I Get It Now

It seems self serving to say I’m not racist, but given the climate right now, I need to. But at the same time, I was naive.

Naive in that I don’t treat anyone different based on their gender, colour, or sexual preference. You judge others as you judge yourself. The first wake up call for me was when Trump was elected president. How could there be so many people who feel that he was the best option? God Bless the Electoral College.

Now, in the wake of the disaster that was the Charlottesville demonstrations, I get it. There is a segment of the American population that is feeling threatened. They see there has been a shift in society and they want things the way they used to be. Like 150 years ago. A demonstration to preserve a statue erected for General Robert Lee, one of the losing generals of the Civil War, was purported to be a stand for history, for the fabric of the American culture.

Except, that history was white washed.

There are countless web pages devoted to the “real” (fill in the blank general, politician, founding father). They were human, they were flawed, and many of them agreed to the accepted norm of the time; that owning another human was not just legal, but their God-given Right because they were born the whitest shade of pale.

The insult to the injury of these statues is that most were not erected at the end of the Civil War, in fact, the last monument, built in Arizona (not even a state during the war) was installed in 1975!?!?!? This was a conscious effort to remind African Americans that in spite of perceived advancements in their station in life (voting, non-segregated education, not being owned) the shade of the past was a literal and figurative presence.

The next realize for me was one it was pointed out that following World War II, there were no statues erected in Germany in honour of Adolf Hitler nor any of his evil cohorts. No schools are named after them. No bridges. No parks. The horror of the Nazis was erased from the country with only history books and the memories of the Holocaust survivors to give voice to the madness. That is why there was such shock when the Auschwitz-Birkenau Holocaust Memorial was opened; you had to see it to comprehend the nightmare.

Imagine being an African American child who walks to school every day, past the eternal monument giving tribute a man, who fought a war to separate your country, over his desire to own your ancestors, which he had the right to torture, rape and kill. Now imagine knowing that this same marker is a meeting place for racists TODAY, who still subscribe to such asinine theories as intellectual superiority based on skin colour.

Can you imagine that child’s frustration to open a history book and learn that not only is his community white-washed of any reality regarding what slavery was actually about, but also his education. White students beside him are taught the same thing, which perpetuates the Myth. White is good. White brought advancements. White is right.

We know differently now. Stories, movies, books, memories all tell of a different reality. This one involves fear, prejudice, assault, abuse, torture and a facing the reality that in the 21st Century that the first black man elected to the highest office in the land will be followed by another white man, who incites hate and fans the flames of the KKK and Neo-Nazis. Two steps forward, sixty years backward.

I turn my gaze to my own country. How easy it is to judge, but, those in glass houses…..

What of the pain of a Japanese child, separated from family and placed in housing in B.C. during the Second World War? What of the ongoing profound injustices done to aboriginals from the time the first European settlers stepped on dry land – not the least of which involved church and residential schools. Just two samples of wrongs that didn’t make into my history book, not sure about yours. Don’t understand why the Aboriginal Community is outraged? Because we still aren’t teaching what happened, so we can stop perpetuating our own Myth.

Many feel the reparations the Federal Government has attempted are a waste of time; after all, why should we make amends, WE weren’t the ones who offended. But actually, we are. As long as we force these minority groups to feel the white washing of the past lives on today, we continue to injury them. We need to see history for what it was. – a one-sided account. Recognize the imbalance and injustice, and fix it so that they are not bleeding today from the wounds of our forefathers. We need to own the mistakes of the past to not repeat them. I think that’s someone elses’ quote, but since we are talking about appropriation here….

I seriously debated writing this column on this topic, not because I’m worried about backlash, frankly, I don’t give a shit. If you don’t agree with my position, and identify with the morons who showed up with torches, chants and starched and ironed golf shirts on Friday night, keep rolling pal, ain’t nothing for you here.

But I was given pause because there is already so much talk about this topic. I feel we need action. I have family and loved ones who are Gay, Jewish, Black. The chants from Virginia felt like stabs into everyone of my people’s souls.

