_____Updated November 26, 2016———–

SO 2016 is really the worst…..due to president-elect Trump and a group of his followers. We have had neo-nazi support from alt-right goons. KKK support for the cheeto. All of which he hasn’t fully disconnected from….because he’s an extreme narcissist that takes any attention he can get. (But he gets mad at the theater kids, see below)

He is hiring a staff that will not be resisted by a republican controlled congress, and they are all climate-deniers, torture supporters, creationist ass hats. There beliefs aren’t even the problem, it’s that time and again they have and they will continue to remove funding and support from programs that have actually brought me a lot of comfort the last few years.

The president threw a fit over the cast of Hamilton addressing his VP, because they asked REAL questions. (This only made me love the musical more, which may be one of a few GOOD things about this year, was my introduction to its magic).

Then let’s talk about the disaster with the DAPL and the horrors that is Standing Rock. Which isn’t a new protest mind you, we’ve been shitting on Native Americans since at least 1492 and here we are….people with power…mostly white men with money and power, stomping on and ignoring people that are poor and often marginalized. They often don’t even have a voice in these matters and their protest is actually a chance to demand some attention to their struggle. However, the way that protesters have been treated through this whole event is nothing short of a human rights violation. One protester lost her arm!

Not to mention the Cheeto has his thumb in every fucking pie, because he’s a business man, and as “in the game” as any white man with power can be. This includes the stock companies that are investing in the building of DAPL. Which means he has financial assets attached to this, and he also has said time and again he’s about oil and fossil fuels and fuck anybody that gets in the way.

Where else do I go? All the things Trump has said even in the last two years is horrifying. And media (even good media) is trying to just keep up, which also fuels the former reality-star and his actions. It’s what he wanted all along…. he never wanted to help people or run a country. He just wants the attention and the fame. He won at that. But that means the rest of us, us working class people, and our children, and everyone that is not a man in their 70s and white and a millionaire.

Media is trying to normalize what is quickly reflecting every fascist movement in modern history.

Watch this if you don’t understand:

Because when we pander to fears, when we use hateful language, when we make false promises just to gain power, when we don’t value even the people that work for us….we end up with monsters like Trump and that is the most horrifying.

I go back and forth on wanting the year to end and not because 21 days in the Cheeto actually gains power. Even since he got elected the stories of attacks, statements, graffiti and hate-crimes has been a constant onslaught.

Personally, I have not had a good year.

Many people have had a shitty year.

I’m not alone but for all of us having a shitty time things suck. REALLY suck.

I have had to quit 2 jobs for reasons beyond my control and that were, at times, frankly absurd.

One of my closest friends lost her HOME- a house she had bought 48 hours before- to the flooding in Baton Rouge. Then her boyfriend ended things. Then her dog got sick. Then her car crapped out….she’s having a blast. (The car is better now)

My year sucks for several reasons. Jobs that don’t pay well. Jobs that aren’t working well. Managers that don’t communicate. Struggling with depression. Struggling with student loans. Struggling with missing my grandma (she died last year but I still hurt). I’ve been picking up the slack where other people fail, step out, or flake out….I don’t want to go into detail. But my stress is at a level I haven’t experienced in 5 years, when over 10 people I knew died due to everything from old age, car accidents and suicide. One always hopes things get better and for five years it did…now….I feel totally cast out to sea.

But we stay hopeful. Because we are beings that stay hopeful. We try and we fight and we pray and cry and hope…we hope so much. Because I honestly don’t know if any of us would stay living if we didn’t have that mechanism. Being we’re intelligent beings, we understand more than is probably good for our emotional well-being. And if you are in the Western world you probably don’t know how to deal, except by hope, a beer and some choice prayers to the universe.

And we have to remember this: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/history/2016/07/is_2016_the_worst_year_in_history.html

and that others have survived worst….

Yet we still feel bruised, and scared, and depressed. The fact I already struggle with anxiety, PTSD and depression adds to trauma that anyone would have. So it’s a fun journey.

I suppose we’ll all figure it out eventually.

