Abnormal

feminity1I have been accused of being abnormal, of not being feminine in my responses, of not being sufficiently emotional. This is not the first time someone has said this to me, likely it will not be the last. My only answer to these accusations is I keep my emotions under control and am not given to public displays, even if you are an audience of one. If you are acting out to gain a response from me you will be sorely disappointed and I will not apologize for this.

I don’t believe I am abnormal, only that I have examined many human emotions closely and found they don’t suit me; I have discarded them. I am at peace with myself, with my imperfections. This does not mean I am happy to traipse alone through the last part of my life journey. It simply means I am unlikely to make significant adjustments to my core being to accommodate the expectations of others regarding who I ‘should’ be as a woman.

notnormal

For most of my life I took care of everyone around me, everyone came before me their needs before mine. This is part of my nature and can be draining. My tendency was to hold everything very close until I had enough, then I would blow up with sometimes catastrophic outcomes. Because I didn’t ask for what I needed, didn’t tell what was wrong, didn’t talk to partners, friends, parents or anyone in my orbit if there was a problem no one knew until it was too late to prevent that blow up. While those blow ups often hurt others, they all to often hurt me far more.

I don’t do this anymore. I am still quiet. I still listen more than I talk. I still have a tendency to take care of the people I love more than ask for care when I need it. This is still my core nature. What I don’t do is allow it to go without speaking up if I believe a relationship is not reciprocal. What I don’t do is not care for myself. The odd thing though, I am accused of not being sufficiently womanly e.g. emotional in my response to things.

It is true, I frequently withdraw.

It is true, I do not weep and gnash my teeth.

It is true, I do not fling myself to the floor and beg for attention.

It is true, I do not scream, yell, call names or other such nonsensical behaviors one sometimes sees on TV these days. If this is the expectation there will always be disappointment, always.

The emotional blackmail I do not respond to and have not responded to for years? The attempts to force me to react, I think they are childish and demonstrate a lack of confidence in the other person, these sometimes seem to be tests in whether I care or not. If I fail these tests, we are likely not good partner material. Some of the ‘tests’ I have failed recently, the emotions I have failed to adequately demonstrate:

Jealousy, it simply isn’t part of my DNA. It once was, I admit I use to feel horrifyingly jealous and it would tear me apart inside. Now though I no longer respond or react. I don’t know when I stopped feeling the monster of jealousy rise in my heart, I think it was jealous-700x450when I realized I could not make someone love me, could not force someone to stay and could not change another person’s heart no matter what I felt. There was no point to this emotion, it hurt no one but me. I didn’t do anything to change myself, it was simply I stopped feeling jealous. I still felt angry at a betrayal, at a lie but I no longer felt jealous.

Envy was another of those strange emotions that simply disappeared, it seemed in a day though I am sure it didn’t just poof away. I remember being younger and envying other women their perfect bodies, their clothes, their husbands, their jobs and the list goes on. I remember seeing others and wanting what they had, even just wanting to be them. I would sit sometimes and simply daydream of not being me, being anyone but me. My envy would envelope me in a fog, then suddenly it was gone. Suddenly I cannot imagine being anyone but me, despite everything I cannot dream of any life but my own. There are days I see a beautiful woman in the store and admire her, but my admiration is not envy.

Fury, I held on to my fury for days, sometimes weeks or longer. That fire would burn me flameWomanand others in a destructive path. While it might have been justified it was not healthy in its expression and it never ended well. Now, I know how to express anger when it occurs rather than let it burn me out. Now I know how to speak up and speak out. Now I know that to hang on to anger, allow it to become fury, give it free rein and rent in my soul is one of the most self-destructive things I can do.

Hate, I let this one go a very long time ago but I have to frequently check up and check in. I have said for a couple of decades you have to feed hate to keep it alive and I believe it. There are people and things I don’t like, I don’t allow in my life; but even those who have done me great and terrible harm, I do not hate. Some of them I had to teach myself not to hate. Some of them I had to let go of, I had to find them in my head and kick them out. Some of them I had to write about, here and elsewhere until they were purged. Some of them I had to learn to understand so I could justify not hating them. Slowly though I let go of hate, slowly I learned peace through letting my monsters go.

I still hate green peas.

So some men find me uncomfortable. They do not understand my ‘lack’ of emotional response. They find me to pragmatic, to logical in my responses to some of their actions and behaviors. They find my quiet disarming. Some men find my ‘lack’ of normal female emotions uncomfortable.

Relationships and dating at this age is difficult if you don’t follow the rules. Unfortunately, apparently I don’t follow the rules.

I am an introvert. I am perfectly capable of taking care of all my needs. I do not need anyone though I want someone in my life who will partner me evenly and is capable of a balanced relationship.

I am quiet. I know myself. I have clear expectations. I do not play games and it is unlikely I will respond the way you expect if you attempt to play games with me. These statements about my abnormality just got me thinking, I am perhaps more of an anomaly than I thought and should maybe be prepared for what I once considered an intolerable future. It is not that I don’t have hope, but these statements of my abnormality certainly leave me wondering.

womanonpath

Last Hope, Not

Watching the last debate I was struck by one glaring omission, Trump, #45, #3. Nowhere in the discussion and that is what we had last night on the stage, was the name of the current occupant of the White House hammered upon. With rare exception when given the opportunity did those standing on the stage compare themselves, what they would do differently, why they would be better for the nation.

