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I’ve tried not to write this blog a million times. I’ve started and then hit delete and started and then hit delete more times than I can remember. I’ve pondered the purpose and results of writing it, and then pondered the purpose and results of not writing it every day for a number of weeks now.

I’ve decided to just follow my heart and write.  All I ask is that you read the entire piece with an open mind.  At the end, you can unfollow me, you can unfriend me, you can do whatever it is you feel you must do.

I find I can no longer tolerate those who are planning on ticking the box for Donald Trump in November.  I can usually debate with those with whom I have differing political opinions.  I mean, that’s the whole point of a democracy – opposing views working together making the Country stronger and more fair for everyone.  But in this election, there is no debating with Donald Trump people.

See, Donald Trump doesn’t have any plans that don’t include racism, xenophobia, misogyny, homophobia and discrimination on every level you can think of. That’s his plan – discrimination, hate and divisiveness.   Build a wall on the border of Mexico to stop those evil Mexicans who rape and pillage Americans. Stop Muslims from entering the US for they are the cause of all evil in America. Defund Planned Parenthood and overturn Roe v Wade to keep women subservient and in their place. Overturn marriage equality and make LGBT discrimination the law of the land   He doesn’t believe in a $15.00 minimum wage, he doesn’t want the immigrants, but that’s who he brings in to do his work. His clothing line in not made in the USA, nor are any of this other lines of goodies, but that doesn’t seem to matter to him or those who support him.

My thinking is this: If you are voting for Donald Trump, then you believe in, and support all of the things I have mentioned in the above paragraph. You are a racist, a homophobe, a misogynist, and you believe in the whole discrimination, hate and divisiveness thing. You believe women don’t deserve equal pay, you don’t believe woman should have access to birth control, and you believe LGBT people have absolutely no purpose on this earth. You believe that white men should rule, and women should be seen and not heard. You believe that Christianity should be the only religion, and you believe that people of color – any color other than white – are the cause of all your troubles, and if you could just control them – or deport them –  your life would be great again.

There is no other reason to vote for him. He has no economic plan, he has no foreign policies, he has no plan whatsoever to “Make America Great Again” other than making it white, Christian, straight and male oriented.  Period.

If you thinking of voting a third party – then you can put yourself right in with the Donald Trump people.  You know there is no way your third party will win, and yet you are willing to throw your vote away to make some stupid point that matters to absolutely no one, so just go stand with the Trump people.  I understand you need to make a point, but are you really willing to throw any form of decency and respect for your fellow Americans to make this point?  You understand that you will also have to live in a country that cares very little for what you care about, what you’re fighting for, what your revolution is all about? You get that, right?

This election is about so much more than Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. It’s about Supreme Court Justices, and Federal Judges, and School Board Members and laws that protect all of America’s citizens. Not just the citizens Donald Trump deems acceptable, but each and every one of our citizens. It’s about saving the Constitution and saving the soul of America.

And those of you thinking of not voting at all – Well, shame on you. You can go stand with the Trump people also. Do you care so little for yourself and your rights that you would piss them away by not voting?  Shame on you.

Is Hillary Clinton perfect?  Heavens, no. Who among us is?  However, in this election, she is the only choice to keep the Republic going. She’s smart and savvy.  She’s for women’s rights and gay rights and human rights. She’s for people of every race, every religion, every gender. She’s for the middle class, she’s for tuition free college, she’ll keep Medicare and Social Security.  She knows politics, she knows foreign policy, and mostly she actually has a plan for our future.

A vote for anyone other than Hillary is a vote for Donald Trump.  That’s just the way it is.  If you’re with him, I will fight you every step of the way. I will fight for women’s rights, for gays rights, for Human rights.

Because it you’re with him, then you’re against me.  I’m a woman, I’m gay, I’m human; and my life matters.  All lives matters.

And that’s why I’m With Her…

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Saturday, July 16, 2016 was the annual San Diego Pride Parade – or as it’s known at our house – Reaffirmation Day!

Pride Parades are always a day filled with joy and love. It’s a day of singing and hugging and making new friends, and letting my soul be renewed in its gayness as I touch that big gay flag at the end of the parade.

But this year – this year was different.

This year it wasn’t just those of us watching that needed to be there. Those who were walking in the parade needed to be there also. They needed their souls to be renewed, they needed to be seen, they needed to be loved. It was like nothing I had ever seen before.

I had a San Diego Police Officer come over to me and take my hands and in hers and thank me for being there, for supporting them. Seriously? Through tears I told this woman: “No, thank you for being here for us.” There was a hug – and then she was gone.  My heart was just full.

