bookmark_border“F*** your dead” – the atrocity done to the Lion of Atlanta

It’s been several years since the atrocity that was done to the Lion of Atlanta, but I saw this Instagram post about it recently, and I felt the need to share my thoughts.

“F*** your dead,” wrote the excuses for human beings who committed this atrocity. And of course, “BLM.” 

The excuses for human beings also crossed out the word “Confederate” from the phrase “unknown Confederate dead” on the monument. 

Translation:

F*** anyone who differs from us in any way. F*** anyone who differs from the norm, from the majority.

Only our lives matter. No one else’s. No one’s feelings, perspective, or viewpoint matters, other than ours. 

Anyone who differs from us in any way needs to be erased from existence, as if they never lived at all.

Only bland, mundane people who conform to social norms and mindlessly comply with authority should be allowed to exist. 

The only people who deserve to be honored, memorialized, or respected are those who look and think like us.

Those are the attitudes of the excuses for human beings who committed the atrocity towards the Lion of Atlanta. 

And those attitudes are the antithesis of diversity, the antithesis of inclusion, the antithesis of tolerance. 

I say: 

F*** you, excuses for human beings who wrote these things.

F*** your contempt, hatred, and intolerance for anyone who differs from you in any way. 

F*** your bigotry.

F*** your authoritarianism.

You demonstrate that supporters of the BLM movement are the real bigots, the real racists. 

Our society should have unanimously and unequivocally condemned this movement the instant its slogan was found graffitied, alongside profane insults, on the Lion of Atlanta. 

Yet despicably, our society did the opposite. 

Society’s embrace of the movement responsible for this and countless similar atrocities is an injustice worse than words are able to convey; it is the worst injustice imaginable. 

bookmark_borderAll lives matter, including mine

In our society, there are categories of people universally acknowledged as having suffered. There are certain experiences universally recognized as difficult.

Whenever a person falls into one of these categories, or goes through one of these experiences, everyone expresses empathy. Everyone rallies around them. People offer condolences, say how sorry they are, say that they can’t imagine how difficult it is to go through that experience. Everyone falls all over themselves in their eagerness to help, to support, to stand in solidarity.

My life, from the time I was a little kid, was difficult and painful. I’ve suffered enormously and experienced tremendous pain. But I don’t fall under any of the aforementioned categories of people. The things I’ve experienced are not recognized as difficult by our society.

Instead of rallying around me, instead of saying how sorry they are, people tell me that what I am going through is no big deal. They tell me to stop being so sensitive, to stop complaining. They tell me that it is for my own good, that everyone has to do things they don’t like, that I should have acted differently. They tell me that I am a jerk for being upset, or that I caused the situation and therefore have no one to blame but myself.

Other people’s suffering and pain are acknowledged. Mine are not.

In the eyes of society, I am a well-off, able-bodied person who ought to help, support, and sacrifice for the benefit of those who are struggling. For the benefit of those who are “less fortunate.” But in reality, I am the one who is struggling. I am the one who is less fortunate. And others should be helping, supporting, and rallying around me.

In the eyes of society, because I don’t fall into a category that is considered “oppressed” or “marginalized,” because my experiences don’t match up with society’s idea of hardship, I am considered “privileged.” But in reality, having one’s suffering and difficulties acknowledged is the most significant form of privilege that exists.

That’s why the things that have happened in our society since spring 2020 have been so devastating, infuriating, and enraging.

During that horrifying spring and summer, society collectively exploded with eagerness to acknowledge black and indigenous people’s suffering, even though these are categories of people whose suffering has always been acknowledged. In other words, society doubled down on the practice of acknowledging other people’s suffering while ignoring mine. This would be bad enough in itself. But this time, society decided to do something even more unfair and unjust than merely ignoring my suffering. This time, society’s acknowledgement of other people’s suffering took the form of actively destroying something that is very important to me – statues.

What has happened in our society since 2020 represents not only the failure to acknowledge my pain, but the active infliction of additional pain on me.

That is why the events of the past four years have been so horrible.

Whenever a statue is removed, a holiday canceled, a street or building renamed, society is saying that other people’s suffering matters and mine does not. And over the course of four years, this reprehensible message has spread to contaminate more and more of the world. What used to be parks, cities, squares, historic sites, cemeteries, have been transformed into monuments to the idea that other people’s pain should be acknowledged and mine should not. Society’s rejection of me is now inescapable. Countless places, things, events, institutions have been turned into sickening reminders, that before were innocuous. The grim results of the traumatic events are everywhere.

Perhaps if I had experienced a life that was more or less easy, in which my needs were generally met, I would support the BLM movement. Perhaps I would agree with the idea that I am “privileged.” Perhaps I would willingly check my privilege, educate myself, be a better ally, work to become actively anti-racist, and center and amplify the voices of those who are less fortunate than me. Perhaps I would post mindless platitudes on social media, and then go back to cooking perfect meals in my perfect house on a tree-lined street with my adorable kids and dog, like the people who unfriended me when I had the audacity to speak out against the statue genocide.

But I didn’t experience such a life. I experienced a life of difficulty and pain. And society’s failure to acknowledge the difficulty and pain was the most difficult and painful thing of all.

