Monthly Archives: January 2017

A New Approach to the “Rape Problem”

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It’s the year 3017, and we’ve reduced the cases of rape in our society to as close to “zero” as any of us ever dreamed possible.

It’s fabulous!

Once we started giving men the choice to control their own penises–and stopped punishing them for things we may not agree with–the statistics showed a dramatic drop in rapes!

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There was a time when our country criminalized and punished men for choosing to engage in sex with someone who didn’t want it.

But, of course, that didn’t solve the problem.

Punishments for rapists were harsh; women marched against “Rape Culture”; and the  best and brightest minds on the planet tried coming up with ways to prevent the violence.

But reports of assault (especially on college campuses) continue to climb.  Clearly, it wasn’t working!

Making rape illegal wasn’t the answer!

No one was able to come up with a viable, workable solution for the problem.

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I can hardly imagine what that must have been like, back in the year 2017, when rape was illegal.

I mean, I understand why some people didn’t support a man’s right to choose. (Personally, I could never rape someone.)  But, we know we’re muuuuuch better off now that we have solutions for making rape safe and rare.

Sure, they still happen.  But, statistically, we’re better off.

Now that rape is legal, the number of rapes has dropped!

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It’s so brilliant that it’s amazing to consider people 1000 years ago didn’t have the courage to legalize rape.

Now society understands that we need to be supportive of men who are making a rape decision.  We know that, most of the time, with the right love and encouragement, they will decide not to go through with a full-blown rape.

Most men settle for simply kissing an unwilling woman on the cheek, or quickly patting one of her breasts, rather than violently penetrating a female blob-of-cells.

So…since the instances of violent rapes are down, it’s mission accomplished. Things are MUCH better than they used to be.

Problem solved.

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I can’t think of anything more compassionate and understanding than decriminalizing rapists, which results in a workable solution to this problem…

All we have to do is respect the complexity of the issue, and trust men to do what’s right with their own bodies!

Repeat after me: “It’s your penis; your choice.”

Such a simple solution to the “rapes will happen anyway” problem.

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Help, I’m Being Brainwashed!

He made his wife think she was crazy.

That was the plot of the 1940’s movie, Gaslight.

In order to hide that he was a wanted murderer, the villain married an innocent woman for cover and then framed her for being insane, every time she grew suspicious.

Thus, making someone believe they are crazy has come to be called “gaslighting.”

Oxford dictionary says it’s “manipulating (someone) by psychological means into doubting their own sanity.”

It’s a very, very popular term in feminist circles.

That’s why I think it’s time to ask ourselves whether accusing someone of “gaslighting” is, itself, the most common example of psychological manipulation…

Are feminists intentionally causing their ideological opponents to doubt their own sanity, by suggesting (over and over and over) that those opponents are predators with internalized hatred of women?

Feminist: We demand equality!

Non-feminist: How are things currently unequal?

Feminist:  See? Doubting that we need Feminism is EXACTLY why we need feminism.

Non-Feminist: So, disagreeing with you is proof that you were right all along?

Feminist:  You’re trying to make me sound crazy! I’m not going to take this gas-lighting!

Non-feminist: So…now you’re suggesting I’m psychologically abusing you?

Feminist:  Gas-lighting! Gas-lighting! Gas-lighting! YOU are the one who hates women! I’m NOOOOOOT crazy!

Non-feminist:  Um… Okay…

First of all, doubting our own sanity isn’t a bad thing.

Another word for that might be “introspection” or “conducting an honest evaluation of ourselves.”

Do you start feeling a little crazy when people question your ideas/opinions?

Well, maybe those ideas/opinions of yours really are bad ones. And maybe hanging onto bad ideas will make people a little nuts after awhile.

(Maybe women really aren’t paid less than men for doing the EXACT same work?…  Maybe being unable to get free birth control is NOT the human rights violation of the century?…)

Stopping to ask ourselves “Am I crazy” is healthy. It’s a good thing!

If someone inspires us to ask those tough questions, we shouldn’t automatically accuse them of gaslighting.

We should thank them.

That said, psychological manipulation by someone who knows what they’re doing is no joke. 

It’s also called “brainwashing,” and it’s malicious…intentional…

Gaslighting and brainwashing take careful planning and patience by a vulture who makes every move deliberately, as a form of control.

In other words:  not everything your Republican cousin says is “gaslighting.”

