We pollute our oceans and seas with all manner of garbage. You’ve seen the pictures – swirling fields of plastic choking everything that swims and fishes and eats within its realm. We forget the effect this has on our own food supply, on our own water, on our own bodies when we eat the PCBs, mercury and plastic pieces that are ‘digested’ by the ocean. A June 2019 study in the journal Environmental Science and Technology stated that it’s possible that humans may be consuming anywhere from 39,000 to 52,000 microplastic particles a year. With added estimates of how much microplastic might be inhaled, that number is more than 74,000. These microplastics are found in beer, sugar, seafood, honey, salt, and other alcoholic beverages. Our pollution is everywhere and we’re not even conscious of it.

Is it any wonder that the sea of Humanity is no different?

This isn’t a rant about the state of our oceans but that is yet one more thing to think about. To rant about. No, this is about the pollution we seem to spread about as humans in the form of our thoughts. We do not think about our thoughts, actions, and words being pollution. Yet, they are.

I am an at-risk category of having complications if I catch COVID-19. Short of having some sort of emergency, I have kept the last five weeks at home, venturing out only when I feel it necessary to get medications or groceries. I am conscious of what I touch, when I wash my hands, gloves and masks, and who is around me. I am careful to stand back and wait for others to do their shopping and then I move in, when it’s clear, to get my things. I rarely touch carts, and I carry my own bags. I have received more than a few odd looks.

covid-19_1500x430_virusI don’t care.

Having seen someone die from pneumonia, struggling for breath as their lungs filled up with liquid and phlegm, eyes wide as they suffocated and died, I have no desire to end up in the same state. Anyone else who has seen that has no desire to die that way, either. If I can avoid it, wouldn’t I? I certainly will.

I am not a conspiracy theorist, I don’t believe that the government is out to get me, and I don’t believe that God is striking us down for anything.  I believe this is a natural phenomenon that we, in our age of technology and wealth, have been able to combat relatively effectively. This is not the 1918 Influenza nor is it the Black Plague. We are fortunate to be living in this time.

And yet… I went to a grocery store yesterday, seven weeks in from the shelter-in-place orders and on the edge of stores and restaurants opening. Lines of people waiting to get into the grocery store and Home Depot stunned me. STUNNED ME. There were 40 to 50 people waiting at Home Depot to get in. What could be so important that all of a sudden, you need to stand in line for hours to get into the Home Depot store? Can we not last this time without being careful, being calm, and being SMART?

In another grocery store, one which had no restrictions, people were running around as if there was nothing going on. Six-foot recommendations, masks, gloves – everything was off limits. One woman, flaunting her freedom with husband and two children, were running everywhere, smiling as they pushed into mine and others spaces with the condescending air of “I don’t really believe this, I’m young, we’re healthy, I don’t care…” Okay, maybe I am making some of this up in my head… but it felt like that. In a rare occasion when I was with Doyle in the store, he mentioned it to me first. This is stressful for people like me who are on the edge. I don’t go out unless I absolutely need to, and I get in and get out. I touch nothing if I can help it. I am frustrated by the lack of change in humanity. I have to remember that great change comes slowly, patiently, and in tiny increments.

If the humanity near my home is any indication, it will be glacial change. Why do I call all of this pollution? Here’s the definition of pollution: Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into the natural environment that cause adverse change. Contamination of thought. This pandemic is not over. Not by a long shot. The ramifications to how we interact with each other, what is important, financial losses and recession, how we treat each other, how we interact, the depression of mind and of resources – ALL of this will create a lasting, years-long effect. HOW we deal with it is as important as what we do. Do we check on one another after this is over? Do we separate ourselves when we know the second wave is coming? Do we appreciate the people who kept us going, fed, and alive long after we’ve forgotten the virus itself? If this is any indication, we will not.

pollutionIt’s the pollution of the mind that I worry most about. Lack of a belief in science (Bleach, really?); so much a lack of belief that corporations are having to put out notices to not drink disinfectant, regardless of what the American President says. Washing hands, staying back, masks or no masks – regardless of the recommendations floating around, we seem to ignore this in place of our personal freedom. We all do have the freedom to die, I guess, and put hospital workers and health care advocates in harm’s way, along with anyone else with whom we come into contact. We don’t have the right to inflict our ignorance of common sense onto anyone else. This pollution of the mind is more effective at ruining our species than anything else, it seems. My body, my right to do what I want? Where even to begin with that? Of course it is! Absolutely. But it is not your right to inflict your ignorance on other living, breathing human beings.

