Written, Not Published…Until Now

Long time no see.

Over the last two years I have composed impassioned pleas that decry the lack of justice, and have railed against the rampant ignorance of our leaders. Not that you would know. I’ve written, not published. 

Once again, I’ve shown up to write about an issue that has outrage me to the point of disbelief, but I am stopped in my tracks by the list of drafts that have never seen the light of day.  

I hadn’t realized I’d gone dark. It wasn’t a conscious decision. I have been here, written nearly a dozen posts or so – on topics you could easily guess by picking any event that has made headlines since, well…

80 Dead in France”  July 14, 2016.

That was my last post. What used to be a satisfactory end to my rampage – hitting the publish button – no longer sufficed. Nothing comes from screaming into the wind. Or does it?

Silence is Not Golden

Damn. You know that feeling when you’ve said something important that is supposed to have meaning to you? 

“Shouting into the wind” means to complain pointlessly, and posting my outrage had begun to feel just that, pointless. But, as in the immortal words of Patsy Cline, “I was sooooo wrong, for sooooo long…” 

I was wrong to stop posting.

Though writing holds a certain cathartic release, it isn’t very satisfying if no one reads it. How could anyone read it if I didn’t publish it. The solution to stop feeling like I’m shouting into the wind isn’t to shut up. 

“Anything worth shouting about is worth shouting into the wind.” Seth Godin

The solution is to give it purpose beyond my own construction of it. I have to force myself to put it out there – into the universe. Scream louder. 

But…People

The world is fraught with people who will try to shut you up no matter what you are talking about. Contrariness, just for the sake of it, is the new black. Writing about politicized subjects that are rife with emotion can invite responses you might not be ready for. 

Hell, I pissed someone off on a foodie site just asking them to be nice. What happens when I point out they’re racist, privileged, assholes? White fragility makes it difficult to confront a lot of what is wrong with our society. But, certainly not more difficult than it is to live under the oppressive systemic racism in America. I can take a few assholes disagreeing with me.

Which leaves me with the question who is going to listen to that message? The people who already agree with me? 

Will those apparently unaware of their assholiness stop spewing that shit just because I wish them to be woke to the truth of it. Why would they even be reading what I have to say? Is that who I’m trying to reach?

I wonder too, can the same be said about me? Am I just being an asshole screaming into the wind? Contrary villain to their racist values?

Opinion is Not Fact

I’m nothing, if not opinionated, but I conceded long ago – to my credit – that my opinions are not written in stone, they aren’t facts. I learn from my mistakes, I expect some of you might to. That’s what I’m aiming for.

When it comes to the rights of all, I intend to be tenacious. There is no give on this point. 

I wish I wasn’t such a hammer but subtly is an art I am unaccustomed to and ill suited for. Try as I might – even walking away from publishing –  the intensity of my feelings on the subject have not changed. I’m not being bombastic for the sake of it. This shit is important.

Reaching out to white people who may read my words and stop to consider their racial bias and white privilege, is worth every second I spend doing it. 

While my writing is not unbiased, I aim for fair-minded in the pursuit of justice for all. My raging against the current circumstances we find our country in is a necessary evil in confronting the source of those injustices. 

While I may not reach the huddled masses surrounding POTUS, I might reach you. I hope you might ponder further upon your privilege. If you do that, you might change your behavior, or notice when it effects people of color. Even better, notice when people of color are being restrained by the privilege of other white people, and call it out. Because once you notice it, once you see it for yourself, it’s hard to turn your back to it.

Maybe then too you will notice when our policies are restrictive, when they impinging on personal rights and responsibilities, when they reflect, not the broad spectrum of our citizens, but that of one supremely powerful, and corrupt sector. Because, once you see it for yourself, you can’t unsee it and remain silent.

A Battle of Wills

And here we are, at the meat of it. Politicians have become master manipulators, easily swaying the vulnerable with the illusion of control and righteousness. By using citizen’s religiosity, their fears, and desperation, politicians have mined uneducated and vulnerable citizens for votes. Oh, but that’s not you? 

Go ahead, explain to me how you are not one of the mindless acolytes we see chanting at POTUS rallies. Tell me what a thoughtful voter you are and that your support hasn’t been coerced out of you by the Republican/TeaParty/Corporate Overlords. How your choices are intelligent, about policy not personality, just a matter of opinion. A difference of opinion. 

