Friday, December 9, 2016

It's Not Me, It's You

Friends. Just a little heads up. Facebook and I are taking a break, indefinitely. Because I get about 97% of my blog traffic from Facebook, this is akin to social media suicide. But I have determined that, in the interest of preserving a tenuous hold on my mental health, my efforts, passions, and anxieties can be channeled in more productive ways. I may still blog, periodically. I mean, we all know I love to hear/read myself talk/write. Though to be honest, while the words are still swirling like tiny tornadoes in my head, I've lost the will to put it down.

It's been a month since the election and I'm still in mourning. I actually feel like I am forced to relive the horror every time I read about Trump's latest, inexplicable, mind-boggling, terrifying cabinet pick. I am not allowed to begin to heal, because the wound is reopened every single day. I can honestly say I have never felt like this before. I think I'm still partly in denial. It feels like I'm in some awful alternate reality, a parody, a perversion, of what America is supposed to be. And then I remember this is actually happening and that realization hits me like a punch to the gut. Every time.

I understand some (many?) have tired of my incessant shouty caps complaints as of late. People say things like "Quit your white liberal whining," "Get over it," "It's not that bad," etc. But in my mind, if you are not consumed with a near-constant feeling of dread and despair, then you are not paying attention. This is not a drill, people. This is the real deal.
While I initially found solace in the pantsuit pity-party of like-minded individuals on Facebook, I've been recently repelled by the particular brand of vapid toxicity found there. From the hateful, fact-resistant sewage spewed on one-side, to the (justified) hostility of marginalized communities, to the fragile, defensive, self-congratulatory, and yes, whiney white liberals - it literally makes my eyes twitch and my skin crawl. I feel like my soul is slowly seeping out through my fingertips, and I can't take it anymore.

Please do not take this to mean that I am going to check out and go bury my head in the sunny, San Diego sand. I'm just tired of talking about it. Yes, discourse has it's place in social change, but that alone is not enough. I've worked with a lot of non-profits over the years, and I would always get so frustrated because there was so much touchy-feelyness. We had to have meetings and meetings and more meetings and talk about our feelings and our dreams for the future and yet the agenda every week was the same because we were so busy talking about what we would do in a perfect world, we didn't have time to get shit done in the real world, in all its completely jacked-up glory. I am ready to DO.

I encourage you to DO, too. As I wrote a week or two ago, my day to day life will probably not be terribly impacted by Trump and his band of terrible misfits. I'm white. I live in California. I won't need an abortion. I won't be deported. I won't be wrongfully targeted, accused, jailed, or shot by the police. Nobody is going to question my right to be in this country. To be married. To use which bathroom makes me feel safe and comfortable. Nobody is going to threaten my children, tell them to go back to Mexico, Africa, or I-Ran (because, as previously noted, though they are half Persian, they look like So-Cal surfer kids through and through). I don't know if they'll be gay or straight, but hopefully by the time that comes up, this nightmare will be behind us. My husband and I are lawyers. We're marketable and employable. We own our home and so won't fall prey to the next mortgage crisis that will most certainly occur if Trump and his swamp rat cronies repeal Dodd Frank and embolden Wall Street. We're not 1%-ers, but we're at the top of the champagne glass, so to speak.

I know a lot of you are in the same demographic space. And it's easy to feel fatigued and overwhelmed, to want to just gather your family close, and curl up into your turtle shell, and wait it out. And I get that. I totally do. As Mother Theresa said, if you want world peace, go home and hug your family. Charity starts at home, and all that. And loving families that look out for one-another are certainly an imperative piece of the puzzle for a well-functioning society. But I'm here to tell you that that is simply not enough. Think about it. To draw on an analogy used to explain Black Lives Matter, if your neighbor's house was burning, would you just stand there and shrug and say, "At least it's not my house?"

Because, you guys, our neighbors' homes are burning. In America, a cop can shoot a black man in the back while he is running away, or face-down on the ground, or standing with his hands in the air, and not be convicted of murder. The KKK and other white supremacy groups are openly cheering President-elect Donald Trump and each terrifying cabinet appointment he makes. Black people, brown people, Muslims, Jews, gay, lesbian and transgender Americans are being threatened and assaulted in record numbers. Hate crimes have spiked across the country, particularly at our nation's schools. This is not normal. This is not okay. And sticking our fingers in our ears, squeezing our eyes tight, and singing LALALALA isn't going to make it go away.

Just because I'm not worried about my son getting shot in the back, or my home being foreclosed on, or someone attacking me because my version of "love" doesn't comport with their limited understanding, doesn't mean I can just say, "Eh, not my problem." That's not how a democratic society is supposed to work. Or rather, when that is our approach to "democracy," Donald Trump happens.

On a related and perhaps overly bossy and meddling tangent: I have been involved in multiple conversations recently with friends and acquaintances whom I have always thought of as conscious, thoughtful, forward-thinking people. And then they say things like, "Yeah I'll explain _________ [black history/LGBTQ issues/women's rights/civil rights] to my kids when they're old enough to understand." Um, they're old enough to understand right now. I'm not saying you need to sit your four-year-old down and have her watch Twelve Years a Slave or anything, but you are handicapping your children, not to mention perpetuating your white privilege, by keeping them in the dark about issues that one quarter of our society has to face literally from the moment of their birth. Not only are you handicapping your children's ability to be fully functioning members of society, you are handicapping our society, and it's ability to change and heal and grow. Also, if they don't know/examine/question these concepts until they're ten or fifteen or whatever age you deem "old enough to understand," they're automatically going to come at it as a foreign concept, just because they've been shielded from it for so long.

I can tell you from experience, you (and they) are a lot better off telling them now. The conversation will go something like this: Kid: "Uncle T is a boy, and he loves boys?" Adult: "Yep." Kid: "Cool. Can I have a popsicle?" Or, Adult: "Did you know that fifty years ago, it was illegal in many states for black people and white people to marry each other?" Kid: "So Auntie B and Uncle E wouldn't have been allowed to get married?" Adult: "Nope." Kid: "That's awful." Adult: "Yep." Kid: "Wanna play catch?" Even if you're uncomfortable with the way certain people live their lives, you can teach your children that, in America, adults can choose to live their lives as they please, and so long as they aren't hurting anyone else, it's none of our gosh darn business. Even if your religion dictates a certain position - can't you just say "We believe X, they believe Y, but guess what, we're not God, and we'll leave God's business and judgments to the him (or her)." For example, I despise cigarettes. I think they are filthy nasty death sticks and it is beyond my comprehension why so many people still smoke. My kids know I feel this way. They also know their uncle smokes cigarettes. When they ask about the contradiction, I tell them he's an adult and he's entitled to make decisions about his own life whether or not I agree with them, and I love and support him anyway.  I normally try not to "should" on people a la my BFF Claire. But desperate times call for desperate measures. Food for thought, maybe?

Anyway, I'll catch you guys on the flip side, wherever and whenever that may be. Feel free to subscribe to the blog or check back in periodically. You know where to find me!

In the meantime, be kind to each other. Listen before you speak. Educate yourselves. Think critically. Keep informed. Stay outraged. Show up. BE the change.

(Did you guys ever sign your yearbooks with "Peace in the Middle East?" No? Yeah. Me neither. ;) But I'd settle for "Peace in America," for now. Baby steps.)

Side note, I've been thinking/talking a lot lately about white privilege, and engaging with non-white people on the subject. If you think "white privilege" doesn't exist, I invite you to consider the Black Santa outrage and get back to me. I've definitely been knocked down a few notches by black and brown women and men, which in turn forces introspection and examination of my privilege vis-a-vis my role in the fight for racial equality. The Great White Butt Hurt is alive and well, and we - white people - are the ones who need to find the cure. It's an uncomfortable and necessary and (I assume) never-ending evolution. Join me?

