By C. Dyer, contributing writerNote: Articles written by contributing writers don't necessarily reflect the opinions of J.Says herself
The phrase "bi-partisan solutions" has come up a lot recently in reference to the fiscal cliff negotiations.
Even at the current level of desperation, many politicians seem unable to consider compromise. This "my way or the highway" attitude is characteristic of most modern day politicians. I optimistically hope the United States is reaching a turning point in the way it approaches politics.
George Washington belonged to neither the Democratic nor Republican party. In spite of this, the then fledgling country overwhelmingly supported his election and reelection. During his time in office, Washington saw the heated disputes of the Federalist and Anti-Federalist parties and wanted nothing to do with them. Although he was no saint, his words on party division in his farewell address sound almost prophetic: "Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight) the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it. It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another..."
Rather than simply highlighting differences in the way people view public policy, political parties have become divisive in of themselves. Political parties are treated as a birthright, a source of personal pride, even a religion. Individuals who know nothing about each other can stereotype and despise one another simply based on party preference. Moderates, with barely a difference between them, take up banners handed to them by their role-models and pick a side in this silent civil war.
The government is constantly in a stalemate. Even when good ideas come up for consideration, they are routinely voted down because of the party of the person proposing them. Most politicians are so solidly locked into blue or red that purple is no longer possible. After the 2012 Presidential election, Republicans were expected to change their tactics and become more accepting of ideals they opposed. Rush Limbaugh asked in disgust whether the party should abandon its principles and support abortion and illegal immigration. The comments emphasized his narrow view of the possibilities.
A country that cares about principles AND people could achieve incredible things. Imagine what progress could be made if moderates would put aside their differences and find solutions everyone can be satisfied with. For example, instead of ignoring illegal immigration or promoting it, we could improve the efficiency and ease of immigrating legally. Rather than promoting abortion or ignoring the plight of young mothers, we could improve the adoption system and work to lessen the financial cost of child rearing. We could differentiate between marriage as a legal contract and marriage as a religious bond, securing protections under the law for homosexuals while reinforcing the right of religious institutions to govern the use of their buildings as they see fit. The parties have played their game of puppets for far too long. What we need is an America that's willing to change that. We need an America that's open to creativity and compromise. We need an America that can think outside the box. We need an America that sees purple.
PoliticalPoints: Politics quick, fast & in a hurry.
In the wake of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice declining a nomination to replace Gov. Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, some Republican pundits and politicians whirled angry, sexist and racist comments while explaining their dislike for Rice even being considered. In analytical discussion about why a republican candidate (i.e. Mitt Romney) didn’t win the election last month, many public figures in the GOP concluded that a change of attitude and approach needed to come with low-income, female, student and racial minority voters. Guess that change has yet to arrive. Allow me to make it clear that NOT all republicans are racist, sexist, classist or homophobic, nor are all of their ideas toxic and negative. I believe the party has garnered the reputation for being the aforementioned, not because it’s a party ideal, but because of the backgrounds or personal attitudes of those who represent it. What bothers me most about this sudden approach epiphany is that it doesn’t seem to come from a pure place. There isn’t a desire to appeal or be more sensitive to the concerns of these voter groups because it’s fair or wrong to be prejudiced or exclusive; it’s all about getting more votes and winning elections. This is why some people don’t trust politicians and have little faith in government.
As most likely know, highly decorated and revered military general and CIA director David Petraeus resigned in early November after his affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, was exposed. Petraeus joins the lengthy list of American government officials caught in extramarital scandal, but this time, the response of the media and public was a little different. Usually angry, unforgiving, critical and demanding a resignation from a position of power, crowds seemed to feel sorry for the officer and wished he hadn’t stepped down. Does this mean our morality is deteriorating as a culture or have we become more benevolent and merciful? I think we’re just starting to better evaluate relevancy.
In the years after President Bill Clinton’s 2001 impeachment in which he lied under oath about the details of his own affair, many in media began to question whether the punishment fit the crime. Yes, he broke the law, but media and political analysts were looking at a bigger picture. Some made the argument that our cultural reactions to the transgressions of public figures is so harsh, that it could’ve pushed Clinton to lie to cover it up and we ended up losing a president who stabilized the economy over an issue that only affected his home life. Taking it a step further, imagine the reduction on smear campaigns if we only responded to scandals that correlate with the duty of public office. Politicians might have to actually rely on only politics to get ahead of their opponents, but that’s another issue for another day, I suppose.
