Dogs of war

In a shocking turn of events, I am no longer going private. Do not get me wrong; every inclination is to take myself off the grid emotionally, figuratively, literally, physically, mentally… That could be the fight or flight reflex kicking in.

Maybe I’m extra raw right now. I found out Monday a friend of mine from my former employer passed away. He went on secondment like I did, from California (LA) to another country (London, to be specific). My journey took me from San Francisco to Australia, but we had similar experiences which left similar tastes in our mouths after the fact. He’d left the firm, and found a great role at Ares Capital Management. He was gay, as am I. He was active in our LGBT employee diversity group, as was I. He had stage 4 colon cancer and was only 2 years older than me.

I’m shaking as I type this, so much so I can barely keep my hands trained to the keys I must type to say this. Adrenaline has been coursing through my veins all morning, as the anti-immigrant executive order signed, subsequent detaining of even legal green card holders, and protests at airports has unfolded. The United States has placed a ban on travelers from 7 countries, effectively targeting the Muslim religion, which coincidentally do not include Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. Trump’s businesses have ties there in those 3 untouched countries, to be clear. If anything, terrorists from those 3 countries were primarily responsible for 9/11. But they’re not blocked. They’d get through Trump’s “security” today. Things that make you go, “Hmmmm.”

I consider myself a citizen of the world, though my passport may be from the United States. Traveling internationally gave me profound respect for cultures other than my own. I saw the unity of humanity despite and through its differences. I appreciated how tiny I was in the scheme of the things, yet how loud a single voice and experience can be.

No, I cannot be quiet. A song debuted at the women’s march on January 21, 2017, practiced by online participants in advance, called “I Can’t Keep Quiet.” Like its lyrics proclaim, I, too, am a one-woman riot right now.

What Donald Trump and his supporters have done in just his first 8 days in office has completely up-ended the good, stable things that have made America great in the past. They have just made it un-great. That will undoubtedly have consequences. That’s gonna leave a mark.

I watch in shock and awe as history repeats itself. The dogs of war have been unleashed. It is on. This is how the 3rd world war commences, and that would make the time of the 3rd anti-christ upon us, according to the predictions of Nostradamus.

When I was a kid, I didn’t know what gift to give my dad, so I asked. Maybe it was a birthday, maybe it was Christmas. My memory begins to fail me in the details from long ago. He asked me for a Pink Floyd CD as a gift. I was shocked that there existed a Pink Floyd album he did NOT have! He told me it was the album with the song “Dogs Of War” on it. If you’ve not heard it, I urge you to give the link below a listen. It begins ominously. As we have, as well.

We can’t stop what has begun. Signed, sealed, delivered – oblivion, as the lyrics to the song go.

I am so disappointed. I’m disgusted. I am angry. I am sad. I am ashamed. For America. But I cannot hide. I’ve chosen my battle. I’m 35 years old. This and now is as good as it gets. I am as strong as I need to be right now. If I don’t commit myself to fighting this, then what is my purpose in life? I’ve never felt so passionately for something before. Peace. Open borders. No walls – the wall in Berlin was not only to keep unwanted outsiders out, but also to keep people in. If Trump builds a wall, part of me knows it too will be to keep Americans who want out in.

Giving up is not an option, now. Staying silent isn’t either.

He is Voldemort in the sagas of Harry Potter. He is President Snow in the Hunger Games. I just hope it doesn’t have to take 2+ more books to put his evil to rest for good. He cannot win. This is not how the story goes. I find myself wanting to shout from the rafters, “I volunteer as tribute!” if it would help the situation. It will not, but I’m involved now. It’s gone too far.

Iran is already retaliating against Trump’s order. I do not blame the Iranian people. I worry about future international travel plans I have. What if citizens of the US are no longer welcome anywhere else? What if the tables turned, and the Americans are now the refugees trying to escape a terrible force of unwanted government, and we have nowhere to go? No one to help us? No no no no no. Borders, bans, walls – these are not the answer.

I feel unsafe. Uncomfortable. The stress of only 8 days in the presidency is taking its toll on my body. My PT had to tape my left knee the other night, as I’ve got bursitis from perhaps too vigorous a leg workout day, working out my aggressions and stress. All morning I had a tension headache. I’m not sleeping well. I’m barely eating. This is not good for me.