I’m not a germaphobe. I have been known to eat that piece of bread that fell onto the counter as I pulled it from the toaster. Drinking from an unclean glass, well, maybe I have. I would like to think, however, that I – hopefully WE – have learned from the devastating effects of small germs, viruses, and bacteria when we’re not careful. We know that washing hands is effective. We know that distancing works: not only to save us from getting sick but also to help healthcare resources get ahead of the numbers of people needing acute care. Think about the people who YOU affect when you leave your house. Think about caring for humanity as a whole rather than your own selfish needs for a pint of essential ice cream or that geranium for your front yard. We don’t know all the lives we touch when we pollute our thoughts with “me” rather than “us.”

Why do I rant? Because I think we have to say what we grumble about when we are in our homes alone. Am I going to get angry or wound up about it? No. I know that humanity is far from as evolved as it would like to think it is. We’re not even close. What I can do is remain calm, be an example, and take care of myself. I will do what I know to be safe and with some consciousness, I will escape the Darwinian tsunami that could overtake humanity.

~Self-isolating for a while longer, than you very much TDD

(Featured image care of the Alex Jones Tinfoil Hat Emporium, Facebook) 

More on That

I do my best to stay away from judgments and unsubstantiated rumors. I shun gossip as it has only gotten me into trouble in my life. It’s cost me friends and given me some sleepless nights. I look for a balance in things, in all things, trying to make sure that what I do is even-keeled. When the pendulum swings too far one direction, I know the only way to stop it from swinging the other way in like manner is to just stop the landslide and get off at the next station.

I also love to mix metaphors.

The current state of the world is challenging my judgements and my balance. It seems like it’s doing that for all of us. I am of two minds, literally. I love the chaos, and embrace it. I think this turmoil is necessary for us to be able to shake it all up, put it back together. It’s not one side or the other that has to do the putting back together – it’s all of us. Mind you – I said chaos. I did not say hate, fear, or anarchy of the government-overthrowing kind, I did not say racism, terrorism, or fear mongering. I said chaos. Is it possible to have chaos without these things? Yes, I believe it is, if you keep your mouth shut and just do the shaking up. Many CEOs have done it. Many industries have done it. Have a plan, have some guts, and cause chaos. Change up the way decisions are made, who is in charge of what, or even try the way out idea no one has tried before. Mix pink stripes and green plaid. Chaos can happen in many different ways.

But don’t, ever, mix it with violence, hatred, fear, fanaticism, and lies. That is not chaos. That is just simply wrong – morally, ethically, mentally, spiritually, and physically. These are diseases which need to be healed or eliminated, like the cancer they are. When the balance is out of whack, too much of one or the other, it becomes debilitating – too much love, too much hate. Both are ends of a spectrum, not either or.

Do I believe in all sweetness and light? Hell no. The world is a messy place and work is hard and people suffer. That is humanity. We get out of it by working, fortitude, striving, hoping, building, creating, crying, ordering, breaking apart, and looking up. Chaos is as important as Order. You simply cannot have one without the other. Like love and hate, ends of a spectrum that need respect and balance.

I said “two minds.” The other “mind” you ask? In that combat against hatred, lies, and fanaticism, it’s hard not to associate the chaos with the evil influences. Many people, including some people who share my ideological views, don’t see that. I analyze and look for holes, and I look for connections, for reasons. I’ve been told that evil needs no reason. Bullshit. Evil doesn’t have a consciousness – we give it consciousness and use it for our own ends. And people – people need reasons. They need a reason to get up in the morning and whether you believe it or not, there is a reason deep down about why they do ugly things. Ignorance? Perhaps. Fear? Generally. It’s the insecurities and ignorance that guide our unthinking minds. But it is hard, so very hard to disassociate chaos from evil. We’ve been led to believe that chaos is wrong, as is evil. Ergo, if something is chaotic, it is evil. Far from it.

I know there are those that would disagree with this statement – but I believe chaos is potentiality. The outcomes we ascribe to it may be evil or good, but it is not the act of chaos which is evil. Intent is everything. I once had a teacher who said that “energy follows intention. If you place your intention into something, your energy, and that of others, will follow.” True then, true now. I think of that when people tell me they can do very little to change the tide of current chaos. I again say, bullshit. I do not think that the current mindset took a year to develop. I think it took decades. And I think it will take decades to move back to a center again.

