A Few Things That Have Been On My Mind
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A Military Redirect
Oh my word how is it still January. Here’s what’s on my mind today:
- I wrote another Twitter thread. It was a mental exercise for me in an attempt to reframe my anger about how much of our country’s funds go to the military. I’m going to include the whole thing at the bottom of the newsletter, for anyone who would like to read it, but I’ve shared it on Instagram and on Design Mom, so I know some of you have already seen it. (I’m actually very unclear on how much overlap there is with the newsletter and my other writing outlets. Hah!)
The questions that I hoped it would spur: If you could redirect our military budget to other community needs, where would you want to use those funds? And, if redirecting funds away from the military is not something our leaders are willing to do, then can we redirect the military’s energy to community building? And what types of constructive projects would an organization like our military be particularly good at?
Small House Report
- We’ve started initial renovations on the Small House. This is very exciting to me. What’s the Small House, you ask? When we bought the Tall House, it came with a second, separate house in the back, with its own entrance from another street. It’s a smaller house (thus the name), but it’s really special. A local archeologist told us she thinks it dates from the 1400s. In comparison, the Tall House dates from the 1600s.
And today, I shared something really cool I found in the Small House. I don’t want to give away the whole story, but here’s a image of what it looked like when I found it, before I understood what it was:
Breaking Down Patriarchy Podcast
Last year, Amy McPhie Allebest reached out and asked me to read my abortion thread as part of her podcast project called Breaking Down Patriarchy. The episode I recorded hasn’t come out yet, but I’ve been listening through the podcast starting from episode one and I want to recommend it to everyone.
Amy wanted to get a handle on what exactly patriarchy is, where it comes from, and what kind of effects it really has. So she made a list of essential feminist readings — it’s a loooong list including things like:
The Creation of Patriarchy, by Gerda Lerner
On the Equality of the Sexes, by Judith Sargent Murray
Ain’t I A Woman, by Sojourner Truth
The Gospel of Mary Magdelene
The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
The Real Wealth of Nations, by Riane Eisler
The Second Sex, by Simone de Beauvoir
Double Jeopardy: To Be Black and Female, by Frances Beal
Women, Race, and Class, by Angela Davis.
Sister Outsider, by Audre Lorde
feminism is for everybody, by bell hooks
Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay
Untamed, by Glennon Doyle
And so many more!! I believe Season 1 has 66 episodes. I’ve listened to maybe 20 so far.
Some readings are long books, others are short essays, others are legal documents (like Title IX). For each episode, she would read one these texts with a reading partner and then they discuss it on the podcast. Amy features a wide range of authors and reading partners and works really hard to make sure the discussions are intersectional.
Amy was raised in the LDS/Mormon Church, and I think her discussions will be especially appealing to anyone who was raised in a conservative environment, and who has come to feminism slowly or hesitantly — or who simply never had a chance to study these essential texts. She’s respectful and patient with the good men in her life and does everything in her power to discuss sometimes difficult topics from a place of love. (In contrast, I am incredibly angry and impatient regarding patriarchy, and regarding a large number of men, and if you’re feeling very angry too, this podcast may not be angry enough for you.)
I keep thinking of the women I know who are not comfortable with calling themselves a feminist or don’t understand why someone would be troubled by patriarchy, and I think they would really enjoy this podcast. Bonus: the whole podcast is ad-free.
Lately On Design Mom
A Clothes Mending Guide featuring 3 types of patching techniques.
A recipe for Baked Cheesy Jalapeño Dip. This is perfect for your cast-iron pan.
A house tour in the San Juan Islands of Washington, featuring a single mother of two who removed most of the interior doors in her house and made archways instead.
Here Are A Few Things I’ve Been Wanting To Share
- The Supreme Court nominee discourse has been happening for like 24 hours and is already deeply racist and exhausting.
Deborah Archer @DeborahNArcherIt is exhausting to see people decrying Biden picking “a less qualified” or “unqualified” Black woman for SCOTUS, without even seeing who the nominee is. You are essentially saying that you think there is literally no Black woman in this country qualified to sit on the Court.
-Judge Tries to Deny Teen Abortion Over Her GPA — A Florida judge said the teen's B average means she lacks the maturity to have an abortion. I will never understand that line of thinking. The judge thinks she’s too immature to have an abortion, but is mature enough to raise a child?
-Forty percent of all shipping cargo consists of fossil fuels. 40% of CARGO? Oh my I did not know this.
-A documentary called “Bright Spark: The Reconciliation of Trevor Southey”, was just released and the reviews are excellent. It’s about the tension between producing art and maintaining religious belief. I got to see an earlier cut of this film when we lived in Oakland and it’s so good. I look forward to seeing the final cut.
-Mark Cuban launched an online pharmacy that offers more than 100 generic drugs at an affordable price. For example, Cuban prices the leukemia drug Imatinib at $47 per month, compared to the $9,657 retail price.
That’s all for now (except for the Military thread which is just below). Feel free to comment on anything I mentioned, or whatever’s on your mind. I hope you have a terrific weekend.
