It Really is All or None….

At its most basic, government is a mechanism for living together. Politics, as the old saying goes, is war without the weapons–the process of mediating the demands of various interest groups and constituencies. Some governments are expressly established to privilege members of certain groups over others; America’s legal system, in contrast, is based upon a belief that people should be treated as individuals–that government should treat its citizens based upon their behavior, rather than their identity.

Being true to that ideal has always been a struggle; there have always been Americans who want to single out others as “less” not because those individuals have behaved badly, but simply by virtue of their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. That–as Paul Ryan recently noted–is the textbook definition of bigotry.

In the Age of Trump, those voices of bigotry are in danger of being legitimized. They are certainly being amplified.

From Talking Points Memo, we learn that

The same Republicans who have argued that gay couples should not be allowed to marry, that LGBT Americans don’t need federal anti-discrimination protections and that trans people should not use the bathroom that matches their identity are now claiming that they — not Democrats — are the party on the LGBT community’s side.

Their reasoning? That somehow, in the wake of the Orlando shooting at a gay night club that left 49 people dead, there’s now a mutually exclusive choice between supporting Muslims and protecting gay people, and Democrats have chosen the former.

The unlovely premise of that rationale is that all Muslims are terrorists, as one Republican congressman has baldly stated.

It is hard to think of anything more un-American–or more dangerous– than treating any group of people as a monolithic whole. The truth of the matter is that–idealism and fundamental fairness aside–no one in any group is safe in a society that allows government to pick and choose which identities are to be privileged and which marginalized and demeaned.

The effort to set one marginalized group against another is particularly despicable, although politically understandable. (You guys go fight each other and don’t pay any attention to the fact that we “real Americans” are running the show.)

Fortunately, the LGBT community understands–and rejects–the tactic.  An essay titled “We Are Strong, but We Are Not Okay” posted in the wake of the Orlando massacre, included this paragraph:

We are not okay when you criminalize the Muslim community because of the actions of one evil man. We have been the Muslim community: hated, feared, misunderstood. Questioned, berated, threatened, afraid to show our faces. Why would we condone treating an entire community as poorly as ours has been treated in the past, and in many scenarios, still is? When you come for one minority, you come for us all.

Treating citizens as individuals, refusing to discriminate on the basis of group identity, is a central premise of this nation’s approach to government. An attack on that premise is an attack on America.

Unfortunately, that’s a lesson we keep having to learn.

 

47 thoughts on “It Really is All or None….

  1. Sheila:

    “Unfortunately, that’s a lesson we keep having to learn.”

    I’m afraid William is pretty much right. And maybe that’s why we can’t learn our lesson.

    May God forgive me for saying this. I’m not being FACETIOUS.

  2. Thank you Sheila, reminds me of….

    Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
    “If Athens shall appear great to you,” said Pericles, “consider then that her glories were purchased by valiant men, and by men who learned their duty.” That is the source of all greatness in all societies, and it is the key to progress in our time.
    RFK 6/6/1966

  3. “In the Age of Trump, those voices of bigotry are in danger of being legitimized. They are certainly being amplified.”

    Most Trump supporters are easily recognized by their lack of logic and common sense, they are of one mind regarding the worthlessness of “other races” whom they want banned. But there are also those who defy understanding regarding their support of our National Fool…and spewer of racism and hatred. Of the five neighbors around me with “Trump” yard signs; I know two who are Catholic Republicans (one family appear to be Hispanic), which can sort of be an explanation for their support. But one of them is my good friend and a friend to the neighborhood with his kindnesses; to me he is a dichotomy. I have never heard a racial or religious slur from him, or a slur of any type, even when he voices complaints about conditions of some homes in the neighborhood. He snow-blows the city sidewalk and driveways of the seniors here including mine, simply does the job and moves on. When I can catch him I give him gas money. There is an entire city right-of-way lot that is the forced responsibility of myself and the across the lot neighbor to maintain. He mows it weekly with his rider mower and again, just mows and moves on. Again, when I can catch him, I give him gas money. He sees my “Pence Must Go” and “Bernie For President” yard signs and has repeatedly come to my rescue to fix whatever falls apart on my aging house. He is the one I ran to in a panic when my granddaughter and son died and he gave me comfort, he also contacted family for me due to my deafness. He has often checked problems in my home and called businesses for me due to my deafness. He is a friend in the true meaning of the word but there stands that “Trump” yard sign in his front yard. How can this be?

