Where Things Stand

Two years ago, I came out to my fiancee as transgender, which ended that relationship. A month later, I would come out to my brother and parents. Here is where things stand.

 

Dear Senator,

 

Hey made it to Quartz mt.. I want to talk to u soon.. I am in class until 6. Then A mtg. Then dinner.. so if u are available this evening I would like to talk to u..

 

Have a good time at Quartz Mountain. I’m not really available tonight, getting ready for a Paint Night tomorrow.

 

Ok.. have fun painting.. I didn’t know I had upset you again. I will delete my Facebook account as soon as I can figure out how to save my pictures..

 

Why would you delete your Facebook account? That makes no sense. If you stand by your posts, why delete it?

 

Because u get very upset and I don’t want to continually upset u.. life is short

 

I get very upset? There are so many other things that make me upset than your Facebook posts. I am still not even sure what blog post you are referring to.

 

While I have no idea if this message will reach you or make a difference, but I could not live with myself if I did not express my concern. The Trump administration continues to nominate radical and dangerous individuals to high government positions, and with a heavy heart, this also includes my father, Frank M. Coffman for the position United States Marshal for the Eastern District of Oklahoma.

 

I am way more bothered by my father’s new job than anything I have ever seen on your Facebook wall. But, I do want to add this. Your post about Puerto Rico and CNN being fake news scares me. It really does. It is naive and discredits the media. And just so you know, my coworker lost family members in the hurricane that hit Puerto Rico. The island is devastated and will take years to recover.

 

I am very sorry. For your feelings and your friend who lost their family members

 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/conversations-with-people-who-hate-me/id1257821731?mt=2&i=1000390479804

Deleting your Facebook page is ridiculous. If you feel a need to apologize, listen to this podcast instead. There are nine episodes, and listening to them would mean more to me than an apology ever would.

 

Ok.. do I download something

 

Did the link not show up for you?

 

I see it. I will have to get head phones

 

Almost two years ago, I came out to my parents as transgender, and needless to say, it went poorly. I am writing to you because a person in the position of U.S. Marshal must be objective and non-biased  in regards to following the law. Based on everything I know about my father, he is committed to his prejudices over his respect for the law. For instance, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I know he views the Black Lives Matter movement as criminal. Yet, it is his disdain for the LGBTQ+ community that frightens me the most. He refuses to accept family members as LGBTQ+ and has explicitly told me that I am under the influence of demons and corrupted by society because I am transgender.

 

Why are u bothered by your dads new job as a us marshal in Oklahoma

 

Because the Trump administration is threatening the very foundation of this country’s democracy and my father wants to work for that administration. Also, as radical and extreme as the Trump administration is and out of everyone in Oklahoma, the Trump administration sees my father as a kindred spirit for this role.

 

Whoever the president is has to appoint the Marshall.. you know your dad is not a kindred spirit.. he was more a bush kindred spirit.. I think he quit being a secret service agent because he didn’t want to be involved so closely with trump..

 

I have no idea why he quit the USSS. And while I used to think he aligned his views with moderate Republicans, I know the media he consumes and the views he holds. Just his views on social justice movements and LGBTQ+ individuals certainly does not make me feel safer or confident that he will objectively use his authority to protect all Americans.

 

I disagree.. if something happened your dad would not see gender or race or anything to help and protect.. u seem very angry and filled with rage!

 

Where is this coming from? And, of course I am angry, but filled with rage is a bit extreme. And, unfortunately, knowing things my father believes, I have to disagree with you about him.

 

To talk to u .. u don’t seem angry.. your blogs and text are extremely angry and raging!! U have been hurt by your dad and u r very sensitive to him at every level.. it is OK for people to have different beliefs and opinions!! It is EVERYONES right to feel and think differently.. and then of course someone thinks they are right and someone else is wrong! But to try and force that anyone believes exactly to believe/agree with everything u do is impossible

 

At this time, he and I barely speak, and his support of radical conservatism only drives us farther and farther apart. It is heartbreaking to write this to you, but if I do not speak out, who will? I ask you to oppose his nomination and to continue to speak out against other current and future Trump nominees that threaten democracy and the freedoms of this country.

 

You are completely right that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and opinions. Here is a key difference though. Some of those key differences could cost me my job, my healthcare, a place to live, my students’ families, and lives. Not all thoughts and opinions are right or just, even though you are entitled to them.

