Tennessee Republicans Are Trying To Make It A FELONY To Peacefully Protest

Yes, you read that right: Bill Lee and the Good Ol’ Boys are upset. And they’re not going to let a little thing like “Constitutional rights” get in the way them showing Black & Brown people who’s in control…

On Friday June 12th, a group of protesters led by Justin Jones (who devotees may remember from THIS POST from three years ago) assembled outside the Tennessee State Capitol on War Memorial Plaza. Among the things the protesters wanted were the removal of Police Chief Steve Anderson (who has since been removed), defunding the police, demilitarizing the police, and removal of racist statues… But they pledged to leave if Governor Bill Lee would simply talk to them about police brutality. Bill Lee has never shown up to talk to them, and protesters have been there 24 hours a day ever since, making it the longest continuous protest in the country. They called it the People’s Plaza and renamed it “Ida B. Wells Plaza.”

I was down there the next afternoon. During earlier George Floyd protests, a statue was torn down on the plaza. The statue that came down was of a little known man named Edward Carmack. A little history behind Edward Carmack: He was a newspaper editor in Nashville and Memphis during the late 1800s. When some black men in Memphis tried to open a grocery store, they were lynched. Carmack wrote articles defending the lynching. The men who were murdered were friends of journalist and civil rights hero Ida B. Wells, and when she decried the lynching, Carmack turned his pen & his hatred in her direction, telling the mob to “get the black winch.” She was out of town at the time, but they burned down the newspaper she worked in. She never returned to Memphis. Later, Carmack became a politician (of course he did), running as a prohibitionist, and after he was killed by a political rival, the Women’s Christian Temperance Movement saw him as a martyr for their cause, and helped get his statue erected in 1927.

Initially, the protesters set up on the site where the statue was torn down. Saturday morning, they were told they had to move because the base of the statue was to be cleaned. After it was cleaned, police set up barriers to keep the protesters away, and so they moved to a wall near the site, and hung a sign on the wall that said “Ida B. Wells Plaza.” Police prevented anyone from entering the area around the Capitol building, and positioned state troopers to protect the statue of Sam Davis — another confederate soldier and traitor who was hung for espionage during the Civil War. Sam’s family’s plantation  had more than 50 slaves. He went to Western Military Institute (which is now Montgomery Bell Academy, and he was dubbed “The Boy Hero of the Confederacy.” He is a hero to racists, and his statue shamefully stands on the grounds of the Tennessee Capitol. Here is a picture I took of the troopers protecting the statue of Sam Davis.

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Throughout the protests on the plaza, the people protesting have been peaceful. Any aggression has come from the police. I watched as troopers advanced their line toward the peaceful protesters. I watched as troopers stood about six inched from a sitting Justin Jones — while not wearing a mask in the middle of a pandemic. Here is a video I recorded when state troopers brought in barricades while Justin and protesters sat in defiance:

As I wrote, the protesters have been at the capitol in some form every night since. In 2011, the Tennessee State legislature — as a response to the “Occupy Wall Street” protests — made it illegal to “camp” on state lands that were not expressly designated as a campground… But the offense was a misdemeanor. As the lawmakers grew more & more annoyed at the constant reminder of how Tennessee continues to embrace its racist past, the republican majority decided to up the ante. They proposed House Bill 8005, which would make it a FELONY to “camp” (a word which can be widely interpreted) on state grounds, as well as making it a Class A misdemeanor to “disrupt a lawful meeting.” This puts the act of protesting or interrupting a lawmaker’s session on par with crimes like Sexual Contact with a Minor by an Authority Figure, Child Abuse, Spousal Abuse, and Using Violence to Intimidate Voters… While putting the “crime” of peacefully protesting overnight on state property as a WORSE crime than all of those. Here is News Channel 5’s Phil Williams asking Bill Lee if that sounds like Justice to him. Watch Bill Lee’s cowardly answer:

Bill Lee said, “On balance, I think it was the right thing to do.” A reminder that the protestors said they would leave if he just had a conversation with them. He refused, and he responded by making it a felony to protest. Representative Jason Hodges went viral with his response to this. He said, “We seem not to worry about protesting when white people show up with AR-15s, but when black people show up with signs, it just seems like we try to pass legislation to keep people from protesting. And so that’s just a little concerning to me, and maybe that’s why the protesters are out there in the first place.” He is one of the people featured in a “NowThisNews” story about this… You should watch it.

HB 8005 makes it so that people protesting overnight on state grounds would have a MANDATORY MINIMUM 30-day jail sentence. It also calls for a mandatory minimum 30-day jail sentence for the misdemeanor offense of “causing physical contact” with police or other first responders. CAUSING PHYSICAL CONTACT. If a cop walks toward you and you don’t move, is that “causing physical contact?” This is unconscionable. Under the new law passed a week ago, convicted protesters could face up to SIX YEARS IN PRISON and LOSE THEIR RIGHT TO VOTE. All for the “crime” of protesting racism & police brutality. Please think about that for a moment while I find you numbers to call…

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Amazing shot. The Plaza belongs to The People. 

Listen — Tennessee lawmakers (who are working to disenfranchise protesters) would like for you to know that it’s really hard for THEM too… For example, State Senator Kerry Roberts of Springfield recalled being yelled at while he walked down the street, and he said, “The thing is, what I wish I could convey to people is that it’s really hard to be sympathetic to what someone is saying when they are yelling at you, when they’re trying to shame you, when they’re calling you names and so forth.” As they say here in Nashville, “Bless his heart.” Perhaps you can call him (his telephone number is 615-741-4499) and tell him how sympathetic you are to him being “shamed” simply because he voted to take away the voting rights of peaceful protesters.

Or perhaps you could call State Representative and porcupine Pokemon impersonator William Lamberth (whose telephone number is 615-741-1980) and express your feelings on the fascism behind HB 8005… Lamberth sponsored the bill.

Or you can join with the ACLU, and call for Bill Lee to veto this injustice. This bill has passed the state house and the state senate, and is awaiting Governor Lee’s signature. Bill Lee’s number is 615-741-2001. No one will answer (because he really doesn’t care), but you can leave a message. FLOOD THE LINES. Let him know that this is an injustice, it is anti-American, and that it reeks of creeping fascism. Or, you could speak his language, and get angry about the fact that this will no doubt end up in the Supreme Court & end up costing the state of Tennessee millions of dollars in legal fees. Either way, get angry and make some noise.

Also, if you’re interested and able, you can join and support the protesters. In addition to protests, there are other ways to help. They are doing a donation drive for the Nashville Free Store (a community-stocked store with free food, essential goods, & PPE) tomorrow (August 21), and you can drop off donations at the People’s Plaza (right in front of the State Capitol building in Nashville). The things they need the most are diapers, bleach, dish soap, laundry detergent, all purpose cleaners & cleaning supplies. Follow Brother Jones on Twitter at @brotherjones_. You can also follow them on Facebook HERE.

 

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Five Things The Death of That 5-Year-Old Boy Has Me Thinking About

I heard about the murder of little Cannon Hinnant two days ago. I had posted an article (like I do) about a KKK member who got sent to prison for driving through a crowd of protestors, and I said that even though the far-right acts like “ANTIFA” is what we all need to fear, if you’re looking for who is committing the real acts of violence & domestic terrorism, and who you need to be afraid of in this country, it’s RACIST, WHITE MEN. And then some dude showed up (you’ll never guess his complexion), posted a picture of Cannon & his accused murderer with a description of what happened, and said, “Evil comes in all colors.” So I searched his name on Google (like I do) and researched the story… From what I read, it was senseless and horrific and awful. So sad.

Apparently, a man named Darius Sessoms — a friend of Cannon’s family — shot the boy in the head and killed him. The next day, a warrant was made for Sessoms’ arrest, and within a day he was arrested, charged with first degree murder, and denied bail.

