REFRESHER COURSE ALERT!!!
Recently I got a friend request from a dude I recognized immediately as a nut. His Facebook icon was “Ted Cruz in 2016.” As I said, a nut.
Now, I should know better, but I could hardly turn down the chance to tell him he was an idiot before he unceremoniously “defriended” me could I? So I hit, the friend button and began a rather torturous journey into lala land or the land of the not-quite-right-in-the-head folks.
I picked up a good half dozen to eight “defenders of the stupid” and proceeded to get into a number of fights immediately. As one would expect, all the trite Fox/crazy right memes came to the fore. Since most of the arguments were on gun rights, I got the usual, “guns don’t kill people”, and criminals aren’t gonna obey the laws, and variations on those themes.
After lengthy logical argument and citing of actual facts, I was confronted with the usual right wing nothingness. One guy just posted funny pictures and called me Sherry McMoron and quote, “liberish”, as if that sealed the deal on my inconsequentialism.
And the point is, that when people are “out there in the ether” there is no point in argument. They aren’t capable of arguing, except for a “you stupid troll” between burps from the beer guzzling.
When you see somebody who is absolutely clueless, beware. You think you can patiently start at A and proceed slowly and deliberately to Z and when you are finished they will smile, and say, “I get it now. Thank you, I’m going to read more carefully from now on.”
But they don’t. They say, “you stupid troll,” and scratch their nether regions, smile and the mini thrill and reach for another Budweiser.
This will always happen no matter your level of debate and logic skills. And the reason is simple, if not understood by most. It’s not you. It’s not your argument. It’s their brain.
Study after study shows that the conservative brain is a brain that lives in fear of the bad world it is surrounded by. It cannot make sense of it all, and it feels threatened. Simple answers that package their fear and put it away is what they yearn for and gravitate toward. The are frightened and they are insecure in this big world. Small and simple answers that assure them that all will be right, captures them faster than any fact or logical deduction ever could.
They will cling to what is familiar, reassuring, and safe every time over logical argumentation that leaves them feeling insecure and unsure. It is not how they want to think, it’s how their brains function. It’s called compartmentalization. It allows the victim to ignore all contrary information and when necessary isolate contradictory beliefs behind walls that keep the conflict at a minimum. (I believe in creationism, while at the same time encourage my niece to get gene therapy for her cancer diagnosis, never bringing to the fore that gene therapy is a result of evolutionary biological research.)
Eventually we all come to realize that “there is no point” in arguing with such types, but we continue, at each new juncture, and with a different right wing nut case in the cross hairs, we fall victim to trying again. And we get the same result.
Lest we be declared insane for trying to get a different result from the same activity, we have to finally admit that such is a waste of time.
EXCEPT THAT. . . .
Facebook is a unique forum. We all have friends on Facebook, and they exist in a variety of forms–relatives, old old friends we have moved far from, new friends, eternal friends, coworkers, associates, church friends, organization friends, and the list goes on to infinity. These myriads of “friends” bring forth a variety of individual talents.
I am graced with some great Facebook friends and I owe them a debt of gratitude. They have taught me so very much. Their passion, while not necessarily mine, has served to inform me on many a subject I would be unaware of without them.
I would never know how cruel and awful housing small whales and dolphins in small tanks is, alone and without their families. I would never know about the issues regarding Monsanto, and Tyson and other vile corporate entities that endanger our health in the chase for the almighty dollar. I’ve had my theological foundation firmed, and loosened by a couple of theologians I know.
I could go on for a couple of pages. You see, I know all sorts of people in the Facebook way, and by and large, I’m enriched from the experience. The people I disagree with, remain small, but more importantly they are vehicles for dissemination.
Here’s where I tie this all together. . . .
While it is unprofitable in general to get into discussions with right wing crazies en mass, isolated encounters in otherwise friendly terrain, does serve a purpose. And that purpose is, they give one the excuse to lay out all the arguments that you can muster on an issue.
Rather than be the usual waste of time that we have encountered in large groups, in small ones, you don’t get overwhelmed. Much like big corporations make it hard to be sued by “papering” the opposing counsel with so many requests, demands, depositions, discovery, endless motions and so forth, when six or eight people are all ganging up on you, well, most people don’t have TIME to respond properly.
