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Posts tagged ‘Civil Rights’

9
Feb

Creative Whack #15: Let Your Mind Wander – mostly to the left

It’s been a while since I posted a Creative Whack.  This is number 15 of the 64 marvelous cards created by Roger von Oech – http://www.creativewhack.com/

This particular card, Let Your Mind Wander, is a very good mind-tussle for me today.  It’s timely since there are many startling and mind-bending things happening in the news lately and I have so much to say!  I have more to say than I can write here…  I’m going to try to get most of it, out.

One of the things I’ve wanted to write about is the mind-bending topic of the crazy, bordering on obscene, GOP primaries.  This whole GOP primary is a fiasco bordering on madness. Does anyone expect Newt or Romney or Santorum to be taken seriously?   If it weren’t for the fact that it’s really happening, it would be a huge joke, and a great movie. It would be like one of those “Focker” movies.  The Fockers are a focked up family who…..

Anyway…..How anyone over the age of 40 could actually vote for Newt Gingrich, after his despicable history in congress and as Speaker, is mind-numbing.

If Newt was president, wouldn’t you be afraid that he’d treat the U.S. and its allies like he treated his former wives?  Wouldn’t you be afraid that he’d bring back his proposal to send the children of people on welfare to orphanages?  Don’t laugh.  That was a Newt proposal during his dismal “Contract ‘against’ America” days. Maybe he’d try to make school-children janitors, after all.

If the inane ideas of some (not all) of the people in the GOP weren’t bad enough, their religiosity drives me crazy!   And yet, the GOP, with their heavy reliance on family values, are not even holding their collective noses when it comes to Newt.  Now that surprises me.  Unless it’s a matter of the GOP realizing that Newt can’t possibly win anyway.  Maybe the GOP just doesn’t want to play with Newt.  I don’t really think they like Mitt too much either.

But, really, to the GOP who would back Newt, I’d ask, “What about your marriage and family values? How does fig the Newt stack up with those principles?”

And now there’s Rick Santorum who, in the last three primaries, has trampled over both Newt and Mitt (Romney).  Last week Newt and Mitt were the players to beat in Florida.  Now Rick thinks that because he won Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri, he’s joined the big boys….

Um, does anyone actually believe that Rick has a chance to be the GOP candidate?

Back to Newt and Mitt.… (There’s something about the iteration of those two names together…..  When I think of Newt and Mitt I think of the Little Rascal in Spanky and the Gang.)  

Newt and Mitt, they recall (for me) the days of Ozzie and Harriet, Denice the Menace cartoons, coming out of the 1960’s and segregation to be bowled over by the surprises of the seventies…. another story, the 70’s.

The Newt and Mitt Show.  The Mitt and Newt Show… No matter how you say it, it’s a lousy sounding title.  It doesn’t sell.  Neither does The Newt Show.  Or The Mitt Show.  Can’t take either seriously.  One sounds like it could be another Sid the Science Kid show with cookie commercials, and the other sounds like a story about a kitten who looses his mittens…..

With Newt and Mitt, or Rick – frightening men each one – in Washington, would Civil Rights be pushed back 50 years?  That’s what I am afraid of should either one win the presidency.

I was reading a book about the history of America yesterday.  From the Civil War, to WWI, the Great Depression, WWII, and all through the struggle for Civil Rights in this country.

And, I am reminded anew of the hard-fought battles for Civil Rights and equality for all.   And, not only did I realize that the lead-up into the Great Depression mirrors where we are today in our Great Rescission, but I realized that the GLBT is fighting just as hard for equality today as blacks (and women and other minorities), mostly blacks, fought for their rights.  It’s the same type of battle.  And the economy issues are the same issues today as the Great Depression.  There are many, many similarities!  Hoover’s failed state until FDRs New Deal… the rich v. poor, the banks, and on and on the similarities between today and the Great Depression continue!

The Hitler / Stalin Pact. Japan.  How this country treated Japanese American’s after Pearl Harbor is such a terrible blight, such a huge sore that festered until the US finally apologized, in 1988, I believe.  Can you imagine that happening now?  No?  I can.  You know why?  The people – not the government so much – the people of this country who are filled with hate and rage against “Muslim” or “Islam” that such isolation could happen all over again, like it did to the Japanese in this country.   I hate to think that… but, if we don’t remember our history, we’re bound to repeat it.

