My Progressive Bubble

I confess. I live in a bubble. Absolutely. I click on my Facebook feed, and all I see is a solid wall of politics and art (all well-spelt, by the way). I live in the kind of idyllic, upper-crusty neighborhood I never even dreamed of as a kid, because I’d never seen this kind of suburban utopia. And I teach community college, so I’m surrounded by educated people who, like me, have had the privilege and sheer joy of many years of the best education this planet currently has on offer and chosen to – wait for it – help other people instead of profit. I don’t socialize willingly with a single Republican, and I donate to public radio, drink responsibly sourced espressos, have a hemp shopping bag, all the rest of it. And thus, per the NYT, I judge Fox viewers without knowing them, I don’t understand the pain of white gun owners, I’m a coastal elite, and I’m the one who let Trump win.

Well, yeeeeah. That’s all kinds of bullshit, and I’m not even going to delve into WHY that’s all kinds of bullshit. But it has made a little light go off for me, a little realization about the bubble I actually do live in.

I live in a bubble with refugees, with immigrants, with new citizens and fleeting visitors. I work and live, day in and day out, with people who are everything except “white” and everything but “American.”

I hear ten different languages spoken a day, every day. I’m an avowed atheist who’s celebrated Eid, who’s broken fast with friends at sundown during Ramadan. I’ve helped women adjust their hijab and had veiled women uncover in my office with relief. I’ve helped undocumented students figure out housing applications, helped DREAMers write college essays, helped Afghani military translators find therapists to help with their PTSD, tried to help a mother stop her daughter’s planned genital mutilation. I live in this bubble with people who have seen loss and pain, and joys as well, that I will never understand.

In my bubble are people who tried to rise up in their home countries and make it better – and couldn’t; who are here because otherwise, they would certainly be dead. And every term, every ten weeks, for the past sixteen years, I have had the pleasure, the honor, the responsibility to meet another fifty, sixty, seventy of these people: to meet them where they are, get to know them, and to love them, as best as I can. Because you can’t teach – excuse me; I should say, I can’t teach – someone unless I feel some love for them.

Even the torturer.  Even the war criminal. Even the rapist.

And certainly, for fuck’s sake, the woman in a hijab.

And this is where I live. Inside my bubble.

And it’s bigger, so much bigger, so much more wild and complex and beautiful than the entire world of so many Americans.

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The Trumpening, Part 1

This is a strange and new moment for the U.S.: a moment less political, more psychological. Our country has allowed –  not for the first time, but for the first time in my life –  a blatantly mentally ill person to step into its leadership position, and thus into the most powerful position planetwide.  DJT … Trumpy … the Tangerine Man ( I still struggle to say or write the name)  has become our symbolic head of household, our symbolic Daddy: our newest, sickest, most Freudian, most dangerous Father, ever. We’ve become nation as dysfunctional family, a family headed by a narcissist whose rages and passing fancies will terrorize, imprison, and brutalize us all.

The mind-boggling part? We have entered this family, we have become this abused child, voluntarily, and with full knowledge beforehand.

And this travesty, this slow motion implosion, has happened at a time when more people than ever before have the tools to recognize his specific mental illness.

(I do want of course to acknowledge that the “voluntarily” part was voluntary only for the minority, and that the vast majority of this country knowingly rejected the role of hostage we now find ourselves in.)

Of course, I feel some fascination with our abuser, even as I’m filled with revulsion. I’m also fascinated by the fact that most of the media and the existing government seems to have made an unspoken agreement that, since it would be rude, they’re simply going to ignore the fact that the emperor has no clothes. They’re going to pretend that somehow, this situation is tenable, that somehow, this is fine, and we can just keep up appearances.

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           Thank you, thank you, thank you KC Green 

Buying into the madness, rationalizing it, suspecting that hey, maybe I’m the problem in this scenarioI can cope … Let’s not overreact .. . this is fine

Again, we all have the tools to recognize that triggering those coping mechanisms is a precise hallmark of the disorder itself.