The story began to spread across the country, nearly all the posts with accompanying pictures of Darius Sessoms’ mugshot — I assume to ensure that everyone knew that it was a BLACK MAN who committed this murder. And then came the hashtags, which were mostly plays on Black Lives Matter hashtags: #SayHisName, #JusticeForCannon, and #HisLifeMattered… The narrative was that people (the media, in particular) care when Black people get murdered, but no one bats an eyelash when we poor, oppressed white people get killed (a message that has apparently made it to the Department of Justice, because with all the craziness in the world right now, the DOJ has decided to open a case against Yale for “discriminating against white people”). White folks were angry, and they managed to somehow make this boy’s tragic death about George Floyd… Crap like this:

“Double standard!” they cried. “Where’s the outrage??” they demanded to know. “WHERE ARE THE PROTESTS?!? Well, if you were on social media at all recently, you SAW where the outrage was. And that is what has me up in the middle of the night writing right now. So here are five things I have been thinking about…

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I was going to use a picture of Cannon for this post, but it felt really gross using his image. I can’t imagine how gross it must feel to use it as some sort of meme for imaginary white “oppression.”

 

1) “HIS LIFE MATTERED.” Of course his life mattered. Honest question: Who do you see saying that his life didn’t matter? We know that his life mattered because the man accused of killing him was arrested and charged within a DAY. They didn’t wait three months to arrest and charge his killers (like they did with the men who murdered Ahmaud Arbery). His murderers aren’t still walking around free 5 FULL MONTHS after they killed him (as is the case with Breonna Taylor’s killers). His life wasn’t ended by a police officer kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes while he called out for his dead mother as onlookers pleaded for his life (as happened with George Floyd). You can tell his life life mattered because the GoFundMe for the family has raised nearly $600,000 in three days. Do you see people presuming the kid did something to deserve being killed and assuming that the shooting was justified? No? Well that’s one way to tell his life matters. I mean, C’mon, Chachi…

2) “WHERE ARE THE PROTESTS?” Do y’all even have anything close to a clue what the protests have been about? Because I don’t think you do… They’ve been protesting systemic racism (like the kind that initially resulted in no charges being filed against the white men who murdered Ahmaud Arbery and then stood over his lifeless body and called him a n****r). They’ve been protesting police brutality (like the kind that resulted in the death of Elijah McClain where cops received a call of him “looking sketchy,” they stopped him while walking and committing to crime, put him in a choke hold, and then injected him with ketamine). They’ve been protesting the LACK of justice for the loved ones and families of the people who have been unjustly murdered. Protests & riots don’t happen just because someone is killed… Protests & riots happen when nothing is done to show the community that justice is being served. Riots don’t necessarily happen because Rodney King is beat up by police — Riots happen when those cops aren’t charged with a crime & held accountable. The reason no one is protesting the random, tragic shooting of Cannon Hinnant is because JUSTICE IS BEING SERVED. No one gets mad when their internet is WORKING… We get mad when it goes out. We get mad when the system ISN’T working. The system isn’t working for Breonna Taylor.

3) ALMOST ALL OF THE OUTRAGE IS COMING FROM WHITE PEOPLE. Why do you think that is? Sure, you might be able to track down a random “Candice Owens-ish” voice cashing in on white outrage… But if you check the faces of the people who are liking and sharing those posts, they are almost universally white. I have a lot of ideas about what is behind that, but I want you to genuinely spend some time thinking about why it is that the profile pics of the ones who seem very upset that not enough attention is being paid to this young boy’s death nearly ALL contain photos of white faces. Or flags. Or eagle holding guns. I guarantee you there have been many black kids in this country who have been killed in the six days since Cannon’s death. Why aren’t we hearing from these same white voices about those random, tragic deaths?

4) THIS IS NOT A PATTERN. This murder is horrific and heartbreaking, but there have not been a rash of black men running up to white children and shooting them in the head. We DO see a pattern of continued police brutality and a different set of rules for officers interacting with white folks and with Black folks. We DO see a pattern of white anger at the perception of persecution & oppression, when what is really happening is adjusting to the discomfort of equalityWhat we DO see happening over and over again is the pushing of images of Black men as criminal. If you want to post about how sad this event made you, that’s one thing… But posting images that reinforce the “FEAR BLACK MEN” narrative is doing actual harm. It is allowing people to justify their hatred and racism, and that is very, very dangerous. Regardless, if someone shares an article about how many white supremacists are trying to kill people, and you respond by showing a random, deranged black man who committed a murder, I’ve got some bad news for you: Your racism is showing.

5) IS IT SUDDENLY OKAY TO “POLITICIZE A TRAGEDY?” Have y’all noticed that the Venn diagram of the people who will tell you that you shouldn’t “politicize a tragedy” after yet another mass shooting or act of gun violence, and the people who are now politicizing Cannon’s murder is a PERFECT CIRCLE?  When 20 first graders get murdered by a man with an AR15 and people talk about passing legislation to make those tragedies less common, it’s distasteful to “use their deaths” to make a point. But these people are angry that the shooting happened, and trying to do things to prevent it from happening again. NONE of the people talking about “#HisLifeMattered” seem particularly concerned with trying to prevent this sort of thing from happening again… Or how Cannon might still be alive if everyone & their niece didn’t have access to a highly efficient killing tool… They’re concerned that George Floyd’s funeral was bigger. Imagine politicizing a kid’s murder when the point you’re trying to make is “WHITE PEOPLE AREN’T GETTING ENOUGH ATTENTION!” That is really, REALLY gross. Seriously… Stop it.

That’s it. That’s what I wanted to say… Stop it. Please.

 

I talked to my mom yesterday… She told me to write about something happy. I told her I usually write when I’m overflowing with something, and I haven’t felt overflowing with happiness in a while. She reminded me that I have a whole lot to be happy about… Anyway, aren’t moms the best? Sorry, mom. I know this isn’t a happy subject, but it had me overflowing. Maybe next time?

So… If YOU are someone who is happy when I overflow on this blog, there is a way to show you care. You can BECOME A PATRON! It’s easy and fun. Bonnie just became a new Patron last week, and I’m SO thankful. You can also LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL, or Venmo your generosity to “chris-boeskool” as well. Check me out on Facebook and on Twitter for more good stuff.

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Christians Are A Force For Evil In The World.

That’s hard for me to say, because I still consider myself a Christian… In that I consider myself a follower of Jesus. I love Jesus. I love what he was about. I believe that the closer human beings get to being like Jesus, the better off the whole world gets. But I don’t really want to call myself a “Christian,” because that brand is such utter garbage. And I suppose that works out well, because most other people who identify as christians don’t want me calling myself a christian either. I don’t think the Bible is infallible or “written by God.” I don’t consider Jesus the only source of truth in the world or the only leader to ever speak for God. I don’t believe that someone had to die in order for us to be close to God. I don’t believe in hell anymore — Although 2020 is pretty damn close. I don’t exactly know how to describe my concept of “God” anymore. But I believe in GOODNESS… And the more I look around, the clearer it gets: Christianity does more harm than good.

This is not to say that ALL Christians are individually doing more harm than good. There are some amazing people out there loving and helping their neighbors, and working to make the world a more Just, more Equitable, BETTER place… And they are doing it because of what they believe about Jesus. So save your time with the “Not All Christians” comments. Obviously not all Christians are actively working to make the world a shittier place… But MOST of them are. And barely any of them realize that’s what they are doing.  Let me give you an example. Here is a scene from an outdoor worship service this weekend…

There’s this guy named Sean Feucht. If you don’t know who he is, you are not alone. Most people don’t. He worked for a church called Bethel in Redding, CA. He leads worship. He ran for Congress (and lost) on a pro-trump, anti-immigrant platform. You may recognize him for his long, curly, reddish hair… Sean is the one “reaching out in faith” and touching trump’s garment/arm is this photo op of worship leaders at the White House:

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I’m not positive on how is name is pronounced, but I think it’s how you THINK it’s pronounced… As in, “This country is Feucht.”

He’s been in the news a little more lately after he showed up Uninvited in Minneapolis (the very unsuccessful, straight-to-DVD sequel of “Sleepless in Seattle”) at a rally for George Floyd, and put together an impromptu worship service. I guess he looked at the Black-led protests and thought, “You know what they could use? A long-haired white guy with an acoustic guitar… That’s what.” And then he posted video of that on social media and talked about “what god was doing.” In addition to his self-promotion, he also took advantage of the outrage at him showing up, and played the “persecuted christian” card.

