Trump World

My dislike of Donald Trump is no secret. I have been openly railing against him for over a year and a half. I have disliked him far longer, though I cannot recall the origins of my spite for him.

So yesterday this buffoon was elected President of the United States. His running mate is a blithering right-wing moron. In my estimation, maybe the best thing that happens is Trump goes down in infamy (which seems likely) and Pence runs the country over the next four years.

In either case, whether Trump continues to rule or Pence does so in his stead, they got to this office because of their overtly racist attitudes. I will not make any claim that they won the election despite their racism because I am not an apologist for the system; I am a political pragmatist and it is my job to view the political system in the light of reality and acknowledge its ugliness when I see it.

Trump has attacked many constituencies: the disabled, African-Americans, and women come immediately to mind. I am sure there are more that I can speak to, but my big concern is his attacks on Mexicans and Americans of Mexican descent. This is not to imply that I think Mexican identity is more important than anything else, though I have no trouble admitting this concern comes down to self-interest. I am an American citizen of Mexican descent.

Trump began his campaign by villainizing Mexican immigrants. Though his rhetoric has since grown to encompass immigrants in general, he started out specifically targeting Mexicans. When Scott and Steve Leader assaulted a homeless Hispanic man in Boston on August 19, 2015, Trump stated “the people that are following me are very passionate.” He later issued a perfunctory disavowal of the incident on Twitter (21 August 2015).

Trump’s attacks on Judge Gonzalo Curiel earlier this year are what I find most repulsive. In his statements Trump implied that Curiel’s heritage (born in Indiana to Mexican immigrant parents) made him unqualified to be a judge. Trump actually stated that dispite Curiel’s “Spanish” and “Hispanic” heritage he had not asked the judge to be recused.

The promise to “Make America Great Again” means what? It harkens to the days when minority populations in the United States were second class citizens.When minorities were attacked and beaten by groups of white men and then arrested for disturbing the peace. The rhetoric against immigrants, Mexicans, African-Americans, has energized the overly racist thorughout the nation.

At this point we can only wait and see what happens next. I will pour my energy into making sure that any attempts to remake second class citizenship are met with stiff and effective resistance. I want to make one particular point explicit: do not think your citizenship or ideological perspective will save you from the racism that Trump and his cronies promote. White supremacy means that if you are not white, you belong to the underclass.

The Story up to now …

I have been thinking about how I got to this point. I discovered the idea of information asymmetries while I was  working on my blog The Digital Guerrilla Project. I thought it was a perfect way to describe the situations I was trying to write about: where one party is able to take advantage of another party due to a lack of information on the part of the latter party. This worked for a while.

Then I started working on a master’s degree. There I discovered structural violence, which is a system with information asymmetries built in so as to protect a particular interest. The study of structural violence worked out for me because it is in line with my idea that I would like to help people learn how to overcome power asymmetries and, as I later found out, structural violence as well.

As it stands, this is a thoroughly academic interest as far as I know. When I say academic interest I do not mean to imply that there is much interest in my chosen subjects in academia; I mean only to say that there seems to be zero interest in these subjects outside of academia as far as I know. I am studying obscure subjects hoping to unlock some secret that might help someone overcome power asymmetries and structural violence, or in other terms, oppressive and/or dictatorial powers. I feel very much like I am alone in this interest, but not really sure about that solitude either.

I know the work I do has academic merit. One of these days I will get published. Later, I will be used as a reference in the work of some other academic, and we will all be able to pat each other on the back. This is not my interest, however.

I want to write something that will inspire people to fight back, overcome, change the world. I want to write something that people can use to get them through tough times, to make decisions that help them toward their goals. I do not want to write some self-help crap urging people to believe in themselves, I want to write the self-help book that urges people to stand up and fight for themselves. It doesn’t seem like too much to ask for, does it?

The point of all this is that I think I finally see a way forward that could be useful to people outside of the world of academia. I am trying to figure out how to make it come together in a coherent fashion. I am enthusiastic about the possibilities, in a way that I haven’t been before.

I will keep you posted.

Time to be a proper blogger

I know that I am an intermittent writer at  best. Over the next few weeks I am going to attempt to resolve that. I am going to try to write two or three posts a week on this blog and on TDGP.

It may be cheating a bit, but I am going to count this post as my first one of the week.

At this point, it seems like it will be pretty daunting. I have a lot of ideas through the week, but for whatever reason rarely get around to writing about them. I hope to make a habit out of writing.

Please, wish me luck.

Introducing Jasper

My wife and I recently added a new member to our family. Jasper is a Labrador Retriever puppy. He was born on November 29, 2014, so he is about 11 weeks old. We got Jasper as a mutual valentine’s day gift, and he finally got to come to his new home yesterday, on Feb 21.

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Jasper seems to be adjusting well. He slept through the night on his first night home, not waking up until after 5:00 A.M. when he had to use the restroom. I wouldn’t call it a full nights sleep, but it was better than we expected.

Jasper is playful, like all puppies are. He is ready to run at any time, but is still learning how to do things like fetch. He seems to love running through the yard. I imagine it is a huge space for him considering that he has been in a kennel the last couple of weeks.

Not everything is perfect. He is more comfortable with his own feces than I would like, but some research shows that this is normal with dogs. He is semi-house trained, only a few accidents. But it is not completely his fault as it has been rainy today and he didn’t get much outside time. I am impressed that I can take him outside and he knows to pee. He is doing very well.

Jasper is a friendly and happy puppy and a welcome addition to our home.

Hanging garden day 34

So we are a day shy of 5 weeks. The garden is doing well. The tomato and the lemon cucumber plants that were my original hanging plants are both fruiting. I don’t know if that is according to schedule or better, it is just nice to know that my plants are fruiting. The others that I planted are starting to flower, so the fruit won’t be far behind.
As a matter of fact, my jalapeño plant is fruiting very well right now. I will let you know how hot the chilies are when I make my first batch of salsa.
It is interesting to me to note that the plants are all still growing up. I wonder if the weight of the fruit will weigh down the plants? In another couple of weeks we should know.

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