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.

 

Things I Know

Sleeping BeautyI know we have an infinite well of compassion, empathy and love at our disposal. We are bottomless, we are never tapped out. Not ever in our lifetimes do we run out of ‘good’.

We might retreat.

We might close the spigot.

The truth is though, we remain full up no matter how much we give. Truth be told, I suspect the more we give the more we have within us to give.

I know we learn throughout our lives. We learn every single day and through every relationship. Sometimes we learn how to become better people, other times we learn to love in better ways. Sometimes we learn our capacity for love, other times we learn our capacity for pain.

With experience we change, our world view changes. Who we are changes as our understanding of self and our place within the world grows. As we learn we find our footing, we determine where we are comfortable, what makes us tick, what makes us sing, what makes us dance. We emerge as our true selves, like butterflies from our chrysalises.

I know we all have the innate ability to forgive, ourselves and others. Not the forgiveness many of us are taught in our churches, but something much deeper and more intimate. As children we are quick to let go of hurt, fast to return to those we love. It is only as adults we hang on to our anger, plot revenge or simply wrap ourselves in painful reminders building shields to protect ourselves in the future.

We forget, anger and hate are active emotions requiring our participation. Forgiveness does not mean you give someone, not even yourself, a free pass. It does not mean you have said to anyone they are free to do harm again. Forgiveness doesn’t come easily to most of us, it is a hard fought battle of letting go. Sometimes, even as we forgive we also must say ‘no more’. There are times when we must see our only choice is letting go, lovingly and with great compassion, simply letting go.

I know each of us is unique and wonderfully made. We are, each of us, flawed and perfect at once. We are forged within the furnace of our family and later by the fires of society; whether tragic or magnificent, usually both, we are formed. As we walk through our lives both alone and with others we are formed into something distinctive and entirely individual.

So many of us these days try to fit in, try to hide our light in anonymity primarily because there is a certain safety in numbers and shades of beige and gray. We fall into the common thought that ‘fitting in’ will gain us acceptance, get us further in life or even provide us a more comfortable living. Maybe this is all true, perhaps if we work hard to strip ourselves of what makes us distinctively us we will have an easier time in the world, but then we will also have to wake every single day and force our spirit into boxes of conformity that may not fit as well as we like, that may squeeze every bit of life from us and leave us gasping for breath.

I know we are meant to dance in the rain with abandon and joy.

I know we are designed for pleasure and it is not a thing to be ashamed of or to shame others out of.

I know we are infused with the spirit compassion and forgiveness.

I know we are intended to give and receive love without stinting or judgement.

I know the world has corrupted our vision of ourselves as human and humane, who we are and what we should be. We have too often substituted joy for shame, compassion for weakness and love for sex in our pursuit of anything to fill a hole in our spirit and our heart. Far too many of us look toward others to define a reality that isn’t our own and then we judge ourselves as failures for not living up to impossible standards.

All of these things I know in my heart. As I continue to work through what I need, how to free myself and where to go from here, all these things I know.

14-April-2016

14-April-2016

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.

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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.

Feminist Traps

Soapbox LogoSometimes we fight so hard for what we want we lose sight of what we need. This is true whether it is the individual us, the public us or the group us as a people or an identity. What does this mean? How does this affect us when we are trying to find our place in the world? I can’t speak for all, not for anyone but me in truth, but I can speak for myself, individually as the private, public and group me. As a woman, I can speak to that me. As a woman who has always held to feminist views on all issues but who is now wondering what this means, to be a feminist and to want my cake and to eat it too. What does that truly mean?

I suspect what I am about to say will cause some of my same gender some angst and maybe some anger. I suspect it will cause some to wonder what the hell is going on in my head, some may even want to burn my Feminist card and kick me out of the Woman Club, but bear with me. Women have been in a public fight for equality since 1848 that is more than a century; in fact that is one hundred sixty-eight years. Or in more easily understood terms, one hell of a long time. What have we really ‘won’ in all that time, what have we truly gained for ourselves?