So I will fight vociferously against any movement or ideology that considers me “privileged.” I will not silence myself in order to elevate other voices. I will not advocate for others, when others do not advocate for me. I am not interested in educating myself about the horrors of slavery or racism or “settler colonialism” (whatever the heck that means) when others demonstrate no interest in learning about the horrors that I’ve experienced. And I will not sacrifice my needs and wants for the benefit of the less fortunate, because the people considered less fortunate than me in the eyes of society are, in reality, anything but.

This is why I support All Lives Matter. Because it’s not only black lives that matter. My life matters, too.

You might consider me an asshole. You might say that I have no empathy for others. You might even call me a psychopath.

If I am an asshole and a psychopath, then so be it. Why should I have empathy for others, when others do not have empathy for me? Only when society acknowledges my suffering and my pain, will I consider doing the same for others.

As our public spaces are transformed one after another into sickening monuments to the idea that other people’s pain should be acknowledged and mine should not… I have erected my own monuments. They are only 4 feet tall and are not located on publicly visible land. But they are everything to me. I love them more than anything else in the world. They are monuments to Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Nathan Bedford Forrest. But they are also monuments to myself. They are monuments to the idea that my feelings matter, my thoughts matter, my perspective matters, and my pain deserves to be acknowledged. Through these statues, I take care of my favorite historical figures, celebrate them, honor them, fight for them. And in turn, they fight for me. They are my little army, standing guard outside my castle, my little world in which I matter.


bookmark_borderThe United States is a totalitarian dictatorship

I haven’t yet posted about the horrendous state of affairs involving Donald Trump being arrested and charged with crimes for expressing unpopular views and challenging the results of an election.

Please do not mistake my lack of posts on this topic as apathy about the topic, or worse, tacit approval of the events that have happened.

Rather, I have been so upset, angered, and physically sick to my stomach about what has happened that I have been unable to put my thoughts into coherent words and sentences.

In this blog post, I will attempt to do just that, because it is important to make it clear that I am not even remotely okay with what has happened, and continues to happen, in this country.

To put it bluntly, but in my opinion 100% correctly, the United States is a totalitarian dictatorship.

Over the past three and a half years, I have witnessed:

  • The election of a president of the United States who believes that he has the right to require people to undergo medical procedures
  • A nationwide campaign of obliteration of all public art that represents minority cultural and ideological groups and that allows members of such groups to feel accepted and included
  • Mass arrests of dozens of people for the “crime” of holding a protest that advocated for an unpopular cause
  • The arrest of a former president for the “crimes” of expressing unpopular views and challenging the results of an election

I state unequivocally that the things that are happening in the United States today, and that have been happening in the United States over the past three and a half years, are completely unacceptable, and I condemn them fully and completely.

What is happening in the United States is nothing less than a war on dissent. A war on unpopular minorities. A war on human diversity. A war on individualism, on individual rights, on liberty, on freedom. A war on the entire concept of being different, of being a rebel, of resisting authority, of thinking for oneself.

And the worst thing about this war is that the people who are most fiercely waging it are portraying themselves as fighting for diversity and inclusion, and their opponents as intolerant, discriminatory, and racist. Those who have most ardently advocated against respect for fundamental rights are portraying themselves as fighting for liberty, freedom, and bodily autonomy, and their opponents as authoritarians, Nazis, and fascists.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The people who advocate for the removal of Confederate statues and the replacement of Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day are the people who are truly intolerant, who are truly genocidal, who are truly discriminatory, who are truly racist.

The people who demand the violation of the fundamental right to decline medical intervention, who demand that all people’s bodies be forcibly penetrated against their will – and make no mistake, that is exactly what proponents of vaccine mandates have been demanding – are the people who are truly authoritarians, who are truly fascists.

The United States today is run, dominated, controlled by people with no moral compass and no logical consistency, people who practice a form of hypocrisy so blatant, so appalling, and so profound that it is shocking to witness.

The very same people who demanded that everyone’s bodily autonomy be taken away, and condemned those who dared to stand up to them as morons, idiots, racists, white supremacists, and fascists, did an about face to immediately commence pontificating about the importance of bodily autonomy, and accusing their opponents of taking away liberties and freedoms, when the Supreme Court made a decision that jeopardized unfettered access to abortion.

The very same people who praised and fetishized “resistance” when it came in the form of destroying public art that represented minority cultural and ideological groups (making these acts of destruction the exact opposite of resistance), viciously insulted as “insurrectionists” and “rioters” those who engaged in actual resistance to authority.

And when it comes to historical figures who engaged in actual resistance to authority centuries ago, the very same people described above condemn those historical figures as “insurrectionists” and “traitors,” and therefore unworthy of honoring or celebrating.

The hypocrisy and intellectual dishonesty are appalling. The people who run, dominate, and control the United States are using words to mean the exact opposite of what the words actually mean, and acting as if this is perfectly normal and the people who dare to question them are the problem.

People are ridiculed for using the word “tyranny” to characterize the things that have been happening in the United States… but it is 100% correct to characterize these events as tyranny.

I would argue that it is ridiculous for someone to claim that the things happening in the United States do not constitute tyranny.

The condition of the United States since 2020 has been one of authoritarianism, of tyranny, of totalitarianism, of complete intolerance for both human freedom and human diversity.

