It Takes A Village . . .

. . . to facilitate hate, marginalize, oppress, and in general, make other people’s lives difficult if not unbearable.

I don’t have to be a member of any one group to do most things. I mean, yes, unless I’m a female — or my name is Trump — I can’t waltz into a women’s dressing room whenever I feel like it.

But I don’t have to be a member of any particular group to steal, lie, cheat, mistreat others, and bully people. As an individual, I can be cruel, disrespectful, odious, dishonest, and a poor excuse for the arrangement of organic material we typically classify as “human.”

I need not profess allegiance and loyalty to certain groups as an excuse for doing any or all of those things; I just have to be an asshole.

But, imagine I am an asshole — not much of a stretch of the imagination, some would say — and need to cover up the fact. More than that; imagine I need to absolve me of my assholeness.

Well, then, I could become a Christian; specifically, a Republican Christian. Or, depending on the type of assholeness I wish to engage in, I might become a Progressive or Democrat or both. It just depends on who I target.

Were I a citizen in other parts of the world, I might become a Muslim. They allow the same level of assholishness and then some, but I live here, in the Greatest Country in The World: The United States of America, land of the free, home of the brave.

It pains me watching the ideals I embrace get trampled and cast aside.

It pains me watching — and listening to — people who don’t recognize the freedom afforded under the laws of this country apply to all, not just some.

It pains me watching — and listening to — people demand special treatment and in so doing ask that the rights of others be trampled.

It pains me watching — and listening to — people demand others conform to their views, their fears, their beliefs, and coddle their insecurities lest they would be forced into the acceptance of the diversity of thought, of belief, of choice that we so often laud as the virtues of this country.

It’s odious when rights are denied, but particularly so when rights are callously taken away from a marginalized group by individuals lacking ethics, morals, compassion, and honor.

Today’s targets are Transgender people, and the perpetrators are Christians/Republicans flying the Trump banner.

As I write this, it’s not clear what exactly will happen. It may be Trump is just Twitter-Farting as he’s wont to do. But even if nothing comes of it, place yourself in the shoes of people he targets.

Imagine you go to sleep with the full force of the laws of this country protecting your rights to equal treatment . . . and you wake up to a different world; a world where you are not guaranteed equal treatment. A world where lawmakers charged with protecting the rights of US Citizens decided you are not deserving of those rights.

How would you feel? Would you still feel secure? Would you trust your fellow Citizens to treat you the same as they would themselves be treated? Would you fear for your safety and that of your family?

Can’t imagine it?

Here’s the thing; few people can until it happens to them.

There’s a famous poem . . . paradoxically, there are different versions of the poem because while many recognized the importance and validity of the message, they still found it difficult have it be truly inclusive.

There is no universal generalization that would retain the power and significance of the message, but the message is clear and simple:

We either all stand in defense of each other’s rights, or separately we will all fall.

The Alternate View

I should mention something I recently heard.

Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert cartoons, was a guest on the Sam Harris Podcast. He is a Trump defender, if not an outright supporter (he claims — to my ears, most unconvincedly — that he’s not a supporter.) Like many supporters —I’m looking at you, Foxtards — he readily explains away what should have us all recoil horror. 

Adams explains Trump’s outlandishness and reckless disregard for the truth, integrity, honor, and basic human decency thus: Adams believes it’s all part of Trump’s master plan to move the Far Right back toward the Center. The theory goes like this . . . by voicing odious views, Trump highlights how criminally despicable they are, thus walking back the proponents of said ideas from the abyss.

Thus, the outlandish behavior is a cleverly concealed negotiating and persuading tactic.

Let’s say that it is — it’s not — or let’s say that even if it’s not, the end result is the same as if it was, namely, views are changed and extremists see the error of their ways — they won’t — there’s an analogous situation I can use to explain how the targeted individuals might feel.

Imagine you have a neighbor who doesn’t like you. You don’t know why; he just doesn’t. Now, imagine I walk into your house with your neighbor in tow. I then proceed to raise a baseball bat and announce you and your family need to be taught a lesson, and I begin to approach you menacingly.

In that instance, your neighbor yells out “Whoa, whoa! What are you doing? You can’t just beat people up! I’m outta here!” and then proceeds to run out of the house leaving me behind.

At that point, I smile and put down the bat as I say “See? He now hates you less. You are welcome.”

I’m betting you would not, in fact, feel thankful. You might, instead, be scared of me and wonder how far I’d be willing to go next time.

If you were really good at imagining that scenario, you now have a pretty good idea how the marginalized and maligned people of this country might feel. You are welcome.

Here endeth my rant.

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