Numbers in Glass

Recently, I took my family on an epic tour of the eastern United States.  We saw many things, most of which was meticulously planned over the course of several months.  But I discovered that the most meaningful was not that which was planned, but something that was found by accident. Something that my months of research missed.

We were in Boston. A city I have long wanted to visit, a city that I immediately fell in love with, a city which I will visit again. The plan for Boston was simple, walk the Freedom Trail. See where our country began. The sites, still standing, which marked the beginning of our Revolution.  It was warm that day, very warm. My children were growing tired. We had reached the Old State House, the location where the Boston Massacre occurred. They couldn’t go any further. They were hot, and tired. The two miles left on the trail was simply out of the question. Reluctantly, I agreed with my husband to leave the trail and head back to our car. Thus, we turned up Congress Street to head to our parking garage on Sudbury.  And that’s when we found it. 6 glass towers, rising 54 feet. Each tower stood atop a grate, releasing steam from the glowing coals beneath. One would think that adding steam to a hot summer day would be oppressive. Instead, as I walked through those towers I was no longer hot, but chilled.

Numbers on Glass

This one time, I want you to not look at the big picture.  Instead look closer. Ignore the city beyond the glass. Past even, the poignant words etched in black. Closer. Do you see it? I’ll help you.

Numbers on Glass

Numbers in glass. 132 panels of numbers etched in glass. A fraction of what occurred. Each number, a representation of something that should be much more than a mere number in glass. A life. Millions of lives. Reduced to nothing more than a number etched in glass. It was a powerful site to see. Humbling. Tragic. And in the light of the events of this weekend, all the more poignant. Because as we sit in the comfort of our homes, watching with horror and outrage at the events unfolding, we all too easily forget that this has happened before.

The events in Virginia are sadly, nothing new. Not to the world, not to America. They are, frankly, all too common. But we have the benefit, now in 2017, to look at the past and learn from it. We have the power to not allow the past to repeat itself.  We have an OBLIGATION to do so.  We, especially all white people, are OBLIGATED to speak against the events in Virginia. But none of this ‘both sides’ nonsense.  We must speak out against the protest began with the angry white men. Nazis. We cannot allow this to be simply shrugged away under the guise of free speech. It is time for the Confederacy to die. For Nazism to die.  We must rise up against these ideas. We cannot allow it to be someone’s ‘opinion.’ It cannot, now, nor ever again, be tolerated. In any form. We must stand up and shout, “NEVER AGAIN.” And we must mean it. We, not a single one of us, can afford to be silent on this. We cannot excuse it away. Condemn it, every one of you. Loudly. Publicly. Because if you do not, then you are complicit in what follows. Intentions matter for shit if you aren’t willing to stand up when things go sideways.  I don’t care about your vote. I don’t care about your ‘intent.’ STAND UP!!

This has all happened before. And if we are not careful, it WILL happen again. Because this is how it begins. EVERY. TIME.

angry

With angry white men. EVERY. TIME. If we don’t stand up and condemn it now, then we are well and truly lost. And so is the dream of America. As long as we allow for this we cannot, nor will we ever, be ‘great.’ The problem with America isn’t immigration. It isn’t LGBTQ persons. It isn’t Muslims, or Atheists, or Liberals. It isn’t BLM. It’s this:

child

This right here. And our silence which allows it to march through our streets because ‘free speech,’ and ‘everyone is entitled to their opinion.’ NO! No, they are not entitled to the opinion that numerous groups of people don’t have the right to exist. The opinion that the color of one’s skin makes them less than.  The idea of white supremacy. Such ideas are not only anathema to the ideas upon which America was supposedly founded upon, but to humanity in general.  For as long as we allow for these ideas to exist, we will always end up here.  Always.

Eighteen million. Let that sink in. Eighteen million lives lost in those camps. Jews, Romani, Slavs, People of Color, Homosexuals.  Gone. Erased. Because these ideas were allowed to continue.  Because far too many refused to take a stand against it. And the reasons why they refused to stand up don’t matter a whole hell of a lot in regards to what was lost.  Yes, many of those that stood joined those numbers in glass. But I know I would rather be a number in glass, then one who refused to speak against true evil. Because even those who were too afraid to speak up are complicit it what occurred.

We must stand. We must speak. Because we have seen where silence leads. What does it say about us as a nation, as a people, as a human being if we do not stand now? If we do not decry what occurred in Virginia this weekend? If we allow this to be tolerated? If we are complacent? Because this is how it begins. Every time. This is how it always began. And this is how it ends.

memorial

With numbers in glass.

remember

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Death of Liberty

“So this is how liberty dies…with thunderous applause.”

The greatest danger often lies in the seemingly insignificant.  In the 14th Century rats and sea travel went hand in hand. It was just generally accepted as the way things were. Not worthy of a second thought…or even a thought at all. Yet, this seemingly insignificant fact of life destroyed nearly three quarters of the European population. More recently, the assassination of a relatively minor European noble, seemingly insignificant in and of itself, sparked what was known at the time as, “The war to end all wars.” Or, an upstart charismatic Austrian who had no real chance of attaining power in Germany eventually committing the single greatest atrocity in all of human history.

In other words, we often minimize the real threat to our humanity.  We laugh it off as impossible. Then, as we lay dying, wonder how the hell we got here. Time and time again, this phenomenon occurs throughout human history. Once the smoke clears, we swear we have learned our lesson. This will never happen again. Until the cycle repeats and it happens again.

The oft repeated line, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” is ironically given both great thought and routinely ignored.  We read and share Santayana’s great truth while simultaneously ignoring the warning. We see the horrors of the past and chant, “Never again,” while failing to see the symptoms and events in our own society making such atrocity possible. Thus, history repeats itself, and once again we are left wondering how the hell we got here. And yet, future generations look at the patterns and wonder how the hell we missed it. It was so blatantly apparent.

It wasn’t that no one saw the danger, but they were a small minority. It wasn’t that the majority were inherently evil. They were, in fact, just average human beings who were misled. The combination of charisma, economic disparity (real or imagined), and manufactured fear can easily lead once noble humans down the wrong path. It has happened frequently throughout history. It is happening again.

