When Family Comes Back to Haunt You (or try, anyway)

I don’t remember how old I was, but I remember I was earning my own money. I’m pretty sure I was still doing the newspaper route on our street and had not yet started earning better money working retail at Kmart yet, because $28.00 for a concert ticket was a lot of money to me. I was doing the paper route from around the age of 14 to 16ish. My younger sister wanted to go to a concert and its not that I was against her going to the concert, but my parents did not seem to have the extra money to spare to buy her a ticket, so they asked me to let her borrow it. By this time in my life, I knew quite well that “borrowing” really meant “taking”, so I knew I was never going to see that money again. So I stood up for myself and I told them “no”. Telling them “no” meant my dad’s reaction turned into a red-faced rage, getting in my face, and telling me I was the most selfish person he had ever known in his entire life.

The reality is, it was never my responsibility as their child to pay for another child’s anything. My dad could have sacrificed a week’s worth of cigarettes (unrealistic, I know, but not the point) to send his daughter to a concert. But it was easier to burden someone in the house who had a little money.  This was the man who would spend a couple hours at a time every so often watering his lawn so he’d have nice green grass in our sometimes dry summers and then yell at me about wanting to take a shower every day.

I can talk about these incidents now without the emotional weight they used to carry. I can’t say whether my father is a narcissist or not, but I do know he’s at least an emotionally manipulative person whom I feared for many years and who is vicious when he feels you’ve wronged him.

A few days ago, my youngest brother (there are 4 of us and I’m the oldest) unblocked me from Facebook and contacted me, wondering if it was ok for him to call me. I said it was and that I welcomed it. I pretty much had written off all of my siblings at this point, who all cling to our parents still and defend their behavior. I believe partially because I received the harshest discipline of the 4 of us for whatever reason. I no longer care to know what the reason is. It’s not my fault or my problem.

After just three conversations with my brother, I started having mixed feelings about him. Some are good feelings because we both love scenery pics, pics of the clouds and the sky, and animals. He also seemed to actually care and listen to what I had to say about things without getting upset. Finally! Someone with whom I could have some type of relationship in our dysfunctional family!

But then he is also gaslighting me. After telling him I was emotionally abused (both of us acknowledging we both carry different perspectives growing up), he said he believed me, but then followed up with “but I don’t think you were abused.” For a moment, I started to question myself again. But, only for a moment.

Then he took it upon himself after telling him about a more recent incident that occurred with my Dad before I started No Contact with him, to talk to Dad and get HIS side of the story and find out why he was upset with me, if at all. My brother got back to me and told me about this and then said “whoa, there’s a lot of things between you guys.” I think I handled it well for the moment, telling him that whatever it was, its between Dad and I. But then the more I thought about it, the more upset I was that my Dad thinks he actually has legitimate problems with me. The incidents in which I asserted myself is pretty much my life story with my parents as far as MY behavior. Sure, there was yelling and telling them off with choice curse words, but normally in response to emotional abuse. It took me a year of No Contact with either one of them to realize this about myself and to determine I was going to change how I respond to either one of them moving forward. I wanted less stress in my life and in my head. I hated how easily I got riled up and angry at them.

Shortly after my brother revealed he talked to Dad, I posted something about my father on Facebook. Immediately my brother confronted me in an instant message about “posting private family matters”.  And in that conversation was this:

why some family members don't talk to me

BOOM

Once again, familiar feelings creeping up of being made to feel I’m the bad guy. I’m the reason why my relationships with my dysfunctional family are garbage.

His statement is what is actual garbage. I’ve had a problem with family members wanting to talk to me since LONG before Facebook was even invented. Facebook changed nothing about my relationships with my family. The only thing that changed was that at times, some family members knew I talked to my friends. At the same time, I’ve learned about how the family talks ABOUT me amongst themselves. So, THAT’S ok while not coming to me about anything to ask me why I do what I do or how I feel about anything, but its NOT ok to talk to my friends about why I do what I do and how I feel about things. OK, FAMILY. GOT IT.

So, Joe if you chose to click on this link and read it, great. I HOPE you do what I think you’re about to do and run to Mom and Dad and tell them how horrible of a person I am for airing dirty laundry permanently on the internet where anyone and everyone can read how shitty of a person Dad was to me.  And really, the fact you would even help Dad paint me as the bad person just like he did to me as a teenager, makes you just as shitty. Just because you do it with a neutral voice without the hint of rage, doesn’t mean you’re not sending the same message. It took me a few days to figure it out, because sometimes manipulation takes some time to see through. But I see it. And I’m using MY best weapon doing what the family hates me doing the most:

TALKING ABOUT IT ON THE INTERNET.

