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Monday, January 2, 2017

Theoretical Goodness


I think the best parts of me are almost gone now. My depression has eaten away at every facet of my life and left me with very little self. What's left of me isn't very nice. Or strong. Or even relevant.

The New Year's bombing in Nigeria and shooting in Istanbul are matters of fact that I saw in headlines. My initial reaction to tragedy has always been horror and pain. Much to the dismay of others in my life, I have always been incredibly empathetic to the point where I could lose sleep for nights in a row, even as a child, worried and crying about the plight of a stranger. I loved that about myself. I would not have traded it. It proved to me, if to no one else, that I was a good person with a good heart. It's gone.

I still know the difference between right and wrong; good and bad; left and right. I still know what is supposed to break my heart when I see it in the news, but my heart doesn't break any more. I'm not sure it's even in there. Everything is just a matter of fact. Its all a thing that happened. Its all going to be a thing that was going to happen because we have, as a society and as a world, embraced the very least among us in 'leadership' and told the marginalized among us, 'Yeah. Too fucking bad.' I'm not sad. I'm only angry. I only have anger. And hate. Anything lovely that once lived inside of me seems to be gone.

Something inside me still exists, though I can't identify it. But I have come to the end of this revelation and find that I'm crying for my loss. So there's that.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Legacy


My childhood home had a family room with no functional familial use beyond offering a great spot for hide and seek behind the couch. It was merely the room we walked through to get to the garage whenever we went anywhere. There was a large black and white portrait hanging predominately in the center of the room that always scared me when I was young. It was of a gentleman from the 1800s who didn't look the least bit friendly. Our home had black and white pictures everywhere. For a reason I have never quite ascertained, it was very important for the images of those who came before us to be displayed throughout the home.

I was so proud when I finally asked the story of the scary man in the family room. It turned out he owned a home that had a secret basement which was a stop on the Underground Railroad. My young mind was always trying to understand, and my tender heart was always trying to differentiate between, right and wrong. There was nothing more right to me than a person making personal sacrifices to save others from the evils of slavery. I was excited to tell people that I had such a cool ancestor in my family tree. At the same time, I was aware that it wasn't really my family tree.

Having been adopted, there were never times that either I felt 100% like a member of the family or that others went out of their way to make me feel 100% like a member of the family. Because of this, I was always careful to preface any recountings of my great-great-great grandfather's story with a reminder that I had been adopted. Its pretty sad just to type that. Imagine a child excitedly telling you something about their family but believing that you needed to know it wasn't really her family. Take that revelation one step further to acknowledge that she was comfortable in that place and those who should've taught her there was no variable didn't feel it was necessary to do so.

When I was in middle school, I remember being frustrated telling my friends about my family legacy because they didn't feel like it was as cool as I did. I was even more frustrated by the fact that my family didn't seem too incredibly impressed, either. It was more of a matter-of-fact and his picture was something my mother had basically won in a family lottery of items passed down when someone or other died. The portrait was added to the wall of the room that no one really used as many other pictures of people no one could recall had been throughout the house.

To this day I wonder if my brother and sister, who were not adopted and are related by blood to this man, would be able to tell you his story. I wonder if they even remember the amazing history we were given about our family and the strength of those who came before us. It feels as if they have no knowledge or care of actual legacy whatsoever.

I recently started creating my own family tree on ancestry.com. It was a journey to see how far I could go back with the very limited information I have about my natural family (my grandmother came from Italy and I have her Americanized name). But I was really excited to see if I could work on the tree of the family I grew up with and know as my family. I was hoping to eventually get back to a place where I could learn more about this house and its place on the Underground Railroad. During my search I got several hints from the website about family members that others had in their trees and I would open them to get the information they had already found. I got a hint last week that my sister had created a family tree and I excitedly went in there figuring she would have all of the same people I did and it would make my job pretty easy. Instead, I found a family tree quite devoid of very important information. Apparently, in the legacy she is willing to leave to future generations, she did not have a sister. She had a brother, my brother. She had parents, my parents. But she did not have me.

