How We Have Failed Since September 11, Redux

First posted here on September 10, 2014

How We Have Failed since September 11

Tonight President Obama will address the nation about ISIS and any actions that we may take in response to the horrific murders of Americans and innocent civilians at the hands of terrorists.

Tomorrow there will be an observance in my community, and many others, to honor the thousands of lives lost to hate and terrorism, and to support the families and friends who knew someone they loved would never return home again.

Since September 11, 2001 we as a country have talked a lot about being kinder to one another and being a better country. Yet 13 years later this is what consumes us as a country:

  • fighting about allowing two consenting adults of the same-sex to legally marry each
  • failing to take care of the thousands of veterans who have defended our country, many of whom returned with horrible wounds from the Middle East since September 2001
  • allowing private corporations to decided which forms of legal birth control they will cover for employees through company based health insurance because some corporations should have the same privileges as churches
  • granting corporations the same rights as citizens so businesses can pour money into elections and our representatives’ pockets
  • making it harder for citizens to exercise their right to vote
  • subsidizing corporations with huge tax breaks while their employees working full-time never earn enough to break the poverty barrier
  • denying the hard facts of science because profits should come before cleaning up the mess we’ve made of the entire planet
  • deporting children
  • complaining about failing schools while slashing teacher pay and testing our children to death
  • sitting by silently while racism and sexism are displayed proudly
  • being sure we can take our assault rifles into the grocery store
  • we pay for and support violence on playing fields, in the movies we watch, video games we buy, music we listen to, and television shows we watch, but we react with horror when students are sprayed with bullets in their classrooms, women are drug from elevators by their hair, students are bullied, children and women are raped as well as being forced into prostitution
  • too many among us are convinced that their brand of faith should be followed above all others, and if necessary the rights of other citizens should be denied because they choose to worship differently, or not at all

We absolutely should remember and honor the victims of September 11th’s violence. I’m just not convinced we are a country that is a better reflection of the democratic values and freedoms which terrorists intended to destroy 13 years ago.

 

Trump is NSFW or the Oval Office

Get out the Twister mats! Donald Trump supporters will have to contort themselves into world-class Twister champions to defend their candidate’s comments revealing that he is a perpetrator of sexual assault.

Donald Trump, the standard-bearer of the party President Dwight D. Eisenhower represented, told reporter Billy Bush that he sexually assaults women he considers beautiful (and we already know that Trump describes women he considers to be unattractive as “disgusting,” “pigs,” “fat,” and “slobs.”). As Trump and Bush departed a tour bus, Donald Trump, the man Republicans chose as their nominee for President of the United States said,

“You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful [women]. I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait,”

That’s right. The man who aspires to be President of the United States said he kisses women if he feels like kissing them.

And that’s not all he’s said about how he treats women. Trump also told Bush,

“And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything … Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

Grab them by the pussy. The Republican nominee for President says he grabs women by the pussy if he wants to, because, “You can do anything.”

That’s not so veiled code for, “I sexually assault women because I feel like it.”

Can anyone imagine a President Trump breaking ranks and grabbing Kate Middleton’s pussy in a receiving line because he thinks she is beautiful? Would he walk past Queen Elizabeth in the process?

If you think it is offensive to write about the Duchess of Cambridge’s pussy, instead of choosing the word crotch, then why is it ok for Trump to volunteer that he grabs a woman’s pussy if he wants to?

It isn’t ok for any man to do that to any woman.

And it is never ok to elect that man to be the President of the United States.

 

 

 

 

 

Black men aren’t the problem

Last night I went to bed knowing that an unarmed black man was shot in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This morning I woke up to a news report of yet another black man killed by police in my hometown, Charlotte, North Carolina. Police say Keith Lamont Scott, age 43, wasn’t the suspect they were looking for in a search near UNC Charlotte. Right now the police say he had a gun, and his daughter says she didn’t.

Black men are being shot by police officers whether they are armed or not. Standing by a broken down car, waiting for a child to get off a school bus, or simply waking up as a black man, is a danger to that man’s safety every day.

