Go Ahead, Call Me a Snowflake

Ode to the Snowflake ~

Scientists commonly refer to snowflakes as “snow crystals.” Snowflakes are the creation of water saturation and temperature. Circumstance births a phenomenon commonly overlooked or ignored. Water, depending on supersaturation (g/m^3) of .002 to .3 and temperature ranging from 32F to -30F (0C to -35C), can create varying snowflake types; there are plates that look like beautifully designed octagons, dendrites that have the classic snowflake look of a center holding on to artfully formed arms, needles that resemble thin cylinders glued together, hollow columns, solid prisms, sectored plates, thin plates, and solid plates. Water, given the right circumstance, can transcend the label of simple H2O and briefly become a unique geometric existence.

Why is this information important? The idea of the snowflake matters because it has become an insult. The political climate has spurned resentment for both the right and left and in-betweens. Though snowflake as pejorative is commonly used by the right to express weakness or perceived over-sensitivity, I have seen a recent trend of left-leaners using it as insult too. And I am here to proudly claim the title of snowflake for mySELF, regardless the implications.

Like it or not, you are all snowflakes. I say like it, embrace it. I feel the existence of the snowflake—if anthropomorphized—is all human existence. It is a disservice to humankind to ignore the fleeting nature of existence. Like the snowflake, we are formed by the convergence of seemingly impossible circumstances. Imagine a drop of water in earth’s 330,000,000 cubic MILES of water; you are that drop in the scheme of all existence. If you think the snowflake denotes anything other than amazing bordering on miraculous, then you haven’t given it much thought. When you are called snowflake, think about being that drop in earth’s 330,000,000 cubic miles of water, then being in the right climate to be evaporated and condensed, then being in the right location for the right temperature and saturation, then being crystalized into a design unique to you, and then how short-lived that existence is as you fall to earth. You are a snowflake, all of you, cherish your dance from the sky.

Donald Trump’s Grandmother Gertrude [Trump traces ancestry in America]

eric beaverThere’s a lot of chatter about immigrants, not at my work place (ham factory, America), but in the main stream media echo chamber. Sending immigrants back, cutting immigration in half, these are the policies screeched about on TV. There’s just too much shit string here, so I’m focusing on the attacks on Trump’s ancestry—the idea that we’re all descendants of immigrants, including Trump. Yes, Trump had parents, thanks CNN, but that’s where the shit string started. Here’s the truth.

Those living in North America can trace back to find their ancestors emigrating from another continent. The Native Americans even crossed into Alaska from Asia 20,000 years ago. This place was empty people, animals and plants, no people. Later on, whites and Africans came, we all know this. But did you know about the now extinct Giant Beaver (Castoroides), that lived in the Great Lakes region? Bet that wasn’t covered in state school.

The Giant Beaver was a majestic beast—an enormous 125 pound beaver that lived alongside our modern beaver. The giant beaver is relevant to today’s immigration debate. Whites and African-Americans can trace their claim here 50-400 years back, Native Americans 20,000 years, but those descended from the Giant Beaver have claim at 60,000 years here.

60,000 years ago, some Giant Beavers left the Great Lakes for the prehistoric island of Manhattan. The Manhattan Giant Beaver spent less time in the water and more and more time on land. These Manhattan Giant Beavers used the labor of the smaller cousin beavers to build structures on land. The structures were a mating ritual: the bigger the structure, the most beaver workers, the more likely of getting a hot Manhattan Giant Beaver trophy mate.

Over time, the Manhattan Giant Beavers relied more and more on their lesser cousin beavers for food and shelter. The Manhattan Giant Beaver, over thousands of years, lost their tail and took on a doughy humanoid form. Fast-forward to the last known Manhattan Giant Beaver, a female named Gertrude—Trump’s grandmother.

Trump’s grandfather, Friedrich Trump, emigrated from Germany in the 1800s and met Gertrude in New York at an oyster bar. Though she had no grasp of the German or English language (or any language in general) Gertrude fell in love with Friedrich, and his ability to exploit miners in the Seattle and Yukon mines. Likewise, Friedrich fell in love with Gertrude and her hoard of lesser beavers and the giant structures they slaved to build. Friedrich and Gertrude married and were able to breed, and after the deaths of several deformed humanoids, Trump’s father survived.

