The Rights We’re Fighting For

The Rights We’re Fighting For Are Yours Too
The First Amendment

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.

I have recently made a comment about a meme I saw in which it compared the women at the Million Woman March and sister marches all over the world to women in the military. It was belittling the women of the marches. It struck me as a complete fallacy and I pointed it out, to which the poster completely missed my point. She was one who doesn’t want to hear anything contrary to her own views and got defensive immediately. I wasn’t insulting her; I was merely stating that it was comparing apples to oranges. The reasons for the two groups marching are completely different. The soldiers are sworn to defend the Constitution, yes, but their marching is a part of the job they signed up for. The Million Woman March was about the rights our own government is trying to deny us under this new administration. So the only comparison I see is that they defend the very rights we are exercising. You would think they would feel good about the fact that we’re actually using the rights they defend instead of letting them lie dormant and unused. If we do that, we will most surely lose them. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.

I will state that no, I don’t understand conservative thought patterns any more than they understand liberal ones. I don’t understand how any woman could support donald trump when he has been very vocally anti-woman and has even bragged about committing sexual assault and getting away with it. Did you not learn at any point in life that sometimes a man just says what he thinks you want to hear to get you to do what he wants? To listen to what someone says and not pay attention to what he does is putting yourself in a vulnerable position to be taken unfair advantage of. And of course when that happens, you get the blame for putting yourself in that position. That is where rape culture was born. And chalking it up to “locker room talk” encourages the behavior because they got away with it, so they’ll continue to do it. And believing that something never happened because they told you so and ignoring that fact when someone shows you video proof is willful ignorance. You become the victim of gas-lighting when you do that because you’re buying into the illusion of innocence. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.

I see so much out there that is critical to the protesters in that they are being judged. Another commenter said that half the people out there didn’t even know why they were there. I was there and everyone there except perhaps the little ones knew exactly what they were doing there. Even some of the little ones did. Between signs, conversations, t-shirts, buttons and chants, everyone had a valid reason to address during that march. There were many, but all of them were born of the acidic vitriol that came out of the trump campaign. There is much fear and rage out there over the things that he promised his followers that put us all at risk. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.

To assume that the marchers were all out there for the same reason is to make an assumption with no facts. Try a Google search of the protest. There are literally hundreds of signs posted on Facebook alone that were at the actual protests that address a multitude of reasons for protest. All of those signs all boil down to one thing. The protesters fear that they’re losing rights under this administration. More than just reproductive rights. More than just equality. More than just one issue. I alone made signs for multiple reasons. All of our concerns should be addressed. All of our voices should be heard. Not just by the new administration but by the supporters of it as well. Pay attention. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too. You might think we’re fighting for something we already have but you’re not paying attention if you think there is no threat to them. The truth is, trump has threatened the first amendment multiple times already. If we allow him to attack a primary constitutional right specifically mentioned first in the Bill of Rights, they will slowly pick away at the others as well. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.

I know the first argument will be that his threat to the media is only those reporting lies, but the ones reporting lies are not the ones he’s attacking. He is attacking the respected media outlets that have earned their place as respectable reporting entities. He is attacking those who report anything he dislikes, even if there is documented proof of it. And 6 reporters have been arrested and charged with a felony for rioting because they were on protest sights reporting on those protests. We can’t allow this to happen. (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/25/business/media/journalists-arrested-trump-inauguration.html?_r=0) that’s the NEW YORK TIMES ladies and gentlemen, not just some fly by night organization that just popped up over the last few years. Not just some tabloid on tv organization. The New York Times….The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.

