The blog post that broke my brain

Hello lovely people who have stumbled into my corner of the internet! Once more, I emerge!

It’s been several months since my last post, and that post was a good deal shorter than usual. I’d been working on A Big One for some time, and, well, it kinda broke me. Content Notices for this piece include suicide, child abuse and QAnon, so yeah, it’s bad.

I may have been too ambitious- a comparison between Qanon and the Satanic Panic is a subject that could fill entire libraries. But that would be a bad idea, because the subject is super depressing and could lead to a serious mental health crisis among anyone in the area.

Photo by Pixabay on
“Come one and all! Come learn about how humanity constantly harms itself in the name of a very specific set of values held only by a small minority of the population!”

While some have already tackled this topic, I felt there were some important tidbits that weren’t getting enough attention. In particular, I was surprised (and still am) at how little attention the background of conspiracy theorist Ron Watkins is getting. Ron and Jim Watkins may well have both profited off of child pornography, yet their Q anon fan base spends a large chunk of their time bragging about what sort of violence they’ll perform on pedophiles -who are conveniently always their political opponents and never anyone inside of their movement.

Learning more about that was rough, but it’s not what broke me. What broke me was the story of how the popular game Dungeons and Dragons became the scapegoat in a mass delusion so absurd and tragic it’s hard to even write about.

But I’ll try.

Part of the trouble for me was that I’d already heard bits of this story in a very silly context. The internet of the early 2000s/2010s had no shortage of jokes and memes about the allegedly Satanic nature of tabletop games. But it was one thing to watch a parody video, and quite another to watch this actual footage from 60 minutes in 1985.

The above link contains some clips of Patricia Pulling, a parent of a teen who committed suicide. Pulling went on to blame Dungeons and Dragons for the death of her son, and helped to spearhead a movement that persisted despite increasingly clear evidence that Dungeons and Dragons was not the cause of her child’s death. While I do not expect any parent to be thinking clearly in that scenario, I have to marvel at the media folks who enabled her and the harm that her movement caused. Correlation does NOT equal causation, and that’s something any journalist worth their polyester broadcast suit should remember.

And that, dear readers, is where my brain broke.

“Protect the children” is a powerful rallying cry that no one ever wants to stand in the way of. Unfortunately, that also makes it a very effective manipulation tactic.

As I absorbed this depressing story, I kept thinking about the Wayfair Scandal of July 2020. A few Q anon nutjobs became convinced that some Wayfair furniture listings were actually children being trafficked. Their evidence for this was……that some articles had children’s names. The way children’s furniture usually does.

The result? Phone lines of actual human trafficking aid organizations were tied up and their work was interrupted. This almost certainly harmed real children, but the Q mob faced no consequences as far as I know. They all probably felt pretty great about themselves.

I also kept thinking back to my own childhood, which involved no shortage of video games and fantasy novels. Far from being evil and Satanic, these fantasy worlds helped me process my feelings and find my courage to face the world.

More recently, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild brought me comfort during chemotherapy, when I was unable to travel or even go outside for long stretches. Now in the COVID times, escaping to fantasy worlds here and there (in book/video game AND film form) has been a gift from the divine in terms of my mental health.

Photo by Johannes Plenio on
“Welcome to the Enchanted Forest! Why, what is this Face Book you speak of? We know it not!”

Children are important beyond words and must be protected from those who would harm them. But actually protecting children is a lot harder than posting a lot of self righteous crap to social media and collecting the grievance dopamine points. Sometimes protecting a child means breaking up a family, or causing a scandal in a tight community.

That’s about all I can manage on this topic for now. If you made it all the way to end, you should probably practice some self care because HOOOO BOY is this stuff awful. But it’s important. After all, while QAnon doesn’t make the headlines much these days, we will be living with the consequences of it’s existence for years to come.

Ya’ll take care of yourselves. May 2022 go easy on us.

Please, oh PLEASE, don’t spam this website!

