Stacey Menser

Stacey Menser

Groucho Marx famously said, “I don’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member.”

Funny, sure. Everything Groucho Marx said was funny. But today, as I sit and ponder those words, they ring true in my little mind when I take at look at what is happening in our country.

I don’t want to run with the “in crowd” any more. I don’t want to be a part of this “club” where its members think they are the only ones with legitimate rights to rule in our country and make decisions for how everyone else lives.

On paper, I fit all the criteria for membership in the club. I am white. I am heterosexual, and I am Christian.

But what I lack is enthusiasm for hate and bigotry and narrow-mindedness. What I lack is the mentality that how I look, how I love and what I believe as far as religion is the end all and be all of human existence.

I can’t bring myself to think I’m right, you’re wrong, end of story. My mind and my heart just don’t work that way.

I know what is right for me. I know what categories I fit in, but I would never be so bold as to say those who don’t fit in the same categories are wrong and need to change or get the hell out of America.

I’m not so much scared of Donald Trump. I’m more scared of his followers who applaud and chant and rave at the cruel and ignorant racist comments he makes publicly.

So far, I haven’t heard any derogatory statements he’s made about African-Americans, but the Chinese have taken some hits from Trump; and boy, does he seem to hate Mexicans.

He’s talked about forcing Mexico to finance a wall separating the two countries, and he’s talked about “anchor babies” being dropped by Mexican immigrants wanting citizenship. But the craziest of the crazies had to be when he had the respected Mexican-American reporter, Jorge Ramos, removed from a press conference and told Ramos to “go back to Univision.”

Trump is a showman, in my opinion. I see his candidacy more as performance art rather than a legitimate run for the White House. He, like Lady Gaga, does the things he does for attention.

But at least when Lady Gaga slaps on a meat dress and takes to the stage, she tries to make some kind of social statement. Trump stands at his podium, yelling racial slurs, acting like a donkey, and people are eating it up.

The worst part about the Jorge Ramos fiasco was what happened in the hallway after the reporter was removed from the press conference. A Trump supporter approached Ramos and told him “Get out of my country.”

When Ramos explained, “I’m a U.S. citizen, too.”

The man said, “Whatever.”

I don’t think his response of “whatever” insinuated that Ramos was lying about his citizenship. It was more of a “whatever, I don’t care.”

I don’t care if you passed the test. I don’t care if you are intelligent and educated and well spoken. When I look at you, I see your brown skin and I hear your accent and I don’t want you or your kind here in my country.

That’s what I gathered from his “whatever.”

As a presidential candidate, Trump is setting a dangerous precedent, making it appear acceptable to publicly voice racist positions. He’s doing it on stage, so why wouldn’t his supporters stop Mexican-Americans in a hallway or on the street and yell racial slurs at them and tell them to “go home” and “get out of my country.”

So there’s that, a presidential candidate who is on the verge of starting an all-out race war in our country; and then there is Kim Davis, the Rowan County clerk who is becoming the poster child for modern-day Christian persecution.

We don’t need to “Free Kim Davis.” She should be in jail.

Kim Davis chose not to do her job. Her job as a county clerk is to issue and register legal documents for citizens of her county. And she chose not to do that.

When she was sworn into office as county clerk, she took an oath to uphold the laws of the federal and state governments. She, and no one else serving in a government position, has the right to pick and choose which laws to uphold.

If she can’t fulfill her duties because of her personal religious beliefs — and she says she can’t — then she should have stepped down from her position back in June when the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples be allowed to marry across the United States — Kentucky included.

She has turned the Rowan County Courthouse into a circus; and she has turned all the eyes of the world to Kentucky, where she is making our whole state look like a bunch of backwards, insensitive idiots.

As a Christian, I find her argument that she is working “under the authority of God” to be offensive. Yes, I believe God can use the simplest of people to do amazing things. But the God I know is a God of love, not hate.

I see Kim Davis as a hypocrite, picking and choosing which Biblical verses, according to her interpretation, best suit her current situation. And that situation is standing in front of cameras and courtrooms and proudly denying tax-payers the rights afforded to them by the U.S. Government.

She looks at homosexuals (when she can spot them), the same way that particular Trump supporter looked at Jorje Ramos.

You look different, you sound different, you act different and you are not welcome here. You are not welcome to enjoy the rights of an American citizen.

So where is the line? Who is “in” and who is “out” in this country? Who gets to enjoy freedoms here in the U.S.? Freedoms of religion, freedom to marry, freedom to take an active role in the democratic system?

I thought it was everyone, every single person living in our country. But I am afraid that’s not the case anymore, maybe it never was.

The more I look at the behaviors of the “in” crowd, the better I feel about tendering my resignation from the group. I’m out.

(Stacey Menser is a reporter for The Times Leader. She can be reached at staceym@timesleader.net or by calling 270-365-5588.)