Also, can I say it really sucks to have a bunch of people you greatly admire dying.

Alan Rickman

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Gene Wilder

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David Bowie

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Harper Lee

Elie Wiesel

Florence Henderson

Leonard Cohen

Muhammed Ali

You get it.

So we mourn our losses and carry on…hopefully to a planet we can live in and a country we can live with. (It may take 4 years)

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Why this year has been the worst

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This was one of the first things I saw this morning:

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It really struck me too. Because it’s something so basic and simple, but yet it’s happening. These things are either being tucked away and hidden or new nastiness is seeping through the cracks to the mainstream.

Right before the election I head an analyst describe the Trump movement like fracking, we had tapped into a hidden oil stream. Except this time, it’s a sludge of hate, bigotry, lies, racist and misogyny and still people are making a lot of money on it.

Back to the tweet.

Which is really a picture of what Amy Siskind posted on her Facebook:

1. Acts of hate – for the first 400 per SPLC, I could name many that I had seen covered by the media. Then I noticed the count exceeded 700, and I realized I knew very little about those additional 300.
2. Reporters critique their own paper’s coverage of Trump, then delete it (see attached which disappeared overnight, after 2k+ retweets).
3. A president-elect is openly (on Twitter!) trying to take away our freedom of expressions, First Amendment rights: targets this week include SNL, NYT and Hamilton.
4. The media, including traditional media, covered an alt-right conference and published their demands, which included a ban on immigration for 50 years of anyone not white, and an all white nation.

5. Major media following Trump’s reality show storylines, instead of reporting as traditional media/journalism.

6. Democrats advocating for a Mitt Romney appointment to SOS [secretary of state] – a man with whom we agree on almost nothing on policy, but because he is competent and not a racist or a bigot.

7. The pace of untraditional, unorthodox acts, and conflicts of interest by Trump are coming so fast and furious, they’re barely getting coverage.

8. Utter outrage by the left at the complacency and largely silence of our elected leaders. Watch of a Tea Party-esque type uprising.

9. A request for tolerance for, and understanding of, white supremacists.
What observations would you add?

Let’s pick this apart, and let’s be honest about what is happening right now with “media” and with the coverage of this election.

Really, and fully, the media didn’t think we would be where we are now. Those that wanted it, now have it, and those like Breitbart are celebrating because they are getting free coverage of their issues. Their issues are amalgamations of “research” by a non-profit that Mr. Breitbart owns, that he has sent to media organizations to get coverage on. Which elevates his non-profit and then Breitbart can turn around and make sensational and ridiculous articles on. Making a strong, never-ending money making oil that has pulled many a good journalist into the mix. On the Media analyzed this today, which you can listen to here. All around you have someone that was very skilled in media manipulation and he won the game. He denied the presidency from someone that was actually skilled and delivered it soaked in sludge for the American public to devour.

The problem is that we didn’t start talking about this, really, actively talking, until now.

We let Trump dominate our news streams and say horrible things, and NOW we’re seeing the depth of his work and his plan to get where he is now.

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As someone with a MA in journalism, I am literally screaming on the inside that more was not done to analyze this relationship. This is also where I say, WE NEED BETTER JOURNALISM PRACTICES!

WE NEED LONG FORM JOURNALISM AGAIN

WE NEED REAL JOURNALISTS DOING JOURNALISM- meaning people with education, experience and standards

WE NEED TO HOLD PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS AND STATEMENTS- something we obviously didn’t do enough of with Trump because we didn’t take him seriously. Which means we also need to TAKE EXTREMIST GROUPS SERIOUSLY AND CALL THEM OUT.

AND I do not mean groups outside of the country, no I mean the ones that are our neighbors that hide behind confederate flags and Facebook memes.

Things have changed on a personal level for me. And maybe I have just had it with being bullied in my life from employers and “friends” and ignorant assholes online. I’ve changed and I’ve had it and that means that I have been actively not taking crap anymore. Which means I am butting heads with more people, where before I would walk away or not say anything. I’m sick of being a “nice girl” and never getting anywhere so I’m done with it, and I want to demand accountability. This means that I have been called names on social media and bullied.