I pray we never forget the horrors that we put the innocent American Japanese through. I pray we continue to teach the bitter and ugly history of slavery.  I hope we continue to teach about what led to the murder of 6 millions, mostly Jewish, people. I hope we teach our children what hate does to people, to countries, and to us all.

Remember FDR?  He was a Democrat.  He followed Hoover who ran this country into the Great Depression.  FDR and the New Deal (and the lead up to WWII) got this country going again.  Anyway, FDR promised us that we need to hold sacred four freedoms:

The freedom of speech and expression.

The freedom of worship.

The freedom from want, and

The freedom from fear.

FDR's 4 Freedoms, painted by Norman Rockwell

FDR, of course, and his congress were not perfect.  Far from it.  But, FDR understood oppression.  He understood the need for equality.  FDR knew about fear when he consoled the American people by saying:  “…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself…”

Whereas the Bush administration badly wanted an America who stood afraid so he could better control it, FDR wanted to warn AGAINST fear when he said, on January 6, 1941, in his speech that is now known as “The Four Freedoms” speech, the following:

In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression — everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way — everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want — which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants — everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear — which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor– anywhere in the world.

That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb.

To that new order we oppose the greater conception — the moral order. A good society is able to face schemes of world domination and foreign revolutions alike without fear.

So, yes.  We must remember history.  We must believe in the bottom of our hearts that all men and women are created equal.  We MUST put religion back into the living rooms of our homes and in our churches or temples, where it rightfully belongs.  We MUST not care if a man loves another man, or a woman another woman, or if a man born a man but meant to be a woman, becomes a woman not by choice, but by necessity.  It is not our business.  Be happy for the men and women who marry each other.  There is no greater thing than the ability to be happy for someone else’s happiness.

There are mean and unhappy people in this world who wear their hate like a duck wears its feathers.  These people let happiness and thoughts of equality drop off of them like water on a ducks back. The trick is to deny them an audience – let them swim in a pond of their own making.  Ignore those who would wish ill on another person.

Our sanity depends on it.

February is Black History month, which reminds me of the enormous struggle, years in the making, that raged and raged, and to a large degree, still must rage.

However….. can it be there is light in the distance?

A wonderful and amazing and beautiful thing happened just the other day with regards to Civil Rights:  California’s Proposition 8’s ban on same-sex marriage was declared unconstitutional!  Which of course it is.

Other states, we hope, will follow suit and realize that equal treatment for all, means equal treatment for all.

Equal means just that.  Equality doesn’t measure sexual persuasion or gender into its equation.

The US Constitution never mentions the bedroom or the bed, now does it?  Does the Constitution mention sex at all?  Nope.

So, I would tell Mr. or Mrs. Jane and John Doe in Idaho who rails against abortion, same-sex marriage, and all GLTB issues —>  Keep your nose out of other people’s bedrooms, keep your hands off my female body, let me chose the contraception I alone want to use, and for Gods sake stay out of the marriage argument!

The only marriage argument any one person should have needs to pertain to their own marriage.  How dare anyone try to relegate my marriage?  I don’t think Mr. and Mrs. John and Jane Doe would like to be told who they can or cannot marry.  Equal means equal.  It doesn’t mean equal for everyone but GLBT and women!

Oh, and while we’re at it, can we please remember to treat Muslims with the same respect we give our Christian brothers and sisters?  That would be wonderful.

And so, as I think about this 15th Creative Whack: Let Your Mind Wander, I think, well, this is a good exercise for opening the mind to the acceptance of other ideals or values that are different from our own.

For instance, I just read that Bill O’Reilly, the loud and wild man on Fox News who I am loath to listen to, recently stood up for Ellen DeGeneres .  Yes, he is on record, saying that to fire Ellen or to treat her differently because of her sexuality is akin to McCarthyism.  My, my, my!  Who would have thunk that O’Reilly would have such a heart?

I heart Bill O’Reilly!!!  Well, today anyway.

I think, therefore, we all can have new thoughts, just like Bill O’Reilly did!  If we use creative associations that trigger thoughts and beliefs that are potentially loving and kinder towards groups that have historically been targets of hate, it’s a great start!  After all, no one wants to continue to see children bullied to death or to suicide due to their sexual identity, right?

