Sunday, October 14, 2018

The Human Conundrum...

I have been on  Criminal Minds fest. I don't usually watch this kind of show en masse because then I can't sleep. 

Criminal Minds is a different kind of cop show, to me. It is more deep, intelligent and probative. It speaks to the depth of humanity, both good and bad.

One of the episodes touched on something my best friend and I have talked about off and on our whole adult lives. In this episode 2 abuse survivors (torture, beatings) face off in the same room and discuss the abuse that made them who they are. One became a serial killer. One became a profiler who catches killers.

If we could figure out what sends people the two different ways, maybe we could save the broken ones aimed at destruction. But how? How do we see it in time? How can we know?

This question has haunted me my whole life. How did I become one of the lucky ones? What part of my psyche protected me? If we could figure that out maybe we could stop some of the killers acting out their childhoods into their adulthoods...

I have always believed that if we could understand peoples stories, what broke them and reformed them, we can come to understand why they do what they are doing.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Life Narrows

When we hit the ground running as a child, and we look around our world, the world is wide open. Every vista stretches for miles and miles in every single direction. There is nothing (that we see) that keeps us from doing whatever it is we want with our lives.

We start to grow up, go to school, discover our aptitudes and what we like to do. We realize that the math we need for one path isn’t our thing, or the grammar we need for one path isn’t our thing, and we choose another path. By the time we get out of high school or into college, we may have changed our path a dozen times, still seeing the world as wide open to us.
We start studying and/or working. We marry and have kids. We make decisions based on both what we feel is good/right and where we want to be. Well, some of us work our lives out that way. Others of us tend to just bob along with the currents. 
Even as an adult while making the choices of what’s for dinner, what movie to watch, what TV shows to get involved with, whether or not to continue/go back to college, little choices we make throughout our lives, sending us down one path or another, towards….towards what? That college degree? That career or job we love? Toward raising the children we love? Toward all those things that make up life. And we still have a fairly clear playing field with many options.
However, there comes a time when you look at your life and suddenly it seems you have ended up on a very narrow and restrictive road for a multiplicity of reasons: Finances narrow your life (or rather the lack of finances). Moving narrows your life in that people who move all the time cannot build up seniority in the career of their choice. Age narrows your life as your body refuses to do the things  you have loved doing, from walking a mile or two a day to roller skating at your grandson’s birthday party. 
I looked up recently and discovered that my life has narrowed beyond what I am comfortable with. I don’t know exactly how I ended up in this narrow place, but I have decided I don’t like it here and I want to broaden my horizons again.

Granted, I am not 21…I don’t have college and career and travel in my future. (Mostly I wish for travel at this point in my life). But neither do I need to stay inside much of the time and read books and just not be outside, in the grass and trees and blue skies. I am shriveling up inside from lack of nature, and my ability to get about in said nature and take photos and listen to the river and hear the wind in the trees and the birds sing. 
My resolution for 2018 is to go outside more, once the weather lightens up a touch. Take my camera and stay in the outdoors as much as I can with my physical limitations. Take my shoes and socks off and walk around the soft grass in the park “grounding” myself. Up to Mount Saint Michaels to hear the wind sing in the trees. Up to Canada for a day once I get my license enhanced. Broadening my horizons in 2018. May we all broaden our horizons in 2018.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


I have a #Resist Trump bumper sticker on my car. I live on the red side of a blue state. I thought I would be honked at, keyed or rear ended by now, but that hasn't happened thankfully.

I saw my bumper sticker today and realized it doesn't just stand for #Resist Trump to me. It stands for resisting oppression and corruption, racism and misogyny in all forms, discrimination and aggression to control people. 

#Resist is the call that is pulling people from all walks of life together to stand against the corruption and inertia of government. A new movement is rising.

Be the force that changes the world!!! Read y our constitution. Learn your amendments. Study US Economics and Government...BUT...Go beyond this. Study Global Economics, different governmental systems than what we use. Different cultures and peoples and faiths. 

Dive into the wonders of the entire world. Open your heart and mind and see where people come from and how they become who they are. Realize that the human race is a wondrous place full of so much of what we consider the American Dream: A place to live, enough food to eat, safe schools and streets, education for our children, the right to worship without fear of reprisal. In opening ourselves to the wonders of others, we truly can become an American that understands what others feel and think and learn and live. And that, my friend, will make us all better people.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

American Politica Discourse

Yesterday I had a conversation (very brief) with a friend of a friend on Facebook because my friend posted something questioning Trump's strategies. After two attempts to talk to her, first to defend my friend, second to get her to converse, I had to block her. This crystallized something that I have come to see is particular to this election cycle and this president.

I started my voting life as a Republican at 18. I became a Republican because my father was military and I came to believe that to be military, one needed a Republican in office because Republicans were pro-military. Soon after this I became a Mormon, and I started my walk into right-wing-fundamentalism where it is almost required to be a Republican. I left the Mormon church and became a Southern Baptist. I marched against abortion. I was anti-rock music (music of Satan) and anti-a lot of toys that could allow "demons" into the lives/souls of my children. 

