In Defense of Arizona, Intellignet Discussion Takes A Back Seat. Again.

If you even bother to open your mouth, sometimes you know there are a few people who – no matter who reads it – have already decided that you’re an idiot, and wil twist your words beyond anything recognizable to what you actually said.

So yes, commenting on this topic is a risk.  But it’s so much easier to just parrot inaccurate points that are popular, so that’s what thinking, compelling and intelligent people TRY TO INJECT into a discussion.  So if you’re a shallow blast-gasket who has already decided “what is truth” and you haven’t even read the bill, then just go back to being a follower, a simpleton and a rally tool.

You know, I become less of a fan of George Takai and other – otherwise intelligent and insightful – individuals when something regarding Arizona hits the news and seemingly all the “fans” jump to that side.  Without thinking or really looking at an idea objectively.   Cause we all know that if some popular figure says it, “it must be true!”.

Yes, Governor Jan Brewer pointed her finger in President Obama’s face.   So what?  The guy who yelled “You Lie!” during an actual State of the Union was long forgotten (probably something the Obama Administration is thankful for, since that statement ended up being true).   Was what she said disrespectful?  Perhaps.   But let’s remember that her attempt to meet in person 5 times with the Commander-In-Chief were – essentially the President standing up our governor when she arrived.   That’s pretty darn disrespectful no matter how you cut it.   I think a finger – in the big picture – was the least he had coming for wasting our Governor’s time.

Instead of asking WHY she did that, it was just merely pointed out that she DID do it.  And of course, it was “disrespecting a Black President”.   From a White Governor.   Yes, because all exchanges boil down to the worst essence of any possible, probable or suggestable RACISM.

Yes, SB-1070 was an attempt to establish status, and in many ways, curb the huge drug problem and thousands of miles of unsecured borders.  Naturally, this was viewed as “racist”, because many who ride the short bus didn’t read the short bill, which was pretty straighforward.  But the argument made was that “driving while brown” would be the new catch-phrase is ridiculous, since that’s already illegal – and would have remained illegal – under SB 1070.   Never mind the facts that you had to actually commit an offense to be pulled over.  But if you didn’t have a license, it doesn’t matter what color you are.  You still broke the law and it’s a peace officer’s job to identify you to make sure you’re without warrants.  “Papers Please” was a complete misunderstanding of the law, and anyone who bothered to educate themselves know that a peace officer has a right to determine who you are, or take you to the police station for identification.

That means you still have rights.  But if you refuse to answer even that, then you’re going to take a trip, just like any other time.

So instead of having the conversation at the local level of educated people representing a number of differing viewpoints,  we started seeing “Arizona is racist” banners, led – unbelievably – by Raúl M. Grijalva, the U.S. Representative for Arizona’s 3rd congressional district whose last election was won (the incumbant was an actual physicist and worked as aRocket Scientist engineer, Ruth McClung, who I thought was an amazing candidate, but that’s another day).

Following that was a group of bands who refused to tour through Arizona – mostly C-List musicians and Los Angeles disc jockeys, although Joe Satriani (Chickenfoot) and Rage Against The Machine also boycotted the Grand Canyon State.  But while the rallies and national news press continued, there was one thing absent:

An actual discussion.   Remember those?  News stations carried Point-vs-Point scenarios with respected guests and people who write the bils.  Talking with people who opposed the bils.  Then the news stations would report the news based on the facts – and in some rare cases, the news station would take a side.

Now Arizona, already with a “news projected reputation” for delivering bad policy (still behind Florida and New York, I submit)  gets accused of “passing a bill that allows religious people to discriminate”.

If you read that and wonder why it is I think that’s so stupid, let me set the record straight:

First, the bill doesn’t encourage anyone to say to anyone else, “Sorry piss off, my religion says suck an egg”. 

What you hear in the news is “what could, if such and such happened is [worst case scenario of only exasperated and hyperbole was to be delivered to the umpteenth degree]”, and that’s just nonsense, and we’ve heard this before with the Brewer Finger and the SB1070 bit.   Sure, it COULD, but it likely couldn’t be done without some other law or human rights statue being broken that’s already existing in law.

Second, SB1062 – if you read the actual bill – reaffirms the basic principle that the fundamental rights of free speech and the free exercise of religion do not stop at the exit door of yur church, but actually extend to every area of life. 

The reasons the sponsors of the bill submitted this was because some Arizonans were concerned that their religious rights were being taken away under the guise of political correctness – and I somewhat would agree with that statement.   San Diego removed a monument on Mt. Soledad, largely because it was in the shape of a cross.  That offended a handful of athiests who then had the entire monument deconstructed against the will of the majority of San Diego residents.   That’s not right – and thats the sort of thing that these lawmakers wanted to do.