1920 – 19th Amendment to the Constitution is signed and we are finally part of the national conversation, we can vote. What do we do with this privilege? Not very damned much, in truth most of us throw this away, we sit it out, we stay at home and hope someone will speak up for us and our interest.

From 1920 through 1978 there were two key issues on the table for women, how to earn a paycheck and how to own our reproductive processes. Seems to me these were inextricably linked, though most did not make connection. We saw a few key court rulings and pieces of legislation during these years.

Since 1978, well frankly it has been more of the same. More fair this and equality that, more bullshit added to the pile to make us be quiet and look the other way. You can’t beat us anymore without consequence and husbands can’t rape their wives any more either. But let’s face it in the grand scheme of things we really haven’t come all that far and we really haven’t done all that much to make this particular part of the world better for fifty percent of the population.

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Truthfully, as women we suck at taking power in our own hands and representing ourselves. We are fifty percent of the overall US population yet hold under twenty-five percent of the state and twenty percent of the federal legislative seats. These numbers are appalling, yet we wonder why we lose ground. I will tell you why, those advances were gifts. A group of Men gave us a gift, they didn’t mean for us to compete for seats at the table. What they intended was to allow us a little bit of freedom, too feel as if we were a bit more enfranchised so we would shut the hell up and start playing nice again. We were grateful and we thanked them instead of snatching victory by the balls and running with it.

There is something else that happened in the midst of all the clamor, we forgot we were women and we begin to allow others to redefine femininity on terms different and strange. We confused femininity and feminism, begin to believe we could not be both. As so frequently happens with movements we allowed the radical and outside voices to define our new ‘norm’. Now we don’t know who we are or what we are, frankly we are confused by our natural instincts and afraid to be women for fear we might be going against what we are told we should be.

I am absolutely a Feminist. I believe I should be paid the same money as my male counterparts. I believe every single woman has the right to control her reproductive life-cycle, this includes the right to legal and safe abortion. I believe in a woman’s right to access education, credit, housing and all the other needs of life without gender bias.

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I am a Feminist, but frankly I am a woman first. I love being a woman. I have always loved being a woman. I love having doors opened for me, dressing up in something soft and feminine, wearing high-heels and stockings for a night out with someone special. I like being a women, being a woman is part of my power and I have absolutely no fear in saying so. We are born with this power, men love looking at us because that is how we are designed. Why in the hell should we pretend it is otherwise?

I have a brain, in fact I have a really good brain and I expect the men who work with me and who date me to respect me for that brain. Nevertheless, I still have all the attributes of the female gender and I do not expect men to be emasculated, pretend they don’t know I am a woman. It is impossible for them to do so, hell most of us make it impossible for them to do so. This is at the center of the problem actually, most of us complain when men stare yet we make it impossible for them to do otherwise. Not all men are rapists, not all men are pigs either. What men are is the other half of the human equation. Without men we would quickly die out. We don’t have a rape culture, we have a sick culture brought about by our failure to recognize all these false definitions of masculinity and femininity send the wrong message. Women are one half of the human race, we are not gender neutral but instead specifically feminine and designed to be attractive to the other half.

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I am a woman. There are tens of thousands of us out here, we are I think being defined in terms we no longer understand and yet we refuse to stand up and call bullshit. We buy a package of goods that doesn’t feel right and yet we refuse to say it is wrong for fear we will be thrown out of the Woman’s Club. The Politically Correct definitions have gone so far now we are forced to accept lies and embrace them without raising voice of complaint. As an example, Caitlyn Jenner is not a woman so how in the hell are you going to award Woman of the Year twice to her? Are there not any accomplished women in the United States who are deserving of recognition and praise?

Yes, I will concede the ‘her’ to Caitlyn because I am polite and if she wishes to transition at the age of 66 from her born gender to female I am going to use her chosen gender. Nevertheless, Caitlyn is not a woman, she is in fact not even through her transition thus cannot even be legally called a woman. So why are any of us politely or otherwise accepting this insult?

On another note, why are we fighting so hard for the stupid? Why do you want your daughters in harm’s way, in combat positions?  We haven’t achieved parity in pay or secured our right to control our bodies, but we can now die in combat or worse be captured and only all the God’s know what will happen to a woman captured in battle.

