Tag Archives: Politics

In What World

In my 44 years of circling the sun, I have always been subjected to some sort of bias. It hasn’t always been racism, sometimes it’s sexism and misogyny. Sometimes it’s been ageism.

I’ve been hurt. I’ve been angered. I’ve risen up, fallen down and risen again to fight my own oppression. Somehow, along the way, I tripped into a career devoted largely to advancing social justice in graduate education.

I just returned from a conference devoted to social justice in education. I met lots of people, shared lots of things, commiserated, learned, talked and pondered. I consider this meeting my annual professional development meeting, and I always come back with some new ideas and contacts.

For the last few years, I have felt a ratcheting up of racist (and other “ism” oriented) language in the atmosphere. I look forward to this conference in late May to hear the latest, to verify and validate that what I’m hearing, seeing and feeling is in fact what I’m hearing, seeing and feeling.

On the real…it’s getting hot in here.

For me the ominous foreshadowing has been brewing almost since Obama was first elected and birtherism emerged. During this last 18 months, and the last 6 in particular, the season has opened to say all the racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, horrible things that are on one’s mind under the guise of free speech and with little expectation of consequences.

We already saw that it was increasingly dangerous for black folk to, well, breathe, and now it’s just getting progressively worse. Just days after the 2016, election I allowed Hope to come home early because she had been subjected to horribly racist language by some of her classmates. She just crumbled.

Grammy, my mom, integrated her high school many years ago. It pains me to hear her say that the current national discourse is increasingly reminiscent of her youth in rural central Virginia.

And if she’s having flashbacks; I’m having flash-forwards.

I believe I can take care of myself, but Hope…

My daughter is on the precipice of adulthood. In a few short years, she will finish high school. She will likely go to college locally as she continues to take time to emotionally and academically catch up. She is among a cohort of kids who know a different kind of world than the one even I grew up in.

Born after 9/11, she may have recognized Bush II, but really, more than half of her life, Obama was president, and while that did not prevent “isms” from touching her…it gave her a different outlook.

And now…I can say that it’s radically different.

It’s hard to teach a child to show respect when there are major demonstrations that respect is a passé construct. The conflated notions of “tell it like it is” and free speech make it difficult to help her navigate how to engage socially. It’s also hard to teach her to turn the other cheek when she comes from a background that has already taught her that such grace just means she’ll get that one hurt too.

Hope desperately wants to be a “good” girl—her words not mine—but she already struggles with impulsiveness and many present public models are just fresh examples that impulsiveness rules the day.

Parenting is extraordinarily difficult. In what world are the current circumstances supposed to make us great (again) or even just a little easier?  And are these the circumstances that are supposed to create an environment and culture that helps me and my daughter feel safer, provide a good education, not feel pushed out due to our cocoa colored skin? Is this behavior supposed to make us, me and Hope, great or even just feel great??

Does this make you feel great??

pope

BLEND IN WITH WHITE PEOPLE?

Or this?

whitenational

Recent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, VA

How about this?

Portand

Because speech shouldn’t have consequences.

Yeah, me neither. I could really, really go hard into the political, but really, I’m more worried about the crass culture war and what its long-term prognosis will be.  How long will it be before we’re all great? How long before some leadership says hey, this is not how we should treat each other? How long before we acknowledge our individual and collective humanities? Is it in my lifetime? Is it in Hope’s?

In what world can I believe that my daughter and her brown and black friends and families will be consistently treated as though they are great? In what world will I be assured that their humanity will be seen and acknowledged?

In what world?

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If You Voted for Him — john pavlovitz

I have always been a believer in voice. Your voice is who you are. How you use it is a demonstration of your personal power.

Wars have been waged over voice—who has it, who doesn’t, how it is used.

I was always taught and been taught that silence is assent.

And this year, that is true.

In fact, I can’t think of another time in my life when it has been truer.

Just under half of the voting electorate voted for someone who seems to share very few of my beliefs or values.

