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I’m tired, my friends. To my core – tired.

I feel my Country sinking into a hole that I’m not sure we will ever be able to pull ourselves out of. I mean, how do you pull yourself out of a hole when there’s nothing for you to grab on to?

This morning I found myself unfriending another person I’ve known for over 35 years. He had posted a meme about how awful it was that illegals can cross the border and get health care, and Vets don’t get any care, but Donald Trump was going to fix that (let’s see how that works out!)  and then he posted an article by Franklin Graham about LGBT activists going after Chip and Joanna Gaines, and my lesbian self thought: “I’m done.”   This “friend” is a retired minister, a so-called man of God, and his page is filled with racist, anti-gay rhetoric?  Yes, he’s entitled to say and write and post whatever he chooses, I’m just done having to have it show up in my life. Done…

I don’t want to engage with these people. I don’t want or need to find a way to communicate. I don’t want to find middle ground, because for me – there is no middle ground when it comes to human rights and equality. You can’t pick and choose who gets equality – it’s either for everyone, or it’s for no one.  Period.  I don’t understand the mentality that you can do or say whatever you choose, but certain other groups of people should not have those rights. I don’t get the arrogance, or should I say ignorance, that permeates the mind and hearts of these people.   The Constitution is for everyone – You can’t pick and choose who gets life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

And No, it’s not that I’m a sore loser – this isn’t about Hillary’s loss – This is about humanity’s loss.

We shouldn’t be afraid to live our lives openly. We shouldn’t be afraid to speak our minds. We shouldn’t be afraid to exercise our God-given rights. We should be afraid to express our opinions. We shouldn’t be afraid to disagree. We shouldn’t be afraid of our government. We shouldn’t be afraid of our President and what he’s going to do or say.  We live in the United States of America, we shouldn’t be afraid…

And yet – here we are.

 

You know how you sit around a Thanksgiving table and someone inevitably forces you to say what you’re thankful for? I hate that. The moment the thankfulness begins, I feel my stomach start to reject all the food I just stuffed into it. It’s always the same thing as you go around the table: family, jobs, shelter… Not that these aren’t things to be thankful for, but I think we say what we believe we should be saying. If I were honest, I would have said: Cadbury Chocolate (the real stuff from England, not that fake stuff from Hershey’s), whoopie pies, pants with elastic waistbands, and my iPad mini!
But this Thanksgiving is different. This year has brought many changes into my life. Some are welcomed changes that should have happened long ago, some – well, some were not so welcomed. When Susan got sick in August, everything changed. It’s not like she got sick and then got better – she’s sick every single day. It’s a daily process, a daily understanding of how precious life really is. Every day is a gift. We don’t take it for granted, we’re grateful for every moment. It’s taught me not to look back, but rather to live in the here and now. We’re not promised more than that, so… we choose to be happy with what we have. Right here, right now. Of course, we haven’t given up the whole going back to Paris thing, so there’s always that…
Tomorrow when Susan and I carve up our turkey, and she inevitably asks what I’m thankful for I will honestly say to her the following: I’m thankful for you, for the doctors who saved your life and continue to keep you alive. For family, for my friends (who are also my family and surround me with love, acceptance and laughter). For love, for time, for the courage to let go of people who only brought negative things into my life. For sunrises and sunsets. For the birds who bring me such joy on our patio.  For Tawn Battiste’s whoopie pies in my freezer, for pants with elastic waistbands, and yes, for my iPad mini!
Happy Thanksgiving.

Tradition and history tells us that we must accept the results of a Presidential election and move on. There have also been those people who have been taking pleasure in telling me I must “move on.” “move forward,” “suck it up,” and many other little phrases that have done nothing but infuriate me.

I’m not there yet. I’m not ready to “move on.” I’m grieving, and I’ll take all the time I need to grieve the loss of The United States of America as I have known it.  The America of immigrants and diversity. The America of religious freedom and a press who did the work and could call themselves journalists without fear of retribution.  The America where women were starting to make their way to being equal and gay rights were a reality, not something we spent years marching and protesting and dreaming of.

With the election of Donald Trump, my America is gone. Angry white voters made sure of that, and Republicans in the House and Senate will put the icing on that big white, gun-toting, racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, homophobic cake. Life as we all knew it, is over.

But, that’s what the disenfranchised voter wanted. That’s what they voted for, that’s what they honestly believe will “Make America Great Again.” No religious freedom, unless of course you are a Christian. No gay rights, but extra bonus rights for Christians to discriminate against “the gays.” No women’s rights, and again, extra bonus rights to the Christians who will do whatever needs to be done to not allow a woman to make any decisions when it comes to their bodies. No access to healthcare, unless you’re rich and can afford to go wherever you want.

