Equality

When I talk about how frustrated I am, let me explain why. The US has never been perfect. It’s had many, deep flaws. The history of the US is fraught with favoritism and deep seeded bigotry. That said, it was a nation full of people who fought. We fought to make the nation better for all people. In my short life, I have seen women, LGBTQ, and other minority groups gain ground in their pursuit of equality and justice. Under Obama, we saw a shimmering light of progress, not full equality, but more progress than had ever been witnessed. Now this push for equality saw an equal, harder push towards stopping any further progress.

Hatred stewed, and a narrative formed, trying to explain how the work of progressives would “take away” from others. How does asking for equality take away from others? There was no pursuit to remove religious freedoms from Christians. They were free to worship in their churches and prayer houses in peace. We simply asked that the more radical adherents not be allowed to discriminate against others. Pushing for the end of a for-profit prison system, and equal treatment under the law, for minorities, wasn’t taking away the privileges of White America. We simply asked that others be able to enjoy the same freedoms. Legalizing same-sex marriage was not an assault on heterosexual, or religious people. We asked they be treated with the same protections that any couple that is in love be treated with.

People demonize “illegal immigrants” for the same crime that Columbus, and America’s very founding fathers participated in. The pursuit of something better. They mock environmental protections and deny science, in order for profit. We can’t drink money, breathe it, or eat it. This is foolishness at its height.

The pursuit of science and education is laughed at, as if it was something to be ashamed of. The pursuit of knowledge is tantamount for a healthy democracy. We should not speak of intellectualism as if it were something to be avoided. Our very nation depends on scientists and engineers, but also, musicians, and artists.

The radical right is so busy, finding fault in others pursuit of equality, that they have allowed treason to go unanswered. People scream of wars against Christianity, or against white america. No, there are no wars against these things, except the war being fought by those that would see others deported, mistreated, or ignored, simply so that a subsection of America can sleep at night with the belief that they are “better”, all while surrounded by poverty, disease, and pollution.
All of the good that the US stood for, and the good that could have been, are now threatened by the arrogant actions of a small minority of people. They fight to destroy anything that doesn’t fit into their narrow viewpoint. They would take away our freedoms, all while screaming patriotic epitaphs that no longer have any meaning.

If you are a patriot, you will fight for the rights of others. You will pledge your lives, your fortunes, your sacred honor, in order to defend the dream, so easily afforded to a few, and so hard-fought for so many others. Demonizing your friends, neighbors, fellow residents, because they seek to live a life as free as yours, in true equality, is not the mark of a patriot, or a “conservative”. It is the deepest form of treason.

This is why I’m frustrated. This is why I get angry, and fired up. There is nothing wrong with me, I just see what is so horribly wrong with so many others.

This is not a joke. This is not an over reaction. I wish to see America fully live up to its full potential. That will never happen until we fully embrace the words All People are Created Equal.

Communication

I’ve been contemplating this. Please read fully before attacking me.
I’ve noticed a lot of statements regarding people being to easily “offended” by things. That may be true, but that statement is being used to dismiss actual dialogue in many situations. It’s ok to be offended by certain things, and to bring it up in a rational way. That’s how conversations are started, and how people learn to understand. It’s also ok to say “that comes across as a bit racist” or “That can be mistakenly viewed as a racist statement.”
Those words are meant to bring light to a situation. It’s ok to ask “How so?” and it’s ok to discuss it. For my White friends, I know you are all good people. Most of you are not “racists” but some of you may be ignorant of certain things. You have some prejudices, so do I. It’s something I work to get over and to improve on constantly. Please don’t get “offended” by the statement, but seek dialogue.
Here are some situations, and my views on them. These views apply to some people, and not to others.

