CORONAVIRUS: Thirty-one Days of Solitary Confinement

Well, maybe that’s a bit of an overstatement. Considering the medical issues I’ve had in 2016, or maybe before that, I’ve gotten used to not going to lots of places. I usually got sick from various things because I went to school. But since I mostly worked from home and hardly interacted with people outside after I graduated, I didn’t get sick as often. I didn’t know much about immunity back then, so I was pretty surprised to find that I wasn’t getting sick as often. I usually got sick in between September through October, then December through February, and again from April through June. Some people were excellent at avoiding germs, and they’ve been able to get perfect attendance as a result. Unfortunately, I wasn’t one of them.
When I got sick in late 2016, though, I had to withdraw myself from society for a while and limit most of my outings except for my essential needs. That didn’t end until nearly two years later. I started going to mental health therapy beginning July 2017, and it ended one year later, in July of 2018. I had my house fitted with a central air conditioner attached to the furnace so I could get housewide relief because the year before, I could only get roomwide relief. When we got our new air conditioner, I sold the old one I got in 2015 on eBay along with a few other things. In late December, though, I got sick twice because I went out a lot, and then I got TMJ on my right side. It looked like 2019 was going to be a great year going forward, and for a while, it was. That’s how I was introduced to Catalyst, and because I was still in debt, I basically had to sell and pawn a lot of things, which I’ve been able to do thanks to NextDoor, as well as going to my local pawn shop. I also got set up with a mutual funds account with Edward Jones in May of 2018, so I used that to accumulate as much money as I could. Combined that with a few things I sold at a garage sale, I was finally able to close out all my debts in early November of that year. Unfortunately, because I closed my accounts, and because I legally changed my name, I consequently lost almost all my credit history that I’ve worked so hard to build.
I previously joined a gender-affirming choir in March of 2017, but when I wasn’t able to get them to accommodate my needs, I left. I tried again a year later, but the story was the same. When I met the current director at one of the Catalyst retreats in 2019, though, I told them about my frustrations in getting these accessibility measures put in place so that I could fully participate. They agreed to try again, and this time, it worked out well. So, when we held our winter term concert in January, almost all of us were oblivious that an epidemic was raging in most of China and a few other places.
I’ve stopped watching the news for a while, so I didn’t know anything about what was happening outside of my local area. It wasn’t until early March that I heard that Pope Francis had contracted Coronavirus, which was why he had to cancel an event, and from that day on, it quickly expanded at an alarming rate. Germs can multiply fifty million times faster than humans can reproduce.
I was in tenth grade when we had the swine flu outbreak of 2009, and I was taking classes at the local training centre for the blind during the Ebola Virus epidemic of Africa. The world previously encountered a Spanish flu pandemic in 1918, and at the time, there were only about one billion five hundred million humans roaming the planet. Almost nobody was immune to that particular strain of the virus. Whenever a new germ emerges, it is usually called a novel germ. With the #COVID19 (pronounced coh-vid) outbreak, we are seeing a repeat of what happened back then, but not with the last pandemic of 2009. Why? I’ve wondered that too, and for a while I didn’t find the answer. But through a lot of poking around on the web, as well as using what I’ve gathered in the past, I’ve concluded that the reason we continued going to school and leading a normal life was because although the Swine Flu was slightly different from the Spanish Flu in the sense of there being more than one strain of the flu, there were enough people who already built up tolerance to it. If a traveller had just arrived from a country that is ravaged by MMR or MMRV, they might infect children who have not yet been vaccinated. But fortunately, there will not be an outbreak because the majority of the people living there will have immunity to it. That is what community or herd immunity is. This is a good thing because certain people are not eligible for vaccines, but they will still get some protection when the pathogen is contained. I wonder if people who led a hermit lifestyle could avoid getting sick altogether. Then of course, you wouldn’t be immune to anything if you had to stop leading that lifestyle. We have to protect those who have compromised immune systems. This is how diseases are almost entirely eliminated or eradicated, although not completely wiped out. The chain reaction largely depends on the speed of transmission, which is based on how contageous it is. The more frequent, the more vaccines are needed. We can use formulas and models to predict the vaccination proportion within a given population. So, what makes it a lot more stealthier than some of the other viruses? Well, it’s the incubation period. That means that if you were around somebody that had it and who coughed or sneezed frequently, and you inhaled those viral particles into your body, then those particles will immediately start looking for a cell that will allow it to proliferate rapidly. In other words, infect it. That process can take a while in which time the person who has it is completely unaware that they have it, so when they cough or sneeze, they can spread the virus and not know it. When the virus has infected enough cels, the immune system will immediately see that something is wrong, so it will quickly launch an attack to destroy the virus. After the person recovers from it, they would’ve developed enough antibodies to fight off future exposure. So, why are certain viruses like HIV not transmissible like the flu, and why are there no vaccines for it? And why can our pets not get common colds, but they can get the flu from us? Usually, the immune system is strong enough to attack viruses and bacteria. HIV is one of those viruses that attacks the immune system itself, so it makes it weaker, which makes the virus stronger. The virus doesn’t infect cells in the respiratory tract, so it cannot be transmitted through airborne pathogens. It can be transmitted through internal body fluids, though, which is why there is a lot of stigma about who is likely to get it and why. But this stigma is usually based on ignorance and stupidity. Stigma occurs when people, because of fear of disease and death, lack of knowledge about how germs spread, a need to blame another human being, and general overall gossip that spread rumours and myth, people end up spreading misinformation. This leads to discrimination towards an identifiable group of people, place, or nation. To combat this, many social media apps are previewing or flagging your posts for deletion to ensure that you are using the correct terms (COVID19 and Coronavirus), and that you are always referencing the World Health Organisation and your country’s health authority’s guidance, and that you are also linking a source to back up your claims.
An example of how viruses cannot become a transmission vector between species is Feline Leukaemia, which is not to be confused with human leukaemia. Those viruses need a special cell or genetic material that is only found in cats. Since humans don’t have those cells, the virus is harmless to us. Likewise, our pets cannot get the common cold, which is actually a type of corona virus. So, it’s possible that if you do get infected, you might get a feeling of malaise. I actually think I got infected, but the symptoms were so mild that it went away in four days. Anyhow, if we got the H1M1 Influenza virus, we can transmit it to our pets, and they can become infected.
It is believed that viruses originate from three possible mechanisms such as