    “It Really Is All Or None” doesn’t fit here. We have never talked “politics” but we have often discussed our shared concerns over many of the problems in this city brought about by local government inaction, including the ignored infrastructure problems in our neighborhood – without referring to the source of the inaction. But there stands that “Trump” yard sign with the others around me.

  4. Anthony,

    Great words but don’t forget he failed. All he could have ever achieved was equilibrium for his time. Equilibrium is about much more than just words.

    e’ qui-lib’ri-um n. [< aequus, even + libra, a balance] a state of balance between equal forces.

  5. The LGBT members of our church met last night to share with one another our fears and hopes relative to Orlando. One of the things that came up that makes us more afraid is precisely that ‘ he who shall not be named’ (naming him in public just gives him more power) is responsible for encouraging the hate and bigotry. But fear not that he will scare us back into the closet. LGBT culture has been dealing with the fear of violence for centuries, and we are not going back in the closet. But this is hardest for the young folks in our community, because they been living in this golden age for our community, and many have come out and managed to not know the fear that us older folks know to well. We all need your support, and you can give it the same way that you might support our soldiers by thanking them for their service. If you know any LGBT folks, just tell them that you are so sorry that Orlando has happened, and that some people are so hateful towards them. And you can add that they should know that you and many others support them. Thank you!

  6. This blog edition is perfectly timed, coming as it does after your blog on free speech and censorshp. We’re supposed to be ruled by laws, not men- not based on WHO you are. Too often we fail to imagine what government would do under different leadership. What would free speech look like under Donald Trump for instance? He’s already told the media he wants to widen the definitions by which he can control their free speech and our ability to learn anything about him and his public actions other than what he wants us to know.

    Trump is much more interested in protecting the 2nd amendment than the 1st on free speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, and freedom of the press. He also takes a dim view of due process and equal protection of the laws for anyone who’s in a group he marginalizes, again with the exception of gun owners. He thinks others react the way he does and applies his own skewed standard to constitutional rights he would take an oath to uphold if elected. If he were president or a judge, would you feel he would apply laws fairly to you if you were a Mexican or Muslim, or a refugee or immigrants (besides his wives), or a woman, or LGBT, or a POW, or a person with a disability, or a Democrat, or a Jeb Bush supporter or a member of the media or a past business opponent he’s sued in the past?

    If someone is unwilling to be president of all the people which is to say follow the constitution and apply the laws equally and fairly to those you do and don’t like, that someone shouldn’t be president or any other elected official.

  7. It seems to me religion is the basis for discrimination against the LGBT Community and woman to add one more group. No Catholic Woman can be Priest, let alone a Cardinal or Pope. As far as I know (correct me if I am wrong) no woman is permitted a leadership position in Islam. Same Sex marriage the opposition to it has emanated from religious institutions. In some countries in the Middle East homosexuals can be put to death, the state in these countries enforces or allows Religious Police to enforce severe forms of discrimination. Woman must cover their bodies in public, cannot drive etc.

    We struggle in West. We permit people to practice within limits their religious beliefs in private or in a building. We also permit people to attempt conversion, provided it is not accompanied by physical force. If a religion teaches LGBT people will go to hell, or you will go to Hell for defying religious beliefs, how many people will be influenced to carry out “God’s Will” as it is taught to them??? God’s Will being death.

    We seem to be walking in a minefield. We allow free expression but where does free expression cross the line????

  8. Republicans have been pointing to the “Bogeyman” and ginning up fear as a way to win elections for a long time now. They created the perfect climate for a Trump candidacy and now they seem to be appalled by what they have wrought.

    What is even more appalling is that fully a third of Republicans think Trump’s candidacy is a good thing. I hear words like “straight shooter”, or “says what he thinks” when I talk to people who support him. The fact that his statements are an incomprehensible mishmash means nothing to them.

