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Friday, June 26, 2015

A conservative told me to go do my gay things

Image from the New York Times

This morning, the Supreme Court decided in favor of marriage equality. As you can imagine, the joy is flowing like a rainbow river through the land. Well, for most of us. Conservatives are less than pleased that two consenting adults who share the same naughty bits can get hitched in every state. Conservatives like John Boehner, who said this:
All human beings are created equal by God and thus deserve to be treated with love, dignity and respect. I am, however, disappointed that the Supreme Court disregarded the democratically-enacted will of millions of Americans by forcing states to redefine the institution of marriage. My views are based on my upbringing and my faith. I believe that marriage is a sacred vow between one man and one woman, and I believe Americans should be able to live and work according to their beliefs.
All human beings are created equal, just not LGBT people who want to get married. And then there's Mike Huckabee, who pretty much pitched a giant hissy fit:
I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our Founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch. We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat.
Conservatives posting comments on the internet are fuming. Fox's Facebook page is littered with drivel, hate, ignorance, and grammar errors. One man posted this was like women's rights-terrible. And in response to something I wrote somewhere (I don't remember where; I've been to so many websites, read so many articles this morning), a conservative man told me to "go do my gay things."

What does that even mean? Gay things?  Like balancing the checkbook, or trying to get someone out to our house to deal with the tree we may have lost during a recent windstorm? Running errands? Brushing the cat? Cleaning the living room? What are gay things? Oh, wait. He means buttsex. I hope Google lets me type buttsex; lord knows they let you search for it. I know that because I did. 

First, I Googled "straight buttsex." I was given, just on the first page, article after article telling me why straight people like anal sex. It seems that a lot of heterosexuals really like buttsex. Which is their right. As long as two consenting adults agree on whatever they're doing, it's fine. Then I took my search to the next level, Googling "how popular is straight anal sex in porn?" Turns out, very. So popular, in fact, that a website dedicated to "Christian marriage" has an entire article on the spiritual dangers of buttsex between husbands and wives, and how porn has something to do with all of this. We're not going to mention the studies that show conservative states consume just a wee bit more online porn than other states, and we're certainly not going to mention Ted Haggard.

A conservative man told me to go do "gay things." Other conservatives are quoting (or misquoting) the bible, calling for SCOTUS to be fired (I can't...just stop), blaming this on President Obama, and typing all in caps that this is the end of civilization as we know it. Like this charming woman:
Karen Pauls Anderson What a shame. If the Supreme Court would have originally defined marriage, they might have the right to change the definition. God defined marriage. The U.S. Supreme Court had NO RIGHT.
 Oh, and this lovely individual:
Roman Galvan Pretty soon.......the supreme court will let people marry animals.....I'm ashamed to be called an American.....
Suck it up, buttercups. Just like the ACA, marriage equality is now the law of the land. You can't marry your dog, or your blender, or a tortoise, or the Statue of Liberty, or a flamingo. We're not going to end up being swallowed by God's giant sinkhole. So stop being so hateful, and misrepresenting Christianity, and calling for the LGBT community to be killed, and promoting ignorance and bigotry, and just admit the ruling today has no bearing whatsoever on your heterosexual marriage.

Unless you're Michele Bachmann. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Why do we treat white men who kill so differently?

By now, most people know that after he was arrested, the racist monster who shot nine people at Mother Emmanuel Church in South Carolina was given food from Burger King. On the taxpayers' dime. Yes, after murdering nine African-Americans, and after being arrested, the police bought the 21-year old perpetrator of that awful, hateful, terrorist attack Burger King. And they paid for his food.

This was before his bond hearing, before the families of those nine murdered people forgave him, before his website or social media photos and posts were made public. Free Burger King for a murderer, a man who sat with his victims for an hour during Bible study, a man who was welcomed into that historic church by the very people he killed.

In his "manifesto," that racist monster wrote the death of Trayvon Martin was his tipping point. Interestingly, the murder of Trayvon Martin was my tipping point as well. But while the killer of nine African-Americans in a church took his reaction to a wholly evil place, my reaction led me to a place filled with sorrow. It opened my eyes to the truth about racism in this country.

If the murderer in South Carolina was African-American, or Hispanic, or Arab, do you think the arresting officers would have bought him Burger King? Do you think he would have even made it into the police car alive? Tamir Rice was twelve, and playing with a toy gun in a park. He was shot by a white police officer less than two seconds after said officer arrived on the scene. Eric Garner wasn't doing anything, and he was killed on a New York sidewalk. And Trayvon Martin was walking home from the store when he was stalked and murdered.

