Raise Your Hand…

Fed up? You’re not alone.

…if you are furious about this latest domestic terrorist act that has killed 19 innocent children in this country, along with 2 teachers.

Raise your hand…

…if you feel that this mass shooting, along with all others, is government-sanctioned by way of their failure to act.

Raise your hand…

…if the phrase “thoughts and prayers” coupled with an obvious intent to maintain the status quo makes you want to vomit.

Raise your hand…

…if you have tried to explain that you don’t want to take everyone’s guns away, just the ones that can fire 45 rounds per minute, which have no legitimate private use unless you are in the midst of a zombie freakin’ apocalypse.

Raise your hand…

…if you are stunned by gun advocates’ utter selfishness and refusal to absorb international statistics that prove that reasonable gun restrictions prevent the mass slaughter of children.

Raise your hand…

…if you refuse to vote for a politician who gets money from the NRA, because that person demonstrates that he or she puts that greed ahead of the lives and safety of the people she or he would be elected to represent.

Raise your hand…

…if you are fed up with a government that refuses to listen to the majority of us, especially with regard to gun restrictions, women’s rights, health care and the environment.

Raise your hand…

…if you see blood on the hands of every politician who refuses to make changes after expressing deep sympathy for the parents who will never see their children again.

Raise your hand…

…if you are profoundly tired and/or depressed and/or feeling helpless.

Raise your hand…

…if you are increasingly ashamed of congress’ inability to act on our behalf rather than in their own financial best interests.

Raise your hand…

…if you are horrified by the ever-increasing bias of the supreme court.

Raise your hand…

…if you believe that a political party that supports the overthrow of a legitimately elected president should be stripped of its power.

Raise your hand…

…if you believe that wealth should be taxed at a much higher rate.

Raise your hand…

…if you cannot and will not support fascism in any form.

Raise your hand…

…if you are tired of being scared, disappointed, and bitter.

Raise your hand…

…if you are disgusted by the utter lack of consequences for blatantly criminal acts, even as you watch other people get imprisoned for absurd reasons.

Raise your hand…

…if you struggle every day to not become cynical and sedentary.

Raise your hand…

…if you think that those who wish to suppress history and encourage censorship have an evil, racist agenda.

Raise your hand…

… if you are tired of decision makers who think that islands float, that snowballs prove there’s no global warming, that women can’t get pregnant if “legitimately” raped, that wind turbines cause cancer, that not all workers deserve a living wage, that we all don’t deserve the same access to affordable healthcare, that women should submit to their husbands, that Jewish space lasers actually exist, and that all homosexuals are automatically pedophiles and all immigrants are automatically violent criminals.

Raise your hand…

… if people who continue to vote for such politicians scare you.

Raise your hand…

…if you are sick and tired of gerrymandering for any political party, and think that all districts should be shaped as squares or rectangles, with 90 degree angles, with the exception of state boarders and coastlines, with their size adjusted by number of voters in the area, and that what party someone registers for should not be allowed to be taken into consideration.

Raise your hand…

…if you believe that the electoral college is an outmoded system that not only doesn’t serve us well, but also is harmful to this country. One person, one vote. We have the technology.

And most of all, raise your hand…

…if you’re feeling trapped in a f***ed up, theocratic, ignorance-worshiping, mentally ill, selfish, money-grubbing and utterly brainwashed society that is increasingly run by criminals, fascists and liars.

SPEAK UP AND VOTE…

…for every cause you believe to be just, and in every single election in which you are qualified to vote, no matter how insignificant it may seem or how inconvenient the powers that be make it for you to exercise that right.

Do it for the lives of your children. Do it for your community. Do it to stamp out ignorance and hate. Do it for the planet. Do it to preserve whatever shred of compassion and hope and optimism and good will you still manage to possess.

Do it so that all this sh** will stop.

Because you are not alone in knowing that it has to stop.