  • Genetic elements joining together, gaining ability to move between cells
  • Previously free-living paracytic organisms, or
  • A precursor to life as we know it.
  • Because of how quickly livestock (and maybe even deadstock) is evolving, it’s very likely that new strains of viruses will develop as well, so the chance of another novel pandemic might increase unless strategic measures are set in place.
    Everyone in the scientific and medical communities are scrambling to come up with several prototypes to combat the novel disease, and one of them involves using plasma from recovered blood donors. The idea is that if we can infuse antibodies into people who are already fighting the virus, those antibodies will bind to the person’s immune system and help them fight it more quickly. It could also help those who have never been exposed to it. Still, this is only a stopgap until a better solution is found since people are apt to get sick a second time despite it being an interim measure. This area of testing is called serology, but it is only effective after somebody has fully recovered from the virus. Correction: it doesn’t test for who has already recovered from the virus. It tests for who is at risk for contracting it.
    This brings us to the next question. I hope we will soon develop vaccines that you can inhale directly for those who are afraid of needles. I certainly do not like the idea of having a long, thin swab shoved through your nose almost to the back of your throat to test for COVID19 while you are awake. Why is that the only way to test it? Isn’t there another way? If the virus is easily aerosolised when someone coughs, sneezes, talks, sings, etc, then it would be simple to have someone do that in a special test tube and then let it sit in a special reagent to preserve its structure until it could be sent to a biotechnology lab to be multiplied into long strands.
    I once said on my Facebook post that I thought the recent bans on public gatherings and closing of non-essential businesses was a conspiracy to cover up something huge, like preventing voters from going to the primaries and caucuses, or to stop the presidential debates from occurring, leading up to the election. It would make a clear path for Trump to win again. In fact, there’s only one democrat left. Some people told me that it was because if we let everyone become infected, we would quickly overwhelm the limited supply of medical resources in a short amount of time. Still, I didn’t know why people were panicking over a small virus that wasn’t supposed to cause severe enough symptoms anyway. I mean, if it were a virus that could kill you, like HIV, and if it were a mutant form of HIV that could be transmitted through airborne pathogens, or if it were a virus that changed our behaviour or thought processes, or something more drastic, then I’d be worried. But none of that was happening. Still, all this panic has caused people to hoard all of their essential needs that I came up with a possible solution to criminalise hoarding. We would need a state or federal anti-hoarding order of essential goods and permit drug and law enforcement personnel (wearing personal protective equipment) to check to see who is hoarding these things and then launch a raid to confiscate all but the number of needed items proportional to the number of people living in the household. These confiscated items would go to people who are not genuinely hoarding these items to give them needed access. This might scare people even more, but during a time of crisis, every possible avenue has to be explored for the good of humanity, and you’ll see this phrase again. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Some people are randomly being selected to be tested. Right now, it is voluntary, but no one knows if that will stay for long.
    But a few years ago, I read about how people went to the bathroom in other countries. They don’t use toilets. Or at least, not the kinds we are used to. They use squat toilets which are supposed to be better for you. They also don’t use toilet paper. They either use a bidet or hand-wipe with water. The Western world has developed a yuck factor to poop at a young age that we grow up taking our toilet paper for granted. People also found that using bidets were totally disgusting because it was commonly associated with sexual acts and fancy mansions. So, I got creative and started using a plant waterer with a long spout, which I will keep using until my Tushy toilet attachment arrives, which, according to Amazon, won’t be for another two months. All the personal protective equipment and other medical supplies are backordered because those on the front line need it the most right now. Google and a few other places have started making parodies of well-known kids’ songs with the emphasis of washing your hands.
    All this led to another discovery, although I’ve known about this from having watched some of George Carlin’s speeches on our preparedness to war compared to other worst case scenarios of mass human destruction. Personally, if we confronted pandemics the same way we confronted terorists, our healthcare system would be in much better shape. Other countries seem to have far greater successes. So, why not we? What is it about us that supposedly makes us the most arrogant, yet the most vulnerable, nation in the world? Is it about time that we are seeing a viral apocalypse here? Lots of people in popular culture believed that zombies would take over one day, but that didn’t happen. Instead, this happened, and almost nobody was prepared for it. This is not science fiction anymore. This is real. Yes, a lot of sci-fi writers have anticipated scenarios like this for years, but almost nobody thought it would really happen. COVID19 shows just how weak we really are when it comes to biowarfare. People said, Oh well, these things come and go, but we’ll do something to prepare ourselves for the next one. Instead of that happening, we quickly forget our promises until we get a wake-up call one day. I also despise all those people who have the attitude of ignoring other people’s aches and pains because of an assumption that they want to get out of playing a sport, rehearsing, or working in general. So, what better way than to use a major pandemic like this one as a stabbing point to force people’s attitudes to change? Although I wish anyone no harm, I personally felt that nobody really understood how I felt when I got home from Arizona because of the heat, and now we’re all in this together. So, What goes around comes around. The number of telehealth appointments has increased tremendously. Something that doctors had always scrutinised is now being favoured. Although I don’t know if this is a contributing factor, I read that some of the countries that had better success rates were primarily led by females. And, unless a miracle were to happen, I don’t see the United States electing a female, minority, or underserved president anytime soon and for a very long time.
    Other countries have invented several models for contact tracing and testing through existing technology. Still, a lot of people here are paranoid about the government encroaching on our privacy, especially because they fear power-hungry governments and data-hungry corporations; they might as well be friends. That’s why so many laws and policies are geared towards them and not us. Anybody can form a corporation, but it takes a lot of selflessness and willpower to be truly alltruistic. Contact tracing should help bring things to normalcy, but in the meantime, think of your quarantine as a prison sentence. I know we didn’t deserved to be punished, but prisoners get used to this all the time because they truly deserved it, unless of course they were wrongly convicted because of a frame-up. A quarantine is usually supposed to last for forty days, which is how it got its name, but this is definitely going to be a lot longer than that. We need to be in an indefinite and continued state of emergency until a reliable vaccine has been developed and widely distributed. Just like how we’re worried about an economic recession, we should be worried about a social recession, as well. So, the next time you go out in public, you may be required to submit some personal information for contact tracing purposes, and they might also require you to wear a mask until you had left their premises.
    If we want to ultimately save the human race from extinction, we need to make some sacrifices for the good of humanity. The Atlantic outlined three possible scenarios. One that is very unlikely, one that is very dangerous, and one that is very long. We did the first one with the SARS CoV1 in 2003, and I hardly remember that one, for I was but eight years of age. Now you know how old I am. The second one was what people had to do with the flu in 1918 and 2009. We simply let it consume lives until there were enough survivors to start a new population. The third one is probably our best option, but it will also be the longest. It would require us to sit here and play wack a mole with the virus while we work together to make a vaccine and antiviral drugs to fight the virus and continue ramping up and slacking down on social distancing requirements. Soon, the virus will be like the flu, and we can start over once more until the next novel pandemic comes along.
    Now, more than ever, people are turning to on-line businesses and working from home. Choirs, bands, orchestras, and other ensembles are using digital audio workstations to mix music recordings to make virtual concerts. In fact, GALA Choruses is compiling a list of tools and procedures to teach choir directors how to put something like this together.
    This would probably teach technophobes a lesson about not to let their insecurities get in the way if it meant making a decision between life and death. More people are signing up to become amateur radio operators, which are essential during a time of any crisis. In fact, a group of hams built an emergency ventilator that is expected to exceed FDA specifications. Ham radio volunteer examiners are now administering tests remotely.
    Earlier this year, I predicted that the 2020’s would see a lot of changes to the healthcare and technology industry, but I never thought a pandemic would be the catalyst to cause such a change. The Corona Virus Disease of 2019 will go down in history as being the virus that shifted the entire social, educational, political, economic, and any other landscape imaginable. So, in the future, if you meet somebody named Covid or Lockdown, don’t be surprised. Many parents name their children after historical events, which is a way to keep track of when they happened if technology is not available. These kids of generation C will probably grow up to become epidemiologists, and hopefully that will become our new foreign policy. These attitudes doctors and nurses have about not believing patients who have rare medical conditions need to change, and hopefully COVID19 will change that. It’s easy for people to dismiss rare disease research with a simple gesture because it is not important in the current moment. Oh, well, if it isn’t happening to everyone, then there’s no need for us to waste our time when there are bigger problems to deal with. People need to practise more participatory medicine and only see the doctor if they absolutely need to, at least until the day comes when everybody has equal access to healthcare. We thought we got rid of all of the viruses, but I guess not, for now we have to fight this one. Something that is considered rare can suddenly become common in a mere eyeblink. That’s why we need more basic research instead of dedicated research for things like trying to cure diabetes. If we funded more basic research, there’s a far greater chance that we can cure more than just that one disease. Some religious believers feel that the universe wanted to teach this world a lesson for not getting along with one another, and I believe it. As cruel, nasty, unmersiful, and coldhearted as this world is, it is a shame that it took a novel virus to get us to think twice about reassessing what it meant to be interdependent, compassionate, and providing mutual aid for those who are truly and honestly unfortunate, marginalised, or who are otherwise struggling to survive when they should be given a chance at life to really show off their talents to the world. Showing such things is evidently considered a sign of weakness. Our society simply sits and waits until disaster strikes. Then we spend a lot of time and energy scrambling to calm down the public when we should’ve done that a long time ago. A lot of people also emphasise the need for self-care, but hardly anybody focuses on community support. And now, we pretty much don’t have a choice. We need to start using science rather than politics to fight the virus. When our stress level increases, our ability to maintain standards decrease. Adversity can either bring out the best in us, or it can bring out the worst. But it is all based on your schemas and how you view the world.
    Some people in the DeafBlind community fear that they are not worthy of being treated if they got sick. These two articles, here and here, addresses the issues that social distancing has caused, but they haven’t advocated for potential solutions to address these problems. I thought about using a six-foot-long tether to trail behind my mother or a stranger when out and about. This was how I ran track events during high school with a sighted hearing athlete, although the tether was only two feet long. I later learnt that people from the same household don’t have to socially distance. It’s only people from other households who have to do this. The other thing that needs to be addressed is identify why our healthcare system is currently being seen as a privilege rather than a right, as is the case in other countries like Canada. As I had said in my open letter to friends and family who are shocked to discover I’m a liberal, I believe that the way our taxes are currently allocated are making it such that healthcare is at the bottom when it should be at the top. Obviously, we are seeing first hand how bad the repercussions can be as a result of that. In just a little over a hundred years, this pandemic has changed everything we previously took for granted.
    Although we are alone and separate, we are still together thanks to how much technology has enabled us to communicate with one another. Our new anthem should probably be Separately Together.
    Stay safe, and stay healthy!


