#MeFirst

I was having a wonderful political conversation with someone who held very similar beliefs as I do… she was smart, thoughtful and extremely liberal.  Frustration with friends was only tolerable because she said that, really, we all want the same thing.  I disagree.

I, and those who are leaning to the left want what is good for society.  I want what is good for the poor, the sick, the unemployed, the mentally ill, the elderly, the immigrants, the refugees, the minorities, the children, the homeless, the environment, the LGBTQ community, the women, and the world…  The other side?  They want what is best for themselves, for their pocket book, for their business, for their rights, and for their families…  they want what they want and damn anyone who gets in their way… those intelligent, thoughtful, perhaps religious people are all about one thing, we are not even close.  Let’s just call it what it is, selfish.  #mefirst

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Fourteen, So Far

Here we are at the beginning of February and there have been 14 school shootings in 2018… so far.  We don’t hear about most of them because most of them have not ended in a fatality, but they all involved a gun being fired at a school or on a school campus.  You can be certain that across our country guns have been brought to school and been discovered, before they were fired, many many times…

As a society. we all agree that no child should be in danger of being shot anywhere in our country but especially in our schools.  We can all agree that no child should bring a gun to school and we wring our hands at each announcement of tragedy befallen our most innocent.

I’m sorry, but if YOU own a gun and it is not locked up in a way that only you have access to it, YOU are contributing to our national problem.  It could potentially end up in the hands of a criminal, an addict, a child.  It could be used in a crime, a suicide, a school shooting.  Just by owning a gun, you are saying that you don’t get it.  You are saying that your rights are more important than the lives of innocent children.  Sorry, but you are part of the problem. If we didn’t have guns in our homes children would have a much more difficult time getting their hands on guns, it might not be impossible, but it would be much more difficult.  Shouldn’t we make it as difficult as possible for a child to get a gun?

Am I saying that I don’t support the 2nd Amendment? Yes, I am.  I care more about victims of tragedy than about people having to own guns, it is not a hard choice for me.  If I had a magic wand and could eliminate guns across our country, leaving them only in the hands of the police and military, I would do it.

There have been 14 school shootings this year…. so far.  It is only February 6th.

The Desensitization of a Nation

We have spent the past few decades gravitating towards a level of sensitivity and political correctness that has surpassed and suppressed our baser selves and previous insensitive and brass generations. Sadly, we are coming to the end of an era, a proverbial backlash as the pendulum swings towards the opposite end of the spectrum.  Whether he said it or not, his s***h*** comment was repeated over and over again on cable news stations all week long.  One interview I saw had a former international relations expert who not only used that language but racial slurs including the n-word more than once!  The news anchor he was talking to, who happened to be black, did not bat an eye!  I almost choked… he was making a point rather than calling someone that name, but it was still shocking.

Those baser selves, the Make America Great clan have a leader, and sadly they have joined together with decent people who were hoodwinked into thinking he would make our country better.  Okay, I will give you that the economy is booming and many people have been promised more money in their bank accounts… but is that what is most important to us as a people?  Money?

Have we lost our moral compass, our ideals, the meaning of America, our sense of justice?

The outrage is constant, but when a certain level of anger or outrage is maintained, it becomes normal and we no longer are shocked.

The more our president, OUR PRESIDENT, uses the kind of language we don’t accept from our own children and spouts the ideals we are ashamed to call our own, the more his base (those baser Americans) feels empowered to spew their hatred in their own small communities across our country.

I hope you are planning on marching next Saturday to show that those of us who still believe that we WERE moving in the right direction before this deplorable man came to power does not represent who we are as a nation.

Purpose

As our year comes closer to an end I hope that you have felt that your year has had purpose.  If nothing else, this new administration has given rise to the voices of many who once sat by silently letting their government officials do whatever it is they do.  If you are reading this, perhaps you are one of those voices who has joined the chorus of outraged patriots who are watching our country slide down a slippery slope of hatred, greed, bigotry, and violence.

3.2 trillion dollars of tax cuts will have a huge impact on our country.  It will be interesting to see the ramifications of this change.  We won’t know for a while… money for government programs that people need will be at risk.  Stay alert to small changes in the coming years… will you need to push back your retirement date, pay more for your health insurance? Who knows how this will affect our lives in the future.

