A conversation between smocks
This is the last post in which, I will ever refer to the events of my specific workplace with this much detail.
Because words finally failed me. But, it’s okay, because me and words, we’re back together and better than before, because now my words are not alone – and they don’t have to struggle so hard for clarity and careful emotional negotiation – because in trauma recovery, I dug deep down into my childhood layers and remembered my first loves: singing, dancing, being delightful and entertaining people, and my second loves drawing and storytelling and understanding that all of this childhood enthusiasm for the whole world that was my stage – had morphed into the Family Obsession: Being a Writer.
Because, it’s very hard to be a writer anywhere – but in a funny way, especially in Canada. Because Canadians who can entertain – and speak English – move to America – making it a kinder and gentler place – not with a thousand points of lights in the sky – with with 10s of thousands of tiny small sparks – of random kindness, compassion and a laid back sensibility – that most people think of when they think: California.
But no one thinks about how many Canadians there are, working in Hollywood and the Entertainment industry who does the heavy lifting of putting out these California Sun Soaked but Canadian drenched Vibes.
I grew up in Canada. I was born in 1968 to an Icelandic Immigrant Father and a Canadian Mother who’s Ukrainian family had been in Canada for 5 generations already.
I went to school in New Westminster BC in the 1970’s to Richard McBride Elementary from grades 1 to 7 – I never went to kindergarten, because I came to school able to read and knowing how to work and play well with others.
I was picked by my peers – not last at sports, but as first for referee because I was the only kid that everyone could trust to honestly referee the school yard games.
When I was in the later grades, I was picked by teachers to lead groups and when I wasn’t, the group would naturally turn to me for leadership and I tried to turn the leadership back to the official leader or the group.
Teachers loved me because they could look out over a room of bland faces and they’d see me – blonde, blue eyed and starting intently and adoringly at them.
Never admitting it was the movie I was watching in my head.
Teachers and students in my elementary school never never threatened by or intimidated by me (unless I wanted that response) – because as bright and shiny as I stood out from the crowd, I preferred to stand behind the crowd and let everyone else be backlight by my glow.
Because I knew something that I didn’t know enough to tell, but was intelligent and sensitive enough to understand and more – to compensate for:
None of my friends homes were as happy as mine.
So, I didn’t need to be picked by my peers or teachers, because I knew I was Loved At Home and supported and encouraged.
I didn’t know why that wasn’t everyone’s experience, because I literally had nothing in my experience that was wrong or unpleasant.
We weren’t the richest or the poorest, we did alright comparatively and as part of the whole, so I learned to put my wants and needs into pragmatic context – that is – to balance my wants and needs with other people’s wants and needs (first within my family, then within my peers, then other people…) – with the understanding that other people’s wants and needs were from a place of unfullfillment, denial, thwarting and even cruelty or worse, craven indifference.
So the one thing that everyone else learned that I never learned at home or at school was how to live unhappily ever on or ever more or ever after until the sweet release of death or soldering forward on whatever crutches people lean on to get through their day.
I was Queen of the Elementary School and looked forward to High School – where I ended up very isolated from my former peers by my course selections – Challenge English, the early break out sciences – seeing my friends only when we had the odd class that everyone had to take. But several elementary schools fed New Westminster Secondary School – and we moved.
To Chilliwack, where I attended Sardis Senior Secondary School that went from grade 8 to 12 – but grades 8 to 10 were smaller classes, there being Vedder Junior High School from grade 8 to 10 and a second Chilliwack Senior Secondary School – our Sardis Rivals – if you cared about sports.
Which, in the battle between the jokes and the smocks – I am a smock.
But my Art Smock and my Lab Coat (in case you are wondering what the hell a smock is) set me alone among the two kinds of smock kids.
- Big Fish – McBride Small Pond – Urban Audience Pool
- Big Fish – NWSS Huge Pond
- Big Fish – Sardis Small Pond – Rural Audience Pool
- Eagle, fishing, – Princess Margaret Secondary, Surrey, BC, Huge Pond
When I graduated from High School, I had only attended Princess Margaret Secondary 1 and a half semesters. Sardis Secondary’s classes were full year.
