Some Thoughts on “Tolerance,” Post-Election 2016

I’ve been called “intolerant” multiple times today*, all because when Trump voters have felt the need to tell us they are not personally racist misogynist bigots—they just voted for one—I have refused to take their word for it.

If that’s what “tolerance” is, then tolerance is useless.

I am tolerant of all Trump voters.

I tolerate them. I don’t think Trump voters should be subjected to unproven reparative therapies. I don’t think Trump voters should be subjected to warrantless stop-and-frisk searches. I think Trump voters should be able to marry whomever they want, provided it’s a consenting adult. I think we should trust Trump voters to make their own reproductive decisions for themselves and their families. I don’t think an unarmed Trump voter should be viewed by police as any more of a threat than anyone else. I don’t believe Trump voters should be subjected to heightened scrutiny at airports just because of how they look or what they’re wearing. I don’t think Trump voters should be subjected to catcalling, harassment, or assault just for walking down the street.

“Intolerance” is when you believe the opposite of any of the things I just said (except substitute a different group for “Trump voters.”)

What tolerance does not mean is that I cannot criticize your beliefs or actions. It does not mean that I have to accept your actions when they hurt others.

If you are asking me not to criticize you, and not to call you out on your bullshit when I see it, all in the name of “tolerance,” you’re not actually asking for my tolerance.

You’re asking for my obedience.

I’m telling you right now, you can’t have it.

Trump hasn’t been shy about speaking his mind about the people in this society that he doesn’t like. I will never treat you the way Trump has treated or threatens to treat women, LGBTQ people, immigrants, Muslims, people of color, and others.

I will always tolerate you.

I will not, however, be quiet, nor will I be obedient.

You sure as hell wouldn’t be if your candidate had lost.

* I posted the foregoing to Facebook the day after the election. It got more likes and shares than just about anything else I’ve ever posted, so I figured I’d re-publish it here.


An Idea for Tonight’s GOP Debate

Apparently the Republican debate tonight, in which ten candidates will be participating, will be limited to a total of two hours, including commercials. If we assume 18 minutes of commercials per hour (it seems like most hour-long TV shows are around 42 minutes long without commercials), that means that, if we ignore the time needed for the moderators to ask questions, each candidate will get 8 minutes and 24 seconds total—assuming they divvy up the time evenly.

The ten participants, according to Politico, are Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, Chris Christie, and John Kasich.

A summary of recent polls at Real Clear Politics shows Christie in last place out of this set of ten candidates, with 2.4 percent.

I have a suggestion for Gov. Christie. Continue reading


My Thoughts on the Election After One Week, in GIFs

Quite a few people are angry. Some might even be looking for payback. Sure, the Republicans will talk a good game, like they’re all sunshine and sweetness. But really, we won’t be sure whom to trust. Continue reading


Greg Abbott isn’t saying much, and that can only help him

I made a Storify about Greg Abbott’s campaign strategy (major h/t to Andrea Grimes), which involves not saying much and doing a bit of gaslighting. Continue reading


You’ll Never Not Vote Again

This Danish PSA, which may or may not be some sort of parody, explains why it is critically important to vote (h/t Jason).

See, if you don’t vote, then you’ll force this large mustachioed dude to interrupt his orgy so that he can promote your involvement in the democratic process…..uh, with his fists. There’s also a dolphin involved somehow.

Any questions?

Also, is that Ben Patrick Johnson doing the voiceover?


Kay Bailey Hutchison Gets It (Better Late Than Never)

473px-Kay_Bailey_Hutchison,_official_photo_2Retiring Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison recently opined on how her party (the Republicans) really blew it with women voters:

“When we talk about women’s issues and the social issues, people have to stop acting like the woman is a throw-away here,” the Texas senator, who is retiring, said on CNN’s “Starting Point.” “We’ve got to talk to women about the issues they care about.”

[Emphasis added.] I noticed something during the campaign when certain Republican candidates discussed issues pertaining to anyone who did not fit the affluent white Christian male demographic. It seemed to me like they tended to talk about people in those groups (e.g. women, people of color, LGBT people), but they rarely if ever talked to them. I’m not just referring to the more abhorrent of the Republican field, a la Todd Akin. Even Mitt Romney had a tendency, when addressing women’s issues, to speak as though he were discussing abstract concepts, rather than deeply-held concerns that affect the lives of more than half of the people in this country.

I don’t see how the Republican party can stop being the party of old, rich, white, Christian men, and those who aspire to belong to their club, without more soul-searching and compromise than is possible. Then again, people sang dirges to the demise of the Republican Party in 2006 and 2008, and the same was said of the Democratic Party in 2004 and 2010. It is impossible to say what will happen to the two parties with which we are stuck, but it is fun to guess.

I’m just glad to see that there is at least one Republican senator – albeit a retiring one – who is getting a clue.

Photo credit: “Kay Bailey Hutchison, official photo 2” by United States Congress. ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.


This Week in WTF, November 9, 2012

We had an election this week (you might have noticed.) Supporters of the guy who didn’t win got a bit, um, unhinged. My only real challenge was narrowing down the WTF to a few choice examples. Finding a winner was not so hard, though.

First, some words for Republicans threatening to move to Canada, via Americans Against the Tea Party:


Yes, a Galtian wonderland Canada is not.

