head, brick wall. brick wall, head.

I’m beginning to wonder if I’m subconsciously seeking a concussion. Because I keep willingly slamming my head against the brick walls that are people who identify as right-of-center/those with Obama Derangment Syndrome.

Some months ago I got into it on Facebook with a family member over the whole Chick-fil-A dust-up:

Family Member: Have any of you ever ate at In N Out? Flip their cups over, check out the tub the fries come in. What do you see? Bible versus. I wonder if they give to causes they believe in? Which intolerant group who always ask us to be tolerent will complain. I should not have to be tolerant. Ugggghhhh!!!!

Me being me, of course I had to respond:

Carol Elaine: Sooo, being upset that a company gives buttloads of money to organizations that do all they can to marginalize and demonize gay people is being intolerant? In the words of Inigo Montoya, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

In my admittedly brief research, I can see that In-N-Out’s main charitable giving focuses on helping abused children in the states where they operate. That, combined with the fact that they are considered amongst the top employers who treat their employees well, leads me to believe that they actually follow the teachings of Jesus.

Family Member did not actually address my points (not the first time, I might add):

Family Member: The founder of the now world famous chicken sandwich joint is a Christian as well. People give to causes they believe in, that’s what makers America great. Tomorrow somebody else will tick off some other group. In the words of the now dead Rodney King, can’t we all just great along.

And yes, I responded in a rather long winded fashion:

Carol Elaine: You’re right, America’s a great country. He’s entitled to give money to causes he believes in (no matter how hateful – I’m pretty sure Jesus would have been appalled by Focus on the Family) and I’m entitled to call him out as a bigot for doing so.

Here’s the thing: denigrating and demonizing and trying shove an entire group of people into second class citizenship (we don’t agree with you, so you can’t have the same rights we do) is a hot button issue with me. When I see millionaires supporting groups that are demonstrably hate groups (as the Family Research Council has been deemed by the Southern Poverty Law Center), I am moved to call them out. I will never stop being offended that there are Americans who think it’s okay to deny LGBT folks basic civil rights. Frankly, it’s anti-American to do so.

And when I see someone that I love – someone who I know is a generous and kind person, like you are – apparently supporting such a person, I’m genuinely puzzled.

(This is what it’s about for me: http://www.owldolatrous.com/?p=288)

And the following exchange happened:

Random FM Friend #1: Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and that is what makes it great about this country the first amendment gives us that right to say what is on our minds, with out feeling demonized. Either side of this issue we all have the right to say it.

Random FM Friend #2
: Everyone has the “Right to Say” what they feel, and the Right to be as tolerant as they wish to be. It is in our Constitution, and I defended those rights. If you do not wish to be tolerant, then do not be tolerant. If you wish to force your opinion on others, and expect them to bow down to you, expect alot [sic] of push back from guys like me.

Carol Elaine: Random FM Friend #1, that’s not what the First Amendment is about. The full text is, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

That’s it. Various legal decisions have expanded it to include local and state government (the original intention was Congress only, but America has gotten a whole lot bigger since the 18th Century), but it ONLY covers government abridging the speech of its citizens (and peaceable assemblage and freedom of religion, etc). It says nothing about making sure all citizens are never, ever criticized for their speech. And it says nothing about not reaping the consequences of that speech. If I go up to a random African-American and call him the N word, well, the government can’t do anything about it. But I sure as hell better not be surprised if that man punches me in the face as a result of my free speech.

Random FM Friend #2, how am I forcing my opinion on you? Do I have a gun to your head, saying you better think as I do? No. That would be the height of stupidity. But if what you believe causes you to infringe on the civil rights of others, or to support those who do, you better believe I’m not going to take that lying down – I don’t care who you are. I refer you to a very good friend of mine – a man who has served in the Navy for most of his life and has seen some horrible hotspots during his service – for his take on marriage equality: http://www.stonekettle.com/2011/12/uncivil-righteousness.html (I hope you take the time to read it – my buddy Jim is a hell of a guy and knows to turn a phrase).

In the end, this is what it’s about:
I should step away from the discussion now, as I don’t enjoy banging my head against a brick wall (which is what this conversation could devolve into). We NASA folks are preparing for the Curiosity landing on Sunday and I want to clear my head for that so I can enjoy it!

Not surprisingly, no response – until many hours later, when it seemed that Family Member decided that it was safe to respond since I said I wouldn’t be returning:

Family Member: Mac, didn’t mean to force my opinion. But all of this LBGT having their civil rights violated is pooh. They can do everything we can do except marry in most states. The blacks in the 50’s and 60’s had their rights violated. One man speaks what his faith and values are and kaboom. I feel it is wrong too. I don’t hate anybody. Heck I have family and friends who are gay. I love them and I am there if they need me. I don’t tolerate child abusers,rapists, murderers, terrorists and the like. Didn’t mean to offend anybody.

