On being white and uncomfortable…

It is time for me to speak my truth to my privilege… I am a middle aged, upper middle class white woman and white privilege is all I have ever or will ever know. Just a few of my realities… I will never know what it feels like to get on an elevator and have other people exit immediately due to discomfort over being alone with me – we might in fact strike up a conversation about our shared journey or destinations. I will never know what it feels like to have people change sides of the street just because I’m walking on the sidewalk – people always smile and frequently say hi, even if I don’t know them, especially if they look like me. I will never know what it feels like to have any fear of a law enforcement officer when they stop me for an infraction or if they stop to render aid during my rare mechanical breakdowns – in fact if it’s an infraction I will likely end up with a warning (many times, even for things that were very serious) and if it’s a breakdown they’re only going to offer me help. To be clear, in neither set of circumstances at no time will I be referred to as “the suspect” and I will be treated with the utmost in respect and kindness. I will never know what it feels like to be followed around due to suspicion at any of the multiple luxury stores I walked into this week at Mall of Millenia in Orlando – the only reason I will be followed is because they want to sell me All. Of. The. Things.  And lastly, if I were in my vehicle, even if I were armed, if an unrelated police activity happened right beside me, law enforcement would ask me politely to move away or even escort me to safety to ensure that nothing happened to me since I was not their target. I never am. Because I am a middle aged, upper middle class white woman. This is my world.

The only one I’ve ever lived in.

But that doesn’t mean I am stupid enough to think that everyone lives here with me. America is a great country for me… but to be clear it is not a great country for everyone else who isn’t like me. And it is especially cruel to its black and brown citizens, and it has been since the very founding of this country. That is reality. It may make you uncomfortable to deal with that reality, but that doesn’t change it.

There are two Americas.

Now here’s the real truth… if I had to live in the other one, where none of my reality has ever existed even for people who share my socio-economic reality, even for only a day, I might be uncomfortable enough to burn some shit down. I might take to the streets. I might try to make some folks like me damned uncomfortable. Because I would not settle for less than what I have now. I don’t have to. And I wouldn’t. So why do we tell them to sit down? Why do we say that they are wrong in how they say no? Maybe their way is the only way to wake us up. Charlotte is a shout to #WAKEUP #whitepeople. This is our America too. Deal with it.

#nameitchangeit

“I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear?…It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

All photos taken by Jonathan Brashear. You can see more in his Facebook album here.

The Law of Unintended Consequences – Michelle Bachmann edition

So, yeah, we’re pretty liberal around here.  Okay, maybe a little bit more than “pretty”.  Perhaps pretty is an understatement.

Perhaps.

But let me tell you, Huffpo just made my Tuesday!  Oh, and yay for liberal left-leaning political media!  Long may it print!  And for those of you who don’t have the benefit of my Facebook feed, read this:

Michelle Bachmann goes to Temple

Are we all back yet?  Did we lose anyone?  Dang it, y’all need to do a better job of keeping up.  Anyway, the stragglers will catch back up in a minute.  Meanwhile I think it’s time for an open letter.  Because as a half Jewish household we find her visit to any Temple offensive.  She is everything that is anathema to what we believe in and we would have walked out too had she shown up at our Kol Nidre service.  So, anyway, here’s the point, in case you don’t get it.