Therefore, if you accuse him/her of “gaslighting” with every breath, maybe you’re the one trying to cover up something by manipulating people into not trusting their own minds…

Nobody Likes You, Trump!

As thousands of women march on Washington, I believe the point they’re trying to make is, “Nobody likes you!”

Sure, you have to dig a little to hear that message…past the “pussy hats” and desecrated saints. You have to look past the I ❤ Abortion T-shirts and ignore phrases like “blow up the White House.”

But I think that’s the gist of what they mean.

“Trump (and the rest of his administration) can’t fix our problems.”

“He’s not popular.”

“None of us like him.”

And if I’m correct about that underlying message… well, then, okay!  I agree!

Trump is pretty gross and weird and unpleasant.

Did you hear me?

I said, if you’re looking for a President everyone wants to be friends with, then Trump isn’t the guy.   

Nobody likes him!

(Well, okay, there certainly are wing-nut supporters who put him up on a pedestal and claim he’s the key to America’s Greatness.)

But there are lots of people who voted for Trump that don’t worship him.

What you need to understand is: many, many of Trump’s “supporters” don’t depend on him to bring Hope and Change.

No, that would be a certain OTHER President we elected with great adoration and fanfare:

 

The word on the street is, Trump’s inauguration was attended by relatively few people, and that some were even paid to be there.

The size of the crowd in support of Trump, compared with the size of the crowd marching against him, has been brought up over and over again today.

Like here. And here.  And here.

Critics keep reminding him:

“You’re not even popular!”

“Nobody likes you!”

And, because Trump hails from Reality TV land, where ratings and popularity are everything, he takes this personally. Whenever someone suggests that no one likes him, he feels the need to respond with “nu-uh, EVERYBODY likes me!” And then he makes silly claims, like beating Hillary in a “landslide.”

(It’s possible that Trump may have a slight ego problem.)

But, here’s the truth:  Trump isn’t as popular as Obama.  People don’t like him as much.

 And, if I have to choose between a President that people don’t much like and a President that people worship, then I’m going to choose the guy we don’t like. 

I know this is strange for Americans who are confused (as Trump is) and believe this whole election has been a long episode of Dancing with the Stars.

But we’re not supposed to be hiring a celebrity. Politicians aren’t meant to be objects of worship.

The President shouldn’t be an American Idol.  


So, yes, women who are marching to tell Trump he’s a loser… You’re right.

He has bad hair.

He says stupid, off-putting things.

And he doesn’t have NEARLY the fan club of the sex-symbol who left the office.

 

Obama won the office (twice) on a wave of childlike faith that he would rule with amazingness and make everything wonderful.

But–on the flip side–I hope Trump’s unpopularity will make him a better President than Obama ever was.

Conservatives want to keep the power of government small. We believe NO politician can fix our problems, because we must fix them ourselves. Most true Conservatives aren’t going to show up at an inauguration like it’s a U2 concert.

It’s hard to keep the government small when you’re obsessed with the Prez and wish he was your BFF.

So, I like this trend, America!  Keep electing the people no one likes!

(And, for more reading on a similar topic, I wrote about Trump’s pick for Secretary of Education: the unpopular Betsy DeVos.)

Make a Profit Off Your Kids

With all due respect, I don’t understand why you’re so worked up about Trump’s pick for Secretary of Education.

The two criticisms of Betsy DeVos I’ve heard are:

  1. She doesn’t have lots of experience with public schools.
  2. She wants to privatize them. (Charter schools, voucher systems, etc.)

But the “arguments” from her critics may not be this clear.

(I boiled them down and numbered them because I love my readers and wish to spare them the agonizing, eyeball-gouging research I’ve had to do the last few days…)

Everywhere I looked, people cited these two, basic problems with DeVos. But they colored their opinion with additional phrases like:

-“Billionaire charter school mega-donor”

-“Anti-Union, Pro-voucher nominee”

-“Hostile to public education

-and “for-profit businesses!!!!”

Profit, profit, profit.

Rich.

Billionaire.

For-profit!

Those words get stuck to DeVos like spitballs.

I’m not sure precisely when it happened–but, at some point, Americans started using the term “non-profit” to mean “Good Guys,” while the term “for-profit” means “Bad Guys.”

And, if you don’t believe me, just look how many people are suggesting DeVos is wrong for this job, using nothing but buzzwords.

