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.