Archive for August, 2012

Grover Norquist, founder of  Americans for Tax Reform, was recently interviewed by 60 Minutes. Amongst a lot of things that ticked me off about Mr. Norquist, one stood out.

His main ambition was to shrink government to where we had at the turn of the century (1900 not 2000). Lets make a list of problems that emanated from the lack of government from 1900 to 1930.

1. ‘Jim Crow’ laws and KKK (America’s first terrorist group), killed, oppressed and intimidated thousands of African-Americans into not voting. Federal law enforcement would have been nice back then.

2. Adults and children (over the age of 7) were prosecuted, convicted and jailed together. The young victims of molestation were accused of seducing adults.

3. Young children were the new ‘slaves’ of the American labor force. Thousands of children were maimed, killed and denied schooling.

4. Lack of government regulation contributed to the Stock Market Crash. Sound familiar?

5. Without patents where would American inventors be?

6. Organized crime was unable to bribe their way through federal law enforcement and prosecutors. Local government officials were in mobsters’ back pockets.

7. Women who were pregnant due to rape and incest died in back alleys from ‘dirty’ abortions.

8. Mandatory sanitation and groundwater protection would have prevented the death of countless Americans. Cholera, Smallpox, The flu and many other diseases were the end results.

9. Slaughterhouses were the breeding grounds of many gastrointestinal ailments and deaths.

10. It was federal funding that maintained and repaired bridges and highways, preserved our National Parks and stopped unlawful dumping on our beaches and lakes.

Those that call themselves Conservatives need to ask themselves, what am I conserving? If the answer is ‘American’ traditions, wake up. Not all of them are good.

America is not a pure-as-the driven-snow bastion of justice. Anyone that believes that is blind, crazy or stupid. Corrupt people have and still do con the masses for the bottom line, their personal gain.

It is human nature to evolve. Living in the past is not evolving. Suppression of the human heart and mind is shortsighted and futile.

Not surprisingly, as a liberal Democrat, I am pro-choice. That said, I respect all views on this matter.  My reasons for being pro-choice are entirely based on my life experiences.

I grew up with many examples of bad parenting (not just my mother).  I had friends whose parents were less than understand and forthcoming when it came to sex education.

More than a few girlfriends freaked out when they started to menstruate. School nurse stepped in and did what their mothers wouldn’t.  Then there’s the 13 year-old boy who gets grounded for masturbating.

I heard about cases of incest in the remote backwoods of the United States. I thought, what would I do if I got pregnant via incest? Such an area would be ideal for a predator.

If a parent/abuser wants to keep a child from school, all they have to say is that they are home-schooled. What is a child to do in such a case? Schools are the daily eyes and ears of local government when it comes to child safety.

And how often do we hear about ‘the system’ failing to protect children (not fetuses)? Far too many children have suffered abuse, neglect and atrocities right here in America.

The message is simple. Not everyone should be a parent. The Republicans want a nation of Christian-only celibates that wait til their wedding night then make lots of babies.

Birth control and abortion are bad. Really? A reluctant young mother who is annoyed when her baby cries and needs a diaper changed is bad. A sexually repressed man who rapes voiceless, frightened children is worse! And he’s out there.

I think if your pro-life you need to find solutions and safeguards for such situations. If you’re pro-life, ‘the system’ has to work for at-risk kids. If it doesn’t work, blame yourself. You didn’t try hard enough.

And I even have a nun that agrees with me. Sister Joan Chittister, a Benedictine nun, had this to say on Bill Moyers’ show in November of 2004:

“I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion, that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.”

As a young child, I believed that the ‘safe zone’ from racism was within my own Hispanic community. In East Los Angeles, unquestioned acceptance was certainly the vibe.

In the barrio, everyone was poor and Chicano. If a Vato killed another Vato, it had to do with payback or insult. So, if I behaved as expected, I would be completely safe.

This was my perception as a young child. Later, amongst actual Mexicans and other Latinos, a new perception emerged. Latinos, with darker complexions, were viewed as inferior.

Such Latinos, were and are still curiously absent from TV and positions of power and/or leadership. The indigenous tribes of Mexico are often times treated as undesirables.

The existence of dark-skinned communities is seen as a weakness by many Mexicans. How is this possible? Terms like ‘wet back’ and ‘beaner’ plagued Mexican immigrants for years.

Mexicans are nannies, gardeners, housekeepers, factory workers, farm hands, construction workers and janitors. This is how white America viewed us for decades.

So why would they do it to their own people? Maybe because a class war still exists in Mexico.  Revolutionaries fought for the poor peasants against the wealthy ‘white’ European-looking landowners.