In the United States today, we live in a society that values conformity and compliance above all else, a society that is not only indifferent towards, but actively hostile towards, liberty and individual rights. Society demands that everyone be the same, that everyone follow the same norms, that everyone undergo the same medical procedures, that everyone live in the same way and think in the same way. It is treated as self-evident that everyone must undergo the procedures recommended by the medical establishment, everyone must follow the advice given by experts, and everyone must live under the policies that scientists decide will make people safest. What matters is that people follow norms, trust experts, and obey authority. What matters is that people silence their own feelings and perspectives and instead grovel at the feet of those deemed less “privileged” than themselves. No one is allowed to dissent, to rebel, to defy, to resist, to question authority, to think for oneself, to live in a way that deviates from the norm, or to be different from the majority in any way. These actions and attributes, which in my opinion are synonymous with being honorable and good, are instead equated with moral badness by a society that values nothing but conformity and compliance.

That is what I see happening in the United States today.

It is not acceptable. It is not even remotely close to being acceptable, and never will be. And I don’t want anyone to interpret a lack of writing on this topic, or the presence of writings on other topics, as acceptance. Because acceptance is the antithesis of how I feel about what is happening in the United States today.

bookmark_borderRebutting biased Yahoo News article about Jason Aldean

I recently came across an article from Yahoo News about Jason Aldean’s song, “Try That In a Small Town.” Both the article and the people quoted in it display the intolerant, authoritarian bias that is infuriatingly common in the media today, which I will explain and rebut below:

The article quotes Aldean’s response to his critics: “In the past 24 hours I have been accused of releasing a pro-lynching song (a song that has been out since May) and was subject to the comparison that I (direct quote) was not too pleased with the nationwide BLM protests.”

Well, yes. It’s kind of understandable that a person wouldn’t be too pleased with the nationwide BLM protests, given that these protests are racist and have the goal of destroying everything that makes life worth living. I’m not sure why being displeased with the BLM protests would be considered a bad thing.

“The country star — who witnessed the worst gun massacre in U.S. history at the 2017 Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas — had already caught flak for the song’s seemingly pro-gun lyrics… In a tweet, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America founder Shannon Watts pointed out the hypocrisy of an artist ‘who was onstage during the mass shooting… that killed 60 people and wounded over 400 more’ recording a song ‘about how he and his friends will shoot you if you try to take their guns.'”

Why would “pro-gun” lyrics be something that a person would catch flak for? I’m not sure why being in favor of people’s fundamental rights being respected would be considered a bad thing.

Also, I don’t understand Shannon Watts’ allegation of hypocrisy (let alone Yahoo‘s decision to take this false and nonsensical allegation as a fact by using the words “pointed out”). Aldean witnessed and survived a crime. And he does not believe that every person in the country ought to be punished for the crime. I am not sure why this is considered hypocritical. I am not sure why Watts, and Yahoo, believe that logical consistency requires the belief that whenever a crime occurs, the correct response is to punish all people by violating their rights.

“In another viral tweet, police reform activist Brittany Packnett Cunningham pointed out: ‘Uvalde? Small town. VA Tech? Small college town. Newtown? Small New England town. Parkland? Small town that had just been voted Florida’s *safest* town. Most mass shootings occur in *small towns*. Your listeners are dying.'”

I am not sure what the locations of mass shootings have to do with anything. It is morally unacceptable to respond to mass shootings by violating people’s rights, regardless of the locations in which the shootings take place. As for the claim that Aldean’s listeners are dying… well, yes. Of course they are. Every person dies eventually, regardless of whether or not they listen to Aldean’s music. Perhaps Cunningham is trying to point out that Aldean’s listeners have died in mass shootings. I don’t see the point of that observation, either. Mass shootings, just like any other type of tragedy, happen from time to time. Given this, it makes sense that some victims would be Aldean listeners and some wouldn’t, because one would expect the victims of tragedies to represent more or less a cross-section of the population. Again, I don’t really get the point of this observation. It is morally unacceptable to respond to mass shootings by violating people’s rights, regardless of whether or not the victims are Aldean’s listeners.

The article quotes Mississippi Free Press news editor Ashton Pittman, who tweeted: “Jason Aldean shot this at the site where a white lynch mob strung Henry Choate up at the Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, Tenn., after dragging his body through the streets with a car in 1927.”

And this is relevant how? Also, I think Pittman meant to say, “a lynch mob,” as opposed to “a white lynch mob.” There is no reason to mention the race of the members of the mob, other than to be blatantly racist, and presumably the editor of a newspaper does not intend to be blatantly racist.

The article also quotes reporter Matthew Chapman, who said that the song “absolutely captures everything about the American Right, from the paranoid threats of violence, to the irrational fetishization of communities where everyone acts and thinks the same, to the fact that the singer in fact grew up in a city.”

First of all, Chapman’s use of the term “American Right” is somewhat bigoted, because it paints an entire nationality in a negative and pejorative light. Why wouldn’t he just say, “the Right”? Also, I am not sure what aspects of Aldean’s song Chapman considers to be “paranoid.” I am also unsure why liking something would be considered “fetishization” or “irrational.” I’d be interested in hearing Chapman explain what factors make an affinity for something “irrational” and constituting “fetishization,” as opposed to normal and rational. Also, I’m confused as to why Chapman characterizes the types of communities Aldean likes as “communities where everyone acts and thinks the same.” The types of communities that Aldean sings about are actually communities where everyone acts and thinks differently from the norm. Those who subscribe to the ideology of political correctness, as Chapman and Aldean’s critics do, actually form a community where everyone acts and thinks the same. That is why those who subscribe to this ideology have been so eager for the removal of statues honoring the Confederacy and Christopher Columbus – because those statues symbolize the idea of being different and thinking differently from the majority. By having the courage to challenge this ideology of mindless conformity, Aldean and the communities about which he sings are doing the exact opposite of everyone acting and thinking the same. And of course, Chapman chooses to condemn Aldean and the “American Right” for… acting and thinking differently than he does. He characterizes as “irrational fetishization” the fact that someone likes something different from what he likes. In reality, it is Chapman, and not Aldean, who irrationally fetishizes communities where everyone acts and thinks the same. Chapman has the whole “acting and thinking the same” thing completely backward and is a complete hypocrite. Chapman’s contemptuous, self-righteous, and idiotic comment captures everything about the ideology of mindless conformity that is commonly referred to as the left. 