It was a difficult transition for me, because the counsellor decided that all the classes that I loved, I should take in the partial semester – so they could know I was taught the subjects I wasn’t interested in properly – because my grades were all over the map. But my grades didn’t measure my comprehension or understanding, they reflected only my engagement level.
Teachers have never understood that about students.
But it was the transition to college that was most challenging – because it was no longer me against all the kids in the hood – it was me with only the best of the kids in the hood – and I never learned to be a good student, because I was so far ahead of everyone else, that what I learned in school – what I had to learn in school – what was critical for me to learn in school – was how to slow down to where the top group of everyone else was.
Because the world is not kind to Gold. It causes something of a fever and a race to extract and purify then distill and temper and alloy and basically, cheapen into trinkets with all the colour and none of the luster.
That’s why the poets lament that nothing gold can stay, gold left alone – stays – it’s just that we can’t leave gold alone to be just gold.
We feel the need to own and force it so malleable into the distorted shapes we want it to be in to adore ourselves.
My father’s youngest brother – the one born in Canada – he was just a bit older than my oldest cousins – said to me when I was about 12 years of age – that Given a Choice between a lump of gold and a diamond – pick the diamond – because it took a lot longer for the earth to make that diamond than to make gold – and sparkles and gold is just a lump that sits there dully in comparison.
Alchemists pursued the Golden Formula for centuries in their chemical laboratories and they detailed in private codes, all the masses of data and variations and experiments, their quest for gold.
Well, we know how to make gold from base metals now – but the recipe is nothing that the Alchemists of old could have stumbled upon – because to make gold from base metals – you need nuclear fission not chemical reactions.
But the hold that alchemists gave the world was the first steps towards a true scientific method – labour intensive observation, detailed data capture.
What they were missing was a context – an understanding of the world as a natural place – because as long as religions held power and withheld wealth from the world – they knew what all God-Dictators know – what any Captain of Industry Knows – To be top dog, you have to crush the competition.
As long as the peasants were illiterate and dependent on the Crown and the Cross – the church of Europe was free to execute any early scientist for heresy.
And the modern American equivalent to the Church of Europe:
– who slowed down both scientific and as a consequence, economic and social advancement with
- witch trials against midwives, healers and socially marginalized or isolated women and men
- crusades against the Muslim world,
- Spanish Inquisition
- European Crowns vs Crosses – who’s the boss now?
- Destruction of the Knights of Templar – the first multi-national organization that could be entrusted with your gold and your life safeguarded against all bandits – including against the encroachments of the so called Upper Classes against the burgeoning middle classes. So for protecting travellers from European Christians, the Templars were destroyed as heretics
Is the so called Moral Majority, founded by Faldwell in the 1980s and currently headed by Focus on the Family and other groups who are far too concerned with other people’s families than their own.
Because what’s great and terrible about American can be summed up with one word – and it’s a name – and that name is:
As in Presley. This guy:
Maybe this Elvis will look more familiar:
But he doesn’t quiet stand out from the group, does he, even being center stage.
Maybe you know this early Elvis image – it was used as a 1970’s album cover for “Elvis Country”:
But this is the childhood image that I see in Elvis, no matter what he looks like or how old he never got – because Elvis died at 42, two years fewer than I am right now.
Elvis was a revolutionary who was killed by the establishment – only they didn’t kill him with a gun or legal hassles – they killed him with kindness – by making all his boyhood dreams come true – Elvis got to sing and dance and make movies.
Just like he always wanted and dreamed of – but Elvis’s dreams were not the dreams of Captains of Industry – Elvis’ dreams were our dreams – of achieving middle class status and of making enough to survive and thrive a little and to do something to let people put aside their troubles and worries, just for a little while.
Most people have no clear image of Elvis because what was magical about Elvis – was Elvis himself. Elvis was pure gold from the moment he entered this world…
…to the day he left this world, only most of the gold was mined out of him, distilled or corrupted and sold to the general public as gold – but it was fool’s gold.
And any miner or forestry worker or fisher or harvestor or anyone who toils in the sun can tell you – if you don’t put something back into the source resource – it will just collapse.
