Posts Tagged Republicans
Do you think if I sent Obama an invitation to come over to my house for dinner he would? Like he did with Sarah Jessica Parker, George Clooney, Steven Spielberg and the countless other 1%ers?
Amidst all the discussions about what a terrible person Mitt Romney is (which he is) who is out of touch with how most human beings on this planet live their lives and the challenges they face and amidst all the talks about how Obama is not such a person - since he clearly is the “man of the people” – a self made man and community organizer who did not grow up with a silver spoon in his mouth – I noted that while that may have been true about Obama a long time ago, that person no longer is.
The tragedy is that Obama and co are claiming to fight the good fight: “For hard working Americans” while Mitt Romney is seen as that greedy asshole who could not care less about such hard working people. Yet, in essence, Obama is not all that different from Mitt Romney when it comes to the privileges they enjoy.
Having a spread in Vogue magazine depicting a lavish 1% er setting and stating how the Obamas inspire America – shortly after the sequester, no less, where millions of people – most of whom are poor and vulnerable – have seen the kind of cuts that make the difference between employed or not/roof over your head or not/food on your table or not/able to afford medication or not etc – also doesn’t help and make you a man of the people.
When Clooney threw a fundraising soiree for Obama last year, it cost $40,000 a plate to attend. In other words, these Hollywood high rollers at Clooney’s house were paying more for two hours with the president than they pay their nannies, housekeepers and gardeners in a year. Just like Romney. And they call themselves the good guys. The ones working for you and I instead of the lifestyle of the rich and famous.
Let us backtrack.
Scott Prouty, the man who shot the infamous 47% video of Mitt Romney where he is seen talking, in horrid yet very detached detail, about the slave labor conditions in Chinese factories and trashing everyone in this country who isn’t a member of the social register, sat down for an interview with MSNBC’s Ed Schultz a couple of weeks ago to not only reveal his identity but to mainly talk about the video and what inspired his decision to release the footage.
I highly recommend watching the video (a transcript to follow later) as it – more than anything else – is a shining example of how a man, a seemingly ordinary citizen who remained invisible to Romney even as he was serving him his $50,000 plate of food, made the courageous decision to record and release a video of a candidate running on the platform of patriotism and love for all of America, when in reality the only people he was going to represent were the kind of people he was having that $50,000 a plate dinner with.
Prouty explained that one should not pay $50,000 to hear what a candidate has to say – as if that kind of fundraising was confined to Romney and his kind only. The evidence above with respect to Obama and his late night soirees with Hollywood -listers shows that paying tens of thousands of dollars to hear a candidate speak is not something solely confined to Romney.
Income Gain Disparity 1966 to 2011
Syracuse University professor and Pulitzer Prize winner David Cay Johnston analyzed the disparity between the gains in incomes of the average taxpayers and those in the top 10 percent and the results are shocking but not surprising.
Incomes for the bottom 90 percent of Americans only grew by $59 on average between 1966 and 2011 (adjusted for inflation), according to Johnston’s analysis. During the same period, the average income for the top 10 percent of Americans rose by $116,071, Johnston found.
To put that into perspective: if you say the $59 boost is equivalent to one inch, then the incomes of the top 10 percent of Americans rose by 168 feet, Johnston explained to Alternet last week.
Incomes for the bottom fifth of Americans, for instance, grew about 20 percent between 1979 and 2007, according to a 2011 study from the Congressional Budget Office. During the same period, members of the top 1 percent saw their incomes grow by 275 percent.
Another way to illustrate the huge disparity: the six heirs to the Walmart fortune had a net worth equivalent to the bottom 41.5 percent of Americans combined in 2010, according to an analysis from Josh Bivens at the Economic Policy Institute.
While income inequality may be great for those reaping the big bucks at the top, it’s likely hurting Americans overall. Greater income equality is correlated with stronger economic growth, according to a 2011 IMF report and in fact one of the hallmarks of poor, developing nations is the income gap: the poorer and more economically unstable a nation is, the bigger the income gap – with a lot of poor people (one of the hallmarks of poor nations) and a few very wealthy people and no one in between.
The American Dream hard at work
We, sadly, live in a culture of get-rich-or-die-trying. Where average, middle class (I am not even talking about the poor) is considered a one way ticket to loser-town; a failure of some sort. As John Steinbeck once said “socialism never took root in America, because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”
Everybody is being manipulated in one way or another to want be a millionaire. People watch the movies and TV shows, ads and magazine spreads depicting the high life and they want be part of it too. After all, why be a community organizer when you can take group pictures clenching money between your teeth.
Obama Just Another 1%er
Even our President is part of the one percent now. Make no mistake about it.
Hanging out at lavish dinner parties and soirees in the homes of celebs and fellow 1%ers, such as Sarah Jessica Parker, George Clooney and Will Smith. Going to fundraisers at $40,000 a plate with other Hollywood hot shots.
