Dear Democrats

Dear Democratic partisans everywhere,

I’m gonna need you to take a seat. And to be quiet. For at least five minutes. Because America’s future depends on it. Yes, all you “rah-rah, stronger together, go go Hillary” Democrats who are enraged at the wrong people, sit down. Chill. I need to tell you something that may change your life, and I hope you’ll hear me out.

You are destroying the Democrats chances of winning ANY future elections.

Shhh, remember I asked for five minutes of silence? Please, hold your questions until the end.

shut up louis ck shh be quiet shhh

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Blaming third party voters is destroying the Democratic Party.

Telling third party voters that they’re “exercising straight white privilege” (real quote…I’m not kidding) is destroying the Democratic Party.

Blaming Bernie supporters is destroying the Democratic Party.

Screaming about how anyone who voted for Trump is a racist, sexist, xenophobic, misogynistic asshole is destroying the Democratic Party.

Seriously. I’m not kidding, and I’m not exaggerating.

Think about it. Let’s go back in time, shall we? Remember the primaries? You may have even supported Bernie back then (bless your heart). Maybe you supported Hillary from the start (that I have some issues with, but we’ll let that go for now).

Do you remember the CNN and MSNBC propaganda against Bernie? The hundreds of articles attacking Bernie from the New York Times, Washington Post, Think Progress, and Slate (and dozens more)? Even if you weren’t a Bernie supporter, come on, you knew the whole “pie in the sky, he’s crazy, he’s an evil old socialist” arguments were just a load of crap. Deep down, even if you let their lies wash over you back then, you know they were just that: lies.

Let’s go to the town hall with Rachel Maddow in April. Hillary is leading in the primaries, and it’s becoming evident that she may win the nomination. But the primaries aren’t over yet. Maddow asks Hillary what she’ll do to win over Bernie supporters during a general election. What was Hillary’s answer? “But I have more votes than him.” And a bunch of gloating.

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She was visibly disgusted at the idea of earning the votes of Americans. (Side note: Watching this clip post-election is just amazing given the results).

How many Bernie supporters did she win over with that answer? My guess would be -3,000, roughly. As a Bernie supporter myself, that was the first time I knew, “I cannot vote for her. She literally just told me she will do NOTHING to win my vote.”

Now let’s recall the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia at the end of July. If you were watching CNN or any other mainstream outlet or reading a mainstream publication, you may not have heard much about the convention shenanigans.

“No TPP” chants were drowned out with “Hillary, Hillary” chants. Why didn’t the DNC want people chanting against the TPP? Could it be that their nominee had lobbied in favor of the TPP 45 times?

Videos surfaced of Bernie delegates’ seats at the convention being stolen from them. White noise machines were placed directly in the areas where Bernie delegates were seated. The media was pretending there was “unity” at the convention while Bernie supporters were protesting against Hillary Clinton. Bernie delegates were kicked out for having pro-Hillary signs, and other Bernie delegates’ signs were covered up with pro-Hillary signs. Bernie supporters constantly booed the mere mention of Hillary’s name (to be drowned out by “Hillary, Hillary” chants, as directed to do so by the DNC). So much for unity, right?

You may brush that off. “No big deal. Those supporters were just upset their candidate lost. Understandable.” Sure, that argument makes sense, and is pretty accurate. But if you don’t think the tension at the convention was a sign of things to come, then you just weren’t paying attention.

Throughout the general election, Hillary snubbed the progressive base. Her message was, “Look at the other guy! Don’t vote for him! Trump bad!” rather than explaining what she would do to help progressives (because she wasn’t going to do anything for progressives). She spent most of her time pointing at Trump and his faults rather than discussing what she would do in office. Why? Because she wouldn’t bring anything progressive to the White House.

Another sign she snubbed her base? Who was Hillary’s pick for Vice President? I’m sure you forgot already, because he’s that forgettable, but it was Tim Kaine. Since you forgot, obviously her pick was a mistake. Kaine was in favor of the TPP. Like Hillary, he was in the pocket of Wall Street donors. Also like Hillary, he was a dangerously conservative “Democrat.” When Hillary had the option of choosing someone progressive such as Elizabeth Warren, Hillary’s response was, “Nahhhhh, I’m cool. I don’t need a progressive VP. Come on over here, Tim!”

Part of a politician’s job is to win votes. Why do they campaign all over the state or the country, depending on what office they’re running for? They campaign to put their message out into the world in the hopes that people will hear it and support the message. Politicians campaign to win votes, and that’s the key idea here.

It’s not every day Americans’ job to vote. Voting is a right, not a job. It’s not American citizens’ job to support a candidate at all. Americans decide whether or not to support a particular politician based on what they hear and see. It’s not the citizen’s fault if they decide not to support the candidate. It’s the fault of the politician for not convincing the voter to support him/her.

