photo by Sheri Dixon

Sunday, August 7, 2016

In the Unlikely Event of...

That's what your airline host or hostess says.

They stand in front of you and smile reassuringly, stressing that you'll probably get to where you're going just fine. But just in case of an "unlikely event" there's oxygen masks and flotation devices and other things that really won't help at all if you're plummeting from thousands of feet in the air towards Earth.


We've been thinking about this election. And how the outcome may affect our family. Directly. Affect. Our. Family. Because if we end up with a President Trump (or similar) and all health care (including Medicare) ends up in the private sector, that's not acceptable and could be deadly. So for the first time in my almost 60 years, I'm looking outside the US for places to live.

Alec and his friends are already looking at Europe to go to college. I spent some time looking at Uruguay for the weather and its out-of-the-way location and its services and affordability. And I downloaded Duolingo for Spanish so I'm all set, right?

Here's the kicker and what gives me pause. It's really far away. Like..."you can't drive there" far away. And it's crazy expensive to fly there even IF I weren't paralyzingly horribly terrified of flying. You can fly to Denmark and back several times for one trip to Uruguay.

And then in a recent conversation, there it was. The Answer.

Remember when we went up to Washington state a few years ago and I said someday we WILL move there? Because the people, the climate and OH MY STARS the rainforest?

Washington state is smack-dab shoved up next to...Canada and ITS section of the same damn geography and climate!

Vancouver Island.

So I started looking (thank you, Hawaii via Toronto Jordan)and even chatted with a realtor up yonder. He asked when we'd be interested in making the move. I said, "Round about the second week of November---right after our election." He laughed and said, "Ya- you guys have a pretty crazy one going on, right?" I made sure he knew that we are NOT on the Trump-wagon and he seemed surprised and said, "Ummm...don't MOST people feel that way?" No. No they don't, Mr. Sensible Canadian Realtor.

I assumed that rural Vancouver Island would be pretty comparable to rural western Washington- still pretty spendy.

I assumed wrong. Oh, sure there are really expensive places that are close-into Vancouver or Victoria or on rocky promontories overlooking the ocean...but most are actually within reach of someone like us, especially someone like us who WANT to be out of the way and rustic.

So I'm looking at places on the northern third of Vancouver Island and found one on the Cape Scott Trail- the road that crosses the island from east to west and connects Port Hardy to the Cape Scott Provincial Park. It's gorgeous. The big trees, ferns, water, mountains,'s right there.

Ward said, "If it's on the road...the ONLY road to the park, it's gonna be really busy during the summer." He was thinking of that self-same trip when we did Yosemite, Grand Canyon and Arches- winding our way along bumper to bumper two lane park roads for literally hours before actually entering the parks. We're so used to doing things "off-season" with the freedom of home-schooling schedules, that crowded parks were a real and unusual annoyance and Ward and Alec voiced that often and until I had us stop for lunch one day (in July) in Death Valley National Park. We found a picnic table right away! And they never mentioned how crowded the other parks were again!

So I pulled up the flyer for the Cape Scott Provincial Park and immediately noticed a few things.

-I was reminded that every Canadian I know is sensible, easy-going and has a wicked sense of humor

-No. That's it. And that's enough.

Excerpts from the OFFICIAL provincial park flyer.

Under "Points of Interest" (Those things in US parks that highlight battles won, landmark discoveries, etc...)

As you hike along the trails and beaches of the park, watch for some of the following natural and cultural history points of interest:
9. Breakwater- the remains of an old sailing vessel sunk as a breakwater. Unfortunately it did not survive winter storms and was soon washed ashore.
10. Wooden cart- Located in a meadow off the north side of the trail near Spencer farm. Alfred Spencer farmed here till 1956
11. Caterpiller tractor- The first motorized machine used at Cape Scott is lodged between two trees on the north side of the trail.
19. Driftwood fence posts- Remains of a driftwood fence running east-west behind Guise Bay. Built by NP Jensen in 1910 in an attempt to stabilize the sand dunes for pasture.

And my favorite---

20. Cougar trap- in the sandneck is a wood a-frame structure used as a cougar trap by the Jensen children. A cougar was captured and held for 10 minutes much to the surprise of the children. (I'LL BET!)

