What is most important to you?

I had to think about this… for me personally, or for me as a citizen of the world and that’s when I realized it was the same for both.

What is important is fairness, equality, equity, acceptance, caring, kindness.

That we see the differences each other and we celebrate those differences as well as the things that we share… hopes, dreams, goals.

We each have our own cultures, background, histories, viewpoints and all of this is what makes life so rich.

The goal should be to listen and pay attention and learn from one another.

It’s really not that hard.1diversity1

 

Something That Worries Me

I am a big fan of two things in life… learning and sharing.

Education can come in many different forms… from formal education in a classroom to reading a variety of books from a library. It’s asking questions and listening and asking more questions. It’s looking for new viewpoints.

The other; sharing… volunteering to help others, to donate funds and items that helps others, lending a hand to those who need to help others.

I’m listening to and reading online comments from people who claim to be followers of a teacher who is said to encourage these two ideas but they are doing anything but.

One woman who screamed at others that she will teach her grandchildren to hate “you people”. Family members who talk about others as nothing more than objects. Those who refuse to do one simple thing, like wear a face mask, that could help keep others from getting sick.

I’ve always known that the world was full of selfish, narrow minded people who didn’t care for anyone else but themselves. The fear and guilt they promoted has always been there. But it seems it’s more overt, in your face right now. It’s as if the racist squatter in the White House has given them all permission to be angry and hate and make sure we all know exactly how they feel. Too much of this hate is becoming action meant to send messages of fear to the rest of the country, and the world.

They are not happy that “the others” that they fear and hate are now pushing back. Women with the #MeToo movement, The Pride movements, Black Lives Matter, are three of the largest.

But smaller, quieter ones are also pushing back… older people, fat people, disabled people and non-Christians.

And this last one is one that is usually fueling the strong anger and hate that infect the others…. Conservative Christians are the only group who has the majority and then tries to force fear and guilt because they don’t have a monopoly.

It’s the white, straight, rich, Christian males who guide the rest of the problems. They hate BIPOC. They hate LGBTQ. They fear strong women and only want young obedient submissive Christian women who have enough sense to stay at home and raise babies like they were designed to do. They hate and fear the poor. They hate non-Christians; Muslims, Jews, Pagans, Atheists and even some that self identify as Christian but the conservatives refuse to recognize them as such.

This group also dislikes, if not right out hates, and fears education and helping others. Republicans have for generations insisted that people stand on their own two feet and not expect government aid. Conservatives encourage early marriage so that young people can’t get too smart, especially young women. If they have to have education, they insist it has to be “Christian” education, which isn’t really education. It’s indoctrination.

They don’t learn or know the history of our country, or even of their own religion. They encourage ignorance on both, because “poorly educate” people are easier to control and manage.

So what am I worried about?

I’m worried that conservatives have infiltrated politics at such a rate that it might be hard to turn it around. This is not by accident, this is by design, and has been the goal since the 1950’s when they forced “under God” to be added to the Pledge of Allegiance and on the dollar bill. Both of those were intended to force god onto everyone whether they wanted it or not.

The goal of electing Donald Trump was a simple one. To get conservative judges on the Supreme Court so that they will overturn Roe Vs Wade and outlaw abortions. If they can accomplish that, the next goals of repealing the amendments that give “others” the rights we have… women’s rights, civil rights, gay rights. They would love to take us back to the 1920’s when women, black people and gay people are all second class citizens and have no rights to speak out, to object and to vote. The only ones who would have these rights would be them… white, straight, rich, Christian males.

And if you think I’m overreacting, just look at how way too many people are reacting to the Covid 19 novel coronavirus in this country.

Instead of listening to the experts and learning about the virus and about how to keep from getting it, and more importantly how to help others from getting it, they are only thinking of themselves. They don’t care if anyone else gets sick and dies. As long as it’s not them. They want to go to the beach. They want to get a haircut. They don’t want to wear a mask.

Education and helping others.