I am a Feminist, but I am a woman first. I think it is time for all of us to think about what it means to be a woman. I frankly don’t want to be ‘man’ lite, but rather I want to be a woman able to stand on my own and with all the freedoms, rights and duties any of us are due. I want to work, contribute and provide within my competencies and capabilities as a woman, not in competition but in compliment.  Perhaps when we start seeing ourselves as one half of the population, start working from a position of power as women rather than begging for a seat at the table we will start to shift the focus and start standing up rather than simply complaining about the stupid shit.

http://www.infoplease.com/spot/womenstimeline1.html

http://www.representation2020.com/rankings.html

Vote for Me, Education

Vote for MeWho honestly would want to be a politician? Who honestly would want to run for office and participate in the cesspool that is the legislative process today, whether at a Federal or State level. I ask this in all seriousness, who would wish this on their enemy, let alone their family, friend or self. What level of masochist do you have to be? Or is it something else, something far more sinister and ugly. Sure, there are a few good ones. A few that start out wanting to do the right thing, wanting to change the world or at least their small slice of the world. Some of these wonders amaze me, their bright and shiny faces all agog with zeal, with the need to do good; they rush out of university with their freshly inked sheepskin, searching for that dragon to slay. They hunt down their Senator or Congressperson, begging for the opportunity to prove their value, for free no less, just to get their foot in the door. If they are not disillusioned within the first ninety days, they are either corrupted or entirely in the dark.

Who would want this job? Who would want to serve this nation under these circumstances, who but the thoroughly corrupt, ego driven diehards, they fight tooth and nail for the job. Hell I suspect there is another reason for their pursuit of high office, beyond ego, certainly beyond the desire to do good. These pompous, blowhards, these cretins of horror, they want the opportunity to line their pockets while violently masturbating in their exuberant rampages across the world. Leaving behind nothing but death and destruction in their wake.

But let me stop. I did not intend to rip into those who are showing their asses in this run for the prize. Indeed no, instead I would like to talk about what all of us should be considering, those things that would indeed make a difference to this nation, to the next generation and ultimately perhaps to the world. Possible policies and programs that could not only be implemented but could be paid for without a significant pounding of those already struggling to keep body and soul together between paychecks. Isn’t it time we start considering realistic policies and changes to the ‘Wars’ we have been fighting for decades that have proven both fruitless and socially damaging. We are truthfully a nation with PSTD, we are a nation of the walking dead. Isn’t it time we change direction and start dragging ourselves out of the grave?

This is the beginning of a new series, Vote for Me. I intend to look at policies from both sides of the aisle and try to find reasonable options we can all live with. Policies that make sense. Policies that are fit for human beings, which are humane, compassionate and fit for a society that intends to continue. I am not going to call out the ugliness or stupidity of those who take a different stance than I intend to take, I am only going to take the stance I believe make sense and in some cases draw comparisons to where we are today or where the current crop of politicians are leading us.


Free education through University? Let’s be realistic, not every person is in need of a University education, not every person will thrive within a University atmosphere. Not every person wants to toxic_applebe a Lawyer, Doctor, Accountant, Scientist or Business Person. Honestly, we also still need Plumbers, Mechanics, Construction Workers, Crane Operators and a whole host of others to Labor. What we need is to start changing our views of who these people are, the value they bring to our society and our lives, the skills they need to do their jobs. Let us set out to change our education system, change how we teach and how we approach skills. Whatever happened to Shop in middle and High School? What happened to the idea that young people learned how to change a tire, how to change oil, hell how to rebuild an engine in a car if they were so inclined. The thought that we only value those who are able to sit on their asses all day versus those who make our day to day lives easier, well there is simply something wrong with our values. Do not misunderstand me, I went to college, loved it and value the opportunities I received by doing so. What I don’t understand is why there is now a drive to give every young person a college education for ‘free’. The following is my proposal.

