My Life In Neon

Sci Fi / Fantasy writer Autumn Nicole Bradley – Dream in digital, live in neon

Archive for the tag “Politics”

Melissa Harris-Perry: Transgender In America

From six months ago, but it remains a class act.

Melissa Harris-Perry, April 15, 2012 – One of the best explanations of cis/trans out there, and a fabulously straightforward display of being an ally without making any kind of big deal of doing so.

The WI situation in 30 seconds

As I explained on Facebook to a friend:

Fed Gov: We have some money left in the stimulus. Want it?

Doyle: New high speed rail? Reopening Amtrak routes to Madison and the Fox Cities? Thousands of private sector jobs spurred by contracts? Sure!

Wisconsin: Down with socialism!

Doyle: Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, you’re cool, fuck you. I’m out.

Walker: Did someone say down with socialism? We don’t need the federal government’s “handouts,” so they can take their DoT funding and shove it. While we’re at it, I hear the state employs a lot of people. That’s socialism too, right? So raise your hand if your pay has been frozen for at least 3 years. Yeah, we’re taking your benefits since you should be able to get by without handouts, and we’re giving it away as a tax break but not to people in your tax bracket. Oh, and we’re busting your unions too because we don’t want to hear any whining from you lazy freeloaders.

Wisconsin: Wait, what?

Since Walker’s policy is the source of this budget shortfall, the burden of proof is on him to explain why it is necessary to redistribute wealth upwards to those who do not need more of it. The workers whose benefits are being cut have no need to justify their outrage. They earned every bit of what is being taken away from them. If Walker wants to claim it is some public good, he needs to make a damn convincing case for it.

The Impasse – Steampunk vs Contemporary Lit

I have reached an impasse on my NaNoWriMo novel planning, and, as of today, I have no useful advice to offer anyone going through a similar struggle.

I now have two ideas to pursue.

Idea 1: This was my primary idea going into NaNoWriMo this year. It’s a lighthearted, probably YA adventure in a semi-historical alternate history sci-fi setting. Unabashedly steampunk but with its roots in mostly legitimate science.

Idea 2: This one was a 3AM idea that forced me from my bed last night to write it down so I didn’t forget. It’s a near-future contemporary literature piece that asks the question, “Why can’t we dream big things, anymore?” Possibly dark comedy satire.

Idea 1 has the strong merit going for it that I have been burning to write a steampunk piece for a long time and needed an excuse.

Idea 2 is just such a high concept piece that I feel it says more important things to a modern audience. It’s topical, which means there’s a shelf-life for the idea that will exist until China lands on the Moon and America collectively craps its pants in realizing how far behind we’ve fallen.

DADT is social engineering

I was recently engaged in a debate on DADT, spurred by yesterday’s disappointing vote. While debating, one of the people said this:

If your purpose is to keep an effective military, this doesn’t help. If your purpose is social engineering, just say so.

(Bolding mine.)

That phrase stuck out to me. At first, I just passed over it and didn’t immediately respond, instead I replied to the other points being made. But as I thought about it, it occurred to me that this is what this debate is really about. There is a belief out there that repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and allowing gays to serve openly in the military is an attempt at social engineering.

Social Engineering via Wikipedia:

Social engineering is a discipline in political science that refers to efforts to influence popular attitudes and social behaviors on a large scale, whether by governments or private groups. In the political arena, the counterpart of social engineering is political engineering.

(Not to be confused with social engineering that refers to tricking people into violating security protocols.)

Let’s make one thing clear. Social engineering isn’t by itself bad. In a democracy, one must persuade, inspire, and convince others that your side is correct. That is a necessary part of the process and democracy breaks down without the ability to freely share ideas with the obvious intent of convincing others that those ideas are good. Under a military dictatorship, all one needs is coercion, which is a form of social engineering premised on forcing others to agree with your ideas, be they good or bad, or else.

What this tells me is that opponents to DADT repeal see this as a form of coercion. They are being forced to accept the mandate of someone else against their will. They are being forced to accept gays serving openly alongside them, or their family members, or serving in their stead for those who are not in the military or a military family.

But this ignores the obvious truth: repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell increases total freedom of ideas and opinions. Homophobic service members and their families have every right under DADT to hate, loathe, and distrust gay service members. No law will ever take that away from them. The only “freedom” they will lose is the ability to harass and demean gay service members with impunity, since the gay service member cannot report the crime without outing themselves. That’s a “freedom” no person should enjoy, in the service or out. If DADT is repealed, homophobes have just as much right that next morning to hate, fear, and distrust gay people as they do today.

Obviously, this is still bounded by the normal military restrictions on speech and political activity; namely, don’t let anything you do interfere with your obligations as a soldier or the ability of other soldiers to fulfill their duty. That catch-all includes everything from religious proselytizing and political speech to showing up late.

So I posit the opposite: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is the more coercive form of social engineering. Soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines can serve as openly Jewish, openly Muslim, openly an immigrant, openly non-white, and every anti-Semite, anti-Muslim, and national or racial purist needs to suck it up and serve alongside them, or leave the military. No one will form an all-white, all-Christian unit just to appease a few who let their prejudices get in the way of their service. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell fixes in law the idea that homosexuals are a class of people where the burden is on them to make others “comfortable” with their service, rather than those around them to buck up and deal with it.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is the social engineering platform of a shrinking minority, seeking to force others to adhere to their idea of what is right and what is wrong, rather than competing openly in the war of ideas like everyone else.

Lady Gaga said it right: if you have a problem serving next to a gay soldier, you are the problem and need to resign your commission, not them.

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