Micro.blog

patrickrhone
patrickrhone

Something I’ve believed for decades: America is still in beta. There are plenty of bugs. Many features not yet implemented. The whole thing is likely to crash at anytime and a reboot may not fix it.

Always have a backup.

frankm
frankm

@patrickrhone What does this backup look like?

patrickrhone
patrickrhone

@frankm I’m not going to say specifically. But, we always keep bags packed with our passports and a very large amount of cash on hand. We have a plan in place to provide safe passage across he nearest border and have a few countries in mind that provide renewable visas assuming you deposit a certain amount of funds in one of thier banks and don’t take a job or can prove outside income.

I understand this is a privilege most people don’t have.

bix
bix

@frankm Throwing myself off a bridge probably.

SciPhi
SciPhi

@patrickrhone do you need a pool boy?

patrickrhone
patrickrhone

@SciPhi Where we’re goin’, we wont need pools. :-)

schuth
schuth

@patrickrhone I’ve been thinking about this all day. Leaving behind access to medication & supplies would be a death sentence for my wife, assuming she’d even be permitted to immigrate elsewhere. But staying might forever limit our daughter’s life, which is another kind of death sentence. (And that assumes the American medical supply chain keeping my wife alive stays intact.)

Contemplating either possibility is acutely disquieting, yet what alternative do I have?

pratik
pratik

@patrickrhone this is...scary 😳 You’re a citizen, right? Should we non-citizen immigrants leave now?

patrickrhone
patrickrhone

@pratik Preparedness beats paranoia.

I’m a citizen, yes.

Our democratic republic has not been this close to failure in my lifetime. Even looking back through history, I’m not aware of a comparative precedent. During the American Civil war, not only did the Union side maintain its political order but the Confederacy was committed to democracy as well.

All of this is to say that I’m trying to be prepared for the worst, and hope for the best, and this is what allows me to sleep each night and awake each day with purpose.

pratik
pratik

@patrickrhone Sigh! True. That’s what brought me to these shores 20 years ago. I’m hoping this journey hasn’t been in vain.

patrickrhone
patrickrhone

@schuth Like I said, I know I’m in a privileged position. The worst we worry about is what we would do with our dogs and cats. We have the means to go anywhere in the world indefinitely if need be. That privilege allows us to have such a plan.

I don’t know what to suggest to you (or anyone else) except to say that I share your concerns and hope neither of us have to face such decisions anytime soon.

I love where I live and love this country and all of its flaws and broken promises.

patrickrhone
patrickrhone

@pratik FWIW: Pre-pandemic, travel bans, etc. we had planned to vote in the morning of Election Day and leave the country for an extended vacation right after. Literally drive from out polling place (two blocks away) to the airport. We would have waited out whatever the outcome would be. Where we would have gone we could have stayed if coming back was not an option we were willing to live with.

Of course, now, that is not an option and we have made other plans.

patrickrhone
patrickrhone

@pratik Let’s hope neither of us have to make such a choice.

schuth
schuth

@patrickrhone My reply wasn’t intended to point out the privilege you have in this regard; I apologize if it came across that way. Furthest thing from what I’d wanted to communicate. Your post prompted me to wrestle with this fear-monster again, and I should, even if I re-arrive at the conclusion that there is no solution.

You named your privilege in your first post, so I should also name mine, I think. My privilege is this: My ancestors chose to come here, almost all of them arriving within a window that opened just before the Civil War and ended just before WWI. Most of them did not have it easy, as immigrant stories go, but neither were they subjected to the horrors of the slave trade. Only one ancestral relative was barred from immigrating, so far as I know (when my great-grandmother came over).

That privilege gave me decades of taking for granted the emigration decisions made by ancestors 3–5 generations back. I generally know why they left — to avoid conscription into imperial armies, or to join relatives who had left to avoid conscription. For the first time, I’m actually pondering what the tipping point was for making those decisions, because that point doesn’t seem nearly as remote as it did even just six years ago. My privilege is that of the descendent of a successful transplant, wondering how poisoned the soil must become to endure uprooting the tree again.

I hear you on worry for the animals, and second your love for our home. May we not have to endure the tragedy of leaving it; may we have the opportunity, strength, and years to build it anew, this time for us all.

jwhevans
jwhevans

@patrickrhone I agree with you that preparedness beats paranoia. I also agree that the country is at a low point. It is definitely the closest we have been to losing democracy in my lifetime. I have faith in the American people. America tends to try every possible wrong decision before making the right one. I’m cautiously optimisitic that we are at a turning point. It will take years to recover from the damage already done though.

