Extreme Sadness + Outrage Leads to Hate, But Must It?

Every time I turned on the TV or radio last week and heard about the horrific attacks in Paris, I became emotional and teared up.  Each and every time.  Other than the 0.0003% of the world that thinks these actions are justified and needed, I believe the rest of us are saddened and shocked.  And while its clear we decry terrorist actions, so many people choose to take up the cause of hate.  Justified hate in their minds.

Social media has been slammed with reminders that Muslims hate non-Muslims.  Hate mongers see this as their call to action, to remind us that their brand of purification, eliminating the Muslim threat is justified.  Clearly if you see the video “Moderate Muslims Don’t Want You to See!” you will see the foundations of violence.  Allah’s word makes stoning adulterers and gays the right choice, the perfect law.  And outrage and calls to arms resonate and grow in their might.  And I’m saddened.

Yes, I freely acknowledge that the Koran preaches the killing of Jews and other non-Muslims.  Belief in Allah and his words are the only way according to that book.  No, I have no desire to read it.  No I haven’t read the new testament either.  Even if I have the details wrong, I have gist of it.  But 1500 years later do we really believe that all 15 Billion Muslims believe this?  I find that hard to  believe, having known and worked with several.

It is easy to see why the hate mongers feel this way.  But if we as a society ascribe to this, then what fate do we really have other than the mutually assured destruction the Reganites ascribed to?  Is that the world we want?  Clearly some people want that.  I don’t.

The world changes doesn’t it?  I sit here rationally and think to myself, what made sense in a feudal society a millennia ago doesn’t make sense now.  Why can’t we, as a global society, agree to make the world a better peaceful place?  Do we really need stonings, cruelty and racial hate?  Well, actually we do.  Rupert Murdoch and Fox News base their preaching and opinions on hate and violence.  There are no decorations on a coffee cup and the WAR ON CHRISTMAS grows.  Blacks protest the killing of unarmed people who may or may not be guilty of anything more than being black and it’s a sign of the WAR ON POLICE.  In my opinion, they are the gasoline for the fires of hate in the world.

But then I see that video.  I see a few hundred “assimilated” Muslims agreeing that Allah’s word is perfect.  This is regard to stoning gays and adulterers.  Is this true? Is this the majority?  Hassidic Jews keep their men and women separated similarly.  The Torah has passages requiring animal sacrifices.  This practice stopped nearly two thousand years ago.  Perhaps it’s time for mainstream Muslims to officially denounce such punishments and practices.  This is not the feudal Middle East of a 1000 years ago.

Of course this won’t happen.  The US has interests in places like Saudi Arabia where beheadings happen regularly and women and second class citizens.  Is that a Muslim issue or Saudi issue?  Africans often mutilate their women, but we decry that as a Muslim issue.  Is it?  Republicans and Democrats will work to prioritize and protect our oil and monetary interests over human rights.

I see the hate all around me.  I see the seeds of religious righteousness on both sides.  The Muslims with their holy words and the Christians letting me know I’ll go to hell because I am an unbeliever and sinner.  Of course I sin (their word, not mine).  It is more fun.  I’m also a good  person and I choose to believe that world is filled with good people.  People who want to do the right thing, and no that doesn’t extend to knocking on my door to tell me my beliefs are wrong.  You can keep your Watch Tower, tithes and personal messiahs.  I’m good thank you.  You can have your religion, but I’d rather stand for helping he oppressed, helping those whose lives required leaving their homelands.  Yes, those refugees.

So rather than preaching hate, rather than expounding why we need a wall, rather than standing on soapboxes on why we need to eliminate countries and populations, why its important to keep the hidden terrorsits within the refugee community from our shores,  why can’t we take the first step and seek to find how to solve the problems.  Seek to understand before being understood.  Maybe do some long range thinking.  Even if you could eliminate every Muslim – that is what you are thinking, right?—what does that do for OUR world.?  It is not just yours.  It is your kids.  It is your neighbors.  It is mine and my friends’ too.  Do you really want a world full of righteous murderers? Holy Repressors? Morally enabled thought police?  Actually I think you do, but I don’t want that.

