Sunday, September 03, 2017

The Process of Morality?

A question that is often in the social consciousness recently is the Question being asked of Atheists: 

“How do you know what is right or wrong if you don’t believe in God?”

Of course, the “pat” answer is the one always pushed by theistic overlords, which says that atheists don’t know, so they feel free to act immorally.  Thus, to be an atheist is to be immoral and evil.  Naturally, atheists disagree, as we all do actually have morals, and many of us feel our morals are superior to those of religious people, in the main because we actually have to go through a process of decision making to get there, while theists don’t. (Theoretically.  As I will note later, people are complicated, and none of us are usually that dogmatic about this.)

But just HOW do we get there?  How to explain to theists who do not know (and to new atheists as well) what that process is?  What are the issues, and how does one make up one’s mind?  Let’s step through the process, talking about those issues as we go.  Be aware, this is a complicated issue, and to do this in any manageable manner, I’m going to have to simplify things a bit.

First, I am NOT a philosopher.  I am not trained in any professional sense in either the field of philosophy nor logic.  I was exposed at one time (high school) to both in my studies in Latin (because I had an awesome Latin teacher), but I can in no wise claim any expertise in either field.  So, the following is just me.  If you have such training, and see any obvious errors as a result of that lack, feel free to jump in.  I won’t be insulted, unless you intend to insult me, and it’s obvious.  Otherwise, I’ll be glad to discuss that problem.

To simply this a bit, I’m going to look at four subgroups of people.

Theists who make a decision that something is good.
Theists who make a decision that something is bad.
Atheists who make a decision that something is good.
Atheists who make a decision that something is bad.

Obviously, the category of “theists” is a very broad one.  Their morals are often different in particular ways.  But, mostly, their beliefs are bound by some sort of Scripture.  It may be something dictated by a deity, it may be something dictated by past masters (or clerics) in that particular religious practice.  The commonality is broadly the idea that morals are dictated by some authority.  It may be centralized, it may not.  But generally, people are guided by that authority, and not primarily by their own thought processes.

Also, with Atheism, naturally, that definition is one that encompasses mainly the belief that there are no deities.  Note here that atheists may have a widely differing spectrum of political thought and practices, and come from virtually every culture in the world.  Thus, the cultural influences will be broadly different.  We’ll get to that later.  But, the fact that atheists may have differing POLITICAL ideals certainly shows that other influences on their morals are as widely varied as the cultural influences.  So, keep these in mind as we examine these processes.

One last thing.  This is examining a process.  I’m not saying that any of these four subcategories are about a lifestyle of good or bad, either as theists or atheists.  People are complicated, and any or all of us are capable of making a decision about what to do in a particular instance that may, objectively, seem good or bad at any one time.  The NEXT time we are in a position to make such a decision, we might make the completely opposite one.  So, be aware that I am not making any value judgements here about lifestyles.  This is about how people determine morality - the decision PROCESS, and how that determines our actions.  On THAT, I reserve the right to make value judgements.

-  Theists who make a decision that something is good.

Now, in the popular paradigm of the Question, “How do you know what is right or wrong if you don’t believe in God?”, obviously, the implication is that people who believe in God are guided by His hand as revealed in the Bible. (Or, possibly, in a wider context, by a holy Scripture not Christian). This presupposes that all such believers take their morals from that Scripture, and ONLY from that Scripture.  I would contend that this is false, at least in general.  Everybody lives in the cultural environment in which they live.  (For the purposes of this essay, I’ll assume that is where they were born, and that as theists, their upbringing raised them in the most popular religion of their birthplace.)

As an example, let us look at Female Genital Mutilation.  FGM, as it is known, is a horrible practice that involves the mutilation of the female outer genitals - the Vulva, with terrible results.  (You can look this up, as the details are not relevant to this essay). It is practiced across Northern Africa and into parts of the Middle East.  It is NOT a religious requirement at all, as it is practiced by both Christians and Muslims in the countries where it is generally allowed, and neither religion addresses the practice at all.

But, it is considered not only common, but REQUIRED by the cultures in which it is practiced, in order to make women obey the sexual restrictions of those cultures.  It is considered “good”.  And not at all by Scripture, although some clerics in those areas may fall back on that excuse.  It is a strong influence, not from Scripture, but by culture.

