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So You Think You’re Oppressed

Am I the oppressor because I won’t take Catticus to work?

Being oppressed sucks, hardcore. You are taken advantage of, dehumanized, and very often spend your days fearing for your life. Being oppressed means you’ve had your basic rights as a human put in jeopardy. No one wants to be oppressed. But everyone wants to claim they’re oppressed. Counter-intuitive right? Sadly not at all. Our society (American society) has a knee-jerk reaction to fighting for the oppressed, our whole country was founded on the basis of no longer wanting to be oppressed. So if you’re oppressed, we’ve got your back. Which means if you can convince everyone you’ve been oppressed, you get your way, and a lot of evil, manipulative groups have taken advantage of that in today’s political landscape. In this article we’re going to go ahead and take a look at what it means to actually be oppressed.

Okay, as I stated in a previous article, we need to start by defining our terms; in this case we’re defining oppression. My definition is: Oppression is the attempted or outright removal of basic, fundamental human rights from an individual or group of people. Not quite the dictionary definition, but very specific to the way it’s being used in our country right now.

Which brings us to the second definition we need to deal with: basic, fundamental human rights. We’re supposed to look to the Constitution for this, but I’m going to look toward the Declaration of Independence instead. I’m doing this for three major reasons:

 

1. More people have read the Declaration of Independence. Sad, but true, the Constitution is a mess of legalese that I’m betting almost no one in this country has actually read (myself included); however, I’m betting most people can quote from memory the bits of the Declaration I’ll be referencing.

2. It pre-dates the Constitution. Which means by our own legal traditions it gets precedence over the Constitution. More importantly, from a practical stand point, the United States was founded on the principals in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution just codified those principles into laws.

3. This is probably the most important one. The Declaration of Independence hasn’t changed. We can amend the constitution, as we should. The Constitution was written to protect the principles laid out in the Declaration of Independence. As times change, technology advances, and society grows we need to change the rules (laws) of our country to continue to protect the basic rights of our citizenship.

Got it? Right, so the Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Those rights, right there, “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” are the three core human rights that everyone has, if you’re trying to take these away from someone, you’re oppressing them.

Now, because we live in a society where everyone and their grandmother is claiming that these rights are being infringed upon, I’m going to have to rank them in order of importance. That way we can assume everyone IS having their rights oppressed and sort out who is more in the ‘right’ (it’s a pun, see? Ha ha ha). They are conveniently listed in my preferred order of importance: 1.)Life, 2.)Liberty, 3.) Pursuit of Happiness. So, someone’s right to be alive is more important than someone else’s right to be free (hopefully it never comes to that) and someone’s right to be free is more important than someone else’s right to be happy. Now, I realize some people may disagree with me, and that’s fine. You can prove your point by killing yourself. See, IF someone’s right to happiness is more important than someone else’s right to life, then you have to realize you’re making me very unhappy right now. Clearly the only resolution is for you to kill yourself, which would prove your point that someone else’s right to happiness (mine) is more important than someone else’s right to life (yours). I’m going to go ahead and assume (and hope) that no one took that bait, and we’re all going with my ranking system. Taking and running the claims of ‘oppression’ from various groups through this filter let’s us pretty quickly figure out who is being oppressed, and who’s doing the oppression. Since I’m almost positive most of you aren’t going to do that I’ve gone ahead and laid out a few examples for you.

 

Group One: The NRA

The NRA purpose is to defend the American citizen’s right to bear arms (own guns) as stated by the second amendment. They constantly claim that their rights are being infringed upon whenever the topic of gun control comes up. The problem with their argument is that “owning guns” is not one of three unalienable rights stated in the Declaration of Independence. It’s not even part of the original Constitution; it was amended in later.

The best argument I can give them is their right to pursue happiness. Guns make people feel safe, it’s hard to be happy if you don’t feel safe, owning a gun is tied into your right to happiness. I’d like to say they can claim right to life (you shoot someone who wants to kill you), but empirical evidence shows that the gun owners are the ones doing the killing.

