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Tony Porter: A Call To Men
"Tony is the original visionary and co-founder behind A CALL TO MEN: The National Association of Men and Women Committed to Ending Violence Against Women. He is the author of "Well Meaning Men...Breaking Out of the Man Box - Ending Violence Against Women" and the visionary for the book, NFL Dads Dedicated to Daughters.

Tony's message of accountability is welcome and supported by many grassroots and established organizations. He’s currently working with numerous domestic and sexual violence programs, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, colleges and universities around the country. He has worked with the United States Military Academy at West Point and the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis.

Tony is an international lecturer for the U.S. State Department having worked in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, United Kingdom and Brazil. In addition, he has been a guest presenter for the United Nations' Commission on the Status of Women and has been a script consultant for Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." - (x)

More Tony Porter posts 

And when we do tell men how dangerous it is, they tell us to shut up.

See: Any conversation about street harassment.

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Building Compassionate Software

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If you make a mistake, you would want a colleague to point it out to you, right? Just like you would hope a colleague would ask a question when they don’t understand something, and just like you want everyone on your team to speak up with ideas, even if they’re unconventional. But chances are that you’ve been in the position to speak up before and haven’t.

Why? It feels like those scenarios represent a good team dynamic, but what effect do they have on a team’s performance? And how can we begin to change a team’s dynamic to improve its performance?

Today we’re going to take a look at psychological safety and how it can help your team perform better. My goal is to give you the evidence you need to take back to your team so we can all improve our workplaces – with enough of us, we can begin to make significant change in our industry and beyond.

I’m going to take us through three main points:

  1. Feelings Matter. Before we talk about feelings, we should discuss why exactly they matter. There’s a lot of evidence here that I’m excited to talk about.
  2. Teams with Psychological Safety Perform Better. I’m going to describe what psychological safety means and what it looks like.
  3. How to Implement Psychological Safety on Your Team. After we have a firm grasp on feelings and psychological safety, I want to discuss some ways to start improving your team’s performance and dynamics.

I’ve had this topic on my mind for a long time, and I’m really excited to get started. Let’d dive in!

Feelings Matter

So I’ve written about this before, but I’ll say it again: feelings matter. It might sound obvious to you – it might not – so it really does need to be repeated: feelings matter. Compassionate software can’t be built without compassion for each other.

Feelings matter, a lot. We’ve actually researched this: students who learned about the struggles that scientists went through on their way to achieving success did a lot better in science class. And students who didn’t learn started doing worse.

Learning how successful scientists struggle helped students when they inevitably struggled. That’s because struggling is normal, but when we neglect to mention the struggles of history’s great scientists, we present the incorrect view that they just were great. And that’s not true, everyone struggles sometimes. Students no longer felt like outsiders when they started to struggle.

When students see themselves and their own struggles represented in the history of science, they learn to empathize with scientists. Empathy, the core of emotions, is the practice of sharing another person’s point of view and feelings.

Empathy is a choice we make. In 1996, Theresa Wiseman’s work (PDF) categorized four necessary components to empathy:

  • Seeing the world as others see it.
  • Recognizing and understanding another’s feelings.
  • Staying non-judgemental.
  • Communicating that you understand.

These are things we can do, things we can choose to do.

This is how someone empathizes, which is core to feelings, which matter. Feelings are important. Now I want to explore what it means to be a member of a team where feelings are prioritized.

Teams with Psychological Safety Perform Better

So you want to be a 10x developer, eh? You may have heard that the 10x developer is a myth, but that’s not true: a 10x developer is someone who makes the ten five developers around them each twice as productive.

You can be a 10x developer by making sure that your team has psychological safety.

Psychological safety is defined as

The belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes.

I know this sounds touchy-feely, but there is data to back this up! Google spent five years on Project Aristotle searching for the answer to what makes some teams perform really well and other teams perform poorly? They examined a tonne of data and eventually – after extensive searching – they found psychological safety is correlated positively with team success.

There were other behaviors that seemed important as well — like making sure teams had clear goals and creating a culture of dependability. But Google’s data indicated that psychological safety, more than anything else, was critical to making a team work.

