The Politics of Cruelty

Turning human beings into political pawns.

When you vote for someone, you are supporting their behavior and their attitudes and their policies. I’m not saying that you have to agree 100% with everything they stand for. Who among us has not had to vote for the lesser of two evils at least once in their lifetime? I don’t think there’s a politician alive who has lived up to all of her/his/their campaign promises, so sometimes we live to regret our votes. But never forget that voting is a huge responsibility. If your person wins, you have helped support the impression that the majority of people believe in this person’s platform, despite the fact that, to my everlasting disgust, the majority of us don’t even bother to vote.

In light of that, it stuns me that so many people are willing to support the cruel, the indifferent, the violent and the ignorant by giving them the gift of their vote. Just the other day Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, whose eye is fixed firmly on becoming president of this country, pulled a heinous act to prove a political point. In a rational world this stunt would definitely backfire on him. But in modern America, it’s anybody’s guess.

To shine a big old light on the great debate about immigration, DeSantis decided he would spend a portion of the 12 million dollars that the state has set aside to transport migrants outside of Florida. (Because we don’t like your kind here.) According to this article in Newsweek, ironically, those funds were provided by federal taxpayers, via Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which DeSantis opposed, and then through the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund, which he also opposed.

What did he spend the money on? Here’s where it gets even more outrageous. He spent that money to charter two planes to take about 50 immigrants to affluent Martha’s Vineyard… from TEXAS. Apparently he couldn’t scare up enough immigrants in Florida on short notice, even though, to hear him tell it, the place is fairly crawling with them.

Not only that, but he had his staff lie to these immigrants in order to coerce them onto the plane. They thought they were being taken to Boston or New York City for jobs and housing. Instead, they were dumped on the tarmac on an island, with no food or money and no clue as to where they were or what to do. They had to find their way into town on their own, and they hadn’t a clue as to what town they were trying to find their way into. And on these lovely chartered planes they weren’t fed, not even the children, and the trip wore on from 6 a.m. to well into the afternoon. They even had two layovers, and yet still no food. Oh, but DeSantis did provide them with a videographer who was able to funnel the footage to Fox News for their extra-special spin.

Naturally, DeSantis hadn’t given the island a head’s up either, so they had nothing in place to attend to these poor people. That was part of the plan. In DeSantis’ cruel, high school prankster mind, these people don’t matter at all. He just thought it would be funny to give entitled liberals a taste of their own medicine with regard to their “lax” attitude about immigration. He thought that a bunch of immigrants, huddled and starving and exposed to the elements, would be great optics to prop up his political stance.

Can you say kidnapping? Can you say human trafficking? Can you say abduction, fraud, and misuse of public funds? Can you say a complete and utter disregard for voluntary and informed consent? Can you say intentional infliction of emotional distress?

These people were treated like monkeys in a political circus. They were piled into planes like so much baggage, and treated as if their lives had no value whatsoever. The Statue of Liberty must be hanging her head in shame. These immigrants were maliciously sent to a place where their circumstances would be notably worse. There are not enough jobs on Martha’s Vineyard to absorb 50 additional people, especially with the onset of winter. There are few services for immigrants there. The housing situation isn’t ideal. That’s what DeSantis knowingly thrust these people into, under false pretenses. There was a great scramble to get these folks relocated.

If DeSantis thinks that this stunt was equivalent to the immigrant issues that Florida experiences, he’s clueless. Yes, there is a worldwide, overwhelming need to come to this country, especially if you seek a better life for your children. Yes, that’s hard for us to process, on the receiving end. But there is at least infrastructure at the normal entrance points. There are trained personnel. There are supplies. I think Martha’s Vineyard did an excellent job of caring for these people under the circumstances, but it wasn’t some lesson. It was a cruel joke. Every state has its challenges. That doesn’t mean they get to dump those challenges on other states. If we keep that up, every state will be an enemy to another, and that does not serve us well as a nation. DeSantis is a national embarrassment. Go ahead and throw your tantrum, but don’t harm others in the process. Go to a padded room or something. That’s where you belong.

Everyone, EVERYONE ON EARTH has a right to try to improve their lives and circumstances. There’s not a single person reading this who wouldn’t try to do the same thing if they had no other choice. Nobody migrates for the hell of it. They do it out of desperation or necessity. Nobody flees their home and loved ones unless their home is a battleground or a wasteland. Taking advantage of these people when they’re at their lowest point is akin to kicking puppies. And then abducting those puppies and leaving them in the middle of nowhere in the hopes that they starve or freeze to death.

I’m sure DeSantis was quite disappointed to discover that the people of Martha’s Vineyard came through for these unfortunate pawns. They provided food, clothing, and a place to stay for every single one of them. Because it’s the right thing to do. It’s what decent people do.

