The webcomics blog about webcomics

Money. Mouth. Let’s Do This

So in the election last night….

Aw, Gary, no, don’t talk politics, this blog is about webcomics!

Wow, that’s a pretty harsh start to our discussion, random straw person, but I’ll remind you that reading my page isn’t mandatory, and let me tell you a bit about why what I’m about to do is webcomics.

I’m an upper middle class, straight white guy, of Anglo descent as near as can be told¹, brought up in a professional family (my father and his father both being engineering professors; my mother being a church musician more to keep busy than to bring in an income), raised mainline Protestant (which I’ve since shed). Growing up in suburban New Jersey, I had a fairly diverse peer group (among other things, it was the early hotbed for Indian immigration; I’ve being hanging with people named Sunil and Amit for about four decades) but very little outside of a cultural medium that was mutually agreed upon. I’ve had two large-scale shifts in the people I’m exposed to.

The first was college; as I’ve mentioned before, my alma mater didn’t admit women into the undergraduate program until some years after I’d graduated (and mostly because the economic giving of young alumni who thought it was stupid finally outweighed the giving of old alumni who remembered how it was shiny and wonderful without any dames around thinking they could be engineers; the longtime president was instrumental in forcing the change), but more importantly was located in rural Indiana.

Most of my classmates were the first in their families to go to school; few of them came from the socioeconomic background I had; they were far more religious than me; I was the closest thing many of them had seen to an ethnic minority, in that they had grown up in very nearly entirely white surroundings. We didn’t know what to make of each other at first, but we figured out how to learn from each other².

My long professional career in the greater New York City area kept me exposed to lots of nationalities and religions³, but still a fundamentally shared outlook on life.

The second shift came from webcomics.

The creators whose work I fell in love with are further afield in their backgrounds and experiences than I’d ever encountered. A lot more women, gays, lesbians, trans people, non-binary people, ace people, people that had grown up in different countries or religions or circumstances or socioeconomic categories. People with considerably more melanin than me, whose pigmentation and hair and dress marked them as different in a society whose willingness to tolerate their existence varied widely from theory to practice.

People who, despite having popular and quality work, needed food stamps or lacked affordable health insurance. People whose families spoke entirely different languages from each other and still fell in love. People who made stories that reflected their own existences and, as a result, forced me to expand my understanding of life beyond that enclave I’d grown up in and returned to. My appreciation for their work — especially for inviting me into their lived experiences, that I may learn — knows no bounds.

And last night a significant number of them find themselves on the receiving end of a message that it’s cute they thought they mattered for a while, but things are going back to the old ways. Time to stop thinking they’re real people.

Fuck that.

So I thought on it this morning, and I mentioned it on Twitter. It’s not enough for me to say I’m with you. I’m putting my advantages into action, I’m going to be shifting my charitable giving in favor of organizations that will fight to preserve the gains that the disadvantaged (basically everybody that didn’t grow up like me) have made, and to continue the process of making ours a fairer society. I suspect this will take a lifelong effort, but between now and when Donald Trump is inaugurated, I’m pledging US$10,000 with the goal of matching donations from any of you.

At the moment, I’m gathering suggestions as to what organizations I should concentrate on this time around; I’m trying to avoid overlap in mission, so it may come down to deciding between support for, say, the Southern Poverty Legal Center and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The only ones I know I’m going to be supporting right now are Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and Campaign Zero. I’d like to choose six to ten in all.

This may change between now and 20 January, but right now I see one of two directions:

  • If the total giving to organizations from all of you adds up to less than US$10K, I’ll match dollar-for-dollar.
  • If the total giving from all of you exceeds US$10K, I’ll determine the percentage each organization contributes to the total, and give that fraction of the 10K. I’m going to figure out those percentages anyway, as some people have asked me if they can join in on the matching. Damn right you can.

The organizations I’m investigating (and please, send suggestions) are below the cut; kindly spread the word, as I’m going to be disappointed if I don’t have to spend all of the money. Oh, and I’ve been in transit all day and I’m hungry, so no links.

In the meantime, draw comfort from art, learn from art, get inspired, be better than those who only see safety and security in denying it to others. I’ll try to get my head back into webcomics tomorrow. Right now, I’ve got work to do.

[Edit to add: As much as to keep the list in one place for myself, I’ll be adding items to these lists.]