Family?

It is really hard to imagine that a human being would want to omit a person from their history who was the sister she had grown up with; who bought her a maternity wardrobe with her first pregnancy and then flew to Virginia on New Year's when that first niece was born; and who drove to Virginia when the second niece was born. I guess not having had an actual drop of blood in that bloodline overrides any actual remembrances of sisterhood, however.

The word legacy is powerful. It reminds us of all that has come before to create and enrich all that exists in this place. The lessons one generation determines necessary to pass on to the next are inside of that legacy. The traditions of community and interdependence come from that legacy. The stories of pride and remembrance come from that legacy. Even as a child I felt not quite entitled to the legacy of what came before me. But because it was the only one I had, I wanted to claim it nonetheless. I would certainly, at least, be thoughtful about the legacy I would leave future generations. The pain of realizing that my legacy will be quite irrelevant and forgotten to those whose lives I have shared is indescribable.

The saddest part about all of this is the fact that the very members of my family who have known me my entire life and should, by now, have found a way to empathize when I explain my feelings, refuse to hear this retelling beyond waiting for the pause so they can defend themselves. But many people who are completely removed from this story with no emotional connection to me whatsoever will come much closer to understanding my pain than those who can actually witness and lessen it.

Throughout my life I have gone through phases where I would remove myself from my family completely to dispel the pain of their carelessness and intolerance. I have always allowed criticisms, both internal and external, to counter my own better judgment and reenter my family out of commitment and dedication to the thing which it was meant to be. But the truth is: It is not what it was meant to be. It is never going to be what it was meant to be. The thing that it is creates pain. And alienation. The thing that it is expects acceptance of things I find unacceptable and ignorance of things I find to be imperatives.

Loneliness is the only substitute I've found for vulnerability. Neither are exemplar. Neither are healthy. But let no one question why those are the only two alternatives I have found after considering the legacy I have been afforded.




Monday, July 6, 2015

Disability


My brain is barely working these days. I am so tired. My depression is kicking my ass. I am safe in my home. That is my cure for my anxiety and agoraphobia. My car is safe. I can go to the bank or the pharmacy or fast food. Anything with a drive thru is safe. I can't explain any of this. I feel safe at the little store at the end of the street. I think it is because I have always shopped there and I know all of the kids who work there. There are no other places that I feel safe. If I have to go anywhere else I have to mentally prepare myself for days. I visualize the place and where the doors are. I have to plan on parking in an aisle in front of the door so I can get to it quickly. When I get inside I have to be able to see the door.

I didn't realize my ability to see the door was even a problem until it was a problem. I was at Kroger. I go in the middle of the night because I know there will be very few people. I was in the frozen section and I turned my cart around to head back down the aisle and noticed that I could not see the door. My body started shaking and I had to calm myself down and steady my breathing. It was ridiculous. It pisses me off. I honestly cannot control it even though I realize it is irrational.

When my daughter picked out her wedding dress last month it was important that I go with her. I had been to that bridal shop before and I could visualize the outside and the floor plan of the inside. I could not go into the aisles with her. My breathing became short and I just shook my head to let her know I was going to have to stand at the end of the aisles and watch what she picked out. The section where people wait for the bride to come out and model the dresses was within eyeshot of the door so that went well. That was the last time I left the house until this weekend.

I have no money. Rent is due by the 5th. I own my home but not the lot. I had to have $385 to pay my rent. I have an amazing wardrobe, most of which still have the tags on them. Last year after my first panic attack and when I was starting to evaluate my depression and anxiety I realized that I had never, in my life, believed that I had any value. When I lost 175 pounds I didn't even buy clothes. I would get handed down clothes from friends or whatever fit at the thrift store. I literally had a pair of size 22 pants that I would wear when I had made it down to a 12 and I would use binder clips to fold and keep the pants up. It was ridiculous. I never thought I was worth spending money on. Ever. When my daughter went to college I really started to realize I had nothing. I had created my life around her. And then I found the man that I was going to spend the rest of my life with and I began taking care of he and his daughter. I had value again. When the disaster happened and I had to leave my new family, I had no value again. And for the first time, I realized it. My value has always been what I can give to others. Its sick, honestly. But its true. I believe today my value is $250K because that is the life insurance policy that would pay out if I die. Seriously. Thats it.