Somewhere in the middle of being a Southern Baptist, however, I began to be concerned with, call it "the big picture". I felt that my right-wing-fundamentalist focused on only one issue and to hades with all the other issues in the world. I also read a life changing book that made me question my beliefs as a fundamentalist and began my  walk out of that lifestyle and into a more centrist or moderate position. I began to clearly see that focusing on one issue for a political candidate IN SPITE OF anything else they are/do/say was morally wrong for me.

Then I met a Christian Southern Democrat who challenged me to go home one weekend and really study the Republican platform and see how it lined up with how I felt about God, the world, humanity and what can be done to help humanity. It was a humbling experience to be so challenged and I threw myself into what Republicans stood for and have come to stand for.  At the end of that weekend I realized I had never, in my core self, been a Republican.

During all of this I belonged to a Christian chat room on Yahoo. I started in Christian chat room 2 and then moved to room 3 where I stayed for about 20 years. I met many fabulous people here from all walks of Christianity with all kinds of views of God and Christ and politics. We talked about it all with passion and heat. Sometimes we fought. Sometimes we cried. But we always came back and slugged it through till we made ourselves heard and known, and we heard and knew the other person. Rarely did anyone leave our chat room in anger and never come back. Rarely did anyone "unfriend" another person over their views.

So back to this conversation with my friends friend, whom I do not know at all, and what it clarified for me. She began with a statement that was intended to shut down discourse. And as I look back at my conversations about this election cycle, I find this is happening WAY TOO OFTEN. And this, it seems to me, is what is making us not be able to come to any kind of common ground. 

She began with "You liberals need to pull up your big person pants and deal with this presidency". My first response was to defend my friend, who is NOT a liberal, but who is still concerned about this president. Her come back was another "All liberals are just upset about losing" kind of comment.

Anytime you lead with or come back with "All (insert demographic here) are/feel/think (fill in emotion/political stance/religious stance here) you shut down conversation. You slam the person against the wall with your forearm against their neck, eye to eye and you basically dare them to come back at you. I refuse to engage in that kind of conversation anymore. It is pointless and emotionally damaging.And it is what I have consistently seen in this election cycle. 

Mention you don't care for Trump and you are a libtard or a libertard and sore over losing and you need to pull up your big girl panties and get a grip. Hello!!! I have a grip. Which is why I am concerned. 

I have voted Democrat and Republican and Green and Libertarian over the years since I was 18. My guy has lost MANY TIMES. It NEVER drove me to despair for my country. Not until this time. This time is different. This time we have a man with Zero experience at anything other than bankrupting companies and using women as a president, and I believe this puts our country, even our very democracy in danger. I am sorry that you cannot see that, that you did not hear what I heard for the 2 years that Donald J Trump was campaigning, but that is your issue, not mine. I have the right to fear for my country. I have the right to march, to protest, to sign petitions, to make phone calls, to send post cards and to do whatever I feel is right within the law to protest a man I see as a danger. Just as you have the right to support him and cheer him on. This is America, for God's sake. This is what we do.

But please, if you want to have a political discourse, do not start your response to me, or your comment to me with: "All (insert demographic here) are/feel/think (fill in emotion/political stance/religious stance here). What this says to me is you don't really give a flying rat's arse what I think, you have your opinion and mine is irrelevant. Either just walk away without being disparaging, OR have a conversation. You might be surprised...we might have things in common after all.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

On the Election...

To my Hispanic friends...I am sorry.
To my Black friends...I am sorry.
To my Muslim friends...I am sorry.
To my Jewish friends...I am sorry.
To my Native American friends...I am sorry.
For my progressive unchurched Christian friends (watch Mike Pence, he's a dangerous theocrat)...I am sorry.
For the gay people in my life that were allowed to celebrate their marriages and now fear losing that...I am sorry.
To the women in my life who wanted autonomy over their bodies to say who can touch them and when and where...I am sorry.
To the young men we are raising with this example...I am sorry.
To the young girls who will now be raised yet more in fear...I am sorry.
For anyone with a pre-existing condition (and yes, you who voted for him will be in this same boat) who will now AGAIN be denied Healthcare & face losing your home...I am sorry.
For those of you on disability, which he has sworn to dismantle (and yes, you who voted for him will be in this same boat)...I am sorry.
For any of us on or near Social Security age (and yes, you who voted for him will be in this same boat)...I am sorry.

Those of you who voted for him as the "greater good" please refrain from gloating about it on my Facebook page. I cannot handle it. Not now; maybe not ever.

And for the first time in my life, I feel that I may end up having to buy and learn how to use a gun.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


Suddenly, it seems, I am surrounded by gun owners. Gun owners who believe their right to carry a gun to feel safe trumps my right to not be around guns. And I guess it does as their right is constitutionally protected and my right is not.

Suddenly I have to be aware of who owns guns and can I invite people to places or friends homes without asking permission because I go a LOT of places with small children. 

Also, I have to decide in my heart if I can bear going to coffee, dinner, lunch, church, a movie with someone who carries a concealed weapon...and what that means to long held friendships if I can't. 

My daughter says I am paranoid. One can't be a committed pacifist, I guess, only paranoid people are anti-gun. But I call bull shite on that. 

