January 29, 2017
The politics of today aren't going away anytime soon, so it's more important than ever that we be willing to talk about them. I've been hearing too much lately that we, specifically families or relationships in which people don't agree on politics, should stop talking about them in order to save face, to get along, to keep the peace. Loved ones aren't worth losing over something as trivial as politics. To that I say this: Ignorance is not bliss, it is damning. It is heartless. The politics of today are too important to keep loved ones around who don't understand the importance of what is happening, what is at stake. If you can honestly say that you are capable of ignoring the politics happening in the world right now, you are not only insanely privileged but not worth my time and, most certainly, not worthy of my love or respect. Because the politics of today? Those affect me greatly. They affect my friends and people I care deeply about. They affect people all over the world. The politics of today are not simply about money or taxes, but about humanity. Lives. People. Rights. If you can look away, if you can ignore all this even a little, you ignore me. You ignore what's happening to me and to those like me all over the world. And that isn't what family does. Obviously, we disagree on things. We can. It's allowed. It's even good, although sometimes it drives me crazy. Knowledge, awareness, and empathy are not kindled by those who only agree. I value learning from you. But it is very important to note the difference between disagreeing on things like larger tax breaks and things like religious or racial persecution. Things like taking away rights. Disagreeing on those issues of humanity is not okay. There is only one correct side there, and if you can't or don't want to or refuse to see that you are the problem. And honestly, this isn't about you. It's about all of us. It's about being part of something bigger than you, bigger than all of us. It's about the fight for humanity. For equality. It's about swallowing your outlandish fears and fighting for the things (or people) that scare you. Still, there are those who are fine with family who live in ignorance, or those who are, for many reasons, incapable of speaking out. To them I say, I'll do it for you. I have your back, even if you can't understand why or how. I am not okay with being okay with people who are not okay with me, but I understand those who must be. I have never been the person who thinks family is based on blood or labels. To me, family is always defined by you. By the way you are treated, the way you are loved and respected. The way you are accepted. And in the harsh reality of today, this view is more important to me than ever. I will not be quiet. I will not hide. I will argue and fight and make my voice heard even if it means I lose a friend, a family member, or a loved one. Those people are not worth losing my humanity over, and they are most certainly not worth you losing yours. I am with you. Always.
January 11, 2017
Things I've done in 2017 so far: 1) Donated to Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides a multitude of wonderful, life-saving services for so many. 2) Purchased a subscription to Teen Vogue, a magazine and news outlet that stood up to hate when others were afraid to. One that refuses to normalize things that are not normal. This is not something I generally read, but I want to support those who do not support the politics of today and, in turn, support me. 3) Wrote HRC a thank you note. A person I can and do look up to in many ways. 4) Started writing a gay YA fantasy, something I've been putting off for a really long time for a lot of reasons. Fear, mostly. But, these are not the times to let fears (no matter how small or large) win. 5) Started researching more, making sure my opinions count in valid ways that are meaningful and true to facts. In 2017 we've heard much about "fake news" to the point that it's becoming popular to call a fact "fake" simply because it does not agree with our own viewpoints. So, my news, my sources, stem from valued news organizations to people all over the world living the very stories we are being told. The media can be terrible, but it can also be powerful and true and a rewarding reminder of those things humanity needs. It's sad we live in a world where we must find proof amid the chaos of falsehood, but we do and so I must. 6) Become less afraid, less fearful of losing people over beliefs. I am very opinionated, but do everything in my power to believe from a place of love and equality. Although I will always be in favor of forgiveness, 2017 is not a year to let acts against humanity be forgotten or normalized. 7) Take advice from those smarter than me, those with different walks of life than me. We are a diverse world, and being an author allows me to speak with different people all over the world. It's a privilege I do not take lightly. 8) Speak out, do not back down. This is a difficult one, because many think speaking out, being loud especially for something that does not directly affect you, is wrong and causes damage - these are the same people who believe protesting is not a part of living freely, not a right. The same people who will give you an opinion then blame you for not agreeing with them. The same people who are homophobic and ask you to respect their opinions. (Note: You can disagree with things like what restaurant has the best food or which movie was better, but when it comes to things like the politics of humanity taking away rights or siding with those who favor inhuman treatments you cannot. Being in favor of racism, sexism, taking away free press, homophobia, etc is not a disagreement, it is wrong and it is immoral.) I've become incredibly, painfully aware that so many people (not just Americans) are out of touch with the world, with the people of the world, with the politics of the world, and, most importantly, with the humanity we are all equally entitled to. In 2017, people are more willing to agree or stay quiet about something that does not harm them directly, even if it harms others. Or, even willing to agree with something unconstitutional simply because you understand the reasoning. Unfair or unconstitutional matters are still that, even if your morals are not. The unfair politics of 2017 are not normal, no matter how you spin it. No more of that for me. I may not be you, but I come armed with empathy. The politics of the US today, no matter how small, often have ripple affects so vast they are felt around the world even if you are numb to them. 9) Acknowledge privilege more. There are so many types of privilege in the world, and most of them are scary to admit because they say we are, in a sense, "allowed more" than those below us. Many people are not aware of these privileges, and that lack of awareness is the thing that damns us the most. Just because you don't use your privilege or don't think you have it does not mean your privilege does not exist. Often, our privilege is inherent. In 2017, I've continued a deep education on privilege that consists of speaking directly with others who are not walking in my shoes so I may better understand the empathy they need and want. My motto has always been "be the person you want your kids to be," and so I'm taking that one step further. I try harder to not let the little things slide. 10) Become more thoughtful of the future. In our 2017, it should be noted that most of the world dislikes the place we are in currently. People are fighting for a better future daily. In 2017, I want to be one of those people. I want a better future, and that future starts now. I can't wait to do more.