If you don’t want your abusive behavior to be known, then perhaps you shouldn’t be an abuser. Silence is the abuser’s favorite power and fuck that shit.

The Gospel of Sexual Repression

I’m going to share something very personal and private because it exposes how harmful religion is to people and their marriages.

When I met my husband, I was still a virgin at the age of 21. The farthest I had gone with anyone before him was my first boyfriend touching my chest outside of my clothing (and at the time was deemed a fuck up and it never happened again). So, I really hadn’t been on any bases outside of making out kissing prior to my husband. HE on the other hand, was 29 when we met, had been engaged twice before, and has had, as is normal, several different sex partners.  He was way more experienced than I was. This has been both a blessing and a curse in our marriage. There are ways in which the inexperience has made me inadequate. That does not mean my husband makes me feel inadequate. He has told me I satisfy and love him in ways nobody else had ever showed him before. He also cares about ME feeling good too and I feel satisfied and happy. We wouldn’t both be married happily after 15 years if that weren’t the case. Some older people I’ve spoken too were surprised to hear we still cuddle on the couch and still have sex. I won’t get into the details of our private conversation that made the inadequacy hit me like a brick, but it left me feeling very upset and pissed off…but not at my husband.  I know this isn’t a reflection on me as a person by any means.  And when he and I started having sex before we were married, I had Christians concern troll me and my life…AT THE AGE OF 21. I mean, I wasn’t looking to be a nun, for fucks sake.

But I still can’t help but cry and grieve at how naïve I am in some ways and I blame my parents and Christianity. My parents failed to have any sex talks with me beyond the birds and the bees basics. I was never told that it was ok for me to masturbate as a girl or encouraged to discover myself sexually. Not once. When I was in the Independent Fundamental Baptist church as a teenager, physical contact beyond hand shaking during church with members of the opposite sex was a huge no-no and was strictly enforced. And my first boyfriend’s conservative Christian family had pretty strict limits too though not quite as harsh as the IBF church. Kissing and making out was ok along with hugging and holding hands. But that was pretty much everything that was allowed. Even talking about sex was dangerous, because then you might start having sex and that was definitely wrong before marriage.

I did a little bit of trying to discover myself sexually in secret as a teenager, but I felt horrible about it like I was committing sin and doing Satan’s work, so I didn’t do enough to actually learn much about myself at all. In fact, I know my boyfriend didn’t masturbate either, because there were times we would make out and he would have an “accident” in his pants. He was so ignorant sexually, he wouldn’t let me put my hand on his thigh after this one incident because he was afraid (besides being embarrassed), that sperm would somehow find its way into my vagina by me touching his leg outside of his clothes in comfort with my hand. I was already 18 years old when this shit happened.

Some of this shit may sound funny, but its not. Evangelicals and Fundamentalists do catastrophic sexual harm to its followers by preaching this purity before marriage bullshit. I’m speaking on a different level than controlling women.  It harms both young men and women with the type of sexual ignorance that people who are old enough to vote should not have about themselves or each other.

Everything I know about sex I learned from my husband. Thank the gods he isn’t a conservative Christian, otherwise that sentence would be worse than it is. But its still bad. Although I would change nothing about my marriage and I would change nothing about how my husband and I feel about each other, I should have had more knowledge and experience before we met. And I know I can’t change the past at all. And I know I can use my experience to do better with my kids. But I’m not alone. There are probably millions of Christians who are so afraid… I don’t even know why really …they do this permanent harm called sexual repression to their kids.  It passes down from generation to generation except for those of us who break the cycle. By all rights, my first boyfriend and I should have been educated about safe sex. We should have been encouraged to masturbate as teenagers and discover ourselves. And we should have been allowed, within the confines of a normal and healthy relationship, to discover each other and learn regardless of whether the relationship would eventually end. In fact, it is my belief (although now I know breaking up was best for us both), that a major part of the relationship ending was sexual repression. I know his parents pressured him to either end it or get married because they were afraid after a year and a half we would soon no longer resist and start having sex and since we were young and in college, they knew were weren’t ready to get married. There was no room for safe sex and birth control for a 19 year old college student and her 21 year old boyfriend in his parents eyes without pressuring marriage as a solution.

So now, I sit and grieve that my ignorance has followed me even to this day. That I was robbed of developing normally. That part of me won’t know how to help my children when I allow them to do what I wasn’t allowed to do because I won’t be able to relate to them.

I don’t know what the Christian purpose of this ignorance is, but I hate Christianity for it. And I’m angry at my parents for doing nothing but teach me what I learned in 5th grade sex-ed about periods, eggs and sperm. I hate people and I hate religion for forcing me to suffer. I hate people and I hate religion for restricting me from learning about myself. I hate people and I hate religion for restricting me from expressing myself.

