Friday, February 03, 2017

Down the Drain

This is a rant. Go away now if you are looking for cute pictures of niceties. You can come back tomorrow for that.

Most people who have been reading my blog for any length of time are probably aware that I am not happy with the current state of the nation.
Give it a year, and I think a lot of people are going to be really unhappy, but they will have to find it out for themselves. Some will never figure it out, and will blame somebody else. It's the nature of being human.
With all of this quick change going on, to me it feels like a chronic beating over the head. Unfortunately, every time Republicans are in charge of the government, I feel like I am being beaten. It is the verbal patronizing, the language, the authoritarianism, I suppose, that makes me feel like I have a boot over my face. Not only that, Republicans in Congress are just mean. And they really dislike women. Honestly, every mean person I know is a Republican. I know nice Republicans, too, but I can't think of a single mean Democrat. I probably know some, but I don't know who they are. I know that I know mean Republicans.
Anyway, since that is how I have been feeling, like a beaten down dog whimpering in a cage, it has been hard to blog. I try not to blog too much about political stuff here because that is not what I want on Blue Country Magic. But when it is all I can think about, and all that is in the news, and all that is eating at me, it is difficult to write about fawns and daylilies.
I am not writing on Facebook, either, even though I sometimes want to scream out responses to the things I see posted. But I am not very good at arguments. I can state my case and you can agree with it or not, but I don't want to argue with anyone about it. So I don't argue. If I do post something, if you don't agree, don't agree. I generally won't waste my time fighting about it. Usually I just hit "delete." It's the best key on the keyboard.

That type of thing, of course, pertains to opinion. Now, if I'm stating a fact, like, say, 4+4=8, or the ground is made of dirt and rocks and compost and dead things, and you don't want to agree with that, well, that just means you're ignorant. I might argue with you over a fact. A real fact, not an alternative fact.
A friend, a moderate Republican who occasionally shows glimpses of a soul when he talks to me, doesn't post a lot of political stuff on Facebook, either. I still have hope for him,  but yesterday he posted a video on Facebook but he made little comment about it except that it made him think (about what, I do not know). The video was by some dude who claimed to be in Iraq (no way to know for sure, he might have been in his basement in Mississippi). He said that he had been told that right now, with the [whatever name I decide to call the person leading the country]'s ban on immigration, the Iraqis are fired up. After all, we're supposed to be on their side but their nation was spelled out as being bad and their people couldn't come here, not even the ones that fought with us. This guy said if he went out on the town, the Iraqi people, not ISIL or Al Qaida, would kill him. Torture him, behead him. And is that the kind of people we want in the U.S.?
What I wanted to respond to this video was this:

Matthew Shepherd (December 1, 1976 – October 12, 1998), beaten, tortured, and left to die near Laramie, Wyoming on the night of October 6, 1998. Significant media coverage was given to the killing and what role Shepard's sexual orientation might have played as a motive in the perpetration of the crime.

Nine black church congregants were killed by a white shooter June 17, 2015 in Charleston, S.C.

The KKK and black lynchings.

Any newspaper reporting crime in any day in this country.

For further information, here's a report in the Washington Post on Hate Crime
And there is this graph here at the FBI site:

I just pulled out Virginia because that is where I live. In just those areas, which doesn't even include most of Southwest Virginia, there are over 160 murders. And look at all of those violent crimes.
And then I would have liked to have responded with this:
FBI Hate Crimes Statistics


  • In 2015, 14,997 law enforcement agencies participated in the Hate Crime Statistics Program. Of these agencies, 1,742 reported 5,850 hate crime incidents involving 6,885 offenses.
  •  There were 5,818 single-bias incidents that involved 6,837 offenses, 7,121 victims, and 5,475 known offenders.
  • The 32 multiple-bias incidents reported in 2015 involved 48 offenses, 52 victims, and 18 known offenders.

Single-bias incidents

Analysis of the 5,818 single-bias incidents reported in 2015 revealed that:
  • 56.9 percent were motivated by a race/ethnicity/ancestry bias.
  • 21.4 percent were prompted by religious bias.
  • 18.1 percent resulted from sexual-orientation bias.
  • 2.0 percent were motivated by gender-identity bias.
  • 1.3 percent were prompted by disability bias.
  • 0.4 percent (23 incidents) were motivated by a gender bias.
Because we're such a calm, non-violent society, after all. We worship our mammas and apple pie. We don't gang up on gays, or black people, or Muslims, or people of different faith.

What crap.

My point is, this weird view that Americans have that we're such a peaceful, tolerant and welcoming nation is bullshit, and the world is calling us on it. We are violent. We are mean. We are as bad, if not worse, than any other nation in this word. as far as violence and hatred and just plain vileness goes. Only we do it in the name of "Christianity" instead of some other religion, so somehow or another, because a bunch of people worship a really blatantly fucked-up version of "the Prince of Peace," that makes shooting one another and dropping drone bombs on people all right.

And to make this point even more strongly, here is this, from The American Bar Association:

In 2003, there were 30,136 firearm-related deaths in the United States; 16,907 (56%) suicides, 11,920 (40%) homicides (including 347 deaths due to legal intervention/war), and 962 (3%) undetermined/unintentional firearm deaths.
CDC/National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, WISQARS Injury Mortality Reports 1999-2003
  • The rate of death from firearms in the United States is eight times higher than that in its economic counterparts in other parts of the world. Kellermann AL and Waeckerle JF. Preventing Firearm Injuries. Ann Emerg Med July 1998; 32:77-79.

  • The overall firearm-related death rate among U.S. children younger than 15 years of age is nearly 12 times higher than among children in 25 other industrialized countries combined. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 1997;46:101-105.

  •  The United States has the highest rate of youth homicides and suicides among the 26 wealthiest nations. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    Rates of homicide, suicide, and firearm-related death among children: 26 industrialized countries.MMWR. 1997;46:101-105.
    Krug EG, Dahlberg LL, Powell KE. Childhood homicide, suicide, and firearm deaths: an international comparison. World Health Stat Q. 1996;49:230-235.
Still think we're so nice? Let's see. How about the 2006 murders at Virginia Tech? The Sandy Hook murders in 2012? The Oklahoma bombings in 1995? How about the guy who beat another guy to death in the gas station about four miles from me, because he didn't like the way the other guy was driving? Or maybe the murders of a couple of young women near UVA? Or the shooting of a couple of journalists at a local TV station?

Or maybe the stabbings, gunshots, fights, and domestic violence runs that my husband's EMS/Fire crews see every single night in Roanoke would convince you, dear reader, that we are not a peaceful people?

We are the ONLY nation to have used an atomic weapon on real, live people. We have lynched people on the say-so of a single person. We are completely capable of ostracizing and being cruel to someone different than us. We do it every single day. Every. Single. Day.

And we're terrified of people who are thousands of miles away from us.

Frankly, I am as frightened of some of the people in my community as I am anybody else in the world.

We can keep fooling ourselves that we are better than others in the world, but we're not. That boat has sailed and is so far gone it is too late to wave bye-bye to it. The only thing we have is greed and a religion that worships money.

Some of us, though, want a better world.

We ain't gettin' it today.