Although our country is being led by a buffoon, our outrage is what will save us.  It is our obligation to fight for peace, love, joy, compassion, and taking care of not only our fellow citizens, but ALL people of this country and the world.

Your purpose, to this end, can be manifested every day.  Thinking critically about what you say and do, how you treat your family, friends and those who are not your friends, what you post and how you comment… what is your purpose? Are you making this world better with your actions, are you improving the lives of the people around you, are you helping rather than hurting? Are you walking through this world consciously with thought of your actions and comments?  Each day you have a choice to raise your voice against stupidity, hatred, and greed.  Each day you have a choice to raise your voice for kindness, mindfulness, love and peace.

You have a purpose, choose wisely…

The Net and You

I am not tech savvy and all this talk of Net Neutrality has not drawn my focus… I have been more obsessed with Trump’s antics, Moore’s pedophilia, the Russia investigation, the revision of our tax code, the declaration of Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel, and all of the revelations of sexual harassment by men in power…

But, here I am on my computer, working on the Net, hoping that people will have an opportunity to read my latest blog and wondering how ending Net Neutrality will really affect my life.

The motivation of Trump and the head of the FCC is once again transparent.  Just like all of Trump’s appointments, the new FCC, Ajit Pai, although originally appointed by Obama, at the recommendation of Mitch McConnell,  was once a lawyer for Verison and has continually worked against Net Neutrality.

So, although Trump and Pai claim that ending Net Neutrality will benefit the American people it is clear that the benefactors of this change will be the owners of big companies who can pay to have their content pushed to the head of your search engines.  It will make you, the consumer, pay to see what you want on the net and limit your exposure.  No longer will you be able to have the world at your fingertips because some content will be so far down on the list you would have to weigh through page after page of options before you find that obscure video.  We will pay more for less, and big business will once again be rewarded.

Our internet is a model help up by the world as the gold standard of freedom… this will be one more way Trump will be hurting our international reputation, hurting the little guy and benefiting those who already have wealth and power. Once again we need to speak up, contact our representatives in Congress and protest this rollback of sensible regulations meant to keep our internet a place for the free exchange of information.

If you are reading my blog now you are doing so because of Net Neutrality.  Without it you might have to buy a package that had wordpress included in it or be blocked from seeing content that is not part of your internet package.  Two years ago one of my first blogs went viral and was seen by almost 70,000 people world wide… without Net Neutrality that never could have happened. The free exchange of ideas on the internet is what makes someone living in small town America able to learn about the world, participate in conversation, or run a small business on equal footing with someone in a larger city.  This will affect EVERYONE who uses the internet for information, for communication, for commerce. EVERYONE

Remember that this change will not benefit small business or consumers, it will benefit big corporations and large internet conglomerations … just like all of Trump’s moves, it is disguised as something good for America, let there be no question… it is not.

 

 

Where You Stand

Facebook is full of opinions. The angriest right now are against those football players and teams who are making a political statement and exercising their first amendment rights by kneeling during the national anthem.  They are unpatriotic, anti American,  against the military and veterans.  Facebook is filled with loving couples posting sweet pictures of themselves with the slogan like: ‘I stand for the anthem and kneel for the cross.’… sweet.  They are proving that THEY are not only real patriots but real Christians.

Showing respect for the flag and our anthem is the way we show we are patriotic.  If you don’t stand you are sending a message… but wait… I think you should have your hand on your heart… take off your hat… know and sing all the words… maybe even have a small flag tattooed on your body somewhere… oh, and donate a small percentage of their earnings to a local VA.  When the anthem is played on t.v. are you standing at home? Are you pulling over and removing your hat if you hear the anthem in the car? THAT would show you are a REAL American.

And those people kneeling for the cross… they should actually be prostrating themselves, kneelers are not really devoting themselves… they should be saying the Lords Prayer… going to church every Sunday and a bible study on Wednesdays…. they should have a cross in their front window… and maybe donate a percentage of their earnings to their local church… and that tattoo… hmmmm…

Maybe we should publish in the paper the names of people who donate their time and money to that VA and local church… then we could really see who is patriotic and Christian.

Is that going too far?

