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As a progressive, I am voting Biden/Harris, and here’s why.
Growing up in El Paso, my mom took me in the late evening, once the desert-sun set, to my middle school down the road to vote. The fluorescent light lit the wing of the building where other voters waited in line to fulfill their civic duty. A miniature replica of voting stations sat to the side of the adult stations for children to mimic their adult caretakers. While my mother voted, a volunteer lead me over and had me fill out my own kid-friendly ballot. Using a dull golf pencil, I check-marked my choices. I don’t remember if the choices were real candidates for that election or something more comprehensible for children, but I remember the pride I felt in participating in this very adult process. Once I dropped the photocopied quarter- sheet into the makeshift ballot box, the volunteer handed me a “Future Voter” sticker and returned me to my mother, thanking us for voting. Cruising down the one block back to our house in our beige Crown Victoria, I asked my mom whether she was a democrat or a republican. With a small pause floating in the air, she responded, “Democrata. Los republicanos son muy cabrones.” Democrat. Republicans are assholes. Although my parents were raised in the generation where people talked only of pleasantries, they still talked to their kids about politics—they wanted us in their own way to be aware of the larger world around us. I only recently discovered that not all people my age had this experience of casting a pretend ballot. That small action stuck with me as a grew up because I have been registered and have voted since I could—and choosing the party of my mother. I voted for Obama and Biden in 2008 and 2012. At that time, they were the best choice. Every time I step up to the ballot box, I hear my mother’s words from that night. And I as I get older, I understand her statement more and more. It is not so much that Republicans are assholes, it is that they pass policies that are detrimental to poor and marginalized groups. Since the beginning of his presidency, Trump has been pushing the limits of his power to dismantle and roll back progressive legislation (remember the travel ban?). Trump’s administration is doing what gay marriage advocates did leading up to its federal legalization; going state by state, court by court, and having outcomes lean in his favor. Most of these lower decisions have been overshadowed by larger, controversial policies or policy threats, and the majority of the republican party follow this modus operandi. I am not the happiest democrat knowing that former VP Joe Biden is certainly the name that I will hit on the screen this coming November. He was not on my shortlist of candidates in the primaries; I voted Bernie Sanders, twice. I’m a progressive, which is different than a liberal. But it looks like the majority of the U.S. is not quite ready for a progressive president. Everything in hindsight has its stains, and Obama and Biden’s co-presidency is no different. And even though we look back and see that their presidency was flawed, in that particular time of history, we have to see that they were liberal for their time—the closest to progressive we could get. In this political climate and the uncertainty of everything in this world, as tainted as Biden is, I will punch his name in my ballot because that is the only way that we will get Trump out of office and get closer to a progressive government that the U.S. desperately needs. Our governmental system was not intended to favor anyone that was not a man and not a WASP, and for as damaged and poisonous as our system is, Trump and the republican party are only making the system worse. The democratic party is not pristine, but it is the choice between the two parties that will get us closer to the equality and humanity that the U.S. needs. There is a small sliver within the democratic party that allows for progressives to wiggle their way in and get elected. The republican party has no room for anyone remotely willing to move the country forward in a positive change. The republican party, especially with Trump at its helm, will only take us further from a country where some of the systemic problems can be dismantled. In fact, they are putting policies in place that are taking us further and further out into a perpetual storm and further and further from safe land. And if Trump stays at the helm, the republican party will drift us out to a place so far from which we will not be able to come back from in my lifetime. I don’t want to have to say this, but democrats and all those who lean toward or go way into the left need to stop being picky. I wish I could tell you that the U.S. is ready for a woman president (or even vice-president), or another person of color, or even a strong progressive to be president, but just look at how many of those possible candidates dropped out of the bid for the presidential race. I want a progressive president in the White House just as much as any pro-BLM, pro-LGBTQIA, pro-feminist, anti-fascist, anti-capitalist, anti-racist, anti-xenophobe out there, but I know that all major changes take time; they cannot happen overnight, and in this case over four years. Societal tolerance is like a large pendulum that is slow to make its way to the center where it is accepted. Why do you think Trump won in 2016? Most people were freaked out about having a black man as president, so they ran back to the thing that makes them (oddly) feel comfortable, and that was an old, white, conservative—Trump. Much of America couldn’t handle seeing a poised, polished Black man as president because he didn’t fit a stereotype that they felt to be the truth. That’s