Please VOTE Today

I have worked in politics for many years.  I used to say, “Please vote, I don’t care who you vote for, but please just vote.”

This year is a lot different, they advocate policies that could kill my children.

I do want you to just vote but I can’t say I don’t care any more who you vote for.  I have three kids, one who is gay, one who is bisexual and one who is straight.  Legislation in this country is repeatedly being brought up or challenged based on the Right and their anti-equality agenda.  The VP on the Republican ticket literally advocates for conversion therapy.

NOT ON MY WATCH.

There is no way it would be responsible of me to sit back, say nothing, pretend I don’t care.  While I have engaged in a great number of Twitter debates, I have only lurked on DailyKos this cycle because there is only so much hate one person can take.  The amount of Bernie Bros I have had to block calling me an “insider” and “see you next Tuesday” is astonishing.

We do NOT have proportional representation in our legislative body.

You can complain about it.  You can throw your vote to someone who will never get a chance out of principle.  WHATEVER. But there are a number of organizations and lobby groups that could use your new-found enthusiasm to shake things up.  All you do here is to ensure that you don’t get a seat at the table.  Do you really think that Republicans are going to meet with you over your pet project?  They don’t give a SHIT about your project and they WILL look up your voting record before you come to your appointment. (You know that’s public record, right?)

There is a formula for all things, legislative concern is no different.

It’s been a while since I have been to DC, asking questions and knocking on doors.  One thing that was very clear before is that there is power in numbers.  I was told once by an aid that they don’t really pay attention to an issue until they exceed 100-150 inquiries to their office from their constituents.  You feel passionate about a bill coming up regarding shoreline issues in California?  Then get California people to get on the phone, send emails, ask their representative to see your side of said issue.  THEN, when you request an appointment to discuss your organization, they are going to pay closer attention to what you say because their constituents care.

It’s not perfect government, but it’s what we have.

You can be pissed off but the reality is you need Democrats to push progressive bills through.  You will rarely find a Republican sign on to bills deemed “controversial.”  The content of the bill will change more than once in committee and some items removed to appease centrist Republicans.  Does that piss you off?  FINE.  However, this is the system of government we were given. Be realistic.  This is not a dictatorship.  Checks and balances exist so no one person can run over everyone.  How did GWB get away with everything he did?  Because too many progressive people didn’t vote.  We outnumber them.  Start showing up.  If we have “the greatest nation in the world” we should be over a 70% of registered voters showing up to cast a ballot.

You are handing extremists the ability to take over and dismantle Obama’s legacy.

We have all seen the pictures.  The comparisons to a certain period of time in Europe are not just coincidence.  The KKK has endorsed THAT guy.  Your vote for your “principles” is a vote to allow them to take away protections for my children that should be automatic.

Please VOTE.  Please.  Please.

#ImWithHer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fear Not or Fear All

Life is funny.

You go through things and scream and cry and lament them all but some things, some very important things build on top of each other and ultimately shape the kind of person you become.  Its not always good, but it is a fact of how things work.

I am a liberal.  Flaming if you must.  In a political science class in college we took a test “Are you a Democrat or a Republican?” and on a scale of 1-10, Jane Fonda is a 1.  My score?  A ZERO.  Not even kidding, I came up further to the left than Jane Fonda.  Sit with that a moment.

I also am a long time military brat.  From birth to about the age of 35, I lived much of that time on a military base, either as a dependent daughter or dependent spouse.  I lived in West Germany prior to the wall coming down and went to school with armed guards riding on my bus.  There were bomb threats.  There were deaths because of bombs.  I learned before the age of 14 that you had to look under your vehicle for “suspicious packages.”  Fast forward to my adult life and I know the panic the sound of a doorbell can incite.  I have seen the multiple cars pull into my street to ring those bells and deliver the news of the death of a loved one.  On 9/11 I was promptly locked in on post where I lived in Hawaii and my dad in Texas was sent to New York to help rebuild communication systems there for the government.  It took weeks and it was both sad and stressful.  Many moons ago, I became acutely aware of the majesty and shear terror that NSA embodies.  As spouse to someone who was in intelligence at the time, the credit union we used was on that campus.  When you see photos of the green/black glass box of NSA, you will see the wing off to the left.  Each time I would park and walk through the maze of concrete barriers, massive fences and concertina wire, I was VERY aware of the fact that I was being watched as soon as I drove up.  For each step through each layer, even after the approximately ten steps it took me to get in the front lobby and turn left into the credit union and after.  I know they do things I don’t like but I also know that people are doing that all around the globe.  That changes who you are.

