A month into this endeavor, I received a letter…

I needed you last night and you weren’t there for me.  I texted to let you know what happened.  You sent a perfunctory response.  You know how hard it’s been for me.  You knew how hard I’d take the news.

I called a few hours later.  Maybe it was only a few minutes.  I called.  It sounded like you clicked decline after a few rings.  Maybe that’s my perception.  Maybe you just let it go to voicemail on it’s own.

You didn’t call me back.

You tagged me in a post on Facebook.  You made no other attempt to reach out and see how I was doing.

You spent the day at Disney.

I needed you.  I needed you to return my call.  I needed you to reach out in a personal way and check in on me.  I needed your reassurance that somehow, someway, we’d make it through.

You posted pictures about how scary the Rock-‘N-Rollercoaster was.  How scary the Tower of Terror was.

What about how scared I am?  How scary this decision is?

I am furious at you.  I am disappointed.  I am 8 different levels of upset.  I feel irrational.  Unvalidated.  Unloved.

I understand that you deserve, that we all deserve, to go out and have fun.  That you deserve to live the life you’ve worked incredibly hard to accomplish.  I understand that you won’t always be available the minute I call.  I understand that I can be a lot.  That I’ve shown a tendency to catastrophize or fall down a dark tunnel in terms of thinking about the future and what some of these decisions mean.  I know that I cry, loudly, and have a hard time incorporating other perspectives or reasoning.  But I also know that I’m not wrong.  At least not fully.

I know I’m a lot, but I needed you.  Tagging me in Facebook isn’t enough.  That’s not enough to show you care.  That’s not enough to show that you understand my concern, even if I’m approaching it incorrectly.

It wasn’t enough.

I needed you.  And it wasn’t enough.  Is it because I’m not enough?

As long as he can hold a pen, he’s a threat

I saw this article on CNN this morning.  It’s from the opinion section, which I know can be filled with dribble.  I found this article helpful though.  Here’s the link, but I’m also going to paste the entire text below.  I have nothing of vast importance to say, other than I found this helpful and I think it’s important to read, especially for those of us (like me), who are having a hard time with the political scene as it stands right now, and how to interact with co-workers, friends, and family, who voted for Trump.

 

How to Reason with a Trump Voter

by Ben Mallicote

We are too quick to vilify those on the opposite side of the political aisle.  I am firmly opposed to Donald Trump, but because of where I live, I know a lot of good and decent people who voted for him.  If I feel the urge to disparage Trump supporters as a group, I have to reconcile that urge with what I know about the Trump voters with whom I work, eat and pray.

There are unquestionably people who voted for Trump for ugly reasons, and those folks are probably beyond persuasion (at least by me), but I’ve decided I’m going to spend th next four years trying to persuade the good and decent people; to appeal to their reason and the “better angels of their nature.”

Persuading them means addressing the motivations they’ve expressed, not the motivations we might ascribe to them based on the worst and loudest people on their side.  That’s what I’ve tried to do with a piece I posted last week on Facebook, and later on my website.  It ended up getting a lot of attention on the Internet, and a version of it is reprinted below.

Surprisingly, the most common criticism I’ve gotten from the piece as not been from those on the right saying I’m a “libtard snowflake,” but from those on the left who think I should have said, “You voted for Trump because you’re a fascist,” or the like.  While it’s surly true of some Trump voters, it’s grossly unfair as a blanket criticism of all Trump voters.  Such hot language rightfully alienates decent people, and cuts off any opportunity we might have had to change their minds.

Contrary to the social media headlines, we shouldn’t aim to DESTROY or EVISCERATE or ANNIHILATE the other side; we must persuade them to consider a different perspective.  That’s not easy, but it’s necessary.

That doesn’t mean we should allow wrongs to go unanswered, or yield even an inch in the defense of our rights.  It’s incumbent on all of us to remind our fellow citizens – boldly and continuously – about the ways that this administration is violating democratic norms and American ideals.  A call to treat one another with respect is emphatically not a call to “normalize” what the Trump administration and the worst of its supporters are doing.

To the vast majority of American people, we can say this is evil without saying you are evil.