Other cultures consider that practice anathema and forbid it, but, again, not as a religious practice, but as a cultural one.  In both cases, the resulting practice, either to do it or to forbid it, is very strong.  But, in actual practice, religious scripture is irrelevant to those decisions.

So, we see that even theists make decisions about morality based on things that are not “revealed” by their deity, but also on cultural traditions.  This is ignored by those who ask the above Question.  One can reinforce this point when one sees how Scripture often condones practices once considered “good” in ancient societies but “bad” in modern ones, such as slavery, or even genocide.  These formerly condoned practices are today illegal in virtually every society in the world, yet, at least in Christian Scripture, neither one has been removed or noted as currently discouraged.  Thus the waters are muddied considerably when asking people to use Holy Scripture as a guide.  Cultural influences in modern societies rarely coincide well with ancient writings.

- Theists who make a decision that something is bad.

Making a decision about what is bad is equally fraught with a minefield of such problems, if one is trying to use Holy Scripture as a guide.  Taking the Bible as an example (mainly because I am writing this in the context of a largely Christian controlled culture), there are some hard restrictions that do not match modern cultural influences, in which those modern cultural influences overshadow the biblical pronouncements of “badness”.

The most popular ones are the biblical restrictions on eating shellfish or wearing mixed fabrics.  Not being a Biblical scholar any more than I am a philosopher, I can’t tell you what the purposes of those restrictions may have been when the Hebrew priests wrote down those verses over two thousand years ago.  There may have been some very good reasons, perhaps having to do with either keeping shellfish fresh or with class restrictions on who could wear different fabrics.  Who knows today?  Biblical scholars or historians, perhaps.  Not me.

But the point is that in today’s Western societies, neither of these things are considered “bad”.  One is perfectly free to wear mixed fabrics, as much as one is free to eat shellfish or not, in spite of the very firm restrictions on them in holy scripture.  Oh, some clerics will tell you that the “laws” in the “Old” Testament are no longer valid, because of some verses in the “New” Testament.  But, those same clerics will turn the other cheek and tell you out of the OTHER side of their mouths that the Old Testament prohibition against homosexuality is still perfectly valid!

Which also muddies the water when good and well intentioned people try to use Holy Scripture to decide what to do or not to do.

- Atheists who make a decision that something is good.

One cannot pretend that atheists live free of religious influences.  All across the globe, in all cultures and in all religious places, there are those who do not believe the offerings of those who tout invisible magical beings for moral guides.  Unfortunately, in most places, those religions are the major influences on the legal and moral sets of values that the cultures they exist in require their people to live by.  In the US, it is relatively easy to camouflage one’s lack of religious belief and appear to conform to the common cultural practices of the locality in which one lives, at least in general.

In many places around the world, that is infinitely more difficult, as in some places being an atheist will get you seriously dead.  So, let’s just pretend for a moment that we are talking about those who, publicly, have the ability to choose their own moral values with which to guide one’s actions.  After all, having to camouflage one’s existence by copying the actions of one’s neighbors and family as they obey the strictures of their holy works isn’t having the freedom to choose one’s morals, is it?  Thus, for these poor atheists, the Question above is irrelevant.

But, in general, as one is free to choose, there are many ways in which one can reach out for information to guide one’s decisions.  One can look at history to get an idea of how one’s actions can work out in the context of one’s culture.  What works?  What generally turns out well?  What are, for example, the results of common practice on, say, marriage?  What is legal, what isn’t?  How do other people deal with a cheating spouse?  If it is legal, can I justify an affair?  What may that affair do to the welfare of my kids?  Or to the attitudes of my parents, or in-laws?  My boss?

One is free to look at all the data and decide that a course of action is perfectly fine - one may have married with an agreement together that an open marriage allows for sexual freedom, as long as certain rules are followed.  This may not conform with traditional ideas of marriage, but then American culture decided several decades ago that the government has no business poking its nose into people’s private lives, thus laws restricting sexual activity outside of marriage were done away with.  The same generally true in most Western societies.

Of course, cultural influences don’t always allow an atheist to perfectly follow their own ideals, as living in a more religious locality can restrict one’s ability to take free action similar to more restrictive countries in which religion is a major reflector of the law.  Social constraints are often harsh.  Just because the law says you can do something and the government cannot stop you doesn’t mean you don’t have social consequences to deal with if you violate social restrictions.  Of course, inside the US, those consequences rarely involve death.  For many, however, they can be severe on a personal level.

