Citizens United

What a patriotic sounding name for something that has been so divisive in American Politics. Possibly the most divisive legislation we have (since most legislation now leads back to this one ruling).

For those unfamiliar, Citizens United ruling basically says that corporations have the same rights as individuals, and can therefore spend as much money as they want to donate to a political campaign.

However, money is never really going directly from the corporation to the politician or campaign. It is being funneled through false front organizations. These organizations, or PAC groups, essential ensure that nobody knows who is actually supporting a candidate or piece of legislation, since the money can’t be traced back to individual people or actual organizations.

The scary part about this dark money controlling our politics, is that in some states our court judges are chosen through election. Under normal, transparent circumstances, a judge would have to recuse themselves from a case against an individual or organization with which they have a financial tie. But through these dark money groups the public doesn’t even know who their campaign financiers really are. This means judges can rule on cases for the individuals/organizations who have funded their campaigns and not recuse themselves from the case.

This is a breeding ground for corruption in our political system.

Think twice before you believe anything said in a campaign advertisement that is funded by some vague, patriotic sounding organization like : People for the American Way, or Americans for Conservative Solutions, or Susan B. Anthony List, etc…

There’s a million of them and they are undermining our democracy.

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Writers Block

Ironic to write about writers block isn’t it? Well I don’t exactly have writers block. Or maybe I do. I don’t really know.

I feel like I have a lot of things to say. There are so many things happening in our world right now that there is no shortage of inspiration or topics to be discussed.

But each time I think I have something to say. A lot to say. I sit down to write and immediately feel that I have nothing to say.

I feel its already been said. Or that I am too opinionated. That I will come off sounding trite. That I don’t know enough about these topics to post an opinion to the world.

So I don’t write anything at all. I stay silent. I feel defeated before I’ve even begun.

I don’t want to add fuel to the already divisive and polarizing fire that is burning an ever wider gap between people. Between people who probably actually have more in common when it comes to values and principles than they have differences. But because we’ve been so taught to look at others through our tribal glasses we only see that they are of a different tribe than the one we identify with. So therefore they must be wrong.

I saw this quote the other day:

I found this to be so true. We choose who we want to believe. What we want to believe. If someone we like says something, it is truth. If someone we do not like says it, it is wrong.

Anyway. I thought writing something. Anything. Might spark some inspiration to write on a more meaningful level. We will see if this works…

 

Abortion (yep, I am going there)

So I got into a “discussion” with someone online about abortion. This is an issue that seems to be on the top of everyone’s mind lately.

First, about a month ago, the Trump administration introduced their plans for a ‘gag rule.’ This plan would prevent doctors and health care providers from even discussing abortion with a patient. This is concerning for a lot of reasons, but mostly it is unethical to ask doctors to withhold information from patients. If doctors offer abortion services or even MENTION abortion options to a patient they could lose important funding that helps them provide other much needed services to the under-insured and uninsured. Services like birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and STI screenings among other health services. “The rule would take away the guarantee that patients receive complete information about their reproductive health care options” (article).

THEN, last week Justice Kennedy announced his retirement from the Supreme Court. He is a conservative justice but has been the swing vote on many socially liberal issues. Such as abortion rights and gay marriage. He was a conservative that understands the original values of the Republican party. Values of a small government and less government interference in people’s personal lives. He understands that you cannot say you want less government oversight, except in these few areas that the religious right has decided the government most definitely should dictate other people’s lives and freedoms. But now he has decided to retire and give Trump yet another Supreme Court pick.

There’s been a lot of talk about who the new justice will be and what they will do about Roe v Wade. Trump has already promised to appoint a justice who would overturn Roe v Wade, though more recently he has stated that he will not ask about that issue specifically during the interview process. We all know better. He won’t need to ask, because the candidates who have been vetted for him have already made their anti-women’s right’s views heard.

So with these things in mind, a friend of mine posted this meme:

Memeabort

Pretty straightforward. It’s about women’s rights and keeping women safe and informed about their options.

But of course this sparked a debate with some anti-women’s right’s people she knows. I am refusing to call them pro-life, because they like to call pro-choice advocates pro-abortion, so they no longer deserve any respect from me. Also, I think the term pro-life is hypocritical unless the individual can prove to me that they are also anti-capital punishment, anti-war, and have never defended a murderer (including police officers who claim self defense). Death is death, so unless you can demonstrate you are pro-life in every instance, get off my lawn.

I am happy to report that the first person I started discussing with eventually did see that, although he does not agree with abortions, the government shouldn’t be involved in regulating women’s health care options.

But then this ignorant fuck just had to open his big, uneducated mouth:

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jacob3

So first, I can barely follow what he is saying because his grammar and spelling is so bad. I pointed out to him that this issue will always affect women 100% more than it will ever affect men.  I also said that if he believes sex is only for procreation and that’s what he wants to practice, then good for him, but that is not a belief I hold nor do I think it should be forced on others.

