Category Archives: Politics

You have shown me who you are Mr. Trump, and I have seen enough

I watched you, Mr. Trump, while on August 16, 2017 you told us there was “violence” on both sides of the Charlottesville incident which took the life of Heather Heyer at the hands of a Neo-Nazi thug.  I listened as you equated those who chanted “Blood and Soil” with those who decried Nazi and White Supremacist intrusions into our American civic life.

I watched you, Mr. Trump, while on September 5, 2017 you removed the protection we had, as a nation, afforded our DACA recipients.  Young immigrants who have grown up among us, gone to school with our children, worked to better their lives, even served in our armed forces, and of these you implied that they were a menace to our communities.  Then I watched and listened as you used them as pawns in a cynical political game during which the goal posts were flexible to the point of complete elasticity — no offer made by Congress was ever acceptable, and no offer was ever going to be acceptable because it is apparent you want nothing more than to eliminate the possibility of any DACA beneficiary joining our American community in full citizenship. It was hard to imagine any more blatantly cruel way to broadcast your beliefs.

I watched you Mr. Trump, while on September 22, 2017 you told a rally crowd in Florida NFL players who protested police violence against people of color should be fired.  Fired? Because they exercised their First Amendment right to protest policies putting their families and friends in peril? Because they dared protest silently and respectfully, following the guidance provided by a veteran?  Fired? Because they would call to your (and our) attention matters to which we, as a nation of conscience should attend?

I watched you, Mr. Trump, while on March 28, 2018 you told the nation members of the transgender community were unfit to serve in our armed forces, and lied to us about being informed of this by members of our military.  Our military leadership had told you no such thing.  However, that didn’t stop you from inserting your callous bigotry into our national conversation.  This isn’t done in polite households across this great land, but then you haven’t shown yourself to be very polite either.

I watched you, Mr. Trump, while on April 30, 2018 you told the nation and the people of Parkland, Florida you would “do something” about the horrific mass shooting of children in this country.  Ultimately, you did nothing.  You pressed for no legislation. You called for no national commitment, and your Secretary of Education’s own School Safety Commission won’t be looking at the role of guns in school safety protocols.  Amazing. Utterly amazing.

I watched you, Mr. Trump, while on May 7, 2018, your Attorney General announced a Zero Tolerance policy which called for the separation of children of asylum seekers from their parents.  Nothing, absolutely nothing from your gentle words for the white supremacist thugs in Charlottesville, to your contemptible disregard for the children and parents of Parkland, prepared me for this level of indecency and moral depravity.  This policy isn’t “the law,” again you seek to blame others for problems you, and you alone have created.  You compounded the problem when your Attorney General employed a Bible passage once used to justify slavery as a justification for your policy. Again, you and you alone are responsible for this decline in our national standards.

And now Mr. Trump you want my accolades for your performance in Singapore, for keeping me “safe.”  Evidently, you also want me to attend to your every word as though you were my Dear Leader.  You tell me you were “joking.” I respond that you were, like so many mob bosses, “joking on the level.”

Yes, Mr. Trump, I want to be safe…safe from your bigotry, your petty prejudices, your racism, and your unconscionable lack of conscience.   I want to be safe from your obviously felt need to fill up the empty space in yourself with daily infusions of publicity and attention.  I want to be safe from your need for spotlights and applause.  I want to be safe from your continuous lies.

You have shown me who you are Mr. Trump, and I have seen enough.

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The Politics of Whine

I can handle just about any behavior from children from tears to tantrums, and I can tolerate a whine from someone about 34 inches high, from 26 to 28 pounds in weight, who lives in a world of extremely oversized furniture, adults who walk too fast, and often demand too much.  It’s when the person isn’t two years old anymore, is over 5’4″ and weighs 128 or more pounds, I lose all patience.  This is why I was pleased to note the news networks didn’t choose to broadcast the last presidential rally in full.

The presidential speeches are the Politics of Whine.  He’s whining again.  Hillary Clinton, bless her soul, won more popular votes than he did; he’s not forgotten it, and he isn’t going to let the rest of us forget it either.   His Attorney General properly recused himself from an investigation in which he was a witness, the Whiner in Chief hasn’t forgotten this either, and he isn’t going to stop whining about it anytime soon.  No, Buddy, Sissy doesn’t have to give up the coloring book when you want it all to yourself.

