I Believe Her

A woman has come forward and alleged that, when he was in high school, Supreme Court nominee (and guy who gave me the skeevs the first time I saw him) Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her. 
And the entire country knows- that won't matter.

Mere sexual assault? He only held her down, covered her mouth with his hand and tried to rip her clothes off? Pffff.
51 U.S. senators would vote to confirm Kavanaugh if it came out he’d been imprisoning a woman in his toolshed since 1996!
~ Susan Collins would nod her head sympathetically- and then vote with the party.
~ Jeff Flake and Ben Sasse would write front page op-eds condemning him for kidnapping and sexual slavery, and then vote to confirm 24 hours later.
~ Donald Trump would spend a week attacking the kidnapped woman on social media. 
~ Melania would visit three elementary schools that same week with an anti-bullying message.
~ Paul Ryan would make a brief statement about the president’s tweets, noting that he had no reason to doubt the woman’s story that she had been kept against her will in the tool shed for 22 years, and then he would slowly drift away, like an escaped balloon." 
~ FOX would call her "No Angel", discuss her frequent detentions in HS and a speeding ticket in 2004.
~ Giuliani would insist that letting a woman live in your toolshed isn't really a crime, and lots of folks do it.
~ Newt Gingrich would remind us that Bill Clinton lied about having sex, so 'both sides'.
~ Lindsey Graham would say that he hadn't actually seen the tool shed so he has no opinion on the issue.
~ Lou Dobbs would suggest that the democrats put that toolshed in Kavanaugh's yard so they could keep him off the court 20 years later.
~ Megyn Kelly would suggest that maybe the woman was actually stalking Kavanaugh and chose to lock herself in the tool shed to be near her.

Posted by Tracy on Sep 18th 2018 | Filed in The Daily Rant | Comments (0)

Sentimental Journey

Gonna take a sentimental journey…
Sentimental journey home…

Last week my dad and his recently-minted 89 years came to Columbus, checked into The James Hospital and had 7 hours of surgery for papillary thyroid cancer.

My brother-in-law Joe, being far too well aquainted with surgery at The James, graciously shepherded dad and his wife through the whole ordeal. Dad went back for pre-op at 9 AM. Then there was a delay, and another… and he was 3 hours late going into the OR. Then the grueling hunt for tiny cancer nodes. It was 10 PM before that elderly man and his exhausted 84 year old wife were deposited in a room on the 21st floor to try to get some sleep. Everyone was worn out- even me, and all I did was sit at home and fret!

When I came to visit the next morning, he looked… well- better than I thought he would. His scar (which he would ask for repeated photographs of over the days to watch the progression of the bruising) looked like a nightmare…

But my dad was smiling and cracking jokes.

What's the difference between thyroid surgery and a mugging?
Dunno- what's the difference, Dad?
Nothing! They both take all your money and slit your throat.

We had been told that he would be hoarse after the procedure and there was a small chance he would lose his voice. And so, to enable him to call for people without raising his voice, and in honor of his great love of the Marx Brothers, I bought him a Harpo Marx clown horn. And a top hat, because of course!

But his voice, like the rest of him, bounded back quickly.
After a few days of him neither eating nor sleeping particularly well, the wound drains came out and the doctors let him go. I had volunteered to stay with them at their place after surgery in case they needed assistance, so I picked them up and drove them back to Athens.
I have satellite radio in my car, and a few years ago I had discovered a 40's station that played the artists whose LP's I remember my dad playing when I was a kid and I thought he might enjoy listening to that as we drove. It used to be called "the 40's on Four" because it was on channel 4, but not any longer. hoping they hadn't eliminated it completely, on the way to the hospital I was punching my way through the station offerings at every red light, looking for it. I got as far as #72 but hadn't found it.

After Dad got settled in my front seat and Dawn in the back and we were headed to the freeway, I started checking stations again- and it was the very next: #73, "40's Junction".
"Hey Dad- how do you like this song?"
"Oh this sounds- is that Count Bassie?"
"It is!"

For the next hour and a half we listened to the classics, and Dad tried to name the musicians, or the tune. If he couldn't guess, he at least had some nugget of information about the musician, or the singer, or the style of music they were playing and why it was popular. Good thing he didn't lose his voice, because he talked or sang along non-stop.
At a traffic light after we pulled off the highway for beverages, a song with a particularly good rhythm came on. Dad beat out the pattern on his legs and the car door- i used the steering wheel. We leaned our heads close, he rumbed a soft baritone while I harmonized up high.

