What the Hell America

0-9jzicdodmhkgda85I have written this, rewritten this and then written it again. My words have stopped one hundred times. My ability to place into words, written or otherwise my thoughts on the tragedy that is our current national mood, I am at a loss.

We are three weeks from the election of Donald J. Trump and his God Awful running mate Michael R. Pence. I watched, numb and mostly in stunned silence as this travesty took place. Actually, I watched for months as Trump stomped, whined, insulted, bullied and assaulted our senses without a single person truly taking him on, not the media, or the opposition, not the majority of his own party and not the public.

I watched as we all shook our heads, thought never would the GOP allow this buffoon and life-long Democrat to represent them, to take over their party or be elected POTUS. We ignored what was before us every step of the way.  We whined when he insulted entire groups, when he bullied, when he assaulted, when he got into twitter wars, when he suggested his opponent be murdered, when he suggested a foreign nation hack our systems and interfere with our election. But we didn’t demand he be taken down by the systems we have in place such as the Justice Department or the FBI.

No, we did nothing at all, we piled onto our own nominee instead…Benghazi and Email all the way.trump-pence-03

Like so many I watched as the perfect Manchurian Candidate plowed through practiced professionals, chewed up the press and sucked in the disenfranchised, left-out, angry and ignorant with the aplomb of the reality star he had been for decades. We shook our heads as he selected as his running mate the most far right homophobic, misogynistic, xenophobic, hate and fear mongering insider there was out there and we said not one damned word.

The DNC offered up Hillary Rodham Clinton as the anointed candidate for our acceptance. With little in the way of opposition and despite her many flaws the Left was told it was her turn now. It seemed we were to be led by dynastic houses rather than the democratic process.

We laughed and shook our heads, we polished our wit as we watched Martin O’Malley be skewered and drop out. Bernie Sanders snuck up from the true progressive left claiming ideals and ideas at odds with Mrs. Clinton and the DNC and forcing at least a conversation, carrying a true populace standard. What did we do? We impaled our own candidates, at least those with the nerve to challenge the anointed. We disregarded the corruption of the super delegate system, we disregarded the voice of challenge. We disregarded the message. We laughed as we ushered Hillary onto the stage as the pre-determined and anointed candidate of choice.

la-ed-hillary-clinton-speech-20160728-snap

One thing on Hillary, one thing only. I have never been a fan of Mrs. Clinton, however, I also believe at least 70% of what is said about her is flat out smear tactics that have stuck because it has been said often enough over the past thirty years. She is not the devil most believe her to be, in fact, she is an accomplished, knowledgeable, well-educated public servant. Is she perfect? No, but then who is. Has she made mistakes? She absolutely has, so have we all. My problem? If even 10% of what is said is true then she is corrupt, who the hell wants to elect a person to the presidency knowing they are corrupt. I know I don’t.

But it seems this nation did not care if the President Elect is corrupt, so long as they got to choose the corruption.

This nation has elected a president who wants nothing more than to enrich himself and his family. Yes, that’s right that is his primary goal. Make no mistake, this is not a man who looks at the Presidency and says to himself, “How am I going to do right by the 325 million people in the United States over the next four years.

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He isn’t concerned, he doesn’t give a shit about the lives of those people, not the ones who voted for him and certainly not the ones who didn’t vote for him. If this isn’t obvious yet, it will be.

What can we say? What can we do? I have watched as some have taken to the streets. I have listened as some of those on the streets have espoused their anger at election results in one breath while in the next admitting they did not vote. What? I have watched as one with the least to lose has challenged results in multiple states, raising money to do so, okay this is good right? Yet, where does the excess go? Who will benefit in the end?

I have watched old friends vent their fury at the outcome, draw the lines that are at once ugly and specific.

If I am White I am to blame. No matter how I voted.

If I am a White Woman, I am to blame. No matter how I voted.

If I am Heterosexual, I am to blame. No matter how I voted.

If I am White and Heterosexual, I am to blame. No matter how I voted.

If I am any or all of the above, I am to blame and I have no right to any opinion. No matter how I voted.

If I am any or all of the above, I am to blame, I have no right to any opinion, no matter how I have voted this year or in the past and no matter what I have done throughout my life to open doors or make positive change. The lines have now been drawn. Friendships are now set aside. Civil Discourse is no longer possible.

