On Headlines and Michelle Wolf

On Headlines and Michelle Wolf:

I consume a lot of comedy. Comedy inspired my teaching technique — philosophy is inherently hilarious anyway — and so I’ve thought a lot about the relationships between content and performance. So let me start with this:

Michelle Wolf’s timing was a bit off, I felt. Her material was superior to her delivery, but that’s a damned tough room to work, so I’m happy to excuse this minor performance point.

The content was not outrageous, especially compared to your standard roast fare, and especially if you consider seasoned roast professionals like Jeff Ross (who might even be more foul than me). Wolf was, dare I say, restrained.

For comparison, tonight we watched the roast of Richard Pryor, which was part of his short-lived television series in 1977. The whole set is available (I’ll add the link). It does what a roast does best. It both insults and celebrates, and with a genius like Pryor involved, it’s also scathing social commentary. (This was a mere thirteen years after the civil rights act in the US, and Pryor doesn’t let his audience forget that there was (and still is) a lot inequality left to address.)

Wolf did these things as well. She insulted, obviously. She celebrated — though not as much as one would when one actually shares some affection to the roastee(s). And most importantly, she rose to the occasion as Pryor did, and let loose the social criticism. Especially in the final few minutes, when she unleashes her tirade against the pandering media (yeah, all of them without exception) and finishes with a flourish about the water in Flint — a REAL news story that doesn’t sell papers, so they don’t bother reporting it anymore. That’s sharp, biting stuff, and it’s no wonder the audience stopped laughing. She roasted THEM ALL.

What bothers me most is that the headlines about her performance prime people to think she was offensive. Compared to Pryor in 1977, she wasn’t offensive at all. I fear that the well-poisoning headline writers have succeeded to bury the main point of her remarks; the headlines make the roast about her rather than the headline writers — who were in fact the object of her roast. (Sarah Huckabee Sanders is, essentially, a headline writer.)

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The headline is like theme music. It sets the tone. For fun, I searched for news articles about Michelle Wolf and read the headlines, then read the source names. It’s unsurprising that the tones match the stereotypical political leanings of the various news rags. If the headline reads “Wolf’s speech causes outrage”, then it was outrageous. If the headline reads “Wolf’s speech calls out lies”, then the speech was a germ of truth that needed to infect the room. (Wow, that was such a terrible use of metaphor I’m going to leave it!)

Have you watched the final scene of Star Wars without John Williams’ music? It’s hilarious. Yes, hilarious, because the music makes the scene. In a similar way, the headline makes the article. Though not directly so, Wolf was criticising the way that everyone in the room exercises this sleight of hand to get people to read / consume their material. I believe the underlying message is: cut it out!

Unfortunately, that whole point has now been lost in the kerfuffle of the “offence” she caused. So it goes.

And Flint still doesn’t have clean water.

It reads like a badly written soap opera

This week on the show, the writers introduced Michael Wolff. He plays a journalist who writes a book based on “taped conversations” with insiders. His first move was to kill off Bannon, whose character wasn’t playing well in the 25 – 34 demographic, so we all knew he would be replaced. Unsurprisingly, another journalist, Wolff, is the catalyst.

Typical of the story lines we’ve already seen, Wolff says Bannon said negative things about President Business, who then issued stock-standard statements, unsurprising considering the depthlessness of his reactionary character, cutting all ties. Bannon subsequently lost lucrative funding deals and “respect” from the Red team. Wolff seems his natural replacement as most-bankable journalist.

The rub in this episode is that President Business had “invited” Wolff to write the book, we assume thinking that Wolff’s book would be a puff piece. The writers could have made Wolff’s book more compelling. As it stands, it’s an overblown gossip column. There’s little depth to it; it doesn’t reveal anything that any viewer who’s been following the series hadn’t guessed already; it’s utterly bereft of policy, diplomacy, or global considerations. But it serves its purpose of getting Wolff to replace Bannon, for a least a few episodes. And President Business sneaks in a few quotable zingers for his remaining fans.

After news of the book broke, the Red team immediately questioned Wolff’s credibility, which has been the Red team’s pattern in the show so far, so no surprises there. Maybe next season they’ll develop a new tactic, which would make for more interesting viewing. But for now, we’re stuck with the writers’ disappointing and un-creative run-of-the-mill Red characterisation; they’re reading like yesterday’s news. The Blue team has been similarly lacklustre.

