Oct 4, 2017

Here we go again...

You know what I hear a lot these days? I hear “The world is not going to shit, we are just finding out quicker about the shitty stuff that happens”. I fail to see how this serves as solace to anyone who wakes up every morning to find one more unavoidable tale of horror in our midst.

I say unavoidable because, even if you don’t read the news, the facts are there, staring you in the face and impossible to escape from. Even if you don’t click on CNN or Fox News, the BBC or Al Jazeera your friends are talking about it, and you see “pray for…” on Instagram posts, or your friends abroad are tagging themselves safe after a terrorist attack you rather not know about.

There is so much pain and fear brewing in my heart, it has kept me mute this past few months. It’s like those scenes in movies and books when something happens and you wonder why the person doesn’t scream or runs away, but instead just sits there, eyes wide open, frozen in a spot. That’s how I’ve been and felt this past year.

From the attempted repeal of the ACA, the failed ‘Muslim Ban’, the desertion of the US from the Kyoto Treaty, the military ban of LGTBQ, the plan to cancel DACA, the horrors of Charlottesville and the administration’s inability to condemn Neo Nazis and the KKK, the sad response to come to aid of Puerto Rico and the USVI after Hurricane Maria, to the disastrous response of the administration in the face of the Vegas Massacre and the scary unwavering fervor of and the 2nd Amendment defenders who refuse to see a path for gun control, it has all served to drown me in a sense of hopelessness I can’t seem to shake.

What to tackle first?

Let’s start with Vegas, since it’s the most recent occurrence.

As a liberal and a pacifist who wouldn’t shoot a gun to hunt deer let alone to kill a person, I find the staunch defense of the 2nd Amendment extremely weird. As a former law student, however, I can see the side of two points even if I don’t agree with one of them. As a logical to a fault individual I fail to see how SOME control over weapons gets in the way of that freedom that gun lovers so adamantly defend.

Why is it necessary for an individual to have unlimited access to assault weapons? If what you do is hunt, why do you need an AK-47? Shouldn’t that type of weapon be used by military only?

Why is it that a person can walk into a store and walk out with a tool for murder? You have a 48-hour cooling period for marriage in some places after applying for a license but you can walk in and buy a weapon as if it was a loaf of bread. In some states they regulate the purchase of Sudafed or Nyquil more than they do guns!

What is wrong with requiring gun owners to pass a background check, a mental health check-up, to have licenses and insurances? Why is there more paperwork involved in buying a car than a weapon?

I don’t believe anything is going to change and that is the saddest part. I have lost faith in the ability of people to learn and change. I mean 27 children were murdered in a school in Connecticut and still the answer was more weapons.

I don’t think children are precious and even I was thinking that would be the turning point, children are the future and all that, if we don’t protect them who will?

And nothing! It’s not going to stop. This obsession with the right to bear arms, the love of that gun is stronger than logic.  

I see the way our country is headed and because I love it I want to change it, but suddenly we live in a place where dissent is unpatriotic and disagreeing with policy is un-American. Yelling ‘blood and soil’ and throwing Nazi salutes is fine but taking a knee in protest is a disrespect to the flag… but worshiping a flag that was the representation of confederate plans for secession is loving the other flag. ¯\_()_/¯ 

There is room for improvement when it comes to gun policy in this country. Denying it, calling people who want it to happen ‘libtards’ or ‘bleeding hearts’ or whatever you call them is infantile and gets us nowhere. There is endless amount of data of developed countries that transitioned away from gun ownership and countless lives saved by the banning of all guns.  Since guns are apparently more important than anything else, children, husbands, wives, friends and family, then at least let’s start with some control over the ones that can take out an entire concert full of people, let’s take away the ones that can end 59 innocent lives, let’s stop making it in the news with another ‘the biggest gun massacre to date’ because all I see is the numbers getting higher and nothing getting done.

I don’t know about you, but if I were a 2nd amendment advocate I would taking a serious look inward, I would spend some time looking at the faces of the victims and reading their stories, I would take a moment to think about the children of those three single mothers who are orphans now.

I can’t understand, can’t grasp how anyone can look at those pictures and not feel regret and guilt, even if we didn’t pull the trigger.  

I dare everyone to read those mini bios, the summary of an entire life full of laughter, tears, work, friends, Christmas and birthday parties where there was too much drinking, embarrassing stories and teasing day-afters, kisses and sex, falling in and out of love, fights and unhappy moments, everything and more all that, put into a paragraph for the rest of us to get a glimpse of this life that was snuffed. A little tidbit to get to know that person, make them real, make them human, make them more than just a name on a paper. Make us see that they were someone’s one and only, someone’s mother someone’s brunch mate, someone’s rock, someone’s sister and friend and they are no longer here and left a fucking gaping hole in someone’s life.  If it doesn’t make you feel anything, then you are part of the problem.

It shouldn’t have to be someone we know for us to want to do something about it.

Jan 27, 2017

To despair or not despair...

It’s day seven. I considered making this kind of like survivalist’s log of the end of the world.

Day seven, the rivers have dried, the food is scarce, and chances of survival seem slim.

I have been struggling since November, as the last two posts have shown, and finally after two months of burying my head in the sand and singing la-la-la-la-la to myself while covering my ears, I realized that denial didn’t make me feel any better than I was feeling. The sense of impending doom was there, whether I acknowledge it or not. So, I opened news, and clicked on headlined and struggled against the urge to cry and rail. I wanted to despair, to ask myself for the millionth time how we got here. How we are replacing a Nuclear Physicist as Secretary of Energy for a guy with a degree in Animal Science and more experience asking his constituents to ‘pray for rain’ in times of drought than to come up with a scientific solution for our climate problems.

