November 10, 2016
Some personal thoughts for a personal time: The "My vote is my right and telling me to vote Clinton is wrong" sentiment is the same sentiment most third party voters have, and it's not wrong. But there is so much more to it than that, and so much you are saying about yourself by saying those words. Consider this: Is there, just maybe, a better time to protest than in an election with such severe social consequences? The time you should be marching for a third party vote is now, to prepare for 2020. This election was and always will be a different beast than any other, and by saying "you're taking away my rights to vote my choice" proves you don't understand or, more importantly, are too privileged to care. In a currently very flawed and unfair political system, no third party candidate has a chance of winning. You know this. I know this. By voting third party now, you acknowledge the fact that you, even if you didn't "mean" to, are giving your non-vote to Trump. Because, let's face it, the majority of third party voters skew more left than right. But let's go back to your "you're taking away my rights" argument. This is basically the same sentiment as saying "I voted for Trump, but I didn't vote for racism." Yes, you did. You cannot pick and choose a candidates qualities. You cannot vote for just one. You must accept all of them, good and bad. You must accept that by voting for a candidate, you are accepting the fact that you take votes away from the others. This is true for all. And by voting third party in this election you say "I knowingly admit my candidate has no chance of winning and therefore acknowledge the fact that Trump may become president based on my vote." There is no argument there. But here is where you are correct: The political system we have is flawed, and we should fight to change it. But little to no non-white non-straight people voted third party. And do you know why? Because we had and have a lot on the line, too much to risk voting for a candidate who would, even in the smallest possibilities, lend a vote to our enemy. We are not privileged enough to vote third party. You claim to want to exercise your rights - your vote left 100% of us with our rights on the line. And, looking to the future, instead of continuing to use your privilege on votes that are meaningless in the long run simply because you can afford to, perhaps we should all use our privilege to change the country now that we are all in the same sinking ship. Let me explain a bit more about privilege. Personally, I have always been a man of empathy, but one of the most difficult things for me to process is this: Even though I am a gay man and therefore a minority, I am still a white man and therefore have privilege many others do not. Often, I am hurt when diversity issues and diversity supporters looks less upon me than others because of my skin color. But I must remember this: Empathy is my sword, love is my shield. I must remember that even though I am hurting, many are hurting even more. Even though I am afraid, many are living in terror on a level I will never truly understand. This feeling I have, this terror and heartbreak and worry? This is a blanket many have been covered in for years, forever. And there it is. There is the truth we MUST understand if we ever want to overcome the hate that has been normalized today. It is an incredibly terrifying and wonderful feeling to admit, to know that you are not the center of the world, that your race or gender or religion or sexuality may not be as as important to fight for in this moment as others. To admit, even though you may not want to, that you are, on some level, a person of privilege. And that even in this fight for equality, we may need to fight in a way that takes privilege from us and gives it to others. We may feel pain, but there is always someone who feels more, always someone who needs more. In this, love is our greatest balm to ease that pain, and empathy is our strongest tool to understand it. So, this is not about me, but you can learn from me. It is not about you, but I can learn from you. It's about us, and we can always learn from each other. It's about understanding each day, and learning all over again tomorrow. Because we are not one, we are many. And this? We can be better than this. We will. We must.
July 16, 2016
Writing today and doing lots of adulting. And thinking about the world, how big and small we are. We're all in this together but it feels like only a few realize it. Now more than ever, when the state of the world feels so hopelessly savage, it's important for us to come together in positive action. I've made it a goal to make a positive change (big or small) to the world around me each day. It's hard, but change has to start somewhere.
Posted by David James at 10:13 AM
July 4, 2016
June 16, 2016
This is so important. Use your voice for positive change. More importantly, understand pointing out inequalities and ways things "could be better or more equal" is not hateful. It is not bigotry to correct a bigot. Those who are privileged enough to feel threatened by the equality of others are treating their privilege, their own equality, as a joke. Equality is for all, a positive and loving term without any kind of hate, not a tool to bring down others. More importantly, the second - the very second - we begin to fight hate with hate, violence with violence, we have already lost. But fighting for equality by showcasing what needs to be changed is not the same as enforcing sexist and stereotypically damaging bigotry. There are so many different types of people, so many different ways of life, that if we wrap them all up into just "men" or "women" or even "straight" or "gay" we have forgotten so many, and we can't afford that. It's not fair. It's not right. And it needs to change. We may think change takes time, and it might, but it also can happen quickly. Because the fact is this: The world is not equal, not even close, and it needs to be. Equality - the freedom to, without harm, love and be loved and just BE as we choose - is not about seeing what has been seen, rather about seeing what has not been, what needs to be, what has been hidden. Even if it's one person who is left out, it's that one person we need to fight for. That is not naive, not unrealistic. That's equality. That is love. That is the power we need to embrace to create real, positive change. That's the side I'm on and will always be on.