Every single one is testament to how much puny humans suck next to Mother Nature. Our attempt at a breakwater? The ocean laughs. Albert Spencer thought he could FARM here? The wilderness kicked his ass so good he just up and left his CART for criminy's sake. So the humans brought a MACHINE to help them conquer the forest...and the forest grabbed ahold of it and hasn't let loose of it yet. Jensen wanted to make PASTURE out of BEACH? Not likely then and not likely now. And the only thing that would've been better than #20 is if #21 had been "Jensen family burial plot- where the Jensen children were buried after the encounter with the cougar."

And I don't think Ward has to worry about traffic.

Under "Caution"

Persons contemplating a visit to Cape Scott Provincial Park are reminded that the park is a wilderness area without supplies or equipment of any kind. Most trails are primitive and very muddy. Hiking along the coastline can be dangerous. Holberg is the nearest settlement and visitors should be in possession of suitable maps.

Boil or treat all drinking water before consuming.

In case of emergency contact the RCMP in Port Hardy, the lighthouse station at Cape Scott or the Park facility operator at Nels Bight (MAY NOT ALWAYS BE THERE).

Not a gift shop or restaurant in sight, and damn few outhouses. I count seven in the entire park and only the one ranger station...which may or may not contain an actual ranger.

We'd already decided that when I'm able to retire, we'll be heading to the Pacific Northwest.

So, in the unlikely event that we need to Trumpvacuate...I'm downloading Duolingo Canadian today.

Photos of the actual property near the park. Can you stand it?

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Art of the Dealio

OK, kids. Here's the dealio.

This is possibly the most fucked up election that *I* can remember, and I can remember a few. All the way back to 1980 when I voted for Reagan. Shut up. I was young, idealistic and stupid.

Here's what pisses me off about this one. We HAD a chance. We HAD a great candidate but we didn't vote for him. Oh, I did and prolly you did but not enough people did and he lost.

The conservatives didn't vote for him because they're so scared of the word "socialist" they pee their underpants when they hear it and their "news" sources have told them that it's all about FREE STUFF and then dying in death camps, neatly sweeping the many democratic socialist successful happy nations that are currently "suffering" from this malady under the Conservative Media rug.

The liberals didn't vote for him because they feel that it's Hillary's "turn". Fair enough. She's worked damn hard for decades and is eminently qualified for the position. Absolutely and completely.

She also has the expected baggage that goes with literally years in the spotlight. Most is bullshit. Some is true. Her stances on things have changed AS THE AMERICAN PUBLIC'S STANCES HAVE CHANGED and that's not flip-flopping- it's doing what your damn people WANT you to do so I'm not sure what the hell is the problem with THAT. Bernie didn't have this baggage for one reason.

He was never considered a threat to the conservative side OR the liberal side. Once he became NOTICED and wildly popular, the Right hauled out the spectre of socialism and the Left hollered FREE STUFF and sneered while making sure they fudged a little here and altered things a little there so it was a sure thing that he wouldn't win it. Both the RNC and the DNC just wanted him gone. So he's gone. He's not DEAD and he will continue to do what he's always done...yanno, back before MOST of his most vocal supporters were even BORN.

Ahh. the RNC and the DNC. I've said it before but apparently we need reminding often. The primaries mean NOTHING. Honestly, if the DNC had done NOTHING and Bernie won by a landslide they STILL didn't have to make him their candidate. Just like the RNC did NOT have to make Trump THEIR candidate. They didn't. But they did.

And here we are.

We have two realistic candidates left and our choice is to vote for one of them. Yes, there are multiple 3rd party candidates. Are they on the ticket in all 50 states? If not, they are not viable. They SHOULD HAVE DONE THE HOMEWORK AND FUNDRAISING TO DO SO WELL BEFORE ***NOW***. If they couldn't get even THAT done, how good a POTUS will they be?

If they ARE on the ballot in all 50 states (Gary Johnson) do you REALLY agree with EVERYTHING he stands for? Or are you just voting for him because you're pissed off at the other two? Do you realize that Gary Johnson would have exactly FUCK-ALL chance of getting ANYTHING done once elected? Good. Just checking.

I hate our two-party system. I hate that we don't have more viable choices. But you know who's fault that is and when something should have been done about it?


To come in here pissing and moaning about our lackluster CHOICES this time is bullshit. OWN THAT SHIT.

To say "It's all rigged and both parties are the same and both candidates are crooks" is cowardly, finger-pointing douchebaggery of the highest order. You know how it got that way? WE LET IT GET THAT WAY.

