30 January 2017

On my heart and mind

My head has been super busy this week/month/season, but I've been having an exceptionally hard time getting my thoughts onto "paper." I've read a lot of news. A lot of articles analyzing said news. I've ranted to and been ranted at by friends, online and in person. I know the audience of this blog is generally fairly limited. I'm going to assume nothing and simply write what's on my heart and mind. I will not likely link any sources, but I can get them if anyone is interested. 

All lives matter. This is true. This is a statement that I can, in general, get behind. But it's certainly not being used correctly. People use it as a rebuttal to Black Lives Matter. saying that BLM is trying for special treatment or the like. "Special treatment" being not being gunned down at traffic stops. Being given the benefit of the doubt in court. Being simply understood as part of humanity. And all lives matter while then not helping refugees from war-torn countries, while not protesting a ban on said refugees. People are worried about the safety of this country in respect to refugees. In the last 15 years not a single refugee has carried out a terror attack on the US. Worldwide, fifty percent of refugees are children. So "all lives matter" doesn't actually seem to mean that.

All lives matter so long as they're upper middle-class white people and/or fetuses. Before I get too far into this one, let me say that I'm "pro life" in the same way I'm "all lives matter," (same thing, different words.) Conservatives/ Christians seem to care a whole lot about the unborn and very little about the children in the world. Young mothers are told the only option is having a child, but then berated for being on public assistance because they cannot support these children. Now, I know that the best choice is considered to be abstinence. And I agree on some level. But let's be honest, humans have sex. So the best course is actually education. Comprehensive sex education that includes all contraceptive options. And it works. Numerous countries in Europe have a much lower rate of abortion than the US simply because of this sort of education. There is a lower rate of abortion and teen pregnancy when there is a Democrat as president. Because of the access to contraceptives. The bottom line is that abortions will happen whether or not they are legal. The tragedy is that mothers will die if they are not given a safe method of abortion. And that is a life that matters. Now we can look at adoption, because that's heavily advocated. What's upsetting about it is that the foster system is packed with children. Most of them are children of color. It is a fact that the adoption process is expensive. Thus, prospective adopters are often white and generally want their children to resemble them. This is obviously a broad statement, but it is not unsubstantiated. I can go on about abortion, but I will not, I just want to make the point that "pro-life" doesn't actually seem to mean that. 

An argument I hear is that the private sector needs to be the ones that help those in need instead of tax dollars. And I agree, except it doesn't always work that way. Besides (possibly) a tithe to church, who is donating to the local homeless shelter? Who is working at the food pantry? Also, more of these organizations need to be  no-religious ones, because too often religions organizations exclude some of those in need. Most notably LGBT people. Queer lives matter too. Refusing to help a gay or trans person is violence. There is no way around that. And if private organizations will not help all people, then it is up to the government to care for all of its citizens. 

I was raised Christian. All of my formal education was at Christian schools. I retain a lot of the morals and ethics I learned. The God I learned about was love. Countless Bible verses talk about caring for those in need. Accepting the aliens and strangers. Caring for even those considered sinners. Judging no one on any basis because that is God's job alone. This has always been the major takeaway from Christianity. I now have quite a problem with many followers of Christ that are not at all Christ-like. Many of these Christians seem to have confused Christ's teachings with capitalism/nationalism. It is not Christianity and it is dangerous. When we exclude those in need out of some sense of personal safety, it is morally wrong. It goes against all true Christian teachings. 

Fear is natural. Fear is understandable is some situations. Acting inhumanely because of that fear is unacceptable and inexcusable. 

I have made it quite far without mentioning the current US President. But it really does come back to him. What he and his advisors are doing is wrong. Excluding people from this "land of opportunity" from the "home of the free" is not only against the precepts that formed this nation, but also is morally wrong. The US was settled as a haven from religious oppression. I won't get into how that was immediately used to oppress the indigenous peoples, but the original thought was the separation of Church and State so that there could be no national religion that everyone was required to follow. By excluding people based on religion or nationality, we go against that basic principle. It is not about safety. Or even religion, as evidenced by Middle Eastern nations excluded from the ban. It is about money. It is about racism. It is very far from being Christian or Christ-like. 

I have a lot of privilege in this country. I was born into a family with the means to house and clothe and feed me well as well as send me to private school. I did not grow up in need of anything essential. I am white. I also have male passing privilege. I am generally assumed straight, as it is default. The fact that I am trans and gay can be hidden. Many people in my situation do not have this privilege. So I have advantage over all people of color. Over women. Over non-passing trans men. Over obviously gay or effeminate men. 

Currently, I am personally unaffected by the new administration. But I am affected mentally and emotionally. I have friends who work with refugees. Friends who work for the federal government. Their jobs have a real possibility of going away.  I am friends with people of color who already face discrimination and now have seen an uptick.  And though I'm physically safe now, I will be completely unsurprised if some new executive order comes along that affects trans people. 

If these things do not affect you. You have privilege. And that privilege should be used to help those without. 

I feel like I could go on and on. I’ve been writing this off and on for a couple of days. I’m exhausted. But I’m not going to stop being outraged. I’m not going to stop using what voice I have to help in any way I can. 

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