Civility

Is the time of civil discourse over? Can we repair this fractured country or is it just time to go separate ways? I’m thinking more and more that we just want to tear each other apart. I’m not going to pretend this all started with the last election or even that I’m immune to saying horrible things about people. This has been a long slow decline for all of us.

I read this article today in the Miami Herald about 2 gay men who were harassed by a man screaming “You live in Trump country.” http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/florida-keys/article134965699.html That’s just part of the iceberg lately Jewish cemeteries are being vandalized, community centers threatened, and people all over being attacked because of the color of their skin.

More and more it seems like hate is winning out. Every issue seems to be black and white and neither side seems intent on talking. I grew up in a family that didn’t hate anyone. The first time I heard a white boy call a black boy by the N-word I was fifth grade and I was stunned. I never heard it outside of a movie. The reason the white boy said it… the black boy had just kicked a ball over the white boy’s head in a kickball game. Any yet today, decades later, I’m no longer stunned. Hatred seems like the way of things.

Maybe change needs to start small. If someone angers you tomorrow, turn it around and be nice in return. I’ll try to do the same.

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And Strike 3…

Third post in at least 14 hours… first one today where I’m not going to say something bad about the Secretary of Education… you know, the woman who bought her job and has no background with public schools for herself or her family which really should make her unqualified. Ok I lied.

Any, so the White House has banned CNN, the NY Times, the LA Times, the BBC, and the Guardian from today’s briefing to the press.

I really should start a massive rant but instead I’m just going to post this: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

If you don’t know where that comes from or why as an American you should know how important these words are then I really have no idea what to say.

Two Posts in a Day… I Must Be Annoyed

When I first read about the new cabinet members I felt it was a race to determine which freaked me out more. We seem to have a clear winner. Congratulations Secretary DeVos.

I could write for hours about what I dislike about the woman… but I have a meeting soon so let’s make this a short post. In her speech as CPAC last night she joked that no one gets a free lunch.

I’d like to remind everyone that the lady who bought her post is now in charge of the National School Lunch Program that provides free lunches to possibly as many as 20 million school children. Gotta love it when a billionaire is in charge of deciding when children of struggling parents get food.

This administration screams about national security. Maybe they should listen to part of the declared reason behind the program. When it began, a Presidential Proclamation declared it to be “a measure of national security, to safeguard the health and well-being of the Nation’s children.”

Just curious Secretary DeVos… ever worry about not affording a meal? Food for thought.

State’s Rights

Last night at CPAC the woman who happily bought her cabinet position as Secretary of Education happily defended allowing various states to decide how to treat transgender students by stating (And yes this is a paraphrase) that it was a state’s rights issue. That often seems to be the drumbeat of the right wing. And to be honest, I do think some things have to be state’s rights… an example of which I’ll come to later. But there has to be a line of how we treat our fellow humans or we risk something greater.

What if in the past we had left the idea of who should vote to the states? Gotta wonder which states would still be telling women and minorities that they can’t vote. Especially when you considered the amount of tricks some states have pulled out to limit minority votes.

How about with gay marriage? If you really think that should be left up to states then think about this, JAMA Pedatrics recently reported that since the Obergefell v. Hodges case which struck down all anti-gay marriage laws the suicide rate of teens in a sexual minority has decreased by quite a bit: http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/2604258. If your answer to that right now is “So what,” then 1) If you are a Christian try to remind yourself that Jesus said to love all, 1a) If you’re still saying “so what” or “but Jesus hates the gays” then I’m really sorry that you have that hate in your heart. 2) If you’re a different religion then I’d love to hear your justification. 3) If you’re not religious and you don’t care then I find your lack of compassion to be disturbing.

Ok… so getting back to my point about transgender bathroom laws and state’s rights. Basically  by removing federal protection then certain states will continue to stigmatize a segment of the population. Transgenders will continued to be singled out as “different” which will allow others to see them as not on their level of humanity. Let’s face it, a lot of the opposite to those laws has been attempts to link sexual deviance to transgenders. Without federal protect we risk allowing more students at risk of suicide or threats to continue to be threatened.

Alright, so there’s the rant against the Secretary of Education and the defense of transgender protections. Now here’s the state’s rights part. Last night Melissa McCarthy, wait sorry that was Spicer, said the federal government would enforce federal drug laws in states that had voted to allow recreational marijuana usage. Just curious… why isn’t that a state’s rights issue?

So you want to be pro-life…

In my last post I brought up the topic of a Texas Congressman who believes women who have abortions should be criminalized. He notably never mentioned what should happen if a man supports a woman having an abortion. In fact a big issue with pretty much anyone I’ve ever talked to who is anti-abortion seems to have blinders on. The question does become, what’s next. Despite anti-abortion protesters claims that women frequently use abortion as birth control there is no proof whatsoever. In fact taking in the stats that women tend to have 30 years of fertility and contraceptives are not perfect statistics from multiple sources show that half of all pregnancies are unintended.