There were over a hundred people marching under the Qualcomm banner. Cheering and waving with smiles of pure joy on their faces.

Walmart, HP, Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, The San Diego Padres, Harrah’s all there – all marching – all waving, all proud to be human beings not being judged or in fear of losing their jobs.

A high school marching band made up of gay kids from schools all over the county – marching and basking in the glow of the roar of the crowd as they passed by.  No fear of rejection or bullying or condemnation. Just love – lots of love.

Military personal – Army, Navy, Marines, Airforce, Coast Guard – all under the American flag, all walking tall and proud with some tears streaming down their faces.

Police, Firefighters, Sheriffs, Highway Patrol – all walking, riding, waving, hugging, smiling – all joyful.

Almost 4 hours of churches, businesses, politicians, community services walking, waving, singing, hugging, laughing, loving…

This is what happens when no one is forced to hide. This joy is what happens when people are accepted for who they are. This love is what happens when there is no fear of rejection, no thought of discrimination, no laws that divide us one from the other.

Whatever your political leanings may be, I simply ask that before you tick any box this November – you think about what can happen when people come together in love and the knowledge and acceptance that we are our brother’s keepers. It’s not about black or white or Hispanic or whatever ethnicity you may be. It’s not about being a Christian or Muslim or Jewish or whatever religion you may or may not follow. It’s not about gay or straight or transgendered. It’s not about men and women. It’s about the human race. It’s about all of us sharing this life we are blessed to be living.

Your thoughts should not be about hate and walls and guns and laws that divide us one from the other. Your thoughts should be about what you can do to unite us as a people, what you can do to make things better for you, for your neighbor, what you can do to stop discrimination, what you can do make peace in your family, in your community, in your own life.

For me, my peace is grabbing that big gay flag at the end of the parade. That’s where I promise myself to never look back, to never go back, to never settle, to help where I can, to hug and love and keep talking and writing until I’m no longer able to do so.

And grabbing that big gay flag is about love. My love for Susan, for my kids, for my grand kids, for my brother, my nephews and their wives and their families. For my friends, who are also my family, I want the world to be kind to them, I want them to grow up in a world where they are free to be whoever it is they are. Not who or what the world thinks they should be – but who they are.

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Here are a few words from the document that we celebrate on this Independence Day: The Declaration of Independence.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness… “

Some 240 years after this was written, we live now in a world where instead of working together toward a common goal, we cast blame on those we don’t understand when things don’t go our way.  It’s the gays, it’s the Muslims, it’s the Hispanics, it’s the women, it’s the African-Americans, it’s the baby boomers, it’s the Democrats, it’s the Republicans, it’s the Bush’s, it’s the Clintons, it’s the Christians, it’s the Pope, it’s the Communists.  You get my drift.  The list is endless.

The writers of the Declaration of Independence tell us that being an American is supposed to be about celebrating individual freedoms for everyone. That we are all equal, and we are all entitled to the unalienable rights (rights that cannot be taken away) of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Reread that last paragraph one more time before you read on.

But – It’s not always easy to be an American.

You may not like the person yelling in the street burning the American flag in protest, however, as an American it is their right to do just that.

You may not like the mosque in your neighborhood, but as an American the right to religious freedom is to be celebrated.

You may not like the people of color (any color) who just moved into your neighborhood, but as Americans we have the freedom to live where we choose.

You may not like folks protesting for women’s rights or gay rights or voicing their distaste for war; but as an American it is their right, and some believe their responsibility, to do so.

You may not like the Westboro Church protesting at funerals, but, it is their right to do just that. It is also your right to go and protest against them.

You may not like the politicians who are currently in office, just remember that your vote is your voice – use it.

You may not like the whole immigration thing, but remember; if you’re living in the continental United States; your family came onto this soil as an immigrant.  Just think about that.

So, when you wave your American flag and watch those fireworks this weekend; ponder the fact that we are all Americans. Every race, every religion, every gender. Every man, woman and child.

All entitled to the same rights and freedoms. All deserving, all human beings endowed by their Creator…

It really is something to celebrate.fireworks

 

On July 16th I will celebrate my 14th San Diego Pride Parade. I remember my first Pride Parade in 2002 like it was yesterday.

I was 49 years old, still mostly in the big gay closet, but trying really hard to make myself understand it was okay to swing that closet door open. I had made a mess of my life, and I was finally on the way to making it not quite so messy.

I was with the woman I was meant to be with, but… One foot was still firmly ensconced in that closet.  That closet of wondering how many members of my family will walk away, how many friends will I lose, how do I possibly tell my parents, how do I live my life without having to lie? 

