Saturday, September 2, 2017

Food For Thought

"If nothing matters, there's nothing to save."
~Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals

I have never been so happy to come to the end of a book as I am with Eating Animals. This book was recommended to me by a friend in Amsterdam who has kept to a diet most of his life as a pescetarian with fish being the only animals he would eat. After reading the above book he has also given up on fish (which I wish he would have done eight years ago before he convinced me to try a raw herring. It is NOT like sushi).

Saying this book was a challenge is putting it mildly. There were times when I physically had to stop for awhile.

I had stopped eating beef as a child after a girl scout trip to a slaughterhouse. I'm not sure what badge that was for but seeing cows hung by their feet bleeding out certainly turned my taste buds. I stopped eating pigs when I learned that pigs are smarter and more sensitive than dogs. If I was against eating dog why should I be for eating pigs?

Vegetarianism for many is one of those things they can dabble with now and then. Unlike religion where you don't hear people say, "I'll be Jewish this month but next month I think I'll try being a Baptist" many do dietary flips in a lifespan.

I have been guilty of this "meat fluid" diet. I was vegetarian in high school and college. It wasn't until I was pregnant with my first son that I began to eat meat again. Then, years later when I was going through my divorce it seemed like the perfect time to regain my veg status. And over the last eight years, I've gone in and out with my convictions.

My choice at times to not eat meat was never a matter of how they were treated but that I couldn't look in the soft eyes of my horse and know that cows have the same soft expression or that a pig would be able to follow directions better than my dog (not a great comparison if you knew my dog).

I was under the assumption that animals in factory farms were killed humanely. I was blissfully unaware of the horrific lives and deaths they are subjected to. I didn't realize that words like cage free don't necessarily mean better lives, just no wire involved. I was shocked to hear that Kosher also does not guarantee a humane killing. Words like free range, grass fed or even organic can be as real as canned unicorn.

The United States is woefully full of factory farms where animals die prolonged, horrifying deaths. Think of your beloved pet, after not being successfully knocked unconscious, skinned and gutted alive. Welcome to the nightmare.

Factory farming of cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, and even fish incorporates the most extreme abuse of life you could ever imagine. As a bonus, factory farming is, by far, the leading cause of global warming.

I know a brief blog won't change anyone's mind. We like to live in the dark about where our food is from. But if I can challenge just a few people to read Eating Animals, watch Meet Your Meat, or explore smaller farms that can prove their livestock not only lives a good life but also receives a good death I will have done something.

"Choosing leaf over flesh, factory farm or family farm does not in itself change the world, but teaching ourselves, our children, our local communities, and our nation to choose conscience over ease can."
~Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals


Monday, August 21, 2017

Not A Party Issue

"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me."
~Martin Niemoller

Nazis. Not something I ever imagined could still be a thing in 2017. People with flags, armbands, torches, and salutes using their freedom of speech to promote hate towards anyone not white, straight and Christian.

What I'm truly shocked about is that Nazis have somehow become a party issue. There seems to be this idea that if you speak out against the Nazis you are somehow not supporting the president. They are quick to mention ANTIFA which, if you research, has no connection with a party affiliate and are in their own right a promoter of violence over peace, but fail to be angry or vocal about a group who worships the biggest psychopath in human history (I could be wrong about this fact but I'm going with my gut here).

Having just returned from Berlin I was quite disturbed to go through a timeline display and see the chilling resemblance between the early stages of the Third Reich and what has been occurring over the last six months. If you truly research early events you will see what I mean.

And then there is the statue debate. Having lived in Gettysburg I do see the importance of some such relics. But I've found it very interesting that most of the Confederate statues were erected during two time periods. The first in the 20's during the rise of the KKK and the second during the civil rights movement in the 50's and 60's. These were not there to preserve history, they were created to promote the Confederate ideas of putting African Americans "in their place."

Some of these statues stand in predominantly black communities where the person it represents never even set foot near that area. Yes, we need to stop whitewashing history. Yes, we need to stop romanticizing the part of our history that tried to divide it just to keep owning other people. Yes, we need to learn from our mistakes.

We need a stronger voice against those waving a Confederate flag or a Nazi one. Whether right or left winged we should all be able to agree on two simple issue.