Once more, with feeling:

making you feel like you’re the crazy one is itself a symptom of the Cluster B personality disorders.

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You’re not the crazy one.

And this is not fine.

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/personality-disorders/what-are-personality-disorders

I have long lived experience with the Cluster B group of personality disorders. I  spent childhood in the orbit of a Cluster B who destroyed her own life, her husband’s life, and significantly disfigured the lives of her seven children. I married a person whose ex is a Cluster B, a person who, because of custody laws, will remain in my life for perhaps the next decade. I have a once-beloved brother who has sunk into the Cluster B morass and who seems, from the safe distance I keep myself, to be a direct physical danger to anyone in contact with him. I’ve learned, in other words, a thing or two about the situation we’re now facing with The Trump.

In my nightmares about this personality disorder –  and I’ve had many – tropes from horror movies recur. Like a zombie virus, the disorder takes over a unique soul and converts it to a shuffling husk. It inflicts a double death, as you first watch the person disappear, replaced by the tics and mannerisms of the illness, and again as you excise the zombie from your life – which you must, if you want to remain sane.  Other times, I dream of this disorder as the vampire, the deathless, life-draining vampire who patiently waits, charmingly smiling, for the OK to pass through your door – and who, once allowed in, will fall on your throat with an open, clotted, charnel-house mouth. These people, disordered people, are like golems, like flawed and endlessly recursive machinery, like scraps of miscoded and destructive programs looping, looping, like malware infecting node after node and shutting down every functional core. In all my dreams, the recurring thread:  this disorder is infectious, and this disorder has no cure.

People with these disorders have no deep or lasting friendships;  they have no passions other than themselves, no interests other than themselves, no drive to create anything other than conflict. Their world is narrow and shallow and  consists of only themselves and their reflections. Those around them, people, animals, the entire natural world – it all exists only to either prop up or attack their sense of self. In the hall of mirrors where these people exist, only themselves and surrogates for themselves are real.  Their only fuel, their only sustenance, is conflict, and like malware they toggle between a very few sets of behaviors: creating alliances, creating enemies, and setting up conflagrations. There is no autonomy in their world; there is only what feels good (to them), and what feels bad (to them). Others, since they do not truly exist, are not ceded the right to have feelings or experiences separately from the disordered person. You can imagine the particular hell that children of these people must endure. And as for the person with the disorder — I can think of no life more barren.

 

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From a set of very disturbing .gifs by Zolloc

 

But even I, the ultimate empath — I just can’t care all that much about their pain.

Personally, when I think about our political moment, I am still flailing, stuck in shifting levels of confusion, fear, anger and grief. I’m still trying to fathom what it means to stand here on this particular brink of this particular national disaster and still trying to feel my way forward. But I am absolutely clear on one thing: We need to look at the disaster and understand it. This is so very, very not fine. Stay out of the fog and keep your focus on that fact.

 

Election Day -2

So, a corny joke.

A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered her altitude and spotted a man in a boat below. She shouted to him, “Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.”

The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, “You’re in a hot air balloon, approximately 30 feet above ground elevation of 2,346 feet above sea level. You are at 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude.”

She rolled her eyes and said, “You must be an Obama Democrat.”

“I am,” replied the man. “How did you know?”

“Well,” answered the balloonist, “everything you told me is technically correct. But I have no idea what to do with your information, and I’m still lost. Frankly, you’ve not been much help to me.”

The man smiled and responded, “You must be a Republican.”

“I am,” replied the balloonist. “How did you know?”

“Well,” said the man,

“1. You don’t know where you are — or where you are going.
2. You’ve risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air.
3. You made a promise you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem.
4. You’re in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but somehow, now it’s my fault.”

As If You Needed Reminding

I guess it’s the smell of Sarah Palin in the air these days … it just brings back memories.  Precious watercolor memories, of why this left/right, progressive/liberal/conservative thing MATTERS.