The Mexican government isn’t going to pay for his wall.  They’ve been very explicit about this. One of their former Presidents has been brutally honest on the subject. [CNBC] What part of “never, never, never,” did our Whiner in Chief not comprehend? [CBS] There’s a teachable moment when Sissy complains Buddy won’t voluntarily hand over his oatmeal cookie, a lesson the Whiner in Chief appears to have missed along the way.

If people don’t like me then they’re nasty people who have nasty friends!  Or, translated into political whine:  If you don’t like my racist immigration policies then you’re just trying to protect the bad guys.  Brown = Immigrant = MS 13 = Bad.  Most people get past the toddler logic stage: me good, other bad.   Granted we don’t do all that well introducing kids to the relational concept of an equal sign in equations, and the not equal sign doesn’t show up until later in the curricula, but most grown ups understand Brown ≠ Immigrant ≠ MS 13 ≠ Bad.  Unless a person wants something to whine about.

Buddy’s being mean to me!  What’s he doing? He’s making faces.  Or any of the other variations on this theme common to what’s happening in the back seat of the family motor vehicle five minutes after ignition.  She called me a fish face!  If you two continue this the trip to the grocery stops, we go home, and we can always have the brussels sprouts from the freezer for dinner.   (By the way, there’s no cheese.)  At some point being a grown up means letting petty arguments slide, or taking the high ground, or using the moment to make a larger, more important, statement.   It doesn’t mean taking everything personally!   ABC canceled Roseanne’s show, but they never acted when people said things critical of me!  Whine³

Someone far wiser than I once said, “You have to love your kids enough to say ‘no’ to them.”

No, we don’t pre-judge people based on their ethnicity, religion, or gender.

No, we don’t obsess on slights, real and imagined, from others.

No, we don’t demand to get everything we want when we want it.

No, we don’t make everything all about ourselves.

If a person is over 5’4″, weighs more than 128 pounds, and has reached an age we assume to be mature, then failure to successfully cope with these four simple “no’s” is little more than a public demonstration of childish behavior most of us would immediately associate with little Whiners.   Perhaps it’s time to inform the Whiner in Chief the trip stops here, we go home, and face the defrosted brussels sprouts without cheese tonight?

 

 

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The Grammar and Bigotry of Trump’s America

When I listen to someone say, “I’m not racist, but…,” what I hear is, “I’m a racist who has found a way to rationalize my bigotry.”  It often goes like this: “I’m not racist, but we have a real problem protecting our border.”  Let us parse.

Perhaps some people weren’t paying attention when Sister Rosetta Stone and Sister Mary Elephant explained coordinating conjunctions.  There is certainly evidence the current White House occupants and staff weren’t attuned to grammatical instruction. [NYT] That said, “but” is a coordinating conjunction presenting a contrast or an exception.  It’s the exception part that gives the game away.  The basic construction of the sentence underpins the notion the speaker is granting himself or herself an exception to the general classification of racist to which he or she doesn’t wish to be associated.  In other words, what the person is about to say is generally considered racist, and what comes after the coordinating conjunction will be good old fashioned self preserving rationalization.  Now that we’ve parsed we can move on to that rationalization.

Borders can be both statutory and personal.  We have statutory borders marking territorial jurisdiction.  We have land and maritime boundaries with Canada and Mexico. We have maritime boundaries with the Bahamas, Cuba, and Russia.  The boundaries of personal space appear to give some bigots the most problems.  Witness: The person who called the police when a black man was sighted moving into his new apartment in New York City. [CBS] Three black women were reported as burglars when leaving an Air BnB because a neighbor got nervous. [CNN] A white woman created a scene in Oakland, CA  calling the police because there were people at Lake Merritt barbecuing while black. [Root]  For white bigots there are two invasions.  One occurs when a non-white person seeks to pass a statutory land or maritime boundary, and the other happens when a non-white person seeks to do the normal things normal people do in spaces too close to the hyper-sensitive bigots.

Simple minds conflate the two. “I’m not a racist; nevertheless, I’m experiencing an invasion of my space by people who don’t look like me.” Sister Mary Elephant would inform us “nevertheless” is a conjunctive adverb. Those who aren’t burdened by their own bigotry would inform us a van filled with farm workers doesn’t constitute a host of Midianites at the city walls.  A family seeking asylum doesn’t meet the definition of a horde of Goths at the gates.