1) Nazi ideals should have no place in our country.

2) The South lost the war and they were fighting, yes, for States Rights which was mainly the right to own people. Worshipping the flag and the cause includes a belief that they were fighting for something good.

I had hoped that this issue of all issues would be what party lines would agree on. That the hate-filled rising groups of protesters, whether it be Nazi extremists or anti-fascist organizations, that hate and violence are not the answer. We should be coming together to say we have zero tolerance for any of it.

I beg you, whether Democrat, Socialist, Libertarian, or Republican, make your voice heard that this is not okay. And if you are a white, straight Christian make your voice twice as loud. And if none of this bothers you there may be a tiki torch with your name on it.

They came for our immigrants, they came for our Muslims, they are trying to come for anyone who is not like them. Who will have a voice when they come for you?

"If they take down statues how will I ever write another history term paper?"
~Lily being Lily (My snarky daughter-shocking-I know)


Monday, July 31, 2017

A Perfect Life


"Comparison is the death of joy."
~Mark Twain

How often do you compare yourself to others? That person has a better car, a bigger house, a nicer spouse, a better body, a great job. I wish my kids were like that. He/she always has their shit together and never feels like I do.

I just finished reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life. One of the worst things we can do is compare ourselves to others.  Especially in a social media society where posts consist of our great accomplishments.

We share our kid's shining moments, not that we can't get the right depression med combination, that they just told us they hate us, or that they may fail out of school.

We share our great vacation destinations, not that you may have fought the entire time or the weather sucked all but one day so you took 200 pictures in 12 hours.

We brag about our promotions but fail to express how the stress has you on anti-anxiety medication and the people you work with are all basically assholes.

We talk about the great workout we had but fail to mention our addiction to McDonald's or ice cream or wine.

And we no longer have real conversations to learn the truth. We meet people immediately hiding our own insecurities if we feel they are better in some way.

Recently a friend stated that he becomes very quiet on social media when things are shitty. That's a normal response. Another person came forth to say her life is falling apart and she can't keep up with everyone else's perfect life. But things are never what they seem. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain making you look all powerful when really you are bumbling through as much as anyone. We all may be feeling stupid, dealing with heartbreak, afraid or missing someone terribly.

I wish that all of the great posts came with small disclaimers. I'm to blame as much as anyone. Right at this moment, I have shitty things going on but none of them are devastating.  I have had enough devastating over my life to know that it's coming. So maybe that's why we get so excited to post the good stuff. Conflict, loss, pain, and sadness are all certainties of living. None of us will get out of it unscathed.

So don't look at everyone's "perfect life" and wonder where you went wrong. We have a limited amount of time and therefore a limited amount of f*cks to give when it comes to our happiness.

One of the greatest things we can do right now in a divided society that often seems so angry is to reach out when you know someone is having a tough time. A text, a call, a card or a visit can mean the world to another person. I know, personally, having to deal with some pretty heavy stuff with my middle son the words of a friend who dealt with something far worse gave me focus and strength. I will always be grateful for that.

So choose your f*cks carefully.  Don't waste them on jealousy or bitterness. The world may seem upside down right now with our government in shambles and our president deciding to hate and ban and grandstand at every turn. But we can still be good to each other.

"Maturity is what happens when one learns to only give a fuck about what's truly fuckworthy."
~Mark Manson: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life.







Friday, June 23, 2017

Rainbow Connection

"Each one of us has a chance to be a rainbow in somebody's cloud."
~Maya Angelou

Rainbows. From what I've heard no two people see the exact same rainbow. And even our right eye versus left eye takes in a different image. So what better metaphor for people?

Two people can see the same third person in very different ways. They could be seen as a threat, a danger, different, beautiful, friendly, familiar, ugly, funny or worthless. Wouldn't it be amazing if we could rid ourselves of old biases and see everyone as a person of great value until they show us otherwise? Let's face it, there is evil, hateful people of every race, religion, and cultural status.  But what if we never judged by just a skin color, tattoo, piercing, religious garb, disability, or profession? What if we assumed everyone is unicorn level awesome? If they open their mouths and turn out to be hateful trolls that would most likely eat a unicorn then, by all means, feel free to walk away and search for more rainbows and unicorns.

