Here’s what you may have missed this week in American politics:
Congress Discovers $15 Billion to Aid Ukraine
Amount of Money the United States Has Sent to Ukraine
2021: $1,000,000,000 via Reuters
January 19: $200,000,000
February 26: $350,000,000
March 10: $13,600,000,000
March 12: $200,000,000
In an emergency on an airplane, a passenger is instructed to cover his own face with an oxygen mask first before helping others. In America, we never take care of ourselves first. I understand that Americans are not being bombed or invaded by another country’s army. I can’t even fathom the pain and horror of that. It’s sickening that we live in a world filled with senseless violence. (The U.S. is one of the biggest offenders of this, btw.)
But it just blows my mind that we can find $15 billion in an instant when war is involved. Yet, Congress is ending federal funding that allows schools to provide free lunches to children. During the pandemic, Congress authorized funds to give out free lunches to school children especially in areas where parents were struggling to make ends meet. Remember lockdowns? COVID-19? No jobs? Well, reports are emerging that more children are eating these free lunches now than at the height of the pandemic. Children in America are going hungry. Not some third world country millions of miles away. Right here in the USA. American children are starving and missing meals. Congress could give a shit. Fuck our poor kids, let them starve. There’s no profit in ensuring American children are fed. But when another country needs missiles … we pony up a ton of cash in a New York minute.
Updated from “Salaries” to “Budgets” After a Fact Check
Congress office budget increase: +21%
Average American yearly wage increase: +3%
Average American salary increase expected in 2022: +2.9%
Average American salary: $44,225
Average U.S. Congressperson salary: $174,000
I’m not really a fan of numbers or any type of math, but these first two stories are glaring when you look at the data.
If public servants (politicians) made the median American salary and received the same yearly salary/budget increase as the working class, the lives of average Americans would get better. It would hold politicians accountable. Politicians would actually have to help the average American rather than supporting corporate interests.
Also, what’s the incentive of doing any work as a politician when you can give yourself a salary increase three times higher than the everyday American regardless of your job performance?
I have a better idea.
Voters should vote on our public servants salaries. That seems even more fair. Because Congress would never get a raise. And rightfully so.
The IRS Hates Poor People
The IRS audits the poor five times the rate of everyone else who files taxes in the United States of America.
“About 13 tax returns out of 1,000 filed by those earning less than $25,000 were audited in the fiscal year ended September 30, compared with a rate of 2.6 for every 1,000 returns for people with incomes above $25,000, TRAC found (via CBS News).
Stop being so poor.
Does Opposing the “Don’t Say Gay” Bill in Florida Make You a Sexual Groomer?
After 9/11, the Patriot Act seemed like a good idea. I mean, most of the country went full-blown patriotic after terrorists killed thousands of innocent Americans in a coordinated attack. Congress came up with a solution to prevent another 9/11-like tragedy on American soil. Use technology to spy on bad guys and catch them early to prevent another deadly crisis, they said.
Well, the Patriot Act and its vague language eventually led to the American government spying on its own citizens with the ability to spy on whoever and whenever with no checks or balances.
Whether liberal or conservative, there’s always phrases or catchy nicknames that politicians and their communications teams come up with to turn bills and laws into “easy to get behind” or “easy to get against” sound bites. This is how they sway the American people to feel a certain way about laws, events, etc.
An example is the Patriot Act, which passed through Congress weeks after 9/11.
Here’s another example:
Affordable Care Act.
That sounds like something everyone can get behind.
That sounds like an ego trip by a politician trying to leave his mark.
Words matter, folks.
This week, in Florida a bill called, Parental Rights in Education, passed and will go into effect on July 1, 2022. The legislation aims to give parents access to what’s going on with their children in school while also forbidding teachers and school officials from teaching anything gender or sexuality related to children from kindergarten to third grade.
Those for the law are dubbing anyone who opposes it as sexual predators trying to “groom” young children into being gay. Others avoid the gender and sexuality component of the law and say the bill gives parents a say in what’s being taught in public schools.
Those against the law are calling it the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
Here’s the part of the bill that everyone seems to be arguing over the most:
“[c]lassroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate.”
When you read the law, the language seems fair and common sense. Obviously, in a perfect world, children don’t have to discuss sexuality or gender until they can fully comprehend what it means. (Obviously, they are concepts way above the average eight-year-old’s mind. It’s a foreign concept to a lot of adults in America, too. Gender and sexuality have changed rather rapidly over the past twenty years.)
“Age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate” is vague language for a bill, that could eventually lead to banning of any sexual orientation or gender identity instruction for any child from the time they enter Florida public school until the time they graduate high school. This is dangerous. What if such a ban happens and a teen is struggling with his sexual identity? Suffering in silence with who he is as a person. Doesn’t that young person deserve support from a trusted adult? What if a child who identifies as trans lives in an anti-gay household? What if a high school student has to hide who they believe they are because there’s no one to talk to about their sexuality or gender? What if a gay ninth grader wants to come out to a school guidance counselor because his parents disagree with the gay lifestyle?
This bill has the power to allow those things to happen, depending on how it’s interpreted in the future. The truth is, there are parents who would disown their children and/or cause them physical, mental, and emotional harm for who they want to be and who they are attracted to. I know this from living with an anti-gay parent. If there’s enough anti-gay parents, this bill could be catastrophic for LGBTQIA teens in Florida.
A third grader might not know what he’s attracted to, but a sixteen-year-old certainly does.
People don’t choose who they are. People just are.
The point is this bill could be the first step towards something more oppressive. The law starts as a ban on teaching kindergarten to third graders about gender and sexuality, which seems appropriate for such a complex topic when children are still learning basic concepts like language, social interaction, and math, but this bill could turn into a complete ban on gender and sexuality for children from six-years-old to eighteen-years-old. That’s the major issue.
And here’s an interesting nugget from The Week:
The final text of the bill requires schools to notify parents “if there is a change in the student’s services or monitoring related to the student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being.” A student coming out as transgender or non-binary would require changes to the student’s “services and monitoring” — such as altering the student’s sex in school records or stipulating the use of different pronouns in the classroom — and could therefore fall under this definition.
The legislation does, however, include a carve-out that allows schools to “withhold such information from parents” when there is a risk of “abuse, abandonment, or neglect.” So, for example, a transgender student who wears girls’ clothes and uses a feminine name at school but lives as a boy at home because of parental threats would not have to be “outed.”
Parents should have a say in a child’s education.
Parents should have access to children’s school records.
But students need to be protected from danger.
Even if the danger is their parents.
The bill does include some protections for LGBTQIA community from potential harm at home. Because LGBTQIA Americans have every right to exist in America. It doesn’t matter if you support or oppose their lifestyle. In America, people are free to be themselves whether you agree or disagree with their choices.
The LGBTQIA and their supporters are outraged by this bill. Obviously. It has the potential to do a lot of harm. As we saw with the Patriot Act, and others not mentioned in this story, things may start with good intentions (I’m not sure this bill did), but they can be used for oppression in the future. It’s the vague language of this law that has the potential for massive future harm to LGBTQIA Americans in Florida. And by harm, I mean bullying, violence, homelessness, and suicide for LGBTQIA youth.
Here’s a link the bill: Parental Rights in Education
Also, I recommend reading this Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Will Hurt Teens Like Me.
I understand it’s an essay in the New York Times, but it’s written by a Florida teen and member of the LGBTQIA community, who will feel the effects of this legislation.
Again, you don’t have to agree with me, but be civil in your disagreement. And before you say anything, actually read the bill instead of looking at your social media feeds and seeing what catchphrase aligns with your party and supporting or opposing something you haven’t even read.