Well, it’s that time of the year again. The weather is getting colder, the holiday season has officially started, and the time for reconciliation is more important than ever as we approach a new decade.
I thought I’d finish what one of my friends was trying to post on here regarding finding your identity, and making people respect that, not only for moral or ethical reasons, but also on a legal one, as well. I have had a bit of issues with this, but not nearly as much, at least not yet, anyway.
First of all, I believe that we have grown accustomed to naming and giving our kids an identity based on what their personality or physique reminds of of. No doubt we do the same with our pets. We automatically give them names that will remain with them for life, or until, if it is a human, or a pet who is smart enough to know that they like a different name and refuse to come to you when you call them by that name, they would have an opportunity to redefine their identity later.
Also, I want to emphasise that nobody here asked to be brught into this world. That’s why it is important that we not disown them or make their lives harder just for being themselves. Our parents brought us here, and their parents brought our parents here, and so on and so forth. How many people have said to themselves or others, I never wanted to be here? I’m sure we’ve been down that road. I know I have. That’s why I wrote my testimony.
I never asked to be brought into the world. I never asked to be born with a condition that would cost me my eyesight, and later, most of my hearing. I never asked to be put into conditions I have no control over now. I never asked to be dealt these cards. But, thanks to how things turned out, and thanks to the direction my life had taken, I am still living at home with an older brother who has fought for control of self-determination, and several legal battles to attend. I could’ve gone to college when I was just out of high school, but nobody told me things I was going to come across until it was too late. But, because I am being civily disobedient, I refuse to do anything with school until the situation has been remedied.
However, there are some things I will not change about myself. I am proud of having discovered who I am, who I should’ve been born as, how I should’ve been addressed all my life, and what things I should’ve had a long time ago. The only problem is that a lot of people assume that I wasn’t born that way, I just chose to be that way and put on this persona that isn’t really me, that I am just pretending. No, I am not pretending at all. This is the true, real me. I had to grow up and grow into a new body, mind and spirit. Is it called coming out of the cupboard? Is it like coming out of one’s shell? Maybe it’s more about coming into something, finding your true name. Have you heard of people who rechristen their crafts to improve their luck? That’s how it is for me. I rechristened myself. I gave myself the identity that was so erroneously shoved onto me by what my parents thought was appropriate for me at the time. I got rid of the identity that was associated with negative memories and had trauma and abuse attached to it. I can’t say that I grew out of it, though, because it would imply that I liked it, but I decided later that it wasn’t for me.
However, when people look at me, they don’t see the real me. They see someone who they automatically perceive to be masculine. That is not how I want to be perceived, but I can’t help the way I look. And, while I cannot see how I look, I would imagine that it would look as if I were seeing a stranger in a Photograph. Tom Henrik. Someone told me, long ago, I was broken and it stuck. Strong Enough by Bobby Joe Valentine.
I have been asked by people in the LGBTQIA+ community why, if I don’t like being called male pronouns, do I not transition to a female binary gender? Well, I chose to legally recognise my gender as nonbinary because I think it is easier for me to look androgynous. If I could look more female, I would do it in a heartbeat. But, this is what I have to work with. That’s why, more than ever, I want these groundbreaking procedures to reach clinical trials by the 2020’s. We don’t have to be defined by anybody else. Fractal, by Kim Boekbinder.
So, it’s a bitter pill to swallow, and it’s one I have to swallow almost every day. What can I do to reduce the potency of this pill? What switches would I need to flick so that I wouldn’t have to deal with this any more? What can I do if I find somebody who says to me, I don’t care what your birth certificate, court order, ID, etc says. I’ve made up my mind and you can’t change it. I’ll call you by whatever I feel like calling you. That hasn’t happened to me yet, but I still wonder….
I heard that in some places, you can get your birth certificate changed at the administrative level without having to go to court and potentially publishing your name change in the newspaper or anywhere else. The only thing you would’ve needed was a doctor’s note or a note from a sworn health authority that affirmed your gender identity. Quite a few states are starting to legally recognise third gender markers, but the federal government is not yet one of them. But, that’s one of the things I like about the professional world. When you change your name, they will go back and update everything and make it look as if you were always that name. This doesn’t happen everywhere. For example, baptism registries will still have your old name. If you were written about in the media (good or bad) those will still have your old name. The sad news is that they have no legal obligation for them to update it.
Unfortunately, I was told that there may be certain entities that will not accept a birth certificate as proof of name change. I mean, you could say, Well, who can argue the validity of the certificate? You can’t argue with a doctor. Similarly, you can’t argue with a lawyer or judge, especially if they have PH.Ds. It is official as it gets. However, I was lucky in that Oregon has amended a statute that wouldn’t require you to go to a hearing or publish the name change in the newspaper. All I needed to do was attest that I was going through surgical, hormonal, or other treatment for the purposes of affirming gender identity. That resulted in the judge ordering that my old name be replaced with my new legal name… the name I’ve always wanted and should’ve had, as well as legally recognising me as gender nonbinary. The judge also ordered the court records to be sealed, so that nobody could access them. Not everybody was so lucky. There is a judge here in Oregon who is refusing to issue gender nonbinary markers, of which several amici curiae briefs have been prepared by Basic Rights Oregon and American Civil Liberties Union.
Anyway, I have thought hard about what I should do now that I have a key to unlock many locks. Could I use it in a situation where someone insists on Deadnaming or misgendering me? I found this Quora post to be pretty interesting. My therapist said that I should not jump to the big things, but rather, think on a micro-level scale first before going to the macro-level. For example, should I sue someone just because they called me sir or man? Why not see if they are willing to listen and be trained accordingly?
Because of my hearing loss, I have a greater tendency to sound more masculine when I talk on the phone, but sometimes I am called madamme and I always feel warm and fuzzy when they do. Of course, it’s hard to do that in person, unless the person I was talking to was completely blind. This actually happened to me a few months ago when I went to a retreat. Someone addressed me as lady, girl, and possibly something else, and oh my gosh! How I loved it when they did!!!
I would like to detail two situations, both good and bad, in which I was able to redirect the conversation. In the first situation, I went to accompany the majority of the of a group participants to an activity, and I met somebody there who remembered me from my O&M days. Of course, I didn’t know anything about them. So, when they asked me what my name was, I gave them my new, legal name. Sometime later, they asked me if I knew Deadname. I was, like, huh? Did I hear you aright? I asked them to repeat the question. I said that I didn’t know anyone with that name. They were, like, ‘Oh, well, he was in your group, too.’ I felt so happy when that person couldn’t associate me with that name.
A few days later, my mum and I went somewhere. One thing to note, however, was that I have estranged from certain family members and relatives. I do not want them to know about my legal name change until after I had moved out, and I am a long distance away from them. Therefore, when we went to this place, she had informed the staff what my name was. Only, of course, she didn’t know that I had legally changed it. Instead she gave them my Deadname. So, when I got home and saw the E-mails I have requested, they all bore my old legal name. So, I wrote back and attached the court order to prove to them that I no longer used that name.
Oh, and one more situation that I didn’t remember until now: I have had a bit of a problem changing my name with Experian and CreditKarma because I have been getting correspondences from them under my old name. So, I called my LegalShield provider firm and told them the situation. They were able to write up a letter, and we heard back from them, and they sent me a new credit report with my new legal name on it.
Now, it’s a matter of fact before I need to let other people know. For instance, if my mother writes a will, she may use my old legal name. But I think it should be okay if I still have a copy of the court order and birth certificate that show my old and new legal name.