His impeachment cannot come fast enough. This tangent we’re on needs interrupting. This would be a great time for the Avengers to make their presence known. For greater powers with sanity, logic, and a heart to intervene and make things right.

But that would be easy. Nothing ever comes easy. We must fight for it. Our ancestors fought for freedom in the past, and the fight is not over yet. I hope the election didn’t wear you out, because this has only just begun.

Resist. Everything. He. Orders. Resist.

Also, I again refer you to a post written by John Pavlovitz, who seems to have a knack for saying things the way I want to these days. Please read his most recent post “Dear World, From America”. I couldn’t have said it better myself, again. Please forgive us; you are seeing us at our very worst right now. We are turning to look at ourselves with horror.

I’ve said it before and it’s worth reiterating: Muslims, I’ll ride with you. Like the hashtag that went viral after the Lindt café shooting in Sydney, you are safe with me. I was coming home on the bus from yet another stress-induced vigorous workout today, when two women with head coverings and dark skin sat next to each other on the bus next to me. Maybe they weren’t even Muslim, but my sense of protection kicked in. My reflexes were so taught, I was literally thinking if anyone came onto that bus and began to harass them, I would literally get in that person’s face. I wondered what it would be like to get my ass kicked for doing so. I found myself not caring because what is right must win. It must.

I have also said before (see my post) and I’ll say again, this is exactly what the terrorists wanted, and America has played right into it. Fools.

Yes, I’ve admitted before to having hate for Trump. But that shows that I have passion. I am not indifferent, which is the true opposite of love. I’m certainly not indifferent. I have chosen a side, or perhaps the light has chosen me. I refuse to be on the wrong side of history, and now, I am prepared to die for that. Where this is going is unacceptable. Where America is going under Trump’s tutelage is not acceptable. I cannot, with my mind, all my heart, and very being, exist in a universe where the bad guys win.

So I must do everything I can to see to it they don’t. It’s hard to keep it all straight, as the M.O. of Trump and Republicans has been to throw the entire cavalry to the field within the first 8 days, signing executive orders that impede on my rights as a woman, as someone with a voice, as someone who appreciates the many freedoms afforded to me as a US citizen.

Yet today, I’m a little unsafer. Yes, I’m scared, if I’m being honest. I might look white. But I am female. And I definitely look gay. I’m not safe in Trump’s America.

If you’re not scared, then maybe you should be. Leadership of America now rests in the tiny hands of a malignant narcissist, bringing us ever closer to midnight on the doomsday clock.

Remember to find little joys where you can now. Sleep. Try to be good to yourself and others. Build strength. Find a way to fight and be active. Now is the time. If you find yourself getting tired, just rest; don’t quit.

I recently rewatched V for Vendetta as it recently became available on Netflix. Where is Guy Fawkes now? What day exactly do we mail out costumes to everyone to create an uprising? Do we wait for the curfews? How far does it have to go before we stop giving him a chance and begin shutting him down? Why isn’t he impeached yet???

I still believe in diversity and freedom and liberty. I have no children to protect or look out for. I have no wife to keep a photo of in my helmet as I press on. I sit here, writing to you now like Bastian in the attic of his school while reading the Neverending Story. Perhaps we had to be brought on this terrible journey, to give the empress a new name and save this world. We had to watch the horse die in the swamps of sadness. We loved the damn racing snail.

I sit here, writing to you now like the lesbian who died in V for Vendetta among the masses of emaciated prisoners likened to Holocaust victims in the film, who wrote her life story on a tiny scrap of toilet paper and rolled it up between the bricks of her cell for Natalie Portman’s character to find during her stay in the very same cell.

I have something to fight for, though. I still believe in good. I do not own a gun, nor do I want one. It would defeat the purpose of what I believe in, to fight with a gun. I do not think our government should take away your gun, if you have one. I’d feel a lot safer if you put it away, actually, unloaded, thanks.

I’m on edge tonight, and as I go into tomorrow, and the next day. My defenses are up. Maybe yours should be, too.

Tree line

A tree line is the edge of a habitat, usually at high elevations, at which trees are capable of growing. It’s an unseen boundary; no one drew a real line on the ground. A tree line appears well-defined from a distance, but upon closer inspection, it’s a gradual transition. 