What follows is a list of American cities or counties where mass shootings have occurred SO FAR in 2022 ALONE, most recent first, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Stanwood, Michigan
Anniston, Alabama
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Uvalde, Texas
North Charleston, SC
Cleveland, Ohio
Goshen, Indiana
Tacoma, Washington
Kissimmee, Florida
Highland, California
New Orleans, Louisiana
Chicago, Illinois
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Palo Alto, California
Laguna Woods, California
Winston Salem, North Carolina
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Houston, Texas
Amarillo, Texas
Buffalo, New York
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Hot Springs National Park, AK
Chicago, Illinois
Saint Louis, Missouri
Indianapolis, Indiana
Paterson, New Jersey
Baltimore, Maryland
Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Baltimore, Maryland
Brookshire, Texas
Detroit, Michigan
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Clarkston, Georgia
Lexington, Kentucky
Garland, Texas
Miami, Florida
New Orleans, Louisiana
Sunnyside, Washington
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Cowley (county), Kansas
Beaumont, Texas
Lafayette, Louisiana
Springfield, Ohio
Tarpon Springs, Florida
North Charleston, SC
Atlanta, Georgia
Jackson, Mississippi
Jackson, Tennessee
New Orleans, Louisiana
Laurel, Mississippi
Bessemer, Alabama
Chicago, Illinois
Opelousas, Louisiana
Biloxi, Mississippi
San Antonio, Texas
Phoenix, Arizona
Birmingham, Alabama
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Lafayette, Indiana
Chicago, Illinois
Rocky Mount, North Carolina
San Bernardino, California
Atlanta, Georgia
Petersburg, Virginia
Cincinnati, Ohio
Washington, DC
Mountain View, Arkansas
Duluth, Minnesota
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Portland, Oregon
Furman, South Carolina
Sacramento, California
Miami, Florida
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Baldwin, Louisiana
Columbia, South Carolina
Baltimore, Maryland
North Las Vegas, Nevada
Daingerfield, Texas
Syracuse, New York
Stockton, California
Brooklyn, New York
Bronx, New York
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Elgin, Illinois
Willowbrook, California
Indianapolis, Indiana
Washington, DC
Miami, Florida
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Covington, Kentucky
Hartford, Connecticut
Buffalo, New York
San Francisco, California
Dallas, Texas
Sacramento, California
Shelby, North Carolina
Monroe, Louisiana
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Shreveport, Louisiana
Walterboro, South Carolina
Hollister, California
Cleveland, Ohio
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Stockton, California
Waterbury, Connecticut
Chicago, Illinois
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Houston, Texas
Austin, Texas
Norfolk, Virginia
Fayetteville, North Carolina
Dumas, Arkansas
Madison Heights, Virginia
Dallas, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
New Iberia, Louisiana
Lansing, Michigan
Chicago, Illinois
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Irvington, New Jersey
Irvington, New Jersey
Ozark, Alabama
Reading, Pennsylvania
Chicago, Illinois
Rochester, New York
Columbia, South Carolina
Baltimore, Maryland
Autaugaville, Alabama
Columbus, Ohio
Aurora, Colorado
Jacksonville, Florida
Knoxville, Tennessee
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Hazleton, Pennsylvania
Louisville, Kentucky
Lubbock, Texas
Monroe, Louisiana
Chester, South Carolina
Glendale, Arizona
Atlanta, Georgia
Las Vegas, Nevada
Baltimore, Maryland
Sacramento, California
Alexandria, Louisiana
North Charleston, SC
Las Vegas, Nevada
Bogalusa, Louisiana
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
San Antonio, Texas
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Omaha, Nebraska
Des Moines, Iowa
Portland, Oregon
Mccomb, Mississippi
Durham, North Carolina
Portland, Oregon
Charleston, Missouri
Turlock, California
Temple Hills, Maryland
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Houston, Texas
Miami, Florida
Joliet, Illinois
Racine, Wisconsin
West Hollywood, California
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Little Rock, Arkansas
Springfield, Missouri
Phoenix, Arizona
Romeoville, Illinois
Fresno, California
Wilmington, North Carolina
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Corsicana, Texas
Blacksburg, Virginia
Oroville, California
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Raleigh, North Carolina
Winter Haven, Florida
Augusta, Georgia
Saint Louis, Missouri
Atlanta, Georgia
Bakersfield, California
Washington, DC
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Inglewood, California
Baltimore, Maryland
New Orleans, Louisiana
Miami, Florida
San Antonio, Texas
Savannah, Georgia
Knoxville, Tennessee
Brunswick, Georgia
Eugene, Oregon
Brooklyn, New York
Chicago, Illinois
Fresno, California
Los Angeles, California
Montgomery, Alabama
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Houston, Texas
Jackson, Mississippi
Corsicana, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Columbia, Missouri
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Kenosha, Wisconsin
Peoria, Illinois
Dillon, South Carolina
South Bend, Indiana
Denver, Colorado

Oh No You Don’t

Just try putting roadblocks between me and the voting booth.