So, think of the children. Think of poor Robert Champion who was “hazed” to death by FAMU students.  Think of humanity…… Think of the Ugandan government who believes so strongly in Western religion they tried to pass a law to give homosexuals who are “caught” either a life sentence in jail, or the death sentence.  (Their legislation is “dead” but is still being “reviewed” by the government as of today.)

To start with, this creative whack uses the example of Work and goes on to compare it to play.  You’d think that work and play would be opposite, right?  Not true.  To be creative and make work meaningful, there are strong elements of “play” (though some would disagree).

Anyway, the trick here is to keep our thoughts positive and kind….

So, when we say:

Marriage, let’s associate it with Anyone.

When we say: Equal, let’s say Same Sex

When we say: Homosexual, say Love;

Equality: Everyone;

Children: Protection;

Reproduction: Women’s rights;

Differences: Blessings;

Religion: To each their own.

Respect: Women’s bodies; laws; rights of others; differences…….

And on and on we go!

6
Nov

alabama ignores justice department

 

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is well known to most Americans, and certainly to lawmakers, judges, attorneys and academia.   Any entity that seeks to disobey these laws is subject to rebuke via the Department of Justice.

Alabama is being sued by the Federal Government for its Immigration law, and now is seriously under investigations with regards to defying basic human rights.

George Wallace (center left) and the Stand in ...

Image via Wikipediahuman rights.

Alabama’s newly enacted immigration laws which, in no uncertain terms, intend to disrupt the government’s job of handling immigration, is also disrupting basic civil rights.

Alabama is essentially ignoring the Constitution of the United States.

The Alabama Attorney General, Luther Strange, is intentionally and cruelly sticking out his proverbial middle finger at the Department of Justice by asserting the Federal Government has no jurisdiction to challenge and investigate its newly adopted immigration law.  Not so, says the Federal Government.

In this country, a public education is available to all school-aged children regardless of their immigration status. Alabama’s cruel and illegal new “law” requires schools to check the immigration status of children and their parents.  The result of which is causing extreme disruption for children who (if they even continue to go to school), are harassed and bullied.  Parents, frightened about deportation, are keeping their children out of school.

This prompted the Justice Department’s Assistant Attorney General to issue letters to every Alabama school superintendent regarding the change in their enrollment numbers since the new “law” went into effect.  See Letter. http://blogs.usdoj.gov/blog/archives/1710

Meanwhile, the Alabama Attorney General, Luther Strange, wrote his own letter to the Department of Justice advising they have no authority to request this information.  See Letter http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/opinion/downes/Perez.pdf?ref=sunday

To which Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General answered by saying, in essence, that the Federal Government, who is suing Alabama for its immigration policy,  will investigate allegations that Alabama is running rough-shod over Civil Rights.  (Think back to Governor George Wallace – the segregationist – who blocked the entrance to the University of Alabama, not allowing two black students to enter, in total defiance of desegregation. Constitution.  It was not until President John F. Kennedy who made the Alabama National Guard a federal entity so they could enforce justice and allow the two students to register for classes.   Think back to that time, and you’ll realize what is happening today in Alabama.)

It is deplorable. Shameful.  But, not surprising.  Since the election of Alabama Republican Gov. Robert J. Bentley stood up multiple times to say that people who had accepted Jesus Christ were his brothers and sisters.  He said: “if you’re a Christian and you’re saved … it makes you and me brother and sister.”   http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jan/19/nation/la-na-alabama-governor-20110119

Every lawmaker on earth has read the US Constitution and knows that such comments are unconstitutional.  Yet, the Governor of Alabama is clearly snubbing his nose at his role in Government!

Gov. Robert J. Bentley went on to say,

So anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I’m telling you, you’re not my brother and you’re not my sister, and I want to be your brother.  http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jan/19/nation/la-na-alabama-governor-20110119

Assistant Attorney General Perez advised in his letter to Perez that the US, as they

“…receive additional information, the Civil Rights Division and other Federal Agencies will be evaluating the potential for violation of Federal laws in Alabama, including civil rights laws – looking at violations of the Fair Housing Act, the Safe Streets Act, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, among others.

I don’t have the words right now to express the disgust I feel for the lawmakers in Alabama.

21
Aug
arlington

arlington cemetary shocker and some other rants

Have you read or heard the shocking news about Arlington National Cemetery?  This revered cemetery of hallowed ground is now facing a criminal investigation!  Reading this story nearly knocked me off my feet – it’s shocking and so sad.