There is truth to Goodwin’s law and the reason is a simple one. Take a speech from any politician compare it to any speech of Hitler’s and you will find striking similarities. This is because there was a lot of truth behind Hitler’s rhetoric. He frequently addressed the truly dire straits that was the German economy. He correctly addressed the raw deal Germany received from the Treaty of Versailles. (It should be noted, the sanctions taken against Germany was not without good reason. But, many Germans felt screwed over by the treaty and Hitler, brilliantly, used this to his advantage.) We view Hitler as the ultimate evil.  Thus, view everything that came from him as inherently insidious.  It is much more complicated. Hitler was a very charismatic man and a gifted orator.  In fact, he was quite correct in identifying Germany’s problems. From the economy, to the lopsided treaty, to the weakness of the Weimar Republic…he was right. He was, however, grossly wrong in the cause of these problems. At the same time, he gave the people exactly what they wanted. Someone to blame.

To me, the parallels are obvious. Completely separate from Goodwin’s law.  I see and understand the faults inherent within humanity which can lead to such horror. There are serious problems in our society, and Mr. Trump accurately depicts many of them.  When people are hurting we actively search for someone to blame for our misfortunes. Humanity will rail against the uncomfortable truth That it is our own apathy, our own complacence, which is often the cause of our woes. Rather, we will cling to the ludicrous idea that a single group of people is responsible.  And when someone uses our own prejudices against us we rabidly cling to the scapegoat they offer us a way to absolve ourselves from any responsibility for the problems we face. Yesterday, it was  Jews and immigrants. Today, it is Muslims and immigrants.

To those who stand there in disbelief, who think it cannot possibly happen again.  I assure you, it CAN. And, if we are not vigilant, it will. We are on the brink, poised to make the very same mistakes we SWORE we would NEVER let happen again. When we do so, it will be because we have let our own prejudices blind us to the exact same patterns that precluded every dictator, every evil empire, whether in fiction or reality, that has ever been known to man.

For the last ten years, I have been the first to call out the often hyperbolic comparisons. I have done so because I believe it diminishes the suffering of millions of people. Betrays the memory of those lost. Because it diminishes my children’s heritage.  I can say, with one hundred percent certainty, had things turned out differently my children would NOT be here. I can say this because they are the great-grandchildren of survivors.  As it is, it is a miracle my husband was even born. For not only did his grandparents survive Hitler, but Stalin as well. Somehow, not only did they manage to survive the war, they also managed to escape Europe and reach America.  A feat far too few of Slavic descent attained. I tell you this, not to brag about the blessings I have received. But to show you how serious this is for me.  I love my children more than anything.  More than my own life. Had either of these men succeeded in their endeavors my children would quite simply not exist. So, yeah, it means something to me.  What seemed foreign and far away in my youth has become extremely personal.

I tell you this so you know, when I make these comparisons it is not just the typical hyperbolic rhetoric. These are real, accurate, and frightening comparisons I once, naïvely, thought impossible in American politics. I was wrong. I see that now, and I hope to God the rest of the nation does to. Before it is too late and we are left with our hands in the air wondering how the hell we got here.

Now, in the spirit of true honesty, I must say, in many ways, Mr. Trump is right.  He accurately addresses many key problems in our economy.  The American Working Man has been repeatedly screwed by failed policies. We allow China to pad the market and break many of the rules set down by the WTO.  Lack of tariffs, quotas, and other disincentives has led many American companies to move jobs overseas. On that, he is correct. He is also correct in stating that these issues need to be corrected.  Of course, what he won’t tell you, is solutions to these problems have been routinely shot down by Republicans in Congress under the guise of ‘Free Trade.’

However, my issues with Mr. Trump are greater than Democrat v. Republican, Liberal v. Conservative. My concern is with the far, far too many parallels that can be made between Mr. Trump and infamous leaders of the past. He is a malevolent narcissist. His proposed ‘solutions’ are not only morally wrong but blatantly unconstitutional as well.  If you ask me if I honestly thought that Trump could be a fascist dictator, my answer would have to be a terrified, yes.

In the beginning, I too, saw his campaign as too bombastic and ridiculous to be real. I too, thought his nomination was impossible.  It was a joke. Hilarious to watch the establishment scramble.  I, too, underestimated not only him, but the gullibility of humanity.  As he continued, I slowly became convinced this was indeed very real and very dangerous.  I have heard the defense of some of his more asinine statements.  The most blatant. “Sure, he said it. But he didn’t REALLY mean it.” Ladies and gentlemen, yes, he did. Even if he didn’t, can we really afford to take that risk? Because not that long ago there was another raucous upstart who, “told it like it was,” “wasn’t afraid to speak the truth,” a “man of the people who couldn’t be bought.” Trust me, when I say, it didn’t go so well.

Currently, the nominee of the Grand ‘Ole Party, is a man who not only blatantly ignores the constitution but also holds none of the principles of the party he purportedly leads. The scary thing is, many Republicans see it too.

This is a man who has not only insinuated he would order the murder of innocent women and children, but also firmly believes such and order would be followed without question. That is the trait of a dictator, not the leader of a democratic republic.

A man who feels humans deserve torture. A man for whom the ends justify the means. A man who would sink to the level of criminals and terrorists. A man who feels limited by the Geneva Convention. A man who has threatened war with Russia. A man who not only refuses to rule out the use of nuclear weapons, but actively calls out for more.  A man who has blatantly stated he will start World War III. People, this is not a leader. This is a dictator. Even in jest (I’m addressing my opponents early), none of this is OK, and from the ‘Leader of the Free World’ it would be disastrous.

A man who has promised law and order, despite the fact, such power is not in the jurisdiction of the federal government and not one of the enumerated powers the constitution allows the executive branch. Law enforcement, for the most part, is left up to states and cities. A man who promised an executive order mandating the death penalty, despite having NO legal grounds to do so. Who would obliterate the 8th Amendment to increase the pain of execution.

A man who has the support of nearly all the worst people on the planet. Seriously. The sheer number of frightening endorsements should be enough to give anyone pause.

A man who quotes, and seemingly admires dictators. Who does not even try to distance himself from White Supremacists and Neo-Nazi’s.

A man whose plans are nearly all unconstitutional. Immigration. Registration of Muslims (⇐ If I have to tell you why THIS is a problem…). Banning Muslims. A man who seeks to curb the Free Press. To violate the freedoms of religion and speech. Has argued, against members of his own party, to repeal the 14th Amendment.

A man whose supporters not only threaten violence, but also carry it out. Even to those within their own party. Actions the candidate has never criticized nor condemned. But actively encourages and defends. That the most violent, racist, and cruel members of our society flock to this man is cause for concern.