  1. Early education starting at pre-K, cost should be needs based and must be available to every single child. This must include daycare to make certain every parent can work and has a safe place for their children. I would be happy to offer employers a tax break if they established daycare with pre-K education on their campus.
  2. Let’s wipe out teach to the test system and get back to real education solutions, shall we? Our students are failing on a worldwide scale, many must take remedial courses once they reach universities. It is shameful. No child left behind my happy ass, damned near every child is left behind these days. We have dumbed down entire generations. It is simple ya’ll, Reading, Writing, Science, Arithmetic; start there and once we have those down let’s move on History, Philosophy, Literature, Earth Sciences, Advanced Mathematics, Arts and host of other interesting subjects that fill young and curious minds with wonder. Let us not forget Life Skills!
  3. By the Ninth Grade let us test our students for Aptitude and start focusing them on where both their skills and interest might be best suited. Is it computers? The Arts? The Sciences? Is it yoUtensil-weidingerworking with their Hands? With all things Mechanical? Whatever it is, let’s not shame them but instead let’s work with them and the community to find opportunities for them to learn.
  4. By High School we should have partners in the community who work with our schools to help teach trades, who are ready with summer apprentice programs. I don’t know about you but I think our young people have lost their minds, so many of them think they are entitled to so much, it often amazes me.
  5. At graduation, no one goes straight to University or Trade School. No one, not rich or poor, don’t care if your family name is Bush or Logar, you are not heading off to the luxury of more school on someone else’s dime. Certainly not on societies dime. Every single person on reaching their majority will give to society two (2) years of their time before entering their next years of schooling. Whether this service is military, working in state sponsored homeless shelter, or something else as yet undetermined it doesn’t matter. Every person will give two years to social volunteerism before they get their education.

No more entitlement, no more free anything. We have to start somewhere, let’s start here. Want an advanced degree? Give more, offer more or partner with a company who sees your potential and is willing to invest in you for a commitment of several years of your future. Other countries do this very successfully, why shouldn’t we? We have to stop giving away our future. Yes, student debt is terrible, I don’t disagree. I will likely die before mine is paid off. I don’t regret my education, I surely do regret the cost though. There are two sides, I don’t disagree there are two sides. We must fix what is broken. We must find ways to educate our young, from pre-K on. We must fix our entire system. We must invest in education for every child, whether in Mississippi or New York, whether in suburbia or the inner city. We must take responsibility for outcomes and demand all our children be treated respectfully, given the opportunity to shine and become the best they can be. But at the same time, we must stop the silliness of entitlement and begin to teach accountability, responsibility along with compassion and empathy.

One example of industry, community and education partnering successfully. I love this school!

American Taliban and All

soapboxpileThe new order of the GOP has truly and entirely lost what little mind they had remaining. I say this without tongue in cheek but in all seriousness and with not some little fear for the safety of anyone ‘not like them’. Like so many others I use to sit back and shake my head in wonderment and not some small amount of amusement at the foolishness of those who would follow these ignorant and arrogant little men through the gates of hell.

Yes, I said it and I do not consider it hyperbole. These preachers and their minions in the GOP, the ones who suck up to them for votes, who seek their endorsement, who slide through the muck bobbing their heads at the most outrageous vitriol; they are our worst nightmare. We should be pointing our fingers and screaming from the highest mountaintops, ‘Terrorist’. Instead, we point from the sidelines and laugh, ‘Clown’ or ‘sideshow freak’. We fail to understand these ‘sideshow freaks’ have a following, their words have power, elected members of Congress agree with them, candidates for President line up for their endorsement.

Why aren’t we afraid? Why aren’t we scared to death when preachers call for the death of citizens of this nation whose only fault is to be born with a different sexual orientation from the majority, from what is considered ‘normal’.

Why are we not afraid when elected officials and those who would be President pander to these delusional and angry Biblical literalist, scream ‘Death to the homosexuals’ and are followed on the stage by Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee or Ted Cruz? Oddly, most of the videos for National Religious Liberty Conference in which Pastor Kevin Swanson suggests killing all Homosexuals, have disappeared. I found a snippet of one though, this one is the only one I could find after searching hard and having to listening to manic ravings.

