Archive | March, 2017

Transphobia of Wilkes

20 Mar

A year ago the Wilkes County Commissioners passed a resolution opposing the Charlotte ordinance that gave protections to transgender citizens and the Obama administration’s work to support these Americans. The resolution was pointless, and should be filed under “Look Busy.” It defies logic and common sense and continues an arch-conservative tradition of scaring voters and fearmongering against a vulnerable class of Americans.

Transgendered people feel like their body (sex) doesn’t match their self-identified gender. Because they make up a small portion of our society, the odds you’ve shared a bathroom with them are pretty remote—but the odds of them having to use a public bathroom are 100%. Those are pretty good odds to remind everyone we’re a country of majority rule and minority rights. We should not make other people feel guilty simply for being different than those in the majority. They already know what it’s like to be different.

People who are transgender do not make the decision quickly or flippantly. They self-identify as the gender and sex opposite the one assigned at birth. They have determined over years of frustration, pain, and dysphoria that their body does not match the gender they see themselves. They make a transition, hormonally and/or cosmetically, after talking to their family, faith leaders, friends, therapists, and other medical professionals. The transition takes years and has to have specific portions approved by medical professionals for insurers to pay. It’s a regular, defined process and procedure acknowledged by healthcare agencies and professionals worldwide.

These people can be in many stages of their transition, and those who have completed it can pass as their intended gender without suspicion. And do you know what they’re doing in the bathroom? Using the bathroom. I’m sure some may be hiding from their in-laws or managing a panic attack, but mostly using the plumbing as intended. It’s really none of my business. It’s none of your business.

The resolution the Wilkes County Commissioners passed was not in the spirit of America, freedom or liberty. The resolution does nothing to help marginalized groups, although it mentions protecting women and young girls. The ordinance does a great deal of work to point out that kind of predation and falls short of striking any balance that young boys can be victims, also. Supposedly, the same people who the commissioners are afraid of preying on females have been in the bathroom all this time with our boys.

We already have laws against indecent exposure and peeping in North Carolina. The notion people of opposite sexes should not and cannot enter a specifically assigned bathroom fall apart once you dose the argument with pragmatism: Parents (especially mothers) often have to take their children of the opposite sex into bathrooms. Who would get arrested in this situation? The minor or the parent? Also, cleaning staff in a lot of offices are typically female. Who’s going to clean the men’s bathroom? Should we have a resolution that men must be hired to fulfill this role? Of course not.

This resolution is a malignancy on our society and culture. Transgender people deserve protections against bias. Elected officials should not manufacture unnecessary law casting them as pariahs when they’re not. They’re people, and this resolution should be rescinded.

The Gump/Sessions

8 Mar

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, a name that sounds like a plausible Civil War Era villain in any work from Ernest Hemmingway to Mel Blanc, is having a bad couple of weeks. And by “couple of weeks” I mean “tenure as Attorney General of the United States”. Despite the quickly developing narrative that he met with the Russian Spybassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, while a technically a senator but really as a Trump campaign surrogate, Sessions cannot seem to shake the racist overtones that shadow his past and darken his Southern accent.

In a recent article by “The Blaze” they assert SNL (Saturday Night Live) mocked him in their March 4, 2017 cold open in a way they would never have mocked previous Attorneys General Eric Holder or Loretta Lynch. They are totally 100% correct. Because Holder and Lynch probably didn’t get turned down by the Senate for a federal judgeship due in part to a letter from Loretta Scott King outlining their inability to be anti-racist. The sketch, which is obviously a parody of “Forrest Gump”, puts talented comedic actor and chameleon lady Kate McKinnon as Sessions on a park bench. As a dim imitation of Gump, earnest and overly polite, Session recalls some of the finer points of current events. The impression holds true as Session blatantly over-communicated and tells too much truth, which sparked the scrutiny he’s been facing recently concerning Kislyak when Sessions over-answered a question Sen. Al Franken (D-MI) asked him during confirmation. (The sketch did have a sense of coming full circle as Sen. Franken is an SNL alumnus. At best, Sen. Franken probably crossed his arms, tilted his head to the side, and said, “Well, imagine that.”)