why all these conspiracy theories about Obama got started. People could not believe that a man like him existed so he had to be this outsider so that they could reconcile Obama in their illogical minds. One of the most popular conspiracy theories was the birther movement, and wouldn’t you know it, it was started by Trump. Trump was already gaining the majority of America’s support through their insecurities before he even threw his name in the hat. Republicans were not picky about their candidate. Even Republicans who didn’t like Trump still voted for him because that was who their party chose as their candidate. They knew that there were larger issues at stake than Trump’s unpresidential behavior. They stuck to the party because they knew there was a chance to put one if not two conservative supreme court judges on the bench and Trump did! And he has appointed nearly 30% of lower court judges. These appointments swing the whole system to one side, and I am frightened of that side. This side has put kids in cages, is currently trying to end DACA, rolled back women’s rights, discredited doctors, scientists, and journalists, has stalled LGBTQIA, and the list is ever-growing. The damage count is almost incalculable, and we cannot afford another four years of it. We need Biden in the White House if we want to recenter the balance because voting democrat is the only way that we will eventually get closer to a better future and better politics. I am reminded of the adage I often heard when I discussed Hilary Clinton and Trump as candidates, “choosing the lesser of two evils.” And yes, sadly, that is what our democracy is. It is a two-party system that is not truly benefitting the nation. Comedian Colin Quinn summed up this idea brilliantly in his special on Netflix “Red State Blue State.” Having to choose between only two candidates is not really a choice at all, but I am telling you now, voting democrat will get us closer to what we want in the future and voting republican will not. Again, VOTING DEMOCRAT WILL EVENTUALLY GET US CLOSER TO A BETTER FUTURE AND BETTER POLITICS and that is why as a progressive I have stuck to the democratic party. The democratic party allows for progressive ideals while the republican party only takes us backward, citizens, and closer to an oligarchy and theocracy, and that is not what the U.S. was built on. Somewhere down the line I think the U.S. can get to a three-party system but we will only get there if we allow for progressive candidates to run for senate and other government offices, and right now those people are only getting through by running as democrats, so we have to be like the republicans who sucked it up and voted for Trump even though they didn’t really want to because there are larger more looming consequences than the ones that are sitting on our laps right now (that Trump threw on us, by the way) or in the next four years. We have to look at the longer consequences like the supreme court judges. In 2018, RBG said that she has about 5 years left in her. That was her cue to us citizens to vote for a democrat in 2020 because, Trump-appointed with her gone, the court will be skewed to conservatives for 50+ years. Trump-appointed the two youngest justices on purpose. Do you want another Trump appointed supreme court judge? Do you want more and more laws slowly being chipped away in the lower courts so that they hold no water in the supreme court? His policies are sifting the wrong and broken parts of our system to the surface and solidifying them. Trump’s supporters are not energized for him because he has helped them; They are energized because he has kept the “other people” down. Immigrants, women, people of color, LGBTQIA, non-Christians, and other marginalized groups. Now, a lot of progressives I know also have an issue with Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris, most notably that she was a prosecutor in her state of California. I have no doubt that there are items in her past that she needs to address, but if you look at her recent voting history against Bernie Sanders, you can see that they share 93% of the same voting history. If my plea to vote Biden/Harris seems desperate because it is. Trump is a rich, fragile, egomaniac who is using our political system to feed his megalomania—he isn’t trying to help anyone. And as stated by other political pundits, this year protest voting for a third party will be detrimental to our democracy. Another four years of Trump will devastate marginalized groups even further. Both political parties are still dominated by money, that has not changed. But the democratic party has people in their corner who are trying to get a peek under the rug, while the republicans are only piling more and more garbage on to the pile to keep the system in place. The republican party has no interest in changing how the political world works, they want to stay in power. The democratic party is just open-minded enough to let candidates like Sanders and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortes, Elizabeth Warren, Andrew Yang, Julian Castro, and others to run for office. Once you start letting people into the party who present different and progressive ideas, then that door starts opening more and more, and just like in society so too in politics, that is how you get change to happen—slowly. And that change takes decades to happen, not four years, and that’s why we have Biden as our democratic nominee and not someone more progressive. So, I am voting Biden in November because he is the first step of many to get the U.S. closer to what our democracy should be. Anyone else but Biden and Harris in the White House, and not only will the next four years be worse, but so will be the next 50+ years.