I just read an article entitled, “Georgia Bill Would Criminalize Giving Water to Voters Waiting in Long Lines.” It brought me right back to standing in line to vote in Florida, year after year, in the blistering heat, on black pavement, for hours. It was brutal. I’ve gotten spoiled here in Washington State, where I can vote by mail.

Here’s the thing that I will never understand about politicians and voter suppression. If you push for these dirty tricks, you are saying, loud and clear, that you believe that the only way you can win an election is by cheating. That’s not a good look.

You have so many weapons in your voter suppression arsenal. Limiting hours at voting locations. Preventing voting by mail. Gerrymandering your district. Claiming that your tactics are only to prevent voter fraud, which has been proven time and time again to be virtually nonexistent. Requiring extensive paperwork in order to get a Voter ID. Prohibiting former felons from voting. Making the polls difficult to find or get to. And the list goes on and on and on. And on.

Yes, I get it. You’re hungry for power, and you’re willing to obtain that power by any means necessary. But the more people you alienate from the voting process, the fewer people who will want to vote for your party. What does it feel like, to shoot yourself in the foot like that?

Put roadblocks between me and the voting booth? Oh, hell no. That motivates me. I’ll crawl naked through ground glass to vote if I have to. Especially if it means I get to vote against someone who is promoting voter suppression laws. Make it as hard as you want to. I’ll still find a way to vote, and I’ll help others be able to vote, too.

Nothing will stop me from demonstrating my patriotism by voting. By trying to stop me, all you’re doing is pissing me off. And you won’t like me when I’m pissed off.

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Mid-Month Marvels: The League of Women Voters

I can think of no organization that I trust more.

A recurring theme in this blog is the celebration of people and/or organizations that have a positive impact on their communities. What they do is not easy, but it’s inspirational, and we don’t hear enough about them. So I’ve decided to commit to singing their praises at least once a month. I’m calling it Mid-Month Marvels. If you have any suggestions for the focus of this monthly spotlight, let me know in the comments below!

Without a doubt, the looming presidential election is the most important one ever held in America. I genuinely want everyone to vote. This will shape our nation and, indeed, determine if it even exists as a democracy moving forward. I cannot stress this enough: Please vote.

Having said that, there is no better organization for me to promote this month than the League of Women Voters. It is a completely nonpartisan organization that has but one agenda: preserving everyone’s right to vote. If you believe in democracy at all, this is an organization worth supporting.

The League is celebrating its 100th year, as women (white ones, at least) were given the right to vote in the 1920’s, and the League evolved from the women’s suffrage movement that obtained that right. The League was instrumental in establishing the United Nations. They sponsored the first televised presidential debates. They maintain a website called VOTE411.org, which provides nonpartisan information about both state and national elections. I can’t tell you how many times I have referred to this site for information.

The League of Women Voters website advocates for the following:

  • Voter registration

  • The COVID Elections Fund to ensure safe and accessible elections.

  • Fighting voter suppression

  • Removing money from politics

  • Fighting gerrymandering.

No matter which side of the political debate you fall on, surely these are issues that all of us can agree upon if we want a genuine democracy. I can think of no organization that I trust more with these tasks than the League of Women Voters. Please join me in supporting them here.

lwv_logo_350

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In Honor of the 200,000

We have to speak for them.

By the time you read this, we’ll have blasted past 200,000 COVID-19 deaths in America, with no end in sight. That’s an inconceivable figure. Its so large that most of us can’t accept it.

That’s 200,000 grandparents, parents, siblings, children, friends, loved ones. Every single one lived and laughed and worked and loved and mattered. If each of those people only had 5 people on earth who loved them (a very conservative figure, in my estimation), then there are 1 million grieving people out there, right now, and it has only been 6 months.

