Gerald (Jerry) Zezas

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Monthly Archives: June 2015

Mike Huckabee Tells Us That We Can Resist Gay Marriage

So, if I have this straight, according to Mike Huckabee and his minions, if my religion says that interracial marriage is a sin, then I can refuse to make a wedding cake for an interracial couple, give them a marriage license, or just about anything else that I opportunistically decide constitutes my religious freedom. Well, thank god he cleared that up for us! Fuck all that civil rights legislation from the 1960s!

After all, it’s no different than if I were to decide to refuse those services to a gay couple. If I’m wrong, please explain the difference to me. If I can claim an imposition upon my religious freedom for one, why not the other?

The reason that more people are identifying themselves as Atheists is the fact that they see the hatred that is behind religious thought. They are understanding, finally, that religion is used to separate us more often than unite us. It is used as a screen to hide behind in order to justify our intolerance of each other. It is used to tell us that OUR beliefs are correct, moral and righteous, whereas those of others are, by necessity, suspect and treacherous.

There is no difference between refusing to marry a gay couple and refusing to marry an interracial couple, or a couple belonging to a religion that you believe to be evil, or one that you don’t agree with, or any other so-called religious freedom excuse yo can muster.

Religion tells us that we are smarter and better people than everyone who has a different belief than do we, yet preaches tolerance and love.

Tell ya what. Do me a favor and stop tolerating me. Just get the fuck out of my way, will ya?

It’s quite convenient that each and every religion in the world teaches its followers that it, and it alone, is the only true path to God. How can anyone with even a handful of connected synapses believe that that could possibly be true? How can any thinking person continue to delude himself that his way is the best when everyone else is equally convinced that there’s is as well? How can everyone be, simultaneously, right and wrong?

To paraphrase Rene’ Descartes, “I think, therefore I am…an Atheist”.
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Do Crazy People Prefer Guns, or Do Guns Make People Crazy?

I’ve heard it said that more people are killed by cars than guns. That may be true, but I’d be willing to bet that if you measured purposeful killing, you’d get a slightly different statistic. Lets face it. If I wanted to kill 9 people, what do you think would be the most efficient way to do so? Get a big, hulking car, find a crowd and try to ram into the middle of them, then back up, and go after the ones I missed? Then somehow ditch the car, unless I stole it first, which has its own risks.

Alternatively, I can buy a gun (since I haven’t killed anyone yet, I am apparently one of the legendary law-abiding citizens we hear so much about), then walk into a church and kill 9 people. If I’ve got an assault rifle and a 40 round magazine, maybe I can kill a few more.

The problem with guns is not the guns. They are, effectually, inanimate objects that are of no consequence when left in a drawer. It is when a person picks it up and inserts a bullet that it becomes lethal.

The adage bandied around by the gun lobby is “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. Well, that’s close but not complete. The more accurate comment would be “guns don’t kill people, people with guns kill people”.

If guns were not the efficient killing machines that gun control proponents profess them to be, then why do killers keep choosing them to kill with? If cars, or knives, or baseball bats, or hand grenades were more efficient at killing innocent people, why do those who would kill keep choosing guns?

To quote the King of Siam, “It is a puzzlement”.

Facebook Un-Friending

I have to admit that it bothers me to have unfriended some of the most ignorant of my antagonists on Facebook. I’ve always prided myself on being willing to learn from opposing opinions and have always been willing to admit when I’m wrong. The problem is that I find myself arguing at the lowest possible intellectual level to simply make a point, only to have the opposing party go off on a tangent and change the subject altogether when they realize that their arguments are running out of logic. Then, I am left mucking around in the sub-basement of rational thought, all because I tried to engage some mental dweeb.

I’d prefer not to find myself in a bubble of those who agree with me. I like a challenge. I like to see someone stir the pot on occasion, but I just can’t deal with those whose cognitive abilities and capacity for original thought are best described a Palinesque.

I just can’t argue at such a low level so often…hurts my brain.