We’ll find out next week whether Wolff really had recordings, but it won’t matter, because he’s now the BIG journalist on the show. (Bannon might get a few roles in regional theatre, but his small screen career is surely over.)

Wolff won’t last much more than a season, I predict. And I predict a revival of some of the more intriguing characters whose storylines have been ignored for a while. In particular, look for Comey to make a comeback. His cameos on Twitter have read well in that coveted demographic where Bannon slipped.

Perhaps surprisingly, President Business remains the least interesting character on the show. The actor’s performance is wooden; it’s unclear whether he’s even acted in a big production like this before. He’s amateurish enough to almost constantly “indicate”, like Shatner in Star Trek — but desperately lacking in Shatner’s endearing earnestness. And this guy flubs nearly every line he’s fed. Sad. The director must have thought he could get more out of the amateur, but it’s been a big disappointment.

Furthermore, the writing is horrid; President Business hasn’t developed one iota since the pilot episode. You would think the writers would have taken some screen time, when introducing Wolff, to suggest more depth to Business, but again, a lost opportunity. My prediction: if they keep Business as the lead character, ratings will continue to suffer.

If mid-season-two ratings are still in the tank, look for the producers to bring in someone like Dan Harmon to give it a more comedic edge.

Entering New Zealand (by air)

You’ve decided to visit (or emigrate to) New Zealand. Excellent choice. At some point following this decision, you’ll need to actually enter New Zealand. There are two ways to enter New Zealand:

  • By air
  • By sea

The roads in are all flooded, unfortunately, and virtually impassable.

This handy guide will cover entering New Zealand by air. Very likely, you will arrive at an airport. Here’s what will happen.

You will have been given an “arrival card” on the aeroplane. Fill it out honestly. Pay close attention to the points about food.

You can bring food in if:

  • you declare the food
  • the food is processed and packaged adequately.

When in doubt, declare. But easier yet, dump all the food. (As it turns out, we have our own food in New Zealand, and it’s eleventy billion times better than any food you might have squirrelled away in your carry on, or pre-chewed and stuffed in your cheeks.)

On the way into the airport, there will be bins where you can dump food. Just do it. Seriously. Is that apple worth $400? Because that’s the fine you’ll pay. (For the love of all that’s holy, do not bring an apple into this country. Even that apple they gave you on the airplane. You can’t bring that apple. No apples.)

Great, now you can pick up your luggage and go through the customs line. If you have one of those fancy passports with a chip in it, you can go through the automated line. (Last time I was through, it was all the way to the right.) There will be signs directing you, or when in doubt, just ask someone. The automated line is super easy, so do that.

You’re not done yet!

Next is biosecurity. They have a much closer look at you; you have to talk to a person. Here are a few things they’re looking for (in addition to your shitty food that you should have thrown away ages ago):

  • Rogue seeds

Are you wearing hiking shoes? Have you cleaned them adequately? Biosecurity might want to have a look at them to be sure, because if foreign pests get in, they could, literally, chew through the backbone of our economy. (We’re a small island nation with a heavily agricultural economy. Pests are bad news, and that’s why biosecurity is so strict.)

  • Drugs

You might see the cutest little puppy dogs you’ve ever seen wandering around the airport. They’re sniffing for their favourite things. When they smell one of their favourite things, they sit down. If they sit down next to you, brace yourself for a fun-filled couple hours of chit chat with a customs official.

What am I getting at? Don’t wear your party clothes. Don’t bring that backpack you  used to transport several kilos of weed to your best friend’s edible-baking seminar.

If you have prescription drugs with you, carry the prescription as well.

If you do get sniffed out, then you’ll need to convince the powers-that-be that you do not intend to use illegal drugs whilst in New Zealand. If they’re not convinced, you’ll be denied entry and you’ll get sent back on the next flight out, at your expense of course. You won’t even have an apple to eat in the meantime!

So you know. Do the right thing. Clean clothes. Clean bags. You wouldn’t know marijuana from oregano (no matter how desperately you’re craving “special” pizza).

  • Money

Carrying large quantities of cash? Declare it! They have dogs who can smell cash. (Weird, but true. I have no snide comment to add, except that once, whilst getting on the plane in Los Angeles, a US customs official was chatting up people in the queue. He asked me whether I was carrying any large amounts of cash. I rather glibly said “Hah! I wish I had to declare that.” Oops. I got a bit of a quick grilling but escaped unscathed.)

Once you’re through, you’ll be greeted by the gloriousness that is New Zealand.

