Friday, October 14, 2011

Why Conservatives are Assholes

There is a reason that we have a clear geographic distinction between liberals and conservatives. Generally speaking, the blue states in the northeast, west coast, and great lakes are all centered around port cities. Historically, people in and around port cities were constantly exposed to different kinds of people and new ideas, whereas those in the red states of Middle America have historically been culturally stagnant. This has created a strong sense of traditionalism in these areas that keeps the people clinging to the moral values of the past. Now, there are some who would say newer is not always better, but if we look at our nation's history, look at the women's movement, the civil rights movement, these things that were new ideas that met with the nearly insurmountable force of traditionalist backlash, we can recognize the pattern of people coming to the realization that those archaic beliefs were simply wrong. Oppression of women and people of color has been the norm for millennia, but more and more every day, we see the rights of blacks and women as inalienable. Our children are no longer taught to believe that bigotry against these groups are okay, yet we still largely accept the same sort of bigotry against homosexuals. If a woman or an African American were denied benefits for their family from their employer simply due to their gender or the color of their skin, we would be outraged, yet this happens every day to the homosexual citizens of our nation.

The largest opposition to homosexuals is made on religious grounds. Thousands of years ago, in the time before Jesus of Nazareth brought his beliefs of love and peace to the masses, religion was a necessary form of government. The ten commandments were laws that kept the Jewish people alive and functioning as a burgeoning society. The commandment against killing and stealing kept the people from turning on each other. The encouragement of fidelity in marriage served as population control. The Jews ate Kosher because pork and shellfish, in those days, could not be preserved and prepared properly to keep them from getting sick. Education as we know it did not exist; hardly anybody could read; organized religion was an essential tool in teaching the people how to live together and prosper. Modern society has rendered religion as unnecessary.

Nobody knows the truth of where we came from and how a world in such perfect harmony came to be, but we do know that the Bible was written and compiled by men. It was the Nicene Council that established the Holy Trinity, creating the acceptance of Jesus as an incarnation of God. Their organizer, Constantine, chose which books made it into what we know as the Bible. This was over 300 years after the death of Christ; who can say if they got it right? The most diehard of Christians believe that Earth is only 6,000 years old, and that the dinosaurs never existed. Polls show that about half of the people in our country are creationists, but that number drops steeply with their length of education; what does that tell you? Religion has long outlived its usefulness to our culture, and the ignorance it promotes is dangerous to our advancement.

That's not to say that all conservatives are naive ruralites. The other side of the spectrum is your average capitalist fat-cat. These folks, through luck and opportunity, have acquired wealth and wish to hold onto it by any means possible. They pander to the ignorant, pretending to share their beliefs to retain their own power. They believe in "small government," because the big, liberal government interferes with them profiting from the sweat and labor of the poor. They believe in Capitalism because it gives them an excuse to be ruthless in hoarding all the wealth and power for themselves. They demonize anyone who don't share their beliefs as "communists," which, in itself, is an example of the way they use war as a PR campaign, through indoctrination and fear tactics, to persuade the ignorant to give them more power.

I'm not saying that every educated conservative is consciously evil or manipulative, but that, again, these beliefs are ingrained in them by a misguided belief in the
power of tradition. The sincere educated conservative is a patsy who, even in the face of rational argument, allows outdated social views to tint their perspective of the world. Whether they are verbose or not, they cannot help but judge others by their warped moral compass, and thus stand in the way of social progress.

That brings an end to my dissertation on why conservatives are assholes. Join me next time for "Why I Hate the Troops."

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, June 26, 2010


I am not the sort of person who makes friends easily. I tend to be pretty shy. In even the most casual of conversations, I tend to stumble over my own words. Therefore, I appreciate that I have not moved into an area where the residents felt I needed to be ‘welcomed.’ No one showed up at my door with a fruit cake (or is that charming custom just a figment of the idyllic world of American TV?). More importantly, no one stops me on the way to my car to ask me how I’m doing and to tell me about their health problems (God, I am so happy to be rid of that woman!). A lot of my neighbors tend to keep to themselves, and for that, I commend them. I will not, all present evidence to the contrary, mock the man across the street who spends an hour each day cleaning out the tricked-out rims on his otherwise deteriorating Cadillac, nor will I complain about the pack of barking dogs that inhabit the area or the equally loud pack of barking children. I do not like to pass judgment on people.

It was bad enough to realize on our first night in our new house that having a firewall between us and the attached home did not necessarily mean that it was soundproof. At some point during the move-in, a middle-aged Caucasian gentleman, finely dressed in a paint-covered “sleeveless” T-shirt (including one particular rip which Janet Jackson might have referred to as an extended wardrobe malfunction) came over to introduce himself and pronounce how good it was to have “nice” neighbors. I don’t know what it was about the way he said “nice” that it automatically translated in my head as “white,” but I could tell the sentiment was there. He was quick to tell me that he and his wife lived upstairs in the house next door, while “Hispanics” were downstairs.** Sure enough, my husband tells me that later our friendly neighbor cornered him with a similar introduction, where he lovingly referred to the downstairs family as “those damn Guatemalans.” Apparently blatant racism is okay, as long as it’s not in the presence of a lady; I guess I missed the lesson on urban redneck morality.