I can only ask, what are you afraid of?

Not only do they not go after the man behind the Resolute Desk, they do not go after each other. They are simply being polite, they are playing nice in most cases. Even where they have something to say, they don’t say it. Even where they have significant challenges, where they have grave differences they avoid calling each other out, except politely. Do they not understand the primaries are the training ground, it is here they learn how to do battle and we watch to determine if they have the cojones to stand up for themselves, their positions and us, the American people they claim to be fighting for.

So what in the Hell are you wanna be President’s afraid of?

Stop playing. Stop being so damn nice. Got something to say, say it. Have an issue, bring it out in the open. Start defining your spaces, drawing your boundaries and showing us who you are. Boys and girls you are going up against Donald J. Trump, he will not spare you, he does not give two shits about your feelings, social standards or polite society. His bareknucklebase is rude and crude, they want to see him draw blood. They want to see a street fight, no rules just bare knuckle ugly and you laying on the ground where he can kick you again, and again, and again till you cry for mercy. That is what he and they want.

They want you, all of you to tap out and when you do, they will laugh all the way to the polls and hand him another four years.

So while you are playing nice, he is laughing. He is making up names for you. He is an Impeached President, standing in front of thousands making up lies, killing foreign government officials and telling the American People it is his right to do so. While he is doing this, you are standing on the debate stage making nice with each other pretending all is right with the world and this is just like any other day in the nation and he is just like any other POTUS.

Are you as crazy as he is and just better medicated?

I look at the aging and oh so very White debate stage, especially the top three contenders, I shake my head in dismay. Where is the fire? Where are the ideas that a nation can get behind and lift a candidate up to the Oval Office? Where is the energy necessary for leadership? Who among them can galvanize a nation into the battle of not one but three generations? Who among these geriatric fumblers can truly bring our nation together for the sweeping fervor necessary to win back the White House and Senate in 2020.

What are you thinking DNC? Picking again whose turn you think it is, giving us a choice among the least offensive? Or simply insuring #3 sweeps the Electoral College again and destroys what is left of this nation.

Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are all over seventy years old, their average on taking office would be 76. Bernie would be 79 the day he takes office, Joe would closely follow him at 78 and Elizabeth is a bit behind at 71. Whether we like it or not, aging brains are less nimble. Whether we admit it or not, cognitive thinking is affected as we age. This is not me, this is every shred of medical science we have today. This is observable facts. This is the truth, right before all of our collective eyes if we care to acknowledge it, in our own families and God help us all in our current POTUS.

So what in all the Seven Levels of Hell are we thinking when we consider the top three contenders for the next President of the United States should be someone closer to Eighty than to Fifty, or hell even Sixty.

Let us consider some other factors in this ignorance, shall we?

Bernie Sanders, health and age precludes him from a second term, hell he may not make it through his first. Given his positions and that he is only running as a Democrat because he would not make any Debate Stage as an Independent Social Democrat he may well select as a running mate someone who would be untenable to the majority of Americans which means his election is not assured and if elected his VP would not be unchallenged in a primary.

Joe Biden, age precludes him from a second term. I expect he will select an acceptable running mate, however his success during his short tenure in office may create problems for his Vice President. Again, this means the potential of a challenge at the primary.

Elizabeth Warren, age precludes a second term but I suspect she will try. Additionally, I suspect her ability to choose a running mate that will be acceptable and will balance her ‘big’ plans. I don’t believe she can beat #3 at the polls.

The rest of the candidates right now, they haven’t stepped up to the plate hard enough and the DNC isn’t pushing them to do so. If you are a Democrat you should be in there fighting with your party about this, you should be in their demanding a real primary season with a real voice. If you are an Independent, like me you are likely watching this with dismay and wondering why these are what you are being handed to consider as the next Commander in Chief. In the early days there were so many better options, so many others who could have gone toe-to-toe with #3 and carried the ball for the people of the United States.

The top three contenders, they should be sitting back and mentoring the next cohort. Giving guidance and leadership to those coming up behind them. Instead, there they are standing up front saying they are the last great hope for America.

If this is all there is, I can only say we are lost.

Retired Public Officials Waiting for a Question

Retired Public Officials Waiting for a Question

62 and Single

introvert-life-tips-e1486148449878 (1)

I never thought I would be single at this age; this isn’t what I believed my life would look like. Truthfully, I assumed my life would be much different than it is today. Some days I wake up and wonder who is living my life, who is inhabiting the life plan I had. Well if I am honest, I wake up and think to myself, just what the fuck.

Excuse my expletive. There might be a few more so if you are offended easily you might not want to read this simple exploration of life at sixty-two, where nothing is quite as planned.

If someone had told me when I was twenty-five the trajectory my life was going to take, I would have laughed uproariously. I wouldn’t have believed them, sixty-two was old as the hills and I didn’t expect to live that long in all honesty. In the back of my mind though, I had expectations;

  • To marry, once
  • To have children, two
  • To have a careerlifethegame
  • To have grandchildren
  • To build a future and a home

To live the same life, follow the same path my father followed and embrace the same familiar patterns I had grown up with once my rebellion was finished. I was nearly done at twenty-five, almost completed my teenage angst and young adult anguish. I had started down the path of adulthood and was building that future though perhaps not quite in a regular fashion I had expected early on in life.

