Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Good that some people recognize and appreciate the enormous sacrifices that our military men and their families make
Chick-fil-A, the same fast-food outlet has once again proved a positive to the world. This time it did so by unveiling an amazing Veterans Day tribute that left Georgia resident Eric Comfort in complete shock.
According to a Facebook post he published on Mon, when he walked into a local Chick-fil-A, Comfort discovered a "Missing Man Table" that contained a single rose, a Bible & a folded American flag, as well as a plaque w/in which was the following explanation:
"This table is reserved to honor our missing comrades in arms.
The tablecloth is white — symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call of duty.
The single red rose, displayed in a vase, reminds us of the life of each of the missing and their loved ones and friends of these Americans who keep the faith, awaiting answers. The vase is tied with a red ribbon, symbol of our continued determination to account for our missing. A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears endured by those missing and their families who seek answers. The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God. The glass is inverted — to symbolize their inability to share this evening's toast. The chair is empty — they are missing."
After the story went viral, the store manager, Alex Korchan, explained to WSB that his team members had set up the table because they "wanted to honor veterans." Furthermore, he offered free meals to all veterans and their family members on Veterans Day. Korchan also put up a poster so that customers could write in the names of loved ones who they have lost. "We've had a lot of people who have come in and seen it and been touched by it," Korchan continued. "It's been special to see."
If we say we want inclusiveness, let's mean it and practice it
I am uplifted by Tuesday's presidential election results because I believe we have a good chance to start turning things around in the country for the better, from economic issues to social issues and matters of national security and the rule of law.
There is one subject, however, I feel compelled to address above many others today, as I see it raised by so many Democratic leaders and many liberals throughout the country — inclusiveness.
In their postelection speeches, Hillary Clinton and President Obama both called for unity and inclusiveness. These are very nice-sounding words. But "inclusiveness," like so many other words of the left, is pregnant with implications and accusations. In reality, it has been not an appeal for unity, except in the most superficial sense, but a battle cry to liberals and an indictment of conservatives.
Those who typically preach inclusion practice the most exclusive form of politics. One's actions must validate the words, or they are nothing more than cynical tools to achieve political ends.
Just look at Clinton's words. She wants a nation that is "hopeful, inclusive and bighearted." She laments that the nation is divided. Yet she — her team, her party — appeals to people not as individual Americans but as faceless members of groups, lumping people in terms of race, religion, gender and sexual orientation.
Liberals talk about unity, but President Obama has been the most divisive president in modern American history. Admittedly, the country was deeply divided under President George W. Bush, as well, and we are always going to be divided politically and ideologically because liberals and conservatives have largely different worldviews and vastly different visions for America. So let's not pretend that we are going to come together in some historic wave of kumbaya. The best we should aspire to is civil discourse and mutual respect.
But Bush didn't try to divide us. He needed to unite the nation to fight a common enemy in Iraq and radical Islam. He tried to reach across the aisle on issues, such as making genuine overtures to Sen. Ted Kennedy on education, and Democrats rebuffed and ridiculed him and eventually slandered him as a war criminal.
President Obama, by contrast, has tried to ignite passions in terms of race, gender, income, religion, policing, global warming and a host of other things. He hasn't sought consensus other than nominally. He said, "I won" and "I'm the president." And he crammed his agenda down our throats, from his deceitful legislative power plays on Obamacare to his lawless executive orders on that, immigration and many other issues.
Obama and Clinton talk a good game about inclusiveness, but this nation couldn't be more fractured on so many levels. Race relations in some areas are arguably worse than they've been in my lifetime, including the 1960s. Tensions abound between many other groups.
The main reason is that the Democrats' political power wholly depends on dividing America into identity groups and alienating them from each other. If they didn't consistently garner some 90 percent of the African-American vote, they probably wouldn't be competitive in national races. They are striving for the same with the Hispanic vote.
Obama irresponsibly uses inflammatory language about the disparate treatment of blacks in the criminal justice system and distorts the data to support his claim. He has directly appealed to minority groups to vote for him based on their racial and ethnic interests. He openly accuses "bitter clingers" of not being comfortable with people "who don't look like them."
Democrats also stir the pot on gender. In framing the abortion issue, they characterize pro-life advocates as being oppressive and callous toward women and their health rather than wanting to protect innocent babies. They similarly try to alienate women from Republicans in their demagogic campaigning for equal pay for equal work when they know that the differences in pay between men and women are based on not the law or discrimination but other factors and when, in any event, the institutions they control see similar disparities in pay.
Democrats divide us not only through identity politics but also with their policies. They say they want everyone in America to succeed, but they demonize businesses, individual entrepreneurs and corporations as greedy and evil. They punish the very activities that lead to prosperity for all people. That is, their policies have the effect of excluding a wide array of people from access to the American dream.
If you want all Americans to succeed, shouldn't you strive to get as many as possible in the workforce? To reduce the government dependency cycle so that people can support themselves and not rely on bribery from politicians to make ends meet? To ensure that the government level the playing field and not stack the deck against certain industries, such as coal? To quit pursuing policies that keep minorities trapped in inferior inner-city schools? To quit suppressing the conscience rights of Christians? To quit trying to convince minorities that the other half of the nation is racist and bigoted?
In his victory speech, Donald Trump also called for unity, but conservatives have a different idea about unity and inclusiveness. To them, those concepts are based on equal opportunity and equal justice for all. The general goal is to reduce the size and scope of government in areas it was never intended to intrude in and to promote policies that will allow people — irrespective of race, gender or religion — to thrive.
We've experienced eight years of unbridled liberal policies, and half the nation is not paying income tax and is on some form of government assistance. Record numbers of people are out of the labor force altogether. Health premiums are going through the roof. Incomes are down. And people are at each other's throat. Let's let freedom ring again and truly promote inclusiveness in the sense that all Americans are free and encouraged to achieve their dreams for a more prosperous nation for everyone.
Muslim liberal admits she’s one of Trump’s ‘silent voters’
MEET Asra Nomani: The Muslim immigrant and lifelong liberal who secretly voted for Donald Trump. “He’s indelicate. We got that. But he expresses a truth that people speak,” she said in an interview with CNN on Friday.
The former Wall Street Journal reporter has been getting blasted on social media after she wrote a column for the Washington Post on Thursday outlining why she supported the billionaire, reports the New York Post.
“This is my confession — and explanation: I — a 51-year-old, a Muslim, an immigrant woman “of colour” — am one of those silent voters for Donald Trump. And I’m not a “bigot,” “racist,” “chauvinist” or “white supremacist,” as Trump voters are being called, nor part of some ‘whitewash,” Nomani explained in her column.
“I most certainly reject the trifecta of hatred/division/ignorance. I support the Democratic Party’s position on abortion, same-sex marriage and climate change. But I am a single mother who can’t afford health insurance under Obamacare … Finally, as a liberal Muslim who has experienced, first-hand, Islamic extremism in this world, I have been opposed to the decision by President Obama and the Democratic Party to tap dance around the Islam in Islamic State.”
While Nomani did note that “Trump’s rhetoric has been far more than indelicate and folks can have policy differences with his recommendations,” she said she felt his beliefs had “been exaggerated and demonised by the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, their media channels.”
“The issue that most worries me as a human being on this earth: extremist Islam of the kind that has spilt blood from the hallways of the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai to the dance floor of the Pulse nightclub in Orlando,” Nomani wrote. “We have to stand up with moral courage against not just hate against Muslims, but hate by Muslims, so that everyone can live with sukhun, or peace of mind.”
Nomani, who is co-founder of the Muslim Reform Movement, told CNN that her words ultimately sparked outrage among her own peers — whom she dubbed the “liberal honour brigade.”
“You know, I felt like this entire election year, we have just silenced so many people,” Nomani said. “Even now the idea of speaking out as somebody who voted for Trump is earning me all sorts of lovely labels like idiot and f***** and all these other ideas that I think violate liberal values of free speech and self-determination. So I spoke out because I also believe we have to stand up for the dignity of all people and Trump voters are human beings, too.”
Nomani doubled down on her beliefs Friday, saying the “very real and serious threat by extremist Muslims” was something Americans shouldn’t ignore.
“This is a reality that we haven’t confronted directly for the sake of political correctness,” she said. “If people would hear out the concerns and fears that others have about the issues to refugees and extremists, I think we could find a path that’s in the middle. But unfortunately, what happens is that this liberal honour brigade shuts down all conversation, calls you bigot or racist or Islamophobe if you dare to speak your own concerns.”
When asked about Trump’s threats to impose a ban on Muslims, Nomani claimed she felt the country needed to find a “middle path.”