We were all devastated by the victims of 9/11. Now imagine that 9/11 happened more than 67 times over, or basically every other day since this pandemic started. That’s what would have to happen to get to 200,000 deaths in that tragedy.

This is a grizzly thought, but given the average height in America is 5’6”, if you lined up the 200,000 dead head to toe along some rural highway, they would stretch for 208.33 miles. Driving at 52 mph, it would take you more than 4 hours to pass all those bodies. Seriously, that’s a lot of soul-crushing loss.

And lest we forget, dying of COVID-19 is a horrible way to go. Each one of those people suffered. Each one struggled to breathe. Each one felt as if he or she were drowning in their own bodies. And they weren’t even able to have a loved one there for comfort. They died all alone.

And the vast majority of these people died needlessly. Other countries have demonstrated that the death toll doesn’t need to be this high. Our COVID-19 death toll is 597 deaths per million Americans. That may not seem like much until you compare it to other countries. New Zealand has had 5 COVID-19 deaths per million. Japan has had less than 12 deaths per million. Venezuela has had 17 deaths per million. Greece has had 29 deaths per million. Australia, 32 deaths per million. Egypt, 57 deaths per million. What’s it going to take before we realize that something is seriously wrong with the way we’re handling this virus?

We need a leader who leads by example. One who doesn’t disparage those who wear a mask. One who does not encourage his base to congregate, maskless and shoulder to shoulder, to worship him. We need adequate testing. We need accurate reporting. We need financial support. We need supplies for frontline workers as well as the general population. We need a president who actually listens to his own staff, multiple members of whom have come forward to say that they’ve begged him to wear a mask, to set an example, to only share accurate information rather than insane speculation, and not politicize this virus.

In honor of the 200,000 people who can no longer do so, please be sure to vote in the upcoming election. Their silence was forced upon them. We have to speak for them. Please vote.

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The 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment

Every woman should view voting as a sacred obligation.

One hundred years ago today, the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution passed, giving women the right to vote. This was a major breakthrough, and one that should never be taken for granted, given that the women of Saudi Arabia only got the right to vote 5 short years ago. I will never understand, as long as I live, why every single woman who can vote does not do so.

The first country to give women the vote was New Zealand, in 1893. It’s hard to believe it took us 27 years to jump on the bandwagon, given the fact that New Zealand clearly didn’t self-destruct in the interim. Even Russia beat us to it by 3 years, and the UK beat us by two years.

It seems like a simple concept: if a government is supposed to represent all of us, then it should be elected by us all. But women had to go to jail, starve themselves, be tortured, and even die to gain us this privilege that we so callously neglect. Because of that, I firmly believe that every woman should view voting as a sacred obligation.

Vote, ladies. It’s not only your right but it’s also your duty. Do it for every woman who fought so terribly hard to do so before you.

votes-for-women

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Loony Candidates of the Pacific Northwest

Don’t you just love the democratic process?

A few days ago, I voted in a primary and special election here in the Seattle area. They really make it easy here. You vote by mail, and they provide you with a nice thick pamphlet which tells you everything you need to know about the various candidates and issues.

People in the State of Washington really have no excuse not to vote. It’s not like you have to stand for hours in a blistering hot parking lot, waiting for the chance to vote, and have to conduct hours of independent research to know who to vote for, like I did for decades in Florida.

The pamphlet for my area was 91 pages long this time around. I adore these pamphlets, because they help me do my homework on the candidates. I can eliminate many people on their statements alone, and then do further research on the more serious ones if I feel the need.

But I also enjoy the pamphlet because there are enough loony candidates to turn it into a joke book. Anyone can run if they meet the requirements. But jeez, it really makes you wonder why certain ones bother.

For your amusement, here are some of the more lunatic fringe candidates (in my opinion) running for office here in the Seattle area, and some quotes directly from their statements as included in the voter’s pamphlet. Suffice it to say, I voted for more sane, serious, and qualified candidates than these.