Really, the name says it all: http://www.republicansexoffenders.com/

But it’s not updated as frequently as http://home.conservativebabylon.com/

Politics is how we put our morals and our beliefs into action in the world.  Or something like that, right?  We run the world according to what we believe to be right just as much as what we know to be true. Or we try, playing by one set of rules or another, in competition with others.  And that’s politics.  So what you’ve got to know, before you can take a political stance: What is my moral imperative?

Mine is simple: I am outraged by the abuse of the powerless. That’s it, in a nutshell; why child abuse, animal abuse, sexual abuse are the crimes which truly horrify me.  Why the rape of the Earth, the oppression of the poor, racism, sexism, homophobia, the whole structure of capitalism are the issues I will never tire of taking on.  There is a common theme in all: the weak are abused by the strong. That is the thing I find unbearable. It’s not the mere existence of suffering, it’s not injustice, per se.  Oh, those things suck, but you know, they come with the package of being alive at all: you gots no choice, there.

And that, I think, makes me a lefty.  Call it what you will – I kind of like “progressive,” maybe “radical,” maybe even “idealistic” (because, yes! I actually believe in human potential!).  You could use “liberal,” if you like, though it strikes me as too corporate for my tastes.  But I prefer the old-fashioned heft of “lefty.”  It gets to the simple moral center of the core value that makes me who I am.  Add to that my personal twist — I prefer reality-based EVERYTHING; I believe facts exist, independent of opinion and faith, and that facts matter. Pretty unpopular at the moment, sure, but there it is.

Knowing that about myself, I have to ask: What does the right believe?  What’s their moral center, their moral engine, that everything else springs from? And when I ask, I think not of abstractions, but of people I know and love and who confound me by their voting patterns.  I don’t think about this flippantly, in other words, or theoretically.

What I keep coming up with is something like this: The right’s moral obsession is: Me first. Something like that.  Don’t take my money in taxes: I never asked to be part of your stinking society.  Don’t ask me to share.  Don’t ask me not to pollute.  Don’t tell me what I can or can’t drive, or do, or say.  If other people are getting hurt, don’t tell me: it might make me feel bad.  In fact, I will do what I can NOT to feel bad: I will choose not to think about animals/children/racial minorities/sexual minorities/other nationalitites/anyone else as actually having feelings. “Me first” is so much easier when I’m the only thinking, feeling, REAL person in the universe.

But you know where that leads you … you want to fuck … oh, let’s be coy. Let’s just say, someone or something that does not want to be fucked by you. But, hey, you’re the only real person in the equation.  Me First … and there we go: another entry on RepublicanSexOffenders.com. (You know, that list has been around a long time, and there have been many, many attempts to come up with a “DemocratSexOffenders.com” equivalent.  But there just isn’t anything to fill such a website with.)

And you know where else that leads you: if anyone transgresses against you: KILL THEM.  In a war or on death row; by malnutrition or environmental disaster. If they offend, if they annoy.  If they get in the way of Me First.

And what boggles my mind, really, is that so many of the working class have embraced this thinking.  They pay and pay and pay for those with true power to keep it: they pay with their bodies, with cancers and infertility and ADD and migraines and asthmas from living in a world filled with the chemicals, preservatives, electrical fields, hormones, antibiotics, wastes and poisons of the TRULY powerful, those whose “Me First” actually pays off.  They pay with addictions to the garbage drugs, from meth to oxycontin to Adderall, that give them an illusion that they are, somehow, First. They pay by working like drudges in an endless cycle with ever-diminishing returns.  Because “Me First” satisfies them, somehow; they aren’t first, but they like hearing that they are.  Or maybe, kicking some ass now and then – metaphorically or otherwise – feels “Me First” enough.  Or maybe, because of their own endless suffering, they just can’t be bothered to hear about anyone else’s.

Or maybe they’re just plain bastards.