(Content Notice: Abortion, miscarriage, Pediatric COVID)

If you spend Too Much Time On The Internet (Like me!) then you’ve probably already heard about a ridiculous anti-abortion website that has recently been created in order to assist with enforcing an equally ridiculous abortion ban.

“Finally! A site where I can pretend to care about children from the comfort of my own home!”
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

You may have also heard about various individuals and groups spamming this website. I realize that you are probably tempted to join them, but there are things you must consider first!

After all, when a bully is hurting other children on a playground, interfering just isn’t the American way– The American way is to let the bully break someones nose while we lecture the other children about being nicer to the bully so that maybe the bully won’t hurt them. At least, that’s the vibe I’m getting from the last five years of political and cultural discourse?

So let us be civil, dear readers. Do not spam this website.

Do not take advantage of their anonymous form to send them Shrek Porn, as one tik toker did. Yes, it was hilarious and non-violent, but it is important that we are all very polite to the folks who are ignoring the existence of ectopic pregnancies.

Certainly don’t send any info about the state of pediatric COVID in Texas. To do so would imply that their interest in stopping abortion is more about controlling women than helping children. And that’s bad! Because reasons!

And whatever you do, do NOT send them data that demonstrates just how common miscarriages really are. They believe that pregnancy termination is evil, so to explain to them that their god performs this deed more often than any human would hurt their feelings! Can’t have that!

Obviously, don’t remind them that some trans men can become pregnant. To accept the existence of trans people, and the possibility of their policies harming men….that would just be too much for them!

Additionally, there’s no need to remind them that Abortion existed before Roe and was relatively common. Their fictitious, imagined past of an abortion-free America is very important to them.

Indeed, you should definitely spare them from the reality that Norma McCovey (AKA the “Roe” in R v.s. Wade) was lying when she later became a figurehead for the anti-abortion movement. No need to dampen their day with the complicated details of her life!

Welp, that’s all for the moment. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go protest some neo nazis by sending them polite letters with frowny faces on them. Until next time!

You will never be Jeff Bezos- and that’s a good thing!

Oooof, that dystopia-induced writers block is real. That recent heatwave didn’t help either, nor did the fact that I spent the last few months moving.

And those are just distractions from my personal life. There are plenty of other distractions, many of which are somehow both very serious and incredibly stupid at the same time.

For one thing, House and Senate Republicans are desperately trying to lie about the thing in January that we all saw unfold in real time. I’d make a joke about how out of touch they are, but I think the awful truth is that they know full well what they did and are just trying to gaslight the nation into accepting it as normal.

Oh, and I could also do without the hordes of mediocre assholes talking shit about Simone Biles.

I dunno man, I just feel like it was kind of disrespectful of her to rest on her many significant accomplishments instead of risking her life for my amusement. What? No, of course I can’t do a backflip. Sheesh, why is that relevant?
(Photo by Nathan Cowley on

But no amount of distractions can keep me from writing about Bezos and his penis rocket- I mean……

…..Well no, that’s definitely a penis rocket. I’d post a picture, but then I’d have to blur it. This isn’t that kind of blog.

Even though the Bezos story is ancient history by our 24 news-cycle standards, I find that I can’t quite let it go. I do find space exploration genuinely fascinating, and I certainly won’t complain if any data from the project turns out to be useful.

But the media fawning and lack of difficult questions aimed at Bezos himself have left me a little queasy, and so here we are.

If you, dear reader, are starting to wonder why I’m not gushing about the AWE and WONDER of Blue Penis- I mean, Penis Origin- I mean, giant penis rocket, well, let me remind you that humanity has already traveled to low orbit (and beyond!) many, many times. The tech behind this rocket might be neat, but the project isn’t exactly the gushing fountain of innovation that some of the PR materials suggest.

And there’s another problem that hits closer to home: Bezos using his wealth to catapult himself into low orbit doesn’t change the fact that much of his wealth isn’t really his at all.

