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Friday, March 27, 2015

Not for Today

I had a sincerely beautiful idea to reflect on the Afghan Proverbs every day this month to work on my own progress with self-reflection. I failed myself, which I can accept. Sometimes our own progress can be hindered by our own neglect. It doesn't mean we stop working toward our goals, but it does require a pause to reassess. The part that upsets me most is that I wanted to honor the inspirational book that I reviewed in February, Mataluna: 151 Afghan Pashto Proverbs (see blog here). The aspect of the book which I found most beautiful was its seamless capacity to unite communities and their ideals. Instead of looking at the universal truths and applying them to my own understandings and search for personal growth, I ended up pointing my reflections outward on others, in a negative and disrespectful manner. It was in complete contrast to, not only my own mission, but, more importantly, the message of the book itself.

I have lost track of my purpose and decided to revisit this personal challenge in the future once I have found more personal growth. I think I might need to work more on the contours of my own world before I can sincerely delve into its depths and build from inside.

Monday, March 23, 2015

A to Z Challenge Theme

I am very excited to be joining the A to Z Challenge. This will be my first year participating. I decided that because I am new to blogging and I haven't really even found my flow yet, I will make it easy for myself. Every day I will be focused on a political or cultural issue that I am passionate about.

*** Update - my brain goes where it goes and I ended up changing some of my themes ***

A is for Adoption

B is for Bible Thumping

C is for Choice

D is for Domestic Violence

E is for Exceptionalism

F is for Faux News   Free Thinkers

G is for Global Warming  Git 'Er Done

H is for Homelessness     Hate

I is for Immigration   Irony

J is for Justice Ginsburg   Jurists Prudence

K is for Koch

L is for LGBT

M is for Mental Illness   Misogyny

N is for NRA   Neo-Christianity

O is for (President) Obama

P is for Patriarchy   Propaganda

Q is for Quackery

R is for Racism

S is for Schools

T is for Tea Party

U is for Unions

V is for Veterans

W is for Welfare

X is for Xenophobia

Y is for Youth

Z is for Zimmerman

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Give Me Liberty. Thanks.

It is so refreshing to see that todays young women are having an awakening and finding their own voices and still demanding equality. This generation was said to be growing up to be selfish and narrow minded. As a middle aged woman who is aware of the struggles of the suffrage movement and knows of the fights still needing to go on, I am elated to see that the torch is still being carried. As a mother of a young woman of this blossoming generation, I kind of feel a maternal pride for the young women who were going to the conference this weekend and I was looking forward to hearing about it. So, without thinking, I went to see if any of them had posted about their experiences when I saw it was a trending topic on Twitter. Yeah...

I have little patience for people who are small minded and nasty. I think I have made that abundantly clear by now. I have always been curious about the people who look around this whole wide world, see the things that are wrong with it, can find nothing that is really appalling enough to fight for and then find a cause that speaks to them, which happens to be a non-cause. They make things up to be upset about because something offends them at such a personal level that they, pretty much, lose their shit. I ran into some of them immediately in the trending feed and they challenged me, men and women, to give them just one right that women don't have. I'll do you one better. How about I give you just one right that women DO have?

I will only give a brief synopsis here, though, because those looking to believe feminism is a joke will not be swayed. They are too desperate to hold on to their belief in their own superiority.

The ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) passed to be a Constitutional Amendment back in the 20s and it said that no laws could be denied to anyone because of their gender. It was never ratified by enough states. For decades women tried to get it passed but were never able to get the necessary number of states to ratify it. So, now, in 2015, we still do not have an Equal Rights Amendment. And the only right that is guaranteed to women under the Constitution is the right to vote.

But, whatever ...

As it turns out, there is a gentleman who is having quite a fit about feminism on Twitter. His user name is (get ready for it) MensHumanRights. Yeah. He thinks it is wrong for women to be fighting for equality. He wants me to tell him about which rights women lack. I don't know. If I take the time to do it will you send me a meme and call me an ugly name (like "twat," which he has already used today)? He is, of course, a moron. But he chooses to be. Its hardly my problem. He is intimidated by women. I don't know what awful childhood he endured at the hands of women or if his father sincerely hated women and just passed it on to him. But what I do know is we live in 2015. And there are a myriad of issues on the agenda this weekend for these amazing young ladies that he would know nothing about because he is small minded and still gets a hard on whenever he hears the term #FemiNazi.

What is worse than the men who condemn women for demanding equality? The women who proudly scream "Im not a feminist! Feminism is stupid. Men and women need to all be equal." Right, because the feminist movement is about finding superiority over men. They might just as well be screaming, "Look at me! I need attention! See? I'm cool! I think feminism is stupid, too."

So what is this movement and why are little men so afraid of it? And why are women who are insecure and begging for attention so desperate to run from it? It is a movement that seeks to create an equal, safer world for women. This movement is passionate about women having the same Constitutional rights as men. Pretty rough shit, huh? Whiners. Shut up and be happy we let you vote.

But do you know what the worst part of the movement is for these insecure men?  Its about choice. They are so pissed off at the idea that a woman should be allowed to have an abortion that they absolutely lose their minds. My personal theory is that there is something inherently offensive to the alpha-male about the fact that not only do women give life, but they have the chance to take it, as well. "That is a power only God should have. No woman should have it. We men are supposed to be superior to women and that is in complete contradiction to my theory."  To fight a woman's right to choose they define themselves as "pro-life." (I will go on and on and on next month about how obviously most who claim they are pro-life are not. But when I deviate, I often don't make my way back). Of course, choice is not about life. Choice is just about that. Choice. And men with small minds (and, I assume, other small parts) cannot allow a woman to have that power. That power should only be in the hands of God.

I expect some men to get upset about feminism. There will always be a handful of immature men who have not evolved who are completely intimidated by the movement and sit around fearing that whites will eventually be a minority and immigrants are stealing their jobs and gays getting married are ruining their marriages and women want to have equal rights. They like to have things to complain about and people to blame their lot in life on. That's fine. But the women? That is truly a shame. What is running through their minds? "I'm so proud to say I'm not a feminist. I don't want equality. I have my right to vote, what else do I need? And you know what? If those women in the middle east don't want to get their heads cut off for an accusation of adultery, then they shouldn't cheat. And the countries in the world where girls don't get an education? Too bad. Their parents should've moved somewhere else. What do I care? I can really only be bothered to think about a handful of things at a time and, presently, Kim Kardashian is posting pictures of her new hair cut and Kendrick Lamar has a new download. So I'm not a feminist and any one who says they are a feminist is stupid."

Yep. That was shitty of me. But that is how I see you. How dare you allow people to dismiss a movement that is so obviously trying to guarantee your rights and those of American women and women all around the world? You don't have to go to the rallies and sign the petitions, but to talk shit about the people who do? Honestly, you really should check yourself.

But let's be honest, the young women of today who aren't paying attention really have no idea what suffrage is and what opportunities it affords them. They take a lot for granted. You have to wonder what these young women would think if they needed an abortion in one of the states where they no longer can. Or what if they got raped in one of the many states who haven't run the rape kits yet and their rapist gets away? What happens when they enter the workforce and get started on a career only to find that the young man who started the same day with the same credentials makes 25% more than they do?

The feminist movement is about a lot of things that are still unequal in society. Not only are they still fighting for abortions, to be allowed to have a medical procedure on their bodies (In America. In 2015), but the feminist movement is also concerned about the human trafficking epidemic in America that seems to be tolerated by so many. The movement is trying desperately to find resolution to the profound backlog of rape kits across America. The funding for this has been made available (and many states have misappropriated) ever since a national database was available to track DNA. Most states have a 7 year statue of limitations on prosecution for rape. Every year that passes with nothing being done, more rapists go free and more women live in fear for their rapists having never been convicted. The movement is concerned about violence against women and of violence against women on college campuses. And the movement is out fighting for LGBT rights, too (yep, fighting for equality for men!).