Last year I tried to force myself to care for myself. In my entire adult life I had never had a wardrobe that I had picked out full of things that I loved and I thought I was adorable in. So I went shopping and I bought a kick ass wardrobe. I felt pretty for the first time in a very long time. I was so excited to wear my new clothes. When I went back to work my girlfriends would take pictures of me every day to show off my new clothes. I was only able to work for three weeks before I had to go back on disability because my boss was still harassing me and I ended up having four more panic attacks. That was June 23 of 2014. I have since had no reason to wear anything other than old t-shirts from when I wore a 3x and a pair of panties. I don't leave my house. So I don't need that gorgeous wardrobe.

(The tutu was not part of my new wardrobe, my friend made it for the pride parade)

Yesterday I went to a resale shop to sell my wardrobe. It was easily valued at least $5k. Most of it still had tags on them. While at the store I had to stand by the door to feel comfortable. I didn't want the lady to think I was just keeping an eye on her or trying to get her to hurry up so I told her that I have agoraphobia and am very uncomfortable in public and I apologized if I was making her uncomfortable. When it was time to check out she told me that her friend used to have agoraphobia, too. I asked how she got over it. She said, "She ran out of money and had to get a job." I cannot let that go. I cannot stop being pissed at her ignorance and her arrogance. Agoraphobia comes from anxiety. Having no capacity to pay your bills adds to your anxiety. She made it sound like her friend was being ridiculous and she finally got over herself. I felt bad for her friend. I am sure that she either didn't have agoraphobia or she was also in treatment and/or receiving medications. Either way she completely dismissed my situation as if I could just 'get over it' if things just get a little bit worse.

I am disgusted by people who just make assumptions about people the second they hear that they are on disability. A lot of people just assume that they are taking advantage of the system. Our society has been conditioned to make that assumption. I finally applied for disability with Social Security in early April of this year (the disability I was on last year was from my job and I didn't feel bad taking it because they created the entire scenario and then made it worse by HR and upper management deciding to just ignore the whole thing entirely). I could have filed March 2014. I never filed because I always figured I would be better by now. I never thought I would still be here and even worse. I have overcome all of the shit life has handed me. I always find a way. I am (was) a bad ass. I don't care anymore. I don't even want to be alive. I cannot be well in this situation and expected to leave my house and go to a job when sometimes after mentally preparing myself to go to the grocery store in the middle of the night I still have panic attacks and have to just not go. I don't have it in me to heal on my own. And, again, I have been on a waiting list for care for a very long time. I finally have an appointment at the end of this month.

The next time you hear someone say that they are on disability assume they have something wrong with them. Don't automatically determine that they are one of the people who take advantage of the system. You can be doing a sincere harm to someone who really is pretty close to just saying 'fuck it' altogether. I told the lady at the rental office that I was waiting on my disability and she looked me up and down and I just knew what she was thinking.

I don't believe that most people aspire to land on disability. I certainly didn't. And I don't mean to be on it for the rest of my life. I hope that once I start having treatment and therapy I can get myself straightened out and get back to my life. Just remember, many issues people face are not seen as they stand before you. MANY. Give people care. And support. And respect. You don't know what other people are dealing with.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Dear Media:

Dear Media:

I am a patriotic American. No. Really. I don't just use that as a cheap buzz word because my talking heads told me that I am. I love my country and I sincerely want to help bring her to a healthy place.

As such, I need for you, collectively, to acknowledge your complicity in the tragic place we are finding ourselves at this time. As America is facing so much societal unrest, our journalists are not informing their audience beyond the generic aspects which are being offered on almost all other channels. What is the point of having multiple 24/7 news outlets if there is no means of differentiation? Our politics have become ridiculous. Out of fear, you neglect to report on much of it because you don't want to be condemned as illegitimate for 'liberal bias.' Of course, by offering your audience a deliberately filtered account of facts, you are defining your work as illegitimate. But for a different reason.

