About Sharing Everything on Facebook & Some Additional Thoughts on Shitholes

About a week ago, I decided to make all of my Facebook posts public.  This includes sharing my online activism and reading on current events, as well as my usual musings and occasional pictures.  I did this because I felt that as much as I don’t enjoy arguing with people, not sharing seemed dishonest, like I was hiding something.  Additionally, I thought it might be a good idea to share views with people who don’t agree with me, to get out of my own media bubble.  So, I’ll put it all out there, and see what happens.

So far, the only thing anyone paid attention to was when I questioned how people can continue to support Donald Trump, knowing that they are allying themselves politically with the far right – you know, ethno-nationalists, the KKK, Neo-Nazis, etc, ad nauseum.  For asking this question, I was called divisive by one writer, another shared her belief in a well-known conspiracy theory, and a third writer shared some revisionist history.  It could have been worse, I suppose.  I can’t wait until next week.

In addition to reading with great interest the reactions to my postings, I saw another post regarding the recent furor over Trump calling a whole raft of countries “shitholes” that caught my eye.  The writer stated his belief, based on his own travels while serving in the Armed Forces, that quite a few places he saw were, in point of fact, shitholes.  Now, I’m not going to quibble with his opinion, but it is not just the use of a vulgarity by the president that is the problem here.

The first problem, as I see it, is context. The term was being used in the context of a government meeting about reforming immigration policy.  The president used the term to describe countries from Africa, the Caribbean, and Central America, where the majority of the populations are black and brown-skinned people. According to people in the room, he used it multiple times. This insult was juxtaposed by the president’s stating of his preference for people from, say, Norway, one of the whitest countries on earth.

The second problem is simply basic civility, or the lack thereof.  While I am not widely travelled, I was a cop for many years, and therefore claim some experience with both shitholes and the people who live in them. It strikes me as singularly unhelpful to declare wide swaths of the world to be shitholes.  I am quite certain that if the first thing I did, when walking into someone’s home to take a complaint, was to declare it a shithole, I would have nothing but problems on my hand.  And I would have deserved all of those problems, because I would have been an asshole.

I don’t know where this particular personal experiment will lead, and I don’t know how long it will last.  It springs from a genuine desire to communicate, and I hope, well I don’t know what I hope, only that I have hope.

 

 

 

A Shithole Presidency

It’s been almost a year since Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, and it’s as bad as I (and virtually every other Democrat) thought it would be.  I have never been as angry, frightened, dismayed, embarassed or appalled by events and people outside of my personal life as I have been in the past year. What is being done in Washington by this administration can only be characterized as a malpractice of government on an unimaginable scale.

I have watched as the administration has fundamentally gone to war on our own government.  They are actively seeking to dismantle the State Department and the Environmental Protection Agency via budget and personnel cuts.  The mission of the Interior Department to protect our public lands is being undercut by a secretary eager to cater to corporate interests seeking even greater profit. The Education Department is rescinding policies to protect LGBT students from discrimination and college students from being ripped off by for-profit ‘colleges’.  Hundreds of essential government positions are going unfilled due to the administration’s inability to either a) find competent people or b) find people willing to be blindly loyal to Donald Trump.

I have watched, horrified, as the President has insulted our friends internationally, while simultaneously cozying up with the likes of Erdogan in Turkey, El-Sisi in Egypt, and Duterte in the Phillippines.  And as the investigations into the Russian interference in our elections continues, he has resolutely refused to utter either a word of criticism of Vladimir Putin or take any actions to protect our elections the next time around.

I have watched as the President has refused to be transparent about his finances, refused to divest himself of his holdings, appointed his unqualified daughter and son-in-law to advisory positions in his White House, denigrated the actual White House ( “a real dump”), and vacationed almost one-third of his first year, costing the US government more in one year than President Obama’s vacations in eight years. Couple this with his cabinet secretaries’ penchants for private jet travel (Mnuchin, Zinke, Pruitt, Shulkin), round-the-clock security (Pruitt), and the continued administration efforts to appoint unqualified candidates for government jobs, and the slogan ‘drain the swamp’  is shown to be nothing but empty words.

I have watched as incidents of hate crimes have exploded.  I listened as the President of the United States stated that ‘fine people’ were marching with Neo-Nazis in Charlottesville; I watched as the President campaigned for Roy Moore, an accused sexual predator and child molester, as he ran for the Senate in Alabama; and last evening, as I checked in with the Washington Post before going to sleep, I saw this headline:  “Trump attacks protections for immigrants from ‘shithole’ countries”.  This morning, I heard a news report about how thrilled Trump is by the controversy his racist remarks are creating.

I made a conscious decision last year to not share much of my ‘disturbed about the government’ feelings with most of my friends on Facebook, because I don’t actually enjoy arguing with people. My awareness of broad support for Trump within the law enforcement community was also a large factor in that decision.  Nobody wants to be a pariah.  However, while I will always be a part of that community, and have the utmost respect for those who continue to do that difficult job, I feel that I am being dishonest to both myself and my conservative friends if I continue to keep my views to myself.

I fully realize that I am just one voice, but from now on, I will be speaking at full volume.