Goodbye America, Hello Bigotry: So Much For Our Ideals…

americaI’m sitting here, stuck at work, feeling emotionally devastated… Worse than I’ve felt in a long time.  I’ve made a few comments on Facebook, but I’ve felt the need to pull back, to be semi-friendly, to make excuses for those who claim to love me, yet still voted for Trump.  But why should I hold back? Donald Trump has won the presidency, and that’s something I really never believed would happen yesterday at this time.  I truly believed that more Americans stood for racial and gender equality, equality for LGBT people… That we stood above bigotry. But the country has proven me wrong.  They’ve placed racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, transphobia, (so many phobias…) up on a pedestal.  They’ve told little girls out there that if a man gropes her inappropriately that it’s his right, and she shouldn’t complain.  They’ve told little Muslim and Latino boys and girls that they’re not welcome here, their families aren’t welcome here, and that they’re going to stick them behind a wall.  They’ve told African American men and women that if the police shoot them in the street like dogs, well hey… Too bad for you.  Your lives don’t matter.

I’ve had two friends tell me tonight that it “wasn’t about gay rights” or “It wasn’t about bigotry.”  Well then, what was it about? What else could it possibly have been about??? Trump hasn’t presented any plans or details about how he’s supposedly going to “fix” the economy (which was already recovering nicely) other than by giving a bunch of tax cuts to the rich (because that’s worked so well in the past).  He’s made wild claims about fighting terrorism, but again… He hasn’t given any details about how he’s going to do so, other than by stating “ban all Muslims from entering the country.”

I had one friend who didn’t vote for Trump, (but supports Republicans who did) that stated that it was about being “Pro-Life” and because Hillary is for “late-term abortions” (which she’s not). I almost bought it, but let’s get real here… He’s not going to be able to stop abortions.  Not ever.  Not even if he somehow manages to get a constitutional amendment passed (he won’t).  All Trump could possibly do is stop safe abortions.  Key-word here… Safe…  Let’s face it, if a woman truly believes she can’t support a child or carry it to term, she won’t.  Period.  Instead, what we’ll be faced with is women who can do so going across the border to Canada, and those that can’t, resorting to the abortions of the past (coathangers, falls down the stairs, etc…) So not only will we have those “lives” you claim to care about being lost, we’ll also have the lives of the mothers being lost as well.  So, no. You don’t get to pretend this is somehow about being “pro-life” unless you’re completely naive about how the real world works (which you very well might be).  

Trump’s entire campaign has been built on nothing but the worst sort of bigotry, in so many forms.  Racism, homophobia, misogyny, Islamophobia… He’s backed by the fucking leader of the KKK for Christ’s sake, which should tell anyone all they need to know.  I can’t speak for other minorities (though I can be horrified for them), but I can speak as a gay man, and what people who voted for Trump have told me, in a loud and clear voice, is that they don’t think I am equal to them as a human being.  They’ve told me they couldn’t fucking care less if I’m able to marry the man I love. They didn’t think twice about whether or not I’m allowed to adopt children. They’ve told me they don’t give a shit if I get treated as a person when I walk into a business.  With those stakes on the line, ignorance about what Trump stood for is not an excuse.  Apathy is a slap in the face.  Agreement is absolutely offensive and disgusting.  I can’t even begin to imagine how any minority could have voted for him (though statistically speaking, quite a few must have…)  

I’m going to say, unapologetically, if you supported Trump (or really any Republican) you can make all the claims you want about caring about me, but the harsh reality I’m now faced with, whether you want to admit it or not, is that I’m not even worth your consideration.  Gay rights… Minority rights…Women’s rights… Probably didn’t even cross your mind.  Trump is the lowest form of scum and those that agree with him are as well.  “Deplorable” is too nice of a word.  Those that didn’t bother to research what Trump stands for, voted in protest, or flipped a coin… I don’t even know what to say to you.  You should have cared more… Considered others besides yourself more.  But you didn’t.  I’m beyond livid… I’m tired of sitting back and watching the country be raped by the Republican elite and now by the monster they’ve created, but the entire country has now been placed in their proven incapable hands.

One of my closest friends stated tonight that people who voted for Trump shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for voting for him, because that’s their right.  But I disagree.  STRONGLY.  It definitely is their right to vote for a bigot.  But they should feel guilty about it.  They should feel ashamed of themselves.  Whatever nightmare is in store for us for the next 4 to 8 years is on their heads.  If I believed in any sort of god, I’d be praying for mercy right now.  As it is, I can only sit here with a sense of absolute dread for what’s in store for us.  

James Garcia 11/9/2016  

Reddit, LGBT People, and Donald Trump

trump

I had a discussion on Reddit (thread found here), with a Lesbian woman who claimed to be a supporter of Donald Trump and attempted to argue that he would be the “best choice for LGBT people.”  The following are some of her statements, with my responses.  She has since deleted her comments, so I can’t link to the originals, but here are some that I had to respond to because they were outrageous or offensive (or outrageously offensive).  

“People label “persecution” on things like others denying service.”

Just because we’re not being murdered in the streets (which of course, we are…) doesn’t mean it’s not persecution, so you can keep your sarcastic quotation marks.  In a country where we supposedly have equal protection under the law, allowing one group of people to be discriminated against in the economy that we’ve all helped build, based on an immutable characteristic, is discrimination. Period.  Every American should be able to take part in the public sector without having to worry about whether or not a store will accept them or not.  You shouldn’t have to worry about public ridicule and humiliation because you want to buy a cake.  

An African American should be able to go into any public business and buy whatever products or services that business provides without fear of being turned away because of the color of their skin.  On the same note, any gay person should be able to go into any public business without having to fear they will be turned away because of who they happen to love. Nobody should have to wonder if they’re going to have to drive 2 or 3 hours out of their way just to buy something that is sold in a store across the street, because the owner of the store across the street happens to be a bigot.  That’s not how our country is supposed to work, and that’s certainly not the type of country I want to live in.  

If people behind the counter don’t want to serve every person within the general public who enters their store, is not causing a disruption, and just wants to buy whatever goods or services that business provides, then they should simply not open a business.  There are plenty of jobs out there where you don’t have to serve the public.  If you don’t want to serve gay people, or black people, or Jews, or Muslims… Don’t apply for a business license. Don’t sign a contract with the government that says you won’t discriminate.  It’s that simple.

“I find it ridiculous people believe this nation will go against one of its core values.”

Then you really haven’t been paying attention to the history of our country.  Check out segregation.  Check out the internment of innocent Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor. Check out slavery.  Check out the slaughter of the American Indians.  All of those things went against our supposed “values”, yet they’re all things that happened anyway.  

“…Politicians aren’t going to make such drastic changes against the American citizens will. Putting gays in jail is not what the American general populace wants. I’ve discussed why they wouldn’t go against the populations wish already.”

And you’re wrong.  Where was the outrage when innocent Japanese Americans were ripped from their homes and thrown into internment camps? Many of them lost everything they had! As for now, if the Republican-controlled Congress has shown us anything the last 8 years, it’s that they don’t give a shit about what the general populace wants.  They’ve gone against the majority of the American people multiple times, from trying to overturn the ACA again… and again… and again… and again… To shutting down the government, to all of the Benghazi / email nonsense.  The fact that you still seem to think they won’t shows you’re literally not paying any attention to the real world.

