Patriarchal Religion and Star Trek Don’t Mix

Star Trek is a fantasy.  Co-existing with other intelligent alien life forms and accepting them as respected equals is a fantasy.   As long as religion pulls the strings of our thinking, a possible future like we see depicted in the Star Trek universe, cannot be.

If we can’t even accept in our own species, that all of us are created equal, with equal rights over what happens to our bodies and equal rights to pursue our own happiness, how can we possibly embrace and accept the habits and behaviors of other intelligent, sentient cultures?

Because of religion we have sexism.  Because of religion we have bigotry and racism.  Because of religion we have intolerance and eagerness to judge others.  Because of religion we want to think in black in white and absolutes.  Either you are good or evil, followers of either a god or a satan, destined ultimately for either a heaven or a hell.

If some habit or behavior that is perfectly normal and healthy and positive for one group of people seems alien and beyond the comprehension of another group of people, it is regarded with suspicion, as are the people who engage in it.  

Human beings must be the entire reason why the immensity of the universe was created.  Human beings with our massive egos who want to believe we are the reason billions of years of evolution has taken place, and billions of other galaxies, along with ours, were created.

We are the center and everything else spins around us, and more specifically, human males are the center.  Even human females were created simply, just like other life on this planet and the Earth itself, to satisfy the wishes and needs of human men.  And even some races deem themselves superior to other races, god’s chosen people, with people of other tribes or races perfectly okay to overwhelm, invade, enslave, conquer, rape, or exterminate completely if the male made male, patriarchal god so commands it.

It’s a pie in the sky dream that human beings think we can reach out for the stars and co-exist with life elsewhere.  I have always been a devoted Star Trek fan, but at the same time that vision saddens me.  How can we hope to accept cultures so incredibly alien to our own, if we can’t even accept each other as equals?  Accept ourselves?

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Your Equal Rights? Majority Vote Shall Decide!

I am disgusted and angered at North Carolina and any other State that makes equal human rights for all, subject to a majority vote.   Do straight people have to wait and hope that a majority of the population all agree that they should be able to marry?  No.   So why do gays?  Why do some people have to depend on other people agreeing what their rights should be, while some of us do not?   I thought this was America.  Bad enough that women in this day and age still have to battle every four years to hold on to their right to control their own body.  But to say some Americans have the right to express their love for each other through marriage, and some do not–how absurd.

The “sanctity of marriage” only applies to people who believe in a god.  And as usual, whenever god or religion is added to the mix we get hatred, intolerance, and a complete disregard for the pursuit of happiness for anyone who isn’t the same as we are.

I wrote this story this morning.  Homosexuality is as natural to human beings as it is to any other warm blooded species on this planet.  The very fact some human beings are born with a preference for their own gender proves this is natural because human beings, despite how artificial we’ve made our world, are still very much a part of the natural world.

I just thought–write a story to illustrate this same kind of discrimination toward people born “different” in a more obvious way–a way they obviously can’t help and don’t have any choice about.  Does this scenario seem cruel, unfair and absurd?  Well I know several gay people.  This is not a lifestyle choice.  This is not a choice at all.  It is who they are; how they were born.  For them it is as natural as being straight is for us.  Can a straight person suddenly decide not to be straight anymore?  Then how is it fair to treat gays like simply being who they are is somehow a choice?

Anyway, here’s the story:

 

A whisper of cool air.  I turned my head to see Janie cracking her window.  The old black van was fearsome hot in the blistering sun, the fabric of the front seat sticking to my thighs.  I too, put a hand to the crank and let in some air.  But it was only the van’s speed that made it seem cool.  When I leaned my cheek close to the open air, it was warm.  Easy Bake Oven warm.

“Are we there yet?” Ben asked from the back seat.  I turned to see his flushed face.  He was twisting where he sat, clearly uncomfortable.  Beside him his twin Charlie sat with his eyes closed, his cheek resting on Ben’s shoulder.  Being just twelve, the two boys had little patience for long drives, let alone in the summer heat.

“Almost.”  Janie.flipped on her turn signal.  I could see the kids in the stopped car next to us.  They were bouncing up and down in their seats, obviously headed for the same destination as we.

“It’ll be packed,” Janie said.

“At this point I don’t care!” I returned.  I kept my eye on my two little brothers.  Their life had not been easy; every day I felt more protective of them.  When at last the car crunched its way into the gravel parking lot beside the public pool, I saw Ben give Charlie a poke.  The slightly smaller boy awoke with a jolt, looked to where Ben was pointing and grinned.  As if on cue both boys seized their towels.

Getting out of the car was always awkward, but today it seemed my two little brothers had wings.  I laughed at Charlie when he suddenly lost a flip flop in his haste to get in line.   Ben at once stopped, and lowered himself just a bit so his brother could slip it back on.

The kids in front and behind looked curiously at my brothers.  Ben stuck out his tongue.  He was used to it.  Charlie was luckily turned in such a way that very often he didn’t get to see.   They were conjoined twins, both sharing one heart.  It was possible when they were older and stronger they might be separated; both twins were on the waiting list for a heart.

