Pushing Buttons

Teens managed THE coup of our times by buying up the tickets of the Tulsa rally, guaranteeing empty seats and low turnout.

Yes, the same teens who sat on pins and needles in classrooms where they trained in the art of sheltering in place before learning the curriculum. They who were raised on the kindness and decency of Obama and now watch corrupt, cruel Trump. Today’s teens skate around the internet like wiry young adults of the 50s once did on roller rinks.
Not politically savvy in the ways of their elders, which might be a good thing, they were nevertheless effective in their strategy and not giving it away beforehand. They embarrassed and deflated Trump, kicking the legs from under this throne.

BTW, I put up a meme about this a long time ago, kind of a ‘wouldn’t it be funny if’ thing about buying out blocks of free tickets so his arenas would be empty. Which, lets face it, seems to be the only thing that really lets the air out of the orange windbag. I didn’t do it, I was re-posting a funny meme of the time, and I promptly forgot it in the wake of ongoing news.
I believe the Zoomers and KPoppers fooled the rally organizers, it fits the circumstances perfectly: the bragging about a million requests for tickets, building an entire outside area with stage and large screen outside to accommodate overflow crowds, and then being caught up short by the actual low turnout.

Sure, the low turn out is probably the result of Covid fears and the warnings from their obviously concerned governor probably kept some Oklahomans from showing up. Fear over possible violence, ditto.

AND a bunch of smart, dedicated, and capable kids who know how to push buttons, literally and figuratively.

Trumpeteers Abandon SHIP

Pat Robertson, Rush Limbaugh, Mitch McConnell, and Donald Trump share the same fan base. That’s why Robertson is criticizing the president he’s staunchly defended until now; the old televangelist doesn’t want to lose his antiabortion, anti-LGBTQ rights followers and they are jumping the Trump train with alarming speed. Limbaugh is still applying lipstick to a dancing pig, and McConnell is counting and recounting the congresspeople in his coat pocket. Both are scheming and laying desperate plans to abandon the sinking S.S. Trump they climbed aboard four years ago and have been steering ever since.

Trumpeteers, those who complained about their freedoms being trampled and governmental interference in their personal lives when asked to wear facemasks, have paused. State capital buildings are no longer being stormed by camouflaged but barefaced, MAGA hat wearing, heavily armed citizens demanding the right to give or get a haircut and break quarantine during a pandemic. They have suspended their civil unrest for the time being, contenting themselves with ‘guarding’ “friends” businesses from rumored invasions of antifa, and spreading unsubstantiated rumors via social media.  

But Trump’s threat to turn America’s military against its own citizens finally earned the first rumbles of disapproval from the nothing-if-not-loyal trumpeteers. Well, that and they’re surprised by the military grade weaponry of their armed-to-the-teeth local police departments. And they are righteously pissed about teargassing peaceful protesters to clear the way for his presidential photo co-opting of both bible and church. Well, not so much the teargassing, but that church thing has them boiling.

Promised buses of rock throwing anti-fascist anarchists never materialized but trumpeteers still stand ready if they do. They simmer over lost jobs, failing businesses, governmental overreach, phantom deep states, and a scary disease they can’t see stalking them. They do not like masks, but we’re all getting used to seeing them on TV and that normalizes everything. Itching for a fight, they warn that if a second wave of the virus has governors and mayors demanding indoor quarantining again, they will boil over.

But for now, summer weather beckons, the tedious hours of home schooling have ended, and they want someplace to send their kids while they go back to work. And, when all is said and done, watching a man being murdered repeated on TV between images of your own cities burning cannot be ignored. Watching familiar streets fill with local police, armed with military grade weaponry, chase peaceful protesters with teargas and flash bangs is disturbing on multiple levels.

It must be eye-opening to learn the big, bold leader they elected to make America great is cowering in his basement while not only one but two walls are erected between the White House and the people, while the promised one between the US and Mexico has never been finished. And Lord God Almighty, he can’t even hold a bible upright and facing forward.