  • Alex Tsimerman is running for Governor of the State of Washington and says he prefers the StandupAmerica Party. Under his Community Service, he lists, among other things, receiving “over 12 trespasses for a total of more than 1,200 days from going into the Demo-Nazi-Gestapo Council Chambers.” In his statement, he simply repeats the following sentence 25 times: “Stop Seattle/King Fascism with idiotic face!”

  • “Goodspaceguy” has been running for one office or another for as long as I’ve been in this state. This time he’s running for Governor. Apparently this is his legally changed name. He says he prefers the Trump Republican Party. His statement includes the following. “Viruses will always attack you. Your immune system defends you. As governor, I will not shut down your businesses or forbid you to go to work….How many robots would you want to supervise to make your work easier? … Please refer to our world as ‘Spaceship Earth.’ This concept might improve your descendants’ future.”

  • Omari Tahir Garret is also running for Governor. He prefers the Democrat Party. He says he’s running as a spokesperson for anti-apartheid/reparations now movement, and claims that “the current Governor’s biggest mistake is turning Seattle’s SVI building over to proven historical Negro vampire criminals.” He also says that “since race is arbitrarily based on ‘skin color’, redefine ‘race’ based on hair color, which is much easier to change.”

  • Jared Frerichs is running for Lieutenant Governor. He says he prefers the Libertarian Party. Under “Elected Experience” he says he was the student council president at his high school. His statement is short and, I suppose, to the point. “Poverty is bad for business. I have some wild ideas on how we can end poverty forever, but I need your help. I don’t need your money. I need your vote.”

  • Cameron Whitney is running for Commissioner of Public Lands, and prefers the Republican Party. In his Community Service section, he states, “I’ve never been to jail.” And his statement is as follows: “I like environmental protection. I don’t like fires. Let’s work together to clean up the environment and stop fires. President Trump says we need to rake our forests to clean up debris that exacerbates fires and that’s where I intend to start.”

  • Mr Whitney’s competitor for Commissioner of Public Lands is Steve Sharon, who also prefers the Republican Party. He says that “If elected, I will direct an independent, state funded study of the effects of 5G cell-phone towers upon living things. My research indicates that this radiation is killing trees, birds, honey bees, human life.” He also assures us that he will stop chemtrails in Washington state, and says he’s against eugenics, Satan, the New World Order and the Green New Deal.

  • Stan Lippmann is running for Superintendent of Public Instruction. He states that “Sometimes I think it would be better to start all over from 550 BC with a Pythagorean Academy, since it’s been all downhill in the common sense department since then.”

  • David Spring also wants to be Superintendent of Public Instruction. He states that “it makes no sense to shutdown schools for months at a time when there is not even a single case of any child in any school anywhere in our state transmitting the corona virus to any adult.”

  • Chirayu Avinash Patel is running for Insurance Commissioner, and he prefers the Republican Party. He wants to do so in order to manage 168 students so that he can major in every degree at the University of Washington. He plans to run the office externally like the Reagan Administration and internally as the Jefferson Administration. He says he’d be the external commissioner 60 percent of the time, and two other candidates would have the role the other 40 percent of the time. He says he would fill the roles of Ronald, Nancy and Nixon, and the other two would be Carter and Ford. Internally, he says, 168 insurance agents would hold the position in one hour increments.

  • Peter Thompson, Jr. is running for Representative. He prefers the Republican Party. Under Professional Experience he says he’s a Machinist who has worked at one shop owned by a real machinist and two shops owned by bureaucratic shareholder welfare queens. Under Community Service he says, “Praying for the souls of roadkill. Opossum coffins are not awesome.”

Don’t you just love the democratic process? Who says voting is no fun? All jokes aside, though, I’m sitting here poking fun at these people under the assumption that a nut can’t possibly get elected. But I thought that in 2016, too.

Goodspaceguy

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Why I Love the Primaries

You can make a bigger impact in the primaries than at any other time.

Recently I had the privilege to attend a Bernie Sanders rally at the Tacoma Dome here in Washington State. Yep, that arrow, pointing to the blue smudge amongst the 17,000 other attendees in the picture below…that’s me! It was exhilarating to be among so many like-minded people.

I imagine it would be even more exciting for someone who was still on the fence about who they intend to vote for in the primaries, but I’ve been for Bernie since the last presidential election, so this was more of a confirmation of my beliefs in what he stands for. I will definitely vote for him in the democratic primaries.