An Incredible Week in History-And Politics

A week that started with mourning over 9 people killed by pure, unadulterated racist thought and ignorance that ends with the upholding, again, of the ACA (Obamacare to the uninformed), the right to fairness in housing and among other things, the rights of gays to marry. This was amazing to say the least.

But there was one other thing that not all may have seen or heard. Last night, June 26th, President Obama gave a eulogy for The Rev. Clementa Pinkney at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, who was gunned down over a week ago.

Now, folks, I don’t care who you are, but you need to do yourself a favor and listen to this speech. It is 40 minutes long, but it ends in a most fascinating way. It ends with Barack Obama leading the congregation in the sweetest, most extemporaneous sounding rendition of Amazing Grace I’ve ever heard. Now I say that it sounds extemporaneous because I’m not so naive as to think that presidents utter a single word that isn’t written for them and scrutinized over and over before those words are spoken, but this was so pure, so sweet, so courageous and so apparently heart-felt, that I’m willing to consider that possibility that he decided to do it on the spot.

The authenticity we find in this guy is incomprehensible. If you listen to it, he’s off-key, misses some notes, at times he’s hesitant to be the loudest voice, hoping others will fill in the gaps…nothing like the polished and perfected sound-bitey things that spill from the lips of most presidents, including Obama. In 59 years of my life, I have liked and disliked lots of presidents. Not one has ever made me cry. This one did.

YOU CAN SEE THIS EULOGY HERE It is broken down into segments.

Now, those who know me know that religious sentimentality is not my cup of meat. What was so striking here was the conveyance of human kindness and thoughtfulness from him to those mourners. It was obvious that Obama chose this moment to use his high office to take a shot at being a black preacher, allowing and, in some cases encouraging the “yes sirs” and “um hm” and other utterances from the congregation so typical of those churches. It was one of the most moving speeches I’ve ever heard from Obama, and he sets the bar pretty high for speeches.

What struck me afterward was a bit of melancholy though. How, after having heard the love and emotion that he allowed himself to show us last night, the vulnerability that he displayed in that church, the willingness to drop his presidential facade that abandon himself to his speech and that song, how, how, can anyone consider replacing him with Hillary Clinton?

I know that I’m giving you whiplash here, and for that I’m sorry. But that’s what came over me last night as he ended his speech. We, as Liberals, have shown the world that we’re willing to take a chance on someone who displays intelligence, understanding of complex issues, and the ability to speak from his soul. We’ve shown that we have the courage to elect a leader who started in a humble place, the often ridiculed “community organizer”. We’ve shown that we have the courage to elect a man whose name was considered too foreign and Muslim-sounding to be electable, and, after 6.5 years, we’ve been proven prescient in having done so. We were right about this guy folks. He really is a Great President, and will go down in history for having had the courage to pass health care, kill Osama bin Laden and the other hundreds of things he’s done, sometimes at huge political risk.

But now that we’ve been to the mountaintop, now that we’ve seen that there are better people out there than run-of-the-mill political automatons, now that we’ve seen that we can do better, how can we now consider replacing this brilliant guy with Hillary?

We stepped out of a shiny, new Tesla to get to this party. Are we going to leave in a used Oldsmobile?

Of Jews and Palestinians…And Religion

The conflict in the middle east may seem complex to some. It, at times, appears to be the fault of no one, and everyone. Hamas, a terrorist group, rains down upon Israel missiles that kill civilians. Israel, in retaliation, sends missiles in return, to kill at least as many civilians, including children. I’m sure that most reasonable people ask why a resolution to this problem seems so difficult to achieve.

Palestinians, represented by Hamas, argue that they are being enslaved and treated like animals by the Israelis. There is some evidence of this, but is it justification for attacking Israel?

Israel, having been handed Palestinian territory by the British after WWII, argue that this is their homeland, established by world agreement, and that the Palestinians should honor this agreement and allow Israelis a safe place to live after centuries of oppression.

Based on the above logic, you would imagine that reasonable people, with reasonable goals, and reasonable desires for the continued safety of their families and property, would find a compromise. Alas, dear readers, the above logic and its aspiration that reasonable people would come together is, in fact, the flaw in the argument. There is no logic. There is no reason. There is only one thing perpetuating this conflict. Religion.

