Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain


48 Comments

Collateral Damage

I’ve been loathe to write about this subject.  It’s been written about adnauseam.  Yet, not enough has been said.

Seventeen students were gunned down with an AR-15 military style weapon on Valentine’s Day.  SEVENTEEN STUDENTS WERE GUNNED DOWN WITH AN AR-15 ON VALENTINE’S DAY!

Across my newsfeed I have a cacophony of messages being sent.  Many of them in support of the student survivors who are being brave enough to challenge the status quo.  Some of them mocking them.  Some of them accusatory in nature.  Why, these seventeen and eighteen year-olds are secret plants.  Actors who are paid to talk about gun control.  Or they’ve been hi-jacked by the left or the media or both since they’re essentially the same thing.

Never mind the politicians who are paid to be gun advocates by the NRA and it’s supporters. Sigh…

No, these young men and women can’t possibly be intelligent enough to formulate their own opinions or talk about politics or policy.  Or what is even good for that matter.

I hear people saying, “It’s the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution.  Nothing we can do.  People have a right to buy guns, whatever kind they want.”  Some even advocating that those weapons that are illegal for average citizens to possess be made legal.  We need to fight like fire with like fire, after all.  In case we need to stand up to the tyranny of our government.

What do we need to stand up to the tyranny of the gun lobby?

Why am I seeing bullshit memes about ‘librals wanting to ban all guns’?  Why am I seeing my conservative friends being maligned as heartless even though they agree with sensible gun legislation?  Why is this a liberal or conservative issue?  It isn’t.  It’s a societal issue.  It’s a people issue.  It’s a you and me issue. Stop pretending compromise and finding common ground are dirty words.

Why am I seeing grown men and women act as if these students don’t have a right to their opinion?

Why am I seeing Americans attacking one another, eating each other alive, because we disagree about the best course of action?

Why can’t we agree that there are some things we agree about?

Why can’t that be a starting point?

The thing is, I don’t anticipate ever seeing a ban on the AR or any other gun that is legal to possess in this country.  I’ve heard arguments for and against a ban on AR’s.  Some compelling on both sides, though I see no valid reason an individual should own such a rifle.

Infringement of rights is what I’m told, the reason against.  Here’s a cold hard truth:  If we want to prevent mass shootings such as this someone’s rights must be infringed upon.

To have stronger background checks, ones that would really do any good, would infringe upon the rights of the mentally ill.  For background checks like that to work there would have to be a networking of Psychiatrists, mental hospitals, substance abuse treatment facilities with the FBI to alert them of anyone who has been treated, admitted, or taking any kind of mind-altering drug.  Relying on the honor system clearing does not work.

In addition to that, those who have been reported to the police for domestic violence would need to be logged.  Waiting for a conviction for a violent act takes too long.  Someone can go out and by a gun in the meantime.

Why can’t we find common ground on this issue?

Why are there people advocating for fences, metal detectors, and armed guards at school?  Or even more frightening, arming teachers?  Are these learning institutions or prisons?  Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather my child be safe.  And if it takes fences and metal detectors and armed guards to keep them that way then I’d rather that than nothing.  But is that what it’s come to?

Schools are not the only places these violent acts of terror take place.  Are we going to fence in everywhere?  Have armed guards on duty at every place of business? Every place of leisure? Every place? I don’t think the victims of the Las Vegas massacre would believe a fence and an armed guard would do the trick.  There were armed security personnel there.  Some of them shot dead.  There wasn’t a fence tall enough.

With regards to schools.  What happens when a shooter finds a vantage point above the fence line, who doesn’t go past the metal detectors, opens fire on students outside on break?  What then?  Will they no longer be allowed to go outdoors?  Will we infringe upon their freedoms to protect the freedom of those who want to keep their toys?

If I weren’t living it I’d think this was all taken from the pages of some dystopian novel. If I weren’t hearing hit with my own ears and seeing it with my own eyes I would never believe that anyone in America would ever say, “People being killed are collateral damage.  Children dying at the hands of someone with a gun are the price of freedom.”

 

 

 

Advertisements


26 Comments

Trump Supporters are Loud and Proud

Sometimes I have a hard time deciding whether to engage or not when someone posts idiotic nonsense like this on social media:

Make no mistake. If President Trump is impeached on false charges. We will rise en masse and you will see the likes of a civil war. Everday AMERICANS will take to the streets we will withdraw our money from banks, close our 401k’s, pull our kids from school. We will rise against the the Democrats, RINO, NeverTrumpers, and shadow government. You will have showed us our Republic is a farce and democracy is dead. We will riot.

This quote is being shared readily on social media.  I have no idea who to attribute it to.  Several people have posted it with no citation as if it’s their own.

More often than not I choose not to engage.  There would be no point as no one in the situation would change their position, including me.

Of course, if he were impeached on false charges I would be very much in disagreement with that. I just find it hard to believe that he would or even could be impeached on false charges.

The comments that follow are big, “Hell yeah! Count me in! I’m ready!!!”

The question is:  If and when President Trump is brought for impeachment how will these people be determining whether the charges are false or legitimate?