The problems at the cemetery were apparently discovered in 2010, as noted in this recent msnbc article:

In June 2010 an Army inspector general’s report cited widespread problems at the cemetery, including more than 200 unmarked or misidentified graves.

In August 2010 officials revealed one grave site at Arlington was found empty, another contained the wrong remains and a third had two sets of remains, only one of which matched the headstone’s name. Read msnbc article.

Because urns of the veteran soldiers, many who died in battle, were unmarked, it has been difficult to identify to whom they belonged.  One clue, however, allowed the identity of Gwyn Stecher to be revealed.  A photo of a young ice skater was found with the remains of Gwyn Stecher.  The photo turned out to be that of 19 year old Granddaughter, Rachel Stecher, now a Cadet in the Air Force Academy, says the NBC report.

The urn containing the ashes of Gwyn Stecher were supposed to be buried with her husband, Adolph Stecher, a retired officer who served in World War II, and North Korea.

What does this say about society today?   I hardly know what to think.  It would seem absurd to place blame on the whole Arlington National Cemetery itself, though there obviously are individuals there without respect, concern or care for the honored soldiers, or family of soldiers.

This horrible story regarding Arlington National Cemetery makes me think conscientiousness and respect are in the process of eroding.  Aren’t we a God fearing society?

The Right-wing Extremists like Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry, and others, say you’re damn right we are!

I don’t look forward to the upcoming Presidential election, by the way.  The religious fervor in politics is alarming – that’s another post for another day.

The hypocrisy holler!

I abhor hypocrisy, especially as it relates to the actions of those who are supposedly beyond reproach like ultra-religious priests, pastors, ministers, clergy.  I’m also talking about the regular guy/gal wearing a big cross around their necks as they murder or rape or steal in between preaching engagements. That’s who I am referring to.

Speaking of hate, the judgmental pastors, who are more like loud car salesmen than anything else, who march up to the podium to condemn any state allowing Gay and Lesbians to marry, also also Politicians and Washington Lobbyists.  They are anxious to tell us, repeatedly, that marriage vows are exclusively for a man and a woman.  Really?  Yes, says the Bible.  Since the Bible says so, it must be true.

The good book also tells us that: “Entering the holy place without wearing bells can result in death.”   And, “A man has an obligation to produce a child with his brother’s widow. If he refuses, his sister-in-law is to spit in his face in front of the elders.”  Click for citation.

I don’t know a single Gay or Lesbian with those aspirations!

The Civil Rights that we depend on weren’t only for African Americans, and other minorities.  Civil Rights belong to everyone.  Nowhere do our Civil Rights discuss sexual preferences.

This is what angers me about politics today.  The fact that we are not screaming bloody murder over what some immoral politicians promote because they think it will get them elected.

There are too many Americans who have, stupidly, gotten swept up in a fervor, believing that a good politician is chiefly a good Christian.  A white Christian, at that.

I have a problem with religion that is taken to the extremes.  I respect all religions, as a matter of course, but religion has begun to scare me.

Religion is like an oxymoron when hate mongers threaten to destroy the rights of people who are different, like gay and lesbians.

It scares me to see Bible-Thumping goons promising to heal; their devotees shaking and shimmying with the spirit, singing, “Praise the Lord” as they fall to the ground, shaking and shuddering, writhing in pain.

Who wants to do that?

Wouldn’t it be nice if our religions were loving, caring, soft and private?  Religion is scary when it’s loud.  Religion shouldn’t be loud.

So, I am ranting about religion tonight because of the likes of Pastor Dale Richardson, held without bail for kidnapping and raping three women at gun point.  A serial rapist.  And a Pastor.

When rapists, murderers, and thieving criminals, are God-Fearing, what God are they listening to?  Is that the God you and I believe in?  It does make me wonder.

Dale Richardson believes and depends on the Word of God, say his followers.  If there is one God, I don’t think I want Pastor Dale’s version.

What God do the Catholic Priests pray to when they rape little boys?  When these God-fearing criminals are caught, I wonder if they blame God?

To those of you who will think me blasphemous, I don’t apologize.  I’m just a little fed up.  Sad, too.

Here is the story about Pastor Dale Richardson – this story is what prompted this post:

Preacher accused of raping women behind church – Members of the Freedom Free Will Baptist Church aren’t condemning pastor

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