But even if mild, they are something atheists will probably take into account in some ways.  Generally, however, other considerations are paramount.  Who does this hurt?  Does this benefit me without hurting someone else, or will it come back to bite me on the ass someday? (Or perhaps someone close to me?)  Is this something that could help others while being good for me?  Or, how can I do this and mitigate the possible negative consequences for someone else?

The questions one asks will be consistent with one’s life philosophy.  Or, one’s political beliefs, alternatively.  There are atheists who are decidedly Libertarian in belief, and the questions they will ask are fundamentally different from the questions a Liberal atheist will ask.  Which will also be different from the questions a Conservative atheist might consider.

Believe it or not, it is entirely possible that an atheist could conform quite closely to the values of his/her community if their political philosophy is similar to the religious folks living in that locality.  In many US cities and States, one can see social values that are probably more due to political values than religious ones, and often, those values are diametrically opposed to “traditional” conservative Christian values.  The rapid rise of the acceptance of marriage equality around the US is an excellent example of this.

- Atheists who make a decision that something is bad.

Again, political values are often more important to this process than pure cultural values.  After all, in many families, that political culture is more important than religion in a growing segment of the public.  As the sheer numbers of people to whom religion is not relevant enough to matter to their lives (even if they nominally identify as theist) grows to an even greater percentage of the American public, one has seen a growing divide in relative values in political discourse.

At one time, one could count fairly well on the proposition that Christian values would be politically important to a wide segment of the public.  Religious leaders of Christian denominations enjoyed (and in some cases still do) wide acclaim and respect, and often influence a significant percentage of the voters.

In what I think is a significant development, the Conservative movement in the US has been reduced in percentage considerably in recent decades, to the point that the Republican Party has collectively decided that it is necessary for them to begin to depend on subterfuge such as gerrymandering and denial of voting rights to minorities likely to vote Democratic to remain in power.  More and more Americans seem to have decided that the dependency of the conservatives on the Religious Right is not a good thing, and this seems to have had a remarkable affect on the numbers of Americans abandoning religion and/or religious organizations in recent decades.  It is generally agreed that the majority of the category of “nones” have tended to move towards a liberal political set of values.

As with atheists who decide that something is good, those who decide something is bad are also using those influences of culture and politics to come to their conclusions.  Nobody lives in a vacuum, and atheists are no exception.  In fact, I believe atheists are increasingly becoming more influential in the body politic.  Not publicly, of course. It is still politically wise to mimic a Christian while running for office, but that doesn’t mean that closely held secular values aren’t beginning to be felt.   It is remarkable that even after the Republican Party has successfully managed to gain control of all three Branches of government, their failure to enact more than a handful of Conservatively leaning policies is so obvious.  The failure of the Republicans to repeal “ObamaCare” is only the tip of that iceberg, but is the poster child of their failure to force their values into policy.

It is my opinion that this is due to secular people in disguise acting secretly to confound and frustrate the right wing religious fanatics.  In other words, atheists (or nones) deciding that Conservatism is bad, combined with weaker believing theists using modern cultural influences to counter traditional Christian values in the public sphere.

In Conclusion

Life is complicated.  Nothing is ever simple, and the emotions, opinions, values, and actions of people are no exception.  While every person has something outside of themselves they hold to be most important in its influence on them (whether they know it or not), there are still multiple influences which combine to water down that larger element.

Yes, even religious people.  In fact, I would argue that there really isn’t a lot of difference between the religious folks and unbelievers in how they set the values they hold closest in influencing their actions.  One set of folks may hold one source more important, the existence of the others are often more important than they might realize.

However, the existence of those who are adamantly holding to written scriptures to make those decisions (and want to force ALL of us to do the same) is hugely influential in the world, and is a major threat to the ability of future generations to make better decisions about life, death, and how to live moving forward.  Any source of values that does not change and react logically to a changing population and cultural environments is a continuing threat to the future of mankind and its development.

So, “How DO you know what is right or wrong if you don’t believe in God?”

Get answers.
Decide for YOURSELF.

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life.  Don't be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of someone else's thinking." (Steve Jobs, at Stanford University, June, 2005) 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Keeping it simple

The other day, I saw in a comment thread someone mention the following quote:

“The world always makes sense.  If something doesn't make sense, you don't have enough information. “

I did a quick search and couldn’t find who the author might have been.  But this comment brings to mind something that doesn’t make sense to me.

