To the Young Men and Women of America, From the GOP

One of my favorite blogs is called Stuff That Needs to Be Said, by John Pavlovitz. (https://www.johnpavlovitz.com) I want to share his latest post with you, in light of Thursday’s drama regarding Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh: 

 

Warning: The following may be triggering for survivors of abuse.)

To Young Men and Women of America,

Have you heard us?
Is our message getting through?

We’ve been talking to you this week, trying to make sure you understand who we are, what kind of America we’re building here, the future nation we’re dreaming of.

We think we’ve been clear and compelling in our declarations, and we’ve done our best not to leave any ambiguity as to our hearts or our plans or our intentions.

We think our tirades and our condescension and our insults and our sneering tantrums have spoken eloquently about us and about you.

We hope Lindsey and Donald and Chuck and Orrin and Mitch and Brett and Susan have made a strong case—but if not, let us be more explicit in these moments, so there can be no confusion. After all, November is coming and we want you to be certain…

To the Young Men of America,

You can do whatever you want to young women.

You can disregard their humanity,
force yourself on them physically,
ignore their pleas to stop,
proceed without consent,
hurt them,

humiliate them,
indulge your urges,
treat them as property,
and silence, slander, and intimidate them after the fact.

You can do this as often as you like, to as many young girls as opportunity and your desires allow.

We will have your back (providing you are white, wealthy, and one day vote Republican.)

We will marshal our every resource of finance and position and privilege in protecting and defending you.

You will receive sanctuary in our midst, regardless of the horrors you are responsible for or the recklessness and brazenness of your conduct.

We will help you in any way we can, to malign your accuser’s character, destroy their credibility, and embarrass them further.

We will blame alcohol or her memory or her behavior in the past.
We will talk about your viciousness in ways designed to make it seem commonplace.
We will paint you in as flattering a portrait as we can, so that you actually come out looking like the victim, so that the accusations are actually a help.
We will have no loyalty to the truth or to goodness or decency, if such things pose a threat to either your narrative or our prosperity.
We’ll use the invaluable resource of the Evangelical Church to even make supporting you, part of God’s will.

If no other option is available, we will simply ignore what you’ve done. (After all we installed a President that way.)

We will never allow the violence you make young women endure, to prevent you from having opportunity and advancement and success. 

We can promise you that.

And to Young Women of America,

You don’t matter.

Not your trauma or your pain,
not the innocence you lose,
not the damage you sustain,
not the scars you are marked by,
not the nightmares you are haunted by,
not the peace you no longer find, 
not the confidence that leaves you,
not the fear that is ever present,
not the shame that you cannot shake,
not the silence you are imprisoned by.

We simply do not see you as valuable—at least not as valuable as the status quo we’re protecting or the legislation we’re coveting or the religion we’re perpetuating or the votes we’re needing.

You are the acceptable collateral damage of our misogyny and entitlement.

Your body, your emotional health, and your sense of safety—simply aren’t worth more than a Supreme Court seat.

Of course, should a pregnancy somehow be created by your violation, we will vigorously demand that you be forced to carry it, even if it exacerbates your pain and magnifies your despair. After all, we urgently need to perpetuate the appearance that we are pro-life—just not your life.

We can imagine this is less than ideal for you, but we hope you understand that this is how it has always been, and we are counting on you to indulge us one last time, and we appreciate your cooperation. 

So, young men and women of America, we hope you see us with clarity.
We hope that in these days, we are exposing ourselves fully.
We hope you know who we are now.

We’ll see you in November.

Sincerely,

The Republican Party of 2018

 

If you are a survivor and you need help, or if you want to find out how you can be an advocate for survivors, here are some places to start:

RAINN
National Sexual Assault Hotline
EROC (End Rape on Campus)
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Safe Horizon
INCITE (For Women, Gender Non-Conforming, and Trans people of Color)
On Eagle’s Wings Ministries
Human Rights Campaign (LGBTQ)
NCLR Nation Center for Lesbian Rights 
Not Alone
Safe Helpline (Victim support for members of Military)

My Fallen Idol

 

When I was a kid, and got my first record player, the first albums I listened to were comedy albums, because those were what I had. I listened to them repeatedly, until I could recite them verbatim. And I would do exactly that, for anyone who would listen and several who wouldn’t.