You see, many christians around the country have been fed the idea that they are being attacked. It started with “the war on Christmas,” and now many of the ignorant masses are convinced that this virus is made up to keep people away from Church… And that mask mandates are just a plot to get people used to face coverings for when the democrats declare Sharia Law and force everyone to wear burkas. So this guy comes up with the Feucht-up idea of utilizing that narrative to tour around the country and put on worship concerts… Defying local laws and mandates about sizes of gatherings made to prevent the spread of this deadly disease. Here is Sean explaining that “God is going to release a wave of healing” on the lungs of the people who attended his gathering in Portland.

Isn’t it interesting that christians will post memes about how “police won’t bother people if they just obey the law,” and they’ll quote Romans 13 (about “submitting to governing authorities”) when justifying the death penalty… But suddenly protest becomes “American” again when THEY are breaking a law that makes THEM feel “oppressed.” And by “interesting,” I mean “hypocritical.”

Here’s the thing: Bad theology kills people. It is one of the deadliest things on the planet. And in America right now, the majority of the people with REALLY bad theology are calling themselves “christians.” This is especially true of charismatic christians. For many of them, Reason is looked at as a BARRIER between them and the almighty. The sort of person that questions authority or challenges contradictions is looked at as a threat. They are told to “turn off their brains” in order to hear from god. They’re made to believe they hear directly from god… And when everyone is hearing from god, paranoia can be interpreted as the voice of the holy spirit, and finding some QAnon conspiracy theory site in a dark corner of the internet can be viewed as god “leading them.” And to top it all off, they are told the world will hate them, so if they are being total asses and everyone is getting mad at them, they’re like, “I must be doing something right!”

The frustrating thing about Sean Feucht is that I’d bet just about anything that he doesn’t see himself as a force for evil. Like so many other forces for evil in the world, he has no clue that’s what he is… He’s not like donald trump, who knows darn well that he doesn’t believe any of that “christian” nonsense, but knows he needs to fake it to get more power. But Sean almost certainly believes that he is NEEDED at a George Floyd rally in Minneapolis. He believes he is being “called.” It stands to reason that these folks believe in white saviorism… Most of them think Jesus was white — Their whole religion is BUILT on the idea of a white savior. And when he sees those crowds, he probably believes that God is going to keep those people safe. When he baptizes people and dunks them in that COVID water, he believes he is participating in SAVING those people from going to hell.

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It’s almost like God “desires mercy, not sacrifice.” To “do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly.” Wouldn’t that be something…

And when he runs for government, there was never any option for him other than running as a republican. He has grown up listening to preachers say that god is on America’s side… In churches that fly the American flag up front. He has probably figured out a way to use the Bible to justify christians carrying guns and being ready to kill folks. Imagine calling yourself a “christian” and being willing to kill someone with a gun to “protect people,” but not being willing to put a piece of fabric over your mouth to protect people from this virus…

And this is NOT me saying “Christians should be democrats.” In normal times, there are good reasons to vote republican… But now is not a normal time. I genuinely believe that voting to remove the evil that is donald trump from office is a moral imperative… And the best/only way to do that with the system we currently have is to vote for Joe Biden. But there are many people in this country who don’t see that. And at this point, if you can’t see that trump is objectively one of the worst people on the planet who should be kept as far from power as humanly possible, it doesn’t come down to a “difference of opinion” on political issues — It’s a fundamental difference of understanding what is meant by the word GOODNESS… It’s a totally different definition of Morality.

The single greatest reason for christians becoming a force for evil in the world is their longing for power. In 2016, trump told a crowd in Sioux City, Iowa that “Christians will have the power” (Click on that article. You need to read it), and they believed him. There is a deep hypocrisy where Christians profess to believe that PEOPLE should take care of people — Not the government… But then they need the government to enforce their vision of morality. And they profess to believe that God is on control of things… But they don’t trust God to take care of things unless christians are electing leaders who give them more political power. Their longing for power belies a lack of faith.

The Bible tells a story of Jesus being tempted with power. It didn’t take. It’s the exact opposite of who Jesus was. The people wanted a king on a horse, but they got a carpenter on a donkey… And most people calling themselves “christians” don’t get that at all. The degree to which christianity is a force for evil in the world is directly correlated to how little christians resemble Jesus. Christians have largely become noisy gongs & clanging cymbals. They are willing to break the law & risk other people’s lives in order to pray “on the street corners to be seen by others.” It’s all wrong. It’s wanting to rule, when you’re called to serve. It’s carrying a gun, while testifying of a god who is supposedly powerful enough to protect you. It’s being willing to kill to protect your neighbor, but not being willing to wear a mask to protect your neighbor. It’s hypocrisy. And it is — for lack of a better word — evil.

 

Thank you so much for reading. Thank you to Marissa and Sue for leaving a tip after my last post. And thank you SO much to my Patrons. If this blog is valuable to you, and you’d like to help support it, you too can BECOME A PATRON. Or you can LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL or Venmo “chris-boeskool” your generosity. And if you’d like to keep up with me on FACEBOOK or on TWITTER, that’s good fun too. Thank you, seriously. I’m so honored that there are people who read the things I write…

 

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Why You’re Hearing About Human Trafficking and HydroxyChloroquine Right Now

I am angrier than I have ever been right now. I’m not talking about a fleeting rage… I’m talking about a deep, residing anger — One that feels like is just WITH me. All the time. Yesterday, I watched a video of a woman at a Montana supermarket intentionally cough on people who were telling her to put a mask on, and I was SHOCKED — Not because it happened or because people that awful exist… By now, that’s not at all surprising. What shocked me was the realization that I found myself thinking, “WHY IS NOBODY PUNCHING THAT OLD LADY IN THE FACE?” Genuinely. I mean, she probably someone’s grandma… And there I was rooting for her to get dropped by a straight right hand. Here’s the video:

Like, who is that person? Not the lady coughing on a stranger in the middle of a pandemic… The one rooting for her to get punched in the face. I don’t recognize him. I’ve never found it harder to love my enemies than I do right now. Every day, it feels like more and more people around me are given over to conspiracy theory and irrational thought, and never in my life have I been quicker to call someone a “moron.” And I don’t see that going anywhere any time soon, so this isn’t going to be the sort of post where I call you to some better path. I’m frustrated, and I’m angry, and that just is what it is.

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That blue section is ALSO roughly the same size of the United States’ world percentage of people in prison. AMERICA FIRST, AMIRITE?!?

You’ve probably seen a lot of people on social media posting about Human Trafficking and HydroxyChloroquine. And there is a reason for that: The reason is this republican administration’s colossal and historic failure with regards to the mishandling of this pandemic. There is an election in less than 100 days, and they don’t want people thinking about a cratering economy, historic unemployment, and 158k dead Americans. So they rally the troops for a truly disgusting campaign of Distraction and Distrust.

DISTRACTION
You’ve probably noticed that a whole lot of your conservative friends are suddenly VERY concerned with Human Trafficking. And I suppose that would be a good thing, if only it weren’t a totally dishonest distraction. Many of the people suddenly beating the drum of the horrors of human trafficking ALSO “happen” to be the same folks who are anti-mask and pro-reopen in-person schooling. And it’s framed as “Oh, you’re concerned about the kids’ health?!? Well why aren’t you concerned about the 800,000 American kids who are sold into sex slavery each year!?!?” (A few things about that 800k number, by the way: That’s the total number of kids reported missing — anything from runaways, to can’t find my kid at Target, to custody disputes — and “more than 99% of those kids come home.” The actual number of kids who are abducted in the U.S. each year is about 115… Which is horrible and a real problem, but it’s NOT the “You’re worried about kids wearing masks in school while 2200 kids go missing EVERY DAY” narrative that they’re selling).

