November 2017
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Stephanie C. Fox

Goodreads

Journalists Are Delighted to Disgust Bigots

Journalists are delighted when bigots are disgusted that they can present anything they wish to present.

They live to do that.

It is their mission in life.

It is their raison d’être.

Okay, you get the idea. I fun iterating it several ways.

Authoritarian bigots who disdain in-depth reporting backed up by sound research can just be unhappy and stuff it, because they disdain democracy.

Journalists having full creative and research control over their reporting is what makes democracy great.

Enough of this nationalistic nonsense!

Patriotism is not about blindly making one’s own nation supreme on the planet, right or wrong.

That is the definition of an empire.

We are not the citizens of Oceania, the police surveillance state of George Orwell’s novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, no matter how happy that would make Donald J. Trump, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, Sebastian Gorka, or any other clown car Farmer currently taking up space in our non-government.

Patriotism is about a balance between the good of the majority of the people who are citizens of a nation and that of the rest. It is NOT about feeling and proceeding as if the enjoying of civil rights by a group other than one’s own somehow infringes upon that individual.

Such selfishness sees itself as persecuted and at war with other citizens, people who would have no quarrel with the selfish one(s) except for that show of insecurity.

The emotional insecurity of bigots and the greed of bankster hedge fundster corporatist Farmers is not and should not be the problem of anyone else.

The Wizard of Fraud has made himself obvious to us all by now.

Trump cares only for himself and his wounded ego, feeling everlastingly bitter over a roast by Obama that he ought to have gotten over long ago.

Instead, he is working hard to undo everything Obama did, no matter how much good he unravels…and it was a lot of good.

Trump and the dismantling of Obama’s legacy

https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-dismantling-obamas-legacy-140214491.html

We’re watching a parade of bad.

We have gone from having lawyers, scientists, physicians, nuclear physicists, engineers, and intellectuals running our government to banksters, hedge fundsters, and corporatists running it.

We went from what was best for our country to what is worst.

All this from gerrymandering, psy-ops, and a hacking of our democracy – from cheating.

This insanity shows itself when the angry ones who won’t stop supporting Trump – who haven’t yet lost their healthcare access – claim to be pleased with him.

How much damage to their own lives will it take before they wake up?

Enough of this phony patriotism, and enough already of confusing it with the real thing!

Military service is not a license to bigotry. Military service does not confer a license to be a bigot – not on a veteran, and not on an active member of any branch of the military.

I got so disgusted by the behavior and attitude of one who has served in the military that I actually posted that statement in a political chat group and asked for some discussion of it.

This is a sampling of what people said:

“Military personnel are a cross section of society at large. Past service does not change a person’s inner self. Bigots remain bigots while those with a broader vision retain that basic humanity. I served 65-69 and the number of bigots was small, while the rest of us just got along and did our job together.”

“Once a person has been proven to be a bigot, they will always be one. “A tiger does not change its stripes.” I grew up dealing with such people in a place where it happened a lot. (1968 saw a big change in the landscape – both physically and mentally – in my native city.)”

“I think people can change and have their minds opened. It doesn’t happen enough and it usually takes a special circumstance (typically very personal, like you actually get to know and like someone different than you).”

“I don’t think anyone would argue that serving in the military gives you a pass to be a bigot. Bigots would say they can be a bigot regardless, because they see nothing wrong with it, service or no service.”

“Serving in the military confers no rights (a) to feel superior to other Americans, or (b) to be a bigot or justify bigoted behavior. My 2 cents.”

“We must fight prejudice and bigotry no matter where it lies or who the speaker is. It is immoral not to speak out against a veteran or against our president when either of them spew bigoted speech. As the position of president gives no right to display and even promote bigotry, we should have no tolerance for the same behavior in a veteran. It’s sad that veterans could live and work alongside of such a diverse group of people and still cling to hateful intolerant views and speech. Call them out.”