Those records provided me plenty of material for my standup routine. Records by comedians such as Shelley Berman, Dick Gregory, Brother Dave Gardner, The Limelighters (a singing/comedy group), and Jonathan Winters. Look them up, kids.

Oh. And Bill Cosby.

He was easily my favorite. He made me laugh more than anyone I’d ever heard, first with his recollections of childhood, then his anecdotes of marriage and parenthood. As far as I was concerned, he was the funniest human being in the history of the world.

I so wish I could hang on to that. I wish I could always remember him as “America’s Dad,” the way we all came to know him during his hugely successful television show in the 1980’s. The guy in the commercials, sharing Jell-O pudding with the kids.

But Tuesday, he was led out of a courtroom in handcuffs, on his way to prison, to serve a three to ten year sentence for sexual assault, a crime of which he was accused by some 60 women.

And America’s Dad, whose hilarious stories I used to recite to friends and family, died for good in that moment.

And, in all honesty, I grieve that loss.

 

But, even more, I want to give a standing ovation for all the women who stood up to Bill Cosby, the Good Guy, the Icon, and said, “You raped us! And you’re done getting away with it!”

I mean, think of what a burden these women have carried over the years. The guilt. The shame. The fear of recrimination if they dared to accuse one of the most beloved entertainers of all time.

And, the recrimination they, in fact, received when they did finally speak up. People didn’t believe them, of course. After all, this was BILL COSBY!! How dare you accuse such a good man of such a horrible deed?!

But, they didn’t back down. They found strength, courage and tenacity in each other. And, in the end, they found vindication. That’s worthy of all our cheers, as well as our support going forward, for any and all women willing to hazard an unmerciful, unrelenting, unforgiving gauntlet of skepticism, ridicule, judgment, contempt and far worse, to tell the stories they have ashamedly kept inside, perhaps even for years. We must encourage these women – these victims – to bring those stories out into the sunlight, and expose the predatory men who violated them.

In this case, those stories brought down a man who believed his fame entitled him to any woman, anytime. Now he gets to contemplate his actions in a prison cell for the next few years.

America’s Dad.

 

I wonder: will he have the nerve to ever look his wife – or his daughters – in the eye again?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Started a Speech, and Started the Whole World Laughing

 

He literally had the world laughing at him Tuesday.

Speaking before the United Nations General Assembly, President donald trump broke the crowd of world leaders up with this surefire knee-slapper:

In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country,”

Oh, that line just killed.

The assembled world leaders started laughing at him. Laughing at him!

Just think of that. The sheer spectacle of the President of the United States being laughed at in the United Nations.

To which he somewhat sheepishly rejoined: “Didn’t expect that reaction, but that’s okay.” (yuk, yuk, yuk, yuk…)

Probably expected a thunderous ovation. Maybe a parade around the U.N. building.

No. The leaders of the world treated him like it was Open Mic Night at the Improv.

Because they know a joke when they hear one. And when they see one.

 

We need a President who won’t be a laughing stock to the entire World.

Donald Trump tweet, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

Stay Here With Me

 

Today, September 10, is World Suicide Prevention Day.

And I have a message for you.

If you’re thinking about killing yourself…

If you’re thinking that life is just too hard to take…

If you’re thinking that there’s no hope, no other option…

If you’re thinking that you’re a hopeless case…

That you’re utterly worthless…

That everyone would be better off without you around…

That no one understands the depths of your pain…

That you’re just tired of trying to get through day after f###ed-up day…

That you’re all alone…

I promise you, I have thought every single one of those things. And more. Pretty recently, in fact.

And I’m still here. And I’m glad.

Life may look pitch black from your view, but I’m telling you: there is a light.

And if you need some help finding it, there are some people who can give you that.

