One of the more frustrating aspects of Donald Trump’s recent fascist maneuver of trying to hold 3700 migrant children for ransom so he can manipulate Congress into giving him money to build his ridiculous wall, is the inane conversations that continually erupt on social media where white-entitlement combines with The Dunning-Kruger Effect and statements such as
“They shouldn’t have come here illegally and this wouldn’t have happened.”
“Why weren’t you complaining when Obama was doing the same thing?”
are spewed forth ad nauseum by the informationally-impaired eager to regurgitate some alt-right propaganda they have mistaken for news.
Donald Trump “loves the poorly educated.” And they love him too.
In fact some of them will even defend him when he puts children in concentration camps.
I am discouraged by this America. It does not look like the America I fell in love with. I was lead to believe that this was a country of immigrants, where a family could escape destitution and work hard to provide a life for their loved ones. This was a luxury afforded my ancestors, but apparently has been rescinded for my generation. Who knew that “give me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” had an expiration date. I never thought America was about separating families. This doesn’t feel like America. This feels like something else.
As it turns out there is a price to be paid for funneling 200 channels of reality TV into American homes while our education system simultaneously falls behind the rest of the developed world. Decades of Fox News propaganda consumed by brain-dead zombies fueled by chemical laden processed food has created a form of super-mutant that is impervious to facts and incapable of critical thinking.
George Orwell was right.
He just missed it by a couple of decades.
Still there are those Americans who justify this atrocity by repeatedly uttering
“Oh, but it was okay when Obama did it!?”
First off, no, it was “not okay when Obama did it.” Believe it or not, opposing Trump does not mean that one automatically sides with Obama. Your black and white thinking on this matter exposes some things about your character. It is entirely possible to oppose Trump’s immigration policy while previously having opposed Obama’s immigration policy.
These two things are not connected.
If a man cheats on his wife he cannot use the defense that her last husband also cheated on her. This is simply not a logical argument and will not make the wife feel any better. While I am aware that this failed argument is designed to point out the hypocrisy and identity politics that plague The Left, this straw man argument detracts attention away from the fact that right now, in real time, the President of the United States is holding children hostage and using them as a bargaining chip to build a wall simply to appease his base, because he knows that without the wall he stands zero chance at reelection.
The statement “Well Obama did it first.” and all it’s variants is logically flawed on every level. If Obama actually did take similar actions then why would you support the mimicking of the actions of a man you are so steadfastly against? If “Obama destroyed America” then why applaud Trump for copying his playbook? Oh, but we aren’t big on logic, are we? This is what happens when Americans isolate themselves inside of a social media echo-chamber. This is a danger we never predicted. Social media was supposed to bring us together. But politically it is tearing us apart.
Let’s examine the facts on Obama’s deportation policy vs Trump’s. Part of the Trump administration’s strategy is to simply tell lies about the previous administration, so it is understandable that you will have people believing that Trump is simply doing what Obama did. After all, this is what the administration and Fox News is telling them. But the facts of the matter are that Obama did not employ the practice of separating children and parents. It simply was not part of his immigration strategy. I am aware that there are people on the internet who post pictures of children in cages and say that this happened on Obama’s watch but it simply did not and there are no records of it happening in this manner. For all my criticisms of Barack Obama, he did not put children in concentration camps.
“But Obama’s nickname was Deporter in Chief. He deported more people than any president in history.”
This statement is both true and false. A simple understanding of recent historical events will elucidate the confusion behind this common fallacy. Obama inherited a new immigration policy implemented during the last year of the Bush administration. Prior to this policy change, migrants caught entering the country illegally were simply returned to border as part of a “catch and release” program that saved the government time, money and paperwork. The new Bush era policy commanded that all illegal migrants be arrested, fingerprinted and processed, before being released back at the border.
In other words, Obama’s administration was the first full administration to keep records of these events in this manner. The previous administration’s numbers had been artificially deflated. Obama actually deported fewer people than the Bush and Clinton administrations before him. Not because Obama was such a good liberal. The deportations numbers were down simply because living conditions had improved in Mexico while simultaneously deteriorating in the US.
There just aren’t as many opportunities in America as there used to be.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
A friend of mine stopped by my house recently.
She was scared.
My friend was born male, but now identifies as female.
“I’ve only recently began to be able to walk down the street. I fear that if Donald Trump becomes president, then it will become open season on people like me.”
Our house is a safe haven in the middle of Indiana, a state which is anything but safe for people who are different.
There is a rainbow flag in the window and a Bernie Sanders sign in the yard.
Although my politics fall to the extreme left, I am no idealist.
I believe strongly that we should always attempt to use peaceful means to resolve conflict.
But I know that we must also take extreme measures to insure our freedoms from those who seek to limit them.
I live in the birthplace of the KKK.
It always takes bravery to be one’s self.
But let’s be real.
It takes more bravery to be like my friend than it does to be like me.
My friend is right to be afraid of violence under a Trump presidency.
We’ve seen the rallies and we’ve heard the hate-speech.
“You’ll be okay” I told her “I’ve got your back.”
And then I added…
“Millions of people have your back.”
I live in a state where Mike Pence was the governor.
He passed laws making it legal for businesses to discriminate against members of the LBGT+ community and he passed laws discriminating against a woman’s right to choose.
We worked tirelessly to get a Pathway to Citizenship referendum passed, but our representatives would hide in their offices and refuse to meet with us.
But our problems are not unique to the Midwest.
And Donald Trump has not limited his hate-speech to members of just one community.
He has made hateful comments and threats to members of the Hispanic community, Blacks, Jews, women, Muslims and the differently-abled.
It is my belief that his nomination to the presidency will give rise to hate in America.
It is my belief that bigots of all varieties will feel emboldened by his ignorance and subsequent rise to power.
It is my belief that school-yard bullies and cowards of all stripes will feel that hate is not only acceptable, but rewarded.
What is a small child to think when they see that someone can stand on a podium and make hateful remarks and then this person can be rewarded to the extent that they are made the most powerful person on Earth?
