Did you know that if laws or executive orders happen that you disagree with then that means the US is a tyranny? It’s true! At least according to my wall on Facebook. I have some thoughts on this, so come along with me on a rant that is a product of my over-educated, luckily traveled background! Continue reading ‘Tyranny: I do not think it means what you think it means’
Archive for the 'Politics' Category
In the wake of the Aurora shootings, I have been thinking about, as many of us are, the right to keep and bear arms. I am lucky enough to have passionate people on both sides of the issue, and because of my personal history of growing up in a hunting family in Texas, I don’t want the nullification of the Second Amendment. It is an important one, but we need to have good and many conversations about it. My frustration with gun rights advocates comes not from their desire to protect this piece of the constitution but from their belief (conscious or not) that this right is somehow categorically different from other rights. Somehow superior to other rights. They are misguided.
All rights have limits. In the abstract, they don’t, but name me three people that live in the abstract (then check to see if they have an arsenal in their basement). Freedom of speech is famously curtailed by the rule of “you can’t yell ‘fire’ in a crowded movie theater.” Freedom of religion bumps up against the separation of church and state or is limited by the state itself (think about anti-polygamy laws and the FLDS). The freedom of the press is limited by invocations of executive privilege. Right of assembly often now requires bureaucratic paperwork to be legal. We as a society limit our rights in order to have them. We give a little away in order to have the core and important parts of those rights.
Why should the right to keep and bear arms be different? Why should the acquisition of guns and ammo be completely unfettered? Is there anything fundamentally different about this right that requires us not to limit it in any way?
No. I have been going back and forth with my brother about this issue (round of applause to him for this), touching on several aspects of it. The fear of gun owners and gun advocates seems to be the slippery slope. If you allow for a little bit of gun control, the government will take a mile. You will end up with an empty right to bear arms. Aside from the intellectual fear, there seems to be a very visceral reaction to gun legislation or even the idea of talking about gun control. In my life, a comparable reaction would be about curtailing reproductive rights; a reaction I unfortunately have been experiencing quite a bit in the last five years. While I don’t feel the same way about gun rights, I can understand that reaction. Just like for reproductive rights, there are places where we should be able to find some working ground to pass legislation that reflects our values as Americans.
One of the places I think we can discuss is background checks and registration of weapon purchases. Background checks can help to identify people that probably should not be in possession of a deadly weapon. It is of course never going to identify every person, but imperfection really isn’t an argument against it. Registration of weapons keeps us informed of who owns what and where those gun should be. It helps police know if where they are headed is highly armed. It is an indication of responsible gun ownership. As has been said to liberals and progressives many, many times, if you aren’t hiding something, then what are you worried about?
Another place we should be looking at is education. We require people to pass a test in order to drive a car. I think we should require something similar of gun owners/users. It makes sense to me to make this class as universal as possible in order to instill a respect through knowledge of weapons. As I mentioned above, I grew up in a hunting family. I’m actually a pro-hunting vegetarian, because I think if you are going to eat meat then you should be as involved in the process as possible. I’ve shot a rifle. We had guns in the house. My parents took the time with us to make sure that we understood the power of these weapons and that we respected it. Small things like: never point a gun at a person even if you know for sure that it is unloaded, never be around a gun without an adult present, and we do not kill animals for fun. Having an educated gun owning class can only increase good gun ownership.
Finally, ammunition should be regulated. Six thousand rounds of ammunition should be difficult and/or time-consuming to acquire. If we can control how much ammunition it is legal to buy over a given time, then people that are planning atrocities like Aurora will at the very least be forced to plan better in order to amass what they need, which could potentially give law enforcement time to notice that this person is a red flag. Even if we allow people to buy as many guns that they want of every type available, if you control the ammunition, you effectively control the use of the weapon. People can hunt, but they can’t raze a street.