However, to a basic bigot the visibility of people who speak Spanish at gas stations, [NBC] or who are  persons who “look Muslim”  doing complex mathematical computations on an airplane, [WaPo] or are two Native American youngsters on a college tour in Colorado, [CNN] who make a white woman “nervous,’ is central to their sense of space.  If only the bigots could exclude the dark skinned, straight or curly haired, Spanish speaking, or quiet, people from getting too close to their spaces they would feel comfortable again.  They could “take their country back.” They could MAGA to their heart’s content.

The increasing possibility that the neighborhood will have more black or Hispanic residents, or that the malls will have more diverse shoppers, or that the parks will have more non-white barbecuers, frightens our bigots.  In some cases it makes them melt down in public, and sometimes we get the belated apology which rings hollow after a racist rant in a Fresh Kitchens restaurant in NYC. [TMZ]

Sadly, this isn’t the worst we can do.  It’s bad enough when people are falsely accused of burglary or shoplifting because a bigot felt nervous. It’s bad enough when an award winning Italian economist is profiled for working on differential equations.  It’s bad enough when people aren’t free to enjoy that All American pastime — grilling meat with home made renditions of Uncle Freddy’s Secret Sauce, the recipe for which he wouldn’t even share with Aunt Hazel. It’s bad enough when two kids on a college tour make a bigot nervous just by looking like the Native Americans they are.  The poor bigot said she was nervous because they didn’t look like they belonged on a college campus.  Question: Madam, are you really telling me YOU don’t think they match YOUR notion of who should be allowed on college campuses?  It’s one easy step from this exclusionary view to the worst possible outcomes. It’s even worse when the bigots are allowed to establish the standards by which we measure the humanity of our fellow human beings. 

One doesn’t have to leap over a gaping chasm to move from “they don’t look like they belong,” to “they’re animals.”  It’s the conflation game.  We’ve already seen the movie. As Maria Hinajosa explained, it was titled Sophie’s Choice.  There is absolutely nothing comforting about seeing the current administration choosing to use its prosecutorial discretion to force the separation of children from their asylum seeking parents.  Further, to use this discretion as a so-called ‘deterrent’ to efforts by future asylum seekers from South and Central American is blatantly exclusionist, and serves no other purpose than to make the bigots more comfortable.  There will be fewer of ‘them,’  even if we are speaking of toddlers.  We’ve heard this before as well.

When the Wagner-Rogers Act was being debated in Congress in 1939,  most labor and religious organizations were in favor of the bill to allow the entry into the US of 20,000 Jewish refugee children in the wake of Kristallnacht in Germany.  American nationalist organizations, such as the DAR and American Legion, opposed it.   Laura D. Houghteling, the wife of the US Immigration Commissioner opined, “20,000 charming children would all too soon grow into 20,000 ugly adults.”  She would, without doubt, take some joy hearing the President describe children of refugee parents as “they’re all animals.” [RollingStone] The bill failed.

Since when has it become acceptable in this nation to use children, some mere toddlers, as deterrents to force non-white refugees into a decision not to come to this country, not to escape peril, not to hope for a safer environment for those children?  Why is it acceptable to farm those children out into a foster system or “whatever.”  What’s a “whatever?” A warehouse?  When did we become a nation that punishes children for the hopes and dreams of their parents?

Perhaps it’s when we chose to listen to the carefully inserted coordinating conjunctions in the grammar of bigots.  “I’m not a racist, but I’d be ever so much more comfortable if everyone looked and sounded just like me.”

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Filed under Immigration, Politics, racism

The Anti Immigration Playbook and the Conflation Game

There are two paragraphs from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s website which are becoming more relevant by the day, perhaps by the hour:

One crucial factor in creating a cohesive group is to define who is excluded from membership. Nazi propagandists contributed to the regime’s policies by publicly identifying groups for exclusion, inciting hatred or cultivating indifference, and justifying their pariah status to the populace. Nazi propaganda played a crucial role in selling the myth of the “national community” to Germans who longed for unity, national pride and greatness, and a break with the rigid social stratification of the past.

But a second, more sinister aspect of the Nazi myth was that not all Germans were welcome in the new community. Propaganda helped to define who would be excluded from the new society and justified measures against the “outsiders”: Jews, Sinti and Roma (Gypsies), homosexuals, political dissidents, and Germans viewed as genetically inferior and harmful to “national health” (people with mental illness and intellectual or physical disabilities, epileptics, congenitally deaf and blind persons, chronic alcoholics, drug users, and others).

