Donald Trump & My Dad (again)

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Recently, you may have heard about or seen the clip of Trump complimenting Brigette Macron, First Lady of France about her body. See it here if you can stomach it. There is some familiarity in his behavior towards her that again – reminds me of my dad.

While decent human beings see the exchange and are rightfully creeped out, notice the mannerisms of Trump are like a feigned innocence. In fact, if you confronted him about it, he’d likely play it off as if it was an innocent compliment and not as a sexual advance or an objectification of Brigette.

This technique is a form of manipulation. Its a technique my dad uses. As explained in the link, this technique makes the victim question their reality of what just took place. It makes the victim look at intent instead of impact.  In my blog post about the two incidents of sexual abuse by my father, this manipulation tactic of feigned ignorance/innocence is what allowed me to not acknowledge his actions as abuse for over 20 years. All that time, I thought my dad didn’t mean it as sexual, controlling, or abusive. Even during the moment, he made it seem like there was nothing meant by it and so I hid my discomfort about his actions and felt guilty for feeling bad about it. After all, he’s my father and he loves me and wouldn’t hurt me, right?

Even as recently as the last time I talked to my parents on the phone, my dad said “I don’t know why you’d ever think I hated you. I love you very much. I just don’t understand where you’d get that from.” This is designed to make the victim feel awful for ever taking the person’s actions as harmful or abuse. As if the victim causes their own reality and our perception of the abuser’s actions is wrong. The abuser wants to “smooth things over” without ever actually dealing with the problem so they can gain your confidence back and abuse you again. At the same time, they treat any action of yours in self-preservation as being the real abuse or harm in the relationship.

Talk to Trump, narcissist abusers like him, and his defenders, and see if they don’t have these same exact feigned ignorance/innocence responses in their defense of him. “He didn’t mean anything about it,” “its not sexual, he’s just complimenting her,” “what’s wrong with telling a woman she’s beautiful?”. Trump’s non verbal language supports this feigned innocence.  In reality, the Hollywood Reporter tape reveals he’s a predator when he’s around people he thinks he can be honest around.

This may seem obvious to some, but I just felt I needed to point out and identify what this is beyond the creep factor. Its this exact type of shit that makes me not able to handle seeing or hearing Trump for longer than 30 seconds at a time. I purposely severely limit my exposure to him, just like with my dad. It serves several purposes: first, it cuts down on stress and anxiety. It doesn’t eliminate anxiety, but it would be much worse without low exposure. I still get bouts of anxiety fueled intense fight or flight mode that lasts for days, though less frequently than right after the election. It also helps me stand my ground about my own reality. The longer I keep myself away from those manipulation tactics, the less I question myself and my truth and reality. Also, I get more courage to speak my truth the more confident I am about my reality.

Don’t let this shitgibbon dumpsterfuck and his followers take away your truth and reality.

Bernie Sanders, Russia, & White Supremacy

I saw my first “Bernie Sanders and his followers were paid Russian operatives” comment today on Facebook. It takes me a while to catch what I’m hearing from my friends and other articles/blogs, but there it was staring at me in the face. I blinked for a moment and noticed it was some white woman making the comment.

This pisses me off on several levels.

For one, it cheapens the actual influence being investigated into Russia’s involvement in our election. I, as much as anyone who has never like or who has come to see Bernie Sanders for what he really is, side eye the ever living shit out of him. I’m with Michael Arceneaux in that Bernie Sanders needs to learn how to shut up.

Bernie Sanders continues to use his microphone to criticize Democrats any chance he gets. Meanwhile, he has been quoted several times since the election and even recently, his desire to “work with” Donald Trump on common ground. But he seems to not know what common ground is with the party he has been caucusing with during his long established Congressional career. Remember this? Or, how about this?

But is Bernie Sanders and the faux progressive white leftists paid Russian operatives?

I don’t think so. First of all, Bernie Sanders, nor any of his followers, are people of interest in the Russian investigation. Yet, almost daily, we hear of more people in Trump’s cabinet who ARE. Like his son in law, Jared Kushner. We did hear of Russian trolls infiltrating social media platforms during the campaign, which we can obviously see is a tactic of influence being used. But, to say that all people who have a certain view point are paid Russian operatives cheapens the truth and deflects responsibility away from the white people who are willing to hold such views once they hear them. As an example, I lost LONG time friends during the campaign and even after the election once they revealed they voted for Jill Stein or that we all need to come together and sing Kumbaya around the fire with Trump and the shitheads who voted for him (hint, they’ve all been white people).

Secondly, it takes away from the fact there has been propaganda influencing white people for a LONG ass time.