He is a man who ‘jokes’ about murder. Who routinely violates equal protection laws…and has since the 1970’s. A man who refuses to admit when he is wrong. A man who ‘may have’ supported Japanese internment. Praises the ‘strength’ of the oppressive Chinese government. A man who called out to another nation to break US law (and international law) while the official Republican candidate for president. (⇐Seriously, if I have to explain this one…)

He is a man obsessed with strength. Who sees pragmatism and diplomacy as weakness. A man with a self-inflated sense of purpose. Who supports rabid nationalism and genuinely thinks that he is the ONLY solution. That he is inherently superior to all others.  Come on, this is right from ‘How to be a fascist dictator 101.’

He meets criticism with threats. Dismisses them with disgusting remarks. Has admitted that he would seek laws to punish those who spoke ill of him. (⇐ Red Flag) Mentioned his genitalia in a debate…seriously!  Who wants to replace liberal appointees with loyalists. (⇐WARNING!! Literally, Hitler’s first move people.) Please, please open up your eyes and realize this man is the single greatest threat to American Democracy that EVER existed.

“To remain silent and indifferent is the greatest sin of all.”

― Elie Wiesel

I have a few beliefs that are unshakeable. The first is the resilience, generosity, and beauty of the human spirit. I believe we are capable of truly amazing and wonderful things. But that doesn’t mean I am blind to the faults of humanity. The darkness that lies within leading to horrors untold.

I believe in God. A creator. A great force of good in this world. A better life after this one. Not a God who ignores the evil in the world, but one who has taken a step back, allowed us to make our own mistakes. So we learn the lessons for ourselves.  I believe in a God who loves us, despite all our ills. A God who understands truth discovered is far stronger than truth that is given. A God who desperately wants us to get there. Who weeps when we fail. I believe he wept for Germany in the 1930’s. I believe he weeps for us now.

And I believe, with my whole heart, with every fiber of my being, with deepest conviction, the words written upon the single, most brilliant display of treason ever to grace the pages of human history.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

I believe in this idea with a fire that cannot be extinguished. THIS is why we won the revolution. Not because of a superior army. Not because of the genius of our generals. But because an idea that once planted could not be uprooted. An idea that no war could destroy. I know that this idea has yet to be practiced in its entirety. There are those we have failed. Call me the Greater Fool, if you will, but I truly believe that this type of society is possible. I believe in the greatness of humanity. In hope.  I will cling to hope regardless of the ferocity of the storm.

My fellow Americans, we have come to a crossroads. One where we can continue our grand social experiment of equality for all. Or one where we lead from hate and fear. We have a choice, to be either on the right side of history, or the wrong one.

We need to open our eyes, and make the phrase ‘Never Again,’ mean not that it can’t happen again, to acknowledging the darkness within humanity. By making it mean it CAN happen again, BUT WE WON’T LET IT.

Our system is battered and bruised, but not broken.  We can either come together and fix the problems or we can decide it’s not worth fixing. I am not naïve as to how the system “works.” I will be voting for Hillary Clinton, because she is the Democratic Party nominee. Because I know nothing about the third party candidates. I acknowledge this is due to media bias. I agree that the two-party system needs to be dismantled and replaced with a more equal representation of our various beliefs. Yet, I know, as it stands, no third party candidate has a chance in winning a single state, let alone the election. I ask you all to consider this unfortunate truth in November. We have four years afterwards to make our elections more fair and equal.

Those who know me, know that I have never been a fan of Secretary Clinton. Despite the many disagreements I have with her, I will vote for her. I get that the status quo isn’t great. I get that many see this as a ‘lesser evil.’ I hear you. I understand. I am there with you. I too, am tired of the establishment, the lack of choice, and politicians serving their own self interests. Sick of it. I too, want change. Not by dismantling the idea, but by actually living up to it. It is a worthy goal. One I will push and strive for, for the rest of my life. But, to me, the facts are clear. Hillary Clinton does not, for all her ills, represent a clear and present danger to our constitution. Donald Trump does.

If you believe in everything Mr. Trump is selling, then by all means, vote for him. Understand that we will need to part ways. Because I will not support fear and hatred…however tacitly.  If you truly believe in everything I have spoken out against then there is nothing I can do or say to convince you otherwise. Regardless, I will continue to keep you in my prayers.

But, if you are considering a vote for Mr. Trump, merely because he has that (R) behind his name, please don’t. We need to let go of partisan politics. Let go of loyalty to party above our own interests. If that (R) is the only reason you are considering Mr. Trump, I implore you to truly consider whether this vote speaks to your conscience or against it. If your conscience will not allow you to vote for Hillary, that’s fine. I get that. Just don’t vote for Mr. Trump out of some displaced loyalty to a party that has never really had your interests at heart. (Same can be said of (D) by the way.)

If you are considering voting for Mr. Trump because you are tired of the Establishment, please, don’t be fooled. Donald Trump is very much a part of the Establishment. He cannot be bought simply because he’s the one doing the buying. Don’t be fooled into thinking that a Trump vote is anti-establishment. Open your eyes and realize, not only is he establishment, but that he represents the most insidious parts of it. If you are considering a vote for Mr. Trump as a way to “stick it to the man,” please God, don’t. Mr. Trump IS the man. If you really want to shake things up in Washington, to send a message to the politicians that we are sick and tired of their games. That their jobs are NOT guaranteed…then vote against every incumbent (R) or (D) up for reelection this November. If enough of us do it, they WILL get the message. And it has the potential to actually affect the types of changes you want. Changes we all want. For more than any Presidential election ever will.

I ask all of you to seriously consider your vote in November. To vote your conscience. To ask yourselves, if you truly believe in the constitution. And if you do, is Mr. Trump really the guy you think will uphold and defend it? These are serious times and they call for serious people. This not a joke, or a game. Who do you honestly think is the person worthy of guarding the values we hold dear? If no one, then no one is your answer.  I believe Mr. Trump to be a serious threat, not only to our Republic, but also to humanity at large.  I hope to God I am wrong. But you need to ask yourselves, is it worth the risk?

