Recently Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor sat down with Aspen Institute’s Latinos and Society Program Executive Director Abigail Golden-Vazquez for a chat about civic engagement, Latinos, and opportunities. I will say I agree with her on the importance of education and civic engagement – not just for Latinos, but for everyone! The issues she discussed aren’t endemic to just Latinos. When she says, “None of us can afford to be bystanders in life. We create our community, and we create it by being active participants in our community,” it shouldn’t be limited to Latinos, or to anyone of a particular ethnicity, religious affiliation or lack thereof.
A lot of the challenges with a lack of civic participation are not limited to Latinos. When Sotomayor says, “If you’re working 14 hours a day at your job, it is hard to make time for civic participation. And for many Latinos, that’s the quality of their life. We have to engage with that reality,” this is not an insurmountable problem faced only by Latinos. It’s one that plagues much of the working class. Latinos aren’t the only ones working multiple jobs more than 14 hours per day and the weekends. But we make time, and we do what we can. And sometimes we don’t get a lot of sleep. And many times we don’t have free time on the weekends. That’s just the way it is, but we sacrifice for the things that are important. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that.
And no, it’s not fair that some people inherit immense wealth, giving them opportunities to attend the best schools without accruing massive debt.
And no, it’s not fair that some kids get to grow up without ever worrying about how much something costs, while others – that’s their first concern.
And no, it’s not fair that some kids grow up in cramped apartments, while others live in opulent mansions.
There are a lot of things that aren’t fair. Life isn’t fair. And yet, we all work to make our own opportunities.
Which is why this bit from Sotomayor’s conversation galled me.
“There’s a continuing tension in America between the image of the person who pulls themselves up by the bootstraps, and the person who believes that you need a lift to get up sometimes,” Sotomayor told the program’s executive director, Abigail Golden-Vazquez. “Those people who believe that everyone must pull themselves up ― they don’t believe that people are entitled to help.”
“For those of us who understand that sometimes no matter how tall the heel on your boot is, the barrier is so high that you need a small lift to help you get over it ― they will understand that the inequalities in society build that barrier so high,” she continued. “Unless you do something to knock it down or help that person up, they will never have a chance. I had those things. I had a unique mother who was able to understand the benefits of education and encouraged me to use education as my liftoff. But not everyone knows that.”
For a jurist on the nation’s highest court, perhaps she needs a lesson in English.
It’s not that we don’t believe in help. I’m more than happy to help – whether it’s by donating time or money – those who are in need. But there’s a difference between asking for help and being entitled to it.
The definition of “entitled” is: believing oneself to be inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.
Sorry, but this is where she lost me.
No one is ENTITLED to my help.
No one is ENTITLED to the fruits of my labor.
No one is ENTITLED to what I earn – to assets that should be going, first and foremost, to help me and my family – simply because they consider themselves deserving of said assets.
Need is not a claim check.
It’s not a claim check to my work. It’s not a claim check to the fruits of my efforts. It’s not a claim check to my sympathies.
No one is entitled to anything produced by another person without that person’s willingness to give it. The value people get in exchange for helping others is determined by that person alone – whether it’s the satisfaction of helping a fellow human being, or a promise of repayment or work – and not by politicians in power who think that forcing people to give up their earnings to “help,” which usually comes in the form of a handout that keeps people dependent or a bureaucracy that does squat, is the way to get those greedy rich people to contribute.
Everyone understands that sometimes people need a hand. It’s just that we also understand that undermining others to level the playing field is not really leveling the playing field, but crippling others so everyone exists on the same field of misery. That’s not helping those who need help. It’s merely crippling the competition, and negating the need for the person to put forth effort to help themselves.
That’s what I think about when I see this graphic.
It’s not just taking away two boxes from the tall person, who can see over the fence. What Sotomayor and other statist politicians want is to cripple the tall person, so they can’t stand to see at all. They want equality of outcome at any cost – even at the cost of crippling those they consider privileged.
