Watch a man peel a confederate flag off of a moving truck in traffic.

"This guy 2020."

First, let's be clear that confederate flags are racist symbols. Full stop.

In modern discourse, what words and actions are considered racist is often debatable. People can argue about how to define "racist." People can debate whether intent or impact is more important. People can discuss whether to center the voices of the historical oppressed or the historical oppressors.

But I have yet to see a reasonable argument for confederate flags not being racist symbols. Even if they're supposed symbolize "southern pride," as some folks like to argue, they're still racist. Those flags represent a heinous era of southern history in which southern states were willing to fight to the death in order to maintain the right to enslave black people. It's literally a symbol of the southern battle to maintain the institution of slavery.

How can that symbol not be racist?

(Before anyone chimes in with "The Civil War wasn't about slavery, it was about states' rights!" please go here and read the primary documents in which the slave-holding southern states themselves explained the reasons for secession. Save yourself some time and search for the word "slavery." The primary right that they were fighting for was the "right" to uphold white supremacy and enslave black people. They spelled it out clearly.)

That's why this video of black man running up to a moving truck to remove a confederate flag sticker has gone viral.

A Twitter user with the username "Tall, Dark & Sad" shared the video, which has now been shared nearly 40,000 times, with the caption "This Guy 2020."



It shows a man on a freeway jogging up to the back of a moving semi truck and peeling off a large, square confederate flag. Traffic was moving slowly, but it's still a rather impressive feat.

The people of Twitter, for the most part, loved it. Thousands of comments praised the flag peeler.

Predictably, of course, there were some who tried to explain (or whitesplain, as it were) that the flag doesn't mean what the flag has always meant.



(For the record, being a battle flag is kind of the point, and in no known universe is this iteration of the battle flag a "religious flag." People in the U.S. died to protect the right to own other human beings, not to protect the St. Andrews cross—a cross that is not even what we see in its true form on the confederate flag anyway.)

Others who got mad because they think destroying a racist symbol is just a symptom of young whippersnappers running amok.




People can argue that it was vandalism, but which is worse?

Is this kind of vandalism a crime worth getting worked up over? I mean, tossing England's tea into Boston Harbor was a destruction of property, but we celebrate that act of rebellion as part of our proud history.

Is it worse to publicly display a racist symbol or to destroy one displayed in public? Of course, people have the freedom to express themselves, but what about when that expression causes harm? One could argue that the flag on the truck did more harm than the act of removing it did. One could argue that some acts of civil disobedience are justified.

I mean, if you didn't cry "Vandalism!" at this scene in The Sound of Music, why freak out over this?



One final note: The confederate flag isn't just a symbol of racism; it's also little more than a glorified participation trophy. I mean, who flies the flag of the losing side in your own country's civil war—the side that tried to split the country in two and fought to preserve something everyone now agrees was horrendous? That's just weird.

With a broad understanding of history and more than enough explanations for why it's widely seen as a racist symbol, no one who doesn't want to make a racist statement should display confederate flags. The southern pride and southern heritage argument simply doesn't fly when the heritage that flag represents is the violent defense of slavery.

Figure out another way to express your southern roots, y'all. Carry a bucket of peaches or get yourself a Roll Tide t-shirt or something. The confederate flag is long past its expiration date and needs to stay in the past where it belongs.

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Photo by Gregory Hayes on Unsplash

"Can I buy you a drink?" is a loaded question.

It could be an innocent request from someone who's interested in having a cordial conversation. Other time, saying "yes" means you may have to fend off someone who feels entitled to spend the rest of the night with you.

In the worst-case scenario, someone is trying to take advantage of you or has a roofie in their pocket.

Feminist blogger Jennifer Dziura found a fool-proof way to stay safe while understanding someone's intentions: ask for a non-alcoholic beverage or food. If they're sincerely interested in spending some time getting to know you, they won't mind buying something booze-free.

RELATED: States are starting to require mental health classes for all students. It's about dang time.

But if it's their intention to lower your defenses, they'll throw a mild tantrum after you refuse the booze. Her thoughts on the "Can I buy you a drink?" conundrum made their way to Tumblr.

via AshleysCo / Tumblr


via AshleysCo / Tumblr

The posts caught the attention of a bartender who knows there are lot of men out there whose sole intention is to get somone drunk to take advantage.