1. I have heard the statement “They are taking our jobs” from people in regards to immigrants. Let’s analyze that. Many of the people being accused of this are migrant workers, earning less than minimum wage. We currently have an unemployment rate of about 5.5 to 6%. If migrant workers are “taking” these jobs, it’s because those 19 million Americans are either A. unqualified,C. unwilling to do those jobs, or C. Being passed over because those hiring are trying to circumvent labor laws. The solutions would be to put more money to education and the enforcement of labor laws. Hold companies accountable for hiring undocumented people instead of demonizing those coming over and looking for an opportunity.

2. I’ve seen people offended that minorities bring up stories of injustices to them. Statements are made like “I would never do that” or “I’ve never seen that happen”. Congrats, we aren’t talking about you, and you live in a wonderful area where people aren’t outwardly racist. This doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen in other places, or when you aren’t around. Listen, think. How would you feel if you walked into a mall and were followed around all day by a Police officer? This happened to me, I was in slacks and a button up shirt, and I was shopping, and paying for stuff. He profiled me because I “don’t fit in”. That was wrong, on his part. I didn’t do anything stupid, I kept calm and I was annoyed and offended.

3. Asking for bad police officers to be held accountable for breaking the law, or abusing their power, doesn’t mean people don’t support law enforcement. Most police officers are hard working, good people. Just like most people of any ethnic, religious, or political group tend to be good people. Holding bad people accountable for their actions is part of making sure everyone has justice.

4. Being Pro-Choice doesn’t mean being pro-abortion. It means that I let women, and their doctors, make their own medical decisions. I have my personal views, I keep them to myself. There are medical reasons, and ethical reasons, for abortion. Every situation is different.

5. Don’t cheer the death of anyone. The loss of any life is tragic. It doesn’t matter what they looked like, or what they did, we should learn to treat each other with respect. The taking of any life is a serious thing, and something that shouldn’t be done callously.

6. Corporations aren’t people, but since they are being treated that way, they should pay their fair share of taxes. If they choose to offshore their headquarters, in an attempt to bypass tax laws, then they should have tariffs levied against them. If they want to contribute to the political process, then they need to pay up like the rest of us. Same for Churches.

Stop demonizing groups of people. Realize that assholes exist in all groups. Listen to each other. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

You are welcome to disagree with me. I encourage it. Keep it civil though, let’s have discussions. I will delete any post that attacks me, or someone else. We need to talk TO each other, not AT each other.

Acceptance

When I was in Elementary school, I went to a school that didn’t have many Asians in it. I remember being in 2nd grade and having some kid say something about his uncle fighting the Vietnamese in Vietnam. He made fun of me because I had to be one of them. I’m not Vietnamese, but to that kid, and his parents, all Asians had to be Vietnamese and were not “welcome”. As I grew older I learned about the Japanese internment camps, and how Japanese Americans were distrusted, just because of their heritage. I asked why German and Italian Americans weren’t placed in camps too. I learned that many were discriminated upon, but mostly they could blend in and assimilate.
I saw racism focus on anyone that looked “Arabic” during the first Gulf war, and then after 9-11. Even Indian friends faced racism because bigoted Americans couldn’t tell the difference. I know Koreans faced the same kinds of Racism during the Korean War, and the Chinese were mistreated during the 1800’s because of the influx of immigrants. I now see Latinos being targeted for the same reasons.
All these groups face racism for one reason. They don’t “look” American. I’ve been the victim of such racism. I often times talk about Americans as if I wasn’t one. I was born here, I’ve only ever lived in the U.S. I’ve been called out for talking about Americans because I am one so why don’t I always claim it? I now realize I meant “white” people when I talked about “Americans”. That’s wrong, I’m an American I’m proud to be one. I claim it proudly, and I hold no ill will. I love this country.
I grew up feeling like I didn’t belong because I didn’t “look” right. That feeling is something that evolved from the casual racism that young children are exposed to. It’s something we must all stop from happening.
Let’s all take a moment to realize that most of us are descended from immigrants. We all have ancestors that probably fought each other. We are all here for the same reasons. The promise of opportunity. Stop pointing out differences and start looking at each other’s humanity. No child should grow up feeling like an outcast in a nation of immigrants.