It was not unlike the English treatment of the Irish during the potato famine. Latinos passing for Europeans gave a sense of legitimacy, intelligence and beauty.

The lighter the better, is the message. African-Americans, I have observed, cripple themselves the same way.  Lena Horne, Dorothy Dandridge, Halle Berry are all seen as beautiful (and they are).

They also pass the ‘paper bag’ test (no darker than a paper bag)! I recall seeing the cover of a magazine with a very dark, black woman crowned by her virgin Afro.

I thought she looked beautiful, but many of my black friends said that she looked like a turd. I was shocked. She looked like a pure-blooded African and they were offended.

When I heard that Catholic and Protestant Irishmen fought each other, I thought that man will always find a reason to hate, belittle, look down upon their own kind or any kind.

It’s a coward’s way of stepping on others in order to feel superior. I remember my grandmother saying to my grandfather, “You’re old, stupid and ugly. And nobody loves you”.

His response was, “That’s okay, I love myself”! What an excellent way to combat an insult. I think that many people can benefit from such logic. No love required, I love myself!

There are many phobias in the world. I am plagued by a few of them, but not homophobia. Homophobes, I think, are really just reality-dodgers and hate mongers.

Heterosexuals have harmed me, in one way or another, all my life. In contrast, gays have often times protected me. I always knew what the Bible said about this issue, but I didn’t care.

My logic was that God was a loving god and he wants us to be good to each other. Flawed and political men wrote, edited and deciphered the Bible. How could a book with so many variables be taken literally?

When I was around 6 years old, my cross-dressing neighbor hid me in his house while gun-toting gang members terrorized the neighborhood. He didn’t hurt me. He was kind and silly.

When it was safe, he walked me home. I’ll never forget it. He wore a flowered blouse and jeans. When I asked him why he dressed like that, he said he liked pretty things. It was good enough for me.

I made friends easily with gays and lesbians. When I heard about Florida allowing same-sex couples to foster kids but not adopt them, I was furious. I have always been against discrimination.

I can’t understand why radical bigots exist. Why do people put so much effort into oppressing or abusing others while calling themselves Christians? Jesus would never behave like that.

It’s one thing not liking a particular group, but to focus your energy on exacting punishment on them is insane. Such people can’t be happy, ever. It makes me think that they might be gay themselves and are trying to prove that their not.

When religious leaders turn into hate mongers, it’s proof of Satan’s existence. I often go back and forth with being angry and feeling pity for those infected with hate, bigotry and fear.

It makes me glad that I have no hate in my heart. I have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and discovery. I don’t just look for beauty either. I look for truth, whether it be ugly or beautiful.

My brothers and sisters are many and they live everywhere. That makes them relevant, interesting and valuable. I wish bigots could be dropped into a foreign land with no resources.

How would they handle it? I would handle it with humility and a willingness to learn. Where a bigot would see a problem, I would see an opportunity.

As I was reading about victims of molestation, incest, physical and emotional abuse, I noticed the absence of a key element. The offender, also known as the monster, is immediately nullified.

He (some are women) is targeted and becomes the recipient of everyone’s hatred. It’s easier to mentally handle their very existence, if you treat, refer to and see them as less than human.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have and do pigeonhole child abusers in general. I just think it’s naive to suppress them without trying to understand them. Not forgive or condone, just understand.

Do they live with regret? Can they ever stop? Were all sex offenders sexually abused? Do they believe that they can never have a moral, decent life? How many of them are happy being sadists?

I have been in the presence of evil men, but it isn’t enough to call them evil. My first molester had a PhD in psychology and was an ordained minister.  I was sexually abused for 3 to 4 years.

I call him evil, because he was never happier than when he was torturing me. One of his relatives also molested me 3 times. His abuse did end for me, but God only knows how many suffered. Thankfully, he died of lung cancer.

When I was a teenage runaway at 16, I woke up in a strange house naked. It took me hours to find any clothes and then sneak off. I was most definitely raped, but I don’t think about it. I have enough baggage.

I’ve been told child molesters do it to gain power and control. I guess that was taken from them. If that’s the case, why aren’t I a sex offender?  Twenty years ago, I had a friend with 2 kids.

Her daughter’s name was Amy and son’s name was John. Sometimes I would babysit them. One day while bathing Amy, I noticed her vagina was red and inflamed. She was 3 years-old.

When I told my friend what I saw, she freaked out. I told her we had to take Amy to the hospital. She said no and she knew who did it.  She was sure it was Amy’s father.

I was prepare to go to jail for murder back then. As she screamed, pummeled and scratched the father, he begged me to call the police. I called, Amy went to the hospital and murder was avoided.

