Mar 16

And a proudly progressive mom calls for a reality check.

After opening the blog post she felt necessary to write by saying that she was reluctant to write it, as a tolerant person who would likely be labeled and derided as intolerant, ‘The Get Real Mom’ stated clearly: “This is a story about a biological man in the women’s restroom.”

Innate sensibility prevailed when a startled young mother was disturbed enough by her own experience at a Disneyland women’s restroom when a man walked in, and stayed, while women and children nervously looked for someone to say or do something. But…not…them.

First, she felt the need to establish liberal bona fides.

I’ve lived in Los Angeles for over a decade and have seen my fair share of transgender/gender fluid people. They in no way offend me. I’d consider myself pretty progressive and tolerant of most things…how transgender people feel, how they choose to dress or any surgeries they get, don’t infringe on any parts of my life, so I support their decision to live as they see fit. I’ve also seen my fair share of transgender women in the women’s restroom before. Not ALL the time. But over the past few years, I’d say 4-5 that I noticed. Men…who were in some stage of transition and making every attempt to be a woman from mascara to heels. Transgenders who certainly felt comfortable in the women’s room and probably frightened to go into the men’s. At these times, I smiled…I peed…and life went on. But 2 weeks ago something very different happened.

She and her friend took their young sons to the park for an outing, stopped for lunch and headed for the women’s restroom before the next adventure. They took turns, each watching the children for the other.

I was off to the side waiting with the two boys, when I noticed a man walk into the restroom…He took a few more steps, at which point he would’ve definitely noticed all the women lined up and still kept walking. My next thought was, “Maybe he’s looking for his wife…or child and they’ve been in here a while.” But he didn’t call out any names or look around. He just stood off to the side and leaned up against the wall. At this point I’m like, “…Am I the only one seeing this?” I surveyed the room and saw roughly 12 women, children in tow…staring at him with the exact same look on their faces. Everyone was visibly uncomfortable. We were all trading looks and motioning our eyes over to him…like “what is he doing in here?” Yet every single one of us was silent. And this is the reason I wrote this blog.

Somebody has to be willing to speak up, and they were all afraid. She realized that reality, as one who had been among the unwilling to be considered judgmental, or to call any behavior or boundary crossing wrong. Until clearly it was.

We had been culturally bullied into silenced. Women were mid-changing their baby’s diapers on the changing tables and I could see them shifting to block his view. But they remained silent. I stayed silent. We all did. Every woman who exited a stall and immediately zeroed right in on him…said nothing. And why? B/c I…and I’m sure all the others were scared of that “what if”. What if I say something and he says he “identifies as a woman” and then I come off as the intolerant ass… at the happiest place on earth? So we all stood there, shifting in our uncomfortableness…trading looks. I saw two women leave the line with their children. Still nothing was said. An older lady said to me outloud, “What is he doing in here?” I’m ashamed to admit I silently shrugged and mouthed, “I don’t know.” She immediately walked out…from a bathroom she had every right to use without fear.

This was more than a dawning awareness. It was sudden. “I’m ashamed to admit I silently shrugged…” shows the revelation this woman had in that moment that ‘the culture’ has ‘bullied us into silence’, but we still have our sensibilities, and they come alive in a moment when visceral reaction tells us what’s wrong is wrong, no matter what anybody calls it.

And let me be clear, my problem wasn’t JUST that there was a man in the restroom. Its that he wasn’t even peeing, washing his hands or doing anything else that you’d do in a restroom. He was just standing off to the side looking smug…untouchable… doing absolutely nothing. He had to of noticed that every woman in the long line was staring at him. He didn’t care. He then did a lap around the restroom walking by all the stalls. You know, the stalls that have 1 inch gaps by all the doors hinges so you can most definitely see everyone…

So yes… there were women and small children using the restroom and this man was walking around knowing no one would say anything.  So here I am…writing this blog, because honestly I need answers. We can’t leave this situation ambiguous any more. The gender debate needs to be addressed… and quickly. There have to be guidelines. It can’t just be a feeling… this notion that we’re shamed into silence b/c we might offend someone, has gone too far.