A dangerous precedent has been set…
And it is up to us to fight every battle that will come our way during the next four years.
If you call yourself a Progressive then I am calling on you to prove it each and every time you see discrimination.
I am asking you to be a warrior.
I believe with all my heart that this is the duty of every American.
I’ve been all over this country and met tons of Trump supporters.
By and large they are good people.
Most of them are people who have worked hard their entire lives and they have watched their jobs get shipped overseas by trade agreements that hurt the American people.
Many of them lost their houses to a corrupt banking system and these same people are now paying for the bank bailout.
I want to be careful to not encourage the media’s portrayal of the Trump supporter as a dangerous and armed White Supremacist, but at the same time it is important to point out that some of Trump’s support actually comes from this small segment of our population and these people are potentially very dangerous.
It is our job to speak out when and where we see discrimination.
When I use the phrase A Call to Arms I do not mean that we take up firearms.
I sincerely hope that it will never come to that.
I am speaking instead of a much more effective means of fighting.
I am referring to compassion and activism.
I am asking everyone who reads this to be an ally every day in every way that life presents to you.
And I am asking you to look for new opportunities to be brave in a world that is often hostile.
Most of you reading this are more than likely already doing amazing things in your communities.
I applaud you and ask that you hold these questions in the front of your mind…
“What can I do to help the cause of equality?”
“What can I do to make the world a better place?”
In the past year we have learned, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that our country has a long way to go to reach equality for all of its citizens.
Some might view Trump’s election and candidacy as a setback to this cause.
Perhaps it is.
But at least the hatred is out in the open now.
Now we know what we are dealing with.
It is the duty of all good people to go above and beyond.
When millions of people stand together..
By signing in the comments below and sharing this article with a friend you agree to do the following, as well as millions of other creative acts of kindness.
I promise to smile and speak to people.
I promise to feed those who are hungry.
I promise to speak out against discrimination anywhere and everywhere I see it.
I promise to fight any and all legislation that attempts to legalize hate.
I solemnly swear to defend women’s reproductive rights.
I promise to comfort victims.
I will attend rallies and protests for minority and women’s rights.
I will compassionately educate those with small minds.
I will listen to people and consider their points of view.
I will be slow to anger and quick to forgive.
I will not name-call, fat shame, slut-shame or engage in any other form of discrimination against people based on religion (or lack thereof), appearance or ethnicity.
I will abstain from supporting corporations that do not promote Progressive values.
I will do anonymous good deeds and random acts of kindness.
I will call and write my elected officials and tell them what legislation is important to me.
I will rally people together to vote out politicians who do not support my values.
I will be kind to animals and children.
I will assist the disabled and the elderly.
I will fight for a pathway to citizenship, so that all people who want to truly “make America great again” can come and contribute to our society.
I will treat those in the service industry with kindness and respect.
I will make eye contact and ask people how their day is.
I will listen.
I will fight against pre-programmed knee-jerk reactions.
I will love people.
Not just those who are easy to love…
But all people.
I will make the world a better place.
I will be an ally to anyone who needs it.
I want to make this page a place where people can celebrate compassion and diversity.
I want to encourage people to come here and share stories of times when you stood up for something good.
Don’t look at it as bragging.
It helps people to be able to read your stories.
It inspires them to take their own giant steps.
It inspires others to be brave.
Thank you for participating in my project.
Love to you all.
Michael is an activist, an ally and an independent writer. If you believe in his work and his mission you can support it by donating $1 HERE. He will probably use it to create a sign for a protest or some other crazy liberal activity.
THE VERMONT BERNIE SANDERS WRITE-IN IS STILL ON AND WE ENCOURAGE ALL PEOPLE WHO ARE UNHAPPY WITH THEIR BALLOT CHOICES TO WRITE-IN BERNIE SANDERS NAME AS A MEANS OF PROTESTING THIS RIGGED ELECTION.
Here is the original story, with the false quote removed.
It’s a chilly overcast day here in Indiana and I just received some news that was kind of devastating.
And just to be clear, it was politically devastating, not REAL LIFE devastating.
Everyone in our home is happy and healthy, as we all grope along slowly, trying to deal with the craziness that life throws at us from day-to-day.
My family is giving me a lot of space.
Occasionally Carrie comes up to me and squeezes my shoulder and then drifts away.
They know how I am.
They know how personally I take all of this.
I drove to the coffee shop with my laptop and sat down to break the news, tears resting just behind my eyes.
My lap-top is covered in “Ask me about Bernie Sanders” stickers.
As I opened it up, a little black boy came up to me, maybe 10 years old and said..
“I’m mad about Bernie!!”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“I’m mad that he’s not in the election anymore. I love Bernie Sanders. I’m mad about it!!”
As I fought back tears, I was able to choke out an ironic smile, swallow hard and find the words..
“I’m mad too.” I said.
I was hesitant to tell you about the little kid, because it sounds made up, but that really happened to me, just now, sitting here in Indiana and I know it’s politically incorrect to point out that the kid was black, but that’s relevant to me for a million tiny reasons.
Because wasn’t that one of the lies they told about Bernie?
They said that black people didn’t like him.
They said it was just a bunch of young white kids and that our movement wasn’t real.
So when a little black boy in Indiana comes up to me and says that he is “Mad about Bernie.” it means something to me.
It’s why I scrapped the entire opening to this article and just wrote down what happened instead.
Because “I’m mad about Bernie.” too.
I’m really incredibly angry about it.
And it sucks to see our voices taken from us.
And it sucks to see our movement divided and watered down.
And it sucks to be told a million times a day that I should vote for Hillary Clinton because that’s what Bernie asked me to do or that I should “grow a spine” and vote for Jill Stein because she has a “similar platform”, never mind that one candidate cheated millions of people who I care about out of a fair election and the other is running a campaign that is simply not very organized and not nearly as effective as it could have been.
But all of that will shake out on November 8 and I still have not even begun to explain why my heart is spinning at 33 1/3 rpm today…
Today we were headed to Vermont to canvass for Bernie Sanders.