This is Google. They A/B test shades of blue to use on the Gmail “Send” button. They are the data-driven organization, and their research came to the conclusion that teams with psychological safety were more successful than teams without.

Remember, psychological safety is the belief that you won’t be punished for saying something. That’s fairly basic, but think about it: I’m sure you’ve worked in groups where this wasn’t the case. Was that project a success, or a failure?

Developers – people – need to be able to ask questions when they don’t understand something. We need to feel free to suggest ideas or concerns, to be able to point out and admit mistakes. This is really necessary for development teams, and especially necessary in resource-strained startups where missteps could cost the company.

There was this one time at Artsy where I was behind schedule on a big feature, which was delaying me from starting work on something really important. I sat down with my team, and we had just started reviewing the designs for all the stuff I had to finish when a designer asked “what if… we just… don’t do any of it?” We hadn’t really considered whether the feature I was behind on was worth delaying the next project for. A designer from outside our team was comfortable challenging our assumptions. They were right, we dropped the delayed feature and moved directly on to what was more important.

Because the designer felt comfortable asking questions, we came to a new conclusion we hadn’t considered on own.

Psychological safety is observable in teams in two ways:

  1. Conversational turn-taking.
  2. Average emotional sensitivity.

Conversational turn-taking is a measure of how often people in a conversation switch from talking to listening. One member of a team who dominates the conversation is risking the psychological safety of the entire team. Everyone needs to feel safe having their say, and to revisit a conversation later if necessary.

Average emotional sensitivity is a bit trickier. Emotional sensitivity is basically a measure of how empathetic some is to another’s feelings. For example, how often does one colleague notice another colleague is having a difficult time? And when they notice, do they try to understand? Do they stay non-judgemental? And do they communicate that understanding?

Psychological safety really ought to be expected at your workplace. At any workplace, really, for two reasons:

  1. It makes team members feel safer: everyone is welcome.
  2. It makes business sense: teams with high levels of psychological safety consistently perform better than those without.

Everyone at your workplace should expect these things: from contributors and leadership, C-levels and the company board.

Okay. So feelings matter, and psychological safety is why high-performing teams do so well. But how would one go about improving their team’s dynamic? Where do we start?

I’m glad you asked.

How to Implement Psychological Safety on Your Team

Psychological safety is awesome! How do we “do psychological safety” though? That’s an interesting question. First we need to talk about the two scenarios you’re likely to find yourself in.

If you’re a team leader, there’s a lot you can do to improve your team’s dynamic and – as a consequence – your team’s performance. Let’s take a look at those steps after we discuss how individual contributors can help their teams, too.

If you’re a team member, then you can still help improve the levels of psychological safety in your team using the same techniques as a team lead. However, you’re likely to have the biggest impact if you approach your team lead directly, present the evidence we’ve discussed, and work on the team dynamic together. This is really their job, they just might not know it yet.

Leaders and contributors can do three main things to help improve psychological safety on their team:

  1. Admit fallibility and normalize struggle.
  2. Frame all work as learning experiences.
  3. Model curiosity by creating a space where opinions are asked for and voices don’t need to ask permission.

First, remember that everyone struggles and everyone makes mistakes. If you, as a team lead, make this the norm, then that sends a message to team members that it’s okay to make mistakes. Honestly, it’s pretty straightforward: you want your team to feel safe when things go wrong, so make sure to act normal when you make a mistake.

Next, all work your team performs should be primarily modelled as exercises in learning. Because that’s what they are; when a team build something, you’re all really just learning how to build something as a team. The byproduct of this is the thing that happened to built.

The product a team builds is important to the business’ success, so it may seem counterintuitive to place a higher priority on the learning experience of a team than on building the product itself. But remember: by doing this, you’re helping to increase the performance of your team so – in turn – they’re able to build a better product, faster and with fewer bugs. The evidence shows it makes business sense.

Finally, you need to model curiosity. Ask questions, even silly ones. Ask questions you think you already know the answer to. Help model an environment where learning through curiosity is praised.