That’s true for mine shafts, specific fish fisheries and forests – if you take material away, leave a debris field and do nothing to mitigate the losses or add some other value – the industry is not sustainable.
Elvis was loyal to his word – against his own interests – and Col Parker – like any good hustler or captain of industry can tell you – knew one thing and one thing only:
Elvis made the teenagers scream. But they wouldn’t be teenagers forever.
But what Col Parker and the entertainment industry didn’t know or didn’t care – because hey, it’s a Star System – not a babysitting service:
Is that people who use others for their gold is why Robert Frost wrote nothing gold can stay.
And most people do not know that poem as written, but as part of a book – written in the mid 1960’s by a teenaged girl, SE Hinton, who wrote 4 novels, you might be familiar with:
That Was Then…This is Now
As a teenager, in Canada in the 1980’s I discovered the gold in SE Hinton’s work, not from her novels because as a teenager, in Canada, in the 1980’s I didn’t relate to the characters and found the short novels exhausting and the characters really frustrating for just chaffing at inequality and not demanding equality, instead pushing back only enough to be left alone – for a while..
I fell in love with the stories because of Matt Dillon – who I adored for being the guy who helped my favorite Little Darling to win the lose your virginity contest, but Kristy didn’t want to win and so let the liar Tatum ONeal win and cost an innocent man his job at the summer camp.
Because while other girls swooned over Dreamy Dillon, a sanitized Elvis/James Dean for the 1970’s and then 80’s teenagers before he graduated to an adult audience – I had a mad mad crush on Haley Mills of the Disney 60’s movies and Kristy McNicoll for being so tough and sensitive – she was my 1970’s Sanitized Elvis because I knew Kristy was dangerous and still waters run deepest.
I adored Olivia Newton-John as much for her country music – did you realize that Elvis covered ONJ hits in the 70’s? and Canada’s Anne Murray? – as I did for her goody two shoes to vamp transformation in Grease.
Ah, McBride Elementary and a girl named Lisa. Who brought the earliest cheap and portable cassette tape player to school with the Grease soundtrack so she could get us all to act out the parts.
But while all the Boys wanted to play Danny to Lisa’s Sandy – none of them were willing to move like John Travolta – but Lisa wanted to perform more than she wanted to dance with a boy – so I was picked to play Danny, but I didn’t play Danny like John Travolta – I played Danny as John played Danny – as Elvis.
And I played Elvis so well, that even teachers didn’t raise an eyebrow at my wiggling my hands in the air and my knees so I fell to the ground at Lisa’s feet – while howling soulfully, I got chills, they’re multiplying and I’m loosing contro-ol…
It is weird to me to think that even with all that, people then didn’t realize that I wasn’t like the other children……
And by remembering these golden oldies of childhood, by drawing my way out of the loss of my words – and just to give you an idea:
When I started this blog – Random Ntrygg – it was about gardening, home entertainment, BBQ and photography – and sometimes a little Elvis.
But as real life events closed in and I was surrounded by people that I couldn’t communicate with – I changed and the blog changed – and all the fun sunny topics disappeared and are being recycled and re-imaged on the other blogs that I created when this one hit stride – almost two years ago – when I brough in more atheism vs Religion – topics.
When, to my mind, religion and atheism are two sides of one coin that has nothing to do with what I beleive or reality – because on my coin – it’s natural on one side and fiction on the other – and supernatural is just specialized fiction that is waves of fads, be it religion or vampires or (satanic ritual abuse) conspiracy theories….
Gold Nugget: The only people who don’t lie to you, are motivational speakers – whether you are paying to hear them or someone is talking to you in a whisper…
Because I have been on a quest to understand something about this big ol world we share, even when we pretend that we don’t and most people haven’t bothered to learn anything about this planet we call earth in this solar system, in the Milky Way Galaxy, not so far away or long ago…..
Is why – and I am talking to Pro-Religion People Only now:
Why can’t you understand that saying your beliefs are based in love – when your behaviour in the worlds big and small – is that of any run of the mill Dictator?
Now, before you start to form words in your sputtering brain – I want you to think about it.
You say you are messengers of peace and love.