Posted by David James at 5:05 PM
November 10, 2016
Some personal thoughts for a personal time: The "My vote is my right and telling me to vote Clinton is wrong" sentiment is the same sentiment most third party voters have, and it's not wrong. But there is so much more to it than that, and so much you are saying about yourself by saying those words. Consider this: Is there, just maybe, a better time to protest than in an election with such severe social consequences? The time you should be marching for a third party vote is now, to prepare for 2020. This election was and always will be a different beast than any other, and by saying "you're taking away my rights to vote my choice" proves you don't understand or, more importantly, are too privileged to care. In a currently very flawed and unfair political system, no third party candidate has a chance of winning. You know this. I know this. By voting third party now, you acknowledge the fact that you, even if you didn't "mean" to, are giving your non-vote to Trump. Because, let's face it, the majority of third party voters skew more left than right. But let's go back to your "you're taking away my rights" argument. This is basically the same sentiment as saying "I voted for Trump, but I didn't vote for racism." Yes, you did. You cannot pick and choose a candidates qualities. You cannot vote for just one. You must accept all of them, good and bad. You must accept that by voting for a candidate, you are accepting the fact that you take votes away from the others. This is true for all. And by voting third party in this election you say "I knowingly admit my candidate has no chance of winning and therefore acknowledge the fact that Trump may become president based on my vote." There is no argument there. But here is where you are correct: The political system we have is flawed, and we should fight to change it. But little to no non-white non-straight people voted third party. And do you know why? Because we had and have a lot on the line, too much to risk voting for a candidate who would, even in the smallest possibilities, lend a vote to our enemy. We are not privileged enough to vote third party. You claim to want to exercise your rights - your vote left 100% of us with our rights on the line. And, looking to the future, instead of continuing to use your privilege on votes that are meaningless in the long run simply because you can afford to, perhaps we should all use our privilege to change the country now that we are all in the same sinking ship. Let me explain a bit more about privilege. Personally, I have always been a man of empathy, but one of the most difficult things for me to process is this: Even though I am a gay man and therefore a minority, I am still a white man and therefore have privilege many others do not. Often, I am hurt when diversity issues and diversity supporters looks less upon me than others because of my skin color. But I must remember this: Empathy is my sword, love is my shield. I must remember that even though I am hurting, many are hurting even more. Even though I am afraid, many are living in terror on a level I will never truly understand. This feeling I have, this terror and heartbreak and worry? This is a blanket many have been covered in for years, forever. And there it is. There is the truth we MUST understand if we ever want to overcome the hate that has been normalized today. It is an incredibly terrifying and wonderful feeling to admit, to know that you are not the center of the world, that your race or gender or religion or sexuality may not be as as important to fight for in this moment as others. To admit, even though you may not want to, that you are, on some level, a person of privilege. And that even in this fight for equality, we may need to fight in a way that takes privilege from us and gives it to others. We may feel pain, but there is always someone who feels more, always someone who needs more. In this, love is our greatest balm to ease that pain, and empathy is our strongest tool to understand it. So, this is not about me, but you can learn from me. It is not about you, but I can learn from you. It's about us, and we can always learn from each other. It's about understanding each day, and learning all over again tomorrow. Because we are not one, we are many. And this? We can be better than this. We will. We must.
July 16, 2016
Writing today and doing lots of adulting. And thinking about the world, how big and small we are. We're all in this together but it feels like only a few realize it. Now more than ever, when the state of the world feels so hopelessly savage, it's important for us to come together in positive action. I've made it a goal to make a positive change (big or small) to the world around me each day. It's hard, but change has to start somewhere.
Posted by David James at 10:13 AM