Suggested Reading:

Engaging Children in Difficult Conversations about Gender Identity, Race, and Justice - Human Rights Campaign

Colorblind Ideology is a Form of Racism - Psychology Today (Aka - When you say you "don't see color," you sound like an asshole.)

White Privilege, Explained in One Simple Comic - Everyday Feminism

Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person - Huffington Post

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack - Peggy McIntosh

White Fragility: Why It's So Hard to Talk to White People About Racism - Dr. Robin DiAngelo, Good Men Project

Working Assumptions - Cultural Bridges to Justice

Community Policing - The Police Foundation

Toolbox for Education and Social Action: "What To Do Instead of Calling the Police" is a Must Read

Hey does anyone want to start a virtual book club?? These are on my list to read/re-read. Normally I am a novel girl all the way, but in the name of enlightenment, I'm changing tacks for a bit:

The Stop Trump Reading List: ReMezcla

Race, Class and Gender in the United States 

Between the World and Me - Ta-Nehisi Coates

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness - Michelle Alexander

Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America - Jill Leovy

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis - J. D. Vance

White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America - Nancy Isenberg

Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right - Arlie Russel Rothschild

We Should All be Feminists - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A Theory of Justice: John Rawls

1984: George Orwell

Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? - Thomas Frank

(I know this list is underrepresenting LGBTQ, Latinx and Native American authors/issues, among others. Please do recommend any additions!)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Mary Had a Little Lamb

Help me out, Hive Mind. The video below is basically my son right now. At the ripe old age of 6, he has doubled down on his previously feeble moral objections to eating meat. Correction: He has doubled down on his moral objections to eating meat that looks/tastes like meat. He "feels bad for the little chicken/cow/pig" when he is reminded of it's existence before it became dinner. As long as the helpless little creature is camouflaged, it's all good. Ground beef is okay (tacos/burgers). Chicken nuggets are fine (as he argues, "They're probably not even made with chicken anyway," and he may be right.) Pepperoni on pizza, bring it on. So basically if he wants to become the poster child for the childhood obesity epidemic, he's golden.

We just recently came clean to the kids that I am not, in fact, "allergic" to meat. Rather, I choose not to eat it and have abstained for the last twenty-some-odd years. So I can't in good conscience make the kid eat meat. I get where he's coming from. I had the same struggles when I was a kid (though I'd like to think I was a lot less of a g.d. drama queen about it, good lord), which started around the time my little sister was old enough to ask "Mom, what is pork made out of? Cute little baby piglets?" etc. (She would then smile and me and dig gleefully into her cute tiny baby piglet-chop, consuming it with relish.) I attempted to declare myself a vegetarian around the age of 8, and about every 6 months thereafter, but my mom said I had to eat meat until I could plan and prepare healthy meals containing all essential nutrients. I stopped eating red meat at 13 and white meat a year later.

The thing is, my kid won't eat fake-meat either. He hates tofu, seitan, tempeh, etc. He doesn't like eggs. He doens't like most beans or legumes. He doesn't like eggplant or mushrooms (can't blame him there either, those are the devil's slimy leftovers). He will happily eat the junk food noted above, as well as fruit, raw vegetables, salad, and carbohydrates. That's about it. Oh and he drinks a lot of milk. (As the world's worst vegetarian, I may not be the best role model.)

I've read a lot of articles about how, contrary to the wisdom of our parents' generation, you're not supposed to force kids to "clean their plates," or have those dinnertime battles with kids at all, lest we instill a negative relationship with healthy eating. (Side note - funny how one of my hallmarks of successful parenting - before I had children, obviously - was eating dinner together as a family. But it is actually the most arduous, painful, and least favorite part of my day.) Anyway, if we let him have his way, he will survive on bread/pasta/fruit/vegetables and take out at least until he is 18 years old. Will that result in him being a skinny, malnourished little shrimp with brittle bones? And if so, what am I supposed to do about it? Sit at the dinner table for all of eternity, trying to force him to eat until everyone's in tears? Get better about hiding furry little animal bits in his food? Ugh. Help!


Friday, November 18, 2016

That Day My Four Year Old Became a Trump Supporter

Colby: "Who do you want to win the election, Mama?"

Me: Hillary Clinton.

Colby: Why do you want her to win? She's a liar and a bad pewson.

Me: I'm sorry, what was that babe? I think I misheard you.

Colby: My teacher told me Hillary Clinton's a liar and a bad pewson.

Me: Well, some people think that, but I don't agree. I think Hillary Clinton will make a great president.

Colby: My teacher said Donald Twump will be the BEST Pwesident.

Me: Well honey, I disagree. Donald Trump says hurtful and disrespectful things about all sorts of different kinds of people. [Not to mention he lacks the knowledge, experience and temperament to be the leader of the free world.] I don't think he would be a good President at all.

Colby: My teacher says Hillary Clinton is the one who says diswespectful things. She told me anyone who says Donald Twump says mean things is just making it up.

Me: Hmmm... okayyyy... welll.... uh, everyone is entitled to their opinion, sugar pie. I'll just have to agree to disagree with her on that. [And/or provide video evidence.]

Colby: Mama, I know you won't be too happy, but half of me wants Donald Twump to win.

Sweet Jesus. I tried to think about how someone would feel if the situation were reversed - If the child of a Trump supporter came home from school spouting insults about Donald Trump. But then I thought, what could you possibly say about Donald Trump that is worse than the truth? And even if there was something, empirical evidence (and his own hubris) indicates that his supporters couldn't care less. (E.g., "I could shoot somebody and not lose voters.")

This exchange happened on election night. I had left a little early and was feeling nervous but giddy. I was anxious that the election would be a nail-biter, but felt fairly confident it would end in celebration of the first female president of the United States. NPR was on the radio, turned down low, talking about early returns from the east coast. When Colby spoke up, I honestly thought I had misheard. By the time the conversation was over, I was so mad I could barely see straight.

Later, when the kids were in bed, and I had come out of hiding from my hour-long bubble-bath to face the dystopian reality of a Donald Trump presidency, I rehashed the conversation with DM, the rage-heat rising, fire in my heart. I was out for blood. This was so wrong! Heads were gonna roll! (And by "heads were gonna roll," I mean, "At least one or two people will be receiving a strongly-worded letter!")

The next morning at breakfast, Colby asked, "Who won the Pwesident contest?"

Me: Donald Trump.

Colby: Yay! That makes me happy because it will make my teacher so happy!

[Me, smoothing my loving mom face over my apoplectic fury.]

DM pleaded with me not to say anything, and I didn't. But later that night we were out with friends and someone said, "I just cannot believe Hillary lost." I replied, "I know. I am devastated." Colby looked stricken. She went over to DM and whispered in his ear, "Why did they want Hillary Clinton to win? She is a liar." Later, Colby told us that Donald Trump was going to build a wall to "protect us" from "bad people" because that is what Pwesidents are supposed to do. DM looked at me and said, "You know how I told you not to write that letter? I changed my mind."

Dear Teacher –

I’m sad to have to write this after having such a pleasant visit with the class on Friday. You seem like a nice person and Colby obviously loves you a lot, but I don’t think this is something that should be swept under the rug. This is about the content, tenor, and very fact of your apparently in-depth conversation with my four year old daughter about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

On election night, Colby shared some of your comments regarding the presidential candidates - that Hillary Clinton is a “liar” and a “bad person,” and that anyone who says bad things about Donald Trump is making it up. She also said something about Donald Trump’s “Wall” and how it would “help people,” but I’m hoping something was lost in translation there.

I have tried, and failed, to understand what would lead you, her preschool teacher, to believe it was appropriate to say these things to my four-year-old child. It is completely unprofessional and totally out of line.

I understand and support the discussion of elections in general terms, even in preschool. It’s an important aspect of American citizenship and I don’t think you’re ever too young to learn what it means to be a productive member of society. As a rule, I try to be honest and straightforward with my children about the goings-on in the world. But while I don’t want them to live under a rock, I don’t think they’re old enough to comprehend an unfiltered account of American politics, particularly the toxic brand exhibited in the 2016 presidential campaign.