SO do I think they’ll step in to help LGBT people if states start passing laws to arrest them or enforcing laws they already have on the books? Not really.  Do I think the American people will be outraged? Maybe?  Do I think they’ll be outraged enough to protest in the streets to help us? Those are two different questions, and the answer to the second is a definite “no.”  Where’s the outrage for the members of the African-American community, who are being shot dead in the street like animals by certain police officers who are supposed to be protecting them? Why isn’t the populace rising up to  help them when they’re arrested, beat up, and in many cases killed, for minor offenses like running a red light or selling cigarettes?  Answer: It’s non-existent.  The majority of American people simply don’t care enough about issues that don’t affect them directly.  

“You’re right. Trump/Pence could allow businesses to not serve us. I don’t care about that. Why would I want to deal with a business that is forced to serve me anyway?”

You should care about that.  You say you’re not naive, but then you go on to show how you absolutely are naive over and over again.  Do you seriously know nothing about our history?  How well did the whole “White’s only”, “Irish need not apply”, “We don’t serve Jews” garbage work in the past? Hint: It didn’t.  You had entire groups of people that were suffering because they were being denied jobs, kicked off of buses, kicked out of restaurants, and generally left out of an economy that they helped to build.  As the American people have clearly shown throughout our history, they are more than willing to single groups of people out as long as they’re given permission to do so.  You literally have people trying to do so now; so if you think that’s all in the past, then as I’ve said, you’re naive.  

“Being gay means dealing with people who hate you. The government isn’t going to take that away.”

Of course they’re not.  I don’t expect the government to make people like me.  I don’t care if people like me. But we have laws in place that will at the very least make sure that we have a fair shot in the economy that our tax dollars help to build.  Joe-Schmoe at Melissa’s Cake Shop can hate me all he wants, but if Joe-Schmoe wants to open a business and receive the benefits from the government that come with it, then they damned well better sell me a cake just like they would anyone else.  My sexuality has nothing to do with their religious beliefs and it certainly has nothing to do with the cake I’m trying to buy.  

“I’m very interested in these specific moments Trump has voiced hatred. Can you please post some specifics so I can read into them?”

This is, by far, the easiest of your ridiculous comments to rebut.  All I have to do is type “racist / bigoted / sexist Donald Trump quotes” and I’ll be provided with a plethora of information.  It takes willful ignorance to not see them! Here are just a few examples:

Donald Trump disrespecting women:

Ariana Huffington is unattractive, both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man – he made a good decision.”

“You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young, and beautiful, piece of ass.”

“If I were running ‘The View’, I’d fire Rosie O’Donnell. I mean, I’d look at her right in that fat, ugly face of hers, I’d say ‘Rosie, you’re fired.’”

“All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me – consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.”

“The only card [Hillary Clinton] has is the woman’s card. She’s got nothing else to offer and frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get 5 percent of the vote. The only thing she’s got going is the woman’s card, and the beautiful thing is, women don’t like her.”

Donald Trump disrespecting people of color:

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re not sending you, they’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists…”

“Our great African-American President hasn’t exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are so happily and openly destroying Baltimore.”

Tenant Discrimination:

http://www.nytimes.com/times-insider/2015/07/30/1973-meet-donald-trump/?_r=0

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/28/us/politics/donald-trump-housing-race.html

Taking advantage of undocumented immigrants:

http://www.nytimes.com/1998/06/14/nyregion/after-15-years-in-court-workers-lawsuit-against-trump-faces-yet-another-delay.html?pagewanted=all

Disrespecting people with disabilities:

http://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2015/11/26/donald-trump-mocks-reporter-with-disability-berman-sot-ac.cnn

You can try and pretend Donald Trump isn’t a hateful piece of trash, but the piles of evidence available show otherwise.  You can’t claim everything he’s said in his “illustrious” career are being taken out of context.  (Well I guess you can, but it won’t be very effective.)

“There’s a lot of false information and over dramatization of Trump out there.”

Not really… Nearly all of the articles or news reports I’ve provided show actual videos or quote him directly.  That’s not “over dramatization.”  It’s reality.  

“If you look at things at face value (not saying you do personally, just talking about the population as a whole) then you will despise Trump.”

And if you ignore all of his actions, direct quotes, and videos showing his hatefulness, then I guess you’ll love him? Why shouldn’t people take things at face value? If someone makes a bigoted comment (or in Trump’s case, continually makes bigoted, sexist comments), we shouldn’t have to read between the lines to find something good about them.  Especially when it comes to someone running for President of the United States!

“The average uneducated American citizen, who doesn’t care about politics or the election, walks around and sees the propaganda everywhere. It’s kind of creepy how much Hillary is in my daily life.”

Trump receives far more news coverage than Hillary.  So if Hillary is “creepy” because of the amount of news coverage she gets, then Trump should downright terrify you. But you seem to be eating the crap he’s feeding you like candy.  

“Trump’s campaign attracted 822 minutes of screen time on the nightly news broadcasts of ABC, CBS and NBC between Jan. 1 and Labor Day, according to the Tyndall Report, which has tracked broadcast news since 1987. It’s unlikely that another presidential candidate in history has ever gotten more, says Andrew Tyndall, the newsletter’s proprietor.

Clinton’s campaign commanded just 386 minutes, which includes 89 minutes spent on the investigation of her emails as secretary of state.

That’s a big coverage “gap.” Roughly speaking, Trump has gotten more than twice as much network attention as Clinton.”


http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/16/upshot/measuring-donald-trumps-mammoth-advantage-in-free-media.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/trump-gets-way-more-tv-news-time-than-clinton-so-what/2016/09/21/719d1bac-7ea9-11e6-8d0c-fb6c00c90481_story.html

“I can’t remember the last time I seen something pro Trump besides a bumper sticker 2 weeks ago (and I live in the bible belt!).”

Then again… You’re simply not paying attention.  

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/09/who-gets-better-press-coverage-hillary-clinton-or-donald-trump

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/06/media-study-trump-helped-clinton-hurt-224300

“I pretty much had to go looking/digging for accurate information on him cause most “educational” resources obviously come from a liberal view.”

Ah yes. Anything negative about Trump must be because the mean old “Liberal media” has such a strong bias against him! (As opposed to him just being a disgusting bigot who should never have been taken seriously in the first place!)  What you’re telling me with that nonsense, is that no matter what negative information comes out about Trump, you’ll just ignore it and pretend it’s “Liberal bias” attempting to smear him. But, as I’ve shown, Trump has benefited far more from news coverage than Hillary has, so I’m not sure where you’re getting that there’s some “liberal media bias” targeted in Hillary’s favor.  If anything, it’s the exact opposite.  

“Hillary makes people feel protected and comfortable. I understand that. She makes a lot of promises. However, that security is an illusion. She has shown time and time again that she is flighty and does not have American citizen’s safety in mind.”

Hillary makes a lot of promises? That’s seriously what you’re going with?  All Trump has done is make promises! He has presented literally nothing regarding actions he’ll take or policy changes he’ll make to protect Americans.  Literally… Nothing… All he’s done is state he’d be willing to use nukes, won’t listen to the UN, won’t honor peace treaties unless he agrees with them, and has repeatedly stated that he’ll “Protect America” without showing how.  So I’m asking… How the hell do you think he’s going to protect America? By banning immigrants and refusing to help refugees? By putting innocent Muslim-Americans on a registration?

