A Conversation Starter …

Late last week, my friend Brian, who I have mentioned before as being my sensible & sane republican friend, sent me the following message:

Hey Jill.  Someone posted this on a conservative news site.  I am not sending this because I believe all this, but most Conservatives appear to have this view about the Left.  Would love to hear your views.  Again… I didn’t write this. 😎.   Please forgive the insulting name. “DEMONUTS CHECKLIST 1Let the criminals out. 2Let illegals in. 3Mainstream media 100% gospel. 4Let boys in the girls bathrooms. 5Condemn police officers. 6Don’t care about the veterans. 7Eradicate history if offensive. 8Believe Healthcare is a Constitutional right.9Kill the unborn-10Stomp on and burn the American flag. 11Accept barbarity in the name of Islam- 12hugs,love and no borders will stop terrorism. 13Protect the Sanctuary cities. 14Black lives only matter. 15Coddle the lazy.16Encourage hate crimes. 17Call for the assassination of our president, 18talk of overthrowing ourgovernment. 19Burnbusinesses, attack innocent bystanders, destroy City property, 20call for, and try to incite a civil war. 21Refuse freedom of speech on others, while  their own political and government obstructionists.”

I tried to find information about the creator of this checklist, but all I could find is that it was created by a woman named Beverly Gibbs, and a visit to the Facebook account where this originated left me feeling ill.  However, the point here is that the ‘great divide’ as I have been calling it, has its roots in this very type of rhetoric.  People like Beverly and her followers, Trump’s followers, do not truly understand what the liberal left believe in or stand for.  Perhaps the reverse is also true.  So, I took this as an opportunity to correct the views expressed in the “Demonuts Checklist” in hopes that my responses might open some back and forth conversation whereby a few people make an effort to understand others’ views.  It’s worth a shot anyway.  I apologize for the length of this post, but I hope you find some value in it.

My responses:

  1. Let the criminals out – This is rather vague, so I am unclear what exactly is meant, but I am going to assume it refers to the fact that democratic presidents historically have commuted sentences at a greater rate than republicans. Barack Obama has now commuted the sentences of more than 1,000 people in prison for drug crimes We are not talking, necessarily about releasing the prisoners, merely reducing their sentences in most cases.  And, most importantly from my point of view, these are non-violent drug offenders.  Doesn’t it make more sense to attempt rehabilitation than to keep them in prison where they may well be exposed to more violent criminals and come out with harder attitudes than they went in?  It is, of course, a slippery slope and we must ensure that violent offenders serve their full sentences.  But the guy who was caught with a few ounces of pot in his car?  Let him out and place him in supervised rehab.

  1. Let illegals in – This is one I could write a book on, so I will try to condense my thoughts. First, the term ‘illegals’ is a misnomer.  They are humans.  They may be here against the law, but they are humans, not illegals.  Now, the objections to these immigrants appear to fall into two categories:  1) that they will take jobs away from U.S. citizens, and 2) that they may be terrorists.  They are not taking jobs that Americans want … they are taking the low paying (often below federal minimum wage) jobs that Americans do not want.  And they are not terrorists.  Terrorists typically fly into the U.S. with legal Visas.  I address terrorism in #12.  Now, to the greater point as I see it.  This nation is based on opening our arms to the persecuted, to those in need of safe harbour.  The immigrants that come here from the Middle East have been living in danger, fearing for their lives, for years and seek only a safe place to raise their children and have a better life.  Granted, there must be some limits, but simply to send these people back into chaos, turmoil and danger is unconscionable in my book.  Other nations are doing their share, and we must also.  As I said, I could write a book, but the above summarizes my thoughts in a nutshell.

  1. Mainstream media 100% gospel – While the mainstream media do sometimes make mistakes, for the most part what they report is fact-based and verifiable. We all make mistakes, as we often have less than perfect information.  As a writer of political analysis, I have made my share, but, like the reporters of the mainstream media publications, I recant my error as soon as it comes to my attention.  They/we must do that, lest we lose credibility.  As a rule, reporters report facts and leave the subjective material to the OpEd writers like myself. If you do not trust the U.S. media, turn to the overseas publications like BBC, Reuters and der Spiegel or The Guardian, for they report on U.S. events as much as on those of the EU. More to the point, why are some so willing to believe every conspiracy theory, no matter how unlikely, put forth by the likes of Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh and their ilk?

