What the hell, y’all

So here we are. 2017. And so far, it’s living down to the expectations set by 2016: a year when we saw many celebrities earn a spot on the “In Memoriam” list, a year when Britain voted to be an island in every sense of the word, and a year when nearly 3,000,000 more people voted for HER but HE managed to get the Electoral College vote. In short, 2016 was pretty atrocious.

And then came 2017. The popular vote be damned, the least popular candidate on Inauguration Day installed himself and immediately began creating fresh hell on a nearly hourly basis for many Americans.

Do you like having health care? Well, he’ll fix that. Actually, you’ll still like having health care, but your access will be greatly diminished because the imperfect-but-better-than-what-we-had-before Affordable Care Act is being killed by 1,000 cuts.

Do you like a free press? He’ll fix that, too! From threatening the press corps with expulsion to revoking credentials for exceptionally well-established and highly credible news organizations, the press is being given a stiff arm any time it’s not being fed alternative facts bald-faced lies.

Do you like freedom of movement around the country and abroad? There’s an executive order for that! Thankfully, a temporary nationwide stay has been issued–stopping the unconstitutional order from being enforced…but it’s only temporary, and the Customs and Border Patrol defied regional/state-specific orders, so it’s hard to have much faith we won’t have a full-on Constitutional crisis any minute.

Do you like having a government that at least tries to regulate businesses on issues like pollution and predatory lending? He’s got an answer for you, and it rhymes with “suck goo”.

Color me unimpressed.

It’s been awfully hard to concentrate. I’m sure that’s part of the plan: obfuscate, confuse, frustrate, and discombobulate your opponent. And yet I have a clarity of purpose and emotion. I know that what’s in office right now is wrong, and I can’t wait to vote it out. So in the meantime, I’ll march. HELL YES, I WILL MARCH. I already went to DC and walked the hallowed ground of my birth with 500,000 of my best friends, as we made it perfectly clear that women’s rights are human rights. (I have pictures but, frankly, have been too busy with work and other stuff to upload them except to Twitter.)

And I’ll be out marching again on April 22nd for the March for Science, because science and fact are real things that we don’t just discard when our moral center has been surgically removed by a failure of the Electoral College.

I’m teaching my kids about the three branches of government and how they’re supposed to work together, why The Constitution is so incredibly important, and why the word EQUALITY should be what they always consider in their daily lives.

I haven’t written here lately because I’ve had strep and work and marching and more work and kid events and FUCK, I’M TIRED. And yet, the show must go on. Democracy is really hard work, and I’ve been a participant in it even before I turned 18. We won’t have the country we want by just wishing for it.

So here goes. Time to tell y’all what’s next. What to do. And in-between, make sure that you exercise some self care, like eating a favorite food, or just spending an hour playing with your cat/dog/{insert pet type here}, or watching a movie. But here’s what you do when you’ve got even an iota of stamina:

DONATE: to Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center and/or your local food bank. If you don’t have a lot of cash, donate a small amount (even $5 can be a blessing). Or donate clothing. Go volunteer for a nearby charity, donating your time and energy. Then share that on social media to rally your friends to donate, too.

HELP: by calling your Representatives, Senators, and/or Governor. If you’re afraid to call your government because you’ve never done it before, here’s a simple script that needs only minor tweaks: “Hi, my name is {YOUR NAME} and I’m calling about {INSERT CAUSE HERE}. I want you to say {YES/NO} to {LEGISLATION/DECISION} because this is important for the future of our country. Thank you for your time.” Maybe calling Congress isn’t your thing; in that case, check on a family member or friend who has health issues and ask if you can run an errand, hang out with them, or bring them a meal.

