Billy Porter on Progress and Those Who Hold us Back

Martin Luther King Jr., was above all things, a wise man. He once spoke of justice and truth in a manner that is timeless and universal.

 “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice” 

Last week, actor/director Billy Porter was on The View, promoting his new film, Anything’s Possible. Towards the end of the interview, Ana Navarro asked Porter about his opinion of what is happening in Florida.

Starts at 6:22

Progress happens whether we like it or not. What the haters don’t like is that they no longer have all the power. Those of us who have been denied our rights are no longer silent. The only thing we want is a seat at the table. If it means marching, protesting, and passing laws to protect what should have been ours in the first place, so be it.

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Whoopi Goldberg: Close, But No Cigar

The good thing about the Holocaust being common knowledge is that we know the facts. The problem is that even with what is known, some people still prefer to fudge history to fit their own needs.

Yesterday, The View host Whoopi Goldberg made some rather uneducated comments about Maus being pulled from library shelves.

Goldberg responded: “If you’re going to do this, then let’s be truthful about it because the Holocaust isn’t about race.” She added that the Holocaust, which saw an estimated 6 million Jews and 5 million others killed as a result of the Nazis’ racist ideology, was about “man’s inhumanity to man” and said it involved “two White groups of people.”

This morning, she apologized.

In a general sense, Goldberg (who is not Jewish and was given the name of Caryn Elaine Johnson at birth) is right. The Nazis were hyperfocused on race. But they also have one very specific goal: make Europe (and the world by extension), Judenrein. The Jews were a monolith that had to be exterminated. While we cannot ignore that other groups (Roma, LGBTQ, disabled, etc) were on the list, they were not the priority.

As much as I admire Goldberg for her work and her outspokenness on certain subjects, this is a topic in which she knows less than she thinks she does. Had she done some basic research before opening her mouth, this little gaffe may never have happened.

P.S. If anyone wants to do some digging on this subject, I highly recommend Ben M. Freeman‘s book, Jewish Pride: Rebuilding a People. It is nothing short of eye-opening. If you only read one section, I recommend the interviews with six Jews of various backgrounds. Not all of them are Ashkenazi (from Eastern Europe).

P.P.S Since publishing the initial post, Goldberg was suspended for two weeks. There have been calls in the press for her to be fired. I personally think that firing is not necessary in this case. If she was an out-and-out racist, then firing would be appropriate. But she is ignorant. Ignorance can hopefully be fixed. Believing the lies when you know better is another thing entirely.

Wearing a Mask Should Not Be Political

Human history is full of people who ignore logic (especially scientific and medical logic) for their own comfort.

Back in the 17th century, the groundbreaking astronomer and physicist Galileo Galilei was accused of heresy by the Church. His crime was that his theories were contrary to the belief that the sun moved around the Earth. Today, we know that his discoveries are respected scientific facts. But to the authorities of his time, his statement was a punishable crime.

Flash forward to 2020. Covid-19 has ravaged our nation and our world. For months, doctors and scientists have been telling us to stay home and wear protection when we have to go outside. Logic would dictate that listening to the experts is simply common sense. This is an airborne disease that has the ability to kill indiscriminately. But when politics get involved, both common sense and logic go out the window.

As the number of cases starts to decrease in the Northeast, other states in the South and the West have seen a sharp increase. One might think that given the overwhelming evidence, the residents and political leaders of these states would follow the guidance from the experts. But some still have their head in the sand.

I hate wearing masks and gloves when I go out as much as the next person. In this summer heat, the gloves cause my hands to sweat. It can be difficult to breathe under the masks. But I wear them not for my protection, but for someone else. The last thing I would want on my conscious is that someone is in the hospital, on a ventilator because I was too selfish to wear a mask.

The fact is that protecting ourselves from Covid-19 should not be a political act. But it has become one. If nothing else, that speaks volumes about where this nation stands, both politically and socially.

Methinks The Gentleman is Jealous: Thoughts On You Know Who’s Comments About John McCain

I’ve never had the inclination to make a career out of public service. But I admire those who do.

The late Senator John McCain spent his adult life in public service; first in the military and then in government.  When he passed away last summer, his passing left a hole in this country that will never be filled.

Last week, you know who went after the late Senator in the same way that a school yard bully attacks a classmate whom they perceive to be weak.

Methinks the gentleman (if you want to call him that) is jealous. Senator McCain made public service his life’s work for his adult life. He fought for this country and her citizens during the Vietnam War. After being captured and tortured, he refused release. After retiring from military service, he spent thirty plus years in the service of the American voter. In every sense of the word, he is a hero.

I could go on, but I will let the late Senator’s daughter speak, as only she can.

P.S. I have to wonder where Senator McCain’s Republican “friends” are on this matter? Are they man or woman enough to stand up to you know who or are they more concerned about saving their own skins?

Throwback Thursday-The View (1997-Present)

It’s boring when we are around the same people who have the same beliefs. Life is much more interesting when we are around people whose beliefs and viewpoints are different from ours.