I pissed off one guy for calling him out on his ignorance on the definition of “Celtic” peoples. I admittedly called him a douche. But instead of even reacting to my comment, he instead tweeted out my name to his 34,000 followers. Who decided to start attacking me in his name. I was told I was ugly and stupid and that my money spent getting my BA and MA would have been better spent on plastic surgery.

Other comments I have made on simple things such as a New Yorker comic, which was today, in that I liked the comic. Someone decided I needed to be called a LibBitch due to the way I wrote “You.Made.My.Day.”.

These are only two examples of the hundreds of statements I’ve heard since I was a teenager, including: Feminazi, libTard etc. Granted there have been others that were meant to be offensive such as dyke and cunt, but I don’t find those all that offensive, so…..

Even if these little things have happened to me, little things because they’re done behind a safety blanket of social media, they don’t matter that much. They sting a little. I’m getting a thick skin from this year. Yet, they’re VERY small potatoes compared to the OVER 700 crimes committed that are considered hate crimes in the last WEEK-AND-A-HALF. Crimes that involved physical assault and the ruining of property. Crimes that have threatened safety and families. Disgusting, cowardly and horrendous crimes that are creeping out of the sludge.

And like Siskind points out, our lack of thorough and high-quality journalism has meant that we worry more about Hamilton (a musical I LOVE btw) “offending Trump” than we are about the hate-crimes committed or the human rights violations dealing with the Dakota Access Pipeline.

While giving air-space to people like Richard Spencer, we’re not taking the time to fact-check and deeply discuss what people like him are saying and what it means that they’re saying these things. We’re not looking at these White-Supremacist meetings as anything serious, yet that’s how we got here in the first place. We’re not freaking out about Trumps administration because we’re distracted by all the other sludge he’s drowning us in.

And maybe, just maybe, we all (us historians and journalists and and left-leaning peoples) feel so low and shaken by this election that we are wanting to be optimistic and play by the rules of nice. Yet, as someone that has always played nice for 25 years and I’m regretting it, I say we only play nice when others are also going to follow the rules. So far, the Trump-ites are not, and I am refusing to play nice while we descend into allowing such extreme ideas become the norm. I refuse to let the sludge become a part of our normal existence, and you should too.

Keep track of the changes. Speak out. Refuse to be idle.

It’s Bigger Than You

musings

All of this, this election, this country, this world. It is SOOO much bigger than just you. Sooo much bigger than me.

We’re just this blue planet in the middle of a massive solar system, which is part of an infinitely larger universe which is part of infinite universes. We’re about as relevant (sorry for bad scientific analogy) as a piece of sand in the entirety of our planet. So maybe that means we should do nothing. Or maybe, just maybe, let’s think about ALL of this.

Because the universe is also attached to you, and you it. Your actions effect everything around you. Everything. So think of the sand again, get that in an eyeball and it HURTS and it can get infected, scratch your cornea and cause a lot of damage. That’s the weird thing, is that that little piece of nothing can make everything react. It can cause damage. OR it can also be a part of a beautiful landscape and memories and positivity.

Moving away from sand, let’s think about a person. One person on a planet of 7 billion, in the solar system, in a universe of many universes. This one person has an impact on everything around them. How much energy they consume results in energy produced, the food they eat makes an impact on the planet and what was grown or raised to be food. The clothes they wear and how they were made has an impact on the planet and how workers are treated. The people they befriend also has a wider reach in their actions. All of it is connected. All of it.

So let’s think about this election and what has happened in only…..4.5 days. Many of us might ignore the ramifications of a presidential elect. We might ignore the hate crimes being committed. We might pretend that things are okay or not a problem. But all of these things are so very disturbing. They have connections to everything else, to communities and religions and global ideas. ALL of these things are connected. So we have a choice, to be the sand that causes an infection by hanging out in an eyeball OR we can be part of something better.

