This the truth of the United States today where a reality star and businessman with highly suspect business practices coupled with a streak of racist behaviors and public pronouncements is able to capture such a large plurality of voters.
The past month or so has been especially bloody between the slaughter of innocents at the Pulse nightclub, the murders â€“Â actually summary executions of unarmed Black men by law enforcement in extremely questionable circumstances â€“Â to the homicides of police officers in Dallas, Texas, and then Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The problem, however, is that these acts of violence very much are the current reflection of reality of life today in the United States.
Contemporary society of the United States is in deep trouble; it is unsafe and discriminatory (read: racist/misogynistic/homophobic/xenophobic.) It is awash in a virtual ocean of guns, most of which have no business being in the hands of civilians or law enforcement alike. The deep divisions that now exist in terms of economic, political, and religious status are propelled by well funded minority “family” or religious groups tied to the American right/conservative-Christian movement, threatening to undo any real form of progress forward for the American way of life, especially on so-called “cultural issues.”
President Barack Obama has attempted to be a voice of reason as he asks Americans to pull together and make an effort to stop the violence, saying that such violence is not the American way nor reflects American values as a nation. The President, and others â€“Â even those in the Republican opposition party, would have you believe that the U.S. is not being torn asunder, that it is not as divided as some pundits and others continue to claim. As he and others bemoan the toxicity of society and of the polarity in the American body politic, there is frequent talk of prayers and of the need to pull together.
The President’s efforts have been met by the right-wing with accusations that his actions and speeches actually foment the violence, andÂ those in opposition blame him personally. Of course in Washington it is a rarely acknowledged open secret that a majority of the President’s right-wing opposition â€“Â read: Republican â€“Â are angry that he is even sitting behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office in the first place. They’d rather he were wearing white gloves, a snazzy formal tux, and was standing next to the desk while serving a white guy seated behind it.
The so-called cultural wars have now turned from rhetorical into actual combat. While there is plenty of blame to be leveled against both left and right of the political spectrum, reality is that the right-wing, supported by radical Christian fundamentalists, have over the past 45 or so years not only accumulated vast political power, but additionally have succeeded in holding the American governmental system at local, state, and federal levels hostage to their narrow vision. This vision, this divisiveness as evidenced by the total lack of legislative work product out of Washington to address the issues that plague everyday Americans, has now completely paralyzed the federal government. For example, regarding the dire issues surrounding gun violence, this powerful minority has succeeded in completely stifling debate, action, accounting, or even the advancement of potential solutions.Â
The unspoken, but acknowledged truth of the origins of that paralysis lies within the deeply seated racism present in modern American society which is promulgated by the peculiarity of the American practice of faiths rooted in Christianity â€“Â but, based on a patriarchal and misogynistic interpretation that leaves no room for diversity. This has been building, an almost lava like flow from a slowing erupting volcano of suspicion, mistrust, and erosion of the white majority population over the past five decades. No longer isolated singular events, instead a series of rapidly re-occurring events in most cases linked to a larger cause gone unchecked: arrogant ignorance.
The Christian right-wing’s taking control at a local level of school boards, governments, and statehouses over the past forty years, along with their marriage to the Republican party, has created a state of erosion of the American educational system. This in turn has created a scenario where ignorance in key critical areas of sciences and civics has primarily contributed to the national state of arrogant ignorance. It has also led to a sense of meaningless hyper partisan religious centric ideology which has devolved governing into a state of inaction and hyper-gridlock.
While the United States may have fought a bloody civil war in the mid-nineteenth century to end slavery, it has never shook off its problem with its embedded racism. These days, fueled by recent acts of terrorism and abetted by that same so-called Christian ideology that literally affirmed biblical approval for slavery over a century ago, has now given arise in a resurgence xenophobia, which previously included Irish, then Chinese, and Italian, now lashes out at Muslims, and others of color in particular who don’t fit the â€œidealâ€ model of what is deemed “American.”
