Moral Compass

1.  Motives

We saw conflict this weekend in Charlottesville.  We saw a group of American citizens, people living in 2017, marching for white pride, under a Nazi flag, espousing repugnant and wicked world views.   Views totally incompatible with mainstream American values.  Views inconsistent with the views held during the founding of this nation.

We’ve rejected this side of ourselves since we were we.

Nazis, neo-Nazis, white nationalists and white supremacists are among the worst examples of us.

We, I, despise the departure of Individual Liberty these people preach.

No one I know agrees with the motives of those hate groups.

2.  Tribes

Consider rivalries.

Consider the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns.

Say the Browns announced that they were gonna assemble on Saturday and have a Brown’s parade.  And then the Steelers decided that they were gonna show up, and then engage those Browns fans.

Violence ensues.

Who is to blame?

3.  Free Speech

We have a rich history of protected speech in America.  We rightly should rejoice in this.  However, not all speech is protected.  Some speech incites violence and should be denied.

We need to admit that.

If the Nazi’s request to assemble is inciting violence, deny it and arrest them if they gather.  Or

Or.

Or have the balls to admit that they DO have the right to assemble and protect their rights to do so.

One.  Or.  The other.

4.  Right to Assemble

Motives aside, if one group has been given the right to assemble, and another group, motives aside, seeks to deny or infringe on that right, the moral argument is mute.

Speech has been determined to be protected.

Where Does the End Come

I just posted when I saw this on my feed:

DURHAM, North Carolina (WTVD) —
Protesters in Durham rushed and toppled a Confederate statue outside the courthouse on Monday evening.

The monument of a Confederate soldier holding a rifle was erected in 1924 and inscribed on it are the words “in memory of the boys who wore the gray.”

Nobody wants this to end.

Reason Absent

 

Charlottesville is a hot shitty mess.   And it’s been a long time in coming.

My thoughts, bullet list style:

  • America is not a racist nation
  • White nationalists are racist assholes
  • Black nationalists are racist assholes
  • The first amendment matters
  • The sixth commandment matters
  • Not everyone who voted for Trump is a racist
  • If you are a racist, you likely voted for Trump
  • The Civil War was fought over slavery
  • Many MANY Confederate soldiers and officers were noble honorable warriors
  • Removing Confederate statues does not carry moral worth

 

My heart breaks as Charlottesville unfolds.  So much pain, so much tragedy, so much misplaced … misplaced ‘righteousness’.

Such bullshit.

What is it about human nature that we always see the ‘other’ in the other?  Why is it that we can’t see the common?  See that each of us, almost all of us, wants the same thing?  We wanna love, deeply, and then fall ever deeper in love.  We want a home safe from danger, to live with the front door unlocked, and wake up to sunshine and birds in the yard.

I have never known a neighbor that didn’t want their kids to play in the street, to go to a good school, then a good college and then a good job.  Marriage and kids of their own are next.  We all want that picket fence.  Why do we need to hate?  And hurt?  And be so afraid?

When did we all become so afraid?

Why are we so afraid of the way each lives his life?  Why do we care if he reads Asimov?  Or he reads Othello?  Or she plays chess or he Pokemon?  How can it determine the content if he enjoys listening to this style of music or she enjoys studying this war; this artist or this general?  How can that matter so SO much?

As I watch the news and listen to the radio and read the papers I am inundated.  Inundated with the horror, the rage, the vile nature of the worst example of us.

This is not us – this is not who we are.

Reject it.  Simply reject the premise and make your own way; shit, continue on the glorious noble way that you’ve already forged.  Do it with honor, do it boldly, do it with the same compassion and love that drove you to that place to begin with.

Because the alternative is simply impossible.  It is impossible to live in the world envisioned by those who perpetuate the divide.

For just one fuckin’ second, consider how we are the same and stop focusing on how we’re different.

Lady Liberty

So, there’s an art contest where students submit their work to Congress.  Among the entrees, there are finalists and those finalists get their work displayed.  This year, one of those finalists depicts the Statue of Liberty as a Muslim woman wearing a hijab.

I like it.

I like the actual art AND I like the message.  I like the idea that people of all walks are able to look at Lady Liberty and see themselves reflected.  Apparently, not all people are as impressed as I am:

A Democratic congressman is taking heat from Sarah Palin and other conservatives for a painting hanging in his California district office that depicts the Statue of Liberty as a Muslim woman.

We the People Rising, a conservative-leaning activist group, was among the first to object to the painting in Rep. Lou Correa’s district office in Santa Ana, Calif., arguing it violates the separation of church and state.

And more; from a video posted on We the People Rising’s website:

“You guys have a picture out in front of your office with the Statue of Liberty wearing a hijab, which I find reprehensible and disrespectful,” one of the members tells a staffer in the first video. “I would like to request that you remove it.”