I’m baffled when I hear people saying, “Anyone who didn’t vote has no right to complain,” and then five minutes later blame voter suppression laws pushed by Republicans as one of the main reasons Hillary lost. Don’t blame people who didn’t vote when many DID try to vote and were turned away by the very same voter suppression laws that you’re complaining about.

So after all of my ranting, do I think there is someone to blame for Hillary’s loss? Yes. And who do I blame? I blame…drum roll, please…Hillary Clinton! Shocker.

Think about it. We’ve had problems with people blaming the wrong factors for the Al Gore loss, but let’s look at the John Kerry loss to George W. Bush in 2004.

Did you blame third party voters or people who didn’t vote at all for Kerry’s loss? No. You most likely blamed John Kerry for not being a strong enough candidate.

The Al Gore loss was Gore’s fault. Yes, there were many factors that played into it, but the one to blame in an election loss, when it really comes down to it, is the candidate.

A myth has floated around for years that Ralph Nadar’s third party run cost Gore the election, and that myth has resurfaced this time around because history has repeated itself. Like in 2000, the Electoral College loser has won the popular vote. Yes, that sucks. But that’s not the point. Both in 2000 and in this election, more Democrats voted for the Republican candidate than voted third party. That’s a fact. 9% of Democrats voted for Donald Trump, and a whopping 11% of Democrats voted for George W. Bush in 2000. Even though more voters cast their ballots for third party candidates this election, Stein and Johnson, combined, received a little over roughly 4% of the vote.

So why aren’t Democratic loyalists yelling about Democrats who voted for the other guy? Because that doesn’t boost their egos. They need to find someone to blame, and it’s easier for them to blame those who voted for a more progressive candidate. It fits their narrative that third parties are evil and that Democrats are saints, no matter who the candidate is.

Even though I fully blame Hillary Clinton for losing, I do have someone else to blame for enabling her.

I blame the DNC.

I could go on and on about the faults of the DNC (but that’s for another blog post, because I could rant forever about that, obviously). But to be clear: It is a fact that the DNC and Hillary camp colluded with the media to attack Bernie and report propaganda, cheated by receiving debate questions early, and suppressed the vote during the primaries by fighting for closed primaries, fighting to keep independents out of the voting process, limiting the debate schedule, limiting polling places, and involving themselves in the primary voting schedule. If you think that the DNC is against voter suppression, you’re mistaken: They are only against it when it doesn’t benefit them. But when it does, they fight to suppress the vote just as much as Republicans do.

I blame the DNC for ignoring the thousands and thousands of people (many of them millennials) who showed up to Bernie rallies all over the country. The DNC attacked Bernie with inaccurate arguments like saying his ideas were “unrealistic.” The DNC concocted the idea of “Bernie Bros,” similar to Hillary’s failed attempt at fabricating “Obama Boys.” Who are “Bernie Bros” or “Obama Boys”? They are, according to pro-Hillary writers and team members, sexists who support Bernie or Obama over Hillary simply because they’re sexist.

To be clear: The reason people supported Bernie or Obama over Hillary was because they didn’t believe Hillary was a good candidate. Plain and simple. Were there the occasional Democratic voters who were sexist against her? Probably. But were there thousands, maybe millions of them? Hell no. Hell. To. The No. The millions of people who voted for Bernie over Hillary didn’t support Hillary because of her RECORD, not because of her gender.

Hillary Clinton voted for the Iraq War, an illegal war against a country that didn’t attack us, which has killed thousands of people and will cost trillions of dollars.

Hillary Clinton voted for the Patriot Act. She voted to virtually erase the Fourth Amendment.

Hillary Clinton has been flip flopping on the issue of gay marriage for decades.

Hillary Clinton has promoted fracking all over the world. During a debate in March, when asked if she supports fracking, Hillary gave a convoluted, obnoxiously rehearsed, nonsensical (and, frankly, bullshit) answer which basically concluded to say that, yes, she would continue to support fracking so that she wouldn’t upset her donors. Bernie, on the other hand, famously said, “My answer is a lot shorter. No, I do not support fracking.” Short, simple, and without bullshit.

Hillary Clinton claimed she wanted a $12 national minimum wage before flipping to support Bernie’s $15 proposal.

Hillary Clinton has spoken quite negatively about universal health care and universal college (and progressive ideas in general).

And, probably most famously, Hillary has lobbied 45 times in favor of the TPP. Even though Donald Trump said it, it’s actually true that Hillary used to call it “the gold standard.” Because of Bernie, Hillary became more careful about her TPP-talk, but don’t kid yourself: She’s still in favor of the TPP.

Given all of these facts, calling anyone who supports Bernie over Hillary a sexist is, at this point, a complete joke. Note: sadly, while trying to find an article to cite about this fact, most of what I found were sloppy, pathetic articles about “Bernie Bros” and how sexist it was for Bernie to even run against a woman, courtesy of everyone from the Washington Post to Vox).

