Tired

 

I’m tired, boss…mostly, I’m tired of people bein’ ugly to each other.

John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan), “The Green Mile”, 1999

 

I’m tired, too, John.

By now, I’m flat wore out, as we say around here.

Lately, as you know, people are being ugly to each other in all kinds of ways, and I’m plenty tired of all of it, but especially…

I’m tired of people taking it upon themselves to go and shoot several other people, for any reason or for none at all.

You can’t go to church, you can’t go to the grocery store, you can’t go to a bar, you can’t go to school, you can’t f****ng go anywhere that there isn’t the possibility of getting shot to death.

The American flag may as well be flown at half mast from now on.

And the sadness of that is absolutely overwhelming.

This is how bad it’s gotten: One of the survivors from this week’s shooting in Thousand Oaks, California, was also in Las Vegas, Nevada a year ago, when that shooting occurred.

But another survivor of the Vegas shooting was killed this week in Thousand Oaks.

When people are present at more than one mass murder event…

The really cynical among us probably wonder what these gunmen have against country music, around which both these events centered.

The rest of us know it’s no laughing matter at all.

 

All these people. All these precious, beautiful, innocent people. Attending their classes. Worshipping their god. Enjoying a night out with friends.

Unaware.

Then, in the blink of an eye…

Utterly incomprehensible, unspeakable tragedy. My God, the tragedy.

I’m not gonna trot out all the gun violence statistics we probably could all recite by now. I’m not gonna bring up the gun owners and their Second Amendment rights. I’m not gonna rage against our government’s continued impotence over this crisis as the body count just keeps going up. I’m not gonna point out how the phrase “thoughts and prayers” is, by now, as empty and hollow as the barrel of a spent gun.

Because I’m tired.

I’m not numb to it, mind you. I haven’t quit caring about it; not at all.

I’m just…tired. Physically, mentally, emotionally tired.

First, the horror, then the sorrow, then the anger and frustration. Over and over and over. It wears you down, I tell you.

John Coffey, I’m right there with you, brother.

 

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. 🗳

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)

The Last Straw

 

A favorite movie from my youth was one called Billy Jack, the story of a half-white, half-Native American (um, Indian in those days), former Green Beret who, shall we say, has some anger management issues.

In one scene, Billy arrives in town to find some of his friends being bullied by some locals in a diner. After surveying the damage, he offers his heartfelt confession to the chief bully, Bernard, that he really, really tries to keep his temper in check. But when he sees these acts of cruelty inflicted on his friends, and I quote:

”I just go ber-serk!!!

Then he starts some serious butt-kicking.

That’s about where I find myself now.

 

I’ve witnessed a lot of events in our country, and our world, in the last year and a half, facilitated by people in Washington, DC, that have strained my limits of tolerance.

I’ve seen some completely boneheaded, irreconcilably stupid, downright reckless acts committed in the name of Making America Great Again.

And I have, for the most part, held my tongue about it, mainly because I thought the people behind these actions, along with the people who support the people behind these actions, care not one little bit about what I may think.

But, when I see picture after picture of immigrant children – children! – locked up in cages like a bunch of dangerous criminals, having been separated from their parents….

When I hear the President blame Democrats for this whole debacle, when any idiot knows that Democrats are the minority party in Congress, so they essentially have no power to enact or change anything…

And when I hear the Attorney General of the United States have the gall to cite the Holy Bible to justify these cruel and barbarous acts, and the Press Secretary (among others) then defend that Scriptural perversion…

Well, now I just have to speak up, because the next stop is berserk.

 

This is beyond outrageous. It’s beyond shameful. It’s beyond disgraceful. It reveals a country that has given up its decency, compassion, and humanity, in exchange for fear, prejudice, and hatred.

A country that has heard all the same old lies about immigration so many times as to believe them all, without question.

A country that has revealed to the world its true attitude, in all its wretched ugliness.

I don’t know the answer to the immigration issue. Apparently, nobody does, or it would be solved by now.