ReaderJohn
ReaderJohn

@patrickrhone This really is a reply to the whole thoughtful discussion thus far.

It seems to me (and this is a recent theory, influenced by this book review) that the crisis, which is not "coming" but is already upon us, is between the social justice movement or “successor ideology” and

what Tara Isabella Burton describes in her recent book Strange Rites as “atavism”—a fundamentally Nietzschean, post-Christian worldview focused on physical strength, power, and living in harmony with the fixed natural order and its hierarchy.

I can identify with some emphases of both sets of combatants, but can be an ally of neither as both post-Christian.

So I remain a conscientious objector to the culture war, which looks much different and is certainly much hotter than when I wrote the blog by that title ten years ago.

This time, I'll be a non-combatant C.O. — a medic, I guess — as I cannot escape proximity to the battle.

patrickrhone
patrickrhone

@schuth I apologize. I did not mean to suggest your comment was suggesting privilege at all. Sorry if it seemed that way.

I'm simply quick to acknowledge, especially as a Black man and especially during these times, my own privilege. I do this not only out of obligation but also out a certain amount of shame.

During different parts of my life I’ve been at all levels of the economic strata. I’ve lived far below the poverty level, spent most of my life lower-to-mid middle class.

But then, I happened to marry someone with a fair amount of generational wealth that, together, we have leveraged in a way that puts us, let's just say, way better than the vast majority of Americans. We mainly see ourselves as stewards of what we have and believe deeply in a need to leave it to our daughter way better than when my wife inherited it.

That allows us to make choices others simply can not make. And, so, whenever I discuss these things and the plans and choices we have before us I'm careful to recognize this. I’m mindful that when someone asks what my plans are for if things go south that those plans are only available because of the resources we have at our disposal and that >97% of Americans simply don't have the same options.

I hope that helps explain why I keep shamefully mentioning it.

patrickrhone
patrickrhone

@jwhevans Agreed.

In reply to
patrickrhone
patrickrhone

@ReaderJohn Here's a secret many don't know about me: I’m a former Republican (even ran for a State House seat here in MN 20 years ago) and Evangelical Christian (long line of Methodist preachers in my family, also very active with Promise Keepers).

I’d now be considered a moderate-progressive democrat and consider myself Buddhist.

When people ask me why I changed, I tell them I didn’t. Those groups did.

I explain that compassionate conservatives and "small l" libertarians like myself who staid firm in their beliefs found themselves no longer aligned with those that gave them up in favor of dogmatism, power, and winning at any cost.

I explain that my religious studies and deep contemplative prayer led me to learn and believe that if I truly wanted to be Christ-like, I had to let go of being Christian.

All of this is to say that I understand where you are coming from with all that you've shared here.

JMaxB
JMaxB

@ReaderJohn The image of being a non-combatant medic in the culture wars is one that I want to hold onto. Thanks.

schuth
schuth

@patrickrhone I appreciate the apology; it is gracious but also not necessary — your reply was very measured, and I took no offense.

Your explanation of why you would name this privilege makes sense and is consistent with the kindness I’ve observed in you. I would absolutely understand any decision you made to exercise it. We are both much more fortunate than either of our ancestors might have expected. They worked hard to make it so, and would want us to use that temporal privilege wisely. We honor them when we do.

ReaderJohn
ReaderJohn

@patrickrhone I left Protestantism and the Republican party in two separate and seemingly unrelated conscience crises, separated by about eight years. I did not perceive either crisis quite like you describe, but you’ve confirmed to me something I have suspected about (some) people either repudiating Christianity or withdrawing from it: that it’s not intended as rejection of Christ.

If you get an opportunity to attend an Orthodox Christian Liturgy, you might just find a Christian tradition that doesn’t clash with striving to become Christlike.

patrickrhone
patrickrhone

@schuth Agreed. My wife's Grandfather came from Norway. Many Norwegians came here, to Minnesota, on the promise of land, opportunity, and a climate similar to there.

He worked hard and used his meager savings to invest in the stock market. He'd only buy stocks in companies he thought had good ideas. Like, he'd notice that all the cash registers in the stores he went to seemed to be made by one company, so he bought some shares (IBM). Or that people seemed to like hamburgers and he heard guy was going national with some hamburger restaurants so he bought some of those(McDonalds). This was in the 30s 40s 50s.

He never sold them. Just passed them on — hoping to make life a little better for the kids and grandkids. My wife continues that same philosophy and passes along the same lesson.