Yesterday, DT & Co. made a comment that the American Media is the “Enemy of the American People”.  Bill Maher made a video wherein he lamented over the nonsensical fact that the GOP, the Party of Patriotism, once the Defender of America, has flipped into the Party of Critics of America, who now support our once arch nemesis, Russia.  And all without so much as a mention or a bit of regret or so much as a facial tic.

DT & Co.’s remark is a slap in the face of the Constitution and one of the most important rights enshrined in that document - so important it was placed into the First Amendment alongside the guarantees of religious freedom and the freedom to petition the government and the right to gather with like minded people - the guarantee of a free press.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”  

There it is, right there.  Enshrined in the Constitution, in the Bill of Rights, a document supposedly sacred to the Right Wing and Republicans.  Yet, when DT & Co. denigrate the press, calling it the Enemy of the American People, do we hear a peep?  A gasp?  Something of a facial tic?  Nope. Nothing, nada, nichts, not even the slightest of peeps.

None of this makes sense.  

Here we have a man whose entire life is a stain on the American business world, whose tactics are the epitome of capitalist greed that sparked the 19th century limitations on the worst of those peoples’ practices, such as the laws against monopolies, who both woos the press on one hand yet calls them Enemy of the American People on the other.  A man whose personal life has been a prime example of the evil that christianity and Jesus’ teachings have railed against for centuries.

And yet both the GOP, as the party of the Defense of the Constitution, has voted for and backed this man fully, even as he begins the process of dismantling the democracy the Republicans have supposedly devoted its life to protecting, and a huge percentage of Evangelicals - those devotees of Christ - not only voted for, but still enthusiastically support and defend.  In spite of his flagrant violation of the values Christ supposedly preached, thus destroying Evangelical credibility in moral issues.


Yet, why?  What makes that support for Trump worth it?  Worth in fact, condoning violations of the Constitution either group would have condemned outright not two years ago.  There may be some answers, and none of it will make you feel good.

John Podesta, Hilary Clinton’s chief of staff, said this today:

“Trump is deploying a strategy, used by autocrats, designed to completely disorient public perception,” Podesta wrote. “He’s not just trying to spin the bad news of the day; all politicians do that. He seeks nothing less than to undermine the public’s belief that any news can be trusted, that any news is true, that there is any fixed reality.” 
Podesta compared Trump’s aggressive stance toward the media to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the autocratic strongman whose government U.S. intelligence officials believe ordered the hack into Podesta’s email account during the campaign. 
“He is emulating the successful strategy of Vladimir Putin,” Podesta wrote, cautioning that Trump’s behavior puts the U.S. “in danger of experiencing an information void like Russia,” where people are so cynical that they “hear something on TV and assume it’s a lie.”

In the op-ed, Podesta urged Americans to “maintain a heightened vigilance” and be wary of things they read on social media, but also “be wary of any effort, particularly from the White House, to disorient or discredit reliable information.”

Journalists, in turn, must continue to fact-check the White House, he wrote.”

Trump has been accused of mental illness, as well as being incompetent.  This view makes the assumption that he is neither, but is working a plan.

Does the Republican party have a plan?

I don’t think so, but somebody else does.  Back on November 18th, I posted an article entitled “Once more into the breech!” in which I first noted this idea that our true enemy is the Corporatists, who are members of the 1% engaged in a long term conspiracy to turn this country into an Oligarchy.  One of the techniques in getting there is exactly what Trump is engaging in, according to Podesta.

Remember the first rule in examining something and looking for an answer:  the KISS Principle, also expressed as Occam's razor.  No need for long, complicated conspiracies, or convoluted multi-level plans.  The simplest is most likely to work, hence is more likely to be the best explanation.  The more complexity, the more likely points of failure there are.

In this atmosphere today, when the Chief Executive is doing his best to confuse, confound and create chaos, it is perfectly normal to be exactly that - its’ the intent, after all!   That;’s why we need to be alert, be aware, and on the lookout for clues to what makes all this make sense.

In the meantime, keep your other eye on the ball - the corporatist ball!

Once we have enough information, it’ll make sense.

Monday, February 13, 2017

All we have to fear is fear itself.