 

Yes every opinion and every thought can cost someone something.. costing a life is the most important loss.. the things your dad said to u was horrible and he was falling apart.. and the things I say to u are not to hurt u..but past all of that u can’t make anyone feel what u feel

 

Is he still falling apart? Are you? Regardless, the things I say and write may not change how anyone thinks or feels, but I have to try. Because, if I don’t, who will? And, how much damage will be done in the meantime if I stay silent?

 

No he is ok.. being a Marshall removes him further from trump. I am ok.. I just don’t like feeling like we r fighting . I accept and love who u r. I want u to love me and accept who I am..

 

While that is not entirely accurate about his new job, I would prefer us not to disagree. However, I will not stay silent. I love you both, but that doesn’t mean I will just accept your views and opinions just because you are family.

 

Accept isn’t the right word.. from my text.. u don’t have to accept my beliefs maybe accept the right to be different from each other.. have u thot much about meditating for inner peace

 

I certainly accept your right to be different. I don’t have to be okay with it. Just like you don’t have to accept me for who I am. And meditating? I’d rather be a bit more proactive for inner peace, like getting involved, contacting legislators, etc.

 

Just sometime for peace and to relax a bit

 

What brings me peace is knowing that I have done something in the face of what is happening.

 

Thank you for your time,

Nicholas Bailey

 

Ok what do u do to relax

 

Paint nights. Movies. Spend time with friends.

 

Child of Trump Nominee Speaks Out

http://www.gayly.com/child-trump-nominee-speaks-out

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Another Tuesday

Some things seem impossible.

Impossible to do.

Impossible to hope for.

Tonight was a sliver of hope and a strong rebuke, a rebuke to bigotry, corruption, and deceit.

The Resistance stands strong.

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The above tweet flashes onto the screen of my iPad. I can’t look away, and I have been refreshing my Twitter app frantically for a glimmer of hope.

A retweet sends it my way.

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Another retweet brings a smile to my face.

It has felt so horrible and hopeless for the last months, which have felt like decades.

But, this is hope.

Possibility.

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I switch over to Facebook, inundated with increasing possibilities. I scroll by a post from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Wow.

Just wow.

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A quick shift back to Twitter as tweets scroll by in an endless sea of excitement. One after another, excitement rolls through, excitement and hope.

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I consider all the people who consume Fox News like a sponge, soaking in an alternative reality. People who I once respected. People who I used to look up to.

I continue to scroll until I cross someone spouting bigotry.

Andrew T. Walker.

His words enshrined in digital stone.

“Christian parents, the nation’s first transgender elected official enters American history tonight. What are you doing to prepare your children for this new world?”

I hear these words as if uttered by a parent.

My scrolling continues as I stumble upon a reply to Mr. Walker.

“Christian parent here. We’re celebrating. We’re preparing our so to embrace difference, not fear or discriminate against it.”

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The gif of applause that follows is perfection.

I can’t spend all night on Twitter and decide to do something about the laundry situation.

After a few minutes, The iPad screen is illuminated again.

Twitter.

One last look before I move to some other distraction.

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Yeah.

That.

Muted Words

How many days has it been since the last one?

I turn to Google because I think surely it must have been a month since Las Vegas. Surely, it has been at least that long.

Google bring me this URL: http://www.dayssincethelastmassshooting.com.

A bright red zero blazes onto the screen. At 2:00 PM today, more lives were lost, lost to the senseless gun violence that has taken over this country, the blood stains on our hands and the hands of the cowardice within the American political system.

Then, I remembered that after the Las Vegas terrorist attack that I posted on my Facebook. I switched to the Facebook app.

There.

October 2nd. Fifty-eight people, people with hopes and dreams, were gunned down by an American terrorist. Fifty-eight people that America dropped the ball on to protect, and now, it is too late.

I am grateful that one of the people I follow on Twitter tweeted about blocking words. I had not known blocking a word was possible. I had immediately known which words I would mute. I feel beyond frustrated and disappointed. I grow angry. At talented people who disappoint. At the rich and powerful that take advantage. At the heartless. At the denying. At where we are right now.

I grow angry.