For those of you who continue to hijack morality in all its forms as solely within the domain of religion; for those of you who attribute all that is good in the world to your worship of God, however named; for those of you for whom spirituality is synonymous with tribalism, I offer passages from your very own original self-help book. To wit:

“I will establish your borders from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, and from the desert to the Euphrates River. I will give into your hands the people who live in the land, and you will drive them out before you. Do not make a covenant with them or with their gods.” – Exodus 23:31-32

Aha, you say. The bible tells us that Israel is entitled to the land it occupies by Biblical edict! This, according to Christians and Jews, has been decreed by God in the Old Testament, so how dare those Muslim bastards demand that we defy God and move from what is rightly the land of the Israelites!

Well, this is how:

“O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you–then indeed, he is [one] of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people.” – Quran, 5:51

The above describes the isolation felt by Muslims in a predominantly Judeo/Christian world. Many of them elect to express their frustration at this isolation by no longer requesting that the homeland of their fathers be returned to them. They, instead, go to war.

One book tells its followers that God has established their borders. The other book tells its followers not to trust Christians and Jews.

Maybe if we just stop reading these goddamned two thousand-year-old books, the Jews and Palestinians might find a way to live together.

Not All Conservatives Are Dylann Roof, But Dylann Roof Sure Is A Conservative

Not all conservatives are racists, but if you ask most racists, they’ll tell you that they’re conservatives

Not all conservatives are Second Amendment-loving gun-worshipping maniacs, but if you ask most Second Amendment-loving gun-worshipping maniacs, they’ll tell you that they’re conservatives

Not all conservatives love the Confederate Flag, but if you ask most Confederate Flag lovers, they’ll tell you that they’re conservatives.

Not all conservatives think that blacks are taking over the country, but if you ask most people who think that blacks are taking over the country, they’ll tell you that they’re conservatives

Not all conservatives are white supremacists, but if you ask most white supremacists, they’ll tell you that they’re conservatives.

Not all conservatives think that watching Fox “News” makes them informed, but, well, yeah, actually they do…

Not all conservatives are like Dylann Roof, but if you were to ask Dylann Roof, how do you think he’d respond?

There isn’t a single thing that this kid believes in that is not based on some form of conservative thought. Not a single thing. He is what happens when someone embraces ALL forms of conservative thought and then decides to act on them. Liberal thought didn’t create Dylann Roof. You know what did.

The Courage to Forgive.

I wonder if those who make excuses for the hate that clogs their arteries would have the courage, the moral heft, the integrity, to forgive someone who has hurt them. And then welcome back.

Those who watched television last night saw the bail hearing for Dylann Roof. Those who were paying attention heard the victims families say things like “we forgive you” and “may God bless your soul” and other such utterances of forgiveness.

Who the hell does that?

I mean, to all you Christians out there, you conservative Christians, the white ones especially, can you believe that someone who has had family members gunned down in affirmation of the hate that blacks have claimed, and whites have denied, for hundreds of years, would forgive the specific person who did the affirming?

Hmm, could it be that these people, these blacks who are secretly hated by so many whites as lazy, uneducated, drug-addled and socially inept, have the sophistication and moral grace of not only a Martin Luther King, but a Mohandas Gandhi? Could it be that these people understand the power of loving their enemies more than the immeasurably more intelligent and worldly whites of this country?

Are you shitting me?

With grace comes courage, at least in my experience. That courage is also evident in the interview I heard with one of their former pastors when asked if there will now be more security at the church in light of this disaster. His astounding answer was “no”. There will be no metal detectors, no security guards, no restrictions to entering the church. He said that all are still welcome.

How many of us, living in gated communities behind multiple alarms, guns and other evidence of our fear of black people, would display this degree of courage? How many? How many of us tough guy white guys, with our guns and fake patriotism and contrived machismo, would have the courage to remain vulnerable in order to allow our friends and communicants to feel the freedom to enter the church of their choice, immediately after having had 9 members of our families killed?

Amazing how the weakest of us can teach us what courage really is, huh?
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