Now, before you frown and say well the woman shouldn’t be having sex to begin with… let’s just avoid that fight altogether. Let’s go straight to the pregnant woman. These women might have many reasons for not wanting a child: financial instability, unready emotionally, no family support structure to help, etc. And that doesn’t even get into horrible statistics about rape. Sure you could tell the woman have the child and put it up for adoption, but do YOU now care about the child’s well being.

I recently ran across a quote from a Catholic Nun who brought up this hypocrisy of the whole “pro-life” movement. Joan Chittister in a 2004 PBS interview said:
“I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.”

I honestly cannot say it any better than her. I have my issues with the Catholic church and some of it’s representatives, especially Rev. Philip Pizzo who suggested that protesters should commit suicide. But on this issue, Miss Chittister and I agree. I don’t know if she is against abortion or not. But regardless we agree on the social issues.

If you wish to learn more about Joan Chittister as I wish to, she has her own website: http://www.joanchittister.org/

Men Are Not Responsible After Sex

I’d like you all to welcome Tony Tinderholt to the national stage. He’s a republican in the Texas state Congress who has an introduced a bill to criminalize abortions because as he states in his own words women need to be “more personally responsible.”

If you think I’m making this up, just google the name.

Now, I read on a couple of articles that said he and his family are already receiving death threats. I do NOT condone this. But below is the misogynist’s contact information. I suggest you send him mail asking him what his responsibility is if he got a woman pregnant, why he believes pregnant rape victims should be jailed, how he would support pregnant mothers who can’t afford a new child or would he just call them lazy, and does he believe orphanages should receive funding or is this just a cheap source of future labor.

http://tonytinderholt.com/contact-us/

Alternative Facts

So it happened. The minions of the jackass said that they didn’t state the truth on something, they called it an “alternative facts.”

I still watch old episodes of Babylon 5. For those of you who don’t know it’s a sci-fi show where part of the plot is Earth goes to totalitarianism. In one episode a political officer goes on to the station to “help” the Captain. When he asks her about unemployment, homelessness, the poor, and crime on Earth she states that none of these things exist. The Captain asks her when did that happen and she sternly replies “when we changed the dictionary,”

My point is that words and phrases have power. So take this phrase: “alternative fact” and define it for all. Make sure everyone you meet understands this phrase means you’re outright lying to them.

Disloyalty

I’m not going to say his name. I’m not saying the damn jackass’s name. I’m still hoping the republican controlled Congress is going to make a statement like “How did you people allow us to go so far?”

In his speech he called for loyalty. Loyalty to him? A man who was happy to announce he liked to sexually assault women? A man who mock a disabled man and then doubles down and calls everyone else a liar who criticized him?

Henry David Thoreau once wrote: “I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest.” Do not be forced to bend the knee and cower proclaiming loyalty to a disgusting small minded person. Declare as a patriot you are disloyal to the man. Declare you love your country enough to be disloyal.

Goodnight, Carrie Fisher

I don’t really follow celebrity news. My eyes tend to gloss over whenever a person famous for nothing other than being famous is on the news. The names that are most familiar to the 18 to 25 market tend to have me asking “who is that and why should I care.” But 2016 has really sucked for some of the losses. People like:

-Muhammed Ali, one of the greatest athletes ever and a pro-peace activist.
-David Bowie, the man who made glam rock great and gave us one of the greatest albums ever “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.”
-Leonard Cohen, the great poet and singer.
-Steven Hill, best known for his long time on Law and Order as the DA, he also was the first team leader on Mission: Impossible.
-Harper Lee, one of The US’s greatest novelists. Every teenager must read To Kill A Mockingbird.
-Garry Marshall, he had a great acting career but I loved his guest spots on Murphy Brown more than anything else he did.
-Prince, again I wasn’t a major fan but still he was an icon.
-Alan Rickman, best known for playing Snape I best remember him on Galaxy Quest.
-Abe Vigoda, ok not one of my favorites but he was a star on one of my father’s favorite shows, Barney Miller.
-Gene Wilder – Comic genius, nothing more to say.
-Anton Yelchin, ok not really one of the greats but he showed great potential as an actor and not just as the new Chekov.
-And others who are not named for time or simply because I don’t wish to acknowledge their life… he knows who he is.

Unfortunately in the closing days we must also say goodbye to Carrie Fisher who is most remembered for being the iconic Princess Leia. Also to Debbie Reynolds, Fisher’s mother who died a day latter. I can only wish peace to both their families and extended families in their time of loss. I know the chances of any of them reading this is between the probabilities of zero and hitting a small target with a peanut while traveling in a jet, but I can say I lost someone significant to me this year. But I can’t understand your pain, I hope you find peace.

Sacrifice

It took me a long time before I appreciated the word. Think about the word “sacrifice” and what it might mean to you.

The way I see it there are two meanings. The first is what are you willing to give. In other words, what are you willing to give up for someone else for nothing more than their betterment or for many others for something greater than yourself. The second meaning is how many are you willing to destroy because you say you’re looking for something greater. In the second case one might claim to be searching for a greater good but are truthfully only looking for self betterment.

So in this HOLLIDAY season, ask yourself how do you define sacrifice. We may need to know all of our answers sooner than later.