Yes, I know it is a very complex world with very complex problems.  I have totally reduced the issues down to manageable, digestible bite sized pieces.  This is my blog, my thoughts, not graduate thesis on world peace.  But enough with the hate. Enough with the xenophobia. Don’t you think it is a counterproductive to your golden rule? I do.

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Of Common Sense and Half Truths

I often wonder what has happened to common sense.  I’d like to think my father emphasized common sense as a key foundational element in my upbringing.  Let’s go with that shall we?  I believe I have some because in a previous position, my good friend Dr. Starr used to say, “common sense isn’t.”  And then he followed that up by making me the VP of Common Sense.  I am far from perfect, as several of you can easily attest, but I think I’m pretty solidly filled with common sense.

As I take BART (aka the train) to and from work each day I’ve learned to both read and give visual clues about  needing to disembark.  People often signal their intentions.  Me, I tend to put my tablet away, put my reading glasses in my pocket and shift my murse (my nieces believe my messenger bad is really a murse, not a European carry-all) and glance toward the seatmate that will need to move.

Today, I went through my routine and the person next to me didn’t ask, they just immediately stood up.  I rarely like to stand up prior to the train stopping but I did a few seconds prior to that shake that pushes people uncomfortably together.  I moved into the aisle and she sat back down.  It was crowded, like a mosh pit at an oversold Foo Fighters show.  There was nowhere to go and the doors did not open.  2 seconds into this slight delay, a big guy pushed past me with a terse, “ ’scuse me!”  As I recovered from his shove, another woman pushed by, pushing me backward (like the mosh pit).  I politely said, “I want to get off too.”  And she cast a fearsome scowl my way.  I think whatever common sense there was lay bleeding at my feet.  30 crowded seconds later the doors opened.

Common sense has been heavy on my mind.  Yesterday as I waited for the train I stopped and wondered, “What are they thinking?”  Lines and queues are governed by common sense.  Much like stopping at a traffic light.  There is a 12 inch strip at the platform you need to stand behind while waiting for the train.  The spot the door opens is clearly marked.  But, there is no written rule of how far to stand behind that strip.  I tend to stand 6 to 12 inches behind the strip.  Keep in mind by the time the train comes there will be 20 or more people in line, curving toward the line for the next door.  Oh, and I go to the last door on the last train.

Sometimes people stay 2 or 3 feet back from other people. 12 inches is really the least you can stand back, respecting personal space and helping to make the line efficient.  Sometimes you see people much further apart as if the person in front of them is an Ebola carrier.  Yesterday, the person at the front the line was a solid 12 feet back from the stip.  And the person behind them another 5. This is a lot like the person at the stoplight who stays more than 2 car lengths behind the care in front of them.  5 or 6 feet is good at a stoplight.  35 is not.  If you need that much personal space, you should probably stay home.  It should be a law.

And then there is a new phenomenon I’ve noticed – people who believe that lines serve no purpose.  The hover around the line then push into it as it moves.  This applies to waiting for a train at commute hour, at the escalators and the turnstiles.  For the record, Chaos may be the state everything devolves to, but it is not helpful.  Common sense people:  pretend you have some.

I was debating things with my father the other night.  This was noteworthy because while it was heated and the volume went from 3 to 6, there was no yelling or name calling.  That never happens with us.  I first recall him yelling at me during the Clinton-Lewinski scandal as I had pimped her out.  I consider myself a semi-enlightened liberal, near the center and he is just to the right of Attila the Hun, parroting everything Rush, O’Reilly and Hannity tells him is true.    As you know, I believe as the good professor Jon Stewart has taught us, Fox News is Bullshit Mountain.  Of course most things those three pundits put forth (or more appropriately, spew) have their basis in fact, but they are rarely completely true.

My father and started debating social change in the US.  He pounded me for wanting to see the rate of change increase.  In his mind there is a natural speed of change and I think everything should change now.  No, I just believe that the rate is increasing and it should continue to increase.  He gets so lost in the hype that common sense gets lost.  This is sad, because I’ve always looked to him as fountain of common sense.

