Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Planned Parenthood Shooting, Post 5: Where is the National Outrage Against this Act of Terrorism?

If it had been a Muslim person who had shot an officer and two other people dead at a Planned Parenthood clinic, and injured nine others, it would be wall-to-wall coverage not only on the cable news networks today but on the broadcast TV networks. We would be calling it what it is: terrorism.

Instead, it is only being covered on cable and even then, just as one of many news stories today. THIS WAS AN ACT OF DOMESTIC TERRORISM! Against a health care provider! AND, making it even more awful and news-coverage-worthy, is the fact that this was directly incited by Republican presidential candidates and by Republican congressional leaders--they have been engaged in systematically attacking, spreading misinformation about, and inciting violence against, Planned Parenthood for months and months and months. THIS IS THE RESULT!
Why is the whole country not outraged today?

‪#‎IstandwithPlannedParenthood‬

The Planned Parenthood Shooting, Post 4: Words Have Consequences

AND *no one* in the media is making the connection between the violence-inciting, misinformation-spreading rhetoric of the Republican presidential candidates and congressional leaders against Planned Parenthood and this Planned Parenthood shooting, which is a DIRECT result of that!

‪#‎IstandwithPlannedParenthood‬

The Planned Parenthood Shooting, Post 3: This was a Terrorist Act

This (the Planned Parenthood shooting) was a TERRORIST act that should be getting wall-to-wall coverage. WHY is the news media acting like everything is business as usual today?

I guess terrorism on women's health care providers doesn't count. Nevermind that an officer and two civilians are dead and nine injured. The media is covering this as just another news story. This is infuriating!

This is NOT just another news story. This is domestic terrorism. More than that, this is domestic terrorism that was directly incited by Republican candidates for president of the United States and by Republican congressional leaders.

‪#‎IstandwithPlannedParenthood‬

The Planned Parenthood Shooting, Post 2: The Media

CNN is just giving this (the Planned Parenthood mass shooting) cursory coverage. Nothing like the wall-to-wall coverage for MONTHS they gave to Ferguson. I guess they don't care when a GOOD officer is shot to death in the line of duty by a gunman incited by people serving in Congress and by candidates running for president of the United States, or that two other people are dead, and four officers and five people injured. Nope. If it's just the War on Women, why cover it? It won't generate RATINGS.

Also, if it shows police in a good light, why cover it, either, as that would take away from the violence that they (CNN) themselves seem to me to always be trying to incite in the streets of America against police, so that they then can go out and cover the violence and protesters that THEY themselves whipped up, and get RATINGS. To that end, they are back to their wall-to-wall coverage of the cop who was charged with first-degree murder in Chicago, and that constant coverage is contributing to protesters in the street, even though that bad cop has already been rightly charged with 1st degree murder, so what is there to be covering right now or be out in the streets about--WHY NOT COVER THE PLANNED PARENTHOOD SHOOTING?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why not be out in the streets about congressional leaders and presidential candidates inciting violence against a health care provider?

I'm not happy today.

‪#‎IstandwithPlannedParenthood‬

The Planned Parenthood Shooting, Post 1: Witch Hunt Mentality--The Results

Two days ago, I wrote about what I term "The Witch Hunt Mentality". Now, just two days later, we have a tragic example of the results that I was warning, predicting, looking back at the history of witch hunts and seeing, could, would and always do result from that witch hunt mentality.

I hope all the Republican "leaders" who have been "leading" the witch hunt on Planned Parenthood are happy with the results: they have successfully and directly incited violence against Planned Parenthood clinics, and now a police officer is dead, children are left without their father, and a spouse is left without her husband. Two other people are also dead and their loved ones are grieving. Four other police officers and five civilians were injured, too.

Are you happy now, those who have led this witch hunt? Or are you going to go on spreading misinformation and inciting violence?

‪#‎IstandwithPlannedParenthood‬

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Resist the Witch Hunt Mentality

Hi, friends:

I know it is Thanksgiving and we are all expected to post things about gratitude and turkey and stuff. And don't get me wrong, this is my favorite holiday--I'm all about such posts. But I suddenly feel the need to post about something serious and disturbing today. There is a mood of fear, hate and other ingredients in our society and the world today that leads to something I call the witch hunt mentality. That is when we place all our fear and hate onto certain groups and target them. It doesn't matter if the group is Planned Parenthood (women--make no mistake, that's the target there), Syrian refugees or Muslims in general: once the witch hunt mentality kicks in to a culture, a lot of bad, violent, not to mention illegal things are carried out and the people doing the carrying think it is all justified because they see the targeted group as dangerous, evil, bad, other/alien/foreign, and/or subhuman.

We turned our backs on Jewish refugees in WWII, fleeing for their lives. Now we are doing the same thing to Syrian refugees. There are so-called leaders trying to ban even the ones who do get vetted and allowed into our country from going to their states. There are so-called leaders who want to start databases of all Muslims in this country, including American citizens.

I want to link a powerful video here in which George Takei​, an American citizen, born here, whose parents were also born here, talks about how he and his family were shipped to an internment camp when he was a small child (five years old--and he was there for three years, until the age of eight). This was a prison camp. There were several of these across the United States. Why was he sent there? Why were American citizens who had done nothing wrong sent there? Because they were of Japanese ancestry and we were scared to death of "Japs" after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

America had never been attacked on her own soil before. Of course American citizens were traumatized and scared, and of course the government wanted and needed to spring into action and protect us. But the fear led to an irrational witch hunt mentality, targeting anyone and everyone who LOOKED "Japanese". We didn't send any Americans of European ancestry to camps, even though we were also at war with Germany. So there was definitely racism and targeting those who look "alien" to the majority involved.