And, rejuvenated. Rejuvenated to resist, to try to make the world a better place, to not give up, even when things seem impossible, to give a damn and do something about it.

I go back to back to the website, Days since the last mass shooting in the United States. I click on history. The list of dates is incredible to see, an incredible tragedy, an incredible disgrace.

I realize that the list is incomplete. The list of American terrorism only includes the mass shootings. There was another shooting, just recently, at a Walmart.

Again, I turn to Google.

After some alarming headlines but not really finding what I am looking for, I settle on: https://www.massshootingtracker.org/data. 

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Damn.

Three hundred and seventy-seven mass shootings so far this year.

Three hundred and seventy-seven mass shootings, and that number doesn’t even take into account the shooting that just happened at a Walmart.

And, three people were killed there.

When will it end?

When will the ignorance and the greed and the selfishness and the senselessness of the American Right end?

And, I am not only talking about on this issue.

But, on taxes.

And, on healthcare.

And, on the health of the planet we live on.

And, on civil rights.

The American Right really needs to get their shit together.

The future of humanity depends on it.

Before I put this post to rest, I scroll through my Facebook wall, and once again, I come to this post. 

Damn.

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I am really getting tired of seeing that article pop up.

Really tired.

Because at this point in our political system, a vote for a Republican is a vote to continue this insane loss of life.

You are either helping put an end to this or, by not voting or voting Republican, you are allowing this to continue.

It is that simple.

One final thought.

Hey, 2008 Scalia, Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito, did you ever think that your rewriting of the 2nd Amendment would have led to this?

Just wondering.

 

Days since last mass shooting in United States

http://www.dayssincethelastmassshooting.com

Trump’s “Condolences and Sympathies” Won’t Cut It

Mass Shooting Tracker

https://www.massshootingtracker.org/data

Man accused of randomly killing 3 people at Walmart captured

http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/01/us/colorado-walmart-shooting/index.html

‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens

https://www.theonion.com/no-way-to-prevent-this-says-only-nation-where-this-r-1820163660

District of Columbia v. Heller

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/District_of_Columbia_v._Heller

Poem Version of What I Want to Write

Your Facebook posts are really beginning to piss me off.

I mean seriously.

First, you don’t even follow sports and the NFL protests bother you?

Aside from the fact that your white privilege is showing (again),

Why do you even care?

Why is that the thing that upsets you?

I don’t get it.

Because, the 21st transperson has been murdered so far this year,

And, yet, you say nothing.

How dare you rage at the NFL protest.

Men and women have fought and died for their right to protest.

For their right to take a knee,

For the police brutality,

For the racism inherent in a broken system,

For the lives lost due to hate,

For the injustice.

 

And second, you are retweeting organizations who support him,

Who are actively trying to take health care from children,

Who are trying to make it so that a restaurant can turn me away,

Who are going to stand by and let the gun violence carnage continue.

Some of those people you retweet, believe I am “Satan’s plan”,

Simply for me being me.

And you retweet their thoughts, mocking transpeople, mocking me.

And, it just sucks.

And, it hurts because I thought you had my back.

I thought I could count on you.

 

And, third, when you text me,

Text me and pretend that everything is alright,

Like everything is okay,

I can promise you, it is not.

Fear and Loathing on Twitter, Part 2: The Hypocrisies of the Old Party

Well, now with those opening Twitter thoughts out of the way, it’s time to cruz on over to talk about porn.

Here’s the thing.

I am not going to bash Ted Cruz for liking porn on Twitter.

But, really, who watches porn on Twitter?

Before Cruz’s “like”, I didn’t even know there was porn on Twitter.

Now, unfortunately, I know two things I didn’t need to know, 1) there is porn on Twitter and 2) someone with access to Ted Cruz’s Twitter account “liked” it.

Perhaps sometime I will delve into my views of Republicans, in general, but for now, let’s just stick with Senator Cruz.

Because, I have very specific feelings regarding this individual.

Days before I came out to my family, I disappointed my father by refusing to attend a Ted Cruz for President rally being held nearby.

I had no intention of attending this rally. There was not a single platform of his that I agreed with, and I feared that if Cruz verbally attacked LGBT people, as he was wont to do, it was unlikely that I would have been able to control myself. But aside from that, I did not want to be associated with attending a Ted Cruz rally, and I found it deeply distressing that my father was so excited to be on the Ted train.