There are answers. People, experts and organizations and rights groups, have been engaging this debate for a long time, and she’s right in calling out those who have been trying to bully them and everyone into silence about saying what is true and right and good, and what is wrong.

There was a man who felt entitled to be in the woman restroom, because he knew no one would say anything. There were 20-25 people by the time I left, who were scared and uncomfortable by his ominous presence. And the only thing stopping us, was our fear of political correctness and that the media has told us we don’t know what gender is anymore. I never want to be in the position again. Im not asking for permission to tell transgender people to get out my bathroom. I need to know it’s ok to tell a man, who looks like a man, to get…out. Gender just can’t be a feeling. There has to be science to it. DNA, genitals, amount of Sephora make up on your face, pick your poison, but as a very progressive woman…I’m sorry it can’t just be a feeling when theres but a mere suggestion of a door with a peep hole separating your eyes from my…or my children’s genitals.

There is science to it. Here’s an exceptionally good and thorough report in The New Atlantis for anyone who didn’t encounter it before, and is willing to now, like ‘The Get Real Mom’. We don’t need to listen to or obey the media, or the culture, or prevailing forces in politically driven movements. We don’t need permission to tell a man hanging out in the women’s room to leave. It’s not about feelings. It’s about human truths and dignity, and the courage to stand for them.

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Feb 24

It depends on how carefully you choose your words.

This Washington Post headline was attention grabbing: ‘The progressive ideas behind the lack of free speech on campus.’

It has a provocative opening setup.

Is an academic discussion of free speech potentially traumatic? A recent panel for Smith College alumnae aimed at “challenging the ideological echo chamber” elicited this ominous “trigger/content warning” when a transcript appeared in the campus newspaper: “Racism/racial slurs, ableist slurs, antisemitic language, anti-Muslim/Islamophobic language, anti-immigrant language, sexist/misogynistic slurs, references to race-based violence, references to antisemitic violence.”

What?

Challenging an “ideological echo chamber” is a good idea. What went wrong with that good intention?

One of my fellow panelists mentioned that the State Department had for a time banned the words “jihad,” “Islamist” and “caliphate” — which the transcript flagged as “anti-Muslim/Islamophobic language.”

I described the case of a Brandeis professor disciplined for saying “wetback” while explaining its use as a pejorative. The word was replaced in the transcript by “[anti-Latin@/anti-immigrant slur].” Discussing the teaching of “Huckleberry Finn,” I questioned the use of euphemisms such as “the n-word” and, in doing so, uttered that forbidden word. I described what I thought was the obvious difference between quoting a word in the context of discussing language, literature or prejudice and hurling it as an epithet.

Two of the panelists challenged me. The audience of 300 to 400 people listened to our spirited, friendly debate — and didn’t appear angry or shocked. But back on campus, I was quickly branded a racist, and I was charged in the Huffington Post with committing “an explicit act of racial violence.” McCartney subsequently apologized that “some students and faculty were hurt” and made to “feel unsafe” by my remarks.

Unsafe? These days, when students talk about threats to their safety and demand access to “safe spaces,” they’re often talking about the threat of unwelcome speech and demanding protection from the emotional disturbances sparked by unsettling ideas.

This is intellectual dishonesty, bankrupt ideology and ‘politically correct’ bullying carried through to its logical conclusion. Though the irony is, those who do it can’t discern logic.

“Unsettling ideas”? What is academia about, if not ideas that provoke thought, challenge debate, fire neurons and engage critical thinking skills. Whatever happened to the art of argument? Forensics?

Progressivism, that odd misnomer.

How did we get here? How did a verbal defense of free speech become tantamount to a hate crime and offensive words become the equivalent of physical assaults?

You can credit — or blame — progressives for this enthusiastic embrace of censorship. It reflects, in part, the influence of three popular movements dating back decades: the feminist anti-porn crusades, the pop-psychology recovery movement and the emergence of multiculturalism on college campuses.

What to say? This could launch a book, or three. Read the piece and digest its arguments, it’s revealing.

