Monday, June 29, 2015

Protecting the First on the Fourth

Well, this has certainly been one outstanding news week. President Obama lived long enough to see one of those transient moments when SCOTUS actually behaved like it was there to protect ALL the citizens of the United States instead of the designated corporate entities that have standing as citizens. The aftermath of both ACA and the same-sex marriage decisions served to remind all of us how just truly evil some segments of the political machines have become.

The aftermath made abundantly clear that the GOP has no plan to replace the ACA with anything at all. At the moment of truth, when they should've been showing up with plan-B, all we got was Killer Klowns from Kongress yammering about how they were going to repeal health care. NOT ONE of these morons mentioned with what....which should tell you everything you need to know about their secret plan: it's secret even to them. The only part they have revealed to the nation is the part about how people who now have insurance won't have it when they take control of the White House. 

And as if that weren't enough hot air polluting the atmosphere, it was immediately followed by the court ruling on same-sex marriage. As Stephen Colbert astutely observed,
Wow, history moves fast. It’s hard to believes that gays achieved full constitutional personhood just five years after corporations did.
This was followed by incredibly supportive statements from various GOP kandidates:
Bobby JindalThis decision will pave the way for an all-out assault against the religious freedom rights of Christians who disagree with this decision. This ruling must not be used as pretext by Washington to erode our right to religious liberty. 
Rick Santorum: The Court is one of three coequal branches of government and they have an imperfect record. Stakes are too high to cede marriage to unelected judges.
Mike HuckabeeWe must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat. The Supreme Court can no more repeal the laws of nature and nature's God on marriage than it can the law of gravity.
Y'know, according to Klown Kavalcade, G-d made everything to perfection. If that's the case, who are they to tell G-d that She made a mistake. Know what I mean there?

Meanwhile, I keep thinking about Loving v. the Commonwealth of Virginia. That was the case that removed the ban on interracial marriage. I would guess the vituperative rhetoric following that decision was similar to what we're hearing now, and I gotta figure that this is probably no worse than that, and now no one thinks twice about interracial marriages. I think more people are concerned about religious intermarriage that the racial kind. Whatever. These comments will fade away because this is not going to change. People have the right to choose their partners. The government does not have the right to tell  us who to not to love. 

On an even less pleasant side note, the Confederate flag debate rages on. One of my regular critics emailed me privately (as he is wont to do) to ask, "If we were talking about a swastika on a red field hanging over the MN state house, would you be as blasé?"

And then came the events unfolding at Golders Green in London. 

Golders Green is an area of London that happens to be a bit of a melting pot, a place where ethnic diversity is the rule, not the exception.  Lots of ethnic restaurants, including kosher ones, lots of different kinds of community centers. And about 40% of the population is Jewish, with a high percentage of those being the orthodox/ultra-orthodox variety. These are not people who normally mix it up with or in gangs.

On Saturday, the Sabbath, there is an anti-Jewification rally planned for Golders Green. It includes activities like burning selected "anti-White" pages of the Talmud, burning Israeli flags, and marching with "Jew Go Home" protest signs.

But if you ask a British Jew about what's happening in the UK these days, they will pretty much tell you that Joshua Bonehill-Paine and his cadre are not the anomalies they once were. Antisemitism is on the rise there just as it is in other places. But in this case, it's not Islamic radicals burning Bibi in effigy; Bonehill-Paine is a white Brit preaching white supremacy. 

When I first saw the poster, I thought it was a hoax. I checked Snopes. I checked The Telegraph. And I found out this guy has been around for a while. And he's known by various intelligence agencies. And apparently this was not exactly a surprise. And now, he's been arrested. 

A London Police spokesperson said,
Officers continue to assess all information and intelligence available in relation to the proposed demonstration and speak with the organisers to ensure we have an appropriate policing response in place.

We are aware of concerns in the local community about the negative impact this proposed demonstration may have on them and are working with residents to ensure that people can exercise their rights in a way that is lawful, while minimising this impact.

Now, the Ku Klux Klan is planning a Confederate flag rally outside the South Caroline State House on Saturday, July 18th. Granted, they say they are demonstrating to preserve their Southern heritage, but doesn't that sound a bit benign for the KKK?

Hate has taken to the streets. As a society with protections in place for freedom of expression, do either of these cross that invisible boundary? Since we cannot speak for the UK, the question here becomes, do we silence this or allow it to happen?

Here's where I haul out my favorite Aaron Sorkin speech, my version of the Superman joke, except this is something Sorkin nailed to perfection:
America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.                                                                                                 Andrew Shepherd; The American President
If the Klown Kavalcade can lie with impunity, do we have the right to silence KKK? Yes, folks, it is rooted in the same argument. Maybe the question is not where is the line...but rather is there a line?

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Just because it's 4th of July, you are not required to be 
totally stupid about fireworks. 


  1. Your Shepherd quote nails it. This is hard. It is especially hard because the right of free speech is unequally preserved. We do have political prisoners in America! Not to muddy this example, but there is a case to be made that African-Americans as a group are "political prisoners," but that takes us beyond comments into a mandate for discussion. Still, when public and elected figures actually look you in the eye and lie, that is where I draw the line. The thing is once a line is drawn, just exactly how is it to be enforced?

    1. The exceptionally weird thing is last night, after I published, I flipped on the TV....and right into THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT as he started that speech. I laughed, but I still got chills when he said, "America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad...." There are days I think Aaron Sorkin is the only writer in America who fully understands what America is all about.

  2. Thank you for your blog. As always, you make me think about important matters. LBH