I’m currently reading Civil Disobedience by Thoreau. Thoreau is no wimp, no mindless, haphazard citizen wandering through his days with nary a care in the world. I love Thoreau for his feisty, fiery, straight-to-the-point statements. There’s no introduction in Civil Disobedience, no prologue, no explanation. Thoreau just jumps in, head first, arms flailing, ready to resist. It seems oddly current.

Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right.

That is the state we find ourselves in, isn’t? I don’t know that Thoreau is actually advocating for chaos. He is, however, advocating for each person to speak their own mind after making their own judgements about what is right and wrong. One thing we do seem to have is a recognition that we should speak truth. The scary thing is that the people in power have a truth that is vastly different than our own. Forget the newspapers and media- listen to their actual speeches and written circulars. Do these legislators actually represent what we feel is right? Or, are we enamored of the fact that they are telling the “truth” as they see it and, much like a terrible fire in a high-rise building, we can’t help by watch the chaos unfold.

What does it take to shape the American, United States American, will? Does it take a cataclysmic event? If things like Sandy Hook, Columbine, Hurricane Maria, a massive earthquake in Mexico, Hurricane Irma, or Stoneman Douglas High School are any indication, they are hardly a blip on our conscience. Does it take leadership and politicians being corrupt and racist, leadership that is directing the course of our lives? Does it take our entertainment industry being thrown on its head by allegations of abuse of women for decades? WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO MAKE US MOVE THE NEEDLE? Is this chaos? Of course it is. Is the intention behind it evil? That’s for the individual to decide. It is the events which are chaotic and need to drive change. Forget a single man’s reasoning and look at the larger, systemic problem – whichever problem it might be. What is it going to take for us to get on board and change the lives we’re living – the stone dead day to day lives or the nothing-can-happen-to me lives? None of us is really like everybody else. We need to stop acting like the mob mentality and extreme hatred are okay. We need order and chaos. We need light and dark. We need to stop seeing ourselves as separate from each other, and see ourselves as a shared humanity with individual voices. An individual collective. Not mindless. Not soulless. We are both – individual and collective. What will it take to bring our individuals together to make changes? I wish I had the answer. Until then, I will keep searching. And asking. And posting.


Engaged, Abundant, and Intentionally Full

hi_so_busyI hear quite often in work, in social settings and in my avocations, how busy people are. How are you? Busy. It’s a badge of pride and importance to be “busy.” Busy. Busy bees, working around the hive, always moving, always… doing. I heard once someone say “we should be less ‘human doing’ and more ‘human being.’ I thought they were a little crazy. We’re always humans being, and we’re always humans doing, too. That’s what we do. We just… do. As an adjective, to be busy means “to have a great deal to do.” As a verb, it means to ‘keep occupied.’ The first known use of the word is before the 12C. C.E…. so we know people have been ‘actively doing things’ for some time. Hence, humans have always been busy.

Listen to the word in common English conversation now, and the word tends to be laced with more judgment. Thoreau said, “It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?” The quote is intended to be self-reflective and self-directed. We must ask the question, to what are we applying our time? Is it worthy? Is it constructive for our needs and wants? Does it go to enrich us, feed our families, or improve the greater good? WHY are we busy? It’s easy to be busy: cleaning, cooking, laundry, writing, reading, caring for our families, running people around. Much of the time, we’re so stuck in ruts of “doing” that we forget to ask “why” or “is there a better way?” I find myself continually doing something and then wondering if I really need to be doing this task that task. Is there a different way to do it? Can I make myself less “busy” and more productive? These are two very different things.

“Life is simple, yet we continue to make it complicated.” Confucius was right – we are creatures keeping busy making many things complicated, if not everything. Complication is not creation. It’s just a headache waiting to happen. What do we complicate with “busy?” Our relationships. “How are things?” “Really busy, you know?” These opening salvoes in communications with others beg us to talk about what our activities have been. “Hey, look at me! Look how IMPORTANT I am! I’m busy.” People ask me how have I been, and generally I say good. They might ask what I have been up to, or say “I read your latest blog.” That gives us something to discuss. Sometimes people tell me “wow, you’re really busy,” I think “not so much.” I think about the actual activities to which I apply my time and feel like it’s almost all time well spent. Mostly. I also wonder if some of the time I’ve been spending, like wadded up cash in my pocket, is really being put toward worthwhile things. Have I been a slug? Or have I been working on bettering things? My mind is a busy place.

