Real talk: Being from a marginalized background, for most people, means being constantly aware of the legal precedents and regulatory guidance which our right to exist in public is built atop of. It means that each news item changes that landscape in a palpable, personal way.
This is why minorities are more likely to understand how dire the situation in their country (for us, the US) is. We have a visceral awareness of just what each piece of bad news means, and the progression over time.
To us personally (just Irenes), it's truly shocking when we hear people talk as if Trump is just going to allow himself to be voted out, or quietly respect term limits. We can hope for it, but in the landscape of everything that's happened, it seems increasingly faint.
We get it: Some people have the luxury of not constantly tracking which checks and balances are still functioning, and how reliable they've been lately.
If you're not paying that kind of attention, it's easy to be optimistic.
And similarly, for people who don't keep track of that context, it's easy to come up with political strategies that are dangerously naive.
Please do your best to pay attention. Please do your best to keep in mind that you may not have realized the full extent of the situation.
We think we may start linking up distressing news items to this thread. https://twitter.com/NAACP_LDF/status/1117787732275879936?s=19
The Masterpiece Cakeshop lawsuit was never just about a cake. It was about equal protection of law. It would have been nice if non-marginalized people hadn't been so loud about claiming the case didn't matter. https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/16/us/michigan-lawsuit-religion-same-sex-adoption-trnd/index.html
This one is about a change in government data sharing practices rather than the law, but we're going to link it up to our slow deterioration of freedom thread anyway.
Privacy is our professional area of expertise, and we find this quite alarming. https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2018/12/year-review-airport-surveillance-takes-new-dangerous-direction
You know what else is alarming about this, beyond simply the fact that it's most of the way to a system that tracks everybody's movements all the time?
The fact that it's already in production with there having been zero public debate beforehand.
Do you know how scary it is to have your right to exist be on trial? Given the court's current composition, this one feels like a forgone conclusion. https://twitter.com/TransEquality/status/1120329007235571713?s=19
We worry that people hear "election security" through a partisan lens, and that in the end, the political fight blocks and delays the implementation of robust security measures. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/24/us/politics/russia-2020-election-trump.html
It's important to acknowledge the good things, also. However, this is still up to SCOTUS, and SCOTUS has been acting in ways that leave the heavily gerrymandered status quo in place. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/michigan-gerrymandering-decision_n_5cc20ad9e4b066119de3bde9?k7q
Sorry, we mean thread like a string of related legal cases and distressing outcomes. It's just one tweet.
Whoa. We missed this one from a couple days ago. There's so much going on.
CBS News: Shelley Joseph, judge in Massachusetts, charged with helping defendant escape ICE custody. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/shelley-joseph-judge-massachusetts-charged-with-helping-defendant-escape-ice-custody/?ftag=CNM-00-10aag7e
Our views on this one are going to be highly fact-specific, despite our opposition to ICE in general. We hope that there's still enough integrity in this country's justice system to get to the truth. It's not a particularly good sign when judges are being prosecuted.
To be clear, this isn't about potentially refusing to prescribe hormones; it's about refusing any sort of treatment at all. https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2019/04/trump-administration-wants-allow-doctors-refuse-treat-transgender-patients/
Many trans people, including ourselves, already make it a point to know which hospitals will give us meaningful treatment vs. which ones will discriminate in any way they're able to (hint: it's usually the ones with Catholic ties).
Even so, you can't always control which emergency room you're taken to, and some medical practitioners hide their overt bias until you're already their patient, so that they can discriminate in high-impact ways. This has always been far more common than it should be.
Make no mistake, a relaxation of the legal protections against medical discrimination is one of the hardest possible ways to hit the trans community.
We apologize for linking to an article with a preview image of the asshole-in-chief. We normally look around for another source as needed to avoid that, but this is the kind of thing that's only reported in the queer press.
That fact, of course, ties in to our central theme in this thread, about how marginalized people are in a better position to understand the full picture of the present situation. We wish it didn't.
Another update on the status of legal challenges to gerrymandering, this one taking a broader look than the article we linked from this thread a few weeks ago.
Slate: Lower Courts Are Lobbying SCOTUS to Rein In Partisan Gerrymandering. https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/05/ohio-michigan-partisan-gerrymandering-supreme-court.html
TW: fire, hate crimes.
And, of course, while our system of government is deteriorating in all the concrete ways mentioned up-thread, hate crimes are spiking and marginalized communities are focused on self-defense. https://twitter.com/MichaelEHayden/status/1128112500036255746
You know what the single most unrealistic thing about dystopian literature is?
The cover. The fact that the story comes neatly packaged with a title and a blurb and on a shelf that tell you to connect these things in this sequence, and to think about why they're horrifying.
