Friday, February 16, 2018

I just wanted to read about cats in Turkey

In a deliberate act of self-preservation, I have been very out of touch with current events for the past several months. Realizing that I don't (currently) have the stomach for activism or the ability to deal with the state of this country has resulted in me living a life that's almost completely free of the internet. Yes, I have the luxury to ignore literally everything. Yes, I feel guilty about it. I do what I can with my pocketbook, but beyond that I've basically been in hiding off and on since late 2016.

Yesterday morning, Madscutter sent me this:

Cat: No f**k given

I wanted to learn more about this cat who gives zero fucks, and someone in the comment section was actually able to identify the location (Turkey!) and the cat. Someone else linked to an article in the Guardian about Turkey's overall relationship with cats (it is grand), and it made me smile.

I glanced at a list of other popular articles in the sidebar and saw a headline about the Florida school shooting. My reaction was:

*heavy sigh*


Then I thought about how different my reaction to this was from my reaction to Columbine. Like many people, I'll never forget watching the news about Columbine and having no words. No one did. This was unprecedented. It was unbelievable. I couldn't really comprehend what I was seeing, because it made no sense. The nation mourned that tragedy together.

Afterwards, the gun laws stayed the same, and the schools responded by widening their "zero tolerance" to include disciplining kids for doing anything even vaguely violent. The murderous snowmen my brother used to doodle during class in the 80s would earn him a suspension now. Repeating the most famous quote from "The Princess Bride" ("My name is Inigo Montoya...") did result in my son being disciplined for behaving in a "threatening manner".

But we kept the guns. We kept the actual danger. In fact, we increased the danger by buying more and more guns. We are at the point that there are more guns than there are people in this country. When I google information on gun stats in this country, I don't bother include "United States" in my search. I don't need to. Most other countries don't have a gun problem. The U.S. is one of only four countries where the right to gun ownership is guaranteed by the constitution, and we have the most lax laws of the four (Mexico, Haiti, and Guatemala are the other 3).

The rest of the world thinks we're fucking nuts. I can't disagree.

Wednesday's mass murder hit me harder than usual. Instead of getting tangled up in the circular meaningless arguments about whether it's a gun problem, mental health problem, or both, I couldn't stop thinking about the 17 sets of parents who lost the biggest part of their world in seconds as a result of one person's indiscriminate rampage.

Then I thought about the survivors, and how they will have to live with this trauma for the rest of their lives.

We do have a mental health problem in this country.

We do have a gun problem in this country.

Every mass murder produces hundreds of new mental health patients suffering from PTSD.

Last night I cried for the victims, their families, and the survivors of the mass shooting. I usually don't. We're so used to this happening in our country, that I'm numb to it all. I don't know why this one was different for me, but it was. Maybe it's because I don't think I could survive something like this happening to my son. Madscutter agreed that it would ruin his life as well. But all we seem to be able to do as a country is fight about it, and change nothing.

Note for Millennials: 

I'm sorry. I'm so sorry the older generations (Boomers & Gen-Xers) can't figure out how to keep you safe in your schools. I'm sorry that our government is so corrupt that passing any sensible gun law is impossible because your lawmakers rely too much on receiving money from the NRA to fund their campaigns. I'm sorry that our government responds to the mental health crisis by making cuts to the programs that may actually help. I'm sorry the citizens of the older generations aren't willing to have their tax dollars go to these programs. I'm sorry that a common response from older people about these mass murders is to cluck their tongues and say "nothing could have prevented this". There is no excuse. We have failed you.

Note for NRA-Owned Politicians:

There were several students in that Florida school who responded to your "thoughts and prayers" platitudes with anger, disgust, and demand for action. Do you realize that every time something like this happens, more and more young people get more and more angry? They're already yelling at you on Twitter. Can you imagine what they're going to do to you when they're old enough to vote and run for office?

Personally, I can't wait.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Party loyalists make me tired.

I've never paid as close attention to party politics as I did during the 2016 election. While I've always considered myself a Democrat, I've never actually given a shit about the party itself or the loyalty to it that I'm apparently supposed to have. After the primaries, I decided that I can no longer call myself a member of any political party (Ohio doesn't allow me to make it official, so you'll have to take my word for it). These days I call myself an Independent Socialist, but this is just a label, and it's not important. My opinions are mine - not some party's that I'm blindly following.

Party loyalty, in my opinion, is a great way to prevent rational discussion and understanding of "the other guy's" viewpoint. For the past several months, I've observed such an insane amount of hypocrisy from both Republicans and Democrats that can only be explained as a complete unwillingness to put country (or more specifically, Americans) before party.

