Friday, August 29, 2014

Why doesn’t the GOP get this?

Seriously, can someone please take the time to educate me as to why the GOP simply seems to be unable to ‘get’ these following things:

1)      The Republican attitude towards women is abominable. Why is the GOP incapable of empathizing with women? Why is it always about controlling the vagina? Why is it about telling women whether they can or can’t control what goes on with their body? Why is it about telling women they aren’t allowed to be sexual or enjoy sex? Why can’t the GOP get it through their thick skulls that women are every bit as equal (or better) than men in many jobs and deserve equal pay? What is their problem with women? They KNOW they have to get females to vote for them, yet fuck them over at every opportunity. Lilly Ledbetter act? Filibustered. Fair pay act? Filibustered. Abortion? They want to destroy Roe v Wade and take us back to when desperate women used fucking coat hangers to abort an unwanted pregnancy. Abortion isn’t about enabling so-called ‘immoral behavior’. It is about providing safe ways to terminate pregnancy that don’t involve a woman taking matters into her own hands. It’s barbaric to deny this.

2)      Why doesn’t the GOP seem to ‘get it’ that other religions exist and have every RIGHT to exist, outside the so-called Christian mainstream? Why won’t they allow Atheists to participate in democracy? Is their goal TRULY to alienate non-Christians from not only their party, but the totality of American political discourse? Do they really want a religious government? Don’t they know that’s why the USA rebelled against Britain in the first place?

3)      Why must the GOP lie to get elected? Why must the GOP rig elections to get elected? Why must the GOP gerrymander districts to get elected? Why must they cheat, rather than tell the truth about their agenda? They promised they’d focus on JOBS, but instead focus on Obamacare, abortions, and war. Nothing to do with jobs, at all. Is it because they, in fact, have no credibility, no ideas, no seriously stand-out candidates, and run on mediocrity? And how does this in any way help our country?

4)      Why does the GOP not seem to get anything to do with race? Any time a minority cries foul, or ‘white privilege’, or gets shot, the GOP comes out swinging to defend the white perspective, further alienating Latinos, blacks, Asians, and more. Weren’t they supposed to tone that shit down to get more voters? Why have they seemed to double down on their racist attitudes while screaming ‘reverse racism’ when anything they perceive to be even remotely ‘anti-white’ comes out into the media? Do they not understand this? Do they not understand that ‘white = right’ is fucking stupid? Why do they constantly drone on with the ‘Lament of the Oppressor’? “If only those minorities would do what we tell them to… jeez”.

5)      Why is it so hard to accept science? Why don’t they support US scientific research, while China seems to be kicking our asses? What is it about science that they can’t accept? Just the evolution thing that challenges religion? Why is it that despite all of the obvious evidence of ocean acidification/warming, rising sea levels, and carbon levels, which correlate exactly with the Industrial Revolution, that the word of a few dissenting scientists hold more weight than the consensus of 97% of climatologists? Can someone explain to me why evidence is tantamount to blasphemy?

6)      Despite all evidence to the contrary, the GOP still back Reagan’s ‘Trickle Down Reaganomics’ as gospel, while communities who raise the minimum wage experience an instant boost in their living conditions, economy, and happiness. What. The. Fuck. Is. The. Problem. Are the wealthy so ‘fragile’ they can’t take a slight increase in wages? The fucking gas companies do it all the time, yet society plugs on. Are they stupid, or are they evil? Do they want the poor to get poorer, and the rich to get richer? Seriously?

7)      Why does the GOP always default to air strikes, ground troops, and CIA destabilization of countries they don’t agree with, or won’t give us what we want? Is it that fuckign serious that we need to kill people to get our way, and then pretend to cry foul when even ONE DROP of American blood is spilled? I mean for FUCK SAKE… one guy gets beheaded by ISIS in the Middle east, after we have LITERALLY killed over 300,000 Iraquis, Afghanis, Pakistanis, and Syrians in the ongoing Middle East turmoil… the GOP immediately starts their media zeitgeist saying “ISIS is unstoppable! They pose an imminent threat to the US mainland! ZOMGWTFBBQ the Muslims are out of control!”. Are we that fucking stupid to fall for this AGAIN?!