I’ve written about this before, but Amazon, like many other retailers, has actually relied quite a bit on food stamps and government subsidies in the past. This is especially awkward, given that Bezos, like many of his peers, likes to evade paying what he owes in taxes. Also relevant here is that his parents invested almost 250,000$ dollars in Amazon in 1995. While I can’t fault parents for wanting to support their kid, that’s not a startup package that most American entrepreneurs have access to.

Oh, starting a business isn’t THAT hard, just ask your folks for a 50,000 dollar loan- what? What do you mean they can’t afford that?
(Photo by Spencer Selover on

In other words, unless you’re a rich kid with questionable morals, you will never be Jeff Bezos. Regardless of your work ethic, skills, and tolerance for needlessly wordy emails during group projects, the deck is stacked against you becoming a billionaire.

And just to be clear- this doesn’t necessarily mean you will never be successful, or that you shouldn’t chase your dreams. You can still accumulate plenty of wealth WITHOUT owning your own functional spaceship, and you can still build a successful business WITHOUT denying your employees pee breaks.

And your business doesn’t have to rake in billions for you to be happy and successful- more income will make you happier to an extent, but the effect seems to taper off once the individual has secured enough for the basics and a little extra.

In other words, accumulating billions of dollars for oneself is largely a pointless endeavor. And yet, we glorify it. Why?

This is an important question to ponder, because far too many Americans make excuses for people like Bezos. We all want to believe that, someday, we can embark on an expensive vanity project that wows reporters into ignoring our tax dodging antics.

Hi, I’m the new CEO! Thank you for coming to this press conference, and please note that I will not be taking questions about the alleged badger pit incident.
(Photo by mentatdgt on

I also suspect that there might be an unconscious (or very conscious indeed) desire for a savior at play here. The future looks a bit scary right now, and the thought of one person “fixing” everything at once is actually rather appealing, if you don’t think about it too hard.

The thing is, we’ve tried that. Multiple times. Quite a bit of blood was shed in the last five hundred years in order to escape the divine right of kings, in case you’ve forgotten literally every history class you’ve ever had.

So be glad you’re not Jeff Bezos. The world really doesn’t need any more of those.

February Link Salad

Many things have happened that I would like to write about/draw attention to/recoil from in horror, so it’s time for a Link Salad! Will this silly name stick? I don’t know! Maybe!

  • The situation in Texas is still grim and will be for a while. Here is a good list of charities that can help, if you have funds to give. As for whether or not Texas deserves to be “shamed” for the tragically predictable failures of their power grid, I like to go by the old ‘punch up not down’ rule. I don’t think the citizens of Texas deserve to freeze to death, regardless of their voting habits. But I have no qualms about shaming Senator Cruz and other Texas lawmakers for their overwhelming hypocrisy when it comes to federal aid after a natural disaster.
  • Oregon Republicans are at it again– I guess this is just what they do now? I realize that remote learning has not been working out great for many students and teachers. However, simply refusing to come to work is not really an option that most working Oregonians have, so I think I’m justified in mocking these public servants (snicker) just a little a bit. My personal opinion is that modern Republicans in Oregon (like elsewhere) have simply backed themselves into a corner with their constituents by promising to improve their lives through deregulation and government inaction. This is convenient for them, because they can collect lots of campaign cash for doing literally nothing. Making policy that creates real, positive change is hard. Ignoring responsibility and waging silly culture wars between urban and rural constituents is much easier.
  • Some encouraging climate news, assuming this change in policy goes through. Elections matter folks.
  • Earlier this month, Amber Ruffin had some thoughts about Black History Month that I think every American should hear. Remember everyone, real history will make you uncomfortable now and then. If you feel warm and fuzzy every time you learn about the past, dig deeper.
  • On a lighter note, Seattle Opera has been streaming some delightful recitals and clips free of charge. If you need a distraction, or just want to hear some lovely singing, check it out!

That concludes the link salad for now. Stay as safe and as sane as you can. Feed your brain good things.

Today is a good day to remember

Image credits here

Today is a good day to remember who you were in 2015.

