Archive for the ‘Discrimination’ Category

There is a deficiency in American culture today that most people are too ignorant to detect in themselves, though they are ready to excoriate others for the same practices.  They wax philosophically with a venom that is most toxic and just as polarizing as those they would speak against.  Each and every day in this country, racism takes center stage and is proliferated by those who are blinded in their hypocrisy.  Left, right, Liberal and Conservative are all guilty of it and the bigotry is not limited to race only, though that is the most prolific and vocal form of the display.

It is no great secret that our country is victim of some rough times currently.  The political parties who have sworn to protect our Constitution and are supposed to have our best interests in mind are polarizing and constantly combative with each other.  Over the years they have repeatedly driven wedges among our populace and used those same wedges as platforms to continue their personal and party agendas.  Each side has used the media and irresponsible elements of the virtual world to espouse the correctness of their causes rather then providing solutions to the suffering they had their hands in.  Upstart elements of these parties who no longer believe in or find no advantage to the existing system are publicizing their “causes” in vain attempts to deliver us from the perils we face in dramatic fashion in what to me appears to be designed to “save” us all while maintaining the power they have grown accustom to instead of the white knights they make themselves out to be.

Greatest among the mass of woes that affect our country right now is the prevalence of bigotry and racial divide.  It seems that every day is a shocking new crime that is used as an exemplar of the disparity between the races of this country, and it is the politicians and the media hacks they use to serve their cause that proliferate it.  The sad part is, what I would consider otherwise reasonable people, many of whom I am friends with, buy into and help to add to the situation.  Each and every day there is some crime that involves parties existing of different races.  In a country as diversified as ours is, and with regional economic disparities as prolific as are found here, it is inevitable that there will be black on white, white on black, Latin on either and countless others who make up our quilt.  Race on race is not a singularity on the most heinous of crimes, inter-race is just as common yet not as reported; that has neither the drama nor the polarization from which they can hide behind.

There are many individuals out there who are frustrated and have bought into the political polarization.  They post on and comment on racially charged articles and memes as if they are righteous and true in their opinions, yet they never realize they are just as bigoted as the situation they oppose.  In a day and age when it is becoming more the norm than not to have interracial relationships, it is a shame that the same hatred and bigotry that defined some of our less impressive attitudes of the past is standing front and center.  We are of a time that should be more enlightened and minority should not be defined by race or color of skin but rather by the diminishing of those who would proliferate such attitudes.  The sad and discouraging fact is that it is not simply the bigot who has the loudest voice in the matter, quite often it is those who see themselves as enlightened who in their zeal against injustice and disparity who are the most prolific contributors to the division.

I hope to raise my children to be tolerant and when they see it to stand against injustice.  I want them to know that should they witness or hear about senseless violence that is the act that justice to be sought for.  All the other things which lead up to the act may be contributing factors, but that sometimes that is all they are.  They should not assume based on opinion of others that because  white visits violence upon black or black visits violence upon white that the reason is racial in nature.  The first thing they should understand regardless is that it was senseless as is all violence of a criminal nature.  Sometimes things do not make sense and to try and find answers where none exist is futile.  Our criminal justice system is not perfect, it requires updating, but more often than not for the most heinous of crimes it works as it is supposed to when not used as a platform for agenda.

My hopes for my children and future generations may seem naive to many, that is fine.  I tell my children the truth about the world as best as I can tell it and I never degrade our country to them.  This is a great and wondrous place to be, even if we have not always lived up to the ideals we espouse to the rest of the world and occasionally fall short of expectations within our personal spheres of influence.  The American Dream to me is not about each person being equal in all things and having politicians that cannot keep their own houses clean telling me how mine should be run.  We should be selfless for the betterment of others not because we are legally obligated to but because it is the right thing to do.  As my children grow into maturity and responsibility I hope they will feel obligation towards those around them to demonstrate how they can make their own opportunities.  What they should not have to deal with is animus towards a people in their older years which they had none towards while they were on the playground.  At some point in time in our own lives we have all felt the ease with which we can fall into prejudicial thought.  That ease is not something that comes to us naturally, it is a learned trait that I hope diminishes with each generation, but I fear is stronger in this time than it was when my immaturity overrode my better judgement.  It is disappointing to me that Americans as a race fall hypocritically short on the world stage on so many levels despite the amalgamation of ethnicity that we were founded upon.