It is life-threatening to wake up as a black man in the United States.

But, f you are a young privileged white man like former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner, you can wake up, get crazy drunk one night, rape an unconscious woman, and then blame your actions on the party culture of Stanford University, where you were enrolled on a sports scholarship. The judge who hears your case, Aaron Persky, will sentence you for a scant six months because,”A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him,” Persky said. “I think he will not be a danger to others.” And then you’ll get to go home after serving half of your “sentence.”

Brock Turner’s cakewalk with the justice system is one reason #blacklivesmatter is a very real issue in our country. It has been a long time coming. If you are a white person who feels threathened by what is happening in our country, imagine how it feels to wake up as a black man every day.

The needle hasn’t moved much since last year

This was originally posted last year on September 11. We continue to be a badly broken country in too many ways. No photo today.

How we have failed since September 11, 2001

Tonight President Obama will address the nation about ISIS and any actions that we may take in response to the horrific murders of Americans and innocent civilians at the hands of terrorists.

Tomorrow there will be an observance in my community, and many others, to honor the thousands of lives lost to hate and terrorism, and to support the families and friends who knew someone they loved would never return home again.

Since September 11, 2001 we as a country have talked a lot about being kinder to one another and being a better country. Yet 13 years later this is what consumes us as a country:

  • fighting about allowing two consenting adults of the same-sex to legally marry each
  • failing to take care of the thousands of veterans who have defended our country, many of whom returned with horrible wounds from the Middle East since September 2001
  • allowing private corporations to decided which forms of legal birth control they will cover for employees through company based health insurance because some corporations should have the same privileges as churches
  • granting corporations the same rights as citizens so businesses can pour money into elections and our representatives’ pockets
  • making it harder for citizens to exercise their right to vote
  • subsidizing corporations with huge tax breaks while their employees working full-time never earn enough to break the poverty barrier
  • denying the hard facts of science because profits should come before cleaning up the mess we’ve made of the entire planet
  • deporting children
  • complaining about failing schools while slashing teacher pay and testing our children to death
  • sitting by silently while racism and sexism are displayed proudly
  • being sure we can take our assault rifles into the grocery store
  • we pay for and support violence on playing fields, in the movies we watch, video games we buy, music we listen to, and television shows we watch, but we react with horror when students are sprayed with bullets in their classrooms, women are drug from elevators by their hair, students are bullied, children and women are raped as well as being forced into prostitution
  • too many among us are convinced that their brand of faith should be followed above all others, and if necessary the rights of other citizens should be denied because they choose to worship differently, or not at all

We absolutely should remember and honor the victims of September 11th’s violence. I’m just not convinced we are a country that is a better reflection of the democratic values and freedoms which terrorists intended to destroy 13 years ago.

Victims are not volunteers

This letter was sent to The Sandersville Progress in response to owner Bob Tribble’s column.

Bob Tribble’s column on August 26, 2014 included a statement that isn’t accurate regarding the child victims of convicted Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Tribble wrote,”Some lost their virginity involuntarily by a man whom they once trusted.”

Victims don’t “voluntarily” do anything during a crime. None of Sandusky’s child victim’s “volunteered” to give up their virginity anymore than they willingly volunteered to be sodomized in the Penn State locker room showers.

I don’t care what Tribble thinks about whether Penn State’s players were unfairly penalized by the NCAA sanctions. 

What I do care about is the fact that the person who profits from owning the legal publishing organ for Washington County, believes that a victim of rape or other sexual assaults, and a child victim at that, could voluntarily participate in those acts. 

Rape is a crime. Victims aren’t volunteers.

Bob Tribble is wrong to state otherwise. 

 

 

If you had three daughters

Today’s post was contributed by Rob Teilhet, an Atlanta attorney and former state legislator.

Rob TeilhetIn the span of about 72 hours since Donald Sterling was revealed as a racist on audiotape, the NBA moved decisively by banning him for life and setting in motion a process that will force him to sell his team. There is no place in the NBA for a racist. It has been awesome to see an organization not only get it, but act on it without hesitation.