You don’t need to romanticize the past, or gloss over the bad parts if you don’t want to. You needn’t discard the hard won lessons of the last four years. But if you can, think back to who you were then. What were you doing? Were you happy doing it? What were your thoughts and feelings about the world?

Today is a good day to remember.

Personally, I was a recent college grad turned cashier. Work was rough sometimes, but I got to make music and play videogames on weekends. I had a garden space of my own. I had some lovely housemates, and those lovely housemates had a dog and two cats. It was a happy household. I read poetry a lot. I dreamed of singing opera professionally on a regular basis. I was sending audition material to grad schools. Deep down, I wasn’t sure if I was really “good enough,” though I can tell you now that this particular story has a happy ending.

And today is a good day to remember. 

I liked to cook a lot. Sometimes I tried new recipes. I rode the bus to and from work, and so would do small grocery shopping trips on my commute. One day it’d be some sausages that were on sale, another day some mushrooms that were getting sad (and cheap). 

Today is a good day to remember. 

Sometimes I would ride the bus into town, and simply wander. I’d ponder the stark contrast between where I lived and the wealthier parts of town, and sometimes be upset by it. I’d sit on any bench that was near running water and let the rushing sound ease any pain I was feeling. If it was in the budget, I would treat myself to a used book. Or maybe a beeswax candle. Nothing brightens up a space like the scent of a quality beeswax candle. 

Today is a good day to remember.

Remember how your brain worked before Twitter and Facebook became almost inescapable. Remember the times before Lord Dampnut dominated every headline. 

Remember when cruelty and apathy was not the norm in so many places. 

Back in 2016, Authoritarianism expert Sarah Kendzior wrote this piece. I remember reading it, and trying to take the advice, but not quite understanding it.

Now I do. 

It will take time to process what we have just been through. As a nation (and a world) we have been under a lot of stress for a long time. Our brains don’t yet understand that a significant chunk of the danger has passed, so we’ll have to help ourselves along.

Because yes, there will be others like Lord Dampnut. And they’ll probably have nice haircuts and speak with their inside voice, so we need to be ready. Not by stressing ourselves out, but by paying attention and participating in elections in large numbers. The more of us that do this, the harder it is to mess with the process. 

That, and there’s plenty of enablers who will go on to write books and try to normalize themselves. Don’t give them any oxygen. 

If you, dear reader, are trying to contemplate how to apply the political lessons you have learned in a world where Lord Dampnut is no longer president, then there are plenty of simple things you can do.

Read up on what our new President has been up to. Do you think these actions are sensible? What do you like? What don’t you like? What do you want to see more of? Learn to examine his actions with honesty and good faith. Use those critical thinking skills!

How are things in your local state legislature? Are there any small offices in your community that you could run for?

If you need a month or two to take a break from traditional politics (or if you plan on fleeing into a forest, never to return) how about donating to a food bank? Or tending a garden for pollinators?
And if you (like so many Americans right now) do not have the resources right now for such things, then please find a way to be kind to yourself. Find a weird old public domain story on Project Gutenberg. Take a look at the Pyramids at Giza, or wherever else you would like to see. Or turn the screen off and read an old paper book, if you prefer.

There is still much to do. COVID19 doesn’t care about politics and it’s had a long time to spread. But a large weight has been lifted, and taking care of mental health is not optional.

Impeachment II- Hey look more gaslighting

I’ve begun and abandoned an embarrassing number of pieces in regards to Trump supporters treating The Capitol like a portable outhouse at an outdoor music festival. Try as I might, I can’t quite get my words into coherent sentences. Whenever I feel close, I suddenly remember that my city got invaded with BORTAC agents because of some graffiti on a courthouse. When this piece of knowledge collides with my realization that Mr. chewbacca bikini will get organic food in jail, I have a rage blackout and have to start all over again.

And no, I don’t have a problem with prisoners getting high quality food or practicing their religion while behind bars, but I have to point out that the U.S. has a rather uneven record in this regard.

