Monday, December 18, 2017

Dear Millennials

Dear Millennials

I'm sorry, I know we kinda screwed you.

You are 1/2 as likely to own a home as someone your age in 1975.  1 out of 5 of you are living in poverty.  I know you've taken on at least 300% more student debt than your parents and that most of your salary is consumed with rent.  You are likely to be the first generation that will be poorer than the generation before you.  And to make matters worse you have to listen to the very people who screwed you lecture you about entitlement and hard work.  I know it must be galling at best.

But here is the thing about America.  Whatever it may be, it is something we collectively create through our votes and so you have the power to make a difference in what happen--

Oh, what a minute.  No, not really I guess.  Because half you DIDN'T VOTE!

 Yeah, that's right.  Half of all millennials eligible to vote couldn't be bothered.  So while you're complaining that the previous generation screwed your future with participation trophies and a massive national debt you might want to take a look in the mirror.

I personally know millennials who refused to vote in the last election.  Refused.  Didn't want to choose the "lesser of two evils".  You know what?  Grow up.  You don't always get to choose between kittens and rainbows.  Sometimes you have to make hard choices.  Your inability to do that proves the point of people who call you spoiled and lazy.

I know the choice you had in the last presidential election was like a game of "would you rather" gone really really bad.  Having to choose between an incompetent nincompoop and a murderous shrill was a difficult call to make.  Some advise:  under such circumstances, it might benefit you to consider which of those two evils is more likely to protect the environment you are going to have to live in, or who is most likely to add to an already growing mountain of national debt, or what platform seemed most interested in making sure you'd have insurance when and if you ever move out of your parents basement.

You don't like the way the future looks in this country? You don't like not having insurance?  You don't like the way the economy seems to favor the already privileged?  You don't like paying into a social security system that will be bankrupt long before you can withdraw a penny?  You don't like toxins being released into the air you have to breathe?

You do have a voice.  It's called a vote.  It was purchased for you by the very generation you blame for our current problems.  That 19-year old boy who was shot in the chest as soon as he stepped off the boat onto Normandy Beach -- he bought it for you with his blood that gushed all over the sand.  So you know what, put on your big girl/boy panties and go VOTE.

And guess what, you don't have to wait every 4 years for the big presidential election.  You can vote every year for senators, congressmen, state representatives, or governors.  There are all kinds of ways you can vote.

I know that it isn't as easy for some of you.  I know that barriers have been put in place to make it difficult.  But as hard as it may be, it's not impossible.  So take a day off, take the 3 buses, or whatever it takes, to go to your local DMV.  Do a little research ahead of time so you know what to bring with you.  Yeah, you may have may have to make a phone call or two to track down a copy of your birth certificate  You may have to remember to hang onto a copy of your electric bill for a few weeks.  It's a giant pain in the ass, I know.  Even still, gather up everything you need and go get yourself an ID, and register to vote.  While these things are inconvenient,  it seems like a small price to pay to gain a voice in the future of this nation.

No one has been a greater advocate for you than me.  I see your hard work, your integrity, your kindness and I think it's unfair that you are so maligned.  But there is only so much I can do for you.  It PISSES me off that you won't go vote.  People who don't vote, don't get to complain.  So either get your asses out to the polls or shut up and get ready to go down in flames with this country.

Now to the half of you who did vote, thank you.  Clearly, this is not directed at you.  But before you start to whine about how screwed you are,  consider that energy might be better spent getting your buddies out the voting booth than trying to convince the people who screwed you to begin with to stop screwing you now.

If you think your one vote is too insignificant to make a difference I beg you to reconsider.  Millennials now rival baby boomers as a political force.  You are over 1/3 of the overall electorate.   Yet you have the lowest voter turnout of any other age group -- and you have more at stake in this game than anyone else.  You have the power to change the outcome of elections, especially in the pivotal swing states.  Rather than showing up to protest Trump's election, you could have shown up at the polls and made a difference in the actual election itself.  Think about it and then choose.  Stand for something.  Because in spite of what you may think, not voting isn't standing for anything.

Now, I'm sure you can probably guess which way I'm hoping you'll vote.  Most of you do have a tendency. like me, to lean left.  But even if that's not the case.  Even if your collective choice would be to put someone like Donald Trump in the White House it will be YOUR choice, your future, your fate to embrace or try to change.

The problem with that, of course, is that it means you'll have to take responsibility for what happens. You won't be able to blame us anymore for your unfortunate future.  It means instead of crying about how screwed you are you'll have to take the time to study out the issues and decide which is going to be the least awful.  Not ideal, I know.  Welcome to adulthood.  No one is going to figure it all out for you, but on the upside, you get to spend the night with someone whenever you want, so there's that.

I've lost sympathy for you.  And you know why?  Because right now I have a young daughter who can't vote and your whinny ass entitled apathy is affecting her.  She is going to inherit the word YOU create.  How's that for a change.  You are responsible for the next generation.  Try to do better for her than we did for you.

Effing VOTE!  You'll be doing yourself, and my daughter,  a tremendous favor.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Why I Hope Trump Fails

Yeah,  you read that right.  I hope Trump fails.

I know it's pretty petty sounding, especially when the likes of Tom Hanks, Barak Obama and even Hillary Clinton herself have come out and said they hope for America that he's successful.  I've tried to get my head around that and I can't, I just can't.

The man sickens me, people.  And it isn't because of the biased media, it's because of the things he says and does and tweets.  He sickened me when he called Hillary Clinton a "nasty woman" on national television and led chants of "lock her up".  It sickens me that he lives in the lap of ostentatious excess after using bankruptcy laws to bilk honest contractors out of thousands, even millions of dollars.  It sickens me that his twitter comments more closely resemble that of a petulant adolecent child rather than a grown man elected to lead the free world.

Most of all it sickens me that he's a bully - and he won.

And if this foul mouthed, lying cheat of bully is successful, God help us all.  Because if he is successful everything I've ever been taught about kindness, honesty and graciousness has been grossly inaccurate. If that's the case, if that's really the case where does that leave us?  Teaching our children that you can lie, blatantly lie, if you repeat it enough, that you can slither out of obligations, marriages, business contracts, if you are clever enough, that you can expect the whole word to bow to your ego if your rich and powerful enough.  I don't want to live in that world and I don't want to leave that world behind for my children.

I was taught my whole life that things like kindness, and honesty and decency make the world a better place. Crudeness, taking advantage of the weak, stealing something that wasn't ours might have their momentary reward, but ultimately they dirtied the world that you had to live in.  I was taught it was worth sacrificing immediate gratification, the Freudian ID, for a greater good. And I bought it. I believed it - the whole thing.  I believed that living the golden rule would make our society better for everyone, including me.

I realize as I write that how ridiculous it is.  After all, we live in a real word.  Nice guys finish last.  You can't expect to prosper by playing fair.  Business is war.  Take what you can get and never look back. Look out for #1.  Things like courtesy, integrity, and intelligence are just casualties we need to leave by the wayside.   I guess living by the rules of decency is for chumps.

If you want to get ahead, you've got to think like Donald Trump.  You can't argue with his results -- he's been elected President of the United States of America.  If he is successful as a president we can expect that philosophy to be copied and magnified for generations.

I'm not completely naive.  I know how the world is.  I just had hope that we could eventually make it a better place.

And if Donald Trump is successful -- that hope is gone.

Monday, November 14, 2016

An Argument to let Trump be Trump

A few years ago when my daughter was just a toddler she had a plastic "Toy Story" plate she really liked.  One day we happen to have it outside and she wanted to throw it like a frisbee.  I tried to convince her it wasn't a frisbee, that it would fall and most likely break.  But she was determined it would fly like a frisbee, so finally I threw it as requested.

Almost immediately it fell to the hard concrete surface and broke.  Never again has my daughter wanted to throw a plate like a frisbee.

By watching the plate break she understood that just because something is shaped like a frisbee does not mean it will fly like a frisbee.  Sometimes people just need to see things for themselves to understand why it won't work.  Ideas need to be given the chance to fail.

A large part of my frustration over the last several years is that I don't think President Obama really got a fair chance while in the white house.  From the beginning the Right blocked, opposed, filabustered, and did everything they possibly could to keep him from doing what he wanted to do.  And if they kept him from succeeding it wasn't because he failed, it was because he simply never got to try.

The hope and change I wanted got stuck in congress and because I never saw it break, I'm still convinced it can fly.

Now America has elected a new change, a completely different direction from Obama.  Believe me, there is a petty person inside of me that wants the Trump administration to suffer the exact same treatment Obama recieved.  Oppose.  Block. Filabuster.  Refuse to compromise.  Make it impossible for him to succeed.  Make it impossible for him to try.

But I don't think that's the right thing to do -- not just because I'm trying to be Christian. It's because at the end of 4 or even 8 (gulp) years I want Trump supporters to feel like they got a fair chance.  I want them to see for themsleves that the policies Trump and his party endorses are not going to work.  They need to see that plate fall and break.  And until they see that they will never be convinced to try a new direction.

We can try to stop each and every thing that Trump wants to do.  That might slow the whole process down.  When enough people get frustrated because nothing is happening the vote will swing back in the other direction.  Then we'll start all over again.  Oppose, block, flilabuster, frustrate, change the vote.  Seems to be the pattern we are comfortable with.

The only problem is we're not getting anywhere.  And frankly at this point in time I'm willing to go in the wrong direction as long as were moving.  Sometimes you can't tell if your heading the right way until you actually move.   And we havn't been moving.  We're like two donkeys pulling in opposite directions and never getting anywhere.  Maybe a donkey and an elephant would be a better analogy, but hopefully you get the point.

So, as much as it pains me, as much as I'm convinced Trump's tax plan will plunge us further into debt,  that every year we ignore the global climat change crises we decrease our ability to deal with it effectively, that until Citizens United is reversed we will have a bought congress...and the list goes on.  As much as I'm convinced of these things I believe we need to give Trump's policies a fair and honest go.  We need to let Trump be Trump.  We need to be willing to let him fail -- or succeed.

I'm not saying give him carte blanche.  He isn't King afterall.  Democrat congressmen should vote for their conscious -- I know they will.  But the game of opposing, shutting down the government, refusing to cooperate and compromise, or to even consider something potentially good because of the source, has to stop.  Like it or not this is what the American people elected and trying to block their will is only going to build resentment and anger.  Trust me, I know.

I believe some of Trumps policies are downright dangerous.  I hope that in the spirit of compromise we can find a way to temper the most harmful and extreme.  I realize it's easy for me, an older white middle class woman to say that.  But I swear to you I don't know what else to do.  I just spent 8 years banging my head aginst a brick wall.  Until people are personally effected by the policies they voted for they will never understand.   If anyone is convinced it will only be when and if they can see and experience the real consquenses of what they voted for.  Consequenses are how we learn.  Interfering with those hampers our ability to figure out what works and what does not.

Does the thought of this terrify me.  Yes!  But I'm clinging to the belief that somehow democracy is resilent enough.  That somehow we can self correct.  I have to have faith that democracy is strong enough to let us fail from time to time so we can learn.

I readily admit, I'm not being open minded.  I think things are going to fail, and fail in a spectacular fashion.  But I'm still willing to try.  And if I'm willing to do that I think it's only fair that Trump and his supporters own whatever happens.

And you know what, maybe I'm wrong.  Maybe that plate is going to catch the wind in an unexpected way and soar.  Maybe it will end up being the best frisbee ever, like championship level and all the naysayers like me will say, "Oh my gosh. I was so wrong."  And I will.

Either way we are finally learning what works and what doesn't and maybe we can finally move ahead.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Not. My. President.

Donald Trump is not my president. After seeing such vitrolic and slanderous rhetoric leveled at my candidate I'm not yet ready or willing to come under the happy blanket of good will and embrace America's choice.   He will never be my president.   But although he may not be my president I accept that he is the president of the United States of America.

So to all those Trump supporters I make this pledge:

1) If he does something I agree with I'll support him.

2) In the event he does something I disagree with I will consider both sides of the story before making my own conclusions, using facts found thorugh balanced research and legitimate resources.

3) I will remember that when you disrespect a political figure, such as the president, you disrespect everyone who voted for him as well.

4) I will try, although I know I will fail at times, to keep the snark to a minimum.

The only thing I ask is that whatever happens over the next four years, good or bad, you own it because he's YOUR president.  Whether you voted for him proudly or in shame he's yours.  All yours.

Here we go.  Good Luck America.

Yeah, I really did

Dear Department of Transportation,

As you are in charge of when we switch to and from Daylight Savings Time I have a request I hope you will consider seriously.

Switching back to regular time in the fall is a difficult transition for many people because it gets so dark, so very very dark, so soon.  Sunlight plays a key factor in our sense of well being and I'm sure you’re aware that sunlight deprivation is a real thing (just ask Sweden).

Might I suggest that in the future switching back to regular time not be combined with Election Week?  As divisive as our political atmosphere is today many, many people are bound to be bitterly disappointed and a seemingly little thing like suddenly loosing an hour of sun at the end of the day can easily send someone who is struggling with the outcome of the election on a slow maddening descent into darkness full of deep despair.

Alright, that was a little dramatic, wasn't it?  But I'm sure you get the idea.   It just seems like a good idea to give the two calendar items a little space.  Our country's mental health issues aren't really getting the attention they need and it just seems like good idea to make sure people who are dealing with an election result that is less than appealing aren't having to also deal with aching overwhelming darkness that fills the sky before you can even leave work.

Please, please take this into consideration for the next election.


Kelly Ladd
Suwanee, GA

Glenn Beck Says "Don’t Move to Canada. Talk to the Other Side".

"I want to meet with any nonpolitical thought leaders on the left who are sincere and honest in their beliefs — and just listen."

Wow, that’s really sweet of you Mr. Beck.   Kinda wish you had been interested in listening to me when you were demonizing Hillary Clinton and her e-mails instead of discussing her policies, or during the 8 years Obama was president and your party opposed, blocked and did everything in their power to keep him from success.  So, I think I’ll take a pass on coming to your table, holding hands and singing Kumbaya .

You claim you want to “listen to me” but see, what I think you really want is to make yourself feel better about contributing to an atmosphere so toxic someone like Trump could question the validity of Obama’s very citizenship, win the republican nomination, and THEN be elected president of the United States of America.   Wow.  Tell you what -- why don’t you just take it up with your Bishop and leave me out of it.

Yeah, I know you didn’t vote for him.  But by the time you realized that Obama was coming neither for your guns nor your religion it was too late.  Your fans just transferred their irrational angst onto Hillary Clinton along with a healthy fear-mongering dose of open boarders, 9-month abortions, arms deals with terrorist, and murderous conspiracies.  As bad as Trump is, how could you not choose him over baby killer Hillary Clinton who hates America and wants to enslave us all to communist over lords.  The die you threw, Mr. Beck, had been cast.

Thanks for the last minute effort, though.  And I have to admit I find it a relief you couldn’t actually pull the lever for the man.  But it does seem convenient that NOW you seem suddenly interested in listening to me, somehow impling you are at last willing to compromise and we can come together and make the best of this situation which is after all the decided fault of liberals for the shabby way we treated George Bush and then forced Obama on the population that elected him.

But here's the thing:  You and your ilk weren’t interested in compromise when my man was in the White House, so it seems highly unlikely to me that now, when your party has the White House, the Senate, the Congress, and very soon the Supreme Court itself, that you truly give a damn about the two cents from my leftist, socialist, elitist, freedom hating pocket.

But that’s ok, because you know what?  I really don’t want to compromise.  I want Trump to do each and every thing he promised he would do while he was campaigning so that whatever happens to and in this country over the next 4 years is ALL on his head, and his voters, and every single one of you who paved the way for him.  Have at it.


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Ignore This!

I remember the first time I witnessed street harassment.   I was a young girl visiting my Grandmother in a fairly large city.  We were walking downtown to catch a matinee and just ahead of us was a woman wearing a beautiful red halter top dress.  Although it revealed her shoulders and back the hem fell well below her knees.  It was a hot summer day and considering the weather it didn't strike me as particularly immodest.  I can still see her long dark hair.  She was striking as she walked along with confidence and I could tell she felt beautiful.

Suddenly a truck going by her screeched to a stop and the driver leaned out the window leered and yelled to no one in particular and yet for all to hear, "G__ __ D__ __ __!  Did you see that!"  Everyone, including my grandmother, ignored the comment and eventually the driver, having informed the public of his hard-on, moved along.

The woman herself seemed to ignore it as well, but I could tell it affected her.  I could tell by her step.  She no longer felt confident.  She seemed deflated and keeping her head lifted seemed a burden.  I wondered if she questioned her choice to don that beautiful red dress that morning.  If perhaps she should have chosen a different style or a different color.  Then maybe she could have walked down the street unharassed.

By the time I moved to NYC when I was 24 I had been the focus of street harassment myself.  By instinct I successfully ignored it.  But living in the Big Apple upped the game and ignoring it was a lot harder to do in an environment where I frankly felt on shaky ground to begin with.  But ignore it I did with dogged determination.  I think also fear,  because to recognize it and say or do something might have opened me up to other kinds of much worse assaults.