We are not Germany in the 1930’s. We are far better off, and our situation is not as dire as some would have you believe.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. –Edmund Burke

World War II and the Holocaust did not occur because Germany was rife with evil people. They were just people. People who were scared, hurt, and tired. People just looking for an ease to their suffering. The majority of those who voted for Hitler and the Nazi’s were not voting for the massive genocide that followed. It was never their intent. But the intentions of an action mean very little when the result is so catastrophic. Would you so eagerly accept the apologies of someone who voted for the Nazi’s if they said they didn’t mean for it to happen? Does the fact it was never their ‘intent,’ in any way, diminish the horrors of that era? The evil unleashed upon the world? You know it doesn’t. It doesn’t change anything. Doesn’t help anything. Whether you believe the Germans were evil or fools, it doesn’t change what happened. Nor does it make it more acceptable. I urge you all to keep that in mind come November. A vote for hate is a vote for hate, regardless of how noble your intentions may be.  Fifty years from now, I don’t want America to look back with regret on what we unleashed upon the world. I cannot support a vote for Mr. Trump. Not because I am an American with American ideals. Not because I am a Christian. But because I am human, because I am a citizen of this world, and because I have the firm belief in the goodness humanity is capable of.

 

“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”

― Elie Wiesel

Oh, Indiana.

There is a lot of talk going on lately about the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and with good reason. Some support it, some don’t…and many seem to be confused as to what it is and why it’s a big deal. The confusion needs to go. My problems with the Indiana law are two-fold. First, my religious freedom is already protected by the first amendment to the US constitution and by my state’s (and Indiana’s) constitution as well. I fail to see why we need a special law saying we have the right to religious freedom when that issue was solved with the Bill of Rights. Along with this issue, goes another one (a big one for me), and that is the inherent hypocrisy of those who support the law. Now, those that know me should know that nothing gets my goat more than hypocrisy. To quote Denzel (Remember the Titans- great flick, but I digress): I may be a mean old cuss but I am the same mean old cuss to everyone. I like consistency if you don’t support something for someone else then you can’t claim to have a right to it or a need for it.

So, where is the hypocrisy, you ask? I am glad that you did (even if you didn’t we are going to pretend that you did, so go with it). See, my biggest issue is that many of the laws proponents argue that the LGBT community is not asking for equality, but for ‘special rights.’ They hold the idea that people already have the right to marry who they wish, but LGBTers want ‘special rights’ just for them. I don’t hold to this opinion (I find it highly flawed, offensive, and discriminatory) but if you do, so be it. But if you do, yet you support the Indiana law, you are by definition, a hypocrite. As I already mentioned, religious freedom is already protected, the proponents of the Indiana law do not want religious freedom (which they have all had since birth) but they want ‘special rights’ they claim are within the mandates of their religion. Rights that may possibly violate other state and federal statutes.

We have anti-discrimination laws for a reason. We shouldn’t have to have them, but we do because people generally suck. These laws do not harm anyone nor do they violate the first amendment. See, like with all rights, there is a limit to what you can do with that. We have freedom of speech, but we can still be prosecuted for telling lies (libel), mis-truths (slander), or any speech that causes or threatens active harm (threats of violence, or screaming fire in a crowded theater.) These limits are not stifling our freedoms, but, rather protecting them…for everybody. The same holds true for religious freedom. Your religious freedom ends at the point where someone is exposed to undue harm. Hence, why stoning or human sacrifice (or sacrifice of any kind, generally speaking) are still illegal. This is the reason that, despite many religions supporting and/or promoting it, polygamy is still illegal in many states, because it has shown to come with a lack of consent and harm to individuals (sometimes underage)…see: Colorado City.
In fact, the argument over religious freedom is hardly anything new. SCOTUS has decided this issue many times over, and reached the same (ish) conclusion every time. The exception being the Hobby Lobby case…well, sort of. The big religious freedom case was US v. Lee. An Amish man made the argument that as we was spiritually opposed to social security, he shouldn’t have the pay the employer required contribution on behalf of his non-Amish employees. SCOTUS basically said, uh-unh, doesn’t work that way. Well, actually they said: When followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity. In other words, when you open a business you make a ‘choice.’ No one says you are required to do so, and no one is forcing you to open a business against your will…you choose to do that. As such, in making that choice, you agree to follow any and all laws and regulations that apply to that business. There are laws on the books that state you are not allowed to discriminate against someone in your business, these laws are unfortunately necessary and are around for a reason. They protect those to whom others wish to place an, undue burden. That’s the language used in the Hobby Lobby case, too, but wrongfully applied.

See, if the government can show that a law fulfills a fundamental need, is in the public good, (or shows compelling interest) and doesn’t place an undue burden upon others then that law is not in violation of anyone’s religious rights. For example, the state can require vaccinations (oh, if only they would) because they can prove that it is a compelling interest (i.e. Vaccinations save lives, improve community health and cost far less than the treatment of said diseases.) The government can prove that required vaccinations to keep a public healthy, is the least restrictive method of doing so. In the Hobby Lobby case, the court again used this compelling interest/undue burden requirement. Where it dropped the ball was here. See, the decision stated that the government did prove that requiring employers to give health coverage (and that, that coverage cover contraception) was in a compelling interest (side note: in stating this the court has already decided for the ACA). Where the government failed, according to the court, was to prove that such a requirement was the least restrictive method of obtaining their goals…and thus, violated the owner’s ‘strongly held religious beliefs.’ But where the courts failed is that they forgot that Hobby Lobby would then place that ‘burden’ on a third party…the employees. (Yes, this is all the fault of the Hobby Lobby case…way to go for unintended consequences).
The Indiana law would allow businesses to refuse service to individuals based on their ‘strongly held religious beliefs.’ (Since, you know, corporations are people now and have religious freedom). This, however, places an undue burden on consumers (discrimination). The law essentially forces others to comply with another’s ‘strongly held religious beliefs,’ which is, in all actuality, unconstitutional. How can this go wrong? Say some one has a ‘strongly held religious belief’ that black people are unclean and thus refuses to serve them in their establishment. Many would agree (I hope) that this is a false belief and that allowing a business to carry out this plan is wrong. But that is exactly what the law allows to be done to the LGBT community. How much longer before they refuse to hire certain group of people? The Indiana law, and the Hobby Lobby decision, places the ‘rights’ of a business above the rights of the individual. This is why I have a problem with both the new law, and the decision. Your religion does not give you the right to discriminate against people. (If you want a more professional opinion, one of lawyers and such, with all the legal mumbo jumbo click here)

A Heinous Violation

The past several weeks have been flooded with ‘violations’ of constitutional rights.  In fact, the past year has shown that a vast number of people have no idea what the constitution is, what it says, what it means and its general purpose.  Not to mention who it does and who it doesn’t apply to.  I am here to correct a few misconceptions.