Dear Christians,

In the interest of peace between the faiths please keep in mind that most Jews care about much more than just Israel.  As the descendants of the people who survived the Holocaust where more than just Jews died at the hands of “good Christians”, Jews are also pretty interested in human rights for everyone.  After all, they’re the ones with realtime experience in being herded up because of their faith and put to death because of their beliefs.  BTW having that experience makes all the evangelical bullshit claims of war on your religion simply laughable.  You want war on your religion?  Die for it.  Until then you should be aware that your complaints about not being able to perform the Nativity Pageant in public schools where Jews and Muslims also attend seems more than a little ridiculous to us.  You should make a note of the fact that most Jews are well aware that the only reason for the evangelical Christian community’s sycophantic support of Israel is due only to the apocalyptic prophecies from the book of Revelation.  You see, the Jews might not believe in the New Testament but they do know how to read it.  Please also keep in mind that your meddlingsupport of the Jewish state isn’t really all that necessary for its survival since every Jewish festival and holiday is based around the back story of “they tried to kill us all, we survived, let’s eat”.  Yep, they’re survivors like that.  And they’re not fighting for the right to put the Menorah right next to the Baby Jesus under Christmas Trees in every public space, or the removal of Bacon from your Breakfast, even though they don’t eat it.  But you seem to waste your time on these types of fights, with the intention of ramming your beliefs down the throats of everyone, and screaming discrimination when you get caught at it.  Amazing that you’re all still pulling that crap, lo these thousands of years later.  Some religions never learn.

Shalom,

The Weiners

Now, if any of you good folks in Minnesota really want to make a difference in the world today, please vote Ms. Bachmann back home so she can “spend more time with her family”.  This is a woman who desperately needs to lose her Soapbox (or bully pulpit).  She is not fooling anybody with her “Christianity” when she preaches a non-stop message of hatred toward everyone who isn’t “just like her” and you can be sure that appearing in a Temple isn’t going to change anybody’s mind.

To put a southern spin on it – you can put a cat in the oven, but that don’t make it a biscuit.

But, anyway, yay to the members of the tribe in Chicagoland who are voting their conscience, even when it’s outside of their district.  Send her a message, and hopefully also send her home.  IMO the US needs more people like this congregation.  Many more.  Tolerance?  It’s a good thing, when it goes both ways.  Ms. Bachmann has shown exactly none, and that’s exactly what she should receive.

Mazel tov!

The Night The Patriarchy Turned Blue: Democracy, Shenanigans, and Texas

Last night I was up until past 1:30 am watching democracy at work. I wasn’t watching it on any major news outlet though, for which I am further past angry than I’ve been in a long time, but I was not alone. I watched alongside 170,000+ other people who refused to stop looking because the patriarchy said there was no news being made and I’m happy to report from the milky daylight of a brand new day that there was news made and that our system of government still works. I hope you saw it too because it truly was breathtaking to see the Austin Statehouse erupt with the voices of the people of Texas who filibustered themselves when their legislature attempted to silence their official Senate voice in her attempt to be heard. Today, in the milky sunshine of this brand-new day, Wendy Davis is a bonafide hero – pink running shoes and all – as much as any man who fought any other battle that shaped Texas into what it is today. She gets not only my utmost respect but also my hope that someone gave her a really good foot rub and our donations for any race she chooses to run in the future even though she does not represent us, yet. To be sure, there will be a price paid by her, and my household will help her pay it. Because we, as a family, have that choice, because she was not willing to let the constitutionally protected choices of the women of Texas be taken away without raising her voice in protest and alarm.

To Wendy’s point (and my own), whatever your belief, you must understand forever that this is my body and I make my choices. Nobody else gets that right, not you, not my husband, not anybody else. And before you try to take that away from me you must understand that I have lost my choices before because of somebody else’s beliefs and I will not allow that to ever happen again for my daughter or my niece or their girl children, either today, tomorrow, or any day. I will fight you with my voice, with my words, with my money, with my body. I will fight. You may win a battle but you will not win this war. Because I will not fight alone. Austin was but a foreshadowing.

You really won’t like me when I’m angry.

You’ve been warned.

Get your vote on!

voting-missy

Word…

disrespect

Yeah, this. Because then there’s this.

racist

Mittens and the Faux Flap over the Freeloading 47%

So kids, I’m sure we’re all sick to death over the media’s trumpeting about Mittens Antoinette and his disdain for 47% of our country.  Not that it surprises me.  No, not at all.  In fact, I’m of the opinion that this video being released might be a relief for Mitt.  A catharsis of sorts.  And at least he was honest, for a little while anyway, which is a refreshing change coming from his campaign.