I wanted to make this a rant about the stupidity of so many who spread the vitriol of hate without even realizing they are doing it.  As the words started to come out I realized more that I needed to speak of my disappointment.  It i not a time for wit or venom, that is what has disappointed me so much lately in my fellow Americans.  It is our duty to effect change where we have the most influence, not to over-reach as so many do.  The best I can effect is within my family and the ground I can reach around me at any given time.  If I can add something to what someone else is thinking or feeling that is a bonus.  Wake up America.

equality Panda

 

 

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We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Way back in the day when those good ole boys in powdered wigs put together our Constitution, they elected to set the above words as the preamble to it.  Much like most of my college level papers have an abstract before beginning the narrative, the Preamble sets the scene in a short, concise statement what you should uncover through the proceeding pages.  Now, they realized not long after the Constitution was ratified that it still did not go far enough and just two short years later they brought in the first ten amendments to it.  Here we sit 225 years later anxiously awaiting the US Supreme Courts decision on some additional freedoms; they are addressing the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8.

DOMA is a federal act that essentially states in all its bigoted glory that the government of our nation does not recognize any type of marriage besides that between a man and a woman.  I will get back to this one in a minute.  Prop 8 is California’s state version saying essentially the same thing.  The attorney for the state of California who is arguing in favor of Prop 8’s constitutionality was dumb enough to state twice during his presentation that he is sure that one day the law will be overturned but pleaded with the court that they should not speed it along.  Chances may be pretty good that that one ready for the scrap heap.

Now lets get back to DOMA for a few minutes and reflect back to the Preamble above.  Way back in the late 18th century a bunch of powdered wig wearing men had the foresight to write 52 simple words that should be the template by which we, as Americans, should live by.  Back in a time when blacks were considered property and not citizens they had the foresight to create a document that would live and breathe and adapt to the times that it governed, all proceeded by those 52 clarifying words.  Yet in this day and age when we have achieved equality, at least by rule of law if not in full practice across the board, we are taking another issue of equality before the USSC decide.  All this because a bunch of political hacks decided to imprint their interpretation of supreme religious morality upon the fabric of our nation.

It astounds me that in this day and age that the most common argument against marriage equality comes from the pages of religious text and those that shout those phrases and verses are generally the least educated on the history of our nation and are more than willing to hold themselves above the same passages they espouse so willingly. It seems it is not hypocrisy when you have the volume to your voice and the power to choose regardless of the opinions of those they were elected to represent.  These same dickbags claim that the union between a man and a woman is sacred while quoting their text, yet they conveniently leave out the contractual agreements marriages were formed over and the commodity of a good marriage for the man.  They argue in favor of “traditional” marriage, yet fail to realize that more than 50% of all “traditional” marriages in this day and age end in divorce.  [Insert your personal deity here] forbid the “gays” reverse that trend and show all the moral “straights” the value of love in a lifelong union.

The truly fucked up part of this whole farcical endeavor is Americans vociferously speak out against perceived slights and inequalities in other countries and cultures yet we cannot achieve the level of equality within our own borders that we violently criticize within others.  We try to force our mis-perceived  “democratic” freedoms on countries who do not allow their women to drive, stone to death women who are raped, force women into traditional “modest” dress that has been the norm longer than we have been a country and too many other human rights violations to even begin to name, yet we cannot get behind the fact that two people of the same gender, Americans, want to spend the rest of their lives together and receive the same privileges as those of us in a “traditional” marriage.  THE ULTIMATE IN HYPOCRISY WITH A GLOBAL REACH.

This is not a rant to break on anyone’s religion or personal belief structure.  If it is your belief that being gay is wrong, the beauty of this country is that it is your right to believe that.  What you do not have the right to do is thrust your beliefs upon others and make your dogmatic wisdom the law of the land.  This great country of ours is blessed with the faithful, the faithless, gay, bisexual, transgender, black, white, hispanic, asian and a couple hundred other flavors of individual.  That is what makes us great.  Yet like many of those same countries we continuously poke our self-righteous stick at, we hide behind rule of law to impose our own special blend of sanctioned indignity on.

