Out of Control

This rant is my “scream into the void,” I guess.

Cuts to the budget for public land (i.e. OUR land). Taking away health care for millions. Cuts to educational funding for children with disabilities. Drastic, possibly institution-eliminating cuts to the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts. Appointing people violently opposed to science, education, social support for the public, and civil rights. Sycophants who disrespect veterans, the disabled, women, and minorities, who insult our allies and vilify our own government operations, while fawning over a foreign leader who has strenuously worked to deny his own citizens their basic rights.

This is what basing your political choices and actions on panic, fear, and hate has wrought. This is what happens when you trust unsubstantiated rumors and innuendo over facts and evidence, when you value ignorance over knowledge, when you believe click-bait articles on Facebook over documented history and science. This is what happens when you let a single issue define your entire worldview. You don’t want the “deaths of unborn children” on your conscience? How about the pain, suffering, and deaths of thousands, millions of your fellow “here-now-existing-on-earth” citizens? That’s fine, huh?

I cannot believe our country is being led by people who so obviously have no place leading. I cannot understand how nominally intelligent people can look at a bombastic, materialistic, narcissistic, childish, emotionally unstable blowhard and think “Yes. This man is the best choice. This man has my interests at heart.” I cannot believe so many people so enthusiastically voted against their own interests. And I cannot understand how these same people were furious about emails being possibly sent from a secure server, but are fine with the possibility that Russia hacked our electoral system.

There are reports of people who hated “Obamacare,” but loved their insurance obtained via the Affordable Care Act (not realizing they are the same thing). These people voted to get rid of Obamacare, and they will lose their health insurance. People will die, some of whom don’t even realize they voted for their own deaths.

If I sound panicked, I am. This makes me sick. Literally. Migraine, dizziness, nausea. My anxiety is through the roof. The closer this weekend gets, the more frightened I am. My anxiety issues are centered over feeling impotent, weak, unable to control the world around me. This is absolutely my nightmare come to life. I cannot fix this. I cannot change anything. I cannot even really express how I feel about all of this to others in my life. They say “God is in control”, or “we just have to hope things work out for the best,” and they think that settles it.

Everything is out of control. The world is out of control. Some people think it’s the end times. Some people voted for this megalomaniac because they want the end times. Some people are celebrating the ignorance and obliviousness of the population who voted him into office. Some people are smugly thinking of the 3 million votes for Clinton that don’t matter in the face of the electoral college (and possible manipulation of voting results by foreign interests). Some people are laughing in the faces of those of us who are afraid, telling us that “now is the time for unity.” Those people are forgetting–or ignoring–the 8 years of of Congressional obstructionism, of rumors of Presidential illegitimacy, of accusations of treasonous ties, of simply hating having a black man in power.

This is not the world I want to live in. This is a world in which people are suffering and dying because others believe lobbyist-generated propaganda over the truth. This is a world in which those who claim to follow the one who said “Do unto others as you would have done unto you” and “blessed are the poor” have voted for the elimination of health care and other social support for millions. How un-Christian. How cruel. How disgustingly immoral.

This rant is my “scream into the void,” I guess. Those who read it will likely agree with my fear, at least in part. Those who should read it probably won’t, or will dismiss it as the hysterical diatribe of a “hapless old harridan,” a “nasty woman” who should keep her “trap” shut.

We are in the age of the “Ugly American” stereotype, turned up to 11-billion. We are on the precipice of a regression the likes of which we haven’t seen since the Dark Ages. Extremism in politics and religion has taken over, and those of us who live by reason, compassion, and tolerance must fight to keep going.

But it’s a long, dark, road. And I’m scared.

The World is not Black and White

Absolutist thinking only makes things worse.

(I originally posted this as a response to someone on Facebook, but I decided due to its length it would work better here.)

My problem with simply making abortions illegal is that without finding ways to eliminate the perceived need for them — through programs such as nation-wide comprehensive sex education and access to birth control (https://mic.com/articles/98886/the-states-with-the-highest-teenage-birth-rates-have-one-thing-in-common#.dZnzMbb69), free or low-cost access to comprehensive medical care for pregnant women and new mothers, extensive paid maternity AND paternity leave (https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/08/these-10-countries-have-the-best-parental-leave-policies-in-the-world), and massively increased social and financial support for all new mothers, especially those from low-income families or those whose children have severe disabilities (http://www.takepart.com/article/2016/04/18/another-nation-giving-parents-free-box-baby-supplies) — making abortion illegal will not make it go away. It will merely drive it underground, and women will suffer and die needlessly as a result:

The world is not black and white. All living creatures have sex; they are driven by biological forces to do so. And while many species do so only because of the drive to pass on their genes, many others (not only humans) also do so for pleasure. When societies ignore that fact by simply saying “sex is bad and don’t do it; if you do, the baby is your punishment,” without preparing for what will happen when (not if) that directive is ignored — whether intentionally or through coercion (incest or rape) — they criminalize women and girls simply for the fact that they contain a reproductive system that functions like reproductive systems are supposed to.

Until our society fills in all of the gaps to prevent unwanted pregnancies, rape, incest, poverty due to the cost of raising a child, or bankruptcies due to paying the long-term medical expenses of a disabled child who will never have any sort of quality of life, abortions will continue to happen. And as long as people hide behind morality to avoid REALITY, billions of dollars will be spent on protecting potential humans while ignoring the millions of actual, here-on-earth humans who are suffering every day.

For those who choose to base their entire worldview on a handful of verses in the Bible, here are some suggestions:

On Protecting the Environment

  • Genesis 2:15: The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
  • Proverbs 12:10: The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.
  • Psalm 24:1: The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.

On the Importance of Education

  • Proverbs 10:14: The wise store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool invites ruin.
  • Proverbs 17:27: The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.
  • Proverbs 18:15: The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.
  • Hosea 4:6: My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.
  • Ecclesiastes 7:12: Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: Wisdom preserves those who have it.

On Helping Those in Need

  • Matthew 25:40: The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
  • Proverbs 19:17: Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.
  • Acts 2:44-45: All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.
  • Philippians 2:3: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.
  • Luke 6:31: Do to others as you would have them do to you.

On Equality and Human Rights

  • Psalm 67:4: May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples with equity and guide the nations of the earth.
  • Leviticus 19:33: When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them.
  • Luke 6:31: Do to others as you would have them do to you.
  • Mark 12:31: The second [greatest commandment] is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
  • James 2:8-9: If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.

(translations taken from the New International Version)