#Justise4All No. 3

⟦On the Pro-Life initiative⟧

If you are someone who supports the defunding or closing of Planned Parenthood, you are not Pro-Life, simply because you inadvertently support the violent terrorist actions taken against Planned Parenthood facilities and Pro-Choice medical professionals. Social media activists and Pro-Choice advocates have been compiling over 40 years of violence, vandalism, petit crime, bombings, and homicides associated with so-called Pro-life supporters. You can read some of them: Click Here. The bottom line is this: Unless you yourself are taking measures to stop these acts of domestic terrorism on American soil, all you are doing is posturing your demonizing view on reproductive rights, allowing for these criminals to literally get away with murder. While my views on this particular issue are mixed, I will never stand with public hypocrites or moral bigots who choose to use their respectability politics to stifle the rights of any human being and permit the most extreme believers of their agenda to carry out such heinous and unconscionable crimes against humanity. Finally, as I've always said, if you identify as a so-called "Pro-Lifer," but support American warfare, nevermind being a hypocrite. You're just a liar.

⟦On Patriotism⟧

With the series of events that have taken place over the last several years involving social justice, law enforcement reform, international military campaigns, and systemic discrimination, it has become clear that those who do not agree with my convictions have chosen to see me as Un-American, indeed, unpatriotic. They choose to believe that my views and expressive manner in which I rail against the problems of the world have now rendered me some sort of dissident, hellbent on destroying the very fabric of this country’s identity. They have chosen to see me as [what some would call] a traitor, a rebel, a radical.

While some of that may be true (wink), most of it is not.

I have said before, and still believe, that this nation does have the opportunity to truly live up to the standards it has set through its legislature and some of its history. But that is the optimist in my optimistic realism. Reality insists that the future is far more bleak with far less options for salvaging what a basic socioeconomic overview of the US indicates is a collision course with a full implosion of its infrastructure, marked by violence, homegrown terrorism, and a vast dissolution of the ties that have bound the Union up for nearly two-and-a-half-centuries since the signing of the Declaration of Independence. If there is any hope to deter us from this path, it is in understanding that loving one’s country is about cultivating that love through hard work, a commitment to blind justice, and reparative task-based solutions to address the ongoing plight of its most marginalized, oppressed peoples. The love that folks I know who do not see my perspective speak of is not love, but blind, dangerous Patriotism.

It’s the kind of reckless, nationalistic zeal that has led many of our countrymen to place their hope in a crony capitalist bigot whose interests in becoming the next Commander-In-Chief are about as laughable as they are destructive. The kind of unexamined, sycophantic devotion to a sovereign nation that history proves has borne untold misery against its own people. It is the type of ignorant expectancy that allows the insanity of believing we can make major changes to our insidious systems of governance & justice by repeating the problematic routines that have brought us to this precipice in the first place.

This is Patriotism at its worst, and, without reservation, most harmful.

In my mind, a true Patriot, one who truly wants the best for his country, is not afraid to call out when it has done wrong by its citizens. A Patriot understands that it is the people, and not the products, of any country that allow it to survive and thrive. A true Patriot realizes that in order to manifest a place of origin that exercises noble standards like full, unhindered human rights for his fellow man, he must, as Baldwin notes, “insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.” What’s more, a Patriot must be ready, willing, and able to put in the actual work that goes along with that critique, because while words are world-changing, they simply aren’t enough.

It must be understood by anyone who wishes to critique me on these topics that in addition to being able to hold intelligent debate with citable sources for your perspective, I am stressing very much the aspect of how people are the backbone of this movement. We have invested uncountable amounts of time, money, and sacrifice to uphold fleeting concepts like national ideals, systems, and positions of power. This is the very reason why we aren’t solving the problems I speak of so strongly. We aren’t focusing on the fact that said systems & ideals are bereft of compassion or empathy for the human experience, hence the highly volatile state in which these United States find themselves.

We have to realize that were this whole structure to collapse tomorrow in some catastrophic turn of events, no law, no title, and no concept would help with the immediate reaction or rebuilding. It would have to be the people who would decide how to move forward.

In this spirit, I challenge anyone who challenges me on my opinions to step outside of their comfort zone and ask themselves why I feel so strongly, and what it would mean for themselves and the people around them if, instead of shutting down a defensible argument, allowing the possibility that there is merit to that argument through a more comprehensive, compassionate assessment of some of the worst of what our country has to offer. I challenge all of us to see the people we have been told to hate through a lens of objectivity, instead of the filter of patriotic phobias. It is, quite literally, the only way we can find methods by which to pull ourselves out of this complex set of problems and create long-term answers.

We have run out of time to keep believing that American Patriotism, as we have been taught to understand it, is going to save America. It was never meant to be saved in such a way, since its success hinges on the violent, exploitative subjugation of others. True American patriotism must be cultivated by seeing everyone for what they are: humans, who are capable of doing both wonderful & terrible things. If we count out those who our zealous preconceptions suggest are not human, or less worthy of our compassion, we will be left with nothing. Then, and only then, will the most stubborn and hateful amongst us see that when all else fails, the worst kind of excuses for that failure are the ones coming from the mind of fanatics who have placed their false hopes in a false concept of Patriotism.