Tag Archives: culture wars

What the Election Means – Real Talk

Well, I’ve managed to endure 4 of the 5 stages of grief post-election.  I skipped ‘bargaining’ because well, there isn’t really a reason to go through that one with a national election. I’ve landed in this place of acceptance about the presidential election.

I’m disgusted by it, but it is what it is. #resignation

It is an interesting dilemma when a candidate can win the popular vote, but not the electoral vote, but you know the way representative democracies are set up…

giphy-prince

So here we are, a nation that elected a candidate with no political experience, who has maligned bunches of folks and declared numerous enemies, puckered up to Putin, who is ensnared in multiple law suits, and after retweeting and reverbing countless racist tweets, memes and theory was openly endorsed by the Klu Klux Klan.

Yeah, we did that. #Murrica

I worked on Capitol Hill for a member of Congress early in my career. Many of my colleagues are Hill or federal government employees or alums. It is noble and can be difficult work. These folks are educated, hard workers, have a non-partisan depth of knowledge and expertise that is essential to keep things running—right down to the cafeteria workers and janitors found in many a hallowed hall.

They endure partisan changes with every election.

While I do worry about the governance implications of a Trump presidency; I am a student of government. I know that even when one party controls all of the points, our system is designed to resist a cliff fall. Oh, there will be change and there will be pork barrelling like a mug; I fear some of it will be very bad, very bad for regular common folk like me, but at a national, global, macro level, I’m not sure what that will look like. I do know that we’ve seen a trend in higher ed for years of bringing in corporate executives to run colleges and universities with the goal of making them leaner and meaner. The results have been mixed at best.

It is and will remain a mystery what will unfold here as we watch Trump’s post-inaugural 100 days of policy making beginning in January.

I’m more concerned about things at the local level.

All politics are local.

It’s not just the Trump presidency, it’s not just the down ballot races, it’s the local school boards, city councils and board of supervisors. It’s the judges, state and district attorneys, the sheriffs and the aldermen. It’s the appointments that they make over agencies like Children and Family Services.

It’s the ripple effect in my community that deeply worries me.

Do these folks embrace that rhetoric? Do they think it’s ok to “grab ‘em by the p*ssy?” After exonerating innocent defendants will they still, 20 years later, go to the media and claim they are guilty?  #centralpark5 Or do they think all that stuff is just a bunch of hogwash and that “he really didn’t mean it!”

Will they stop me? Will they treat me fairly? Will I be given the benefit of the doubt? Will I or my daughter die at their hands because, as an African American living in an urban area (though not the inner city) I was risking life and limb just going to pick up my prescription due to the all the hellish crime surrounding me in my quiet suburban neighborhood?

Did they vote for him? Will they vote with him and Pence in concept in the future? Will they infantilize people of color and women as though we are unable to make decisions for ourselves?

And that’s just within the system.

I never made a personal proclamation on social media to “unfriend” me if someone was a Trump supporter. I had one person troll me and I dealt with that in the manner that you would deal with a troll. Otherwise, I might vehemently disagree but I am willing to engage and I’m willing to try to see the world from their vantage point. #neverscared

And now, I wonder who I can trust. Did the unabashed abandon of “political correctness” or as I like to call it, home training, appeal to folks’ inner monologue about women, people of color, people with disabilities, immigrants, and whomever else got dragged during the campaign? Do they now feel it’s perfectly acceptable, nay, encouraged to say these things out loud to any and every one without shame of any retribution?

Was the America that they wanted to return to have me and mine using a different bathroom because my brown skin might give them cooties?

Was it a belief that black and brown people are ne’er do-wells who don’t want to work or need to be legally managed?

Do some of them think that I’m less than I really am?

These are the questions that will make me shudder during the next four years. It is the reality that we have normalized abnormal behaviors and speech. No, we didn’t normalize it, we either found it so meaningless as to outright dismiss it or we were cool with it or found it so meaningful so as to even lukewarmly embraced it.

Even with a lot of gray, we validated hate speech this week.

We made it so ok to be an asshole that we can now tell our kids, “Look, you too can grow up to be an asshole.”

And K-12 teachers are already reporting the increases in race and immigration based bullying after a year of campaigning. Oh, kids are also calling folks deplorable, but some of the rhetoric is, in fact, deplorable. My daughter talked to me yesterday about how worried some of her friends were; about their futures; about being bullied for being different.

Isms are learned. Hate is learned. This stuff isn’t innate. We bear the burden of having taught our kids that a large group of folks in this country believe that this foolish, childish behavior was ok.

It’s ok to have different view points; it’s ok to disagree.  Not every disagreement is hate speech or tone policing so we need to stop accusing folks of it when it’s not. Not every episode of poor home training related behavior is malicious. There is room for grace and the need to take advantage of teachable moments.

As mom to Hope, I try to teach her grace and how to respond to these moments appropriately, even as I quietly bemoan the need to do so. I hope that others are doing the same with their kids.

I often feel so stretched parenting Hope alone, but I know that my commitment to civic engagement is going to deepen as a result of this election. I need to start going to more community meetings, school board meetings, Board of Supervisors meetings, and the like. I need to be sure decisions concerning me and my family are not made without me.