The Yahoo article also quotes Rev. Jacqui Lewis, who said: “There is no non-racialized way to write a song about lynching.” This statement is false. The concept of lynching has nothing to do with race. People of any race can lynch someone of any race. There is also the fact that Aldean’s song is not about lynching, so I am not sure why Lewis chose to mention lynching at all.

And the article quotes someone named Leigh Love, who wrote: “It’s like he forgot about the January 6 insurrection.” This statement really confuses me. I am not sure what the protest that took place on January 6 has to do with Aldean’s song, or what it is about Aldean’s song that indicates that he forgot about that protest. I’m also not sure why Love considers resistance to an unjust and tyrannical authority to be bad. Love almost seems to be implying that because people resisted authority, everything associated with those people and their ideology is bad and should never be praised or spoken of positively ever again. If this is, indeed, what Love is implying, then her statement is one of the most appalling instances of bigotry, intolerance, cruelty, moral bankruptcy, and aggressive, mindless conformity that I have ever seen in my life. If this is, indeed, what Love is implying, then she is an absolutely terrible person whose despicable views should not be amplified or platformed in any way.

“However, a representative for the video’s production company, TackleBox, told Yahoo Entertainment that ‘Try That in a Small Town’ was shot at a ‘popular filming location outside of Nashville’ and claimed several other projects have been filmed there over the years.”

The use of the word “claimed” implies that the author of the article doubts the veracity of the representative’s statement. The author should have used a more neutral word such as “said.”

“Responding to the growing backlash Tuesday, Aldean continued to deny that his song and video have any racist or pro-gun connotations.”

Similarly, the use of the word “deny” demonstrates bias because it implies that the author doubts what Aldean is saying. Also, I’m not sure if Aldean is denying that his song has pro-gun connotations or merely stating that there is nothing bad about having such connotations. He certainly would be 100% correct if he was doing the latter because, as I explained above, there is nothing bad about being in favor of people’s fundamental rights being respected.

“He and his wife, influencer Brittany Aldean, have posted anti-Joe Biden, anti-vaccine and pro-Trump statements online and they caught flak for spending New Year’s Eve 2021 weekend with Donald Trump.”

I am not sure why someone would catch flak for spending a New Year’s Eve weekend with Donald Trump. Trump is simply a person, with good and bad attributes, just like any other person. Would Yahoo characterize someone as having “caught flak” if that person had spent a weekend with Joe Biden? Also, I am not sure whether the Aldeans have actually posted anti-vaccine statements online, or whether they have merely posted statements expressing opposition to vaccine mandates. Being opposed to forcing people to do something against their will is not the same as being opposed to the thing itself. I am not sure why this is such a difficult concept for Yahoo to grasp.

“In September 2022, the singer parted ways with his publicity company of 17 years, GreenRoom, after Brittany drew the ire of liberal country stars like Maren Morris and Cassadee Pope with what many considered to be transphobic remarks.”

It’s interesting that the article mentions Brittany Aldean’s remarks and what some people consider to be objectionable about them, while completely omitting any mention of Morris’s remarks in response, which were vastly more intolerant, insulting, hurtful, problematic, offensive, and deserving of criticism.

bookmark_borderThree years

This weekend marks the three-year anniversary of what I often characterize as the destruction of everything that makes my life worth living.

The past three years have been filled with anguish, grief, rage, and excruciating pain so extreme that the pre-2020 version of myself not only had never experienced such pain before, but would never have believed such pain was even possible.

My pain is something that most people do not understand. People do not get why someone would be this upset about the fact that statues were taken down. They don’t get why metal and stone sculptures are what I focus on, rather than real people who have lost their lives. I have been called a psychopath, a terrible person, gross, disgusting, self-centered, lacking in empathy, racist. People do not understand why statues of Christopher Columbus, Confederate generals, and other controversial historical figures are so important to me that I feel that life is no longer worth living without them.

But this is exactly how I feel, as incomprehensible as it may be to others. This is who I am. If it makes me a terrible person, so be it. My love of statues and historical figures is a part of me, just as a person’s gender identity, race, religion, and sexual orientation are a part of them.

For approximately the first two and a half years, I felt essentially no happiness whatsoever. (A few possible exceptions: the 2021 Columbus Day ceremony, finding out about the possibility of getting my very own Stonewall Jackson statue, and receiving updates on the progress of the statue.) My emotional state ranged from unbearable, indescribable pain at worst, to neutral at best. In other words, in addition to being filled with horrific pain, my world was also completely devoid of beauty and joy. For this entire time, I seriously considered the possibility of committing suicide. Logically, it was the most sensible option. Why, after all, would a person choose to continue living when everything that makes their life worth living has been destroyed? When there is no reason to expect the future to consist of anything other than a mixture of excruciating pain and feeling just okay? Yet some combination of cowardice and faint hope, as irrational as it seemed, held me back from doing so.

