Race to the Bottom

OpEdWe are truly a nation to be reckoned with, if you are worried about your position at the bottom of the pile, the bottom of the world ranking in nearly all relevant areas; the United States is working hard to grab the title. We are international bullies, we stand up and are counted policing the world to do what we say not what we do. Our leaders condone torture; in fact, they are proud of their participation or at least their tactic approval of the torture of other human beings. Our nation enters wars, costing tens of thousands of lives, killing heads of state and civilians alike for no good reason but we want the natural resources of that nation, we want to destabilize that region, we want to break the world.

We spend billions, sometimes trillions of dollars in nations other than our own. Nations that do not need our money, that do not appreciate our interference, nations that do not align with our stated values. Meanwhile, here in our own country we have children going without food, shelter, education. We make some of the top lists, such as:

Homelessness, top fifteen cities the USA has the grace to steal six spots on the list, with an estimated total 212,579 homeless living on the streets of these cities alone.

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Once you let that lovely sink in, the idea we have so many on the streets consider this one, we haven’t had such a large income gap since 1928. In fact, the United States made another list; yes indeed, we made the list of nations with the largest income disparity, number 4 on the hit parade of 10. We should be wondering what the hell is wrong, only Chile, Turkey and Mexico are ahead of us on this list, the GOP isn’t doing their job if we haven’t made number 1.

Now while you are absorbing the thought of all your fellow citizens living rough; men, women and children living without shelter consider the findings of Transparency International, we aren’t doing so well on the issue of corruption. In fact, we are suck. Our perception of ourselves, as a nation isn’t great so how do we justify sending our military out to police others? Just asking mind you.

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Now let’s discuss the idiocy on the Hill, yes that hill Capital hill. While the nation falls down around our ears, the ijits on the Hill are busy writing twenty-four new anti-choice bills, well to be fair one of them is a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act. You know they do this because they are afraid of women, they are afraid of our power if we should ever figure out we actually have a majority in this nation and we band together, breaking down all the false lines they have drawn to keep us apart. If the vast majority of us reach across the walls of race, religion, classism and poverty we will find we have far more in common than not. When we do this, we might find most of these Bills are intended only to infantilize all of us, stripping of us of our rights to both body integrity and economic freedom.

We could talk about so many other things, the education system in this nation and our lack of commitment to excellence. Our race to the bottom of the heap, our fear of intellectualism, our on-IgnoranceMapgoing outsourcing of innovation. Despite our great wealth we don’t even come in at the top ten of the Pearson ranking. In our race to the bottom though, we have achieved one top score, we are the second most ignorant country in the world, on the Ipsos Mori social survey only Italy is more ignorant that the US.

We could discuss the bulging prisons, the one thing we are number one in the world. With over two million of our fellow citizens within the Industrial Prison Complex, this is not something to be proud of. The problem of course is, the prison system is another capitalist scam, with well over one billion a year in profits to be made, no one is going to start dismantling it in favor of better justice, not when the favored few can line their pockets on the backs of the disadvantaged.

We could discuss the horror of joblessness and ask the question, why in the world this administration the GOP, along with several Democrats wants so badly to continue to destroy our future opportunity to grow through trade agreements. Trade agreements the citizens of this country are kept in the dark about. Trade agreements that do not favor us, but instead favor multi-national business. The Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement is not about free trade, believe me.

As we continue our race to the bottom, I ask myself where does it end? I wish we would all ask the same question. I continue to love this clip from the Newsroom, it says it all; we sure use to be.

The Mirror

There are times in all our lives each of us wonder, what does the world see when they see me. When I look in the mirror, I see all of my flaws, real and perceived I count them off one by one. Staring in the eyes of my harshest critic, I see each year stamped across my face telling a story I might rather forget, or wish was never written at all. So I stare, I run fingers through hair sprinkled with silver, I count the furrows across my brow, the lines surrounding my mouth and eyes; then I wonder where the time escaped to and what others see.

Does the world see my flaws in the same way I see them? Can a stranger read my pain, my triumphs, my  history as if it was a roadmap written on my face, across my skin and over the angles, plains and curves of my body, or do they only see slight imperfections where I see something altogether different, something damaged, unworthy of a second glance, unlovable in the harsh light of day.