Let’s take a look at the first paragraph a bit more closely.  The current administration is out to create a “cohesive group” more commonly called “the Base.”  Additionally there are groups to be excluded.  Specifically, immigrants from south and central America and African Americans are rhetorically placed outside the categorization of ‘real Americans.’   In the shorter version — they aren’t white.

Greg Sargent’s analysis nails it:

“Whether he’s talking about Latino immigrants or kneeling African American football players, President Trump has a consistent way of disguising his racism, bigotry and dehumanization while dog-whistling it out to those voters who he believes may thrill to it.

The game is always that Trump fluidly conflates one set of individuals who constitute a less sympathetic target — one he ostensibly goes after, and one that is harder to defend — with the broader group he’s actually trying to belittle or dehumanize but cannot do so overtly.”

And there’s one more point from Sargent’s analysis which should be highlighted:

Dehumanizing rhetoric works in exactly this way: It slaps the dehumanizing slur on the least sympathetic subgroup and then conflates that subgroup with the larger group that is the real target, then piously feigns innocence of any intention to tag the slur on the larger group. The dead giveaway here, as Sanchez also noted, is that this is a selectively applied technique: When Trump attacks criminals who don’t belong to the out-group he’s scapegoating, no such conflation is in evidence.

Trump has given his game away. If it is acceptable to play the Conflation Game then the foundation is laid for policies that separate asylum seeking parents from their children, for yawns and diversions when the subject is raised about some 1500 missing children separated from their parents, for using DACA recipients as bargaining pawn to build an unnecessary and outrageously expensive “wall.”  It’s acceptable because these human beings are “animals.”  Or, as the Nazi’s said of the Jews some 80 years ago, they’re “vermin.”

Now, Democrats aren’t real Americans because “they are protecting the MS 13 thugs” [cnn] — the conflation expands.  The immigrants are conflated with the worst subset of the entire group, and supporters of the vast majority of the group are conflated with the worst subset of the initial group.  It’s a semantic game of smear and divide.  Worse still, it is entirely intentional, and it is entirely exclusionist.

How easy it is to expand this classification of those to be excluded from Trump’s “cohesive group,”  from brown skinned immigrants. to African Americans, to Democrats, to members of the LBGTQ community, to those with serious congenital issues, to labor union activists, to political activists, to … anyone Dear Leader perceives as a threat to his “cohesive group?”

So we move from paragraph one in which the “cohesive group” is defined and division is incited to paragraph two from the Holocaust Memorial in which the “cohesive group” is refined and more groups are excluded.  It’s seamless, it’s intentional, and it’s predicated on syllogistic idiocy:  MS 13 members are immigrants; MS 13 members are criminals; therefore all immigrants are criminals.   I could as easily argue: Donald Trump has (allegedly) hair on his head. Squirrels have hair on their heads (although they don’t need the elaborate comb-over.) Therefore, Donald J. Trump is a squirrel.

In the real world the US is a nation of immigrants.  If it isn’t let’s be done with the St. Patrick’s Day festivities and all those fun Oktoberfest events with the good craft beer.  Let’s do without the joys of Polish and Greek weddings.  Let’s do without the Cinco de Mayo parties. Let’s do without the bagels and lox from the Kosher delis? (I’ll take on anyone to stay in range of a good deli!)  Let’s do without the Chinese New Year celebrations; fireworks, dancers, dragons, and the cute little kids marching?  Let’s do without the African American inspired jazz from New Orleans?  We could be done with all the “non-core-group” items appropriated, revised, re-formed, and remade into American culture — and we could render ourselves into one great giant crashing bore.

In the real world we have benefited from the efforts of immigrants, from the intellectual genius of Albert Einstein to the anonymous farm laborer in Florida.  From the entrepreneurial Google founder Sergey Brin to the anonymous hotel housekeeper in Las Vegas.  We could do without them, I suppose, but we wouldn’t be nearly as prosperous and inventive as we are with them.

