Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Thoughts on an Election

Our vision has not died, and we are STILL stronger together.

As difficult as it is (and I'm having a really tough time typing this), my decision is to accept the outcome.

Therefore, I pray for our nation and for our president-elect, just as my parents taught me to do. And while I have no respect for Donald Trump the man, I offer him the respect for his presidency that was never afforded President Obama. And who knows, maybe he'll even do a good job. I am now obligated to give him that chance.

At the same time, I believe one of my highest duties as American citizen is to fight against forces that would undermine our Constitution and fundamental American ideals. I believe the United States is in danger from such forces. 

By electing Donald Trump, and by maintaining a Republican House and Senate, the American people have put us on notice that we -- Muslims, Jews, women, people of color, immigrants, and the LGBTQ community, among others -- can now be discriminated against with impunity. We have been put on notice that we are second-class citizens. We are now to settle for a marginal role in the American journey.

Whatever else I must accept about the 2016 election, I have no intention of accepting that.

So, while I have made the decision to move forward with faith and optimism, I must also increase my vigilance. I must embrace sacrifice and action. I must fight not only for myself, but for others now further marginalized. In short, I must fight for my country.

Together, today, we move forward as Americans.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

"How about a little hug for the Bushy?"

Oh, where to begin? The Access Hollywood tape, the pre-debate exploitation of Bill Clinton's victims, and the second debate itself. The mind reels! It's become a feeding frenzy, and pundits on both sides are imploring all of us to get back to the real issues.

But I'm going to take one more look anyway. 

From the debate:
COOPER: ... We received a lot of questions online, Mr. Trump, about the tape that was released on Friday, as you can imagine. You called what you said locker room banter. You described kissing women without consent, grabbing their genitals. That is sexual assault. You bragged that you have sexually assaulted women. Do you understand that?
TRUMP: No, I didn’t say that at all. I don’t think you understood what was — this was locker room talk. I’m not proud of it. I apologize to my family. I apologize to the American people. Certainly I’m not proud of it. But this is locker room talk.
Wait -- what? "No, I didn't say that at all. I don't think you understood ,,,"

Now, Trump is not denying that he said the words. Indeed, he freely admits it. No, it's worse than that. When he mansplains the concept of "locker room talk" to Anderson Cooper, what he's really saying is this: "No. What I described on that tape isn't sexual assault."

Of course, he's wrong, but here's the thing. Let's assume for a moment that it was just talk (not that Trump deserves that concession). Let's see what happens when Trump and Bush get off the bus.
TRUMP: Hello. How are you? Hi.
ARIANNE ZUCKER: Hi Mr. Trump. How are you? Pleasure to meet you.
TRUMP: Nice seeing you. Terrific, terrific. You know Billy Bush?
BUSH: Hello, nice to see you. How are you doing, Arianne?
ZUCKER: I’m doing very well, thank you. [To Trump] Are you ready to be a soap star?
TRUMP: We’re ready, let’s go. Make me a soap star.
BUSH: How about a little hug for the Donald? He just got off the bus.
ZUCKER: Would you like a little hug, darling?
TRUMP: Okay, absolutely. Melania said this was okay.
BUSH: How about a little hug for the Bushy? I just got off the bus. There we go. Excellent. Well, you’ve got a nice co-star here.
ZUCKER:  Yes. Absolutely.
TRUMP: Good. After you. Come on, Billy. Don’t be shy.
Billy Bush, whom we've just heard giggling uncontrollably at Trump's "banter," becomes the aggressor. Having learned from Trump how real men act, but without the confidence of the Donald, Bush first offers the young actress to Trump for a hug and then, in one of the creepiest lines in the whole tape, takes her for himself. Yes, he asks permission, but I doubt she felt free to refuse.

No, it isn't rape. But it is rape culture, which is deeply symbolic of gender inequality.

And gender equality, my friends, is a real issue. Those of us who have fought rape culture since the 1970s  -- hell, since the beginning of time -- have no intention of leaving it behind.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

What we were like, and then some -- a Spotify playlist for Recovery September

September is recovery month, and I'm happy -- very, very happy -- to tell  you I haven't had to drink or use in 12,836 days. Crazy, huh?

