Watching the news feed nowadays, it seems like the stream of legislated hate, sermonized intolerance, surveillance and just downright abuse from those in power never ends. And it becomes overwhelmingly accepted due to a highly organized onslaught of carefully wrought ad campaigns to make the infringements seem “reasonable”. Or by identifying one group or another as a fringe group to be feared or less deserving. Individually, its scary. Put together, its downright terrifying.
Each group, each faction that is under attack (almost entirely from the radical right and money barons) has a legitimate claim to the bias and bigotry thrown at them. I sympathize with pretty much all of them. It seems that if you are not a white christian of devout/hypocritical (if ignorant knowledge of the bible) beliefs who votes a straight Republican ticket, then you are placed into any of a number of buckets for derision. And the problem is, not only are they united in their war tactics, not only do they have the finances to keep feeding into their hate campaigns and propaganda wars, but they also have brilliantly divided the rest of us.
Yes, there is an assault on gay rights, but it is more than that. Yes, there is a war on women, but it is more than that. Yes, there is an attack on the elderly, the poor, the infirm, the weakest among us, the military (once they have served their use to those in power), but it is more than that. Yes, there is a war on science, on critical thinking, on free thought, on education, but it is more than that. And yes, there is a war on any religious or non-religious belief that counters theirs, but it is more than that.
The problem is that in each of these things, we have allowed lines to be drawn so that we are only fighting a piece of the battle. We see them as unique and stand alone issues that are unrelated to the others. We align ourselves in one or two camps and give no energy to the rest. And that divides us and weakens us. And though all of those battles are real, they are only one scene out of the whole picture.
The whole thing hit me when a friend made a comment on a post the other day. I had made similar comments before, but it took it coming from someone else for the light bulb to fully go off. Every one of these things is a Human Rights Violation. Every. Single. One.
And it seems to me that when you put it in this light, you begin to see just how monumentally massive this situation is. Its almost too much to process when you finally look at it. Its so much easier to just deal with the individual bubbles. But, all that will do is maybe, if we are lucking, permit a temporary freedom for one of the bubbles. And build a further wall of separation as the side that has scored the win shields themselves from the rest believing to do otherwise may endanger the liberty they just acquired. But, that is a false hope at the very least, as the LGBT community is learning, as the minorities have learned, as women have learned, as so many have learned.
Taking a woman’s right to make decisions about her body and her health away from the sanctity of her and her doctor is a Human Rights Violation. Enforcing junk science in place of real science to further a political agenda is a Human Rights Violation. You have the right to make whatever decision you wish based on your personal belief on your body, your health, your choices. You do NOT have the right to impose those beliefs on others. You do NOT have the right to rewrite laws to target an industry unfairly and in direct conflict of years of evidence that proves it is unwarranted as have been imposed on countless women’s clinics in this country. That’s a Human Rights Violation.
You cannot open a public establishment where access is made via public streets paid for by taxpayers, receive tax credits and enjoy the benefits of a public business owner and refuse to serve someone based on their color, their religion, their gender preference. Hospitals that are owned by religious establishments do not have the right to impose their church’s rules on the treatment and disclosure of information to patients. The moment they take insurance payments from the general community, accept patients from the secular community and enjoy the tax benefits granted from the government, they have given up that right. If they choose to serve the general population, it is their duty to set aside their personal and religious beliefs as far as it regards the people they serve. The same goes for a pharmacist, a nurse, a psychologist. Anything less is a Human Rights Violation.
Prayer has no place being part of the public school curriculum. Nor does religious mythology such as creationism. Religious indoctrination groups have no place on a public school campus. This is not discrimination against Christians. It is protection for people of all faith, and of no faith. It is also protection for Christians of varying denominations. The Ten Commandments are discriminatory of non-Christians and have no place on a court house or public building. They are pushing an ideology that is unconstitutional and a Human Rights Violation.