Responding improperly does more harm than good.
Why does this matter?
Because in every group, there are outsiders, people who live on the fringe, reading but almost never uttering a word. They are not crazies, but they aren’t politically aware either. They are busy living their lives, and barely bump into most of the political and social issues of our day. They do however, at leisure, read posts and comments, blogs and so forth.
They are not ideologically motivated. They are bright people, normal in every sense of the world except they aren’t much interested in the body politic or how it functions. Until it waylays them personally (and many it never will), they don’t get involved.
But, they do read. They do comprehend. They do get logic, and they do check out links. They will listen to a cogent argument and if not offset by superior information going in the other direction, they will agree with you.
They won’t deliver fliers in their neighborhoods or make phone calls for a candidate, but they will vote (if not too inconvenient) and they will vote consistent with the facts as they have come to understand them.
They are your audience always.
You have to trust that they are there. They are, I assure you. Every once in a while I get a message or email from one of them, telling me they have “lurked” for some time, and agree or have been led to agree to this idea or that.
Those are the people you are writing and talking to. They don’t have time to do the research you do, but they appreciate it. They can tell the difference between your citation to reputable sources and the other sides reliance on “common sense”.
They recognize that common sense to the right wing is akin to “what I want to believe is true because it makes me feel better.”
Your efforts are thus not offered in vain. Remember that you talk not only to who is directly before you, but all those who are within eye or earshot.
What it means for me personally, is to try to remember, (no matter how angry I often become at intransigent thinking), that calm, factual offerings are much more successful that bombast and snappy retorts that serve to explain only how loathsome the right wing fanatic can be.
So I thank all those who have taught me so much on Facebook. And I am thankful for Facebook which provides that unique platform allowing me a cornucopia of “friends” that insure a range of opinions, talents, passions, and hard facts.
The post is powerful, more powerful than you think. So do be mindful of the audience out there, ephemeral as it may appear. This is your job. They depend on you for accurate information on an unimaginably wide source of things. Surely you can offer your services on a few of them?
Make a difference!
I don’t recall as a pubescent girl, ever much thinking that I’d have rather been a boy. All that stuff in their pants looked rather homely to me as a child. As I grew older and wiser, I figured worrying that my boobs wouldn’t be “perky” enough was small potatoes versus worrying that my pecker wouldn’t pass muster either in the locker room or in a ladies vagina.
And then there was hair loss later in life, and well, I don’t pretend to know whether men obsess over chest hair or not, but it just seemed that their burdens were not worth the exchange.
I suppose it all goes back to caves, or whatever suitable accommodations were “home” to our ancestors on the plains of Africa. Men are for the most part stronger which makes them quite useful for things that require brute strength. Ironically men who work with their hands and use their bodies as their machines are fairly looked down upon by their Madison Avenue brothers as having not “made it” in the wicked world of power and wealth today. But it was the originator most likely of men’s superior classification.
In an event, men ruled, and that is pretty much everywhere you look across the blue marble we call home. In the only parts that counted (by those same men), white men ruled all others, including men of color. And it was all seen as good and well, as evidenced even by major religious scriptures, who took it for granted that men pretty much ruled naturally and with God’s imprimatur.
Somehow, even allegedly smart white men failed to see that Jesus rather turned that cart upside down when he suggested that women were, *gasp* capable of preaching the “good news” of the coming Kingdom.
Things have gone on in that vein for some time. Well, to be honest, it has gone on through most of recorded time. I’d hazard a guess that even where women ruled it had more to do with “blood lines” than competence, and many sturdy men were gathered around such a lady to “guide” her to correct decisions.
It continues today, but the battle is now fully engaged, and white men are getting a bit nervous.
Women have always been angry, but anger needs direction and some sort of power base to be effective. Only in the 20th century do we begin to see real movement to question the paternalism that has been the history of women’s life in America and the world.
Another aspect is now apparent as well. While white men were busy running the world and making obscene amounts of money to feel “successful”, the rest of the planet was busy reproducing like rabbits. Left with so much extra time on their hands, they played in the garden of rare delights also known as ladies private parts. And the birth rate has skyrocketed and well, do the math.
