Tag Archives: Allen West

Women Can Fight Now, And That’s Bad, Apparently

If you haven’t heard, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has lifted the military ban on women serving in combat.

And judging by people’s reactions, you’d think he started shooting people in the face for fun.

As you may know, in America, women have been allowed in the military for several years at this point, but there has been a ban on women being allowed in special forces units and front-line combat units. Of course, unlike in wars before Vietnam, “front-line” is now a bit of a more obscure idea than an actual thing you can point to. The theater of war has spread in a far more chaotic, guerrilla style. So there have been, for some time, women that have had to fight for various reasons, as well as women that have died in combat.

So, you start to wonder what the heck everyone’s going crazy over with this ban being lifted.

Allen West, the now civilian that gets the Sarah Palin “for some reason we think what you have to say means something” treatment, thinks that women serving in combat will destroy the military, basically. The irony there is that West is black. I recall people complaining about the dissolution of unit cohesion and disparaging the state of the military when it was desegregated, or so my history teachers informed me. Yet, our military still stands. Then there was that thing about how gays would destroy the military… which also hasn’t happened yet, oddly enough.

If you want to see just how idiotic and ridiculous the arguments against women serving in combat are, you can just take a look at this excellent “Daily Show” bit that covers it quite well.

Is it going to be a smooth transition? Probably not. Change doesn’t always go smoothly. Are there going to be problems? Possibly. Sexual assaults might increase. We’ll have to increase diligence in stopping and prosecuting any instances of sexual assault, something we should have been doing already. But the argument that suddenly men and women will be too overcome with lust to do their job is ridiculous. They tried the same argument with openly serving homosexuals… and yet no news of men randomly shagging in the desert mid-gunfire.

The argument that women won’t be able to perform physically as well as men is also stupid. Yes, statistics show that women are not, on average, as physically strong as men. However, in the military, they have these physical performance tests, minimum requirements soldiers have to meet. Physical requirements that I’m pretty certain women have been meeting for some time now. Being that there are women in the Marines, and the Marines are generally considered to be the toughest branch of the military, I should think these women can hold their own, and possibly someone else’s at the same time.

There’s the argument about men being embarrassed… Is it wrong of me to say get over it? When you’re in combat, is embarrassment really the thing you should be worrying about? And isn’t that something you can, you know, get used to and get over? I don’t know about you, but “dropping trou” in front of other men isn’t something I’m super keen on. It seems like soldiers manage to get over that eventually, though, so why not with women?

And then there’s all the severely sexist and ignorant arguments. One guy started yelling about how women were wives, sisters and daughters and who would want to put them in harm’s way and subject them to torture? At which point, my response has to be the same people that want to put husbands and brothers and sons into harm’s way and subject them to torture. So, in my opinion, I don’t want to put anyone in danger. But women in the military have always been in danger. Some have been captured and, I bet, tortured. The whole chivalrous thing is just insulting to the men that are in the same position, deeming them as expendable.

Women can fight in combat roles now, officially. Good for them. People that want to complain? Get over yourselves.

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The False Dichotomy Of American Politics

Earlier today, I was having a discussion with some friends and fellow actors (so, you know, Godless liberals all) about the 2012 presidential election and the potential vice presidential picks of one Mitt Romney. While we all generally agreed that Romney is trying to run further to the right now that he essentially has nailed down the nomination, but the real fun comes with his vice president. Will they go further to the right, a la last election season’s Sarah Palin, looking at a Rand Paul or an Allen West? Or will they try to stay more moderate, like with a Chris Christie?

Of course, then there was some discussion as to whether or not Christie could be considered moderate. I argued that, in comparison to many leading the GOP these days, the Michele Bachmanns and the Rick Santorums and the Rick Perrys, Christie is almost downright liberal.

And, since Olympia Snowe decided to retire, I struggle to think of any other Republicans in national politics I could point at and say, “Yes, they’re moderate.”

Speaking of moderate, remember how I mentioned Representative West as an example of right-sided politics, especially in comparison to Romney? Well, some people think he might be “too moderate.” Because he voted against spending cuts sometimes.

The false dichotomies in our political system are reaching a point of ridiculousness. What happened to the adage, “Everything in moderation”? How, then, could someone be too moderate? Moderation should be good. The extremes should be avoided. But in American politics, we’ve drawn lines.

