Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Thank You Alabama, But This is Round One

Let us celebrate.  It is an odd thing to say about a special election in Alabama in December of an off year, but last night the side of light and justice won the race.  A special thank you to the African-American electorate who truly came through for Doug Jones last night.  Thank you to Corey Booker and (this one hurts) Charles Barkley for helping to excite and get the vote out.  Roy Moore is not going to the Senate and the only way to see this is a good thing. 

But let's keep in mind that over 650 thousand people voted for the guy who think that homosexual behavior should be against the law, Muslims should not be able to serve in Congress, and that the Constitution shouldn't apply if it doesn't support his version of Christianity, and of course wants to abolish all the amendments since the Bill of Rights.  Oh and there are several credible accusations that he dated and molested teens when he was in his 30s.  This fight is not over.  We must be diligent.  Over half a million people voted for a terrible candidate who did not belong on a ticket for anything, let alone the Senate.  His ignorance and hate resonated with so many people.  To get a look at just how terrible this candidate was, his spokespeople who were the only contact that mainstream media had with the campaign when interviewed sounded like they were crazy.  Just yesterday, Jake Tapper, interviewing his spokesman asked a simple question about whether he knew that  you can be sworn in without a Bible and the spokesperson seemed to have a seizure.  Every time I saw someone supporting his campaign I wanted to send a care package to them.  Yet still the RNC, the President, members of Congress and many in Alabama still threw their support behind Moore. 

Last night the President and his Bannon influenced hate-filled nationalism took a blow.  But in 2018 we can truly have a chance to cure this horrific disease in American politics.  Mobilize, continue to fight for good candidates, stand up against hate of all kinds, even if it doesn't effect you personally, and be informed.  Listen to those in your party who have been marginalized, remember last night it was African-Americans, especially women, who won this for Jones who didn't really build in-roads to the community.  He has two years to do that.  Stop being a one-issue voter, I understand that lines need to be drawn on some issues, but do what many in Alabama did last night and voted for someone who may vote differently than they did.  Demand access, information and facts from all candidates, don't let political speak be the background noise of any campaign.  Oh and talk to those who you disagree with, there is a battle for political soul of this country, some of our allies don't vote the way we do, but in the end share some of our values.  Celebrate Alabama, celebrate Doug Jones, but then let's see what we can do to keep the tide rolling. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

so tired

Yesterday, Dianne said something like the one good thing about a Trump Presidency is that it makes each day seem like a month, each week more like a year, he is prolonging our lives.  It is true but I am very tired. 

I am tired of having to explain facts are not up for debate.  There are things that just are.  There aren't two sides to facts. (Despite what lawyers might say)  Be it a crowd size at an inauguration or referencing events that didn't happen, some things are not debatable.  I am tired of people trying to explain away reality in favor of a President who has a passing relationship with it.  When a spokesperson for the President of the United States says that there are alternative facts (which we know means lies) she is creating a Lingua Tertii Imperii.  A Trumpian world view full of propaganda and nonsense.  Intoxicating to his core supporters.

I am tired of having to argue against people that Roy Moore is a bad guy.  Seriously how low is the Republican party willing to go to support this guy.  Twice removed from the bench for violating the Constitution, he continues to promote ideas so far outside the main stream they might be illegal in other countries.  He has said that the country was better when slavery was legal.  He, in violation of the Constitution, wants to ban Muslims from serving in public office.  He believes homosexuality should be outlawed.  Oh and he is credibly accused of child molestation and wanting to date high school girls when he was in his thirties.  The later he didn't really deny.  There is evidence that he was watched for his bad behavior around teen girls and maybe even banned from a mall.  He may become a Senator in the US Congress.  How is it possible that he is being supported by so many and why would a sitting President strongly endorse him? 

I am tired of explaining why America wasn't great when black people where considered second-class citizens.  Seriously, there is a rising voice, like Moore's, who long for the good old days when blacks were either slaves, under Jim Crow or getting beaten for demanding their rights as Americans.  The President's support for White supremacists and his bringing into the inner circle of power people who have these beliefs is disgusting and it is exhausting to have to stand against it.

I am tired of watching smart people try to explain away nonsense from elected officials. This can be infuriating.  People I respected have done the kind of mental stretching that would make Plastic man proud.  I truly wonder at times how they sleep at night.

I am tired of having to fight the battles that I thought were settled before. While hate-groups and their allies have been around forever, they were kept in check in the last 2 decades.   President Trump's rise has given a sense of power to anti-woman, anti-Islam, anti-Jewish, anti-Gay, and so many other hate-based organizations as sense of support.  We watched in horror as Nazis marched in American cities and killing a counter-protester in Charlottesville and the President thought there were good people on the side of the Nazis. 