I hesitate to write this for fear of jinxing it, but over the past six months I feel that I have very slowly begun to heal.

For example, one effect of the genocide is that I hate America, because this is the country where the genocide took place, the country whose people committed the genocide, the country that allowed the genocide to happen. American flags, patriotic songs, and red, white, and blue decorations, all of which I used to love, have turned into a source of heartbreak. But this past week, when I visited my grandma at her retirement home, the entire place was decked out in flags and star-spangled decorations, and patriotic country songs blared in the dining room. Somehow, instead of making me feel like a knife was twisting in my stomach, they made me smile.

Healing is not linear. There have certainly been instances of excruciating pain in the past six months, and I am certain there will be more in my future. But overall, they seem slightly less severe, and they seem not to last as long.

The past three years have changed me.

In addition to the anniversary of the most horrific series of events that has ever taken place, this week was also my 34th birthday. I am the same little girl who adored history and art, who never fit in, who was excluded and bullied, who loved historical figures more profoundly than any friend or family member. I am the same, but different. I will always have an imaginary world, in which historical figures live alongside completely imaginary people and creatures, talking, interacting, and having adventures. But now, in addition to that, I have brought a historical figure into the world. Or at least, a beautiful, shiny bronze body for a historical figure’s soul to reside in. A second one will be arriving either late this year, or next year. Instead of doing whatever society expected of me, and escaping to my imaginary world in my spare time, I am making changes, in various ways, to bring my real life more in line with my wishes, preferences, and needs. Although most people don’t understand my pain, and although I am not a very social person, I have made meaningful connections with people who share my views. I am taking action to bring my imaginary world into the real one.

So in addition to inflicting anguish, grief, rage, and excruciating pain, the past three years have made me into a more genuine, authentic, outspoken, courageous, wise, introspective, and self-aware person.

Our society decided to destroy everything that makes my life worth living. But I made a new thing that makes my life worth living, where one didn’t exist before. I had to use my own funds and my own land to do so, because our society decided that the things that make my life worth living aren’t allowed to receive public funds or be located on public land. But I did it anyway. And I’m kind of proud of that.

bookmark_borderAre conservatives punishing companies for “speaking” on social issues?

I recently saw a newspaper headline about the decision by the state of Florida to revoke Disney’s special tax status. The headline made reference to conservatives’ practice of “punishing companies for speaking on social issues.”

I take issue with this word choice. I am a conservative who disagrees with Disney’s decision to publicly take a stand against the Florida law banning explicit sex education for children under fourth grade. Similarly, I found it morally wrong that so many companies issued statements publicly praising the George Floyd protests when they broke out two years ago.

Of course, I cannot speak for all conservatives, but speaking for myself, the reason these actions were upsetting is not because companies were “speaking on social issues.” It is because companies were taking a position on something that they should not be taking a position on. It is because instead of being neutral, companies chose to be biased. It is because instead of treating everyone equally, companies chose to discriminate.

By choosing to criticize the Florida law, Disney has decided that the (supposed) right of gay people to discuss their sexuality while at work is worthy of defending. By choosing to praise the BLM movement, companies have decided that (supposed) systemic racism against black people is a serious enough problem to speak out against. “Why would someone be upset by this?” you might be wondering. There is nothing wrong with supporting LGBTQ rights or anti-racism, after all. But the problem is that LGBTQ people and people of color are not the only people who have been wronged, harmed, or treated unjustly.

How about, to give just one example, people such as myself, whose hearts have been shattered and lives ruined by the destruction of the historical statues that make our lives worth living? How about Americans of Italian descent, or Americans of Confederate ancestry, whose heritage has been almost entirely obliterated from the national consciousness thanks to the BLM movement? 

By taking positions on issues of LGBTQ rights and black people’s rights, companies are saying that the rights of these groups matter, but not the rights of other groups and individuals. Companies are saying that the perspectives, experiences, and feelings of these groups matter, but not the perspectives, experiences, and feelings of others. Companies are saying that the struggles and problems faced by these groups are worthy of acknowledgement and empathy, but not the struggles and problems faced by others.

When I see a company expressing support for gay rights or for the BLM movement, while ignoring the pain inflicted by the destruction of historical figures, it hurts. It sends the message that my perspectives, my experiences, my feelings, and my pain do not matter. It sends the message that the company does not value me as a customer or as a human being.

So unless a company commits to expressing solidarity with every individual and every group that has gone through something difficult, the company should steer clear of expressing support for political causes. When a company expresses support for some causes but not others, that company is inherently expressing the belief that some causes matter while other causes do not. And that is discrimination, full stop.

Characterizing the conservative position as a desire to “punish companies for speaking on social issues” makes conservatives sound as if they are pro-censorship and anti-free-speech. It makes conservatives sound as if they want to silence those who disagree with them.

This is a deliberate mischaracterization of the conservative position, designed to make the conservative position appear illogical, hypocritical, and illegitimate.

I do not want companies to be silent rather than speaking out. I want companies to be neutral, rather than biased. I want companies to treat everyone equally, rather than demonstrating favoritism. I want companies to be inclusive, rather than discriminating against unpopular minorities who happen not to be politically favored. 