Look, I realize that these people are probably holdovers from the good old days, before the race riots, when Chambersburg was an Italian neighborhood. I accept that, back in those days, casual racism was par for the course. I’m sorry that I am a child of Baby Boomers who grew up in a cloistered New York City suburb, where I had the luxury of being taught silly things about color only running skin deep and that discrimination is bad (it wasn’t that they didn’t want people of color living in their town, they just couldn’t afford the homes). But listen, if you hate them so much, get the hell out of their city. Shit changes, get over it.

Actually, I would like to revise: I do not like to pass judgment on people, unless, of course, they themselves are judgmental.

**On a side note, the house attached to ours cannot possibly be any larger than ours. My husband and I use every inch of our three-bedroom home by ourselves, and I cannot possibly fathom how two families manage to live in the same space. Perhaps I am judging a book by its cover, but neither family appears financially able to be the owners/landlords. From what we can tell, our house was practically condemned before the investors who bought it got to it. Almost every joist in the basement had to be replaced from termite damage, and since moving in I have found more than one inch-long dead cockroach in the basement. I can’t imagine that living conditions over at the other house were any better, and they obviously did not have an opportunity for a 9 month remodel. In fact, I am sure our termites just packed up and joined their cousins on the other side of the concrete. I’m sure the house isn’t as bad as some of the others in Trenton, and I’d hesitate to call the owner a “Slum Lord,” but I’m sure they’re paying far more in rent than he should reasonably be putting out for upkeep. I shudder to think about the conditions that the young Latino family downstairs must be forced to raise their little baby in.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Home Security

I’ve been having a security fixation lately. To me, moving into Trenton meant that I would, eventually, be burglarized. No ifs, ands, or buts about it; it will just be matter of time. Our house is fairly close to a high school and that’s just what kids in this area do with their free time…

The house came with a security system installed, but the company behind it seemed to be a fly-by-night operation, so I had Sloamins come and install their stuff instead. Neither company, however, felt that it was necessary to put sensors on the windows, relying instead on the two door sensors and a few interior motion sensors. My biggest fear is that the break-in will happen while one or both of us in the house, i.e., when the interior motion sensors will most likely be turned off (we only turn them on when we are either not in the house or going to sleep). If someone were to come in through the window while one of us was at home, we would have no defense. Also, even if the alarm does go off, they are going to call US before they call the police, to make sure it isn’t a false alarm. It could be 20 minutes before the police arrive; we could too easily be dead by then. It really makes me wonder about getting a gun, but they say that more times than not, the intruder will end up using your own gun against you.

I’m starting to think that a safe alternative might be to obtain a stun gun, maybe even two, since they are only good for one shot at a time, and burglars often work in pairs. Not cheap, but safe and effective. Since they say that the worst thing you can do when you hear intruders in your house is to argue with your spouse about what to do, I discussed it with my husband, who said that I should take my cell phone and hide in the attic, while leaving him to activate the panic button on the security panel in the upstairs hallway, since that would give us both the best chance of getting help in time. The stun gun would be a good last-ditch effort, if shot well in the first moment of discovery.

Probably I am psyching myself out. Most burglars are not going to want to get into an altercation with the occupants. Most burglars are not going to enter a home that clearly has people inside. It’s just those few true psychopaths who will proceed through a house when the alarm is blaring and the cops are on the way. There are so many scenarios and it’s really impossible to prepare for them all. I just can’t stop thinking, okay, the homeowners insurance will replace my stuff, but NOTHING will stop someone from coming in and killing us if they really want to. …Maybe I am just not cut out for Trenton living…

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Ice Cream Truck

I have been listening to a continuous rendition of "Turkey in the Straw" by the ice cream truck that drives past every twenty minutes or so and seems to stop in front of my house every time -- aren't the kids around sick of ice cream yet? Or aren't their parents out of money? I thought we were in a bad economy! I used to be excited by the music of the ice cream truck, and disappointed if I didn't have any cash to chase after them with, but now I seem to be in the middle of some sort of ice cream truck turf war. The monophonic music has bored into my brain so I've started to wonder if it's actually playing or just echoing in the hollowed out chamber between my ears. I have yet to see the cheeseburger truck -- I hope it's not the one that drives by at 8pm playing "La Cucaracha" -- not sure if that's a joke played by a driver as bored with the other tunes as I am or if they are truly trying to entice the Latino population in the area...