We Are Human

I am so saddened by the people who are saying that President Trump's comment: "They're not people. They're animals." is Okay because "He was only talking about those MS-13 gang members."
It's not. 
It's absolutely not.

Consider the premise: gang members are criminals, therefore they are less-than-human. (Therefore not deserving of due process- we'll get to that in a minute)
But if criminals are not people- society needs some clarification.
~ At what level of criminal activity does a person become a not-person? What about someone who obstructs justice and colludes with a foreign adversary to subvert democracy: not a person?
~ Say it must be a violent crime. How about if a LOT of people are hurt by this person, but not directly? Like if someone cuts funding for a children's health insurance program, endangering the lives of thousands of kids. Or cuts regulations, allowing more toxins in the air and water, so that people get ill? Is that guy an animal?
~ Last summer Eric Trump said that Democrats aren't people, because they won't do what his dad wants- so it seems like the bar is pretty low. (Unless they declaring the DNC a gang) Low enough that to Donald Trump, just being an undocumented immigrant is enough to put you in the "animal" club.
~ How much evidence do we need to have that someone is just an animal because they are in a gang? Trump's comment was prompted by a sheriff complaining that she has to prove that someone is a gang member to be allowed to kick them out of the country for being in a gang. Oh no- how unfair!  Why can't we just kick out anyone we want and if they're not actually MS-13- oh well. They're an immigrant anyway, so it's not like it matters.
~ And who gets to decide the ground rules?  Silly question! The answer to this, and every question like it is- Donald Trump, of course. Hey, remember when Donald Trump was practically salivating to get the Central Park 5 kids executed, taking out a full page ad in the paper begging New York to bring back the death penalty just to get thse inhuman scum put down like they deserved… and they were innocent?

I reject the entire premise.
 
Words matter. Dehumanizing the 'other' is an old and disgusting tactic that allows people to do the most despicable things because hey- they're not really people. The military uses it to overcome the reluctance draftees might have for sshooting another 18 year old kid in the face: those Japs are just rats. 
Mobs use it too.Gays aren't people. The Tutsi's are just cockroaches. Immigrants are animals. We're supposed to treat people with basic decency, and follow the laws… but if they aren't even people… it releases the societal restraints.

People are people. Some are good people. Some are bad. Some are a little of both. And there are laws that govern how we treat the bad ones, and they need to be followed. For one thing- sometimes you're mistaken and they're not bad. Or they did a bad thing, but for reasons you aren't aware of.
But mostly because we become bad people when we mistreat others- even those we consider bad. It diminishes us to drop down to their level.
And if we are now bad people… maybe we're animals too.

Posted by Tracy on May 17th 2018 | Filed in The Daily Rant | Comments (0)

Careless Cruelty

A little perspective:

Joe Biden called what was recently said about John McCain at a White House staff meeting (that he's dying anyway so why worry about how he would vote)  "rock bottom".
It wasn't.
That comment; that casual dismissal of the life and death of a good man as no longer relevant because he won't be able to vote against the Trumpers for much longer, is merely the harm being done to vulnerable Americans every day finally trickling UP to the powerful.

John McCain is ending his days surrounded by family and friends, and such casual cruelty won't hurt him. Millions of people are being hurt, and even killed, by the policies and by the Knock-the-Crap-outta-them attitude Trump signals his followers to adopt.

Children of immigrants are being separated from their parents. Trump wants to take money away from children's medicine to help pay for his own tax cut! He and the GOP are trying to gut medicaid, which will leave millions without access to affordable medicine. As a major Ebola epidemic appears to be ramping up in Congo, Trump is slashing US aid to fight it! 
Mr "We should do way worse than waterboarding" wants a former torture administrator running the CIA. Trump just repealed the protection for thousands of Hondurans who have been living and working here since they had to flee their homeland. He eliminated funding for after-school programs, for crying out loud, saying they don't accomplish anything when every study shows that they do. He is attacking Native American health care and recently rescinded a transgender policy for no other reason than that he apparently likes to hurt people.

