I’m not sure I’m trying to communicate a message. I’m just trying to be part of the movement away from the unacceptable present. —Wole Soyinka
I am not a happy camper. In addition to dealing with eight tornadoes hitting the area on Wednesday and flooding in our own yard yesterday, most of the rest of the world seems to have come off its hinges with actions and events that are wholly unacceptable. Making matters worse, the biggest failures of the week are not merely unacceptable for their own anti-human deviance but are indicative and symptomatic of much larger problems that we’ve attempted to address before.
Maybe I should just stay away from the news. Reading through my feed every morning makes my blood pressure soar even before the normal frustrations have a chance to piss me off. I find that too often I’m already in a terrifying mood before I get to my second cup of coffee. That situation on its own should be unacceptable, but it is becoming a daily ritual: Drink coffee, read news, lose temper, make more coffee. I swear, if it weren’t for the coffee I might do something dangerous.
Instead of directly endangering lives, though, what I’m doing this morning is attempting to exorcise these demons of society by exposing their unacceptable behavior loudly and publicly. We’ve seen more than once this week where social media backlash can turn into genuine dissent that results in positive action. We need more of that. If yelling and screaming make a difference, then I’m ready to participate. Here are the most unacceptable issues.
Offender: Michelle Backman. Why anyone still puts a microphone in front of this woman’s face is beyond me. The pandering crackheads over at Breitbart News (a misnomer from the beginning) are responsible for the latest tirade. The level of ignorance shown is unacceptable on its own. What’s scary is that there are millions of people who actually believe this nonsense. Here’s what she had to say this time:
“I don’t think all of the suffering of African-Americans during the period of slavery can ever equate to what’s been done to white conservative Americans in the past 8 years …”
Yes, she actually said that. She is of the opinion that giving everyone else in America what white people already had is somehow oppressing white people. You and I both know that’s a goddamn lie, but it’s one that keeps being repeated over and over and over. White people are not victims. They probably deserve to be, but they’re not. It’s time to push back against this claptrap and put an end to such unacceptable behavior.
Offender: Bishop Ken Adkins. Like so many right-wing pastors, Adkins has been very vocal against LGBT rights. He is on record as saying that Orlando PULSE victims “got what they deserved.” That right there tells you this is not a good person, despite his self-anointed title. What we found out this week, though, is that the Bishop has a thing for molesting children. The press release from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was tweeted by a Jacksonville news outlet:
— Russell Colburn (@RussellANjax) August 26, 2016
In addition to the Bishop’s actions and words being unacceptable, what gets my goat is that THIS KEEPS HAPPENING and no one is doing anything about it! How many more times are we going to endure headlines like this before we start looking more carefully at the men behind the pulpit (and yes, it is exclusively men who have been the problem)? Sure, it’s only a few bad apples, but those apples keep poisoning barrel after barrel of innocent children. While the Catholic church has its own mechanism through which such behavior is supposedly handled (though there are plenty of questions there, jackasses such as Adkins have no oversight, no one to whom they are accountable. This is unacceptable. PASTORS MUST BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS! We cannot allow more children to be placed at risk.
Offender (this time): France. France’s prohibition against women wearing the burkini on public beaches is an example of how social media can actually do some good. After more than a week of pressure, France’s Supreme Court overturned the anti-burkini laws that were in place. The problem is that the attitude behind those laws hasn’t changed. In fact, Nicolas Sarkozy announced his bid for President yesterday by insisting on a national ban on the garment.
While the attitude of male domination is unacceptable in of itself, the whole thing about men trying to tell women what to wear, and then turning around and shaming them, has gotten out of hand. We’ve been putting up with this nonsense far too long and it’s time that men, again, were called out on their behavior. I’ll be honest, women have been saying something for a long time. What we need are more men standing up and calling each other out in this shit. I find this behavior offensive and any man who has an ounce of respect for women should not tolerate it.
Editorial cartoonist Anna Telnaes of the Washington Post has been all over this issue for a while and no one has been paying attention. Yesterday, the Post published several of her cartoons on the subject to Twitter. Here are a couple that really define the problem:
— Ann Telnaes (@AnnTelnaes) August 25, 2016
— Ann Telnaes (@AnnTelnaes) August 26, 2016
Women have been saying something for over 100 years. It’s time men not only started listening but started changing.
A Preference For War
Offenders: the United States and Russia. Let’s be honest: the two super-powers started the mess in the Middle East by interfering with their politics back in the 1950s. They have done a good job of keeping that region in turmoil ever since. This week, they had a chance to stop the nonsense. They didn’t. That is unacceptable. After all this time, leaders of both countries are afraid to do anything that might put the other in a positive light. The US belittles Russia. Russia degrades the US. They could end the violence in Syria. They could keep refugees from having to flee. But they’re not. Instead, we get quotes like this one from US Secretary of State John Kerry:
“We don’t want to have a deal for the sake of the deal. We want to have something done that is effective and that works for the people of Syria, that makes the region more stable and secure, and that brings us to the table here in Geneva to find a political solution.”
Anyone else want to call horseshit on this? They’re not interested in lives. They’re not interested in war. Instead, both countries are trying to make themselves look good to their allies. There is absolutely no concern for humanity in anything either leader has said. This is unacceptable and we need to make a LOT of noise to get the nonsense to stop.
Using Children For Terror
Offender: Daesh. First, they sent a child to a wedding with a bomb strapped to his chest. 50 were killed, mostly other children. This week, the band of idiots released a video showing children executing hostages. No, I’m not linking to the video. No one should. This nonsense is unacceptable at the very highest order. As unacceptable as terrorism is on any level, using children to commit their despicable acts is beyond inexcusable.
Here’s the thing: bombing Daesh back to the stone age, as some of our own right-wing radicals have suggested, doesn’t solve the problem. If we want to stop Daesh, we have to stop giving people a reason to want to join them. We have to stop marginalizing Muslims both here and around the world. Daesh is already using the rhetoric of the Republican presidential candidate in their recruiting efforts. They see the world as us against them, that we are trying to eliminate their culture and replace it with ours. They look at our 60+ years of constant interference in the region as an imperialistic power grab.
As much as we abhor their tactics, we cannot fire with fire in this instance. At least, not yet. When we bring Muslims into the Western mainstream with acceptance and inclusion, we take away Daesh’s power. When we support real Muslims, not the wannabes who strap bombs to children, we give them strength to stand up and fight against those who usurp their religion. There are enough moderate, peace-loving Muslims in the Middle East to drive out radical terrorism completely. We must support them, not just with weapons, but by welcoming to participate in the world alongside us. Until we do, more unacceptable acts will happen.
I’ve had my turn at yelling and screaming. Now it’s your turn. We’ve seen that mass public pressure can have a positive effect on world events. You have to say something. Share this article. Tweet your displeasure. Make your voice heard. Your options are many. Find a way.