We should, however, address their stated rationale for voting the way they did.  So to those good and decent people who voted for Donald Trump, here is what I wrote on Facebook and would like to say today:

You voted for Trump because Hillary Clinton was going to be in Wall Street’s pocket.  Trump wants to repeal Dodd-Frank and eliminate the Fiduciary Rule, letting Wall Street return to its pre-2008 ways.

You voted for Trump because the Clinton Foundation was “pay for play.”  Trump has refused to wall off his businesses from his administration, and personally profits from payments from foreign governments.

You voted for Trump because of Clinton’s role in Benghazi.  Trump ordered the Yemen raid without adequate intel, and tweeted about “FAKE NEWS” while Americans died as a result of his carelessness.

You voted for Trump because Clinton didn’t care about “the little guy.”  Trump’s cabinet is full of billionaires, and he’s taking away your health insurance so he can give them a multi-million-dollar tax break.

You voted for Trump because he was going to build a wall and Mexico was going to pay for it.  American consumers will pay for the wall via import tariffs.

You voted for Trump because Clinton was going to get us into a war.  Trump has provoked our enemies, alienated and given ISIS a decade’s worth of recruiting material.

You voted for Trump because Clinton didn’t have the “stamina” to do the job.  Trump hung up on the Australian Prime Minister during a 5 p.m. phone call because “it was at the end of a long day and he was tired and fatigue was setting in.”

You voted for Trump because foreign leaders wouldn’t respect Clinton.  Foreign leaders, both friendly and hostile, are openly mocking Trump.

You voted for Trump because Clinton lies and “he tells it like it is.”  Trump and his administration lie with regularity and brazenness that can only be described as shocking.

Let’s be honest about what really happened.

The reality is that you voted for Trump because you got conned.  Trump is a grifter and the American people were the mark.  Hey, it happens, and there’s no shame in being taken by a pro.  But now that you know the score, quit insisting the conman is on your side.

History has it’s eyes on you.

It was inevitable that I would, at some point in the next four years, title an entry this.  I’m sure this post will be restated by me many times over during the current political situation.

I’ve never been good at confrontation, dissent, or dealing with people who hold tightly to opinions I strongly disagree with.  Can I participate in a conversation where someone thinks that UCONN mens basketball is categorically better than Syracuse mens basketball?  Sure.  And I can even do it reasonably civilly.    But I know they are wrong.  Where I run into trouble is when people have opinions that, to me, are so clearly on the wrong side of history that it frustrates me that they don’t agree with me.  Not only frustrates, that’s too nice of a word.  It angers me.  It makes my blood boil.  I can feel the heat climbing up my chest and face until I can almost feel the steam coming out of my ears.  I’m having a really difficult time reconciling the fact that I truly believe, I have no doubt at all, I am currently on the right side of history, with the fact that millions of others ALSO believe, without a doubt, that THEY are on the right side of history.  That’s the way life goes though isn’t it?  I’m so convinced of my superiority in beliefs that I can’t even FATHOM how small minded someone must be to believe differently from me.

Now I don’t mean I believe that in all aspects of my personal beliefs that I am superior or correct, but in the following categories, I 100% believe that history will prove that I am right:

  • Trump.  Tell me I’m wrong.  Show me evidence that the policies this man is putting into place are good for our country.  Tell me how banning people from 7 predominantly Muslim countries…EXCEPT FOR THE ONES IN WHICH TRUMP HOLDS BUSINESS TIES…is beneficial to our country and our nation’s safety?  swastika-vandalism-w710-h473  This was in the NYC subway system…on February 5th…2017.  Two thousand and mother-fucking seventeen.  I relate more to this brand of hate because it’s the one that directly affects me, a Jewish woman, but this is just the tip of the iceberg.  There’s a story floating around the internet of a senior picture at a school in Texas gone awry when a group of around 70 students started shouting “Heil Trump!  Heil Hitler” during their class photo.  The stories, as you all know, go on and on and on and affect everyone who isn’t a white, cis-gender, Christian.  It’s horrifying.  I canNOT incorporate the fact that people, millions and millions of people, think that this man was the correct choice for President of these great, yet broken, United States.  (Photo credit:  http://nymag.com/selectall/2017/02/ny-subway-swastikas-removed-by-hand-sanitizer-in-viral-post.html)