That’s when I realized, it might be the first step to actually do more with my white privilege than to yell at a TV screen. We’ve had several talks around the dinner table about what this all means and what our role in this humanity can be. We won’t be standing by in tense silence when there is a slur, a sign, a posting. We will not be ok thinking that we are the silent majority, and that most of “us” don’t think that way. Even one person spewing this kind of filth is one too many. We must speak up. We must push back.

Trump felt justified in saying that, and I’m paraphrasing here, “two wrongs don’t make a right” with regard to the riots in the Charlottesville park. Hmmm. If we were talking about a shoving match in the kitchen about the last cookie in the jar, I’d be onboard with it. But we are talking about the exact opposite extreme – an attach on humanity, and you cannot judge the motives of Anti-protests trying to stop hate with force, using the same stick as the Protesters who came to the park chanting Nazi slogans and instilling fear in anyone who wasn’t one of “them”. If the suggestion is that Good lowers itself when it fights Evil, then why the Hell did we have World War II? The Allies should have stood back and said, “Gosh, Mr. Hitler, we’d really like it if you pull your armies back from Western Europe, and when you are done, COULD YOU STOP PUSHING PEOPLE INTO GAS CHAMBERS?”

I think we all know what that response would have been.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” ~ used by lots of white guys

3 Years

Hard to believe it’s been three years.

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In some ways, we talk about you enough that it seems like you are still here. In others, it’s downright painful to see how much you’ve missed. Like yesterday. I know how proud you would have been about First Born Son’s graduation. You would have loved how he dominated his course. How he landed a job months before he graduated. How he bought a truck that you would have fallen in love with.

You would be delighted to see the growth in Second Born Son; literally and figuratively. He’s taller than his father and will soon look down on his brother. He is making decisions about his life that would astound you, as it does us. He reminds us of you.

In some ways, year three has been a bit easier. We don’t look at holidays like the top of the big hill on a roller coaster; unavoidable and rather unsettling. We’ve got some new ways of doing things. Little Sister is living at your home with her family. They are doing amazing things with the property, including looking at organic farming down the road. I can hear you saying they are crazy and then in the same breath, saying that’s what you would have liked to have done. Mom is settled in a new home. It’s perfect for her. She’s walking, close to the library and doesn’t have to weed gardens, so she’s got it made.

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But there are STILL days when a certain song comes on, and you never know which song that will be, that you find you stop singing along because you can’t breathe. Tears and a tight throat prevent you from enjoying it. Instantly transported to a time when you were dancing it it in the family room.

The hard days are farther apart. But they’re not gone. In a way, we don’t want them to be, because they remind us of you. I’ve heard that there is a need to grieve. “You need to grieve.” “You still haven’t grieved.” I don’t know what that means. I do know that being at your grave isn’t where I feel closest to you.

Know that we are missing you, remembering you, and hoping you are having fun with all the dogs in heaven.

 

Can’t Keep Up With The Stupid

So how ’bout those Americans, eh?

Honestly, I’ve written this entry dozens of times in my mind. I come up with witty observations while I’m making dinner. It’s something I think of before I fall asleep. Yet, I’ve waited two weeks before saying anything about the political End of Days that has taken place south of us.

I guess I didn’t want the posting to be stale, and since the shit-show has been evolving daily, it’s truly hard to keep up. After all, I work full time. And require food. And sleep; unlike the latest “Leader of the Free World” who manages to offend, alienate and terrorize all while maintaining a robust Twitter presence. I’ve felt frustration, anxiety, annoyance, anger and confusion – and that was just the first day of the new administration. Did I mention I don’t even LIVE in the United States of America? However, the saying from my high school History class has stuck with me; Canada is the Mouse and the U.S. is the Elephant. If the Elephant has a cold, the Mouse sneezes. This circus most definitely impacts us.

Never before have I explained the concept of the Electoral College vs the Popular Vote as many times as I have in the past three weeks. I’m sure it’s the result of outright disbelief by some people to comprehend how a Democratic society in this day and age could find itself HERE. HERE is the intersection of Pissing Off The Lefties Street and Pissing Off The Rest of the World Boulevard.