You do realize that the very few terrorist attacks that have been committed by foreigners were committed by people here legally, right? In fact, nearly all of the terrorist attacks committed here since 9/11 have been committed by U.S. citizens.  64% of which were by people who were born here.  All of this attention Trump and his bigot-brigade are focusing on immigrants is nothing but fear-mongering meant to get you all in an uproar. Nothing more.  

http://www.ibtimes.com/terrorism-attacks-911-have-involved-us-citizens-not-immigrants-despite-gop-debate-2228202

“She was very anti-gay then. What is to say her judgement won’t change again once she’s in office?”

Wrong again.  Hillary may have opposed gay marriage at one point and stated she believed in traditional marriage (as did so many others), but she has always been an advocate for the LGBT community aside from that issue, and not just for American LGBT people either.  

http://shewinswewin.org/blog/5-times-hillary-clinton-pushed-for-lgbt-rights/

https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/lgbt-equality/

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/jun/17/hillary-clinton/hillary-clinton-change-position-same-sex-marriage/

http://correctrecord.org/hillary-clinton-making-human-rights-a-reality/

http://correctrecord.org/hillary-clinton-global-lgbt-advocate/

Hillary Clinton has been a global champion of human rights and has actually done things to make human rights (for everyone) a reality.  Can Donald Trump, who has frequently taken advantage of people for his own personal gain, say the same thing? The answer is a resounding no.  You are apparently judging people for claiming to believe in traditional marriage years ago, but Donald Trump does so now.  At least Hillary has come to see the error of her former stance. 

“If we want to gain full equality and acceptance we have to prove ourselves. I want the general public to accept me because I show dedication and love.”

People (including LGBT people) shouldn’t have to earn the right to be treated equally under the law.  We don’t have to earn our constitutional rights.  That’s not how our constitution is supposed to work.

“NOT because the government is forcing them too. It only creates more resistance.”

Wrong.  Segregation, slavery, institutionalized bigotry and discrimination, women’s right to vote, the right for people of color to vote.  ALL of those things had to be fought for and won, in spite of public opinion.  Public opinion didn’t shift until after the battles for equal treatment under the law were won.  

“Trump promises to protect LGBT”

Trump “promises” lots of things, but his actions speak far louder than his words.  His nomination of Mike Pence, a notorious homophobic bigot, shows that he couldn’t care any less about LGBT Americans.  You can pretend Mike Pence won’t have much power, but he’s Donald Trump’s right-hand man, and if something happens to Trump, Pence is next in line.  The Vice President also stands as one of the President’s most trusted advisors.  You’re truly an idiot if you think Pence’s homophobic beliefs will have no effect on Trump’s policy decisions.  

“…but most importantly he promises to protect all Americans.”

Again… Trump makes lots of promises.  But as I’ve stated, actions speak louder than words.  Trump has a history of taking advantage of the most vulnerable Americans.  He’s scammed people looking for a brighter future through education, he’s scammed people looking for homes, he’s scammed people he employed, and he’s scammed America as a whole with his numerous bankruptcies and unscrupulous business practices.  If you think he’ll be any different once he’s in the most powerful position in the country, then, again… You’re truly an idiot.  

“In a country where things are tense because of political/social/racial/etc differences I like that he talks to us on equal ground. He doesn’t look down on us.”

Are you joking? He’s shown multiple times that he doesn’t respect women, minorities, or middle-class Americans.  He doesn’t look down on you? Of course he looks down on you! He’s even called his own supporters morons who’d vote for him even if he murdered someone in the middle of a busy street! In case you don’t believe me, here’s the quote:

“I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and wouldn’t lose any voters, ok? It’s, like, incredible.”

This is a direct quote, and you’re proving him right!

“If we, and the politics, stop trying to make a point with our sexualties/genders the general public will stop caring as well. I don’t want to make a stance, I just want peace.”

It’s not the LGBT community that keeps bringing up our sexuality, it is those that would deny us equal rights under the law that are making it about our sexuality.  When they say “we won’t serve gay people in our businesses” when a lesbian couple wants to buy a cake for their wedding, it is the bigot behind the counter that has brought up our sexuality, not us.  When they attempt to pass laws that say we can’t get married, they are the ones who have brought up our sexuality, not us.  Us wanting to live our lives the way we want isn’t us making an issue of anything.  They’re the ones that have an issue, and that issue is that they just can’t seem to mind their own damned business.  We have a right to live in this society, we have a right to our pursuit of happiness, just like they do.  It’s as simple as that.  

“I’m voting Trump cause I truly believe it’s what is best for the lgbt community.”

Then you’re ignoring all of the evidence to the contrary and have imagined false promises that aren’t born out by his actions or statements.  

“If a big decision was made against the majority of the populations opinion they could lose their job, face prison, or even be murdered… The majority of politicians vote with the general consensus with an emphasis on what will help their family.”

As I’ve shown.  This is absolutely untrue.  Congress has an easily Googled history that shows the exact opposite (of which I’ve already given examples.)  In most cases they’ve had to be overruled by the Supreme Court.  

“I can guarantee a lot of these politicians know gay people (in the closet or no). Some possibly are in the closet themselves. Being that they try to keep scandals to a bare minimum, do you truly think they would be okay with homosexuality being a jail-able offense?”

Yeah… I do… Anti-gay bigots (whether or not they’re hiding in the closet) have shown time and time again that they’ll do anything to discriminate against the LGBT community.  If they can make it illegal for us to be ourselves, they will, and with Trump as President and a Republican-controlled Congress, it will be that much easier for them to do so.  

“Scratch that, do you think the United States population would be okay with homosexuality being a jail-able offense? No way.”

Maybe? They don’t really seem to be fighting to get all of those laws saying gay sex is illegal taken off of the record books that still exist.  They don’t seem to be fighting with us to end employment and housing discrimination.  They don’t seem to be fighting to end adoption discrimination.  Sure, there are some allies, but will a majority of the population fight for us?  It’s hard to tell.  I mean, look how many anti-gay marriage laws had to be thrown out by the Supreme Court.  There was one in pretty much every state! Remember, those laws were voted in by a majority of Americans less than 10 years ago.  

“Taking away rights after they are given is backwards in American values and is a sure way to cause paranoia.”

Tell that to the innocent Japanese Americans who were tossed into internment camps after Pearl Harbor.  

“I can see you got the comparison to Nazi Germany from the article you posted. I’ll have you know, that if you look to other sources, Trump didn’t suggest the database, a reporter did.”

And Trump said it would be a good idea.

“From what I’ve been gathering from the consensus of multiple sources, no one is quite sure what happened or what he exactly said.”

That is the spin Trump’s campaign tried to sell after he ran his mouth off again.  

“Some say the reporter didn’t clarify and Trump misjudged a question.”

Who says? Trump? His campaign? Again… That’s the spin he tried to sell after he realized how he looked when he made those comments.  Here’s the actual exchange (during which he had multiple chances to set the record straight.)  

Reporter: France declared this state of emergency where they closed the borders and they established some degree of warrantless searches. I know how you feel about the borders, but do you think there is some kind of state of emergency here, and do we need warrantless searches of Muslims?