Finally, some trumpeteers are waking to the realization our president is unfit for his position. If they hurry, they might join Rev. Pat, Rush, Mitch, Susan, and Mitt diving overboard.

NOT the same

I know you’ve seen the video of the Karen calling cops on a birdwatcher concerned about her off-leash dog. You might have visited Christian Cooper’s Facebook page to see it for yourself (link in comments), along with his record of the events as they unfolded. I’ve lately come across some folks insisting he was as wrong as she was because he threatened her first by telling her he was going to do something she wouldn’t like.

What?

Threatening? If I had a dollar for every man who’s ever told me, “I’m going to do what I want whether you like it or not”, I’d be one of the 1%. I never felt threatened by it, I felt challenged by it. Kicks in the “Oh, yeah?” reaction every time. Looks to me like it did with Amy Christian, too, so she upped the ante and answered with a death threat.

Even if Amy felt scared (which her body language denies strongly, up in Christian’s face, finger within inches of his nose) by somebody saying they’re going to do something she’s not going to like, is it appropriate to immediately phone police, lie about the situation, “he’s assaulting me”, and knowingly, deliberately, put a black man’s life in danger by wielding her white privilege as a weapon?

C’mon. This is conflation of the worst kind. How delicate is she that she hears the term “you’re not going to like it” and overreacts as if receiving a death threat?

Why would anyone consider even a suspicious doggie treat (easily avoided if the dog were legally leashed) of equal stature to the threat of lied-to amped-up cops responding to a (false) report of violence being perpetrated, an all too often instant death sentence?

Suspicious doggie treat vs. lied-to amped-up cop with a gun.

NOT the same.

 

 

Tottering

Photo by Kaique Rocha on Pexels.com

Some business owners are bitching out their governor for economic losses, insinuating a deliberate assault on free enterprise. A few loud hair stylists shower their customers with germs, standing over them as they complain to any and all who sit in the same seat about how scientists use statistics and numbers to scare folks into staying away. Churches, pretty clearly stung at being categorized as non-essential, urge parishioners to gather in violation of state guidelines.


While they make for easy targets, your governor and scientists have not DONE this to you. It’s the very real and reasonable fear of Covid-19 that caused people to stay home, businesses to close, and social gatherings to end in a moment. A brutal, painful illness proven to be highly contagious and very deadly, is sweeping America. Science is the only way to fight our common enemy, a novel, unknown, corona virus. Rational thought, calm reason, and measured, practical steps are the only things that will contain and combat nature’s attack on humanity. And science demands self-sacrifice to fight our common enemy.


Magical thinking doesn’t make sitting, standing, talking, and singing together for a period of time in a small room, safe. Sharing hymnals and bibles, passing collection plates, and (Lord have mercy) partaking of communion is pretty much the perfect storm for contagion. Pining for the freedoms we took for granted is not going to suddenly assuage the realistic fear of bringing death to a loved one with a hug, or contracting same from casual uncaring strangers. And, unfortunately, wishing everything would go back to what it was B.C. (Before Covid-19) will not happen. It is what it is, we are where we are, and there’s no going back.


A disease is our shared encroaching enemy, attacking, weakening, and killing our citizens. If nearly 100,000 people died during the last three months in an active war zone on the home front it would be the only thing on everyone’s mind. We’d be coalesced into a citizen militia, marching in lockstep under the orders of those skilled in the art of this type of warfare. Why isn’t the growing daily death count disturbing EVERYONE?


Governors and scientists are trying to save the lives of as many American citizens as possible, not waging war against them. Saying a governor is ‘doing’ this to the economy and revolting against sensible science driven restrictions seems to me just as mad as accusing principals of elementary schools where students are taught to shelter in place during active shooter drills of tossing hand grenades into classrooms and then encouraging the kids to bring guns to school.


We’re tottering on the brink of utter madness, civil war, or both. It won’t take much to push us over.