A few weeks ago I wrote a quirky little article about how Bernie Sanders could win Vermont and theoretically throw the election into the House of Representatives, force a second round of voting and then have the new House vote him in to become the President of the United States.
My article just called people to action and the idea spread more rapidly than I ever thought possible.
I did a lot of research before I wrote the article and if you understand the intricacies of how the House would have most-likely voted, you would have seen that Sanders had a way better chance of winning this way, than I initially stated.
I’m incredibly honored that so many people read the article.
My goal is to be an activist writer.
I want to develop a large enough group that we can direct our legions correcting the injustices we see in our country.
I want the establishment to fear our collective voice.
I want to carry on Sanders’ movement through collective activism and apparently it’s working, because in between the thousands of people telling us we could never do it, other people started to actually volunteer.
We worked hard behind the scenes in hidden Internet groups, screening out potential saboteurs and checking people’s past volunteering to see if they were legitimate.
We were actually concerned about the Clinton campaign finding out about our movement and trying to block it. In fact there were a few people who contacted us asking questions, pretending to be volunteers, that actually worked for the Democratic Party.
It was pretty exciting, being in a secret underground movement, but also it produced a lot of anxiety.
On top of dealing with fears of Clinton sabotaging our efforts, we were getting tons of anger from Jill Stein supporters, which was really frustrating seems how we ARE(!!) Jill Stein supporters and our movement’s official position was to encourage people to vote Stein in every state but Vermont, a state with only a few hundred thousand voters, specifically targeted as to NOT interfere with our goal to get Jill to 5% nationally, so the Green Party would get federal funding in the next election cycle!!!
We were getting attacked from all sides, which of course meant that we were actually onto something, but it was also very stressful.
But we ventured forth, thanks to our incredible team of volunteers.
We actually developed a cool little system where we would coordinate traveling canvassers with Vermont residents for shelter, someone wrote a phone-banking program that was just as good as the one we used on Bernie’s site and imported every phone-number in Vermont into it…
And PEOPLE WERE ACTUALLY PHONE-BANKING!!!
We had an amazing canvassing coordinator on the ground in Burlington and others en route from around the country to help knock on doors.
We even had The Washington Post flying into Burlington to write a story about our initiative.
We had well-written, simple to understand, literature to pass out to people and most importantly we had an incredibly high success rate of voter conversion.
40% of the people we spoke to in Vermont preferred writing-in Bernie Sanders over voting for any other candidate!!
Our movement was peaking at just the right time.
Our goal was to get the population converted in the last week before the election, so that the Clinton campaign wouldn’t have time to react.
Everything was perfect!!
Except for one thing..
Bernie didn’t want it.
He told us so.
And although I am rebelling against Bernie in my refusal to vote for Hillary Clinton, I really don’t feel comfortable showing up in his back yard and pissing him off.
If Bernie Sanders yelled at me, I’m pretty sure I would burst into tears.
To be honest, Bernie didn’t tell us.
It was Jane who told us that Bernie doesn’t want this.
Our canvassing trainer has been close friends with Bernie and Jane for her entire life.
So even though she was out canvassing with her team and getting positive responses, in her heart, a feeling of dread was growing.
“What if Bernie didn’t appreciate what we were doing? What if her lifetime friend became upset with her over our ‘gift’?”
Last week, she shared these fears with me and said that she wanted to talk to Bernie about this before we went any further.
I told her that Bernie would be forced to stand against our movement, due to his position with the DNC and I asked her if she would be willing to speak with Jane Sanders instead.
She agreed and headed over to visit Jane on Sunday afternoon, as I sat here in Indianapolis, with my traveling canvassing crew (my poor kids and my incredibly patient girlfriend) waiting to hear if we were hitting the road or not.
Here is what she said…
(THIS SECTION HAS BEEN REMOVED. PREVIOUSLY THIS WAS A SUMMATION OF A MESSAGE THAT OUR CANVASSING COORDINATOR, NICOLE GUERIN IN VERMONT HAD SENT ME THAT BASICALLY SAID THAT JANE SANDERS WAS ASKING US TO STOP OUR WRITE-IN CAMPAIGN FOR BERNIE SANDERS.
JANE SANDERS HAS SINCE TWEETED AND DENIED THAT THIS CONVERSATION EVER HAPPENED!!
I APOLOGIZE TO JANE FOR OUR SOURCE BEING INCORRECT.
I DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT IS GOING ON AT THIS TIME.
AS EVENT COME TO LIGHT OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS AND WE FIND OUT MORE, ALL WILL BE REVEALED.
AT THIS TIME IT SEEMS THAT OUR ORGANIZATION WAS INFILTRATED BY THE MEMBER OF A RIVAL CANDIDATE IN AN ATTEMPT TO SABOTAGE OUR WRITE-IN CAMPAIGN.
WE WILL KNOW MORE IN THE COMING DAYS.)
So that’s that.
We offered a gift that is not wanted.
We are trying to force something that is not there.
We are misguided in our efforts.
I’ve had so much anxiety about traveling to Vermont.
All these canvassing trips we made in the past year scared the hell out of me and I thought we were done with it.
I was hoping to move into the acceptance phase of my grief and here I was heading out to canvass for Bernie one last time, reopening the wound.
But he doesn’t want it.
At a certain point I have to accept that I am just a crazy person when the very person I’m fighting for tells me that my methods are not a good idea.
Activism without proper guidance is destructive.
The road to hell being paved with good intentions and all..
So we unloaded the car.
We aren’t going to Vermont.
Everyone is relieved and sad.
Because this is more than just the end of our crazy little movement.
This is the end of the denial phase of my grief.
Bernie Sanders isn’t going to be President and “I’m mad about it.”
But I’m also incredibly sad about it and I know that you are too.
Or maybe you are of the mindset that Jill Stein will save us.
I’m envious of you if you believe that.
I once believed it too.
But those feelings will have to be addressed in another article.
For now, I will just say that I really think you should vote for Jill Stein if you believe in her platform.
And if you really want to write Bernie in, then it’s your vote.
But he would prefer that you didn’t.
And whomever you vote for, I beg you to stop fighting with others who see things differently from you.
