A sunrise in Honolulu, Oʻahu, as three military Osprey fly over the cityscape. (Photo by author.)

The myth of a just future for the US

The vision of a “just future for the US” is an oxymoron — a contradiction onto itself. Many have willingly laid down their lives for this seemingly noble cause. It sounds appealing, ringing of freedom and the other purported values of the US empire, and evoking a sentiment of peace and prosperity. It is also, ultimately, erroneous.

Before I explain why, I want to delineate what justice is and isn’t. Justice necessitates the liberation of all people and lands. A piecemeal liberation, where some are free while others are left destitute and oppressed, is not true liberation nor justice. Likewise…

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. smiling and waving to the crowd gathered at the March on Washington
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. smiling and waving to the crowd gathered at the March on Washington

Every Martin Luther King Jr. Day, colleges and universities send out hollow statements about race, unity, and peace. They pluck the most convenient quotes, strip them of any context, charge, or political command, and use his words to present a sanitized and pacified version of his politics — one that allows these institutions to pat themselves on the back and leave unquestioned their own involvement in racism and other systems of injustice. Sure, there may be calls for reflection, or maybe even vapid promises to learn from MLK Jr. and ‘do better.’ …

A close-up photo of a patch of small moss growing, contrasted with an occasional stone and blade of grass.
A close-up photo of a patch of small moss growing, contrasted with an occasional stone and blade of grass.

What it means to be non-binary is as expansive as what it means to be a person. There is absolutely no single way to be non-binary, including how we act and are perceived, the pronouns we use, and the general & relational terms we use as well (such as uncle, girl, brother, mother, and so on). Some view ourselves as something more “between” the binary, while others view ourselves as something detached from it entirely — I personally think both can be true in a wonderfully contradictory way.

adrift, waves lapping at the canoe
with a touch both gentle and caustic,
the pitch of the hull mild
compared to the nights before

the child strained their eyes
to peer past deep gray stratus
at the medley of flickering stars
failing to cooperate and coalesce
into navigable constellations

every night, the story repeats –
the sun offers their daily solace,
bearings of east and west,
but that is all they provide

one evening, under a growing crescent,
the heave of the boat kicked
a bit more sudden than any wave could

the child, startled, sprang up
from beneath their trembling…

As I get more intimate with the environment — with nature and all they birth and beckon — I gain a better understanding of just how vulnerable I am to everything around me. How the whimsies of the winds or the tides or the soils beneath my feet could very well spell my final moments in an instant. …

The world has made it abundantly clear that I’m not meant to live a full life. Because I’m Indigenous, queer, non-binary, disabled, and for many other reasons don’t fit the “mythical norm” (Lorde), I’m incredibly othered. Othered in a way that weathers my soul until I go through days feeling hollow. In trying to find my place in the world, and in searching for my truest self — a self that is sovereign and full — I’ve long sought to find acceptance in others. For the most part, this search has been a farce.

Acceptance is not embrace is not…

Queen Liliʻuokalani

Today’s the 125th anniversary of the overthrow of Hawaiʻi’s Queen Liliʻuoukalani. Like the vast majority of people, I was never taught in school how and why exactly Hawaiʻi became a state of the U.S., so I want to do a relatively quick overview on this chapter of Hawaiian history.

One seldom known fact is that at the time of the 1893 overthrow, the Hawaiian Kingdom was an internationally recognized sovereign nation. The aliʻi (chiefs, rulers) had been very strategic, building good relations with some of the biggest international players at the time. However, the U.S. …

Photo by @createdbyjarrod from nappy.co

A topic that’s been on my mind a lot recently is love, and more specifically our language around it and what it encompasses and entails. I’m relatively quick and unabashed in telling people I love them, which often comes as a shock to people not used to displays of love that are neither romantic nor familial. I especially notice this with cis men. Having been raised and socialized as a cis man for ~20 years, I’ve noticed how toxic masculinity suppresses this level of open affection (but that’s a conversation for another day).

In Western colonial society, we’re taught to…

As I teach my way through grad school, and potentially work my way up to a professorship, it’s important that I stay critical of how I conduct myself as a teacher. There are countless books and materials on effective teaching methods, but I’ve found the best way to truly develop my own personal teaching praxis is simply through actually teaching.

Now working on my third course, I’ve noticed that in many ways I’m the ‘lenient teacher’ — I laugh a lot during class, I’m quick to give my students extra time to turn in assignments, and I often give students…

Throughout college I was asked countless times if I was FLI (first-generation and/or low-income), or had to explain to people who assumed that Iʻm FLI that Iʻm actually not. People saw the communities I was involved with and what I spoke up about, and presumed that to be that passionate about FLI issues I was probably FLI.

The thing is, I’m by no means FLI — my mom rose up from very little and got an MBA, and my dad finished his Bachelorʻs when I was a young child. …

Jonathan Fisk

Boricua/Taíno via LBC | PhD student in NREM, UH Manoa | B.S. & M.S. in Earth Systems, Stanford ’17 | financially support at https://cash.me/$Fisky

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store