But I’m not here to convince you to do the same. Make up your own mind. Seriously.

No, this is a post about primaries in general, and why I think they’re so critically important. It drives me insane that so many people skip the primary process altogether. The voter turnout is always much lower.

I’m a democrat, but here lately, it’s mostly by default. I would sooner die than vote republican, because they represent everything that I DO NOT stand for. But I’m losing faith in politicians in general, if I’m honest, and that’s heartbreaking.

I do believe firmly in the democratic process. I think voting is the most patriotic thing a person can do. When you vote, you’re helping to decide the moral shape of your country, and that’s important.

In a way, though, I think you have more ability to make an impact in the primaries than at any other time. When you vote in the primaries, you’re telling your political party what values you hold, and what direction you want them to take in the future. Even if your person doesn’t win, they’ll think, “Wow, that person stood more radically for women’s rights (for example) than any other candidate, and got 30 percent of the primary vote. Maybe we should take women’s rights more seriously, moving forward.”

I see primary platforms as my wish lists. If my person gets elected, do I actually think they’ll achieve everything they set out to do, given our obstructionist two party system? No one can, regardless of party, the way things stand these days. Not by a long shot. But even if they get partway to where I’d like this country to go, it’s better than the alternative. And if your party learns what truly matters to its constituents, then it will start putting up more candidates that hold those values. And then if that person wins… like I said, baby steps. But steps nonetheless.

So don’t skip your party’s primaries, folks. Don’t skip any election, for that matter. Vote! Vote! Vote!

Me at Bernie Rally

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Seattle Womxn’s March 2019

A day I’ll never forget and was thrilled to be a part of.

The day after Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, there was a Woman’s march in Washington DC, and in many major cities across the country, including Seattle, where 130,000 people showed up and spoke out. I wanted to be there so badly that it nearly killed me, but I had to work. (I always work on the weekends, so I miss a lot of the good stuff.)

I also wanted to attend the march in 2018, but I was in the throes of a deep, dark, yawning pit of loneliness, one that I knew would only be magnified by being surrounded by strangers, so I couldn’t bring myself to go alone. But I swore to myself that in 2019, come hell or high water, I was going to attend the march. I was so determined that I asked for the day off a year in advance.

It just so happened that I married an amazingly woke and liberal guy in the interim, one who would walk beside me, supporting women, without hesitation. So I got increasingly excited about this event. I spent months trying to decide what signs to carry.

I settled on the two below. Special thanks to my best-friend-in-law, Mike, who is an airbrush magician extraordinaire, for making the signs at really short notice. I was proud to carry them, and was often stopped on the parade route by people who wanted to take pictures.

So, my impression of the Seattle Womxn’s March:

It was a safe, welcoming atmosphere, full of people of all shapes, colors, ages, and sizes, coming together to speak out on women’s rights, gender equality, health care, the wall, immigration, and the current sorry state of politics.

There was one little 4 year old girl in the crowd, proudly carrying a sign that she made herself. It was multi-colored scribbles. It was on a little stick. That sign brought tears to my eyes, and made me want to hug her mother. That’s right, mama, start ‘em off early. There will always be work to do.

march6

There was also a 92 year old woman from France. She had protested fascism in her country in her younger days, and she was still going strong. I was impressed that she made it the entire 2.5 miles.

There were people on walkers and in wheelchairs, too. Because this stuff is too important to stay away. There were mothers carrying babies.

The march went on for blocks and blocks and blocks. I particularly love the photos included with the article from the Seattle Times. They show what a powerful sea of humanity was out there. And I was right in the middle of it.

There was this amazing, cheering wave that moved from one end of the parade to the other, and back again. It was like doing the wave at a sports stadium. It made my heart swell with hope and joy.

It made me feel much better about the future of this country. We care. We’re not going to be silent. We won’t go away. It was healing to be in that crowd. I was proud of us again, for the first time in a long time.

And then, at parade’s end, like the middle class white folks that we are, we stuck our protest signs in the trunk of an Uber, rode back to our Volvo, and came home to soak our aching backs and feet in the hot tub. But, I mean, hey… baby steps, right?

