There is a time to come together, to be all “Hands Across America”, to celebrate the tossed salad of American political ideals. There is a time to set aside differences and come together as one big bowl of soupy love and understanding. There is a time to embrace political opponents and in the spirit of American Unity and good sportsmanship, shake hands as friends.
This is Not that Time
This is the time to draw lines in the sand, to lock arms with your political and ideological mates, and forcibly stop the overt negativity and social darkness of the Conservative opposition from red-rovering over the Progressive/Liberal movement.
And while some Liberals and Progressives may feel the need to pull punches or downplay our agenda to make nice with the sacred cows of Conservatives, that is simply not how I roll.
Please let me tell you what kind of Liberal I am:
I Want to Take Away Your Guns
The 2nd Amendment is outdated and fundamentally misunderstood. We have a well-regulated militia, which fulfills the constitutional need, and eliminates the need for anyone who can find a gun-show loop hole to own an assault rifle.
In the face of the thousands of deaths every year due to guns, we need to stop allowing them. We must stop trading dead kids to pay for your toys.
If a few cell phones catch fire, people stop buying them, and the company responsibly stops selling them. No one walks around demanding to buy and own exploding phones, nor fights on behalf of anyone else to buy exploding phones. No one drags out an old phone book in defense of phone-buying rights. They see the inherent danger, and endorse increased safety.
If thousands of people died every year from their Ford Expedition exploding when they turn the key, you can bet your sweet ass that people would stop buying them, the government would correctly step in to restrict Ford from selling them, and ultimately Ford would stop making cars that killed people.
This is Logic 101, people.
I am not even willing to equivocate. I am not advocating that only irresponsible people should be prevented from owning guns. I am not advocating background checks or magazine or ammo limits, or smart guns, or whatever else still lets you own a gun.
I am saying that NO ONE should own a gun. Period.
I Want to Take Away your Religious Freedom
Religions have been a blight on humanity since its inception. There is no other institution in history that has caused more war, more corruption, more murder, more oppression, more exploitation, more divisiveness, and more pain than our collection of human religious organizations.
Religions Are Toxic
Religions don’t deserve special treatment in our society nor our governments. If you want to believe in fairy tales and worship your invisible friend, knock yourself out. But you don’t get to force your ideology on any other person. We are not now, nor ever have been a Christian nation; our nation was born out of escaping religion. There is no mention of a deity in our constitution, which ascribes its power from the people, not from some supreme being. The Declaration of Independence clearly states that: “to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” So enough of your “under god” nonsense. Keep your God zipped up in your pants.
Religion Should Lose Its Tax Exemption. Right this Second.
Churches bring no benefit equal to that which they rape from our society. Religions are by their very nature designed to exploit the masses for monetary gain. Just look at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons). They rake in billions a year in tithing money (tax free, mind you), which they funnel into buying up some of the most lucrative property all over the world. They claim to its members that it is just for churches and temples and such, but they obscure the fact that it is also for retail malls, high-end condos, 2% of Florida in cattle ranches, and millions of acres of land globally.
“Suffer your high-end real estate to come unto me” is a more appropriate slogan than loving their fellow man, feeding the hungry, or doing unto others. They are more about loving their fellow money market, feeding their bottom line, and lining unto pockets. Yet this moral sleight-of-hand is done in full view and complicity of the IRS and U.S. government. The Catholic Church, Scientology, and Evangelical Mega-Churches are no better. Pick any religion and you will see a pattern of exploitation for gain.
Religion Should Shut Up. Right this Second.
Enough with demanding we all live according to your ancient texts (or in the case of the aforementioned LDS Church, your obviously fake 19th century ancient texts). If you don’t like gay marriage, don’t get gay married. If you hate atheists, don’t be one. If you don’t like abortions, don’t have one. Otherwise, you need to STFU and let people live their lives in peace and in accordance with their own beliefs. Their beliefs are equally valid to your own.
Remember that the same constitution that protects their rights to be gay, be atheist, or have abortions by the barrel, also protects your right to be a Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, or Wiccan. The constitution does not give you any special rights to define morality, nor impose that morality on others. The time for your special treatment is over.
Be, and let be.
I Want to Take Away Your Racist Flag
If you think the Confederate flag is a good thing, you are a racist. You can bring out all your tired old arguments about “heritage” and it does not change the fact that this flag represents hate and subjugation to black people. It represents a time when an American could OWN another person as property. That is not a heritage to be celebrated. It is a time of great shame for our nation.