Relationships get complicated, but how? They get complicated in the swamp of judgment. Not judgment of ourselves – judgment of others. Are our friends busy with work? Busy with “play” or busy with children. Ask yourself right now…, “Do I place more importance on one type of busy than on another?” If you’re honest with yourself, you probably do.  busyguyThere is an implicit bias in North America, particularly the United States, that if you’re busy with children, your life has far more importance than if you do not. American businesses are geared toward relieving parents in times of hardship and our social services and whatnot are far more supportive of parental and childhood needs than of those without children. Think, “mental services” versus “child services.” Reflect and be honest – which do you think is more deserving of financial and labor support?

I do not have children of my own, and most of my friends know this. Most of my acquaintances as well. I have other friends who do not have children and hear some of the same ‘feedback.’ There is an underlying judgment in my brand of “busy” versus the parental brand of “busy.” My busy is not as worthwhile or important as raising children. My busy is not as meaningful when it comes to my time, and in fact, my time is worth less than a parent who has children. This has frustrated me for a very long time because it is disrespectful and demeaning. It is discriminatory in nearly the same way we are dismissive of other genders, races, or religions because they are not “of us.”  Whether we have children by choice or not, the underlying aspects of our US society is that if you’re not propagating the species, you are not as worthy as someone who did. Let’s examine some of the cultural bias that is out there, beyond my own empirical evidence.

An interesting article on the “childless by choice” stance was written by the Daily Beast, on the book, Shallow, Selfish, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision not to Have Kids.  The article, and the book, are an interesting exploration into the psyche of people who have chosen not to have children. The best line of the article is this: “Why is it that so many Americans, no longer content with having their freedom, also seek to dictate what we may think about how they use it? Why must they be coddled and congratulated for every choice?”  Each time we make a judgment about another, what we’re really asking for is someone to validate that my choice, or the choices I have made, are valid and worthwhile. My choice was the right one. Your choice, not so much.

Newsweek reported in 2013 that our ability to choose to have children is bad for the country as a whole, our country’s future, and thus we were being selfish for not breeding for a better future. It was, is, our civic duty. childlessLet’s look at some other ideas. In 2015, most children (more than 72%) exited foster care with a permanent connection to a family. Thank god we have more children to fill the homes of foster care parents, who might otherwise be childless. Over 135,000 children are adopted each year, with thousands more waiting to find loving homes. Of non-stepparent adoptions, about 59 percent are from the child welfare (or foster) system, 26 percent are from other countries, and 15 percent are voluntarily relinquished American babies. If we didn’t keep having more children, those ranks would diminish, and we couldn’t have that. My sarcasm has a purpose, I assure you.

No one questions why someone had children. Perhaps they should. Have we not seen enough bad situations where parents are not well-equipped to raise the next generation of human beings? Having children is sometimes more than a simple choice, to be dismissed as thoughtless, selfish, and greedy. There is an overwhelming sense of having to justify yourself -parent or not- that is exhausting. This is true with every decision we make in life and when we judge others: how can we know the motivations, needs, desires, or restrictions placed on another’s life. How can we make a judgment about how they spend their lifetimes? How can be the judge of their “busy?”

I have been accused of judging people’s “busy.” I have heard people say, “she can’t judge my life. she doesn’t have children.” For the most part, this is a misinterpretation. Having been judged often enough for not having children, I am keenly aware of the need to not judge back. Small_bee-honeycombRounding this out, the misinterpretation comes when I am frustrated with people who use the excuse of “I’m too busy with my children. And if you had children, you’d be too busy to do what you do.” It’s the last part that is misrepresented. I accept busy-ness. I do not accept “you have more time because you don’t have children.” We all get 24 hours in the day – there are no exceptions that that law of nature. I do not accept that I am “less” busy because I don’t spend my time fostering the next generation. How we all choose to spend the freedom and time that this country affords us is just that – our choice. Everyone is busy. Everyone is dedicated to something, creating something, involved in something. While you might have chosen children, I chose a different path, for some very specific reasons. I might not feel the need to share those reasons. You might not feel the need to share the reasons for having children. Either way, it’s okay. We need to recognize that we are both busy and that we dedicate our time to our individual, worthwhile pursuits – and keep judgments to one’s self.

