Really America, WTF

Soapbox LogoI simply can’t imagine how we got to this place in time. I know, I have watched it all and often railed against it all; yet still I simply am unable to wrap my head or heart around why we are here, at this place as a nation, as a people. My only real and heartfelt reaction to it all is, REALLY JUST WHAT THE FUCK.

I am struggling to make sense of it all. Trying to understand the definitions and terminology. What we say and believe and just how quickly we erase history so we can pretend something new is the only thing that is true. My heart weeps for Orlando. There are no words to express the tragic and terrible of what has happened, for those gone and for those left behind who must now pick up the pieces of and move forward.


CNN: Mourners at one of many makeshift memorials in Orlando

The human lives lost, the human lives changed forever these are what our focus should be. It didn’t take long though for our focus to change to labels and politics. It wasn’t but mere minutes before we discovered and begin to shift through the blood and anguish, searching for the agenda to latch onto; depending on our own deep-seated and personal design. Never mind, the humanity and need of those in the center of this terrible tragedy, those ‘who knew best’ saw the opportunity and like leeches they attached and attacked.

There are those who see this as an opportunity to raise the flag on gun control. Well yes, there is a need to have this discussion. Most reasonable, thinking people agree. But did you need to flood social media and my inbox with reminders within 3 hours, before bodies were removed from the streets? Before loved ones were informed of their loss? I am on your side, truly I am but I would prefer if you would show some empathy and compassion. I would also prefer it if you would stop using the same tactics as the opposition, stop using fear. Get your facts straight, start calling things what they are rather than what suits your agenda, stop using hyperbole, please. Don’t misinform, inform.

imagesThen there are those who want to raise the flag of Islamophobia (Donald). This really is a red herring and thinking people know it is. We know there is an element of violent and radical Muslims in the world, just as with any religion there is an extreme element and they commit terrible acts. We see their horror stories and hear their latest atrocities screamed at us, constantly. We need only turn on our television to hear about their latest acts of violence against those of their own faith (their primary victims) or be reminded how they hate us by the talking heads of the Right. We need only listen long enough to hear commentators tell us how they are representative of the entire Islamic faith, all 1.6 billion of them. In our minds, we know this is a lie. We know, yet we are afraid because we listen and we can’t help ourselves.

The reality is each and every single time another tragedy happens we look for a reason, beyond the obvious. Another asshole, another disenfranchised, miserable human being murdered innocent people. Maybe they were Christian (Dylan Roof, Timothy McVeigh) Extremist who wanted to strike a blow for their religion or race or gender or maybe all three or any combination. Maybe they were Radicalized Muslims (Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farook) who wanted to show their loyalty to their religious ideology. It doesn’t really matter, does it? Terrorism is exactly what it is, no matter where it comes from. We shouldn’t apply a different standard when it is committed by Christians versus Muslims, it is one and the same thing ultimately; it is a violent act against Americans, against America. It is a tragedy costing life and freedom.


What I know is the person who shot up Pulse was sick, a lost soul and we as a nation shouldn’t focus on him, shouldn’t give him status in our dialog. He wasn’t a terrorist rather he was a single human being, he hated himself and sought to murder what he hated most in himself. He attacked those he feared and hated; murdering what he hated. He claimed allegiance to a terrorist group in his final hours, he self-radicalized over the months prior to his terrible and tragic act, yet in truth by all the accounts of those who knew him he wasn’t religious. He was, simply self-hating, racist, closeted and lost. He struck out and destroyed lives in his self-hatred. Remember though, he wasn’t an immigrant, he was an American he was one of us.

What I know, there are forty-nine innocent Americans dead. There are fifty-three innocent Americans wounded. There are one hundred and three families who will have to figure out how to put their lives back together, how to get up out of bed every day, make it through the day and live with the horror of lost lives, lost loved ones, lost futures and what ifs.

I weep for Orlando. One more community that must pick up the pieces. I weep for America, once again we must look at ourselves and it seems we will turn our backs on what is so obvious. Our refusal to fix what is so terribly broken. The great divide and our failure to act, to stem the tide of hate and fear and the violence it invokes.

We must ask ourselves, are we one people or many small communities?

Do we come together, working for common cause and finding compromise or do we continue to dig the trench wider and deeper?

Are we Americans or do we continue to place the hyphen in front to create the definition of who we are, separate and apart from each other; always. Do we stand up together and build one America for all of us, no matter our differences. Do we search for ways to come together or do we finally fail as a nation. Do we allow the hate-mongers, the monsters to win, to finally draw the lines of segregation back into place, build the walls so high we never see over them again or do we stand up, as a single people in solidarity and say no more, never again and stop what is causing us to fail.