Learning and sharing.

These are choices and it’s amazing, it’s appalling, how many people don’t want to do either one.

 

To The Future

Too many people don’t take the younger generations seriously and they need to start doing so. It’s their future that we are infecting and affecting.
 
The teenagers of this country pulled a huge “prank” on Donald Trump and his egocentric rallies. I never occurred to Trump that there would be people who wouldn’t jump at the change to attend this insane rally.
 
These are just the latest. Add in the teens who organized BLM protests all over the planet, kids working for gun control so they can go to school without getting shot like the Parkland students.
And Greta Thunberg and others like her who are activists for climate change.
 
Teens are getting involved with #MeToo so they don’t have to deal with sexual assault like their mothers and grandmothers.
 
And they are getting involved with promoting social distancing and face masks during Covid 19.
 
These kids have had to give up a lot over the past 4-5 years, most recently the high school experiences that the rest of us all took for granted… proms, graduation, time with their friends.
 
But they hold the future in the palm of their hands and they are NOT going to let a gross dirty old man take it away from them.
 
Cheers to you, kids…. many of us are rooting for you and your successes!!

Change

I can’t believe the things I’m seeing these days and it all boils down to one thing…
 
Change.
 
No one wants anything to change.
 
They will risk getting sick with a coronavirus so they don’t have to wear a mask that keeps themselves and others safer and healthy.
 
They don’t want to stay home for the same reason, in spite of everyone having take out/food deliveries, nonstop Netflix and Zoom. They fucking want a hair cut and to sit on the damn beach.
 
They are sick of the white vs black and why the hell can’t we just say “all lives matter” and get back to life as normal.
 
They are pissed because SCOTUS ruled that LGBTQ are human beings like everyone else and deserve the same rights as they do.. you know, the white conservative Christian Republican hypocrites who grew up learning about the Golden Rule but will do anything other than live by it.
 
They (especially white Christian men) are angry that women have forgotten their place to be silent and stay at home do “women’s work”.
 
They insist that “all lives matter” and that they are “pro-life” until it comes to feeding babies and children, providing healthcare for everyone and helping all people have the same rights as they do… a home to live in and enough food to eat.
 
They are even having a fit because a bottle of syrup is changing its name and logo.
 
Change scares the hell out of them. When in reality it’s the change that affects them and takes away their white, straight, Christian privilege and entitlement that makes them angry.
 
They don’t care about helping anyone else, which has been the Republican way for 50 years.
 
They don’t care that black kids are dying at the hands of the police.
 
They don’t care that BIPOC are dying to Covid 19 at a much higher rate.
 
They don’t care that transgender people are being killed just because they are perceived as being different.
 
They don’t care that children are being abused by their parents because they were guilt tripped by “good” Christians who convinced them that abortion was a sin.
 
They don’t care about their own children who come out as gay and are then disowned them for an inaccurate dogma.
 
It’s said that the only constant in life is change. But we will have to drag these racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic people into the 21st century whether they like it or not and they sure as hell don’t like it.
 
But change is happening. Someday all lives WILL matter, no matter the color of their skin, the person they love, their religion or lack of it, or even little things like how they dress, how much they weigh and other judgments that too many find fault with.
 
Maybe if these people would learn about these changes, talk to people and try to understand things from their perspective, these changes would be much less painful.

Humanity

I wrote this last year, never dreaming just how bad things would get in just a year.

May 17, 2019

My faith in humanity is at an all time low. I didn’t think it could get any lower after Trump moved into the White House. I was proven wrong. Watching the abortion laws change in so many states so quickly had me question what is wrong with this country. And that’s when it hit me. This is all by design. The Republicans know these laws are essentially unenforceable and they don’t care. It’s a means to an end.

This all is part of a very big plan that goes back to World War 2… to make the United States an authoritarian theocracy. I’m sure at the time they never dreamed it would take this long. It started with forcing the government to add “In God We Trust” on American currency and “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance in the early 50’s using the fear of Communism as the catalyst (“better off dead than red”).