I have watched this play out time and again. I am saddened by it. I am silenced by it. I weep for friendships lost. I weep for our nation, for the fear engendered by this election, for the hate boiling over in all corners, for the normalization of racism, xenophobia, homophobia, misogyny. I weep for where we are going. I fear for all of us, mostly I fear for those who will be most harmed by what is to come.

I wonder, how do we begin to attack the hate and bigotry being normalized and enabled by this election, by this President Elect and the cabinet he is nominating? Where do we start if we are unable to even remember our own friendships and alliances? How do we even begin to undo what is done if we are only willing to fight within our house. We came out. We voted. Did alliances hold? Not always, but we have to look beyond and we have to talk rather than point our fingers. We have to reach out rather than beat down. We have to work together rather than lay blame within. We cannot afford more loss, more giving ground.

2016-election-results-1

 

 

Waste of Breath

Rottenecards_3711530_xd6br5b52tSpice is nice but Incest is Best’.

If they are going to do this rather sick and nasty act, I just wish they wore protection.

You know, put a raincoat on, prevent conception. Do not under any circumstance visit the products of their choice to keep it in the family on the rest of us.


Next up on the hit parade: Matt McLaughlin, Esq.

  1. a) The abominable crime against nature known as buggery, called also sodomy, is a monstrous evil that Almighty God, giver of freedom and liberty, commands us to suppress on pain of our utter destruction even as he overthrewSodom and Gomorrah.
    b) Seeing that it is better that offenders should die rather than that all of us should be killed by God’s just wrath against us for the folly of tolerating-wickedness in our midst, the People of California wisely command, in the fear of God, that any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.
    c) No person shall distribute, perform, or transmit sodomistic propaganda directly or indirectly by any means to any person under the age of majority. Sodomistic propaganda is defined as anything aimed at creating an interest in or an acceptance of human sexual relations other than between a man and a woman. Every offender shall be fined $1 million per occurrence, and/or imprisoned up to 10 years, and/or expelled from the boundaries of the state of California for up to life.
    d) No person shall serve in any public office, nor serve in public employment, nor enjoy any public benefit, who is a sodomite or who espouses sodomistic propaganda or who belongs to any group that does.

An excerpt of McLaughlin’s proposed law:


There isn’t much I can say, is there? A member of the California Bar, an attorney in good standing who has paid $200.00 to get his monstrous proposal on the ballot, now all he needs is approximately 365,000 signatures and the voters of California will be able to say ‘Yea’ or ‘Nay’ to committing murder against their fellow citizens simply for being different.

Sodomy-x400_1

Really? Is this another acceptable form of free speech? Another hate filled, piece of religious terrorism in the making, protected under the First Amendment. Must we truly accept this as a people?  Where do we draw the line and say as a nation, hate speech, inciting murder, sanctioning / protecting bigotry is not okay.

As of 2014, California had a population of 38.8 million souls, do I think this Christian Terrorist can find 365,000 like-minded bigots to sign his petition and get this on the next ballot, I do. That is less than 1% of the total population; all the esteemed Mr. McLaughlin must do is make the effort to stand outside of some of the more Right-Winged crazy azzed churches on Sunday, hell, I would bet the preachers would help him collect the necessary signatures. He could contact one or many of the 57 Right Wing Hate groups currently known to be active in California, likely he could collect 1,000,000 signatures in short order. This, this is what I find frightening.

So yes, Matthew Gregory McLaughlin – #198329 is at the top of my list this week, I wish his parents had worn protection and prevented his conception. More to the point, I wish this nation as a whole gave a good damn about the rights of all citizens. I wish those who profess Christianity actually had a clue as to what that means and would say, “Hell the fuck no”, this is unacceptable, to this and all the others who spew their bigotry, violence and ugliness out there into the airwaves for those with a weak mind and twisted spirit to pick up and act on.


Added to my list this week because I think it is important:

Mike PenceMike Pence and the entire Indiana legislature for their attempt to provide legal coverage for bigotry.

Asa Hutchinson and the entire Arkansas legislature for their attempt to provide legal coverage for asa hutchinsonbigotry.

