Saturday, December 1, 2018

Rock, God and Trust

Kid Rock was invited to be Nashville's Grand Marshall of the annual Christmas Parade which of course had noting to do with his celebrity bar opening here and the investment by local bar owner, Tootsies, at all. No nothing at all.

Well in a typical asshole way Rock went on the air trashing Joy Behar and it lead to much brouhaha by many involved, including our passive aggressive Mayor to threaten to not come if Rock was to be the Grand Marshall.  So in the hours that precluded the parade a last minute invite to our local hero of the Waffle House shooting was asked to preside over said honor. He did with a family member of one of the victims and all was right int he world.  Or not depending upon who you ask.

I chose to go to Yoga and run to the mall to pick up a package, check out a pop up fair and in turn watch a documentary about the Pimp to the Stars - Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood.  I loved it and what was interesting was he put the whore in hoarding.  That I found by far more disturbing than his stories about the closet of Hollywood and their sexual peccadillo's.

This week once again in Nashville I never tire of the endless sagas of pain and death but when a crash happens that involves an ambulance killing the medic and the patient he was transporting pretty much sums up how bad the drivers are and the roads that cannot handle the rain.   This week again brought much discussion about transit and Amazon and again I cannot stress enough that this city has issues with public transit because of money.  Not the cost to operate but the idea that anyone with money would ever ride transit.

I walk through my apartment lot and the most expensive cars seem to belong to almost all the faces of color and yet they live in tiny apartments that are largely over priced studios so why anyone would put almost all their income towards their car to seems to be a waste of money.  And I asked someone and they believed it was due to to the idea that Police will not stop a black person in a more expensive car. Well again wrong.   Recently it was revealed that black drivers are stopped more with no affect on crime. Shocking! I know, not really.   This is the South, save your money and buy a beater the less reason to keep your car under criminal asset forfeiture when the cops come up with a bullshit reason to charge you with a crime and keep your car.  But that is something few think about when singing those loan docs.  Call me a racist I hear it enough but when I spoke to my Lyft driver about this he laughed and said some brothers don't know shit when it comes to this.   But here in Nashville it is an aspirational city,  emphasis on ass. 

And this is where I spoke to my neighbor who is tenant two moving out this month.   The building is going condo and I have long thought it was white washing to rid the building of some of the black tenants and some of the white trash occupants with the two pit bulls and the crappy trucks.  We believe that no one would buy these units and they will end up as Air Bnb as they are not worth it.  But we again discussed how that they lied to get us in the units,  have continued to  lied to us since that time and and the building manager is perhaps the dumbest girl on two legs and seems out of her depth just functioning.   I said that early on I realized how dumb she was and that I (again) was called racist for saying as such. I believe I have no problem calling anyone stupid regardless of color and the white boy who precluded her was equally an idiot.  The smart one was the building maintenance man who was black so again that card is being well overplayed in this hand.  And it was from this I realized that if you are honest and direct you are a bad person here and hence I am ostracized.   I said that is what defines Southern Culture and Hospitality - Lying.  I have never seen anything more fake and disingenuous in my life since living here and then I thought I would ask what others thought. His wife is from New York and could not believe the bullshit here and was shocked at the amount of violence that dominates the culture.

I did some digging to understand it as again it is often equated as a racial issue but no it is in fact a deep rooted one that is very much linked to the region.

Psychology Today found the reason for the disingenuous behavior in the south is due to a concept referred to as culture of honor. In cultures of honor, people's behavior in overly polite, excessively generous ways to people's faces in order to not offend their “honor.” Because, in that culture, people react more dramatically when they feel their “honor” has been challenged. So, in order to avoid conflict, everyone behaves in an overly polite, kind, and affectionate manner as to not offend anyone.

It’s been deemed as one of the reasons the American South has a much higher violent crime rate. Men raised in this culture feel the need to act aggressively when challenged. It’s also been noted that part of the problem is the politics of the Bible Belt. “Politically, people in the South tend to reject gun control, favor capital punishment, corporal punishment and the building of a strong national defense.” So southerners, your beliefs seem a little contradictory to your nicely-nice facade you put on. It's actually funny how the same region that lynched people for being another race, implemented Jim Crow laws and commits more violent crimes then the rest of the nation wants to preach about manners.

A 1996 study tackled this idea of the culture of honor. 42 northerners and 41 southerners were taken and told by a research they’d need to go through a hallway to get to the next research room. In the hallway, there was a man set-up to bump into the other man and call him a name. After being bumped into, the Southern testosterone was miles higher than the northerners. They take greater offense to insults. (read the full study here).

Since living here I have found that the people remind me of fish. The stare at you wide eyed when speaking then their eyes cloud over when you say something that upsets them. They respond with the fake insincerity, the Inquisition style questions and simply are so smug that it puts you either in the defense or so frustrated you walk away.  I have never seen anything like the way they mock or demean people with bullshit faux expressions or often  within ear or sight range and when confronted seem mystified as to why.  And now that I understand this it may explain the driving, the road rage, the drug problems and the obsession with church as they are in constant high dudgeon in search of moral superiority.  They have a chip on their  shoulders here as wide and deep as the Grand Canyon.

And some of this comes again from class and societal norms.  Southern society has traditionally been more hierarchical than Northern society, not just in the form of rigidly enforced class distinctions between aristocratic whites, poor whites, and blacks, but also in the relations between strangers and of children to their relatives.  I have long said that children are the last in the line of import despite the prayers and pleas of future generations.  It also explains why education is so neglected.

But its  all coming your way and God We Trust will soon be at every school door soon. It is here and its a meaningless as the idiot who instituted it into law. Welcome to Tennessee, check your intelligence at the door but bring your gun and Bible.