This Parade was like nothing I had ever seen, and as it was coming to an end, my sweet Susan told me I needed to go get under the big gay flag. As it came around the corner I went out onto the street and I grabbed on to that big gay flag, and my emotions just overtook me. I cried tears I didn’t even know I had. It was the turning point in my life. I’ve never looked back; and I’ve never again questioned who I am or wondered if my life had any meaning.

I go out onto the street when I see that big gay flag coming around the corner and I reach up and grab on to it every year. I cry tears of relief and happiness and joy that I had this Pride Parade to show me that my life had meaning – that I mattered – that there were people just like me who suffered and agonized with all the same fears and feelings I had.

For those of you who may wonder if Gay Pride still matters, I can tell you from personal experience – Yes, it most certainly matters.

It matters because we, as a people, ­­­matter.

It matters because there will always be those who are trying to swing that closet door open and find a safe, accepting world to step out in to.

It matters because a Father won’t claim his dead sons body from the worst mass shooting in the United States because his son is gay.

It matters because laws are made specifically to discriminate against LGBTQ Americans.

It matters because politicians still spew hate-filled rhetoric against us to garner votes.

It matters because LGBTQ kids are homeless and alone and need to know their lives matter.

It matters because some religions preach a gospel of hate and loathing.

It matters because – well because every life matters.   Period.

If you are lucky enough to go to a Pride Parade and they have that big gay flag at the end – embrace it.  Let it float over you and surround you with love and peace and joy in who you are and know that your life matters. 

If there is no Pride Parade where you are, know in your heart of hearts that you are surrounded by a big gay flag. Know you are loved. Know that your life matters.

Every life matters.

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Susan and I went to a funeral yesterday. It’s not something one looks forward to, but a sweet friend had lost her Father, and we wanted to be there to lend our support and love for our friend and her family.

Our friends father (Bill) was a very sweet man. We didn’t’ meet him until the rages of Alzheimer’s had taken over his body and his mind; and yet his sweetness shown through.

I had an inkling this funeral was going to be different when we arrived at the church and there were white chairs set up outside. They were placed on a hillside with beautiful green grass surrounded by trees and flowers with a view of the San Diego Bay that was simply breath-taking. I’d never been to an outside funeral, but after today, I can’t imagine any other way of honoring a loved one.

From those who spoke, I soon understood this was a man who was loving and was loved his entire life. His wife, his children, his grandchildren and great grandchildren. Love, love, love. He loved being outside, loved camping, loved sunsets, loved ice cream and coffee, and loved being the family “tickle monster.”

One of his daughters started to speak about his courage and how he emphasized to her the importance of being still, and it was in that moment I found my mind began to wonder.

I began to think of the death of my parents. My dad in 2010 and Mother in 2012.  I thought of the lessons they had taught me, and what it is I still miss about them.  Some days the image of them is so clear I swear they are walking right beside me. Other days, I don’t feel them at all.  It’s those moments when I am “being still” that I feel them most of all. When I have my tea in the afternoon, sitting quietly on my patio watching the birds, sitting by the San Diego Bay knowing how much my parents loved to sit in the same spot some 30 years ago.  Dad’s ashes are scattered in this Bay so that every US Navy ship that goes in and out of San Diego has to pass over him.

The thing is, I never understood my parents – ever. I thought of this today as Bill’s children and grandchildren were speaking of him so lovingly.  I never understood some of my parent’s decisions, their beliefs, their grudges, their never wanting to talk of anything.  So many things were left unsaid, unsettled, unknown. I love them, I just wish…

I left this funeral with the understanding that life is most certainly meant to be lived. It’s meant to be shared with those who love you unconditionally. You’re meant to be still, to be tickled. You’re meant to watch the sunset, and eat ice cream and drink coffee. You’re meant to laugh and love and share your thoughts and dreams and desires .You’re meant to make memories that will carry on long after you’ve gone. This is what your life is supposed to be.

We walked away from the service on that beautiful hill to the Reception Hall where an ice cream social in honor of Bill awaited us.  Ice Cream, every topping you could think of, whipped cream, cherries, nuts, cookies and coffee. For the first time ever, I left a funeral feeling upbeat and hopeful.

As a side note – the pastor who spoke at the funeral had a voice that simply drew me in. She was kind and compassionate, and spoke in a way that wasn’t condescending or judgmental.  As the pastor was speaking, I leaned over to Susan and said: “If anyone could get me back to church, I think it might be her,”  And it’s been many years since I’ve spent any amount of time in a church.

