When Good Legislation Goes Bad

Yes, it means exactly what it says. Legislators can put forth a great piece of legislation, beautifully written and fair and thorough; a piece of work that the people would love. But then its submitted for perusal by their peers in the Senate and the House of Representatives, where its beaten, tortured, slashed, twisted and manipulated into being nearly completely useless. Or perhaps it sounds good on the surface, but when you dig into its depths it becomes clear what its real purpose is. Or perhaps it renders yet another good piece of legislation useless.

Take, for instance Georgia Senator Josh McKoon’s submission of his Religious Freedom Bill. Like so many of the bills submitted for a vote, it sounds like it could be a very good thing. But, when you start digging, you realize that it could circumvent the effectiveness of the first amendment right to freedom of religion. However, this bill, if passed would nullify freedom of religion on the whim of any business owner. It essentially allows them to deny their employees their rights by claiming it goes against their own religion. This is a slippery slope ladies and gentlemen. This opens the door wide for discrimination wrapped in the very constitutional rights we already have, disguised as something new. Well it’s new alright, a new way to put the whims of the wealthy ahead of the rights of the working class.

Think about how you would feel to know your freedom to live as you choose were eliminated in favor of your boss’s idea of how you should be living. On a small scale, for the sake of understanding, suppose your boss were a tee totaling Christian who disapproves of anyone drinking and he saw your vehicle parked at the local bar. You could be given your walking papers because you’re not the kind of person he wants working for him, all for doing something you enjoy on your own time.

Consider this. You are a skilled worker with 20 years invested and all the best certifications as evidence that you’re the best at what you do. But your job was outsourced to China. Along comes a new company that’s going to give jobs to a community that’s starving for them and you and your co-workers have a good chance of working again at less than what you were making, but more than the average joe. You put in your application but you never hear anything. Come to find out months later that the owner is Jewish and decided only other Jewish people should work for him because they’re the only ones who would be a credit to his company. So he filed your resume in the old familiar file 13, the tin bin at the corner of his desk. But don’t worry, the company recycles. Not fair? Neither is this bill.

Now you might say these things will never happen to you. You’re a white, American male Christian and this kind of thing is not acceptable in the great United States of America. But you’d be wrong. You’re mistakenly thinking that your legislators and people with money value you. They don’t. They will throw you under the bus for a buck. This bill is specifically designed to do two things. As a Republican, the author of this bill is looking to make it okay for his patrons to discriminate against women (via denying them their own healthcare choices) and LGBTQ individuals. But this law opens the door for ANY kind of discrimination; they only need call it against their religion. And the only thing you need do to get caught in their sights is to offend them in anyway, whether intentional or not.


Empty Shackles

Am I chained by gender rules
To this private womb
Made public by morals
Not my own.

Imprisoned in femininity
By a public entity
Poisoned by power
Demanding dominance

Am I to be
Prisoner to pregnancy
Denied choices, living
In forced dependency.

Police Lives Matter

A young friend of mine posted this on his Facebook wall. #Policelivesmatter, share if you agree. No one has said they don’t matter. I’d attribute it to his age that he is missing the point in the protest statement that #blacklivesmatter except for the fact that his father responded with “This is a very sad commentary on the state of our country at this point in time. Sad indeed.” I would agree with his father’s statement except he said it in support of what his son posted, not as a true statement that while his son felt the need to remind people that the lives of police lives matter in response to the statement that black lives matter, he did not grasp the reasoning behind the protests.

The deaths of the police officers were in the line of duty as they lay their lives on the line every day. And yes, their lives do matter. And their deaths are just as senseless as that of Michael Brown and all the other young black men who have died at the hands of police officers. Senseless in that they shouldn’t have had to die. ANY of them. But no one is protesting the deaths of the police officers. Instead of proclaiming that their lives matter too in the face of these protests, he and anyone who felt the need to respond this way should have first asked themselves, Why? What makes the deaths of these young black men and boys different from the deaths of the police officers? Justice.