But you act like and self-appointed Dictator in love with their own voice and assured of their own divinity and righteousness of purpose and slaughter or undermine any and all who – and let’s be clear – not just those who openly oppose you, but also those of us who, just aren’t into you or your false message of love.
You cannot smack someone down with your fist and then expect them to accept your other open appearing hand. Because all that an open hand looked like to someone who’s been punched and kicked to the curb – is not the hand up that you might actually be offering – but an open hand to slap or backhand or push or shove the person into the gutter, down the sewer drain.
So, Pro-Religion People – if you mean what you say – that your beliefs are based in love – then, I’m talking to the whole group now – in case the transition wasn’t clear – I am now talking to everyone again – here’s the gold nugget that I want to show you – not for you to take from me – back off, it;s my gold and I intend to keep it that way.
Because this is pure gold, from my 6 year old heart speaking from inside my bruised 44 year old world stomped on heart:
Look, feel, touch but don’t take anything unless you understand Camping Rules.
Because this is straight from my purest heart and I am afraid to show the world that heart anymore – I am afraid to leave my house, I have learned as an adult what everyone else knows as a child – people bully because no one stops them.
Knowing someone is being bullied and doing nothing is why things like World War Two Happen – Evil Thrives when Good People Do Nothing.
Okay, feeling intellectual again and safe enough to continue now. Sorry, it’s a head/body balance thing that I am working on in therapy. Where was I? Oh, right …here: for you to
… look at and look into yourself and see if there’s any gold inside you that you can built your own display gold nugget for the world – inspired by seeing but not taking my gold nugget:Because I am not willing to share my toys or my gold anymore with the world – so I will just give the world glimpses, until it’s safe enough for me to leave my house again.
Because I am what people do not chose to see – a ranting manic homeless person – only, instead of being unclean or unwashed, I look just as middle class as anyone else. And because I am as smart as I am a pain in everyone’s ass,I will say this once and once only and will say it really really slowly so simple so that even the hardest hearted of bullies – be they anti-social criminals or anti-social establishment – can understand:
What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.
But if you are not a strong person to start with, then the effort needed to not die, depletes you until the effort of merely fending off becomes overwhelming and no defense is possible – and you are dying, by degrees, in torment, at the hands of the bullies who only had to outlast you to win and keep your head underwater.
So here’s the gold, and I actually learned this from the crazy American anti-abortion religious movement – go limp early and keep your head down.
Because the bully stops paying close attention when you stop struggling.
So, practice holding your breath and think of all the gold reserves inside you that the world hasn’t strip mined and deforested out of you.
So, don;t worry about me in the future world, because I am going to be fine – because I am exactly where I need most to be – at home, with family and friends, helping me to repair the cognitive damage that has prevented me from effectively communicating – I know – but your blog is so well written and engaging – yes, sorry world, that’s all been me on a bad day with a bully hangover.
I’m somewhat better now that I am out of the tailings pond and away from the tarsands, and mining debris and smashed down forest and can see how distressed that Canada is with this wave of Americanism from Ottawa. Not the good kind of Americanism that we can all get behind – Elvis – but the bad wave of Americanism – who killed Elvis – the Golden Boy who laid Gold Eggs – so he was treated like any duck in France – forcefed mush mash until there were no more eggs, and then slaughtered for whatever remained.
Right in front of the fans who loved Elvis so much that they supported him through good and bad – never realizing that it was this very adoration that made all the bad possible. We killed Elvis. Every one of you alive as an adult before 1977.
Because if Elvis hadn’t been held back to the bottom line: Middle Class Dreams Achieved – it breaks my heart and takes my breath away to think, what Elvis could have been, had he stayed in France, after his army service, and been the First International Artist that he was and not, just the boy from Tupelo who wiggled and took country music (I’m a drunken cheating loser songs) and blues music (World has done me wrong, pass the joint) and turned it into gold:
Uplifting feel good music that touched our blue country hearts and infused it with a southern gospel fervor and Elvis, as the man himself said – and his spoken words are the truest soundtrack for any Elvis Fan of any calibre:
So cheerful note – play Canada’s Elvis – kd lang – watch or play and keep reading:
(I just realized I’ve been writing this for 4 hours and hadn’t saved the draft, eek!)
