GilmerFreePress.net

Victim Status and the Political Right

The Free Press WV


In all honesty, there is a lot I do not understand about the Right. Although the Left is far from flawless, it strikes me that the Right is full of hypocrisy. They don’t want big government to tell me what to do and not do with my ######—until they do want exactly that. They want the free market to be uninhibited yet take all manner of funding from interest groups and allot record levels of corporate welfare—and impose ant-free trade tariffs. They don’t want undocumented immigrants until they do want them as laborers. And on, and on…

These hypocrisies are pernicious, but one that really boils my blood is the calling out of the Left as “snowflakes” who simply want to maintain victim status while at the same time fulling embracing victimhood. While this is true of many on the Right, no one embodies that hypocrisy better than Donald Trump.

Calling out the Left is part of the broader attack waged by the Right, and by Trump himself, against so-called political correctness. Labeling the Left as politically correct or as snowflakes merely serves to shut down conversation and dismiss important ideas. As Dana Schwartz wrote in a February 2017 article for GQ, however, “There is not a single political point a liberal can make on the Internet for which ‘You triggered, snowflake?’ cannot be the comeback. Its purpose is dismissing liberalism as something effeminate, and also infantile, an outgrowth of the lessons you were taught in kindergarten. ‘Sharing is caring’? Communism. ‘Feelings are good’? Facts over feelings. ‘Everyone is special and unique’? ‘Shut up, snowflake.’”

The derogatory use of the term snowflake comes, in large part, from the film Fight Club, an adaptation of the 1996 Chuck Pahluniak novel of the same name. In it, the narrator joins an underground men’s fighting club, where members repeat the mantra, “You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.” Men’s rights activists, bodybuilding forums, and the political Right have picked up on this mantra, which many have called the “manosphere.” In reality, the roots are far deeper, emanating from the Right’s need to reject the threat of communism by labeling it “red” or “pink,” hence “wussified” or feminine. Republicans, then, use the rhetoric of “men” while Democrats are “women.”

But, in reality, those slinging the snowflake allegations, as Amanda Hess wrote in June 2017 in New York Times magazine, “tend to seem pretty aggrieved themselves — hypersensitive to dissent or complication and nursing a healthy appetite for feeling oppressed.” What makes one a snowflake, supposedly? An inflated sense of self-importance, an inability to handle criticism, demand for respect, and a sense of victimhood supposedly disproportionate to reality. Sound familiar? That is Donald Trump embodied.

When he’s insulted, he melts down on Twitter, berating people in a fashion not dissimilar to a middle schooler. He is, supposedly, a victim of various attacks by individuals and institutions, most often the press, of course, but also Hollywood celebrities, Broadway stars, even a Gold Star mother. He is the victim of a “witch hunt” regarding collusion with the Russians in the 2016 election. Could any words better describe victim status than “witch hunt?”

Trump won the election by owning and encouraging victim status. His squad was all too quick to buy the rhetoric that their jobs have been lost or are at risk to immigrants, that people from certain countries threaten our safety, that women levy false accusations to destroy men, and that rights for LGBT individuals threatens the sanctity of the “American family,” among other things. Even “Make America Great Again” presumes some great travesty befell the poor nation. Victims must be returned to a state of prominence!

Likewise, the notion that the Left is too soft to handle certain conversations and the minimizing of people feeling “triggered” is also in the Right’s playbook, albeit using different language and tactics. The continued efforts to criminalize nonviolent protest, for example, show that the Right is all too happy to shut down dialogue.

I believe that there is something to be said about overdoing victim status. That is a worthwhile conversation. But when the very real picture of the U.S. is one that is still tremendously racist, sexist, militaristic and unequal, it is deeply infuriating that negative labels prohibit real discussion and actual action.

Laura Finley, Ph.D., teaches in the Barry University Department of Sociology & Criminology.

Jeanette Riffle: Watermelon Heaven

The Free Press WV

My husband’s grandpa, Charlie Riffle, raised one of the biggest watermelon patches around. He lived on the Bear Fork and had a melon patch twice as big as our whole garden. For each hill, he dug a big hole, put in a handful of fertilizer, a shovel of horse manure and enough dirt to fill the hole up level with the ground. Then he took more dirt and made a hill like you would for cucumbers and he put the watermelon seeds in that. That would be a lot of work with hills like that all over a big garden. He sold the melons for 3 cents a pound, so a 12 pound melon would only cost 36 cents. He had men coming every Sunday afternoon to buy melons. When they found out that he had good watermelons, they would come to visit and eat all they could hold and then buy one to take home. This was back in the mid 40’s and early 50’s.  He quit growing melons when he came to live close to his daughter and her family at the Shock log cabin. They had a little house there for him to live in so they could take care of him in his old age and Duane’s aunt and uncle didn’t raise melons. Duane said that he helped his grandpa raise a watermelon patch there one time, but it didn’t do too good so they gave up. It was over across the creek from where my brother, Brock, now owns a little piece for a hay field. Duane’s Uncle Ralph Perrine brought in store bought watermelons and hid them under bushes out in front of the cabin to keep them cool. People would take the salt shakers, cut into those melons, go outside, sit on split bottom chairs,  and spit watermelon seeds out on the ground.  There were always chairs out on the grass, by the back porch of the cabin, to sit out there in warm weather.

