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Small-town America and New American Values

Brandon, South Dakota

Brandon, South Dakota. Small-town, USA, population 10,000., “Midwestern Values”, But we’re not immune to what’s happening in the country over the last year.

Brandon, South Dakota. population 10,000. Small town, USA. Yet our High School has a new and growing problem with racism and bigotry. That’s the message we got this week, when our son started as a freshman.  We attended a question and answer session, with members of the senior class responding to questions from parents of incoming freshman.  After one question about potential fighting or bullying at Brandon High School, the principal stepped in and sadly announced that last year, for the first time, Brandon High School had experienced notable confrontations related to racism. Small-town USA, in the heart of the Midwest, where people claim to take pride in their “Midwestern values”.  Yet here we were being told that our little town’s high school was having issues with racism over the last year.

The principal has been in Brandon for many years. He didn’t say these words lightly. In fact, he rightfully seemed rather ashamed of the fact that it had become and issue.  The fact that he’s been in Brandon many years, and that racism hadn’t cropped up in an widespread, overt way until 2016? It’s not exactly a mystery as to why overt racism is becoming more common, even here in Brandon, South Dakota.

As a scientist, and particularly as a scientist who touches on climate changes issues, the last year can only be described as “soul-crushing”. We now have state-sponsored attacks on science, and even on basic logic and empirical proven TRUTH.  They are attacks on the very paradigm by which I’ve led my career and life.  However, even as a scientist, there’s been one characteristic of presidency of Orange Hitler (sorry, the SOB is like Voldemort…I can’t say his fucking name) that’s been even more troubling…the bigotry and state-sponsored HATE that emanates from the Oval Office.  Beyond what happens in DC however, is how that hatred and intolerance is trickling down even to small-town America (or perhaps FROM small-town America).

The Texas coast is currently dealing with a disaster of epic proportions…Hurricane Harvey.  Thanks to the predictions of government-funded scientists and research from NOAA (ironically, some of the same scientists ostracized for climate-change related work), we’ve had several days notice of the likely progression of the storm. Hopefully loss of life and property is held at a minimum thanks to those warnings. It’s a time where the nation’s focus rightly is with the people suffering through the storm.  And what was Orange Hitler doing just as the storm was hitting? Using the office of the Presidency to spread his own personal bile, bigotry, and hatred.

As the storm was beginning to lash the Texas coast, Orange Hitler issued the first pardon of his presidency. There have been sickening abuses of Presidential pardons in the past…Ford’s pardon of Nixon, and Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich are the two cases most commonly cited cases. None can top Orange Hitler’s pardon of fellow bigot and hate-monger Joe Arpaio.  None tears at the very soul of a nation more than this action, particularly as it was accompanied by a near-simultaneous executive order instructing the Pentagon to to ban transgender service members. Ford’s pardon of Nixon was presented as a means of ending the traumatic events leading up to Nixon’s resignation and help a nation heal. Clinton’s pardon of Rich?  Likely even more disgusting, given that it’s primarily viewed as a tit-for-tat favor to a man who donated heavily to the Clintons.

But Trump’s moves last night? They go behind personal political favors or misguided attempts to move a nation past a crisis.  They DIRECTLY flout the very principles on which the United States was established.  We’re 240+ years beyond the Declaration of Independence. We’re 240 years past the point where we had established that “All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights“. However, after 8 years of a (gasp!!) black President, Orange Hitler tapped into the bigotry and HATRED of vast numbers of Americans, and has used the Oval Office as a platform for spreading hate and intolerance.  The founding fathers of 240 years ago would be aghast at the events of last night.

Joe Arpaio is a hateful bigot.  He was convicted on criminal contempt of court charges after ignoring directives to stop his abusive and discriminatory targeting of…well…anyone not lily-white.  There’s no gray area here, no logical grounds for pardoning such a man. Pardoning a man such as this sends a clear message…that the kind of government sponsored bigotry and hatred practiced by a small man like Arpaio has now graduated to full-fledged sponsorship by the Federal Government. Moments later, the same message was sent when Orange Hitler went against the recommendations of his own military commanders, and banned transgender citizens from serving their country in the military.

Orange Hitler is what he is. It was obvious during the 2016 presidential campaign, when he used his thinly veiled dog-whistle calls to the millions of hateful, bigoted Americans that long for a return to the days where White Power was unquestioned, where anyone who wasn’t white and Christian “knew their place” in society.  Americans KNEW they were voting for a bigot.  They KNEW they were voting for a man who advocated for hatred and intolerance of their fellow Americans.