This advice is really built upon empathy, which means there are a few other common sense tidbits that accompany it:

  • Watch out for people getting interrupted in meetings. When you see it, say “hang on, I want to hear the rest of what they have to say.”
  • Don’t pressure people into providing immediate feedback. Instead of asking on the spot, give time for reflective feedback. “I’ll type up what we’ve discussed and send it to everyone, let me know what isn’t clear.”
  • Allow space for your team to revisit discussions if someone feels their voice wasn’t heard.
  • We can practice empathy, we can set a Google Calendar reminder to reflect on recent meetings, we can focus on the feelings of our peers.

Psychological safety can be a differentiator at your workplace. It’s hard to retain good developers, and it’s harder to find them in the first place. Working in a safe environment, where everyone feels like they can ask questions and where everyone is able to do their best work, well that sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Implement these suggestions so that your workplace stands out to prospective developers.

This can be a workplace differentiator, likely more attractive than free snacks or a foosball table to prospective colleagues. Show your potential hires how you structure meetings, give them examples where you made a mistake but learned something, tell them a story about how someone asked a question and it had a big impact.

We’ve covered a lot today, from some initial questions to empathy, and from definition of ‘psychological safety’ to steps on improving it in your team. That’s a lot to take in, why not set a reminder somewhere to wait a week, think things over, and revisit this post.

We have the evidence that shows how an ideal team works, but we see our industry falling short of that ideal. But! We have the tools to improve ourselves, our teams, and our industry. I really hope that teams operating in psychological safety become the norm, something to expect at any job. We’ve got a long way to go before we reach that point, but I know we can do it if we work together.

Like I said, I’ve had this topic on my mind for a long time, though I didn’t have the vocabulary to discuss it or the evidence to support my theories. A few months ago, I attended the Open Source & Feelings conference, and the talks there really helped frame a lot of my thoughts. I found the following talk particularly helpful, and led me to a lot of the points I discussed today.

I’m presenting on this topic at a meetup here in New York in October. I’d love to see you there, hear what you think, and talk about how we can all help improve the industry together.

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9 days ago
"a 10x developer is someone who makes the ten developers around them each twice as productive."

when you're sitting on the toilet theres a tiny opening between the seat and your dick/nut area. this is known as "The Daredevil's Spittoon"

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By zarq in "...a moment in history where it is almost hard to catch your breath." on MeFi

Worth remembering: Giuliani's 9/11 legacy includes a massive fuckup that was directly connected to over 100 firefighter deaths on 9/11. An estimated 200 firefighters in the North WTC tower didn't receive the evacuation call after the South tower fell, because they were still using inferior radios that didn't work properly in high rise buildings and in deeper subway tunnels. The Firefighter's union and the NYFD had compiled a report that was on Giuliani's desk the day he took office, about how those same radios had failed during the 1993 WTC bombing. Giuliani had 8 years to fix the problem. He failed and over 100 first responders, who ran into a building that burned for over 100 minutes before it collapsed, paid the price.

Every police officer made it out of the North tower before it came down. 121 firefighters did not.

Rudy Giuliani can go fuck himself.
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Trump’s Indecent Proposal

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One of the most storied, Aaron Sorkin-esque moments in American history—making the rounds this weekend after Donald Trump’s indecent comment on Khizr Khan’s speech at the DNC—is Joseph Welch’s famous confrontation with Joe McCarthy. The date was June 9, 1954; the setting, the Army-McCarthy hearings.

It was then and there that Welch exploded:

Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?

People love this moment. It’s when the party of the good and the great finally stared down the forces of the bad and the worse, affirming that this country was in fact good, if not great, rather than bad, if not worse. Within six months, McCarthy would be censured by the Senate. Within three years, he’d be dead.

Citing the Welch precedent for the Trump case, Politicoperfectly captures the conventional wisdom about the confrontation:

For the first time, the bully had been called out in public by someone with no skeletons in his proverbial closet, whose integrity was unquestionable, and whose motives were purely patriotic. The audience in the senate chamber burst into applause.

