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

Guns

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 branches...no 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 vehemently...to 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. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

My sister, Sharon...

Last night we lost my oldest sister, Sharon. She was only 66. Your sisters and your entire family will miss you so much. You were truly, as Heidi said, love incarnate. The beating heart and soul of your family. Everyone who has ever known you will miss you dearly. Say hi to my momma, our mom and dad and your own beloved mom and sister for us all!!! Rest in the glorious peace you so totally deserve.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Cycles, Doors, Keys

Cycles of life...Doors & keys. You walk through a door to where you do not want to be and you stand there, holding the key, longing to go back in.

You start walking, looking back often, the key held to your heart, next to the longing to go back to what you knew and loved.

What's back behind that door shifts and changes, going on without you...as you go on in your live, outwardly moving on, inwardly holding that key, that longing, next to your heart.

Then, one day, a day you knew was coming, a day you braced yourself for happens, forcing you to open your hand to look at the key held there. Forcing you to face the reality that there is nothing that key to that door holds for you anymore and you MUST let it go...

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Suspended timelessness...



I live a busy life. I don't know how my life got so busy, but it is what it is. Laundry, dishes, feeding the grandchild, water aerobics, visiting friends and family, I am on the go a LOT of the time...

I have some friends with a boat. They have invited me out on their boat, and I really like it. I went once toward the end of the season last year and then this year I've already been out with them 3 times. I've posted pictures on Facebook that I took of my first time out on Deer Lake and Long Lake.

Today we went back to Long Lake. It was almost picture perfect weather. We'd dropped out of the 100s and 90s and the temperature didn't hit much above 84 degrees. I'd taken a ton of pictures last time we were there so I didn't have my camera even out of my bag. We just skimmed the lake, stopped occasionally, skimmed the lake some more and basically relaxed. And then it happened...

I can't see my phone or my watch because of the glare on the lake so I didn't have my phone out or my watch on. I wasn't time driven, in other words. And I was overtaken by this sense of suspended timelessness. Not knowing what time it was made it feel like we'd been out on the lake all day, and that we would always be on the lake. It was positively blissful to feel that disconnected from the demands of/driving nature of "time" and "things that have to be done". 

For the first time in many weeks I felt totally, 100% relaxed. This is not a state I have achieved much in my lifetime. Floating clouds, blue skies and a rocking boat are an amazing relaxant. Stepping out of my "driven" life was a glorious thing. I am so thankful to have had that experience. A feeling of such oneness with nature, the lake, the sky, the people in the boat. Wow, what a great day. Thank you, my friends, for taking me along and including me in such peace and beauty and bliss.