We giggle behind our hands when one of the front runners of the GOP presidential primaries writes he stabbed a classmate, beat another with a lock and lifted a hammer against his own mother; but it is all okay now because he was saved by God. Of course, all this is likely a lie written to make his story more compelling, more readable and more sellable. We, the malleable and forgiving Left, we shake our heads and say, ‘well he was a child, he was redeemed’, on the Right of course, it is ‘God saved him, we love him’. Now, that he wants to be President and his story is being vetted and none of it is true, not one word, he is crying foul, his pathology is being discovered but according to him the ‘liberal media’ is out to get him and no candidate in history has ever been more vetted than him. In the meantime, we simply sit back and giggle at the sideshow.

Another front runner is a bully, a narcissist, a xenophobe and an outright racist. What do we do? We create humorous memes about his hair, we protest his appearance on SNL. We speak in whispers about his bad behavior, but secretly we cheer him on, hoping he will be the GOP nominee because in our asinine thinking we can beat him Donald Trumphands down. He has no real experience, who would elect him, right? Yet history tells another story, we sit on our asses at election time, we turn away and fail to go to the polls. Our nation has been on a downward spiral to hell since 1981, because we were taken in by celebrity, despite a lack of experience, fundamental knowledge or an understanding of economics or international geopolitical influences or even the basics of diplomacy, we have gone from a first nation to tipping into third nation. Yet, here we are again thirty-five years later another ‘celebrity’ in the running this one full of ignorance and bluster and the party of know-not-a-fucking-thing is touting him as the Ronald Reagannext best thing.

The rest of the clown car, help me please to not lean to heavily on my cornucopia of foul language to describe this horrifying group of baseless cowards. Yes, cowards. They will say anything and do anything to rile up those who don’t know they are being flim-flamed. Tragedy? We got that covered, just look what the lovelies on the right are doing with Paris, if those victims had guns they wouldn’t be dead, here for your viewing pleasure just a few of the many quotes from the Right side of Hell in America;

Imagine a theater with 10 or 15 citizens with concealed carry permits. We live in an age when evil men have to be killed by good people

— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) November 13, 2015

They can wait if they like until next November for the actual balloting, but Donald Trump was elected president tonight.

— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) November 14, 2015

“I want to tell you something else – it is what goes through my mind,” he continued. “I bet it goes through your mind – thank God for the Second Amendment. Thank God for the Second Amendment or we’d be Europe. We would all be disarmed. You know Obama and Hillary, all of the Democrats, most of the Republicans. There would be no NRA. There would be no groups trying to protect us. Thank God for the Founding Fathers, the framers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Thanks God because you see this going on – these poor people who were slaughtered going to a sporting event or a restaurant or a concert or potentially a shopping mall — slaughtered as they stand there by these animals, by these barbarians – and none of them are armed, none of them.”

— Mark Levin, Radio Show November 13, 2015

They will say and do anything to stoke the fires of hate and fear, in a population who are certain their life is worse today than it was yesterday and simply need a target to blame it on. Well hell, why not blame it on ……

  • Homosexuals (they’re all child molesters and Gawd hates them ya know)
  • Blacks (they’re all lazy and on welfare sucking up our taxes ya know)
  • Muslims (they’re all terrorists ya know)
  • Illegals (they’re all rapists and murders ya know)
  • Planned Parenthood (Abortion Factories ya know)
  • Women (should be home making babies ya know)
  • Liberals (cause you know, usins are terrible Gawd hatin’ folks)
  • President Obama (he’s a Muslim, Communist, Socialist, wants to take their guns, ruined the economy, lily livered, weak, non-patriotic, non-American don’t ya know)

That is just the smallest of lists of who the GOP points to when they want to get the base jumped up. It is good enough though, isn’t it? The GOP moves further and further to the right. Never mind talking policy that matters. Never mind talking about the Economy and how we are going to fix what remains broken, let’s instead talk about fantasy football and fantastical new tax policies, everything from Biblical based tithing systems to tax forms that will fit on the back of a post card and eliminating the IRS. Never mind, we have a nation to run and infrastructure to fix, which is just the tip of the iceberg.

Haven’t we been here before? Haven’t we seen this before?