We spend so much time judging how other people have dedicated their lives that we might just miss our own in the process.

Knowing oneself is the ultimate goal. The end game. Knowing others is icing, and we could argue whether or not we really know others. Know thyself means that we don’t overcommit, we don’t promise what we can’t deliver, we know our own limitations and can work toward them. Too busy? Complaining? Maybe it’s time to reset your boundaries; after all, you’re the one that set them to begin with. Own your life and don’t let the “busy-ness” own you.

Judge if you will… but it’s time for a nap.










Darker Thoughts

Let’s take a moment to review history, shall we?

Hitler-Hindenberg-Tannenberg-1933The violence in Germany exploded after years of being fueled by hate-mongering government officials and military leaders, as well as those who had the ear of Herr Hitler. Watching this video on the History website, one cannot be unmoved by similarities: Are the conditions the same, with extreme poverty and unemployment? No. But, if you take an apathetic educated class of people, who do not oppose these seemingly small incidents, you get the same effect.

What happened, four years later? Yes, it took four years for Hitler to be in power before this…

On November 9 to November 10, 1938, in an incident known as “Kristallnacht”, Nazis in Germany torched synagogues, vandalized Jewish homes, schools and businesses and killed close to 100 Jews. In the aftermath of Kristallnacht, also called the “Night of Broken Glass,” some 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to Nazi concentration camps. German Jews had been subjected to repressive policies since 1933, when Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) became chancellor of Germany. However, prior to Kristallnacht, these Nazi policies had been primarily nonviolent. After Kristallnacht, conditions for German Jews grew increasingly worse. (

fascismOn May 27, 1941, President Roosevelt conveyed a radio address to the nation, citing an “Unlimited National Emergency.” This emergency was brought about by acts of aggression by the Nazi Party within Europe. Prior to this, more than a year, the Nazis and Hitler had invaded Denmark and Norway (April 1940.) FDR knew that the Nazi Party was hell bent on global domination and that we needed to act to protect the world because, in his words, it was in our best interests to do so. Waiting to act until the Nazis were on our shores would be tantamount to suicide. He begged isolationists to crack the shell, get involved, and above all things, care.

In 1956, the American Nazi party was created. Over the years, it has changed its name and is now the New Order. Remember that the name of this party is the  “National Socialist Party” – something that feels very left-of-center. A variety of divisions within the group have caused it to decline and now, far more conservative, white supremacist, hate-based groups have risen to the fore – The KKK, Aryan Nation, The Order, New Order, and White Patriot Party have filled the vacuum the German Nazi party have left behind. I write this here because it’s important to note that the term “Nazi” isn’t necessarily applicable to the kind of violence that we are seeing in our nation today. White supremacists have picked up the iconography of the National Socialists and made it their own.

On November 4, 1988, President Ronald Reagan made the following Statement, on the 50th Anniversary of Kristallnacht:

Fifty years ago, on the night of November 9-10, 1938, German Nazis committed a nationwide pogrom against Jewish people. By the next morning, scores of Jews were dead, hundreds were injured, and many synagogues, shops, and homes lay in ruins. This vicious attack became known around the globe as “Kristallnacht“—”crystal night” or “the night of broken glass” from the mute evidence of shattered window glass it left in so many streets. Half a century later, we mourn every victim of this pogrom and we rededicate ourselves to preventing repetitions of such brutality anywhere and everywhere.

The world had been ignoring many warning signs in Germany and elsewhere of increasing anti-Semitism, disregard for human rights, and eugenically motivated assaults on individual dignity and worth. Kristallnacht surely should have alerted everyone that time had run out—that the “peace in our time” proclaimed hopefully by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain only a few weeks before was not to be. It took World War II to eliminate the Nazi threat to humanity and to our most sacred values.

WAR & CONFLICT BOOK ERA:  WORLD WAR II/PERSONALITIESKristallnacht was the opening salvo in violence across Europe and really was an orchestrated attempt to fan the flames of chaos and domination. Americans entered the war only once our personal interests were attacked, mainly because most Americans could not fathom how a war in Europe, the rise of hate-based ideologies, and fascism could affect the cozy American shores. Indeed, even FDR called these people “smug” and full of “smugness.”