After this election, as progressives and Democrats, we are all hurting. We are all angry. We are all scared. We are vulnerable. And while dealing with these emotions, we all want to blame someone.

But if we blame the wrong factors, we will hurt the Democratic Party.

Blaming those who Hillary snubbed for not voting for her is missing the point. Hillary and the DNC spit in the faces of millions of progressives. What did they expect to happen? Why would millions of disenfranchised voters show up in droves to vote for someone who essentially said, “I will not fight for you, I will not support you, and I will simply expect you to bow down and vote for me”? The most Hillary did was concede to Bernie (not without kicking and screaming the entire way) on a couple of issues, like the $15 minimum wage and language to fight more strongly against climate change, for the Democratic platform.

Blaming American citizens who voted for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson or sitting out the election is not only an inaccurate argument: It’s also a waste of time, and it’s only hurting the party.

Why, you ask? Because you’re helping Trump in winning a second term.

Think about it: Do you think shaming millions of people who didn’t vote for Hillary will win them over into voting for a Democrat in 2020? Do you think writing whiny Facebook statuses saying “Third party voters have no right to complain!!!! #StrongerTogether #ImStillWithHer #ImWithHer #Hillary2020” is going to win over ANYONE who didn’t vote for Hillary?

No. You know what you’re doing? You’re doing the same shit Hillary did. You’re alienating progressives. You’re spitting in their faces. You’re ignoring the fact that Hillary lost the Electoral College to the most disliked candidate in election history. You’re ignoring the fact that before the election, Hillary Clinton was the No. 2 most disliked candidate in election history.

With the two most disliked presidential candidates being pinned up against each other, what did you expect to happen? You expected Hillary to win in a blowout? When she was down in the polls a week before the election? If you truly believed she would win in a landslide, then not only were you not paying attention to the election, but I’d venture to say you were asleep for about a year and a half. Yes, most of us assumed she would win, but no one who was paying attention thought it would, by any means, be a landslide.

If you continue to shame third party voters or people who didn’t vote, then you are just asking for Trump’s second term. Now is the time for the Democratic Party to become more progressive. Now is the time for voices like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Nina Turner, Tulsi Gabbard, and Keith Ellison (who was laughed at for saying that Trump should be taken seriously) to be the majority of the party, the voices that are the loudest. If the party continues to prop up corrupt, establishment candidates, then they are handing Trump a second term on a silver platter.

Now is the time to be joining together and learning from mistakes. We must work together to pick up the pieces. The Democratic Party is in shambles, but there is hope. And the hope is with the progressive voices.

All I ask is for everyone who wants someone to blame for this election disaster to stop blaming those who aren’t at fault. Stop blaming people who you need to be reaching out to in order to win future elections. Yes, we know who to blame. It’s those at the DNC for their cheating, corruption, and embarrassing miscalculations. But don’t forget: In the end, Hillary Clinton lost because of Hillary Clinton.

The Democratic Party needs to be the party of unity again. The party of progression. The party of the people. The every day American citizens. I’ve believed in this party my entire life. And I still believe in it. The party seems to have lost its way, but I believe it can be the party of the progressives once again.

Sincerely yours,

A progressive

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Donald Trump: Embarrassing Republicans Everywhere

Source: memes.doublie.com The Donald on a good-hair day.

Source: memes.doublie.com
The Donald on a good-hair day.

Donald Trump is basically like that embarrassing grandparent, uncle, or neighbor who just doesn’t know how to keep his mouth shut.

He has no filter, says whatever thought that comes to his head (no matter how ridiculous it may be), and he’s so cray cray, he’s even embarrassing the Republicans.

Now that’s talent.

I’ve written about my, um, disdain (putting it mildly) for The Donald on this blog before when I reviewed the documentary called “You’ve Been Trumped.”  If you haven’t seen this documentary that displays The Trumpster’s dumbassery, please give it a watch and report back. His arrogance and ignorance is so in-your-face it’s almost shocking. But since it’s The Donald, I suppose it’s not really too shocking.

Some critics (which would include the majority of the world’s population) have called Trump “the Republican Id.” I couldn’t agree more with this theory, and here’s why:

1. The Donald says exactly what the stereotypical Republican feels about immigration, but doesn’t usually say out loud. Republicans such as Ted Cruz have been quoted as saying that while they don’t agree with the WAY Trump has said he doesn’t approve of immigration, they agree with his views on immigration. Basically, they’re saying they agree with Trump that Mexicans are rapists…well, wait, what? I mean, they just think that all Mexicans should be deported immediately. Wait, no. They actually mean Mexicans are ruining this country. No, actually, Republicans think the ones here can stay, but we need a wall to keep everyone else from Mexico out. Yeah, that’s it. How will Republicans solve immigration? Uhhh, next question, please. That will get the Latino vote. Let’s stick with that.

