Tag Archives: Common Sense

How Be a Friend

It’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day. And so, of course, Putin’s President, with the irony born of someone without a soul or a keen eye for history, chose today of all days to ban Muslims from entering the U.S.

Naturally, that means anybody who “looks” Muslim will become even more of a target than they have been since Trump took us all down the gold escalator into hell.  It is now open season on “others” here in our nation of immigrants.

So what can we do about it?

I will admit that the safety pin movement left me feeling decidedly unhelpful.  It’s a nice thought, but it never made me feel like I was actually standing up for anyone.  Or like I was doing something to help people being targeted.

But a while back I saw this article that offered some practical suggestions that have some meat on the bones.  Really!  Click on the link.  Cause I’m not going to tell you everything it says.

Anyway, I like to think that I would be the kind of person who would stand up in any situation to protect those in need.  But frankly,  I’m overweight, slow moving, and cowardly.  They don’t make superheroes who look or act like me.  So the odds are NOT in my favor.  Besides, when something happens around me, I never have a clue what’s happening.  I generally stand there, looking around, confused.  Immobile.  Saying “WTF” with my mouth hanging open.  Quick witted I may be with words, but actions?  Not so much.

But the Vox article showed me a way to help when someone is being verbally assaulted, in situations where I am most likely to see it happen.  It’s brilliant.  And relatively safe.  Win-win.

Here’s an example.  Say you’re in Target, passing by the children’s section, when you hear a man harassing a woman in a hijab.  He’s big and burly, and you want to help. You also don’t want him to target you.  Still, you can’t just walk away, turn a blind eye.  You’re a good person!  You wouldn’t be able to look yourself in the mirror if you didn’t help.  But how?

Why, act like an idiot, of course.  Me, I’m a natural!  At acting the idiot, that is.  Not being one.  That’s the role of the racist.

You interrupt the jerk.  Wander in between him and his victim as if you’re looking for something, and can’t quite find it.  Request his help.  Be totally oblivious.  Give the poor target the opportunity to get away.  Think Roseann Rosanna Dana.

roseann-roseanna-dana

Gilda Radner as Roseann Rosanna Dana.

Or, in an equally ditzy way, pretend to be the friend/shopping buddy of the woman being mistreated, and in an oblivious way whisk that woman out of the children’s department and into the table linens.

“Sylvia!” said in the most nasal tone imaginable, “THERE you are.  You were supposed to meet me in the shoe department … you come with me right now before they’re out of the size 7s…”

Read the article.  Learn steps you can take to help folks who may really need your help.  Because it’s a Brave New World out there.  And it helps to be prepared.

Today of all days, it’s important to recall these words, from the U.S. Holocaust Museum:

The Holocaust did not begin with killing; it began with words. The Museum calls on all American citizens, our religious and civic leaders, and the leadership of all branches of the government to confront racist thinking and divisive hateful speech.

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Keeping Our Heads for Four Years

If you were a news junkie during the George W. Bush era, you’re already experiencing deja vu.  That sinking feeling already makes your eyes roll automatically when Putin’s President appears.  It settled into the back of your neck from the whiplash as you shake your head and shout “no, no, no, no, no, no, no!” over the latest outrage or tweet.  And it’s there in the pit of your stomach, when you try not to vomit whenever you see the color orange.

Yup, it’s started.  The Deluge.  The Flood.  The Trump shit storm.

trump-and-putin

During the Bush years, I would just be ready to pounce on one issue, when another hit the fan and took the wind out of my sails. Resistance is hard if there is just so much to resist.

How, I worried in the days since November 8, will I survive Trump.  I feared a heart attack.  A stroke.  Getting so scared I’d shit in my pants.   Of course I worry about the last one sometimes during a scary movie.

Anyway, I’ve come up with a strategy for a hybrid Resister/Surviving Human.  I’m going to become a political centaur!

centaur-female

Google Image.  No shit will be given by this filly.

 

I’m going to take my mother’s marital and parental advice and apply it to my activism.  She said:

Choose Your Battles!

Me, I’m going to try to focus on issues I know about and/or that are closest to my heart.  The ones I write about here on FiftyFourAndAHalf.

But that won’t be all I do.  I will look for and follow the lead of others who are knowledgeable about other issues, and I will try to help to the extent I can.  It’s not hard, really, to make calls to Congress and the White House.  Really, it just takes a minute.  You or I can even just cut and paste and hit “send.”

But I will try my very best to keep my blood pressure — and my outrage to livable levels.

George W. Bush kept us all off balance because there were so many things to be outraged about, that we couldn’t keep it up.  Different bad presidents need different tactics.

And Trump will make the Dubya years look like a walk in the park.  And that park is in Baghdad.

 

 

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Happy Thanksgiving

This year I feel incredibly lucky at Thanksgiving.  Nobody at my feast will have voted for Donald Trump.

Nobody.

And they will all be relatives.

Didn’t I tell you that I’m lucky?  It’s true — I will gladly spend then next two days cooking for them.

But I know that not everybody is as lucky as me.  I feel your pain, I really do.  One of my brothers voted for Trump, as did a nephew and, I’m pretty sure, a great nephew.  But none of them are coming — they don’t usually come so I did not banish them.

It’s hard to talk to folks about this election and why we feel so strongly that the wrong side won.

It’s hard to talk about this election and not place all Trump voters into Hillary’s stupid basket of deplorables.

It’s hard to talk about this election to Trump voters and not slap them upside the head for being stupid, for placing our democracy at risk, for threatening the future of the planet either by a Trump tiff or by his unwillingness to accept that climate change is real and to do something about it.