Which bring me back, I guess, to Sarah Palin.  The pure id, the utter personification of the “They’re just plain bastards” version of the Me-First doctrine.  Her heartlessness, her coldness, her manipulativeness, her flat-out meanness goes head-to-head with her incompetence.  Forgive me, gentle readers, forgive me, God or Gods: I pray for Palin 2012.  I said more than a year ago, “Palin is the guarantee that McCain will lose,” and Palin 2012 is the guarantee that the self-destruction of the Republican party will be complete.

(And if you’re wondering: My conference this weekend (ORTESOL) went rather well.  First presentation, OK, but started a bit late and my Powerpoint was missing a few images; nothing fatal, but not the best ever.  Second presentation — well, I am my own harshest critic, and I was quite happy.  Yeah, actually very happy.  SO that’s that for a while.  One or both of these presentations might turn into something bigger, as in actual papers.  And the struggle continues …)

Some Old Business …

I know I’m way behind on everything, and I swear I’m about to get together a Bay Area Roadtrip post, but there’s something weighing on my conscience …

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Sotomayor isn’t especially news any more – thank god! She’s CONFIRMED! – but I just wanted to take a moment to remember what kind of garbage came out of the Right’s unconscious when they were faced  with her for the first time.

Mike Huckabee launched an early attack on her, you’ll remember.  But he couldn’t quite get her name right.  His website tore into a certain … “Maria” Sotomayor.  Well, sheesh, he had a 50% chance of being right about that, didn’t he?  Maria, Juanita, whatevs!  Marisol on a long-shot, maybe?  Anyway, what business did she have of NOT being a Maria?

And, speaking of assumptions: the website Politico also was quick off the blocks to call her a “Latina single mother.”  Those hot tamales, you know.  Can’t keep their legs shut.  Another great guess.  Except for that pesky not-having-any-kids bit.

Then there was the name-calling.  She wasn’t very smart, y’know.  Jeffrey Rosenberg started that ball rolling – I hesitate to give this link, because Jeffrey Rosen gets far too much attention, but there you have it.  He started it and it became the chorus from the Right.   Yeah, not too bright!  Nothin’ like Dubya!  ‘Cause only dummies get full scholarships to Princeton straight out of high school, and only real dullards graduate summa cum laude and go on to Yale Law School on full scholarships.  And, of course, she was a bully.  She was uppity.  Interrupted.  Wouldn’t shut up and let the men finish.  I mean, she would ask questions in her own court!  Who the hell did she think she was?  Did she think she was the freakin’ judge or something?  Except for that pesky actually-she-IS-the-judge bit, another great line of attack.

Once the confirmation was underway, it got better.  Let’s see:

  • Limbaugh promised to send her a vacuum cleaner.  After all, isn’t that the only way God wants to see Latinas in the Supreme Court – cleaning it, after hours?
  • Creepy Repub senator Tom Coburn assumed the Ricky Ricardo accent to admonish her, “You got a lot of ‘splainin to do!”  Not after three beers in a bar mind you – On camera.  In session.  During the confirmation hearings.  Uhh …
  • And then there was uber-creep Jeff Sessions, who expressed amazement that Sotomayor had disagreed with another judge: after all, he pointed out, they were BOTH Puerto Ricans!  Of the Puerto Rican race, you know, which compels them to think identically in all matters judicial! And again – this was ON the record, IN session, ON camera. The mind boggles.

(BTW, here’s a 2002 article about Session’s history – some highlights: the Klan is OK, except that some of them smoke pot; a black U.S. Attorney was “boy” and told “You better watch how you speak to white folks;” he didn’t’ bother to investigate burnings of black churches in Alabama when he was Alabama’s Attorney General. And he has a job today.  Does the GOP make ANY sense?)

So, quick recap.

Sotomayor is really named Maria and has bastard children, as do all Latinas, and “cleaning lady” is her most appropriate job.  Like all chicas from the barrio she’s *slow* but God she’s got a mouth on her, for which she must be mocked in a parodical Spanish accent, and before we’re done, she’d better explain how she could have possibly disagreed with another Puerto Rican.  Ever.