And there has been propaganda against the Clintons for a LONG ass time. Republican PACs have been influencing liberal opinion of Hillary for quite some time as well. Russia’s involvement in our elections has literally been joining in on what Republicans have already been working on for decades. To suggest that this shit is new to just 2016, or that people have to be paid to have sexist or racist opinions on social media as if Republicans haven’t already been at this game since before social media was even a thing is flat out false.

At some point, there has to be some level of responsibility for the already sexist and racist people who hear bullshit and is willing to take it in to mix with their confirmation bias in the first place.

The real answer to white Bernie Sanders and the white leftists threatening to split the Democratic Party if the rest of us don’t pander to them is White Supremacy & Patriarchy. This has been hundreds of years of struggles. White people on the left do not need Russian money to hate women and people of color. By suggesting the dumpstershit on the left is just more Russian influence, deflects responsibility away from so-called progressives from doing the inner work of unpacking racism and sexism. It does nothing to help white people on the left unify with LGBTQ people, black people, immigrants, the disabled, women, and other marginalized groups.

Its not white people that everyone else needs to unify with. We need to remind ourselves that whiteness has given us privilege and power – power that we deny to everyone else. By blaming Russia for everything, we are denying we have that power and denying we used that power during this election.

Russia’s influence IS a big deal and the implication the executive branch and even some members of the legislative branch are complicit into allowing a foreign country to have this level of influence into our government is terrifying.

But what I will not stand for, is white liberals both downplaying the truth and cheapening it with bullshit conspiracies to absolve themselves of the responsibility of keeping assholes like Bernie Sanders in check and ridding ourselves of the sexism and racism that allows the hate against Hillary, or the annoyance with “identity politics”, to fester in our brains in the first place.

We have already allowed ourselves to believe in myths during the election. By entertaining continued fantasies, we endanger ourselves into allowing this latest wave of fascism to continue to establish its power. And people are going to die. And we’re going to sit here crying and wondering how we got to this point. The answer is White Supremacy. Its time for white liberals to stop being its shield while our conservative counterparts use its sword.

Fundamentalism in Progressive Politics

Dear Americans on the left. Pssst. Let’s talk. That means you too, USAToday… and you too Jezebel. Oh and even one of my normal faves, Slate. SHAME ON YOU ALL. What am I talking about? The deceptive coverage of the amendment in the Senate that 13 Democrats voted “no” on that would have allowed us to import prescription drugs from Canada. At least, that’s how all these left leaning publications are describing it. And now the “Progressives” have decided to lambaste Cory Booker (D) from New Jersey shortly after his unprecedented testimony against his colleague Jeff Sessions (R) during the Attorney General confirmation hearings. It is increasingly looking like the left wing’s version of the Tea Party is trying to take over the Democrat Party.

Progressives have been playing this game of moral purity politics that eerily resembles the moral purity fundamentalism of the Tea Party Right. Sure, Bernie Sanders wants nothing but good things for us Americans, right? This pull to the left can’t be all that bad!

Except when you have no integrity and attack the very Democrats who are resisting Trump and the Republicans, you literally threaten to split the Democrat party, weaken it, and leaving us with less political power to resist fascism. And what I’d really like to know is, why in the ever living fuck is Bernie Sanders trying so hard to split the Democrat Party? And why this sloppy journalism from Slate, Jezebel, USAToday and others?

The evidence:

First of all, the voting in question were amendments to  S. Con Res 3. S. Con Res. 3 is a budget bill setting the budgetary levels for the fiscal years 2018 through 2026. There were a total of 189 amendments attached to this bill and there was only 2 hours allotted to debate this bill. There were two amendments put forward by the team of Sanders and Klobuchar regarding prescription drugs and of COURSE the headlines are all about just Mr Sanders. Amendment 172 was ultimately withdrawn, but the text of the amendment reads:

SEC. 3___. DEFICIT-NEUTRAL RESERVE FUND RELATING TO LOWERING 
                   PRESCRIPTION DRUG PRICES FOR AMERICANS BY 
                   IMPORTING DRUGS FROM CANADA AND OTHER 
                   COUNTRIES.

The link of the full text is here

Democrats did not like this amendment and it should be for OBVIOUS reasons. There is nothing that says those drugs must match our own safety regulations, putting peoples’ lives potentially at risk. Amendment 178 was the one that was voted down. It left off “and other countries”, but again, no detail was given about safety regulations. It was a poorly constructed blanket statement, without the detail necessary for such policy. The 13 Democrats who were uncomfortable with such broad language were RIGHT to defeat the amendment.

