Friday, November 9, 2018

No country for white, Christian men (and the women who make excuses for them)

We're on fire right now.

Proceed at your own risk...

The other day on Facebook I rather succinctly explained how much I despise Florida. There were a lot of F-bombs thrown. The only thing good about Florida, I said, is the wildlife (excluding roaches!). I was so worked up, the only bad things I could think about, besides the racists, were the heat and the sweat. I was bitterly disappointed with the way the election had turned out--Florida, yet again in the suffocating red--that I couldn't think straight. (Granted, the November heat of this gods-forsaken place could have had something to do with it. Seriously, it's November already. Where's the cold? There is no cold. There won't be any cold.)

I'm still not a Democrat. I have no party affiliation. I used to think that meant I was a thinking person. But apparently crazy right-wing whackos can claim NPA, too. I learned that shortly before the election when I encountered one. He claimed he didn't read any news (because I accused him of being a FOXNews idiot) and yet he parroted a bunch of right-wing conspiracy theories that he must have gotten from somewhere. Or do these ideas travel from dimwit to dimwit via some sort of bigot meme highway?

Anyway, I say I'm not a Democrat, just so you don't think I've been staunchly liberal my entire life and am just pissed that "my side" didn't win. Nope. I've always been--before now--one of those people who votes for whomever she thinks is best.* Well, not anymore. I will never vote for a Republican again.

Only recently my brother decided to "come out" on Facebook to all of his racist, right-wing, Trump supporting high school friends (and hence, people I also know) as a Democrat. It did not go well. I'd already unfriended most of them, but there were a few that now needed the extra thump of blocking. One woman even said "FAKE NEWS!" In all caps, just like that. Crazy.

[No, really, this needs more...I called Donald Trump a bigot (among other things) and she asked for proof. So I linked to an article that listed things he's done, mostly with his business, that are racist. And naturally, she couldn't accept it, because it wasn't FOXNews. Jesus H. Christ, this is madness.]

Anyway, politically speaking (and no doubt in many other ways), Florida, thus far, proves itself once again the flaccid penis of the country. DeSantis? Rick Scott? Are you kidding me?

So, you get that I've been angry, right? And today, I had the pleasure of reading an essay by social worker Michelle Martin, "Explaining Donald Trump (and his supporters)." It's worth the read, but don't get too attached. She does an excellent job in explaining them. This bit stands out:

[R]ight-wing populists yearn for the "good old days," often called the "mythical golden past." This is particularly the case for older white men, and it's also the reason why the slogan "Make America Great Again" has resonated so strongly. They embrace traditional values, including traditional gender norms and roles, including patriarchy (men on top), traditional social hierarchies (white men on top), and traditional religious practice (Christian white men on top). 

The truth, and she only slightly sidesteps it, is that these people are racists. 

But she falls short when she starts talking about compassion. 

I know it seems crazy for me to ask people to have a little compassion for Trump supporters, but that is ultimately what I'm asking. I also know it's difficult for progressives to have any sympathy for people who often embrace racially divisive rhetoric, who defend immigrant kids in cages, who mock sexual assault survivors, and who champion (even covertly) people who walk down the street carrying torches while screaming white nationalist slogans. But their reality really is frightening, for them. And people typically act in the most extreme ways when they believe--when they know, that their way of life is ending.

Yes, it seems crazy. Because it is crazy. Yes, their way of life is ending. But it's been ending for a long time. And Martin admits as much in her penultimate paragraph. People of color, from native Americans to blacks, Asians, Latinos, etc. (We could include any caucasian populations the "White, Christian 'Murican Patriots" despised when they arrived on our shores--the Irish, for example--but they've finally been accepted because you know...the paleness of their skin is all that matters in the long run) have been waiting all this time for white, Christian America to grow up already.

These people do not deserve compassion. They deserve our contempt for clinging to their myth of superiority; for claiming a status they did not earn; for their cowardly acts of violence against enemies they created solely for the purpose of having someone on which to vent their comical rage at their own impotence (acts as subtle as a snub and as blatant as murder); and for their refusal to evolve with the rest of humanity, their refusal to turn away from hate and cruelty.


They are like vicious dogs. They've been trained to froth at the mouth and bark, sometimes attack. But unlike dogs, they are immune to love and kindness, to compassion, because they are warped. They can't be "un-trained" because they refuse to look at reality. They've created their own anti-reality, their own news and alternative facts, their own monsters, their own narrative in which they are heroes. 

But the rest of us know the truth: As Martin says, "Their way of life is ending. " The world is leaving them behind. 

Good riddance!

*About those ridiculous memes going around about how you're so adult because you choose a candidate based on his fitness for the job as opposed to party. You know, that was all well and good back in the day, before the Republican party slid into fascism. Now, it  just makes you look like the bystanders watching as the Jews were marched into the camps. You're not an adult. You're complicit.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

That week in which I was forbidden to write...

Door to an alley in Downtown Melbourne, FL

It was suggested to me that I try an experiment in which I could not write for an entire week.

Why would anyone suggest such a thing? Well, because I was struggling with writing. I have an office in my home where I write and sew. Once sitting at my desk in front of the screen, writing isn't too much of a problem for a few minutes. But after writing a scene or working on a short story, the impulse to flee overwhelms me and I do just that.

Mostly, though, I can't even get myself to sit at the desk. There's something terrifying about it.

Close up of the horizon at Playa Linda Beach, FL
It looks, from a distance, like a strip of land; but it's enormous waves.

A lot of people would call this writer's block, but I disagree. I don't think I'm blocked at all. I have no problem writing words. I just can't seem to do it for very long before I run away. But worse, I have an intense aversion to giving myself the chance.

No. It's not writer's block. It's a complex set of emotions that have me doubting whether or not writing is really the best way to spend my time.

When I started out on this journey, I was filled with enthusiasm and expectations. Those expectations weren't met. And...well, while I have garnered some awards and great reviews, I've also been judged harshly. This putting oneself out there isn't easy for a person like me. I guess, instead of giving a big middle finger to the world in the face of unmet desires, I retreated.

And as I retreated, I put pressure on myself to forge ahead. The result has been a stalemate.

So, a week in which writing was off the table! How'd that turn out, you might wonder. It was AWESOME! No stress! But not only did I not write, I also slacked off on all the areas in my life in which I'd been trying improve myself, or fix myself.

I ate whatever the hell I wanted all week! Some days I had dessert twice! Big desserts! I didn't even think about exercising. There are other areas I won't mention because they're none of your business. But I was free of pressure all week and it was glorious!

This week, I've been considering what it all means. I'm still unsure. I think it might mean that I need to let up on myself. But letting up on myself might mean not being very productive. I want to be productive. And hence...the pressure reasserts itself.

Snowy egret. Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.

There are a lot of things I wish for. One of them is for a different beginning, a different childhood, different parents. A different me. A me who values herself and her work. I'm not sure that's possible while those parents are in my head, floating around, waiting to pop up now and then to remind me...

I need a refuge. There was a time I thought that refuge was my work. But my solace was invaded by doubts and fears. I can create another refuge, perhaps, but it could never be what writing was. I am writing. I have been writing all my life. Writing was the way I navigated my perilous world. No. Writing is my refuge and I will just have to take it back. I will have to tear into it and thrash about until those doubts and fears run from the cave in wild terror and harbor in the kitchen where they belong.