Kia ora. Welcome.

Next, you’ll probably want some money (unless you’re carrying huge amounts of money already; seriously though: who does that?).

Don’t bother with the cash converters at the airport, unless you hate the fact that you have so much extra money lying around and you’re keen to get rid of most of it. A better bet is to go to an actual bank and convert money, or you can do a cash advance on a credit card in NZD (that’s New Zealand Dollars).

Alternatively, prior to coming, look for deals with your local bank. Ideally, you can find a way to make credit card purchases without getting hit with foreign transaction fees every time. Your mileage will vary. But it’s worth a try.

Auckland specific advice

If you need to get from the airport to the city centre, SkyBus is the direct but more expensive option. Just outside the doors of the international terminal is a kiosk where you can buy a ticket. The cost is a mere $18 NZD (last I took it anyway). It’s easy, and a reasonable deal.

There is an alternative:  Get the Airporter (the 380 bus) which runs every 15 minutes from the terminal to Papatoetoe. From there you can catch a train to the city centre for a total cost of $4.85 NZD.

Driving in New Zealand

If you’re visiting New Zealand and you’ve not done much right-hand-drive driving, this is the guide for you.

First, remember these three things:

  • Stay to the left
  • Give way to the right
  • When in doubt, accelerate

Stay to the left

Most obviously, we drive on the left hand side of the road. While you’re here, you should do the same.

One easy way to remember where you should be, or to figure out where you should be after you’ve turned on to a different road:

  • Keep your body in the middle

This rule applies for left-hand-drive cars in drive-on-the-right countries as well.

Give way to the right

Rather than “yield”, we “give way”. It’s the same thing.

Whenever you perform any turns or merging, look out the window closest to you. That’ll be your right. If there’s a car coming at you, give way; let them go first. This applies at roundabouts and merges of any sort.

When in doubt, accelerate

At some point, you might make a mistake. Don’t panic; it’s common. For example, you might look left, then right, then left again, then pull out. But that’s wrong; traffic comes at you from the right.

If you’ve done this, and as you pull out, a bus comes bearing down on you, accelerate. Get out of the situation as soon as you can; don’t stop (believing). The bus won’t slow down its journey.

Road markings

Solid white

More often than not, a solid white line separates you from oncoming traffic, as opposed to the yellow lines you are likely used to. Just stay left, and be sure you can see the road signs facing you. If you see the backs of road signs on your side of the road, pull off immediately, then panic and count your lucky stars. Now get on the correct side of the road.

Solid white lines are also used to designate bicycle lanes, which will usually be marked with bicycle icons as well.

At a give way, there will be a white line across the road. That means to wait for other vehicles to go through the intersection before you do.

Dashed yellow

On the sides of the road, you’ll often see dashed yellow lines. Don’t park there. Your car will explode.

White diamond

This indicates that a zebra crossing is coming up. Pedestrians have right of way in zebra crossings, so you are required to stop. Additionally, crossings are marked by big orange circles on posts, or sometimes orange balls. (There will be no actual zebras. Sorry.)

White triangle

Give way. The white triangle means you’re to give way when merging. There will be a solid white line across the road where you should stop, if there’s an oncoming vehicle. Remember to look to your right, or out the closest window.

Yellow box

This will be a bus stop. Don’t park there. The bus will crush you.

Some general tips

  • Look right, look left.

This applies when crossing a road on foot as well. It’ll be the reverse of what you’re used to, so start repeating it to yourself every time you come to an intersection. Say it now.

  • Look down the centre of the car when reversing

Car parks (parking lots) are treacherous for new-to-right-hand-drive drivers. Generally, whenever you reverse, focus your attention down the centre, just as you would normally. But you’ll be looking over your other shoulder to do so.

Also, note that traffic will be coming at you from your left when you reverse. So, when you reverse, first look out the window furthest from you. (When in doubt in a car park, best not to accelerate.)

  • Jaywalking

It’s generally acceptable to cross a road wherever whenever as a pedestrian, unless otherwise posted. Don’t be alarmed if you see people standing in the middle of the road waiting for traffic to clear. (This happens mostly around beaches, pizza joints, and liquor stores. You’ll find yourself doing the same in such desperate times.)

  • Parking

Unless it’s a bike lane or there’s a dashed yellow line, it’s fine to park on the side of the road. Roadside parking can get a bit anarchistic, especially in busy spots.

In car parks (parking lots), look for signs that say “Pay and Display”. This means you must display a parking pass, which you can purchase at a nearby machine. Do so.

