You’ve set up a scenario that where, if you don’t get your way, you are perfectly fine with violent results. You’ve encouraged violence by the crowds, seemingly not understanding that your tone, your word choice, no matter how “politically incorrect” you are aiming to be, should never incite or “approve” of violent acts. But hey, you’re gaining in polls, and getting loads of coverage. Any publicity is good publicity, and you understand THAT, at least.
So how would you be as a president? You’re being infuriated by regulations and old set ups in a private political party. What’s going to happen if you run across several different problems across several states where as the federal government it would be proper for you to step in? If you can’t put together a team that understands the system, how are you going to fix it? Knowing what’s wrong and knowing what works to fix things are two different skill sets. And as yet in your life you are unproven as a political leader where you must compromise, watch what and how you say things, understand that the buck stops at the White House, and that when you get in too far, you can’t declare bankruptcy for the entire country, but you can bankrupt us morally as well as monetarily.
Our country of immigrants, a country which has historically been an asylum for refugees, is falling back into an old pattern. In the 1920s America was seized by xenophobia. The Emergency Quota Act, passed in 1921, restricted immigration from southern and eastern Europe. For the geographically-challenged, that includes Italy, Greece, and Hungary among others. It was the first “Red Scare” when people were fearful that communism and anarchy were going to take over. This attitude lingered until even the late 1930s when people were against European Jews coming into our country. We all know how that panned out.
Now we have many of the same things happening again. People are fleeing terrorism, war, persecution. Many are women and children. The U.S. House of Representatives recently voted to keep out Syrians. There is even talk about shutting down the government over this issue. It’s become a political football and popularity contest among presidential candidates. Donald Trump wants to make Syrian refugees carry special identification. Yes, the same policy Hitler and the Nazis used is being touted by a potential United States president. The “special identification” for Syrian refugees is just another form of the Star of David badge used to segregate then exterminate men, women, and children of the Jewish faith. Others wore badges that declared their “otherness” too- gays, the Romany, the mentally handicapped among them.
The events today are a prime example of “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Not only was xenophobia and separatism part of what made World War II so horrible, so destructive, each time it reared its ugly head, injustice and tragedy reigned. Think of how many lives were ruined in the 1950s under McCarthyism. Black lists were made. Congress was involved in hearings that were basically kangaroo courts, ferreting out “pinkos” and “commies.” It was a shameful and dark time despite many peoples’ wistful but flawed memories of the decade. And 60 years later, it continues.
It’s not the “damn liberals” or the “stupid conservatives” that are taking our country down. It’s regular people of all stripes that haven’t learned a thing from our past. They see heinous acts of violence from terrorists, and they succumb to fear, exactly what the terrorists want. Exactly. Closing our borders to those seeking refuge is what ISIS wants. They will use our denial of refugees against us, telling their people that no one cares about them, that their religion, their faith is what America is against. It won’t matter to these people that there are some here that are scared of the violence coming to our shores, hiding it under bravado and propaganda about the Islamic menace. The refugees will only see rejection, and in that way the extremists will win their hearts. And the violence is already here anyway. The Boston Marathon bombing, the Oklahoma City bombing, 9/11 all resonate with violence against our government, way of life, and our citizens.
When you read Facebook memes and posts, including mine, remember the entire history of the United States, our traditions of immigration and asylum, and our tragic memories of the awful results of xenophobia. See that the politicians who use fear are no better than the terrorists themselves- they are all people who will use death and destruction to gain power whether or not they caused it directly or indirectly. Take care when you hear media outlets, news agencies, radio hosts, television personalities, church leaders telling us that we should not help these particular “others,” that we need to take care ourselves first, that they aren’t “Christian” or that they are infiltrating and hellbent on changing and killing us. That’s code for “fear strangers” and by that, all the terrorists accomplish their goals.
We all were the “others” at some point in our family trees. The Pilgrims fled persecution in England. The Huguenots ran from France. Jews, Italians, Irish, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, Korean, Cuban, Nicaraguan- the list of asylum seekers goes around the world. And they all came to America. It is who we are and who we were. Taking precautions and carefully examining refugees is a necessary and prudent thing in today’s world. But flat out refusal is a mistake on our part, and playing right into the hands of our enemies and detractors.
People are born intersex all the time, from those with “ambiguous” genitalia, genes that don’t match outward secondary sexual characteristics, and other physical variants from the “binary” norm. Geneticists studying the “traditional” XX/XY chromosomes that have been associated with gender determination have found in studies that there is more than just absolutes at work.
Years ago people used the term hermaphrodite to refer to children that were born with different types of genitals. That term came about because people didn’t fully understand what was going on with the physical characteristics of the baby. Hermaphrodite has mistaken connotations of being both fully male and fully female at the same time, which is a physical impossibility. Often these children were subjected to gender assignment surgery at an early age with the assumption that growing up “one way or another” would be the healthiest psychologically. This sometimes had disastrous results.