In the death of Michael Brown, justice was not served. I’m not saying the police officer should have been imprisoned, We don’t know that. But the point in the protests is that we never will. ANY time a suspect dies by police, it should be investigated. ESPECIALLY if we’re talking death by gun shot for a man or boy who is unarmed. And no, I’m not saying that every police officer should be convicted for every shooting either. Far too often when someone makes a statement like that, the opposition jumps to the extreme conclusion when it’s just not necessary. What I’m saying and what all the protesters are saying is that he should have gone to trial.\

The grand jury in the case of the death of Michael Brown was mishandled by the prosecution. IN MANY WAYS. I have attended a grand jury. The accused was not allowed to attend, much less to testify. The prosecutor in this case acted as a defense attorney, and treated this case as a full jury trial. These actions called into question how it was handled by judges and attorneys throughout the country. Attorneys I know were saying “wait a minute, what?” Michael Brown, no matter what led to his confrontation with police, did not get justice. He got convicted because of the color of his skin to a sentence of death at the hands of a police officer, who acted as judge, jury and executioner WITHOUT regard to the offense he committed not being a death sentence offense.

When it comes down to it, no one is protesting the deaths. They’re protesting the injustices. They’re protesting the fact that a black man can’t walk down a street without putting his life in danger. Not even a black police officer in civilian clothes. There is a thin line between acting in the line of duty and police brutality. And statistics say black men and boys are the victims of it more often than any other demographic. Statements like #policelivesmatter in response to these events just make it more clear that society NEEDS to be reminded that #blacklivesmatter. This response proves that those who do respond that way have no idea of the struggles that black people still face today. Just because you have not seen it personally (and yes that includes politicians like Dr Ben Carson and Allen West) doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It does. Spend one month in a ghetto. You’ll see it surrounding you. I have seen it myself. I watched a woman go out to sell herself to put food on her table and a young black boy get arrested for selling marijuana to help his mother make rent. I’ve seen friends discriminated against in the workplace and then told by the very union that is supposed to protect them that it’s not worth the fallout it would cause to fight it. Prejudice and discrimination is alive and well and rampant throughout the country. And no, not just in the south. I saw it in Upstate New York.

This portion of this commentary is essential to the point because the fact that we don’t see what they face every day as a society is exactly why they protest. They are crying out to say “This is happening. It needs to stop. Help us to stop it.” And you respond with #policelivesmatter….may as well say “No, black lives don’t matter.” Well, ALL lives matter. The black ones are the ones that are being ignored or disregarded. And we as a society need the reminder. Where’s your compassion?

Homosexuality: A new perspective

Disclaimer: Its not what it looks like.

Homosexuality is a sin! And like all sins, it should be punished in every way a good Christian can come up with. No holds barred! So deny them their humanity. They are less than human, so deny them basic human rights. Put them all in concentration camps so their disease won’t spread. They are unnatural, they go against nature and we should pray the gay away or send them to gay conversion therapy. They must be fixed or condemned. There is no other answer. This is a horrible sin and they must be taught better or punished.

Matthew 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 7:1-2 Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged. And with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

That young girl that looks more like a boy than a girl is struggling with who she is. She does so in the face of bullying and abuse, both at home and at school. And that young boy who always wears black and lets his hair grow long to cover his eyes , the one who never looks you in the eye, perhaps he’s suffering abuses that you don’t see. Perhaps his father would kick him out if he knew who he really was. Does this not place them both firmly among the meek? Just because you don’t approve of them does not mean they are monsters. They’re human, just like you.

There have been many documented cases of hermaphrodites. People born with both male and female organs are not unheard of. It’s a genetic anomaly. Simply something that occurs naturally but is outside the norm. Those who don’t understand this call them unnatural, but it has not been explained as being the result of any cause. It just happens. Therefore, it’s a naturally occurring phenomenon. So we acknowledge it as unusual but part of the natural world. So why it is so hard to believe that homosexuality is also a natural occurrence? Why is it impossible to accept that, sometimes a person can have a male brain in a female body or vice versa?