There was a post from Humans of New York that I wish I could find, but I can’t.  A woman was talking about her difficulty with the election cycle and said (something to the effect of), “for me, the line in the sand was the misogyny.  For others, it was abortion.  For others still it was something else. I have a hard time understanding other people’s lines.”  That sums up everything I’m feeling right now.  It unconditionally does not make any sort of sense to me that people could have different lines in the sand.  How can any of the things he said be ok?  How can his stance on business or the fact that he isn’t a life long politician, how can that possibly outweigh ANY of the rest of it?  He would have to hold the secret to ending world hunger and communicable diseases for all eternity to have me even begin to consider voting for him.  How can the fact that the use of a private email server (which, by the way, Trump himself is now doing…hypocrisy much?) be enough to think the current choice is better?  I just, I mean really, I just do not have the capability of incorporating this into any sense of reality.  I just don’t.  Has anyone had success doing this?  Not that I want to try.  But anything? I feel so stuck most days.  I don’t know how to move through a world that exists like that.  Shame on my privileged life that this is my most uncomfortable living setting.  The end of this tunnel seems impossibly far away, and the tunnel could collapse before we even get to the end.

  • LGBTQ rights.  Again.  Tell me I’m wrong.  You who claim that your version of G-d makes no mistakes.  Who claim that to live your life as G-d like as possible is the only way.  You who claim that the path to righteousness is to follow the teachings of a man who spoke about unconditional love and understanding.  Go ahead and tell me again how G-d made mistakes and that people who fall anywhere in the vast queer spectrum are wrong.  A favorite comedian of mine once said, “The mere fact that there are gay people born in the back woods of Alabama is enough to prove that being gay isn’t a choice.”  Why would someone chose to be gay in an area where they will be ostracized, abandoned and the target of mass hate?
  • Abortion.  Please.  Let’s go back to a time where 5,000+ women died annually in a fight to have autonomy over their own bodies.  Tell me again how you, whoever you are, get to decide what is right and what I can or can’t do with my own body.  Tell me again how you, who fight so hard for an unborn collection of cells will then turn around and fight when I request government assistance.  How you will call me a whore, a thief and a liar who lives off the teat of the government and the hard work of other Americans.  The collection of cells only matter until they are born huh?  Then you could care less about them.
  • Education.  Continuing the theme of “these cells only matter until they are born”, let’s talk about education.  How is it even a little OK that a man, who openly mocked people with disabilities, is in charge of appointing someone who will have an impact on my students?  Not only that, but the person he picked?  And we all thought John King was bad.  How in the world is it feasible that a woman WHO HAS NO IDEA THAT THERE IS A FEDERAL LAW PROTECTING THE RIGHTS OF STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES, not to mention her atrocious and extremely dangerous belief in taking federal dollars away from Title 1 schools for “school choice” is one small Republican Senator away from being official?  I cannot.
  • Immigration.  Let’s face it people, unless you are a Native American, you are, in some way, shape, or form, an immigrant in this country.  Do we, as a nation, need to make sure that we vet people?  Yes.  But guess what?  We already have a strenuous vetting process to enter this country.  Asking people their beliefs on the President before they enter the country and denying them entrance based on that?  Seriously?  I travel abroad at least once a year.  If they ask me my beliefs, I doubt I’ll be let back in the country.  Do we need to protect ourselves?  Yes.  We do.  Does that mean that anyone with a weird (to us) last name, a hijab, a turban, a burka, or brown skin is inherently evil and a terrorist?  No.  Throughout our history, people have been openly discriminated against based on where they came from.  How many of your relatives came over during one of the immigration waves and changed their last names at Ellis Island for fear of discrimination?  Again, yes, I understand that in the extremism of the post 9/11 world that we live in that we need to protect ourselves as a nation, but this immigration ban is unbelievably un-American.
  • Dakota Access Pipeline.  The crimes we, as Americans, have committed agains the Native Americans is nothing short of genocide in my opinion.  We have pushed policy after policy after policy through to oppress the Native population of this country.  We have marched them from their tribal lands.  We have lied.  We have stolen.  We have raped.  We have pillaged.  We have shrunk a population of people down to it’s bare bones but that’s still not enough for us.  Now, instead of responsibly harvesting energy, we are, as is the norm, taking the shortest (and in this case most destructive) path to victory.  We care nothing for the fact that in refusing the shift the location of a pipeline, we are creating the potential to completely destroy the drinking water for the reservation.  (I am aware that despite a mountain of reading, I may be getting some facts twisted.  If you notice any profound inaccuracies, please respectuflly let me know if the comments below).