The shooter in Aurora, Colorado is alive. The Tuscon shooter is still alive. If the Sandy Hook killer hadn't taken his own life, would he have been arrested? Would the two teenagers who slaughtered so many at Columbine? The mass murderer at Luby's in Killeen, Texas? The shooter in South Carolina is not only alive, he received free Burger King after his arrest.

There is a larger issue here than Burger King. White, male perpetrators of heinous crimes are, more often than not, captured alive, unless they take their own lives. White, male perpetrators of heinous crimes are given the benefit of the doubt. The media spin-on all sides-over the racist murderer in South Carolina has been dizzying. There was no media spin about the Boston bombers, no one wondered if the surviving brother might be mentally ill, or taking some sort of drug that made him kill. In fact, Lindsey Graham's own comments on the Boston bomber, versus his comments on the racist murderer in Graham's own state, are proof of the excuses people will make for a white, male killer.

About the Boston bomber, Graham said:
This man, in my view, should be designated as a potential enemy combatant and we should be allowed to question him for intelligence gathering purposes to find out about future attacks and terrorist organizations that may exist that he has knowledge of, and that evidence cannot be used against him in trial. That evidence is used to protect us as a nation.
And about the racist killer in South Carolina, Graham said:
I just think he was one of these whacked out kids. I don’t think it’s anything broader than that. It’s about a young man who is obviously twisted.
The city of Cleveland blames Tamir Rice for his own murder. Conservatives blamed Trayvon Martin for his own murder. And an NRA board member blamed the pastor of Mother Emmanuel Church in South Carolina, Clementa Pinckney, for his own murder. Oddly, those people who are so quick to blame dead black people for their own murders, would crawl over broken glass trying to defend the actions of their killers, as long as those killers are white men.

Trayvon Martin's murder pushed a racist white man to murder nine innocent African-Americans in one of this nation's most historic churches. Trayvon Martin's murder pushed me to understand that there are black kids, both boys and girls, who will never see their twentieth birthday because of the color of their skin. Tamir Rice's murder made me see that black lives are seen as less than by many in this country. Eric Garner's murder forced me to face the fact that to some white people, there is nothing more frightening than a black man. And watching the media try and make excuses for a man who hates African-Americans so much, he murdered nine of them in a church, made me realize that the rules are truly different for white men.

How do we fix this? Well, we can't while we let people like Donald Trump spew his hate speech and xenophobia from the rooftops. We can't while our mainstream media jumps through flaming hoops to blame everything but racism for a racist mass murder. We can't while we have politicians who, when someone brings up racism, accuses that person of "playing the race card." We can't when white Americans refuse to see racism because we have a black president.

Our country was founded by men who owned slaves. South Carolina is filled with monuments to men who fought for secession, who fought to own slaves. The street Mother Emmanuel church sits upon is named for John C. Calhoun, a man who called slavery a "positive good."

Again, this is about more than Burger King. But it's hard to ignore (although many people are) the fact that when a white man kills, the rules seem to be different.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

An open letter to society about mental illness

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, one in four adults experiences mental illness in a year. That's about sixty-one million people. One in seven, or about thirteen million people, live with a serious mental illness, like schizophrenia, major depression, or bipolar disorder. And every single time some white guy decides to slaughter innocent people, society immediately jumps on the blame mental illness bandwagon.

I have borderline personality disorder, major depression, and mild PTSD. I am isolated in that I have no support system outside my immediate family. The irony is, when I was really sick, deeply immersed in BPD, I was very popular. Now that I am well-ish, I have no friends. Oh, I have people online who are whatever online friends are, but I don't have anyone I can call and just say "I really need to get things off my chest, can you listen for awhile?" There are millions of folks who are isolated and struggling with mental illness in America, and whenever we hear society call us all violent, or dangerous, it isolates us even more.

Being mentally ill statistically means you will be a victim of violence, not a perpetrator. Does this stop society at large from labeling us all as dangerous? After Sandy Hook, a woman I knew online-a liberal-wrote she thought all mentally ill people (she used the word crazy) should be locked up, in order to keep society safe. Wayne LaPierre, official sociopath for the NRA, suggested a registry for all mentally ill people in America. Because it's easier to say we're all going to snap, and shoot up a school, or a mall, or an African-American church, than dealing with our societal problems.

Let me describe an average day in the mind and life of a major depressive. Right now, my family is going through a ton of horrible shit. I don't sleep, I have no energy, I'm not eating, I'm smoking like a chimney, I have moments of physical pain-headaches, stomachaches, nausea. I have nightmares that wake me up before dawn, shaking and sweating. The only person in any physical danger from me is me.