The View premiered on ABC in 1997 and since then, has become a staple of the network’s morning schedule. Created by journalism legend Barbara Walters, the premise of the show was to bring in five different women of varying ages, backgrounds and opinions to discuss the latest headlines and interview prominent figures. Joining Barbara at the table for the first few years was Meredith Vieira, Star Jones, Joy Behar and Debbie Matenopoulos. Over the years, the women around the table have changed (except for Behar), but the voices of the diverse women coming together remains the same.

I’m not a fan of Daytime TV. I find it sometimes to be rather boring. But, on the rare occasion when I am home on a weekday, I will watch The View. I find the conversation to be interesting and the differing perspectives of the hosts a refreshing take on the us vs. them mentality that has become part of our national discourse.

I recommend it.

I May Not March In This Year’s Women’s March and That Makes Me Sad

This Saturday is the annual Women’s March. Around the world, millions of men and women will make it clear that times are changing. We will not stand by anymore and be treated as second class citizens.

I have participated in the last few marches, proud to have made my voice heard. This year, I may not march and that makes me sad. The charges of antisemitism and hateful words have poisoned this march, limiting (in my mind at least), the good things that have come about.

Tamika Mallory and Bob Bland, two of the leaders of the Women’s March were guests on The View today.

When asked about the prejudiced remarks by Louis Farrakhan, Ms. Mallory said that she doe not agree with his remarks, but she did state that she could not condemn such remarks. She makes this statement starting at 6:28.

The thing that makes me angry is that Jewish women have been part of the foundation of the American feminist movement since begging. Rose Schneiderman and Clara Lemlich Shavelson were two of the women who got this movement started in the early 20th century. Betty Friedan (author of The Feminine Mystique) and Gloria Steinem were part of a group of women who kept the ball rolling in the 1960’s and 1970’s. All of these women are Jewish.

I am proud to be a feminist. I am proud of how far we have come and how we continue to fight for our rights in spite of the obstacles in front of us.

But I cannot be proud of my sisters-in-arms who would denigrate me as a Jewish woman and deny the place of Jewish women in the history of the American feminist movement.

For that alone, I am sad and I may not march this weekend.

 

 

Jennifer Aniston Is Single Again. And The Problem Is…..

Romantic relationships break off all time. It’s just a fact of life.

It was announced this week that Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux are going their separate ways after two years of marriage.

I don’t get what the problem is with their divorce. Yes, they are actors who are in the spotlight, but they are first and foremost human beings who, for whatever reasons (which are frankly, no one’s business but theirs), decided that the marriage was not working out.

The issue that I have is that is we, as a culture, still have a problem with a woman being single. When a man is single, no one blinks an eye. But when a woman single, it’s like the world is ending. She must have something wrong with her and the only way to fix her is to find a man.

I could go on, but I think the ladies on The View says it all. Skip forward to the 2:09 on the clip below.

Thoughts On The Aziz Ansari Sexual Allegations

Since news broke last week that comedian and actor Aziz Ansari was accused of forcing himself on a woman, I have to be honest that this accusation is not so clear-cut for me.

By reputation, Mr. Ansari is far from the likes of Matt Lauer and Harvey Weinstein. He comes off as a genuine nice guy. I was honestly surprise when the woman making the accusation, known as Grace, seemed to putting him in the same category as Lauer and Weinstein.

My interpretation of the story is that it was a date gone horribly wrong. For whatever reason, Mr. Ansari believed that his accuser wanted to sleep with him, despite the verbal and non verbal cues that she allegedly says she was giving him.

The lesson I think we need to learn here is two-fold: first is that we have to stop teaching our daughters to only be caregivers. There is nothing wrong with that lesson, but we also need to teach our daughters that it is ok to speak up. Women were given voices for a reason, we need to use them. The other issue is that we need to teach our sons, especially when they get to age when they start to go on dates, on how to read the cues, both verbal and non verbal from their date. If their date is obviously uncomfortable or saying that they are not interested in having sex, our sons need to learn to read, understand and respect the wishes of their dates.

While the accusation against Mr. Ansari is not as extreme as others, it is still symptomatic of much larger cultural issue of how we treat our daughters compared to our sons and what we teach our daughters compared to our sons. To find a cure, we must diagnose the problem based on the symptoms. If the symptoms in this case are the treatment and education of our daughters compared to what their brothers are receiving, then the cure is equal treatment and respect for both sexes.

Thoughts On The Government Shutdown

As of this evening, the government shutdown is over.

A bill has been signed to keep the government open for a few more weeks.

Is it me or did this spectacle feel like it was more akin to feuding siblings pointing fingers at each other, trying to blame the other for the broken toy rather than adult lawmakers trying to run a country?

As anyone who has ever been in an argument will tell you, pointing fingers never works. Unfortunately, that is all the members of the House and Senate seem to have been doing for three days.

Also, did anyone else notice that while government workers (including members of our military) were not paid for the last three days, the members of the House and Senate were?

I could go on, but I will let the ladies of The View take it from here:

P.S.

Did anyone else see the videos on their social media pages of you know who saying that during the last government shutdown in 2013, that the President should take the blame? Not only he is a snake oil, used car salesman, but he is also a hypocrite. He refused to owe up to his part in the government shutdown, but yet in 2013, he said then President Obama, because he was President, needed to step up.

I think I would define that as the pot calling the kettle black….

 

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