An Ode to Hard Workers
It took me a second to know that it was him, but once I steadied my gaze after the second take, I recognized it was him. We are not the closest of friends, more acquaintances, but I was not expecting Matt* to be corralling carts at my neighborhood grocery store. It's not the store I usually got to, but I have to go to places that I often wouldn't go to stock my fridge with regular items. Matt and I only know each other superficially. Still, I know him well enough to know that this was not his daily work, but I also know that he has an infant and wife at home. ••• The paper read a long list of celebrities who had filed for chapter eleven bankruptcy as if to reassure my parents that their newfound status put them among the elite. That the list was somehow supposed to soften the reality that my parents, who were now in their early 50s, were starting from scratch again; that we were losing the house that they had raised their four children in; the only house that I knew since I was 6 months old when my family moved from Nogales, Arizona. My dad had a difficult time holding a job since I was five, and now at 14, the only home I knew was being foreclosed on. Once we moved into our temporary duplex, the line of work was just as unsteady for my dad. But instead of him getting jobs for his engineer expertise, he was working low-wage, no-degree-needed jobs. After we got home from school, my brother and I treaded lightly since my dad was a light sleeper, and he needed to readjust his clock to his new graveyard hours. My dad's graveyard shift didn't last long, but it was the most memorable of his low-wage jobs because it affected my movements the most through the house. Interesting how memory is selective to our personal discomforts. My mom was at her new job herself, so the duplex was quieter indoors than the lively world that stood beyond the threshold of our duplex. I knew that my small sacrifice of comfortably moving through the house was minute compared to my dad's sacrifice. I know now that my father taking those jobs was difficult for him. He has always been a prideful man, and getting his degree in engineering was, I am sure, how he thought he was going to avoid these types of jobs for the rest of his life; most of us do. That’s why so many of us are a part of the trillion-dollar debt that is student loans. Before we got married, I asked my then-boyfriend to take the five languages test. I had read about the concept and taken a shortened quiz myself. After my boyfriend took the test, we got into a conversation about the people in our lives. We began identifying the love languages of other people. I realized that my dad's love language was gift-giving. I remembered all of the Christmas and birthday gifts he proudly gave us, but also the times that he tried to give us things when he necessarily didn’t have to. The time he cracked firewood by jumping on it when he didn’t have an ax; the times he let me pick out a candy bar from the checkout line at the grocery store; the Sunday evenings in the summer when we all went to Baskin Robbins for our favorite scoop. My dad could have satiated his pride and not even have applied for jobs like that, but I think he knew that those times would end. That perhaps being away from his industry for a bit would give some new perspective, if not give time for a new opportunity to come his way. And it did. It may have taken longer than he would have liked, and it was a new career path, but it ended up being much more suited for him than engineering. Now in his 70s, he and my mom are still not in financial comfort that their daughters may necessarily feel comfortable with. Other factors outside of my dad's control may force him to continue working into his 70s, but I think he knows that in certain times you have to face the situation and do what's best for your family—do what is right for others. ••• Watching Matt push those grocery carts up the slope to the store, I wanted to protect him. Those years of living in the duplex are still carried on my shoulders, even 20 years later, from reading that letter of celebrities. All of the grocery store workers, delivery drivers, healthcare professionals, and all of the other essential personnel during this time are at risk. For those of us who can work from home, the world has somewhat stopped in the significant ways of life, but in the grand scheme, it is going on as usual. Products still need to be made, ordered, and delivered. Groceries still need to be grown, picked, delivered. People still need to work because they have to make money, pay the bills, and take care of those who they love. *Matt's real name was changed for privacy.
I wasn’t sad taking down my Christmas decorations—this is why I am concerned about it.