Again, I don’t understand the reprehensible and disrespectful nature of the painting.  It’s not mocking the Lady, it doesn’t depict her in  a negative light.  All it does is show what Liberty might look like if she were standing in another part of the world.

Kinda like depicting Jesus as a white guy standing in America rather than the brown guy he really was.

And speaking of religion, how is the painting supposed to violate the separation of church and state?  And since when have conservatives minded such violations; though it is delicious to see such an argument used against a democrat.

As I’ve explained over and over – the concept of such separation between the church and the state does not mean that there can be no explicit religion in the state, only that the leader of state cannot be te same leader of the church.  Or, that there be no official nation religion supported by the state.

If congress wants to open with a prayer to Allah, they may.  The idea that a congressman can’t have a religious symbol in his office is insane; no one makes a fuss, or should make such fuss, when a congressman wears a cross chain, or has the Bible in his shelf or other such outward symbols.

As far as I’m concerned, the more Muslim girls that yearn from America’s Liberty the better this world will be!

Globalization and Minimum Wage

Trump and Immigration

He’s wrong.

America is a nation of immigrants.  We pride ourselves on the fact that the world sees itself and then it sees America.

The world immigrates to America.

Racists and Affirmative Action

What’s Wrong About the “What’s Wrong With America” Narrative

A black cop shot a white woman.

And there is something wrong with America.  Or so says this article from CNN.  My thoughts.

There’s a predictable pattern to the aftermath of too many deadly police shootings: Neighbors and anti-police brutality groups take to the streets. Groups supporting the officers stand up for them. Social media lights up over whether the victim “did something” to provoke the officer.

This hardly ever happens.  Cops kill hundreds of civilians every year and we see protests rarely.

But none of that holds true in the case of Justine Ruszczyk, a white Australian bride-to-be who was killed by Mohamed Noor, a Somali-American black police officer in Minneapolis.

All of that held true.  Protests happened and the chief was fired.

Because the race and nationality of the victim and police officer aren’t what has typically garnered headlines, people who normally speak up aren’t saying much.

The race of the victim is the race most often killed by cops.  As for who aren’t saying much – it’s because even though white people are most often shot by cops, white people don’t think cops are targeting white people.

New York Daily News writer Shaun King wrote a column in which he said “Police brutality jumped a racial fence.”

See above – most victims of shot by police are white.

Love theorizes a different group of people may take the lead in rallying for the victim in this case: “people who may not have emphathized with the victims (in police shootings in the past) because the victims have been mostly black.”

The lack of fact based reporting is staggering.  Most of the victims are not black – they are white.

Too often in cases involving unarmed black men, Chatelain says, information on the victim’s criminal history or prior arrests makes its way into stories — even when they are irrelevant to the case.

Criminal history ABSOLUTELY is relevant to interactions with the police.

So what does this say about America in 2017, where the race, gender or national identity of a victim or police officer can affect the public’s reaction to a shooting?

Uumm, the only, and I mean ONLY, time we have cared about the race of the victim is when that victim is black.

“We haven’t reckoned with our history,” Goff told CNN, “so it shouldn’t surprise us to see a different reaction.”

When the victim is black, we have seen mass protests and destruction.  When the victim is white we see muted reactions, if any at all.  What is Goff talking about?

 

 

Trump’s Transgender Ban

 

President Trump announced a ban on trans-gendered troops in the military this morning:

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump abruptly declared a ban Wednesday on transgender troops serving anywhere in the U.S. military, catching the Pentagon flat-footed and unable to explain what it called Trump’s “guidance.” His proclamation, on Twitter rather than any formal announcement, drew bipartisan denunciations and threw currently serving transgender soldiers into limbo.

“Please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” the commander in chief tweeted.

I have multiple reactions:

  1.  How many transgendered folks do we have serving?  And then in combat roles?
  2. This is what happens when you support ‘your guy’ governing by fiat.
  3. This is horrible policy.
  4. Given that no one was talking about this as of yesterday – what conversation is Trump trying to change?

I honestly don’t think Trump cares whether someone is gay or trans.  I’d bet his companies are comparable to others when it comes to the demographics of his employees.  No – I think this announcement is meant to shore up a base he thinks he might be losing or he’s changing the dialogue.

Officer Noor: No Statement

 

Some people have been asking why Officer Noor hasn’t been forced to issue a statement or agree to be interviewed about the circumstances surrounding his fatal shooting of Ms. Ruszczyk.

My answer is this:  Because.

Because he is a citizen of the United States and is protected by the Fifth Amendment:

“Any lawyer that would recommend to him that he should give a statement to the BCA should be disbarred,” said Joe Friedberg, a Minneapolis defense attorney who’s not involved in the case. “Nobody should ever speak to law enforcement when they’re the subject of a criminal investigation.”

I would add that you should never speak to law enforcement.  Period.  Ever.