Here is Mother Jones (a non-profit, by the way)–trying to describe why charter schools are bad:

“Michigan serves as one of the most prominent examples of what aggressive DeVos-style school choice policies look like on the ground, especially when it comes to the expansion of charter schools. About 80 percent of state charter schools are run by for-profit management companies, a much higher share than anywhere else in the country, and with very little oversight from the state…”

So, there we have the obligatory reference to “profit.”   (How terrible!)

And then, Mother Jones goes on to say:

“Detroit, in particular, provides a cautionary tale of how the proliferation of charter schools without sufficient regulations hurts student achievement. Detroit’s public school test scores in math and reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress have remained the worst among large cities since 2009.”

Maybe those test scores seem pretty damning to you, Reader.

(Side note:  I personally wouldn’t move my kids to Detroit and trust any of the schools there, even if you paid me half of Mrs. DeVos’ billion dollars.)

But, if you’re a teacher who hates DeVos, and you’re citing achievement test scores as proof that her charter schools don’t work, then that is the HIGHEST form of hypocrisy!

Seriously, I’m a little shocked about the dishonesty.

Teachers have been complaining for years that their hands are tied by too much government regulation. They have too many programs being written by politicians with no experience. And they’re being forced to test their kids to death, even though testing is a “toxic, destructive element in our classrooms that interferes with our ability to deliver real education.”

Indeed:

“[Standardized testing] is detrimental to our students. And it is used in many places to deliver a professional verdict on our schools and ourselves with an accuracy no greater than a roll of the dice.”

And, in case you missed it, here is a different article arguing that standardized testing isn’t a good way to evaluate the performance of teachers.

Sooooo…

Would someone like to explain to me why they’re using those awful, toxic, inaccurate tests to point fingers at Detroit’s charter schools?

Anyone?

Anyone?

No, probably not.

So I’ll just keep talking to myself.

If we want less regulation and less standardized testing in our classrooms (and we DO!) then shouldn’t we be optimistic about the appointment of DeVos as Secretary of Education?

She wants–or at least says she wants–to put the power back in the hands of the local communities, to decide how to teach and evaluate their own students.

Why do we hate her so much?

Why is government oversight considered “hand-tying” when it’s done to public school teachers, but it’s simply “accountability” when directed at charter and home schools?

Good grief. It’s inconsistencies like this which are causing many Americans to see DeVos’ “inexperience” in public schools as a GOOD thing.

Meanwhile, she has lots of experience in education, if you count private and charter schools.

It seems as if Betsy DeVos is being tested and judged harshly by people who haven’t ever experienced a charter school classroom.  Do you sympathize, Educators?…

It’s a bit ironic, isn’t it?

So, what am I missing?

Oh, right…right, right, right.  The “profit” thing. Let me address that quickly, too.

We’ve been fed a lie that says doing something “for profit” makes it evil, while doing it “for free” is noble and beautiful.   (By the way, if that’s true, then you ought to LOVE DeVos. She plans to refuse a salary… which is about $2 million dollars less than Obama’s Education Secretary.)

But I don’t believe “for-profit” is bad.

In fact, I think literally everything we do should be “for profit.”

I have a private school in my home, with very little state oversight, and I profit from it every day.   I profit when my kids learn something they’ve been struggling with.  I profit when I grow more patient each day. And I look forward to profiting, when I get to launch these kids into the world as problem-solvers who pour love and wisdom into their communities, rather than leaches.

Money is how we convince a stranger to care about our family’s “profit,” when they don’t love our kids like we do.

It’s just another form of currency.

Regarding profit/non-profit school management systems, there’s really only one, main difference between the private school in my home and the public one across the street.

My household puts money into the government; the public school takes it out.

That’s it.

A for-profit management company means it is tax-paying.

A non-profit management company means it is tax-exempt.

Profit is just a word that means “good thing.”


 

So, anyway, I’d be more than happy to hear arguments against the appointment of Betsy DeVos, if I missed something important. I have no problem admitting she’s a bad choice, if she is.  (She’s not my BFF.)

But, it’s going to be hard to argue that charter and private schools are failing, without admitting that public schools are failing, too.

Just remember: it’s easy to rip apart someone’s bad idea. It’s not so easy to come up with a good one of your own.

If not private school choice, then what?

If not Betsy DeVos, then who?