DeSantis thinks that by doing this, he proved some sort of political point. In fact, he only proved that he is heartless, cruel, fiscally irresponsible, emotionally stunted, racist, uneducated, and utterly devoid of compassion. He’s just a tiny fraction of a man. Of course, he’s been proving that for ages. Anyone who votes for this poster child of maliciousness is morally questionable by association.

Is this the type of human you want deciding your fate? Then heaven help us all.

“Dear Mom, We came here to improve our lives, and now we don’t even know where we are. Sorry. Your loving son.”

Sources:

https://www.cnn.com/2022/09/16/us/marthas-vineyard-community-response-migrants/index.html

https://www.businessinsider.com/migrants-desantis-put-on-marthas-vineyard-told-boston-was-destination-2022-9

https://www.businessinsider.com/migrants-ron-desantis-flew-marthas-vineyard-from-texas-not-florida-2022-9

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/ron-desantis-migrants-marthas-vineyard-1234594051/

“Those Towel Heads Can’t Be Trusted.”

Yup, that actually came out of a coworker’s mouth the other day while we were discussing the Boston bombings. And I must admit I went off. I couldn’t help it. I’m so sick of the ignorance and bigotry. This is what I said to him:

“Every sweet has its sour; every evil its good.”

                                                                  -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Naturally his response was, “Huh?” To which I replied, “Do you seriously think the Muslims are the only group with a lunatic fringe, a mentally deranged and evil element? Seriously? Okay, then how do you explain the following?”

  • Adolph Hitler was a Catholic.
  • Pol Pot was a Buddhist.
  • Stalin, responsible for the execution of hundreds of thousands of people, went to a Greek Orthodox Seminary.
  • Pinochet was a Catholic.
  • Vlad the Impaler, torturer of thousands, was Christian.
  • Baruch Goldstein, an Orthodox Jew, perpetrated the 1994 Cave of the Patriarchs massacre in the city of Hebron, killing 29 Palestinian Muslim worshipers and wounding another 125.
  • Eric Rudolph, the Olympic Park Bomber, was Christian.
  • Ted Bundy was a Methodist.
  • James Holmes, the shooter in Aurora, Colorado, was Lutheran.
  • David Berkowitz, the Son of Sam, called himself a born again Christian.
  • Sampson Kanderayi was a Christian who killed more than 30 people to appease evil spirits.
  • Andrew Kehoe, a Roman Catholic, blew up 45 people, 38 of them children, in a school in Lansing, Michigan.
  • Wade Michael Page, the man who shot six people in a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin last year, was a devout Christian.
  • Robert Oppenheimer, who oversaw the Manhattan Project which produced the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, instantly killing  150,000 men, women, and children and many many more in the years that followed, was interested in Hinduism.
  • Jeffrey Dahmer was baptized into the Church of Christ, the religion of his childhood, after he went to prison.
  • The Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, was an atheist.
  • Dylan Klebold, one of the Columbine shooters, was Lutheran.
  • Ivan the Terrible was Russian Orthodox.
  • Charles Carl Roberts IV, the man who shot all the Amish school girls, was a member of the Faith Church.
  • Torquemada, the poster child of the Spanish Inquisition, was, of course, Catholic.
  • Timothy McVeigh was a Roman Catholic.
  • Adolf Eichmann was raised Lutheran, and was an active member of the Evangelical Church until 1937.
  • Mao Tse-tung, who was responsible for 40-70 MILLION deaths, was an atheist.
  • Genghis Khan prayed to the Burhan Haldun Mountain, and consulted Buddhist Monks, Muslims, Christian missionaries, and Taoist monks.
  • Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook shooter, was Catholic.

And how do you explain the following?

  • The vast majority of the participants in World Wars I and II were not Muslims.
  • In Rwanda, where the rivers have run with blood, 56.9% of the population is Roman Catholic, 26% is Protestant, 11.1% is Seventh-day Adventist, 4.6% is Muslim, 1.7% claims no religious affiliation, and 0.1% practices traditional indigenous beliefs such as the Jabiyan ethno-religious belief system.
  • Angola, home to one of the most brutal civil wars in history, is a predominately Christian country.
  • 33 people died in the Salem Witch Trials, which were conducted by a Puritan government.
  • Very few Muslims resided in America during our Revolutionary or Civil wars.
  • The vast majority of the owners of slave ships that transported slaves to the Americas were Christians.
  • The Aztecs hadn’t even HEARD of Islam, yet still managed to perform their human sacrifices.
  • Apartheid in South Africa was perpetuated by the Afrikaner minority. This system was responsible for the death of thousands and the displacement of hundreds of thousands. Afrikaners are predominately Calvinists.
  • At least 110,000 Iraqis have died since we Americans declared war on them. Some say it’s more like 1,033,000. 4,486 US soldiers were also killed. Our main justification for that war? 9/11. The number of Iraqis who were involved in the attack on the World Trade Center? 0. Another justification for that war: weapons of mass destruction. The number of weapons of mass destruction found? 0.
  • The murder-suicides in Jonestown were conducted by the People’s Temple Cult.
  • It was Christians who gave blankets infected with smallpox to the American Indians.
  • It was the US Public Health Service that intentionally misled 399 black sharecroppers into thinking they were being treated for their syphilis when in fact they were not. (They wanted to see how the disease would progress. Nice, huh?)
  • The Crusades were started by Pope Urban II.
  • When the Chinese tried to stop opium from being brought to their shores by the British, the British started the Opium Wars.
  • Germans slaughtered 10,000 Nama in South West Africa.
  • 11 Australian men, 10 of European descent and one of African descent, slaughtered 30 unarmed Aboriginals, mostly women, children, and old men, like they were dogs. It was called the Myall Creek massacre.

