Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Posts Tagged ‘protest’

You have the right to attract attention to yourself

Posted by sanityinjection on April 5, 2010

I don’t know Ty McDowell of Portland, Maine personally. I allow for the possibility than in other aspects of her life, she may perhaps be an intelligent person. But on this past Saturday, at least, Ms. McDowell may have qualified as the Dumbest Person In America.

McDowell, you see, believes strongly in equal rights for men and women. To her, that includes the right to bare one’s chest in public. So she arranged a protest in which she and two dozen other female true believers walked topless down a main street in Portland. Of course, this was hardly the first protest involving female nudity, and if that were the end of the story, I wouldn’t be making derogatory suppositions about McDowell’s intelligence.

In fact, McDowell and her fellow protesters were not arrested. Under Maine law such behavior is only criminal if the genitals are exposed. So in fact, legally McDowell and company *were* within their rights to do what they did, and were treated accordingly by the law.

Nonetheless, McDowell was by her own account “enraged” after the demonstration. But not because of the police or the law. She was angry because a crowd of hundreds of onlookers – mostly male – had watched and followed the demonstration – some snapping photos and videos. (To be fair, she might have been equally furious with some of her own group who didn’t seem to mind posing for photos.)

You see, it turns out that what McDowell really expects is not that a woman should have the right to walk around topless, but that the rest of us should all act like this is no big deal. And I’m sure there are places where that might even be the case. However, Portland, Maine wouldn’t be on the top of my list.

It strikes me as the height of stupidity for a female to walk around in public with her top off and not expect males to ogle her. While she certainly has the right to remain unmolested, if you don’t want people to pay undue attention to you, don’t attract undue attention to yourself. Duh. Furthermore, it seems inherently contradictory to simultaneously seek to draw attention to your cause and then be angry when you in fact receive attention.

Ms. McDowell is certainly entitled to her views, but if she thinks that the factors of human biology which inherently lead men to be attracted to female breasts as a secondary sexual characteristic are somehow going to be altered by protesting, she is definitely the Dumbest Person In America. Heck, even *women* notice other women’s chests.

I am all for equal rights under the law, but that is not the same as pretending that there are no biological differences between men and women. While it is always impolite to stare at someone no matter how underdressed they may be, let’s face it, there are impolite people out there. If this is truly a great social injustice, the best solution would probably be to have men refrain from going topless in public also. In fact, I would argue that such should in fact be the norm outside of a pool or beach environment.

Do you ever wonder when you hear about people like McDowell where their parents are and what they could possibly be thinking?

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Posted in Domestic News | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Black and white bigots have more in common with each other than with us.

Posted by sanityinjection on July 21, 2009

My inspiration today comes from this story about opposing protests by black and white racists in the town of Paris, Texas. The New Black Panther Party protest was allegedly over the dragging death of Brandon McClelland. That in turn motivated about a dozen Klansmen and skinheads to counterprotest.

Reading about McClelland’s death, I search in vain for a racial motivation. The mere fact that McClelland was black and the suspects (against whom charges were dropped because of lack of evidence) were white does not make it a racially motivated event, especially since the victim and the suspects were friends who had been drinking together. But it made me ponder the fact that both the black and white racists are more similar to each other than they are to the rest of us. For starters, they both see race and conspiracy  behind absolutely everything. They both have an interest in causing controversy and making mountains out of molehills in order to draw attention to their causes. They even share the same goal of separating whites and blacks.

The idea of this commonality was suggested decades ago in the novels of Allen Drury. In the sequels to his Pulitzer prize winning novel Advise and Consent (still required reading for anyone who wants to understand how Washington really works), Drury wrote of an uneasy alliance between black and white extremist groups, together with a pro-Soviet peace-at-any-cost outfit, all working to undermine a strong American foreign policy. While the grouping was arguably far-fetched, the speeches made by the leaders of the groups revealed that they were in fact flip sides of the same coin.

