Social Issues

A Year Ago Today

Year_ago_today

A year ago today (well, in just a couple of hours), things were pretty messed up.  I went to bed hardly able to sleep because I was so angry at this country and what it allowed to do to itself.  Last November was an emotional roller coaster.

Needless to say, Trump has not disappointed me in his ineptitude and nonsense since he was elected.  I still can't stand the orange turd, probably more now than a year ago, and believe he is the BIGGEST EMBARRASSMENT this country has ever produced. 

HOWEVER

Things have changed in the last year, and I think the yoga helps! But seriously, today I am feeling better.  I went to vote last night and it was just a local election, no big offices were up for election, just local Comptroller, Town Council, Clerks, etc. It was the biggest turnout I've seen since I've moved here and I think I've been to all of the local elections where it's just me and Mike showing up.  I thought that was awesome!  

My Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds were full of people showing off their "Voted" stickers (I didn't get a sticker *kicksrocks*).   I was following the gubernatorial results in New Jersey and Virginia where they voted out Republican incumbents for Democrats. There were other elections where long time Republicans were voted out.  Not that I'm all "Wooooo Go Dems!!!" but it's nice to see a year later that a shift is happening and maybe the pendulum is already swinging back or at least evening itself out.  Hoping the backlash against Trump and his cronies continue to knock them out one by one.

Democrats have a really long way to go, they need a good PR company to come in and help them rebrand themselves because right now, other than being "Anti-Trump" they really don't have much else going for them.  Being anti-Trump can only last so far before people want some real substance, and they feel like that substance was lost while Obama was President, all flash, no substance.

There are some great stories that came out of last night, such as Danica Roem in Virginia and Andrea Jenkins in Minneapolis.  Both are the first openly Transgender women to win public office.  Not only that, but Roem in VA defeated Robert Marshall, an anti-LGBT jerk who had no problem referring to himself as "Chief Homophobe" and drafting a bathroom bill similar to the one passed in North Carolina (it didn't).   

There's also the moving story of Chris Hurst, who went into politics after his girlfriend was killed on live television, went on to defeat a pro-NRA incumbent.  And Hoboken, NJ just voted for their first Sikh Mayor, Ravi Bhalla who was labeled a terrorist by what can only be ignorant idiots.  The moral of the story is, I love it when people come together and give ignorance and hate  a big "Fuck you!"

And last, to end this on a funny note, check out the funny meme's "Me on Election Day 2016 vs Me on Election Day 2017":

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NYC Pride Parade 2017

Empire State Building - NYC Pride Celebration

Hey guys! Long time, no write - or read! I had such a fun weekend, I thought I'd write about some of it. For the first time in about 20 years I went to spectate the Pride Parade in New York this past weekend.  I especially wanted to go in light of the last year and all of the negativity floating about.  There is so much division, anger, frustration, and intolerance.  I wanted to get a shot in the arm of something positive, open, and welcoming.  It was such a fun day once I found a spot to stand.  This parade gets more and more popular every year.   

Progress has been made with LGBT rights but there is still a lot more work to be done.  Now that the Supreme Court has decided to look at the "Wedding Cake" case from Colorado, such objections make me shake my head just because of religious views. I just hope the SC will review this and realize that this is just another form of discrimination and should not be tolerated. Where do you draw the line? Can a doctor refuse to treat a trans person because they think they're a freak?

I digress, the parade is more as a celebration now but it started as a march that took place June 1970, one year after the Stonewall riots, as a form of protest.  Over the years the march has turned more celebratory but there is still a lot of politics and causes represented in the parade.  Check out my Instagram pics below (scroll right!)

Early in the parade you see the politicians shaking hands and waving flags, then you have civil rights and other protest groups making their statements.  Once all this passes, the corporate sponsor floats appear with the dance music thumping and everyone gets into party mode. The corporate sponsorship was a bit much but they do give away lot of freebies...

Maybe it's part of that bubble I feel like I live in and sometimes get defensive about, but I was really happy to see people come together and celebrate this way. I wish to see this more.  I love that I live in a state that supports the LGBT community and that I live in such close proximity to NYC.  Not all of New York state is like this which is frustrating, I don't get it.  I don't understand why there are still people who feel the need to preach hate against this group, or any group that's different from what they know. When your only reference to speak out against homosexuals is biblical, I'm sorry, that just doesn't sit well with me.  Unfortunately, I don't see that going away completely any time soon but I'll try to keep doing my part as an ally and speak out for equal and gender rights. 

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RANT: Who Are These People?!?!

