Sunday, August 06, 2017

The Lexdate: THE Project, Activism, Quantifying the Activism, & Activism Tweets


All that stuff in the last entry about working on continuing education to maintain my insurance producer license, I slacked a bit on it. I started in on a jag of project research after a gaming session where I had a can of Mountain Dew after an advisable time.

Ended up staying all night and the night after doing some major online research into some social history in the colonial and antebellum United States regarding slavery and prejudice. It became a major focus over the the last two to four weeks. The research became really productive when I got into the rhetoric before the Revolution, a survey of British political history since the Magna Carta, and Classical Replubicanism.

It took a few weeks how using the word 'slave' as justification for colonists to revolt exposed their hypocrisy about slavery. to the Northeast. . .though it didn't do much to fight actual prejudice. . .and also the extent to which the fervor of sentiment for Classical Republicanism really invigorated the Colonies and even the country for years after. It took me longer than I feel it should take an American to get this stuff, but at least I got there.

Friday I think got to where I needed for this tangent of thinking. I familiarized myself with terms such as ethnocracy and state capitalism. Having terms such as these will help me with this one particular community to conceive and discuss some tensions in it and around it.

As I've heard in the academic and fantasy words, if you name it, you tame it. I still have a lot of work and other aspects to research. On top of that, I've had my hopes raised too much on this project to let myself get too wxcited now. A question could raise itself at some point, toppling this house of cards.


I haven't done the best job putting myself into any line (front, back, or wherever) in the realm of political and social activism. I've done plenty of armchair politicizing signing online petitions, discussing and arguing on social media and with real live people, sharing news articles and petitions, and tweeting at my elected officials (and maybe a few other ones) to at hopefully have my thoughts reach them.

Once I tried calling one of my representatives, senators, or something like that, but I just got a voicemail that stated it was full and wouldn't take any more additional. Admittedly I made that call at something like 6 PM or 7 PM CST, so everyone could have gone home for the night or been in some late night session.

I've told myself that my long working hours in, frankly, a conservative office has tired me out for anything like that. I also don't feel comfortable making political phone calls while walking the streets. Now that I think about it, though, I can think of a place or two where I would feel comfortable making some phone calls.

And wow. . .do I have some calls to make, just to my Illinois politicians. I don't know how well known the new "education budget" controversy is to the rest of the country/world, but whoo! There's a ton of other things on the docket to bother our politicians about: Minimum Wage Hike to $15, Closing Corporate Loopholes, urging them to adopt progressive income taxes, closing carried interest loopholes, and plenty of other things.

On the Chicago front, there's the Cardenas-Garza TIF Ordinance to require the City to use surplus TIF funds for social funds rather than as a the politicians' slush funds.

Trying to push politicians in the right direction takes a lot of work!


All that said, I can at least feel good about setting up monthly donations, a couple one-time donations, using to direct a portion of my purchase price to organizations that do good, and even labors of love. I feel that financial contributions do as much good as calling our elected officials, but doing them both does an even better job. After all, these profressionals getting to address the politics and social ills full time rather than, like me and others, when they can slip away from their day job (and some even have to do a day job and this good work on an extra curricular level).

I want to repurpose how Pat Flynn over at Smart Passive Income does his Income Reports. Instead of for reporting on how much I bring in from projects and investments, though, I like the idea of reporting my output to organizations for the social good. I don't really have an overarching motivation other than maybe encouraging others to open their wallets and get up to make the world a little better of a place.

Before getting into the report, though, the Freakonomics Radio had an interesting episode called "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Money (But Were Afraid to Ask". The guest on the episode wanted to make up the fewest, easy to remember rules about money, so he wrote nine of them on an index card (he added a tenth one that almost didn't need to be written: remember these rules). Most of the rules don't work for me, but they make a good base for people who don't know much about money and aren't comfortable when it comes to finances.