Most people I know love the holidays. For some, the festive mood kicks off in October with the anticipation of dressing up in scary or funny costumes or sitting at home with freshly popped popcorn and a lineup of scary movies to keep them up late at night. For others, it starts with the only day of the year where it is 100% expected to wear stretchy pants to the dinner table—Thanksgiving. Whenever the holiday season begins for you, most people I know enjoy this time of year because of all of the festivities and all-around good times that people want to have. We are more willing to spend our free time with others and feel charitable to those who have been wanting all year. We want to be a better version of ourselves at this time of year. When I was growing up and living with my parents, my mom always hit an eventual and depressive funk after Christmas. Taking down the decorations to be put back into their dark corners of the attic for the next 11 months brought a gloom over my mom for the next few weeks. The darkness that accompanies the rest of the year was an unwelcome familiarity for her. When I got older and moved away, I began having these same melancholy feeling as I folded up the small set of string lights, I hung around my apartment window. They were not the extravagant show that I helped my brother string along our rooflines in our childhood, but they still had the same feelings of warmth, family, love, and hope that I experienced around the holidays. Granted, my family drives me crazy just as much as any other family, but I wouldn’t trade that feeling of getting a morning Christmas hug from my mother for anything else. The holidays are a time that no matter where we are in our lives, my siblings and I come together with our parents and enjoy merely being each other’s presence. This year, I put away my first tree and stockings that I shared with my husband. Our first Christmas as a married couple went off with any significant hick-ups and left only warm feelings and full bellies. The difference I noticed this year was that I was not sad to see the red, white, and silver decorations of my tree being packed away for their 11-month hibernation. I didn’t feel that pressure of sadness in my chest that I usually get as I squeezed the seemingly impossibly shaped tree into its small box. I was numb to it all. I didn’t think much of this numbness until my best friend mentioned that she too was done seeing Christmas—she welcomed the end of the season. It made me think about why I no longer felt that pang of heartache anymore. On my way to work, the first day back after a two-week holiday vacation, it came to me that I no longer have the optimism for the new year as I did in previous years. The glitter of Christmas lights was a signal that most people also have that feeling of camaraderie and betterment. Most everyone is in good moods because this time of year calls to be kind to one another and think of those that are less fortunate than themself. This idea carries us into the new year. Resolutions are an attempt to have that warm feeling of caring to be a launching pad for people to be more conscientious and improve ourselves. Now, I feel like the new year doesn’t have the same regenerative and “clean slate” feeling that it used to have. The phrase in the last few years, “New year, new you” has an empty meaning to it. Am I more cynical than my younger self? Perhaps. But I think it's because I now know as an adult that there are forces outside of myself that I'm concerned about, and I am no longer preoccupied with me as a singular person and more concerned with the outside world as a whole. The 2019 holiday season was suffocated by the weight of misfortune and distrust in the world. The news cycle constantly reminded us that Australia was (and still is) burning and debates as to whether the president has once again ignored the democratic process to cover his own ass. These and other all-around bad news, needless to say, gave me little hope that the situation of our world is repairable. Even the glinting, colorful houses lining streets was not enough of a distraction from the heaviness of the outside world. Every day I see a new cause that needs my attention, and knowing that there is little that I can do to help or stop these injustices is one of the most infuriating and frustrating feelings I experience. I wasn’t sad to put away my Christmas tree because I no longer have much hope for fighting for what I believe is right. I feel beaten down, hopeless, and helpless. The idea to be better and care for your fellow neighbor is no longer evident with how much division is in the world, and the holiday season was not enough to give me optimism and miss the higher point of the year. It felt like just any other part of another shitty year. I hate to feel like I have given up, but with the continual reminder that there is a good chance 45 could win another term and the democratic presidential candidates getting more vanilla and male by the day is disheartening. I don’t want to say that I have entirely given up. I see this extra-terrible time as the shitshow before it gets better, but I can’t help but ask, when does the better times start?
I am usually not one to share my thoughts about the closing of a year because I am so vocal about what I have been thinking throughout the year, that there is no point in repeating myself. However, this year was such a shit show in our political realm, I wanted to end the year on some things that I am looking forward to. 1. The things that I can control – Often I feel helpless and like my small voice has no say in the greater society. As a woman, I can say that this year has been particularly difficult seeing men who have been accused of sexual assault and other deplorable acts seemingly get away with it, and not only that, but reach high seats of esteem. Often this year I wanted to give up. But I have some hope knowing that Maxine Waters will be chair of the house financial services committee and perhaps pull in the reigns that the previous GOP leaders let go. But beyond our political landscape, I am looking forward to personal projects that I have been toiling over this past year. Starting in January, I will be holding monthly writing seminars through July and ending the year with writing workshops. I hope that the few who have already, and will, sign up, will be future voices that will be able to carve some space into the moral conscience that needs so much help in our world today. We need more voices to cast light upon injustices often ignored by the general public. I can do my part and share my advice as a writer to fellow writers who are trying to make a difference. Giving a voice to the voiceless has been one of my goals since joining my MA/MFA program, and I am looking forward to helping myself and others make their voice stronger. 