Shame on Veterans’ Day

I checked Facebook this afternoon, wondering how a few friends were doing. One of them posted a reminder about Veterans’ Day and added an appreciative comment about Veterans.

Guilt twinged through me. This is a really important day and the only thing I had thought thus far was “why can’t Dave actually be home today — a holiday?” and “Mom, you work at a bank. I thought you’d be off today.”

Dad is a veteran of the Vietnam war. Right? I don’t even know for sure if this is an accurate statement. That’s how little I know. I hated history and never paid attention when we talked wars — who won, who lost, why we fought, when the war took place.  These studies and discussions bored me to tears.

And shame on me. My ignorance.

Sure, I get ramped up when I hear about homeless veterans or veterans who can’t get the medical care they need or who are struggling in some way. “How the hell does the government and society get off treating these men like that?”

I don’t cope well with other’s suffering. I want it fixed.

Other than that, I’m afraid I don’t do much to honor veterans. I’ve never said thank you to one. I’ve never offered to help a woman who is juggling children while her husband is deployed.

I don’t think I’ve paid enough attention, ever, to a veteran’s experience. It’s never been waved right in my face, I never sought it out.

Today, though, I start by saying thank you, Dad. I don’t know what you went through…. When you were there…. How long you were there…. What your thoughts were of being there…..Where in the world you even were.

Were you scared? Bored? Beside yourself to get home? What did gramma say? And grampa? Speaking of grampa, was he a veteran? Did your brother and sisters reach out to you? Were you lonely?  Did you make friends with fellow deploy-ees? Do you ever feel fellow Americans are thankless for veterans’ work? Do you prefer not to talk of the experience or do curious questions offer you a positive moment to share a part of your life?

It’s Veterans’ Day today, and I thank you.  And on this day after you – with somewhat opposing political views – told me to “keep writing, even if it makes others mad, just keep writing because this is who I taught you to be”  apologize for never having done so before.

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Back off Assholes and Keep Your Laws Off MY Ovaries

Without IVF, I would not have my twins.

Without access to choice, several friends would have felt trapped in their situation.

I am very nervous that women’s reproductive rights could go backwards. It is clear that constant vigilance is necessary on the part of pro-choice advocates. I feel the need to keep paying attention, talking out, and staying active.

 

According to NARAL:

* Representative John Boehner — expected to be the next Speaker of the House — who is virulently anti-choice. He even signed a pledge to deny women access to abortion even in the case of rape or incest.

* Senator-elect Pat Toomey, who wants to outlaw abortion and put doctors who provide abortion care in jail.

* Senator-elect Rand Paul, who supports legislation that would outlaw abortion and ban common forms of birth control.

* Representatives-elect Mike Fitzpatrick and Tim Walberg, who are in favor of ending all legal abortion, most common forms of birth control, stem cell research and in-vitro fertilization.

Yikes!

I thought that being a republican meant that the government should back-off. Why then, are they trying trying to tell women what to do with their ovaries?

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I’ve Thought About it…and I’m Not Sorry

I am not sorry for one single thing that I said in my debut post. Nope. Not one bit apologetic, sheepish, or ashamed.

In fact, I’m glad my fire is back. My outrage is back. My will to fight is back. And my “big damn mouth” is back. It’ll need some calibrating, but at least I have a hint of some thick skin returning.


Where is your outrage?  Do you have some?   It seems there is plenty to be outraged about.  We live in a society where blatant racism was used as a tactic to win an election.  Where the Arizona governor institutes a law that creates a hell of a good chance for racial  profiling, as if that isn’t already enough of a problem.  It doesn’t matter that facts are completely left out by politicians who will say ANYTHING to get votes because our elections, while we still get to vote, are really won by rich corporations and the evil republicans they purchased.

Lately I have felt suffocated by trying to be the nice, sweet person people think that I am.  And I have felt stuck in life…no longer moving forward.  I have let go, completely, of the fire I once had.  That fire made good things happen for me…and hopefully the groups I was working for.

“If you’re not outraged, you are not paying attention.”

As a young child, I became acutely aware of social injustices due to growing up with a sister with a disability. A therapist once told my husband, in the early days of our marriage, that “she has been in training her whole life to be an advocate. You can’t take that out of her.”

As a teen, my fire, outrage, and fight were channeled into various volunteer and advocacy groups. I spent a minimum of four hours a week donating my time to worthy social causes including women’s rights, children’s rights, mental health, and disability issues.

My shining “fuck the power, fuck the system, question authority” moment happened while working at the women’s shelter.  My partner and I took an unmarked car and fled the city with a victim of domestic violence.  We depositied her at another shelter cities away, “hiding” the woman from authorities before the police arrived to arrest HER after SHE had been beaten.

