Suddenly A Useful Skill

Two articles caught my attention last weekend. Like most Americans, I am an English speaker but due to where I grew up and my ethnicity I have an extremely limited vocabulary in Polish. The latter became useful as I described one of the stories; which at their core are very similar. Let’s explore.

The Washington Post broke a story about how several localities in Poland have instituted “LGBT free zones”. The ruling Law and Justice Party threw its full support behind the movement. Law and Justice is an extremist right wing party that has gained power in Poland. From my observations their name is a complete misnomer. Poland might be one of Europe’s emerging economies but it is currently mired in an age of ignorance which the right wing is trying to revive. Similar to Russia the fear of the other – in both of these cases the LGBT community – has proven to be a great way the rally a significant portion of the masses. (I don’t know the Polish word for Bubba or if one even exists.) In Poland neither same-sex marriage nor adoption are legal.

Interestingly the main justification for the LGBT discrimination is religion. Poland is overwhelmingly a Roman Catholic nation and the “reasoning” is that same-sex activities are against the teachings of the Catholic Church. The American right wing uses similar “reasoning” to defend its discriminatory stances except it substitutes the more inclusive word Christian. Remember these are the same people who simultaneously scream about the fear of countries and people motivated by Islam. Am I the only one who finds that somewhat hypocritical?

Back in the USA, ProPublica was the first (to my knowledge) to break a story about an Alaska town where every member of the police force had a criminal record including a domestic abuse conviction. Because of its location and small size Alaska doesn’t get as much political attention as many other states but it is among the most right wing. In full disclosure I might be a little more sensitive to this than most because I have sat on the Board of a non-profit dedicated to combating domestic violence and sexual assault for most of the last decade.

For a liberal I am very pro-police. I’m not saying they are all great and do a terrific job; I know better from both life experiences and research. That being said, I believe that by and large the street police do a pretty good job with what they have to work with. It is not an easy job.

I’m certain white privilege plays a large part in it but I still pretty much believe in what I was taught as a child – the policeman is my friend. Furthermore I assume the law enforcement person I am dealing with has a clean criminal record and that if convicted they will be removed from duty.

If I had to sum both stories up in a single word it would be crazy which I can say in both English and Polish. Now I need to learn how to say dangerous in Polish.

This article is the property of and its content may not be used without citing the source. It may not be reproduced without the permission of Larry Marciniak.