Thankfully, as the feminist movement is moving forward and the younger generation is coming to understand its importance, so are the men. I remember when I was a young mother and I went to my first NOW convention. I saw a feminist quote from Alan Alda. I thought that was about the coolest thing ever. It was a while before I found out that feminist men were really a thing. Now, even if most men don't identify as a feminist, the majority would think someone who belittled a woman for being one would be an asshole. So, I think we're getting there.

UPDATE: of all of the pieces I've written in attempts to really make people think, this has created the most controversy by both men and women who insisted what I said about women's Constitutional rights was a lie. Yes, it is funny that many people will drop an easy three letter word instead of research something, but willful ignorance does require both a lack of curiosity and resourcefulness.

Having said that, please follow:

Saturday, March 21, 2015

We Can't All Be Rembrandts

Literal: The labor of one's own hand is beautiful

It's been pretty heavy lately here in Brillville and when I read this proverb I had a bit of a chuckle. So it felt like a nice place to end the week.

I became sincerely interested in art when our French III class in high school took a quarter off and learned about Impressionism and the styles and artists which evolved from the movement. The lessons have always stayed with me.  I took Audrey to the Met when she was 12 and I was interested to see how many of my lessons I would recall. I taught her about Degas' jockey silks and ballerinas, Monet's study of light, and how Matisse had gone to Tahiti for inspiration. I explained the folds in Cezanne's table cloths and I was able to show her the profound dedication that would be required while teaching her about the invention of Pointillism. I had always remembered the nickname "Seurat the Dot" but had never been able to see it up close to really appreciate the magnificence. I couldn't believe how much of it I still held on to from so many years prior. Of course, the story of Van Gogh and the possibility of his having cut his own ear off for having heard voices is the thing that excited Audrey the most. After all of the wonderful things we had viewed that day, many I had anxiously waited years to see, she picked a book from the Museum gift store about a guy because he had cut off his ear.

It was always important for me to give Audrey a genuine appreciation for the amazing talents people had been able to foster in their lives, whenever possible. We went to countless musicals where we had memorized every word to every song long before we sat down and then tried desperately to be quiet throughout the show so our neighbors wouldn't hate us. We went to the symphony and the ballet a few times, where, I do believe, one of us was way more transfixed than the other (wink). But she was always grateful for the opportunity to get dressed up and have a new experience. I am proud, looking back, that I chose to find the money to give her those opportunities in lieu of whatever may have been going on at the time. I know that their impressions were long lasting and will be passed on to my grandchildren one day. At present, they are being passed on to her fiance. I'm not entirely sure that he appreciates it quite as much as she does, but he is a good sport about it.

Sadly, however, I have never had a single knack for creating things of beauty myself. Audrey will still manage a belly laugh when remembering my attempts at creating her Madeline costume in kindergarten or making a simple alteration to a dress for a 4th grade play where I completely and literally ruined the dress. That poor kid!

When she was ready for a big girl bed I found all used wooden pieces of furniture and sanded them and painted them in the prettiest pastels. I had to get stitches because I got frustrated and used a razor blade when sanding became tedious. Then when she was in 5th grade and had to create a boat out of wood that would float for a full minute carrying 1 pound weight without sinking, I managed more stitches. We tried popsicle sticks, then toothpicks and finally gave up and got a block of wood from the hobby store and a wood knife. I managed to slit my own wrist trying to do a child's science project.

Repeatedly in my 22 years as a devoted mother I have been able to prove that I have no business building or creating things with my hands. There is something beautiful in all of those efforts, however. The intent truly was lovely. I knew in my minds eye just what would make something perfect and my heart wanted to do the best that I could. As much as Audrey has quite a few "Oh Mommy!?" stories, she also has memories of her mommy trying to do something special for her. And she never suffered for any of my creative failings, so I will call it a success.

CORRECTION: I did manage to create one thing that is absolutely beautiful.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Our Evolution

Literal: A jewel cannot be hidden for long

(A person or thing with special skills, talents or qualities is like a bright jewel, and cannot be hidden for long. One day these virtues will be seen by everyone).

I have a theory that I've been forming for a long time. It is completely based on supposition and I would never have any capacity to really research it, but I think about it often. I will try to explain it here and it may end up being interesting. And it may end up going in circles, as my mind tends to do.

A look at the rules and confines of our society would easily prove that we are very limited in what we will accept or acknowledge from others. If someone says they are clairvoyant, many will think they are a liar. It is quickly dismissed. But I always then ask why these people cannot be clairvoyant? If I am sitting in the cafeteria at work having a discussion with friends and someone says that an Olympian broke a men's long jump record and went 9 meters, my first reaction would be to ask, "How far is that in feet?" But what if, after being told that was nearly 30 feet I denied that it was possible? What if I countered by telling my friends that it is impossible for someone to jump that far, because I can't do it? I would be an ass.

We have a lot of those types of limitations in society. But I can be shown a video and then understand that, apparently, other people can jump farther than I can. Why can't we then accept that maybe other people have gifts that we don't have that can't be proved? No offense to some people but the existence of God is an idea that is generally accepted and no one can prove that. But it is acceptable in almost any circle of our society to talk about God as a matter of fact and not be dismissed. You will rarely find that kind of acceptance for ideas like telepathy, clairvoyance or astral projection. The people who tell us that they experience these phenomena are usually quickly ostracized and ignored. Society has conditioned itself to think this way because the majority of people do not have these abilities. It is frightening to imagine another human being having so much power, because that is what it would be. We accept other types of power that many of us lack, however. We allow people to have physical power or financial or even spiritual power. But most people will not accept that someone can have a special ability that would allow them to see the world in a way that is in complete contradiction to their own. But the majority of people couldn't jump half the length of the current world record holders, and we accept that others can.

Likewise there are very strict ideas in our culture about intelligence that are limiting, I think. We surely need a way to test for intelligence and determine ones capacity to learn to make sure that information is being received and understood or applied properly in a learning environment, but the way we are expected to think is very narrow. Most things we are given as facts. It used to be a fact that the world was flat. Until it wasn't. Because humans are inherently arrogant, I wonder how many truths we miss finding because we have already settled on them and never questioned ourselves again.

Personally, I have always struggled in math. To this day, when I am figuring out some things my brain takes a path that is natural for me and foreign for others. It exhausted teachers because it was not the correct way to do it. Never mind the fact that the answer was right. If I were given a problem, say, where I needed to determine 30% of 250, I would first analyze the easiest route which is that 200 is 2 100s, then I would do the math first for 100 where 30% is 30. There are 2 100s in 200 so I double the 30 for 60. For the 50, I would take half of my 30, which is 15 and add that to 60 to get 75. That was too many steps. I had a teacher in 8th grade who would get frustrated that I didn't do it the way he taught me. But the way he tried to teach me didn't make sense to me and he refused to allow me to get there my way. Incidentally, 8th grade was the last time I believed I could do math. Thanks, Dude.

So we all receive and process information differently. If our society deems only a single way to comprehend data as valid, what are we missing out on? What brilliant minds are out there thinking about incredible ideas that we have labeled with something considered negative and told them that they are wrong? Then what of people with autism? Studies of prodigies have found connections to higher functioning (I hate that classification and am sorry to use it here, honestly) autistic people as having had a much higher number of family members with similar diagnoses than those of Americans at large. So these genuinely gifted and brilliant people have an actual trait in their families where autism is found. But most of our autistic children are deemed "special needs," which in our society is a negative. It then becomes necessary to train them to conform to our world. That structure would be counterproductive if we were trying to appreciate their differences and learn from them.