Half.

It’s kind of like those old sayings when you go to college: Look to your left. Now, look to your right. One of those folks won’t be there at graduation.

Instead, now, the ending goes: One of those folks voted for the guy openly praised and endorsed by hate groups and restrictive regimes around the world.

So, you say, that you don’t share those beliefs?

Tell me.

Show me.

Stand with me.

Tell me, show me and stand with me.

Reblogged…

If you voted for him, I really need you to hear something right now: I believe you. I believe you when you say that you’re not a racist. I believe you when you say that you’re not a bigot. I believe you when you say you’re not homophobic. I believe you when you say you’re……

via If You Voted for Him — john pavlovitz


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.

 


Vote Your Conscience

It’s pretty rare for me to engage in direct political conversation on this space, and I gotta admit that this is really deliberate for me. I live in the DC metro area; we breathe politics here. I was a lobbyist for almost 10 years, with an undergrad degree in government and politics. Politics are my occupational first love. What’s happening in the US right now almost defies words. I often imagine that it is like watching the midpoint of the fall of a great republic, which is shocking given that we’ve survived a lot of other bull ish.

I know who I’m voting for next month, but I won’t publicly endorse the candidate or name them since I do think that it’s a deeply personal decision, especially this year. (Of course, if you follow me on twitter, you already know who I’m voting for.) So many of us are making voting decisions based on who we can tolerate more and hate less.

This is my first election as a parent, and things are different.  And in this election, that is an understatement. The crazy in the American election season this year is unprecedented.

Like many parents, so much of my political decision making is influenced by the future I want for my daughter. But even though this is my first political rodeo as a parent, I’m still voting in part based on who I think will eff up my daughter’s future less.

I am Black woman, raising a young Black daughter.

I’m guessing that you *should* be able to figure out who I’m not voting for in a few weeks.

Yesterday I was popping around a few adoption support groups when I came across a post by a parent who was defending her support of the GOP presidential nominee despite having children of color (though for me the argument could be made to just stop the sentence with “children.”). She posted about how she hated Clinton more. I get that.

What I couldn’t wrap my head around was the tacit acceptance of racist, homophobic, misogynistic, rapey, ablest, gutter language spouted by a candidate that has emboldened some pretty awful citizens to come out from their hiding places. I also couldn’t understand how that reality could be reconciled with the desire to raise children of color, or girls, or special needs children or just children to live in a safe country that values and embraces them.

What about our shared values?

Maybe we don’t have shared values.

Maybe we never did.

For me, ultimately, this is what a lot of the national discourse has been reduced to.

I’m not nearly as afraid of terrorists or undocumented immigrants or increased taxes or Russia as I am about my black daughter potentially being killed by American police, being sexually assaulted, being marginalized and bullied at her school, being accosted on the street by some crazy racist, sexist person who makes her feel threatened.

For me, the devil beyond the borders isn’t nearly as frightening as the one within them.

With each week, the discourse worsens and my fear escalates.

I genuinely worry for our collective futures.

I worry for our children.

I worry for my beautiful black daughter.

I worry for Hope.

I’m not naïve. I don’t expect everyone to vote the way I will. I don’t believe that we all share the same beliefs and values. I don’t believe that everyone hopes the best for me or people who look like me—both Black and a woman.

But I still hope that people will invest some critical thought into their votes.

If you’re really ok with a candidate who believes cozying up to White supremacists is ok, then vote your conscience.

If you’re really ok with a candidate who believes “locker room” talk includes descriptions of sexual assault, then vote your conscience.

If you’re really ok with a candidate who blasts his sexual assault accusers but can still fix his mouth to bring up the affairs of a candidate’s husband as though they are more legitimate and/or somehow different than his own narrative, then vote your conscience.

If you’re really ok with a candidate who openly mocks women’s looks and bodies and believes in punishing women in for having a voice, then vote your conscience.

