Minefield

 

I’ve been more than a little hesitant to broach this subject, but I feel compelled to say something about it; given all the attention it’s gotten lately, it just feels wrong to stay silent. So, here goes.

Abortion. There, I said it. Of all the hot-button topics there are, this one may be historically the hottest.

And it’s front and center these days, with states from Michigan to Texas and Alaska to Alabama crafting new legislation to abolish it, feeling emboldened by the conservative Supreme Court to challenge the landmark Roe v Wade decision from 1973, which protected a woman’s right to privacy in regards to abortion.

Just check out the anti-abortion measures being considered in several states or, in the case of Alabama, already signed into law. By a female governor. (!!) Punishment not only for the woman who has the procedure, but for the doctor who performs it. Severe punishment.

(By the way, where’s the punishment for the guy who impregnated her to begin with? It does take two, you know.)

 

Let me be clear: I’m not here to debate the morality of abortion, itself. Whether I believe it’s right or wrong is irrelevant. I’m taking issue with the choice to have it done being taken from the woman. That just makes no sense to me. It’s her decision, nobody else’s. Certainly not the state’s.

And it’s incredibly naive for anyone to believe that making abortion illegal is gonna put a stop to it.

Anyway, that’s as much as I’ll say about it. If a woman is facing the decision of whether or not to abort, let’s offer her education, counseling, spiritual guidance, whatever, but leave the final decision to her. Don’t legislate it.

I know some of you will agree with me and some of you won’t, but I’m gonna say what I feel. You’re welcome to do the same. Thanks for your time.

 

Running With the Crowd

 

My fellow Americans, today I am formally announcing my candidacy for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States.

Why? Because everyone else in the world is.

New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio announced his candidacy Thursday, which brings the total number of candidates to somewhere around 857, I believe.

Holy Clusterf***, Batman!

You think everyone wants a shot at donnie? They are lining up, friends.

I mean, can you imagine the stage for the debates? There’ll be more candidates than audience members. Just introducing them all will take up about half the allotted debate time. You’d need a program to follow along.

And honestly, I stand as good a chance as most of them.

So, why not? I don’t know a thing about running a country, but we’ve already proven that’s not a prerequisite for getting elected, right?

I mean, the economy, health care, foreign policy, the environment…how tough could this job really be?

So, yeah, vote for me, folks, and I promise to get on this stuff right away.

After all, I don’t have a Twitter account!

Oh, and at the debates, I’ll be the sixteenth guy from the right.

I’ll wave at you.

Break Time

 

I like to think of myself as, at least, a semi-informed chap, a guy who has some idea, anyway, of the goings on of the world. As such, I try to stay on top of the news of the day.

But I may have to rethink that.

I truly believe, if I try to keep up with the news these days, it may drive me to a nervous breakdown, or worse. The anger it stirs in me might blow out a blood vessel, I don’t know.

Because it is so overwhelmingly depressing. So bleak. So hopeless. It leaves me with a dim view of the present, and an even darker one of the future. And feeling helpless to do a damn thing about it.

And the sheer weight of it all becomes almost too much.

Am I the only one who feels like this?

 

Part of this, I understand, is due to the media’s propensity for focusing on the bad news. But, we’re to blame for that; bad news consistently pulls in good ratings, which are what the news business is all about. Like the philosopher Don Henley once said, we love dirty laundry.

I guess, if I had some other belief system, perhaps it wouldn’t get to me like it does. But I believe what I believe, although even that’s shaky these days. Maybe I’ve been wrong all this time. Don’t think so, but I’m not quite as sure as I once was. I don’t know…

I just know that, for the sake of my sanity, I don’t wanna know. My head just needs to be in the sand for awhile, good or bad.

But, if someone drops a bomb on us, can someone please give me a heads-up? Thanks.

 

It’s Been a Year

 

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida.

It’s one of those places now that, just by mentioning its name, evokes vivid, horrifying images for us all.

One year ago today, that school lived its worst nightmare.

An eighteen-year-old former student showed up on campus with a semiautomatic rifle and shot seventeen people to death; fourteen of them, students.

Most of us can’t possibly imagine what that experience was like; to helplessly watch the surreal scene of a gunman randomly killing people, killing your friends. 

And you wait, paralyzed in utter shock and terror, for your turn.

Can you imagine?

And today, all the surviving students, teachers, families and members of the community who have lived with this horrific tragedy every day for the last year, will commemorate this anniversary by honoring the memory of those who were lost, and by renewing their commitment to putting an end to the senseless violence that forever changes the lives of all who are affected by it.

Which, incidentally, is all of us.

 

So then, let’s all honor the memory of those who died tragically a year ago. Let’s remind ourselves of how precious the people in our lives are, and how we need to let them know that every chance we get, because the time could come when we run out of chances.

I was listening to a man on the radio this morning recalling his experience that day. He was at a Starbucks just blocks away from the school when the shootings happened. He clearly remembers all the parents’ phones ringing at once. He remembers the horrified screams, the panic and chaos.

And he remembers one mother’s tearful regret over not telling her daughter goodbye that morning before she left for school.

Remind the people you love that you love them. Today.

 

And let’s also honor the memory of those who died by letting our lawmakers know very clearly that there is no longer any excuse for weak and inadequate gun control laws. This insanity has to stop, and they have the power to make it happen, if they can just stop kissing the arse of the National Rifle Association.