I am always shocked when I see stories about the TSA and the furor over the body scanners and anything else the government does.  Yesterday there was a massive information dump about NSA…from phone monitoring to social media data mining.  Everyone is freaking out and it has just made me laugh with the humor in that.  HOW DOES ANYONE THINK THIS ISNT ALWAYS HAPPENING?  Seriously, there are viruses and hackers, how do you think ANYTHING you do online is secret or protected?  Granted there are ways to go incognito, hide and in general shield yourself but many people don’t know how, or don’t think to do that most times.  You guys know photos contain info when you post them, right?  You know I can Google you, not just your name but your most used email addresses and usernames, and instantly see anything you are talking about or have been recently?  Do you know how frequently you are filmed on any given day?  Why would you think that the government would not be doing the same?

In times such as these, I am reminded there is a lot people don’t think about from our history.  Most of you know about the Tuskegee experiments (I hope) and maybe Guatemala?  Do you know about our long-standing and still occurring involvement in Latin AmericaJ. Edgar Hoover?  Maybe because those things didn’t effect you or your family personally you didn’t notice the over reach?  Maybe some were so long ago you don’t consider them relevant?  Have you ever seen the map that shows where we have troops currently?  If not, your best guess is what, four countries?  HAHAHA.  Try 162 countries. What exactly do you think our “mission” is in that many countries?  We live in a global society even when we don’t view it that way, it continues.  Post-9/11, it is even more so.  You can shake your fists at the idea, you can march, protest, etc. but the reality is, you will not stop the collection of information at this scale unless you shut down the Internet and cell services.  All in for that, raise your hands?

In the 80’s on AFN, a series of Op Sec commercials would run daily to indoctrinate civilians and military members and keep you from giving out information.  Every time I see something reported on the news, I cringe when details are broadcast because it affects a lot more than you can imagine.  I felt the same cringe when the details of the current NSA programs were released. As much as you have people leaking information you will continue to have a government bureaucracy that will collect it.  It happened before Bush and will continue after Obama.  It has zero to do with what party is in power because there is support from all sides.  Despite my liberal leanings, after attending a weeklong training in security policy one year, I understand why it’s done the way it’s done.  It is irrelevant if I agree.  If you don’t use diplomatic and super secret squirrel methods more frequently, that means boots on the ground in other countries, which increases the instance of something going bad really fast.  I think that “boots on the ground” don’t matter to a lot of people.  There is a lot of flag waving and yellow ribbons but not a true understanding of what happens to the men and women in those situations.

We will not end terrorism.  It is just as naïve to think that, as it is that you will prevent the government from monitoring whoever they please.  There are people that live with bombs going off every day in their countries and then there is each of the citizens in the US, who are always so surprised when it happens here.  I am never surprised when it happens, only surprised that it’s not more frequently.  I guess that’s why I don’t get twisted about this stuff.  If someone needs to monitor, in whatever form, some guy in my neighborhood because they think he is plotting a terrorist crime, I am okay with that.  I have kids, I want to protect them.  Most people would say the same thing to you.

A very wise professor once told a group of activists that you are often already on a “watch list” when you belong to any special interest group because you are actively working to change some particular policy.  The government believes that these groups are where extreme beliefs can spark.  I don’t disagree with that because over the years historically, you can point to that in a number of countries.  He went on to list some such as NOW, NARAL, LULAC, and NAACP and told stories of how he found out he was on a watch list.  Having belonged to some of these organizations and many others, I was hearing what I already knew.  It didn’t matter if I opposed this treatment.  It didn’t change the fact that I would still work groups and push for the causes that I felt most important.

All up in arms about government monitoring?  Support candidates that vow to get rid of it.  Oh and please, let me know when you find one that will actually do it.  I would love to work for them too.