Which brings us to the counter-argument: People kill people, and people with guns can kill people a lot faster than people without guns. Yes, there are many legitimate reasons to own guns and the bulk of gun owners are responsible individuals, the continued insistence that everyone be allowed unfettered access to guns (unless you’re black, hispanic, or poor) means that the NRA (and those that support them) are willfully and knowingly allowing guns to be owned by people who put their right to happiness over other people’s right to life. And let’s be real about the ‘safety’ argument. Owning a 9mm may make you feel safer when you walk the streets, but when a white guy walks into a theater or school with an AR-15, no one is going, “Oh thank god. Someone with a gun is here to protect all those children from the bad guys.”

Fundamentally, the NRA’s argument boils down to their right to happiness versus everyone else’s right to life, and everyone else’s right to happiness. Right to life is more important than right to happiness, they are the oppressors (the bad guys).

 

Group Two: Anti-Abortion (Anti-Choice)

The anti-choice crowd tries makes a strong argument for the right to life. Indeed, I have to agree, the willful abortion of an otherwise healthy fetus for frivolous reasons could be counted as murder. But they seem to think that frivolous reasons should include: medical issues, emotional or mental trauma, and financial instability. The narrative their belief is based around seems to be that all woman are evil seductresses and that having a man’s baby is the only good thing that can come from them. So, the anti-choice group’s argument is less, “children have a right to life” and more, “women are not people, they are environmental hazards that men (the REAL people) should either avoid or dominate.” No.

Women are people, they deserve the same unalienable rights as every other human. A potential life of a child is not worth the actual life a woman. A potential life of a child is definitely not worth the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of both the child and their mother. The imagined succubus that seduces men and aborts the baby in the name of Satan doesn’t exist. No woman gets pregnant and then just tosses the child away without a thought, anti-choicers are fighting against something that doesn’t exist and punishing half the population because of it. The anti-choicers are, without question, the oppressors.

 

Group Three: Anti-Vaxxers (Pro-plague)

Oh boy, the anti-vaxxers (or as someone has recently told me, Pro-plague)! This group not only explicitly claims they’re being oppressed (the usual thing to do is to imply it), they’ve actually recently compared themselves to one of the worst tragedies in human history. The best part (from my perspective) is that I’m having trouble figuring out which of the three unalienable human rights they’re claiming. It can’t be right to life because there’s overwhelming evidence that vaccines cause life. It can’t be right to happiness; I’m having trouble imagining anyone is happy with dead children. Right to liberty? You should be free to choose whether or not to vaccinate your kid? Sure, that’s as strong an argument as they’re going to get.

The basic problem is that their right to liberty is based on a falsehood. All the pro-plague rhetoric is based on an article that’s been proven to be falsified and random hearsay from social media. Let’s say I were to claim that I’m allowed to light my house on fire because I read an article that says every house that isn’t lit on fire gets wood rot. That argument would be just as strong as the pro-plaguers. In fact, I’m not allowed to light my house on fire because I live next to people, and fire spreads. I’d be liable for any damages my house fire caused. Same thing with the pro-plaguers, an unvaccinated person not only puts themselves at risk, they’re now risking the lives of: people who legitimately can’t get vaccinations (it’s rare, but it can happen), those with compromised or weak immune systems (including infants and elderly), those who got lost in the system and haven’t been able to get vaccinated yet, people who have out of date vaccinations. I’m sure there are others, but this isn’t my area of expertise. Regardless, the pro-plaguers right to…willfully ignore scientific facts(?) does not override everyone else’s right to life. And on a sidenote: Why the fuck are they SO afraid of being wrong that they’re willing to put their children and other people at risk just so they can cling to the lie they’ve decided is their right to believe? Also, what’s wrong with autistic people? Why are they so afraid of having an autistic child?

Sorry, got off topic there. Pro-plaguers are not oppressed. In fact, given that they are putting other people’s right to life at risk, I’d say they’re the oppressors.

 

There you have it, three groups claiming oppression (both implicitly and explicitly) that are, in fact, the oppressors. There are sadly, countless other groups that claim the same. And there are countless groups that are rightfully oppressed but ignored. The trick is to have a way to figure it out, and I hope this helps you sort through the blasted hellscape of our society and be one of the good guys.

Blog · Essay · Nonfiction · Political

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