Basically, because I’ve worked so hard on this name change, I call it a transition more than anything because this represented a sort of self discovery and me finding out who I really was, rather than something a small amount of closed-minded people said that what they refer me as is what they think I am and what they think I should be.
That’s how little and how unfavourably and how disconnected I was to that name. I didn’t feel like me. Of course, when I filled out the paperwork, I had to give a more compelling reason because I knew that just saying I didn’t like it, while it may or might not have been sufficient, to me to just simply say I didn’t like it as a reason wasn’t good enough in terms of effort. I’m sure most judges would accept ‘because I just don’t like it’ as a reason, but I wanted the judge to have some sympathy for me as far as the fact that, in most states, in order to change your name, you need to publish your intentions in a newspaper. Being forced to publish that in the newspaper would’ve jeopardised my safety, as I would’ve had to give them so much personal information, it’s unreal. All digressing aside, I’m glad I’m part of a protected group. I used the fact that we still live in a world where it’s still unsafe to be LGBT, and the judge basically waived all fees, waived my requirement to publish my name change and even sealed my case after it was all done, and after a while those case documents get destroyed.
With me, though, I don’t think I have much a case to sue anyone for disrespecting my name choice because, although I’m LGBT (being that I’m gay) I’m” not trans or gender queer or non binary so I can’t really use that as a cause of action, as I went from one name to another for the same gender.
But I digress. I was this 15 or 16 year old who wrote songs about coming out in my own identity, but I didn’t even know what the hell it meant to have an identity, let alone what it meant to come into my own! Now I see what it really means to have an identity and to come into your own. I look at it like this, and this may make me very unpopular in the LGBT community, maybe even hated, but why should I come out of the closet? It seems so inauthentic and like I’m drawing too much attention to myself. The way I see it, if someone asks me, ‘Am I out?’ we should just say, ‘Out? Out of where? I’m in, I came into my own.’ What do I need to come out from under, and why should I come out of a closet I never knew I was even supposed to be in in the first place!

F.C. So, Show me love on this living planet. Emma’s Revolution and Hundred Waters.
Those are some snippets of stuff one of my friends had written. Basically, no matter whether you are transgender, gender nonbinary, or gender nonconforming, or even someone who is not in the LGBTQIA+ community, you would still be going through a transition. I think the word transition should not only be used to refer to people who change from one gender identity to another, but to anyone who changes any aspect of their life in a significant way.
Therefore, if and when I have children, I will try to give them gender-neutral identities and refer to them as my child, and have them call me by portmanteaus of parent, mother, father, mum, dad, aunt, aunkle, niece, nephew, etc. Or, I can just have them call me by my first name, or an entirely made-up name or something in a different language. When they’re old enough to the point they start talking, I’ll have an initial conversation about whether they like their identity. I’ll have this conversation with them periodically at each milestone they complete. I want them to realise that they can’t rely on me to define who they are. They need to live their lives for themselves. I’ll be like, ‘Do you like your name? Do you like being called these pronouns?’ If they say yes, that’s great. If they say no, then we’ll have a discusson on how we can address the problem, so that they won’t have to go through what I, and so many others, had to go through.
So, together we’ll shout it out like a bird set free. Sia. Though the world may be cold and bitter, and we may be delicate and bruised, we will neither be destroyed nor our roots be pulled. Witch Hazel by Tom Gala. And believe me, We’re all scared. We must learn to help one another through these times and do whatever we can to uplift one another.
So, Now that I’ve about covered nearly all my past history since the last time I’ve posted in 2014 to 2019, I wanted to talk a little more about some of the mysteries of the brain based on some new experiences I’ve had and information I’ve gathered. Starting in the new year, I will talk about some interesting things that might bring us closer to winning a long-fought war.