The rate of change in technology keeps increasing.  Why should our understanding of societal issues and civil rights not move as well?  Are we a static society content to keep things as they have been?  Using that logic, we might have prevented the auto industry from taking form to protect the buggy whip business.  We might just now be learning to build factories and decreasing our dependence on the manual loom.  As information grows and we our capacity for learning increases with each new baseline, the rate of change speeds up.  I’m not looking to change the world today.  But I am looking to support the good changes that are taking place and help move the needle forward, not back.

As the topic shifted to racism and police killing blacks unnecessarily in this country, he pulled out what I’m sure came from Bill O’Reilly, “More whites are killed by the police, than blacks.”  Of course I researched it.

Well hell, that’s true.  Or should I say half true; it is totally misleading.  Let’s look at the facts:

  • From 1980 to 2012 44% of people killed by police where white.
  • From 1999 -2011 2,151 whites were killed compared to 1,130 blacks.

Washington Times 4/21/2015

So yes, in gross numbers more whites were killed.  Lies, damn lies and statistics, right? But since the black population of the US is less than one fifth that of the white population, Blacks are almost 4 times more likely to be shot and killed  by police than whites.  Think about that.  That is not a nominal statistical fluctuation; that is a trend!  That, gentle reader,  is racism.   An indicator of the institutional racism that Fox News wants us to believe doesn’t exist.  I disagree.

Now, do I believe all police are racists?  Absolutely not.  Do I believe some are?  Without question.  The issue is how many and what do we do?  We’ve seen too many occasions where the police abuse or use unreasonable force with blacks.  Choking a man for selling cigarettes.  Shooting a man in the back for running from a broken tail light citation.  Everything in Fergusson!   Where are the examples of police abusing white people?  I don’t recall seeing those.  I’m sure it happens, but much more rarely than with minorities.  You may not believe there is a larger problem, but I believe there is.

Part of me is beginning to think that perhaps local law enforcement is beacon to the power hungry, to the racists in our society.  We even see horrid examples of racism in the liberal city of San Francisco.  So when my father asks if I think more than 5% of the police nationally are racists, I immediately answer yes. I hope I’m wrong, but I sincerely doubt it.

As a counterpoint, he immediately points to Baltimore and the riots and looting, while the police were told to stay back and let things happen.  We all saw it on TV, but did we see the same thing?  I saw an oppressed group reacting as the only way they felt they could.  I didn’t like it; I didn’t excuse it.  I understood it.  Common sense sometimes means seeing things from someone else’s point of view.  Seeing that racial oppression has not benefitted this country, is this really where we want to make our stand?  I believe most of us see there is problem in this country.  It is uncomfortable to acknowledge, let alone talk about.  We as society, as a loud single voice need to make sure the needle keeps moving, that change keeps taking place.

I say we have a problem in the country.  We are finally ready as a nation to see it for what it is and, as a country, are ready to acknowledge it.  We need to fix it and it will take a strong majority.  You may disagree, but my common sense says this is needed and is coming.  Why don’t you help be part of the solution, rather than perpetuating the problem? It’s only common sense.

Myriad Randomness – Drought Edition

As you may have heard, there is drought in California.  What does this mean to me, specifically?  I’m glad you asked.  Here’s what I’ve changed.

  • I have a bucket in the shower. I catch the “warm up” to water the tomatoes.  That’s new.
  • I reuse my shower towel “many” times. It is 85+ most days and it dries quickly.  That cuts down on washing.  I did this in college and in my younger days.  No longer is my hamper full of towels.  (You know, that subtle status symbol of being economically stable.)
  • I only run my sprinklers 2 days a week. Usually after 9pm when the sun goes down.  My once envied super green lawn looks like every other sad, green lawn in the Nor Cal.  I haven’t decided to kill it yet.

What does this mean?  We are mandated to cut our usage by 25% from 2013.  May I was down about 50%.  No earth shattering changes.  Just lots of little ones.

