Chain of Thoughts

My blogging friend PeNdantry, of Wibble fame, published a very short post a few days ago that led to a chain of thoughts, introspections, and ultimately this post.  But first … PeNdantry’s post …

Inextricable by PeNdantry

Indeed, my friends, we ARE all linked in one way or another.  Certainly our first concerns are those with whom we have a special bond – family, friends, neighbors and co-workers.  But beyond that … are ‘Americans’ really more special than, say, Ugandans?  No … we are all humans with the exact same needs and basically the same weaknesses and strengths.  A hundred or more years ago, one could be forgiven for failing to understand that, but in today’s world where technology has shrunken the world, it is inexcusable.  What we do has ramifications around the globe in ways that were not even thought of 100 years ago.

The ’America First’ policy that we first heard about under the former administration was garbage.  There is no reason to believe that the people of any one nation are in any way superior to those of another nation.  I know you’re all tired of hearing me say that Black or white, straight or gay, religious or atheist, it does not matter … but I’m gonna keep saying it because far too many people still aren’t getting the message!

Recently I heard the argument that we should stop sending aid to Ukraine because “there are people going hungry here in the U.S.”  Right, well then … let’s make the wealthy people pay their fair share of taxes and legislate laws to help feed the hungry, provide medical care for those who need it, etc., and meanwhile we can continue to help Ukraine fend off the brutal attacks by an egomaniacal dictator.  But no … the very people griping about sending aid to Ukraine support tax cuts for the wealthy and scream at the tops of their lungs about helping the poor!  Hypocrisy at its finest.

In the past two days, since the successful prisoner swap that brought basketball player Brittney Griner home, people have been up in arms that she was released and not Paul Whelan.  The negotiations for the two were entirely different, and the U.S. did not have the resources Putin required to free Paul Whelan.  Negotiations continue, and hopefully he, too, will soon be on his way home, but why the hell are people so angry that Ms. Griner was freed?  Oh yeah … she’s Black, while Whelan is white.  She’s a woman, where Whelan is a man.  And she’s gay, while Whelan is straight.  Three strikes against her in the eyes of the bigots. 

While America worships its top 1% of wealthy people, panders to the wealthy corporations, and chooses to ignore much of the rest of the world, nature is struggling to survive.  The environmental issues take a back seat to most everything else.  After the massive Keystone Pipeline leak three days ago, the top news was the World’s Cup soccer tournaments and Kyrsten Sinema leaving the Democratic Party. The only two places I found news of the pipeline spill were the UK’s The Guardian and the Associated Press (AP). Someday, probably sooner than later, the environment that everyone is putting on the back burner will become the great equalizer.  Those with billions of dollars will not be any better off than those of us who live payday to payday.  The petty politics of the day will not only take a backseat, but will likely be meaningless drivel. 

Stop for a minute today.  Look at the people you see.  Are they really any different than you?  There are now over 8 billion people on Planet Earth … each and every one matters, not just the white ones, and not just the American ones, not just the straight ones and not just the male ones … ALL OF THEM MATTER!

No Snark Today — Just Good News!

Typically, my posts bring you all the bad news, but today I actually have a couple of good news pieces, starting with the news that as I write this, Brittney Griner is on a plane heading home to the U.S. after some ten months imprisoned in Russia.  President Biden announced early this morning …

“Moments ago, standing together with her wife Cherelle in the Oval Office, I spoke with Brittney Griner. She’s safe, she’s on a plane, she’s on her way home after months of being unjustly detained in Russia, held under intolerable circumstances. Brittney will soon be back in the arms of her loved ones, and she should have been there all along.”

Ms. Griner was arrested in February on “drug smuggling” charges, for having inadvertently packed a vaporizer cartridge containing less than a gram of cannabis oil.  For this, she was sentenced to nine years in prison in August.  A rather harsh sentence for what wouldn’t even be a crime in the U.S., but that’s Russia.  Negotiations for her release, as well as another U.S. citizen being held by Russia, Paul Whelan, have been ongoing and today she was released in a one-to-one prisoner swap with Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.  Negotiations for Mr. Whelan’s release are ongoing.

Welcome home, Ms. Griner!

And huge kudos to the House of Representatives today for passing the Respect for Marriage Act (FfMA) that will protect same-sex and interracial marriages by a vote of 258-169.  Last month, the bill passed in the Senate by 62-37 with 12 Republicans voting for it.  Today, 39 House Republicans joined all Democrats in passing this legislation!  This came as a surprise to me, especially after the 12 Republican senators came under serious criticism by their party for working across the aisle.

The bill doesn’t go as far as we might like, as it would not force states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples but it will require that people be considered married in any state as long as the marriage was valid in the state where it was performed.  The bill also would repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA). In addition to defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, DoMA allowed states to decline to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. That law has remained on the books despite being declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling in United States v. Windsor and its 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which guaranteed same-sex couples the fundamental right to marry.

Next, the bill heads to the Oval Office for President Biden’s signature, which is all but guaranteed.  👍👍

And that’s the good news of the day, my friends! No doubt tomorrow I will return to my usual snarky self.  Meanwhile, just a few cartoons …