Who didn’t already know that our Republic is a farce and that democracy is dead?  Capitialism, lobbyists, and crooked politicians have ensured that fact.

The best the I can tell from those who espouse this point of view, no amount of evidence would convince them that Donald Trump has done anything wrong.  Even his admission of such isn’t enough.

I believe he was right when he said he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and he wouldn’t lose his supporters.  They’re die-hards who will not budge.

These same supporters seem to be offended at the suggestion that they are uneducated, racist, or misogynist.  Yet they post ignorant, racist, objectifying memes and expect to be taken at their word that they aren’t the very things that they find agreement with.

I’m very thankful that these die-hards seem to be in the minority but they are quite loud.

I haven’t said much about our political climate here in the States because I, quite frankly, haven’t quite known what to think of all this, between the news media and the crazy train running through the White House.

The haze is lifting and I have some very distinct opinions but I don’t think the Republican nor the Democratic parties would be particularly thrilled with them.


35 Comments

Class Warfare

 

These are the words of a “white trash hillbilly from the holler.”

He and his compatriots are not looting.  They are not vandalizing.  They simply know the score.  Their coal jobs are gone.  They were unhealthy occupations when they had them.  They need a living wage and they know they aren’t going to get it from the incoming administration without a fight.

They are realists.  Pragmatists.  Even without an education Nic Smith is thinking critically about the promises made and the outlook for his future.

You don’t have to have a college or university degree to see what’s plain in front of your face.

The last time I bought a pair of blue jeans was about a year and half ago.  They came from…*gasp*…Target. They are made by a company that is a staple in the denim industry, Levi Strauss.  They used to be a symbol of Made In America.

When I look at the tag it says they were made in Bangladesh.  Or possibly Brazil.  I’m not sure which because both locations are on the label.  They were not made in America.

They might have even been made in a sweatshop by a seven year old who was paid ten cents.

I don’t know.

What I do know is the manufacturing of Levi’s jeans isn’t coming back to America.

Manufacturing and mining as we knew it fifty years ago isn’t coming back to America.

People need a living wage and everyone can’t be a white-collar worker.

We are going to have to be innovative and creative.

Clean energy would be a great avenue to explore but the incoming administration seems loathe to explore that.  They jettison climate change and EPA regulations in favor of “clean” coal, whatever that is, and fossil fuels.

Welcome to 1950.  Except it’s nearly 2017.

I would say that I feel discouraged.  Except I don’t.

I know that there are enough of us, the us that wants positive change – not just change at any cost – to come up with new and better ways to sustain ourselves.

The government is not the United States of America.  The people are.  People like Nic Smith give me hope.

We don’t need to cut and run.  We need to dig in and fight.

 


62 Comments

The Good Ol’ Days

Donald Trump’s surrogates and campaign supporters claim that his words have not incited violence and that it is, instead, the other side – Bernie Sanders’ and Hillary Clinton’s supporters(the far left) – who have perpetuated violence.

His talking heads on the news networks are likening his words inciting violence to women wearing short skirts asking for rape.  Which, according to them, isn’t true at all.  Women don’t ask for rape by wearing revealing clothing.  Except that’s what these same talking heads have been saying is exactly the case.  Every Evangelical I know implores women to dress modestly because it causes men to have thoughts.  And women are responsible for what happens to them when men have thoughts.

I would argue that what Trump has done in his rallies is much different than that, though.  If a woman wears a short skirt and walks past a man and yells, “Come on, rape me, I dare you,” then, yes, she is, quite literally asking to be raped. No woman in her right mind would actually do that. And, I would argue, if the man raped her he would still be responsible for his actions, but she couldn’t be absolved of her participation in the act either.

That Trump would actively call for his supporters to punch dissidents in the face, that he’s offered to pay their legal fees, is exactly endorsing violence.  Apparently, though, while he believes that his own words don’t cause anyone to participate in violence, he does believe that a protester’s words do.  His supporters are only reacting to the protesters.  He is “having his people look into”  the seventy-eight year-old coldcocker’s legal situation and quite possible offering to pay his legal fees because the protester provoked the old man by taunting the crowd and flipping the bird at the crowd as he was being escorted out of Trump’s rally.

Let me get this straight:  Donald Trump’s provocative words do not cause reactions.  Protester’s provocative actions do.

I in no way condone the protesters disrupting or causing violence during these rallies.  But I also know from personal experience that bullies cannot be reasoned with.  You can’t ask a bully nicely not to take your lunch money.  Minorities know this, too.

If black students in the sixties hadn’t had the courage to sit at lunch counters instead of their designated seating areas in the back of restaurants they’d still be sitting there today.

If  Rosa Parks had quietly moved to the back of the bus and given up her seat for a white bus rider, blacks would likely still be relegated to the back of the bus.

If Amzie Moore and Fannie Lou Hamer hadn’t actively pushed her counterparts for voter registration minorities wouldn’t have a voice at the ballot box.

If not for planned marches on Washington and Selma, Alabama many blacks would still not be eligible to register to vote, among many other things.  Do we need a reminder of what those things looked like?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Donald Trump keeps saying he longs for the good old days.  Is this what he means?  You, know, the good ol’ days when protesters were carried out on stretchers?