Ms. Lindsey is correct. If you look around white dude, well, I can understand why you are shakin’ in your boots and clingin’ to your guns. Your days are numbered and no amount of prancing around neighborhoods with your semi-automatic penises strapped across your chest is gonna make any difference to that.
You are a not dying, but certainly about to become wheelchair ridden, mere shadows of yourselves.
Now, I don’t say this with glee necessarily. After all, I’m married to one of y’all. I rather like him too, so I have no ill-will in general to white men, just everything mostly that they stand for.
We can all pretty much agree that you have done a lousy job of runnin’ things. I mean yeah, you build a lot of stuff, but it seems for the only purpose of blowin’ it all up eventually. You guys can’t stop arguing about whose penis is bigger and if you ever bothered to ask us, you’d know that has nothin’ much to do with it.
Yet you persist.
And our sons and daughters and well, all of us suffer for your insatiable desire for bloodshed. There just ain’t enough hills for all of ya to be kings on.
So I can get why you are so angry. And like petulant children who can’t have ice cream for breakfast, you take it out on everyone you come across.
What you all are in need of is some basic psychoanalysis. I mean your ability to blame it on anybody but yourselves is shocking. It’s the black, brown, female, immigrant, wrong religion, youth, liberal, educated, government, et ceteras into oblivion’s fault for your troubles. A white man never looks in the mirror and sees the cause of his own disaster.
Anyway, you get all out there in your twisted but fact-less minds, and become conspiracists of one sort or another. We’ve visited the FEMA camps, and gun confiscations, the Muslim Brotherhood infiltration to death. We’ve been birthered to death and delved into the drug-induced supposed gayness of the black guy in the WHITE house.
We have tried to talk sense to your sense of impending loss, we really have, but past a certain point, crazy is too crazy to hear let alone understand. You are like the child who attempts to solve his unhappiness by making public scenes of displeasure at the world.
Unfortunately, you’re methodology includes the killin’ of plenty of innocents as you strike out in anger and frustration that you can’t always be first in line and get the best cupcake.
It’s over dude.
Do the math.
You are like the king who rules over a kingdom of “others”. Once his army became “others” too, it was only a matter of time, until they learned to count. Suddenly it was lookin’ a bit grim for the king.
Some of you have taken to claiming that you are the one’s being victimized now. Oh, if only that were true. We’d surely come to your aid if it were true. But it’s not.
Nothing is more pathetic than hearing a white dude proclaim that he is being discriminated against. Dude you were born with a white penis, what more could a person want? With it came all the entitlements and assumptions that have always attached to a new born white male. There is no “stretch” to thinking of you in a new more powerful way. It’s business as usual for you.
You can’t fathom how that is not what it is for the rest of us. We have to first convince somebody(s), that we can do the job, that we are smart enough, strong enough, carry the right emotional schema, are not unsuitably encumbered by family and obligation, and a host of other things. Women must explain that their menses won’t cause them to divulge the nuclear codes nor will “pillow talk”. Black and browns must assure that they have enough of the “cultural”requirements to govern. Remember, they weren’t “raised” the same as white dudes, which has become by their decree the cultural norm.
And since the numbers, (damn them) simple are what they are, white dudes are gonna lose no matter what. You can’t shoot it, marry it, enslave it, or stick it in a company town. It’s just gonna swallow you up.
So you lash out.
Do you realize that almost all crimes of mass murder are committed by white men? Dude, this endears you to no one. Let us know that your brains are falling out because you can’t be king any more, and we will help. If you don’t, well, the end is your demise one way or the other.
But please, stop trying to take us with you.
It’s fairly easy to pick out uber conservatives (aka nut jobs) today. They are the bald ones, having pulled out every last hair upon their holy heads at the vile in-your-face rebuke offered them by “those five unelected lawyers” who have seemingly taken to poking a stick at family values and the American way all in one fell swoop.
I arrived home yesterday to find my Better Half (aka the Contrarian) all dressed up and meeting me at the door. After the usual, “how was the pool?” dialogue, I was unable to contain my query any longer. “Why are you all dressed up in your big-boy clothes at 9:30 in the morning?” i asked.
