Let the Day Begin

Yesterday, I celebrated along with millions of my fellow Americans the election win of a man who tells us we can turn grief into purpose, and a woman who said there are always possibilities. I’m talking about President-Elect Joseph Biden and Vice-President Elect Kamala Harris. Their words inspire and give me a hope I didn’t realize I’d been searching for the most over the last four years.

Four years ago, I set out to try to use writing to understand why I thought and felt the way I did, and to try to figure out how so many people could embrace the belief that suffering was justified as long as it didn’t affect them in some way. I wrote a lot, most of which never saw the light of day. I went deep inside my own mind and my memories to find the roots of my thoughts and feelings. It was a hard and difficult journey because I battled so much fear that I had lived with for so long.

Until yesterday, I couldn’t write the story of not just the last four years, but of all the years before until I knew what direction this country of ours was going in. Because that direction would determine the course of action I would need to take. I know there is a ton of work to be done now but it’s work for a better world, not more of a battle against greed, hatred, and corruption.

For so long I felt like I had no right to a life of my own, and worst of all, I felt like I had no right to my own thoughts and feelings and the ability to express them and deal with them. I felt genuine fear that I would crumble into nothing if I was told I had nothing to complain about, or talk about, and that I would be forever denied an embrace of comfort.

Now I’m sure some would ask me what have I done to reach out. Not much to be honest. But my main reason for that is fear of rejection, fear that I was truly not wanted at all, and that no matter what I did if I made one human mistake it would all be for nothing. I felt like I was not worthy of being myself, and that I had no ability to be there for someone else.

My greatest prayer now is that I will be given an opportunity some day to be there for someone in need. And that I will find someone who will embrace me, who will tell me I am worthy of friendship, and love. That I will find someone who will tell me it’s okay to feel whatever I feel, to think whatever I think, and that I don’t have to be alone anymore.

But for now, I will focus on my words. Words have been a part of me since I can remember as they’ve always been in my head and all around me. When I was ten years old, I discovered I could capture some of those words onto paper like other people had, and that I could create these marvelous things called stories and share them like others had done before.

So that’s what I’m doing now, sharing my stories both fiction and non-fiction. This blog will become my version of Morning Pages, of what I will use to corral the words that come to my mind as soon as I wake up every morning.

And in time, other stories will come. I haven’t been able to write in earnest because I needed one event to be determined and yes that event was what happened yesterday when this Election was called.

I don’t know exactly what the future will bring but then no one does, even those people who say they do know. No one knows what the day will bring and I can tell you right now sometimes it can be wonderful, and sometimes it can be hard as hell. More often than not, it can be a grind. But as my late father was quite fond of telling me: don’t the bastards grind you down.

What today has brought me so far is after six straight hours of sleep that I haven’t gotten in a very long time is clarity, and hopefully an end to the anxiety loops that have torn through my mind for far too long. This morning I feel like a weight has been lifted off my chest and that I can truly breathe again like so many people said yesterday. I shed tears of joy yesterday, and yes I shed a few tears of grief, too. And I’ll let those tears come when they want to. I’ll let my thoughts of happiness and joy, and of pain and grief come to me when they want to also. And I will always say to everyone:

You have every right to your thoughts and feelings, good, bad, ugly, or anything in between. And you have every right to deal with your thoughts and feelings in whatever way you choose to.

So let the day begin now.

Forward March

As I write this, the sun is just coming up over the horizon. My coffee is brewing, my pets are having breakfast, and I’m wide-awake and writing this. I did the doom-scroll on my phone and saw the President acting like the tin-pot dictator that he wants to be. And I saw that it looks like the Senate won’t flip. I know there are many more votes to be counted but my hope isn’t being dashed in a dramatic sweep like 2000 or into a shell-shocked silence like 2016.

No, after all the anger burned off last night followed by a few moments of grief and loss, I packed it in and went to bed. Because I knew the next day was coming like it always does. I was always told that from as far back as I can remember and now having taking forty-six trips around the sun each with three-hundred and sixty-five days and an extra day every four years I can say this: the sun does come up and the world keeps turning.