I will get through the current situation as I always have – with a song on my lips, a dance in my hips and in my Elvis costume – the Canada Beaver Edition:
But kd beat me to the Canada Elvis punch, so I have to, well, I will tell you, what other famous person that I most relate to and grok completely:
I have many many stories to tell – and they are for sale.
Because, when I tell stories, they are mine and when I sell them – they are the property of the buyer. Whoever that buyer may be.
So, if the buyer – for example – Hollywood – wants to buy my 12 feature Scripts, 9 Three Day Novel entries, my notebooks of stories that I have wanted to tell when I first started writing down the story ideas when I was 9 – of that Holiest of Holies – A TV Show – but not just any tv show – a Flagship Show of a Franchise set in an untapped Frontier that will do for TV what Elvis did for music – then contact me.
And, if I have stories that you know that I can tell and would like to buy and own them exclusively, with no need for rewrites – well, (sorry, had to check the email) – the deadline for the First Right to Exclusive Ownership of the stories passed yesterday at 5 PM, January 20, 2012.
So, if any one is interested in specific stories that they know I’ll be able to write – I am available for hire.
And I have always been the fastest writer in the west:
- 9 times in the three day novel contest so by the end, I only needed 2 days to write 150 novel pages.
- 12 screenplays, my first completed in 9 days, my fastest, completed in 8 hours (I had very good incentive)
- As a writer, I wrote 1000 poems, 100 short stories, countless essays, research papers, briefing notes, witness statements in Human Rights and Legal contexts and so much internet forum content as to be incalculable.
- but, as they say – these are just the ones I am willing to divulge – Google Me:
- Nina Tryggvason
- Random Ntrygg
I can be reached through facebook @ Vancouver’s Most Famous Unproduced Writer fan club.
And, if the buyer doesn’t want to hire me for re-writes, I’m good with that too, because once sold, it’s not my story to tell anymore.
Cognitive dissonance is holding two beliefs that are in opposition to each other, as if there is no conflict or disparity between them.
Trauma is often a sudden or even brutal resolution of that disparity in a way that results in your belief of how the world works and how we should behave in the world is disproved or so undermined that you cannot sustain the belief anymore.
The concept of post traumatic stress disorder took shape with the American soldiers returning from Vietnam – earlier veterans who experienced battle related traumas were deem shell shocked – they were distressed at what they say, but the world wars did not shake people in the same way, because they were fighting for a cause they believed to be right and war was the mechanism of re-affirming that rightness in the world. People managed their trauma with an ends justified the means mentality.
With Vietnam, the goals and purpose of the war were not as pure as with previous wars, and as a result, many soldiers experienced trauma for having to behave in a manner – shooting people – which was not morally just or defensible and it shook their identity as good and moral people to act in a way that was not moral and for a cause that was not just. Neither the means nor end were just, thus, cognitive dissonance resolved in a traumatic way, the realization that there was nothing good, moral or just.
Post traumatic stress disorder is not just for soldiers anymore.
People experience trauma of varying degrees as part of everyday life – certainly, being exposed to news – being sensationalized and focused on the sordid and morbid – results in a sense of the world being more dangerous and less kind than it actually is – and over time, people develop emotional calluses to cope or they become very nervous – either way, functioning in the world is impaired and disordered by the perceptions of a limited data set – if it bleeds it leads – and then through the filter of being indifferent, excited or anxious by the information.
But when trauma is personal – something happens to you that pulls the rug from under you, knocks you down or off your axis, when your sense of self and your place in the world in relationship to other people is not in harmony with your belief about how the world operates and you have to deal with a situation where the world is no longer safe or familiar, or no longer operating along the rules you have come to rely on – you are traumatized.
Your ability to recover, to find a new level or harmony is dependent on how far off your beliefs about reality and the reality you are confronted with and what kind of support system you have to access.
Because part of the rules of how the world is supposed to operate is your expectations of how you interact with other people – when they act in unexpected ways – such as being a bully or being an authority figure allowing the bullying – you are further traumatized and knocked off your axis and functioning, the world becomes smaller and scarier – and your ability to cope and bounce back is reduced and eroded.