Trump is the only authority on immigration—he can trace his ancestry to the giant rodents that were displaced by the Native Americans. Reparations?

Rocky was the Bad Guy, Not Russia

As a hyper-emotional, diehard Trump fan (deplorable, [realist] or Trumpet), I’m reevaluating things. The Mainstream Media (fake at best) wants us to detest Russia. And I have hated Russia, until now. For me research and Youtube clips of Rocky IV have fomented an unwavering love for these United States; however, Russia is portrayed as the bad guy, and Rocky the good. Not so, turns out. Ivan Drago deserves a fair, unbiased reexamination.
The boxing documentary ends filming in Russia. How’d a poor, underdog like Rocky get there? Tax payer money? Your taxes? My blood and sweat labor then taxed? More than likely.
Drago turns out to be just Rocky’s counterpoint. Look even closer, Drago turns out to be more ethical and righteous than Rocky the tax subsidized boxer.
Drago is married to a bombshell, blonde woman (nuclear family), and trains under safe, medically approved conditions, and is monitored by doctors and science people. Rocky travels to a sovereign nation and cuts their trees down. Anyone else like property rights? Where’s the property owner contract for deforestation? Communism?
The crew filming catches Drago tiring out. What’s he do? He takes a break to get medically-sanctioned B12 shots. Responsible approach. Rocky never tires out. Steroids? I’ll say it. I mean he causes a car to crash then climbs a mountain, come on.
We got to start looking at the facts, more than ever. I didn’t see any urine testing of either athlete. What I did see was a Philadelphian juiced to the tits (your tax money) knockout—potentially kill—a national hero.

The White Rose: Trump’s Authoritarianism

History, its documentation and placement in libraries and archives, is often seen as something removed from the now, this moment, contemporary America and the world. Yes, by its very nature history is something separate from the workings of today—but only by definition. History is something more grand than the successes and failures of yesterday/yesteryear. Recorded history is a foundation; history shows us the cement under the modern monolith.

Our own history consists of an hour ago, last winter, “in my thirties…twenties…teens.” If we are in a fulfilled life currently, if we are an alcoholic currently, we can look at personal, pivotal moments where deeply important decisions were made. One who does not recognize their past is doomed to fall into a sequence of repetitious failures and hardship. But history is often written by the winners; likewise, personal history is subject to the justification of wrongdoing and mistakes. Though everyone can recognize this, there are those whom live in a world of defense mechanisms. To be human is to fail; however, to be human is to rise above failure—even if alone. Our history is a microcosm of world history.

***

I am often looking at the world and wondering if there is anything one person can do. It is easy to give up at this point, to sit it out, be a spectator on the sidelines. Does fighting back work? I look at the contemporary scene in Trump’s America, and I am fully tempted to revert to defense mechanisms: everything always works out, there are better people working on it, modern federal governing is too separated from my every day, for the most part people are good.

“What are we waiting for? Until one day the war is over and all nations point to us and say we accepted this government without resisting?” (Scholl, 30).

Popular portrayals of the Nazis have done a disservice to the general viewer. Movies I have viewed, Saving Private Ryan, Inglorious Bastards, Enemy at the Gate, Flags of Our Fathers, etc., all point towards a salvation found in the Allied Forces—the fire of pure evil doused by the justice of America, Great Britain, France, and Russia. I understand the reasoning. It is easier to accept the narrative that tyranny emerges from a vacuum, that one day there is peace, the next day there is a cause opposite ours worth fighting against with spirit and blood. This simply is not the case. Illiberal movements coming to power are often messy, requiring nuanced discussion. One redeeming quality about Nazi occupied Germany, one spark from Nazi steel on flint to find warmth in, are those whom resisted within.

***

The White Rose was student-founded resistance. A movement so powerful in its actions, it is necessary to preface its telling by positing a few notes. The White Rose does not end by achieving its goal—the fall of Nazism through peaceful resistance. Nazism fell, but not peacefully. I evoke the White Rose not to draw an equivalency to contemporary America. Resistance from the White Rose occurred when the Nazi machine was in motion; mindful participants of the White Rose knew well the consequences for dissidents. Hans and Sophie Scholl knew the price of mere opinion to be guillotine. Contemporary America has a narrowing space for opinion but it is there.