The Grand Prize, though, goes to teenage Kristen Neel, who may have encountered this week’s sharpest learning curve with her stated desire to move to Australia (via the Global Secular Humanist Movement):


No media establishment, it would seem, was more amused by this than the Australian media. Neel’s folly appeared in The Age and the Courier-Mail.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who has held that office since June 24, 2010, sounds like quite the bad-ass. She certainly has neither time nor patience for the more sexist elements of the government.

I hope Ms. Neal has learned something from this little kerfuffle. Two lessons that spring to mind:

1. Australia is a more complicated place than you might think. Plus, it is full of creatures that are eager to kill you.

2. The internet sur does have a way of magnifying our little goofs, doesn’t it?


My less-celebratory thoughts on the election results, as shamelessly stolen from this legal blog that I like

Because of this compulsive need I have to share my thoughts on things, I tend to write a lot. I also tend to delete much of what I write because it felt good to get it out onto a screen, but no one actually needs to read it. Every so often I type a response to someone’s Facebook post, decide the world will be just fine and dandy without my contribution to the discussion, and then hit Enter instead of Delete by accident.

Hilarity rarely ensues when that happens.

The internet is not short of celebrations today. It’s also not short on eschatological rantings, which should not be surprising. The internet does not need me whooping and hollering, and I need to be packing for my big move anyway (more on that later, I’m sure.) Fortunately, I frequent the blogs of people who seem to manage their time better than I do, at least judging my their published output.

Ken at Popehat, who you should be following if you are not already, offered his post-election thoughts Wednesday morning. I do not agree with everything Ken has to say there, but he hit the nail on the head for me in a section entitled “I’m not happy Obama won.” I’m borrowing the section that hit home for me, or at least that expresses the ambivalence I feel on certain issues:

Romney might have been somewhat more belligerent on the international stage than Obama, though their foreign policy differences seemed to be mostly matters of degree and recrimination for Obama’s mishandling of Benghazi. Romney would surely have continued the ruinous War on Drugs, the steady one-way ratchet of the insipid “tough on crime” mindset, the post-9/11 security state, and the unprincipled asterisk grafted onto the Constitution that is the open-ended War on Terror. My chief concern is that because Obama — a Democrat widely (but inaccurately) classified as a liberal — is doing those things, they will become even more firmly entrenched and normalized.

Guantanamo. Drone attacks. Surveillance. Bradley Manning. The list of matters where I diverge sharply with the Obama administration may not be extensively long, but it goes to the very heart of some pretty fundamental concepts of government checks and balances, not to mention big abstract nouns like liberty. These issues never came up during the election because, at least in that context, the two candidates barely differed at all. I cannot commiserate with Obama’s opponents on the right on any of these issues because these are the issues that make him look like a Republican.

I might also argue that his economic policies are really just Republican Lite, and that anyone who thinks he’s some sort of Marxist is either ignorant of actual Marxism, delusional, or a shameless liar, but it’s late and I’m tired. We have four more years to try vainly to explain that Obama cannot be a socialist and a fascist at the same time, or that he is neither at any rate.


The Bluest County in Texas

Austin often seems like a blue island in a sea of red. Yesterday, Travis County (which includes Austin) went for President Obama by 60%, according to Fox News. Yes, I’m relying on Fox News’ election returns. Let it never be said that I don’t occasionally slum it online. Of course, the state overall went 57% for Romney. It got me wondering, though, since we vote precinct-by-precinct, county-by-county, and then the winner takes all at the state level, what is the actual Bluest County in Texas?

Starr County, Texas.

Screen Shot 2012-11-07 at 11.59.33 AM

Screen capture from

The area has likely been inhabited for 11,000 years. Europeans first arrived there in 1638, when Jacinto García de Sepulveda went looking for Dutch sailors rumored to be on the Gulf coast. That really has nothing to do with yesterday’s election, though.

Starr County went 86% for Barack Obama. Romney drew a paltry 13%. Fox News does not provide a breakdown for other parties, literally lumping them in the “Other” category.

According to the 2011 Census Bureau estimate, 61,715 people live in Starr County. Of those, 95.6% are “of Hispanic or Latino Origin.” A language other than English is spoken in the homes of 96.0% of the county’s residents. The county borders the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. The county seat, Rio Grande City, has a population of roughly 13,834 people, and is the birthplace of Lieutenant General (ret.) Ricardo Sanchez, who commanded the coalition ground forces in Iraq from June 2003 to June 2004.

The county also seems to have a corruption problem. A former sheriff pleaded guilty to federal drug conspiracy charges in May 2009 and received a 64-month prison sentence. A deputy sheriff was charged with federal bribery, extortion, and drug charges in July 2012.

That’s all I’ve got. I just thought it was interesting.

Photo credit: Screen capture from


The America I Know

1342516_29565745Today is a victory for many people, and a defeat for almost as many. The sun rose this morning and is still shining as I write these words, so clearly the more Biblical of the warnings we heard regarding this election have not come to pass.

Right now, we have no way of knowing what the broader lessons of the 2012 presidential election will be. I can certainly hope that the reelection of Barack Obama, as much as I may find fault with his presidency, is an affirmation of what I might call (in a secular sense) the better angels of our nature. Not everyone shares my beliefs and my views about what America is, what it can be, or what it should be, but I feel as though some of those views have been affirmed by the events of the past few weeks.

America, perhaps unlike any other nation in the world, is and always has been a work in progress. The American Revolution did not end with the Treaty of Paris in 1781, nor did the many conflicts within America end at Appomattox Courthouse in 1865. The American Revolution was not just a war fought with muskets. The United States of America is the revolution, and it continues to this day. Continue reading