I weep for America, I weep us all.



  1. Fear knocked on the door. Courage answered, and there was no one there.

  2. Who would have ever thought the citizens of the great United States of America would be reduced to choosing between the devil and the deep blue sea? That dilemma was supposed to be reserved for us third world denizens!

  3. This was another day I did not believe we would evolve from the ooze.

    On a brighter note, I finally got a notification.

  4. I agree whole-heartedly with so much of what you say here. I would say, though, that it’s not just WTF America, but WTF World. We don’t have a lock on this craziness.

    I see the major reason as the vast spread and acceptance of radical terrorism in the Muslim community. Sure there are nut-jobs who are Christian, Jewish, Hindu – there always have been and always will be. But that’s an exception not based on anything in the teachings of those faiths. If someone says they’re a Christian and does something horrible, we can’t extrapolate out that all Christians are horrible. By that logic, since the vast majority of killers are men, we’d have to say that all men are killers. We obviously also can’t extrapolate that all Muslims are radical killers, but based on statistics, it’s more likely. This kind of thinking has clearly taken root to an alarming degree in the Muslim community throughout the world.

    The other thing I think driving young people, especially home-grown terrorists, is that many have no purpose, goals or achievements in their lives, yet they want to be famous. You used to need talent and hard work to achieve fame. Now people are famous for being famous: look at the Kardashians. The distinction between fame and infamy doesn’t seem to matter. Add a lack of goals or moral compass to boredom and a desire for fame and you’ve got the perfect breeding ground for a home-grown killer.

    • Peg, there are approximately 1.4 billion Muslims in the world today. No, it isn’t more likely they are radical. What is more likely is we are afraid of them because we don’t understand them, they are different and we have been made to fear them. They are the new ‘Red Scare’.

      There are many nations that are predominately Muslim and not radical, not horrific and in fact are led by women. In fact have a more educated populace and more freedoms than we have here in the US. So no, Peg what is true is this country and our media and some of our ‘leaders’ have ginned up the ‘Islamic Fear factor’.

      Your third paragraph, it is dead on.

  5. I have read many of your responses and respect all the opinions offered. Here is mine. Please have the same respect even in your disagreement.

    I don’t care what God or ghost this guy pledged allegiance to, he was – is – the embodiment of evil. I refuse to see him as a victim. In light of what he did, I refuse to view him as even human. No one that could go into a place of celebration and start killing people can be considered human. He goes down in history with Ted Bundy, Adolph Hitler, and Timothy McVey. Evil murderers. I only wish he could have been identified as such earlier and put down like we would any animal (one with rabies) that only wished ill will for the human race.

    Thanks for listening.


    • Tim, I don’t see him as a victim. I, like you, wish we would have identified his intent earlier and controlled him. As a victim of violence though, I understand how violence affects others; not just those directly in the path but all of those left behind.

      I hear you. I do. There comes a time when our fury and our pain spills over. My father, were he still alive would be standing right next to you in absolute agreement, I heard him too.


  6. ~~~WHAT THE FUCK.**

    You expressed this beautifully in 3 words, darling.

    Weeping in Minnesota. xxxxxx

  7. Agreed. WTF America

  8. It’s hard not to look upon yet another tragedy and feel disbelief that still, still, the system – this whole country, in fact – hasn’t been fixed yet. I weep alongside you.

  9. So well said, Val. WTF indeed!

  10. You nailed it! Mr. Mateen as a US citizen, was just another hateful, self loathing, messed up individual who was Muslim and probably a closeted gay man who took out his rage on others. Within his culture, homosexuality would cause him to be ostracized and ex communicated. Others in similar situations have simply left the Muslim faith and their family. He wanted to save face..

    Within the Muslim world, too many would consider it better for someone to commit mass murder in the name of ISIS versus admitting their homosexuality.

    • Yet, Iman’s from across America have come out and led prayer. There is an openly Gay Iman in the US.

      We should not be too quick to judge. We should not be too quick to jump on the bandwagon of the Muslim Community and the LGBT community of the US do not seek and find common ground. They have done in the past, they have done during this tragedy. Unlike the Bible, there is nothing in the Quoran that says ‘Kill Homosexuals’. We must be careful.