Other states are doing this under the guise of “Religious Freedom Restoration”, following the lead of these two. Religious Freedom Restoration, since when have Christians not had religious freedom? Oh yeah, in 1964 with the signing of the Civil Rights Act, White Americans could no longer use their Christianity to discriminate against American Citizens of Color, whether Black, Brown or other. Until 1967 those same Christians used the Bible to thump anti-miscegenation laws, preventing Blacks and Whites from marrying, though these laws covered a wide-range of mixed marriages they primarily focused on the descendants of slaves marrying into the purity of the White race. All of this, Jim Crow (separate but equal) and miscegenation were upheld with Biblical thumping from the pulpits across the United States.

KKK Church 1964

KKK Church 1964

So I ask, what is the difference between now and then? Now that these azzhat idiots are trying to pass laws making it legal to discriminate based on Religious beliefs, what is to prevent any of the following:

“No Muslims served here” => “No Muslims hired here”

10404259_1102898039737302_7061018286767804464_n“No Jews served here” => “No Christ Killers (Jews) hired here”

“No Blacks served here” => “No Latinos served here” => “No couples of mixed race served here”

“No single women without a male family member escort served here”

“No women hired here”  => “No women admitted for an education here”

“All women must be fully veiled to enter”

Hospitals who refuse to provide care to individuals because of race, religion, gender identify or sexual orientation. What if that is the only hospital for 50 miles, do those who are not White and Christian die?

Is this where we have come to? Is this really the depth to which we have sunk as a nation?

For me, I wish all of these dregs of humanity, every last single one of them would wake in the morning and have to live even one day as that which they fear, that which they hate. I wish they would have to walk one day in the shoes of and in the life of those they wish to disenfranchise. Perhaps if you stripped them of their all too obvious White Male Privilege for even just one damned day they would learn something of compassion and empathy, I doubt it but I am always and ever hopeful.

Ravening Wolves

Gray-Wolf.-Courtesy-U.S.-Fish-Wildlife-Service27 Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain.28 Her prophets plastered them with untempered mortar, seeing false visions, and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ when the Lord had not spoken. 29 The people of the land have used oppressions, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger.

Ezekiel 22-27:29 


There is nothing to say about passion that hasn’t been said before, except this, it festers under the skin, like a wound that never quite heals. We search for that salve we can rub across the wound and for a brief moment, it works, then we realize the salve was full of grit and all we have done is taken the top layer off and opened it up to the air.

Damn that hurt, again.

I have become cynical. I weep at the history, I weep in pain some days as well. But I have become cynical. As I look down the barrel of another surgical intervention, I have become furious at the lack of compassion and empathy this nation has for the weak, the aged, the young, the disenfranchised, those different from ourselves. We celebrate the ignorant among us, whether this celebration is through their election to high office or their constant media attention, it is nonetheless a celebration. Meanwhile, we ignore sometimes even vilify those who do good works, those who deserve our attention through their contributions to society, our communities and our lives.

I weep when I consider the consequences of our apathy. I am appalled when I realized we are more concerned with the size of Kim Kardashian’s ass than we are with just how diminished the office of the President is by the disrespect shown to kim-kardashian-ass-memes-funny-6this President by every member of the GOP in elected office today. Really people, is this what we have become? I am disgusted that every single Sunday I hear the same tired conspiracy nut jobs (IRS, Benghazi, Sharia Law and Muslims, Guns Guns and More Guns, oh and let’s not forget there is no Global Warming and Make War not Peace).

I shudder when I listen to the first off the Clown Bus to enter the fray officially tell me to ‘Imagine’ a world he envisions,  one based on Christians values and morals. I cannot begin to imagine a world where all bets are off and corporations and people in his tax bracket will have all the rights and breaks while the rest of us suffer the consequences of his worldview. This though is the world of no empathy and no compassion Mr. Cruz wants us to imagine.

Of course, Phil Robertson falls right in line with Ted and his ideas. At a prayer meeting yesterday this is what Phil, the patriarch of the Duck Dynasty family had to say about those who didn’t profess a Christian view. This is what we would have to look forward to if Ted became president of the United States of America.