All of these events have us talking about fairness and when a personal indiscretion should cause you to lose your job, consider resignation or be denied a position (by the way, as of this time, it hasn’t been concluded that Petraeus’ affair lead to confidential information being compromised). It’s been widely reported that employers and college admission counselors are now taking advantage of social media and browsing what they can of candidate profiles before making a decision. This is absolute crap to me. I have so many issues with this practice. First, let me say I find a lot of things about the traditional interview process discriminatory and unfair (for example, the over-emphasis on appearance. Not everyone can afford nice dress-wear, but they might be able to do a job well). Assessing a candidate based on their Facebook or Twitter page opens all kinds of doors for discrimination, not to mention it’s an infringement of privacy (are they going to ask for personal diaries or talk to our priests next?). If job-seekers are regularly discriminated against in the traditional process with laws in place, imagine the rate of prejudice when social media is factored in. Who’s to say that an employer won’t disqualify a job-seeker simply because they have opposite political views or over something petty like being a fan of Britney Spears? It might be over an unsavory status or suggestive picture, but how do we formally and fairly define “unsavory” and “suggestive” and how it correlates to the job position? Formal background checks, job references, resumes and interviews should tell you all you need to know about a candidate’s ability to perform a task well. Whether they hit the gay bar last week has nothing to do with it.
The reality of it is if everyone was denied a job for personal gaffes, no one would have work. My stance is that if one’s missteps or personal choices doesn’t harm anyone or literally damage an establishment or company, they should be able to get and keep a job. Thoughts?
A 20-week old fetus.
By C. Dyer, contributing writerNote: This article is in response to a piece written by J.Says, entitled "Women's Rights: More Than Just Abortion."
According to many early feminists, abortion reflects not female empowerment, but a society in which being male is still the ideal. Rather than appreciating things that are uniquely female and powerful, like the ability to bear a child, society asserts that women must become like men in form and function to receive respect. Men still find social advancement easier than women who want to be mothers. This reality was reflected in President Obama's statement that Roe v. Wade allowed "our daughters [to] have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams." Abortion has done no more to resolve the problems of sexism than heavy makeup does to resolve racism. Financial success is still revered more than motherhood, as though moving up in the corporate world were more important than shaping the next generation. "When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading for women to treat their children as property, to be disposed of as they see fit."-feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1873)
The concept of children as property is an ancient idea we never fully abandoned. Child abuse first gained national attention in the late 1800's. The ownership of one's children was considered so personal and private, there wasn't even an institution for the prevention of child abuse. In fact, the first prosecuted child abuse case in the U.S. was brought by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. In many ways, we continue this tradition today. Many liberal Democrats would consider it cruel to shoot a cat or dog that inconveniences them, but would accept a woman's right to abort for the same reason.
Two of the major questions in the abortion argument are "when does life begin to matter?" and "how far do abortion rights extend?" Catholics and other religious groups might contend that value begins at conception. Some atheists and pro-choice advocates believe it matters when the entity develops a self-concept. Both ideas are difficult to prove. Because of this, scientists choose different measures. Recently, many states have outlawed abortions occurring after 22 weeks because of ample scientific evidence that a fetus of that age can feel and react to pain. Even the federal government was willing to recognize some limits on abortion by upholding a partial-birth abortion ban. Most people, regardless of political affiliation, would concede that abortions past the point of viability are unethical. A layer of tissue is the only difference between an infant born a month early and an 8 month old fetus. To allow the abortion of an 8 month fetus would make opposition to infanticide seem hypocritical. The question of viability has been used by some to extend the abortion argument to young infants. There was a recent article in the Journal of Medical Ethics entitled "After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?" The authors received death-threats for their publication, but it raises some valid points. It argues that parents should have the option to "abort" their infant if they discover disabilities that medical exams didn't show. Many of the arguments for or against adoption in such a case would still hold true.
When opposing homosexuality, some in the Christian faith use rather extreme and contemptuous tactics. Use of these tactics have resulted in a deep, ferocious social divide, violence, a negative stigmatization of Christians and the spread of stereotypes about the LGBT community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender). For some of those who believe that homosexuality is a sin denounced by God, they think they’re supposed to angrily attack the concept, when the bible teaches of no such approach. The following article was written by Lasheena Allgood, contributing writer.
There are a lot of opinions and beliefs that are colliding in today’s society. As a true Christian, you want to be able to stand up for what you believe the Bible says in order to please God and show His love to the world. Some have success at living this out, while others display a self-righteous judgment, often accompanied by ignorance. Jesus gave us two things to live by: love God and love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:30-32). In Paul’s 2nd letter to Timothy, he instructs us to “Keep reminding God’s people of these things…Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value and only ruins those who listen. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly (2 Timothy 2:14-16)”.