It seems to me that if a group of people are put into a single box and then you let a handful out and say they are high-functioning you lose out on discovering what the differences are in the way that those left behind think. Maybe they have something brilliant to teach us but we are too busy painting them with a broad brush and ignoring their minds where we could learn from them. Maybe it is our responsibility to find a new way to communicate to them so we can not only learn from them, but help to relieve the anxiety they must suffer from while being so incredibly misunderstood.

We are very comfortable being sure of our own superiority. Maybe we are inferior. Maybe there are groups of people who have evolved or are evolving and we refuse to see their gifts. Many would think it absurd to attempt to learn from those with autism or would dismiss the idea that a person can help you communicate with a loved one who has passed. I am certain that, because of our arrogance, the human race misses out on a lot of opportunities for growth. And that is, ultimately, where we miss out on a lot of beauty.

***I hope that no parent or loved one of a person with autism reads this and finds offense. I do not discount anyone's experiences or frustrations. I am speaking in generalities and wishing we could all embrace those who are different and believe that we could learn from them and grow from trying to find value in all things that we presently don't understand.***

Thursday, March 19, 2015

I Know You Are ...

Literal: Respect others in order to be respected.

I imagine this proverb is found in most cultures. It is so simple. Right? It would be much simpler if it were not just universally accepted, but universally practiced. I have lamented for days about the TeaParty. And they have kind of exceeded even my expectations of how low a person can go in order to win an argument. That is not to say, however, that we were ever having the same argument. Any fact offered is generally met with something to the level of, "Nu'huh. You are." One guy was good enough to rewrite the Bible for me today to justify his disdain for the poor. I'm sure Jesus appreciated his efforts. That was probably an oversight or mistranslation. Many will send you a clever meme to make a point. When, exactly, did a meme become such a valid piece of evidence in a debate? It then hit me. This is not a debate. This is a game.

I can't play games. As with most things in life, I take politics too seriously. In January I took a look at the controversy over the movie American Sniper (see blog here) where I tried to start my reflection from the center. I am generally pretty left on a lot of things, but when I hear people talk shit about soldiers and vets, I get pretty pissed. I could understand the controversy about what a sniper does and the fact that he said he did not regret it, but I could also go deeper and realize that he would have to think that way to exist. I also realized that he was saying this after many tours and any PTSD that he may have been suffering from would be veiled under a demeanor that could say nothing else. I concluded that his job is very necessary these days. In my deliberate attempt to start from the center, I was quite proud of my ability to remain there throughout. I determined that this was going to be the way I would approach all things in the future. I would always want to really dig into the mindset of the opposition so that I could have a level and respectful dialogue.

Respectful dialogue is impossible, however, with the Tea Party fanatics. They don't want to debate or discuss, they just want to fight. And, I will admit, I do play along. In general, I am a lovely human being. But if you ask me to be a bitch, I will oblige. I think I am guilty of baiting them, too. I'm sure I am, actually. I discuss something that is an actual fact and complete my contention by letting them know they are stupid. Its mean. It really is. I never judge people for things about themselves that they can't help. That is, by the way, why I am a Liberal.

These fanatics can't help that they are stupid. But they can help that they are mean. And they choose to be vile. Some of my little hashtags on my profile say #Adoptee #AnxietyDisorder #Depression #Feminist. And my profile line, which is a joke to anyone with just a hint of a sense of humor, states that I am unemployed (I am unemployed, but its only in my profile because I was making light of it). Oh Holy Shit do they have a field day with that information. Since I've been a kid I have been really funny about whose judgment I am willing to receive. Basically, if you aren't one of the handful of people in my life that I am really living for, I don't care about your opinions. I doubt that I would have listed any of the things in my profile if I were vulnerable about them. Of course, they don't know that. And someone with less self-esteem could really be hurt by their shit.

One guy, after seeing that I have depression suggested that I drink bleach. I am adorable. It went straight over my head. I asked why anyone would want to drink bleach, it sounded so stupid. He then explained that I should kill myself. Charming. Another suggested, due to my having been adopted, that it was a shame my mother couldn't afford an abortion. Brilliant. Countless have criticized me in the last couple of days for being unemployed and demanded my shame for taking up their hard earned tax dollars. Ok. My favorite though, was a guy who said things about my mother doing sex acts with him. I cannot explain the acts or his assertion though, because the sentence made no sense. I went back to find it and I think he has blocked me.

But honestly, this is how they have a discussion. Why discuss the issues? Just try to hurt someone's feelings and consider it a victory! It boggles my mind. How do they function in society? How do their families bear them during the holidays? How much hate can one soul embrace? It really is sad. I often tell them that I feel bad for them. And I do.

When they aren't throwing barbs, they are posting memes. I guess that it doesn't occur to them that the best way to prove my point of your having been conditioned to believe what you do is to send me the talking points you have been sent. One of my more brilliant arguments today was with a guy who was working hard to convince me that the Dems are racist. Its one of their new talking points in this opposite world they don't question. He sent me this meme to make his point, asking me what part of this wasn't racist.

To which I (obviously) replied: "The part where he's stating a fact. Moron. Acknowledging that racism existed isn't racist. Denying it, however, is." Great. That should give him pause. Of course not. His reply was (sigh): "Get a job Angie I'm tired of supporting dumb asses like you with my tax $." Well played, sir. I think you've made your point.

Another fine gentleman decided that my contention about the Tea Party using Goebbels' tactics was absolutely ridiculous. He sent me this:

I have absolutely no idea how to respond to that. How could anyone be expected to even attempt a dialogue with someone who implied that poor Joseph Goebbels has been falsely accused throughout history?

I don't know. It goes on and on. It took me a single day to realize that trying to have conversations would not be useful. I thought that if I challenged them and asked them to support what they were saying it might give them pause. But they have been so well conditioned that they have an answer for everything. And the worst part is, their answer is, quite often, the exact opposite of the truth. This should prove my point:

There is nothing you can do with a group of people who actually believe every single thing they are told. But I still think they are the minority. I still think there are a lot of people out there who don't realize that the "R" on their ballot really represents a "T." If we could find a way to get the message to them in the next year and a half, we might be able to get our country back on track.

I do, quite sincerely, respect everyone. At first. I am often let down later, however, because I assume everyone I meet is a nice person. And I do believe that if you don't treat others with respect that you shouldn't expect to receive it in return. From now on, I will gladly concede any respect I believe I am due when dealing with the fanatics on the right. Its exhausting to work out how they think and why they behave the way they do. I guess everyone who said its best to just ignore them was right. But my bleeding liberal heart still wants to fix them. Poor Angie.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Brainwash. Rinse. Repeat.

As a person who is quite contemplative and thoughtful, and who has suffered repercussions for it many times, I have found myself questioning if there is truth to our own proverb "Ignorance is bliss." I have had an opportunity to have that smack me in the face repeatedly over the last couple of months as I became more familiar with and involved in social media. Like many, I have always been puzzled by the people who are passionately bound to ideas that are so obviously untrue. The majority of people who are paying attention can see the propaganda ploys that the uneducated are trapped by. I wonder if they are repeating these untruths because they sincerely believe them or because they desperately want to believe them?