It’s time to remember the real Reagan, the President Ronald Reagan who said farewell to his time in office with a speech including the following bits of wisdom:

I’ve been thinking a bit at that window. I’ve been reflecting on what the past 8 years have meant and mean. And the image that comes to mind like a refrain is a nautical one—a small story about a big ship, and a refugee, and a sailor. It was back in the early eighties, at the height of the boat people. And the sailor was hard at work on the carrier Midway, which was patrolling the South China Sea. The sailor, like most American servicemen, was young, smart, and fiercely observant. The crew spied on the horizon a leaky little boat. And crammed inside were refugees from Indochina hoping to get to America. The Midway sent a small launch to bring them to the ship and safety. As the refugees made their way through the choppy seas, one spied the sailor on deck, and stood up, and called out to him. He yelled, “Hello, American sailor. Hello, freedom man.”

And then there’s the more famous portion of it:

I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.

And as we should always continue to see it.

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President Cheapskate and the Amazing Non-Appearing Wedding Gift

One can only hope the gift is “in the mail” as we speak, but I am definitely not going to hold my breath.  As we might expect, the newlywed Duke and Duchess of Sussex ask for charitable donations in lieu of wedding gifts.  Some national leaders donated to local charities promoting causes related to the young people’s interests, others were more creative, and some responses were just heartwarming —  an abused Indian bull rescued, a couple of namesake koalas in an animal shelter with accompanying donations for habitat maintenance, and so on.  And, then there was Donald J. Trump:

“White House spokesperson Lindsay Walters said last week the Trumps will make a contribution to one of the seven charities on the royal couple’s list but did not specify which one. Neither Trump tweeted about the wedding.”  [USAT]

We’ve seen this movie before — and thanks to the intrepid reporting of David Fahrenthold of the Washington Post, we know that ‘the movie’ is an entire series, with more versions than Star Wars and Planet of the Apes combined.   So, the contribution will be made to “one of the seven charities.”  Which one?

“The couple have chosen charities, which represent a range of issues that they are passionate about, including sport for social change, women’s empowerment, conservation, the environment, homelessness, HIV and the Armed Forces. Many of these are small charities and the couple are pleased to be able to amplify and shine a light on their work.” [eonline]

Sport for social change? How likely is it that Trump will donate to a sport for social change charity while he’s busy vilifying professional athletes who are protesting police brutality toward ethnic minorities?  Women’s empowerment?  A donation from a man who has at least 16 public allegations of unwanted sexual conduct against him? Who faces legal actions from Summer Zervos and Stephanie Clifford?

Conservation?  A donation from the father of two trophy animal slaughtering sons? A man whose administration allows the hunting of hibernating bears and their cubs? Allows the killing of vulnerable animals swimming in Alaskan rivers? Who allows the killing of wolf cubs?  Probably not.

The environment?  A donation from the man who won’t fire the egregious Scott Pruitt from his well protected perch at the EPA? From the man who promotes pipelines across sacred lands? From the self-same person who wants to roll back fuel efficiency standards?

Homelessness?  A donation from a man whose administration is cutting funding for programs to help homeless people? [Newsweek]  Whose administration is on track to make the situation worse? [WaPo]  Not much chance for this category to make the cut.

HIV?  Remember the interview with Bill Gates who describes two meetings with the President:

“Both times he wanted to know the difference between HIV and HPV and so I was able to explain that those are things that are rarely confused with each other.” [NBC]

Gates is being entirely too kind,  almost NO ONE confuses the two diseases.  Most people who don’t know, understand the difference when it’s explained ONCE.

Armed Forces?  “Cadet Bone Spurs™”  As he was so aptly described by Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) seems content to lie to newly minted Navy officers about pay increases [MilTimes] and to insure there’s funding for his parade.  Other military and veterans’ issues not so much.

In addition to his endemic lack of interest in social change, empowerment, ecological, and real military issues Fahrenthold’s discoveries should be kept in mind.  Trump will make grand promises.  He will then:

  1. Try to get someone else to come up with the coin of the realm to actually pay for the donation.
  2. Try to avoid payment until there’s so much publicity he can’t stand the spotlight any longer.
  3. Stall until he doesn’t have to actually pay up at all.

Therefore, the best unsolicited advice for the young Duke and Duchess might be to enjoy their honeymoon and not worry about whether the ersatz leader of the US political system will cough up for a wedding gift donation — he probably won’t, and if he does you can be just as amazed as the rest of us.

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Filed under conservatism, ecology, homelessness, housing, Politics, troop pay, Women's Issues, Womens' Rights

Dear Congressman, Why Are You

From the Department of Thanks A Bunch But Don’t Do Me Any More Favors

“Nevada’s premiums on the health-care exchange are likely to increase by about $843 next year as a result of Congress’s repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate and a new Trump administration rule on short-term health insurance plans, according to a new report from the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress.

