The plight of Rutgers Freshman Tyler Clementi who took his life after having his intimate moments secretly taped and posted online is not just an issue for the LGBT community. It is an issue for us all. CBS news reported on Friday that, “In 2008, crimes related to sexual orientation rose 11 percent suggesting the problem is getting worse.” [….] A double-digit increase suggests a crisis is at hand.
“There are things that happen to me every day,” said Joey Kemmerling. Kemmerling, a gay 16-year-old from Philadelphia, has been bullied and even received death threats. “It’s almost become common place,” said Kemmerling. “And school has become from a place of education to a place that’s survival in a society that hates me.” “Kids are out there living with that thought that there is something wrong with them and that suicide is the only option,” said Ty Cobb of the Human Rights Campaign. “There are individuals that think it’s okay to abuse them just because they are gay.”[….]
The lack of tolerance is rising in our country. In fact, the vitriolic rhetoric being put forth by candidates from the “far right” during the midterm elections is often at the forefront of pushing all the wrong buttons in our society. The so-called “ordinary joe” has transformed into something maniacal. The pursuit of knowledge, learning and intelligence are considered elitist and bad elements of our society. Tolerance has become a bad word and inclusiveness has become a bad concept and one that is against God and Country.
In Nevada, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s opponent, Sharon Angle (R), believes that the proper way of settling disputes in Congress is by the use of violence. Greg Sargent (The Plum Line) reported that:
In an interview she gave to a right-wing talk show host, Angle approvingly quoted Thomas Jefferson saying it’s good for a country to have a revolution every 20 years — and said that if Congress keeps it up, people may find themselves resorting to “Second Amendment remedies.” What’s more, the talk show host she spoke to tells me he doesn’t have any doubt that she was floating the possibility of armed insurrection as a valid response if Congress continues along its current course. [….]
In the not too distant past, anyone making such a threat upon our government would be placed on a terrorist watch list. Seriously. Angle is talking about overthrowing our government. Am I making something out of nothing for the sake of a “wow” factor for this blog? Minority Leaders John Boehner’s and Mitch McConnell’s Pledge to America should erase any doubt in any of our minds. Their Pledge says, in part:
“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.”—The Declaration of Independence, referencing the proper, rebellious, response to government’s repression of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. “Whenever the agenda of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to institute a new governing agenda and set a different course.”—Republican Pledge to America, the more explicit call for revolution (in the Declaration) being changed to safer-sounding euphemisms for the same thing. This move on the part of Republicans, to suggest the country is now in the hands of a foreign dictatorship echoes the consistent theme of conservatives—i.e., the absurd mythology of Tea Partiers and other delusionals, that Barack Obama is neither really American nor really President of the United States. [….]
The Pledge to America seems more like a threat to the well-being of American citizens; some parts veiled and some not. Obviously, the GOP and the far right candidates are determined to do whatever is necessary, regardless of the damage it does to this country, to ensure the wealth of a few and their own perceived power. Perhaps a revisit to the child’s tale about the emperor with no clothes would be a wise choice.
One day the base of the GOP and the Tea Party will have that “come to Jesus” moment and realize that they’ve been duped by a small group of greedy people who seek only to satiate their need for power, ill-gotten influence and money. One day, one of them will stand up and say, “the emperor has no clothes on.” In the meantime, McConnell, Boehner, Beck, Pallin and the rest of the GOTea Party will continue to follow their script like puppets on stage.
The GOP candidates want to privatize social security, which is like giving a blank check to Wall Street to go on a gambling spree. They claim that this is what the American people want. How many senior citizens in our country would agree to have their hard-earned money that they paid into the system throughout their work life be tossed willy nilly at the stock market. In addition, the GOP candidates keep referring to social security as this big government run program that has gone amok.
We pay it forward. It’s our money, our program and the last thing the American people want to do is give our money away to some private firm, stifling the ability for anyone to have any meaningful oversight as to how our money is being handled. Moreover, whatever firm is picked, if the GOP candidates have any say, that company will no doubt be one that has pumped sizeable funds into their political war chests; and it could even be a foreign-owned company. Imagine someone from Saudi Arabia or China controlling your social security check.
In the Pledge to America, the GOP pledges to destroy the historic health care gains we achieved with the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Once again, their claim is that this is what the American people want.
There is an old phrase that sprung up from one of America’s heartland states, Missouri. “I’m from Missouri. You’ve got to show me.” This phrase turned Missouri into the “show me” state that lasts until this day; the phrase is proudly displayed on Missouri license plates. There are many legends and folklore of how this all came about. It is worth repeating the more famous one here since it is about a Congressman from Missouri, a Governor from Pennsylvania and a suit of clothes:
In the late 1800s, Westerners liked to refer to Missouri as the “Show Me State.” The implication was that Missourians were a little slow and not very bright. Missourians, however, turned the definition around and claimed that “Show me” meant that they were particularly alert and shrewd and not easily taken in. The phrase did not receive national attention until 1899, when Willard Vandiver used it in a speech before the Five O’Clock Club in Philadelphia. Vandiver, a congressional representative from Missouri and a member of the House Committee on Naval Affairs, was in Philadelphia to inspect that city’s navy yard. Afterwards, in honor of the inspection, a dinner was held.
