This is My Ship [Monthly Update]

Insanitek is based in Indiana, and this past month we were blind-sided by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and people’s reaction to it. When I first heard it, I thought, “Well, who does this apply to? Does it apply to me, as an atheist? Am I protected from having to teach creationism in schools because it’s against my belief?”

When I read the actual law, I thought it was interesting. I read it as a way to set guidelines and standards for lawyers and judges to be able to better assess a lawsuit that was brought to court. Nothing more. That’s what others thought too. And I’m not talking about any particular brand of people, here. Historians, engineers, welders that can barely add, a handful of teens, a mother that homeschools her kids, and others. They are all just normal folk with an honest heart and compassion for other people — and they didn’t see anything insidious in the bill.

excuse_me_what_are_you_doing_3971Yes, we could see the potential for people to use the flag of religion and dogma as a way to coerce others or deny others still. I was disgusted to see that one such company went so far as declare their intentions as such. Many, if not most, of us in Indiana agree that this pizzeria should be boycotted by all that disagree with their stance — that is the beauty of the free market, after all. I’ll take my money to a pizza place that is warm, welcoming and friendly to all people, including those that are of the LGBT community.

I was appalled by George Takei and Gen Con both calling for the generalise boycott of Indiana. I am not to blame for this, and I should not be punished. They never asked the rest of us residents and business people.

And that’s part of the fucking problem.

Oh, yes, I’m that pissed about it. I’m pissed that this law was passed by so few voices represented in the bill. No one was called to put their two cents in from around the community. No one asked us how we would want it stated.

Instead, they went to the big companies. They talked to mostly white men. They had a couple women voices in there, but how many of them were pagan, gay, or even atheist? How many of these voices came from the smaller companies? How many people were listened to in order to make sure they felt they were being acknowledged?

I couldn’t answer that question because most of these deals were behind the curtains, if not solidly closed doors.

Why? Well, some believe it’s because it was supposed to be such a little thing that would simply set out guidelines for lawyers and judges, as well as for businesses that follow the letter of the law, that others shouldn’t have had to be bothered into wasting their valuable time. I can see where they would think that was reasonable, but why didn’t they think it through? Why didn’t someone think of the delicate sensibilities of all these groups that may be impacted by the decision, halt the progression, and then beckon them in for an open, honest conversation?

Thursday, 9.April.2015, I was driving back from a meeting listening to the law experts talk about the bill on NPR. The host would have people call in and ask a question or make a statement. They discussed how these big businesses and government officials thought nothing of it — not due to callousness, but due to the fact that they are so big, so international, so diverse that it never crossed their mind that this sort of discrimination would even come up.

Both reasons sound a bit like bullshit to me. If you’re international, you’re often very more aware of the discrimination that happens around the world for various reasons. If you haven’t lived under a rock, you should have been listening to the fights for all sorts of human rights right here in our own country.

So, I’m not buying it. I don’t know what their reason is, but this is just part of the problem.

The other part of the problem is over reaction.

invictus_by_maydei-d50sh80I’m bisexual. I remember disgusting people asking me to be in a threesome all the time. Among other degrading things that people would say. It’s ridiculous. I know how it feels to be targeted and discriminated against for being female and for being of a low socioeconomic class. Trailer trash, they used to call me — and that was the most tame of the names. Cunt, bitch, slut, were others. When I was a teenager, I was asked at one point if I’d have sex with another guys wife while he watched. He assumed I was trashy because we didn’t have money, and thus I would do anything for money.

So, yes, I understand. Don’t go there with me about not understanding what it’s like. I know what it’s like to pre-empt the problem with mindless distrust and utter hate for anyone that “might” be a bigot and that might make me hate myself. But bigotry and becoming that which I detested was not going to help. Automatically assuming that everyone was out to destroy me wasn’t going to get me out of where I was. All it did was make me look like I fit those ugly descriptions they labelled me. Eventually, it would turn me into the very person I hated.

I couldn’t allow that to happen. 

Despite of knowing what it’s like and wanting to pre-emptively strike, I believe that the whole thing was blown out of proportion by the responses. YES, there is a reason for conversation and concern for ALL people of all religions (not just Christianity), of all political persuasions (not just Republicans), and of all sexual orientations (not just LGBT). The conversation needs to keep flowing.

Not all people are out to attack, condemn, discriminate, destroy, and ruin another. This is a time for mature responses, open and frank conversation, perhaps even a good ol’ water balloon fight to work out some aggressions. This is a time to work together and learn to respect one another — not widen the divide with our individual dogmas. We should be celebrating the things that unite us as human beings, such as a desire to be loved, understood, a warm meal, a comfy bed, and safety. We should not be allowing this inane argument to divide us further and devolve us into hatred. We should embrace the argument to change the status quo.

Insanitek is my company, and it’s in Indiana. We do not discriminate. I can’t be arsed to really care about really personal details like your sexual orientation, religion, gender (chosen or born with), genetic affiliation, planet affiliation, time affiliation, political affiliation, or anything else. You see, those traits might start to make you a unique individual, but that’s not what I care about as employees, customers, friends, or acquaintances.

What matters to me, and what this company is built around, is that you are a genuinely good person with a good heart and open mind. It matters to me that you have a willingness to work with others of different persuasions, even if you don’t agree with them, with respect and an attempt at understanding. It matters to me that you have some skills, but even more willingness to keep learning and furthering yourself in your passions and dreams.

This is not some hippy-loving wish. This comes from someone who has gone to war-torn areas and seen what utter blind hate, assumptions, and bigotry can do to a community. This comes from someone who fought for others that didn’t have the strength or capacity to fight for themselves. This comes from someone who gives a damn about all of humanity. To that end I will remain vocal to my local government to insist on fairness for all and to end discrimination. But I am only one person, and it takes more than one to keep the conversation going.