. And you know what? Fuck that. I don’t care how good a writer he is. I have no qualms whatsoever about potentially missing out on good stories despite my lifelong goal of Wanting to Read All the Books. My life is too short, and there are too many other great authors out there who aren’t trying to pass laws to make my wife and second-class citizens, to give dime one to him.

ETA #3: James has another post up linking off to a stunning comment from another author pretty much equating “refusing to buy an author’s work and therefore causing him economic harm” to “causing actual physical harm”, and asserting that these differ only by degree.

And I repeat: I don’t give a rat’s ass how good a writer Card may or may not be. Ability to string sentences together into a coherent SF/F novel does not excuse you for being a rampant, bigoted, hate-filled asshole. And it sure as hell does not mean I have to subject myself to your work. There are too many good people in the world who are far more deserving of my money.

Card’s already brought a gun to something that wasn’t even a knife fight, so y’know what? No, I do not give a fat flying fuck about whether I’m causing him any economic harm by refusing to support him or his work.

(The comment in question appears in this thread on thinkprogress.org, which actually raises good thoughts about what to do as an ethical consumer of art, in situations like this–where significant art has been created by terrible people. The post itself is worth reading, but as with many places on the Internet, for gods’ sake STAY OUT OF THE COMMENTS unless you’re feeling feisty.)

ETA #4: Chuck Wendig speaks eloquently on the matter right over here. Money quote:

That’s him doubling down and saying, “You need to tolerate my intolerance.” Which is a classic derailing tactic that smells so strongly of horseshit that when he says it I wonder if I’m actually living inside a horse’s ass.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Sky Full of Dreams)
So yeah, I hear tell something cool happened in DC today. I didn't actually get to watch it, since Obama was being sworn in right about when I walked into work--though I did see a lot of streaming video getting watched on monitor screens, and the IT guys had the news going on the big screen over their area. And there was indeed a bit of yayness going around the floor this morning, in general. One of my coworkers announced there were cookies with Obama's face in her area, and another one was selling shirts with inauguration designs on them to help her kid raise some money.

I did read the text of the inaugural speech, though, and I shall indeed agree, that was awesome. I particularly liked the acknowledgement to the agnostics and atheists of our country, and the pledge to "restore Science to its rightful place." YES. THANK YOU.

Overall, though, I think I shall paraphrase the sentiments expressed by [livejournal.com profile] kathrynt, to wit: good on ya, Mr. President. Now please, please oh please, don't fuck this up.

And in the spirit of amity with our brethren north of the border, I shall also express my deep pleasure that "Ordinary Day" did in fact make the cut for 49 Songs From North of the 49th Parallel, Canada's playlist for Obama.

'Cause really, that song just sums up today for me: "at the end of the day, you've just got to say it's all right."

Here's to the hope that things will, indeed, be all right.
annathepiper: (Bond James Bond)
So! Big props to [livejournal.com profile] mamishka for giving [livejournal.com profile] solarbird and me a chance to go see Quantum of Solace at the Cinerama last night. Let it be said that Meems is as always fabulous, and the remodeled Cinerama is pretty fabulous too. Comfy new seats FTW!

As for the movie itself, my picoreview is this: not as awesome as Casino Royale (although to be fair it would have had to work extremely hard to be as awesome as Casino Royale), mostly still a very solid movie, but has one big, big issue I have a problem with.

And that issue is this... )

P.S. There will very likely be spoilers in any comments left on this post. Consider yourselves warned.
annathepiper: (Walk in Wisdom's Path)
Y'all have probably already heard about change.gov going up, and how the site has a Your Vision form up inviting all Americans to send in their vision on what Obama needs to do when he takes office in January.

I just sent this in. Deepest thanks to [livejournal.com profile] kathrynt for beta reading it.

What I sent... )

Y'all please think about sending something in too. Thanks.