If the White Rose shows us nothing else, let it show us where the line is. More importantly, let the actions of Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl, Professor Huber, Alexander Schmorell, Josef Söhngen, Harald Dohrn, et al, and what they resisted be the telltale sign it is time to organize and resist. The society in which these dissidents lived—the political policy, the everyday actions of regular citizens—shows the manipulation of the masses, shows the power of the hate-filled minority, shows the fear that literature/ideas evoke in the draconian ruler, and tells the student that freewill exists in the darkest hole. Hitler was not Hitler until he was given the room. The beating of the Nazi drum, heard by those in the White Rose, has echoed throughout human history. The ebb and flow of authoritarianism and liberalism is inevitable. Hear the echoes, whether a whisper or a deafening bang, and resist the drum’s cadence. There is a time when peaceful resistance is necessary and effective, and there is a time where peace is lost, ideas are met with violence, and defense of self-determinism must be expressed through violence.

***

2nd Leaflet of the White Rose: “[…] Jews, too, are human beings—no matter what position we take with respect to the Jewish question—and a crime of this dimension has been perpetrated against human beings” (78).

Dehumanization.

Parlance can shift in subtle ways. Using force against illegal aliens is an easier sell than using force against a Salvadorian known as Sara. Sara was guilty of the wrong identity; she was detained while receiving treatment at a hospital in Fort Worth, Texas (Rozsa). These are echoes from the past. To reiterate, the Nazi era and the Trump era are not to be defined as perfectly equal. It is a hard comparison to even mention in today’s climate. The comparison is often perceived as either undermining the loss of life and degree of severity of Nazi Germany, hyperbolizing Trump, his rhetoric, and his early executive actions, or both. However, are we to pull punches when underlining elements of totalitarianism can be found in both scenarios? The rise of Nazism can be directly linked to core principles driving Trump’s populist movement.

Core tenets, Trump’s stump speeches, Trump’s White House website, all point to issues of identity—specifically, “native” identity. Not actual Native-American, Latino, Black, LGBQT, POC, Muslim identity, but broad, big-tent, white identity. Trump’s message “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) explicitly says something about America has been lost, it implicitly suggests someone, some “other” took it. MAGA is a message of divergence from American founding principles, it is a rally cry to put American identity above the individual—begging the question of who defines terms. Who is making? What is American? What is great? What point in time does again denote?

The White House website admonishes: “Supporting law enforcement also means deporting illegal aliens with violent criminal records who have remained within our borders” (whitehouse.gov). Clever phrasing, how can one oppose deporting “illegal aliens”? How is it even a problem, the terms clearly show that these people are categorically not human. The problem: Trump has effectively tripled his federal police force, ICE enforces federal law and Trump has bypassed State sovereignty. These “criminals” are turning out more and more to be assimilated people like Sara.

To be completely clear, as a promoter of natural rights, I feel strongly about the free movement of peoples across arbitrary lines drawn in the sand. Critics of past presidential immigration policies where correct and worthy of civil debate; however, Trump’s policies and actions are unprecedented in their severity and scope. Institutionally, debates about immigration have revolved around economic issues. For the Trump Bandwagon, immigration debate revolves around identity, period, full stop. The largest Trump groups on social media take part in posting news articles about immigrants (I refuse to use illegal to describe a human being) being raided and detained by ICE. Though the racial slurs and dehumanizing comments are there in bulk, the troubling posts come from seemingly normal, non-bigoted people—middle age moms, pictured with family and pets etc.—parroting the milder talking points of the bandwagon: “the law is the law,” “don’t want deported, come here legally,” “I have no problem with legal immigration.” This is troubling because the support for the foundation of mass deportation is set this way.

The radical part of Trump’s coalition pushes the narrative of law and order. Those disenfranchised by the duopoly in Washington D.C. feel like part of a movement to restore law and order—a phrase inherently hard to debate. Law is not morality, though. Positivist law, laws founded by the State can be antithetical to rights borne from one’s humanity, one’s ability to reason and make determinations. A lot of these troubles are wrought from citizens instilling too much trust in the authority of State fiat. Encouragingly, there was half the country that opted out of this election, and half the voters that rejected Trump. There is room for revolt.