Today the Tea Party is telling its followers, who then repeat, ideas that are absolutely ludicrous. They are all over social media telling others that Liberals are racist. It's kind of incredible, really. They will not be swayed by facts, though. They, quite obviously, don't need those. When you confront them with and ask them to consider America's history on race, they won't hear you. That is the beauty of ignorance. A person with no curiosity can absolutely be convinced of anything. And I cannot imagine a better group of people to unite and form a backward political party around.

As a part of my research for personal understanding into how their manipulation works, I went looking for Tea Party blogs. Yes, they are just what you would imagine: full of words that are either woefully misspelled or don't exist in the English language, hate speech at its most vile, condemnation for everything the President does or says, condemnation of anything in society that is deemed remotely liberal, condemnation of entire groups of people, praise for Jesus Christ (yes, that is funny) and an absolute lack of morality while praising that very same good Lord's name.

This is all part of a finely tuned narrative and its means of delivery. The very dimmest of the followers who are only looking for hate and unity are able to go to the internet and promote misinformation all day long. If you are not a curious person and someone tells you that your party has always been the one that has promoted and encouraged equality, you happily accept that as truth and think, "Damn straight!" You will not ask yourself why you and the rest of the party faithful have been posting the most racist things imaginable about our President, or black communities, or immigrants, or Muslims (I know that Muslims are part of a religious group, and I sincerely apologize for generalizing for space, please accept my acknowledgement as a means to make a point about people who don't know the difference anyway). Likewise, these same followers will gladly discuss and demand that Liberals hate Jews. They do not ask themselves, "Wait, don't I hate Jews? Wasn't that part of my conditioning in the beginning that led me to loving this party? We are supposed to hate Jews, right?" Nope. They just wash their brains, rinse, repeat.

The Tea Party's new found love for Jews is startling, to be sure. The Tea Party, after all, calls Ron Paul its "father." And he is a noted anti-Semite. But the rhetoric started changing around the same time the party realized it was going to have to reach out to voters beyond their usual demographic (White. Christian. Male). I can't imagine how confusing it must have been for the party faithful to have to just change their opinions on a dime. But it was done, masterfully.

Research on blogs will take you back in time where, seemingly out of nowhere, those commenting with any anti-Semitic speech were quickly ostracized by those in their party. Poor. Stupid. Hateful. Bastards. God! How confusing for them! As recently as 2010, the RNC had all kinds of hate speech on its Facebook wall saying that Israel was responsible for 9/11 and that we needed to rise up against the Zionist Jews who were controlling our country. But they don’t question it. “So? I love Jews now. And Obama and the liberals hate them? Okay. I will need more talking points though, because my old ones are obviously outdated.”

Of course, this change in direction had even more to do with the party's expanded belief (of Republicans at large, as well) to have more war. Always. They took up the cause of Israel because they could see a brand new war on the horizon. A war full of glorious defense contracts and rallies of patriotism to garner even more misled followers. But, again, only their leadership could actually see what was going on.

I have been absolutely confounded with this world of opposites I have found online. Although I can understand tools of propaganda and marvel at their brilliant use here in America, it still leaves me dumbfounded. And it leaves me with questions I haven't found answers to. I don't know how America can progress with these people having the voice that they do in society. Because the left is more educated and more thoughtful, they don't engage in arguments with these Tea Partiers. They feel it is beneath them. But, at present, the louder voice ends up as the only one really being heard.

The party has been so adept at spinning non-facts that they have managed to get the media to focus on them in a way that makes them look larger than they are. Initially they used the idea of "Liberal Media" as a means of intimidation. When any media outlet would report anything negative about anyone on the right, they were publicly dismissed and denounced for bias. Now many of those media outlets go out of their way to tell their stories with a more centered tone, regardless of whether or not the story warrants it. When the right consistently stymie all attempts at legislation, the media should be reporting on that without fear of retribution. When Americans who get their news at 6:30 for a half hour with their dinner aren't given the whole story, you validate the contention that you are illegitimate. But not for the reasons the jackasses on the right say you are. The not-so Liberal media should define causation when laws don't get passed and nominees don't get confirmed. Americans deserve to know why a sex-trafficking bill is being hindered by the right. They should be allowed their outrage when understanding the stance the right is taking on this important issue because they want to limit abortion rights to those victims. If we have a freedom of the press, and the objective of that press is to inform Americans, they are doing everyone a disservice. But they don't for fear of being called Liberal. The right has actually manipulated the media into helping their cause.

Because of the fear in the media to report stories properly and because the left is too passive to fight back, the Tea Party has been able to work their propaganda ploy with amazing precision. If the objectives and tactics on the left don't change, it will only continue to get worse. I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who consider themselves Republicans who are not getting the whole picture and don't pay close enough attention that would be mortified to see how their party has been hijacked. I happen to know some of those Republicans who walk in to voting booths, check the Rs and go home.

What did the passive intellectuals see and ignore in the 20s and 30s that allowed the Nazi party to become what it was? And how did they feel about themselves by the mid-40s? I'm sure it seems outlandish to some, to liken the Tea Party and the Nazi party, but those who know the history will easily draw the same connections that I have. As long as we continue to ignore them and allow them to have this voice, we give them the power to build it for as long as they need, and to whichever ends they seek.

While the propagandists on the right are monopolizing every facet of American media to manipulate the stories and their spin, the left are sitting there taking the high road so as to not lower themselves to the level of the right. Because we have actual facts, the kind that can be supported with documentation that actually exists and not just memes created to excite those who can't be bothered to read, we could go a long way in this fight toward bringing some sense and normalcy back to these debates. But as long as we allow them to prater on as if no one is listening, we allow them to prater on where many others actually are listening. We are, by virtue of our history and moral platform, on the high road. But trying to prove it to people who aren't paying attention anyway is getting us nowhere.

As much as their leadership likes to take advantage of their ignorance, we would do well
to consider doing the same. Apparently, they don't mind.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

They Got Their "Facts" From the Radio, Too

The Tea Party is such a puzzle to me. I have always been curious about sociology. I want to know why people do the things they do. It has always been something that has both fascinated and tortured me. As a child my mind could not accept that slavery was a thing. I couldn't understand how people could steal other human beings and force them to leave their families and their homes and work and be abused and actually be owned by other people. I could not understand it. Likewise, when I learned about the Holocaust, I pretty much lost my shit. I think they are equally tragic. They both were attempts at a decimation of a large group of people. Both were exploited as a workforce for no pay. And both groups ended up being murdered in the most horrific means imaginable and their plights were both ignored for far too long by people who should have done right as human beings.

I think the Holocaust was more painful for me because its introduction to me was by video. I literally saw naked, skin and bone dead bodies in a pile being bulldozered into a huge pit. After that, there were many videos and lessons to come. I remember when we read the Diary of Anne Frank I could not get past the fact that it was one family. Of the millions of families who were safe in these countries during this time, so few did anything to help their friends and neighbors. I was bound to learn how that could happen. I needed an answer that would explain to me how millions of people could be so easily led into a situation like the one they were in and not have an uprising or do anything to help.

There are some things that end up being awful but are morally questionable at first where people could not see what was coming. This was not one of them. The beginnings of the involvement of the citizens was called The Night of the Broken Glass. I believe it was 94 or 96 Jews were killed that night. The citizenry was encouraged to go out in the streets and destroy the synagogues and homes and businesses of the Jews and beat them. AND THEY DID IT. Many tens of thousands of Jews were then deported to the concentration camps.

The more I researched the more I was sickened and disgusted with humanity. I believe that most people are born with a strong understanding of the difference between right and wrong. There are a handful of people that probably come broken or are led there, but most know what is right. The fact that an entire nation (and eventually many more nations) went along with years of this atrocity and did nothing about it was absolutely unfathomable.

