It was hard to believe. I had seen so many predictions of the demise of the democratic party by the right and the so-called Berniecrats followers of Bernie Sanders. I came home after work and turned on the computer last night to pay close attention to the midterm elections. I had tried in vain arguing with people about the Donna Brazile book. These people were convinced that the book told them the primary election was fixed by Clinton supporters. Even when well meaning people on facebook posted stories about how the facts clearly pointed to Clinton winning more votes than Sanders they were determined to chew on that bone until there was not a single shred of meat.
At the same time the midterm elections were approaching. There was New Jersey were the hateful bully Chris Christie was term limited out of office. His Lieutenant Governor was running to replace the most disliked governor in the state’s history. But the big enchilada was in Virginia which has been electing democratic governors and residential candidates. I don’t know a lot about Virginia but I had heard about the democratic governors including Douglas Wilder and the outgoing Terry McAuliffe. McAuliffe is a tough talking SOB who will not put up with any bullshit from republicans. Faced with a hostile legislature gerrymandered into safe republican seats, he voted more bills than they could pass. And he did one very good thing for democracy. He restored voting rights for more than 100,000 people who had been convicted of felonies. Many states throughout the south automatically take away voting for life which falls most heavily on African-Americans. On Tuesday the twitter was filled with stories of people who were voting for the first time thanks to him. It was a wonderful night from start to finish learning about the new people who were swept into office in a big blue wave. Transgendered people, black men and women, and a Sikh politician were part of the diverse group who were elected.
It was the beginning of the comeback. If democratic voters want it to be. We can take this as a sign of better days ahead and become even more motivated. The republican legislatures and governors have signed into law evil legislation aimed at curbing our voting rights, restricting our reproductive freedom, putting their hateful religion into our lives and much more. It is time to resist. It is time to begin driving #45 and his evil profiteers from office. It is time for fair legislative districts, it is time for more people to regain their voting rights. It is time to end the rhetoric of defeatism. There were 8 years we were in power and we can regain power if we work together.
I look forward to each issue of Freethought Today, published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. I can be assured that the newspaper will include stories of how FFRF was able to intervene on behalf of people who found religion being shoved down the throats of taxpayers by public officials. Schools, police, city council members and beyond often abuse their authority by bringing their religious views into the workplace. They allow other zealots to make presentations at public schools or hand out bibles, conduct programs intended for a secular purpose such as birth control using religious propaganda or post things such as the ten commandments on public property. Using complaints from taxpayers lawyers from the FFRF are able to intervene and force these individuals to cease and desist. Of course, this is an uphill battle. I am certain that as I write, some politician filled will campaign cash will be spreading some bullshit about America being a christian country. We can stand up for our rights otherwise the real defenders of the US constitution will be trampled.
I just started writing again after taking a break for a few weeks and now I am getting visits from a different group of people. Two of the most different have a blog called Devil’s Advocates. They are a lesbian couple who practice some form of Satanism. I thought the idea was very strange but when you read about the women, Sophie and Cassie, they sound quite ordinary. Their self description makes them sound like a very educated couple devoted to family life. Their blog attempts to dispel the myths about Satanism. I am an atheist, which is of course very different from Satanism. I don’t believe in any god and nor do I believe satan exists. I believe that both were invented as a means of social control when we knew a lot less about how the earth actually functions.
Some of the things I have seen Christians write about Satan can be hysterical. I wrote a blog entry Not Today Satan mocking these Christian fundamentalist writings. It might be interesting to see what the actual Satanists have to say about themselves and their lives. Believe me, this is not for everyone. But I think it is important to write about the people visiting and reading me. It’s possible that Sophie and Cassie will respond after seeing this and respond. I will write something about it if they do.
I have heard that there are Christian evangelicals who thinking about the so-called end times in which there will be a major battle between Christians and Muslims. When I worked for a progressive agency years ago one of my coworkers discussed this idea. I was scared and repulsed by the idea.
In a fight between two religious beliefs I would choose neither one. I’m not surprised that the so-called Islamic State is drawing on the idea of the big war between Christian and Muslim forces in their version of an end times. Humans, for your own sake, you must choose neither. Atheists don’t start wars and we don’t enjoy blowing ourselves to bits.
I have been consumed with the horror of the destruction in Paris on Friday. And yet many of my progressive friends and various Africa news sites remind us of the ongoing relationship between France and its former African colonies.
Central African Republic
Due to a series of unequal relationships these countries are independent in name only. When we ask ourselves, why are African countries experiencing poverty and instability, we must look at the roots stemming back to the horrendous scramble for Africa in the late 1800s.
There was a book written called Not Yet Uhuru about the struggle for freedom in Kenya after independent from England. The title applies to most of these countries. And if the horrors of colonialism weren’t enough, radical Islamic groups are carrying out bombings. Africa must be free from imperialism and religious fanaticism. As we help the people of France to heal, they must recognize their duty to remove the yoke of neo-colonialism I am hopeful that a new generation of African leaders will emerge to help make independence a reality.
I just listened to a public radio story about a positive ad campaign designed to a reclaim the word jihad from Muslim extremists. It is a word that has been used to make Islam sound like a religion that inspires terror. That was behind the baseless lie that President Obama was a secret Muslim despite loads of evidence to the contrary.
I have long understood that the true meaning of jihad is a deep and powerful internal struggle. In that context one can say that my jihad has been to rebuild my life from the ruins it was mired in many years ago. The latest phase has been this past year as a certified peer specialist. I have won the struggle to control my thoughts, actions and emotions. The battle to find someone with whom I can share those things is an ongoing one but fortunately in is not all consuming. I still attempt to inspire the people I am assisting. I want them to remember me after they no longer need our assistance because they have found other levels of support. Being and inspiring is a good combination.
I think back to the jihad in public school as I struggled against racism, war and imperialism. I marched to a different drum, one that was more attuned to the need for social justice than wearing the latest fashions. It was a conscious choice. I am dismayed today over the amount of wasted time and energy on what I consider trivial matters dealing with the lives of famous people as against forging solutions to the endless wars we have been fighting.
I have been a secularist most of my life but I understand that many words are common to many different types of people. I am for the peaceful jihad that people of goodwill seek and I reject the misuse of the word and the demonization by hate filled individuals seeking to paint Islam as something that it is not.