But as for the “feminist anti-porn crusades”, there’s plenty to say that could fill volumes alone on that topic, on how very selective feminists have been in the past few decades to speak out against objectification of women. The latest of which is the vile ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ campaign, which has predictably taken its first publicized toll (with no way to account for the private ones).

Here’s the real anti-porn crusade. And here.

As for the “pop-psychology recovery movement and the emergence of multiculturalism on college campuses”, this will take truthful, dedicated and committed rehabilitation – not just efforts but movements – to really recover what’s been lost in the decades of groupthink that took over academia and legitimate intellectual inquiry, and turned out reactionaries who no longer know the rich history of civil, religious and humanitarian rights, first principles, and the consistent ethic of human life and dignity that undergirds them.

They may get annoyed by technological devices constantly feeding them ‘auto-correct’ and ‘auto-suggest’ replacements for what they really feel and think and want to say. But they fail to see it happening in more consequential communications in the classroom, the debate halls and in the public square.

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Nov 16

One accuses Fox News host Bill O’Reilly of intellectual dishonesty cautiously and only with substantial reasoning. But for the third time, I think it’s warranted.

This week, he once again referred to unborn children in the womb as “potential human life,” which is just flat wrong.

It was in his ‘Talking Points’ Monday, captured here on The Blaze.

O’Reilly hammered the president’s secular progressivism, claiming that Obama is “the poster guy” for the anti-traditionalist movement.  After showcasing statistics and information surrounding births out of wedlock, abortion and other societal issues, the host noted that secular progressives have done little to curb these phenomena.

“Abortion is settled law in the USA, but it should be discouraged, because human DNA is present upon conception,” O’Reilly said. “Thus the situation becomes a human rights issue.”

The host asked if Americans want to live in a nation “where potential human life…is terminated for convenience.”

This fails the test of reason, which struck me immediately and other bloggers have noted.

What on earth is he talking about here? There are a lot of problems in what he is saying.

First, abortion is not “settled law” any more than the Dred Scott decision “settled” the slavery issue.

(Good point.)

Secondly, O’Reilly says abortion “should be discouraged, because human DNA is present upon conception.” “Thus the situation becomes a human rights issue.” Notice he avoids the use of the word “person.” He seems to be making the case that we are not talking about a full “person” here but a partial person because “human DNA is present” and that there is no just argument for banning abortion completely. The “human DNA is present” idea he has come up with to describe the new person in the womb reminds me of the “3/5 person” in Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution. The Constitution, in the Fourteenth Amendment, protects the rights of every “person,” and presumably O’Reilly knows that. So he’s come up with a “human DNA is present” characterization so that he can argue that abortion should be “discouraged” while offering no legal protection for what we pro-lifers know to be a person in the womb. O’Reilly’s position, then, is closer to the “3/5 person” argument than to any other legal argument that I’m aware of.

O’Reilly then switched to marijuana and rightly pointed out that “legalizing marijuana sends a message that it’s fine to use it.” It makes no sense that he does not apply this same reasoning to the legalization of abortion. Legal abortion encourages abortion just as legal marijuana encourages the use of marijuana. How can O’Reilly say that abortion should be “legal” but “discouraged” and then, in the  next breath, say that legalizing marijuana encourages people to use it? He is not applying his reasoning equally to both subjects. Why?

The “folks at home,” as O’Reilly refers to his audience, should know that this is an example of incompetence on making one’s case regarding abortion law.

Just as with the slavery issue, either we are talking about a “person” here (with the rights of every other person) or we are not. There is no such thing as a partial person. You’re either a person or you’re not. We all now see that the Constitution was tragically flawed in referring to some as “three-fifths” of a person. So, why would anyone accept that flawed reasoning in regard to abortion? Further, if you understand that legalizing something acts as an encouragement, as O’Reilly notes in regard to marijuana, then how can you say with a straight face that something should be both legal and discouraged, as O’Reilly claims in regard to abortion?

It’s more of the same in terms of capitulating for the sake of staying in the discussion. If this election taught us anything, it’s that instead of equivocating on values for the sake of acceptance, people who see the essential values of human life and dignity and universal human rights as inalienable have to hold that line. And instead of talking about it less, or in culturally diluted terms, we have to talk about it more. With clarity and truth.