 

Fuck Christianity and fuck its Gospel of Sexual Repression.

blownupwedding

I Flounced From Church Today and By Extension, Christianity

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Where to start? There is SO MUCH in my life that happened to bring me to this moment of flouncing from a Mennonite Church I had been attending for the better part of the past 16 years. When my husband and I renewed our vows, we had our church wedding here. We dedicated our kids to God shortly after our son was born. The former pastor’s wife I still consider one of my good friends. She’s truly a good soul and knows what living love looks like. There are several other good Christian people with wonderful souls who are good friends and I know they try to live out a form of self love and love for others that Jesus tried to get others to see for themselves when he was alive all those years ago.

But institutionally, Christianity is an abusive father. Institutionally, church is not emotionally, mentally, sexually safe. Yes, institutionally. I’ve experienced for myself and listened to far too many stories to believe there are just a bunch of isolated incidents and Christianity as a whole embodies goodness. Back in 2009, some one posted a timeline of events in Europe that summarizes how Christianity took over in Europe. My pagan ancestors literally converted for fear of death. http://churchandstate.org.uk/2016/03/how-europe-was-overrun-by-christians/

I have a couple of books I’m reading about Germanic and Celtic history before the monstrosity known as Christianity took over Europe.

This isn’t a good start. Taking over by the sword and not by Love. It doesn’t get any better once Europeans spread to the Americas, but that’s not the point of this particular blog post, so I’m not going there. But there are plenty of resources to learn about that if you wish.

Eventually, I came to realize the damage in my own life wasn’t isolated incidents, but part of the institutionalized evil of Christianity.

A few years ago, I wrote a letter to the pastor of the cult church I spent my teenage years in. His wife treated me like I was the spawn of Satan come to corrupt her children. I confronted him for that after learning that Jack Schaap of First Baptist Church of Hammond, IN coerced a 16 year old girl and transported her across state lines TWICE to have sex with her. He is currently serving a 12 year sentence for his crimes. I was angry that I was treated like the spawn of Satan in his church while Jack Schaap was abusing his power and doing actual harm beyond the Patriarchy this cult religion preached. Jack Schaap and the previous womanizer and father in law pastor, Jack Hyles were the leaders of this particular faction of cult Baptist churches.

Last night, I stuck the following letter into the church mailboxes of the members of the Mennonite Church I had been attending. A slight background: they went through a “discernment” process to determine if and at what capacity, LGBTQ people would be allowed to be members and/or serve in the church. The church was pretty split on what we felt. Some people wanted total inclusion while others dug in their regressive heels, using the Bible as their weapon of hate against this “lifestyle choice” despite the real life testimonies of current and former attendees who proved it wasn’t a “lifestyle choice” at all. The discernment process was exhausting and rage inducing. In the end, they decided nothing, but have chosen to stay in limbo. I guess some people are just hoping the whole “issue” would just go away. Since that discernment process, my daughter discovered during puberty that she’s gay. Suddenly, I had much more to fight for than just being a strong advocate for my LGBTQ friends.

Then recently, I read how Vice President of Eastern Mennonite University, Luke Hartman, abused his power, coerced a young woman into a relationship and then mentally abused her, stalked her and even threatened her life when she tried to leave. It wasn’t just this alone that got to me, but how their local Mennonite Church and even the leadership of MCUSA (the broader denomination organization) tried to cover, lie, hide and victim blame. That was it for me, guys. How could ANY church argue against LGBTQ people being invited to Jesus’ table, serving God, and being church members when trusted men in power are sexually and mentally harming people and the church once again, caring more about their reputation than about bringing a criminal to justice?!

So here is the letter I wrote. No more silence, First Mennonite Church of Canton, OH. No more hoping this shit will just “go away”. Deal with yourselves, or become irrelevant.

Dear First Mennonite Church,                                                                                  April 22nd, 2016

 

Yes, our family hasn’t been there for a while and we probably won’t be. Maybe we’ll show up to eat some of your food at potlucks, but that’s it. It’ll be nice to check in with friends we don’t see often. But, I’m done with church and I’m done with Christianity.

I was emotionally abused as a teenager by my dad and by a church (not Mennonite) I was in. My daughter is gay. And during the entire “discernment” process, I was disgusted at many points during the process. At some point in my life also, I joined an Independent Baptist Survivors group on Facebook and learned about many sexual abuses committed by church leaders in the Baptist church and how the sexual abuse was covered up and the victims blamed for what was done with them.