The first amendment gives us the right to free speech, free press, peaceful assembly and the right to petition the government for redress of grievances. All of these things are involved in our protests. To arrest people for exercising our first amendment rights is a violation of the Constitution of the United States. Yet there are states that have bills on their agenda trying to criminalize the right to peaceful assembly and petition the government for redress of grievances. (http://www.snopes.com/lawmakers-criminalize-peaceful-protest/) Yes, Snopes is a legitimate source. They are a fact checking organization. And the article does say they are definitely on the agenda, but that none have passed into law. These are the things we need to pay attention to. This is a FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHT they’re trying to criminalize. They’re trying to chip away at the foundation of the Constitution ladies and gentlemen. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.
Yes, we have a problem with the right trying to criminalize and ban abortion. You can’t legislate morality because morality is subject to individual interpretation and some of us believe it to be more moral to spare our offspring a short and extremely painful death than to force it to feel that pain. YOU DO NOT KNOW what leads a woman to the decision to have an abortion. You don’t even know when you see a pregnant woman going to a Planned Parenthood office if her fetus is even viable. A D & C is also performed at Planned Parenthood. This is done after a fetal demise, yet people who insist on judging these women stand outside of Planned Parenthood offices and brutalize these women for their decisions without knowing the first thing about them. Stop judging when you don’t know what’s going on. And stop supporting legislators who want to force these women to risk their lives to carry out a pregnancy without knowing the circumstances either. These decisions need to remain between a woman and her doctor, NOT her legislator. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.

Stop trying to force your beliefs on everyone else. Science is real. Scientists have made a career of studying their choice of scientific field. They have devoted their lives to it. Just because you don’t know the difference between a theory and a scientific theory does not give you the right to discredit their research and make assumptions about it, much less to allow lawmakers to make laws governing it. Science is responsible for every advance to improve human life. Open a book. Not just any book. Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly don’t know anything but their right wing propaganda. Open a book by A SCIENTIST. The rights we are fighting for are yours too.

Open a medical Journal. Learn about genetics. Explore how genetics works and learn that there are genetic variations that people might find to be odd but they recur in nature more commonly than you might think. Like genetic mutations that cause a human being to be born with more than one set of reproductive organs. If that can happen, then being born with a male identity in a female body and vice versa is also not only feasible but occurs often. Quit making assumptions and do some research. The rights we are fighting for are yours too.

Ask yourself this question. Look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself if you think everyone you meet sees you the same way you see yourself. If you have any critical thinking skills whatsoever, you know that they don’t. So do you want people that don’t know you making assumptions about you and condemning you for it and stripping you of your rights based on an assumption? That is exactly what is happening. Pay attention. The rights we are fighting for are yours too.

Stop assuming that because it gets cold, Global Warming is not real. ALL scientists agree it’s real. The only people that say it’s not are politicians. And if we let it go and continue in the direction we’re going, we will kill ourselves when we kill our planet. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.

Multiple species of animals are dying due to the actions of humans. This is not natural selection; this is human beings becoming the cancer that is killing the whole planet. We have to do the right thing for all of us, for our children and future generations. The Bible doesn’t defend your denying what’s happening. We’re supposed to be stewards of our planet. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.
Start paying attention….before it’s too late.

Declaration

To be free is to be able to live as I choose;
To decide who I am;
To decide who to love and be allowed
To marry my choice.

To be free is to be able to plan
How to build my future;
To educate myself where I choose
And in what field without restriction;
To choose when, how and how many
Children to bear.

To be free is to do as I please
And go where I will
Regardless of the color of my skin,
The religion I choose or lack thereof,
Or the origin of my heritage;
To not be judged and restricted for these choices.

If we allow regulation of our personal choices
We are not free.

Conflagration

The house is on fire
A slow burn
Threatens to reach
The gas lines

The flames lick
The windows
Breaking the glass
Gasping for air

Ashes and embers
Take to the sky
Free to alight
On the neighbor’s roof

We must regain
A tight control
Lest the neighborhood
Be reduced to cinders.