And what do we have today? Do we have a similar nation of people who are smug and confident that “Nazism” could never happen in America? In a recent post on Facebook, God posted a picture with this caption: “You don’t get to be a Nazi and a proud American. We literally fought a war about this. The whole world was involved.” People who hate are counting on the ones who don’t to wave the banner of free speech and the First Amendment and give them their “right” to speak and protest and rally. They, and every American, have the right to do so. Thank god. However, should those same people be allowed to actively inflame the other side by carrying guns, equating their right to speak to not letting others speak? Carrying a gun to a rally you are protesting is inviting killing. It is begging for it. In the end, it wasn’t even a gun that killed – it was a man with a car and raging hate in his head.

CVAOne death. It’s hard to believe it was only one death. Yet, one death is all it took for Kristallnacht to happen.

In the fall of 1938, Herschel Grynszpan (1921-45), a 17-year-old ethnically Polish Jew who had been living in France for several years, learned that the Nazis had exiled his parents to Poland from Hanover, Germany, where Herschel had been born and his family had lived for years. As retaliation, on November 7, 1938, the agitated teenager shot Ernst vom Rath (1909-38), a German diplomat in Paris. Rath died two days later from his wounds, and Hitler attended his funeral. Joseph Goebbels (1897-1945), the Nazi minister for public enlightenment and propaganda, immediately seized on the assassination to rile Hitler’s supporters into an anti-Semitic frenzy.

If you do not believe that Steve Bannon has not already looked at this incident as an opportunity, you are most likely mistaken. In the book, “The Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency” and in more than a few public interviews, this type of situation is an opportunity for chaos and upheaval. It is an opportunity to turn the world on its collective ass and upend the way the government works. He, in turn, has a President who is not exactly devoid of hate. A few of his quotes:

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re not sending you, they’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bring crime. They’re rapists… And some, I assume, are good people.”

“Our great African-American President hasn’t exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are so happily and openly destroying Baltimore.”

“If I were running ‘The View’, I’d fire Rosie O’Donnell. I mean, I’d look at her right in that fat, ugly face of hers, I’d say ‘Rosie, you’re fired.”

devil'sbargainAnd we have a public who still supports this president or is, at least, tired and wanting to tune him out. It’s tiring to deal with children. Think… “The Omen.” Perhaps this child isn’t being a cranky 2-year-old on his own, perhaps he has help, encouragement even. Perhaps he has a master manipulator at his side, in his head, driving him to do crazy things because he’s truly weak. I am not a conspiracy theorist. Far from it. I’m skeptical more times than not. The rise of fear-mongering and staggering displays of outright violence have shaken my skepticism.

So, please, let’s do a summation:

  • A President who is indifferent at best and hateful at worst to wide swaths of people, including women, blacks, immigrants, and Mexicans, who lacks conviction to follow through on policies and is not well loved by global leaders;
  • Supported and encouraged, driven by an aide who wants to see the entire world burn in a fire of chaos; a man dismissed by many Washington insiders and administration officials as “unclean, uncouth, and lacking any sense of the world around him;”
  • A fairly apathetic American public who believes “this can’t happen to us, we’re too smart|diverse|educated|rich for the Holocaust to happen here.”

Trump is not Hitler. Trump is Hindenburg.

I am not happy with the American Public. I want in my soul to hide, to get away, to just go away from the hatred. And that is just what these people are counting on. Which pisses me off even more.

Let me reach down, pick up that gauntlet, dust it off, and cram it down their throats.


Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

lies3For the most part, I have turned off the radio, the TV, the incoming news feeds, etc. With few exceptions, I am limiting the amount of crappy media that is coming into my brain. I open it up for select topics of interest, to keep a finger on the pulse of a schizophrenic U.S.A., such as the Women’s March on Washington. Such as, the amount of visible support or lack there of that this new administration is getting. Continue reading

Policy, Personality, and the Pussy Divide

the-fight-for-womens-suffrage-hAs we wind up this most exciting and titillating election year (said with as much sarcasm as I am able to deliver in WordPress…) I cannot help but focus on the activities and personality that have come out of the mouths of candidates: specifically, Mr. Trump (Warning: Language!) As Trevor Noah said on The Daily Show, it’s not about the language – it’s about admitting to sexual assault. Trump supporters call the people offended by the video as whiners or, as his surrogates have said, “locker room talk.” If we take a step back and look at the facts, it is admission of his support of sexual assault, and an admission of sexual assault. From the DOJ website, we have this definition: “Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.” The facts of the tape are not that he did it – that he talked about doing it and that it was okay with him and for him. In essence, he’s condoning illegal activities.