If you’re really ok with a candidate who openly mocks those with disabilities, vote your conscience.

If you’re really ok with a candidate who conflates being Black with living in hellish inner cities, then vote your conscience.

If you’re really ok with a candidate who doesn’t include men and adoptive families in his family leave plan, then vote your conscience.

If you’re ok with a candidate who practiced housing discrimination, then vote your conscience.

If you’re ok with a candidate who has defended the killing of unarmed people of color by law enforcement, then vote your conscience.

If you’re ok with a candidate who cloaks himself in religion when it is expedient, specifically when there is a need to be forgiven, then vote your conscience.

If you’re ok with a candidate who lives on Twitter but doesn’t disavow a hashtag like #repealthe19th then vote your conscience.

If you’re ok with a candidate who embraces voters who actually wear racist and sexist paraphernalia with his name emblazoned on it, then vote your conscience.

If you’re ok with a candidate who waxes philosophical about a time when America was great and various citizens were legally subjugated, then vote your conscience.

I could go on; there is so much more.

Vote your conscience.

Or not.

It’s hard to focus on actual policy when the mud is so thick.

I need a shower after just comprising a list.

I don’t suggest that there isn’t mud on all sides, certainly there is, and none of it makes me excited about this election. But again, my fears are more immediate, more personal.

So, this post isn’t an endorsement of anyone, but it is a call for folks to really think about what their vote means, what their conscience is really saying to them, and what they really want for the future of America.

For me, I want something different. I don’t have many options, but I definitely, definitely want something different.

I hope you do too.

 

 


Bus Ride Protocol

I entertained doing a political disclaimer on this post but decided not to. I think it’s important for folks to understand the real life implications of language that incites hate, language that makes bigots and racists feel free to avoid any kind of self-censorship, and language that makes my daughter send me text messages about what she’s observing while taking the bus to her tutoring center during our morning commute.

Trump’s antics are making my world more dangerous.

I know we brown and black folks have noticed the remarkable increase in nasty rhetoric. Folks seem emboldened to be outwardly racist, sexist and homophobic. Like just on the street, it feels different. You hear little snippets of language that seems intended to let you know that they don’t like you.

My parents, both in their mid-to-late 60s, remark that it echoes things they heard years ago, during the 50s and 60s.

I’m not a stranger to hearing nasty things, but since Trump came on the scene and has been legitimized as a candidate for president, folks seem really comfortable saying any old thing. If you’re not paying attention or you or your peeps aren’t the “topic of discussion” do you hear it? Do you notice it?

Hope texted me during her bus ride this morning. Here’s our confab.

Screenshot_2016-08-01-09-50-16Screenshot_2016-08-01-09-50-28Screenshot_2016-08-01-09-50-40

So there we were during our commutes, and this is going down.

Now, Hope might talk back to me, but she does NOT like to see other kids talk back to parents or people being mean to other people. She hates this behavior, I mean really hates it, and I see it as such a testament to her inherently kind soul. She also is one who swoops in to defend those who are attacked. She has, on more than one occasion, checked a kid who was too salty to a parent in her presence. I know my daughter and this exchange bothered her; I know she wanted to intervene on behalf of this bus driver. I know she wanted to show care and concern.

Me?

I just wanted her to get to the tutoring clinic safe and sound without using the S on her chest or the cape on her back as the anti-racist superhero, hence my initial response.

As I was illegally texting while driving, I thought to myself, “Dammit, you’ve to be kidding me? I’ve now got to teach Hope a protocol for riding the bus with racists.”

This is some bull-ihitsay, I tell you.

The current climate has emboldened folks who would typically be shamed into darkness by this behavior, but when you have a Twitter/trigger finger presidential candidate who says it’s ok to come out into the light, who retweets things from handles like “whitegenocide,” folks who should be shamed no longer are ashamed.

They feel perfectly entitled (<<<keyword here) to sit on a bus with my daughter, spout foolishness and harass the bus driver. And folks can miss me with that “free speech” mess; all speech isn’t protected.