You’re either capitalist or socialist.

You’re either liberal or conservative.

You’re either for abortion or against women’s rights.

You’re either for taxing the rich or for cutting spending.

You’re either a hard worker (rich) or you’re lazy (poor).

I will grant you that not everyone thinks in these dichotomies. But so many do. Including a frightening amount of people involved in the political system. People that believe compromise is going across the aisle and dragging people to their side of things. People that see others that disagree even slightly with what they say as villainous.

I can be for spending cuts in our Defense budget AND for taxing the rich.

I can be a moderate liberal, or socially liberal and fiscally conservative.

I can have stipulations about my support for abortion and still support it.

I can be hard working and poor.

I can agree with the need for social services from our government to supplement our capitalistic society.

I promise you, all of these things are possible. Some are perhaps more difficult or rarer than others, but they can exist. And we need to realize that, collectively. If we allow this rush to extremes to continue, we will fall apart as a nation. Nothing will ever be done because no one will ever work with anyone else in out government. All the time will be spent blaming the other party for some perceived wrong-doing, instead of taking time to work toward fixing things.

Let’s get out of this ridiculous notion and face reality: The world isn’t made of black and white. It’s filled with shades of grey.

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Similar Politics Does Not Mean Constant Agreement

This week’s “Most awful scandalous thing ever said” has been a comment made by Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen. Wednesday night, she went on “Anderson Cooper 360” and said of Ann Romney, who Mitt Romney says he looks to for advice on women, that she “has never actually worked a day in her life.”

The thing Rosen was attempting to say was that Ann is just as out of touch as Mitt. She doesn’t know the struggles of the typical American woman. She’s never had to hold down a job, or two, or more. She’s never been a working mother, trying to keep her children fed. She’s never had to split time between financial support and emotional support for the family.

Of course, she didn’t quite say that all so clearly. Rosen’s gaffe caused a metric crapton of people to jump all over her case based on the fact that Ann is a mother of five children and has, of course, had to do some work. Being a mother without a job is still a struggle at times.

Which is pretty much exactly how Ann put it, saying “I know what it’s like to struggle.” And, again, since she is a mother, that is likely true. She seems to have turned out a decent group of kids, so there was likely work involved. That’s fair. Rosen should have clarified her points better.

This, of course, hasn’t stopped people from exploding with ire. Even though Rosen tried to explain her comments and has also apologized, we’ve seen this “issue” become the focus of national discourse, with comments ranging from the calm and reasoned, like “Morning Joe”‘s Mika Brzezinski saying “That was an unfortunate statement,” to the defense of Rosen, like Fox News’ Greta Van Sustern’s comments, to the perhaps somewhat harsh, like Vice President Joe Biden’s calling the statement “outrageous,” to, finally, the flat out moronically ridiculous, like Michelle Malkin’s conclusion that Rosen’s comments show a deep seated hatred by Democratic women for conservative stay-at-home mothers.

Add in one of only a few people that get more ridiculous than Malkin, Rush Limbaugh, saying that Democrats are now launching a war on motherhood, and we’ve reached the pinnacle of the absurdity this gaffe can take us.

In what’s clearly a desperate attempt to distance the discussion from the Republican party’s woes on women, some conservatives have made a desperate, absurd attempt to link Rosen’s comments to a liberal bias against mothers, particularly the stay-at-home kind. Anyone with the ability to think will know this isn’t true. But it’s that thought that brings up one facet of what I want to talk about in just a second.

See, President Barack Obama is another person who commented on the gaffe. Obama, who hasn’t always been happy with some of the punditry being tossed around all the time lately, is no less happy about this comment, saying “I don’t have a lot of patience for commentary about the spouses of political candidates.”

But Obama is the de facto leader of the Democratic party. And Rosen is a Democrat. Which leads to people like Wolf Blitzer to make observations like Rosen is being thrown under the bus. Which then leads him to ask Obama’s deputy campaign manager why they were all so quick to do such dastardly under-bus throwing.

So, it’s not just the nut job, over-reactionary conservatives that are jumping to stupid conclusions. Blitzer’s line of thought and questioning seems to suggest that, since Rosen is a Democrat, Obama, as the Democratic leader, must defend all things all Democrats say.

