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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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”.
- 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]
- Protect the Sanctuary cities – see #2
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.