These worst traits have been embodied and personified in the Republican nominee in the presidential race, Donald Trump, whose public statements reflect this sorry state of affairs. From immigrants to women’s rights to Muslims, Trump has unashamedly and unrepentantly bashed them all.
In fact, during a panel interview with commentator Chris Hayes on MSNBC during the first day of the 2016 Republican National Convention, Congressman Steve King (R-Iowa) stated that no culture has done more for civilization than white Christians. An incredulous Broadway playwright and actor, Harvey Fierstein, noted; “I played it back three times to make sure I heard him correctly. And we wonder where our race problems come from?”
Here is the quote from Congressman King:
“This whole white people business though does get a little tired, […] I mean, I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you are talking about. Where did any any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?”
Should one really wonder why the Knights of the Klu Klux Klan have suddenly reemerged as a factor in politics openly supporting GOP front runner Donald Trump who has yet to seriously condemn their support? This makes statements like King’s rather telling.Â
Of course it is more than just an issue of racism. The right-wing have also demonised women’s choices over their own bodies and reproductive health issues, as well as targeting LGBTQ persons by categorising them as little more than deviant and pedophiles â€“Â sinners who merit only damnation, judgment, and ostracism by the “acceptable proper Christian society” and culture that upholds “true American values.” The right-wing’s open warfare waged on the American transgender community and its allies claims that they are upholding true Christian values, American values, against the “predators” that, supposedly, are the transgender persons.Â
This whites only, Christian only, privileged thinking is further aided by a complacent and sometimes active co-conspirator/partner in the form of the right wing media, particularly Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News Corporation.Â
This was best illustrated in a Facebook post written Monday evening by the AFL-CIO’s Pride-At-Work Executive Director, Jerame Davis, discussing coverage of the first day of the 2016 Republican convention on Fox News. Davis writes:
We decided to watch the Republican convention on ‘Faux News’ for a bit, just to get an idea. Here’s what I learned:
- Black Lives Matter is a hate group responsible for racial tensions that have boiled over to attacks on cops.
- They’re also anarchists and militants who blame others for their problems.
- Black folk must be held accountable for every word they utter and a few they didn’t while white folk shouldn’t be judged by one incident.
- Donald Trump will use the power of his office to intimidate, investigate, and and harass anyone associated with Black Lives Matter if he is president.
- All cops are heroes even if the make the occasional tragic mistake.
And this was all in the space of 15 minutes. The unchallenged, overt racism on this network is astounding. They are using the bigger audience of a prime time convention night to smear an entire race of people.
The rest of the evening’s worth of the RNC convention speeches and events quite frankly, Mr. Davis’s Fox News analysis not withstanding â€“Â was a parody of an extremely awful comedy sketch that unfortunately has serious ramifications not just on the American home-front, but globally as well.
Columnist and political pundit Andrew Sullivan summed up Monday evening’s RNC:
â€œJust mulling over the events tonight, thereâ€™s one obvious stand-out. I didnâ€™t hear any specific policy proposals to tackle clearly stated public problems. It is almost as if governing, for the Republican right, is fundamentally about an attitude, rather than about experience or practicality or reasoning. The degeneracy of conservatism â€“ its descent into literally mindless appeals to tribalism and fear and hatred â€“ was on full display. You might also say the same about the religious right, the members of whom have eagerly embraced a racist, a nativist, a believer in war crimes, and a lover of the tyrants that conservatism once defined itself against. Their movement long lost any claim to a serious Christian conscience. But that they would so readily embrace such an unreconstructed pagan is indeed a revelation.
“If you think of the conservative movement as beginning in 1964 and climaxing in the 1990s, then the era we are now in is suffering from a cancer of the mind and the soul. That the GOP has finally found a creature that can personify these urges to purge, a man for whom the word â€œshamelessâ€ could have been invented, a bully and a creep, a liar and cheat, a con man and wannabe tyrant, a dedicated loather of individual liberty, and an opponent of the pricelessly important conventions of liberal democracy is perhaps a fitting end.