Perhaps homosexuality is nature’s way of slowing human population growth. Of course their bodies are capable of reproduction, but it is physically impossible for two men or two women exclusive to one another to reproduce without stepping outside of their perspective relationships. If they are committed and devoted to one another, they don’t want to hurt one another by doing such a thing. So their reproduction is carefully planned. There are no accidental children in gay families. (except the possibility that one of the two moms could be raped)

Being gay is no different a trait than being a reader, a musician, a math geek or an artist, except for one thing. People aren’t abused, neglected, subjected to cruel ‘therapies’ etc. for being any one of these things. And they certainly are not denied their civil rights. No one demands that musicians be kept in camps to pray their talents out of them. No one suggests psychological torture to change any of these traits.

Just because they aren’t like you does not make them less human. It does not make them sick, deranged or freaks of nature. It does not make them pedophiles. (that is a totally different breed of creature)

Jesus never spoke of homosexuality. He spoke of loving thy neighbor as thyself. He spoke of understanding and love of thy fellow man. He spoke of caring for the sick and feeding the poor. I doubt he would approve of denying anyone the comfort of these commands because you deem them unworthy. If you’re going to claim Christianity, you don’t get to quote the Old Testament as reason for you mistreating any fellow human being. Christ presented a whole new set of rules for you to follow. And while there are perhaps lessons to be learned in the Old Testament, the rules set forth by Jesus are the ones the Bible commands that you follow.

Chew on that for a while.

Columbus NOW

Whether people admit it or not, women are under attack. And not just physical attacks like rape and domestic violence. They’re also attacking our rights. And it’s being done on multiple levels. The reason so many people don’t believe it is not just because the politicians are denying it. It’s because the right wing media is hiding it while they slowly chip away at the legal weapons we have to fight it.

Why would anyone want to redefine rape? Rape is rape. If a woman doesn’t want to have sex with a man and he forces her to, that is rape. If she says no, that’s rape. If he drugs her or gets her drunk and forces himself on her, that is rape. If she is unconscious, she cannot say no, that’s rape. Who’s going to fight this redefinition if we don’t speak up for ourselves and each other? No one will. It’s up to us.

Why would anyone be interested in giving a rapist the right to visitation with a child who is the result of his rape of the child’s mother? So he can terrorize her again, repeatedly, with the law on his side? This would make a woman’s life a living hell. Why would they want to punish a woman for being raped? Hasn’t she already been punished enough? Why SHOULD a man have a say in whether or not a woman can abort a zygote put there by brutality on her body? What makes anyone think they have the right to do so? Who’s going to teach them that this is not okay if we don’t?

We all, but especially women, need to stand up and say human beings are human beings regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, race, creed, or religion and if there is any God given right, it’s to be treated as a human being. That means not only not being called a piece of meat or an animal, it also means not being controlled or manipulated by another human who thinks he is superior. It means not being owned, controlled or oppressed. It means being allowed to make our own decisions about how to live our lives. It means deciding what courses of action are best for us. It means being granted the same rights as every other human.

If you are in the Columbus, Georgia area, and you believe in women’s rights, equality, equal pay, and equal protection for women under the law, please join us in bringing to Columbus a chapter of the National Organization for Women. Let your voices be heard. Contact me on Facebook for details.

A little food for thought

I live in the South where I tend to be surrounded by pro-gun fanatics, or at least that’s who speaks the loudest on the issue. Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to eliminate guns in America. And here’s a little secret, very few liberals do. That being said, I want to submit a little something for your scrutiny.

People have gotten far too touchy about guns in America, and it’s getting more dangerous every day. Listen to the conversations going on all around you. It’s gotten to the point that people are terrified that someone’s out to get them, their family members, and their stuff. And it doesn’t help that the economy is bad enough that people are desperate and crime is becoming an option. Well, that or an act of desperation. We just had two robberies not far from here and both of those were gas stations. That’s not including the car and house break-ins. People are arming themselves.