I slept in on the morning of the rally. When I did get out of bed, I found that information regarding the rally had been slid under my door. This act would prompt me to spend the next hour or so browsing the internet to remind myself of all the hateful rhetoric the senator had spread and to better understand his platform.

I remember only feeling a mix of sadness and disappointment.

There’s a lot of that those days leading up to and after that I wish I wrote down more of in the immediate aftermath of those days. Because even though I wrote a lot of notes about those days then, I still find myself forgetting some of the nuances to my memories.

When my brother, grandfather, and father return from the Ted Cruz Rally, my brother comments about how surprised he is that my grandfather was not as much of a diehard supporter as he had thought. But, I can’t remember when that conversation took place or where.

When on Christmas night, out on the porch, my grandfather and father and uncle begin to joke about Caitlyn Jenner’s transition. I abruptly leave my whiskey sour behind, fight back tears, and slide down the wall to the floor as my ex-fiancée texts words of encouragement that it won’t be as bad as I am afraid it will. But, I can’t remember how the conversation on the patio started or what happened after I left the bathroom.

But, I can tell that I am not ready to write about all of that, my coming out and the family sit down that followed, not yet, because just drifting into nearby memories has almost completely soured my day and evening.

Yet, those memories only grapple at the surface of Ted Cruz, a staunch supporter of the hate group, the Family Research Council and about as bad as it gets when it comes to LGBT rights and equality.

And, now, to his porn “like”.

With a reminder that Ted Cruz has fought against the sale of sex toys and believes solely in the Biblical laws of marriage and masturbation, whatever that means, that Ted Cruz “liked” porn.

Which to me, is about as hypocritical as being told all your life about the vileness of pornography, only to find that parent’s porn stash.

That’s how I equate it.

As hypocritical as the many Republican politicians with anti-LGBT agendas that as truth comes to the surface only reveals their own homosexuality.

And, here’s the thing, if you “like” a post on accident, you simply “unlike” and go about your merry way.

And, porn does not just show up on your Twitter feed for no reason.

It was searched for.

That is how Twitter works.

So, I have to ask.

Why can’t politicians just be honest?

Why can’t people just tell the truth?

It ain’t easy.

But, it is freeing.

And, being honest about yourself to others, reveals as many truths about them as it does about you.

 

2016: Republican Facts – Ted Cruz: Not a Fan of Pride Parades

https://www.hrc.org/2016RepublicanFacts/ted-cruz

Southern Poverty Law Center on The Family Research Council

https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/family-research-council

Ted Cruz Talks About Twitter Porn Incident And Sex Toys

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ted-cruz-twitter-porn-sex-toys_us_59b9dbcfe4b02da0e13f1d59?utm_hp_ref=ted-cruz

19 Republican Politicians Brought Down By Big Gay Sex Scandals

http://www.newnownext.com/19-republican-politicians-brought-down-by-big-gay-sex-scandals/12/2016/

Fear and Loathing on Twitter, Part 1: He Retweeted What?!? . . . Forget 140 Characters, I Need At Least Two Posts To Cover This

As I scrolled through Twitter, a new tweet from the Human Rights Campaign popped up to state, “Derricka Banner, a transgender woman, was killed Tuesday morning, marking the 20th trans person murdered this year.”

I closed out of app.

It’s posts like these, realities like these, that make staying aware of what is going on difficult.

The more petitions and surveys and emails I send out to support a cause or sound an alarm, the more emails I receive asking me to support another cause and sound another alarm.

It’s exhausting, but I also feel like it is not enough.

Because, while some view it is as perfectly acceptable to discriminate, as of August, thirty-three LGBT people have been murdered in the United States, a number, that when excluding the Pulse Night Club terrorist attack, has already broken the record setting twenty-eight hate-fueled LGBT homicides of 2016.

It is because of facts and realities like this that I feel obligated to stay aware.

One avenue of information continues to be Twitter.

But, it is still relatively new for me.

I signed onto this platform as 45 implemented his, now highly litigated, Muslim ban, which would prove to be only the beginning of 45’s reign as the modern and unabashed white supremacist in chief. As the hours after the implementation of the ban seemed to prompt protest after protest, Twitter was the quickest way to follow what was going on.