Last night I was surrounded by six of my favorite rainbows. As we talked for three hours we once again discovered that every one of us had a battle we were fighting and by sharing our strategies, battle scars, tears, and laughter at least for an evening made the battle seem less daunting.

We as a society get so wrapped up in our own schedules and problems we forget to ask for rainbows let alone be one for each other. But what an amazing and beautiful thing happens when we do. It's as precious as gold.

Kermit the Frog said it best, "Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers, and me."



***And don't forget to celebrate the rainbow that is Pride Week!






Sunday, May 28, 2017

Goodbye Old Friend

" Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too hard to read."
~Groucho Marx

This week we said goodbye to Cassie. She was otherwise known as Larry and/or the cockashit.

I found Cassie about a year after my childhood dog finally had to pass at age 17 (about two years longer than I should have made her suffer). My then husband had said no more dogs. But I found Cassie in the newspaper under puppies for sale. A farm in Lititz (yes, maybe a puppy mill disguise) had three female cockapoos. There was a black, a tan and a black and white.

I came with my newly one year old and five-year-old. The tan puppy was terrified of the kids but the black and white one followed them around like crazy. Sold.

That afternoon when Drew got off of the bus we were in the yard and let the puppy run to him. He remembers that as a pretty great day. Ethan named her Cassie after a dragon in a PBS cartoon. This was the third choice after I said no to Sinky and Hermione. He was five.

She was a strange dog. She was a runner if you let her get out. She had a small bladder so four to five hours were max before an accident. She was completely devoted to me. When my ex-husband and I were headed for divorce I either slept on the couch (mostly) or occasionally in one of my kid's rooms if they were at a friend's house. She would insist on being on the couch with me, in the crook of my legs, instead of the king size bed upstairs. In my house on my own, she would scratch the hell out of any door if she thought I was on the other side. She was special.

When Dan came along she was another challenge. He had never had a dog so it took some time but she immediately took to him. I had always referred to her as the cockashit since she had very little bladder control. Dan began to call her Larry on occasion because she would sometimes pee with one leg up and had a tendency to hump small children when the mood hit her.

For twelve years I heard that she was the healthiest dog for her age. And then it all went south. She became deaf and her eyesight diminished. She had small growths all over her body. She had trouble walking up and down the steps, could no longer jump and only on rare occasions would even go for a walk. And the bladder surprisingly became so bad she had to wear dog diapers with a human Depends inserted. She would pee every hour or two.

Tests showed that she did have some internal breakdown but we decided not to do extensive exploration with her age and decline. So we came to the family decision that it was time to let her go. Having waited way too long to make that decision with my last dog we felt it was better to do such a thing before she was clearly suffering.

A Lap of Love vet came to the house and we all gathered around Cassie's bed. It was peaceful, sweet and sad.

At night I wake up missing the lump by my feet. During the day a fleeting thought of "I have to take the dog out" is quickly realized as unnecessary.  I would often joke that her parents had to be related as the explanation of her lack of intelligence. But what she lacked in brains she made up with sweetness, devotion, and endless energy in her younger days.

You weren't always a good dog but you were our dog and we loved you.

R.I.P. Cassie

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."
~Will Rogers

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Grateful and Thoughtful

"To live, to truly live, one must consider each and every thing a blessing."
~Kamand Kojouri

All of you who read my blog are in a lucky state to have first world problems. I've even, lately, heard complaining about what would be considered Gold Status First World Problems.

I get it. We all need our moment to complain. I am an expert at times (just ask my husband). That is usually the best moment to take a step back and count your blessings followed by investigating ways to help those less fortunate than you.

A gratitude journal is one way to continue to spin the positive in your life. Every day write down anywhere from one to one hundred ways you were thankful, happy or successful. Every day take a moment to celebrate what you have and who you are.

I saw a Word Porn today that was just a paragraph of the best things the author has in her life she can celebrate. I encourage you to do the same.

And to be fair....

My family laughing together, a great round of jumps on a horse, my cat Fred on my lap, days the dog does not pee in the house,  hugs from my kids, my husband's love, vegetables from my garden, kindergartners, the sweetness of my four hooved baby, my deck over the summer, traveling to new and familiar places, the ocean, friends, my mom and dad, music, a great book, good comedy.