ETA 11:29pm: Aw, hell, only after I sent this in did I go back to this old Jam Report and realize that we actually did "America the Beautiful". But I had posted about learning the chords to "The Star-Spangled Banner" on the MurkJam list. So I think I can still let myself off the hook for that. Oops. *^_^*;;
annathepiper: (Martha)
It is good to know that the Onion can still bring the Funny: Nation Finally Shitty Enough to Make Social Progress

I particularly like this part:
Carrying a majority of the popular vote, Obama did especially well among women and young voters, who polls showed were particularly sensitive to the current climate of everything being fucked.

Some contemplative election thoughts )
annathepiper: (Blue Hawaii Relaxing)
Given that I was given today off as a "cope with getting laid off" day, [livejournal.com profile] solarbird and I took advantage of the opportunity to head out just before lunch and make with the voting.

Our polling place was active although not too crowded. All the booths were in use when we got there and there were only a couple of people queued up ahead of us. Dara spotted a count of 247 on our way out, which is pretty high for our particular polling spot, and certainly as of that early in the day. And, of course, we got the stickers.


Got On My Voting Hat


It should surprise none of you that my ballot came out a strong shade of blue. About that I really need not say much else, though I will say to my fellow Amurkins that even if you don't happen to be of my particular shade of blue, and you got out and voted, I'm still proud of you. I'm seeing news all over the place about record voter turnout. This is a good thing. And if anybody tries to make any sort of move whatsoever to get between you and your vote, raise a mighty stink about it.

We got flu shots on the way home, which seems oddly appropriate on Election Day. Between that and a shot of the Glenlivet that [livejournal.com profile] technoshaman brought us Sunday afternoon, I figure I should be well inoculated against the evening even though I'm sure I'll be glued to the incoming results along with the rest of you.

Well, the war's been won
All the fights are fought
And you find yourself in just the spot
It's a place where everybody's got
A song to sing
Just like the final movie scene
The prince will find his perfect queen
The hero always saves the world
The villains get what they deserve
The boy will always get the girl when I am King

All these things when I am King will appear around me
The world will sing when I am King
The world will sing when I am King

Sadly, I still will not be able to vote for Alan Doyle for King.
annathepiper: (Dib WTF)
[livejournal.com profile] kathrynt just gave me the heads up that Dennis Kucinich is reading articles of impeachment against Bush live, on C-Span, this very minute.

We just tuned in at the Murk. And we're all whomperjawed. Wow. And here we thought Congress was going to not bother with this since there's so little of Bush's term left. Who knew the Dems had a stealth impeachment campaign underway?

Anybody see any news articles on this out there yet? I'm scouring my usual sources, but no sign of any breaking news yet.

ETA 6:08pm: Link from [livejournal.com profile] mdlbear: Kucinich has thirty-five articles of impeachment lined up.

ETA 6:20pm: Ah, this may well have triggered this: Scott McClellan has agreed to testify in the Valerie Plame CIA leak case. And apparently he's told Keith Olbermann on his show to his face that he'll testify that Kucinich's articles are true.

ETA 6:42pm: Yahoo's news site now has the first AP Wire report I've been able to find. I expect this will show up on other major news feeds with similar content before we get more substantial articles.

ETA 7:34pm: Links from [livejournal.com profile] mistwolf and [livejournal.com profile] grian_ruadh: DailyKOS is liveblogging the matter here and here.

ETA 8:05pm: Up to Article 30 in the reading, and the news is finally starting to make its way around the Net. News.google.com has the first few articles showing up here.

ETA 9:17pm: And, now that we've gotten to the House adjourning for the evening, time to see how this hits all the news sites tonight and tomorrow morning.

ETA 9:40pm: [livejournal.com profile] solarbird has of course gotten way more data on this than I have; check out her post here.
annathepiper: (Sky Full of Dreams)
I haven't been saying much about the election this year, though it will surprise exactly none of you that I'll be voting for whoever gets the Democratic nomination.