*sigh*

So today the friend of a friend posted a graphic calling Obama to task for not producing jobs out of his ass. My secret desire for a concussion leapt to fore and the following conversation occurred:

Carol Elaine: We’d probably have a lot less unemployment if the Republican-led House hadn’t blocked every jobs bill that had been put forth by Democrats (including Obama’s top jobs initiative – the Bring Jobs Home Act) without putting forth any jobs bill that would help unemployed Americans in the near term (according to economists, including Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics).

Friend of a Friend: Nope you should go back and read up on that, those are not the facts of what happened! Sorry:((

Carol Elaine: Actually, they are the facts. I don’t post anything without researching it first, using non-partisan sites. Much as I might agree with what Current TV and MSNBC might say, I find alternative sites first that will back up my assertions without left-of-center spin. If you’ll provide me your non-partisan research, I’ll provide you mine.

Friend of a Friend: It’s ok, it still won’t sway my vote. It is not just the unemployment that kills it for me it is also the health care which really pisses me off! If Obama wants to pay for EVERYONE that comes here then he can pay! The fact that I have to pay more and I NEVER signed up for this is beyond me!! He made a lot of promises and I have yet to see them made. He had his 4 years in my book and I voted for him so I was very hopeful at the time I did not make a mistake but I am the first to admit I DID! I like him as a person, as a speaker he is very good! I am sure he is a great father and husband but in my opinion as a President, he sucks!

Carol Elaine: So you’re saying that providing facts in a non-partisan, non-emotional way won’t cause you to re-evaluate? I have to admit, I really don’t understand that mindset.

I don’t know about you, FoaF, but I’ve been unemployed (laid off four times in three years during the Bush years) and without health insurance. One of the scariest things I’ve ever personally dealt with was having to go to the emergency room with acute chest pains and feeling faint while uninsured. Turned out to be nothing serious, thankfully, but if it turned out that it was something serious, I don’t know how I would have paid for it, because while on unemployment insurance I still made too much to qualify for Medicaid, though my unemployment insurance very barely paid for my day-to-day living. Had national healthcare been available, that would have been one less thing to stress about at a time when I was undergoing serious stress just trying to live.

Know what? I’m willing to pay a little more so that someone else doesn’t have to go through that. (Aside from the fact that I’m currently not paying any more in taxes than I did before the health care law went in effect. Frankly, Medicare for All would have been much better than what we have now, but at least we’ve taken the first step towards being a civilized society.)\

Friend of a Friend: Sorry that happened to you Carol but again, no this does not sway my decision.

Friend of a Friend: I had been laid off when Obama was first elected and I voted for him…I was out of work for over a year so my sympathies go out to you on that one but he certainly has not done anything to bring the unemployment rates up, I am sorry and I can’t afford to pay more every single time I need to see the doctor but I HAVE TO NOW because of Obamacare so I am not happy about that in the least bit! Not trying to be mean but if he wanted to have universal health care then HE should have fronted the bill and not MADE US DO IT!

Carol Elaine: That concerns me, FoaF. It really does. Romney gives less than a fuck about people like you and me, but you’d rather vote for him? Again, this is a mindset I cannot understand.

There are other reasons to be concerned about some of Obama’s policies – I, for one, am not happy that he’s continued some of Bush’s foreign policies – but domestically he’d done the best he can do with the Congress he’s been saddled with. You try making changes when your opposition acts like a stubborn toddler. Ain’t gonna happen.

The unemployment rates HAVE gone down. Slowly, it’s true, but it’s been on an downward trend since September 2010. The recession that hit us in 2008 was the deepest since the Great Depression and the ONLY reason we were able to get out of that was through massive government spending, followed by a world war. Of course it’s going to take a long time to dig out of this hole – it’s much easier to destroy than it is to create.

If you’re paying more to your doctor, I submit that you have crappy insurance or an opportunistic doctor. I have Kaiser and have never been happier with my health care. I’m happy that I have a choice of health insurance options, which I know is not the case for many people, but if you have a crappy HMO and have the option to switch, leave it at your earliest opportunity and get under a good plan. You will pay less in the long run for better care, though if we had universal healthcare we’d all pay less up front and not have to worry about crappy health insurance.