<PAUSE> Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not Pro Hillary for the sake of a vagina. She, too, had issues as a person and as a candidate. However, the overlooking of issues for the male candidate versus the magnification of the issues of the female candidate was fairly self evident. For as long as I live, I will never forget the grace and poise that woman had as she attend the Inauguration for her opponent. While many feel she should have declined the event, as the former First Lady, she would attend with her husband, who, sadly, was a much of a hindrance as anything else. So before you go nuts in the comments, know that “Team Girl” is not my motive. <PLAY>

You might wonder how this happened, too. How do we go from being shocked about a Republican candidate mocking a physically challenged reporter to Executive Orders like ticker-tape confetti? Simple. Because we thought he hit rock bottom when he did THAT. Then the videotape came out where he referenced his unabashed ability to access women’s private parts – or so he thought – and we thought THAT was rock bottom. Then there was the failure to provide taxation documents – THAT was rock bottom, right? Nope? Ok. How about the Mexican wall? Nope. Immigration? Nope. Environment? NOPE! Sweet Baby Jesus, even when the dust settled from the election, people kept on saying,  “You have to give him time. Campaigning is different from leading.” Then we heard the Inaugural Address which was, effectively, setting everyone up for more of the same spew.

I’m sure the logic in the voting booth was that he couldn’t be THAT bad. Or perhaps the logic was that if you gave him enough rope, he’d hang himself. But then he decides to make his key appointments from the very slime covered remnants of the swamp he vowed to drain. A majority of white, older, males, who individually are in a tax bracket equivalent to some of the entire “inner cities” he purports to champion.

But you know, you’ve got to give credit where credit is due. He didn’t let any grass grow. Minutes after lunching with the very people he threw under the bus in his Inauguration Address, he trotted up to the Oval Office and started signing Executive Orders like a boss! He also had numerous pages removed from the White House website. You know, deadweight content like Environment, LGBTQ, Women’s Issues.

The yuge “crowds” of his inauguration were eclipsed by the massive protests the next day when the Women’s March took place. Not only were the haters out in full force on social media, but the new president also took a pause from his smoking pen to express how much LARGER his crowds were the day before.

Really?

This is what gets your attention? A bunch of women (and notably men) wearing pink knitted cat hats? Interesting….

It has been revealing to see how some people have reacted to this historic and peaceful demonstration. The anger, negativity and entitlement knows no bounds. We had people hating on Madonna and other celebs who DARED to share their political views. (I guess they forgot their leader used his celebrity as a launch pad for his current career foray.) Ironically, no matter how you feel about Madge or her music, the broad has a Right to speak her mind since, guess what, SHE’S AMERICAN – and Freedom of Speech is still a thing – at least at the time of this posting. One particularly insightful meme pointed out that Madonna is the last person a woman should listen to regarding women’s rights, because, after all, she has used her body and her sexualized persona to advance her career. Um…hate to tell you, but that’s the point – it’s HER choice to do that. She wasn’t pimped out by a man, or, for that matter, another woman. How she used her body is HER Right! Don’t want to watch her bump and grind? No problem, but don’t try to convince me you are ok with a serial molester who sexualizes his own daughter as President, but find The Material Girl’s gyrating upsetting and offensive. #PotmeetKettle

However, the most disturbing aspect of this new reality is the relationship with the Media. I was trained in the lost Art of Journalism (I’m sorry but I can’t tolerate the fascination with celebrity as “real” news – it’s part of what got us where we are today.) The minute you see someone discrediting numerous media outlets in favor of those with open biases, you have a problem. Journalists are being arrested in America! Remember when we were horrified when that happened in countries ruled by dictators? Sorry – I didn’t say “Spoiler Alert”.

From day one the objective of this office has been to start the process of gas lighting the public and conditioning them to accept only one outlet, one source of information – the Oval Office. It has already started. “What do you mean the crowds weren’t yuge? They WERE yuge! THAT photo was taken when people were still filling in hours before.” Terms like “Alternative Facts” are coined. That’s not a thing people! Let’s not allow “Alternative Facts” to become a thing!!