First and foremost it is important to understand that the constitution (and the included Bill of Rights) does not, in any way, shape, or form, give us any rights at all.  Zero.  The rights enumerated in the constitution are natural rights.  These are things that we have a right to simply because we exist.  It has nothing to do with being an American but more so with simply being human.

When the documents were created there was a huge debate about enumerating our human rights.  Jefferson was against doing so because he felt that it would have two consequences.  One, that people would come to believe that it was the document that provided the rights and to only a select group of people (i.e. citizens).  Two, if a ‘right’ didn’t make the document then it must not exist.  In other words, Jefferson was concerned that future generations would suffer because something wasn’t written down. Wise man.

So, why were some of the founders concerned about people assuming the document gave those rights? Because that would negate the purpose of the constitution.  See, the constitution does not apply to you, or me, or any one person (or corporation) on the planet.  It applies ONLY to the federal government.  The constitution is a list of rules and regulations for the government to follow…nothing more.

This is why Phil Robertson being suspended for something he said was not a violation of his ‘constitutional rights.’ First, let’s just ignore the fact that the constitution doesn’t give rights.  And, to save my sanity, let’s skip over the vast number of politicians who fail to understand the constitution.  For now, let’s just go over what the  first amendment is, what it means and who it applies to.

The first amendment actually enumerates a number of rights but let’s start with freedom of speech.  The founders believed that you had the natural right to speak your mind without fear of persecution from the government.  The last bit is the essential part.  The belief was that any human being should be able to say, “King George sucks,” without risking imprisonment.  The amendment gives you nothing.  It does not protect you from criticism.  It does not protect you from repercussions from the public…such as, losing your job.  So, what does it do?  The first amendment tells the federal government that it cannot make any laws restricting the speech of its citizens.  That’s it.  All it does is prevent the government from persecuting, imprisoning and executing citizens for saying something (the primary purpose was to allow citizens to speak out against the government).

That being said, the amendment is not all inclusive.  Thus, the government does have the power to restrict certain kinds of speech.  These include things like revealing state secrets, yelling fire in a crowded room, slander, libel and threats against human life and wellbeing.  Hence, why it is illegal to threaten to kill or hurt someone.  So, the first amendment protects you from the government if you want to call the President a ‘lying, cheating n—’…or even if you want to tell him to go ‘f— himself.’ However, cross the line and say, “I’m going to kill that lying, cheating n—,’ and you risk being investigated by the government.  And, in doing so, the government is NOT violating your rights.

So, do we understand now, that only the federal government can violate the first amendment?  If you call your boss an asshole, he can fire you.  This does not violate your rights.  If you say the President’s economic policy sucks and as a result you are arrested…that is a violation of your rights.  See the difference?

Actions have consequences.  Nothing in the constitution protects you from consequence.  Accepting that your actions have consequences is part of being an adult.  Making the choice to say or do something means accepting the consequences that may arise from said action.  Saying something and then whining or complaining because what you said or did got you fired or ridiculed is childish and stupid.  Vocal disagreement (and in some cases, public shaming…though I don’t always agree with this tactic) are the consequences of speaking your opinion.  This is not a violation of your rights.  Claiming such is extremely childish and you should probably grow up a little.

While we are on this subject, I am going to quickly address a pet peeve of mine.  So, let’s just say we are debating free speech and religion.  You think this means that Mr. Robertson’s rights were violated.  I disagree.  You then proceed to tell me that we are a Christian nation.  That the first amendment protects you from providing birth control, seeing gay people be married and gives you the right to say whatever you damn well please.  I disagree.  You cannot follow up with ANY of these arguments: “Well the gays need to stop being so sensitive and just shut the hell up,” or “That’s the way it is and if you don’t like it, get the hell out.” Reason: The argument puts holes in your own logic so large I could drive a mid-90’s hummer through it.  If you say, ‘God hates f—,’ and I tell you that you are wrong, you believe I am violating your rights.  However, you then telling me to shut up and get out, by your own logic, is you violating my rights.  (That is not, in reality, the case but if you do believe that the amendment protects you from criticism then such a comeback is logically impossible.)  These arguments do nothing for your cause.  All they do is show the world that you are one giant hypocrite.

You are telling the world that only things you agree with are valid and any form of disagreement you see as a potential threat to your sad, pathetic and isolated worldview…and thus it must be a violation of your rights.  By telling someone to leave if they don’t like it you are telling the world that you are a bigot because you only want people who think and speak like you to be an American.  You may be a perfectly nice person but these arguments make you appear to be nothing more than a hypocritical, bigoted asshole.

The fact that we can debate our differences in a public forum is awesome.  It is one of the greatest aspects of our society.  The debate.  Do you have any idea how many countries would imprison us for doing so? The fact that Americans disagree on issues and debate them is not only one of the greatest thing about this country but also the very reason we have progressed as far as we have.  The debate is the reason we don’t have slaves, women can vote and that we have civil rights.  All thanks to debate.

You know who wants a country full of people who only share their views and opinions…despots.  Now, I am not saying that you are a despot.  What I am saying is that all despots want to suppress the ideas, opinions and beliefs of those that differ from their own.  Now, if that is the type of country you are looking for I can give you hundreds of examples throughout the annals of history as to why that is a bad idea.

I don’t think that is what you really want but that is what your words imply.  This is why people don’t take you seriously.  I am not saying that you have to agree with my opinions and beliefs…just accept the fact that I can have a differing opinion and we can still occupy the same country.  If you disagree with me, debate me.  Please.  Tell me why you disagree.  Don’t just tell me I am wrong and walk away.  We cannot possibly solve our problems that way and we have a lot of serious problems to solve.

Wow, ok.  So this post kind of got away from me.  We will stop there for now but I promise we will continue to discuss constitutional issues and the intents of the founders throughout the year.

My Response to ‘Wild Bill’

http://youtu.be/AOidkNUEGp0

NO!!! For a thousand and ones reasons no. I find this horrifically insulting…not on my behalf but on the behalf of all those I know who experienced Hitler’s horror. Comparing Planned Parenthood (not all of which perform abortions and in which most services performed are actually birth control, pap smears, and breast exams for women who can’t afford a doctor…but you know, facts, blech) to a place such as Auschwitz is not only unfair and inaccurate but diminishes the horrors that took place. When a PP clinic takes a set of twins, amputates arms, stitches them together to create a pair of conjoined twins…often without anesthetics, then you can compare them to a Death Camp. Though he is right, Hitler wasn’t Christian…but he claimed to be and he quoted scripture and used people’s devotion to the religion to gain power and execute his goals. He may not have been a Christian but he sure took advantage of mis-teachings to corrupt a nation of people.