Cool wind dances across heated skin

Leaving memory of other breath

Fingers trace the water’s edge

Sending ripples across a reflection

Unrecognized in the moonlit glow

Coalesced I come together, softer

In the silence memories pull nearer

The ethereal me beckons, closer

Remember, beauty under stars

Shredded without thought, nor care

For youth, innocence or hope

Lost in a scream for mercy

Tracing the water’s edge once more

Reflection lost to harder currents

Merged again, harder and more true

In the moonlit garden of memory

Does the world see my flaws? Does the world see the scars of my history? I don’t know, some of them are obvious, they are badges of honor I can’t help but wear them on my skin every single OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAblessed day of my life. I wish this were not the case, but it is the skin I live in the only skin I have so it is the skin I will have to walk this world in and the skin I will leave this world in. My problem? Truly, my problem is so many people over the years have left their calling card, announced their presence and left me something to remember them by; I can’t seem to step away far enough to start over again without carrying them along with me.

So, when I look in the mirror, I see my history. Some days I see myself victorious, but other days I see myself vulnerable and hurt, stupid for all the times I have laid myself open. When I look in the mirror, what I see is someone unloved and unlovable, someone who is not worthy of honest straightforward love, who must pay for any affection with something, either straightforward with my money or something else of value, including pain, because this is how it has always been.

Every single day I work toward changing my vision and work toward demanding more. But some days like today, this is what I feel.

The Names

valentinelogar:

This is stunning in its horror. Something has to change.

Originally posted on The Militant Negro™:

Mr MilitantNegro™ Jueseppi B Mr MilitantNegro™
Jueseppi B

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This post/list will be updated daily.

Michael Brown
David Parker
Michelle Cusseaux

Kajieme Powell
John Crawford
Ezell Ford
Eric Garner
Clinton Allen
Roshad McIntosh
Oscar Grant
Sean Bell
Miriam Carey
Tamir Rice, 12

Akai Gurley
Vonderrit Myers
Walter Scott
Eric Harris
Freddie Gray
Brandon Lawrence
Daniel Howard Davis
Renisha McBride
Rekia Boyd
Felix David
Gary Timmie Collins
Mark Cecil Hawkins
Karen Jenks
Hector Morejon
Samuel Harrell
Joseph Potts
Ervin Leon Edwards
William L. Chapman II
Dontrell Stephens
Natasha McKenna
Terry Lee Chatman
Jonathan Efraim
Christopher Lee Lucas
Jose E. Herrera
Carlos Saavedra Ramirez
Lue Vang
Kimber Key
Reginald McGregor
Luis Molina Martinez
Daniel I. Covarrubias
Daniel Wolfe
Stephen Gene Davenport
Santos “Cuate” Cortez Hernandez
Dana Duwane Hlavinka
Richard Brian Reed
Norman Cooper
Michael Foster
Erik Tellez
Grover Zeno Sapp Jr
Thaddeus McCarroll
Jeffery Kemp
Elias Cavazos
Darrell Lawrence Brown
Abner Louima
Leonard Pitts
Amadou Diallo
David…

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We Own It

OpEdENOUGH

It should be that and more. All of us, no matter which side of the aisle we claim, should be scratching our heads and questioning what in the hell is wrong with this country, with our moral center and ultimately saying, ENOUGH.

We aren’t, that we aren’t leaves me wondering why.

Far too many of us are walking by the murder and mayhem created on our streets by those sworn to ‘serve and protect’, we are looking the other way, pretending not to see, to not hear the voices of the mothers, fathers, sons and daughters as the cry out; ENOUGH.

Far too many of us are turning our backs on the women and children, hungry, homeless and without hope for a better life and begging, please, help us, no more, ENOUGH.

Far too many of us are shrug our shoulders at the tens of thousands of veterans returning from wars we should never have fought only to be thrown out on the streets, without jobs, without proper care for their physical injuries or their mental wounds, none of us says ENOUGH.

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Far too many of us are passively accepting the millions of men and women locked behind the walls of prisons for decades for non-violent crimes, because they couldn’t afford the cost of justice in America. We don’t question, we don’t challenge the profits made by the private prison industry, we don’t question the children sent to prison for decades, we don’t say ENOUGH.

