Why I Haven't Commented on Egypt

The news out of Egypt just keeps coming. There's so much going on that I can't even manage to link all of it here. Admittedly, I've never been much of a follower of the Middle East news happenings. It's just all so complicated and difficult to figure out.

What I do know is that the citizens of Egypt want Mubarak out, and they want a change in their government.

Our nation was founded on this very premise. We wanted freedom from England, and instead of fighting on our own shores to overthrow the powers that be, we left to make our own way. Ultimately, we couldn't run from the confrontation. The war came to us, and we fought to stay free.

Everyone simply wants to live free. This is human nature. We don't want to be ruled and overpowered or disenfranchised from our society - to have our control taken from us.

Freedom, though, is subjective. Tyranny, likewise, is in the eye of the beholder.

The Egyptians want to be free and to overthrow a government they see as tyrannical. The American in me, that lives at the core of me, sympathizes with this desire. What I see though as an affront to my freedom may be very different from someone else's. The Obama administration isn't tyrannical. Under Obama, I have seen freedoms obtained that wouldn't have happened under a Republican political leader (DADT repeal, health care reform, etc.). It's my view and personal opinion that Democrats give and expand rights for all, while Republicans take them away. Earlier today, in fact, I saw a news story about Republicans, instead of working on creating more jobs if they got the majority in Congress, are filing bills to redefine rape in order to limit access to abortions. Yes, because apparently controlling my body and what I do with it is freedom in their book.

Strangely enough, I have hidden a few friends on Facebook because they are annoyingly conservative, but I still check out their profiles sometimes out of curiosity. Just today I saw one commenting on Egypt and a friend of theirs pondered how things would go down if the same thing took place here against the current administration. Another commenter lumped "liberals" with Islamists (i.e. you know, terrorists) and communists.

See, the reason I haven't commented on Egypt isn't because I don't feel strongly about the situation or that I don't empathize with the human desire to be free. It's because what we view as freedom and tyranny and a worthy justification for revolution is all subjective. Conservatives, Tea Partiers, and Republicans tend to see themselves as being under tyrannical rule by Obama, liberals, and Democrats. If there was a chance to do as the Egyptians have done, they'd gladly take it and feel justified. A few years back, I wouldn't have had a problem with protesting in the street to get rid of Bush. I used my fair share of phrases that called Bush and Company tyrants and fascists.

I haven't commented because I don't want to be misinterpreted by the conservatives I know. They are identifying with the Egyptians right now, seeing God at work in their dreams of democracy as they define it. That is, a democracy that only allows their beliefs to exist. And I don't want them to think that I believe as they do. I don't see Egypt as the next great opportunity for conversion to a Christo-fascist state like Iraq or Afganistan, or that America must do its Godly duty and overthrow the godless tyrants of the world so we can fulfill His plan.

No, the tyrant is already there. A tyrant who is far more like the Republicans of our country than the Democrats, and the people are fighting a government that I fear we'll have if Republicans gain the presidency again. But see, that's just my view...my belief. And it's as right and as real as those held by my conservative friends.

So, I don't comment because there's no way to win this. There is no right or wrong because each of us believe we are right and everyone else is wrong.


Religion and the Right to Hate Gays

Yesterday, an announcement came from Belmont University, a college began and funded by the Southern Baptist Convention, that the school has decided to add sexual orientation to their non-discrimination policy.

Belmont Adds Sexual Orientation to Policy

This comes after a month of deliberation and a variety of focus groups asking questions about making the addition, and even longer since Belmont's women's soccer coach, Lisa Howe, mysteriously left the university after telling her athletes that she and her partner were having a child together.

Neither side will confirm or admit that the new policy has anything to do with Howe's supposed dismissal over her sexual orientation. Belmont's president Bob Fisher only said the policy came about as a way to put a "longstanding policy" in writing.

Now, anyone who knows anything about Belmont knows that the campus has a significant LGBTQ population of both students and faculty. I found it quite interesting that within a couple of weeks of the situation with Howe that it seemed like the entire music department at Belmont left. Job postings at Belmont were very numerous and most stemmed from that department. A few were from the athletic department too. The article above even mentions that some stated feeling "welcome" until the incident with Howe. Are they leaving over policy? We may never know but from an employer perspective having a mass exodus of employees is a very bad sign. It sends up red flags to other potential candidates and could make recruitment of both faculty and students extremely difficult. Most people don't want to work for someone that discriminates because one day the chopping block could come down on them. Then there's that whole "guilt by association" thing.

Most employees and students at Belmont have no issue with gay people on campus. Those that I have known that work or worked at Belmont or went to school there were very open-minded. Not all Christians, just like all gay people, are cut from the same cloth. Unlike what the press would have us believe, not all Christians hate gay people. The ones that do just happen to be the loudest and most aggressive in politics and policy. Unfortunately, Christians who aren't haters don't speak out, and too many (including gay people themselves) are willing to give religious people a pass when it comes to being hateful of anyone, but especially of LGBTQ people. We say that churches, Christian-run companies, and religious colleges/schools have a right to think this way. As if hate is a civil right.

Is it? Is hate a right but love isn't?

