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?

Thursday, June 16, 2016

We don't have to take away all the guns. #NotAllGunOwners

My response to your logical fallacy:

           He doesn't represent all gun owners he does, however, represent a segment of the US population of US citizens who are known to the US government for their potential be involved with terroristic threats. So, though we knew enough about this guy to prevent him from getting on a plane there was nothing that could be done to prevent him from buying a gun.

We can prevent these kinds of citizens represented thusly from purchasing weapons easily. We could remove his and others' access and ability to legally purchase guns from a reputable and responsible gun seller forcing him yes to attempt to purchase guns illegally. I get that. But see this is the part where you lose me because that's where your side stops. You see no other options beyond – he could still have the potential to get a gun somewhere so we might as well not try anything else and just give out more guns. But see – FACTS. Facts are things which if you are a logical and reasonable person you will understand the facts are: countries with stricter gun control laws have fewer crimes committed with guns.  

No other country, let alone First World country, has the problems with mass shootings perpetrated by public citizens that his one does. We don't have to take away all the guns. Yes, this is American - you, me, we all are guaranteed the right to bear arms for personal protection and hunting and reluctantly recreation. Yes, I believe that there are reasons for good responsible gun owners to absolutely own guns. What I don't see are enough responsible gun owners being responsible, purposely deciding to make a choice about legal gun ownership and to do it in a responsible organized manner. Before you can get behind the wheel of a car there is a written exam, then you have to drive with an adult, then you can't drive after night, and you finally take an exam with a professional to critique your work to make sure you are ready to drive 5000 lbs of heavy metal through crowded streets full of other people. We do this because as a society we understand that cars are weapons, that they are dangerous and that there is at least a baseline of understanding you need before the rest of the people on the streets are going to feel comfortable with you behind the wheel. We have nothing like that for guns. Lethal, deadly, capable of taking out many people at once but there is no requirement for licensing, registering, insuring, waiting, learning, educating, or research. None of it. Why are so many responsible law abiding gun owners threatened by background checks, by waiting periods, by licensing? Why would there be a problem doing research on guns and their impact? If you want to preach that not all gun owners are irresponsible then I say: Put up or shut up. There's nothing responsible about denying common sense gun control.

Gun Eradication
Gun Abandonment
Hide your guns.

Gun Control. Simply be smart about them. Think about the fact that this country can't even study guns because lobbying i.e. the NRA has made it impossible. You know what else was impossible to study the long-term health effects of because big money lobbied against if – Tobacco. Hopefully, you're aware that everyone involved in those lawsuits has been found in the wrong. Much as I suspect stringent guns rights groups will be found to be. 

Why shouldn't there be background checks? Background checks are famously backlogged because of so much political back and forth. But you really can't wait 72 hours to handle that gun you just popped in and decided to buy today on impulse because it was shiny and pretty and lethal? If you're telling me that you can't wait 72 hours for a background check to clear then 1) You're too hyped up to safely handle a gun. We'll re-check in 72 hours. 2) You can wait. 

If your argument is that you believe that the Second Amendment unequivocally grants you or anyone else the right to own and do what you want with any gun you could ever want and multiples of them to boot then you are sorely mistaken. Firstly, when the Second Amendment was written they had single shot muskets not automatic or semi-automatic weapons. They likely never could have planned ahead for the advances in technology that would eventually be made leading to the advanced weaponry available today. Bringing me to my next point: These men were smart men who wrote the Constitution. A racist, homophobic, sexist, heathenry of men but for their time most were well educated leading them to be picked for the convention in the first place. If you were able to bring those men back to life today and you could somehow get them to look past all the other future-y shit to just sit down and listen to everything that has happened to this country over the last 200 years, somehow if they could grasp and understand our history with slavery and abolition, suffrage, Civil Rights, the Great Depression, two world wars, Vietnam, Iraq, 9/11. If you could show these men the loss but also the hope of all the people that fought through that crap to where we are today then show them Newtown, CT; and Aurora, CO, and Columbine High School. Show them the aftermath at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church or Pulse nightclub. Then you tell them that it was all done in their names, under the guise of protecting the Second Amendment and I find if hard to believe that at least one of those rough and tumble ride or die American men wouldn't punch you right in the face. If you could explain to them the weaponry available today and in this climate you think they would honestly tell you that you're upholding the spirit of the laws that they wrote?

Automatic and semi-automatic weapons like the Sig Sauer MCX and the AR-15 were built for military use. Designed years after they were all dead and meant to kill and injure the masses during war. Tell them this is weaponry that you're fighting to keep in the easy to obtain hands of terrorists, rapists, abusers, and let's be honest occasionally someone suffering from a psychotic break all because you support the Second Amendment. Explain there was an armed off-duty police officer working the door at Pulse but his more practical and logical weapon for protection was nothing in the face of a weapon designed for war. You have already of course explained that the LGBTQ community is a protected community in this country afforded the same rights and protections under the Constitution that they wrote so they'll understand the implications when you tell them that a US Citizen legally obtained military grade weaponry after being offended by two guys kissing to mow down more than 100 people.  

We know that there are ISIS sympathizers in this country and we know that people who feel different find solace in fringe groups who make them feel needed and wanted and a part of something. These groups fan the flames of anger and encourage them to hit  "soft" targets where they can do a lot of damage. Mateen took his anger and rage with himself for probably being gay and the hate he felt because it went against his belief system he been raised in and it erupted in the very way ISIS wanted. This lone wolf angry guy took aim at everything that makes America great: partying, love, acceptance, families, inclusion. He went after what we are as a people by targeting a vulnerable segment of our population and most right-wingers can't even admit that Gays were targeted at all. Explain that to these men, that you want to interpret the Constitution only in a way that in benefits you and not every person in this country and it is my belief you'll be told where you can shove it (but probably in better language because they're from the 1700's).

We could have stopped him because we could:

-Allow research and data gathering on gun crimes
-Deny suspected terrorists from owning guns
-Deny domestic abusers from owning guns
-Have a waiting period
-Require gun safety and licensing for all gun owners

You're right he doesn't represent ALL gun owners but he definitely represents every gun owner who isn't for COMMON SENSE. There are things that can be done but people's fear is what's stopping progress. It's always fear. No one is saying to take away all the guns, at least not me and not anyone I know. I'm saying show me you being responsible and logical. Make a push to change the gun policies we currently have because much like the failed drug war and ineffective criminal system – we don't have it right yet. Something those confused old white guys from the past are probably even more peeved about.