... because some of our commenters have the strange idea that belonging to any organization whatever makes you responsible for any sins ever committed by that organization or removes all credibility from your views.
They also seem to believe that belonging to any organization represents a blanket public statement that you endorse every single idea ever put forth by that organization.
So I thought it would be important to list for my readers those organizations with which I have been involved that engage in genocide, oppression, homophobia, or discrimination, so that everyone can understand why my views on virtually any subject are completely worthless.
1) I spent twenty-one years of my adult life as a member of an organization that engaged in relentless genocidal wars across the North American continent, has on many occasions bombarded innocent civilians, has used nuclear weapons against undefended cities, and which has engaged in personnel management policies which have (or, in several cases, continue to do so) openly discriminated against African-Americans, Japanese-Americans, female Americans, and LGBQT Americans. Yes, he said sadly on the day after November 11, I am a veteran of the US Army.
2) At the age of forty-five, I made the decision to join an ecclesiastical organization that has--at best--an uncertain record in terms of human rights. This 2,000-year-old organization has engaged in wars, politics, genocide, governmental corruption, and even child abuse. Its leaders here on Earth have proven time and again to be fallible, sometimes even miscogynist, anti-Semitic, or anti-gay. These acts are not, of course, ameliorated by the hundreds of millions of followers who have attempted to live good lives, caring for their family, their neighbors, and even strangers they will never meet in an attempt to live up to the ideals put forth by the organization's founder and first spiritual leader. Nor does it matter that many of the people inside this organization have been (and continue) to work openly and actively for change, nor that former Presidents and current Senators, Governors, and Representatives belong to this organization. It is has sordid history and those involved should be suspected of war crimes until proven innocent. Yes, I joined the Catholic Church. Before that I belonged to the Presbyterian Church (more or less), which has only been less genocidal because, apparently, it has not had as many centuries to work at it, but which did participate in the cultural genocide of Native Americans and offered any number of apologies for slavery. Crap--I'm beginning to see the point: any religious belief of any sort renders me incapable of meaningful civic participation.
3) I also belong the to the Libertarian Party. This is an interesting one. Since it has only been in existence since 1971 it did not participate in defending slavery or establishing Jim Crow-era segregation laws or refusing to support Federal anti-lynching laws like the Democrats. Nor did it take part in massive resistance, active military interventions, or the rigging of the tax codes in favor of gigantic corporations like the Republicans. In fact, the Libertarian Party has never been much more than a political debating club, since its handful of elected officials nationwide are pretty much confined to small municipal city council positions. But the Libertarian Party is inherently more dangerous than the Democrats or the Republicans because it actually challenges the idea of State supremacy in all walks of American life, and because it dares to suggest the possibility that people on balance might be better able to regulate their own affairs than the government. In particular, the LP supports the idea of private property. It is curious to discover that telling the truth about the fact that the State in America and elsewhere has been (and continues to be) the greatest engine of harmful discrimination, and visualizing a society in which such differences would be handled ... differently but also justly, is so dangerous that anonymous commenters feel threatened enough to take segments out of an ineffective political party's platform and insist they represent some sort of loyalty oath. Moreover, to insist that an outsider gets to use a political platform (you wonder how many of the millions of Dems and GOPers have the slightest idea what their platforms advocate, but no matter) as the arbiter of who can call himself or herself a Libertarian, a Republican, or a Democrat.
4) I belong to a labor union, specifically the American Association of University Professors. Anyone who knows history should understand that labor unions in the American past have been responsible for violence and even racism. They have often failed to accept or champion causes of gender equity. They have been conclusively shown to engage in corrupt politics. All of those workplace safety, child labor, and employee benefit things aside, labor unions are clearly the next worst thing (besides the Republicans) to the Nazi Party. Even my own union, the AAUP, was silent during the 1928 purge of homosexual students and professors from Harvard University. I hang my head in shame that I have chosen to beling to such an offensive organization that is also at odds with many of the principles of the Libertarian Party. Go figure: I must not only be one inconsistent son of a bitch, but an intellectual whore as well.
5) I work for an employer that does not recognize gay partners, and that clearly (by Federal regulation) discriminates in favor of certain applicants for positions. That would be my HBCU [historically Black college/university) Delaware State University. You see, the Federal government makes HBCU a legal status which can only be maintained by have at least a 63.5% ethnic minority population. Wow. I work for a State-funded organization that says we will never allow more than one-third of our students to be white. I am really feeling the urge to slit my wrists.
6) I have worked for an organization of the Federal government that is synonymous for trampling the civil rights of all Americans: the Department of Homeland Security. We should ignore the fact that I was hired specifically to teach State and Local Preparedness Officers the limits of their authority and why the US Constitution should govern their actions. I took money several years ago from DHS, and that makes me culpable for every time you have to take off your shoes to get on an airplane.
7) I was an Eagle Scout. Oh, the horror of it. I belonged to, and accepted awards from, and have allowed my son and my grandson to participate in an organization that does discriminate against gays. The fact that I have consistently worked to have that organization change that policy, and the fact that most local organizations of the Boy Scouts with whom I have ever been associated do not implement that policy is immaterial. At age eleven I should have known that it was an immoral, Hitler-Youth-like organization, and I should have spit on those neckerchief-wearing jackbooted thugs.
8) Over the years, at various times, I have contributed money and taken out memberships in organizations as varied and despicable as Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, the National Rifle Association, the Organization of American Historians, Doctors without Borders, the Association of the US Army, the National Council for the Social Studies, the SPCA, the Fraternal Order of Police, Outright Libertarians, the American Library Association, the Avalon Hill Wargamers' Association, the YMCA [that "C" still stands for Christian, you know], the United Way, and the American Civil Liberties Union. I am sure that a detailed examination of each of these organizations will reveal dark histories of genocide, oppression, and general anti-American behavior.
Here, of course, is the problem: the only way to avoid belonging to organizations that you may disagree with in part is to disengage and claim the vapid moral superiority of not belonging to anything. Otherwise, any twit can come along and suggest that your membership card invalidates any other political or social opinion you might have. Or they can feel empowered to go look up lines from that organization's constitution, creed, or platform to insist from the safety of their trolling anonymity that you can't be trusted because--gasp!--you once belong to an organization which entertained thoughts they don't consider to be politically correct.
This is essentially a fatuous cop-out against actually participating in society, because all such participation requires interaction, and neither people nor organizations ever change unless you are willing to associate with, interact with, and help them change. And since most of the advances that will be made are tiny, local, and virtually invisible to the high-minded commenters who proclaim themselves superior to those who actually become involved, your life and positions can be written off as a hypocritical waste.
Shorter version for those who prefer to hide their own inaction with their anonymity: bite me.