Misogyny Hurts All of Us

It comes as no surprise to anyone that Donald J. Trump is a misogynist. With recent recordings of him bragging about sexual assault once again as if he's God's gift to women, there is more than enough proof (there was way before this but ok) to give him this title. And normally, I'm able to distance myself from the horror because I have no intention of voting for this guy and almost every single person I know feels the same way as I do. But for many reasons today, all the crazy made it through my filters and I am genuinely, palpably upset. His statements don't shock me. In fact, I'm sad to admit that when I heard them, I wasn't even all that offended. Not because what he said isn't offensive, but because it's something I've heard before and his voice is typically the worst and loudest in the crowd. I don't put a lot of stock in anything he has to say, especially about me. 

The thing that really upsets me is that no one gives a fuck that this man is who he is. I know that's not true. There are so many people, myself included, who would rather surrender their citizenship than make this guy our leader. And yet, there seems to be no way to knock this guy off the evangelical, conservative pedestal, half of the population be damned. How is it that we don't have a problem with a candidate for presidency who brags about assaulting women? I just don't get it. What makes it personal is that I am in the process of raising two future women and he could be their president. He could be the man they grow up remembering. Giving speeches, representing them, showing them what it means to be an American - I can't handle it. Macy's 8 and Penny's 3. If he's elected and has 2 terms, he will be the leader of their nation until they're 16 and 11, respectively. That is an incredibly formative time in their lives. 

And I know, that just reading this far, someone has brushed him off again because there are people who are worse. There are men who are more sick, more proud, more shocking. And there are women who do horrible things too. I get it. But what does it say about us that we can only justify our vote when we compare our candidates to relatively evil people? I want my children's president to hold his/her head high, show them what leadership, compromise, stewardship and diplomacy look like. I want my children to be proud to be Americans, to work to make this place better than it is now - more tolerant, more diverse, more fair, more stable. Why is it that we don't see a bright future for ourselves? I want a brighter future - for me and for my daughters. I want more. And you should too. 

When Facebook Makes Me Cry

It all started when I made the mistake of posting something political on my Facebook page. I've been known to talk about human rights quite a bit but my political posts have been veiled until now. Politics don't bring out the best in humanity and I have a hard time not getting sucked into it. My emotions get strong. My feelings get hurt. Let's face it: I get mean. I become flabbergasted by both the ignorance and the total lack of compassion that this brings out in people. People whom I know I disagree with fundamentally, but to whom I hope to extend an olive branch and listen to with an open mind.
I was already having a bad day. Penny was having one of those almost 3 year old mornings where she thought it was hilarious to do everything the opposite way from which I was asking her. It was exacerbated by the fact that we were in public the whole morning. I have a particularly hard time not feeling flustered when I feel like people are watching how I react to my child when she's being "persnickety." I felt emotionally exhausted. I felt overwhelmed by my child's inability to go with the flow. I felt isolated because every parent around us was interacting with their child in a way that looked a lot more simple and easy than what I was dealing with all morning. 
Then I logged onto my page and saw the "conversation" that unfolded, and continued to unfold throughout the day. Articles being thrown at me (to which I threw articles back...like I said, I was having a bad day). My work ethic called into question. Then my privilege. Then my greed. I start to get sucked in. The words are rising in my throat. I'm tempted to talk about the 18 year old car I've been driving for 15 years or how my husband I have can live on less than $40,000 a year as a family of 4 because we're so careful with money. I want to talk about our 2 bachelor's degrees that aren't putting us to work. I want to explain how we choose to live small because that's one of our essential values. I almost blurt out about how low our mortgage payment is because we played it very conservative when we got into the market 11 years ago and have never been tempted to "upgrade" from our "starter house." I start to get angry as I think about my husband getting up at 5:30 every morning working 2 jobs and how we still can't provide for ourselves without the government programs we're gratefully using because he's been looking for full-time work for 7 months and counting with no success. I want to talk about my small business that keeps my child out of daycare (fewer expenses!) giving us a 3rd income while doing what we believe is best for our child (this is not a judgment, this is actually what we believe about our specific child). I understand what it means to create something from nothing, to generate income from thin air. I understand the amount of motivation and drive it takes to work alone with a 2 year old in tow. I really, really do. 
I want to scream out that this is about us, yes, but the video I posted was about justice for all, access to quality education for all families, races, and socio-economic levels. How could this message of hope get twisted into laziness, self-interest and greed? I want to weep. In fact, I have. 
I've written about taming this beast, this rising voice of self-defense. This is not a new process for me. I have a strong sense of justice and it can make me a bit of a beast. I choose to call it advocacy :) But maybe I haven't given a full voice to the demons, the moment the words of shame come pouring in, the pain and horror that unkind words do when they come into your home on a bad day. I get it; politics are tough. And maybe this is my cue to bow out. Shit's gettin' ugly, people. 
I know I will require an extra dose of self-care after today's events. And my skin isn't very thick.
But I don't want to silence my voice (though I may need to do some unfriending). I know there's a benefit in putting a face to an ideology (granted, I thought my face would receive more respect than it was given today, but the world isn't as kind as I believe. I already knew that) and I'm not ashamed of my beliefs. I believe people need access to health care. I believe that all the poor kids should be fed and educated and have secure housing. I believe books should be in every home. I believe people should be able to fulfill their potential whether they were born in the country club or the ghetto. I believe people want to work and to find something worthwhile and fulfilling to do with their lives. I believe people who do good work, like teach our children, should also be able to have a comfortable retirement. And God help us, I believe people of all races and religions should be free and embraced in this country, not rounded up like a bunch of fucking terrorists. 
I believe in kindness. I do. If I'm not the best economist, ok. I'm cool with that. Let's let the economists put their beautiful brains to work. But what I do know is I will not be silenced. I will not bow down in worship to the almighty hate. I won't do it. So hate my government program-loving heart if you must. But know that I love my beliefs and those who hold them with integrity and with my own integrity fully intact. You don't have to agree with it. But you damn well better respect it. And I will do my best to respect our differences and above all, to temper my passion with kindness. And now if you'll excuse me, I gotta go log off Facebook for some much needed R & R.