Bill must have been smiling knowing that I had been still and was listening.

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And just how sick are you of this Presidential Election Cycle? I mean, it’s only March and I’ve unfollowed so many people on my Facebook page that all I get now is feed from Birds and Blooms Magazine, Ina Garten, Lea Lane and her Instagram Travel Blog, Science and Mind Magazine, and the rest of my sweet friends who have sworn off posting anything political.

Time was when one could post something political and an intelligent, polite conversation would follow. This most certainly is not what I have experienced during the debacle that is the 2016 election. It’s insanity – on both sides of the aisle.

I like a good debate. I enjoy discussing how and why you came to the decision of your candidate. I find the ins and outs of it all so very interesting. However, I do not find it at all interesting to be treated as if I do not have a brain, simply because I do not happen to feel as you do.  The level of condescension has passed the point where I even care what you think, what you believe, how you feel, what you want, what you believe you’re a part of, blah, blah, blah.  When you start to talk down to me – you’ve lost me. I won’t listen, I will delete what you write and I will unfollow you until this damn election is over.

If you really believe that posting an abundance of memes, and links to articles that say how great your candidate is will win over the world – then by all means – post your little heart out. I’m happy you’re so involved in the political process – it’s just not my thing. It doesn’t mean  I’m right and you’re wrong, it simply means I don’t need to see them.

As for me – I believe it’s my right and my responsibility to vote, and I will vote for whom I believe is the best person to be President of the United States, and for the Country itself.  I don’t believe it’s my responsibility to make all of my friends vote the same way I have chosen. And more to the point – I won’t try and make them feel like an ass if they don’t vote as I do. I won’t ask who you’re voting for, and I don’t feel the need to tell you who I’m supporting. I’m just proud of you for voting.

I encourage everyone to vote. I encourage everyone to  read independent – let me repeat that – independent – studies on the candidates. You have to read information written by folks who have no  dog in the race. Read, study, learn – and then vote for who you believe will be best for the Country.

The Country will survive no matter the outcome. We The People will at some point, I hope in my lifetime, come together and believe that one life is just as precious as another, that one voice is as important as another, and that we are, after all, our brother’s keeper.

Then and only then, can begin the process of believing and living as the Founders did when they wrote:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness

Preamble to the U.S. Declaration of Independence, 1776

Actually, we can do better than the Founders – we can include ALL men and women regardless of race, ethnicity,  gender, religion, etc. All people in every corner of this Country – created equal.

What a concept – Live for that, work for that, strive for that, vote for that…

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I’ve spent some time thinking about the whole Kim Davis-Wallace-McIntyre-Davis / Pope thing.  I wanted to just go off and vent, but…  I took the higher road and just let the whole thing play out.

Now, there is the: Well the Pope met with his gay friend thing, and the Pope never asked to meet with Mrs. Davis-Wallace-McIntyre-Davis thing, and it’s an Archbishop who liked Pope Benedict and wanted Pope Francis to look bad thing.  It’s like a scene out of the halls of a Junior High School.

Blah, Blah, Blah…

It’s left me to wonder a few things.

  • When does religion trump friendship?

I ask because Pope Francis called to meet with his gay friend, and yet – in the religious world in which he is the head – he doesn’t welcome his friend, he doesn’t honor his friend, and he would never officiate at the marriage of his friend.  So – he’s his friend, but he has conditions on that friendship.

Is that really being a friend? The whole I love you, but I can’t support your wanting to marry the person you love, and you’re not really accepted in my church thing – Is that really a friendship based on love, respect, compassion? Is that really a “I’ll be there for you” sort of friendship?

  • When does religion make lying okay?

I ask this because Mrs. Davis-Wallace-McIntyre-Davis has these lawyers who are affiliated with Liberty University Law School/Jerry Falwell Ministries.  They have outright lied, been caught in the lies, and yet continue to lie.

They have an agenda, an anti-gay agenda, and they stop at nothing to continue their quest against the homosexual. Sort of like a crusade.  What sort of religion is that?

I have many more questions, but mainly I wonder why these folks who profess to be Christians don’t follow their Jesus.  Not the dogma of their church or the beliefs of their hate-filled leaders – but their Jesus.

I mean, if you have to follow someone, why can’t you follow the Jesus who loved and respected everyone. The Jesus who walked among the dregs of society and washed their feet and blessed them and told his disciples:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

I don’t see any conditions there, any judgments, any restrictions. And yes, I know there are other rules from Jesus, but really – isn’t this one the most important?

Why do people insist on making it so very complicated?

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