Thursday, December 14, 2017

"You Didn't Do Anything Illegal"

That's what the cop led with when he pulled me over, "You didn't do anything illegal." That was probably in response to the look of bafflement on my face because I didn't know why I was being pulled over. What he said didn't clear that up because, then, my mind immediately went to, "Then why am I being pulled over?"

He answered my unspoken question, "You made someone else do something illegal."
What the fuck?
Someone else broke the law and I'm the one being pulled over?
Not that I said any of that.
He was already going on, anyway, about how when I pulled over at the curb to drop my son off someone else had, instead of waiting, gone around me. They went around me in a no-passing area so crossed the double lines to do it.

Here's what was happening:
It was raining, so I was taking my son to school. Normally, he rides the city bus, but it's a pretty long way to the bus stop, and I didn't want him to have to walk in the rain, especially since it had turned out that he had outgrown his jacket, something I didn't know about until the rain started. [Yes, he has a new one now.]

I drop him off on this side street down by the junior college because it's a relatively close point to the building he's going to. Just to be clear:
There is no red painting on the curb.
There are no signs prohibiting stopping or dropping off/picking up.
There might be a "no parking" sign somewhere along the street, but, obviously, I didn't park. I might have been pulled over to the curb for something like 10 seconds, long enough for my son to hop out and shut the door.

So I pulled over and he got out, and some car went around me while I was doing it. However, that was the only other car on the road. It was a pretty light traffic morning. After my son got out and I began to pull away, the cop turned on his lights and bwooped his siren at me. I actually looked around for other cars that he could be flagging down, because what had I done?

Nothing illegal.

But, seeing as I was the only car, I pulled around the corner on the next side street and pulled over. the cop came up to my window and said, "Don't worry; you didn't do anything illegal." Then he went on at great length about how I had caused the other driver to make an illegal action, then went on to say how I should be grateful that he was only giving me a warning because he could give me a several hundred dollar ticket...
What the fuck?
He was saving me from a ticket from a non-illegal action I took?
What could he have even given me a ticket for?
But I didn't say any of that.
I learned the hard way a long time ago about what it gets you to argue with a cop, especially when the cop is in the wrong. It doesn't matter if what a cop is doing is wrong or illegal: The cop has all the power. Kind of like when your dad punishes you for something your brother did because your dad likes your brother more (true story).

Here's the thing:
What the cop did was illegal. Pulling me over and taking my license and registration without just cause was an illegal act. You can't just stop someone for driving. Or for walking down the street. Or for whatever thing a cop may decide to do to you for whatever spurious reason he has. Unfortunately, I didn't have the presence of mind to get his badge number or anything. At that moment, I was just being glad he wasn't making up a false ticket and wanted to go.

This is the kind of thing that cops count on, though, and it's why they feel empowered to do... well, whatever they want to do. Look, I'm a white dude, and that cop felt completely within his rights to pull me over. Illegally. But, you know, maybe he thought I was going to be some mom dropping off her kid, which is probably much more frequent, and he thought he could get a little bit of intimidation going on. [I have heard -- literally listened to -- cops bragging about how they will pull women over for no reason just to see what will happen. And, yes, sometimes "things" happen, and they always happen because the woman feels intimidated.] And it's because cops feel empowered to do this kind of thing that black men wind up shot.

And Trump (#fakepresident), especially, has made cops feel emboldened to do as they please. [Yes, I listened to a cop talk about that, too, about how now that Trump was #fakepresident cops wouldn't have to worry so much about following the rules.

People who work for the public, whether they be cops or politicians, should not feel like they are the ones running the show. The GOP, especially, feels like they get to make the rules no matter how the public feels about what they're doing. They're playing "daddy" with the whole country, and it's time to put an end to it. This whole patriarchy thing really has to go.

Cops should be held accountable when they do illegal things.
Here's an idea, cops who shoot people should automatically lose their jobs. Maybe that would make some of them stop and think about whether there's a better solution than a gun.
Pedophiles shouldn't get to hold office. Or even run for election.

Monday, December 11, 2017

A Pocketful of Marbles

Remember marbles?
Not, do you know what is a marble, but do you remember marbles? Like from when you were a kid. Back when marbles were magical and sprang into existence through spontaneous generation and you only acquired new ones by finding them, trading for them, or having some benevolent Being gift some to you. When I was a kid, I did, in fact, have a special bag just for marbles. And acquiring new marbles was always cause for trading with my friends, some of whom also had marble bags though some just had jars.

Marbles were like trophies. When you're a kid, trophies also are like magical totems that come into existence for the sole purpose of being awarded to kids who have risen to the level of trophydom. After all, you can't buy trophies at the store, so they must be special. Unless, you know, there are special trophy stores... which there are... but you don't find that out until you're older. Like that whole Santa Claus thing.

But marbles! Marbles were better than gold. Of course, mostly, you could only trade them for other marbles... unless you had some super-cool marble, and, those, you could trade for almost anything. They were magic baubles. You could do a lot when you were a kid with a pocketful of marbles.
Not so much anymore, probably, but the philosophy is sound.

Because, in the end, marbles are worthless. Just bits of polished glass.

Dazzling, polished glass.

Right now, Republicans, the voters, are being dazzled by these bits of polished glass. GOP congressmen have filled their pockets with marbles and are trading them for your freedom. For our freedom, and you Republicans keep handing us over to them in exchange for shiny baubles that mean nothing.

They offer you a wall to keep out all of those dirty illegals,
and you give them your healthcare.

They offer you a tax break,
but they raise your taxes so that the rich can continue to get richer.

They offer you jobs
but give you a ruined environment.

They offer you guns
but give those to you as mass shootings, because the US is #1 in the world in mass shootings, the GOP is determined to keep us that way. After all, America has to be great at something, right?

They offer you marbles,
and you give them your freedom.

Unless your idea of freedom is the freedom to pay them more money. For everything.
Because that's what the GOP is all about, pricing the poor out of life and making slaves of them. And if you're not super rich, you're the poor. In the Republican world view, there is no middle class, and they're doing everything they can to siphon all of that money up to people who already have too much.

So if you're a Republican or if you vote Republican, especially if you voted for Trump (#fakepresident), I hope you have fun playing with your marbles. Maybe one day you'll open your eyes (or get your heads out of your asses) and see that you gave away everything of value for a few bits empty promises and polished gas.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Rebels: "Blood Sisters" (Ep. 2.08)

"It was mostly just an accident."

I've mentioned before the lack of attention given to the female characters and who they are and where they came from. We got origin-type material for Ezra and Kanan and, even, Zeb fairly early on, but, until now, there's been very little background provided about Sabine or Hera. Not that there's a lot in this episode, but it's something.

So what do we know now?
Sabine used to be a bounty hunter.
I don't know; she seems a little young to have used to have been a bounty hunter, but I suppose that explains the Mandalorian armor.
She used to have a partner. And they... split up, not on the best of terms.
Which, of course, makes their reunion less than pleasant.

I wish I could say that there was some kind of moral dilemma in all of this -- I'm going to be spoilery here -- some kind of dealing with past emotional trauma or... something..., but there's not. The Empire conveniently shows up and puts the two "friends" back together again. In some ways, it's a "Han Solo scenario," but it doesn't quite go that far.


It's a fine episode. Lots of action. But it's another reminder that Rebels fails to tackle the difficult questions.