Now I’m not going to tell you that people don’t have a right to do so. But doesn’t it make sense that they should be required to learn how to use the guns they’re purchasing? I mean think about it. What’s scarier than a terrified person with a loaded weapon? And who are they a danger to? ALL of us, that’s who. Themselves, their own families, anyone coming in their house, include babysitters, the kids’ boy and girlfriends, neighbors seeing to the dog while you were on vacation. Hell, even a girl scout selling cookies got shot the other day. (http://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2015/02/05/pkg-girl-scout-shot-getting-ready-sell-cookies.wish)

And NOW, the Supreme Court has decided its okay for police officers to storm into your house without a warrant and without even knocking. Any police officer that’s okay with storming into people’s houses without warning them who they are is either crazy or obviously not considering the mentality of today’s American citizens. Innocent people, both cops and residents are at risk. If they don’t know you from a home invader, you could get shot just as easily as the punk down the street looking for cash and jewelry.

Back up. Just a few steps. THINK about what just happened. How can it be avoided? For one, the home owner is on the defensive. Someone just busted his door down. Wouldn’t it have been safer to knock and say “Police, open up” before putting yourself in harm’s way? The home owner’s blood is pumping, he’s scared and he’s mad at the same time which often cloud’s one’s judgment and makes their trigger finger itchy. And he hasn’t had the kind of training you’ve had so he’s a danger to you. You’re already on the defensive. You’re a cop. But now you have a scared and unpredictable man with a gun to face. So he’s ready to shoot you and you’re ready to shoot him. And he’d have been less ready to shoot you had you knocked and let him know who you are.

And while we’re thinking about the other guy whose house you just broke into, how can we possibly calm him down so he’s not so likely to shoot you? Think, Officer, what makes you more confident in your ability to handle your weapon? Practice? Training? Would you do it anyway, even if it wasn’t part of the job? Wouldn’t it make sense to put the home owner through a training program so that he was more confident and less likely to have an accident with it?

Hopefully he doesn’t have an assault rifle. He could take out you and all your friends and his own family too before he even regained control of such a weapon if he doesn’t have enough training or experience with such a gun. What would you suggest that would help with that? I won’t touch that one any further. I’ll admit, those scare me in the hands of anyone that doesn’t have military training. And even former military could be suffering from PTSD and could hurt someone they don’t mean to hurt. So we’ll leave that for a later date.

Now I know that I just combined the no knock warrant and the stand your ground laws. I’m just endeavoring to coax you, the reader into thinking about what could happen in such a situation. You are not Rambo. You are not Sargent Riggs of the LAPD. Hell, even Rambo and Sargent Riggs aren’t Rambo and Sargent Riggs. That’s all special effects. They make it look good because of the abilities of the editors and cameramen and stunt personnel. In real life, it just isn’t that cool. Ask any real, seasoned police officer who’s ever faced it.

And consider this. That untrained neighbor could be looking at you and thinking he’d have to kill you if you became trigger happy and endangered HIS family in the process of defending yours.

Language Corruption

There is a “disconnect” between hearing and understanding.
It never ceases to amaze me when I say something in the language I grew up speaking to someone else who also grew up speaking what we perceive to be the same language and yet they fail to grasp what I’ve said. It’s especially confounding when they whole heartedly agree with me to my face but their actions state exactly the opposite. I asked an uber conservative a few years back what her thoughts were on what a liberal is. What she came up with, and yes, she and her HUSBAND talked it over and came up with a definition, was so off base it nearly brought me to tears. Another saw the dictionary definition of the term posted on Facebook and ranted over how ridiculously off base she thought the definition was. I hung my head and wondered when words stopped meaning what their root word plus their prefix or suffix put together should mean. What have they done to my language?

