Do not wait for the things you want in life to happen. Do not wait for “the right time.” The right time is when you have the ambition, the passion and the ability.
The pain we feel during loss—the relentless, paralyzing chest-crushing brain-numbing agony—is the equal and opposite to our joy and love and connection. It’s borderline unbearable at times, but if it never rained we would never appreciate the sunlight. Speaking for myself, being released from the pain is not worth giving back the joy. Not for a minute.
Continue reading “I’ve learned some things these past few months.”
Last year, I talked about how disgusting it was that Trump, a few months into the job of the presidency and tripping over himself in the rush to defend Bill O’Reilly, had the audacity to proclaim his endorsement of “Sexual Assault Awareness Month.” A year later, it’s no less repugnant.
Continue reading “Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2018: Gaslighting gets an A for effort”
You don’t have to be a salaried research associate to know that most of the main points made to decry social assistance programs – particularly SNAP – are simply not true. People unfairly hemorrhaging aid dollars that they don’t need; people nefariously purchasing cigarettes and skittles with their entire allotment; individuals only on the program to avoid working. A simple Google search finds that most people on public assistance DO work. While fraud cases are always widely covered, they’re in the minority compared to people who desperately need this assistance. And anyone who thinks it’s an easy jaunt to buy whatever vice-related goods you want has clearly never experienced any public assistance program.
Continue reading ““WHICH LINE FOR THE FOOD STAMPS?!””
The most accessible analogy for the toxicity currently plaguing our nation is an abusive relationship. For the people who spend decades wondering “How did X society let X issue get that bad?” one need look no further than the dynamics of abusive relationships. “Why does so-and-so stay?”
In hindsight, it’s easy to understand. Nobody is outwardly abusive in the beginning. Hitler, Jim Jones, and the rest were not militaristic, overtly violent people during their ascension. Like a charming date, people fall (hard) for the person who meets their needs and makes them feel special. History criticizes those unable to see the subtle ropes that gradually ensnare every aspect of the victim’s life, those who ignore the severity of their situation until those ropes are used to hang them. We profess “Never Again,” and demand to remember exactly how it got this bad in order to ensure it never reoccurs.
And then we forget. Nostalgia filters out the unpleasant and we romanticize “good old days.” Excuses and justifications are made. We forget how different the forest looks when one walks among the trees.
In the early stages, the praise drowns out any voiced concerns. “Quit whining, you’re just sour grapes!” Enthusiasm and reverence, cultivated over months of promised bliss, meet the challenge of any apprehension. “He’ll drain the swamp—you’ll see!” “You just don’t know them the way I do!” The more outsiders express disdain, the more appealing our newfound champion becomes. “We’re going to be great again!” “You don’t understand; they love me!”
Continue reading “Whether exerted over a relationship or a nation, tyranny manifests in remarkably similar ways.”
I am deeply interested in the Civil War. I consume a lot of documentaries and historical books. I portray a Union soldier as a sometime-re-enactor. I have toured six of the national battlefields so far, and one of my ancestors was wounded at Gettysburg (on the third day, my guess during the artillery barrage before Pickett’s Charge). I am interested.
It’s fantastic to find other people to discuss this important and pivotal time in American—and world—history. Stories about heroic bravery, dumb luck and masterful strategy abound; personal details and anecdotes preserved in diaries and letters connect us to the nearly three million people who fought—and the more than 500,000 who died—in the largest bloodbath our nation has ever seen.
So I was surprised as the national conversation emanated from the horrific violence in Virginia—since the white supremacists were in town to preserve a statue of Robert E. Lee, this was a teaching moment about the actual history of most Confederate monuments with national potential. It seemed like people were becoming more interested in discussing the War, and its implications regarding Reconstruction, Jim Crow, the Civil Rights Movement, and even Black Lives Matter.
Yet as it turns out, most people apparently don’t care about the actual War, or about how those monuments actually got there.
Continue reading “Another thinkpiece on Rebel Monuments”
Memorial Day is a unique moment to honor a very specific type of Americans: those who have died, either in the service of our nation or after a career of military duty. Abraham Lincoln would characterize them, three years before the concept of Memorial Day came about, on a battlefield in southern Pennsylvania where sixty thousand Americans had been killed, as “these honored dead,” emphasizing that we must double our commitment to the “cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion.”
The Day was first formally recognized in 1866, when Waterloo NY started a national trend of lowering flags to half staff, draping the village in black to represent mourning, and decorating the graves of soldiers lost during the War. This energy was propelled both by living veterans and loved ones of the dead.
Originally in the first week of May, the day was pushed back to later in the month as more communities began to acknowledge a day to memorialize their dead, likely to allow for more flowers to bloom before they were plucked by loved ones to place upon graves.
Continue reading “In case anyone thought it was about furniture sales and barbecues…”
If you know me, you know what I do for a living. If you don’t know me: I do outreach and education for the regional rape crisis program.
This time of year is our Superbowl, Oscars, and New Year’s Eve put together. The often-thankless field of victim advocacy has an annual moment to take the spotlight, along with the real reason we all do this job: not for applause, but the survivors and families that we support, and for the paradigm shift we can impress upon the community.
That paradigm shift is important: to prevent sexual assault—actually stop it from happening, not make sure someone else is victimized—society needs to acknowledge the unhealthy norms that provide a foundation that can green-light assaults. Comments like “you can grab ‘em by the pussy” being sidelined as “harmless, locker-room talk” sends a message that, because of the situation or the speaker’s level of fame/authority/POWER, attitudes like that are okay. As I’ve already discussed, behaviors and attitudes are indicative of beliefs and values, and an attitude like that speaks volumes about that person’s values.
Continue reading “Before I start the workweek tomorrow, I gotta set this down somewhere.”