Third, EVERY individual has the right to religious freedom and First Amendment expression as long as they don’t deny the CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT of another.    And I think this is the crux of the argument.

Me offering a service and not accepting your terms is NOT a CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT any more than I’m obligated to pay for a bum to clean my windshield at a stoplight with his bottle of Windex and newspapers.   However, I would put my normal considerations aside as a customer and be willing to negotiate.  Or refuse to pay.  He also could wait for the next light or move to the next car.   I could be a total drag and call the cops, or I can just mind my business and let this guy earn enough to get a sandwich.  Or I could be charitable.  Or I could get out and beat his ass for touching my shiny new car, and while the courts might take my side, that doesn’t make it the right thing to do.

Instead of having a discussion on differences – which is what TOLERANT people would do – the discussion was ALREADY DECIDED without any actual points being offered.   Sure, it’s compelling television to watch gay-news host Anderson Cooper completely destroy and talk over some old guy who had generic answers, but the questions that was asked were not honest questions.  They were accusations with a question mark at the end.   THAT is NOT a discussion.

By the admission of the accusers and hyperbole drivers, there was NOT ONE LAW that was violated prior to this bill coming to pass.  I myself am wary (and weary) of useless bills and laws that only hammer the status-quo to the point of stupid.   So let’s get over that this was “white Christian guy” policies saying businesses can discriminate.  That’s not right.  It’s saying that you can practice your faith, and the burden of proof is in an Arizona court for

So I’m going to offer three scenarios:

1.  Let’s take the Christian cake baker in Colorado that refused to bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding, citing that it violated their faith.    It’s pretty telling that we’ve gone from “we want equality” to “I told you to bake me a damn cake to my specifications” in only a few short years.   I agree 100% with equality, and think everyone deserves equal treatment under the law.  If you’re an American human being, you deserve the same rights as the guy AND girl next to you.  What you do is your choice, and I believe we all answer to God.  Believe me, my sins are no better than anyone elses, so that’s for each person to work out for themselves – I sure don’t have time to keep track of my sins, much less yours and remind you of them!    But here’s what I wouldn’t support:

I wouldn’t support forcing a Christian bakery to bake a wedding cake if they believe it to be unGodly.
Or compel a Muslim bakery to cook pork products.  That’s unGodly to them.
Or compel an Israeli Subway franchise to offer cheese (I’ve been there.  They just don’t do it on religious principles.)
Or compel a gay owner’s bakery to make “God Hates Gay People” themed cakes.  (That’s an insult – again, principles)

While I realize the gay owner’s bakery is not a religious organization, we can all agree that there are instances where NOT doing business is actually better for all parties, and “refuse service to anyone” should be a justifiably allowed policy for “ANY REASON” for many states already.   Nobody has to get offended, or wonder “what went in the batter” and all that other nonsense that people would fling before, during and after the transaction.

I would not expect a photographer who is not gay-friendly to catch a good wedding kiss photo at a gay marriage ceremony.  I would want someone enthusiastic, excited and passionate about capturing the right moment, not someone who is repulsed by it.    Is it me, or is this just common sense that I’m pulling out of my ass here?   Rather, I’d be HAPPY if I called some guy who had an axe to grind against heterosexual couples, and he said, “you know, I really don’t want to do it because I think you and all of the heteros are gross”.  Okay, I’m on a level of privilege here, but let’s take it for what it’s worth:   I’d thank him or her and find someone who was ecstatic about my business and the big moment of the day that I will have for the rest of my life!

Let me ask you this:  Do you really want to eat that friggin’ cake in Colorado from a baker who didn’t want to make it but was court ordered to do so?   I don’t!!  I couldn’t think of a less appealing idea than someone who hated and despised his task at hand, and then expects me to eat the result of what he made in that mindset.   Why not just scream insults about one’s mother at your local fast food drive-through order-speaker?  Here’s why:  the human response would be that you’ll discover something extra in your burger bag.   The folly of ANY bullying is believing that you’ll get a better result.

2.  I’m a capitalist!   If this guy really wanted to do it right, he’d take the gay couple’s money, and put 10% tithe into the church plate or to help the poor – also a religious dotrine.  That way, everyone wins.  A cake is provided, a service is rendered, money is made, and money is filtered properly.   I don’t remember Jesus asking people what their faith was.   Did he ask the woman at the well?  No.  How about the guy serving the last supper?  No.   How about the innkeeper for Joseph and Mary?  Did we know his faith before a room was requested?  No.    How about the ship carrying Jonah across the ocean?  Or the sellers in the temple?  No and No.

