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!
“Are you Catholic?” Alex asked. “Yeah,” I mumbled. “You know,” he added, “I grew up at St. Genevieve’s, went to school there too. But. . . .” So went another of the ever-occurring reasons for “why I don’t go to church anymore”. I can relate.
Substitute, writing for Catholic, and you have my last few weeks in a nutshell.
Welcome to my world.
So am I.
I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had returned to the Church once again, seeking. . .something? Hell if I know what.
I didn’t find it. Nothing bad happened. The priest was okay as priests go. I don’t expect much.
If you don’t know what you are seeking, it’s pretty likely you won’t find it. How would you know?
Writing is just about as confusing. I’ve written a lot over the years. All sorts of writing. Big bold essays of a hundred pages, footnoted to Hades and back. Short, “reflections”. Legal arguments chock full of citation to other learned writings. Notes of books I’ve read. And then all this blogging. Years of it. thousands of posts, millions of words, ideas formed, bent, twisted, reconfigured, spit out. Arrogance, pomposity, mendacity, with a rare humble crumb offered here and about. My guts displayed for any who bothered to note it.
Do I have nothing left to say?
Perish that thought. I’d shrivel up and croke. My enemies (having enemies is a true joy if you think about it seriously) wish I would just “shut the fuck up”. That alone should spur me forward.
I start, I stop, I flounder. As good as I came, I saw, I conquered (veni, vidi, vici) doncha think?
Why are we so three oriented? Tragedies come in three, examples are most often offered in threes. Trinity? Trifecta? Triple creme? Triple crown. Banana split which has little to do with the split banana and everything to do with three scoops.
I’m reading a very intriguing book. What is God? Not Who, but What. It all stems from that flip. Turn a globe upside down and leave it like that. It will make you rethink a few things.
I’m processing faith versus religion. I’m pretty down on religion right now. Composed of fallible humans what would you expect? Is it necessary? Church votes yes. I’m pretty much votin’ no at this point.
I choose to express my faith through some rituals of this faith system. I call it Catholicism. You can call it the Whore of Babylon if you are not well educated. I don’t care. There is too much wrong to defend it. There is more right than I often admit.
I’m pretty sure that God is not what we think. But I am not at all sure. I don’t think I’m supposed to be sure. Augustine said we can only say what God isn’t. That is hardly a recipe for success.
Church is like stopping off at a rest stop. It is good to get out and stretch your legs, relieve your bladder, and munch a snack. But it’s not home. You got to get back at the grueling drive that never ends. Thinking, watching, staying awake. Driving requires concentration if you plan to do it successfully over time. So is God-seeking.
One premise is that there is always something not quite real about reality. We sense there is more, but we can’t see it. We recognize the unreality. We have become desensitized to unreality. It passes by us with nary a nod.
A man says, “I am going to kill you because you are raping our women and taking over our country.” Another man says, “that’s hate against Christians,” (since the dead are Christians). Whose reality are we talking about?
I don’t reject the Catholic Church because of its theology. There is a Catholic Church here that is “not aligned with Rome”. They love my politics. But I don’t go and sit in the pews there. There is one of those Universalist Unitarians, or something here. There is Bahai here. I am not interested.
I plant my butt in a pew and I sit, and I wonder why I’m there. I count off the various “parts” until we get to communion and then the closing prayer, and then the closing hymn and then. I’m free again.
Why do I go?
I stopped going.
I feel something missing. Vicious and jealous mistress you faith!
Faith and religion. Two separate but unequal things. Faith matters, religion is some bonus at least once upon a time. Ever? Never? I did good once. It does good sometimes, somewhere.
The problem as always is the people. Fallible humans muck up the mud. Turn it ugly and personally motivated. I hate welfare not because I don’t want to help the poor but because I want to decide who to give my charity to. So they say. What they mean is I can then avoid giving welfare to lazy queens and princes who lay in bed half the day before they saunter down to the welfare store and pick up their checks. As I JUDGE them anyway.
I don’t want the government to tell me how much to give. I bet ya a million bucks you couldn’t come begin to tell me how much the “government is taking out of you in taxes” to support medicaid, unemployment insurance, food stamps, and so forth. You couldn’t even give me a ball park figure of what they take. But somehow, you assure me, you would give more if it were voluntary. Yeah, sure ya would.