I have tried very hard to shield both of my children from the ugliness of this election season. Granted they pick it up outside the home, from friends, relatives, or at school (though I always assumed that would be from their peers, not their teachers!) We don’t watch the news with them, we didn’t let them see the debates, I even switched off NPR in the car whenever a story about the latest election “scandal” came on. They are clearly aware that I prefer Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump, and of course they ask why, but in the spirit of not saddling my small children with my own political baggage, the farthest I have gone is to say I prefer Clinton because Trump has said hurtful and disrespectful things about many different groups of people (though, to be honest, my true feelings are much more… colorful). I don’t think reasonable minds can disagree that Donald Trump has said some pretty awful things about many groups of people, including women, gays and lesbians, Muslims, immigrants, and Mexicans, to name a few. So, to hear my daughter say her beloved teacher told her that anyone who says Donald Trump is mean/hurtful/disrespectful is “making it up” really stopped me in my tracks. Essentially, you told my daughter I am a liar.

The poor girl was in tears last night. She is basically having a crisis of conscience because she doesn't understand how two very important people in her life could be telling her opposite things. It has really shaken her. She is too young to learn that adults have just as many flaws and foibles as kids do (a lot more, probably!) If it was just “I choose Trump, you choose Clinton,” that would be one thing. But you have told her that her mother’s candidate of choice is a liar and a bad person, thus calling into question my integrity and judgment.

I understand teachers are people too, with their own values and beliefs. I understand this is a thorny issue, balancing the rights of free speech with the rights of parents to raise their children in the manner they see fit. I understand this is a private preschool, and that the YMCA itself was founded on conservative Christian beliefs. I also understand that, eventually, my children are going to face a full frontal assault from the “real world” and they will have to sift the information they gather there and make their own, informed decisions. What I do not understand is why you, a teacher, and a mother, thought it was okay to put all of that on my daughter’s plate in preschool. How would you feel if the situation were reversed? I can't imagine telling someone else's child that his or her parents' pick for presidential candidate is a terrible person, even if I believed in my heart of hearts it was true. I mean, why don't you just tell her there's no Santa Claus, while you're at it?!

But, since you seem to want to defend Donald Trump to my four year old, maybe you could also explain to her why Donald Trump wants to ban Muslims from entering the United States, impose an ideological screening test for immigration, why he claims Islam is synonymous with terrorism, why he plans to make American Muslims “register” in a database, and why his camp is citing Japanese internment as precedent. Keeping in mind Colby’s grandparents are Muslim immigrants from Iran. Not to mention Colby's other favorite, your co-teacher, a Pakistani immigrant.

Maybe you could explain to her why Donald Trump's top Supreme Court picks are openly hostile to the LGBT community, why he has promised to revoke executive orders that protect LGBT employees from workplace discrimination, and why his vice president Mike Pence believes that homosexuality is a choice and a sin, believes in “conversion therapy,” and passed a law based on a convoluted understanding of “religious liberty” allowing businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians. Keeping in mind Colby’s uncle (my little brother) is gay, as well as countless other family members, co-workers, and friends.

You could also explain to her why Donald Trump wants to build that border wall. I guess it's because he wants to "protect us" from all those Mexicans rapists, drug dealers, and criminals. And why he wants to create a “deportation force” to deport millions of immigrants and tear millions of families apart. Keeping in mind that nearly forty percent of California’s population are Latino, native and immigrant alike, including our friends, family, co-workers, and your very own students.

Perhaps most importantly, you could explain to my four-year-old daughter why the President-Elect of the United States thinks it’s acceptable to just “grab a woman by the p*ssy,” because when you’re rich and famous, “you can do anything.” Keeping in mind she is a little girl who will one day be a woman. A woman who will, in all likelihood, be treated this way by a man some day, and who will NOT, so help me God, let it slide, nor minimize, legitimize or trivialize it with platitudes like “locker room talk” or “boys will be boys.” I plan to teach my son the same.

I am sure you have your reasons for casting your vote for Donald Trump, and while I vehemently disagree, to paraphrase Voltaire, I will defend to the death your right to cast it. (Okay, that’s a little bit much. Maybe not to the death, but, let's say to my "extreme moral discomfort.") That is democracy, for better or for worse.

However, in the future, if you wish to question my personal political choices, or debate the virtues (or lack thereof) between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, please do so directly, and not by using my four year old as your go-between.

The End.

Just kidding. This reminds me - recently a cousin of mine who lives in a red part of (what used to be, sob) a blue state, posed the quandary of what to do if the only qualified and affordable child care you can afford happens to be a proud, card-carrying Deplorable. That's a tough question. I mean, we've had really republican, really religious nannies and babysitters before. And then there's the whole "secular prayer" BS at Jack's school last year. I figure a little religion can't hurt. I actually remember my babysitter as a kid once told me, when I was four, that "Jewish people don't exist." I replied, "Yes they do, because I'm Jewish." I'm not, but, eff that. (I guess there's a certain poetic circle of life vibe to this story after all ;)) Anyway, I guess for me, the rubber hits the road when the person starts negatively shaping my tiny human's little brain. And yes, since I made said tiny humans, I get to subjectively define "negative" in this case. I would say that advocating for a "border wall" to "protect us" from Mexican "rapists and drug dealers," believing a Nazi database for Muslim Americans is warranted, and arguing that gays, lesbians or any other humans are not entitled to equal protection under the laws is where I draw the line in the sand.

Okay, I'm REALLY bad about promises like this but I do think this is my last political post. Probably. Maybe. At least until January 20th. I think :)

Okay this is kind of hilarious. C: Reuters/Dialy Mail. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Keep Calm and ... Eff That

If one more person tells me to Calm Down about the election, so help me God, I am going to aggressively visualize myself punching them in their bark box. My favorites are the ones who call me and my fellow pissed-off womenfolk "hysterical." Ah. I see. Accusing women who are voicing legitimate concerns about a President-Elect who has vowed to curtail our rights as suffering from "hysterics." How original. I keep seeing posts along the lines of, "Quit your whining and get over it already, you live in California, you'll be fine." I'm calling bullshit. Beware, I'm about to bust out numerical headings.

1) Trump supporters vowed to revolt with WITH ARMED MILITIAS if Hillary won, so you'll excuse me if I'm sorry-not-sorry about my peaceful protest.

2) You don't get to tell me or anyone else whether or not my shock/grief/horror about Donald Trump-as-President is legitimate. Pain and sadness are funny things. Personal, and subjective. Speaking from experience, as a mother whose children occasionally scream like they're being attacked by a chainsaw when I tell them they can't have lollipops, trivializing someone's pain does not make them "get over it" any faster. Just the opposite, in fact, because you're only adding insult to injury.

3) Saying "you're straight/white/upper-middle-class/and live in California, don't worry about it" is a textbook example of privilege-in-action. Or rather, privilege inaction. And just because we have the advantage of living in California, where only 33% instead of 50% (or more) of the electorate support a bigoted president, doesn't mean we should just throw our hands up and say, "Oh well, not my problem." That kind of attitude is how we got here in the first place, because the affluent educated white folk are so isolated from the people who are actually suffering, they are able to ignore the problem or forget it even exists.

4) It is further indicative of your privileged position when you call outrage at a President-elect who has vowed to violate the civil rights of several vulnerable classes of citizens, "whining."

But hey, maybe you're right. Maybe it won't personally affect me. After all, my ovaries are like two shriveled little California raisins someone left between the couch cushions circa 2012, so overturning Roe v. Wade won't affect me. Why should I worry about more unwanted children and back-alley coat hanger abortions? Out of sight, out of mind, right?

If they make my Iranian immigrant mother- and father-in law, who have lived in the United States almost 50 years, register in their Muslim database, I guess that's not actually my life. Nothin' to get my panties rumpled over there!