Yet here we are, thirty-seven years later and I am sixty-two years old and I am alone. I have had two husbands and a few wannabe husbands. One who I left and the other who left me. I have helped raise two children, both who remain close, but who are not mine except through bounds of love. I live alone in a house that is mine but still feels not quite home. I have lived a life that by all accounts was not normal but certainly built character, still I have to ask why am I alone when this is the last thing I intended to be.

Oddly, I am not unhappy or lonely most of the time. I enjoy my time within the self-imposed Personal_spacebubble, the time I can spend in my own company is strangely comforting. There are simply times I would like to know there is another person who is uniquely part of my world and chooses to share in my future. Someone who is a dependable source of both solace and pleasure. That single person who I can turn to as companion, partner, friend and yes, lover. Does this seem to be two distinctly different, even polar opposite spaces to occupy?

It may be. I cannot determine if it is or not. This sometime overwhelming longing to have a person in my life, a man who sees me, looks on me with compassion and desire does not take away from my pleasure in finally having peace and quiet. It does not reduce the enjoyment I take in my self-determination, of being able to finally do what I choose without thinking of anyone but myself. There is a strange dichotomy in finding yourself at sixty-two finally on your own, alone and independent of all responsibility but to yourself.

I remember thinking, there will come a time my sons will be grown they will marry, have children and be independent adults. There were times during my marriages I sometimes thought, my husband(s) will grow the hell up and become responsible grown-assed men, they will be full time contributors rather than emotional and financial dependents. I will be free to do what I wish, to work differently, to travel more or whatever else I wish to do. Then of course, divorce struck and financial setbacks took away my freedoms.

I recovered; I was most fortunate. Now I think, I cannot afford to just do anything to squander my recovery and my future. I must think like an adult, huh.

AmbivertScale

Can you guess where I sit on this spectrum?

So, adulthood hits at sixty-two and what it looks like doesn’t thrill me. Who in their right mind wants to do this, alone? This isn’t what I thought it would look like. Dating isn’t something I can do easily; I am not good with new people or small talk. Years ago, I tried on-line dating for a brief minute, that didn’t work for me so I won’t try it again. I am far too picky, a man would have to be extraordinary to catch and hold my attention, he would have to be part superhero, part bad boy and part old school gentleman (like my father). He would have to have the smile of an angel, clean fingernails, the patience of a saint and be able to laugh at himself.

Does this even exist anymore?

ShhhI have been so fortunate in my life. I have been loved and I have loved. I know what both look like. I have also been terribly disappointed, yes, I have also disappointed. None of us are without flaws, none of us have gone through life without mistakes. The thing is, I am better for mine, I hope. I don’t want to spend my last years alone, I want to share this last part of my life with someone who will love me knowing all my flaws, all my skeletons, all my baggage. Who will see me fully and without judgement hold me closely through the end.

I just keep wondering, how did I get here, sixty-two, single, alone and is this it?

Now What

Soapbox LogoIn a word, what a world. Okay, that is three words. It is terrifying though, don’t you think? I wonder sometimes if we will survive the next eleven months to election day and then what will happen when the results are announced? Either way, what will happen whether the current occupant of the Oval Office wins or loses, what will happen? Already the fabric of our nation is being ripped apart, everything we stand for is being tested, everything that has ever been considered good is being proven to be rotten at its center. But what will happen if #3 loses the election on November 2? What will he do between November 3 and January 21? What hell will he unleash on the United States and every nation of this world in the eighty (80) days when he has nothing to lose and his battered ego is thrown into high gear?

To ‘wag the dog‘ means to purposely divert attention from what would otherwise be of greater importance, to something else of lesser significance. … The expression comes from the saying that ‘a dog is smarter than its tail’, but if the tail were smarter, then the tail would ‘wag the dog‘.

My fellow Americans, it seems we have an entire administration focused on wagging that dog, hard. A President, who has taught them all well and with limited effort on his part has turned an entire political party into slavering sycophants at the alter of his out blown ego.  If this were not so dire, if the consequences were not so calamitous, I would watch in fascination and giddy glee. Unfortunately, for all of us #3 and his band of minions have turned up the dial and put us all in even more danger simply to satisfy his baseless ego.

To ‘wag the dog‘ means to start a war or military operation to divert negative political attention away from yourself. Based on the movie of the same name, where the President fabricates a fake war to take political pressure away from a scandal.

What now? Where do we go from here? We have three hundred and one (301) days before the next election. Between now and then, how much more harm across the world can this President and his bootlickers do, to the nation and the world? His nature will not allow him to ignore a slight, he will go all in at the slightest hint of an insult to his manhood, his intellect or his competency; none of which exist in the real world only in 700-00153871his mind. He will spend the day excitedly tweeting plans to financially ruin allies who question him, commands to blow up nations, assassinate enemy heads of state and nasty childish insults at private and public citizens who disagree with him. He has most recently noted his tweets are on par with Presidential orders and Congressional Briefings.