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I can only say, we should be afraid. We should in fact be scared to death. We should be fighting mad. We should be standing up, pointing our fingers and demanding better of both our elected officials and those who would be the President of the United States of America. That we are not doing so says we simply don’t give a damn, this saddens me more than I can possibly measure.

Both The Houses

Linda1I have been stunningly without many words lately. It is not that I have nothing to say, it is that my brain, my heart and my fingers do not seem to have the desire to make the connection. I have been silenced by what I can only call the utter and complete decimation of what was once good, fair and right in this nation. Now mind you, it was not completely good, entirely fair and always right; no it wasn’t that. But there was enough good, fair and right that many of us believed it was worth fighting for and working toward better. Hell there was enough good, fair and right millions of people from all over the world immigrated here for a ‘better way of life’.

Now? Those who come, they come because their own nations are torn by war, whether religious, drug or other, generally if you peel back the layers far enough we are in there somewhere stirring the pot. Or they are coming because despite the terrible xenophobia of this nation, the poverty is so terrible in their own they can only hope here will offer a chance to feed their families. Then of course, there is the alternative to these scenarios, there are those who are invited in to displace Americans in their jobs. They come here come to rape the nation of what few jobs remain to us in IT, Engineering and other high tech careers, leaving the dregs, the contracts at low rates and no benefits. They come with the help of Congress, with no complaint from anyone on either side. They come because ‘good liberals’ with deep pockets along with ‘bad conservatives’ are constantly storming the gates demanding broader expansions of this insidious program, because according to them, there are just too few Americans to fill all those waiting positions. This is the nation today, this is the vision of the future and there doesn’t seem to be a bright silver lining.

I have listened intently to what all the candidates for President have had to say. The Republicans with their petty bickering and attempts to out ugly each other. The Democrats with their attempts at calm and civility. The lines drawn in the sand today are brilliant if you stay at the superficial level of the arguments, if you don’t ask the hard questions or truly dig under the surface of unsustainable policy dreams, bright promises of better futures or ‘Winning’.

Is it me or is it truly worse? Is the ugly truly uglier? I think it isn’t worse, not really worse. I think what it is today is more public in some cases. I think there has been, over the past decade a move toward a sustained and unrestrained malice with the culmination being this election season. I think we have seen xenophobia, racism, nationalism and the doctrine of Manifest Destiny stirred into a stew rich in ugly emotions, fired up by looming fears of the failure to thrive.

Dreams of our fathers indeed. Dreams we were created equal in this land of immense wealth and promised opportunity. We know this isn’t true though, we know it wasn’t ever truly designed for all of us, not for most of us even. If we are honest and we should be, we know those pesky words about equality and opportunity were meant only for the few, the chosen who were of the right social class, the right economic class, the right gender (outie not innie please) and let’s face it, the right color or race, though throughout our history we have hated more than just those with obvious differences. Truthfully, xenophobia is one of our favorite pastimes. Want to stir the pot? Point to the influx of immigrants, German, Italian or Irish all free game at one time, though eventually they were absorbed to swell the ranks of ‘just like us’ when the rampart was weakening.

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The truth of the matter is, this nation is nothing at all without an enemy, or two or three. Some group to focus our hate, our ire and of course our military might on. The bedrock of this nation is war, the heart of our economy violence. We make war to keep the money moving. Those at the top of the food chain, beat the drums patriotism at every opportunity keeping the mighty war machine well-greased and the war-mongers well paid while the rest of us, we either fall in line or are labeled as anti-American, unpatriotic or other even less flattering things that most who shout them do not have even a fundamental understanding of their meanings. Without violence, without an enemy, without war we are nothing it seems; we love to declare war.

War on Drugs

War on Poverty

War on Terrorism

But in the declarations of war, who really is the enemy? In the declarations of war, who are we really focused on? Who has really benefited from these Wars?

Dreams of our Fathers, indeed.