Far too many of us watch as state after state pass laws to disenfranchise our fellow citizens, ‘Voter Rights’ and ‘Freedom of Religion’. We simply watch, we simply shrug and sometimes even justify these Jim Crow era laws, maybe because we don’t understand or maybe because they don’t apply to us, we have the right ID, we are Christian or we don’t fall into one of the other categories these laws are trying to attack, to brutalize, to keep out of active participation in our communities and our process. Certainly, the last election showed the level of apathy we are capable of, we failed to say ENOUGH.

Far too many of us shake our heads and ‘tsk tsk’, as our only acknowledgment of the racist animus leveled at this President, how it has changed the conversation in Washington and created even greater polarity, frozen our system, cost us millions if not billions. We refuse to say it aloud; refuse to acknowledge that we, as a nation, continue to be divided by racial animosities and segregationist politicians. While we might not all be racist, we vote for those who are, we allow them to make our laws, accept their leadership and refuse to say, ENOUGH and NO MORE.

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Far too many of us watch as SCOTUS perverts our Democratic Republic, we shrug and say there is nothing we can do. We fail to demand an accounting. We fail to demand change. We fail to vote, to get up off our apathetic and sorry asses and say ENOUGH.

What is it we are thinking? Someone else will do our job, that must be it. Someone else will stand-up for us, we don’t have to do it, we don’t have to risk it? We aren’t Gay, so their issues don’t affect us, is that it? We aren’t Black, so their issues don’t affect us, is that it? We aren’t poor, homeless, hungry so their issues don’t affect us, is that it? We aren’t women, poor, pregnant with no way to raise a child, a rape victim, so her problems don’t affect us, is that it?

There is a conversation we have to have in this nation, one that will be painful and ugly, without it though we will never heal and become what is possible. Until the day, we say Enough and No More, until the day we own what is wrong and start the conversation this nation will never be put to right, will never begin to heal. Until the day we acknowledge the true foundations of the United US-Constitution-toilet-paperStates of America and its continuing framework of racial bigotry, misogyny, colonialism and classism we don’t have a snowballs chance in Hell of moving toward the promise of our Constitution and The Declaration of Independence; they might as well be toilet paper.

When I say we, I mean all those of European extraction, White Folks. It is us, we own the problem and we own the action of ripping the scab off the festering wound. We own the standing up first and saying Enough and No More. It is our actions, our elected officials, our filthy rich who drive the continuing wedge into this nation; we own this history and this future. We own SCOTUS, we own Congress, we own ALEX and all the legislation making its way into the States to destroy hope. We own the police departments responsible for killing citizens on the street without repercussion.

We, American White Folks, own the history of Slavery, of Native American Genocide and Land Theft, of Jim Crow, of Segregation, of community destruction through the War on Drugs and images (8)mandatory sentencing; the list goes on but every one of them attacks families and communities of color in this nation, we own it.

We own the conversation that must start and we own the cure. The election of Barack Obama did not indicate a shift, what it did was cause all the racial hostility to come out of the closet. What it did was create even greater polarization, now we know who they are and where they are. Some of them are running for President, by damn some of them are running ahead of the pack. We have a chance to say Enough and No More, will we? We own the elephant in the room of our nation, we have ignored it for far too long.

We have the chance to start the conversation, to start healing the nation. Will we? I wonder, truly I wonder.

I leave you with this question are we ready for the change necessary to heal ourselves and this nation, what say you?

Comparing Punishments for Fraud: Atlanta Teachers vs. 2008 Banksters

valentinelogar:

Perfect example of what we value, not saying what the teachers did wasn’t wrong it was. However, it did not deserve this outcome.

Originally posted on The Progressive Cynic:

© Josh Sager – April 2015

Last week, eight Atlanta teachers and school administrators who were involved in test-fixing scandal were sentenced to significant prison time. This conclusion to the Atlanta test-fixing scandal is an unfortunate illustration of the inequities that have characterized our modern criminal justice system.

The state argued that these educators constituted an organized criminal organization that sought to artificially increase student test scores in order to gain personal bonuses. Put simply, teachers and administrators looked over high-stakes standardized testing sheets submitted by their students, erased some incorrect answers, and re-submitted them to be graded. These erasures boosted the average test score dramatically in some schools, creating the false perception that students were improving. As student scores were tied to incentive pay for educators, this resulted in thousands of dollars in bonuses for teachers.

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Georgia prosecutors invoked the RICO anti-racketeering law—which is usually reserved for organized crime…

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By The Numbers: What Does Gun Violence Really Cost?

valentinelogar:

Just to add to our ‘proud’ heritage of guns, violence and turning a blind eye to both.