The other problem I’m having today is centered around the Superbowl.  Such a silly thing to be up and arms about, when you first read the sentence but hear me out.  I’m not talking about the stunning Patriots comeback and could give two shits about whether or not Brady and Belichick are cheaters (as the evidence strongly suggests that for at least one Superbowl, they were).  What I’m talking about is Lady Gaga’s performance.  I, personally, enjoyed performance.  She did what she always does.  She put on a phenomenal show with a strong message about inclusivity and LGBTQ rights.  That’s been her platform for a while now.  But guess who else put on a killer show with a strong message that’s been in line with their platform?  Beyonce.  That’s right.  But all of a sudden there is article after article and statement after statement about how it was Lady Gaga who taught Beyonce a lesson in bringing America together.  Why?  Because Lady Gaga’s message was about people you could imagine as white?  Because fighting for LGBTQ rights is inherently less “dangerous” than fighting for the rights of people of color?  Because it’s “less” offensive to be gay than it is to be black?  Because we refuse to take a look at our police and we refuse to hold them accountable for murder?  (This in and of itself could turn into a whole rant about how we hold every other profession – mostly – accountable for mistakes – hell…teachers a essentially burned at the stake if they don’t hit a certain criteria for test score).  White people are so unbelievably scared of the concept of ALL people being equal.  If I can no longer oppress people who are black or gay or Muslim, than what does that mean for me as a white person?  Clearly raising someone up to have the same full rights as me means I’m less than right?  Because that’s what it seems like.  We seem to be so convinced that if everyone has equal rights, that really means that we won’t.  There have been so many articles written about why saying “All Lives Matter” is a crock of shit.  Do you homework and go read them.  Whitenonsense Roundup is a fantastic resource.

Ugh.  I’m so annoyed.  And out of time.  I’ll write more tonight if I can remember, or I’ll update tomorrow morning if any new feelings arise.

 

Jefferson has beliefs, Burr has none.

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Congrats America.

To all my friends of color – I love you and support you.

To all my queer friends – I love you and support you.

To all my Muslim friends – I love you and support you.

To all my friends with disabilities – I love you and support you.

To all my friends who have served in the military or have lost a love one who has served in the military – I love you and support you.

To all my friends who have had abortions – I love you and support you.

Can we get back to politics? Please? Yo!

I found this article to be incredibly interesting for a number of reasons.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have a hard time with politics; particularly politics as they exist today, and even more particularly, as they exist in this current election cycle.

One of the things I find interesting about this, is the feeling of “sore loser” I get after reading it.  Granted, I don’t know everything that goes on behind the scenes.  Perhaps the system truly is rigged and Trump is being treated unfairly (not that I would complain about that in this particular instance).  I have a feeling however, that it is not, and that Mr. Trump is simply stamping his feet and complaining that life is unfair because he may not win the nomination.  While I agree that our system may need some revamping (I find it interesting – to say the least –  that you can win the majority vote and still LOSE the overall election), I think this instance takes a little retrospective and self-reflection on the behalf of our republican friends.  First and foremost, would they be calling for a change in the rules to suit a democrat?  Unlikely.  Secondly, here’s what really bothers me, you can’t just change the rules anytime something happens that doesn’t favor you or your point of view.

Case in point, the passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.  “We believe the American people need to decide who is going to make this appointment rather than a lame-duck president,” Cornyn said Tuesday as he left a meeting of top Republicans discussing how to handle the White House’s promised nominee.  So…the people have the right to decide…except when it comes to whether or not you win the nomination?

I need to stop writing these posts at work.  I have a hard time focusing.  I’m sorry to the one person who may stumble across and read this.