Politics, Smut Peddling and My Year of Ups and Downs

Politics and My Real Life

I will go ahead and get it out of the way.  For those that know me, I know you are surprised that I have been silent on the matter.  That is strictly because I have been so damn busy.  Here goes–I am not sure why people even CONSIDER voting against their self-interest.  To say that I am continually dismayed by the state of civil discourse in this country would be an understatement.  If in my own family we so oppose each other’s opinions that the topic is off limits, I don’t have any hope for any change nationally.  So let me just give you some facts:

1.  I was married to a service member during the initial Iraq invasion.  While he is my ex and turned out to be a jerk, personally, I think it gives me some credibility to speak to the fact that the soldiers were lied to about their reason for entering that country and the result has been catastrophic for both our countries.

2.  Currently, I am married to a disabled Army Veteran.  His experience has been in the wonderful international destination that Afghanistan has become and later, Gitmo, Cuba.  I have held his had through PTSD episodes, nightmares, night sweats, tests, more tests, emergency visits, counseling appointments, frustrating goose chases that VA appointments can turn into.  I do think this gives me some credibility to speak on the subject.

3. President Obama signed a bill that allowed uninsured (like me) and those with pre-existing conditions coverage (my kids) and a number of other amazing things.  He also signed a bill that allowed me to become my husbands Primary Care Giver through a VA program.  This stipend allows me to facilitate every single thing necessary for him to get all the appointments, treatments, etc. that he needs without the fear of how to navigate a part time job and his critical care.  President Obama signed the Fair Pay Act and supports the right for me to make the decisions I need to for my own body.

Democrat or not, I can tell you that President Obama is the one that has done the most to directly impact my family.  Met with a crushing debt instead of what President Clinton left for President Bush, he has had a nearly insurmountable task.  He has begun a drawn down from two countries that we shouldn’t have occupied in the first place, trying to relocate prisoners in Gitmo that THEIR OWN COUNTRIES WILL NOT TAKE BACK, and some how try to help calm the fears in this country that our economy is permanently broken.

I wouldn’t want to be the President for all of the money and power in the world.  He was handed a Congress that lauded the fact that their job was to get rid of him and block his every move.  That should embarrass us all.  We can disagree but there are MANY things that could have been done to help us further along but simply because they were Democratic lead and sponsored, they were shut down.  It’s disgusting.

I support President Obama.  I hope you will too.

Smut and Those who write it

Whether you approve of Fifty Shades of Grey or not, there is no doubt that by now, you have probably heard of it.  I think that, overall, is a good thing.

I have been writing erotica since 2007.  My first piece was published on a The Erotic Woman blog and later, I had a relationship with the wonderful people at Love You Divine.  In both situations, I used the pseudonym (Mistress Cassandra) because at the time, despite many great literary pieces of erotic being accepted, working as a “smut peddler” was not a common and socially acceptable role.  What previously drew whispers, hushed tones and outright shut down of discussions now elicits endless questions and interested parties.  Since the popularity of Fifty Shades, everything has changed.  Overall, I think this is good.  Or at least I think that, until I see something like THIS.  There will be constant discussion now to define what one thing is versus what another is.  While I may personally think the BDSM subject matter is not reflected correctly, the author however is able to write whatever the author wants.  Clearly it’s sold without anyone having concern for the way it is perceived so who am I to pass judgement.

We have such antiquated opinions in this country about sex and about the human body in general.  I grew up in Europe and seeing someone partially clothed in a shower gel commercial there was not uncommon.  No big deal.  Here, we get ridiculously excited over “wardrobe malfunctions” but also have a society that supports a Jersey Shore culture and new shows like Honey Boo Boo’s.  You can’t have it both ways America.  Stop telling people what kind of sex they can have, what they can read about it and what kind of person you are if you write it when you have shows like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette and send people on “private dates” where they can spend the night with each other.

I don’t get it.  So I keep writing.  This year for my Nanowrimo project will be an erotica novel under my own name.  Hopefully Fifty Shades gives me a little better chance of not getting hate mail and ostracized.  Or not.  Either way, I will keep writing.