In this day and age where absolutely anyone can write and build an audience (ehem), the onus is on you to be the stalwart documentarians of the true chronicle we leave to history. As such, you are failing miserably. You have allowed your messages and their means of delivery to be dictated by your competition. And, thus, you have allowed the standards by which your industry has been maintained to be lowered. Profoundly.

When something newsworthy occurs in America, it is your responsibility to ask yourselves those essential 6 questions. Write them on a sticky note and tape it to your monitor or your cameraman, if necessary. You should always realize that those are the questions your audience is looking to have answered. When you focus too much on one or neglect another, altogether, you are not offering a complete account. You are doing your own legacy and your audience a disservice.

For instance: When a riot breaks out in a city because a ball team has won or lost a championship, ask why. This will be important for future comparisons when other riots break out to create distinctions between the two. And when riots do break out in the future, don't opine to your audience about how unbelievable this is to see in our society. Don't forget to inform them of all of the other riots America has seen lately about sports teams. When protests or rioting break out in a community which has been oppressed for decades, do not spend so much of your time on the who without an in-depth look at who and then asking the most important- why. Do not offer a lazy answer about a young man being murdered by the police. The history of that city and its struggles are important pieces to building the dialogue necessary for the comprehensive understanding Americans will need to have about that young mans death. America is really losing an opportunity to understand and identify with that community.

There is no need to excitedly anticipate the next negative event to happen in the community. Another cable channel will report on that and will feel free to report on it even if it doesn't happen. Take the high road and offer your audience the respect they deserve by rising to their intellectual level. Also, in offering your audience the story of the community, please avoid using derogatory language to define the newsmakers. As a hint: if any term is used repeatedly on the Fox channel, refrain from using it, you are lowering yourselves to a level that a thoughtful audience will want to disassociate from. Fox has their own built in audience, if you want to appeal to them on their level, you are not a journalist.

When you do a story about a politician, we want to have many questions answered that seem to be negated by all news outlets: Who are they? Why are they running for office? What is their platform?  How do they intend to make changes they seek?  Presently, the politicians are directing the narrative. If they do not answer the questions America wants answered, don't send the piece to air or print. They are using you as free publicity. And you are letting them.

You are offering politicians a voice to perpetuate their rhetoric. You are neither holding them nor yourselves accountable for what knowledge Americans are being afforded about those who are hoping to shape our futures. If a politician has nothing new to say, there is no need to report on their having repeated the same thing they said the day before. Allow your budget department and management to deal with the fact that they pay for a camera, sound and a reporter to follow them around waiting for them to be interesting. If they fail to offer you anything new, do not insult your audience by giving them bullshit and calling it news.

If a politician offered an actual platform, that would certainly be newsworthy. And if their platform is wildly different than what they have been saying on the stump about their 'ideals,' it is then your responsibility, as journalists, to ask them to explain their contradictions. Out of fear, you are allowing politicians to use you as a tool to manipulate the dialogue in American discourse and lowering the expectations anyone would have of a legitimate and sincere debate. Just because their audience doesn't want to have to use critical thought, doesn't mean the rest of us don't. Lets be honest, they have their own media and aren't listening to you anyway.

If someone has written a book which has not yet been released which offers outlandish information that has not yet been substantiated, that is not news. It should not be reported as such. You have, again, lowered yourselves to the level of the Fox channel. At present, you are competing with them. They are not your competition. Your work should first and foremost be mindful of the fact that, by virtue of their having an obvious bias with opinions they have been paid to have, they are not a credible news outlet. Kindly stop behaving otherwise.

How about you stop reporting it when politicians are offering rumors? How about you use your research skills to see if there is any "there" there before you report it and offer it to the American audience? How about you go back to what you learned when studying to become a journalist and reread the definitions of "newsworthy" and "credibility"?  Repeatedly. How about you only report on it when politicians actually create news? Currently you are rewarding them like giving a bone to a dog that has just shit on your floor.  How about you start conditioning them to only get to have the free publicity when they do something that a politician should be doing? You are allowing them to dictate your narrative. And that is not journalism.

