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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Someone needs to remind Donald Trump America is Employee-Owned


If you watched the debate Monday evening, you probably noticed Donald Trump talked a lot about his alleged business acumen. How rich he is, how successful he is, how he owns buildings in cities. Donald spent a great deal of time on Monday talking about himself. When he spoke about America, it was with disdain, negativity, and an almost dystopian view of our country. Donald Trump made it very clear he wants to run the United States like one of his businesses.

There's one problem with Donald's vision: America is employee-owned. We the people are ultimately in charge. We vote, we canvass, we run for office, we exercise our First Amendment right to protest, and it's our voice that matters. We are not a casino, or a hotel, or a condominium. We are African American, Hispanic, LGBT, Atheist, Buddhist, Christian, Wiccan, Jewish, poor, middle class, renters, homeowners, Caucasian, immigrants, Native Americans, and this is our country.

It's our vote, our support, that elects a president, not a board of directors. America is owned by we the people, something Donald does not seem to understand. Or perhaps he just doesn't care. This is the man, after all, who said he could shoot someone and not lose any support. His supporters back up that statement every single time they defend yet another of Donald's horrible, awful, sociopathic comments. They honestly don't care if he is a sexist, hateful bigot; they just care that he hates the same people they hate.

We are not a business to be managed. We are a country of individuals, struggling to pay our bills, and put ourselves or our children through college. We go to work when we're sick, we go to work when we're exhausted. We want a president who cares about us, who wants to help us make better lives, who wants us to have more opportunity, who supports all of us. Donald Trump would not be that president.

Donald wants to ban all Muslims from our country. He refuses to say he would never use nuclear weapons against our allies in Europe. He admires Vladimir Putin, a man who jails journalists and dissidents. Donald tells a lie every 3 minutes. He lies about lies he's told before, like China creating climate change. Donald lied on Twitter when he wrote climate change was invented by the Chinese, then during the debate, he lied by saying he had never told the original lie. Donald Trump lied during the debate when he argued he'd never called pregnancy an "inconvenience" for business, because he did say that:

...a wonderful thing for the woman, it's a wonderful thing for the husband, it's certainly an inconvenience for a business. And whether people want to say that or not, the fact is it is an inconvenience for a person that is running a business.

Many of us, the employees who own America, see through the con Donald Trump is running. We've pulled back the curtain, and we see him for what he really is: a sociopathic megalomaniac, who thinks he is the best at everything, who sees women as objects, who sees minorities as lesser people, and who will, if elected, destroy this great nation. The United States is not an island, we cannot survive a president obsessed with isolationism and nationalism. We are part of a global community, and we need a president who understands that.

America is employee-owned, and the only way we are going to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office is if all of us come together on November 8 and stand up for ourselves. Stand up for your neighbors, your children, and strangers who will be harmed if Donald Trump is elected. It's up to us to make certain a racist, xenophobic, egotistical bully does not become the 45th President of the United States.

If you are not registered to vote, please visit RegisterToVote.org. You can register online in just a few minutes.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

When A Stranger Tells You To Kill Yourself

Image from the Los Angeles Times

A few days ago, a man named Marshall Beck told me to kill myself. He told me to "draw a bath" and "grab a razor." The reason Marshall Beck wants me to end my own life is because I wrote a snarky comment underneath a ridiculous article written by a guy who will never date a feminist.

I took a screenshot of Marshall's comment, because I wanted to preserve it. I wanted to remind myself there really are people out there who are awful, horrible, cruel individuals. This screenshot:


He also called me a mentally ill moron.

If you read my stuff on a regular basis, you know my history. You know I have survived two suicide attempts, rape, domestic violence, and a childhood that was sort of awful. You know about my mom. And the priest. You know about CTC. You know that I am a borderline, and have been diagnosed with chronic depression, anxiety, and PTSD. You know I used to self harm by cutting my arms, legs, and face, with a razor blade.

For all those reasons, Marshall Beck's comment stopped me in my tracks. A stranger, a man who doesn't know me at all, hates me so much he wants me to end my own life. You can read more about Marshall in my article about him here; I even included a link to his Facebook page, so you can see for yourself what a truly deplorable person he is.

I'm never going to end my own life, or even try. I've fought bigger monsters than Marshall Beck, and I always win. But I'll be honest-that comment triggered a ton of awfulness inside my head, and my heart. And ten years ago, I would have sat in this dark place for awhile, then perhaps, self harmed.

Now? Now I say look at what I have done, look at who I am, look at the life I have made for myself and my family. My interview with Bobby Seale is part of an archive collection at U.C. Berkeley. I talked to Anne Rice on the phone. I interviewed John Fugelsang. I made the number one spot on Reddit's political page. My husband and I will celebrate our thirteenth wedding anniversary this December.

The Marshall Becks of the world are insecure, ignorant, hatemongers, who think they have power online. Yes, I brought attention to him, because I am a huge fan of dragging hate out into the light. Plus I cannot stand bullies. But there will always be Marshall Becks. The key to dealing with them is remembering they're pathetic cowards, hiding behind a keyboard.