I know I’ve been a bit outspoken politically lately.  Quite honestly I’m both thrilled and heartened by many (but sadly, not all) of the responses I have gotten.  Don’t go by the comments here, there aren’t many and I delete all the “I want to kill Ashley” or “I want Ashley to host my Bukakke party” comments.  Most are far worse.

But seriously, how can things continue to unravel in our world?  Pope Francis works hard to bring the Catholic Church into the 20th Century and Fox News calls him the most dangerous man in the world?  People I know on Facebook call him “EVIL”.    I guess the world still must be flat, the sun revolves around the earth and Torquemada was misunderstood.  Really?  You know what I think.  I just can’t understand how some conclusion could be reached, held so tightly and preached so violently.  We know the gene pool is flawed, just saying.

I still love my coffee.  Have you had Equator Coffee?  I’ve been buying their stuff on line (their roastery delivers for free for a $50 order and I have it in 2 days) and now they opened a shop next to the Warfield.  We know mid-Market is on the upswing, but this is huge.  Granted it’s a mile walk from the office, but I get exercise, the coffee is great and they have food too.  Check it out.  Only downside is that their bean selection is limited.  No fear here, I don’t mind the online thing.  The sweet spot is the 2 pound bags.  I’ve been drinking the Brazil 45 Espresso (it makes a mean, well rounded regular cup).  $13.25 for 0.75 lbs.  That’s $17.67/lb.  Or $30.05 for 2lbs.  $15.03/lb a savings of 15%.  Compare that the various coffees at Peets’. They are $14.95-$16.95.  So the same price or less and much more complex and delicious.  And honestly, smelling Major Dickasons at home today, it smelled burnt.  Fantastic coffee doesn’t always mean expensive.  But there are expensive options too.  Ping me if you need coffee advice.

Sandra Bland was in jail for 3 days.  She was arrested for an illegal lane change.  Later, she hung herself in her cell (allegedly).  She was college educated.  She was back in her college town for a job interview. And she was black.  I have about 400 questions.  If you don’t, stop reading this now.  You probably shouldn’t ever come back to this page. I’m sure incidents like this have happened far more often than “white” America realized in the past.  It is glaringly obvious now.  Our blinders are off.  They need to stay off.  I’m not going to pontificate on this today.  But I am outraged.  You should be too.  How can you not be?

I’m pondering a long piece on the death of middle management.  Clearly, I’m not in the top 2% and I see so many fixable issues that are allowed to fester.  That’s what 30+ years of working in corporate America will do for you.  Of course I worry about being to self-centered and whiny.  And that you won’t care.

And for those of you that don’t know, R+L=J.  It is known.  It always has been.   Three words: Tower of Joy.

I’ve read a few things lately that you should might enjoy.  I loved the latest James SA Corey Expanse entry Nemesis Games.  It is getting mixed reviews from my friends, but I’m firmly on board and can’t wait for the show on Syfy.  It looks fantastic.

Tex Thompson’s second book Medicine for the Dead builds on her debut, One Night in Sixes and shows vividly what a fantastic writer she is.  Seriously, in 10 years you’ll wonder how you missed this.  She’s going to be huge.   Trust me.

Did you like Flowers in the AtticJR Johansson’s Cut Me Free builds off a similar premise.  It is defiantly YA, but sometimes I act as if I’m 14, so it makes sense.  I really enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to reading more of her stuff.  Especially those that are painted in horror tones.

I’ve never given Leigh Bardugo column space here.  Her Grisha Trilogy is fantastic.  Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising are all great reads.  Her next novel, Six of Crows, is set in the same universe with new characters.  It is scheduled to come out later this year and I’m excited for it.

In the kitchen this year I’ve mastered hummus.  Who’d have thought?  But homemade is so much better than store bought, especially when you can spice it to your tastes.  More lemon? Yes.  More harissa? Yes.  More fresh onion, garlic and herbs? Yes.  Hummus it’s not just for hippies anymore.  No need to wear the tie dye today.  Tomorrow you can.