Religion starts off with laudable goals. Seek God. Take care of God’s people. But your old fallibility rose like the skunky smell it is, and you changed that to “God’s chosen people” however YOU JUDGMENTALLY DECIDED THAT.
I’m for Israel because they are God’s chosen, you utter with perfect surety. Bullshit.
If you believe God has favorites then you believe in an awfully wicked and strange being. One who creates so poorly that He finds one poor slob called Abram and tells him, he will “create a nation” of him. Hope he does it better than the first couple of times. Dont’ forget the whole fiasco of Noah and that damned ark that couldn’t be built large enough to begin to house “all God’s creation”.
Yet you got a passel of morons whose brains are so gucky with sludge that they gotta cling to that stuff as literal and then make it their life’s work to make you take it literally too.
And God is not in that damned Book you fool. PEOPLE wrote the book. They wrote it about the God they were seeking. Since you can’t tell me much about God on your own, why do you think they were any better at it? They’re just trying, same as you and me. Yet you kneel before the freakin’ book.
So here I sit. I read that the Pope has offered up an encyclical on the environment. As sure as it’s June and it’s hot, right wing Catholics are finally letting out what they really think. They really really don’t like this pope at all. Unlike their precious JPII and Benedict however, Francis doesn’t inherit the “God’s chosen” appellation. We don’t have to pay attention to Francis when we don’t like what he says.
“He’s not a scientist. He’s just giving his opinion on a subject that he has no expertise in.” So the upshot is to ignore what he says. He’s a dupe of some libtards in the Vatican who haven’t explained to this poor illiterate fool that words matter. “He’s a marxist, anyway.” If you tried to continue the conversation say about women priests, they would tell you. “Pope John Paul has spoken on that issue and we will not allow further conversation because he says it is a closed issue.” Some personal opinions count. Oh yeah, the one’s you agree with.
Whose reality are we talking about?
Everywhere I go, I see the same thing. Distinctly different takes on reality. Both can’t be right. Or perhaps they can.
God is in the mysteries of life.
Oh, seeking Him there is not as easy as sittin’ in the pew. Reading and thinking and meditating, and working out the details. Only to realize that each and every insight provides fresh mystery, new questions, and potential conflicting yearnings.
Open your eyes, and your ears. But mostly open your heart. Take little if anything for granted. Seek serendipity, and sweet harmony. Enjoy the sugary taste until the bitterness creeps in. Seek further, and never stop. Ever.
That is human becoming.
When all else fails, I can always talk about myself. It’s my favorite subject after all. Okay, like three dozen people just ran off to call in this story to their editors. . . .hot off the presses, Sherry is gonna talk about herself. Cheeky? Arrogant? Full of self? Oh yeah, all that.
Who does she think she is?
I said it before. Like her, or not, there are few other alternatives. She ain’t tepid oolong or Earl Grey.
She is me, and I’m gonna go out on a limb and suggest that you probably got that.
I’m like a cat on a hot tin roof.
Or not. Mostly not.
If I were an animal which one would I be?
Polar bear mama?
Ponder that with your swayt tea. Yeah, we get that down here in New Mexico. I frankly hate that stuff. Sugar in tea? Are you mad?
People make me wonder. I mean take Bobby Jiggles Jindal. That man has no more chance of winning the GOP nomination than I do of winning a best in show at Madison Square Garden. Yet he twattles on.
Twattle, is a word conceived in sexual confusion. A cross between cunt and flapping lips of the face. See? Now you get it.
It’s a hell of a thing when your spiritual guru is a gang banger.
Well, not really, but sorta.
Yesterday I was a sittin’ in the pew when I noticed a young man with the usual accoutrements of style. . .ear-ring, sleeves cut out of the t-shirt. jeans, sneakers. He was sittin’ a few pews to the front of me.
Which made it convenient to watch.
So instead of concentrating on my own sinful self, I was bemused by this young man’s spiritual methodology. A very long time on the kneeler. No singing of entrance hymns. No murmuring of the “profession of faith” which is such a convoluted rattling of various Council pronunciations as to be indecipherable to all but the most religiously stringent of the faithful.
When that Gloria came along, oh good grief. It’s so badly written as to leave a normal believer astounded that given the whole of the Roman Catholic Church, no better rendition can be rendered but this? A squawky, akin to the Star Spangled Banner inability to keep the tune, sort of music that is painful to the ears and the senses.
My gangbanger, stands stoicly.
