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, must 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. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

All I want for Christmas

Yes, it's been a while. But I'm back again. And with a Christmas List of things I really, really want. Unfortunately, I have serious doubts about whether Santa Claus will be able to deliver on my list this year. But as my dear Uncle CC used to say, "You'll never know if you don't ask." So, I'm asking for:
1. A ban on media coverage of that billionaire idiot who is running for President. Yeah, him. That guy. Whose team should really confiscate his cell phone and shut down his twitter account. But failing that happening, I don't think it's too much to ask that the news media simply stop giving him the type of air play that keeps this idiot alive in the polls and makes him feel invincible. So, please. Stop. Stop filming him. Stop telling us what he's saying. Stop allowing him to encourage those who are supporting him to hate anyone that is different from them. Just walk away and don't give his hate and racism a forum. Because clearly all the coverage you're giving him, in a misguided attempt to show the world what an idiot he is, isn't working.

2. America to be great. A big part of the Presidential campaign rhetoric seems to be focused on 'making America great again.' But based on what I'm hearing from those candidates focused on that issue, if we're looking to be great again, they are steering us in the wrong direction. To me, a great America is an America that doesn't discriminate against ANY person on the basis of religion, gender, race, or any other qualifier. A great America doesn't look for ways to remove rights from any group. A great America guarantees equal rights for all. A great America would not be the bully in the room, but the country who protects others from bullies and protects all people, even those who just happen to also belong to a religion that has members who distort the teachings of that religion to justify violence against others.

3. A focus on better role models for young girls. C'mon. Do you really want your daughter to grow up to be the next Kardashian or 'real' housewife? Or do you want her to grow up and be known for her contributions to computer science, to technology, to literature, to math, to film, to medicine, to science, to diplomacy, to art, to drama, or any of the myriad professions available to her? 

4. My fellow Texans to stop electing idiots. Like Greg Abbot. Like Dan Patrick. Like Ted Cruz. Ad nauseum.

5. Every leader/pastor/reverand/iman/rabbi/man or woman of God who preaches hate of any type aimed at any other religion/group/belief system to stop it. Hate breeds hate. When you preach hate you are doing evil's work, not God's and I venture to predict that you will indeed someday get your just reward for assisting evil.

6. Religion to get out of politics. Or to be specific, I think it's time that the Republican party stopped taking instructions from and catering to the conservative religious fanatics. Which I find extremely ironic since I can remember when JFK was running for president, how one of the GOP's main objections to him was their fear that since he was Catholic, he would be following orders from a religious leader (aka the Pope). I'd also like to remind people yet again that freedom of religion is just that. Freedom to worship in the faith of your choice without fear. Or not worship if that is your choice. This 'we're a Christian nation and so Christian beliefs take precedence over others in our political system'  is a dangerous path to go down. Think Nazi Germany people.

Merry Christmas y'all.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Moment of Grace

Let's face it. 2014 was, for the most part, just awful for me. Given that I've cried enough, I'm not going to subject you to a look back to all that. I am going to list a few things I'm grateful for over the past year.

I'm thinner. Much thinner. Not as thin as I'd hoped I'd be by now, but that's okay. Especially as after I lost the weight, I kept it off. I restarted the diet this week and have a new goal to reach in 2015. I'm ready to get the rest of the weight off.

I'm three weeks away from being released from this boot and being allowed to drive again. I can't wait. But I must thank all those who helped me through this. From Larry, who has dealt not only with feeding and transporting me, to Michael, Sarah, Sara, and Emily who jumped in and helped with a wide array of tasks when I was first unable to do anything at the house, to our friends and family who brought us food, to the students at the school where I work who simply opened doors for me to wheel or hobble through.

The people at work. The events of this year have meant that I've had to work remotely on occasion and they were supportive through it all. Being able to work from various locales and with adjusted schedules helped me keep a bit of much needed normalcy in my life throughout everything that happened. 

Our redone space in the house. Over the summer, I redid our entry hall, living and dining room completely. It was a project I had in my head for over a year and it's done now, aside from finding the perfect dining table and chairs. The finishing touch for me though are the new light fixtures which my sister Jane gave me for Christmas. I still can't believe she sent me my dream lighting for these rooms. It's beyond perfect for these rooms. And they wouldn't be sparkling in these rooms if Larry and my son Michael hadn't spent quite a bit of time installing them. Working on these rooms was therapy for me following the death of my sister MC and now that they are done, being in them continues to sooth me, giving me a peaceful, beautiful space to sit and read or sew or just think.

My granddaughters. Luci and Ellen are pure love. I hold them and cannot believe how lucky I am to have them in my life. 

My husband. It's been a tough year and I am not an easy person to live with normally, much less when I am deeply unhappy as I have been for too long. 

My sisters. All of them. Mary Claire taught me so much. And being part of a team with Julia and Jane, heartbreaking as our appointed task was, was life altering. I've always loved them. But that love is deepened now by our shared experience.

My children. Who continue to love me. I hope they know how much I love them.