Wednesday, November 9, 2016

E Pluribus Unum

I feel as sad as I did on 9/11. Only I wasn't ashamed to be an American on that day. But I am still hopeful today.

We need to remember that somewhere beneath the rubble, there still is a nation of people that we love. Even as we degrade back to our Neanderthal ways, let's hope and persevere and dig each other out. Let's be the minority that refuses to suffocate under the ignorance, fear, and hate. As the discrimination, oppression, and hate crimes rise again, let's continue to stick together. Don't just "move to Canada" like a weakling, as if you never loved America to begin with. Yes, our taxes will increase and our economy will suffer and our freedoms will be taken away, but you will be needed here as more of our non-white churches are vandalized and burned.

To all of you white Trump supporters who still don't get it (you probably never will, but here I go trying once again). Hopefully, all of Trump's inflammatory rhetoric was just that, empty rhetoric. It is unlikely that he will achieve the massive deportations and the repealing of civil freedoms you all so earnestly voted for. But still, the de facto reality is that all of us minorities feel a little less safe, a little less American today.

It is exhausting living in a white world as a non-white. It's an experience you will never know. And you probably don't care. We've struggled all our lives to carve our place here, to belong in our own country. You've never had this problem. You also have never had a problem with the resurgence of the KKK, and a President that made it possible.

You wanted to Make America Great Again. Let's hope that it includes us in it too.

Friday, August 5, 2016

If you like swimming, don't join the Marines

Something very terrible happened to me today. We swam in the ocean for 6 hours, with fins, uniform, combat know, stuff you normally wear on a 6-hour swim. But that's not the terrible part (our team was the only team to finish). The terrible part is that I had to pee. The entire time. And I couldn't. I'm not one of those pee-on-the move types. Maybe the reason our team finished first was because NOBODY LET ME STOP TO PEE.

So I waited until we finally finished (thank The Lord Almighty). I inflated my life vest, clung onto the side of the safety boat, and relaxed my body and waited for 6 hours of pent up pain and misery to come out.

Except it didn't. I just couldn't go. It was like clogged. I reached down and pulled my compression shorts away to relieve some pressure and waited, and finally (thank The Lord Almighty again) I started peeing. But about 3 or 4 minutes into it, it inexplicably just stopped. Like faucet wrenched closed. Like hose clamped shut. Like when you for some god-forsaken reason voluntarily pinch it off, except it wasn't voluntary. The pain was indescribably worse than before. Everybody kept telling me to get on the boat but I was just in the black. Tunnel-visioned. Finally, as mysteriously as before, it started flowing again and I emptied out the rest of my 5-gallon tank.

Then I collapsed into the boat.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Making America White Again

This post is perhaps something that is years overdue, but I guess also couldn't be more pertinent than it is now. Perhaps it's something that I owe to all of my white friends, and also yet another reason why Donald Trump must never become President.

I grew up in a mostly white world, where kids mock your parents' Chinese accents and pull their eyelids back to make fun of you. It's a world that none of you white people know about. You've never walked into a restaurant where everybody puts down their forks to stare at you until you awkwardly turn around and leave. You've never stood waiting at a counter for every single white customer to be helped before you. You've never had someone walk out of a polling booth and tell you, "I voted for Trump so that people like you will go back to your country" (I haven't either, but my friends have).

In the end, my experience has been mostly innocuous. I am, after all, of a minority group that seems to be less threatening to white people. I have no idea what it's like to be black, or Mexican, or Arab. For me, racism has mostly been a simple twist of ignorance. Not of suspicion or outright hate, like it often is for these other minority groups. I don't know what it's like to have to take my hands out of my pockets or remove my sweater hood every time a police officer is nearby. I don't know what it's like to have to convince a stranger I'm not carrying a weapon before asking him what time it is. I don't know what it's like to have to lie down on the ground, surrendering my hands to the air, only to be shot in the leg. And neither do you.

So I find it highly inappropriate for a white person to deny that we live in a racist society. And it is highly inappropriate for a white person to decry #blacklivesmatter. And most of all, I find it highly inappropriate for a white person to tell me that he wants Donald Trump to be my President.

The racist signatures in our country are getting louder, thanks to Donald Trump. Intentionally or not, his rhetoric and xenophobic temperament are re-empowering white supremacist attitudes. Again, most of you white people probably don't even notice it. Because for you, you have nothing to lose if Trump fails to be elected. The same is not true for the rest of us, if he is elected.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

drink the poison

The problem is not Trump. It is not the Republican party or the rancid state of our two-party system. The problem is the portion of the American population that refuses to accept progress.

