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Defend this, not that!

July 10, 2013

deen pitchI can’t help noticing that a great many people are jumping on some highly questionable bandwagons lately. It’s not that they’re aligning themselves with actively hateful people or causes, necessarily, just that they’re using their activist energy (of which most of us not named Wendy Davis have a finite supply) on stuff that is, how shall I put this politely, really quite stupid.

But I’d like to take their interest in good faith, so in the spirit of positive reinforcement, I thought I’d offer some recommendations, Amazon reading list-style, of causes that might be every bit as satisfying to them and a lot less infuriating to the rest of us. I welcome your suggestions of others in the comments.


If you’re tempted to defend: Paula Deen

Then you must be passionate about: Fair employment practices for people who prepare food!

So maybe instead you should support: Hakima Arhab, an Algerian immigrant and food-service employee at the Oakland Airport, who contends that she and a number of her co-workers were fired from their jobs after blowing the whistle on a number of unfair and illegal labor practices. Don’t worry—Paula Deen has millions of dollars to live on while she tragicomically attempts to rehabilitate her image (and let’s be clear, she didn’t just “use the N-word once thirty years ago!!!”, and there are plenty of southern women of her generation who are totally clear on why it’s not okay to use racist language or, sweet lord, muse wistfully about how great a plantation-themed wedding would be if not for the touchy media’s certain overreaction). Hakima was making somewhat less money working at Subway, and now she’s not even making that, so she’d probably appreciate your support in any form. Read her story here and click “actions” to attend a rally or help the cause!


If you’re tempted to defend: The Busch Stadium mound cross

Then you must be passionate about: The right not to have your religious symbols messed with!

So maybe instead you should get mad about: The Tennessee mosque that was burned to the ground in 2007, an act of terrorism that continues to inspire and invigorate the anti-Muslim brigade six years later. The removal of the Cardinal cross was sad for some, but in the end, it was a business decision made by the parent club, which incidentally, has won four games in a row since John Mozeliak made the call. (You may be thinking “Is that really a sign from God, or just a sign that the last four games were against the Marlins and the Astros?”, but who do you think made the schedule, huh?) By contrast, the arson and bomb threats that took place at the mosque in Murfreesboro, 350 miles southeast of St. Louis, destroyed property, jeopardized people’s safety, and drove deep wedges into a community, to the delight of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (translation: “White People Afraid Of Brown People”), who protested the recent community forum hosted by the American Muslim Advisory Council, and cheered the mention of the burned mosque. Send AMAC a note of support, and if you’re a Cardinal fan, keep in mind that it’s in our best interests to keep Tennessee as safe as possible, since that’s where we stash our Wongs and Taverases.


If you’re tempted to defend: The Tomahawk Chop, Chief Wahoo, the Redskins….

Then obviously you care about: Freedom of expression, even when it offends people!

So maybe instead you should stick up for: Sarah Slamen, who just yesterday was escorted out of the Texas statehouse for speaking out against the ongoing war on women’s agency. Her main crime, it seems, was pointing out that an ophthalmologist was not the same thing as an OB-GYN, but of course, this incident is just the latest reminder that the GOP is deeply offended by anything to do with ladyparts unless it’s legislation to control them. Hey, there are already plenty of het-up sports fans who feel very strongly that their right to enjoy an ugly team logo or an irritating ballpark cheer (with disturbing “sieg Heil” overtones) far outweighs an entire oppressed race of people’s right not to be used as a gimmick or a caricature. Why not redirect your energies and stand up for women’s rights to enjoy our own body parts rather than fighting over them?


If you’re tempted to defend: George Zimmerman

Then obviously you’re passionate about: Floridians’ right to stand their ground in the face of potential threats!

So maybe instead you should speak out on behalf of: Marissa Alexander, who in May was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot into a wall after a physical encounter with her estranged husband. Alexander was in her Jacksonville home with her children present when her husband, who was not living with the family, confronted her about texts she’d apparently sent to her ex. According to her, he cornered her and tried to strangle her; she went to her garage planning to drive away, but had no keys and grabbed her gun instead to scare him off. The warning shot did the trick without hurting anyone, but a jury took 12 minutes to convict Alexander of aggravated assault, which carries a mandatory 20-year sentence, anyway. We don’t know exactly what happened here, just as we don’t know exactly what happened between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, but we do know that in one case, a non-black guy with a gun killed a black kid without one on a public street and may very well walk free thanks in part to “Stand Your Ground,” whereas in the other, a black woman with a gun caused no bodily harm to an unwanted visitor in her own home and will now spend two decades behind bars. You know those conservative friends of yours who keep posting fake photos of Trayvon on their Facebook pages because they’re apparently okay with killing teenagers as long as they have tattoos and facial hair? Maybe they’d like to join you in pulling for justice for Marissa Alexander and her three kids instead.


Are you following me on Twitter? You should, because my feed is a weird mix of Cardinal-related expostulations, feminist musings, and rantings about whatever the right-wingers have done now (BECAUSE IT’S ALWAYS SOMETHING), and I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to be part of that.

Thanks to my good buddy Matt for brainstorming with me on this one. Go Padres!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. historiophiliac permalink
    July 10, 2013 4:15 pm

    Tuck that Native American thing away for when you decide to write a post about the top 10 ways the Cards are better than the Mets.

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