When I learned about Goebbels, I was fascinated. And mortified. I am sure that propaganda has been used on some level in history in many places for many reasons. But I think he found the exact recipe to actually get all of the people to go along with it. And he patiently took the time to build it so the messages would seep in and become a part of someone's permanent mindset. He studied people and their weaknesses. He understood the ways to use fear and German Exceptionalism and intimidation. He used all means of media available to him at the time: TV, radio, newspapers and even the movies people watched. He carefully crafted the information that the citizens were receiving and even things that the students were being taught in schools. He literally created a citizenry that believed in what they were doing, regardless of the fact that it was against every hint of morality they had been born with.

Those carefully crafted propaganda ploys have been studied and implemented ever since the techniques were mastered in the 30s and 40s. At present, a small faction of the American population is under a similar misconception by those who are leading them. They claim to be demanding changes in our country to make it better for its citizens and more like the Christian nation they seek, but they are being diverted from seeing the fact that everything they are seeking is in complete contradiction with the teachings of Jesus Christ. They hate the Muslims. They hate gays. They hate black "thugs." They hate poor people who need assistance.  Jesus was totally serious about that bit where no one should be judging others lest they be judged. What? Do they think that was a misprint? But, whatever. Jesus never hated anyone, by the way. Jesus would never demand that immigrants be forced to leave and return to a violent homeland. I'm just sure of it. Didn't he love all the little children of the world?  Or was that someone else? And I feel confident saying that Jesus would not encourage anyone to rally for gun rights. I'd bet he wouldn't like weapons at all.

I am not a Christian. I was confirmed in the Methodist Church when I was 13 but it was because I was a kid and that was what my family told me to do. I grew up and decided that none of the religions completely convinced me or spoke to me and I now identify as an Agnostic. I have genuine respect for Christians, though. True Christians, anyway. There are people of all faiths who sincerely do their best every day trying to follow the tenets of their religion to be the best person that they can be and honor those teachings. It is a lovely way to live and a nice guide, when necessary. I do not respect people who conflate the teachings to fit their own agendas and exploit the weak who cannot see the truth. There are many groups who do that overseas like Isis and Al Qaeda and Boko Haram. They have fuckered up their religion beyond recognition. The Tea Party has done the same with Christianity.

I am an empathetic person and I always aspire to understand people and help them when I can. I do not need for there to be a hell to want to be a good person. I want to be a part of a positive change in the world in helping people in need when I can, and accepting them when I cannot.

The sad truth is that some of us want to understand the weaknesses of others so we can reach them and help them. And some want to understand people so they can manipulate them and exploit their weaknesses.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Absolutely. Jesus Hated Everyone, Too.

You really have to hope she doesn't know what tea bagging means. I'm pretty sure Jesus would rather she didn't.

The above proverb immediately brought to mind the Tea Party movement. This group was initially created as a libertarian alternative to the GOP, but was quickly hijacked and has since focused none of its policies on those ideals. They quickly found a following in response to America's having even considered electing a black President. This consideration was bad enough, to be sure, but when he was actually elected, they completely lost their shit. Their leaders had a very singular objective: ruin this presidency at all costs. They met immediately upon his inauguration and decided that, no matter what, they would derail every one of his priorities. The right has always had the capacity to create chaos out of nothing, but not with the passion and unbridled hate that they began displaying at this time.

Out of desperation to ruin this President, they showed they were willing to do anything, including a decimation of their own reputations. They created a political movement that would be able to exist on the narrow agenda their politicians campaign on. To my mind, there are three types of Tea Partiers: there are the benefactors who benefit from the election of those who espouse the party's ideology, there are accidental members who vote for them whether or not they really understand or hear their campaigns (I associate those with people who generally walk in to a voting booth, check all of the "R"s and go home), and those who are activists. The activists are the ones who are out there with poorly spelled signs and who rally against their best interests every time they are given an opportunity. The accidental members are those who are ruining it for the rest of us. They literally have no idea what is going on and most of them, if they did, would no longer be voting for the Rs. The benefactors are mainly the wealthiest of Americans who find great relief in the movement because they have identified a large group of people who will always go to the polls and vote for whatever and whomever they are told. All they need to do is offer them leadership who spews as much hate as they do about the same things and they are a lock. Easy enough. So they fund those politicians and make sure they are on all of the news shows screaming as much nonsense as they possibly can. Not only does this get their base riled up, but it keeps their ideas in the news. This rhetoric is repeated and Americans soon become desensitized to it and consider it commonplace to hear people call their President the N-word. And that is really important in order to keep their constituency happy. And it is also very easy. They have their own cable network with the word "news" in its title, after all. And 77% of the Tea Party activists watch it exclusively.

It was very easy for the Tea Party to find an activist following because they spat out all of the ugly things that society deemed unacceptable. And those who had to keep their racism and hatred to themselves and were banished to the outskirts of polite society were now very excited to have found a place to unite. All that any politician had to do to win their votes was to spew hate and veil any insult toward the left in racist remarks. Of course, they could also use religion, education level and anything else that divided the majority of intelligent Americans from their followers, as well.

Those of us in America who could actually see what was going on watched what was happening and felt confident that it wouldn't last. We were naïve to believe that there weren't enough small minded people in the country to elect these politicians. But what we failed to consider in the equation was how completely gullible their followers were and how easily they would be led. And they were also the ones who were so excited to finally have a voice that they would go out of their way to not only vote, but promote ideas of keeping others from having the same right.

It was clear from the beginning that the politicians didn't even respect their constituents. On September 15, 2012, Rick Santorum was quoted as having said,"We will never have the elite, smart people on our side." This should have offended them, but he put the key word "elite" in there. That is one of their red meat phrases that they have learned to use as a propaganda tool to distract their followers from what they are really doing.

They sincerely need to be a part of something. These racist activists have been on the outside of society for so long and have been so isolated and so condemned that they would probably be willing to put up with a lot to feel the connection and unity of this fellowship that they were finally getting to be a part of. They have ignored the fact that they are repeating rants against themselves. They generally are the poorest of Americans, but they are continually condemning the poor. They rally around the 1% and their rights to do whatever they damn well please in a capitalistic society.

They are willing to oppose their rights to have health care because those leaders who offer them a safe place to be racist members of society tell them it is so wrong and unfair. THEY BELIVE THAT.

The Tea Party members are said to be the most religious of all political parties. And the overwhelming majority identify themselves as being Christian. Yes, that is funny. But they don't know that. They fail to see that the entire message of Jesus was being all about love and doing unto others and all of that. About a decade ago, these same people proudly wore bracelets asking, "WWJD?" Ill bet he wouldn't be at a Tea Party rally holding up a sign condemning other people. Most of them probably can't even define irony, so we can't expect them to understand when they are living it.

The activists are out in masses screaming about those nasty immigrants and demanding their immediate removal. No matter what! Even if the children were born here - just send their parents back then, I don't fucking care. They are so desperate to have people to feel superior to. And they hate the LGBT community. Just like the immigrants, it's just glorious to have someone's rights they can still take away.