***

3rd Leaflet of the White Rose: “[There is need for] Sabotage in all publications, all newspapers, that are in pay of the “government” and that defend [Nazi] ideology and aide in disseminating the brown lie. […] Try to convince all your acquaintances, including those in the lower classes, of the senselessness of continuing, of the hopelessness of this war […].” (83).

The above leaflet was an act of treason. Sophie Scholl had overheard her bother Hans enquiring about a duplicating machine. She paid it little attention until the first leaflet was distributed and she had realized the connection. It is hard to imagine her anxiety when finding out her brother had signed his death warrant by delegitimizing Hitler and his regime. It is even harder to imagine being in her shoes and deciding to join Hans and the White Rose’s cause. Every stranger was effectively a potential spy for the Nazis—in fact the citizenry was urged to report on one another. The Scholls both recall catching glimpses of strangers and not knowing whether they were sympathetic to the Nazi cause. Sophie and Hans were both knowledgeable of the paranoia in 1940s Germany. Their father had been taken by the S.S. for little more than making a comment about Hitler, a comment overheard and reported by a neighbor. Surprisingly, he was cleared of the charge, a rare occurrence in Nazi Germany.

Paranoia in contemporary America is manifestly different—manifest nonetheless. The Great Leader Trump was paradoxically propelled in the election by the press and taken to task for lies and mistruths by the same press now. Continuous coverage of Trump rallies bypassed critique, and by being the only thing on television lent implicit legitimacy to his nationalistic, jingoistic, bigoted, paranoid rhetoric. Trump surfed a wave into the presidency by the coattails of “all press is good press.” And from the start, in fascist fashion, Trump and team began to relentlessly disparage the free press and those revealing the emperor to have no clothes.

Perhaps in an act of repentance for views-over-substance during the election cycle, the press has been on the frontline in taking Trump to task for positing “alternative facts.” The free press is ground on which not one inch can be given. Slandering like “fake news” from the tweets of Trump are steps to take away news coverage as legitimate truth to power. Control the narrative you control the perception, control the perception you control reality. This is not mere bickering or complaints of bad coverage, Trump’s administration actively barred the major news outlets—those covering and investigating Trump-Russia ties—from a private press meeting with Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Again, to an objective viewer this is troubling, but I actively follow the largest, most enthusiastic Trump groups on social media and they are nothing but elated over Trump’s treatment of the press. These Trumpets are not hard pressed to confirm their biases. Articles flooding these groups, articles covering terrorism, immigration, policy, Islam, and the like, are all obscure “news” sites, where sourcing is questionable at best. When the main news outlets make a mistake, there is almost instantaneous correction, whereas obscure online sites face no backlash. Mistakes are made, but emphasis needs to be placed on verifying the validity of information.

Trump’s right-hand man Steve Bannon—known white nationalist—was executive chair of Breitbart News, before getting cozy in the White House. The site propagates the Alt-right perspective and has elevated in status as a credible source for Trump news—its readership is large. Freedom of press means freedom for the site, I am not arguing for its suppression; I am emphasizing that readers think critically in the age of social media, and investigate media that came from Hitler’s personal propaganda machine and compare it too articles coming from Breitbart—there are eerie similarities of themes. Question the ethos, the writer is either speaking truth to power or justifying it.

***

“The prison guards reported: ‘They bore themselves with marvelous bravery. The whole prison was impressed by them. That is why we risked bringing them together once more—at the last moment before execution. If our actions had become known, the consequences for us would have been serious” (Scholl 62).

Mentioned previously, Nazism was not defeated by the White Rose. The Nazi machine had grown too powerful with too much momentum. The lack of peaceful, civic outcry had led to a regime of perverted ideology, to be combated with justifiable force from outside. However, the actions of the White Rose have reverberated through history. The execution of Sophie and Hans spread through Germany and the Russian front. The bravery in which Sophie and Hans showed in their final hours echoed through concentration camps giving immeasurable hope and restored inner resistance for the living. The account of the Nazi guards points to another kind of challenge.

