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Giving Thanks & Making Plans
Nov 24th, 2016 by Dr Karma

Today is Thanksgiving, and I’m having trouble giving thanks.

It’s not that I don’t have things to be thankful for. I do. My friends, my family, my job, my waking up this morning, etc.

Still, it’s hard this year to celebrate this particularly American holiday, because it’s hard to be American right now.

Thanksgiving is always difficult, politically. The shadow of what the settlers and the American government have done to the people who shared the first feast hangs over us, especially this year, as our government stands against Standing Rock.

Thanksgiving creates political problems in another way–as we overeat in the company of those who have just voted in ways we find just plain silly or downright evil.

And today I think back to how Thanksgiving in its modern form came to be.

After the Civil War, the country was divided. A woman wrote to President Lincoln, suggesting that we have a national day of Thanksgiving–an American holiday–to bring us together.

It worked, for a while, for some.

We’ve been divided for quite a while. It’s hard to remember that we didn’t say “red state” or “blue state” in the 20th century. It’s hard to remember that the American flag used to belong to all of us. In the early 2000s, it became synonymous with Republicans. Even under Obama’s leadership, when I was feeling very American, it would have felt weird to fly a flag. I would have been worried that it would signal that I was conservative.

It pisses me off that they somehow took the flag.

So today I need to be really clear about what I’m thankful for.

I’m thankful that, through fate alone, I was born here and now.

I’m thankful that more Americans voted for Hillary than for a demagogue.

I’m thankful that the vast majority of this nation is not on his team.

I’m thankful that the vast majority isn’t trying to drag the rest of us back to the fifties. The vast majority believes in equal rights, in women’s right to work, in women’s right to say no, in women’s rights to be on juries and to direct juries from the bench, in non-christians’ rights not to be forced to pray in school, in religious freedom to practice religion (while not demonizing people who pray differently or who have different sexual desires and identities), in the fact that black lives matter to, in fighting white supremacy.

We are not the silent majority.

We are the loud as fuck majority.

They want to go back in the past.

We are moving to the future.

We’ll win.

This is #21stcAmerica.

It’s ours.

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P(E)TSD
Nov 15th, 2016 by Dr Karma

Post (election of) Trump Stress Disorder

I have PTSD. I was diagnosed a couple of years ago when my living situation with a family member triggered me–heart rate problems, flashbacks, high blood pressure, nightmares.

My living situation is different now, and I’ve done extensive EMDR therapy with a psychiatrist who specializes in treating this problem.

I’d been having a much higher level of anxiety in the months leading up to this election, but so was everyone else. All of my doctors report their patients having problems with this. But I still didn’t think that what was scaring me could happen.

It happened.

It has taken me a few days to admit that I’m being triggered. My heart rate is way too high, I’m having flashbacks, my blood pressure is way up, and I’m having nightmares. Today, I was listening to the news and sending an email, and suddenly I realized that I was unwell. I didn’t know if I was going to throw up or fall down. Luckily, I was able to recognize it as an anxiety attack and get through it before it was time to go to school.

Stress is, of course, a trigger, but there’s simply more to it than that.

I feel physically unsafe, both for myself and my students. I’ve lived through Bush, and while his policies scared me, I wasn’t scared of his supporters in a physical way. I am currently afraid of some of my fellow Americans–mostly because I know they don’t see me as American–only they count when they talk about Americans. I’m a race traitor, I’m a woman, I’m an ally, I’m an atheist, I’m a progressive, I’m an intellectual.

But it’s even more personal than that.

My PTSD, if I may diagnose myself, is being triggered because of long ago traumas.

 

Slow dissolve.

Pensacola, Fl. My mother’s apartment.

I am barely 18.

I am technically between homes, having moved my stuff out of my grandparent’s house the day before (long story). I hadn’t been living with my mother, mostly due to her abusive boyfriend, Don: racist, redneck, sexist. His son had praised Hitler in our one conversation. Don had once told me he was glad I was carrying to term, since women who got abortions should be shot. My mother, solidly pro-choice, had sat silently.

I am getting ready for bed; I’m in a T-shirt and underwear. My infant son is resting quietly.

My mother’s boyfriend appears, screaming and drunk.

“There isn’t room in her life for both of us,” he says.

And then he comes at me.

I run out the door, luring him away from my son, who is now screaming. I hide in the bushes. I pray.

The landlord comes and chases him away.

My mother makes excuses. For him. To me.

The next night, he comes over. “I’m sorry I yelled at you, but you ARE A BITCH.”

My mother wants us all to watch TV together. Don was just drunk, she explains again.