  9. For everyone to have freedom nobody can have power. That’s what bothers conservatives. They feel entitled to power and to make that possible they have to define others as undeserving of freedom.

    It’s all pretty basic and a battle that we thought we were winning but the evidence today says we were overly optimistic.

    Entitlement is addictive, and that makes power addictive as well as corrupting.

  10. Peggy,

    “What is even more appalling is that fully a third of Republicans think Trump’s candidacy is a good thing. I hear words like “straight shooter”, or “says what he thinks” when I talk to people who support him. The fact that his statements are an incomprehensible mishmash means nothing to them.”

    Right. So, AT THE PRESENT TIME, if we’re ONLY looking for peace and tranquility, why shouldn’t we all vote for Donald Trump as President of the United States of America? Isn’t that his bottom line message?

  11. Marv,

    That’s right. The peace and tranquility begin right after we’ve gotten rid of all those who annoy the Donald.

  12. “We are not okay when you criminalize the Muslim community because of the actions of one evil man. We have been the Muslim community: hated, feared, misunderstood. Questioned, berated, threatened, afraid to show our faces. Why would we condone treating an entire community as poorly as ours has been treated in the past, and in many scenarios, still is? When you come for one minority, you come for us all.”

    The danger described above is true for any minority. DT and his hordes of supporters are blind to the danger to themselves. Whether politically, religiously, financially, by gender, ethnicity or age, at some time in their lives, each of them will likely be a member of a minority, subject to the same treatments they have themselves employed to marginalize those they consider less worthy of protections of law.

  13. Peggy,

    This all reminds me, today, of a statement that I heard many times growing up in Jacksonville. It goes along with Trump’s….”Let’s make American Great again”….If you’re WHITE you’re right, if you’re BLACK stay back. It looks like he’s going to deliver, possibly even with many blacks on his side. Maybe the new chant will be….If you’re WHITE, you’re right; if you’re GAY, stay away (this also includes: Jews, Muslims, Unitarians, Mexicans, those with IQ’s over 100 etc., etc.)

  14. Evil is such an evil word. Is there such a thing? Clearly there are evil acts by people but what leads up to them? Inherently evil people?

    I’ll bet that it took those of the WWII Axis countries many years after the war to come to grips with that question.

    My bet would be that the resolution for many was that good people fall into evil circumstances and fail to overcome them.

    I think that the world’s evil circumstances today are of our own making. 7B+ of us rubbing shoulders through instant global communication and commerce many spoiled rotten by extreme comfort.

    We believe ourselves entitled to lives of peace and comfort and plenty. We claim to have earned them. We claim lives without drama are our due.

    When reality knocks on our door we are offended. He must have the wrong address!

    I’m pretty sure that we’re facing some pretty dramatic circumstances what with the air we live in changing rapidly due to our gluttony.

    We face choices. Grace and hard work and disciplined solutions or fear and hatred and aggression.

    Good vs evil. Our choice.

  15. Pete,

    “We face choices. Grace and hard work and disciplined solutions or fear and hatred and aggression.

    Good vs. evil. Our choice.”

    What about a poll on EVIL vs. EVIL….Trump vs. Hitler….Hitler has my vote, at least he wasn’t a draft dodger [I haven’t had a chance to research that fully. But who gives a shit?]

  16. Hitler convinced Germany that they didn’t have to work themselves out of their post WWI funk. They could instead build an army and control the world. They fell for that as what they were entitled to.

    It didn’t work out for them or Hitler.

    The part of Hitler tonight will be played by Donald Trump.

  17. Pete,

    “It didn’t work out for them or Hitler”

    “The part of Hitler tonight will be played by Donald Trump.”

    And we would have a better chance with Adolph Hitler playing the part, than with this ASSHOLE. Our chances with him are “minus “0.” With Hitler it would only be “zero.” I’m sticking with my support for Hitler in the poll. Who are you voting for?

  18. This blog entry and comments are not only thought provoking, but inspiring to me. We ARE all in this together. JoAnn, your neighbor shows me the complexity of people and that no one person is all evil. It behooves me to take that second or third thought about anyone instead of stopping at my first snap judgment.

  19. Dunno Marv. Hitler was smart enough to fight a war (actually to convince others to fight) but not smart enough to win it.