Mostly he sits with his head down, as if he’s there to beg atonement for a laundry list of crimes too numerous to mention. “Sorry God, but I shot somebody in a drive-by, and then celebrated with some blow, while threatening the mama of my baby for not having my dinner ready.” In the next breath, more sinful conduct is extruded.
Is any of this real? Oh probably not at all. The dude is probably a pediatrician, just out in his hoodie regalia which helps him calm down from the high intensity life of savior of children.
It provided a handy excuse for not paying attention as Father explained all about the Holy Spirit and how we neglect it in our prayers.
Is that true for you too?
Do you pray to Jesus or the Father or the Holy Spirit? All the same yet different as they say.
Is it reasonable that Christian theology must be so convoluted? I suspect it works for theologians who like to think of themselves as pretty smart folks. And they are for the most part. Least they sound that way.
So, I’m sittin’ in the pew, figurin’ this guy is really doin’ it right. Most people don’t if you noticed. They are rushin’ around front to back, always with the obligatory bow to acknowledge that Jesus is layin’ on the altar, while we are talkin’ to our neighbor in the pew about a meat sale at the Carniceria.
So, I’m not talkin’, just praying me some Rosary until the bells ring and they remind everyone to shut the phones off. And I’m watching my mentor. I watch him with his own style of reverence, again on that kneeler when most everybody else is standing, because the whole consecration thing is something to be knelt about.
And I wonder what the hell am I doing here?
Trying to recapture what once I had, yet which has so thoroughly departed. The devotion, the intensity, the It fuckin’ matters syndrome, it seems ephemeral after all this. Yet, I turn attention back. Jesus, I am not worthy to have you “under my roof” which is another of those John Paul/Benedict changes that is just change for change’s sake.
And he goes up for communion, but he is ahead of me, and I don’t realize until I get back to my seat, conveniently marked by my purse (what do men do to find their seat again?), that he has gone.
Guru man, you are of that ilk, (which I have never been) of those who in the confusion of people traipsing from pew to communion and back again, against the backdrop of a couple of hundred faces, working out their salvation with a wafer and sip, chooses to keep walking to the back and out the doors. Done! Got what I came for. Jesus is digesting in my belly and I’m roaring off in my Mazda to new Saturday night adventures.
I’m a bit chagrined by this turn of events. I wanted him to remain pious to the last second. Maybe be one of those stalwart types who continues laboriously to sing the closing hymn while people jostle to get by and into the aisle, seeking the fastest route of escape past the priest who is taking a stand outside hoping to catch every last hand as it passes.
Alas, he has escaped and I’m chagrined, yet I’ve spent exactly three minutes of the sixty actually contemplating my own salvation. I don’t account all that bunk for much actually. I am, as they say, more of a Matthew 25 person. Get on with feeding the hungry and tending to the sick.
My spiritual guru seems made of common clay after all.
Whatever I’m here for, I seem to find. Not sure what exactly that is. But I feel better about everything somehow.
I don’t find it makes me kinder to stupid drivers though. I still yell at them from the safety of my car seat, taking satisfaction in the fact that I’m not stellar driver, but I am damn well better than that!
And I put it all aside, as I do every Saturday evening. Done! Mass obligation met. No need to think about that until next Saturday.
Which reminds me of the old guy at the pool, who apologized so deeply and long for not being able to sign my petition to open the pool at 8 because as he said, he could never come early, since he’s at Mass every morning. Alex, who recites the Rosary while he walks the water channel, did sign. No morning mass for him.
Too much piety for me. Except when I was in formation to be a nun.
Oh that’s news to you?
Fancy that. I prolly should yak about that sometime.
But not today. I don’t like to brag, unless I have a captive audience. God I know, I’m such a bitch. Which makes you even madder doesn’t it?
Remember this: happiness is the best revenge.
We participate occasionally and poorly 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?
It is said (or at least it should have been said) that the human brain is pretty much capable of coming up with anything. I mean we humans have invented the most amazing ways of torturing people and killing them off bit by bit.
Go into any supermarket and stroll down the soda pop aisle or cereal aisle and you can see that we can invent several dozen variations on a theme, making each appear fresh and new.
But I swear I cannot come up with a viable version of comedy that stresses conservative themes and is funny at the same time. It would be a bit like pushing matter and anti-matter too closely together. It just implodes.