The Disconnect in Understanding

The day after Dark Friday and my like-minded friends and I loaded up and headed to Atlanta for the protest for social justice. The highest office in the land is now occupied by the noxious donald j trump; A man who ran a campaign of hate, misogyny, racism, xenophobia and lies. As we traveled through torrential rain toward the College Park Marta station, we got better acquainted and discussed our compatible political views as well as the events taking place at the dawn of this nauseating change in direction of our beloved country. One thought is prominent over all others in my mind. The fact that our conservative peers think we are just sad and defeated that our candidate lost. They couldn’t be more wrong about what motivates the majority of the protestors participating in the events of the day. While yes, we are sad and feel defeated, these emotions are not nearly as petty as that, they go much deeper.

In all of my discussions with people during the election campaign process through completion, I find that there is one thing that they fail to understand about us (Us being all of us). It’s that we do not think the same way. We are ‘wired’ completely differently. This is not just our team lost and the other team won for us. We feel this dangerous to our country. They don’t seem to grasp why we feel that way. That’s not to say they are all incapable of understanding, I think some are if they’re willing to listen. Whether they are willing to accept the information that might make them see things differently is another story. Some will stubbornly hold on to their beliefs and refuse to hear any new information. I have to hold on to the belief that there are conservatives out there open to new information. I hope that human nature is still similar enough on both sides that some are open minded and accepting of new information. We can’t change the core of who someone is. That would be a waste of time. However, we can educate each other and I believe there is something to learn from each and every person one encounters. It’s just a matter of whether or not you’re open to learning it. These are the people I write to.

So what I propose to do here is to present a bit of who I am and why I see things the way I do. Perhaps this will give someone a better understanding of where these protests are coming from. There are so many issues that brought protesters to these events. Yes, some were Hillary Clinton supporters who felt that she was cheated, but we cannot change the views of those who hate her whether their reasoning is legitimate or not, will not be changed by that demographic. Consequently, I will not even address that. It would be a waste time. So I’m going to address my views that many people like me share whether they supported Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders or any other candidate on the ballots of the 2016 election.

While I am an amateur journalist who blogs without pay currently, I am still a journalist. My first amendment rights are deeply important to me for this reason. The Founding Fathers said of the Bill of Rights in its preamble, “The Conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution.” (1) Their intention of the Bill of Rights according to this preamble was essentially to protect the rights of the States but also the rights of the people from the overreach of the Federal Government. While Republicans have repeatedly claimed to be the ones protecting the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, the actions of the new Administration immediately attacked the 1st amendment. While those who support trump will say this is not true, and that The Washington Post is not a dependable source, their article, found here https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/02/26/donald-trump-vows-to-open-up-libel-laws-to-make-suing-the-media-easier-heres-how-he-could-do-it/?utm_term=.f07068986fe6 released an actual video of him making the threat to “open up the libel laws” so that the media can be sued. The first thing Adolph Hitler did in 1933 was very similar. They bought out the newspapers in order to control the media so that the people only heard what the Nazi’s wanted them to hear. (http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/nazi-germany/newspapers-in-nazi-germany/ ) To make such a threat is to slowly start to chip away at the people’s trust in the media so as to eliminate any news that is contrary to what they want you to believe. So if they deny the legitimacy of news organizations long in business and long been considered revered sources and want to control what we are told, why should we trust them? And if they succeed in suppressing the voice of the media, what will they suppress next. This is exactly what the Founding Fathers intended to avoid when including the Bill of Rights. I was raised that when someone tells you something, first ask yourself what the person telling you thinks they have to gain from telling you.