    Trump is to me, like his protégées the Kardashions, a completely empty suit. I can’t figure out who’s behind him: merely his ego or some nefarious conspiracy.

  20. Pete,

    Please do not defame the nefarious conspirators out there. Good example: Another poll—Kardashions vs. Trump…. I’m not sure about this one….I might be forced to vote for the Kardashions….So I’ll abstain on this one.

  21. Pete; if you aren’t aware of evil, how can you recognize good? And that question often posed by those who deny Satan exists; how can they know God does?

    Marv; I find is scary to think that either or both of us would vote for a Kardashian rather than Trump but we can’t hide from the truth of the option…the lesser of two evils.

  22. Please forgive my prejudice against Donald Trump.

    My specialty and reputation as an attorney in Dallas was based on my representation of psychopaths and sociopaths under the new law on the insanity defense. I established the insanity law in the case of Pesch vs. State of Texas in the early seventies. My biological father had symptoms from both classifications and probably was in the top two or three most powerful oligarchs in town. It was “hell” growing-up with someone like that. But it has had its advantages, especially now.

    The problem is that those two classifications are not always available. Sometimes, someone like Donald Trump could have symptoms from both categories. Adolph Hitler had and Donald Trump has characteristics from both. It has always been difficult to classify Adolph Hitler as insane. The same goes for Donald Trump. That’s why Hitler WAS SO DANGEROUS. And that’s why Donald Trump IS SO DANGEROUS.

  23. JoAnn,

    Maybe we should start a petition drive for a mental evaluation of Donald Trump as a danger not only to himself(from assassination) but also to others( Planet Earth).

    Remember Thomas Eagleton the Democrat who had to withdraw as a vice-presidential candidate because he had been treated by a psychiatrist? Big deal. So have I. Best thing that ever happened to me, except for my long time companion.

    At the least, the country deserves an up to date psychiatric evaluation of Donald Trump. He is a menace to society. Or are we all crazy, especially the Republicans?

  24. Is there anyone out there who doesn’t agree with me on a psychiatric examination for Donald Trump. If I’m “off the target,” I’d like to hear why.

  25. Focusing on one sentence from Sheila’s post, “It is hard to think of anything more un-American–or more dangerous– than treating any group of people as a monolithic whole”, brings my thoughts to the large Muslim community present in Central Indiana and beyond and as represented by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) whose headquarters are in suburban Indianapolis.

    Were it not for a young man, Nabil, who invited my husband and me, actually requested our attendance, to a graduation celebratory event/big party hosted by his family and by a large number of folks from his mosque in suburban Plainfield, IN, I would never have enjoyed the company of approximately 200 Muslims gathered in one location. Trust me, this party was an exemplary display of textbook traditional Arab hospitality and generosity. Of course, I noted examples of culture, not religious but simply cultural, when it was announced that the buffet dinner (prepared by the women) was served. As per culture, the first in line/first served were the older men, followed by the younger men, then followed by the women and children. As per culture, the male elders all gathered at one table in the front of the room. I pointed out my observations to Nabil and shared that my growing up in the US South mirrored a similar culture. We had a big laugh over the similarities followed by his winking at me indicating a shared understanding of ‘it is what it is’.

    I’d ‘bet the farm’ there was not one person at that party who harbored terroristic thoughts; however, I’m also aware the folks I met did not arrive in the US as refugees but rather intentionally migrated to the US years ago as a people looking for advancement opportunities in their chosen careers as engineers and medical professionals.

    In closing, I’d suggest reading the ISNA’s position on terrorism and religious extremism at the following link.

    http://www.isna.net/isnas-position-on-terrorism-and-religious-extremism.html

  26. Love it!
    ‘Age of Trump’ as if the last 2 election cycles were the ‘Age of Romney!’

    ‘From Talking Points Memo . . .’
    One blog is critical of ‘news’ becoming more partisan, and we use a self-described leftist news source.

    ‘Treating a group as a Monolithic whole,’ like chastizing women who are pro-life? Otr Uncle Tom Blacks who like Clarence Thomas?

