Monday, September 07, 2015

All Mixed Up & Speaking 'American'

Syrian refugees marching to Austria from Budapest, Hungary  [Reuters]
The images of average Hungarian and Austrian citizens organizing to donate water, food, clothes and medical supplies for the thousands of Syrian refugees making their way into Austria and Germany on foot and on buses have bolstered my faith in humanity and left me genuinely touched.

Watching groups of ordinary European citizens coming out to welcome refugees fleeing war, hunger and the ravages of ISIS in Syria is such a contrast to the kind of dehumanizing vilification of illegal immigrants which has become the cornerstone of Donald Trump's presidential campaign here in the U.S.

As NPR's Terry Gross discussed with The New Yorker staff writer Evan Osnos, last Thursday, 
Trump's toxic brand of anti-immigrant rhetoric has energized members of the American white nationalist movement, who, along with an assortment of Birthers, Libertarians and members of the "Patriot" movement, have endorsed his presidential campaign for mainstreaming views that would have been regarded as extremist prior to the rise of the Tea Party in 2010. 

According to a Reuters article posted on The Guardian Website, even the marginalized 2008 Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin weighed in on the debate that's revealing deep divisions within the GOP during a recent interview on CNN's State of the Union when she suggested that immigrants to the United States should "speak American". 

Is "American" a distinct language that's different than English?

It should be noted that in the same interview, Palin claimed that she herself took Spanish and French classes in high school but that she, "Shouldn’t have taken them both, because I got them all mixed up by the time I was graduating,” the former Alaska governor added."

"All mixed up"?

Should we even ask how someone who was elected as the Governor of Alaska and ran for vice-president got two distinctively different languages "all mixed up" as a high school senior? 

Regardless, actions, we are reminded, speak much louder than words.

And the actions of these European citizens motivated by a sense of compassion, humanity and the images of a young Syrian boy's body laying lifeless on a beach in Turkey render Trump's divisive hate-speech seeming feeble, trite and meaningless.

There were also some positive actions here in the U.S. last week too.

Former Detective Raymond Mott (left) at 2014 KKK rally
Last week the Lake Arthur, Louisiana town council voted unanimously to fire Detective Raymond Mott from the police force after photos of him wearing a black paramilitary style KKK uniform at a 2014 anti-immigration rally in North Carolina were published by local paper the Jennings Daily News. (Pictured left).

His initial claims that he was on a "secret mission" for the FBI were quickly proven to be false.

Mott refused the police chief's request to resign, telling the Jennings Daily News, “I am not going to quit my job because I made a decision to support a cause I thought was right at the time - illegal immigration not racism,”
He'll now have plenty of time to support the "causes" he believes in as the local district attorney conducts reviews of any prosecutions he was involved in to determine if any bias based on race, ethnicity or immigration status might have played a factor.

While many Americans kicked back for Labor Day, Rowan Kentuck County clerk Kim Davis continues to file meaningless legal motions intended to allow her to keep on violating the Supreme Court's ruling on the legality of same-sex marriage.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis
On Sunday her lawyers filed a motion challenging the contempt of court violation U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning charged Davis with after she refused his order to abide by the SCOTUS ruling and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Rowan County on the grounds that it violates her personal beliefs as an Apostolic Christian.

Earlier today, her lawyers filed a new motion requesting the court free her while she tries to fight Kentucky Governor Steven Beshear's order requiring all state clerks to abide by the Supreme Court's decision and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Davis has refused to resign from her $80,000 a year position and even though legal experts agree her case has no merit, her decision to remain in jail and portray herself as a martyr figure serves as political red meat to Republican presidential candidates who hope to woo the conservative Christian vote by continuing to promote a fictional "war on religion".

Hopefully some more jail time will remind Kim Davis that America is not a repressive religious theocracy and to keep her beliefs to herself.

Texas State student Tara Monroe cruising to class
Finally, it's a quiet Labor Day and this story amused me so I thought I'd just mention it in passing; have you heard about Tara Monroe, the Texas State University junior who's decided to ride a pink Barbie Jeep to get around on campus? (Pictured left).

After the industrial engineering major's license was suspended for refusing a DUI test after a Wacka Flocka concert, her dad came and took her car from her.

So she went on Craigslist and found a $60 pink plastic Barbie Jeep with a 12-volt battery that propels her around campus at 5mph.

The story generated a lot of media traction after amused students began posting pictures of Monroe of on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media platforms.  

Riding a toy Barbie Jeep to class may seem silly to some people, but why not just chalk one up for the ingenuity of the American college student?

According to recent analysis, 2015 American college graduates will have the highest amount of student loan debt in U.S. history with each grad leaving school with an average of $35,001 in student loan debt.

So why fault Monroe for choosing to spend $60 on some wheels to get her to class?

Girlfriend isn't all mixed up, she's doing the best she can; and she speaks "American" to boot.

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