The longer conflict is unresolved or the conflict escalates and more people either bully or condone bullying, the more traumatized you are and the more sensitized to repeated and lesser traumas you become.
Instinctively, we can only turn to ourselves, we can only know our own intention and motivation and soon trust is eroded to the point where you can’t tell who can be trusted – the idea of being utterly alone is unpalatable and likely why many people cling to religion, to feel as if they are a person of consequence, not alone, and they resolve the cognitive dissonance of being alone and not wanting to be, as that there’s a deity with a plan that we can’t know but includes this being alone, so it’s okay because there’s a plan that we’re not worthy enough to be in on but worthy enough to be included in the plan, so you just have to trust in the deity because people aren’t trustworthy.
Except the next cognitive dissonance that if being alone and outcast is part of the deity’s plan then other people are just carrying out their end of the deal to make sure the plan is carried out.
So in a way, religion can helps people deal with trauma or justify causing trauma, because people can connect their sense of the world and safety/purpose by their sense of being connected to something larger than themselves, because they cannot trust themselves or others. Religion is a worldview in which humans are not deserving, not trustworthy, thus, all things must occur for other and larger purpose, which we are not privy to know.
But religion is itself a cognitively dissonant belief – since there is no evidence or logic to religion being real. Other than religion exists and reflects and defines cultural boundaries between groups of people, sometimes like people and sometimes very opposite people.
Religion is a preference for a worldview that is not supported by reality – and this idea of the religion being untrue, results in anger and defensiveness – and this is why atheists especially and gay people generally are so hated in American society – because being atheist forces religionists to resolve their cognitive dissonance and gay people force them to deal with their inclination to conformity.
Atheists and/or gay/lesbian are outside of the norms, we do not conform therefore, we must be defective or demonized.
This is where sacred and secular come into conflict – because secular ideas and law allow for diversity, allow individuals to make choices and act on them – sacred ideas demand conformity and obedience.
Secular is respect for all people and sacred is worship of the divine – which is why religionists demand special consideration of their sacred sensibilities – why cartoons, images, artworks, commentary, disagreement and questions are offensive, censored, and violently responded to – sacred does not brook disbelief – which spills over to the political sphere as “my country, right or wrong.”
This is why it’s dangerous that Americans believe their country is a Christian nation when America was a founded as a secular nation where individuals were and are the unit of consequence – that the ability to criticize the government and express disagreement was the basis of America being founded – no more rule by kings – rule by the mob, er… democracy, er… well, a representative republic, anyway.
In theory, that’s how it’s supposed to work, and understand how it works and how it’s supposed to – woulda coulda shoulda – gets you back on an even keel and into recovery – by drawing on your support network of family and friends – and supporting them in turn and asserting yourself in conflict before people can knock you off your axis and traumatized you, and if they do, to have that network in place, to help you get up, dust yourself off and understand this new place in the world.
Which, if it doesn’t kill you, it does make you stronger, because you will go through an existential process to determine what has meaning and purpose and the understanding you develop of the world will be closer to the world as it is, and not how you would like it to be.
If you don’t experience an existential crisis, the trauma won’t kill you or make you stronger, it will just leave you walking wounded.
That’s a big part of understanding the difference between what is good and what is evil and not being concerned with the plans of others, especially plans that you cannot know you were considered in or had any part in forming – because that’s the first step that many plan makers miss – engaging others in the plan and connecting them to the goals and outcomes – sharing in the plan making commits people to the success of the plan.
So make your own plan for your life, engage your support network, family, friends, coworkers, people you meet – and engage them, engage the world. Be the best you that you can be in the moment and with the information and resources on hand, because in the big picture, that’s the best that any of us can do – and we have to accept that we and others will more often than not, won’t be capable of being our best at any given moment.
We have to cut each other slack, but not enough to hang ourselves or slip through the cracks. We are all what we each have to work and play with.
Trauma is any event that disconnects you from the world. Trauma is the undermining or abrupt break in your sense of being connected to the world and how the world operates.