Except, we do not have a difference of opinion. What we have is a difference of willingness. 

I am not willing to let other people suffer because they have a difference of opinion with me.

You are willing to let other people suffer because they have a difference of opinion with you.

That what’s between us. Your willingness to support racism, violence, hatred, lies, scandal, corruption, sexism, oppression…I wish this were hyperbole, but it is not. If your policy choices are about constricting, restricting, and subjugating another American, you are not talking policy, you are talking fascism.

You willingly collude to withhold justice and fairness for all Americans by supporting our current POTUS and the Republican Party. You willingly condemn them to poverty, joblessness, disease, anger, hopelessness, and despair.

You willingly supports a culture that ignores the rape, murder and disappearance of Native American women, and the murder of its black citizens. You willingly support depravity in the way our government treats human beings seeking refuge. 

You willingly accept lies and deceit coming from the White House. You willingly allow the poisoning of children in Flint Michigan. You willingly look the other way, when greed, and profiteering dooms the sick, disabled, and elderly.

You willingly voting for politicians who incite violence against anyone, for any reason, is unacceptable.

You willingly sacrificing the lives of children to protect yourself from an imaginary bogeyman, is unacceptable.

I am not willing to accept any of this. How can you?

It’s Not My Way or The Highway

There is not one way to do this life thing. We come at it with differing sets of morals, values, and religions.  But what we share are societal standards, the ever changing social mores of our age. That’s the pinch point for people. Change is hard, especially when it pushes against long held beliefs. 

The basic premise of our great nation is equality. That we are all equal in the eyes of the law and government. It is because we have gone so far away from those basic tenets, that we find ourselves in turmoil. 

How can you superimpose your “right way to live” over mine, unless you believe I am your inferior? That you are “right” and I am “wrong.” 

The world should live only by your rules, your values, your morals, your religion? If you think that, truly believe that is the only truth, you are not one of us. You are not for America, or the Constitution or its principles. That is not what we do here. That is not who we are.

I am not asking you to abandon your principles, but make room for everyone to hold their own. 

If you have any understanding…even the slightest hint that you are not the holder of all answers, for all the people, then you have to concede. Your beliefs do not supersede any other human’s beliefs. Even when you don’t agree with them, you must uphold their right to have them.

How do we reconcile the need for individual choice, with living in a civil society? How do we impose a general regard for life, what is right and wrong for enough people, that it becomes a social more?

We adopt a Constitution that frames those exact circumstance. We live by its tenets, and when it doesn’t work for all, when an injustice arises, we amend it. 

Government for and of the People

Oh wait…we did that. What our Constitution does, is try to equitably disrupt our human inclinations, our quest for power and control, our imposing of the masses will on the minority.

For too long our political parties have been using the baser inclination of fear to control people. This goes against the intent of our constitution and against the idea that people should be free to make their own choices as to how to live a moral life. 

What it comes down to is personal responsibility. A responsibility not only of actions, and inactions, but interactions. It is that personal responsibility that keeps the check and balances of our government working in proper order.

We are suffering a dearth of personal responsibility. Not the lack of personal responsibility ascribed by Republicans and the religious right, who suggest that the lack of responsibility pigeonholes people in poverty and lesser circumstances.  The people pointing fingers at those with the least power as the source of our problems…100% of the time, is a ruse. It is Oz hiding behind the curtain afraid you’ll find out he’s a fraud. 

And that is what our current POTUS is, a fraud, along with all the other Republicans standing behind him. If the government for the people is not taking care of its people, and is only taking care of itself, it is bereft of responsibility to its duty.

How are a bunch of rich, white, men, willing to take away our rights to a government for the people demonstrating personal responsibity? If they are passing laws that restrict the people, doing away with restrictions on corporations…if they are forcing those with little, to suffer more…if they give to the rich by taking from the poor…how are they demonstrating their personal responsibility to our nation, to our government, to our Constitution?

Despite All Evidence

I explained to a friend my conundrum. How can I keep writing about facts that hurt Americans when people claim they are a difference of opinion? She pointed out the problem.