When a politician from "their party" does something questionable/objectionable/wrong, a party loyalist will always find some way to defend them. The most frequent and by far laziest defense is "but the other guy did it too". This is done to prevent having to admit that someone in your party made a mistake. I don't understand blind loyalism. Bernie was my candidate of choice in 2016, and I readily admit that he was not a perfect candidate, nor did I necessarily agree with his entire platform. I voted for Obama twice and don't regret it, but he absolutely did things that pissed me off. This is ok. This is normal. This is healthy. You're not admitting weakness by acknowledging that another human being is imperfect.

Every single politician is flawed in some way. Every single politician makes bad choices. Every single politician misses the mark on occasion. If I'm talking to a Trump supporter who rabidly defends his many trips to Mar-a-Lago but despised Obama for taking some golf trips, there's no real conversation to be had, because this isn't a rational stance. I'm tossing around the idea of starting a series called "Reasons to shut the fuck up". It would be all about the endless examples of hypocrisy from both sides; a situation which leads to fuck all getting accomplished in what is currently the dumpster fire that is our country."

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Trump supporters: why u mad, bros?

Dear Trump Supporters,

I'm having a hard time understanding how angry you are right now. You're angry every time Trump is criticized in any way. You're angry when you feel someone is being "disrespectful" to Trump. The keyboard warriors among you are ready to defend your new leader at a moment's notice, with your very compelling suggestions to "get over it" and "give Trump a chance!".


Why do you care?

You do realize that you won, right? Like, completely won? Republicans literally control everything right now. How are you not excited, deliriously happy, and still celebrating the extremely surprising results of our last election?

When Obama won in '08 and '12, I was happy and relieved. I did not care that a lot of people were furious and scared. I did not need Obama-haters to have a sudden change of heart and "get in line", nor did I expect them to. We're not North Korea - support for our leadership is not compulsory. Do you actually expect everyone to support Trump? Do you realize that will absolutely never, ever happen, very much in the same vein that it never happened for Obama? Our recent history has shown that the severe division between the major two parties will continue to prevent any chance for a middle ground, and a president like Trump is not likely to do anything but further widen that division.

Had Hillary won this election, I would have been relieved. If Bernie had won (my god, can you even imagine??), I'd still be celebrating, and millions of people would be showing him a tremendous amount of disrespect, as is their right. My joy would not have been diminished by the very predictable response from the right.

So why is yours? Why aren't you ignoring people like me the way I ignored people like you when Obama won? Didn't you get everything you wanted? Or is that the problem?

You're not getting what you wanted, are you?

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Conservatives need a safe space to practice their bigotry

NBC News published an article about the "First Amendment Defense Act" (FADA) bill that's making its rounds in the House again (after a failed attempt in 2015), because a Republican-controlled everything suggests that this piece of shit bill could actually pass. In a nutshell, this bill would allow any business to discriminate based on the following:

"(1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage."

Does that sound insane? Obviously. Will it pass? Probably.

I believe its general intent is to deny gays service because you know...icky! However, the second part suggests that anyone who engages in pre-marital sex can be discriminated against as well. This pretty much leaves the companies who want this bill passed with a customer demographic of the very chaste, and children.

The bill is fucking terrible, but it is interesting to me that bigots can't handle interacting with the very, very, very large gay community so much that they need to pass a law to protect themselves from it. These are (likely) the same people who mock triggers and safe spaces in general. These people are likely white, Christian, and have never been to war, sexually or physically abused, or harassed regularly about characteristics they possess that they have no control over.

I admit I go into insta-rage when safe spaces and triggers are mocked. It's reducing a very serious illness (PTSD) into "whining" and being "too sensitive". This isn't even remotely accurate, and I would venture to guess that the anti-PC group minimized it this much in order to further their fight to be assholes publicly without being criticized.

I can't speak personally about safe spaces, because that seems to be more prevalent on college campuses, though Cracked posted a good explanation of what their intent is (and isn't):