“Guess you didn’t hear the news,” he grinned. “Gay marriage is now the law of the land, and according to WorldnetDaily, the next step is mandatory marriage. I don’t even have a boyfriend yet, but I’m ready if anyone shows up at the door as my designated gay-marriage mate.”
“I won’t make the cake you know,” I reminded him, “since it’s my constitutional right based on religious freedom not to be forced to sanction your unholy alliance. Besides, since I’m gonna wear white, I don’t wanna take a chance on getting ganache all over me.”
I have no doubt that similar scenarios were played out all over America.
It’s now a day later, and well, we are being patient. I do hope the Committee to Assign picks a suitable dude for my dude. We are still negotiating whether I’ll get my own room or just get a King-size bed.
Oh, in case you have any “in” with that committee, we just want to say, we are open to most anything but we both dislike back hair if you don’t mind not sending that type. Otherwise we’re pretty open-minded.
On the other side of the ducat you will find your pass to health care still intact. Much as the uber right was praying to see millions of weeping ex-insurance holders collapsing in cancerous piles, all to the tune from The Life of Brian–bring out your dead!
Justice Roberts is being hung in effigy throughout the south and other hidey-hole enclaves throughout the lower forty-eight. “Traitor” is being bandied about and serious inquiry is afoot to determine whether the Chief has middle initials of B.A. and no I ain’t talkin’ about Bachelor of Arts.
It’s been a thoroughly bad week for the side that hides its hatred and bigotry behind phrases like “religious freedom” and “work ethic”. As usual they betray themselves in ‘splainin’ that all they want to do is punish the sin and give charity as they see fit without being taxed. Cuz we are so wilfully caring of our fellow-man and woman ya know.
Meanwhile, another very right-wing piece of refuse, killed a bunch of surely very nice folks at a Black church in Charleston S.C. The Foxy Fools immediately decried this “attack on Christianity” furiously trying to pretend it had nothing to do with race hatred, since we live in a post-racial loving America.
Inevitably, somebody mentioned that once again, mass murder by guns in the hands of a loon. And just as surely, the Foxy Fools recalling their Murdock learnin’ responded, “the libs are trying to politicize this tragedy once again! Shame on them!” This while, Wayne La PeePee, stuttered in a whisper, “tell ’em to buy all the guns they can, cuz that Nazi-Arab-lovin’ usurper in the GOD-DAMN IT, CAN’T YOU SEE IT’S A WHITE HOUSE, is surely gonna take them away from you, declare martial law and declare himself Emperor for life.” Wayne’s phone went off, to the tune of cha-ching.
Meanwhile, I engage in yet another fruitless discussion with idiots. “If the crime rate has gone down in the last 25 years, as you say, well it must be because our gun laws are perfectly strict now,” said the lady who is too lazy to even determine whether crime is down as “I say”, let alone offer a rational explanation. Actually, the drop in crime is so significant that it has spawned several major studies done by illustrious public institutions like the U of Chicago, and the Brennan Center for Justice.
Guess what? It has to do with abortion (meaning unwanted children are not raised in poverty and do not fall victim to crime as a means to get out), and the passing of clean air/water act which cleaned up the lead in our old housing units and the neurological damage is does. Or better policing. Open carry and conceal carry? Zero impact on falling crime rates. Strict gun laws? Huh?
Now that’s gotta twist some knickers don’t it? Things the GOP and the so-conservative-it-hurts group have opposed. Abortion and regulation are ugly words to a Rightie.
So how about that Confederate flag thing? Yep, as soon as the GOP gave up any hope that the Foxy Fools could work their magic and turn the issue of a mass shooting to serve their own purpose, well the GOP turned on a dime and became “outraged” and all agreed that Nickki Haley was “courageous” in doing the “right thing”. Course the Nickster saw the flag as no problem just a few months earlier when running for her re-election.
“Why the CEO’s I’ve talked to haven’t ever mentioned that Confederate flag,” she assured us, so what’s the problem? Black folk, you see, did not figure into her determination. Why should they care?
Meanwhile, Governor Abbott in Texas proves what was deemed unbelievable only a few months ago. Somebody can do a worse job than Rickie “glasses” Perry. Abbott, appointed some woman to head up the state’s Board of Education. Which is of course not remarkable, except the woman appointed home schools her kids.