I’ve also kicked up the frequency on my bacon jam. Bourbon Maple Bacon Jam.  It goes well on crackers, bread, grilled cheese sandwiches AND on your burger.  I made a huge batch and my guests inhaled it.  Guess I’ll need to make more soon.

The view from my building

And I love working in SF.

Fear of Change (or You’ve Gotten Your Civil Rights All Over My Bigotry)

You can tell the presidential election is right around the corner.  And by that I mean 16 months away.  Already we are inundated with candidates, especially from the right, that seem intent on grabbing headlines and mind space.  What I’ve noticed, not that it is new, is the hate and fear mongering that is going on.  It seems to have ratcheted up significantly over the last few years.

Perhaps we should blame Karl Rove and Dick Cheney.  After all, they masterminded W’s presidency and campaigns and solidified the country behind him.  This was done by fueling the fear that Iraq was ready to bomb the US and was funding/hiding/helping terrorists.  Turns out that none that was true.  But being scared, we overlooked the “mistakes in intelligence” (or lies as they might be called – Colin Powell might have quit because of them, as you may recall).  And then fear became a heavy political tool.

So what do we have today?  Fear that our religious freedoms are being taken away.  Where?  I don’t see it.  Marriage for all?  Ok, don’t perform weddings in your church for a same sex couple.  Do you really believe a gay couple, who KNOW you hate their lifestyle and biology, want to force you to do their wedding?  I don’t think so either.  Let’s be totally honest, your religious bigotry is fine in your home and probably in your church or shed or garage or wherever.  But let’s be frank:

Marriage is a legal contract accorded with rights under the constitution and laws of this nation.

Stop fighting it.  If you really believe you must get divorced so that you can protest what the 9 smartest legal minds in country decided, perhaps it is more curious why you haven’t joined a cult.  David Koresh anyone?  The Moonies?  The Manson Family?  Maybe Heaven’s Gate was more your speed; feel free to restart that one.

And let’s not throw down “the Bible”.  Men wrote it.  It’s been edited and modified many more times over the last 1500 years  than you are probably willing to admit  Let’s stop looking at this novel as sacrosanct.  You want to follow it? Great.  But recall it also has several men with multiple wives.  It contradicts itself.  It’s a book.  The only thing it doesn’t have a T. Rex and Woolly Mammoths.  Ever wonder why?  Me too.

That all being said, I believe in your right to believe what you want.  And other than a piece here now and again, I won’t disparage you in public.  After all, over 70% of the US practices some form of Christianity and only 2% of are Jews.  You know us, the cheap ass money lenders leading the illuminati, right?

But you don’t have a problem with other religions do you?  You afford them the same respect as you would like?  You know, that vocal minority waging “the war on Christmas”.  That’s code for “They are attacking Christianity”.   One of the most ridiculous causes I’ve ever heard.  The overwhelming majority sets the rules.  And in case you forgot, there are no famous, renowned or even discussed Jewish Founding Fathers in US lore.  And there is no attack on Christianity.  But there is a lack of patience for intolerance and institutionalized ignorance.  The world is changing.  Civilization is, in a sense, growing up.

That’s why Fox will bring up “THE WAR ON CHRISTMAS!” every year.  It resonates.  It helps fuel the fear that “their” religion is under attack.  Clearly, Fox spokestool Bill O’Reilly is onto something.  After all, this religious attack is the worst we’ve seen since the holocaust.  No?  I must have been watching the wrong “news” station.  My bad.

What you fear in the night
comes to call in the day anyway
(Duritz, Bryson 1994)

My friend and author Laura Antoniou put it well, “… if you think someone’s religious beliefs trump my civil rights, then you are cordially invited to fuck off.”  I couldn’t agree more.  It is about civil rights.  Not only are we finally righting the wrongs of the South and their war on civil rights for Blacks (150 years in the making mind you) we are also giving everyone civil rights regardless of sexual orientation.  The amount of progress and growth in the last few weeks has been immense.  Or has it?

My favorite whipping boy, the Genius Ted Cruz, thinks that extending those civil rights will hurt the Christian Churches he loves so much.  The Evil Obama IRS is targeting their tax exempt status.  That’s right.  Genius Ted believes that organizations that deny the civil rights of others are to be glorified and guaranteed their tax exempt status.  He is frightened of potential changes brought about by the evil Obama IRS.