My experiences as a totally blind and hard-of-hearing person, part 1

One thing I have struggled with as a person with both total blindness and progressive hearing loss was which community to identify. I hope this part will not sound too condescending by any means. I have challenged blind people to think about how they would function if they lost their hearing one morning, and, to be honest, a lot of them would be devastated to the point they would want to kill themselves. This was usually the result of when someone asked the usual question of if you’ve been told that you could’ve gotten surgery to restore your eyesight, would you go for it? Many blind people would never do it. Yes, some people would be devastated if they became deaf, but just like how they like being blind and consider that to be a part of their identity, they would respect that I could love being deaf blind, and that it is a part of my identity. Still, many blind people use their hearing a lot, though, and have echolocation.
Most people say it is easier to be deaf than it is to be blind, but when you are already blind, you cannot see yourself as being deaf. No two disabilities are superior to one another. There is a lot of cruelty and internallised ableism towards deaf-blind individuals by some blind people, but I know that not all blind people are like that. I mean, a lot of blind people hate being asked how they use a computer if they cannot see. Likewise, those same blind people who hated being asked that asked me, how do you do music if you have trouble hearing it? It is because they view their hearing as everything; they would just simply collapse and feel like they can never get up again. That is why I remind them to be more open and inclusive towards our siblings with combined disabilities that have blindness in addition to the mix. Some people I’ve talked to agree that deaf-blind people are always left out of accessibility initiatives. Still, people in the blind community continue to refer to this blind gentleman named Kennith Jernigan whenever they argue about codependence, interdependence, independence and dependence, and he wrote the well-known banquet address called The Nature of Independence in the nineties. However, I would argue that The Nature of Independence was written from the point of view of someone who was only blind and married. It was not written by someone who was deaf-blind. It was not written by someone who was blind and in a wheelchair. It was not written by someone who was blind and had a severe chronic illness. It was not written by someone who was blind and had autism, Down’s Syndrome, or any other kind of learning, intellectual or developmental disability. Still, it seems that a lot of blind people, particularly those who are proud of their accomplishments, are overly ambicious and would consider relying on sighted or blind assistance as a sign of weakness or being inadequate. However, they do not seem to mind using guide dogs, even though a dog is not going to tell you what intersection you are at, or describe your surroundings to you. It also seems that although they do not feel comfortable taking another person’s time, they are fine with taking a lot of the dog’s time instead. This is where the cultural aspect comes in, because in south America, people are more likely to offer you assistance, whereas here in the US, people tend to be hands-off. Also, I don’t like it when SSPs are taught to act like they’re your slaves or something. I mean, if I, the client, asked my SSP what their opinion was of something, they’d say, ‘It’s up to you.’ SSPs need to be treated as human beings, too. Yes, I can understand the whole thing about blurring the line between professional and personal relationships, but don’t forget that SSPs can also be family members, relatives, close friends, neighbours, etc.
A lot of members misquote it… I’m talking about the Nature of Independence. It probably did result in people believing that they are better than I for not pre-boarding an aeroplane and things like that, but I don’t think those people actually read it.
Whatever happened to the concept of work together, help others, and all those things we learned growing up? Besides, it is not a crime to ask for help, and sighted people use assistance all the time, so why should blind people be an exception to the rule? They are so anxious to show society that they can do anything. Besides, Kennith Jernigan did use assistance at conventions, and other members criticised him for going guided travel. Oh, and how can we make talking ATMs more accessible to deaf-blind people? How about movies with audio descriptions? Seriously, deaf-blind people are being left behind it is not even funny. I definitely also want deaf blind people to be included in making appliances more accessible. I have noticed that a lot of things talk now, but if you are deaf-blind, that doesn’t help. So many blind people say they want to make things accessible, but what they really mean is that they want those things to be accessible for only themselves in the current moment. That is because they are not following universal design. Not all deaf-blind people can read Braille due to barriers related to a learning, intellectual or developmental disability. Deaf people who do not develop oral language skills almost never develop reading comprehension beyond the sixth grade anyway, but still. I would imagine that deaf people are the same where they only think of and include deaf people who meet societal expectations in every other way. I think interfacing with a kiosk using an accessible app to scan the QR code, use near-field communication, etc would benefit a lot of people.
Europe uses spinning cones to tell deaf-blind people when it is safe to cross streets. Australia uses relays that vibrate and give tactile feedback. Japan uses Braille signage that is printed directly on railings where they would be extremely conspicuous to anyone using them. I do not enjoy being independent as a totally blind and hard-of-hearing person. But I truly believe we are all interdependent. I have written very cogent remarks here. Perhaps the most important part about being independent is knowing when and when not to need assistance, as well as being extremely self-reliant. Be lucky that you have what you have, and use it to the fullest. Do not depend on anything too much as everything has its time and purpose.
Older people might say that I’m not as independent as they are because I rely on my phone too much. I think that a lot of people just get stuck in the rebellious independence stage discussed in the speech. Other blind people have told me I wasn’t as independent because I used audio descriptions at the theatre, and while I don’t use a guide dog, they would’ve probably criticised me for it, as well. I am not perfect by any means. Yes, people do not want you to use guided travel at training centres because you are there to learn and develop new skills, but even when you are out of it, they act like you should be at the centre forever. Kennith Jernigan agreed that the way we do things while we are in training is not the same way that we would do it in everyday life. For example, if I took a college math class where calculators were not allowed, I would have to learn how to do everything by hand so as to master new techniques. But, when I am out in the field, it would be ridiculous for me to continue doing it this way when I can have a computer do that for me in the blink of an eye; the skills are simply an adjunct. Likewise, it would be foolish of me to criticise others for using calculators and accusing them of taking shortcuts. They would have every right to say that I was being altogether arrogant in that regard. Of course, one could argue that if the power went out, or the batteries stopped working, then your math skills would definitely be of service. They would say the same about blind people relying on their devices that could fail one day, and since the brain almost never fails, they should always rely on that. I am really good at technology, and I notice myself almost never using a reader to do things such as manage my finances and read my mail when other blind people say that they use a reader for these things all the time. I don’t think of myself as more independent than they. It is just easier for me not to have to rely on a reader most of the time. I might decide that I’m not going to follow this person, or I’m not going to go cited guide because I really want to learn about this area, and I really want to develop some new skills. Sometimes it’s also about priority. For instance, if you need to be somewhere as fast as possible whilst having a conversation, it might be perfectly fine to go guided travel because you probably already know the layout of the environment. Even sighted people do things differently depending on what their priorities are and how they want to do it.
I believe the problem is that a lot of blind people act like they want everyone there to be blind. Well, that is exactly like me saying that everyone who is only blind should be deaf-blind. The problem is that when many people in the NFB, as well as many people out of it, say blind people, they only think of and refer to people who are just blind and have everything else that meet societal expectations. They sometimes forget how diverse the blind population can be. If I said a sighted person, I could be referring to a sighted person with autism, a sighted deaf person, a sighted wheelchair user, etc. The same should apply if I said a blind person. Some blind people want other blind people to experience what they could never have.
Actually, some people have started thinking about this because it is common for hearing to deteriorate with age. Also, some people lose their ability to know in which directions sounds are coming from, whether due to allergies, migraines, or what have you….
That is why I value Helen Keler’s philosophy more, because she knew what it was like from the inside. I was not allowed to have an SSP at several NFB-sponsored activities, and whenever I attempted to use guided travel, someone would come up, I do not know who, and, gently but firmly, separate me. I got lost numerous times because of that, plus I could not hear the crowd in a noisy environment, or I might hear them, but it would later turn out that I would be following the wrong one. I didn’t have a cell phone back then, so I had no way to call someone for help. Some might say I was lazy and did not want to try hard enough, but as I grew older I was able to justify my need for additional accommodations on the basis of having severe hearing loss, especially around 2013 and on. When I discovered HKNC, it was like a whole new world has sprung up before me with a number of countless possibilities. I know that the NFB has been changing in the last ten years, and that the Deaf-Blind Division has been created, but frankly, I would not deal with them until they can prove to me that they really want to accommodate me; not only for the blindness, but for the severe hearing loss I have, as well. It is not just about me. It is about my fellow deaf-blind friends, too.
I don’t know if I can ever have completely positive relationships with other sighted people, or even blind people, but I want that for other blind and deaf-blind people. I want them to be integrated in ways I might never be able to have. I want them to be able to meet sighted people who believe that blind and or deaf-blind people could never have a job, and then have a meaningful and equal relationship with that person even though I can’t do it. My emotional feelings toward sighted people in general, as well as some blind people, and toward the whole situation basically make that impossible, but I’m glad that other people don’t share those feelings, and I don’t think they should. Logically, my feelings aren’t what I think.
Sometimes, blind people do need to be reminded that Deafness and other disabilities affect how you do things, but I think the key point they are making is that BLINDNESS itself does not create dependence. And yes, sometimes that can come off as a little tone-deaf when they are dealing with people with other disabilities. But it is all attitude and all problem-solving to figure out what will work for you. You can try different things, be open to new ideas and be a CAN do person, or you can make excuses, say no to everything and be a CANNOT do person. Not everyone is going to be able to do everything by themselves all the time, and I do not think anyone expects that, but I think they wants you to at least entertain the possibility, play around and experiment with it, and see how far you can go.
This is a very interesting perspective of blindness. When someone is blind, it does not make basic tasks impressive, when someone is deaf, it does not make basic tasks impressive, but because some people do not understand what it is like to be both, it makes them think basic tasks are impressive, even know it is just combining 2 things that are not impressive. That is very strange. The lack of having experience is definitely a the leading factor for different mindsets. I know you performing basic tasks is not impressive, but the lack of experience makes it hard to think outside the box. If I could not do basic tasks extremely well, I would not have been able to go on the internet and share my story, so it is very hard to think about what someone has done and then use that to say, oh, well because they did this, then everything else before that must be easy to them. Instead of using what we have seen you do, we use the lack of our own experience to determine what is and is not impressive or easy for you.
So, to drive my point home, I might blow the whistle by recording what goes on at these training centres and take a vow of silence and only communicate in sign language. Or, I might just do an expose on them. How, I know not, but I swear I will do it some day.

An open letter to friends and family who are shocked to discover I’m a liberal… (with commentary)

Not my words! Before I share this with y’all, I wanted to let you know that I added some comments to better illustrate how liberals can agree on the same thing but from different angles.

