Needful

The last few weeks have been eventful. The news has become increasingly difficult watch, as has my Facebook newsfeed. The divisions seem to be growing wider, egged on by those who wish to divide, who want to see a populace that can’t get together long enough to see what is really affecting them. The right wants to defund Planned Parenthood, ignoring the fact that there are thousands of women for whom that is their primary source of healthcare, focusing only on one part of what they do and citing a made-up video, even though that has since been proven false.

The candidates for the presidency are already campaigning, more than a year before the election, and the GOP forerunner is a man who can’t be bought or reasoned with. Trump has no issue with the fringe element that supports him, comfortable with their paranoid beliefs about the current administration. They don’t cite policies, only thrown bigoted rhetoric. Most recently,  there was the GOP debate, with ten candidates. I didn’t watch, I was angry and frustrated enough. I did see the soundbites the next morning. One has the candidate Carly Fiorini discussing the Planned Parenthood video treating it as fact, full of righteous ire.

Later, at a town hall meeting, Trump was fielding questions from the “oppressed few” who’ve most benefited from the status quo – that group of people who’ve always been able to live their lives without fear of reprisal for being the wrong color, the wrong religion, even the wrong gender – including one from a man who still believes the president is an African-born Muslim socialist bent on world domination. His belief was rock solid, and Donald Trump, who continued to live the Birther life long after others had given up, didn’t bother to correct him. He remains unrepentant.

How long the GOP will let this continue, I don’t know, but they are catering to the fringe, the group they think they have control of, those whose every decision is based on fear. That’s why Trump is leading in the polls, because he’s saying what they believe. There is no black supremacy movement hidden in the president’s agenda, no funding of Muslim terrorist groups who want to kill citizens in their homes and take away their guns, there is certainly no effort to disenfranchise the majority, who think they’re the minority. Irrational and unfounded, these beliefs are dangerous in many ways. Not just the obvious excuse to commit violence against groups they find objectionable, but the more subtle encouragement of those who are looking for someone to blame for the way their lives are going, the bringing forth the inherent racism in our society and making it acceptable to persecute. These are the people who a couple generations ago would have – and still do, in some cases – supported segregation. Their fear, the ones who can’t cite policy, who are only focused on the lies that were perpetrated eight years ago, is based on the fact the man in the White House is stepping out of line, that he shouldn’t be in that office, not because he’s incompetent, but because he’s not white. It’s more obvious with some than with others.

Again, for those who can cite actual facts, this isn’t necessarily true. It’s also not solely the province of the Right, although they’re far more vocal about it.

There is no war on Christianity. Kim Davis was not jailed for her religion, she was jailed for not obeying the law.

There does appear to be a war on Muslims, however, since an awful lot of those people are convinced the Muslim faith is about blood and violence and genocide, and use any excuse to punish someone who is Muslim.

There’s not going to be any government involvement with who churches will and will not allow to marry. There wasn’t for Loving v. Virginia, and there won’t be now.

There is no war on the police. There is a fight to make changes in the policies, so the good cops – who I continue believe are in the majority – can be in charge, instead of the ones who encourage a mindset that hasn’t really changed in 50 years. Where whistleblowers can come forth instead of keeping their silence in fear.

Focusing on abortion leaves so many things untouched, ignored by the public, policies that impact them are decided out of the public eye because they’re so focused on something that has nothing to do with the running of the country, and everything to do with keeping women in their place.

The war we need to fight is the war on bigotry, on exclusion, on marginalization. This is not an effort to reduce what others have, but to open the door for others to achieve the same things. Just because people look different from you, believe differently, behave differently, that does NOT give you the right to treat them differently.

These are all fear-based beliefs, predicated on the mindset that individuals who are not like them represent an entire group. Media shows the most terrible, most eye-catching news in order to get ratings. They embellished the truth, skew it to fit their viewers’ own prejudices, acknowledged or not, even just make things up. Protected by the First Amendment, they are under no obligation to tell just the facts. There was a bill that required that, which I’ve mentioned before, but it was repealed, and efforts continue to make sure such a bill can never be passed again. How can you trust media in a country where they can lie if they want to?

What there should be, what is making these stories so important, is a war on bigotry, exclusion, on marginalization. It’s a losing battle, as long as people are distracted by insignificant causes and encouraged to discriminate.

I’ve had some really positive things in my life recently. I’m starting a new job in my company, one far better suited to my personality than what I’m doing now, with the support of my manager, something I never really had before, I’ve replaced my car after fourteen-and-a-half years – used Fiat convertible, totes adorbs – I remain fairly stable health-wise, so once I figure out how I’m paying for it, I can go to Italy with my choir next summer. Pre-transplant, this is probably my last chance to leave the continent. Stable, yes, but declining. Slowly, very slowly, but declining just the same. I don’t dwell on that. No point, really, as it likely won’t have much other impact on my life for a very long time. Not as it is now. I’ll be looking for a new place to live before too much longer.

Part of me is waiting for the bad news, most of me is excited. In general, life is on an upswing for me, something I’ve been working toward for some time.

I didn’t want to lose that joy. Winter is coming, and with that comes colder weather and less light, both of which strongly impact my mood. The news is so negative, and social media allowing the divisions to become even wider, I can’t. Not right now.

That’s where I’ve been. Angry, tired, frustrated, even resigned. Someone is going to win, and it will be the side with the most money, like it always is.

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