How many more?

What is it going to take? 74 school shootings since Newtown, and we have had 0 action on anything that makes sense. Our politicians, ON BOTH SIDES, are busy courting favor with gun manufacturers and ignoring the pleas of reasonable people all across the country.
We hear extremist right wing puppets talk about “good guys with guns” but we sit helpless as even our POLICE are being killed by extremists with guns. Morons now show up to stores, armed for battle with their imaginary foes, with no more training, or common sense than the average half wit can get in a 4 hour course.
We sit by as the “liberals” in our government ignore, and hide from controversy because “it’s an election year”. WE NEED LEADERSHIP, we need STATESMEN and STATESWOMEN that will do what is right, “not because it is easy, but because it is hard!”
Our leaders have failed us, and we are busy arguing about petty topics. GET IT TOGETHER, call, scream, yell, MARCH, do anything to make them hear us!

http://everytown.org/article/schoolshootings/

 

All you need is…

I often find myself wondering why there is so much suffering in a world full of people with such a capacity for love.  Even in the most violent, desperate environments you’ll find small acts of kindness.

We often find ourselves being told to “hate” another person or group for their differences in beliefs, but how different are we all really?  We all need food, shelter, and love to survive.  If only we could learn to love the differences in others, the world would be a much happier, positive place.  Why can’t we all just learn to let go of the past and look forward to a future where we all live, and work, for each other?  We are one family, one large, complex, family.  When we can all realize that, the world will be the place we deserve it to be.

No, I’m not innocent in acting out in anger, or being upset at groups of people for one reason or another.  I do realize that my reactions are misguided, and I refuse to let a small subset of people tear my birthright away.  I deserve to appreciate and love everyone as much as possible.  I just need to keep reminding myself that everyone has potential, everyone needs a good example, and I need to start living my life as a positive example for others.  I may stumble, and that’s ok.  That’s part of being human too, and I have to learn to forgive myself for my inadequacies as I learn to forgive others.

You made me post with your asshattery. Yes I made that word up.

I’m not happy with the Zimmerman outcome.  I’ll come out and say that I just don’t understand why some asshat can get away with murdering someone else because he “suspected” that they were up to no good.  I’ll leave race out of my explanation.

The facts that I care about.  Zimmerman was following a “suspicious” person.  Zimmerman called 911 and the operator advised him not to follow, he chose to ignore that advise.  That’s my first problem.  I’ve been in situations before where suspicious people were knocking on all of my neighbors door.  They looked like they were selling something, but usually door to door salespeople avoid doing so at night.  It looks creepy.  I carry a CHL, and one of these people tried to follow me to my garage, I told them to back off.  I was loud, and firm, and they backed off.  I then called 911, from inside my house, and warned my neighbors.  These people were robbing houses in the area, and they got picked up.  Total wait time, 5 minutes.  Why did I not shoot them?  Mainly because I don’t want to kill anyone, but mostly because I didn’t know if they were armed as well, and it was dark, anything could happen that would result in a tragic accident.  It was common sense, and if I want to play hero, I’ll go volunteer at the food bank.

Second issue, people saying that “Travon was a thug and deserved it”.  He was a kid.  He may have skipped class, gotten expelled for non-violent reasons, he may have smoked pot.  I don’t care.  Hell, he could have sacrificed children to Satan, that’s not the point.  The point is he was walking home that night, with skittles.  Zimmerman is just a regular, annoying,person.  He didn’t have a report on Travon’s activities.  He’s not a detective, he’s an asshole that just needed to call 911 and back the fuck off.  It wasn’t his job to follow anyone, and it sure as hell wasn’t his job to shoot anyone.  That’s why we pay for police, and we make sure they are trained.

Seriously, bite me if you think anyone deserves to die.  The same people saying that Travon deserved to be dead are the same assholes pushing abortion restrictions on women.  You hypocrites can just go to hell.