Also, Liberals are not the only ones throwing Hitler comparisons around…Glen Beck has been doing it since the middle of 2009. Personally, I feel comparisons of any American to Hitler (with the exception of neo-Nazi’s and the Aryan Brotherhood because, well, they admit it) are not only inaccurate but also diminish the horrors committed by that bastard, they make it trivial…makes Hitler out to be less evil. Liberals do not admire dictators. Like all groups of people there are those on the fringe…most Liberals do not admire Mao. Most would agree that a big Liberal “hero” would be John Lennon…many believe his ideals the core of modern Liberalism. In his song, Revolution, he wrote: But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, You ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow. The point being made is that those who truly cling to a liberal doctrine would not admire such a man…those people are extremists. Like the ‘conservatives’ who bomb abortion clinics are extremists…they hijack the term to explain their twisted philosophies but in no way do they represent anywhere near the majority of the conservative philosophy. Liberals do not support dictators…at all. In fact, one of the things that angers us the most is the fact that the US government has not only supported dictators in the past but also took action to make sure the dictators they liked came to power. We object to supporting any and all dictators. If a person supports someone like Mao then they are an extremist and do not represent the values of the philosophy.

Next, it is not the fact that Israel exists that bothers Liberals…but instead how it was created. Land was stolen from its inhabitants and then gifted to another group of people. It, not surprisingly, resulted from British colonization attempts and was sanctioned by the UN. What we don’t like is that Palestinians are judged harshly for fighting the takeover of their land and continue to be judged for their anger. Want a comparison…it’s pretty much the same thing that we did to the aboriginal peoples of what is now the United States. The problem is that a third party decided the partition of a nation, which had done nothing wrong, without and against the will of its people. We may object to how it was created, and it was done in a pretty crappy way, but now that it exists we agree that a mutual peace…benefiting both parties…is the best course of action. With regards to that peace process, Israel is just as guilty as Palestine for failing to come to an agreement. I remember a few years back Palestine offered a cease fire if Israel ceased expanding settlements into the Palestinian region around the West Bank. What happened? Israel continued to expand into Palestinian territory.

Hitler’s control of the media in no way resembles the Fairness doctrine…how so…um because broadcasters who speak out against the government are not executed. How do I know we do not live in a dictatorial fascist media controlled society…because Beck, O’Reilly, Hannity and Coulter are still alive (and on the other side so are Maher, Cooper and Schultz). It is a fiction of history that Hitler disarmed the people actually, he relaxed the gun control laws of the previous administration. That being said the Jews were not applicable to these new laws relaxing the ownership of firearms because of the mass of discriminatory laws against them. The US has laws that apply to all not just a specific group of people (no one is saying that Christians no longer have the right to bear arms). Since US gun regulations, or rather proposed regulations…actually misconceptions of the proposed regulations…do not single out a group of persons to discriminate against then any comparison to gun regulations to Nazi policies is pure crap.

“Crack down on people of faith because they oppose his agenda”…ok, this one really pisses me off. First of all, as long as ‘people of faith’ are not being thrown in prison, tortured, or executed there can be no comparison…once again, trivializing the horrors of the Holocaust. Second, America was founded on democratic (that is democracy not the party) principles. We are supposed to be able to debate our differences. Why is it when I disagree with a conservative (at least some, not all…I do not believe in absolutes) I am persecuting them, cracking down on them, declaring war, etc. …and yet when a conservative disagrees with me it is just in the spirit of democracy? (Look, I am aware some on both sides are guilty of this…I am only speaking from my own experience at this point) The whole point of this government is to debate our differences…not run to the hills proclaiming persecution when people disagree with your viewpoint. Furthermore, when one uses speech to denigrate and dehumanize a group of individuals it IS hate speech.

OK, now the Muslim Brotherhood thing…first let us be very clear, not all Muslims are terrorists. So, Hitler had a Muslim SS decision…I am pretty sure a number of German Lutherans were SS as well…shall we denigrate all of them for the rest of the sects existence or do they get a pass because they are not brown? As far as sending weapons to Egypt (at least I am assuming that to what he is referring) I did not see many complaints when we were sending weapons to Mubarak. Nor do I hear anyone denigrating Reagan for doing the exact same thing with Saddam Hussein. Both Republican and Democratic administrations have provided aid and weapons to those with questionable purposes…no side is innocent in that endeavor and I am tired of the assumptions that it was all the fault of a single party…either Democrat or Republican.

“Use the word of God to convince people of the righteousness of their cause, just like liberal churches do today…” Um, ok, but don’t conservatives use that as well to promote their cause. What makes it right for a conservative to do so but not a liberal? If you really want to address this issue, most people of a faith use their religious doctrines to justify their actions and affirm the “righteousness” of their cause. This is not just a liberal thing and I fail to see how he can say that with a straight face when it is the CONSERVATIVE position that same-sex marriage should be illegal because it goes against the WILL OF GOD. Sorry, but it seems a little hypocritical to accuse liberals of having commonalities with Hitler for using their faith to support their beliefs (some liberals, not all) when a priority of an entire political party (Republican/conservative) does the exact same thing? Does it make it right that everyone uses their belief system in such a way…of course not…but you cannot denounce one while supporting the other. That is the very definition of hypocrisy.

In no way, shape, or form does Liberalism share the same goals and ideologies of Hitler. Liberals are not seeking to exterminate an entire race of people from the globe. Liberals are not seeking to imprison or execute those who disagree with our beliefs. A liberal’s goal is that of freedom and liberty…for all. We believe civil rights belong to all people regardless of their race, nationality, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. Since Hitler had a program executing homosexuals I have a hard time believing he would side with us on that one. We believe that all people should have religious freedom…the ability to practice whatever religion they choose/ or don’t choose…we also refute the idea that one religion is superior to another and thus refuse legislation that favors a particular religious viewpoint.

This is something that is very personal to me. If Hitler had his way my husband wouldn’t exist and as a result neither would my children. I find it thoroughly insulting to the survivors of this period of time for any American to in anyway insinuate that their struggles are even remotely similar to those faced during Hitler’s reign. It diminishes the death and suffering of millions to equate our petty grievances and imagined sufferings to such events. It is an analogy in American politics that needs to die solely on the basis that it is no way near a realistic comparison. Until people in the US are being led by the millions to execution simply based on what they are…religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation…then no. single. person in America—on either side—today can claim that the opposing side is in any way resemblant to Hitler and his Nazi regime. And trust me, compared to being gay, colored, a Jew, a Slav, or Polish in Eastern Europe during that period of time our ‘imagined’ struggles here in America today are petty and insignificant.