If they tell my brother he's not allowed to marry the man he loves: "Haha, just kidding! We're doing take-backsies on marriage equality!" that's not, technically, my problem, right? I mean, his last boyfriend was a total douche so maybe it's a good thing. So what if Trump's top domestic policy advisor believes gay sex is a transgression against God and homosexuality is a "choice" that can be changed! And, if Trump nominates some ass-backwards, vehemently anti-LGBT Supreme Court Justice (or two) (e.g. William Pryor, who was on the wrong side of the landmark gay rights case Lawrence v. Texas, in which he argued homosexuality was on a level with pedophilia and incest, and believed gay sex should be illegal), well, look at the bright side - it'll probably only take, oh, I dunno, thirty, forty years to gain back all the ground the LGBT community fought so hard to win, and lost under the Trump presidency. I mean, fifty years at the outside. Your gay great-grandchildren will be golden.

Cutting Medicare will probably affect my dad in his Golden Years, but it's cool, we have an extra bedroom and I'm a super fancy lawyer so I can totally afford a private, round-the-clock nurse and price-gauged medications, no worries. I got you, Pops!

I don't think any strange men are gonna be grabbin' my pussy anytime soon (see above re: shriveled ovaries). So I guess I shouldn't stress about the President-Elect of the United States trivializing sexual assault. (Please little baby infant Jesus let someone with a political agenda befitting the 21st century  be president before I have to worry about some creeper fondling my daughter's little lady bits and pawning it off as "locker room talk.")

In that case, I probably shouldn't stress about deepening racial divides, the increased militarization of the police, racial bias in the classrooms and the school-to-prison pipeline, the disparate impact of our justice system on black and brown boys and men, nor the certainty that these chasms will only widen under Trump, as evidenced by his assemblage of a white-supremacist dream-team in his cabinet. I mean, my kids aren't brown so, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ On second thought, they are technically "ethnic" (Muslim Iranian grandparents as noted above), but they look super white so we should be good to go. So, yeah, you're probably right. What is there to whine about? Thanks, man. I feel much better. I think I'm going to drink some wine and watch some trashy television because that seems way more fun than being a vocal ally for my fellow americans that are being persecuted under the apparent authority of the President-Elect of the United States of America. Phew. Let me tell you, that is a load off my shoulders because I am way too freakin' busy to be stressing about the basic liberty and human rights of people who are not me!
It certainly is nice to live in California though. I can't argue with that. #blessed

“In California, diversity is strength. Our students come from all kinds of backgrounds, cultures, languages, and religions, and they all come together to learn on their way to success in 21st century careers and college. California already has, and will always maintain, strong legal and state constitutional protections against any and all kinds of discrimination, regardless of a student’s race, ethnicity, faith, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

“And I want to tell young women and girls that they will always be safe, be respected, and be protected at school. As the proud father of two daughters, I know that girls can achieve anything, succeed at anything they choose, and earn the respect that they deserve every day at school, in the workplace, and in our communities. California moves forward, not back.”

- State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Assures California Public School Students That They are Safe From Discrimination and Bullying

"By a margin in the millions, Californians overwhelmingly rejected politics fueled by resentment, bigotry, and misogyny.

The largest state of the union and the strongest driver of our nation’s economy has shown it has its surest conscience as well.

California is – and must always be – a refuge of justice and opportunity for people of all walks, talks, ages and aspirations – regardless of how you look, where you live, what language you speak, or who you love.

California has long set an example for other states to follow. And California will defend its people and our progress. We are not going to allow one election to reverse generations of progress at the height of our historic diversity, scientific advancement, economic output, and sense of global responsibility."

- Joint Statement from California Legislative Leaders on Result of Presidential Election

"Bigotry is bad for business." Or is it? Democrats demand that Trump rescind Bannon appointment - Politico

Sadly, even California is not immune to the particular brand of twat-wafflery fomented by Donald Trump's presidential campaign. Some stellar example of the human race was handing out fake deportation letters to Latino students at Shasta High in Redding, California. Harassment based on race and religion in California schools has increased since the election. It's super thoughtful of Trump to tell these a-holes to "Stop it" in his 60 Minutes interview Sunday, but I'm afraid you can't put the toothpaste back in the tube (or the bigots back in the basement) on that one.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Look Mom, No Politics!

I promised yesterday's post would be the last political post of the season. I've got itchy fingers, but I will abide. Scout's honor.

I don't have time to pore through my journals for a full-blow edition of Shit My Kids Say, but this one cracked me up so I am going to share.

Yesterday, we were looking at baby pictures, and Jack said to Colby, "See right there? That's where they cut the cord where you're attached to your mama. They cut it out of your stomach with a knife and it hurts, and it leaves a scar which is your belly button."

Me: The just cut the cord part, with scissors actually. They don't cut your stomach. And it doesn't hurt.

Colby [face contorted in horror]: THERE'S A CORD ATTACHING BABIES TO MAMAS???

Jack: Well. Anyway. That's why I don't want to get married. Because if I get married then my wife will want to have kids and I don't want to be dealing with all of that.

Me: Not all wives want to have kids.

Jack: Well mine probably would. So, no wives for me.

Me: I didn't particularly want to have kids, but then I met Daddy, and I had you, and now look at me! I mean, where would I be without you two? I'd be lost! I can't imagine! Can you even imagine?

Jack: Yeah, I can imagine. You'd be like, "What was I talking about?" And Daddy would say, "I don't know, I wasn't listening." And you would say, "Seriously?" So. Good thing you had us or that would be your life.

Me [between snorts of laughter]: Good thing! (For the record, having two children has not helped much in the "Am I talking to the wall???" department!)

(This isn't the first time Jack has professed an aversion to fatherhood. A couple months ago he said "I don't want to have kids because I don't want to change any diapers and I really like my alone time." Fair enough.)

Colby: Yeah, you didn't want to have kids but then Daddy said "Children are very useful" so you did and you are so lucky because now you have us to help you with stuff like doing laundry and setting the table.

She's onto me ;)

So anyway, like I always say: Kids. The biggest mistake you will never regret. Plus the added perqs of conversation carriers and free labor. Because my kids are so good at listening and chores ;)

Worth it. One hundred bajillion times.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Lesser of Four Evils

I had to write the word "explosion" about twenty times for work today, and every single time my fingers inexplicably typed "explosure" and that's actually a pretty accurate term for what happens in my head when I think about the fact that Donald J. Trump may actually become the President of the United States.

I understand I'm just preaching to the choir at this point, and that's fine. I just hope I can impress upon the choir that this is not a drill. The latest Washington Post-ABC poll has Trump at 46%, Clinton at 45%. This causes me physical pain and acute nausea. The KKK, neo-nazis and other white supremacist groups are plotting a show of force at urban polling places on election day in hopes of suppressing black votes. Complacency has no place in the last best shit show of 2016. Get. Out. There. And. Vote.

I don't know how to "fix" America, but I do know Donald Trump is not the answer. He is the worst thing to happen to this country in a long time. He's a hate-peddling swill-merchant. And the saddest thing is, people are buying what he's selling.

Here's a little story. I was in San Francisco this weekend and ended up in the middle of a budding bar fight. Well, really it was just an unprovoked attack on some unsuspecting bystander and I decided to play knightress in shining Northface fleece. I was sitting at a table minding my own business, having a cocktail and chatting with my brother and a friend when I couldn't help but notice a drunk blonde leaning over me to yell at the woman behind me.

Woman 1 (Drunk Blonde): "ARE YOU EVEN AMERICAN?!"

Woman 2: Yes I am.


Woman 2: I don't know what to tell you. My family has lived in San Francisco for three generations. How long have you lived in San Francisco? [Her ancestors hailed from Japan, I later learned.]


I stood up at this point because, No, bitch. Nobody invokes the Constitution of the United States to support their harebrained, bigoted blonde ass on my watch.