Confederate Flag in South Dakota

Yes, this is good ol’ small-town South Dakota. Taken near Corson, just outside of Brandon. A new feature since the election, just like the house in Brandon who put “Get on board the Trump Train!” in big block letters across their fence. Small-town values. Small-town hatred and bigotry.

And they voted for him anyway.  Or more accurately, they voted for him BECAUSE of those views.

The dismissal of logic and reason, the outright rebellion against science in Orange Hitler’s administration is sad and disheartening.  But that’s nothing compared to the knowledge that not only is the American President a hateful bigot, but that SO many millions of Americans sympathize with his beliefs.  It’s fundamentally changed how I view the country in which I live. When I go out in public now here in very “red” South Dakota, I can’t help but look at my fellow citizens with a mix of bewilderment, sadness, and even fear.  That hatred and intolerance is showing up even in our own high school, no doubt being “passed down” from South Dakota parents who share those views. Thanks to the election of Orange Hitler, racism, intolerance, and bigotry is now “OK”. It’s OK to express those views in public.  It’s now acceptable to hate your fellow man, to discriminate and abuse them if they happen to be a different color, creed, or sexual orientation.  For many, it’s now evidently OK to even express those views in a public school setting.

Soul crushing.  Orange Hitler is an odious, despicable human being, but he’s one man. It’s the knowledge that so many millions of my fellow Americans share those views that is difficult to take.

 

Actually, NO, Trump supporter…we can NOT be “friends”

Unfriend - FacebookLast week I got a direct email at work from someone I had unfriended on Facebook several months ago.  She (finally) noticed that I had unfriended her, and seemed a bit bewildered why I would do so after so many years. She was someone who was a friend / buddy while in high school and early into my college years, but someone I’ve not otherwise seen or communicated with over the last 30 years (other than Facebook). Over the time we were Facebook “friends”, it was obvious that our political beliefs were vastly different, but any political posts or comments to each other weren’t antagonistic or inappropriate.  However, late in the campaign her behavior  took a nasty turn, and the transformation was complete after the election was over.  It was a shocking and abrupt change in behavior that I also noticed with other “friends”, who now seemed empowered by the Trump election. It wasn’t acceptable, and I unfriended her.

As a result of last year’s political campaigns and the aftermath, my “friends” list on Facebook is decimated. I literally have half the Facebook friends now than I did when 2016 started, with some “unfriend” actions taken by others, but most taken by myself. None of these were people I actually physically interact with (which as my wife brings up…why were they Facebook “friends” in the first place?). They were nearly all old high school classmates or other acquaintances I haven’t seen or talked to for many years / decades, such as the old high school friend who contacted me through email.  The reasons I unfriended so many?  Their disgusting posts during and after the campaign.  The easiest choices?  The racist posts.  When 4 former high school classmates shared and joked about a cartoon showing Michelle Obama as a gorilla? A pretty easy (and fast) choice to immediately unfriend them. Other reasons were across the spectrum, as shown below, but were all because of online conduct and posts that any “friend” of mine simply would never dream of. It doesn’t matter if you’re an old, distant acquaintance, or if you’re one of the people closest to me today, there are certain lines that are unacceptable for any “friend” to cross. The former high school friend crossed that line, but it goes beyond just her. Frankly it’s ANY Trump supporter.  Some may howl and scream at some perceived lack of respect for other viewpoints, but I’m sorry, if you support Trump and his policies, we simply cannot be “friends” in any way. Why, you ask?

Let’s start with item number one…bigotry and racism.

If this past election revealed anything about our nation, it’s that there are still some incredibly deep racial divides. Trump did the unthinkable…he actually CAMPAIGNED on a platform of racism, something no other politician dared to try.  And sadly…it worked.  Analysis after analysis show the same thing… no driving force was a better predictor of a Trump vote than a person’s racist or bigoted attitudes.  I have ZERO tolerance for bigots. Supporting and actually electing an open bigot to the most powerful position in the world?   From the treatment of immigrants, intolerance towards any religion other than Christianity, and an open war on LGBT rights, Trump and his supporters have shown a shocking degree of bigotry that many thought was in our past after the Obama election. If you support this man, you’re supporting hate. I’m sorry, but that’s not something that I could ever overlook.  It was shocking how many Facebook “friends” (again, many former classmates who never left southeastern Nebraska) I cut based on an outpouring of bigoted comments over the last year.

Item number two — Attitudes towards helping those in need.