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Boys like him don’t like to hear that. There is a serious, underlying danger here that just comes across as ignorance. Really, it’s much, much bigger than that. This is the kind of mentality that leads to hate crimes against women and minorities. I don’t know this person. I don’t know how he really feels about women’s rights and inequality, but this post has a lot of red flags in it. He could easily use this discussion as “proof” that men are really the ones being discriminated against in our society. This is the “red pill” scenario that convinces young men to believe that they are really the victims in society and need to act out in order to get their own equality. Websites are dedicated to convincing young men of these things. They idolize those who have carried out violent acts against women. It is absolutely disgusting.

My last message to on the thread perhaps didn’t help matters. I was angry and frustrated. Also, I don’t know what to say to someone who has swallowed the red pill and thinks women really are to blame for the woes of the world. I really hope this is not the case for this boy.

 

 

 

What Is Happening to Our Young Men?

What is happening to young men? Why do so many of them feel their only option is to mass murder innocent people?

This most current incident in Toronto has me disturbed. If you haven’t read the most recent news of the situation, here’s an article.

This attacker was apparently part of an anti-women hate group that blames women for the fact that they can’t get anyone to fuck them.

This is not new. As the article points out, this attacker praised a previous mass killer with the same motives. They were a part of a group who called themselves “incels” or “involuntary celibates”

Other than his membership to this group – which I assume was something unknown to others who were not a part of the same group – he apparently showed no signs of violence.

This incident came on the heels of another incident at a Waffle House in Tennessee. This shooter seemed to be a more disturbed individual who had run-ins with the police prior for erratic behavior. He most certainly showed signs of violence and had his guns taken from him in the past.

But though these two individuals are seemingly very different in demeanor and motive, the result is the same. Multiple innocent lives lost.

So my question is why? What is it that compels young men to act out in violence against groups of innocent people?

Have we really left them with no other options? Is this a “copycat” issue? Are we perpetuating violence by reporting on violence? Are we giving disturbed and/or angry individuals these ideas?

How do we inform the public of tragedies without glorifying or dramatizing these actions? How do we report on motives without furthering the messages of these murderers?

I guess as a woman I am taking this Toronto incident poorly. As a woman I am not obligated to fuck you. I don’t care if you have been “nice” to me. Women are not stupid and can see through your charades. If you are trying to be nice just to get in my pants you can fuck right off.

Something tells me that this Toronto attacker won’t have too much trouble getting fucked now that he is most certainly off to prison.

I am angry.

I wish I had answers. I wish I had solutions. I wish I had the power to prevent even just one of these tragedies.

Scream or Stay Silent

I am having a debate with myself. Over and over in my head. There are all these thoughts I want to scream from every corner. Injustices in the world. Hypocrisies I see everywhere. But do I really want the headache of debate this will bring…

Then I am tempted in the exact opposite direction. To go silent. To delete my Facebook, and Instagram and maybe even this blog and just ignore the ignorance that is infuriating me.

Right now I am leaning more in the #deletefacebook camp. The couple of people who I still have in my (acquaintance) friend list who I disagree vehemently with on political issues are not going to be swayed by my logic. They are beyond logic

Exhibit A

Capture

Capture2

 

I mean… how do you argue with that level of delusion?

Exhibit B

Capture3

 

Is it even worth pointing out the stupidity of memes?

I could delete these two (yes, these are two different people) from my friends list and then shout my opinions into my echo chamber of like-minded friends. What good will that do?

The recent revelations of Facebook selling user info to companies without our consent has me one step closer to the delete button.

The reason I haven’t pulled the trigger yet? I have family who I live far away from and I love seeing pictures of my niece and nephews. Also, most of my friends use Facebook to stay connected and it’s the most convenient place to make plans with others and see invites.

Have any of you struggled with the same questions? What have you decided to do?

School Walkout

I hate this. I hate this so much. I hate that our children have to stage a walkout to get the nation’s attention that they do not feel safe at school.

In America. Children do not feel safe going to school. Let that sink in.

We are full of talk. Pointing fingers of blame. And then we do absolutely nothing.

I don’t know what the solution is. Speculation is thrown around everywhere about what will reduce the number of violent gun deaths. But when it comes down to putting those theories into action and policy? We suck. We fail. We plug our ears and shake our heads until something else gradually gets our attention and we forget that we have this HUGE, debilitating issue until it happens yet again.

I could go through the list of common targets that people love to blame when these things happen (admittedly, I was about to do just that) but that would make this post unnecessarily long, because the truth is none of that matters if we don’t do anything and innocent people continue to die. 