This election is a sign for me to continue to work to create the world I want for me and my daughter. It is and always should’ve been a call to action for those of us who resist oppression in any form.

225_opt1

President whomever, certainly plays a role in that, but #realtalk, that kinda change starts at home and in your hood.

 


Adoption Culture Wars

So in the last few weeks I’ve had an opportunity to shift focus. Instead of writing, I’ve spent more time reading. I’ve been a little more active on a couple of online support groups (long time followers know I think these spaces can be a bit iffy). I’ve rested my brain. I’ve found new stories, learned about new foster care/adoption organizations, followed the #NAM2015 and #FliptheScript movements. It’s all been fascinating, largely because I’m a voyeur/people watcher-studier at heart.

Amazingly I will be getting some more time in a few months to have this breather when I have my other hand surgically repaired.

Of all my internet cruising, I found that there really are a few culture wars going on within the adoption community.

Though culture wars are fascinating, they are rarely pretty.

Where oh where do I begin?

How about the #ShoutYourAbortion/#ShoutYourAdoption trend from a couple of weeks ago? OMG, seriously, folks can’t have nothing. Folks who aren’t necessarily a part of the conversation have to clapback about ish that is really not their business.

So, in an effort to remove the stigma from abortion, a hashtag was born- #ShoutYourAbortion—because well, isn’t that how “movements” are launched nowadays?

Anyhoo, not to be outdone and/or ignored in a story, folks launched #ShoutYourAdoption as a response to all the abortion shouting in hopes of apparently reminding folks that adoption is an alternative to ending a pregnancy and shouting out all the families who apparently “saved” kiddos from inevitably being aborted.

exhaustion

Yeah, I get it. I do. Um, ok. But why come?

The conversations became ugly and corrupted, because well, adoption is actually *not* the opposite of abortion, and because this is what happens when critical conversations are reduced to less than 200 characters. As someone who’s been on both sides of the conversation, I would understand how it might serve to push more women who question continuing a pregnancy into a closet and away from meaningful support systems that could lead to different choices.

We all have belief systems, view points and experiences that allow us to sort information/data into categories—good or bad. This hashtag culture war about shouting to remove stigma resulted in exacerbating the frictional relationship among women. Ugh, messy and more disturbingly stigmatizing.

Really, really unnecessary.

Oh, then there was the American Girl drama.

So, AG profiled an adoptee in a two dad household. Amaya looks happy and healthy and is surrounded by lots of love. Some folks went nuts because the story dared to tell the story of the girl’s family—namely the part about two dads. They were offended because reading the AG newsletter and being “confronted” with an adoptee story that features parents in a same-sex coupled relationship was tantamount to an “agenda” being forced upon them through the pages of a voluntary read magazine.

Fo real doe?

Oh good grief, just stop it.

The child was in need of a home with lots of patience and love, she found one. She found one with two dads, and if that’s the worst thing that happens to her moving forward in her life, I’m going to assume that her future is looking pretty bright. She is on her way and apparently doing well. But the adoptee and her future is lost in all the hullabaloo about gay parenting and the emphasis is put on the love lives of her parents.

Or rather the love and sex lives of her parents, because isn’t adoption all about the parents and not the adoptee?

Again, really?

And like I do in this post, those protesting make reference to a larger culture war at play; however, their argument advances a theory that we are all being hoodwinked and bamboozled into the fall of Rome, because of all the gay folks running around.

For me, this is just another distraction from a focus that should be on the foster children and adoptees. I’m not saying that folks are not entitled to their own values and opinions, but really, can we really, focus on making sure kids who need homes find homes with stability and love and not get hung up on a bunch of foolery?

And finally, it’s National Adoption Awareness Month in the US; it’s [always] time to #FlipTheScript. I personally love to hear adoptees tell their story and discuss their trials and triumphs in being adopted. I am interested in hearing about them, from them. I’m also interested in hearing from birth families and first parents. But dang if I’m still not seeing support group posts about adoptee gratitude, about feeling defensive and threatened, about how their adoptive child isn’t so pissy about being adopted. Sigh.

Just because everyone’s story isn’t palatable to the ear, doesn’t mean the story isn’t true, isn’t valuable, isn’t worthy of you just listening and being empathic for all one stinking month of the year.

And because we *can* actually walk and chew gum at the same time, you can meaningfully listen to adoptees flip the adoption script while still celebrating your adoption, your adoptive family and whatever else you want to celebrate during the month year.

flipthescript

Before I became an adoptive parent, I never would’ve guessed that there was so much drama in the adoption world. I was certainly naïve since it’s really just a microcosm of the world as we know it.

Adoption has been a beautifully difficult path for me. It would be nice if the community could treat each other with kindness and respect. So many of us really do live with some real challenges related to adoption; it isn’t easy. These culture wars and others mean that we end up living in relative silence; there’s no more air and space for the challenges to get the support that families need.

My wish for NAAM2015 is that we just be kind and supportive to one another, no matter what brought us to this journey or even if we made choices that didn’t bring us to adoption.

End adoption culture wars. Don’t try to be kind and supportive, just be kind and supportive. Life is hard; just do it.

Yoda


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