In fact, last year Clooney himself held such a lavish soiree for Obama, inviting 150 of Hollywood’s richest for $40,000 a head to raise a meager $15 million dollars (compared to SuperPac monies, $15 million is drop in the bucket). This party was held in Los Angeles, a city plagued by chronic lack of funding where school libraries are being shut down, teachers laid off firehouses shut down. And VIPs were paying $40,000 for a Wolfgang Puck hors d’oeuvre and a silly photo with a president who only now has come to think it might be OK for gay people to have the same rights as straight people.
Democracy hard at work. As Steve Lopez wrote in the L.A. Times “Yeah, sure, Obama’s got to raise all he can to fend off Mitt Romney and hold on to his seat. But is that a race to the top or a race to the bottom? If money buys victory and access, what about the masses who can’t afford a $40 fundraiser, let alone a $40,000 party? When do they get the president’s ear?”
Do you think if I sent Obama an invitation to come over to my house for dinner he would? Like he did with SJP and George Clooney? The tragedy is that Obama and Co are claiming to fight the good fight: “For hard working Americans” while Mitt Romney is seen is that greedy asshole who could not care less about such hard working people. Yet these high rollers at Clooney’s house were paying more for two hours with the president than they pay their nannies, housekeepers and gardeners in a year. Just like Romney.
As Scott Prouty said in his interview with Ed Schulz about the Romney speech and fundraiser and thus his motive for taking the video ”You shouldn’t have to be able to afford $50,000 to hear what the candidate actually thinks“, as if that was something solely confined to Mitt Romney and rich, greedy Republicans while Democrats and the wealthy liberals who support them would clearly not ever do such a thing.
The above evidence begs to differ.
$40,000 a Plate Fundraiser for Obama = $50,000 a Plate Fundraiser for Romney
I am sure people like Clooney and co are acting in good faith, hoping to do something so the worst man in the world in the form of Mitt Romney does not get to run this country. But if they’re so desperate to celebrate their wonderful ways and important causes, why not a Hollywood fundraising party to save the libraries, schools, rec centers or parks? Why not start paying the people who clean your house and tend to the garden and take care of your privileged kids decent salary and health coverage?
I tell you why: because George Clooney, much like Obama, much like Steven Spielberg, much like Nancy Pelosi, much like Mitt Romney are part of the 1% and throwing soirees for the President is much more about the soirees and meeting the president than about giving a damn about the 99% and hard working Americans you claim to fight for.
Whether Obama earned it or not, he is up there now, living the good life. Sequester or not, he won’t have to worry about whether he can send his kids to college, if he will one day be without health care or lose his house and retirement and be destitute and all the other myriad of things 99% of the people in this country have to worry about. In fact, none of the policies coming from D.C. and our legislators will ever actually affect them personally. And that is a huge deal, namely that those making the laws are not affected by them. There is a reason half of Congress are millionaires.
And the thing with being part of the 1% ultimately is that more often than not it gives you amnesia. You forget. Obama had no problem letting the payroll tax-break expire, thus making almost everyone making $ 113,000 or less pay more each month, but he did increase the 3% tax increase income threshold from $250,000 to $400,000 because god knows people making 250k a year need consideration and a break. How so 99% of him.
No Soirees for the 99%
When was the last time any representative of the middle class had a candidate throw dinners and soirees for them? And not just a candidate but the President.
When was the last time the White House threw a dinner or a black and white ball for employees of NGOs, charities, volunteers and other public service jobs?
When was the last time the White House threw a dinner in honor of hard working folks, inviting them over for a night filled with Jimmy Kimmels and hanging out with the President and celebs? Sure, you can win a dinner with the President and first lady at Sarah Jessica Parker’s 10 million Borwnstone in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, if you donate money and are automatically entered into a pool, much like a lottery, with thousands of others. But when was the last time, or ever, anyone of these people have actually done something in that regard for us hard working middle or working class – heck even unemployed and poor – folks who aren’t members of the social register? Even the White House Correspondents’ Dinners that are supposed to be about journalists, have become just another 1%er event for celebrities transplanted from Hollywood to DC – but only A-listers mind you since most regular actors and SAG members are not part of the 1% - which seems to be the only requirement to attend the Dinner.
So when I heard Prouty say that one should not have to be able to pay $50,000 a plate to hear what a candidate has to say it made me wonder if Obama is any better. Of course, Obama hanging out at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner and mingling with other rich people is not the same thing as Romney’s 47% speech where he is exposed as an insincere hypocrite and the fact that he thought he could and should talk like this behind closed curtains.
But there is a broader canvas here to consider because Romney or Obama – the common theme here is that those with big bucks are being invited to the discussion table and getting parties thrown for them while most people – i.e. those who make up the majority of the voter base and also carry the economic burden of the nation – since rich people clearly aren’t – never see any of that.
The fact that those with money and the power that comes with it run the world is nothing new. However, if you are a country (or claim to be a country) that was founded on principles diametrically opposed to such a paradigm, then that is a problem. Yes, we could be just like any other third-country oppressive shithole with an income gap the size of Mount Everest, but this is not what this country is about or should be about. Back in the day, only landowners were allowed to vote and thus have their voice heard. How is that different from today where the wealthy asset holders get invited to the table and private meetings with the President and this are made part of the debate, while you and I are lucky if the White House ever returns any of our letters on a pre-written template designed for concerned citizens?
How Can You Inspire People, Barry
As to the Obamas: How can you inspire people? You inspire people by being one of them. Not by living the kind of lifestyle you just criticized your opponents for five minutes ago and which almost none of the people you are addressing can ever afford.
Yes they worked hard but what use is all that hard work and social upward mobility and thus power that comes with wealth if you are just going to behave like any other wealthy, 1%er? You have to be the change you want to see and when you say you stand for the causes of the 99% while living the life of a 1%er, that makes you not only a hypocrite but also a large part of the problem.
I understand that he is the POTUS ans as such he has a standard of living. But I am not talking about his salary. That isn’t, after all, the source of his wealth. It’s his privilege that detaches him and just makes him part of the problem.
The gross inequalities described above with respect to stagnant income growth for most Americans go far deeper than people like Boehner, Romney or the robber barons of Wall Street. Half of Congress, i.e. our lawmakers, are millionaires and in fact D.C. is the one city where one is more likely to run into a millionaire than anywhere else.
And these are law makers and legislators. The people that run this country but who are clearly beholden to the interests of the 1% – mainly because they themselves are one of them – while trying to appeal to the 99% on the surface to get their votes. And who knows, with all the voter suppression efforts by Republicans soon they may be able to even skip that and just directly work for the 1%.
The Futility of Politely Asking the 1% To Come to the Aide of the 99%
It is quite ironic and futile that we are looking to them – the 1% – to please change things in favor of the 99%. What incentive do any of these people have to change the status quo in our favor? Congress just got a pay raise – signed by our man of the people, Obama. It was no coincident that there was no student loan bailouts. Students don’t have lobbyists stationed in DC 24/7 – unlike Wall Street and thus the members of the one percent.
Yes President Obama, I appreciate your tough upbringing and that you can somehow vaguely apparently remember what it is like to “have a rough time” as you once told a crowd of supporters. The only difference between you and everyone else, however, is that you are a millionaire who wines and dines with celebrities and goes to $40,000 a plate soirees – money than can be used right here and then to help out someone rather than falling into this bottomless pit of your campaign fund that just sucks up money and produces little results for the people you claim to stand for; your children don’t have to worry about racking up student loan debt at high interest rates to get an education, because you have the money to pay for it.
In fact, you are part of the 1% and as such you are not only part of the problem, you are just another out-of-touch wealthy rich puke condescending and making casual life and death decisions (and yes, these are life and death decisions you are making, believe it or not) because they won’t affect your family. Your multi million dollar retirement is secure, your pension is fat, much like you assets.
As far as I am concerned you, Mr. President, are about only “better” than Romney in so far as Romney is truly nothing but a wolf in sheep’s clothing with a horrifying track record and agenda for America. But don’t come here insulting mine and the intelligence of your supporters struggling every day at the hands of your bipartisan, failed policies - not the least of which is the gamble you took with the Sequester, purposely making it draconian, hoping that it would deter Republicans even though your gazillion years of experience working with them and common sense, if nothing at all, should have told you that these are not the kind of people who mind draconian cuts – by claiming that you are on our side and are fighting on our behalf. if you actually do come to my house for dinner one day, maybe I believe you. Until then, you are just another rich asshole fighting to make sure you and your kind remain where you at: at the top of the food chain.
The NRA’s response to the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary – and any other mass shooting in the country for that matter – has been one of massive scapegoating: women, teachers, video games, the entertainment industry, hurricanes, terrorists, the doorman at the school, and the mentally ill. Everyone and everything but guns, gun owners and gun lobbyists who have spent years easing gun regulationsmor across the country making it possible to obtain guns easier than a car — were responsible.
More specifically, The National Rifle Association, which is the nation’s largest gun advocates lobby, attributed the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, to “school free zones,” arguing that “genuine monsters” (other than the proponents of gun ownership galore that is) are attracted to schools because its administrators and teachers are not armed.
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” NRA low life and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said. He urged Congress to “act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation.” La Pierre shoveled out blame far and wide, going after reporters for glorifying killers like Adam Lanza, violent movies, video games, and music videos. He tore into gun safety advocates for exploiting the tragedy for “political gain,” targeted President Obama for underfunding police initiatives in schools, and said that the media demonized “local gun owners” and spread “misinformation and dishonest thinking that only delay meaningful action and all but guarantee that the next violence is a new cycle away.” “Add another hurricane, terrorist attack, or some other natural of man-made disaster, and you’ve got a recipe for a national nightmare of violence and victimization,” he said.
