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

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Trouble with Trouble, oh yeah, and Syria too

I get a little crazy over politics sometimes. In all honesty, I think I have earned it with the extent to which I have worked in it over the years, but still, I understand not every home has people that yell at the television news.

In my defense, I warned them.

 I don’t work in politics as much as I used to but I have raised amazingly civic-minded children that go and do their own amazing things. I am very proud of that and feel like it’s my duty to teach them why they should care and why they should get involved. Sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes it’s very hard.

This week was one of those weeks.

 It’s not a question of what we should do as a nation in the Ukraine, Syria, etc. Its all the vocal minority of ill informed people is becoming so loud that I can no longer bear the noise.

Sovereignty is the boss of things

 Sovereignty: the authority of a state to govern itself or another state.”national sovereignty”

synonyms: autonomy, independence, self-government, self-rule, home rule, self-determination, freedom “the colony demanded full sovereignty”

a self-governing state.plural noun: sovereignties

 Does anyone understand what it means any longer to be a sovereign nation? Maybe that isn’t high on the priority list in school any more but I feel like I have to mention that. How sad is that? POTUS cannot just direct folks to roll up into Ukraine or Syria because they are sovereign nations. If they ask for and accept assistance within parameters, that’s different but did, we not learn ANY THING in Iraq? By the Bush Administration misrepresenting the facts to the UN?

Just think about Ferguson

 In our own country we have people doing horrible things. Civil rights violations continue and one could argue human rights violation when examining all that happened just in Ferguson this summer. So say Russia or China takes issue with that and decides, lets just roll in there and solve that problem. What would be wrong with that? Some of our largest cities are battling gangs that cause pain, suffering, death and perpetuate crime that cannot be stifled. What would you say to a city that decides they are going to pick this place for random strikes and send in drones to kill all of them? What about the good, innocent people that live there? Why is it not okay in this country but just fine in others?

If just one more person screams BOMB THEM I will loose my mind

 The beheading of journalist in Syria is tragic. No one can argue those points. The follow up statement that we should roll up into Syria because they beheaded two Americans makes no sense at all. With all due respect to your opinions and ideas…

You do not know what the fuck you are asking

 A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to ‘The United States of America  ‘ for an amount of ‘up to and including my life.’ – Unknown

As a caregiver to a combat disabled OEF Veteran, you do not understand what you are asking the men and women of our Armed Forces to do. It doesn’t matter how much you respect members of the military, past and present. The reality is that serving in the military is no longer viewed as a duty and an honor by the majority of population. In fact, less than 1% of our society serves anymore. LESS THAN 1%. That number is just as dismal when you consider the percentage of Congressional members that have served. So when I say you don’t understand what you are asking, I am speaking to the majority of Americans. You cannot fully understand when you haven’t done it yourself. You just can’t.

It is a constant battle

A good day is one where there are no blow-ups, nothing is forgotten, no one cries, no one freaks out, no bad dreams creep in and everyone is smiling the next morning. These days are too few and very far between. Most days living with TBI and PTSD are constantly trying to balance how much you intervene, how often you interrupt or when you take over. You will be yelled at or met with resistance. You will feel angry but most days stuff that down, either on your own or with your favorite vice (mine is usually donuts.) There is often crying and deep sadness. There is a lot of busy work to keep you from thinking such things. This and life has to go on. The kids go to school, the Vet has to get to appointments, animals need to be cared for and did I get the laundry done. BONUS: You forgot the wet laundry and now it’s molded in your washing machine, ruining everything. If you have never taken care of a TBI patient, it can be likened to abuse from time to time because there is no impulse control, there is no moderating the volume where its only on LOUD when they are ANGRY. Then there are those perfect days where everything is right with the world, everyone is happy, and new good memories can be formed.

 But then there is reality

There is no one thanking me for my service and there are a ton of caregivers that just can’t take it. They leave. I get that. I can’t judge them. I judge the VA system that is woefully inadequate, the advances they will not fund nor explore because it’s too expensive. My Vet needs a name brand medicine recommended by two doctors and they will not authorize it. Why? It costs too much for the VA. There are millions of Veterans in the system that go through the same hassles.

So don’t call me a traitor

It doesn’t mean I am un-American because I am not a Republican. It doesn’t mean I am a traitor because I think they are wrong on every point. I am tired of Republicans perpetuating the myth that soldiers are Republicans and Republicans take care of them. That is all bullshit. You would be ashamed if you knew how many service members told me they had to lie and pretend to be Republicans when they went to the board for promotion. The number that was looked down on when they had to apply for food stamps to feed their families is staggering. Yes, and just don’t get me started on how little soldiers are paid. It doesn’t make me a bad person because I don’t think full-scale military intervention is the answer for everything.

I serve my country every day

When I get through the day and everyone is taken care of and I can breathe, I understand the importance of what I am doing. My Veteran has important skills and mentoring still left to impart upon anyone that needs it. He has stories and memories that were not affected that should be told. Let us serve as a reminder of the reason that we can’t just go do what we have done in the past. This country already cannot afford it. This country doesn’t understand what it is doing to military families.

That’s the trouble with trouble

There are times when we must act. It is part of the joint human experience. Advances in technology and weaponry that allow us to be more focused in our show of force. But that’s the trouble with trouble, when you choose a side, you also choose your enemy. It is a never-ending cycle in our lives. Unless you support compulsory military service and a draft, stop saying our military needs to roll up in some country or drop bombs and nuke them back to the Stone Age.

When you use the words “we need to kill them all” I don’t think you understand the word “we.”

That word doesn’t mean what you think it means.

From your couch or in front of a computer.

What are you giving up to fight the good fight?

Are you even registered to VOTE?

What?

I can’t hear you…

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.