Ignorance is Power; Knowledge is Bliss

ramadan

This is a Chalk drawing I made of Turkey during Ramadan. Ramadan in a mostly Muslim country is like Christmas in a mostly Christian country. People are happy, lights and music fill town squares, vendors sell mass-marketed garbage and foods that’ll tack on 10 pounds. This trip was a changing point for me-Knowledge is bliss.

I’ve been having adult moments as I realize many of my friends are Trump supporters. It has led me to some serious discussions with myself. Here is a guy who made hatred and intolerance as his campaign promise. How can seemly Steve, shindig Cheryl and tenderhearted Tari like this guy?

The first friends who came out as supporters did not surprise me. We used to laugh about how I couldn’t be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen if I don’t get myself knocked up. They’d offer to do the job themselves, and I’d give them the finger. Yet, there was always part of me that wondered when they’d go quiet as the chief’s gay dad stepped into the room. It didn’t surprise me, and since they declared support based on racism, sexism and bigotry, I dropped them as fast as I dropped my bangs after the ’80s.

It’s my Trump-supporting friends I’m only learning about now that really hurts. More thought has to go into Shakespeare’s famous question, “To friend or not to friend?”

fuckrock

Fuck Rock: This rock was well placed on a steep mountain trail. Just when I thought I was near the top, I rounded the corner and saw that I was only half-way. Someone carved this into the rock when they reached the same point.

These friends are not racist or bigots. Brother Trump was just talkin’ like a dude when he bragged about sexual assault (a dude in his sixties). He never mocked a disabled man, he made the same gestures to describe Ted Cruz (a man he admires bigly). Certainly, he didn’t mean that ALL Mexicans are rapists and drug dealers. He just meant…uh, what did they say on Fox News? I forgot what he really meant, but something else. He’s right when he says that terrorists from “over there” on that one continent…not sure which…are coming over here by the thousands. They want to do all sorts of bad things like shoot kids in schools and set fire to religious institutions.

These beliefs, along with the idea that he’s Making America Great Again, stems from ignorance. I’ve approached many Americans who believe that you are either a college educated wimp who never worked a day in your life, or you are a hard-working good ‘ole uneducated person with Christian values. You couldn’t have any combination of the above. It’s the working class against the elitists. In all fairness, I’ve known plenty of people who do fall into both categories. Many people I know are either both college educated AND very hard workers, or they were never educated AND completely lazy. Many others are educated and Christian or uneducated Satan worshipers. But I’ve found that announcing your college education does more harm than good in many businesses. I’ve often been given the advice to underplay education during my interviews, or it might hurt my chances for the job. Ignorance is power.

America’s long-standing push toward ignorance is what hired DT, and the benefit will be to the historians who are writing like mad. Yet, as I watch my poor country crumble  like the retaining wall that was improperly built in my yard, there is room for bliss.

With knowledge of history and current events, I can see where we are going. Oh, it’s bad for sure. People have already been hurt. Rises like this are similar to ones that led to world wars and civil wars. There is no bliss in this, but there is comfort in knowing what may happen ahead of time. There is comfort in having the ability to prepare oneself for the changes and challenges. There is comfort in knowing that after Germany’s radical politics they became a more liberal nation, opening arms to refugees, providing free healthcare, leading in climate change alterations, and making rad beer and pretzels. Let us not forget that they got there at a terrible cost.

I’m not putting a silver lining on a cloud. I’m using science to predict the weather pattern so I know when to prepare for the flood. Because when this is all over, I’m hoping that we will determine that knowledge is power and ignorance is bliss.

sandsmiley

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Political Correctness

rainbow-hazmat

(Above: I’m wearing a level A suit for a hazmat drill. I added the rainbow in support of gay rights.)

I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about political correctness. In the last month, I’ve encountered it in the following places:

  1. A church group thanked my co-workers and I with a lovely dinner and a pronouncement that, “We just don’t do that political correctness stuff.”
  2. On television, Trump vows to end political correctness. His followers ooze their orgiastic excitement all over Facebook in response.
  3. Political correctness is now a war on Christmas. I thought this one was particularly funny. How is wishing someone a happy holiday the same as a war on Christmas? I think Christmas just brings out the war in people.
  4. Small town businesses continue to refuse to make cakes for gay weddings. They claim that God will stop loving them if they extend their confectionery delights to the gay community. Other businesses are still trying to deny business to non-whites. Whew, glad I don’t believe in a god like that. It sounds like a tough life.
  5. A group of white people sprayed it across the mosque in the city in which I work. That’s classy, guys. Gets your point across.

So, if political correctness is anti-religion, anti-Trump, and anti-bigoted businesses, and anti-vandal, I should really dig it. And in a way I do. The original idea of political correctness is to apply kindness, manners and respect to minority communities. Respect is good.

samoan

(Above: My mom and I are “respecting” this fine specimen of Samoa.)

The problem with political correctness is that it just doesn’t work. As my good bloggie friend Sha’Tara says, “PC was invented by some people totally convinced that it is totally possible to pick up a piece of turd by the clean end.” In other words, the problem is not in the words used but the people using it. It’s the intent. It ignores the issue at hand.

Another problem is demonstrated by Sherman Alexie-that god-like writer I adore so much I’d probably panic and pee on myself if I ever met him. Anyway, in his books he makes it quite clear that he’s an Indian. He’s not Native American, not American Indian, just Indian. This same problem has been repeated by many in the minority classes. My family is mixed-race. My cousins don’t consider themselves to be African American. In fact, a couple of them can’t even find Africa on the map. They are black. It is their preference. My grandpa who is half-paralyzed considers himself to be handicapped, disabled, differently abled, whatever term gets him close parking and free escorts to the front of lines. In other words, the second problem with political correctness is that nobody asked in the first place.

So, like many other people I’ve wondered what to do. What do I say? Another great bloggie friend ghostspeaking (and uber-rad friend in real life) had the perfect explanation. She wrote, “We should prepare one another TO BE OFFENDED. Telling people this melting pot of culture and economic and societal differences is going to be a seamless process is a manipulative lie that allows the powers that be to squelch and silence those with confusion instead of helping them learn to communicate and use their voice. We need to prepare one another for inevitable accidental offenses, ITS CALLED A LANGUAGE BARRIER AND IT IS NORMAL AND ISNT MEANT TO START WARS, ITS MEANT TO UNITE….”

I say, “YES!” It isn’t easy, and there will be accidental offenses, but intent is where it begins. Sometimes words will hurt, but if they weren’t meant to then let’s help each other understand. And if someone helps you to understand, it is your job to listen. Embrace diversity and love your neighbor. When issues arise, ask yourself the pertinent questions. Challenge yourself and each other. We aren’t so weak, are we?

dancing

(Above: I’m dancing with diversity, for real! Except, in Kenya I’m the minority and these fine ladies are treating me with respect.)

Little Girl Lost

I don’t always reblog other people’s works, but I need time to work through my next blog and this one touched me. It is lovely and true. I hope you guys enjoy it too.  –Polymath

Little girl, stop! Look in the mirror. Look hard and concentrate, you’ll be able to see her. See the woman staring back, on the verge of giving up? That’s you, little girl, that’s…

Source: Little Girl Lost