What is frustrating is how they paint this as if people can’t be concerned about two things at once. We can. It’s like if someone was focusing their energy on feeding kids in their school system, and people got mad about that because “kids in Somalia are way hungrier.” It’s like, “Okay? Great. You work on that thing. I’ll work on this thing.” This dishonest distraction is also a not-so-subtile nod to QAnon cultists and conspiracy theorists… Which, if you don’t know about QAnon, I don’t have the space or energy to go into it in depth right now, but it is born of the same dark 4chan/8chan corners of the internet that “Pizzagate” (a thoroughly debunked theory which is rising again) was born from. HERE is a good summary of the lunacy that is QAnon. It basically takes a quasi-religious fervency to the idea that EVERYONE is in on the conspiracy, and Clinton and Obama and “the Deep State” are running some giant child sex slavery ring. And CNN is in on it…

Speaking of Obama, that is one of the main reasons you can tell this precipitous concern with Human trafficking is totally disingenuous: If one quarter of America was out of work, the economy was in shambles, and 150k people were dead because of Barack Obama’s stupidity and incompetence, do you think that any of these people would be yelling, “WHAT ABOUT HUMAN TRAFFICKING” right now? Not a chance in hell. Some folks have been working on ending human trafficking before it was politically convenient to focus on this issue. My friend David has been working with good groups like The Exodus Road and Safe House Project to help those affected by human trafficking. So if you’re actually interested in helping out (beyond an abortion-esque, “whatabout” distraction), there are many organizations in which you can invest your time & money… Instead of fearfully equating masks with child abductions like this utter nonsense:

DISTRUST
There are basically two main arbiters of truth in the modern world: Science and Journalism. Both are committed to finding out what is true. Journalism is basically just science with words. It’s an attempt to find FACTS, and it’s the most powerful tool we have against government corruption and overreach… Which is why trump has spent so much time attacking it. All of his “fake news” and “they’re all against me” and “enemy of the people” talk is straight out of the Fascist Handbook he keeps next to his bed. If you’re attempting to consolidate power and get away with things, it makes sense to focus on making people distrust one of the only checks to power we have (the other is VOTING — which he is ALSO attacking and attempting to sow distrust of… Make sure you are registered to vote).

Science is another way we find out what is true. It’s not as “in your face” as journalism, but it is there, working behind the scenes. And when science finds out something true, the hope is that journalism conveys those findings to the public. So when scientists tell us that man-made climate change is real, and we HAVE to do something about it right away, hopefully journalism gets the word out. Unfortunately, there are many who are profiting from polluting the environment who don’t want that message to get to the people who vote for leaders… So they attack the credibility of journalism and inject distrust.

But with this pandemic, we now have people who are actually paying attention to the numbers and statistics the scientific communities are putting out. And those numbers do NOT look good for the trump administration. We have 26.46% of the world’s coronavirus cases with only 4.25% of the worlds population… And even though trump would have you believe this is due to testing, we ALSO have a similar percentage of the world’s COVID-19 deaths. People are not dying because they are getting tested. And this is where the nonsense with HydroxyChloroquine comes in…

HydroxyChloroquine is a medicine used to treat malaria and lupus. When coronavirus was first spreading, doctors had no clue how to treat it. They were trying many different things, and one of them was HydroxyChloroquine. There were early rumors of its effectiveness in treating COVID, and those rumors made it to the president’s ears. Now, intelligent people understand that before you tell the public a cure for the plague has been found, you do actual RESEARCH… But the president is NOT an intelligent person. It turns out that every randomized trial of HydroxyChloroquine found that it was not only ineffective, but it actually did more harm than good.

Usually, that would be where it ended. Unfortunately, this administration has always tried to handle this virus with messaging… But you don’t “spin” your way out of a pandemic. You handle pandemics with clear policies and competent leadership. The numbers don’t lie, but when the numbers don’t paint fascists in a favorable light, they attack the credibility of the people providing the numbers. And this is what they have done and CONTINUE to do with HydroxyChloroquine: They act like there is really a cure, but the scientists don’t want to let people have it, because they want to make trump look bad. So they highlight and retweet a handful of discredited doctors and quacks who give anecdotal evidence of success. But science is not done with anecdote… It’s done with research, and with randomized, double blind trials.

Consider that for a moment: This corrupt administration casts doubt on the integrity of the entire scientific and medical communities… That they HAVE a cure, but they don’t want to give it to people. And rumors spread about doctors falsely categorizing COVID deaths to get more money. And that gives the true believers a reason to doubt the numbers that can’t be interpreted any other way than total failure. If you trust the scientific community to tell the truth about the ineffectiveness of HydroxyChloroquine, then you ALSO need to trust their numbers showing this administration’s EPIC FAILURE with this virus.  It’s no wonder so many of these morons (there I go again) don’t trust vaccinations. It’s the same reason republicans push back so hard against the CLEAR scientific benefit of wearing masks. They don’t like masks, because masks are a constant, visual reminder of trump’s failure and lies… But beyond that, casting doubt on their effectiveness in preventing the spread of this virus casts doubt on the expertise of the scientific community. And when there are no experts (or trusted arbiters of truth), authoritarian regimes can tell the people whatever they want. 

The ONLY reason trump started saying that people should wear masks is because someone convinced him that they are essential to getting the economy going again. You can bet that if it was just a matter of people dying, he would have stubbornly refused. Anyway, there you have it. When you see anti-mask, anti-science trumpers posting dishonest “whataboutisms” concerning Human Trafficking, and posting conspiracy theories about HydroxyChloroquine and masks, see it for what it is: Distraction and Distrust.

Now, if someone can seriously find that coughing lady and punch her in the face…

 

Thank you again for reading. If you’re feeling angry, and you want to do something kind to snap yourself out of it, maybe make a donation to one of those organizations working to help victims of human trafficking. Or, if you want to BECOME A PATRON of this blog, that would also be nice. You can LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL, or Venmo your generosity to “chris-boeskool” as well. Please follow me on FACEBOOK and on TWITTER for more fun. Take care of each other…

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The Case Against (and For) Mask Shaming

I have seen many people making the case that we shouldn’t be shaming people for not wearing masks when they go out. “You don’t know their story,” they say. “They could have a legitimate reason for not wearing a mask.” People bring up claustrophobia, anxiety & panic attacks, asthma, sensory issues, and assault trauma (where someone’s mouth was covered during an assault). The claim is that there are many other reasons (other than being a conspiracy theorist or an anti-science moron) for people to not wear masks. There are even accusations of ablism… That expressing frustration and anger pointed at people without masks on could be a discriminatory act against people with a disability which prevents them from wearing a mask.

I confess that I have been guilty of calling people morons for not wearing a mask. When I see people not wearing a mask in stores that are requiring them, it makes me angry.  I see tweets like this one, and — to be honest — it makes my heart sing a little bit…

I admit I’ve never even considered that some of these people might have experienced abuse which causes wearing a mask to trigger a panic reaction. I make assumptions… About their reasons, their intelligence, their political party. I do not give these people anything close to the “benefit of the doubt.” I even find myself assuming psychopathy and narcissism (there is some research surrounding this). I don’t see phobias or trauma… I usually see ignorance and selfishness.

But there is a reason for that: It’s because the vast majority of the people refusing to wear masks do so out of ignorance and selfishness.

Some of this “ablism” talk defending those who don’t wear masks feels very similar to the arguments around “Not all men” and “Not all white people” and “Not all Christians.” Namely, the idea that we shouldn’t make critical statements about a group, because SOME in that demographic might not fit the description. So if a woman criticizes men because of toxic masculinity, a chorus of voices declare that “not all men” are toxic… As if that is what was being said. White people have the same fragile reaction to criticism (Now think… Did you hear me say ALL white people have that same fragile reaction?). When Christians hear criticism of the church, many feel the need to clarify that “not ALL Christians” are like that. It’s easy to see why the most fragile of all God’s creatures — the white, male Christian — feels so persecuted… Even though they aren’t.

MESH-MASK-WP

Someone PLEASE tell me it’s alright to call this fragile, oppressed dude a “moron.”