In the U.S., the National Suicide Prevention Hotline number is 800-273-8255. Internationally, visit http://www.iasp.info to find help near you.

Believe me, I know life sucks, but I don’t know anybody who can help you get through death.

So stay here with me, and live. Let’s face this together.

Who knows? We might even end up liking it.

UBUNTU

Very inspirational. Something we should aspire to but, sadly, will probably not.

QUEST

CANDLE

In the Xhoso culture of Africa, UBUNTU means, “I am because We are.”  Dr. Horty @ IT IS WHAT IT IS  blog shared this with her readers.  I found it absolutely profound in the troubled times of our world and especially American society today.

The boy replied, “How can any one of us be happy if the others are sad?”

An anthropologist visiting and studying the Xhoso tribe placed a basket of fruit and presented a game to a group of young boys.  Run to the fruit and claim it.  If the strongest and fastest of those boys had raced to the basket of fruit placed at a short distance from them, that one boy could have claimed all the fruits.  Instead, they joined hands, ran together as a group, and claimed the fruits as one, thereby insuring all would partake of the prize.  When the anthropologist questioned their…

View original post 167 more words

What a Day That Was

 

Wow.

Wednesday was, without a doubt, the hardest day emotionally in a long time for me.

Depression placed a huge rock on my shoulders early in the day, and there it stayed all day long. I could feel the weight of it pushing down on me, getting progressively heavier.

It hurt. Physically hurt.

By the time I arrived home that evening, I was crushed under the weight of it.

Almost to death. At least, wishing for it.

 

I can’t really put my finger on any specific thing that triggered it all. It would be nice if I could, so I’d recognize it next time. (next time??)

I don’t know; it was like anxiety, pessimism, insecurity, self-criticism, and just anyone who wanted to join in, were all waiting on the corner to beat the $#!t out of me when I showed up.

And, boy, did they do a good job. It was just about too much to take.

 

And then, I got home, and I asked my wife to hug me and tell me she loves me while I wept on her shoulder.

So she did. And in the process, she pushed that stupid rock off of me. I so don’t know what I’d do without her.

(Oh, and my cats provided some additional therapy. 🐱 It was appreciated.)

Later, my wife reassured me of all the good things in my life, and there are plenty, I know. But, as I explained to her, the insidious thing about depression is, it persuades you that none of that matters; you’re worthless, and your life sucks, end of story.

It’s mean, y’all.

 

I’m gonna share my good days and bad days with you, just in case any of you out there think you’re alone in this fight. Believe me, you’re not.

I know I should have some kind of defense for this. Something to help me stop this before it spirals out of control.

And maybe I do. I just couldn’t think of it Wednesday.

Also, I may need to ask my psychiatrist for a change of medication. This stuff I’ve been taking for years may not be so effective, anymore.

But, thank goodness, at least I had a lifeline, and all I can say is, if you have a problem with depression or any other mental illness, find a lifeline for you.

I don’t care who; it could just be a stranger at the other end of a phone line who, in that moment of utter desperation, can be the best friend you ever had, and push that rock off of you.

I wish you all no days like the one I just had.

I wish that for me, too.

Thanks for your time.

 

One-Two Punch

 

From the Associated Press:

“WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer has pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations and his former campaign chairman convicted for financial fraud, raising questions about the president’s own legal jeopardy…

“Most damaging to Trump were statements by his longtime attorney and “fixer” Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty in New York, saying he and Trump had arranged the payment of hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels and a former Playboy model to influence the election…

“In a split screen for the history books, Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was convicted of financial crimes at nearly the same moment Tuesday Cohen pleaded guilty to a series of felonies, including campaign finance violations that the lawyer said he carried out in coordination with Trump.”

 

That sound you heard yesterday afternoon was something hitting the fan. Twice.

Mr. trump can scream, “RIGGED WITCH HUNT!!!” until his ship goes all the way underwater, but the fates of Mr. Cohen and Mr. Manafort in two separate courtrooms blew two two great big holes in his mighty vessel. Let’s see what he does as he takes on water.