 

Thunderous applause

Yeah, I know this is a line from a shitty movie, but let me explain.

This is a link to the most restrictive abortion law in the country:

http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=831&Bill=SB5

https://twitter.com/AntDeRosa/status/349767750576644096/photo/1

It passed AFTER the deadline.  That doesn’t matter, because Texas is no longer a democracy, the GOP decided to play by fascist rules today.

http://www.wendydavisforsenate.com/

That is Wendy Davis, donate to her, she started a 13 hour filibuster, but was cut off by the cheating GOP when she discussed non-germane topics.  Apparently the GOP feel that in a Filibuster of a restrictive abortion law, sonograms and Roe Vs. Wade are “not germane”.  See, if you can’t play fair, just cheat.

This set the stage for some other heroes like  John Whitmire and Kirk Watson to try and stop a vote.  At the end, the GOP rammed their agenda through, and about ten minutes from the deadline, the people in the gallery started screaming.  They cheered, they yelled, and they chanted.  THE PEOPLE DECIDED TO ACT! They bought the necessary ten minutes, and the GOP CHEATED!

So ends democracy in Texas, yes, there were cheers, but those were the cheers of men and women, fighting to stop an unjust group of people from STEALING their rights.  I’m disgusted at the GOP and their fascism   I can’t be prouder of the Texans fighting for their rights.

You won this battle GOP, but remember, this is TEXAS.  Sure, some battles are lost, but  we don’t give up on just causes. The war has just begun! Instead of destroying morale, you just increased our resolve.  Thanks GOP, you just gave us something else to “REMEMBER”.

 

Keep your opinion…

http://www.clickorlando.com/news/father-tsa-officer-humiliated-my-daughter/-/1637132/20615110/-/l31u61z/-/index.html

Read that article, and then the comments.  You should feel outrage.  Outrage for this poor little girl who was just minding her own business, and got a verbal thrashing at the hands of some half rate – Barney Fife wannabe TSA agent.  No, her attire is none of your business, if you can’t do your job and keep your misguided moral opinion to yourself, perhaps you should consider a career in politics.

My outrage goes further, read the comments yet?  I saw several instances of comparing this young child to “a prostitute” and “slut”.  Compounded with that were insults against Muslims.  Have you heard of the Taliban?  They are responsible for punishing women for not being “decent” or “moral”.  Forcing them to cover up, and be submissive to men.  Sound familiar?  If you commented in a disparaging way towards that girl you could join them.

I’m a bit sick and tired of asshats using centuries old “moral” judgments on people and then being offended when they are called out for being intolerant, racist, sexist, etc.  Don’t hide behind religion either, it’s not your religion that is making you a piece of human excrement, it’s your misguided logic.

Basically, STFU, and worry about why you suck at life.  If you spent less time being morally outraged at people for what they wear, or who they love, etc then maybe you would have more time to spend on personal growth.  You might even crack a book open and learn how to think critically someday.

Heroes and Villains

The tornado in Oklahoma that took the lives of at least 24 people was devastating. My initial reaction was the usual numb distance I feel whenever I hear of something horrible.  This was followed by my reading of various articles describing the heroism of the Teachers and first responders that went to work saving lives.

The story of a teacher that lay on top of her students to keep them safe was heartwarming, you can read about it here :http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20702199,00.html

I can’t believe dealing with the kind of devastation that occurred in Oklahoma.  I felt my faith in humanity renewed after hearing the accounts of heroes.  Then I came across this photo:https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=435525179877046&set=o.429456927083530&type=1&theater

So the teacher said a prayer, good for her.  No, that can’t be left alone though, can it?  Read the comments, about how if we had more prayer in school then things like this wouldn’t happen or comments like this:

Sherry Lynn Fahner It is a shame that we as americans have to change the way we have been doing things, and this is my opinion, because of all these foriegners and their beliefs if you don’t like the way we do things here in america go back to your own damn country prayer belongs in schools, maybe if it our children were learning prayers and about religion in school they wouldn’t be learning it later in life in jails and prisons~~~I commend this teacher~~well done!!