2. While most Republican politicians love being rich and helping out their fellow rich friends, many of them try to keep it on the down low (even though reporters are onto their sneaky ways). Trump, however, doesn’t keep quiet about how rich he is. Heck, what’s wrong with flaunting bank statements during his presidential campaign announcement speech? Absolutely nothing.

3. The Donald loves war, and wants to fight everyone, all day, every day. Did you know he has top-secret plans to defeat ISIS? Okay, maybe his plans aren’t so top-secret. But for those who don’t own televisions or phones, his plans of attack on basically every other country on Earth will be a complete surprise!

4. Since Trump is a businessman and a billionaire, he worships huge corporations. They keep him going, they give him money, and they are his life support. What would The Trumpster do without corporations? Probably live a life of darkness. Therefore, he is with the Republicans on their love of big corporations (and belief that corporations are humans). However, through the insight from the documentary, it’s clear that Donald is a bit more proactive about his corporation worship than other Republicans.

5. The Donald has been vocal, like many Republicans who probably haven’t brushed up on basic science, in his beliefs that climate change is a hoax. You know, like aliens. It just hasn’t been proven. About 97 percent of scientists would disagree, but hey, what do they know?

Donald Trump has said too many offensive things that he should have kept to himself, and it’s caused him some trouble. Television channel Univision cut ties with Trump and changed its mind about airing Miss Universe. The channel was not pleased that Trump called Mexicans rapists. The Trumpster was of course, not having any of that. As he always says, he’s planning to sue them for a lot of money.

NBC has also decided to fire The Donald from their network after his racist comments about Mexicans. He’s being dropped like a flaming hot potato. Even though he does have politicians coming to defend him, there are still other fellow Republicans who tell him to calm it down.

You would think all of Trump’s antics would have solidified his epic failure in his hopes for a presidential run. Right?

Wrong. The Donald is LEADING the GOP as of the most recent polls. AKA, Donald “Mexicans are rapists” Trump is number one in the Republican presidential field right now.

Source: makeameme.org

Source: makeameme.org

Mind blown. I just can’t. All I can say is, “Thank God I’m not a Republican.” Also, I am a bit terrified for the future of this country. In conclusion, I just ask that fellow Democrats please vote this election. You all know you don’t want this fruit loop in office.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker: First Reported Time Traveler From 1955 to 2015

Source: olddogthoughts.com Scott Walker is frustrated that 2015 is progressive and has lost the narrow-minded perspectives of 1950's America. Temper tantrum ensues.

Source: olddogthoughts.com
Scott Walker is frustrated that 2015 is progressive and has lost the narrow-minded perspectives of 1950’s America. Temper tantrum ensues.

*Great Scott!

Many United States citizens have been wondering why Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker seems a bit backwards and out-of-touch.

It’s because he is.

Scott Walker (and rumors of other fundamentalist Republicans) is one of the first time travelers to join us in 2015.

During Marty McFly’s time travel adventures, Scotty sneaked into the backseat of the DeLorean and traveled with Marty from his home in good ol’ 1955 to our modern world of 2015.

Marty jumped out of the DeLorean immediately after arriving at his destination, unaware that he’d brought a passenger with him. He’d parked in an empty school parking lot, so he assumed the time machine would be safe until he returned.

As soon as Marty was gone, Scotty stumbled out of the time machine and was confused and befuddled.

Source: occupydemocrats.com Scott Walker's face of utter confusion.

Source: occupydemocrats.com
Scott Walker’s face of utter confusion.

Scotty ambles through the streets of 2015 America and as he saunters by a newspaper stand, he sees the headline on the front page: “Gay marriage legalized in all 50 states.

“WHAAAT?!? This can’t be!” Scotty exclaimed.

He couldn’t believe how progressive the future was. In his mind, it was the most absurd atrocity he could think of. However, he realized that more equality in America was just the beginning.

Scotty bought a newspaper and as he scanned the headlines, he realized that America was changing in ways that were against his Republican, strongly-conservative ways.

Stories in the paper discussed the confederate flag and its racist history. Suddenly, Scotty’s face was red. His conservative blood began to boil. His hands shook, and he ripped the newspaper in half, throwing it on the ground.

“The future is full of anti-American heathens!” Scotty screamed. Luckily, the street was empty, and so there weren’t any witnesses to his meltdown.

Then and there, Scotty’s heart yearned to travel back to his home of wholesome (but racist) 1955. He began making his way back to the DeLorean, and hoped that Marty McFly would be back soon so that he could go home. He’d hide in the backseat again, and Marty would never know the difference.

Immersed in his 1950’s, bigoted thoughts, Scotty was so distracted that he tripped on some uneven pavement and face planted into the ground.

