Tag Archives: democracy

Cancer in the Trump Era, Part Deux

28 Dec

Today I start my first chemo treatment, thus starting my year-long journey to get rid of this new cancer. I hate that I am so scared and hate that I am causing all of the people whom I love to feel scared.  Obviously, the cancer last year along with the massive heart attack was not enough. This latest hiccup started the evening before Thanksgiving 2018 when I found out that the cancer in my colon spread to my liver. Needless to say this has been a rather intense and rather sad Holiday Season. My team of oncologists reported to me that this is stage 4 cancer and that there is between a 20 and 50% survival rate. Not exactly news I wanted to hear. I feel like my body, since hitting 50, has betrayed me, or is telling me that it is tired and has no desire to continue. While most of me still says fuck cancer, I must confess that the betrayal I feel from the Trump administration and from those who support this sociopath, makes it hard for me to feel confidence in beating this fucker cancer.

The past two years have seemed unbearable, as I have seen the decline of empathy and understanding of the Social Contract, if it ever existed. The currently emboldened racism, misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia is allowing us to see the very worst in humanity here in the United States. While it has always existed here, as it is a part of the very fiber of our country, 45 has normalized the worst in humanity. Sadly, 45 and his base of support have no understanding of what a Democracy is or how one works. Even more tragic is that the GOP does not know how a Democracy works, and they have proven they don’t care and thus support 45’s dismantling of our Democracy.

What has been particularly painful in the past three weeks aside from my latest cancer diagnosis, is that 45 is holding the country hostage by shutting down the government until he gets his racist wall. In the words of the late Ronald Reagan, I say: “Mr. Trump, Tear Down This Wall.” Yes, it has gotten so bad that I have to quote a president for whom I have nothing but contempt. Of course, in the world of twisted facts by Fox News which is wired directly to 45’s brain material, the blame is assigned to the Democrats who hold no power in the House or Senate currently. I and most of America continue to weep.

The list of lies and atrocities by Trump and his administration is pages long and interferes with my ability to focus on kicking cancer’s ass. Here is my plan to conquer cancer: I have named the tumor Pat, short for Patriarchy (watch out Trump/Pence), and I have named the port implanted in my chest Mueller to help kill Pat.

My hope is that during the next year, we will see some type of harmony and healing happen in the US and around the globe. That we will not see the pure hate delivered by Fox News, Trump, Pence, Theresa May, Michel Temer, J`anos `Ader, The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, and of course Puppet Master Vladimir Putin. Let us hope people will work towards Democracy and dismantle the autocratic governments here and around the globe.

I am fully aware it will take an enormous amount of strength, courage, and determination to beat this cancer over the next year. I am very lucky. I have a beautiful and phenomenal network of friends that are on this ride with me and lift me up when I am tired, and carry me when I can’t walk. Even with this amazing support, I am scared as fuck! For all of us who are currently struggling with cancer, I say we need to unite and know we can’t do this alone and let us love on each other as we belt out our individual and collected voices to Fuck Cancer and Destroy the Patriarchy!

Treason and the Embracing of Fascism

30 Jul

I have spent many weeks working on this particular article, as it has been eating at me and has been the cause of great consternation. While I typically do not reach out to 45’s base supporters, I am reaching out now, as I am exceedingly nonplussed. My observations are that continued support of 45 in the wake of his behavior in the last two years provides overwhelming evidence of a disturbing embracing of fascism and a complete lack of understanding of how a democracy operates, not to mention the overwhelming evidence of how racism unites a huge portion of the population in the United States.

In the past two years we have witnessed such sociopathic behavior from 45 and the entire GOP and what we have witnessed can’t be undone–it cannot be taken back. We now have to look at how do we repair the monumental damage done by this administration and all of you who colluded with this nefarious behavior. Here is just a minuscule list of the damaging and unacceptable behavior that is moving to deteriorate and dismantle our democracy: 45 endorsed and campaigned for Roy Moore who raped countless women and girls–how on earth do you move forward after that? How is that acceptable behavior? While campaigning, 45 mocked a reporter with disabilities–for me, I was certain this would have been the end of his campaign, but the American people sadly proved me wrong and said it was okay to mock people with disabilities. His base further disappointed me by saying it is acceptable for men to grab women by their genitals. I don’t know how any of you readers were raised, but I was raised with respect for human decency and all of 45’s behavior and the collusion and support by the entire GOP fly in the face of human decency.

Another breaking point was the separating of children from their families and placing children in cages in camps. When we learned that one particular child with Down syndrome was separated from his family, FOX correspondent Corey Lewandowski mocked the child and family with his pathetic “womp, womp.” Honestly, how does one bounce back from this behavior? Have you no decency Mr. Lewandowski? Have you no empathy? I grow fearful and exhausted by 45’s base who shout: “if you break the law, you get separated from your family.” Sadly, you all don’t seem to understand how the law works and how applying for asylum works, or what due process means. One has to be on American soil to fill out the paper work to apply for asylum and should not be separated from one’s family and then is entitled to due process.

Now let us talk about treason.  While 45 works to alienate our allies and insults Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, demonstrates unbelievably boorish behavior to the Queen of England, and then praises oppressive dictators like Kim Jung Un seems like a dystopian piece of fiction, but sadly it is our reality. His private meeting with Puppet Master Vlad Putin is more than just problematic, it is in fact treason. 45 said: “It is U.S. foolishness and stupidity and the Mueller probe that is responsible for the decline in US relations with Russia,” all of this in the face of the evidence that Russia was involved in disrupting our democratic process. Then to make matters worse, 45 has now invited the Puppet Master to come to DC for another private meeting. Why are we not collectively freaking out over this? Why have charges of treason not been filed?

Moving on to more examples of behavior that you can’t take back–behavior that painfully demonstrates that 45 and the entire GOP display the very worst of humanity. 45 and his administration are currently trying to purge all current soldiers who are impacted by HIV.  Even more disgusting is that 45 is diverting Ryan White funds that are designated to help those impacted by HIV to separate children from families. The very unstable 45 has now also threatened Iran with war.  Is this who we are as a nation? The sad answer is YES–this is who we have devolved to as a nation. It is not a small wonder that we have lost any respect from our allies around the globe.

In my 51 years of living, never did I imagine I would witness the nation embracing Fascism, but alas here we are. Fascism is the embracing and subscription to an authoritarian government that does not allow for opposing views; it vilifies the free press and demonizes opposing voices as “enemies of the state.” There is a strong push towards nationalism and great disdain for economic equality, rampant misogyny, and disdain for the arts and intellectuals — disdain for human rights. All decision making is from a unilateral voice without a system of check and balances, and fraudulent elections.

Call to action: I worry that those of you who remain in 45’s seemingly implacable base, your legacy is one of hate, racism, homophobia, misogyny, and fear. Please prove me wrong. I implore all of us to reflect and show ourselves and the world we are better than this. I want America to weep no more. For all of us in the Resistance, please practice self-care. For me, I am watching Netflix and Kim’s Convenience.

Hero of the Week Award: June 28, Wendy Davis

28 Jun
Hero of the Week

Hero of the Week

Some weeks the choice for Hero is abundantly clear. Thanks to regular SJFA follower Voice of the Trailer for nominating the amazing Wendy Davis.

Davis is a Democrat state senator in Texas, a thankless job if ever there was one. When Gov. Rick Perry called a special legislative session specifically to curtail abortion rights, she refused to let his scheme work. The short session was intended to pass a ban on all abortions after 20 weeks, create more burdensome requirements for all abortions, and crush Planned Parenthood in the state. Davis, working with a strong coalition that included Planned Parenthood’s wonderful Cecile Richards, mounted a firm plan of resistance.

Demonstrating what a filibuster ought to be, Davis launched a thirteen-hour speech on the Senate floor, refusing to allow the bill to move forward. Her marathon speech required the use of a back brace before she was done, but she stuck it out. Republicans tried a number of administrative tricks to block her, but she carried on almost to the end. When they finally cut her off with moments to go, dozens of pro-choice supporters in the gallery raised their voices in protest, shouting down any action until the clock ran out on the special session.

Gov. Perry has sworn to try again, but the voices raised against him are strong. Having a true leader like Wendy Davis brought new life to the cause. There’s now a movement to draft her to run against Perry — that would be lovely justice indeed.

Honorable mention goes to the four justices on the Supreme Court who did their best to truly represent the people in their work this week. In the devastating ruling that gutted the Voting Rights Act, Justice Ginsburg delivered a scathing dissent, joined by Justices Breyer, Kagan, and Sotomayor. All four also voted to overturn DOMA and to preserve Affirmative Action and worked to ensure that Prop 8 was nullified in California. When the highest court in the land is ruled by an opportunist ideologue, their courage and voices for justice are needed more than ever.