Where do we go, as concerned citizens? What is our out from the downward spiral this president and his cult are taking us? How do take back the soul of a nation and restore order? Some would say and I do not entirely disagree, the past three years have only exposed us for what we were all along. This president and his allies did not introduced xenophobia, racism, sexism, classism, nationalism and all the other ‘isms’ to the United States, only pulled the Band-Aid off what has always been simmering under the surface. I don’t disagree, but we were making progress. We were taking small steps. We were slowly moving toward a better day, a better world and better understanding. We were making it intolerable for the ‘isms’ to exist. We were slowly but surely eradicating the acceptance of them in our schools and public spaces. We were expanding our understanding of one another, small steps I know but they were there and it was good. Our first Black President made some of us take notice, made many of us proud of the nation we were building, together. Of trump-pence-pompeo-impeachmentcourse, he also made many terrified, thus we have this deranged imbecile sitting behind the Resolute Desk.

Now what? This is what I always come back too. We have an impeached president, who is close to kicking off another war he cannot win. We have a Senate intent upon cheating, on giving him a pass not just to pacify his ego but to smooth his and their own way into re-election. We have Russia with a free hand to interfere in our elections and our national security. We have a government with zero checks and balances. We have a media entirely undermined by the current Administration. We have a White Supremacist writing speech’s and guiding the president in his immigration policy. We have children in cages dying and no one seems to care. We have Black and Brown people dying in the street, every single day and no one seems to care. We have Synagogue’s being defaced and their members being murdered and no one seems to care. We have Black churches being defaced and their members being murdered and no one seems to care. We have Neo-Nazi’s and White MillerPutinSupremacist marching in our streets and the best we get from the POTUS is they are very fine people, no one seems to care.

We have a family of criminals, given high-level security clearances, making millions if not billions from their positions close to the president. No one questions this, no one seems to care.

Worst of all, we don’t have a viable Democrat running for office capable of exciting enough of the fence sitters to vote. So Now What?  Just what in the hell do we do now?

Bound

 

 

 

 

Tattered and in pieces, shackled invisibly

Howling gales, surrounding me frenzied

Lashing my torn spirit, whispering as I search

Lost, darkness immediate dragging my core

Crying out, find me here on this shore

 

Red skies, angrily brighten the horizon

Breezes calm in dawns face, muting the fury

Showers fall, washing the previous night’s wounds

Chains fall away as a pathway opens ahead

Whispers beckon, barely heard over wind-chimes

 

Soaring, shearing edges from diaphanous clouds

Leaving trails, breadcrumbs to follow as I search

For rest, for peace, for a place to land quietly

Battered, betrayed with redemption beyond reach

Gossamer robes flow around me, burning my skin   

Each touch scorching reminders of pairings

 

Night falls again, nightmares beckon once more

Perhaps tonight will be different

My bond slips as you become more distant

Once my king now my black prince

Still, I miss your skin, in my dreams

My bound memories, reminders of a reverie

 

5-January-2020

Hero’s and Buffoons

We have been witness on the floor of Congress to a parade of Civil Servants both Heroes and Buffoons, some elected, some lifetime military or civil servant and some bought and paid for. I was glued to my television watching the circus of the Impeachment Inquiry of the 45th President of the United States of America, the dishonorable Donald J. Trump. There were times during these hearings I wanted to weep and others I wished I could be in the room so that at the end of the day, I could offer a word of support and encouragement to the witness. That person who did not ask to be there, who did not ask to be the center of the maelstrom that is the corruption of Donald J. Trump and his enablers, but were there to do what they believed either they must do for the greater good of this nation or frankly to save their own freedom.

Let’s be clear, truthful and honest with ourselves. None of the witnesses were their of their own volition, in fact all were there under subpoena, yet some were there because IMPEACHMENT-WITNESSES_4x3they chose and others had to be forced after much arm twisting. Some were there having already been part of a larger campaign to out the corruption and they acknowledged this in their testimony. Others had been part of the corruption, whether willing participants or hapless tools of more sophisticated players. All those who eventually testified, whether as Democratic or Republican witnesses painted a picture of this Administration that should terrify every single American, but somehow doesn’t and this is what horrifies me.

Donald J. Trump has a magic power, I have come to believe this watching his career both as a private citizen and as the 45th POTUS. His power is to find the very worst in each person and expose it. To sanction that person to act on their very worst instincts, to celebrate their ugly and lift up as both beautiful but acceptable. Time and again we black-and-white-trumphave observed this singularity, with those in his circle even his own children. Worse yet, an entire Trumpian culture has risen up around him, championed by Fox Network, who have espoused with great relish this fraud, this huckster, this carpetbagger as one who can do no wrong and is the victim of a churlish conspiracy to oust him, rather than the victimizer of America and American ideals. No matter what horror show this man creates daily they cheer him on to even worse, they excuse him and in the process they destroy the fabric of all that might once have been good, right and possible about this nation.

I cannot imagine being an active duty member of the military, a decorated officer who swore an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and who is now a target of not just the most powerful man in the world, but of his lunatic sycophants; for doing his WilliamsVindmanjob and telling the truth. Yet, this dedicated man, who stood up and did his job multiple times, told what he heard, reported what he saw was ridiculed for wearing the uniform of the United States Army he still proudly serves by minions of the President, trying to make points and in the process destroy this patriot and his service and reputation.