Me: Do you know how many representatives we have?

Woman 1: I asked her!

Me: I'm asking you. Do you even know?

[I shit you not, this clown did. not. even. know. I cannot think of a more telling display of self-righteous dys-trumpian ignorance.]


Me: 53. 53 representatives. Do you know who our senators are? Do you know your representative? Do you know your state representatives? Do you know when the Constitution was adopted? How many amendments are there? Which ones are in the bill of rights?

I basically gave this real life troll an American citizenship quiz. And she failed. Bigly. (She was then escorted from the bar by an acquaintance who assured me "She's really pretty nice when she's sober." Riiiight.)

This reminded me of the time someone called my little brother a fag in the Castro. Like, bruh, two groups you should probably not insult in San Francisco: The Asians and The Gays.

My husband thinks things have always been this bad - or worse - and the unholy trifecta of the internet, Donald Trump and the GOP have merely converged to reveal America's vast, flabby underbelly. Personally, I think I preferred when they stayed in their mama's basements. But if we're gonna smoke 'em out and smarten 'em up, there has got to be a better way.

Listen. If you truly think Donald Trump or Gary Johnson or Jill Stein are, in any universe, on any scale, by any measurement - more prepared, educated, capable, or qualified to serve as Commander in Chief - well then I personally think you need to get your news somewhere other than Facebook. Gary Johnson is dangerously uninformed. Jill Stein is a tin-hat conspiracy theorist who also has no idea what she's talking about - and, ps, has ties to Wall Street, Big Pharma & Big Oil - the same industries she so sanctimoniously decries!!! As I've said before, if you choose one of these yahoos over Hillary Clinton - flawed? yes, uninspired? maybe, a politician? most definitely, but one who's eminently qualified and has served thirty years as a public servant, then I think your "principled stand" against the "Lesser of Two Evils" is a bunch of baloney. But if, after doing your due diligence and educating yourself, that is what you truly and honestly believe, then I am not here to persuade you otherwise.

Likewise, if you truly and honestly believe that Hillary Clinton is an evil warlord intent on fomenting WWIII for her own personal and political motives, then, you know what? This post is not for you.

If you're still here - a recap of my feeling on third party candidates in general. I completely understand your beef with the two party system - now more than ever. And most years I would absolutely encourage you to do you. That is your right and your prerogative as an American citizen. But this is not most years! I am legitimately terrified that Johnson/Stein will pull a Ralph Nader and land that Squirrel Nut Zipper in the white house. People keep saying "If not now, when?" My answer to that is, ANY YEAR A BIGOTED, MISOGYNIST, ORANGE DEMAGOGUE ISN'T ONE OF THE TWO MAJOR PARTIES RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT. But hey, I guess it's better to "throw away your vote" than cast your lot with the likes of Donald Trump. At least then you can sleep at night. (Unless the third party votes result in a Trump presidency. Then that nightmare's on you.)

I have suffered from repeated brain explosures these past days as I read about the latest Hillary Clinton email "drama" that is, from what I can tell, more of a last-ditch political stunt than an actual story, but hey, 'Merrica. Obviously I'm looking at this through my own lens, but, this is how all this crap reads to me:

Trump says Mexican immigrants are criminals and racists.
Clinton used a private server for her emails.
Trump says John McCain isn't a war hero because he got caught, insults a decorated general, and lest we forget the Khan family.
Clinton used a private server for her emails.
Trump mocks a disabled reporter.
Clinton used a private server for her emails.
Trump says we should bar all Muslim immigrants, subject the Muslims that are here to an "ideological test," and while we're at it, screw those Syrian refugees.
Clinton used a private server for her emails.
Trump threatens to unwind the First Amendment.
Clinton used a private server for her emails.
Trump tried to play judge, jury, and executioner when he said the Central Park Five, who were cleared of any crime by DNA evidence, were "still guilty."
Clinton used a private server for her emails.
Trump vows to single-handedly overturn Roe v. Wade, says women who have abortions should be "punished," (and clearly lacks basic understanding of the workings and responsibilities of the three branches of government).
Clinton used a private server for her emails.
Trump says a federal judge ruled against him because the judge was Mexican. (He was born in Indiana.)
Trump refuses to disavow white supremacists.
Clinton used a private server for her emails.
Trump has said countless terrible things about women, but I think this is everyone's personal favorite: "Grab 'em by the pussy. You can do anything."
Clinton used a private server for her emails.

Of course, I'm hardly unbiased here. And I do understand why people have concerns about her. She's hawkish, she's too cozy with Wall Street, etc. Fine. Again, if you truly and honestly believe that her shortcomings outweigh those of your third party candidate of choice, then great, democracy, yay. But just FYI, the whole "Crooked Hillary/Killary" thing is such a fallacy. Hillary is not a "criminal." If you had gone to law school (ps - I did) you would know that one essential element of a crime is criminal intent. Such intent was deemed lacking in each and every Republican-led witch hunt investigation against her. Another "minor" prerequisite to being a criminal is breaking the law. She hasn't done that either. On claims that she (personally?) "sold weapons to Saudi Arabia" or "created ISIS" - News flash - America has been bargaining with bad guys (the lesser of two evils, so to speak), propping up authoritarian regimes, and engaging in shady back-channel arms deals with countries lacking democratic pedigrees since the Cold War, so you're not pinning that shit on my gal Hillz. On the claims of her being a "murderer" - Unless you are ALSO going to call every sitting president, vice president, secretary of state, director of the CIA, and so on and so forth an "evil-murdering-murderer-head" then you do not have a leg to stand on.

Do I agree with these policies, from my comfortable position as a civilian armchair quarterback? Absolutely not. Do I think this is the way it should be? Hell no. The thing is, I have never been president or secretary of state, so I cannot presume to know what kind of difficult choices they are forced to make on a daily or hourly basis, but I don't think any of these people (save Donald Trump) goes to work every morning deviously rubbing their (tiny) hands together planning how many innocent lives they're going to destroy. These people receive stacks of surely terrifying intelligence data. They make hard decisions. They try to protect our country - its people, and yes, our economic and political interests. This is the real world. It's messy and scary and there are grey areas and terrible things happen and the United States, in building itself up as a global superpower, has made some pretty shitty sacrifices along the way.

Should we as a country work together to change the United States' role in this global game? Well sure, if everyone really feels so strongly about it, then yes, we certainly should. But you know what is 100% NOT the answer? Handing over the nuclear codes to an insecure, power-hungry little man who can't resist pushing shiny red buttons.

You know something else we have to do if we really want change? We have to care about this shit more than once every four years, and we have to do something other than bitch about it on the internet. The only thing politicians care about more than money is votes. If we - their constituents - show them that we really and truly care about these issues, all the time, not just as a platform and imaginary agenda. If you really care about things like oil dependence, unnecessary foreign intervention, drone strikes, civilian casualties of war, war period, police brutality, inhumane treatment of immigrants, for-profit prisons, the school-to-prison pipeline, equal pay, public education, to name a few - then we have to get involved, find your local representative (mine's Daryl Issa, so I'm fucked), get organized, get vocal, BE THE CHANGE. This means still caring, still bitching, and most importantly, STILL DOING on November 9th, December 9th, next year, and beyond.

PS - In case you're wondering, I personally, do not at all feel as though I'm voting for the "lesser of two evils." I think Hillary, though as flawed as anyone who has spent her entire adult life in the public eye would be, has a solid track record as a "liberal with a centrist tinge." I don't even see it as a choice. It's like asking if I want a vodka-with-flat-tonic, or a glass of drano.

PPS - Anyone who thinks Bernie Sanders or the like could have stepped in January 20th and immediately sever all foreign ties and turn the United States into a great pacifist nation and change our national anthem to Kumbayah has been smoking too much of Gary Johnson's wacky tabacky.