"As for safe spaces, I'll just describe what they were where I went to school. I graduated from the University of Notre Dame, famous for (among other things) being one of the least LGBT-friendly universities in the country. A number of Notre Dame professors display a small rainbow sign outside their offices that simply read, "This is a safe space." It was a sign that told students who were struggling with their sexual identity (on a campus that is, again, not friendly to gay people) that they could talk to that professor without fear. Maybe a minority student could come to that professor when he didn't know how to handle the guys in his hall casually dropping the n-word around him and needed help valuing his cultural identity. That's it. Safe spaces aren't some club where nasty liberals sit around and bash cis straight white people. That's what coffee houses and drama clubs are for. In my experience, they're basically just small environments where students could go to not casually have "n****r" or "f****t" slung in their direction."
I can speak personally about triggers, however. As a rape survivor, it is extremely helpful for me to know if rape is going to be depicted on TV or in a movie. For example, there is a very brutal rape scene in the book "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo". It was hard enough to read, and I knew I definitely didn't want to watch it acted out. So, I didn't (Madscutter fast-forwarded through the scene, and I closed my eyes). That decision made the difference between having a nice movie night with my husband and being in a state of panic that may last for days. This was a trigger that was relatively easy for me to avoid since I knew it was coming. That's all people with PTSD want. They want to know if their trigger(s) are coming. One only needs to warn people out of courtesy. It's not the law. If you think I (and millions of others) am just being a whiny and sensitive libtard, then don't warn me. That is your right.

That's what amuses me the most about this bill. I don't have a law that will protect me from triggers, but Christian conservatives will soon have one to keep them safe from the gays. However, if the bill fails to pass and they're left still clutching their pearls in horror over gay marriage, I might start offering my office as a "safe space" for them.

There's a fainting couch and everything!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Why I’m voting for Hillary (triggers abound)

When I was ten years old, I visited my best friend who had moved to another state some years ago. One night, we were sleeping in the living room and I woke up to see her father sitting next to me, staring at me. I instinctively knew I was in danger, so I shifted my body a bit so he would know I wasn’t asleep. It worked, and he left. I didn’t tell anyone. I was old enough to understand what had (almost) happened, but not old enough to know how to handle it. Many years later, he was arrested for molesting a young girl. I felt partly responsible – would that have happened if I had spoken up all those years ago?

  • 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse;
  •  Self-report studies show that 20% of adult females and 5-10% of adult males recall a childhood sexual assault or sexual abuse incident;
  • During a one-year period in the U.S., 16% of youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized;
  • Over the course of their lifetime, 28% of U.S. youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized;
  •  Children are most vulnerable to CSA between the ages of 7 and 13.

In 1992, Donald Trump made the comment “I am going to be dating her in 10 years. Can you believe it?”. He said this about a 10 year girl. He sexualized a 10 year old girl.

When I was 12 years old, a friend and I were at the mall and an older man started following us while rubbing his genitals. We hid in a rack of clothes until he went away.

When I was 15 years old, I worked at a diner. The “regulars” (all old men) used to make comments about my breasts while I was working. I never said anything. I was too embarrassed.

At this same job, the owner’s father grabbed my ass once while we were really busy. I didn’t say anything. I didn’t want to get fired.

When I was 17 years old, I was at the movies with friends when a man in a business suit suddenly sat down next to me and started masturbating. He was probably counting on me being too scared to do anything, and while I was indeed terrified, I couldn’t just sit there and let that happen. So I stood up and loudly announced that I needed more soda, and the man ran away.

When I was 20 years old, I was at a party and an older man asked me to hold his baby for a minute. I obliged, and enjoyed entertaining the little guy. When I gave the baby back, I commented that he seemed to like me, and his father said “that’s probably because you have large breasts”. I was offended. I said something (not to him), but was told to drop it because this person had the power to shut down the party if he wanted to because of the underage drinkers in attendance. I don’t know who he was or why he had that power, but I did as I was told.

In June 2014, SSH commissioned a 2,000-person national survey in the USA with surveying firm GfK. The survey found that 65% of all women had experienced street harassment. Among all women, 23% had been sexually touched, 20% had been followed, and 9% had been forced to do something sexual.

In the second presidential debate, Donald Trump denied ever touching a woman without their permission, despite the leaked tapes showing him bragging about doing exactly that. Here is a list of all the sexual assaults that he has been accused of.

When I was 20 years old, I was raped.

When I was 24, I got too drunk at a bar and my best friend caught some guy trying to get me to leave with him. I don’t know what would have happened if she hadn’t stopped me.

Donald Trump has been accused of raping his ex-wife and a 13 year old girl (stories are included in the link above).

These are all the experiences I can remember. I don’t really have any recent examples (I’m 40) because I’ve formed quite the protective bubble around myself to minimize the risk (as I’m sure many other women have as well). I avoid being alone outside my house. When I walk to my car alone at night, I hold my keys in the way we (women) were taught in order to be able to jab a potential attacker in the eye. When I hike alone in the woods near my house, I have my phone ready to dial 911 when I see someone that gives me a bad vibe. Do you think I’m unique? I’m not. It is not some freak occurrence, or some rare oddity that caused me to spend my youth falling into these unfortunate situations. All women have these stories. ALL WOMEN.  