There are more events going on today, so if you missed the march, you can still participate. And if you can’t do that, for God’s sake, vote.

Here are some amazing photos from yesterday, a day I’ll never forget and was thrilled to be a part of.

 

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Civilians vs. Law Enforcement

We have a completely different worldview. And that’s scary.

Recently I set off a heated debate in my world. I mentioned that I was glad to see that felons who have served their time in Florida have finally had their voting rights restored (unless they were convicted of murder or felony sex crimes).

Florida has always been the most restrictive state in terms of felony disenfranchisement. According to this article, in Florida, before Amendment 4 was passed, “one in 10 voting-age adults, and almost one in four African American adults were barred from voting for life because of a previous felony conviction.”

It’s clear to me why this has been the case. Florida is a red state, and it was feared that most people who have been in prison would vote blue. Also, with the disproportionate number of African Americans convicted of crimes, this was a handy way of depriving that minority of the vote, which, let’s face it, is the deep South’s wildest dream. (Now they’ll just have to rely on gerrymandering to get their desired results, and they’re quite good at that.)

I really believe that if we think that prisoners who have done their time have paid their debt to society, then we have no right to prevent them from participating therein. Now, do I expect that most of them will? No. Most of the rest of us don’t vote, unfortunately. Why should they be any different? But they should have the option.

The more roadblocks we place in their paths, the less likely they will be to reenter society with even a modicum of success. We set them up for failure. We make it nearly impossible for them to find decent jobs. We don’t want them as our next door neighbors. We don’t want them voting. Is it any wonder they remain on the fringe of civilization?

When I expressed this opinion, I got a lot of pushback from the people I know who formerly worked in the law enforcement field. The general consensus seemed to be, once a felon, always a felon. They have no inclination to participate in society.

When other friends, civilians like me, said that this might give them some incentive to do so, the law enforcement people opined that they know better. They won’t change.

We civilians piped up that even if only a tiny percentage wanted to change, that’s worth it. That’s when things got hostile. Apparently we shouldn’t form an opinion because we’d never experienced what the law enforcement types have experienced.

Then we pointed out that the law enforcement types wouldn’t, by definition, come into contact with the felons who were trying to change their lives, so their stats are biased.

More anger. Have we personally seen people attempt to change?

Yes. Examples were given.

That response, of course, was ignored. One person from the law enforcement camp  said they used to laugh at all the “do-gooders” who were attempting to change felons.

But we never said we were attempting to change them. We were just glad that they had their rights restored, so that they could make their own choices.

We civilians pointed out that we were sorry that the experience of law enforcement had left them so jaded. The law enforcements fired back that they were realists and that we had no right to weigh in since we didn’t have their experiences. (I half expected them to start calling us Muggles.)

We were then told that we can’t change anyone. They had to change themselves. Again, we pointed out we are trying to give these people the opportunity to change themselves. Again, this went unheard. They just said that they speak facts.

(Actually, no. These are opinions based on experiences, but clearly these opinions are so strongly held that they see them as facts.)

I can understand why one would become bitter and cynical when dealing day in and day out with the very dregs of society. It actually happened to me, too, for a time, in a job where I dealt with a lot of liars and people prone to fraud. That’s why I quit. I didn’t like how it was causing me to view society in general.

I think there’s a reason why law enforcement types often socialize only with one another. The rest of us don’t get it. We Muggles have a completely different worldview.

But we don’t get it because we have the luxury of hanging out with the majority of society, which is either law abiding or has paid its debt and is attempting to move on. How lucky we are. How grateful we should be.

Law enforcement is necessary, and I’m very glad that it exists. But unfortunately I believe that it’s a career path that warps one’s view of society. People in law enforcement have to live in a dark world, and therefore they have a tendency to forget how to see the sun. And it’s a little scary to think that people with warped views of society are in charge of keeping the peace.

I honestly don’t know what the solution is for this. But I’ll still maintain that if even one Florida felon enters the voting booth, I will consider Amendment 4 a smashing success. Congratulations Florida, for finally getting something right. (In my opinion, of course.)

