. . . they go and prove you wrong. And this time it didn’t even involve Lena Dunham!
Item 1 comes to us from Salon, just in time for Veteran’s Day:
It’s been 70 years since we fought a war about freedom. Forced troop worship and compulsory patriotism must end
Put a man in uniform, preferably a white man, give him a gun, and Americans will worship him. It is a particularly childish trait, of a childlike culture, that insists on anointing all active military members and police officers as “heroes.” The rhetorical sloppiness and intellectual shallowness of affixing such a reverent label to everyone in the military or law enforcement betrays a frightening cultural streak of nationalism, chauvinism, authoritarianism and totalitarianism, but it also makes honest and serious conversations necessary for the maintenance and enhancement of a fragile democracy nearly impossible.
It has become impossible to go a week without reading a story about police brutality, abuse of power and misuse of authority. Michael Brown’s murder represents the tip of a body pile, and in just the past month, several videos have emerged of police assaulting people, including pregnant women, for reasons justifiable only to the insane.
It is equally challenging for anyone reasonable, and not drowning in the syrup of patriotic sentimentality, to stop saluting, and look at the servicemen of the American military with criticism and skepticism. There is a sexual assault epidemic in the military. In 2003, a Department of Defense study found that one-third of women seeking medical care in the VA system reported experiencing rape or sexual violence while in the military. Internal and external studies demonstrate that since the official study, numbers of sexual assaults within the military have only increased, especially with male victims. According to the Pentagon, 38 men are sexually assaulted every single day in the U.S. military. Given that rape and sexual assault are, traditionally, the most underreported crimes, the horrific statistics likely fail to capture the reality of the sexual dungeon that has become the United States military.
It goes on in that putrid vein for several more paragraphs. The author is some guy named David Masciotra, who is apparently a college teacher in Indiana. This is from his bio:
David Masciotra is an author, lecturer, and cultural critic. He is the author of Mellencamp: American Troubadour, forthcoming from the University Press of Kentucky, and Against Traffic: Essays on Politics and Identity (Brown Dog Books, 2013). In 2010, Continuum Books published his first book, Working On a Dream: The Progressive Political Vision of Bruce Springsteen.
Masciotra is a columnist with the Indianapolis Star.
He has also written about culture for the Daily Beast, The Atlantic, Washington Post, Blurt,and the Los Angeles Review of Books, and politics for Truthout and Front Porch Republic. He has written about life and spirituality for Relevant Magazine and The Cresset. He is a former columnist with PopMatters.
In 2007, he graduated from the University of St. Francis with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, and shortly after began writing a provocative and highly acclaimed weekly column for the (Joliet) Herald News. In 2010, Continuum Books published his first book, and he also graduated from Valparaiso University with a Master’s Degree in English Studies and Communication.
David is apparently 29 years old, which means he was old enough to serve in Afghanistan and/or Iraq.
When Leftists say they support the troops? They don’t.
Item 2 comes to us from Huffpoop:
Mia Love made history on Election Night 2014 as she beat out Democratic contender Doug Owens to become the first black (Haitian-American), female Republican to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. This is a stunning triumph in the predominately white and conservative state of Utah, where only 1.3 percent of the population is black. For many Americans unfamiliar with the significance of race, racism and inequality within our nation’s borders, Mia’s victory seemingly sends a clear message that America is truly “post-racial,” particularly if a black woman can get elected to office by a majority-white, conservative and religious constituency. Her white supporters likewise congratulate themselves, proclaiming that Love’s achievement is indicative of a more progressive and democratic society in general where tolerance and inclusion are on the rise, moving beyond the evils of individual bigotry. Starkly exposed since the election of President Obama in 2008, her GOP colleagues and supporters hope that her presence as a newly elected official will demonstrate how far the GOP has come, embracing difference that was so clearly lacking. Some believe her victory will do wonders for the GOP, which struggles to gain a significant share of the coveted “minority vote.” But will her election play a major factor in gaining greater access to black Americans, or is it merely a veil?
To many African Americans and other individuals engaged in politics who followed Mia Love’s House candidacy up to her historic victory, she is a paradox. As a black, female Mormon, her conservative ideals are deemed peculiar as she begins her office in the House of Representatives while balancing a triad of oppressive social constructs that are leveled against her. Not only have blacks historically and continually had to battle for their right to coexist as equals in U.S. society, but women have similarly pushed against a glass ceiling. Even today, women still struggle for equal pay, equal rights and equal protection under the law in the workplace. Mia, as a black female, represents one of the most discriminated-against racial groups in the country. To a degree, the same can be said for her Mormon identity, as the LDS faithful endured bitter hatred and state-sanctioned domestic terrorism in Missouri and Illinois in the 1800s. Mormons remains grossly misunderstood and often unfairly judged with respect to their religious views, while mainline evangelical traditions continue to wield Christian privilege at the expense of “fringe” religions like Mormonism. How does a black, female conservative and Latter-day Saint manage to negotiate so many foreboding white contexts?
Love’s political convictions show a strong support for values that do not necessarily represent her interests as a member in any of these oppressed groups. For example, blacks are not doing well with respect to education, economics and health outcomes, while women still trail behind in salary and significant positions of power, and conservative politics are not typically known to aid these groups in such key issues. These actualities of Mia’s existence seem to be diametrically opposed to her values that are grounded in a white, male, Christian context. She appears publicly unhampered by the daily grind of white racism that affects other racial minorities within the United States. Unlike most of them, Mia gets to walk through the hallowed doorways of white institutions controlled by elite, powerful men. She is allowed to pass through in her black, female body with the understanding that she must not see, speak or openly advocate for anything related to race or gender — an unholy compromise. Hence, she might look black, but her politics are red. This is one way white privilege is reproduced at the legislative level of government. In fact, Mia, along with other notable black conservatives such as Allen West, Michael Steele, Amy Holmes, Alan Keyes and Tom Scott, subscribe to a party that rejects any notion of systemic racism as a central cause of black suffering within its basic tenets of individualism. What many conservatives fail to recognize is that individuals are connected to larger groups, and the group in which these Black Republicans belong persistently lags behind in every major social indicator.
That polite screed comes from Darron T. Smith, Ph.D. At least he didn’t use the word “token” or call her an Aunt Jemima. Here is his bio:
Darron T. Smith, Ph.D., received his doctoral degree from the University of Utah in the Department of Education, Culture and Society. His research focus includes inequalities that pertain to African Americans and other Americans of color — mainly the impact of race and discrimination in areas of health care, popular culture, religion, family, sports and politics. Dr. Smith is co-editor of Black and Mormon (University of Illinois Press, 2004) and author of White Parents, Black Children: Experiencing Transracial Adoption (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2011). Dr. Smith has appeared on various TV and radio shows including Religion and Ethics, NPR and ESPN, among others. His published works have been included in Adoption Today, Religion Dispatches, Deadspin and Your Black World, and he has also published op-eds in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune.
I will let the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. provide a rebuttal:
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.