Sunday, February 16, 2014

Conservative values bear strange fruit.

Over the course of the last week, I have seen more and more evidence that the political movement of 'conservatives' has become ethically questionable. Indeed, I see that there are many who have become down right repugnant. I try not to think about the vitriol that gets spewed about by people in the increasingly polarized political climate of the USA. It makes me heartsick, gives me heartburn, and at times makes me nauseated all at the same time.

I've got a real problem with people who seem to think that their First Amendment rights absolve them of responsibility for their actions. I think that Phil Robertson was given an appropriate response by A&E when he said what he did. They had to send a clear message to him that his actions, as a public figure and de facto representative of A&E, were not appropriate because they were not inline with the views of the corporation. If you walk around waving your fame as a television star, you should expect that you are going to be viewed with more scrutiny then your neighbor down the street.

A wise person would conduct themselves in such a manner that it doesn't reflect poorly on their employers *ON NATIONAL TELEVISION* and in major media outlets. If Phil Robertson had said what he did in a private conversation, it would be an entirely different ball of wax. He said it as a public figure conducting an interview. The cameras were on. If they were off and he said it off the record, it would be the same as if he said it in a private conversation. Then, in those circumstances, I would have been inline with the folks saying that A&E was in the wrong to take the actions they did. But he didn't do that.

I've a problem with people who seem to feel that their religious beliefs must be the law of the land. I have a BIG problem with that. When a "religious freedom" bill that is designed to perpetuate the discrimination against a minority population in this country is waved around as how people are going to be practicing those religious beliefs, that's wrong. Let's look at this from two separate angles.

First, the Constitution of the United States has this one little section that a lot of people keep forgetting. That First Amendment that those Conservatives I'm speaking about love, they're as selective about that as they are about their Bible. Because if you take a moment to read the bloody thing, you'll notice something really big here. For all y'all who don't have it easily accessible, here's the text:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

That "religious freedom" bill and related ephemera that is getting thrown around in the halls of the legislative branch in damn near the entire nation, it is taking a value set from a religion and making it law. This is a clear violation of the separation of church and state.

Now, there's one other angle to keep in mind here. This kind of proposed law is a blatant violation of civil liberties. You know the ones that say that people can't be discriminated on the basis of gender, creed, etc. Yeah, those rights that people want to wave around when it keeps them all cushy and comfortable but don't want to extend to those people who they find unsavory... You know who I'm talking about. I won't even mention the C- word here.

One other big thing that has been bothering the hell out of me, when an advertisement on nationally syndicated radio says that they're going to inform us about what the "bible says about interracial marriage" that tells me that we've got a big problem with discrimination. What color your skin is doesn't determine if you are a person. Attitudes that there is something somehow wrong or questionable about interracial marriage shows that you're a bigoted asshole.

Additionally, when I am out and about in public and I over hear casual conversations wherein people don't think anything about saying "not that I'm racist or anything, but so-and-so is a Jew and you know how they are" or that people of Arab descent are "sand niggers" I get torn between the urge to verbally eviscerate the person who dropped that kind of comment and to go off into a corner and quietly vomit. Who in the name of Hel has decided that this kind of behavior is 'ok'? You'd be fighting mad if someone was talking about you in this fashion or your race.

And then there's the topic of sex. I could rant on that one for a while. But I want to narrow my focus on one specific incident. Maybe you haven't seen this news story yet. I'll warn you, it's disgusting. A 5 year old girl is raped. The mother is told 'boys will be boys' by the county attorney's office. This is wrong on so many levels I have no idea where it would be best to begin. Let's start off with the fact that a KINDERGARTENER was raped. Not 'merely' molested, but raped.

The fact that it was done by a teenager really doesn't excuse the matter in any sense. For the county attorney's office to take such a cavalier attitude towards this kind of case is beyond reprehensible. This is a crime that has, quite possibly, caused this little girl physical injury that she may carry with her for the rest of her life. Why? Because her body isn't as developed as an older child. To put it plainly, she's built smaller so the act of rape will have greater likelihood of causing tearing within her body. And let's not forget the psychological effects this will have. And those will last for a very, very long time.

Next, when sexual assault is lumped together with consensual sexual activity and viewed as something to be moralized in the same fashion, you start to see things like this happening. People take the word rape and assume that on some level the victim wanted it or it wouldn't have happened. We have had people on the floors of Congress go so far as to say that the body could reject the semen of a rapist if it were a 'legitimate' rape. (Which completely defies logic and biology, but we will just let that lay because we've got bigger fish to fry here.)

Consensual sex is worlds apart from sexual violence. The 'rape culture' that people talk about, this is what the attitudes of 'boys will be boys' comes out of. This is where the question of what the rape victim was wearing comes out of. This is where the question of if the molestation victim orgasmed came from. Rape culture ignores the fact that a person has been victimized and instead focuses on diminishing their humanity so that culture doesn't have to feel icky about the idea that anyone could be victimized.

No one asks what the victim of a robbery was wearing. No one asks if the victim of a beating was drunk. No one asks if the person who was knifed enjoyed it. These are questions that no one would dare to ask such obviously victimized people. But the double standard that sex crimes are fair play for these kinds of questions is beyond the pale. To have people in the position of power and have the capacity to get justice for a victim of such a crime be so dismissive is beyond my ability to express bad.

Circling back to that video I linked at the beginning here, I just have to say, for people who claim to have the values of this nation at the core of their political ideology, these Conservatives are doing a damn bad job of it. We just went backwards fifty years. You know what was going on then? Lynchings. Murder for being black in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

We should never as a nation go back to that. It was and still is wrong.

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