And suddenly my eyes were misting up and I had to rub them, because it was one of those perfect, quintissential Dad moments. 
Like working at his basement workbench together, among the smell of wood shavings and machine oil,

Or hiking a trail and listening to him talk about a flower or tree,

or crawling around on the ground to get the perfect photo angle, Dad and the big-band music he loves is my dad at his best. His happiest.

 

He is recovering well (and was, in fact, doing rather more puttering around in the 94 degree heat yesterday then I thought he should be doing yesterday) but I don't imagine he will be doing those other "dad" things much any more, if at all. And so I am doubly grateful that, thanks to my satellite radio, me and my dad got to have 90 minutes of easy, pure happiness together.

Gonna take a sentimental journey.
Gonna set my heart at ease.
Gonna make a sentimental journey
to renew old memories.

Never thought my heart could be so yearny.
why did I decide to roam?
Gonna take that sentimental journey:
Sentimental journey home.

 

Posted by Tracy on Jul 2nd 2018 | Filed in General,So I've got this kid... | Comments (0)

We Are Human

I am so saddened by the people who are saying that President Trump's comment: "They're not people. They're animals." is Okay because "He was only talking about those MS-13 gang members."
It's not. 
It's absolutely not.

Consider the premise: gang members are criminals, therefore they are less-than-human. (Therefore not deserving of due process- we'll get to that in a minute)
But if criminals are not people- society needs some clarification.
~ At what level of criminal activity does a person become a not-person? What about someone who obstructs justice and colludes with a foreign adversary to subvert democracy: not a person?
~ Say it must be a violent crime. How about if a LOT of people are hurt by this person, but not directly? Like if someone cuts funding for a children's health insurance program, endangering the lives of thousands of kids. Or cuts regulations, allowing more toxins in the air and water, so that people get ill? Is that guy an animal?
~ Last summer Eric Trump said that Democrats aren't people, because they won't do what his dad wants- so it seems like the bar is pretty low. (Unless they declaring the DNC a gang) Low enough that to Donald Trump, just being an undocumented immigrant is enough to put you in the "animal" club.
~ How much evidence do we need to have that someone is just an animal because they are in a gang? Trump's comment was prompted by a sheriff complaining that she has to prove that someone is a gang member to be allowed to kick them out of the country for being in a gang. Oh no- how unfair!  Why can't we just kick out anyone we want and if they're not actually MS-13- oh well. They're an immigrant anyway, so it's not like it matters.
~ And who gets to decide the ground rules?  Silly question! The answer to this, and every question like it is- Donald Trump, of course. Hey, remember when Donald Trump was practically salivating to get the Central Park 5 kids executed, taking out a full page ad in the paper begging New York to bring back the death penalty just to get thse inhuman scum put down like they deserved… and they were innocent?

I reject the entire premise.
 
Words matter. Dehumanizing the 'other' is an old and disgusting tactic that allows people to do the most despicable things because hey- they're not really people. The military uses it to overcome the reluctance draftees might have for sshooting another 18 year old kid in the face: those Japs are just rats. 
Mobs use it too.Gays aren't people. The Tutsi's are just cockroaches. Immigrants are animals. We're supposed to treat people with basic decency, and follow the laws… but if they aren't even people… it releases the societal restraints.

People are people. Some are good people. Some are bad. Some are a little of both. And there are laws that govern how we treat the bad ones, and they need to be followed. For one thing- sometimes you're mistaken and they're not bad. Or they did a bad thing, but for reasons you aren't aware of.
But mostly because we become bad people when we mistreat others- even those we consider bad. It diminishes us to drop down to their level.
And if we are now bad people… maybe we're animals too.

Posted by Tracy on May 17th 2018 | Filed in The Daily Rant | Comments (0)

Careless Cruelty

A little perspective:

Joe Biden called what was recently said about John McCain at a White House staff meeting (that he's dying anyway so why worry about how he would vote)  "rock bottom".
It wasn't.
That comment; that casual dismissal of the life and death of a good man as no longer relevant because he won't be able to vote against the Trumpers for much longer, is merely the harm being done to vulnerable Americans every day finally trickling UP to the powerful.

