Thursday, February 23, 2017

A Letter to Ted Cruz

Dear Ted,

I just read where you called me and my fellow Democrats "bat-crap crazy" during your little talk at CPAC.

I really wish you hadn't done that. Not because it hurts my feelings, but because it makes you look like a small-minded crybaby of a bully. Which is not a very senatorial look. It's also admitting that you don't give a damn about a very large group of your constituents. Because make no mistake Ted: I am your constituent, just as my fellow Texas Democrats are your constituents. It also shows that you clearly think that the status quo of the last 25 or more years is still in effect. You know, the one where Texas Republicans are invincible and Texas Democrats just kind of ceded you the state. And that's also a big mistake. We are waking up and we are not going to sit quietly in the corner anymore and let you or any other elected official in this state (or this country) do whatever they want. We will be heard and respected or you and anyone else who fails to listen to us will end up dealing with us at election time.

In the meantime, let me give you a few examples of things that are truly 'bat-crap crazy':

It is bat-crap crazy to claim to be pro-life solely on the basis of your anti-abortion beliefs without also being in favor of a few other things. Such as being against the death penalty. Or being in favor of an organization, such as Planned Parenthood, which saves lives every single day by providing health care of all kinds to those who otherwise would not have access to it. It's bat-crap crazy to shut down access to birth control and education about birth control when access to those have been demonstrably proven to reduce the number of abortions. It's bat-crap crazy when you claim the pro-life high ground while you refuse to take in refugees and send them back to die at the hands of the regimes and violence they are fleeing. If you don't care and protect the child, teenager, or the adult that baby grows up to be, then you are not truly pro-life.

It's bat-crap crazy to spend money on 'bathroom' legislation, instead of spending money on public education or programs that combat human trafficking.

It's bat-crap crazy to pour billions into building a wall along the U.S. - Mexico border to keep us 'safe' from non-existent 'rapists and criminals' when our nation's infrastructure is decaying daily with no plan to repair or replace it. You want to keep people safe and create jobs? Put the money into repairing and replacing our nations roads, bridges, and dams. 

It's bat-crap crazy to spend millions to deport people who have never done any harm to anyone and to separate children from their families by deporting their parents, then potentially dumping these children into our overloaded and underfunded foster care system.

It's bat-crap crazy to ban all Muslims from entering because of the actions of a few extremists. Especially when the facts show that the average American is in more danger of being killed by a toddler who finds an unsecured gun than a terrorist who entered the country illegally. (And yes, here's the stats: Oh, and by the way, people who have truly studied the issue of terrorism say the main thing that will be accomplished by this ban is to make it easier for the terrorists to recruit. Hate breeds hate. So, maybe we need to think about ways to break that cycle.

It's bat-crap crazy to pass laws that allow corporations to pollute our water and earth in the name of 'creating more jobs.' Seriously? How is that going to work? Are the proposed jobs going to be in health care nursing those who get ill from the chemicals being dumped?

It's bat-crap crazy to dismantle the ACA, leaving people without coverage and potentially causing the deaths of the seriously ill who will lose their coverage without a workable plan in place. And I don't mean a plan that won't work for the neediest among us.

It's bat-crap crazy to spend millions investigating over and over again, Hillary Clinton's emails and then to refuse to investigate Trump's staffs' ties to Russia, when the red flags are clearly there. This is partisan politics of the worst kind. 

It's bat-crap crazy to not stand up for a free press and to defend at all costs freedom of the press, a press that fact checks and stands against the promulgation of hatred, bigotry in all its forms, and racism. 

So, based on this Ted, who's the one who is bat-crap crazy? It's sure as hell looks like it's not me. Or my fellow Democrats. So you think about it. And if you decide that you don't care about us, well, we'll see you in 2018. Actually, we'll see you before then too. At every event you hold. And we'll be calling and writing too. We've been silent too long and we are not going to go silent again.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Peace to You.

It's Christmas Eve. In the past, I've posted a Christmas wish list, which is usually a list of things, mostly political, that I want desperately to be resolved. Given what has happened this past year, I really thought I'd be posting that again. But I'm not. Despite my despair over the result of the election and what is happening to our country, I find myself focusing instead on what I am grateful for tonight.

My sister Julia reaching six months in remission from Acute Myeloid Leukemia and also the successful removal of the two melanoma tumors she had. How wonderful is it that she is in great shape despite fighting two totally different cancers this year? I am beyond grateful for her doctors at MD Anderson who have gotten her to this point. But more than anything else I am in awe of how Julia has handled everything she faced this year. An added gift is the increased closeness to her that I have and which I treasure every day.

My relationship with my sister Jane. In the past few years, with all that has gone on in my life, the losses I have faced and dealt with, never did I imagine that it would be this sister who would be my bulwark and the one I could turn to. I can only hope that I have been a tiny fraction of a similar resource for her.  