The list of what he wants to do the first 100 days is stunning:  http://www.npr.org/2016/11/09/501451368/here-is-what-donald-trump-wants-to-do-in-his-first-100-days

So, no – I will not be “moving on” any time soon.  I will continue to support people of color, and respect people of all religions, and I will continue to send contributions to Planned Parenthood and any other organization this Administration will try and destroy.

And the moment this Republican run government starts to take God-given rights away from gays, immigrants, women or any other group of Americans, I will be marching and protesting and fighting – and I won’t be alone in that fight.

So, you all go ahead and build your walls, and ruin the land, and throw millions of Americans out of the Country. Go ahead and forget about equality and diversity and charity beginning at home.

At the end of your Presidents term, we will still be here. We’ll still be gay and transgendered, and Muslim and Jewish, and Mexican and women and democrats and independents and black and white and – well you know – Americans, and we’ll be more than happy to take our Country back when your little experiment has imploded on you.

“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.”  Thomas Jefferson

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So, what happens after the winner is determined in this preposterous presidential election? Where do we all fit into the scope of what is now The United States of America? We’re certainly not united, nor are we even on the road to inclusion. I’m not sure there’s even a path…

Will all the meme’s and words that brought us to the point of unfollowing, blocking, restricting, and unfriending our “friends” on Facebook suddenly disappear? Will we simply just click the buttons and return to the way it was before this election brought out the worst of human nature?

For me; the answer to these questions and many more, are a real struggle.  There is family involved – family who have stopped speaking to me. Family who lectured me on doing what was best for the country, but when I made my choice, stopped speaking to me. No more discussion, no more anything…   How do you come back from that? How do you start the discussion? More to the point – is it a discussion worth having?

The thing is: A vote for Donald Trump is a vote against everything I believe is right and just in America.  He’s against basic human rights – gays, blacks, Hispanics, Latinos, Muslims, women – he’s against God-given human rights for those of us who fall into any of these categories. So, if you vote for him, you’re voting against these human beings – You’re voting against me, and millions of people like me – we aren’t just phantom people in a tweet or a stump speech. It’s personal.

Misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia, racism – you must believe in these things to vote for Donald Trump. You can try and spin it any way you want, but the truth is, if you can vote for him, then you have these feelings in your heart, and this I will never be accepting of. It’s not my vision of what I want America to be.

If you’re thinking: “I just can’t vote for Hillary” – that’s your choice.  Just don’t be naïve about who and what you’re voting for.  Own it, that’s all I’m asking.

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So, all you folks still trashing the athletes who are choosing to exercise their constitutional right to protest – are you leaving the same sort of scathing comments about Donald Trump and his degradation of women?

Are all you protest haters as outraged at the Republicans and their support of the racist, misogynist, xenophobic, homophobic Donald Trump? Or does he get a pass because he wears his flag lapel pin everywhere he goes?

Exercising your constitutional rights is as American as it gets.  All you women complaining about what you perceive as this NFL travesty – would you have been complaining about the women who protested and fought to give you the right to vote? Would you have called them trash and banned them to the kitchen?  How about equal pay and the women fighting for that? Are they trash because they are protesting?  How about birth control? Are the women still fighting for your right to have birth control trash?

Protesting, marching, kneeling, carrying placards, locking arms and chanting, standing truth to power – there is nothing more American.

Or – are you trashing these guys for another reason?  Think about it?  If the white players were kneeling, would you still be trashing them? I’m not accusing – I’m only asking everyone to think about what they say, and why and how they say it.

To me, it boils down to this: Is the Star Spangled Banner and the American flag more scared than your right to protest? Or – are they a part and parcel of who you are an as American?

I never wear a flag pin – do you think of me as being un-American? I have stood arm in arm with my fellow man and marched on the streets of San Diego for gay rights – do you think of me as un-American?  I refuse to say “one nation under God” when I recite the Pledge of Allegiance – does this make me less of an American?

Flag wavers and those who are quick to say things like: “Love it or leave it” or telling someone to “go back to Africa” are convinced they set the bar when it comes to being an American. They love to call themselves “Patriots.”

Merriam-webster.com defines the word Patriot as follows:

a person who loves and strongly supports or fights for his or her country

Well, I think of myself as a Patriot. I love my country, and I will support and fight for everyone’s right to protest. For me it’s not about waving a flag or wearing a pin. It’s about everyone having the same rights and freedoms regardless of whether or not I agree with them. It’s about being proud of how I treat others.  It’s about being proud of my military heritage and honoring those traditions. It’s about being proud of who I am as a lesbian and fighting for equality in a world that loves to discriminate against that which they don’t understand.

