politics and power

Now that I’m no longer in college, I find reading philosophy oddly pleasurable.

I’m also a little angry that these dudes had all these grandiose theories and didn’t do shit about them. Ah, but maybe that will be me too.

What I’ve been wondering lately is whether or not politics were always set up to fail? Or if there’s still a way to save them?

In any case, Aristotle, who was oh so sure of himself, argued that political societies were essentially established to enforce justice. So my stubborn ass wrote a paper on how he lived in a dreamworld – as in yes, political societies may have been formed to establish justice (think police, law enforcement), but the only reason they survive is because of a greed for power.

A similar analogy would be how money was created to encourage self-sufficiency (through trading) but now money has become the end goal for many. In the same way, power was allotted to enforce justice but everyone became obsessed with the fucking power.

And so now, there’s a lack of accountability. It seems that many if not all of our politicians have been blinded to the true goal of political societies, not because they don’t care (because you don’t go through the painstaking process of the election if you don’t care), but because they don’t see any other means for survival. Having spent some time in DC, 70% of a politician’s time is spent trying to build up funds for their party if not for their own next election.

Politicians spend so much time trying to make sure they get reelected that they actually don’t have time to focus on the true meaning of justice. It’s become about figuring out how to stay in power, because the other side is so evil. So when someone comes in and has some strong opinions, bad shit is obviously gonna go down because no one is paying attention.

re: John Oliver: Gun Control and Political Suicide

If someone with strong opinions and money comes in, we fucked. Because as a politician, it’s easy to think, I can take this money, spend a little less time campaigning, and spend more time trying to “carry out justice” aka “doing the job I was elected to do”. After all, “If I don’t take this money and don’t get reelected, these people are fucked anyway.” And that is how the government came to be.

My point is, the system kind of screwed them over in the first place. But was it the system? Or is politics itself the problem? After all, whenever power is allocated, something dangerous is always going to happen. In the case of the United States, power was allocated, then a very elaborate system was set up to try and control it, and things still got fucked.

If only there was a way to change the incentive system, to remove all the things that distract politicians from “enforcing justice”. Off the top of my head, money as a means of getting reelected, the polarized party system (where you’re chances of getting elected are higher if you’re own party likes you), honestly, parties in general (just vote for who you agree with jc). Finally, if there were some way to strip the status of equating a politician with power (which I know is an inherent part of the job), it would deter those from running who don’t actually care and are seeking a status symbol.

Useless thoughts, I know.


is life truly a gift?

I think most of us would agree that life is full of suffering.

Most things happen by chance. And yet, we spend life wondering – What is perfection? What is happiness? How do i give my life meaning? And then we find a dream and kill ourselves trying to get there.

For others, there’s not even that chance. for others, life is spent trying to survive. and for what?

So I was inspired by this New Yorker article on anti-natalist David Benatar: “The Case for Not Being Born”

The case is that life is full of suffering. and we spend it trying to defend our children from suffering when the best case would have been to prevent it in the first place. That the gift of being a sentient being is truly a curse.

“While good people go to great lengths to spare their children from suffering, few of them seem to notice that the one (and only) guaranteed way to prevent all the suffering of their children is not to bring those children into existence in the first place”

And truthfully, it’s hard to defend against such a case.

There is so much suffering in the world. And all everyone is trying to do, is to make a case for themselves. A reason for being on this earth that makes all the suffering worth it. It’s why we seek simple pleasures or why we strive for the unattainable goals. Power and money and a belief that we are better than others. That somehow our life was worth a little bit more.

I mean in figuring out the question, what would make me happy, I’m really trying to answer the question, what makes my life worth it? Ironically, a lot of people have kids because that becomes their reason for being.

I don’t have a good answer to “is life truly a gift”, but I wonder if there’s a way to use this line of thinking to better humanity.

The thing is, at least in the US based society, no matter how much you care for others, your first priority is your family, your children, giving them the best that you can and giving away the leftovers if you feel that you have enough. It’s a sentiment of self-preservation and security first and then maybe, just maybe, if you’re feeling generous enough. Even charity is interesting because those who give often take away a good feeling for themselves, that we were generous, that we provided for others. It’s nearly impossible to commit a selfless act.