Yeah, she got the job.  And I AM rejoicing over that.  (And I DO think that a Latina, if indeed wise, WILL make better decisions in some situations than white men – that’s simple bloody common sense, and jheesus, YOU KNOW IT TOO.) But I am disturbed over the crap this confimation process revealed.

Like Sotomayor, when I was in college, I had a senior professor make an object lesson out of me as an affirmative action recipient in a public setting.  My bastard was Clem Heusch.  Yes, Mr. Heusch, you’ve had a great career in particle physics, and your spine had its own urban legend (“If you put a Geiger counter by Clem’s back it goes off! Old lab accident!”).  But to me, you’ll simply forever be The Racist Bastard who pointed me out during a mandatory, departement-wide “Career Planning” meeting: “You don’t have much hope of a lab job unless – (points to me) – you know, you’re Native American or something, or (points to me) you’re a woman.”  I think that was the day I decided: Screw physics, once and for all.  OK, I’m one of three women in this room of sixty, I’m one of three who aren’t white.  And yes, if not for affirmative action, I’d never have gotten in.  But affirmative action only ever gave me a single chance at what economics and the realities of school districting had decided, before my birth, to deny me.  To me, the greater injustice is blindingly clear: the system which allocates resources so that certain children are methodically shunted away from any chance at education.  Because I wanted an education, I made the most of it, I sucked the marrow from its bones and it transformed my life.  Fundamentally and permanently.  And that education was a right that would, if not for affirmative action, have been denied me, plain and simple.

The difference was, Sotomayor, by the time of Yale Law School, was no longer an affirmative action baby.  If I may quote Wikipedia: “In her third year, she filed a formal complaint against the established Washington, D.C., law firm of Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge for suggesting during a recruiting dinner that she was only at Yale via affirmative action. Sotomayor refused to be interviewed by the firm further and filed her complaint with a faculty–student tribunal, which ruled in her favor. Her action triggered a campus-wide debate, and news of the firm’s subsequent December 1978 apology made the Washington Post.

I like that. I tip my hat to that.  I just wish that “News of the Republican Party’s apology for its racist displays during Sotomayor’s confiration process made the New York Times” would be a future Wikipedia entry.

I have my doubts.

Sam Adams

Uhhhh … OK. Sam Adams.

Why is this news? Seriously, why is this news?

We need to reach a point where questions about who you slept with, and when, are so totally defanged that they simply don’t get to be part of the discussion. Because, it seems to me,this whole mess – and it IS a mess, an ugly one, where it looks like a mayor who I considered a reasonably honorable guy has lied, slandered, damaged reputations, smeared, incited others to lie, paid people off with jobs and paid people off with favors — it looks like all that mess was triggered by his panicking about questions whose answers have zero to do with his ability to do the job he wanted.

I don’t think Sam Adams is a pedophile. I don’t think he broke any laws. I don’t know, not for sure. Do I wish I knew, well, yeah, hell, yeah. Of COURSE I’d like to feel confident that anyone I voted for, ever, could avoid being a goddamned creep. But the sad truth is that we are fallible, weak humans, bags of mostly water that are prone to creep-like moments, even the best of us. Oh, and believe it or not, the gayest of us too,

I can live with Sam Adams’ moment of creepdom, is what I’m saying. Now I just want to see him doing his freakin’ JOB.

O HAPPY DAY

People! Can you BELIEVE it? We’re here, we’ve made it, it’s done! Ding dong, the witch is dead (or flown away anyway), and a new era begins.  Oh, I am jaded, but I’m also full of hope, optimism, and love.

Whatever your political stance, whatever your beliefs, whoever you voted for: you have a new President now. If you come here regularly, I suspect that you, like me, were shedding tears of joy today; but maybe not; maybe not.  And you know, you know I love you anyway, regardless of what you do in a voting booth.  That’s something we are privileged to be able to do: to be able to disagree about the hows and whos of governance, and at the same moment honor and see and love one another.  If you hate the man’s politics, if you hate his middle name: we can handle that, right?  We can join in celebration, in recognition, on that enormous common ground that we share despite those differences.  We can. We do.  We will.