I’ve always been a liberal, but that doesn’t mean what a lot of you apparently think it does.
Let’s break it down, shall we? Because quite frankly, I’m getting a little tired of being told what I believe and what I stand for. Spoiler alert: Not every liberal is the same, though the majority of liberals I know think along roughly these same lines:

You got that right! So, what exactly does liberal mean? The dictionary defines it, as well as its origin, to be free from restraint, liberation, and progression. It is believed that the more one is informed about the advances of science, the more progressive one will be. Being conservative basically means keeping onto things like traditions and customs, conserving moral values based on religious and supersticious beliefs, and often not keeping up with the sciences.

  1. I believe a country should take care of its weakest members. A country cannot call itself civilised when its children, disabled, sick, and elderly are neglected. Period.
  2. I believe healthcare is a right, not a privilege. Somehow that’s interpreted as ‘I believe Obamacare is the end-all, be-all.’ This is not the case. I’m fully aware that the ACA has problems, that a national healthcare system would require everyone to chip in, and that it’s impossible to create one that is devoid of flaws, but I have yet to hear an argument against it that makes ‘let people die because they can’t afford healthcare a better alternative. I believe healthcare should be far cheaper than it is, and that everyone should have access to it. And no, I’m not opposed to paying higher taxes in the name of making that happen. *Canada and the UK seem to have little problem with this. Why? And just when Americans needed the most, just look at what happened?*
  3. I believe education should be affordable and accessible to everyone. It doesn’t necessarily have to be free (though it works in other countries so I’m mystified as to why it can’t work in the US), but at the end of the day, there is no excuse for students graduating college saddled with five- or six-figure debt. *Many countries let you study core classes that pertain to your field. This is much like how homeschooled children would be taught. Teachers need to teach because they really want to teach, not because they want to collect a paycheque. Besides, schools in Europe focus more on language and general studies while schools here focus on the math and sciences. Nothing’s wrong with that, but I think we should find a balance between the two.*
  4. I don’t believe your money should be taken from you and given to people who don’t want to work. I have literally never encountered anyone who believes this. Ever. I just have a massive moral problem with a society where a handful of people can possess the majority of the wealth while there are people literally starving to death, freezing to death, or dying because they can’t afford to go to the doctor. Fair wages, lower housing costs, get access to universal healthcare, affordable education, and the wealthy actually paying their share would go a long way toward alleviating this. Somehow believing that makes me a communist. *And can we make more ethical multi-level marketing systems that might give pyramid schemes a good reputation? Evidently, the rick have mor power, and so they’re able to skew unethical systems to favour themselves. I believe in a classless society where truly disabled people can get the help they need, while those with manageable disabilities or inconveniences can get the support needed to be successful. It’s like a scale; if you’ve got too much on one side, you can simply remove some of the weight until it was balanced. Then again, perhaps hierarchising disabilities might not be the best approach by all means.*
  5. I don’t throw around ‘I’m willing to pay higher taxes’ lightly. If I’m suggesting something that involves paying more, well, it’s because I’m fine with paying my share as long as it’s actually going to something besides lining corporate pockets or bombing other countries while Americans die without healthcare… *or feeding our inmates who might as well be given the death penalty. We seriously need to get our government out of debt, or make it file for bankruptcy and start anew.*
  6. I believe companies should be required to pay their employees a decent, livable wage. Somehow this is always interpreted as me wanting burger flippers to be able to afford a penthouse apartment and a Mercedes. What it actually means is that no one should have to work three full-time jobs just to keep their head above water. Restaurant servers should not have to rely on tips, multibillion-dollar companies should not have employees on food stamps, workers shouldn’t have to work themselves into the ground just to barely make ends meet, and minimum wage should be enough for someone to work 40 hours and live. *And companies should hire more people who speak English, like from Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zeeland, etc. I hate talking to people from other countries on the phone because I cannot understand them, yet this is easier for companies to pay because they have much cheaper salaries. In order for that to happen, though, we need to fix our economy.*
  7. I am not anti-Christian. I have no desire to stop Christians from being Christians, to close churches, to ban the Bible, to forbid prayer in school, etc. By the way, prayer in school is NOT illegal; compulsory prayer in public school is – and should be – illegal). All I ask is that Christians recognise my right to live according to my beliefs. When I get pissed off that a politician is trying to legislate Scripture into law, I’m not ‘offended by Christianity’ — I’m offended that you’re trying to force me to live by your religion’s rules. You know how you get really upset at the thought of Muslims imposing Sharia law on you? That’s how I feel about Christians trying to impose biblical law on me. Be a Christian. Do your thing. Just don’t force it on me or mine. *Just like it is illegal to sacrifice a person, it should also be illegal to impose restrictions that would be detrimental to human civilisation. That obviously includes making so-called laws and policies that are unfavourable towards a minority group because of your religious upbringing. I mean, yeah, why force an entity to do something that’s against their religion when there are much better entities that can do just the same?*
  8. I don’t believe that LGBTQ2SIA+ people should have more rights than you. I just believe they should have the same rights as you. *The same applies to all other minorities; that’s why I believe in the #AllLivesMatter movement, not just the #BlackLivesMatter one.*
  9. I don’t believe illegal immigrants should come to America and have the world at their feet, especially since THIS ISN’T WHAT THEY DO (spoiler: undocumented immigrants are ineligible for all those programs they’re supposed to be abusing, and if they’re ‘stealing’ your job it’s because your employer is hiring illegally). I’m not opposed to deporting people who are here illegally, but I believe there are far more humane ways to handle undocumented immigration than our current practices (i.e., detaining children, splitting up families, ending DACA, etc). *There are certain Green Card eligibilities that pertain to skills in the science and art, as well as those seeking immediate refuge and political asylum under the Violence Against Minorities Act. Besides, what would be the point of building a massive wall across the Southern border? It not only shows that you are discriminating against Mexicans, but it’s a largely flawed idea. Determined people would find ways over, under, and around it.
    Screening people is important, but I think it needs to be significantly refined. Imagine that you are holding a really big party, and you invite practically everyone to come. How are you going to know which of those people who are coming are going to be potential troublemakers? I think we need to find a way to get better references from mutual acquaintances and reliable resources to know if a person can be trusted. That’s why criminal background checks exist.
    I think a lot of people have been misled by opposing parties and the media about what is really going on. For once, I’d like to ask Trump supporters why they think it’s okay for them to keep doing what they’re doing. Many would argue that everything was blown out of proportion. So, to get proof, I’d loke to work as an undercover immigrant and take audio and video-recording equipment with me. Evidence does not lie, unless it was tampered with.*
  10. I don’t believe the government should regulate everything, but since greed is such a driving force in our country, we NEED regulations to prevent cut corners, environmental destruction, tainted food/water, unsafe materials in consumable goods or medical equipment, etc. It’s not that I want the government’s hands in everything — I just don’t trust people trying to make money to ensure that their products, practices, etc. are actually SAFE. Is the government devoid of shadiness? Of course not. But with those regulations in place, consumers have recourse if they’re harmed and companies are liable for medical bills, environmental cleanup, etc. Just kind of seems like common sense when the alternative to government regulation is letting companies bring their bottom line into the equation. We are actually doing much worse than we are for future generations if we continue destroying this planet. *But, George Carlin said that this planet has been through times much worst than we have. If you watch Legally Blonde II, or as I call it, Politically Blonde, you can get a good taste of how strong corporations are, and what could happen if we made animal testing illegal unless they were ethical, or what could happen to the economy if we outlawed cigarettes. It’s a wonder why we make so many laws that are favourable to corporations, but not so much for the consumer. Just look at net neutrality! That’s why we need to come up with alternative practices that are moral and ethical, and obviously something that will benefit everyone.*