Now it is the fault of law abiding citizens who don’t sleep with assault rifles under their pillows that this happened? Clearly, according to the NRA, they asked for it since not owning a gun is an invitation to being gunned down and shot in places you ought to feel safe. This is the same garbage rhetoric used in rape culture where the victims become the accused and are told that having behaved or dressed in certain ways provoked and justified, or at the least made it “understandable”, why they were assaulted and raped. That is a very disconcerting position to take as it is incredibly manipulative, twisting the victim/perpetrator position around, thus indirectly assign blame to victims for the atrocities committed against them rather than trying to find ways to minimize such atrocities and violence and thus really change anything about the status quo.
Scapegoat and Round up the Mentally Ill While We’re At It
La Pierre also called for the nation to create an “active national database of the mentally ill”, a brilliant idea that not only will not violate any privacy laws (HIPAA), it will also most definitely not lead to further stigmatization and marginalization of people with psychological disabilities - whom he apparently lumps in together with violent criminals – and discourage care-seeking, diagnosis, and treatment.
I don’t even know where to begin. Twenty families are burying their children in this holiday season, children who will never experience life and all its wonders, not to mention the psychological trauma the parents and families of those children will experience for the rest of their lives because of the actions of a criminal with easy access to weapons of mass murder, and all the NRA can come up with is basically blaming the victims and their parents for the outcome? Citing hurricanes and the media and Hollywood and the lack of tools of murder?
La Pierre and his supporters are nothing but disgusting, contemptible, frightened, small-minded fear mongers who are placing the alleged rights of a bunch of people to own tools of murder and mass murder above the life and safety of people.
There is just something indescribably vile about a proponent of unregulated access to guns. This was an opportunity for the NRA to grow, to advocate responsbile gun ownership and regulations like, for example, creating a national database of gun owners and requiring gun registration and other institutional controls similar to car ownership and operation. Instead, all they could come up with was shameless scapegoating, deflecting of responsibility and advocating the discrimination of vulnerable populations, such as the mentally ill, who are, frankly, more likely to be victimized by violence than to perpetrate it.
Mental Illness Does NOT Equal Violent Behavior
The final straw, of course, was calling for a national database of the mentally ill. Not a national database of gun owners, but of the mentally ill.
Ok Heinrich Himmler.
What will be next? Round them all up into so called sanctuary districts, for their own protection of course, or make them wear some kind of a plaque on their garments so they can be easily identified?
What is outrageous is that not only mental illness is being equated with violent, criminal behavior but that all people with mental illnesses – which covers a broad spectrum of disabilities, most of which are not violent – are being lumped together as this one entity society must be aware and scared of. The reality is that there are millions of people suffering from mental illness who would never engage in such a vile, inhumane act of mass murdering children.
Someone who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder, after, hmmm.., let’s say having been a victim of violence with guns, or a school shooting, is technically considered as suffering from a mental illness. Someone suffering from depression and anxiety taking medication is considered an individual suffering from a mental disability; a person suffering from severe anxiety is considered mentally ill. To lump these people together with violent criminals – who may or may not be mentally ill, – becasue remember, not all people with mental illness are dangerous, and not all killers are mentally ill, meeting standards of psychiatric diagnosis – is as low as it can get and the height of irresponsibility and inhumanity.
La Pierre played quite expertedly into the irrational fears and scapegoating mentality of the minuscule minded gun wielding, Jesus and cross hugging citizens of this nation by making references to those evil “killers, robbers, rapists, gang members” who have ”spread like cancer in every community across our nation” and from whom we need to protect ourselves by owning an arsenal of assault weapons and other tools for mass murder.
The truth, of course, is that the only cancer having spread through society is the policies the likes of La Pierre and his organization of unregulated gun ownership advocates and the mindless tools that follow them advocate, believing that the answer to the problems of crime – or any problem for that matter in society – is arming every man, woman and child with all sorts of weaponry and sending them off into the world, as if guns - instruments aimed to kill – make us safer.
Imagine the principal of Sandy Hook had been armed with an assault rifle and after the first shot was fired and people were running around in panic she had jetted out of her office with an AR 15 shooting into a crowd of children running in panic. According to the NRA, that would have been the solution, which, of course, is another comforting lie.
Living in a society with ordinary citizens armed to the teeth like guerrilla fighters, taking justice into their own hands, like George Zimmerman, and shooting into a crowd with moving targets, does not make us safer. This Dirty Harry and John Wayne mentality is only good for when the zombie apocalypse or another end-of-world scenario – mostly to be found in science fiction – is upon us. It is not the route rational people in a civilized society held together by the rule of law and the Constitution they allegedly trust in, ought to embark on. We do not want to send our kids to school with the likes of George Zimmerman prowling the halls.
NRA’s Response to the Carnage at Sandy Hook At a Glance:
1) Create a police state – TSA style security at every corner. A George Zimmerman in every neighborhood. I mean, we are all totally grateful that he protected us from the evils of a 17 year old child holding candy and we clearly need more of that.