I have no car, no money, no license, no way out, until she takes me to move into my great-grandfather’s bedroom (two hours away) the next day. He had just died that morning, and decisions had been made.

I don’t want to watch TV with him; I don’t want to pretend he didn’t attack me. My mother insists. I call her sister, who tells my mother that I should be allowed to nurse and read quietly in another room.

I had never been physically attacked before.

Whenever my mother and ex-stepfather would drunkenly scream at each other, when I was younger, she would take me aside after, explaining that calling a woman a bitch was the worse thing you could say.

“Don’t ever let a man treat you this way.”

Flash forward to this boyfriend, him attacking me, and her behind him, quietly saying, “No, Don, don’t.”

 

This is what I flash back to. This is where the nightmares are coming from. Racist, sexist, violent, hate-filled people who don’t think there’s room enough in their country for all of us. I am physically afraid of them.

This time, my mother isn’t even saying, “No, Don, don’t.”

She voted for him.

 

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2016 Election Blame Game
Nov 11th, 2016 by Dr Karma

On Facebook, I see different people excusing themselves from responsibility of what happened.

“Oh, I voted for a third party in a swing state, but it’s the fault of people who didn’t vote at all.”

There’s more than enough blame to go around here, people.

blame1

It is the fault of those who voted for Trump because they loved him.

It is the fault of those who voted for Trump even though they could see him for what he was.

It is the fault of those who said, “he says what we’re all thinking.”

It is the fault of those who said, “Oh, he doesn’t mean x; he’s just saying that for votes.”

It is the fault of Trump, who is a psychopath, in the full clinical definition of the word.

It is the fault of anyone who ever let that psychopath think he wasn’t one.

It is the fault of those who voted for third party candidates, esp. in swing states.

It is the fault of eligible voters who didn’t vote, esp. in swing states.

It is the fault of the media who gave Trump so much free air time.

It is the fault of the media who harped on the emails.

It is the fault of the media who didn’t equally harp on all of Trump’s scandals.

It is the fault of voters who listened to a single kind of media without doing any fact checking.

It is the fault of conspiracy theorists who kept spreading lies about Clinton.

It is the fault of those who spread lies about America–that crime is up, that the economy is completely down, that Sharia law governs whole cities here, etc.

It is the fault of foreign interests, esp. Russia and Wikileaks, who tried to take down one of the parties. And succeeded.

It is the fault of the voters who let them.

It is the fault of the electoral college system (and the primary system).

It is the fault of Clinton for not being perfect, for making mistakes, and not dealing with those mistakes well.

It is the fault of those who kept insisting that Clinton and Trump were equally bad, were equally dangerous for America.

It is the fault racists.

It is the fault of sexists.

It is the fault of religious bigots.

It is the fault of nationalists.

It is the fault of the homophobic.

It is the fault of the selfish.

It is the fault of the anti-science people.

It is the fault of very religious people who are so against “sharia” law, but who intend to make our laws based on their faith.

It is the fault of those who are uninformed.

It is the fault of those who don’t understand how economics work.

It is the fault of all those who don’t understand their own privilege.

It is the fault of those who don’t understand history–who don’t know that it was the extremely high tax burden on the rich that made the 1950s so awesome for (heterosexual white male) middle class people.

It is the fault of those who don’t see parallels between what is happening now and what happened in Germany, who spent the last eight years saying Obama was Hitler only to go on to elect their own demagogue, who actually is one.

It is the fault of the Republican states who have changed voter rules (and the Supreme Court who let them), making it harder to vote in all kinds of ways.

It is the fault of the first Americans, who, despite George Washington’s advice, established a two party system.

It is the fault of my family members who are continually taken in by that party to vote against their self interest.

It is the fault of other of my family members who only vote in their own self interests, and believe that everyone else on this planet, unless they’re family, should be completely on their own.

There.

It’s basically everyone’s fault.

Can we please FIX IT NOW?

 

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Twirling Towards Freedom
Nov 2nd, 2016 by Dr Karma

I usually don’t like it when people say The Simpsons has “predicted” something. I’ve even written a blog about it.

However, I was just remembering a long ago Simpsons episode in which Bill Clinton and Bob Dole put aside their partisan differences to defeat a threat to America–a threat taking the undeserved form of presidential candidates.

And now, both of those men (and ALL living former Presidents, Republican and Democrat) are rejecting exactly the kind of man who would like to make us all build a ray gun to smite his enemies.

Don’t vote for Kang/Kodos.

Vote with Clinton & Dole!

Trump, I mean Kang & Kodos, posing as qualified politicians (and exchanging long protein strings).

Trump, I mean Kang & Kodos, posing as qualified politicians (and exchanging long protein strings).

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