These and so many other policies large and small will harm people: financially, emotionally, and physically.
People. Will. Die.

I think what was said about McCain was sleazy and saddening, as is the fact that the democratic party is defending him far more strongly than the Republicans are. (Well, when you have outlived your usefulness to them, they leave even their heros dying by the side of the road). 
But let's be honest: John McCain doesn't need those jerks or their kind regard. Millions of Americans and suffering people around the world DO. Basic decency toward senator McCain won't save his life. It *could* save the life of many, many other people. But they won't get it.

And THAT is the bottom of the barrel.

Posted by Tracy on May 12th 2018 | Filed in The Daily Rant | Comments (0)

Exclusion

I don't usually remember my dreams, but this one remains in my memory like a movie I watched. I don't know what it is that makes some dreams slip out of your gray matter upon wakening, like minnows across a pond and some stay. I am writing this down because I suspect it might say something about me.

I was at camp. It wasn't VCc- but in that way of dreams, it was. There were dormitories: one for the older kids, another for the younger. The different wings in each building were the designated "camp sites".
It was going to be my last year there because i was "ageing out". I arrived and was greeted happily by a number of friends, both among campers and staff, who were happy to see me. I was looking forward to a great session as I grabbed my gear and headed into the dormitory to find my assigned campsite and room.

I walked up and down the halls, waving at famililar faces and smiling at new ones, reading the name tags above the doors… and never found my name. 
I went through again.Then I found a counselor and explained my dilema.
"No problem- let me look you up" she said, and went down the list on her clip board. 
"Hmmm… I know you're registered…"
Nope. Not there.

It was confirmed that yes, I had been registered as a camper, I just hadn't been assigned a room. No prob- oh. Huh.
No empty beds. Not one.

I stood there, blinking, nodding my head, feeling both hollowed out and weirdly calm.
Look- we'll figure this out! We can… we can put you in the other dorm!
With the younger kids? Who I will not eat with or have campsite activities with, while all my friends are spending evenings together?
Well we can put you in the admin building, in the wing where the nurse and the custodians sleep. There's a bed free there.
Again, separated from all the people I came here to be with?

I shook my head and began to gather my belongings to take them back to the car. "No" I said. "I guess I'll just go home"
But you're registered! We don't want you to leave!
"Look" i said. "If there were 3 or 4 of us who didn't have beds in the dormitory with everyone else, I could deal with that. We'd get to be with our groups during the day and we would have each other at night. But by myself? The only one? No."

I was certain. I was calm. I was devastated. My last hurrah with my friends- suddenly yanked away. As much as I hated that thought, there was no question in my mind that I was not staying at camp as some lame little hanger-on, always not quite part of things. All the late night singing, talking, card games, story-telling and bonding would not happen for me if I did. I would be a group of one.

I'm not sure why i dreamed this, or why it was so firmly imbedded in my brain that, a week later, I can still feel that awful lonliness just by remembering it. I do have an issue with feeling that I don't belong in social situations, but in this dream, I did belong. everyone wanted me- there just wasn't room. But that didn't make it any better.
And yes: here I am, 57 years old and still dealing with teenaged angst of not belonging. 

Posted by Tracy on Apr 14th 2018 | Filed in So I've got this kid... | Comments (0)

Because

I would like to reply to an argument I have been getting a lot from Donald J. Trump supporters:
    "If liberals are so damn concerned about the Syrian people, why don't you support
           Trump bombing the government that is killing them?
"

~Because I am capable of caring about more than one thing at a time. I can care about civilians killed *and* about escalating an on-going conflict to a full-on war.
~Because the way to prevent death is usually not with more death- which I fear this will lead to.
~Because I question the forward-thinking and planning that went into this action. I do not believe that Trump knows- or particularly cares- what the consequences of throwing missiles around in the middle east could be. 
~Because, while I am sure that there are many in the military that DO consider the consequences wisely, Trump has stated on more than one occasion that he believes he is smarter than the generals, and everyone else. I doubt he listens to anything that doesn't agree with what he already wants to do.