I really, really, really liked his ninth rule: "Do what you can to support the social safety net." Since Trump was inaugurated into office, I've come to believe in the importance of this rule increasingly more each and every day, even before I heard it. The guest has his own story about taking on the responsibility of taking care of a relative who couldn't take care of themselves, and the guest wouldn't have been able to take care of the relative without the web of governmental social safety nets and probably non-governmental safety nets.

As for me, it's terrifying to me to see how it just takes one man, their cronies, and the cooperation of people who just plain don't give a shit about other people, the environment, or just plain the betterment of existence. These people will not just keep the world a bad place, they will work to hurt people and destroy the environment for their own profit and ideology. Thank goodness we have the current courts keeping things relatively sane, disagreement amongst the conservatives and ultra conservatives, and that some people are starting to see that the current agenda being realized will only lead us backward and may even destroy many peoples' lives in the present and the future, let alone say what it will do for civilization as we know it, in just the next 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 years. We all have to get involved to prevent or, where not possible, reduce the damage that these horrible people will do.

Now onto my Political and Social Justice and Safety Output Report:

  • Uncanny Magazine: Uncanny Magazine: A Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy doesn't hide the fact that they advocate for intersectional representational and social safety nets. So far this year, I estimate that I've invested 8 hours to reading unsolicited fiction submissions to judge whether they fit the needs of the magazine at the time or not then send them up to the Editors, if they are, and also helping to do some final proofreading on the final proof.

  • Fair Elections Legal Network crowd source campaign called Restore Voting Rights in Florida!: $25 one-time pledge that helped them surpass their goal of $25,000. This campaign is to assist people who served jail time to restore their right to vote in Florida when they leave prison. As it stands now, they have to take a lot of extra steps, not just registering to vote, to get their right to vote back. If the Fair Elections Legal Network succeeds at their campaign, they should make the return of voting rights return automatically after someone leaves prison and has successfully served their time.

    This one came as an impulse donation because I had made a big argument about the injustice of voter suppression in our country, and I felt the need to put my money where my mouth was.

  • The Sierra Club Foundation via $5.67 in 2017

    I think a little bit actually went to the ACLU at the beginning, but a lot of people around me have been donating to the ACLU, and I had read soon after about how much the Sierra Club had been and is doing to fight Trump and the GOP trying to destroy environmental protections that were put into place previously for the profits of large corporations. I'm sorry, that's disgusting, even if someone's using a "jobs argument". If we destroy clean water and the environment, those additional jobs won't mean shit. As an additional note, the Amazon Smile program has raised an aggregate of $24,364,61 for the Sierra Club so far this year. I tried finding the tally for ACLU but gave up after a little bit. Anybody in the audience use AmazonSmile to donate to ACLU and able to look up the total amount they have received so far in 2017?

  • VstheUniverse: $2 per month, $12 so far in 2017.

    VstheUniverse doesn't fit the description of political or social justice/safety net organization, but they do promote a lot of local Chicago nerdy personalities that play a fair part in fighting the good fight for social and intersectional representation justice. They also help me laugh, whether live at their live "Geek Show" or through their various nerdy podcasts and Youtube videos.

  • American Public Media's Marketplace: $7 per month, $49 so far in 2017. I started donating here in 2016.

    Not directly an activist organization, but you can get plenty of commentary about politics and how business and economics work in our nation and world. Since Trump entered the campaign, they had a lot of educated opinions on how much he doesn't seem to understand the economy and how his policy ideas won't have the positive effect that he hopes. There's also plenty of interesting stories about international politics and financial stuff. This donation comes down to supporting the need for good information needing to get to the people, and well, I listen to many of the podcasts this organization puts out.