What on earth is funny about all the things that the GOP is for? They are for cutting taxes for the rich. That’s gotten to the point that nowadays we are sending money to them since they “pay” taxes in the negative.
They are for trying to offset their growing state deficits by adding “luxury” taxes to food and other necessities, taxes that cruelly attach more to the poor than any other group.
They are for the life of the fetus, which is surely laudable if it were coexistent with care for pregnant mothers, babies, health care, and a host of services to support that fetus as it grows to old age. But they are not.
They are against government intervening in the lives of ordinary people unnecessarily. They call this regulation. But the forms they wish to dismiss are those that protect people from dirty water, dirty air, shoddy manufacturing practices, unfair labor practices that endanger and diminish people. They figure kids, rather than get a free lunch should sweep the school for their dinner.
But when it comes to regulating behavior, they can’t get enough of regulations. They want to and do, try to regulate every aspect of women’s bodies when it comes to reproduction and girls bodies too. They seek to regulate what women wear. They seek to protect the rights of others to treat fellow human beings badly based upon personal ideologies that they call a “religion.”
They seek to express American exceptionalism by meddling around the world, upping the ante everywhere, bloating defense budgets to accommodate their need to puff out their chests and “prove” America is better. At the same time, they protect themselves and their offspring from standing on any battlefield they create.
They seek to pretend that race and ethnicity no longer are of any concern in their America. They turn the page by flipping the equation such that anyone who brings up the issue is dubbed a “racist”. They employ a few dark faces, who for the price of personal fame, are willing to nod genteelly in agreement. They twist and cherrypick the words of great civil rights leaders and try to claim them as their own.
They live every day using every convenience devised by modern technology. They tweet and fly, pick up their fancy lattes, take their youth-enhancing shots at spas, drive computer directed cars, yet when it comes to any science that impinges on their gravy train of K Street lobbyists and the free-flowing money that is funneled their way, science becomes pure bunk.
They prefer stupid, cute-talking bobble heads to thoughtful men and women.
They prefer “common-sense” to education, except when they visit the doctor or the dentist or the accountant or the lawyer, or the airport pilot. Education is for elitists, who are people who want to be better than the average person, meaning they get embarrassed when they haven’t a damn clue what is being said.
They are all for individuality, and they mean that they will say that everyone is equal, and you can just do the best you can. If it don’t work out, why that poor house thing back in the twenties wasn’t so bad, and we got a lot of free road work done. See don’t you feel better knowing you are paying for your own gruel?
They want to, therefore, end social security, cuz individuals properly prepare for their own old age. John-Boy is remembered fondly and surely was going to care for his ma and pa. You don’t need medicare either since health care is no right but a privilege reserved for those who have managed to acquire sufficient funds to pay for it.
There is no need either for unemployment benefits because it’s your job to foresee that free markets might end your job. Worse, if you are so down and out as that, you probably are not of sufficient moral character to withstand the urge to just sit on your ass and suck off the rest of us anyway, and we can’t have that.
Food stamps? Hunger builds character. See the above regarding unemployment benefits regarding your unfitness for food.
Housing? Ditches are quite comfortable in summer I hear.
And let’s not forget the churches. Our fine Christian houses of worships are dedicated to helping the “truly” poor, whatever the hell that means. Not so much non-Christian houses of worship which are really just oxymorons, cuz that’s what my Jezus said, after all, somewhere; at least he implied it.
I mean two thousand years of working on that issue, is a good start!
Immigrants were us two hundred or so years ago, and that was fine. Everyone knows white trash from Europe beats red skins any day. And immigrants are really good at cleaning houses and mowing lawns and picking fruit. They don’t want hardly anything for the privilege. But too many? Oh now, that makes you an ALIEN and an ILLEGAL.
Those words are words of fear, because damn, I’m following all the good rules set up by my betters, and fuck, life is still not any better, so somebody is to blame, and my betters say it’s THEM.
So, we can hate us some Mexicans and, hell all of South America pretty much just cuz. But we will not hate the Cubans, at least the rich ones who escaped Fidel. They are not aliens or illegals, but good people who lost their wealthy land holdings and much to be commiserated with.
We can hate us some Arabs, as many as we want and wherever we want, because we just want their oil, them that got it at least. The rest? Who cares?
We can ignore all our history and all of the worlds for that matter just because it interferes with the narrative we have to tell ourselves today to get to sleep. I mean the past is the past, why dwell on uncomfortable things like slavery and partitioning and supporting dictators and crummy stuff like that. It just makes me feel bad, and, after all, we have to deal with TODAY right?
