Showing posts with label War on Christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label War on Christmas. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What? You mean there isn't a War on Christmas?!!?


Monday, September 16, 2013

A House With No Rules

It's been pretty obvious for quite some time now that the Right in this country behave like adolescents, specifically 7th graders. Two of the four quarters every year, I amble over to the junior high and teach a block at that level in US History. It is truly remarkable how similar they are to conservatives' words and actions (see: blurting, temper tantrums, bullying, game playing) that I see in that class. Specifically, they have real problems behaving and following the rules they don't like.

This point was driven home recently be a discussion on FB with Reverend Jim. He and I are good friends and do see eye to eye on some issues of the day but he has fully bought into the American Taliban line of thought. Recall that the people calling themselves conservatives these days can be accurately characterized by the following characteristics
  • Ideological purity 
  • Compromise as weakness 
  • A fundamentalist belief in scriptural literalism 
  • Denying science 
  • Undeterred by facts 
  • Unmoved by new information 
  • Fear of progress 
  • Demonization of education 
  • Need to control women's bodies 
  • Severe xenophobia 
  • Intolerance of dissent 
  • Pathological hatred of government
One need only spend a few minutes exchanging views with a conservative today and it is clear this is the bedrock of their ideology. Stylistically, they use a wide range of logical fallacies to "prove" their point. Here is a handy one sheet that you can use as a checklist when talking with a conservative. I have found that their favorites are Appeal To Fear, Hasty Generalization, Ad Hominem, Appeal to Probability, Slippery Slope, and Misleading Vividness. They also employ other tactics that summed up most wonderfully by Cynthia Boaz.

Reverend Jim used many of these themes and styles in his assertion that religion was under attack by the state. Interestingly, he used the exact same examples that I have heard from other conservatives (wedding planners not accepting gay people etc). It's almost as if they get their news from the same source...hmmm...

Based on a couple of examples, religion was under attack everywhere...ahhh, the secular state...look out!!! (of course, the exact opposite is true). He employed DARVO and laughingly played the victim card. He seemingly threw out previous complaints about our country being too outraged at everything and became outraged himself (we hate in others what we fear in ourselves). He ignored the words of the founding fathers on the separation of church and state and proceeded to rewrite history. He took issue with a person's right to take to social media and other avenues to call out these businesses as prejudiced. Given his belief in the free market, this made no sense. He was adamant about taking away government power yet failed to realize that doing that would accomplish the exact opposite of what he desired: protection of the rights of the people. In short, he was completely irrational...just like a 7th grader.

The most glaring illustration of this was his disappointment that life wasn't fair and our system of justice isn't perfect. How many times have we told that to our teenagers? Very odd that we have to tell it to adults, especially ones that rail against self esteem culture and too much fairness.

Anyway, the discussion ended when I asked him to present his ideal, in terms of the law. If someone can turn someone away based on their religious beliefs, does that mean businesses can turn away women that aren't submissive? How about other beliefs? If I don't want black people coming in to my business, can I turn them away? Where do we draw the line? As of today, he has not yet responded.

At that point it occurred to me that the Right may not want to draw the line anywhere. One might think they would still like to have laws about murder and stealing. But given how much they love their guns and go into anaphylactic shock over financial regulation, it seems that they don't. Most conservatives take a dim view of police and think that people should just police themselves. Cops are slow and can't be counted on to get there on time. After all, nothing says civic justice like your local Oathkeeper. They have a direct line to what God intended to the law!!

Like the 12-13 year olds in my class, they want a house with no rules. In the same way they rebel against their parents and me, they only want to follow the laws they like which honestly seem like not very many. Like an adolescent that is told to be home by 10pm, they foam at the mouth about paying taxes and view it as stealing. Just like those same conversations with teenagers, the challenge is always the same: if you don't like it, leave. No one is keeping you prisoner here.

I used to think this way when I was their age. And then I grew up. They never did and they put the government in some sort of daddy-mommy role and then proceed to rebel against it, never taking into consideration that human nature is such that we do need laws otherwise people wouldn't behave themselves. The centerpiece of this is civil rights, the very foundation of our society. People should not be refused service because of the color of their skin, their gender, their physical and mental abilities, and their sexual orientation. We don't discriminate in this country. Period.

My entire conversation with Reverend Jim boiled down to his inability to accept the changes that were happening for the betterment of our society. We are constantly improving the way we treat people and that's exactly what we should be doing, especially if we consider ourselves a Christian nation. Jim doesn't get to decide who is better and who is worse in our country. No one does. That's why we have laws.

Maybe someday conservatives in this country will grow the fuck up and accept that simple fact.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

'Tis The Season

Recently, GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry said the following.

"Our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school."

Just like Black Friday, Frosty, Santa, and Rudolph, holiday programming for the right also includes the always classic "War on Christmas." 'Tis the season to be jolly and...paranoid about the commies that are forcing our kids to celebrate Kwanzza and hate Jesus. Sadly, it's already December 13th and I have not yet had one conservative (sweaty and foaming at the mouth) take me aside and explain to me in hushed tones that Kwanzaa was started by some evil guy named...well, actually, I don't remember. One of you want to enlighten me?

Perry's claim above, like the War on Christmas, is pure hogwash. He made such a claim in a recent campaign ad in Iowa. Being that my in laws are from that state, I can say with certainty that Perry is doing #1 of Boaz's 14 points: Panic Mongering. 

Because Iowa schoolchildren may both pray and openly celebrate Christmas, according to Carol Greta, general counsel of the Iowa Department of Education. Greta said Iowa school children have never been prohibited from praying at school but she said, school employees may not coerce students into praying or celebrating Christmas in keeping with the First Amendment, which bars Congress from making any law "respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech." Yeah, that pesky Constitution. Funny the people who claim to want to strictly adhere to it ignore that part of it. But what about Texas?

Texas law provides an opportunity for students pray, if they choose, every school day, according to DeEtta Culbertson, spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency. The law states that each school board shall provide a minute of silence at each school during which "each student may, as the student chooses, reflect, pray, meditate or engage in any other silent activity that is not likely to interfere with or distract another student." Culbertson also said each Texas district is left to resolve how its individual schools handle Christmas. Further, in an interview, researcher David Masci of the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life said that children may both pray and celebrate Christmas in school if their actions are self-directed -- not guided by teachers or administrators. Masci said that if Perry said school-directed prayer and Christmas celebrations are restricted, he’d be right.

This is, in fact, the policy at my school as well as my children's school which are in different districts in Minnesota. Kids wear Christmas stuff, talk about Jesus, going to church, and say "Merry Christmas" all the time. This image of children being forced to hide this stuff like they are being persecuted is ridiculous. But, hey, The War On Christmas sells, right?

Far be it from me to interfere with holiday shopkeepers peddling what they know many people want to buy.