I do not believe that companies should be punished for “speaking on social issues.” I believe that companies should be punished for being biased and discriminatory.

bookmark_borderThoughts on discrimination and exclusion

The Boston Marathon is one week from today, and I do not plan to go. For many years, I enjoyed watching the runners cross the finish line on Boylston Street, as well as walking around in Boston on what was usually a beautiful spring day. Even though I’m not a diehard fan of long-distance running, the Marathon signaled the start of spring, and the atmosphere of excitement and joy in the city was difficult to top.

In 2020, there was no Marathon due to Covid. In 2021, the Marathon was held on Columbus Day, a day that has been wrongfully turned into Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Boston and some of its surrounding suburbs. The Boston Athletic Association, the organization that runs the Marathon, decided to apologize to indigenous people for holding the race on “their” day (which is actually Italian Americans’ day). To atone for this transgression, the BAA donated money to indigenous organizations and financed various events and art installations honoring indigenous people. Separately, competitors at the Marathon were required to have received the Covid vaccine. For the 2022 Marathon, the BAA has banned Russian athletes from competing due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

At first glance, these decisions by the BAA may seem to have nothing in common. But recently, while pondering the Marathon and whether or not I should go, I had an epiphany: all of the things that make me angry and filled with moral outrage are things that are discriminatory or exclusionary in some way. And the above-mentioned decisions of the BAA all fall into this category. These policies are the reason why I will not be attending the Marathon this year, or perhaps ever. I don’t want to support an event that discriminates against Italian people, Russian people, and people who have opted against getting a particular medical procedure. One of my most basic beliefs is that everyone should be treated equally and everyone should be included.

Unfortunately, in my experience, discriminatory and exclusionary attitudes have become increasingly common and accepted in our society. An increasing number of cities, towns, and organizations have decided, like the BAA, to honor and celebrate indigenous people while ignoring Italian Americans. Like the BAA, companies and governments around the world have perpetrated blatant medical discrimination by enacting vaccine mandates. And now, Russian and Belarussian people are being excluded from athletic competitions and other areas of society because their president made a foreign policy decision that most people disagree with.

Additional examples are everywhere. Affirmative action, by its very nature, treats people differently based on race, which is the definition of racial discrimination. People who don’t like guns refer to those who do to as a “death cult” and ridicule them for allegedly “fetishizing” “killing machines.” Politicians mindlessly express support for “working families” while completely ignoring the fact that this rhetoric, and its corresponding policies such as child tax credits, paid parental leave, and many welfare programs, blatantly discriminate against people who do not have children. During the “Me Too” movement, people were lectured, “Yes, all women” (whatever that’s supposed to mean) and exhorted to “believe all women.” Silly me, I thought that making generalizations about people based on their gender was sexist, and that people’s credibility should be evaluated without regard to their gender. And, although already mentioned above, it bears repeating that intolerant attitudes with regard to Covid safety measures have reached truly appalling levels of ugliness over the past year. People around the world have been subjected to vicious rhetoric, excluded from activities and public places, barred from employment, fined, and even banned from leaving their homes, all for declining a medical procedure that happens to be recommended by the medical establishment. 

The BLM movement and the “woke” ideology provide a myriad of examples of discrimination and exclusion. The reason why I hate this ideology is because it is the exact opposite of what it claims to be. The people who pontificate the most vociferously about diversity and inclusion are, in reality, actively working to undermine these values. An obvious example of this is the obliteration of Confederate statues, flags, holidays, historical markers, and place names. Deciding that only one side in a war is allowed to be honored is the antithesis of inclusion. The brutal destruction of monuments to any historical figure who is even remotely controversial has had the result of completely stripping our country’s statuary of its diversity. It is the antithesis of diversity to allow only the viewpoints of the majority to be reflected in public art. The vicious attacks on Christopher Columbus statues and Columbus Day are similarly discriminatory. Not only does the erasure of Columbus deprive the world of a remarkable historical figure; it also discriminates against Italian Americans.

The slogan “Black Lives Matter” is itself discriminatory. Why should only black people’s lives matter, while the lives of other races are ignored? The phrase “All Lives Matter” resonates with me. Every historical figure deserves to have his or her life memorialized and his or her story told. Every person should be honored, respected, and included, no matter their skin color, gender, age, religion, culture, sexual orientation, abilities, preferences, choices, experiences, or political beliefs. Enough with elevating groups that have allegedly been marginalized, while actively harming other groups and individuals. Enough with singling out certain groups to honor and celebrate, while trampling on everyone else. Instead of having special months and days for black people, indigenous people, Asian Americans, women, gay people, trans people, et cetera, let’s include everyone and treat everyone as equals. 

It is my belief that supporters of the “woke” ideology do not actually believe in diversity or inclusion. Instead, they simply believe in going along with whatever cause is popular and groveling at the feet of whatever group happens to be politically favored. I believe in diversity and inclusion. I believe that All Lives Matter, not just the lives of people who are politically favored.

bookmark_borderJustice for Kyle Rittenhouse

Today (or technically yesterday) the jury in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial returned the correct verdict, acquitting Kyle of all charges. This trial resulted from an incident last year in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in which Rittenhouse fatally shot two people (and injured a third) who were participating in a BLM protest/riot and who physically attacked him. He argued that he acted in self-defense, and the jury agreed.

