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I Didn’t March

I didn’t March last weekend. Before you get all excited one way or the other, there were a few mitigating circumstances.  1. I’m a chicken, and there has been much violence lately at protests. 2. I also had my son last weekend, and with his SPD, I did not want to take a chance. It could have been fine, or worst case see above. Instead, we went and saw Hidden Figures. More on that later.

I’m happy for you if you feel women’s rights are right where they need to be. Although I have had a fairly charmed life, I don’t see it that way. There are some major areas that we need to protect, and some we need to change.

Womens health needs to be protected. Planned Parenthood is important. Take abortion off the table, because I’m not getting in to that argument right now. I’m talking about women’s health. I’m talking about when I lost my health insurance while on maternity leave (after the birth), and Planned Parenthood provided my post natal exam. They also kept a tight monitor on my iron levels, which were extremely low, and got me the info to get on WIC. Later, right before the Affordable Care Act, they helped me through the diagnosis of Fibroid Tumors, kept a tight check on my cervix which had bad cells in it, and supported me through what was going on. As soon as ACA went through, and I had insurance, they got my info to my Doctor quickly and we’re happy that I was getting the treatment I needed that they couldn’t provide. I know this because they called to follow up with me. And because of federal and state funding, all that care, except for the ultrasound (I had to go to an outside provider for that) it was free. I even got my monogram through them.
There is a disconnect between how the law is written, and how it is implemented. I’m assuming we can all agree that rape is wrong. And yet, how often do we ask what she was doing out that late, or what was she wearing.. it should not matter where I am, what I’m wearing, the time or even how drunk I am or if I’ve ever had sex before. Rape is a crime of violence, and yet we often blame the woman. Even when the man is held accountable, he can get a slap on the wrist because of the bright future he had shown. Want to know why more women don’t report rape? See above. Believe me, I know how lucky I am in this regard. The statics are heart breaking.
The workplace can also be a minefield for women. Get past the not getting paid the same as men. Let’s talk about having a boss who belittled you, never allows you to succeed and blames you for loosing customers who left 5 years BEFORE you were hired. Or being cussed out for 10 minutes on the phone for saying “thank you for holding, this is Wyndie, how can i help you?”. I have had great male bosses, don’t get me wrong. My current boss is awesome. I don’t think he cares what I wear, he cares how I do my job. He also doesn’t have inappropriate content in his email. I have had bosses whose email I had to clean out that was such a smutt factory I finally refused and suffered the consequences. And there were consequences. 
I didnt march for those things. I believe in them, but didnt march. In the end, whether you marched or not, I hope you can be kind to the other side. We are all in this ride together, and if it breaks down we are all screwed. 
One last thought. I have a friend who is very conserative. She doesn’t understand the March. But if I called her and said I felt I needed to go but was scared or didn’t know how to get there, ornwhatever, she would have been there for me. She would have taken me, called people out for pushing and shoving and littering, but she would have been there for me. People over politics. Because we are on the same ride. Women especially need solidarity.
Oh, and Marching? Peacefully PROTESTING? It’s a right.and because of women protesting, we have the ability to vote. Back then, women were dismissed as being hysterical for their political views and could be put in an insane asylum. Those women marched, even though others didn’t understand or believe in them. Even though it was dangerous. We can’t understand what they went through but owe an incredible debt to them. At the time they were dismissed.
Please stop dismissing women who March. Who knows what they’ll say 100 years from now about the Womens March of 2017? I’d love to read that story…. 

Bones

I saw the bones

Of the world

Washed up on shore

Stripped bare of the

Taint of hate

Laying side by side

One atop another

Coexisting
No care for male 

Or female

Republican or Democrat

Black or white

Brown or tan.
How long until

We no longer

Need to wait

Until we’re bones?

America the Beautiful

So I went off Facebook on Thursday. Before I did, I wrote  a post letting people know that  I was turning it off for a while, and that my heart hurt.

It hurt a lot.

I was ashamed to be an American, that’s how much it hurt.

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

(Note, from America, by Kathrine Lee Bates, 1914 version)

I wasn’t seeing a lot of good on Facebook. Or a lot of brotherhood. Well… except for people that are just like them. The Paris attacks, we had 24hour coverage of. And I understand that we hold a strong affection for Paris. It’s the city of dreams for many of us. We’ve either gone there, or dreamed of going there. What happened was horrific, and reminded many of 9/11…

But what about all the other tragedies that happened that day? November 13,2015 was a horrible, horrible day in world history. In simple human lives lost. And yet…. I’ve only seen 1 news outlet even touch the fact that only Paris received the heart rending support.