  11. Like many others around the globe I was shocked and saddened by yet another violent event resulting in lives lost. Its difficult for many coming to terms and trying to make sense of it all which I guess is a human trait – my thoughts and prayers are with those suffering the loss of a loved one

  12. A powerful post, Val! In some ways it has brought us closer in the common loss and horror to embrace the LGBT community. There seemed to be compassion. Then before the dead were buried the politics came into play and the whole debate (again) of gun control and fear of Muslins began again. In Corpus Christi the Harbor Bridge will be lighted up in rainbow colors for three days to honor those lost and their families. There was opposition from a Baptist pastor; he said he would pray for them though. I am rattling on but my heart breaks too as we seem to be drifting further and further apart as a country with no civility from one who wants to be dictator of the US.

    • Exactly, we cannot seem to find the humanity and thus we work on labels. I think we need to strip off the labels and simply see our shared humanity, our shared ‘American’ label for once.

      Maybe if we could start there, find the common theme in all of this we could start to reach across all the terrible with some compassion.

  13. This was such a well-written, stirring piece. I think what you said about “beginning in the home” hit the nail on the head. I was raised by people who taught value and equality. NEVER once did I ever hear a disparaging word about any race, religion, or sexual preference. I raised my children the same way. None of these should EVER be the catalyst for such horrendous treatment and violence.

  14. I have to disagree with you, Val.

    We have to focus on the shooter. We have to recognize his pain and suffering, to see him as human and NOT a monster. He is a damaged soul, so hating himself that he projected his feelings outward. My heart breaks because people don’t understand that we MUST be kinder to the people around us. That our every word and action impacts others. I’m guessing he was a very I happen soul, that he’d undergone some terrible pain in his life to be so disenchanted. Until we acknowledge his suffering too, well…we become the insensitive monsters who demonize him. I’m not saying that what he did is okay or even forgivable. But his actions are those of a deeply wounded soul, and the wonderful democracy that you tout is creating more and more of these types. To many people, America is the Evil Empire with questionable motives. We feed our people poisoned water (Flint Michigan). Our drug companies make billions of dollars on drugs that are killing us. We feed our families nutritionless crap from our grocery stores, products filled with artificial flavored and colors and preservatives and our FDA approved it, calls it “food.” We are encouraged to work long hours at unfulfilling jobs. We are encouraged to buy what we cannot afford. Sorry, we Americans need to look ourselves in the mirror. Oftentimes, it is the very way we live that is the portrait of madness. Once you see it, you cannot unsee it. This guy was small potatoes. His hateful actions simply reflect the racism and homophobia and nationalism present in our country. It is a sad time in our history, that’s for sure. Thank you.

    • Renee, I think this is what I said though I believe there will always be broken people. There have always been broken people. It is our nation that provides easy access to the tools of mass destruction for them to carry out their madness.

      This one, this murderer will be dissected. His family, his friends, those who loved him and those who didn’t; all of them will be talked to ad nasum. We will know everything there is to know about this taker of 49 lives, this murderer of innocents before it is all done. So far, by all accounts, he was simply average. He did not suffer any undo hardships in his life, he was not abused or bullied. He was not diagnosed with any mental illness either. Small potatoes? Maybe not, however he took 49 innocent lives without compassion or empathy, he does not deserve our sympathy.

      Sometimes Renee, people make choices. Sometimes the do so for motives we will never understand. Other times they are motivated by religion, fear, money, or power. There are many reasons people do what they do. Yes, we have problems today in this nation, many that you listed, many that drive societal problems. If we as a people are going to change these we have only one choice, engage in the process and work for change. That means get involved, use your vote wisely. Our Democracy is the only thing we have Renee, it is the only thing that keeps the wolves at bay. We may not always like it, but it works when we all take part.

    • “His hateful actions simply reflect the racism and homophobia and nationalism present in our country” —100percent Agree.

  15. So well said, Val. This was an act against all of us who believe in democracy and our inalienable rights. I am stunned by the depth of the tragedy and hope beyond hope that we can come together to fight this kind of terrorism instead of each other. My heart goes out to all in the LGBT community. There really are no words.

    • My heart goes out too, but this is exactly it Monica. While we focus on a single slice, in this case the LGBT community we forget the greater problem. My heart weeps at our continued breeding of hate against minority communities in this nation. It starts in our homes and is continued in our schools. We don’t check it, we don’t stop it, in fact we watch candidates and office holders use it as rally cries.

      But, if we don’t stop and say, 49 Americans were murdered by a crazy person. Then dig down into the why, was it hate for Gender, Sexual Orientation, Race, Ethnicity, Religion or was it simply because the murderer was a crazy S.O.B. That is my entire point, maybe if we start with we are Americans, not XXX-Americans we will get further.

  16. I cannot get my head around that this kind of tragedy continues. Why? How do we not see it coming yet again? I grieve for the losses suffered by all the families. ❤ ❤ ❤ I'm absolutely gobsmacked.