This is the issue highest on my mind at the moment, and the reason I’m writing this blog post to begin with, given that today Republicans are about to pass “health care” legislation (more accurately referred to as tax-cut legislation for the wealthy) in the House.  20-25 million Americans will simply lose coverage, while the sick, the elderly, and needy will effectively lose health care access after being priced out of the market. No other developed country uses a health-care system based on corporate profit. No other developed country fails to cover the health care needs of its citizens.  No other developed country bases the quality of your health care on your ability to pay. I have a son with Type-1 diabetes, a disease we’re managing rather well, but a disease he’ll be grappling with for the rest of his life. The REASON we are managing it very well is because we’re fortunate enough to have 1) good insurance, and 2) a level of income that allows us to utilize the most advanced treatment regimes that have been developed. Given that good blood sugar control is LIFE for a Type-1, with drastically lower chances of complications (eye and kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, nerve damage) as blood sugar control improves, having access to the best treatments available literally means a much longer, healthier life.  While we’re fortunate, other families facing Type-1 diabetes are not.  Some simply can’t afford an insulin pump.  Some can’t afford a continuous glucose monitor that constantly reports blood sugar levels.  Some can’t afford frequent doctor visits.  To put it simply, Type-1 children whose families can’t afford quality care will have much harder lives, with more health complications, and a much shorter life span.  Children are DYING sooner than they need to, because of the basic greed and selfishness of Americans who value their own short-term prosperity above all else.  If you’re a Trump supporter, if you’re someone who believes health care should be more of a personal burden and responsibility rather than a shared societal responsibility, I’m sorry, there is NO way I can call you a “friend”. It’s a direct slap in the face to a father with a Type-1 child.  It’s you telling me that all you care about is yourself, that helping the sick and the needy isn’t something you want to be bothered with. It’s an issue that goes FAR beyond health care, as the Trump / conservative ideology simply refuses to recognize that there’s a societal, moral IMPERATIVE to help those in need.  It’s a shocking indictment of the basic greed and selfishness of Americans.  “Friend”? I think not.

Item number three — Attitudes towards science, towards logic and reason

I’m a scientist.  I monitor, assess, and predict changes to our earth’s landscape. The very real, observable, and predictable impacts of climate change are a big part of my life’s work. More than that, my very persona and belief system is based on logic, and reason.  The Trump movement is a threat not only to climate change, not only to science, but to logic and reason itself. When Trump says climate change isn’t real, it’s a lie, and he knows it. When Trump states the GOP health care bill will lower costs, cover more people, and cover pre-existing conditions, it’s a lie.  When Trump states that he lost the popular vote to voter fraud, it’s a lie.  Trump supporters have no use for fact.  They have no use for evidence, for data. They have no use for reason, for logic. In a shocking (and disgusting) recent poll, 80% of Trump voters say they believe Trump’s lies are less important than “fake news” distributed by mainstream media. Only 3% (!!!) believe Trump’s own lies are the bigger issue.  The poll question itself irritates the hell out of me, as it presents Trump’s lies and supposedly false media coverage as equal choices in the eyes of poll participants. They’re not. There’s simply no question that climate change is occurring, and we are the primary cause.  They’re simply no refuting the fact that the new GOP health care bill will cover fewer people and hurt the sick, elderly, and poor.  There’s simply no refuting the fact that Hillary convincingly won the popular vote and there was no widespread voter fraud.  We have evidence, we have data, we have analysis that disprove the Trump assertions, yet his mindless followers continue to believe everything that’s spoon-fed to them by the Trump administration. I’m sorry, if you support Trump, if you are a climate change denier, if you think of scientists as “elitists” rather than dedicated professionals who devote their lives to serving humanity?  You’re not my “friend”.  You’re effectively calling my career, and indeed my entire LIFE, as the “lie”, rather than confronting the evidence right in front of your eyes and reconsidering the Trump positions.

Item number four — A life built on hate

Basically a culmination of the prior items, I refuse to be “friend” to anyone who bases their life on a platform of hate.  Hate of people of “other” races. Hate of people of “other” religions. Hate of people of “other” sexual orientations.  Hate and disdain towards the poor, the sick, the needy.  Hate towards “elitists” and “experts”, those with knowledge, skills, and positions in life that you yourself don’t have. The Trump doctrine is based solely on the TEARING DOWN of others…not building a happy, healthy, prosperous society.  HURTING immigrants through cruel policies. HURTING LGBT people through discriminatory practices.  HURTING the “experts” through government-sponsored misinformation with an underlying political agenda.  What’s been proposed by the Trump administration to truly HELP people (other than those who are already wealthy?)?  It’s an agenda, a doctrine, seemingly built solely on revenge, hatred, and greed.