Trump: We’re going to have to do certain things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago

Reporter: Do you think we might need to register Muslims in some type of database, or note their religion on their ID?

Trump: We’re going to have to look at a lot of things very closely. We’re going to have to look at the mosques. We’re going to have to look very, very carefully.

Reporter 2: Should there be a database or system that tracks Muslims in this country?

Trump: There should be a lot of systems, beyond databases. I mean, we should have a lot of systems.

Reporter 2: But that’s something your White House would like to implement.

Trump: I would certainly implement that. Absolutely

There was some minor confusion at that point as to whether Trump was talking about building his ridiculous wall, or whether he would institute a database, but the reporter reiterated that they were talking about the database, asking him again if a database would be a good idea and Trump stated: It would just be good management.

Then the reported asked, yet another time, if Muslims should be on a database…

Trump: They have to be — they have to be.  Let me just tell you: The key is people can come to the country, but they have to come legally.

Trump was asked not once…. Not twice… But a total of SIX TIMES if he would create a database of Muslim Americans, and he answered in the affirmative every… single… time… and only one out of the six times could be considered confusing.  All of the others were up-front, plainly spoken, and obvious.  

“We are working with a lot of he said/she said here. I would prefer to work and debate on something that has solid material to work from.”

Well, I’ve just given you the entire conversation. So what now? Are you still going to pretend he was just “confused”?  And even if he was actually confused after being asked a simple question six times… Do you really think someone so easily confused is qualified to be our President for Christ’s sake!? How in the hell do you think he’s going to function during serious negotiations with foreign leaders if he can’t even answer a simple, straightforward, question without getting confused?

“I’ve seen some of these links talk about Trump wanting to create a registry for people from Syria specifically. Is that a BAD thing?”

Nope.  He was clearly asked about Muslims, not Syrian refugees.  Besides that, refugees are already monitored, so it would make no sense, what-so-ever, to institute a second database when the information is already there.  

“I don’t find anything wrong with watching people coming from violent/war torn nations that we let into our country.”

Again… They already do monitor refugees.  They don’t just let them land rafts on the beach, march into the country, and go wherever they want to go.  It doesn’t work that way. 

“There’s a pattern of people coming from these places and committing violent crimes.”

Where are you getting that information?  I’d love to see some statistics showing that refugees have a pattern of violence.  

“I don’t know what you propose but SOMETHING has to change cause this process is causing a lot of death.”

In other countries? Maybe…. But not here.  As I’ve shown.  Nearly all of the terrorist attacks on American soil since 9/11 were committed by American citizens, 64% of which were born here.  (Source found above, from the first time I addressed the fear-mongering tactic.)  

“He isn’t advocating for “rounding up Mexicans and tossing them out”. He’s talking about deporting immigrants. Do you disagree with that?”

Yes, I absolutely do disagree with that.  Many of those HUMAN BEINGS came here as children, have been here for years and years, and have established lives in this country.  Did they come here illegally? Maybe? Do we want to be a country full of cold-hearted monsters who turn away people in need? You might want to, but I certainly don’t, and it’s definitely not the ideals that this country is supposed to harbor.  To quote from the Statue of Liberty:

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.  Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

We’re supposed to be the country that reaches out to those in need.  

“I’m obviously not as emotionally distressed over this as you are.”

You’re damned right I’m distressed.  As you should be; and if you cared even a little bit for others, you would be.  

“And I’m not naive. I just have a different opinion than you.”

No, you’re worse.  You’re willfully ignorant.  You see possible benefits (however small) to yourself, and ignore the pain a Trump presidency will cause to others and the danger it will present to the country (and the world). You ignore all of the atrocious things Donald Trump has said and done and take in his propaganda like it’s candy.  Hillary Clinton wasn’t my first choice for President (Bernie supporter here).  I’ll readily admit that… But she is far…. FAR better than that egotistical, bigoted, homophobic, misogynistic, hate-mongering, scam-artist that is Donald Trump.  The fact that you can’t see that (or even worse, ignore it, don’t care, or genuinely agree) paints a terrible…. TERRIBLE picture of you.  Just like it does for every other Trump supporter in this country.   

Trump vs. Hitler:

One last thing I’d like to address, which you scoffed at, is the idea that Trump is comparable to Hitler.  Yes, this gets thrown around a lot regarding politicians, and it’s usually uncalled for, but in this instance, the similarities are truly scary.  Germany was in terrible condition economically when Hitler rose to power, and America isn’t, but they’re both using the same rhetoric. Hitler promised to “make Germany great again” and he  used fear and  an irrational sense of nationalist pride to get people to turn against a common “enemy.”   According to him the cause of all of Germany’s problems was the Jews.  His solution was to register them, get rid of them, and cut Germany  off from the rest of the world as if they were some sort of villain.

Trump is using the exact same rhetoric.  His slogan is “Make America great again!” and according to Trump, the way to do that is to get rid of all the Muslims and other immigrants that are “pulling us down.” He’s claimed that our relationships with other countries are holding us down, he’s proposed to literally build a wall between us and another neighbor, and he’s stated he won’t honor treaties with other countries.  

Trump might not be even nearly as bad as Hitler was… Yet (and that is a strong yet…) but there are definite signs that history could repeat itself if we allow it.  I for one, don’t want our country to take even one step down that road.  Hitler didn’t start out as the powerful, fascist, dictator that he ended up as.  He didn’t start out promising to murder millions of people.  It was the people that he convinced to follow him, using fear and pride, that took Germany there, and I refuse to simply sit back and ignore all of the signs and do nothing as Donald Trump and his followers take us down that same road.  

A holocaust survivor on Trump vs. Hitler:

http://www.thewrap.com/are-hitler-trump-comparisons-fair-a-holocaust-survivor-tells-his-son/

A well written article on the Trump / Hitler comparison:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/28/donald-trump-rhetoric-adolf-hitler-anti-trump-campaign

An “interesting” quiz.  Can you pick which fascist made the statement:

http://interactive.nydailynews.com/2016/03/quiz-who-said-it-trump-hitler-mussolini-stalin/

 

James Garcia 9/28/2016

Guns Need to Go

American culture has a disgusting and harmful love affair with guns, and once again the news is flooded with reports of not one, but two shootings less than a day apart from each other.  One took the life of a young girl just beginning an amazing career in music, the other took the lives of 50 innocent people on their own paths, injuring over 50 more.  

Of course we have the usual; outpourings of support from various places, calls for prayer, etc… Which are all well and good, but it’s sad that we even have a usual when it comes to shootings.  What sickens me though (besides the shootings themselves of course) are government officials who have voted time and time again, against common-sense gun regulations who still chime in with their “condolences” and calls for a “moment of silence”, as if they care even a bit.  As others have stated, the blood of the victims is on their hands, just as much as those of the men that held the guns.  

