Friday, November 6, 2015

The Culture Wars, Part III

Senator Ted Cruz had introduced a measure in the US Senate commonly referred to as "Kate's Law." Kate Steinle was murdered by an illegal immigrant in San Francisco, an immigrant who had been deported from the US at least five times. This criminal already had a lengthy criminal history of seven felony convictions.

The purpose behind the law was quite simple - to discourage criminals who had been deported from attempting to sneak back in to the US. If such an individual were caught after reentering the country they would face a mandatory five year prison sentence.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid was able to block the measure from coming to a vote. Under Senate rules, 60 votes are needed to bring a measure to the floor for a vote of the full Senate. The Republicans have only 54 seats, allowing Reid to still have control over the Senate's business, even though he is no longer Majority Leader.

Said Reid: "All we've seen from Republican leaders and their caucus is bills that attack immigrants and tear families apart. So I object." In reply, Cruz said this: "When the Democratic leader suggests that incarcerating aggravated felons, murderers and rapists who illegally reenter this country is somehow a sleight to immigrants - well, Mr. President, I am a son of an immigrant who came from Cuba. There is no one in this chamber who will fight harder for legal immigrants than I will."

Bill O'Reilly was a huge supporter of Kate's Law. After Reid blocked a Senate vote, O'Reilly was furious and said: "Mr. Reid is a liar and a villain. This has nothing to do with the so-called immigrant community. This is about fixing a corrupt criminal situation."

The murderer of Kate Steinle was actually in the custody of San Francisco's Sheriff on unrelated charges when the Feds requested they he be held until the Feds could pick him up for immigration violations. However, when the local prosecutor decided not to pursue charges against the soon to be murderer, the Sheriff, Ross Mirkarimi, declined to keep the man in custody. Shortly after his release he killed Ms. Steinle.

Another positive result of this past Tuesday's election is that Sheriff Mirkarimi was soundly defeated by the challenger, garnering only 33% of the vote, with the victor getting 61%.

As I mentioned in Part II, the Democrats equate illegal immigrants, even criminal illegal immigrants, with legal immigrants. The complete blurring - no, elimination of any distinction between them. The fact that Senate Democrats - only 6 were needed to vote with the 54 Republicans to bring the bill to a vote - were unwillingly to take a firm stand against criminal aliens, tells you everything you need to know about how divided this country is. Shared fundamental values? Not by a long shot. Whose side are you on?

The Culture Wars, Part II

About one and a half years ago the City of Houston passed what became known as HERO - the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance. The stated purpose was to protect 15 different classes of people (based on sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity and pregnancy) from discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations, etc.

Those opposed to the ordinance were able to get a vote on repeal of the ordinance on this past Tuesday's ballot. The ordinance was repealed by a landslide vote of 61% to 39%. Opposition to the ordinance was apparently fierce by those concerned that men would be allowed to use women's restrooms.

The Mayor of Houston, Annise Parker, who is openly gay, was quite upset over the ordinance's repeal. The Mayor blamed the repeal on a "small, very determined group of right-wing ideologues and the religious right." I don't know how small a group if the measure passed with 61% in favor of repeal. That does not sound like a "small group." I also dislike the attack on the religious.

Not living in Houston, I did not read the various editorials and letters to the editor in the Houston papers concerning the ordinance and the repeal measure. Having looked at the text of the Ordinance, I cannot help but wonder why the drafters did not specifically state that the ordinance does not permit men to enter women's restrooms, if that was the concern.

The Houston Mayor also added that the opponents "only know how to destroy and not build up." Aside from the typical demagoguery from the left, I would suggest that it is they who seek to destroy, with the target being Western Civilization and Judeo-Christian values.

Speaking of demagoguery, the New York Times lead editorial of 11/5/15 ran with this headline: "In Houston, Hate Trumped Fairness." I must say, it is quite tiring to hear the whining from the New York Times anytime something does not go their way. The "paper of record" does not prefer intellectual discourse; they do not see their job as elevating the discussion of issues in our country. Rather, like Junior High School kids, their arguments consist of name-calling and demagoguery.

The Mayor certainly did nothing to help her cause when she sought to subpoena the sermons of five (presumably outspoken) pastors in Houston. That was a clear violation of both the free speech and freedom of religion clauses of the First Amendment to the US Constitution. Was there some backlash from that overreaching? I do not know.

Here's a question: if a man sought employment and said he insisted on wearing a dress on the job, why should an employer not be allowed to say no - if you want to wear a dress do it outside of work. Would it matter to you if the man was looking to be hired as an elementary school teacher?

Society has always had to deal with issues of where lines should be drawn. But we are in a new era, an era in which the left seeks to obliterate all distinctions.

The Culture Wars, Part I

In a story out of Palatine, Illinois, a student in the Township High School District is undergoing hormone therapy. The student was born as a male, but identifies as female. It is unclear if the student ultimately wishes to undergo gender reassignment surgery. In any event, this student was denied access to the girls' locker room.

Apparently, a separate changing area was offered to the student, but that was unacceptable. Then the Feds stepped in and told the District to allow the student access to the girls' locker room, or end up on the wrong side of a federal lawsuit, and lose $6 million in federal aid.

The Washington Post quoted the student as follows: "This decision (by the Feds) makes me extremely happy - because of what it means for me, personally, and for countless others...The District's policy stigmatized me, often making me feel like I was not a 'normal person.'"

Locker rooms at a school are used for changing clothes. People are often naked. What if 15 and 16 and 17 year old girls do not want a male student changing in their locker room with them? What about the feelings of those students?

Now, before everybody yells at me, the student in question has all the male genitalia. Just as I believe we should not have changed the definition of marriage, I do not believe we should change the definition of male or female based upon how one feels. This does not mean that I do not have sympathy for people who feel so uncomfortable in their own bodies. I do. They are human beings and should be treated as such. But when do the feelings of other students come into play? And, if we were still a more religious oriented society we might have retained the concept of "modesty," with no explanation needed as to why the two sexes have separate locker rooms. Instead, we see another example of "it's all about me."

Not surprisingly, the New York Times was thrilled with the Federal government involving itself into a local matter. Said the Times in their 11/5/15 editorial: "...the Department of Education backed a transgender student in Illinois who is fighting for the right to use restrooms and and locker rooms on campus like any other female student." Like any other female student? Do the other female students have penises and testicles?

To the leftists at the Times it's all the same - no difference between males and females. I have expressed before my discomfort at the changing of definitions. Now we have "male equals female." If the Times had said that notwithstanding the male genitalia on this student the student should be allowed to use the girls' locker room, I would still disagree, but it would have been more honest. Instead, they want us to believe that a male student is "just like any other female student."

Fundamental concepts are being altered by the left, supported by the heavy hand of the Obama Administration. Meanwhile, common sense has left the building, all in the name of political correctness. None of us knows where this will end, and certainly not whether we will be happy with the consequences.