If you fly that flag knowing its racist heritage, and knowing it is deeply offensive to millions of your fellow Americans, you are a racist.
I Want a Planned Parenthood on Every Corner
The main obstacle to finding common ground on abortion seems to come from a disagreement of when life begins. While the Religious Right espouses the belief that life begins at conception, there is no scientific evidence to support that it is a life that early. Their rhetoric is not only vitriolic, but massively deceptive. No matter how loudly you yell it, abortion is NOT murder.
No mentally stable person on either side of the aisle wants to abort 3rd trimester babies, or have partial birth abortions. Yet, you hear that misinformation spewed again and again (even in presidential debates), how we are a bunch of vampiric ghouls who want to feast on a bucket of dead aborted fetuses and bathe in their blood. Personally, I prefer a nice citrus-scented body gel.
It always baffles me that the same political group who vehemently demands the government stay out of their lives (ie. guns, racist flags, executing the mentally disabled) is the same group who denies a woman simple control over her own body. The hypocrisy is staggering.
The simple fact is, until science can prove when life begins, we will never agree. In the absence of that evidence, the person most qualified to decide when and if to have a child is the woman who is pregnant, and no one else. It is her body and she gets to decide what happens to her body. You don’t get to impose your unfounded opinion onto her.
And to those Conservatives reading this who just had a litter of kittens and yelled “BUT WE CAN’T ALLOW THEM TO MURDER THEIR BABIES!” Let me point out that your own policy of Abstinence-Only sex education in schools has statistically increased teen pregnancy. Since 1998, more than $1.5 billion dollars has been spent in state and federal funds on abstinence-only programs, yet studies in 11 states show that these programs are not only largely ineffective at reducing unwanted pregnancy, but actually contributed to a measurable increase. While simultaneous studies show that regular contraception use is responsible for dramatic reduction in both teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease.
You want to stop unwanted pregnancies which might then be aborted? Educate your youth about condoms and other methods of birth control. That is the single most effective way to reduce the number of abortions – reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. But you on the Religious Right want to have your cake and eat it, too. You want to irresponsibly prevent teens from learning about how not to get pregnant, and then call them “whores” and “baby killers” when they DO get pregnant and decide they do not want to have a child. You even fight to remove contraception coverage in the Affordable Healthcare Act! Your own foot? Meet yourself shooting it.
There is no greater advocate for promoting and educating teens about contraception than Planned Parenthood, which provides for myriad services for women’s health including education, medical checkups, contraception instruction and supply, and yes, pregnancy terminations.
I’d bet good money that if Planned Parenthood educated men about how to maintain super-hard erections, and supplied free Viagra, you would not hear a peep out of Conservatives. Or If the government stepped in and outlawed Viagra while yelling “Ejaculation is Murder” there would be a revolution across the land as men demanded their rights to a medically-enhanced erection.
I Want You to Stop Being Racist, Misogynist and Homophobic
When Trump won the election, study after study showed that there was a statistically measurable racial bias in the people who voted for Trump. I was not shocked by that information anymore than I would be shocked if the news reported that “People Generally Like Food”.
What I found shocking was how many people were shocked by it.
I remember with ice cold precision the day Barack Obama was elected as president. The tsumani-wave of racist comments that flooded the internet and social media was overwhelming. I stood ashamed to be an American that day as racial epithets flew from the mouths of people I once respected, once called friends.
That racism did not go away. It remained in place. All you had to do over the last 8 years was go to any website or article about Obama, and start to read the comments. The anonymity the internet provided, allowed for unfiltered racists to spout off, in all their hate-filled glory. Why did so many people hate him? It would oversimplify it to lay it all at racism’s door, but listen to people explain why they hate Obama, and you will be surprised how quickly racism raises its head. Why the obstructionist congress blocking everything Obama wanted to do? Again, racism contributed to congressional obstacles to an uncomfortable degree.
All you had to do during this election cycle was listen to a few minutes of any Trump supporter, and you were bitch-slapped with the kind of racism that only generational ignorance can provide. Why was anyone surprised that racist people voted for a racist president? Or why was anyone surprised by the misogyny data showing up in post-election studies? Or the homophobia? Or the Anti-LGBTQ? I am not surprised by that demographic result at all. Both Trump and his supporters openly told us EXACTLY who they were. We should not be surprised by who they elected.