  • The Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness: $5 per month, first donation on 7/31/2017

    Frankly, this one comes from feeling a large amount of guilt about pandhandlers, especially this one I had last week. I don't carry around cash or if I do, it's pretty much earmarked for a purchase that I plan to make. Plus, honestly, most of the money that I don't have earmarked or goes right into savings the day I receive my paycheck, that money goes toward paying down the credit cards. I can handle $5 a month automatically being charged to a credit card, though. Now I feel like I should direct panhandlers to this place. Because frankly, the Alliance probably has a better way of helping these people improve their lives than I do and it will probably help to tally these people into some statistics somewhere, so we can know really how bad the problem of homelessness is in this country.

  • Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago: $5 per month, first donation on 7/31/2017

    Frankly, the economically underpriveleged are vastly underrepresented legally. Getting them money, alone, won't be enough for improving their lives, especially when the law is prejudiced against them. This charity does a lot to help the economically underpriveleged in Chicago maintain rights that they're legally entitled to.

  • The Center for Popular Democracy: $5 per month, first donation on 7/31/2017

    This one arose further out of my Facebook argument point about voter suppression and feeling the need to put my money where my mouth was. This organization fights voter suppression, but that's just one thing that they fight. They're looking for popular democracy to grow in our country. So do I. Maybe my full donation won't go toward voter suppression all the time, but I can feel comfortable that it will go to growing popular democracy in the United States.

    Anybody know of any organizations that focus on voter suppression and accept automatic monthly donations?

  • Chicago Public Media 91.5 WBEZ (NPR): $5 per month, $35 in 2017. Started donating in 2016.

    My rationale for donating to Chicago Public Media is similar to my donation to Marketplace at American Public Media. To be a good citizen, we need good information to make good decisions and judgments and to know what we can do to help improve our communities, country, and the world. NPR provides pretty much objective news (though many will argue that it's either Left or Right, equally so which makes me think it's pretty objective), so it makes for a good start.

  • The NAACP: $5 a month, $35 so far for 2017.

    People of all types of Color have a shitty deal. The NAACP might be a little old fashioned and may not always be in touch with activists of and for color these days. Nonetheless, after hearing an interview about of Cornell Brooks and his emphasis on the importance of forming coalitions with all marginalized groups and people to take on the oppressive behavior of the privileged, I felt that this approach needed my finacial support to hopefully help make it happen. Sadly, I haven't seen this come to much fruition since a lot of Progressive Prejudice is still a norm in the world that makes forming these types of coalitions difficult.

  • Youth Outreach Services: $5 per month, $35 in 2017. Unsure when I started donating.

    Someone interviewed on a podcast inspired me to start donating here and start making donations to charities and poltical activist groups in the first place. The person interviewed had a troubled youth and lived a criminal life in Chicago. At some point, someone from this organization reached out to them, inspired them to fix their life and do more to contribute to society. This ex-con has now gotten very involved with Youth Outreach Services and is working to help others get out of that kind of life or prevent them from even starting it. Some day I hope to maybe volunteer or get more involved, but I feel the need to build more confidence and exposure. Nonetheless, after many stories of how religious leaders have ministered to underpriveleged neighborhoods and seen how they have improved the lives of people in those neighborhoods, I've found this type of thing a strange combination of effective and possibly problematics at some times, but it's a start that I believe shows some real benefit.

  • The National Alliance to End Homelessness: $4.56 per month, $31.92 in 2017. Unsure when I started donating.

    My donations to Youth Outreach Sevices helped inspire me setting up this monthly donation. Helping the youth in Chicago is great and one thing, but nationally, more needs to be done to improve the lot of people in economically underprivileged situations, whether through direct action or lobbying the government to put together programs or laws, especially in this time where we have lawmakers that don't give a shit about people who haven't made it, even though the society created by them and I'll even include an us prevents them from making it in the first place. People all over the place need our help. I don't have all the money in the world, but I like to think that even these small donations can help improve the lot of people in unfortunate situations and hopefully decrease the chance of it happening to people in the future.

  • Per month total: $43.56. Total one time: $25. Grand total as of end of July 2017: $239.92.

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