Also missing from the sloppy journalism is the fact that the day before the votes on all the amendments to S. Con. Res 3, John McCain with Amy Klobuchar as cosponsor introduced S. 92,  “A bill to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to allow for the personal importation of safe and affordable drugs from approved pharmacies in Canada.”

So, there is a bill addressing this issue of importing drugs from Canada, introduced to the Senate on January 10th, while the broad language over-simplified amendment was voted down on January 11th attached to a budget bill. Clearly, Bernie Sanders wants credit for “standing up” for the American people, using this to discredit Democrats, while a Republican Senator had already introduced a separate bill beforehand.

These are the facts. The facts should cause everyone who calls themselves Progressives to side eye the ever living shit out of Bernie Sanders for these antics. But wait! IT GETS BETTER.

Part of Jezebel’s reporting included how much money these 13 Democrats received in campaign contributions from Pharmaceutical companies as “evidence” that Democrats are bought and paid for just like Republicans, supporting the bullshit narrative that “all parties are the same.” Setting aside the fucking obvious that a Democrat President would not be encouraging Congress to gut and appeal the ACA (not to mention gut funding for her own CHIP program!!!), we continue to entertain this bullshit that Bernie Sanders is special.

Bernie Sanders is not special and here are two websites that show he gets money from Pharmaceutical companies too. Maplight and Open Secrets. He has gotten over $128,000 from Kaiser Permanente over his career. He has received money from people who work for Abbot Labs, Merck, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline and plenty of others for election cycle 2016 totaling over $116,000.

If Democrats are bought and paid for by their campaign contributions, then so is Bernie Sanders.

Now that the evidence is out of the way, let me go back to something I mentioned in the title. Fundamentalism. I attended a Fundamentalist church for 4 years as a teenager. I could only wear skirts, dresses, or culottes, they had to be a certain length with no slits allowed. Any shirt couldn’t dip down more than two inches below where your collar bones meet and all kinds of other dress and behavioral rules. Most importantly, you didn’t question the preacher. He was a man of God, and what he told you was to be taken as the literal gospel. I am telling you, my bullshit radar is going all the way off about this “Progressive” left. This idea that there can’t be compromise or discussion within the party, that what Bernie Sanders says goes, that he is less corrupt than people who have served far less time than he has in the very establishment he attacks daily, combined with the fact he was only a Democrat during the presidential election, screams a type of Fundamentalism to me. A dangerous ideology where its members are not allowed to question or criticize. I lost long time friends when I switched in April 2016 from supporting Bernie to Hillary Clinton (hey, I liked the idea of single payer healthcare and free college). I’m talking people I had been friends with in real life or friends on the internet for nearly a decade. Lost them because I didn’t worship the ground Bernie Sanders walked on and decided to scrutinize him more and criticize him.

Folks, these are sure signs of cult behavior. And there are other examples too. Black people being told they don’t know what’s good for them if they don’t vote for Bernie Sanders. About how there isn’t a racist bone in Sanders’ body. White 3rd party voters separating themselves from Democrats to pretend they can’t be racist and therefore Democrats are just as horrible as Republicans. (Dear white people, we’re ALL racist). Nevermind the fact of which area of NYC Sanders lived in, or how he left for 98% white Vermont, a state with a higher than national average cost of living.

And one of my personal favorite shenanigans of Sanders was the announcement that he was willing to work with Trump on raising the min wage to $10/hr two weeks after the election after he refused to budge the entire campaign with Hillary Clinton’s proposal of $12/hr. Meanwhile, stalwart champions like Maxine Waters and John Lewis have both publicly announced they will not work with Donald Trump and John Lewis has even said Trump is not a legitimate president.

Where is Sanders’ resistance to tyranny?

I know Democrat politicians aren’t known for addressing this type of presentation fuckery within their own party, but maybe its about time they start doing exactly that. We simply CANNOT let the white male, self-professed “Progressives”, create a far-left wing faction similar to the Tea Party. The ONLY purpose this will serve is to weaken the Democrats and make it easier for the Fascism embracing Republicans to succeed in their efforts.

The media needs to do better with their journalism.

Bernie isn’t a champion of the people, he’s an obstruction.

He needs to permanently have a stadium full of seats in the basket with the rest of the deplorables.

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White America Fucked Up

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I do understand some peoples’ need to “not care whose fault it is” on Tuesday. Some of that is justifiable angry response because some people are blaming the democrat party for “forgetting white people”, and others are claiming its Hillary’s own fault because she was a terrible candidate; not strong enough; she wasn’t Bernie; and blah blah blah.