Does ‘In God We Trust’ belong in schools? More and more states say yes.
By Moriah Balingit. The Washington Post December 1  2018

A week after the school massacre in Parkland, Fla., when grief-stricken students demanded action at the state Capitol, Rep. Kimberly Daniels took to the floor to promote a measure she said had been inspired by God, who she said spoke to her in a dream.

God “is the light. And our schools need light in them like never before,” the Jacksonville Democrat said Feb. 21. “It is not a secret that we have some gun issues that need to be addressed. But the real thing that needs to be addressed are issues of the heart.”

Her proposal? Ensuring every Florida public school student is educated in a building where “In God We Trust” — the national and Florida state motto — is prominently posted. The bill passed and was signed into law

Florida is one of seven states this year that passed laws requiring or permitting schools and other public buildings to post “In God We Trust.” Arkansas passed a similar measure in 2017, and Arizona this year allowed schools to post in English the state’s motto, which appears in Latin on the state seal: “God Enriches.”

These laws have emerged as some religion advocates press to expand references to God and the Bible in public schools and other public venues. Advocates for these measures were heartened by President Trump’s picks for the U.S. Supreme Court, both of whom have sided with religious interests.

Some states and lawmakers have gone further, fighting to allow or require the Ten Commandments in public schools and public places. Voters in Alabama this month overwhelmingly passed a ballot initiative that permits the Ten Commandments to be posted on government-funded property. Backers hope it spurs litigation, hopeful that the U.S. Supreme Court and its conservative majority would rule in their favor.

Arkansas state Rep. Jim Dotson, a Republican, said the national motto reflects a central part of what it means to be an American. He sponsored the 2017 bill requiring the posting of “In God We Trust” in classrooms and has since helped lawmakers in other states pass similar laws.

“Our history and our heritage is incredibly important, making sure that we as a nation remember our roots, remember where we came from,” Dotson said. “America is an exceptional nation. It’s the greatest nation in the history of this planet. Obviously, that success is attributed not just to individuals but probably some higher power than ourselves.”

Even though the laws often pass by substantial margins, some members of the public take deep offense at the posting of “In God We Trust,” saying it violates the Constitution and the nation’s legacy of keeping religion out of government.

At its core, the recent spate of laws is part of a long-running battle between two competing visions of the nation — a fight that started not long after Puritans, seeking refuge from religious persecution, arrived.

Americans have long disagreed about the role religion should play in public life. Some argue the acknowledgment of God is central to the nation’s identity. Others point to the founders’ efforts to eschew state-sponsored religion.

Much of that battle has taken place in public schools. The Supreme Court in 1962 struck down school prayer and in another case ruled against a Pennsylvania school that required students to start the day with the Lord’s prayer and a Bible reading.

More than five decades later, educators still struggle to find the balance between safeguarding the religious expression of students and teachers while remaining appropriately neutral on religion and culture.

The high court has struck down graduation prayer and school-sponsored prayer that is led by a student. There have been battles over whether religious groups can rent out school facilities, with religious groups prevailing. A school in the D.C. area tried to prevent two Muslim students from covering their heads during Ramadan. In rural Virginia, a lesson about Islam stirred so much anger that the school district had to shut down, in the face of emailed threats.

Schools have also wrestled with how to teach about Islam, an issue that has become fraught amid rising Islamophobia.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, whose family supports two Christian schools in Michigan, has promoted vouchers that allow parents to use public money to send their children to religious schools.

Charles C. Haynes, founding director of the Religious Freedom Center at the Newseum in Washington, said these tensions often flare when the nation is in tumult.

“We’ve had really from the beginning of our country, even in the Colonial period, we’ve had a tension or really an argument about what kind of country we are,” Haynes said. “When we have a period of great anxiety about our nation and who we are and we have a great upheaval . . . this comes backs to the surface.”

It happened after the Civil War, when religion advocates pushed to amend the Constitution to include references to God, and during the Cold War, when evangelical Christians successfully inserted “under God” into the Pledge of Allegiance and pushed to make “In God We Trust” the national motto.

Haynes said we may be in such a moment now, with growing polarization between Americans who have radically different values and perspectives on issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage and growing anxiety over how immigration is changing the face of the nation.

Trump harnessed and stoked that anxiety, Haynes argues, with his anti-Muslim rhetoric and when he cast Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists. This may have compelled some to fight to return the nation to what they believe are its religious roots. School shootings have also contributed to that anxiety.

That’s why Daniels, of Florida, fought “to remind our children of the foundation of this country, which was founded on people who came for religious liberty,” she said in February.

Even though Daniels’s measure passed, some viewed it as an empty gesture and accused the lawmaker of capitalizing on a tragedy to advance her agenda of pushing religion in schools.

Greg Pittman teaches honors U.S. history at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, the Florida school where 17 people died in the February shooting. Pittman said he is religious but resents the effort to bring religion into schools following tragedy.

“I do not see how placing the motto ‘In God We Trust’ is going to protect us from someone coming down the hallway and shooting students and teachers,” Pittman said.

Annie Gaylor, who leads an organization that fights to remove religious references from public spaces, said the motto has “an exclusionary message” that favors the religious over the nonreligious.

“They’re using it as a weapon to proselytize to schoolchildren,” said Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

Views on the measure remain mixed at Stoneman Douglas.

Mei-Ling Ho-Shing, a 17-year-old survivor of the shooting and student activist, said she appreciated the initiative, saying the school could use more “positivity.”

“It’s powerful because it reassures people of faith,” Ho-Shing said.

Though Pittman and Ho-Shing disagreed on the measure, they agreed on one thing: Wherever the motto was posted, it was not easy to find on the sprawling campus.

“If it’s somewhere in our school,” Pittman said, “I don’t know where it is.”

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