  11. I believe our current administration is fascist. Not because I dislike them or because I can’t get over an election, but because I’ve spent too many years reading and learning about the Third Reich to miss the similarities. Not because any administration I dislike must be Nazis, but because things are actually mirroring authoritarian and fascist regimes of the past. *My question then is, why do some people still believe in the confederate flag? What would happen if we had a dictator who was extremely smart and ethical? There have been plenty of satirical posts about eugenics and breeding empathic humans. Obviously, our founders didn’t count on our country’s being so diverse. That’s why we had a huge civil war to decide the fate of this country. And, fortunately for us, unity triumphed, and we can do the same today.*
  12. I believe the systemic racism and misogyny in our society is much worse than many people think, and desperately needs to be addressed with intersectionality. Which means those with privilege — white, straight, cisgender male, economic, etc. — need to start listening, even if you don’t like what you’re hearing, so we can start dismantling everything that’s causing people to be marginalised. WE must also have a fighting force that is open to everyone. *We love to categorise others into groups because of selfishness. Tell me, did you care what race or ethnicity your playmate was when you were growing up? Nope, because you didn’t even know what those were! Also, we need to make compulsary military service the same as jury duty–no one person should be given preferential treatment because of their assigned sex or gender at birth. Similarly, if anybody tells you that they don’t like white Africans (those who talk ghetto), well, I’ve got news for you, buddy. Read this article first, then put your head down and do some problem-solving, and write I must not be racist a hundred times. All of us, our entire species, actually originated in Africa, at least based on evidentiary record kept by scientists. So, whether you are white, Asian, or anything like that, then you are still an African, and so am I, because we are Africans by origin; we just moved around every few generations and adapted to our environment. Besides, if you think about it, why aren’t there AfroBritish, African Australian, etc? If you are white, dye your skin black, and vice versa. Think about what it’d be like to have white slavery (black people enslaving white people), like in the case of Italian child musicians (though this wasn’t necessarily based on race) in the beginning of the industrial revolution.*
  13. I am not interested in coming after your blessed guns, nor is anyone serving in government. What I am interested in is sensible policies, including background checks, that just MIGHT save one person’s, perhaps a toddler’s, life by the hand of someone who should not have a gun. (Got another opinion? Put it on your page, not mine). *I am thinking of requiring tests the way driving and ham radio do, but owning a gun is currently seen as a right, not a privilege, so having guns out in public would put others at risk. However, that is not to say that you have the right to use your gun in public irresponsibly without some training. If you conservatives think we want to take your guns away, then think again. We must find a stalemate. I also proposed the idea of having smart guns with advanced sights and tracking, but many people have strong oppositions to the government spying and encroaching on their privacy, not to mention that they are supersticious about the mark of the beast because I suggested we use biometric sensors. If you don’t want to be tracked, don’t carry your gun into an area where they’re not allowed. However, if we banned all guns, people will find other ways to conjure up massive destruction through things like the dark web. So, is it the guns, or the people?*
  14. I believe in so-called political correctness *and euphemisms.* I prefer to think it’s social politeness. If I call you Chuck and you say you prefer to be called Charles I’ll call you Charles. It’s the polite thing to do. Not because everyone is a delicate snowflake, but because as Maya Angelou put it, when we know better, we do better. When someone tells you that a term or phrase is more accurate or less hurtful than the one you’re using, you now know better. So why not do better? *Even if it doesn’t make sense to you, take a moment to feel it from another person’s perspective.* How does it hurt you to NOT hurt another person? *I always like transparency. I do not want to use words that are vague or misleading, or that tend to screen out a particular group of individuals, which is why I will explain why you should say this instead of that. I know what some people will say… sticks and stones will break my bones. Not always true! Also, I am extremely opposed to using gender exclusive language and will do whatever it takes to eradicate it, even if I have to sacrifice part of me to make that happen. This means that you cannot say things like he or she, he/she, s/he, etc. unless you also included a gender-inclusive pronoun. You will also not say men and women, women and men, unless you also said and those in between. Also, do not use any male-default terms, like mankind, congresman, etc, or even phrases like Ladies and gentlemen. So, beware, you have been warned! We need to rewrite the declaration of Independence, and edit out Neil Armstrong’s speech, like the way some people removed the N word out of Huckleberry Finn. On the same token, is it a good idea to misgender our pets?*
  15. I believe in funding sustainable energy, including offering education to people currently working in coal or oil so they can change jobs. There are too many sustainable options available for us to continue with coal and oil. Sorry, billionaires. Maybe try investing in something else. *Yeah, why don’t you do us a big favour and get an amateur radio licence, so you can just learn how to build your own self-containing life support system? You never know when disaster will strike. As a matter of fact, that’s what the International Space Station is using for their power source, plumbing, food, and air supply. Also, believe it or not, we can use the waves of the ocean to spin turbines, too! Dan Gutman has explored this in some detail on the tenth book of his Baseball Card Adventure series. Go here for the perfect example.*
  16. I believe that women (cisgender and transgender) should not be treated as a separate class of humans. They should be paid the same as everyone else and who do the same work, should have the same rights as everyone else and should be free from abuse. Why on earth shouldn’t they be? *What about including our nonbinary folks, i.e. those who identify as neither male or female? What about Tranimals and animals? It is not natural for us to not be grounded to earth and not to connect with nature. We have a lot in common with animals, so we should never abuse them. What if they found a way to abuse you in return? Then you would know how it feels. We should also be using more harmony-based vocabulary, like saying reproductive choices instead of abortion, as Pete Buttigieg once said. I’m sure he said this because some trans-men (and those with uteruses) may not like the term abortion, and because abortion generally has unwanted connotations. Also, don’t take this the wrong way, but I don’t want anything having to do with feminism. I personally find that term as arrogant as the #BlackLivesMatter. If you really want true equality, consider using the term egalitarianism or equalism. Women telling other women to submit to their husbands have to go away and leave them as a choice, since dominance and submission can also refer to kink. Also, we need to stop the tradition that only women should have to change their last names when they get married, and not say things like, Mr. and Mrs. HISNAME.*
  17. *And, speaking of abortion, I have my own outside-the-box views on the matter. I think we need to consider medical abortions, i.e. abortions that are medically necessary as a human right, which would therefore make non-medical abortions a privilege. I also believe that as artificial wombs are further developed, we could transplant the foetus without killing it. If the government only funded medical abortions, then it would be your responsibility to cover a non-medical abortion. If you can’t afford it, too bad! Consider adoption, instead. Yes, I know that some people used to end pregnancies using coat hangers, but I would strongly discourage such practice. Also, think about it this way. If you let yourself get knocked up at a party without protection, you have made an irresponsible decision that will irreversibly change your life forever. The baby didn’t ask to be brought into this world or give consent, it was your own carelessness that did it! So, you might as well enjoy your work, or consider adoption. Now, if you were raped in the legal sense, you might have a different story to tell. Bottom line is: I believe in pro-choice, not pro-life or pro-birth or whatever, because once they’re born, we simply forget about them considering how overpopulated the world is.*
  18. Speaking of abortion and reproduction, I don’t think we should permanently end our pet’s ability to reproduce *unless* you gave them at least one chance. This is because if we required everyone to have their pets fixed, we would be causing the whole breed to go extinct, or maybe even the whole species. Someone once told me that they are extremely ubiquitous, and they are likely to hide in forests, so it might not happen. Still, we have no way to know what our pets want. Did they say to you, ‘I don’t want to have babies, so spay, neuter, sterilise, desex, etc me’? So, for that reason, we need to compromise. Let them have at least one litter. Then maybe we’ll find non-sergical birth control options that have been proven to be successful in humans. Removing these organs may negatively affect hormone profiles, though causing osteoporosis like in humans is highly debatable. Remember that George Carlin said that we have already done enough as it is and tampered with nature, so why not leave it alone? Let’s build a statewide, nationwide, worldwide, etc network of foster pet parents and ship them to places with more room, so as to cut back on animal euthenasia simply because nobody wants them or because they run out of space.