But aside from the hot nonsense of dog shit, we DO need to identify the problems because identifying the problems are key to white people figuring out how we can fix this. So I’m going to lay it out in a few simple points:

White people failed. 60 million people voted for fascism and 3rd party voters in some key states helped. Racism and sexism are at the core; racism because these voters cosigned a platform rife with racism, xenophobia, islamaphobia, and homophobia. Sexism, because some people cosigned that garbage because they didn’t want to see a woman become president.

The Media failed too. Instead of focusing on issues that really should have mattered to white people as far as informing them is concerned (Trump’s ties to Russia; Trump Univeristy; sexual assault; setting shit he says straight with the facts), they spent their time normalizing his behavior by making it equally valid to Hillary’s character and hyperfocused on her emails and private server.

Perhaps the media is secondary to the white people issue because the first issue drove the other failure.

The solution is, we have GOT to find some way to decenter whiteness; to make our concerns as white people not the primary concerns of this country; to care about everyone’s well being and not have an “as long as I get mine, fuck you” attitude.

There are two places of Donald Trump’s platform that can seriously harm even US as white people (let alone everyone else) and that’s foreign policy and climate change. I called white people fucking stupid at times, because these two issues alone will directly harm even us, yet we thought white supremacy was the oxygen others were trying to take away and we’re scrambling to hold on to it for dear life. Watch whatever movie has a similar premise; where people voted for their own destruction because they were blinded by something else and then put yourself there. That’s us, white people. And the fact we’re willing to burn it ALL down for some fake sense of superiority really shows how inferior we actually are.

Facebook’s Reporting System is Hot Garbage

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These first two images are from the 2nd the last time I was blocked on my old Facebook account.  As you can see, I couldn’t do shit on Facebook for 72 hours and it came with a warning that if I kept up my apparent shenanigans, my account could be permanently disabled.  Within a few weeks I was banned again for 7 days – for telling some dude: “go fuck yourself.” (PS – he was a rape apologist)

Many people know this is a problem today. Early on in my Facebook life, when people were saying they were banned on Facebook, I thought they were not telling the whole truth about their circumstances. I thought to myself “they HAD to have said something worse than that to be banned, right?” I have been on the internet having debates and conversations with people since the late 90’s when Lycos and Geocities message boards were a thing. I thought getting banned anywhere on the internet meant you had to have done something really fucking awful.

And then came the current Civil Rights movement. Black people were being banned for speaking out against racism. White feelings would run to that report button and Facebook did something about it. Facebook is racist as fuck when it comes to how their reporting system operates. Entire pages full of racist content, including how our President needs to die would return support inbox messages from Facebook claiming the comment or page “doesn’t violate our community standards.” But let a black person talk about white privilege and its WE CAN’T HAVE THAT when white tears run to the report button.

Of all the new features, updates, and changes Facebook has brought to us as social media users, the racist and sexist reporting system that censors black and woman voices and leaves angry white men feeling validated is still the same as it ever was, despite the petitions and outrage brought to the front by various people at different times.

Facebook even went so far as to unpublish one of my favorite pages: The Kinfolk Kollective after people abusing the reporting system had their way. Thankfully, the page was able to come back. But the message from Facebook was clear: deactivating your account or unpublishing your page is not an empty threat.

Yes, I know… “why don’t you just go someplace else?”

Because Twitter is a worse garbage pile of alt-right filth than Facebook and there just isn’t anything else that has come up that keeps my friends and I connected the same way Facebook does. I run two pages on it though, and Facebook ALWAYS wants me to pay money to promote my page content. But that’s not going to happen. Facebook isn’t getting a god damn dime from me as long as their racist and sexist reporting system remains as it is.

And just to drive home the absolute ridiculousness of it all, here are a few more screen shots. One of the racist piles of dung beetle shit can be seen here making a meme out of one of my past profile pictures definitely meant to be sexually degrading to me.

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And here he is again, telling me to kill myself.

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And after about 20 of my friends reported his meme comment, we all got the familiar message from Facebook about how it cares about Facebook being a safe and welcoming environment, but sorry kiddos, this dude just isn’t doing anything wrong. Of course, I sent my useless reply back to them anyway.

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Yes, Facebook. You are full of shit.

And you know, if it was ONLY that Facebook doesn’t really censor anyone, most of us would shrug and just fill out block lists up with the deplorables. But Facebook DOES actively censor people. It actively censors black people, other people of color, and women, on a regular fucking basis for shit that has no business being deleted off and the person banned in punishment with threats of having their accounts deactivated permanently. Its a form of violence to have a reporting system that operates this way, while people like Carl Douglas Miles are enabled and emboldened to be the nasty, deplorable, underwear shitstains they proclaim themselves to be on social media.