"Most of the time, when someone you don't know is buying you a drink, they're NOT doing it out of a sense of cordiality," the bartender wrote. "They're buying you a drink for the sole purpose of making you let your guard down."

So they shared a few tips on how to be safe and social when someone asks to buy you a drink.

From the other side of the bar, I see this crap all the time. Seriously. I work at a high-density bar, and let me tell you, I have anywhere from 10-20 guys every night come up and tell me to, "serve her a stronger drink, I'm trying to get lucky tonight, know what I mean?" usually accompanied with a wink and a gesture at a girl who, in my experience, is going to go from mildly buzzed to definitively hammered if I keep serving her. Now, I like to think I'm a responsible bartender, so I usually tell guys like that to piss off, and, if I can, try to tell the girl's more sober friends that they need to keep an eye on her.
But everyone- just so you know, most of the time, when someone you don't know is buying you a drink, they're NOT doing it out of a sense of cordiality, they're buying you a drink for the sole purpose of making you let your guard down.

Tips for getting drinks-

1. ALWAYS GO TO THE BAR TO GET YOUR OWN DRINK, DO NOT LET STRANGERS CARRY YOUR DRINKS. This is an opportune time for dropping something into your cocktail, and you're none the wiser.

2.IF YOU ORDER SOMETHING NON-ALCOHOLIC, I promise you, the bartender doesn't give two shits that you're not drinking cocktails with your friends, and often, totally understands that you don't want to let your guard down around strangers. Usually, you can just tell the bartender that you'd like something light, and that's a big clue to us that you're uncomfortable with whomever you're standing next to. Again, we see this all the time.

3. If you're in a position to where you feel uncomfortable not ordering alcohol:
Here's a list of light liquors, and mixers that won't get you drunk, and will still look like an actual cocktail:

X-rated + sprite = easy to drink, sweet, and 12% alcoholic content. Not strong at all, usually runs $6-$8, depending on your state.
Amaretto + sour= sweet, not strong, 26%.
Peach Schnapps+ ginger ale= tastes like mellow butterscotch, 24%.
Melon liquor (Midori, in most bars) + soda water = not overly sweet, 21%
Coffee liquor (Kahlua) +soda = not super sweet, 20%.
Hope this helps someone out!

RELATED: Permit denied for 'straight pride' parade in California

If you do accept a drink from someone at a bar and you want to talk, there's no need to feel obligated to spend the rest of the night with them.

Jaqueline Whitmore, founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, says to be polite you only have to "Engage in some friendly chit-chat, but you are not obligated to do more than that."

If someone asks to buy you a drink and you don't want it, Whitmore has a great tip. "Say thank you, but you are trying to cut back, have to drive or you don't accept drinks from strangers," Whitmore says.

What if they've already sent the drink over? "Give the drink to the bartender and tell him or her to enjoy it," Whitmore says.

Have fun. Stay safe, and make sure to bring a great wing-man or wing-woman with you.

Well Being

There are reasonable arguments to be had on all sides of America's debates about guns.

Then there are NRA lobbyists.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Florida National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer spoke to state economists last week to explain why a proposed assault weapons ban would devastate gun manufacturers in the state. The proposed amendment, which is being led by the aunt of a student killed in the Parkland school shooting, would ban the future sale of assault rifles in Florida and mandate that current owners either register their guns with the state or give them up.

The back and forth between those proposing and opposing the amendment appears to be a pretty typical gun legislation debate. Only this time, the NRA lobbyist pulled out one of the most bizarre arguments I've seen yet.

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Democracy


Rep. Peter King (R-NY) is a name you should remember. If you don't follow politics closely, remember his name because he's the first Republican in Congress to openly join the call for a renewed federal ban on assault weapons.

If you're a Democrat or a diehard progressive partisan, remember his name because it's proof that as a nation we can put principles before party and walk across the political aisle to get things done.

If you're a Republican, remember his name as evidence that real leadership in politics sometimes means risking your reputation to do what is right even when most of your colleagues disagree or lack the political courage to go first.

But let's allow Rep. King to explain himself in his own words:

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Democracy
via PixaBay

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang has brought a lot of attention to the idea of implementing a universal basic income on America. His "freedom dividend" would pay every American $1,000 a month to spend as they choose.

In addition to helping Americans deal with a future in which the labor market will be upended by automation, this basic income could allow Americans to rethink what we see as work and nurture what Yang calls a "human-centered" economy.

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