What can we do NOW? We are 100 days away from the election and either Clinton or Trump WILL be POTUS.

Those are our choices.

Clinton has baggage and a shit-ton of experience in how things work on The Hill and in foreign negotiations. She's had decades either in public office or actually working with and for the private sector INCLUDING those who couldn't hand her a fat check.

Trump has jack shit. The first office he's running for is POTUS. Does that not say something about his ego and narcissism? He brings out the very WORST of the American Spirit and feeds it. The RNC convention was horrifying. The things he yells at us are terrifying. Would you want this asshole to coach your little league team? Run the humane society in your town? Babysit your KIDS? Why on EARTH would you want him in charge of our NATION?

Oh. He's going to bring back jobs. Great. So he's already closed all his factories in China and Mexico? No?

He's going to be the Law and Order POTUS. Super. So all those lawsuits he's been party to (not the ones he brings on other people- the ones brought against HIM and that he's been found GUILTY of in courts of law almost MONTHLY for the last few decades- those ones) are going to stop now? No?

He's going to protect the morals of our blessed Christian nation and God will smile on us again? OUTSTANDING- guess he's closed all his strip clubs and casinos!!! Huh.

What the actual FUCK, America?

So here's the dealio.

I love Bernie Sanders with an almost unnatural zeal- and I have for almost THIRTY YEARS. Not the last year and a half. Three decades. It's laughable to me that the Right dredged up an article (satire, BTW) he wrote while he was in COLLEGE and held it up saying that he hates women while their Chosen One calls women fat pigs and worse every single day NOW. But I digress...

So here's the dealio.

If you write in Bernie Sanders he will NOT be POTUS. He won't, and trust me no one would be happier if that were an option but it's not. If you vote 3rd party your candidate will not win. IF I were to vote 3rd party, I'd be voting for Mimi Soltysik/Angela Walker because they Rock. They also said that to be true to their beliefs, if elected the first thing they would have to do is fire themselves.

CAN we change the system from within? Yes.

WILL it be fast and glorious? No.

It's going to take ALL of us getting up out of our chairs and DOING something from the day after the election till the next one---4 years. 1,460 days. Including weekends. How many of us can AFFORD to do that? How many of us have the TIME to do that?

Virtually none of us. Our system is beautifully set up to keep us working long hours for low pay to scrabble for our families. But here's a thing. Here's a thing you CAN endorse that will help and it's got Bernie's blessing and support.

But THIS presidential election is 100 days away. It will be virtually impossible to get it done THIS time. So THIS time, here's how I'm voting.

I'm voting for Hillary Clinton.

I'm voting for the party platform that will do the LEAST harm to us in the next 4 years. Shit, the Republican Platform doesn't even sugar-coat anything; just states it's FOR exclusion, taking away rights hard won, and rampant discrimination of anyone not white and Christian. What the hell?

It's not "voting for the lesser evil" for criminy's sake. Thanks to Bernie, the Democratic platform is the most progressive it's EVER been in the history of Ever.

Let's talk cooking for a minute.

Say I want to make lasagne for my family tonight for dinner, but I go into my pantry and I don't have lasagne noodles or ricotta cheese or italian sausage or tomato sauce. I DO have elbow macaroni and cheddar cheese and pork chops and green beans. I also have Drano and Lysol cleaning spray and laundry detergent.

Do I throw a fit? Refuse to cook ANYTHING for dinner because what I have in front of me is not EXACTLY what I wanted? Turn on my family and holler at them for requiring FOOD AT ALL and stomp out of the house? FEED THEM A DRANO/LYSOL/LAUNDRY DETERGENT CASSEROLE EVEN THO I HAVE THE MAKINGS OF A PERFECTLY FINE DINNER IN FRONT OF ME???

No. I don't. I feed them macaroni and cheese, pork chops and green beans and make damn sure I have lasagne ingredients on my list for NEXT TIME I go to the store.

Honestly. Sometimes I just don't know what to do with some of ya'll.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Living Liberal in East Texas- Voting

So I voted today.

Walked into our tiny precinct for the primary run-off election and there were the two tables- one marked Republican and one marked Democrat.

The lady at the Republican table asked me how I was voting and I pointed to the Democrat table lady.

