Another Mystery Blogger Award!

I recently found out that I have been nominated for another blogging award—this time, another Mystery Blogger Award! I want to thank Ospreyshire’s Realm for the nomination—please give the blog a visit! I also thank Okoto Enigma for creating the award; you can find a link to Okoto’s blog here.

As for the rules:

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog.
  2. List the rules.
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  6. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people.
  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify).
  9. Share a link to your best post(s).

I’ve already done the first four on this list, so now to the three things about myself (and these are three other things I haven’t shared before):

  1. While I have my own talents, playing a musical instrument isn’t one of them. I went to a public school that taught violin for a time and then recorder for a time, but I wasn’t exactly the best talent ever at either instrument.
  2. I was into singing, though…in choirs. Between 5th and 12th grade, I was always in my school’s choir, singing at school Masses.
  3. I still enjoy singing, even though I haven’t been in a choir since 12th grade.

As for the questions I was asked, here are my answers:

  1. What makes you an innovative blogger in your field? In my field (social justice blogging), I focus on injustices we may be blind to and/or blindly commit. I think this makes me innovative because most of the time, the injustices that we want to focus on as bloggers are only injustices that end up in the news.
  2. What are issues that you’re passionate about? There are a lot of issues I’m passionate about, such as racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism, indigenous rights, ableism, immigration, and economic justice, just to name a few.
  3. Who are three famous people that you would want to have coffee with? I’d love to have coffee with Archbishop Desmond Tutu as well as Malala Yousafzai for similar reasons— I admire how they integrate their faith with their work (Anglican in the case of Archbishop Tutu, and Muslim in the case of Malala). The third famous person I want to grab coffee with is a choice that may create controversy with soccer/football fans who read my blog…because I’d like to grab coffee with Jürgen Klopp, the manager of Liverpool Football Club. I’m not even a Liverpool supporter, but he’s a funny guy with major interests and passions similar to mine (football/soccer, faith, and, apparently, walking).[1]
  4. Why do you blog and what are your goals for your it? I blog so that people (myself and others) can hopefully be aware of some of these injustices we may’ve been blind to or blindly committed in the past. My goal is for that awareness to spread on those “blind injustices.”
  5. Would you rather own a house that’s attached to an ice cream company or one that’s attached to a chocolate factory? Yes, that’s my required weird/funny question for this award. Haha! I’d rather own a house attached to an ice cream company! With a chocolate factory, I would end up limiting myself to chocolate. But with an ice cream factory, I could have chocolate ice cream if I’d like, but I could also choose to have something other than chocolate if I wanted.

Here are my nominees (with links to their most recent posts, as of the time I was drafting my award acceptance). This is in no particular order:

  1. Novas Namaste 365 Online
  2. denise421win
  3. No Half Measures
  4. Shine Heart
  5. Green Revolt
  6. Retrospective Lily
  7. Invisibly Me
  8. Sylvia Marcia
  9. Gadfly on the Wall
  10. Love is Stronger

My questions for you all are:

  1. What are you passionate about, outside of the topics you blog on?
  2. What made you want to blog on the topics you now write about?
  3. What do you enjoy the most about blogging?
  4. What is the biggest piece of advice that you think new bloggers need to hear?
  5. Are you a superstitious person? If so, what is your biggest superstition? (That’s my funny/weird question.)

Three of my best posts (these are different from the posts I shared the previous time I accepted a Mystery Blogger Award) are:

  1. “Men and Mental Health”: Given the suicide crisis with men in the United States, I thought it was important to really raise awareness on this topic. It looks like I was successful at that, with 115 WordPress likes as of the time of drafting this post!
  2. “Racism Exists Where You Don’t Expect It”: This post, which I wrote nearly two years ago, is a favorite because I was able to turn a negative (racist writing in my neighborhood, including on my own family’s car) into a positive (this post on how racism exists where you don’t expect it).
  3. “Addressing the Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting”: I was worried about the quality of this post because I wrote it literally the night before publication. But, looking back at the timing of the post (mere days after the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh), a blunt and relatively unfiltered view of just how deep anti-Semitism really was/is was maybe what was needed at that time.

