The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Honestly, I don't understand it

I’m not sure I'm still in the country I was born in. Growing up in the heart of “the” civil rights struggle in Montgomery and later Birmingham, Alabama, I developed a sense of the good that the public can offer.  I recognized that society was wrong and that good people were doing something about it.

Fast forward half a century and my views have broadened. As a child, or even a teenager, I had a limited ability to understand the scope of history. I totally ignored that it took over 100 years for black people to gain their freedom after winning it as a result of the Civil War. I missed out on understanding how segregation was put in place for the purpose of keeping black people inferior, how interstates were built with the intent of destroying black communities, how voter laws were passed that made it difficult or impossible for black people to vote, how industries targeted poor (mostly black) communities for their polluting plants.

Here it is 2011 and I have been observing politics for years. I think politics brings out the worst in people (religion being a close second). When I hear the rhetoric of the (mostly) Republican presidential candidates, and (mostly) Republican members of Congress, and Republican governor Robert Bentley, and members of the Alabama legislature, I wonder what has really changed in the last 50 years.

In the 21st Century, with the technology we have, the ability to help others (especially overseas), the ability to develop green resources and abilities, the ability to understand science, the increasing understanding that we are not alone in this universe (and my personal disappointment that we won’t meet the real aliens in my lifetime), the awareness that we are all people of worth and all deserve life liberty and the pursuit of happiness (and health insurance); with all of this, I can’t understand why politicians and others are still arguing about the things they do.

How can people hold a belief that gay people are less worthy of equality than straight people? How can they not care that LGBT kids (or those perceived to be gay) are killing themselves?  Honestly, I don’t understand it.

How can people not care about the environment, given the knowledge we have about dwindling resources and climate change? Honestly, I don’t understand it.

How can people not want everyone to have equal access to health care? Honestly, I don’t understand it.

How can people still demonize people because of their race, considering the history of our state?  Honestly, I don’t understand it.

I do understand that people can have differing opinions, but there are some things where opinions don’t count. Like equality, for example. It doesn’t matter if one’s opinion is that gays are not worthy, or that it’s OK that teenage LGBT persons are still committing suicide. The fact is, in spite of an individual’s opinion, equality should be the norm, gays should be treated like everyone else, gay kids should be encouraged to be who they are, every individual should be allowed to marry the person they love and there should be no debate. Yet we spend decades arguing about it.

Here is one of many posts from this blog on suicides of young LGBT people, Deaths.

Or take climate change and the environment. Science indicates that the activities of man are contributing to a general warming of the planet. Scientists tell us that the climate change resulting from this will be expressed in various ways; that some areas may actually have colder temps, that weather extremes will be more common, that storms may be stronger. Yet others, who are only interested in their own profits, or the profits of the companies that fund them, are willing to ignore this and use our resources at whatever rate with no regard to preservation or the future.

Here is a post from  the past about Contrarians, those pesky climate change deniers.And here is a post I wrote on April 28, the day after the tornadoes here, about why global warming may have been the cause.

Now let’s look at health care. All the debate about health care was really about insurance, which actually is a completely different thing. Those who control insurance companies should have nothing to do with health care, and how it is administered or to what degree it is applied. There is no denying that thousands (or hundreds of thousands or millions) of people have benefited under the advances in health care administration since President Obama took office. Children can no longer be denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions, and in 2014 this will apply to adults as well. Young people can stay on their parent’s insurance until they turn 26. Over 24 million Medicare patients have received free preventive care benefits, and over 2.65 million have saved over $1.5 billion on prescription drugs. Alabama’s S-Chip program has been expanded and many more kids have insurance as a result. (S-Chip is not directly a part of Obamacare, but Republican president George W. Bush vetoed its reauthorization twice, while Obama expanded it after he came into office. Republican Tea Party member Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has eliminated it in her state, giving us an idea of how Republicans feel about insuring the poor).

What I don’t understand is how Republicans can spend so much time and energy trying to take insurance (and access to health care) away from people. What I do understand is that if you are a senior, or have a young adult child, or a baby who is insured through All Kids (in Alabama), then there is no way you should vote for the Republicans in any office because they all want to take your insurance away.

Among my previous posts about health care are this one, Nurses, Doctors and "Real Christians" Support Health Care Reform; this one, Health Care Reform in Alabama - the facts; and this one, Is Health Care a Right.

As for immigration, everyone agrees that immigration reform is needed, and that border security needs to be enforced. But in Alabama, and in Georgia, Arizona and some other states, Republicans have passed legislation that makes second class citizens out of Hispanic people. We’ve tried that before; it was called segregation and Jim Crow back then.  Now it’s immigration and Juan Crow. The law was written by a racist legislator, Republican Scott Beason, and he still defends the entire law, even as the rest of the country and the world are laughing at us while pitying us because of it. Because of the current and future economic damage resulting from HB 56 some Republicans in our state are calling for changes to the law (recognize that this is because of money, not human dignity or worthiness).

And here is a post I wrote about immigration in Alabama, and a murder in our history related to it.

Anyway, I’ve been rambling, but what I really want to say, is that if you vote for a Republican (and some Democrats), then you:
  • Think it is OK to bully gay kids and others to the point of suicide, and OK to deny gay people a life equal to your own.
  • Think it is OK to abuse the earth, to poison our rivers and our air, and to do so to benefit the few at the expense of the many.
  • Think it is OK to deny health care benefits to seniors, and young adults, and babies, under certain circumstances.
  • Think it is OK to demean people because of the race, their color, their real or perceived immigration status, and OK to tear families apart, deny kids an education and make people live in fear.
I have no respect for the GOP. Oh, you may say there are good Republicans. No, if they were good, they would leave that party and stand up for what is right.

And now I have to throw this in. Jennifer Parsons Champion and Benny Watson are two local elected officials who recently changed from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party. I have no respect for either of these people, they have sold their soul to the devil as far as I'm concerned, and I will do what I can to see that they are defeated (after urging people to support them in the last election). If you don't understand why I said this, then refer to the bullet points above.

Now watch this video by Bon Iver. It will get you back into a good place. Holocene: we are living in it.

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