Then the hate began.

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

(America, Kathrine Lee Bates, 1914 version.)

People seem to forget that we are “the melting pot”. That we are a nation built (or stolen) on immigration. Ask the Native American’s if the Pilgrims are the hero of their story– or the villain. We have a long history with immigration, and it’s not always pretty.

Why does history matter when we’re dealing with a different enemy? (I actually read this and almost cried at the stupidity). Well, history might not tell us a lot about the current enemy. But it sure shines a light on us. And it’s not the  flattering, Hollywood set lighting either. It is harsh and ugly.

The memes that I’m talking about are basically sheep bleating to keep the wolves away. Only, they’re not keeping out the wolves. If you want to see the numbers break down, then go and check out Scalzi’s post on it here  He says it much better and more concisely than I can.

So, basically, we’re screwing the families. Just like we did to the Jewish immigrants before we stepped into WWII. We turned them away, as did other countries. And their boat had to go back to Germany. We sentenced them to death. Make no mistake about it. Our fear, our sheep mentality, cost people their lives.

And people are ok with making that mistake again. Forget what lady liberty has inscribed:

“Inscription on the Statue of Liberty”

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Author: Emma Lazarus

Just take that and throw it out the window. What we claim to hold dear is not, after all, dear to us. We want to slam our doors to the huddled masses, to people who have left everything behind to try and flee to safety… and people are ok with letting them go back to an enemy we hate. We’re not only ok with it…

We’ll one up it.

Yes, it has been suggested that we keep a “database” on Syrian refugees. Really? Really? Do you want them to sew a gold star onto their clothes as well? Or tattoo a number on their arm? Or maybe we should incarcerate them upon entry into the US because of their ancestry, regardless of if they are innocent. Or Americans. The worst deeds done in recent human history, and some people are not only willing, but eager to repeat them.

Never mind what it says in America:

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!

See that. Those ideals we hold so dear…. Talking about the military and MERCY.

MERCY.

MERCY.

Something that is sadly lacking on Facebook right now. And it’s not only the froth that’s coming out on their pages. It’s the bullying that goes on with it. If you don’t agree with me, you’re an idiot. All liberals are flighty ditz balls who don’t like the military (to which I say bite me). Ban the Syrians! Let me keep my guns! Go away!

Give me a freaking break.

So I’m taking a break from Facebook. Because it broke my heart.

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

(America, by Kathrine Lee Bates, 1914 version)

Hopefully, God will shine his grace on us. Even though we are so undeserving right now. We’ve thrown brotherhood right out the window, and a lot more of what we hold dear. Maybe if the news could just report the actual, you know, news… instead of a candidates views of it, things would get better.

Or you know. If people would get their faces out of Facebook, and actually put a book in their face. Or talked with people. Had an honest debate with no name calling…

Yah. Instead, I’ll be on Twitter. Or with my face in a book.

 

 

 

America The Broken: Mass Shootings, Hashtag/internet activism, the NRA and other BS

I normally stay away from outright political posts. Today, however… Today I have had enough. It’s time to piss some people off.Wyn is going on a rant.

Our greatest enemy is not ISIS, or some random other country. It’s ourselves. Americans have somehow lost sight of America the Beautiful and allowed it to become America the Broken.

Not the Syrian refugees.

Not immigrants trying to make a better life.

Not even Russia.

Or North Korea.

We are doing a damn fine job of destroying ourselves.

There was a mass shooting recently. People did not come home from school. Once again, parents are left without their babies, and babies are left without their parents. It’s a horrible situation that needs to stop. Needs to stop right now and yet…

And yet…

The only solutions I’ve seen on Social Media comes from NRA supporters who are bleating about “Don’t take away my guns… ” Really? Really? This is a discussion we, as Americans, need to have. Gun control issues need to be addressed. Period. Win, loose or draw, this is a discussion we need to have and have soon. In person. Face to face, in communities all across the nation. Because we are not getting any better at this. We are getting worse.