There was an instantaneous air of shock in the room. "Really?" the three elderly ladies (honestly not older than me) looked at me with heads cocked to one side, like they were trying to get me into focus. I spun around as gracefully as my pear-shape allows but think I pulled it off pretty well thanks to my colorful sari skirt and hippie-braided rainbow hair, finishing off with a flourish of arms in the air.

"Are you sure? You know there's only one thing on that ballot- there are LOTS of things to vote for on the Republican ballot."

I said, "I can vote Republican even if I'm a Democrat?"

"Sure! You can vote however you like!" *sweet smile*

Wait a second. "How many Democrats have voted here today?"

The lady at the D table hesitated and said, "Well...none. I don't usually do this (her badge said she's really one of our municipal judges) and they told me I wouldn't have to do anything but sit in the chair all day- I don't even know what to do."

I really, really wanted to vote against that idiotic dangerous old bat Mary Lou "Obama was a gay prostitute to pay for his drugs" Bruhner as head of the state school board. Really. It would've meant me voting R today. Just today. The ladies at the R table beckoned- smiling, waving that ballot with her name on it...


I made the lady at the D table learn how to check someone in, saying, "Ya'll must've been expecting me- when I first moved here 20-plus years ago, they didn't even have a person in that chair- it was a potted plant." *Nervous laughter*

I took my voting machine code from the young man who was probably fulfilling some sort of community service civics thing- high school age, MAYBE college age. This was, I'm positive, the most excitement he'd seen all day.

So I voted Democrat and in the Athens paper when they list the election totals by party there will show TWO STINKING DEMOCRATS VOTED IN BROWNSBORO---including Ward, who is voting later today. It shall not show that Brownsboro TX voted 100% Red. Shall. Not.

I told the lady at the D table that my husband would be in, and to remember how to check him in. I told them all that in two years our son will be voting Democrat, too.

On my way out the door, I took one more spin and said, "Yep! We're taking over!" and the laughter stopped.

The young man smiled, winked and gave me a quick, secretive thumbs-up.

Can't blame him, really. He's stuck there till 7pm with three actual dinosaurs.

Change is comin', darlin'. One crazy old rainbow-haired hippie at a time.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Well, This is Awkward

So this came across my path yesterday with a notation that it just might be me. And I chuckled. But then I realized that it all fits except the 'awkward' part.

Oh, I still DO awkward shit- I haven't reached some magical age where I'm suddenly all grace and serenity because there's no danger of THAT happening EVER.

But here's the thing.

I just don't care anymore.

I'm extremely difficult to embarrass, and that's totally OK. The people WITH me may be embarrassed by the things I do and say sometimes, but yanno---so not my problem.

It's a new year and I'm going into it with realistic expectations about myself and what I will and won't do with it.

I need to lose about 20 pounds. I know I do because I'm not fit anymore. If I could carry this extree baggage on my ass and gut and still get around and not be completely stiff and stove up all the time that'd be different but I can't. I hate like hell when I scootch behind something and my ass bumps into a wall or piece of furniture and BY GAWD I KNOW I USED TO FIT IN THERE. So my resolution is to eat less. Yep. Pretty rad, I know. 99% of the time when I'm eating I'll get about halfway thru with something and think, "I'm not hungry anymore" but there's SOME LEFT so I eat it. I'ma stop doing that. I know I'll be throwing away some food and that's a Mom Sin of the highest order but it'll STILL be cheaper than any 'diet plan' I could go on. So there's that.

I need to drink more water. This is a tough one because it'll also make me pee more and I already pee way too much and with increasing lack of control. TMI? Probably. Remember tho---I no longer give a shit :) If I drink more water, I'll be less stiff because it's freaking WATER and will help lube up my old joints. I hate feeling like Edna at 90+ moved with less trouble than I do at 56.

So those are my two big resolutions. Eat less. Drink more water.

Will they give me the perfect body of a 30 year old? Nope. I'm not 30 years old anymore and wouldn't be 30 years old again for anything. I really WAS awkward in my 30's . I cared about everything- was I a good enough wife? Lover? Mother? Employee?

I'm good enough. I've gotten up every morning for over 50 years and done the best I knew how to do with the knowledge and resources I had. Every damn day. I'm good enough.

This body has grown 3 human beings inside of it successfully and has the road wear to prove it. It also carts around my brain and has done so for over half a century. That's a powerful burden right there.