We have lost a lot of true legends in journalism lately. Have you paid attention to the many remembrances written and broadcast about them by fellow journalists? Do you ever imagine what will be said about you? Do you hope to have a phrase like "journalistic integrity" attributed to your work? As long as this shift of credible media coverage remains the norm, very few of todays journalists will be remembered for having been impartial and thoughtful.

Much more important than your legacy, however, is the legacy of America. You are recording her history every day. It looks pretty bleak, huh? What will future generations think when they research this era in history? You all have a hand in the place we find ourselves and how we will be remembered. Please start working as if that is important to you.




Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Z is for Zimmerman







When Trayvon Martin was murdered in 2012, many parents throughout the world mourned the loss. Our hearts went out to his parents and couldn't imagine what that pain felt like. And didn't want to know. Almost as quickly as Americans were made aware of this tragedy we started to question the story of the shooter, George Zimmerman. It was bullshit. Obviously. This offered Americans a perspective they had not really realized before. Or if they had realized it, they didn't want to contend with it. Something about that child's innocent face in the hoodie that every one of our children wears, I think, pulled in every parent with a heart. And as we fell in love with that child we realized that he was killed only for the color of his skin. And we, those of us with loving hearts, were outraged.

This tragedy made America aware of another tragedy it had been unaware of. Or ignoring. The racism we had collectively decided was no longer an issue in our country was made evident. We had all believed that it was a handful of cranks and they were never worth a thought. As soon as this child was murdered people started condemning him. Their 'media' offered pictures and then they reposted these pictures of this teenager flipping off the camera or exhaling smoke. That was meant as justification for his murder. It was telling people that he was a "bad" kid and deserved to die. People started raising money for the legal representation this child's murder would need. They knew nothing more than the rest of America did. They didn't know him personally. They knew that he killed a black child who, apparently, had smoked and flipped off a camera in his lifetime. And that was enough to justify raising money to help his killer be set free.

If not for the internet, these assholes would still be on the outskirts of society. These were the ones who were banned to keeping their racism to themselves when in public. With the internet, however, they were able to unite in hatred. They were allowed to enter a community of other low life racists and not be judged for their small-mindedness. They were encouraged to be awful, heartless human beings. And with this unity came an undignified voice and pride that no one wanted to hear and tried to just ignore. Ignoring them didn't shut them up, though, did it?

For the next three years these disgusting creatures raised money to support law enforcement officers who killed unarmed black men. When the rest of America was horrified to see some of these murders which had been recorded, this group of trash took stills from the videos to make memes and joke about the loss. They literally attributed no value to the lives of these human beings. Because they were black.

Every time I see a picture of Trayvon Martin on the news my mind drifts off. I always go to a place that wonders what life he didn't get to have. I always wonder what experiences he was meant to live and which endeavors he was meant to champion. It makes my heart ache. Every single time. And my mind, inevitably, now drifts to the knowledge that the piece of shit who killed this child was not only set free, but after that was arrested repeatedly for violence. Zimmerman was literally, and inexplicably, given a chance to reclaim his life and he chose to continue living a terrible and worthless life. And an innocent child will never have an opportunity to grow up and make his way in this world because he was black.

This really needs to be the time in American history when we take a look at what we, collectively, have created and find a healthy way to sincerely turn things around. We will not be able to do that with leaders who want to literally pass laws to encourage discrimination. We will not be able to do that when leaders who are seeking election only from the type of slug who would raise money to pay for legal fees of a child murderer. Sadly, we cannot annex Alaska and invite them to all make their own new hateful nation (or can we?). We will have to live with these people. But we will also have to find a way to diminish their voice in our country. They disgrace themselves. They disgrace my country. And whenever given the chance, they disgrace the memory of innocent black men. This is obviously intolerable. But we have been tolerating it. It is time that we stand our ground. It is time that this country shows that it has a heart and is not represented by the loudest voices that are screaming out hate in the name of America.