    Your conundrum: A Muslim, from a group that you feel is oppressed, attacked people at a predominantly gay club. It sounds like you all would like to blame this on something conservative.

    While criticizing religions, no one included the practice of wearing burkas, not allowi g women to drive, genital mutilation, women who can’ leave the home without being escorted by a male relative, etc.

    Are all white people bad? Some think so.
    Are all Muslims bad? Some think so.

    You use the straw man arguments that are over the top to make your points.

    Do conservatives feel there is too much government? Sure.
    Do liberals, or as you say ‘normal people’ think there is not enough government? Sure.

    Build a wall? Make it higher? Can’t stand it.

    Make sure we know who is coming into this country? Who can argue with that?

    Change the law so that people who have legitamate teasons to come here have access? Sure.

    And God bless Pete.

    ‘For everyone to have freedom, no one can have power.’ Huh??

    Who enforces the freedom from the oppressors?

    Name a government who doesn’t have leaders with power.

    Name an organized group without a leader with power.

    Who will decide who gets the brigeg contract?
    Which group gets subsidies?
    What will the laws be? ETC.

    Age limit on drinking? BAC limit on driving? Sentence for violating?

    As you can see, there are unreal radicals on both sides.

  27. William, your quotes “Make sure we know who is coming into this country? Who can argue with that?” do have merit.

    Consider the potential differences between a refugee and a person intentionally migrating to the US. And, consider the difference between ‘running FROM a place’ and ‘running TO a place’.

  28. Thanks for reading, Irv.

    It sounds as if nuance is above your intellect, and anything longer than a bumper sticker loses your attention.

    How’s this?
    Doc- quit bitchin about news becoming more partisan and less credible and then repetedly quoting partisan news sources.

    Age of Trump? Way too much credit to Trump.

    Freedom vs. Power. My 8 year old knows that is an unrealistic position.

    A sovereign country should have control of its borders.

    Sorry for the length Irv. Remember, Irv likes bumper stickers.

  29. irvin; thank you for your comment about William. Reading or scrolling past his comments is time taken from my life I can never get back.

    Marv; I will jump in here with you. I agree that Trump should be REQUIRED to have a psychiatric exam before the convention. That might help the GOP find a solution to the deep pit of smelly brown stuff they have allowed themselves and this country to fall into and keeps us wallowing in. Trump would never agree to the exam.

    I have read psychiatric assessments based on observing his speeches and his demeanor, they seem to downplay his serious problems as merely being narcissism. I do see those overtones but he displays all symptoms of being sociopathic; his way or no way, he gets what he wants no matter who is hurt or destroyed in the process, he takes what he wants from wherever he finds it, no matter who owns it. His womanizing is another symptom of what he wants when he wants it and tosses it aside when he is done. I have not read that he complained of the near-nude pictures of his wife appearing on Facebook and his repeated sexually suggestive comments regarding his own daughter show his lack of feelings for others. Instead, he publicly insulted Ted Cruz’s wife in retaliation. This shows he has no feelings for anyone else’s feelings. Assuring the nation that his small hands do not indicate he has a small penis is part of his narcissism. He shows no signs of paranoia which often accompanies sociopathic diagnoses, he doesn’t believe anyone would dare not allow him the presidency, he deserves it because he wants it.

    I grew up in a home with a paranoid, sociopathic younger brother, worked in a methadone clinic where all forms of mental disorders appeared on a daily basis. Also worked in a court-appointed, in-patient treatment center for teens with drug, alcohol and mental problems. I just saved the GOP the cost of an expensive psychiatrist; very happy to share my insights at no charge.

  30. JoAnn
    Sorry. I am sure it is difficult to try to understand someone who doesn’t 100% agree with you. I enjoy trying to understand where people are coming from.

    BHS
    I agree, but that doesn’t change the fact that we need to know who is entering our country. How do we do that?

    Not partisan. How do we figure that out?

    We give people like Trump too much attention, and give Hillary too much of a pass.

    We can’t allow people in who should be here, without vetting people whose only reason is to do us harm.

    We can’t help people who need help, without denying those who take advantage of the system.

    We can’t take away (gun, religious, speech, etc) rights without protecting those who mean no harm.