For those of you who need assistance, I give you this video — with a shout-out to my friend Karen:

 

 

Not that it will change anything.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who are celebrating.

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Hallelujah(?)

Like many of you, I still wake in the night with a knot in my stomach.  It’s Donald Trump, of course.  He’s making me sick.  He’s making me anxious.  He’s making me unusually serious.

But of course, we are all here in this country — although I think all of us want to pack our bags and leave a country that just elected such a seriously flawed man.  A man who cheats, and lies and treats all non-white men as if they are less than human.

This video has helped me.  It reminded me that I’m part of the loyal opposition — loyal to the system of government as it should act under the Constitution.  That I’m an American and I value my institutions and I will fight against tyranny. That I am descended from immigrants who helped build our country.

That I have to be part of the solution.  Whatever that may be.

Oh and that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by over 2 million votes, at last count.

Hallelujah.

 

 

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The Best Tool

Surprisingly, even here in polarized Northern Virginia where I live, there are still folks who haven’t made up their minds.

I’m doing all I can to help.  I’m making calls, I’ve donated money.  I fill out Donald Trumps surveys suggesting that he call Hillary “fat” and ask his followers why she isn’t home in the kitchen.

But the best tool I’ve found is this one:

i-voted

People are asking me who I voted for.  And they really want to know.  And I don’t hesitate to let them know why I voted for Hillary.

To the guys in the gas station and the convenience store, I emphasized Hillary’s commitment to raising the minimum wage and the fact that the billionaire has never done anything except cheat working people out of the money they earned.

To the folks in the medical lab, I referred to Hillary’s commitment to science, to healthcare for everybody.  Since they have such long working hours, I looked up where they too could vote early and encouraged them to do so.

To the affluent-looking folks in the grocery store, I emphasized the way the market react by falling through the floor whenever there is a hint that Trump is gaining.  “Do you want his finger on the nuclear button — we live at Ground Zero — DC (and Northern Virginia) lives under one big target …

Wear your sticker.  Talk it up.  Don’t pick fights.  Use humor however you can.

But everybody with an ounce of sense can help make sure that Wednesday is not the beginning of a long, terrible nightmare.

ELECTIONS MATTER

SO DOES YOUR VOICE

clinton-kaine-2016-blue-bumper-sticker

 

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Scarier than Any Ghost

What’s scarier than a slasher?  Things that go bump in the night?  A monster under the bed?

The possibility that these two will live in the White House.  At 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC.

halloween

From my friend Father Kane at The Last of the Milleniums.

 

There is an answer, though.

hillary2

Google.  Oh and Hillary.

 

And this is pretty damn important too.

VOTE FOR  DEMOCRATS FOR THE HOUSE AND SENATE

Because they’re already planning to oppose anything she tries to do as President.

turn-america-blue

 

But since I love you all, I’ll give you a break.  You can watch this.

Happy Halloween!

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Rights?!? WTF is Wrong With Us?

Look into the eyes of a terrorist.  A threat to your safety and mine.  Something should be done about her.  Ammirite? 

macie

Macie.  Photo from owner Susan R. Smith, courtesy of the Loudoun Times.

Oh wait!  Something was done about her!  I feel safer already.

Virginia, where I live, is an “Open Carry” state.  Where folks can pack their pistols and take them with them no matter where they go.

  • To the grocery store (always a terrifying experience — what if they bruise my apples?).
  • To a bar (because, really, what could possibly go wrong?)
  • When taking a leisurely stroll in the park.

Maybe your state is among them!  Wouldn’t that be great?

open-carry-map

Photo from the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal.  And Google, natch.

Now what connection could that picture and that map possibly have?

Well, guess what happened on Tuesday?  Just guess.

Macie, an 11 month old lab mix was running in a park on a beautiful day.  Her crimes were many.  Serious.

  • She was off the leash
  • She was friendly
  • She did not respond immediately to her owners call

So naturally she deserved to be shot.  Oh, and killed.

I guess I should back up a bit.

Macie was running off-leash in a park where she wasn’t supposed to be off-leash but where everybody lets their dog run off leash.

Smith said her dog approached the couple and jumped in the air. She said the dog was leaping behind the man but was not barking at the time.

At that point, the man yelled out, “Call your dog,” Smith said. “He said it once, maybe twice.”

Smith said she and her friend then started running toward the dogs, who were about 20 yards away.

“We called for our dogs,” Smith said. Then she said she saw the man’s arm “go to his side” and across his body. “He sees us coming,” she said. The man pulled out a gun and fired it at the dog.

The man faces no charges.  He was legally carrying a gun and reportedly “fired in self-defense.”  But really, there was no threat.  The owner was coming for the dog.  She was a fucking puppy saying hello.

Sources:  The Washington Post, The Loudoun Times

*****

This story has me pretty upset.  Because I walk Duncan not too far from the scene of Marcie’s killing.  Duncan is often off-leash, too.  Because it is a beautiful place to let him run.  There aren’t many places where off-leash is permitted around here.  Those places that exist are small fenced in dog parks that reek of pee.

Duncan is quite good at coming when I call him — he always gets a treat.  But he’s friendly, and I have to (and do) restrain him when I see an unfamiliar walker or jogger coming towards him.  He loves to say hello.

riverbend-path

Duncan and I walk here most days.  Not far from where Macie died.

To me, this man is a perfect example of exactly the problem with folks carrying around guns.  They use them.  Stupidly.  And without consequence. 

Common sense and restraint don’t enter into the picture.

We need to do something about our society where folks feel the need to carry a gun, and feel entitled to use it.

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