Facebook does not care to fix their reporting system. They would rather play with Halloween emote reactions, fuck up what’s displayed on my newsfeed, break AdBlock Plus to force me to look at their ads, and change this feature or that one and force me to relearn how to use the damn thing.

I can’t WAIT for a new social media platform to come along that draws the millions away from Facebook where my friends and I can connect and hangout. I will happily give Facebook the middle finger and deactivate my account MYSELF permanently.

UPDATE:

After myself and most of my friends left Facebook additional feedback after the initial “there’s nothing wrong with this post, sorry!”, Facebook decided to change their minds and remove the sexually degrading meme.

I’m not going to delete or change the blog post though because the larger message is still applicable and Facebook’s general attitude overall is still problematic as fuck. This is only one small victory in this battle. It took a lot of effort to get Facebook to do the right thing, while often people get banned for shit they shouldn’t be.

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To My Sister – and the Rest of the Hennig Family

So my sister Jeannette called me the day after I got home from my mini spontaneous vacation with my husband. She hasn’t spoken to me in over two years. To this day, I have no idea why. We tried for a short period of time to have some type of relationship, but for some reason for her it just wasn’t working. Which is fine by me, really. She has to do what’s best for her, whatever that looks like. Before that short period of time, it was years since we had spoken to each other. Also for years, I wondered what offense of mine was so great that this was the path she chose for us. She doesn’t know it, but when she called me, she answered that question. I don’t recall ever really being mad at her. I’ve only been really sad about it. But two years ago when she cut me off, I decided I was done trying to figure out what I did. I figured, if she won’t tell me, its her problem and not mine and I wasn’t going to spend any more mental energy trying to figure it out and torment myself over it.

In the summer of 2015, my mom had spinal surgery. She had two of them, actually – neither one of which I knew about as I was still in the middle of my first period of cutting off contact with my parents and nobody else told me about them. After the second surgery, her incision became infected and she was in the hospital again. A kind relative let me know about it because that relative didn’t think my mom was doing well and thought I should know. Not my dad, nor any of my siblings attempted to contact me in any way to inform me of the events. My mom eventually recovered and I was glad. I initiated contact with her, which lasted a little over a year as I recently decided to cut them off again – this time possibly for good. It really depends on them, honestly. If my parents have their awakening moment and decide to walk the path of self-healing, then great and I will be here for it. But if that doesn’t happen, then they are dead to me as I simply cannot allow them to abuse me or enable abuse in my life anymore.

Which brings me to my sister. She called me starting with “I am appalled (pause) at your accusations.”

First of all, they aren’t accusations. For those of you reading, especially family members, what happened to me can be read here. By the way, these two events described in my previous blog post are just two events out of MANY events. These two are the ones that touch on sexual misconduct. The rest of what my dad did to me was emotional abuse. I could write a novel about the emotional abuse I received from my dad. These things really happened to me. I’m not making them up. So for Jeannette and the rest of the family, please know that if you don’t believe me, you can go fuck yourself. Its really that simple. For YEARS I know you all talked about me behind my back at various times and probably wondered what was wrong with me. Behavior doesn’t come out of a vacuum. A child doesn’t rebel against the set standard for a particular family’s “normal” dynamic for no valid reason. I’m not a bad seed. I’m an abused human being who has gone through counseling, a fuckload of self healing, and finally put down boundaries I don’t feel guilty about. I have years upon years of shame to shatter. My counselor is surprised I didn’t become a drug addict. That’s how fucking serious this shit is. So, I really have no fucks to give for anyone who doesn’t believe me.

Secondly, you shouldn’t be appalled at what I said. You should be appalled that David James Hennig did those things to his own daughter. Jeannette asked me whether I cared if the rest of the family found out and the answer is no. I don’t give two fucks who finds out. That’s why I wrote a public blog. I have no time for people who only care about how they look to others. If you want to be seen as a decent human being, then BE a decent human being and don’t abuse people. Otherwise, fuck you and fuck your image. Again, if you only care about how you look to others and you’re more upset at me going public than about what happened to me, please feel free to go and fuck yourself.

I’ll tell you something else as well. David Hennig threw his first wife’s birth control pills away so he could have kids with her and that’s how my older half sister came to be here. I have a hard time believing that any woman would have consensual sex with a man, husband or not, if she couldn’t find her birth control pills and he ejaculated inside of her anyway. I didn’t get this from his first wife. I remember him telling me about this growing up. As a naive kid, I was believing in my dad’s story because I thought it was right for him to want to have kids. At the time, I was a kid and I didn’t view it through the grown up lens I untangled the misogyny from today. I don’t give a shit that this occurred in the 1970’s and laws back then didn’t consider it rape. IT WAS RAPE. So, he actually DOES have a history of sexual misconduct and I have no idea where he got the idea from that this behavior was ok in his upbringing, but its NOT ok.