They learned quickly that the best way to influence politics was to become politicians. Many conservative Christians studied law, not to make a difference and help people, but to help the right’s ultimate agenda; to influence their Christian ideology. For years, decades, they have quietly worked their way up the various political offices until they reaches ones of power. Mitch McConnell is a prime example of this. They knew just what words to say to convince voters that they as the favored candidate should be their pick. Trump quickly learned how to do this too. I have been shocked at how many Trump voters voted him just basically on what he said and how he said it .. the facts and issues, not to mention is his history, didn’t come into play in any way.

Conservatives have been planning this for 40 years. They just needed everything to align up perfectly.. the right person in the White House, the right people in the Supreme Court, the right party in each state’s house and senate. Don’t think they can overturn Roe vs Wade? Sadly, they have a very good chance of doing so. And that’s just the beginning. And then they chip away at all of the other rights they don’t agree with and haven’t for a very long time… gay marriage, the 19th Amendment, the 14th Amendment, Jim Crow laws, separation of church and state and the creation of a national religion.

These abortion laws have nothing to do with faith or religion. Nothing to do with saving babies or caring about children’s welfare, and everything to do with control. Ironically, it’s not just control over women, but control over poor black women as well. The issue of abortion as a social issue for the church is two fold… controlling the sexuality of women, but also forcing white women to have more white babies so that black women won’t win that race. And if poor black women die in childbirth or from botched back alley abortions? That’s no big loss to them. In fact, if white women die of the same thing, it’s still not a big deal. They will just make more of children and half of those will grow up to be women so they can try again. And if Catholic priests and Protestant clergy sexually abuse and harm children? Again, that’s not a problem for them. All they care about is control and power. And marginalizing women, people of color and sexual identities is a way to get and keep that control and power. And the church is a master of using religion to control the masses. It’s been going on even longer than there has been Christianity. Fear and guilt is power. Power is control. It’s no accident that more and more countries are coming under the control of authoritarian dictator regimes. And it’s exactly what the GOP wants, and has always wanted, for the United States. They just let Donald Trump think it’s all his idea.

If everything continues to align the way they want it to, this has a very good chance of coming true. The right wants the lawsuits… that they can tie up in lower courts until they are passed on up to the higher courts until it’s finally sent to the Supreme Court and right into Brett Kavanaugh’s willing hands. It’s not accident this is happening. It’s all by design. And has been planned for decades. They have a very good chance of overturning Roe vs Wade and then enacting a total abortion ban on the entire country. Don’t think it can happen? We didn’t think Donald Trump had a snowballs chance in hell of winning the Presidential election either, but here we are.

And if you think that the conservative Christian Republicans will rest on their laurels of abolishing abortion, think again. This is just the beginning. With it will go marriage equality and gay marriage laws will be revoked. Next will women’s rights to education, careers and the right to vote as they eliminate the 19th Amendment and right behind that the 14th Amendment with gives people of color the right to vote, among other rights. That will bring back Jim Crow laws and segregation and there are even calls to legalize slavery again. Why do you think very little is done to stop sex trafficking? That is another form of slavery that the right wants to see continue, along with legalizing rape. There are people who want to make sure that only Christians can vote in US elections. All non-Christians including Atheists, Pagans, Muslim, Jews, Buddhists, and Hindus would be forbidden to vote, let alone run for office. And by Christian, they mean white straight male Christians. So that would leave out women, people of color and LGBTQ. By the way, to conservatives that even means Catholic. A Catholic president? No way!! A black president? You’re kidding. A woman president? Pfftt.. A gay president? Perish the thought.

For those conservative women politicians who are complicit in all of this? They are also a means to an end. Once their usefulness is done, they will be replaced. And they don’t even see it coming.