Even though getting a permit to carry a concealed weapon in Washington state is as easy as buying a new set of tires. There's a bit of paperwork, and you may have to sit for a spell while they make sure your record is clean. But you can be out and packing in less than an hour. WITHOUT ANY GUN SAFETY TRAINING REUIRED. But I am paranoid...yeah right. 

Any freak with a clean record can get a permit to carry a gun without one whit of safety training. Any person...for any reason. And if you believe every gun owner out there owns a gun just for their protection then you are NOT watching/reading the news.

"BUT I've been around guns my whole life," some say. Yeah & I have been around construction equipment my whole life. That doesn't make me qualified to operate it! 

If a person who owns a gun does not take gun safety classes that is negligence in my eyes. And if one of the people near me decides to concealed carry without gun safety classes, I will not feel safe in the presence of their gun. And therefore, we will not be hanging out together. And people, I looked the paperwork and the classes up tonight. Gun safety/gun handling classes are not cheap. But to own and carry a gun without them, as I said, is negligence in my eyes. And I will be forced to protect myself.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Hatred, as taught by America...

I used to hang out with right-wing fundamentalist Christians who have a specific world view. This world view pits us against them. Us being the God-blessed Americans and them being whoever is in disfavor at the moment. But almost always people of "middle-eastern descent". Much of their specific view of the book of Revelation is used to support this us vs them mentality. It is Christianity taught/sponsored hatred. 

This was a point of Revelation that I studied and tried to grasp for 15 straight years with my older sister. We went to seminars, we studied books on "the end times" and we tried to grasp how Christ was going to come back and how there was going to be an Antichrist and a bloodbath before that. This teaching supports this hatred, this us vs them mentality. 

I have been out of the right-wing fundamentalist world - by choice - for a long time now. But I kept my finger on the pulse of the movement in Christian chat rooms on Yahoo where I learned about probably every denomination of Christianity known to mankind, some of them so obscure I had to search to research them, some of them so common I never thought to question what they taught.

And that, my friends, is the problem...Denominations so common I never thought to question what they taught. 

As I moved out of fundamentalism (because I realized that even though I'd been trying to fit into that model of Christianity, my experiential view of God wouldn't allow me to anymore) I moved more naturally into a Centrist worldview, because that is where my heart pretty much always was, even while I was trying to squash it into the fundamentalist model. It is a Centrist position that I believe "most" of America lives in. Most of the Americans I know are not radically left OR radically right. We are somewhat right or left of center, but for the most part we live in a Centrist view where we want our people and our government and the radical right and radical left to work together.

There are exceptions to those rules and a lot of those exceptions are very loud politicians. But they aren't, generally, the rank and file "we the people" of America. 

Yahoo has since shut down their Chat rooms and I have lost the pulse of the Dominion movement, the Calvinists, and the 10,000 different denominations I came to know in Christianity (oh my aching head). I have lost the pulse of the ultra fundamentalist big deal, usually...

Tonight I was in a social situation. I happened to mention that Saaed Abidini was released today in front of a friend of the friends I hang out with on the weekend. I thought this was a thing to rejoice. This person is a bit different than a lot of people I know, a very opinionated person, but I didn't realize until tonight the indoctrinated hatred this person has for people who are not like us. 

It began with Saaed...Because he was in Iran...Because he is of middle-eastern descent, even though he was born in America and a pastor in Idaho. This makes him one of "those people". Those people are every middle-eastern person that has ever lived because they all hate us and want only to kill us all in our sleep. Or with huge bombs that inflict much damage to everyone and everything around it. 

It spread to all Mexicans, then backwards in our history to all Vietnamese or anyone from "that part of the world". And if I had fought in the war with him I would understand and know that all of "those people" hate us and want nothing but death for us and how DARE we let any of them into our country. Every Syrian is coming here to kill us. Every Mexican gets free everything and we buy them a house and a car while we Americans have to work hard for our cars and houses. Every person who hates pork should be deported or killed...wait, what????

I fought back, calmly and then no avail. You cannot stand in the face of such hate. I pointed out that his hate was similar to the hate he was decrying. Oh, no, American hate is patriotic and Christian. 

And then he began on the President. Using vile names in place of his name. And I snapped and left because this social situation had become unbearable for me. 

Normally, I handle this stuff pretty well, but I am out of practice and I've been sick a couple days this week and I wasn't on top of my game. I fled, and I cried, and I despaired because THIS is the gap we can't seem to bridge. This is the ingrained hatred we cannot seem to throw off - anything not exactly like us wants to harm us. And I cried all the way home for my country and for my friends, who had to sit through this and then have a guest flee their home. 

We have agreed not to discuss politics (which this really wasn't politics exactly - it was more worldview) and that was sad too, because my friends are conservative and we manage to discuss our differences comfortably, respectfully, and we've never had an argument in the years we've been hanging out together. I guess it's because I barely know this man, and because, I believe, he has some PTSD from the war, and he had been drinking that allowed him to spew this hatred all over in a friendly social situation. I don't know. I guess I also had forgotten how vituperative it was, how much hatred it supports, and how sad that always makes me.