First of all, today’s big news was the death of Prince, a musician/singer/songwriter/record producer/actor from Minneapolis, MN. He was 57. The press is suggesting that maybe flu was the cause. Such a shame, he was so talented.
So far this year, we music lovers have lost…
- David Bowie, age 69
- Glenn Frey, age 67
- Paul Kantner, age 74
- Maurice White, age 74
- Frank Sinatra, Jr, age 72
- Merle Haggard, age 79
- Signe Anderson, age 74
This last singer was important to me (as was Kantner) because she was the first lead singer of the Jefferson Airplane, and recorded their first album with them (“Jefferson Airplane Takes Off”). It was released in 1966, when I was 10 and my sister Ginny was 13…Ginny bought it because she had heard the band in San Francisco with some friends. Memories.
Ok, on to this week’s topic.
Like I stated last week, there are other news stories besides the US presidential election, though you wouldn’t really know it from watching the news here.
Aside #1: Massive, killer earthquakes in Japan and Ecuador, for example (“Powerful Earthquakes in Japan and Ecuador”, EarthSky website, 4/17/16).
A couple of stories about recently-passed laws have me shaking my head in disbelief, they are so stupid and hateful. Again, we have right-wing religious fundamentalists trying to use “religious freedom” as an excuse to discriminate against people they don’t like.
One piece of legislation is HB2 in North Carolina, and the other is HB 1523 in Mississippi. Both laws have clauses in them about who can and cannot use which bathrooms, amongst other things.
Conservatives, who are constantly screaming that they don’t want the government to tell them what to do, have no problem whatsoever with having the government tell everyone else what to do.
Here’s a summary of these 2 bills…
In Mississippi, there is a “religious liberty bill” that allows social workers, public employees, and businesses to deny services based on their ideas about marriage (only between a man and a woman), sex (only when married), and gender (determined by birth only).
So…someone can refuse to grant a marriage license, deny an adoption based on the parents being a same-sex couple, or even fire LGBT people. The list of people this involves is endless, from florists and wedding planners to counselors and doctors.
I would love to move back to the area and put a rainbow-colored shingle out, declaring that LGBT people are most welcome for counseling services. Along with pagans and everyone else.
Aside #2: Unfortunately, long ago the social work lobby succeeded in getting Mississippi’s grandfather clause on licensing tossed out – the one that enabled people with master’s degrees in psychology who do marriage and family therapy to get licensed just by applying. So, unless someone out there already has a counseling business and needs to hire a counselor (so I could work under their license), my whole “Mississippi equal opportunity counseling” dream is just that – a dream – for now.
(Btw, that’s a hint)
Anyway, this law also allows (I would say “encourages”) schools and businesses to “establish sex-specific policies regarding bathrooms and dress” (“Mississippi’s Senate Just Approved a Sweeping ‘Religious Liberty Bill’ that Critics Say is the Worst Yet for LGBT Rights”, Sarah Kaplan, Washington Post website, 3/31/16).
In N. Carolina, the law blocks local governments from passing anti-discrimination laws that protect LGBT people. This seemed to be in reaction to Charlotte, N. Carolina passing a law that prohibited discrimination against LGBT people. Apparently one of the big objections to this anti-discrimination bill is the part stating that people can use the bathroom of whatever gender with which they identify.
In fact, a lot of what you hear on the news about either bill is this whole “bathroom controversy”. It’s just so ridiculous, and I can’t understand what upsets people so much about it.
If someone is dressed like a woman, why would you want that person in the men’s room? How would you even notice if she was born a man?
I don’t know about you, but when I use public bathrooms my 2 main concerns are 1. will there be an empty stall, and 2. did the last dumbass decide she had to “avoid germs” by hovering over the toilet seat and pissing all over it? That happens a lot in women’s bathrooms!
I couldn’t tell you who was in there if my life depended on it. And I would think this is the norm for most people. I don’t see why there is an issue.
