An Invitation for Meaningful Dialogue

A photo of a tan puppy and a gray tabby kitten sleeping together

There’s been a lot of talk lately about dialogue and understanding. Liberals just need to try to understand conservatives, They say. People get defensive when you call them (or, more often, even just imply that they might be) bigots, They say. If we want to get anything accomplished, we need to meet conservatives halfway, (in which “halfway” is usually defined as “on their side”), They say. Generally, the response from the liberal camp is, “Fuck that shit.” You can’t reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into. It’s hard and unsatisfying, and maybe the New York Times needs to do a Dialogue and Understanding piece about people who are being asked to take on that struggle. That said, dialogue can happen. Here’s how.

Trial of the officer who killed Walter Scott ends in mistrial

After four days of deliberation, the judge declared a mistrial in the case of Michael Slager, a white Charleston police officer who is accused of murder in the death of unarmed black man Walter Scott. Cell phone video shows Slager shooting eight times at Scott as he ran away after a traffic stop for a broken tail light, hitting him in the back three times, killing him. Slager’s attorney called upon the Big Black Monster defense to argue that Scott was “out of control” and fought Slager with “unusual strength.”

Godwin’s Law is hereby suspended until further notice

Attendees deliver Nazi salutes at an "alt-right" conference in D.C.

Lately, I’ve found myself dissociating just a little bit from time to time. Not in a scary way — just a noticeable one. The first time, I was driving, and someone on the radio said the words “President Elect Donald Trump,” and my brain stepped back a little bit and said, “No, that doesn’t sound like a real thing. It actually sounds like something out of some weird movie, so we’ll go with that,” and suddenly I was a character driving in a car, listening to the radio, in a movie wherein Donald Trump was the president elect. Pretty disconcerting, really. More recently, it happened when Mother Jones referred to Richard B. Spencer as a “dapper white nationalist.”

Trans Day of Remembrance

Today is the Trans Day of Remembrance. I don’t have much to say, but I thought we should acknowledge the ongoing persecution and murder of trans people, particularly trans women of color. And, being in the US, I want to…

The guilt that comes with having no sympathy

A shot from "The Sound of Music" where Mary spins in a mountain prairie, overlaid by the words, "Look at all the fucks I give"

A lot of attention has been paid to the mystery of why, God, why, and how, and why again, any marginally intelligent person could support. How has a man who is completely unsuited, in character, temperament, knowledge base, intellect, and home training, to be the president of the United States make it as far as he’s made it? The obvious answer is that there are a lot more bigoted, closed-minded, hateful, ignorant people in the electorate than we’d originally thought possible. But we, as a society, don’t generally like to think of people that way — for all the whining about “PC culture,” we give a lot of passes to be people who absolutely don’t deserve them — and so we’ve sought out other options.

That’s where we’ve gotten “>so many articles profiling the “realTrump base — salt-of-the-earth, working-class white voters who are stumbling into a new world of multiculturalism, who are suffering from economic woes, and who just want some support for their very real problems. And yet, for all of that, I haven’t been able to escape the feeling that they need to cry themselves a river and canoe on home.