Grandma Riffle had died ahead of Grandpa and he didn’t stay at the old home place very long after she died. Duane thinks she died about 1954.  We all had feather pillows back then and the feathers formed a crown in her pillow where she lay dying.  Aunt Susie felt it and cut it out of the pillow and she showed it to me one time after I married into the family. I had never heard of anything like that and was trying to figure out what would make feathers do that. She said that her mother was a saint and feathers do that around the head of a saint when they die.

Her name was Sarah Cottrell Riffle. She was a Baptist by faith and went to church when she could but in winter the weather was too bad to walk the distance she had to go to get to church. She read her Bible and lived the Christian life, though.  I have since read about that feather crown inside the pillow of a dying person so I guess there were others that experienced that too.

We have been enjoying watermelon lately. We don’t grow them but Duane brought in a store bought one. My brother, Roger, told us that Grandpa Frank Stewart grew watermelons and he helped. They brought in a hot watermelon one summer day and didn’t wait for it to chill down. They were so hungry for watermelon that they just went in on it and between the two of them, they ate the whole thing.  Roger said he got so sick he threw up and to this day he can hardly stand watermelon. That would do it.

Until next time, stay close to the Lord and just try and enjoy the rest of the summer. We have had a couple sunny days without rain. Maybe our gardens will do better if the rain will slow down.

Pat’s Chat

The Free Press WV

The first Sabbath of each month is a busy one for the Seventh-day Adventists.  That is when the special Fellowship Dinner is scheduled and everyone is asked to bring extra food.  We certainly exceeded expectations this past Sabbath with many casseroles and other items.  The public is invited to these first-Sabbath feasts so that we can get acquainted with our neighbors.

Tony and Maria Metzler added joy to the day by choosing to renew their wedding vows with a beautiful service, bride, flower girls, etc.  They had beautifully decorated one section of tables with a lovely tiered wedding cake, balloons, flowers and other items to create an aura of love and peace.  They had written their own vows and read them to each other.  Very sweet.  I repeat my invitation for you to come visit us any Sabbath, but if you want a good food afterwards, for certain, make it the first Sabbath of any month.

The Free Press WV
Ministers and Elders “laying on hands” and praying to ordain Mike Stutler


Another procedure that is much more serious also took place that day.  You can read about how God instructs churches to choose and ordain elders and deacons in 1 Timothy 3 and 4 and Titus, and other places.  It is quite a sobering experience.  Roy Waybright and Michael Stutler are both fairly new Seventh-day Adventists and they were set apart by ordination for special work in the church.  Each of them has special talents that they are already using in the Lord’s work, the spreading the Good News of a loving and soon-to-return Jesus.  They and their families are great additions to our church.

My granddaughter and her family were visiting today and she asked me what I did to keep busy.  My days are always busy, even though more often than ever before I just have to stop and rest or nap.  Everything takes me much more time than it used to.  But I don’t twiddle my thumbs.  I study every day to prepare to teach the Sabbath School lesson on Sabbath.  This includes prayer for myself, my family, and others.  This week, with my daughter’s help, we prepared food for our visitors and for Fellowship meal at church.  I always try to go first Sabbath to play the piano for the group that goes to Holbrook’s for a service there and while I am there, I also visit someone I know who is in the Nursing Home.  All this “doing” keeps me busy, but it does not do one thing to add to my salvation.  Everything I do is meaningless unless I am continuing in my relationship with Jesus, my Creator, my God.  If something I am doing keeps me too busy to spend time with Him, then I am making an idol out of whatever “busy-ness” I am pursuing while neglecting Him, my dearest Friend.

Maranatha!

Crying Children and Due Process of Law

The Free Press WV


Being a lawyer, I have long been interested in and have studied the question, where did law come from? It turns out to have been the result of a centuries long, hard struggle by people over generations as humans evolved to try to incorporate justice into their villages or tribes. Generation built upon generation, honing and improving law.

