Sunday, August 3, 2014


Right now there is a humanitarian crisis happening that should not be ignored. It is happening right in our own backyard, and yet the response that the Republican Right wants the U.S. to have towards the people suffering as a result of it is to send them right back into the dangerous situation they so desperately need to get out of. I'm not talking about people sneaking across the border to "steal" American jobs. I am referring to the people fleeing Central America to escape the increasingly out of control gang violence that is destroying their home countries.

All along the border, the hate that these so-called "God-loving" Americans are showing to children looking for refuge from an ever more dire situation is absolutely shocking. The same people who insist that life begins at conception, and who claim that so much of what they do is for the welfare of "the children", when faced with children actually in need of their help do what they so often do in such situations, turn their backs to the problem.

To make matters worse, while there are certainly many factors that contributed to the current situation in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, one of the chief reasons things have turned out the way they have is the U.S.'s own drug policies. The very same drug policies that the Right so ardently supports. These policies, combined with a lack of economic development, have allowed those countries to become havens for violent gangs, where there is a now constant threat of abductions and shootings. Unfortunately, the Right does what it always does when faced with the consequences of their own actions and greets them with a combination of blame-shifting, denial and ignorance. If this same situation were occurring anywhere else in the world many of us would be outraged at the host countries response, so where is the outrage towards those who want us to be so cruel when we are faced with refugees at our own doorstep?

Saturday, August 2, 2014


It's increasingly disheartening to see the stories coming out of the Middle East. With ISIS threatening to send Iraq immeasurably backwards it's hard not to feel as though the only thing the United States accomplished in going there was to make military hardware manufacturers richer. That might have been the real goal all along, but it still would have been nice if at least something genuinely good had come out of the whole mess. But perhaps the worst example of how the meddling of us in the Western world has had disastrous results in the region is the dire situation in Israel and Palestine. Realistically, had the UN not decided to carve a country out of an existing one, things would be considerably calmer in the region. And the only "good" reason for putting the country in that particular spot was the religious considerations of the Israeli people, never mind what it would mean for the religious considerations of the people who were already there. The idea that anyone expected this plan to work out is absolutely ludicrous, and wound up putting the US and its allies in the precarious position of having to defend their decision, no matter how violent the Israeli government was willing to get in response to past hostilities from the Arab world.

However much it may upset some people to hear this, it would seem that it is almost certainly far too late to actually fix the situation, if in fact it ever really was fixable. And one would certainly be justified in laying all the blame in the laps of the countries who helped create the modern state of Israel, but that really leaves out what is perhaps the biggest culprit in the conflict, and maybe even in most or all of the conflicts currently taking place around the world: religion.

I am not anti-religion, or at least I don't have anything against the idea. If following the teachings of Jesus or Muhhamad or Buddha or the Flying Spaghetti Monster or perhaps even craziest of all, L. Ron Hubbard, helps you to deal with the variety of hardships we all must face in our everyday lives, then by all means, take the help wherever you can get it. But as many of these religions are repeatedly used to oppress or harm those who disagree with believers, it's hard to maintain an open attitude towards them. I can't even begin to count the number of times I see a piece about the violence Israel has recently been unleashing on the Palestinian people (or the violence they have a history of unleashing on the Israelis) and find myself thinking the whole thing is so stupid. Because they each believe whatever it is they choose to believe, they feel the need to kill each other. Of course the events of the last several decades have added a bit more to their respective motivations than that, but it really all boils down to the fact that if they all just believed in scientific facts rather than a bunch of glorified fables only occasionally even grounded in actual history, this whole conflict might not ever have happened. I hope I am wrong about the hopelessness of the situation and that a real, lasting peace can be achieved, but I fear that as long as people continue to cling to religion, for whatever reasons, it is just not possible.