2. How I communicate my beliefs to those close to me - Those who know me personally know that I have strong, and often immobile, sense of what is just. This past Thanksgiving, I spent the evening with my best friend and her family. My best friend’s cousin, who happens to be an only child, was finding it difficult to trust the people around the table while playing a game of Left-Right-Center. When one of the di fell to the ground by my feet, I retrieved the fallen piece in its upright and landed position. The cousin proceeded to declare that she did not believe me. My best-friend jumped in and in a stern but calm voice told her cousin that she had known me for seventeen years and has not known of any instance of me cheating, ever. My sense of fairness runs deep. However, in being so fair, I have made for some uncomfortable moments. Now, if you read my previous blog, you might be saying but isn’t that your whole thing? Well yes and no. I am definitely still going to hold my friends, family, and others accountable to their words and actions, but there is a way to do it, and I have not been the most sensitive when it comes to this. You cannot win over people, or even have them consider your argument, if you yell at them—which sis usually the route I go. I feel like this year has been a year of anger and frustration, but I think this is the moment when that anger and frustration needs to be appropriately channeled and communicated effectively; otherwise it will be another year of turning blue in the face with no real progress in the end. 3. Learning about other PoC – Since being in the realm of social justice, it is easy to see how injustices have affected my community, and you can get tunnel vision to your particular cause. The situation that is still happening at our southern border is enough to make me want to stay in bed. And I have tried to be more inclusive in my efforts by advocating for Black and LGBTQI rights. But there are other groups that I have to educate myself on and not forget are suffering also. Most recently I began following indigenous people on my social media. Those who I would suggest following today would be @misscorinne86, @lilnativeboy and @dallasgoldtooth. I am a benefactor of the European colonizers who came and nearly eradicated these people because of my light skin, but I recognize this and will try in any way that I can to bring up the voices from these communities. A part of being an ally is to elevate and help those you are trying to help, not stand in their spotlight and be a mouthpiece for them. So, I want to be a better ally to other communities this coming year too. I don’t want to think of these as any type of resolution or commitment in the new year. These are things that I have come to learn in another year of being on this earth. It is nothing new learned or anything revelatory in the whole of humanity, but they are things that I have picked up along the way of trying to leave this place better than when I found it. And that’s all I am trying to do with my time here.
We all need to be ok with being uncomfortable
I recently had an exchange with an acquaintance where I made them uncomfortable by stating my feelings on the pulling of "Baby It’s Cold Outside" from some radio stations. Where I made them uncomfortable was my reaction when they said come on, we’ve all tried to get laid and that they believe in freedom of speech. The social justice warrior in me snapped. Whether they were joking or not, I took their flippant attitude toward the creepy-ass lyrics, which have not aged well, as disturbing. I began to tell them that no, you should not pressure anyone into having sex and that using the freedom of speech argument does not apply here, because once you infringe on other people’s rights and safety, it is no longer freedom of speech. Hence the slippery slope of hate-speech. I was obviously becoming upset and recognized this, so I stopped the conversation by saying, “…I have made my peace, and I don’t want to talk about this anymore.” For me, that was the end of that. Later on, it came back to me that I made that person uncomfortable. To which I said, "So?" Now, I am not insensitive to the feelings of others or this person I particular, but everyone needs to be ok with the idea of being uncomfortable. I am not sure if you can imagine, but I am made uncomfortable all the time in several situations (most of my own doing because of interactions like the above) but also because I am open to people challenging my way of thinking (in a certain manner, I still have feelings myself). I have curated my social media to ensure that I follow some outspoken people of color; and when I say PoC I mean some radical indigenous rights and Black Latinx folks. As a white-passing woman of color, I am enlightened to some harmful ways of thinking that I have been unknowingly perpetuating. It’s hard not to feel embarrassed or uncomfortable when you are told that a certain way of thinking is not the greatest, and I am grateful for those moments. I am ok with being made uncomfortable. It means that I am learning something about myself and the greater world around me. Hell, if all of us were ok with being uncomfortable, the situation and treatment of immigrants at our border would be non-existent, right? That is what xenophobia is; fear of the unknown. In hindsight, yes, I could have handled the situation differently, I get it. I could have invited the person into a conversation as to why they thought that way, but instead, I pounced, immediately putting them off. But at the same time, I am not going to dance around topics like this because when is the “right” time to talk about them?
The Political is Personal—and yes I am judging you on your politics.
Usually, mid-term elections are quiet and come and go without much to consider (other than the fact that I live in the largest state [size wise] but with the lowest voter turnout in the nation). However, the national spotlight was turned south, as a caravan of Honduran migrants broke through the Mexican border, set on making its way to the U.S. This, in turn, stirred Trump to call for a potential border closing and sending 800 troops to the border. After that, bombs were sent to prominent Democrats from a radical Trump supporter from Florida. Last week, two Black people were murdered after a man failed to shoot Black churchgoers, and an anti-Semite killed 11 elderly practitioners.
Shortly after the shooting, some prominent voices heralded that the only way to end hate is with love. I have always had a problem accepting this idea. There was something that felt off-kilter in this sentiment. I thought maybe it was because I wanted to stew in my negative feelings without guilt in doing so. Or why should anger from someone who has been attacked be stifled? I never knew how I felt about this until I saw a post from @bad_dominicana and then I saw a similar sentiment from my friend about relationships being more important than politics. And you know what, let those people be angry and shun those who have chosen to harm a group of people physically. Physical and emotional duress is once again asked to be burdened upon marginalized groups. Eat shit and smile until you can change their heart is essentially what victims are told. It is hard to “love” someone when your existence is threatened every day. And this is not a paranoid delusion when hate crimes have sharply increased over the past two years, Jewish people being the most targeted group. And if you deny that this correlated to Trump's rhetoric, you are wrong, buddy.
What I am not saying is that those who have chosen violence should be given a cold middle-finger and stuffed into the recesses of a dark corner. But what I am saying is that it is not up to those who have been put in the crosshairs to “love” their attackers. And this is the same for putting politics aside to save a relationship, whether a family member, partner or neighbor. When you come from a community that has been reduced to being called animals, and treated as such (there are still fucking children in fucking cages!) there is no way that you can ask them to sit there and be polite as someone boasts Ted Cruz, or any Trump-supported republican when the majority in that party are trying to eradicate your existence and any possible voice and power that you may have with it.
Political affiliation is the first indicator as to what a person believes. And I cannot sit comfortably next to someone who chooses to vote for a party that is trying to widen the divide in the country. Trump’s calling for unity is forced and disingenuous, no matter how many times his speechwriter tells him to say it; his policies and impromptu rhetoric say otherwise. And single-issue voters are just as damaging too. Those voters are willing to let bad behavior slip because of one issue, and it's usually those issues (immigration, abortion) that are being used to distract from other significant topics.
The political is personal, and I will not put “politics” aside to avoid awkwardness. To ask a marginalized person to put politics aside is asking to put their whole person on hold, and history has already forced them to do that. So don't be surprised if I give you some side-eye if you say you voted one way, because you're voting to keep the status quo in power, and I want to disrupt it.
Tired. But we have to keep fighting, unfortunately.
I have been trying to figure out how to approach the utterly devastating confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Once again, I was wondering if there will ever be any progress for women in a country that has only repeatedly shown that it doesn’t care about us. I listen to NPR every morning, and the piece was asking both conservatives and liberals their motivation for voting in the midterms. One particular conservative’s response has stuck in my head. He said because he didn't like how the Democrats were trying to discredit a respected judge with no corroboration to Dr. Ford’s claims. I cannot help but want to pull my hair out hearing that statement. There was no corroboration of her statements because the Republicans did not allow a full investigation into the allegations. The Senate pretty much stifled any real probe because they produced a list of people who the FBI could talk to and it excluded key people who Ford mentioned. Of course, it could not be corroborated; there was no real investigation done. And that is why the majority of the democratic senators (screw you Manchin) and any sympathizer to Ford are so upset. There was no due diligence done in the investigation of Ford's claims, and it was at the hands of Republican senators (and one democratic traitor [Manchin]). The senators who voted for Kavanaugh do not care about women. Obviously, I and millions of others are upset about this confirmation. I texted my boyfriend shortly after I heard the news and began to spew my anger, hate, disappointment, and grief. I was once again mourning for the future; I have done so perhaps countless amounts of times with this administration. The weight of the decision was like having a 300 lb lineman barrel into my chest at full speed. I couldn’t breathe, I didn’t want to move. The fear of this decision knocked the air out of me. All I could do was spill every vulgarity to my boyfriend. And he didn't say the most comforting thing at the moment, but he perhaps said the right thing: "There's nothing we can do about it now…The decision has been made…Let's fuck shit up this midterm." And he is right. There is nothing that my rage as one person could do at that moment. Perhaps the most frustrating part of politics is that the only way to "punish" your reps is by voting them out, and in Texas, that is a sad realization since we have one of the lowest voter turnouts in the country. Not everything is bigger in Texas, apparently. And I am not hopeful for this mid-term, even though I desperately want my hometown underdog Beto O’Rourke to own Cruz; even with O’Rourke’s surge in popularity, the chances are looking slim. This is what I am hopeful for; that we progressives don’t lose our fire. Although it seems that the better part of humanity is losing to the underbelly of humanity, things get worse, before they can get better. And it only gets better if the trodden get back up and refuse to be silent, to be complacent, and to accept what they find unacceptable. We have to fight on. And I know that can sound like some mindless Romantic bullshit, but when has any positive change come from sitting down, being quiet, and accepting the shitty hand dealt? No matter how much I want to throw up my hands and just stop fighting, I can’t. It may take my lifetime to see any progress, but I’ll be damned if I don’t try my hardest to make it happen.
Too much to talk about. And that's the problem.
Too much to talk about, and that’s the problem. Over this past week I have been racking my brain as to what my next post was going to be about; not for lack of material, but because of the abundance: the Kavanaugh hearings, the misogyny associated with that; Kanye’s highly uneducated 13th amendment tweet, the unwarranted glorification of celebrity with that; Hispanic Heritage month, the fact that there are still caged children on the border, and much more. It’s a lot, and that is the exact problem. When you begin to see the social injustices of the world and dig a little deeper, all of them begin to reveal themselves to you. It’s like you become a magnet of misery, unable to resist the pull to it, and your empathy makes the pull even stronger. You want to pull away, but you care too much to look away. And that is the dilemma I have right now. As an advocate for social justice, some people tap me on the shoulder to have me weigh in on a debate or help clarify something. These people know that I care about the state of affairs and that I am also not shy about giving my opinion. What can be frustrating is when you don't weigh in on a particular subject, and someone calls you out for it. It's not that I don't care about the matter, it's the fact that I was focusing my energy on another equally important matter. This is what I explained to a friend who said that he wasn’t sure why BLM had not gone in to help Black people affected by hurricane Harvey. I had to tell them that wasn’t BLM’s focus; BLM is focusing on the disproportionate amount of Black people dying by the hands of police officers, not first responders to a natural disaster. Once I told him this, he saw BLM completely differently and understood why they were not at every event where Black people were suffering. If you spread your resources too thin, you are not effective in any area. And that is the same with what topic I decide to weigh in on. Unfortunately, there are too many things that need fixing to focus on. And sadly, often once you focus on the topic of the day, the current administration uses sleight of hand to try and pass .
Women, let's get angry.
I was recently sharing with a group of friends that (fortunately) another written work of mine was chosen for publication in a zine due to drop in September. When asked what the piece was about, I shared that it is about my frustration with the men in my life telling me to temper my language against the Trump administration. Some of the men have good intentions; others are just blindly defending their abhorrent leader. One could gather then that my piece is not on the cool, collected side of writing, nor was it meant to be. When I shared that bit of information, one of my friends made an excellent point; women are not allowed to be angry. The only time that women are portrayed to “rage,” as she put it, in movies and entertainment is when the woman’s child or child-like figure is threatened. Even badasses like Ripley from Alien doesn’t go full badass until Newt, who is not her child, is in danger. I noted this and anted her argument by adding when “their man” and their relationship is messed with also. Women are much more than children and men. We are our own persons without these two factors. This is still a difficult concept for many to comprehend and why I feel women are not allowed to be angry. I and the majority of women have plenty to be angry about. Even if you take out the factor that gets at me the most (45 and his crew of Cretans) there is still plenty that makes my temples pound at its very mention; I am not going to list them here because then I would write a whole book, but it comes down to a double standard. And it is a double standard that I have been especially aware of since reading Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls by Rachel Simmons. Simmons comes to the conclusion of the passive-aggressive tendencies in women to the fact that from a young age women are told to "be nice." This is in direct conflict when it comes to expressing feelings such as anger, frustration, and disappointment. Because of that suppression, these feelings than manifest as passive-aggressive tendencies and, as shown in the book, some of the manipulative and callous behaviors some women learn and use, and that some may never grow out of. I constantly think about this book, even reading the book nearly a decade ago. I found this idea especially poignant with the recent heated exchange during the U.S. Open between Serena Williams and the match’s umpire. Williams defended her ground and called out the umpire’s sexist behavior, which has now been officially recognized by the Women’s Tennis Association. But she was penalized for expressing her frustration like her male counterparts, but they were excused. The difference being she is a woman and not allowed to be expressive—the umpire wanted her to be nice. I am tired of being nice. Telling a woman to “be nice” is silencing her emotions and discrediting the situation. And even more so, you are asking to be nice is quelling any motivation to enact change. Women are angry because we want change. Whether the change is in our personal lives and relationships or large scale like government policies. So, I don’t know about y’all, but I am ready to unabashedly rage.
When should we give second chances?
I have been thinking a lot about now disgraced Guardians of the Galaxy director, James Gunn, and second chances. I, again, ruminated on his situation after seeing Robin Wright from House of Cards say that even her disgraced co-star deserves a second chance; one tweeted some off-color statements almost a decade ago, the other sexually assaulted vulnerable actors. And I have to say that I have hit a wall. I definitely feel that you cannot compare the person of today to the person of yesterday, because I am a firm believer that people change, especially in a decade, which is the case for Gunn, who was ultimately fired from his director’s chair for decade-old tweets. I know you cannot hold an older version of someone for comparison to who they are today because I know from personal experience, people change. I have grown exponentially as a person and even more so in the realm of social justice even in just a few years, let alone in a decade. But it took me recognizing my own biases and possible microaggressions toward people and being allowed to fumble to correct my path. I have grown out of prejudices that I learned as a child, and I am studying to be a proponent of people who are marginalized. I remember in elementary school, asking a black friend if I could touch her hair because I was innocently curious as children are, and when she declined my request, I reached out to touch it anyway. Looking back I see the multiple levels-of-wrong that I committed then, and I wouldn't even think to ask to do this now, because I have learned and read about black culture and satisfied any curiosity I had as a child. Nowadays we are quick to call out someone for their missteps, which I get, people at this point should know not to wear a culture as a costume, but by my own logic, I should side with Wright; perhaps Kevin Spacey is a different man than he was when those occurrences happened, but I don’t think he should get a second chance, because these are two different levels of inappropriateness. Making a tasteless joke is entirely different than assaulting someone. And I am having a hard time seeing Wright's perspective. Taking advantage of someone by using your position is wrong at any moment of time. But then again, so is making jokes about pedophilia and rape. Hence the wall I have hit. If we are not the same people we were two, five, ten years ago, when can we try and let someone prove themselves trustworthy again?
Dockless scooters in San Antonio; I see why Los Angeles might ban them.
I am not one for knocking any type of initiative for getting people more active in their city. San Antonio has embraced other initiatives like B-Cycle (now Swell) and hosts Siclovía in hopes of getting people either walking, roll-blading or cycling themselves around to feel more comfortable getting around with their physical bodies than just relying on a car. I love these ideas, they are great. But, I quickly saw why San Francisco banned these for a while, and now Los Angeles is considering doing the same thing. The debate over these comes down to the same argument: people are leaving the scooters haphazardly on sidewalks and the streets. I find this a valid complaint, not just because of people walking sidewalks, but because they are obstructing paths for people with limited mobility. It is easy for an able-bodied person to walk around or move these scooters out of the way, but what about the elderly who may not be strong or agile enough to move them, or for people in wheelchairs who would have a much more difficult time moving the scooter out of the way. I don't mind that San Antonio is encouraging this new and convenient mode of transportation, but some thought needs to be put into how we don't obstruct and impede areas for those of limited mobility. Be courteous of these folks until San Antonio can figure out how to fully implement these scooters as it did with bicycle dock stations.
Why start a blog?
I have to be honest and say that I am not sure what I want this blog to be. For the most part, it will be a place where I share just a tad more about my thoughts and ideas on current events, and share those things that just pop into my head (like how I feel about those dockless scooters around downtown and Southtown). A lot of what I write will be related to social justice because that is needed today. Call me a social justice warrior, a snowflake if you want—I don’t care. This is probably not the space for you if you use those terms in a derogatory way. But I am not here to please anyone. I have a concern about today's social and political climate that I feel writing is the best way for me to understand and digest what is happening without the flurry of chaos that can come with a Facebook post. If the thought of trying to figure this new world seems interesting to you, then you are in the right place. A lot of this will probably be me figuring out my own biases and how to cope with that. Because if there is one thing I have learned, people change, nothing is permanent. I am learning new ideologies and viewpoints all the time. And isn't that really what the human experience is