JOIN THE GREAT DISCORDANT CONVERGENCE CATHARSIS OF 2020

Remember the great Harmonic Convergence?

It happened in 1987, so if that was before your time or if it passed you by the first time as ‘some kind’a hippy-crystal-lovin’ shit’, let me explain. On August 16th and 17th the first global attempt at synchronized meditation occurred across the planet. As Earth aligned with the other planets, people sang, danced, and prayed together in a universal plea for world peace. It didn’t work, but it brought enough like-minded people together that environmental issues, social networking, political support groups, religious and spiritual growth, and many other good things, took root in the World/American consciousness. The great harmonic convergence not only made us feel better, it was the beginning of a lot of important growth for the people of Earth.

It’s nearly 33 years later, and tonight there will be an impromptu opportunity for another shared experience as we survive our simultaneous losses. Over the last decade our families have collectively absorbed the Pritchett/Dunphy family and together we’ve become a Modern Family. With humor, style, and honesty some of the best writing/acting/producing on television led many topical conversations. As their family grew up, we recognized ourselves and our children in their hopes and dreams, attempts, failures, and successes. We laughed with them more often than at them, but one way or the other they left us laughing week after month after year. Tonight, we lose them forever.

Which hits a very un-harmonic chord of pain within me, channeling a path for hot tears of mourning and loss. I burst into tears at the breakfast table the other day and when questioned for the reason, I sobbed, “It’s too much. We’re losing so much it doesn’t seem fair that we’re losing them, too.” I gestured at the TV screen where a promo for the grand finale episode shows a group hug they can’t break.

Now, I trust ABC/Disney to expertly milk my thin-skinned emotions tonight. I expect to be crying, sobbing, and laughing while they wrap-up a lifetime of stories in a two-hour period. So, since my tripwires will be triggered anyway, I thought, why not cry for everything at once?

I plan to howl at the beautiful uncaring moon and let out every bit of pain I’m already feeling and my fear of what’s still to come. Tears will be shed in memory of those already gone, fears for my nears and dears, and fury because I don’t know if I’m an asymptomatic Covid Cary (think Typhoid Mary), but I must act as if I am and treat you as an infected creature shedding germs in your wake. I hate this loss of normal, and the cost of holding it together is showing, so I’m going to roll around in my misery, sob my eyes dry, rail at fate and face the pain of final farewells through hiccups of reluctant laughter. I welcome your company, as shared pain is halved.

Everyone is hurting. So, YOU are invited, you who face daily danger as you deal first-hand with the sick and dying, burying the horror of what you’re personally living through to deal with in future therapy. And YOU who risk continual exposure from a never-ending parade of panicky strangers who must shop for food, medicines, their basic daily necessities, you need this, too. And YOU, if you’ve lost a job, your life savings, travel plans, graduation or another honorific celebration fairly earned, join me. Your losses are not trivial. They are substantial and deserve recognition. Together WE will grieve them, and the loss of hugs, shoulders to lean on, and arms linked in camaraderie. Our families face devastating changes. Tonight, we can howl at the moon together, a discordant convergence channeling our emotions through a cathartic mutual loss of our friends and neighbors, the Pritchetts and Dunphys.

Join me tonight during the grand finale episode of Modern Family, aka the #GreatDiscordantConvergenceCatharsis2020.

spend eight minutes and bring a hanky

My smile is so big as I write this. While watching this short film, at minute 4:54 I saw for myself the growth of our society in the skillful portrayal of a parent getting a shock, sucking it up, and instantly choosing loving support. Yes, we slip a lot and yes, we have citizens howling and screaming to drag us back in time, but in the land of lawn mowers, oleanders, and teen dances we’ve come so far. Every single actor in this 8 minute production gave their absolute all to the project, every character springs to life fully 3-dimensional. And wow, do they tell a brilliant short story.

Go back up and watch it for yourself. It takes half the time of a coffee break. I’ll wait.

Told you so. Listen, spring dances start in a matter of weeks so please pass this wonderful short film around and help people see a story about the love and support our youngsters deserve from us.