It is incomprehensible to me, a thirty plus year veteran of the State Department a member of our foreign services who has served honorably under both Republican and YokancavichDemocratic presidents, with Senate confirmation in extremely hazard’s conditions would be the subject to threats and smears. That this woman would be threatened by the most powerful man in the world while testifying, under oath to a Congress Committee investigating him. Just to put this in perspective, foreign service officers aren’t carrying out their duties to get rich, these are civil servants who love their country their average earnings for foreign postings are $98k.

It is beyond my understanding an expert in all things Russia, a first person witness to the corrupt actions and acts of Rudy Giuliani and his henchmen, acting at the behest of Donald J. Trump, would be belittled and challenged in both her knowledge and HillHolmes2capabilities. They didn’t challenge what she saw, what she heard or the facts. No indeed, they challenged her competency and knowledge. They attempted to disparage her, to challenge even her patriotism. They refused to grant her even the courtesy of her hard earned title of Doctor, repeatedly calling her instead Miss or Ms.

These are just some of the antics of those seated on the Intelligence Committee by the Party of Trump, for no matter what else they might like to call themselves this is indeed what they have become. Flatters to a man who lies with every other breath he takes, who issues presidential edicts as if he were a ruler rather than an elected civil servant. A man who cozy’s up to cruel dictators and insults our allies at every opportunity. This is the man these toadies, these grovelers are determined to protect with the last breath in their body and at the expense of their own souls and the soul of the nation.

Donald J. Trump hates America and all it has stood for since its foundation. He doesn’t hate the terrible we have done in our history, in fact these parts he embraces with Trumpenthusiasm. No, Donald J. Trump hates the America that might be, the America that is entombed in the Statue of Liberty, the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, in decades of progress towards a better, freer and more inclusive America. Donald J. Trump hates the America that elected, celebrated and embraced Barack Obama, he hates the America that fights back against discrimination, school shootings, inhibiting voting rights and injustice. Donald J. Trump hates the America that desegregated schools, housing, marriage and the military. Donald J. Trump hates the America that placed limits on corporations for their destruction of public lands, water and air. Donald J. Trump, simply put Hates America and hates most Americans.

What the two weeks of testimony showed us is Donald J. Trump isn’t just ignorant of the law, he believes himself above all laws and those around him will act to support him, no matter what he demands. Their buffoonery, both public and private are to support his criminality nothing more or less. No matter the request, they will rush to comply. No jimjordanmatter his personal insult, they will absorb it and excuse it just to hold on to their small piece of power a minute longer. Their fear of his tantrum falling on their head next far outweighs any moral judgement they might have once possessed. Their desire to change the face of the American courts far exceeds any love they might have once had for America, now they only love power and will follow Donald J. Trump into the swamp and beyond into Hell simply to hang on to that slimy reeking gunk that trails from him to them minute by minute.

Donald J. Trump hates America, he hates the majority of Americans. There is no mistaking this, by his every action from the day he announced is intent to run for office to today he has proven himself. That the truth has been laid before America, Congress and the Senate through the testimony of American Heroes and there is no outrage is proof of the magic power of Donald J. Trump, he elevates the very worst in human nature and brings out the very worst in those who need only a single push to willingly dive head first into the abyss with him.

Treachery

Embattled by treachery unexpected and dark

Washed over by the tempest of loss and fury

Your storm brewed in deep pits of secrecy

20ab55a5576cffe1dce94c2fc4b236b0Handed to me to unravel, mine to tame in the light

With no ballast to uphold me, to keep me lifted up

Silence and distance, cruelty after all this time

Soft words, the lack of reserve between us

The silence shatters me in its violence

The distance breaks me unforgivingly

My skin chills, with no replacement or sanctuary

The betrayal, so absolute I had no cache stored

Seeking anything to hold me together just long enough

To gather strength and lift myself above, to move  

Silence will become my partner again

Duplicity will seep into my bones and I will rise

Time will pass and these will become me

Signature

23 Nov 2019

Divided We Fall

If the words have a familiar ring, they should they are from the famous speech given by Abraham Lincoln in 1858. While the issue at the time was slavery and the entry of Kansas to the United States as a Slave State, the corollaries between today’s vast divides are not I think very different.

The Divided States of America (DSA) no longer united by shared goals, shared values or even a sense of common humanity it seems. No longer united by the shared tragedy of September 11, for even this has divided us in misery by its outcomes. We are a house divided where once though we might have differences in our politics and religions we came together for the common good, we are now so riven by ideology even families are torn apart by their differences.

Our true history is lost as both sides of the argument dance upon the shifting sands of time and rewrite the books as if they have won the war. It has always been the way, the victor of the war writes the history of the battles and the history of the world before time, shouldn’t we ask the question though; isn’t it past time for us to stop rewriting history and start learning from history instead. It is only my opinion of course; nevertheless, my answer to this would always be yes. It is well past time for this nation to take a step back from chest pounding and nationalistic patriotism and start hard introspective look at who and what we truly are, to ourselves and others.

Consider the horrifying state of America, the divisive nature of our political theater and their determination to be the moral standard bearers of the nation and its three hundred million plus people. They cozy up to religion and the countless so-called faith-based leaders, many who are all too often standing on the stage and spewing a rhetoric not of love, peace and kindness but of hate, divisiveness and self-centered enrichment. These ministers of God, no matter which God they call on lift up man rather than spirit and presume to speak for a truth that is not written anywhere but a ledger of numbers showing their increasing wealth while those who need their ministry and charity most send their last dollar in prayerful hope of a miracle.