My point is that I can’t stand the hypocrisy of politics now.  What bothers me even more is that people who make upwards of $125,000 a year can shut down the government, put thousands of hardworking government employees out of work for weeks on end, and still make a paycheck, because things aren’t going their way.  Things haven’t gone my way at work all year, but I still show up every damn day and I do my job, because if I don’t…I’m fired.  Point blank.  You can’t just stymie things because you want your way.  Or rather, its seems you can, but you shouldn’t be able to.  It’s infuriating.  My harshest criticism of Obama (besides the ridiculously HEINOUS appointment of John B. King as Secretary of Education) is not that he “allowed” the government to shut down per say (for it takes two to tango so to speak), but that he didn’t say, “Ok.  Y’all want to act like fools and not do your jobs?  You don’t get paid then.  That’s easy.  You want to get paid, sit the fuck down and come to a compromise.  Until then, your paychecks can go to helping the national debt.”

We have not come into being to hate or to destroy…

I have a problem.  Well, let’s be honest, I have a few.  My current struggle in the last few days has been surrounding the  Facebook profile picture filters for both Paris, and more recently, Brussels.

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I have been to both places.  I have been to Paris several times and it is a beautiful city.  When I’m there, I can see history unfolding before my eyes.  I hear Enjolras call his peers to arms.  I hear Javert cry out in frustration.  I hear Christine crying in the arms of Raul, terrified for her life; and yes, I see real documented history too.

Brussels is also a phenomenal city, filled with life and flowers and laughter and amazing beer.

My point in recounting my travels is simply to state that I have been to these cities, thoroughly enjoyed my time there, and have great respect for the people there.

My problem with these Facebook profile pictures is two fold.

First and foremost, as has been stated multiple times by many people before me, these filters have only shown up for Paris and Belgium…two Western European countries.  Not once has a filter shown up for Nigeria and the Boko Haram attacks.  No filter showed up for Pakistan and the recent Easter attacks.  Why?  Because they are black and brown?  Because they are developing countries?  Why don’t “we” (as Westerners) relate or feel the need to “pray” for these people?  What makes them unworthy of the outcry of support from social media?  Or rather, why does the outpour of support only come for Western/developed tragedies?

My second issue with these filters is simply this, why?  Do the people who use these filters change anything about the way they live their lives due to their use?  Do they study and learn and try to make the world a better place?  Do they read articles and try to better understand some of the racial and religious tensions happening in the world?  Or do they immediately turn on a filter and say, “Well, I made enough of a difference today.  Time to immediately pretend nothing has happened”.  I don’t understand these filters.  I’m terrified by the things that have happened in Paris, and Brussels and Lahor and all over Nigeria but instead of putting up a filter and hitting play on my most recent Parks and Rec binge, I read any article I can find to help me make sense of what is happening.  I reach out on every form of travel social media I participate in and open up my home to potentially stranded travelers.  I reach out to my many friends and family who live abroad and make sure they are ok and if they are stranded I try to hook them up with people I may know where they are.  I do try to reach out and let these communities know that they are not alone.  But I also celebrate their resilience.  They don’t need our prayers.  They need us to have our eyes wide open.  To change the way we interact as humans.  To celebrate the life and vibrance of these cities.  To be unafraid to continue to travel and expand our minds and our views of the world.

Is my method perfect?  Clearly far from it, as am I.  I just feel like these colorful little lines across our Facebook faces will do very little but make those of us who use them superficially feel like we’ve made a difference.  I choose to try and do more, to do better, to learn and continue to grow and to admit to my fears, anxieties and mistakes.

EDIT (July 5th, 2016)

Several days ago there was a bombing in Turkey that left 45 dead.  A few days later, there was a suicide bombing in Bangladesh that left 21 dead.  I did not see a SINGLE flag overlay for these countries and these people.  Why?  Because they are people of color?  Because we have a perception that a lot of them are Muslim?  Because it is a poorer country?  Because we think “Well they should be used to it.  It happens to them all the time.”  Why?  THIS is one of the major reasons why these stupid Facebook filters are stupid.  They only happen when it’s white, Western Europeans.  Apparently Facebook, and the rest of us (for where was the outcry on social media that these two events weren’t honored?), don’t care about anyone but the white, western world.  And that is a travesty.