"It is possible to change stagnant systems, even radically. But it requires more than a momentary outburst of resolve whenever crisis hits."
June 15, 2016
I am an introvert. It's difficult for me to speak in front of large groups, make small talk, and generally be in places with a large number of people surrounding me. It's not, really, that I am afraid. For me, it has more to do with the fact that I don't see the point. Once I am in love with a topic, I will speak about it forever and defend my view to the death. I am not always right, but I keep quiet about those issues; I don't like being uninformed or unprepared, or defend things I'm not sure about. When I do enter a debate I have already thought about it enough to defend my point from all sides. I will talk about life and love until I can't. And I love being surrounded by people I feel close to. But spending my time uselessly, in ways that refuse to or don't want to improve my life or those around me? No. My point? Social Media has given me a way to be part of the world without feeling like my introverted self doesn't belong. I truly believe Social Media is a good thing. Except when it's not. And, as we've all seen in recent months, used as a tool to destroy, hurt, and offend millions of people. Especially when we use and view Social Media as a way to spread hate, it can often feel like too many voices screaming at once - a void in which no one really listens. I get that. But I want to point out this video. A man who speaks from his heart. Video that has not been edited, like so many news broadcasts are. Social Media is also a tool for good. I see my friends posting and talking about ways to change the world, ways to come together. I see horrific posts that inspire us to grow while reminding us that it's okay to be sad. And I see posts like this video that prove there are people who strive for kindness, equality, and love. People who are not afraid to call out the bigots. Because like it or not, everything is politics. The politics we're experiencing now. The politics of being human, standing together to fight for unity. The politics of being heard, when you're told you are less than. And let me make this very clear: There is a huge difference between using the freedom of speech to hurt and using it to express. What's going on now is wrong. No one has the right to kill, to hurt, to harm, to create victims, to cause suffering, to destroy love and loved ones. As an introvert, I choose to save my voice for when I truly feel it's important to speak. Until then, I am listening. And now? Now it's more important than ever to speak, to use your voice against this hate. Not only the hate of political parties, but the hate used against so many of us every single day. We must confront the dark with light. It is okay to be quiet, to be listening. It's important to find yourself in the silence. I'll be the first to tell you that. But your voice, your positive voice against all this hateful bigotry, is so important too. Show Social Media what it truly means to be a beacon of light in the dark.
May 15, 2016
Has anyone ever told you, "Books aren't real life." Inside books, we can see the world. Never forget that. The stories books hold are dramatized, true, but inside each of them we are able to witness feelings, emotions, triumphs, and mistakes of characters. Characters who, throughout the course of the story, may have gone through years of their lives, endless amounts of torture or happiness. And we witness those happenings. As readers, we so often connect with a character so much that the events of the story become less important than the emotions both we and the characters take away. So, even though a character may be in a fictional, fantastic setting doing something wild and unrealistic, their emotions ring true. And understand why or how someone feels a certain way provides us empathy, a tool we then use more frequently every single day to understand the real lives around us. True, characters and their stories are fictionalized pieces of imagination created by an author, but even understanding what we're reading was written by another human gives us so much insight into the lives of his or her characters, those moral lessons, both on and off the page. Everything about books and stories and characters, from fantasy to romance, is so saturated in humanity it's impossible not to learn and grow and find a new piece, a new view of life inside each one. Unless you choose to not look, not believe in the very real magic of stories. Unless you choose to believe that something written on a page is not capable of changing lives, shaping hearts, and opening eyes. You, nonbeliever, exist. And I hope you, one day, let the magic take you as it has taken me. Because life is so much happier, richer, and more understanding on this side of the page. #AmWriting