Vulnerability, A Definition in the Trump Era

foot-stompThe only response I have to America’s election results last Tuesday is this. Those who are against everything Trump stands for can show it by looking out for all who this election has just made much more vulnerable. On some level, who that is is obvious; these are people whom Trump has specifically targeted – pretty much everyone but straight, cis, wealthy, white men (which, no, is not “just as sexist and racist” as Trump. If I see only white men doing something, it’s not sexist and racist for me to call out white men; it’s speaking the truth. Also, reverse racism is not a thing and reverse sexism is not a thing. It’s the epitome of privilege to demand that the term sexism or racism be applied equally without fighting for actual equality among all). But, really, if we truly mean it when we say “we have to look out for each other,” we need to start paying attention to those who are silenced, endangered or invisibilized when: Continue reading Vulnerability, A Definition in the Trump Era

Gun Control

discriminationOur country’s gun laws are ridiculous. That, for example, civilians can rather easily get access to war weapons is unconscionable, even if it is covered under the 2nd Amendment (a dubious assertion; one that seems to miss the point: even if something is within your “rights” to do, are there not other, higher, standards by which to evaluate whether or not you should do it?).

But targeting people with so-called “mental illness” is absolutely not the way to fix them. I’ll be putting the phrase “mental illness” in quotes for the duration of the post, not because I question the suffering of those who experience mental and emotional distress but because the entire field of “mental illness” is an utter mess. Continue reading Gun Control

Mental Health Awareness Month, Part 1

Mental-Disorders
A stigmatizing picture, the likes of which are all-too-commonly included with “helpful” articles published by mental-health advocacy organizations.

In another round of “awareness” campaigns, this whole month has been dedicated, supposedly, to that of mental health. Last month was for autism. I’m weary to learn what June will be for, what real-life experience for millions will be reduced to a cause for which people post factually-inaccurate and stigma-producing articles and memes in service of nothing more than feeling like they’re contributing to making the world a better place. I was going to just ignore this “awareness”  month campaign (I’ve shared my issues with “awareness” previously) but there’s just too much misinformation, shallow “participation” and ego stroking for me to stay quiet in good conscience. So I’m just going to address a few myths about mental health here. Continue reading Mental Health Awareness Month, Part 1

Comfortableness, Part 2

Comfortableness sinksWe’re at a point, culturally, where this is going to sound either priggish or puerile, but it’s worth saying straight up: It is well past time for love because, in the words of Maya Angelou, “Hate has caused a lot of problems in the world but it hasn’t solved one yet.” And that’s going to require us to get pretty uncomfortable – that is, if we want anything like the security our politicians promise will only come about by souping up our military and arming ourselves to the toenails. Continue reading Comfortableness, Part 2

Comfortableness, Part 1

comfort

First published in Real Change on Jan. 6, 2016.

Things are pretty messed up. The impending ecological cataclysm aside, that millions are fleeing their homeland to come to the country with the most mass shootings in the world (and clearly zero political will power to address that) should be evidence enough. So I’m about to say something that will probably sound offensive. You hear a lot about how fear is driving the bigoted buffonery of one of the candidates for the highest job in the land and his equally dangerous but less obviously so competitors (don’t you miss the days when Sarah Palin was the scariest Republican candidate?). How fear is fueling the sky-rocketing gun sales. How fear is behind the militarization of the police, the scapegoating and subsequent locking away of those experiencing what is commonly called mental illness and on and on. But I’d like to submit that fear is not our greatest problem. Comfortableness is. Continue reading Comfortableness, Part 1

The Herald


computer

Constant access to a screen

makes sure you don’t miss a thing: Continue reading The Herald

Pledging Allegiance

https://sp.yimg.com/ib/th?id=OIP.Md95275bbca2868ba0c31a61484f4d062o0&pid=15.1
https://sp.yimg.com/ib/th?id=OIP.Md95275bbca2868ba0c31a61484f4d062o0&pid=15.1

In my Paris post last week, I briefly mentioned a controversy over the pledge of allegiance not being included in the Veteran’s Day service hosted by Seattle Pacific University a week ago. The university chaplain cut the Pledge of Allegiance, as well as the presentation of the colors because “there is a diversity of views on campus” and SPU was the subject of national contention. The school’s chaplain has even received death threats. What I find interesting is that the controversy was over whether or not people should be allowed to say the pledge of allegiance, not, say, whether a Christian university has any business holding or hosting a Veteran’s Day Service at all. Continue reading Pledging Allegiance

Paris

Lebanon
Beirut, 11/13/15

What happened in France is ​unbearably ​terrible. I had a protracted – and very public – PTSD episode where I was when I heard about the human-on-human brutality this afternoon. And also.​ The same thing happens every day in the Middle East with US bombs and killer drones (the US has military in over 140 nations; it​’​s only going to get worse​).​ Why, for example,​ no outrage over the bombing in Lebanon​ (did you even hear about it until just now)​? Why no outpouring of grief, and sympathy and support for the 43 killed, and the 200 or so wounded in THAT bombing?​ Where is the grief, #prayers and #standingwith the 111 Palestinians – most of them youth/kids/teens/young adults​ shot and injured in the West Bank and Gaza today? Continue reading Paris

“Pregnant and Homeless”

invisibleYesterday morning, I walked to the PCC near where I work to get a scone-type snack. As I approached the entrance, I saw a huddled lump of orange hoodie and yellow blanket. The lump kept slouching and then starting and trying to sit back up again, slouching and starting, slouching and starting. I thought it might be D, the youngish homeless guy I bought a turkey club for last week and was getting ready to say hi when I saw the disintegrating cardboard sign falling out of this poor, exhausted person’s lap: “I’m pregnant and homeless. Anything helps :D.” Continue reading “Pregnant and Homeless”