History often tells of the most motivated: The White Rose motivated by love, justice, and morality, and the Nazis motivated by hate, identity, and power. But looking to the middle we find a huge group of people caught in the momentum, those looking to survive, those looking to apathetically turn a blind eye to not draw attention, and those going along to get along. The guards were completely in the wrong; however, in a moment of transcendence they saw the power of free will and self-determination in the Scholl siblings. Despite their evil going-along-to-get-along choice to side with Hitler, the guards in that moment dissented, rejected protocol and allowed the siblings to meet. That moment of humanity was precisely what was absent in the steps towards totalitarian rule. Let the echoes of authoritarian rule be heard, even if whispers in the moment.

In Trump’s America, I see the motivated sides. There are extremists on both sides. Motivated by extreme empathy, there are those that risk prosecution to harbor immigrants, those that punch neo-Nazis like Richard Spencer for parroting ethno-nationalism and the violence it would entail if realized, and those like the anarchists helping Syrian refugees find their way into Europe. Motivated by identity, jingoism, and hate, there are those putting positivist law above morality, white identity above humanity, and emotion above reason. There are well-meaning people in the middle, and it is a responsibility owed to humanity, to the White Rose, to every soul that risked life for liberty to draw them from a fire that consumes everything of beauty it touches.

Work Cited

“Standing Up For Our Law Enforcement Community.” The White House.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/law-enforcement-community

Rozsa, Matthew. “Brain tumor patient removed from hospital, detained by Immigration and

Customs Enforcement.” Salon. 23 February 2017.

http://www.salon.com/2017/02/23/brain-tumor-patient-removed-from-hospital-detained-by-immigration-and-customs-enforcement/

Scholl, Inge. The White Rose: Munich 1942-1943. Wesleyan University Press (1983). Print.

Cancel the Other’s Vote Over Ice Cream

Hear me out…let’s make this election a record low turnout, without abandoning beliefs.

I recently heard a kid say “I’m voting for Trump,” and his uncle jokingly say “Well, I’m cancelling your vote with my vote for Hillary.” And, though this conversation was sarcastic, I saw real potential in the notion of cancelling each other out.

Again, hear me out.

Come Tuesday, everyone find a relative, friend, coworker, etc., that’s voting the direct opposite of you. Love Hillary and your uncle’s voting Trump? Call him up. Love Trump and your nephew’s voting Hillary? Call him up.

When you make contact with your political “rival,” cancel your plans of going to the polls. Instead, spend a memorable Tuesday with them. You can relax knowing that if you would’ve stressed yourself out by voting, the person you’re enjoying the day with would’ve cancelled your vote anyway. You and your “rival” can laugh the day away knowing that your votes cancel each other’s out, while never having to abandon you conservatism, liberalism, libertarianism, etc.

The day won’t be filled with talk of WWIII, e-mails, sexual assault, Clinton-this, or Trump-that. You can logically, pragmatically shed your perceived civic duty by knowing you’re balancing the equation with your political opposite. Would you rather you and your opposite waste the day voting, or waste the day getting ice cream, walking the mall, going fishing.

Tempting, right? You know there’s someone you could call right now, someone you enjoy spending time with, like or love, that happens to vote differently than you. This is a chance to make real human connection instead of participation in a divisive ritual. Call them up and explain the cancellation concept and feel guilt-free as the two of you pass the polling station on your way to the park.

Election Lessons: Surprise! Tribalism Still Sucks

If this reaches two people it will be time better spent than voting.

Regardless of who wins, how have we ended up in a situation where one person can launch the nukes? It’s so absurd that one may be tempted to keep their eyes to the ground and worry about their day to day. However, the tribalism of the masses is fun to analyze. Looking at the prospect of the Donald or Clinton as emperor, no punches can be pulled, no critiques silenced.

Before we delve in, I understand some voting this election. I can be idealistic and pragmatic. With Trump in the mix and his pages and pages of pure, directly quoted authoritarian dribble, I understand those voting Clinton to prevent the baby from getting the nuke rattle. I in no way respect those voting for Trump or Clinton because they think either is genuinely good, moral,  or decent. Both sides–those genuinely aligned with tribe Republican (alt-right) or tribe Democrat (the new moderate Right)–will never lead to a better world. People need to recognize authoritarian patterns and reject them.