Originally posted on The Militant Negro™:

Mr MilitantNegro™ Jueseppi B Mr MilitantNegro™
Jueseppi B

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THE DATA BELOW is the result of a joint investigation by Mother Jones and Ted Miller, an economist at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation. Based on Miller’s work identifying and quantifying the societal impacts of gun violence, the annual price tag comes to at least $229 billion a year (based on 2012 data). That includes $8.6 billion in direct spending—from emergency care and other medical expenses to court and prison costs—as well as $221 billion in less tangible “indirect” costs, which include impacts on productivity and quality of life for victims and their communities. (See the rest of our special investigation here.)

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More From Mother Jones:

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It was a mild, crystal clear desert evening on November 15, 2004, when Jennifer Longdon and her fiance, David Rueckert, closed up his martial-arts studio and headed out to grab some carnitas…

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I Quit with Much Rejoicing

Linda1I may have hinted I was unhappy, in reality absolutely and utterly miserable in my current employment. Nailing down the why’s hasn’t been easy. Truthfully, I knew some of the reasons but not all from the very beginning. The honest to goodness, oh my gawd, get me out of this madness fact was I was miserable nearly from the day I walked in the door and it only got worse. Exponentially worse each and every single day, it also got easier to identify the reasons why. Finally, this month I had enough of all of it, with great trepidation, I made a decision that I may well come to regret but is nonetheless the right decision for me.

I QUIT.

Yes, you read that correctly. I had enough, I reached my limit my wits end and I wrote my letter of resignation and pushed the send button. I had been contemplating this move for months, seriously contemplating for weeks but then it hit me and I hit the wall of ‘done’ and pushed send. Thinking to myself as that letter went out, ‘shit, can I take it back’.

Last year was very difficult for me, emotionally and financially. I was out of work for nearly six months, ran through my savings and was down to my last month of emergency funds when I accepted the position with my current employer. I had high hopes. I had made the decision to go from being self-employed to returning to the corporate world, to what I thought would be my last istock_000008650446small_custom-6ce6bb326422c9899f3e1b667f9bcae2444a689c-s6-c30job before retirement. I had researched this company, had spoken to more than twelve (12) people within the organization up and down the food chain. I was impressed with what I had seen and heard, I was happy with the salary and benefits, I was happy with the role I was taking. I was excited!

I wanted this to be wonderful.

Then reality hit, it hit hard and fast; it hit like a freight train and rolled over me, squashing me into the ground within the first two weeks. Honestly, I was left questioning my sanity, competency and value. I did not know where to turn, did not know whom to ask and did not have any direction. My boss was incommunicado, his boss simply said, ‘be patient’. The entire environment was toxic and I was miserable, I kept thinking it would get better; it didn’t.

Now less than a year later, I QUIT.

Scary as hell really, with bills to pay and a mortgage I am returning to independence. I am returning to contract work. I am going back to having some control over the environments I work within and those I work for and with every day. Is there risk? Yes, absolutely there is huge risk. Especially since I haven’t had time to rebuild my emergency fund. Nevertheless, misery is a far greater problem than the alternative, the possibility I might not stay busy and paid.

toxic-stress-response-pageIs it really I don’t have the patience to work within a corporate environment where the answer to many questions of inefficiency is, ‘this is the way it is always done’. Or is it that in my industry, consulting and IT, the culture is so toxic today I simply am incapable of surviving. I suspect it might be a mix of the two. Where the only concern is the bottom line, quality and human beings take a backseat. There is of course one other problem that everyone is afraid to mention, afraid to say aloud and that is cultural misalignment that has taken place within most large IT Consulting firms in the last decade.

Our industry, like so many others has been first outsourced then in-sourced through the H1B program, American workers replaced by primarily Indian workers. In the case of my employer, many  of management was Indian (2:1), most at my level were Indian (3:1), those one level below me (5:1) were Indian. Senior leadership of course were primarily American, this is the C-level those who were the face of the company but in all honesty they didn’t affect the lives of those of us who had to function with clients, or with each other day in and day out.