And how would you enforce this? Cameras?? Having a towel person, or whatever they’re called, that fancy restaurant bathrooms have? Except they’d not hand you a towel, their whole job would be to make sure the “right gender” is using the bathroom.
That is unbelievably creepy. Just imagine who would apply for a job like that.
I would think that this would be a voyeur’s dream job. Ugh.
Though ridiculous, the main focus should be on the fact that these laws permit discrimination, even encourage it. This is not ok. It’s not “religious freedom” to discriminate against others.
The Old Testament, from which many of these “religious ideas” come, also has passages in it about witches and pagans (the most famous one is Exodus 22:18 – “thou shalt not suffer a witch to live”). Heck, I didn’t even have to look it up, it’s been thrown in my face so many times.
And, although the laws specifically refer to people in the LGBT community, make no mistake that, once these idiots get away with laws like these, others will be next.
Pagans, maybe Muslims, possibly women, atheists…the list goes on and on. How would these businesses know?
Well, they can ask, of course. Recall the last time you checked into an outpatient facility for medical tests, or the ER…didn’t they ask you what religion, if any, you prefer? I’ve been asked this many times, in many states.
Aside #3: Presumably it’s to find out what religious person you want them to call in case you code and are dying in their facility – pretty morbid, if you ask me, and also stupid, as there really isn’t any other witch they could call, in my case.
It is also a routine question asked by therapists while filling out a client’s “psychosocial assessment” – something I have done thousands of times during intake.
With these laws, there’s nothing to prevent landlords and businesses and others from asking questions about sexual orientation, and if the right keeps pushing agendas like this, they will soon be able to ask religious questions as well.
So, if you have to argue the question with someone who says, “I’m not LGBT, why should I care?”, you can point out that they might be next, if they have something about them that offends some fundamentalist Christian.
I have to admit I’m shocked at the nerve these people had to pass laws like this. Laws that are so basically unfair and bigoted. But, in the current political climate, where the extreme right feels they can push their agendas hard, and often, it’s important that we push back.
Push back – hard and relentlessly.
Today’s weirdness comes from a site called Daily Grail – and this is also my recommendation for the week. It’s a rather long, but fascinating, article on mushrooms and fairies, hallucinations, and certain works of literature (yes, “Alice in Wonderland” is mentioned).
The article is titled “Mushrooms in Wonderland”, by Mike Jay (Daily Grail website, 4/15/16). Well worth a read.
Be good. Be kind. Push back.
I have to say, in light of these “religious freedom” laws being passed. It is very gratifying to have governor who believed that the bill put before him was not appropriate for Georgia.
As I’ve said, I’ve never been a fan of Nathan Deal… I always thought he was sleazy and crooked. Which he may be, but he’s also a very pragmatic man.
He was forced to resign from Congress rather than face ethics charges. Among other issues, he owned an auto salvage company that had a sweetheart deal with the state for their used vehicles.
During his first campaign, when releasing his financials, he “forgot” about two separate business deals that he was in debt to the tune of about $3 million.
His tv ads ended with him saying, “I don’t care what the liberals think.
And his campaign promises were the same as everyone else, he as going to bring jobs and lots of international business to Georgia.
I didn’t have a lot of hope.
However, as I said, he has shown he can be a very pragmatic man. He realized that in addition the rest of Georgia, he was also responsible for the ninth largest metro area in the country.
So he developed a very strong working relationship, and actually a strong personal relationship with Kasim Reid, the very liberal, Democratic, African American mayor of Atlanta.
He made good on his promises to bring jobs to Georgia, and to increase international trade.
He was a major force in bringing the film industry to Georgia (to the tune of $6 billion (with a B) to the state last year alone.
Atlanta has always been diverse, but under Deal it has become much, much more so. Atlanta has always had a sizable LBGT community, at one time ranked third behind SF and NY. For many years, if you were gay, it was the only place in the South, outside New Orleans, you could live without being killed. Literally.