So, knowing the needs of their small constituency, their politicians make sure to speak about little else. And, because these activists are not savvy or intelligent enough to see it, they are easily taken advantage of by those in power. I always visualize times when I was a kid and I used to play with a tennis ball in the back yard with my dog, Pepper. I would pretend to throw it and then hide it behind my back. That is what the Tea Party politicians are doing to their voters. They get them all excited about hating gays and Muslims and the poor and black "thugs" and fear of losing their guns and trying to prevent abortion and demanding birth certificates and getting rid of Obamacare that they miss the fact that the only thing they're doing in Washington is wreaking havoc on our democracy and accomplishing absolutely nothing on the promises they've made. Pepper was always too smart to be fooled. The Tea Party are not. They are so eager to have a place to belong that they don't see what they are doing to themselves and the nation they claim to love so much.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Place to Call Home

Literal: Everyone's homeland is like Kashmir to them. (All people have a natural attachment to their homeland).

Not too long ago, but before my father passed, we were all home for Christmas. My mom, Audrey and I were in the living room with two of my nieces watching a movie. My sister entered the room and told my mom, "Uncle Shane called me and asked for all of our pictures and information on Ken's family, too." Uncle Shane is my grandfathers brother, my moms uncle. My mom told Dawn that he is getting all of the family information together because he is working on a genealogy project. I told my mom, "He hasn't called me." She said, "You won't be in it, Angie," very matter-of-factly. She sounded almost annoyed. Audrey, who never takes my side against Grammy, and also wouldn't that night, quickly glanced at me with a look of pity. She knew that was going to hurt. My moms face showed no acknowledgement of how that must have hurt me. I took a moment to collect myself before speaking. As soon as they realize I am upset they tune me out. It has been conditioned in my family from childhood. I wanted to make sure I had all of this clear. I asked her, "So when the babies grow up," (I call my nieces and nephew, collectively, "the babies", although none of them are even toddlers any more), "So when the babies grow up and have grandchildren of their own who look into their family trees, they will find no mention of the Aunt Gigi and cousin Audrey they had heard stories about? We won't even be there with an asterisk or something?" My mothers face now looked indignant. How dare I try to make her feel bad? Yeah. How dare I?

I went to bed. There is never a less compassionate room than that one. My family determined a long time ago that I am too emotional and to allow me time to "get over it" was the best option in all cases. I cried myself to sleep that night. The fact that I could, in my mid 30s, still bawl about feeling like an outsider in my family is the best way I can think of to explain the disconnect and its pain which come from having been adopted. I have explained my own understanding of my detachment issues (see blog, No, Thanks), which are not all derived from having been adopted, but that is the core of it, for sure.

I feel the need to promote here the fact that my mother loves me. She said what she did matter-of-factly because, to her, it was a matter of fact. She has been a gift in my life that without I would have committed suicide as a teenager. She listened to me cry almost daily back then about my self hatred, and issues of my inability to connect. She was just never able to understand it. Some people are more empathetic than others. She would show me more love than most in my life, but I was never really understood.

Anyway... I was always desperate for something to identify with as a child. I imagine a lot of people may feel fine with identifying their homeland as being America, although it is a land of immigrants, because they have their own family histories and regions to identify with. Having been adopted, though, I feel detached from that. I always had grand ideas of where I must have come from. I bet that is pretty common for adoptees.

When I saw The Godfather, I determined that I wanted to be Italian. That revelation has always kind of scared me. They were mobsters, for Christ's sake. WTF Angie? But lately I have been watching the PBS documentary series called The Italian Americans and it all finally made sense to me. Italians are known for being incredibly close families. As a child, the family seemed to all fit in. They may have had differences of opinion, but they were all a part of a family unit where they would never be denied their role or feel alienated from (I had not seen The Godfather II for quite some time. Poor Fredo). They pulled together and took care of one another and supported one another, no matter what. When Connie was being abused by her husband, her brother went and beat the shit out of him. That is how it should be in a family. I longed for a connection like the ones the Coreleone's had.

From the first time I saw The Godfather I wanted to be Italian. I talked about it. I would speak the word with the long "I." I was adorable. My mom even got me a sweatshirt for Christmas in 8th grade that said "Italia." I was so desperate for something to feel a connection to. I had none, though. I knew that having a sweatshirt and a desire didn't really give me a tie to anything.

When I found my natural mother, she had very little to give me. She didn't want to answer my many questions about her, thus my, history. She was very closed about everything. Her mother, however, was open about some things, including her nationality. It really was beautiful. Not only was she Italian, but she was born in Italy. She came over on a boat at 14 months old. And her last name ended in a vowel. Can you stand it?!? I was Italian. My grandmothers maiden name was Frustaci. I have confidently identified as Italian ever since, even though I really only have knowledge of 1/4 of my ancestry.

I have tried to do some search into my ancestry. I have found very little. Their boat came from southern Italy and their immigration documents say they lived in a place called Calabria. Through the PBS documentary I learned that the Southern Italians are considered the lesser Italians. I could care less. Of course, I didn't have to suffer from the discrimination that they had to, either. I am just glad to have found a place to connect with. I am hoping to find more information about all of my ancestry one day and have opportunities to visit those places. I don't have any desire to find my relatives or anything, I would just like to walk through its streets and learn its history and breathe its air. Since Audrey took me to an OSU football game for my 40th birthday, I would now put that at the top of my bucket list.

#AfghanProverbs #PashtoProverbs #Adoption #Italy #Calabria #Detachment #Ancestry #Frustaci #ItalianAmericans #PBS

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Yeah. Maybe Next Time

Literal: Community cannot be created by force.

I am bound to learn this eventually on my journey. If the Buddha had it right and we are meant to return repeatedly until we learn all of our lessons to find pure enlightenment, however, I'm betting it'll be one of those I work on in another life. I can rationalize its truth but my temper leaves me far from the ability to put it to practice. And I am not terribly concerned about it beyond the fact that it makes me less of the person than I aspire to be.

I began my political and cultural awakening as I was entering adulthood. I imagine that is probably the time when most people do. I entered society, found my place in it, looked around and saw the way that things worked in this democracy of ours and determined much of it wasn't working very well. Throughout my 20s and into my 30s I became more passionate about my beliefs and identified them as being a part of my core. They were not bred from a place where I was raised to believe them, they were a part of my genuine understanding of the world, its failures and what we could do together to make it better. For everyone. I have always identified as a liberal or a Democrat. I find much of my personal tenets in the platform, but not all of it. Today, I identify more as a progressive. I like the term better and really couldn't identify its variance intelligently, so I won't try. I have seen failings of those elected with the "D" after their name and decided that, personally, a progress, would be my ideal.

Of course, the progress I aspire to is of my own determination. The whole wide world doesn't often go my way, so I am not naïve enough to believe I would ever be able to affect change on a grand scale to move things toward my own agenda. But it doesn't stop me from trying. And it makes me an asshole. And, to date, I am fine with that.

I have often found little agreement with the Republican platform. I have had sincere respect for some of them, like McCain (who has since lost all respect). But I didn't agree with their agenda and often found their antics petty. Much of my awareness about that was around the time of the Clinton Impeachment trial. It was childish and absurd. I can see every side of this. He was an absolute ass. 100%. If I'd have been his wife, I would have kicked his ass and then left. But fortunately I wasn't. Lewinsky was grown. Had he been the first President we knew about to have had affairs while in the White House, it might have even warranted an investigation because of a possible misuse of power. But he was one in a very long line of noted Presidents who had done the same. The others were either celebrated or made jokes about. None were asked to have a complete distraction from their very important duties to defend themselves against charges which were only meant to distract and create chaos. It was an embarrassment to me as an American. Oh but I had little knowledge of what that meant. The Tea Party was coming so I guess that shit was meant to soften the blow? It didn't.