And if the GOP nominee can claim that words hurt him all over Twitter, then certainly people of color can articulate how disturbing it is to have a candidate who spouts hate, racism, and misogyny in ways that embolden his followers to do the same.

I am trying to teach my daughter to live her values in a peaceful way. I hope that her kindness to the bus driver was noted. I hope it pricked someone’s heart as a bus of people during rush hour said nothing.

I am concerned for my daughter’s safety, but I’m so proud of her for wanting to do/say *something* in the face of foolishness. I hope that making a point to thank the bus driver gave Hope a sense of power to show how to “go high,” when they “go low” (Thank you Michelle Obama!).

I fret about the next few months, and possibly the next 4 years. I worry that there will be more protocols I will have to think through and teach my daughter as she navigates daily life in her skin. She, like all of us, should be able to go through life without all the extra things that require so much cognitive energy.

Can she just live?


Black Exceptions

I am emotionally exhaustipated.

Hope has returned home from band camp, and we I am trying to get us back on our normal routine.  At about hour 38 this morning—not even 2 full days back home—I lost my ish dealing with Hope’s morning lag time that seriously makes me late for work every MORNING! I was an episode of Snapped and it wasn’t pretty.

I’m pretty keyed up and I’m not proud of it. Just lost in the throes of mourning, sadness, grief, and anger over recent events. I returned to work this morning and set about catching up and reaching out to colleagues in locations affected by death and protests. There is just a dark cloud of messy emotions.

Over the weekend I spent a fair amount of time on social media and ended up pruning my lists of friends and acquaintances. I typically keep the security settings fairly high on my personal FB page, only those close to me really get to see me unedited and uncensored. Amazingly, a lot of people don’t seem to bother self-censoring, editing or using security settings to do it for them.

I tend not to accept friend requests from colleagues or students, and if I do, most go on a special list of folks who get to see very little of what I post. #boundaries

So, if you follow social media you know that these spaces are still rather frenzied over the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and the five fallen officers in Dallas. There is an enormous amount of noise.

Some of that noise included “friends” and colleagues posting all kinds of tom-foolery about the shootings. There were racist memes, pro-murder/lynching memes, articles from less than reputable “news” (I use the term so loosely here) sites about how awful those black men were. There was absence of civility for a diverse group of folks, unless of course you think you are exclusively among like-minded “friends.”

Then there were the “friends of friends” who posted all kinds of utter non-sense on their “friends’” walls, which because of their lack of privacy settings, turns up in my newsfeed too.

The trauma don’t stop, won’t stop. Ugh!

It’s ok to disagree on many things, really it is. But the willingness to spew venom and nastiness into the world is just beyond me. How angry and discontented with your life do you have to be to do that? Is that really what you want to spend time doing with your life? You’d rather post a racist meme than share a silly sloth video? #Iloveslothvideos

Hate is such a hot and bothered emotion. Meh.

As I scrolled and scrolled through newsfeeds and timelines looking at the mess, I thought to myself, “Self, what would happen if I “liked” any of these posts?”

What would their reaction be?

Would they feel any shame?

Would they think I was really that self-loathing?

Would they realize that I got a peek behind their personal curtain to see who they really were?

And what would their reaction be when we saw each other at an event or meeting?

Would they expect that we would still be cool? Did they expect me to just let it slide as a momentary lapse into episodic racism?

Or would they think that somehow I would understand that they weren’t talking about ME, because well, I’m different. I’m the exception to the rules that governed their racism.

I started slashing and burning through friend lists on Facebook and announced that I was doing so. I don’t mind divergent opinions, but I have limits on acceptable levels of foolery.

This idea that I might be different is troubling.

