I have to admit that I am uncomfortable with the New England Patriots name and logo which reminds me of the right-wing Tea Party fanatics that have been infecting public and social discourse in recent years.
The notion of "patriot" is also an unfortunate one that we shouldn't have in a modern, progressive society.
The dangers of religious fundamentalism and guns need to be addressed.
By Lara Spenzak
Much of the world has reacted in horror to the violence in Paris, France this week. People armed with guns and apparently driven by religious fundamentalism attacked and killed journalists at Charlie Hebdo magazine.
This is perhaps the ultimate act of intolerance. Charlie Hebdo often made humorous critiques of the dangers of religious fundamentalism. The violence in Paris brings back dreadful memories of right-wing Christian attacks in Oklahoma City and on reproductive choice centers throughout the United States.
Extremists are intolerant and religious extremists are prone to acts of hate and violence. Some groups like the Westboro Baptist Church have only been deeply offensive and hateful so far. But what if they had guns? They could easily commit an act of violence such we have seen in Paris.
We cannot and should not accept guns in our society. Guns only have one purpose: to hurt and kill people. To create fear and violence.
Religious fundamentalism needs to be rooted out. We need to enforce the rule of Separation of Church and State. Tax dollars should never be used to support religion or the building of churches.
A truly just and progressive society can and should work to stamp our intolerance and violence.
by Lara Spenzak President Obama sent a strong message to the world that he will not let hate-mongers like Conservative Republicans stop the march to progress.
Cuba has been a victim of U.S. policy for decades and I only wish that President Obama had acted sooner. But I understand that he had deal with the mess created by the Bush disaster first. And I think Cuba can help the U.S. in ways that many people may not be able to realize now.
First, Cuba has a first-rate medical care system. Free and first rate medical care is available to every Cuban. The emphasis there is helping people, not profits. Remember it was Cuba that offered to send doctors to the U.S. to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina but Bush said no.
Consider what President Castro said about the Affordable Health Care Act:
"Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro on Thursday declared passage of American health care reform "a miracle" and a major victory for Obama's presidency, but couldn't help chide the United States for taking so long to enact what communist Cuba achieved decades ago."
Well said President Castro!
Cuban also have access to first-rate and free education in schools while most American kids do not. Cuba has very little to no negative impact on the environment.
We are better, stronger and happier with Cuba as a friend.
Should we consider disbanding all police departments?
Instead of helping people the police seem to be hurting and killing people.
by Lara Spenzak.
After the killing of Micheal Brown we are now faced with death of Eric Garner who was choked to death by NY police for selling cigarettes. As with Micheal Brown, Garner was another person of color who was minding his business, hurting or bothering no one when the police confronted him and killed him.
In the aftermath of the killings of Trayvon Martin and Micheal Brown I called for the removal guns from police departments to reduce the threat they pose to innocent people especially people of color and diversity. But Garner was choked to death, not shot to death with a gun. This raises the need to discuss what role, if any, should police departments have in our society.
Instead of helping people we are seeing more and more incidents where the police are confronting, hurting and killing people. Why are tax dollars being used to fund armed police departments with this going on?
Instead of choking Eric Garner the police could have LISTENED to him and could have arrived at a peaceful understanding. But instead of trying to understand Eric Garner, they attacked him and killed him. This is scary and I don't want to live in a society where this can happen to anyone at anytime.
What we need are people who can help us and who can make an effort to understand and not be confrontational. What we need are social helpers, community organizers and nice people who don't have guns but have good intentions and the ability to listen and understand other people.
A President Who Cares Treating immigrants with respect, humanity and dignity is a crime to the Right
by Lara Spenzak
We in a special time in history. In the White House we have a president of color who has lived in different parts of the world and who understands and greatly values the importance and meaning of diversity. There is no doubt that this perspective is what enables President Obama to care about people regardless of their race, gender status or ethic background. President Obama understands that Diversity is a basic right and that diversity enriches society.
President Obama simply did the right thing last night. He did what he was supposed to do: Take care of the people. Treat millions of people like the human beings they are and to protect them.
America is a land of immigration and diversity. In essence, there really is no such thing as an "American". We are one world and one large community. No one is "illegal". Would you deport someone simply because they were walking down the street in front of your home? A rational person would not but right-winger types with guns might be doubted to do so. That is the challenge President Obama has faced. But he said, "enough!" and decided to take action.
As the National Council of La Raza has stated, "“This action is a victory for the president, a victory for millions of American families and workers, a victory for our country, and a victory for common sense.". All true but even that does not go far enough. President Obama people ahead of politics and did the essential thing that government is supposed to do: take care of people.
But the Republican Congress has resisted to help people. Republicans opposed the Stimulus Act to help people recover economically from the Bush Recession. Republicans opposed ending the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq. Republicans opposed having the rich pay their fair share in taxes. Republicans opposed the Affordable Health Care Act. Republicans oppose Marriage Equality. Republicans opposed fighting Climate Change.
I could go on but lets go back to what President Obama did right.
President Obama promised to transform America and to move it forward in a better direction and he did so in a big way last night.