Yes… I AM With Her…

So, as I’ve made very clear… This election cycle and everything that has happened in the primaries has been very upsetting.  I wanted Bernie Sanders to win the Democratic nomination with a passion (and I believe had he faced a fair primary election that he would have…)  However, he didn’t… I feel that the DNC (and most likely Hillary Clinton also…) acted dishonestly but… They didn’t really do anything illegal.  They acted like sleazy politicians, they took advantage of the system that we currently have, and they won, as much as that disgusts me to say so…

In his speech President Obama said that Hillary Clinton is the most qualified person to run the country, and he’s right… To a certain extent.  She is the most qualified person left in the race (that actually has a chance of winning the general election…) But as Robert Reich said many times throughout the primary season, Hillary Clinton is the most qualified person to run the country with the SYSTEM WE HAVE.  Bernie Sanders is BY FAR the most qualified person to run the system that we SHOULD have.  He is the most qualified person to run America as it should be, but it’s not that way… Not yet… That doesn’t mean it won’t be that way eventually.  It doesn’t mean that I won’t continue to be vocal about changing the American system. But that leaves the upcoming general election upon which there is so much at stake.  

In spite of her faults, which includes her dishonesty in the primary, Hillary Clinton isn’t all bad.  Most of my disagreements with her fall on the economic side.  I hate that she is in bed with the big banks and Wall Street.  I hate that economically she promises to look out for the future of all Americans, but in reality she only looks out for those who give her large donations.  However…  I agree with everything she stands for on the social side of things, and since no matter which candidate wins between her and Donald Trump the situation with the banks and Wall Street will not change (except for the fact that with Donald Trump we face the possibility of nearly complete economic collapse), I am going to focus on the social side of things.

With that said, here are some of the things I think Hillary Clinton has right:

LGBT Rights: As everyone knows, this is a big factor for me when I consider voting for a politician.  I will never… EVER… stand behind someone (like Donald Trump and his running mate Mike Pence) who threatens to take away my rights as an American citizen.  I am not going to take the chance that I will be relegated back to that “lesser” status that LGBT people had to live with for so long. So many that came before me fought too long and too hard for the gains that have been made to risk standing behind a homophobe like Donald Trump.

Regardless of where she stood in the past, or how long it took her to come around, Hillary Clinton stands behind the LGBT community and I know that she will continue to help the LGBT community fight to keep the rights we have and make progress towards true equality in the future.  Because of this, I am with her.  

Women’s Rights: As anyone with half a brain can see… Donald Trump is a misogynist.  For him, respect for women has been non-existent; from his treatment of Megyn Kelly during the Republican debates, to his various wives that he’s traded in for younger models, to his weird obsession with his daughter’s looks, to the way he treats Elizabeth Warren and every other woman he comes into contact with.  There is no way Trump will fight to close the gender pay gap or fight to keep a woman’s right to choose what happens with her own body between her and her doctor.  Hillary Clinton knows what it’s like to be a woman in a “man’s world.”  She knows what it’s like to have to fight tooth and nail to succeed, and she knows what it’s like to have men try and tell her what she can and can’t do with her own body.  Hillary will fight for women’s rights, and because of this I am with her.  

Minority Rights: Let’s face it… Donald Trump is a xenophobic, bigoted, hateful, racist.  There is no getting around that.  Anyone who tries to say otherwise is lying to themselves to justify voting for him or is a xenophobic, bigoted, hateful, racist themselves and doesn’t see anything wrong with that.  He’s backed by the KKK, He’s called Latino’s rapists and murderers, he’s labeled the entire Muslim community as terrorists who should be banned from the country, and under his leadership he would alienate us from the rest of the world and destroy whatever progress we’ve made in the last eight years under President Obama towards repairing the American image as a place where “all [people] are created equal”.  Trump will treat innocent people like criminals, he will break apart families that are trying to make better lives for themselves, and he will do so from atop his place of privilege just as rich white men have been doing for nearly as long as America has existed.

Hillary Clinton will treat minorities with the respect that they deserve to be treated with.  She understands that our country is one that is built on immigration and that in spite of the actions of a hateful few, not all people that are part of specific groups are terrorists.  Because of this I am with her.  

Climate Change: Donald Trump is clueless when it comes to the world around us.  Much like other Republicans, he makes absurd statements regarding climate change and continues to deny that it is a problem in spite of the scientific consensus.  The Republican party that he currently leads ignores the damage that we are doing to the world we live in and refuses to make changes to help stop catastrophic climate change.

Hillary Clinton has a plan to combat climate change in place.  She knows that it is our job to leave the planet a better place for those that will come after us and so we have a responsibility to stop polluting it and make positive changes towards clean energy.  Because of this, I am with her.  

Supreme Court Justices:  Donald Trump cannot be allowed to nominate the next several Supreme Court Justices.  He just can’t… If Donald Trump is allowed to replace nearly half of the court, there is no way civil rights won’t be taken back to the 50s (or worse), Unions will be in serious trouble, and any hope of overturning Citizens United will be thrown out the window.  