Facts don’t matter. You can’t argue with someone who can’t be swayed by fact. You can’t find a compromise with someone who isn’t willing to concede your side is just as valid. We are in the age of deniers.

Despite any and all evidence, they will not bend to any truth. They decide by personal opinion and “belief.” They are the epitome of “I think, therefor I am right.”

I came full circle back to, “Is this me?” I can hold a hardline and be unyielding in my opinion, true. But do I ignore evidence to the contrary and turn a blind eye to evidence disputing my “facts?”

I don’t think so, but, we all tend to be blind to our personal foibles. So if I’m wrong, if evidence to the contrary appears, I’m open to learning and changing.

If You Aren’t Part of the Solution, You’re Part of the Problem

My hope, what I’m choosing to believe…is that despite all evidence to the contrary, you–America–are willing to change too. Until then…

The facts in evidence are…We are a racist country run by rich, white men who don’t give a crap about anything but making a buck at the expense of those deemed unworthy…ie women, people of color, nature, basically anyone or anything they can exploit.

And I’m going to keep calling you out on your part of it until I don’t have to anymore.

80 Dead in France: Anger to Hate

80 dead in France. Another, I was going to say senseless tragedy, but the fact is this action made sense to someone. Not to me, not to you, but SOME ONE thought it made sense to kill those they hated.

Killing families, children? And likely someone helped him find the sense in it. What was it? Religious zealotry? Misplaced nationalism?

I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about it over the coming days, the killer’s excuse, his mission. Was he mentally ill? A sociopath? Was he acting alone?

Do any of these killers act alone? There’s a lot of anger in our world. Anger that is fanned until it is a burning hate.

How Hate Thrives

Appallingly, here in the USA, we have politicians and a political party that inflames crowds into supporting this kind of vileness as a strategy. We have media outlets perpetuating it, and encouraging members of our society to despise one another for our differences. They make hate a headline, poking at embers till they roar again and throw another log/lie on to keep it going.

Hate is running rampant through our populace weakened by poverty, and isolationism created by corporate greed and political complicity. Business and government, rather than valuing its workers or citizens, uses them for their own gain then discards them.

They’ve stolen the middle class, and driven more, and more families into poverty leaving a lot of people with nothing else to do but channel their anger. And where is it channeled, and by who? Right where the wealthy and powerful have laid their kindling.

Who is behind the propaganda on issues such of abortion, religion, and race? If fuel is being added to the fires on these volatile issues it is the 1% who paid for it. They are no different from worst dictators and regimes in the world that uses the disenfranchised to do their dirty work.

They’ve fostered a vast wasteland of ignorance across our country. Those who want nothing but control and authority without any duty and allegiance to those they repress. Keep em stupid. These agents of financial totalitarianism bankrupted our goodwill toward all, and have left The United States of America divided, racially, financially, and morally for the convenience of deflecting the hate that should rightfully be aimed at them.

We Can Be Angry Without Hate

How do we fight that? Casting your vote is essential. Using your words to spread peace, and understanding. Be seen–your presence is a powerful indication of an issues importance. Practice mindfulness. Notice those suffering, as well as those acting with disregard for our nation’s best interest. Seek justice for all.

Value reason, kindness, inclusion, respect, empathy, and education

We cure the hate, the divisiveness, and the regime of oppression, by acting together. The police are not the only ones able to protect and serve our fellow citizens. As they work to improve relations between themselves and the communities they serve, so should we.

We are not a more racist country now, than we were before the recent events. It is the voices of division that have been amplified not multiplied. Do not lose faith in our country. There is so much to do and it isn’t happening fast enough. ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬ is a convocation. A call for all to see and notice an injustice. It is not a restriction of concern for others.

Reject the tolerance of hate speech. And when those speakers inevitably decry their right to say what they want–agree. Yes, free speech, your speech, is a protected right. You, however, are not protected from the repercussions of that speech. Suffering the consequences of your words and actions is what we teach toddlers, isn’t it about time you learned that lesson?

These killers of our loved ones, our families, our neighbors, for whatever reason, thought their actions made sense. We have to stop letting killing one another make sense to anyone.