Let’s make history a quest to make our kids good Americans! And we know what will do that. Put God back in school! In fact, let’s turn over education our youth to private enterprise, cuz they will do the job better and cheaper! And they will never have an ulterior motive to teach our kids anything that was wrong, or quietly made themselves look like the best thing since sliced bread, will they?
Let’s continue to push for not letting those who think against us vote. Let’s continue to make judges do what we want them too.
Let’s put a gun in every graduate’s hand. And I ain’t talkin’ about graduating from college, or even high school. Grade school is old enough to understand proper gun usage. Carry it proudly son. It’s what the Founding Fathers wanted for sure.
This is what the Grand Overly Dead Party thinks. Now, if you can come up with how to make this funny, do tell. I can’t come up with anything. Not a damn thing. A wake? I can come up with that, but not comedy.
Cuz a girl’s gotta write since it’s my passion, and there is always the miniscule hope, (for we all know that it springs eternal) that some poor bastard out there who was “damn the President for dissin’ Christians” will awaken from the fog of dissonance and the clear bell of enlightenment will ring forth: “I was once stupid and now I am not.”
Such is at least my justification for this essay.
I just happened to be tuned in the other morning as the President gave the traditional speech at the National Prayer Meetin’ which is held annually in Washington where all the sinners come to pretend they are doin’ their very best to apply God’s law as they slip another check from Exxon-Mobile and JP Morgan, into their $3000 suits.
The President, as we all know, has pretty much given up on the idea that facts, and good logic will get him anywhere, and as of late has pursued a policy of “screw you, try to stop me” and a general “fuck you” to Congressional Republicans who are fresh off the latest round of “ain’t got no bootstraps with which to pay for healthcare? Well die, you dog, and make room for those who do.”
As every good American knows, there’s the guys in the black hats (bad) and the guys in the white hats (good) always near to the scene. America is built upon this scenario and we have all the cheesy old westerns to prove it. Let us introduce the latest and best entry into the black hats category. A group known as ISIS (not to be confused with an Egyptian god) or ISIL if you have a clue what Levant means.
ISIL is a slipshod group of thugs who claim a perverted understanding of Islam which they use to justify their attempts to take over the world. Since their threat is pretty much everywhere, that means just about everyone else gets to be the guys in the white hats, but Merika of course always has to lead, cuz we are the super, super white hats.
Anyway, if you hadn’t noticed, we have a fair share of Arab Muslims (and Arabs in general) who live in the US, and boy I sure wouldn’t want to be them, since Americans are flighty people who tend to assess blame against whole swaths of people since it’s just easier. We learned that from the movies too, where it’s often best to “shoot first and ask questions later.” Anyway, even the dumbest of President (that would be you Dubya) have realized that it’s really not a good idea to let the great stupid mobs of American whiteness carry on in this manner, and so they are always at pains of ‘splainin’ to the stupid white people that NOT ALL ARABS ARE MUSLIMS AND MORE IMPORTANT NOT ALL MUSLIMS ARE KILLERS. In fact the huge majority are not, but are just peace-loving, family-seeking individuals like you and me.
Now Dubya can say nice things about Arab Muslims, and even hold hands with them, and nobody thinks a thing bad about it. He can even share a short peck and not even be thought particularly gay. Just good old American manners.
And he can say all kinds of nice things about Muslims to remind dumb American white people that it’s never a good idea to paint a brush too broad.
“America treasures the relationship we have with our many Muslim friends, and we respect the vibrant faith of Islam which inspires countless individuals to lead lives of honesty, integrity, and morality. This year, may Eid also be a time in which we recognize the values of progress, pluralism, and acceptance that bind us together as a Nation and a global community. By working together to advance mutual understanding, we point the way to a brighter future for all.” Presidential Message Eid al-Fitr December 5, 2002
But when President Obama reminds us that there are bad people in all religions historically who have done really bad things
Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history. And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ. . .So this is not unique to one group or one religion. There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith. In today’s world, when hate groups have their own Twitter accounts and bigotry can fester in hidden places in cyberspace, it can be even harder to counteract such intolerance. But God compels us to try.
the hue and cry from the extreme right in this country rose like a phoenix, screaming that such utterly evil words had never been spoken in all of our democracy. Former Governor of Virginia, Jim Gillmore was “outraged” having never heard a more terrible thing from the lips of a President. Santorum and Limbaugh chimed in with their mortification of Christianity today being compared to the unspeakable ISIS killers. And on it went, the rallying cry being “this is not a moral equivalency!!”