PPPS - This is (probably) my last political post for the year, I'm sure you'll be happy to hear. This time next week, I'll write about something much less controversial, like vaginas. Unless Trump wins. Then I'll be writing about my little "vacation" to the insane asylum.

For some reason this reminds me of Donald Trump. Except without the leash. 

I Didn't Unfriend You Over 'Politics' "I am so tired of people feigning shock and outrage over others not wanting to remain friends with those who are directly or indirectly fueling discrimination."

The Atlantic: From Whitewater to Benghazi - A Clinton Scandal Primer

Newsweek: Donald Trump's Companies Destroyed Emails in Defiance of Court Orders.

Newsweek: The George W. Bush White House 'Lost' 22 Million Emails

Oh, hello Pot. Meet Kettle.

Salon: Is Hillary Clinton an emailing criminal? A nonpartisan guide to national security and foreign policy issues in the presidential election

Media Matters: A Comprehensive Guide to Myths and Facts about Hillary Clinton, Benghazi, and Those Emails

Admit It. The Clinton Email Controversy Bothers You, Yet You Don't Actually Know What the Clinton Email Controversy Is

Fact Check: Hillary Clinton 'Corruption' Claim

Also, if you're going to get your news from Facebook, follow Dan Rather. He's awesome.


Friday, October 14, 2016

N to the mother-effing OPE

If you live here on planet earth you may have already heard this one before, but do me a favor. Just for shits and giggles. Read this out loud:

I did try and fuck her. She was married....I moved on her like a bitch. But I couldn’t get there.... Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look.... Yeah, that’s her. With the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.... Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.

Read it to your mother, your wife, your daughter, your sister, your female friend. Ask her how it makes her feel. Ask her if it reminds her of the time (there almost certainly was one - at least one) when someone "grabbed her by the pussy" or manhandled her "big phony tits" or tried to shove his slimy hands up her skirt. Ask her how she felt in that moment when a stranger, or a coworker, a boss, or a friend, decided that this woman's (or girl's) body was not her own, not really. That he was entitled to grab and grope and poke at her body like a piece of meat wrapped in flimsy plastic at the supermarket. Ask her how it feels to be on the receiving end of a creepy, horny man who has no qualms using his power and position to demean, degrade, and defile you for his amusement. As though it is a game.

(I was recently talking, with a man, about the high school daughter of his friend who was sexually assaulted, and whether they should report it to the authorities. I asked, "What level of sexual assault are we talking about?" Him: There are levels? Me: Yeah, I think every woman I know has technically been sexually assaulted, including myself. But I've never called the police or anything. Him: What do you mean by sexually assaulted? Me: You know, like guys grabbing my boobs or my ass [him nodding like, okay, sure, not ideal but probably not worth calling the police], or, you know, trying to shove their fingers in my vagina... Him: [Record screetch, freeze frame.])

Yeah. That. 

Read it to your son, and tell him how it would make you feel, as his mother or father, if you heard him speaking this way about women. THIS IS HOW THE BROCK TURNERS OF THE WORLD GET MADE, PEOPLE! Normalizing this type of behavior, writing it off as "boys will be boys." F. That. Not my boy. Not on my watch.

Or, hey, here's an idea - read it to ANY DECENT HUMAN BEING. Even penis-carrying members of society can and should be PISSED OFF right now.

Can someone please explain to me how anyone can defend this man???

If you dismiss it as "locker room banter," saying this is "just the way guys talk," you hang out with shitty humans. Either that, or you are one.

"Sex talk" is not the same as "sexual assault talk." It's not the fact that he's talking about her tits and pussy. It's the fact that he thinks he's entitled to grab her genitals without her consent because he's a "star" (in what galaxy I do not know) and he can "do anything."

I've never read Fifty Shades of Grey but I assume any attempt to excuse DJT's behavior on that basis isn't worth the minimal amount of brain cells it would take to refute it. Again, there's a BIG difference between kinky, consensual sex, up to and including BDSM, and SEXUALLY ASSAULTING SOMEONE. "Sexual assault is a crime of power and control. The term sexual assault refers to sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent of the victim." (Emphasis added.)

If your defense starts with the words "Bill Clinton..." Stop right there. 

First, just because Bill Clinton is also a creeper doesn't make what Donald Trump did okay. And, for the record, Donald Trump has said himself that what he's done with/to women is even worse than what Bill Clinton has.

I personally didn't vote for Bill Clinton (because I was 12 and 16 when he was elected and re-elected). Knowing what we know now, yeah, the guy is not a paragon of morality, at least in his interactions with the female species. But he isn't a hate-mongering bigot so he has that going for him. Also? This was before Al Gore invented the internet, remember, and prior to the advent of the 24 hour news cycle. But when it did come out (Lewinsky, the Paula Jones stuff) - it was a big freakin' deal. Remember that whole thing about how (a bunch of hypocrite) Republicans impeached Bill Clinton for his indiscretions and lying under oath? But hey, pin an elephant on the lapel of a serial womanizer and pathological liar and you are good to go!

Side note: Doesn't it seem like, as a society, we have aggressively lowered the bar on what is acceptable public behavior, both in and out of the White House? I mean, remember Watergate? If that happened nowadays people would be like, Duh, of course he bugged the DNC headquarters! Bill Clinton's biggest pre-election scandal was that he had smoked pot but hadn't inhaled. George W. Bush admitted to doing coke. Obama smoked cigarettes (yucky). I feel like at this point Donald J. Trump could say he snorted meth from a hooker's bleached asshole and no one would bat an eye. (You're welcome for that mental picture.) 

Finally, and most importantly, Bill Clinton is not running for President of the United States of America. 

We can get into a conversation another day about why strong, brilliant, successful women stay with philandering douche bonnets. But let me tell you this - when today's little girls grow up with a strong woman in the oval office, we'll be a little bit closer to a society where men and women really are equal, where the Brock Turners and Donald Trumps of the world cannot flourish, cannot use their power, their reality television fame, their daddy's money, their white entitlement, to thrust their fumbling dipsticks into our various orifices and get away with a fake apology and a slap on the wrist.

Aaaaand another thing - I find it extremely ironic that the same hand-wringing right wing conservatives who pushed for passage of the "Bathroom Bills" because they were SO CONCERNED that our defenseless little lady folk would be attacked by sexual predators wearing dresses in the ladies room (based on a sum total of zero evidence, by the way), are A-OKAY electing a man who LAUGHS ABOUT SEXUALLY ASSAULTING WOMEN to RUN THE ENTIRE NATION. Seriously. Explain it to me like a two-year old because I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around this.

Did I ever tell you I used to work for the firm suing Cheeto Hitler in the Trump University case? I'd seen some deposition footage and spoken with colleagues about it and he seemed like a rich entitled prick but when he first came onto the political scene I didn't think he was as awful as he seemed. I mean, I didn't want him to be president, obviously, or even CEO of Walmart. But I thought he was just acting like a racist cockwaffle to appeal to his base. I didn't think he was actually a bigoted sociopathic predator, you know? I guess that's what people always say about psychopaths, right up until the point where you find human heads in their freezer. 

A friend of ours coaches baseball and has instituted a 24-hour rule with respect to parents emailing him to bitch about the game. If your panties are still in a rumple 24 hours later, then you can write. I feel the same way about blogging. I like to sleep on it for a bit and see. But believe you me, my panties are still rumpled RIGHT UP. Also made of kevlar. And outfitted with those electric zapper things to stun unwanted intruders. Maybe you'll say I'm beating a dead horse, or wasting my breath because I'm not going to change anyone's mind. That may be true. Honestly, when I sat down in front of the computer to press "Publish," I just felt so tired, and I thought to myself, "Why? Who even cares? What difference are me and my tiny soap box in an echo chamber going to make?" And then I started thinking about it again and I'm not tired anymore, I'm MAD. I cannot, in good conscience, sit in silence while this narcissistic sociopath in a squirrel hat threatens to terrorize my country.