I am all for diversity in the workforce, however when it begins to create a toxic work environment I believe there needs to be something done. The fact of the matter is, when cultures collide especially in work environments all of us need to ask why and what we can do to fix the problem. We shouldn’t avoid the problem; we shouldn’t ignore what is causing the problem. We have an obligation to address the issues and create solutions, for our employees, our clients and our shareholders.

The H1B program was designed to bring qualified resources into the US, employers then sponsor those employees into Green Cards and even onwards towards their Citizenship. This provides large employers such as IBM, HP, Microsoft a source of educated IT professionals at a very low cost. Since the late ‘90’s when the program was expanded the program has brought millions of resources into the US and in turn sent millions of American professionals into the shadow economy of contracting versus full-time employment. One of the reasons for this is cost but as I think I have found out the cost is offset by the loss of organizational culture, the change in workplace culture is incompatible with our psyche and professional expectations, especially if we are women.

I QUIT.10402430_10205015207440428_9211021343351180985_n

Yes, I did that. Today is officially my last day. Yesterday I handed over all my gear, my computer, my phone, my badge. Today if they need something they can call my personal phone, I don’t expect they will though. My resignation caused some angst, though I suspect also it caused some small rejoicing, as I was a thorn in the side of some. I do not regret my decision to accept the position, I do regret allowing myself to stay longer than I should have hoping that it would get better.

So onward and upward, the lesson I learned is to not allow others to treat me badly while making excuses for their bad behavior. Culture is not an excuse.

I QUIT and now I start something new.

The Storm

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Bring on the storm

I am not afraid

Perhaps a little frightened

Still I say, bring on the tempest

Let it rage through me

Cleanse me of my fears

Replace them with nothing

Or with furious desire

Burning through tethers

Binding me to history

Forcing me inside of myself

Away from my desire

Bring on the storm

I am not afraid

I am a little terrified

Unchained from my history

As I scatter in the gale

Of delight and freedom

Lifted up on spread wings

Reaping the wind and ions

Swept away in ecstasy

Bound by something new

Signature

9 – April – 2015

Waste of Breath

Rottenecards_3711530_xd6br5b52tSpice is nice but Incest is Best’.

If they are going to do this rather sick and nasty act, I just wish they wore protection.

You know, put a raincoat on, prevent conception. Do not under any circumstance visit the products of their choice to keep it in the family on the rest of us.


Next up on the hit parade: Matt McLaughlin, Esq.

  1. a) The abominable crime against nature known as buggery, called also sodomy, is a monstrous evil that Almighty God, giver of freedom and liberty, commands us to suppress on pain of our utter destruction even as he overthrewSodom and Gomorrah.
    b) Seeing that it is better that offenders should die rather than that all of us should be killed by God’s just wrath against us for the folly of tolerating-wickedness in our midst, the People of California wisely command, in the fear of God, that any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.
    c) No person shall distribute, perform, or transmit sodomistic propaganda directly or indirectly by any means to any person under the age of majority. Sodomistic propaganda is defined as anything aimed at creating an interest in or an acceptance of human sexual relations other than between a man and a woman. Every offender shall be fined $1 million per occurrence, and/or imprisoned up to 10 years, and/or expelled from the boundaries of the state of California for up to life.
    d) No person shall serve in any public office, nor serve in public employment, nor enjoy any public benefit, who is a sodomite or who espouses sodomistic propaganda or who belongs to any group that does.

An excerpt of McLaughlin’s proposed law:


There isn’t much I can say, is there? A member of the California Bar, an attorney in good standing who has paid $200.00 to get his monstrous proposal on the ballot, now all he needs is approximately 365,000 signatures and the voters of California will be able to say ‘Yea’ or ‘Nay’ to committing murder against their fellow citizens simply for being different.

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Really? Is this another acceptable form of free speech? Another hate filled, piece of religious terrorism in the making, protected under the First Amendment. Must we truly accept this as a people?  Where do we draw the line and say as a nation, hate speech, inciting murder, sanctioning / protecting bigotry is not okay.

As of 2014, California had a population of 38.8 million souls, do I think this Christian Terrorist can find 365,000 like-minded bigots to sign his petition and get this on the next ballot, I do. That is less than 1% of the total population; all the esteemed Mr. McLaughlin must do is make the effort to stand outside of some of the more Right-Winged crazy azzed churches on Sunday, hell, I would bet the preachers would help him collect the necessary signatures. He could contact one or many of the 57 Right Wing Hate groups currently known to be active in California, likely he could collect 1,000,000 signatures in short order. This, this is what I find frightening.