Like · Reply · 8 · 14 minutes ago
So now the villains come out.  They come out to push their agenda as “Christians”.  I use that term loosely because any Christian that I know worth a damn would see this as a tragedy and they would never use it to talk about how the largest religious group in America is “persecuted”.  Usually I’d let it go, and just ignore the racist, hate filled nonsense coming out of the extremists.  Something hit a nerve today, maybe it was the memory of growing up, non-religious and mixed race in the middle of a white, southern suburb.  Feeling like an outcast, and wondering how I would feel if some asshat started ranting about how anything bad that happens is because someone failed to have enough “faith”, or how being a minority meant I was spreading “bad ideas”.  Maybe it was the thought of nine dead children in Oklahoma, who probably were very good kids, and even religious, but apparently not religious enough for God to save?  It’s nonsense, it’s prejudiced and it is most definitely no the belief of the many good Christians out there.
Pray if you must.  Do not let your faith mask your prejudice though.  When you demand your right to pray, remember that there are others out there that choose to believe in something different.  Are they less of a person than you because their heritage is different?
Remember those “rights” you think you are denied?  Read the first amendment again:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Take your self-inflicted butt hurt and shove it.  This is a country of many people, many religions and many diverse backgrounds.  If you don’t like it, perhaps you should be the one that leaves.

The first thing I did with my shiny new online ordination as a minister…

I wrote my Senator, informing him that I love my guns, but I demand background checks.  I got this lovely canned response in return.  I giggle every time I see “Dear Pastor Say”
Dear Pastor Say:
Thank you for contacting me regarding federal firearms laws.  I appreciate having the benefit of your comments on this matter.
As a strong proponent of the Second Amendment, I believe it is essential to safeguard the law-abiding citizen’s constitutional right to own and use firearms designed for legitimate purposes such as hunting, target shooting, collecting, and self-protection.  Restricting this right runs counter to the intent of our Founding Fathers, who expressly guaranteed that citizens would retain the right to keep and bear arms.
It is encouraging that the Supreme Court has upheld the will of our Founders and re-affirmed the ideals our country was established upon.  The Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller provides a greater guarantee that Americans’ Constitutional rights remain secure from federal government intrusion.  I was proud to sign an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in that case stating an individual’s right to bear arms is fundamental.  This historic ruling continues to have implications far beyond the District of Columbia.  In 2010, the Supreme Court decided in McDonald v. City of Chicago to strike down the arbitrary gun ban in Chicago—and thereby affirm that the Second Amendment safeguards against state and local encroachments on the fundamental right to keep and bear arms.
As a former Texas Supreme Court Justice and Attorney General, I have firsthand knowledge of crime-fighting policies that work, and I believe that citizens’ Second Amendment rights should not be restricted because of the actions of criminals.  Rather, we must focus our attention on the source of violent crime: criminals who use firearms to commit crimes.  I believe that strictly enforcing the law—and meting out tougher sentences for career criminals and those who use firearms when committing crimes—will reduce crime more effectively than gun or equipment bans, which primarily serve to take firearms away from law-abiding citizens.
I appreciate the opportunity to represent Texans in the United States Senate, and you may be certain that I will continue working with my colleagues to protect our Second Amendment rights.  Thank you for taking the time to contact me.
Sincerely,
JOHN CORNYN
United States Senator
517 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
My original email:
Dear Senator Cornyn,
I have been an avid gun enthusiast for over 15 years. I enjoy my days at the gun range as a way of socializing with friends and colleagues. As a CHL holder and before, I never once saw an issue with submitting to a mandatory background check. To me, gun safety is everything. The last thing I would complain about is a quick check to make sure that all is in order. Your vote against the gun check bill yesterday is appalling. Unlike some of my friends, I spend the time to review the content of such items. No “database” was going to be kept, no logical sense was used in voting against this provision. The NRA has done a formidable job of inciting fear in gun owners, driving up the prices of guns and ammo, all for the benefit of their corporate members. I am outraged, I am shocked and I am disgusted at the representation of Texas. You have sold out your constituents to special interest groups.
Congratulations.