ACT: by speaking up and speaking out for what you believe in. This is no time to plant your head in the sand. And yes, it may scare off friends who don’t agree. But are they really your friends if their beliefs deny your right to existence? I’ve had friends who I realized weren’t friends AT ALL when it became obvious that they only wanted to spew hatred, homophobia, sexism, Islamophobia, and other b.s. on my timelines. Decide how much hatred you can accept and draw a line in the sand. Sometimes you can educate, and other times you have to know when to walk away. This isn’t about bubbles; this is about understanding that some people may have put up a good front for years, and now it’s time for everybody to show where they REALLY stand.

Just do something. If not now, when? There may not be a “later”, if we don’t work as a team to make it clear that hatred, disdain for our Constitution, and bullying aren’t allowed to represent our country. There are many legal, positive ways to get involved; so pick one and get started. Then pick another and do that, too. It’s time. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

Progress? What Progress?

Yet again, Time Magazine has something interesting to read. This time out, I guess in observation of “International Womens Day” (who comes UP with these holidays?), Jessica Winter wrote a fabulously funny commentary asking that most obvious of all questions these days: “Are Women People?”

The answer is, sadly, no. We’re just about everything BUT people. Of course, according to former Massachusetts Governor and eternally animatronic GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, “Corporations are people, my friend!” Yes, dear, of course they are. And the first day that a corporation shows up asking to date dd, I will drive to BassPro and buy the biggest shotgun I can get my hands on.

I also found it quite amusing that Winter came to the same conclusion I was discussing with a co-worker just yesterday: the lack of a Y chromosome is NOT a disability. Women can do all kinds of amazing things, excepting that whole (reliably) peeing standing up thing, and yet we’re still treated as second-class citizens. Even now, it still seems highly unlikely that this country is ready to elect a woman President – although I really did think Hilary had a good shot at it. The only female brought up to the podium on the GOP debate stage this cycle was just Rick Santorum in bad drag.

I feel like women are just under attack lately. Maybe it’s not lately – maybe it’s been a lot longer than that with seemingly no end in sight – but it seems like any lull has certainly been broken by just a spate of really horrifically anti-woman statements and actions that managed to make it to the news. Whether it’s being called “sluts” for using contraception, being threatened with transvaginal ultrasounds when deciding to have an abortion (I’ve had a transvag ultrasound – NOT comfortable) or just about any of the other WTF-inducing moments, I can’t decide whether I should strap my breasts down or whip ’em out and stand in the middle of an intersection.

Part of what frustrates me is that things continue to move backwards, even as we move forward in time. I’m a statistic, many times over, whether we’re counting the times I was sexually harassed at a workplace (years ago) or when I fended off a sexual assault so that it could stay in the “attempted” category. I probably know lots of other women who are statistics, too. I would like to think that all the complete tools that are out there trying to degrade the public standing of women, like the Limbaughs and the Santorums of the world, will one day WAKE THE F*%K UP and realize that they know women. The women they know deserve better than what they’re trying to do to all the women that they don’t know.

The other part is that I can’t protect dd from all of it. When I was a little kid, Gloria Steinem was always in the news, and Ms. was a title that working women were proud to use as a symbol of their independence from a male-dominated hierarchy. Now, I wonder how many women below the age of 30 could even pick Gloria out of a lineup, would even know what she went through to help get it to the point where it could be commonplace for women to be in roles other than steno pool, waitress, or on our backs. I want things to be better for dd than they were for me, as they were better for me than they were for my mom. That’s how it’s supposed to be, right?

There’s no reason to have to accept a male-dominated dialogue that favors mean soundbites over sound reasoning. There’s no reason to have to accept being treated like a walking incubator instead of a thinking, feeling person with an ability to make rational decisions about my own health care. And there’s just never a reason to listen to a hate-filled windbag from either extreme end of the partisan scale. Extreme views may win ratings, but they rarely win arguments.

When I go into the voting booth this November, I plan to fill in the oval for the candidates I believe to be least detrimental to women. None of them are really pro-woman (excepting maybe someone like Elizabeth Warren, who seems to be fairly self-aware about her whole XX chromosome situation). See, I don’t just owe it to dd to make things better…I owe it to myself.