Four years ago, just around the time of another Presidential Election, I began a journey that would change my life. It was a journey started by asking myself one simple question: why do I think and feel the way I do? My plan then was to use writing to figure that out. I wrote a lot of stuff that never saw the light of day but that’s just fine. Writing can be a form of therapy and using it work things out on paper is a good thing. After four years, I reached what I call the ‘Recovery’ stage. This is where I could see where I’ve been, and where I needed to go. But now I will move to the next stage: Forward.

As I turned out the lights and crawled under the covers, I realized how and truly alone I am in this world, and that no one is coming to save me. But instead of that thought making me want to curl up and fight like hell not to cry, I felt calm. My mind slowed down to one thought: I know what to do now.

Forward, onward. Up with the dawn, hands on the keyboard, make sure to eat, earn money, and make things happen for me. Yes, it’s a shit-show out there at times but I ask myself here: when hasn’t it been a shit-show of some kind?

In the past few months, I’ve begun to get a hold on my writing projects. In the last few weeks, that hold has been beginning to firm. Now it’s starting to lock on. And that is because whenever I hear some naysaying-negative asshole voice in my head I know now it’s just an echo from the past. That echo doesn’t control me anymore, and I don’t back away in fear from it. I tell myself if someone ever does come at me that I’m ready to stand and face them. I have finally begun to truly understand and accept that I have the strength to stand up for myself when I haven’t done anything wrong.

Two days ago, I published a piece ‘When It Feels Like Hate’. It was a thought that has taken me four years to put into words and trust me, it wasn’t easy to write. I know it’s a good piece but there was a nagging thought it was also pretty hard to read. But as I woke up this morning to the electoral shit-show, I told myself I was totally right in what I said. I have taken a stand on that piece and drawn a line in the sand in front of me like Colonel Travis did at the Alamo all those years ago. And like those brave defenders at the Alamo, including the women who made a hard run to get help, I won’t give up. And I won’t stop writing. Because if I feel fear want to ramp up inside me because of old feelings like feeling like a worthless sack of shit just for being who I am, I’m not going to let that happen. I will fight like those men under Colonel Travis did, and like those women did across Texas (read the book ‘True Women’ for a vivid account of those women who trekked hard across the cold hard ground of East Texas to reach Sam Houston).

To anyone reading this, move forward. One step at a time, no matter how hard it feels to do so. Keep moving away from the voices and echoes that will hold you back if you let them. Move past the voices and echoes that come before you. Remember, you are so much stronger than you will ever know. And that although silence can be crushing at times, you can break it in your own way.

And a final thought on the Election: what we’re seeing on a national scale here is dysfunction that’s been there all along. For as Maya Angelou said so well, “When people show you what they’re like, believe them.” And as my mother used to say, “People like that very rarely, if ever, change.”

When you move forward, you change for the better. You bring the light. Whether it’s moving forward despite the national shit-show, or moving forward despite assholes behind you saying you can’t, keep moving.

From therapy, to recovery, and now, forward. Or as the Chicks sing so well now, “March, march to my own drum/ Hey hey I’m an army of one” (Songwriters: Dan Wilson / Emily Strayer / Ian Kirkpatrick / Jack Antonoff / Martie Maguire / Natalie Maines / Ross Golan)

The Time I Don’t Want to Go Back To

My late mother grew up in the 1950’s and 1960’s (she was born in 1948). She grew up in a time that was already pretty damn conservative to begin with but it was even worse because she was raised with fucked-up Catholic conservativism. This was the overwhelming fear, shame, and guilt that was heaped on children and a brutal suppression of their own thoughts and feelings. Or as my mother said about her childhood: “God forbid you had an original thought in your head.”

And growing up female back then made that a million times worse. My mother was not a bra-burning, street-protesting feminist. She was just a woman that sat and took shit and did what she had to do to survive. She didn’t think she had it in her to speak out and not get buried for it. She didn’t think she had a right to pursue her own dreams that weren’t the silent-housewife-in-the-suburbs one that was shoved down her generation of women’s throats. She didn’t think she was smart, or pretty, or worthy of love and respect.

This is an era that I believe conservative people want to go back to more than anything. But why? Why live in such an era of brutal repression unless you’re so fucking repressed you can’t see past your puckered-up asshole?

It was an era when happiness of any kind was strictly mandated and any deviation outside of that was met with very harsh resistance. It was when women were raised to believe their only value was their ability to have children, but only within a heterosexual, non-interracial marriage. If a woman got pregnant outside of marriage, she was sent away and forced to give up her child.

Stories of women who had their children taken from them like that affected my mother deeply. I believe she knew young women that had happened to, had seen them return an empty, hollowed-out shell of loss and unspoken grief. It’s why I feel so strongly and so deeply when I read these stories now because it’s not just my empathy and compassion, but my mother’s that I carry inside of me, too.

My mother was raised to believe she was ugly, stupid, and worthless. She wasn’t any of those things at all. She rose above that and never, ever said anything like that to me. And I was also lucky to be there when she broke free of that for a while and began to really think for herself. After that, our conversations got deep, and more than a bit free-wheeling at times. Though that was preparation for the last seven years of her life when she needed to let her guard down with someone she could trust like me.

In the 1960’s when the birth-control pill became legal, only married women with their husband’s permission could get it. Eventually, that restriction was struck down and my unmarried mother got it to treat her god-awful acne and other hormonal issues until my grandmother found about it. After that, my mother told me she started planning on saving up her money (she had a full-time job) to get a room at the YWCA women’s residence so she could walk to work (her job was in downtown San Antonio). Now I’m sure some dip-wad here will say if she’d done that then I wouldn’t be here. That’s not the point and it never was. The point was what she always told me, that a woman should always be able to support herself.

Conservatives want women to be silent and live only within their narrowest, strictest confines. They want women to only think and feel in certain ways. They want what my mother suffered and endured in silence- to feel ugly, stupid, and unworthy if they don’t conform to their standards.

A generation of women rose up in the 60’s and 70’s and gave me the freedoms I have had in my lifetime. I will not allow their legacy to die. And I will not allow my mother’s sacrifices and suffering to be for nothing.

As the heroine of the novel ‘Jane Eyre’ said (a novel that was both a favorite of my mother and I): “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”

This is why ladies, especially to those who identify as ‘conservative’ I say to you: it’s not about just the freedom to control your own body, your reproductive health, to make your own healthcare decisions. It’s about your freedom to decide how you want to live your life, your education, your professional goals, your creative goals. Your freedom of movement, of financial control, to vote. Most of all, it’s your freedom of thought and feeling, and not just thinking and feeling, but expressing it.

I will stand and fight against this forced return to a time no one should have to live in. I will do it not just for myself, but to honor my mother and her generation for breaking the chains first, and suffering in silence, too.

People Save Lives

Four years ago next month, after the Presidential Election of 2016 I asked myself a question:

How many people will have to die for this insanity to end?

Next week, we’ll find out. As of today, the number is 225,000 dead from covid-19.

But this cooled-rage and pain gave rise to a thought:

People save lives.

I say this because when I first moved out on my own in 2003, my father offered to buy me a gun and teach me how to use it. I turned him down because I told him I didn’t feel I had a need for it. There was another reason I couldn’t articulate at that time, and one I won’t share for a good long while yet. But even if you have a gun, if you pull the trigger and take a life even in defense of your own, you will have to live with it. You will have to live with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. There is no cure for this.

Nuclear weapons have not prevented World War III. That has prevented by cooler heads prevailing. By President Kennedy in 1962 not doing what General Curtis LeMay wanted him to do and bomb Cuba. And by Soviet Colonel Stanislav Petrov in 1983 when he refused to call the Kremlin because he knew the computers at his base were malfunctioning and the United States was not launching a nuclear strike.

Guns and bombs don’t rescue people from natural disasters. People do. Very brave and extraordinary people we call first responders.

Guns and bombs don’t save people in hospitals. Those are healthcare workers.

Guns and bombs don’t lift people out of poverty. People do by creating jobs and educating people to help them advance in society.

Guns and bombs don’t bring about changes in laws, or overturn them. People do that by running for elected office or arguing in courts.

Guns and bombs don’t bring peace. Why?

World War II didn’t end genocide on this planet, it didn’t end war, hatred, or mass death and destruction. In fact, the end of World War II created a whole new set of problems for the world: a nuclear arms race and a Cold War fought by proxy.

Guns and bombs didn’t put men on the moon. People did that.

Guns and bombs don’t cure diseases. People do that.

Guns and bombs don’t comfort the grieving. People do that.

This is what I believe with all my heart and soul. That people, individuals and groups save lives and change the world for the better. Not guns and bombs, or hatred and cruelty. Or selfishness and greed. Or fear.

This is not a weak philosophy. This is a strong philosophy because it is faith over doubt, faith over pain, faith over grief. It is grief into purpose, as Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden says so well.

I believe we have the power to save ourselves, and each other. We may not be able to save every life, but we can try.

This is the world I want more than anything.

And for me it starts by saying:

People Save Lives

Then and Now – Too Late Edition

If someone asked me what the difference was between now and back then (pre-2016), I would say one thing:

COVID-19

Or to get ugly and crude here: back then they would bring out the dead to vote. Now they bring out the dead to put them in refrigerated trucks until they can find a place to bury them.

I’m currently reading ‘Molly Ivins Can’t Say That, Can She?” It’s a collection of Molly’s writing over the years from the 1970’s to about 1990 (the book was originally published in 1991). In it she talks about the shenanigans of the Texas State Legislature in the 1970’s and 80’s (or as I would say, from the ‘you can’t make shit like this up’ files) to Regan and Bush, Senior.

I look back on all that shit, and at Bush, Jr and Iraq, Bill Clinton ending his administration as a total dick, and realize that by the time we got the right guy in the White House, Barack Obama, it was too late. It was too late because the shit we weren’t talking about back then near as much as we should have been, such as racism and white supremacists, disinformation campaigns, and the absolute bullshit of the ‘culture wars’, snow-balled into the shit-storm we have now that has led to the beginning of a real genocide.

The word ‘genocide’ was only used in the 80’s and 90’s and so on back then to describe horrors like the Holocaust or other mass murders like the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia or in Rwanda. It was never used in this country but that is what’s happening now. As of today, over two hundred and twenty-thousand people have died from covid-19 with that number projected to double between now and the end of the year unless mitigation efforts are stepped up. But just because we vote Trump and company out next week won’t bring those mitigation efforts won’t come online until after the first of the year at best. That lockdown we went through last Spring will have to be repeated again. Hopefully it’ll be run by people who know what the fuck they’re doing and are hell-bent and determined to save lives unlike the present administration.

Starting back in the 1980’s, a big issue was the economy with Regan hell-bent on ramming ‘trickle-down economics’ down America’s throat. But Bill Clinton did a version of that in the 90’s thinking dot-com speculation was a better take on that. And Bush, Jr and company decided to hell with that shit and just start a war to fill some bank accounts up and leave future generations paying the bills they ran out on. So by the time 2008 rolled around, it was too late. Conservatives can’t think their way out of a paper bag when it comes to economics and Liberals finally realize there is no compromise with people who think suffering is justified, especially for people who are poor, black, brown, or anything other than lily-white solid Republican voters.

In the 1980’s, white supremacists were just marching in the streets getting yelled at or out in the woods shooting at beer cans and jerking each other off. But after Waco, Ruby Ridge, and Oklahoma City, we saw they were serious about their fucking shit. But by the time the Clinton administration went down in a stained-blue dress, it was too late. Bush, Jr and company didn’t give a shit about that at all and these racist motherfuckers saw their opening. And worst of all, conservatives sold their souls to these motherfuckers all because of a simple re-branding campaign that gave us a new term ‘alt-right’ to use instead of ‘Evil Nazi’. These monsters are for real, and we need to put them back in their cells and lock the fucking door as tight as we can.

Most of all, we need to find ways to teach people how to think for themselves and see through loud-mouth bullshit. For example, this dumb-ass idea that someone is going to come along and take your job and house shit, especially if that someone is black or brown is a huge crock of shit. It’s a crock of shit because the bastard peddling that shit to you has only given you a crumb to chew on and sees you and everyone else as a rat to be fed crumbs. Greedy rich bastards who refuse to be responsible and not treat people like rats have done nothing to earn their wealth, or have it preserved. They took the jobs and the houses and have left the rest of us with nothing but crumbs to fight over. Tax the rich, clean out their off-shore bank accounts, and make greed a real sin again.

Now I’m sure some moron will ask if we could live in a world without a pandemic every five minutes, fighting over crumbs, and trying not to get exterminated in other ways. Let’s find out, shall we? I mean, we’ve tried this shit-show for so damn long and that hasn’t worked out too well as far as I’m concerned.

I don’t want to believe we’re on the ‘Eve of Destruction’ as the old song goes, but I have to ask: is this the last chance we get to pull it back from the brink? Only time will answer that question.

Don’t Let the Bastards Get You Down

There’s talk now of how to maintain this momentum of record voter turnout and engagement in politics. And I have one answer to all those questions about maintaining momentum:

Don’t let the bastards get you down, or grind you down.

The bastards I’m talking about are the losers in this election, from the President and all his enablers in Congress, to all the corrupt people installed in every level of government, and all their supporters from conspiracy-theorists to white supremacists. These people will not go quietly into the night. They might lay low for a while to lick their wounds, but they’ll come back. Maybe loud, or maybe like a snake, or worst of all maybe in a show of kindness and reconciliation that means nothing.

People like this will try and come back with apologies, to say they’ve learned the error of their ways, to say they’re committed to doing better. But you won’t trust them and rightfully so. For as my mother was fond of saying, if they’ve done it once what makes you think they can’t do it again. Therefore I say this: don’t give them power they have proven unworthy of.

I know it’s hard to not want to fall back and just relax, or go to pieces. I’ve never seen either one of those things as an option. My retreat was a retreat into silence to try and keep people from hurting me and others. That retreat didn’t work as my silence didn’t keep me and others from harm. I won’t ever be able to keep myself and others from harm completely. But I know I can do everything I can to stop that harm from happening, and that I can stand up to it and fight it. And win.

I’ve broken my silence and no one has come after me. Some might say, yet.

There is nothing bad that can be said to me that I haven’t heard before. I’ve had people project their own shame and guilt onto me so they wouldn’t have to deal with it themselves. I’ve had people project their own wrongs onto me. I’ve had people do their dead-level best to gaslight me into silence, to make it seem like I’m the cause of my own problems. Most of all, I’ve been told and made to feel like my own thoughts and feelings didn’t matter and that no one wanted to hear them. And I survived all of it, like so many other people have.

To my fellow survivors I say this: embrace your strength, embrace your pain and suffering, and feel the pain and suffering in this world so much you want to alleviate it in any way you can. This is how we’ll maintain our momentum to make this world a better place and not give up what we’re fighting so hard for now.

If someone doesn’t want to hear what you have to say about your thoughts and feelings, move on. You’re not going to change someone if they don’t want to so if that’s the case, just walk away. You’ll always have your own mind and other ways to work through your thoughts and feelings.

Remember the old saying, ‘those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.’ Don’t forget the past and think that history just has to keep repeating itself because we’re a bunch of dumb-asses and shit-heads will always rise up. Yeah, we sometimes slip up and fuck up, and shit-heads rise up like the turds they are. But that doesn’t mean we have to have to stop moving forward with our lives, or let those shit-heads gain power ever again. Don’t give people power over you.

Remember the good in this world, too both present and past. Over time, good memories will come forward more than the bad ones. Cherish those good memories and see the bad ones like rain that comes and goes.

Tell the stories until you no longer can. Make sure the generations ahead of you know your stories. Tell them that once you’re gone the stories are theirs to tell. This is how humans truly remember their ancestors and their history, stories that are told for all time.

Don’t let the bastards get you down by not forgetting what they did, and always remembering what they’re capable of. Remember the past through stories told, and told again and again. Don’t give people over you.

You are so much stronger than you will ever know. Believe in yourself, especially when it seems like no one else in the world does.

An Election of Conscience and Humanity

At present, there are over five hundred children who can’t be located in order to be reunited with their families when they were taken from them at the US border under a 2017 policy from the Trump administration (story here) . The reason this story affects me so deeply is because of the following:

Separating children from families is the beginning of genocide.

The Nazi’s did it to begin the Holocaust. The Franco regime did it in Spain for decades as did the Pinochet regime in Chile, and both of those regimes also committed mass murder.

Separating children from their families is also what is referred to as ‘cultural genocide’. For almost a hundred years in the United States, thousands of Native American children were taken from their families and sent to boarding schools many miles away. At these schools, they were forbidden from speaking their native language, learning their native culture and history, and many of them were never reunited with their families. In Australia, thousands of children were taken from Aboriginal communities and were called ‘the Stolen Generations’. This also happened in Canada until the 1980’s. The governments of Australia and Canada have apologized for this. Our government hasn’t. (this is an overview here)

But this policy of separation at the border from 2017 to 2018 is a crime against humanity. I hope one day to see all the monsters who did this brought to justice.

And as for the claims that this was policy before the Trump administration, it wasn’t. Children were only separated if a custodial relationship could be not determined, or if they were deemed to be in danger. This is a fact-checked article explaining this in more detail going all the way back to the Clinton administration:

(link opens in separate tab)

Because of this, and many other crimes committed by the current administration, this election is the most important in American history. Hopefully it will be the last one of this magnitude.

To look back, this election is more important than the one in 1860 that would decide if and when a war happened and how it would be won. It is far more important than the election of 1932 determining the course of how America would be brought out of the Great Depression, and in 1940 to determine if and when America would enter World War II. It’s more important than 1960 when an election would determine how the Cold War would be fought, how we would get to the Moon, and begin the Civil Rights movement in earnest.

The Republican Party has aligned itself with white supremacists who initiated this policy of zero tolerance and mass family separations and deportations. It has aligned itself with organizations that incite and commit acts of violence in our cities and towns, and set fire to those cities. It has aligned itself with organizations hell-bent and determined to strip every right away from women to make their own healthcare choices, including abortion and birth control. It has aligned itself with organizations that would strip every right from LGBTQ Americans. It has aligned itself with corporate interests who have pushed through trillion-dollar tax cuts that benefit no one but those corporate interests. It has aligned itself with conspiracy theories that have led to the weakest response to a pandemic that has killed over two-hundred thousand people.

When I say this election is about conscience and humanity, I say it’s also about how we stop genocide from taking hold in this country more than it already has. I’m not talking just the COVID-19 deaths, but the deaths of people of color at the hands of police and hate groups. Of fear and lies being told as truth that are killing people in hospitals and making them die alone without loved ones by their side.

I’m not going to change anyone’s mind with my words and that’s not what my goal is here. My goal here is to make my statement to the world about my own thoughts and feelings on this election. And to ask other people to think about their thoughts and feelings and make their own decisions.

As of today, early voting records are being shattered across the country. It’s proof that people are realizing their vote wouldn’t mean so much if people weren’t trying so damn hard to take it away. I hate the fact that it’s so damn hard to vote and that people are having to sacrifice so much time and energy to do it. Someday we’ll tell the story of how millions rose up and voted with their conscience, voted with their humanity. We’ll teach future generations never to be silent, to never disengage themselves from their government, and to believe and work toward a better future.

I believe this story will have a happy ending though I know to get to that ending will be very hard. But with hope, faith, and conscience, we’ll begin to heal and live freely without fear.

Corporate Philosophy Has To Go

A little over four years ago, I left my last nine-to-five job in corporate Hell. I worked telephone customer service, which is one of the great shit-jobs in corporate Hell because you are at the absolute bottom of the corporate hierarchy, yet you are the person customers interact with the most. I have no regrets about leaving this world but I have come to realize in the last four years we have all been living through a corporate shit-show on a scale like never before. We have a government full of corporate asshole-types who lie, cheat, and steal while trying to spin and gaslight the rest of us, or put fear into us that they’ll fuck us up big-time.

As James Carville told Bill Clinton and Al Gore to say in 1992, “It’s time for them to go.” It’s time for corporate bullshit-philosophy to go to Hell and stay there. Here’s why:

First, incompetent people need to be taken out of positions of authority and never allowed back in. We have to stop rewarding incompetent behavior and not give in to them because they can walk and talk and spin bullshit to get whatever the fuck they want and not give a shit about anyone else. It’s one thing to say ‘I don’t know but I’ll find out’. It’s a shitty thing for a leader to make someone under them feel like shit for knowing something they don’t. As I’m so fond of saying, everyone is just as full of shit as I am sometimes, but I’m not a bad person. A bad person is someone who tries to make incompetence work when it never does.

Second, loud-mouth bullies need to put in their place once and for all. They need to have their ability to hurt people taken from them and never, ever given back. Bullies need to be told to shut the fuck up until they do. And most of all, they need to be told to shut the fuck up when they try to spin and gaslight their potential victims. Bullies are not victims and I refuse to treat them as such.

Third, no one should have to ask the same question a hundred times. No one should have to ask, ‘What part of ___  don’t you understand?’ Asking the same question over and over will not change the answer. Trust me, I spent seventeen years dealing with that shit over the phones and it never worked.

Corporate philosophy is like conservative ideology to me: because something has been done a certain way for a long time it has to stay that way. It doesn’t matter if doesn’t work that well or worse, hurts people. Any attempt to make things work better or help people is wrong unless the asshole in charge decides who can be helped. To that I say this: fuck tradition, fuck the past, and fuck anyone who can’t see past the end of their nose because of all the shit on it. Because as my mother used to say, the good old days sucked.

Honesty is hard, especially when it comes to talking about hard and painful truths in our world. But it sure as hell beats incompetent and cruel bullshit that fucks things up so badly over two-hundred thousand people are dead because of it. Problems are not to be profited from, or spun into bullshit that says things aren’t what they are even though the truth is right in front of you. Most of all, sooner or later you will have to answer not only the questions, but for your own actions.

This coming election in twenty-six days is a reckoning. It’s a reckoning for the dead, for the living, and the wounded. The cities aren’t burning down and mobs aren’t running rampant on the streets, or coming to take over the suburbs. People are suffering in silence, lining up at food banks to feed their kids, and praying to a God they’re probably losing faith in. Corporate philosophy doesn’t believe in the previous sentence at all because it doesn’t believe in hope, courage, and compassion. Corporate philosophy believes in fear, ignorance, and rewards greed and incompetence. That shit brought out the dead, and that’s why it has to stop once and for all.

Corporate philosophy doesn’t just suck, it’s deadly now. So if you believe in a shit-show that kills… this isn’t for you.

But if you believe in a better world, and want the courage to stand up for what’s right and true, make it so.

Vote.

Believe.

Hope.

Choose or Lose – 2020 Edition

In 1992, MTV ran a campaign thing called ‘Choose or Lose’. It had townhalls with the candidates (most famously with Bill Clinton being asked, “Boxers or briefs?” – his answer was briefs and long before Monica Lewinsky found that out, too). It also pushed for motor-voter laws which were to enable people to register to vote when they got their drivers licenses, and it also pushed for the assault weapons ban. I remember that summer and fall thinking I could be a part of the democratic process and that voting was awesome.

Okay, in hindsight maybe we hitched our cart to the wrong horse in Bill Clinton, though he could have stopped his impeachment by doing one press conference and answering all the questions about the ‘sexual relations’ he had with Monica Lewinsky. But Bill Clinton was no Alexander Hamilton (Hamilton published a pamphlet outlining his extramarital affair to clear himself of allegations of embezzlement – which he was innocent of).

So the idealism and can-do spirit of the summer of 1992 died a slow death in the Senate chamber of an impeachment hearing that shouldn’t have happened. And for me, it was really nailed shut in my mind in 2003 when The Chicks (formerly known as The Dixie Chicks) went through what they did being some of the first victims of ‘cancel culture’ (watch the documentary ‘Shut Up and Sing’ just to see how devastating that was and how fucked-up, too).

Moving forward twenty-eight years….

I was in the car yesterday listening to 80’s New Wave/Alternative music and I had a thought:

I want my idealism back.

That thought was followed by this one:

You never lost it.

And I never have. It just shrank down to a tiny little flickering flame deep inside me but it was always there. I just wished all to hell I hadn’t let it get down that far in 2003 to where it wouldn’t come back to life like it’s starting to now. But I can tell you it wasn’t just watching three women getting virtually strung up as twenty-first century witches in 2003, but thinking that people had taken my idealism from me by being awful to me, or by alienating me from everyone else.

