Tuesday, August 15, 2017

America's Dignity

        As the dusts tries to settle from a tumultuous weekend, one in which the likes I never thought I would see in my lifetime, I am stricken by the number of fellow American's who continually insist there are more "sides" to the story. We keep saying that, about everything and I will admit most of the time that is true. But we keep getting stuck on this stupid "sides" thing, a childish tit for tat thing that is used to exploit our current condition, or situation. Yes, sometimes there are two side, both deserving of attention, of explanation, of justification. Sometimes in all the kerfuffle between the "many sides" there is one clearly in the wrong, sometimes one is clearly misunderstood, sometimes, both are making the wrong moves. But, BUT, in Charlottesville this weekend there was only one side. There was a group of monsters met by one side, the American side. And because so many of you are so insistent, so intent, so complacently okay with the narrative that there were two sides, it feels positively important that I try, at the very least, to lay down a logical framework as to why that is NOT the case. Why so many felt betrayed by President Trump's initial remarks and why these wounds are not only scary, but why they will not heal. Not until we get on the "right" side of this, regardless of political affiliation, ideology, religion, skin color, gender, or sexual orientation. When you are up against Nazis, Fascists, and white supremacists, I repeat there is only ONE side to be on.

         First of all, the first amendment nowhere states that when making your speech, ideology, public gathering, opinion front and center, that you have the right to not suffer the consequences of said usage of the first amendment. You do not get a soapbox to spout without a rebuttal, whether it be immediate, or forth coming. You do not get to rally your troops for some grand march, or violent display of rage, without having to come face to face with the general public. Some of those in the general public might not appreciate this display, especially if said rage is directed at them. And what's that saying, "don't come to a gun fight with a knife"?? Don't come to your rally dressed in paramilitary gear, with automatic weapons, home-made pepper spray, and display your irrational hatred and expect everyone to roll over like a yellow lab when confronted by a giant mastiff. Most likely because rational people realize, that like little yapping dogs, many of these people's bark are no where near a slight nip. It makes it easier convey they are not wanted, the monsters have no place in our society. Uncivilized miscreants who probably simply cannot get laid, do not deserve an unchallenged voice, ever.

       Secondly and probably most importantly, when you lump all these people into "many sides" or "different sides" or "both sides" and when you say they have a right to peaceably demonstrate, "they went through the proper channels" "they have the first amendment right like everyone else," yada, yada, yada, more complacent bullshit. The only thing you are doing there is NORMALIZING their ideology. By treating them like they are just out to say their peace and move on you are being COMPLACENT. They do not have a normal conservative or right-leaning ideology. What they are saying is not normal politicking.They are advocating for the demotion of human beings, your fellow American citizens, into a sub-human species. They are DEMANDING your fellow citizens rights be TAKEN AWAY. They are advocating for the lesser treatment of American taxpayers. STOP NORMALIZING THIS MESSAGE. Standing up to them shows it will not be tolerated. Why is that so offensive to people? After scratching my head all weekend I have come to the conclusion that y'all are just confused or you secretly like/agree/(GASP)benefit from their message so why not continue on with the whole, "Well if the Anti-Fa wasn't there this wouldn't have happened." Well that is just a convenient lie, especially since the American, Heather Heyer, lost her life in a peaceful counter protest where there were no ninja dressed Anti-Fa. You know why she lost her life fighting for the rights of others.........BECAUSE NAZIS, FASCISTS, and WHITE SUPREMACISTS are CRAZY, NOT NORMAL, HORRIFYING. The list can go on and on, but they are anything but a normal American political party with a message worth spreading.

        Lastly, I got brown family members, brown and black friends, LGBTQ friends, female friends, I am a female. All of these groups are thought of as less to those who "rallied" nay tried and failed at a show of  intimidation on Saturday in Charlottesville. This is PERSONAL, and it is, has and always will be for a majority of Americans. I am proud at those who showed up to counter this utterly disgusting display of weak male-hood in our society. Had we had this kind of participation during the civil rights era, a bunch of young kids probably would not have been murdered by the likes of those KKK, Nazi, Fascists a-holes. Despite how they, and they are a they, they are THE OTHER, perceive their reality, they must know that it will never go down without a fight. Some fights are just worth fighting period. I will NEVER unite with these people and I am having a hard time uniting with those who will make excuses for them. We are one America and that one group who showed up to display that to those people/monsters in Charlottesville was the only side in this story. The end, period. So, if you find yourself ever saying, "but," or "if," or "what about," in a desperate attempt to paint a different "side" of what happened in Charlottesville, just remember who you are defending, Nazis and the KKK. Remember who lost their lives, and remember that America's dignity is at stake.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Nuances: They are Important

    What a whirlwind weekend! I got to spend a ton of time with my family for my Dad's and niece's birthday, took my nieces and nephews to the Shedd Aquarium, hit up dinner with some good friends for the first time in a long time, watched the Packer game at a neighbors, and on top of all that was the Women's March and the inauguration of the new President. The last few items on that list created a proverbial shit storm in the media and on Facebook that had me wondering, what the hell is wrong with everyone. From the whole political spectrum. From the anarchist on Friday at the the inauguration to Richard Spencer's presence, as well, both of which just makes everything worse. (That is their point, Get it?) But, what really got me was the aggressive nature of discourse. The feeling that people are spoiling for a fight, for whatever reason. Decency gone out the window, along with the hopes and dreams for so many, or, decency gone out the window to revel in the new hopes and dreams of promises made. People are increasingly talking about an echo chamber, and for the most part it is true, we are surrounding ourselves mostly with like minded people. But, I haven't unfriended anyone on Facebook, which was made clear this weekend, despite the mild manner nature and non partisan idea behind my statement, I now get why people are surrounding themselves with like minded people. It doesn't feel good to have people insult you, to constantly be talked down to, and it shouldn't happen in the first place with discourse. So, it also had me thinking some more. I am mostly fascinated by the aggression, hoping it is not the new norm. Maybe we just refuse to "get" each other because it is easier that way, but that is such a disservice to everything that America is about.