There are a lot of alarming things coming out of the White House this month. It is particularly alarming that this will go on the another 200+ weeks!
But today my focus is on fear.
There once was a time when Americans were born and bred into a form of national bravery. Bravery in some fashion was almost a national religion. We admired frontiersmen/women for their bravery in setting out to explore the unknown, we admired our military for their bravery in facing our enemies, and we built a national image of ourselves based on that admiration.
We faced down adversaries who were bigger than ourselves, who had bigger militaries and stronger national presences abroad. We invoked the Monroe Doctrine, which dared the much stronger and older European powers to face our ire if they meddled in the Western Hemisphere, and we did it at a time when we were not exactly a match for any of them.
We fought in WWI, sending our bravest into a war which literally changed the face of the world.
We used our tremendous industrial base, secure from foreign invasion by two immense oceans, as a powerhouse to allow us to fight and WIN against two opposing coalitions on the opposite sides of the globe, mobilizing the entire population to do so.
"Home of the Brave". That's what our national anthem calls it, this United States of America. We have made a national icon out of this.
We bolster our courage every 4th of July by parading this picture of ourselves through our streets and across our computer screens, patting ourselves on the backs for facing down our enemies.
Not any more.
For over thirty years, especially since the Reagan years, the Republican Party has capitalized on our fears. Fear of Big Government, fear of the different, fear of this, fear of that. Fear of anybody whose culture we don't understand.
Their constant mantra has been to stir fear about anything they could imagine that might in some way, change our country, or make something different happen. It is all touted as dangers to America, and threats to our Democracy, to The American Way of Life. Brown people, black people, yellow people, people with long hair, people who dress different. People who (gasp!) speak a different language! (GOD forbid we should have to select English with a tap of a button...)
We spend more money, combined, than the next 7 highest spending countries on our military (including both Russia and China), and we brag about having the largest and strongest military in the world. We imagine that we are still capable of taking on two wars at once. We have seven aircraft carriers to project American power anywhere in the world in mere days, if not a week or so.
Our machinations around the world have resulted in our development and establishment of hundreds of military bases around the world, which we can use to project our air power and often, special forces power, just about anywhere we need to.
Those machinations have changed history.
...and yet, fear.
The Republican Party has managed to turn us into a nation of fearful little mice, scurrying to hide behind any convenient excuse - a wall, a blanket ban, an ocean or two, anything to protect ourselves from these foreign horrors. We hold our military in front of us, like a shield, anytime we feel challenged (which is almost constantly) in our Supreme Position of the Defenders of Pax Americana. We shake those sabers at those who frighten us, and at those who even seem to be thinking about challenging our Supremacy.
What, what has become of the Home of the Brave? Land of the Free?
What has allowed us to let this happen to us? Why are we afraid? Our parents weren't afraid. Neither were our grandparents.
Why us, why now?
Why do we let nasty little men cower behind the White House doors and under the Capitol dome and pronounce unAmerican edicts and orders that violate the very values and principles that this country was founded on?
Is this OUR country, or are we going to let these nasty little men undercut everything we stand for?
We should be standing tall, beside each other, Democrats, Republicans and Independents, opposing all who would undermine our democracy. All who would violate the principles of democracy and fairness.
Those who bring fascism to our shores. Those who wrap themselves in the flag and lift up that cross in an effort to DESTROY the freedoms that really made this country great.
That cross didn't make this country great. Neither did the flag.
The PEOPLE did. People from virtually every ethnic group on the planet. People from every corner of the globe, almost literally. 
Immigrants. We are a nation of immigrants. If we allow these nasty little men to dictate to us who can come and who can go based on their nasty little prejudices and hatreds, we disgrace the memory of every person of every ethnic group who died to make this country what it is today. We disgrace the work and the blood, sweat and tears of the entire lives' work that went into what we have today.
Let's not let that happen.
Shed your fear.
Stand up. Face down the tyrants, those nasty little men.
Let's show them what real Americans are made of.

What a government is all about, including what public employees do and think.

This post was first posted a couple of days ago on my personal Facebook page.  At this writing, it has been shared 21 times, which I am honored to see.  I thought since Ophelia Benson had shared this also on her blog Butterflies and Wheels, I should probably put it up on mine, too!  (Thanks, Ophelia!  I appreciate it!)

So, (hopefully) enjoy.

