Stop Telling Me To Move On

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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If you vote for Donald Trump – Own It.

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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Are You An American Patriot?

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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On Being An American

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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Why I’m With Her – Hillary 2016

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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Somewhere Over The Rainbow Flag

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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Being an American on Independence Day

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

 

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