I am tired of having to call my representatives so often because they are trying to do something horrible.  It seems weekly there is another attack on the very foundation that makes our country great, the idea that together we create a social network with the help of government so we can all live and many more thrive.  I am all for free market economies but the rules have allowed some to take extreme advantage of the weakest in our society.  Over the Obama administration laws enacted were to help stand in the way of that and now they are being dismantled.  In fact recently a fine to Wells Fargo for, and let me be clear, creating false accounts in their client's names, to pad numbers and collect bonuses, only to charge the new costs back to the clients who, the stole their identity is being rolled back by this administration.  To me, this is the highest level of evil. 

I am tired that every morning I feel like I have to check the following:
  • Is reality up for debate?
  • Did another racist, homophobe, misogynist, etc get access to the President or appointed to a position of power? 
  • Are there Americans being disenfranchised by actions of party who doesn't seem to care?
  • Are we at war with someone new?
  • Did the President say something on his Twitter feed that will make the world unsafe for some or all of us. 
So many other things could be added to this list. Exhaustion washes over us and there is a worry that we will run out of steam.  November of 2018 is coming.  We have to save our strength and we can change the political landscape.  Let's lean on each other when we need the support.  

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Are We Entering a New Era?

The recent rash of high profile men who are accused or have admitted to sexual harassment and assault are being shamed, fired and in jeopardy of losing their political offices.  This  has caused a bit of anxiety among some men who fear that all men are being painted with the same large brush as  sexual predators. The "NOT ALL MEN" voices are loud and getting angry.   The thing is that I have had dozens of conversations with dozens of women I personally know and all have a story of a time a man has violated their personal space, made them uncomfortable in a sexualized context or assaulted them.  Women in the 20s through their 70s.  Women of wealth and education and women or neither.  Conservative, liberal and apolitical women.  Something is seriously wrong with the way men and women interact in many areas of life and it is mostly being seen in the work place where men with power and control of women's careers or economics take advantage of that.  But it appears that there are plenty of less cut and dried situations where women have felt they were made vulnerable.

The following is a thread from my Twitter feed in response to a man who said only a tiny minority of men act inappropriately toward women and not all men should be blamed:

Jim, as a man who thinks he has never been someone like that (referring to sexually inappropriate behavior in an earlier tweet)  I can't honestly say that I know for sure because we socialize women to not tell us and we socialize men to act this way.  I know I have never attacked a woman.  I know that I have never held a woman in a space against her will, I know I have never shown my genitals to a woman that was not my lover, but I can't say that some woman in my past did not feel threatened by my actions.  My intent is not fully relevant if the person in question is both feeling threatened and at the same time socialized not to respond.  This new era of woman standing up may change the way that women and men deal with it.  Bottom line is that we are looking at power not flirtation.  We are looking at control not seduction.  That is the problem of how we socialize women and men sexually.  And women are over it (thank God).  

Sex is a weapon in many of the incidence that are being discussed on daily news programs.  It is not about desire or even lust, it is often about control and power.  Many of the men listed in various accusation could have found women who would willingly be with them.  For some, money, power, access and fame are aphrodisiacs.  But they didn't want partners or equals, they wanted to dominate, shame or somehow own a piece of these women. 

But the less than clear situations do need to be addressed, but the rising voices that men can't flirt or a ridiculous article in the Los Angles Times today that asks if men could still hug women.  (the answer is no if she doesn't want you to).  I believe there are many layers to the issues of sexuality and the use of sex ans sexual language as a way to inflict power.  But it starts with how we raise our children to understand how to interact with others. 

Currently men seemed to be socialized from an early age that when it comes to sex to act as if they are on a campaign to conquer defended land.  "Did you get very far" is one of the many quotes we use to discuss men's sexual activity with women.  For women they are socialized to defend the line that men want to cross.  In fact if women don't put up a fight and express their own sexual desire they are often shamed.  Also much of our culture eschews teaching about sexuality and pretends that if we tell teens not to have sex then they won't.  It is a troubling cycle but I think the recent news and the openness for women to talk about their experiences we may make a breakthrough. 

We must teach young people that they are in control of their own bodies.  They should never be forced to kiss and hug anyone at and earlier age.  As young people grow they should be given not only information on how their bodies work but how their minds work in relationship to the desires of their bodies and that they have the right to control their own body.  This could include many things including not shaming for how they look, talk, act or express themselves. 

We may be in a new era.  Every day more and more stories come out.  In less public situations more and more women are confronting men around them who make them feel uncomfortable and more and more men are rethinking how they see the world.  But the process will be slow and it is up to us to help teach the next generation.  Maybe we needed this recent explosion and we may find that it tarnishes people we love.  I think it is worth it. 

Why Hate Crimes Laws Are the Right Thing To Do

Indiana is one of a handful of states without a hate crimes (or bias crimes) law.  For many legislative cycles a bill was killed by the Re...