Beyond it, the conditions are too harsh to sustain life. Some trees were meant to cling tight to the rocks of a mountainside, while others were meant to overlook a river, comfortable in rich, clay soil. 

It becomes very obvious, when we step back and look at a mountainside, where the tree line is. After a certain point, there are no more trees; perhaps only grasses and rocks and dirt remain. From a distance, sometimes it’s easier to draw definitive lines.

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I was watching Wild Australia last night, missing my home of three years, and the show broached the subject of tree lines in the Australian environments. But tree lines can be anywhere with a mountain range, not just Australia. 

Some trees at the tree line are small; they might be young, or full grown but not able to get much larger due to the availability of nutrients. Some are quite tall. The conditions are on the verge of being harsh, or are harsh for intermittent periods at that boundary, so there are certainly fewer trees there overall.

It’s easy for trees to thrive in a valley – the sediment is rich with nutrients. It’s where water collects and settles. Water flows downhill, and the valleys provide great conditions for trees to mature. More trees thrive there, and trees have a “safety in numbers”, if you will. More trees mean more shade from harsh sunlight, and more mature, established trees provide protection for more young trees to grow.

But, to be a big, thriving tree at the tree line, well, that’s remarkable. To thrive in harsh conditions is worthy of respect and admiration.

These deep thoughts on trees and tree lines swirl in my brain as I’m still emerging from the election hangover nightmare, and the conditions of a Donald Trump America. He’ll create harsher conditions for people like me; the tree line will move. Some aren’t cut out for when the tree line moves, and those who can’t sustain the harsher conditions will suffer. 

How does one survive the harshest of landscapes, perhaps not meant for anyone? *gestures broadly*

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Seeking silver lining

Cheddar (my cat) threw up twice this morning. I wanted to do the same.

It’s raining in Seattle this morning. That, at least, feels right.

I made the conscious and mindful decision to wear black to work today. I am in mourning. I’m ashamed. I didn’t vote for the winner. What I feel can best be described as grief. I know it well. But, under my dark garb of grief, my underwear is still magenta. Inside, I’m still the same person, bright, unapologetic, magenta.

Yesterday, I had Demi Lovato’s “Confident” stuck in my head and began singing it out loud. “What’s wrong with being what’s wrong with being what’s wrong with being confident?” False confidence, that’s what, Demi.

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I recently finished a series on Netflix called Brain Games. It’s about how our brains deceive us, and how much of human behavior is predictive based on how we’re hard-wired. The series resurrected the truth I already knew from learning about confidence intervals in my statistics courses in college. In the show, people on the street are asked to give a range where they are 95% confident the answer to a question is within that range. For example, one question was “How many countries are there in Africa?” I would have to come up with a range, say 1-100 where I’m 95% confident the answer is within that range. What happened in the show, and to most people when they do this exercise? They made their range too small, and they ended up being incorrect most of the time. When the show was made, they counted 57 countries in Africa, whereas if I google it, there are 54. Either way, most people gave a range of, say, 20-50, and they were wrong. Lesson: we place too much confidence in a small range of outcomes which leads to greater disappointment when we are wrong.

Hillary exhibited what, in retrospect, is best described as false confidence in her debates. Hell, I had false confidence that Trump wouldn’t be elected. My fellow Americans were better than that. Even I succumbed to how I’m hard-wired. I misplaced my confidence in the American people. It didn’t feel like false confidence at the time. It felt like common fucking sense. I still had hope we would band together to prevent Trump from winning, so it seemed like Hillary had to be the answer.

Last night, as the events unfolded, so many people in my Facebook feed took this opportunity to spin things positively, make jokes, laugh their way out of a terrible situation. Most of them lived in Australia, given the time difference of the news breaking, just because I have many friends on there from my 3 years living there. But I only felt my cheeks flush, and I wasn’t laughing. I was embarrassed. I wanted to hide. I wanted them not to laugh at us.

This might be the first time in my life where I’m struggling to see the humor in all of this. I’m also struggling to be a bigger person, and accept the outcome with grace. It’s still just as difficult as I imagined it would be. It stopped being funny a long time ago, and as time progressed, it just got more shocking. That turtle on a stump on a deserted dirt road suddenly became reality last night. We don’t know how it got there or what’ll happen next. It doesn’t belong there. Yet there it is.