It provided immediate updates to the degradations of our Constitution and rule of law. It was heartbreaking, but I couldn’t look away. Fortunately, a friend would drag me away from real world horrors to play a game of Ticket to Ride and a meal of eggplant parmesan.

But, that entry into Twitter opened up a world, in which I never knew existed.

It can be a hateful place, full of bigotry and racism and xenophobia and other nomenclatures found in a bag of deplorables.

But, it can also be an amazing place, filled with hope and cleverness and art and people unafraid to stand up for what is right. I have come across the kindness of strangers, and I found one of my favorite prints through Twitter, which I find it so amazingly cool that I could find a French artist through Twitter and order her print.

If you like nerdy and cool art, she is worth checking out. I love my Women’s March print. I began following her on Twitter after I came across her reaction to 45’s Muslim ban, which featured Muslim-American teen superhero, Ms. Marvel, crying on her bed as an illustrated Trump screams through the TV in the shadow of a Captain Marvel and an Avengers poster. It is an image that I think about often and is heartbreaking every time that I do.

I had originally planned to just write about Ted Cruz’s hardcore porn “like”, but alas, after 45 retweeted a gif of him golfing and hitting Hillary Clinton in the back of the head, well, I feel as if a blog post about Twitter would not be complete without at least referencing it.

So, to 45 and his post, I just want to say, “thank you”. Thank you for proving once again that you are unfit to serve in the office in which you hold. Thank you for every time you spread lies, hate, misogyny, and encourage violence you prove how much of a terrible and immoral individual you are. And, thank you for continuing to prove the kind of person you are because as your base weakens and Republicans continue to prove themselves spineless, you and your Twitter help to reveal the lack of humanity and morality of you and each and every one of your supporters.

So, thank you.

 

HRC Mourns Derricka Banner, a Transgender Woman Murdered in Charlotte

http://www.hrc.org/blog/hrc-mourns-derricka-banner-a-transgender-woman-murdered-in-charlotte

This Report Says More LGBT People Were Killed So Far in 2017 Than In All Of 2016

https://www.buzzfeed.com/nidhiprakash/lgbt-deaths-mid-2017?utm_term=.ckqd9BkaPl#.beMLXmGKQP

Maryne. Art

http://society6.com/maryne

@MaryneeLahaye Tweet, “I can’t even find something to say. #Muslim Ban

https://mobile.twitter.com/maryneelahaye/status/825458968424230914

Trump retweets GIF of him hitting Clinton with a golf ball

http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/17/politics/trump-tweet-clinton/index.html

To Consider It

Sure.

I would consider it.

But, I need one thing first.

Okay, it is more like two things.

I need you to tell me how you feel about him.

And, I need you to tell me what you feel about the statement.

Tell me, how you felt when he called Mexicans rapist.

Tell me, how it is okay to brag about grabbing women “by the pussy”.

Tell me, how you feel when he lies again and again.

Tell me.

Tell me, your opinion on Adam and Eve.

Tell me, your opinion of “a homosexual or transgender self-conception”.

Tell me, what you believe.

Tell me.

And, I will consider it.

Because, the next time I see you,

I want to know exactly, precisely the person you are.

OPINION, NOT TWISTING FACTS TO BLAME TRUMP

This blog will not become a commentary-on-dumb-things-people-post-on-Facebook-blog. The dark-endless-nothingness-void-of-eternal-unending knows that I post plenty of inane musings of my own. Case in point, a caption reading, “A little rain didn’t stop me from trying out my new grill. It works amazingly well!” for the picture of my newly assembled grill inside my apartment with a Chipotle to-go bag.

See, dumb.

But when I come across a post that begins: “Okay. Here we go. I want to say this: WE DO NOT NEED THE OPINION FROM ANY NEW YORKER OR CALIFORNIAN OR ANYONE ELSE WHO WANTS TO TWIST THIS HURRICANE INTO BEING PRESIDENT TRUMPS FAULT . . .” My snowflake heart can’t help itself.

Because here’s the thing, and I am going to ignore the rest of the poster’s meandering and heartfelt response, to just say this. No one, and I do mean no one credible, is saying the hurricane is 45’s fault.

Hades, I would love to blame it on a man who defends white supremacy, but I can’t because that is just plain dumb.

Dumb.

Dumb.

Dumb.

Wait for it . . .

. . .

. . .

not yet

. . .

Dumb.

In the grand scope of all things dumb, it falls very close to an actual human being arguing that it is more credible to blame the Hurricane Harvey on Houston electing a lesbian mayor than climate change.

I follow the news very closely, in all likelihood too closely, and nowhere have I seen anyone credible blame the hurricane on a man who brags about sexual assaulting women.

But, here is what will be and is 45’s fault.

Rolling back flood protections to account for climate change.

Gutting the EPA by putting a man in charge who spent his Oklahoma career suing the EPA.

Endorsing concentration camps and racism with his pardon of Joe Arpaio.

Banning transgender service members from the military.

. . . Okay, this got away from me for a minute. I was going to stick with just the tip of the environmental iceberg, but since they are melting, I delved into other territory.

This post has certainly gotten away from me at this point.

I guess I am just tired of it.

I am tired of people defending the indefensible. (Joe Arpaio, exhibit 1)

I am tired of the hate and ignorance. (Trans-related healthcare less than 10 million, removing trans-military personnel estimated $960 million, exhibit 1)

I am tired of the constant corruption and lies with no accountability. (Russia, Emoluments clause, Russia, moral failings, Russia, exhibits . . . ugh, just see the link below)

Everyday is another setback.

Everyday is another obstacle.

Everyday is another opportunity.

An opportunity to do right.

An opportunity to stand up.

An opportunity to resist.

So, to reel this post back in, no, 45 is not to blame for the hurricane. No one person is to blame. Hurricanes happens.

But, we do know that this hurricane was more devastating than normal. And there are many reasons why, ranging from unregulated urban sprawl to climate change.

Denying facts don’t make them go away.

 

“Lesbian Ex-Mayor Has Perfect Response To Ann Coulter’s Hurricane Nonsense”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/annise-parker-ann-coulter-hurricane-harvey_us_59acca52e4b0dfaafcf12afc

“Trump Signs Order Ruling Back Environmental Rules on Infrastructure”

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/15/climate/flooding-infrastructure-climate-change-trump-obama.html

“Scott Pruitt is leaving a toxic trail at the EPA after only six months on the job”

https://thinkprogress.org/scott-pruitt-toxic-trail-9a99031d594f/

“It’s Impossible to Overstate How Truly Vile Joe Arpaio Is”

https://www.gq.com/story/joe-arpaio-history

“Banning Transgender Troops Could Cost U.S. $960 Million Report Says”

https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/banning-transgender-troops-could-cost-us-960-million-report-says-n792466

“The 88 reasons Trump is unfit to serve as President, according to an official Democrats resolution”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world-0/us-politics/donald-trump-house-democrats-president-impeach-no-confidence-resolution-a7850006.html

“Why Houston’s flooding got so bad, according to storm experts”

https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/8/29/16216568/hurricane-havery-houston-flooding-experts

“Hurricane Harvey and Climate Change”

http://www.factcheck.org/2017/08/hurricane-harvey-climate-change/

#Resist

I had always been under the impression that you stand up for what you believe in, you show empathy to those less fortunate than yourself, and you do the right thing even if you are standing alone. I had thought I was raised to believe and live by these principles and values, but maybe, I was wrong.

All I know is that as a person who values the diverse landscape of the human experience, I cannot stand idly by and watch hatred rise in this country that I always thought would be my home.

My very core of who I am prevents me from allowing a government to attack the freedoms I hold dear. I will not remain silent as a government threatens the freedom of religion with a “Muslim Ban”. I will not remain silent as facts are decried as “fake news”. I will not remain silent as the Justice Department works to undo civil rights for LGBTQ+ Americans. I will not remain silent as public lands are opened up to oil and gas companies, climate change is censured, and the Clean Water Act is gutted.

Those are, unfortunately, only a small fraction of the things I will not remain silent on. Because, amazingly enough, this list doesn’t take into account the rise of bigotry and other Neo-Nazi sentiments. It does not take into account the oligarchic administration that emphasizes loyalty to a figurehead in place of loyalty to the Constitution and rule of law. It does not take into account the widespread attempt to legitimize lies and white supremacy.

Rhetoric spewed forth by entities like Alex Jones’s Infowars and Steve Bannon’s Breitbart and others are an affront to truth, justice, and democracy. When did honesty get replaced by deceit and conspiracy theories? When did our basic human values become perverted in such a way that America was so easily duped by a conman? When did the fear of the unknown and unfamiliar overtake decency, kindness, and love?

At the end of the day, you have to live with your decisions. You have to wake up, look at yourself in the mirror, and know you will be able to sleep at night. It is not always an easy thing to do. I know I have struggled with doing what is right, at times, because the right thing to do was too hard to accept or too difficult to understand or too scary to contemplate. What is right is rarely easy.

Now, I don’t know what you believe, or even if you have read this far, but I do believe this. I believe that “arch of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice”. I believe that how we act and what we say speaks volumes, which reverberate beyond our singular life. I believe we are all inherently good, but somewhere along the way, we lose sight of what really matters.

So, I will not apologize for standing up for what is right. I will not apologize for speaking out against racism or sexism or any of the many other ideals currently embraced by too many Americans. I will only say that I will continue to try to be the best version of myself everyday that I can.

God, your conscience, or whatever else guides you and your life decisions have led you to here, to this moment. To a moment where you have to decide if you are okay with what is going on. To a moment where you can either do something or continue in silence.

Enough is enough. Because, I am no longer willing to subject myself to people who claim their love by trying to break me down or want me to hide who I am. I am no longer willing to subject myself to the company of others who approve of and go along with the moral collapse of this country and its values.

No one should have to live in this rising climate of fear. Fear of reporting assault and being deported. Fear of serving this country and being told you are unworthy because of your identity. Fear of going to sleep and wondering if it will be your turn next.

Do understand that the threats to our way of life and our democracy are very real and the actions being taken now will have lasting consequences. How we respond to today will, one way or another, reveal the very depths of our character.

Equality was a founding doctrine of America. And, while we may have not always followed the path of equality for every person on American soil, we have continued to, slowly but surely, make things better. But, things don’t just get better by themselves. Action is needed.

Resistance is not futile. Resistance is required. Resistance is hope.

Conversations with People Who (Verb) Me

4.

3.

2.

1.

Go.

In the midst of so much angst and hate and misgivings and doubt, how can one even possibly attempt to write about what is going on?

Where does one even start?

A loosely connected stream of conscious rant through things said and words meant and thoughts expanding and horizons possible?

Perhaps.

Because, how am I supposed to respond when a coworker asks, “You ever go back to Oklahoma? Do they accept you? Or, are you just kind of a guest?”

How do I respond? When it was said completely out of nowhere as I sit at a round plastic table eating my “Women’s Health” blend of trail mix in the former cafeteria space, now staff lounge. Perhaps, I could have taken the guidance of the third episode of “Conversations with People Who Hate Me,” and began a dialogue. A dialogue to emphasize I am a real person. I am not something that is not to be believed in. I exist.

Because, how am I supposed to ignore the results of Facebook stalking my mom’s post and finding that she shared the following gem from my 7th/8th grade history and government teacher:

“So (redacted school district) is mulling over a name change for Robert E. Lee elementary because of Lee’s participation in the Civil War. Kind of silly don’t you think considering that Lee was a well respected leader before, during, and after the war.  He played a large roll in continuing education at college level serving as president of Washington and Lee University and raising it to one of leading colleges in the South after the war.  This whole movement to try and erase black marks in history is ignorant. Without the Civil War and the loyalty of all who fought in it, how much longer would slavery have lasted?  Changing names and removing monuments memorializing those involved will not erase that history.  It will not repair any of the damage of that era.  It changes nothing about how people feel today.  Those things need to remain in place to remind us that we do not want to repeat the mistakes of the past. What is next, blowing up Mount Rushmore because those presidents or their families held slaves?  The radical Muslim groups have tried this without success.  History does not change because memorials are removed.  History serves the purpose of creating CHANGE.  Hopefully, positive change.  For me, there is nothing positive about trying to change what happened in the past by trying to erase the evidence.”

And, I post this here, not with her permission, since I am not Facebook friends with her (or any of my family members for that matter), but due to a lack of privacy settings on her account, this post was made public for the world to see. So, I call dibs.

And, I do try to have a difficult conversation and follow the advice from my new podcast addiction.

I begin like this.