A first world list. I could have said a roof, food, shoes, fresh water, education, freedom of religion or sexual preference, basic human rights.

So have your bitch sessions. We all need them for our own therapy. But recognize how lucky you are. Fight the good fight against those who deserve our voice. And if you are one of those, speak louder than anyone. Relish the wonders we have today and help, fight for, speak for, donate to those who do not deserve to be denied what we enjoy.

Be grateful, be thoughtful, be kind.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Seize the Day

"Believe it or not,  each and every one of us in this room is one day going to stop breathing, turn cold, and die."
~Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society

The clock is ticking. We have 24 hours in a day 365 days a year. For how many years none of us know. Carpe Diem right?

Last night my sweet husband told me that he wants to do that more often, seize the day. That used to be our relationship I have constant Facebook memories of our crazy long distance romance. I would travel to Amsterdam a couple of times a year. He would travel to Lancaster. And once a year we would meet somewhere, Australia and Iceland to name two.  At that time I shared custody of three kids and he had minimal expenses.

Things change.

Now married with stresses of house repairs (money pit), jobs, an aging pet and full-time parenting changes your freedom, both emotionally and financially.

But I married someone who understands that we only have 365 days a year. So let's take our daughter to see dead president's houses (she's an amazing 14-year-old) and get her to Germany this summer combined with a reunion with Amsterdam. She's a straight A student that does her own laundry, packs her own lunches, and cooks dinner once a week because she wants to. She is a way better person than I ever was (sorry mom).

We all have dreams and goals that we hope to accomplish. Our conversation motivates me to keep working on my dream of getting my book published. It motivated me to finally jump a jump that intimidated me on my young horse. I finally did it and it was beautiful. I could have done it awhile ago.

Our fears, insecurities (I suck, this sucks, I should give up, I will ruin this horse, child, career, relationship.....), often stops us from going that extra step. We don't push forward, take a leap, expose ourselves as the amazing individuals all of us are.

So this Earth Day, what are you pushing aside? What amazing talent, dream, or wish have you buried because you are afraid, insecure, or simply don't believe it's possible? What could you do to change your health, life, the world?

In the musical Hamilton, he asks, "What is a legacy? It's planting seeds in a garden you never get to see."

True. But others will see.

So what will be your legacy?

"There are obviously two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live."
~James Truslow Adams

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Celebrate Women

"Well-behaved women seldom make history."
~Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

It's International Woman's Day, an event that has been around since the early 1900's. Here in the United States women were encouraged to not show up for their jobs or, if that was not an option, at least wear red in support of education and equality.

I've had some women ask what their own gender is so upset about.  It's a comment that is a true testament to the bubble many in our society have created for themselves.

Internationally we still have our world full of countries where women are treated no better than livestock  Violence and torture in some places affects the majority of the population of women. If you look up the worst places for women in the world the stories, descriptions and pure hell our sisters endure makes our woes truly seem trivial.

Then Google the best places in the world for women and the United States does not even make the top ten. The fact that women's health care and equal pay for equal work is still something we need to argue about is incredible and quite frankly ridiculous.

But even if you don't give a crap about what might be happening to those other people in other countries or you feel that every right is yours here in America, let's just discuss how much harder it is in general because we are women.

Ask a male friend the last time they felt nervous walking alone. Ask a man the last time they were catcalled, groped, or even sexually assaulted. Ask a man how often he has to go to the doctors for a list of medical issues that start when you're about 14. Ask when the last time was they had to pee on a stick and feared for a plus sign.

Ask the same number of women the same questions.

Do the math.

Celebrate, support and protect each other ladies. Be active here and around the world whenever the opportunity rises. Educate, communicate, and pop some bubbles.

"There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other is the pen. there is a third power stronger than both, that of women."
~Malala Yousafzai

"A guy asked me today why we need a Women's Day. I told him it's because men took all of the others."
~Lily (my daughter)

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Gone With The Wind

"Air, I should explain, becomes wind when it is agitated."
~Titus Lucretius Carus, On The Nature of Things

Love, understanding, acceptance. These are all words expressed fantastically among some in our current nation and disregarded as weakness by others.