If you voted for Trump, you are either personally a racist, sexist, homophobe, OR you were willing to TOLERATE that kind of hate in your presidential candidate.
I Want You to Stop Dicking Up the Planet & Science
Climate change is not a hoax. If you think it is, you need to pay better attention. Thousands of scientists all over the world, across multiple disciplines and fields, have come together and agreed that the planet is warming, and people are contributing to it. This is not called “conspiracy”, this is called “consensus”.
And for all you right-wingers who just brought up out how we used to think the sun revolved around the earth, that seems to make your argument something like “Science was wrong centuries ago and therefore all science is wrong if it means we have to take responsibility for it and make changes to our lives because of it.”
Here’s the great thing about Science: It takes the best data we have available, makes hypotheses, tests those hypotheses, which gives us more data. Rinse. Repeat. Science is therefore self-correcting because as more data comes into play, new theories can be formed and tested. So, when you bring out examples of Science being wrong in the past, I would show you where Science fixed itself and offers the best explanations available today.
Apply the same criteria to Religion. Does your pastor, pope, or apostle have reproducible evidence-based scientific theories about climate change? Your Christian religion is the REASON people used to believe the sun revolved around the earth, they KILLED people for arguing against it. When was the last time you heard any religion even admit a mistake, let alone self-correct? Religion by its nature is in opposition to Science because in order for a religion to remain relevant, it must be divinely influenced. It claims divine guidance and endorsement from a Supreme Being, so if the Church must admit mistakes it either means that their God is NOT infallible, or that the LEADERS of the church are not getting divine and perfect guidance from their God. Either of those admissions undermines the reliability of a religion when compared to Science.
Take Natural Selection as another example. Natural Selection is a fact. End of line. There is so much reproducible and confirming evidence in support of it, that its reliability is assured. Religion’s problem with Natural Selection is that it destroys every religion’s creation myth and gives evidence-based answers to questions like: “How did we get here?” that do not involve talking snakes or super sexy forbidden fruit. It says that God did not create us, our need to survive did. The cycle of mutation, selection, and reproduction is simple to understand. We as a civilization have been doing Unnatural Selection for centuries. Many of today’s plants and animals only exist because we HUMANS intervened and improved them through Selection. Why then is it so hard to understand how that can happen naturally.
Gazelles who run faster than the rest of the herd, can outrun the pursuing lions better. They survive, and their offspring is, in general, faster than the previous generation, with some variation. The new gazelles in this new generation who run faster than the rest of the new herd, can outrun the pursuing lions better. These gazelles survive and the new generation is faster again.
Lions who have better night vision can attack the gazelles more effectively in darkness when the gazelles are more vulnerable. They survive, and their offspring has, in general, better night vision than the previous generation, with some variation. The new lions in this new generation who can see better at night than the rest of the new pride, can attack gazelles better at night when they are most defenseless. These lions survive and the new generation has better vision again.
You can easily see how these two species drive each other’s Natural Selection. It is the same theory with humans. We stand upright, work in groups, have stereoscopic eyes, opposable thumbs, developed intelligent brains – all because those things helped us survive over millennia. DNA tells us that not only are humans genetically similar to all the other primate species, we also share the same genetic scarring in exactly the same places. This shows that we all had a common ancestor and we developed independently as a set of sub-species.
Take the gazelles again. Imagine if part of the herd were separated and ended up in a much colder area. Over several generations, they would develop thicker coats, improved temperature regulation, heartier hooves – because those are the gazelles who would have survived better, so their generational offspring over time acquired those traits.
Our common ancestor species (in this case, I’ll use Pierolapithecus), spread across the globe, adapted and acquired traits that helped them best survive, over time creating new species. This is why we have humans and chimpanzees and gorillas. We each acquired the traits that helped us survive in each of our unique environments (or not survive in the case of Homo neanderthalensis or Homo sp. Altai).
With so much evidence supporting Natural Selection, creationism should never be held up as an equal. Yet Conservatives regularly push for creationism to be taught in the classroom in tandem with our liberal pagan theories of evidence, logic, and reason.
Science offers the best explanation for the origin of our universe, our planet, and our species. The current evidence-based science conclusively shows a warming planet, and human contribution to it.