After all, to finally be able to state what he believes, even if it was put rather “inelegantly”, and let the chips fall where they may?  You might think further divisiveness would be the result, but in the end I think it’s a win.  For him anyway.  He motivates his base, and he needs every one of them charged up and ready, at the polls early and often, because he doesn’t have a shot in hell at winning anybody besides them.  African Americans? No.  Hispanics? Er, after all that talk about bigger walls? No.  Women?  Only the ones who think like Anne, or who want to get a $70k write off for a Dressage Horse that lost in the Olympics.

Sidenote- how has the horse kept its job?  This guy downsizes people for fun.  Why hasn’t Rafalca Romney been strapped to the roof of one of Anne’s two Cadillac’s and driven off to the Elmer’s plant?  Just one of the many questions rattling around in my brain.  Any guesses?  Maybe he’s pulling a cart and entertaining children through the election?

Anyway, back to the tape.  About which I believe the release was neither an accident nor targeted toward the people you think.  But then again I don’t think there are accidents.  I think everything is planned, but this most especially.  Because the people he’s talking about?  That 47% of entitled people?  Well, the really crazy part about them is that they’re his voters, and they don’t know he’s talking about them.  They all heard his words, talking on that video, and they also heard the dog whistle underneath.  They think he’s talking about St. Ronnie’s Cadillac-driving Welfare Queen.

But in reality, those same people who heard his dog whistle?  They’re who he’s talking about.  The working poor, the elderly – that’s the face of entitlement in Mitt’s world.  People who don’t pay income tax.  The “entitled” 47%.  Yes, Angel Davis is among them, and so is my Dad and Step-mother.  Angel lives off of state aid, but my Father lives off of Social Security and his wife is disabled.  They too live off of entitlement programs.  However, nobody thinks of Social Security as an entitlement.  They look at it as something they earned by working for all those years.  Likewise disability.  Money that was paid in and is being taken back out when you need it.

 

So what 33% of that 47% looks like is not Angel Davis, but instead looks more like your Grandma, or Mom, or Dad, or Great Aunt Harriet who lives on less than $1000 a month in a rent-subsidized apartment for seniors.  Yeah, them.  You see, any government program that sends money into your home that you are not earning through current work that you are doing today is an entitlement program.  And Social Security and Disability are the largest entitlement programs operating today.  Yes, they really are, quit arguing about how you earned that benefit, because even if you did “waybackintheday” as long as the government is sending it to you rather than you actually earning it in a paycheck it’s not a wage, it’s an entitlement.

Er, yeah.  Awkward.

You see Mitt’s a smart one and he knows there’s a whole bunch of people just like you out there who don’t believe what I’m saying.  Who just called out “BULLSHIT!”  Who only believe he’s talking about Angel Davis and her 15 kids.  And that’s why Mitt’s not worried.  Not at all.  This is the best thing that could happen for him.  He’s telling his real friends, the people who are buying this election for him, that he’s going after all the “freeloaders” as soon as he’s elected, while he lets you continue to believe that he’s only going to take care of folks like Angel.  ”Clean up the trash” as it were (cue Dick Dastardly snicker and image of Mitten’s rubbing his hands together as he smirks his way to the polls).

Unfortunately for you, you’re part of his trash, but he knows you don’t know it, and he knows that because you hate Angel and everything about her kind you’re more than willing to go out and do your part to vote him in.  So you’re important here.  You’re a part of his plan, pre & post election, even though you don’t know it yet.

Brilliant!

Do yourself a favor if you’re in the numbers of working poor or if you’re retired – educate yourself somewhere other than Faux News.  There’s a lot of money riding on you staying ignorant.  Don’t do that.  American Idol and X-Factor can wait until after November.  Your future cannot.

Learn, decide, vote… the future you save might be your own.

A picture is worth a million words…

black-lady