Finally, nobody wants to talk to me about David Hennig’s biological father. There’s this huge family secret behind this person that nobody wants to talk to me about. NOT talking about these things is what guarantees that at least some people in the family will continue these “sins”. Not healing from this shit causes those who refuse to deal and heal will abuse in some way. My dad didn’t become an abusive father out of a vacuum – he was taught to be that way because he was likely emotionally abused himself. I only cut my parents off because neither one of them respect boundaries – my dad is much worse than my mom, but she has her own way of perpetuating bullshit. Like standing by her husband no matter what and deciding that my behavior is some kind of equally hurtful wrong to the both of them instead of seeing it as always a self-preservation reaction to being abused in the first place. My father knows no boundaries whatsoever and continually violated mine and made me feel like I was wrong for having boundaries ever. So cutting him off was the only solution. He has demonstrated repeatedly that boundaries mean nothing to him.

Finally, my sister called me a psychopath. Dear Jeannette: you shouldn’t use big words that you don’t understand. Impaired empathy is a trait YOU suffer from, which you demonstrated when you decided you didn’t believe me or didn’t care these things happened to me and helped shape who I am today. Having no remorse describes you and quite frankly both our brothers and our dad quite well. There is no other explanation for a total lack of taking responsibility for one’s own actions and somehow making sure I believed for years that I deserved the treatment I got.

I didn’t deserve this.

Nobody does.

So, if anyone from the family is considering calling me, writing me, emailing me or whatever in an effort to silence me, chastise me, or anything other than offering the simple phrase “I believe you”, then please let me absolve you from doing so.

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Reflections from West Virginia

My husband and I have made several trips to West Virginia now. It’s probably our favorite getaway spot when we do get to get away for a while. This trip was completely spontaneous. He came home from his last day of work for his week and went on our weekly Sunday morning date together and decided while we were taking a walk that we would just do it. We went home – he changed the oil in his van, I made enough food for dinner for our two teenage kids, instructed them to care for the cats (you really do have to tell teenagers everything), and we’d check in when we could. So a few hours later we were off driving the three and a half hour trip to his dad’s camper on the land his dad owns where he grew up in Barbour County.

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Still in Ohio traveling south towards West Virginia

Some reflections:

Trump signs in the Arden – Philippi area: 2

Clinton signs in the same area: 3

The peaceful roar of the Tygart River rushing over the rocks near the camper.

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The Tygart River in Arden, WV

The acorns dropping on the metal roof of the buildings at the empty Audra State Park. They are loud and it takes a moment to realize what it is.

Camping was over for the season at Audra State Park, but you can still walk down there. So we parked in the public area that wasn’t closed off and took a walk down to the bathhouses. The water was not yet shut off, so we took our showers.

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Audra State Park in October

Autumn in full swing. I absolutely love the smell of autumn when the leaves are turning and they fall to the ground, become wet, and the mushrooms take over.

He slows down on our way back from our trip into town to look at an orange 50’s Chevy in somebody’s yard.

A mobile home has only the roof and metal frame standing as we pass by. It looks like somebody blew in the walls with all the debris laying inside.

The stars before the nearly full October moon rises…. my god…. the stars!

The labrador retriever that came to visit us every day.

When the sun creeps up slowly from the mountain behind you in the morning.

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Sunrise in Arden, WV

Peaceful night time fires and local West Virginia Mountain Spice Red Wine. The only noises besides our laughter are the night time insects and the river.

I could live here.

 

Dads Without Boundaries & Donald Trump

I’m fairly sure my dad is a narcissist. He has so many of the traits and behaves as if the world should revolve around him. I never asked my mother before I stopped speaking to her (again), but I would not doubt my parents (or at least my dad) are voting for Donald Trump. I’m sure they’re still watching John Hagee and Pat Robertson. I’m sure my mother is praying for my stone cold heart every night and crying in her alcohol asking herself how she went wrong as a mother without actually listening to my feelings. I have to email her for her to listen because on the phone or in person, she’ll cut you off and yell over top of you so she doesn’t have to hear what you have to say. The strange mix of alcoholic married to a narcissist blends a special type of dysfunctional family fuckery. This last time I decided I was done with her for a while wraps around her defense of my father’s behavior and a start to a lecture of how marriage is a special relationship as if I was 5 years old and not married for 15 1/2 years myself. And besides… “he’s your father.” No, he’s a sperm donor and she was literally standing by him no matter what. Choosing blind devotion over acknowledgement of abusive behavior.