But even at 35 years sober, I like a distraction from real work as much as the next addict. So this weekend, when I should have been putting up  the living room blinds and pulling weeds, I spent a shitload of time putting together a Spotify playlist called "What we were like, what happened, and what we're like now." You'll find the link below. I think it's around 60 songs, so I'll be kind of surprised if anyone actually listens to the whole thing, but what the hell. I'll listen to it, plus I get a blog post out of it. So there.

If you do decide to listen, a couple warnings:

First, it's not terribly child friendly, unless your child has a mouth like a sailor. Probably not a great idea to play it while you're hauling the neighborhood kiddies to school.

Second, TRIGGER ALERT. It starts out pretty light, but the section on "what we were like" gets progressively darker, and ends up very dark indeed -- just like the disease of addiction,  So if it starts to get to you, skip ahead to "Amazing Grace." It's pretty much uphill (in a good way) from there.

Finally, if I've accidentally included a skinhead band or something similarly awful, please tell me so I can take it out.

And now, for your consideration:


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Henny Penny Snags a Big One

So anyway, Ducky Lucky was taking his morning constitutional when he ran into Henny Penny. She was dragging along a huge plastic case about twice her size. It wasn't going well.

"What on earth are you doing, Henny Penny?" asked Ducky Lucky.

Bringing home my new rotary hammer," Henny Penny gasped. "Whew! Gotta sit down."

Ducky Lucky eyed his friend carefully. "Rotary hammer. You mean like a jackhammer?"

Henny Penny was still catching her breath. "Not a jackhammer. Rotary hammer." She licked a drop of sweat from the tip of her beak.

"Lemme see," Ducky Lucky demanded.

"Okay," Henny Penny wheezed. She tried to lay the case down gently on its side, but she lost her balance and she fell with the case. Suppressing a squawk, she opened the lid. Inside was a huge, sleek, green tool that looked more like an assault weapon than any kind of hammer. If it were a person it would have been Chuck Connors as Marvin "The Claw" Zuckerman.

"Holy fuck!" said Ducky Lucky, not even trying to hide his admiration. What is a rotary hammer, anyway?"

Just then Foxy Loxy trotted up. "Whoa! Is that an assault weapon or are you just happy to see me?"

"It's a rotary hammer," Ducky Lucky said. "Cool, huh?"

"Yes, indeed, it's a real beauty all right!" gushed Foxy Loxy. "What's a rotary hammer?"

"I don't know," said Ducky Lucky. "But I'm pretty sure I want one."

Henny Penny rolled her eyes. "Don't you two know anything? It's like a drill, only on steroids. It hammers while it drills. In and out! Around and around!"

Foxy Loxy walked around the hammer, inspecting it from all sides. He narrowed his eyes. "It's kind of phallic, isn't it?"

Yeah. It's eighteen inches long and it's mine.
Foxy Loxy reached down to pick it up, but Henny Penny intercepted.  "It's mine!"

"Yours?" Foxy Loxy asked, incredulous. "Oh, come on. You can barely hang a picture."

"Well, that changes today," clucked Henny Penny, and then she grinned. "This baby can drill through cement!"

"Since when do you need to drill through cement?" asked Foxy Loxy.

"It was on sale," Henny Penny said defensively. She pulled out a Sham-Wow and began to polish it. "I've named him Diesel," she said quietly.

"Do you even know how to run that thing?" asked Ducky Lucky.

Henny Penny shifted uncomfortably. "Sure, I do," she hedged.

Ducky Lucky took Henny Penny by her shoulders and looked straight into her eyes. "As I recall, you once pounded frozen hamburger crumbles in the frying pan with a hammer. Shit flew everywhere. Face it, Henny Penny. You're just not good with tools."

Henny Penny's eyes flashed. "I'll have you know I'm very mechanical!"

At this, Ducky Lucky and Foxy Loxy broke into fits of laughter. "Yeah, right! Like when you didn't replace your brakes until they actually fell off your car. Oh, and when you caused a gasoline flood at the BigGas because you forgot to turn off the nozzle. Yeah, you're real mechanical, Henny Penny. That's rich!"