While I really would like to support the first serious female contender for the President ever, I can't get behind Hillary as that person; I don't like her particular brand of politics, suffice to say. I strongly disapproved of Bill going off on the race card in South Carolina, and I have rolled my eyes repeatedly at several of the jabs Hillary's campaign has tried to take at Obama.

And I have been leery of committing support to Obama, just on the grounds that, as many others have said, he's awfully untried. For a while now, I have heard so many people asking the experience question--does the man have the necessary background to prepare him for the Presidency, does he walk the walk as well as he talks the talk, etc.

I have shared these fears. I got to be old enough to vote pretty much just in time for Bush Sr. to come into office, followed by Clinton's two terms, and then Bush Jr.'s--I'm one of that generation who has never known any option but a Bush or a Clinton in office.

The turn politics in this country has taken as a result saddens and disheartens me. I have lost friendships over it, friendships that had lasted for years. I have seen other friendships wither and die. Time and time again, I have witnessed people I care about, on opposite sides of the political spectrum--or hell, sometimes even the same side of the political spectrum, but not the same exact position--turn strident and bitter. It's gotten to the point that I've been scared to bring up political topics with anyone I know online or in person, for fear that I'll discover that I'm a blue-stater and they're a red-stater and nary our twain shall meet.

I'm sick and tired of that.

I've been longing for a political environment where we can all stop being red-staters or blue-staters, liberals or conservatives, Democrats or Republicans... and instead, start being Americans. I want to live in a country where, instead of half of us being at the throats of the other half, we all stand together, shoulder to shoulder, to make this a country each and every one of us can be proud of.

Listening to Obama's speech tonight, I begin to hope that maybe, this is the man that can help us do just that.

Let's hear it for hope.
annathepiper: (Katara Healing)
I did not go to the caucuses today. Not out of lack of interest, but more out of feeling generally blicky and unpleasant, and still being in some small part Recovery Girl. But all y'all who went out to caucuses, though, good for you. You get pie!

The last couple of weeks coming out of radiation therapy have been first brutal and then not so bad, and all around generally exhausting. I discovered week before last that all the muscles surrounding the area of zappage had taken quite the assault--and I hadn't really clued in before because I've got a generally high tolerance for pain. By the time I notice something enough to think "Hey wait, that hurts", it hurts quite a bit and it means I need attention on it now.

Which is what happened with my right shoulder and the right side of my chest. It manifested initially as numbness and tingling all up and down my arm--always a sign that my neck and shoulders are fucked up. [livejournal.com profile] solarbird went at the area with her massage fu, and discovered muscles so tensed up that they spasmed at her touch. I was sobbing after she worked on me for a while, and when she was done I felt like I was thrashed.

It was, however, the correct thing to do. The next day I felt significantly better and I've felt pretty good since, although there remains quite a bit of work to do. Since Dara has been getting massage therapy at the place upstairs from our chiro clinic, I went ahead and got signed up with them as well. I went in for my first session with them today; after, I felt quite a bit more relaxed, but also quite tired.

I have run out of painkiller. This has proven annoying only at the end of the work day when I'm more prone to feeling random little blips of pain, but it's otherwise manageable. Better, anyway, because I'm starting to feel mentally clearer--and restless about not doing any writing, a sign I need to be coming back to that Real Soon Now. But my sleep's still kind of disordered, so I've had to resort to valerian. Between that and massage and chiro, I'm hoping to get my sleep patterns stabilized soon. That will in turn help a lot with the return of my brain.

So. Vaguely guilty about not making it to the caucus, but not at all displeased by the news of how things have gone today in Washington state. And once November comes around, I have every expectation of stepping up to the plate with y'all to do my civic duty.

Right now, though, no matter how you caucused or who you caucused for, if you got out there and threw your voice into the fray, I salute you.
annathepiper: (Thinking)

Blog for Choice Day - January 22, 2007


And because I am not yet done posting tonight, here is my contribution to Blog for Choice Day 2007. )

Profile

annathepiper: (Default)
Anna the Piper

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