This is the most time I’ve ever spent thinking about these incidents, and remembering how they made me feel. How scared I was. How “less than” I felt.  How I felt like I had no voice. How I felt like my body was not my own. How simply having a vagina meant that these assaults were to be expected, because this is how men act.

I forget a lot about my childhood, but not these incidents. Never these incidents. They will stay with me forever. I can live with them, of course, and I am generally strong enough to keep these assaults out of the forefront of my brain. Donald Trump has really fucked that up for me. When I see him, hear his voice, read his words, all I can think is that he has made many women feel the same way I have. He has legitimized the practice of marginalizing women. He treats women as “less than”. Constantly. Practically as a rule. And somehow he has made it ok for millions of people to want to have that kind of man as president.

I wrote about my rape after Obama won in 2012 because I spent that election terrified that a GOP win would result in the reversal of Roe v. Wade. The “hot topic” that election cycle was old Republican men wanting to control women’s bodies. I wrote about the impact my rape would have had if I had gotten pregnant and was not allowed to get an abortion. I remember crying when Obama won because I was so relieved that women could remain “safe” (ha) for at least four more years. What’s happening with this election is infinitely worse.

I’m not voting for Hillary because I need for Donald Trump not to be president. I’m voting for her because I need for him to no longer be relevant. His constant presence is a reminder to me of how I rank as a human being in the eyes of many people in power, as well as to those that support Trump and those like him. While he’s still dominating the headlines, I won’t be able to forget the millions of people voting for him despite his truly horrific behavior. While he’s still the focal point of everything, children will be constantly exposed to these terrible words and acts that are suddenly acceptable to say and do because the leader of the free world says and does them.

To be clear, this behavior is unacceptable for any human being. If something like this came out about Bernie Sanders (the only politician I’ve ever given money to), he would not get my vote. Period. I don’t care about Trump’s policies. I don’t care if he would actually make a good president. None of that is more important than the marginalization of an entire gender.

Friday, August 12, 2016

You know what, fuckers? We're everywhere.

The Friendly Atheist posted this blog about some firefighters in Bowling Green, KY who harassed a fellow firefighter for being an atheist.

This is a good example of why so many atheists are closeted, and why events like the Reason Rally can give non-believers a breather in a country so full of hate for anyone who's not white and Christian. The rally, as well as many atheist bloggers and activists encourage acceptance so that heathens don't feel the need to hide who they are.

Such acceptance is unsurprisingly not very present in places like Kentucky (I'm fine with blaming Ken Ham's "Ark Encounter" if you are), though bit by bit, more people come out, which essentially forces the public to either get over it or die mad.

But to these firefighters - I promise you that you deal with atheists on a regular basis. You've saved their lives when their houses have caught fire (probably due to God's wrath). They've scanned your groceries. They've held the door open for you. They've given you physicals, and medicine when you're ill. They've waited on you at restaurants. They are, quite literally, everywhere. They also may be someone you love dearly, but they haven't told you that they don't believe in God because they know you're a bigoted piece of shit asshole fucktard waste of star dust.

Fucking hell.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Third Eye Blind lost tens of fans yesterday

Everyone's favorite "doo do do doo" 90's band was supposed to play their hits to the sea of privileged white people at a charity event near the RNC last night, but instead managed to get the entire crowd to "boo" the concept of science. Awesome.

Twitter is all a flutter with tweets both condoning and condemning the band's behavior, and the band's response to it all (in the article linked above) added yet another layer of epicness to this story. It's true that it can be irritating when entertainers are political during performances, but when you have a Republican National Convention open with a speech from one of the Duck Dynasty guys, you're already knee deep in the shit show that is Trump's presidential campaign. There's an "anything goes" attitude this election cycle, so why not express your love for science and equal rights to a crowd of angry people who feel that if God wanted people to have equal rights, He would have made them the 11th commandment.

Below is a sampling of tweets by people who were mad enough about this to tweet about it.

 Yes. They are EXACTLY like Wall Street. I just checked my 401k, and the "Third Eye Blind Plays Their Hits" fund has already lost 30 zillion dollars. I am SCREWED.

I don't really have a comment for this because it makes no sense but it's ALL IN CAPS SO I KNOW THEY'RE SUPER SERIOUS.

 I will acknowledge that Al Gore isn't a scientist, but I also suspect that "real" astrophysicist Neil de Grasse Tyson is probably on the same page as Bill Nye with most things.