I don’t mean this to sound like a Chamber of Commerce spiel, but it is something that Gov. Deal was acutely aware of. And although he is a conservative Republican, who did court the evangelical vote, he really did not and does not have exceptionally strong ties. In addition, he can’t run for another term, so he really didn’t have a lot to lose by vetoing the bill.
(I’m not trying to diminish what he did by vetoing the bill, but my point is that he recognized that the “religious freedom” bill was, like the same laws passed in NC and MS, at least as written, was a listen se to hate.
You could be cynical and say that part of his motivation was that he worked to hard to attract businesses and jobs to let it all go away with the sweep of a pen. And that is true, no question.
But at the same time, despite his good ole boy persona, he refused to be bullied into signing the bill, and actually said as much, by any group that wanted to make exclusions.
When signing the bill, he said he really didn’t believe that anyone’s “religious freedom” was at stake, and that the bill, as written, was not in the best interest of the state.
I emphasize “as written”, because as I said he is a very pragmatic man, so if something were to change, he has a backup plan. Again, cynical but…
So, at least for now, I am still glad to live in a place where, at least legally, all are welcome, regardless.
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Sorry for the typos.. My iPad’s autocorrect knows what I really meant to say, and often goes back and “corrects” my corrections of autocorrect. So glad we have technology to make our lives easier.
Lol, no problem re: typos. I typically have to edit/correct my blog entries up to 20 times or more before I hit “publish”.
No matter the reasons behind your governor’s veto, he did the right thing. And that’s the bottom line – practice, not words. Like they say, even a broken clock is right twice a day!
No one can legitimately discriminate against LGBT people in Georgia, without consequences, and that’s the important thing.
LAWS THAT PERMIT DISCRIMINATION ARE THE FIRST STEPS OF DESTROYING A DEMOCRACY!!
The establishment of the separation of church and state.
Policies on simple things of bathroom and dress is the start of something that goes against our democracy.
The religious liberty bill ( the south and eventually through out the USA ) will bring the shadows of a dictatorship ( call it what you may). We might as well move back to Europe where we came from to exist religious tyranny. Who would believe that this kind of bullshit is happening in the reverse. The most ridiculous things in the country that present a destruction of our democracy seems to be making headway but I think that we have enough sensible people in this country to squash it from making headway.
The right wing of this country are really working away to pull a bait and switch on the American people in trying not to have separation of church and state and controlling and elite force such as the 1% and wall street, controlling the trade deficit, controlling no jobs and conquering the complete control of the masses ( call it what you may). Our people since the Reagan era have been put in a cage by the right wing so that we cannot acquire jobs, so that we must try with all our might to put food on the table and trying to abide by the laws and Constitution of this great country and don’t have the time to think about anything else. Lies seem to over rule the truth these days. The right wing wants the dictatorial preference of everything to bring this democracy to it’s knees.
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I, too, think we have enough sensible people who won’t put up with this nonsense. In particular, I have talked to quite a few young people (20s and 30s) who see equality as a given, and who see this right-wing stuff as dangerous and wrong. I am so gratified by that.
As a woman, I would only add that oppression of one group or another goes back farther than the Reagan era. Even though Nixon did expand social welfare programs, in that case I really do think it was more to control/appease the people who were demonstrating in front of the White House on a regular basis – not only against the Vietnam War, but for various causes such as ecology, equal rights for women, support for the United Farm Workers (Nixon tried numerous times to bust their union), and of course the continuing struggle for civil rights.
Nixon was terrified of us.
You’re so right about people struggling to make ends meet, and having little time or energy to do something about the many wrongs going on in this country. Perhaps this is where our generation can help more – those of us who are retired and have time to make trouble heh.
Pity that it’s the case, as you and I have discussed a lot, that people our age in this area are such reactionary Trump/Cruz supporters. I know I have gotten more than a few surprised looks from younger people when I wear my Bernie for President shirt, as they don’t expect anyone older than 50 to support him. And that’s a real shame.