Hillary Clinton, at the very least, will nominate semi-Liberal justices, and may even nominate Progressives.  Having Progressives on the court is absolutely necessary to make positive changes and to take our country in the direction that those of us who call ourselves Progressives believe the country should go.  Because of this, I am with her.  

Yes… I am angry with the Democratic party.  I am changing my affiliation to Independent and I plan on continuing to fight towards fixing a corrupt system.  I will never stop expressing my outrage towards how the Primary election was carried out.  But I can’t, in good conscience, ignore the very real threat to the country that is Donald Trump, and I can’t make an “anger vote” for a third party who will never win the election.  That is as good as voting for Trump, and I just can’t do it… As I’ve mentioned before, Donald Trump is a homophobic, racist, misogynist, and he never should have gotten as far as he has in this race.  

While I don’t believe Hillary Clinton is the ideal candidate, she does have many positive attributes (I’ve only mentioned a few of the major ones).  Donald Trump has no redeeming qualities about him.  Not one.  If he is allowed to step into the White House  after the General election then I truly believe the country… and possibly the rest of the world… is in for a world of pain.  With Hillary Clinton, at worst, things remain the same. At most, we make some true Progressive gains on the social front.  So yes… In spite of those things that upset me about Hillary Clinton and the DNC during the primary… In spite of the differences I have with them on the economic side of things… I am still going to stand behind her.  The alternative is just too horrifying to consider.  

James Garcia – July 28, 2016

President Trump: A nightmare for Americans

A great article about how a Trump presidency will impact the economy, not just in the U.S., but worldwide.

Shrey's Notepad: The Quest for Knowledge

Despite outrage from the general populous at the bombastic Donald Trump’s campaign for President, a great number of Republicans continue to support him, and shockingly, he remains the overwhelming favourite for the Republican presidential nomination. This confounding support of Trump can, in truth, be narrowed down to a few key reasons, one of which is a disturbing lack of knowledge regarding actual policy, and a misguided focus on political rhetoric. In my honest opinion, the way to defeat Trump is not to simply slam him for his admittedly asinine stance on immigration, but to deliver a systematic breakdown of his economic policies, and explain how malevolent they would indeed be to the US economy. That is what I seek to achieve in this article; to provide a brief respite from his nauseating rhetoric and to inform the average American what a President Trump could actually mean for their day-to day lives…

View original post 714 more words

California’s New Minimum Wage and the Fear Based Freak Out

Ugh… I am so sick to death of hearing people complain about California raising the minimum wage… Sick… To… DEATH!!! Anyway… This latest post (that I am going to pick apart presently) is the straw that broke the camel’s back… And it sums up all of the fear-based, right-wing talking points all in one ignorant post.

“The sound of $15/hr sounds great at first, but let’s think a little more into this.”  

Oh please wise economic genius… Wow us with your astounding thought processes!

Argument: “If a company has to pay each employee $15/hr. the costs for their product rises. Of course the cost is put on the consumer. Duh.”  

Sure, this might be true, but let’s think on it just a little further.  First off, let’s consider something:

Question: What makes a business successful?

Answer: Aside from a good marketing plan, good management techniques, and hard working employees, the answer is a large customer base that is willing to spend money on the products the business offers.  This is what is called “demand.”

Argument: “Say good bye [sic] to small, family run businesses, large corporate businesses that will soon be moving out of state, and your local restaurants and farms.”

Again… This might be true, but let’s go a little further with our thinking and leave emotional, fear-based predictions behind.

Question: What happens if that business does not have a large enough customer base to support it?

Answer:  There are a few things that can happen.  They raise prices to counter the lack of demand.  They cut costs by cutting corners on their products (which isn’t necessarily honest, but who are we kidding? We know they do this!) They could also lay off employees, downsize, etc… However, if the demand they have available isn’t enough to cover their basic cost of business, they eventually close their doors.

Question: So what happens when a large portion of society barely has enough money to cover basic necessities like food, clothing, rent, insurance, etc?

Answer:  Well for starters they don’t spend money at small mom and pop businesses that typically charge more (considering they don’t have the vast resources available to them like companies like Wal-Mart do) that’s for damned sure!  So where do they go instead? They turn to large corporations like Wal-Mart, who can afford to completely undercut any mom and pop business, where they can buy cheap groceries in bulk.  So the argument that “mom and pop businesses will close down because the minimum wage will increase” is just flat out ridiculous.  Mom and Pop businesses are closing now because the middle class is quickly being absorbed into the poor class because they more and more often don’t have money to spend!

Also, if you honestly think that every business is suddenly going to pick up and move out of state, abandoning a large customer base like California (that will now have a lot more money to spend I might add…) then you are even more naive than I originally thought (and I thought you were pretty naive to begin with…)

Argument: “If large chain stores stay in this state, they are forced to choose one of two things. Raise prices considerably or cut jobs. WAIT?! What loose [sic] jobs, yes, jobs will be cut because people can’t afford to pay them.”  

