Diagnosed with Inflammation

Recently, someone I respect very much told me that my blog is inflammatory, and that he found that disappointing. Even though I can’t deny that accusation, it did make me sad. It made me feel as though he viewed my blog as flawed, and since my blog is basically me on a page, it is kind of hard not to take it personally.

First of all, I’d like to think that my blog isn’t inflammatory all the time. I do write about nature and travel and my dogs and my gratitude for the many gifts that we are all given by the universe. I write about hope and courage and decency. I write about the many things I have learned and the many things I still need to learn. I am proud of this quirky little blog of mine.

But yes, my politics are blatantly obvious. Yes, I call out public figures. I do not give Trump a pass on his idiocy. Sorry. I’m hardly alone in that. And if you put yourself out there and are reaping the sweet benefits of your fame, you also have to be able to drink the bitter dregs of your infamy as well.

Let’s face it, though, politicians and their ilk are not reading my blog. They’ve got much bigger fish to fry. My blog is a mere clownfish in the overall media ocean. No meat on this bone.

But my respected friend felt that my inflammatory remarks might offend those people who disagree with me. He has a trait that I’ve never had: diplomacy. He tolerates dissention much more than I ever will. He is all about smoothing things over. His gut reaction is, “Well, now, everyone is entitled to his or her opinion…”

Well, now, I couldn’t agree more. And this blog is my opinion. My forum. My sandbox. That same friend has also informed me that I need to develop a thicker skin, but apparently that advice does not extend to my readers.

In case you did not realize this, dear reader, you don’t need my permission to disagree with me. And I strongly suspect that those who take offense do not read my blog for long. And that’s okay. There are plenty of forums out there that will support every opinion under the sun. (Don’t you just love the internet?)

I have this fantasy that people from the future will stumble upon my blog, and they’ll appreciate seeing how one person felt about current events. Count on me to give my unvarnished opinion about what is happening, right as it’s happening. (And none of us can deny that a heck of a lot is happening these days.)

By all means, put your thoughts out there as well. I highly encourage you to do so. But for facts, researchers might want to look someplace other than this blog.

I genuinely feel that our politics say a lot about who we are. So, yup, I will make sweeping judgments about certain political attitudes. I can like you as a person and think your political views are foolish and a poor reflection of humanity. If you don’t want to hear me call out views that I find irrational, then don’t read my blog.

Here’s one thing you’ll never see on The View from a Drawbridge, though: the kind of hostile, vicious personal attacks that I’ve been treated to on the internet in the past few days. I’m not a politician. I have only a marginal influence over a very small circle of friends. I know tensions are high, but I don’t deserve the bs that has been hurled in my direction recently.

I would never call an individual, total stranger’s comments asinine, or attack their character when I’ve never even met them. And I will call you out if you do so in any forum of which I’m a part. Because to me, that behavior is unconscionable. I’ll attack groups. I’ll attack public figures. But I’ll never verbally beat up an individual. That’s crossing the line.

But yes, I’ll call out an individual who is attacking me, or going after anyone else for that matter. I’ll protect those I care about from the harsh injustices of this world as long as I draw breath. That’s a promise.

Sometimes diplomacy is what’s needed. Sadly, diplomacy is not my skill set. Knowing your skill set is a part of what makes you an adult.

But sometimes diplomacy is not what is needed. Sometimes, you need to take a stand. You need to step up when someone is feeling bullied, even if you can’t relate to the feeling, and even if you think the bully in question is usually practically perfect in every way. That’s what’s called integrity, and it takes courage.

Even diplomats have to respect that there are limits. Boundaries matter. No one could mistake me for Switzerland, but I have boundaries just the same. So if you want to play in my sandbox, play nice. Otherwise I’ll invite you to find another sandbox, and if you persist, don’t be surprised and don’t blame me if I hit you with my verbal pail.


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George Zimmerman Goes Free: It’s a Florida Thing. You Wouldn’t Understand.

George Zimmerman was found not guilty on Saturday. To be honest I was expecting riots in the streets. I wouldn’t blame them. I was outraged, too. As a Floridian I am embarrassed for my state. Yet again. It happens with annoying frequency.

  • I was also mortified when Florida helped “elect” George Bush. We are the land of the hanging chad and the 5 hour voting lines, where no one can be certain that his vote actually counts.
  • I was appalled when Elian Gonzalez was taken from Cuba without his father’s consent, and we were actually harboring the child instead of returning him to his only surviving parent, simply because we disagree with Cuba’s politics and didn’t want to ruffle the feathers of every Cuban exile in Miami.
  • I was disgusted when our state legislature got involved in a husband’s right to pull the plug on Terri Schiavo, his wife, who had been, effectively, a vegetable for quite some time.
  •  We also allow “Choose Life” license plates, but will not allow “Pro Choice” ones, even though that is the law of the land.
  • And teachers cannot legally mention the word “condom” in our public schools, but that couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the fact only 11 other states in the nation have a higher teen pregnancy rate, now could it? We also have the second highest AIDS rate in the nation.

I weep for this state.

But back to Zimmerman for a moment. People are assuming that all whites are on Zimmerman’s side. On the contrary, I think the side you’re on is more a matter of where you stand on gun control. Make no mistake: Zimmerman claimed self-defense, even though he started the incident by being on the offense. And for some reason the jury bought it, which means that Zimmerman was allowed to hunt Trayvon Martin down and shoot him like a dog. All he had to do was claim that he feared for his life.

Well, knowing that maverick cop-wannabes are allowed to roam the streets makes me fear for my life, too, Mr. Zimmerman. But don’t worry. I’m not going to assassinate you in spite of the fact that the law would apparently be on my side.

We will never know exactly what happened that night, but here’s what I will never be able to get past: When Zimmerman called 911 they told him to stop following the kid. Twice. They told him twice and he ignored them twice. If he had listened to the professionals as he should have, things would not have gotten out of control. Twice.

If I were the 911 Operator, maybe I’d have been a little more succinct. “You did your good deed, Mr. Zimmerman. You were a good little neighborhood watch person and called in the suspicious black guy to the police. Now kindly stop being a vigilante hunter who is out for blood and a reputation, and get your putrid butt back home.”  But no. He continued to follow that young man and got the beat down he deserved for doing so, and THAT is when he felt threatened. THAT is when he shot him. He brought it on himself.

And kindly stop talking about how Trayvon was no angel, will you please? That’s immaterial. I don’t care if he was Idi Amin. He was somebody’s kid. He was minding his own business, trying to go home, and didn’t deserve to be slaughtered for his trouble.

Zimmerman stood his ground, all right. Only it never should have been his ground to stand on in the first place.