I have been very uncomfortable with the speed at which some of my otherwise progressive and open-minded friends on FB, G+ or other social media have jumped into mocking Rowan County clerk Kim Davis for her looks, or engaging in slut-shaming her for her marriage history.
I think calling out her previous marriages is definitely relevant to the discussion, but not because it means she’s a “slut” or a “whore” (as some of the posted photo memes have said: I’m not even going to link to them), but rather because it shows that she has been willing in the past to take advantage of the religious freedom guaranteed to her by the Constitution, as well as her Christian privilege, in order to obtain a marriage license in spite of the fact that many other people have religious objections to her getting one. But now, when she is in a position of authority to make a similar decision for other people, she is not willing to extend that same freedom and privilege to others. She has the right to not approve on a personal level, but the problem here is using her position of government power to deny the license (and also forbid her employees from granting it).
THAT’S the hypocrisy involved and why her multiple marriages are relevant to the conversation; that does not and MUST not (if we don’t want to be hypocrites ourselves) translate into slut-shaming. We don’t know why she got divorced; would you feel good about yourself making fun of her multiple divorces if you found out they ended because she was being abused?
Whatever the reason for her divorces, she was able to get divorced PRECISELY because laws are secular in nature and should never be subservient to religion or the religious conscience of the person in government with the authority to enforce them. That she is not willing to extend that same right to others is the hypocrisy in this case: we would not call a person showing up at her office to get their fourth same-sex marriage license a slut or a whore, and we should show her the same respect.
As to how she looks: you may or may not find her attractive, but that is completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand. Let’s have some empathy though, and realize that non of us are supermodels: if you were in the news tomorrow because of a civil rights issue you felt passionately about, would you want people on Facebook discussing the merits of your issue and the arguments you’ve made, or the size of your gut?
Let’s be better than those we criticize. Let’s be better than previous versions of ourselves.
[ Scene: doctor’s office ]
“There you go, you got your measles shot! Who’s my brave little boy!”
[ Internet commenter bursts in through door ]
“BRAVE? MY UNCLE FOUGHT IN VIETNAM AND WAS SHOT FOUR TIMES DEFENDING HIS SQUAD’S POSITION AND PROBABLY SAVED THEIR LIVES.”
“Wait, how did you get in…”
“INDISCRIMINATELY USING THE WORD BRAVE LIKE THAT ON A CHILD DIMINISHES THE LEGACY OF MY UNCLE’S COURAGE.”
“How does the…”
“YOU ARE WORSE THAN HITLER. ALSO YOUR CHILD PROBABLY HAS AUTISM NOW AND I REFUSED VACCINATIONS FOR MY CHILDREN AND NOW PEOPLE ARE ATTACKING ME SO WHO IS REALLY THE BRAVE ONE HERE?”
[ Comments have been disabled ]
I’m relieved the Patriot Act’s NSA’s surveillance-slash-domestic spying provisions have expired. I’ve been holding in these farts for 14 years.
Greetings, Internet poster! Based on your tweet history, you have been recruited to defend the frontier against Xur and the Ko-Dan armada!
A good data visualization is, in its essence, one that requires little or no explanation in order to understand. I’ve made this Venn diagram as part of my (proposed) TED talk to help you understand.
Please let me know if you have any questions, or if you are in any way associated with the TED scheduling department.
Yeah, so THIS is disturbing.
Americans Learn To Stop Worrying And Love Torture « The Dish.
Apparently no one actually READ the report, and saw how completely ineffective torture was. And even if they did (which… no, no they didn’t), a vast majority can somehow reconcile their religious beliefs with the torture of other human beings, including acts that resulted in the deaths of innocent people.
Let me repeat that: innocent people were tortured TO DEATH. And for nothing: no credible, actionable facts ever came from that torture. It was useless. No one being tortured has any incentive to tell the truth: their only incentive is to try to figure out what the person torturing them wants to hear, what they already believe, and tell them that as quickly as possible before they DIE.
This isn’t even a debate on whether what the CIA did should be considered “torture” or not: apparently we (for the most part) agree that it was. But by a WIDE margin, those with religious beliefs taken from a peacenik retro-hippie (whose own torture and death led to centuries of hatred, oppression and atrocities committed against Jews) seem to agree that torture is just okee dokee and a fine core value for Americans to support.
Torture destroys the humanity of two people: the person being tortured, and the person doing the torturing. How so many can reconcile that with their religion is just another example of how the “moral absolute truth” that religion claims as its own private domain is nothing more than the world’s most flexible form of self-serving justification for whatever you already want to believe.