But I am not going to resort to self-harm to get through this, because I have coping skills. Six years of intensive therapy, dialectic behavior modification, and the right medication, have led me out of the darkness, and given me the tools I must use during times like this to stay alive. And I use those tools. However, when I see society stigmatize people like me, it makes it harder to remember those tools.

There is no shame in being mentally ill. There is no shame in getting help, or taking meds, or having days, weeks, or even months, where it takes all your energy just to get dressed. The shame lies squarely on the shoulders of everyone who believes we should be locked up, or in jail, simply for being sick. Do we do that with cancer patients, or diabetics?

I've often said mental illness isn't a casserole disease. If a neighbor is diagnosed with cancer, or has surgery, people bring over food, often casseroles. If a neighbor is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, or PTSD, or major depression, or schizophrenia, or borderline personality disorder, or any mental illness, no one shows up with a covered dish, offering to walk the dog. Mental illness is the one disease society refuses to understand.

The LGBT community is blamed for everything from natural disasters to 9/11 to the economy. The mentally ill community is blamed for white men shooting people. Perhaps we need to join forces, LGBT and mentally ill, and shout from the rooftops that we are tired of being the scapegoats for society. Rather than deal with racism, violence, hate, climate change, or anything real, society takes the easy way out: blame groups of people who can't help who they are. Does society really believe LGBT individuals choose a life where they are discriminated against, targeted by hate groups, bullied, beaten, and often murdered? Does society really believe that mentally ill individuals enjoy being mentally ill? The thoughts of self-harm, the medication that often robs you of your personality, the exhaustion, the insomnia, the spinning, whirling thoughts?

Bring Change 2 Mind is a fantastic organization, dedicated to ending the stigma surrounding mental illness. They do great work, and you can find them here. If you are struggling with mental illness, and the recent barrage of blaming and shaming has triggered negative thoughts or emotions, please visit this link to find help.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Exclusive: New list of potential 2016 GOP candidates

Image of Pet Rock from the NY Times

As we all know, squirrels frequently drop secret lists, diary entries, and rough drafts of speeches, down our chimney. Yesterday morning, as I was hooking up my coffee iv, a rather large, red-haired (furred?) tree rat shot through the open kitchen window, shoved a piece of paper into my hand, grabbed a piece of cake, and bounced back outside. Nuts, right?

That piece of paper was a top-secret list, leaked to Professor McSquirrely Pants by Donald Trump's personal hair wrangler, Nick Rivers. In a bunker below one of Trump's many 24-karat-gold-embossed bidets, a group of very, very rich, very, very conservative, very, very white, very, very old men met to muse about more potential GOP presidential candidates. Because the current crop just isn't "doing it" for the powers that be.

Yes, Mike Huckabee wishes he had been a girl in high school so he could have showered with other girls in high school. Yes, Rick Santorum has picked a fight with the pope. Yes, Ben Carson thinks everything is like the Nazis. Yes, Jeb Bush's last name is Bush. Yes, Carly Fiorina thinks Common Core is a federal program. Not good enough.

In this exclusive report, you will see a few of the people those very, very rich, very, very oh I can't type that all out again, you know what I mean. Each potential candidate's name is followed by a few notes on their qualifications, possible problems, and at least one example of a slogan.

Presenting The List:

*Sarah Palin. "White, pretty, folksy, kind of dumb. Issues with mid-to-high IQ voters. Slogan: Palin-Why The Hell Not?"

*Glenn Beck. "White, high-profile, many listeners and viewers. Too many sweaters, hypochondriac. Slogan: I'm Glenn Beck and You're Not."

*Alex Jones. "White, high profile, many listeners and viewers. Possibly paranoid, believes in elves from space. Slogan: Vote For Alex Jones, Get Us Out of the U.N."

*Michele Bachmann: "White, extremely intelligent, pretty, political background. Gay husband. Slogan: Michele Bachmann-Mom, Wife, Beard."

*Cliven Bundy: "White, old, angry, well-liked by GOP base. Negro thing. Slogan: I'm Not Ted Bundy"

*A Pet Rock: "Easily identifiable, solid, simple. Lack of vocal skills, not white (paint?). Slogan: Don't Rock The Boat, No One Wants to Early Vote!"

*Ronald Reagan: "Beloved by Dems and Repubs. great hair, fabulous acting skills. He's dead. Slogan: Reaganomics-Second Time's The Charm!""

So there we have the first secret list of potential 2016 GOP candidates. Who's your favorite? I really like the pet rock.