Facebook “friends”? These are the reasons I’ve unfriended you. In short…I have no problem with my well-reasoned conservative friends.  I have no problem with my well-reasoned Republican friend.  Trump supporters, you are anything but well-reasoned. I don’t need the hate, the bigotry, the callousness towards the needy, the abandonment of reason.

Well we are “South” Dakota…

Confederate Flag

A new flag at a house on my way home! My guess is it’s been a month since I’ve been by, so this is something that’s popped up since the election. THIS is the kind of behavior that I guess is now normalized, thanks to our election of an openly bigoted pig of a man as President.

I work at a facility that’s outside of Sioux Falls in the middle of nowhere, which gives me the somewhat unique opportunity to drive gravel roads to and from work if I so wish.  I have several different roads I can take, but today took a gravel road I haven’t taken for probably a month.  I found a new feature on the road!  Joe White Trash Redneck decided to add a second flag to his flag pole…a Confederate Flag.

We ARE “South” Dakota I guess, and unlike those liberal heathens up in North Dakota, there are clearly many of South Dakotans that still harbor old-time convictions.  Who am I kidding…there are white trash rednecks like this all over the country, and lily-white South Dakota is no exception.  The difference is that unlike the South, here we wrap our bigotry and racism in good ol’ fashioned Midwestern “niceness”.

I’ve lived in Nebraska or South Dakota nearly all my life, save for a couple of years spent in Washington D.C. just after college.  I know what people are like, and I’ve always known the “nice Midwesterner” label was a farce.  People are people, and I certainly didn’t notice any difference in “niceness” in D.C. vs. here.  People certainly drive like assholes EVERYWHERE, whether you’re on the jam-packed freeways around D.C. or on the roads around Sioux Falls!  Any pride South Dakotans or other Midwesterners may take in their civility melts away quickly when you peek just under the surface.  Conservative values that dominate here are remarkably similar to conservative values in the deep South, where people may wrap themselves in a cloak of piety and religious belief, but that cloak is simply a cover for some very deep-rooted bigotry and racism.

Is it good or bad that the Trump election normalizes this kind of behavior?  What does it say that a house I’ve passed countless times in the past 23 years never had a Confederate flag flying, yet within a month of Trump being elected, it proudly flies next to the American flag?

Insecure white (trash/redneck/losers) have certainly gotten payback after 8 years of a (gasp!) black president, and with the choice of Trump, people are seemingly becoming much less shy about showing their true colors.

“The Great Melting Pot”

Nobel Prize

There have been six Nobel Prize laureates in the U.S. so far this year. EVERY ONE OF THE SIX is an immigrant to this country. That exemplifies what America SHOULD be, a place where a diverse, multi-cultural group of citizens work towards the greater good. Instead, this week has shown that’s all a sham, and we only value the “Great American Melting Pot” when it’s dominated by white Christians.

Remember when America was looked upon as the “Great Melting Pot”?  Remember when that was a source of tremendous PRIDE, when we loved that our populous was one of the most diverse and unique on the planet?  What the hell happened to that?

As this week (and the last year of campaigning)  have shown, it was all an illusion.  “The Great Melting Pot” was a great concept for Americans…until that Melting Pot started turning less white, and more diverse.  “The Great Melting Pot” was fine, as long as whites still held all positions of power, and those of a different race, color, or religious belief “knew their place” in the overall scheme, and didn’t rock the boat too much.  “The Great Melting Pot” was fine as long as whites felt comfortable and insulated from anything other that white, Christian culture.

This week certainly shows the incredible power of fear.  It shows the incredible distrust of “others”.  Please spare me any bullshit about this election being primarily driven by economic concerns.  Even supposed economic concerns voiced in the campaign from the working class were generally thinly veiled gestures towards racism, such as the outrage of immigrants taking “our” jobs.  Not that America actually believes in science, in FACT any more, but study after study after study have shown that the net impacts of immigration on the U.S.economy are very positive.

I’m fortunate enough to have a career and social circle where I get to experience a broad range of cultures. I’m fortunate enough that I get to witness firsthand the incredible contributions being made by immigrants who believed America was THEIR best opportunity to contribute to a brighter world.  And now, I’m unfortunate enough to witness first-hand the fear in their voices as they come to grips with rampant racism and hatred that is so broadly spread that we end up with an obvious racist as leader of the free world.

