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.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Machine

“And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself?” –Rumi

In the past I have turned to my blog to post fiction and poetry, to post rants and vents, and to post thought-out and targeted arguments for and against various social issues. I don’t plan to change that modus operandi much. I will still post random videos, thoughts, and stories. However, I’m also taking this opportunity to go back to one of my first real loves: politics.

I’m sick of southern, old-fashioned, and sensitive sensibilities telling me what I can or can’t do, say, or wear. Yes I’m female, yes I have an opinion, yes I’ll voice it. I’ll question people and push them for answers because someone should. There should always be someone in your life who pushes you outside your comfort zone. Someone who helps you question the world and opens your eyes to more possibilities than you were ever aware even existed.

Growing up, I was convinced I would be a lawyer and a politician but like for many other people life happened and I changed my mind. I’m also a woman and I hear we tend to do that a lot. Regardless, I still love the thrill of the debate, learning and exploring policy and candidates, and ultimately coming to a conclusion.

The last time I was this charged up I was in college in Oregon. I was a conservative in a liberal town at a liberal college and I was studying political science; it was also 2004 so believe me when I say it was rough. I couldn’t understand where people were coming from, the issues that came up I’d never encountered before in small town America. For an unrelated reason, I left Oregon never learning what I feel I should have. It took many experiences and people to change around my way of thinking but now I wonder how I truly think and feel about things. Am I still stuck in my country ways or has living in cities finally opened my eyes? I don’t know but I sure want to find out.

Today I am re-launching Short and Loud as a more focused machine. While there will still be changes over the coming weeks I do have an end goal. My blog will still see short fiction and I am sure the occasional rant however for the rest of 2016 I plan to focus mostly on politics. Any time the incumbent can’t run there is always more interest and movement on both sides of the aisle so what better time to engage in something that has made my blood flow for years? Therefore, I plan to use Short and Loud to address topics from an unbiased or, at least, a searching-for-my-truth perspective. There are so many people in this world, especially women, who aren’t allowed to have a voice because of the country or region where they live, their religion, or the fear of radicalized warlords. I live in a place where I am allowed to not only have an opinion but I am able and encouraged to voice it. By the end of this journey, I hope I’ll feel confident in who I vote for as the next President of the United States; not necessarily confident that my choice will win but confident that I’m making the best choice for me and my future. It’ll be a journey of self-discovery that I’m inviting you all on.

To keep myself consistent and as neutral as possible, I will approach each topic in the same way

1. Pick a topic
2. How do I currently feel about the topic?
3. A history of the topic. Including if necessary: Constitutional interpretations and Supreme Court cases
4. A rundown of where each candidate still in the race stands on the issue
5. I will reexamine how I feel/think about the topic and come to a new conclusion or confirm my current position
6. Finally, I’ll pick a candidate who “wins” for each issue

By doing this, I hope to create for myself a litmus test to judge candidates with in the future and in the process learn who I am in my core. I think if I know how I feel about a topic then it’ll be much easier to weed out the politicians I disagree with. I have a list of topics I am hoping to cover moving forward however I am also open to suggestions. If there is an issue you would like to see a breakdown of in a non-biased way and simple easy to understand language please let me know.  

Welcome to my machine.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

I Got Educated, I Got Sick, And I Got Fired

I was recently asked this question on Facebook:
Why is it that democrats tend to think the answer is take from others who definitely have/might have worked hard for their money to those that cant/choose not to.

Below is my response:

Obviously not all rich Republicans think this way, I’m sure some are more moderate and reasonable when it comes to people overcoming life’s obstacles. The purpose of the meme is to illustrate the collegial experience for the 99%. The reason I saw this on the internet and liked it enough to post it is because I identify with the poor person in this scenario. (I don’t just post things I like; if I did you’d see 500 things a day from me.) The fact of the matter is you were raised by and are still part of the 1%, unlike you a nuclear church going family did not raise me, I was one of the poorest people in our class. I was raised by a single mom in a trailer on the Southside of town. I had no health care unless it was under the threat of actual death, as in, “If you’re not dying and I take you to the doctor I’ll kill you!” We knew doctors were serious business and we didn’t go unless we saw bones. Like yours my Mom is also a nurse so we weren’t required to use survivalist skills but we certainly weren’t healthy. I broke my wrist freshman year of high school; you can check the varsity soccer team photo you’ll see my cast, or what worked as a cast. It was a half cast held on with an ace bandage. When I went for my 6-week check-up they found a third bone broken that they hadn’t caught on the first set of x-rays. I was referred to an orthopedist who couldn’t get me in for another 6 weeks. I lost my cast the next day and my wrist just healed wonky. We didn’t have excess money for family vacations or meals out. While my friends at school talked about Machi’s and Cowboy Joes I was eating Manwich my Mom picked up at Roy’s. I had a friend tell me one day she’d never stepped foot in a Wal-Mart and never would and the next day I got a bag of hand-me-downs from Hollister and American Eagle.