Blue signs that say, for example, P60 mean it’s OK to park there for that number of minutes.

Most of the road signs will be familiar, with the notable exception of the speed limit sign. Speed limit signs are circles with a red border. The number in the middle is the speed limit, usually 50 km/h in towns, 100 km/h on the motorway. There are exceptions to this general rule, of course, so be careful.

The link above will show you some of the most common signs.

  • No turn on red

In this case, you might be tempted to turn left on a red light. Don’t.

Furthermore, if there is a red arrow, even when there is also a green light, you are not allowed to turn; this is to protect pedestrians, usually. (Be patient. We all get there sooner or later.)

  • Roundabouts

Use your turn signals appropriately.

Generally, you can take one of three “exits” of the roundabout (though there are exceptions in more complicated roundabouts).

If you’re taking the first exit, signal left.

If you’re taking the second exit (that is, going straight), don’t signal.

If you’re taking the third or later exit, signal right. Also signal out of the roundabout.

  • Drinking and driving

While generally encouraged in the US, especially when carrying a firearm (am I remembering this correctly?), drinking and driving laws are tight in New Zealand. Last I knew, the legal limit in the US was 0.08 whatevers per whatever. Here, it’s 0.025 whatevers per whatever. Proceed with caution.

  • Getting pulled over

There’s no need for probable cause or any of that malarkey you might be used to. If you choose to use a vehicle on a public road, the police can pull you over, chat with you, test you for drugs and alcohol, offer sage advice about the temperatures of convenience food products, etc.

The police do not carry guns. Neither should you. It’s really unnecessary, especially while driving. Studies show that shooting at other cars from a moving car is horribly inaccurate and ineffective. Better to simply ram the cars that annoy you. You’ll be driving a rental anyway, so just say “oops”, pay the deductible, and be done with it.

(Protection, you say. Like, what if I’m car-jacked? Let’s say someone wants to car-jack you. Do they: a) sneak up to the car with a weapon in hand; b) announce themselves as a car-jacker, weaponless, and wait for you to ready yourself for a fight?

The answer is a). Now, unless you drive with a gun ready in hand, you’re out of luck here. Imagine, the car-jacker sneaks up to the window and waves a gun around. Do you expect to pause the action, reach over to the glove box, retrieve your gun, do whatever needs to be done to ready it for action, wave it back at the car-jacker and make a threat so credible that the car-jacker backs off apologetically and moves on to the next car? Hardly. What will happen, instead, is when you reach for anything, you’ll get your face shot off.

Furthermore, a gun offers no protection UNLESS you use it to kill whatever is threatening you. I wish everyone would drop the whole “I need it for protection” bullshit, because what you really need is to kill things with it. If gun owners would say “I need a gun so that I can KILL people who threaten me” I’d have a tad more respect for their position; at least that would be honest. Protection: nope.

The point is: you don’t need guns to drive in New Zealand.)

 

 

Culture Guns and Medicine

Passing a couple laws about buying guns won’t solve the problems.

All the mental health care in the world won’t solve the problems.

It’s over-simplified to talk about an American culture, as though there’s one that all Americans share, and at risk of raising the gentle ire of multi-culturalists, I will say the following:

American culture is violent.

Within America’s peculiar penchant and affection for violence, there’s an unhealthy absence of compassion and empathy. Neither lawyers, guns, nor money will get you out of this.

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As an outsider looking in, I can tell you this: the American failure to provide universal health care to its citizens, for example, is viewed as “barbaric” by the rest of the Western world. (Insider-Americans will probably find this difficult to believe; American institutions are not the envy of all others, by any stretch of the imagination.)

Some years ago when the ACA was on the table, friends would ask me, as an insider-at-a-distance, what the point of ACA is. “Surely if you’re sick you can go to a doctor,” they would say. “Yes, but you’d have to pay.” How much? Whatever it costs. What about, say, the hospital if you were really sick? You would pay for all of it, until you had no assets left, then the government would pay for a minimal level of care.

“That’s barbaric” was one particularly trenchant response.

Universally — and I’m talking to people from all over Europe and Oceania — the response takes the same tone. They simply cannot believe that such a large and wealthy country would not take care of their own — as we would take care of family. Perhaps rational ethical justifications of American positions make sense to insiders, perhaps the distribution of goodness and happiness and so-called Utilitarian considerations justifies the continuation of American institutions — but at some base level, a government is a reflection of the virtues of the people who create it, run it, and sustain it. American virtues aren’t what they used to be — if they ever were what they used to be.