So yes, Matthew Gregory McLaughlin – #198329 is at the top of my list this week, I wish his parents had worn protection and prevented his conception. More to the point, I wish this nation as a whole gave a good damn about the rights of all citizens. I wish those who profess Christianity actually had a clue as to what that means and would say, “Hell the fuck no”, this is unacceptable, to this and all the others who spew their bigotry, violence and ugliness out there into the airwaves for those with a weak mind and twisted spirit to pick up and act on.


Added to my list this week because I think it is important:

Mike PenceMike Pence and the entire Indiana legislature for their attempt to provide legal coverage for bigotry.

Asa Hutchinson and the entire Arkansas legislature for their attempt to provide legal coverage for asa hutchinsonbigotry.

Other states are doing this under the guise of “Religious Freedom Restoration”, following the lead of these two. Religious Freedom Restoration, since when have Christians not had religious freedom? Oh yeah, in 1964 with the signing of the Civil Rights Act, White Americans could no longer use their Christianity to discriminate against American Citizens of Color, whether Black, Brown or other. Until 1967 those same Christians used the Bible to thump anti-miscegenation laws, preventing Blacks and Whites from marrying, though these laws covered a wide-range of mixed marriages they primarily focused on the descendants of slaves marrying into the purity of the White race. All of this, Jim Crow (separate but equal) and miscegenation were upheld with Biblical thumping from the pulpits across the United States.

KKK Church 1964

KKK Church 1964

So I ask, what is the difference between now and then? Now that these azzhat idiots are trying to pass laws making it legal to discriminate based on Religious beliefs, what is to prevent any of the following:

“No Muslims served here” => “No Muslims hired here”

10404259_1102898039737302_7061018286767804464_n“No Jews served here” => “No Christ Killers (Jews) hired here”

“No Blacks served here” => “No Latinos served here” => “No couples of mixed race served here”

“No single women without a male family member escort served here”

“No women hired here”  => “No women admitted for an education here”

“All women must be fully veiled to enter”

Hospitals who refuse to provide care to individuals because of race, religion, gender identify or sexual orientation. What if that is the only hospital for 50 miles, do those who are not White and Christian die?

Is this where we have come to? Is this really the depth to which we have sunk as a nation?

For me, I wish all of these dregs of humanity, every last single one of them would wake in the morning and have to live even one day as that which they fear, that which they hate. I wish they would have to walk one day in the shoes of and in the life of those they wish to disenfranchise. Perhaps if you stripped them of their all too obvious White Male Privilege for even just one damned day they would learn something of compassion and empathy, I doubt it but I am always and ever hopeful.

Heretic in the House

joanstilkestake

Remember, Val, that only 60 years ago, that same argument would have been used to shut YOU up? Because what you believe now is mainstream, but would have been heresy to the mainstream back then.

The above is a quoted from a comment I received recently on another post I wrote. I had to sit back and consider the context, the person and the content of my post. I will grant the commenter is very much on the other side of the political aisle from me on nearly all subjects. I had to wonder though, did they listen to the video or simply take for granted there was nothing fundamentally wrong only that I disagreed with it and thus it was fine except it represented ideals I disagreed with.

So then I thought about my political positions, my social positions and wondered am I really that radical are my positions which are more accepted today than 60 years ago, would they have been heresy 60 years ago as my commenter suggests. I wondered about this the entire day, thought I would take some of my more ‘radical’ positions, compare them to 60 years ago, and see.


tumblr_mj4iy9ckaL1rpj3m6o1_500Civil Rightsyes, I believe strongly every single citizen of the United States of America should enjoy the same exact rights. This includes access to jobs, education, voting, housing and all the other ‘rights’ and ‘privileges’ of being a citizen. I believe strongly there should be no impediments to these rights. I include in these rights the freedom to marry, which I believe is a civil right and requires only recognition by the state and federal government, the issue of Church is not relevant and is independent of Civil Rights.

I suppose there might be some legitimacy to the argument of my heresy. Certainly, I do not support the suppression of any person or group of people and sixty years ago, it was the norm to do so.  Hell, today it is the norm to continue to do so. Pile on the kindling and get the stake ready, there might be a bonfire in my future.