A Huffington Post article written by Nicole Silverberg calls for those tired of gun violence to petition their Congressmen and women to fight for tougher gun regulations, but I disagree.  My views line up more with another Huffington Post article written by Anjali Sareen.  Guns need to go!  Of course whenever anyone says something like that, you get the typical arguments from people who would rather cling to their weapons than see an end to large numbers of innocent people being slaughtered in cold blood in an instant.  Arguments such as:

  • Guns don’t kill people! People kill people!: Which of course is just a load of crap, plain and simple.  A gun’s sole purpose is to kill things.  Sure, some are used for hunting, but handguns and assault rifles are designed specifically to kill people in the most quick and efficient way possible, and as we’ve seen too many times to count, they are serving that purpose perfectly.  Studies confirm that states with higher levels of gun ownership have higher rates of gun homicides (go figure!)   

Besides that, Conservatives who cling to their guns like security blankets, frequently argue for bans on other things that don’t actually harm people; such as gay marriage or transgender people using the public restroom of the gender they identify with.  Because those things will supposedly harm our society, right? (In case you can’t tell, I’m totally rolling my eyes right now.)   

Here’s a note to Conservative gun apologists: When you ignore the actual threat that easy access to guns poses to American lives, you lose the right to comment about the imaginary threat that LGBT people will never actually pose.  No one believes for a second that you actually give a damn about the “safety of our society.”

  • But we need guns to protect our homes!:  Really? Does having a gun in your home really make your home safer?  The answer? Not according to study, after study, after study.  In reality, those studies find that gun ownership leads to an increase in gun homicide, with no decrease in homicides committed by other weapons.  Gun ownership also leads to a marked increase in successful suicides.  Not to mention the fact that you’re more likely to accidentally shoot yourself or a loved one than you are to shoot an intruder.

But what if someone actually does break into my home!? You might ask… But even should such a rare event actually occur, it’s unlikely you’ll even use the gun.  According to an LA Times article:

More than 42% of the time, the victim took some action — maced the offender, yelled at the offender, struggled, ran away, or called the police. Victims used a gun in less than 1% of the incidents (127/14,145). In other words, actual self-defense gun use, even in our gun-rich country, is rare.”  

If a robbery or home invasion actually did occur, it’s extremely unlikely that you’d use a gun to stop the intruder, even if you have one in your home.

So let me reiterate… The “It’ll keep my home safe” argument has been effectively debunked multiple times.  In fact, according to the same LA Times article:

“Almost two-thirds of the people in the U.S. population live in homes without guns, and there is no evidence that the inhabitants of these homes are at greater risk of being robbed, injured or killed by criminals compared with citizens in homes with guns. Instead, the evidence is overwhelming that a gun in the home increases the likelihood not only that a household member will be shot accidentally, but also that someone in the home will die in a suicide or homicide.”  

  • Criminals won’t follow gun laws!: Of course they won’t! Breaking laws is what makes a criminal a criminal.  But then again… It’s not your typical criminal marching into a movie theater, a school, or a nightclub to open fire on countless innocent people.  

James Holmes, the Aurora Colorado movie theater shooter, had no known criminal record.   He bought his guns legally because they were affordable, and easily available for purchase.  He had them delivered to his home!

Syid Rizwan Farook, murderer of 14 innocent people in California, bought his guns legally.

Christopher Harper-Mercer, murderer of 9 innocent people in Oregon, bought his guns legally.  

Vest Lee-Flanagan, murderer of 2 innocent people in Virginia, purchased his guns legally.  

Dylan Roof, murderer of 9 innocent people in South Carolina, purchased his guns legally.  

Jaylen Ray Fryberg, murderer of 4 innocent people in Washington, used his father’s legally purchased gun.  

Adam Lanza, murder of 26 innocent people (a majority of them children) in Connecticut, used his mother’s arsenal of legally purchased guns.  

Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, murderers of 15 innocent people in Colorado, easily and affordably purchased their weapons from Mark Manes who obtained them legally.  

Time and time again we see these mass shootings on the news, and in a majority of them, the weapons were obtained easily, affordably, and legally by people with no prior criminal record.  Would these murderers have been able to purchase them on the blackmarket if guns were banned? Possibly… Possibly not… But as I’ve said; in nearly all instances, the weapons used were purchased easily, affordably, and legally.

If guns were banned and the murderers were forced to purchase them illegally on the blackmarket, at the very least they would have been much harder to obtain and they would be much more expensive; possibly even too expensive for the murderers to purchase.  (Source: New York Times: “How They Got Their Guns”)

  •  But the 2nd Amendment guarantees my right to own a gun!:  Does it though?  There are a few arguments against this.  Here is the actual text of the 2nd amendment:

    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

On the surface, it seems like it’s stating that Americans have the right to have guns, which it does… Sort of…  But what gun apologists ignore is the “well regulated Militia” part.  I’ll ignore the “militia” part and focus just on the phrase “well regulated.”  Inevitably, whenever you hear a gun-nut quoting the 2nd amendment they will almost always leave out the part that says “A well Regulated Militiaand jump right to the “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”  Because it fits their agenda.  In reality yes, Americans are guaranteed the right to own guns, but… And this is a big one…  According to the actual amendment it is well within the boundaries of the government’s authority to regulate the hell out of them.

Based on the reading of the amendment itself (and not on some Conservatives selective interpretation of it) they could even say “sure, you can own a gun, but it can only hold one bullet, it can’t be more powerful than a pellet gun, and it has to be stored in a government facility and fitted with a tracking device.”  After all, it says you “have the right to bear arms”  but it doesn’t say that you have “the right to bear any and all the arms you want, with no limits and no regulations.”  Which is what gun apologists have turned it into.  No matter how much those apologists dislike it, REGULATION is just as much a part of the amendment as gun ownership itself.   

Occasionally you get those super gun-nuts who use the “necessary to the security of a free state” part and claim that they have to have guns in case the government tries to set up a dictatorship or something… But come on! The government has access to drones that can shoot a missile from hundreds of feet in the air, with no need to get anywhere near you, much less in range of your gun.  They have armored tanks, nuclear bombs, trained snipers.  I find it hard to believe that anyone is really dumb enough to think that their guns will be able to stop the government if they actually wanted to take over.  If they do, they’re probably not mentally fit enough to have a gun anyway.  Plus, I have to believe that our military men and women… men and women who just so happen to be our friends and family… would never agree to carry out such actions against the people they enlisted to protect (or in other words, their loved ones.)

Besides all of that… The constitution is meant to be a living document that changes with the times.  That’s why the founding fathers wrote in a process to amend it.  The 18th amendment, passed in 1920, banned alcohol.  Then, just 13 years later in 1933, the 21st amendment repealed that ban.  That’s the glory of the process that was established, and yes, even the 2nd amendment can be repealed.  

I’m not delusional enough to think that a constitutional amendment to repeal the 2nd amendment would ever pass, but it’s far passed the time to put in place bans on assault rifles, weapons that are capable of holding / firing large amounts of ammunition, and also weapons that are quickly and easily reloaded.  There are no valid reasons why a civilian needs those types of weapons… Not one… They aren’t used for sport or for hunting and they don’t protect people’s homes… They’re primary purpose is killing people. Period.

There are also no valid reasons, not even the 2nd amendment nonsense thrown around by gun-nuts, that bans such as those I’ve mentioned can’t be put in place.  