Through the Rove (Erm, Bush?) years I thought that the country was finally going to really make a severe turn to the left. Everyone would certainly agree that we had no business going into Iraq as retaliation to 9/11, right? Everyone would be pissed that our soldiers were being sent to a place they had no business going and losing their lives for a cause Bush's father had failed to complete, right? Everyone would see that he was absolutely incapable of not only leading our country, but of being remotely credible in diplomatic roles, right? Nope. Apparently they didn't. I wasn't jazzed about Kerry. I liked him fine but he was a Democrat. And no one could fucker up my country worse than it had been in the past 4 years. I was shocked when Bush won again. And then Katrina happened. Honestly?! And many Americans stood behind him. As if any piece of what we knew about his actions (and his ridiculous staff) were appropriate. It was startling.

During the primaries in 2007 I was behind Clinton for a minute because I knew who she was. I worked for her campaign for a bit. I took Audrey downtown to see her at a rally. In her presence, she seemed insincere. More than the normal amount one would expect from a politician. And more than I would want to support. I then started really following up on and becoming excited about Obama. His not-quite-funny jokes reminded me a lot of my dad. Like he was just one inch away from being hip. And that was totally fine with me. I, personally, don't want to have a beer with my President. I'd love for him to be much smarter than I am and as long as he can communicate in foreign circles and work toward peace where he was able, that was good for me. I believed him when he spoke. I believed in his passion about the same issues I was concerned about. I ended up working very hard for his campaign and have never felt more a part of something positive in my life than on election night in 2008. I snotty-face cried when he, Michelle, and the girls came out to cheers of, "Yes we did!" I thought my country was finally on its way toward a more beautiful community that we had waited way too long for.

Immediately we had to deal with a group of Republicans who were less moral than those we had become accustomed to. They called themselves the Tea Party and they were proud to have a single agenda: Blame everything on the black guy. He's black, you know? And we just can't have it. Their leadership met immediately upon his inauguration and agreed to make sure he was unable to accomplish anything. Anything. None of them gave a single thought about what that would do to our country. Or how they were letting down those constituents who had sent them to DC as a representative. Or about the oaths they had taken and we were paying them a healthy stipend to uphold. They just wanted to make a colossal mess of this President and his legacy.

Thankfully, he was re-elected in 2012, but many of the Tea Partiers had been re-elected, too. And more had jumped on board. There was finally a place where the racist morons who had lived on the outskirts of respected society could come together and get their hate on. And they could wrap it all up in their sincere and true love for Jesus Christ himself.

Yeah. So that is where I stand politically and culturally. Of course, I have a lot more opinions but I have dedicated all of my April A2Z Challenge to daily babblings of my varied stances on issues so there will be plenty of time to document Angie's ideal society then.

The fact that people can still shock me is amazing. And I think that is why I still have such a passionate and angry response most times. I still expect people to see things for what they are. I still expect people to want to stand up against the wrong thing. And I have a very sad piece inside of me (I know it is misplaced) that thinks if I give them enough information about whatever they believe then they can finally relent and come over to the left a bit.

It is arrogant. It is ridiculous. But that is where I am. I know how shitty it is to be so convinced of my own omniscience that it is my duty to make everyone else relent. They are just as sincere about their beliefs, right? I am not willing to work on it, though. So here I am. And my enlightenment might have to wait until next time. (wink)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Maybe I Will Just Self-Deport

Literal: Stay silent or far from the powerful.

(Avoid directly challenging someone who is more powerful than you. Keep your distance and go about your own business, rather than inviting trouble).

Yeah. Apparently I am just going to reflect on the Republican party's failures this month. At least I will be making writing more of a priority in my life, though.

So, anyone who has watched the news over the past couple of days knows how brilliantly this proverb slaps in the face of the combined actions of the Republicans, lately. They are fortunate to have a strong base who will absolutely cheer them on for any absolute crazy shit that they do, but I believe (which, sadly, I have before and been completely wrong), that they may be pushing their luck this time. They wanted to go against the President and invite Netanyahu to speak when it was made clear that it was not just overstepping their bounds (duh), but also in opposition with American foreign policy to allow a candidate such an opportunity during the run up to their own election. It was blatantly disrespectful and seen for just what it was: a slap in the face of my President.

Now 47 Republican senators sign and send an open letter to Iran regarding nuclear talks. Are you fucking kidding me? They basically said, "Our President may want to have talks with you over your nuclear program, but we will not stand by any agreement he makes with you." It is so hard to take. Yes, they are doing it because they are racists and their cocks literally shrink at having a black man be in a superior role to them, but where is the place where they draw a line? When do they have the sudden revelation that they are really creating a dangerous situation for America? (Or do they care?)

Fortunately, the Iranian Foreign Minister basically saw the letter for what it was, a childish propaganda ploy. But who knew how it would be received? If Iran were the regime the GOP wants to portray it as being, you might expect them to drop a nuclear weapon tomorrow. These motherfuckers are an international embarrassment. Not only has much of the more mature planet (I am always made aware of our immaturity and decide it is due to our relative youth as a nation) come much farther than we have on race relations so as to avoid attempting to dismiss and override the power of their own leadership, but that leader, at present, is supposed to be the leader of the "free world," for whatever that is worth.

It is too much. I can't take it. And they are in the media with shit like, "We aren't racists. Lincoln freed the slaves. Way more Republicans voted for the civil rights act than the Democrats." And then, of course, I have to hear that shit repeated by the sheep who listen to this and don't know history. They have never asked themselves how that might be true. If they presently identify with a party that is so obviously racist, what could have possibly happened? Might it have been the civil rights movement that turned things around? We will never know. We are too stupid to ask. We just repeat what we are told. The 47 (and now two woefully arrogant and ignorant governors) are so desperate to make a plea to those jackasses who can't even be bothered to have a single curiosity about history and to maintain the votes they have already locked in tight that they are (Jesus Christ I hope) alienating even more people who would have otherwise identified as Republicans.

I do believe that the last month of absolute power struggles found inside and out of the GOP and, disgustingly, inside and out of our country, will be the last straw for many of their constituents. If they continue to define themselves as out of control and having designs only on creating chaos and not on leadership (nothing new to those of us who pay attention, but maybe the rest will figure it out), they may have finally handed the Democrats what they need in order to get some actual shit done. If not, I may actually self-deport. I'm pretty sure that's not even sarcasm.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Justin Harris - Tea Party Masterpiece

The Tea Party has been consuming a lot of my thoughts lately. They have always been able to drive me nuts. Its really nothing new, but today, especially, I am livid. Arkansas has this piece of shit in their State Congress named Justin Harris. He is a proud Tea Partier. He is fanatic about his anti-abortion stance. His right wing constituents, I suppose, think that's fabulous.

Because abortion is such an obvious evil, alternatives must be presented so we can demand its illegality. Adoption is a fine choice, No? So this upstanding "Christian" and all around good man decides to walk the walk. Genius. Because it will also garner votes. And lets be clear, this man is on the Education Committee and is the Vice Chair of the House Committee on Aging, Children and Youth, so he must really love children and want to make the world better for them.

Initially, in September 2012, Harris and his wife had decided to foster three girls who were all sisters. In adoption circles these are called "special needs" children because it is incredibly difficult to find a home for siblings to stay together, even though it is obviously in all of their best interest. Within a few months they had two girls in their care. No mention was made at the time of where the eldest girl had gone, but she was just never discussed as if it had always been just the two. It turns out that she had been a victim of sexual abuse in her birth home and that is why the girls were displaced. This child was suffering from severe trauma due to her history. Did they really expect them not to have issues? Well, no. Per Harris, the placement agency neglected to inform them that the girls "were disturbed by the trauma of their upbringing in their birth family." Right. Because three siblings looking for a new home cannot have faced any trauma. And it would have never occurred to either his wife or himself to ask why these children needed to be fostered.