NO ONE thinks that the majority of the people refusing to wear masks have legitimate medical reasons for it. And if they DO have legitimate medical reasons for it, we need to do some serious testing as to whether MAGA hats cause breathing problems, because I’d say that 95% of the people who refuse to wear masks in stores are trump supporters, and there is a correlation there that implies causation. And then they insist that it is against HIPPA and ADA privacy laws to ask someone to have to prove their medical condition for going without a mask. But HIPPA and ADA privacy mandates are mandates, just like mask mandates are mandates… And MANY of these folks are the same people demanding that victims of rape or incest be forced to relive their trauma and “prove” that their assault happened before allowing her and her doctor decide to end her pregnancy. Isn’t that interesting… And by “interesting,” I mean hypocritical.

Imagine a young man wearing a t-shirt with a big swastika on it and he’s got a shaved head. Now, if you called this guy a nazi skinhead, there’s a CHANCE that he actually wanted to wear his Human Rights Coalition Equality shirt, but his house was on fire and he had to grab a shirt quick… And perhaps alopecia is the reason for his head having no hair. But chances are very, very slim. And the idea of not letting nazi skinheads know that our norms do not allow harmful & threatening expressions of hate simply because of the possibility of him being a person living with alopecia who hurried from a fire seems ludicrous to me. When you consider that instead of free expression, we are dealing with a virus that kills about 1.4% of the people who are infected with it, there is even a more urgent reason to speak up about establishing norms.

Because that’s what we’re doing: We’re establishing norms. It’s not about shaming people for shaming sake… It’s about letting people know that they are not complying with standards the community has decided are in the benefit of public health. You might think it’s your “god-given right” to rub pig shit all over yourself before going out to Walmart, but that doesn’t mean people don’t get to plug their noses when you walk by. And if it turns out that pig shit is causing a bunch of people to get sick and die, I’ve got news for you: Walmart has online ordering and pickup. USE IT. Same goes for the folks who can’t wear a mask because of trauma: Make other arrangements. Just about every grocery store has the option to order your groceries online. Use that option. Have it delivered. Do curbside pickup. Ask a friend for help. SOMETHING.

So for the small group of folks who have legitimate medical reasons for not wearing a mask, I’m sorry if I have incorrectly judged you as being a conspiracy theorist, or an anti-science moron, or ignorant, or selfish, or worse… A republican. Forgive me for confusing you with all the people who are convinced masks are going to make them die from carbon dioxide poisoning… Or the lady at Panera who claimed masks don’t stop the virus because “pants don’t stop farts.” Or the lady that said she doesn’t wear a mask for the same reason she doesn’t wear underwear: “Because things gotta breathe.” But we are in the middle of a pandemic… Make other arrangements. Just because someone has a reason they don’t want to wear a mask, it doesn’t mean that person has a “right” to go wherever they want without a mask right now.

Last thing, and I don’t think this can be stressed enough: The people who are concerned about breathing because of claustrophobia, anxiety & panic attacks, asthma, sensory issues, and assault trauma should be the MOST concerned about everyone doing their part to stop the spread of this disease. If you think masks aren’t fun, you’re REALLY not going to enjoy COVID-19. If you find it difficult to breathe with a mask on, you’re going to find it REALLY difficult to breathe with COVID-19. Every person in a hospital bed who has COVID-19 has a mask on. Every one. Regardless of their anxiety or feelings of claustrophobia. Every one… except for the ones who are intubated. And if you don’t like mask mandates being shoved down your throat, you’re REALLY not going to enjoy ventilator tubes being shoved down your throat.

WEAR A MASK.

 

Oh people, thank you for reading this rant. Perhaps this will help you breathe  or laugh when you see someone flaunting their maskless face while we all try to do what we can to stop the spread of this virus. If you enjoy this blog, and you’ve been thinking “I’d really like to support that guy,” now is a great time to do that. I’m still furloughed because of the virus, and the CARES Act money runs out next month, so every little bit helps. You can BECOME A PATRON… You can LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL (or Venmo me at “chris-boeskool”). Otherwise, you can do me a solid and share this with the people in your lives on Facebook or on Twitter or wherever else. But most of all, thank you for reading. Peace…

 

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10 Reasons Why Reopening Schools This Fall Is Not Going To Work

For much of the country, schools are set to open next month. You may have seen the calls from the current occupant of the White House demanding that “SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!” For this republican administration, how they are approaching this issue — like so many other things surrounding the coronavirus — has less to do with the goal of following the science around this virus in order to keep kids, teachers, and families safe, and everything to do with the goal of scoring political points in an attempt to get to stay in power after the elections this November. The CDC has released guidelines to to follow for schools wishing to reopen, but trump had called them “very impractical,” and Pence has said the CDC will be issuing new guidelines next week, because he said, “We just don’t want the guidelines to be too tough.” In addition, Betsy DeVos just said that the trump administration will be “very seriously” looking at the idea of withholding federal funds from schools who don’t reopen in order to apply added pressure to school districts.

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My mood when thinking about schools not opening. I guarantee you that parents, teachers, & kids all want schools to reopen more than any of the sociopaths in this administration… We just ALSO care about the health & safety of our families and our community members.

I have THREE KIDS, y’all. Please believe me when I say that I would rather have them in school than staying at home. But this is not going to work… Here are 10 reasons why:

1. BUSSES. When my kids ride the bus, it is not uncommon for most of the seats on that bus to have three kids to a seat. HAVE YOU EVER SHARED A BUS SEAT WITH TWO OTHER PEOPLE?!? You’re so close to people you can feel their stomach rumble with your elbow. Those kids are on top of each other. And the only one there to enforce the mask policy is looking at the road. You could try to buy more busses or stagger the pick up times to spread the kids out… But many districts already have a hard time finding bus drivers (they can use that same license to drive a truck and make WAY more money)… How much harder is is going to be to fill these positions when you are carrying 50+ kids who could easily get you sick? Twice a day, busses will be a COVID transmission paradise.

2. IDIOTS RAISE IDIOT KIDS. And as we have seen over the past few months, America has TONS of idiots. What happens when the knuckleheads who are on video every day in Kroger talking about how masks are “killing us by making us breathe carbon dioxide” send their little knucklehead kids to school and tell them that it’s all a “hoax”? On a daily basis, we see grown adults acting like school kids and literally coughing on people who tell them to put a mask on… How much more of this kind of behavior are we going to see from ACTUAL SCHOOL KIDS?

3. LUNCH. Have any of you actually eaten lunch with a class of middle schoolers before? I have. Many times. The last time was four months ago, and I STILL feel I haven’t gotten all the germs off me. I mean, all schools are dirty. Have you ever seen how much kindergarteners pick their noses and eat their boogers? I’m surprised some of those kids still have an appetite by lunch. But lunch is a shit show. And you can’t wear a mask while you’re eating. Kids are going to be trading food, making each other laugh, having milk come out their noses… Lunch was a Petri dish BEFORE coronavirus. Yikes. Speaking of which…

4. SCHOOL BUILDINGS. The physical space of so many schools is not designed to be able to keep kids safely distanced. Many don’t have a dedicated area for a nurse. Many don’t have adequate (or sometimes even functioning) ventilation… all while the World Health Organization confirms that there is new evidence emerging showing the virus is not only spread on respiratory droplets (that drop within 6 feet), but might also be airborne and transmission can happen because of poor ventilation. And what about portables? VENTILATION?!? Those things have an A/C unit and a door.

5. SICK LEAVE AND SUBS. What happens when a teacher gets sick? What if they get a cold, and they are coughing? What happens when they run out of sick leave, and they feel like they might have a fever… Take some ibuprofen and suck it up? And THEN, when they are sick, how in the world are you going to convince subs to go into classrooms where the teacher called out because he is at home with a fever? Risk your life for $13 an hour?? And when they can’t get subs, do you know what they do? That’s right — They crowd that class in with other crowded classes. What a mess…

6. BOOKS. This seems like a small thing, but schools don’t have enough books for every kids to have their own. And they’re not going to by the time schools are supposed to start next month either. So if kids are staying with the same teacher all day and not switching classrooms, how are the kids going to get the books? Are they going to be disinfected and carted to the next classroom?