She had a food allergy reaction. Her hymen was intact. All was forgiven and we could all relax. Years later, Amy was molested by her half-brother. Nothing was done.

He apologized to her, his father beat him with his belt and Amy stayed away for several years. Mike might be in jail right now. I don’t know.

I just ask myself, why the hell didn’t they do more? He was barely a teen when he molested her.  Their father is father to 15 kids, by 4 different women. His mother used to talk about how ‘big’ he was.

How far back does it go? When will it stop? All of us, at some point, come across people who are perverse in some way. Are we willing to say something? I hope the answer is yes.

Anxiety is building up inside me, even though many life-altering obstacles have recently been resolved. My problem is that  I have no real problems. What do I have? Options, damnable options are everywhere!

I have almost always had issues and problems to conquer and overcome. Thus, I thrive in chaos. So the void of chaos makes me nervous. When I couldn’t worry about myself, I worried about others.

Now the ‘others’ in my life solve their own problems. How dare they grow up!  My ‘lady parts’ health issues are no more. Our financial issues are settled once and for all.

The absurdity of feeling this way is driving me nuts! The only person who really needs me is my husband. He doesn’t even need me to earn a living!  There are many who covet such a situation.

So now, I weigh my plethora of options. I can do volunteer work, continue my blogs, lose weight (just 20 lbs.) by joining the YMCA. I guess they all plague me because of my daily physical assessments.

I feel so incredibly weighed-down, tired and depressed. I often don’t eat til after 1 pm. The real issue I have is finding a new psychiatrist. My previous one doesn’t accept my newly acquired Medicare insurance.

I have my meds for a month or so, but I suspect I need an adjustment. The only things that are really keeping me going are these blogs and my husband. Thank God!

Whenever he can talk me into going out, my undying inclination is to go home. Lately, I can only take so much of outside or getting out of my night-gown or pajamas for that matter.

I guess I love and hate being bipolar. My work can be really good when I’m depressed or manic for that matter. The downside, I become a happy recluse.

I really do love the world. I miss being outside. I just get this unsafe, uncomfortable, desperate feeling.  It can drive me to tears.  When it does, I can write about it.

When most people hear someone mention the word education, schools automatically come to mind. In previous posts, I have touched on my own education and my family’s education.

I was once asked which taught me my greatest lessons, life or school. I could say life, because I’ve lived more years than I’ve been in school. Truth is, school was the catalyst to my becoming a citizen of the world.

The epiphany of a world outside of my limited world came to me as a young child. It has driven me to question everything I know. This was annoying to my teachers.

My favorite pastime was questioning and arguing with my teachers about conclusions made in my english and history textbooks. I was no blind follower. This trait, at times, could be problematic.

At least I wasn’t boring. I also questioned race, my own included. It infuriated many that I could make a convincing argument for and against horrendous topics such as slavery or racial persecution.

I, of course, always ended that neither was moral and I’d rather be moral and kind.  I felt that only thoughtful, frank discussions about bigotry was the best way to combat it. So being politically correct was a cop-out.

I was also angry about the purposeful whitewashing of American history. I recall my textbook spending less than two pages on atrocities committed by Americans. The Civil War was romanticized, rather than being truthful about evil-doers from the North and South.

I never bought the story that the United States was the greatest country in the world. We may be the wealthiest, but that doesn’t make a nation great. Americans can and have been generous, loving and proud.

I am proud to be an American, but won’t be a mindless drone spewing out self-serving rhetoric. I much prefer honesty, in her bitter or sweet form.

Life, not school, taught me about the wide spectrum of the human condition and my reaction to it. In my early 20’s, I had to take 2 buses at 6:30am to work at the garment district of downtown Los Angeles.

I was a clerk for a clothing manufacturer. The garment district was comprised of warehouses, the homeless, contruction or sanitation workers and the working poor illegal aliens.

I walked 3 blocks from the bus stop to work. Disgusting, obscene construction workers plagued me with vile tongue and finger gestures. This happened, without fail, ever damn day.

Then one day, I was walking with other female coworkers and I couldn’t take it anymore. I marched, with fire in my soul, to the pigs. Face to face, I cussed them out.

I told them that I hoped their wives or mothers never encounter scum like them. They never said a word again. Confrontation was a good thing. Fighting back became my new mantra.

When an able-bodied guy with a cane tried to mug me, I took the cane and hit his shins. Down he went. I told him, if I ever saw him again I would beat him to death. He believed me.

Education comes in all forms. The stuff that ends up on a resume may not be your greatest assets. Everyday, I try to learn more. I don’t want to just learn about pleasant things.

I want to learn about ‘real’ things that matter. The world is my classroom and recess is over.