But there are two little known elements about this famous confrontation that call that fairy tale into question.

First, Welch chose his words carefully: Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?

Joe McCarthy had been running wild for four years, wreaking havoc first on the Democrats, then the Republicans, and finally on the security establishment itself. For many people—Welch’s syntax shows, almost unselfconsciously—June 9 marked the moment when McCarthy finally revealed that he had no decency, as opposed to only a very little decency, the moment when he showed that he had no redeeming qualities at all.

So how, we have to wonder, was he viewed before then?

In the four years prior to this confrontation, McCarthy had been riding high. Not merely among the rubes and the yahoos of the Commie-fearing hinterland, but at the highest levels of the Republican Party. McCarthy, as Robert Griffith showed many years ago, was the party’s useful idiot, even darling. No one made the case better than he that the Democrats were the party of 20 years of treason. It was for that reason that he was favored by the party pooh-bahs and the party faithful.

As I wrotethree years ago of the collusion between McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Robert Taft, whose nickname was ”Mr. Republican”:

Taft did not merely “allow” the man and the -ism to dominate; Taft actively coddled, encouraged and supported him and it at every turn.

As early as March 23, 1950 — four weeks after McCarthy’s famous speech in Wheeling, West Virginia— Taft gave McCarthy his firm support, telling McCarthy, “If one case [accusing a State Department official of being a Red] doesn’t work out, bring up another.” And added, for good measure, “Keep it up, Joe.”

When Truman attacked McCarthy’s speech — no amateur when it came to red-baiting, Truman called McCarthy “the greatest asset the Kremlin has” — Taft responded in kind, accusing Truman of being “bitter and prejudiced” and of “libeling” McCarthy, who was “a fighting Marine.” (Asked whether he had indeed libeled McCarthy, Truman responded, “Do you think that is possible?”)…

In 1951, however, Taft pulled back — after it seemed that McCarthy had gone too far, accusing George Marshall on the Senate floor of aiding the Communist cause….But within weeks, Taft reversed course. In response to a wave of letters from complaining fans of McCarthy, Taft issued a correction in which he downplayed his disagreements with McCarthy (“I often disagree with other Republican senators”) and reaffirmed his support: “Broadly speaking, I approve of Senator McCarthy’s program.”

Just in case there was any doubt about that, Taft personally endorsed McCarthy’s reelection bid during the Wisconsin primary of 1952, claiming that “Senator McCarthy has dramatized the fight to exclude Communists from the State Department. I think he did a great job in undertaking that goal.” He even campaigned for McCarthy — despite the fact that McCarthy never returned the favor by endorsing Taft.

And on at least one occasion (there might have been more), Taft quietly passed information to McCarthy about possible subversion in the State Department, suggesting to McCarthy that one employee deserved “special attention.”

In his confrontation with McCarthy, Welch opens a window onto an even subtler and more corrosive form of establishment collusion with McCarthy.

For many years, Welch had been a partner at Hale and Dorr, an elite Boston law firm, and had temporarily gone to work as the general counsel to the U.S. Army. That’s how he wound up at the Army-McCarthy hearings. What immediately provoked Welch at those hearings was that McCarthy had launched a broadside against Fred Fisher, a young attorney in Welch’s law firm who had once been a member of the National Lawyers’ Guild, a left-wing outfit that Dwight Eisenhower’s attorney general had called “the legal mouthpiece of the Communist Party.”

This is how Welch respondedto McCarthy’s charge:

Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty, or your recklessness. Fred Fisher is a young man who went to the Harvard Law School and came into my firm and is starting what looks to be a brilliant career with us. When I decided to work for this Committee, I asked Jim St. Clair, who sits on my right, to be my first assistant. I said to Jim, “Pick somebody in the firm to work under you that you would like.” He chose Fred Fisher, and they came down on an afternoon plane. That night, when we had taken a little stab at trying to see what the case is about, Fred Fisher and Jim St. Clair and I went to dinner together. I then said to these two young men, “Boys, I don’t know anything about you, except I’ve always liked you, but if there’s anything funny in the life of either one of you that would hurt anybody in this case, you speak up quick.”