“I believe that the left must move to the middle, the right must move to the middle,” she said. “Then we are going to come up with actually healthy solutions that protect national security as well as human rights.
The fall of men
Gender politics is obscuring rather than illuminating the problems facing young males today
Journalists, authors and campaigners have been talking of a ‘crisis of masculinity’ for at least 50 years. It’s become a running joke. Every decade or so, a flurry of new books appear, interrogating the state of men and boys. And we’re in the middle of one such cycle. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, it’s become common – at least in some, less thoroughly feminist circles – to see men as the primary losers of the post-crash economy. And this has renewed older concerns about the seeming decline of men as they struggle to find their place in a post-patriarchal world.
As Hanna Rosin notes in The End of Men, the crash hollowed out the American middle class, but affected men and women differently; it sped up economic trends that appeared to blight men and benefit women. Since 2000, the US economy has lost over six million manufacturing jobs. While job gains in sectors such as education, healthcare and services made up the difference, these are sectors almost entirely dominated by women. As a result, Rosin writes, men have become ‘unmoored’ and women have been left to ‘pick up the pieces’.
The drawn-out decline of manufacturing industries goes hand in hand with the rise of working women and the decline of working men – a trend that is reflected in the UK economy, too. According to the Office for National Statistics, between 1971 and 2013, the rate of women in work rose from 53 per cent to 67 per cent, while, for men, it has fallen from 92 per cent to 76 per cent. This, the ONS notes, is only partly the result of the reduction of barriers to entry for women – the end of workplace discrimination and the introduction of equal pay. Instead, it is the decline in male-dominated manufacturing – beginning in the 1960s – that seems to play the most crucial role in the fall in male employment.
But this is not just about the economy producing more ‘girl jobs’ as ‘boy jobs’ suffer. In the space of just a few decades women, have stormed the traditionally male professions. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2011 women held 51.4 per cent of managerial and professional jobs; 61.3 per cent of accountancy jobs; and about half of banking and insurance jobs. Trends suggest that women will outnumber men in medicine very soon. This reflects a phenomenon Rosin refers to as ‘Plastic Women’ and ‘Cardboard Men’, whereby women have been flexible, adaptive, seizing new economic opportunities, while men have stayed still, and shown a reluctance to change.
According to recent UK figures, women are now 35 per cent more likely to go to university than men. And white working-class boys are the least likely of any other demographic to attend, at just 8.9 per cent
The shift in Western job markets has created a higher demand for university-educated workers – and yet, here, men notoriously lag behind. According to recent UK figures, women are now 35 per cent more likely to go to university than men. And white working-class boys are the least likely of any other demographic to attend, at just 8.9 per cent. In the space of a few generations, the gender bias in higher education has reversed. Now, some administrators at US colleges have admitted to practising positive discrimination towards male applicants.
Though women are still underrepresented in both the boardroom and the corridors of power, the strides they have made have been remarkable. As Rosin puts it, ‘given the sheer velocity of the economic and other forces at work, these circumstances are much more likely the last artefacts of a vanishing era rather than a permanent configuration’. And yet, during this period, men’s position in work and the family has both remained stagnant and withered. Women now work more and parent more. While men work less and parent slightly more. ‘They lost the old architecture of manliness, but they have not replaced it with any obvious new one’, concludes Rosin.
The predicament men now find themselves in has accompanied a surge in interest in so-called men’s rights activism. Though it has existed – in one form or another – since at least the 1970s, up until recently it has been pigeon-holed as a cranky, embittered response to the rise of feminism and the gains of women. Now, it is finding mainstream purchase. In the UK, writer-cum-campaigners like Martin Daubney and Peter Lloyd are filling column inches and gaining prime-time TV-news exposure. Even some MPs, like Philip Davis, have begun to campaign on the plight of ‘men and boys’. Yet many of the concerns of the much-maligned MRAs have remained pretty constant.
Men’s rights activism as we know it today grew out of the work of Warren Farrell, a former feminist campaigner who once counted Gloria Steinem among his political allies. The founding text for the movement, Farrell’s The Myth of Male Power (1993), looked to redefine what were previously considered indicators of male power as indicators of male subservience. He turned the feminist consensus on its head, arguing that women and the family’s reliance on men – who were forced to succeed, provide and work all hours even as divorces surged – constituted a form of gendered oppression that society insisted on ignoring.
For Farrell, men’s economic and social dominance was a smokescreen. He defined power as control over one’s life. And though men were nominally free to exercise their social and economic freedom, he argued they remained socialised into accepting restrictive, self-destructive and unfulfilling obligations to their families and to women in general. In one bizarre passage, he pondered if men had become the ‘new niggers’: ‘Blacks were forced by slavery into society’s most hazardous jobs, men are forced by a socialisation into society’s most hazardous jobs… When slaves gave up their seats for whites we called it subservience, when women give up their seats for women, we call it politeness.’
Today, Farrell’s US acolytes orbit around A Voice for Men, a website set up and run by former addiction therapist and trucker Paul Elam. The site reflects a mixed bag of men’s issues ranging from reasonable gripes, surrounding lopsided parental rules and the watering down of legal standards in sexual-assault cases, to peculiar obsessions. One of which is the fact that US men still have to register for the draft. Despite the fact there’s vanishingly little chance they’ll ever be drafted, this, according to the Farrell school of thought, is proof that men remain the ‘disposable sex’, the only section of society that can wilfully be submitted for ‘genocide’. As, apparently, does the fact that men still dominate professions – such as construction – that have high on-the-job fatality rates.
Though old-guard MRAs are certainly more whacky than their new, mainstream descendants, they all fixate on the most morbid sides of male experience. The most salient of them all being the rate of male suicide – which, on both sides of the Atlantic, accounts for the vast majority of the total. This is held up as proof that an unfeeling society is ignoring, and perhaps even feeding, a trend towards male self-destruction. If you point out that the reason young men, in particular, are vastly more likely to die at their own hands is that they’re unlikely to die at all – and that while men more often succeed at committing suicide, women more often attempt it – you’re just cast as part of the problem.
The men’s rights movement is often crudely depicted as a misogynistic, basement-dweller backlash against feminism. Its critics have shamelessly argued that it helped feed the murderous imagination of Elliot Rodgers, the 22-year-old who killed six people and injured 14 in Isla Vista in 2014, leaving behind a ‘manifesto’ extolling his hatred of women and minorities. MRAs like Elam certainly don’t help themselves – he once published a ‘satirical’ article announcing ‘Bash a Violent Bitch Month’, and has insisted that if he was ever on a jury in a rape trial he would acquit on principle. But the movement as a whole remains far more therapeutic than furious.
In truth, men’s rights is the mirror image of feminism
In truth, men’s rights is the mirror image of feminism. Over the course of the past few decades, the egalitarian demands of women’s liberation have been eclipsed by a new feminism obsessed with painting all women as victims. Not only do feminists today perpetrate myths about rape culture and the gender pay gap, they insist on connecting the dots between vast, unrelated issues – as if ‘sexist’ pop songs and tampon taxes are on a continuum with domestic violence. If you go looking for signs of female victimhood – if you disregard all other social factors and lump the experiences of all women together – you’re going to find it. Men’s rights has just shown that two can play that game.
Beyond the gender war
At a time when men in the West are facing economic and social uncertainty, a recourse to male gender politics has, paradoxically, only clouded the issue. If you tumble down the rabbit hole of men’s rights thinking, you find precious little to help you navigate the situation that presents itself. It’s not that MRAs are unconcerned about the fact that working-class men have effectively being decommissioned, that they have vanishing job prospects and are often unsure of their place in society as a whole. It’s that their insistence on seeing these purely through the prism of gender blinds them to the real forces at play.
In many ways, gender politics has always played this obfuscating role. Though previous generations fought to level gender inequalities, they recognised that these inequalities were economic, legal and social in nature. But gender politics – with its dictum, the ‘personal is political’ – recasts the challenges that affect either men or women in terms of gender-specific victimhood and esteem. Hence questions about how men or women are seen by society – how much they are valued – are suddenly hugely important. As men’s rights campaigner Peter Lloyd puts it, ‘turn on any TV channel or radio station and there’s a global conversation about men – sometimes disguised as being about women – taking place without us. These all slowly influence our worlds.’
The ultimate blind-spot of both the men’s rights movement and feminism is class. This is why privately educated women, attending Russell Group universities, feel comfortable calling working-class lads ‘privileged’. And the fact remains that it is not simply men and boys, but working-class men and boys, who are finding their life chances most limited by accident of their birth. If we want to grasp that nettle we need to work out how to replace those millions of manufacturing jobs that have disappeared – to carve out an economy and an education system that serves all. A men’s rights therapy session won’t help that.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.