During the last impeachment (which is a thing we can say during this administration and that alone is both sad and hilarious) I paid close attention and documented the proceedings in a series of blog posts.

Now doing that feels pointless, because it’s a lot of the same cow excrement all over again.

On my young and humble blog, I have been a broken record about the danger of Bad Faith Arguments. One of the hazards of watching such tactics play out on the government stage is the exhausting effect is has on the people.

Anyone who read the Mueller Report (or even just skimmed it) knows that the Russia investigation was not a waste of time. Yet today, plenty of house Republicans were eager to repeat the tired (and false) talking point that it was a mere political witch hunt. These individuals have access to intelligence sources that would stop any bloggers heart with excitement, and yet they persist in this lie. They keep their speech juuuuuuust civil enough to try and convince onlookers that they are sincere in their convictions, but it’s always a trap. To actually debate them would be pointless. If they won’t break form Lord Dampnut after hiding from violent Q maniacs for hours, then there’s no reaching them. The whole thing is both draining and horrifying to watch.

Which is probably a huge part of why they just lost. So what now?

Honestly, I don’t know for sure what will happen in the coming days. I had hoped that basic self preservation would discourage anyone responsible for security in the Capitol from siding with the folks who were looking to execute Vice President Pence, but it seems that was potentially not the case for all personnel involved. My bad. I underestimate the power of death cults sometimes.

I strongly suspect that Lord Dampnut will ultimately be removed from power and that life will go on. There will unpleasantness, possibly violence, and maybe even more deaths. But I think we’ll get through it and have a semi-functional federal government again soon.

And every single one of us must take care to never take Democracy for granted ever again.

That doesn’t mean we should all be constantly checking twitter (in fact we should really probably stop doing that so much) it just means that we should consistently vote and call out lies when we see them. As we were all just reminded, doing these things saves a lot of trouble.

As for healing, we need that too. But healing can’t happen without accountability and justice. Not on a national scale, anyway.

On a personal scale, however, there are things you can do.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to reclaim parts of myself that have gone undernourished in these times. I’ve been reading more quality fiction and poetry. I’ve been letting myself enjoy videogames. I have been singing and making music for personal pleasure. And I have, for a moment here and there, found a peace that I have not known for years.

I had originally hoped, when I started this blog, for politics to be merely a fraction of the content. But I’ve had a hard time managing this goal in light of, well, everything. So I now I’ll repeat myself- Politics matter because people matter.

The point of paying attention to current events isn’t to find out if you can actually cry blood. The point of holding powerful people accountable through votes/phone calls/ public commentary is so that we can get a real COVID plan and go play DDR at the local barcade sometime this decade.

Right now, your brain is under the stress of constant uncertainty. But we did not always live like this, and we won’t always live like this. Don’t wait for everything to “feel” calm again. Bake that batch of cookies. Watch that movie that always makes you laugh. Listen to a favorite album or compilation. Do whatever comforting activity you have the time and energy for.

We are so close to this chapter being over. Let’s take care of ourselves and pay attention, so that the next chapter is actually better. COVID-19 is still killing, and not all of Lord Dampnut’s enablers have been brought to justice. But if Georgia overcoming years of gerrymandering and voter suppression in order to flip the senate blue is any hint, Americans are fed the fuck up and change is in the air.

Be well everyone ❤

On Healing

One important lesson that I got from cancer is that the healing process isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. When trying to recover from something that serious, there’s going to be some unpleasantness along the way. The chemo wasn’t fun, but I’m alive now. The surgery wasn’t fun, but I’m alive and I have a really cool scar.

In fact, some of the most important steps in healing from a traumatic event can be almost as painful as the trauma itself. If healing from trauma were easy, there would be significantly less need for therapy and PTSD would be a lot less common that it is.

Just so we’re clear, this is NOT an attempt to shame you for celebrating the most powerful country on the earth rejecting Lord Dampnut. If you feel like celebrating, do it! That’s important too, and goodness knows we’ve earned it.