I want to despair, so badly, but I cannot, I will not.  I refuse to despair because I think of the fact that Executive Orders are not written in stone and may not come to pass.

Maybe we won’t fuck up the water source for millions and destroy the sacred land of native people by building the Dakota Pipeline. Maybe, just maybe, we won’t rape Alaska’s pristine beauty, endangering its soil, water, flora and fauna by building the rejected Keystone XL pipeline.

Maybe we won’t cancel the Sanctuary cities all over the country, which embraced and sheltered so many, many immigrants that have tried to make this country their safe heaven and home. Maybe, just maybe, we won’t forget the words that so proudly stand under the Statue of Liberty. Maybe we won’t forget that promise, maybe we will remember to be proud of what this country used to stand for. Maybe we won’t make a mockery of the words. Those words, that have forever haunted me and made my heart skip a beat with their beauty.  When the country takes a turn for the worse and does objectionable things I don’t agree with, I try to remind myself that at its core, the goodness, the need to help other, the striving for betterment is its true calling, even when straying from its path.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

I think back and wonder how different my life would be right now if I was one of those wretched refuse but on today’s current climate. How would my future look if I was one of those in the huddled mass, not then, but today. One of those tired, one of those poor as I was 15 years ago, when I came to this country.  I am no different from them, except I came earlier.

I don’t want to despair because I hope we don’t defund and ignore the needs of millions of women who use the services of Planned Parenthood and similar programs around the world, who depend, like I did on programs such as this one for their health.  When I was newly arrived in the country PP was the only way I could afford to do annual pap smears exams. Life-saving pap smears that screen for cervical cancer. At $6.50/hour working at McDonald’s, Planned Parenthood was the only way I could afford those. And it’s not just people like me, dirty immigrants who came to sap away resources and steal your jobs that benefit from Planned Parenthood. Born and bred US Citizens also benefit from them.

While despair beckons, I want to ignore it, I want to think that we can rise above the ridiculous notion of building a wall between neighboring countries. A wall between a country with such deeply rooted history with our own. I want to despair when I think about history repeating itself so shortly after it happened, when is barely even history. Didn’t several of our former presidents fight against walls, merely decades ago? Why cut ourselves from the world? Why, WHY do we think divisiveness is a solution to anything? Isn’t it obvious that together it’s the only way we’ll rise?

When despair and fear, anger. heartbreak and the overwhelming sense of betrayal are threatening to consume me I repeat to myself the incontrovertible truth that Victor Hugo shared with the world just two-hundred years ago:

“All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come”

When I want to despair, I remind myself that this, what is happening right now, are the last struggles of a dying breed. What you hear; the pomp and circumstance, the backwards thinking, the rampant ego, the oppressive thoughts, anti-intellectualism, the racism, xenophobia, homophobia, trans-phobia and militant sexism are but the death rattles of a perishing era of thought.

I won’t despair, I won’t quit. Because tolerance, unity, progress itself cannot be stopped, its time has come. 

Jan 6, 2017

Why is this happening?!! Part 2

My last post was December 20. I was hoping for some solace for the negative feelings and the cloud of sadness that I was carrying around like a blanket. As if mocking my request to the heavens the very next day they found the body of J-34 “Doublestuff” one of the whales from the Jpod that I saw in June in Victoria, BC. One of the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW).

Doublestuff was young, just 18 and entering his reproductive years, which is a double blow to the population since there is one less male that can mate and produce more babies.

Then George Michael, then Carrie Fisher, then Debbie Reynolds and it seemed like some sort of bad omen, like Jesus 2016, haven’t you had enough? I was flying to Indianapolis and thinking I would die on a plane crash (as I always do when I fly) and thought well, that wouldn’t be too shocking a closure for this year and I how I’ve felt about it.

But then, I watched on TV while Pitbull welcomed the new year in Miami, dancing and singing and so damn happy and having fun, while I sat in my in-law’s basement, in my pajamas, alone with my husband and not ‘celebrating’ a New Year’s Eve for the first time in my life. I facetimed with my sister who was tipsy, in Miami, also not celebrating, and both of us feeling melancholy without each other and I talked to my mom who sounded tired from work but was having fun with her friends and I thought, it’s okay. 2017 it’s a new year, new opportunities to make life better.

And then the bombing at that club in Istanbul… and the approaching date of the inauguration. Yesterday, J-2 “Granny” the oldest recorded whale in the wild was officially considered dead since they haven’t seen her with her pod since October. I saw her too in June, she seemed so young with her pod, so active, swimming so fast, cutting through the water like a bullet.  Now she is gone and the Jpod is down to 78.

Today, Tilikum, another whale close to my heart, passed away after 33 years of captivity. Tilly was the subject of Blackfish. In the end, his life changed the rules, changed the future for other Orcas. Three people died because of Tilikum and that’s what the news are reminding people of today. Maybe I am heartless because all I can think about it’s that Tilly is finally free in death and how damn fucking sad it was that he never got to swim for miles and miles with his family in the cold waters of Iceland, where he belonged. After seeing the Jpod all together and how they jumped and breached and slapped their tails and rubbed against each other it made the captivity suffered by the Orcas in tanks even more horrible to me.

I have this…knot in my throat… and I hate it! I hate feeling like this and I hate that I have felt like this since November and I hate that every time I step closer to the light, to feeling better something like this happens and it makes me feel like we, as a world, fucking blow. I want to concentrate on the good but I am just so....sad.

Poor Tilly…at least now he will swim free in the beyond. Poor Doublestuff, so young. At least granny lived a long life.

I am afraid to open the news.