 

Sessions is going to be a target for all kinds of ridicule the longer he’s out front of the Trump administration. He’s not a sympathetic character, whatsoever. In fact, his name alone is a hyperbole of the societal norms that sired his worldview. In the first sketch McKinnon’s AG Sessions was unveiled in a cold open press conference, with Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer, the character started by saying something that you could imagine the real Sessions saying, “There are two kinds of crime: Regular and black.” After a history of being repeatedly accused of saying racist things (including the KKK was okay until “I found out they smoked pot” and calling black men “boy” and not really wanting any part of civil rights cases IN ALABAMA) the words sound lifted from his journal. As an Attorney General of the United States his entire job is twofold: Defend the people of the United States by challenging the Presidency as necessary, and ensure there is no obstruction to any citizen availing themselves of protections of federal law. Voters especially need this protection as unnecessary and even racist laws have been enacted since the rollback of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 with Shelby County v. Holder in 2012. There is literally nothing in Sessions career that has suggested or intimated that he has those abilities or proclivities. Even as recent as the past weeks as Attorney General he hasn’t even addressed the desecration and destruction of Jewish gravesites or commented on the threats against Jewish Community Centers. The fact he hasn’t said anything about it proves he either doesn’t understand what his job covers or he doesn’t realize the optics and his position to get out in front of the story.

Sessions was offered Attorney General because of his fealty to Trump. He doesn’t have the savvy or steel to perform the ultimate tasks of the office. He only wants to be rewarded for his loyalty and ultimately execute some form of revenge against the system that shunned him in the 1980s. Thankfully he has recused himself from any investigation on the Trump administration’s ties and communications to Russia, but he needs to take a page out of Forrest Gump and just stop running.

When Sentiment Contrasts Essence

2 Mar

I’m going to have come out and say it: Being anti-immigrant is anti-American and anti-Christian. People who come to this country build our economy and evolve our culture. Some may be here illegally, but they are our friends, family, and greater community. They are America.

The only counter-argument I’ve heard is that some of these illegal immigrants are committing violent crimes. That is a sobering fact, but tainted by media with confirmation bias. Those who suspect immigrants mainly commit violent crimes see and focus only on news stories of murder and rape. In that situation, you would think everyone you suspect of being an immigrant was prone to violent behavior. The data simply doesn’t bear out the opinion or deeply held belief. Immigrants, especially those who have entered or stayed here illegally, are going to draw as little attention to themselves as possible. That obviously doesn’t negate the impact violence has had in the lives of people who have experienced it, and never will.

What’s being done with this demonizing and demagoguery from the highest office in the United States is finding a scapegoat for political capital and a distraction in times of mismanagement. It fractures our unity and proves hypocritical to our tortured national origins and history. We were welcomed into this land by many of its natives, and we repaid it shamefully. We stole people from their homes and families and brought them here to be enslaved. A powerful nation was built, but not without original sins to acknowledge and edify our culture. They should never leave our conscience. The simplest recompense we can offer readily without malice is to constantly remind ourselves and the world we welcome everyone in this country. We have written it into our songs and laws. Our inclusiveness is the fire burning in the ashes of our iniquity.

The fundamentals of the predominant Christianity so heavily entrenched in American society oscillates from fire and brimstone for the wicked, to humble Jesus, meek and mild with measured patience and interminable acceptance of others, regardless of their ethics or nation of origin. The greater emphasis has always been on the behavior of Jesus. Had Jesus been an insufferable jerk or preached razing towns and slaughter no one would have grasped the message of divinity. Jesus was more or less consistent with everyone unless severely vexed. The sentiment of the New Testament, especially the New Covenant in Christianity, oversimplified is all are equal in the eyes of God: Jews and Gentiles have no lesser or greater favor. Coupling this with the sentiments of brotherhood, community, kindness to strangers, selflessness, love (phileo), anti-discrimination, and overall tolerance of everyone alien the idea of bigotry, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, etc. requires a level of cognitive dissonance that dismantles American Christianity as a radical liberal counter-culture of embracing differences. This Christianity turns into a conservative cesspool of establishment, with harmful mores and folkways turned against a specific outgroup: brown people who speak the lingua franca with weird accents. Ironically, this is not too dissimilar from the actual origins of Christianity.

The victims of this state of mind are all Americans. The people anger and fear are directed constitute the fabric of our country. We’re not hurting them. We’re hurting ourselves in the worst form of moral cannibalism. Sadly, the same people who want to tout their patriotism and religiosity in America find themselves at odds with the fundamentals of their heritage and identity.