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Oct 01

I’m watching a panel of pundits on a news show analyze the upcoming presidential debates and latest reported polling data when one of them says ‘well the voters know Obama now, but they don’t yet know Romney…’ And I thought really?

Media have done everything they could to keep us from knowing Obama, his ideology and worldview and what informed him early in life through his rise in politics. Even today, we don’t hear much about the czars he’s put in power, answerable only to him, some with extreme views and radical backgrounds (note John Holdren and Van Jones, among others).

But we should know about the man who would be president, especially the one who currently is. The media will tell us all the day long about Mitt Romney’s background and taxes and business affiliations and dog stories and any banal thing they can drag out. I’d like to hear more specifics from him and his campaign about economic reforms and government size and role and how that should shape America.

By default we’re learning Mr. Obama’s views on what should be the proper size and role of government, and how it should ‘fundamentally transform America.’ But the media won’t talk about how those views were formed from his early life by influential mentors. Even though Obama himself referred to his mentor as ‘Frank’ about two dozen times in his book Dreams From My Father.

Dr. Paul Kengor followed the research trail and assembled an exhaustively documented account in his book The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor.

Here’s a snip from the American Thinker, just before the DNC.

Davis joined the Communist Party during World War II and was unflinchingly pro-Soviet and pro-Red China. He was the founding editor-in-chief of the Chicago Star (1946-48) — the CPUSA publication for Chicago — before moving on to the Honolulu Record (1949-57), the CPUSA publication there.  He excoriated the Western leaders who stood in the way of Stalin, meaning Winston Churchill and Harry Truman, whom he portrayed as colonialists, imperialists, fascists, and racists.  He blasted American initiatives like the Marshall Plan, which he labeled “white imperialism” and “colonial slavery.”  And because Democrats were the party in power at the time, and thus America’s first line of defense against the Red Army, Davis — who literally wrote poetry hailing Stalin’s tanks — vilified the Democratic Party in particular.

Frank Marshall Davis’s politics were so radical, and so pro-Soviet, that the Democrats who ran the Senate in 1956 summoned him to Washington to testify on his pro-Soviet activities.  Even more remarkable, the FBI placed him on the federal government’s Security Index, meaning that if a war broke out between the United States and the Soviet Union, Obama’s mentor could have been placed under immediate arrest.

I’ve noted this here before.  I’ve also noted Davis’s unceasing class-based rhetoric and class warfare.

Sounds familiar for a reason.

And then there’s David Horowitz, the former Communist radical who saw the light and turned conservative and found religion and told me in an interview that he only wished someone would have taught him the doctrine of original sin long ago.

His new book, Radicals: Portraits of a Destructive Passion, is about the extremism he knew well and sees playing out in American politics, media and academia.

An American compound in Libya is invaded by al Qaeda terrorists and an American ambassador is purportedly tortured before being killed. Muslim mobs attack American embassies in 27 countries chanting,”Death to America.” The White House response? A statement blaming the outrages on a filmmaker in the United States, along with apologies to the Muslim world.

The American economy languishes with millions unemployed in the worst times since the Great Depression. Yet the president spends his first years in the White House focusing on a plan to create a trillion-dollar socialized health care system opposed by a majority of Americans. Then he campaigns for re-election on a platform blaming rich Americans for the economic woes.

What’s going on here?

The answer lies in a famous statement the president made on the eve of his election, when he told a crowd of cheering supporters: “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” These are not the words of a traditional, pragmatic-minded American politician. A practical politician attempts to address problems and fix them, not to fundamentally transform an entire nation. Transforming nations is what radicals aspire to do. But Mr. Obama’s actions in the past four years — beginning with putting Obamacare in front of the economic crisis — are nothing if not radical.

Let’s have clarity about the choices we face. We need a full airing of these things, a robust debate of ideas and the honesty to stand for them. From the looks of media coverage, we’re going to have to take responsibility for generating that ourselves.

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