  1. Let boys in girls’ bathrooms – Personally, I would like to see all public restrooms be unisex. People typically go to the restroom to relieve themselves and/or wash their hands, not for wanton sex. It is the 21st century, not the 14th. I do not see an issue here, and perhaps if adults would stop being so narrow-minded when it comes to matters of gender and sex, we might have fewer teen pregnancies and therefore need fewer abortions.  Teach children the anatomical differences between males & females, teach them right from wrong, and then trust them. There are so much more important issues in the world than which restroom a person uses.

  1. Condemn police officers – Most all of us have the utmost respect for our police force, and hold them in high regard. In fact, I grew up in the 1960s when it was not at all uncommon to hear the police referred to as ‘pigs’, but I do not know a single person who would say that today. However, when police treat blacks differently, when they use excessive force and even shoot to kill unarmed black men simply because they are black, then those particular officers are not deserving of respect.  When Middle-Easterners, Latinos and African-Americans are subjected to racial profiling, it lowers our respect, for we look up to our law enforcement community, we hold them to a higher standard, one which some are not living up to.  When we condemn the police, it is for their actions, not a sign of disrespect for the badge.

  1. Don’t care about veterans – I have no idea where this notion even comes from, so I have no response other than to say that I have never heard a single person of either party disparage veterans. Having come of age during the Vietnam War, and having lost more than one friend to that war, I well remember the disdain toward Vietnam veterans in the 60s and 70s, however I have seen nothing along those lines since.

  1. Eradicate history if offensive – I assume this point is in reference to the removal of confederate monuments. Admittedly I have mixed thoughts on this issue.  On the one hand, yes, they are pieces of history, but on the other hand, we are currently in an era of growing racism and an expanding white supremacist movement that are using the existence of those monuments as a sort of shrine to their purposes, stirring emotions and creating hate.  The other point is that the monuments themselves were not erected, for the most part, immediately following the Civil War, which would have made them truly historic, but were instead erected during the Civil Rights Era as an endorsement of the “southern cause”.  The southern cause, by the way, was in fact nothing more nor less than slavery.  The compromise solution I would like to see is to remove the monuments to Civil War museums, for perhaps they should not be destroyed, but neither do they belong on public property.

  2. Believe health care is a Constitutional right – No, I realize that it is not written into the Constitution that every person should have access to affordable healthcare, but it is inarguably a human right. Would you see a child die of a disease that could have been cured, simply because the parents could not afford medical treatment?  Perhaps the right to health care should be a Constitutional amendment.  Many other nations, including the UK, and Canada have decided it is the right of all people to be able to obtain health care, so why are we willing to allow people to die for a lack of? I support universal health care for the U.S., for it is an abomination that a rich person receive nothing but the best, while a poor child dies.

  1. Kill the unborn – While I am not a fan of abortion, I do support a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body. First, there may be medical issues that would threaten the life of the woman.  But on a practical side, if the woman realizes that she is, for whatever reason, incapable of taking care of a child, then to bring the child into the world is cruel.  That child may come into a life of abject poverty, or worse, be neglected or abused.  There are, on average, some 428,000 children in foster care on any given day in the U.S., with more than 600,000 spending time in the system at some point during the year. On average, 500 children are murdered by a parent each year in the U.S. And about three times that many die as a result of abuse or neglect at the hands of parents.  When parents are unprepared to be parents, the result is disastrous.  That foetus is much likely better off never being given life.  The argument about when life begins is better left to science that politics, but it is a slippery slope argument and who’s to say that the egg and the sperm weren’t already considered to be a life?  Where does one draw the line?

  1. Stomp on and burn the American flag – I find no evidence of any spate of recent flag burnings in the U.S., and since the Supreme Court ruled it legal as a form of free speech in 1989, it would be rather a moot point anyway. I have not heard either party call for flag burnings nor stompings en masse.

  1. Accept barbarity in the name of Islam – There are radicals within the religion of Islam, just as there are within Christianity. It is always a mistake to judge an entire group by the actions of a few.  Having a number of Muslim friends, I can tell you that Islam is every bit as much a peaceful and peace-loving religion as is Christianity, and it is more tolerant of those outside Islam than Christianity is of outsiders. The few radicals within Islam are the squeaky wheels that get the oil, the violent ones who act in the name of their religion, but not within its teachings.  As many Christians might say, “judge not, lest ye be judged”.