We have a leader who you may not have voted for, but who — I feel certain — will lead your country, our country, forward with intelligence, resolve, wisdom.

We have seen a historic blow against our racist past, our history that we do share in some sense even if our grandparents or parents only recently arrived.

We have a man whose smallest gestures declare him to be a loving and respectful husband, a devoted and committed father, a man of deep decency, living in the White House, living in the eyes of the world.

We’ve witnessed, again, the peaceful and ceremonious transfer of enormous power that, even in days that seem grim, ought make us rejoice in and of itself.

I have cried today, over and over, cried standing in a crowd this morning and rising all together to witness the swearing-in.  I’ve cried during the speech and cried witnessing the emotional tears of an African-American mother and cried standing in front of a class of people from fifteen different countries, trying to share the transformative  potential of a leader committed to changing the ways this country relates to the rest of the world.  I’ve cried to think that torture in the name of the U.S.A. will end.  And when I think about the tax bill I’ll owe after six years of refusing to pay up to Bush, well, I gotta say I choke up all over again.

But, oh … they are tears I rejoice to shed.

Post-Election Petulance

I’m not sure if that’s quite the right title, or if that’s exactly where my thoughts are going, but bear with me. Oh yeeah, it’s more post-election processing.

If you’re an Oregonian, or if you’re political junkie enough to have followed the Senate races closely, you know the Jeff Merkeley hoo-haw. Close, exceedingly close race; the Republican, Gordon Smith, has been in the Senate since gawd-knows-when and had developed a rep as a moderate Repub, fairly centrist; but he has some baggage, like his pro-Bush voting record of late and the dischord of his harshly anti-immigrant stance with his illegal-immigrant-dependent family company (Smith Frozen Foods). It was a squeaker, but the Democrat – Merkeley, a blue-collar union guy – was called as the winner the following Thursday. (Not as much drama as Coleman v. Franken, but whew! enough drama for me, baby.) As I stayed up late scrolling through comments on our beloved (ha!) local rag, The Oregonian, I detected a common thread in many of the responses, and it interested me … not just for what it showed about Oregon, but about this election, from start to finish, and about this country, even. Maybe.

The responses that got me thinking were from Eastern Oregonians, mostly, which is – if I may grossly overgeneralize here — is Redneck Country. Ranchers, cowboys. Hunters. Big-truck guys and horse-owners. The emotion expressed was something along the lines of: How dare those big-city @#$% tell me who MY senator is? Merkeley knows nothing about me or what I believe. He CANNOT COMPREHEND me or my life. He CANNOT REPRESENT me. I CANNOT ACCEPT that he’s been chosen, because I did not choose him. The system is profoundly broken if urban Portland can choose Eastern Oregon’s Senator.

Uhh, kinda standard post-election bitching, you’re thinking, and yeah, maybe so, maybe so. And maybe I’m reading too much into this. But what ran through my head was …

a quick recap of my whole life …

which has been a whole life of being represented by people who do not know what I believe, who do not comprehend me, who do not comprehend my life.

A lifetime of being represented by people who don’t understand what reproductive freedom means to me. People who have never dealt with sexist barbs, and real barriers, in work or school. People who don’t know any Mexicans other than the gardeners they walk by. People who have never lived a year on under $10,000, people who’ve never spent a week in jail because they lacked $80 for a parking ticket, people who have never had to use the free clinic, never had teeth pulled because they lacked dental insurance, people who’ve never shed a tear over extinction, people who’ve never shed a tear over ‘collateral damage,’ people who’ve never lost a night of sleep over the injustices of the world.