7. TESTING AND PPE. What about on site testing (the medical kind)… Are schools going to be able to test kids? They are going to have to test people more than just once. What happens when a kid in a class tests positive… Does the rest of the class quarantine for two weeks? Do they all get tested? There are about 50.8 million kids going to public school in America… Are they going to have masks for the kids to wear? How many masks do they need for that many kids for 200 days of school? Teachers are already buying pencils & tissues & supplies with their own money because schools won’t provide them… And THOSE things are easy to come by.

8. PROFESSIONAL SPORTS TEAMS. Every major league is struggling with outbreaks. If they can’t keep their multi-million dollar investments from catching this, do you really think underfunded schools are going to be able to keep this from spreading? Give me a break… This tweet gets it right:

9. CONSOLIDATION OF PEOPLE WHO DON’T TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY. Some school systems are trying to offer options — where some families would choose to send their kids in to school, while others opt for distance learning… But the ability to keep your kids home is privilege. What about single parents who work? If parents who are informed about the actual risks involved in this are keeping their kids home, you ensure that the ones who choose to have their kids attend classes in person are either those who have no other option, or those who do not think this virus is a very big deal. People who have no other option are way more likely to send their kid in when they “aren’t feeling great,” and people who are not taking this seriously are probably engaging in risky behavior and way more likely to have kids who have this virus.

10. THIS IS GOING TO KILL A LOT OF PEOPLE. Yes, we know that the majority of the people who die from this are older. And sure, it’s good news that the virus is far less deadly in kids ages 5-17, but that won’t be very comforting to you if YOUR kid is one of the ones who dies. Now, you might be thinking, “Yeah… but kids sometimes die from the flu too, and we don’t shut down schools for that.” First of all, we sure TF do! They shut down districts for flu outbreaks all the time. Secondly, while it’s true that kids sometimes die from the flu, COVID-19 is much more deadly for kids. In this study of 582 COVID-19 positive kids in Europe, only 4 of the kids died, putting the Case Fatality Rate at 0.69% (though the researchers wrote that the actual CFR probably much lower, because 16% of the kids in the study never showed any symptoms, and only got tested because of contact with others… so it stands to reason that there are many others who have it with no symptom, making it even less deadly). But more than HALF were admitted to the hospital, and 8% required intensive care. In this study from Rutgers following 48 kids admitted to ICUs (which included ages 0 – 21), it found that more than 20% of patients experience failure of two or more organ systems. Nearly 40% required a breathing tube and a ventilator. Two kids died, and at the end of the follow-up period 33% were still hospitalized, three were still on a ventilator, and one was on life support. THIS VIRUS IS FAR FROM HARMLESS TO KIDS.

Again, about 50.8 million kids attend America’s k-12 public schools. How many of those kids do you think will get this disease? How many will end up in the hospital? How many will end up in the ICU? How many will end up with organ failure? How many will end up on a ventilator or on life support? “Co-infection” with another virus like influenza makes this even MORE deadly… What happens during flu season in a few months? How many dead kids is an acceptable number to sacrifice for opening schools while this virus is nowhere NEAR under control? 

Now think of how many TENS OF THOUSANDS of teachers and staff are at those schools who are in their 50s and 60s, or whose pre-existing conditions put them at high risk. Jesus…

Rather than basing their decision on science, this inept administration is basing it on their desire to get reelected. And when the CDC says “This is what needs to happen,” Pence says, “We don’t want the guidance from the CDC to be the reason schools don’t open up.” As if schools don’t WANT to open. It’s not like school districts are saying, “You know what? We’d rather not do school anymore.” This isn’t out of some place of “laziness.” If it was safe, teachers would rather be in the classrooms. It’s what they know. If schools cannot reopen safely, there is ONE PLACE to apply blame… And it’s NOT the school systems.

Imagine if — for YEARS — experts warned of the dangers fires pose to a town… But instead, the town’s administration refused to put in fire hydrants & prepare fire departments & require extinguishers in buildings. When fires started becoming a problem in surrounding communities, the experts were again ignored as they warned leaders that those fires would spread to the town. Then, just as the experts said, the lack of preparation decimated huge parts of the town… NOW imagine that the administration — while the situation is still very dangerous, embers are still smoldering, and buildings are still on fire — had the AUDACITY to blame schools for not opening in dangerous areas, apply pressure for them to reopen, or even demonize the school district for making a decision designed to keep kids, teachers, and staff from getting hurt. This is where we are as a country. This is NOT the schools’ fault. This is the fault of the administration who thought that didn’t trust the experts, and told the citizens that fire hydrants were a hoax.

In January, February, & the first half of March, the international medical community warned us about how serious this was, and the only thing these ding dongs did was assure us of how great a job they were doing. After refusing to take it seriously, most of the nation shut down for TWO MONTHS… During which time the administration continued doing absolutely nothing other than pumping money into the economy to artificially prop up the stock market to keep the very rich VERY rich, and press for reopening churches & businesses before their states met benchmarks showing they had the virus under control. While leading the world in COVID19 deaths, they congratulated themselves on a “job well done” for “only” having 60,000 dead. We now have more than TWICE that, and as the virus comes roaring back in nearly every state, it’s like they are basically throwing their hands up and saying, “Screw it — The virus has won. Yeah, a bunch of people are going to die… But it’s mostly old people, and old people die all the time.” Look at this INSANE statistic (and understand that it is NOT a coincidence that 11 of those 13 states have republican governors):

And this isn’t even a “second wave.” This is still the first wave. Those months we shut down and stayed home and 42 million people lost their jobs were a complete waste, because we are basically starting over now… Except that now our situation is so much worse, because way more people have the virus, and because everyone is fatigued. People want to know when things will get back to normal. But the question is not “When will things get back to normal?” The question is “When will this country begin to take this seriously enough that ‘back to normal’ is even anywhere on the horizon?” It’s like having knee surgery, and having a doctor give you guidelines for when you can put some weight on it… When you can walk on it… When you can start to run — If you’re an idiot and you try to do things before you’re ready, you’re just going to end up in surgery again. And that’s where we are as a country: Back in surgery. When we try to “open things back up” before it is time, we only work to EXTEND the time we spend in recovery. The same goes for schools.

And I’d really like for my kids to get back to school as soon as possible.

 

Thank you so much for reading! I know this one was longer, but there was a lot of stuff to say. If you value my writing and the work I do, please consider BECOMING A PATRON. It feels good, and it really help me and my family. You can also LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL, or you can Venmo your generosity to “chris-boeskool” Also, you can follow me on Facebook and on Twitter. I love you all! Don’t forget to breathe, look for reasons to laugh, & wear a freaking mask.

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If You Don’t Wear A Mask, You Are Neither “Christian” Nor “Patriotic.”

How’s that tea taste? Are you feeling a little triggered? Do you have a deep sense of “How DARE you?!?” Do you want to speak with a manager? Well, good…

Before I get into it, let me give you some information about how the United States is doing with its response to the coronavirus pandemic:

  • In four months, over 120,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus and COVID-19… That’s more people than the total number of Americans who died in World War I.
  • The U.S. has MORE THAN DOUBLE the number of cases than the next closest country. That’s 2,280,000 cases… Over 1.25 MILLION MORE than the next closest country.
  • Florida hospitals are running out of ICU beds. Many other states are experiencing the highest ICU occupancy right now of any time since the pandemic began.
  • The United States is averaging about 900 COVID-19 deaths per day.
  • Only 21 states are seeing a downward trend in the number of new coronavirus cases. Eight are holding relatively steady. And 21 states are seeing upward trends week to week… Mostly states that rushed to reopen. States like New York, New Jersey, and Michigan that put strict policies in place are seeing better results.
  • Churches are accounting for many outbreaks. West Virginia has seen FIVE different outbreaks because of church services… THIS CHURCH SERVICE in Oregon infected 236 people… 40% of the attendees of this Arkansas church tested positive.
  • The European Union has 115 million more people than us & has done nearly as many tests, but this is how their average new cases graph looks compared to ours:

We basically shut down the entire country when there were about 3000 cases in the entire country that we knew of… Right now, there are more active coronavirus cases than at any point since the pandemic began (1,219,722 active cases), and people can’t be bothered to put a mask on while they are grocery shopping. Because they “don’t like the way it feels.” Both the president and the vice president refuse to wear a mask, because they think it will make them look weak (when in reality, the thing that makes them look weak is their lack of intelligence, their dishonesty, and their cowardice). And now today, trump will travel to Tulsa for an indoor political rally, when Oklahoma’s new reported cases average is higher than ever and trending up… Right after Mike Pence outright lied about the number of cases flattening out there. 