Online: Be Yourself not Anonymous

I don’t know about you, but when I see a comment by “Anonymous” I automatically discount its worth. If you don’t value your time and words enough to put your name to them then why bother? Be yourself online, not anonymous is what I’ve always believed, until I began thinking in earnest about marketing.

I believe to achieve online equanimity, one’s words need the check of accountability provided by owning up to your true identity. While this is true in theory, it doesn’t hold up when viewed under the lens of marketing scrutiny. Whether you’re selling a product or yourself—for what is our online community now but one big concession stand–does anonymity hurt or help sales?

What began as a reflection on the troubling vileness of comments left by incognito voices, has now morphed into a marketing inquiry. If you’ve read any of my political posts you know I don’t shy away from expressing my opinion. Surely this could potentially costs me readers, but will it cost me customers as well as I seek to publish? Should I be more mindful of how my personal views could influence the buying power of the public whenever I blog, tweet or post to tumblr?

Doesn’t transparency makes for better discussions? My want for openness is not a call for any person’s voice to be muted but rather a plea for clarity, civility and consciousness. Sure, being yourself online is hard, but if it can cure what infects the comment sections allover the internet, wouldn’t it be worth it? While (evidently) it may not keep me you from embarrassing myself yourself, I believe it does more to keep one honest and reflective than hiding behind the mask of anonymity.

Consider this—isn’t it equally important to be yourself when you are your own brand and proprietor of your own company? You can’t market YOU anonymously, can you? Or should you be a fictitious, more marketable you? How much of yourself can you reveal before you risk repelling clients, customers, or readers with your personal views? What about when those views have nothing to do with your product?

We’ve seen what can happen to companies that support political candidates or issues that don’t comply with social mores. Calls of boycotts, twitter blitzes, even in-store protests have made headlines. Much to their credit, JCPenney stood firm in its support of choosing Ellen Degeneres, an openly gay woman, as its spokesperson despite some hater’s protests, and then there were the protests and counter support of Chick-Fil-A when it funded anti-gay groups.

Recently the stink is hitting Hobby Lobby for purporting to hold it’s anti-abortion, anti-contraception ideals as religious rights sacred enough to take to the Supreme Court, when if fact they are heavily invested in those products through their company financial holdings, and made a lot money doing so. Hypocrites with a capital H.. When do the values you promote personally, or as a private company, matter to customers enough to effect your bottom line or reputation? Even more recent is how this effects it’s employees and potentially all employees with bosses who think they can rule over your personal life.

Do you as a consumer consider a company or individuals politics, values, or religion before making a purchase? Do you have a list of companies you won’t do business with because of their carbon foot print or quality of life standards for workers don’t met your expectations? Do you make a purchase if  your wants or needs of a product countermand your convictions against the companies policies?

Does a company like Chick-fil-A, whose religious agenda is clearly and proudly part of their companies purpose statement— “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us.” —risk losing customers that don’t support their views? Or do people just not care when it comes to filling their bellies?

What does this mean for me, a blogger, sole proprietor, a writer who one day hopes to sell a few novels? Or you, the account exec who secretly writes a popular romance series of novels, or middle school teacher who is a skilled erotica poet and earns half her salary in affiliated links?

Apples and oranges isn’t it? A secret identity to sell your wares in some instances is commonsense. A secret identity to be ugly, repressive, and argumentative is not. Hiding your identity to promote an agenda that is counter to your public face-uh, no.

Anonymity does nothing but give one a false sense of entitlement to say whatever one wants. Aside from the few instances when this is a necessity to protect yourself from harm, it seems to me that we’d be better off without the ability to hide from ourselves or others.

Like the rules we set for our children when teaching them personal responsibility online “Never say online what you wouldn’t say to someones face or their mother.” That’s what I taught my children, and I’m determined to adhere to this maxim myself.

I never comment online under another name. I am always me, and I believe it keeps me from saying much of what needn’t be said, out loud, to anyone. Though I do not shy away from expressing my opinion, I’m learning to temper it with an understanding of how it reflects on me.

That’s why I promise to always be me online. When I find my message or responses becoming vitriolic I know I need to step back and let my anger abate. If the message is still something I need to express, if the anger is justified and makes sense after I’ve cooled, then I’m prepared to stand behind my words, but I intend to be responsible for what I say and I hope you’ll hold me accountable for it too.