Anyway, I see many frightening similarities between the mood in the country (and world) today, and the tenor and substance of the fear-mongering going on, on the Republican campaign trail, for one, and coming out of many governors' (also Republican, I must say) offices re they won't allow refugees into their states. I see Planned Parenthood being irrationally targeted and violence against it repeatedly being incited by presidential candidates, no less, and people in congress.

Folks, we truly must learn from history or else I very much fear we are condemned to repeat it. So in this time of fear and terrorism in the world, of xenophobia and instability, let us resist falling into a "witch hunt mentality" in which we dehumanize any group and put our fears and hate onto them. It leads to us, in America, ignoring our rule of law, our democracy, which is what makes us great. It also leads to violence and cruelty, which are the real enemies.

Watch this video:

http://io9.com/george-takei-describes-his-experience-in-a-japanese-int-1533358984

Friday, November 20, 2015

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2015

I have a very dear friend who is trans (transgender, though she actually doesn’t like that umbrella term and prefers the more specific “transsexual” or just “trans”, but I’m saying “transgender” here because it is a bigger umbrella and what I’m about to talk about applies to everyone under that umbrella). Today, November 20th, is the national Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR). It’s a day to pause and remember the staggering, truly shocking number of transgender people who were violently murdered (and lost to suicide) this year, and to realize that the total number is made up of (I hate to quote Bush, Sr. at a moment like this—or ever! But it’s a poetic term here) “a thousand points of light”, so to speak: in other words, the huge, scary yet impersonal aggregate statistic is made up of very, very personal, individual lives. A rabbi I knew once said that every life is a whole world.

I may have let today go by without a mention, were it not for the fact that my aforementioned dear friend got harassed last night upon attempting to check in to a hotel when traveling, right here in the “free” United States of America. Right in her own country, just for daring to be herself. Try to imagine that you couldn’t walk down the street, check into a hotel, apply for a job, access a public bathroom, try something on in a dressing room in a department store, or have a meal out without the very real possibility, all the time, at any moment, wherever you are, of someone or a group coming up to you and harassing you, threatening you, discriminating against you, or worse. Try to imagine every day of your life being like that, 24/7. Just for a moment today, try to imagine that.

The fact that my friend got harassed last night made me realize I can’t let this day go by without stopping to acknowledge the importance of it. It can’t be just trans people who talk about this. It has to be all of us, for things to ever change. Most people who are not trans have no idea of what the statistics are--of how dangerous just going about your daily life while trans is. I’m asking those of you reading this to take a moment today just to take in how challenging it is for them, when all they are trying to do is be themselves. When someone’s internal wiring doesn’t conform to their external body specs, they should be free and indeed encouraged to express themselves, to live their lives, in a way that makes them feel comfortable, like their true selves, free and whole. It doesn’t hurt a flea for people to be free to live as their true selves. They are not threatening anyone by doing so, therefore they should not be threatened.

Gender is a spectrum and some people don’t fit into what the world expects of them based on their outer body. So just let them be different, it’s okay! We are all different and we all color outside of the lines in some way(s) in our lives. We should all be accepted for who we are, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else, and being transgender doesn’t. The only thing I won’t tolerate is intolerance, especially when it results in violence against innocent people just trying to live their lives. This is very personal for me due to my friend. My message today is live and let live. This is supposed to be the Land of the Free. Teach tolerance to your children and your friends, wherever you go, whatever lives you touch, too. Don’t be silent.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Keep the Golden Door Open

Well, Huckabee got himself on CNN and declared that we (America) need to "close our borders". Oh yes he did. And the CNN pup (Smerconish--who previously I was furious at for dissing my college ferociously a while back, but we won't go there--he redeemed himself in my eyes with the following) shot back with what I thought was a profoundly important point: he said, but if we close our borders, that will keep out, for example, Syrian refugees who are fleeing FROM terrorists, FROM ISIS. He said, what about "give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses"? Huckabee's response was that we need to keep out the terrorists. He stuck by his close the borders stance.

The America that I'm proud of is the one that welcomes immigrants, the one that is a melting pot, the one that celebrates diversity and the one that opens its borders to those fleeing terrorism, violence, war and certain death for their children. We ideally are an OPEN country.
Of COURSE we need to do everything in our power to screen out terrorists, but we are here to take in the "huddled masses". Not to close our borders, not to turn our backs on them! If we do that, we are no better, for example, than those (including us to an upsetting degree, so let's learn and not repeat history) who turned their backs on Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany during WWII, leaving many stranded in boats out at sea, with no country willing to take them. I have not forgotten that chapter of my own people's history, and that is why I look at the Syrian refugees and I say fling open the gates!

It is heartless and downright anti-American to say "close the borders". Screen as best we can, yes. But allow in refugees as is our proud history and part of our very ideals as America? Yes, or we cease to be the America that I can be proud of, the America symbolized (poignantly, today, as this was a gift from France) by the Statue of Liberty, holding her welcoming torch to light the way in for those who need it.

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” - quote by Emma Lazarus -

Love to France

Love and prayers for you from America, France.

May all those who stand for tolerance, non-violence and peace imagine linking arms across the world, oceans, deserts, mountains, cultural divides, and all that keeps us apart, and may we stand together as one for a world in which love conquers all.