And here’s the hell of it: The folks who are refusing to wear masks are the ones who are the most likely to identify as “christian” & call themselves “patriotic.” You know the type… The ones with pictures of crosses and flags on their SUVs and their profile pics. The folks with stars & stripes clothes and “Look at me, I’m am a Christian!” t-shirts are WAY more likely to make a case for why masks are “tyranny.” 

There is nothing more fundamentally Christian or essentially patriotic than doing things for others out of a place of care and concern for the community of people around you. By not wearing a mask when you go out, you are not “exercising your freedom” or “standing up for liberty.” You are simply identifying yourself as an ignorant, self-centered asshole who cares so little for the women & men around you, that you are unwilling to mildly inconvenience yourself for their health & safety. You don’t look tough or brave… You look inconsiderate and selfish. You’re not a freedom fighter… You’re just an ass.

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Speaking of asses, this was Kid Rock’s bar here in Nashville this weekend. Don’t worry, y’all… The guy in the middle right wearing a green shirt coughed into his elbow. Everyone should be fine…

The Bible is very clear when it comes to loving our neighbor. If you can’t muster enough love for your neighbor to wear a freaking mask while walking though Kroger, then how dare you call yourself a follower of Jesus. Masks primarily keep other people safe from YOU. You might have the virus, and not know it. Just because you believe your Jesus powers are going to keep you safe from this virus, doesn’t mean you can’t pass it on to someone else. And “Patriotic?” These people tear up when Lee Greenwood starts playing… They cover their hearts for the pledge… They like to think they would volunteer or make sacrifices for their country. But while they’re walking though Lowes, they can’t even make the sacrifice of wearing a mask that might end up saving someone’s life. Or someone’s grandma’s life. Or someone’s friend’s life who has diabetes or asthma or something else that could make this virus even more deadly.

And the people who complain the most about wanting things to “get back to normal” seem to be the ones who are the most unwilling to do this one simple thing that has been proven to lower the transmission of this virus. People who won’t wear masks in public shouldn’t be permitted to complain about places being closed or their routine being changed. If it turns out all the experts are wrong about masks and your friend from high school is right, at the very worst you will have endured a mild nuisance in order to try to keep your neighbors safe. If gathering that basic level of compassion for the people in your community is too much for you, you have no business calling yourself a “Christian” or claiming any sort of “patriotism.” You don’t love Jesus or your country nearly as much as you love “owning the libs.”

WEAR A MASK.

 

Thank you for reading. I look forward to the angry comments from patriotic christians… I have a new Patron! Her name is Laurie, and she rocks. My job still hasn’t started back up yet, so when people decide to do this, it’s a really big deal for me. If you’d like to help support this blog, you too can BECOME A PATRON. Or you can LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL, or Venmo me at “chris-boeskool.” Please also like my FACEBOOK PAGE and FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER for more fun. And for the love of all things good, WEAR A MASK!

 

Posted in 1) Jesus, 2) Politics, 3) Bathroom Humor, 4) All Of The Above | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

For Those Concerned About Rioting and Looting…

Have you ever been so angry that you punched something? Not someONE… SomeTHING. Like a wall, or a door? I have. Have you ever been so furious that you broke something that belonged to you? Something valuable? I have done that too. People talk about how dumb it is for rioters to destroy where they live… But angry people destroy their own stuff all the time.

Now imagine “where you live” can feel more like a prison you can’t escape from than a home. Imagine looking around everyday and seeing reminders of a system that is designed to keep you poor and powerless.

The video below is six minutes and forty-six seconds long. If you are a person who claims to care about Black lives, but you are spending your time and energy being critical of the protests the murder of George Floyd has ignited, I would like you to ask yourself if you have a little over six minutes worth of time you are willing to give to understanding what is BEHIND the protests when they turn into “riots,” or when things are destroyed, or when people break windows and take things that aren’t theirs. Find six minutes and forty-six seconds, and let this amazing woman EDUCATE you. Let her passion and her knowledge and her right anger break your heart. Please, watch every second of this…

That’s it. That’s really all I wanted to say: Just watch this video. Nothing I might write could ever be as powerful or as poignant as this woman’s righteous rage. Her name is Kimberly Jones, she is an author and activist, and if you are wise, you will look at her words as a GIFT. If you are a white person like me, we cannot allow ourselves, as Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote about in his Letter From A Birmingham Jail, to be…

the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action;’ who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a ‘more convenient season.'”

He wrote those words in an Alabama jail cell. And 57 years later, this nation is still burdened with the same shameful problem. And we’re still asking Black folks to wait… to be patient. If you are focusing on the “what” of rioting instead of the “why,” you are part of the problem. You are doing more harm than any broken window at Target. We have got to be better, and we’ve got to DO better.

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We have broken the social contract.

Now, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably going to watch that video again. Let it change you… Let it break your heart.

 

If you were inspired by Kim Jones’ words, and you like to contribute to her work, you can do that RIGHT HERE. Also, if you value this blog as a place that challenges, informs, and inspires you, and you’d like to help support my writing, please consider BECOMING A PATRON. If you’d like to leave a tip, you can do that ON PAYPAL, or you can Venmo me at “chris-boeskool”. You can also follow me on Twitter and on Facebook.

Posted in 2) Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

5 Ways White People Can Help Right Now

Over the last few days, I have had quite a few of my white friends reach out to me and ask the question, “What can I do?” People’s hearts are broken. People want to HELP. All these videos… All this abuse… We don’t know what to do. It just feels like wave after wave of injustice and ignorance and hatred. And if this much racial injustice and abuse is being recorded, just try to imagine how much is NOT being recorded. It’s overwhelming. But please hear me: Things are NOT hopeless, and we are NOT helpless. Here are five things we can do right now, as white people, to help our Black brothers & sisters in their fight for justice, equality, and human rights:

1. LISTEN — In my opinion, this is the most important thing we can do. Stop talking… Stop getting defensive… And just listen. Believe the Black voices around you who have been saying for YEARS that things are not okay. Black voices have been pleading with their white brothers & sisters to LISTEN. If we had been listening, believing, and responding to those voices, we would not be in the situation we are in today. As Martin Luther King, Jr. has said, “Riot is the language of the unheard.” Part of that listening is revisiting the prophetic black voices of the past. Look up videos of Angela Davis (HERE IS ONE from 50 years ago during her prison hunger strike), James Baldwin (HERE’S ONE about riots), Malcom X (SPEAKING ABOUT police brutality), and speeches by Dr. King other than his “I Have A Dream” speech (Like his “Letter From A Birmingham Jail.” Listen to the whole thing). Listen to the still-speaking voices of Rev. Dr. William Barber II and Dr. Cornel West. Get on Twitter, and find the voices of today’s black leadership in social justice to follow…. And listen, Listen, LISTEN.

2. SPEAK UP — I know… “Which is it?” right? “Do you want me to listen, or do you want me to speak up?” Well, the answer is both. We should be listening more than we are talking, but if we see or hear someone saying something ignorantly racist and harmful, it is our RESPONSIBILITY to speak up — especially when dealing with our white friends and family. Be willing to sacrifice relationships with racist relatives. Be ready to deal with the anger that comes with white fragility. Make yourself uncomfortable. It is not the responsibility of Black people to educate white folks on our own racism, implicit biases, and how we are supporting white supremacy. Don’t put this on our Black brothers and sisters. They are exhausted. They are using their voice and their energy right now to say something that SHOULD be self-evident: I am a human being, and I don’t deserve to die because I didn’t satisfactorily submit to your authority.”