Universal healthcare would be paid by all of us so that all of us can benefit from it. The same is true of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, good roads, decent schools (which California had been falling behind on because people refuse to pay for them) and other taken-for-granted parts of our modern world. Paying to help the common good is not a bad thing, because someday we might need those safety nets ourselves.

Personally I have no desire to live in an America where it’s every person for him/herself. We have a great country here and it can be even greater if we help each other. Voting Republican will NOT take us there. Aside from the fact that I would never vote for a party who thinks my gay friends aren’t worthy of equal rights and that I, as a woman, can’t manage my own life. Fuck that noise.

Friend of a Friend: I guess we can just agree to disagree then

::headdesk::

Maybe I should just wear protective headwear every time I go on Facebook.

Edited to add – The conversation continues and seems to be coming around to a positive end:

FoaF’s Random FB Friend: Nicely stated Carol Elaine! FoaF, if Carol’s well put words don’t make you think about changing your opinion, what makes you think a bunch of political cartoon posts on FB are going to change someone else’s opinion of Obama? All they are designed to do is drive the wedge between political differences further apart.I prefer all the happy doggy posts instead!

Friend of a Friend: I post whatever I feel like when I see it, that is why it is a social network, you will not always make people happy with your posts but that is the way it is. Sorry….

Friend of a Friend: I am not trying to change anyones opinion, I am just posting things that I feel strongly about. Whether or not people agree or disagree with it, well that is up to them. If you want to vote fo Obama so be it, I choose not to.

Carol Elaine FoaF’s Random FB Friend, even though I deeply disagree with FoaF’s political posts – especially since they aren’t based in any facts that I can find – I fully support her desire to do so. I post political stuff all the time, fully aware that some people are going to be offended by them. Ya know what? Not my problem. I’ll be as civil as I can, but I’m not going to back down and I don’t expect FoaF to either. I would hope that she would re-evaluate her decision – or at least provide something tangible to back up her positions – but if she doesn’t choose to do so on her FB page, then that’s just the way it is.

FoaF, we can agree to disagree, and if you don’t want to vote for Obama, then that’s your choice. We live in California, so frankly, I’m really not all that worried about it. I may even vote for Green Party Candidate Jill Stein (http://www.jillstein.org/issues), since California is going to go to Obama anyway and, well, Stein’s views are much closer to my own. But I really do hope that you don’t vote Republican because the current incarnation of the Republican Party is Very, Very Bad for America.

Friend of a Friend: I am open minded for the most part and I am NOT a Republican believe it or not. I am not really anything except mad at what Obama has done or should I say has NOT done. I could start pulling up facts etc but to be honest, I just don’t want to spend the energy on it. I can’t stand politics (I know that sounds crazy but I don’t) I think there are a few subjects that are tough to discuss, Religion, Abortion and Politics. When I see a post that I am affected by whether it be a cute doggie or a poticial dig, I post it. I respect your decision to do the same. Just because people don’t agree doesn’t mean they are not good people, they just don’t agree on that particular subject. I used to waste so much energy trying to convince others of MY point of view but as I got older I just realize that it is so time consuming and the energy that comes out of it usually ends up as negative energy. I see posts I disagree with all the time, I just move on to the next post. I will look into the Green Party because it sounds like something I would be far more agreeable with! Thank you for posting this!!

Friend of a Friend: So far I really like what I have read about Jill Stein!! VERY IMPRESSIVE!!

Carol Elaine: I am actually firmly for the Green Party (especially since egotist Ralph Nader seems to have finally stepped aside), but the truth of the matter is that in the current political landscape a third party doesn’t have a chance on a national stage. Voting with them on down ticket positions would probably be most effective. As for what Obama has or hasn’t done, I refer you to this link: http://whatthefuckhasobamadonesofar.com/

I used to be very apolitical when I was younger, but as I grew older I got incensed with a lot of things, so I thought, “If I don’t do something about it, I have no right to complain.” And I started educating myself. It means I tend to get myself riled up on a regular basis, true, but the issues are so critical that I don’t feel that I have any other choice. It’s a good thing I have a strong heart and low blood pressure…

Carol Elaine: Yay, FoaF! Jill Stein does seem to be the whole package. I just wish she had a real shot. *sigh*

Friend of a Friend: Yes, she has it all planned out very nicely AND I agree with everything she says! I will look at the link you sent but I doubt it will change my mind to vote for Obama. I like him as a person and find him very charismatic and an excellent speaker. He appears to be a great father and husband but I am just so jaded at this point…just not looking good at all for him to get my vote.

All’s well that’s end’s well. And only a teeny, tiny little concussion…

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