I find I am tired. Worn out already with the idiocy and nonsense of the early Presidential season. With the bombastic bullshit from the Right and the pretense of civility from the Left. I find I am weary with the do-nothing Congress who does less and less with each passing session. I am exhausted by a citizenry that bitches, whines and moans but refuses to go to the polls when given the opportunity to do so. But more than anything, I am shattered by how far we have fallen as a nation and a people, by the sheer nastiness of our public speech that is not only accepted but defended.

I am sure I will find my will soon. But right now, I find I am simply crushed and silenced by a nation and a people that refuse to seek greatness in favor of the lowest common denominator.

Exotic

Exotic Exotic_sml1 introduced from another country :  not native to the place where found <exotic plants> 2 archaic :  foreignalien 3 :  strikingly, excitingly, or mysteriously different or unusual <exotic flavors> 4 :  of or relating to striptease <exotic dancing> ____________________________________________________________________________________ Red Ants aka Fire Ants are Exotic. I base this on the fact they are not indigenous to this nation, rather they were brought here by some genius farmers to kill a pest. Now they are here to stay. You cannot kill them easily; they have no natural enemies here. Thus, based on the above Fire Ants are Exotic.

Having read the above are you thinking to yourself, what in the hell is she talking about now? I don’t blame you; I have thinking about beauty lately. How we as a society define beauty, what is beautiful to our eye versus what we are taught about beauty. These are more often than not very different, whether we are discussing art, nature or the beauty of a person. What doesn’t fit into narrow definitions we find other terms to describe, Exotic is one of those terms. There are others of course; some are not as kind or puzzling.

There are many things we have splashed the label Exotic on, things like Cars:

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Or Flowers:

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And animals too:

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However, the thing that most intrigues me, is people. We name people who don’t look like us, who don’t fit into our box of standardized and normative ‘beauty’ as Exotic. We do this when we find ourselves unable to define their beauty or our attraction to their beauty.  The truth is, if those others who were not like us, those others who were from other lands, other cultures were not in their own right beautiful we would not now be talking about new labels of beauty or new definitions for who we are. Were it not for our attraction to the Exotic, we would not now be trying to stretch our understanding beyond the westernized symmetry of what makes a man or woman attractive to be more inclusive of all the other standards of beauty.

My best-loved mother of my heart said to me many years ago, I was exotic. She said this trying to be kind, trying to lift my heart as we talked early one morning over coffee. You see I didn’t understand why my adoptive mother rejected me so out of hand, why my cousins-sibling-sisters were so very standoffish, why I never really had girlfriends growing up. She said this trying to explain why I felt not just like a black sheep within my adoptive family, but within my peer group as well. She wasn’t trying to be cruel, instead she was trying to explain what she believed was a very real and simple concept.

Everything about me, my features, the tone of my skin, the deep color of my eyes, my natural hair color, my body shape, even my intellect; everything about me was slightly off and thus slightly off-putting. I didn’t fit within my adoptive family or later within my extended family, within my social peer group. I was Exotic I was different. People didn’t know quite what to make of me; they didn’t know how to label me. I could be almost anything, except what people were comfortable with, no one at the time considered this of course they simply knew I made them uncomfortable and acted accordingly.

I have over the years given a great deal of thought to this long ago conversation. I have realized many of my actions, everything from using ace bandages to strap my breasts closer to my chests, to trying to starve my body into submission, to coloring my hair blond and staying out of the sun to keep myself as pale as possible. Each of these were either conscious or sub-conscious acts to fit into a beauty standard defined by a society that had already labeled me ‘different’ or Exotic. My smaller rebellions, ear piercings and tattoo’s, these were me trying to exert power over my personal space and self, especially when I felt denied.

This brings me to our social standards of beauty and the exotic. America, the melting pot; isn’t that what we call ourselves? Over the centuries, our love of the exotic has resulted in a true blending of cultures and people. Our history of intermixing, whether with willing or unwilling partners, has resulted in a people who may wish to lay claim to purity of bloodlines dating back to the landing at Plymouth Rock, but how likely would most of them find more than one interesting skeleton in their closet should they choose to look. So what is beauty? Are we really so very narrow that we will allow the few to define a standard that adheres only to the European regularity, forgetting the beauty of all else. Surely, we have come further than this after so long.

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