We as a nation have far greater problems we need to focus on.  We send money overseas to nations that we poke our stick at in the name of human right, yet our once prominent cities are going bankrupt with the populations leaving in droves.  We speak out against the abuses of whole sections of societies in other countries yet we legislate prejudice into our legal code.  We attempt to define the institution of marriage as a wholly religious doctrine while turning our backs on our veterans who have given mind, body and soul to defend that same ability.  The righteous worry about the same-sex couple living next door to them raising their children while they use their wealth and status to get their own fucked up kids out of trouble with the law.

It is time to pull our collective heads out of our collective asses and start thinking about what is right and wrong in terms of what we personally know is right and wrong.  Stop living by the words of those who have a platform to stand on and shout them out and get our own houses in order rather than worry about the one next door.

I spent a good part of the month of April and early May advocating for the defeat of the then proposed, North Carolina Marriage Amendment, or Amendment 1 as it was more popularly known.  That advocacy fell upon deaf ears as the state voting pool by about a 2/3 to 1/3 majority decided to embed permanently into the state constitution the ability to discriminate against a group of American citizens.  In summary in the state of North Carolina is it constitutionally codified that marriage is strictly between one man and one woman and that is the only recognized civil union that will be recognized by the state.  Notice with their ambiguous language in the two page amendment has managed to both codify discrimination in terms of the word marriage AND they managed to solidify state sanctioned discrimination even further by wrapping marriage in the ill-defined catch phrase “civil union”.  In one fell swoop the state brought any union between two people that does not fall into this category into the world of contractual law, which the blood relatives will be able to dispute with as much authority as the recipient of benefits by contract.

Now that I have summarized the ill-effects at the state level, lets take a look at the federal.  In 1996, in an attempt to demonstrate his moderate position in order to solidify a base among voters and politicians, then President Bill Clinton signed into law the Defense of Marriage Act, essentially codifying within federal law the inability for any couple beside that between a man and a woman to receive any level of federal benefits, regardless of the laws of the state in which they reside.  Again, what this did is stop a same-sex couple who may be “legally” married in the eyes of the law (as is possible in eight states right now) from receiving federal level benefits.  Denigrating and diminishing the one of the major reasons behind being married (or civally unioned), the ability to plan together as a family the future of that family, unless of course you fall into the “biblical” definition of a marriage which is that between a man and woman.

The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this week made a pretty significant determination to the constitutionality of the act, yet in my mind it rings as a hollow victory.  In their DOMA Ruling they determined that the act was indeed unconstitutional:

In writing the appellate court’s decision, Judge Michael Boudin noted the unprecedented and unconstitutional attempt by Congress “to put a thumb on the scales and influence a state’s decision as to how to shape its own marriage laws.”

Essentially, what this three member judicial panel decided was that marriage is a state issue and that is where it should be decided, not in an act approved by the federal government.  One of the reasons this is a bit of a hollow victory in my mind is:

The 1st Circuit said its ruling would not be enforced until the Supreme Court decides the case, meaning that same-sex married couples will not be eligible to receive the economic benefits denied by the law until the high court rules.

Another reason is the ruling would only have applied to:

 states within the circuit – Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine and New Hampshire – and Puerto Rico. Only the Supreme Court has the final say in deciding whether a law passed by Congress is unconstitutional.

So, in making this determination, the appellate court has passed the buck on to the Supreme Court to determine the constitutionality of the act, and since it is a Circuit Court they only have jurisdiction of the previously mentioned states allowing the other Circuits the ability to invalidate their findings within those districts.  So while it is very interesting to have the three judges rule unanimously, they are 2 Republican appointees and 1 Democratic, it has not given any further headway to dissolution of a law, at the federal level, that allows a targeted group of citizens to be discriminated against. Currently, there is not a petition to decide DOMA and its constitutionality before the USSC and until there is one and they decide the merits of the act the USSC cannot do anything about it.  The USSC cannot decide upon its own without being petitioned by a party the constitutional veracity of the law, if they were able to do so, they would be in violation of the the law themselves because they are not “law maker”, they provide the interpretation of the the Founding Father’s intent with regards to the Constitution and the laws of the land.  A pretty vicious cycle.

