Today's the day when we find out if the system designed to save ourselves from ourselves is actually going to operate. I've got my fingers crossed. My hope is that the establishment's self-preservation kicks in, and they slap down the orange money-clown with extreme prejudice. At the same time, I'm prepared for the worst.
Things have taken on a more personal note of late. A friend (who happens to be a trans woman) ended up in an online exchange with a former friend and as a result...struck trolls. The whole situation is deeply depressing. First, that the former friend (and I should probably just use the plural because it's more than one) has gone to the dark side. I had a lot of hope for him once. We met in goth circles. We dated. He introduced me to quite a lot of my favorite bands and my love of muscle cars. He's creative. We stayed friends over the years in spite of drama because he does have a generous, wonderful side to him. Not too long ago, he had one of those big, life-changing brushes with death--just as I did--and--as I did--saw how beautiful life and humanity can be. And instead of sticking with that lesson, I watched him return to self-destructive behavior. That saddened me. Still, I had hope for him. Substantive change isn't easy for anyone. It takes a lot of courage and determination. Not everyone is made of that stuff.
I knew he had his dark side. We all do. But I honestly thought he would change. We stayed friends in spite of sexist behavior and misogynist talk. I used to tell myself that he'd grow out of it because anyone who was good with men wearing skirts and makeup and homosexuality and non-Christian religions...and well, the whole alternative scene...couldn't possibly hold on to sexist bullshit for long. Sure, there was a whole sector of libertarian bullshit running thick in Austin Goth circles. I just chalked that up to punk's anarchy politics. Goth does have punk roots. I ignored it as a fad. When folks didn't seem to be waking up...I spoke up. I withdrew from the scene when that didn't seem to do much but piss off people. A number of folks I know finally saw the light as I knew they would, but there are a few hold-outs. Most aren't people I hang out with anyway for much the same reasons I didn't see my ex very often. I didn't feel comfortable hanging out with people who think that my rights to exist as an equal human being were merely fluff. Thing is, I don't actually enjoy being around people who think that the value of my intellect and my very being is affected by my gender and that it can be affected by the color of my skin or any of the other things that prevent me and others like me from being a white, cis, het, male exactly like them. Go figure.
Fuck that shit. And fuck them. Women's rights are human rights. Nothing has made this more clear to me than this moment.
When I'd announced that I was cutting former friends out of my life for political reasons on FB, a number of folks came forward to tell me not to do so. Insert the standard liberal need for inclusiveness. Hey, I'm a liberal. I'm proud of that fact. And I agree--UNTIL THAT ACCEPTANCE REQUIRES ME TO TOLERATE THE ABUSE OF MYSELF AND OTHERS. THEN TOLERANCE GOES RIGHT OUT THE FUCKING WINDOW. I won't enable abuse.
My former friend used to be fond of saying that good fences make good neighbors. There's some truth to that statement. Boundaries are important. And personal safety is always a factor when dealing with abusive behavior. One must make judgements. That doesn't mean you're being what you hate. It means you're doing what you have to in order to be safe in a world that isn't safe. Abusers love to use tolerance against those they wish to abuse. Getting the abused to participate in their abuse is half the fun.
Anyway...the only reason I'm having this discussion here as opposed to in private with the individuals involved is because I have lost all hope for my former friend. He isn't going to change--except for the worse. I allow for the possibility he might do otherwise, but I no longer hold out hope for it. He has repeatedly demonstrated cowardice--in spite of mourning the loss of so many friends he no longer sees. He's never put together why this might be. This, in spite of it being made obvious. So, there is zero point in discussing it with him further. However, those who know us both should know I don't associate with him any longer. I don't want a repeat of what just happened. He should no longer get a pass for our association as we no longer associate.
 One of his favorite words to describe strong women is "shrill." Yeah. That.
 Of course, he's also fond of saying that guns make for a more polite society--which is statistically proven to be total bullshit even though pro-gun groups love to point to the lower death-rate. They fail to take into account that medical technology has advanced to a point that often patients lives are saved in situations where they would've died in the past. What they're looking at is the success of medicine not gun ownership. Thus, the valid figures are the incidents of gun assault, not deaths. But even with that in mind, compare the UK to the US.
 And those who do, will know exactly whom I'm talking about. I will not publicly state his name because I'm not interested in an internet mob. That's bullshit. I only mean to warn those who know us both.