A remark made on one of my posts, last night I think it was, caused me to stop and think about what your average American knows about being a government employee.
To start out, for those who don't know me or haven't checked my profile yet, I was a Federal employee for 42 years and 4 months. I served the US Army for four years, and the Food and Drug Administration the rest of the time, starting out as a mail & file clerk and ending up as a senior IT tech overseeing a group of contractors who kept the FDA desktops updated and secure.
Along the way, I worked with scientists, lab people, investigators, inspectors, medical personnel, lawyers, contracting officers, instructors, administrators, and in one capacity or another, others from almost every Center in FDA.
Many of those people had worked in other major Departments, including a supervisor who had once worked for the Justice Department, and a Branch chief whose former intelligence agency employer was so classified, he still was prevented by law from disclosing that to us.
As many of you know from the private sector, each organization, private or public, has its own culture. Much of that culture comes from the top down and is informed by its mission - what it does as a primary function.
But governments, whether local, State or Federal, are different than private companies, large or small.
Why? Because governments don't exist to make a profit.
Private companies do. That is the very reason they exist! If they cannot make a profit, eventually, they are forced to close and have their assets sold off to satisfy their debts.
Governments don't go bankrupt. At the worst, they have their credit ratings cut to nothing, forcing them to "live" and operate from cash receipts obtained through statutory incomes, like taxes or receipts from licensing activities, fines, etc.
Their mission is to provide for the safety, welfare, public peace and security of the American people.
That's a whole lot different from making filthy lucre to fill the bosses' pockets. That's why they operate differently, and that's why Republicans are wrong to try and make the US Government run like a business.
Because it isn't one.
That's why the culture of each governmental Department is different, and why each has its own take on transparency.
Yeah, Transparency. Believe me, that's a tightrope each and every supervisor in the government has to weigh on a regular basis.
Some agencies, by their mission's demands, cannot be transparent. Intelligence agencies are a good example. We cannot allow foreign governments to know if, when, or how we may or may not be spying on them. We want them to be guessing, constantly, and we want them to guess wrong, every time.
Others, like the military, have inherent activities and equipment that by their nature, need to be secret. Otherwise, their effectiveness in combat is greatly lessened. Enemies who have to guess about what you may bring to the table in a conflict will be cautious and very careful before committing themselves.
Civilian agencies which are by nature enforcing various Federal laws are bound to be secretive in some ways for two reasons: First, they are bound by law to protect proprietary information belonging to the companies they need to inspect as part of that law enforcement activity. Second, they don't want their enforcement activities to be publicly revealed, because sometimes a surprise inspection is what you need to catch someone who is willfully violating the law. Give them a chance to clean up, and you've got nothing for your efforts!
But other agencies have a tougher row to hoe regarding that word transparency. They have to balance letting the public know how they are operating in making policy vs. allowing either political opponents or foreign opponents know secrets that may allow them to counter those policies in ways harmful to the public.
Sometimes, getting that balance right is hard.
One of the things that turned me aside from being a republican early in my government career was their constant ragging on us for being lazy, or corrupt, or leaches sucking at the "government teat".
I've known hundreds if not thousands of people in my career, and with the exception of one or two, not a damn one of them was lazy, or corrupt or anything approaching the description of a leach. They all worked hard for their paychecks. Many of them could have gone outside and gotten much bigger paychecks working for large corporations.
But they stayed, most of them, and they do because they CARE. The mission of the FDA is, among other things similar, to keep your food, your drugs, your cosmetics, your radiation emitting devices, your medical devices, safe, effective and the best American companies can make them to be. Every single FDA employee I've worked with cared about that single mission, cared about how their job, whether it was leading a Center, running a computer, or inspecting Mexican produce crossing the border, and how their job impacted the primary mission of the Agency.
I cannot imagine anyone in any other governmental agency feeling any less, whether they are working for the Federal government or a State or local government.
So, folks, when you hear the Republicans continuing to belittle public employees, whether they are US Park Service Rangers, or EPA scientists, or federal Judges, remember this post. Remember that these people CARE - they care about you, me, and their neighbors. They are there, doing their jobs, probably making less money than they could on the outside, because they give a damn about OUR COUNTRY.
They each took an oath, which is very similar to the one Trump just took, to protect and defend the Constitution. Not an oath of loyalty to a President, or to an Agency, or to a boss. To the Constitution of the United States of America.
To serve YOU. That also includes Congress, by the way.
It's up to you to determine which of those public servants are upholding that oath.
And which are, very publicly, not.