We’re proud of you, Minnesota

We’re proud of you, Minnesota

Minnesota has long stood for progress, made clear most recently by Governor Dayton’s investments in education, protecting the environment, and his stance on refugees. And by putting president-elect Donald Trump in third place on Super Tuesday, and being one of the only Midwest states to vote for Hilary Clinton, Minnesotans soundly rejected the fear-mongering and isolationism that somehow became policy during this most recent presidential election. While the president-elect was running on that platform, a different campaign was being run in Minnesota’s Distict 60B. And while Hilary Clinton may not have made history, one woman in Minnesota certainly did. Ilhan Omar was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives on the evening of November 8, 2016, and will represent one of Minneapolis’ most diverse neighborhoods. After escaping civil war in her home country of Somalia at age eight, she then spent four years in a Kenyan refugee camp before finally making it to Minneapolis. Omar also happens to be the first Somali-American legislator in the country. Omar, a strong force for women as progressive DFL activist, community educator, and Director of Policy Initiatives at Women Organizing Women, would have to be considered among the “problems” the president-elect called out during his brief visit to the state. Or his brief visit to a hangar at MSP airport, rather. “…you’ve seen firsthand the problems caused with faulty refugee vetting, with large numbers of Somali refugees coming into your state without your knowledge, without your support or approval, and with some of them then joining ISIS and spreading their extremist views all over our country and all over the world.” But we know better here. While the...
The philosopher and the party

The philosopher and the party

Tonight, the sun will sink below the horizon as it always does. Streetlights will blink on, one by one. Overstated neons will glow in the darkness. Bars, clubs, dance halls, music venues, and house parties all across the world will fill with people looking to leave the world behind. The nihilistic nature of partying Nihilism rejects the “higher powers” of religion and morality. It is often discussed in terms of extreme skepticism (i.e. a questioning or doubt toward knowledge) and relativism (i.e. there is no certain truth; only our perceptions exist). For most of the 20th century it has been associated with the belief that life is meaningless. So what is the point of living? While this is often seem as a negative thing, especially by those with religious faith, it doesn’t have to be. “Meaningless” doesn’t mean life without joy; nihilism doesn’t mean without activity. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (IEP), defines a “true nihilist” as one who “would believe in nothing, have no loyalties, and no purpose other than, perhaps, an impulse to destroy.” Staying up, partying all night, watching the sunrise through a haze from the floor of a hotel room or some random house or the street is a way to destroy; to break from normalcy, reject anything greater than ourselves, and affirm that nothing really matters. In this age of information, we grew up knowing that nothing is forever. Uncertainty can be  something of a security blanket, i.e. “ignorance is bliss,” and fuels a hope that because we don’t know for certain, there might still be meaning to all of this. There might be a greater purpose,...
A brief history of Black Lives Matter

A brief history of Black Lives Matter

The murder of Philando Castile has placed tragedy on St. Paul’s doorstep once again. Marcus Golden was shot and killed by police in January of 2015, and, in the seemingly short year and a half since, there have been a startling number of black men and women across the country killed by police. This is not a 2016 phenomenon; this clip from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, for example, dates back to 1991: There are two ends of the spectrum. On one, those who offer unequivocal support. On the other, those quick to cast aspersions; those who don’t think the officers did anything wrong, believe that the black men and women who lost their lives perhaps “deserved it,” or simply don’t believe something like Black Lives Matter should exist. It has been called a “terrorist organization,” it’s been accused of inciting violence, and it’s been dismissed by anyone upset that protesters haven’t stayed out of the way when protesting. Okay, so maybe it isn’t that simple. There are plenty of people unsure of what the movement is and what it stands for. Few know the actual story, the philosophy and the goals of Black Lives Matter, and the reason why it is so necessary.   Black Lives Matter: More than a hashtag, more than a disruption of your daily commute, and certainly not a terrorist organization.   After the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in the summer of 2013, and the subsequent acquittal of George Zimmerman, the movement began with a simple hashtag: #BlackLivesMatter. Co-founded by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, community organizers and friends from San Francisco, it began as a...
Ageism in America: What’s the point of living if no one wants to f*ck you?

Ageism in America: What’s the point of living if no one wants to f*ck you?

There is a stigma about growing old(er) in America that translates, usually, into ageism. Growing old is not a death sentence. Let me rephrase. The way the young view growing old is that life is over after 30 (or 35 or 40 if you’re lucky), while those who have made it past 30 will tell you that you don’t truly start living until after that. Ageism is exactly what it sounds like: Discriminating against someone because of their age. It’s the only negative “-ism” that America not only doesn’t protest or march against, but seems to embrace. We celebrate youth in America like we’re worried “Children of Men” is going to become a reality. (Note: Of course America is not the only place where this happens. But for the purposes of this article, we’re keeping it here.) Growing old is something to be laughed at, poked at, ridiculed, and shamed. Even as we’re living longer, and hearing things like “30 is the new 20” and “50 is the new 30” it seems people are worried more than ever about growing old. But like your skin color or sexual preferences, it’s not something you can control. Here we take a look at some of the attitudes and mindsets the American culture has about aging; about growing old, and being old.   This world was made for robots We treat our elderly the way we treat our electronics. When someone gets too old, they get replaced by something newer, sleeker, sexier, younger. And it’s without shame. So be a robot. There is routine. Follow the routine. Wake up, go to work, come home. This routine has worked...
Gender Blur

Gender Blur

The idea of being genderless is nothing new, as androgyny can be traced all the way back to the Greek god Aphroditus. But there has been a lot of talk in the news lately about gender; about male and female, boy and girl, who is allowed to identify as guy or gal, and, perhaps more importantly, what factors identify as such. And with all of the talk especially about who is allowed to use what bathroom, it’s clear that being safe and comfortable with your sexual orientation, who you’re interested in, and how you identify yourself is still something John Q public needs not only to discuss, but regulate. But, eventually, that won’t really matter. Gender has become a fluid concept. The generation inheriting this country has a very different view of gender, of “LGBT” and “straight,” and of the limiting, binary notion of what makes us who we are. Alongside public figures like Jayden Smith and Miley Cyrus, and David Bowie who blurred the lines for decades, it’s becoming more evident that those fighting for “traditional” gender norms are ending up on the wrong side of history. Here are some numbers. A report from Intelligence Group found that 60% of people between the ages of 14 and 34 believe gender lines have been blurred, and believe their generation is doing the blurring. According to a Gallup survey, 6.4% of people aged 18-29 identify as LGBT (which is triple the number of people aged 65+). And, a Fusion poll conducted last year determined half of Millennials believe that gender is not limited to male and female; that gender exists on a...