Real life doesn't have that tidy package. Everyone sees a subset of the full picture of what's happening to our world, and not generally a subset that ties into a tidy story that leads to clear conclusions.
And that's why we're all probably doomed. Even people who recognize that things are unacceptable are waiting for somebody else to be the protagonist and save them.
Real life doesn't have protagonists. Real life isn't a story. Real life just has people trying to survive.
It's very easy to get so focused on survival that you forget that you have the ability to take action, that you don't need to wait for somebody else to tell you what story you're in so you can know what your role in it is.
We're not going to wrap this train of thought up with a call to action. You don't get to have a sense of closure without working for it, and you should be uncomfortable and feel a lack of resolution right now. If this story has an ending, you need to write it yourself.
TW arson, hate crimes, racism.
The news continues to be very bad. This isn't just one single religious institution under threat, this is a threat to all communities of marginalized people. Everyone is feeling it. https://www.wbur.org/news/2019/05/17/synagogue-house-fires-needham-arlington
TW CBP, vehicular assault, dehumanization, racism, novel slurs, casual attitude towards murder by state agents.
Holy fuck. This is so much worse even than what's previously been reported. And these events were two years ago; how bad is it now? https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/05/20/mindless-murdering-savages-border-agent-used-slurs-before-allegedly-hitting-migrant-with-his-truck/?utm_term=.7a748c9db68f#click=https://t.co/sdyoW3TmPJ
TW solitary confinement, ICE.
Oh. Well, that's terrifying. https://twitter.com/MSNBC/status/1130914483872964610
Discrimination protections are being dismantled across all categories. https://twitter.com/TransEquality/status/1131219171432443906?s=19
TW: concentration camps, unsanitary conditions.
Shiiiiiit. Somehow we'd personally fallen victim to the trap of assuming that our nation's concentration camps were, at least, hygienic. Guess not. https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/05/22/mcallen-detention-center-flu-outbreak-teenage-migrant-died-custody/?utm_term=.1c61742ab071
It's obvious now that we actually think about it that the density of the living conditions is itself an extreme risk factor for disease.
We don't even know what they're going for here. Chick-fil-A is had long been of the largest donors to causes that kill queer people, so most of us boycott it, but what happened that this pro-discrimination bill is in response to? https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2019/05/texas-get-save-chick-fil-law-legalizes-anti-lgbtq-discrimination/
The impact of it seems to be reducing the extent to which queer issues are even allowed to be brought up as part of the political process, which if we're understanding that correctly should have everyone terrified.
Thank for this context. That indeed sounds like it's exactly what we feared - making sure that, as much as possible, the survival of queer people can't be raised as a concern in local politics in Texas. https://twitter.com/jhamby/status/1131601001482350592?s=19
We know this advice is useless and just scares people, because really nobody has the resources to follow through, but it is our personal recommendation that trans people should leave the US. https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2019/05/24/new-trump-administration-rule-would-weaken-protections-transgender-people-health-care/
TW raw emotion about politics.
We really don't even know what to say beyond that. What is the point in trying to explain some lesson about being engaged in government, when we're all going to die?
If you're counting on the 2020 elections to be fair, we really don't know what to say at this point. https://www.politico.com/story/2019/05/24/supreme-court-blocks-gerrymandering-michigan-ohio-1344369
TW concentration camps, unsafe conditions, crowds.
This density is the "concentration" part of "concentration camp". http://time.com/5599147/el-paso-center-overcrowded/
TW discussion of genocide.
As a reminder, one of the factors that led to the direct killing in the Holocaust was that it simply isn't viable to imprison an ever-accelerating number of people indefinitely.
We guess it's at least nice that our government is still functioning well enough that the public learned of these conditions at all. It's not clear how long it's been going on, though.
Just for the record, the US has an unaccountable para-military organization that does whatever bigoted shit it wants. Actually, two of them. https://twitter.com/nycsouthpaw/status/1136442465861246976
Yes, denying people medication that they need, when done as an end in itself, is inherently bigoted - it's ableist. Last century's batch of Nazis made disabled people its targets; this century's batch has been doing the same.
As a reminder, there are known, serious vulnerabilities in our election infrastructure, and no meaningful ability to even audit if they've been exploited.
Also, no realistic prospect of fixing that. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/07/us/politics/election-security-mitch-mcconnell.html
That second part is a strong statement, so we should explain it.
Federal fixes are blocked until and unless Congress and the White House are both in the control of politicians who favor unhackable elections.
State level fixes are on track in some blue states, though even there, it's a fight. In most of the worst-affected states, though, elected officials have made it clear that no such election security improvements will be forthcoming.
This is probably obvious background knowledge to many of you; at least we hope so. Not entirely sure we dare to put up a poll asking.
