Yes, it’s the silly season. In addition to the domestic chaos I mentioned last week, the news of late has been full of–well, let’s just say, there’s not enough facepalm in the world.
It’s been fascinating, in a train-wreck sort of way, watching the far right go further and further off the rails, with each horrific piece of home-grown terror that pops up. (And horrific, in an entirely different way, watching each piece of said terror.) I hadn’t thought they could get more callous after the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting. First, there was a bit of “blame the victim.” Then Cruz came up with the notion that the shooter was a “transgender leftist radical.” (As a leftist radical, with several LGBT friends, I’m offended on multiple levels.) But no, then San Bernardino happened.
The latest news reporting indicates that this couple was radicalized well before their marriage. Any ISIL connections, from what I’ve seen, were relatively recent. In fairness, I can’t call them *completely* “home-grown,” as she seems to have picked up her crazy from overseas. Where he got his, I’m not exactly sure (piles of psycho-babble notwithstanding).
Trump, on the other hand, has gone completely off the deep end. At the risk of running afoul of Godwin’s Law, he had already gone full Hitler, by implicitly agreeing to registering all Muslims in the country. Now he’s doubled down, and is calling for a ban on letting Muslims enter the country.
Wow. Just… wow.
While all of this has been going down, I’ve been contemplating exactly what my “leftist, liberal” opinion is. I don’t think I’ve got it completely drawn up, but I’ve got a brief sketch, with some broad principles. This may not be as coherent as I’d like (lack of sleep, from the afore-mentioned chaos), but here goes:
- When given a choice, I nearly always prefer the option that is the most compassionate to my fellow humans, regardless of their sex, race, orientation, religion, national origin, age, or whatever other criteria you care to throw my way. (I may not like you, but I’m not going to try to hold you back.)
- I have guns. I keep them under lock and key. I do not have military-style or military-grade weapons, as I am no longer in the military, and have no need for them. I am in favor of establishing positive licensing for ownership (in the style of drivers’ licenses). I am in favor of full background checks for any firearms purchase.
- I don’t believe that it’s possible, by any given acceptable method or set of methods, to completely prevent terrorist events from ever occurring on our soil. Nor shootings. Nor domestic violence, drunk driving, hunger, obesity, poverty, drug/alcohol abuse, school bullying, or any of a disturbingly long list of things that we’d like to see abolished in a just, fair society. This doesn’t mean that we can’t work to minimize them.
- I don’t believe that religion–any religion–is “the answer.” Frankly, most of them, if not all, are probably asking the wrong questions. I don’t believe in abolishing them, either. I would like to see them abandon their bronze-age principles, and try to be as compassionate, loving, and kind as they all claim to be.
There’s probably more to this list–and I’ll try to write them down as I come up with them. But in the meantime, I’d call this a good start. What do you think?