Study the media of today, their ability to permeate every aspect of our lives, repeating, enhancing and even creating ‘news’ for our consumption. The most insidious ingredient for the mind of the battle for the Divided States of America is the media Talking Head Pundit, though this name assumes expertise of some nature it is rarely the reality. Instead we our inundated with vitriol aimed at whichever side of the house is perceived as the enemy by that media group, rich in standard bearers for the ‘News’ of the day, the truth is buried while the tidbits supporting the spin are blasted into homes through every media source available becoming truth for those who seemingly absorb this spun up ‘News’ through their pores.

I hold all politicians equally responsible for the state of the nation, every last one of them going back to Reagan in 1987 and his veto of Congress’ attempt to codify the FCC Fairness Doctrine, leading to a decade later Clinton signing the 1996 Telecommunications Act. Between these two, this nation went from fifty (50) media corporations with a requirement to cover equally both sides of issues, e.g. give equal time, to what we have today:

This is not to say that all Politician’s are terrible people, though it is hard to find one that I would leave alone in my home for 5 minutes without counting the silver when I returned. At every level, we are met with divisive language from those who would lead a nation. At every level, we are introduced to new reasons to fear that which might be different or new, by those charted to bring us together in peace. Words and language that even four years ago was considered unfit for public use, now is not only accepted but demanded of those who would be President and even those who lead from the pulpits. Hypocrisy runs rampant through the halls of our nation’s capital, followed closely by obstruction, obfuscation, bribery, intimidation and a host of other criminal activities all of which it seems today we must accept as normal, even cheer on as if the offices of our elected officials are nothing more than running reality shows put on for our amusement.

What are we come to?

Can it be we are on the precipice of a new order? One that will see a nation divided by more than any of the obvious lines of demarcation for us to seek correction for through finding common ground and fighting a shrinking minority; those of race, gender, sexual orientation and even the economics of poverty. Could we be looking over the abyss into a choice of moving forward into a future that includes social, technological and human advancement or instead reverting to a past that includes abysmal poverty for many, racial and gender oppression and a nation defined by its religious zealotry, superstition and ignorance? Have we stepped off the edge already and are even now falling from the heights of our once dreamed greatness into second or even third-nation status? Is this the future our children will be left with? Have we stepped aside and allowed a minority of our populace define our future?

Those of us who have fought the false lines of demarcation our entire adult lives, we see clearly this ugly strain of hate marking the nation and we recognize it as something old and ugly raising up to devour us. But we see these markers indelibly inscribing themselves across not just the expected party and population but within our own as well. Suddenly, many of see our own loyalty to justice, to fairness, to breaking the walls that separate us questioned because we don’t agree with radicalism. We are subject to purity tests, we are rejected by those we once had common ground because we might be two old, to white and privileged or to something else, including to centrist not Left enough. We have gone from a nation that values inclusion to one that seeks exclusion even at the lowest level, within our communities.

If we continue on this precarious path soon we will be a nation without empathy or compassion from any side of the aisle. A nation led by sociopaths using the tools of fear and hate as a means of controlling an already downtrodden citizenry. The lessons of history will be lost in the morass of tangled lies, religious and political chicanery and corporate manipulation of our political systems for personal gain. Already we have seen much of this in the past three years. We have watched an entire political party bow under the weight of a lunatic, give way to fear of a minority voting block and the rhetoric of a media storms of constant hate towards groups of people, American Citizens or not who pose a threat to their comfort and hold on power. Make no mistake though, the other side fed this hate on a daily basis by never accepting the outcome of an election, by their constant and unrelenting refusal to accept a loss.

But what is to be done? Abraham Lincoln didn’t come to his famous speech without inspiration; in fact, his inspiration was taken directly from Biblical thought.

Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom, divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand?” Matthew 12:25-26, Holy Bible New International

The only question that remains, are we a people that can set aside ideology and parties long enough to pick what is right and save our nation? Or are we going to allow, once again the media to select our candidate to do battle against what will only bring our nation to its knees.

Political Correctness or What

Where does language and action intersect to create a society in which individuals are no longer seen or heard?

I can agree that some language has the power to cause harm, however this does not mean that it should be removed from our vocabulary.  In fact, it should not.  The ridiculous lengths that we go today too not offend stifles creativity, individuality, and in some cases reality.  The ability to express one’s self with language is one of the highest proofs of our humanity.  In the world today, we have many roads to political correctness (PC) each with their own shrill leaders.  The most frightening part of this race to PC is that if and when we achieve a sanitized society free from language and behavior that offends, what will we be left with?

I believe the answer to that question is we will be left without history or the language to express it.  That eventually we will be left frustrated with our inability to realize the richness of a truly diverse culture or the ability to express it fully.  That we will no longer be able to define the world around us in terms that are factual or reality based.  I believe that we will sanitize our language and our behavior to the extent that we will give up our personal freedoms in favor of not offending.  Oddly, we are so afraid of offending today we will not stand our ground and say that we also must be heard, we also are here, and we have value – whoever we might be.