We still feel it's useful to remind people of it; with everything happening these days, it gets easy to miss things, or to forget them, or to not put them in their larger context.
In computer terms, these fixes are what we call a cyclic dependency. Can't fix the voting system without elected officials who want to. Can't elect officials who want to, without at least a halfway functional voting system.
TW swastikas, Nazi march.
Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck. This is an obscenity, to see a swastika flag in front of a rainbow flag. Those do not go together. No Nazis at Pride. This needs to stop.
(Clip is from Detroit Pride, earlier today.) https://twitter.com/chIoelynn/status/1137452435251879941
This is not the only video of this group, there's others out there if you go looking. This is horrifying. This cannot continue.
We don't have more words right now, we're too horrified. Fortunately, we already wrote some words a while ago on the strategic objectives of Nazis who try to crowd marginalized people out of our own spaces, and how to fight it. https://twitter.com/ireneista/status/1015635201550999552?s=19
TW: concentration camps.
For anyone who didn't already regard this terminology as established, here's a deep dive on what it means and how it applies to the US today. https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a27813648/concentration-camps-southern-border-migrant-detention-facilities-trump/
This is not a national issue, but feels like it belongs on this thread as an update on the status of checks and balances.
CNN: An Alabama megachurch will form its own police force after passage of controversial law. https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/21/politics/alabama-megachurch-police-force-trnd/index.html
It's one of those things that's so beyond the pale that we totally understand if it takes a few minutes for the words "church and state" to occur as relevant.
Science, as a pursuit, is one of those international institutions that's larger than any government, and has a very solid claim to be aligned with the interests of humanity as a whole.
Oppressive governments know this, and don't like it. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2019-06-13/the-u-s-is-purging-chinese-americans-from-top-cancer-research
We went through a period of history where it felt comparatively easy for us all to say we care about freedom, without elaborating on what that means, because there were so many people actually pulling in a common direction that it seemed obvious.
It is not an exaggeration (we wish it were) to say that freedom as an ideal is under attack these days. We should all learn to elucidate what it actually means, learn to point to the aspects of civil society which are worth fighting for.
It's hard to fight for a cause that you don't understand.
It's worth noting that the federal government has always had mixed feelings about science, in some large ways and some small ones. Of course, a government isn't a single entity, so it's a mistake to read too much into that.
Just, it would also be a mistake to assume all problems are recent in origin. It's important to take a good look at the roots when planning for the future.
We're really glad to have some actual good news about the integrity of the election system to put in this thread.
The New York Times: 2020 Census Won’t Have Citizenship Question as Trump Administration Drops Effort. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/02/us/trump-census-citizenship-question.html
Bias in the census would have been disastrous. We can't say that it would have cemented Republican control of the federal government for another ten years, because let's be honest, it'll still take several more concurrent miracles for that to not be the case.
Nonetheless, this is an important victory for democracy, and should be celebrated. (Probably not with fireworks though. Ugh, militaristic displays.)
For those who don't know, one factor in the ruling was that, by sheer luck, a political strategist died and his daughter, who did not support his policies, found evidence of his bigoted motives on his computer. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/30/us/census-citizenship-question-hofeller.html
This was such a narrow, lucky victory. Let's be glad for it, but when our safety depends on having this level of luck, we're not really safe and need to step up our game.
We didn't even realize there was anything still in progress with this investigation, we thought it had simply been abandoned. https://apnews.com/0117a85d02ff4890b5a66f1c9f3c376e
For those who don't know, queer people in Portland have been banding together to defend their communities against fascist violence. There's now an attempt to make that - the defense - illegal. https://www.oregonlive.com/nation/2019/07/senate-resolution-calls-for-antifa-activists-to-be-labeled-as-domestic-terrorists.html?outputType=amp&__twitter_impression=true
To anybody who doesn't think things in this country are going to spill over into overt violence in the streets, um, we crossed that line years ago. It's just not evenly distributed.
We've been informed that this bill is unlikely to pass the Portland legislature. We're going to choose to not fact check that, because frankly we need to believe it.
Sorry, the Oregon legislature. It's a state level bill.
Here, by the way, is the kind of thing that people from marginalized backgrounds need to defend themselves against.
TW graphic descriptions of planned assault and bodily mutilation. https://twitter.com/IGD_News/status/1152308271069446145?s=19
We talk to a lot of people who are still going on with their ordinary lives. Some of them ask us why we're so afraid. It's happened enough times that, despite the absurdity of the question, we actually do know what to say.
We say that the US is openly engaged in genocide and nobody is seriously trying to argue otherwise. The argument to go about our daily lives as it nothing is happening would have to be based on an assessment that the genocide is likely to stay confined to certain demographics.