Equality of opportunity is equality before the law. It’s the understanding that you will not be prevented by those in power from pursuing your goals, whether they’re educational, professional, or personal.
The graphic depicts equality of outcome, which looks really good in that little picture, but assumes silliness, such as 1) the tall person needs the box to see in the first place 2) there exists an equal number of boxes 3) the tall person wouldn’t willingly give up the box they don’t need to help out the short person, and 4) the means to sustain your family, the fruits of your labor, the value of your work, the results of your achievements are somehow identical to a fucking box!
You take away a box from the tall guy in that graphic, the worst that will happen is he won’t see a baseball game.
You disadvantage a kid because you feel he’s too privileged by giving away an educational opportunity to someone you consider underprivileged, but who may not have earned it, and you have just figuratively crippled him.
You reject a college applicant, who may have higher grades, who may have worked harder, and who may have participated in more extracurricular activities in favor of a poor kid, who may have had to work after school to help support his family, or just didn’t have the talent or the drive to get the grades, and all you’ve done is taken away an opportunity from one human being and handed it to another, with the government as the arbiter of who is more deserving, rather than objective achievement.
You deny a job to an applicant with superior skills, because said applicant happens to be white/cis/male/*insert privilege here*, and you’ve just screwed a superior applicant AND your company, or worse yet, you’ve allowed the government to do it for you – to pick a winner and loser based on arbitrary politicians’ whims.
You take earnings away from one family to feed/clothe/educate another – even though may be a noble goal – and that’s that much less that family has to spend on their own food, on their own sick kids, on their ailing parents, on their leaking roof, or their car repairs.
Helping a person up does not and should not mean, crippling another to “level the playing field.”
And yes, sometimes life is unfair. Yes, some people are more fortunate than others. But to people like Sotomayor, “pulling oneself up by one’s bootstraps” is somehow a negative thing, because we won’t always be successful, and because we have to work harder than some others to succeed. She assumes that certain demographics simply CAN’T succeed and achieve without government force giving them an advantage.
I find that to be an abhorrent prejudice against said demographics. Fact is they can and do succeed. You can’t tell me that Do Won Chang, who started Forever 21 after immigrating to the United States from South Korea, in 1981 and worked three jobs simultaneously, as a gas station clerk, a janitor and a coffee shop employee had a level playing field. No, he simply worked harder, even though he started out penniless, without much English, and without a college degree.
My own parents came to this country without English, and with $300 in their pockets, and they are now comfortably retired – without ever having asked the government for a hand up, because they didn’t feel they were entitled to it.
People can and do succeed, even without the advantage of starting out rich. To claim they cannot, because they have brown or black skin, and therefore are in more need of help than others, is a pernicious, racist lie.
For as long as I can remember, the etiquette on escalators in DC and other metropolitan areas has been to stand on the right and walk on the left. It made sense to me. If I’m in a hurry to catch a train or get to work, I need to be able to pass those who choose to leisurely ride the moving stairs and get to where I’m going. The rule is similar to European driving regulations. You drive on the right and pass on the left. You do not leisurely mosey along in the left lane, with some impatient douche in an Audi riding up on your ass, flashing his high beams, trying to pass you. The douche may be road raging and unsafe, but you will be the one cited. Get the hell out of the way. The left lane is for passing.
This has always pissed me off after getting back to the United States. Rob will attest, I get insanely angry when some jackass blocks the left lane doing the speed limit or even slower. There are usually choice words used, and this is why I no longer drive often. No one needs a stroke.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a rush, running down the escalator, trying to catch a train with some clueless, jibbering tourists clogging up the left side, making me miss my train. Usually a terse “excuse me” is enough to make them move over. Sometimes it’s a lost cause. Why the hell should they take anyone else into consideration?
The unwritten rule is there for a reason. Those of us trying to catch a train home or to work, and who don’t have the time to leisurely gawp at the surrounding concrete walls of the Metro station, need to get where we’re going quickly, lest we miss our train and are forced to wait for the next time, which may or may not get there on time.