And now Lauren Shifflett of Lindale Mennonite Church told her account of how she was sexually abused by Mennonite teenage boys as a teenager, raped at some point, and then sexually coerced, emotionally abused and stalked by Luke Hartman, Vice President of EMU who was recently busted in a prostitution sting. To this day, EMU and some church leadership of Lindale is trying to protect Luke, discredit Lauren and retraumatize her. If you’re interested, here is Lauren’s sister’s account of how the church and EMU has responded to the situation and to Lauren. http://www.ourstoriesuntold.com/good-intentions-arent-enough/

Here is where my anger has just exploded about First Mennonite, the Ohio Conference and MCUSA in general. First Mennonite, the conference and MCUSA has had this decades long debate about LGBTQs. I heard church members utter ridiculous fears about gay people. I mean, gay people might teach young Sunday School kids that its ok to be gay, right? Ridiculous times where Bible verses were used as weapons to justify LGBTQ exclusion from church membership and participation. At the same time, sexual predators and abusers are protected and word salad performed by Mennonite leadership that brings no real justice to sexual abuse victims.

I just can’t deal with a church half full of complete hypocrites when it comes to sex. My daughter can’t feel safe being around people who might possibly confront her about her “sin” while those same people probably judge Lauren for being a victim of a sick abusive man. Patriarchy is a hell of a drug, isn’t it? And how dare any women or LGBTQ people who don’t live by its rules disturb men’s power, right? So you weaponize religion and the Bible. No different than other Christians I’ve experienced. Your doctrine of pacifism is a lie as the violence of emotional and sexual abuse in the Mennonite Church is allowed and covered up while people whine and cry about gay people forcing the Church to accept their “lifestyle”.

Well, I’m done. Some of you may feel sad or even angry I feel this way.

Well perhaps you should have thought of that before emotionally abusing people in your own congregation. You won’t get the chance to do to my beautiful daughter what you’ve done to others.

Regards,

Becky Murphy

 

So ends my 36 year relationship with Christianity. I’m completely done trying to make a relationship with an abusive Patriarchy religion work.

 

Hillary, Bernie, and the Drama of American Society

Once, I was a huge fan of both Bill and Hillary Clinton. And in some ways, I still am. I have both autobiographies (Living History and My Life). I even took my copy of My Life to a house rep re-election rally in my state where Bill Clinton spoke and he signed my book. I will treasure it forever. Not everyone has a book signed by a President of the United States. I think its pretty awesome. I even enjoyed reading it. He writes similarly to how I talk in conversations. Talk about something, touch on something he and I could easily go off on a little trail and then bring it back to the original point or how that side thing related to the main idea (but sometimes, maybe not). It was amusing as I read it.

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And Hillary …what an inspiration as a woman! To not just be a lawyer and not to settle for just being First Lady, but to actually be a Senator and a Secretary of State and now run a second time for President herself! How many women have that type of resume? Hillary has made history with her list of personal accomplishments, even if being President is something she doesn’t get to attain.

 

But something has happened along the way. I don’t know what it is. No, Bernie supporters, its not that she was a young Republican. I grew up Republican too, and I’m nowhere near where I was. To not allow someone to grow and change throughout their life as if they’re less of a person to have not always held your perfect purest progressive ideology is just you being an asshole.

 

No, I think its that she’s currently trying to play the game within the realm of Patriarchy…a game she can’t win. A game she shouldn’t want to win. A game that leaves someone looking disingenuous. For example, her tough foreign policy talk. She’s obviously catering to the center. After all, she has to seem tough and willing to make strong calls as Commander in Chief, right? Because women are weak and aren’t willing to go to war. But isn’t that what we want? Someone who is less willing to go to war and take a hard look at our current foreign policy and see how it perpetuates violence in the world as is and needs to change? I thought maybe a woman with our natural strengths would be more willing to do that. But she wants to play the man’s game instead and sound and be tough on foreign policy.

 

Like she wanted to be tough on crime. To not seem like a pansy.

 

And then there’s the answer she gave to some Black Lives Matters protesters when she met with them. When they confronted her husband’s mass incarceration problem (which she lobbied for), she didn’t apologize. She didn’t say “We didn’t realize at the time what the effects would be, and it was wrong and I want to fix it and make it right.” No, she placed the burden on those whom the policy hurts the most to come up with a solution. That didn’t sit well with me. She’s trying to play the Patriarchy game and I just don’t like it. I had a corporate boss who played the Patriarchy game in her corporate politics. SHE was probably the worst boss I EVER had. She was fucking ruthless. I just don’t like to see fellow women try to get ahead using that game and claiming they’re going to bat for the rest of us. I don’t think so. Does she plan on dismantling that system when she gets to the top? Or is she going to leave it intact because it gave her the power she has?

 

Now, we do have to realize how politicians have this game they need to play. How they need to use words and I suppose using logical fallacies are par for the course (like her straw man attacks on Bernie’s health care plan). And we have to give politicians a certain amount of grace because otherwise they end up not getting attention and their chances are lost. I mean, that’s how the political game is played and most of us fall for it hook line and sinker.