But of course it's not going to stay confined. The set of people who is acceptable to dehumanize has grown a lot in the past couple years, and it's continuing to grow. Every so often there's concrete news of ways in which it's expanding.
Denaturalization - stripping already-granted citizenship - has already been happening. The news linked above is new in that it's describing a specific plan to massively scale that up.
If you think you and your loved ones aren't somewhere on the list of groups to be targeted, well, we hope you're right but you're probably wrong. The administration has made its intent very clear, and all anyone has managed is to slow it down.
Our take-away with that is that calls for the policy to be reasonable and follow established precedent have failed, because it wasn't an accident.
The political escalation has also failed, as detailed in the NYT piece. Now the only recourse left to these parents is to sue the federal government, which at best will take years, while this policy could be applied to other people meanwhile.
The message is very clear: Our government does not view queer people as citizens, and will use any vaguely legal mechanism to strip that.
We write this with particular fear because we know that anyone who doesn't read that article with the sense that it could happen to them, is very likely to think - well, they filed suit, so it'll all work out.
We've had to educate doctors who serve queer communities explicitly, on the implications of this stuff. People who see themselves as experts on us, but who find a variety of rationalizations to let themselves feel that everything will work out fine.
As if the present situation is remotely okay even if nothing were getting any worse.
Thoughts like that are why we started this thread. We think it's really important to be able to point to a clear, rational explanation of how things are progressing and where they're headed. It's very hard to construct one after the fact, so we've been adding to it as it happens.
Bear in mind that this is by no means every case, but still, it's a breakdown of due process. https://twitter.com/micarosenberg/status/1154742941761638402?s=19
Indivisible SF has a call script which does a great job of explaining why everyone should be concerned. Great background reading whether or not you're planning to call your representatives (which you should). https://twitter.com/boredzo/status/1154827191974162433?s=19
Not much to say about this one other than that it's probably legal, at least as much as any of this is, and it's pointless cruelty that causes us to despair of humanity. So, Friday.
Don't forget that in addition to killing people, another major policy goal of the administration is forcing people perceived as women into subservience. https://twitter.com/laurenarankin/status/1154824311074635776?s=19
This is from 2017, but clearly belongs in this thread: All ICE has to do to avoid accountability is make sure to hold people in custody for so long that they exhaust their appeals before they ever get proper representation. https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/08/01/540903038/u-s-citizen-held-by-immigration-for-3-years-denied-compensation-by-appeals-court
One reason there are so many old articles circulating on this stuff is that it's so easy for people to miss even huge news stories these days! The life-threatening huge news gets crowded out by the *other* life-threatening huge news.
Well, he's finally stated a policy proposal which, if implemented as he described it, would result in ourselves and pretty much everyone we love being taken to the camps. We've been anticipating this for three years now. https://twitter.com/thedailybeast/status/1158401832194125824?s=19
We can hope he won't have the attention span to follow through. We really thought there would be more time to run.
We also know that basically no abled person reading this is going to understand what a serious threat it is, and that really hurts.
Every single time we've linked our classic thread about how backwards it is to call Nazis insane, some abled person has weighed in to tell us we're wrong. We take no pleasure in being right. https://twitter.com/ireneista/status/896312897843806208?s=19
Here's where that casual assumption that Nazis are mentally ill leads: POTUS taking you all at your word that you support locking up people like us, who are far more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators.
Really, we try to stay professional on this Twitter, but fuck everyone who's treated this like some sort of abstract philosophical exercise.
TW: state sponsored family separation, child abandonment
Just a status update. Our nation is abducting parents and abandoning children in the street. On the first day of school. https://twitter.com/AlexLoveWJTV/status/1159264049105973248
This isn't a policy change per se, this sort of thing has been happening for a while. Part of how fascism creeps up on you is that things escalate slowly enough that it feels like nothing is changing. So it's important to check on the status of things every so often.
Just to state the obvious because we know everyone, including ourselves, is highly incentived to find ways to forget it: When we know that a system like this *could* be broken into, we'll never know for sure whether it *was*. https://www.vice.com/amp/en_us/article/3kxzk9/exclusive-critical-us-election-systems-have-been-left-exposed-online-despite-official-denial
And the integrity of the systems that process votes is fundamental to the notion that we still live in a democracy. It all rests on that.
For those just tuning in, the unifying theme of this thread is to collect updates on the status of checks and balances, democracy, freedom, and all that stuff. Often the changes feel too small to be noteworthy in isolation. https://twitter.com/ACLU/status/1159910240848138241
They're talking about making discrimination legal. It's hard enough to enforce those rights as it is. This is bad. https://news.bloomberglaw.com/daily-labor-report/justice-department-urges-civil-rights-agency-to-flip-lgbt-stance
Tip: mention @twtextapp on a Twitter thread with the keyword “unroll” to get a link to it.