I think that about covers it. Bottom line is that I’m a liberal because I think we should take care of each other and treat our furry, feathery, scaly, etc creatures as family members rather than personal property. That doesn’t mean that you should work 80 hours a week so your lazy neighbor can get all your money. It just means I don’t believe there is any scenario in which preventable suffering is an acceptable outcome as long as money is saved.
So, I’m a liberal.

Here’s an example about what conservatives try to conserve.

Some thought-provoking thoughts on our political system

Hello, my faithful readers.
Today I thought I’d give you all a quick reality check regarding our current political dilemma by sharing something I saw on Facebook a couple months back. After you read this, feel free to watch the supplemental video.

Civil rights, women’s rights, LGBTQIA+ rights, ADA, social security, it’s all a hustle. They happened because lawyers insisted the LETTER OF THE LAW be followed, and judges and congress went along. 
Word, the constitution, bill of rights, and the declaration our republic was founded on were not built for all y’all. The words written were of, by, and for the people who wrote them. They were the elite white, Christian cisgender heterosexual males with money, status, and power. They looked around the room at all the other household names, people with servants and concubines, people who could sign for anything they wanted, people with so much land they’d likely never seen it all in some cases, and they built a country for themselves. 
That they ended up hoisted by their own petard, their descendants forced to share a little of the great bounty of a continent was not what they expected.  It was a clever game taking advantage of the rule of law. 
They didn’t build it for us. They built it for themselves, and their natural heirs, names you know, people with jets and metric shit tons of money.  Insisting on equality against such a backdrop  is as foolish as the child who insists on having their own money. They pat ’em on the head and give them a quarter to make their bed, something they made them do anyway, then charge them thirty cents for lunch. 
Until and unless we confront the very nature of the republic, we are still playing a game, running a con, hustling the hustlers who set the whole thing up. 
If we are to have equality of opportunity and equitable allocation of resources, we must first call the game what it is, then rewrite the rules. Otherwise we make our beds and go in debt for lunch, and the adults snicker behind our backs and pat us on the head.
I hear you.  The more I peel this onion, the more I realize it is, like an onion, the same all the way to the core. 
Western and middle eastern cultures, those based on abrahamic traditions, are sorting systems through and through. I don’t know enough about eastern religion to comment too much on those. 
When your culture is based on a sorting of “us vs them”, damned vs saved, when that is a basic tenet, you’re pretty screwed to build an inclusive society in anything more than name only. 
I’m kinda an oddball. I was 11 years old when I questioned the catholic dogma of salvation through baptism and confession. It was 1967, and I’d seen the iconic photographs of Buddhist monks setting themselves on fire in protest of the war. I asked how it was that obvious martyrs very like those I’d learned about in my catholic school were not going to heaven because they were not catholic. That seemed so arbitrary and immoral to my 11 year old self I couldn’t accept it. I
Left the church soon after, convinced that arbitrary sorting based on the luck of birthplace and what church your parents take you to was nothing I could honor. 
Though a working class kid, first in a small town then out in farm country, I learned the redneck code, and the ethnic sorting of the mill town, where Italians and polish  and Puerto Rican’s and blacks had their own neighborhoods, yet a half Irish, half French Canadian and Mohawk kid didn’t really belong in any of them. In the rural area I learned the Methodist and baptist churches looked down on one another, and both derided Catholics. They only all agreed on one thing, those who were not members in good standing of one of the above were “lowlifes”, to be avoided. Hello, present and accounted for. Now watch me dust your asses on the regents exam. But I didn’t get many party invites, don’t ya know. 
Military service and college and living in different parts of the country and later in the Caribbean, exposure to cultures from around the world, working in industries as varied as teaching “educable retarded” to running a literacy agency, to my own shooting sports accessories business, to working as a contractor, I’ve worn all the shirts and hats, spoken the lingo, and followed the party lines, all the while aware that I was an imposter, a chameleon, the devil walking among them. 
In my quiet times I wrote a fair bit, never too deep, lest I blow through the veneer. 
What I learned is this. If you’re looking for GOOD people, there is no magic formula. You can get stabbed in the back in a sanctuary or university conference room as easily as in an alley. They just use different tools. 
I’ve learned to live my life loyal only to one race, the human race, without regard to anybody’s version of who the cool kids are. I’ve been treated well and badly by about every stripe of people you can pigeonhole. If they’re consuming energy and oxygen, they’re somebody, and have value. Some do terrible things they get locked up for. Some get to live in houses on top of hills after committing atrocities. Good people are where you find them. Any effort to stratify and exclude based on unearned characteristics is bullshit, only works for the chosen as long as they can keep it, and is unfair on its face.
For those of us by definition less able than the fully fit, understanding  where we fit in the mindsets of the dominant culture is a survival skill. If you don’t know what they’re thinking, how they allocate resources when it gets tight, you better be good looking, talented, and lucky.
Words are stunningly versatile things.
They have the ability either to create or to destroy, to lift us or to level us, to give us wings to crush us beneath their weight, to inspire us to reach
the loftiness parts of our nature or to drive us to the depths of our blackest darkness.
We know this from the way other’s voices have shaped us in both redemptive and debilitating ways.
The words of others can become for us the language for all we harbour unspoken in our hearts; every unfulfilled longing, each unhealed wound, every beautiful
aspiration, all the catalogued defeats, each perceived wrongdoing.
And the words of powerful people become catalysts for revolutions; hubs around which multitudes gather in tribes of affinity to create the world they dream
of, whether hopeful or horrific. Religious prophets and pop stars and political leaders all tap into the hearts of people in order to move those people’s
convictions from heart to hand—to move them.
Cesar Sayoc is the logical manifestation of the language of this President.
He is the sum total of his every reckless insult, irresponsible untruth, and calculated attack; the disfigured Frankensteined monster, made from every
factless conspiracy theory and incendiary rally rant, each corrosive verbal attack on people of color and immigrants and women (cisgender and transgender) and the media.
Cesar Sayoc is the clear accumulation of a seemingly endless Presidential Twitter feed, filled with nonsensical ramblings, spewed from the head of a man
who feels no accountability for the collateral damage of his words—either on those who are his targets—or those weaponised by him against them.
The words of a President weigh more than perhaps anyone else’s. There is a gravity to the voices of our leaders that corporately shape us in ways few things
do. They have always determined the trajectory of our nation, carried us through unthinkable tragedy, clarified who we are as a people, driven us to reach
for dreams that we believed were beyond us.
The words of a President, when wielded responsibly and with decency, help us to tap into our shared humanity; to remind us of our interdependence, of our
commonalities, of the responsibility we have toward one another.
But when tossed around carelessly, the words of a President (like this President), ratify people’s phobias, stoke the fires of their bitterness, sanction
the violence they cultivate in their heads, legitimise their irrational bigotry toward their neighbours.
Cesar Sayoc isn’t a surprise.
He may be an terrifyingly extreme extension of this President’s words, but he finds himself on a long and growing continuum of millions of angry, scared,
unloved, people who believe the world has wronged them—and now have someone (the most powerful someone), to tell them that they are right.
Whether it’s in racial epithets screamed at strangers in traffic, xenophobic signs posted near voting booths, venomous racists social media diatribes from
grandmothers, xenophobic outbursts at holiday meals, or vans plastered with anti-media propaganda—monsters are being made by this President’s words.
Yes, words make things and they kill things.
Cesar Sayoc is the kind of monster this President has helped create in unhinged campaign rants and social media tantrums and “lock her up” chants” and
dehumanising rhetoric—and the worst of it all, is that he seems oblivious to his culpability, defiant in his outrage, and determined to double down, no
matter how many people he places in harm’s way.
He refuses to use his words for anything but division and injury and enmity, and so those so desiring war, those seeking consent, those who share his heart—find
licence to be horrible.
 This President is a monster-maker.
It’s time we admitted it.

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