Throughout the entire ordeal, numerous people, including reporters, commentators, politicians, and even the president, have viciously insulted and slandered Rittenhouse. People have called him a white supremacist, presumed his guilt, made racist and sexist comments, and ridiculed him for crying when he testified in his own defense.

The assumption behind these anti-Rittenhouse attacks is that the BLM movement is right and just, and that anyone associated with it has the right to do whatever they want, no matter how aggressive, cruel, mean, or harmful, with impunity. According to this way of thinking, any attempt to defend oneself against BLM supporters is aggression, and any attempt to push back against the BLM movement’s ideology of black supremacy is white supremacy.

I disagree with this way of thinking, to put it mildly. So, apparently, did the jury.

Many people have claimed that if Rittenhouse were black, the trial would have had a different outcome. This is true – if Rittenhouse were black, he would never have been charged in the first place. He would have been deified and glorified as a hero, politicians would be falling over each other in their haste to issue statements praising him and insulting the people he shot, and rallies to support him would have erupted all over the country.

For those who claim that Rittenhouse’s acquittal is an example of “white privilege” or “coddling of conservatives,” for someone to be charged with murder in a clear case of self-defense is the opposite of privilege and coddling. For those who claim that Rittenhouse killed two people and faced “no consequences whatsoever,” to be arrested, charged, and tried for murder, viciously insulted by millions of people, and almost unanimously slandered as a white supremacist by the media (and by the president of the United States) is the opposite of facing no consequences.

Many people have criticized Rittenhouse for traveling across state lines. Did these same people also criticize the counter-protesters who demonstrated against a rally for the preservation of the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017? If you believe that people in the latter situation acted rightly by counter-protesting, you are inconsistent if you believe that Rittenhouse acted wrongly by going to Kenosha. By all accounts, Kyle went to the site of the protest/riot to oppose the actions of the protesters/rioters. His plans included acting as a medic, putting out fires set by the protesters, repairing property damage done by the protesters, and protecting businesses and people from violence and looting. It is wrong to say that Kyle “had no business being there” or “should have minded his own business” or “was looking for trouble.” When there is a protest – particularly when it is a violent protest in the service of an unjust and racist cause – people have the right to counter-protest. And people have the right to bear arms while counter-protesting (or doing any other activity, for that matter). 

Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum were not victims. They were bullies and aggressors. They would still be alive today if they had minded their own business and not attacked Kyle (or if they had altogether abstained from rioting in support of an unjust and racist cause). To all those people claiming that there is no justice for Huber and Rosenbaum, this is false. Huber and Rosenbaum chose to align themselves with an ideology that supports anti-white racism, discrimination, the destruction of statues and monuments, the violent erasure of unpopular historical figures, ethnicities, and cultures, and the infliction of horrific emotional pain on anyone who dares to express dissenting views. And while demonstrating in support of this ideology, they chose to physically attack an innocent person. This might sound harsh, but Huber and Rosenbaum got exactly what they deserved. 

For far too long, “woke” and politically correct people have inflicted horrible pain, damage, and injustice on other people in the name of “racial justice” and “equity.” For far too long, supporters of the BLM movement have been allowed to bully and intimidate others, completely dominate the public discourse, perpetrate countless acts of violence, vandalism, and looting, obliterate the legacies of historical heroes, destroy priceless works of art, spew the most vile and vicious words of sexism and racism imaginable, and both verbally and physically attack innocent people. For far too long, they have faced no consequences for these despicable actions. 

But today, that stopped. Today a jury recognized that in at least one instance, members of the politically correct BLM mob acted wrongly, and an opponent of that mob was justified in defending himself. 

This doesn’t come anywhere close to undoing the enormous harm that has been done by the BLM movement over the past year and a half. It doesn’t come anywhere close to achieving justice for the countless people whom the BLM movement has hurt, or for the historical figures whom this movement has torn down and stomped on. But it is a start, perhaps, to a long-overdue turning of the tide. Along with the victory of Glenn Youngkin in Virginia and the (at least for now) defeat of the totalitarian vaccine mandate, I am imbued with a sense of hope that there may, possibly, be some good left in the world that is worth fighting for.

Kyle Rittenhouse, you give me hope. For your courage in standing up to bullies, I salute you. 

Jurors, you give me hope. For rendering a just verdict despite tremendous pressure to do otherwise, I salute you.

bookmark_border“Reckoning”

Reckoning. Again and again over the past year-plus, we’ve heard and seen this word: on TV, on the radio, in newspapers, online, and on social media. Everywhere we go, we are bludgeoned over the head with the idea that America is having a long-overdue “racial reckoning.” And now this concept has spread to Canada and Europe, with a plethora of articles alleging that other countries are in need of racial reckonings as well (such as this one, titled “UK faces reckoning after unmarked Indigenous graves discovered in Canada“).

According to Dictionary.com, the word “reckoning” has several meanings, including “the settlement of accounts,” “an accounting, as for things received or done,” and “an appraisal or judgment.” 

The aspect of the current “reckoning” that is most upsetting and objectionable to me is the destruction of statues and monuments. Likenesses of historical figures ranging from Queen Victoria to Robert E. Lee to Christopher Columbus have been beheaded, torn down, lynched, strangled, kicked, set on fire, and otherwise brutalized. The perpetrators of these actions argue that they are advocating for racial equality. But the incessant talk of a needed “reckoning” is based on a false presumption. To characterize the destruction of statues as a reckoning presumes that the existence of the statues is bad. But nothing could be farther from the truth. Having statues of a wide variety of historical figures is crucial for having a world that is worth living in.