 

Which brings me to Bernie. I like him as a candidate better than Hillary. Though my own life story mirrors Hillary’s in changing my own worldview as I’ve grown, I do appreciate Bernie’s long standing voice. I know some critics may believe he’s just pandering because they’re just now hearing his particular rhetoric recently. But, recently his camp posted C-Span clips from the 90’s in which he was already mentioning in Congress how several policies were disproportionately affecting black people negatively in our society. He really was talking the talk before it was popular to do so among white people who think its trendy to be an “ally” right now. So yes, I do plan on voting for Bernie in my state’s primary. There are many other reasons and examples, but to me they all do seem to point to a man who wants to make some serious positive changes and I think we are long overdue for those changes.

 

But then his supporters. God, I avoid a lot of social media right now because the nasty Bernie supporters with their racist bullshit towards black people as if Bernie is the “obvious” choice and they’re “stupid” for voting for Hillary. Oh, those racist microaggressions. Progressive liberals…. You have a lot of fucking soul searching to do. Remember how I called you an asshole earlier for thinking you’re all high and mighty with your Purest Progressive Ideology? Yeah. That shit makes you look ugly. And the sexism? Christ man. “I’m going to be a sexist asshole to prove to you I’m more of a feminist than anyone!”

 

That’s literally how fucking dumb you sound.

 

The point is, neither Hillary nor Bernie are going to be perfect. In fact, neither one can be our savior. We don’t need a SAVIOR. We need to save ourselves. In fact, there is no other way to create a better country for everyone who lives here. And while voting for the right President is definitely a step in the right direction, this fighting and mud slinging in the Democratic party and the games we see politicians willing to play only reveals that every single one of us have a fuckload of looking in the mirror and savings of ourselves we really need to be doing.

Confronting White Supremacy in Everyday Life

It is important to confront White Supremacy in every day life. It may even be more important than arguing with racists on the internet. Racists on the internet have their script in hand and they’re ready to go. When you confront it in every day life, it may have a better effect. People don’t expect your response and then they have to think about this interaction they had. I’m sharing this because it is now a part of my story and I want it to be an example of how my white friends and family should be in their lives.

Often, other white people make comments to me they wouldn’t make in front of someone else because they assume that because I’m white, they can confide in me and receive validation. They have no idea before they open their mouths they’re not going to get the validation they’re looking for. Such an occurrence happened today when I went to the post office to drop off some packages for Etsy orders. In line to ship a package Express International was a black muslim. And he had the most adorable twins with him in their hijabs.  One was wearing a purple hijab and the other pink, both with gold embellishment designs on them. The white male clerk asked him if he was sure he wanted to ship it Express International (because of how expensive it is, but also because he’s black. The clerk would not have asked a white person this question). Of course, the man said yes. Then the man had to fill out the paperwork again because there was something wrong with it that would have prevented processing, so he went off to the side to fill it out again. Then it was my turn to be helped.
The white male clerk to me: “he speaks really good English for a guy who is from Tanzania.”

Me, acting like a black Muslim from Tanzania speaking English is no big deal nor a shock: “A lot of people have to learn English as a second language.”

The white male clerk said no more. Then after I got my receipt and before I headed out the door, I stopped at the Muslim and said “the girls’ headscarves are beautiful.” He looked up and looked me straight in the eyes with his bright blue eyes and then I said  “and blessings to you”. He replied, “thank you. thank you very much…. I appreciate it.”

I felt he needed to know that at least some of us white people view him and his daughters or granddaughters as beautiful and that I wished blessings for him……not fear, not deportation, nor death.

How are you confronting white supremacy in your every day life?

There is a different way we can be white. Have the courage to do so.

The Good Guys and the Bad Guys of the Ohio SB 214 Debate

While at work, with my heart in my throat, my chest feeling hot and heavy, and my mouth feeling extremely dry no matter how much water I drank, I listened to the 2 ½ hours of Ohio Senate debate over the defunding of Planned Parenthood.

I’m here to give you my analysis of the good guys and bad guys of the debate. If you hadn’t heard, Planned Parenthood was voted to be defunded by the Ohio Senate with a vote of 23 – 10. I imagine since the House is run by Republicans, it will pass and John Kasich will likely sign the bill, as he is the jackass who has been stacking the Ohio Medical Board with pro-life non physicians including Ohio’s Right To Life president.