~Because I question Trump's motives in the attack. Everything that Donald Trump has ever said and done and tweeted tells me that concern for the civilians of Syria was NOT his motivation for this largely window-dressing of a raid.
So what was? Shut down interest in Russia-gate by attacking a country that Russia has been helping? Prop up his poll numbers? Get some good press for a change? Well MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. The way pundits are fawning over how 'decisive' and 'presidential' he is now is not only infuriating but terrifying. If you praise an egomaniac for violence, he will commit more violence to get more praise!

~Because almost no time seems to have been taken to verify that what killed those people was a chemical attack carried out by Syria. Some are claiming (and not just the Syrian government) that what really happened was a government bomb hit a chemical storage area and released toxic chemicals that killed people. Maybe that's bullshit. Maybe that's true. Do we even know for sure?
~Because Trump has a history of 'going with his gut'. If something 'feels ' like terrorism to him (or if it would be super-handy for him if it were terrorism) then he announces to the world that it was, w/o waiting for experts to confirm this. What if that happend this week? What if he retaliated, in a manner violating international laws by the way, for a chemical attack that didn't actually happen?
~Because Trump has a history of being impulsive and revenge-motivated. In his own words, he likes to "hit back". He might eventually walk away and pretend he was never there if he's losing, but he will never publicly back down, no matter the cost.
~Because Trump is terrified of being seen as weak or a failure- which his entire presidency has been so far. Now it comes out that his $80- $90 mill attack  did approximately ZERO to degrade the Syrian military's ability- or willingness- to kill the rebels who oppose them. They were off and bombing a human rights monitoring station the very next day!  Will he attack Syria AGAIN, even more 'bigly' in order to save face, to look like a winner and not a loser?

~Because Trump says he "loves war". He seems to believe that simply possessing a vast army with deep resources is all it takes to win any fight you take on- and we all know that is not the case. Ask George Bush about Iraq. Ask Russia about Afghanistan. Ask LBJ about Vietnam. 
~Because there are no simple answers to generations of hostility and bloodshed- and Trump deals ONLY in simple answers. If he can't buy it, sue it, grope it or blow it up- Trump has nothing.

~Because a guy who wanted to block US doctors who had treated Ebola patients from being allowed to return home, who wants to stop ANY Muslim from being able to enter the US, who wants to increase pollution and toxic chemicals, cancels lead-abatement programs, defund food programs for shut-ins, deny prenatal care and cancer screenings to millions and ignore climate change to increase his own wealth does not care if pople get killed as a result of his actions!

~Because presidents sometimes must do things that kill people, and all you can ask is that they care about that. Barack Obama took actions that resulted in civilian deaths… and whether it turned out they were necessary or were an error, you could at least tell that he felt each and every one of them personally. Trump ordered a missile launch and then went to play golf.

~Because Donald Trump is a serial and unrepentant LIAR, to the point that if he said it was a sunny day I and half the world would grab an umbrella. Because you can guarantee that anything he says about a subject this closely tied (in his mind) to his own masculinity and ego WILL BE LIES, or at best gross exaggerations. 
Raise your hand if a building burned down next week and Trump said that terrorists did it, you would think …Reichstag fire. Uh huh. Half the fucking world would!
I don't believe him, YOU don't believe him, our military probably doesn't believe him and our allies sure as HELL don't believe him.   And when bombs and missiles and even nukes are on the line- that is a recipie for disaster! Not just for America but for the human race.

And finally- again, because I am capable of caring about more than one thing at a time…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Tracy on Apr 9th 2017 | Filed in General,The Daily Rant | Comments (0)

Line in the Sand

     

     I really thought that there were boundaries.
     I believed that there were still lines that the 21st century Republican party would not cross.

     It was silly of me I guess, after seeing them block Obama's Supreme Court nominee for almost a year. But I still thought that when the actual constitutional system of checks and balances (upon which their power depends!) was threatened, the GOP would suddenly remember they have a spine and stand up.