Good times.


It never occurred to me I was too young, naive, or otherwise. All I knew was that things were not right in a lot of parts of society and it seemed a crime to sit idly by.

The time came to go to college. There was no money. I applied for scholarships. Any and all that I heard about I applied for. And I won them. Not for my grades, but my attempts at bettering society.

As a graduating senior, I sat at a luncheon of Kiwanas waiting to be presented with a scholarship.  The head of a major social service agency, a gay man and a firm advocate for troubled youth looked at me and said, “You remind me of myself when I was young.  You are a fighter  —  driven.  I can’t wait to see where you’ll go.”

I’m afraid that my meek behavior in years past may not have done him proud. But I’m back…

And once again, my sister is the one who returned the fire to my belly.

I watched her this past weekend as she sat in the car getting ready to head home. She looked vulnerable as her shoulders slouched forward, her head hung down, but her eyes, much like the bright innocence of shiny cow eyes, looked up at me.

My heart twinged, my throat caught, my guilt over being “normal” raged, and I felt angry that she has the struggles she has.  That moment of anger, of outrage, is the moment where we can pick up and fight, or we can sit idly by.  I’m done sittin’.

Without thought, the fighter in me propped my hunched shoulders back. Tall and proud, I stood knowing that as long as there is injustice and inequity out there, my mouth is going to run, my words are going to spew, and those who are not with me, are against me.

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Caribou Coffee Corrupts Youth Voters

I am writhing in my bitterness and anger. Agitated, angry, passive aggressive thoughts flood my mind one right after another. Paranoia has caught up with me and every driver I look at seems smug, selfish, evil…republican.

I can’t eat and detachment seems my only coping tool until I can appropriately tell all three children to nap. Nap time will provide me with a drain for the flood of feelings that need to be processed. Written. Vented.

Time to process people’s amnesia that the republicans got us into this mess and that

TWO MEASLY YEARS IS NOT ENOUGH TIME TO FIX EIGHT YEARS WORTH OF DIVISIVE POLITICS AND DAMAGE TO OUR COUNTRY.

But,

I’m not just angry with republicans. But angry with all politicians. So locked into their own egos…their own need to be right…that we the people are losing.

And angry that we – the people – seem complacent in trying to fix all the damage done.

Fuck am I ever angry. I am so outraged.

I have fallen off the cliff and entered a whole new dimension of pissed off thanks to a Caribou employee whom I heard educating a younger employee on the TRUTH. She was the end of my rope. My last nerve. The reason I cried in frustration in my car and contemplated moving far away from this ill-educated conservative hell hole of suburbia that I live in.

“Dayton is the big spender. He’ll spend all our  money.  Emmer is the one who won’t tax us.  He believes in less government and in living within our means — including our government.  We need to stop spending according to him.  And I believe it, and so do a lot of people.  It may be hard, but you can’t have everything you WANT.  You HAVE to live within your means.”

Are you fucking kidding me you judgmental bitch? (I know, it takes one to know one.)

And with that thought, mama done gone and lost it. My cork is popped, my valve is released and passive aggression and rage popped out of my mouth while I looked at her from the condiment bar and I said,

“Yes. So let’s let republicans continue to cut funding that helps people with disabilities like my sister. Fuck that luxury, right?  Because that is what is happening.  Screw you BITCH.”

And then I sat in my car. And cried. Feeling very sorry for myself. And alone. And scared for people who are disenfranchised.

For people without healthcare, for people who are immigrants, for single moms and their kids, for kids in general, for myself, for my sister, for my clients who worked 40 plus hours a week, but still can’t make ends meet, for people who are screwed in this mortgage crisis, for people who will be stolen from by rich, white corporate assholes.

And for our schools which have been voted against, the levy lost.  Again.  And good schools improve property values, and good property values help keep the real estate market moving…and…oh god…

And spending keeps the market going…we can’t just hole up in fear and stop all spending….Stop all services to human beings.

I struggled with my sailor’s mouth, my own hipocrisy in judging others, my obnoxious-narcissitic inability to be quiet with my opinion, and managing my anger — the scariest emotion I know.

I know I am not right.

But I am not wrong.

I don’t have the answers.

But neither do most people, or we’d be in better shape than we are now.

I know anger may not be productive and that name calling is inappropriate.

And that people are entitled to a difference of opinion.

EXCEPT when people are being harmed by policies — and I know plenty who have been, especially during the Bush years.  And  I draw the line there.

Eventually, I’ll cool down.

But I won’t be quiet.

I won’t lay down and take this.

And somehow…

I’ll find a balanced, mature way to be

the change I’ve been waiting for…

I’ll join Obama, the community organizer…

and any republican who wants to meet at the line.

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