Just as a warning, I’m going to Ad Hominem the shit out of some of these fuckers. Why? Its simple. The people who rightfully opposed the bill who debated, did so with factual evidence, realities of what women go through to obtain services, and benefits that PP brings to Ohio. There was even the debunking myths brought up by those who wanted to defund PP. And yet, with all the compelling arguments those who opposed defunding PP brought to the table, it was painfully clear 23 people already had their minds made up on how they were going to vote before the debating even started. So, I know that when I write my emails to these assholes, I’m not going to suddenly change their minds and cause angels to come down from the heavens blowing heavenly horns with a word of God smacking them in their heads and waking them up. So, I’ve chosen the road of quickly dismantling their bullshit arguments and then calling them what they are: Fucking Moronic Assholes. It will be glorious (for me).

I will talk about the good guys first. Because they deserve praise for some of the excellent truth telling they brought to the Ohio Senate floor.

First, I would like to thank Kenny Yuko. Although some of his comments were off base when it comes to how society views troubled girls, he did take the time to note the videos of PP selling “baby parts” were heavily edited and mentioned 11 other state investigations (Ohio’s was not finished) saw NO wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood.

Thank you, Edna Brown who noted she was the only woman on the committee that approved this bill to a full Senate vote and not balanced with gender or party affiliation.

Thank you, Tom Sawyer.

Thank you, Sandra Williams.

Thank you, Cecil Thomas – who admitted he heard terms like IUD, and other medical terms and didn’t know what they all meant. And he knew from his lack of knowledge of women’s health, that men should not be making their decisions for them.

Thank you, Joe Schiavoni – who asked President of the Senate and the one who introduced the bill, Keith Faber (we’ll get to him in a moment) why there was a rush to put the bill to a vote before certain information from an Ohio agency had come that was requested. Mr Faber told Joe it was a highly inappropriate question and he refused to answer it.

Thank you, Michael Skindell for debunking Dave Burke’s non point about PP not paying their property taxes at the Berea location.

Thank you, Charleta Taveres for EVERYTHING you said. The testimony of the medical professional who worked with at-risk low income teens who didn’t know much about their own bodies, but knew they could go to Planned Parenthood for help. Thank you, for your impassioned knowledge of all that Planned Parenthood does to serve people in the State of Ohio. You are a wonderful Senator. Please continue to be a voice in the chambers for as long as your constituents will have you.

Thank you Capri Cafaro, for taking the time to educate your fellow senators on the REALITY of how difficult it is for women to receive the health care they need through literally every other provider out there in our state. You taught me there was only one mammovan (a van where women can get mammograms) serving 2 whole counties and part of Stark County, and the only place in that area out of 6 facilities besides PP where women could get one. You taught me how hard it is to get appointments at other locations. You taught us how women literally have to wait months to be seen. You taught me about one such place having a sliding scale payment system for low income people, but that it only applies for 6 months. You reminded us these places require a drivers license and 2 months of pay stubs to qualify for the sliding scale payments, and that many young at-risk women don’t have pay stubs and many don’t even have IDs. You taught me that many of the other places require a good faith payment before getting services. And you affirmed that PP makes getting the necessary healthcare access easy and quick for women. PP doesn’t place undue burden on at-risk women to get the care they need. (And as a note from the blogger, I know this from personal experience using PP as my primary women’s healthcare provider for the past few years). Capri – you are a wonderful Senator. Please continue to be a voice for the people in the Youngstown area.

And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for.

Bill Coley – you’re an asshole. You repeated the same bullshit about the hundreds of other providers in Ohio that are “life affirming” that can give care to women. Except you completely ignored Capri’s testimony when she tried exactly that in the Youngstown area and found access for care much more restricted and didn’t offer even close to the same array of services PP does for women. That’s not “life affirming” at all. And that’s not even touching the fact that “life affirming” blowhole places emotionally manipulate the fuck out of women to coerce them into carrying the pregnancy to term. You’re a fucking moronic asswipe.

Dear Bill Seitz – if the defunding of Planned Parenthood is SO LITTLE money for the budget of Ohio, then why in the ever living fuck do you care so fucking much about taking such a puny little amount away from PP? Your entire reason for speaking was invalid by your own fucking logic. Sir, you have the intelligence of a boil on a wild boar’s ass. Sit the fuck down, dickbag.

Mr. Dave Burke – You repeated scarce resources as if Ohio were in a terrible financial crisis. Well, if giving away such “scarce” resources is such a huge concern of yours, why are you giving so much money to businesses to help grow Ohio? Can these businesses not do it themselves? Also, you attempted to claim the Berea PP was a terrible organization for not paying their property taxes. What happens when you purposely deceive with not all the information? One of your colleagues gives you the ultimate smack down with the rest of the information – that PP doesn’t fucking OWE any property taxes because they are EXEMPT. Please, have a row of fucking seats you lying underwear shit stain.

