Anti – Political Correctness = Loss of Civil Discourse?

I was inspired to explore the concepts of political correctness and anti-political correctness by a letter to the editor of my local newspaper in which the writer expressed his pro-Trump standing as being based on Trump’s “…straight forward demeanor”  which is “… brash but refreshingly direct.”  In other words, he likes and supports Trump’s anti-political correctness rhetoric.

I, on the other hand, find this rhetoric racist, sexist, misogynistic, ignorant, narcissistic, autocratic, reckless, shortsighted, impulsive, irresponsible, undemocratic, un-American, destructive, dangerous and bathed in lies.

As I researched political correctness and the anti-political correctness movement on the part of the Republican right, I found that this is a complex issue that goes back decades.  I am not going to discuss this in this post as I need more time to digest what I have recently read.  I just want to say for now that I uphold respectful, compassionate, empathetic, tolerant, informed discourse of decency and civility executed with the highest character.  Beware that anti-political correctness is being used as a weapon to undermine our democracy.

Fighting Autocracy to Save Democracy

Complacency is the enemy of democracy.  I think that many do not realize the dangers of recognizing autocrats (dictators, despots, tyrants) as legitimate entities that are worthy of  sharing the world stage with the United States and its allies.  Maybe many do not understand what it would mean to live in an autocracy like Russia.  Even though Russia claims to be a democracy, it is not.  An autocracy is a system of government in which one person has absolute power and is unaccountable to the law and the citizenry.  In Putin’s Russia, political opponents are murdered or sent to Siberia and put behind bars for decades, minority rights are suppressed, opposition is quashed, foreign territory is forcefully annexed, the courts are corrupt, the right to free assembly and other civil rights is limited, police intimidation is promoted and the media is state-run.  There is no freedom of speech nor the right to bear arms.   And Putin has taken the wealth of the country for himself and his friends, the Russian Oligarchs, while the Russian people suffer.

On the other hand, a democracy is ruled by the people:

  • no one is above the law as the Constitution limits power
  • has a system of checks and balances
  • provides separation of powers divided among the executive, legislative and judicial branches
  • gives power to the people
  • provides personal freedom and protection and equality under the law as guaranteed by the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the laws
  • power is divided between national and state governments

 

I think it is easy for Americans to take these democratic attributes for granted as we enjoy so much freedom.  Maybe we would not truly realize what we have until we have lost it.  This is the first time in my life that I fear the loss of our democracy due to the actions of Donald Trump.  Between his shameful behavior with our allies and his kowtowing to Putin, I feel he is not exercising his duty to uphold the Constitution of the United States.  For some reason, President Trump has said “I’ve always felt fine about Putin.  He’s a strong leader.  He’s a powerful leader.”  Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin were also strong and powerful leaders, but they also murdered millions of their citizens.

Trump does not see Russia as an enemy of democracy, but only as a business opportunity.  He wants in on the riches stolen from the Russian people by Putin and the oligarchs.  His ignorance of history, the Constitution and the law makes he himself a very dangerous enemy of democracy.  We need to exercise our democratic rights to hold the legislative branch accountable to the people by voting for congressmen/women and senators who will not be complicit to the atrocities committed by this president and who will uphold the Constitution.

VOTE!!!

 

Democracy Under Attack: Only you can save our freedom…

President Harry S. Truman said, “The experience of WWII, where Americans fought with valor from Iwo Jima to Normandy, taught us that recognition of our dependence upon one another is essential to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness of all mankind.”

Greed and addiction to power and wealth has over taken our government leaving behind average Americans who, as a result of their diminishing opportunities, are subjected to divisive lies as they search for answers to what happened to their part of the American dream.  This American dream is not one of McMansions, european cars and designer clothes, but simply of a “chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.”  As the addicts shamelessly grasp for all they can grab to feed their addiction with little regard for anyone else, they accumulate un-fulfilling things that have no meaning in what is really important in life which is sharing experiences and loving others.

I think it is difficult for average Americans to really criticize greed because many of us would love to be wealthy and powerful.  But, we need to remember that greed has great cost to our souls, the essence of who we are, the part of us that deeply knows that a hungry child of the working poor is more important that the possession of a pair of designer shoes.  This great divide between the wealthy and the average American is putting our democracy at great risk making authoritarian governments of the world very happy as the disenfranchised average Americans are vulnerable to lies spread on social media.

This week 12 Russian military officers were indicted by the United States for meddling in our 2016 election including stealing the personal information of 500,000 American voters.  This on top of the 13 Russian trolls who were indicted in February for spreading propaganda on social media.  The United States of America is under Russian attack.  Our defense is to not fall victim to their lies that divides us and put our democracy at risk from within.

In Messing with the Enemy:  Surviving in a Social Media World of Hackers, Terrorists, Russians and Fake News by Clint Watts, social bots are described as “…programs, defined by a computer algorithm, that produce personas and content on social media applications that replicate a real human.”  These are used to spread destructive propaganda that create the allusion that many people believe the same lies as truth.  The massive amount and the wide distribution of these lies makes it nearly impossibly to fact check and find the truth.  One way to fight this is to not share posts that you did not create yourself.  It is safer to post a cute picture of your grandchildren than a Russian lie.

In an authoritarian government individual freedom is totally subordinate to the authority of the state which can be one person or a small group that is not constitutionally accountable to the people.  Democracy challenges the power and control of the authoritarian.  Defeating or undermining democracies increases the power of the authoritarian at the expense of individual freedom.  Our personal freedom is at risk along with our democracy.  Our democracy is under attack through social media.  We need to strengthen our democracy by really knowing our news sources and their motivations and by participating in our democracy by voting and activism.

Sadly, the President is not protecting our democracy because he is attracted to the power of authoritarianism and is only interested in increasing his own power.  It is up to us!

 

Caring for our Children and the Right to Choose

How desperate must someone be to choose to end a pregnancy?  I don’t know because I have never been in that situation.  But before Roe vs. Wade, a thousand woman a year died from unsafe abortions and millions per year suffered abortion related injuries.  There are many reasons for a woman to seek an abortion including but not limited to rape, incest, health risks, failed birth control, abusive partner, and not being able to financially provide adequate care.  No matter the reason, women before Roe vs. Wade were so desperate they were willing to risk their lives and health.  Even though abortion is now legal, it has been on a steady decline since 1990.  This could be due to better education and more effective birth control provided by organizations such as Planned Parenthood.  Woman should have the right to choose and to have access to safe procedures, even though I wish that it didn’t have to happen.

I think, we as a nation, should focus on caring for our children who are already here.  16.2 million American children are food insecure.  400,000 American children are in foster care and 100,000 are waiting to be adopted.  We need to provide educational and economic opportunity for parents and prospective adoptive parents to be able to care for these children.  Training and good paying jobs is the answer, along with supporting children whose parents are disabled.  The richest country in the world should not have food insecure children!  Shame on us!