My Year of Ups and Downs

Some of you know I had some serious stuff going on at the beginning of the year.  What went from a little test to a bigger test, to a procedure and then a bigger procedure nearly broke me.  As a Mom, the hardest thing in the world for me is the idea that I can’t take care of my family.  I try to let the older ones find their way and not intervene but having one still at home filled me with panic and anger.  It doesn’t make sense why things happen to people that try to do the right things and walk the path of good intentions.  I thought I was that kind of person so for me, anger often took over much of my days that weren’t filled with profound hurt and sadness.  It affects everything you do.

The result was this:  after a particularly horrific week in which I thought my husband was having a stroke and I had a huge problem resulting from the stress I was told I was having an emergency hysterectomy.  Although I have had all the kids I intended to, the finality of it was not lost on me.  I am not sure that is something anyone can really grasp unless it has happened to them either.  For the record, there is a lot of horrible crap on line about hysterectomies.  (Health situations are generally not the best subjects to Google, for sure.)  I have to give a shout out to Hyster Sisters, a great site/forum where you can get real information about what is happening and join a group of people going through the same crap.  I found it to be the What to Expect When Expecting of surgical procedures.  It answered questions I desperately needed and calmed me the hell down.

I am nearly six months post surgery now.  I feel SOOOOO much better.  You don’t realize sometimes how something that makes you sick can affect all parts of your body and mind.  Do I feel I deserved to go through what I did?  No and I am still damn angry about it sometimes.  Am I better off now?  OH YEAH.  Full speed ahead!

Archery Madness

Thankfully, I healed quickly because my year literally went nuts shortly there after.  Most of you know Little Monkey has been competing in archery competitions but mid-year, she decided to take it to a whole new level.  Rather than me writing about her, I suggested she use her journaling she does during archery class as a prompt to chronicle her experiences.  Monkey has met some amazing people and formed friendships with international archers as well.  She has set some lofty goals, started writing blog posts and will only be busier next year.  For now I am handling her linking and photo uploads but she is learning and loving it.  If you are interesting in following her journey, she has her own site, Tumblr and Twitter.  While I have a Pinterest where she hosts “Little Monkey’s Board” it is largely nail polish and crafty related so be forewarned!

Wrap Up

So I migrated to WordPress because iPage became so restrictive!  I am happy that I could pull in the posts from my old Blogger page but sad that I lost my iPage content.  WordPress gives me some cool features and I can post multiple links and pictures that I needed so YEAH!  Thanks for sticking with me through the changes.

I am still writing at Almost Nerdy, hanging out on G+ and Twitter as well as handling a Tumblr page of my own, one for grad school and one for our newest pet/internet star.  I am on month 4 of a 12-month Masters program with Fullsail University for a Masters in Education Media and Design Technology and getting to try out some new emerging technology.  My research blog I have to maintain for that program is here and my emerging technology reviews I had to do are here in the event that you are interested in either.

Tons of DIY projects are ongoing right now so you will see that stuff posted soon!

Later peeps!

Good Hair Perry

My disdain for Repub Governors goes way back.  This year, between failing to coming up with a solution to our education issues to now misusing his position to push a religious solution for wildfires burning out of control not far from me, I can say that I continue to be furious that we can not get people in this state to vote against him.  I would very much like to win the lottery and move very far away from here.

Check out his latest move of utter stupidity HERE.

Diary of a Bleeding Heart Liberal

Cross posted at Daily Kos
*if you have a moment and would like to help Middle Monkey today, I would appreciate you picking up the phone just once today and making this call at the bottom of this blog.

From Wikipedia:

John F. Kennedy, a self-described liberal, defined a liberal as follows:

“ …someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a ‘Liberal’, then I’m proud to say I’m a ‘Liberal’.”

I cried last night. A deep, long cry of relief. I recognize that it’s something most people can’t possibly understand. I get that. You would have to walk a mile in these moccasins I think, but today, I just don’t care. This bill, this elation we all get to experience on our side of the fence, this was just for me.

I have never really fit in. I had to cultivate my own group of friends, I had to gradually avoid conversations with family members, and I had to stuff down opinions. When you grow up in a conservative family, have to hear racist comments from people you grew up loving, it is a hard and difficult water to navigate. Most of my friends have always been either of color or GLBT so I stuck out like a sore thumb. I was the freak magnet. My life in politics did not begin in a grand, decisive act. Through many tiny shifts, I came into my belief like a caterpillar that spent far too long in a cold, dark cocoon. It was great to feel the sun on my wings as I tentatively stretched them and after a couple of tiny flutters, I flew head first, no concern for what it might do to me, how it might feel. This was something I had to do for the children I would bring into this world. This was something I had to do for the children that were already here. I felt a new sense of responsibility.

When I was around 16, growing up in what was then West Germany, I remember receiving an invitation from some mysterious lottery that came to town. I was chosen to go see the President. Initially, I had no understanding of what this meant, what this was going to mean to me, only terribly excited that I got to miss school. One morning, very early, we were herded on a bus. It occurred to me briefly that there were no children on this bus whose parents were not high ranking officials or Officers, save one that was the Sergeant Major’s daughter. I didn’t understand about elitism. Back then I didn’t care. We drove for what seemed like forever, to a location in the hills, then walking uphill for a while. We navigated through check points and metal detectors. I saw my first sniper team, stationed above. That was cool. Still, we hadn’t been introduced to the President. I thought that was weird since they picked us, driven these American kids so far, but surely there was time for that later. Once we got all the way through, I saw the stages, the mass of German teens and the excitement that was building across the crowd. We were given American flags to wave and directed to what I thought would be front row, center stage…only it was middle of the crowd, center stage, right in the camera line. Weird. The Reagans and the Kohls hit the stage; everyone roars and claps, President sitting with the Chancellors wife and vice versa. Nancy is laughing like Helmut said something really funny OR he is hitting on her. I found this exchange fascinating. They finish. They leave. No one seemed to care when I asked why we were the only Americans in the crowd and not meeting the President. It didn’t matter because remember, we got to miss school for this so it is most awesome.

Welcome to the politics of the orchestrated photo op.

Years later, living outside DC and upon the occasion of the Inaugural parade for George Bush, a friend asked me to accompany her into town to witness the spectacle. We stopped at the beginning of the parade route and I seized the opportunity to stand with the protesters from NOW. With their large round signs and girl power, I finally exhaled.

Welcome to the first political emotion I ever articulated.

The next Presidential election for which I was both old enough and registered to vote for came a few years later and officially landed me square on the side I will remain the rest of my days. Pregnant with my first born, the realization of what I was doing hit me hard. It was life altering. How could I possibly bring a child into a world that existed in the manner it did? What was I thinking? I picked up a copy of Time that year, the one that lays out the numerous contenders each election cycle. I read for days. I researched. I took very seriously my first opportunity to vote. Hands down, I only had one option from the beginning. Governor Clinton.

That as they say, was all she wrote.

After that election, I went on to volunteer and serve as Precinct Secretary and County Delegate, in 1996, Precinct Secretary, County Delegate and State Delegate in 1998, served as Bell County Coordinator, Richard Raymond campaign for Texas Land Commissioner, 1998, became a Public Speaker on Activism for political groups, college classes, grassroots training events since 1998, and managed to graduate with a B.S in Government in 1999. In 2004 I because Precinct Chair in Tarrant County through 2007, served as an election judge and County Delegate, State Delegate, and National Delegate to Boston in 2004. I was blessed and fortunate enough to serve with Win Back Respect, as a BAND OF SISTERS member, 2004. (A Gen. Wes Clark endorsed group-Participated in events and interviews, including a debate reaction commercial shot in NYC, BBC Radio panel discussions and block walking in conjunction with the America Coming Together organization in New Mexico). I scored DEMOCRATIC GAIN training in Boston in 2004 (Training in all levels of political activism and campaigns to include seminars with Donna Brazile and James Carville). The highlight of my professional training was with TOUGH AND SMART National Security Training in April 2006 ( A Gen. Wes Clark endorsed group, Rep. Jane Harmon PAC affiliation Washington DC based conference that included research, speaker forums and intense media training on messaging and rapid response). I ran a congressional campaign in TX CD 6, 2006 who was a Member of the Band of Brothers group, running for office, producing an award winning website and selection for entry into Vanity Fair shoot for Veteran candidates seeking office post-deployment for initial invasion into Iraq (Along with Tammy Duckworth, Patrick Murphy and Andrew Duck, TomKat issue, 06). I put my life on hold and suffered immeasurable harm as the man I supported and worked for, also at the time my husband, turned out to be capable of the greatest dishonesty and web after web of lies that still have yet to completely unfurl. I stayed; I stood by and issued press releases as the voice of the campaign to focus and move forward. I stood for one reason: loyalty to my Party. If by some stroke of fate he were to one, his one vote for my side could tip the balance. Maybe that seems strange to you, but last night, four votes made the difference.

Just four.

My life moved on since then. I lost people in my life that said they were my friends. I solidified friendships since that time. My work takes on different forms but still, I work. I write the letters and make the calls that other people don’t have time to add into their lives. I help feed hungry, homeless people and donate all my extra clothes, blankets and coats to a local charity. I gather canned food for the food bank, I add the extra dollar at the checkout for whatever cause is being advocated that day. I do it because someone has to. I do it so things get done even if you want to sit at home, eating bon bons and watching soap operas every day. It is America. We both get to have it our way.

Yesterday, just before the vote, I received a call from Middle Monkey, navigating her way through the political arena in D.C. this week. Sixteen and full of optimism, she talks so fast I miss half of what she has to say. She is with a group of kids, each heading in to meet with the aides of their states representatives this morning to lobby for returning sex education to our schools. Many people don’t realize but due to policies enacted by the previous administration, there is virtually NO sex ed any longer in high school. Nationwide, teen pregnancy is on the rise. It wouldn’t seem that’s just a coincidence. She started this journey the day she brought me a form to sign agreeing to allow her in the class about “abstinence education” in her school. Middle Monkey, full of promise, looked at me and said “If abstinence education worked, there wouldn’t be four pregnant girls in my class.” I told her to do something about it. After meeting with the principle and getting nowhere a year ago, now she is in D.C., screaming into the phone, telling me about like-minded individuals and how cool it is to think something in your head and meet a group of people that decide we are going to put these things into action and do something. She is giddy with the excitement. She believes she can change the world.

Geeze. Look what her mom has done. It hard to explain a process most don’t know exists but I have sat in committee meetings, pushing the platform from the precinct to the county, to the state and voted to accept it at the national level. Seeing those beliefs in writing. Changing a shall to a may. Realizing where it says “we” or “our” right there, see that? I did that. That was me. We did that. 219-212. 30 million uninsured will get coverage. I am one of those.

Middle Monkey fights today in D.C. to have sex ed returned to schools. I hope it doesn’t take her as long as it took me to get this passed. Regardless, the torch has been passed. Watch out world, here she comes.

*if you have a moment and would like to help Middle Monkey today, I would appreciate you picking up the phone just once today and making this call below.

Sadly, U.S. teen pregnancy, teen birth, and teen sexually transmitted
infections (STI) rates are some of the highest in the developed world.
In fact, one in four young women between the ages of 15 and 19 is
infected with at least one of the most common sexually transmitted
diseases. Young people of color are disproportionately likely to contract
an STI or experience an unintended pregnancy.
The Responsible Education About Life (REAL) Act would provide
federal funding for age-appropriate, medically-accurate sexuality
education programs that provide information on contraception and
condoms in addition to stressing the value of abstinence. Programs
would also discuss healthy relationships, decision making,
assertiveness, and skills building to resist social/peer/partner pressure,
depending on grade level.

March 22 is an interfaith lobby day for the REAL Act in Washington, so
your calls will support the group of youth, young adults, and adult allies
who will be lobbying their Members of Congress in person!
Calling is Easy and It Makes a Difference!

· Call the Capitol Switchboard toll free at 888-423-5983 and ask for
your Representative or Senator. Visit http://www.house.gov/ and http://www.senate.gov/ to find
them using your zip code.

· Suggested Message: “I’m calling today to ask that the Senator or
Representative support the REAL Act (S. 611; H.R. 1551) which
would provide federal funding for comprehensive sexuality
education programs. As a religious person that cares about youth,
I think it’s shameful that the United States’ rates of teen pregnancy
and sexually transmitted infections are so high. Our youth deserve
better education, and the REAL Act would help make that happen.”

For more information, please visit http://www.uua.org/socialjustice/issues/healthfamily/comprehensivesex/seat/or
contact Rob Keithan, 202-393-2255 x15, rkeithan@uua.org.