And that’s the annoying thing. People are confusing a personal opinion (and a misstated, ergo misunderstood, one at that) with a party line. As this column points out, that’s frankly ridiculous.

When Limbaugh said his nastiness about Sandra Fluke in a three day diatribe, some conservatives defended and agreed with him, to an extent. Further, we can point at conservative legislation being passed all over the country, like this recent one in Arizona that I’m sure to talk about later, and say, “Hey. This stuff is pretty anti-woman. What the hell?” From there, we can discern a disturbing trend amongst conservatives leaning toward taking away certain women’s rights, especially in the reproductive department.

But a simple comment made by a single Democrat is not a party line. If people treated the GOP the same way, you can bet your bottom dollar that people like Rick Santorum and Allen West would make the majority of their voting base want to ship the entire party to Antarctica. This is all ridiculous sensationalism that continues to miss the entirety of the point. The issue here was, initially, Mitt and the GOP’s possible lack of ability to empathize with female voters and their daily problems, particularly financially speaking. And that is an important issue to talk about. Because empathy and understanding are important when attempting to run a country and guide legislation. If you don’t understand who or what you’re trying to help or fix, how the heck are you going to actually do it?

So, can we please stop the sensationalist stupidity?

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Apologizing For Quran Burning Is Not A Dumb Idea

Imagine the following scenario, if you would. America has been noted as a major originating country for a terrorist organization responsible for extremely deadly acts on Chinese soil. China sends in their military to root out the terrorist factions within the United States. While doing so, they make bases and set up camps. Now, China is not exactly known to be immensely friendly toward American politics or political aspirations, and it certainly hasn’t been terribly friendly with the major religion of the United States, Christianity. Heck, they’ve even been known to use Bibles for target practice.

Suddenly, you hear that at one of the bases in Texas, the Chinese accidentally set fire to several hundred copies of the Bible.

Now, maybe I’m crazy, but I could certainly imagine riots and violence sprouting forth from such a scenario.

See, about two weeks ago, several Qurans were accidentally sent to the fire pit used to burn garbage at Bagram Air Field, a large American base a bit north of Kabul, Afghanistan. This event caused several riots, which have killed over 30 people, including American soldiers. In an attempt to quell the violence, President Barack Obama apologized for the incident. Whether the apology actually calmed things down or not, several GOP members have been crying foul to Obama’s apology, such as Rick Santorum, Allen West and Newt Gingrich.

Now, a lot of people have been saying that, instead of apologizing for Quran burning, the Afghans should be apologizing to us for American flag burning and for the deaths of American soldiers.

People that say that are rather missing the point.

First, flag burning is legal in America. Why should they apologize for doing something we’re allowed to do? That’s like asking them to apologize for voting democratically.

Second, as we’re not actually at war with Afghanistan, just certain organizations within the country, I think it’s rather pretty well understood that the government is not approving of any loss of American life from people within their borders.

But none of that’s really the point, either. Ron Paul is one of the few (read as: only one I’ve seen) GOP leaders to get it right on this whole apology thing.

Remember that scenario I mentioned above? It’s not quite equally fair, truth be told. We’re not a third world country, and we’re on decent terms with China (at least through economy and trade). And our country doesn’t have as high a concentration of supremely devout Christians as Afghanistan has Muslims (though I did put the scenario in Texas for a reason). But violent riots are still feasibly possible with that scenario. After all, they’re invaders apparently disrespecting one of our more highly, widely valued religions.

The Santorum response to the apology especially makes me laugh. He said, “There was nothing deliberately done wrong here.” But, later, he said that Obama should have acknowledged that what happened was wrong.

Deliberate or not, it was wrong. And even if it wasn’t deliberate, we don’t have a record of respecting Islam or its practitioners. Our military has had members shoot the Quran for target practice. Our government has spied in mosques. We can talk about it not being deliberate all we want… would you believe it? I know, were I in their position, I certainly wouldn’t.

It isn’t wrong to apologize when something unfortunate happens. It isn’t “weak” to say, “We’re sorry and will attempt to ensure far better care is taken in respect to this issue.” Respecting other countries and other religions is not a bad trait. It’s a smart one. Which is something we’d really better start learning.

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