I’ve struggled a lot lately with issues of religion and belief. I support each individual’s right to believe or not believe in god and to worship – or not – as he or she or they choose, but when I see people wielding religion as a weapon against others, I get angry. I’ve been angry a lot these days, especially at violent Islamist extremists who insist in the name of faith on returning us all to the barbarism of centuries past; at Christian fundamentalists who deny science and try to replace it in our public schools with their antiquated theology, crippling our technological advancement along the way; and at intolerant people who claim they’re somehow being oppressed by our civil society granting equal social and legal rights and freedoms to gays, women, transgendered and queer individuals, and people who don’t believe in their restrictive religious-based rules. (more…)
I can’t be a political conservative. I just can’t grasp that mindset, especially not in social terms. And definitely not in America, not now.
Conservatism, by definition, opposes change; its entire premise is to preserve things as they are. Make no mistake, I think conservation can be a very good thing. Just look at the U.S. National Park Service, created to preserve public lands in all their beauty and ecological diversity for future generations. Look at museums, which preserve the history of the planet and its civilizations to teach us all from whence we came in order to inform where we will go. Look at financial principles, which teach us not to spend profligately in the moment, but to stay within our means, to save for the future, and to consider our investments. In all these ways, even I’m conservative – very much so. I believe in preserving the good things of the past, as well as the knowledge of the bad things, to keep us from making mistakes as we head into the future. (more…)
Abortion has been perhaps the single most divisive issue in U.S. politics ever since the 1970’s and the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. It doesn’t have to be. But reframing the issue from just making impassioned arguments to taking effective actions that would actually reduce the incidence of abortion is hard because it involves changing a lot of the cultural premises underlying the anti-abortion argument, and those premises are conservative bulwarks.
Today, in once again signing the Global Gag Rule – banning all U.S. funding of any non-governmental group that includes any mention at all of abortion in healthcare and family planning services around the world (direct funding of abortion services themselves has long been prohibited) – Trump planted his flag in the scorched earth of old arguments. But his action will paradoxically have the opposite effect from what he and his supporters intend. (more…)
I’ve never attended a Presidential inauguration, and I won’t start now. Closest I ever came was Obama in 2009, because – what a glorious historical moment! But my distaste for being in large crowds, plus knowing I would have a much better and more comfortable vantage point from my living room television, meant that I stayed home and watched. And I toasted the future, ate a celebratory dinner, and danced!
Tomorrow, I will not watch. I have absolutely nothing to celebrate in the inauguration of Trump, whom I believe to be the most unqualified, reprehensible candidate in US. history. I will observe the peaceful transition of power simply because it’s what our democracy does. I will listen, but only because I want to hear what Trump actually says so I can mark how quickly he reneges on or outright negates on Twitter anything he says concerning building unity in our divided country. Think I’m being cynical? Far from it. I’m acting on my own personal observations of everything Trump has done since throwing his hat in the ring, and even before. (more…)
Some of my conservative friends appear to live in an entirely different universe from me. Their worldviews are way darker than mine. They absolutely believe they are highly likely to be attacked at any time by some arbitrary, anonymous assailant with a gun or a knife on the street, in a shopping mall, at work, or in a movie theater, or be the victim of a home invasion or attempted rape. They are totally convinced they NEED a gun (or better yet, two or three or more) to defend themselves against that attack, because they believe the police are unlikely to be on the scene either in time or at all.
Fine. But accept there MUST be reasonable regulation to accomplish BOTH ends, and reasonable regulation does NOT amount to a ban on guns in the U.S.. (more…)
There is no war on religion in the U.S.. In particular, there is no assault underway on Christianity. There is, however, a profound misunderstanding by political Christian conservatives of the U.S. Constitution’s protection of freedom of religion. (more…)
At the beginning of May, watch the northern Virginia skies: World War II bombers and fighters are coming to Manassas and Culpeper. On Friday May 8, 2015, the 70th anniversary of V-E Day – commemorating the end of the war in Europe – they’ll fly together in historic group formations directly over the Washington, DC Mall. (more…)
I resent the Second Amendment. No, let me clarify that: I resent how the Second Amendment has been interpreted by courts and other entities. Especially the political right. (more…)
I’m really incredibly lucky.
I was born white in the United States in 1956 to extraordinary parents. The economic middle class was growing, and Mom and Dad – who both had high school educations – planned and saved to be able to send their three daughters to college, determined to give us more opportunities than they had. My parents defied the stereotypes of the time by teaching us girls that we could be and do anything we wanted, provided we put our minds to it. Mom gave us a practical demonstration by taking courses at the vocational school to learn new skills, like upholstery, when she wanted to try a project at home. She also went back to work once all three of us were in grade school, balancing the demands of family and an outside job. She even started her own very successful business as a tax practitioner when the lawyer she’d been working for decided to retire. Dad taught us to use his tools to build and fix things, up to and including running our own little family auto body shop to repair rust damage on his Chevy. (more…)