Dear Senator

In an opinion article recently on CNN, Mr. Rand Paul, Senator from Kentucky, outlined his arguments on why the US should stay out of Syria. Frighteningly enough, in the beginning I was starting to agree with him. Though it was a rather simplistic historical view that left out a few important points (like how the US supported the coup that eventually put Assad in power) it was beginning to make a valid point about why we shouldn’t use arms and troops to support the Syrian rebels. That point being that we have a tendency to screw it up. But then, just as I was getting excited that a logical argument would finally be made, Sen. Paul dropped this little nugget: There is also the quandary of nearly 2 million Christians who are uncertain of what to do. The Christian community in Syria has traditionally sided with, and been protected by, Bashar al-Assad’s regime. It is troubling to think that American arms may be given to Islamic fighters who may in turn be firing them at Christians. Wait, what? Sooooo, the concern is not with us screwing it up so much as how are screwing it up may effect a minority population that supported a dictatorial regime that has spent the last 50 years subjugating the majority? Sure! What could possibly be wrong with that idea? Only Everything.

There are so many things wrong with this statement that I don’t even know where to begin. Let’s start with the first part of the statement: …2 million Christians who are uncertain of what to do…the community has traditionally sided with Assad. Here’s an idea, how about stop supporting a government that for the last half century has been persecuting, subjugating, torturing and murdering those who are now known as rebels. I fail to see how anyone can support a regime such as Assad’s that has accumulated a laundry list of human rights violations over the last 50 years. Maybe it’s just me but that doesn’t sound very Christian. Then comes the second part: It is troubling to think that American arms may be given to Islamic fighters who may in turn be firing them at Christians. Well, isn’t that dandy? I think Sen. Paul is confused as to how a war works. If we support the rebels and the Syrian Christians support Assad wouldn’t it seem logical that the rebels (who happen to be Muslim) would fight these Christians? Also, who gives a crap if they are Christian or not? Did it ever occur to anyone that if a Christian supports a dictator then a Muslim rebel overthrows said dictator and said Christian is killed by said Muslim that the religious affiliations of the two parties have ABSOLUTLY NOTHING to do with it? Perhaps, these ‘Christians’ shouldn’t continue to support a government that is involved in the wholesale slaughter of a number of its own citizens.  Perhaps then these ‘Christians’ wouldn’t have to fear the retaliation of ‘evil Muslims.’

    As if that wasn’t bad enough, Sen. Paul said shortly thereafter: Empowering Islamic extremists to achieve questionable short-term goals does not serve America’s long-term security or interests. Nor does it serve the interests of nearly 2 million Christians in Syria who fear they could suffer the same fate as Iraqi Christians who were abused and expelled from that country as radical Islamic forces gained influence and power. These Christians are natural allies of the United States, and if we’re going to seriously discuss any American interests in Syria, the welfare of these Christians is more important than arming Islamic extremists. Seriously? This gets a giant WTF from me for a number of reasons…primarily because every single part of this statement is inaccurate. First, why are the rebel’s extremists? Because they want freedom and equality? Because they want to be able to speak out against their government without fear of murder, torture and rape? All evidence points to the Free Syrian Army as NOT being extremist. One al-Qaeda based group has crossed into Syria but while they fight Assad (most likely for their own ends) the FSA does not support them and has, in fact, accused them of hijacking their cause. Yep, sounds like an extremist to me. Let’s toss that right out the window…those that are asking for our help are not the extremists but the FSA.

“Questionable short-term goals,” man I like that one. So, getting rid of a ruthless dictator who has set up dozens of torture facilities, has used cluster bombs and chemical weapons (violating the Geneva Convention), ruthlessly targeted women and children, recklessly bombed his own cities, and has purposely left innocent civilians without power, food and water is a ‘questionable’ goal. Removing Assad from power is not, I repeat not, questionable…he needs to go, and the vast majority of the world agrees with me. Furthermore, the accusation that it would “not serve America’s long-term security or interests,” is so blatantly false one has to wonder if Sen. Paul understands foreign policy at all. Why would that be, you ask? Well, let us look at those who have chosen to side with Assad: Iran, Russia, China and Hezbollah. Forgive me if I fail to see how that could NOT affect our long-term security. Do we really want Iran and China to have a stronger footing in the region should the Assad regime win? Add that to the fact that, for whatever reason, the US has deemed it essential to protect Israel at any cost for any reason how can you say it doesn’t serve our interests. A stronger Hezbollah, also a terrorist organization that seeks to destroy the Israeli state, in the region definitely affects our long-term interests.

“Christians are the natural allies of the United States,” what exactly, makes them our allies? The fact that they support a tyrannical regime that despises the United States…or is it merely because they are Christian? Exactly how delusional are you when it comes to foreign relations? Christianity does not automatically make one an ally. Remember the Cold War, the USSR wasn’t exactly an ally then and I am fairly confident in declaring the majority of that region as being Christian. In case you haven’t noticed all Christians do not agree and have a tendency, like any group of people, to fight about it. You know, like the whole Protestant v. Catholic thing. Forgive me if I doubt the allegiance of a group of people who would support Assad. “The welfare of these Christians is more important than arming Islamic extremists,” now here is where I really get upset. First, we have already established that we cannot definitively say that we would be arming extremists. Apart from that the rest of this statement is one of the most egocentric and exclusionary statements I have ever encountered. Holy crap. As you state yourself, there are only two million Christians in Syria, which has a population of 20 million souls. So, let’s go ahead and put those 2 million above the other 18. Because we all know that Christians are inherently better. Would you please explain to me when the needs of the few began to outweigh the needs of the many? Or do you feel that only the Christians count? I was taught that we should ‘love our neighbor,’ to me this is not exclusionary. It means we should care for each other as human beings, regardless of color, gender, religion, national origin…you know, the insignificant parts of ‘who’ we are. But I guess it is ‘love thy neighbor’…unless it could have the vaguest possibility of harming real people (i.e. Christians) in the future. Sen. Paul, millions of people are suffering. They are living without heat, running water and food. There is a lack of medical supplies that is leading to spreading disease within the besieged cities. How many could that kill? Not to mention having to fear tanks, chemical weapons, mortars, bombings and missiles that could at any moment destroy hundreds of lives.