And Fred Fisher said, “Mr. Welch, when I was in the law school, and for a period of months after, I belonged to the Lawyers’ Guild,” as you have suggested, Senator. He went on to say, “I am Secretary of the Young Republican’s League in Newton with the son of [the] Massachusetts governor, and I have the respect and admiration of my community, and I’m sure I have the respect and admiration of the twenty-five lawyers or so in Hale & Dorr.” And I said, “Fred, I just don’t think I’m going to ask you to work on the case. If I do, one of these days that will come out, and go over national television, and it will just hurt like the dickens.” And so, Senator, I asked him to go back to Boston.

With that mention of his own interrogation of Fisher and decision not to bring him to DC, Welch was inadvertently testifying to the corrosive process by which moderates, centrists, liberals, and leftists—across the country, at all levels of government, in the tiniest corners and most obscure crevices of civil society—cooperated with McCarthyism, lest they too become targets not just of McCarthy (who was, after all, just the tip of the red-baiting iceberg) but also of the FBI, freelance blacklisters, employers, and more.

In the face of red-baiting, many of these establishment figures didn’t speak up or protest; they cleaned their own house, making sure that they wouldn’t be targeted next. Welch’s decision to keep Fred Fisher out of the hearings was, all things considered, relatively anodyne; usually, people were simply purged. As Yale’s president famously put it, “There will be no witch hunts at Yale because there are no witches at Yale.”  (To get the tiniest flavor of how creepy this process was, just read the story of Robert Bellah’s encounter with McGeorge Bundy at Harvard.)

These were the men, in other words, who quietly, subtly, carefully colluded with the red baiters’ (including McCarthy) indecency throughout the Cold War. They colluded and colluded until that rare moment when they finally exploded, as Welch did on June 9, 1954, in recognition that McCarthy’s indecency was total, that there was no saving remnant of virtue or value that might mitigate it. But until then, they were silent, or worse.

(It should be said that liberals and Democrats played their own considerable role in generating McCarthyism. Indeed, McCarthyism was, to some degree, the tail end of a long process of persecution and purging the left, which liberals had been engaging in long before anyone had ever even heard the name Joseph McCarthy. So when Politico says, “McCarthy and his committee were the leading edge of a ‘Red Scare,’” they’re peddling pure bullshit. But that’s another subject that I’ve dealt with elsewhere on numerous occasions. My focus here is more limited.)

There’s a point here about political evil, a point that Hannah Arendt understood all too well. One of the reasons evil attracts this extended circle of collaborators and colluders is that it seldom arrives in a big box, wrapped in a bow, labeled “evil.” Instead, it works in small and subtle ways, overtaking a society slowly but surely, working its way through those grey zones where people can’t see clearly, where they aren’t quite sure what it is they are dealing with, till, when they finally figure it out, it’s too late.

As I wrote in The Nation last year:

Arendt attends to the smallest moments of the Shoah, not to lend her account novelistic detail but to make the point that the devil literally is in the details. “Cooperation” with evil is “gradual,” she explained to a correspondent. It’s always “difficult indeed to understand when the moment had come to cross a line which never should have been crossed.” That is also the banality of evil: the smallness of its package, those gray lines, those devilish details….

If evil comes in small steps, overcoming it, nearing goodness, also inheres in small steps. As Susan Neiman explains: “Arendt was convinced that evil could be overcome only if we acknowledge that it overwhelms us in ways that are minute. Great temptations are easier to recognize and thus to resist, for resistance comes in heroic terms. Contemporary dangers begin with trivial and insidious steps.”

And that brings me to my second point.

By the time Welch confronted McCarthy, by the time he recognized and proclaimed McCarthy’s evil to the world, it was too late. The damage had been done. The red-baiting had done its work. (Likewise the Supreme Court’s heralded rebuke to McCarthyism.)

