Shooting The Melting Pot

“MANY FINE PEOPLE”
The past two weeks have seen 3 major mass shootings with the attackers providing manifestos quoting propaganda from Trump rallies and proclaiming their white pride. Our current president refuses to take responsibility or take action to limit sales of military grade weapons, but instead continues to attack our darker-skinned state representatives that are trying to curb racism, bigotry and violence. He validates U.S. terrorists with his rhetoric and empowers them with his inaction. It is the beginning of August and we have already seen over 33,000 shootings (not including suicides), and more than 250 mass shootings with a vast majority of the weapons purchased legally. There are 600 million guns in circulation and registered gun owners average 9 guns per household. The argument that bad guys will be the only ones with guns doesn’t fly when faced with the above statistics. Average citizens are committing these crimes. We don’t want to claim our violent tendencies and hatred so we call the shooters “mentally ill” but it’s our gun-loving society that’s ill. White supremacy is our terrorist problem. Not immigrants not Muslims, but home-grown racists and murderers propped up by an incompetent and hateful administration.

“SEND HER BACK”
These are our president’s words aimed at a congresswoman who is an American citizen and angrily chanted at his rallies along with shouts of “shoot them” when he condemns immigrants. Since we’re “sending back” U.S. citizens to their countries of origin if they disagree with Donald Trump, I wonder which country I’ll be sent to. I’m not entirely sure where most of my ancestors came from but I’m pretty sure that my heritage is Irish, English and German with about a dozen other nationalities mixed in. I suppose I should expedite my genetic testing. Once we de-code my ancestry, do I get to choose the country I’m deported to and will they accept disobedient U.S. citizens? Do I have to be housed in one of the immigrant internment camps before deportation? Do I get to take all my assets with me and bring my relatives too? Do I get automatic citizenship with my new country including a passport? Interesting proposition, but I’m sure this opportunity is not suggested to people with my skin color.

“SHITHOLE COUNTRY”
While the president used that term to denigrate countries populated with people of color, I have to wonder if it doesn’t ultimately describe us. We need to again take pride in our culturally diverse communities and international diplomacy, but we currently have a government obsessed with bigotry, for profit-prisons and segregation by skin color and wealth. While I can’t ignore our history of racism, slavery, misogyny and violence, I had hoped that most of that ugliness was behind us. The country that I love is worshiping military grade weaponry, intolerance and white supremacy. White nationalism is the only type of nationalism that’s acceptable to our nation’s president as he attacks anyone who disagrees with his hate-filled agenda. We are being urged to fear people that don’t look and behave exactly like our most ultra-conservative citizens. If we have compassion for others, we’re told to find a new country.  Anyone that is not a white, straight, christian man is being persecuted and the laws of our founding fathers are being dismantled. Our courts are being packed with judges that are committed to restructuring laws and dissolving rights. Our legislators rarely accomplish anything of substance because of the infighting. This nation has not been so at war with itself since the Civil War and the causes are eerily similar. I pray for a return to national civility and governmental checks and balances but recovery is a long way off. This is the USA as we go into 2020. We must do better!

The Truth is not a Lie…

IMMIGRATION:
LIE: Mexican immigrants are overrunning our country – TRUTH: According to Pew Research undocumented Immigrants from Mexico have declined since 2009 by almost 1 million. (8)

LIE: We need a border wall – TRUTH: A majority of undocumented immigrants are not coming over the border but instead overstaying their visas. (6)

LIE: Undocumented Immigrants don’t pay taxes and are a drain on society – TRUTH: They pay $11.6 Billion in taxes, (3) and add $2 Trillion to the nation’s GDP. They also pay into social security while rarely receiving benefits. Children of immigrants are 5% more likely to go to college than resident children. (6)

LIE: Immigrants increase crime rate – TRUTH: Actual numbers show there is NO increase in the percentage of crimes when comparing residents and immigrants and in fact crime rates have decreased 12% since 1980 even though immigration from non-border countries has increased. (5)

SEXUAL ASSAULT:
LIE: Women exaggerate the prevalence of sexual assault. – TRUTH: 1 in 5 women are raped. This number is not generally disputed, and often considered low. 63% of assaults are not reported and 90% of college student assaults are not reported. (4) A sexual assault happens every 107 seconds. (10)

LIE: Men are in danger of false charges. – TRUTH: Of the 321,500 (7) annual assaults that are reported, 2-10% are either unprovable or false charges, similar to any other felony. (4) (10)

LIE: Wearing revealing clothing, behaving provocatively, or drinking a lot means the victim was “asking for it”. – TRUTH: The perpetrator selects the victim ~ the victim’s choices don’t mean they’re consenting to sexual activity. (10)

LIE: Sexual assault is an act of lust and passion that can’t be controlled. – TRUTH: Sexual assault is about power and control and is not motivated by sexual gratification. (10)

LIE: Transgender people commit sexual assault in bathrooms. – TRUTH: Transgender people are 3% more likely to be sexually assaulted. (7) There have been ZERO reported cases of Transgender people assaulting someone in a bathroom. (8)