“The Great Melting Pot”…what a concept.  Perhaps someday we’ll actually evolve enough to make that pie-in-the-sky dream a reality.

 

Try walking in someone else’s shoes…

Perspective. If you’re a voter in lily-white land who thinks this is a “normal” election and it’s just another guy who won, just for a second look at things from the viewpoint of my co-workers at a VERY diverse workplace, my friends, my acquaintances:

– My Somali-born, Muslim, immigrant friend with 2 of the most beautiful young children you ever saw. Now has to explain to them why the President of the United States labels Muslims as terrorists, and just yesterday in Minnesota told a crowd about the threat of Somali immigrants.

– My female friend who first harassed, then sexually assaulted by a co-worker, now having to face an America where that’s “OK”, where the President himself openly discusses assault and is accused by many, many women of assault.

– My Latino friend, being told by his president that his kind are “rapists”, primarily criminals, hordes invading from the south that are taking jobs from good white folk

– Or a COMPLETELY hypothetical story of a father in South Dakota, with the most perfect young son in the world, a son with Type-1 diabetes. Think of it from that perspective, knowing Trump said the first thing he’ll do in office is eliminate Obamacare, eliminate abilities to carry insurance across jobs, eliminate guaranteed coverage for pre-existing conditions, eliminate the capability to carry your child on your insurance until they turn 26. Put yourself in that father’s shoes, and fucking tell yourself that this is “OK”, that your son faces a world where his very HEALTH is less important than politics, where HATE won an election and cost him his health care.

Try walking in those shoes for a bit before laughing off this election as just the same old “politics”.

Speaking of an anti-fact culture…

When I first started blogging, on a blog where I’ve now removed all content, much of the focus was on politics. It got to be too much.  It’s absolutely disgusting what happens on blogs online, with the insults, intimidation, and pure HATRED that becomes apparent.  Because of that, I stopped talking about politics, and rebooted my blog to focus on science, birds, and photography.

I’m going to break with my “no politics” pledge for one post, and one post only.   This is just too much to ignore, especially given my last post about Americans and their turn against science…against FACT.  That same attitude is pervasive in this election. It all started back in the 1990s.  You had a zealous Congressional contingent at the same time that right-wing talk radio started spewing hate.  Started spewing conspiracies.  Started spewing lies.  Suddenly the sole purpose of the “opposition” Congress was to investigate and oppose, rather than legislate.

We’ve had 20 years of the same mentality.  The next election now is the ONLY thing that matters, and every political decision is made solely on that basis.  Legislative accomplishment?  Virtually absent, save for the few, short periods when one party controlled both the White House and Congress.

This mentality, based on hate, based on conspiracy, has COMPLETELY warped what is important in an election.  Those conspiracy theories? A completely IGNORANT American public now treats them as fact, rather than pure, politically motivated pipe dreams. The Clintons murdered Vince Foster!  Obama is a Muslim, born in Kenya!! Hillary was personally responsible for Benghazi (and evidently every other negative thing that’s ever occurred on the planet).  Never mind that none of these have any evidence!  Never mind that millions in taxpayer dollars have been wasted on pointless investigations, witch-hunts that have turned up exactly…nothing.

Yet an ignorant American public still believes THESE are the issues that matter the most.  They still believe these are REAL events, REAL controversies, rather than politically manufactured bullshit.  Just as my previous post on the anti-science movement in the U.S., politics has become a fact-free zone.

The result?   You’ve got a true pig of a human being in Trump, a racist, a misogynist, an ignorant, lying, self-serving blowhard who has one quality that has gotten him where he’s at…he’s been smart enough to tap into the ignorance and hatred of those who have been spoon-fed bullshit for 20 years.  Incredibly vulgar tapes where Trump sounds like a 19-year frat boy, rather than the potential President of the United States?  No worries to these folks!  In the world of hate in which they live, fact-free conspiracy theories are more important that the character and ability of “their” candidate to actually lead.

The fact that a man like Trump was actually nominated as a candidate of a major party, the fact that he’s a month away from potentially winning the presidency, DESPITE proving himself to truly be one of the most DEPLORABLE men on the planet, is just a natural outcome from 20-years of hate, 20-years of conspiracy-theory, 20-years of ignorance.

I’m flabbergasted. The fact that half of America evidently thinks this kind of man is fit to be President makes me frankly ashamed of my fellow Americans.  We’ve devolved into a country where hatred, bigotry, and misogyny are evidently accepted, and it makes me sick.

Like I said…a one-time political post.  Back to birds, science, and photography.