The worst part is, some of this is already happening across this land. Laws to strip those who are not Christian, White, Heterosexual are already being passed. Laws to enable businesses to discriminate against others based on their ‘Christian’ beliefs are passing state legislatures across the land. These new discrimination laws are enabled by people like Ted Cruz and encouraged by the fact that Phil Robertson and his network still exist on without any of us saying no, you are not allowed to say these things and stand on the First Amendment as your protection. You are not allowed to pretend it is just a joke ‘fantasy’ to threaten rape of young girls, decapitation of women, neutering of men simply because they are not of the same faith as you. What the hell is wrong with people they think this is ‘okay’.

Which leads me to the next problem, as a victim of violence I look at this nation and think to myself always when will it end? When is enough ever going to be enough, when will we say as a nation, not another child, another man, another woman will lie in our streets. When will we say not another parent will bury their child, not another child will pick up a gun in play and end up killing their sibling. When will we say enough? When will we say the police are not sanctioned to murder our citizens? When will we say enough? Surely, there comes a point in time when the lives of our citizens are of greater value than the profits of the corporations manufacturing the guns that are killing us. Certainly, at some point enough of us will stop and think, the laws in place today are not protecting anyone but those who are profiting most by our deaths, by the deaths of our children.

Then I saw this and I was brought to my knees. I realized it was us, Elyse over at Fifty Four and a Half simply put it out there and I found it stunningly simple and in your face.

Which leads me here to this, another great example the debate, of what is wrong with us as a nation and a people,. Is this ‘Free Speech’, the First Amendment at its finest? Or is it something worse, something so deeply disturbed I cannot even find the words. You tell me, with no lead in other than to say I had to watch it twice before finally realizing it is parody but also defines the the terrible ease with which anyone could do exactly what this video lays out, step by step.

Well that is my rant for the day my friends. Passion, if we don’t get it and soon we lose everything we stand for as a people, everything we once stood for as a nation. We have been slowly eroded; we have stripped down bare and shown the very worst of ourselves for the past six years. We have shown our dark and ugly side and those of us who should have stood up and spoken up, we did little and said little. We should be ashamed for allowing it to go so far. For those of us with the means to do something, we should be ashamed for not doing enough, for staying home when we should have been in the streets even where we might not have been fully embraced. It is time, it is past time that we push the boundaries and demand the change we need to make this a nation worth living in and fighting for, not just for some people but all people. We cannot afford to do otherwise.

Want to tell A & E what you think about Phil Robertson and Duck Dynasty: aefeedback@aenetworks.com

It Starts With Me

LVal_2010When I look in the mirror, I don’t see Privilege. I do not think to myself, well today when I go to the store I will be treated well, store security will not follow me, the lady at checkout will not demand two pieces of identification if I write a check. I don’t think the police will likely let me go with a warning if I drive a few miles over the speed limit; no one will follow me if I am somewhere, in some neighborhood I have never been before looking at houses.

When I roll out of bed and consider my day, I don’t think to myself, “Damn, I am so lucky I was born White.”

Do you, or if like me your skin is White and your heritage is mixed bag of European American you simply take for granted the beginning of another day and never consider what it means to be fundamentally, you as in your racial identity.

When I look in the mirror, I see crow’s feet and think, “Shit they are getting longer and deeper”.

When I look in the mirror, I see the reverse skunk stripe down my part and think, “Dang, time for another touch up”.

I do not however ever see my racial identity in stark terms. I don’t see it and wonder how it might affect my life today.

What I don’t do is wonder what I should wear to the local market, it doesn’t matter what I wear, they will still treat me as if I matter. Even if I don’t do anything more than sort of comb my hair or just run water through it and hope for the best, throw on yoga pants and a tee shirt. Not one person in that store would ever think to wonder just what the hell I was doing there, I belong; my skin tone gives me the right, the privilege of belonging.

Never thought about how I was lucky, fortunate in comparison simply based on my much paler skin. What I considered were those things I could not change about myself that made my life more difficult;

  • I was born a woman.
  • I am getting older.
  • I had been divorced and financially ruined in that divorce.
  • I had been hurt and left with disabilities.

These things, some which are simply characteristic to my birth and others, which are part of life, affect my ability to find work and sometimes advance, stay productive, earn a living, prepare for my retirement and be financially stable.