A system that allows for this will not change itself.

*

The only way I can make sense of the peculiar American resistance to universal health care (for example), is to imagine that Americans don’t see themselves as “in it together” (which flies in the face of the jingoistic “Make America Great Again” mantra). A fiercely individualistic American — uh, what’s the word — “spirit” (?) doesn’t allow for such a thing. And at the same time, that “spirit” feeds a feeling of desperate need for personal protection, which, misguidedly, takes the form of high-powered rifles.

Let’s be perfectly clear: the rest of the Western world (and many others!) do not feel this way. Here in New Zealand, for example, my sense of “in it together” grows every year — I’m in it now, and I’m staying. Of course, it’s possible that the rest of the world is wrong and America is right, but one needn’t crunch numbers to show how unlikely that is. It simply bears repeating that in the Western world, America is alone it its embrace of fierce individualism and violence. America is not the envy.

Unfortunately, I don’t have an innovative solution on offer. This is it. The end. America is a place where a lunatic can walk into a primary school classroom and murder a couple dozen six-year-olds and nothing changes with respect to weapons or health. The sickness that leads to this is incurable.

Short of a revolution, the violence will continue and, likely, get worse. This is a sad thing to think, and offers no consolation for yesterday’s horror in Las Vegas. For that I’m sorry. It’s deeply heart-wrenching to watch your home country implode, knowing that nothing from within can stop the implosion.

Revolution is essential if you want meaningful change. If you’re of this inkling, remember:

Revolutions do not begin in silence. Speak up. Speak out. Organise. Today.

Lynx, Pine, and the Power of Words

Do you remember using text-based web browsers? Text-based email clients? I used to use them regularly, even after the advent of graphical alternatives. These days, especially as I’ve been administering a server via a command line, I’ve been thinking about why I no longer use text-based applications.

Lynx was my web browser of choice back in the day, especially when we’d have to dial into a university server to access the internet. (Oh the good old days.) I used Pine (now called alpine) as my email client through graduate school (the late 1990s). I’ve been tinkering with both again, and I find my fingers naturally clicking the correct shortcut keys to navigate both clients, as though second nature. (Don’t get me started on my affection for vi….)

All of this software-name-dropping aside, here’s the point: text-based browsing and email kept the words in focus. What mattered was being able to exchange words, information, ideas, and so forth.

Here, most of the area of your screen contains words. Contrast this with, say, the ubiquitous Facebook (where I’ll post a link to this later, ironically). Very little of the screen area contains words — or more pointedly, non-advertising content. The percentage of the screen dedicated to non-social-stuff is surprisingly large. I find this to be true of many, if not most, mainstream sites I browse.

This is yet another instance of my grousing that things have changed, and that I don’t like it. But I want to point out that there’s more than just the grousing: the grousing only happens after I notice the difference from then to now. It’s the noticing that interests me. When I notice that Facebook contains so little social-stuff, I wonder why in the hell I’m even looking at it, when I could instead be creating content like this, and sharing it in a free environment. I have no good answer, beyond my usual line: it’s all about the vanity.

If this line of thinking interests you, I’d love to hear your thoughts about how the internet has changed for you, what you notice, what gets you to return to a web site, etc. (Comments below if you’d like to give it a go.)

If it’s like me I like it

Marketing and advertising come down to this:

If it’s like me I like it.

I created this site for a couple of reasons. First, it’s a portfolio of software that I can manage. Second, and perhaps more importantly, there is no advertising and no data harvesting. As I see it, this is how the Internet used to be: a place to share information, self-publish, and connect with virtual communities. Of course, now the Internet, as most of us use it, is a profit-turning advertising machine.

Someone said to me: why don’t you set up something like Facebook? It turns out that’s not too difficult, as there are lots of open source social media platforms available. Then I thought: who will use it? And why? Are users all that fussed about the fact that Facebook is a giant marketing platform — a focus group we opt into.

It used to be that marketers would hire focus groups. Back before the rise of online data harvesting, I was once paid $75 to sit with a bunch of people and give feedback on some apartment designs for students. Social media platforms have all but eliminated that relationship, and instead they keep the $75 but still get the information. That doesn’t sit well with me, to be honest.

And I thought: why come to this site rather than Facebook?

The answer is vanity.