Congrats to my nominees, and once again, thank you to Ospreyshire’s Realm for the nomination!


[1] Klopp’s undergraduate thesis was on walking. Additionally, when he was the manager of Borussia Dortmund in Germany, he enjoyed taking walks from his team’s stadium to his home after matches.

Rejecting the Notion that a Presidential Candidate Can be “Too Old”

Recently, some of the younger candidates for President of the United States have argued that certain prominent presidential candidates, especially Joe Biden (who is 76) and Bernie Sanders (who is 77) should “pass the torch” to a new generation of leadership. Congressman Eric Swalwell (now a former candidate), former HUD Secretary Julian Castro, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, in particular, have made these sorts of arguments. Even CNN moderators at the recent presidential debate had questions directed at the older candidates which implied the “old is bad” thinking. Such arguments have received attention—so much so that the anti-ageism organization that I am a part of, the Gray Panthers, has gotten quoted by the media such as the Boston Globe and Daily Beast about the question of whether these candidates are “too old.”

The aforementioned candidates are wrong—there is no such thing as a candidate being “too old” for the presidency.

However, I’m going to go one step further, and also reject a number of common notions about presidential candidates and age that are ageist.

One such notion is that old candidates lack ideas. In 2016, Bernie Sanders, all by himself, rejected that notion. Some of the ideas embraced now by some on the left—Medicare for All, tuition-free public universities, and a $15 an hour minimum wage—became prominent at least in part because those were (and are) things that Sanders advocated for at times when even most Democrats suggested that these ideas were too radical. I should also note that Elizabeth Warren, who is also one of the oldest candidates in the race, has come out with many policy ideas as well. In contrast, the candidate often most criticized for a lack of policy ideas, Beto O’Rourke, is over 30 years younger than Sanders.

Some people also believe that old people lack the capacity (whether it be physical, mental, or otherwise) to serve as a president.Julian Castro’s “Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago?” line directed at Biden in a presidential debate seemed to go along with the idea that Biden is too old and senile to have the capacity for the presidency. I can refute the “old and senile” stereotype by pointing out that arguably two of the greatest world leaders of the second half of the twentieth century were leaders in their seventies and eighties. Nelson Mandela, who was instrumental in the healing of post-apartheid South Africa, was President of South Africa from the age of 75 until he was 80. Konrad Adenauer, who helped build West Germany from World War II ruins into an economic power, started as Chancellor of West Germany when he was 73…and he served until he was 87! These two individuals, as well as many others, demonstrate that a person’s capacity to serve a country effectively does not have to do with age.

Finally, there’s a belief among some that we need to move on from the old generation, and to a new generation of people.I am thoroughly understanding of where this argument comes from—it stems from the fact that we’ve had three presidents of approximately the same generation as Warren, Sanders, and Biden. Those three presidents include the scandal-marred Bill Clinton; George W. Bush, who led the country into two wars and the Great Recession; and Donald Trump, who is currently mired in an impeachment inquiry. That being said, just because previous presidents come from the same generation as some of the current candidates does not necessarily predict how those current candidates will do in the White House.

At the same time, I caution against the opposite notion, that age is an advantage. There is sometimes a stereotype that older candidates have wisdom that younger candidates inherently lack, or automatically have the experience that younger candidates lack just because of age. Ironically, Buttigieg, who I criticized earlier in the piece, is the prominent candidate who is most prone to falling victim to anti-younger-candidate ageism. These stereotypes should also be challenged and dismantled, as positive qualities such as wisdom and experience don’t have to do with age, but with a variety of factors that have nothing to do with age. However, negative age-related stereotypes about the older candidates in the presidential race seems particularly prominent right now, hence my focus on ageism against the older candidates.