Destroying statues inflicts horrible pain on the people who love and appreciate those statues. Given that the word “reckoning” means “the settlement of accounts” or “an accounting, as for things received or done,” using this word implies that people who love and appreciate statues have done something wrong and deserve to be punished. This is completely false. Statues are just as valid and legitimate an interest as movies, trains, dinosaurs, sports, or anything else, for that matter. No one deserves to have his or her object of love and admiration obliterated from the world. Far from being a reckoning, acts of brutality against statues are in reality acts of aggression against innocent people who have done nothing wrong. The participants in the anti-statue movement are not settling up accounts, getting revenge, or getting even with those who have harmed them. They are inflicting harm and pain on people who have done nothing wrong and harmed no one. In other words, this movement is not fighting for racial justice; it is actively inflicting injustice.

Similarly, using the word “reckoning” to mean “an appraisal or judgment” implies that there is something bad about statues and/or the people who love them, something making the statues and/or the people worthy of condemnation and criticism. But it is the people destroying and removing the statues who deserve condemnation and criticism, as they are the ones acting wrongly in this situation. The idea that what is happening is an appraisal or judgment also presumes that the currently prevailing views about race and statues are necessarily correct and that viewpoints from the past are necessarily wrong. According to this presumption, it is a desirable goal to evaluate historical figures using today’s values and to modify our communities’ statues and monuments accordingly. But this way of looking at things is completely false. Views popular today are no more likely to be correct than views unpopular today and/or popular in the past. In fact, the views about race and statues that are dominant in 2020-2021 have inflicted enormous amounts of harm and pain on innocent people and transformed the world from a place that was worth living in to one that is not. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the previously existing statues and monuments. Far from righting a wrong, the removal of statues takes something that was perfectly fine and ruins it.

In conclusion, to use the word “reckoning” to describe the recent trend of vicious attacks on statues is incorrect and unjust. It places blame on the victims of these hurtful actions and lets the perpetrators completely off the hook. The existence of statues of controversial historical figures such as Christopher Columbus and Confederate generals is a beautiful thing, not a problem that needs to be reckoned with. The eradication of these statues, whether via violent destruction or peaceful removal, is the real problem. And the perpetrators of these actions, whether protesters or government officials, are the ones who deserve punishment and condemnation. The endless onslaught of statue destruction, as well as the fact that our society has treated this as if it is not a serious problem, is what truly merits a reckoning.

bookmark_borderBLM activists threaten to turn memorial chair into toilet

One of the arguments frequently made by the intolerant bullies who oppose Confederate monuments is that battlefields, museums, and cemeteries are more appropriate locations for these statues than city parks and town squares. But now, the existence of anything Confederate-related, regardless of location, has become intolerable for BLM supporters. A group of them stole a Jefferson Davis memorial chair from a private section of the Old Live Oak Cemetery in Selma, Alabama. These idiots sent a letter to the United Daughters of the Confederacy, telling them that they would turn the chair into a toilet unless the organization displayed a banner with a quote by black supremacist terrorist Assata Shakur, who murdered a police officer. 

“The rulers of this country have always considered their property more important than our lives,” the banner read. Fortunately, the UDC did not display it, and police managed to recover the chair unharmed. Stanley Warnick, Kathryn Diionno, and Stanley Pate were charged with the theft. 

The thieves explained their actions as follows: “The common thread between now and then is the criminal justice system. That’s where the racial caste system is preserved today, much like these monuments. Why did we steal a chair? To make a point. To redirect the conversation back to what matters, people, not property.”

These statements make no sense. First of all, I’m not sure what any alleged racial caste system has to do with Confederate monuments. Second, the BLM movement and those who share their politically correct, intolerant way of thinking are the rulers of this country, while those who support the Confederacy are an unpopular minority with no power, so the vandals have that completely backwards. Additionally, statues and monuments are what matters, yet they are being treated as if they are completely worthless, so the vandals have that completely backwards as well. Technically, memorials are property, but they are essential parts of a world in which life is worth living. Without beautiful statues and monuments honoring a wide range of viewpoints and causes, the world is dull, bland, and empty and there is no point in people being alive. Statues and monuments are also the physical representations of now-dead historical figures, and harming them is an attack on those heroes’ lives and legacies, just as harming a living person is an attack on that person. Historical statues and artifacts are what matters, they are what it is important, and they are what the conversation should be about. They deserve far more respect and protection than they have been given.

Comments on Twitter about this unfortunate incident are, as usual, infuriating:

In the one instance in which someone actually made a reasonable comment, another individual, apparently thinking he/she was being clever, made a completely nonsensical reference to Mein Kampf. What does Hitler’s autobiography / manifesto have to do with a memorial chair to Jefferson Davis? 

Also, they did nothing wrong? Seriously? The thieves most definitely did so something wrong.

As for the call to get the sledgehammer… really? The fact that someone would take delight in the prospect of a historical artifact being smashed to pieces with a sledgehammer is beyond reprehensible. I cannot understand how someone could be so filled with hate and cruelty that he/she would demand the violent destruction of another person’s property that is located on private land and not hurting anyone, merely because it is related to the Confederacy.

These people, and their vicious hatred for anyone who is different from them, are sickening.