So what can I do?:  Whether you agree with Anjali Sareen and myself and believe guns should be banned, or if you agree with Nicole Silverberg and think regulations need to be more strict; if you care and you’re tired of mass shootings, you have to contact your Representatives and tell them how you feel.  Both Sareen and Silverberg provide good sources for finding your representatives, finding out their views on the issues, and also ways to contact them:

Find out who represents your state and how to contact them here:

http://www.contactingthecongress.org/cgi-bin/newseek.cgi

Find out your representatives views on the issues here:

http://www.ontheissues.org/default.htm

If you’re not tired of seeing these horrors and you make pathetic excuses about gun ownership, then you’re heartless and I have no patience for you.

No more Orlandos…  No more San Bernardinos…  No more Auroras…  No more Newtowns…  No more…

Guns need to go!

Enough is Enough!
James Garcia: June 13, 2016

Disenfranchised… Disenchanted… Disgusted…

Angry… Upset… Saddened… Fearful about our country’s future…  Absolutely disgusted…

These are just a few ways to describe how I’m feeling after the remaining primary elections.   Bernie Sanders fought a great fight, he packed arenas around the nation, he mobilized young and Independent voters like no one before… But let’s get real here. The Democratic nominee was decided long before the Primary even began.  The Democratic establishment had Hillary Clinton crowned since President Obama was chosen the last time and they’ve been running this faux-election that way ever since.  It didn’t matter who ran against her… it could have been Elizabeth Warren… and it didn’t matter how many Independents or how many votes her opponent won; Hillary was going to be the nominee no matter what.

Under that premise, Hillary and the DNC that she bought, played the game in the most underhanded way possible to ensure there wouldn’t be another “upset” like there was in 2008.  They’ve used voter fraud, they’ve disrespected and disenfranchised Independent voters, they’ve used ad-hominem attacks like calling Bernie supporters sexist and misogynistic for not supporting her and spinning false claims of violence, they’ve used an unscrupulous, easily bought media to slander and downplay Bernie’s movement while praising Hillary and downplaying her corruption every chance they got, and they’ve continuously added Superdelegates to the counts all along (even though they don’t vote until the end of July) to make it seem like any real challenger didn’t stand a chance.  The reality though, is that after the first week or so of the contest, everyone expected it from Hillary and the DNC.  As we seen with her contest against Obama, she fights dirty, morality be damned, and everyone knew it.  Do I like it? Of course not…

Since the Supreme Court ruled on the disastrous Citizens United case, Democrats have railed against it, and rightfully so. Yet the second it benefited their establishment candidate Wall Street and Super Pac money was perfectly fine, even though they had a truly Progressive candidate promising to fight the fight they’ve claimed to want.  

Democrats have stated they want to break up the “Big Banks” since they crashed our economy, yet they ignore the fact that their chosen candidate has taken millions in “donations” from those banks for private speeches, pretending that there is no conflict of interest, pretending like it won’t affect her decision making process.  All the while a candidate promising to get money out of politics, like Democrats claimed to want, was ignored and insulted by them.

Universal Health Care has been a token Progressive wish for almost as long as the Progressive party has existed, but because their candidate doesn’t want to fight for it suddenly it’s a “pie in the sky” dream that’s “not possible”, even though a perfectly good Progressive candidate has been saying he’d fight for it with everything he’s got.

Free / affordable college tuition? Raising the minimum wage to $15?  Strengthening Labor Unions? Expanding Social Security? Ending the use of fracking (which Hillary doesn’t seem to have any issue with)? The list goes on and on… All of these things are foundational Progressive causes that Hillary and the DNC are now claiming aren’t big deals or are impossible to achieve (they wouldn’t want to make their donors angry after all!)

So to me, the Democratic party has proven, without a doubt, that they are an establishment party just as much as the Republicans and that they will go where “Big Money” tells them to go.  To Hell with struggling poor and middle class Americans.  I don’t like it, but as I said, it’s expected.  The thing that really makes me sick though, is that we had a truly Progressive candidate in the running, and supposed “Progressives” picked the Neo-Liberal, nearly Republican candidate as their nominee, all with a smug, self-centered, arrogant attitude (for the most part… There are exceptions of course).  If anything, the Democrats have shown me that they are nothing more than sham-Progressives with claimed values that are all a lie.  They had a chance to really push Progressive values forward with this Primary and instead they turned a blind eye and did what they were told to do by the Oligarchy.   They bought the lie that their candidate cares about Progressive causes and turned their backs on a real Progressive who has been fighting for Progressive causes his entire career, not just when it became politically expedient to do so.    

So what will I do now?  

First off, I’m changing my party affiliation to either Independent or No-Party-Preference.  Going forward, after this year’s presidential election, I will no longer support a party who only claims to be Progressive.  I will try and get involved in as many Progressive causes as I can feasibly get involved in, and I will vote for truly Progressive candidates regardless of party affiliation, and I urge all true Progressives who are pissed off with this Primary election to do the same.   

Secondly, for this election, which has so much on the line, I will most likely bite the horrible bullet and vote for Hillary in the general (supposing Bernie doesn’t run as an Independent…), regardless of how sick to my stomach it makes me.  Some will say I’m just solidifying the establishment stranglehold on our democracy by voting for Hillary and ask why I would vote for her if I feel the way that I do, and the answer is simply “Supreme Court Nominees.”  In my view, the next four to eight years (hopefully only four) will be a disaster either way… We will most likely be stuck in more long, drawn out wars regardless of whether Trump or Hillary wins, because they are both unapologetic warhawks (although there is a big chance Trump just puts on a show for his voter base… Here’s hoping…)  But at the very least, with Hillary, we won’t lose any Progressive gains that have been made.  In all probability, with a Hillary presidency, things will likely just stay the same.  She is establishment by the very definition after all.  She doesn’t want things to change.  LGBT rights won’t be rolled back, environmental protections won’t be dismantled (except for the fracking issue of course…) we won’t see millions of Latino families broken apart, she might even fight to close the gender pay gap,  and she most likely won’t nominate Conservatives to the Supreme Court (of course we might get moderates like Merrick Garland, which is still far better than any truly Conservative nominees…)  That is the most important thing in my view.

Progressive Supreme Court nominees are the only silver lining I can see to a Hillary Presidency, but I honestly hope I’m wrong.  As for a Trump presidency, there are absolutely no positives. Not even one.  

So it once again boils down to voting for the “lesser of two evils.”  It comes down to considering which candidate will turn my stomach the least, and in all honesty, I can never… Ever… See myself voting for a blatantly homophobic, misogynistic, greedy, racist, fraud.  At least Hillary will pretend to be Progressive. Heck, maybe we’ll even get lucky and some minor Progressive gains will be made.  At this point all I can hope for is that we won’t lose any ground with Hillary Clinton, and that if we do, America will finally wake up and realize that establishment candidates like Hillary Clinton don’t care about the American people; that they are in it for their own power, their own wealth, and nothing more.

Here’s hoping this nomination is just the dying gasp of the establishment and that the Political Revolution Bernie Sanders started will just be the beginning of a real Progressive movement that will sweep future elections.  For better or worse, it looks like we’re going to find out.

 
James Garcia 6/8/2016

California’s New Minimum Wage and the Fear Based Freak Out (Part 2)

So I wrote a post yesterday regarding the complaints I’ve been seeing about California’s new minimum wage increase.  I’ll admit that that post was largely a knee-jerk, irritation, based write-up, so today I’ll attempt to correct that by calmly addressing some of the more common arguments against raising the minimum wage.  