2) Arm every man, woman and child with assault rifles like they were Snake Plissken. The more guns and tools of mass murder lie around, the safer we all will be since human beings are totally not prone to irrationality and rage over something like someone cutting them off on the freeway or giving them the wrong look at the grocery store etc.
3) Scapegoat everyone and everything for this: Women, pacifists, the mentally ill, video games and movies, entertainment industry, the doorman at the school…everyone but gun owners and the gun – a tool solely designed to take lives, nothing else. Apparently the gun is a very misunderstood tool for murder.
Great America. Moving towards a plutocratic police state one gun wielding, Jesus chest-thumping, fear mongering, bigoted patriot at a time.
Self determination and autonomy have rarely, if ever, been touched upon really in terms of actual policy formulation aimed at granting and protecting and enforcing those rights until the second half of the twentieth century when notions of human rights were formulated after World War II.
Even the Founding Fathers of this nation did not believe in human autonomy for all, which is why women got to vote some 150 years after the foundation of this nation and thus after the Declaration of Independence. When that document reads “all men are created equal“, it really does mean all males. The Founding Fathers, in all their wisdom notwithstanding, did not recognize that women were part of mankind.
One of our – as human kind – most fundamental rights – which is a human right and something inalienable, irrespective of culture and country of origin – is the freedom to be autonomous and make decisions based on that autonomy. This is a very fundamental and important right that often does not get the important attention it deserves. Way too many people are comfortable with having that autonomy diminished or taken away from them.
Most, if not all, conflicts throughout human history leading up to today, in not only this very country but all around the world really, have been about controlling others by taking away their autonomy to choose for themselves how to live their lives, what to believe in and subsequently what choices to make.
Eric and Ruth Brown were not those people. They had a choice and the freedom to exercise that autonomy to make a choice.
Deformity and Suffering as the Creator’s Will
The couple from Nashville, Tennessee, believe that the genetic disorder that created a cleft in their daughter Pearl Joy’s upper lip and caused her brain’s development to stall in the first weeks in the womb, to be god’s will.
“Things didn’t go wrong,” an apparently delusional Eric Brown said. “God has designed Pearl the way he wanted, for his glory and our good”.
This delusion has sustained the Browns ever since ultrasound revealed that the couple’s third child has alobar holoprosencephaly, a rare genetic condition that’s almost always fatal. The Browns never considered abortion. They believe that Pearl is “fearfully and wonderfully made,” as Psalm 139 puts it, and god alone should decide when she lives and when she dies.
Pearl’s brain never divided into two hemispheres during her development in the womb, which means she is basically a crawling vegetable. ”We don’t care about those things. She is here, and her brain is telling her how to live“, says Eric Brown.
The Browns are holding on to dear life, literally, as they delude themselves into believing that as long as their girl is basically still warm she should live and that her life is wonderful and a blessing, even though she has seizures on a daily basis, has a weakened immune system and has been back to the hospital at least five times in the past three months. A simple cold could kill her but “that day hasn’t come yet“, her mother says. The Browns not only insist she is god’s gift, they also think Pearl is actually fighting.
Fighting for what is unclear. Is she fighting for a miracle? Is she fighting for growing up being normal after all with this disease poofing out of existence much the same way this Earth poofed into existence according to the Bible?
Even skeptical neighbors, friends and acquaintance have bought into the delusion, applauding the Brown’s decision.
Kristina Guisler, a friend from the MOMS Club of East Nashville, met the Browns in 2009. When she first heard about Pearl’s condition, she said she wasn’t sure the Browns had made the right decision by continuing with the pregnancy. She wondered what kind of life Pearl would have.
But seeing the love that the Browns have for Pearl has changed her mind and strengthened her own faith.
“It’s reaffirmed my faith in humanity and in the power of prayer,” she said.
The Browns aren’t the only ones suffering from serious delusions, Nancy and David Guthrie of Nashville faced the ordeal twice: in 1998 and 2002 when their son and daughter both died in infancy from a fatal genetic condition called Zellweger syndrome. In Gabriel’s case, the Guthries learned he had Zellweger while he was still in the womb.
“One of the things we learned is that great sorrow and great joy can coexist,” she said. “Because life in the image of God is so precious, there is great joy in having this one you love with you, even while there is great sorrow in knowing that this child might not grow old with you.”
I have read and seen religious people talk themselves into a whole lot of bullshit and delusions to make it through their lives, but this sure takes the height. What I find particularly disturbing is this:
“God has designed Pearl the way he wanted, for his glory and our good.”
So god, in all his wisdom and love, would afflict a child with disease, deformity and suffering? And being born with a horrible genetic disease that renders you nothing but an animated doll trapped in a painful and torturous existence at the verge of death is something god did for his glory? There is glory to be had from this? And said disease and deformity is for the good of the parents.