It’s enough to make one fantasize about marooning them all on a desert island together.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

This is not a civil rights issue, it’s a civility issue

Posted by sanityinjection on July 20, 2009

Salt Lake City is abuzz over yesterday’s protest by gay activists and their supporters against the Mormon Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Readers may recall that the gay community was already furious with the Mormons for bankrolling the anti-gay-marriage ballot question in California. However, yesterday’s protest was in reaction to the arrest for trespassing on church property of a gay couple two weeks ago. The couple claims (probably accurately) that the real reason for their arrest in an area where the public often roams freely is that they were kissing.

So yesterday, gay activists staged a “kiss-in” – first on the sidewalk, then on church property in the area where the arrest took place. Of course, counter-protesters showed up. Fortunately, no real fights took place.

Here’s the problem: You don’t have a right to do anything on someone else’s private property. If the LDS Church doesn’t want to allow kissing on its property or a particular area of their property, they’re entitled – although I would argue that prohibition should be applied equally to heterosexual as well as homosexual couples. There is a difference between exercising your civil rights, and deliberately thrusting them in the face of those you know will be offended. If anybody thinks that the gay couple that was arrested just spontaneously happened to kiss while strolling the grounds of a notoriously anti-gay religious group, and weren’t deliberately making a statement by doing so, I’ve got a bridge I’d like to sell you.

Meanwhile, of course, the US Senate has tacked on a hate crimes amendment to the defense budget which will practically make it illegal to think anything critical about homosexuals, transgendered people. I am not anti-gay at all, but you cannot legislate prejudice out of people’s minds. Nor should you punish a murderer more severely if he killed his victim for racial reasons – that’s like saying that the life of a black victim of a black murderer is less valuable than that of a white victim.

All of this is part of a disturbing trend in which a significant group of people or even a majority declares, “I do not like X, so the government should put a stop to it.” Gone is the idea that government should only become involved when there is a compelling need. Instead, government has become simply an effective tool to accomplish a progressive social agenda whose righteousness is not open to question.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Let’s use children to fight our political battles for us…not.

Posted by sanityinjection on July 29, 2008

I can’t say I’m surprised that somebody is calling for students in Chicago to skip the first day of school as part of an ill-conceived protest. It’s a little disappointing, though, that the call is coming from a state legislator (Sen. James Meeks):

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080729/ap_on_re_us/school_funding_protest

Briefly, the protest centers on the fact that per-pupil spending in wealthy suburban school districts is much higher than in the Chicago public schools. (This is true in pretty much every major metro area in America.) The protesters see this as discrimination against poor communities, but particularly against ethnic minorities.

So on the first day of school, these numb-nuts want to bus thousands of Chicago kids to affluent, lily-white Winnetka where they will attempt to enroll in the New Trier School District, on the basis of a dubious interpretation of a provision in state law allowing transfers if a student’s “safety” is at risk.

New Trier is something of a legend in education circles. It consistently ranks among the top public school districts in the country. People come from foreign countries to tour the schools there and see how they do things. I don’t blame any inner-city family for wanting to send their kid there, which is why I support school vouchers and school choice.

However, asking schoolchildren to skip school as part of a political protest is a very bad idea. Granted, kids never learn anything important on the first day of school anyway. But you set your habits for the academic year, you learn where you’re going and who your teachers are and what time the buses pick you up. Kids who miss the first day of school have a much higher truancy rate, which is a real issue in urban schools.

Children do not, for the most part, understand issues of school funding, nor do they get a vote. It is irresponsible to ask or expect them to engage in political protest on behalf of adults who don’t seem to be able to act effectively themselves. You shouldn’t put your kid on a picket line and you shouldn’t make them hold a sign for Obama or McCain. Let them do what kids are supposed to do: Go to school, and enjoy themselves when they’re not in school. If your political cause requires the manipulation and exploitation of children in order to succeed, that’s a good reason why it doesn’t deserve to.

Posted in Domestic News, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »