Whether I Like it or Not

Soapbox LogoWith a flick of the wrist, a twist or a pull we have introduced into our nation the most openly corrupt, venal and hostile administration we have ever been witness too. On 9 November 2016 many woke thinking their worst nightmare had been realized, never thinking they hadn’t seen anything yet. It was only just beginning.

Some thought, I will just wait and see.

Some thought, hurray my side won now it is my turn.

Some thought, this is the end and all I have and all I am will be lost.

Me? I am in the middle of one and three. I am a pragmatic Progressive Independent who believes in America, Americans and the US Constitution. I long for this nation to be the best it can be and recognize there is a very long way to go. I also realize many of us, most of us will disagree as to what ‘best’ looks like and therein lies one of our most fundamental problems.

What is the best we can be? As that icon of Conservatives Ronald Reagan said in his farewell address;

 ‘I’ve spoken of the Shining City all my political life. …In my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of rreaganfreeall kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.’

What few mention, these words are lifted from John Winthrop, the first Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony and despiser of all things Democratic or even having a whiff of religious tolerance. Yes, when our presidents and president’ wannabe from both sides reference that shining city, they show their ignorance of history, this is who they are quoting:

  • Massachusetts Body of Liberty, 1641, this is a special document and I urge you to pay special attention to Women’s and Children’s Liberties and Capital Laws. Scroll through all of them though since our friend Winthrop had a special love for torturing accused witches.
  • Governor John Winthrop, I urge you to read other letters and links. He was at best a piece of work.

I use this historical reference only to define a back-to-the-future moment. Our current President used the slogan “Make America Great Again” to stir a base that felt left behind. Donald J. Trump stepped into and took advantage of the maelstrom, he reaped what the DNC and the GOP had sown, and he did it gleefully. We shook our head and said, “He can’t win”, meanwhile he sucked up airtime and all the oxygen in the room, surrounding himself with sycophants and psychopaths willing to do his bidding.

MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN

Strip Civil Rights from those who don’t look like me, worship like me, love like me. Which includes anyone who doesn’t fall into all of the following:

guy-with-moneyCaucasian, Male, College Educated, Christian (at least in name), Heterosexual (at least publically), net worth at least +$500,000 (yes this is real, though you will be forgiven this one if you are working toward it and someone vouches for you)

Everyone else? Your value is limited too:

Labor, photo op, votes (while you still have voting rights)

President Donald J. Trump and his co-President Stephen K. Bannon are everything we should fear. Each in his own way are the antithesis of who we say we are as a nation and a people. They are the very worst of us, bundled together and running our nation by edict from the Oval Office. Surrounding them are those willing to turn a blind eye on their worst actions and blatant lies by calling it something else, Alternative Facts or someone else’s error.

MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN

By whose standard? Based on what criteria? When America is great again, where will you be in the pecking order?

Today, those of us on the Left are protesting everything and demanding of our representatives in Washington they should block everything. This demand is tantamount to shutting down how government functions. Do we really want to take a page from the GOP playbook? Are we really going to be guilty of the same bad behavior as our ideological opponents? What others see, ‘disrupters’, ‘anarchists’, ‘rioters’ and worse hypocrites. What they hear? “Do as I say, not as I do”. We are protesting Donald J. Trump instead of his policies, instead of his actions, instead of his corruption, instead of the specific issues though we react to the immediacy of the issue at hand we are not, in fact, doing anything more than reacting to Donald Trump. We have frankly, not moved off our disappointment at losing the election and continue to beat that drum; STOP IT!

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Am I suggesting we should not protest? Not at all. I am suggesting we should not protest every single thing, every single nominee, and every single uttered word. I am suggesting we should pick wisely our battles. I am suggesting we should stop blocking roads, blocking access to hearing out the other side, I am suggesting we should be speaking up when college students prevent free speech on campus. I am suggesting we come together, stop bitching about our majority win and use that to our advantage to win back state houses, governor mansions and Congress in the next two years. I suggest we start playing Checkers, the long game, the next census is in 2020, if we don’t have critical governor mansions in our hands by that time, we will never regain Congress, state legislatures or the Supreme Court before 2030.

The America of the future will be isolated, will be great no more, and will be dull and frightening. Stop playing Tit-for-Tat, this is not the way we win! Stop focusing on short gains and start looking toward the future we all want for our nation and the world. Sure this President is not who I would have picked, nevertheless, he won by our laws so he is who we have either for the next four years or until he does something so egregious even his own party can no longer turn a blind eye. I just remind you who is standing in the wings waiting to take the oath of office, be careful what you wish for.

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Make America Great Again? Start with our own behavior lead by example, stop following the example of the opposition.

Just for a quick giggle: By State Most Questions Asked Since Election

How Now

Soapbox LogoI am the enemy. Yes, I said it. I am the enemy. I don’t live my life with this intention. I don’t wake in the morning thinking, “what can I do today that will harm another person, create chaos or stranger danger”. Nevertheless, I am the enemy.

Why do I say I am the enemy? I will answer you in as succinct a way possible. I am the enemy because many have identified me as such. Not because I have done or said anything specifically, not because of my beliefs or my political ideology, which have not changed in 40 years. I am the enemy because of my demographics.

Appearance/Race: White

Gender: Female

Age: 59.5

Orientation: Straight

Economic Status: Middle Class (not really)

Ignorant? Yes. Foolish? Yes. Nonetheless, since waking up on 9-November-2016 many of my friends, some of my neighbors and many strangers have identified me as ENEMY.

The 2015-2016 election cycle has been harsh and ugly. It has brought out the worst in the American people. It has unleashed every single thing that is ugly in our psyche and without a backwards glance said, ‘there you go, have at it’.

In 1956 W.E.B. Dubois condemned both parties and made an argument for why he would not vote in the upcoming election between incumbent Dwight Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson. This eloquent and damning indictment of American politics is as relevant today as it was then, it was published in The Nation, October 1956, read it here.

For me, the most significant statement of the entire essay is this;

I believe that democracy has so far disappeared in the United States that no “two evils” exist. There is but one evil party with two names, and it will be elected despite all I can do or web-duboissay.

We have drawn a line in the sand and erected walls to our absolutes. The very things we condemn in others we adopt for ourselves and call good. We do not see our own hypocrisy, we do not acknowledge our own terrible for what it is, both Terrible and Tragic.

The problem in how we are reacting to the election of Donald J. Trump? We are looking for excuses, seeking to lay blame anywhere we can, enemy and ally alike. In doing this we looked first to the easiest target, anyone ‘not exactly like us’ which included allies and with broad brush strokes, we named Enemies. We have refused to look in the mirror, at our candidates and the past eight years and accept we have significant work to do at the grassroots; if we ever wish to regain moral authority, political power or the ability to move this nation towards better days for all citizens, we must begin inside the party of supposed progressive thought and make real change.

Having the Presidency simply isn’t enough. The past eight years should have proven this, clearly though we didn’t learn a damn thing. We lost State House after State House, we lost Governorship after Governorship, we lost the House and the Senate and we lost our standing on the World Stage. We paralyzed a Democratic President through our failure to pay attention, through our focus on the specialty and special needs rather than looking at the overall needs of the nation, listening to the voice of the nation cry out. We failed the nation and the world, not just the few but the many. Donald J. Trump may be the culmination of years of GOP talking points, fear mongering and baiting of all kinds; but, we own him as much as the GOP owns him, we own him through our inattention to the bigger picture.

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There are several examples of our inattention, or better our attention to the specialty while ignoring the larger or overarching issues. We failed to look at what is critical:

  • The real economy
  • Real American jobs
  • Fear in Middle America

We failed to pay attention to word on the street about

  • Immigration, both legal and illegal and the cost of American jobs
  • Crime and Justice in America, the real cost to America
  • Rising cost of Healthcare

We failed to address the issues that mattered to Americans, such as:

  • Growing poverty across the American landscape
  • Ongoing War and our returning veterans
  • Our International reputation

We did not listen and speak to the heart of America, we did not address their fears of a failing American Dream.

When the only answer to a question that disagrees with your point of view is the following, “You are (Pick One and Insert: White, Heterosexual, Above the Poverty Line) you are not allowed an opinion regarding this subject”, you are over the line and you have turned an ally into at best a disinterested third party. At worst, you have turned an ally into the opposition. When the only answer to dissent or disagreement is name calling or labeling, you have turned a potential ally into an enemy.

When the voice of the minority becomes larger, louder and more important than the whole we lose. This is a simple fact proven with the election of Donald J. Trump.

When we demand strict adherence to ideology without question or dissent we lose, proven by the election of Donald J. Trump.

When we name enemy those who question or speak out, where they see potential danger or unrighteousness we lose; proven by the election of Donald J. Trump.

When we veer so far off course, forgetting all but those representing the special interests and demanding adherence to their interests alone we scare the rest of the nation. When we name any and all who question or disagree, “Bigots, Racists, Homophobes, Xenophobes, Sexists, Misogynists….”, we lose, proven by the election of Donald J. Trump.

So now we are two (2) days away from the inauguration of Donald J. Trump. Not my choice for President of the United States of America. I am greatly afraid for this nation. I pray we will find a way to manage this man who will be POTUS, who does not seem to understand the gravity of the office he will hold. Who has nominated to his Cabinet men and women who adhere to positions that are destructive and against every tenet this imperfect nation is built upon.

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If we are to answer this Presidency with real solutions and ensure the least harm we must begin to heal ourselves, we must see beyond the ‘not like me’ to the common ground. If we are to find solutions, we must start with the open hand rather than the closed fist. It must start with the reminder, we are Americans first, we have common goals and all the other labels do nothing but set us back, play into someone else’s desired outcome to keep us separated and screaming rather together and talking.

I am not the enemy, though some have labeled me as such even those who once proclaimed to love me.

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.

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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.

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Fallen Apart

soapboxpileTo support one thing does not mean I am against another. I want to make certain all who read my words understand this, to support one thing does not place me at odds with another thing. I can be for both, I can be in support of two seemingly different things. How you might ask, it is simple and I will tell you in as simple as terms as possible.

I am for humanity. I am for human dignity. I am for justice, fairness. I am for all of us, together as a people, as a nation finding solutions that will move us forward toward sanity and peace. I am at a loss, not just for words but my spirit is seeping away, hiding in a dark corner and refusing to seek the light any longer.

We are a people of disquiet and terrible, tragic division. We are not a single people, joined together by our desire to become stronger through our diversity and our shared history. Instead, we have sought the lowest common denominator, sought the very worst in ourselves and celebrated these most terrible and violent traits that drag prejudice and fear. Some of us protest the violent and senseless loss of life, we march and raise our voices demanding justice and change, yet the only thing that truly changes is the divide widens, the chasm of mistrust grows between us and violence increases. In our demand for recognition, our voices raised seeking justice that has not been ours in the past we say with one word, allies and friends be damned and cheer as innocent blood runs in the street.

The language of divisiveness has torn us down and apart. A mirror has been held up and we have seen ourselves, the worst of ourselves and embraced it. We have forgotten that good exists in abundance. We have chosen instead to ratchet up the hate, the vile rhetoric that will incite fear and violence on both sides of the ever widening abyss. Our leadership, whether elected or otherwise,5-signs-from-last-night-s-game-of-thrones-that-point-to-the-rise-of-daenerys-the-derange-996054 uses every opportunity to politicize death and mayhem, to feed our fear and fury. We are spiraling down the rabbit hole toward anarchy and those who would be king, they sit and rub their hands together gleefully as we fulfill their mad desire.

We watch in horror as another Black man is gunned down in the street or in his car as his child watches. We listen in horror as amateur journalists put their deaths on Facebook live, rather than offer them comfort and we justify their actions, we understand their actions because we need to know we need to see the bad acts. We forget to weep, we are immune we have seen this all before replayed over and over, these deaths simply cause our fury. Another senseless death. Another child, father, husband murdered by those sworn to serve and protect, murdered by those who will not be held accountable.

We blame the victims, searching for any misstep they might have made in their past, smearing them in public to justify their death. We tsk tsk as their death is replayed, over and over and every pundit tells us what we should think of them, depending upon what side of the chasm they speak from. We see the pain of their family, the fury of their loved ones and the demand for justice sends us to the street, more and more often with terrible results.

DALLAS, TX - JULY 11: Dallas Police Chief David Brown

We pay men and women to put on the blue, to ‘protect’ and to ‘serve’ us, the people. We demand they do so and without them Anarchy would rein in the streets. Yes, we must demand they be held to a higher, more perfect standard. We must require they be fit for the job they perform. DPC David Brown had been doing that, going against what many believed would work in Dallas, he charted a new course.  Dallas has become a model city, proving community policing and modern ideas can work in large diverse city. We cannot ever be good with the mayhem, the chaos and misery they cause in our cities, our communities. We must not turn away, thinking just so long as it isn’t at our doorstep and so long as we can justify it with a good old fashioned smear campaign of culture, people or individual we can ignore it as ‘not our problem’.

Last week seven people lost their lives senselessly to violence. We do not know all the details surrounding the deaths of Alton Stearling and Philando Castile, but we know enough. We watched in horror as they died. We have also watched in horror as their lives have been dissected and their characters smeared.

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Their deaths have led to nationwide marches, demands for justice, demands for change and unfortunately in some cases demands for the blood of police. Which was finally met on Thursday night at a peaceful #BLM demonstration, with shooting of twelve Dallas police officers, resulting in the death of five. Not just any twelve, not just any five, but in retribution specific targets were selected based on race and their wearing of the Blue.

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Dallas mourns their fallen. I mourn the fallen. I mourn with the families of Alton Stearling and Philando Castile, their loss is devastating. I mourn with the families of the fallen officers, their loss is also devastating. In truth, how can we mourn one while celebrating the other? Yes, to all of those who have said ‘good’, to the loss of those five police officers I say shame on you and truthfully ‘fuck you’. We cannot mourn one without mourning both to do otherwise is ignorance on our part and shows a lack of compassion that strips us of our humanity.

Why don’t we know by now, we are one people born of struggle, fire, blood and tragedy. We are one people, born of spiritual poverty and horrify mistakes. But one people generations removed from our beginnings yet it seems still mired in the ignorance of our ancestors, still clinging like Velcro to our history it seems we will continue to refuse to climb out. If we do not learn to reach across the divide we are doomed. So yes, I can and do support both. I can and do see both and desire reconciliation, change, justice and the creation of a better more perfect nation. This, this tragic and terrible one, it has to end. But violence, bloodshed, hate and bigotry this will not end well for any of us.

If We Were Having Coffee-Circles Unbroken

If we were having coffeeimages we might have it here, in my small but a little bit cozy apartment. I still haven’t fully unpacked, there are a few boxes I have no clue what they contain. I struggle to figure out how to organize the bits and pieces, but have finally decided maybe I simply don’t need too right at this moment in time (more later). I would offer you a seat either at my table, on the couch or outside on the porch overlooking the pool, what is on offer is a selection of hot or cold beverages today. Yes, I still have the Tequila in the freezer but I am not feeling the need, happy to provide some for you though if you feel as if it will help you through the day.

It has been terrible out in the world, hasn’t it? I remain stunned by the lack of viable candidates for POTUS from the two major political parties. I stand ashamed for us as a nation that this is what we have to choose from. The USA has for years called themselves the leader of the free world and we have stomped through the world as if we had the right to be there, telling others how to run their nations. We have plowed through nations, as if we had the moral obligation to ‘right’ the wrongs. I believe we can safely say, we are not the moral / ethical standard bearers of jack shit any longer. We haven’t been for a very long time, probably for far longer than any of us realize but with this election cycle I think it is safe to say we can put down our national ego, tuck our tails between our legs and keep our happy asses at home.

The news has been full of terrible and tragic. I can hardly bring myself to turn on the television anymore. Worse yet, though we seem to have a plethora of reasons to take a hard look at ourselves and make changes, those we have put in charge don’t seem to be aligned with us. Forty-nine dead in Orlando at the hand of a maniac, two young girls dead at the hand of their mother in Houston and still nothing. Congress people ‘sitting in’ on the floor of the House, deemed nothing more than a ‘publicity stunt’ by a tone deaf House Speaker, while a nation clamors for change. The DNC ignoring the voices of millions to define a platform for the future distinctly not Progressive and not inclusive of those who have said ‘Never Hillary’, nearly insuring a future Trump presidency.

Abraham Lincoln said, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

I believe we are seeing the beginning of the end of our once great nation.

Maybe I will take some of that Tequila after all, what about you?

If we were having coffee I would have to turn the conversation toward some better subjects, this one has been a bit morose. Honestly, when I sold my house and moved to this apartment I thought I would be here for at least six months. The market in Dallas is hot and rough right now, houses come on and off in the blink of the eye, they are also expensive and I was beginning to think I was going to be priced out of the market. Honestly? I was getting a little bit afraid, thinking maybe I had made a rash decision in selling my house. Well lo and behold, I simply needed to broaden my mind and my search field. Not only did I find something that suits me quite well, I made an offer, but I am in the tail end of the escrow process.

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Not there yet mind you. The inspection is done, out of this there were some concessions made and I am happy. The appraisal should be back next week and I don’t expect any surprises. My finance package is with the underwriter and though there are always questions because of my status as a ‘contractor’ and private business owner, I honestly don’t expect any real problems. The house is fun, it is 2,400 sq. ft. all on one floor. It is imperfect, just the way I like it, needs work but it isn’t a disaster. Built in 1976, it has great potential to be fabulous! There are some things I will do before ever moving in and other things I will do over the next two years to make it entirely mine.

Things to do before moving a stick of furniture into the house:

  • Fix all faulty AC venting
  • Fix plumbing in master bath
  • Remove all carpeting and tile throughout house and replace with stained concrete or hardwood
  • Repaint entire interior
  • Replace exterior door hardware
  • Install security system
  • Remove screen door
  • Widen interior office door (converted garage) and hang Barn Doors
  • Replace electric kitchen appliances with gas (oven and stove)

Seems like a long list doesn’t it? I know it seems daunting to me too. But honestly it isn’t that bad, either cost or effort wise. Most of it is small stuff, likely the worst one on there (cost) is the floors, I simply cannot tolerate carpet though. The funny thing about this little gem in the rough? It is a ‘flipped’ house, the current owner put lipstick on a pig, clearly watched far too many house flipping shows but didn’t pay attention to the important stuff, thus ended up having to pay $5,000 in repair concessions which will go a long ways toward my ‘things I have to do’ budget.

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Assuming all goes well, I will close on the house 11-July and all the work will be done within 30 days. So I will be living in my new home by 1-September. Exciting stuff.

One more thing that is sort of exciting, if you have followed along with me for a while you might remember a few years ago when I wrote about the Grown Assed Man, here and here that I wanted in my life. It has taken me a while, it has taken a few missteps and a couple of stumbles. It has been a difficult time of resets, finding my own personal comfort zones and learning that I am first very good company and second a very good person and woman. When I finally found my way through all that, I also figured out what I wrote in Grown Assed Man Parts 1 and 2, that really was in large part all of it, what I wanted and needed in a partner/lover and that I deserved it all. The other thing I discovered? I deserved to have it all, but having it all was different today than I thought. Today having it all meant retaining my independence and personal ‘self’ even while growing into a commitment that might just be with that Grown Assed Man I wrote about.

So that is what has been going on, just small things. I hope as always you are doing well and you will tell me what is going on with you. As usual I have taken over the entire conversation. I do want to share this with you, I found it recently and it has stuck with me, I hope you find it as poignant as I have.

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Really America, WTF

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

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

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CNN: Mourners at one of many makeshift memorials in Orlando

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

I weep for America, I weep us all.

 

What Fools We Are

Vote for MeWhen we love, we tend to see the best in people, glossing over their bad habits, their poor performance, vulgarity and indiscretions. We make excuses for them, no matter how terrible their behavior. If someone speaks to our heart, our spirit we find every single justification in the book to disregard their horrible in favor of even the slightest demonstration of ‘good’,  virtuous, noble, ethical, moral, honorable, honest or decent in the person we ‘love’.

This seeking of the ‘good’ and overcoming the glaring terrible is true whether we are discussing personal love relationships or our manic infatuation with public figures, whether they be movie stars, reality show stars or political figures. Here of late, we have seen an increasing obsession with the body politic and the spawn of the latest run for the highest office of the land, to the point where I believe this nation is ready for mob rule and riots in the streets. There is no logic behind the ‘love’, no discussion of what any of these candidates bring to the table. No in-depth vetting of the candidates, on either side frankly. There is simply a passionate ‘love’ and embracing of a candidate to the exclusion of the truly terrible consequences of the possibility any of those left standing might be elected as President of the United States.

I find our options this season frightening, across the board. What I find even more frightening is the absolute obsessiveness of the adherents to the individual candidates. I find the violence erupting in rallies and on the streets, terrifying. I find the language of violence in social media, chilling. Yes, I find the candidacy of Donald Trump, alarming because of the polarization he encourages with his language, but honestly he is only the most blatant he isn’t the only one. I am terrified this year we will end up with a President elect not because we voted, but instead because we didn’t vote.

We are a nation willing to overlook criminal conduct and blatant ‘fixing’, so our vote doesn’t count. On the other hand, we are willing to put a vulgar, narcissist in the most powerful job in the world simply to see what happens, as an experiment; if it serves us. We have, as a nation sat back and watched as our nation failed, as our government failed us and we blamed those we sent to Washington on that failure, despite it was us that sent them there time and again. We watched professional politicians get rich on our backs, we did nothing but whine and complain never once using our Constitutional right to get off our asses and vote them out of office. This, this handful of terrifying candidates for President is what is served up to us for our failure to demand better.

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Hillary, Bernie, Donald & Raphael

How could I forget the spoiler, John Kaisch

How could I forget the spoiler, John Kaisch

Americans are angry?

We are mad? One has to ask, is this mad as in crazy? This is what I am thinking it means.

The result of decades of failed experiments, from Reaganomics to the first Black President. We are a nation that should be angry, we have failed to thrive, failed to live up to our potential. As a nation, we like to blame others, pointing our fingers and saying, ‘look at Washington, they are the problem’. The fact is, they are the result of our failure to be conscious and stand up each and every time we are given the opportunity. We sit on our asses, we stay home, we allow a small minority to set the priorities for an entire nation and then we have the gall to complain when shit doesn’t go the way we want. We are the problem, not them, us.

Have you had enough yet? I know I surely have. The problem is it just might be too late to start taking the country back from the edge, too late for us all too truly be great again. Yet we are still pointing at the buffoons, still making jokes, still protesting at the other guys rallies rather than planning what we are going to do to send the right person to Washington, not just to the White House but to Congress, to the Senate and to the State Houses across this nation.

There are four hundred and sixty-nine (469) Congressional seats in total up for grabs in this election cycle, yes you read that correctly, four hundred and sixty-nine; four hundred and thirty-five Congress Persons are fighting for their useless lives and thirty-four waste of oxygen Senators are begging to be sent back. Well, that isn’t entirely accurate there have been a few announced retirements, in fact six (6) Senators, having served a total of between them of one hundred and thirteen years (113) will be retiring. On the House side, there are twenty-five (25) announced retirements and twelve (12) who will be seeking election to the Senate instead. What does all this mean? It means pay attention, look at who is running, who is challenging and who is being challenged. It means stop sending the same ‘do nothing’ incumbent back to Washington, time and again. It means, if they haven’t done anything since they have been there, why aren’t you up in their face demanding answers.

It means, if you are not voting what the hell are you doing?

Wake the Fuck Up America. No matter what side of the aisle you are on, wake the fuck up.

 

Bad Servants

soapboxpileIgnorance is bliss they say. I might have agreed once upon a time, now though I believe otherwise and find we must stand against ignorance as something to be hated and fought with all we are and all we have. This is not a finger pointing campaign against only one side, no indeed not. This is looking across what the universe has offered us in the way of choice for our next President and thinking to myself, “What in the Hell have we gotten ourselves into?”

Truly we are lost, we have spent so many years self-destructing we are now at the end of the fuse we lit with the election of a B grade movie actor and now our nation is ready to explode. On one side we have the leading candidate under Federal Investigation and she may well be indicted, but she doesn’t want to talk about it. On the other side we have a Reality TV star who plays on the fears, hate and worst inclinations of the American people. I do not take these things lightly, I do not look at these candidates and smile, thinking to myself well it is a choice between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea as it so often is during election season. Indeed not this time, on one side the fix has been in since 2008 when she lost to the current President, this time we never had a chance at a valid and legitimate choice. On the other side there was a busload of choices at one time, those who might have been reasonable choices never got traction and the American public are left with a Fascist in the making, a Dominionst/Anarchist and two Right-Wing Theocracy nuts, though to give it to Kasich he hides his leanings very well.

hilaryanddonald

Honestly? No matter who makes it to the White House in November, the next four years will be Hell for the American people and we have only ourselves to blame. We created this terrifying disaster in the making. We, yes that is all of us no matter which side of the aisle we fall on, every single last one of us, we are at fault. We failed to understand Washington is our house, all of it. Those we send to Washington, they are servants of the people there to do the bidding of the people. We failed to demand they serve us, sitting back and whining when they behaved badly or failed in their jobs but sending them all back time and again. We pointed and laughed at their childish antics, but sent them back. We made up Memes to post on social media, but sent them back. They disrespect every last one of us, but we send them back time after time.

Our infrastructure is failing. Our schools are failing. Our young people are leaving university saddled with debt they cannot pay. Our economy is stagnate and incomes have failed to rise in decades. Jobs continue to flee the country, embedded in ‘Free Trade’ deals that lift every boat but ours. Immigration programs committed to driving down wages and putting Americans out of work continue to expand (H1B, H2B, L1), along with outsourcing, off-shoring and near-shoring. States are poisoning the waters and with it their people, stealing pensions and cutting off access to health providers and no one cares. There is not one real candidate talking about how they will solve these issues, not one. Yes, they are talking about them when asked but when pushed they don’t have solutions, go on read their own words.

We did this! We did it through apathy. We did it through our own willingness to sit it out and hope others would pick up the slack. We did it when we continue to simply color in the circle with the (D) or the (R) next to a name instead of demanding more and better. We did it when we continue to send back to Washington the same useless, thoroughly corrupt snakes term after term rather

than demanding term limits in Congress, rather than standing up and firing every last one of them from the jobs they have failed to perform for decades. We did this, on the left when we allowed that Twat Waffle Debbie Wasserman Schultz to completely corrupt the nomination process and we did not demand her resignation as head of the party. We are at fault. We own all of it. We deserve the government we have. We deserve the breakdown of this nation, we built this and the cracked foundation is ours to repair at a horrifying cost.

Sept. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Sept. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Now the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea are lapping at our heels and laughing. Fear, violence, anarchy and the potential for Fascism is just around the corner. Depending on the November outcome, every single small step forward this nation has taken toward equality, civility and a society based on the one person one vote, secularism and the rule of law will be wiped out for one hundred years. The sad fact is, there is a growing segment of this nation praying this will be the outcome.

Is this the nation you want? I can tell you, I am deathly afraid this cycle. I am not just afraid of the Republicans, I am afraid of the Democrats too. I am afraid we have become so corrupted we cannot see beyond the demagoguery, ideology and soundbites to do what is right for this nation. For once, stand up and find a solution push past our prejudices, fears and ignorance to find the right solution. Demand from our public servants and those who would sit in the Oval Office more than they are giving us today.

No, Ronald Reagan was not the best President in our lifetimes. Stop it.

No, Jimmy Carter was not the worst President in our lifetimes. Stop it.

No, George Bush (either of them) were not to blame for every single bad thing ever in the past eight years. Stop it.

No, President Obama is not the Devil and is not to blame for every single bad thing in the past eight years either. Stop it.

Our HouseDo we have problems? Yes, yes we have massive problems. As a nation, as a people we need to start demanding Congress and especially those who wish to be sent to Congress in this election cycle understand those problems and have real ideas about how to fix them. We need to demand of the candidates who want to lead the nation, they have real ideas about working with Congress to address the problems of this nation, the real problems of this nation.

Make America Great Again? Okay, how?

Lambs to Slaughter

635522618755355850-AP-Women-In-Combat-001My people, my people. My fellow Progressives, Liberals, Democrats, do-gooders, my sisters and feminists in the trenches ….what the fuck is wrong with you?

Yes I just said it and now I am going to explain it.

Women in combat. I cannot be silent on this one any longer. Those of you who believe we, that is women, should do anything and everything men do can demand my Feminist card be returned in the mail immediately and I will send it back postage due. The fact is men and women are different, we simply are not the same. Some of those differences are of course socially imposed, I get that and agree. Yet, some of those differences are natural, they are bone, spirit, heart and mind; they are the truth of our being.

Yes, I know many nations have had women in combat for decades, if not more than decades. The problem is, if you look at their records you will find there are very few women actually serving in combat units. I fear we will not follow these vanguard nations, no we will instead throw young women to the wolves both our own and those of the enemy.

tammy-duckworth

Tammy Duckworth

I grant you, some women want to be warriors. Some women want the privilege of standing up and fighting for this nation. Some women can earn that privilege with no special quarter given, they should be able to do this with no walls or glass ceiling standing between them and their dreams. Those women who have this wish, should be given every opportunity, without barriers including the right to advance to the highest levels in every branch of our military and I say more power to them.

With this being said, are you aware the Generals have asked that our daughters just like our sons should be made to sign up for Selective Service on their eighteenth birthday? Did you know Armed Services Committee of Congress is considering this, so far there has been NO decision? Do you know what this means? Do you know if a Draft is reinstated your daughters, just like your sons could be called and they will not be given a choice where and how they serve?

Is this what you want for your daughters?

Maybe some of you are too young to remember Vietnam and the Draft. Maybe you don’t remember thousands of flag draped coffins being unloaded every night on the news, coffins filled with young men who didn’t want to fight and die on foreign soil, in a war they didn’t understand or didn’t agree with. Maybe some of you are too young to remember, I am not.

While we don’t have a draft today, who is to say we won’t have one in the future. Each of the GOP Presidential candidates want to build a bigger, stronger military so who is to say one of their solutions wouldn’t be to reinstate the Draft, so all our children, all our sons and daughters could be cannon fodder for their dreams of World Domination. Keeping in mind, it won’t be their sons and their daughters, just as none of them ever served a single day fighting or bleeding neither will their progeny, but yours and mine, yes they will fight and they will be returned without limbs, unsound in their spirits and minds or in flag draped coffins.

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What is wrong with us, by us I do mean women in particular but all of us in this nation?

Why do we sit idly by as our nation is torn apart and say nothing? We do we sit idly by as our children are put at risk and say nothing? What is wrong with us?

We are not the same, the genders are different physically and emotionally. I am not ever going to change my position on women in combat, I do not believe they belong. If a woman wants to be there, can perform in these positions without putting others at risk I will support her right to do so, but I don’t believe it is a natural setting either physically, emotionally or mentally for most women.

I have two young grandsons and two young granddaughters, I don’t want any of them to ever see a war up close and personal. Not ever. I want those I love to be safe. I want the next generation to have futures that are bright and full of promise unlike those of my generation who returned from the rice paddies and jungles of Vietnam broken, addicted and forever changed.

I am bothered that neither of the Democratic candidates have addressed this issue. I think we all should be bothered as the election year progresses that these issues go under the radar and no one says a word. The GOP stomps their feet and screams bloody murder to the infidel. The Democrats stay silent.

Silence is not golden, it is a death knell.

Retrospective, Damn

Well it has been another year, we have all gotten through it despite the idiocy of the nation and constant upheaval to our peace. I wanted to wait before I said anything, before I looked backwards or forwards, you know dip my toes in the waters of 2016 before washing away 2015. So now I have waited, based on the first two weeks of the new year, well it doesn’t seem it will get better. Here is my quick look and thoughts on what was and what will be.

Politics, Damn

It does not seem that we are in for a civil debate leading up to the election of a new POTUS to bring our nation together. Indeed not, instead no matter who the two leading parties nominate I think we can look forward to a nasty year of sniping, pettiness and below the belt ugliness. Never mind, the world and the nation are burning like Rome and our political discourse has descended into the outhouse. An interesting view of all the current candidates was provided by the New York Times.