I will address one thing that I keep seeing pop up here and there. Being “nicer” to your fellow classmates. This is victim blaming. This is telling students that they weren’t nice enough to their classmate and so it’s their fault he shot up the school. I don’t think our society has a problem with niceness. Yes, bullying is a problem. But kids have been bullied by their classmates since the beginning of time. Bullying is not uniquely an American problem, and yet mass school shootings is uniquely and American problem. Also this “solution” doesn’t address all of the mass shootings that happen outside of schools. Because there are plenty of those as well.

In fact – thinking through all of the other common targets of blame, none of them are uniquely American. Violent video games, movies, music, high divorce rates, reduction in religious belief, mental health issues, and even a rampant gun culture. None of these things by themselves are uniquely American. 

One thing that isn’t talked about as much, but does seem to be different among high income countries is access to social programs that support people below the poverty line. Here’s a graphic from this BBC article.

social programs

I don’t want to put too much emphasis on this though, because what we really need is well funded, thorough research into the issue.

Why do our citizens pick up high powered weapons and turn them on their peers?

This makes me nervous to send my little girl to school when she’s older. I hope we can come together and actually work to do something about this issue. It makes my heart hurt.

 

 

The Return To Work

I was on the bus last week with a neighbor of mine, heading to work. He said he recently met someone who works for Microsoft and found out they offer their employees 6 months of PAID maternity leave! That sounds AMAZING. maternity leave

I took the typical maternity leave route of applying for FMLA, and draining my accumulated paid leave time in order to still get a paycheck while out for the (maximum) 12 weeks of leave. Twelve weeks is just shy of three months and not nearly enough time, if you ask me.

Technically my body had (mostly) healed from giving birth and I was capable of working again. I even felt somewhat ready to face the world and be more social and get out of the house. But jumping back into an 8 hour work day? More importantly, leaving my teeny tiny 12 week old baby for 8 hours in daycare? It was ROUGH. 

Like I mentioned in a previous post, she was colicky in the beginning and had a hard time laying down to sleep. 12 week old babies are just so helpless, and with 7 other babies in the room and only two adults between them, I knew my precious little baby wouldn’t get a whole lot of attention.

Why is it that other developed nations have figured out how to let new mothers (and fathers) stay home with their new babies for a full year before returning to work? 

Furthermore, many of these nations have affordable, or even free, daycare options!

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For a nation that claims to value babies and families, we really don’t act like it.

As in all things, actions speak louder than words.

When we say we care about children, but struggle to continue to fund CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) we are showing where our priorities really are.

When we say we care about children, but block LGBT parents from adopting children who are otherwise stuck in foster homes we are showing where our priorities are.

When we say we care about children and pregnant women, but we pull out of the Paris Agreement and de-fund the EPA we are allowing excess toxins into our air and water, babies and pregnant women being the most vulnerable to toxins, we are showing where our priorities really are.

When we say we care about children, but no meaningful gun laws have been passed, and at least 1000 more children have died by gun violence, since the Sandy Hook shooting. We are showing where our priorities really are.

When we say we care about women, but 1 in 3 women are physically abused by an intimate partner.  We are showing where our priorities really are.

When we say we care about women, but actively work against their best interests and block their ability to get the healthcare they need. We are showing where our priorities really are.

These are just a few examples of how we fall short of caring for our women and children in this country. So it is really no surprise that we don’t care about a child and mother in the first year of the child’s life.

Our actions speak louder than words. 

I have also been disappointed to hear older women complain that we have it so much better than they did. We do. I am so grateful for the fact that my employer couldn’t fire me for getting pregnant and taking leave. But aside from being guaranteed a job to come back to, we really don’t get much more help. Some of these women seem to feel some resentment toward the women of today for getting it (slightly) easier than they did. But I think we can do better. We can hope that it gets even better for the next generation after us, and not feel resentful when our nation shows progress. women

Seriously though, if  you Google image “women today meme” you will see a slew of sexist, violent, hateful memes that make me want to vomit. Clearly we’ve come a long way.

But I digress…

I will say that there are many, many ways that I was lucky during this time. I acknowledge that even having access to daycare and the ability to go back to work is not something every woman has the luxury of, even today. My work was also flexible with me, so I was able to do a bit of work from home during the first couple of months, so I didn’t have to leave Dolly at daycare for 8 hours straight. Also, daycare was in close proximity to my work and I was also able to visit her on my lunch break to breastfeed her.

Even with all of these luxuries, it was still HARD. I didn’t want to be a stay at home mom. I wanted to return to work and I am very glad now that I did. I think it’s better for both of us. I also know it would have been hard no matter how old she was. But there is a huge difference between 12 weeks and 6 months. If European countries can give a full year, why can’t we be HALF as accommodating?

We can do better. We must do better. 

Mothers out there, what was your experience like? How soon did you go back (if at all) and how did you cope?