John McCain is ending his days surrounded by family and friends, and such casual cruelty won't hurt him. Millions of people are being hurt, and even killed, by the policies and by the Knock-the-Crap-outta-them attitude Trump signals his followers to adopt.

Children of immigrants are being separated from their parents. Trump wants to take money away from children's medicine to help pay for his own tax cut! He and the GOP are trying to gut medicaid, which will leave millions without access to affordable medicine. As a major Ebola epidemic appears to be ramping up in Congo, Trump is slashing US aid to fight it! 
Mr "We should do way worse than waterboarding" wants a former torture administrator running the CIA. Trump just repealed the protection for thousands of Hondurans who have been living and working here since they had to flee their homeland. He eliminated funding for after-school programs, for crying out loud, saying they don't accomplish anything when every study shows that they do. He is attacking Native American health care and recently rescinded a transgender policy for no other reason than that he apparently likes to hurt people.

These and so many other policies large and small will harm people: financially, emotionally, and physically.
People. Will. Die.

I think what was said about McCain was sleazy and saddening, as is the fact that the democratic party is defending him far more strongly than the Republicans are. (Well, when you have outlived your usefulness to them, they leave even their heros dying by the side of the road). 
But let's be honest: John McCain doesn't need those jerks or their kind regard. Millions of Americans and suffering people around the world DO. Basic decency toward senator McCain won't save his life. It *could* save the life of many, many other people. But they won't get it.

And THAT is the bottom of the barrel.

Posted by Tracy on May 12th 2018 | Filed in The Daily Rant | Comments (0)

Exclusion

I don't usually remember my dreams, but this one remains in my memory like a movie I watched. I don't know what it is that makes some dreams slip out of your gray matter upon wakening, like minnows across a pond and some stay. I am writing this down because I suspect it might say something about me.

I was at camp. It wasn't VCc- but in that way of dreams, it was. There were dormitories: one for the older kids, another for the younger. The different wings in each building were the designated "camp sites".
It was going to be my last year there because i was "ageing out". I arrived and was greeted happily by a number of friends, both among campers and staff, who were happy to see me. I was looking forward to a great session as I grabbed my gear and headed into the dormitory to find my assigned campsite and room.

I walked up and down the halls, waving at famililar faces and smiling at new ones, reading the name tags above the doors… and never found my name. 
I went through again.Then I found a counselor and explained my dilema.
"No problem- let me look you up" she said, and went down the list on her clip board. 
"Hmmm… I know you're registered…"
Nope. Not there.

It was confirmed that yes, I had been registered as a camper, I just hadn't been assigned a room. No prob- oh. Huh.
No empty beds. Not one.

I stood there, blinking, nodding my head, feeling both hollowed out and weirdly calm.
Look- we'll figure this out! We can… we can put you in the other dorm!
With the younger kids? Who I will not eat with or have campsite activities with, while all my friends are spending evenings together?
Well we can put you in the admin building, in the wing where the nurse and the custodians sleep. There's a bed free there.
Again, separated from all the people I came here to be with?

I shook my head and began to gather my belongings to take them back to the car. "No" I said. "I guess I'll just go home"
But you're registered! We don't want you to leave!
"Look" i said. "If there were 3 or 4 of us who didn't have beds in the dormitory with everyone else, I could deal with that. We'd get to be with our groups during the day and we would have each other at night. But by myself? The only one? No."

I was certain. I was calm. I was devastated. My last hurrah with my friends- suddenly yanked away. As much as I hated that thought, there was no question in my mind that I was not staying at camp as some lame little hanger-on, always not quite part of things. All the late night singing, talking, card games, story-telling and bonding would not happen for me if I did. I would be a group of one.

I'm not sure why i dreamed this, or why it was so firmly imbedded in my brain that, a week later, I can still feel that awful lonliness just by remembering it. I do have an issue with feeling that I don't belong in social situations, but in this dream, I did belong. everyone wanted me- there just wasn't room. But that didn't make it any better.
And yes: here I am, 57 years old and still dealing with teenaged angst of not belonging. 

Posted by Tracy on Apr 14th 2018 | Filed in So I've got this kid... | Comments (0)

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