Tuesday, September 13, 2016

If The Basket Fits...

Before anyone gets too excited, I want to post this link:Keeping an eye on the flags from Florida
See this is how I’ve always viewed my patriotism. I’m an rabid supporter of the Constitution, the military, the police, and disenfranchised groups. I ask you to please keep this Op/Ed and my others like it in mind as you read ahead.

Colin Kaepernick kneels with teammate 9/12/16
I sort of view this National Anthem/ Flag protest the same way I view abortion. I don’t think, should the need have ever arisen, that I could have gone through with an abortion. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t understand and support the need for other women to do so. For years I have been an ardent supporter of patriotism, of the Flag Code (most of you don’t even know that exists), our troops and everything else Americana. I grew up in small town America, a town once named the Best Small Town in America. We were lifted up by gold mines so even when a recession hit gold prices soared and most people in town didn’t feel the same pinch as the rest of the country. I see myself as lucky though. I got out. I left that small town, not that I haven’t been back to live for short periods of time or to visit, but I left behind the girl I was there as soon as I could. It wasn’t right away. It didn’t happen when I went to Liberal Oregon for college. That just pushed me harder to the right because no one there seemed to understand the needs of small towns or rural communities. I rallied against Yucca Mountain and Las Vegas voters bemoaning their state citizenry and distance from 90% of the state’s land needs as misinformed and misguided. I still rally around these issues and many more but now I see them from a different set of lenses, not better but different; lenses with a different scope and perspective; lenses with experience, and travel, and education behind them. Lenses that are no longer shaded by my teachers, community leaders, or parents. While my views will always be tinted by my past they are wholly radical to my present.

Pentagon 9/11/01
I remember 9/11 really well. I was a junior in high school. At the time I was politically motivated in everything I did thinking I was going to go to law school and eventually run for office myself. I never made a decision without first thinking about what the consequences on my political career might be. In the summer of 2002 I was allowed to participate in Nevada Girls’ State and then Girls’ Nation cementing my love for our country. Seeing the smoke stains on the Pentagon. Listening to President Bush encourage us to support our country and remain united. Meeting 100 other teenage girls who had the same fears and questions that I did but with vastly different backgrounds than me. It was the first time I ever met or talked to anyone in a hijab and she was scared about how we would all treat her because of 9/11; a teenage girl, an American citizen, scared because of the fear that welled up in people. The same type of fear that is capitalizing on people today, probably a lot of the very same people. I remember arguing with people in Elko and beyond about the need to support our troops even if we didn’t support the war. I remember telling people to stand because it was the least they could do. I remember thinking how ungrateful and uninformed these people were that were sitting, that were bashing the commander-in-chief, that were disrespecting everything I had come to know that America stood for. 

Suffragettes fighting for the vote
Many of those thoughts remain pretty similar. I support our troops and appreciate everything they do so that I can have the life that I do. I support police officers and their very difficult task of managing people and expectations in dangerous areas. I support religious people praying to whatever God they so choose as long as they don’t try and make me or anyone else do it. I support everyone’s right to bear arms, just not military grade weaponry that private citizens have no need for. See I support the Constitution, all of it. Not just the parts that I think are pretty or lift me up but the whole of the document. A living document meant to be interpreted by current times. That’s why women are no longer property, and black people count as a whole person. Most importantly I support the First Amendment. As an American citizen it is number one for a reason. As a writer I count on its protection every day. As a patriot I allow others to express their rights given by the Constitution even if I don’t agree with them. I think people walking around with guns just to walk around with guns are idiots, but I support the people in Ohio ringing Brock Turner’s house.

If you support the military and the police and you claim to love this country and you say you’re patriotic yet you can’t support everyone’s rights – then you are WRONG. If you can’t see that the military is in place to uphold ALL of the freedoms granted by the Constitution then you need to open your eyes. If you don’t believe that men and women are fighting for Colin Kaepernick and every other person who deems it necessary to sit or kneel, then you are misinformed about America. If you are in the military or are a police officer your job is to uphold the Constitution, all of it, not just the parts you like. Your job which you’ve chosen amongst all the jobs you could imagine is to make sure that every person in this country: black, white, Asian, purple, gay, straight, trans, racist, misogynist has the opportunity to protest what they want how they want. If you can’t do that then find another job. Don’t leave the country, I don’t want you to get out, but at least educate yourselves. Open your minds. Understand that the educations we received before Google were biased and slanted. Kids today have it great- they can fact check every adult in their life and I encourage them to do so. I was lucky, my mom was a librarian and I had access to a card catalog and knew how to use it before libraries operated online or even with a computer system. I’ve always questioned everything and the older I get the more I learn that I always will.