I’ve got sympathy for teenagers, their hormones jump around, adulthood looms large, and they reject and demand responsibility for themselves simultaneously. They stew in an odd mix of fear, courage, paranoia, assumptions, growing self-awareness, dreams, options, and most of all worry. Their emotions are as raw and real now as yours were at that age.

We store memories as reminders of who we were once and sudden strong memories pop up in everyone’s mind once in a while. They swoop into your brain, peck at your ego, knock you down to size, and leave behind the same emotions you recorded in that moment. Remember? Of course you do. We all grow through adolescence and awkward young adulthood. You’re a survivor.

Prom night will be a night your teen will NEVER forget and you, their folks, will play significant roles in their lifelong recurring memory. Ask yourself, ‘How do I want my youngster to remember me long after I’m gone?’

Choose kindness and love. Choose your child.

FAMILY MEMORY:

When I was a kid (maybe 9 or 10 years old) my dad bought one of the first Polaroid cameras, the kind where you rubbed the ejected square with chemicals to get the picture to appear. He was having a wonderful time with his new toy and on Easter Sunday, since we were all dressed up for church, he sat each of his five children one at a time in a straight-back armchair to take our portrait.

We started from the oldest to the youngest because Mom was still getting the youngest ones ready to go. When it finally came to the baby’s turn, she was all decked out in a fancy dress (she was 2 or 3) with gloves, hat, and fancy white patent leather shoes. Everyone gushed over how cute she looked, so she was excited to have her photo taken.

While waiting, she’d somehow gotten a thumbtack stuck in the sole of her shoe. When Dad perched her up on the chair, her little legs stuck straight out and everyone watching (i.e. Dad, Mom, and her four older siblings) all shouted, “A tack!” and lunged for her foot.

The baby, terrified by having her entire family shout, “Attack!” and race toward her, burst into tears. Poor little thing…we probably scarred her for life.

Is the democratic party broken?

The other day I saw this:

Hilary already had her time. I like Bernie Sanders. 

This was my response:

Bernie Sanders is unelectable. He divided the Democratic party so much it left room for the Russians to foist the Orange One upon us. His misogynistic Bernie Bros pushed his campaign by hating Hillary because she was a woman. He’s alienated so very many. Lesser of two evils, indeed. Hmmph

His messages, policies, and platforms are now shared by many potential candidates. And for the record, Hillary never got her time, it was stolen away from her. In my humble opinion, while the DNC needed/still needs to stretch it’s goals to the more progressive side, it was FAR from broken.

That started me thinking which led to today’s post. I’m a lesbian woman who has watched my party pull the USA toward the more liberal agenda over most of my lifetime. I’ve cheered and participated the whole way, being born in the late fifties as one of the tag-end baby boomers.

The DNC, while I’ve been alive, mind you, have gotten Social Security enacted to protect/improve the lives of the elderly as well as Medicare for the poor. They passed civil rights legislation that included voting rights for black Americans, and funding for public education and schools. Wade v. Roe may have been a legal victory, but the Dems made sure abortions were affordable and available.

The Democrats won a hard-fought battle for Title IX, demanding equal opportunities for women athletes, as well as pushing for legislation to improve the health care for women, reproductive and otherwise. More recently, they helped push through voting measure after measure to ensure the rights of everyone to marry the person of their choice, regardless of gender, a matter quite dear to my heart. They fought with tooth and toenail against Prop 8, before and after passage, until it was repealed. And when the banks nearly collapsed, they passed the Frank/Dodd legislation to rein in banks and protect people’s savings and IRAs.

Democrats have been at the forefront of every major political battle of my life. Although not always victorious, sometimes inexcusably negligent, and occasionally hoodwinked by the unscrupulous (just like the individuals who make up the party and the human race as a whole) they have clearly and quite demonstrably made my life a better place from where it was destined when I was young.