Perhaps there is a way to ignite a culture of being selfless and to incorporate this into our daily lives beyond what I would call “leftovers”. A shift in frame of mind I suppose. One way would be to somehow boost the power of giving where the “good feeling” that you get from giving is somehow worth significantly more than the good you get from spending on yourself. The other way, which is significantly more difficult, is to somehow get people to care about strangers the way they would care about their own family. I mean, what is it about blood that makes one human’s life more important to us than another (I suppose I wouldn’t understand seeing as I’m not a parent). If we had that perspective though, we would never let others be homeless or to sit in the conditions of prison, or to be refused entry into a country. There must be a way to shift a society’s perspective so that the security of others is closer to being equated with the security of ourselves and our families.

I don’t know what it is. And to be quite honest, I don’t even come close to that level of selflessness. But there must be a way.


I wish there was a way to teach empathy. And to incentivize people to empathize.

To understand that the circumstances of your birth predetermine 50% of your life. Whether that was your parent’s careers and social status and education and maybe their religion. The country that you were born into and maybe even the state.

Your level of intelligence, your physical and mental health.

One of the things our country is struggling with most is the level of empathy. We’re so far apart now and we have no idea how to come back together. We listen to the people we want to listen to. And we trust what they’re saying regardless of what they’re saying. We refuse to listen to each other or to even try and understand.

Yes, it’s true, there are facts. But in my opinion, even facts can be subjective. If we ignore circumstances and individual perspectives, why someone thinks the way they think, how can we possibly think that we have the potential to change their mind? What makes us think that they would trust us enough to listen and if they listened that they would understand?

Truthfully, I feel like I don’t have enough empathy. I grew up as a minority, but with a life of privilege, with parents that were educated and had steady jobs. In a strongly liberal state with liberal parents. And I don’t understand the other side. The other perspective.

Truthfully, every time I try to understand the other side, it makes me angry, because it seems to unreasonable. And because of that, I tune it out. That’s not right.

Truthfully, I sometimes think that people who don’t agree with me are ignorant. But maybe they think the same of me.

We’re so divided now. How can we start to understand?


We keep asking why as if it were the most important thing in the world. As if unraveling this mystery would somehow bring everyone back or prevent the next tragedy. It won’t. It’s partly because of our innate nature as humans to assume that there is a logic behind everything. And it’s partly because we just feel helpless. Because we feel we are owed an explanation, because we feel the victims are owed an explanation, because we feel that understanding may somehow help us fix the problem.

But I’m done. I don’t care why. And I think it’s not only unnecessary, but dangerous to keep digging. Because shootings are never logical. Nothing justifies murder in any case, but certainly nothing justifies the murder of innocent strangers. And when there is a motive behind such an act, it is the very intent of the shooter to have us analyze and analyze until his or her intentions are known. And we walk right into it. Other times, there is no motive. And it’s merely somebody who had a psychotic break. In any case, whatever explanation we come up with will never be enough. Nothing justifies murder.

We need to stop. We need to become obsessed with something else. Something that actually honors the victims. Like I don’t know, maybe taking decisive steps toward gun control to prevent anybody who gets a little urge to buy a fucking assault weapon? Or getting rid of legislation that justifies discrimination against LGBTQIA and other minorities? We need to get angry. We are now so numb to tragedy that a mass shooting will leave us reeling for a couple days or maybe weeks and then we forget. We forget the pain endured by mothers and fathers, husbands and daughters, sons and daughters. We forget the fear that these victims felt in the last moments of their lives. We forget the sacrifices that individuals may have made for their loved ones. We forget all the potential each of these individuals had and the gaping emptiness that their worlds, our worlds, are left with. And when we forget these things, are we even really human anymore?

TL;DR I’m fucking pissed.

A Model Minority… and Ferguson?

Things are happening. Things are happening in America that I don’t even understand. Things are happening across the country and at my little college in the middle of nowhere. It’s weird witnessing something so huge blow up in your face when you’re thousands of miles away. It’s hard for me to focus on anything here when I think about how something so important is happening back at home. And yet, I don’t think I’d be able to handle it if I were at home. Because things are coming to light now that people have been shutting away, pretending that they don’t exist. But here’s the thing. They do exist. And I don’t typically blog about things like this, but I have so many feelings right now and my word vomit needs to come out somewhere.

Ferguson and racism and people not understanding what its like to be seen as a color and not a person. These are the things that have been bothering me. Not so much the not understanding part, but the not even trying to understand part. Because I honestly don’t understand myself, but I am really fucking trying. Frankly, the reason its so hard for me to understand is because this whole situation has put Asian Americans in a bit of a strange place. We, being the so-called “model minority”. To be quite honest, I’m not even completely sure what that means.