Now you might read the previous statement and wonder, “who’s she accusing of doing something to the language?” Your hunch would be right.
Throughout the history of man, languages have grown, evolved, changed and even mixed. That is the natural evolution of language. However, what’s been done now is not in the least bit natural. To make up words as Shakespeare did is one thing. To assign a whole new meaning to an old word is quite another. It’s perfectly okay to look at a word and say okay, this means one thing and this means another so together they have a new meaning that is a melding of the two original meanings. The word Face means the part of the head where one’s eyes, nose and mouth are located. The term book is something you read. The term Facebook is an entity where one can post pictures of one’s face and show ones personality in a format others can read. This is a perfectly acceptable and respectable new word. However, it’s a fallacy not to mention an extreme stretch to say the term liberal, which means:
believing that government should be active in supporting social and political change : relating to or supporting political liberalism
Liberal : of or belonging to the liberal political party in countries like Canada and the United Kingdom
: not opposed to new ideas or ways of behaving that are not traditional or widely accepted
Full Definition of LIBERAL
a : of, relating to, or based on the liberal arts <liberal education>
b archaic : of or befitting a man of free birth
a : marked by generosity : openhanded <a liberal giver>
b : given or provided in a generous and openhanded way <a liberal meal>
c : ample, full
obsolete : lacking moral restraint : licentious
: not literal or strict : loose <a liberal translation>
: broad-minded; especially : not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or traditional forms
a : of, favoring, or based upon the principles of liberalism
b capitalized : of or constituting a political party advocating or associated with the principles of political liberalism; especially : of or constituting a political party in the United Kingdom associated with ideals of individual especially economic freedom, greater individual participation in government, and constitutional, political, and administrative reforms designed to secure these objectives
That’s its definition according to Merriam-Webster. But to say that it no longer means that, it means a lazy, good for nothing, trashy person who thinks the government owes them a living is to corrupt its meaning. The term “liberal” is a derivative of the term “liberate”, which means to free. Which means a liberal minded person is a person with an open mind or who thinks freely, as in without limitations. It denotes a flexibility of thinking. And open minded often goes hand in hand with open hearted, or compassionate.
On the flip side, there is the conservative. The dictionary definition of this term is as follows:
Full Definition of CONSERVATIVE
: preservative
a : of or relating to a philosophy of conservatism
b capitalized : of or constituting a political party professing the principles of conservatism: as (1) : of or constituting a party of the United Kingdom advocating support of established institutions (2) : progressive conservative
a : tending or disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions : traditional
b : marked by moderation or caution <a conservative estimate>
c : marked by or relating to traditional norms of taste, elegance, style, or manners
: of, relating to, or practicing Conservative Judaism
This is rather limited into a circle unto itself when trying to understand exactly what the party stands for so one must break it down into the definition of conservatism, which is as follows:
Full Definition of CONSERVATISM
a : the principles and policies of a Conservative party
b : the Conservative party
a : disposition in politics to preserve what is established
b : a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change; specifically : such a philosophy calling for lower taxes, limited government regulation of business and investing, a strong national defense, and individual financial responsibility for personal needs (as retirement income or health-care coverage)
: the tendency to prefer an existing or traditional situation to change
There even appears to be a disconnection between the conservative and the base word even though they both have official definitions in the Meriam Webster dictionary. To conserve is as follows:
verb con•serve \kən-ˈsərv\
: to keep (something) safe from being damaged or destroyed
: to use (something) carefully in order to prevent loss or waste
Full Definition of CONSERVE
transitive verb
: to keep in a safe or sound state <he conserved his inheritance>; especially : to avoid wasteful or destructive use of <conserve natural resources>
: to preserve with sugar
: to maintain (a quantity) constant during a process of chemical, physical, or evolutionary change <conserved DNA sequences>
As you can see from the definitions, they differ quite extensively though from the same base and the words with suffixes vastly stray from the base word. This is not a natural progress of word evolution. The suffixes are supposed to expand the meaning of the base. They are not supposed to completely change the meanings of the words. The supposedly conservative political parties are not conserving anything. They are not protecting the interests of the people. They are not avoiding waste or destructive use of anything. They are preserving the ability of the rich to take unfair advantage of the middle class and the poor. These words no longer fit what their roots imply.
The fact that words have vastly strayed from what they’re supposed to mean has resulted in those who accept these changes and those that understand the words for the way they’re supposed to work and have always worked in the past to have completely different understanding of what the world is based on the way they understand the words describing it to mean. How are we to find common ground with such a vast gulf in the language itself?
More on this at a later date.