While this is one of the more important aspects of progressive views to me, it’s not my only concern. In viewing the signs carried by protesters at the Atlanta march, I found that many of my concerns are voiced by many others. I have worked in the business end of healthcare for nearly 24 years. Having done so, I have long believed reform was needed. I did support the ACA but recognized that it was not by any means perfect. However, repeal is not the answer. Adjustments are desperately needed in many aspects of the law, some of which were excluded from the law that were actually in the original bill. I saw many of them there when I read much of it for myself and absent from the version that passed which I also read for myself. I’m not saying I have read the law in its entirety, but I have read a generous amount of it. I saw much that we needed that should not be eliminated by anyone claiming to be compassionate. For most of the law was created in order to protect consumers from abusive business practices and its elimination leaves the most vulnerable completely vulnerable to those abuses once again. Copies of the ACA can be found on PDF downloadable https://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/about-the-law/read-the-law/index.html at least for now. More can be found at https://www.congress.gov/bill/111th-congress/house-bill/3590 . I found in my research both before and after the law was passed, that the ideas addressed by the bill and what passed as law had many differences and the original bill was much better in my humble opinion. I found flaws in both the bill and the law however, and know why its opponents didn’t like it. I did not agree with most of what they didn’t like but I could see where they were coming from on some of their reasons for opposition. I just felt that the law was a step in the right direction. As with most laws, once on the books, they can be adjusted to improve their effectiveness and correct problems. That being said, I disagreed with the exclusion of the public option and other aspects of the law, but repeal is not the answer as it reverses the protections provided by the law leaving the most vulnerable citizens unprotected. So that is also among my top reasons for protest. Having worked in the healthcare field as long as I have, I saw people suffer at the abuses of the healthcare business for myself. I processed applications for financial assistance for people who were uninsurable and who exhausted their benefits or lost their jobs because of their illnesses. I saw the abuses first hand. Nothing can erase that from my memory so my mind cannot be changed about the benefits of the ACA. Every argument I’ve been presented with could have been corrected through amendments, not repeal. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

Other signs I saw that I agreed with were those on climate change. Those who don’t believe in science are simply willfully ignorant. There is no other excuse. We all took science classes in school no matter what we decided to do in college or even if we didn’t go at all, we at the minimum had science classes throughout our standard grade school education. To buy into the idea that Scientists don’t know what they’re talking about is naïve and foolish. They dedicated their lives to the study of their branch of science and they are the experts. Why would anyone buy a politician’s idea of facts on Climate Change over that of those who studied it their entire career? That makes no sense. The fact is, this is our home. We have nowhere else to go if we destroy our resources. There is this fantasy that we’re going to find another planet to go to should we destroy our own, but that’s just a fantasy. We as a people need to wake up to the reality. That being said, all the 2016 candidates supported the space program. However, Mars has been the planet that has been most talked about as far as an alternative to earth. It’s foolish in my humble opinion to think we could build colonies on Mars as it appears to be a dead planet for the most part. It would take a tremendous amount of development to create anything artificial that could sustain human life. But if Scientists lie about climate change, why would we trust them to create a way to sustain human life on another planet? It’s an idea that contradicts itself when these questions are raised. I choose to believe scientists who know their trade better than the rest of us. They know what they’re talking about. Someone such as donald j trump who has repeatedly denied the reality of climate change is dangerous to our planet with policies that allow big business to abuse our home by poisoning our environment.

There were many other signs I agreed with during the protest. There is a lot of fear out there over this administration. I’ve been told that trump is not who I think he is, but I’ve seen video of his speech that I found deeply disturbing so if I have an impression of him that is incorrect, he created that impression himself. It was NOT created by the media but by his insistence on tweeting and speaking the things he has about this country and his views etc. He doesn’t seem to grasp that threatening the media is a threat to the Bill of Rights. He doesn’t seem concerned that the threats of Kellyanne Conway made about watching what you say about him is a threat to the 1st Amendment. The Bill of Rights is the cornerstone of the Founding Fathers plan for this country put in place to protect the people from the overreach of the Federal government and these kinds of threats are federal government overreach. In these threats if they succeed in carrying out his promises, they eliminate our protections as citizens. As I referenced before, this kind of action is the first step on the road to fascism. For a country so afraid of socialism, I would think they’d be even more frightened by fascism, but it seems those most vocal about how Bernie Sanders was a socialist are the very same people that support trump’s brand of fascism. Perhaps they need to refresh their understanding of forms of government. The new administration is a threat to national security, whether you agree with me or not. I just hope those who don’t, see it before it’s too late.