Common Ground

Hello dear reader(s)!

In case you haven’t heard, radical Islamist terrorists attempted to attack and kill people at a contest to draw the Islamic prophet whose name I will not mention for fear of my family’s safety.  Some people were decrying that a contest would even exist and found it bigoted.  Many of those people, were so-called “liberals”.  Of course, in response many on the right took to Twitter to bash the liberals, accusing them of victim blaming.  And despite my mostly left-leanings…I agree.

Why?  Because I reserve the right to make fun of people.  And I expect the same in return.  I don’t think criticizing a radical interpretation of anyone’s beliefs is wrong.  Regardless of the religion.  I don’t think that Christians who select portions of Leviticus to live by (& ignore others) to justify their hate is something that can not be made fun of.  I don’t think that Islamic Fundamentalists who have a strict interpretation of their texts to justify hate and violence are above making fun of.  I don’t think Atheists who are so convinced that everyone who has beliefs in the unknown is an idiot are above being made fun of.  And finally, I regularly make fun of myself for my beliefs and lack of beliefs all the time.  Freedom of Speech should trump religious sensitivity.

Then there is the gun topic.  I don’t think gun control will ever work in this country.  I just don’t.  On the other hand, I am not in love with guns either.  Pandora’s box is open on this one and the guns could never be put back inside.  And love it or hate it, they are legal.  Moreover, when people think their right to own them is threatened, they just stockpile more and get ultra paranoid.   People in the US who want to slow gun violence and accidents, should be pushing education, training, and trying to challenge the gun-loving culture.  Not the gun-owning culture.  An example would be that woman in the WalMart in Idaho.  She was a fucking idiot.  I do not have an issue with her owning a gun.  I do not have an issue with her bringing her gun to WalMart.  I do not have an issue with her bringing her gun to WalMart with her toddler.  What I take issue with is that her gun was ready to go, separated from her toddler only by a zipper in her special conceal-carry purse and then set that purse down and turned away from it and her toddler.  If you feel you need to carry a loaded gun, with no safety, in order to protect yourself, that is one thing.  If you then leave that gun unattended…then you should not own a gun or have a child.  Can’t legislate stupidity, but we can encourage people to be more responsible.  There is a difference between making a mistake, and being negligent.

Then we have immigration.  Hot button topic.  Compromises can be reached, however.  Immigration is not a bad thing.  Immigrants do not destroy the country.  However, the US has the most liberal immigration policy in the world, so it is reasonable to be a little upset when so many people still come here illegally.  At the same time, I think we need to acknowledge when someone is indeed a refugee from economic circumstances, corruption, and violence that we are partly responsible for with our stupid drug war; and we should assist accordingly.  Two effective, fair ways to reduce the tide of illegal immigrants to this country would be to stop the agricultural exemption of the minimum wage, and to stop this ridiculous, failed drug war destroying our neighboring country to the South.

Trade Agreements.  Fast-tracking any piece of legislation at the urging of corporate interests is something I think everyone but corporate executives and their lobbyists can agree is wrong.  Things should be open to review, and debate.  Money is talking on the TPP.  The people are being ignored.  Economic trade has not proven to be a democratizing world force as was promised to the people when NAFTA was pushed through.  Allowing US companies to seek US protections and US consumers while searching for near-slave labor overseas has not brought freedom to anyone.

Waste.  I support government programs.  I do.  I prefer that people get the help they need, more than I am concerned that someone might get what they don’t deserve.  SNAP is a good program, with extremely low abuse, and is actually a good economic investment.  Medicare has lower overhead than most private insurers.  But I don’t support Congressmen and companies pushing through orders for military equipment the military doesn’t even want, to give business to the contractors in their areas, when the equipment then ends up mothballed.  I do not support retreats or vacations disguised as conferences for any government employees.  I do not support giving bonuses to government officials.  I do not support the current appropriations system for government agencies that actually encourages the wasting of money, for fear that if the budget isn’t used up, it will be lower the next time around.  Maybe it should be lower, if you are efficient.  Why can’t money be kept in reserve during those years when they don’t need to use it all, that would require approval to access when expenses are higher than usual.  Or more simply, how can the government expect more Americans to save, when they refuse to do so?

Police.  I support the police (for the most part).  I don’t support when police act above the law or refuse to acknowledge when one of their officers is wrong, and take necessary steps toward justice.  I don’t even have a problem with SWAT and some military equipment for them, as long as they can show they are trained, use it only when necessary, and are subject to some oversight.  I just don’t think that equipment should be a first-strike weapon of a drug war that cannot be won and should not be fought.

I think these are all reasonable arguments.  I think there is wiggle room here.  How about, we all take a step back, stop with the name calling, and work together on what we can?  After we get that done, let’s go ahead and call each other idiots and fight on the truly polarizing issues.  Then, majority rule.

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Author: Josh Wrenn

Cancer survivor, wanna-be artist, musician, author, and all around good guy.

12 thoughts on “Common Ground”

  1. I’m not afraid. Mohammed was a pedophile, and a crazy bigot and Allah is a false god. I know you worry about your family so I add the disclaimer. The views expressed by Michelle are hers and hers alone. Any similarity between her and actual characters is merely coincidental. The owners of this blog do not sanction or condone my views.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Can’t say that I have, but I could make fun of anybody’s Gods as much as the version of the same God that Muslims believe in. They do believe he is the same God, they just think Mohammed was more correct about talking about him. Allah is simply the word for God. They think it is the same God Christians believe in, but that Christians are wrong about him.

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  2. Whew! You covered a TON of good stuff in this post. The Mohammad cartoon contest thing I’m actually torn on. Because OF COURSE freedom of speech is necessary and important and good, but I feel like the entire contest was just an excuse to instigate and offend. Mer. Maybe I’m wrong. But why only cartoons of Mohammad? It just seems… slightly questionable to me. And the whole gun thing? Oh my goodness… YES. Can we please educate people about gun safety? What the heck are these idiots doing wielding firearms when they clearly do not know how to use them safely? Ugh… Okay. That’s all. I’m done for now. Nice piece.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the intention of the contest was to instigate and offend, but that is because Christians don’t turn violent over drawings of Jesus, or being made fun of on South Park, and if they did, they’d be wrong too. Sometimes I think it is necessary to challenge those who do widely feel their beliefs are above being questioned or mocked. We need to get over ourselves, all of us. It isn’t like these are schoolchildren being bullied in such a terribly harassing way. People are drawing pictures to draw out the violent.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I, too get tired of the mutual name calling of both liberals and conservatives. It sure doesn’t encourage rational discussion does it? I remember when there were people selling watches and ashtrays of faces of the figure heads in my faith (Baha’i). Nobody shouted and told us to go find and kill the people selling that. We were instructed to just ignore them and just not buy the items. The person wound up not selling anything and went away because he wasn’t able to stir shit.

    Liked by 1 person

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