I have flashbacks of my sperm donor using physical intimidating and yelling to force me into conformity and obedience. So imagine my anxiety as I watched Donald Trump on the stage of the 2nd debate using physical intimidation on Hillary Clinton and calmly, but firmly asserting she will be in jail if he’s elected. I was watching my father get into my face as a teenager all over again. The rebel oldest girl who wanted to mow lawns, listen to music that wasn’t country, learn about cars, and go to college.

And since women everywhere opened up about sexual assault, I have been reminded of two particular incidents with my sperm donor that I haven’t forgotten, nor ever spoken about except with my husband. Please know that saying this in public is hard. But its so necessary.

I consider myself lucky as I’ve been reading about sexual assault stories for now years, particularly in Christian churches. I haven’t been raped, nor have I been groped. The more stories I read, the more I feel like I’m in a small minority. I have been exposed to other violations and trauma though and I want to speak about those.

I want to clarify that I’m not joining my voice with others here to get people to say “that’s enough!” about Donald Trump. I was done with him when he first started his campaign. I rebuked an in law family member the summer of 2015 when she said he was right about Mexicans and decided I never wanted to go to their family get together ever again. I have been adamantly trying to bring attention to his racism and sexism for a while now and his fascist rhetoric that white people who support him or intend on voting for one of the 3rd party candidates want to downplay to justify their positions. No, none of what he said about “grabbing pussy” and “just start kissing them” shocks or surprises me in the least. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t ripped open wounds, however. Especially with people who defend him and try to normalize sexual violence.

My dad knows no boundaries.

When I was in 5th grade, I got the basic birds and the bees talk from him. It was the only sex talk I would have with either one of my parents. After he was done drawing a uterus and ovaries and having the lecture part of the basic sex talk, he sat on the couch – half laying, half sitting up. And he exposed his penis to me to show me what one looked like. It became hard and he asked me if I was curious and wanted to touch it. I felt weird and dirty. I politely declined. He was ok with this and slipped his underwear and pants back up and then told me if I ever was curious to just let him know. At the time, I didn’t think he was trying to be sexual with me.  It didn’t feel that way. I’m still not sure, but I know it was wrong. But god damn was that inappropriate as fuck and demonstrated he knows nothing about boundaries whatsoever.

When I was about 17, I had a job and bought my own bras and underwear. I had a set that I loved. It was dark green with flowers on it. I put them on after my shower and wrapped a towel around myself before heading upstairs to my room to choose what outfit I wanted to wear that day. Before heading upstairs, though, my dad stopped me when I got out of the bathroom and wanted to see me in my bra and underwear. I protested and he got angry with me. He believed that since he changed my diaper as a baby, there was nothing for him to see he hasn’t already seen and totally violated my right to privacy as if he, as my sperm donor had automatic rights to my body. He didn’t comment on my body, but I’ll never forget feeling violated as he looked me over and I’ll never forget him being angry with me and his clear message that my body was not mine, but his.

sperm-donor

The Sperm Donor: David Hennig

Those are my earliest experiences of being sexually harassed and they came from my dad. Even those of us who aren’t groped or raped are told our bodies don’t belong to us. That we don’t have rights of body autonomy. That men can and will violate us whenever they want.

I believe electing a woman president is a huge “fuck you” to all the men who are angry we are rebelling against the places they want to keep us, where they can violate us whenever they please, however they want too, without consequences.

 

The DNC, Rage & Privilege

I have been accused more than once of being full of rage.

It’s true.

My dad was also full of rage and when I was in my 20’s I saw I carried the same rage and I thought it was a problem. I went to the college counselor and told him I had an anger problem that I wanted help with. He listened for a little bit, but didn’t really offer any advice except to hand me copies of chapters out of some book. I read some of it, but couldn’t relate to it very well. It seemed to just attack the behavior and not the cause.

I am now nearly 37 years old and I no longer view my rage as a problem. In fact, I’ve learned that its not so much the fact I have rage, but how I harness and use it that really makes it good or bad. My dad was severely depressed and his rage caused him to scream in my face and make me feel worthless. He’d punch holes in the walls, throw glass pepper shakers across the room and watch the glass and pepper splatter all over after hitting the wall. He’d slam pots and pans down on the floor. He’d flip tables. His rage was violent and scary. I was afraid of becoming like this.

And sure, sometimes I slam doors when I’m the most pissed, but I’d like to think my rage is expressed mostly in words. And the things that make me rage are very different than the things that would set off my dad’s rage.

George Zimmerman getting away with murder – rage.

Sandra Bland getting roughed up because she wouldn’t put out her cigarette and eventually murdered in her jail cell – rage.