Facebook, and its ilk, allow you to build something that’s just like you. And since it’s like you, you like it. This site, as it stands, isn’t like you. It’s like me. I like it. Chances are good that you don’t like it, unless you’re a lot like me.

Then I thought about Netflix. Playlists make Netflix just like you. And since it’s like you, you like it.

Instagram? Your feed is just like you. And since it’s like you, you like it.

And so on.

Because these sites have created ways for you to customise them to be just like you, they don’t need to pay focus groups, they keep their billions in profits, and they keep us all hooked — because as they advertise things to you that are more and more just like you, these sites are more and more just like you. You are them and they are you. Like it or not, that’s what they do.

This site is not like you. But it is free, as in freedom and free beer.

If there were a free social media platform here, would you use it? What would you like to see? What draws you to social media?

The Internet & Information & Freedom & https

Disable your ad-blocker and this site will look exactly the same.

Here, I do not collect any of your information. There is no advertising. There are no fancy pictures or videos. In short, I mean this site to be a throwback to the Internet as I used to know it — the Internet I grew fond of. (With the exception that I’m running WordPress here. It’s free and open source, so. You know.)

The Internet is a giant marketing machine, by and large, these days, which is why virtually every web site you visit collects so much information about that visit. This is how they pay the bills.

And this is the advantage of hosting this site from home: the bills are paid. The server is mine. The Internet connection is already figured into our budget. The software is all free. And I don’t care about your information; my purpose is to make ideas freely available, and I will fund that availability through work other than data collection.

With this in mind, I have created an educational portal (using free software, of course) that I’m calling “free thinking“. The idea is to make all the content freely available. I plan to develop a way to generate some income from it by making evaluative resources available for a nominal subscription cost — or possibly marking assignments or something like that, yet to be determined.

I would value your feedback.

*

A few boring technical facts about the site (which you can skip if you’re not interested):

You were probably warned that my security certificate is not properly signed. This is because I didn’t pay for one. It’s created through a free program, and not every web browser will recognise its legitimacy. You can rest assured that the certificate is from me, nothing to hide here.

The idea behind using this technology is to encrypt data. http, by itself, simply sends data “in the clear”. So, if you log into a web site using only http (check your address bar on your browser), then your password will be sent in clear text. Anyone along the way might notice that and take your password.

https is a http but encrypted. This means the stuff I send you and you send me is encrypted. The security certificate tells you that the place your sending data has created a legitimate certificate (not that they’re a legitimate business, mind you.)

So when your browser warns you to beware of this site, it’s not a problem as long as you know and trust me — which I assume you do! (Or until I pay for a security certificate, but as noted above, that’s not in the budget.)

DACA

DACA is not about immigration. DACA offers opportunities to kids, now adults, who didn’t immigrate illegally. Their entry into the United States was not a choice.

DACA is about integrating kids into the US economy, and a chance to live without the threat of deportation. Facts: Those enjoying the benefits of DACA hold jobs and pay taxes, and to be involved in the programme they cannot have a criminal record.

*

Story: X was brought to the US from Mexico when he was one. He has never been to Mexico since. He grew up in the US, went to school in the US, and when I met him, was unable to work legally in the US, nor was he able to hold a driver’s license. The threat of deportation was real and constant, but he had nowhere to return. America is the only home he knows.

After DACA, X got a license and a job. Now he races bicycles. He loves music and good food. I remember his excitement when he found out he could get a job, and his pride in taking home a salary, and the good feelings being able to travel around and identify himself. He’s one of DACA’s many success stories. DACA has allowed him to live without fear.

X and I adopted one another as brothers. When my first child was born, X was the first to congratulate us and visit. When we emigrated from the US, X was the last to say goodbye. He is a friend to the point of family, and will always be.

Fact: The repeal of DACA will destroy his life. A full repeal of DACA means X will have to retreat to the shadows, since he has nowhere else to go.

This is cruelty made policy.

These are kids’ lives, destroyed.

Perhaps you feel, as I often do, that your actions cannot change the course of things. Perhaps you think, logically and coldly, that an anecdote here or there doesn’t make letting illegals stay the right thing to do.

The right thing to do isn’t the thing that ticks the boxes on a political checklist. The right thing arises from stories, from relationships, from community. We know the right thing from knowing each other, from living with each other. The right thing arises from our lives.

Ejecting good kids from their homes is not the right thing to do.

The fact is that your actions can change the course of things. Now is the time to speak up, to tell a story. Do not be complicit in this cruelty.