In 2016, once again, the Dems were at the forefront of change, supporting and backing a female candidate for president after putting the first black man in office. There was no more deserving person than Hillary Clinton, who’d worked to improve the lives of women and children her whole life. When pushed by the patriarchal leadership to conform to the good-old-boy’s standards, she did it. When told to toughen up and take it on the chin like a man, she did. When she came nose to nose and toe to toe with some of the most powerful male leaders in the world, she held her own and represented the USA with powerful grace and skill. She is so effective as a leader that she had the Russians quaking in their boots.

Now we know what we didn’t in 2016 when all the post-election blame was being hurled at Hillary’s feet. The Russians have been targeting the American political system for decades, trying to influence our government into such political chaos that they can either tear us down or force us into a much more compliant nation.

The Russians (and others, I’m looking at you, China, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia) have used subtle forms of propaganda to convince the American people to pull away from each other. They target the poorest (financially) of both political parties with Plain Folks speech, namecalling the opposition, fake news, glittering generalities, and by urging them to jump on the bandwagon of either ultra-conservativism or progressive liberalism. The RNC has been pretty much taken over by the alt-right who demand unquestioning loyalty in support of business and profits. The DNC is also being divided, although not surprisingly the party of inclusiveness is showing signs it may survive as a whole.

The truth is, in my humble opinion, the liberal progressive agenda was moving ahead fairly well in our uniquely American one-step-forward-two-steps-back kinda way until portions of our population got hoodwinked by propaganda into a simmering discontent. Next thing I know is the party that’s always fought to make my life better is being divided almost as effectively as the conservative party by social media and the political machinations of Bernie Sanders. The originally Liberty Union Party, then Independent, then Democrat, now Independent again candidate, who has a lot of good ideas but no sound ways of implementing them, taps into the misogynists within the Democrats the way Trump tapped into the racists among the Republicans.

Sanders, needing a strong political base, didn’t squash the anti-woman rhetoric some of his followers (the self-proclaimed Bernie Bros) spouted. Even after his defeat in the primary, Sanders refused to throw his full endorsement behind Hillary Clinton. Instead, he chose to fuel the fires of party division with innuendo and slippery slope arguments and only at the very end of the campaign, when hints of a Trump victory were in the air, did he urge his most devoted to not stay home as they’d announced they’d do, but instead go out and vote for the ‘lesser of two evils’.

By then he’d dumped the Democrats to assume the mantle of the Independent Progressive, otherwise known as He-Who-Would-Have-Been-Elected-If-Only. He kept insisting the parties were basically the same, a patent falsehood that has been stated so often people are starting to believe it.

With all this division and refusal to compromise, while foreign entities create false memes and fake websites filled with clickbait to outrage and inspire, is it any wonder our country is grinding to a standstill, our citizens suffering, as our great American experiment of a democratic republic crumbles before our eyes? Can’t you just see Putin doing the happy dance while pulling our strings, making our president and citizenry dance to his tune?

But, even as we’re encouraged to judge without evidence, hurl insults rather than offer help, and are being dragged into a nationalistic Us v. Them mentality/behavior, those messages are being questioned. Our shared humanity has begun to shine through.

As always when the powerful make the financially vulnerable suffer, individuals with little more themselves are making up the difference, opening food pantries, starting crowd fundraising, staffing and serving those in need. People across the political spectrum have always responded to cries for help because when we aren’t beating drums within our individual tribes we’re all basically the same.

We want to live in peace among our neighbors, love someone who loves us back, provide for our children and elderly, and chase a dream or two. Our country was founded on the assumption that every human being is equal, and entitled to the chance to attain happiness. It’s time to make good on those premises (pun intended, oh spelling-nazis).

It may be a shame, but it appears neither Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders could wrest control from The Donald anymore. Fortunately, a whole new crop of liberals have entered local, state, and federal elections. They’ll tell us who they are over the next year, gearing up for the big one of 2020. The heart of the liberal still beats among us and as our voices join they grow louder every day.