Christians will say "love thy neighbor," and most Christians believe that ideal beyond color, race, religion or border walls. But in the midst of an administration where name-calling, exclusion, paranoia and conspiracy theories are daily news it empowers some people to dole out hatred whenever it seems fitting. They now have the presidential right to bully.

Think of it this way, if your neighbor's house is on fire, depending on the wind, your house could be next. If you are casting hate towards a group of people, a community, a society, a religion, an ethnicity, or an individual, when will the winds change?

If you've never felt the sting of gender inequality, racial inequality, or religious profiling count yourself very blessed. If you've never had a government persecute you or your family, if you've never feared for your life or personal safety, if you've never feared that something your government is doing will unnecessarily target your children,  you are one of the lucky ones. But what if the winds change?

Love thy neighbor. Try to understand their fears and concerns rather than point fingers and label and call names. Hug your children or grandchildren and hope they never face adversity due to a life choice you or others don't agree with and adamantly try to make their lives harder for it.

No country should be first. We are a global community that only survives by working together. When one of our neighbors is on fire we step up, because the winds could change.

No one racial or religious group should be first. If your friend, relative, or even acquaintance is being targeted when will your turn come around?

Can you feel the breeze yet?

"Wind does not discriminate-it touches everyone, everything. He liked that about wind."
~Lish McBride, Necromancing the Stone




Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Political Victims

"Things you don't need in your life targets you the most."
~Michael Bassy Johnson, Master of Maxims

In speaking over the last few weeks with people on the other side of the political fence there is one word that comes out over and over: victim. I can't tell you how many times I've been called a victim.

In the words of Inigo Montoya, "I do not think that word means what you think it means." And if you get that reference we were made to be friends.

In one way I have been the victim. I was personally slandered on social media because I joined a post "movement" where you shared where you went to public school. But because my middle son went to private school for one year someone decided to call me a hypocrite and invite others to criticize me. Apparently, if you celebrate public schools you hate any other form of education. Similar to how celebrating Christmas means you despise all other religion's holidays. You see the logic, right?

But when I speak out about our current government or defend myself or those I love from personal attacks I am called a victim. I don't see it. Fighting back is not the way of the victim.

You see I have four groups of people in my life right now. The first are the snowflakes like me hell bent on causing some frostbite and amputating some dangerous political limbs along the way. The second are my liberal and Independent friends who see the issues but remain quiet. The third are my Republican friends who know my stance and either partially understand it or know me well enough to know that politics is not personal unless we make it so. Then there is the fourth group, who wish I was a part of the second group, who take every political news story they don't agree with and somehow get their feelings hurt. An entire group who has dismissed me as hateful.

I just went back and looked at every political item I posted (not counting those on my wall by others) and except for one where the wording was misunderstood I can't find a single time I shed hate towards my Trump supporting friends. Not one. And I BEG you to show me specifically. Please! Enlighten me so I can do and be better. I will always own when I am wrong and be the first to apologize. I am far from perfect as you all know by now.

Yet I have been called stupid and a disgusting and shameful mother for taking my daughter to a historical march. I've been told that as a liberal I wouldn't know the truth if I fell over it. I've been called weak, a snowflake, and of course, a victim. Yet if I so much as try to defend myself, DEFEND being the word, because let's face it, you can only be insulted so many times by people who claim to be your friends before you have to say something. Right?

Wrong. What I've learned is there is no arguing. There is no defending. There is no point. When you are these things in the mind of someone who has decided all they want to do is hate these things the only answer is to apologize for even trying and walk away. They call it victim. I call it rational soul saving.

I'm not sure what the next four years will hold. The extreme supporters of our leader will always be so, even if lawsuits prove true and an impeachment happens.  But I will continue to try to be thoughtful and careful about what I say, post and share. My daily alternative facts will end when the government also stops doing their own. And most of all I will try to be kind to everyone. I have too often lately felt the hate so deeply I could barely function.

And apparently, I deserved it. Yet still, no one can show me how.

I'm waiting with an open mind and a willingness to change if needed.

Snowflake out.




Sunday, February 12, 2017

The New Normal

"Talk less. Smile more. Don't let them know what you're against and what you're for."
~Aaron Burr, Hamilton the Musical

Sit down and shut up was the message sent loud and clear this past week to Elizabeth Warren from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. She wanted to read a letter written by Coretta Scott King 30 years ago in opposition to the appointment of Jeff Sessions to a Federal judgeship due to what King indicated was an abuse of power to hinder civil voting rights.