The woman who picks up my kids for school every morning is voting for Hillary Clinton.
We have a system.
She drops them off in the morning.
I pick them up in the afternoon.
It saves both of us money and it lessens our carbon footprint.
Because, you know, we care about those things, being as we are both liberals and all.
Did I mention that this woman is voting for Hillary Clinton?
And I don’t trust just anyone with my kids.
My friend is incredibly trustworthy.
She’s an awesome human being and I care very deeply about her.
We’ve been close for a long time.
We watched each other’s kids grow up.
She’s like a member of my family and I’m like a member of hers.
I love my friend.
Did I mention that she is voting for Hillary Clinton?
Yeah. I know, right? What’s up with that?
I mean, how can you be a decent human being and support someone who is pure evil?
I was wondering that as well.
So I asked her.
You might imagine that my friend was once a Bernie supporter and now she is following Sanders’ request to vote for Hillary to defeat the evil Donald Trump.
You might imagine that she is “holding her nose and voting for Hillary”.
You might imagine that, being as she is such a close friend of mine, that she actually hates Hillary Clinton, but is just falling on the grenade to keep the Supreme Court from being all up in her uterus for the next 40 years.
You’d be wrong.
She’s freaking crazy about Hillary Clinton!!
My friend works for the government and has been following Clinton for years.
When she lived in D.C. she actually met Hillary and shook her hand.
She has a Hillary sign in her front yard!!
She used to hide it when I came over, but then I told her…
“I don’t hide my Bernie sign. You don’t need to hide your Hillary sign.”
Before our state’s primary (which Bernie won) I made several efforts to speak with my friend about Bernie Sanders, but she became upset each time and for a while she stopped speaking to me altogether.
That was probably for the best.
It probably saved our friendship.
I’m kind of radical about Bernie Sanders.
After Bernie dropped out and endorsed Hillary (GRRRRR!!!), I asked her if she was ready to have The Talk, the talk that ALL Sanders supporters must have with their Hillary friend(s) if there is any hope of the friendship returning to its previous form.
There are YUGE fundamental differences between Sanders supporters and Clinton supporters.
I can be friends with anyone, but if you vote for Hillary Clinton, then there is always going to be an elephant (or a donkey) in the room of our friendship and we are going to have to talk about it.
Because on the surface it would seem that I am in support of universal healthcare and you oppose it and the idea that poor people don’t deserve the same rights as the wealthy is deeply offensive to me.
Without sitting down with you, I would probably never be able to understand how you support fracking, when I am so radically opposed to it.
I’m going to need to hear your thoughts on this.
As a Clinton supporter, I would gather that you support big corporations running our government and I am violently in opposition to this above all, so I’d like to hear your reasoning on that subject as well.
Also, I’d love to hear your thinking on why you believe that it’s okay to lie to the American people repeatedly and hide your Wall Street transcripts, because I know that you are a super-smart person and I’ve always thought of you as extremely ethical.
And I know that you don’t want to see our children murdered in some billionaire’s war, so why is it that you support a candidate who wants to install a no-fly zone over Syria, a move that will likely lead to war with Russia.
I mean, you knew about all these things, right?
You have the Internet and know how to use a search engine, right?
And you actually want to know the policies of the person you are voting for, right?
I don’t want to overwhelm you.
I’ve got literally hundreds of concerns about your candidate and I need to know how you can feel good about voting for a woman who takes millions from the fossil-fuel industry and has no real plan to deal with climate change.
So can we talk?
Because right now, I’m feeling like I don’t even know you.
And I’d hate to let something as trivial as the fate of the entire world come between us.
Like I said, my friend is awesome.
She invited me over..
She was very cordial…
She poured the wine..
And we talked.
My friend agreed that healthcare is a right, not a privilege.
“So why didn’t you vote for Bernie?” I asked.
“Because Hillary is fighting for universal healthcare too.”
“No, she isn’t! In fact she said that it would NEVER happen!”
“She NEVER said that!”
I obnoxiously pulled out my phone and showed her the video.
“Well it must be out of context. Hillary would NEVER say that. Look, my main reason for supporting Hillary is that she supports equality for women. Women do not get equal pay and Hillary will address that, as well as other important women’s issues.”
I thought about bringing up Berta Caceres and other women who died as a result of Hillary’s foreign policy.
I thought about Jill Stein’s brilliant argument that when you make things harder on poor people, that you disproportionately hurt women.
I thought about Camille Paglia‘s points about how Hillary is anti-feminist and Bernie Sanders is a true feminist.
Finally I said…
“Then why did she pay her female employees .72 on the dollar compared to her male employees when she was Secretary of State?”
“No she DID NOT!!” my friend exclaimed.
“Would you like to see the evidence?”
“No, because it never happened.”
“It will take me five seconds.”
“I’ll research it on my own.”
“Will you?” I asked.
“No. Because it never happened.” she said.
We moved on to discussing TPP.
“Oh yeah! Hillary’s against that!” my friend said.
“She co-wrote it and toured the world selling it to other countries!!”
“But then she realized that it was a bad trade agreement and she came out against it.”
“Publicly, she did, but there are emails showing her pressuring Democratic Congressional members to pass it and then Obama sealed the emails, but I have the articles. Would you like to see them?”
“I don’t believe that, Michael.” she said exasperated.
“Well I have proof. Would you like to see it?”
“I’ll look it up on my own sometime.”
“Well you won’t find it on corporate media. Obama sealed the emails.”
“I just don’t believe that, Michael.”
“Okay fine. A year from now, when she is trying to push it through, I’m coming over.”
“Fine. You do that.”
“Good for you.”
“Bad for America. I won’t be happy when I’m right.”
The conversation went on like this for a while.
I talked policy and my friend agreed that Bernie’s policy was perfect, but then told me that Hillary supported the same policy.
When I tried to show her evidence that this was not true, she had no interest in looking at it.
She repeatedly regaled me with stories of how Hillary had overcome tough obstacles in her life.
There was the time when Bill had ran for some office and lost and became depressed and wasn’t bringing home any income, so Hillary had to take a job she didn’t like to support Chelsea.
It was as if she thought Hillary was waiting tables during the day and pole-dancing at night.
She truly believed that Hillary Clinton was some kind of rags to riches story.
To her, Hillary was the American dream wrapped in a pantsuit.
“Where did you get these stories?” I asked.
“Oh, I read her book.” she said.
“Oh, okay.” I said.
And there we sat, wasting time, speaking different languages.
I get my news from The Intercept and The Guardian.
She gets hers from CNN.
There was no Lexis…no common ground.
She thinks I’m a Bernie-bro and I think she is uninformed.
What it really comes down to is that my friend sees herself in Hillary Clinton and that’s why she voted for her and will do so again and no amount of inconvenient facts will deter her.
It’s more about identity politics, than policy and there is some kind of sorting device that rest just inside the ear of the Hillary Clinton supporter that takes all criticisms against her and files them into one of two categories.
Either they are right-wing conspiracies designed to take down this model of feminism or Hillary actually did it, but “sometimes women just have to do things that they don’t want to for the greater good.”
With this line of thinking, Clinton is always the hero or the victim.
She has fostered some kind of faux feminism that pulls in angry women of a certain age, who feel like they have lived similar lives.
Never mind that Clinton wouldn’t throw her Fiji water on my friend if she were on fire.
My friend is convinced that Hillary’s fake victory is somehow HER victory.
Just as your ignorant, racist uncle has been duped into believing that billionaire, Donald Trump truly understands his problems, millions of mildly annoyed suburban women will proudly march into the voting booth and fill in that little oval unknowingly supporting genocide abroad and feel like they are true feminists.
And while I love my friend and would do anything for her, I probably won’t ever completely get over this.
Every time I see Hillary ship more young people off to die and murder the innocent for financial gain, I will think of my friend.
When I see trade agreements pass that will continue to destroy the middle-class and ship American jobs overseas, I will think of my friend.
And each time I see Hillary lie, I will think about how my friend is eating up that lie and enjoying it, because it makes her feel good about the choice she made to support women everywhere.
Alas, despite differences in politics, I am grateful for my friend.
I am grateful for the insight she gives me into the mind of the Hillary Clinton supporter.
She’s a really good person.
It’s just that she has chosen to stay ignorant on this one subject that is very important to me.
And considering how miserable this entire election has been..
I almost wish that I had chosen that path as well.
Some asshole stole my Bernie Sanders yard sign last night. That’s number eight. I’ve got one more around somewhere. I used to have a trunk full of them. I would knock on your door, some crazy forty-year old guy, with shaggy hair. You’d tell me that you were planning to vote for Hillary Clinton, we’d talk for 15 or 20 minutes and at the end of our conversation, I’d get one of those signs out of my trunk and we’d plant it in your yard and you’d be excited about it.
I take no credit for this. It wasn’t like I was some great salesman. I just memorized the facts and had a conversation and my new friend just came to the logical conclusion that Bernie Sanders was a much better candidate than Hillary Clinton on every level. Once you had heard the gospel according to Bernie Sanders, you were kind of embarrassed that you had ever even considered voting for Sillary.
If I was at all effective in converting souls to Sanders, it was because of the religious-type fervor I felt for the absolute righteousness of Sanders unflappable ethics, which filled my body with energy that radiated from my eyes, like that of a newly baptized person born in the deep South.
And yet I was an atheist.
I gave so many of those signs away. And now I have but one left. Tucked away in a closet somewhere. I will find it and plant it in the yard as a monument to my stubbornness and my absolute refusal to give up. And when they steal this one, there will be no more.
We will have to go back to making them, like we did before the campaign centers opened and the website took weeks to ship them. Carrie would take old political campaign signs, turn them inside out, and spray-paint over a Bernie stencil she made. She would hand them out at debate parties.
Our house was full of amazing new people for a solid year. What an odd turn of events for me, the paranoid, who didn’t really like people, to fall in love with so many strangers. What a beautiful thing for people to open their homes to my children and I, to feed us, to provide us a place to rest, all because we had one incredible thing in common.
Perhaps the sign-thief was trying to help me move on. Perhaps it was a misguided gesture of compassion. Or maybe it was some ignorant Trump supporter who thinks that Democratic Socialism means that you can take whatever you want from whoever you want, so he thought he was being witty by teaching me a lesson, when I already knew that the world was full of overconfident morons with boundary issues, so no lesson was learned.
Or possibly, it was a Hillary Clinton supporter who was eaten up with guilt each day, as they drove past my sign and were reminded of how their choice to be WITH HER was condoning lying and cheating and murder and everything else that is bullshit in this awful/awesome world and my sign reminded them that supporting this cheater of Democracy meant they didn’t have the moral authority on any issue, ever again, for the rest of their FUCKING LIFE!!!
Or perhaps the wind blew it away…I don’t know.
But I’ve got another one.
And I’m going to put it out tomorrow morning. Because I’m completely in denial and I plan to stay that way for the rest of my life. I refuse to accept that the world is a shit-hole. I refuse to accept that evil wins. I’m going to be 80 years old and still have some form of Bernie Sanders sign in my yard and the kids in the neighborhood will call me Old Man Sanders and tell legends about me. And I will do things to encourage the legends, even though I’ll still be like a super-nice guy and all..
But I won’t want to disappoint the neighborhood children, so I’ll play screaming sounds out of speakers in my basement and let spider-webs grow all over my house…maybe even wear an eye-patch…I don’t know, but whatever kind of stuff creepy old guys that live in haunted houses in the year 2053 do, that’s the kind of stuff I’ll do.
The kids will dare each other to steal my Bernie Sanders yard sign and each time they do, I will make an even scarier looking Bernie sign and one of the kids will double-down on the dare and say that “if you sleep with the stolen sign under your mattress then Old Man Sanders will appear at the foot of your bed…”
Then another kid will say..
“You guys are stupid. The man who lives in that house isn’t named Bernie Sanders. He just likes Bernie Sanders. Don’t you guys ever read cyber-books on your ocular implant?! You know the way our world is today? With the flying cars and no war and everybody being fed and loved and living to be 500 years old and terraforming other planets and bending space/time and with statues of Neil Degrasse Tyson, Bill Nye and Carl Sagan everywhere? Bernie Sanders was the guy who started all that. Before Bernie Sanders human beings were tore up from the floor up.”
And yeah, in the future, kids are going to say “tore up from the floor up.”
I know that no one has said that in like ten years, but it’s going to come back in a YUGE way in like forty-years, so remember that I predicted that.
With the latest insanity surrounding Hillary Clinton, involving her collapsing symbolically at a 9/11 memorial, I am reminded of how seriously fed up I have become with her sham of a campaign.
While corporate media focuses on an orange gnome with zero government experience, the rest of us are being force-fed a corporate, warmongering shill and we are supposed to be happy about it, just because she is “not Donald Trump”.
I honestly have tried to find something redeeming in the shit sandwich of her impending Presidency.
I have defended Hillary from time to time.
I agree with the assessment of her supporters, that she is better than Donald Trump, but without an ounce of facetiousness, I can say confidently that my dog, Butch, is a better candidate than Donald Trump.
Butch might relieve himself in the Oval Office, but at least he wouldn’t start a nuclear war.
I asked Butch about building a wall and forcing Mexico to pay for it and he just turned his head to one side, spun around in a circle three times and laid down.
As bad as Trump is, Hillary seems to be working overtime to prove she is nearly as pathetic.
Hiding medical problems from the American people, especially something as serious as neurological disorder, is just too much.
Is it unreasonable to ask that our candidates release their current medical records and have a psychiatric evaluation at least bi-annually?
Shouldn’t that be absolutely mandatory for anyone seeking to be in charge of the world’s most powerful military?
What difference does it make, right?
What fucking difference does it make?
I understand that Hillary is the choice of the establishment.
I know they have billions of dollars on the line.
I know they invested hundreds of millions to get her appointed into a position of power so that they could recoup their money 100 fold.
I know how this whole sham works, but seriously corporate America, do you have to make it so obvious?
For nearly a year she has hidden from the very people she is supposed to represent.
If only Hillary had chosen a decent running mate, then I would possibly feel confident, as it seems highly unlikely that she would even be able to complete her term.
But Tim Kaine?!
Uh, just no.
I am all for our country FINALLY having a female President, but at what cost?
Your campaign has become insulting to our intelligence.
Never mind that you have shown zero ability to be a decent leader.
Never mind that you can barely stand up unassisted.
Never mind that we are in desperate need of true leadership in our country’s most dire hour.
As much as we fear the idea of Donald Trump being President, you HAVE to let the people who vote for you keep their dignity.
When you repeatedly insult us, you make that impossible.
You honestly expect us to believe that you didn’t know “C” stood for classified?
You want us to buy into the lie that you are “looking into” releasing your Wall Street transcripts for 224 days now?
And I’m sick of hearing about Trump, every time I ask a legitimate question regarding one of Clinton’s glaring flaws.
If I ask about the Wall Street transcripts then I want to talk about YOUR WALL STREET TRANSCRIPTS!!!
Saying “Trump did not release his tax returns.” is not a suitable response.
My kids know that blaming their siblings for their wrongdoings is unacceptable.
Should I expect less from my President than I do from my children?
Given Trump as the alternative, I was willing to forgive a lot.
But Hillary, you simply ask too much.
For someone who so rarely speaks publicly, you certainly seem to put your foot in your mouth a lot.
Hillary, we do not “bring people to heel.”
We do not laugh at murder and say “We Came. We Saw. He died.”
We do not, under ANY circumstances, speak of political assassination as a way of winning a nomination.
We do not “land under Bosnian sniper-fire”, trivializing the heroes who actually have to face this real-life death from above.
Considering that the orange menace was my alternative, I was honestly willing to move on, if you were just willing to take some damned accountability and learn from your mistakes, but this campaign you took the dishonesty to a new level.
You can lie to the FBI and Congress and apparently they will give you a pass, but the American people WILL NOT!!
It would have been nice if you would have used this last 18 months to do something redeeming, so at the very least I could lie to myself and say that you had learned some valuable lessons and were trying now.
But you don’t try.
You take us for granted and we are beyond tired of your lies.
We are Charlie Brown and you are Lucy and we are done trying to kick the football.
We are done trusting you, only to land flat on our backs.
This has gone far enough.
You are clearly incapable of handling even the simplest task without mucking it up beyond all recognition.
You cannot appoint people to high-positions in our government in exchange for donations.
You cannot set up a charitable foundation and then donate the money to YOURSELF!!
She came into the world ahead of schedule and tried to exit immediately.
The first three days of her life she spent in the Intensive Care Unit with a myriad of health issues.
Dozing off next to the incubator, I felt a tap on my shoulder…
“Hey. I want you to go home and get some sleep.”
White light flooded my eyes.
There was a white figure eclipsing the light.
Perhaps an angel…
Perhaps a doctor..
Those with sick children know that there is no difference.
“And then when I wake up, we can take her home?” I asked.
“I don’t want to get your hopes up.” Doctor Angel said.
I took a cab home that I couldn’t afford.
It was my birthday.
As I fell asleep I said aloud
“All I want for my birthday is for Chloe to be well.”
I awoke late that night to my grandmother banging on my door.
“The hospital keeps calling. They need you there as soon as possible.”
I arrived at the hospital, not to what I had feared, but instead to Dr. Angel telling me that Chloe was doing great.
“I’ve never seen anything like it.” he said.
Or at least I remember him saying that.
I have played that movie in my head so many times that I think I might have worn it out.
Perhaps the original memory got used up and my brain wrote a more cinematic one in its place.
Maybe I just saw a doctor say that in a movie on one of those sleepless nights all parents experience when they bring their baby home.
I don’t know.
But I like my Dr. Angel memory and we got to bring Chloe home the next day.
Chloe was outstanding at everything.
When she was three, I tried to show her how to play Jacks (you know the game where you bounce the little ball and then try to pick up as many of the little thingies as you can in one swipe of your hand and then catch the ball in the same hand?) and she grabbed all six Jacks on her first try and then caught the ball and said…
“Is that it? Did I do it right?”
“I’ve never seen anyone get all six of them!!” I yelled.
“It’s easy.” she said and did it again.
“I think you might be a mutant.” I told her.
Even her fails were spectacular (in fairness this was actually MY fail).
Like when she was eighteen months old and got into her grandmother’s purse and swallowed an entire bottle of pills in the time it took me to use the restroom.
I had taken an infant CPR class a few weeks earlier and had really paid attention, because I feared I might have to use it someday.
I grabbed Chloe by the back of her neck, inserted my finger into the back of her throat, made a hook-shape with it and dragged forward across the tongue.
About 30 pills came out.
“How many pills were in that bottle?!!” I screamed as if it mattered.
Even a single pill might make a baby very ill or worse.
I ran to the driveway, put Chloe in the car-seat and drove carefully, but quickly to the hospital with the bottle in my hoodie pocket.
I kept trying to keep her conscious as she had a tendency to fall asleep in the car.
I kept smiling and singing songs with her.
I didn’t want her to be afraid.
I kept pulling up to red lights, looking both ways and going through them.
A cop flashed his lights behind me.
We were almost there.
He gave chase to the hospital.
I jumped out and he met me by the back of my car, his hand on his belt.
“I’m sorry, officer!! My child swallowed pills and is dying. I need your help!!”
“Come on!!” he replied and lead us inside screaming the words “We have an OD’d child!!”
I had Chloe in one arm and the empty pill bottle in my hand.
“She swallowed these!!” I said.
They grabbed her and everything became a blur.
They treated her.
They pulled me aside and told me that they don’t know how much of my grandmother’s heart medicine got into her bloodstream, but if it was enough, it could cause Chloe to go into cardiac arrest.
They kept her for observation overnight.
I sat there stroking her hair, making up stories about Elmo and Scooby Doo.
She kept breathing.
Self-recrimination consumed me.
She had fought so hard just to live and my negligence had nearly killed her.
I was going to lose custody and I deserved to.
There were a lot of interviews.
They were way too nice to me.
“It happens all the time.” they said.
“It could happen to anyone.” they said.
I took her home and waited for them to come and take her from me for the next several years.
They never came.
(Writer’s Note: You can skip this section, as it is another section in which I brag about how awesome Chloe is. Skip to the next section for the wrap-up.)
Then there was the year that I forced Chloe to play baseball.
Actually it was her idea to start, but after striking out the first 30 or so times up to bat, she decided that baseball was boring and wanted to quit.
Having some strange idea that parenting had something to do with teaching kids to overcome obstacles, instead of letting her quit, I forced her to take batting practice with me pitching to her every day.
She couldn’t even hit my pitches from six feet away.
No matter how slow I pitched, she would swing wildly, missing it by several inches.
One of the parents kept stats for all the kids and going into the last inning of the last game, Chloe had batted something like 92 times and had struck out literally every single time.
And then of course, as fate would have it, with two outs in the last inning of the final game, with the bases loaded, Chloe was up to bat with her team down by three runs.
The entire game rested on her tiny shoulders.
I pulled the coach aside and told him that I would not be at all offended if he let someone else bat for her.
Our teams best player, an eight year old who looked like a twelve-year-old, came up to join the conversation.
“Let Chloe hit.” he said selflessly and begin clapping his hands and saying “GO CHLOE!!!” in an attempt to get the other kids to cheer for her.
The parents joined in with their own cheers.
The kids on the other team, moved up really close, to where the outfielders were pretty much on the infield and the infielders were only about 10 feet away from where Chloe stood with her tiny bat.
They started chanting “HEY BATTER-BATTER-BATTER!!”, a chant I had always hated.
Chloe’s coach tossed the ball softly towards the plate (in pee-wee leagues the coach is usually the pitcher) and she swung and missed.
She missed badly on the second pitch as well.
“Keep your eyes open, Chloe!!” I reminded her.
She always closed her eyes when she swung and she always swung so hard.
The chants of “EASY OUT!! EASY OUT!!” rang in my ears and I wondered what kind of long-term damage I had done to my kid by forcing them to play this ridiculous game that they had no chance of succeeding at.
I envisioned a thousand negative images of Chloe’s doomed adulthood and at the end of each mental movie I imagined her saying..
“IT’S BECAUSE I STRUCK OUT 93 TIMES WHEN I WAS FIVE!!!”
Just as I was imagining rescuing a 20-something Chloe from a crack-house, I heard a “CLINK”, the unmistakable sound of a baseball hitting a metal bat, followed quickly by the image of a ball rolling past the pitcher’s mound and past the second baseman, who was so arrogant that he had been standing right next to the pitcher, mocking Chloe’s inability to make contact.
The ball rolled past the center-fielder, who was standing right next to second base with his glove off, figuring that Chloe wouldn’t be able to hit it very far should she be able to hit it at all.
The ball was hit well.
The ball rolled past everyone on the other team.
The ball was tired of its diamond life.
It was escaping.
It was running through grass, being pursued by giants.
It was Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption.
It was Thelma and Louise.
It was Forrest Fucking Gump!!!
The entire crowd shared an audible gasp, then suddenly, like birds in flight, they all shifted together to tell Chloe to “RUN!!!!!”
She had never hit the ball before.
She didn’t know what to do next.
She took a doubtful step towards the pitcher’s mound, where the coach ran towards her, pointed at first base and said “THAT WAY!!”
She took off like a tiny rocket.
Chloe reached first base and stood there proudly, hand on her hips, smiling.
The ball hit the fence and stopped rolling as the parents raced from the bleachers and pointed in unison for Chloe to “RUN THAT WAY!!!” towards second base.
By the time she arrived at second, all three runners had crossed the plate, tying the game and the rest of her team had ran out of the dugout and were standing behind third base screaming for Chloe to “COME THIS WAY!!!”
As the center-fielder slipped and fell, trying to pick up the ball, Chloe was rounding third and by the time he had overthrown the cut-off man, Chloe was standing at home plate being mobbed by teammates and parents.
I’d be doubting that memory too, if so many people hadn’t been there to witness it.
Even now, ten years later, I will see one of those parents and they will say
“Remember that time Chloe got the game winning hit?”
I’ll smile and nod, but what I really remember is Chloe asking on the way home..
“Does this mean that I don’t have to play baseball anymore?”
We all think our kids are special, because in fact, all kids are special.
I could go on for days with stories about what it was like to be a single-dad, raising a daughter in a conservative state, without any child support or extended family.
Perhaps some day, I’ll write a novel about our adventures, but for the purposes of this article, I just wanted to share a few stories about how miraculous my child is, so that you might grasp in the tiniest way, why I did not give one actual fuck when Chloe pulled me aside a month ago and nervously told me that she wanted to be called Aaron and wanted to be referred to as “he” and not “she” from now on.
I hope you can understand how this news had ZERO effect on my feelings about my son and how I immediately made the transition and it wasn’t even the tiniest bit difficult for me.
I want to convey completely that if my parenting were an animal, that it would be a honey badger, because not one fuck was given on my part.
My only response was to hug Aaron and remind him for the ten millionth time that I loved him unconditionally.
If I raised my arms out as wide as I could, that would not begin to emphasize how fucking proud I am of my child, regardless of what gender(s) they identify as or what gender(s) they are attracted to.
If I pushed my thumb and middle-finger very tightly together, I could not begin to show you how little my ego is tied up into my child’s gender identity.
When Aaron told me that he wanted a binder and informed me that a binder was an article of clothing that pushes breasts down, so that the wearer can pass as a boy, I asked only if binders were safe and read a few articles on them.
Once I was convinced that they were safe, I completely supported Aaron’s wearing of binders.
I cannot stress how little it bothers me that Chloe is now Aaron.
If shits given were rain, this parent would be in the desert.
If my concern for this were an algebra problem and how much I cared were an unknown integer, then you could multiply any number by that integer and get zero.
It would look something like this…
9736 x MC = 0
8,403,976 x MC =0
Okay, these comparisons are starting to become pretty abstract, but I REALLY want to stress to you that my child’s gender identity does not affect my love and support for my child in the least.
And I apologize if you are offended by profanity.
I am incredibly offended by bigotry and I really felt that these words could accentuate that point for me.
Some might suggest that teenagers are capricious and that this may be “just a phase”.
Doesn’t matter AT ALL!!
My support is 100% behind my child.
To me this seems like the only possible way to receive the news.
But I have heard nightmarish stories of parents not taking this kind of thing well.
I have heard stories of parents telling their children that they refuse to respect their wishes and boundaries.
I have heard stories of parents who throw their children out on the street.
I have heard stories of parents shaming their child for trying to be their true self.
(Writer’s Note: Unless you are the parent of a transgender child, then you can stop reading now. The story is over for you. The remainder of the article is me speaking directly to parents.)
I wrote this because I know how upside down the world can become when you are a parent.
I wrote this because I know that it is impossible to not let our egos get wrapped up in our children.
I wrote this because I have made many mistakes and I thought maybe, if just one person read this and gained something from it, then it would be worth sharing.
(And by the way, Aaron has read this and given me permission to publish it.)
I know it might be hard to let go of some of those visions you had for your child, that were wrapped up in their gender identity.
Maybe you imagined giving your little girl away on her wedding day.
Maybe you were still holding out hope that your son was going to be the football star that you wanted him to be.
Both of the above examples can still happen, because neither is gender specific, but it’s probably a good idea to let your child decide what they want to do and be.
Life is hard enough without having to live up to someone else’s vision for your life.
We can become overly attached to our child’s gender identity, without even realizing that this is even happening.
For some, a child changing their gender identity can feel like a death.
Things will be different, but probably not in the ways that you think they will be.
You may find yourself having confused feelings sometimes.
Tell your child, with compassion, some of your struggles.
You don’t have to pretend that everything is okay all the time.
It’s okay to talk about your challenges with your child.
It’s not okay to blame them for those challenges.
Start your statements with “I feel..” or “I fear..”
“I sometimes feel like you snap at me when I call you by your old name. I’m trying to adjust here. I need you to be more patient with me.”
“I fear my father’s judgment of your gender identity. I know you are my child and it is my job to protect you, but this change has exposed how afraid of my father I still am. I’m an adult, but I still feel like a five-year old when he says something judgmental. I know I need to do a better job of standing up to him and defending you.”
Your child may feel safer when they realize that you share some of their struggles.
You may worry about your child’s safety, knowing that there are so many hate-filled people in the world.
You’re a parent.
You will always worry.
The same safety rules apply for trans-children as for all children.
If there’s something you don’t understand, just ask your child.
They may not know either.
Maybe you can learn together.
You will probably be surprised by how much they can teach you.
If you let it, you might find that this change can allow you to know your child in different ways and bring your relationship closer than ever.
Read books that will help you to understand what your child is going through.
If it’s in your budget, find a therapist that specializes in transgender children and go see them together and also encourage your child to see them one on one.
You will learn a lot about yourself and how you relate to different genders.
For example, I always used to call Aaron “beautiful” when I related to him as female and now I find myself pausing a little bit before I use that word.
I guess I must have had a feminine association to it.
I push past that.
I look at him and proclaim the truth..
“You are beautiful and I love you!!”
But I have to work at it.
I have to remind myself.
If you are a member of a church, you may have to switch to a more evolved church, if your current one doesn’t accept you and your child completely.
Even if you are not religious, you may find that some friends are not as evolved as you had hoped.
You’ll make better friends.
You will have to stand up to some family members.
You will be scared.
You will face discrimination.
This is good.
This will give you more empathy for your child.
Your life may be more difficult for a while, during your own personal transition, as the parent of a transgender child.
You’ll be okay.
Parenting is a constant state of transition.
You can do it.
And always remember..
If being the parent of transgender child is hard…
Being a transgender child is much harder and they will always need you in their corner.