But assuming that the orange turd is successfully flushed in January (More on that in a bit) there’s still the lasting trauma. And the healing that needs to happen for all of us.

Certainly not ALL healing is an uphill battle. Bubble baths and chocolate have their place. And life should be enjoyed, after all. But in order to move forward and heal as a nation (and as individuals) we will have to have some difficult conversations with ourselves and others.

And we have to hold people accountable.

In the delightful wave of memes and videos that has followed this historic election, there have been no shortage of “reach out to the other side!” takes. And I get it. It’s a nice thought. We can’t all be boiling with rage for the rest of our lives anyway. It gets very tiring, and we are very tired already from reminding our friends and family that crime is illegal and evil is bad while a steady stream of bots promise to reveal the true nature of the demonic rituals happening in Nancy Pelosi’s freezer.

But here’s the thing: Remember that when Trump won the electoral college back in 2016, we (meaning democrats, 3rd parties, moderate Republicans, non-partisans, anyone with functioning empathy ect.) got the same lecture. That we just needed to understand The Trump Voters. Why, they were innocent victims! It wasn’t wealthy businessmen, nay! We coastal elites needed to get off of our high horses and humble ourselves!

So now that it’s become uncomfortably clear that Lord Dampnut is NOT what the bulk of this country wants, why are we getting the same lecture? Why is it our responsibility to reach out to Trump country, but never their responsibility to reach out to us?

As someone who has spent Too Much Time on the internet for most of her life, I am depressingly familiar with how destructive bad faith arguments can be. Debates only work if all parties are willing to change their minds in light of new information. If one or more party is unwilling to consider the possibility that they are wrong, then the “debate” isn’t really a debate at all. It might be an amusing spectacle for anyone who happens to wander through that corner of the internet at the appropriate time, but it’s unlikely that anyone will be learning anything new.

To make matters worse, some participants might walk away from the experience thinking that they “won” even if all they did was tell someone else to eat shit. If you lack the self awareness to question your own ideas when they are challenged with solid evidence, you probably aren’t ready to actually change your mind about anything.

After all, changing your mind about a deeply held conviction is hard. It doesn’t come naturally for most people. Goodness knows I struggle with it, and I’m actually interested in this stuff. I can only imagine what it must be like for someone who spends all of their time looking for Satanic imagery in pop music videos when they finally attempt to decipher real scans of legal documents for the first time.

And there’s another important angle that’s getting lost in all of the pearl clutching and both-sidesing- to permit a delusional extremist group to drive national policy isn’t just bad for us, it’s bad for them too. Sometimes having compassion for your fellow humans means refusing to enable them.

If the driving force behind one’s politics is based on a racist fever dream (white supremacy, for example) then said person is already in dangerous territory in terms of mental health and rational thinking. They have already accepted things that are not true in order to justify their bigotry, and so no amount of cruelty or extremism will ever be enough for them.

And no amount of reason or logic can reach them.

The kindest thing we (Americans with empathy) can do for them is to work around them. Arrest them and charge them when they behave like domestic terrorists, while at the same time ensuring that public education has the resources to teach young people the truth about slavery and it’s aftermath. I’m guessing a lot more people would be sympathetic to Black Lives Matter if they understood the sheer volume of racist shittiness that African Americans have endured in the century and a half since the civil war. Plus, white supremacy-related attacks continue to this day.

And that last part is really important, because it’s not over yet. While there’s no harm in celebrating and being joyful, the reality is that we’ve still got a couple more months before treason weasel is out of office completely. I don’t want to frighten anyone, but I think a little bit of extra vigilance now will make everything easier later. I’d much rather poke fun at some proud boys and and crush their delicate egos now than fight in a civil war in three months.

So please take care to call out bullshit when you see it. Don’t tolerate revisions of the awfulness we all just saw. Vote in local elections, and please do whatever you can to help with the senate runoffs in Georgia. I really don’t want to have to eat my present words as I am forced to build a monument to Qanon out of plastic straws and cheap red ties in 2021.

