Category Archives: Politics

The NRA: A Rebuttal

The National Rifle Association of America recently decided to produce a message of hate directed against the liberal community. As we prepare to celebrate the birth of this country for all Americans, I have prepared a rebuttal.

To the NRA:

We do not use our media to assassinate real news. If real news appears to have a liberal bias, that is a matter of your viewpoint, not ours.

We do not use our schools to teach children that the president is another Hitler. What we teach in school is that decisions are best made through the use of facts and evidence. If President Trump appears to be racist, misogynist, and authoritarian, that is because there is a mountain of evidence to support those assertions. Besides, Trump is demonstrably too stupid to be another Hitler.

We do use movie stars and singers and comedy shows and award shows to repeat our narrative of peace and acceptance over and over again. As do you, with your movie stars and singers and media outlets and talk radio hosts with your message of autocracy and intolerance. And if we use ex-president Barack Obama to endorse “the resistance” it is because he is the living antithesis of the hate, and fear, and rage that seems to dominate your resistance.

We do march, and we do protest. We do not scream racism and sexism and xenophobia and homophobia, but we do unabashedly point them out. Does that bother you? We do not smash windows, burn cars, shut down interstates and airports, or bully and terrorize the law-abiding. Our message is a message of peace, and peaceful protest is enshrined in the Constitution you claim to defend. Perhaps you should review it.

The madness that we ask the police to stop is the cycle of violence perpetuated against anyone who does not look or act or believe what you do. And the only way we stop this, the only way to save our country and our freedom, is to understand that truth does not come bound in a book, dispensed as dogma, or projected from the lips of prophets and pundits. The truth is something to set you free, not to clench in your fist.

I am not the National Rifle Association of America. And the safest place for freedom is in the collective hearts and minds of all Americans, not held hostage at the business end of a gun.

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The soul of a country

Slavery
The art of the deal!

 

People don’t realize, you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why? People don’t ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?”
— Donald Trump

A hundred and fifty years ago, a war was fought for the soul of this nation. On one side was the belief that this country should be a place where all people are free. On the other was the belief that one man should be able to own another. That is why the Civil War was fought, Mr. President. It is simple to understand, I promise you. Really, it is.

Of course, many from the South, your Attorney General being one, will tell you that the Civil War was a war of aggression, that it was about state’s rights vs. the tyranny of the federal government, and all that. So I can see why you might be confused, and wonder if maybe we could have just made a deal. I mean, for a deal maker such as yourself, anything is possible, right?

But here is the thing. There was a deal on the table: end slavery. That was it. That was the deal. End the practice of treating people like chattel. The South could have agreed to this and the war could have been averted. But instead, the South got up from the table and went home. No deal. Slavery was so important to the southern economy that the South would rather have created its own slave nation than give it up. And the rest, as they say, is history. You should read it sometime. Get a picture book if the words are too hard. Have Ivanka read it to you as she’s tucking you into bed. It’s important.

But what about a compromise, you say? Isn’t that the art of the deal? Come back with a counter offer until both sides reach an agreement? But what would have been agreeable in this case? The deal was no slavery. Not some slavery. No slavery. There is no possible compromise in a situation like that, unless you think that some slavery is acceptable. Is that what you think, Mr. President? That some slavery would have been acceptable to avert a war?

Make no mistake, even Abraham Lincoln struggled with this question, and wondered if perhaps preserving the Union at all costs was more important. But as this excerpt from a letter to his friend Joshua Speed makes clear, he believed in something more:

As a nation, we began by declaring that “all men are created equal.” We now practically read it “all men are created equal, except negroes.” When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read “all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics.” When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty—to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.

We already know what you believe, Mr. President. We already know how you read it. There is little doubt in your interpretation that all men are not created equal. That, indeed, all men are created equal except. We hear about it whenever you give a speech to your supporters. Make America great again for everyone except. The rules should apply equally to all except. We welcome everyone to this country except. Every citizen should vote except. And so on.

Wars are fought for many reasons, and one reason is when except is not an option. The Civil War was fought because “all men are created equal except” was not an option. We continue to fight that battle as you aggressively seek to eradicate the accomplishments of our first black president. Because, as we know, in your world anyone can grow up to be president except. But that is not an option. It was never an option. It will never be an option. Some things are worth fighting for, Mr President. Some things are worth going to war over, even dying over. The soul of this country is one of them. There is no deal that can erase that, whether you understand it or not.

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Filed under Politics, Race

I don’t know what to do with Real Americans.

Editor’s note: the title and tone of this post were inspired by Brit Bennett’s essay “I Don’t Know What to Do With Good White People.”

I seem to be surrounded by Real Americans these days. Real Americans determined to make America great again; Real Americans determined to round up those illegals and send them back home; Real Americans who want to deal with those crime infested inner cities by warehousing people of a certain color; Real Americans who never threw their sheets and ropes away, but kept them in the closet for a day such as today; and so on. Continue reading

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To Resist

Back in February of 2014 I wrote a post entitled To Dissent. I encourage you to go read it, but I want to quote the final paragraph of that post:

The times are always tumultuous for dissent, now more than ever. But if we are to regain the balance between the government and the people, if we are to take charge of the destiny of our societies and our species, if we are to make a better life for ourselves and our children, if we are to proactively look towards the future instead of reactively running from it, if we are to continue to rise to the challenges provided to us as intelligent, sentient beings, then we must on occasion stand and make ourselves heard, even if our legs are shaking – especially when our legs are shaking – because to not do so is to disregard and dishonor the great gifts bestowed upon us by those who have courageously done so in the past.

Hannah Arendt is perhaps most famous for her discussion of what she termed the ‘banality of evil.’ In studying how the atrocities perpetuated by Germany under control of the Nazis came about, she reached the conclusion that great evil can only come about through the compliance of the people; that the truly bad can only happen when good people put their heads down and, whether from fear, or tiredness, or dismay allow it to unfold unchecked. Continue reading

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Climbing out of the rabbit hole

As always in a democracy, there are issues where we can agree, and there are issues where we cannot agree. I can agree, for example, that the establishment has done a poor job of protecting the middle class. I can also agree that it has done a poor job of allowing minorities to enter it. Where I cannot agree is that the person gleefully supported by David Duke and white supremacists is the right person to fix it. I will never agree with that. Ever.

Continue reading

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Filed under Philosophy, Politics, Uncategorized

A Veteran’s Thoughts on Colin Kaepernick

Jim Wright over at Stonekettle Station has his usual eloquent take on the so-called Colin Kaepernick incident , in which he describes, in somewhat great length, his opinion on whether Kaepernick should stand (or not) during the playing of the National Anthem. As a veteran myself, I would like to add my opinion, which is this: Continue reading

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The communists are not who you think

I find it interesting that many people accuse Bernie Sanders of being a communist when he is merely advocating the expansion of many of the ‘socialist’ programs that these same people take for granted—Social Security, Medicare, reduced college tuition—while at the same time these people seemingly have little problem with the policies they should really be associating with communism: the intrusion of the security state into their private lives; the merger of corporatism and government; the expansion of the gulag called the prison system; the harassment, roundup, detainment, and expulsion of the political underclass; the utilization of terror and fear to promote policy. All in the name of freedom and the flag, of course. Continue reading

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