And it was not suggested as such either, if you read the text.
It was meant to remind everyone that while the killings by ISIS are horrific, we as humans have been doing horrific things to each other since the inception of so-called civilization, and a good deal of it has been veiled in perverted religious beliefs. People find it most convenient to put on the mask of religion to disguise their blatant lust for power and to express their hatred and fear. It has always been so. ISIS is no different in that respect than all the others. It is no more heinous, no more bloody certainly, and no more representative of the faith it espouses than any of the others were.
A few examples should suffice.
African-Americans in this country were often burned at the stake during slavery and Jim Crow. If you don’t think it was done in the name of Christianity, then read the words of the Confederate Vice President Alexander Stevens:
[T]he first government ever instituted upon the principles in strict conformity to nature, and the ordination of Providence, in furnishing the materials of human society … With us, all of the white race, however high or low, rich or poor, are equal in the eye of the law. Not so with the negro. Subordination is his place. He, by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system. The architect, in the construction of buildings, lays the foundation with the proper material-the granite; then comes the brick or the marble. The substratum of our society is made of the material fitted by nature for it, and by experience we know that it is best, not only for the superior, but for the inferior race, that it should be so.
It is, indeed, in conformity with the ordinance of the Creator. It is not for us to inquire into the wisdom of His ordinances, or to question them. For His own purposes, He has made one race to differ from another, as He has made “one star to differ from another star in glory.” The great objects of humanity are best attained when there is conformity to His laws and decrees, in the formation of governments as well as in all things else. Our confederacy is founded upon principles in strict conformity with these laws.
The charred body of Jesse Washington pictured above was in 1905 in Waco. The deaths of countless other African-Americans during Jim Crow by lynching, by the KKK (which always has a “Christian” front), occured. George Wallace invoked the name of God dozens of times in his 1963 inaugural address where he also famously uttered the words, “Segregation now. . .segregation tomorrow. . .segregation forever.”
The extreme Right-Wingers will tell you that the Crusades were wars of defense. Yet the arguable owners of that land were Palestinians and Jews. Muslims lay claim based on Muhammad. Yet Christians have no real claim certainly any greater than Jews or Muslims. All claim the area as holy. Yet when the first Crusade ended, the city of Jerusalem was cleared of all non-Christians, and by cleared I mean murdered. Jews who barricaded themselves in their synagogues were burned to death and survivors sold into slavery. All told the Crusades occurred over about 200 years, ending in 1291 or so.
When Saladin recaptured Jerusalem, only then were Jews allowed to return and live in relative freedom. This was in 1187, nearly a hundred years later.
They claim that the Inquisition was “political” as if that means something.
In fact the Inquisition was instituted by Pope Innocent III and set up by Pope Gregory IX. Confessors to heresy were burned alive. In 1242 the Talmud was condemned and burnings of Jews began in France in 1288. The Inquisition was begun in Spain for fear of “secret Jews” and the Conversos (those that had converted at pain of death in the first place and were suspected of retaining their true Judaic beliefs). In Seville alone more than 700 Jews were burned to death. By the time it ended in 1808, nearly 32,000 died by fire.
And the Inquisition was not just in Spain and France. It spread to Portugal and then to New World colonies and throughout Asia as well.
We need not but mention the Troubles in Ireland in which religion was the division between sides. Or that of India/Pakistan again, where religion affiliation defined the sides.
It is not that religion perverts human souls, but that some small sick group humans use religion to perpetrate their own evils upon the world.
President Obama, in the hopes of tamping down the ugly nativism that is so beginning to plague this nation with its ugly hate, attempted to remind us that we all have blood upon our hands. ISIS is but the latest in a long line of evil people doing evil things in the name of their perverted version of God.
** Let me recommend Jeff Sharlet’s book The Family which documents the shady and weird folks behind the National Prayer Breakfast.
**Also a great read is Karen Armstrong’s Fields of Blood which argues that religion has played a lesser role in most violence historically, however much it may have been the cover story. I’ve not read this but I’ve read others of hers and she is a uniquely qualified religious scholar who is highly respected for her scholarship. She was once a nun herself.