No one can take away what you feel inside. No one can reach inside your heart and mind and take your thoughts and feelings away from you. You may think they can, and they may tell you they can. But in reality, that’s not true. You have the freedom to think and feel any way you want to and to live your life accordingly. Yes, there will be motherfucking assholes who do their dead-level best to shit all over you or just try to pick away at your idealism and good feelings because they’re shit-heads. Don’t let them do that, if they say they can, tell them no and walk away (because assault-and-battery is still against the law).

I had another thought on the road yesterday I hadn’t had in a long time: there are people who don’t want me to be happy or to be fired-up about something. My response: fuck that shit. And remember that you’re not someone’s hemorrhoid cream or responsible for their thoughts and feelings. If someone can’t handle me in a good mood or fired about something… that’s their problem and not mine.

You do have the ability to choose or lose. And yes, your choices may not be agreeable to some people. But if your choices are about freedom, justice, and hope, and against oppression, fear, hatred, and death, they’re good ones.

Life is hard, yes. But it doesn’t have to have to grind you down and you don’t have to walk around feeling sad and sorry for yourself all the time, as my father used to say. I will also say you don’t have to be an angry blob of gaslighting-conspiracy theory spewing blind obedient idiot either. But either one is a choice and I would just say try not to fuck it up.

I’ve begun to truly learn my lessons from 1992 onward in terms of hope, idealism, and happiness being lost and found. For if something is lost, it can always be found. You can lose your way but find your way back home.

What Side Are You On?

September 29, 2020 – Presidential Debate

The above is a link to a news report on last night’s Presidential Debate. This is one quote that should chill the blood of everyone who reads it:

“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,” Trump said. “But I’ll tell you what, I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about antifa and the left because this is not a right-wing problem.”

The Proud Boys are a white supremacist group who are armed and dangerous. And the President of the United States last night told them this.

What side are you on now?

If I had seen this live it would have taken every ounce of energy in me not to scream and rage at this. This is what our country has come down to. This is what we have now: not just a raging buffoon but a raging racist in power.

And as I write this I hear voices in my head who will try to spin this off in some way.

Throughout human history and especially now more than ever, there is an ideology among some people that in order not to be oppressed, they have to be the oppressor. These adherents of this ideology are not victims, but abusers themselves. They have willingly embraced a life without kindness, compassion, and empathy for anyone, not even themselves. If they show any of those things it’s only for a short time and only for their own personal gains.

I know what I’m writing may seem brutal. And I can hear voices in my head telling me to tone it down, that I’m blowing things out of proportion.

If you say that to me I will call you a gaslighter. That is saying I can’t think for myself and that I didn’t hear what I and millions of other people heard. It’s saying my thoughts and feelings don’t matter at all. This is called abuse, plain and simple. It’s called bullying because this is how bullies wear down their victims to get them to bend to their will or break all together.

Last night, Joe Biden at the Presidential debate didn’t bend or break. He knew this was coming and he came prepared. He didn’t have to come prepared with facts and figures, but with strength and courage to stand up to a racist, heartless bully. And if you support the current occupant of the White House… ask yourself why. Ask yourself why you are so willing to try and minimize his behavior, his words, his call to action to white supremacists.

Don’t come to me with your answers. Go over your answers in your own mind, go over them with your conscience. Go over them with the God you believe in.

And as for me, I know exactly why I have never supported the current occupant of the White House. I have my answers and I’ve gone over them with my conscience, and with my God.

I will not become an oppressor. I will not turn to abuse in order to survive. I will not destroy my own emotions, my compassion, my empathy, my kindness for others in order to survive. Twice in my life, I felt myself starting to shut down those emotions and it scared me like it was supposed to. Even now as I write this I feel those shudders of fear inside me due to the intensity of those emotions. I feel myself constantly on the verge of tears, of just wanting to curl up in a ball and cry my eyes out. I’m grateful for those feelings of fear and sadness even as badly they hurt me because it means I’m human. It means I will not be the oppressor. I will not be an abuser.

I am on the side of Love.

I am on the side of Hope.

I will not be silent in the face of evil, of oppression, of abuse.

For not only will I be thinking hard now, I will talk hard.

So after reading all my words here, if you have to ask what side you are on… I’ll say a prayer for you in the hope that you choose the right side.