Wrong… What they will do is possibly raise their prices, once again passing the buck on to consumers so they can continue to make billions of dollars in profits.  Eventually, when that consumer base has more money to spend, and their customer base grows, prices will return to a level that meets the demand.  That is how economics works.  It’s called “supply and demand.”  You should probably look it up.

Also, companies like Costco have been paying higher wages for years, and they are doing quite well.  In fact, Costco pays significantly more than Wal-Mart but for some strange reason (that’s really not so strange at all…)  They make more money than Wal-Mart does! But how can this possibly be true!?

Answer: Happy employees = higher productivity + better customer service = happy customers who will then be more likely to return and patronize the business again! What a surprise!

http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/03/12/costco-vs-wal-mart-higher-wages-mean-superior-retu.aspx

Argument: “Who pays for unemployment? You can guess my answer to that.”

And? We’re paying to subsidize Wal-Mart and McDonald’s profits now by allowing them to pay their employees less than a living wage, which in turn requires their employees to collect Welfare and food stamps.  Is that what you want? McDonald’s even encouraged their employees to apply for Welfare because they know they aren’t paying their employees enough to live on! What you’re essentially arguing for, is for the government to use our tax dollars to subsidize the profits of large corporations, all so they can pay their employees garbage wages! How ridiculous is that??? As I’ve said before in other posts, I would much rather have our tax dollars go to things like education, infrastructure, and universal health care, instead of going to subsidize greedy corporations so they can continue to pay their employees shit!

http://www.businessinsider.com/mcdonalds-mcresources-hotline-tells-nancy-salgado-to-get-on-food-stamps-2013-10

“For all of you that think this minimum wage increase is another “fantastic” thing that Jerry Brown has done for us, please unfriend me.”  

Oh trust me, if you were on my friends list, I would have unfriended you a long time ago.  I can’t handle fear-based, ignorant arguments that don’t point to any actual facts or logic.

“You are an idiot and I honestly can’t handle it anymore.”  

Perhaps before you question the intelligence of others, you should make sure your rants use correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation.  I can’t imagine how you’d expect anyone to take advice from you on a complex subject like economics when you can barely get through a few paragraphs without a slew of spelling errors.

“People really need to start thinking about the larger picture.” 

You’re right.  You should probably try looking past your fear-based initial reaction and actually research a topic before you open your fat mouth.

“I am so not sorry for this rant. This is real life, and people need to start getting real.”  

And I am so not sorry for soundly destroying your ridiculous rant for the nonsense that it is.  You’re right, this is real life, and in this day and age, no one working 40 hours a week (sometimes even more than that) should have to go on Welfare or collect Food stamps because they don’t have enough money for basic necessities, all while companies like Wal-Mart and McDonald’s make millions of dollars in profits.

“We all need to think long and hard with this upcoming election, this nation needs to start electing people that can see the larger pictures.” 

If you mean people that will continue to line the pockets of the already rich, then I gladly have to say I disagree.  We need to elect government officials that will look out for the vast majority of the American people who have been sadly neglected for far too long.  People like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

“We are headed down a dark road, and I for one am scared to death of our future.”

With uninformed people like you voting based on their fear instead of facts?  I have to say, I agree completely.  I just hope those that bother to actually look into issues outnumber those like you.

Finally, the fact of the matter is, there are other places that have already raised their minimum wages.  Seattle is one that comes to mind, and they aren’t experiencing the effects on the economy that you are so scared of.  Businesses aren’t fleeing the city or closing down in record numbers, there hasn’t been a plague of mass layoffs.  None of what you’re claiming will happen here has happened there.  Why? Can you answer that?

Besides all of that, the minimum wage will not reach $15 an hour for 6 years.  If a business can’t properly prepare for the adjustment in that amount of time, then they need to find a new accountant!

http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-no-the-minimum-wage-isnt-20150316-column.html

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/10/1/1425663/-Seattle-Raises-its-Minimum-Wage-Jobless-Rate-Drops-Fox-Scrambles-for-a-Ladder-to-Pick-Cherries

For those that are interested, here is the entire Facebook post that I responded to in its entirety:

“Well California, you sure have done it now. $15/hr. Minimum wage, you sure thought this out. Say good bye to small, family run businesses, large corporate businesses that will soon be moving out of state, and your local restaurants and farms.

I can not believe we actually elect these stupid ass people. The sound of $15/hr sounds great at first, but let’s think a little more into this.

If a company has to pay each employee $15/hr. the costs for their product rises. Of course the cost is put on the consumer. Duh.

Let’s think farther, the property management company is also going to raise their fees, passing on the buck to the tenant. That tenant now has to raise the prices of their products also to the consumer.