Life

I love the arguments of “Life begins at conception” so we can’t allow abortion. It’s a really great argument, except for the fact that it is completely false. A good friend of mine reminded me of a statement that Carl Sagan had regarding abortion:

“Despite many claims to the contrary, life does not begin at conception: It is an unbroken chain that stretches back nearly to the origin of the Earth, 4.6 billion years ago. Nor does human life begin at conception: It is an unbroken chain dating back to the origin of our species, hundreds of thousands of years ago. Every human sperm and egg is, beyond the shadow of a doubt, alive. They are not human beings, of course. However, it could be argued that neither is a fertilized egg.
In some animals, an egg develops into a healthy adult without benefit of a sperm cell. But not, so far as we know, among humans. A sperm and an unfertilized egg jointly comprise the full genetic blueprint for a human being. Under certain circumstances, after fertilization, they can develop into a baby. But most fertilized eggs are spontaneously miscarried. Development into a baby is by no means guaranteed. Neither a sperm and egg separately, nor a fertilized egg, is more than a potential baby or a potential adult. So if a sperm and egg are as human as the fertilized egg produced by their union, and if it is murder to destroy a fertilized egg–despite the fact that it’s only potentially a baby–why isn’t it murder to destroy a sperm or an egg?”

The conversation came up in response to a discussion regarding someone who has used in-vitro fertilization to conceive, but is anti-abortion. For those that are unaware, the process of in-vitro fertilization includes the death of many embryos in an attempt to allow fertilization. In essence “abortion” according to the definition of many Pro-Live advocates. The response to this being pointed out was a statement “I believe life starts when an embryo is implanted in a uterine wall”.

As Carl Sagan pointed out so eloquently, Sperm and Egg cells are alive (as are most socks). They are living, so is a fertilized egg. It makes no sense to condemn a person for having an abortion based on the assumption that life begins at “fertilization” or “implantation” or even when a heartbeat can be determined. Perhaps a more logical assertion is at viability. Either way, what do you do if a fetus is found to be so horribly malformed that there is zero chance for it to be viable? Do you force a woman to have a stillborn child? Why does your Judeo-Christian definition trump common sense (It’s practically unheard of), free will, and science? Do we accuse someone who kills a spider to be a murderer (or a hero)? Perhaps that particular spider would sire a line of spiders that would go on to evolve into sentient life (or at least become a reality TV star). Perhaps this is a decision between the parents, or a decision that a woman must make on her own. To accuse someone of committing murder for aborting a non-viable fetus is the equivalent of accusing a man of committing genocide for masturbating; or accusing a woman of committing murder every time she goes through her menstrual cycle.

What should be the punishment for these acts? Have you thought this through? How do you prosecute a woman who has been raped and decides to have an illegal abortion?
http://www.upworthy.com/if-youre-holding-a-sign-with-an-aborted-fetus-on-it-you-better-be-able-to-answer?c=ufb1

sperm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember, every sperm is sacred.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptTwi6-ii-s

Elections

So Elections happened this past Tuesday.  I had a paper due, so I didn’t spend time updating this blog.  All I can say is thank (God, FSM, Yoda, whatever) Obama won.  Now don’t get me wrong, in many ways Obama is not liberal enough.  I’m just glad for my family, my friends and for everyone really that we didn’t take a giant step  backwards.  Who would have figured that issues concerning women’s rights and fairness for everyone to love whomever they want would actually make the difference.  Well okay rational people who understand that going towards a theocracy would understand.

 

Thieves

It’s a sad day when you come into the office and a coworker discovers that someone stole her keyboard and mouse.  Merry Christmas…

Update,

The Keyboard and Mouse are fine, they were hidden because someone else’s laptop was stolen 🙁