Seeing a chart showing the Democrats being in control of both chambers of Congress with a Democrat President for a grand total of 4 years since Reagan first took office in 1981 and then have people on the internet tell me the Democrats have been controlling the agenda for the past 30 years – rage.

Remembering the myriad of ways Republicans have obstructed progress since I was a teenager in the 90’s and having people today forget all the nuance, obstruction, and politics since then to create their own narrative – rage.

Being told Hillary Clinton killed universal healthcare after she was the one in the 90’s who tried to bring it! After remembering the Republicans telling Obama early in his first term “Don’t even think about single payer, because we won’t let it happen”. – rage.

Seeing the very white tears from people who demand a revolution NOW who loudly proclaim “the system” is unfair to them now while conveniently ignoring all the black voices who have been trying to tell us this for over 400 years – rage.

Seeing more Bernie protesters at the DNC in Philadelphia than there were people protesting against fascism at the RNC in Cleveland – rage.

And this morning, after the first day of the DNC and the butthurt tears of Sanders fans who still declare its not over yet, I was accused of being filled with rage and how this particular person has had enough of it.

This, after an entire day of white privilege shouting down speakers who took the podium. Booing Bernie Sanders. Chanting “Black Lives Matter” at Cory Booker while he’s speaking. Chanting whatever the fuck they were saying over Elizabeth Warren. Shouting down Elijah Cummings, one of the best damn congresspeople we have. This isn’t dissent. This isn’t protest. This is BULLSHIT. This is whining like a fucking crybaby because your entitled ass lost the soccer game. The ref missed a call. A foul was called when there was none. You lost. And now you think you have a right to “protest” and “dissent” the same unfair process Hillary Clinton lost too 8 years ago.

SHE CHEATED!

Tell me more how that isn’t the same as accusing a woman of sleeping with her bosses as a means of climbing the corporate ladder because there’s no way she has the brains or skills to earn it.

Tell me more about how that isn’t sexist.

And then I’ll ask you why you AREN’T filled with rage.

We have a candidate in charge of the Republican party now who sounds more and more like a fascist dictator every single day. In fact, after the RNC last week, it should be crystal fucking clear the Republicans have chosen unfettered racism, xenophobia, islamaphobia, and “law and order” to run their platform. If you think that platform would not bleed into how they govern the next four years, you are willfully ignorant of reality.

And yet, your privileged white ass is horrified the DNC has imperfect humans in it who expressed disdain for someone who spent most of his campaign shit talking the very party he was trying to take over. And your privileged white ass claims the fact the Russians hacked us is simply a deflection, because CLEARLY people talking shit among themselves is a much more offensive thing to behold.

And yet, your privileged white ass decided to weaponize your feelings to silence people.

I was abused emotionally growing up and you don’t get to weaponize your feelings to me. You don’t get to claim I’m abusing you with my rage because I stripped you of your privileged fucking fantasy. You should be using rage to act and be the change you want to see. If you care and rage about injustice and inequality, then fucking DO something about it. A great step would be to help kill the rise of fascism in this country. Otherwise, I have no more fucking time for you and your privileged shenanigans.

aaron bird sir

The Manner in Which Sexual Abuse Cases are Handled by MCUSA

 

From: xxxxxxx xxxxxxx
Sent: Friday, July 22, 2016 1:29 PM
To: ErvinS@MennoniteUSA.org; clyde.kratz@virginiaconference.org
Subject: The manner in which sexual abuse cases are handled

 

I’m sure you’re aware of this:

http://www.ourstoriesuntold.com/pastor-duane-yoder-complaint/

I know past emails have been ignored. I know that a call to action from me means little to nothing for you.

I know evil when I see it, however.

Evil is in the suspension of credentials of an Executive Board member for performing a same sex wedding.

Evil is in the protection of sexual abusers.

Evil is in the refusal for a 3rd party transparent investigation without meddling or conflict of interests.

Evil is allowing a pastor with a “misconduct” past to become a pastor of a church without telling the church he has a past. You can’t use “forgiveness” and “forbearance”, because you quickly withdraw those concepts when it comes to your homophobia.

I hope you have trouble sleeping at night. I hope nightmares wake you up at night.

I hope your soul is troubled. Troubled from the harm you’ve caused. Troubled in the attempts to erase the harm you’ve caused so that people won’t see you as the monster you are inside.

I hope you sweat often in anxiety and fear.

I don’t normally wish for these psychological troubles onto people. But evil is deserving to be troubled and crushed.

Evil is in the leadership of MCUSA and VMC.

 

Fuck your religion. Fuck your God.