Even though Vandiver and Governor Hull of Iowa were the only invited guests without formal evening clothes, they agreed to attend the banquet. Hull, at the last minute, managed to show up wearing evening attire-but the suit had an odd look about it. After dinner, Hull gave a speech in which he jokingly explained why his suit did not fit. He then introduced Vandiver, who was also scheduled to speak. Vandiver, embarrassed at being more informally dressed than his dinner companions, delivered his speech and concluded it with a playful jab at Hull:
“He tells you that the tailors, finding he was here without a dress suit, made one for him in 15 minutes. I have a different explanation. You heard him say he came over here without one, and you see him now with one that doesn’t fit him. The explanation is that he stole mine, and that’s the reason why you see him with one and me without any … I come from a state that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me.” [….] [….]
All of us need a little Missouri in us right now and ask the GOP candidates to: Show me one cancer patient who wants to now give back the health coverage they have that may save their lives and go back to the way things were before the Act was made law. Show me the seniors who want to go back to high prescription drug costs.
Show me one parent with a child who suddenly requires costly medical treatment to save that child’s life that wants to now give up that insurance and along with it, the life-saving treatment. Show me the parent who wants to give back the ability to keep their child ensured until age 26. Show me anyone who wants to give up the ability to use the nearest emergency room without penalty.
Show me just one person who wants to give back the ability to have free preventive care check ups that could catch health problems before them become irreversible. Show me the person who wants to go back to allowing insurance companies to cancel their policy without proof of fraud, or deny their claim without any chance for appeal.
The new round of GOP candidates want to do away with the Department of Education, which in fact opens the flood gates for big industries — especially the insurance and financial industries — to continue to outsource our jobs to other countries (Ever ask where the bill collector you are talking to is calling you from?) and import engineers from other countries leaving our fine college graduates to look for work at McDonalds.
The image of the proud father with his chest stuck out so far it might burst because his son or daughter is headed off to college will become American folklore if we allow this new group of GOP candidates into the hallowed halls of Congress.
And then we have the completely inexplicable GOP candidate from Delaware, Christine O’Donnell, who claims that American scientists have implanted human brains in mice and that there are now mice “running around” somewhere in our society with fully functioning human brains. Considering the size of a typical mouse’s head and the size of an average adult human brain … you get the picture. Then add to this line of thought that O’Donnell believes that homosexuality is an “identity disorder,” evolution is a “myth,” HIV-AIDS is “spread by using condoms,” and her belief about science and geology I cannot even begin to explain:
“First of all, they use carbon dating, as an example, to prove that something was millions of years old. Well, we have the eruption of Mt. Saint Helens and the carbon dating test that they used then would have to then prove that these were hundreds of millions of years younger, when what happened was they had the exact same results on the fossils and canyons that they did the tests on that were supposedly 100 millions of years old.” [….]
Clearly, when a country is suffering from an economic crisis, the people suffer the most are those who have the least. They are vulnerable and when prodded in the manner which is being done now, the reaction is a negative one. It is easy — almost to a comfort level when implemented collectively — to blame someone else for something we feel we have no control over. Differences, regardless of what they are, become raisons d’être for the obstacles that we face. History repeatedly shows us that disaster occurs by the actions of a small group of people.
There is a story that says a lion is king of the beast kingdom but it is the parasite in the lion’s bowels that will destroy the lion. Last year, we heard the GOP crying foul with claims that the President was unable to deal with “terrorists.” All of which was not and is not true.
Sadly, it is American citizens, prodded on by fear, hate and bigotry and not outside terrorists who hold protest rallies at the graves of our fallen soldiers just because they are gay. American citizens are the ones who spew hate, bigotry and fear, goading those who are suffering to turn against our government and each other and not terrorists from some other country far away. American lawmakers have done away with laws that protect other countries from having control over our elections, including countries we are not exactly the best of friends with.
This is a time for us to look within, to recognize the parasite growing in our bowels. Our conduct toward each other is as such that terrorists do not have to do anything but sit back and wait and watch as we exercise our ability to destroy ourselves from within.
We cannot afford to sit out the upcoming midterm elections. We cannot afford to silence our voice by not voting or turn a blind eye to bigory, hate and fear. Each of us must recognize that that which a small few lurking in the shadows use to divide us is our greatest strength; our diversity. The revolution that we embark upon must be one of a human revolution wherein creating value for ourselves and others is our battle cry.