Now, having spent some time writing about the dark and painful side of healing, I’d like to take a minute to reflect of the softer and fluffier side. Because that matters too.

As I’ve said before, the reason to get involved in politics is not to become so angry that you spontaneously combust into a shower of Southern Poverty Law Center mailers and back issues of Mother Jones. The point of participating in politics is to help government structures run smoothly and fairly so that we can live our fucking lives.

When was the last time you read a book for pleasure? Do it. If you’re having a hard time focusing, then go for some simple poetry, or a light novel or romance if that’s your thing.

Is there a safe area near where you live where you can go for a walk? Do it, if you can. We’re all getting a bit stir crazy, and this helps.

Is there a window in your home or a nearby place where you can star gaze? Do it. If not, there are many free and premium apps available for smart phones that can show you the constellations currently in the sky, even if it’s too cloudy to see them.

Is there a video game you liked to play when you’re a kid? Try playing it again. It might be fun and nostalgic. It might be frustrating. But chances are that it will activate old memories that you thought you’d lost, and that can be very pleasurable in times like this.

If you have the time and means, try a new recipe. If not, try spicing one of your favorite dishes a little differently. Best case scenario, you learn a new flavor that you like. Worst case scenario, you get a better appreciation for something you already love.

None of these things will fix the many crises that the U.S. is currently facing. But they will help you heal.

And all of us will need some healing in the days to come.

Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day! Plus, bonus commentary on the supreme court clusterfuck!

Just a short one today ya’ll- my brain is pretty worn out, and long reads are hard to produce right now.

If you want to better understand the history of Indigenous people and their relationship to the U.S. Government, this article is a great start. When it comes to issues that people of color face, I prefer the “amplify” approach. After all, this isn’t about white people and their feelings- it’s about making sense of the past so we can make better and more compassionate decisions in the present. All of us. Together.

And because we are currently in the middle of a supreme court clusterfuck (one that could potentially affect Indigenous rights for a long time) I would like to remind you, dear reader, that it is NOT unreasonable for Barrett to be facing some scrutiny. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Were she Muslim, or Hindu, or Pagan, or Atheist, the GOP wouldn’t not be so quick to overlook the fact that she lived in someones home as a “handmaid.” Do I care, personally, about what her religious beliefs are? Not particularly. But I care that the GOP is desperately trying to make this a fight about her faith (WHY ARE THE LEFTIES BEING TO MEAN TO THE NICE CATHOLIC LADY DEMOCRATS MUST HATE GOD) when we should really be scrutinizing three WAY more important things:

Might Barrett help the Trump administration cheat in the election?

Will she be open to overturning the ACA during a pandemic?

Will she try to overturn Roe V. Wade?

I could go on, but you get the picture. When powerful groups start to lose, they always try to change the conversation without being honest about what they’re doing. Don’t let the GOP off the hook.

Do it for her

If you’ve never called any Reps before, now is a good time to give it a try!

Because let’s be clear- when justice Scalia died, President Obama was denied his right to appoint a justice. McConnell refused to hold a vote, and claimed that the upcoming election was too close. Mind you, this all happened in March of that year, where as democrats/progressives/moderate Republicans/ anyone who doesn’t feel like kissing Trumps butthole are apparently supposed to just be chill as McConnell tries to ram a nomination through in SEPTEMBER. Because reasons.

I could make more jokes about how much of a hypocrite the treason turtle turtle is (remember the impeachment proceedings!) but there’s no point- he knows what he’s doing, and clearly doesn’t care.

I could try to untangle the finger pointing about which major party normalized the hyper polarization of the supreme court, but considering that one of the major parties seems to be weirdly chill with fascist principals at the moment, that doesn’t seem like a super good use of time.

So Rep calling. I know it seems hopeless, but consider: whether a politician has any real integrity or not, they usually like getting re-elected. At the very least, they’ll want enough of a reputation to continue as a lobbyist or write a book or something. So if enough people contact them with the same concern, they can sometimes be persuaded to change their mind. Or at least pretend to.