Did you read that? She home schools her kids because she doesn’t believe in the public school system. How rich is that? Seriously?
I’m keeping a close tab on all points of egress from the US. There are scores of drooling half-wits who claim that if either Obamacare or gay marriage came to fruition they would be movin’ elsewhere. I want to be sure to be there to wave them goodbye. And then burn the damn ramp to the boat once they are aboard. Good riddance!
Oh and California is facing a water shortage. Actually they are facing NO FUCKING WATER. This lead one lady to blame it on gays. God surely hates the wrong people screwing each other she bellowed and will punish US. And the rest of the thirsty bunch is suing to make sure they get their fair share of dry sand.
I gotta say, it’s been a good week for sanity. If you sort out the bullshit.
I mean I seriously thought about being nice, and I rejected it. It’s a lousy gig, one to be avoided unless you are a masochist or something like that. Being nice means not being authentic, unless you decide that it’s worth all that work. Cuz being nice is hard work. Not for the faint hearted. Not for the lazy.
I know a lot of nice people. Past and present. They are always smiling. It’s part of the persona. At least while in public.
It’s always saying the right thing, and worse yet, it’s actually believing it. It’s liking to be liked, and being liked by so many people that when you die, well, there really won’t be a dry eye in the house. Your funeral will be well attended.
Why is it so sad when a funeral is not well attended? It shouldn’t be. I figure it’s as good of evidence as one gets that one has lived a life of profligate self-interest. I figure Donald Trump’s funeral will be well-attended. But it’s not because he ain’t all about self-interest. It will be because people want to be seen there, nothing else. There won’t be many wet eyes at that one.
Nice means submerging one’s true feelings because it’s not polite to be cruel or dismissive of the normal but boring detris of other people’s lives. First on the scene with a box of cookies. First to offer babysitting services. First to offer to plan a wedding shower. Yech, I gots way better stuff to do than that.
But it’s not all disrespect and narcissism. I mean being un-nice is not being deliberately mean or something. It has nothing to do with being good or bad. You can be good and un-nice. Or you can be good in spite of being un-nice.
Good is striving at all times (well most of the time maybe) to do the right thing, insofar as it leads to correct factual determinations and ultimately the use of such criterion in making decisions that matter. Or something like that.
It means caring about shit deeply. And it means speaking truth to anyone who will listen and shouting at those that won’t because you are damned sure that you probably know more than most about whatever you choose to pontificate upon.
It’s self-centered but benign. Or maybe not so benign, but that’s a word that doesn’t get used nearly often enough. I try to encourage the use of more words.
Being nice requires a lot of time. And to a lazy person, that means it starts with so many negatives that it surely can’t be resurrected except for the most important of situations. It requires a whole lot of time and effort. Too much.
You know the nice people. They are uniformly nice. And secretly you admire them sorta, but not really because you figure they are more patsy than role model. They are sorta soft people, who settled on the safe “being nice” as their claim on the universe.
Wasn’t she just nice? The nicest person I ever knew. She was so nice. Everyone liked her.
Now that is the kiss of death ain’t it? What wants to be liked by everybody? What sort of bland is required to reach that pinnacle of mediocrity?
Seriously, nice is the easy way out in life. It’s bending to everyone’s whim because it’s far easier than sorting through all the demons that whisper in the background for you to come out and have some real fun.
Being the teacher I shall always remember as my favorite is not a claim to fame. Better to make someone sit up in shocked attention, and make it their life long goal to prove you wrong. That’s an impact. That’s worthy for the reference books, or at least an entry in Bartlett’s.
I don’t mean to make light. But I do.
For I am defending me.
Because, not being nice, no one else will.
Well, maybe not nobody. But not a lot of some bodies.
I’m a good person. I don’t pull the wings off flies. I don’t taunt little children, not pinch dogs to make them squeal. I think of global things that matter to lives in deep corners of the world and I tell people to think about them too.
I don’t steal or lie or commit adultery. I don’t commit treason, nor do I harbor hateful beliefs about fellow humans without strong evidence. If I do have the evidence, I’m surely not too polite to tell you. I figure you should know. It’s important to know who’s who.