I just can’t even.

The thing is, I guess if you’ve never been a minority, it would be nearly impossible to understand what its like. Growing up, I wanted nothing more than to be a white person, because that’s what was normal. That’s what was beautiful. But more than that, it meant that I would have a personality beyond being just an Asian person. You would think that as a twenty-year old, I would’ve gotten over it. But you know what? I haven’t. Every time I walk into a new setting, I find myself having to prove that “I’m different. That I’m not just another Asian.” Whatever that means. I don’t even do it purposefully, its just part of my subconscious now. And I know that I shouldn’t have to prove myself wherever I go, but unfortunately, its become such a normal habit that I don’t even think about it.

The strange thing is, I just spent three months in Japan where for once, I wasn’t a part of the minority. But there certainly was a bit of racism going on. I spent a lot of time with expats who had been living there for thirty plus years. They admitted that they could never be fully satisfied because no matter how great they spoke Japanese or conformed to the culture, they would still be just another white person, never quite accepted. Most of their social circles contained just other expats because it was hard for them to become as close to Japanese people. One of my favorite professors talked about how he hoped to retire to America because there he would at least be accepted and have his own niche; but he couldn’t because he had raised a family in Japan so he had roots there now. To be sure, as a country built by immigrants, America certainly is more welcoming to foreigners than Japan is, but some of this stuff is sadly all too familiar.

I’m in Taiwan now. And despite the fact that I wasn’t raised here, I’ve always felt so at home here, so comfortable. Because here I get to be me, not just that Asian girl that people confuse with the only other Asian girl in the room. It’s a pretty nice feeling.

But Ferguson. And whatever in the world is happening at Williams right now. I’m with you. Words can’t express what I’m feeling right now, but I have so much respect. I might not be able to understand exactly what its like to be every other minority group in the U.S., but I do know what its like to be seen only as your race.

It just pisses me off when people say that these “minorities” are making a big deal out of nothing. Seriously?

Showing a little love for humanity

I don’t usually write about politics, but after working my first week on Capitol Hill, there are a few issues that have really gotten to me that I really just have to vent about. Today I attended a briefing on the crisis at the U.S. Mexico Border regarding the increasing numbers of adolescent crossings across the border. Statistically, there have been 47,000 crossings over the past year, a 92% increase since FY2013, originating primarily from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico. I don’t want to alienate people on either side of the political discussion, but I do need to express my thoughts on why and how we can treat this issue with a little more humanity.

I think when an issue such as immigration becomes so overblown by statistics and the media, it ultimately becomes politicized to the point that people become entranced by what they hear from the news and lose perspective on what something such as “mass deportation” means. It has come to the point that kids are defined as a  security threat and no longer acknowledged as human beings. In another life, they could just as easily have been you or me. And the fact is, when they choose to migrate to the U.S., they understand the risks, the likelihood of limb amputation, rape, trafficking, probably never seeing their mom or dad ever again. They choose to risk the journey because its still better than what they currently face. Rates of violence that are 160-180% greater than those of the U.S., possibly getting shot on the way to school. In numerous areas, fear of the police is just as great as fear of the gangs. These children aren’t crossing so they can pursue the “American Dream”, they’re just trying to find a safe place to live.

I understand and acknowledge the argument that there is poverty and violence in the U.S. as well, that we don’t have the money or time to deal with those that aren’t even citizens of this country. But who says we can’t deal with both simultaneously. Why can’t we treat all humans humanely? Is it really fair to say that it is more okay for 42,000 children (and probably more) to live every day in fear simply because they aren’t a citizen of a particular country?

The fact is that deportations and border security cost this country a significant amount. And based on what these children are willing to sacrifice to make it to the U.S., it seems as if these actions wouldn’t really be much of a deterrent to them. Why not consider spending money on a policy that would benefit all citizens? NAFTA and CAFTA had devastating effects on the countries where they were implemented. They actually spurred much of the mass migration because of their economic consequences. Yet, no one seems to addressing these issues. It just seems to me that instead of shutting out suffering children and pretending we don’t see them, we could implement policies and agreements that benefit their home countries so that they don’t have to choose between a higher life expectancy and being able to grow up with their mom and dad.

I don’t think I could endure in a lifetime what these kids go through at such a young age, and it really breaks my heart that they have no choice but to suffer. We’re all human so why can’t we treat each other with a little bit of humanity?