Take a quick look at NASA’s Global Climate Evidence page for more information: http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/
I Want Rich People to Pay More Taxes
Rich people worked hard (or their progenitors did) for what they have, lots of blood sweat and tears, they sacrificed, took risks, and made something successful of themselves. America says “You’re welcome!” since we created the environment that made it possible. As a member of our society, it is to the wealthy person’s advantage to improve that society for his or herself and everyone in it. If you can live in luxury, well above your needs, you can afford to reward the system that gave you that life.
It is disgusting to think that we have 50 million people living below the poverty line in the same country that houses nearly 20% of the world’s 50 million wealthiest people.
This is why it is so important to dramatically increase the minimum wage so that it is a Living Wage. We can and must bring our working poor above the poverty line, not through welfare, but by ensuring that each American citizen can earn an amount that provides for basic shelter, food, healthcare, and childcare.
I can already hear the Conservative whine about “employers can’t afford it” and “why should we pay for those lazy, drug-addled, suckers-from-our-teet!” To that I will simply say this: These are fellow Americans who need our help. If we all come together, we can make their lives better. For those of you on the Right who profess Christianity, where is your Christianity? Caring for the poor and needy is a core tenet of your religion. Why do you object so vociferously to embracing it?
Never again should we allow people like Trump to avoid paying $1 billion into the very system that made his family wealthy. A taxation system with a graduated tax rate that is higher for the wealthy, and with ZERO exceptions for the wealthy is needed. Time for them to pay their fair share, which means “more”, or in many cases (like Trump) “any”.
I Want to Gut Military Spending
We spend more on military defense than the next EIGHT nations combined. We’ve wasted trillions on a series of questionable wars with little positive results. The time has come to reset our priorities, and to channel our money into our nation’s future: Education and Healthcare.
Our public schools are woefully underfunded. Teachers are massively overworked, and ridiculously underpaid. We think nothing about spending $400 billion on the Joint Strike Fighter program (more than twice its original estimated cost). Imagine if instead of buying a bunch of fighters that are designed to fight last year’s war, and are already technologically outdated, we split that money up evenly across our states. Imagine what each of our states could do with $8 Billion toward education. And that is just ONE military program. What about the Ford Carrier program where we have spent nearly $40 billion in R&D and each one costs $10 billion to make? Or the hundreds of millions spent on Abrams tanks that are still being built despite the Army itself asking them to stop.
The current outstanding student loan debt in the U.S. is $1.2 trillion. Imagine if instead of trillions on wars, we had invested in our young people by paying for their college education. While still paying a ludicrous amount toward our wars, we could have paid off the student loan debt for our entire country. Do you complain about how much we have fallen behind the world in education and technology? Imagine multiple generations of college-educated and student-loan-free Americans unleashed on the world. Any student who wants a college education should get one. It is to our advantage as a nation now and for our future.
There is no greater example of Capitalism failing us than in the healthcare industry. We have created a new breed of Robber Barons with pharmaceuticals and medical technology as their currency instead of railroads. Everyone who wants healthcare coverage should get it without any cost to them. All treatments, technology, and medicine should be free to each of our citizens. As Americans, it is our duty to take care of our people.
Imagine if instead of buying that fancy new stealth destroyer, we paid for every person in our nation to be more healthy and safe. How much peace would you feel knowing that you and your family would always have medical care regardless of what diseases or mishaps befall you?
There Can Be No Unity
This is why I cannot set aside our differences and find a place of unity. I refuse to let people like Trump or the oppressive Conservatism movement normalize in our society. We must fight their destructive ideals and the people who espouse them.
Even if I wanted to find unity, I do not believe it is possible in the current climate. It is tough to find common ground with such a misinformed, yet dangerously arrogant group as the vocal Conservatives. For those Conservatives who did not vote for Trump and who are also horrified by him and his followers, you do not have to accept and embrace him simply because he was on your team and your team won. Please realize how much he and his ilk do not represent the conservatism you once knew.
Conservatism used to be focused on smaller government, fiscal responsibility, and strong defense. Today as a Conservative you are defined by how much you agree with their polarizing fringe issues. Now being a Conservative is more defined by who you hate, and how angry you are. It is tough to find common ground with that kind of hatred.
For myself, I focus on what can make people’s lives better. I focus on letting people be who they are without fear of reprisal. I focus on the kind of America that cares about each of its citizens, and provides for him or her the best environment it can to be safe, healthy, educated, financially sound, and successful.
We must not lose this fight.
I will dig in. I will draw battle lines. I will not relent.