Interesting when you look at it from that perspective.

Another little related news piece came out about Chick-fil-A, the fast food restaurant that is well-known as Christian-owned, going so far as to close on Sundays on religious principles. The news piece isn't really news for some people. It clarified that CFA has stated they do not like same-sex couples.

While this isn't really news and many people shrug at it as if to say "that's their right," my problem with this isn't necessarily a person, company, or organization's right to not like or accept gay people. The problem is not being CLEAR about it.

In the debacle with Belmont, my comment in many cases was, if you don't want gay people on your staff or in your student body, then say so. Write a policy that says "queers need not apply."

How hard is that?!

The thing is they want it both ways. Belmont wants our intelligence and our talent. CFA wants our money. But they don't really want to know we exist and they definitely don't want us to be open about it.

I really don't care what anyone or any institution thinks, but I do expect openness and clarity about their positions. That way, I know if I want to associate with that person or organization or not, and I know if I should bother apply for a job there or not.

Another situation that arose out the Belmont/Howe issue is Metro Nashville debating whether to extend their non-discrimination policy about sexual orientation to their private contractors. Again, some say that private contractors have a right to hate if they want because they're private. If they're private and they have those beliefs, then they should conduct business with other like-minded businesses. What the Metro Council and Mayor Dean know and understand is that Belmont put a black-eye on Nashville with their actions over Howe, and the city got busy with damage control. They are making a clear statement that the City of Nashville is not a place where discrimination against gay people is acceptable. It's smart business. In a time when industry is leaving our cities and towns and businesses are folding, Nashville is stepping up to clarify their stance in order to retain diversity-minded businesses that will attract the best and brightest from around the world. They're not stupid. You can't be competitive and close-minded at the same time.

There also needs to be an understanding that just like not all Christians are gay-haters, not all gay-people are godless, Satan-worshippers. Some of us may actually want to be associated with other Christians and work in a faith-centered environment or give our hard-earned money to Christian-owned companies.

Simply put, we need to know...what KIND of Christian are you?

Are you the gay-hating kind or the Jesus-ate-with-sinners type?

Now, on a separate but similar note, I just saw an article about Michigan extending benefits to same-sex partners.

My question is, when will Tennessee, as a state, step up and do the same thing? It's kind of pathetic when a Christian-run college adds sexual orientation to their non-discrimination policy before an entire state does. Of course, with a Republican governor in place now, we will be fortunate if that happens. We couldn't even get it with a Democratic governor! But the question remains...what kind _____ (fill-in-the-blank religion, political party, etc) are you?


An Addendum to Yesterday's Post

I have shamelessly stolen this from a Facebook friend (Jen, thank you!) who apparently got it from Bill Maher.

It ties in so perfectly with the post I made yesterday and so much of what I've seen lately from the "progressive" side of politics.

Bill Maher's New Rule: The problem isn’t that there’s too little civility in government, it’s that there’s too much.

President Obama’s state of the union speech is next week, and as you’ve probably heard, members of congress have agreed, in response to the tragedy in Arizona, to break with the tradition of Republicans on one side of the room and Democrats... on the other. Instead, they’re all going to sit together, conservative next to liberal, gay next to straight, nerd next to jock.
Oh wait, that was an episode of “Glee”.

In any event, the two parties are coming together, and they’ve agreed Joe Lieberman has to sit by himself. Now I must say America is such a mystery to me. A lunatic used a Glock to shoot 19 people, and our answer is “Don’t try to control guns or nuts, just be more polite.” Now, I’m just a hockey mom, but… it seems to me when a madman kills people, the problem isn’t the first amendment, it’s the second.

In his big speech, president Obama said we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children’s expectations. The first of which, I’m guessing, would be to live in a country were children don’t get shot when they leave the house. That’s what’s important. Who gives a damn if politicians mask their disdain for each other with forced niceties? They do it already. “My good friend from the great state of Alabama.” As if they’re really good friends,or anyone outside Alabama thinks it’s a great state.

Oh it’s a love-fest these days. Conservatives couldn’t stop praising Obama’s speech. Of course, because it let them off the hook. The party of assault weapons didn’t get blamed for the assault. Just like the party of oil didn’t get blamed for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Like the party of deregulation skated on tanking the economy.

Again and again, Obama is given the opportunity to lay some richly-deserved blame at the feet of the Republicans, and again and again, he just can’t do it. Because he wants them to like him so badly. Conservatives, stop worrying. He can’t be a Kenyan; he’s a “golden retriever”. He’s done everything he possibly could to appease you short of using bleach.

And when Obama says, “Find a common ground,” oh here comes the bullshit now. Because whenever a Democrat seeks common ground, he always seems to find it right where the Republican was already standing. Ten years ago, we had a ban on extended-ammo clips, so that people like this walking Thorazine ad couldn’t kill supermarket crowds hassle-free. The Republicans killed that ban. And now the compromise is we can never get it back.

I think the old word for that was “surrender”.

Republicans, please note, are not taken in by the myth of common ground. They never move an inch on anything. Gun restrictions are always bad, taxes are always too high, and there’s nothing on earth that can’t be improved by adding either Jesus or bacon.