FREE PRESS “in quotes”:
LIE: “It is the press, above all, which wages a positively fanatical and slanderous struggle, tearing down everything which can be regarded as a support of national independence, cultural elevation, and the economic independence of the nation.” ― Adolf Hitler
TRUTH: “A free press can, of course, be good or bad, but, most certainly without freedom, the press will never be anything but bad.” ― Albert Camus

LIE: “One of the things I’m gonna do, and this is only gonna make it tougher for me, and I’ve never said this before, but one of the things I’m gonna do if I win… is I’m gonna open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We’re gonna open up those libel laws. “With me, they’re not protected, because I’m not like other people…We’re gonna open up those libel laws, folks, and we’re gonna have people sue you like you never get sued before.” – Donald J. Trump
TRUTH: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. – 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution

LIE: “The FAKE NEWS media is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American people. SICK!” – Donald J. Trump
TRUTH: “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” – Thomas Jefferson

ABORTION Christian Viewpoint:
LIE: Abortion is murder according to bible – TRUTH: There is no such claim and in fact there is only one mention of abortion in the entire bible… Numbers 5:27 says that “bitter waters” were used to induce miscarriage which was considered just and necessary in certain circumstances. (1) (2)

LIE: Life begins at conception. Jeremiah 1:5 and Psalm 139:13-14 are often given to support the idea of life beginning at conception but are in reality shedding a light on the fact that our omnipotent God has known us since creation and His timing is not our timing. It’s a huge leap to make those verses anti-abortion. – TRUTH: Life begins at first breath… Genesis 2:7 & Ezekiel 37:5-6 God’s breath of life; Job 33:4 Breath gives life. (1) (2)

LIE: A fetus is more important than a woman. TRUTH: Exodus 21:22 While both have value, a woman’s life has greater value than a fetus (1) (2)

CHRISTIAN AUTHORITY and LGBT:
LIE: Fundamentalist Evangelicals are the only real Christians. TRUTH: There are 31,000+ Christian denominations with 5 major “families”; Catholic, Protestant, Eastern Orthodox, Pentecostal and Evangelical. (11) The numbers are disputable but the point is that there is no church that can claim absolute truth in any matter without thousands of objections. There are often highly educated members of each denomination that claim to have insight into the true meaning of the bible and spiritual relationship, but there is absolutely no way to fact check this before our deaths.

LIE: LGBT people are an abomination and any association is implied approval of their lifestyle. TRUTH: Sexual orientation and gender identity are not a choice or lifestyle. The 7 bible verses that supposedly refer to “homosexuals”, a word not used in English translation until 1946, were for the most part referring to non-consensual relationships between a person of power and usually a child or effeminate male and are not referring to loving, monogamous relationships. Many Christian denominations support this hermeneutic and love LGBT people dearly and consider them valued and faithful members of their congregations. I acknowledge that this can be a controversial subject, however, we must draw the line when it comes to legislative endorsement of discrimination. A person should never be an outcast because they were born different from the majority and any effort to deny basic human rights is not representative of Christian thought or societal freedom. (1) (12)

 

Citations:
(1) Holy Bible- Verses from Genesis, Exodus, Numbers and Job (NSV English translation)
(2) The Bible Tells Us When A Fetus Becomes A Living Being (2012) http://www.thechristianleftblog.org/blog-home/the-bible-tells-us-when-a-fetus-becomes-a-living-being
(3) The Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy (2016) – https://itep.org/wp-content/uploads/immigration2016.pdf
(4) National Sexual Violence Resource Center (2015) https://www.nsvrc.org/sites/default/files/publications_nsvrc_factsheet_media-packet_statistics-about-sexual-violence_0.pdf
(5) The Myth of Criminal Immigrant (2018) – https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/03/30/upshot/crime-immigration-myth.html
(6) Facts on Immigration (2017) https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/immigration/reports/2017/04/20/430736/facts-immigration-today-2017-edition/
(7) Victims of Violence: Statistics (2015) – https://www.rainn.org/statistics/victims-sexual-violence
(8) Pew Research Center/FacTank (2017) – http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/04/27/5-facts-about-illegal-immigration-in-the-u-s/
(9) Statistics show… (2015) https://mic.com/articles/114066/statistics-show-exactly-how-many-times-trans-people-have-attacked-you-in-bathrooms#.Yh7qkyMNp
(10) Sexual Violence Myths and Facts  https://www.ourresilience.org/what-you-need-to-know/myths-and-facts/
(11) How Many Christian Denominations  https://www.answers.com/Q/How_many_Christian_denominations_are_there
(12) The Trevor Project – https://www.thetrevorproject.org/trvr_support_center/lgbtq-religion/#sm.00001glpgmh8v4ekvqhtkoge774wt

I want to point out that I have much more documentation than is listed here but didn’t want the citations to be pages long. I chose the most relevant ones for each statement.