We are so busy trying not to offend we accept offense for ourselves without so much as blinking our eyes.  We fear giving offense so we disregard the truth that is before us.  We accept lies as truth in the hope that by doing so we will be safer and others will accept us; this too is a lie.  Let’s face it some things are simply what they have always been changing what we call them doesn’t change their basic construct or make the thing different.  A juvenile delinquent is a criminal simple and straight forward; they are not socially maladjusted or socially challenged.  They a might be these things too, but they are first a criminal.  A rose by any other name is still a rose.

There is a bigger problem though than just the obvious offensive language of racism and sexism removed from our everyday lexicon.  It is the removal of normal language and normal conventions for fear of offending the hypersensitive among us.  Consider the following example[1]s:

  • Black Sheep: either the four-legged animal, considered rare for its production of black wool or the odd family member or group member considered different from the norm; rebel, outcast, renegade, maverick, prodigal, individualist, non-conformist[2].
    • Suggested change: Outcast.  Of course, this doesn’t address how to refer to the four-legged animal with the black wool production.
  • Manhole: you know the hole in the street covered by a large and heavy metal plate?  Yes the one that gives access to maintenance for sewers and other wonderful things below the surface.
    • Suggested change: Utility hole, Maintenance hole, Access Chamber.  In 1990 Sacramento, California renamed all their Manholes out of concern for equality of the genders.  They settled on the gender free Maintenance Hole in part to save money since the initials were the same and thus the city grid maps would not have to be changed.
  • Uneducated: the meaning here is clear to me and should be to most others.  The person being referred to is without education.  Why is this politically incorrect?  The lack of education is an easily corrected thing, something fully within the power of the individual.  It seems however, this is another word that I am to lose from my vocabulary.
    • Suggested change: Lacking a formal education.  Isn’t that what I just said?  Uneducated!  It isn’t as if I called them ignorant, right.
  • Flip Chart: Yes, that trivial chart used in presentations, workshops, and classrooms now has a more oppressive meaning; indeed, it has joined the “ism” ranks as a racism slander.  Because the word “Flip” can be a derogatory word for a person from the Philippines, no longer should we use it in any other logical or meaningful way.
    • Suggested change: Easel
    • Now am I going too far but how about these as well?
      • We won’t flip burgers anymore
      • We won’t flip our hair
      • Never again to flip a coin
      • Nope, no more flipping through a report or a picture book
      • Gymnasts will need new language as well, no more Flips for them
      • Politics and those who report the news will need to stop telling us about Flip Flops; course it would be nice if politicians would simply stop Flip Flopping but that is an entirely different issue.

Do you see the problem here, and I have only addressed the really silly word games not the more important ones.  Not the words that are ingrained in our language and have real meaning.

Political correctness is nothing less than tyranny.  Societies that embrace political correctness are in fact embracing fascism and thus their own loss of freedom.  The term, political correctness, itself comes from Marxist-Leninist vocabulary and was used to define the accepted party line[3].  Beginning in the 1970’s political correctness has infiltrated our society to the extent that in some cases we are afraid to order black coffee for fear of offending someone.  One linguistic concept in the use of “inclusive” or “neutral” language claims that we can change our thinking and even our actions based upon our use of grammatical categories’[4].  In its strong form, this hypothesis claims that thoughts and actions are formed by the use of language and thus limitations on language would in fact change behavior over time.  In a more moderated form, the hypothesis supports the idea that the way in which we view the world is influenced by language.

The ’inclusive’ versus ‘exclusive’ language we are faced with today is a learning experience and frankly I am to old to relearn the English language to satisfy others need to feel validated. Your need to be something other than what you are is likely not going to be met by me today. Your humanity I will gladly and happily acknowledge. Your ‘he’ or ‘she’, whether born or later defined, I will gladly embrace, but darlin’ beyond this I am likely not getting there in this lifetime. Some of my difficulty is purely a matter of what is before me that my eyes can see and some is simply good grammar.

Do I believe that by removing the use of offending words we remove thoughts?  No, I don’t believe this at all.  The truth is that no matter how we try to change the history of offenses, real or perceived of the past, they remain.  The offending words remain in our lexicon whether they are now proscribed or reclaimed, they linger.  As a society, we continue to move towards a model that gives less offense to the few while the many are left to wonder what happened to their standards and social values.  So as not to offend we celebrate the “Holidays” but not Christmas.  To not offend we can require Spanish speaking in our job advertisements but beware demanding English speakers.  To avoid offense we should avoid calling those who enter the country Illegal Aliens, rather we should call them Undocumented workers.  Yet in all this avoidance of offense, we are left with an aftertaste that something is terribly wrong; something is missing.

Should we condemn racism?  Should we condemn sexism?  Of course, we should condemn these antiques of the past.  Nevertheless, the “isms” of the past will continue to exist in one form or another with or without the language to express them.  Excluding the language of racism and sexism does not eliminate its existence within society.  Reclaiming the language of racism and sexism, changing it to the language of urban hip-hop does not remove its sting or truly change its meaning.  The language of exclusion and inclusion will continue to exist so long as humans form social groups.