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I saw people comparing this election to the British BREXIT vote, with my favorite spoof on it being:

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A moving picture came across my news feed of Lady Liberty, her face covered by her hands, hiding from the shame, in shock too:

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I am on a mailing list for which I received an email from CEO of that capital management firm assuring me their portfolio was agnostic over the outcome of this election. I wish I could say the same for myself. It’s so very personal this time. It was personal in a good way when Obama won, and in a terrible way when George W. Bush won before that, too. I’m looking so hard for a silver lining right now. It seems nowhere to be found. I want so much to be a role model, to be someone I can be proud of, to be a bigger person. For 8 years, I’ve listened to “He’s not MY president,” about Obama. I want to shout the same thing from the rooftops, to the people on my bus, to anyone who will listen this morning. But saying it out loud means acknowledging that it’s not true. He is the president-elect of my chosen home. I have no intentions of leaving my home. I just bought my fucking condo. I can’t leave. I did manage to get myself closer to Canada though, just in case.

A place is only as good as the people you know in it. I’m at least lucky that I currently live in Seattle, in one of the bluest states. I grew up in a blue state, and have people around me who are in just as much shock, if not more. Maybe I didn’t think America needed to be made great again. Maybe I thought it already was pretty great, for giving me the right to be who I am without fear. That right feels like it’s been taken away from me. What fresh hell is this?

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I rub my eyes (metaphorically, because I stupidly wore mascara today) and reality is what it is. I wrote previously in Election that a plan B had been found whereby we could have a case for the impeachment of Trump before he ever even takes office. I worry more if his VP choice Pence ever becomes president when we impeach Trump.

I breathe deeply. The road is uphill, and we’ve fought so hard this far, and it feels like we’re losing ground. Our work is cut out for us. As a nation, and as individuals. These next 4 years may not be an easy A. They may be the hardest C I’ve ever worked for in my life. But I know I have to work.

As I waited for the bus into work this morning while it was still dark outside, I chose to listen to my playlist in iTunes called “End of the World.” It seemed right this morning, too. Here is what came through my earbuds when I shuffled that playlist:

  1. Take a Bow – Beyoncé
  2. Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad – Moby
  3. The Rose – Bette Midler
  4. Sideways – Citizen Cope
  5. Overcome – LIVE
  6. Train Wreck – Sarah McLachlan
  7. Dry Your Eyes – The Streets
  8. Mad World – Michael Andrews & Gary Jules
  9. That’s All – Genesis 
  10. Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
  11. Still the Same – Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band
  12. Ticking Bomb – Aloe Blacc

It expressed in melody and lyrics how my heart feels.

“There are millions of you ― of us ― searching for uneasy answers, trying not to breakdown on the subway, forcing ourselves to pull our shirts over our heads and attempt to somehow be useful in a country that seems to have no use for us, in a country that we are certain does not want us, that we worry will not keep us safe.” (Source: here)

Election

I am so sick of hearing American voters whinging like they don’t have any good options for a presidential candidate in this election. I tend to stay fairly silent in discussions around politics and religion. I’ve only written one blog post in the past about politics – you can find it here, if you’d like some light reading. However, in the upcoming election the time to shit or get off the pot is here. People complaining about both candidates clearly don’t understand that a vote for neither of them is like a vote for Trump in this election.

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I am absolutely sickened that Donald Trump has even made it this far. I’m even more sickened that members of my family who live in rural New York not only keep saying that neither candidate is good, but some go even further posting photos of their guns and raging pro-Trump comments. Yeah, I’m related to that. Unfortunately.

There has never been an election, in my mind, that divides the American people so much. After last night’s debate, if you still stand up and say neither candidate is qualified, then you’re a fucking idiot. One candidate is not qualified, and that candidate is Donald Trump. It’s that simple.

In the election with George W. Bush, Al Gore, and Ralph Nader as candidates, we saw first-hand what a non-unified liberal view resulted in: votes that went to Nader detracted from Al Gore, resulting in not enough critical mass to beat out George W. Bush. I refuse to let that happen again. And I’m just sick and tired of people complaining.

Stop complaining and figure out what you can get behind. You may not 100% align with a candidate, but you don’t need to throw a hissy fit if your favorite person in the world doesn’t become the next President of the United States of America. Most importantly, regardless of who you vote for, you just need to get out there and vote. Ideally, I’d love it if you came to your senses and helped write history by electing the first female President. But really, eradicating complacency is really what I care about.

