Thursday, December 19, 2013

On Phil Robertson, Hate and Hypocrisy

On the whole Duck Dynasty thing... I'm perhaps a bit sensitive about this issue but I live in North Carolina. We have one pastor here who wanted to round up all the "queers" and lesbians, fence them in (a concentration camp) and kill them off. We have another who urged parents to beat the gay out of their sons. Here in the South lots of people cheer those attitudes and really do want the LGBT community dead or gone. To quote one of the leaders of the Amendment One campaign, "We don't want them here." (Amendment One took the law against same sex marriage here and added it to the state constitution. It is currently being challenged in court.)

Phil Robertson has influence due to his celebrity. His words are likely to be used to justify more violence against the LGBT community here in the South and we have too much of that already. Words have power. Sure, he has the right to hold whatever beliefs he has, no matter how despicable I find them. However, he has been given a public platform and has used it in a way that can do real harm. For that reason I really cannot accept any of the defending of him I see online, and I really, really am outraged by those who turn him into some kind of hero.

Also, as an excellent article by Dean Obeidallah in The Daily Beast points out, those who are up in arms that Robertson was suspended by A&E are raging hypocrites. Those same people were ready to pillory Martin Bashir for making nasty statements about one person: Sarah Palin. These people didn't champion Alec Baldwin's homophobic statements or his firing from MSNBC because he isn't a conservative.

Surely, equating gay people with terrorists and with bestiality can and should be considered hateful. Saying that black people were happier in the Jim Crow South before integration is certainly racist. It should never be defended and A&E has every right to hold the man accountable for his statements.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

With All the Things Wrong in This World... My Take.

I wrote this for a friend who expressed real frustration with the state of the world on a Facebook page. I decided it's something I want to share with everyone with only minor editing:

I've had the good fortune to travel the world in my career. I have family and friends scattered all over the world that I keep in touch with. I'm a citizen of two countries and I'm probably eligible for citizenship in three more. Most people are decent everywhere my travels have taken me.

Are governments flawed? Yep, everywhere. For all it's flaws the U.S. is still ahead of most of the world in more areas that you'd imagine. There are judges who should never be judges. There are terrible decisions made by people who just don't get it. Still, I find a lot more that's hopeful about our world today than the one that existed when I was young.

Don't give up on the world. We Jews have an obligation called "tikkun olam", literally fixing the world. We each are supposed to do our little part to leave the world a better place than we found it. I think if we all (not just Jews but everyone) embrace that concept we can all make a small difference in our own little way. Lots of small differences can add up to a large change.