The report, released Friday, found that annual premiums nationwide will increase from an average of about $6,176 to $7,189 for the average 40-year-old, which is about a 16.4 percent increase. In Nevada, average premiums using the same benchmark are projected to rise from about $5,547 to $6,390, or an increase of about 15 percent.” [NVIndy]

All right, I’m not 40 years old and haven’t been for quite some time, but I can empathize with younger people trying to run households, raise kids, pay the bills, and keep it together.  What they don’t need is a 15% increase in their health insurance premiums.  And who does this help?  It doesn’t help promote the best practices of established health insurance corporations.  It doesn’t help those families who are facing rising costs for groceries and transportation.  It doesn’t help young people to sell them junk insurance that won’t actually cover expenses for major medical expenses for illness or injury.  It seems to primarily help the fly by night scam artists who want to sell insurance policies which barely deserve the name.  You can read the full report ?here.

From the Department of Questions to Ask Congress Critters which Don’t Include Why Are You An A–hole?

Dear Congressman ____ why is it impossible for you to vote in favor of a bill to require universal background checks for gun sales and transfers?  (It’s not like this doesn’t have massive support from the American people.  It’s not like this wouldn’t help to keep firearms out of the hands of individuals who shouldn’t have them in the first place.   And while we’re about it, what’s so impossible about limiting the size of magazines, or keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers?)

Dear Congressman ____ why, when banks had their most profitable quarter EVER, would you think it important to roll back the consumer protections of the Dodd Frank Act? [MoneyCNN] [Vox] [WaPo]

Dear Congressman ____ in what perverted universe is it considered acceptable to bait bears with donuts and bacon in order to kill them? To kill hibernating bears? To kill wolf pups? [NYMag]

Dear Congressman ____ Just what purpose is served by vilifying a Central American street gang and conflating its members with ALL immigrants to this great nation?  Criticizing a violent gang is laudable, conflating these people with ALL immigrants is inexcusable.  Since I’m not 40 years old and haven’t been for some time, I recall a time when this nation was recovering from a major war against a state which called Jews “vermin,” dehumanized them, and then used the appellation as an excuse to exterminate them.  Perhaps it’s time to have people, especially politicians, read (or re-read) Elie Wiesel’s Night.

Where does this lead?

“Wiesel’s prose is quietly measured and economical, for florid exaggeration would not befit this subject. Yet, at times, his descriptions are so striking as to be breathtaking in their pungent precision. He writes through the eyes of an adolescent plunged into an unprecedented moral hinterland, and his loss of innocence is felt keenly by the reader. His identity was strained under such conditions: “The student of Talmud, the child I was, had been consumed by the flames. All that was left was a shape that resembled me. My soul had been invaded – and devoured – by a black flame.” Night.

When bad things are done by bad people, bad things happen to innocent people.

Or maybe it would simply be easier to ask, Dear Congressman ____ why are you an A-hole?

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Filed under ecology, financial regulation, Gun Issues, Health Care, health insurance, Immigration, Politics

The Tapestry of Our Lives

The thunder and lightning have passed, and it’s time to get back to the blog.  Not that the thunder and lightning in the country have abated in any significant way.  Senator Dean Heller seems to have attracted one strike:

The National Rifle Association has endorsed Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller and three other Republican candidates for Congress ahead of the June 12 primary elections.  Heller received an “A” rating from the NRA, which is given to pro-gun candidates who support the organization’s positions on key votes or who have a record of supporting Second Amendment.  The gun-rights group also endorsed Republican Rep. Rep. Mark Amodei who is seeking re-election in Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District. [NVIndy/News4]

May 18, 2018 10 people were killed and 13 injured in a mass shooting in Santa Fe, Texas.  Another month, another mass shooting in a school.  Once more the NRA wants to talk about anything except the guns.  It’s violent video games. It’s mental health. It’s Ritalin. It’s anything anything anything except the easy access to guns.  Sometimes we tend to express regret for the loss of talent as the tally of gun violence victims increases, but we might be missing an important point.  It’s the details that matter.  Perhaps there were or were not individuals who would have gone on to do great and notable things, that’s debatable. However, we do know that there were losses represented by the victim counts.

We may have lost an electrician?  A barber? A receptionist.  Someone who would have gotten up every morning to put in a days work, and come home every evening to be incorporated into the life of their family.