The country is moving forward. Everyone knows this. But instead of embracing it and applauding it, a minority of white conservatives have developed a pathetic complex of self-victimization. Somehow the advance of freedom and equality has infringed on their rights. Civil liberty somehow suppresses religious expression. Preemptive actions against mass shootings somehow threatens the Constitution. Minorities and immigrants are somehow taking away white jobs (Sorry, but we can't all be Doctors and Presidents). Give me a fucking break. The GOP apple has fallen far from the Reagan tree.

The country is moving forward. Democratic values now better reflect the vision of the American people. Refusing to admit this, conservatives reject any semblance of intellectual discourse and tout some sort of "liberal" anaphylaxis. And now they have collected all their dying idols and melted them together, and out of the fire hoisted up a twisted liberal demagogue masquerading as a Republican. The best champion they could muster to breathe the last breaths of not even a conservative.

The country is moving forward. Get on the train or shut your fucking mouth.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

nation under attack

I have been hearing a lot of rhetoric about our nation being under attack, about our Constitution being undermined. Our rights are being infringed upon, and our freedoms are being threatened. I couldn't agree more with all of this. We are indeed under attack. By Christianity. It has infiltrated the political system, and the poisonous infusion is overwhelming.

The United States was purportedly born out of an escape from religious oppression. After two short centuries, this victimization has somehow transformed into an oppression itself.

A few months ago Kim Davis was justified in using religious freedom to deny equal rights to homosexuals, and in some sick twist of irony managed to delude the American Right into believing that the situation demonstrated religious persecution...against her.

Directly contradicting Christ's order to feed the hungry and clothe the poor, Conservatives are refusing refuge for millions of homeless Syrians.

Ignoring the command to love your neighbors (much less your enemies), myopic racists commit hate crimes against not only Muslims, but Sikhs, out of some laughable misconception of anthropology and geography.

Disobeying the call to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, Zionism has brainwashed Right-Wingers into blindly supporting the suffocation and gradual genocide of the Palestinian race.

Discrimination toward non-Christians has erupted in Donald Trump, a leading contender for the highest office in the entire world, proposing a blatantly anti-Constitutional ban on religious freedom for Muslims.

The perverted fornication between the Republican party and Christianity has festered into a plague of paranoia and hate. This is not what Jesus wanted.

Matthew 7:23

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Us vs. Them vs. Stupidity

Tribalism. It's what you see in lawless lands, in developing countries, in medieval times. It's what causes generations of genocide and what keeps Afghanistan in the New York Times.

Tribalism is an evolutionary strategy primates have developed to protect their own species. The bigger the tribe, the more chance of survival. The more a species can propagate, the more genetically advanced they become, further maturing the complexity of their social ties. Research has shown that the size of a primate's brain is determined by the size of his social reach.

In America, we also see tribalism. You see it at Yankees vs Phillies games. You see it at GOP conventions. You see it when the NYPD murders a black guy and all of your white friends put blue lines on their Facebook profiles. Tribalism is One polarizing Nation splintering Under God.

We've hardened ourselves to unconditionally exonerate everyone of our kind, even when we don't even know them. We've learned to unconditionally hate everyone that is not of our kind, especially if we don't know them. By pledging blind loyalty to our tribes, we've created a nation of laughably childish behavior. Homophobia has led us to celebrate the breaking of federal law in the name of religious freedom, #blacklivesmatter has glorified disrespect for authority, the right-wing has convinced itself that the solution to mass shootings is decreased liberal sensibility.

The Us vs. Them mentality is a sign of hitting the evolutionary glass ceiling. Failure to see beyond your social and political boundaries reveals the limit of your genetic advancement.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

why i didn't watch American Sniper

I read Chris Kyle's book three years ago, soon after it was first published. I already had great respect and admiration for a name that most people didn't even recognize. I followed him in the media, watching his endeavors in civilian life after he ended active duty. I tried to identify with him, battling the same Coronado surf where his story was born, going through the same basic sniper course that propelled his legend. I knew Chris Kyle and I understood much as can be done vicariously...and I wanted to live the life he did.

Now he is posthumously honored in film, which somehow has generated controversy across the very country that he lived and died for. People have created political schism in its wake, inappropriately injecting conflicting convictions of the military, the essence of cowardice and heroism, U.S. foreign policy, and even Chris Kyle's own personage.

The fact that the U.S. was deceptively led to invade Iraq does not diminish the immensity of Chris Kyle's extraordinary accomplishments in the slightest. That many of his personal claims cannot be verified as truth should brand him as a human being, and not a god. That he was not the most politically-correct writer is obviously an attribution to the very nature of who he was: a professional killer, a Sniper. And that we tenaciously close our minds to truths on the other side of the political divide embodies perfectly who Chris Kyle is: an American.

I don't need a movie to help me remember and honor a legendary war hero. I certainly don't need a movie that helps me remember the hard-lined ignorance and lack of unity in our country.