They are frankly first world problems. They do not prevent me from moving in the world in meaningful ways. They do not cause others to look at me with suspicion simply for walking into a store or in the neighborhood. In fact some of my problems are invisible, some of my problems because of the color of my skin are more easily overcome than they would be otherwise.

Do I compartmentalize my own experiences? View the world based on my own expectations of a world that is better than it is. My husband has told me I do this that I frequently do not see “ugly” behavior for what it is; I do not put the behavior in its proper perspective. I have had to wonder about this lately, question my own ability to truly “see”.

One True Story

When my parents were alive they lived in a small town in the Hill Country of Texas, we visited often, to eat, drink and play golf. My parents lived on the golf course and frequented the clubhouse for lunch. There are very few Black people in this community. We never thought about this, never considered it an issue; it never occurred to us that anyone would treat a member of our family badly.087

We sat down and perused the menu (written on the chalkboard), we were all chatting and laughing together. My brothers, father and ex-husband had just finished a rousing game of golf and DB had beaten their pants off. The men were bad talking each other and we women were rolling our eyes and hoping they would stop, soon please. DB and I were only recently married and had not been to the new house together, but my father and mother were well known to the staff. When the waitress came over to the take our order, she went around the table joking with members of the family, taking orders as my father proudly introduced those she hadn’t met before. When she got to DB and me, she skipped over him, her eyes slid off him as if he didn’t exist though she had taken my order and he was sitting right next to me she pretended not to see him. It was astounding. My father reminded her she had missed his order and proceeded to proudly introduce my husband.

I realize now my father saw what DB saw and I am humiliated by my insensitivity. My husband was mortified and hurt by the encounter and refused to eat there ever again. He told me why and I understood it, I simply did not “see” it until he told me.

The arrest of Miss Rosa Parks - Historical Context

The arrest of Miss Rosa Parks – Historical Context

We that is all of us, in our intransigence regarding race relations in the United States today are the problem. Our refusal to see the problem, our refusal to discuss the problem in real terms, our refusal to ‘allow’ historical context to those that racial bias most affects; we are the problem. Whether we ourselves are unambiguous in our pathological bigotry or we are vague and shroud our intent in a labyrinth of policy and statistics, we remain the problem. Even if we believe we have not a shred of bias, bigotry or racism in our hearts, we are the problem if we refuse to see the truth of this nation and its very real problems with race relations today in 2013.

Discussions of Race and its Historical Context by the President of the United States is not divisive. This President is a Black Man in this United States. In spite of his Bi-Racial make-up he is seen as only one thing on the street, that is Black Man. When he was growing up he was seen as a Black Boy, a Black Teenager. When he ran for office he was hated or loved for his Blackness in many cases. His words on July 19, 2013, were not divisive they were contextual and personal. Yet before he was done those who refuse to see, refuse to hear and refuse to accept Historical Context and Racism as Reality in 2013 went after his comments as if he were the problem. He isn’t.

We are the problem. We are the problem on individual levels when we refuse to examine and correct our own responses and reactions. We are the problem when we refuse to engage in necessary discussions. We are the problem when we don’t speak up, when we don’t get involved when we see inequity happening right in front of us. We are the problem when we don’t stand up and refuse the status quo. We may not be able to change the hearts of men (or women), we can certainly change the outcome of how their words and our own affect our society.

It starts with us as individuals. It starts with me. It starts with you.

In Peril

Courtesty of News National Post.com

Courtesty of News National Post.com

What in the hell went wrong?

How did this happen? Why did this happen? How did an admitted killer walk out of the courtroom a free man?

I am not going to attempt to dissect the trial, the minds of the prosecution or the jurors. There are others far smarter than I who can take on this exercise, I am sure they will.

On March 31 of last year, I wrote this Trayvon and Me, his murder came on the heels of the anniversary of my assault and I was compelled to compare the two events. Last year, one of my offenders was Released as an Inmate after serving his entire twenty year sentence, the other two were released to parole after serving twenty years of their thirty-five year sentences. Yesterday I received from Texas Victim Services notification the second of the two has been violated and will be returned to prison to serve the remainder of his sentence. This means both will now be back in prison after less than 6 months of freedom.