You end up with the long time supporters who continue drinking the Kool Aid, and then the confused (those who voted for him looking for jobs, but blithely ignoring the nasty stuff) will fall into the Emperor’s New Clothes scenario – no one will speak the truth for fear of reprisal. And THIS is how we got to this messed up intersection. No one wanted to call him out on his bullshit when they had the chance because they didn’t think anyone would take him seriously. His particular brand of negativity has given permission to a certain level of individual who is easily threatened, likely due the remarkable low level of self-esteem he/she possession. Yet another trait he/she share with their leader.

You think I’m crazy? Anyone who feels the need to defend the size of his hands during a Presidential Campaign has a mammoth inferiority complex that he is constantly battling with his ongoing barrage of b.s. Same thing goes for his bullying tactics. Why does he do this? Because he’s truly uneducated. Yes, he has a degree from Penn State, but it he wouldn’t be the first graduate to have a less than authentic diploma and educational experience.

Let’s talk about being educated – life long learning, adapting to changing times, learning from others, accepting new concepts. You know, qualities you would want in a national leader who is going to represent your population on an international stage. The minute he said Mexico was paying for the wall, I turned to The Big Guy and stated, “He’s going to tariff them.” Should have put money on that. You know, if you go around slapping countries in the face, you should fully expect to get payback – and you’ve only been hitting the international community one at a time. You better layer up on the bronzer, ‘cuz this could be a knock out when the rest of the world returns your favor. Except for Russia, because, you know, Putin will be selling tickets to that show.

When it comes to strengths, he has two, if you can call them that. He knows how to incite fear, and then flame the fearful mentality; and he knows a great deal about ego. This is why he has opted not to surround himself with experienced and knowledgable experts on topics such as national security, but his own posse of Yes-Men and Women who are there to stroke his ego and assure him his hair looks GREAT…really GREAT!

He is ignorant. He’s a dinosaur from another era that managed to say the right combination of lies to make the public believe one version of himself, while he presents another version behind closed doors. And sadly, he doesn’t even care that we know he’s lying to us.

What he has been exceptionally good at is pissing people off. Figures released today indicate he has set a record for hitting a disapproval rate in eight days. Obama was over 900 days and George W. Bush was 1,200+ days. Hey, I say when you find your strong suite, stick with it! These are interesting times. Buckle up Buttercup!

P.S. You will notice I have not indicated the subject by name. That is deliberate. I’m far from afraid of fallout (because I’m sure The Bowery Girl is on his browser Favorites) I just refuse to feed his vanity – and feel that a deliberate omission of his name is just what will itch him where he can’t scratch. Yup – I’m a cow that way.

Reality Show Revelation

Days after our spectacular Christmas tree fiasco, we found ourselves the day before Christmas Eve Day. That’s an awkward way of saying Dec. 23. Second Born Son was at work because it’s high season in the grocery business, First Born Son was in the kitchen cleaning up some dishes. (Yes, that was my Christmas Miracle!)

Me and The Big Guy? We were in the living room discussing decoration placement for the rest of the room, since the tree was the only thing that was completed. You could say we left things a little 11th hour this year.

FBS calls me to the kitchen repeatedly, quickly, and I can tell by the tone, that we have a problem. He points at the sliding glass doors off the kitchen where Cane is anxiously looking to come in. He has his left paw up in the air and there’s enough blood in the snow on the deck for transfusion.

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We let him in the kitchen to inspect the damage, and the hemorrhaging continued inside. The same towels that mopped up water the week before, were now used to mop up blood. Once we got his heart rate down, the bleeding did subside and we were able to determine the source of the injury. It was the outside pad of his left paw. A clean slice on an angle that ran so deep you could see parts of the pad I’m fairly certain were never meant to be exposed.

Thankfully, and due to our history with Cane and Roman, we have a fully stocked First Aid kit just for the dogs. We managed to clean things up and wrap it. This was now around 9 p.m. and TBG and I decided to call the vet clinic rather than throw him in the truck for 45 minute drive. After the phone consult it was scheduled to take him in the morning when we wouldn’t have to pay double the rate. After all, once Cane was wrapped, he told us he was ready for bed, thankyouverymuch!

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The morning visit confirmed what we feared; that you can’t stitch a pad, and this was going to be a long healing process for Cane.

This made for a “fun” Christmas season; trying to keep a large dog inside and inactive while entertaining family.

<PAUSE> Cane was a model patient at the vet clinic. For a large, large-breed dog, he’s remarkably gentle, especially when he knows you are trying to help him. No snarls, no snapping, just one little whimper when they cleaned out the cut. <PLAY>

Christmas came and went and with it some interesting family interaction. Now folks, I can’t get into too much of what I’m referencing here, because honestly, I don’t need a law suit right now, but believe me when I say statements were made by certain individuals that were cause for “shock and awe-ful reactions!” Gotta love the holidays! I’m setting money aside for counselling for the boys!

This was followed up by an opportunity to educate my father in law, whose understanding of burning garbage over the years at the family farm, needed some updating now that he lives in town. We are hoping our neighbours are still speaking to us after learning what he was trying to dispose of in our light paper burning barrel. I’m fairly certain the black smoke billowing from our property was visible from space.

It was that day, just after lunch, that FBS made his declaration.

“We need to have our own reality show!”

“We’re pretty boring, bud. I don’t think anyone would want to watch us,” I chuckled.

Then he made his case. He figured the Christmas tree would be one episode, the dog would be another, and there had been enough crap going on in our world in recent weeks that it would most definitely be enough fodder for a first season. He pointed out we had all the right personalities that would make for good viewing.

“After all, if that family can have their own show, and it’s all written for them…our stuff is real!” I thought he meant Duck Dynasty. He actually meant Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

I reflected on this comment later in the afternoon and chuckled to myself. I think I’ve grown used to the “crazy” to the point that it’s become our “normal”.

After all, we have had a much drama as anything on TV. My father goes in for high risk surgery on a Friday, which takes much longer than estimated, but he survives. The next morning TBG’s mother passes away. SBS breaks his arm TWICE. The same arm – a year apart. We buy a new house, TBG gets a great job offer a month later, which he takes, and the following week I’m laid off of my job.  My mother and my sister move THE SAME WEEKEND – then my father in law moves a month and a half later! We decide to go on our first family vacation in 8 years and our furnace is condemned a week before we leave. Oh, did mention this is in NOVEMBER?

Maybe the kid is on to something!

I can recall catching up with a friend a couple of years ago, and she was stunned with the collection of events.

“If I didn’t know you, I would think you were making this up!” she stated in awe. It wasn’t a compliment.

I’m going to keep his little suggestion in my back pocket, for the next mini crisis. I’ll grab my cell to record while I’m juggling the chaos!

What. The. Hell.

I was naive.

When I wrote my previous post, I tried to be neutral to give the benefit to the U.S. democratic process. After all, I wouldn’t want someone tell me how to handle my county’s politics.

But I’m stunned.

Gobsmacked.

President Trump. That’s a thing now. There are so many things wrong with this, but most profoundly, the fact that a majority of Americans agreed with what he said. Which was proven as 76% lies. No policy. Suggestions, but no plans. He wants to repeal Roe V Wade for Christ’s Sake! Insults minorities, women, gays, physically and mentally challenged persons. Let’s not even start on his treatment and sentiment toward the media. Watch your Freedom of Speech folks!

It’s scary to think that this individual is going to set the tone for what WAS (in their own opinion, until he told them he would make them Great Again) the Greatest County In the Free World. But what frightens me more is that the majority of people living in that country AGREED WITH HIM! The fact that the Republican party have the House and the Senate after how they conducted themselves the past eight years is DEPLORABLE!

Forgive me if I find it difficult to believe that a majority of Americans identify with this, because if you do, I’m very uncomfortable with that.

I have no desire to travel to the U.S. for the foreseeable future. Little Sister had planned a trip to Florida the panhandle state that shall not go named. As much as she need the holiday, I’m going to do everything I can to talk her out of it. If for no other reason than I would resent spending hard earned money there. I wonder how many others will feel the same? Stock markets don’t lie and those have already started to respond.

I find it inconceivable that the country that elected Barack Obama for two terms, with a classy, intelligent, warm and friendly manner, is the same country that elected THIS individual. You couldn’t be more black and white in your choices – pun fully intended.

I think we had ourselves fooled about the United States. We thought they were the cool older brother who had their shit together. Instead we realize this is the older brother who is really a bully, doesn’t understand girls, who has no real sense of Right and Wrong, and who dresses really badly. You realize they don’t really have friends, they have victims. It’s on mornings like this that you question whether or not you are even related. They are not cool. They are not someone to look up to or emulate.

Don’t misunderstand; I don’t believe Hillary Clinton was the “best” candidate, but I sure as hell feel she was the better option. In the light of day “the Morning After” it is very interesting to see the massive back peddling taking place regarding Trump’s declaration of having her investigated and arrested; building a wall to keep out Mexicans; mass deportation of immigrants. “Oh golly gee, he didn’t mean all of that, just caught up in the moment. He’s going to bring everyone together and lead all Americans.”

Sorry guys, I’m calling Bullshit on this one. I’ll keep watching from a respectful distance from behind the Canadian wall that we have already started, on the right side of history.

 

 

What is Left Unsaid

It’s day 15,641 of the never ending U.S. election, and the reason I’ve not been more vocal is; a) I feel there are far too many people spouting garbage disguised as knowledge, b) if I start being vocal, I just might never stop.

With this in mind, and being that this is the eve of the election, I’m allowing myself ONE opportunity to write on this topic. ONE. UNE. UNO. 1. And I think you may be surprised.

At first I thought it was an “Emperor’s New Clothes” situation, where everyone could see what I saw, but was just too darn polite to say anything. I then realized, no, there are actually people who are drinking the Kool Aid here.

It became mildly amusing watching what appeared to be a reality show on Meth. New revelations. New scandals. New excuses.

That’s when it occurred to me. This is the ultimate reality show, with the entire American population as contestants. These two candidates are merely ratings props, but the fallout will have very real implications. As resident of the nation to the North, I recall the classic saying, “When the U.S. has a cold, Canada sneezes.” We have a lot riding on this election too.

I have family and friends who live in America. I’m very worried about what this election means for them. Regardless of who wins, there will be a large segment of the population who will be up in arms; some of whom have threatened to take up arms. I can’t image what it must feel like not to know what you future holds. What your country will become.

I feel it is just too easy to tear apart the candidates. Saturday Night Live has political satire covered. I just hope we can all live with the outcome.

 

p.s.

On a lighter note, Second Born Son decided to go as one of the candidates for Halloween. I’ll let you decide which one….

Yes, I had nightmares!

Yes, I had nightmares!

WHAT I DON’T KNOW…AND WHAT I DO

I don’t know what it’s like to be a black man.

I don’t know what it’s like to be a black woman.

I don’t know what it’s like to be a black mother and worry if your son is going to come home safely at the end of the day.

I don’t know what it’s like to fear for my life at a simple traffic stop.

I don’t know what it’s like to feel the need to carry a gun for my protection.

I don’t know what it’s like to be a police officer.

I don’t know what it’s like to put myself in harm’s way to protect someone else.

I don’t know what it’s like to walk into a group of people and know that they hate me because of the color of my skin.

I do know what it’s like to protest.

I do know what it’s like to love my child, my husband, my community.

I do know that if you hold the heart of a white person in one hand and the heart of the black person in the other, no one could tell the difference.

I do know that there is no difference between a black baby and a white baby other than the color of their skin…and neither of them knows that the other is “different”.

I do know that we have a lot of work to do to get this world to a better place. As a white woman, I’m open to doing whatever it takes to let people of all colors feel safe.

I do know that this is possible. It has to be.