Y is for Youth



It takes a village to raise a child


Indeed. It truly does.

It takes a village to maintain cultural standards and celebrate their histories. It takes a village to heal a community in times of trial. It takes a village to create a safe environment for children to grow. It takes a village to afford a strong education for its children. It takes a village to be mindful of its needs and elect elders to ensure their maintenance. It takes a village to set the example of community for the younger generations. It takes a village to adhere to societal constructs to teach the younger generations about the necessity of their continuity.

It does not take each villager to take personal responsibility over every child.

Too many people are taking it upon themselves to demand the means by which all children are raised. Parenting is a singular or dual mission. The opportunities and lessons a child should be afforded are to be determined by the parent(s) regardless of what the rest of the villagers believe. The ideals for the child are to be framed by those the parent(s) find important. Any religious tenets (or not) are to be instilled by those parent(s) to encourage an understanding of their belief system. The definitions of safety and limits are to be determined and offered by the parent(s) to allow for their expectations of limits and safety and free thinking and individualism.

No parent(s) will ever do everything right to raise the perfect human being. Even the idea of "right" is irrelevant as it is subjective. That is the beauty of a free society. There are certainly times when a child's physical or emotional needs are jeopardized in a familial setting that need to have an intervention and be researched. But Americans these days seem all too eager to call out their fellow villagers for failing to meet someone else's standards of raising children.

The new trend in "free-range parenting" is taking a lot of hits right now and being criticized enough to make it to the media. In one generation our society has come to a place of fear and anxiety about whether or not a child should be able to walk home alone. One generation.

When I was a kid my brother and I walked to and from school every day. From kindergarten on. And we didn't live down the street. We lived several blocks. Depending on how much we screwed around on the way, it could take a half hour to get home. And no one ever came looking for us. And we always made it home.

Our street was off of the main street in town. We played baseball and kickball in the street. If we saw a car coming someone would yell, "Car!" and we would all head for the curb. The parents and elders in the neighborhood would always peek out or come sit on the porch every once in a while to see what was going on, but no one told us to get out of the street. And we always made it home.

We used to play until dark. We would try to push the limits of the definition of dark to get as much time to play outside in the summer as we possibly could. We would rush into the house absolutely filthy from riding our bikes down the "Iron Horse Trail" or covered in sap from having spent hours climbing pine trees. My mom would meet us at the door pointing to the stairs with an exasperated "get in the tub." She probably sometimes wished her kids hadn't gone out that day, but we always made it home.

In one generation our society has made a complete 180. We now have titles like "helicopter parents." That phrase exists because it is so common. I never realized it until I heard the phrase defied that I was a helicopter mom. Poor Audrey. She never played outside if I wasn't with her. She wasn't allowed to walk to a friends house, I always drove her. She wasn't allowed to have sleepovers, her friends had to stay at my house. I had so many fears of "what if's" that I neglected to give her an opportunity to feel like she had any independence or ability to set limits for herself or gauge her own safety. Thankfully, she seems to have been able to find her own independence despite my overbearing nature. But I think that has more to do with her being stubborn than anything else.

I was a naïve child until 1983. So I had a good 10 years before I knew there were things to fear in the world. Everything changed when I saw a movie called "Adam." It was the story of a little boy who was at a shopping center with his mother and he was kidnapped and killed by a stranger. It never occurred to me that anyone would do something like that.

I think society allowed itself to be naïve about things like that. Child molestation and kidnappings were things that no one would talk about in polite conversation. It was improper. I honestly think, and this is from the memory of a child, so take it for what it is, that this started things changing. Adam's father, John Walsh, came up with a television show to catch bad guys. It was in the media every week. The missing children were on our milk cartons every day. I literally read their stories in the morning while eating my cereal. And I thought about how scared they would be every day.