I came first to the ticket window.   “Three!” I sang out.  From behind the fence I could see the sunlight on the water, the play of its rays across the cool blue surface.  It was as packed as Janie predicted.  In some places kids were shoulder to shoulder.  Behind me I felt Ben pressing against me in his eagerness.  It was almost a hundred degrees and it was Wisconsin.  The heat itself turned to sweat beneath our clothes. 

The balding man behind the window eyed my two brothers.   I saw his eyes fix on the place where the two boys’ ribcages merged together.  A look of disgust raised his upper lip.   “You can go in,” he said curtly.  “But not them.  They’re not… natural.”

I felt a chill in that horrible heat.  Starting at the back of my neck it shot straight through my stomach.  “What?”  I stared at the man, not believing what I’d just heard.

“Sam,” Janie said softly beside me.  “Let’s go.”

“No way!”  I put myself between my brothers and the man’s cruel scrutiny.  “What is your problem?  Who are you to tell us we can’t go in?”

“YOU can,” the man barked.  “But not them.  Not them!   Holy shit, little girl, they’re unnatural.  I don’t want them in the water with my kids.  I don’t want the other kids seeing that!”

I took a step back, put my hands on my hips.  “Look,” I said, trying to suppress the anger in my voice.  I felt my body trembling: rage took me then.  I could hardly form words.  “This is America.  We are Americans.  My brothers have just as much right to go in that pool as anyone else!”

The man glared at me.  A slow cruel smile bent his lips.  He closed the window, came out of his chair; as I watched he came through the doorway to where we stood.  With a rigid set to his shoulders he went to the metal gate and thumbed it open.   “Ok!” he snarled.  “Right!”   I let out a yelp as he grabbed my arm, pushed me aside.  Then his hard hands caught Ben and Charlie by the shoulders.  With rough jerks of his arms he pulled the two boys through the gate, into the hard brightness of the sun.

A silence fell as the kids in the water stopped splashing, as the kids playing in the puddles beside the pool looked up.  Even the boy on the diving board stopped and looked down.  Suddenly everyone was looking at my little brothers as beside Ben, Charlie began to cry.

“Everyone!”  the big man shouted.  “This is America…that means we get a vote!   Who here’s in favor of these two freaks getting in the water with you?”

I stood rooted to the spot. Not a single kid raised their hands.   They stared at the man who they knew owned the pool, his loathing and hatred twisting his face, and not a kid raised their hand.  Even the lifeguards at their various stations were dumbstruck; too afraid of losing their jobs to make a sound.

Finally I found my voice.  “Come on, guys.”  I bit hard on each word.  “We don’t need their stupid pool.  There’s the lake, just down the road and I’m betting no one’s peed in it, either!”

I took Charlie’s hand.  He lurched beside me, hiding his face against my arm.  We turned away from the sight of the water, but then had to stop.  I saw Ben still standing with hope on his face, gazing at the other kids he ached to play with, the cool water he craved.  

“Please,” I heard him whisper.

I looked at the adult who had done his best to humiliate my brothers.   He was grinning now, and with gestures, getting many of the other kids to laugh.

“Come on, Ben,” I said gently.  With a look of pain and confusion, my little brother turned away. 

 

 

 

 

What do Bigots Dream?

Just thinking about orders or organizations like the KKK.  Just the fact that people of equal beliefs (in how the world SHOULD be according to their view) exist in numbers great enough to form whole organizations. That’s scary. That’s a lot of hate.

To the members of the KKK specifically I would ask… why?   Nursing hatred is an accurate term because hatred needs to be fed.  And you feed it from within.  It depletes you.  It needs energy and fuel, and it needs to grow to survive.  Where there is hate it is next to impossible for love to exist.  Tenderness.   Caring.  Compassion.  Because hate hardens the heart, and burns away every other feeling.

That said, I’m trying to imagine this glorious utopia that would exist if such a group had its way.  Seriously.  This is just what I’m imagining a bigot might want to make his country his own again, and of course in the below example my bigot is a white male because I’m imagining he is KKK.   As I hope most of us understand bigots can be either gender and come in any color.  But what I see of hate spam email I sometimes get….a lot of it expresses indignation by whites toward non whites or people of other ancestries/languages.

So ok, what would be the possible changes we might see if the KKK or people like them (skin-heads, the more extreme conservative Christians, etc.,) could have their way.

Well, all or most people who aren’t white enough would be kicked out of the country, for starters.  Doesn’t matter if your grandparents or even their grandparents were born here in the good old US.  Doesn’t matter if the only language you speak or have ever learned is English and you have a respectable job in a nice neighborhood and drive a nice car and your kids are straight A students in school.  You’d be out.  Sent packing.  Because your skin isn’t white.  Because you clearly are therefore UN-American.