But I guarantee, there is nobody – absolutely nobody – who can convince me that this is it.

And I think it’s time for us all to just go berserk.

How You Doin’?

 

 

From the Associated Press, 06/08/2018:

“Anthony Bourdain, the celebrity chef and citizen of the world who inspired millions to share his delight in food and the bonds it created, was found dead in his hotel room Friday in France while working on his CNN series on culinary traditions. He was 61.

“CNN confirmed the death, saying that Bourdain was found unresponsive Friday morning by friend and chef Eric Ripert in the French city of Haut-Rhin. It called his death a suicide.”

 

From the Associated Press, 06/06/2018

“NEW YORK (AP) — The husband and business partner of designer Kate Spade, who died in an apparent suicide, said she suffered from depression and anxiety for many years.”

 

From the Washington Post, 06/08/2018:

“Suicide rates rose in all but one state between 1999 and 2016, with increases seen across age, gender, race and ethnicity, according to a report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In more than half of all deaths in 27 states, the individuals had no known mental health condition when they took their own life.”

 

Is there anyone out there who still doesn’t see how serious a problem this is?

We’re dying, folks. By our own hand.

In ever growing numbers.

I find that both terrifying and heartbreaking.

Not to mention, completely unnecessary. This doesn’t need to be happening!

My brothers and sisters, we need to look out for one another. Where are we failing?

Well, I have one possible explanation:

The CDC report pointed out an apparently high number of suicides among people without a known mental health condition, saying: “In the 27 states that use the National Violent Death Reporting System, 54 percent of suicides were by individuals without a known mental illness.”

But Joshua Gordon, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, added an important asterisk to that statistic, saying that, “When you do a psychological autopsy and go and look carefully at medical records and talk to family members of the victims, 90 percent will have evidence of a mental health condition.” So, many of the suicides were completed by people who were never even diagnosed, and consequently, never got any treatment for their condition.

According to the report, a likely reason for that is, most people aren’t asking for help. Especially, men. 

 

And, listen, I understand the reluctance. Mental illness still has a huge stigma attached to it. Nobody wants to admit there’s a problem, because it comes with a great big Scarlet Letter.

So, rather than be negatively labeled, people will just keep killing themselves.

THAT’S why the stigma has to be eliminated. That’s why we need to discuss mental illness as easily as we do cancer, or heart disease, or any other physical malady. It’s an illness, and it can and should be treated. People with mental illness aren’t crazy; they’re sick, and they need help.

And here’s the important part: If you know them, they need you to ask them if they need help.

I know that’s tough but, many times, they’re simply waiting for someone to ask them; they just won’t come out and say it.

Look, I’m no doctor. I’m no psychiatrist. I do have an illness. It’s called clinical depression, and I sure enough need help for it. And I’m getting it. Because I deal with those thoughts that visit me sometimes, and tell me just go ahead and check out, because you’re hopeless, you sorry, no good SOB.

But then, I realize: after posting information on this blog about what some of the warning signs are in someone who may be suicidal (08/31/2017), where to go to get help (08/31/2017), and how to help someone who is suicidal (09/13/2017), and after offering personal encouragement (09/23/2017 and several other dates), it would all ring pretty hollow if I just went and killed myself, wouldn’t it? I’d be the world’s biggest fraud. (Well, second biggest; you longtime readers know who I think has a lock on first place.)

But, back to my point: We all need to learn to be more observant of the behavior of those around us and, if we notice something that’s off with somebody, ask if he or she is okay. That’s not nosy, that’s caring.

And, you never know. It could be the difference between someone getting help, or ending it all. The stakes are that high.

Please, folks, let’s get out of ourselves and our cellphones a little more, and check in on our family, our friends, our colleagues. They may be waiting for us to ask.

But for how much longer?

By the way, how are you?

 

Never. Not Once

This is great stuff. Read it and consider seriously what this gentleman is saying.

Note To My White Self

Note to my white self…

In light of the recent events at a Starbucks coffee shop, it seems prudent to understand what such incidents teach you as a white person.