I feel like if there was a God, he’d have ended this shit already.
Any one of these questions begs an answer to the bigger question.

All of this I would be really curious to know. What I’m even more curious about is why the GOP and this mindset resonates with Americans at all. Aren't we supposed to be the good guys? What the hell happened to us?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Fergusen, and the mess we're in.

What’s happening in Fergusen, MI is entirely out of control and makes us as a nation look extremely bad. From the clear racial tensions in the area, to the overblown and militarized initial response by law enforcement, to the looting and all the way to the Governor actually calling in the National Guard to ‘bring peace and stability back to the region’. Listening to the language being used, you would think they’re referring to the Middle East, or some other battlefield… but we are talking about American soil.
Here is how we’re failing on all levels. These are symptoms of the larger issue, and the root cause.

1)      Race relations. While everyone has an opinion, the facts are solid. Fergusen, MI, is a town where the vast majority of the people who live there are black. Their government, and over 90% of their law enforcement personnel are all or very nearly all mostly white. It makes no sense that the black community has neither representation in government, or a presence in law enforcement. It is clear this is a community that has been oppressed, and they are sick of it to the point they’re rioting. This is a multi-level failure of governance. It is ridiculous to believe that there isn't a desire for fair representation in this city. It is clear the vote has been suppressed. And even today, a MI government official was quoted as saying that voter registration drives during the riots was ‘disgusting’. Excuse me, democracy is disgusting? No, that’s the way problems are SUPPOSED to be solved, especially in a county where only 12% of eligible voters are even registered to vote!  How are they supposed to get fair representation and law enforcement in this environment? Answer: they’re not. And voter suppression tactics by the local GOP are both obvious, and troubling.

2)      History. It is a fact that when the slaves were freed, our government did not give them any money, wealth, or otherwise. I want you to imagine you were a slave for a second. Now imagine you’re free… and broke… and homeless… and don’t have an education… and that many of your kids, grandkids, and great grandkids are in the same boat and have no way to get out of it. Reparations were never made, and the longer they wait to happen, the less they’ll help. The United States has failed blacks on so many levels. From the failure to make amends for centuries of slavery on American soil, to the continuous racial bias in government, the court system, law enforcement, and the prison system, laws work against blacks in America – not for them. It’s absurd to think that white people, or other races, commit less crimes than blacks. It is a fact that 60-70% of ALL Americans have at the very least been arrested, and nearly 40% of our citizens – that is over 150,000,000 of them – have been in jail or served time. Yet who stays in prisons? Who is kept there? And prisons are a for profit enterprise, where companies can get FREE LABOR… sounds to me like they found a way through privatizing prisons to reinstitute slave labor. And the vast majority were arrested for lame shit like pot smoking. Come on. It’s obvious to me, and PAINFULLY obvious to the black community what’s going on here. And that has got to stop. And until it does, more Fergusens will happen every so often.

3)      Police force militarization. Your police force likely has better gear than the soldiers in Iraq, and Afghanistan. Remember when Bush was ‘president’ and sent our troops into battle without the necessary gear? He sent them in with hand-me-down body armor, malfunctioning guns, not enough ammo, and lives were lost. So why the hell do our police have better gear than our troops? Well, that’s a long story, but the short version is, the war on drugs is literally a war on blacks. Silently, and insidiously, police arrest black drug users and the courts use a law called ‘mandatory minimum sentencing’ to incarcerate youths… sometimes life sentences, for shit like possessing a rock of crack cocaine, or one fucking joint.