“This is the gutter, ladies and gentlemen, and it runs into a sewer. May whatâ€™s left of conservatism be carried out to sea.”
This the truth of the United States today where a reality star and businessman with highly suspect business practices coupled with a streak of racist behaviors and public pronouncements is able to capture such a large plurality of voters. Oh, and his hypocrisy not withstanding, as noted by the former Executive Director of Equality Oklahoma, Scott Hamilton, who wrote: â€œI’m still scratching my head over the fact that Trump entered the RNC stage last night to, ‘We Are the Champions,’ a song written and sung by a gay man. This, on the very day the GOP presented its most anti-LGBT platform ever.”
Is the American nation really this polarizedÂ and toxic? Truthfully? Yes. The problem is that as a whole, it seems that Americans are loathe to confront their demons, especially the grand daddy of them all: religious influence. While the First Amendment grants “freedom of religion,” it also grants freedom FROM religion and the unholy marriage of the Christian right to the American body politic needs to have a divorce.
Americans need to confront the fact that white privilege exists, it is a reality, and it has no place in modern society. Americans need to wrap their arms around the fact that like in the other species that inhabit this planet, there are variants and natural occurrences and that human beings who are LGBTQ are just that; human beings. Americans need to recognise that the United States by no means is the “superior” culture and society in the global community. In fact, theirs is one of many and all contribute to the greater good and enrichment of humanity. Finally, Americans need to reevaluate a political process that allows a person like Donald Trump to even be considered as a viable candidate for the Office of President of the United States.
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QAnon Sends Death Threats to Gay Senator for Trying to Make Sex Laws Less LGBTQ-phobic
Democratic California State Senator Scott Wiener has received death threats from far-right supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory after he introduced legislation to reform the state’s sex offender registry to be less queerphobic.
Right now, California law allows judges to refuse to list the full names of certain offenders from the sex offender registry if the judge finds a valid reason to do so—let’s say, for example, if an 18-year-old has sex with a 16-year-old. The rule only applies for offenders who have sex with minor ages 15 to 17 and it only applies to penis-in-vagina sex.
As such, in any cases involving digital penetration, anal or oral sex—sexual methods often used by LGBTQ people—the judge has no choice but to list the offender’s full name without exception.
Wiener wanted to change the law to include all types of sex, and that’s when the death threats started pouring in.
“You’re dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. I’ll publicly execute you. I’m gonna embarrass you. Pedophile,” one Instagram user wrote.
Another wrote, “I’ll come cut your head off and deliver it to your mom if you even considering introducing your ‘bill.’ Got it?”
Others messages were anti-Semitic or accused Weiner of being a child rapist. Because it’s against the law for elected officials to block users on social media, all of his social media channels have to remain open to such threats.
The QAnon conspiracy theory believes that the Trump administration will expose a top-secret international child sex trafficking network run by “deep state” senior Democrats who are determined to stop Trump at all costs. Its theories infamously led an armed gunman in 2017 to enter a gay-owned Washington D.C. pizza parlor, Comet Ping Pong, to investigate “Pizzagate,” the claim that the pizzeria had child sex slaves locked in its nonexistent basement.
QAnon conspiracy theorists have become more active during the COVID-19 lockdown and the runup to the November 3 presidential elections as many U.S. residents find themselves at home without jobs.
“Whether its QAnon or Russian troll farms, these are factories of false info designed to undermine democracy and public discourse, and also to send a message to elected officials that if you pursue unpopular progressive change to help marginalized groups like queer kids, ‘We’re going to target you,'” Weiner told Mother Jones.
“I’m Not a Racist” Says Republican Politician Who Repeatedly Uses N-word to Discuss Black Lives Matter
Tom Eckerle—a Republican road commissioner for Leelanau County, Michigan—is reportedly resigning after political pressure for repeatedly using the n-word, an anti-Black racist slur, to describe racial justice protestors.