Any of us who have listened to Mr. Trump in the last 30 years knows this is not surprising. His statements are, at the very least, disrespectful of many segments of American society, and at the worst, hypocritical, demeaning, racist, and divisive. He is laser focused on, it appears, segments of society that either love his personality or hate it. There is no in-between, there is no subtle nature; perhaps there is calculation in this maneuvering but it is unclear to me what the end game is.

I have tried to not listen to the personality. I’ve been seeking policy. And this is where I run into issues. Because OF his personality, I can’t keep straight what the actual policies are. Policy is a course or principle of action adopted or proposed by a government, party, business, or individual.When discussing this with his supporters, I don’t hear many of them really espousing his policies. What are his policies? Is he in lidonald-trump-splitne with his party? Does he have a set of core values that he can articulate clearly and consistently? I’ve heard him say he’s pro-choice. The Republican party generally is not. I’ve heard him say he’s going to be tough on “border” issues. Yet, I don’t know what that means except build a wall and deport all the “Muslims.” Having worked out so well for China and Hadrian, I don’t know what that will accomplish. Kick out all Muslims? How does that translate into a policy? What is the principle behind it? Is it racism? Or is it something else? Yes, seriously – I want to know.

I admit, I was one who supported Obama because I wanted someone in the White House who was articulate, educated, professional, confident, prudent, and could engender agreement. The Republican Congress made short work of the compromise and agreement, but for the most part, I feel like we got what we asked to get. Pushing aside the other candidates for a moment – this, this “election” is something I do not get. Is the pendulum swinging the other way too far? Because this election has brought out such ugliness, perhaps it needed to happen. However, are we really going to let ugliness rule us in totality for at least four more years?

Oddly enough, the retort to questions about policy is “Well, what has Hillary done? Nothing.” Or, it’s countered with a like story about Hillary’s foibles, or oddly enough, Bill’s. I am dumbfounded by the lack of logical arguments, clear rhetoric, or even understandable debate points. I have heard some of the craziest things from the mouths of other human beings in this country that have, frankly, shocked the hell out of me. Is our country REALLY that bad? This is no Bush Vs. Gore or Romney Vs. Obama. Weirdly enough, this is Trump Vs. Trump. Forget all of the personality – maybe even forget the policy – and just stand in wonder of the logic of the people. Or, as one friend calls them, Sheeple.

I do truly believe that women, though, have to make a stand for a candidate and be clear which one is better for our gender. If we can finally get down to true policy, perhaps we can find out. I doubt it. If Trump’s comments are his policy towards women’s equality, rights, and freedoms, then we all have some hard decisions to make. I cannot believe the women of the U.S.A. would be so asleep as to let HIM happen to us. I don’t know – maybe it really will come down to men versus women. I’d like to hope not but there it is.

I’m truly not advocating for or against any single candidate – make up your own damn mind. What I care about is trying to understand the issues that face us as national community and how we can find people to make that better. There are people among us who we know would be good leaders, and they are – in their community. Maybe that is enough. Maybe that’s where it starts. If our top leadership does go backwards, maybe it’s time for the bottom leadership to start pushing us all forward. ballot-box-facebook

My ballot came yesterday and it sits on my dining room table, waiting to be opened. I need to sit down and think through the issues, re-read the information provided, and try to make a judgement based on what I know and what I see we need. I think back to Madison who believed the majority of the American populace would not know how to choose what is right for themselves. Self-governance is a fallacy, in his estimation. I hope I do not prove him right. I hope we all don’t prove him right.


I am Ignorance Teaching Herself

RacismI’m lost. I am feeling as if I am, on the one hand, very thick and dense and clueless, and on the other hand, knowing I am ignorant as hell and in need of a very deep and intense education. I know that this post is going to possibly inflame emotions even more. I’m not trying to do that. I’m trying to light a candle and to understand. I’m trying to figure my way though.

I’m talking about racism. I’m talking about race, about black men being gunned down in the streets by white men (police or otherwise), about profiling hispanic men and women in routine traffic stops to deport them, and about senseless ignorance running rampant. I’m talking about the horror I see every day in the news, as a white woman, and feel powerless to change.