But now, Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld says, “Nope! Don’t walk on the escalators.”
DAFUQ, you say?
The head of Washington’s Metro system said Wednesday that the custom of standing on the right side of a Metro escalator to clear the way for people to walk on the left damages escalators.
“We do not promote, obviously, the walking on the left. These are very sensitive pieces of equipment,” he said as officials unveiled a new escalator at the Bethesda station.
It’s best for escalators when riders stand on both sides of the steps, Wiedefeld said.
Ummmm. I’m sorry, but what? We are now supposed to alter our schedules and possibly miss our trains because you lazy fuckers can’t be bothered to properly maintain your escalators?
Yeah, how about no? Screw you!
China has implemented similar recommendations this year, also claiming that walking on the escalators damages machinery. Of course, one Chinese subway official proposed a very simple solution to the so-called “problem.”
A spokesman for the Beijing metro system was quoted as saying that proper maintenance could solve the problem of wear and people walking on the left posed no safety risk.
“Routine maintenance can keep escalators in a good condition and no accident happened before because someone was walking to the left,” the official said.
In other words, if you properly maintain your system, you shouldn’t have problems.
But apparently Mr. Wiedefeld and his crew have decided that further inconveniencing their customers is preferable to properly maintaining the machinery in the transit system. After all, screw you, if you have to be somewhere! Our escalators are more important than anywhere you have to be. It is wholly unsurprising that this lazy, incompetent band of shit weasels is vying to ensure their barely literate, ass goblin employees expend as little effort as possible to maintain the capital region’s transportation system! After all, this is the same agency that wants to cut service, while at the same time raising rates, and has been falsifying track inspection records for as long as three years! Oh, and let’s not forget their assery actually resulted in a fatality in 2015.
Yeah, I can totally see how WMATA deserves more money, while cutting service! /sarc
Unfortunately, the federal government incentivizes this nonsense by offering a transit benefit to federal employees. While it’s a great benefit to have, given that the Metro fares are among the highest in the country, it also allows Metro to continue its dysfunctional, negligent, sometimes fatal system with impunity, secure in the knowledge they are guaranteed at the very least 317,000 federal workers boarding their buses and trains every day. Because, why not? The government gives them this benefit, the roads are clogged on a daily basis, parking is barely available in the city, and what lots do exist, rape their customers to the tune of $25 per day. Meanwhile, taxi and Uber rates are insane during rush hour. I’ve paid anywhere from $25 to $30 for the 6-mile trip to or from work.
Metro knows it has a secure customer set in federal employees, so why would it bother doing anything but the bare minimum to improve the second largest public transportation system in the nation?
I was riding the Metro home the other night, when the driver made an announcement to the crowded train that he was delayed requested everyone essentially have their shit all ready and quickly get off the train, so he can make up time. So, because of continued Metro incompetence, the passengers had to hurry the hell up, since it’s their fault he was running off schedule in the first place. I mean, come on! If he didn’t have to stop every few minutes to pick up and drop you peons off, I’m sure he’d be running on time! /sarc
This is the same kind of attitude that precipitates the “you should stand on both sides of the escalator” request. Since they can’t be bothered to actually maintain the system properly and run their trains on time, the onus falls on you – the customer – to inconvenience yourself in order to make the Metro run smoothly. And while you’re inconveniencing yourself, you will pay more for an already substandard service to be even more substandard!
So I will continue to run up and down the escalators as I see fit to suit my needs, because I refuse to help Metro do as little as possible to fix its systemic issues. It’s a small part, but I will do it.
So apparently today was supposed to be some kind of statement – a “Day Without Immigrants.”
Washington, D.C., will experience a “Day Without Immigrants” along with a number of other major cities across the country on Thursday. The grassroots movement is calling for immigrants not to go to work or make purchases on Feb. 16 to show President Trump ho [sic.] much legal and illegal immigrants contribute to the economy.