Good is different from nice. Way different. And if you don’t know the difference, well, I ain’t got the time to explain it. And you might just be too stupid to get it anyhow. I have few illusions.
Figments of facts, floating by. Snatch one or two and make a statement. Let them all float by and you are living in suburbia serving the Merikan dream and largely brain-dead.
Who speaks of all this stuff?
It’s so much easier to play in your own puddle but so much more fun to comment on the dirty water in your neighbor’s.
I don’t smile at clerks in stores all the time. Nice people do that. How can nice people be defined properly if I don’t help to anchor the alternative? So I don’t smile. And if they say one of those stupid things, like “did you find everything?” I’m likely to respond with a “now that is some sort of stupid question isn’t it? Either I gave up looking for “everything” or I did find everything, or I’m too lazy to care.
I point out stupid well. It’s a gift.
It’s lonely here in the gut section of humanity. Being the speaker of the obvious truth rather than pointing out how lovely your crappy dress looks with those shoes when they look hideous. Don’t get me wrong.
I’m not nice enough to not bother telling you that that crappy dress looks hideous with those shoes, because why is it my job to care how you look? I enjoy a joke too ya know.
Mostly not being nice allows me to enjoy all the stuff I want to, without bothering to note the inconsistency in my commonly held positions on just about anything. Oh I bother now and then, and strike the old cognitive dissonance bell a time or two. But being good means never having to say you’re sorry. (Surely I did not lift that from Love Story?)
I’m almost sure I said everything. It’s hard to know, when you’re fighting writer’s block and feeling all Hemingwayish. No I did not mean that I’m fondling a shotgun or anything. Death wishes bore the shit out of me, and I find such people tedious.
I’m almost through grieving for Robin Williams. Almost.
Can you almost hear the sarcasm?
Can you almost wish this were over? No, my ego says no.
We participate, (with a certain shamefacedness) in SoCS.
Watching the events play out in Baltimore is an education to some, to others, it’s a why question. Why didn’t this happen sooner? The fact is whether you like it or not, life in the inner city is purely shit for the average African-American citizen.
Every deck is stacked against the individual trying to survive. Poor schools, no jobs are just the beginning. We see nothing less than a systematic attempt to herd “unwelcomes” into small enclaves and then devote all our money and energies to “other interests.”
We not only condone racism in this country but we grow it.
We demean people even when we give them the pittances we do, by making them take drug tests, and defining what food stamps can be used for, and attaching so many rules and regulation to any sort of assistance that you end up in the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenario.
And when people rise up out of anger and frustration and disgust at the injustices they endure, we blame it all back on them and their “fatherless” homes, where unfortunate black youths learn no morals or sense of obedience to authority. Above all that, they have no respect for their betters.
One young man fairly told Geraldo Rivera to take his white ass and get out of town. They recognize Fox for what it is, purveyors of hate upon their heads. Geraldo, the youth said, you are only interested in filming what you call “thugs” rioting. You and Fox haven’t been interested in coming here to report on the daily injustice that we face.
To those of us who have engaged in the criminal justice system in this country in large metropolitan cities, we know all too well of what the young man speaks. As Alan Dershowitz explained in his Rules of the Justice Game, “almost all police officers lie about whether they violated the constitution in order to convict guilty defendants”, (rule IV) and all prosecutors, judges and defense attorneys are aware of rule IV. Worse, they look the other way. Like it or not, it’s true.
The recent public exposure of these cases of police overreach, abuse and lying comes as no surprise to us. I recall a dear friend of mine, a street cop from Detroit, whom I had argued with good-naturedly about whether police could do their job and still tell the truth. He was called to testify on an arrest and to make his point to me, told the truth. The case was dismissed for lack of “probable cause”. He grinned at me, as he walked from the courtroom. “See what you get when you tell the truth?”
We understood it, and we accepted it as a the way life was. We knew that in most cases the officers were at least sure they had the right guy.
But there is a segment of police officers within each department who do not care. They figure one black body is as good as any other, and they have ambitions, and a host of emotionally based reasons for throwing their authority around and not caring who gets caught up in their game.
Therein lies the problem.
And a solution comes from an unlikely source:
The gangs of Baltimore.