Ultimately, the question should not be what age a candidate is, but whether a candidate is capable of making the United States, and the world as a whole, a place that is more fair and more just than it currently is. If the answer is yes, then seriously consider voting for that candidate. If not, then avoid voting for that candidate.

Native Americans and Land Rights

In a blog post a few weeks ago, I discussed the Amazon rainforest fires in terms of how the Brazilian government was doing away with or disregarding rights for the natives of that land.

That post got me thinking about Native American rights, and particularly Native American land rights. The result of that thinking was this blog post, purposefully published on Columbus Day.[1]

That thinking also led me to a United States Supreme Court case from nearly 200 years ago, back to when John Marshall was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. In this case, which is known as Johnson v. M’Intosh, the court had a case before them where they had to determine whose land rights were superior: those of plaintiffs whose land claims came from Native Americans or those of defendants whose land claims came from a United States land grant.[2] The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the defendants’ claims to the lands were superior. Furthermore, Chief Justice Marshall, who wrote about the Supreme Court’s decision, put into legal writing what is called the “Doctrine of Discovery,” a doctrine which said that European “discoverers” of land inhabited by non-Europeans have rights to the land.[3] This doctrine has existed for centuries, going back to Pope Nicholas V’s papal bull Romanus Pontifex,[4] but Chief Justice Marshall’s decision made this doctrine a part of the legal fabric of this country.

The consequences of this doctrine have been significant. Since European discoverers had rights to the land, not Native Americans who already had the land, it has allowed for the pushing of Native Americans off their former lands and for the killing of Native Americans in the process. And, when this doctrine hasn’t killed Native Americans, it has at the very least disenfranchised many of them.

To make matters worse, the Doctrine of Discovery remains a major part of the American legal system. Even Ruth Bader Ginsburg cited the very Doctrine of Discovery that has caused so much harm when she wrote a majority opinion for a Supreme Court decision in 2005.[5] And, to my knowledge, there has been nothing to undo that Doctrine of Discovery being part of America’s legal framework.

This is not to say that there is no hope in terms of acknowledging the wrongs of the doctrine, let alone doing anything about it. Many prominent entities, ranging from the United Nations in its Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples[6] to the World Council of Churches (a fellowship of churches that includes the United Methodist Church, Episcopal churches from several regions, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, to name a few),[7] have repudiated this doctrine either explicitly or implicitly (as the UN did so without specifically mentioning the words “Doctrine of Discovery”). If these efforts show anything, it’s that more people are realizing the damage of this doctrine, and that maybe such a realization will eventually make its way to the American legal system. And hopefully more people and groups will come to this realization, because acknowledging the damage of the Doctrine of Discovery is one step, albeit a significant step, towards addressing the historical lack of land rights for Native Americans.


[1] For more on my feelings about Christopher Columbus and Columbus Day in general (which, as my readers can tell, are not positive feelings), I encourage you to read my post about the person and the holiday that I wrote two years ago: https://blindinjusticeblog.com/2017/10/10/why-i-blogged-today-even-though-columbus-day-was-yesterday/

[2] Lexis-Nexis probably does a much better job of describing the case than I could, so I encourage all to read the Lexis-Nexis summary of Johnson v. M’Intosh: https://www.lexisnexis.com/community/casebrief/p/casebrief-johnson-v-m-intosh

[3] Chief Justice Marshall goes into this doctrine when writing about the Supreme Court’s decision in Johnson v. M’Intosh.