And what’s a good Republican run chamber without the token white woman? Shannon Jones. No wonder you voted to defund Planned Parenthood, because you’re a fucking dumbass. Your testimony about wanting to get pregnant means jack shit, because you are obviously privileged with ample access to the medical care you need. You thought you were being so smart with the argument “Well, Ohio is ranked #47 in infant mortality rate. And insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. So why are we continuing to fund organizations that obviously aren’t working to solve that issue?” I have a little news flash for you, Shannon. Planned Parenthood is all over the motherfucking country. And each state that has PP is not ranked #47 in the country for infant mortality. So OBVIOUSLY, PP isn’t part of the reason it’s a problem for Ohio. Also, your colleague, the dishonorable dickbag Bill Seitz, reminded us Ohio has taken money away from PP before. So maybe it’s the continued defunding of the services PP provides that contributes to this horrible statistic you lamented so fucking much? You’re an embarrassment to women. Have a movie theater full of seats, you dumb fuck.

And finally, Keith Faber. You spoke of the fake videos as if they were gospel truth. And then you used as much emotionally charged manipulative language as you could to demonize Planned Parenthood for something they don’t even do. You sent the bill to a committee that you KNEW would approve it to go to a vote with 11 men and 1 woman. 8 Republicans and 3 Democrats. You RUSHED the bill before even having information as to what the impact would be on Ohio if you were to defund PP. You told Joe Schiavoni his question was inappropriate when it is MORE than appropriate and MORE than valid. You obviously don’t give a flying fuck what happens to women in Ohio who don’t look like Shannon Jones. You don’t deserve that seat you sit on in the Senate Chambers.

Keith, please have a stadium of seats. And while you’re sitting there all by yourself in that stadium, I hope you take the time to go fuck yourself. You are a useless lump of human waste. I will imagine your face on every piece of shit I flush down the toilet each day I live in this beautiful state that you insist on ruining with each breath you take.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of the Media on the Uninformed

It was the 2004 election season. I had attended two John Kerry rallies. I protested George Bush twice at his two local rallies. Stark County, Ohio was dubbed that year as the “bell-weather County” in a bell-weather state. Just mere months before Election Day, Kerry was leading the polls enough that it looked like he was going to win the election.

Then, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Remember them? They claimed John Kerry didn’t actually deserve any of the medals he received during his military service and served as a giant photo-op for no other purpose than to boost his political career. The media was seemingly consumed by this development. Suddenly, John Kerry’s poll numbers dipped and George Bush was re-elected to his second term.

Unbelievable.

8 months after W was re-elected, I distinctly remember the news reporting his approval numbers dipping. This happened even before Hurricane Katrina and the disastrous government response following the devastation. You’ll even notice in this gallup poll graph how things went down for him: http://www.gallup.com/poll/116500/Presidential-Approval-Ratings-George-Bush.aspx

2004 & 2005 taught me an important lesson I never realized before: The media plays an integral role in who gets elected not by reporting information and facts and simply broadcasting debating of the issues, but by influencing the uninformed with attention grabbing controversy and subsequent pundit commentary.

The reason for me bringing up this not so distant history is to remind everyone not to underestimate the influence of the media on this current election cycle. Many have noticed the near zero coverage Bernie Sanders is getting on the news as if he doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning despite drawing thousands of people at every campaign event he has. Conversely, the media is lavishing all kinds of attention on Donald Trump. This isn’t just because he’s entertaining. Most of the commentary I’ve seen from my Democrat friends is rightful disgust. But they still hold the belief that he’s making a joke of the political process and also that there’s no way possible that he could win the election.

If there is anything I learned from the 2004 election, its that it’s a clear mistake to assume someone like Donald Trump couldn’t possibly win the election even with all the media coverage he’s getting. And the media coverage is paying off, with tens of thousands of people showing up to hear his racist xenophobic “Let’s make America great again” campaign rhetoric. I even listened to half of his interview with Sarah Palin and he’s even stolen some fake care for the middle class now. According to a Gallup poll in 2013, 55% of people still get their news primarily from TV.

Never underestimate the power of the media on the uninformed.

A Short History of White Racism in the Two-Party System

Some Electoral education

The Weekly Sift

If you’ve seen the Lincoln movie, maybe you’re still walking around with this bit of cognitive dissonance: In 1864, the Democrats are the party of slavery and the Republicans the party of emancipation and racial justice. What’s up with that? How did we get from there to here?

The story is doubly worth telling because Republicans like Ann Coulter and Jonah Goldberg have been misrepresenting it so grossly.

A good place to start is the presidential election of 1860, which brings Lincoln to power and convinces Southern whites (the only people who can vote in the South in 1860) that secession is their best chance to maintain slavery*.

