Tag Archives: injustice

Thought Police Ramblings – 10/12/21

I’m certain the thought police believe Jon Gruden’s resignation is a major victory in the long campaign for individual liberty. I’m also certain those same people would label me racist, homophobic, and whatever else for disagreeing with The Narrative, but this is simply another erosion of individual liberty.

First off, let’s be clear. Political policies that are targeted at specific ethnic groups to inflict pain are examples of racism. So are cops murdering unarmed black men. Gay people being beaten to death simply for their sexuality is an example of homophobia. People being denied opportunities because of their gender or threatened for their religious preferences are instances of hate. These actions must not be tolerated in a free society that seeks equality, and any expression that openly calls for these actions to be taken is clearly a form of hate speech.

However, mean words do not equate to hate speech. Saying a phrase that evokes a negative emotional response is not the same as calling for violent or discriminatory actions. If someone despises people with freckles, that person might come up a colorful expression to insult that group, such as “freckled face freak.” This saying, regardless of how distasteful, how emotionally hurtful, how ugly it might be, does not by itself call for any specific action to be taken against those with freckles. It merely expresses an idea of dislike. A dislike, even one couched in hate, should not be censored or restricted. It should be defeated by superior ideas.

In a nation defined by liberty, freedom of expression is paramount for a healthy democracy. Everyone needs to feel entitled to express their ideas, even unpopular, ugly ones in order for the best ones to rise to the surface. Censoring ideas and making certain words taboo doesn’t diminish hate or increase tolerance. In fact it often breeds resentment. Another way of thinking about is this: if you aren’t willing to afford those you disagree with the right to express themselves, how can you possibly expect to receive the same right yourself?

As far as Jon Gruden goes, I’ll close with this: I doubt very seriously that Darren Waller sees him as a racist. I doubt that the environment within the Raiders organization was homophobic because of Carl Nassib. Those emails contained some awful expressions that reveal immaturity and a foul mouth, but not discrimination or active violence against any group. And that’s an extremely important distinction that seems lost on the thought police.

Sunday Evening Ramblings – 11/13/16

I’ve got a new book coming soon. It’s a humorous look at life in jail because it’s much better to laugh at misfortune than cry. So far, the feedback I’ve received is that it’s laugh-out-loud funny. A word of warning, though: this book is NSFW. It’s so profane it’s probably not safe for home either, so read at your own discretion.

Here’s a brief snippet:

So to spice up your Tuesday afternoon, you chug a fifth of whiskey and let happen what may. At some point, it becomes imperative to check on your elderly neighbor who you haven’t seen in a couple of weeks. He might be in danger, you realize, so you charge across the neighborhood in denim shorts and tennis shoes. What could possibly go wrong? you reason as you proceed to bang on every door and window, calling his name and growing more fearful with each passing minute. When the cops arrive after several calls from other concerned neighbors, you realize your wallet is still at home, so you attempt to run back there to retrieve it. Three Taser jolts, a dose of pepper spray, and a two minute beating later, you find yourself in the back of a patrol car charged with two counts of Aggravated Assault on an Officer and one count of Aggravated Burglary, and you are heading to jail. You’ve never been in trouble before and have no idea what to expect inside.

Never fear! This educational guide will give you an overview of 101 things you need to know about being an inmate in a county jail, so while you wait to be fingerprinted, photographed, and booked in, you can relax a little and enjoy yourself instead of fretting over when you’ll get to see an attorney.

lockup-101-4

Yet Another Injustice

I’ve started a couple of research-based, logical, sensible posts to demonstrate why racism and all the divisiveness it creates are keeping us from ever progressing into a better society, but I know in my heart it won’t do any good. The people who agree with me will read it and tell me how grateful they are that I wrote it, and the people who disagree will attack my character and call me crazy or stupid. All the while, in a few days, we’ll get yet another story of an unarmed American citizen being murdered by the police. The powers that be will lie, falsify evidence, discredit the victim, and tell us to go fuck ourselves for questioning their authority. The sad fact is that we now live in a quasi-police state owned and operated by corporate America, and I have zero faith that the various levels of our government represent my best interests at all.

For decades now, this country has been moving towards criminalizing poverty, and today, we’ve reached the point where just being poor is illegal. Between nitpicking traffic stops for a taillight out (which is really just an excuse to look for bigger and more expensive infractions) to arrests of people for feeding the homeless to choking a man to death for selling cigarettes, this country simultaneously seeks to punish poverty and stifle economic mobility. In my grandparent’s generation, one income from 40 hours a week was more than enough for a home, three cars, regular vacations, and retirement savings. For my parents, it took at least two incomes for the home, a couple of cars, and irregular vacations. For my generation, most of us require two incomes just to survive. For most of us, retirement means work until you drop dead. I can’t even fathom how hard it will be for those younger than I am.

I say this not as someone who shirked the system and tried to skim by but as someone who went to graduate school for an advanced degree and has worked since I was ten, sometimes at two, three, and once even four jobs to make ends meet. I say this as someone who wrote multiple books and maintains over a four star customer review rating on Amazon. I say this as someone who tried with every ounce of energy, spirit, and fight in my body to be successful but ultimately only found dead-ends and blind alleys. I don’t begrudge those who have found economic success in this country, but I do begrudge those who have purposefully shifted the average American’s wages to poverty standards while simultaneously slashing safety net programs. And I know I’m not alone in my anger at that group of people.

As I write this, my body is now a broken shell, probably from so many years of 60-70 hour work weeks with no real vacations. I’m physically not able to protest in the streets for equality and justice and improved wages. My heart is broken at how far this country has regressed in my lifetime (and I still stand by my statement that we are heading for a New Dark Ages ruled by fear and superstition). I like to think that if my body were able, I would step forward front and center and lead the charge, but right now, I’m just sad for this country. Sad at seeing the time and energy and resources wasted on mindless entertainment. Sad at seeing greed and vanity rewarded while virtue and decency are ground to dust. Sad at watching countless injustices unfold while the vast majority pour their righteousness into frivolities like getting college football coaches fired or criticizing others’ clothing choices.

One of my few remaining rays of hope is that history tells us that this is a repeatable cycle. All civilizations go through episodes of greed and corruption that are followed by periods of chaos and then stretches of peace and prosperity. We happen to be in an obtuse period of greed, and hopefully enough people are waking up to this fact that it will change soon. Hopefully, enough people will begin to see that matters of race and gender equality are also matters of economic inequality, and that as long as the system purposefully denies full rights to any taxpaying citizen, no one is really free. Hopefully, the episode of chaos that follows won’t be too terrible for my children’s sake, and hopefully the next era of peace and prosperity will last for quite a while. Right now, however, I’m overwhelmed by all the hate and venom spewing from so many directions