If you did not vote for Trump you also have some homework. Who did you vote for? if Hillary, hey me too! But we have a lot of work to do to make sure we help others. A safety pin is a start, but make sure you back it up with other actions. Talk to PoC, listen to their concerns and complaints, ask questions and act with love and kindness. Give support to movements that want to protect minorities such as marching or donating money or simply opening up dialogues with people. MAKE SURE YOU DEFEND PEOPLE when attacked and provide support. If you need more ideas, here is a great resource. Let’s make sure we do not let the racism and hate that fueled Trumps rise to power become a nation-wide infection. If it already has, let’s start throwing some antibiotic in that eye.

If you voted for Trump, one has to think about what do you do next? If you hate other people so much, ask yourself why? Ask yourself what the fuck makes you think that way? Is it some loud-mouth on the radio or some relative or just a sadness in your gut that makes you think that way? What? Have you researched anything to back up your feelings or ideas and have you cross-checked it? Have you asked enough questions? If you don’t know something might i suggest going to the library or researching academic articles or asking a professor at a university to provide some information. Ask yourself why you are so afraid of “other” and not people in your own country that act in hate and attack others with guns or fists or spray paint. REALLY think about where you’re at. REALLY think about it. Are you upset because jobs have been less and less stable and less livable? Hey so many people relate, and the problems are REAL but we also have to work together to fix them and work for laws that protect workers. We can do this together, but please stop blaming “other” for the problem. Maybe you don’t even blame “other” for this, but maybe you wanted something different in the office of POTUS, okay, but what did Trump represent with his millions and his lawsuits and his lack of clarity on policy? We’re in the pot with him regardless, but really think about why, and then think about what YOU are going to do to make things better. Also, if you were so afraid of democrats being in office for your belief system, then we need to have a chat about Christian principles, because while you’re freaking out about abortions, Jesus is real pissed you don’t love others like yourself, those others that are ACTUALLY alive. All jokes aside, it’s wrong and you know it, and I grew up Christian too and there was no time that I felt the learnings I got from actual biblical text, that Jesus would ever endorse.

SO, TO FINISH up my 1000 word rant, let’s just actually love one another. Can we stop trying to make people attach to weird principles on sexuality or gender identity? Can we stop acting with fear before we understand a belief system? Can we acknowledge that we are all more alike than different? Can we stop being accepting of bigotry? Can we stop making excuses for misogyny and why woman aren’t equal?

I like to think about my grandma when I am confronted with anger and even hatred. She taught me that no matter what we must love. We must show compassion and we must be bigger than our animal instincts. She grew up in a world that had a lot of pain in it, a lot of racism and a lot of hatred. Born in 1929, the depression made her childhood hard. Then WWII made her teen years hard, the post war years made her confront racism in Wyoming and Colorado and Kansas. I remember this one story she told most strongly now:

She was in Kansas City with a friend, a friend that was from the Phillipines was with her when they were shopping. the friend from the Phillipines had a unique story, she was a child in WWII in the middled of the Japanese and American conflict. This child had risked her life crossing enemy lines to sneak information from the Japanese to the American units under General Wainwright. This woman had risked her life and that of her families to support American troops. She possibly saved thousands of lives.

When the conflict was over, Wainright had worked to allow people to go to the United States and get their education. Which is exactly what she was doing when she was enjoying an afternoon out with her friends. We’ll call her Ruby.

My grandma had grown up in a small community in Kansas, with no segregation because it was so small and only a few families weren’t white, so she had never seen or heard of segregation or refusing service to peoples based on skin-tone.

When in Woolworths the group of them went to the deli counter to order slices of pie as a snack for their shopping trip. Immediately, the server informed them that they would not serve Ruby because she was a Person of Color. So they all walked out and bought nothing. Refusing to participate in their bigotry and racism. Ruby was a war hero, and they wouldn’t serve her a piece of pie because of the shade of her skin. Refusing to participate, is exactly what should have been done and I am proud to say my grandma walked out that day.