My goal is not to be perfect, or even 'attractive'. My goal is to tweak and maintain this corpse so it'll carry my brain around for another four decades or so with moderate grace and acceptable presence.

My goal is to be here for my family, my friends, and all those people who depend on me and who even like me some of the time.

It's a worthy and attainable goal.

Oh, and no worries. Even if I'm not awkward, I'll still be foul-mouthed and sarcastic. And delightful. Always, always delightful...

Friday, December 11, 2015

It's All Going According to the Plan

Hang onto your hats, kids. Come the first of the year, we're gonna see the ACA do some fine imploding. Oh, there are several fronts this will happen on, but lemme share the one that'll get me up close and personal.

I'm for the ACA and what it stands for. I was and still am thrilled that millions of people who were considered 'uninsurable' before are now covered. I understand that this is a big country and some compromise had to be worked into it in order for it to pass.

At the time, I was really squidgy about two things that were compromised away---

-The lack of a public OPTION

-The lack of comprehensive regulations against the insurance companies

The ACA, AS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN, would have had a public option- open enrollment Medicare for all who wanted it. Not FORCED to get it- anyone who wanted it INSTEAD of private insurers. This would have given the private insurance companies true competition instead of handing them a lovely gift of millions of customers who wouldn't pay for insurance unless they were compelled to- say by a tax penalty if they didn't. That part stayed in, and the new customers were handed to the private insurers like the Best Christmas Ever.

But they took out the public option to the wailing of the GOP who said it smacked of socialism, communism, fascism, every ism you can throw at something to make it look bad when it's really an outstandingly good idea. Ya- both parties now work for their corporate owners, but the GOP is hands-down much more open and serious about it. The insurance companies didn't WANT true competition, and certainly not from MEDICARE, which is the BIGGEST INSURER IN THE NATION and runs on a lean 4% margin instead of their cushy and profitable 35%. Because while Medicare is not a BUSINESS, they are- it's their job to make money for their investors and stock holders and to do that you have- large margins and profits which are made when you- take in way more than you pay out which happens when- you raise premiums and deny claims- which they do ALL THE TIME- nothing personal- it's just BUSINESS.

This is why something like people's lives should NEVER be at the mercy of the free market. Ever. Nothing personal- it's just business.

Now, there WERE some regulations that stayed intact and they have been very good for people- millions of people.

- you cannot be denied insurance due to pre-existing conditions. (You can, however, be charged out the ass for it)

- you can stay on your parents' insurance till you're 26 (as long as you're also in college, which is a whole NUTHER huge expense)

- insurance companies MUST spend 80% of the premiums you pay them on your actual medical care or refund the difference. We actually do get back a check from BCBS every year in the neighborhood of about $30. WHEEEEEEE doggies.

No regulations against the insurance companies becoming monolithic giants who would corner individual markets. No regulations against how high premiums could go. Those were gutted out of there because you cannot hamper and hobble the free market- just give them all those new customers and they'll do the right thing by them. *wink wink*

When the marketplace opened up, Texas had three different insurers you could choose from.

***Because remember, kids- there's no such thing as 'Obamacare insurance'. You can't buy Obamacare brand insurance any more than you can buy a Travelocity brand hotel room. You go to to and choose from PRIVATE INSURANCE COMPANIES- Blue Cross, Humana, you go to Travelocity and choose from Marriott, Motel 6 or LaQuinta.

Last year there were two in Texas and this year? One. Blue Cross has the entire Texas market for individuals buying off the marketplace. That's not a marketplace- it's a corner on the market.

So individuals can 'choose' from one provider.

Also new this year---individual plans do NOT include any PPO's. None. Zip. Zero.

Also new this year---Blue Cross is discontinuing some individual plans already in existence and those people have to choose from one of the marketplace HMO's. Unsurprisingly- the discontinued plans are PPO's. Unsurprisingly- they are targeting the people most likely to, yanno, use insurance.

Alec's individual plan? Good to go- he can keep his PPO.

Myself and a friend of mine? Discontinued. Choose a new HMO.

Alec is young, male, and healthy. I'm over 55 and female and my friend is female in 'child-bearing years'. Not difficult to figure that out.

