The news itself is quite brief today, but I'll be following it up with an opinion piece of my own. I hope you don't mind.
-- Occupy Fort Wayne was evicted early this morning by police, after Occupying Freimann Square since November. The group originally had the cooperation and support of the Mayor, who waived all fees for the Occupiers to stay at the Headwaters Pavilion in October. In early November, an anti-Occupy group rented the Pavilion, forcing the move to Freimann Square. The group was evicted because the Parks and Recreation Department will begin Spring preparations in roughly a week.
-- The murder of a San Francisco man by a prowler is making headlines again. The 67 year old man was beat to death after calling police about a prowler near the house, which police did not respond to due to their coverage of an Occupy event. Now the Police Chief is making waves after sending an armed police officer to a reporter's house after midnight on Friday to insist that changes be made to a story. The family of the reporter for the Bay Area News Group were originally very upset at the visit, thinking someone in the family had passed away, but it turned out that the police chief believed the reporter had gotten some details on the story incorrect, and wanted them changed. "It's the most intimidating form of (censorship) possible," said a representative of the California Newspaper Publisher's Association, "because the person trying to exercise it carries a gun."
I told you the news was short. Now let's talk about what has been gnawing at my mind for the past few days.
I'm sure most of you have heard by now about HR 347, the "Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011." President Obama signed this bill into law on March 8, just earlier this week. I'm sure you've heard it dubbed as the "Anti-Occupy" law, which, despite the lack of Occupy mention in the wording of the law itself, does seem to be directed at the movement. There are things that people should know about this law, that have not yet been widely spread. So let's start at the beginning, where I started my research, and go from there.
1. This law isn't technically new. It's actually been around for a while, and this specific version is just an amendment to the previous one. The last time it was amended was back in 2006. It already contained much of the controversial language that people are getting upset about. Does the fact that it's been around for a while make it okay? No, of course not. This law is not a good one.
Okay. So I found an article that basically details the law and much of the turmoil surrounding it, giving you the facts about it and why it's wrong. I'll let you read it, and then you can come back.
So here's the deal.
I am sick to death of laws like this. I've never been anti-Obama. I don't really care for any of the Republican candidates... I don't really like any of the candidates, period. But this is starting to get to me. First, President Obama signs the NDAA, with a little note citing his "reservations." Now he's signed this, which everyone even familiar with criminal procedures can tell you is not a good law. What's next? I'm sick to death of being unnerved about going out my front door, because I don't know who is watching me. And it's all because I write this blog.
Now people can tell me that I am just imagining things, or that I'm being a conspiracy theorist, and yadda yadda. But the truth is, you don't really know what our government is truly capable of. Does anyone, ANYONE, remember the "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Act of 2007?" I do. It never made it into law. I was terrified that it would. In 2007, I was right around 21 years old, and held many of the ideals that I do today. That Act would have made it normal for neighbors to report those around them that they suspected of Homegrown Terrorism, which would bring that person before a committee to decide whether they actually were guilty. I remember this clearly. I did my homework. When it passed through the House, I panicked. Finally, it died, and I actually had a small party to celebrate it.
I get that same feeling of dread from these bills. We are GUARANTEED the rights of speech and assembly by the Constitution, and it seems that little by little, these new laws are chipping away at that. No protesting around certain buildings or people, even if you don't know that it's illegal to be there. Indefinite detention. The loss of women's rights.
What the hell is going on here, and why are we letting it happen? Our country has been divided by these people. We fight among ourselves instead of fighting the people that deserve it. We say "That Republican this.. That Democrat that.. Dirty hippie liberals.. Stupid blind conservatives..." We attack others based on their beliefs. We cannot stand to be around those who may be different in some way. Our country hates its people. That's a strong statement, and I don't care. If you really step back and look at it, WE are the country. WE hate each other. WE fight. WE hate OUR OWN PEOPLE.
What the hell is wrong with us? Sometimes I feel like I'm talking to children when I discuss these things. "I know that your religion doesn't always agree with theirs, but you have the same basic tenets in each. Love, generosity, being a good person... It's not really that different." And the response I get is "NUH-UH! That religion is NOTHING like mine." And both sides say that. The truth is, even the non-believers, on average, are not much better. They are when it comes to removing religion from politics, which is a good thing. But when it comes to respecting other people's beliefs, not so much. I know a person who would turn any conversation into a chance to bash Christianity for all its misgivings, as loudly and rudely as possible. I understand that you have freedom of speech. I'm not trying to quell that. I'm just saying that perhaps you should THINK about what you are saying, and to whom, before you do. If no one is trying to close your mouth, do you really have to be offensive with what you say? (What I mean by that is that I actually agreed with many of the things this person would say, yet they would insist on yelling it at me to make sure everyone around them heard. It made me want to shrink into a hole and hide. This person wanted to offend people with their speech. That was the point.)
For the record, I'm not religious. I don't believe in anything solidly. I just don't know. But what I do know is that if we can't learn to respect each other and treat everyone with equal dignity regardless of the differences we have, our government will never see the need to do that for us as well.
With all that said, I will say one more thing before I go.
Stop trying to force YOUR beliefs on others. I'm not saying you shouldn't practice yours. I think you should have full rights to do so. I'm not saying that you shouldn't tell people about them. If you want to, you can, and I'm happy with that. What I am not happy with is that LARGE number of people that believe that I should have to follow what their beliefs say, even though I am not a believer of their religion. I don't believe in your God. I don't believe it what your God says. So why should I have to follow what your God says? I don't believe that gay marriage is a sin, but you do. Why does that affect me? To be blunt, it DAMN WELL SHOULD NOT.
And if I say that I shouldn't have to follow your beliefs, that is NOT oppression of your religion. What you are trying to do to me is oppression. Just because I don't agree with you, and I don't think I should have to listen to your beliefs, does not mean I'm oppressing you.
You keep using that word. I do not think you know what it means.
So that was an interesting rant that went in six different directions. To sum it up:
1. I shouldn't have to be afraid of my own government.
2. People should learn to have respect for each other.
3. Don't be offensive for the sake of being offensive.
4. Your religion/political affiliation should not affect my rights.
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