You might guess, from my past writings, that I would be positively giddy over this turn of events. And yes, I admit it’s very satisfying for me to watch this guy get what’s coming. I hope the rest of his historically dysfunctional administration does, as well.

And yet, this is a sad state of affairs for our nation. Worse than Nixon and Watergate, worse than Clinton and Lewinsky/Flowers/Jones/etc., this President has shamed and defiled his office, and his “winning” facade is about to be exposed for the travesty that it is.

And that, if nothing else, is sad.

I know many of you will disagree, perhaps vehemently, with what I’m saying. That’s alright; you have your opinion, and I have mine. However you feel about it, though, get used to this.

I think we’re just getting warmed up, here. This is just Round One.

Dispatch From Inside the Paper Bag

 

It’s a common criticism of an average or below average boxer to say he “can’t punch his way out of a paper bag.” Sometimes, even “a wet paper bag.” It implies a hapless palooka who is too weak/inept/cowardly to effectively land a punch.

Well, folks, I am that boxer.

My fight is against depression, as many of you know. Unfortunately, two of depression’s harder punches are loss of interest and lack of concentration.

So basically, I don’t even feel like fighting, usually. Hence, the long period of no posts on this blog. I’ll start a few of them, but following through is next to impossible; I can’t concentrate, and I don’t care.

Sucks, right?

I’m still here, though, in case you were concerned. And maybe sometime, I’ll finally land a punch. I do want to win this fight, really.

But I’m afraid we’re gonna go several more rounds.

 

And How Was Your Day?

 

The surprises life occasionally drops in your lap can sometimes be nothing short of incredible.

 

I drive a shuttle bus five days a week for a particular business. I’ve been driving it for two years, now. In that time, I’ve gotten to know several of the folks who ride it on a regular basis. I know many of them by name, and enjoy talking with them when they ride with me.

We’ll talk about just random stuff: music, sports, the job, the mercilessly hot weather (currently), whatever.

And, somewhere in the conversation, I try to get a laugh or two out of them; maybe make them forget a few seconds about the stress of the day. Some people, I can joke with relentlessly, because we know each other that well by now.

This one fellow, who shall remain nameless, and I are like that, but one day, we got a little deeper in our dialogue. I don’t recall how we got to this subject, but I shared my depression struggles with him, which led to him opening up about his depression, and sometimes thoughts of suicide.

He told me he’s thought about it “logically”, i.e., exactly how he would go about it.

I told him about how I wrestle with those same thoughts, and recommended that he get help, as I did. Because, like I’ve said before on this blog, that’s way too big a dragon to try and slay on your own.

He thanked me for the talk, and we haven’t brought it up since. Which is probably bad; I should have followed up on it with him. But, I don’t see him as much, now; since relocating to the main office, he doesn’t need to go to the other facility too often. Not that that’s any excuse.

So today, when I walked into the office, the lady at the security desk, who I also know, had a card for me from him. Now, we both expected it to be something funny, because he and I sometimes leave snarky little notes for each other with her. She kinda gets a kick out of being the go-between, I think.

Not this time. Instead, it was a thank-you card. Inside was a generous gift, and a note which read:

I really struggled on a daily basis with depression during my old job. Part of the reason I was always on the bus was you. Thank you for making me laugh and smile.

 

I just stood there for a minute, looking at that note, totally dumbfounded. I genuinely didn’t know what to think. I’m still trying to get a grasp of the significance of it.

At the very least, though, it’s immensely gratifying. I have no idea if I’ve helped anyone with what I’ve written on this blog; I can only hope. But, I can take some satisfaction in knowing I helped him.

With just a few jokes. Who would have thought?

I don’t know what this story will mean to you, if anything. Like I said, I’m still processing what it means to me.

But, have you ever been at a point in your life where you never envisioned yourself being, wondering why you were there?

I don’t know for sure, but maybe, this guy was the reason I’m right here, right now.

Which blows my mind just a little.

Love one another, y’all.