Thursday, November 17, 2016

An Immodest Proposal

This is going to come as a surprise to a lot of you.  It will seem like a total betrayal of my views, but I've had some time to reflect and I just can't ignore the simple moral equation at work here any longer: 

I firmly believe that we should stop providing funding for insurance or research of erectile dysfunction aids in all forms. 

I know, I know, that seems drastic.  But as you know I'm a person of great faith and I just can't square my conscience with this subversion of nature!  God created man and women to work exactly as we do – and if God decided that your penis shouldn't work anymore, than who are you to defy the will of God?  This nation is on a downward spiral right into Hell and we can't keep putting our own will above that of the Almighty.  Perhaps you think it's your right as a man to procreate, but I say this to you:  God has made another choice. 

It is the height of selfishness to expect me to allow my tax dollars to pay into any insurance program or research of a product that so strongly goes against my values.  In this melting pot of a nation I should never have to be accepting of anything that is not personally within my own standards. 

And speaking of selfishness, erectile dysfunction largely affects... let's say men of a certain age.  Don't you think you should be more responsible?  How can you be so short-sighted as to possibly father a child you may not be able to provide for until adulthood?  Is society supposed to bear that burden for you just because you want to retire before the age of 80? 

What's that you say?  You think you have a right to have sex without the sole focus being the conception of a child?  Absurd.  This is exactly the kind of morally devoid thinking that is sending this nation straight to Hell!  Perhaps you should keep an aspirin between your knees and give some thought to your choices instead of running around corrupting everyone's daughters with your filth.  You're probably some reckless gigolo; do you expect us to approve of that type of behavior?  To make it easier on you?  How dare you.

This is the problem with allowing men to run wild: you get these ideas about what you want being  acceptable instead of just following the norms of a polite society.  Who are you expecting to have all this sex with, anyway?  It's not as though women are going to risk bearing your children when you're so immature and entitled.  Clearly all these dangerous erection drugs are altering your ability for reason. 

And do we really need men getting any more emotional, anyway?  Who can keep up with the mood swings?  Your silly sports team makes a mistake and you're shouting and carrying on, and the next minute you're laughing again!  Can you really be expected to handle your disgusting "sexuality" responsibly when you can't even control your emotions? 

Now I know what you're thinking.  You think this is all terribly unfair and I just don't understand.  Please calm down.  You're just not thinking clearly, as usual.  You're getting all hysterical again.  If you can just be rational you'll understand that these drugs are dangerous for you and for society as a whole. 

Sorry, men.  But we simply cannot allow you to pollute our society any longer.  And this is without even mentioning the deeply unfair concept of asking half the nation's population to fund a product we will never need!  I think it's best that you should have to raise the exorbitant price for these drugs yourself, which will force you to think about the consequences of their use rather than just having free erections all willy nilly.  And if you can't afford them, then it's for the best as you couldn't afford a child anyway, and as I said before, that's the only good reason to have sex, ever. 


If any part of this offended you, yay!  That was the point.  Now please consider that these are all things women are told constantly about why we shouldn't have access to birth control.  Even women who need it to treat health issues, even women for whom pregnancy would be a health risk, even even even.  And that shouldn't matter anyway.  You want the abortion rate down?  Birth control.  You want welfare costs down?  Birth control.  Or we could keep slut-shaming women in a society that teaches men they are literally entitled to sex though for god's sake I can't figure out with whom since women aren't supposed to have sex ever unless it's for babies. 

Just know what you're buying into when you put your two cents into that jar. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Good Intent

There's about 150 think pieces right now about whether wearing a safety pin is a great show of solidarity or an empty gesture of the privileged.  This is not one of those, although the safety pin movement did set the train of thought out of the station.   And look, wear a safety pin or don't; I'm not here to judge you either way.  We all have to do what we think is right and helpful. 

That said, the safety pin movement made me realize how much we love our symbols.  The yellow ribbon magnet on the car.  The safety pin.  The temporary Facebook profile pic overlayed with the flag of whichever nation (of white people) had a recent calamity.  Whether we do anything concrete or not, we feel the need to advertise our good intent. 

And mostly that's fine, except when it gives us the little feel-good charge of having helped without actually helping.  Then it's the activist equivalent of taking off our shoes at the airport – nice theater, but pointless in practice. 