Do you still think the followers of Islam have cornered the market on murder and violence? Give me a break. We’re equally bad. And equally good, but that’s a subject for another blog entry.

So the next time you’re tempted to spew your Islamophobia, at least now you’ll have some facts, which means you’ll have to admit, at least to yourself, that what you’re trying to convince yourself of is actually nothing but hatred and ignorance. No culture is composed entirely of saints or completely of sinners. Stay stupid if you want to, but at least have the backbone to own it.

“Every sweet has its sour; every evil its good.”

                                                                             -Ralph Waldo Emerson

PEACE-IS-GOOD-MASTER-5

(Image credit: peaceisgood.net)

A Real Cliffhanger

Back in 2005, I took a trip out west with my boyfriend at the time to Canyon De Chelly because I had a fascination with all things Anasazi. The canyon is now a national monument, but people have been living there for almost 5,000 years. Currently about 40 Navajo families are in residence. As with most of the rest of Arizona, the landscape is stunning.

Wide Canyon VIew

To go into the canyon itself you need to take a tour or get a permit. We opted to go horseback riding with a Navajo guide. Frankly, I don’t know how anyone manages to live there, because it is, in essence, a big bowl of sand. If not for the horses, we’d have been slogging along in calf high sand the vast majority of the time, with only the occasional grove of olive trees for shade, and no water to speak of.

095StubbornHorse083KokopeleHands092EffectOurBodies

Our guide took us to see some beautiful petroglyphs, and then, further along, some ancient cliff dwellings high above the canyon floor. I asked him if he had ever climbed up there, and he said, “No, because it would affect our bodies.”

I thought that was a curious response, and it had me reflecting upon the great cultural divide between me and this man, who had not spoken much at all up to this point. He began to interest me more than the landscape we were travelling through. I’d ask him questions. He’d pause, as if considering the best way to dole out his words in the most economical fashion. Then he’d respond.

“Have you always lived in this area?” Pause. “Yes. Always.”

Hours later, after his occasional brief response to my inquiries, for some reason the dam seemed to break. When I asked him if he’d ever been outside of this area he paused for a long time. Then he told me the following story.

“One time these people came here and booked a 3 day tour. The lady liked one of our horses so much that she offered to buy it, but she wanted us to deliver it to her home near Boston. So we did. We drove the whole way without stopping. Through many lands. Then we saw Boston.”

“Did you get to see the ocean?”

“Yes.”

“What did you think?”

“It was very big.”

I will always have a mental image of this man gazing out at the Atlantic as if he had just arrived from another planet. “Then we came home.”

At the end of the tour we said our good byes and I realized that this man had a much greater impact on me than I had on him. To him, I’m sure, I was like a brief wind. I wasn’t the first. I wouldn’t be the last. But to me, he was like a stone monument. He would always be there in my mind.

That night we camped, and the next day we drove along the rim of the canyon, stopping at each of the overlooks to take in the stunning views. At the last overlook, the eerie western silence was broken by a strange sound. I couldn’t identify it, and the first time I heard it, I thought it must have been my imagination. Then there it was again.

“Did you hear that?”

“No. What?”

“That!”

I got down on my hands and knees, and stuck my head over the side of the cliff, and sure enough, on a ledge about 3 feet below us was a skinny little puppy. He was shivering and crying.

“Oh, shit. We can’t just leave it.”

“Barb, it’s a 1,000 foot drop.”

“I know. But if I drive away and leave that dog, I’ll never be able to live with myself.”

And before he could say anything, I lowered myself down to the ledge, which, thank God, supported my weight. Don’t look down, don’t look down, don’t look down…I grabbed the puppy, handed it to my boyfriend, climbed back up and walked as far away from the rim as I could get so as not to have the panic attack that I could feel trying to overtake me.

098PuppyRescue

Alrighty then. Next. Feed the puppy. And man, he was hungry. He ate half our picnic lunch. I would have loved to keep him, but Florida was a long way away. So we took him to the ranger station, and they told us they’d bring him to a no kill shelter at the nearest town. We had one request.

“Tell them his name is Cliff.”