  1. Hugs, love and no borders will stop terrorism – Since 11 September 2001, nearly every terrorist act perpetrated within the U.S. has been committed by white U.S. citizens. Most Terrorists In The U.S. Since 9/11 Have Been American Citizens Or Legal Residents [Infographic]

  1. Protect the Sanctuary cities – see #2

  1. Black lives only matter – The acronym BLM stands for Black Lives Matter. The word ‘only’ is neither included nor implied.  White people in this nation have never had the need to question whether their lives mattered, but even post-Civil Rights era, black people are still treated as 2nd class citizens in many areas, including in law enforcement.  White supremacist groups, that have a growing following, have stated that they believe Hispanics and African-Americans are less intelligent than whites.  THIS is what prompted the BLM movement.  Blacks are not asking for anything more than to be treated as equals, which they are, and given equal opportunities.

  1. Coddle the lazy – Rather vague, but I am assuming this refers to social welfare programs for the poor. First, it is wrong to assume that poor = lazy, for that is not true in the majority of cases.  Poverty may be a result of many things, and we believe it is wrong to condemn people to homelessness and starvation simply because they are poor.  I have no problem at all paying taxes that help feed, shelter and clothe the poor.  Granted, some safeguards need to be built into the system to ensure that people are not taking advantage, using social welfare programs as a substitute for a job, but I would rather err on the side of humanity than to see a single child cold and hungry.

  1. Encourage hate crimes – Now I find this one quite interesting, for the Richard Spencers, Christopher Cantwells and Tom Metzgers, leaders of the Neo-Nazis, KKK and white supremacist groups are the ones inciting ‘hate crimes’ in the U.S. and to the best of my knowledge, every one of them are republicans. The point?

  1. Call for the assassination of our president – there has been no call for an assassination of Trump. There have been a few scattered threats by individuals, as there have been in every presidency since that of George Washington.  Assassination threats and plots against President Obama exceeded the norm, likely because of his skin colour, and some were even against his wife and daughters. I can find no evidence nor record of organized or politicized assassination threats against Trump, however.

  1. Talk of overthrowing our government – I am not aware of any such talk, nor can I find evidence of any. There is rumour of a republican-backed plan called the Overthrow Project, intended to radically shrink all three branches of the federal government, however I am not able to verify at this time, and I do not make a habit of speaking until I have verifiable facts.

  1. Burn businesses, attack innocent bystanders, destroy city property – This is not a practice that is condoned. Anybody who injures another human, intentionally damages property – public or private – is in violation of the law and should be treated accordingly.  Party affiliation is irrelevant in this case.  It happens … on both sides … and it shouldn’t.  I do not know of a single person, democrat or republican, who condones this behaviour.

  1. Call for, and try to incite a civil war – Every threat of a civil war that I have heard has come from the right. Jim Bakker and Roger Stone immediately come to mind, for in recent months, both have threatened that there would be civil war if efforts were made to impeach Trump.  These are both uber-conservatives.  Trump supporters and evangelical Christian leaders are the only ones from whom I have heard this threat.

  1. Refuse freedom of speech on others – This is one that requires more than a short answer. While I am a staunch supporter of freedom to speak, or the 1st Amendment, I am also a student of history, and the speeches by white supremacists and neo-Nazi groups frankly chill me to the bone.  I have studied Hitler’s speeches in the mid-to-late 1930s and the similarities are haunting.  I have an internal conflict here, as do many of my democratic friends.  I direct you to a recent post I wrote on this topic for a more in-depth analysis The Argument Between Me, Myself and I

These are my opinions alone, and if any readers would like to also respond to any or all of the points, please feel free to do so!  The more who engage in this conversation, the better.