Once we begin to decide who is patriotic and what people need to do to show that patriotism we are taking away their freedom to speak out against injustice in our country.

I don’t care if the men on the field are making 100 times more than I make, many of them probably are… they are also 100 times more likely than I am to be pulled over for driving in the wrong neighborhood… they have to talk to their sons and daughters about how to behave when the police stop them on the street… they have to endure people locking their car doors with their elbows when they are seen walking by with friends on the sidewalk …

Protesting systemic injustice to black Americans was where this protest began BUT people are upset that this protest is against the lashing out of our current president against those who protested last season.  Our current president thinks that the NFL is a government run program that he can influence… take that in… OUR PRESIDENT WANTS TO DECIDE HOW AN INDIVIDUAL CAN PEACEFULLY PROTEST

Really? He is deciding what is respectful and patriotic? He who name-calls with the best of any 10 year old, he who grabs women, he who rates women on a numerical scale, he who tweets at 3am, he who says he likes people who don’t get captured… he is your moral compass?

I am only bringing up the religious aspect of this because of those pictures on Facebook… their message is clear… ‘Good people are standing for the anthem and kneeling for the cross… good people are patriotic and religious.’ They tell me that you must prove to others what is in your heart by making a public display that they recognize and agree with.

If you ask many Veterans, who actually fought, they may say they did it for our country, but they didn’t fight for our flag, or for our anthem… they fought for our freedom.  And Jesus didn’t die on the cross so that you could kneel… he died so that you could live, giving YOU the choice… FREE WILL, people!

For me, I stand with the people who are kneeling… it is not about being unpatriotic, or disrespecting our flag and anthem, it is about exercising our freedom to disagree with how our country is being led, it is about the first amendment, it is about injustice, AND it is about those pictures on Facebook of loving couples who think that by standing for the flag and kneeling for the cross they are proving something… they are… they are proving that they don’t really understand what our country and those protests are all about.

 

 

 

Stop Looking Up and Start Looking In

Many of us have heaps of criticism about the daily (often hourly) assaults on our moral sensibilities by the president.  Yes, he is horrid, racist, misogynistic… and at least five more labels that go against all that I hold dear… But, many are picking apart, not just what he says, tweets and does, they are picking apart the efforts and commentary of those who oppose him.

Tina Fay did a comedic piece on SNL with a sheet cake… It was great. I loved it.  And yet, here come the haters who didn’t get it. They are critics who suggest that her piece was serious and that it encouraged us to join a ‘sheet cake-eating movement’… Really? They obviously missed the point, the frustration, and the anger of the segment.  If you missed the piece on one of the platforms you follow, here it is again: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/tina-fey-sheet-caking_us_599675d0e4b0e8cc855cce85

Instead of looking to criticize people who are putting their opinions out there, we should look at what we are doing ourselves to push back against Trump.  Send postcards, write e-mails, have those difficult conversations where you listen as much as you speak, march, boycott, make a statement, help solve this crisis, resist…. criticizing people who are trying to do something is counter productive… YOU do something.

I am tired of hearing that ‘This is not who we are’ from all sides… sorry folks, it is.  We elected him and WE need to sort this out.  WE need to grow, to listen, to make it right.  I know that this is who we are because we are a country where an angry few can terrorize the many, where one bad apple CAN spoil the whole bunch… 20 cars can give me plenty of room when I am out riding my bike ~ it only takes one jerk to buzz by me honking and yelling for me to get off the road to do harm.  Our town is working on improvement but over and over people hatefully complain about what is being done… Our town and our country is being terrorized by hate ~ that is what racism, anti-semitism, homophobia and misogyny are really about… we could say it is fear but that just makes you feel sorry for the haters… we need to combat hate, we have elected hate to our highest office and hate has been given a license to flourish with the protection of the first amendment.  Hate is on the rise and we must rally against it.

So, when you turn on your ‘feed’ make sure you are not contributing to hate… make sure you are being constructive and helpful… and to all of the teachers out there beginning your school year, make sure that you are teaching the most important lessons of our time… teach kindness, understanding, love and peace… let’s raise a generation where hate dies a quick death because it is drowned out by US… let’s become what we wish our country was now… sadly, what’s happening in our country IS who we are, but it doesn’t have to be…