The Democrats in the Senate will almost certainly be voting against any nominee put forth by treason weasel, although it wouldn’t hurt to call them up and thank them for doing their jobs in the age of Qanon (if you get an office aid on the line, try politely asking them about calls they get- you’ll hear some stories).

But the Republicans currently have a majority, which means that Trump can pick Giuliani himself and there’s a good chance he’ll be allowed through (thankfully that specific scenario is now very unlikely, but you see my point).

So let’s make some noise.

The contact info for each senator is linked to their name. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND CALLING AND LEAVING A MESSAGE RATHER THAN SENDING AN EMAIL. I know those apps are fun and easy, but emails are much, MUCH easier for an office to ignore than a phone call or a letter. If you have severe anxiety, consider getting out some stationary and contacting the Senator the old fashioned way.

Senator Collins

Yes, I know. She’s been a bit slippery in the past. But we have to try. As of this writing, she has insisted that she wants to wait to nominate. If this hasn’t changed, call and thank her. If she has changed her mind, call her and remind her of her earlier statement.

Senator Murkowski

Similar situation to Collins. At present, she is claiming that she will not vote for a replacement before we know who the next President is. Call her and thank her, or remind her of her words.

Senator Romney

Romney broke with his fellow Republicans on some impeachment votes, so there’s a possibility he’ll be willing to break on this. As of this writing, he has not made an announcement yet. So call.

I hope the above names are enough to get you started, but there are other things you can do. If you live in a red state, call your senator and drop your address. If enough of their constituents raise a fuss, Senators have to face the possibility of not getting re-elected. For some of them, this is the only way to change their minds. It’s worth a try.

If you live in Kentucky, consider organizing a protest near the Senator McConnell’s home, or donating to his opponent, Amy McGrath. Or both!

Before I vanish to get to my usual routine of work, videogames, chocolate and tea, I wanted to say a quick work about the Fall Equinox.

In some Witchcraft traditions, this day is called “Mabon,” though there are other names. Typically, it is a time of reflection of light and dark. It’s supposed to be a time of balance.

Right now, there isn’t much balance to be found in the human world. But if you’re fortunate enough to live near trees, you may already be seeing the changes. Nothing is permanent.

And right now, I think that the impermanence of life is rather comforting. The USA might feel like a finely aged soiled diaper right now, but it won’t stay this way forever. We can all help to tip the scales and build a world we want to live in.

I’m going to leave you with a link to a YouTube video featuring a romantic composer that I’m fond of. Fanny Hensel (also known as Fanny Mendelssohn, sister to Felix Mendelssohn) wrote a cycle of piano pieces known as Das Jahr, or, The Year. (And of course the disclaimer, I do not own this video. I am not that talented of a composer OR a piano player)

This is a recording of “September.” Notice that even though it is turbulent, there is still beauty in the melody.

And the chaos comes to an end. It always does eventually.

Stay safe, ya’ll!

Please don’t tell your West Coast friends to just “drive somewhere else….”

Because if you look at a map, it’s pretty clear that there’s nowhere else to go.

I had hoped to write some more uplifting things, but as a resident of Oregon I have an obligation to signal boost about just how bad the destruction is. After all, these fires would be getting waaaaaay more headlines were it not for the nasty killer virus and a President who makes most toddlers look mature and reasonable.

But onto the fires that make most disaster movies look tame:

If you have income and are living comfortably, the Portland Mercury has assembled a pretty good list of organizations taking donations. This list also includes suggestions for volunteer work, if you are able bodied and have a mask or respirator that will help you breathe in this air. I’m serious about that last bit- right now, our air is basically a damp campfire times a billion and you cannot safely breathe it without some assistance.

If you need a laugh, this story is an absurd reminder of why funding public education matters. You might prefer to home school your kids or ship them off to a private institution, but it really is within your best interest to make sure your neighbors aren’t susceptible to disinformation campaigns. Seriously.

That’s all for now, as I can finally see across the street from my apartment and this is a very exciting development.