    If you engage in retoric that you accuse others of, how can you have helpful conversations?

  31. Speaking of all or none in regard to using lazy trendy partisan hyper-generalized descriptors for groups of people, I consider the practice as a total turn-off when reading anything on the Internet.

    A few of these lazy descriptors include 1) knuckledraggers, 2) wing bats, 3) Kool-Aid drinkers, 4) bible thumpers, 5) haters of any sort, 6) bunch of gays, 7) bunch of blacks, 8) bunch of old white men, 8) mouth breathers, 9) Democraps, 10) Repugs, 11) moonbeams, 12) tin foil hats, and yada yada yada.

  32. Pete

    Sorry, Bud-
    In a perfect world where everyone has 100% freedom, someone tries to overstep the boundaries, and someone always has the power to judge.

    There are always competing factors for government contracts.

    There are always those with conflicting rights. Someone has the power to decide.

    There is always power with freedom

  33. It’s mouth-breeders, and goodness! I think they’re breeding right here. These are the spawn of Gopper, aren’t they? Help us all! Someone pass the pesticide!

    Great list, by the way, BSH!

  34. Betty, this forum probably is not the place to inquire about ‘mouth-breeders’ and more precisely how they breed. 🙂

  35. Marv; I thought of a bit of poetry I read years ago by the ever popular Anonymous, I believe it fits now, during this “Age of Trump”.

    The grizzly bear is huge and wild,
    It has devoured the infant child.
    The infant child is unaware,
    It has been eaten by the bear.

  36. BSH and Betty; having been familiar with BSH’s term “mouth breather” for years and believing I knew what it meant, I Googled the term and below is the definition from the Urban Dictionary. I had never heard the term “mouth breeder” so researched it but refuse to copy and past the Urban Dictionary definition on Sheila’s post. ROFL Really, Betty!!!

    “Mouth Breathers may or may not be intelligent, however, due to the fact that they don’t realize their mouth is gaping, they just look like a moron, …”

  37. Of course that should say “paste” not past; can’t type and laugh at the same time.

  38. William, you’re on a roll today.

    Let me clarify a few things for you. Society doesn’t work with no authority. The reason that democracy works is that if someone in government gets too powerful we fire them just as business does.

    Liberals like to maximise freedom. Conservatives on the other hand like to attract voters by promising power. Elect me and you can be privileged. You can impose your superior beliefs on others. You’ll be rewarded with power.

    I think that the source of those roles is the conservative belief in givers and takers. That the few carry the load and the many live off their work.

    On the other hand liberals believe in equality. That circumstances explain more of life’s outcomes than effort does. Lots of people labor exhaustively for little reward. On the other hand the Trumps of the world start with daddies millions and turn it into a lot of money.

    The notion of superior classes, races, genders, religions, ethnicities, nationalities, is just foreign to liberals but comforting to conservatives.

    So freedom vs power sums up the differences; equality vs privilege; spreading life’s risks vs rewarding greed.

    Pretty significant.

  39. Some would qualify as bottom-feeders, too. Their diet consists of whatever falls or is discarded and left to decay at the bottom of the lake, river, or ocean. Pretty low on humanity’s totem pole. Down in the depths, they would likely recognize others of their ilk, such as a greedy billionaire who thinks he should be president of these United States. It’s too sad to even contemplate.

  40. Marv; we all know it would never be VOLUNTARY but commitment should be an option in this situation.

  41. JoAnn,

    Marv; we all know it would never be VOLUNTARY but commitment should be an option in this situation.

    As a matter of fact, in most jurisdictions it doesn’t take more than two people to start the proceedings. I’ve handled at least 100 of them. That’s all it takes. I’m willing to take the blame for the IDEA. D(D)T can sue me. Could you blame him?

    DDT(de’de’te’) n. [<its chemical name] a powerful insecticide
    in-sec-ti-cide (in sek' te sid') n.any substance used to KILL insects
    `Webster's New World Dictionary

  42. Pete

    Kenya, Saudia Arabia and Turkey are all erecting walls to keep out terrorists

    Russia
    South Africa
    Cuba
    South Korea
    North Korea
    Israel
    Iran

    Somce you asked

Comments are closed.