Stark Reality

I  have a way of looking at the world through eyes that see past the obvious. In other words, I am a deep thinker. I call it common sense.

In the last Presidential race, there was a lot of voicing the desire for more “excitement” in the media and on the street.  Believe it or not, the consensus was that it had  all become boring. That desire has come to fruition big time and even I have gotten caught up in it.

As I watched the debate last night, I experienced a combination of excitement and dread. I am on a roller coaster! One minute I am elated and the next I am pissed and the next I am overcome with a feeling of sadness. I haven’t decided what I will do with my vote though I know what I won’t do. I have tried to be open minded yet I find myself swayed by the Dump Trump” and  “Trump Dump” campaigns.

I have tried to jump off the “Anyone But Trump” train but when I lean out the door, I find myself back on the top step. It has been said that we are not electing the man, we are electing a leader. I don’t want a leader who is a deplorable man and honestly, I am scared of the future as we get closer to election day. As I write this, I find myself crying for what has been and what could be coming.

When I heard it said that Obama was like Hitler, I thought that it was ridiculous and inflamed rhetoric. I am saying now and I will stand behind my opinion that if the statements Trump throws out are honestly his beliefs, we are in deep trouble. Furthermore, we can kiss the good in the country we know goodbye. I understand the need for moving in a different direction but I don’t think he is the person to take us there.

There is no need to go into all the reasons for my feelings about Trump, we have all seen the evidence over and over and either you see it or you don’t. My pointing out the pitfalls will not open anyone’s eyes at this point. I will say that what I am seeing in most Trump supporters is desperation and while I have compassion for their situations,  making a decision out of desperation is never good.

*The purpose of this post is to express my thoughts and feelings, not to convince anyone else as to how they they should cast their vote in the Presidential race.

 

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Taking the Time to Consider

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I recently read about a 15 year old girl who had a premature baby in her bedroom. The baby was born alive, weighed 2+ pounds and the girl threw the baby out the window. The baby died.

I find myself trying to assess blame. Do I blame the 15 year old girl for being heartless and not taking responsibility for having gotten pregnant? Do I blame the father of the baby for getting a 15 year old girl pregnant? Or, do I blame the parents of the 15 year old girl who had not built a relationship with their daughter based on trust. A relationship that would enable her to turn to them  when she is in trouble. A foundation that would ensure that their daughter would know that though her parents would be disappointed and upset, they would get her through any situation.

The truth is that I don’t know the intimate details of the story or even the parents side. The reporter wasn’t interested in writing about the human side of the story or may have been prevented by the girl’s age. Was the girl molested by an adult, was the father an older boy, were the parents aware that she was pregnant, had plans been made for finding another home for the child, did her parents plan to raise the baby? The publication only seemed to care about the shock factor and I rushed to judgement based on the little information presented. It is good that I waited a couple of days to write this so that I have had time to ask myself the hard questions. Who am I to judge, where is my compassion, what were the circumstances and the really hard one – what made me read the article?

I wish I could tell you that I won’t read such articles in the future but that would not be the truth. I know myself well enough that there is no doubt that I will continue to read articles pertaining to child abuse, neglect and murder. I must admit that the shock value attracts  me as it gives me a thrill and a target for my outrage and anger. But there’s something else it gives me and that is insight and compassion. I come into contact with young girls who desperately need someone to talk to and they are very much afraid. The reasons they are afraid vary but they don’t feel that they can talk to their parents. These girls need encouragement and reassurance that they can get through any situation. Talking with these girls builds compassion and dampens the rage and anger because I can do something to help.

I write a lot about my mother and how her alcoholism affected my life. What may not get across is how very much I appreciate her as a mother. I did not have to hide anything and could always turn to her. Did I know she would be angry and/or disappointed? Yes, but that did not stop me because in the end, I knew that I did not have to go through anything alone. My mother is all about unconditional love and understanding. My parents allowed me to make important decisions about my life even though they did not always agree. They taught me independence and self reliance. My mother worries about me because I am the middle child who expresses her deepest emotions and she sees that as a weakness. She is only late in life coming to understand that emotions are healthier when they don’t have to be hidden. She doesn’t have to worry about me because thanks to her and my dad, my core is solid, emotional but solid.

Unreasonable Fear

I grew up fearing African Americans and before you judge me as a racist, read my story.

When I was in Junior High School, schools became integrated. The African American students would stand in large groups blocking the sidewalk daring whites to try to get though them. I avoided the sidewalk. There was a small girl named Sharon who started making fun of me and I did my best to ignore her. I was not that outcast who gets bullied, I was fortunate to have many friends both male and female.

One day as I was walking to my friend’s house after school, a large group of African American students formed a circle around me. I was petrified because it was obvious that something was about to happen. Sharon moved to the center of the circle and started taunting me. She kept saying, “Push me!” over and over. I just stood still knowing that what usually happened in these situation was that if I made a move, the whole group would jump in and attack me. Another reason I wouldn’t make a move besides trying to avoid having my ass kicked was that I was appalled at girls or women fighting though I have to admit that I was a closet bully toward my sister. Luckily, one of the girls who was walking with us lived in the house in front of which I was confronted. Her mother came out and chased the group away. To be honest, I was petrified. I believe this happened because I was the only one small enough for Sharon to pick on.

Moving forward, where my friends and classmates might kid around with African American bully students, I wasn’t friendly or unfriendly toward them which was probably a downfall. In high school, a very large African American girl named Mary grabbed my windbreaker and ripped it off me which was not an easy feat. I said nothing. A small African American girl would tell me things like how she dreamed that my boyfriend’s car would get stuck on a railroad track and he would be killed. One night my best friend’s twin brother was beat with a baseball bat in the boy’s locker room after a baseball game by a group of African American students. I was friendly with some African American students but was still easily intimidated.

I had good experiences when I went into community college with fellow African American students so I started to get past my fear. Unfortunately, when I worked for a police department two African American co-workers claimed racial discrimination because I was transferred to the day watch and her friend was transferred to my previous watch in a move to separate the two friends in hopes of increasing productivity. Since I filled in a lot for people in key positions, it was considered a highly beneficial move by administration. I became stonewalled by the other clerical staff and when I asked someone why, they told me they could not go against these two girls and implied that they were afraid.

Because it was so painful to be ostracized, I requested to remain on my previous watch. The Sgt. was not happy because he told me that I was allowing myself to be bullied. The personnel manager and supervisory staff called a meeting of the clerical staff and a letter was read that one of the girls had written citing favoritism because I was white. They were upset because our administrative Sgt. used my work examples as the quality of work everyone should be putting out. In fairness, I had education and experience that was not the norm for the position. I took the job because it was something I always wanted to do. I never had to defend myself in this meeting because first of all the personnel manager offered to do some testing if they really wanted to know who was the best typist etc. Then one of my supervisors pointed out that I had been transferred from department to department continually and had never complained. There was no discrimination and it became clear in that meeting. After that meeting, things got back on a friendly basis because I didn’t hold a grudge. Shortly thereafter, one of the girls who caused the problem was fired for selling criminal records.

I worked a temp to perm job for a very difficult African American woman. She supervised six white Insurance Agents who had their own agency offices. She referred to them as “my white boys.” When I could no longer put up with her crude and rudeness, I quit though she begged me to stay. She made me uncomfortable by complimenting my looks in a creepy manner. An African American woman who had previously worked for her called me one day and wanted me to help her on her reverse discrimination suit. I declined. The agency had placed temp after temp in this woman’s office because no one would stay but I didn’t want the drama. I could have reported her for her racist remarks but I just wanted out.

These are prime examples of bullying yet I never recognized it as such until now. I saw it as being the target of anger for a past I had no part in. It is possible that these bullies were influenced by anger passed down from generation to generation and I did feel the fear that their forebears felt at being bullied by white slave lords. However, what purpose did any of it serve? It just repeated the same dance in reverse and did not solve anything for either side.

What I am learning today is that I cannot blame an entire race for the actions of some just as I am tired of being blamed for something I was not responsible for. We all just need to stop and do some deep reflection. We are allowing ourselves to be influenced by the hate groups and the support of their actions by the media putting it in our faces over and over again.

What if we just turned off our televisions in protest of being fed negativity hour after hour, day after day? What if  we stop looking at social media for a few days and depend on our own reflections? Its not like we haven’t seen enough to know what is out there. We are all being manipulated! Lets just stand up for ourselves and say, “Enough” at least for now and let things calm down.

PEACE AND LOVE

 

 

“Jumping on the Band Wagon”

Have you ever noticed how so many of us jump on the “band wagon” when a current event hits the media? It doesn’t matter what the media says, it doesn’t matter whether the information even makes sense, we react. Its pretty obvious that the media is going to spin it in a way that will get more readers or viewers. Sensationalism gets attention. No matter that people lose their jobs, have their reputations damaged, or commit suicide because they are tried in the media. We often choose to believe or grab on to the information that is the most sensational, fits our beliefs, or often just the best gossip. The media says we “have a right to know” but do we? Does the public have a right to know what is going on in our homes or the lives of public figures when the information doesn’t aid anyone except to create mistrust, fuel gossip and/or cause hysteria?  We say that the subjects of the sensationalism “have their day in court” or an opportunity to speak out in their own defense. But do they? If they are found to be innocent of the accusation, does the media “always” follow up with that information? No, they don’t and whether they do or don’t often haven’t we have already made up our minds, hasn’t the damage already been done? How often is the damage undone? Isn’t it a lot like bullying?

In recent months, I have defended three people who have proven to be guilty of sex crimes or sexual behaviors.  All, I can say in my defense is that I gave them the benefit of a doubt so as not to “jump on the bandwagon”. All three were  people I respected so I did not want to believe they could be guilty. What does that say about my credibility?