Women’s History Month 2012: Lady Liberty

9 Mar

On October 28, 1886, an icon of the American spirit was dedicated in New York Harbor. Liberty Enlightening the World, better known colloquially as the Statue of Liberty, is intended to welcome all comers to our shores and to represent the best of the American spirit. To acknowledge this, poet Emma Lazarus created a special sonnet to accompany the statue, The New Colossus. Lazarus herself was a worker for social justice, fighting anti-Semitism and writing articles and poems encouraging fair treatment of all people. Her words are stirring:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

But just how well do these words resonate with the nation in which we live today?  How sad that the 1% who seem to control our government (John Boehner et al. and all of the GOP presidential candidates) have no interest in Liberty:  “Give me your tired, your poor,Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me.”  How sad that we hear politicians talk of building walls to keep people out and states like Alabama demanding documentation from every Latino citizen.  How sad that all of the GOP candidates, even Dr. Ron Paul have no interest in preserving human life, as they sat in deafening silence when a group of their supporters cheered for death. How sad that all of the GOP presidential candidates signed a pledge to discriminate against the LGBT population–not exactly the words of liberty that can be read on the very foundation of Lady Liberty.  I encourage all to reflect on the Statue of Liberty and what she stands for–social justice!

Wednesday Word of the Week: April 13

13 Apr

This week’s word is: KNOWLEDGE

the circumstance or condition of apprehending truth or fact through reasoning

We live in a democracy. Every competent, non-convict citizen over the age of 18 has the right to participate in our governance. This participation may take the form of voting, canvassing, lobbying, or serving in government. One underlying principle of successful democracy is the citizens having the knowledge to participate effectively. Sadly, participation in 21st Century America seems to lean on other concepts that are easily confused with knowledge.

Websites, cable channels, tweets, and the like flood us with DATA.

information output by a sensing device or organ that includes both useful and irrelevant or redundant information and must be processed to be meaningful

Much of what passes for knowledge in our hyper-connected world is simply data. We can perceive all kinds of output and input, but much of it may be irrelevant. Simply having every statement uttered by every news outlet is not of itself knowledge. Until you consider the source – Fox or NPR? – a stream of data may be worth less than the time it takes to absorb it, organizing it into INFORMATION.

the communication or reception of knowledge or intelligence

We live in the Information Age. So what? Information is simply the reception of data. Everything on the Internet is data that we can receive as information. A stream of receivable output about Charlie Sheen, Oprah Winfrey, or Donald Trump does not necessarily contribute to knowledge. Information is useless without THOUGHT.

an individual act or product of thinking

The vast majority of human beings (Christine O’Donnell aside) are capable of thought. Thoughts, however, are like data. Without context, they have no meaning. They can lead us many places, including BELIEF.

a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing

Belief can be very powerful and also very dangerous. The things we believe are rooted in our own minds, so our instinctive actions often arise most easily from them. When those beliefs relate to the overall betterment of humanity, all may benefit. When, however, they elevate superstition to superiority, they divide humanity unnecessarily. Beliefs are slippery things, based on instinct, habit, and personal perception. I may firmly believe that John Boehner is the reincarnation of the Mock Turtle, but can I substantiate this with FACT

a piece of information having objective reality

or TRUTH.

the property (as of a statement) of being in accord with reality

These are the key components of good decision making. Someone may believe that tax cuts for the rich stimulate the economy, but the consistent lack of facts to substantiate that belief make it bad policy. Facts are the difference between blind faith and science. Even if 90% of the people believe something, it is not necessarily true; just ask Galileo.

Which brings us back to KNOWLEDGE

the circumstance or condition of apprehending truth or fact through reasoning

If we need knowledge to participate effectively in democracy, we must remember this definition. Without data and information, our minds are empty. Without thought, we cannot use those perceived outputs. Without belief, we lack a spark of humanity. But without reasoned apprehension of things that are objectively real, we are babbling animals, pretending to make decisions or goaded into mindless action. The ability to grasp the difference and act accordingly is

ability to discern inner qualities and relationships; good sense

WISDOM.

(all definitions courtesy of Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online)

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