He came to after about a minute, and recalled a message from God. Not the loving, accepting God, but the perception of God Scotty had invented in his head. Scotty was now the man with a plan. A plan to take over the state and try his damnedest to spout his message and reverse these progressive liberals and their hopes of equality in 2015 America.

Scotty thought to himself, “We need to move this country back to the morals of 1955!”

He had a spring in his step as the wheels turned in his head. Scotty decided that he would take the DeLorean a few years back and earn a position of power. But how?

Suddenly, a voice from Scotty’s perception of God spoke to him:

“Scott, son. You must run for Governor of Wisconsin. Your goal is to move Wisconsin back to the morals of the 1950s. Make it your mission in life, Scott.”

With that, Scotty ran back to the DeLorean, got inside, and drove off.

Source: i09.com Great Scott! It's Scott Walker flying in the DeLorean, off to become Governor of Wisconsin!

Source: i09.com
Great Scott! It’s Scott Walker flying in the DeLorean, off to become Governor of Wisconsin!

Scotty traveled back to the year 1985, went to high school, and graduated a year later. He started off his career off with corruption, of course, because how else is he supposed to be elected into office? By being honest? How silly! Scotty used his sneaky, manipulative qualities to weasel his way through the years, eventually becoming Governor of Wisconsin.

Scotty made sure to speak out against equality, workers’ unions, and women’s reproductive rights. In the future, Scotty hopes to take over the country as President of the United States. He is so far disappointed because Jeb Bush and Donald Trump are beating him in the polls.

Meanwhile, Marty McFly is out for revenge against the mystery person who stole the DeLorean.

*This story is satire. It is only a theory. Just so y’all know.

Let’s talk about cops (and racism)

*DISCLAIMER: This post does not mean ALL cops. It means SOME cops. But there is no denying that SOME cops have done what I am about to discuss.

Source: politicsrevealed.com

Source: politicsrevealed.com

Racist emails, unnecessary violence, and gunning down unarmed black men. No, I’m not talking about the KKK. I’m talking about some cops in America.

Like many other Americans, the series of widely publicized shootings of unarmed black men has made my blood boil. I don’t believe that these eerily similar shootings have necessarily increased over time, but I think that the advancement of technology has allowed us to document and display the violence to wider audiences.

Keeping this in mind, the events of these horrific shootings involving white cops gunning down unarmed black men proves that not only does blatant racism still exist, but it’s alive and well in many police forces.

The most recent event is the shooting of unarmed black man Walter Scott, aged 50.

Police officer Michael Thomas Slager shot at Scott eight times as Scott was running away from him. Three of Slager’s bullets hit Scott in the back, and after the eight shots were fired, Scott dropped to the ground, and died.

How do we know this? Because a witness caught it on video. The video not only captures Slager shooting Scott in the back as Scott was running away, but it also shows Slager possibly planting evidence by dropping his Taser near Scott’s body. The footage shows that when Slager fired the shots, Scott was far enough away not to be a violent threat to the police officer.

This video is crucial to the case because it led to the arrest of Slager. His original police report suspiciously differs dramatically from the actual events captured on the video. Slager claimed that there was a struggle over his Taser and that there was a struggle before the shots were fired.

Clearly, the video evidence shows otherwise.

This case is different because the cop in question has been arrested and will be tried for first-degree murder.

It’s about time we see this outcome after a cop kills an unarmed black man.

Unlike the cases with the high-profile shootings of Trayon Martin, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner, there is the possibility that Slager may be imprisoned.

Even though Eric Garner’s death was also captured on video, there was no indictment against Daniel Pantaleo, the police officer who choked and killed Eric Garner, despite the fact that chokeholds are banned by the New York Police Department. Many were outraged by the outcome of this case, myself included.

With the case against Slager, the Supreme Court’s ruling proves that the officer’s actions were illegal. According to the Supreme Court, using deadly force is only legal if “the suspect threatens the officer with a weapon or there is probable cause to believe that he has committed a crime involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical harm.”

Was Scott armed? No. Were the crimes he was suspected of crimes that involved violence or physical harm? No. In the moments before Slager opened fire, was Scott threatening him or anyone else? No.

The evidence against Slager is damaging, and it seems unlikely that he will be found innocent. However, with the history of these cases, police officers somehow manage to walk away free after murdering unarmed black men with not so much as a slap on the wrist.

Technology is crucial in keeping police officers with this track record in line, but it’s depressing to me that even with video evidence, police officers somehow manage to avoid prison time or even an indictment at all. Police officers are in positions of power, and officers accused of crimes can use this power to their advantage. Jury members may have the mentality that most cops are truly abiding by the law.

Yes, there are “good cops” and “bad cops.” But this fact shouldn’t mean that there is no justice for the men who were killed by those “bad cops.” Police officers who disobey the law should be held accountable, just like every other citizen of the United States.