You have never been asked to leave a coffee shop because you haven’t purchased a beverage yet.

You have never had a store clerk call the police to have you removed from the premises.

You have never been arrested for asking to use the restroom.

Never. Not once.

You have never had black men yell “Honky” and throw garbage at you from a passing vehicle.

You have never had a person cross to the other side of the street when they see you.

You have never had people stare right through you when you said “hello.”

You have never had someone tell you they hate you because of the color of your skin.

Never. Not once.

You have never had…

View original post 485 more words

For the Fellas

 

Men. Guys. Dudes. Brothers.

Listen to me right now. If I could, I would grab every single one of you by the lapels on your coat, pull you right to my face, and say, “Pay Attention!!”

Here’s why: There are two professional basketball players who have something very important to say to all of us guys.

So, I want all of you to go straight to The Players’ Tribune, a website where professional athletes connect directly with fans, in their own words. Once you’re there, read Everyone is Going Through Something, by the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kevin Love, about the panic attack that woke him up to his mental illness.

Then, read about DeMar DeRozan, of the Toronto Raptors, opening up about his struggles with depression and anxiety.

Go ahead, do it now. I’ll wait here.

 

Done? Good.

Could you identify with some of what you read? I sure could. I think lots of men can.

But nobody ever knows that, because to speak up about it is to admit to a “weakness”, which, of course, no real man can admit, right?

Plus, in our culture, “mental illness” is synonymous with “looney toons”, and it’s time we all get past that way of thinking.

What I hope sticks with you, fellas, from Kevin and DeMar’s stories, is that it’s okay to talk to someone about your mental health. You’re not any less of a man if you have a problem.

You hear me? You’re not any less of a man if you have a problem. And you’re not any less of a man for talking with someone about it. The fact I have to practically shout it to you just shows how much STIGMA is attached to mental illness in America. Especially, with men.

And, the way to make that go away is for more of us to talk openly about it, like Kevin and DeMar, and so many before them, and not just athletes, either. Men from all different walks of life.

Because, the truth is, big boys do cry. We just never see them do it.

Mental illness isn’t something that will just go away with time if you wait it out, and it sure as hell isn’t something you can fix, yourself; I don’t care how badass you think you are.

I’m gonna keep talking about mental illness. My mental illness. My depression. Because it’s something men need to talk about a whole lot more. Not just about sports, or cars, or politics, or women, or our physical health.

Our mental health is as much a part of who we are as the rest of it, guys. So, let’s make it part of the conversation.

I just want to remind you of what Kevin said at the end of his essay:

“So if you’re reading this and you’re having a hard time, no matter how big or small it seems to you, I want to remind you that you’re not weird or different for sharing what you’re going through.

“Just the opposite. It could be the most important thing you do. It was for me.”

It was for me. And, with all my heart, guys, I promise you, it could be for you.

It really is okay.

Here’s to the Women

 

I am strong, I am invincible, I am Woman. – Helen Reddy

Girls just wanna have fun. – Cyndi Lauper

 

Today is International Women’s Day! Women of the world, I celebrate you all!

According to the International Women’s Day website, “International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.”

You have certainly achieved much in our history, and for that, you should be proud. However, the mountain you’re climbing, as you well know, is very high, very steep, and very treacherous.

Some men, with their cultures, their religions, their double standards, their smug condescension, their supreme arrogance and horrifying violence do everything they can to break your spirit, to break your will.

And still, you continue the fight; for respect, for equality, for your rightful place in this world, a world to which many of you deliver our next generation. And you love and care for those children the best you can, in the face of any adversity or hardship.

And you laugh and you sing and you dance and you hurt and you cry and you mourn and, most of all, you love.

Oh, yeah; you inspire, as well.

Be proud of who you are, today, women. We men could learn so much from you, if we would just freakin’ admit it.

I admit it. I’m just a little slow to learn, sometimes.

But you have my admiration and respect, today and every day.

Bless you all.