And people WONDER why gangs are a thing. If you stick together, chances are the cops will leave you alone. It’s why neighborhoods like ‘the jungles’ of LA exist; barricaded, fortified neighborhoods meant to keep cops OUT of their communities. How sick is that? Cops are so notorious for racial profiling, violence, and unjust arrests, that the Black communities out there have literally said “We don’t want or need you around us…”. Well, once you fortify your neighborhood, cops beg for more funding and better equipment so they can go do ‘their jobs’ of putting black people into the prison system. And they get all the toys they want. Oh, and now that the war in Iraq is (sort of) over, you can have all the fancy gear that never went to our troops, and they have no training for. BRILLIANT. Now you have a force of police so heavily fucking armed, YOU AND I (indeed, ALL Americans) have no hope of EVER challenging our government for abuse of power. The government now has every agency armed TO THE TEETH. Did you know the fucking IRS has ammo and guns now? Are you serious?? AR-15’s and MASSIVE amounts of ammo were purchased by IRS collection agents. Gee, wonder who invokes the most ire from the IRS? Well-to-do white people, or generational poverty stricken black folks? Yeah, actually, I don’t wonder at all.

4)      Failure to listen. White people (of which I am one) get super defensive when you point out that they have privileges others don’t. They get oh-so-butthurt when reminded that many of our ancestors owned black slaves. The phrase “I wasn't there, and I never owned slaves” comes up a lot. Or “It’s 2014, and these blacks have plenty of rights, why are they so… (fill in stereotype here)”. Or how about the now-infamous GOP mantra of “they were much better off as slaves. My grandpa told me they were way happier than when they were freed”. Oh, that one is just sick, and stupid.  Or, I mean, shit…. This “REVERSE RACISM” shit… this is an idea that a psychotic two-year-old would come up with. The very notion that a white privileged male is in any way the victim of ‘reverse racism’ is so beyond fucking stupid, I’m having a tough time gathering up my thoughts to describe how asinine it truly is. Thing is, white people don’t want to hear how historically, they enslaved the black man, freed him, only to rig the justice system so they’re put in prison making license plates for your local DMV. There is a reason most Republicans tend to be pro-Confederacy, or pro-Law Enforcement, or perhaps even, want to ‘take our country back’ (which is thinly veiled code for: “Fuck the hippies and their civil rights movements. This is a white, male-dominated, Christian country”). So you have to find a way to crack that ice and get to the conscience of the white man in order to make him understand. And believe me, it took me decades to even begin to comprehend what privilege I had… can you imagine how hard that’s going to be to explain to 60% of America “You have it pretty fucking good, now give up some of that power so others can have a taste”? Good luck…

5)      We’re stupid. We as a nation are incredibly dumb, at this point in history. We have lost our ability to sanely solve complex issues. In fact we’d rather just ignore them. We don’t want to fund our schools, we’d rather sabotage them and give the job to for-profit private schools (oh, gee, here we go again… we found a way to deny black people education), thus creating an education vacuum that will only be filled by yet more stupidity. Knowledge is power, and denying it to anyone means you wish to be more powerful than they are. You wish to keep your aristocratic social club separate from the heathens. Oh, but you know, you can let a FEW very special people into your club, so long as they look and sound ‘as white as possible’ to you. Take, for example, the GOP. How many black senators do they have? One? Zero? How about congressmen? Same?

They did run a black candidate vs Barack Obama, but the guy was a freaking pizza chain CEO with little to NO civil service on his record (Herman Cain). What a joke. They ran HIM versus Barack Obama, a Harvard Law professor, Nobel Prize Laureate (hey, whatever your opinion on that one, he still has one, you don’t), a guy with a record of civil service and community organizing, versus a pepperoni baron. You think the GOP wanted to make a black man powerful? Fuck no! They wanted the GOP to look at Cain, and galvanize the idea in their head “This is why we only run white men for President… you can see what happens when we don’t.”. Then they turn around and run that goofball Rick Perry who couldn't even explain his position, or even remember the ‘three federal agencies’ he would cut. I’ll remind him. He said he wanted to cut the Dept. of EDUCATION (when he clearly needs it more than anyone), the FDA (which keeps drugs safe… for crying out loud), and the EPA (which keeps water clean for all of us, not just rich people)… all while it was revealed the motherfucker had a ranch called “N***erhead”. Are. You. Fucking. Serious?