“First the military has in many cases been at the forefront of change. The services became integrated under Truman the service-stopped segregation way before the rest of the nation. The military I found is where skills and brotherhood came first. Ask any Marine if he is white or a black Marine and his answer is he is a Marine. What the military does instill is a bond to each other, no man left behind, it also instills a leadership concept that becomes hard to stop when you move from military to civilian life. In an aircraft the pilot in the left seat is in command even if he is a 2nd Lieutenant and a four star general is in the right seat. In this case the 4-star takes orders from the very young Lieutenant. The military was first the establish most of our public higher education schools from the academies to land grant colleges. Many technology advances are directly related to the military. People seem to forget all of this. Even inventions that are not related to instruments of war.”

All comments were supportive and thoughtful, of course – and some had been in the military.

A couple of years ago, I met a guy at a social event who was in the Air Force. I don’t remember his exact job, but it had something to do with satellites, like in the Air Force commercial where the people in it are moving them out of the way of orbital debris. (I love that ad – it’s like my law thesis subject matter all over again, with any reason to invoke the treaty I studied averted.)

This guy told me that most people in the military were Republicans. I could believe that; my great-uncle, a three-star Air Force general and World War II flying ace, was one.

But “most” does not mean all.

What I would like to find from military people is a statement that they are fighting to preserve our ability to think and say what we want, not what those in the military want us to think and say.

That’s freedom and democracy.

We should not be expected and required to be religious – especially in a nation that was founded with the concept of a separation of religion and state.

The “under God” bit of the pledge to the flag was added in 1954 during the McCarthy political witch-hunting era. It is a relic of an assault on our democracy that ought to have been deleted long ago, as it conflicts with the requirement for a separation of religion and state.

I always say the pledge of allegiance without the “under God” bit. No goddess…I’m an atheist…I’m not saying that! No United States citizen can be legally required to say it if they don’t believe in it. (See the U.S. Constitution, 1st Amendment.)

There should be no prayers with government officials.

Just work.

Thoughts and prayers do nothing to help disaster victims.

Deeds are what counts.

Throwing paper towels at them is an insult.

But that’s what a bigot is like.

Trump looked like a buffoon and alternately an Alzheimer’s patient as he threw rolls of paper towels to people in Puerto Rico.

He doesn’t want to live up to his responsibility to most of the citizens he agreed to work for.

He only wants to do that for the few that he likes.

That is the essence of a dictator, and of someone who is unfit to serve in the office he is currently taking up space in.

Last year, as I was watching movies on television (a favorite pastime of mine), one caught my attention: Junebug.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junebug_(film)

Junebug mostly takes place in the present, in North Carolina. Though it was surely Trump country, there were no political signs up in the suburban neighborhoods there, but that was not the point. The point of this movie was to hold a mirror up to that part of America. To do this, a pair of foreign actors who often work together were hired to play the lead roles.

The couple was from Chicago, and recently married. The wife came with her husband to North Carolina to strike a deal with a local artist and to meet the in-laws. To further emphasis just how different she was from her in-laws, the writers made her a British woman (likely a naturalized citizen, but with an Anglican upbringing) and a political liberal. This cultural difference served to highlight the rural, religious, right-leaning bent of the people she met in North Carolina. Her husband was a quiet, college-educated guy who didn’t talk about his political leanings.

The new wife saw that urban sophistication was not merely out of place there, but frowned upon.

Her brother-in-law worked at Replacements Limited as a packager while pursuing his G.E.D.

Replacements Limited is a real business, founded and run by a gay man. It is a one-of-a-kind enterprise; it supplies people with discontinued but valuable and elegant dishes with replacements if one breaks. My family has ordered from it, and been very satisfied.

That business was in the news a couple of years ago for a stupid reason: bigots found out that the owner is gay and decided to boycott it. I found this both obnoxious and hilarious. ‘Good luck getting replacements when your dishes break,’ I thought, recalling my online search for dishes when that gravy boat broke. I only found this company. I hope the bigots can’t find what they want elsewhere. I’m just vindictive like that when people are narrow-minded or mean. I take the side of the person or people who were on the receiving end of bullying.