“Seriously? You are okay with monuments of the Confederacy?” (Perhaps, not the most diplomatic opening ever, but it is a start.)

“I liked what (redacted teacher’s name) said”

“Really? What part?”

“Can we argue tomorrow. I am having trouble sleeping and this will make it worse..”

“Sure. We can discuss this radical Christian traitor later.”

Again, not my most crowning moment of civil discussion, but the line “The radical Muslim groups have tried this without success” just bothers me to no end. So, the next day and before I get into the car to go see Brigsby Bear, I bring it up again.

“And, you still agree with the post you shared?”

“I see both sides. Yes I agree.”

“Really? How?”

“I thought the post was very clear”

“I am not sure what the argument in the post is. It is poorly written, difficult to follow, and just overall convoluted with a pinch of Islamaphobia.”

I don’t get another reply, and I can’t decide if I want one or not. Aside from the “both sides” argument ringing like a comment from the racist former host of Celebrity Apprentice, I don’t know what I want from this exchange.

Maybe, I just want to understand.

I just want to understand the different point of view that just seems outside of my realm of understanding.

It’s like on Twitter when someone from the #MAGA crowd posts a photoshopped picture of Democrats admitting 45 is president. I guess I just don’t understand the point. Just because something is the way it is doesn’t make it good or right or worth defending or worth arguing about. Posting a picture that simply states 45 is president doesn’t prove anything other than verifying, yes, while unbelievable, 45 is actually president.

But, just because he is president, that doesn’t mean he has good policies or high morals or is worthy of the office of president. Because, it is becoming clearer and clearer that he is sorely missing the mark.

But, I need a night away from it all, the news, the fear, the overwhelming sense of dread.

And, maybe, that is why I was totally enamored with Brigsby Bear.

Because it was a weird movie, but I loved it. It is one of the best movies I have seen in a long long time. And, I left the theater in a hazy fog of wonder. And, I felt ready to say what I needed to say, write what I needed to write, which brings me back almost full circle to this.

Why do I find my middle school social studies teacher’s post problematic?

Really? Robert E. Lee was a respected general? I wonder if the Union, or rather America at the time agreed with that, considering the fact that he was leading the war against America. Given the fact that he was a military traitor, leading a war against his own country in order to sustain slavery, it seems unlikely that he was well-respected.

But, I am not a history major, or even much of a history buff for that matter. So maybe, we should go with his own words. Since he was opposed to Confederate statues seeing how they “keep open the sores of war”.

Also, it is “role” not “roll”. If you are wanting to make a precise argument, check your homophones. Words matter. As far as I know, my former teacher is not an elected official but missing a homophone is in line with 45’s attempt to heel the nation.

And, what does this line even mean? “Without the Civil War and the loyalty of all who fought in it, how much longer would slavery have lasted?” Whose loyalty? Also, what? If all citizens had stayed loyal to the Union and stood against white supremacy then, would the Civil War even occurred? Unlikely.

And, the argument to remove Confederate statues has never been about removing and rewriting history. Instead, Confederate monuments were built to remind a subjugated people that while they were “free” they were not equal and must be reminded of their place.

And, to return to the great, what will happen next argument. “What is next, blowing up Mount Rushmore because those presidents or their families held slaves?” Just, ugh. Those individuals on Mount Rushmore actually contributed to the founding and success of this country, not its breaking and needless loss of life.

And, what is she even talking about her? “The radical Muslim groups have tried this without success.” Tried what? Who are these groups? Why do we have to attach “Muslim” as a descriptor? Because for historians keeping track, a radical Christian group took up arms against their countrymen and murdered for the sake of maintaining the inhumane institution of slavery. If you’re looking for a synonym for this group, go with Confederacy.

And, finally, no one is trying to erase history. Or, make people forget by removing these oppressive monuments. But, not everything deserves a monument. Just ask Germany when you look for the monuments dedicated to Hitler.

And to make a complete full circle, I really don’t know what my coworker meant by his questions.

But, I do know that this post got away from me.

I blame Brigsby Bear.

 

“Robert E. Lee Opposed Confederate Monuments”

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/robert-e-lee-opposed-confederate-monuments/

“Baltimore’s Confederate Monument Was Never About ‘History and Culture’”

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5995a3a6e4b0d0d2cc84c952/amp