There is not a universe in which this is okay.

What do you do when your state’s history includes being the place where Andrew Jackson sent thousands of Cherokee to get them out of the way? And if, among those thousands of people, some thousands died of exposure en route? If you’re Tulsa, OK, you look at that history and think it could help you look good for the IOC:

The Games require an estimated work force of as many as 200,000, which would mean enlisting one of every two men, women and children within the city limits.

International Olympic officials require a host city to have a minimum of 45,000 hotel rooms. Tulsa has about 15,000. And the estimated price tag, which will almost certainly top $5 billion, is equivalent to more than half the state budget.

But Tulsa, its boosters argue, offers something that big-ticket American rivals like Los Angeles, Boston and Dallas can only dream of — the vast frontier of America.

This part of the country produced Woody Guthrie and Jim Thorpe. Neon signs still glow along Route 66. J. Paul Getty made his first million in Tulsa nearly a century ago, and the city’s Art Deco buildings have survived booms, busts and tornadoes. “The larger cities aren’t truly representative of what the real America is,” said Jennifer Jones of the Tulsa 2024 bid committee. “The real America is the midsize cities, and we want people to see America.”

 Jennifer Jones, did you just use the phrase “real America” without irony? 

Downtown Tulsa now has bistros in the carcasses of forgotten warehouses, and it has BOK Center, a gleaming arena that opened in 2008, further fueling the city’s national and international ambitions.

In a nod to the state’s American Indian history, the Olympic torch would be led along the solemn Trail of Tears, not far from where field hockey would be played in Tahlequah.

I encourage you to follow the link, look at the NPS page, and ask yourself: Does it seem like a good idea to drive a gigantic international sporting event through this place?

For more context, Travis Waldron at Think Progress points out:

A little history for Tulsa’s organizers: the Trail of Tears is the result of one of the most pernicious laws in American history — the Indian Removal Act of 1830 — and it is a marker of policies that nearly eradicated an entire indigenous population of people. The death toll on the trail ranges from the government’s record of 400 to others that estimate more than 4,000 died on the march. It doesn’t merit a “nod” from Olympic organizers, especially not when mega sporting events like the Olympics have a tendency to displace poor and indigenous populations to make room for facilities or to shield them from media and tourist attention. What it merits is education and awareness about the fact that large segments of the Native population are still struggling with the after-effects of government policies slanted against them, even more than a century and a half after they walked that trail.

The Olympics are…really not intended as a vehicle for spreading awareness of genocide and its role in a country’s history. It’s true that America wouldn’t exist as we know it without my ancestors having driven a wrecking ball through all the Native cultures, but the IOC has no intention of making that message a part of the 2024 games. That would be kind of a buzzkill; it’s so much easier to have a good Olympiad when you shove the poor and indigenous folks out of the way and act like they were never there in the first place. 

In a way, pulling this plan off WOULD be a way for Tulsa to show the face of Real America to the world…but not in a way they should be proud of. As a matter of presenting ourselves to the rest of the world, it would probably be best to show them one of the big cities with sufficient infrastructure already in place.

God did not smash OK. A huge tornado smashed OK.

Just as regular as a Swiss clock, a high-up member of the cartoon hate cult Westboro Baptist Church is spewing crap from his face-anus about the recent disaster in Oklahoma:

Fred Phelps Jr., the son of Fred Phelps who leads the Westboro Baptist Church, has tweeted that he believes the tornadoes that recently leveled areas in and around Oklahoma City are the result of Kevin Durant’s support of former Celtic Jason Collins. Durant plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder of the NBA and Collins recently came out as gay.

Durant has also pledged to donate $ million to the recovery efforts in Oklahoma City.

Fred Jr’s first Tweet reads: “OK Thunder’s Durant flips God by praising fag Collins. God smashes OK. You do the math. #GodH8sFags #FagsDoomNations #FearGod #GodH8sU”

Mr. Phelps worships a God, and wants us to worship a God, who creates incredibly destructive meteorological events that kill dozens of people simply because the state in question contains one basketball player who has some kind words for another basketball player, who is openly gay.

Does this mean the WBC is going to picket funerals of people who were killed by the tornado?

I know the WBC isn’t exactly representative of anything but itself, but this is far from the first time someone has attributed a natural disaster to their God being pissed off at us for being too tolerant of gays, abortion, feminism and religions outside of evangelical Christianity. Remember Hurricane Katrina? Remember the earthquake in Haiti? Remember all the “Religious Right” people who wanted us to believe those events were divine retribution as opposed to meteorology?

Many well-meaning people of faith openly assume atheists are miserable nihilists. They ask how we godless weirdos manage to get up in the morning; they want to know how our lives have any meaning. They don’t understand how we can be good without God.

This is a good example right here. When ugly shit happens due to factors beyond our control, we don’t ask ourselves what we did to lose God’s divine protection. We don’t ask ourselves how we have to change our behavior so that God doesn’t punish us again. When God is taken out of the causative equation, it’s so much easier to make sense of life.

That tornado did not happen because anyone in Moore, OK was insufficiently homophobic. It happened because tornadoes are a fact of life for some parts of the world. The severity of this particular event may be attributable to climate change, but if that is the case, then the solution is not more hate disguised as faith. The Religious Right’s God doesn’t make life better for anyone. Looking out for our fellow human beings and our planet is what keeps disaster from being too destructive.

ALL THE BABIES

Heh heh.

While the “every sperm is sacred” amendment is clever, I would like to propose something that can actually be enforced, and which would give the legislators in question a chance to put their love of children into practice. It would be an answer to this question here:

Between the years of 1907 and 2008, only 77 women have been elected to the Oklahoma state legislature, and currently less than 20 is serving out of a total 149. But who better to pass laws about women’s bodies than a group of men who will never have to worry about the consequences of their religious zealotry?

Who says they won’t have to worry about the consequences of their religious zealotry?

The next time a state legislature is frothing up one of these “defeat the scourge of women who are not perennially pregnant” bills, let’s attach an amendment that creates the following conditions:

1. The state will allow for Safe Haven dropoffs of infants up to 30 days. The state will similarly provide special shelters for homeless pregnant women and girls.

2. The state will release to the public the home addresses of all the state lawmakers who voted Yes on the bill.

3. All of those lawmakers’ homes will be considered Safe Haven zones for unwanted newborns AND special shelters for pregnant women and girls facing parental rejection, domestic violence and extreme poverty. Those homes will be held legally responsible for the safe placement of all newborns left at their doors and for the provision of shelter, food, clothing, medical care and protection from violent partners for all pregnant females seeking assistance.

You think babies are so awesome that women should be legally forced to gestate and birth indefinitely? They’ll be coming (both the women and the babies) to your doorstep. Have plenty of beds ready.

 

Invisible lines in the sand

Via Jezebel (WSJ requires subscription to read full article):

Oklahoma’s governor has vetoed a reintroduced bill that would have required details of women’s abortions to be posted online, because it has no exception for rape or incest. However, Oklahoma’s legislature has overridden such vetoes in the past.

In any abortion-related legislation…how exactly do you make an exception for rape and incest?

It’s easy enough to write the distinction into law, but how do you enforce that distinction? When you have real women coming into real clinics to procure real procedures, how do the authorities know which ones were raped, and which ones simply forgot to use contraceptives?

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