Doesn’t matter if you or your mom or dad or their parents fought or maybe even died fighting for this country in a war, either.  You’d be pointed in the general direction of the country where your ancestors are assumed to have originated from and you’d be told to “go home.”  Most likely you’d be allowed to pack a few suitcases but, really, with the guys swarming around your yard in white cloaks and throwing bricks and burning crosses, and brandishing guns & threatening your children, how motivated would you be to abandon your stuff to save yourself?

That’s if you’re lucky.  Some might not be so lucky.  Some might be told they can only stay if they give up their right to person-hood, their right to consider themselves human beings.  They’d be told you can stay but you’ll live in only crappy neighborhoods, only allowed to earn under minimum wage (if that) and be limited to menial labor type jobs, and you’d only be permitted to breed in small numbers.  Your kids, if they are allowed to learn to read or write, would never make it past the six grade, and certainly any hope of college would be cease to be.   You of course would not be able to use the same doorways as white people, or drinking fountains, or even go into many restaurants you used to enjoy.

Again, that’s if you’re lucky.  Perhaps those guys in white cloaks would deny you even the chance to live in slums and live independently.  Perhaps instead you’d be reduced to being thought of as livestock and forced to work for free, facing the terrifying possibility of being whipped or beaten to death or lynched or burned or have your ears, fingers and genitals cut off if you should try to run away.

As for women, well ladies, forget being able to vote.  Why would we need to, anyway, right?  We have our husbands to do it for us.  Or at least the 50% of women in this country who happen to be married do.  I’m sure we’d lose our right to own property.  Perhaps we too would be denied a higher education.   Certainly we’d be denied enough right of person-hood to have any say over what happens to our bodies.  We’d be forced to carry babies whether we want to have a baby or not.  In that way we’d be breeding stock, and of course this is a good thing because it would mean more white babies in a world where white people are (horror of horrors) fast becoming a minority.

I’d say too there’d be no inter-racial marriage anymore–in fact anyone of any other color just looking at a white woman would probably meet with a terrible end.   But would there even BE people of other races allowed to live here anymore?  Possibly not.

Let’s see.  What about the pros to living in this country once all the UN-Americans are driven out or taken control of?  There’d be less people here for one.  A lot less people.  Your opinion would again be the voice of the majority.  You could decide who gets to be successful and who does not.  Male only clubs would thrive once again and women would be denied the chance to play most sports.  White males would have their land of opportunity for ALL back but for only themselves to enjoy again.   Everyone else would be put in their place.   Children would address adult men as “sir,” and little girls would only be allowed to wear dresses and only cross their ankles.

As for gays, sorry guys and gals, but you’d be out too.  But in a much more permanent way, I’m afraid.  Because, you see, you are an abomination in the eyes of God, so you’d be perfectly okay to slaughter on sight–in fact they might put a bounty on you to encourage your demise until you return to hiding in closets and pretending with all your might to be something else.

Witches too, I’m thinking, would be in danger, or really anyone with a faith that isn’t the national religion, which of course would be Christianity in its most conservative form.  The bible would be taken literally.  Women would not be allowed to speak in church or instruct or have any authority over men (sorry Sarah Palin).   Women who committed adultery (or raped without crying out in a city) would be killed or severely punished, while the men could do whatever they please….

Hmmm.   Have I left anything out?

Of course I’m exaggerating here.  But by how much?  What do bigots dream?  If this country is so not right to them, what would they change about it?   What would they want to keep the same?  How far back in time would our society plummet?   What would be required to make them content?  I’m pretty sure i can safely bet that English would become THE only language permitted.   Of course if you’re lucky you might still be allowed to speak your native tongue in the privacy of your own home.  I’m also pretty sure discrimination would be okay to openly demonstrate/practice again.  Women would go back to having lower wage secretarial type jobs.  And as I said above, minorities would find their rights greatly diminished–assuming they’re even allowed to still live in this country.

So ok, this is getting long.  I was just in the mood to have a rant this morning and now I have.  Yes, I am white and yes, I also sometimes find having to hear Spanish and other languages being spoken around me rather annoying.  But nothing in this world remains the same.  It’s too bad that it can’t be the way it was–back in the day when immigrants came to the United States to become Americans rather than be whatever nationality they are, here.   Used to be immigrants would gradually learn the national language and become, well, Americans.

Perhaps this newest wave will too, eventually. At one point when Europeans first came here, Irish, Norwegian, German, etc., they too spoke their own language and were discriminated against by others who did not.  How many generations passed before they were mostly speaking English too?   I like to think that the great melting pot is still what it is, and we just happen to be seeing a new wave of first generation immigrants coming into our country.   Do we open our arms to them and adapt, which is what America has been tooting its horn about that this is what our nation stands for?  Hoping they too will make some effort to adapt to us rather than try to replace us which may be how it also seemed when the first non-English speaking Europeans came here?   Yes, our country will change.  Nothing stays the same, ever.  We have new cultures now pouring into the mix.  But this is America.   Land of the Free, Home of the Brave, and the equal chance to pursue happiness for all.

Or I would like to hope.