In fact, so much so he is also scared for the Jewish Churches.  Yo! Genius!  Jews don’t go to church.  We don’t have churches.  We go to Synagogues and Temples.  Or we go to Shul (an acceptable secondary answer).  I was appalled at his lack of grace and class.  Of course he was talking to Glenn Beck, so my expectations were already quite low.

Let’s ignore the ridiculously large amount of insensitivity toward the Jewish people.  Let’s focus on the fear mongering.  I know I have been concerned over the Catholic Church’s tax exempt status for years.  How else could they afford to pay hush money and settlements to the victims of pedophile priests?  I’m not saying all priests are bad.  Most aren’t and I’m a HUGE fan of Pope Francis.  But since the number of pedophile priests is more than 1, (and honestly it is WAY more than 1) it is too many.

And other religions have their issues as well.  So is creating a worry about tax exempt status important?  Why yes it is.  It allows people to focus on things other than the fact that many organized religions are more concerned with denying others their civil rights and freedoms than they are anything else.  This distracts the conversation.  It’s the political equivalent of yelling “Squirrel!”  It rallies the religious base to ignore what’s really important and move to build a protective wall around their (religious) treasure.  And nothing generates more votes than fear and hate.

For the record, there has not been any targeting of churches’ tax exempt status for this reason yet.  But when the issue was raised in the Supreme Court discussion, it was noted that the continued denial of civil rights could lead to a review of tax exempt status.  That makes sense to me.  If corporations or people deny anyone their civil rights, there is an action taken against them.  Are we to believe that religious entities are above the law?

Yes Virginia, there is freedom of religion in this country, but there is not freedom to break the law.  If your new religion requires human sacrifice and cannibalism should we permit it? (I’m sorry if that hit too close to your beliefs, Scientology.)  Of course not.  The law wasn’t enacted to circumvent religion.  It was enacted to guarantee that all MEN and WOMEN are created equal and allowed the same rights.  Period.  We should not celebrate anyone or anything that believes otherwise.  Next you will tell me Boko Haram kidnapping and killing girls because they dared be educated is allowable.  Stop using religion to shield your small mindedness.  Embrace the golden rule – treat everyone well.  Don’t make exceptions when you don’t or won’t understand others.

In the Dark Ages and other less advanced times, homosexuality and science (!) were considered Satan’s work.  We know that’s not true now.  You can ignore science.  You can dislike the practice of homosexuality.  But we acknowledge the truth of science and we know homosexuality is not a choice.  We are smarter, more educated and more open to the truth of things than we were.  Let’s stop the fear mongering.  Let’s stop the hate speech.  I think it is time for understanding and acceptance.

And you kill what you fear
And you fear what you don’t understand
(Collins, Banks 1980)

Hey Ted!  Boy Genius!  Do you think you could lay off the fear mongering and hate speech? Do you think could work on understanding?  You did go to college, you do have an education.  Keep in mind I will be proposing a Wonderlic Test for politicians.  And why yes, I do think you would score below Vince Young, another famous Texan.  Maybe you could aspire to more?  I don’t think so either.

Politics, Lies and Hate Oh My! Trump that!

A common meme on the Internet this week is that the Confederate Flag has lost its fight with Skittles.  Cute, but in a sense it diminishes the two major sea changes we’ve just seen.  As a nation, we’ve recognized that the Confederate Battle Flag is a demeaning reminder of slavery and treason (Yes Virginia, secession was treason. I’m glad we can cut the “Northern Aggression” bullshit).  Voices have been heard and it has come down.  If you want to fly it, great, it is your right.  But let’s be honest — most people will see your flag in the same vein that they view Swastika tattoos.  It is not good.

And the Supreme Court verified a few key things this past week, all “Jiggery-Pokery” aside.  The affordable care act was not struck down for the umpteenth time.  Turns out that intent is key.  A misused word should not remove the health care of millions of Americans.  I know it does not affect you, but it affects many.  Get over it.  It is the law and it makes sense.