All the credit, but none of the blame, huh? Hmmm maybe god is a Republican after all
But there is a broader canvas here. The above statement by the Browns is disturbing and akin to Indiana Tea Party Senate candidate Richard Mourdock’s comments that pregnancies stemming from rape, however horrible, are “something that God intended to happen” – as if rape wasn’t a crime and heinous act but just something in god’s secret and elaborate plan for all of us lemmings and for “his glory and the victim’s good.”
Does that mean rape itself is part of god’s plan? And genocide? And mass killing and child rape? Most religious people would say “no” (or maybe yes), which creates all sorts of contradictions because what they are saying is that the act of rape is not god’s will but the resulting child is. In other words, god would never orchestrate a rape, but would definitely exploit a rape to impregnate a woman.
That is amazing. Where do I sign up to worship this excellent decision-maker?
It is great that believing that there is a higher purpose to their suffering has allowed the Brown’s to not only justify their choice but also live with it this long.
Remember people believe in all sorts of stories and even lies for self preservation and to make it through the day and their lives. That is why we have religion in the first place. It is called cognitive dissonance, which is the term used in modern psychology to describe the state of “holding two or more conflicting ideas, beliefs, values and emotional reactions simultaneously. In a state of dissonance, people may sometimes feel surprise, dread, guilt, anger, or embarrassment. The theory of cognitive dissonance in social psychology proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance by altering existing cognitions, adding new ones to create a consistent belief system, or alternatively by reducing the importance of any one of the dissonant elements.”
The Brown’s are engaging in precisely that. They are people of faith who believe that the deity they believe in does all things for a reason. Such a notion is an especially opportune world view when good things happen. When something horrible, such as the birth defect of their child happens, on the other hand, said believers are suddenly left in shock, asking themselves where the good is in having their own child be afflicted with such a condition. Suddenly, painful reality and the tenets of their faith are at odds. If god is all loving and all caring, how can he let this happen? That is where “filling in the gaps” comes in becasue the Browns are human beings who can only take so much pain before losing it.
How do they cope with it? They cope with it by attempts to reconcile the reality of their situation with what they have been taught god to be. Thus, they tell a lie to themselves. But they do not know it is a lie. It cannot be. If it was, that would bring down their entirely worldview and the reality they have created for themselves. Their self delusion in that regard is quite sincere. The Browns have to believe that this is all part of a grander scheme. This, in turn enables them to go through life without feeling hopeless and without loosing their faith and feeling let down by their grand and loving creator.
Delusion is a wonderful thing and nothing deludes more than religion.
The truth, of course, is that this baby will be confronted with a myriad of painful medical procedures that she will have to endure but not understand the need for. There are limits to the amount of painkiller an infant can be given. The question really is whether the child is having a quality of life that satisfies the child’s nature, or whether being kept alive on IVs, feeding tubes, oxygen and other meds is the truly loving and wonderful alternative.
And can you say this is what the divine intended when the only thing keeping the child alive is medical technology, not god? The parents might enjoy the love and care they are giving, but what about the infant?
Ultimately, the Browns are doing this to make themselves feel better. They think they are doing this child a favor, but they aren’t, they are only doing themselves a favor and justify their decision by making appeals to the grand schemes of a higher power.
The only victim in this process is Pearl. Her family is holding on to delusions to prolong the life of a vegetable. For Pearl living or not living does not make a difference. She doesn’t even know what and who and if she is. Her brain didn’t part into two hemispheres for cryin’ out loud. She is nothing but an animated doll and for her there is no difference between living and dying, becasue there is no “her” there. She is just a breathing shell.
The idea that you have emergency oxygen standing by makes one wonder about whose will we are talking about, god’s or the ego’s. Her family’s understandable efforts to cope with her condition by putting a pretty spin on it only trivializes her suffering. And theirs.
Not Just Faith But Choice
The delusion of the Brown’s view on this aside, the bigger question here is that of choice. The beauty of freedom is that people, including the Browns, can choose to believe in any number of lies to make it through the day and their lives. And their decision, whether I agree with it or not, is ok.
As long as the Browns do not say to someone else that this is why their child has been blessed with a deformity and death. they can believe in hob goblins as far as I – and reality – are concerned. Sure it is naive and ignorant to attribute any condition onto god, and I mean naive in the sense of immature, unknowing as it relates, but if that is what they need to make it through their lives, who am I, or anyone, to argue with that?
Only that the delusions of religious people are rarely confined to their own personal realm
And therein lies the fundamental problem with letting faith guide your decisions. Religious people place their emotions before their intelligence. The problem is that when people make important decisions based on a fantastical belief system rather than facing unpleasant realities that they’d rather pretend don’t exist, it can leave a lot of collateral damage that affects others. Just look at the recent assault on women’s reproductive rights callously championed by Republicans and conservatives based on their religious beliefs.