 


32 Comments

In Defense of the Indefensible

trump.jpg

I’ve made it no secret that I do not support Donald Trump.  I don’t think he’s the savior that his supporters obviously do.  Perhaps I’ve missed something, but I just don’t see it.

What I do see is an opportunist.  Here’s the thing:  I don’t think he “created this toxic environment” in America.  No, it was already here.  The disdain with which people who are fortunate enough to have jobs view those who receive government assistance is at an all time high.  The superiority that many whites feel toward people who are browner than they are is at an all time high.

Many of these whites want the world and the rest of America to believe that this disdain is only toward those who are here illegally and those who are “too lazy to work”.  But what I see on a daily basis belies something different.  Sure, they might look down their noses at those who don’t work and who “pile their shopping carts with steaks and crab legs” while they, themselves, are forced to buy chicken and mince more than their darker counterparts who work for a living, but make no mistake, they still look down their noses at them even if to a lesser degree.

Donald Trump didn’t create this atmosphere, though he exemplifies it.  All he did was give his supporters the shot in the arm they needed to bring their baser nature out of hiding and into the light.  In this way maybe he’s done us a favor.  Instead of people making racist jokes in their inner circle they now feel free to let the whole world know just how racist they are.

You see I thought that because I live in the south and we lost the civil war we were just wallowing in the pit of sour grapes.  But now I’ve seen that this attitude pervades our entire society.

Let me make this very clear: I do not now, nor have I ever, condoned suppression of speech.  That includes those I disagree with.  I don’t agree with Donald Trump’s platform, but I also do not agree with suppression of free speech.  As I watched the madness that unfolded in Chicago last night I was appalled and dismayed.

I will now and always uphold the people’s first amendment right to freedom of peaceful assembly.  Peaceful assembly.  I will never condone mob rule.  I will never support disruption of peaceful assembly of a group I disagree with. People are responsible for their own actions and words.  While Donald Trump has contributed to the scene, he hasn’t forced anyone to do anything.  Both sides are at fault.  Violent protests are not the answer.  Make your voice heard and your protest known at the ballot box.  Get out and vote!

I guess I’m just wonder out loud here;  did Donald Trump create this atmosphere or did this atmosphere create Donald Trump?  He’s saying out loud what his supporters feel in their hearts.  He doesn’t make them feel those things and if they didn’t feel those things he would have faded into obscurity long ago.

His supporters believe that in supporting him they are “sticking it to the man”, they are shaking up the establishment, they are breaking up the Washington Cartel as Ted Cruz likes to call it.

What they seem to have forgotten is that he is partially responsible for the creation of the Washington establishment.  How many pockets has he lined to get something he wanted?  Do we not think that he is still lining pockets?  Do we not think that if he’s elected he’s not going to continue to line pockets?  Why are people so convinced that he gives one hoot in hell about the middle class? They aren’t the ones frequenting his luxury hotels and golf courses, they aren’t the ones buying his expensive clothing line made by the good people of China.

I propose that if we elect him president there won’t be much that changes.  There truly is nothing new under the sun.  The rich will continue to get richer and the poor will continue to get poorer.  It takes money to make money.  If I had a million dollar loan(though that isn’t the entire story) and inherited a real estate conglomerate I could take a lot more risks and have successful business ventures, too. I’m not begrudging that he was born into a wealthy family, just pointing out that it doesn’t hurt that he was.

Donald Trump is telling it like it is on some fronts.  On the ones where he’s not his supporters are either willing to put theirs heads in the sand or they’re really naïve enough to believe that he’s telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  They believe they’re getting someone who isn’t a Washington insider.  It shocks me that people can believe that when he so deeply entrenched in Washington.

His supporters who love him because of his bombastic rhetoric and strong arm tactics should truly be careful what they wish for.


47 Comments

Fast Food Politics

 

Actual, in person, conversation with a lily white, fair-haired, woman and her husband:

Her:  “Trump’s my man.  I like him!  He hates all the people I hate!”

Me:

 

I seriously did not know what to say to this.  So I said the only thing I that came to mind after my face went back to it’s normal countenance.

“What a reason to elect a President of our country!  That’s just one of the reasons I’ll never vote for him.”

Her husband piped up and agreed that he doesn’t like Trump and said he didn’t vote for him in the primary.  He recounted how he’d gone to the voting booth undecided but was trying to choose between Ben Carson and Ted Cruz.

I asked if he’d considered John Kasich as I thought that if you’re going to vote for a Republican it made sense to vote for someone who could work across the aisle.  I don’t think any of the other candidates cares about that. He doesn’t know anything about Kasich.  Research much?

Him:  “I don’t like Trump but I’ll vote for whoever the Republican nominee is.  With a Republican controlled Congress and a Republican President we won’t have to work across the aisle.”

Me:

 

“You do know the government is supposed to represent and work for all the people, not just some of the people, right? This isn’t Burger King, you can’t have it your way.”

Him:  “It’s already been that way.  Democrats have been getting their way all this time.”

Me: