Daily Archives: December 30, 2019

The Women of the 116th Congress: Portraits of Power Book Review

Progress does not come out of mere wishing and praying. It requires us to step up, take a risk and do something that probably scares the sh*t out of us.

The Women of the 116th Congress was published back in October. With a forward by Roxane Gay, and photographs by Elizabeth D. Herman and Celeste Sloman, the book is nothing short of history making. To be fair, the 2018 midterm elections was history making in itself. Between the House of Representatives and the Senate, 131 women were sworn in. It is the largest number of women in the halls of power in American history. Each woman is photographed and given a brief opportunity to speak directly to reader.

If I had to sum up this book, it would be via a quote from the late Martha Wright Griffths.

“All I want to be is human and American and have the same rights and I will shut up.”

I loved this book. It was a reminder of how far American women have come, but also how far we have to go. This generation of American women stand on the shoulders of women who paved the way for us to succeed. If our daughters and granddaughters are to do the same, it is now up to us to pave the way for their future success.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Feminism, History, Politics

Just This Once, a Good Person With a Gun Stopped a Bad Person With a Gun

Gun control is one of those issues with the potential to tear this country apart. Among the many arguments against gun control is the following: “a good person with a gun can stop a bad person with a gun”.

On Sunday, at a small church in Texas, a man walked in and started firing. It could have been a massacre. But it was stopped by members of the church security team, two of whom gave their lives to save the lives of their fellow parishioners.

In this case, the fact that the security team was armed saved lives. That much is true and not up for debate. However, I still believe that this country needs common sense gun laws. It does not take a genius to understand to put two and two together. Lax and varied gun laws lead to mass shootings. A national gun law that mandates universal background checks is absolutely necessary.

Too many in this country have been lost to mass shootings. Until we take action, we will continue mourn for those who were taken by gun violence.

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Filed under National News, Thoughts On....

Mental Illness is No Excuse For Hate

It’s been two days since the attack against the Orthodox Jews in Monsey.

Since then, it has been revealed that the accused perpetrator suffers from mental illness. It was also revealed that investigators found evidence of previous antisemitic ideas and research he did on the internet with an antisemitic bent.

The problem with claiming that mental illness is responsible for such acts has become an easy way out. Granted, like many who live with mental illness, I know all too well the unwanted extra it adds to your life. However, that does not excuse what he did.

As disturbed as I am that some are claiming that mental illness is responsible for his actions, I am equally disturbed by the fervent antisemitism. When we talk about antisemitism and the Holocaust, the first thought is of the Jews. But the Jews were not the only targets. People of African descent were as high on the Nazi hit list as the Jews were.

I wish there was a better way to end 2019. I wish that we, as a culture, had grown a little and become better than we were at the beginning of the year. It is obvious to me that we are still in the same place that we were back on January 1st.

Maybe we will be better in 2020.

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Filed under History, Mental Health

Thanks to the New Bail Reform Law, the Antisemitic Perpetrators are Free

It’s obvious to anyone who has read a newspaper that criminal justice reform and bail reform is necessary.

But there has to be limits to this reform.

As of January 1st, 2020, there will be changes to the bail system in New York.

In the last couple of weeks, the news has been filled with numerous acts of antisemitism against the Jewish community of New York City. According to news reports, the accused have been set free because of bail reform.

I’m fully cognizant that I am far from an expert on this subject. However, logic (at least my from my perspective) states that there has to be some boundaries. If the accused is not a danger to themselves or their community, then they should not be bogged down by bail and be trusted to return to court on their own.

But, if the accused will be a danger to themselves and their community, they should have that bail hanging around their necks. In the case of the woman who verbally and physically attacked three Jewish women, the message that she and others who think like her receive is that what they did was harmless. They will receive a slap on the wrist at best and will be back on the street before they know it.

I wish that there was an easy answer to this problem. But there is no easy answer. I can only hope that each case is judged individually and each defendant when it comes to bail, is given the appropriate amount.

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Filed under New York City