Life isn’t equal for every American. And no matter what you may believe, not everyone has the same chances or choices.

Donald Trump and his band of followers have brought out the worst of who we are as Americans. He’s opened the divide, he’s taken us back to the era of the straight white male, and their sense of white-privilege. And that’s not being a patriot – that’s being a bigot, a racist, a misogynist, a xenophobic, a homophobic angry white man.

Kneeling during the National Anthem is the least of our problems…

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Lately, there have been lots of words written and spoken about being an American. What makes you an American, what your responsibility is as an American, how to act like an American.  You’ve heard the remarks; you’ve seen the headlines.

Not putting your hand over your heart when the star spangled banner is played, not standing and facing the American flag when said song is played, and folks getting all upset because these people aren’t acting like the “real” Americans want them to act.  These “real” Americans write all sorts of vile comments telling the non-flag wavers, non-star spangled banner singers to leave the Country. Like they have any right to tell them anything.

The thing is – being an American is having the freedom to do all of those things.  Just as these “real” patriots have the right to spew their beliefs, those folks not standing or singing or taking off their hats or putting their hand over their heart – they have the freedom to do so – it’s their right under the Constitution. You may not like it, but this is what America is.

Being an American isn’t just about waving a flag and singing a song.  Being an American is about respecting everyone’s right to not wave the flag or not sing a song.  It doesn’t make them any less of an American, it just means they aren’t what you expect an American to be. And therein lies the rub.

It’s not about who they are – it’s about who you are. We love to tote the Freedoms:  Religion, Speech, Expression, Guns. And we love to love to speak of our rights: to vote, to protest, to own homes and watch whatever we choose on television, to wear whatever clothes make us comfortable, to listen to whatever music soothes our souls, and on and on and on.

But, as soon as someone does something we would never think of doing – then they aren’t an American, and they need to leave the United States.  Do you not see how ridiculous that is? Everyone born in the United States of America has the same right and freedoms, everyone.  Sadly, not everyone has the same opportunities, but they do have their Creator-given, unalienable rights. (Read the preamble to the Declaration of Independence)

Let’s stop worrying about the things that don’t matter.  Just because someone might not wave a flag doesn’t mean they don’t love their country. And just because they don’t sing a song doesn’t mean they aren’t a patriot.  It may simply mean that they aren’t happy with the way things are in their country at this point in time.  It may simply mean that we are all supposed to have the same rights under that flag, and it’s obvious that to them we all don’t, and this not standing or singing or whatever – is their form of protest. It’s not about you – the world does not revolve around you and your beliefs. The United States of America is filled with all genders, all religions, all political parties, all matter of people from sea to shining sea. The one thing we all share is our individual freedom.  It’s the most important thing – this freedom.

Not waving a flag or singing a song is the least of the problems we face as Americans at this point in time. Donald Trump has unleashed the – build the wall – lock her up – ship them out – hatred that we now must deal with.  These gun-toting, flag waving, hate-mongering fools who want to “Make American Great Again” who have forgotten that America is not just about the white men-folk.

As is their right to voice their “make America great again” opinion, it is my right, No, it is my duty, to voice my “America is already pretty great” opinion in opposition to their nationalistic point of view.  America is an inclusive nation, not a nation of wall builders. Do things need to be changed and tweaked and started anew?  Of course, but ostracizing millions of people is most certainly not the answer.

It all starts with me and with you. I may not like someone turning their back on the flag, but I stop myself and think that I don’t know their story. I don’t know from where they came and why they feel so apart from everyone. Perhaps if I knew, I’d understand – so I don’t judge, and I certainly don’t tell them to leave.

I’m a white woman raised in a small rural town in the 1950’s that didn’t allow blacks into town after a certain hour – How can I possibly understand the life’s journey of a black woman born and raised outside of those town limits?  I can’t – so I don’t even pretend that I do. It’s not for me to judge, it’s for me to understand that her version of freedom may be different than mine, and to understand that she may not have the same affection or respect for our nation’s history as I might.

I’m also a lesbian, so I do know a little of how it feels to be judged and set apart from the rest of society. I’ve not been served in restaurants, I’ve been ostracized from family, I’ve been called every derogatory name one can think of; And still, I believe in the goodness of America.

It’s about respect and understanding. It’s about inclusion not exclusion. It’s about freedom – for everyone.  It’s about the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and ALL its Amendments representing every single American citizen. You can’t pick and choose who gets what – every citizen is entitled to every single right, every single amendment, every single Freedom.

Waving the flag doesn’t make you an American – respecting the right of someone to not wave the flag – now that – that makes you an American.

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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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