Military Redirect Twitter Thread
When I think about recent military news (obscene budgets, drones killing civilians, not caring for vets, etc.), I get super pissed off. So I tried to reframe my thinking. We’ve already allocated the military budget for 2022, we’re not getting that money back. What’s something good we could ask them to do. Something like this:
Americans: We urgently need to get the whole world vaccinated against Covid before there’s another variant. Until the world is vaccinated, our lives — and heck, our whole economy — won’t be safe. This is true for every other country as well.
US Military: Pick us! That’s something we could do quite readily. We’re actually designed and organized for massive campaigns like this.
Americans: Hmmm. This doesn’t seem like your area of expertise. Maybe stick with drones and stuff.
US Military: Not true! Our entire purpose for existing is to keep the country safe — from ANY threat. Covid is the current most dangerous threat. So this is 100% our area of expertise.
Americans: Okay. But how will you pay for it?
US Military: That’s the best part. We have more money than God. The government just gave us $768 billion just for 2022. And that was $24 billion more than we asked for. We’ve got the budget for this covered.
Americans: So then how would you solve this?
US Military: Well, one of our biggest strengths is quickly gathering and relocating materials and resources to where they are needed most. And we already have some infrastructure on the ground in many countries. We have about 500,000 active duty personnel ready for assignments. We can do this.
Americans: But what about the actual vaccines? How will you get them?
US Military: We could just buy them. Or we could give the formula to every country so they can manufacture them locally. Or, we could take over a manufacturing facility and make them ourselves. Or heck, if Congress officially declares war on Covid, we can literally demand current manufacturers do whatever we need. This is not a project we should wait for the “free market” to fix. It’s a good place for government intervention.
Americans: Hold up. Isn’t the military full of anti-vaxxers?
US Military: I mean, there are more than we’d prefer, but it’s not actually a huge concern. For example, by last month the Army and Navy were each 98% vaxxed, followed by the Air Force at 97.5%, and the Marine Corps at 95%. (As a bonus, vaccine mandates could be a great way for us to weed out the people who make the military less safe.)
Americans: I don’t know. This all sounds really expensive.
US Military: I can not emphasize enough how much money we have. We have so much money, that we have no idea where huge portions of it go. Like, we NEVER have to balance our budget or be responsible for tracking the dollars we spend.
I’m embarrassed to say it, but we facilitate more waste and financial corruption than pretty much any other organization in the world. Don’t worry about how to pay for this, because we essentially have a bottomless budget.
Americans: Are you sure you’re up for this? It seem like more of a doctor job.
US Military: We hear you. And guess what: we have doctors in the military too! The US Medical Corps is made up of 5,000 active duty and reserve commissioned medical officers, and there are TONS of other medical personnel too. For an intense, short (maybe 3 months?) campaign like this, I’ll bet we can get a whole lot of civilian doctors involved as well.
Americans: This just doesn’t seem feasible. Way too much work and organization.
US Military: I assure you we are trained for exactly this sort of massive undertaking. It’s the perfect assignment for us. Quickly procuring vaccines, getting them to where they need to be, communicating how they should be distributed — these are all tasks where we would shine.
Americans: I’m not sure people will listen to you when you ask them to get a vaccine, lots of people don’t trust you.
US Military: This is true. Outside of the US, we would need to make sure that trusted community leaders are the ones interacting with fellow citizens. But we can do that! We can mobilize volunteers — locals who are willing to help out, the Peace Corps, service missionaries, etc. And remember we have endless budgets, so we could also hire people for this campaign and not rely on volunteers — which means we could create jobs.
We should also note that in the US, those who are most vaccine-hesitant have a big overlap with those who are most pro-military. So having the military ask people to get vaccinated “for the good of the country” and to “support our troops” could be very effective.
Americans: I’m still suspicious. What will you get out of it?
US Military: Honestly, we could use some good PR right now. People are starting to figure out how much money we waste, and that the money could go to improving their communities instead. So giving us a chance to save the world via a really efficient and effective vaccine rollout would be a big plus for us.
We’re actually confident volunteer enrollment would go up if people understood the military was capable of awesome stuff like this; campaigns that do practical work to protect our country versus endless military occupations and drone warfare that too often kills civilians.
Americans: Well, this is sounding like a no-brainer. But if all this is true, then why haven’t you figured out stuff like housing and medical care for veterans who need it?
US Military: We’re completely baffled by this too. We’re asked to spend money and use resources for all sorts of silly and unnecessary things (did you see our jetpack?). But it’s like there’s some sort of unwritten rule that we can’t use time, energy, or money to fix the most basic community problems.
I mean, if we were given a command to provide housing and healthcare for every veteran, we could literally take care of this in less than a week.We own buildings and land all over the country, in both urban and rural areas, including all the big cities. Some of those buildings are actually living spaces — barracks, bunks, housing, that sort of thing. Or we could quickly build new housing on government land. We’re really good at doing that too. The military and government owns land everywhere.
And once you can see we’ve solved the veteran’s issues, you could also let us solve homelessness for everyone. We would love to do it. We have no idea why we haven’t been asked to do so. Just give us the command. We already have the money and resources.
Americans: So you really think you could get the whole world vaccinated in just a few months?
US Military: Yes. We definitely could. Please ask us to do so! We’re built for this. We exist for this. And if you don’t, the $768 billion will probably just go toward stuff that kills more civilians.
[End of thread]