     A few have: Lindsay Graham, and that old coot John McCain, who every now and then shows the steel that helped  him survive as a POW. But the rest  are too busy filling their bank accounts and drafting legislation to make it illegal for women to vote without permission (or whatever wet-dream they nurture in their corrupt little pea-sized souls) to care what happens to the nation they claim to serve.

     As ghastly as the whole Trumpapalooza is, the worst, most terrifying part of it is discovering that almost ALL of the elected members of the Republican party actually DON'T CARE.

     I mean we know that, for all their talk they don't actually care about deficits (if they help their big business donors) or about "life" (unless it involves a flea-sized speck of tissue in someone else's body. And we should have realized that they don't care about the future of the planet as they pass legislation making it illegal to talk about global climate change instead of actually doing something about it.

     But it turns out- they don't even care about their own jobs.

     They don't care about the Rule of law, the Bill of Rights or massive executive corruption. Don't care about an executive branch that is trying to neuter both the legislative and judicial branches of government! They don't care about a president who is trying to make them rubber-stampers for his fevered power dreams.

     They don't care about blatant White supremacy in the oval office.
     Don't care about the rest of the world leaving us behind as the government attacks science, the loss of our quality public education system, the destruction of the middle class… about sick people or hungry children- about drinkable water or air that isn't toxic to breathe.
     Don't care about the dissolution of NATO, Russian aggression in Europe and won't even investigate a direct Russian attack on the American electoral system! (Russians! I'm old enough I remember when Republicans hated Russians. Now it's "Meh… what's a little spying among friends?) 

     They know that the moment he put his hand on the bible and swore to uphold the Constitution, his rapacious business practices put him in violation of that oath.
     They see as clearly as we do that Donald Trump's agenda is NOT conservative- it is fascist! That Russia is threatening our democracy. That Trump, the laughing stock/nightmare of the entire world is literally INSANE and poses a clear and present danger to world stability. He has the f**king nuclear codes!!

But instead of doing their sworn duty, of doing what they have the power to do and STOPPING him… they are just grabbing whatever they can get. 
    It's like someone who sees that his house is on fire but instead of grabbing the fire extinguisher, the Republicans are using the confusion to stuff their pockets full of cookies, steal their dad's laptop and raid their sister's underwear drawer.

     When Richard Nixon was caught breaking the law, the Republican party recognized that, however unpleasant it was, their primary duty was to DEMOCRACY, not maximizing their after-office profits while screwing over as many of "those guys" as possible.

     Donald Trump is 20x Richard Nixon- but all the Republicans can think about is what's in it for them.

     And I really didn't see that coming. I thought that when American democracy and our entire way of life was about to go over the falls- that Republicans would grab an oar and help us row the other way. Sure, we'd all argue the whole time about where we should dock and how to tie up the boat etc etc. but I believed they were decent human beings who don't want democracy and thousands of people to die just so they can stand in the bow and pump their fists and shout "Republicans rule!"

     But it turns out- they're quite happy to leave their own children to live in an America that is a festering dystopia.

     We're at the tipping point. With his latest attack on the judiciary, Donald trump has made it clear that he believes American government should be a 1-man operation. America is not exceptional- Trump is! And reporter, senator or judge who disagrees with him will be mocked and de-legitimized.
     If his next tweet tells America that they really don't have to obey any judge that doesn't adhere to the Trump plan- that's a full-blown constitutional crisis. Because either our laws have to be obeyed… or Trump has to. 

     Never before has that even been a question which would be on top. Every man and woman in government raises their hand and swears to serve and obey the Constitution, not their party, and not some narcissistic fascist who lost the popular vote but just happened to get into the Oval office anyway.
     So in this moment of crisis when America needs her champions, where is the voice of the flag-pin-wearing, ultra-patriotic Republicans who were so outraged at the tyranny of Obama?

     I have to tell you: knowing that America has one soulless monster in office is bad. Knowing that we have hundreds of them is nearly debilitating.

Posted by Tracy on Feb 5th 2017 | Filed in The Daily Rant | Comments (0)

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