My immediate family. Last night, I was blessed to have a sleepover with my two darling granddaughters and one of my daughters. And tonight, all three of my children, my lovely daughter-in-law, and those granddaughters were at my house for dinner and Christmas present opening. Laughing and playing with them and my husband tonight, I was able to put aside the despair of the past few months and revel in the moments we shared. Tonight reminded me that, despite whatever else is going on in the world, I have children and grandchildren who are the epitome of love and understanding. And yes, I know, everyone thinks their children are wonderful. But my daughters and son truly are. I see how they interact with each other and with the world and it gives me hope.  Hope that they will be difference that changes the world. Even if it is just the tiny part of the world around them.

So, this Christmas, I wish you the peace that I have tonight. I hope that you will look around you and see the tiny, and hopefully large, joys of life. That you have that person or people in your life who are there to support you. And if, for whatever reason, you are living in darkness tonight due to whatever difficulty, that the coming year will bring you peace and joy in some form or fashion.

Merry Christmas to you all. And together, we will make a difference in the new year.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Legitimization of Hate

It has been coming on slowly, but inexorably. The legitimization of hatred.

Hatred in the form of racism.

Hatred in the form of religious intolerance.

Hatred in the form of sexism.

Hatred in all its ugly forms. 

It is clear that for far too many, the lessons I thought the world had learned of inclusiveness love of one's neighbor despite his or her race, gender, or religionhave fallen by the wayside, or worse yet, never truly took root in people's hearts.

What is particularly appalling to me about the resurgence of this racism, sexism and bigotry is that many of those who I see and hear expressing it are people of my generation. People, who lived through the Civil Rights movement and who saw, either first hand or in the media of the day, the injustice of segregation and racism of the 50s, 60s and 70s. These same people are now openly expressing views that are encouraging and espousing a return to the 'good old days'. Yes, the good old days. When white men were in full control and anyone who was different due to race, religion, sexual preferences, or gender didn't dare to show it. When women knew their place and it wasn't in the workplace. A time that to these discontented few, who blame others for their unhappiness and life choices, is the epitome of what America should be. "Make America Great Again!" they cry, envisioning no doubt a new idyllic America where things are again as they should be. Where straight, white, so-called Christian males rule, those who aren't the privileged few know their place, and conservative Christian religions are the 'real' faith of the country. Where those who 'don't belong' in our country due to their religion or race are rounded up and taken away.

There actually once was a place that sought to make that particular vision a reality. It was called Nazi Germany.

To me, the greatest sin Donald Trump has committed during his presidential campaign is this legitimization of hate. The true mortal sin of his campaign is the way he has unleashed and vocalized the hatred of the small minded on the country and the world. Once it was unacceptable, thanks in part to 'political correctness', to voice these toxic thoughts. But now, given permission by Trump to vocalize their hatred without apology or an attempt to hide it behind a routine unmeaning protest, one hears again the casual racism and intolerance of my youth coming out of the mouths of people who should know better. And Trump and his followers wrap that hatred in patriotism and the flag.

If you vote for anyone who openly espouses these views as openly and loudly as Mr. Trump has done, then you are guilty of contributing to the legitimization of hatred too. And you do not get a pass because you happen to favor his proposed policies: economic, social, or international. 

Monday, August 01, 2016

America's Bully

I was bullied as a child. Starting in third grade when we moved to Kenedy, Texas until I left almost immediately after my high school graduation, I was bullied by my classmates. Over 50 years ago, when I met my tormentors for the first time, there was little to nothing done about bullying by teachers or the school administration. My mother, a fourth grade teacher at the school, did nothing but tell me to "Ignore them. If you react, they'll keep doing it because they want the reaction." Well, I did my best for 10 years to ignore them. But the truth is that the verbal attacks and deliberate slights never stopped no matter what I did.

I tell you this because my experience factors in to why I loathe and fear Donald Trump and will do whatever it takes to prevent him from winning the presidential election this November.

I realize that many factors go into creating a bully, especially one of this caliber. I have no idea what was done to this man to make him this way, but to be honest at this point having read and listened to the unceasing vitriol, misogyny, racism, bigotry and belittling remarks he spews to anyone who dares to disagree with him, I find that I really don't care. Getting to the bottom of his issues is a job for a highly skilled mental health professional and will no doubt take years to unravel, much less remedy. What I do care about is what someone like him, so clearly unstable, with an inclination towards violence and out of touch with reality, will do to this country I love. 

To me it is very clear that my mother's advice from all those years ago cannot apply to Mr. Trump. We cannot ignore him and hope he will go away. Because as I found out the hard way, ignoring the bullies just gives them permission to continue their reigns of terror. I will never know if my childhood would have been better if I had stood up to the bullies and not let them define my youth. But I will not risk the future of my children and grandchildren being ruined by an unstable bully with a global arena of potential victims. I will speak up and stand up for what I think is right.