So with all the unknowns in genetics, all the myriads of ways people can branch out from the accepted norms, why is it so hard for some to accept that the same sort of thing could be happening to those that are transgender? In a world where there are multiple possibilities, where some people that have XX chromosomes can present as physically male, and some people that have XY chromosomes can look completely female, why is it so difficult to see that some people who look male, have male genetics, can have “female brains,” and vice versa? Is it because some people don’t fully understand the complexities of psychology and physiology? Is it because some think in a black and white manner about sexuality when it is really far more complicated than an either/or situation?
People are very, very quick to judge before they have all the information in a lot of situations other than gender and sexual identity. So it’s not really surprising that more than a few cannot or will not make the leap to understanding how someone can be transgender. They don’t see how difficult it can be for someone to understand and come to terms with their gender identity, and what a long process it can be. It took Caitlyn Jenner 65 years to come to full terms with self-acceptance and to present herself as she felt. The teenager Jazz Jennings who has her own “reality” show not only fights with her own self perception, she has to endure people that can’t or won’t understand her situation. Personally I think if we can call someone brave for their religious beliefs, or their career choices, or their sociological accomplishments, then we can call people like Caitlyn or Jazz heroes of a sort too. They are out there showing other people, other human beings with feelings and situations similar to theirs that they are not alone, that life can be good, and coming to terms with who you truly are is sometimes the bravest thing you can do.
“Evangelicals don’t dislike our gay and lesbian neighbors, and we don’t mean them harm.” -Russell Moore
Except they do. They want to deny gay people the civil institution of marriage. Who cares if they don’t want the ceremonies to be performed in their churches anyway? A civil marriage is a civil marriage. It comes with certain tax benefits, inheritance assumptions, health proxies, and respect. When the conservatives talked about “civil unions” and explained they’d be the same as marriage, they were merely parsing words. They were trying to tell gay people that they were, and would remain second class citizens.
Evangelicals like to claim that they “love” their gay neighbors, but when they go to church, their preachers teach them hatred. They like to perfume it up with “oh we hate the sin but love the sinner” and that is just not true. They hate people different from themselves. They despair diversity. You can hear them saying things like “If I hear one more person say ‘coexist’ I will scream!” I know. I’ve heard them say it.
They resent that America is doing what America has always done- changed. They espouse politicians that say “bring back our America” with a hint of their own naked hypocrisy. They claim to want to make America great again, but they’re unwilling to see the truths in history that we can learn from. They rewrite events, such as Sarah Palin famously did with Paul Revere’s ride, and think that the Constitution should remain as static as their own literalistic religion. There’s no room for growth and understanding, just a set of boundaries and parameters that they refuse to change. In ways they exhibit behaviors that are like children that don’t want to grow up. They understand things as they were and don’t want that understanding to be clouding by complexities that they don’t seem to desire to even think about for fear that they may have some unintended results from actually considering other ways of looking at things. Look at how they cling to the “unchanging word of God.” Except interpretations of the Bible have changed throughout the ages, and they are always the ones that want to cling to the past as if that is going to guarantee them some sort of edge in gaining immortality after death.
So yes, the conservative evangelicals do actually want to cause gay people harm. They want to continue lambasting gay rights and thinking “well, that doesn’t have anything to do with them personally and how I treat them” except that it does. Creating hostile atmospheres, accusing gay or marriage equality of causing great plagues, disasters, and blasphemy is a way of keeping the homosexual community in perpetual otherness. It diminishes gays while allowing conservatives to have some sort of perceived moral superiority.
Don’t let them fool you with this rhetoric. When they finally grow in their understanding, when they finally give up the last gasps of homophobia, they won’t have to fight so hard or pretend to justify themselves any longer.
Since God is everywhere, why do so many people think that He can be taken out of some places? I wonder which god some people suggest we put back into government. An Abrahamic god? That covers Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. But what about a Hindu deity? Ganesh is super cool, and he has an elephant head. What about a goddess like Wiccans honor? Or maybe we can go far back to Odin. I mean you talk about wow factor, Odin’s got it.
Look folks, God and religion are not the same thing. As long as you have your faith, whatever that faith may be, God as you know Him (or Her) is always with you. Taking religious practices out of government allows everyone to participate in the process. If we started letting one religion and their practices in our government just where do we stop?
You can pray anywhere. You can silently do it sitting in school, sitting in a court, or even sitting in the driver’s seat of a police car. But when you start making a big show out of practicing your religion like praying on your knees in algebra class, or proselytizing in a town hall meeting, that’s where you have stopped taking God everywhere and started in on your personal practices.
Religious freedom, like freedom of speech, has some limitations to it. When your religious practices and views interfere with governmental procedure or infringe on someone’ else’s civil rights, you are not lawfully using your freedom. But it always seems to be a certain group of people that want to interject their faith’s practices into our civil government. It just seems to be a sector of people that are not thoughtful or pragmatic or even that moral about their practices. They would desire to force everyone to do things their way. And that’s just NOT THE WAY GOD IS SUPPOSED TO WORK. If you are made to practice a faith either by force or de facto through laws that do not separate church and state, that is not spreading God, but it is spreading human desire to be the only religion around. And that’s not religious freedom. It’s a theocracy.