It’s my opinion that it’s silly to determine someone’s faith, lifestyle or attitude when it comes to providing services.  Someone who was offended could have simply done a “Yelp!” review, and gay people would never have come back.  Instead, the media has tarred and feathered the bakery, and they closed their doors.   But if you really don’t feel comfortable with a client, it should be okay to say, “yeah, thats not okay, we can’t do business”.  For WHATEVER reason.  And if you’re a bigot, you’re doing your customer a huge favor by sending his money away.  Customer, you should appreciate this and spend your dollar in a better place.

3.  Most of us live by these rules already.  Just that we’re mature adults about it.     I do this for ultra-leftist panty-waists who are ignorant enough to stick a “No Guns Allowed” policy on the entrance to their business.   I don’t go and bitch at them, or dare them, or walk in and prance with it, daring them to tell me to take it outside.   I don’t call the press and moan about my rights as a Constitutionally Protected American Citizen.   I don’t call them names, or attempt to put them out of business.   I COULD be a complete prick about it, since by law, they MUST approach me and ask me to remove it after I’m in the building, even with the sign.  But I don’t.  You know why?  BECAUSE I’M AN ADULT.    Instead, I do the intelligent thing.  I go in and ask about it WITHOUT my sidearm, and politely express my desire to enter wearing it.  If they don’t want to remove the sign or don’t want to make an exception for me, then I go somewhere that likes me and my gun’s business.  I’ve learned in some cases they will, and some they won’t.  I have the money to spend, they have the service I want, so it’s up to either one of us to decide what is right, and – look – BOTH of us WITH OPPOSING VIEWPOINTS….  watch closely…   CAN BE RIGHT FOR EACH OTHER AT THE SAME TIME!    They can lose my business on their principles, and I can be inconvenienced to find someone else for my principles.  This idea that only one side can win is stupidly insane. 

See?  That didn’t require a law!!!

I saw comparisons to white-only lunch counters on Facebook.  Unbelievable.  Nobody is pushing this agenda.  This isn’t about excluding people, it’s about living based on your values.   And as a result, taking your business to someone who will appreciate those values.   I can tell you from a Capitalist point of view – the more people you potentially refuse to do work for, the less work you’ll have.  It’s a bad move, so choose wisely!

I even saw a comparison to Neuremburg and Hitler, and when “Godwin” accusations flying, the original poster actually defended that viewpoint.  “This mindset is what brought on Nazi Germany”.    Again, intelligent discussion takes a backseat to hyperbole and the scramble to equate a disagreement point of business ethics to concentration camps and genocide.  I lost a tiny bit of respect for a respected colleage I usually “agree to disagree with” on that one.  NFL, Apple and others were so quick to stand up for the hype, I doubt any of them actually read the bill.   That should concern you that policy is decided on by people’s reactions, and not the policy.  It should concern you greatly.  Lack of reaction does NOT ensure good policy!

Faith-shaming people for doing something they believe in because it opposes or conflicts with something YOU believe in is a reason why intelligent discussion should be had.  But it makes both sides require “Tolerance”.  One side is often fond of championing it, but rarely do they apply it equally – to themselves – when disagreeing with something they find “appalling”.

Taking it to the Public Court of the Media is just asking for bullet points, worst case scenarios and accusations.

Arizona is a great place to live.  We have our problems like everyone else.  We have our conservative (non-political conservative, mind you) areas, and we have our gay popular areas too.  But we do have Red State status, so you know that’s always going to be a whiny point with somebody who wants to make a buck.

I love this state.  It’s progressive Conservatism while strangely voting in a unique liberal balance, it has more freedoms than most places and has a laid back atmosphere and a huge diverse group of people who get along really well.   You’d never know that by watching the news talk about our state.  My local Congressman is a Democrat, and we’ve posed for pictures more than once.  He’s a great guy, and I judge him on his merit.   He has helped our neighborhood get a new park, he is empowering the neighbors, assisting the police and voting for policies that represent most of his constituents.

See if I was like the people who judge based on a soundbyte and shallow “sides taking”, we could never get along.  Cause he’d be the Evil Side.   This is exactly why people need the whole story, rather than the “Arizona votes to let people hate gays” nonsense that has been assigned to this bill.

Expect more of it.  But if you’re going to parrot people’s Facebook posts or form an opinion, then look at the issue and text itself, read the story, or bill, or law in whole and THEN judge for yourself.



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