Make America Great Again: Now Sit Down and Shut Up.

This past week I've had some eye-opening conversations with some that still support this administration.  One friend pointed out that no one was as hard on Obama.

That's where I scratch my head and have to take a pause. People can look at this presidency as normal?

The president who this week stated in a speech that no one is smarter than he is.

The president who picks fights with our closest allies and offers the equivalent to political sexual favors to horrible dictators.

A man who Tweets insults to Federal Judges, telling the American people to blame them if bad things happen.

A man who Tweets insults to anyone who speaks out against him unless they work in the White House, then he just fires them.

A man who goes on national television and defends a leader who simply kills anyone who opposes him as not so different from us.

A man who tried to ban Muslims from seven countries, none of which has supplied us a terror attack, yet excluded the countries he holds businesses.

A man who claims millions voted for Clinton illegally and his inauguration was record breaking with not a shred of evidence on either claim.

A man who daily does something that makes most Americans face-palm, always showing he cares more about the size and importance of whatever he is doing or saying than what is truly relevant to our country.

This is just a sample. The list is staggering.

While the emperor finds his robe the helper trolls are there to make up fake massacres, use alternative facts, promote family businesses, reject the word "ban" after the president says it, and basically try to dance around every detail that makes this person seem not normal. Truly, Conway and Spicer should both automatically win the next Dancing With The Stars. Conway can take a question about why the president has not mentioned the white Trump supporter who committed the mosque shooting in Quebec and turn it into a list of Muslim terrorist attacks that happened in her alternative reality.

Give him a chance. That's what we are told. Give him a chance as he fills his administration with documented racists, homophobes or simply unqualified millionaires. Just wait. Because targeting an entire religion, insulting an entire ethnicity, turning our backs on people in desperate need of refuge, denying our environmental issues, and basically, systematically pushing to take away numerous human rights is nothing to be concerned about. Give him a chance as he goes against the Constitution continually, with his personal goals.

I believe his constitution has one line: The president can do whatever he wants as long as everyone else just sits down and shuts up.

I've had presidents I was not a fan of in my life. I thought Goerge W. was a bit of a flake and Bill Clinton wasn't my choice at the time. But I never feared them. This administration is terrifying. And people all over the country and the world continue to raise their voices for and with those who need it.

One person I know questioned why someone would protest things that don't apply to them. Because that's what you do when you look at your friend, your neighbor, your family member or even a society you have never met but see the violations and know in your foundation you cannot just smile more and talk less to please those who don't understand.

If every white person during Dr. King's civil rights movement decided it wasn't their fight because it didn't affect them it would have been a much longer fight.

So by all means, support this president. But if any of this is news to you, can I challenge you to find a different news source for a few days? Those rogue stations like NBC, CBS or ABC. There might be a good reason your station is named after an animal that is usually synonymous with being untrustworthy.

"She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted."
~Mitch McConnell, a.k.a The Turtle




Sunday, January 29, 2017

One March, Two March, Red March, Blue March

"Everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid."
~Hamilton the Musical, George Washington

So my daughter and I went to a little march in Washington and many I know are sick of hearing about it. Certain news coverage of obscene costumes (saw only one, in the many thousands of people I encountered) and litter (the signs were left strategically, and I only saw overflowing trash cans with items neatly stacked next to them because let's face it, women clean shit up) trying to overshadow the historic and world recognized causes. Somehow millions of people worldwide, raising a voice, hurt a lot of people's feelings.

And now we are seeing a march a day, at the least. People standing up for human rights all over the country. Marches planned, movements organized, concerts, mailing agendas and newly created small groups all devoted to making noise, being heard, and not "giving away our shot."

You see, my favorite memory of the march was coming across a family who had traveled from Alaska. They included a nine-year-old girl, her mother, her mother's parents and a great-grandmother, speaking with women from Chicago about the lyrics to a Hamilton song. The girl had been trying to learn the Lafayette rap and the Chicago women admitted they couldn't do it. I chimed in that my daughter could do it. With a look of "WTF MOM!" I asked her what better thing did she have to do at the moment? She broke out in perfect cadence with a Chicago woman doing the side comments in the song. I would have whipped out my phone but she would have shut down immediately. I could not have been prouder.