I think it’s especially pertinent as we watch the changing landscape of the synergistic DNC, to remember the wise words of Maya Angelou:

“When someone tells you who they are, believe them.”

The Elephant on the Phone

GOP_Trump_ElephantDailyKos
https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2015/7/22/1404275/-Cartoon-Trump-is-the-face-of-the-GOP Cartoon credit Laloalcaraz @dailykos.com

In the past, I have always heeded sage advice and avoided using this blog to discuss politics and politicians, in particular. It never works for authors to refer to their own political leanings in print, online, or social media conversations. Inevitably, fans with different political leanings will turn away, sometimes feeling so betrayed by you that they actively dissuade potential readers. That’s the kiss of death. So why do it today?

Because I’m in the position of a woman anxiously waiting by my phone for a certain man to call. But the entire trope is upside down, which makes it noteworthy, at least to this author. Usually, said woman is hoping to be pleased if not thrilled when Ms./Mr. Right finally phones. I know this. I write romances. The anticipation is pleasant, spiced with the normal dread of disappointment.

But that’s not the way I feel. I don’t like this. It feels scary and wrong. I don’t want Big Orange having access to my ever-present cellphone that I’ve been told can gather information about me by not only listening in but also providing real time video. For two days I’ve been hearing that Big Orange is going to phone every American’s cellphone to test a new national alert system. While I can’t object to the government being able to alert its citizens in case of emergencies, the anticipation I feel is near terrifying. I find myself dreading the ringing of the phone.

Things are so extreme these days. I’m constantly being reminded of alarming dystopian fiction, not to mention the lessons of history. I’m reminded that events which seem like ancient history to us now were ‘modern times’ when they happened. What if our ‘modern times’ include a government led by narrow-minded holier-than-thou types who approve of spying on its citizenry, using what it learns to keep the populace in line? Is it possible for them to watch, listen, and record me twenty-four/seven? Which of the digital gadgets in my house are already gathering info about me with permissions they’ve gathered unbeknownst to me?

What if I start receiving messages that are duplicitous, or outright lies? Could propaganda be ringing me up? What does that mean? What will happen? How will society change? What will be the new norms? Will families like mine be allowed to exist legally? Will we need to flee our own country to remain free?

Sounds paranoid, I know. But, I’m an older white female, well-educated, who’s only missed three elections since her eighteenth birthday, all due to distance or illness. (Please, don’t nag me to vote absentee. I prefer walking into the polling place and wearing my I Voted sticker all day.) I’m also a lesbian with a wife, two kids, four grand-kids, and three great-grands. My personality is quixotic and usually upbeat. An artist, I easily find the beauty of the world all around me; as a teacher I can’t help pointing it out to anyone nearby. But it’s been a rough twenty-three months for people like me.

Everything I thought I knew about my country, my fellow Americans, my neighbors and friends, has been turned upside down. Harmful laws I thought gone forever are being reinstituted while helpful ones are dismantled as if they never existed. Ethics are being ridiculed, sacrificed on the alter of wealth. Women are being ridiculed, sacrificed on the alter of white male privilege, easily mansplained away. People aren’t listening to each other, compassion is rare, and judgement abounds.

“The times,” as Bob Dylan once noted, “they are a’changing…” and not for the better. Or, as Wednesday Addams said more succinctly, “Be afraid. Be very afraid.”

I refer you to the novels:

  1. Nineteen-Eighty-Four by George Orwell
  2. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  3. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  4. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  5. Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  6. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  7. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

Read, think, vote. We dare not go gently, like lambs led to slaughter.

VOTE ON NOVEMBER 6TH, 2018

EEK! There’s the phone…

Lauren Margaret on a Hard Part of Foster Parenting

My niece is doing the tremendously hard work of foster-parenting. It’s a noble thing to do which can backfire on the host family in any number of ways. Their efforts have brought her family both joy…and heartbreak, as Lauren’s following blog post proves:

DISRUPTING

 

Lauren Disrupting
Photo credit: laurenmargaret.com

 

 

 

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