46 thoughts on “A Conversation Starter …

  1. Pingback: A Conversation Starter – The Militant Negro™

  2. A nice way of opening a dialogue Jill but I doubt the writer of the other side’s point of view is open to that.It sounds like she suffers from Trump syndrome where the only voice she hears is his or her own.
    xxx Cwtch xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, David! We’re not really that concerned about convincing the writer of that list, but rather some who share those beliefs. What if just one person listens and says, “hey, I never thought about it that way, but some of what you say makes sense”? Maybe I’m naive and have my head stuck in the clouds, but I just think it’s time to start trying to have civil discourse between the two ideologies, before that great divide tears the country in two forever. Sigh. Call me a cock-eyed optimist. 👻🎃

      xxx Cwtch xxx

      Liked by 3 people

      • I could call you a cock-eyed optimist but I doubt that would help. When someone that ignorant writes a list like that but isn’t challenged by her own side to say they disagree then I think it says enough about the other side to doubt they care enough to consider facts rather than Fake News. In fact it shows well enough what they’re like when they haven’t crossed the floor of their own accord after seeing the news they’re meant to digest as fact but whick keep repeating long after. Good luck regardless.
        xxx Cwtch xxx

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m Australian, not American, but we too have our ‘left’ and ‘right’ when it comes to political thinking so I’m going to comment anyway.
    Here in Australia, the Left are often accused of being ‘bleeding hearts’ with impractical and /expensive/ ideas about how society should work. Those on the Right, however, consider themselves to be successful individuals who work hard and make something of themselves.
    The irony is that both these extremes originate in our centres of higher learning – our universities – and those institutions are generally the province of the comfortable, or at least aspirational, middle class. Another irony is that charity and ‘do unto others’ have always been core Christian values, yet in the US, those values appear to have been forgotten. Or perhaps they’ve just been pushed aside by the very real decline of the middle class.
    I believe fear of the future is pushing everyone to extremes.
    Just for the record, I grew up a Catholic and those two core values have stayed with me during the 40 odd years I’ve been a committed atheist. I’m also a middle class, over-educated, Left-leaning bleeding heart.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Very well said, my friend! Annnnnd … more evidence that we are, in fact, soul sisters! I grew up in a half-Catholic, half-Jewish household (no wonder I’m strange, right?) and somewhere along the way I got so fed up with religion that I claim none. Not quite an atheist, I consider myself an agnostic … close enough. So much evil is committed in the name of religion … ALL religions … that I wish nothing to do with any. And, I, too, as you probably already know, am a bleedin’ hearts liberal bordering on socialist. High Fives once again! 😀

      Liked by 2 people

      • lmao – why am I not surprised!?!
        Btw, there was an expose tonight – a doctor who worked on one of our -shiver- off-shore detention centres blew the whistle on how requests for emergency treatment and tests went ignore by Border Patrol [our version of Homeland Security?]. I wish I had a truck full of rotten eggs to throw at the minister responsible – Peter Dutton. Evil, horrible man. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

        • Wot? Now you make my head spin. Liberal is right wing over there? Are conservatives on the left, then? Or are … oh bother … it’s late … I’ll try to work this one out tomorrow. I know more about Turkey than I do Australia … guess it’s time to do a bit of research. 🙂

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          • lol – I know it’s confusing! Liberal = conservative, right-leaning. Labor = left-leaning, not exactly socialist but concerned with the rights of the common man. Does that make more sense?
            But if you want to get really confused, try working out the parties in the UK. 😦

            Liked by 1 person

            • Lol! It makes about as much sense as it’s going to, I fear. I cannot keep up over here, let alone over there. And trust me, I have tried to understand the parties in the UK, in France, Austria and the Netherlands, and it all just runs together and my mind spins. However, one thing I have learned in my studies of other democratic systems is that I am no longer convinced the two-party system is a particularly good solution. It has its merits, buuuuuut … last year’s election was a perfect example. On the democratic side, there was Hillary Clinton who was highly capable and qualified, but also highly unpopular, mainly because she was a w-o-m-a-n. And then there was Trump. Had he been running against a man, one with experience and qualifications, he could never have won. This is where another viable party might have … almost certainly would have … kept him out of the White House. But then heck, the vote itself would have kept him out were it not for the electoral college. Sigh.