The danger today is that we are attempting to remove freedom of expression and thought through political correctness.  Rather than allowing society to mature naturally we are stifling independent thinking in favor of acquiescence with social orthodoxy and the loss of personal sovereignty.  In the name of social acceptance, we are giving away our individuality.  Personally, I am saddened by this loss.


[1] http://www.sideroad.com/Business_Communication/politically-correct-language.html

[2] http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/manhole

[3] Ellis, Frank (2004).  Political correctness and the theoretical struggle. Auckland: Maxim Institute

[4] Sapir-Whorf hypothesis

http://politicallyincorrect.me.uk/banned.htm

Anything More or Less

I have pondered this question for weeks. Watching the public forums and media for soapboxpilecracks. I have asked questions of friends and foes alike. I have broken my determination not to enter into the ugly on-line battles this year simply to see for myself if there are further erosion in our ability to communicate, compromise and more importantly, treat each other with some modicum of dignity and respect.

While not surprised by what I found, I was nonetheless terribly disappointed.

Even those people who I thought might be somewhat sane, somewhat reasonable could not find it in themselves to think for two minutes of a single thing they could compromise with the other side on. Not one single solitary thing.

Here was one of the questions I randomly posed:

This is a test:

Okay all my friends Right, Left and somewhere in the middle. Name one thing you can meet in the middle on. Just one thing you can extend your hand to the other side on, just one where you can say…”I don’t hate that, I can live with it; or forfend I don’t disagree”. Just one.

Now of those that actually answered, they first identified where they stood on the political spectrum; Right, Left, Middle. Then, without hesitation they proceeded to identify their own pet issue. Not an issue from the other side they would consider the possibility of compromise being reached, not something there could be discussion on. Nope, instead they threw out there the issue they wanted the other side to come to the table on. Stunning really. I should say, one of my Right leaning friends followed the question, actually put on the table something he was willing to discuss, willing to compromise on. One, out of many.

I wasn’t surprised, I was dismayed.058a84ba7d1093b3672befaf9b66ca28

Was the question unclear? I didn’t think so. I read it again, no the question was clear as could be. The problem is, the chasm is wider today than it was even six years ago. We are further apart and our willingness to listen, to reason, to consider alternatives and ultimately to reach compromises that are good for the nation, good for the greatest number of Americans not just our own tribe, our own self-interest is further diminished.

It is disheartening.

We are tearing ourselves and each other apart. We are being torn apart. We are allowing ourselves to be divided further. We have coalesced around special interests and forgotten we are first Americans, first One Nation. For all our problems, for all our terribles and yes, we have many to account for we are one people, one Nation. There is no one of reasonably sound mind who does not recognize the need to make real and fundamental changes. There is not a single person with a reasonable sense of history who does not understand there is much to be accounted for in our current social structure built upon the wrongs of the past. There is not a single person today, with a modicum of emotional intelligence who doesn’t understand we have a history that is fraught with baggage. The real issue for many though, is how to unpack that baggage and create a more perfect union, a more equitable and balanced society for our future.

What do you do? What can you do? Where do you even start? The worst part of this is whatwehearyou cannot take reasonable stands, it is impossible to say no. If you do you are labeled by one side or the other, this is the age of immediate offensive. No matter the issue, no matter the stance someone will take offense and there will be outrage somewhere and it will explode. We seem incapable of listening to anyone make a statement or ask a question without taking offense these days. We seem incapable of demanding others think as we do, speak as we command and ultimately march in line with us.

This is the age of immediate outrage, we no longer seem to have the capacity or an interest in civil and reasoned debate.

The problem with this? We do not all think alike, we do not all see the world in the same way and certainly we do not all experience the world similarly. Perhaps we have empathy, compassion for others but with the way we are speaking to each other, we are killing both. With the way we are defining our tribes today, we are further dividing ourselves and further minimizing our ability to build bridges toward a collective future that benefits us all.

I watch and listen, constantly. I must admit I fear for us as a nation and a people, I fear for our democracy. As each group rises up demanding their own slice from an empty pie dish, I fear for us all. As each small political voice gains their place at the podium and is pandered too for their votes, I fear for us. As the middle becomes an echo chamber and the fringe becomes the common voice I fear for us. I fear because the voice of reason seems to be disappearing from our national debate and the cults seem to be rising up around those would be leaders of our nation who have no ability or room for compromise in their range, who stand against everything this nation has stood for and call it ‘right’.

We are becoming more rigorous in our demand that others follow the dictates of new rules, new standards of behavior, new definitions of ‘right’ thinking. Never questioning who created or agreed to these new rules. Both sides have built walls with no room for the centrist, only for the fundamentalist, for the extremist leaving the majority of Americans without standard bearers, without political homes and without a voice in this new and frightening world of changing norms.

I am sad as I watch this nation torn down and torn apart. I am sad as I watch hate rise up and take its place center stage. I am sad as watch our progress be ripped away and in its place a denial to need. I am sad as I watch us repeat history because we failed to learn history. Mostly, I am sad because in place of coming together, we are tearing each other apart, we are pointing fingers and laying blame.

There is a piece of me that continues to hope, continues to wear my rose colored glasses and think we will come together, fix this mess and find our soul. I only know we have to first remember who we are, as a people and stop being so damned ridged and inflexible. We have to start listening, reaching across to others and bringing them in to our circle even if they don’t look like, sound like, or entirely think like us.

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