The GOP has brought to the table their ‘Best and Brightest’, if this is the truth we are in terrible trouble. This is what left swimming in their pool, it is a terrible thing the American people have done raising up the Id of the GOP to become the nominee for their party. I foresee a split in the ‘Grand Old Party’ coming soon. Truly, the sane ones (yes, there are still a few) remaining within the GOP are beginning to speak out, against the insanity that is Trump and Cruz, never mind the rest who are simply sideshows at this point.

The ratings are from the Conservative Review

The ratings are from the Conservative Review

The Democrats are not offering much better though, don’t hate. Where is the young blood we need for new ideas? What do we have leading the charge, a woman with questionable ethics who considers herself having the ‘right’ to be POTUS, that she is ‘inevitable’. A man who has some great ideas that are not sustainable and who frankly is 74 years old, yes I know ageism on my part but I think we need to consider the consequences of the office of President when we vote, the health and age of our nominee’s is an issue. I couldn’t find a similar map and rating for the two viable Democrats, but go here to Inside Gov, you can play beat the contender to your hearts content.

Democrats

Violence, Guns and Damn

We can’t look back without considering the violence, our addiction to it as a nation. Start with police violence, last year there were twelve hundred and two (1,202) American citizens killed by police. Do any of us wonder what is wrong with this? I certainly do. When do we start to demand a change in the behavior of those who are hired and paid by us to protect and serve us? At what point do we start to question the legitimacy of ‘internal’ investigations into police involved shootings? When do we demand all police involved shootings, especially those that end in the death of a citizen be reported to the FBI, just like all other murders; today the only way we know is private organizations such as Killed by Police who do painstaking data collection.

We had some terrible and tragic examples of what wholesale availability of guns, combined with ideological hate can do. Despite our blood soaked streets and churches, we continue the battle with little success to close the loopholes. We are a nation that loves our guns, loves our ‘right’ to own them, shoot them, carry them openly (unless you aren’t Caucasian). We are a nation that will make excuses for every Son-of-a-Bitch that shoots up a neighborhood, a theater, a church taking innocent lives in the process; well that is so long as the shooter is Caucasian. The Gun Violence Archives provide the clearest view of just how bad it is out there.

The President took action, too little too late in my humble opinion. The problem with Executive Actions? The next POTUS can, with the flourish of a pen undo each and every one.

Weather, Damn

We took it hard last year, or should I say Gaia put it to us. Between Earthquakes, Volcanos, Tornados and just plain old weather to kill we got hit hard across the world. Yet still there are those who would deny there is something wrong, something changing that perhaps we should be listening to what the earth and Climate Scientist are telling us.

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Refugee Migration, Damn

The politicians would have us believe there is one answer, most of us with even a single brain cell know there is more to it. We are a polyglot nation, it has always been our strength yet it has also been a source of struggle as new immigrant communities attempt to integrate. Now we have refugees from nations we broke, who are not like us and who we have painted as the enemy. The thousand year old war between Christianity and Islam continues, this shit isn’t new we just have better and more destructive weapons.

Can we deny we disrupted the peace? Can we deny we created much of the problem with our ‘Nation Building’, our ‘Manifest Destiny’ attitudes and our belief we have the ‘right’ to stomp into any nation and do as we wish. Now, we have created a problem for the world. On the other hand, shouldn’t we be asking the question; ‘Why are so many young men coming, without women and children?’ I think about this one, let the women, the children, the aged come let’s get them out of harm’s way but let their men fight for their independence and their safety. Is this harsh? Maybe it is, but in all honesty I don’t want our young men and women fighting for a nation or a people that will not fight for themselves.

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Some Things That Didn’t Suck

The Stars and Bars came down over the State House of South Carolina, finally. This was a hard fought battle but it happened and it was in my opinion epic.

Marriage was made legal nationally, the Supreme Court ruled that all people could legally marry and have their marriages recognized. It was another hard fought battle, it was an epic win and many of my friends rushed to make their long standing partnerships ‘legal’.

This year saw the proliferation of transparency, technology in the hands of everyday citizens is adding to our discourse. We are using the tools we have for more than selfies and pictures of breakfast, instead stopping to film what might be critical to stopping racism, police violence and other acts that have always been part of society, but never part of our dialog.

Closing, Damn

There are other notable things, good and bad. I simply picked a few. I could go on and on and on. Do I think 2016 will be significantly better? Truthfully? No, I think we are scraping the bottom of the barrel right now, I think Presidential politics will see us with the tragic and terrible before November. I think the inbred idiots in Oregon with their guns and chest beating are the tip of the iceberg. I think those who hate government but desire to be part of it are the problem and we, the people get the government we deserve.

 

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