              Like

              • I hate to agree, but I do. Much as I admire Hilary Clinton, the voters just weren’t ready for a woman, esp. one who speaks her mind and gives as good as she gets. I agree about the two party system as well.
                For all the hoo haa of the last decade, I truly believe that politics here has become more democratic thanks to the large numbers of independents who make it hard for any one party to hold a total majority. Things do get done but everyone has to compromise. I like compromise, even if it does lead to a bit of chaos now and then. 🙂

                Liked by 1 person

                • I’m in agreement with you there … I am a fan of compromise, both in personal situations and in government. Sadly, there is almost none of it in our government at the moment, nor do I foresee it happening any time soon. But … maybe, if the mid-terms level the playing field in Congress a bit. Fingers are permanently crossed. 😀

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  4. Dear Jill,
    This woman’s thinking is indicative of President Trump’s ardent fans. I do believe that these folks represent a minority but they sure are loud.
    At the recent democratic convention, there was a class on how not to entangle with these peoples. The point was not to let them frame the issue.
    You did a great job!
    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Jill, you may want to pose a few questions where the answers can be found. I would start off by saying we need to move beyond labels, as most people have both conservative and progressive sentiments. For example, I am fiscally conservative and socially progressive. As an independent, neither side can claim all the good ideas and both can claim some bad ideas.

    Now for the questions.
    1) since 1921, there have been 12
    Democrat and 12 Republican White Houses (not counting Trump). Under which WHs have the most jobs been created. Even if you throw Trump’s data, the Democrats have created more than twice the number of jobs.
    2) Since 1901, under which White Houses has the stock market performed better? That would be significantly better under Democrat White Houses.

    Keith

    Liked by 4 people

      • Thanks Jill. Good luck on your dialogue. I read a neat comment from Daryl Davis, the Black man who convinced so many KKK folks to change their ways. He said he would paraphrase back to the person what he heard the person say. The person just wanted to be heard. Once he did that, he was able to ask questions. A friend used to say “Help me understand ” when he probed into shall we say interesting statements. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

          • Once you feed back an inane comment, you can ask do you really believe that or did you read it somewhere?

            By the way Davis’ best story was when a KKK man said that Blacks have a gene that causes them to commit violence. Davis fed it back and said he never committed violence. The KKK man said it is a latent gene in Davis. Davis then asked do white people have a gene that makes them a serial killer? The KKK guy asked why. He said name one black serial killer and the man could not. Davis listed several Dahmer, Bundy, etc. – all white. The KKK man said I am not a serial killer. Davis said the gene must be latent in you. He was able to show how inane the comment was.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I shall have to try that … feeding back the comment and then asking if they really believe that.

              Yes, I remember that story from the research I did on Davis and I was in awe at how graciously he handled that situation. I wish I had that knack, but I would have been lashing out as soon as the other man said that blacks have a gene of violence. Sigh. I guess at 66 I’m not likely to become a whole lot more moderated, am I? I do try in my posts, but even there, sometimes I rant. ‘Tis why I appreciate your posts so much … you are so calm and logical.

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    • Well, I do get your point, but my thoughts are that by responding in fact-based, calm, civil discourse, I am putting myself far above her and proving that I am the more reasonable. The goal isn’t to convince her of anything, as much as to get those who believe as she does to listen to our well-reasoned responses to the criticisms from the far right. Maybe it does no good, but I like the thought of trying to start open, honest and civil dialogue.

      Hugs Jack! ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      • You are right Jill, I should have made he effort to produce a reasoned response, and maybe responded on my own blog. But, I just couldn’t bring myself to make the effort. le grande sigh…..
        You are so much better at this stuff than I am.
        Hugs and kisses. ❤ ❤ ❤

        Liked by 3 people

        • Nah, Jack … you didn’t need to, in part because it isn’t your battle, and also because not everyone takes up the same causes. I just felt that I needed to, for it is my battle and I’m willing to try almost anything to make a dent in the great divide here. I may not make much of a difference, but it won’t be for lack of trying. Sigh. Many hugs, Jack … love you back! ❤

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  6. Nicely done! It always amazes me (although it really shouldn’t anymore) how these kinds of people (they are still people, no matter what I would prefer to call them) list all the arguments against behaviours they themselves engage in. I mean, really…the same old argument about the “mainstream” media with no explanation of why they believe the news they believe in? Let’s only believe the news that supports what we feel to be true – that sure sounds unbiased. Idiots.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Emily! Yes, I agree, and that is the purpose, at least on mine and Brian’s part, of this exercise … to open civil conversations where we try to understand each other’s side, rather than engage in name-calling and accusations. We’ll see where it goes from here. 👻🎃

      Liked by 3 people

    • Unfortunately, Emily, the DEMONUTS CHECKLIST, though seemingly quite long, is far from being exhaustive, for there are many other claims not included. Bigotries and misrepresentations can often be quite numerous and unbounded.

      Thank you, Jill, for another exemplary effort in unpacking these matters. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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