It's bitter-sweet for a second reason that's harder to address. A reason that I think keeps me from posting haphazardly on such holidays often times. It's that posting things that can be perceived as unabashed nationalism feels disingenuous when you have grown up in a world of ambiguous wars. Of proxy-conflicts. Of wars on "concepts" rather than direct threats. Of counter-attacks that are 10 fold against unknowing participants in a global dance that has been echoing for decades and generations.
But now I said it. I said my peace about the ambiguity that I hope everyone doesn't callously dismiss or gloss over, and I'm not pretending there's an easy answer to what I bring up. It's just...it's worth keeping in mind.
So here's to all the Americans who have given their lives to the idea of freedom and the idea of the United States of America. Without their sacrifice the world would indeed be a darker place, and I believe that, ambiguity and all.
Thank you fallen Americans. Thank you.
Make sure your racist comment isn't something that isn't just a reflection of socioeconomic circumstance before you smugly think you are talking "facts".
99% of people who think they are smart because they can point out race-based patterns, patterns they perceive "the left" is ignoring be it willfully or ignorantly, are themselves ignorant of that starting point: socioeconomic status. They clearly are yet to have that broader conversation and revelation.
"Black on black crime", which racists love to point out, is a completely expected, non-race-consequential idea, because most crime is committed within the communities and people of which you live and exist within. NEWS-FLASH: We are still an incredibly segregated country. Therefor black on black crime, just like white on white crime, is a statistical reality. But you know what it is not? A talking point for dismissing racism.
Socioeconomic status is the most important indicator of having two supportive parents, growing up with education, opportunities, support systems, comfort, food, etc. Therefor it's also the most telling indicator of if you end up committing crimes, have mental health issues, live in a neighborhood harshly policed, lack positive role models, etc. And something as self-perpetuating as this, is not simply disolved and solved within a few decades just because we luckily have a "civil rights" era in our recent history books.
To pretend that people, in this picture from the 1960s, are ancient history, and not LESS THAN ONE GENERATION from where we sit today, is the first and apparently easiest disservice many do to themselves, if they want to even start talking about race in America with an honest perspective. Because you can not tell me that these very likely living, breathing, voting, people from this picture have all moved on from the motives and actions they saw and felt that day.
Just like the motives of the white men in that picture, your dismissive motives online can be similarly interpreted today. And just as we throw bombs with pilot-less drones onto wedding parties in countries we never even think about, it is due to this willful ignorance of our own power and living-history, that the next generation will grow-up scorned by the actions still reverberating from our past.
Needlessly, mind you, due to the choice of so many to deny the reality of our living history.
I called out religious zealousness in this country for years, and I found myself ostracized by many peers from the Christian bed-town I grew up in, as well as collaterally offending friends, in my early 20s.
I take the lessons I learn from those years to not ostracize religious things, especially not with blanket statements, unless it is an exact context clearly showing unwise or glaringly disgusting motives by a select person or persons.
But the problem now is, 10 years the wiser, those same people that categorically dismissed my conversations during the early years FREAK OUT about how I'm not categorically willing to bash Islam along side them.
Without being immediately perceived as condescending, it's impossible to inform them that it's for the same reason I have to shrug and accept their right-winged conservative religiousness that I have to shrug and accept Islamic right-winged conservative religiousness...
A goal of having integrity means I actively try to avoid double-standards and hypocrisy. It could also be called being thoughtful or self-aware. Worthy goals to keep in mind more than ever in this #DarkTimeline.
I came to the conclusion in my teens that there is a very ethical expectation that the moment one has MORE than enough money to accommodate most anything one could hope to do in this world, it would be very reasonable to expect them to be taxed higher on those HIGHER earnings. It wouldn't be until many years later that I realized most first world countries already have that and it's called "progressive tax brackets".
Now, mind you, people are not taxed more on the first sums of money they make, they are only taxed more when the money they make exceeds these levels of extreme riches. Someone making $250,001 a year is only taxed at the rate applied to people making more than 250,000 on that final single $1. (Ignoring this fact alone accounts for most misconceptions or straw-man arguments about this topic.)
But that's almost beside the point. I stated above "MORE than enough money". In my eyes as a teen that number would have probably been around $100,000 a year; which would be around the 70th percentile of households in America. As an adult, and accounting for inflation, experience and understanding how expensive cost of living in certain regions of the country are, I would probably plop that number closer to $250,000; placing families in only the 3rd highest tax bracket and in the top 10% of earners.
Before 1964 the top tax rate was as high as 90% on the top dollars earned. Before Reaganomics in the 1980s, it was at 50%. Our idea of what is "fair" is very relative as this country existed for decades with top tax rates on top dollars as just mentioned. And in those eras, we saw a level distribution of wealth as our economy grew. Quality of life and wages along all levels of society progressed TOGETHER.
But when we have had an economy that has pooled more than 90% of economic growth into the top 1% for decades, while the bottom 98% has been stagnant (consider that that includes the 98th percentile), it becomes atrocious to think about why, how, and what damage it does to have all net gains going into the hands of a distant different elite. A vast amount of that money is being removed from the functional economy when it is pooled away like this. This all paints quite a picture without even getting into basic ethical thoughts like "Are these people really producing 10,000x more "productivity" than I am as a common worker?" or "Are day-traders adding ANYTHING to society?" These questions are laughable at how grotesque the answers seem to me.
So, when I consider all this, and then I consider the counter point is "I don't think it's right to "take" money from Billionaires", I find (first) this to be a poorly phrased representation of what the conversation is really about, and (second) a meaningless counterpoint that doesn't account for any broader ideas of society, ethics, life and economies. When you account for all the needs of society, all the greed of corporations and humanity, the statistics of the last 50 years, countless Scandinavian examples of how society can look, and the fact that these top 1% oligarchs are the ones we are allowing to rewrite laws, legislation and tax brackets, as we the people don't blink an eye(!), it becomes impossible to GIVE A FUCK about vague arguments of "fairness" in response to higher taxes on the higher tax brackets to help our roads get built, pay for military, potentially re-fund social security, or join the rest of the civilized world by providing health care to our citizens.
In short: Higher tax brackets are very justified because we live in a SOCIETY and any non-toxic person only needs to own like 3 mansions, max. Which would cost, what? 10 Million Dollars? 20 Million? Barely qualifies as a 1%-er at that point, and that's worth keeping in mind.
“It’s only called Class Warfare when the poor fight back.”
is a thirty-something guy who hasn't been able to look away from politics since 2010. Around the time he got tired of staring at religion.