1) Inflation:  One of the most common arguments I’ve seen against raising the minimum wage is that it will cause rapid inflation.  Let’s ignore the fact that inflation happens regardless of a minimum wage increase, and pretend for now that it doesn’t.  While much higher prices would most certainly happen in an environment where a business is the only provider for a specific product, it ignores the fact that competition will not cease to exist simply because the minimum wage is increased.  Sure, prices may go up, but because competition still exists, they won’t go up so drastically that it will cause serious problems.  To use an example a friend of mine gave, if McDonald’s decides to raise the prices of their hamburgers from $5.00 to $12.00 overnight… Well, guess what?  People will go and buy a Whopper from Burger King instead.  

A more likely scenario than businesses jacking their prices up by exorbitant amounts is that the wage increase will come out of their profits.  And let’s get real here… When McDonald’s is making profits of $1.31 billion (that is billion, not million…)  while at the same time advising their employees to apply for Food Stamps, is that really such a bad thing? Besides that, the average pay for a Costco employee is $21 an hour and their prices aren’t substantially higher than Wal-Mart’s, who pays minimum wage.  It seems logical to assume that if raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour will cause rapid inflation, then surely Costco’s already high wages would show the same effect on their prices, right?  Strangely, however, Costco only marks up their prices by 15% while other retailers typically mark them up by 25%.  So not only does Costco pay their employees more, they also have lower prices.  Funny how that works isn’t it?

As with my last post, I would argue that increasing the minimum wage would increase the spending power of the general public.  Increasing the spending power of the general public would lead to increased business.  Increased business would lead to lower prices, not higher prices.  While there may be an initial system shock of slightly higher prices (if the wage were increased to $15 overnight), in time, the increase in the spending power of the general public would only help the economy and businesses at large, not harm them.  

(Thank you Jesse Marlin for bringing the competition point to my attention.)

2) Unemployment: The next most common argument is that unemployment will lead to mass layoffs and high unemployment rates.  But again… This doesn’t hold up to the historical or current effects of minimum wage increases here, or in other states.  In fact, the Economic Policy Institute had the following to say on this subject:

In recent years there have been important developments in the academic literature on the effect of increases in the minimum wage on employment, with the weight of evidence now showing that increases in the minimum wage have had little or no negative effect on the employment of minimum-wage workers, even during times of weakness in the labor market. Research suggests that a minimum-wage increase could have a small stimulative effect on the economy as low-wage workers spend their additional earnings, raising demand and job growth, and providing some help on the jobs front.”  

In addition, as I pointed out in part 1, Seattle recently raised their minimum wage and they haven’t seen an increase in unemployment as the naysayers predict.  In fact, they’ve seen the exact opposite effect.

3) Automation:  One of the more strange arguments I’ve been seeing is that increasing the minimum wage will cause employers to replace their human employees with machines.  An idea that seems to be perpetuated by the following meme (and many like it):

15-minimum-wage-replacement

What these memes seem to ignore is the fact that these machines already exist and businesses like McDonald’s began using them before any increase in the minimum wage occurred.  The invention of automated kiosks had nothing to do with the minimum wage.  It’s just the nature of technology.  If humans can, they will come up with ways to make life easier, and that includes inventing machines that can accomplish menial tasks for us.  Kiosks like this have existed for years now in a variety of different businesses.  At movie theaters and airports they have automated ticket kiosks, at grocery stores and department stores they have self-checkout lines.  At my own job, the airlines are more and more often using a system called CPDLC which allows them to send messages to air traffic control via text, without the involvement of a radio operator like myself.  Heck, the planes even have autopilot.  In spite of automation, what do all of these businesses have in common?  They still have human employees selling tickets, taking your money at the checkout line, radio operators that take information from flights and deliver it to air traffic control, and human pilots that fly the planes. 

Why is that?  If a machine can do the job just as well, why have humans there also?  There are a couple of different answers that I can think of… The first, and I feel, the most important… Humans like interacting with other human beings more than they do machines, especially when they’re out in the world.  Secondly, machines break down! Who will take peoples orders if all of the employees have been replaced by  machines that have broken down?  I know from experience, machines aren’t always reliable, even with multiple redundancies in place.  Even if, some day in the distant future, all minimum wage workers are replaced by machines, you will still need human beings to service those machines when they have problems (and they will have problems).  

In summary, my point is that all of the fear-based talking points that come from the right, while not without any merit, are just that… Fear-based.  It’s reasonable to have uncertainties, but these fears do not stand up to history, research, or consensus from economists, so we cannot allow them to direct policy.  Especially when it comes to the livelihood of the American people.  In reality, these same talking points have been used nearly every single time the minimum wage has increased (including when it was first instituted).  I would even go so far as to argue that these predictions are nothing more than attempts by greedy corporatists who don’t want their profit margins to decrease because of mandatory wage increases for employees that they have taken advantage of for far too long.  The American economy has bolstered corporate profits for long enough.  It’s time for the economy to once again start working for the American people, and raising the minimum wage is a great place to start.  

James Garcia – April 7, 2016

Remembering Justice Antonin Scalia

scalia_3

With the news of the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, I will admit, I didn’t feel bad in the slightest.  My first emotion was excitement that the Supreme Court would no longer be controlled by a Conservative majority.  A friend of mine even said “I cheered when I heard… Then felt bad for cheering…”  But I, for one, am not sad that he’s gone.  I’m glad that someone who wanted to deny me basic human rights, who wanted to sell our country to whoever would write him the biggest check, who’s misogyny plagued women’s rights since his nomination, and who would be a wrench in the works at any attempt this country would make towards stopping catastrophic climate change, is no longer a member of the highest court in the nation. No… I don’t owe Justice Scalia any respect, or any grief at his passing and here are just a few reminders of what makes me feel this way:

On LGBT People:

Calls LGBT people “immoral and destructive.”: “Many Americans do not want persons who openly engage in homosexual conduct as partners in their business, as scoutmasters for their children, as teachers in their children’s schools, or as boarders in their home. They view this as protecting themselves and their families from a lifestyle that they believe to be immoral and destructive.”

Homosexuality is like Murder: “If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?”

Compares LGBT people to murderers and animal abusers: “I had thought that one could consider certain conduct reprehensible—murder, for example, or polygamy, or cruelty to animals—and could exhibit even ‘animus’ toward such conduct. Surely that is the only sort of ‘animus’ at issue here: moral disapproval of homosexual conduct, the same sort of moral disapproval that produced the centuries-old criminal laws that we held constitutional in Bowers.”

Compares homosexuals (and minorities in general) to pederasts and child molesters:  “What minorities deserve protection? What about pederasts? What about child abusers?”

On Minorities: 

Claimed African Americans should go to “slower track” schools: “There are those who contend that it does not benefit African Americans to get them into the University of Texas, where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a slower-track school where they do well. One of the briefs pointed out that most of the black scientists in this country don’t come from schools like the University of Texas. They come from lesser schools where they do not feel that they’re being pushed ahead in classes that are too fast for them.”

On Gender Discrimination:

Claimed the Constitution doesn’t prohibit discrimination based on sex: “the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t. Nobody ever thought that that’s what it meant. Nobody ever voted for that. If the current society wants to outlaw discrimination by sex, hey we have things called legislatures, and they enact things called laws.”