Mental health issues come into play with the mass shootings, as well. You know, the programs that our elected officials have no problems defunding. Republican or Democrat, doesn’t matter. Mental health issues have come into play with most of the mass shootings. And we’re not only letting the issues be swept under the rug— we keep voting the same people in that do it.

And I’m not done… Yup, I’m going after everything that is killing babies today.

Here’s my problem with the hashtag of #alllivesmatter. First of all, is the duh factor.Everyone matters, regardless of race. Period. And yet… Whether you want to admit to it or not, there is a problem going on and it seems to center in a segment of America that not everyone wants to understand. It’s easy to say to ourselves “Well, if they hadn’t done something wrong, it wouldn’t have happened.” “Well, they were dressed like a thug and were treated like one. Go figure.”

Yes, I’ve actually heard those two sentences.

Sounds kind of like “Well, her skirt was too short, so she was asking for it” to me.

Nonsense.

Because it did happen to someone who was dressed appropriately to what he was getting ready to do. A black athlete, a tennis player (sorry, don’t know his name as I hate tennis) waiting outside a fancy-schmancy hotel for his car to come pick him up for a tennis match. Detained, cuffed and humiliated by a policeman who didn’t think he was where he belonged. Yes, it made the news. But no one… and I mean no one… has connected the dots to their own thinking. To the “Well… if… then…” falls apart in one, clear instance.

Quite frankly, it sucks.

The genocide of violence that sweeps across America occurs in many forms: gangs, police brutality, rape, school shootings, and non-stranger homicide. We need to have honest and genuine conversations across communities to develop ways to combat these issues.

Then we need to DO something about them.

Because a baby… still in her crib… was collateral damage in a drive-by shooting. How did that baby do it to herself? Why is this still fucking ok? Or if not ok, swept under the rug… Generations of Americans are killing each other and we have to stop it.

And it ain’t gonna happen through Social Media.

One last thing before I get to what I see as a solution for this broken America.

Syrian refugees.

Did you know that during World War II, originally our borders were closed to Jews fleeing the concentration camps? Huh. I learned that it college and it rocked my world. The president at the time closed the immigration because of rampant racism against the Jewish. Eventually, the borders were opened and we joined in WWII. Eventually.

Right now there’s a meme going around that says Vets before Syrian Refugees.

Really?

Really people?

Why are we going back?

Think about this…

It’s easy to post memes, forward articles, and update your status on social media, but what physical action have you done in the community. Armchair activism doesn’t do much to help stop the blood flow of innocent people at school, at college, playing in their neighborhood or driving their car down the highway. The polarizing aspect of Americans is that we don’t get out and meet the people we’re dismissing on social media.

Because that’s what it’s going to take to fix America. You, me, everyone… getting up off our ASS, shutting off our devices and doing something to fix it. Big or small, we need to take the steps to fix America.

My dad gives money to the poorest school in the district. Not my son’s school… but which ever one has the greatest need. I have a friend who feels very strongly about the phrase “gone but not forgotten” and do you know what she does? She goes out and helps to clean and maintain the grave markers of fallen soldiers. Another friend feels strongly about church and community and children. So she arranges movie night at the church. She makes it possible for people from church to go to the snow. She tries, each and every day. She does not like what video games have done to society… and keeps them out of her house.

I had been hoping to teach a class on journaling to heal at a women’s shelter but because of a conflict of interest was unable. I need to revisit that. Or doing poetry or story telling with teens. I need to do better. I need to follow through.I may be pointing a finger today, but I am fully aware that there are more pointing back at me.

If we want our kids to be safe, and secure… We need to give all of them something to belong to. Something other than a gang, or a video game world, or a hate group…

Let’s give them US. You, me… everyone. Let’s become INVOLVED American’s. If you love playing darts, or playing pool… how about sharing that with others? Kids who need a place to belong. Art, books, so many different things we can get them into. Make a part of your garden open for kids to grow their own veggies. . Will it fix the problems? I don’t know. But if it can save one mother from crying over her dead child…. How can we not try? Stop posting divisive, ridiculing things on Social Media and start fixing our country.

Let’s build America the Beautiful, all parts, from sea to shining sea.

“This is your call to action. Get up. Get out of the house. Get involved. Get connected to real human beings beyond the isolation and mask of social media.”

Lets start a conversation. Comments are open, but I shall delete anyone that belittles or berates anyone else. We need to find a solution, and that solution needs to start with us.

*** thank you to Nicole for her help***