A Company’s Stand for Gay Marriage, and Its Cost

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/26/business/replacements-limiteds-stand-for-gay-marriage-draws-repercussions.html

The owner of Replacements Limited was treated to a barrage of hate mail for using his profits to fight a bill in North Carolina that would make gay marriage illegal. Those are HIS profits to do with as he pleases. He was also accused of adopting children just so that he could molest them. People are crazy! He just wanted to be a parent, and would have married his boyfriend if he could have done so.

It is worth noting that, no matter where one looks, the population includes some of everything: liberals, bigots, gays, heterosexuals, Aspies, neurotypicals, and so on. This movie showed Trump country – an area where Trump would find many voters when he ran for President over a decade after it was made – yet the brother-in-law worked at a gay-owned company there.

But back to the movie: the younger brother’s wife was pregnant, and convinced that a baby would save their marriage. She was also convinced that eating enough to nourish herself and the fetus would make her too fat and also ruin their marriage…which made for an outcome to her pregnancy that she did not desire.

The local preacher induced a moment that was both awkward and revealing when he asked the Chicago-transplant husband to open the Bible to a random page and sing whatever was on that page. He had a lovely voice, but it was incongruous to see and hear an educated man do this, and it smacked of pleasing his community rather than sincere belief – to avoid making waves during a visit home. The husband only did this because he was asked to do it. The new British Chicagoan wife turned and stared, shocked, yet she made sure to maintain a polite, neutral-enough facial expression.

This was what she had married into.

She liked her new parents-in-law, even though they did not understand snarky or bawdy humor. Her father-in-law quickly understood her and did not condemn her for laughing at his verbal lapse over a lost screwdriver that she had found under the crib (“I thought I did some screwing in here”), realizing that she meant no malice by it. He simply could not share in the joke, but that was all.

She saw that the people of Trump country were not – none that she met – murderous, yet they said some terrible, bigoted things. The artist she signed a contract with chose her over the New York competitor simply to avoid dealing with a Jew. He didn’t even know Jews! He had met one – ONE – and denied him a deal on that count. She was shocked again, but wisely didn’t get into any fights. She already stood out as different. The North Carolina residents could see that she was a liberal, a city-slicker, a businesswoman, and not like them. But she was the out-of-town son’s wife, so she was family, and that was all there was to that.

The characters wisely refrained from straying from that acknowledgement. Our nation is just that divided by education, politics, rural versus urban culture, and more – region by region. Everyone in this movie was white, yet these differences and loomed large in the plot nonetheless. (Movies can only cover so much in one story, but this polite silence would have broken more than just when the art deal was struck had characters of other racial and cultural backgrounds than British been in the mix.)

Her husband seemed happy to have moved away from this, evidenced by his comment at the end as they drove back toward Chicago: “I’m so glad we’re out of there.”

I watched them go down the highway and was glad for them too.

It may be terribly elitist of me to value science, law, and research over emotion and religion, but I shall continue to do so just the same.

I shall continue to seek out people from cultures other than my own, learn about them, try their food (if it doesn’t include organs, beef, pork, cabbage – we all have our quirks!), and get to know and appreciate them as people while showing them the same about myself and my own culture and cuisine.

That is the kind of America that we ought to value.

It will prepare us well to help others, Americans or not, and to treat them well.

I don’t want to look back at my life and feel any shame about how I interacted with others.

I want to be glad that I helped when I could, that I voted not only for myself but for the good of the future of our country, thinking of its ecosystems, its laws, and its democracy.

Also, the test of any culture and legal system is how it treats women.

Flunk that and I’m done – I won’t hold it in high esteem.

Another test is in whether or not we have an authoritarian with a short attention span or a democratic intellectual for a leader. Come to think of it, we only have a leader in the latter.

We don’t have a leader now.

We have a squatter in our executive mansion – one with a weak ego and a short attention span.

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