Video cameras should be used more widely among police departments across the nation, and investigators are beginning to crack down on the corruption among police departments across the nation. Hopefully, this means justice. Hopefully, this means that police officers will be held accountable. Going forward, America will hopefully become more united.

Religious Freedom (in other words, Freedom to Discriminate)

Source: washingtontimes.com

Source: washingtontimes.com

Religious freedom is not what people in favor of it want you to think. At least, not according to the law Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed in private yesterday. Religious freedom is nothing more than passing laws to have freedom for businesses to legally discriminate.

While Pence claims that the bill he signed, called the Senate Bill 101, “is not about discrimination,” it is clear that that’s exactly what it’s about. The bill “prohibits state and local governments from substantially burdening a person’s ability to exercise their religion.” There has been worry that this means it’s, essentially, making it legal for businesses to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples, all in the name of “religious freedom.”

The reason people are fearing that this could allow businesses to discriminate is because of the timing (after conservatives in Indiana failed to ban same-sex marriage in the state) and the allies Pence had on his side (conservatives who have pushed for anti-gay marriage laws in the past, such as Eric Miller, the head of Advance America).

Source: akopsa.wordpress.com

Source: akopsa.wordpress.com

Interestingly, Pence cited the equally-controversial Hobby Lobby case as some of his inspiration for signing the bill. In the Hobby Lobby case, the Supreme Court ruled that family-owned businesses can legally deny their employees insurance coverage for contraceptives under the grounds of “religious freedom.” What does religion have to do with contraception? Not much, but Hobby Lobby and other “religious” corporations can use their “religious freedom” as an excuse to deny their employees coverage for different forms of health care.

The passing of Pence’s bill is more of the same. While “religious freedom” shouldn’t have any direct correlation to gay marriage, the law could open the floodgates and allow businesses in Indiana to discriminate against gay and lesbian customers on the grounds of their religion. Apparently, if their religion states that gay marriage is immoral, Pence just passed a law that would allow these anti-gay marriage businesses to discriminate against customers they have a problem with.

The “religious freedom” laws that have been passed over the course of the last year make many Americans wonder what happened to the idea of separation of church and state. While the separation between the two isn’t directly in the Constitution, the idea is still there. Recently, businesses have been given the privilege to use their religious beliefs as an excuse to discriminate. Discrimination is against the law, yet “religious freedom laws” are going against that law.

While Pence claims that this bill isn’t about discriminating against groups of people, it blurs the line. It gives businesses the right to discriminate against people, claim that they are exercising their “religious freedoms,” and doing so legally.

America is founded on the idea of “freedom,” but when someone’s freedom compromises the rights of other citizens, then that is no longer “freedom.” That is discrimination. We should be free to practice our religion (or choose not to practice any religion in particular), as long as those practices do not include denying services to customers based on their sexual orientation alone.

Laws like Pence’s Senate Bill 101 in Indiana could open up the doors for similar bills in other states. Despite the fact that Pence claims his bill was not passed to allow discrimination, it is clear that the bill would make it easier for businesses to do just that. If other states follow suit, discrimination could become easier for businesses to practice legally.

It’s unclear whether or not Pence will be running for president in 2016, but if other conservative candidates hold Pence’s beliefs, then this election could prove to be an election that includes candidates who are still fighting to take away human rights on no basis other than discrimination excused as religious freedom.

The pen is mighty: When we die for free speech

Source: nymag.com Mourners in Paris hold pens to symbolize right to free speech and in honor of Charlie Hebdo cartoonists killed by terrorists.

Source: nymag.com
Mourners in Paris hold pens to symbolize right to free speech and in honor of Charlie Hebdo cartoonists killed by terrorists.

My heart crumbles at the repeated blood spilled every day in our world. Today, it was in Paris.

Three Islamic extremists opened fire at the office of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical French journal that pokes fun at religion and politics.

They killed at least twelve people, including cartoonists and the editorial director, Stéphane Charbonnier. At least 11 others were injured. The three suspects, who have not been named to the public, are still on the loose.

This sadly isn’t the first time Charlie Hebdo has been attacked. The building was bombed in 2011. Charbonnier had police protection after this and other threats he received. Despite this, Charbonnier continued to fight for the magazine’s right to free speech.

In an interview in 2012, Charbonnier said, “We haven’t infringed the French law, we have the right to use our freedom, as we understand it.”

Source: nymag.com A sign that reads "Je suis Charlie," which translates to "I am Charlie."

Source: nymag.com
A sign that reads “Je suis Charlie,” which translates to “I am Charlie.”

In Paris and all over the world, people are slaughtered for their opinions. Civil rights leaders, feminists, abortion providers, and politicians. Anyone who has an opinion and voices it publicly is a target. The more people against you, the more danger you are in, and the more your life is at stake. Freedom of speech is a risk. Not only are we risking that not everyone will adore our books, our cartoons, our films, our music. We are risking our lives. We could die for our art. Stéphane Charbonnier is a hero to all artists. His strength was astounding, and he put his beliefs before his life. He died for freedom of the press. He fought a battle for la liberté that in America we don’t even think about before we post a bitchy Facebook status or tweet. Imagine being a target. Your every move monitored, every word you post on social media, at your job. Would you fight for free speech, or cower to the threats?