Let’s all speak out. The Stoneman students are; let’s support them. Let’s join them.

Today, we are all Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

 

#MSDStrong

This Is It

 

Okay, friends and neighbors, today’s the day. Election Day!

As you may or may not have heard, this one is very important. It will determine, among other things, the makeup of our Congress, the body of government charged with making our nation’s laws.

You have a voice in who occupies those seats in Congress.

If you haven’t already voted, by golly, GO DO IT! The time for sitting out is over. America’s government has gotten to the shape it’s in, on both sides of the aisle, due in no small part to citizens’ lack of participation in the process.

And yes, I own my part in that.

Well, if donald trump has done anything good for America, he’s gotten a lot more people interested in voting, so thumbs up for that.

So please, take the time and go cast your vote today. And don’t let anyone intimidate you into not doing it. Don’t let anyone get in your way. You have the right to vote. The Constitution of the United States says so.

You have until 7:00 PM, local time. Let your voice be heard.

Then we’ll see what happens.

Split Decision

 

I see no way around this, folks.

I see no hope for reconciliation. I see no hope for compromise. I see no hope for even coexistence.

These past few years have revealed an ugly truth to me: the United States of America can no longer exist in its present form. No matter the outcome of this upcoming election, there’s no denying the fact that the fabric of this country has a very large tear, one that is beyond the point of sewing back up, I’m afraid.

Therefore, I think the time has come for a divorce.

America must split into two smaller nations: MAGA Nation and The Rest Of Us.

It’s perfect. MAGA Nation can then surround itself in a tall, fortified, secure wall, keeping it safe from all those it hates/fears, such as nonwhites, non-heteros, non-Evangelical Christians and non-Fox News “journalists”.

Everyone in MAGA Nation can keep his or her own arsenal of weapons, automatic and otherwise, as protected by the Second Amendment, the only one that matters.

Environmental protections will be completely irrelevant in MAGA Nation because, of course, there’s no global warming there.

The guys (not men) of MAGA Nation can just do whatever they want to the women, with absolutely no worry of any future consequences. Hell, they may even end up as Supreme Court justices.

donald trump, A.K.A God’s Annointed Man, can attain the Dictator for Life title he so openly covets from Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un. There’ll be no need for elections, you see, because in MAGA Nation, he would always win unanimously!

And no more fake news. The Big Orange can be MAGA Nation’s one and only source for trusted, reliable news, primarily via Twitter.

Meanwhile, The Rest Of Us will live in a land that aspires to the highest ideals of freedom, diversity and equality, takes climate change seriously, trusts the media while holding it accountable for the veracity of its reporting, and treats every person with the dignity and respect to which we are all entitled.

And the two nations can just leave each other alone.

I think this is the best solution. It’s either that or a brutal, violent, bloody war, culminating in either America’s reunification or its utter collapse.

I really don’t see any other options at this point. Do you?

P.S.: VOTE!!

Have Your Say

 

Election time is upon us, America.

I’m not here to endorse any candidate, or any party, or any other item on your ballot. That’s strictly your business.

I’m here to endorse voting. I want to encourage you to do that.

This is when you get to have a say in what kind of government, what kind of America, you want to see.

This is when you get to use your superpower as a citizen of this country; you can determine the direction it will go.

You may like how things are going, and want to vote for keeping it just humming along. You may be deeply dissatisfied with the current state of affairs, and want to vote for change.

What you cannot do, and must not do, is be apathetic, and not vote at all.

But, apparently, a lot of us do just that. (Yes, I said us, including me.) We just don’t show up, especially for these midterm elections; typically, about 40%. Barely more than 36% of us voted in the last midterms.

And that’s a shame.

Voting is our privilege, our right, and our responsibility. We shouldn’t skip it because we just don’t give a $#!t, or because we think our vote means nothing. What if everybody felt that way? Do we really want 40% of us to decide what happens to 100% of us?

Election Day is Tuesday, November 6th. You have time to learn where to go to cast your vote. If, like me, you can’t make it to the polls that day, you have time to find where to go and vote early. If you can’t make it there at all, go to https://www.vote411.org to learn how you can still cast your vote.

I’m gonna vote this year. I sincerely hope you do, too. 🗳

An Open Letter

 

TO: Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee

Fellas, (because you don’t deserve to be called gentlemen),

Congratulations! Your votes Friday confirmed a sexual assaulter’s nomination for the United States Supreme Court. Sexual assaulter Brett Kavanaugh is just a Senate vote away from serving on the highest court in the land.

A proud day, indeed. Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas can swap some good stories, no doubt.

I would just like to make one request of you.

After you’ve gone out and celebrated with the boys over this victory, I want you to go to every woman in your life and explain to her why you voted as you did. I want you to justify your actions to each of them, and assure them that what you did was right.

I also want you to instruct them that, if they ever have to testify in front of a panel of cranky old men about the most horrifying, degrading, humiliating event of their life, be sure to have some “corroborating evidence”, or their testimony will hold absolutely no water.

I want you to look each of them in the eyes, and tell them you truly value and respect women, unless they interfere with getting your man on the Supreme Court.

And lastly, I want you to tell every woman in America that you’re counting on her vote on Election Day.

Sincerely,

A pissed-off old man who’s utterly ashamed of every one of you.

 

BELIEVE THE WOMEN!!!

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)