Recently, there was an article in the Onion, a publication known for farcical articles, called, “Precious Little Voter Needs To Feel Inspired By Candidate.” It made me literally laugh out loud. They are being precious. What we need is a leader in the midst of a tumultuous world. The article goes on to say, “the fragile, dainty buttercup feels he absolutely must vote for someone who is trustworthy and competent.” I have news for you, dainty buttercup: every politician lies. Every politician doesn’t 100% know what they are doing. Most people don’t, including those not in politics. The hope is that they have a good enough head on their shoulders to hire the right people with which to surround themselves, to help them. The hope is that they listen to the counsel of wise people, and never stop learning. That they know enough to know when to ask for help, or when to lie and bluff, ultimately for the greater good.

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We need a leader who can peacefully navigate the growing tensions between cops and African Americans, escalating nuclear threats from North Korea, tell Russia to shut the hell up and basically cease relations with them while their ruble shits the bed. A leader who can help the situation in Venezuela, but at the same time, help people at home. We don’t need handouts, but we need parks, jobs, roads, and a cleaner path forward before we lose this earth to our own idiocy. Those are my personal views, and may not agree with yours 100%. I pay my taxes, and I hope you do, too. However, they’re just a few of the priorities on which we need a leader to focus. But I digress.

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I just invested in a home, and I don’t want to have to up and move if Trump gets elected. I took a quiz online, and apparently, I should move to Switzerland if Trump is elected as the people there are most closely aligned with my ideals. That’s a big move, and I heard it gets quite cold there. But I do love me some of their cheese, though.

What gives me hope is there may actually be a plan B, should the worst happen, and Trump is elected. I recently read an article (here for reference purposes) that indicates someone has found a way to build a case to have Trump impeached before he ever gets inaugurated into the oval office if he is elected. Music to my ears…

Beyond being a lesbian woman, and thus, most hated by the Trump regime (second only to if I was an immigrant or Muslim lesbian woman, of course), there is no way I feel I can get behind him as a leader. He is just a horrible person. Plain and simple. Hillary is no prize either, but she has experiences, and most importantly in my eyes, the desire to do this job. She has the passion. She is still here, after being knocked down and swatted away so many times. She has been preparing for this role all her life. Even when Amy Poehler was impersonating Hillary in a skit alongside Tina Fey as Sarah Palin, Hillary can never be guilty of not wanting it enough. In the skit, Poehler’s Clinton struggles to mask her annoyance when Fey’s Palin says “it’s time for a woman to make it to the White House” and “anyone can be president…all you have to do is want it.” After delivering her high-pitched laugh, Poehler’s Clinton says, “You know, Sarah, looking back, if I could change one thing, I probably should have wanted it more.”

If I truly had my way, we’d have an unprecedented third term from Obama. He wasn’t perfect either, but he managed to clean up after a gigantic mess George W. Bush left in his wake. I took an online quiz that most aligned my ideals with Bernie Sanders, actually. I view Sanders as the Ralph Nader in this election, and I can’t have Trump win because the democrats are not unified behind one candidate. So while I may most align with Bernie, I have a little more faith that the better candidate is actually Hillary.

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If I could be 100% honest, my message to you is not only to get out there and vote this November, but don’t vote for Donald Trump. I can’t envision a future where he’s President because all of his rhetoric just alienates people further – rhetoric against Muslims, immigrants, women, and other demographics that make up our American people. Children who grow up hearing a leader say their family is bad without knowing them can only go so long before they begin living the stereotype that leader has created for them, so they pick up guns or begin performing acts of terror, as that’s what they’re expected to do. They don’t feel represented by a leader that tells them their religion or color of their skin or sex is wrong.

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OK OK, I’ll get off my soapbox now. During last night’s debate, I saw friends utilizing filters in Snapchat to upload videos to Facebook with noses and bunny ears on the candidates, making their voices high pitched. They said things like if they had been playing a drinking game where they drink every time a candidate lied, they’d have alcohol poisoning within the first 20 minutes. Stephen Colbert gave Hillary my favorite nickname thus far regarding yesterday’s debate… “Hillary Clinton was so prepared, my new nickname for her is Preparation H.” For the record, no, I didn’t watch the debate last night. I didn’t need to. I’m with her.

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