We find ourselves “boldly” standing for what we “heard” is right, when we haven’t studied what the Bible has to say on a topic, nor have we studied how to approach people. We waste a lot of time arguing. 2 Timothy 2:23-25 reads, “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome, but must be kind to everyone and able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth…”
A lot of people think that showing love and compassion towards someone with another sexual preference would mean that they’re compromising their own personal beliefs on the issue and agreeing with the person. There is a big difference between compromise and peaceful tolerance. As the passage in 2 Timothy illustrated, you can let a person know in a loving manner when you believe something is wrong without saying you agree with them. Before you confront someone on ANY issue, check your motives. Check your heart. Are you talking to them with the proverbial “picket sign” of judgment waving at their heads, or are you taking time to understand their plight? You should always try to gain understanding of a person’s heart and seek to confront them with God’s love and compassion in mind. If this is an issue you believe will truly put their lives in danger, it would be wrong not to tell them about it. However, confronting them in any sort of judgmental tone without truly seeking that person’s benefit makes your words and actions fruitless and those of a bigot. What is the purpose of standing in opposition to another’s actions or life without your desire to truly help them? It’s a necessary thing to take a stand for what you believe is right. However, the next time you wish to take that stand and confront someone, remember what God has told us about how to approach people with the correct words and motives. God will do the rest.-L.A.
Compromising or correctly following the Bible?
J.Says on the topic: I think part of the reason why some respond so aggressively, and sometimes violently, to homosexuals or homosexuality is because of their own personal disgust, fear or misunderstanding of the concept, NOT because of their faith. In some cases, faith is a tool used to justify behavior versus being the cause of it. Some could be atheists tomorrow and they would STILL behave the same way. Underneath all that doctrine and preaching is a deep hatred for homosexuals that is completely independent of faith and God. What angers me is that they won’t own up to that; spewing their hatred in the name of God and using Him as a scapegoat. Even if you believe it to be true that God does not condone homosexuality, it doesn’t require spiteful comments, harassment, humiliation and violence.
Nowhere in the Bible does God or Jesus designate violence and abhorrence as the proper way to handle those believed to be “sinful.” If it’s really about faith, the focus would be on the religion as a whole and what God can offer an individual. A picket sign would read “Here’s what this faith can do for you” versus “God hates you and doesn’t want you here.” Isn’t the goal to bring people to the faith? Those who act in hatred are defeating their own so-called “purpose.” I was once told that I shouldn’t be friends with those who are LGBT because I am a Christian. How am I supposed to bring others to the faith and show my “Christ-like example” if I’m not acquainted with them? I don’t know where some in the religion get the idea that we can profoundly reach people at an arms-length distance. Besides, Christian or not, I’m going to be friends with ANYONE I find things in common with that will treat me well and deliver as a peer.
On the subject of gay marriage & Christianity, I’m a firm believer in separation of church and state. This country is religiously diverse and to design laws based on ANY faith would alienate, disregard and disrespect those outside of said religion. Additionally, I think we have to be careful about what socially we allow the government to deem illegal. Not long ago, interracial marriage was illegal. If we give our legislators that kind of power, anyone they consider socially inappropriate, for any reason, could be at their feet. *drops the mic*
Click this photo for a MSNBC story
I'm going to make this short and sweet. So with the rising popularity of Republican election candidates, political media suggest that there's a high chance Obama will not have a second term. Many have complained that Obama just isn't getting the job done and a new president is the answer. None of the problems Obama has to tackle happened overnight, so they're not going to get fixed overnight. If we get a new president, he or she isn't going to magically fix everything in one term either. That's the real tea.
It used to upset me when politicians say bigoted or hateful things about various groups of people, but now I can appreciate blatantly prejudice remarks, because at least I know where that specific politician stands. When politicians try to disguise or sugarcoat their biased views, I think it’s that much more insulting because now you’re lying, trying to deceive people and cowardly hiding your opinion.
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed a law that would prohibit local governments from creating their own anti-discrimination laws. This decision came after the city of Nashville formed an ordinance that restricts employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Haslam’s spokesman, David Smith, told “The Tennessean”: “Through the legislative process, (Haslam) expressed concerns about the state telling local governments what to do, but he also had concerns about local governments telling businesses what to do, especially the potential burden on small businesses…Ultimately, he felt the Metro ordinance went further than federal law in regulating business policies.”
Not only was Haslam too much of a coward to address “The Tennessean” himself, he hid his prejudice against the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community under the guise of protecting businesses from government. He’s concerned about “local government telling businesses what to do?” Really? There are multiple state laws that “tell businesses what to do,” including not discriminating based on sex and race, among other things. Why have anti-discrimination laws for one group, but not another? Oh, I remember, because Haslam is prejudice against the LGBT community. I would slightly respect Haslam more if had a just came out and said “I think businesses should be able to not hire a homo if they don’t want to.” Be ballsy with your homophobia, please.
On another note, when it comes to LGBT employment discrimination, we have slightly bigger fish to fry as a culture. As it currently stands, there are no nationwide anti-discrimination employment laws for this community. That means, unless you have an awesome lawyer and a supportive court, you’re going to have a hard time obtaining damages as a victim. For all of those bigots out there, that fact is a gift. For those who believe in human rights, support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a circulating congress bill that has yet to pass.
my latest facebook status regarding politics:
"I love how the war is killing off my generation. Hopefully by the time it's over, there will still be men my age to marry or date."