Sarah Palin knows fewer words than Koko the gorilla. But, it’s not a coincidence that two of them are “Don’t retreat” and the other is “reload”.


The Celebration of Stupid...and Crazy

I got some flack a few days back about calling people "stupid" that don't agree with me politically. You'd think the comment came from a conservative-leaning friend who was trying to get me to see the error of my attitude and that such harsh language would only push people away and never get them to listen, wouldn't you? But no, this came from a self-proclaimed liberal who is quite intellectual and far from stupid.

To me, it's fascinating how the more sophomorish and resistant the GOP and Teabaggers get, the more accommodating and tolerant the so-called liberals get towards them. I've been hearing on blogs and so forth everything from "name-calling makes us no better than them...we should rise above!" to "just ignore them and they'll go away".

REPUBLICANS AND THEIR TEABAGGER INBRED COUSINS ARE BULLIES!!!! Nothing but low-class playground bullies!

They will not go away and they will not stop.

How many years and how many times do we have to "reach across the aisle" only to get bitchslapped before we realize that nothing will change until we fight back?

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying fight violence and hatred with more violence and hatred. But I am saying, call a fucking spade a spade. Quit being such fucking pussies!

Liberals, progressives, Democrats, whatever label we feel comfortable with today...we may be smart enough to see these nutcases for what they are and we...in our infinite wisdom and higher order thinking...roll our eyes in amusement and think "let 'em talk, they're digging their own grave and handing us political fodder for the next election." Yet, what we forget is that most people aren't like us. The highlight of their days are watching "American Idol", Alabama football, and WWE wrestling. For a little edumacation (yes, I misspelled that deliberately), they'll tune into Glenn Beck rant about shooting liberals in the head, call it entertainment and a joke, then ignore a Democrat Congresswoman get shot in the head. Oh, but Alabama won their goddamn football game!!! Yeehaw!!!

We're a reality show nation raised on fast food, violent video games, and Jerry Springer. Our children can't write a sentence when they graduate high school, but by God, they can shoot a fucking gun, fart the Pledge of Allegiance, and organize a prayer chain for little Bobby Jo Muffintop who has brain cancer from too much meth and smacks in the head from her baby daddy.

We may roll our eyes and think that surely nothing bad can ever happen to our nation, that the horrors of history (the bigotry, violence, and genocide) could never touch our precious "land of the free" soil. But, we're not the ones running the show. The patients are loose in the asylum and it's all just so damn funny to everyone...but us.

See for yourself:
The Palin Problem

Who Really Controls America?

GOP's War on the Sick

CA Governor Receives Death Threats

Progressive Professor Receives Death Threats After Glenn Beck Targets Her

The MLK Day Parade Bomb

"Mass Bloodshed" May be Necessary if Roe Not Overturned

And of course, when we talk about stupid and crazy, this woman's picture is next to it in the dictionary:

Palin Says She "Won't Shut Up"

I would say that someone needs to stick a penis in her mouth and shut her up, but even her cheating husband doesn't want THAT job!!!

Episcopal Church No Longer Christian Because It Supports Gay Rights

AL Governor: Only Christians are My Brothers and Sisters

And FINALLY...the interactive map of recent domestic terrorist attacks against liberals and government.

I stand by my comments that people ARE stupid and we as a society celebrate that stupidity. We encourage it. Even intelligent, normally liberal and open-minded people I know have fallen for the lies from Fox News, Beck, Palin, et al. If those kind of people are stupid enough to fall for it, how can we expect that meth head getting knocked around by her boyfriend to know any different?


Will They Really Do It?

Dems Growing Convinced that GOP Will Shutdown Government Over Healthcare Reform

Would Republicans and their Tea Party cousins dare to bring government to a halt just to reach their own agenda?

Of course they would, and that's what Democrats and well-informed people fear.

"They are potentially setting up a situation where they will bring government, all of government, to a screeching halt," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) said Wednesday. "Not because of the debt ceiling. This is beyond the debt ceiling ... If they think they are going to have the end game of their appropriations bills be that they drive health care reform into an early grave ... they are literally setting up a full stop for almost everything we will possibly do this year."

Unlike Democrats who have sought bipartisianship in passing bills, the ReTeas have no qualms about refusing cooperation with Democrats when it comes to getting what they want. They're like the pouting playground bully that threatens to take the kickball home with him unless everyone plays by his rules. No amount of collaboration, cooperation, or "reaching across the aisle" will satisfy these bullies. At the end of the day, that's all they are, and sometimes the only way to get a bully to lay off is to dish out a little whoop ass of your own.

I'm not sure if the Democrats are up to that, but someone will need to be. At this rate, with the fast track the ReTeas have us on to destroying every gain made for humanity, that'll be the poor disenfranchised minorities who are taking the brunt of the ReTeas attacks. Nothing creates motivation to fight back like homelessness and starvation, especially when you're trying to provide for your family. It's not the power from the top or even an external power from overseas that the ReTeas will have to worry about. They're making enemies of their neighbors and that's never a good idea. Even dogs know better than to shit where they sleep.