Let’s put aside the obvious economic ignorance exhibited here. One day without a fairly small percentage of the population working and making purchases will hurt no one except maybe their employers who seem more than happy to virtue signal their support for immigration, which no one has proposed to ban writ large, by giving their foreign-born workers a paid day off. Those same immigrants staging this protest and not buying anything, will purchase what they need tomorrow… or the next day. No harm, no foul. Any money “lost” from any sale today, will be made up tomorrow or the next day, because ultimately people need what they need.
Second, just how many illegal immigrants do we have working in the DC area? Do they really make such a huge impact on the local economy? And also, will it honestly impact the President, who I’m pretty sure isn’t going out to Bub & Pop’s to get a sandwich or picking up street food at a cart today.
I wouldn’t even have known this was going on if I hadn’t come across it in a news feed.
Local restaurants – if they support this “boycott” – closed. So what? This immigrant brings her own lunch to work.
The employees of those establishments that do not support this empty action and who decided not to show up for work today anyway, could find themselves shitcanned in favor of someone who will actually work. And if not, they’re simply not going to get paid for that day, unless they have earned leave. Who loses? They do.
Smoke & Barrel in Washington DC had the following up on their Facebook page two days ago.
As a Latino business owner I stand in solidarity with all of my immigrant staff. Therefore, we will close our kitchen this Thursday in support of our immigrant staff’s desire and right to protest the evolving state of immigration policies in our country. Our bars will remain open and our guests are welcome to BYOF (bring your own food.) -John Andrade, owner
OK, so they’ll still sell booze, and they’ll allow people to bring their own food, because they can’t possibly lose the profits! But yay, solidarity! No sacrifice. No business lost. So what is it, exactly, that they’re trying to impact?
Boycott school? Really? The one place that should educate and give them something of value, they’re encouraged to skip. What, exactly, will that do to the school? The teachers will continue teaching. The other students will continue learning. And the illegal immigrant kids who are skipping school are only shooting themselves in the foot.
Methinks these people have a much inflated view of their own value.
The flyer claims that without them the country is “paralyzed.”
Well, this immigrant is at work today, and for once, I didn’t experience metro fuckery. Correlation, of course, does not equal causation, but the 20 minute commute was pretty darn good today.
I bring my own lunch, and I don’t eat at the restaurants that are participating in this “boycott” anyway. (We ate at Pupatella in Arlington once, and the service was so shitty after an hour and a half wait, that I swore never to go there again. The food wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t even remotely worth it.)
I don’t plan on going shopping, because most days I work 10-11 hours, and I’m too tired to do anything but go home and go to sleep.
When I need to go shopping, it will be on a weekend, so the “boycott” ultimately means nothing to me.
If the purpose of this action was to “paralyze” the country, the organizers might want to learn economics first.
OK, at first it was kind of amusing. Snowflakes nationwide were losing their collective shit over the election of someone they did not support, because they were so enamored with the idea that Queen Pantsuit would be crowned on January 20, 2017. Things didn’t quite pan out that way, and things got out of hand very quickly.
There were recount demands.
There were unhinged lectures by out-of-touch, billionaire Hollywood actors, ivory tower academics, and snotty artists demeaning and harassing their fellow Americans, as well as the President’s family.
There were protests… sometimes violent ones.
And then there were the boycotts.
Uber, Nordstrom, UnderArmour, Nieman Marcus, “grab your wallet,” hearings on Trump nominees, unhinged demands that Ivanka Trump take art she has purchased off her walls, deranged mommies soiling themselves because a toddler – A FOUR YEAR OLD CHILD – whose grandfather happens to be the President, is attending pre-school with their precious snowflakes…
I’m no longer amused. Frankly, I’m a bit disturbed by the concerted snowflake effort to literally destroy what they perceive to be “the enemy” at any cost.