Ultimately, the purpose of gun legislation and control is to promote the responsible exercise of this right, not to strip every gun owner of their weapons. Background checks, registration of weapons, education about weapons and regulation of ammunition purchases will not stop you from using your gun. It won’t even stop you from using your gun against the government. It will declare your intent to be an upstanding citizen in the exercise of your right to keep and bear arms.
Throughout my coursework at The New School, I consistently found myself researching and thinking about women’s political empowerment. Quota policies seem to be the anchor around which this discussion often happens. In doing research on women’s rights in Chiapas and while gathering data in Nepal, I have started to think about these policies differently. Basically, the necessary first questions seem to be glossed over or ignored altogether. The goal of “increasing women’s presence in government” is of course important, but it proceeds from the the assumption that women can be collapsed into one category and therefore any woman that achieves a government office means women have been and will be empowered. The complexities of women’s lives are flattened or molded or forgotten in achieving this goal. Continue reading ‘Thoughts On Political Empowerment’
In this polarized and polarizing world, the complexities of an identification or a political stance are lost through the need to dig in and position yourself against some other person or some other stance. As I’ve said or as you can tell, I am adamantly pro-choice. I want to take a moment to define what pro-choice means to me, because it may not complicated for me but it comes from a complex and personal space.
Pro-choice means more than just a commitment to keeping abortion safe, legal, and accessible for all women. Being pro-choice for me is a commitment to the health and well-being of women, children, families, and all people. It means I believe in people receiving comprehensive, age-appropriate sex education, in health class and throughout their lives. It means that I believe that injustices that do not seem related to abortion rights actually are, such as economic disparities and societal oppression of women. It means that as I think and re-think through my pro-choice stance, I come to the following words: faith, hope, and love. Continue reading ‘Faith, Hope, and Love: Why I am Pro-Choice’
Last night while watching MSNBC, one of the commentators was confused / angry that women had voted for Santorum. To this person, I would say: women don’t vote with their vaginas.
Let’s start this post with a little about me. I am adamantly, unapologetically pro-choice. I believe that all reproductive decisions belong to the person making them and not to anyone else without that person’s consent. As a matter of human decency, the full range of reproductive health services must be accessible (economically, geographically, logistically and any other adverb that seems applicable) to all people. Now, obviously I don’t find abortion to be morally suspect, but I am offended by how pro-abortion Rick Santorum is. Santorum loves abortions. Santorum wants more abortions. More and more and more and more and more abortions. Abortions for everyone! How do I know this anti-abortion man actually wants more abortions? Elementary, my dear Watson!* If you follow his stances on reproductive rights to their logical conclusions, you get more abortions. Santorum loves abortion.
Continue reading ‘Rick Santorum Loves Abortion’
I’m reading the article on the anti-gay bill reintroduced in Uganda, and we seem to have a tug ‘o war happening with development aid there. It goes a little bit like this:
West: Leave LGBTQIA people alone or you can’t play with us and our money!
Uganda: We don’t want to play with you! Go away!
Here is a list of senators that oppose the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC):
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Sen. Lisa Murkowski(R-AK)
Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID)
Sen. James Risch (R-ID)
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS)
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY)
Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS)
Sen. Christopher Bond (R-MI)
Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE)
Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)
Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK)
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC)
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Sen. John Thune (R-SD)
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN)
Sen. John Cornyn(R-TX)
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)
Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT)
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY)
Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY)
Apparently, the biggest issue regarding ratification is that parents will no longer be able to spank their children. Yes, we should not ratify a treaty because people are afraid that if they spank their children UN forces will knock down their front door and wisk them away to… Geneva? New York?
Ratifying the Convention means that the US is committed to protecting and supporting children. It means we are committed to keep children safe and help them grow up happy and healthy. All children deserve this, including American children. Here is a video by my friend Emma about the convention:
If only 2 more senators decide to oppose ratification, it will not pass if brought to the senate floor. Call or email your senators and let them know that you believe in protecting and supporting America’s children.