Marshall Beck has a website where he lists, among other things, his affiliations, including Brain Damage Films. Brain Damage Films specializes in selling B-list horror movies. On the off chance they might be interested in knowing Marshall Beck told me to kill myself, I sent them an email. This was the response I received from the president of Brain Damage Films:

Erin,
I have received your message (below). Mr. Beck is the lead singer for a band in which Brain Damage Films subsidiary Brain Damage Musik released a CD for his band Reign of Vengeance 4 years ago.  Other than quarterly reporting for sales and licensing made of his music, he has no association with our company.  I have been in touch with Mr. Beck regarding the matter and after a tiny bit off fact gathering; it appears you are known for voicing your opinion publicly on many topical issues we are all dealing with in this world.  My thoughts on the matter:  if you want to make your ideology and beliefs public and engage in “snarky responses” than you need to accept others opinions in a public forum that you started, whether you agree or disagree.  I was also taught at a very young age, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will NEVER hurt me!”.

More than anything, I simply felt it necessary to give you a response, rather than ignore you.

Darrin G. Ramage
President – Brain Damage Films

In Mr. Ramage's world, when a woman dares to share an opinion online, she deserves to be told to kill herself.

This is why, when confronted with an internet bully, I am never ready to play nice.


Saturday, September 10, 2016

Trump's Basket of Deplorables

It's no secret that Donald Trump's entire presidential campaign has been fueled by deplorableness. Hate, racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and violence, are all key parts of Trump's message to America. And Americans love it. Not all Americans, just the people who believe that immigrants are stealing our jobs, all Muslims are terrorists, tax cuts for the rich somehow help the middle class, Black Lives Matter is a terrorist organization, and beating the shit out of people who disagree with you is perfectly acceptable behavior.

Hillary Clinton drew attention to this deplorableness during a speech she gave at a recent fundraiser. She highlighted the hate that swirls around the Trump campaign, and said that half his supporters belong in a "basket of deplorables." Naturally, the deplorable people went ballistic. People who support discrimination against the LGBT community. People who believe African Americans are all thugs or welfare queens. People who have called for the death of Hillary Clinton. People who compare President Obama, and our First Lady, to apes.

But by all means, Alex Jones and David Duke, and Ted Nugent and Ann Coulter, and Sarah Palin and Andrew Englin (founder of The Daily Stormer), please tell us why you don't belong in the basket of deplorables. Alex Jones thinks every mass shooting, including the Sandy Hook massacre, is a false flag, and has mused that Michelle Obama is a man. David Duke is a Holocaust denier and a 100% white supremacist. Ted Nugent told Hillary Clinton to suck on a machine gun. Ann Coulter once wrote she wished someone would fly a plane into the New York Times building. Andrew Englin is a white nationalist. Sarah Palin is...well...Sarah Palin.

What the media isn't showing you is the second part of Hillary's speech. The part where she draws attention to the other half of Trump supporters, who do not belong in a basket of deplorables. The people who have lost their jobs, their homes, their savings, who feel as if the government doesn't care. Those people crave a message of support, a message that speaks to their pain, and honestly, if the message makes sense, they don't care about the messenger. Yes, Trump is a bully, and a smarmy snake oil salesman, and most of us wouldn't invite him into our homes, but he says things that appeal to angry, disenfranchised Americans.

Those folks don't care that Trump pals around with neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and conspiracy theorists, they don't care that he's publicly stated he would date his own daughter. They don't care that Trump wants to ban and deport millions of people because of their religion. They don't care Trump said John McCain wasn't a hero. All they care about is Trump promises to create jobs.

They ignore the fact that Trump has no idea how to do this, how to create all these jobs. Trump refuses to give details about any of his ideas, not jobs, not Isis, not Russia, nothing. It's more of the same bullying rhetoric, blaming brown-skinned people for all our problems. They need a savior, a president who gives them a scapegoat on whom they can blame all their misery.

Donald Trump desperately needs his non-deplorable supporters to ignore his racist past, his horribly sexist comments, and he really, really needs them to not look behind the curtain to find his neo-Nazi, white nationalist, supporters and staff.

The other half of Trump supporters have probably never watched InfoWars. They most likely don't care for David Duke, or Stormfront.org, or subscribe to white nationalist websites. They just need a candidate who says all the things they want to hear, and gives them someone to blame for their problems. Someone more vulnerable than they are.

It's September 10. Tomorrow is the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11, and one wonders how Donald Trump will treat this solemn day. Will he be respectful, or will he be his usual awful self? Will he lie once again about Muslim Americans celebrating the attacks in New Jersey? Will he bark about banning and deporting all Muslims? Will he, as most conservatives do, use 9/11 for his own political gain? And will his deplorable supporters cheer on his hate and divisiveness, yell racist epithets at Muslims, perhaps desecrate a mosque, or beat up a Muslim business owner?

Donald Trump seems to be successfully running a con on the citizens of this country. A con designed to appeal to the worst of humanity: hate, fear of the other, racism, bullying, sexism, and violence. If he wins, if Donald Trump becomes president, what will become of the United States? Will we have a government based on paranoia and xenophobia? Will Roe v Wade be placed on the "ash heap of history"? Will Mike Pence's dream of government-funded conversion therapy for members of the LGBT community become a reality? Will President Trump deport our Muslim neighbors, spouses, siblings, friends?

President Trump. We live in a country, and in a time, when that could truly happen. Our society is so riddled with hate, we could actually elect a man who counts among his friends white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

What a truly frightening thought.