I don’t know about you but I worked my ass off in school. I knew no one was paying for college, if I was going to go I was going to need scholarships and grants. I didn’t even have enough money to apply to college. Mind you, I got a job the day I turned 15 the summer before I started high school. I worked all summer and part of the fall and then got another job again the next summer and kept it until the second half of my senior year. I remember asking my dad for some money, something I never ever did, so I could send in my college applications. He asked me why I thought I needed to go to college because really, he said, I should just get married and have babies because that was all I was good for. A few of my friends banded together and brought me something like $200 but by then the deadlines had passed. I went to college anyway. It wasn’t perfect but I had scholarships, grants, and to cover the total cost my mom had to take a loan. Obviously, she didn’t have to but she did because it was my dream to get a degree and to do something none of my siblings were able to do. I spent two years in Oregon working in the residence halls for free room and board in addition to my work-study job on campus. I spent a year at GBC with scholarships and grants, and I finally graduated from the University of Tampa with the help of scholarships, grants, and debt. I want you to understand that while I was at UT I worked full-time, was a full-time student, had a part-time internship, a house, 3 dogs, a husband, and an hour-and-a-half commute one way. This is also about the same time I was diagnosed with Endometriosis and told I would never have children. After two separate surgeries, a divorce, and a cross-country move (all while still working full-time) I graduated with a 3.42 GPA a promotion and a new job in Tahoe. Finally closer to home and single things should have been great, yeah?

After an Associate’s degree, a Bachelor’s degree, a great work history with two internships and management experience my worth should be obvious after two years of employment. Instead I was told I wasn’t working fast enough or long enough. [Get this straight, this IS part of the story!] I was told to be on bed rest, much like Lena Dunham recently, because Endometriosis is a very real thing. My job required 60-70 hour workweeks with 10-12 hour days spent lifting and toting boxes on my feet. When two corporate executives show up you don’t get to go home and go to bed. I gave them 8-hour days for 15 days before I finally took time off until after my next surgery. Every day I took off I earned because of the time I had worked with the company. The day I came back to work I was told my position had been down graded and someone else was coming in to do my job. At the same time I was told that I was being written up for my poor performance in front of the executives. Then HR from Seattle called and told me I was officially on warning for not being able to keep up with my job duties; the fact that it was doctor’s orders and documented meant nothing, I was being squeezed.

Thankfully, the next week I had a job at UNR and left my position. Unfortunately, that was not the end of my health care crisis. I’ve had two more surgeries since then including a full hysterectomy and been fired by UNR twice. I was never under-performing, quite the opposite actually. My direct supervisors both loved me and I was often praised for my performance. I was well regarded and often went above and beyond to do my job duties even if that meant wearing a stick on heat patch, having a heating pad on at my desk, and being seen by my peers, colleagues, and employees doubled over in pain crying because I had to be at work for fear of losing my job. I only ever took off days that I had earned by rights in my contract with the State of Nevada. However, I couldn’t argue with them that even when I was at work I could be ineffective in my position because I was distracted by my illness. I heard the argument and am guilty of having made it myself to people to just get any job. I could work a drive-thru, I did it for three years in high school it must be like riding a bike. After this recession a highly educated person with a robust resume gets a job at a drive-thru making $7.25 an hour ($8.25 if you’re in NV) because that’s minimum wage. [Do you know that a large majority of people working minimum wage jobs are educated people, single parents, and minorities of all ages? It’s not about 16 year old kids making $15/hour.] As a 30 year old young-professional it’s demeaning to think I should take anything and be grateful when I am paying for an education that means I should be able to get something better. I have house bills, and student loans, and medical bills out the wahzoo plus a messy divorce and the whole living as a single person in a city 18.5 times bigger than my hometown while trying to graduate. I didn’t want to live outside my means but the truth was I was in an eat-or-be-eaten situation. Either I went into debt or I didn’t graduate. If I don’t graduate I can’t get the job with the promotion to get closer to home when I’m so sick to make more money to pay the loans. What would you choose when it’s your health that’s a life or death decision but to afford to be that sick you have to have a job that you’ve been at for more than a year to qualify for FMLA, which protects your job when you can’t be there for a finite period of time.

FMLA works to protect mothers that use maternity leave and dads with paternity leave (how’s your new daughter?). FMLA protects people with cancer, or who adopt a baby, or who need to care for an elderly parent with Alzheimer’s, or a son who’s an addict. Hillary Clinton championed FMLA as First Lady, before that there was no protection for people in these situations and we’re still the only civilized country that doesn’t protect maternity leave. FMLA is a hard won right for American workers. For me at UNR I worked there less than a year in each position and didn’t qualify for protected job status. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway Nevada is a right-to-work state meaning no one needs a reason to fire you and they don’t have to offer you three strikes. It’s state law. Besides, most state jobs are on probation within the first year and they can get rid of you for no reason at all within those first 365 days of employment with no need to explain themselves.