Source: businessweek.com

Source: businessweek.com

Charbonnier famously stated, “I’d rather die standing than live on my knees.” Through absolute terror, he never backed down.These terrorists are among many existing today, and there are hateful groups everywhere. The terrifying thing about the internet is that it is a double-edged sword. While we have the beauty of voicing our thoughts to wider audiences, we also run the risk of death threats if hate groups find us. The internet makes hate more vicious, anonymous, widespread, and therefore, more dangerous.

This attack on Charlie Hebdo shows that the common phrase, “The pen is mightier than the sword” is not just a phrase, but a way of life. Free speech should never, ever be taken for granted because women and men like Stéphane Charbonnier died for it.

Unfortunately, the victims of Charlie Hebdo were not the first to die in an attack because of their exercised free speech, and they will not be the last. While hate groups argue that they are also exercising their own right to speak their (twisted) minds, their words too often turn into violent actions towards others. While people such as Stéphane Charbonnier use their freedom of expression for artistic purposes, the men who shot him and many others at his magazine’s building were expressing hatred.

None of us would be here, Wordpress would not be here, if it weren’t for the men and women who held up their pens and stood strong. In honor of these heroes and in memory of the lives lost at Charlie Hebdo, we cannot back down, either. Never be afraid to voice your opinions.

Be brave.

Create.

We are no different than any who have died before us fighting for la liberté.

 

Source: ibtimes.co.uk

Source: ibtimes.co.uk

We are all humans. We cannot allow fear to silence our voices. We are all Charlie.

Je suis Charlie.

 

 

Internet High Five to Jennifer Aniston: Women Making Our Own Dreams

Source: fullmasala.com

Jennifer Aniston became my hero a couple days ago when she was interviewed by Carson Daly and she stated that she doesn’t have a checklist for her life, and she does not need to define her womanhood by marriage or procreating. The “checklist” she refers to is an idea our society invented as a list of social norms we all need to follow in order to fit in as American citizens.

America: Home of the free. We think we can do “whatever we want,” as long as we abide by the laws. Right? Wrong! Before you get your panties (or boxers) in a twist, think about this: The American Dream. The beautiful idea our founding fathers invented.

Over 200 years after our country was founded, people still blab on into eternity about this completely fabricated idea. We are taught this “dream” throughout our American education as if it were tangible (spoiler alert: it’s just a dream). And what is that dream? Originally, the dream was to have “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” But over the course of history, societal norms evolved that dream into something a little more specific. Sure, we all want to be happy citizens. Yet in order to fit in with the rest of society, we are required the same things to achieve that happiness. The Checklist:

  1. Education
  2. Marriage
  3. House
  4. Kids (A.K.A. “family”)

Over a hundred years ago, this list did not exist. Before the Industrial Revolution, we married and had children to survive. We were agricultural beings, needing many hands to tend to the fields. Women were second-class citizens and didn’t have the right to so much as own homes. Marriage and children did not used to be social norms; they were necessary for a woman’s survival (unfortunately).

Time travel through those decades, and women slowly became more equal citizens. The right to vote, own homes, have their own checking accounts. Today, some women believe that we have achieved that wonderful sense of equality. Sorry to burst your happy bubble, but it’s not true. Women still have a long road to travel in order to find it.

In the past, marriage and children was required of women and it necessary for survive, but today that’s not the case. If it’s not, why do we get married and have kids? There are a billion potential personal reasons people have. But the main reason? It’s on The Checklist. And the problem is that this list pertains mainly to women.

If we think our American society portrays men and women equally, we are lying to ourselves. What do we call a man who remains unmarried and childless? A bachelor. And we imagine that these men are mainly sexy, like George Clooney (even though he was briefly married from 1989-1993 and has remained a bachelor until just recently).

Source: sofeminine.co.uk

What do we call a woman who remains unmarried and childless? A spinster. Cat lady. We assume she’s barren.

Source: teen.com

Women like Jennifer Aniston are badgered for years when people ask, “When are you getting MARRIEEEEED??? Are you going to have BABBBBIEEEESSSS???” Sure, men are asked these questions sometimes, but not nearly as often as women.

If a man lives alone and never marries, his house or apartment is called a Bachelor Pad. I don’t know about anyone else, but I have never heard anyone call a single woman’s house or apartment a Bachelorette Pad. Why? Haven’t you heard? A man living alone is sexy, but a woman living alone is tragic! (I kid, I kid, but some people do happen to believe that crap).