Trauma is when your expectations of the world, how to behave and how others are supposed to behave is abruptly shown to not be the case – and post traumatic stress disorder is your withdraw into yourself, and retreat to where you can feel safe, where the world makes some sense still, while you try to absorb this new contradictory evidence that everything you believed was wrong.
I was born in Canada, and as a Canadian, I have certain expectations about what I am entitled to or not and what my responsibilities are. The laws of the land are really what forms the social contract – the law sets out the guidelines for how we can expect to interact with each other.
So while you technically can play music in your home at any hour, the local bylaws will curtail noise volume permissible after a certain time – the law is there to balance the entitlement of everyone with everyone else.
Which is difficult to balance with an American attitude of the individual being the supreme unit of social consequence and why people chafe at what they deem to be government infringement – people (Americans, Canadians, anyone anywhere) who chafes at government telling them what they can and cannot do is chafing because they are basically sociopaths who do not want to have to consider other people.
Because that’s the essence of the government’s telling them what to do – which is that they can’t infringe on other people’s having the same rights and entitlements.
People who are unwilling to allow others the same rights and entitlements, if not sociopaths of some magnitude, are also more likely to be religious and bigoted against other people for the very grounds of what human rights legislation says are prohibited – ethnicity, gender, sexuality, ability and yes, even religious belief.
If we all have the same rights and entitlement, then no one is any better than anyone else – and this is not the message that Abrahamic religions say – these religions – Christian, Judaism, Islamic and all the variations and sects within the major three umbrellas – all depend on their members being chosen or especially beloved by their deity.
Religions were there’s reincarnation do not provide a message that any one person is any better, since we’re all at different places on a range of paths, at different stages, all of which are needed for enlightenment, so we can all be differently places, but we are all relatively equal, maybe better than those but worse than some others – and that’s all part of the experience and the journey that we must bear, endure or even benefit from as one of many experiences.
The Abrahamic religions are merely one path of many, and in the grandest scheme of things that it is possible to humanly understand, it is a childish and violent path – and sadly, it may well be the best that many can accomplish at this juncture in their existence and stage of enlightenment and being.
Religion relates to trauma recovery, but more often is the cause of trauma, because religion is one way that most people use to understand how the world works, how to behave in it and it provides comfort and explanation.
This is why religionists do not understand atheists, because atheists simply do not share the worldview of religion – so religionists, who understand behaviour and morality from within religion, then simply do not comprehend that atheists understand behaviour and morality directly, on their own, and not within a religious framework.
It is not understandable by non-religionists why religionists stick to their religious framework, given all the sex, abuse and financial scandals that so many religious leaders have been exposed in engaging in – the systemic molesting of children within the Catholic Church for one extreme example – how anyone could believe that religion is a framework for moral behavior, when the leadership of religions are clearly not acting in a manner that anyone could claim to be moral.
And in the case of religion being an argument for moral behaviour, yes, it does only take a few bad apples to spoil the barrel, because the particular bad apples are the head apples, the template for all other apples.
So, the secular law of the land in western democratic nations purports to make all members of the society equally entitled and of consequence and to codify behaviour in a manner that people are not disadvantaged by others, while religion is about inequity and inequality, me/my group if at least not better, at worst at the expense of everyone else.
Being subjected to the rules of religion is entirely voluntary and these rules cannot be forced upon other people – this is the purpose of the separation of church and state – it is not to protect either from the other, but rather to ensure that people who have not voluntarily submitted to the rules of any given religion are not subjected to the rules of said religion.
So while there should be no religious test for any person to run for any office of the land, there is a growing need for a test of the person’s ability to keep their religion to their personal life and separate that from their occupational life of being a representative of all people – regardless of ethnicity, belief, ability, gender, sexual orientation or any ground of difference between people. A test to determine that any person seeking and holding office understands that it is the law of the land that they are upholding, and not their personal religious or other beliefs above the secular law of the land.
A politician may be elected by only a narrow segment of the population, but once elected, they are the representative of everyone – and anyone who cannot put aside their personal beliefs – especially beliefs that are bigoted, discriminatory, overly entitled or any belief that places them above the law or other people – should prevented from being able to stand for office.