There is another issue that I wish we would move on with the same urgency: violence against women.

Just as I heard Donald Sterling on tape describing his abhorrent views regarding race, I also saw on videotape Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice dragging his girlfriend’s limp body through a casino lobby. Her body was limp because he had beaten her unconscious in front of several witnesses minute before. He is still in the NFL and is still a Raven.

The Tallahassee Police Department declined to investigate an alleged sexual assault of a female student by a football player at the local university, an activity that had been videotaped. Had the tape been obtained and witnesses interviewed at the time of the report, we would probably know whether the assault that was alleged took place. Now, we’ll never know. Everyone involved with the exception of the alleged victim continues in the same capacity they were in before, and no one has been sanctioned or faced discipline in any way for any of it.

In Ann Arbor, the placekicker and star left tackle were alleged to have been involved in a sexual assault and subsequent harassment of the victim. For four years no action was taken. The placekicker was eventually expelled from school–after his eligibility had expired. In the FSU and Michigan cases, the federal government will require some answers for why these public universities chose to do so little. The investigations into the institution’s inaction will last months, probably even years. Would we have accepted that timeline for Mr. Sterling?

And just this morning, I read that we still do not know the answer to what seems to be a relatively simple question: Did Vanderbilt’s then-football coach contact a woman in the days after she made a sexual assault report against four of the team’s players and if he did, what was the nature and purpose of that contact? That is an easy question to find out the answer to, yet it has not been done. It hasn’t been done either because no one in authority cares whether it happened or they don’t want to know the answer. Both are unacceptable.

The saddest part is that I could keep going all morning. When women are the victims, there is so very little action, and it is so very, very late. And people seem to be largely o.k. with that.

Maybe if you had three daughters, you’d feel differently.

Move over Broun, Price, and Gingrey

The loudest Republican members of the Georgia Congressional Delegation have managed to make our state the laughing-stock with jewels that have included:

  • Paul Broun, MD (Medical College of Georgia) saying to the Baptist Church Sportsman Group over dinner last September, “All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is just lies straight from the pit of Hell.”
  • Phil Gingrey, MD (Medical College of Georgia) defended former Senator Todd Akin
    (R-Missouri) after Akin said that pregnancies only result from “legitimate” rapes. Even Scientific American had to weigh in on exactly how wrong Gingrey’s medical information is.
  • Tom Price, MD (University of Michigan) said in regards to making birth control accessible for low-income women through Obamacare, which he opposes, that he isn’t aware of one woman who can’t afford birth control. Price said, “Bring me one woman who has been left behind. Bring me one. There’s not one.” (Price voted to defund Planned Parenthood and eliminate funding for contraceptive three times in 2011. )

And now, Senator Saxby Chambliss, who has decided not to run for a third term in the Senate, showed his true colors on the crime of rape in the military forces during a hearing earlier this week. According to a report issued by the Pentagon, three rapes occur every hour across our military forces. Every hour. Every day. 24/7. The Enemy Within is an eye-opening article on the expanse of rape culture within our armed forces.

Chambliss wants to explain away the criminals who rape by saying the problem is due to a “hormone level created by nature.”

That’s like telling a child things happen “just because.”

Rape occurs for all kinds of reasons, but none of them are acceptable, and all the men who carry out these crimes of violence are criminals. Rape is rape. Plain and simple. It is a crime whether it happens on our streets, in office buildings, parking lots, a woman’s home (Saying No to your husband is ok. Marriage isn’t a license to have sex when your spouse says No. It is called spousal rape, and it is a crime), and in our armed forces.

Chambliss also said, “We’re not doing our job” in regards to military rape. That’s obvious. Attributing the fact that three violent crimes of rape occur every hour in our armed forces as the result of “hormones” is not going to adequately address this problem.

A culture change, among both our civilian and military communities, is required to reduce these stunning crime rates. Suggesting that testosterone pollution is the cause is not going to solve the problem.

And in doing so, Chambliss insults and minimizes every victim of rape.