Seriously?!? All the arguments you could have gone with against US involvement in Syria and this is the one you go with? Let’s not even mention that we don’t have the resources. Let’s not even mention how, should we become involved we could spark an all-out war within the entire region. Nope, we are going to worry about what MIGHT happen to 10% of the population when the dust settles. Honestly, who gives a crap ‘what’ they are? Millions are being persecuted in what could easily spin into a modern day genocide. Sen. Paul, is it not the Christian duty to act? To do whatever we can to alleviate the suffering of others? Should not the Christians of Syria be supporting the rebels instead of the murderous regime simply because, “Hey, they treat us OK.”? I am sorry, Sen. Paul, but are not the ‘darkest places in hell reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis?’ With all due respect, Sen. Paul, bugger off.

Bleeding Heart

I was questioned lately on what made me a liberal. I believe in God, I must be a conservative. I am a stay at home mom with a husband that leads our house like the bible says, I must be a conservative. (Actually, while I am a stay at home mom my husband and I are equal partners in our house.) Because of my belief in God, I must be against marriage equality, abortion, taxes…I must be a conservative. All of this ending with the claim that John F. Kennedy would be a Republican under the current structure of the Democratic Party that had been high-jacked by liberals. I find it amusing that liberal has become a dirty word. I find it amusing because liberalism was founded on liberty and equality. Below is the response I gave.

I am a liberal. Just because I am a liberal does not mean I can’t believe in God. Just because I have a traditional family does not mean that I think that is the only or even best way to go. I believe one of the basic requirements for a free society is the freedom to pursue whatever religion you wish including the freedom to not pursue religion. I am a Christian, but I do not believe that a free society can legislate a single religious belief. When we do so we are no longer free.

I fail to see how a government based on freedom of religion can regulate a religious institution such as marriage. I am fine with the churches’ position. I am less fine with any government telling two consenting adults that they can’t get married. There are churches out there that support same-sex marriage and I have a HUGE problem with the government telling them what they can and cannot support. Personally, I have absolutely no problem with same-sex marriage. Their love and relationships are just as valid as mine. Marriage in a church is a religious ceremony before God and I feel that the church can determine who they can and cannot marry. I think they are wrong to do so but perfectly free to make that choice. Marriage is also a legal contract and I have problems with this legal contract being restricted to certain types of people by the government. I equate these with Jim Crow laws that prohibited inter-racial marriage. If you look back, the arguments are even the same.

I am for tax reform yes…but probably more different from what you would think. First, I am in favor of a flat tax with no stupid deductions (like for yachts, private jets, and show horses). You get a standard deduction and that is it. Since that will never happen I am in favor of creating new tax brackets for the super-wealthy. I find it horribly unfair that persons making $400,000 pay the same rate as those making millions. We need brackets for those higher incomes. With regards to FICA, the Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax removed from every paycheck for Social Security and Medicaid, I am willing to pay more. Currently, Medicaid is at 1.45%. That’s $14.50 for every $1,000 earned bumping it up to a full 2% would only increase it by $5.50 for every $1,000. I am more than willing to pay that to help more Americans. And all income should be subject to the Social Security portion of the FICA tax…not just the first $110,000. I am poor; I get a return most years. I would give up every single penny, regardless of how much it helps my family, if it could guarantee every single American quality health care.

I am not for partial birth abortions and I would argue that no liberal really is…however, my views on abortion could take up a huge amount of space. Some of them though, can be found here: http://wp.me/p33Zln-b

As far as the Islamic religion is concerned…I support it 100%. The reasons why are many. First, we have freedom of religion in this country. Second, not every Muslim believes what the extremists believe. “Islamic Extremism is to Islam what the KKK is to Christianity”—it may be from an old ‘West Wing’ episode but I really do believe it. Furthermore, I studied religion in college and have read the Qur’an. I know that what it says is so very different from what is presented by the extremists. I know many Muslims who are good Americans that do not believe a single thing coming from the mouths of terrorists. Christianity’s history hasn’t exactly been all flowers and roses either. Judging all Muslims for the beliefs of extremists is akin to judging all Christians based on the beliefs of the Westboro Baptist Church.

I am not for the government restricting my diet…but making recommendations to how I should eat is pretty much the job description of the Surgeon General. Making healthier food cheaper and crappy food more expensive is no different from taxing alcohol and tobacco. I also feel that one shouldn’t be able to buy candy and soda with food stamps.

I have no problems with doctors, teachers, and others whose duty it is to care for my children to ask if there are guns in the home. If it prevents even one child from a preventable death or injury because their parents were too stupid to figure out on their own that they should keep their pretty pink gun out of the reach of their 3yo then I am all for it. I find it to be similar to asking about lead in the home. Or smoking. Or car seats. Frankly, someone has to look after our kids and American parents, by and large, are failing miserably.

Now, looking back at history I have found a lot of Executive Orders that I disagree with. Pretty much every President since FDR had a few I disliked. A few have had some that I agree with. They are nothing new and the Executive Orders Obama has signed have made him disappointingly average. As far as taking control of our infrastructure, that has been an Executive Order since Truman was President. Wire taps, search warrants, and what not are due to the Patriot Act, which I oppose vehemently. But a conservative President and a conservative Congress enacted it. Detention of US citizens is also not new…technically FDR did it…but the tenets in National Defense Authorization Act (which is currently being blamed solely on Obama) actually began with Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Terrorists. AUMF was also passed under conservative leadership…on September 14, 2001…quietly, while America was distracted. We should speak up about these actions but we should also be clear of the whole history of such actions and not lay blame solely at the feet of the individual holding the Presidency. What we need to do is take such tenets to court and get them deemed unconstitutional (which is what we are doing with NDAA now) so no one can do it again.

A liberal is: “someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people—their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties—someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a ‘Liberal’, then I’m proud to say I’m a ‘Liberal’.” according to John F. Kennedy. Personally, given the quote, I think JFK would fit nicely into this Democratic Party. Lincoln I have a hard time believing would still be a Republican given his liberal and progressive stances on a number of issues. I am a liberal. Furthermore, I am a bleeding heart liberal and I wear that title like a badge of honor. Just like I don’t believe I should pick and choose parts of my Bible, I also do not believe that I can pick and choose parts of my Constitution. I believe, with my whole heart, cemented by my faith in God, that all men are created equal and therefore are equal under the law.