Rant

Recently I was watching footage of Trump's "Please love me because I'm a pathetic piece of shit" rally commemorating his first 100 days of being a pretty horrible President. I'm looking at all the people sitting behind him cheering him on.  First thing I always do is look for any minorities, you'll find one or two, and the token Muslim woman wearing the Hijab strategically placed at eye level. Next thing I do of is think, "How???" How can these people support this idiot? Do you hate diversity? Do you not want someone like me moving into your neighborhood just because of my last name? Do you want to go back to a time where women and other marginalized groups were not seen as equals to white men? 

It can't be, right? I know there's more to it.  You're hurting financially.  You're losing your job or home or your guns (Listen!!!! You're not losing your stupid guns!!!).  I keep reading articles trying really hard to explain to me who Trump voters are.  I know there's a difference between Trump Voter and Trump Supporter.  There are people who voted for him because it wasn't Bernie Sanders - which I think is a really dumb reason.  I understand you don't like Hillary Clinton, neither do I, #feelthebern didn't burn enough, stop whining and THINK!  But they didn't and instead threw a temper tantrum in the voting booth by voting for a misogynist, ignorant, immature, man-child.

It's only been a few months and while I'm not talking (writing) about it as much, I'm still pretty angry at these people. I'm sorry! I'm trying to understand your position but I can't get past all the ugliness he displays constantly and people are willing to overlook it.You have a problem with Stephen Colbert saying "Cock Holster" but not Trump talking about grabbing women by the pussy???  Not to mention the illogical executive orders, the discontinuing of programs that HELP people, how can you be okay with these things?  Have you felt left out? Forgotten? Do these feelings make you feel uncomfortable? Guess what, that's how many of us have felt for an incredibly long time. 

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Maybe Ignorance Is Bliss Sometimes

Bliss

I remember South Park once parodied one of the kid's mom being glued to the television for days after September 11th. She was laying on the couch watching 24 hour news for days - you just couldn't stop watching the coverage.  Hurricane Katrina had a similar impact, I know I watched A LOT of cable news. I didn't want to miss any updates of what was turning into Mad Max coming to life in Louisiana.  For the last few months, I found myself, once again, glued to current events but this time it was mostly on the internet.

As I have gotten more involved in politics and activism, the amount of information out there can be so overwhelming.  The number of local Facebook groups that I have joined is ridiculous.  But like all things, too much of something can wear you down. Keeping up with politics is no different, especially if so much of it is upsetting.  45 is signing Executive Orders faster than I can find out what they actually are about.  There was one day where my crazy busy brain just messed me up and I became really upset.  "Defeated" is a better word, my stomach remained in knots. It sucked. I can't keep feeling this way, do I throw in the towel? As luck would have it, I read Depressed by Politics? Just let it go, it was perfect timing. Yes, it was starting to depress me and I don't need that in my life.  

I'm learning how to manage the amount of time I spend keeping up-to-date with the news. My Pro-Wrestling podcast listening has been neglected because of this stupid President lol!  It's okay to check in on Facebook and other groups once a day.  I don't have to read the NY Times and Politico every single day (sometimes checking more than once). I spend time on Netflix and Amazon looking for something new to watch, it usually involves Bigfoot. I think this is another reason I started up yoga again - besides the physical benefits, it's an hour and 15 minutes twice a week where I am not thinking about any of those things and it's just me treating myself to something awesome. 

Have you been feeling overwhelmed with politics?  How do you shift your gears mentally?

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Where Is Your American Pride?

Where Is Your American Pride?Is America great again yet? It's only been two months but is it safe to ask this question?  I've been reading a lot about the rise of Nationalism in Europe since November, it's no coincidence.  Many say it started with Brexit vote last Summer. The latest is an article from The New York Times, How a Sleepy German Suburb Explains Europe's Rising Far-Right Movements.  This resonated with me because it kind of reminded me of where I live now, not my town specifically but in the mid-Hudson Valley.  

Growing up in New York City and then moving to a suburb is quite a change and has broaden my perspective.  The Hudson Valley has a history of artsy, liberal-minded "River Towns" with lots of older hippies who want to protect the Hudson River, the environment, shutting down Indian Point, and are down to protest just about anything related to the environment.  I get it. But there's another history not talked about much that involves the KKK....but they're gone now, I think??  I had no idea until I moved to Dutchess County that there was a thing going on in Putnam County up until the 80s with the KKK, whoa.

So, come 2016 and I was surprised at how many Trump bumper stickers and lawn signs I would see.  Where the hell am I?? I had a discussion with a friend who moved out of NYC a few years ago and is now living some place that is less liberal-minded, not a total shift, but it gives you perspective, a broader perspective.  When people think of "New York", they think of this: 

New York City Skyline

This is just a very, very small (although heavily populated) snippet of New York state. New York has 62 counties, NYC is only 5 of them.  New York is also suburbs, picturesque small towns, mountains, rural farmlands, blue-collar towns, college towns, and straight up "Country."   It is so easy to live in a big city and think that since you are exposed to so much diversity, this is something that the rest of the country will welcome and is okay with.  Nope.  There is so much to New York that is not "Blue."  Our State Senate isn't even Blue, it may be on paper, but there is a thing called the Independent Democratic Conference kind of throwing a monkey wrench in things.  There are a few New Yorkers who want to set this country back 50 years and they're not even old enough to remember how it was the first time!

To bring this back around, I started writing this with the idea of Nationalism in this country. 45 was really pushing that message that we need to make America a country to be proud of again.  This is happening in other countries but it's being depicted as a bad thing. It's being seen as anti-Muslim, anti-foreigners.  Are Europeans talking about the rise of Nationalism in the United States and saying the same?   You are less likely to see USA pride in NYC.  You'll see Puerto Rican pride, Italian pride, Irish pride, Ethiopian pride, you get my drift.  You'll see more American flags displayed outside of houses the more outside the city you go.  

This country is not perfect, it's got a lot of messed up history it may not want to acknowledge and it still has problems with racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and a bunch of isms and phobias. This country also has a serious problem keeping religion and state separate (someone forgot to tell them about that.) I would still rather live here than anywhere else.  I can write this blog, criticize the President, and not have to worry about someone knocking on my door (yet..maybe.). I can go out by myself where other countries require a man to be with you, I can drive a car by myself, I can wear whatever I want.  I'm fortunate to live here but I'm still aware enough to know that there are others, who live in the same country, that may not feel as comfortable, and that sucks. I'm not proud of that.  The last administration tried very hard to get us all past that and I'd hate to see all of that get erased.  I don't have a problem with national pride as long as it includes everyone who chooses to live there, even if they came from somewhere else. 

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Know Your History, Don't be a Tree Without Roots

Roots

A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.
Marcus Garvey

I came across this quote and it stuck with me. There is so much concern of history repeating itself with this current administration.  While there is more information available for everyone, there seems to be less education.  All this nonsense about "fake news" and "alternative facts."  Can history be made up? No, it happened, look it up!  Deny history as much as you want, it will bite you in the ass sooner or later.  The Holocaust happened!  Protesting can change things! Slaves were not immigrants who came here by choice!  

There's so much spinning, it's hard not to get dizzy.  I've been revisiting U.S and Global History.   I grew up in the New York public school system in the 80s and early 90s and honestly, I didn't learn much about our history (cue What a Wonderful World).  It was very safe - Lincoln freed the slaves, the US freed the Jews from Germany and got us out of the Depression, Blacks had to drink from different water fountains in the South until Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. came along, uh...there was a war Vietnam. It's embarrassing now that I look back.  I don't entirely blame my schools, I'm pretty sure I spaced out a lot during history. I remember taking a history class in high school which was all about Europe from like the 1500-1600s, I don't remember shit.

Now I love history, I want to absorb as much as possible - mostly in the form of documentaries.  I love what people like Ken Burns and Tom Hanks are doing to keep history alive and interesting in this world of super short attention spans (guilty). Oliver Stone has a great documentary series on Netflix, The Untold History of the United States, worth checking out.  I can understand why World War II isn't covered much because it was pretty fucking huge.  Vietnam War was a cluster fuck which made the U.S. look really, really bad so let's just gloss over that. I wish they talked more about WWII and Vietnam because I knew (from movies, of course) just how bad and ugly it was and felt it was important to learn more about.   I'm curious about what schools are teaching now about 9/11 and the never ending war in Afghanistan.  

I hope schools are more open and honest about how U.S. History is taught. It's not all great and moral and the bad stuff didn't only happen centuries ago. I know there are concerns about parents getting butt hurt worried about brainwashing their kids. Whatever. Maybe I'll save that for another time.  Is that what college is for?

J_belushi_college

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Isn't Everyday International Women's Day?

IWD

Yesterday was International Women's Day, did you do anything?  I must admit I didn't do much, except work - yes I worked.  Honestly, it was not a date I had engraved in my mind as a plan of action, it never was.  I shared some tweets, that's about it.  It's not that I don't care, of course I do!  There are just SO many calls to action now, my head is spinning.  It's kind of like "Earth Day", I don't need a day to remind me that the planet is changing and we all need to do our part to take care of it, it's a part of who I am.  

I do want to acknowledge those of you who did take a stand, marched, wore red, and made a statement. It's great to see the momentum of the Women's March still going strong.  It's important to keep pushing for equality for women and non-binary people in the workforce, education, and right to life.   I guess my problem is wishing we didn't need annual dates as a reminder to be better people, you know?   But I get it, some people are hard to educate or they'll say something stupid like "When is International Men's Day?"  Ignorant people can try to blow it off as fluff, but they can't ignore the issue forever.

So the answer to my question in this blog post is - no, not every day is International Women's Day. We need dates like International Women's Day as a reminder, a history lesson in progress and a measuring stick of how far we still need to go.

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Small Business: Do you get Political on Social Media?

Sm_bus_pol

When I had my jewelry business, I avoided talking about religion and politics online.  I did not want to have separate accounts for such issues so I left it alone.  Now I'm free to write and say what I want - I kinda love it.  It got me thinking, with this change in political climate, what should a business person do who strongly opposes what is going on in our government and their online presence?  I'm not talking about big businesses like Nordstrom or LL Bean.  I mean small business, mom & pop shops, etc. who can't turn a blind eye - especially if legislation changes may impact their business (ie: who they hire, where they get their materials, obtaining a loan). 

You don't want to scare customers away or turn off new ones because they don't agree with you.  When I had Pulp Sushi, I would not have written An Open Apology or You're Not A Feminist? on that blog.  As a business/brand, you have to think twice before shooting off online.  Ask yourself what you think could happen when you post something?  Let's say you sell knitted kids hats, your customer base is mostly moms.  Are you going to share a link to an article is against increasing paid maternity leave because you believe that maternity leave is generous enough as it is?  What if you share a anti-Hillary Clinton meme?  Do these things reflect what your business is about? Is there a chance that there may be a backlash? I said I wasn't going to talk about big business, but it's okay for Anheuser-Busch to make a political statement about immigration during the Super Bowl.  They have been around since 1852 and made the commitment to use their products to promote a better world.  For the most part, they keep the politics off their Twitter and Facebook.  

Let's flip this around. You're a handmade soap seller who locally sources their ingredients and rely on local farmers who employs immigrants, you announce in your shop that a percentage of all sales goes toward the ACLU and Sierra Club, you market your soap as a way to "Wash off 2016 election FILTH!!" (go ahead soapers, you can use that). How about you make cards that say "Orange you glad I didn't grab your pussy?" It is CLEAR that you promote your activism through your products and you are catering to specific group of people, more power to you, your social media can be a part of that branding for your business easy-peasy.  

Perhaps you're ready to make that change and you want to bring more social awareness in to your business. You can introduce issues into your business slowly, maybe donations for sales of one specific item goes towards a cause, and as you promote that item, you can share additional information on social media about the charity or the general cause.  Raise awareness without coming across as preachy. People don't like to be preached too. Just look at the backlash celebrities get when they get political.   While the "experts" say you may be killing your business, I think there is a way this can be done smart and tactfully. You may lose some followers, but you can gain so many more once you provide more meaning to your business.

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This Month In Review - February 2017

Month_rev

WHOA! This month got away with me as far as blogging goes.  Doesn't help that it's a short month and I had to get a new laptop so that took some time away from here.  I still managed to get some writing in so here's what you might have missed in February:

Last month in my recap, I said let's see what February would bring.  It brought some unseasonably warm weather, more head scratching, and lots of coffee.  I attended my first Town Hall meeting over the weekend with my District Rep Sean Patrick Maloney. It was PACKED!  It was a good meeting, frustrating at times but not because of him but some of the others in attendance. Otherwise, I learned a lot.  Nothing like the screaming you see on TV happening elsewhere but then again, my rep is a Democrat and shares a lot of the same concerns as his constituents.  I'm glad I went and hope to attend more.

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Let's Talk About Snowflakes

Snow2

Snowflake.

That word is being used a lot lately.  Not because it's Winter and there's snow.  It is what Trump supporters call people who disagree with him, grouping them in with Liberals. "Snowflakes" are defined as an overly sensitive person, incapable of dealing with any opinions that differ from their own. These people can often be seen congregating in "safe zones" on college campuses.  

That's cute.  

"An overly sensitive person, incapable of dealing with any opinions that differ from their own."  I don't know about you, but this sounds like Donald Trump to me.  He can't be told "no", he has to bitch about SNL every time they make of him, if you disagree with him, you will face his Twitter wrath!  The leader of the free world is the biggest fucking Snowflake there is right? By definition, yes, but honestly he's just an immature, spoiled brat, man-child.

How is being angry at the establishment turn into you an overly sensitive person?  Does this mean members of The Tea Party were Snowflakes too? Seriously, someone please explain that to me.  

It's empowering to find out that you're not alone, that there are millions who support you and share your views.  We're thinkers, we're rationalizers, we look beyond our own needs, and see the bigger picture, the world beyond our problems (if I can quote "The Ref"). 

George Takei shared the following tweet a couple of weeks ago: 

Another thing about Snowflakes, they don't go away so quickly. Some snow can stick around for a long time, it can get dirty, get slushy, but it's still there.  Honestly, it's a stupid name and it's too bad that these folks couldn't come up with a better name to call half the country.

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