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Posts Tagged ‘fear’

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.

 

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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.

flag

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So – I am less than three weeks from my 60th Birthday.  Of course, on my Birthday last year Susan informed me that I was now in my 60th year, so I’ve had a year to prepare!  Still – I’m not really sure I am prepared…

Birthdays have never bothered me – all 59 of them. They come and they go, it’s just pretty much another day on the calendar – but… 60 – it has me a little pensive.  Perhaps it’s because all these goodies have started to come in the mail for me – Things I obviously need when turning 60.  Medicare, AARP, Hearing Aids, Cremation information, Burial Plots, Life Insurance…  Or perhaps it’s because I am aware that more of my life is behind me than in front of me.

Whatever it is, I’ve been musing about what it is I know for sure at 60.  You know life lessons I’ve learned through the muck and mire that has sometimes been my life so far.

Here – in no particular order – are things I would tell my Grandchildren – if they ever asked me what it is I’ve learned about life in my 60 years.

  • People are not always who or what you want them to be.  If you think you have to change them – you don’t need them. Walk away.
  • Don’t ever start smoking – then you won’t ever have to quit.
  • Read Henry David Thoreau’s essay entitled: Civil Disobedience
  • Follow your passion – don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t; don’t let anyone tell you it’s stupid or worthless. Do what you love.
  • Spend time by the water; be it the ocean or a lake or a creek.  Just put your feet in the water and understand that you don’t ever put your feet in the same water twice. It’s always new, always changing, just like your life should be.
  • Don’t settle – for anything or anyone.
  • Work for the common good – remember that we really are our brothers keepers – no matter what the Republicans say – we really are responsible for one another.
  • Do not be forced into any sort of religion. Believe what you must to get you through the days and nights of your life. Know that there are many religions in the world – they all matter and they all have their place. Not one of them is more important than any other of them.
  • Know that all people matter – all people everywhere.  All colors, all genders, all races, all religions – all people – everywhere. We all have a purpose on this earth.
  • Know that the Double Stuffed Oreo trumps all other cookies ever made.
  • Parents are not perfect – and sometimes they don’t always know what is best for you. Follow your heart.
  • Understand that your family may not always be loving and kind or accepting. It’s okay to not want to be a part of something that is negative and hateful and destroys who you are.  Carry no ill-will – just walk away.
  • Rosemary Clooney is one of the best singers who ever lived…  Google her – and then listen to her sing the song – “I’ll Be Seeing You.”
  • Don’t ever let anyone take away your individuality – When you give that away – you give away your life – no one is worth that – no one.
  • Don’t ever think you can’t live alone. It may not be your choice – but don’t ever believe you must have someone in your life to survive. Sometimes living with yourself will teach you more lessons than you could ever imagine.
  • Never stay in a relationship because it’s convenient or because you feel trapped. There is always a way out – always.  This is tied in to the never settle piece of advice.
  • Watch the movie “Rhinestone” and know it was the worst movie your Grandma ever saw.
  • Read and learn your American History. Please understand that you must know where you’ve come from in order to know where it is you’re going.
  • Don’t be so busy with your life that you miss it.  By this I mean – don’t be so busy trying to get things that you don’t take the time to enjoy what you already have.
  • Don’t let your family dictate who you are.  You don’t have to fit into any mold – you simply are who you are.
  • Travel the world.  When you stand by the Eiffel Tower – know that your Grandma’s cried with joy when they were standing there for the first time.
  • Knows that dreams can come true – Read the lines above about the Eiffel Tower!
  • Don’t listen to all the Irish malarkey that Grandma Susan will fill your head with.  leprechaun’s are not good little men – they are evil little men and there is no gold at the end of the rainbow.
  • Don’t ever expect someone to make your life complete. You are the only one who can complete your life.
  • Never, ever give up on you. Never ever stop growing and changing and learning.
  • Know that your life can be over in the blink of an eye. Be responsible and cautious and don’t do foolish things that can endanger your life or the life of others.
  • Don’t let your fears prevent you from living your life. Nothing is so bad that it can’t be overcome.
  • Don’t spend your time saying:    “If only I… “    Spend your time saying:  “When I did…”
  • Know that for as long as I’m alive – there will be a place for you to go – for food, a hug,  a little spending money if you need it, someone to listen, and lots and lots of love – always.

Wonder what else I’ll know by the time I’m 80?

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