Since Hillary’s cabal is the same hope and change that Obama used, I think I’ll look at patterns coming from the alt-right. I favor neither side of authoritarianism, but Trump is likely stoking a hotter, more oppressive fire.

Nationalism/Jingoism. All the mouthpieces for the alt-right place America above all. America is some kind of entity separate from the individual, there’s no thought of the individuals whom comprise it. Placing America in this static form of whiteness, “freedom,” Christianity, and protectionism allows for zero criticism from differing ideas. There’s no changing their minds: immigrants are not white, free markets are not their variety of “free,” Islam is not Christianity, period, end of discussion. These people deal in absolutism; the social construct of America, as it is now, is the result of hundreds of years of individual contributions in spite of political meddling–that’s why it’s far from their perverse ideal. The alt-right, by designating America as these things, is fundamentally anti-freedom. Autonomous individuals pursuing their own goals will always create a pluralistic society (barring Walter Block’s voluntary Nazi towns), it will never end up where the white-nationalist wants it–that’s why they need Trump (statism personified) to force it down our throats.

Holding to their authoritarian, nationalistic view, the alt-right waves any responsibility beholden to the individual. Sure, they’re out now, massing people in support of their static image of America, but they’re organizing in hope of winning a popularity contest. And their emperor says he’ll fix it, he’ll talk to Putin, he’ll punish companies with tariffs. These people are not pro-freedom, they want their perverse version of fascism veiled as classical liberalism enforced by the State. I strongly suggest questioning the validity of any idea requiring the boot of the state. Any failed policy will be met with “damn government” not “why did I vote and defend these people.” Logically, people that abstain from voting or vote to prevent a strongman from holding the reigns are the only ones who can say “damn government,” that is, if Emperor Trump doesn’t designate it as one of his many libel infractions.

Conspiracy Theories/Rigged Election. Continuing with the idea of alt-righters placing all individual responsibility on a strongman/government, they have a plan b. If they lose, and they will, it’s not going to be due to their shit ideals, it’s because the popularity contest is rigged. Again, no responsibility on the individual white-nationalist, the system is at fault. These people won’t dig deep and realize they lost on a fair battlegrounds, because even considering such an idea would require the thought that their unwavering ideal is testable. Any variant of the static image of America is immediately rejected by the diehards. There is no debate with absolutism; for them the whole system is meticulously rigged by a group of individuals they say are incompetent in the same breath.

There are conspiracies and there are State agents perpetrating them, but the alt-right including their birther candidate muddy the waters. Conspiracies devised by the likes of Alex Jones (a Trumper) put a lot of reasonable concerns under the umbrella of kooky conspiracy theories. The election, won or lost, will not disperse the alt-right back to the fringes of libertarianism/neoconservatism/neoliberalism, these people are galvanized under the  static white, protectionist, nationalist flag. Racial diversity is the conspiracy of the left to them, and they’ll continue their fight.

The only positive thing is they’re not hiding in their old party’s shadow. They’re in the light. Proponents of freedom can be taken more seriously having cast away the bigots, protectionists, Nazis, white-nationalists, and truthers.

Moving Forward. Don’t be fooled by rhetoric, there are prominent individuals showing alt-rightism as being compatible with liberty and modern economic scholarship, and it’s not, it’s absolutely antithetical to prosperity. Looking at contemporary economists, of all political persuasions,you’re either emotionally triggered by rhetoric or racist if you think open borders/liberal immigration is a negative on the economy. Or, likely, you think economics is a conspiracy.

Lastly, as an anarchist myself, if you’re now an alt-righter but were previously identifying as a libertarian, anarchist, etc., enjoy your new house built by bigots out of pseudo-science. We will interact with you peacefully and counter your totalitarian arguments with arguments of freedom and tolerance. When Trump and ultimately alt-rightism fails, don’t think you can keep your love of State force and slither back to anarchism/libertarianism.

 

 

Intro & Anguish

Looks like I’m blogging, now. Things to come: disability culture, poetry stuff, finishing my degree and considering grad schools, and existential anguish.

Just throwing seeds hoping for some germination…

  • I’m not qualified to tell you what to do. No one is, really.
  • I see patterns in this absurd world, maybe you do, too.
  • I’m disabled, and so are you.
  • Kill your idols.