Olympians John Carlos & Tommie Smith1968
My plan was to post a few things about this controversy but mainly to stay out of it because most people who know me or have been around me for a while know my thoughts and feelings toward the National Anthem, the Flag, and America. Then something happened. This person I know, who is a Facebook friend, posted something ludicrous (though I have to say deplorable would work here too) and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. See I’ve known her pretty much our whole lives; I know this because our parents know each other too. We have similar diasporas, having grown up on the Southside. We were given the same opportunities with all the same schooling and choices yet here we are two very different people. I wouldn’t normally care but the thing is she’s become very racist in her posts (she’s white) and has mentioned that she thinks people who don’t stand should leave. But then I started thinking about her husband, who I have known for just about as long. See he and his cousins are from Mexico and I know their story and how they got here too. I remembered this instance in high school where their group of friends all chose to sit for the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem during a school assembly. They said this wasn’t their country and that they’d rather be in Mexico; they said they didn’t support the US. That instance didn’t blow up, it was before Facebook, it didn’t make the news cycle or even the local paper because they were not required to stand, no one is. So before you start spouting bull about how people who disrespect this country should get out maybe you should make sure your house is clean. I mean if the basket fits…


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Hurts So Good

Tuesday Tune is back after our hiatus!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

My Will To Fight

I missed the Tuesday Tune but I am so glad I waited! 

I was told once that I couldn't have a job because I was a woman and they didn't think I was as capable as a male who also wanted the job. It didn't matter that I had worked there far longer or that I had trained him. I've been told I'm intimidating by people in their 40's 50's and 60's. I've been told I'm too loud that my voice is too shrill to even be heard. Apparently, men can't hear my pitch. I was told I shouldn't go to college, that I should just get married and have babies because that's all I was good for. I've been told I'm too little, too young, too old, too red-headed, too blonde. I've been too skinny and too fat. I let people down constantly because I'm not what they think I should be. A few years ago over Thanksgiving dinner with friends, a guy I've known for years told me that he was disappointed that I didn't go to law school because he thought better of me. He said I let him down. I've been too opinionated and too quiet. I have been too slutty and too prudish. I've been called too ambitious for my station. I have been called a gold-digger by those same people. 

The thing is, we are all something. Something we want to be and probably something we don't. I wasn't raised to agree with everyone or to be quiet but I was raised to have the courage of my convictions. I am the first to tell you those have changed drastically over time. Maybe that's why I am so passionate this election cycle, because I've been on the other side and I look back now and think, "Damn I was illogical, under-educated, ill-informed, and young." Well, I'm not that person anymore and my realization of that fact has only re-ignited my will to fight. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Movin' Right Along

This just fits how I'm feeling today:


Thursday, July 7, 2016

I'm That Hateful Girl Your Mother (never) Warned You About

These days I fear at some point I'll post something wise somewhere and forget to save it for my never-existant posterity. That is when I quite often post items here that don't always seem to fit my initial goal upon starting this blog and yet to any of the people who read this that know me it makes perfect sense.

Today's ditty comes from an exchange on Facebook. Here is the charge:

 When did you get so hateful? Only one was carrying a gun and that guy wasnt even reaching for it. I think you need to wake the hell up and stop going off on people with a different opinion especially when you are asking for people to speak up when there is a difference of opinion. If anyone is monochromatic its you. A gun owner just stopped a mass shooting at a night club in south carolina last week, but since it doesnt fit you agenda it must not be mentioned because anyone that disagrees with you clealry has some mental defect. (sic) 

 If you would like to see the whole exchange I'll post later. Regardless, here is my response in full:

It's true the world has made me hateful, hateful of bigotry, hateful of sexism, hateful of homophobia, ageism, and any radicalized religious zealot. I’m hateful mostly of people who refuse to see that there is a problem with guns in America. I am hateful of people who wear blinders and never even peak to see the wizard behind the curtain. One instance where a gun helped does not equal the thousands where guns have made it worse. There was a gun at the club in Orlando too and it did nothing. We could all choose to do things differently but too many people are scared to question what they believe. See, that’s why I am so set in what I do believe right now about guns, because it took me a long time to get here. A lot of experiences with guns and with cops. It’s why I am so supportive of LGBTQ (and any other letter you want to add) because it took me a long time to get here. I see people delete me or block me and I don’t care. I don’t delete the clearly uneducated racist misogynists because I want to see other peoples’ views and experiences because they help to shape mine. What I don’t like is someone like you, or a family member, or some idiot from high school who has never been outside of their little bubble trying to spout off like they know more about the experiences of minorities, of women, of whatever it is that they are not. It seems to be too hard for most people to try and feel what it must be like to be a mother of a black son in America today, to be legit friends with a gay person today, to be in love with a Muslim today. It is so incredibly hard to imagine ourselves in any other set of circumstances that it makes it hard to find compassion among your neighbors. So difficult, in fact, that instead of having a conversation focused on facts, realities, or realistic solutions most online conversations turn into back-and-forth dog-biting and in my experience ones where the ‘men’ in the conversation won’t leave unless they have the last word. But here’s the thing: just because a woman called you out, just because a woman used a word to describe you in less than glowing terminology it doesn’t mean she’s angry or even hateful. It means I am a woman with a voice and opinions; ones that you have no control over. It doesn’t mean I’m mad at you. It doesn’t even mean I am taking it personally. I am stating my opinion, which thanks to that grand old living document the Constitution, I have a right to do. So try maybe reading the words while thinking to yourself: If I saw that a white man (insert man who looks like me) wrote this how would I react?