Speaking of making sense, marriage makes sense, if you want to be married.  There is no gay marriage, there is just marriage.  And while my religious friends may be having a heart attack that their religions are being forced to perform weddings for people they find unfit, they have totally missed the boat as usual.  Marriage started as a religious act so that the Catholic Church could access and control wealth and property.  End of Story.  Today, marriage is as much a legal necessity as anything else.  If you are not married, benefits can’t be had.  Want to visit your lover in the hospital?  It’s a crapshoot.  Want to inherit?  That will better be iron clad.  And those of you that are very religious, calling same sex relationships every nasty name in the book?  They don’t want you to marry them.  Please take your fear mongering to the bunker under your house.  That’s where it belongs.

I was struck this past week by the extreme amount of hate speech I saw this week.  A few key item included:

  • OBAMA Comes of the Closet!
  • Obama is Blackmail Judge Roberts!
  • Obama has corrupted the government – all 3 branches are now legislative!
  • Obama Wants to Take Your Guns Away!
  • Churches are now required to perform wedding ceremonies for same sex couples!
  • Obama is a Dictator with more Executive Orders Than any Other President!
  • Mexico Sends Rapists to the US! (Trump says what everyone is thinking)
  • Our Leaders are Stupid! (Thank you again Donald Trump)

I don’t know about you, but I felt like I was reading The Weekly World News at the check stand.  All that was missing is Michelle Obama is Bigfoot’s Love Slave!  Was there ever any better entertainment than the WWN?

Freedom of speech and civil liberties are cornerstones of our country, I’d never deign to suggest otherwise.  But freedom of speech does not allow one to yell FIRE! In a theater or remove the responsibility for not engaging in slander or libel.  You might not be arrested for your words, but they do have consequences.  You might lose your job. You might lose your friends.  There could be other issues.  Freedom of speech is not a silver bullet.  And yes the Holocaust was real, not matter what the deniers say.

That brings us to my friend Donald Trump.  I’m not sure if I’m more appalled at his bombast, his gall or his belief that people will buy into what he says.  He tells us in his presidential announcement that Mexico sends the US its drug dealers and rapists. And then he’s surprised that the largest Latino network wants to cancel its contract with him.  Good for them.  His threats of lawsuits shouldn’t matter.  His behavior crosses well over the line of decency and there must be consequences.  OJ went free.  I’m pretty sure that Univision, may have to go to court, but they’ll win.  Happily.  The good will they will receive from their audience will far out way the threatened $15 million law suit Trump threatens.

Of course I have another idea.  If I ran Univision, I would show Trumps beauty contests.  Of course I would also send interns to film it.  I’d hire catty mean girls (14-16 years old, of course) to announce it.  I would also run it at 3am, with commercials for the Hot Belt (!) running every 5 minutes to add to the drama.  Perhaps allowing viewers to live tweet pictures of Trump with donkeys and tequila to show on the bottom crawl.  I would accentuate the side show it is.   I think creatively fulfilling this contract might be a better statement than the current pullout.  The opportunity for satire is here, by the burro full.

But back to my main point.  Why do we hate?  Why do we tell ourselves that it is ok to twist the truth into pretzels and then get offended when rational minds question and debate the illogic that is so pervasive today?  I’m not trying to be politically correct.  I am far from PC.  I believe giving every kid who participates a trophy has its roots in a good idea, but the results suck.  I’m tired of hearing “but I tried” as an excuse for failure.  Sometimes it is very clear when people don’t try.  Let’s not be PC.  But can we be responsible? Politically Responsible.  I think the current environment allows too many people to believe they don’t need to be responsible. There are no consequences to their words and attitude.

Today the world is both larger and smaller.  The internet is helping to create a new type of isolationism and it is harmful.   Take a good hard look at what you say, what you promote, what you inspire.  Is it good?  Do you still believe there is a black conspiracy to take down police departments everywhere?    Do you still believe, what you are saying is right and justified?  Perhaps you should stop lying to yourself.