As they were recovering from the joke, Owlie Jowlie walked up and eyed the rotary hammer. "Kind of phallic, isn't it?"

"Oh, shut up!" growled Henny Penny. "I'm done." She stood up and ruffled her feathers. "Let's go, Diesel. We'll find a nice piece of cement, just the two of us. We'll have a picnic." The little hen tenderly covered Diesel with the Sham-Wow and latched the cover.

"You know, you really are kind of phallic," whispered Henny Penny.  And with a mighty heave on the case, Henny Penny began the long trek home.

Epilogue: 

-- Yes, I bought this, and yes, it's huge.
-- No, I don't call it Diesel. 
-- I was so intimidated when I opened it up that it took me a month to take it out of the case, and another two weeks to turn it on. 
-- After I drilled two practice holes in the garage I had to lay down.
-- Now I can hang pictures on my cement walls.


Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Phyllis Schlafly is Dead.

Phyllis Schlafly died of cancer yesterday. She was most famous for her successful fight to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment. More than any single person, Phyllis Schlafly is the reason women are still not protected by the U.S. Constitution.

Schlafly was an attorney, activist, and prolific writer. She successfully formed and led right-wing extremist groups. She could not have accomplished any of this but for early feminists. On the backs of suffragettes, she did her best to destroy the women's movement. She was a rabid opponent of LGBT rights, too, despite the fact that she had a gay son.

These are just a few of her charms. You'll find plenty more in the Washington Post's obit.

Cancer is a terrible thing, and I hope Phyllis Schlafly didn't suffer. To her family, I'm sorry for their loss.

For the rest of us, however, I celebrate her passing.  The world is now a little brighter.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Meanwhile, as we're all patting ourselves on the back for being civilized...

Donald Trump is an asshole. We all know that. But this post isn't about Donald Trump. It's about hypocrisy and bigotry on the left.

I have an acquaintance on Facebook who is clearly anti-Trump (as am I). Yesterday, he posted an article about how Mike Pence says there's no place for name-calling in public life. My friend's caption: "Ironic quote of the day." Absolutely!

But less than two hours earlier, my friend had posted this gem:


 Nice, huh? In my friend's version, though, the woman's face wasn't blurred out. Can you say "public shaming"?

And the comments were just lovely, too. Here are two of my favorites:

She's HUUUUUGE! HUUUUUGE!
I didn't think being obese was something you were born to be. Its [sic] a choice to be a pig when it comes to food.

As of this writing, the post has been shared 28 times.

Think I'm missing the point?  Please. The pro-LGBT text is just a pretense to rationalize publishing the photo.

Now, I know I'm not objective, because I've got an eating disorder. I went to treatment and learned how not to binge, but as of this writing, I'm a very round, very, very uncomfortable 233 pounds with a treadmill arriving on Monday. And the reason I've got a treadmill coming is because I'm embarrassed to exercise in public. I know I shouldn't care what people think, but postings like this are hard to tune out.

So yeah, I took it personally. But that doesn't mean I'm wrong.

Donald Trump is cruel, no question. But so are the people who created, posted, and shared this piece of shit.

And honey, cruelty isn't any more acceptable just because it comes from the left.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Not everything in Santa Fe is beautiful.

Santa Fe has a past. It's a past of diversity and beauty and magic. But it's also a past of colonialism and racism. Of course, I knew that when I came here. I even knew that there was a Civil War battle nearby in Glorieta.

But here's something I didn't know: Santa Fe was the site of a Japanese internment camp from 1942 to 1946, where 4,555 men were imprisoned without due process.


Today -- two days after Veterans Day -- I visited the monument at the site, dedicated in 2002. If most of us have forgotten about this despicable piece of history, it was clear from the flowers and origami cranes left behind that the memory is still fresh for some.

I write this in the hours following the infuriating, devastating attacks in Paris. So far, it looks like it was the work of ISIS or Al Qaeda.

Fear, anger, and the desire for revenge are natural. I'm feeling all of those things right now. But I hope that, as a nation, we don't allow those feelings to translate to policy.

The plaque at the Santa Fe camp ends with the following sentence:


Indeed.

Here are some of the photos I took today.






 
Tonight, I pray for peace, wisdom, and restraint.