What finally did Joe McCarthy in was not Joseph Welch. It was the fact that the GOP was getting decreasing returns out of redbaiting the Democrats—redbaiting and McCarthy had helped them get liberals booted out of the Senate and get the Democrats to purge whatever remaining elements of the left they had not already purged in the late 1940s—and the fact that McCarthy had begun to turn on the GOP (and the security establishment), too. Within four short years, their wonder-boy asset had become an increasingly erratic, almost sclerotic liability.

Welch’s question—have you no decency left—could more properly be posed as: Have you no utility left? When the good and the great finally denounce the bad and the worse, it’s not because the latter has crossed some Rubicon of decency; it’s usually because they’re useless or threatening to established interests. And it takes no great act of courage to denounce them; often, that’s just a sign that the object of denunciation is already down or defeated.

I was thinking about this episode this weekend, reading the reactions to Donald Trump’s comments about Khizr Khan’s moving speech about his son, Humayun Khan, who fought and was killed in Iraq. In response to Khan’s powerful criticisms of Trump at the DNC, Trump claimed:

If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me.

With its suggestion that Ghazala Khan was silent because Muslim women aren’t allowed to speak in public, Trump’s comment was gross in every way. And, yes, indecent. Profoundly indecent.

(Though it was an obscenity, pales in comparison, it has to be said, for  to the decision of the US government to ask and send Humayun Khan to fight and die in an unjust, senseless, terrible war. A war, we should never forget, that Hillary Clinton and other prominent Democrats voted for. People watching Clinton at the DNC thrilled to her claim that Jackie Kennedy “said that what worried President Kennedy during that very dangerous time [the Cuban Missile Crisis] was that a war might be started—not by big men with self-control and restraint, but by little men—the ones moved by fear and pride.” But the sad and scary truth of the Iraq War is that the junior senator from New York who voted to authorize George W. Bush to launch it was not a little man moved by fear and pride but an accomplished, talented, experienced, well informed, pragmatic, careful and cautious, supremely controlled politician who also happens to be a woman. Life would be a whole lot simpler if that were not the case.)

Among the many journalistic critics of Trump, James Fallows was the first to invoke the Joseph Welch precedent. Responding to an earlier iteration of Trump’s comment, Fallows wrote:

But it is important to document the starkness of the two conceptions of America that are on clear view, 100 days before this man could become president. The America of the Khan family, and that of Donald Trump.

“Until this moment, I think I never really gauged your cruelty.” Joseph Welch, 1954.

Ezra Klein followed up. Citing Fallows’s quoting of Welch, Klein wrote:
At this point, I honestly don’t know what to say. I don’t have new language for this, I haven’t found another way of saying this isn’t okay, this isn’t kind, this isn’t decent.

This is the woman Trump decided to slander. This is the gauge of his cruelty.

This isn’t partisan. This isn’t left vs. right. Mitt Romney never would have said this. John McCain never would have said this. George W. Bush never would have said this. John Kerry never would have said this. This is what I mean when I write that the 2016 election isn’t simply Democrat vs. Republican, but normal vs. abnormal.

What kind of person is Donald Trump? What kind of person says these things?

As emotionally, and perhaps politically, satisfying as these questions are, they are the wrong questions. Like so much of the commentary on the GOP presidential candidate, Klein’s focuses on the person—and the novelty—of Donald Trump rather than on the party and the movement that produced him.

Countering that amnesia doesn’t require any elaborate education in American history; simply recall three moments of recent memory.

In 2002, Georgia’s Democratic senator  Max Cleland—a Vietnam vet who had his two legs and part of his arm torn to shreds by a grenade, leaving him in a wheelchair for life, his two legs and part of his arm amputated—lost his Senate seat to Saxby Chambliss. Why? Despite Cleland’s lead in the polls, Chambliss (who went onto serve in the Senate for two terms as an esteemed Republican, for Saxby is an honorable man) ran television ads questioning Cleland’s patriotism (complete with likenesses of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden). The man had given his two legs and part of his arm to this country, but the Republican Party saw fit to back a candidate, and subsequently a two-term senator, who had the indecency to say that Cleland’s commitment to his country was not to be trusted. questioned Cleland’s patriotic commitments.