And yet those of us on the right side of that chart are the ones with no moral compass.
If we can pass a law that helps to prevent bullying in schools in Minnesota, we can pass a law that helps prevent bullying on the sidewalks in front of women’s health clinics.
Because let me be very clear: bullying is EXACTLY what these people are doing. To call it “sidewalk counseling” as they scream at people, spew bile at the escorts and harass the clinic workers is a blatant example of bearing false witness: a hypocrisy their cherry-picked version of “religion” seems to have no problem with.
The relationship between people who oppose abortion in general and these bullies is the same as the relationship between a normal religious person and a member of the Westboro Baptist Church: the first can include many reasonable people with considered positions, the ability to disagree with others yet still remain civil, and a huge degree of empathy for suffering in others that can move many to action. The second are a fringe group of horrible hypocrites with gnarled, knotted remnants of souls and something black and petrified where their hearts used to be.
You discover something truly frightening and revelatory about what humans can become when you repeatedly witness the lightning-quick transition from a facade of caring piety, calling out “we’ll take care of your baby” from behind a tentatively-respected property line, into furiously spitting “YOU’LL ALL BURN IN HELL”, the minute the clinic doors close behind a patient. No one who truly cared about a child would leave him or her for a second with this kind of person, let alone a lifetime. And instead of requiring them to get the psychological help they desperately need, we have no option but to let them expose their twisted version of humanity to women and families seeking medical services.
It’s bullying, plain and simple. We can and have put legislation and programs in place to help reduce it in schools: we should be able to do the same for sidewalks. We can draw a line that protects freedom of speech and reduces this harassment, and for those who think this line is too hard to define or worry where to draw it, I’ll invite you to stand with the escorts for a few days: if you think the line is murky or hard to place or that it’s unclear where it should be drawn, I guarantee that you will quickly discover yourself understanding that there definitely is a line, and the person in front of you yelling hatred is definitely over it.
It’s time for anti-bullying legislation that protects the women and families entering these clinics.
There are two things which my brain is thoroughly convinced I am good at, in spite of the fact that I suck at them both and have never successfully done either in my life:
Tap-dancing and juggling.
But I constantly, CONSTANTLY have dreams in which I demonstrate coolly casual, master-level expertise at both, and when I wake up I do so with the briefly-lived, sincere and complete belief that I am awesome at them. It lasts about 60 seconds.
To this day, I can juggle up to one ball without hurting myself, and tap one foot to a rhythm no more complex than a Britney Spears tune. That’s it. But try telling my brain that: it’s convinced that if I just tried them once more, the latent skills would all come flooding back to me and I would be AMAZING. Because I have all this dream experience, and that’s almost like practicing, right?
So I do. And I look like a dumbass once more.
Goddammit brain: I hate you so much.
And any time it doesn’t use lying to me about my juggling and tap-dancing skills, it spends dreaminding me how crappy and stressful high school was. THIRTY GODDAMM YEARS AGO.
If you see people walking into a store or a restaurant with openly-carried rifles and weapons, there is no way for you to ascertain what their intentions are. You can’t tell whether they are a “good person with a gun”, a “bad person with a gun”, or a “generally good person with a gun who could be triggered by some unknown level of confrontation into becoming a bad person with a gun” or anything in between.
The correct action to take is to remove yourself from the situation. Abandon your cart of purchases, don’t worry about paying for food; just get out. It is perfectly rational to feel unsafe, and it’s better to be out of the way in case their (unknown) intentions are not good ones. You should not feel obligated (legally OR morally) to stay and pay for your purchases if you feel your life is endangered. If you are in a restaurant and have already eaten your meal, you can call the restaurant after the fact, let them know why you left, and offer to pay for it over the phone. You may call the store and explain why you left your purchases in a cart in the middle of the aisle. You may also advise them whether you intend to return to the restaurant or store if you do not feel safe there.
It’s a risk with which companies that allow open-carry into their stores and restaurants will have to learn to deal.
Unless you can explain to me why I should always feel perfectly safe when random people carrying rifles walk into a Target store or a Mexican food restaurant or any other place where rifles are not part of the general commercial activities conducting within, then this seems to be a perfectly rational response. This isn’t even a gun-specific action: I would probably do the same thing if someone came into a Chipotle wielding a chainsaw.
Then again, “Stand Your Ground” laws in your state also allow you to take matters into your own hands if you are armed and feel threatened, and act preemptively. I can’t make any recommendation in that situation, but it seems to me that the law would be pretty clearly on your side in those cases.