When we have privilege, we must use it to aid others, and there is no excuse, at this point in time, not to.

Be a better person today, learn, love, give, support.

 

You know how in school we’re told to stand up for what’s right, even if we’re standing alone?

My parents encouraged this. Which I am profusely grateful. Even if my right is their wrong and vice a versa.

As someone that always took this as 100% the way to live my life, this means I don’t always make friends or peace with those around me. I often tangle with people in my family and people I grew up with. It means that many teary and angry conversations have been had with people I legitimately love, but that I cannot agree with their beliefs.

After the election on Tuesday I removed a lot of these people from my immediate connections. It was a long time coming, but I just couldn’t continue to be confronted with the following:

Bigotry,

Islamophobia,

Homophobia,

Transphobia,

Sexism,

Racism,

Anti-immigrant,

Anti-equality

and the list goes on.

I didn’t unfriend these people because they had a different argument or a different feeling, it’s because they continued to perpetuate inaccuracies and make excuses for hate speech and bigotry. They did this without fact-checking or without reading or without thinking what it means to any one of these groups of people that have been oppressed, abused and mistreated for these identities.

The did not care to research that racism is based on a system of oppression and that there is no such thing as reversed racism. Or that sexism is very well alive and can be proved over and over again. They kept themselves in a bubble that ignored reality, that ignored the tears and pain of those being abused as a result of our systemic problems in this country. It’s not the vote for the talking head, it’s the willful ignorance and hatred that they endorsed and support.

I CAN’T have this in my life, I refuse, and I refuse to make excuses for people that endorse this behavior. I refuse to make excuses so I can stay friendly with people that view me and so many of the people I love and admire as second class citizens.

So here I am, standing for what is right, and I will stand alone if I have to.

I am standing for what is right, which is basic human rights for all people. Which is giving people safety and sanctuary when they have been brutalized. It is standing against continued rape culture and the perpetuation that women or men “make it up” when they’re assaulted. It is standing up against a system that favors jailing minorities over whites that commit the same crime. It’s standing against anti-drug policies that favor abusing and oppressing minorities. It’s making sure women have access and rights to all the things male counterparts have. It’s making sure people of color, LGBTQ, differently-abled and anyone else that has been the victim of oppression is given the right and opportunity to succeed.

I refuse to write off people that haven’t had the opportunities of others. I refuse to view a group of people with hate (including Trump-ites). I refuse to believe any nationality or ethnic group is different, or more prone to, or less than human. I REFUSE. And I refuse to acknowledge others’ hatred as an accurate or even real argument.

I don’t care if one time someone from some group was mean once, or said something once. That’s not a representation of everyone from that group and their behavior sucks, but when you have lived a life treated as less than, sometimes you lash out, sometimes the anger from years of mistreatment boils over. And one becomes mad as hell and has just had enough. I think we have all been there for some reason. We cannot acknowledge one negative action as an example of how everyone behaves. You know this to be true. One kid in the class eats glue, not everyone in kindergarten does.

However, I will listen to REAL arguments and I will listen to real complaints. I will listen to real feelings about being left behind and underrepresented. Because, hey, I feel that way too. However, I also know that the layers to these problems are not from minorities and they are not from immigrants, they are not from foreign governments and they are not from any group that can be scapegoated. If you want to learn with me, then let me know. I’m happy to talk, I’m happy to show you. I’m happy to learn.

I’m happy to take suggestions, ideas and encouragement, but only if they have a standing in reality. I will not, and cannot take your bigotry or your privilege as an argument. Do you understand?

So today I turn my back on hatred and oppression. I don’t turn my back on people, but I will not see their hateful actions on my Facebook or twitter. It’s not a willful ignorance or wanting to shut these people out, but I refuse to be on social media terms with people that post these statement as if they were just a cute cat photo.

It may make no difference in the long run, but you know this poem:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

~Martin Niemöller

I am speaking for those that can’t speak up and maybe someone will speak for me or not, but I am speaking for others now. You should too.

 

Turn Your Back On Wrong

History, musings