Free Speech

I have a thing about being silenced. It pisses me off. While I often refuse to continue to listen to stupidity, or racism, I can’t remember ever trying to silence a friend on my page. Ever. Of course I can handle my page. No one is silly enough to think otherwise. On the other hand, some people cheer my arrival in an argument on their page, knowing they’re about to watch some right winger get a sound thrashing.

If you’d cheer my arrival on someone else’s page, and the ensuing literary evisceration of a troll, do not think it’s appropriate to tell me that your page is somehow a safe zone, that they should not be treated to the same disregard I show them everywhere else.

Your people are no more sacred than anyone else’s people, your page no more a safe zone than any other. You may ask me to refrain from using certain language. I may do that (assuming everyone else abides by the rule). But outright lies, blatant racism, and willful ignorance offend me. I figure I owe those who exhibit such behavior an offense or two.

I kept my mouth shut most of my life. I watched in silence as people treated me and others like shit. I bit my tongue so hard it drew blood. I’m not doing it any longer. Like me or hate me, I don’t care. I spent too much of my life worrying about it. No more.

But don’t ever tell me to shut up. Don’t ever treat me like I should be seen and not heard. I suffered enough backhands with the reminder as a child to find the suggestion offensive in itself.  If you want me to back off, send me a PM and let me know your reasoning.  Don’t presume to think you can just order my silence  The result will not be the one you expect.  Or, likely, one you’ll enjoy.

If you have an issue with that, it’s likely we will not remain friends. That’s too bad, because you can pretty much say anything you like on my page. As long as you can back it up.  I assume that anyone worth a fuck can defend themselves and their own ideas.  If they can’t, it’s time to pack it up and get the fuck off the internet until they can.

If life was a popularity contest, I lost in the 4th grade kangaroo court I was forced to endure. I just failed to realize I shouldn’t give a shit about it until about three years ago.

That has long since been remedied.

Opinionated? Hell, yeah. With the chops to back it up. Like it or lump it. Again, I don’t care. If you like what I have to say, buy my books. If you don’t, you’re welcome to purchase and burn as many as you like.

If you’re going to stick around, buckle up. This ain’t a kiddy ride.

Dear America

Dear America, 

You can’t stand by and watch while fanatics are elected to public office and then act shocked when they do what fanatics do. They TELL us what they plan on doing, then when they set about trying to accomplish it, we’re told “you’re just fear-mongering.” Yeah, because they didn’t announce their goddamn intentions before they started it.

We warn you. “They’re after your social security,” and you think “Pshaw, they’d never take away social security.” Despite the fact that some of their most notable voices regularly call for doing away with it. The notion of returning to the days when it wasn’t uncommon for the old to die of starvation or exposure because of extreme poverty doesn’t bother them in the least. THEY don’t have to consider the possibility of ending up that way. They’re insulated by their office, or their wealth, or their social position. So they believe.

But for people who have nothing themselves, who are aware that the only thing that will see them through in their twilight years is social security and what little they might get from their 401K. If they’re lucky enough to have one.

Right now they’re going after the disabled. During a time when able-bodied people can’t find work, they think it’s appropriate to tell NON able-bodied people that they should be out there competing with everyone else. As if it would actually BE a competition.

Any one of us might end up disabled. No one can tell the future with any accuracy, regardless of what they might claim. We all feel immortal for a limited time. And that time runs out for everyone. It just tends to take a little longer for the rich.

But this country isn’t just for the rich. It’s for all of us. And only by working together, and by denying their privileged country club mentality, where only the people who are “good enough” can be let in and treated like real people, can we hope to succeed as a nation. Like Carlin said. “It’s their club, and you’re not invited.”

These are much darker times than people realize, because the threat against many of the things that we hold dear is far greater than we are told. As flawed as the system may be, and as flawed as the Democratic Party might be in some respects, they’re all that stands between the average American and future destitution.

And I think more and more people might be cluing into this. I sure hope so. Because our only hope at this point is to do our best to elect Democrats into office this mid-term. But that’s not all. Those of us with the vision and integrity need to do more than just agitate. Progressives need to stand up and put themselves forward. Put their necks out.

I’ve thought about it, but, hell, let’s be honest. My patience for bullshit is non-existent. I’m not politician material.

But there are a lot of people more diplomatic than I am these days. And that’s a good thing.

We have to do something. We have to put not only more Democrats into Congress, we need to put more progressives in as well. And the whole time we need to stand up and stress the difference between a liberal or progressive and a “Marxist.” We need to counter that argument by pointing out how laughable it is.

Nothing worth fighting for is easy, or so they say. The tea party types believe in their bullshit strongly enough to go to D.C. and make utter fools of themselves. How many of us are incapable of even that much?

I’ve had all I can stands I can’t stands no more.

 

 

This was the battle cry of the cartoon character, Popeye, when he’d had just about enough of Bluto’s shit.  When the bully had pretty much landed on his last nerve and started to tap-dance.

Image

 

Popeye would get pissed, pop his spinach can (sometimes he had to scramble around to get his hands on it again) and, in a terribly display of dining etiquette, proceeds to swallow the whole can.  Theme music goes off and suddenly the little guy has enough umph to pound that big ol’ bully into a smear on the pavement.

Hell of a sales pitch for spinach, back in the day.

Whether or not we’re personally thrilled about the ACA (that’s Obamacare, for those who weren’t paying attention) it doesn’t change the basic fact that this method for getting rid of it, or stalling it, or whatever their fucking plan is supposed to be, is utterly insane.  Congress doesn’t get a second crack at a law it’s already passed.  That’s what additional legislation is for.  They don’t get to use our current budget battle to force changes in a completely unconnected law.  That’s not the way this works.

The American people aren’t happy about this, and they’re growing less thrilled about it by the minute.  The price we’re paying as a nation, as a society, and as individuals, might well be incalculable.  The people who say we can “get by just fine without government” are screaming about keeping MEMORIALS open while kids with cancer are forced to forgo potentially life-saving treatment.

Posturing pricks.

 

Yeah.  I’ve had all I can stands and I can’t stands no more.  Who’s with me?

Scars don’t define me

I imagine someone could build up an interesting psychological profile of me based only on what I write here. And, as frightening as it is to admit, it would probably be rather accurate. I respect intellect, strength of character and vision, and truth. My belief in the 1st Amendment is unwavering. I have no tolerance for racism or sexism. (Not real thrilled about ageism either).

I once told an ex that she would make an excellent writer, but she was afraid that too much of her personality would be exposed in her writing. (Something that CAN be true. I imagine things are exposed in my fiction as well. But nothing, I think, that I’m unwilling to admit to here).

I’m not good at facades. I’ve never been able to build and maintain the mask that many people wear to get through everyday social functions. Something Bruce Banner said in The Avengers resonated for me. “I’m exposed. Like a nerve.” That’s what life has always felt like.

Ah, the 70s. Back before child abuse. Child Protective Services? ROFL. I didn’t learn what that was until I was an adult. “We got to play outside” people announce proudly. Yeah. I used to suffer being scruffed and tossed out the door in the middle of a good book. It’s not as though I didn’t like going outside and doing things. I did. But I wasn’t really fond of hanging outside by myself. Only made the loneliness worse, especially as a teenager.

Maybe that’s why personal connections matter so much. Was warned recently that I shouldn’t engage therapists as people. Funny, I don’t know how to do otherwise. One therapist remarked that I tended to be more feminine in this respect. I build connections. It’s a hard won skill, but I believe it’s a necessity.

Keep in mind, I don’t make these connections because I get anything out of it. My wife can testify how hard it is for me to ask for help. I’ll do it myself, dammit. I don’t know what that’s about. Tired of asking and being turned away? I don’t know. Spent my life with very few people in my corner, who I felt I could trust completely.

Until I met my wife. Took me too long to realize I could trust her. I’m just glad she stuck around.

There are few people whose opinions of me actually matter.  Took me a lifetime to learn that.  But what you see is what you get.  Don’t like it?  Tough.  I took my bruises and managed to grow up more or less intact.  Not to say it didn’t leave its scars.

But those scars don’t define me.Image

Watch where you step, Alice.

Engaging modern Republicans is daring a trip down the rabbit hole into a realm as fantastic as any crafted by Lewis Carroll. Rather than hookah smoking caterpillars, Cheshire cats, and deadly playing cards, we have the Mad Hatter and his Tea Party fanatics trying to craft a world in which Congress changes laws AFTER the fact by forcing a confrontation with the President and holding the country hostage to their whims.

I KNOW these people understand how the law works, how laws work. If not, there’s a nice little video that came out when I was a kid that explains the whole thing. There’s no “Hey, we’re not quite done with that bill we passed.”

Yes. You are. That’s what “passing” means. “We’re done with this. Send it to the President.” Then the President SIGNS it. Making it THE LAW.

This isn’t golf. There’s no mulligans in legislation. Just like there’s no crying in baseball.

We cannot allow a small band of rogue legislators hold up the work of the American people. The government is the extension of the will of the American people, for good or ill. It is being handicapped by a few with radical intent, who seek to change the way the law works and, in so doing, deal lasting damage to the integrity of our Republic.

That’s one rabbit hole I do not intend to enter. I think I’ll just stand here at the top and shout down the hole.

That’s what talking to Republicans usually feels like anyway.

Shutdown Showdown

So it happened.  The federal government was forced to close its doors.  All over the country national parks and monuments are fenced off and angry tourists are waving their fists and looking for a torch and pitchfork store.  Some of our cowardly media is playing the whole “it’s just a bickerfest” bullshit again, as if this wasn’t about the health and security of the citizens of the United States and the desire of some few oligarchs to continue fleecing the unprotected.  As of today, many people will have insurance that did not have it before.  Many of those people might suffer from illnesses that, without proper treatment, could kill them.  What the House Republicans are trying to do is kill these people.  It’s nothing personal, of course.  They’re not deliberate targets.  They’re just unintended consequences.  “Health insurance?  None for you.”  I imagine twirling a handlebar mustache and cackling evilly as he ties the ACA to the railroad tracks along with the would be health insurance customer.

It’s not even “healthcare reform.”  It’s badly needed HEALTH INSURANCE REFORM.  Taken individually, most people approve of the articles of this law.  They seem to object most stridently to the Obama part.  This is not rational public debate, and those who shut down the government and now demand a debate or conversation just to continue doing their jobs are in the wrong.  Most Americans know it.  The longer it goes on, the more Americans it will hurt.

And people need to keep one thing in mind.  The President doesn’t have the power to end it.  He has the power to bend to their will, but is that the kind of President you want?  One that can be bullied so easily?  I don’t think so.