Throughout history, the American Dream morphed into a list of requirements for all citizens (women, more specifically) to achieve by a reasonable age in order to fit into society. While The Checklist applies to both men and women, it appears in our society that for some reason, it’s more necessary for women to cross everything off their list than it is for men. Why? Probably because of American society’s sexist beliefs that men don’t necessarily need women, but women need men.

I am giving an internet high five to Jen Aniston for throwing The Checklist out the window. She is living proof that women can have whatever life they choose. Some may live by The Checklist, but it’s not a requirement. The American Dream should be whatever dream we want it to be. Better yet: Forget the American Dream altogether. Have your own dreams. Create your own list, or don’t write a list at all. We should be free to live the lives we want, not the lives we should.

Source: bicikel.com

Ending on a humorous note, here is a clip from the late and legendary George Carlin. He said the American Dream is called a dream because “you have to be asleep to believe it.”

 

Attack of the trolls

Source: abagond.wordpress.com

I have learned never to read the comments section of YouTube or any news website. It is horrific to see that two days after Robin Williams’ death, the trolls come out to play, sitting behind computer screens, posting disgusting and offensive comments all over the internet. The online bullying forced Zelda, Robin William’s 25-year-old daughter, to delete her Instagram and Twitter.

While reading articles for references to put in my previous blog post, I made the mistake of scrolling down to the comments section of an article. The comments were so vile that I decided to find a different article to cite. The comments I saw? One online troll wrote that anyone who killed themselves would burn in hell, and another said that anyone who is angry at Shepard Smith’s comments about Robin Williams should “go find a rope and a chair.” I’m not kidding.

Bullying has existed for generations, unfortunately, but online bullying is so awful because of how easy it is, and how difficult it is to regulate. In light of Robin Williams’ death, I feel sad that human beings out there are positing negative comments online and attacking his family. It makes my stomach sick.

Many people have experienced trolls, including bloggers, but I cannot imagine being attacked online after the sudden and tragic death of a family member. I think it was a good move for Zelda to step away from social media, but I wish our online world was kind. It is so unfair that someone who is going through unimaginable grieve is bullied. The stigma surrounding depression and suicide needs to end so that we can help those suffering, but the fight for ending that stigma will be difficult with all the trolls lurking online.

From now on I will refrain from reading the comments section of most websites because there are twisted people in this world who have ten fingers, a keyboard, and internet access. I kindly ask all the trolls out there to go to a corner, away from a computer or phone, sit down, and shut up.

An Open Letter to Shepard Smith, Fox News Anchor

Dear Shepard Smith,

Like everyone else, I was in disbelief as I watched the news reports announcing Robin Williams’ tragic suicide. Thankfully, I do not watch Fox News because it is too conservative and biased for my taste, but others do watch your news station. On national television as a news anchor, I am under the assumption that your job is to inform the public of current events. Whether or not you put a biased spin on those events, you are still required to present the facts. However, when you announced Robin Williams’ death and called him “a coward,” you were not doing your job.

Shepard Smith, I have never met Robin Williams, and I have never met you. I will not judge your character or personality. Yet when I stumbled across a clip of your Fox News broadcast and heard your vile attack on Robin Williams, a man who is no longer here to defend himself, in those moments, you were ignorant and disrespectful. You were disrespectful not only towards Robin Williams and his memory, but also towards his family, friends, and fans who loved him.

I cannot judge you because I do not know you, but I can make assumptions. While most of the world was shocked, maybe you felt angry. Everyone processes death and loss in different ways, and maybe you process it through anger. However, you had a job to do, Shepard Smith. Your job was to inform your audience of Robin Williams’ death. Your job was to report the facts. Instead, you insulted the memory of a man so loved by the world, attacked him, and shoved your heartless opinions down your viewers’ throats.

While I know nothing about your education or life experiences, from the words you expressed about Robin Williams’ suicide, I can make another assumption that you have a narrow minded, misconstrued outlook on depression and addiction. According to the World Health Organization, more than 350 million people around the world suffer from depression. Depression is common and treatable, but it potentially can end in suicide.

Despite the commonality of depression, a stigma surrounds the disorder, and myths continue to perpetuate our culture, preventing open communication and understanding of those suffering in silence. Mr. Shepard Smith, you have already apologized for your comments, saying that you regret it, but I do not believe your apology to be 100% genuine. Your initial comments prove to America that you need to let go of your anger and join the rest of the world in our hope of ending the stigma of depression and suicide. If news anchors like yourself continue to spout hateful comments about people contemplating suicide or who have died from it, then you are allowing the stigma to perpetuate our culture.

I will continue to never watch Fox News, but I hope that for the sake of your viewers, you keep your opinions to yourself and strive to only report the facts. Everyone mourns death differently, but we must respect the memory of Robin Williams, his friends, family, and work to make the world a warmer place for the millions struggling with depression.

 

Sincerely,

 

Rebecca Meyer