The world was never the world I thought it was. And I don't imagine that it ever should be again. But we have to find a place in between where our children are afforded the opportunity to have independence and freedoms to explore the world and find their own path into it. The alternative is kind of scary to imagine. If an entire generation of children grow up to expect to have every moment of their lives monitored and dictated by a caretaker, how will they acclimate to a college environment? How will they learn to be independent as an adult in a romantic relationship? How will they be able to have opportunities for advancement in their chosen career fields? And before they come to any of those hurdles, how will they leave the house?



Tuesday, April 28, 2015

X is for Xenophobia



I have agoraphobia. It is irrational. I can say that it is irrational. My ability to acknowledge that, however, doesn't change it in any way. Because I know it is irrational it pisses me off. That anger doesn't alleviate it, either. I have researched in trying to understand it and found that most phobias are irrational. Per Scientific American, "In humans, an unwarranted, persistent fear of a certain situation or object, known as specific phobia, can cause overwhelming distress and interfere with daily life." That is certainly the case with me, and it seems to be the case of those who sincerely deal with xenophobia.

Xenophobia is an intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries. We seem to have an overwhelming number of Americans who are suffering from this phobia these days. It can be caused by witnessing or hearing about an event. 9/11 with its constant news coverage and uncertainty could have certainly been a precipitating motivator. Once the perpetrators of the attacks were identified as having been from the Middle East and their religion to have been Islam, those with sincere xenophobia would have a place to direct their fear. They would have a way to identify the thing that their minds wanted to protect them from. That is irrational. And for people with genuine xenophobia, that is not their fault. It didn't stem from a place that needed to hate. It stemmed from actual fear. Their need to disassociate from others is about trying to create a world that is safe for them because of the direct physical and emotional effects they experienced by witnessing the attacks of 9/11. Their subconscious is trying to create a bubble where they will not have to face anything like it again.

There are those who wanted to take advantage of the fear that some Americans were facing. As much as they are just evil sons-of-bitches anyway, it is worse to think what they must be doing to those Americans who have been sincerely suffering since 9/11. To hear that their fears are not only warranted but will certainly prove to come true soon must be completely debilitating. It breaks my heart. With my phobia I have a safe zone. If I am in my house, my subconscious can relax and feel safe. For one with xenophobia, their home should be safe, as well. But because those on the right want to take advantage of and exploit those fears, they don't have a safe place. It will be in all means of their media at all times. Their "unwarranted, persistent fear" is being pounded into their psyche 24/7 by these swine.

The right offered that fear to more people, too. These new people were looking for hate. They accepted the irrational fear without the paralyzing effects those who sincerely suffer with xenophobia have to deal with. The media on the right; in print, internet, radio and television, have all borrowed the symbol of the Jihadist we came to understand shortly after the attacks and attributed those characteristics to all who live in the Middle East or who follow Islam. These outlets have had myriad means of delivering their message through fear of these "others." By starting at the top, they tell them that the President is a Muslim. The audience is shown video clips daily of terrorists who are planning to attack America. They rallied together against a mosque being built at the site of the Twin Towers and are repeatedly told that America is about to be subjected to sharia law. Daily they are inundated by stories where Christians have fallen victim to Muslim extremists. Their only objective seems to be a constant reminder to be afraid.

Because of their soulless attempts to garner their own viewership and a constituency for their politicians, the right-wing media have created, perpetuated and fed fears to people who have no idea that they are being preyed upon. It is a deliberate attempt to direct loyalties by means of promising to keep them informed and unified against those who mean to do them harm. The right-wing media have used all means of propaganda available to them to convey their mangled truths and conspiracies. They have also compared the Liberals to the Nazis for their audience to repeat. Irony will be certainly be lost on them, but not my readers. We know where they got their propaganda techniques. And where the initial messages of the Nazi's rallied against the Austrians and Jews, today's right-wing crazies point their contempt toward the Middle Easterners and Muslims.

Whatever our next phase of history will be, and wherever we are as a nation, I sincerely hope those who have been struggling with real xenophobia since 9/11 are able to find a healthy means of assimilating back into society without having become completely enveloped by the hate they have been buried under for so long.