How about food? Farmers have several farm labor workers. You all should get excited for things such as strawberries, peaches, or cherries. Hand picked and soon to be unaffordable.

If large chain stores stay in this state, they are forced to choose one of two things. Raise prices considerably or cut jobs. WAIT?! What loose jobs, yes, jobs will be cut because people can’t afford to pay them. Of course no one will say that out loud. Well, y’all should start thinking about this. Bye bye jobs. Hello unemployment.

Who pays for unemployment? You can guess my answer to that.

For all of you that think this minimum wage increase is another “fantastic” thing that Jerry Brown has done for us, please unfriend me. You are an idiot and I honestly can’t handle it anymore. People really need to start thinking about the larger picture.

I am so not sorry for this rant. This is real life, and people need to start getting real. We all need to think long and hard with this upcoming election, this nation needs to start electing people that can see the larger pictures. We are headed down a dark road, and I for one am scared to death of our future.”  

 

 

My GOD Target! Think of the CHILDREN!!!!

“In the beginning God created toys, and god said “let the toys be separated between male and female… And the male toys shall be army men, trucks, and superheroes.  They shall all be in shades of green, blue, grey, black, and brown, and the color pink shall never touch them.  And the girl toys will be Barbie dolls, princesses, easy bake ovens, teddy bears, and unicorns.  They shall be in shades of pink and purple and adorned with sparkles.” And so God placed a sign labeled “Boys” above the toy isle for boys and one labeled “Girls” above the toy isle for girls.  And so God said “It is good.”  

In the following statement posted a few days ago Target announced that they would be removing unnecessary gender based signs / color coding:

“Right now, our teams are working across the store to identify areas where we can phase out gender-based signage to help strike a better balance. For example, in the kids’ Bedding area, signs will no longer feature suggestions for boys or girls, just kids. In the Toys aisles, we’ll also remove reference to gender, including the use of pink, blue, yellow or green paper on the back walls of our shelves. You’ll see these changes start to happen over the next few months.”  

Seems harmless, right?  Well, not according to some.  As I’m sure Target fully expected, their announcement caused an uproar of crazy on their Facebook page.  In addition to hoards of “I’ll never shop at Target again!!!” comments (dramatic much?) here are some of my “favorite” examples of crazy found on Target’s Facebook comments section (no matter what the post was actually about):

Target 17

Target 18

Target 20

Target 23

As usual the nonsense and slippery-slope arguments are being tossed out everywhere by these people.  Apparently in their minds Target is now going to force men and women to try on the clothes of the opposite gender and Target approved child molesters will be prowling around the toy isles waiting to snatch children! My god! Where will it end!? What’s next? A mandatory sex changing station in every section???

While these comments are clear overreactions to what is actually being done, they are’t the ones that really bother me. The ones that irk me far more than the other “normal” crazy fare, are those that attempt to bring God into the equation:

Target 21Target 22Target 24

I don’t quite understand how anyone thinks it’s reasonable to bring god into a discussion about gender stereotypes.  Gender stereotypes and gender roles are created by human beings.  If god exists, then he / she / it had nothing to do with what we consider masculine and feminine.  If he did, then the stereotypes and roles would have existed throughout history and throughout every culture, never changing.  But the fact is, they are different in every culture, and they have changed multiple times throughout history.  Take this picture for instance:

FDR1

You might think “Aw! What a cute little girl, with her pretty dress and curly hair!” Well… Let’s take a look at this little “girl” all grown up:

FDR2

That’s right.  It was FDR, the 32nd President of the United States, the whole time.  So, as early as the end of the 1800’s to the early 1900’s it was considered perfectly acceptable for a little boy to be dressed in a pretty dress and lace, and it didn’t seem to harm him even the slightest bit.  A little before that pink was considered masculine, while blue was considered feminine.  At one point it was considered a woman’s place to be in the home, cooking, cleaning, and taking care of children.  But thanks to two world wars and the Great Depression, women began to make their way into the workforce and began to realize that they could work and earn a living just as easily as a man could (unfortunately their pay still hasn’t caught up to their male counterparts).

The point of all of this is that gender stereotypes and gender roles are fluid.  They’re constantly changing.  They aren’t ordained by any sort of god (in spite of what some people claim), and they haven’t “always been that way.”  Kids aren’t going to suddenly run out of Target screeching in terror because there aren’t “Boys” and “Girls” signs above the toy isles, Target isn’t going to start forcing their customers to wear clothing “inappropriate” to their gender when they shop there, and the world isn’t going to end.  So… All of you new Target haters, take a deeeeep breath, calm down a little, and think about why Target might be doing this.

Quotes from two articles, one from the United Nations Human Rights Office and one from Think Progress, give a few reasons why gender stereotyping and gender roles are not only unnecessary, but harmful:

Regarding Judges and the law:

“It compromises judges’ impartiality. It also influences their understanding of criminal offences and their perception on whether violence has occurred in cases such as the rape of sex workers, of married women by their husbands, or domestic violence in same-sex relationships.
Stereotypes affect judges’ views about witness credibility or legal capacity. Such is the case when judges form a negative view about the credibility of the victims who do not behave in a stereotypical manner.