Do I defy their stereotypes? Do I exceed their low expectations? Is it because, well, I’m one of like 3 black folks that they know personally and so that makes me different? Is it because I can code switch? Is it because I don’t scare them? Is it because I don’t make them uncomfortable? Is it because I don’t make a big deal about their whiteness and often maleness and don’t indict them on what I see as deeply rooted, systemic racism, sexism and ageism in the community I work in? Or is it because I’m just not really black, or what they perceive as black so they can just recategorize me into the reserved space for special, super cool black folk who will take you to, and keep you safe at, the soul food restaurant when you come to town so that you can say you lived a little while you were on that business trip? #seriousprivilegeatwork

I’d like to think I’m a bad ass, that I’m exceptional. I think I’m good at what I do. I work hard; I always have. I think that I’ve benefitted from good mentoring, from good counseling, from occasionally affirmative action to just give me a much needed chance to show my work and from extensive hard work.

But the problem with being “exceptional” in this case is that it allows people to justify having a poor view of folks who look just like me. It gives folks an out when they really need to squirm on the hook.

It also puts an enormous amount of pressure on me to live up to the Magic Standard—be everything, do everything and make everyone exceptionally comfortable while doing it.

It’s impossible to do that. Black exceptionalism is not the move. #blackexcellenceistho

So no one who thought we were close enough to post something off the wall and allow it to permeate my newsfeed got a pass this weekend. Nope, not today folks, not today.

eyeroll#weaintrockingnomo

As Jesse Williams said, “The thing is though, that just because we’re magic, doesn’t mean we’re not real.”

jesse-williams


Good and Scary

I loathe doing trigger warnings on a space that I created for myself, but well, I rarely bring politics into this space and today I will. So, if you’re not down with reading this perspective, you might want to move on right about 5ish paragraphs in.

Surprisingly, Hope and I are doing well. Things are good. Things are so good that last weekend, I took Hope and a family friend (also an adoptee) roller skating, then on Saturday Hope went to a church event (alone), that was followed by lunch with the church friends (sans me), led part of the teen service at the church we attend (I was the geeky parent taking pictures proudly) and then hung out for 4—that’s FOUR—amazeballs hours at the home of a friend from school (that’s right, she finally got an invite to go hang) AND said friend even brought her home for me.

All of this meant that I got to become one with my new magic couch…alone. I snuggled on my couch with Yappy in a state of ecstatic glee.

Last weekend was nothing short of epic.

I’m hopeful again. I’m feeling better; I finally named the new car—Polished Polly. The couch…oooohh the couch, seriously, I can’t rave about the couch enough.

I’m on a business trip, which means I get a bit of time away. Hope gets a bit of time from me. Tonight when I get home, things will be all lovely for a day or two.

Things ae good.

And things are scary. Like, seriously boogey man scary. Trump? Really? Really? I west coast woke up this morning to find that this dude has now won the Nevada caucus.

As a Black woman, this dude’s misogynism, racism, xenophobia, homophobia…it sickens me and makes me very afraid. What actually scares me more is that followers pride themselves in having found a candidate who says all the awful things they haven’t the balls to say out loud in pleasant, mixed company. The fact that he has struck a chord with so many people helps me understand even more why I must be vigilant about my daughter’s safety.

I already worry about the police—who are jumping on the bandwagon by boycotting Beyonce because she has hot sauce in her bag (swag), slays and had the audacity to include a video shoot that asked cops to stop killing us.

I worry about how easily policy decisions that result in unpotable water and massive amounts childhood lead poisoning. #Flint

I was working yesterday, doing a meeting about diversity in professional schools. Someone asked me if I thought there was really more racial incidents occurring or if they just got more attention? I replied that I thought it was both.

What I really wanted to say is, “Does it really matter?” If there aren’t as many, but there is more attention, that only shows what people like me live through every day. If there are more events and less attention why the hell wouldn’t I be afraid of an uptick in hate crimes, especially with no more attention because no one cares?

Seriously, WTF? It kinda sucks all the way around, right?

So to have a candidate whose hate is being legitimized with each primary or caucus scares me and it makes me wary of my fellow citizens.

