Friday, December 30, 2016

Trump, Clinton, and Human Rights

From an article posted at NPR during the October 2016 trial of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupiers: "'Especially if Hillary Clinton is elected, all of our rights will be taken away,' [John] Lamb said." Mr. Lamb was referring largely to land use rights, but the conversation is really about rights in general.

Clinton, had she been elected, would only have cared about land use or any other rights to the degree that caring would further her political future, and would've done exactly, and no more than, what she had to to get elected to a second term, meaning a lot of foot-dragging on the issue until it went away or until she was forced into the appearance of making some choice. That choice probably would've had no real effect on anything of import, as politicians by and large avoid doing things, especially in their first terms as president, that might cost them votes.

Trump, on the other hand, most likely sees visions of a Trump-branded western United States, formerly public lands covered with new high-end resorts, hotels, and office buildings, with a smattering of casinos thrown in to bring hope to those among the poor and disenfranchised who don't understand that the (white) house always wins, and where nothing else can be built, oil rigs and fracking and mining operations. Of course none of that can happen until he gets rid of the pesky ranchers who voted him into office and their bloody smelly cows. (Oh, and the cattle, too.)

We at MOA have always said that a government is a reflection of the society it leads. We can't blame Clinton for her complete lack of substance when we as a society punish anyone who takes a stand that differs from our own, and we can't blame Trump for his perniciously willful ignorance when we ourselves are entirely unwilling to learn what drives those with whom we disagree - or much of anything that's outside our comfort zone. 'Land use' or any other 'rights' are dependent upon our ability to cooperate and work together for mutually beneficial outcomes. We all lost those the minute we decided it was the government's job to tell us who gets what privileges rather than treating all humans as of equal basic worth and allowing our own actions or lack thereof to dictate how society would treat us.

When we're a better society - when we as individuals learn to respect ourselves and others - our governments will improve and questions of 'rights' will resolve themselves. (Self-respect should not be confused with arrogance, condescension, or specious sanctimony.) Until then, the bed we've made will be covered with gold-infused 1200-thread-count sheets for those who can afford them, and the rest of us will keep our heads down and do as we're told until we've lived out our useful lives, lucky if we have a bed at all, then go quietly - or screaming - like Lambs to the slaughter.
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