Unpopular Opinion: Cars Hitting Pedestrians are Bad, But so Are Pedestrians Hitting Cars

If you turn on the news these days, you’ll hear countless stories about pedestrians being severely injured or killed by cars. Now I don’t want to deny that these instances exist, nor do I want to diminish how uncomfortable it might be to be a pedestrian hit by a car.

But we need to put aside emotions and ask the obvious question: why aren’t we hearing about all the cars who have been hit by pedestrians?

I’m just saying, this kind of thing is a two-way street.

Pedestrians aren’t blameless victims here. Some of them walk too slow. Some of them walk at the wrong time. I think that some of them have annoying gaits. So when I hear that a pedestrian and a car have clashed, forgive me if I’m not immediately sympathetic to the pedestrian.

I’ve seen several pedestrians bump into each other, but for some reason, we are more easily outraged by vehicular manslaughter than pedestrian-on-pedestrian collisions.

Some would argue that not all parties in question have the same power to cause harm. Those same people might argue that death is worse than getting a dent in your Ferrari. However, those people have not experienced the deep and heartbreaking fear that comes with knowing that your own Ferrari could be damaged.

What I’m really trying to say here is that I have a Ferrari.


satire label

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Pairs of Opinions You Probably Shouldn’t Get to Hold Both Of:

*Before US election*
Person:
 Calm down, there’s no way someone that bad could actually get elected.
*After election*
Same Person: Calm down, there’s no way he’ll actually be that bad.

Person: I don’t see color–race has nothing to do with how I judge or treat people.
Same Person: *Finds it very important to play racial-Nancy-Drew upon meeting someone whose race they cannot read immediately. Almost as if they are uncomfortable not totally seeing color.*

Person: Why are people talking about racism like it’s still a huge problem? We have some issues, but it’s not like we still have Klan members marching in the streets.
*Sees Klan members marching in streets* 
Same Person: Is this really the time to be fixate on subtle, casual forms of racism–there are literal klan members marching in the streets!

*On white people who repeatedly mess up on race issues*
Person: They’re not doing perfect, but that’s because they haven’t had opportunities to learn this stuff yet. Instead of passing judgement, we should take time to patiently educate people.
*On investing in educational opportunities for groups who have historically and continually been denied access*
Same Person: This should be about personal merit.

A Cynical Queer Killjoy’s Mixed Feelings on the Rainbow Machine

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It’s June, which means that cynical, nerdy, political queer killjoys are spending the month rolling their eyes at the shiny whitewashed respectability spectacle of corporate-sponsored pride celebrations. I would know—I’m one of them.

But sometimes I fall off my high horse and remember: I didn’t start out thinking like this. Not even close.

When I sigh at the rainbow-themed sneakers and laptop ads popping up around the city, unimpressed with corporations’ willingness to co-opt symbols of a successful liberation movement now that it has been deemed more profitable than not.

But I also remember living in a time and place when public support of LGBT rights was more of a business liability than a strategy, and think of how much tweenage angst I could have avoided had I seen rainbow-plastered shoe stores then.

Read the rest on HuffPost

Opinion: Inclusivity officially went too far when it started fixating on people who are not me

I have long considered myself a champion of equal rights, and I understand why it’s important to be accepting of different people. There was a time when people like me were not treated as full human beings, and I stand by the activists throughout history who fought to break beyond narrow definitions of personhood and citizenship and move us forward as a society.

Yet any positive idea can be distorted beyond its original intentions, and I fear that this has happened with progressive social justice movements in recent years. Things officially went too far when we started bickering over the interests of groups so insignificant, they consist only of people who are not me.

Social equality isn’t something that I see as a pollitical or partisan issue: I simply want to be accepted for who I am as a person. Yet some people have decided to politicize this message of basic respect and inclusion by bringing up divisive identities that don’t even include me or describe any relevant aspect of my life.

I absolutely believe in equality. But I’m not overly nitpicky about math–I also believe in doing the type of equations where you get to round off a bit the edges. It just so happens that I consider the edges of legitimate society to lie a few steps outside the scope of my experience.

If we want to move forward together, we need to stop getting caught up in the frivolities of identity politics, and focus on the interests of humanity in general, especially the most general form of humanity, which is me.


This is satire. I label my satire because real stuff can be equally weird.
I promise I will write something earnest and non-satirical in the near future.