    • I am also. We see, maybe not on the individual level, but we see. The issue is, there are those who simply place $$$ above the collateral damage.

      I am devastated by our lack of compassion; as a people, as a nation.

  17. Oh Val. Doesn’t it seem like we were just mourning Newtown. Or was it Aurora. Hmmm, maybe it was Charleston… It’s so hard to tell, since so very little has changed.

    I heard a short while ago that the Orlando coroner’s office, with all it had to do, kept the shooter’s body away from the victims. Funnily enough, such sensitivity made me feel good about our humanity. Hopeful.

    • I read that also. A friend said to me, the shooter should not be afforded burial, only a drop off at sea. I understood his thoughts but the problem is his victims extend beyond those he murdered to his own family, those who loved him.

      When do we remember, despite his acts there were those who loved him? Those who likely did not know.

      • True. I have always thought that would be a fascinating novel. The story of how a killer’s family heals and moves on.

  18. Very sad state of affairs we are in these days as a country. No doubt, we’ve been in disoriented disarray before in our history, but we are certainly there again. Love and light to you, Val.

    • We are lost Sue, as a nation and a people. We have lost our way.

      • *I* haven’t lost my way. And most people I personally know haven’t lost their way (but that may say more about the company I keep). People I personally know are sickened by our tainted media, appalled by many hate mongering politicians, and discouraged so many lambs follow these two entities to the slaughter. I’ve seen enough to recently decide to stop watching the ‘news’ shows, stop listening to the hateful politicians, and to stop focusing my attention on the not-so-silent lambs. I only know of one way to battle and balance this surge of negativity, and that is to focus on opportunities to spread hopeful and loving thoughts and solutions. Otherwise, I simply feel the negative energy spewing from me. If I spew that out into the universe, the universe will reflect it back to me. (Sorry for sounding all space-cadet but this is where I am now in my thoughts.) LOVE trumps HATE. LOVE heals HATE. LOVE is the result of influencing those who side with HATE to suddenly flip the thin coin and embrace HATE’s exact opposite; I’ve seen it happen and absolutely marvel at just how possible and simple it can be. You have been blessed with a passionate voice, and you do so much to open people’s eyes; it must bring you some peace when you do. I have found that for myself, it drains me too much to attempt to do what you do so well, and for me, it does not leave me feeling at peace. That’s why I find I must lean towards another way of effecting change. I think all the methods we collectively use help to effect change. Some people need a slap in the face to get it. Some need a hug. XOXO

        • Sue, I try to lean in. Always I try to lean in. Sometimes that is by pulling hard on the terrible. I know Love, Compassion, Empathy and Passion will undo all the terrible. But before we get there we have to pull hard on the terrible, we have to know the enemy.

          I have been silent for a bit, this season of personal silence has been important for me. I needed it. Now my voice is starting to scream again.

          • I know you do, Val. With all my heart, I know you do. The “before we get there” notion doesn’t work for me . . . I think we are ALWAYS there, in the midst of unspeakable terrible things every day **AND** in the midst of profound love, compassion, and empathy every day. And yes, absolutely, the terrible is exactly the daily visceral reminder we need to practice with conviction the utmost important act of spreading love, compassion, and empathy whenever we can. (FYI . . . the polldaddy link in your comment just brings me to a source-code-filled web page; javascript?)

            • Sue, I don’t know what link you are referring to, confused.

              • Every single response you make within the WordPress ‘notification drop-down list’ (left of search bar symbol on upper-right of WordPress screen) is appended with this, directly after your comment . . .

                • Thank you Sue. I will have to go figure this one out. Don’t know where it comes from.

                  • I tried to research it, but didn’t find an EXACT match on that. What I eventually stumbled on instead is references to “” as a ratings widget for WordPress. NOTICE that the one I stumbled upon has a PLURAL “ratings” vs SINGULAR “rating” in the middle of the URL.

                    If you are using this widget and have cut and pasted javascript code (as might’ve been recommended to you somewhere online), then I would suggest seeking that particular word in that one part of the URL reference and changing it to “ratings”. Worth a shot. SINCE I DON’T EXPECT TO UNDERSTAND WHAT THE HECK I’M TALKING ABOUT, HERE’S AN INFORMATIONAL WEB PAGE about the RATINGS WIDGET. It’ll probably make sense after you read it. (maybe? lol) Look at the section titled “Installing Your Rating” and notice that there are two ways to install it: one with shortcode; the other with Javascript. The line that potentially needs fixing is in that Javascript.

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