I accept that. I have to. If you’re Latina, black, Asian. If you’re a woman. An immigrant. If you’re queer, trans, biracial, bisexual, Buddhist, Muslim … if you put animals first, if you put babies first, if you’re in prison, if … if you don’t fit an extremely narrow mold, you’re not represented by people who understand you. You’re not represented by people who put your priorities first. And you know it, and you deal with it. You accept it and move on. You get behind leaders who you don’t identify with, but who you think can do a job adequately, or even well. You don’t angst about it. In fact, the whole notion that you – that people like you – could really have a leader that reflects you – well, it’s not something you lose sleep over, is it? It’s never been that way, and you’ve survived, you’ve – I hope – thrived.

About three nanoseconds: that’s how long it took for all that to flash through my mind.  And I thought, not hatefully, I hope, not gloatingly, but I thought: Better get used to it, guys.  Better get used to not being the norm.  Get used to leaders who don’t look like you, don’t sound like you. I’m used to it already.  It’s your turn now.

And of course, my thoughts go full circle, back to Obama.  It seems to me that he’s had the experience of being an elite, of being in the boy’s club, wearing the $1,500 suit, having a driver, being the Harvard alum, the law professor, the superstar young politician.  All to the good; who can begrudge him?  Because what strikes a chord with my is his other experiences; experiencing racism.  Facing the assumptions made. Not getting that cab, not getting that call back, not getting that rental.  Being called a name, getting that subtle and not-subtle message, all his life.

That means an enormous amount to me.  It means that he has some sense of how that woman feels when she walks down the street wearing hijab and hears “Towelhead!”  or how that other woman feels when she’s told she can’t use the ladies’ room because she looks like a man.  How that kid feels when his classmates taunt him with “Faggot!”  or how the Korean kid feels when he’s taunted with “Chink!” How a Garcia feels when their last name turns a traffic stop into a full body search and warrant check, or an Al-Hamidi feels when his name turns an airline security line into an interrogation.  And that sense – it makes so much difference.

See, I don’t ask that my leaders look like me or sound like me or believe what I do.  I’m waaay past that.  But suddenly, I have a hope that at least one leader – a rather important one – has an inking, a glimmer, of what it’s like to be me.  Someone who’s seen society from the top down, and the bottom up, a least a touch.  It means – who knows?  Who knows what it will mean?  But maybe, just maybe, it means a lot.


I’m Paying Taxes Now

Do you know how long I’ve been waiting to say that?

I’m paying taxes this year.

Barack Obama has just been called as the next President of the United States.

This war tax resister is going to pay her taxes for the first time in six years. I can’t wait. I love this country, and at this exact second, I feel that love. I will write my check with a happy heart. I can’t wait to introduce my daughter to our new President.

Love you all. Deep breaths and lots of luck to us all in this new era!

(note: this was published the night of Nov. 4 and somehow showed up as a “page” rather than a “post” – sorry!)

Can’t. Stop. Thinking. Politics.

Are you just sick of it all already?

Maybe you are just sick of it all and, well, I apologize. ‘Cause I’m not sick of it yet. It’s been 8 long years, baby, eight years of nothing but bad news getting worse. Eight years of torture, war, mass extinction, melting glaciers and despair. And the end of those eight years of hell is close, hope is near, change is comin’, the dark days are numbered and life will begin again … Do you feel me? You’ve got to feel me.

It’s a crazy beautiful fall day here, sky crisp and bright blue. Leaves – oh, the fall colors of the leaves! Growing up in SoCal, I never really believed those lovely Little Golden Books, the ones with daffodils and tulips for spring, flaming gold and scarlet trees in autumn, drifting snowflakes and cheery sleds for winter. We got Santa Ana winds and wildfires changing to rain that oil-slicked roads and caused massive pileups, and then what ho! It was smog-alert season again, and there goes a child’s year of seasons. Not so in P-town, baby. Here, we get the best of them all: crocuses and tulips, summer thundershowers, drifting technicolor leaves, frosty mornings and enough snow most years for at least a petite snowman. And I loves it.

Domestic day ahead for me — a 4th birthday party to attend, a costume to make, some sewing to do. And, I hope, some writing time. I’ve got some ideas percolating …