 

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First they came for the jews

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I have been having a very hard time incorporating what is happening with the Trump campaign into reality.  It doesn’t make any sense to me.  They say that history repeats itself, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t say, I thought perhaps it would repeat itself after I was dead.

I know I am not the first to make this comparison, nor do I think I’ll be the last.  I am one of many in this regard.  But it’s scary and frustrating to me that there seems to be nothing that can stop this destructive train.  The GOP itself is looking for ways to derail Trump.

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 8.26.07 AMPhoto credit: http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/12/politics/gallery/week-in-politics-0312/index.html

This.  This is real.  This is what Donald Trump brings out of people.  He is a loud, emphatic, speaker who is able to rally people to his cause.  He, like his famous predecessor before him, has stated what he will do.  He has even described how he wants to do it.  And hundreds of thousands of people are flocking to his side.  And I’m terrified.

 I know I’m not doing anything other than stating facts that enlightened people know.  But I don’t know what else to do.  I don’t know how to stop him.  I don’t know how to rally those that aren’t already rallied against him.  Hell even the hacker group “Anonymous” has declared war on Trump…and still he climbs and still he rises.

I’m disgusted at the partisan nature of our new media.  What we need is people to band together and say “This man is a racists.  This man does not and will not speak for me.”  But what are we doing instead?  We have 1/2 the media saying he’s a buffoon – WHY are people so reluctant to call him what he is?  A terrifying racist.) and the other 1/2 of the media are CANCELING debates because he’s refusing to show.  “Fuck the other candidates!” says Fox New.  They do nothing for our ratings.  Let’s deny the American people the right to see their other options and only inundate people with images of Hitler, I mean Trump.  Because he is who is he, and because his responses and television persona are what they are, media is only interested in what he can bring them financially.  Disgusting.

I’m terrified as a woman about his seemingly inevitable nomination.  I’m terrified as an ally for the LGBT community.  I’m terrified as someone with loved ones of color.  I’m just terrified.

I’m repeating myself.  I do that when I get nervous about something.  Or when I don’t have the answers.  I just keep repeating what I know as if that will solve the problem.

I think part of me is very scared of the fact that I feel helpless.  Like the WWII quote at the beginning of this post, I feel like if I say nothing, there will be no one left to say anything.  I feel like it’s my responsibility as an adult, an ally, a friend, a loved one, to stand up and say something.  But I don’t know what else to do or how else to voice my discomfort.  The one concrete thing I can do, which I will do, is vote.

When I sat down to write this, I thought I had more to say.  Or at least more that meant something, instead of just rambling.  I guess not.

I wonder what his ex wives (2 of the 3 immigrants: Ivana – Czech, Melania – Slovenia) and his children (obviously children of immigrants), feel about his stances on anyone who isn’t a white american male.

4/1/16 – An update…

Here is a beautiful article written by the scientist, actress, mother and advocate Mayim Bialik with her take on Trump, his campaign, and his most recent statement that women and doctors who chose to have, and who perform abortions should be punished.  I think it is one of the most well written articles I’ve come across on the subject.  I particularly enjoy her second point…

“Point 2: You don’t have to like that people can get abortions. You don’t have to tell your daughters that abortion is a great option if they get drunk and have unprotected sex and get pregnant. We don’t have to like everything that other people do. But we cannot eliminate the right for women to decide what to do with their bodies.” (Emphasis added).

EDIT: July 5th, 2016

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(photo credit: http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/04/politics/donald-trump-star-of-david-tweet-explained/index.html)

Cool.  So this is a thing that happened.  Isn’t that awesome?  Do we need to continue to discuss how terrifying this man is?  And not even this man.  He in-and-of-himself is NOT what scares me the most.  What scares me the most, are the people he “inspires”.  He won’t have to lift a hand.  But then again…neither did Hitler.

His explanation (courtesy of the same article linked below the picture): “These false attacks by Hillary Clinton trying to link the Star of David with a basic star, often used by sheriffs who deal with criminals and criminal behavior, showing an inscription that says ‘Crooked Hillary is the most corrupt candidate ever’ with anti-Semitism is ridiculous,” Trump said in the statement.

Ridiculous.