I seriously just do not understand how real, relatively-normal-seeming human beings can try to justify this shit stain of a man, like, period, let alone in the role of commander in chief? I was ranting to my husband about this the other day (well, okay, every day). He works for a human rights organization most ultra-conservatives think is the Antichrist, but is maddeningly reasonable, and he said "Just because you're a Trump supporter doesn't mean you're a terrible person." Maybe he's right. But I am really starting to wonder. It's good in a way though, to see a human face on a Trump supporter, as opposed to some kind of Darth Maul situation like I see in my mind's eye. It reminds me - in a giant neon red danger flag type of way - that a Trump presidency is an actual (if, hopefully, increasingly remote) possibility, and I need to do my tiny part to make sure it doesn't happen.

By the way, Republicans, you do not have to vote for this guy. No one is "forcing your hand," literally or otherwise, to cast a vote for this simpering scumbag. This is not North F*^#$% Korea. Yay democracy! That is one good thing we still do have going for us. (Though according to my crotchety old Uncle Jim, democracy actually wasn't meant for stupid people. Make of that what you will.)

I just do not understand casting aside your ethics, ideals, and gut instincts in blind allegiance to a party that chose this ignorant puppet to represent it (but not the kind of puppet that does what you want it to, more like the possessed kind that tries to kill you, or grab your vagina, in your sleep.) By the way, this guy isn't even a Republican, really, and he damn sure ain't a Christian, for those who care about that kind of thing. In any event, he is the leader of a party that is frantically bailing water on a rapidly sinking ship. And hey, if your excuses and justifications let you sleep at night, well, then, that makes one of us. But you are the dance band on the Titanic, my friend. Please just don't bring the rest of the country down with you.

I actually despise bumper stickers. I think they're so tacky and I never considered tainting my sweet-ass mom-ride with one until this election season. Desperate times call for desperate measures, right? Anyway, I had this bumper sticker that said "Not A Republican." I thought that was pretty damn pithy, if you must know. Then. Some fucking pussy (see what I did there) snuck under cover of darkness and put a sticker over the "Not A" part so that it just said "Republican." Objectively clever, I suppose. But I do not respond well to threats. See Exhibit A, below.
How you like me NOW?!
If You Vote For Trump Then Screw You - Drew Magary, GQ

Michelle Obama on Trump's Latest Disgraceful Debacle (video) “And I have to tell you that I can’t stop thinking about this. It has shaken me to my core in a way that I couldn’t have predicted."

Trevor Noah on The Daily Show - Fallout from the PussyGate Scandal, aka, Scumbag Millionaire (video)

Samantha B - Pussy Riot (video) She's my new hero.

Trump, the GOP, and the Fall - John Scalzi, Whatever

Notable endorsements of Not Trump:

The State of Alabama! "Endorsement: We're with Hillary Clinton. Frankly, Donald Trump's Dangerous."

The Arizona Republic: Since The Arizona Republic began publication in 1890, we have never endorsed a Democrat over a Republican for president. Never. This reflects a deep philosophical appreciation for conservative ideals and Republican principles. This year is different. The 2016 Republican candidate is not conservative and he is not qualified. That’s why, for the first time in our history, The Arizona Republic will support a Democrat for president. (They received death threats for this, by the way.)

The Atlantic: First endorsement in 52 years

The Cincinnati Enquirer: First endorsement of a Democrat in 100 years

The Columbus Dispatch: first endorsement of a Democrat in 100 years

The Dallas Morning News: First endorsement of a Democrat in 76 years

The Detroit News: First endorsement of a non-Republican (Gary Johnson)

Foreign Policy: First endorsement in 46 years

The San Diego Union Tribune: First endorsement of a Democrat in its 148 year history

USA Today: First "disendorsement" in its entire 34 year history

See also, Mother Jones' running tally of newspaper endorsements

Thursday, September 29, 2016

STFU: A Serenity Prayer

We moved into our (now not-so-)new house almost exactly one year ago. I like the house a lot, obviously, or else I wouldn't have moved. It has a spare bedroom so we don't have to have sleepover parties when guests come. It's within walking distance of the ocean and coffee shops and restaurants and bars and DM and I ride our bikes around town on date nights.

It's down the street from a dog-friendly park and the elementary school, where they also host a rad farmers market on Sundays. But my children, when they're being grumpy and contrary, say they like our old house better and wish we still lived there. Like that time I sent Jackson Jay to his room and he cried, "I CAN'T LIVE LIKE THIS! MY ROOM IS THE SIZE OF A PEANUT!" Now, they're small children. And change is hard. I get that, and I don't hold it against them (very much). Being so young, I'm hoping they will eventually look back and see this house as the house of their childhood.

But even the man-child that is my husband whines about the new house on occasion. For example, we were recently hanging out with his cousins who moved to town. They're renting an ADORABLE little craftsman bungalow built in 1928 or something. And DM's like, "This place is so awesome I wished we lived here." It is super cute and has tons of personality, I will grant him that. It's in a really charming part of San Diego, close to downtown and surrounded by a fun, hip neighborhood. But it's teeny tiny, and old, and far away from the beach (I mean, at least 20 minutes ;)). It also costs more than our house even though its half the size. It's not just this one enchanting house, though. He says the same thing about other, "cuter," houses in our own neighborhood, or even imaginary houses in some fantastical nether realm ("I really need to stop using the word 'cute.'" - DM)

And in my mind (and sometimes under my breath) I'm thinking, "Are you joking me right now?!? Then why did we go through the upheaval of three arduous real estate transactions and moving and changing schools and all this DRAMA?! You're forty, not four. I didn't make you move against your will. This was a decision we arrived at together, or so I thought." In fact, the whole impetus behind moving was to head toward downtown, to be closer to work and more city-ish things. But we couldn't pull the trigger because we love our funky, beachy, surfy town at the outskirts of San Diego and we just couldn't bear to leave. And thank the lord we didn't because I just got a job a mile away from our [terrible] new house and I walk my kindergartner to school and buy local organic non-GMO fried cheese from the farmers market and we're basically a fucking Normal Rockwell painting here.

So, like, this is it. This is our life. And it's not too shabby. At least, that's how I see it. But apparently, I'm in the minority.

Just the other night we were stressing over the property tax bill and DM said "You know, if we were renting, this wouldn't be an issue." This is basically the equivalent of warning someone about the perils of face tattoos AFTER THEY ALREADY GOT ONE. Like, not helpful. At all. Of course when I say this out loud, DM replies "FINE, I guess I'm just not allowed to have any feelings or tell you what I'm thinking ever again." I mean... when it's about something that is, for all intents and purposes, irreversible (at least without arduous and painful laser treatments)? Yeah, maybe you're not.

I can't get too upset because Daddy Mack is basically the poster child for "the grass is always greener," and "buyer's remorse." At restaurants, or, for example, Cold Stone Creamery, he'll hem and haw and wiffle-waffle and then at the very last minute he makes an impulsive decision that he instantly regrets. He'll sadly consume his baked fish tacos while day-dreaming about the carnitas chimichanga that got away, or hate-eat his strange strawberry-banana-butterfinger-gummy-bear ice cream concoction. But I don't want him to think of our happy new house as baked butterfinger gummy bear tacos, you know?

Don't get me wrong. I loved our first house and feel nostalgic for it too. It will always hold a special place in my heart, kind of like how I imagine some people feel about their vintage two-seater sports car they had to trade in for a family wagon. But, you know, a two-seater sports car isn't real practical for a family of four plus two dogs.

Funny random small-world side-note - one of the partners at my new law firm actually owns our old house! So I suppose if DM and the kids really want to go back, I could send them for a visit :) Or we could arrange a house-swap.

Anyway, this new house debate is representative of a larger discussion regarding whining about things that you can't change. How does the serenity prayer go?

Dear God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. I think what God was trying to say here was: Quit yer damn bitchin'.