I found myself sitting on the stairs reading that letter my mind returning to a justice system that does not seem to serve justice equally. While my fury ran red hot at their release to parole, I cannot help how I feel as a victim, I find I see beyond my victim status in light of current events and weep for lives wasted. Young lives wasted by society’s inattention, by poverty, by misery, by bigotry, institutionalized racism; by a Drug War focused on those who could not fight back one that irrevocably broke families and communities. Lives devastated by thirty years of economic destruction of the hope, opportunity and finally of the middle class.

I wrote about their original release to parole here and here.

I haven’t always had a compassionate heart; yesterday I found my heart had less fury and more empathy more compassion.

With all this being said, the more vital topic remains how will the killing of Trayvon Martin and the “Not Guilty” verdict of George Zimmerman change the national conversation?

  • Should we be talking about Stand Your Ground? Eric Holder said it best in his recent Keynote speech to the NAACP when he noted SYG fixed a problem that did not exist and talked about the conversation he felt compelled to have with his own 15-year-old son.

  • Should we be talking about guns, conceal carry and how NRA and ALEC have pushed an agenda, one that is dangerous to all of us but most especially to Black and Brown young men.
  • Should we be talking about Racism and Bigotry in this nation? I believe we must have these discussions. We must stop hiding our head in the sand, stop saying, “I cannot be a bigot I have a Black / Brown / White friend”. The truth, racism is making a strong comeback and as a nation, we are showing our true colors. We might not like it, in fact might hate talking about it but the results of the 2012 AP Poll cannot be ignored. I have not included the comparisons from 2008, in all cases the increase averages 3%.2
Image youlikes

Explicit Anti-Black

Implicit Anti-Black

2012

2012

All Americans 51%

56%

Republicans 79%

64%

Democrats 32%

55%

What does this mean? First, it means despite opinions to the contrary it is not getting better in the land of the free and the home of the brave. It means, despite having elected our first Black President, bias and bigotry runs deep in America and those who held power for over two hundred years, are truly not prepared to share it, not prepared to see it slip through their hands. It also means, despite all of our good intentions, many of us still cross to the other side of the road without intending too, we still unintentionally profile and thus we perpetuate stereotyping and allow racism to continue as both an emotional response to our fellow citizens and an institution.

I responded to a question the other day on Facebook: “Why does the media refer to President Obama as Black when in fact he is bi-racial”.

Ann Dunham and a young Barack Obama

Ann Dunham and a young Barack Obama

My response, it is history and tradition, the history of our nation going back to Emancipation, Reconstruction, The One Drop Rule and Racial Integrity Laws. The person I responded too and many others did not like my response, in fact, they ripped into me calling me names (many of them true) and attempting to debate my premise. They could not; it always helps to know history. This unfriendly discussion though led me to understand how poisonous some are in their anger, to deny a history that is less than 50 years past. I was stunned by the virulence of some of the responses and finally left the discussion in dismay.

What in the hell do we do?

I don’t have an answer; I don’t think any of us do. I know this; young men in communities across this nation are dying every single day. Most of them are Black or Brown, their mothers weep beside their graves. It is unnatural to bury a child. With the expansion of the Castle Doctrine, many feel a target has been placed directly on their sons, directly on their husbands, directly on their fathers, directly on any male that isn’t White or at least can pass. I am not sure I don’t disagree with this assessment of what SYG really means, I am not sure I don’t disagree that it isn’t simply a license to commit murder.

ALECNRA

I also know this; we must begin to talk about what ails this nation. We must pull our heads out of the sand and out of our own proverbial asses, if we don’t we fail. We fail our children we fail ourselves and we fail the future. We must change the laws that encourage vigilante justice and while SCOTUS has told the police they may not profile based on Race, any citizen may do so with impunity and then shoot to kill because the streets are now his castle and he has no duty to retreat. We must change what ails us. We must remove the targets from the bodies of our young Black and Brown children, from our husbands, our fathers and all others in our lives.

We must begin to heal this nation.

I leave you with this beautiful song, that I dedicate to all the young men who leave the house each day with the potential someone will find them threatening and do them grave harm.