Organizations that will definitely be included in my pledge:
Planned Parenthood
American Civil Liberties Union
Campaign Zero

Organizations suggested to me that I’m looking at to determine if they make the cut:
Human Rights Campaign
International Rescue Committee — working on refugee resettlement around the world, including the US
Committee To Protect Journalists
Sex Workers Outreach Project
Southern Poverty Legal Center
Sacred Stone Camp’s GoFundMe — the Native Americans protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline–dakota-access-pipeline-donation-fund/
The Trevor Project
Heifer International — good work, but I want to determine the degree to which their programs work in the US
NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Anti Defamation League
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Earth Justice
National Lawyers Guild
Emily’s List
Brennan Center for Justice

I’m also trying to find out if certain organizations even exist. I have a sick feeling that a lot of people are going to lose health coverage, so is there a nonprofit that will help people get it back? I know that there are also organizations that help people out of ruinous bankruptcies (nearly always caused by healthcare costs) and predatory mortgages by buying up debts and canceling them.

Guess what, lower income people that voted for Trump? You’re going to disproportionately need these services, so I hope I can find some. I can have Opinions about you voting against your own economic interest and for people that have vowed to punish others, but you don’t deserve to have crippling debt because your kid got sick. I’m going to do my damndest to undo everything that monstrosity and his cronies are going to implement, and I want you to not be mired in poverty.

Likewise, I’m looking for a group that is working to end the drug war. Hell, I’d settle for one that get the feds to take weed off of Schedule 1 so that kids (especially black and brown kids) don’t get permanently shunted into the penal system for a friggin’ joint. Same thing applies to the opioid epidemic (and if that includes taking down the company that spent decades misdirecting prescriptions on Oxycontin and practically guaranteed addiction, that would be great).

¹ At least, Tyrrell is. I’m adopted, and going into what I learned by spitting in a tube and sending it to a testing lab is irrelevant here (as is the fact I was mightily tempted to let my dog spit in that tube, just to see what would happen). I was raised with an Anglo name and appear that way which is what’s important right now.

² Except for once. Only time I ever lost my temper in political science classroom debate (where I was usually a minority of one) in was dealing with a guy who legit thought of Mein Kampf as a serious work of scholarly worth and historical truth. He wasn’t being a troll about it, he honestly believed it.

³ The diversity I wrote about in the first sentences of one of my first reviews for this blog was a description of my workplace at the time.

I can’t give much, but will be happy to contribute what little I can.

“Time to stop thinking they’re real people.”

I’m not going to sit here and try to create a long involved political thread. My demographic is similar to yours. I did not vote for Trump. I also did not vote for Clinton. But I know a lot of people who did vote for Trump, and I’ll tell you this:

A lot of them have thought for years, ever since 2008, that the President of the U.S. did not think that THEY were real people. He thought they were “bitter clingers”. They were told that if they opposed his views it wasn’t because they had legitimate differing political philosophies, it was because they were racist. They were told that if they didn’t want her as President it was because they were sexist and “Deplorable”. They weren’t real people.

“Deplorable” lost her this election. That’s what pushed people up out of their chairs and into the polling booths. They were tired of being treated with contempt as though they were some lower form of life.

I applaud yor intent, and I agree that it will be necessary. But I feel obliged to point out that you are to some extent supporting the GOP in its libertarian tendencies. I suppose we must do this, since to allow Darwinian survival rules to apply is unconscionable, but by partially alleviating the consequences of their actions, it enables people who support such policies to deny the truth of their cruelty.
This is a very difficult time. I am greatly distressed – and disappointed – that enough people feel so selfish that DT can actually get elected. But he is not the problem, merely the symptom. You wish to counter some of the worst that the GOP wishes to inflict on your society, and I applaud you for that. I don’t know how to convince people that the GOP will make things worse, not better. It seems so obvious to me. But that is what is needed. With all respect, what you are proposing is a band-aid. I had thought that the candidacy of DT made it clear to all how bankrupt the GOP is. I was wrong.
Feel free to delete this if you think it’s too much of a downer. I am very pessimistic at present.

If you are offended at being called a racist and then decide the solution is to enable a candidate that has run an explicitly racist (and sexist, and homophobic, and otherwise white supremacist) campaign, then you have to acknowledge that you’re not not-racist. That stain will persist at least until Trump and his senior advisors explicitly condemn and repudiate the acts that are taking place today.

Bottom line: don’t want to think Clinton was talking about you (generic you, not specific you) when she said deplorable? Push the actual, literal Nazis and Klansmen out of your movement. Until then, you’re complicit.

If I do nothing, the consequences you mention will fall on people to an enormous degree. If I do something, the consequences you mention will hopefully not be so terrible. In either case, those that call for and promote those policies will not lose a moment of sleep or self-reflection on their cruelty.

I choose to act and lessen the suffering.

[…] the questions have been coming, and I’m getting ready to announce the structure of my matching-gifts against totalitarianism (better name needed), but in the meantime literally more people than I can count are doing similar […]

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