Dancing Around the Elephant in the Room

Sure, it’s tough not to notice the stomping on the wood floor
But you’re here to be a dancer, not a circus act
So you won’t climb it or ride it or grab it by the tusks
You won’t even look it in the eyes
You want to dance about things less ugly and heavy and smelly than elephants
This won’t be an elephant dance.

So you try dancing around the elephant in the room
Dancing where it isn’t, going only where it doesn’t
Trying not to notice that the pathways you trace are looking quite elephant-shaped
This is not an elephant dance.

Some elephants grow when you give them the space
But this still isn’t about elephants.
So you’ll just keep dancing tighter and smaller
‘Till you’re pressed against a wall
With no more room to dance at all

elephant-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


I decided to write about something other than politics today.

We Need Extreme Vetting (For Cabinet Nominees)

“The new vetting procedures block admission of individuals who engage in ‘acts of bigotry or hatred’ or ‘would oppress members of one race, one gender or sexual orientation.'”*

Like it or not, we need to implement extreme vetting procedures to protect our country from real threats–our current system is weak enough to some very dangerous individuals slip through the cracks and into high-level positions of the US executive administration. We’re letting in white nationalists, sexual abusers, climate change deniers, proponents of sexual orientation conversion therapy, ethically bankrupt bankers, and people determined to eliminate most of the government programs they’re in charge of.

It may not be politically correct to say this, but you’ve probably noticed the disproportionate number of white heterosexual Christian men coming in. I’m not saying they’re all bad people. There are some good ones, I’m sure. But let’s be honest, it’s not always good news when we see one of them walking around a Planned Parenthood.

I’m not going to say that we should keep all of them out. But if we care about the safety of our country, we absolutely need a tougher system to weed out the good ones from the rest. On top of basic qualifications and background checks, we need some values testing, to make sure they support gender and sexual equality, LGBT rights, religious liberty, the free press, and scientific thinking.

Admittedly, not everyone agrees that such strong action should be taken. Joe Schmoe, a bleeding heart Trump supporter argues, “Like our president, I believe that the cabinet is meant to be a sanctuary for the rejects of American society, a place where you can start anew, whether you have escaped the humiliation of the Republican presidential primaries, the struggle against oppressive regulations as an international oil executive, or repeated allegations of racial discrimination throughout your legal or financial career.”

“At the end of the day, cabinet nominees are just people, like you and I, in search of better jobs–even if they happen to be really unqualified for those jobs. If we believe in generosity and forgiveness, is it really fair to hold these poor government officials to the same harsh standards as people seeking refuge from war-torn nations?”


*Okay, this was actually just targeting refugees, but imagine we actually cared about these values enough to hold powerful people to them.


This is satire. Mostly. I label my satire because satire and actual news are looking increasingly similar.

On a serious note, I encourage everyone to stay updated on both the (currently blocked) Muslim-targeted refugee/travel ban and ongoing cabinet confirmation hearings, get involved, and to call your elected officials to keep them accountable.

On Tough Love For One’s Country

In certain circles, it’s popular to criticize parents for giving children participation trophies, arguing that it raises kids who are unmotivated, entitled, and too fragile to deal with criticism.

Okay, let’s go with that.* I’d like to apply that same principle from parenting to citizenship.**

Loving your country shouldn’t mean constantly showering it with empty praise. I’m not going to give America a participation trophy just for existing as America. I’m not going to give it gold stars for freedom and democracy and equality until it’s earning them.

I’m not going to say that it’s the greatest on earth at everything when it’s not. I’m not going to let it think that its current progress in handling poverty and education and healthcare are already good enough, when there’s clearly room for improvement.

I’m not going to let it develop such a fragile ego that a criticism of any of these areas is taken as disloyal. I’m not going to inflate that ego by putting down all other countries, when it could be learning from some of them.

When it gets into conflicts, I’m not going to act like its side is inherently the right one, because I care about the quality and impact of its decisions.

I love America. With tough love. I believe in it’s potential, I have high expectations, and I won’t sugarcoat the truth when its not living up to them. It can do better. I want it to do better. I want it to be better than it ever has been before.

patriot

Brilliance from SMBC


*I’m pretty sure these people are overstating the psychological impact of participation trophies, given that no kid cares about the looser prize anyway. But okay, its a convenient symbol. 

** Yeah, anthropomorphizing countries is questionable, but sorry, that’s how these metaphors work.