I think it is time to rethink our behavior and attitudes.  It is past time.  I believe we need to differentiate between the political and religious hate mongering that is taking place and freedom of speech.  Take Donald Trump’s latest vomit of hate.  How can we in good conscious not label him as racist? Not hold him accountable for his unsubtle call for others be racist?  Maybe it’s a publicity stunt?  I can’t imagine anyone would vote for him for president.    Honestly, I can’t believe anyone does business with him and I hope every Latin owned or themed business chooses not to do business with him, his businesses and his family.  I bet Ivanka loves burritos.  No Burrito For YOU!

This is the land of opportunity, where all men are created equal.  Where we take in immigrants that others reject (you know The New Colossus), “yearning to be free.”  Let’s be free.  But let’s be responsible.  I don’t recall anyone saying that George W. Bush made a deal with devil to gain the White House.  Nor did I ever hear anyone say Dick Cheney is evil – wait strike that, it is hard to argue that one.  If we are to fulfill our potential and truly be a great nation, a great melting pot of various ethnicities, beliefs and skills, we need to differentiate between what we believe, what’s a lie and what’s inflammatory.  I believe we have too long allowed hate to permeate our way of life and that both taints our achievements and impedes our ability to succeed.  If we are to improve and reach new heights, I believe this concept must be considered.

Allowing this behavior and these lies in the name of free speech are hurtful.  It’s a very nebulous line sometime.  For instance, if Bill O’Reilly believes something it must be true.  He was adamant there is not systemic racism in the US.  It depends what your definition of systemic is.  After all, if Fox, the arbiter of news laden with fair and balanced facts, says there is no racism there must not be any.  It is Fox News, not Fox Opinions, right?  Of course perhaps this is their way of hiding the racial divide that many are trying to breach and close.  Or its ratings.  And yes, there is still systemic racism.  I know it can be hard to see with your head in the sand, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

Perhaps the noted diplomat and renowned healer of our times, Donald Trump can help us fix these issues.  You are right, I don’t think so either.  But what the fuck is his endgame?  I he really that egotistical that he believes he can win?  Even Marco Rubio’s kids don’t think so.

Footnotes:

All three branches of government have a hand in determining, making and validating laws.  It is that whole checks and balances thing.  Civics people, High School Civics.

Everyone wants to take your guns away.  This is not the 18th century.  We don’t need guns in every home.  There are exponentially more murders and crimes with citizen owned guns than there are justifiable shootings.  This isn’t the Wild West, no matter what Texans think.  The NRA and its lobby have way too much power.  But everyone else want’s your guns.  Seriously.  Of course the NRA can have too much power here, but does that mean that every other country has it wrong?  Fucking Europeans and their socialistic gun laws.  No wonder every American hates to vacation in London, Paris, Germany.  Not enough guns and shootings. Wait.  L

Obama not only has made fewer executive orders than almost any president of the 35 years, he has the fewest per year of all.  Bush 41 shouldn’t be ignored because he only got 4 years, not 8.  And let’s be honest, Obama didn’t make torture (I’m sorry – enhanced interrogation techniques) legal.  He didn’t stop medical research to appease the religious right.  (By the way, I fully support avoiding certain activities that are contrary to your religious belief.  But since it doesn’t offend mine, please don’t tell me how to live or act.  Impeding medical research on YOUR religious belief is wrong.  You don’t like abortion? Great, don’t get one. I respect that.  But don’t tell someone she can’t because YOU don’t believe in it.  That’s not too neighborly; it is preachy.  I won’t knock on your door to tell you are wrong.  Don’t impact how I can live or act.  It is my right.  Just as your religion is yours.  I may not agree, but I respect it.  Please respect my beliefs and the beliefs of others.)  Of course Obama did sign an order so that we can prepare for climate change.  How does that effect your ability to say “It’s all LIES!” and impact your life?  That’s right it fucking doesn’t.  Ignore climate change.  Ignore what you want.  But don’t get in my way of making this world better.  I’ll let you stay and share.  Remember when you thought lead in the gasoline was a good idea.  I thought not.