Before a meeting of the road commission started last Tuesday, Eckerle was asked by a commission member why he wasn’t wearing a mask. He responded, “Well this whole thing is because of them (n-words) down in Detroit.”
When Bob Joyce, the commission’s chair, told Eckerle he couldn’t say that, Eckerle said, “I can say anything I want. Black Lives Matter has everything to do with taking the country away from us.”
Let’s be clear: the social aims listed on the Black Live Matters (BLM) website do not mention white people. According to its website, the BLM movement seeks to unite Black communities worldwide to oppose state-sanctioned violence and anti-Black racism while also create creating healing, empathetic communities free from prejudice.
When asked about his comments during a Thursday interview with Interlochen Public Radio, Eckerle said didn’t realize the public found out about his comments and said, “No, I don’t regret calling it an (n-word). A( n-word) is a (n-word) is a (n-word). That’s not a person whatsoever.”
Eckerle also told the Associated Press, “I’m not a racist. Black Lives Matter is racist. If I believed in Black Lives Matter, I would be racist. … Black Lives Matter has no heart. And that is as offensive to me as the N-word,” before saying the actual n-word again, just to make his point.
“If I could get a few people that, when they see a Black Lives Matter sign up, to think the N-word, I have accomplished what I’m after,” he added.
Eckerle was elected to his eight-year position in 2018. Of Leelanauhas County’s 21,700 residents about 90 percent are white. Black people are less than 1 percent of its population.
Trump’s Postmaster General Destabilizes Postal Service Just 87 Days Before Presidential Elections
In a memo released yesterday, President Donald Trump ally Louis DeJoy — who was hired by Trump’s handpicked Postal Service Board of Governors — reshuffled two top executives and 21 to 31 other executives and staffers who represent “decades of institutional postal knowledge” out of leadership roles or into new positions in the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).
This move, along with other recent “cost-saving” measures which have slowed down mail delivery and threatened to worsen the service, comes as an unprecedented wave of mail-in ballots are expected in the November presidential elections as voters avoid in-person polling stations to reduce possible COVID-19 exposure.
The USPS was already in financial trouble because of a 2006 law requiring it to pre-fund 75 years worth of retirement benefits — a $110 billion cost. Also, like many U.S. businesses, the epidemic significantly harmed the USPS. Many workers fell ill or began quarantining, causing USPS leaders to spend millions on personal protective equipment, plexiglass and social distancing equipment for offices while its reduced workforce began working overtime at increased pay to help continue services.
New measures instated by DeJoy ban employees from working overtime and making extra trips to deliver mail while reducing hours at different branches nationwide. The Friday memo also said the service would implement a hiring freeze, ask for voluntary retirements, and reduce its operating units and service regions.
These moves are allegedly meant to help the USPS stay financially solvent as it’s expected to run out of money anytime between March and October 2021, despite the recent approval of a $10 billion Treasury loan approved in the upcoming coronavirus relief package.
The moves are also eyebrow-raising seeing as DeJoy and his wife have between $30.1 million and $75.3 million in assets in USPS competitors and contracts who might directly benefit from the USPS’s failure.
People suspect Trump of deliberately sabotaging the USPS as a way to try and sway the upcoming November elections in his favor. Trump, who has repeatedly and falsely claimed that mail-in voting increases voting fraud, wants to deny the service billions in federal aid unless USPS quadruples its prices, something that would compel people to use USPS competitors.
The Trump campaign has sued state and local governments nationwide over mail-in ballot rules, and according to Vox.com:
Different states have different laws about how mail-in ballots work. Currently, 34 states — including swing states like Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — require ballots to be received by election authorities by Election Day, so any delay in the mail could lead to untold numbers of votes going uncounted.
“We’ve been doing mail ballots as postal workers for generations,” said Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union. “It’s been increasing in popularity. In the last election, 31 million people voted by mail. There’s virtually no fraud.”
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