Sometimes is was just verbal, a whistle or a cat call.  Those were easy to ignore.  Sometimes it was pretty specific about my person.  One time it was someone following me for several blocks before asking me for a cigarette even though it was painfully clear I did not smoke.  Sometimes it was physical.  That's when it became impossible to ignore and I handled it by just moving my body away from the offender.

I have to admit I was a little mystified by it.  Was this an effective technique for attracting women and getting them to have sex with you, perhaps on the spot?  "Why yes, I've always wanted to get it on with a large homeless type man a good 40 years my senior.  You know some place around here we can go?"  Or perhaps they were seeking the woman they could settle down with for the rest of their life and have a family.  "It was the "hiss" I heard as I walked by him for the first time.  Such a noble hiss.  I knew right then I found the father of my children."  What exactly was the end game here?  Why yell out "Mom-mee, Mom-mee" as I walked by?  I mean, what the hell is that even supposed to mean?

No doubt by now you've wondered how I dressed during these assalts.  And I will tell you it doesn't matter.  Not because a woman should be able to wear whatever she wants without getting harassed (Although I think that's true), but because I got harassed while wearing PERFECTLY modest clothing.  I got harassed no matter what I wore.  IT. DIDN'T. MATTER.   In fact, some of the worst offenses happened when I was wearing something two ticks shy a burqa.  Once I was severely yelled at by a stranger in front of a subway station full of people that it was "a damn shame" for me to cover up my legs.  And he went on from there.  Yeah, that was one of the times when it got physical and I had to move away.  Sometimes I swear, and this will sound crazy, that covering my ankles provoked more attention than if I actually revealed my thighs.

Perhaps I was supposed to feel complimented.  But for some reason, a random stranger coming up behind me and comparing my ass to a bowl of jelly didn't really boost my confidence.  I don't know why.  Maybe because it really wasn't about complimenting me.  It was about making me feel uncomfortable.  The man who yelled out at the woman in the red dress --  that wasn't for her, it was for him.  It made him feel powerful.  Perhaps because he knew he didn't have a prayer of a chance with that woman and so he did what he could.  He made her feel uncomfortable in her own skin and although she tried to ignore it, that discomfort was abundantly clear.  He reveled in it.

Street Harassment isn't about a woman making a man losing control, it's about a man taking control of a woman.  Its purpose is to control someone by forcing a reaction from them.   If you get someone to react, you've won.  They're not thinking about what they want to think anymore, but about you and what you want.  And knowing you've done that, and making someone feel awkward and uncomfortable to boot must be a real rush.

I don't suppose I can speak for all women but I for one resent the efforts of a total stranger to control me even from afar.  Not only is it an intrusion it's intimidating because if a man enjoys forcing a reaction from me in public God knows what else he might enjoy forcing from me if he got half a chance.  It makes me feel like I'm not safe.

And the truth is -- I'm not.  Only 2 out of every 100 reported rapist will spend any time in jail.  1 out of every 3 females will be sexually assaulted before she's 24.  Politicians throw around phrases like "legitimate rape" and the concept of consent seems to somehow be blurry.

No,  I'm not safe.  How can someone feel safe when they are taught from a very young age not to walk alone somewhere after dark?  To be careful about being alone with a man you don't know, or even do know.  To never accept a drink you didn't pour yourself.  From the time we are girls, women are taught to check and watch and be ever vigilant lest we become a statistic.  It's on us because our bodies have this amazing power over a man's judgment.  So yea, a man aggressively asserting the effect my body has on him makes me a little nervous.

Street Harassment is the gateway rape. The men who do it aren't complimenting you or trying to meet a nice girl or even trying to hook up with someone.  They are extorting a response that empowers them.  That reminds you that in this "rape culture" they've got the upper hand.  That you aren't even allowed to walk down the street without acknowledging them if they so choose.  They can invade your thoughts and even your personal space and get away with it.

98 out of every 100 times they get away with it -- unless of course it's Street Harassment.  That's 100 out of every 100 times.  And although we may try, those odds are as hard to ignore as the street harassment itself.

I did eventually come up with something that was quite an effective answer to catcalls and the like.  When faced with unwanted comments I'd tilt my head back, hock up a loogie, and spit on the ground in front of me.  That sent a clear message that was pretty hard for them to ignore as well.