You cannot serve in a public office where you seek to impose your religious beliefs on your constituency. That is called a Theocracy. Something the founding fathers were adamantly opposed to. Our constitution was not founded on religious principles and Moses was not one of the founding fathers. Any person who takes an oath of public office is bound to serve ALL the people and to insure that all people are treated fairly. For they are Servants of the people, not the rulers of them. We gave those up when we fought the American Revolution. They may hold those beliefs and apply them to their own life and their own personal choices. They may not force them onto someone that may not share their belief structure or make them a part of the governing laws.
Additionally, the police are servants of the people. Not a domestic military force. And as such, they should not be an intimidating presence in our communities, often times inciting the violence they should be preventing. They need to be a part of the community, not an overseeing force. Violence needs to be far more of a last resort than it has been. Anything less is a Human Rights Violation.
Imposing unnecessary laws and obstacles to disenfranchise votes and make it harder or costly for citizens to cast their vote is a Human Rights Violation. We have the right, as citizens, to participate in our electoral process. In truth, we have a duty. And we should not be dissuading citizens from voting. We should not be looking for excuses to disallow their vote, impose unnecessary and discriminatory regulations to minimize the counts. We need to make it easier, to educate the citizenry of their civil duty, understanding their rights and the constitution. As it is written, not as some attempt to redefine it. We need to strive not to have lower voter turnout, but to do whatever is needed to have as high of a voter turnout as is possible. Only then will we have a true government of the people, by the people and for the people. Anything less is a Human Rights Violation.
Selling off or leasing off the sacred and tribal lands of our Indigenous People is without a doubt a Human Rights Violation. Denial of the scientific held belief of Climate Change is your right. But, continuing practices that are known to be substantial contributors to it, thereby affecting the majority of the population who do not share in your belief is a Human Rights Violation. As is Fracking, which is poisoning ground water, most probably causing earthquakes and creating a toxic environment for all life is a Human Rights Violation. So is the attempt to place ownership on the clean waters of the world and the spraying of chemicals with sufficient probable causation of things like the decline in bee populations and new cancers.
I am not, nor will I ever be a “Politically Correct” person. I believe in freedom of speech. I believe in it wholly including the belief that I must also defend speech that I find offensive. I believe that people have the right to hate, though I don’t understand why anyone would make such a choice. I believe they have the right to practice any religion they wish. To live their lives by their own principles and morals, regardless of whether I or anyone else shares them. The line gets drawn, however, when they encroach on the rights of others, when they try and pass laws limiting the freedoms of those who don’t share their beliefs. When it goes beyond freedom of speech, freedom of religion outside of their personal life, then it has crossed the line from “your” freedom into someone else’s. It is not a discrimination against your religion when you are prohibited from discrimination. If you don’t wish to be in their presence, you can simply cloister yourself in your home. But, outside the doors of your home, your church, they have just as much right to be, to function, to thrive as you do.
I am sorry, but if you don’t want to administer birth control, don’t become a pharmacist. If you want your child to pray in class, put them in a religious school (which needs to also give up its tax exempt status as well as that status is a form of government sponsorship). If you don’t want to kill a stranger, don’t enlist in the military or the police. Its just common sense. When you enter these areas, you must accept that these things go hand in hand with the job. That you are accepting them as part of the job description. You have the “right” to choose another path. If you cannot live up to the requirements of your job without imposing your personal beliefs onto others, you should choose another path. Because your freedom cannot be bought at the expense of another’s.
Yes, each of these and more are, on their own, their own separate issue, but they are each of them also part of a greater whole. For every one of them is a Human Rights Violation. They must each be joined by this common thread in order for them to achieve the united front that is needed to make real change. None of the individual groups hold enough power, enough votes to make more than a temporary change, in constant danger the moment they glance the wrong way. Too many factions dismiss “women’s rights”, “gay rights”, “minority rights”, “religious rights (other than Christian)”, etc. But, if all of these people keep pounding on the table and stating over and over its a Violation of their Human Rights, it makes it slowly harder for them to chip away. It removes the wall between the gays and the women and the minorities and the atheists and the nones and all the rest. Its a Violation of Human Rights. Period. And the Violations need to stop. Now. Erase the lines and grab the common thread. Because we all want the same thing. Basic. Human. Rights.