The major gangs have declared a truce, and apparently are devoting their time and efforts to helping their community respond in a politically helpful way to the recurrent injustice visited upon them in general and in the Freddie Gray case in particular.
It boggles the mind. Young men hell-bent on killing each other, and unfortunately any innocents that get in the way, have come together and agreed that for now at least, they will stop the violence against each other, and help organize their community to stop police violence against them all.
This is no small thing. Thinking, educated, above middle-class men and women only a few miles away, encased in a glorious white facade of sandstone and marble, are unable to agree upon even the most basic of things because screwing the black guy in the White House seems paramount.
Yet these young men have agreed to set aside their differences and work together for the common good of their community.
And the gang has a good deal to offer should it choose to actually follow through. Long the center of loyalty, and business acumen (albeit illegal) it mirrors many good traits that the young can well adopt. Strong Black men, helping their community? What’s not to like here. They teach loyalty, respect, and how purpose can bring about change. Somehow in their matriarchal upbringing, they have managed to become quite savvy at things they aren’t supposed to understand at all.
They in a real sense complement their environment, reflecting an honest if not legal response to the tremendous burdens and disadvantages heaped upon them since birth. They have the ability to encourage the younger kids coming up at least in the character requirements of making their way in a racist world while still standing firm for dignity.
No one argues that gangs are stellar examples to our youth. They have not been since the days of the Irish gangs, the Puerto Rican ones or any of the others. But all ethnic groups plagued with the criminal element within have always managed to take those good attributes and bettered themselves and their communities. And the Black community is no different. It too learns the right lessons along with the less savory.
Larry Wilmore, on his show The Nightly Show, did a most important thing on Thursday. He sat down with gang bangers in a diner and just talked. And they were articulate, and politically aware, and sincere. And that matters and should matter, and should make us hang our heads in shame when we cannot expect better from our paid politicians, and we cannot seem to expect more of ourselves in insisting on our own justice from the tyranny of big money and big K Street influence.
Perhaps it will be the gangs of Baltimore that will lead the way in helping us to see that we are not without recourse in our own struggles to retake command of our government. We need merely to stop focusing on our differences and agree that we are not being heard. None of us, for anything. And it’s time to change that. And if it takes a gang to explain that to us, well, more power to them.
And that’s a compliment in case you didn’t realize it.
We participate in SoCS.
I have a friend who often wonders why people care about the personal lives of other people. Why does anyone care whether somebody chooses to be single or married, have children or not, wants to sleep with this one or that one? Yet, it is undeniable that some people do care. Perhaps it is nothing more than powerless people attempting to force their lives on others in some vain attempt to feel superior, because their choices are “right” and that makes them feel better about themselves.
Some small few no doubt have deeply seeded religious notions (however wrong I may adjudge them) that urges them to compel others to live as they do, while paying lip service to a “religious freedom” that they conveniently reserve only for themselves. A great many more use religion as a shield to their own perhaps unconscious fears that they have certain stirrings which occur when the subject comes up, stirrings contrary to their definition of fitting into their particular group.
As polling suggests, the country continues to move more and more strongly in the direction of marriage equality. And the small, but adamant religious right, continues to voice its disapproval. But if it were this alone, we could all be content to “let the hater’s hate” with their pretense of “hating the sin, while loving the sinner.” Life always contains such out of the mainstream extremes so it seems.
But it is of course not “this alone.” This vocal and increasingly violent speaking segment continues to come up with innovative ways of making their animus known and felt. In reddish states across the nation (some six at the present with another half-dozen who have recently turned down such legislation), Republicans attempt to legislate bigotry in the face of a growing certainty that marriage equality will soon be the law of the land.
Republicans in general and those who appear to be running for President, reel like drunken sailors attempting to negotiate a rational path that both satisfies the “law or the one anticipated” and their growingly hostile base which insists on purity on this issue as on others. Of course there ends up being nothing rational at all in their stance.
Bush, Rubio, and Cruz are more than vocal in their support of the new mantra, that somehow there must be laws to protect the “religious” rights of people not to engage with gay people in their businesses if they don’t want to. There is no doubt that Huck, and Christie and Paul, and certainly Carson and Jindal agree as well. The fact that the argument is farcical is of no import. It “sounds” good, and that is always enough for the Right to pursue against a populace usually too busy with daily life to seriously disassemble the argument.