3. FOLLOW BLACK LEADERSHIP — Today, Reddit’s co-founder Alexis Ohanian stepped down from the board, asked them to replace him with a Black person, vowed to use future gains on his stocks to combat racial hatred, and he gave a million dollars to Colin Kaepernick’s “Know Your Rights Camp.” Where we can, we white folks need to seek out and follow Black leadership. In many cases, this will mean actively stepping back from our own positions of leadership. If you are in a position, use your voice and authority to DEMAND more representation from People of Color on boards and in leadership roles. Amplify the voices of Black people. And if you are joining the crowds of protestors declaring that Black Lives Matter, this will mean looking to Black leadership to see what to do next, and using every bit of your white privilege to stand between violence and the black bodies it is intended for. If you want a visual example of what that looks like, watch this video…

4. STOP SAYING THESE THINGS — Honestly, this started as the whole topic of this blog post. I was super pissed, and I just wanted to rage against all the ignorance around me… But here’s the thing: Not very long ago, this was ME saying these things. And it’s easier to let go of some of that rage when you remember you used to be the same way. People can learn. We can change. And even though there are SO many more than two things we need to stop saying, in the hopes of keeping this relatively short, here are two:

  • “Not All White People”
    White people — If I said, “White people treat 911 like it’s customer service,” how do those words make you feel? Did you have a deep sense of “NOT ME!” Did it make you feel “discriminated against?” Did it make you feel like leaving a comment about how my saying something like this was only being “divisive?” Did something inside you long to cry out “NOT ALL WHITE PEOPLE!”About a week and a half ago (though it feels more like a year), I wrote a post titled “White People Care More About A Lady Choking Her Dog Than We Do About Police Choking A Black Man.” And I got a FLURRY of “Not All White People” responses. It was more of a blizzard… A white-out, really. People read the title, and they were OUTRAGED that anyone would say something so discriminatory. “That’s not fair to say,” they let me know. “I care about BOTH,” many said. “I know PLENTY of white people who care more about George Floyd’s death than the dog getting choked.” And on and on… This phenomenon is known as “Not-All-ing,” and it’s designed to help people avoid the uncomfortable feeling of taking responsibility for the actions of a group they are a part of, under the guise of not generalizing. “Not all white people.” “Not all men.” “Not all cops.” It’s the beating heart of the anger at the “Okay Boomer” & the “Karen” memes… It’s everywhere.

    If someone says “Republicans don’t care about poor people,” or “Christians are responsible for most of the suffering in the world,” obviously they are not making the statement that there are no exceptions. If a statement like this doesn’t apply to you, simply let it go. I am a straight, white man. If I spent my time being offended every time someone came at straight, white men, I’d have no time to do anything else… Besides, straight, white men are the FREAKING WORST. The point is this: If someone says “White people are to blame for this,” and your first thought is “Not ALL white people” instead of examining the ways we white people ARE to blame for this, then your heart is in the wrong place. Your focus is on defending rather than restoring.

    All-Sheep-Matter_2048x-1

    More brilliance from David Hayward, the “Naked Pastor.”

  • “All Lives Matter.”
    I can’t believe people are still saying this… It’s been covered so many different ways. But in addition to helping by not saying it, we can help by being able to explain to other white people why saying it is so very harmful and hateful. If you go to a doctor because your arm is broken, she doesn’t tell you “All bones matter.” When people post remembrances of the September 11th attacks, people don’t respond with “All buildings matter.” If someone wears a breast cancer t-shirt, what kind of a person demands the person wearing that shirt acknowledge that “ALL cancers matter”??But people keep doing this with Black Lives… And it’s super gross. All lives CAN’T matter until Black lives matter. And if you call yourself a Christian and you are saying “All lives matter,” you have missed the entire point of Jesus. When Jesus talked about the Kingdom of God, he spoke about God being like a shepherd who, when one sheep was lost, left the 99 other sheep to find it. Because THAT what the sheep who needed help. Right now, our Black brothers and sisters need HELP. And anyone who feels the need to say “All Lives Matter” as a response to “Black Lives Matter,” is not only not helping… They are actively doing harm. It needs to stop.

5. LOOK FOR REASONS TO BE HOPEFUL — People who are without hope are not motivated to help work for change. Despite the steady stream of violence and brutality and garbage coming at us, there are reasons to be hopeful. Just the fact that these protests are happening is reason to be hopeful… Can you imagine if the world saw George Floyd handcuffed and murdered with a knee on his neck, calling out for his dead mother (think of Jesus on the cross), while people pleaded with those officers to spare his life… and then no one DID ANYTHING??? No one marched? No one screamed? No one got angry? THAT would be a reason to lose hope…

In Nashville (where I live), more than 20,000 people just marched and protested the other day… This action was started and organized by FOUR TEENAGE GIRLS. There are reasons to be hopeful. Here is an amazing photo from the march taken by Alex Kent…

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100% kick ass.

And it’s not just young people who are inspired to act. This 83 year old woman stood outside of her house and held up a sign that read “Defend Black Voices” as marchers walked by. She told them, “I am so proud of you young people.” Listen to them cheer for her. There are reasons to be hopeful…

When a center for low-income housing asked for food donations in Minneapolis this week, so many people responded that it turned into a distribution center for food. They had more than they could handle, and told people to take what they needed. I wrote about it HERE. There are reasons to be hopeful…

One more… When people were fleeing police violence and teargas in D.C., a man named Rahul Dubey invited dozens of scared protestors into his home. Police waited outside, and even knocked on his door demanding he send them out to get arrested. He refused. He let about 70 people spend the night in his home. You can read the story HERE. There are reasons to be hopeful…

There are many more things that need to be done. Systemic problems need systemic change… And that doesn’t happen overnight. But the kinds of changes that our country needs to make are not going to take place unless we white folks wake up and help work to make it happen. So listen… Speak up… Follow Black leaders… Stop saying stupid things… And look for reasons to be hopeful. Don’t give up. I love you.

 

Five years ago, I wrote a post called “13 Things White People Do When You Point Out Racism.” It’s still good today, if you’d like to read it. There are many other things white folks need to stop doing. We need to stop seeking out the one black voice out of 1000 who agrees with our racist world view. *CoughCandaceOwensCough* And we need to stop looking for character assassination stories to “justify” ending a life. It’s disgusting. If you see people doing this, call them out.

Anyway, I really do love you, and I’m thankful you read this. If you’d like to support this blog, you can BECOME A PATRON. It’s easy and fun, and it makes a difference. If you’d like to leave me a tip, you can DO THAT ON PAYPAL, or you can Venmo me at “chris-boeskool”. And if you’d like to keep up with me, you can follow me on Facebook and on Twitter.

Posted in 1) Jesus, 2) Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

A Minneapolis Center For Low-Income Housing Asked For Food Donations… Here’s How People Responded

This is going to be a very short post…

If you’re anything like me, the last week has been a blur of depressing news… And part of the reason for that blurriness has been the tears in my eyes. You don’t need to look very hard right now to find something that will make you feel hopeless. I started writing the other day about something I felt was important, and then I just couldn’t.

Screen Shot 2020-05-30 at 11.40.35 AM

I promise not everything is crap.

But I saw this video a few minutes ago, and I was reminded that not everything is shit, and I thought some of you might need a reminder as well. While parts of Minneapolis are on fire and riots continue, a local center for low-income housing asked the community for help with food donations. Here was the community’s response… Please watch the video below.

There is a lot of work to be done. There are a lot of reasons to be discouraged. There are a lot of reasons to cry… But not all of them are because there is so much hatred and injustice in the world. SOME of the reasons to cry are because there is still beauty and goodness and the best parts of humanity all around us.

I really needed this reminder. I thought you might be able to use it too… Now get back to work demanding justice and using whatever influence you have to put an end to systemic racism.

 

If you love my blog, and you’d like to help financially support it, you can BECOME A PATRON… You can LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL (like Jennifer did, which was a mother thing that made me tear up)… Or you can Venmo your generosity to “chris-boeskool.” You can also follow me ON TWITTER and ON FACEBOOK for more glimmers of hope, moments of outrage, and general tomfoolery usually having to do with Jesus, Politics, & Bathroom Humor. I love you all.

Posted in 5) Not Quite Sure | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments