Okay, You Win.

I’ve always been one to fight the good fight. I believe in standing up for what’s good and just. I’ll stick my neck out when others won’t. Someone has to tell the emperor he has no clothes, right? Integrity is one of the qualities I’m most proud of.

But somewhere along the line a piece was left out of this puzzle for me. Yes, I’ve heard the expression, “You can’t win them all,” but oddly enough, I never seemed to realize that that means that I can’t win them all, either.

This disconnect in my brain has caused me no end of frustration. When my mother used to tell me that life wasn’t fair, even as a small child I’d be outraged by this news. What’s the point if life isn’t fair, or can’t be made fair?

Somewhere along the line I didn’t learn the adult lesson that sometimes you just have to suck it up and deal with the bitter, awful realities of life. Sometimes justice just isn’t going to prevail. Sometimes the bad guys win.

I don’t like this lesson. I don’t want to learn it. But if I don’t, I’ll lose my mind. Sometimes you just have to surrender and say, “Okay, you win.” That’s the only way you’ll live to fight another day.

Submission

Read any good books lately? Try mine! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Root Causes

Scene: Shoppers witness a security guard wrestling a man to the ground for attempting to steal some lunch meat. They are glad that this criminal got caught. Serves him right. Justice prevails.

One lone voice offers to buy the lunch meat for the man, and is the subject of ridicule.

Meanwhile, no one has asked the guy why he was stealing the lunch meat in the first place. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that he was just laid off, and he has a hungry 6 year old at home. There’s generally a good reason behind desperation. It’s a rare adult who steals just for the pure hell of it.

It’s much easier to make snap judgments and rely on swift justice, isn’t it? It takes a lot more sophistication to look at actions, and try to root out the cause of those actions. Prevention takes more effort than revenge, but it’s a great deal more effective.

Good parents know that if their child is acting out, it’s worthwhile to find out what’s going on with him, rather than beating the bad behavior out of him. And if morale is low in the workplace, it may be that you need to increase communication to determine the source of the problem, rather than saying, “If you don’t like it, quit.”

So much easier to build a wall, or lock her up, or decrease the surplus population…

It’s time that we as a society become more sophisticated. We need to look further down the road. We need to see the forest, not just the trees. These short term solutions and swift reckonings may feel satisfying, but we are truly shackling ourselves. We’re all in this together.

handcuffs

Portable gratitude. Inspiring pictures. Claim your copy of my first collection of favorite posts! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

A Message to the World

Hello. I’m an American. Never in my life did I imagine that I would say this, but I am ashamed of the state of my country. I am embarrassed at the face we are currently showing to the world. This is not who we are.

Never again will I look at another country and assume that all its people agree with its government. Because I don’t. Never again will I think of the resident of another country as possessing a stereotypical characteristic based on that person’s place of birth. Because clearly, I no longer fit in here.

In recent months I’ve been seeing a great deal of ugliness. I’ve seen Americans spewing hate. I’ve seen selfishness and greed and intolerance. I’ve seen ignorance deified and intelligence vilified. I’ve seen science discounted and fantasy encouraged. I’ve seen violence. I’ve seen misogyny. I’ve seen fraud. I see more and more lies every day.

I am so sorry that things have gotten this way. I didn’t vote for Trump. I wouldn’t have approved any of his cabinet members or his choices for the Supreme Court. There is not a single thing that this man has done that I agree with. Not one.

I’m particularly mortified that his immigration policies are making so many people live in fear. This is not acceptable to me. I am a second generation American, and the vast majority of the people who live here are descended from immigrants. We have absolutely no right to do what we are currently doing.

We also have no right to treat the Native Americans the way that we do. If anyone should have moral currency with regard to how we treat the land here, it should be them. They should not be beaten down for wanting water that is safe to drink. Shame on us.

We, of all people, should not have the right to negatively impact women’s health at home or abroad. We should also appreciate the good work that other members of the United Nations do every single day. We should be good stewards of our environment, because what we do affects the entire planet.

I just want you to know that many Americans still believe in human rights, freedom, justice, the environment, freedom of speech, science, peace, and respect for all people who do good in this world. I want you to know that those of us who feel this way will not remain silent. We will speak out for the values that we all strive to maintain. Our voices might get drowned out by those in power, but please don’t stop listening for us. We are here.

Because what you’re seeing now is not who we are.

il_fullxfull-770961203_a0fy

Portable gratitude. Inspiring pictures. Claim your copy of my first collection of favorite posts! http://amzn.to/2cCHgUu

Spiritual Purging

Apologies in advance if you’re reading this over breakfast, but have you ever felt so sick to your stomach that you just knew that the only way you were going to feel better was if you threw up and got it over with? Sometimes that toxic, acrid, roiling source of your misery just has to come out in order for you to move on. If your body needs to purge itself, there’s really no point in trying to resist.

Just so we’re clear, this is not a blog entry in support of bulimia. A physical need to vomit is entirely different from a psychological one. Having said that, though, there will be times in your life when you need to do a spiritual purge.

I crashed headlong into that need recently. I was subjected to such a profound level of injustice that I left the situation feeling as though I had been dragged behind a chuck wagon through a cactus patch. Naked. I felt so emotionally beaten down, bitter, cynical and hopeless that I was practically paralyzed into inactivity. While my inner child threw a tantrum, I just sat motionless, defeated and deflated, and shed more than one frustrated, furious tear.

What this boils down to is another form of grieving. I was grieving the loss (yet again) of any sense of justice and equity and decency in this world. I was grappling with the concept that some people operate without even a hint of a moral compass, and that ethics are only for those people who are sufficiently evolved to see their value.

I can practically hear my mother’s voice telling me that life isn’t fair. As true as that may be, it’s cold comfort in times like these. No, what I had to do was figure out a way to accept the fact that this monumental, steaming pile of bullsh** was to forever be part of my reality moving forward. If I didn’t accept that, I’d go mad. Worse yet, I’d be incapable of writing because I’d be eaten up by the sheer inequity of it all.

Fortunately, I have friends. Friends who will allow me to spiritually purge these toxic elements from my very soul. So what follows is a conversation, more of a verbal vomiting that, when all is said and done, made me feel much better.

Friend: “Have you ever considered how unhappy some part this man actually is?”

Me: “He’s a pathetic, sociopathic, tiny fraction of a man. He isn’t unhappy. Sociopaths have no feelings. He is entirely directed by the lizard part of his brain. He will lie, cheat, steal, and do it with a smile on his face. He has no moral compass or any sense of equity or compassion.”

Friend: “Okay….”

Me: “He is a waste of human flesh, a blight on humanity, and an embarrassment to the universe. I would have more respect for a blood-bloated tick that I had just pulled off my dog’s anus. How’s that for constructive anger?”

Friend: “That is actually good because I am a safe witness. Nice use of creative language…Got any more choice words that are vivid? Release it baby! It is blocking your other writing… And that ain’t cool.”

Me: “He’s the pus from the pimple of a diseased corpse. I wouldn’t give him a bucket of my spit if he were on fire. To say that he’s a cancer on society is an insult to cancer.”

Friend: “Keep it coming…”

Me: “His spirit smells worse than Roquefort cheese.”

Friend: “Get poetic baby…”

Me: “He climbed into the gene pool when the lifeguard was out to lunch. Somewhere there’s a village that has been deprived of its idiot. He is the slime at the bottom of the toxic waste dump that is his soul.

Friend: “Oh my…anything more?”

Me: “He has a face that frightens children. Okay, I’m laughing now. Damn you! And I have an idea for a blog.”

Hooo. That felt great. Thank God for friends. They are such a treasure.

charmander_by_silvergage

How People Become Radicalized

Nothing makes me feel more bitter and cynical than feeling that I’m being treated unfairly. My mother would say, “Life isn’t fair.” Yeah, ma, I know. But that doesn’t give people a free pass to take advantage of that atmosphere and pile on. You still have the moral, ethical, and often legal obligation to do the right thing. Otherwise we have chaos and anarchy.

Without going into detail, recently I was screwed royally by an organization that pretends to believe in justice and equity. This was an organization that I trusted and relied on, so I’m feeling a little at sea. I don’t know what to do with my anger and frustration. I feel as if I could implode under the sheer weight of my righteous indignation.

And when I get pissed off, I cry. I’ve been crying quite a lot in the past few days. Not that that does me any good.

But this experience has given me a bit of insight. First of all, when counting my blessings, I realize that I have a great many blessings to count. If this organization’s douchebaggery is my biggest problem, then I’m quite fortunate indeed.

But it has given me a tiny taste of what it must be like to become so frustrated by the systems that hold you down that you feel forced to act out. It has made me see how a person becomes an activist, a protester, or, worst case scenario, a terrorist. Not that I’m advocating the latter. I am a pacifist to the very marrow of my being. I’m just saying I now get it. I may not approve, but I get it.

If this is my current level of anger and frustration, I can’t even imagine what it would be if I were trapped in a situation where my country was at threat from outside forces, or I perceived that my religion were under a similar threat, or global economic forces were such that I was watching the people around me starving or losing hope… I can’t imagine that level of fury. And then, if I didn’t have the education to realize that nothing is solved through violence and hate, if I didn’t believe I had options, and the only visible leaders who were proposing any type of change came from the lunatic fringe… what then?

It makes me think of a sign I once saw in an art gallery that said, “If you had behaved nicely, the communists wouldn’t exist.” Perhaps if we stopped being ruled by our own power and greed and worked more on raising others up instead of stepping on them, perhaps if we chose to be the voice of reason rather than the voice of fear and paranoia, we wouldn’t have so much homeland insecurity. Just a thought.

51XiMYsO-radicalization_2jpg-640-360

Andy Johnson: A Boil on the Butt of Jacksonville’s Progressive Community

One of the reasons I’m thrilled to be out of Jacksonville, Florida is that it’s an extremely conservative community. I often felt like a lone voice shouting in the wilderness when I lived there. Unfortunately, the most strident progressive voice in that town belongs to Andy Johnson, the moral equivalent of a scum-sucking catfish.

Strong words, I know, but I come by them honestly. This man tricked me out of $3,500.00 and I have the winning lawsuit and the subsequent lien on his house to prove it. Here’s a man who puts himself out there as the voice of liberal morality, and yet he blatantly disregards a court order to pay me back the money he took, and cares not one whit for the financial hardship this has caused me. That tells you all you need to know about the content of his character.

The thought that he used to be in the Florida House of Representatives leaves me slightly queasy. Our politics may be similar, but this man does not represent me. I’d be embarrassed to say he did. It’s enough to make me want to vote republican. Almost.

You can read the full and sordid details about Andy Johnson’s underhanded dealings here. Or you can get an abridged version of events here. You can get details on how he blatantly lied about the situation to a reporter and my documented evidence of it here. If you’d like to confront him about this situation, read my suggestion about that here. And if you’d like to buy my judgment at a discount and make a nice profit from collecting the money, read about my offer here. If you would like to talk about other nefarious deeds of his, do so here. If you’d like to read more about how my lien is ruining Andy’s credit, do so here. And for a log of all my articles about Andy, go here.

Andy Johnson

Andy Johnson in all his infamy.

The American Voting Spectrum: Florida vs. Washington State

The minute I knew what my address would be in Washington, I registered to vote on line. Burning my Voter ID card from Florida made me feel as good as burning my bra would have during the early days of the Women’s Movement. You see, I come from the land of the hanging chad, where one could never really be certain that one’s vote was actually counted.

When I got my Voter ID card here in Washington, I looked to see where I would have to go vote. In Florida it would have been a local library or school or church (which always seemed counterintuitive and ethically shady to me, but whatever). And the polling place would have been staffed by geriatric volunteers and presided over by dour faced election observers from foreign countries, which always made me feel like I had just stepped into a third world dictatorship. Washingtonians have none of that. You vote by mail. Are you kidding me? What, no 5 hour lines in the blazing sun, surrounded by theoretically distant yet somehow still in-your-face biased political yard signs? No Republican false advertising telling people in minority neighborhoods the wrong hours and days that these places would be open? How is that possible?

And the registration process is less restrictive in Washington. Here, you can vote if you’re a felon, as long as you still are not under Department of Corrections supervision. So you can actually pay your debt to society and once again have a say over how your community is governed. Imagine that. You can’t do that in Florida without going through an often decades-long process to get your right to vote restored. We wouldn’t want those extra Democrats floating around and mucking up the system, now would we?

Also, in Florida you can be adjudicated mentally incapacitated with respect to voting. I’m surprised they aren’t still participating in involuntary sterilization, too. Sort of a one stop shopping for the mentally undesirable.

And according to the registration website for Florida you have to “Provide your current and valid Florida driver’s license number or Florida identification card number. If you do not have a Florida driver’s license number or a Florida identification card number then you must provide the last four digits of your Social Security Number. If you do not have any of these items, you must write “none” in the box or field.” Gee, if you can write none, why bother with the rest of it? To be more intimidating and inconvenient, perhaps? The Washington site doesn’t even get into that foolishness. It just says you have to be a legal resident.

And as if all of this wasn’t good enough, on October 15th, I got two magazine-sized publications, one for the county, one for the state, and my official Washington Ballot, which I can either mail in or drop off, as long as it arrives by November 4th. The magazines include a full page of info for each candidate, including the nonpartisan judges. Each candidate also has web page information so you could read further if desired. The initiative measures have up to 8 pages each of information. These 8 pages include an explanation of the law as it presently exists, effects of the proposed measure if approved, statistical charts, a fiscal impact statement on both state and local levels, and arguments for and against the initiative. This made me nearly weep. Anyone in this state who doesn’t take advantage of this incredibly easy system is just lazy and civically irresponsible.

In Florida, what you got was a two page sample ballot with no descriptions of anything at all. If you wanted to learn more about candidates or measures, you had to really do your homework. Read the papers, get on line. Do your research and hope the information you came up with wasn’t warped by someone with an agenda. And nonpartisan judges? Forget it. Finding out about them was nearly impossible. It wasn’t unusual to Google their names and find nothing at all. Can you imagine how hard it would be to cast an educated vote if you were semi-literate, unmotivated, or a retired person who isn’t computer savvy?

The thing is, Florida’s system was the only one I knew, so I had no idea how justified my outrage should be. I feel as if I’ve woken up in an enlightened society for the first time in my life. And I’m also starting to fully understand how unbelievably screwed over I’ve been up to this point.

FloridaLines

This is your typical Florida voting line. I got this picture from an article on Think Progress, which was entitled:

Long Voting Lines Drove Away At Least 201K Florida Voters, Study Finds

No matter how hard they try to make it for you, don’t let them win. Vote! Vote! Vote!

Andy Johnson is a Heel, but I’m NOT Achilles

The downward spiral that has been my life for the past 5 years really started when Andy Johnson, former member of the Florida House of Representatives, stole $3,500.00 from me, and despite the fact that I won the court case and have a lien on his house, he refuses to pay me back.

Looking back, I can see that I let that situation get the better of me. As my circumstances became more desperate, I started making more and more foolhardy choices, and things began to snowball until I found myself in a deep crevasse of desperation, not quite knowing what to do with myself.

Why on earth would I give this man so much power? In retrospect it disgusts me. He has swindler written all over him. The fact that someone can’t even make it as a politician, which is already one of the lowest forms of life, says a great deal about his character.

The fact that I let his betrayal and thievery send me into the profound tailspin that it did says a great deal about mine. I am too trusting. I need to be more self-protective.

Most of all, I need to get some perspective. This man is pathetic. Yes, I am connected to him for as long as this lien can continue to destroy his credit. There’s no getting around that, because he’ll never pay up voluntarily. But other than occasionally spreading the word about who he really is, I shouldn’t pay him any further attention.

I’m starting to take back my life. He, on the other hand, will continue to sell his soul because he refuses to do the right thing. That makes me pity him.

No photo of Andy Johnson is connected to this blog entry. Frankly, I’m sick of looking at the man.

You can read the full and sordid details about Andy Johnson’s underhanded dealings here. Or you can get an abridged version of events here. You can get details on how he blatantly lied about the situation to a reporter and my documented evidence of it here. If you’d like to confront him about this situation, read my suggestion about that here. And if you’d like to buy my judgment at a discount and make a nice profit from collecting the money, read about my offer here. If you would like to talk about other nefarious deeds of his, do so here.

 

Captain Justice

I have a dear friend with an IQ of 170. He also has a heart as big as all outdoors and is generous to a fault. I love him to pieces. But as with many geniuses, he is lacking some indefinable something in the social realm. He doesn’t seem to see things as they are.