Said it’s “intelligent” to treat women differently: “There are some intelligent reasons to treat women differently. I don’t think anybody would deny that.” 

These are just a few of the horrible things Scalia has said.  His decisions on his Supreme Court cases show that he wanted to deny me and my fellow LGBT people basic civil liberties, he believed women should be treated differently,  he believed minorities were less than white people, he frequently spoke in favor of stripping away the separation of church and state,  he was part of the deciding factor in the Citizens United case which threatens to destroy democracy as we know it,  and he stood with those who would keep the U.S. from doing their part in stopping catastrophic climate change.  His beliefs, his policies, and the fact that he sat on the highest court of the land put him in a unique position to harm countless Americans.  So do I owe him any respect?  Should I mourn his loss?  Should I be ashamed that I am happy he is no longer in a position to harm any more lives with his toxic views?  No… I don’t think so.

Southern Revisionism and the Confederate Flag

Lately the idea of the Confederate flag has been a topic of discussion.  When arguing with some on the far Right, you hear excuses as to why the Confederate flag isn’t racist, such as; “It’s our heritage! It’s part of our history!”, “It wasn’t even the official flag of the Confederacy!”, and “The Civil War wasn’t about Slavery! It was about States Rights!” or “It was about the economy!” All of these reasons are quite ridiculous and ignore major parts of real history.

“It’s our heritage! It’s part of our history!”:  I am willing to admit that the Civil War and the Confederacy did play a part in American history, because it’s actually true.  The Civil War was a HUGE part of our history.  But that doesn’t mean that we should celebrate and honor those against which America fought.  The Nazi’s also played a big role in American history, but most of us don’t think it’s ok to fly Nazi flags from our vehicles and proudly wave them in the air.  One man I debated with a few days ago posted a meme in response showing the graves of Confederate soldiers with the words “These are American War Veterans too!” But what this man, and whoever made the meme, Gravesfails to recognize is that Confederate soldiers WEREN’T American veterans.  The Confederate states seceded (meaning they gave up their status as Americans) from the United States of America, forming a nation that rebelled against us at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives.  In reality, Confederate soldiers weren’t Americans at all! They were Confederates.  Honoring the fact that your ancestors died in war is one thing, trying to honor them with equal status of actual American War veterans, who fought and died for the cause of freedom and liberty, many of which fought and died against those very Confederates, is a disgusting and insulting twisting of historical fact.  The Confederates were traitors fighting for the subjugation of African Americans. Period. When the war was over their leaders should have been arrested and tried as traitors.  Those in the South that are alive now don’t get to rewrite history and paint this picture of heroic Confederate soldiers fighting for honor.

kkk confederate“It wasn’t even the official flag of the Confederacy!”: Who cares what the official flag was?  Regardless of whether it was the official flag of the Confederacy, it is a Confederate flag and it is what is proudly flown around by many in the South and by groups like the KKK.  Since the Civil War, the Confederate flag that we know has been flown as a flag of white supremacy, fear, hatred, and racism.  Yes, there were many other Confederate battle flags, but this is the one that has stuck as the symbol of the Confederacy and of the “Southern” way.  As an article I read pointed out, you can claim the Confederate flag is a symbol of heritage, but normal, rational people don’t look at it that way.  When everyone else sees you flying that flag, they automatically label you as a racist, and rightly so.

“If You Ban the Confederate flag because of Slavery…”:  Another common cliche I’ve heard tossed around by Confederate flag apologists is that if we ban the Confederate flag because of slavery, then we have to ban the American flag too, because the North had slaves at one point.  My answer to this, is that the big difference is that America fought a long, drawn out war to end slavery.  America realized it’s horrible mistake and tried to fix it.  No, that doesn’t make up for the fact that America had slaves.  That is a disgusting part of our history that we should never forget, but nevertheless, America fought to change.  The Confederates fought America causing hundreds of thousands of deaths specifically so they could keep people in chains.  That is why we should ban the Confederate flag from government buildings and not the American flag.


Lost Cause 2“The Civil War wasn’t about slavery! It was about [insert made up Southern reason]”:
 Those in the South like to pretend that the Civil War was about something other than slavery, because they don’t want their ancestors to be seen as backwards, slave-mongering, racists who viewed another group of people as animals.  They throw things out like “States Rights” and “The Economy”, but in reality it was about slavery.  All of the letters, speeches, and documents written and spoken by Confederate leaders admit it.  No amount of Southern revisions on history can change this.  This Southern attempt at revisionism isn’t something new.  It goes all the way back to the end of the Civil war to something called “The Lost Cause.”  This was the Southern attempt to paint Confederate leaders as honorable and chivalrous, fighting for tradition, and it was all a big pile of bologna.  Why the United States didn’t stamp this rebellion out completely once the Confederacy surrendered, I guess we’ll never know.  Here are some quotes from Confederate leaders regarding their reason for seceding:

South Carolina’s Reason:…A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that “Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,” and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction. This sectional combination for the submersion of the Constitution, has been aided in some of the States by elevating to citizenship, persons who, by the supreme law of the land, are incapable of becoming citizens; and their votes have been used to inaugurate a new policy, hostile to the South, and destructive of its beliefs and safety.

Mississippi’s Reason: “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery—the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin…”

Slavery 2Louisiana’s Reason:As a separate republic, Louisiana remembers too well the whisperings of European diplomacy for the abolition of slavery in the times of an­nexation not to be apprehensive of bolder demonstrations from the same quarter and the North in this country. The people of the slave holding States are bound together by the same necessity and determination to preserve African slavery.”

Alabama’s Reason:Upon the principles then announced by Mr. Lincoln and his leading friends, we are bound to expect his administration to be conducted. Hence it is, that in high places, among the Republi­can party, the election of Mr. Lincoln is hailed, not simply as it change of Administration, but as the inauguration of new princi­ples, and a new theory of Government, and even as the downfall of slavery. Therefore it is that the election of Mr. Lincoln cannot be regarded otherwise than a solemn declaration, on the part of a great majority of the Northern people, of hostility to the South, her property and her institutions—nothing less than an open declaration of war—for the triumph of this new theory of Government destroys the property of the South, lays waste her fields, and inaugurates all the horrors of a San Domingo servile insurrection, consigning her citizens to assassinations, and. her wives and daughters to pollution and violation, to gratify the lust of half-civilized Africans.

Slavery
“Mutually beneficial?”

Texas Reasoning:…in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding states….”

(Quotes pulled from The Atlantic.)

Any person claiming the cause of the Civil War wasn’t slavery, when the seceding states very plainly stated that it was, is either completely ignorant or they are blatant liars still trying to sew the revisionist  history of the Southern Lost Cause.

In the end, do I think that the Confederate flag should be made illegal?  For private citizens? No. Not at all.  Let them fly it. It identifies the racists in our midst and helps us to avoid them.  But I also don’t believe businesses should be required to sell it anymore than they should be required to sell Nazi paraphernalia.  I also most definitely believe it should not be flown on any government property.  If it is a states flag, it needs to be changed, because, as I’ve stated, it is the flag of a traitorous nation that attempted to undermine American values, and it is a symbol of hatred, oppression, and racism.  No amount of revisionism will change that fact.

Surrender