A quilt depicting four bookshelves with books and ideas that have been banned or attacked in the last 100 years. It has a thick yellow order, and the words "Targeted & Banned" embroidered at the top.

Celebrate Pride by stopping book bans

I was enraged, but not surprised when The Washington Post reported recently that “an analysis of book challenges from across the nation shows the majority were filed by just 11 people.” While many on the far-right would have us believe there is some kind of grassroots groundswell against teaching accurate history and respecting people of all genders and sexualities, the truth is that this “unprecedented” astroturf movement has been skillfully crafted by people who only care about money and power. 

[L]ibrary and free speech advocates warn that the rise in book challenges, especially those targeting LGBTQ texts, will imperil teachers’ ability to do their jobs, undermine the mental health of LGBTQ students and rob children of exposure to lives different from their own.

“Objection to sexual, LGBTQ content propels spike in book challenges” Washington Post 5/24/23

This is so important for us to understand (especially during Pride Month since more than half of challenged books have LGBTQ+ themes) because Americans can and should stand up for the values of freedom and equality that our country was founded on. Hate groups like the so-called Moms For Liberty, American College of Pediatricians, Alliance Defending Freedom, and many more are fronts for the same forces that have been working for my entire lifetime against the equality of everyone who doesn’t look like they just stepped out of a meeting of President Nixon’s Cabinet, pictured here in the year I was born.

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Congressional Slut Shaming

The more I think about Congresswoman Katie Hill resigning the more pissed off I get. The fact is she could have stayed in Congress and served her district while admitting and atoning for her mistakes (like so many Republicans have made), except that her ex-husband is punishing her by illegally sharing private files.

It’s this dangerous SLUT SHAMING that made her resign, not her own actions. And as a result, women (especially those of us that are are also queer and ethically non-monogamous) get knocked back down a few pegs in society and lose an advocate in Congress.

Das Andere Deutschland's final issue, announcing its own prohibition on the basis of the Reichstag fire decree.

How to get away with fascism

  1. Stoke paranoia. Deprive, dehumanize, physically weaken, and isolate people.
  2. Cause/provoke crisis. (Or at minimum, ensure government is not prepared to handle inevitable crisis. Hurricane, anyone?)
  3. Justify consolidation of power and suspension of human rights, civil society, and democracy.

Do you know about the politics of Weimar Germany when Hitler rose to power because the establishment thought they could use the Nazis and bend them to their own will? Do you know about the Reichstag Fire which Hitler leveraged just a month after becoming Chancellor to effectively end democracy and civil liberties in Germany? Can you tell me any reason that it couldn’t happen here? All the groundwork is already in place. 

On the willful ignorance of religious right voters

“The real problem is that rural Americans don’t understand the causes of their own situations and fears and they have shown no interest in finding out. They don’t want to know why they feel the way they do or why they are struggling because they don’t want to admit it is in large part because of the choices they’ve made and the horrible things they’ve allowed themselves to believe.”

This is a long read but a good one: An Insider’s View: The Dark Rigidity of Fundamentalist Rural America on Alternet. For me it still reinforces the need for the clear articulation of patriotic progressive values to communicate with these voters. They may be willfully ignorant, but they are human beings who love their friends and families and most of whom do not actually wish suffering on other people.

Image source: http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/27/politics/donald-trump-voters-2016-election/

I’m pretty sure Jesus wouldn’t do this

Sorry I’ve been neglecting this blog. Between Twitter, OrangePolitics, and FORpeace, I’m getting my self-expression fix pretty effectively I guess. Here’s a post I just wrote for the work blog.

The repercussions of last week’s shooting at Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville are echoing around the country. Is this the inevitable conclusion of decades of intolerance preached from conservative pulpits (both literal and figurative)? And do open-minded people of faith now need to live in fear – as many abortion providers already do – of the one unbalanced so-called Christian seeking vengeance for our sins?

Upon hearing the news, I immediately became concerned for my mother’s UU congregation. They are located in a small beach town on the coast of North Carolina, surrounded by rural communities in Down East NC – not especially known for modern social ideas, but quite likely to have access to hunting rifles. As we observe Americans trending toward living more in safe, homogeneous communities, we can see both the cause and effect of this increased ideological segregation.

My friend James Protzman blogged about his daughter’s reaction to the shooting. She had met several teenagers from the Tennessee Valley congregation at a UU retreat and was grief-stricken at the irony of a house of peace being attacked so violently. "She wonders about all the other deaths that can be laid at the feet of right-wing political hate. Abraham Lincoln. Martin Luther King. John Kennedy. Robert Kennedy. Will it ever stop? she asks."

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