He has a childlike sense of justice. He reminds me of me when I was 8 years old. I’d whine, “But that’s not fair!” and my mother would say, “Life isn’t fair.” That would drive me insane.

Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t fully evolved past that little 8 year old inside of me. When someone gets after me about the unfairness of life, it still makes me grit my teeth. I have a well-developed sense of moral outrage when I see someone’s human rights being violated. I absolutely hate it when a good person gets taken advantage of. And woe betide the individual who abuses an animal in my presence.

But my friend takes it to a whole new level. He actually thinks that since he works hard and does a good job, if he reasons with his boss he’ll get a raise. He’s certain that he can’t be replaced and that his value will be recognized. He’s sure that if someone breaks the law and you are the victim, some lawyer whom you can’t afford will step up and volunteer to help you. All you have to do is ask. He believes that if you need assistance in one form or another, some social worker will magically appear and completely set aside his or her entire caseload to solve your problem. Being ripped off by an unscrupulous landlord? Simply call the housing commission, tell them your story, and they will swoop right in and straighten her out, and you can go on living on her property, happily ever after. She’ll even bake you a cake on your birthday. If he were the boss or the lawyer or the social worker or the landlord, all would be well. But he can’t save the world, as much as he’d like to.

I would love to live in his world. Everyone would play by the rules and go above and beyond for you, and the trains would always run on time. Politicians would actually give a shit. Old ladies would always be helped across the street, no one would have to lock their doors, drivers would never run red lights, and there would be no stray cats.

It sounds wonderful, but it must be exhausting for a 60 year old man to expect the universe to function that way and have to face constant disappointment. I’d much rather hope for the best but leave room for delight if it actually happens. It’s a messy, unruly, out of control planet, but at least the sun still shines equally upon us all.

super-hero-marvel-heroe-s-for-desktop-and-mobile-devices-687261

There just never seems to be a super hero around when you need one.

[Image credit: wallsave.com]

Andy Johnson Scumbag Central

As anyone who has been following my blog knows, Andy Johnson, former member of the Florida House of Representatives, stole $3,500.00 from me, and despite the fact that I won the court case and have a lien on his house, he refuses to pay me back. You can read the full and sordid details about his underhanded dealings here. Or you can get an abridged version of events here. You can get details on how he blatantly lied about the situation to a reporter and my documented evidence of it here. If you’d like to confront him about this situation, read my suggestion about that here. And if you’d like to buy my judgment at a discount and make a nice profit from collecting the money, read about my offer here.

So, what more is there to say? Well, quite a bit, actually. It occurred to me the other day, while discussing the situation with a friend (because I take every opportunity to spread the word), that someone who would do something so underhanded couldn’t possibly be working in a vacuum. This level of scumbaggery, in my opinion, is rarely an isolated event. And in fact, a few people have contacted me privately and intimated that he has done things to them as well. I will respect their privacy and not share the details here, but I am going to open wide a window of opportunity and offer to use this highly public and completely free forum to share your Andy Johnson stories, because cockroaches hate the light.

As much as it pains me, my Andy Johnson entries are often my most viewed entries on a daily basis, so rest assured your account will get a wide readership. It kind of feels like the most vitriolic parts of my blog are the parts that garner the most attention. I long to cut them out like a cancer, but feel the need to share the truth until I see my money, and since it seems like that will never happen, I guess I will have to rip the scab off my scar tissue every few months and continue to sally forth.

Having said that, I may as well go all out and become a central clearinghouse for all things underhanded with respect to this man, so if you have any TRUE stories about Andy Johnson’s nefarious deeds, please contact me. You can add short stories in the comment section below, or, if your story is as long and complicated as mine is, we can dedicate an entire blog entry to the subject if you would like. I only ask that all your information be factual or your personal opinion about those facts, because I want to maintain this blog’s credibility. And with all things Andy Johnson, the truth seems to be much stranger than fiction, so who needs to falsify?

I will state quite emphatically that all views and opinions expressed on this blog are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the originator of The View from a Drawbridge and/or any/all other contributors to this site.

So come and get him people! The truth shall set everyone free except, perhaps,  Andy Johnson himself!

Andy Johnson

I wonder what he thinks about as he gazes quietly off into the distance like that. “Who can I rip off next?”