Lincoln gets only 40% of the vote, but in a four-way race (the Democratic Convention split over whether the platform should endorse the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision) that’s enough to win. In terms of the popular vote, his…

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The shortest post ever on how to have a great relationship

This blog describes my husband and I. ❤

This.Strenuous.Life

My partner and I have a great relationship. I am going to go ahead and take 46% of the credit for that. I’d say she gets about 48% and the rest is luck and timing. Not infrequently people comment on how good we are together, how much fun we seem to have, how much in love we appear to be, etc. So obviously I am totally an expert on how to have a great relationship and ought to share the secret to our success with the entire Internet.

Here’s my advice:

1) You have to really LIKE each other. Liking each other is different from loving each other. Love is loyalty, commitment, being there even if you don’t really feel like it. Love is verb, it’s action, it’s something you do because it needs to be done. It’s important but it’s secondary to liking each other. Liking each other means…

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Ocean of Emotion

I have a weird way of listening to music that most people probably find annoying. I will listen to the same group of songs over and over again for sometimes weeks at a time and then move on to another group of songs. I’ll revisit my favorites several times and blast that shit for weeks at a time again. I don’t know why I do this, but thank God for headphones, because I’m pretty sure my listening style would make other peoples’ heads explode.

Lately, I’ve been listening Rap and Hip Hop from the 90’s/early 2000’s. Since my education of the #BlackLivesMatter movement and what all that encompasses for black people and what they experience on a daily basis, I’ve felt this need to revisit some of the music I grew up on (though I had to hide it from my parents at the time), because I feel that until recently I could never really understand or relate to it. This time around I knew I would be further educated by it. I added some Tupac, NWA, TLC, En Vogue & Salt N Peppa to my playlist. I know there’s much more to that genre, but those were people I was familiar with. I grew up in an area where this music was popular, but a bunch of sheltered white northern kids had no fucking clue what they were listening to.

There is one particular song by TLC that really overwhelms me with deep thought and emotion. It’s off their Crazysexycool album and its called Sumthin’ Wicked This Way Comes. The whole song is excellent, but every time I hear this part I have waves of emotion wash over me:

“I just don’t understand the ways of the world today; Sometimes I feel like there’s nothing to live for.”

God. That encompasses so much of how I feel right now. I feel like the world is crushing me. I’m not trying to define what TLC meant with their song. I can only say how it speaks to me. Recently, my husband and I decided our kids were done with brick and mortar school buildings after this year and especially after the Vice Principal of the ARTS ACADEMY used the word “authority” multiple times on me in a phone conversation. The system is looking to crush anyone into submission that isn’t part of the ruling class. So, though I’m a privileged white person, the wheels of greed of the top corporate rulers and politicians consider me a fail because I’m not like them and I don’t support their shit. They would just as soon crush me under their wheels of greed right next to my black brothers & sisters, my Native American brothers & sisters, even though the color of my skin fools the local cops from automatically labeling me suspicious in some way. Black and brown people are born into this burden and reality and they are reminded of it every day. For a middle aged white woman, the eye opening is overwhelming on so many levels since its not blasted into our faces forcefully.

As a now awake white person, you literally have to redefine your purpose in life. It’s no longer about chillin’ in your ignorant tight knit white community with cute middle class homes, nice yards, decent jobs, and the ability to puff your chest out in pride as you look down at other people from your self-made pedestal when in reality your little middle class ain’t shit in the grand scheme of things. The world isn’t really any better from your existence as you help the collective use up the world’s resources.

Now as an awake white person, you find yourself not knowing in what way you personally can fight against the system machine. Crying at injustices – the deaths of unarmed black people while the cops go free without consequence. Reading about a college student who was beaten by cops for literally no just cause. Reading about the world losing its water supply while millions of gallons are wasted on fracking. Reading about entire communities in the Alaskan island who have to relocate because climate change is literally washing their islands away after their ancestors settled there hundreds of years ago. Reading about politicians and their stupid ass-judgmental-out of touch-bullshit they are apparently allowed to spew from their ignorant fucking mouths without consequence. “I just don’t understand the ways of the world today…sometimes I feel like there’s nothing to live for.” Except I don’t long for the days of yesterday. The days of yesterday would leave me ignorant of the plight of others who don’t share my privilege. The days of yesterday would have me helping the wheels of greed turn for my corporate and political overlords. No, I cannot help them do that anymore.

I will gladly stand with the other rejects of society and lend my strength to learning sustainable living and helping others to do the same. We don’t need your system and the Earth doesn’t need it either. I stand for myself. I stand for black and brown people. I stand for the trees. I stand for the animals. I stand for the melting ice caps, the thawing permafrost, the sinkholes in Siberia. We must heal or die. Otherwise there will be literally nothing left to live for.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjzmGKXngjg