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.
They should be in the streets shutting down corporate profits.
I have visions of semi-trucks parked across interstates and major cities occupied.
I have visions of the American government trying to figure out how to stop a determined populace that responds to injustice by standing united.
I have visions of corrupt politicians and bankers fleeing America, fearing prison.
I see, in my mind’s eye, a million people marching in unison, demanding justice.
But these visions are ripening on the vine.
We aren’t there yet.
Multinational corporations rig a “Democratic” election to appoint Hillary Clinton, who is nothing more than a figurehead for corporate profits and never-ending war…
People gather around the water cooler to complain.
Racist, white police-officers, sworn to protect and serve, MURDER unarmed black men..
Maybe we take a knee at a sporting event.
Our government poisons the water supply and the food.
Innocent children die.
But hey, football is on.
Americans have been domesticated.
We are afraid.
We are spoiled.
We are pacified.
Injustice has become entertainment.
We are too busy.
We are distracted.
As bad as all this is, when Donald Trump is President, things are going to get worse.
This is Germany 1933.
The police unions have endorsed Donald Trump.
We’ve seen what Trump thinks of protesters.
He encourages violence against them.
He touts the Second Amendment while oppressing the First.
In Trump’s America, protesters will be murdered and he will say..
“They’re disgusting. We’re trying to fix this country and these people hate it. They hate America. They got what was coming to them.”
His followers will cheer for blood in the streets.
Decades of America’s corporate greed and subsequent destruction of opportunity have led to a deep-seated desperation in our blue-collar workforce and Donald Trump has tapped into that.
Trump’s white supremacist supporters are stockpiling weapons, waiting for Martial Law, so they will have permission to kill blacks, gays, Hispanics and liberals.
They call themselves patriots.
Trump gives their movement license.
Trump fuels their fear.
Trump fills them with bravado.
“Make America Great Again” is the same code as “All Lives Matter”.
It is rhetoric that translates to “ban and bomb all Muslims.”
It is hyperbole that says “black people need to know their place.”
It is oration designed to stir the rage of people who were led to believe that it is their birthright to have superiority over others.
When Trump vomits forth hate-speech about deportation forces and punishing women who have abortions, he taps into an angry segment of our population and encourages it to creep out of the darkness.
When Trump makes fun of the handicapped, children on playgrounds follow suit.
When Trump points his tiny finger of blame, people are assaulted.
Trump is sounding the alarm to gather the forces and to round-up all those responsible for your pain and suffering.
He is the ruling-elite telling you to kill your neighbor, because they stole your crumbs.
He is fascism, come to America, wrapped in the flag.
He is paranoia personified.
Bernie Sanders was right when he said that we must do “everything in our power to stop Donald Trump.”
But you can’t ask us to vote for Hillary Clinton, Bernie.
That’s asking too much.
This was the “Democrats” election to lose.
They had two strong candidates and the GOP could not produce a decent opponent.
A year ago most liberals would have agreed that Bernie was the better candidate, but that Hillary was still better than Donald Trump.
But Hillary lied to us.
She took us for granted and she mocked us.
She insulted us and she stripped away our voting rights.
And she cheated.
She cheated in an American election against a good man.
She cheated the American people out of $238,000,000 (the amount that we donated to Bernie Sanders).
She cheated us out of our literal blood, sweat and tears, that we shed while working tirelessly, in an “election” that we never had a chance of winning.
We sacrificed far too much to just forgive and forget.
I remember telling my kids that we couldn’t afford to do certain things, because “Bernie needs our help.”
My children volunteered with me.
We went broke, driving anywhere we could to help canvas.
Speeding tickets, gas, damage to vehicle, oil changes and lost wages.
We spent the last several months trying to recover from these excursions and millions of Americans made the same sacrifices.
The “Democratic” Party’s mistreatment of Bernie Sanders and his supporters painted us into a corner.
I am terrified by the looming specter of a Trump presidency, but still I cannot bring myself to support the embodiment of everything I have spent my life fighting against.
If you were just a casual Sanders supporter (was there any such thing?) then perhaps you could just pull your Sanders sign up and replace it with a Clinton sign.
But for those of us who gave our entire lives to this movement, it is not even a serious consideration.
Sorry Bernie, I cannot vote for Hillary Clinton.
She simply does not deserve my vote.
Hillary and the DNC burned the bridges.
It is unreasonable to expect us to rebuild them.
Maybe if the “Democrats” lose an election that they could have easily won, then they will learn to listen to the people next time.
But I wouldn’t hold my breath.
Perhaps the protests I am looking for will not be held in the streets.
Perhaps the next great protest in the United States will be held in the voting booth, where millions of liberals, that Hillary Clinton took for granted, will stand up in the face of tyranny and choose to vote their conscience instead of caving into the fear that the “Democratic” Party is banking on.
Maybe there is finally enough anger on the left to motivate them to get off their asses and actually build a true third-party for the people.
Maybe liberals will finally start paying attention to down-ballot races and midterm elections and rejecting corporate candidates in favor of true Progressives.
Maybe people will finally learn that voting with their dollars is where the real power lies and they will abstain from buying from the corporations that destroyed our democracy.
When confronted with the “choice” between being shot in the face or poisoned to death, the intelligent choice is to choose neither.
When confronted with the “choice” between someone who threatens to use nuclear weapons or someone who claims to be so ignorant that they did not know that “C” stood for classified, the rational person chooses neither.
When confronted with the “choice” between someone who will appoint alt-right Supreme Court judges or someone who secretly supports TPP, a trade agreement that will put corporate tribunals in charge of our government, the compassionate person says “HELL NO!!!”
Hillary Clinton is pulling a Band-Aid off slowly, whereas Donald Trump is ripping it off fast.
Either way, it’s going to hurt.
Vote for Jill Stein or write in Bernie Sanders.
In an insane election, these are the only sane choices.
Some will say that this is throwing your vote away.
Throwing your vote away is when you vote for someone whom you don’t believe in.
Throwing your vote away is voting for Donald Trump, a hate-monger who’s been spending daddy’s money and filing bankruptcy and charging it to the American tax-payer, while telling the people who are footing his bill that their poverty is the fault of other poor people.
Throwing your vote away is voting for Hillary Clinton, a warmonger who rode her rapist husband’s coattails into politics by representing a state that she wasn’t even a resident of, while supporting fracking and taking millions from the fossil-fuel industry.
With either one of these fools, you are doing more than throwing your vote away.
You are throwing your planet away.
You are throwing your dignity away.
You are throwing innocent lives away.
Neither have any business stepping foot in the White House and I do not and will not recognize their authority.
If you are insulted by your corporate “choice” for President, I suggest you exercise your Constitutional right to open rebellion.
Join with me in pledging to fight whichever one of these criminals is unfortunate enough to take office.
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.
As I sit here on this rainy Sunday morning, I feel defeated.
I know the majority of the people reading this are feeling the same way and I wanted to reach out and let you know that you are not alone.
I know that I cannot allow myself to stay down for long.
I know that in politics, cynicism is death.
When I hear people say that they won’t even bother to vote anymore, I remind them that we MUST vote.
I remind them that it is our civic duty to vote.
I remind them of the millions who gave their lives for this right
But I know that our votes were not counted in the “Democratic” primary.
So I understand the discouragement that you are feeling at this time.
I have felt this way my entire life, but after the last year, a year in which an entire country was awakened and told that we could change the system, only to be crushed by that very system, it is hard not to feel defeated sometimes.
“The arc of history is long and it bends towards justice.” Dr King said and for my sanity’s sake, I am inclined to believe him.
When I look back over my brief time on this planet, I see great change has occurred.
We have made gradual, but huge progress for women’s rights, for the rights of children, for the rights of our sisters and brothers in the LBGT+ community.
And I know that I do not have the privilege of setting down my pen or my sword, while there are so many battles left to fight.
But my heart is made low by this presidential “election” and I sometimes long for the days when I was less informed.
As I search for the silver lining in this pile of dog shit, there are certain things I cannot live with.
Although it has been clear to me for some time that multi-national corporations have taken control of our government, I never fully understood the extent of their tyranny until this past year.
The corporations are experts in propaganda.
By design, the gap between the informed and the politically brain-dead is ever-widening.
Millions tune in daily to CNN, MSNBC or Fox to get “the news” and are filled to bursting with horrific, entertaining ideas, that leave them starved for relevent information.
The toxic effects of the corporate idiocracy do not stop with our eyes and ears.
As Americans stuff their mouths on products more akin to plastic than food, their guts are widening, but they are dying of malnutrition.
Corporate America is in the business of creating drones and has zero motivation to encourage free thought.
In fact, independent thought is a threat to their agenda.
Our TVs grow larger and our plates overflow.
But our cups are half-empty and what’s in the cup is rumored to cause cancer and maybe autism.
But we don’t know for sure
The FDA refuses to research it.
Welcome to America, where we rely on Russian hackers to free our news and corporate media outlets to cover it up.
Welcome to America..
Land of the free trade agreements…
Home of the slaves.
Welcome to America, where you are more likely to be killed by an angry white man with an AR-15, than you are to be represented by those whom you vote for.
While you are here be sure to visit Cleveland, Detroit and Flint and send a letter to Bill Clinton, thanking him for NAFTA.
Welcome to America, where the water is full of lead and the air is toxic.
Welcome to America, where our politicians get paid millions to tell us that scientists are liars.
Be sure to visit our lovely coasts, before they fall into the ocean.
Don’t bother with the zoo.
America is the zoo.
Welcome to America, where the citizens are dangerous and the cops serve death sentences to unarmed black people.
Welcome to America, where “patriots” drive huge trucks dependent on foreign oil.
Welcome to America, where we bomb people in the name of democracy..
When we do not even have democracy ourselves.
Welcome to America.
Kick back and watch your tax dollars at work on a 72″ high-definition screen.
Watch us bomb for democracy.
Watch us kill for democracy.
Welcome to the evil empire.
Welcome to Imperialism.
Welcome to for-profit prisons, where billionaires pass laws, so they can incarcerate poor people and spin propaganda over the airwaves that convince you to be afraid of your fellow-humans.
Welcome to the New World Order, where we have 662 bases in 38 foreign countries and you break your back 70 hours per week to pay for it.
Welcome to semi-automatic open-carry.
Welcome to tyrannical government, where reality TV stars and career criminals run for president(AND WIN!!!)
Welcome to America, where we bomb innocent people, then close our doors to their refugees.
Welcome to America.
But I am encouraged…
As funny as it sounds, I am encouraged.
Because despite all of our problems, there is at this moment, a tiny window of opportunity to take control.
While I am tempted to wallow in the misery of our rigged presidential election, I really don’t have time to waste on that.
Instead I must focus on the positive and it occurs to me, that the thought that they had to rig the election is encouraging.
This means we have them outnumbered.
This means that people are waking up.
How does the evolved citizen move within this corporate matrix for maximum effectiveness?
What can one do within the confines of a corporate controlled government to make the world livable for all people?
The truth is that we can do a lot, but it is a lot of hard work.
As it is my goal to keep this piece short and readable, I cannot possibly list everything that we can do in one paper, but if you are interested in information and ideas to exercise your power as an activist, you can click here to connect with me on social media, where I post daily ideas and strategies for activism.
For starters, we have to take control of our local government.
If we control Congress, then we decide what bills pass and what bills don’t.
The corporations can install Hillary Clinton as President, but she will be completely handcuffed, if we counter with a Progressive Congress.
This can be an overwhelming process.
It is no longer acceptable to just vote a straight Democratic ticket.
We need to know where these Dems stand on key issues like TPP, Climate Change and important civil rights matters.
We cannot just take them at their word.
We need to see their voting record.
We need to know where their money is coming from.
I suggest you start by joining Brand New Congress, a group that seeks to completely take control of The House with our Progressive agenda by 2018.
Here is a link to find people who are running for local office who also embody the ideals of Bernie Sanders.
Also visit BallotPedia and enter your zip code to find out who will be on the ballot in your area this November, so you can research their policies and decide who to vote for.
You may find that none of the candidates excite you.
In this case, I would encourage you to run for office yourself or encourage someone you know to take on the challenge, under the promise that you will do extensive volunteering to help them attain said office.
I encourage you to get deeply involved in your local government and campaign for those who represent your values even in the smallest of offices.
Who is your local prosecutor?
Do they have ties to for-profit prisons?
All this information is available online, if you search for it.
A small team of hardcore activists can drastically affect local elections.
You can change the outcomes of important offices in your community.
Find someone who champions your views and go sit down with them.
Tell them you want to help.
Believe me, they will be grateful.
In addition to taking control of your local government, there is so much you can do daily, by voting with your dollars.
There simply are no words to convey how much I love Dan Savage, but recently I had to breakup with him.
This breakup will come as news to Dan, who only knows me as the guy who called his show every week for the last year, telling him why it was important for him to use his celebrity to endorse Bernie Sanders and to denounce Hillary Clinton.
Dan never even knew that we were dating.
I stalked his brilliant brain and amazing voice through his Podcast, Savage Love, for years.
I admired him from afar by reading his excellent blog.
And when he was on TV, I would hang on his every word and admire how incredibly gorgeous he was while dispensing compassionate advice about love and sex.
Whenever I would meet someone who knew of Dan Savage, I would inevitably exclaim…
“Oh my God!! Dan Savage is my hero!!”
And he was…
But I have to DTMFA (“dump the motherfucker already”, in Savage-speak)
It’s what he would suggest, should I call his show for advice.
His party-unity gaslighting has become abusive.
I know that I deserve better.
Perhaps you are wondering..
“Who the hell is Dan Savage and why the hell should I care about this?”
That’s a fair question.
Dan is a best-selling author, a blogger and a Podcaster.
Through these mediums he reaches millions.
Over the years I have followed him in all of his forms.
When my kids were wondering about sex, I purchased Dan’s books for them, because I knew that his advice was almost always spot on.
When my partner and I had questions about our own adventures, it was Dan who guided us through.
Dan is a hardcore advocate for LBGT+ rights and I am a firm believer that his “It Gets Better” program has saved thousands of lives.
For this reason alone, I will always love him.
Dan Savage is a damn fine man, but in his attempt to walk the Bernie/Hillary tightrope over the last year, he has fallen and completely missed the net.
Dan Savage, a former revolutionary voice, has now become just another shill for the establishment and I am deeply saddened to watch this former champion fall so far.
Yesterday, I realized that I had forgotten to block him on Facebook (a MUST to preserve one’s sanity during a breakup) and his new article entitled Jill Stein: Just No appeared in my feed.
I read the header to my former Savage-loving, LBGT rights radical, 14 year old daughter, where Dan refers to Jill Stein supporters as “pasty white people”.
My girlfriend said “Wow. So he’s a racist now?”
I said “I wouldn’t go so far as to call him a racist, but he sure has lost his way.”
My gender-fluid child Chloe, summed it up perfectly when she said
“Dan Savage: Just No.”
To be fair, some of my anger at Dan is simply transference at the LBGT+ community as a whole.
It is definitely treacherous territory, a liberal like myself, admitting to being angry at a community of people that I have spent my entire life fighting alongside, but here I am.
When Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy for president, the gay and lesbian communities rallied around her in a way that simply made very little sense to me.
I’d post something negative about Hillary Clinton on social media and notice that my followers would drop significantly.
When I would see my gay friends at a party or club, they went out of their way to avoid me.
Some even took to calling me “Bernie-bro” in a manner that was clearly designed to be hurtful.
I wanted to engage them.
I really wanted to talk about this.
I wanted to know…
“How can you support a candidate who worked tirelessly to pass DOMA?”
“How can you support a candidate who lied and said that she and Nancy Reagan supported AIDS victims in the 80’s, when the truth of the matter is that the Reagan’s laughed at the epidemic and implied that it was some sort of plague from God to wipe out homosexuals?!”
These were friends I had attended rallies with.
These were friends I had protested side by side with.
And now they were blindly supporting someone who had spent her entire political career fighting against gay and lesbian rights?
Perhaps my gay friends who support Hillary are like I was in 2008, when I listened to Obama speak three times and then said..
“He’s pro-choice, he’s pro-LBGT and he’s black? What’s not to like?”
Perhaps my LBGT sisters and brothers who support Hillary are just engaged in identity politics or maybe gays voting for Hillary is the ultimate case of Stockholm Syndrome.
Maybe they feel that she is more of an ally than Sanders, because they actually had to sway her to their side, whereas Sanders was always there.
Or maybe they bought in to the Clinton propaganda that “If you don’t vote for Hillary, we will get Trump.” and their desire to protect gay marriage versus the evil Republicans made up their minds for them.
Never mind that there is a good chance that Hillary will lose to Trump, whereas Sanders defeats Trump by a landslide in every single poll.
On the surface, this seems like solid reasoning.
Many are quick to point out that this election is actually about who gets to nominate Supreme Court judges and I agree that it is better to elect a candidate who would nominate liberals to these positions.
But anyone who knows politics knows that all of the potentially vacant seats are currently occupied by conservatives, so in the worst case scenario, after Obama nominates, liberals will still have a 5-4 advantage.
Trump will have no opportunity to overturn gay marriage and has expressed repeatedly that he has no desire to do so.
If Clinton were actually a leftist, who would nominate true liberals to those empty seats, then I would consider holding my nose and voting for her, but Rodham is no liberal.
She is a moderate Republican in disguise and would only nominate corporatist war-hawks that would likely cause as much trouble as anyone Trump would nominate.
As gay marriage will not be threatened by this upcoming election, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity to nominate a true liberal to our nation’s highest office.
So I will vote my conscience and support Jill Stein, should the Democrats make the fatal mistake of nominating Hillary Clinton.
Should Trump win, we will block his every move by replacing Congress with real Progressives and be in a very strong position to take The White House in 2020.
Raising a legitimate third party in America should be the number one priority of every liberal, after the shenanigans we have seen from the “Democratic” Party in 2016.
Trump would be an acceptable setback for the ultimate greater good.
Clinton would be a two term disaster and supporting her means that we cannot run any true liberals in 2020 as she would run unopposed.
I am disappointed in you, Dan.
In this election your stood for nothing and fell for everything.
Your endorsement of Hillary Clinton, a hateful woman, who has fought against our cause for decades, is a slap in the face to everyone who has ever fought for equality.
You had the opportunity to be courageous and endorse someone who has spent his entire life fighting for us, but when we needed you, you chose the cowardice of neutrality.
You chose lesser evilism over revolution in a time when our country severely needed to boldly choose that which is good.
Everything that drew me to you and kept me with you for all these years seems to have left you.
Although I fully accept that my voice is greatly diminished, in your eyes, by my “pasty white” skin, I know that I will never allow myself to be defined by such rigid terms.
First and foremost I am a human and an ally.
I am a liberal and an activist.
The Dan Savage I fell in love with would have told the “Democrats” to DTMFA in regards to Hillary Rodham Clinton.
You had the eyes and ears of the LBGT+ community and you told them to accept a woman who had sold them out time and time again.
You hurt me and it will take a long time to forgive you.
This isn’t just about politics.
This is bigger.
Voting against this corrupt, untrustworthy warmonger is an ethical choice.
It is a moral choice.
This is about being true to what we KNOW is right.
I loved our years together, but you’ve changed.
You aren’t the “take no shit” Dan Savage I fell in love with once upon a time.
Your constant harping on how I am not a good citizen if I refuse to support your corrupt, genocidal, Monsanto-sponsored candidate border on abusive.
And I have too much respect for myself to endure this another day.