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“I Don’t Consider Myself a Feminist”

I always cringe when a female says that. A friend of mine said it recently, and it nearly broke my heart. She referred me to Judge Judy, who, according to this article, says, “I never felt I didn’t have equal opportunity as a woman.” But in that same article Judge Judy admits that there were only 6 women in her law school, and the professors didn’t treat them well. She also concedes that she did all the housework and child rearing even though she and her husband both worked. I’m not sure how she characterizes opportunities for women, but this seems kind of contradictory to me. Yes, she may have overcome those hurdles, but the point is, an attitude of “suck it up and deal with it” does nothing to remove those hurdles.

Here’s why I think everyone should be a feminist: It means you believe that women should be treated equally. It means equal pay for equal work. It means not being harassed. It means an equal level of human rights. It doesn’t mean we’re out to get all men or expect special treatment as is often claimed by those who speak out against feminism. If your primary focus are those who occupy the radical fringes of this movement, then at least acknowledge that every movement will have its fringe elements.

When I have this debate with friends, they often state that they are not feminists because that equality of which I speak should be the way it is anyway. As if the unfortunate need to ask for equality or demand it somehow delegitimizes the right to have it. You may not want to be identified as part of this group, but like it or not, by virtue of being a woman you are being treated like it by outside forces.

Should equal rights be a given? Abso-freakin’-lutely. But here’s the thing: It isn’t the case. Judge Judy is the exception, not the rule. It’s awfully easy to not support the minority that you’re a part of when you’re at the top of the heap, but there are a heck of a lot of us below you, your honor.

And Judge Judy couldn’t have reached her successful pinnacle were it not for the work of feminists. For example, according to this article, here are things American women could not do less than 100 years ago:

  • Have their own name printed on a passport.

  • Wear whatever they wanted.

  • Work in “dangerous” jobs, such as in bowling alleys.

  • Maintain US citizenship if married to a non-citizen.

  • Work the night shift.

  • Hold a job while pregnant.

  • Enlist in the military.

  • Serve on a Jury.

In theory, we finally got the right to vote in 1919, but it actually took decades for that to be universally practiced in this country. Some Trump supporters, even in 2018, want to repeal the 19th amendment. Women fought and were tortured and jailed and force fed and died for that privilege, and yet only 63 percent of eligible female voters turned out for the 2016 election, and 42 percent of them voted for a man who admits to grabbing women’s private parts. I’ll never understand that as long as I live. Do we hate ourselves?

And if the Me Too movement isn’t giving you a sense of how shabbily women are treated in the workplace, your head is buried in the sand. I’ve written a couple posts about my personal experiences with harassment, and I’m pretty typical. Eighty-three percent of American women believe they have experienced discrimination in the workplace. That’s a statistic that ought to be hard to ignore.

According to this article:

  • The more education a woman gets, the higher the wage disparity becomes. The average woman will earn 77 cents for every dollar a man makes.

  • Only 30-40 percent of all small businesses are owned by women, and they generate 61% less revenue.

In my workplace alone (the Seattle Department of Transportation), in one of the most liberal enclaves in the United States, of the 99 field positions, only a handful are held by women. And when I suggested that they make more connections with Woman in Trades organizations, to attract more female electricians, mechanics, welders and engineers, it went in one ear and out the other. That’s probably because the administration of SDOT is overwhelmingly white and male. I still work with people who use the term “cat fight” and don’t believe women should be bridgetenders.

Women’s rights are under threat all the time. We have to constantly fight to have birth control covered by insurance. No one has to fight to get Viagra covered. And there’s little or no support for affordable child care in this country. There’s constant political pushback against us making our own decisions about our health. Keep us barefoot and pregnant and out of every man’s way. Yeah. That’s the ticket.

And if we are in such an enlightened country, how is it possible that sex trafficking, child marriage, and domestic slavery still exists here?

So when a woman says, “I don’t consider myself a feminist,” what I hear is that they are comfortable enough in their situations to not have to stick their necks out. They have no desire to address the many outrages that they’re in denial about. They have theirs, and to hell with everybody else.

It would be nice if feminism were not necessary. If only wishing could make it so. But now, more than ever, we need to show a united front. Even if you don’t feel like it. If we don’t step up, why should we expect anyone else to?

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