One source has long been claimed to be “God’s Law.” For example, the idea of “due process of law,” the right to a fair hearing before an impartial tribunal before judgment is found in not only in Roman law but in Christian law as well. In John 7:51 Nicodemus defends Jesus to the Pharisees who are seeking Jesus’ condemnation and death without trial. Nicodemus demands of the Pharisees: “Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing?” (John 7:51)

Whether you are a believer or not, the Bible is a source of much human law, at least in the West. It was written over millennia probably derived from oral traditions before being reduced to writing by the Hebrews in the Torah. As worldly experience and common sense teach, one ought to be careful about arrogantly overthrowing centuries of accumulated human wisdom, or God’s law, if you so believe. Before law, my training was in science and I learned: “you may be smart, but you are not smarter than evolution.” So, I seek wisdom where it can be found to have evolved and reject it only after careful consideration.

Due process of law is required of the US Government and all of its agents by the 5th Amendment to the Constitution.

With all due deference to Jeff Sessions and his “Biblical”-based defense of separating noncitizen minor children from their parents, I think Nicodemus disagrees. I go with Nicodemus who, after all, at great personal risk helped Joseph of Arimathea ask Pilate for Jesus’ body, took it down from the cross, carried it to the tomb and properly buried Jesus. I suspect Nicodemus, who, if this story is true, surely earned his “Bible Interpretation” chops, would think due process ought to be afforded before judgment punishing these kids and their parents can be imposed.

Involuntary separation of minor kids from their parents is, I am sorry to say, clearly a most odious punishment. A hearing before doing so seems mandated by John 7:51.

So, the law evolved, and America adopted a Constitution based on the accumulated wisdom and legal insight of centuries including that derived from Biblical sources. As Martin Luther King expressed it, though I paraphrase, law congruent with god’s law is valid, that contrary to god’s law is not. Most people obey just laws, those congruent with god’s law, without being forced to do so—it is simply right–such as the law against killing. The Constitution added the 5th Amendment in 1791 which reflects the wisdom of due process providing in pertinent part: “No person shall…be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law….” So far so good, consistent with John 7:51.

The fifth amendment applies to the US Federal Government and has since its adoption. Note that it covers “persons” not merely “citizens.” As a bastion of liberty and human rights in a world hostile to same in 1791, this was a proud declaration by a hearty and moral people that their government must provide due process to all with whom it dealt, not only its own citizens. “A shining city on a hill,” to be sure.

If the US federal government wants to take away a “person’s” child they must first provide due process. Due process is where you have the hanging after the trial, assuming the trial adduces evidence showing guilt or wrongdoing exists justifying hanging. America in its supreme law rejected the idea of having the trial right after the hanging, as many other countries allowed at the time, at least in part because that is contrary to god’s law, John 7:51.

Parental rights to custody and control of their children is one of the most fundamental rights protected by the due process liberty clause. In Troxell v Granville decided in 2000, the US Supreme Court, rejected grandparent’s visitation rights enforced by the state as against parental refusal and stated: “The liberty interest at issue in this case–the interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children–is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by this Court.” Not even grandparents can invade it and I bet most grandparents would do better with the grandkids than government caretakers. And I think common sense and the judgment of my tribe would agree. I also think most agree that parents or grandparents who put minor kids in cages are not doing a good job with the kids. Neither is government.

So, the US Federal government separating minor kids from their parents, without a prior hearing requiring evidence justifying same, seems a violation of due process of law. It appears to be contrary to John 7:51 and the accumulated wisdom of humanity.

Some argue no, these kids and parents are here illegally, everyone knows that, so no problem, they are presumed guilty. This of course violates the presumption of innocence found in the 6th Amendment. But it may also be simply wrong. Many of these parents and kids claim to be refugees protected by 8 USC §1158, a federal statutory law, International law, and treaties binding on the US under Article VI of the Constitution. See, that is what Nicodemus was talking about. First you have to have a hearing to decide if the parents and the kids qualify as refugees entitled to protection in the USA. Then, if they do not, they can be punished. Those who do, cannot.

Seems like a lot of legal mumbo jumbo to make the simple point, one every parent knows instinctively from evolution, or maybe from God: taking my kids away without first proving it is lawful, ain’t right, it ain’t right, it just ain’t right. Most parents would fight like lions to stop it and most others would agree they ought to do so, and would probably help them fight if they can.

By the way, the 4th of July is just around the corner. It might not hurt to reread the Declaration of Independence, the first Constitution of the United States. It reminds us these are “inalienable rights” endowed by the “Creator,” which legitimate government exists to uphold, not violate. It’s the American way. It is what makes America great, when we live up to it. When we do not, then we are in the swamp. In the current case a swamp deluged by the tears of children.

Kary Love is a Michigan attorney who has defended nuclear resisters, including some desperado nuns, in court for decades and will on occasion use blunt force satire or actual legal arguments to make a point.

Click Below for additional Articles...

Page 3 of 435 pages  <  1 2 3 4 5 >  Last »





The Gilmer Free Press

Copyright MMVIII-MMXIVIII The Gilmer Free Press. All Rights Reserved