I am on a lot other sites on the Internet in addition to Facebook and Twitter. In what were once Liberal strongholds and fairly safe places to post, they are now being infiltrated by trolls. You’ve heard of Russian bots and trolls that do this in all aspects of online life, mostly to influence elections, well now we have Christian trolls doing the same thing, for the same reason. They have learned well from their Russian comrades. They go in to chastise posts, question attitudes, and sow seeds of doubt. Basically gaslighting. People who pose as Liberals, Democrats, Atheists, Pagans, LGBTQ, who are anything but.

Liberal Democrats have several things working against them. The most is their general belief of goodness in human nature. But also it’s Political Correctness, Apathy and Complacency. We tend to believe that everyone thinks the way we do… that if we are caring and nice the good with prevail, and that someone else will take care it. And that’s exactly what the conservative right are counting on. Nearly 50% of the population didn’t even vote in the 2016 Presidential election, and a good number of those were white Liberal Democrats. Many used the excuses that they just were not into politics or the issues didn’t affect them so they didn’t care. This is a clear picture of privilege.

I never dreamed I would see this happening in my lifetime, that it even would happen at all. But it is. I am scared, angry and frustrated. And I’m losing faith in humanity. Even if good can eventual prevail, at what cost? What kind of damage? Which will take generations to fix.
I’ve had people ask me why does this even affect me. I am past child bearing age, I can’t get pregnant or need to worry about getting an abortion. My answer is this. My empathy covers more than just myself. I care about the welfare of others (and why don’t they?). I also know what it’s like to be molested by men I was suppose to trust. I know what it’s like to be brutally raped. I know what it’s like to be judged because I was raped. I know what it’s like to become pregnant against my will. I know what’s it like to have to make the agonizing decision to continue a pregnancy or end it (twice). I know what it’s like to have a miscarriage and have people question why. I know what it’s like to lose a child. This is why it matters to me.

Do All Lives Really Matter?

I keep seeing on social media, mostly from conservatives, that ALL LIVES MATTER, not just black lives.

But does it?

Until police officers hold each other accountable, we are not seeing All Lives Matter

Until black people and transgender people stop dying at the hands of those who are suppose to protect us (the police) we are not seeing All Lives Matter.

Until people can go on with their lives without racial profiling (Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American) we are not seeing All Lives Matter.

Until black people can live their lives just like white people without someone calling the cops we are not seeing All Lives Matter

Until same sex couples can order a wedding cake, get a marriage license, get healthcare and are allowed to adopt children without discrimination we are not seeing All Lives Matter.

Until transgender people are treated with the same respect and privileges that CIS people have, we are not seeing All Lives Matter.

Until kids can go to school without the fear of getting shot we are not seeing All Lives Matter.

Until women can exist and not worry about getting sexually harassed, sexually assaulted and raped we are not seeing All Lives Matter.

Until women and children can live without fear of being abused and beaten by the “man of the house”, we are not seeing All Lives Matter.

Until women are allowed to decide for themselves about their own reproduction system and choices we are not seeing All Lives Matter.

Until the health of all people matter, we are not seeing All Lives Matter.

Until people take this virus seriously and do what it will take to keep others from getting infected, we are not seeing All Lives Matter.

Until people are willing to provide the help and assistance for people who suffer from mental health stigma, we are not seeing All Lives Matter.

Until people in this country and in the world are no longer homeless and hungry, we are not seeing All Lives Matter.

Until some people stop thinking they have the right to decide the laws of the land based on their own religious beliefs we are not seeing All Lives Matter.

Until Muslims, Jews, Pagans and Atheists can live the way Christians are allowed we are not seeing All Lives Matter.

Until all people are accepted and not merely tolerated, no matter what the color of their skin, their religion, their age, their size, their abilities or disabilities, their culture, their ancestry, their looks, how they dress and everything else that people are judged, criticized and condemned we are not seeing All Lives Matter.

The only ones who really qualify for All Lives Matter are white straight Christian men and as long they have their entitlement and privilege they won’t see the lack of privilege for others.

