My actual goal is to ask questions about the current political climate of the United States of America and hopefully receive some thoughtful, educated answers. I wish to open up a stage for discussion between people with differing views. It is not my wish to have the discussion turn into an exchanging of childish arguing and name-calling; therefore, I will not be sharing this post on Facebook. LOL.
Rioting ≠ Protesting
Why focus on the riots?
Now, I have seen many people post any number of variations of the following statement on social media: "I support a citizen's right to peacefully protest, but the Women's March is full of rioting and looting, and I do not agree with it. This is not protesting."
I do not think anyone is trying to say that riots are the same as protests. I really do think it is a shame that so many people have a tainted view of protests like the Women's March because of the actions of the few. To me, it is not fair to the many, many people who protested peacefully to be lumped together with those who used the protest as a way to satisfy their own destructive desires. Unfortunately, it is almost entirely expected at this point that at any peaceful protest there will be those who take advantage. I think it is important that people recognize that the rioting and looting came from the minority of people who participated in the protest. It really is too bad that social media and the news usually like to focus only on the negative.
It reminds me of those times in school when one kid would do something wrong, and the teacher would punish the entire class because of that one kid's actions. We knew that it was not fair then, so why the seemingly sudden change of heart now that we are no longer in the classroom?
Peacefully protesting is a right that every U.S. citizen has available to them. I hope we can strive to no longer let the actions of the few who abuse the system drown out the voices of the many who have the right to be heard.
In recent elections, the attacks have gotten worse, and I am willing to blame that almost solely on social media. Then again, maybe the attacks and arguing have always been this bad since the beginning of time, but it was just harder to see and hear them so readily.
To tie this into the previous section, I have seen a huge (yuge?) amount of hypocrisy recently that has been initiated by recent protests and riots. I agree that there were no protests equivalent to the Women's March back when Obama was inaugurated; however, possibly to the dismay of many Facebook users, I completely disagree that there were not violent acts or hate crimes.
As much as I would like to, I simply cannot forget the burning of a predominately black church in Massachusetts, the nooses hanging from trees in Texas, or the many cases of graffiti on homes and public places around the country that featured various threats and racial slurs.
I do not want to paint the picture that one party is better or worse than the other. I know it might seem like I am siding with the left when it comes to riots or hate crimes, but I am not siding with either side, and that is the point I am trying to make. In fact, looking at the numbers, I would probably side with the right in this regard; however, by taking any side in this matter--especially in regard to numbers--I personally feel like I would be saying that one hate crime is more acceptable than five hate crimes, and that is simply not true. One hate crime is too many hate crimes. Five hate crimes is (are?) too many hate crimes.
I side with the millions of U.S. citizens who have never felt the need to resort to violent, destructive, hate-fueled acts, regardless of party. Both sides of the political coin are dirty, and it is not productive to attempt to persuade someone otherwise. In my opinion, it is much more productive to condemn violence and hate while simultaneously condoning peaceful debate and protest. I just hope that we can abandon this holier-than-thou attitude that has tainted so many conversations in the past. I believe hypocrisy is directly linked to ego, and it has become increasingly clear to me that all of us need to have our egos checked (says the guy with his own blog.)
Women's Rights (Yes, We're Talking Abortions, and Yes, I'm Scared)
I have seen both men and women questioning the purpose of the recent Women's March on Washington. The march has laid out its principles on its website: ending violence, reproductive rights, LGBTQIA rights, worker's rights, civil rights, disability rights, immigrant rights, and environmental justice. If you would like to read the march's descriptions of these principles, *click here.*
The men and women I have seen who are vocally against or confused by the protest tend to say the same thing: "I fail to see what rights these women think they do not have." I think that there has been too much focus on the idea that women do not have rights. All U.S. citizens are granted the same rights; however, it is in the execution of granting these rights that the Women's March is protesting. By this I mean that on paper everyone has the same rights, but in practice, as the Women's March website states, there are "structural impediments." I assume that they are referring to what so many others refer to as the "glass ceiling." So, by my understanding, when protesters say that they do not have equal rights, they are not saying that they do not have the same rights as men, but rather, that their rights are not granted the same--or taken as seriously--as men's. Please correct if I am wrong in my understanding, because that is the whole point of this post.
All that being said, reproductive rights are separate from the rest in the list. Frankly speaking, cisgender men cannot give birth to a child; therefore, sexual reproduction is one of those experiences only available to those assigned female at birth. I personally have a hard time trying to form any opinion on reproductive rights other than the following: I believe it is probably best that those who are capable of sexual reproduction have the biggest say when it comes to reproductive rights.
When speaking of reproductive rights, I do not think it is any surprise that abortion is the biggest issue. I would think that religion plays the largest role in most opinions on abortion. (Really, Connor? You are going to talk about politics and religion in the same post? Good luck with that.) Many people have religious convictions that keep them from being anything other than anti-abortion, or pro-life. On the other end of the spectrum, many non-religious people are pro-abortion, or pro-choice. That is not to say that only religious people are pro-life, and only non-religious people are pro-choice. Any person is capable of feeling any way about abortion, regardless of religious belief, or lack thereof.
I can see the argument from both sides, which is why this is such a difficult topic for me (and maybe other people as well.) On one hand, 'pro-lifers' believe that it is cruel to deny a child the gift of life. I can see that they have pure intentions in this belief. On the other hand, 'pro-choicers' believe that abortion is appropriate in various situations (e.g., rape, incest, or when the mother's own life is in danger). I can also see the pure intentions in this belief. Pro-lifers will say that in these situations the baby should be born as he or she did nothing wrong and then should be put up for adoption if the mother is unable (or unwilling) to raise the baby. Pro-choicers might reply that the mother may be too young to raise the baby in a healthy household, and in the event of adoption, they may reply that the adoption system is already full of children who are waiting to be adopted.
I have seen on multiple accounts a very interesting point of view from pro-choicers who say that most pro-lifers are unwilling to adopt, and therefore, they are not 'pro-life,' but rather, 'pro-birth.' Thus, pro-lifers do not care about the wellbeing of the baby--they just want the baby born. I do think that is a valid argument worth considering, but again, so many people have such strong beliefs when it comes to abortion, it is almost entirely pointless to try to convince them one way or the other.
I guess I wonder why abortion is up for debate. At this point, for reasons I stated before, it almost seems like a religious issue, and if we really are to separate church from state, it is beginning to sound like a good idea to separate abortion from politics. As a man who is obviously not so directly affected by abortion, maybe it would be best not to choose between being pro-life or pro-choice, or maybe it would be best to be pro-choice so that the people who are actually directly affected by abortion (women) can decide for themselves.
I am not a carpenter, so I do not feel comfortable with telling professional carpenters what they should do. I hope you can understand the analogy, because it is the only way I can begin to understand my position.
I hope that you can maturely discuss your opinions below. I do not really know if I actually asked any non-rhetorical questions or not, so please feel free to answer anything I typed that even remotely resembles a question. This post is admittedly shorter than I initially intended. I look forward to reading the differing opinions of anyone who has read my ramblings here. Let me know if you feel the same way as me, and let me know how our viewpoints differ. Also, I would like to know if you think that I am dead wrong about something (as long as you are respectful.) Ask me anything you like, too. I will try to produce an answer to the best of my ability.
I hope this post was not too offensive or ignorant. It is the first post like this that I have ever made, and depending on the response I receive, it might be my last! Lol.