Should it pass, the Respect of Marriage Act or ROMA could possibly be on as shaky ground as is DOMA from a Constitutional standpoint.  In a nutshell ROMA would repeal DOMA and provide for the requirement for states to recognize between them a legal marriage or union, regardless of the law or constitution of the state.  So, if a couple from NJ moves to NC, their legal union, marriage, contract, whatever, would need to be recognized by NC as legal and they would receive all benefit as they would have in NJ.  So again, while the intent is to undo the wrongs of bad legislation, you still may have from the federal level a constitutional crisis, as the federal government is again trying to regulate what may be determined to be a state’s rights issue.

Unless the Supreme Court determines what specifically is unconstitutional with DOMA, ROMA will be susceptible to the same challenges.  If they determine pieces of the legislation are unconstitutional, but the federal government did not over-reach with regards to state’s right, then ROMA can be a very effective move forward.

Through our relatively short history as a Constitutional Republic, America has had it’s ups and downs from a civil rights perspective.  There has been rampant discrimination against multiple races, genders and orientations, some has been sanctioned officially and some has been tolerated as policy if not law.  Each progressive move forward has not resulted in equality from the start, many can argue that Affirmative Action has caused a reverse-discrimination situation as it establishes requirements outside of merit based election.  I would hope, considering the last 60 years of experience in the realm of civil rights, that as discrimination against same-sex couples is legislated into extinction, that we as Americans of all races, creeds, colors, religions and proclivities can finally acknowledge that as Americans, we can be different from each other, we do not have to like or even condone a particular lifestyle, but we are ALL Americans and each and everyone of us has the right to be happy as the next and no one should be exempt from the same benefits as another simply because they are not the same or hold the same beliefs.

My comrades and I have spent the last 10 years not only battling terrorism as a result on attacks on our country, but trying to spread the environment of equality through the world.  Each and every in-road has been met with resistance and we have no right to dictate humanitarian policy within a sovereign country, especially if we cannot demonstrate the same level of human rights, civility and acceptance within our own borders.  Being an American is different to each and every one of us, as an American soldier, part of how I see my role is to be an ambassador for how people should be treated and use our great country as an example of how to achieve that goal.  It is hard to do when there is an explicit divide between the equal and not as equal.

Time for change America, a little free thought goes a long way.  Decide for yourselves what is right and wrong.

 

Well, it looks like this one is going to go down on the side of  constitutional discrimination.  As of 10:15 pm it looks to be about a 2/3 to 1/3 vote in favor of the amendment.  There has been some allegations of fraud at the some voting areas with people being handed paper ballots without the amendment vote on it.  Basically these are intended for 17 year old voters who will turn 18 prior to November 6 of this year.  They were allowed to vote politically but not for the amendment.  It appears some of these intended minor ballots were handed out to “of age” voters.

Regardless, it has passed at this point.  From here on out it will be dealing with the consequences and the potential lawsuits against it.  The people of North Carolina have spoken, much as they did back in the days of segregation and before civil rights were the de rigeur standard for how to treat American citizens.

This topic has taken up much of my time over the last couple of months and I hope that I was able to open the eyes of at least one person.  Now that the vote is over, I will keep up on the updates as things happen, but time to move on to other topics.

As I stated earlier in the week, I am going to pack as much patriotism in for the month of May leading into Memorial Day on the 28th.  I am going to preview some of the things that are right in this state from a military perspective and generally try to convey the way I feel about this awesome day of remembrance.  It is a bit of a bittersweet holiday, the highlight being my daughters birthday almost always coincides with the holiday weekend, the low point is the number of great Americans I have had the privilege of knowing who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

A little bit of thanks to those who spread the word of the No Kool Aid Zone out there and have upped my daily numbers over the last couple of months.  In no way to I have thousands of readers, but today alone I may be able to top out at about 100, with an average of around 50 per day.

Lets swallow this unsweetened cup of piss flavored KoolAid and hope that one day, regardless of your personal opinions, ALL Americans will be able to have the same level of recognition and rights.

I look forward to bringing forth some stories of sacrifice that show what it means to be American.

If Amendment 1 is not supposed to be about the codification of discrimination into the state constitution, then why can two different Berean Baptist church pastors demonstrate such a remarkable disregard for the rights of others during their sermons?  Last week it was Fayetteville, this week Winston-Salem, yet according to our lawmakers in Raleigh this is a simple cut and dried protection of marriage.  Sure seems a lot like authorized hate and discrimination to me.

Ron Baity, North Carolina Pastor, Suggests Gays Should Be Prosecuted Like They Were Historically.