Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Another Infamous Day

Well .... I've been wrong before, and I'll be wrong again, but I think I'm right about this: with no intent to insult my Republican friends, today will be marked as the day that elected Republicans, collectively, went too far.

In a surprise move - that has nothing to do with the budget - Wisconsin went ahead & stripped the unions of most of their collective bargaining rights.
Michigan will now allow a city to be taken over in a "fiscal emergency" (with a way-too-loose definition of fiscal emergency), and then the person that takes over can fire any or all of the elected officials, strip unions of their bargaining rights, nullify contracts, and take over schools.
Republican governors, "coincidentally", have all decided that collective bargaining needs to be done away with (you DO remember reading about life before unions, don't you?)
Florida wants to eliminate almost all taxes on corporations then fire 9000 people to make up for the loss of income.

All of this while giving huge tax breaks to the wealthy and to hugely profitable corporations.

Looks like all the noise about President Obama being a socialist was nothing but a smoke screen to cover up the fact that our rights are being stripped away from us so quickly and so boldly it's frightening. I think all of us better pay more attention, open up our windows, and shout out that we're not going to take it any more. Then .... we have to not take it anymore & keep protesting until rights are restored, the wealthy pay their share, and corporations give back to the country that made them wealthy.

Today's moves are truly disgusting.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Soldier funerals & those "church" protesters

I've been thinking a lot about free speech these last few days (ever since the Supremes handed down the 8-1 decision regarding the "church" (that term is loosely used here) protesters at the funerals of our fallen soldiers). I'm sharing these thoughts because writing helps me make sense of things that sometime seem to have no sense.

The Supremes - in a rare near-unanimous decision (only Justice Alito dissented) ruled that these "church" members can continue to protest: their speech is protected whether we like it or not. (I'm not sure how someone carrying a sign that reads "God hates fags" can really be called "religious", and how a group of people whose sole purpose seems to be to hurt the families of dead soldiers can be called a "church", but that's a discussion for another day.) Now ... I was pretty disgusted when the Supremes ruled that corporations have the same free-speech rights as us humans, but after thinking about this week's "church" decision, I have to agree with the 8 justices that are protecting the ugly speech.

Here's the thing ..... these "devoutly religious" "Christian" people are protesting at military funerals because they really believe that soldiers are dying because of our (the United States') tolerance of homosexuality. (Seriously???? Can these people read newspapers???) But what is so ironic is that these soldiers died protecting their right to say these things. It's a dilemma, isn't it? (Side thought: "Christian" ... try to picture Christ carrying a sign that reads "God hates fags". That'd do wonders for religion, wouldn't it??) So all things considered, I think the soldiers would also side with the Supremes even while they are disgusted by the protesting.

I hate the protests. I think the "church" people are wrong for putting grieving families through even more misery. I also hate KKK rallies and protesters at clinics that provide abortion services. But after musing over this for a few days, I've decided that I prefer the protests and rallies over the limiting of speech. If the court had stopped the funeral protests, what speech would be stopped next? It is the beauty - and sometimes gut-wrenching freedom - of our democracy to be able to protest without fear. We have our fallen soldiers to thank for protecting that freedom.