It is the idea of stewardship that we need to return to in this country. What do we want to leave for our children and grandchildren? What kind of lessons do we want to pass on to them?

patrickrhone
patrickrhone

@ReaderJohn I have done so (dated a Greek girl in my dating years). Being a Key Man brought me to many other denominations as well. Like I said, I grew up Methodist but became Catholic at age 12 (long story) and, of course, found myself "born again” and attending non-denominational evangelical churches for a few years.

I've have found , and still find, resonance with all of what Jesus himself purportedly preached. In practice, what I believe in today would find much in common there: I try to offer loving kindness to all I encounter, find compassion in my heart — especially for those I don't understand/agree with, and attempt experience God through a cloud of unknowing.

Unfortunately, too many who consider/call themselves Christian ignore it or cherry-pick it to fit their views. But, I think we both agree on that point.

ReaderJohn
ReaderJohn

@patrickrhone “Unfortunately, too many who consider/call themselves Christian ignore it or cherry-pick it to fit their views. But, I think we both agree on that point.”

Indeed. But the more I read, the more I think that's true generally of humans, not just Christians. Form your commitments, then cherry-pick the proofs/prooftexts.

patrickrhone
patrickrhone

@ReaderJohn Point well taken. Agreed.

ReaderJohn
ReaderJohn

@patrickrhone Thanks for starting a very thought-provoking discussion.

patrickrhone
patrickrhone

@ReaderJohn I think you get the credit for this particular thread of it.

frostedechoes
frostedechoes

@ReaderJohn I can’t believe you wrote a post about being a conscientious objector in the culture wars 10 years ago.

frostedechoes
frostedechoes

@readerjohn By the way, great post.

ReaderJohn
ReaderJohn

@frostedechoes Thanks for the compliment. Now I’m going to get into the “joys of blogging for a long time” weeds a little.

About the ten-and-a-half year-old blog, a caveat: Don't be misled by the dark theme and the War Correspondent blog title. The Wordpress blog was called the Tipsy Teetotaler when I wrote that, and it was a wide-ranging “what caught my attention today” sort of thing with a cheerful theme (including a sidebar with links to other sites and such). That's why I introduced Conscientious Objector to the Culture Wars with that parenthetical trigger-warning.

I decided a few years ago that the novelty of that kind of self-indulgent blogging had worn off, but that I would continue writing with a somewhat tighter (and grimmer) focus. When I changed my Wordpress blog theme, the sidebar went away and Wordpress anachronistically renamed my every blog I'd ever written, applying a new, darker theme that makes my March 2010 thoughts look uncannily prescient.

But I have to say I think it has aged well, apart from my thinking the risk on the Right was Christian Reconstuctionists, and the new, darker theme and title gives it undeserved street cred.

khurtwilliams
khurtwilliams

@patrickrhone same. But it’s a worse case scenario plan. Being an immigrant can have benefits.

khurtwilliams
khurtwilliams

@pratik can you become a citizen of the USA while retaining citizenship (and a passport) from the homeland?

khurtwilliams
khurtwilliams

@pratik I became a naturalised citizen of the USA immediately upon being eligible to do so. I don’t see a downside. Is there one for you?

pratik
pratik

@khurtwilliams Being an Indian citizen, I still don’t have a green card. Need that before I can be eligible for citizenship

khurtwilliams
khurtwilliams

@pratik I think you mentioned living in the country 20 years. I just assumed you were a “resident alien” like I was 25 years ago. Apologies for that.

pratik
pratik

@khurtwilliams No worries. And I have. But being born in India imposes a penalty these days that’s unprecedented for being born anywhere else. They are processing GC applications from July 2009 right now. That date moves couple of weeks forward every month.

khurtwilliams
khurtwilliams

@pratik OMG! 2009!?

Munyard
Munyard

@patrickrhone Hello, I resonate with this line. "When people ask me why I changed, I tell them I didn’t. Those groups did." I've also been enjoying reading your other posts and wanted to encourgage you.

patrickrhone
patrickrhone

@Munyard Thank you.

dixonge
dixonge

@patrickrhone While I never ran for office, I was an alternate delegate to my state GOP convention and attended an Eagle Forum meeting. I was in my fifth decade before the pendulum swung. Same for my religion after being raised fundamentalist. But it was me who changed most, having rejected both conservativism and judeo-christianity back to their roots.

Having said that, the party in power doesn't determine whether the country crashes or not. What you might see as a crisis worthy of evacuation the other side would see as merely keeping things 'great.' But if the party in power calms you, the other side might see it as reason for their own evacuation (or to take up arms). In reality, both sides predict apocalyptic chaos and civil war if the other is in power, yet none of those things ever happen.