Shortly after he gave the eldest daughter back to the fostering agency, Harris and his wife adopted the younger two. Within a year they, too, were too much for the Harris family to deal with (one was 6, the other 3) and they were re-homed. That is a thing. It exists. It is legal to adopt children and then decide against it and quietly give them to some other person, without doing any background check or asking the state to advise on the transfer. The man he dumped the two girls off on was a former employee of Harris' day care center. It turned out he was a pedophile. (this begs an obvious question I was unable to find the answer to, if I do I will update this post.) The six year old was molested by him and, finally, the state became again involved in the care for these children. The state thought they were still with the Harris family. They were still sending him a check for their care, after all.

It is completely unimaginable how much trauma these girls have suffered. The state tried to intervene into their awful lives to make it better. What could be better than a "Christian" home where the father is a congressman working on committees focused on the care of children? And the wife ran a day care center. These babies were given a family who decided they weren't worth the effort and pawned off again to a man who has now pled guilty to molesting one of them. They are now, reportedly, in a new home and doing well. Imagine how much better their lives would have been if the Harris family hadn't been involved at all.

The followers of the Tea Party are so anxious to have leaders who spew the same hateful rhetoric that they do and make promises of turning our beloved country into the clusterfuck they envision that they don't see the hypocrisy of those they elect. Not only is this absolute monster adopting children to (dis)prove the ease to which our nation could progress without abortion, but his day care has also received millions of dollars in subsidies that he denounces in his junkets. All while he was stating to have been against it and would overturn it. He knew he would never have to do that, so why not tell his voters that? They needed to hear it.

The eldest child was eight when she came to the Harris family. He has since explained that they gave her up before the adoption of the other two girls because she was such a terror. She was dangerous and could not be controlled. Good for them, on the day pictured below she was on her best behavior and able to cooperate in the perfect-family photo op for his campaign. I can't even imagine why he would need her after that, honestly.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Stop the "Holy Wars" Shit, Please

I have been stuck on fear lately about never ending war. The fact that Fox "News" has been referring to Isis as being in a Holy war is literally, and quite deliberately, baiting their very vulnerable and ignorant audience to begin following the rhetoric Isis wants America to follow. They see this as a Holy war. They want a Holy war.

America created our enemies over decades by interfering and arming groups that would later turn against us. Our being involved was going to create enemies, regardless. It took time but we are now the target for much of the hatred that permeates the ideologies of these groups. America decided to go into Iraq as retaliation for 9/11. We were lied into going to war. When the country (most of it) finally decided to see the fallacies that sent us to war, it was too late. I am proud to say that I thought it was bullshit at the time. I certainly wanted to defend our country and take care of the group that attacked us. But, as we all know, Iraq had nothing to do with it.

We have always had hawks on the right who want to go war. Any war, it seems. I am pretty convinced that their objectives are financial. That is absolutely heart breaking. Like McCain was a POW. It was a terrible time for him. But he is insistent that we should go to war every time an opportunity arises. No one seems to want to spend any time on diplomacy. It would be different if we could figure out who the opponents are and take them out. Human beings are being sent to war. Some human beings won't come home. Some human beings will come back so fucked up that they will not be able to function in society. We are constantly at war somewhere. No one in power seems to be reflecting on the fact that because we are always in war, we are always creating enemies.

Someone obviously has to take care of Isis. But they are everywhere. They are assaulting many countries. This is not an American fight. This is a world fight. I am afraid that my grandchildren will learn about WWIII and it will be a very different history lesson than the first two. There are no nations to fight in the Middle East. They are radical groups of assholes which we helped to radicalize (mad props there Uncle Sam). They compel people all over the world to kill others. With the internet, they have direct access to all of those disengaged in all societies who really just want to find someone to hate. Anyone. They can find this group and receive praise and offers of connectedness that they would otherwise never receive in their lives. They are gullible and weak. There are handfuls of these loners throughout the world. They can feel like they are a part of something where they can be celebrated for their disdain and brutality. They would have gone to a college campus or abortion clinic if they had the nerve, but this way they can act out as part of a group and feel solidarity with likeminded people. It really is a brilliant way to create an army. Sadly. And they don't even have to meet. Ever. They can get their directions online. The idea of finding all of them and stopping them before anything else happens feels hopeless.

I am terrified of where we are headed. I fear for the service men and women who are going to be sent on a never ending battle with unnamed and unidentified enemies. Just because our military has been trained to fight doesn't mean they always need to be fighting. Wouldn't it be nice if we had a military solely to protect us in case something awful happened? Do we always have to be looking for something awful. Yes, Isis needs to be dealt with. But they are an international threat. It needs to be dealt with by the UN. Why is it always us? I am sure there is an answer to that which I am just not aware of. I admit I am not well versed in all of our military histories but SHIT, this cannot be what we are looking to commit our future generations to, is it? How are these people ever going to be stopped? I don't know. But I can be damned sure that as right-wing assholes try to make propaganda out of "Holy Wars," we are just perpetuating our constant need to be fighting.

When I was a kid and classmates were considering going into the military it wasn't a foregone conclusion that they would soon be shipped off somewhere. The suicide rates of our military members wasn't astronomical. Now we just bring them home for a minute and ship them back.

I don't know. I could talk in circles all night and have no revelations here. I have no power. The people I vote for rarely get elected. I have no voice. I sincerely worry about where this is headed, though. And I wonder what our reflections will be like in 10-15 years. Will we see that there was really a nefarious plot and recount all of the villains behind it and the billionaires (or by then trillionaires) who are enjoying the spoils over decades of dead young men and women?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Moving to March

*UPDATE*  I got completely off course in March. I ended up doing a lot of rants at the GOP/Tea Party. It was sincerely unfair to the beautiful idea that I started with and is in NO WAY affiliated with the beliefs of the author, Captain Edward Zellem

February was a suck fest. It will always start off emotionally rough because it is the anniversary of losing and burying my dad. On top of that, last month, my depression got worse. A lot worse. My doctor decided to start weaning me off of my anti-depressants so she can start me on something else because the Paxil wasn't working and the Welbutrin was literally giving me tics. My body was just inadvertently twitching. I filed for my last unemployment week this morning and haven't yet found a job. So my body and mind have kind of shut down. I am in that place where there aren't enough hours in the day to get all of the naps in I want to take. It's ridiculous, honestly. I can understand my symptoms but haven't found any resolve in areas of alleviating them.

Last month I reviewed the most wonderful book (Mataluna: 151Afghan Pashto Proverbs) and decided that I would commit the whole of month of March to reflections of the proverbs. It was a lofty undertaking as I haven't been making daily entries, but it felt like a great way to start getting into the groove of daily writing. Now it feels like it has to have been the perfect idea because of how far I have fallen recently. I am the type of person who does not commit to something and find a way to back out of it later. Had it just been a commitment to myself it would have meant nothing (yes, I am aware that I need to love myself more, but I'm not there yet).

In going through my book this morning and trying to decide which proverb to begin with I am served with an incredibly beautiful revelation. Proverbs are handed to their recipients as absolutes. My poor, tired brain works in circles. I revisit thoughts and issues for days or weeks or years. I naturally want to understand things and see every side. Although this is natural for my experience, it is destructive in my life. I can never accept things that cannot be understood. I can never forgive people who have done awful things because I can't grasp their reasoning. In my spinning mind of questions, there are no absolutes. I am more looking forward to this writing opportunity than I had been because I need to find more absolutes to fill my mind. I invite any readers to take the journey with me. A reflection, I imagine, is healthy for everyone.