The reason given is that all the new people they were FORCED to take have driven up costs and they just can't afford to, you know, provide health care for people anymore the way they had been doing. Which is ridiculous considering every national health care company logged RECORD PROFITS LAST YEAR BECAUSE OF ALL THE NEW HEALTHY PEOPLE WHO SIGNED UP AND WHO ARE OBVIOUSLY COVERING THE COSTS OF THE PRE-EXISTING CROWD AND THEN SOME.

So it's bullshit. They are raising premiums and cutting plans just because they can- just because it's good for their bottom line and that's not because they are evil, selfish rat bastard weasels, it's because we TRUSTED PRIVATE BUSINESS TO TAKE CARE OF PUBLIC INTERESTS, and it's their job---by definition---to make money.

It's a business' job to take in more than they pay out. Period. What that looks like in this case, in real life, is that thousands of people can no longer access places like MD Anderson, who will be out of network for them.

Every single person of a 'risk group' age who buys insurance individually will no longer be able to choose their doctor and that ain't the fault of 'Obamacare'- that's the dictate from your precious PRIVATE INSURERS.

If you are covered by a LARGE business' insurance plan---you can still have a PPO. If you're on Medicare or Medicaid---you're golden anywhere.

So Alec, Ward and Joe (who has both Medicare and VA) are good. If I get anything 'bad' between now and when I turn 62 and can access Medicare, I'm screwed.


When the ACA implodes after the first of the year, you'll hear it broadcast far, wide and loud from the Right that 'THEY KNEW IT- THEY'VE BEEN WARNING US- THEY SHOULD'VE BEEN ALLOWED TO OVERTURN IT AND NOW LOOKIT THE BIG OL' MESS IT IS AND SEE HOW RIGHT THEY WERE!'

Just remember, it was THEM who made damn sure it would never work.

It was the GOP governors in EVERY RED STATE that made damn sure their own constituents suffered by rejecting the Medicaid expansion that would have covered anyone not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid but not rich enough to pay the outrageous private insurance company premiums.

We live in a corporatocracy, folks. They're not people and they don't give a rat's ass about individuals.

People die. Corporations don't die- they change leadership and go on. And on. And on.

We're being told that the insurance companies 'have to' cut plans because there are too many sick people they were forced to take care of. That's bullshit.

We're being told that social security and every single social safety net program will have to be cut or eliminated because our deficit is too high and they're unsustainable. That's bullshit.

We're being told we need 'austerity' to bring our country back to greatness. That's true.

The austerity should NOT be coming from the bottom, though- taking from those (US, people- they're talking about US) who can ill-afford to lose more, taken under the guise of , "Think of your children and grandchildren- sure, you'll feel the pinch a little, but it's going to be so much better for THEM!" THAT'S BULLSHIT. The only ones, ONLY ONES that'll be better for is those at the top.

Trickle down is a scam of the highest order.


They'll keep feinting throwing the ball and we keep running after it eagerly, joyfully, tongues lolling, looking confused while they laugh and bank our money. Over and over and over again.

No more.

I will NOT let them kill me, or my husband, or my son. Fuck that.

I'm not being dramatic- hundreds of thousands of people die in the US every year of TREATABLE THINGS. No one has to round us up and execute us. All they have to do is deny us access to health care.

If a Republican, ANY REPUBLICAN gains the presidency, we WILL see the dismantling of every social program including Social Security and Medicare. If that happens, my family will be gone. I've never stated or thought of leaving this country of my birth. I love America. I love my home with a fierce and abiding fervor. I love the IDEA of America as it can be.

But I will not let it kill us. Will not.

Oh, I know it'll look like we're 'just like' those Republicans who hollered, "If that Obama gets elected I'm OUTTA HERE! This ain't MY idea of America!!!" but it won't be anything like that at all. They were pissed that a black man had the balls to live in the White House. I'll be pissed that my husband won't be able to get the medical care he needs to stay alive and my son will be ripe for their fucking cannon fodder and I will not let either thing happen.

America needs to get its collective head out of its ass. Stop being so 'exceptionally' proud and ignorant and look around. We are increasingly violent at our own hands- not some foreign enemy that's mostly ginned up fear. And since when is it American to be so damn AFRAID? Our income disparity in this country is worse than in any other industrialized nation, bar none and we're celebrating that by giving those at the top our government, our money, our lives (both in our willingness to work for low pay in awful conditions for long hours thanks to Right to Work laws, and our willingness to accept less and less in the way of health care access, thanks to the flaws in the ACA) and happily doing so because 'some day, I could be rich, too!'