And in case you were wondering, the enemy is not just anyone who voted for Trump. The enemy is anyone who does business with him or his family. They can’t just walk away from the product and not buy it. They must destroy the entire business for selling it, and in the process impact jobs – work for the very people they claim to want to defend against those evil rich bastards who take advantage of them and keep them down. Because the little folks don’t matter if your overall strategic goal is to decimate the enemy.
Believe it or not, I’ve only discovered Wegmans recently, but having seen the selection of cheese, wine, international foods, meat, teas, prepared foods… I’m a convert.
Of course to the demented prognazis, nothing is sacred. Not even Wegmans. The store’s “crime?” Selling wine produced by a winery Trump purchased in 2011.
The regional supermarket chain with a cult following is facing calls to remove Trump Winery products from its 10 Virginia stores. Over the weekend, about 300 members of the Prince William County chapter of the National Organization for Women made plans to pressure Wegmans to stop carrying products from the Charlottesville winery.
“Certainly if Wegmans is carrying Trump wines, I personally will not shop there,” said Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, who was not present at the meeting. The nonprofit, which was founded 50 years ago, has more than 500,000 contributing members, making it the country’s largest feminist organization.
The Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans sells 237 Virginia wines from 58 wineries at its local stores. Among those wines are five varieties from the Trump Winery, including Trump Blanc de Blanc and Trump Winery Chardonnay. According to Jo Natale, vice president of media relations for Wegmans, the company has been selling wines from the Charlottesville winery since 2008, before it was owned by Donald Trump — and long before he campaigned for the White House.
You see, to the prognazis, choice is not an option. If they refuse to buy the product, no one should be able to purchase it! Conform, or face boycotts and hits to your bottom line. They don’t want you to even have the option of purchasing a wine from Trump’s Charlottesville winery, and they’re willing to impact the bottom line of a store — which, by the way, is committed to charitable giving and improving its communities, in addition to employing hundreds of workers, who I would guess make a fraction of what NOW president Terry O’Neill rakes in — to achieve their goal.
The prognazis, as usual, have a very tenuous grasp on economics. They don’t understand that if enough people simply refuse to purchase a product, the drop in sales will inevitably cause the store to stop carrying it. No boycott of the store needed. If the product is not profitable, it will go away.
But they’re not willing to wait that long. They don’t want you to have that choice. And they’re willing to work to destroy a business, rather than let economics take its course. They don’t want you to vote with your wallet. They simply want to force you and the store to conform to their desires.
And, not to Godwin myself out of the conversation, but there’s a certain familiar feeling to the prognazis’ actions of late.
On April 1, 1933, the Nazis carried out the first nationwide, planned action against Jews: a boycott targeting Jewish businesses and professionals. The boycott was both a reprisal and an act of revenge against Gruelpropaganda (atrocity stories) that German and foreign Jews, assisted by foreign journalists, were allegedly circulating in the international press to damage Nazi Germany’s reputation.
On the day of the boycott, Storm Troopers (Sturmabteilung; SA) stood menacingly in front of Jewish-owned department stores and retail establishments, and the offices of professionals such as doctors and lawyers. The Star of David was painted in yellow and black across thousands of doors and windows, with accompanying antisemitic slogans. Signs were posted saying “Don’t Buy from Jews” and “The Jews Are Our Misfortune.” Throughout Germany, acts of violence against individual Jews and Jewish property occurred; the police intervened only rarely.
Much like the Sturmabteilung troops refused to allow people to make a individual choices with their wallets, opting instead to forcibly prevent them from making that choice, the prognazis would rather force an entire store to close its doors, firing personnel and leaving the community of which they are a part – they would rather destroy a business – than allow people to make individual choices with their wallets.
Those who forget history and all that…
Or maybe they remember, which makes their actions all the more disturbing.
PS: If this unhinged fuckstick really keeps his promise of snipping off his schlong in response to us building a wall, I’ll personally contribute money for that venture and will spend my vacation laying bricks! Anything to keep these freaks from reproducing!