In 2004, the Republican shadow apparatus ran an entire campaign against John Kerry’s war record, claiming that despite his winning of a Bronze Star and Silver Star for what he did in Vietnam, despite the fact that he had put himself in into considerable danger to help save his unit, Kerry actually betrayed his country. Not just when he returned from Vietnam and helped lead the opposition to the war, but also while he was fighting the war, putting his life at risk. That these ads were made on behalf of a candidate who used his family connections to get out of fighting that war only added to the indecency.

That same year, Cindy Sheehan’s son Casey was killed while serving in Iraq. She soon began protesting the war and George W. Bush, camping outside his ranch in Crawford for weeks on end to highlight what had happened to her son and the injustice and folly of the war. Bill O’Reilly said:

I think Mrs. Sheehan bears some responsibility…for the other American families who lost sons and daughters in Iraq who feel this kind of behavior borders on treasonous.

Michelle Malkin even invoked the memory of Sheehan’s dead son against her: “I can’t imagine that Casey Sheehan would approve of such behavior.” Fred Barnes called her “a crackpot.”

Here we have an instance of a Democratic presidential candidate, a sitting Democratic senator, and a prominent antiwar activist—all with stories of patriotic, almost unthinkable sacrifice—subjected to a pattern and practice of humiliating, disgusting slurs and smears. By figures high and low in—and near and only slightly less near to—the Republican Party.

That we can sit here and act as if Donald Trump’s indecency is a singular pathology rather than a systemic mode of politics (I don’t have time to get into here the ways in which the Democratic Party has often enabled this rightward march over the years, but suffice it to say, that must be part of any real historical reckoning); that we can treat his arrival on the scene as a novelty and an innovation rather than the logical outgrowth of years of right-wing revanchism; that we would invoke against Trump Trump, as Klein does, the memory of an earlier, more decent Republican Party, present as recently as one election ago: that is itself a kind of collusion, an erasure of the past, a collusion with indecency.

In the same way that it took no great act of courage for Joseph Welch to denounce a man who was already on his knees, it requires no bravery—and betrays a great forgetting—to denounce Trump while exonerating the party and the movement that produced him.

It is also a dangerous forgetting: after all, before you can cross a Rubicon, you’ve got to march a considerable way.

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23 days ago
"...before you can cross a Rubicon, you’ve got to march a considerable way."
24 days ago
"That we can sit here and act as if Donald Trump’s indecency is a singular pathology rather than a systemic mode of politics (I don’t have time to get into here the ways in which the Democratic Party has often enabled this rightward march over the years, but suffice it to say, that must be part of any real historical reckoning); that we can treat his arrival on the scene as a novelty and an innovation rather than the logical outgrowth of years of right-wing revanchism; that we would invoke against Trump the memory of an earlier, more decent Republican Party, present as recently as one election ago: that is itself a kind of collusion, an erasure of the past, a collusion with indecency."
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22 days ago
It "betrays a great forgetting — to denounce Trump while exonerating the party and the movement that produced him."

medieisme: restlesstymes: refinery29: Watch: Leslie Jones...

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Watch: Leslie Jones gave a touching tribute to Whoopi Goldberg about why representation matters

Gifs: The View

Just beautiful <3 @lemonade-time

oh my god. Imagine being Whoopi and hearing that though.

Well, when I was nine years old Star Trek came on,“ Goldberg says. “I looked at it and I went screaming through the house, ‘Come here, mum, everybody, come quick, come quick, there’s a black lady on television and she ain’t no maid!’ I knew right then and there I could be anything I wanted to be.” - See more at: http://www.startrek.com/database_article/goldberg-whoopi#sthash.gKeuf3XI.dpuf

That’s three generations. Nichelle Nichols to Whoopi Goldberg to Leslie Jones.

Originally posted by geekandsundry

Representation fucking matters.

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39 days ago
This is cool.
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39 days ago
As a black person, 1000x yes. Also a black president (2terms) is the watershed moment for me. It's probably just so obvious, but I don't hear it talked about much.
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