And you know what? They’re going to run even MORE racist ass rubes the next election cycle. From Rick Perry (again, that is, if he doesn't go to jail), to Paul Ryan (round 2), Rand Paul (the guy who plagiarizes all his speeches and thoughts from Wikipedia), and quite possibly, a token black candidate.  If you can’t see what they’re doing, you are blind.

I’m going to sound like a complete partisan hack here, which is fine, I’d much rather be accused of being a liberal hack than a TeaBagger hack any day – but America, we have a serious issue. Not only is the GOP and TeaParty out of control and doing everything that super-villains do in the comics, the issue is that we are SO FUCKING DUMB we can’t even elect people to represent us properly. We don't pay attention to politics. We can't even agree on facts anymore. We have been divided, and conquered. We lost this game. You didn't think, you didn't unify, and you allowed government to be sold to the same kinds of people that we rebelled against – Dukes, Landlords, Kings, and Churches. It’s over, we lost, and you are now being monitored, tracked, data-based, spied on, and all YOU can fucking think about is “Oh those damn blacks are acting up”. Fuck, you have absolutely no idea. THEY have the right idea. STAND UP. REBEL. RAISE HELL. SACRIFICE YOURSELF FOR FREEDOM. Cos nobody else is doing that. Occupy Wall Street tried that too, and the banks bought the cops, which in turn dispersed all protests. That should have made you FREAK OUT, but white America wanted to sit on the couch and scream at the TV rather than showing solidarity in what was likely our last chance to reverse the damage done by Citizens United. Apathy is your enemy. The government is not your friend.

And APATHY is the root cause. You don’t care, and you are not willing to fight for justice.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Dear Christian Right

Dear Christian Right,

We need to have a talk, you and I. We’ll need to come to an understanding, now that secularism, Atheism, and non-Christian faiths are on the rise in America. And it is time for you to accept that your vice-like grip on politics WILL soon come to an end. You’re not going to like losing power, but I promise you, you have nothing at all to fear from secular people and non-Christians. That is, unless, you proceed with enacting self-fulfilling prophecy. Let’s explore.

There is no war on your religion in the USA. You are top dog. Indeed, it is considered taboo to speak badly about your religion. It is considered an assumed fact, that unless otherwise stated, that someone in this country is a Christian, even though we all know not everyone is. It is completely obvious that your religion is (currently) a sort of prerequisite to hold public office. While this WILL change, we’re not there yet. Unlike you, people outside of the Christian faith haven’t been able to organize to the level of ‘megachurch’, as you have. But we will one day. And you ought to ask yourself one thing: Will you allow other points of view to exist, or will history repeat, and you go on a ‘crusade’?

Here’s the thing. Even if you proclaim yourself to be a right-wing Christian, you cannot be a Christian without compassion. Any faith on the planet is supposed to teach peace, love, and community. And, I dare say, the right-wing faction of Evangelical Christianity is all but completely devoid of compassion for those outside of your club. Indeed, this is evidenced by the radical right Tea Party, who espouses views bordering on ‘White Power’, xenophobia, and rabid nationalism (this is known as fascism, and it does not know compassion, as your Jesus Christ character in that Bible thingy taught, and you seemingly ignore). The phrase “Take America Back” is a thinly veiled code-speak for “We want White Christian Males to stay in power”. You are not fooling us.

The reality is, Christianity is having a very hard time defending itself against scientific knowledge. We all know (well, most sane people) that the earth took a fuckload longer than 7 days to ‘be created’. Science can prove the earth formed out of the dust created by a newly ignited star, our sun, some 4.5 billion years ago. We even know that our moon was once a stray planet that at one time collided with our earth, hence its orbit around us. We can scan the cosmic microwave background, and, with continually refined calculations, know how the universe actually formed. And you know, that’s a whole lot more convincing to some than the belief that some cosmic deity snapped his or her or it’s fingers and BAM! Adam and Eve had incestual sex, thus the human race. Any person with a lick of sense knows this is the theory of ancient humans who had no knowledge of the natural world, and struggled to fill in the gaps.
Most of us non-Christians realize that you are sticking to your guns because of several things. Tradition, cognitive dissonance (or the fear of being ‘wrong’), fear of Hell (which is funny, because Hell is not in the Bible, and ‘Satan’ is just a Hebrew word for ‘adversary’ and not an actual ‘person’), and of course the main reason: You are a dominant social club that enjoys an IMMENSE amount of privilege, wealth, and political clout. Who would want to give that up? Nobody. BUT you will soon have competition for this, which brings me back to the original reason for writing this.