This doesn’t let many of the other GOP candidates off the hook; but few of them scare me as much as Trump. And while I am a self-avowed Democrat; I’m not really all that thrilled with my choices there either. I don’t believe in dynasties, even if it would mean breaking the gender ceiling and I love idealism, but there’s a reason it’s not practical—because it’s simply not.

Super Tuesday is next week and it could really serve to lock  down our choices for November. I am hopeful, prayerful even, that my country cares about my safety and the safety of my family as African Americans. I am hopeful that other choices are made. I am hopeful that the articulation of fears like mine don’t just echo in the darkness, but that they mean something.

My fear of a Trump presidency is real. My fear that an increasing number of people buy into his rhetoric and his “I know I am but what are you?” routines have a gut check about kindness, humanity, compassion and true American ideals and not our faux exceptionalism. I hope that we all have moments of awakening that allow us to transcend the political rubbish and allow us to make real decisions about our fellow citizens.

There’s no endorsement in this post, just a lot of questions and a lot of fears for our country’s future. Please remember people like me. Remember Hope. Think about us as we all make our decisions.

Things are good and scary these days.


Thoughts on the Government Shutdown

So, this isn’t really a place where I envisioned talking about politics, which is strange because people who know me well, know I breathe politics.  I was a federal lobbyist for 10 years.  Most of my organizational client/members are beneficiaries of federal funds that advance higher education and biomedical research.   I live in the metro DC area, and many of my friends are federally employed, both civilian and armed forces.

The recent government shutdown infuriated me on many levels that I won’t go into here.  What I want to talk about here for a minute is how some folks believe that the shutdown had no impact on anyone.  A Facebook pal posted this today:

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Now, she’s on the outer bands of my hurricane of pals.  You know the type…she’s someone I went to high school with, nice woman, really.  I enjoy seeing pictures of her family and seeing how she’s doing these days.  I wish her well, but we aren’t really friends, we’re “social media friends.”  She wouldn’t know how the government shutdown has affected me, Hope, or families who are waiting to adopt, especially adoptive families adopting internationally.  She’s not close enough to know about this personal adoption journey.

Even if she were close enough to know I was adopting my precious Hope, she wouldn’t know that some of the services that help Hope deal with the astounding losses she’s experienced in her short life are partially funded by the federal government.  She wouldn’t be privy to the knowledge that Hope’s foster mom works for HUD and was out of work for the last couple of weeks and didn’t know whether she would get back pay when she returned to work.  Foster Mom still doesn’t know when she’ll get paid; she and her husband are good hardworking people.  FB Pal doesn’t know how much I worried over the last couple of weeks whether Hope’s current foster placement would remain stable before we had a chance to place her with me.

What if Hope had to go to another placement because things became financially unstable at her current placement when she’s been there a year?  Would Hope really believe that she would ever come to live with me after that kind of placement disruption?  What might another placement do to her sense of security?  How might Hope react?  Would she recover?  Would she ever trust me for “letting that happen” because she doesn’t know that the freaking government shut down and triggered an avalanche of bullcrap?  Aside from watching some of my favorite small business owners in downtown DC take a hit and see good friends and colleagues worry about how long the impasse might last while they were maligned as lazy, ineffectual and incredibly unnecessary, my concerns about Hope were the real fears that twisted my heart these last two weeks.  This is what the government shutdown meant to me.

I effing make my coffee at home so I don’t give a rat’s arse whether any of the nearly 20 Starbucks I pass on the way to the office closes, but the schnitty arse government shutdown and the blowhards that dragged us through it to prove a point scared, and continue to scare, the schnitt out of me.   And that’s my truth.

So amongst all the rhetoric about Obamacare, debt ceilings and bad political behavior, there are some positive things about our government. Sure, there’s room for improvement, but not at gunpoint.

I just wish people were a little more thoughtful and a little more compassionate even about the things they don’t know much about.


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