So tell me what to do in this position. Too sick to work but I need to work to pay my bills. I need to continue to see my doctors due to my chronic illness but have no job and no insurance but also no money to pay for private insurance. Oh wait, we have insurance I can get through a website that’s sponsored by the government and because I’m unemployed I might get help paying for it? That’s crazily exciting and helpful. Oddly the $12,000 I made last year meant I didn’t qualify for any help paying for insurance that I was required to get but also desperately needed and appreciated beyond anything. I know without it my only choice for health care when dealing with fertility based illness would be Planned Parenthood. That’s the clinic that’s run by a non-profit organization that helps mainly low-income and minority women gain access to all sorts of medical care. I knew Planned Parenthood was an option but I also of course knew how controversial the clinics are. That however didn’t even give me pause. When you have a chronic illness that literally drags you to your knees in pain, leaves your stomach heaving and retching acidic bile into your toilet it’s something that as a young woman in childbearing years with this condition you can’t take lightly. I needed specialist care to make sure I was okay and even with that care I was making 3-4 visits to the ER a year. Imagine those types of bills if you have no insurance, or you have the nifty bronze plans that the ACA offered to me in Nevada that had a $10-$12k out-of-pocket deductible or the $400/month platinum plan that covered the doctors I already had to continue my care.

If this were your wife or your daughter what would you do to stop their pain? A daily constant grinding pain in the pelvis. Think about early days of marriage and not being able to have sex with your wife without hurting her because her insides are covered in bleeding internal blisters that already hurt when she breathes let alone when you’re slamming into her. What would you do if your daughter cried everyday and barely ate anything while bleeding for 27 straight days? She should go to work, and suck it up, and smile, and be happy for less than $60 right? (7.25/hour for 8 hours; subtract taxes, social security, fees, and whatever else so maybe $50.) I’m sure it will all be worth it when she looks back and ponders her life with a headset and a clicking clock above her head saying, “Can I take your order?” every time a bell dings in her ear until she develops a tick that coincides with the knife like stabs she feels below her belly button.

See, here’s the thing: I used to be a REPUBLICAN –SHHH! I was raised in Elko with small town values with a Mormon mother and a very Mormon grandmother who I feared disappointing. I went to college as a Poli-Sci major in really liberal Southern Oregon where I spent my time arguing with hippies and laughed when I saw some crying hysterically in the dorms after Bush was re-elected. But then I grew up, and I started to question what I’d been taught, by who, and why. More importantly: I got educated, I got sick, and I got fired.

I was raised to work hard, to pay my dues and I did those things. I busted my ass everyday from the day I turned 15 until my body shut-down and told me it couldn’t handle any more days. I did all the right things in the right order and I still got screwed. Then there are people who make more than $1 million or worse a college football coach who makes $7 million with a publishing deal, a house, a car, a jet, and a Booster club who pay for everything else and you’re saying that guy can’t pay more in taxes? Bottling companies don’t pay taxes or water bills meanwhile people in Flint don’t have any water. It’s cool with you that billionaires kept taking millions in bonuses while families were left homeless because of their predatory and unfair lending and mortgage practices; ones that disproportionately focused on the already poor? These things are absolutely not okay with me and that is why three days ago when I finally registered to vote in Nevada again I registered as a Democrat, because I came from nothing, I had nothing growing up. Because I fought through work, and school, and an abusive relationship, a severe illness, and I graduated from college to make sure I could have a better life than the one I was used to. Because I know what it’s like to build your reputation as a great employee only to lose everything because of a health issue. Because I’ve depended on family, and friends, and unemployment, and Medicaid so I know how important these services are to people. I feel like I didn’t have the best of circumstances to contend with and still come out on top but I know I was very lucky with what I got. Most young women my age have kids to add to the struggle and a whole storyline involving elementary schools, and exes, and daycare, and rides, and schedules, and they get sick and they might to deal with Endo too. No, I was lucky but if I was one of the lucky ones how very bad must it be for the ones that aren’t so lucky?

So, there is one reason why a Democrat thinks it’s okay to take from the few supremely wealthy (I mean Snoop money pays for a guy just to roll joints) the 1% and give charitably to the lowest of the lower echelons: single-mothers, elderly, Veterans. Let’s fund public college, and pre-school, and recess. Let’s kick corporations and God out of a government they were never meant to be a part of.  For me and for 60% of people in our age bracket it’s time to #FeelTheBern!