If you can’t see this, then perhaps you are a part of the problem. Why not open your eyes, open your ears, open your mind and open your heart and try to be part of the solution. And then maybe….

Maybe, someday, All Live WILL Matter.

My Life Motto

1zenface

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
Do not believe in traditions simply because they have been handed down for generations.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.
Do not believe in anything merely on authority of your teachers and elders.
But when, after observation and analysis, you find anything that agrees with reason,
and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.

~ The Buddha’s Kalama Sutra

Acts and Reacts

I think this reflects well about what is going on right now and what we can do to help how we react to it.

1actsreacts

“You are responsible for all of your experiences of life.”

What do you think? True or false?

Most people quickly say it is false. They argue that they don’t cause everything that happens to them. This is certainly true. All kinds of things happen to you in life that you don’t cause. However, this statement is absolutely true. You are responsible for all of your experiences of life.

Now, this is a bit of a trick. Notice, the statement says “of life” and not “in life.” You are not responsible for everything that happens to you (although often you may contribute to it.) Many things happen to you (both good and bad) over which you have no control. A tornado, a flood, the ups and downs of the stock market. These events are your experiences in life. How you react to them are your experiences OF life. You always control your experiences OF life.

Let’s look at how this works.

Life seems to have two steps.

Step One is that “Life acts.” This simply means that something happens in life. Let’s call it X. Event X happens and X can be anything. You might get married, get divorced, be fired, get promoted, or win the lottery. Once Life Acts, once something happens, then it is your turn.

Step two is “You react.” You react to whatever has happened with response Y. Y is both an emotional reaction (you feel happy, angry, sad, or frustrated) and a behavioral reaction. You do something. You act in a certain way such as laughing, crying, jumping for joy, or punching the wall.

Viewed from a distance it appears that event X caused reaction Y. So, if your boss criticizes your report, you might get angry and throw it in the wastebasket. Later, you may actually tell someone that your boss made you mad.

Life acts.
You react.

X
Y

Critical boss
You are angry

So, it appears that Life acts and You react. This is the way life seems to work.

In reality life works in three steps.

Step One. Life acts. Your boss criticizes your report.
Step Two. You think about what happened. What your boss said. You start thinking; “He is always picking on me. It’s horrible. It’s terrible. I can’t stand it.”
And Step Three, you react with anger and tear up the report.

Life acts.
You think.
You react.

Boss criticizes.
Always out to get me.
You are angry.

You have now created your own reaction with what you have been telling yourself.

You do have other choices. You could think, “Great, now I can correct it before staff meeting.” You would feel a sense of relief and get busy with the corrections.

Life acts.
You think.
You think.

Boss criticizes.
Great! Now I can correct it.
You feel relieved.

Between life’s action and your reaction there is something you have to do in order to have any reaction at all. First, you learn that something has happened and then you think about it. In thinking about it you tell yourself what it means and thus create your reaction.

Once you become aware that something has happened, the Voice of Conscience speaks up and tells you what it means. The Voice of Conscience is that “little voice” that talks to you. You know the one I mean? It often speaks up when you look into the mirror or get on the scales. It can say how wonderful you look or how out of shape you are. The Voice can be positive or negative.

It is you talking to you. It is you telling yourself about life. This Voice of Conscience can talk you into a lot of trouble or it can create a positive outlook that changes your life experience.

Learn to listen to the Voice of Conscience and catch it when it is talking nonsense. Catch it when it is being overly critical. Catch it when it is over-reacting. When it is making things worse than they are. Change the nature of this inner dialogue and life will go better. Control your reactions to life by monitoring your thinking.

Learn to think realistically about life. Life will give you enough trouble. Don’t make it worse than it is.

Be sure to remember:
Life acts; You react; but in between you think.

Choose your reaction by choosing what you think.

Pay attention to your inner dialogue. How you talk to yourself is important. Be sure you are talking sensibly.

Take responsibility for your thinking.

Make a choice.

Make life go better.

©1999 Daniel H. Johnston. All Rights Reserved

Racism

Watching everything that is happening; the horror of a man’s death, the sadness of so many young black men dying, the protests, the anger and the riots and destruction,

I find I’m not surprised by any of it, but sad and angry about all of it. Trump is encouraging the use of the National Guard to help bring order to various cities. I understand the need the city’s have for assistance, but I also remember….

I’m old enough to remember the Mardi Gras riots in Seattle in 2001

I’m old enough to remember the WTO riots of 1999.

I’m old enough to remember the Rodney King riots in 1992

I’m old enough to remember the protests on I5 in Seattle on May 5, 1970

I’m old enough to remember when the National Guard shot four college students at Kent State on May 4, 1970

I’m old enough to remember the Stonewall riots in 1969

I’m old enough to remember the riots after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr died in 1968

I’m old enough to remember a police chief saying “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”, in 1967

This is nothing new. This all has been going on since the beginning of the country. America has never been a white nation but too many people still want to make it one.

It’s ironic that people hate the very people that were kidnapped from Africa against their will starting in 1690. It’s like they blame them for allowing themselves to taken from their country and then having the audacity to stay here and leave descendents.

Racism is a learned behavior.

No one is born a racist.

Therefore you can unlearn that bias and learn that we all are equal, or should be… no matter what the color of skin, our ancestry, our culture, our religion, our sexual identity, our gender, our age, our size or our ability.

Rant: Judgmental People

I just saw some comments on Facebook about Oregon passing a bill for free abortions. These were coming from pro-life Christians I know. Comments of “sick people” and “monsters”. This really upset me and shows how little these people understand about women who choose to have an abortion. There are dozens of reasons why they would make this choice.

For those who agree with these comments, I have a few questions for you.

Have you ever had to make the agonizing decision of continuing your pregnancy or aborting a baby for a variety of reasons?

If you insist that a pregnant mother continue her pregnancy, are you willing to put your money where you mouth is and help her pay for the costs of having that baby? Are you going to buy diapers and formula for her? Are you going to hold her hand during labor? Are you going to babysit this infant so the mother can work? Are you going to be there for her when she can’t physically, emotionally, mentally or financially care this tiny child?

If she decides to give the baby up for adoption, are you willing to adopt the child?

Unless you answer “yes” to these questions, you are so totally out of line judging someone else’s choices.

So, who really are the sick monsters?

“Judge not lest ye be judged” ~ Matthew 7

******

To clarify, I am a Pro Choice Atheist who understands the trauma of having to make this decision. I had to do it twice.

The first time I was 20, became pregnant and we decided to get married. Until I walked in on him in bed with another girl. I was 3 months pregnant and worried if I could afford to have a baby on my own and if I was emotionally mature enough to raise a child. I sought counseling from Planned Parenthood and in the end decided to have my baby. But I miscarried three weeks later.

The second time was after I married and became pregnant almost immediately after the wedding. I had gotten sick with food poisoning and the doctor said that the baby would most likely be mentally disabled because of it. We agonized over the decision to have the baby or abort and again decided to go ahead with the pregnancy. Again, I miscarried, this time in the 5th month.

Two pregnancies, two horrible decisions, two miscarriages. I was terrified to try again, but a year later, I gave birth to a healthy son.

I have several friends who had abortions and none of them went into the choice lightly. But all of them said they don’t regret the decision. It allowed them to have the family, the career or lifestyle they have afterwards.

But I also talked to several women who felt pressured to have their babies. One was just 14 when she got pregnant and was 20 with a 6 year old child when I met her. She hated motherhood, resented her daughter and felt cheated of her teenage years due to having a baby long before she was ready for it. Others echoed these same sentiments. When it came down to it, none of these young women felt like they have any support when they have their babies, being told “you made your bed”… it’s your own fault.

These are the same people who don’t want kids to have good sex education and birth control and then abandon them when the naive kids get pregnant.