April 22, 2018, 4 people died and 3 others injured in a Waffle House in Antioch, Tennessee.  We lost a musician, we lost college students, we lost more threads in the fabric of our lives. We found a hero, an unarmed young man who stopped the shooter at great peril to his own life, and then went on to donate donations to his social media account to the families of victims.  We didn’t find a fantasy hero “good guy with a gun,” rather we found a good guy with courage, compassion, and the ultimate in civic responsibility.  We found James Shaw Jr.

April 18, 2018 a mother and her children died in a hail of gun fire from an ex-boyfriend in Asheville, North Carolina. The children loved to run track and to dance. We’ll never know if we lost a future Olympic medalist that day, we do know that we lost a family.  We lost a mother who was so scrupulous about housekeeping friends and family said, “You could eat off her floors.”  A mother who took her children to church every Sunday.  [ATC] We lost a family.

February 14, 2018, we lost 17 lives, with another 17 injured at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. They’ve Marched for their Lives. They’ve organized voter registration drives, they’ve appealed to the better angels of our nature.  They’ve warned politicians like Heller and Amodei that NRA endorsements aren’t what they used to be. We’ve lost and shattered too many families.

Every day the death toll mounts from mass and individual shootings, from suicides and accidents, we continue to lose plumbers, secretaries, mechanics, cooks, and soldiers.

February 10, 2018 a family of four was massacred in a murder-suicide in Johnson County, Kentucky. [lex18]  We continue to lose parents and grandparents.

Each time more victims are added to the lists we’ve lost more firefighters, carpenters, solar panel installers, roofers, landscapers, bookkeepers, and bus drivers.

November 5, 2017 27 people died, another 20 were injured in a church in Sunderland Springs, Texas.  Each time we add victims to the list we lose more truck drivers, reporters, day care providers, steelworkers, pilots, housekeepers, and file clerks.

October 1, 2017, a mass killing cost us 58 victims and 441 injured at a music concert in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Each time we add victims to the list we extinguish the lives of more people who matter. We lost a man shielding his wife on their wedding anniversary.  We lost a health care management major, a commercial fisherman, a kindergarten teacher, a police department records technician, a registered nurse, a member of the US Navy, a waitress, a soldier, a teacher, a secretary, a family law attorney, a contractor, an office manager, a financial adviser, a home contractor, a librarian, a make up artist, a corrections officer, … girlfriends, wives, mothers, grandmothers, boyfriends, husbands, fathers, grandfathers…

Our economic fabric is in the details.  We are a composite of the electrician, barber, receptionist, plumbers, secretaries, mechanics, cooks, soldiers, firefighters, carpenters, solar panel installers, roofers, landscapers, bookkeepers, bus drivers,  truck drivers, reporters, day care providers, steelworkers, pilots, housekeepers,  file clerks,  health care management personnel, commercial fisherman,  kindergarten teacher,  police department records technician,  registered nurse,  member of the US Navy,  waitress,  soldier,  teacher,  secretary,  family law attorney,  contractor,  office manager,  financial adviser,  home contractor,  librarian,  make up artist,  corrections officer…

Reduce the numbers of the people who make our economy run, eliminate the waitress at the small diner who brings that first cup of coffee with a smile to start the day, make the auto mechanic who figures out why there’s a persistent problem with the fuel injection system vanish, and we are all reduced as the power in our multiplicity of economic gears is reduced by one.

Our social fabric is in the details, in the relationships between boy friends and girl friends, wives and husbands, mothers and fathers, children, grandparents, grandchildren, neighbors, friends, and co-workers.  Eliminate any of these relationships in our communities, and we are all reduced by the unraveling of all those tiny threads which combined together form the incredibly complex and beautiful tapestry of our social lives in this nation.

No “endorsement,” no pandering for a few votes, is worth the grains of sand in our economic gears as grain by grain we add problems by reducing our numbers.  No “endorsement,” no pandering for a few votes is worth the unraveling of the tapestry of our lives, the loss of each loved one pulling at loose threads until we fray from the edges.

Politicians Heller and Amodei may take pleasure in their A ratings from the NRA, I am only sorry they cannot take as much pleasure in the defense of the lives of our children, our boyfriends and girl friends, our wives and husbands, our parents and grandparents; in the wonderfully interwoven tapestry of American life.

 

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Filed under Amodei, Gun Issues, Heller, Nevada politics, Politics