You are going to need to learn the concept of sharing. Stop with this ridiculous notion, first of all, that Atheists, Agnostics, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, or even American Muslims want anything to do with attacking you, harming you, or otherwise giving you grief. You are playing an interesting game here. From our perspective, when we see the fear-mongering phrases such as “Atheists are trying to destroy America”, we all look around and try to figure out how you got that idea. You are attempting to create controversy where there is none to gin up fear of what you do not understand. Why the hell would I waste time ‘attacking’ physically, anyone? We can have debates, but debates do not constitute ‘an attack’. An ‘attack’ would most likely look like me with an aluminum baseball bat, your knees, and a lot of swearing. And I don’t really feel like going to jail. So stop with this ‘we’re under attack’ stuff in America. You’re not. And you won’t be unless you throw the first punch. And even then, we’re mostly all pacifists and don’t do the whole ‘crusade’ thing. Check yourself.

Back to the concept of sharing. You’re going to have to learn to deal with less privilege. Just as white males are on the decline in America in terms of power, so too will Christianity go down this path. There isn’t anything you can really do about it, except perhaps show some maturity instead of trying to convince people that people like me are evil. I’m so not an evil person. I probably follow the tenants of your Jesus more closely than you do. The ONLY difference between you, and I, is that I do not take the Bible as a literal truth. I don’t believe that some character, created and imagined by man, could possibly be real without direct proof, which you so conveniently state only comes to you when ‘you have faith’ (read: believe it cos I say so, and stop questioning it). I don’t believe that out of literally thousands of different beliefs in deities on this planet, Christianity can claim their beliefs as more true than any other. In fact, I remain convinced that all religions have simply said “Here, I wrote a book. Believe in my characters so that we might unite around these principles. Also, give me money.”

Well, I do like money. I like community too. And I also love being a good person that helps other people. So let’s unite around those principles. We are all Americans, and must share this land with each other. We’ll need to come to the understanding that we all have the right to live, be happy, and express our ideas without fear of ‘the other side’ smacking us down, or suppressing us. It’s probably best if we focus on what the human condition is, rather than jockeying for control of it. The human experience is diverse. There are many peoples, many traditions, and many beliefs, and all can be considered and should be, without accusations of ‘heresy’ or ‘blasphemy’. That’s just Dark Age stuff right there.

In any case, I hope that despite our philosophical disagreements, Christian Right, that we can come to an accord to preserve the essence of what it is to be American: Free to be who you want to be, love who you want to love, and do what you want to do. You don’t own America. It really was NOT founded on ‘Christian Principles’ which is a lie I hear all too often. It was founded on the basis that a state or nation cannot favor one belief over another. It was founded on the principle that we as a nation should not have a foreign king taking our money without our ability to negotiate for its uses (taxation without representation, which is what your Tea Party was truly about). This is a nation of immigrants, with everyone’s ancestors having come from somewhere else. This is a nation of diversity. And it will get more diverse.

If you cannot come to grips with this, I’m afraid you’re just not going to live happy lives. You’re stressing yourself out worrying about non-Christian boogeymen. Relax. Enjoy life. Learn to share it with others. We’re not coming for your kids, we’re not burning your churches, and we’re not trying to beat you up. The only thing we’re not doing is ignoring science, contributing to your collection plates, or knocking on your door to ‘share our love of science’ (which hey, that’s not a bad idea…). Let’s learn to share this world instead of trying to control it ok? And just drop the ‘War on Christmas’ thing. We don’t care about your quaint little holiday that you stole from Pagans and Germanized. I’ll celebrate Winter Solstice right alongside your Christmas. Nobody gets hurt. That sound alright to you?