The Browns – for better or worse – had a choice with respect to keeping this child alive and caring for it. Ruth Brown could have gotten an abortion, but due to her personal beliefs she decided not to. She had a choice.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the kinds of policies Republicans push for and have partially succeeded in when it comes to granting women autonomy and the freedom to choose what they believe to be the best decision for them. The Browns were lucky that they were able to make the decision to have their the child without threats and pressure to obtain an abortion.
At the same time, remember that simply becasue it worked for the Browns and was the best decision they could make based on their lives, it does not mean it is the only right and honorable answer. A couple choosing to get an abortion should be able to do so without facing obstacles and judgment and shame just as the Browns. In short, the Brown’s decision to keep the child is not more admirable than the decision of someone else in the same situation to abort it.
In the end, it is all about choice and giving people the freedom to make that choice. In this day and age, it’s a true luxury to have one’s autonomy respected and your choices be your own. I wish lawmakers everywhere would make note of this because nothing diminishes an individual more than stripping them off autonomy.
Having no inhibitions to benefit from a tragedy, such as the shooting in Colorado last night that left 12 people dead and more than fifty wounded, Representative Louie Gohmert from Texas used this opportunity to push his agenda of gun wielding religiosity on everyone by stating that the shootings were a result of “ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs.”
“You know what really gets me, as a Christian, is to see the ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs, and then some senseless crazy act of a derelict takes place,” Gohmert said.
He also questioned why nobody else in the theater had a gun to take down the shooter:
“It does make me wonder, with all those people in the theater, was there nobody that was carrying a gun that could have stopped this guy more quickly?”
He went on to say that “some of us happen to believe that when our founders talked about guarding our virtue and freedom, that that was important. Whether it’s John Adams saying our Constitution was made only for moral and religious people … Ben Franklin, only a virtuous people are capable of freedom, as nations become corrupt and vicious they have more need of masters. We have been at war with the very pillars, the very foundation of this country.”
He concluded that the shooting in Colorado was a “a terrorist act” that could have been avoided if the country placed a higher value on God.
Did I miss something? Was there a part omitted in the Bible that says “And the Christ did whippeth out his gat and did just righteously blow Judas awayeth”?
If a loving, forgiving Christian with a gun would have stood up and blown him away with the all loving god guiding the bullet through his Kevlar, that would have been divine intervention? Really?
Religious people never fail to amaze me with their capacity for unsurpassed, shameless hypocrisy. Especially in this country, I have never encountered such a truly callous group of cowards. In my opinion, evangelical Christians are just about the worst human kind has to offer.
The Founding Fathers did not say that we ought to protect our freedoms as laid out in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence with guns and violence. If they wanted people to walk around armed to the teeth, they didn’t need to write the Constitution of the people, by the people, for the people; they could have just declared martial law.
Secondly, one does not guarantee and secure the kinds of freedoms the Founders talked about with guns and violence. That was the whole point of the revolution and of walking away from the yokes of tyranny and oppression in Europe. America is an idea, a dream, a vision and it never included gun wielding jingoists with nervous trigger fingers running the country.
Moreover, Jesus never advocated violence: he was a peaceful man who believed in forgiveness and turning the other cheek. He did not believe or even preach in walking around with deadly weapons to take down opponents and threats. I am stunned this man claims to be a Christian since there is nothing Christ like in anything he utters.
Finally, does he or anyone really think that if everyone in that dark room had a gun, the outcome would have been better? It would have been a shoot-out of epic proportions with lots of innocents in the cross-fire, and the perpetrator probably would have been missed.
It is also ironic that he would say that more god in everyone’s life would have prevented such a tragedy, generally leading to a peaceful society, when in fact more people have died in the name of religion, with Judeo-Christianity taking a lead, than in the name of any other ideology. From the Crusades, to chasing of “heretics”, witch hunting and burning, religious wars for the past two thousand years, antisemitism, the killing of Native peoples, to various events in the twentieth and twenty first century, including the massacre in Rwanda, the occupation of Palestine, 9/11 and suicide bombers. This is in addition to policies enacted (covert violence as opposed to overt violence) that are informed primarily by religious doctrine, such as halting stem cell research that could save millions of lives, to defunding of Planned Parenthood whose primary work consists of disease prevention and health screenings and not, as the religious Right has been telling, abortion. For Gohmert to say that more god and religion would be better for everyone is beyond ignorant and intellectually comatose.
America: A Culture Obsessed with Violence
The truth is that America has an infatuation, an obsession, a fascination with violence, the culture of violence, the instruments of violence and war; all to to a degree that vastly exceeds that of any other developed country; actually any country. We love executing, we love going to wars, the DOD is overfunded, our gut reaction to any international incidence is bomb them to the ground, ask questions later. That is why on one talks about guns being bad. This is something not even Obama dared to tackle. And why? Because it is off limits, a taboo. God forbid, pun not intended, anyone limits the ability of Americans to own an arsenal of weapons and ammu to defend “freedom.”
