Monday, June 24, 2013

Oh, Please, America, Buck Up!

It appears that America has become a nation of over-reaction. Little boys are kicked out of school because they ate their sandwich (or cookie or whatever it was) into the shape of a gun. Seriously? Here in Indiana, we can put a Pro-Life license plate on our car but not one picturing a rainbow. Really? 

And now poor old Paula Deen has sent us into absolute hysterics of political correctness. She used the "n" word 40 years ago, a word so taboo, it must never be spoken or written but only expressed as the "n" word.

Hate to tell you, folks, but 40 years ago, lots of people said the "n" word and they said the "k" word for Jews and the "s" word for Mexicans and the "w" word for Italians and the "q" word for gays. Most jokes had a racist tinge or they had a sexist tinge. Most of our fathers were Archie Bunker when Paula was growing up in Georgia.

At the same time, most little kids, both boys and girls, played with guns. We all had cap guns or water pistols or plastic machine guns. We shot each other right and left. We got into the spirit and fell down dead when we were "shot". And guess what? We shot each other a lot less in real life back then.

But now we have all become super-sensitive. It takes almost nothing to offend us. And the people who make us feel that way? Why they should lose their jobs, if not be tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail (or kicked out of school). Hurting someone's feelings is the Great Crime now. You can steal from them (a la Big Banks) or despoil their environment (a la Big Oil) or treat your employees like crap (a la Walmart) or betray them (a la corrupt politicians) as long as you use the proper terminology to do it.

Words, it seems, have greater power than actions these days. Even in the rape debate, we turn against the Todd Akins' and Richard Mourdocks' because of what they said. I don't really care what they say. What we should be worried about is what they actually do. The harm doesn't come from the names, it comes from the legislation. I actually prefer it when those men show their hands. They are less dangerous than the ones who keep their mouths shut while sponsoring and voting for laws that harm women.

It doesn't offend me when ignorant Rush Limbaugh calls young women sluts and prostitutes. It simply reveals who he is. I notice he didn't lose his job. Evidently, it is more outrageous to have used the "n" word 40 years ago than call our daughters sluts and prostitutes right now.

I've often been called names during debates with Facebook "friends" on the other end of the political spectrum. They are often said with such "gotcha" relish, I assume my opponents think they've cut me to the quick but they haven't. I simply shrug, consider the source and move on.

We used to have a saying when I was a kid (at about the same time Paula Deen was a kid) - "sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me". I think we should get back to that attitude. Words can only hurt us if we let them by infusing them with too much power, as we have with the "n" word. No word should be so important that merely saying or writing it is a taboo punishable by imprisonment in a dungeon of disgrace. It's just a word...not like, say, shooting a black kid in a hoodie for being in your neighborhood.

Same with guns. I'm for sensible gun control. I'm for universal background checks. I'm for banning high capacity magazines and assault weapons. And no, I don't want to start a big argument over gun control. That's for a different blog. But a kid who eats a sandwich into the shape of a gun getting kicked out of school? Another who gets expelled for having a fake gun the size of an earring on his key chain? That's freakin' ridiculous.

And a state government that assumes to protect his citizens' delicate sensibilities by not allowing them to see a rainbow on the license plate on the car in front of them?

I'm sick of being protected. Don't do me any favors. I can bear up under the "n" word or the "s" word or the "k" word. I can bear up under being called a slut, a prostitute or even a c***. I can bear up under a cheese sandwich in the shape of a pistol. I can being bear up under seeing a rainbow license plate.

So can we all. Toughen up, America. 


Saturday, June 15, 2013

I Came Back And Everything Was Still the Same

I have ignored this blog for a while in order to finish up a book (which will be published next week). When I finally lifted my head from the seventh in the Rafe series of novels, I discovered a lot had happened in the world when I wasn't paying attention.

- For one thing, here we go again with Syria. It seems that no matter how poor we are supposed to be, no matter how much their mantra is "cut, cut, cut", even if that means children go hungry and the unemployed lose benefits and cancer patients go without treatment and students miss school, the Republicans are always happy to find the dollars for another war.

- Meanwhile, they are beside themselves because Obama is going to Africa. No one ever minded when any other president took foreign trips or went on vacation or had White House events but now that it is Obama, the R's believe all that should stop immediately. Barack should keep his ass home and Michelle should shop at the Good Will store and do all her own cooking and housework. I mean, isn't that what black women were born to do?

- Meanwhile, Virginia cancelled its primaries where rational people might actually help choose their candidates and instead, went with a caucus of the farthest of the far right. Not surprisingly, they came up with a slate of total losers. For Governor, Ken Cuccinelli, the guy who wanted to re-institute the sodomy laws in Virginia (and who may be in trouble for taking bribes, along with the current governor).

For Lt. Governor, E. W. Jackson, who called homosexuals "sick and perverted" and stated that when you "empty your mind" as in the practice of Yoga, Satan comes in to fill the void.

For Attorney General, State Senator Mark Obershain who once proposed a law that all Virginia women who suffered a miscarriage had to report it to the police within 24 hours.

And, last but not least, The Right Reverend Doctor Joe Ellison, Jr. for Director of African American Outreach, no less. Yep, the very same Reverend Joe who agreed with Pat Robertson that voodoo was responsible for the earthquake in Haiti.

In Wisconsin, the legislature practically had a riot when the Republicans passed their new "no abortions after 20 weeks" bill with the leader banging his gavel like a furious tin-pot dictator.

And in Iowa, the Republicans gave their (Republican, of course) governor the responsibility to personally have to approve each and every Medicaid-funded abortion request. Well, hell, what else do governors have to do, right?

Do you remember the agonizing second-guessing the Republicans endured after their crushing losses in 2012? Do you remember how they decided they must change their tone in order to appeal to more mainstream and minority Americans? Well, this is what they came up with in their very first attempt at statewide elections since 2012. It doesn't seem to bode well for the future, does it?

- All of Darrell Issa's hysterical scandals seem to be coming apart. He hasn't produced any evidence that anyone did anything deliberately wrong during Benghazi. In fact, the released e-mails seem to prove the Obama administration was not involved in "shaping" the talking points.

Ditto, the IRS fiasco, about which Issa has refused to release the relevant transcripts which leads me to assume that they also exonerate the White House because you can damn well bet they'd be splashed all over t.v., internet and the front pages newspapers if there was material that indicted President Obama.

The AP phone records. In light of the number of leaks coming from the government, I think it is pretty understandable that the White House wants to hit this one hard. There is something terribly wrong when Senator John McCain received information from a source and went public with the administration's new strategy on Syria before they released it themselves! Both McCain and his source should be ashamed. The Republicans seem to have lost any sense of patriotism and belief that Americans stand together on foreign policy, something that used to be one of their driving forces.

- But never fear, with all that bad news, we still have Rick Perry, thank God. He signed a law in Texas, surrounded by Santas, making it legal to say Merry Christmas in Texas! Whew, what a relief that was! Oh and he also vetoed a pay equity bill, passed by both houses of the legislature.

And we still have Marco Rubio, who said he'd kill his own immigration bill if the same rights it extended to straight immigrants were also extended to gays. And we still have Ted Cruz. A lot of the Republicans worship at the altar of Ayn Rand but Cruz models himself after his idol, Joseph McCarthy. I could go on....

So, now that I've caught up after being gone from the political world for a while, I see that nothing much has really changed after all.