Further, stereotyping can also stop judges from holding perpetrators accountable or even cause them to blame the victim. Finally, stereotyping can impede access to legal rights and protection for victims of violence. The R.P.B v. Philippines case presented to CEDAW under the individual complaint procedure, Cusack mentioned, highlighted many of these harms. The rapist of a deaf and mute 17-year-old girl was acquitted by the court because the Judge expected the victim to fight her aggressor in order to protect her purity.

The Sexuality of Teenagers:

“Speaking of the impact of stereotypes on the reproductive and sexual health and rights of women and girls, Veronica Undurraga, Law Professor at Adolfo Ibañez University in Santiago, Chile, said that there was a belief that girls should not manifest any interest in sexuality, whereas male teenagers were expected to be more vocal and aggressive.”

Girls-Sports, Self-Esteem Issues, and Body Image:

“Girls who enjoyed sports often avoided physical activity at school because they assumed it wouldn’t be a feminine thing to do, they worried they might look unattractive while running, or they were mocked by their male peers for not being good enough. The girls also put themselves on diets because they believed desirable women have to be skinny.”

“All of the girls were within very healthy weights, but they were all restricting their intake of food in some way. So what we’re really talking about here is 14-year-old girls, whose bodies are changing and developing, depriving themselves at every meal,” Pereira said.“In the extreme, that can lead to things like eating disorders. But even for the women who don’t reach the extreme, it can be very unhealthy for them.” 

Boys-Masculinity, Violence, and Alcoholism:

“Male participants in the study all faced intense pressure to demonstrate the extent of their manliness, which led to what Pereira calls “everyday low-level violence”: slapping and hitting each other, as well as inflicting pain on other boys’ genitals. They were encouraged to physically fight each other if they were ever mocked or offended. They felt like they had to drink unhealthy amounts of alcohol because that’s what a man would do. And they were under certain mental health strains, too; struggling with anxiety about proving themselves and suppressing their feelings, all while lacking a strong emotional support system.”

The Overall Harmful Affects of Gender Roles on Young People:

“This constant effort to manage one’s everyday life in line with gender norms produces significant anxiety, insecurity, stress and low self-esteem for both boys and girls, and both for ‘popular’ young people and those who have lower status in school.”

How Do Kids Feel About Gender Roles?:

“The teens who participated in the Lisbon study — including the kids who bullied others and the kids who were victims of bullying themselves — weren’t happy about the gender roles they were expected to follow. In their one-on-one interviews, they all said they didn’t actually like paying so much attention to the right “feminine” and “masculine” behaviors, and just assumed that’s what they were supposed to do.”

Did Things Change After They Were Removed?:

“Pereira (the author of the study) acknowledges it’s not like it was “suddenly paradise,” but she noticed the kids stopped mocking their peers as much for falling outside the bounds of traditionally gendered behavior. Girls and boys started to become more integrated in athletic activities. There was less physical fighting. And some of the kids’ parents even started calling Pereira to tell her about positive changes in their behavior.”  

My point to all of this is just to say let kids be kids! If they are high-energy little boys (or girls) who want to play sports and pretend to be superheroes, fine. If they want to play with Barbies or My Little Ponies, who cares? If they are little girls who like dinosaurs and putting together Leggo sets, big deal! It doesn’t automatically mean they’re going to be gay or transgender.  Then again, maybe it does! If they do end up being LGBT, it’s not the end of the world, it’s just who they are. They didn’t have a choice in the matter, and neither do you.  No matter how hard you try and force them to conform to gender roles and stereotypes, you will never change who they grow up to be.  In fact, all you’ll most likely end up doing is destroying their self-esteem, possibly causing mental issues, and ultimately making life much more difficult for them than it needs to be.  Is that really what you want?  I know that what I want for my future children is for them to grow up to be smart, independent, self-sufficient, well rounded individuals who treat others with respect and kindness.  If they occasionally want to do things that an archaic societal creation says is for the opposite gender, then so be it.  I’ll still love them anyway.

(Oh and by the way, if you can’t differentiate between “girls” and “boys” merchandise (whether it be toys, clothes, or bedding) without signs that point it out for you, that’s a very good sign that those differences are probably a figment of your imagination anyway.  Either that, or you have a more serious problem than Target (or anyone else) can help you with.)

James Garcia 8/11/2015

Over the Rainbow

The following is a response that I wrote to a blog entry titled “Pride” found here:

http://smilemeariver.blogspot.com/2015/06/pride.html

The comments from his blog are underlined in blue.  My comments are in black.

“Hello, I’ve just finished reading your blog entry titled “Pride”, and I have a few comments on it.   First off, voicing your opinion is perfectly fine, but you should be ready for others to voice theirs in return. So here’s my take on your post:

“I think it’s a trend. A cry for attention. From your government, a distraction. For $.”

  • racist businessOf course you do, and the reason is because it has no affect on you.  I imagine you would have said the same thing about the civil rights battles that took place in the 60s had you lived then.  For People like you interracial marriage wasn’t something they wanted so it wasn’t important.  They weren’t black, so overturning bigoted Jim Crow laws didn’t matter. Why should they care about the push to change those things? When something has absolutely no impact on your life it’s just not going to seem important to you.  For all of those interracial couples, and for all of those African Americans who had to see “Whites Only” signs in windows, it was a very important concern.  As for today’s battle for marriage equality and equal rights for LGBT people, it is a huge deal… To them and to their loved ones.  Think for one second how you’d feel if you were told that you couldn’t marry the person that you loved.  Imagine that you were denied the right to sit at the bedside of that person while they were sick or dying in the hospital.  The reason you’re being denied that right? Because someone else’s religion was being given control of our laws, in spite of the fact that the government is not supposed to respect any one religion.  Imagine if the Islamic religion were suddenly given control and Christians weren’t allowed to marry (or whatever group you’re a part of).  Would that feel good to you?  Would a move for equality feel like a trend to you then? Like it was a cry for attention? For money? Is it possible for you to have an ounce of empathy for a portion of society that you aren’t a part of for just one moment?

“I have previously stated how I feel about marriage in this post: MARRIAGE I have also created an event: Heterosexual Parade…”

  • StraightPrideI wonder if you also think there should be “White Pride” parades or parking spaces for “Non-Handicapped” people?  You do realize that the reason those things don’t exist is because they are not needed.  White people already have the most privileged position in our society.  Those that don’t have a physical disability don’t need special parking spaces, because they can walk perfectly fine with no trouble.  The same goes for straight people.  They already have the most privileged place in our society.  Their love isn’t questioned or looked down on.  All rights a straight couple could want, they already have.  There aren’t “straight pride” parades because straight people haven’t been beaten in the streets and murdered for being straight.  They don’t have to hide who they are because of fear they will be thrown out of their homes, disowned by their families, or fired from their jobs.  There is no stigma of shame attached to being straight because of misconceptions, misinformation, and flat out lies.  A straight pride parade would be like winning a race and then running around all of those that didn’t win pointing and saying “HAHAHAHAHA!!! I WON LOSER! I WOOOOOON!!! HAHAHAHAHA!!!! WHAT A LOSER YOU ARE!!! LOOK AT MY AWESOME TROPHY!!! LOOK AT THIS COOL PRIZE THAT I WON THAT YOU DON’T HAVE!!! WHAT A DAMNED LOSER YOU ARE!!! LOOOOOOSER!!! LOOOOOOSER!!!”  and then spitting on them and slapping them repeatedly. You know what that makes you?  A HUGE asshole.  Go ahead.  Have that if you want.  But don’t be surprised when everyone that is not a part of your already extremely privileged club wants nothing to do with you.

“Gay Mafia? Maybe animals should be allowed to get married? Would they govern and tax them too? While they’re at it, how about equal rights for insects?”

  • dog weddingI have no idea what “Gay Mafia” means so I’ll just ignore it.  As for the rest of your point, American contract law requires the ability to consent.  Animals and insects can’t speak, can’t read, can’t write, and therefore can’t consent to a contract, much less sign one.  You do realize that in this country marriage is just a contract that bestows certain rights and tax benefits, don’t you?  Have you figured out some way to teach animals to speak English? Have you figured out how to teach them to read and write and take part in our economy and in our society?  If so, why isn’t it national news yet? The fact of the matter is that members of the LGBT community that want to marry are consenting adults.  Two consenting adults should be able to enter into whatever type of contract they want to and there is no valid reason, outside of religious considerations (which should have no affect on our laws) for banning marriage equality for LGBT citizens who pay their taxes, just like any other American.

“In my opinion, there is a difference between a man and a woman. If you can’t appreciate those differences, you can’t enjoy those differences.”  

  • apples and orangesWho is saying there aren’t differences between men and women? Of course there are differences.  There are also differences between gay and straight people, black and white people, short and tall people, people with long hair and people with short hair.  What does that have to do with anything?  Differences and similarities among people aren’t requirements for entering into legal contracts.  In the 60s your statement could easily have been read “In my opinion, there is a difference between black people and white people.  If you can’t appreciate those differences, you can’t enjoy those differences”  as a defense for banning interracial marriage.  You see that, right?

“I don’t agree with boys turning into girls, and I don’t agree with girls turning into boys.”

  • JennerYou’re perfectly welcome to your opinion, as ignorant as it is.  But the thing is, your opinion shouldn’t affect the lives and decisions of others if they aren’t harming anyone in any way. Don’t want to have gender reassignment surgery? Fine. Don’t have gender reassignment surgery.  Don’t take hormones.  But you don’t get to make that decision for others anymore than I can decide where you work, what you eat for dinner, or what church you go to.  Just because you “don’t agree” with something, doesn’t mean that it isn’t happening.  I can say I don’t agree the sky is blue, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t blue anyway, whether I like it or not.  There is so much that science doesn’t know about the biology and the psychology of gender.  If they don’t know for sure what causes someone to be transgender (or gay for that matter), then what makes you the “go to guy” for information?  What makes you think your opinion should matter when it comes to laws and regulations that affect the lives of others? Have you ever even bothered to sit down with a transgender person to have a heart-to-heart talk with them? Have you ever stopped to consider what that person has gone through, what chemicals and hormones are at work within their bodies, what changes their body went through in the womb and since birth that has brought them to where they are in their life? It goes back to that “empathy” thing I mentioned earlier.  You see something that has never affected you, that you’ve never felt or had to experience, and so it becomes something distasteful to you, something strange, and possibly… something that frightens you? So you lash out and act as if you should have a say in the lives of others, even though their lives and their decisions don’t affect you even a tiny bit.  Other than having to see people different than you happily living in society that is.  But if you can’t handle that, then that is your problem and no one else’s.

“The way I see it, some boys never turn into men, and some girls never turn into women. What a shitshow.”

  • babyYou’re absolutely right.  Some people never mature enough to realize that there are others in the world that aren’t like them, and that that isn’t a bad thing.  Some people never learn to embrace the differences of others and see that they can easily coexist in the world with them. Not in spite of, but because of those differences, and that those differences make the world a much more beautiful place to be.

“Welcome to the other side of the rainbow” Really? No thanks.

  • That’s perfectly fine.  Continue to live in your grey world where only those that look and believe exactly like you are welcome.  The rest of us will continue living happily together, enjoying our many differences without you.  For the rest of us the world will be a much more fun and colorful place to live in, and when you’re ready to join us there, you’ll be more than welcome.”

“Diversity is not about how we differ. Diversity is about embracing one another’s uniqueness.” – Ola Joseph

Rainbow2

James Garcia

July 25, 2015

What Marriage Equality Means to Me

Hello Everyone!

I am sure most of us that care to, know by now that the Supreme Court decision regarding marriage equality was announced Friday granting marriage equality rights to countless gay and lesbian couples across the United States. Anyone that reads the things I write and post knows my opinion on that.  Having said that, I am sure there are many that wonder why I argue so strongly in favor of marriage equality and to explain that there are two big things I want to talk about which I’ve been wanting to get off my chest for a while now.  One thing I’ve been holding on to for a long time and one is a relatively new change.  But they are connected, so I have to discuss them together.

1) The first thing is something that has been hard for me to talk about with anyone for quite awhile, much less anyone who will read this, but with each person I talk to it gets monumentally easier. So, having said that I’ll just come right out and say it.  The reason I am so strongly vocal about marriage equality is because it affects me personally.  I’m gay, and I want to one day be able to marry the love of my life when I find him.  If you could see into my heart you’d see how afraid I’d been for so long to say those words.  The thought of telling anyone was absolutely terrifying, much less my family, who I only recently told.  This isn’t a new revelation for me, or something that I just realized an hour ago.  This has been something I struggled with for as long as I can remember, and it has truly been a struggle in the strictest sense of the word.  For a majority of my life I hated myself because of this.  It didn’t sync with my religious beliefs and I knew I was going to be thrown into Hell if I didn’t manage to change it somehow.  I knew that… I also believed I’d lose all of my family and friends.  I suffered some pretty severe depression, nearly constant anxiety, and constant loneliness.  “Depressed and lonely” was my normal state of existence.  One of my most constant prayers was for god to “fix” me.  I felt like I was literally cursed most of the time, and I couldn’t understand what I’d done to deserve it.  I convinced myself that if I could resist these “sinful” thoughts for a month, or a week, or some other arbitrary number, then I would be fixed, and that it was all just a test to see if I really trusted god enough.  When I inevitably failed, it wasn’t god’s fault, it was mine;  I convinced myself that my faith just wasn’t strong enough, and then I would fall into a pit of despair.

It never crossed my mind until my late 20’s that maybe I wasn’t being “fixed” because there was nothing to “fix”! I finally came to the realization that it wasn’t me that was broken… I didn’t choose to be the way that I was…  No… It was my religious beliefs that were broken. Which leads me to the second thing I want to talk about.

2)  I’ve given up religion. Not just Christianity, but religion. Period.  I don’t have one, and I don’t want one. As of now, I don’t know how I want to label myself when it comes to spirituality.  I don’t know whether to consider myself “agnostic” or “atheist.” Where I am when it comes to all things spiritual is “I don’t know.”  I like to believe our souls go on somehow, but I honestly don’t know what’s after death, I don’t even know if we have a soul, and I don’t know if there is a god. The idea of heaven and existing eternally sounds great, but in spite of the assertions, there is no evidence to prove that any of those things exist.  If there is a god, I don’t believe for a second that any of the man-made religions have it right.  I can’t believe in a god that would demand a man kill his son, then tell him not to in some weird cosmic joke (as in the case of Abraham and Isaac).  I can’t believe in a god who, because of a bet with his enemy, would destroy a man’s life including allowing his entire family to be killed in horrible ways (Job). I can’t believe in a god that would throw someone into a pit of fire for an eternity of torture for nothing more than telling a white lie, saying a curse word when you stub your toe, or just being one of the unlucky ones who happened to be born in a place where they didn’t have access to a Bible.  I can’t even believe in a god who would torture even a murderer for ALL ETERNITY.  Try and wrap your head around that… All EternityNever ending… That is what Hell is supposed to be.  Someone being tortured FOREVER. Put your emotions aside for a second and ask yourself if you think that even the worst criminal will have learned their lesson after say… A thousand years of the worst torture imaginable? How about ten thousand years? Lastly, I can’t believe in a god who would make me gay,  label me an “abomination”, and then permit, if not flat out command, his followers to humiliate, abuse, oppress, and kill those like me in his name.  If there is a god, and he does the things I’ve mentioned, then he doesn’t deserve to be worshiped.

If there truly is a god, then he would be none of those things I mentioned.  If he’s there then he gave us our reasoning ability and our capacity for intelligence to use.  Any person, book, or document that would try and tell you it’s wrong to question everything and reject illogical ideas does not have your best interest at heart. If god exists, then he wouldn’t want us to take things blindly by faith, and he certainly wouldn’t punish us for doubting his existence when we can’t find any logical reason to do so.  If there is a god and he is so powerful and so infinite that he was able to create the entire universe right down to the smallest atom, then why on earth would he care if we believed in him or not? Up to this point, the existence of humanity is less than a nanosecond in the scope of all that is, ever was, or will be. To a god that created all of that, we’d be less than a passing thought.  To me it’s only human arrogance that demands that we have some ultimate purpose when it comes to the entire universe.  Does an ant care if it has a destiny? Does a dog?  Who cares if we matter or not in the grand scheme of things?  Make your life matter for you and those around you.  Make your own purpose. Do your best to be kind, to be happy, to find fulfillment in the things you choose, and try to make the world around you a better place to the best of your ability.

I guess that is my point in the end.  Writing this is about finding fulfillment in my own life, and I can’t do that while hiding who I am from the world, and much more, the people I love. My honest hope, is that it won’t matter to anyone… Having said that I am still pretty positive that the things I’ve said will shock some, will anger others, and I know I will most likely lose friends and maybe even family members over this.  But I know that I will also see who truly cares about me and values me no matter who I’m attracted to or what I believe when it comes to religion.  The truth is, even after I’ve said all of this, I will still be me.  I will be the same person I’ve always been; the same person you’ve chatted or debated with on Facebook, the same person you’ve had lunch with, who you’ve borrowed a book from, who you went to school with, who you’ve laughed with; you will just know me a little better. If you are reading this, know that if I have you in my life in any capacity, whether it be just a distant Facebook acquaintance, someone I only talk to occasionally, or someone I see every day, I value you in some way.  If I lose you, it will hurt… But don’t be surprised when I continue to live a happy life without you.

What it comes down to, is that I am done hiding.

I have a lot of Christian friends who I love dearly, and I know there are some who would attempt to sway my views.  So I am going to ask now that you ignore your evangelical urges and not do that. Please don’t tell me “I’ll pray for you” (at least when it comes to these things).  While I know you mean well, what that says to me is “you’re wrong, and I want god to fix you.” I’ve asked for god to “fix” me nearly all my life, so you can trust me when I say it doesn’t work. Pray for me if you find it necessary for your own mental wellbeing, but don’t announce it to me as if it’s some sort of ammunition.  Also, please don’t tell me that I was never truly saved or that I don’t understand scripture. Rest assured, I have read the Bible back to front several times, I’ve read a variety of apologetics, I have read books that explain scripture, and I have done my own spiritual acrobatics to try and justify some of the things I find horrific in the Bible, up to and including “well that was just (insert author’s) opinion, not god’s!” I can guarantee that (with the exception of very few people on my friends list), I’ve heard and have probably said everything you can say… It just doesn’t hold up for me anymore. If you can respect me for who I am and not try and convince me that I’m wrong, then I am more than happy to keep you around. If you insist on debating, that’s fine, but do so in a respectful manner. Just be prepared for me to show you why I believe you’re wrong. Also, if I ask you to stop, then be respectful and stop.  If you find it necessary to bring up Hell or god’s judgement in some way,  it might be best if we go our separate ways, because that is one thing I will not tolerate.

I hope if you’re a friend or family member who is reading this, that I can keep you in that capacity, because as I’ve said, I value you.  If that’s not possible, I’ll be sorry to see you go.  Anyway, that’s it for now…

Regards,

James