Sunday, August 28, 2016

Dissent: UnAmerican, or a Patriotic Duty?

I consider myself patriotic. But not blindly so. I love this country, with all its faults and inequities. I'd rather live nowhere else. If called upon to genuinely defend this nation ... I mean for real this time ... I'd do so without hesitation.

But those who see
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's act of dissent by refusing to stand for the anthem out of protest over how this nation treats people of color, as being worthy of punishment or worse, are false patriots.

I'm seeing it from the "
LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT!" crowd; whites who have never known prejudice; people to whom the concept of "something is amiss in this nation, let's try and make it better, more fair for everyone" is just plain unpatriotic. They are the ones who spit on the very Constitution they claim to love. They are blind patriots ... and ignorant.

When I got back from Vietnam I wasn't exactly grateful for the fact the US had lied to me and sent me there under a false premise. I was young and angry. 

Soon after my return home I went to a movie with the future Mrs. Hump. Back in '69  they played the National Anthem before the film. I refused to stand for the anthem. An old guy behind me growls: "Show some respect for your country."  I almost lost it but I didn't . I said seething through my clinched teeth. "I got back from Nam two months ago fighting for a lie this country sold us; so unless you're man enough to make me stand go fuck yourself."

I don't regret it.  Neither my act of dissent, nor my retort.

And that's about all I have to say about that football player's right to express his dissent and his dissatisfaction with how people of color are treated in this nation.  Other than to say I support his action of conscience ... and his courage.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

France: Making Secularism Look Idiotic One Moronic Law at a Time

Look, I've never held myself up as a bastion of tolerance and brotherly love.  I  have no patience for religionists who wear their foolishness as a badge of honor.  I look at Hasidim attire as patently idiotic; I don't want a waitress' "dead Jew on a stick" necklace dangling in my food at a restaurant; and I find Muslim head scarves and burkas ridiculous.

But I acknowledge that how I feel has exactly nothing to do with people's right to wear what they please as long as it doesn't interfere with my rights or exceed the bounds of good taste (i.e. wearing only an athletic supporter while teaching a class on thermodynamics in a publicly funded college would be an example).  As a secularist it's simply a matter of live and let  live ... their goofy garb not withstanding.

Evidently the French don't share this mentality.  Their laws involving religious garb or symbols have become so draconian as to actually embarrass me as an atheist / secularist.

If you haven't read about it, the police in France forced a Muslim woman to remove more of her covering at a beach than her religion and modesty permits. It's the law!  It's part of the law that also says one cannot wear yarmulkes, or any distinctive religious garb publicly that falls outside the "norm" of French culture.  It is a law so beyond the pale that when I first learned of it I thought it was an article from the satirical site The Onion.  It isn't. It's quite real. Read the whole story here.
It smacks of a bizarre reversal of what was done to the non-religious or to Jews during the Spanish inquisition:  "You damn well better start eating that pork, or we'll arrest you for being a Jew!"

What the heck has happened here?  How can a nation whose motto is  "
Liberté,  égalité,  fraternité"  speak of liberty and equality and brotherhood on one hand, while the other hand holds a baton ready to punish those less deserved of liberty or equal treatment because of what they wear?

I wonder how it got to that point. 
I wonder how much worse it will get there.
I wonder if it can happen here. 
I'm disgusted.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Product of Religious and Political Stupidity

What do you get when you combine devotion to an imaginary supernatural being, with the worship of a narcissistic sociopath, congenital liar, and purveyor of hate?  This guy.