[4] http://ili.nativeweb.org/sdrm_art.html

[5] I am a fan of Ruth Bader Ginsburg overall, but, as sad as it is for me to say this, she invoked the Doctrine of Discovery when she wrote the majority opinion of City of Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation: https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/03-855.ZO.html

[6] Page 3 of this declaration affirms “further that all doctrines, policies and practices based on or advocating superiority of peoples or individuals on the basis of national origin or racial, religious, ethnic or cultural differences are racist, scientifically false, legally invalid, morally condemnable and socially unjust.” https://www.un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/2018/11/UNDRIP_E_web.pdf

[7] https://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/executive-committee/2012-02/statement-on-the-doctrine-of-discovery-and-its-enduring-impact-on-indigenous-peoples

Shared Post: Four Massive Expenses That Disabled People Are Stuck With

As I said in a recent blog news post, I want to go back to sharing more content from other bloggers who wrote posts that I think should be shared.

One such post is Karly’s post on some massive expenses that disabled people are stuck with.

To be honest, before reading Karly’s post last autumn, I never really thought about the wide range of expenses that only people with disabilities have to pay for. Things that able-bodied people like me frequently take for granted, such as being able to access your own home or your own vehicle, are not accessible for people with limited or no mobility unless modifications are made. And modifications can cost lots of money.

I highly recommend that my readers read Karly’s post, titled “Four Massive Expenses That Disabled People Are Stuck With.” I also highly recommend her blog in general for anyone who wants to learn more about ableism, representation of people with disabilities, mental health, and much more.

For Karly’s post, titled “Four Massive Expenses That Disabled People Are Stuck With”, click here.

For Karly’s blog, click here.

On State-Supported Gambling

What if I were to tell people that there was a state-supported, even state-funded, addiction in the United States?

Well, such is the case with gambling, at least in many states in the United States.

One of the popular suggestions these days, as a means of raising revenue, is to propose the building of casinos or other state-supported gambling. “They will help pay for making our schools better,” some of our politicians say. “They will pay for themselves and support the local economy.”[1]

So, how does state-supported gambling turn out? If you guessed “not well at all,” then you’d be correct. I can provide many examples, but I will highlight three in particular for the sake of brevity:

  1. For years, New York State has had off-track betting corporations (OTBs). They were created with the promise of reducing illegal betting while bringing in revenue. I don’t know if they reduced illegal betting, but OTBs failed so miserably at the revenue part that their financial conditions have worsened significantly, according to…the New York State Comptroller.[2] So much for revenue.
  2. Colorado casinos were also created with the promise of bringing in revenue. Well, that’s also not happening. Actually, Colorado casinos are reportedly “investing in themselves” in order to try and bring revenue.[3]
  3. On numerous occasions, California has endured budgetary woes. On many of those occasions, it was promised that some new revenue stream from gambling would help pay for the budget woes. However, on numerous occasions, expansions in gambling did not do what they promised to do—increase revenue.[4]

As a result of this state-supported gambling, we end up with a bunch of broken promises. But it’s more than broken promises. We end up with people, and entire families, broken because of the proliferation of gambling addiction as a result of these casinos and other gaming mechanisms. We end up with governments scrambling to find other means to raise revenue, since casinos don’t do that job. And we end up with an oversaturation of the gaming industry, which does nobody any favors and results in shuttered casinos.

Instead of state-supported gambling, I make two policy propositions. First, states should curtail further support of gambling, because the fiscal and social costs of gambling seem to outweigh any money it is supposed to bring in.[5] Second, states should support Gamblers Anonymous programs. Gambling is an addiction that must be taken seriously, and all of us, including governments, should act as such.

State hotlines for gambling addictions can be found here: https://www.verywellmind.com/usa-local-problem-gambling-hotlines-22031


[1] These are not the exact words of someone who has made a pro-casino argument, but I’ve heard similar sentiments expressed by pro-casino politicians in the past.

[2] https://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/pubs/research/otb0915.pdf

[3] https://www.cpr.org/2018/11/21/flat-revenues-and-tough-competition-the-tricky-hand-colorado-casinos-are-dealt/

[4] https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-road-map-california-gambling-betting-revenues-20190303-story.html

[5] I don’t recommend making gambling illegal, because then gambling would be unregulated and problematic in other ways. However, further heavy investment in casinos and the like should stop.