So now in my car, I'm listening to Hamilton and wishing that was the only politics I need to worry about. But it's not, and it can't be.

This has not been easy for so many people. So many insulted and called names for coming out to say that this administration does not speak for them. We don't want a wall. We don't want a ban on people who desperately need our help. We worry about an administration that thinks they can control women's rights and possibly control human rights. I've been labeled a bleeding heart liberal, a victim and in need of therapy because I can't sit down and shut up.

Don't get me wrong. I ran into a friend today at the grocery store who voted for Trump, and all she had for me was love and interest about Lily and my experience at the march. Curious questions about an event she would never attend but questions with an intellectual and compassionate curiosity about such a historical occurence. I often have these experiences. That is where we meet. Rather than label marchers with ugliness or lump Trump supporters in with the KKK, we recognize the humanness of each other and the broad range of concerns.

So if you feel like you have a friend who has changed and you don't understand, maybe look at it another way. They probably are the same person that they have always been. They just never had the need to speak out until now.

If that doesn't work, and friends and family can't make some sort of peace, then we bleeding-heart liberals will be getting our therapy and listening to the Hamilton soundtrack for the next four years while not so quietly fighting for human rights.  Now if I could just afford the tickets.

March on my friends.

"I don't wanna fight, but I won't apologize for doin' what's right."
~Hamilton the Musical, Alexander Hamilton

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Political Therapy

"I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy,  as cause for withdrawing from a friend."
~Thomas Jefferson

I was recently told that if this president-elect bothers me so much I might need therapy. You know what? It very well could be the case. In fact, I would guess there will be a huge rise in therapist bills for the section of society that has a hard time with this man as their leader.

But I would like to explain something about the majority (I think) of those feeling discontent. Don't stop reading! Hear me out.

We are not against you.

This is not a Hilary vs. Trump issue. This is not about who voted for each candidate. This is not about rejecting election results or Trump himself as our next president. We know that you, our friends and family, are intelligent, thoughtful citizens who heard a message that spoke to you. I have had long conversations with many people trying to understand each other (the majority of my friends do not share my point of view).

The people who will march on January 21st are not doing it to overturn an election but to show a unified presence to an administration that has displayed clear discrimination towards women's rights, the LGBTQ, our Muslim community, and our immigrants.

The discontent comes from the language that is now deemed okay, even presidential. Bullying, insults, racism, aggression against women and threats toward whole sections of our society now have a place in acceptable conversation. I recently heard of a middle school student in my district saying horrible things to a Muslim boy because, in his mind, this boy deserved and even required it due to his religion.

No one is out to overthrow the government but instead, make sure the government knows there are serious concerns.

If President-Elect Trump succeeds, if he makes positive change, we will all be the better for it. That, on my part, would be an unexpected surprise and I will admit my concerns were wrong. Unfortunately many are seeing the potential damage and isn't it the right of all American citizens to raise a peaceful voice and ask to be heard, considered, and protected?

When my daughter found out I was not taking her to the march in Washington she cried. I HATE crowds and I worry for her safety. But in swoops Step-Dan willing to make arrangements with an old college roommate for housing and buy train tickets because Lily's heart was broken (even though I told him I've seen her get over things before). So my daughter and I are going to DC. It will be my first time taking an actual physical stand for something and my daughter will see a historical event.

But when and if I post about it don't tell me to pull up my big girl pants and get over it. That is not what this is about and simplifying it to such an extent is missing the point. This is not about dividing the nation. This is about protecting those that need a voice if only by showing up as a visual presence, a reminder that we still care about these issues and hope they will be taken seriously.

Once again, I want to be clear, what you as a Trump supporter are seeing in social media or news sources (for the most part-I won't blanket statement) is not about people rejecting Trump as President. That is a set fact. It's not about disagreeing personally with each other. That has happened in every election in history and will continue unless we move to a dictatorship. It is about people trying to protect each other and if you can't understand that, appreciate the goodness of the message at its heart, then I'm at a loss.

But we can still be friends.

"It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize,  accept, and celebrate those differences."
~Audre Lorde