Women’s Rights – this is likely part of the Civil Rights issue, but yes, I am a supporter of Women and their rights. I am a feminist, I believe women should be able to work and be paid equally to men. I believe women should be able to choose Suffragette Float, New York 1913 Courtesy Wikipediawhether to marry, where and how to work and even more importantly that we should be equally represented. Today, we are not it is my hope someday we are since we are slightly more than 50% of the population.

Well there is another one where I am a heretic and would have been 60 years ago too. In fact, I have been a feminist since my early teen years.

Pro-Choice – I am and don’t equivocate about it. No woman should ever be forced, as I was to have an abortion. No woman should ever be forced to carry a pregnancy to term. I am not Pro-Abortion; I think most women approach this choice as a last resort and with heartbreak. Nevertheless, it is no other persons business. It is the pregnant woman and her medical provider, sometimes it is also her partner but most of the time it is her and her alone that images (3)must make this choice. You, me, the state and certainly the church going throng of ijits attempting to shove their ‘beliefs’ down her throat and up her uterus; they have no place in her decision. Beyond the issue of abortion is the very real issue of women and their ability to access preventive care, this is also necessary and constantly at risk. I am a proponent of birth control, a proponent of women and men receiving education and the means to prevent pregnancy and I am perfectly willing to have my tax dollars pay for it.

Alrighty then, another heretical soapbox I stand on. I stand firmly on this one too. Boy oh boy, that kindling is getting piled higher the bonfire is going to burn bright soon.

Freedom of and from Religion – big one here but my belief that I should be free from religion within my government is supported by the US Constitution. The very first amendment of the US Constitution, the very first sentence: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; could it be any clearer than this. We are not now nor have we ever been a theocracy. We are not now, nor have we ever been a Christian Nation. What we are now and have always been a nation with a population of primarily Christians of different denomination who are unable to agree even among themselves. The founding fathers of this nation understood the problems of nations ruled by the Church, whether it be the Catholic Church or the Church of England, they built into our Constitution protections to prevent this from happening here. This nation was intended to be a Democratic Republic, without Church interference; one that allowed representation of all people whether Christian or other. It was not until the 1950’s that God was inserted into our Pledge and onto our currency, previous to this God was not there we stayed true to our founding principles.

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In truth, my views are not so different from others of 60 years ago and even further back. They saw this coming; they saw the problems of allowing the Christian crazies get hold of the government. So no I don’t think I will get any additional kindling for my views on this one. Get your church out of the government. The churches already receive tax exemptions, I already pay for your views to be heard I should not also have live with your views through legislation in my bedroom and elsewhere in my life.

Guns and Violenceobviously I am not mainstream on this one and never will be. I believe strongly I and my children, my grandchildren and all the generations to come should be safe from violence in the streets. I believe guns do not make us safe but instead create a society where we are more prone to violence not less so. The Constitution does not promote individual ownership of arsenals; it promotes a well-regulated militia, which has only recently been interpreted to mean children-guns-nraindividual ownership. Historically, it was much different. That this nation turns its back on the death and mayhem created by guns and gun ownership simply saddens me.

Interestingly through the first part of the 20th century, most of the legislation passed regarding guns and gun control fell firmly in what I would consider my camp. In fact, all of it, at both the federal and state level placed restrictions on the types of guns that could be sold, who could sell and transport them and who could own them and for what purpose. It wasn’t until the rise of the Right-Wing Anti-Government lunatic fringe and the true shift of the NRA in the mid 1990’s things changed dramatically. Ruby Ridge and Waco are the two defining moments that brought the fringe to the front. Since the mid 90’s the swing to the Right on the issue of guns has been dramatic and with horrifying results.

Call me a heretic, call my views heresy I am good with that. When any of you lay in the street with three bullets in you and wonder if you will survive, talk to me about how good guns are. When any of you bury a child due to violence, please give me a call and let’s discuss the need for more guns on the street I will be happy to debate this with you. Pile up the kindling boys and girls I am ready for the fire. On this one though, I was aligned with those in positions of authority, hell me and the NRA agreed 60 years ago now that is damned frightening.

Linda1I just picked a few of the key issue; I could likely do this for many other key issues of the day. Tell you what though, ask me anything and let’s see if I am truly a heretic. I am guessing I am only a heretic if you compare me to the other side of the aisle, not necessarily to 60 years ago. I will do my best to answer in context of both today and the 60-year mark though.

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