     If you know me, you know I have been essentially unemployed for a year. A WHOLE ENTIRE YEAR. I have applied for so many jobs, tweaked my resume so many times, created so many different cover letters, have had so many different interviews. Now, I am not stupid, half-way through the year, I just decided to open my own business and I have been happily working on that. However, it would just be nice to be productive and make some money while I am waiting to get things going. So, I get why American's who struggle in the economy are angry. I understand how hard it is to live in an area where it is difficult to get a job. I understand how bad it sucks to spend so much money on healthcare when you are not making any yourself. I get how lousy it feels to have such limited options open to you. I understand that things need to change and they need to change drastically. But, and this is a big but, I no more blame Rep. Paul Ryan for my predicament than I do our former President Barack Obama. I know it is partly my fault, but not totally my fault. My life decisions have been made to the best of my ability, using the best of my knowledge, doing what I thought was right since the age of 18 when I pretty much left my parents house for good. And another but. But, I get that you want to blame something. None of us are as bad as we feel we are made out to be, all of us cannot be as talent-less as this feels, no one is as useless as we may perceive in ourselves. We cannot always be entirely to blame for our predicaments in life, sometimes we are just dealt a bad hand. But, sometimes we also need to evolve. It sucks when your life doesn't always go how you want it. So, trust me when I say that when you have a chance to do something, to make a change in your life, you have to do it. All I want to say is that we have to be careful of the cost.

    For me, I cannot sit back and watch a whole entire religious group take the blame for a few bad men, because there are consequences to that sort of rhetoric. I do not want to sit back and see a whole neighboring country be disparaged because the richest of our economy have been taking advantage of their labor for decades, because there are consequences of that rhetoric. I do not want to see productive members of our society forced to hide or sit on the fringes because their lifestyle is different, because there are consequences to that rhetoric. I also do not want my ability to decide my fate, make choices for myself, be left out of the negotiating table because of my gender. The consequences to that last one are grave for me, not everyone, but for me and a few other it is. Not everything is black and white. We must make concessions to the nuances that govern our every day life. You do not put the same amount of salt in cookies that you would a pot roast. Salt requires different amounts depending on what you are cooking. If we cannot compromise on how much salt we are using in our food would be destroyed or inedible. It might be a stupid comparison to you, but we got to this ugliness because compromise became a bad word. We started playing a zero-sum game, and now the consequences are playing out and I for one do not like how this world is turning. There is too much effing salt out there and people need chill out. I am a big proponent of having political parties. Understand this. WE WOULD NOT BE A DEMOCRACY IF WE DID NOT HAVE MORE THAN ONE POLITICAL PARTY. I tell my own mother that on a weekly basis. If we are going to have a working democracy we need to stop thinking someone who has different ideas, unless they are anarchist or Richard Spencer, are inherently evil or want the worst for people.

     For example, abortion. I get how abhorrent the idea sounds, especially when hearing the awesome emotional terminology people use surrounding the issue. Despite that, I am very much pro-choice, as are most people I roll with. But, I guarantee most of them would never get one. What I fear most, is dying because of complications with the fetus and not having that as an option. Which happened here and here And that for me is two deaths too many because we are incapable of having nuanced ideas about this topic. I know a handful of women whose lives become at risk when they become pregnant, by choice or due to failed birth control. Do their lives not matter? When do we stop? So I dislike, that one prominent conservative blogger, whose hatred I despise and every time his blog is shared by someone I know I shutter with literal pain in my heart, grouped the millions of people who march around the world on Saturday under the umbrella of horrible women's rights abortionist who, are "whining" and "incoherently" demanding rights. That blog was about as valuable as Madonna's expletive laden speech. Meaning both of them were utterly worthless. This is what we have to work with people. These are the people who get the attention. These are supposed to be the voices that represent both sides. These are the voices who rally us to hate, to vitriol, and worst of all these are the voices who validate the worst of our emotions. I am not saying we have to love each other like some damn hippies, but if you cannot see a problem with this then just ignore everything I have written here, because right now you probably are angry and refuse to believe there is a problem.

    So, as a result we are all forgotten men and women, all the time, no matter who is President. We always have been. Study the history of the world and you will understand our insignificance on this planet, in this world, and in our own lifetimes. It is why people turned to religion, which is now often used as an excuse to exclude. It is why people formed communities, which are now just stopping points on our hours long commutes every day after working ridiculous hours for pittances. It is why we clung to our families, who now half the people are not talking to each other because we are all participating in this stupid zero-sum game in which we allow our emotions to over take our logic when forming our ideologies. So now, we are still forgotten but we just aggressively dislike those who disagree with us. We attack peoples character instead of discussing ideas. But, as long as we keep doing that, then we will remain forgotten and the same people who have always been in power will continue to be in power and nothing will change. Rights will be eroded for people you probably love, but because we will not compromise, because this is zero-sum, right or wrong, black and white, we will all remain forgotten. While we continue to fight each other in battles that mean nothing to us, but everything to those people who benefit them, we will be forgotten. It doesn't matter if it is the 100 Years War, the Crimean War, or the Vietnam War. We will be used as distractions and fodder for those who benefit. But, who is all to blame in this?? Is it the politicians? The rich? Both? Us? Our desire for more, our needs and wants? Our entitlements? I do not know, but we are now just seeing this cycle play out more aggressively than normal because we are allowing our tightly held convictions be used as validation to attack those we know. We are trying to put each other into place, but we refuse to acknowledge the only place we are all headed is down.