Freedom of speech is not freedom from accountability. You should have to own up to what you say, write or preach. whether you are an individual or corporation.

Addendum: I’ve been working with this post off and on for months. Many news items of late feel like prescient warning of the impact our words have. Given the results of Donald Sterling’s deservedly quick and complete ousting from NBA, the Hobby Lobby court case, and pretty much every misogynistic statement the Republican party makes, our words will matter to someone-how many someones, and how much an impact their response has remains to be seen.

 

 

 

 

 

Rape Culture

Rather than my own ranty nonsensical post I’d worked on all day, I’m redirecting you to Lauren Nelson’s blog. In particular this post SO YOU’RE TIRED OF HEARING ABOUT “RAPE CULTURE”?

Why? Because it is important. My daughters will soon to be off at college and I resent the fact that I am compelled to teach them how to NOT GET RAPED. That should not have to be one of Momma’s little life lessons.

But it is, so there you go. Read about what “rape culture” is so you can recognize it. Women have the right to EXPECT not to get raped rather than worry about HOW not to get raped.

Men—rather than being outraged that women have the audacity to expect you not to rape them, try channeling your energies into keeping your fellow man from raping your mother, grandmother, sister, cousin, aunt, girlfriend, etc, etc…follow that old adage “If you aren’t part of the problem, be part of the solution,” instead of arguing that you poor guys are being unduly picked on, speak up against those who defile, denigrate, and demean women.

And I am not as patient or eloquent as Lauren. How she’s kept her temper with those men who tried to subvert and suppress the conversation by bringing up facts not in evidence—I’d have just kicked them off with a F**k-Y**! But she’s keeping a civil discourse going, so more power to her and boy am I impressed.

After a long week of reading way too many misogynistic, racist, crap, I’m just too pissed-off to hold my temper. It took all my self control not to enter a verbal war over some lame ass guy bringing up prison rape as a response to another conversation about the rape culture. He was adamant that there couldn’t be a conversation asking men not to rape a woman without addressing the fact that there are more men raped in this county than women. Like that has anything to do with it.

The troll was repeatedly asked to provide the data to support his assertion not just interject speculation, but refused to comply, instead remaining pious as if he was adding anything salient to the conversation. But that’s the way those with nothing to say operate. They can’t engage in the real conversation, they have no real point to make. Their only purpose is to stir ire. I find it very difficult myself to disengage from these attacks so—fair warning, you’ll have no voice here.

As it says in my Disclaimer above-if I deem your input heinous, you’ll be deleted.

 

 

 

From The “Are You Fucking Kidding Me?” File

Oh Darn! I almost made it a month with a political diatribe.

Expounding on the idiotic and outrageous behavior of an alarming number of Republican party members is getting to be pretty hackneyed so I’m just posting this under the “Are you fucking kidding me?” heading. Giving you the benefit-of-doubt for being as morally indignant as I am by their conduct.

excerpt via Huffington Report

A Republican lawmaker in New Mexico introduced a bill on Wednesday that would legally require victims of rape to carry their pregnancies to term in order to use the fetus as evidence for a sexual assault trial.

House Bill 206, introduced by state Rep. Cathrynn Brown (R), would charge a rape victim who ended her pregnancy with a third-degree felony for “tampering with evidence.”

“Tampering with evidence shall include procuring or facilitating an abortion, or compelling or coercing another to obtain an abortion, of a fetus that is the result of criminal sexual penetration or incest with the intent to destroy evidence of the crime,” the bill says.

Third-degree felonies in New Mexico carry a sentence of up to three years in prison.

Pat Davis of ProgressNow New Mexico, a progressive nonprofit opposing the bill, called it “blatantly unconstitutional” on Thursday.

“The bill turns victims of rape and incest into felons and forces them to become incubators of evidence for the state,” he said. “According to Republican philosophy, victims who are ‘legitimately raped’ will now have to carry the fetus to term in order to prove their case.“

The bill is unlikely to pass, as Democrats have a majority in both chambers of New Mexico’s state legislature.

That they throw in “The bill is unlikely to pass…” makes me queasy because this means in some alternate universe the idea that it would be passable is plausible.