I'm as guilty of this as anyone else.  I retweet voraciously, I Facebook fervently.  But my concrete actions are fewer:  I donate to an animal shelter and a local NPR station every month and volunteer at the same shelter.  And... right now, that's about it. 

So I'm not willing to pin on a safety pin and pretend I've done something.  The country – and possibly the world – became less safe in a very real way for a lot of people last week.  (And by the way, if you deny that or think protesters are just "whining," you'll probably be happier unfollowing me now because I'm not shutting up any time soon.) 

Like I said, I'm not here to throw stones at anybody from my glass house.  I'm just saying that it's easy for us to get caught up in our symbols and forget that without action behind them they mean very little.  That's something I forgot.  And I was raised by activists, so I have no excuse for my complacency save the fact that my life has been mostly comfortable and easy. 

I'm still trying to figure out where I'm going to focus all the animus in me.  But I know that my complacency has to end, because I have friends and loved ones that need more than symbols right now. 

Post title courtesy of Kimbra.

Monday, November 14, 2016

The American Jesus

 “I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

That quote is attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, though my research seems to dispute its veracity somewhat.   But whether he said it or not, it's a truth. 

American Christians, we need to talk. 

The conservative politicians in this country claim to be our last bastions of Christian morality against the Godless liberals who want to have orgies in the streets with ISIS.  Let's examine that, shall we?  Because I was raised by some pretty old school Catholic parents and I was never taught the things you hear from these "moral leaders." 

Let's start with the guns.  We Americans sure love our Second Amendment.  "A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." 

Leaving aside the fact that a "well-regulated" militia has no bearing on whether every private citizen has the unconditional right to a personal arsenal, it's always been weird to me that the American right bangs this drum so hard while professing America to be "a Christian nation." 

Really?  You think Jesus would be into your guns?  "Thou shall not kill," remember that? 

While we're on the topic of killing, let's talk about abortion.  Because the same people who will vehemently defend every person's right to own a device designed solely to kill things will tell you that abortion should be absolutely outlawed in every circumstance because it is murder, and a moral evil. 

And to a Christian that's true.  But I have some trouble reconciling that outlook with the worship of guns, and the promotion of the death penalty ("Thou shall not kill!"), and the bloodthirsty zeal with which we espouse war. 

That's not pro-life.  That's pro-birth.  To be pro-life is to be concerned with life at all of its stages, which means letting go of your bloodthirsty worship of death.  But boy, we love our death. 

Oh hey, that brings me to something else.  These American "Christians" want to tell you that we should get rid of "entitlements" like welfare and education assistance and affordable housing initiatives and healthcare.  Pro-life, remember that.  Pro-life until you're born, and then you're on your own, you lazy whiner. 

Let's see what the Bible says about that.

"In truth I tell you, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me."

Doesn't sound like Jesus is super into our American "I got mine, screw you" philosophy.  Remember the Corporal Works of Mercy, Catholic kids?  Feed the hungry,  give drink to the thirsty, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, visit the prisoners, bury the dead, give alms to the poor.  Not a mention of bootstraps to be found. 

Meanwhile when the President works to give healthcare to people who need it, he's fought tooth and nail by the "moral" right.  The very idea of raising the minimum wage or making education more affordable is seen as pandering to the lazy and undeserving, even in an economy where quality jobs and education are ever harder to obtain.  Refugees fleeing horrific conditions are excoriated as a threat we should reject out of hand.  We're a "Christian nation" (by the way, no we're not) who looks at helping people as repugnant.  We look down on our fellow man.  We think those who are poor, or in danger, or disenfranchised deserve their fate. 

It's been a long time since my Saturday morning CCD classes and I'm not the Catholic my parents would have liked me to be, but I'm still pretty sure none of that has a damn thing to do with a single teaching of Christianity.  In fact it flies right in the face of the Jesus we claim to adore so reverently. 

America, if we really want to be a nation of selfish, cruel, death and money -worshipping, scared children then I guess that's our choice.  But it's time we leave Jesus out of it and admit that we actually don't like him that much.  (He was a socialist Jew, after all.)  Because we are not the people he teaches us to be, which gives us no right to invoke his name. 

Title courtesy of Bad Religion.