2012: http://surveys.ap.org/data/GfK/AP_Racial_Attitudes_Topline_09182012.pdf2

2008: http://surveys.ap.org/data/KnowledgeNetworks/AP_Election_Wave6_Topline_W6%20ALL%20weight5_091808.pdf2

Additional Reading:

The Defense of George Zimmerman https://lizboltzranfeld.wordpress.com/2013/07/16/the-defense-of-george-zimmerman/

It might be Love

I have been with the same man since 1997. In fact, we are coming up to the anniversary of our first meeting in a couple of months. Our relationship has seen days of great excitement and joy; we have also faced days that have tested our resolve to remain together. When we met, I suspect the last thing on either of our minds was a relationship, certainly not with each other, two people could not have been more different and neither of us were looking for anything permanent at the time.

Some of our differences are obvious to the naked eye –

  • We are a mixed race couple
    • What might not be obvious is he is from the Bahamas
  • We have an age gap, I am older
    • What might not be obvious is I am 19 years older

Most people bet against us, some still do. I think if you had asked me back when we married in 1999, I would have also. Some of the less obvious differences we have, those things that you read about in magazines and other tomes of wisdom —

  • Education
    • I now have a Masters, he stood by me while I studied nights and weekends ripping my hair out and weeping it was too hard.
  • Religion
    • He was raised in a very religious home, brought up in church with a strong faith. I am at best an educated pragmatist.
  • Finances and Career
    • I had an established career at the time we married. It has seen some ups and downs over the years though and he has toughed it out with me.

We met when I was on vacation with a girlfriend. When we met, we had much to overcome, including my ongoing very nasty divorce, maintaining a long-distance relationship and of course the judgment of other people. People who look at us and think there are ulterior motives for our pairing, simply don’t realize the hurdles or the difficulties of our early days.

Two of those motives attributed to my husband by others were:

  • Obtaining a Green Card / Citizenship
  • Money / Wealth (mine)

 

 

 

The primary ulterior motive attributed to me was what is always on everybody’s mind when an older woman and a younger man pair…….

Socially we faced some uphill battles, I am certain many can guess the types and but not  the magnitude of the mêlées, especially once we married. For most of our marriage, we have lived in Texas, though we did make a foray into Virginia for two years. Suffice to say society hasn’t always been welcoming; people have been quick to pass judgment. There are those who remain stuck in their archaic views regarding miscegenation, though I am of the opinion that we are of the same race since last I checked we are both human. There have been times bigotry has been openly on display, mostly in the small town where my parents retired to and we often visited. There are other times where small minded people have wrapped their prejudice in the blanket of their professed Christianity, trying to justify their bigotry with the Bible, I have been appalled and amused at the same time.  I have received hate-mail, seen blog posts on the subject and even had comments directed at me over the years on several different social media sites. I try hard to be open minded about the ignorance on display, after all some people are not able to overcome their own witless and pedantic views.

There are some, even in my own family that are locked into the idea that he could not possibly want me for anything other than my riches and have gone so far as to insult him directly. If they only knew the battles we fought early in our marriage to keep our head above water, paying debt from my divorce and struggling through a year of my unemployment. Though we don’t talk about our arrangements, we keep our money separate; what is his is his and what is mine is mine. Of course I earn more because I have been in the workforce longer and he benefits from that, which is far different from the ‘Sugar Mama’ everyone seems to believe I am.

We will celebrate our thirteenth wedding anniversary this year. Has it been all hearts and flowers? Absolutely not! In fact, our cultural differences sometimes create gorges we have difficulty navigating.  He comes from culture that tends to be more male dominated, more machismo; we butt heads frequently. We are not what we expected we would marry, not what we pictured we would have as a mate yet here we are. There are times we still struggle to find our footing with each other and within our marriage, yet here we are and I find I still like him a great deal most days. When people ask what drew me to him the only answer I can give besides his great smile is this; my husband is by far the most ethical man I know. Despite we are polar opposites on many levels we balance each other.

This past week my husband became a citizen of the United States of America. I wasn’t there, it wasn’t by design I wasn’t there and it wasn’t the first time I missed something important. We didn’t know he would go straight from the interview to his swearing in, I would have been there had we known. Still I wasn’t there; this is a common theme in our marriage. My work causes me to miss many important dates; birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day all of them have been missed more than once. He remembers each one I miss and reminds me. But more importantly my husband is now a Citizen after all these years, I wonder what the naysayers to our marriage will say now, I can hear them whispering in the corridors already.

Whispers……

He doesn’t need her any more, will he stay?

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