But, I am not powerless, am I? I am ignorant; there is some possibility I can never know how ignorant I really am – simply because I am white. I don’t believe I’ve buried my head in the sand but I haven’t exactly stood up and put my body between ignorant violence / hate and anyone of color, either. I have read history of all sorts: American, British, black, white, Hispanic, indigenous peoples of all kinds. Growing up in California, you learn to speak psuedo-spanish and learn where the Spanish names of your towns come from. There was a time I believed, as a child, I must have been of Hispanic descent simply because I was born in California. You live in a true mixture of culture, color, and identity. I learned from families of all races and nations around me. In some ways, you think the entire world is colorful, like California or New York City.

What you don’t learn as a child, or at least when I was a child, was the cruel conditions that both Native Americans and Mexicans have had to endure to bolster our economy in California. I learned all of this much later, as a very ignorant adult. You don’t see and understand the Southern California and San Jose gang violence until you understand how racism has created a great deal of the underlying issues in the state. When you grow up in the idyllic suburbia, you don’t hear racial slurs and see frightened faces walking down streets at night. You are spoon-fed what the city-state wants you to know and you effectively learn nothing about what it is like to grow up black, brown, red, yellow, or any shade in between. You have no idea about the white-bread news you’ve been getting and how it is so far from the reality that some people live day to day. You grow up ignorant and are shocked when the world smacks you in the face with its ugly, racist self.

Growing up ignorant is no excuse and I have spent years correcting that. I have learned to seek out the less-heard history of minorities and women, to better understand how we racism-today-holding-us-back-from-moving-forward-power-point-5-638became the way we are. I’ve taken classes, read books, listened to speakers, and talked with friends who are not white. I’m still feeling my way through all of this. I hear from all sides that I should not be insulting and say “I don’t see color.” It’s demeaning to say I’m an ally of a movement, and it’s shameful that white mothers say “I’m teaching my children to see beyond color.” Intellectually, I understand that it means that I am discounting a racial history when I say that. I am ignoring someone’s racial culture and the events that lead up to this cruel moment in time. It means I am not seeing the past and ignoring the present.

I then turn my brain to the idea that I have to remember everyone’s history because everyone, with the exception of the white male, has been through “something.” Jews, Blacks, Mexicans, Women, Muslims, Christians (Yes, even them) have been through some sort of past trauma and are still going through trauma, hatred, and inexcusable violence. Misogyny stirs in the hearts of even the most visible political candidates and celebrities. Racial and Gender profiling are rampant – politically and in our law enforcement. I am not ignorant to that. I am not ignorant to the fact that slavery is “recent” memory (and not simply gone as we want to believe…), that Jim Crow is alive and well and living in prisons, and that the horror stories that people tell, of living in fear and seclusion for just the color of their skin are real. Of course they are real. All of the blood of black men on the sidewalks, shed by white men, proves it. There is no denying it. It’s not global warming people; it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out.

What am I not getting? I’m not getting how treating everyone equally is wrong, or insulting. What I want to understand is that when I say “I don’t see color,” I’m not saying I don’t see your blackness or redness or gayness or browness; what I’m saying is that I want to treat you like a human being that deserves love, kindness, freedom to do what you want. You deserve my open mind, my laughter, my tears, my thoughts, my compassion, my trust, my forgiveness, and my attention. I know that others do not and I acknowledge that. I will fight for it if I see it happen in front of me, in print, and when I can. I will fight, as I would for any human being that is being oppressed. I will ask, what can I do? Not assume that I know what needs to be done. I would do that for anyone – regardless of color, creed, gender, sexual orientation, or religion. And that is what I don’t understand – how, if I do this, it’s insulting. What am I missing? Maybe the difference is personal one to one interaction versus cultural interaction. Maybe my problem is to think that these simple words will overcome an entire cultural problem.

I feel like I am lacking something key, some light, some enlightenment and then I will understand and find a voice. I am lost when I cannot communicate clearly and this… this issue… Racism and Discrimination… it needs, requires, demands clear and thoughtful communication.

I will continue to educate myself. I do not expect anyone who is fighting racial injustices to teach me. If I teach myself, I will own the light bulb that goes off. I will continue to stand up for the wrongs I see happen and ask, what can I do? I do not expect to sit idly by and let others do the heavy lifting. I will listen. And today, I will listen hard. Today, when yet another black man has been shot by a white police officer, in front of his girlfriend and a child, is not the day to have a dialogue about helping. Maybe. Maybe not. We have to mourn the dead and the stupidity before we can find the strength to combat it.

Right now, I am simply sad for the entire human race.