It’s all about religious freedom and not discriminating against Christians they intone. But is it?
As Jon Stewart pointed out, the florist who can’t bring themselves to sell flowers to a gay couple for their wedding, doesn’t even ask the trice about-to-be married man or woman, whom arguably Jesus would call adulterers. It doesn’t inquire into the criminal background of the pedophile, or the swindler before selling them a bouquet for their home. It doesn’t inquire of the drug dealer, murderer, before selling them the “wedding special.” All these instances are surely as egregious to God as the couple who has the temerity to love without benefit of the “right” plumbing arrangements.
These pieces of legislation are simply ruses to make you and I abide by somebody else’s personal preferences or to guard against their personal fears. Naming it “God’s will” doesn’t change a thing.
People talk about “deeply held religious beliefs” on the part of the florist or photographer. How is one to make that determination? By asking? By church attendance? By tithing amounts?
People talk about “next church’s will be forced to perform marriages against their tenets.” Really? Who has ever asked for that? There is no law in this country that attempts to interfere directly in church operations. Is anyone stopping the Westboro Baptist church from preaching hate every Sunday? Has anyone suggested that we should?
People talk about forcing people to serve others against their religious views. Well, yes, they are being told that. They are serviced, those businesses, by fire and police, they pay taxes, they receive water and electricity, the meet building codes, and sanitation requirements. They are in a fact engaged in a public endeavor, using city and state services. They are in a phrase, engaged in commerce, a public event. As such, this is simply one more general requirement of engaging in a public business–NOT DISCRIMINATING AGAINST PEOPLE BECAUSE THERE IS SOMETHING ABOUT THEM YOU DON’T PERSONALLY LIKE. Live with it, or get out of public sector business.
People like Rubio and Bush and Cruz attempt to draw some lines, such as “well we don’t mean they can’t be served in a restaurant.” Why not? How is that different from a florist? Which businesses are magically exempt? Will Hobby Lobby and it’s fakery about being offended by contraceptive care when it buys most of its inventory from abortion friendly China get the exemption?
People say that being gay is a choice. The question always becomes, so when did you “decide” to be straight? But putting aside the “gotcha”, why do religionists insist upon this “choice” thing? The weight of the evidence is that there is a genetic component which probably is in some way triggered by one’s environment. Or perhaps it is all genetic. Whatever it is it is not a choice, for even in today’s liberalizing environment, who would choose gayness with all its inherent problems? Surely more gays today are happy with their gayness, but at the point of decision would they have chosen this fight? Precious few of us desire to be martyrs.
The reason the religionists need gayness to be a choice is that is simply solves a lot of theological problems for them, and thinking makes religionists heads hurt. If it’s not a choice, then God made gays that way and it must be good if you read Genesis literally. So explain why God makes gay people and then demands of them to ignore the most basic of human needs and desires–sex? They can’t of course, so therefore, it must be a choice. It keeps the theology tidy.
And of course, if Gay is not a choice, there goes the argument that “gays are out recruiting your children” argument. It makes as much sense as saying that people who love surfing go out recruiting your children to be surfers.
This is just painful to write. Because as I type away, laying out the arguments, I try to imagine what it must feel like to be the subject of such an essay. People talk about gays and blacks and browns and women, and all minorities fighting for equality as if they were subjects on a chessboard. I say “the gays” or “women believe” as if they were some homogeneous pat of butter to be added or subtracted to the mix of human stew.
This sort of thing needs to stop being discussed because we need to stop putting people in these awful categories of “people like me” and “people not like me.” It’s all artificial, all just a disguise for our own hates and fears, and confusion.
People are people. Love is love. Let people work out for themselves whom they love. Let them live as they choose with whom they love. Let them arrange their love in whatever form works for them, and mind your own freakin’ business. Nobody wants to watch you groping and rolling in your bed with your love.
Don’t get me started on “then somebody will want to marry a horse,” crap. Just don’t.
As my husband says, the doorbell has still not wrung with my government-issued gay husband that I have to marry. Isn’t that enough for you bigots?