We need to stop being so stupid. Our government isn't working for us and that's not because it's 'too big' or 'Obama's a tyrant who shreds the constitution!'



If our government isn't working anymore, it's because it's being run by those who don't care about it working for the masses (that's us). We don't need to 'take it back!' from the libruls/libtards/any other clever ignorant hate-mongering name for those currently in charge---we need to take it back from the corporations and banks who OWN IT.

The ACA is imploding by design. Not the original design, or the design that SHOULD HAVE passed- design by the corporate entities (that's the private insurance companies) who owned the politicians who hacked it to pieces and are now fixin' to get even richer off of the suffering and death of Americans.

And anyone who says, "Well, that's the way it is now and there's nothing I can do about it" can just kiss my ass and get out of the way.

Because I don't WANT to move, and I'll do everything in my power to make sure I don't have to in order to keep my family alive.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Blink of An Eye

My son and his friends are looking at Denmark. Or the Netherlands.

Not for a visit, but to move there.

I'd say, "I don't know how I feel about that" but it'd be a lie. I know exactly how I feel about that.

I'm excited at the youth and strength behind such a plan- I remember (not that I'm that old)having much the same thoughts as they do, albeit less farther-focused. My main thought was to get the hell out of Wisconsin. Took me a while, but I did it and have never looked back. Actually crossing the US border and staying across never occurred to me.

I'm proud that we've raised a human with such an independent bent. A free-thinker who knows more about current events and social issues, politics and world events than most adults do. Someone who loves his country but is not brainwashed to believe that the US is #1, that the US must remain #1 and that everyone on earth wants to be us and all other places are backwards shitholes. I'm proud as hell of that. He doesn't HATE America---there's a big ol' middle ground between screaming "We're #1!" while wearing a flag t-shirt and clutching an eagle by the throat... and yelling "Death to America!". Big. Ol'. Middle ground.

I'm terrified that once he boards a plane and is out of my Mama Bear reach, our economy and society will continue on the ungracious, unattractive and (unless something changes RADICALLY QUICKLY) inevitable sliding into the social squalor that is the morning after for all societies that become 'too big for their britches' and I'll never see him again. I do not believe we are in danger of a Mad Max No Food Zombie Apocalypse. But we're NOT #1 anymore, we never WERE the gloriousness of a Leave It to Beaver fictitious utopia, and we're looking like a B-film starlet after one too many cosmetic procedures in a frantic attempt to still look 21 at age 51 instead of...Katherine Hepburn at age 81- gorgeous and not giving a shit, just going about living life.

So it scares the hell out of me.

But then I realize...if we are (and we are)headed for an age of disgruntled frumpiness and depressed economics, still steered by bullheaded backwards financial initiatives and punitive social agendas...where does that put my son, as an American in America?

If he can get college-educated and come out of it with zero debt (and he can in Europe), if he can get a job that can support him and won't kill him with low pay and dangerous workplace conditions as well as short work weeks and hours (and he can in Europe), if he can have access to health care without paying almost 20% of his gross pay in premiums (you see where this is going...), then that's where he needs to be. That's where I WANT him to be.

Until the US gets its head out of its far-right, pseudo-religious, egotistical ass, the only place my son and others like him will have even a marginal shot at having a life that is the Norman Rockwell American outside these borders.

And that's a fucking shame.

Last night my son was looking for a 'new' book to read- he'd just finished up the last of the Game of Thrones series and like his parents he HAS to have a book in front of him at all times. He was going through all the shelves in the house that hold a total of about a thousand books- very few fiction other than the 'classics'. He found a medical guide (huge old tome) that was 'new and revised' in 1905. He found a little book of PHOTOGRAPHS (it was capitalized just like that because PHOTOGRAPHS were such a new thing) from a 1800's World's Fair. He found a box of crystals and yak hair that'd been sent to him for his birthday half a dozen birthdays ago.

He looked around this log cabin and said, "Our house is full of weird shit." And he smiled.

The world is full of weird shit, son. Most of it delightful, intoxicating and smile-inducing. I'm so happy we've taught you that, and I hope you never forget it.

Step across the borders and grab the American Human Dream wherever you find it- for yourself, your friends, and all humans.

A blink of an eye ago, I was fifteen and eager to find my spot in the world. Now I'm watching my son do the same. My great-grandparents came to this country looking for a better life and the next two generations stayed put in Southern Wisconsin. I left and came to Texas and now my Texas-born is looking even farther afield.

He has his roots here in a log cabin in East Texas full of weird shit.

No telling where his wings will take him.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Slogan Solutions: the Deadliness of The Easy Fix

The Flat Tax

Slash Government Waste

Entitlement Society

Just Get a Job

Adoption Not Abortion

Trickle Down!

Make America Great Again!!!

Wipe Out the Terrorists

Show of Strength

Let Go and Let God

We are not encouraged to think critically. We are trained to listen to our elders, our leaders, our superiors, from the second we are born till the moment we die. Crowd control is really the basis of every single ideology- political or spiritual.

Crowd control.

Every ideology has its own goals and agendas and every one of them depends on getting the largest amount of people on your team. When there are small numbers of people involved, positive reinforcement works. Talk your team up, show people what works and how their life will be better if they sign on, positive reinforcement is a great way to individually affect lives and effect growth for your cause. One on one. One at a time. A solid foundation for the future of your goals.

But, damn that's so slow. It's slow and tedious and requires actually, you know...talking to people and living all the good parts of your philosophy your own self as an example. Whew, that's exhausting and honestly kind of boring.

Humans being mammals, and of a community (herd) persuasion, the one thing that gets everyone's attention and action in a heartbeat is fear. Good old fashioned Fear.

Fear of death, fear of attack, fear of privation, fear of eternal damnation...Fear.

Now here's the good part.

Just something that causes instantaneous panic- like an earthquake, or tornado, or Facebook going down for an hour---all that Fear needs to be directed at something to be effective. So we also need---An Enemy.

The Enemy has to be an entire demographic---something big enough to rally anOTHER entire demographic into action.

Liberals, Nazi's, blacks, gays, conservatives, women, men, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Japs, Spics, Yankees, Rebels, Educated Elites, Rednecks... every single group can be demonized and utilized by another one. If they look, talk or live differently than you ALL THE BETTER to make them seem less like you, like your family, less human.

Now you have Fear, and an Enemy. People are afraid, confused, possibly panicked, and looking for an answer, and they want it to be easy, and blunt, and seemingly air-tight. Enter the Slogan Solution.

They are astounding in their stark simplicity.

So we have our Slogan Solution, and we have an Enemy. It's so easy, especially if the topic is all twisty and gnarly and somewhat painful to consider---merely cave to the Slogan Solution and it'll all be better in no time.

Now the hard part.

Take any one of the slogans above and hold it in your hand. Turn it over and around and really consider-

-what is the real issue it's addressing?
-what caused or is causing that issue?
-what caused THOSE circumstances in the first place?
(I know- this is hard. Keep going.)
-what can we do to address the original issues- NOT what's in front of us now, but what caused it? Treating the cause of a disease instead of merely masking the symptoms, as it were.
-what can we do, going forward, to make sure those original causes aren't given the environment to thrive?

The operative word that should come out of every mouth when given a Slogan Solution is "HOW?"

How are you going to do this? What steps exactly will need to be taken and what's the toll it will take on all involved?

You may think that 'Let Go and Let God' doesn't fit with the rest, but it does, unless the same above steps are taken. If a situation is so hopeless that all you can say is 'let go and let God', you need to be damn sure you have already done YOUR OWN SELF everything possible to remedy that situation and that means going thru the above steps. Let go and let God at its finest is saying, "I have done everything I can and everything I know how in order to make this better. That's either good enough or it never will be."

Slogan Solutions are great things to throw around, to rally behind and to wave a flag or holy book to. Catchy, inspiring, seemingly completely sensible.

But what does it do to your Enemy? Remember, your Enemy is an entire demographic of mothers, fathers, children, families who are in reality all insidiously exactly like your own. No 'buts'. Exactly. Like. Your. Own.

So hold their feet to the fire, these Slogan Solution Spewers. Demand that they tell us HOW. Insist that they relate to us the cost in dollars and human lives.

Refuse to be blinded by the simplicity of an Easy Fix.

Don't live in Fear of the Fire.

Stop, drop and roll.

Stop being afraid.

Drop the big questions on the fear-mongers.

Roll over their sorry asses and support your fellow humans.

All of them.

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