Ironically, those Americans who are the most vocal “Christians” are the ones who have the greatest infatuation and obsession with the aforementioned. And Louis Gohmert believes that embracing this American Christian culture of violence worship will prevent massacres like this?
I say, fuck you Representative Gohmert. I’m not a Christian or religious so your comments mean absolutely nothing to me you political hack. Stop trying to profit from this tragedy by once again infesting the public with your backwards religious, “Judeo-Christian” beliefs – which you shouldn’t be doing anyway because your bony, bigot ass is paid for by tax payer dollars.
And for those of you who are unfortunate enough to be religious or Christian, I say: if you believe in a god, know that he’s telling you to stay the hell away from people like Gohmert. He supports guns, guns, and more guns. There is nothing intelligent, divine or Christ-like in what this guy says. He is part of the problem. There always has been and will always be the mentally ill who will murderously go off the deep end with little or no warning. The question is why does this society make it easier for them to accumulate an assault weapon arsenal than to own a car and get a drivers license. If that’s the way we want it, then this is what will, from time to time, happen.
…no matter how much they like to convince most of the sheep in this country of the contrary.
I hate it when the media misrepresent facts either through omission or by inserting their own interpretation into something someone said in order to score a controversial headline and equally controversial outpouring as a result.
Wednesday night, Hilary Rosen, criticized Ann Romney accusing her of failing to understand the economic concerns of women.
Repeat after me: for failing to understand the economic concerns of women.
During a discussion on CNN’s “AC360″ she said: “What you have is Mitt Romney running around saying ‘well you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about is economic issues. And when I listen to my wife, that’s what I’m hearing.‘ Guess what, his wife has actually never worked a day in her life [...] She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school and how do we and why we worry about their future.”
This resulted in a shitsotrm on the Romney camp and it prompted Ann Romney to join Twitter raising a stink over Rosen’s remark, completely twisting and turning it around and making it what it never was by stating that she “made a choice to stay home and raise five boys”. She went on to say “Believe me, it was hard work.” All this resulted in a flurry of clarifications and counter-statements and whatnot, culminating in an appearance on Fox News this morning where Ann Romney basically said that people should vote for her fucking husband.
This afternoon Rosen was finally forced to apologize for something she essentially never said or implied.
While everyone was at it, former first lady Barbara Bush also decided to chime in on the debate, commenting on how women who stay at home are “wonderful” just as women who choose to work are “wonderful”. She went on to say that while she is not critical of Hilary she is ”sorry she took a knock at those of us who chose and who were able to - and that’s very important able -to stay home.”
But that is the whole point!!
I am totally flabbergasted.
First of all, what Rosen was saying was not in any shape a commentary on the “in home vs career moms” debate or the value of household work vs the value of a career. The point Rosen was trying to make is that Ann Romney would not know what being concerned about economics means to a woman because she has never been one of them. She was born into a wealthy family that fully supported her and after hopping around from one college to another having a good time traveling to France and waiting for Romney, she finally got married at the age of twenty and stayed at home to take care of him and the kids. She never had to go looking for a job, writing a resume, getting up at 7 in the morning to get to work, pay for expensive daycare while sacrificing other things. In short, she has never been a wage earner who knows what those challenges women face are.
When you are someone who, before she even had kids, never did a hard day’s work in her life in terms of being a wage earner and understanding the challenges women face in that regard and when you – after you had kids – got to stay at home and take care of the kids because of a rich husband whose obscene wealth insulated you from the economic challenges that stay-at-home moms or women in general face, then you are failing to understand the economic concerns of women. Period.
And that is the point Rosen was making. A very valid point for which she should never have apologized and I find it newsworthy and quite outrageous that Ann Romney and everyone thinks she is en par with any other woman who stayed at home.
In fact, Mitt Romney himself has never done a hard day’s work in his life. He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and he made money as a corporate raider bankrupting companies. Right now he is making more in a day than most make in a year. He operates and thinks on different orders of magnitude. He probably does have $ 10,000 in his pocket and I seriously doubt he even knows what a dollar bill looks like or feels like in your hands.
The Romneys are out of touch with the realities and challenges that plague most Americans and are very real to them, as evidenced by the myriad of insensitive, outlandish comments made by Romney these past few months, such as how much he loves football because a lot of his friends own football teams, his impromptu 10,000 dollar bet with Santorum and by saying things like (and I am paraphrasing) “oh yeah I do make money from speaking engagements but it [374,000 according to his tax records] is not much.”
So sorry Ann, but staying in your Ivory Tower ordering the nannies and staff to feed and clothe the kids and clean up the house because you married rich and have nothing better to do is not what being a stay-at-home mom is about, not does it constitute hard work or make you part of the crowd that understands the economic challenges women face.
Hillary Rosen was right on and it is a shame she had to apologize to please phony, overprivileged pukes like you and your husband who are completely out of touch with the realities of most Americans, heck most human beings on Planet Earth, and who are just about the worst things that could happen to this country.