Practicing what you preach, America…

Birding, fun.  Photography, fun.  Walking outside while doing both…fun.

War…not fun.  ISIS…not fun.  Paris attacks…not fun.  When I “rebranded” my blog a while back, deleting old material and focusing only on birds, science, and photography, it was partially for my own sanity.  Blogging about politics and the ridiculousness of humanity isn’t fun. But the last few days have been depressing, seeing the reaction of Americans to the Paris bombings.  Can’t help but break rank here and go off topic…

Several weeks ago, the world was shocked by a photo of a 3-year old Syrian boy, a refugee, who washed up dead along the Turkish coast.  It put a face on the humanitarian crisis in Syria, and for a moment, provided world-wide sympathy for what the Syrian people are going through.

That’s gone.  A terrorist attack in Paris, conflicting reports about the origin of the attackers, and now Syrian refugees are being characterized as being nearly as bad, nearly as EVIL, as ISIS themselves.  In the last few days, 23 Governors have decreed they will ban any Syrian refugees from entering their state (even though it’s quite clear they don’t have that power).  The Republican presidential candidates have fallen all over themselves trying to out-do each other in promoting hatred and bigotry towards Syrian refugees, with Bush and Christie even both suggesting that refugees pass a “religion test”, with Muslims denied entry to the U.S. and Christians admitted.  Nothing screams “AMERICA!!!” to me more than making political hay out of a tragedy, and Republicans are certainly doing their damnedest to squeeze every last bit of political capital out of the Paris attacks.

What I find even more disheartening is the general reaction of Americans in general.  It’s absolutely disgusting to go online right now, either to social media or in reading comments on mainstream news stories.  The bigotry, the outright HATE that’s being spewed by so many every-day Americans is shocking, even to a cynic like myself.

In World War II, we let our fear and bigotry control our actions, and we placed thousands of Japanese Americans in interment camps, as black a mark as there is in U.S. history. Evidently we haven’t learned our lesson.  When we look back at what’s happening right now, we will look back with disgust, we will look back with SHAME.  Or at least we should.

The worst component to me is the complete and utter disregard for “Christian” beliefs.  What I’m seeing on Facebook…”Friends” (now former friends) posting meme images such as “One nation under GOD…NOT Allah!!”.  The states whose governors wish to ban Syrian refugees are almost exclusively “red” states, with conservative politicians and conservative constituencies.  EVERY STATE IN THE SOUTHEASTERN U.S. has had their governor proclaim they wish to ban Syrian refugees.  In other words…the entire so-called “Bible Belt” of America is turning its back on its OWN religion, making a mockery of Christianity, and choosing instead to be led by their own fear and bigotry.

I’m an atheist, not because of any disdain for religious belief in general, but because as a scientist…I need proof!  I need evidence!  However, I have no problem with people practicing whatever religion they desire, so long as it doesn’t directly cause harm to others, and so long as it isn’t force-fed down the throats of “other” religions.  Islam is NOT a violent religion…it’s perverted by a very small minority, to obvious evil and violent ends.

I’m sorry, American “Christians”, right now you are guilty of the same kind of perversion of your religion.  When people self-identifying as “Christian” deny assistance to a group of people undergoing the most unimaginable horrors…it’s a perversion of your religion.  When self-identified “Christians” direct hateful language towards Muslims and Syrians…it’s a perversion of your religion.  It’s absolutely shocking…absolutely DISGUSTING…to see what people are publicly saying in social media and elsewhere right now, and that includes some people I personally know and had thought highly of.

Nothing brings out the true character of a human being than fear.  And the Paris attacks have certainly brought out that fear (and thus, the hideous nature of far too many human beings).

It’s not just religion that’s been perverted by both Muslims and Christians though, it’s the foundation of the United States itself that is being perverted.  We were founded in the name of freedom, freedom to believe what you want, freedom to practice whatever religion you want, without fear, without consequence.  We are a nation of immigrants, as much of a “melting pot” as any nation on the planet.  Suddenly, conservatives who have long pointed to the Constitution, who have long pointed to the ideals of our Founding Fathers…are trashing it all, all in the name of their own cowardice, fear, and bigotry.  Suddenly we are NOT a nation of immigrants.  Suddenly we are NOT a nation of tolerance.  Suddenly we are a fearful nation, a nation of COWARDS, a nation where anyone who doesn’t share your skin color or religion is suspect.

The Paris attacks themselves were obviously shocking, an act of pure evil.  Our reaction to those attacks has been every BIT as perverted and evil.

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