As my mom always used to say, don't complain about it unless you have an actual solution.

I was talking to my brother and sister about our mom's old adage, and my brother said, "See, I totally disagree. Validation is so important. You have to let someone know their feelings are heard." "Spoken like a true millennial," I said. But then he reminded me about my anxiety and how DM and I learned this wondrous tool from Dr. Psych mom:

Instead of minimizing her feelings, "try to meet your wife where she is in her anxiety and stress. And, like a magic trick, she will actually get less stressed." True story.

So okay, fine, one point for the young millennial with feelings ;)

And, as DM reminds me, not everyone has a blog where they can bitch about things. Some people have to complain the old-fashioned way. And that's legitimate, I suppose.

Still. Pity parties should have time limits, shouldn't they? Like birthdays at those kiddie places where they kick you out when your time's up. Move along people! What's the point of repeatedly grousing about something that just "is what it is?" At what point does it cross the line from being therapeutic to you being a big fat whiner pants?

A couple months ago my BFFs were in town and I witnessed a moment of pure parenting genius. One of Claire's kids was crying about something and she said "Oh man that's so sad! Let's cry about it for 10 seconds and then we need to stop, okay?" Then she slowly counted to 10, and in some mystical feat, the kid stopped crying! (Editor's note: I tried it, and my children appear to be impervious to this particular brand of parenting wizardry.)

I guess that's essentially what blogging is for me, except instead of 10 seconds its 1,000 to 3,000 words :) Like journaling, or writing out your "To Do" list before you go to sleep. It's basically dumping the pity party out of my head onto "paper" so that it's no longer taking up real estate in my brain. And I guess that's how I should think about it the next time some big or little person comes to me to get their grump on. Get it all out. Wrap it up. Tie a nice little bow around it. And let it gooooo.

This place is the WORST.
Reminds me of this crazy friend of a friend we hung out with in the Virgin Islands who would always say, while drinking rum cocktails on a secluded white sand beach with crystal blue waters lapping at his toes, "I hate this beach! This beach sucks!"

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Presidential Prereqs

Alright hangonaminute. Let me get this straight.

Have penis. Puke on Japanese Prime Minister and then faint. = PASS. It's all good. I mean, slightly embarassing but also kinda hilarious. No worries, man!

Have vagina. Faint/almost faint because you have fucking pneumonia and even still you tried to power through a public event because you knew if you didn't show up, that, too, would be a sign of weakness = FAIL. I'm sorry! Better luck next century! You're too fragile and frail for this office. May I interest you in this velvet settee for the express purpose of lady faints instead?

Girl. I am sweaty, nauseous and fainty just gettin' 'em ON!
Caissie St. Onge on The Twitter
America, to Hillary: "SHOW NO WEAKNESS! Okay well now you just look like a bitch. BE HUMAN! Relatable. NO, NOT LIKE THAT!"

A woman can’t afford to stay home and nurse a cold – or even recover from pneumonia – when she’s trying to break through a glass ceiling,” writes Dahleen Glanton in the Chicago Tribune.

Story of my fucking life. Not to mention, when you still have kids at home, you don’t get to call in sick, even when you have pneumonia (speaking from experience), because you already used all your sick days on your bite-sized biohazards (that you love dearly and thank your blessings for daily, of course, thank you and amen).

It’s such BS. I think I’ve already mentioned this before, but a while back, shit was hitting the fan in work and life and the kids were sick (and of course they never get sick at the same time, no no no, that would be too simple. God/Karma/Mother Nature like to space it out to maximize the professional collateral damage).

Anyway, DM and I were having to alternate days home with the little sickies and he was getting frustrated and I was like, “I’m so sorry, I hate that feeling when you know you’re going to get those passive aggressive comments from your bosses and you feel like you have to work double-time to get out from under the assumption that you’re a slacker.” He looked at me funny and said, “No one at work cares. They understand sick kids. I just have a bunch of shit to do.”

Oh. Well. That must be nice.


Angry feminist lawyer mama.
Courtesy of HillaryMoji from the App Store
BY THE WAY - If a male President/Candidate actually had pneumonia, he'd probably have Air Force One fly him to the Vatican so the Pope could personally perform his last rites. Just sayin. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Pease Porridge Lukewarm


Life is weird and hard and good.

I just made myself toaster waffles for lunch. I did not cook them long enough. I had a sneaking suspicion this was the case, based on their color and texture. But they're gluten free and gluten free things always look kind of unappetizing, so I thought, "Eh," and proceeded to apply butter and syrup. Lo-and-behold, I go to take a bite, and the waffles are still cold in the center. But I can't put them back in the toaster oven because they're covered with butter and syrup. So I put them in the microwave. One minute later, there is a sticky beige lump in the middle of the plate. Ergo, I am eating soggy waffle soup for lunch. Well, really it's more like waffle porridge. Goldilocks I am not.

I don't have many spare words lying around these days but I just wanted to sound off real quick about the Colin Kaepernick drama.

I will say, when I first saw this story before it caught fire, I thought to myself, "Well, that's probably now how I would've gone about it." But hey, to each their own. I am not a person of color in America, so I don't feel it is generally my place to police the manner in which persons of color protest.

Next thought: Why are people making it about the military? I don't get it. Since when did refusing to stand for the national anthem become a personal fuck you to veterans? Probably not as long as the national anthem has been an underhanded fuck you to African Americans.

Also? The swill these so-called "patriots" are spouting on the interwebs??? IT'S SO INSANE! Sickening and backwards and racist and ignorant and INSANE. Like, do you hear yourselves? Did you skip school the day logical reasoning and rational thought were taught in school??? Or the minimum standards of membership in a civilized society - namely, try not to be a terrible human being? "MURRICA! THE LAND OF THE FREE! WE FOUGHT AND DIED FOR YOUR RIGHT TO DO WHATEVER YOU WANT AS LONG AS IT IS NOT THAT, OR THAT, OR THAT..."

"GO BACK WHERE YOU CAME FROM, KAEPERNICK, YOU [Insert Despicable Racial Slur Here]." Um, okay...  So... Milwaukee, Wisconsin?

I loved this piece by Kareem Abdul Jabbar in the Washington Post:

"One of the ironies of the way some people express their patriotism is to brag about our freedoms, especially freedom of speech, but then brand as unpatriotic those who exercise this freedom to express dissatisfaction with the government's record in upholding the Constitution." 

I'm actually glad, in a way, that the conversation was monopolized by the military because out of that came one of the most refreshing and heartwarming things I've seen in a long while - the #VeteransforKaepernick hashtag on The Twitter. Made my freeze-dried little heart swell three times its size.

At the end of the day, though, it wasn't about veterans at all. It was and is about the iconic image and anthem of a country that systemically devalues the lives and brutalizes the bodies of people of color. Did you know my husband gave a presentation the other day at the local chapter of the NAACP? The topic was "How to not die as you make your way from Point A to Point B in your own damn country/city/neighborhood/street." I'm paraphrasing. It may have been, "Get home safely." But still. In the words of Larry Wilmore, "Black people have to strategize [and/or act like the Dowager Countess] so they're not brutalized by the police." This is not okay.

I don't have the magic pill or the silver bullet (but I'm pretty sure anything having to do with bullets is not the answer). One thing I do know what sitting around wringing our hands and drowning in white guilt, avoiding hard conversations and truths because they are icky and uncomfortable? I know that is NOT the answer.

Side note: I find it FASCINATING and TERRIFYING to compare the treatment of famous athletes who do drugs, beat their wives and girlfriends, and kill animals and humans, vs. one who refused to stand for the national anthem in protest of police brutality and inequality in his country.

Everything is terrible, but I have a stubborn sliver of faith that we're going to figure it out. Things like #VeteransForKaepernick give me hope.


A little refresher course - MLK, Jr.'s Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

10 Ways White People Can Help Black Lives Matter on The Good Men Project

10 Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide from the Southern Poverty Law Center