No More Empty Fortune Cookies!

Friday, June 17, 2016

After Orlando, Speak Up and Speak Out

I've bit my tongue and held my breath since Orlando. I've quietly unfriended more than a few people after seeing their reactions and reading their comments on it. I don't need that toxicity in my life. I haven't the time nor patience for it anymore.

 I've developed a new-found respect for many who have stepped up and spoken out in ways I've never seen or heard them do before. And I personally thank them, each and every one.

But all is not cherries and roses.

I'm amazed by the number of people who are loudly outspoken about loving their LGBT friends and call upon their peers to do so as well, and then quote bible scripture supporting their position of love, only to then share a post from their famously anti-gay pastor who resides in a multimillion dollar mansion. A man who loudly and unabashedly preaches about the evils of Islam, and who blames all Muslims for the actions of the few terrorists.

These same people will say, "You can't blame all guns for the actions of one bad guy with a gun!" They decry, "Don't blame all Christians for the words of a few who don't practice my Christianity!" But they will openly blame all Muslims for the actions of one bad Muslim.

I am amazed when they say "Putting laws and restrictions on guns won't stop bad people from doing bad things!" But they are screaming at the tops of their voices about needing laws to prohibit any Muslims from entering our country. Blaming President Obama for Orlando, citing his not stopping Muslims from entering the country, disregarding the fact that this man was born in New York.

Homegrown. He was American. He was one of us.

My dear friends and family, stop. STOP! Take a step back and look at who you are quoting. Take a listen at your service this Sunday. When that murderer turn pastor starts preaching about the "sinners" who died in Orlando, remind him he too is a sinner. When that murderer turn pastor starts talking about the evils of Islam, remind him of the evils of his beheading that elderly woman in Texas so many years ago. When that homophobic, misogynistic, xenophobe starts talking about how God hates homosexuals, remind him that God also hates hypocrisy, murder, and greed. And remember that it was people exactly like Mr. I Killed That Lady But My Daddy's Friend Was My Judge So I Got Off The Hook, preaching their hate and intolerance that led to the awful massacre in Orlando. Remember that it was people just like you listening to people just like him who became radicalized and committed atrocities.

It amazes me when many of these people chant Trump 2016! While they boast of deleting the intolerant, bigoted friends who made snide comments about Orlando.

They have disabled children, bisexual, transgendered children, gay children, mixed race children...and yet they chant "Trump 2016!

And don't you dare tell me how you really don't care one bit about politics, but figure Trump is nothing more than a business man, and hey, wouldn't that be great fou the country? And then turn right around and say you'll never understand how Germany let Hitler gain power and control. You no longer get to speculate about that old German woman, and which side she may or may not have been on.

If you want to love and support your LGBT friends and family, stand up against religious intolerance, bigotry, and incendiary speech, even if it comes from your pastor, your family member, or your favorite politician.

Take a good, hard look at your pastor and your favorite politician, and honestly ask yourself if they are practicing the love and tolerance that you, yourself are demanding of your peers. And if not, please, please, please call them out on it like you have your facebook friends, and then go find a politician and pastor who's views and speech align with that which you feel in your heart is right. Otherwise, you are complicit in their incendiary behavior that leads to more and more and more of this violence.

Think about that.
Take it to heart.
And please, please, please take corrective action. Lives depend on it.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

How do you holiday?

USA Today says that every country in the European Union has at least four weeks of paid vacation time per year, by law. FOUR WEEKS!Here in the land of the free, the greatest country on earth, we get zero guaranteed paid vacation time. Absolutely none. When the retina specialist told me that I was going blind sooner rather than later, he also told me to "go out and travel! Make a list and see what you can while you can! Do it now. Don't let anything stop you. Your time to see the sights you want to see is very limited. Enjoy it while you can."I laughed and asked him if he was going to fund my travels. I know he was only trying to help, but for a person in my financial condition, meaning a person who lives paycheck to paycheck without much buffer in between, he was only adding insult to injury. I can't afford to go home, to Tennessee, to see family and friends. I can't afford to go to a cabin for a weekend without sharing the cost with 6 other people. How am I supposed to travel and see things before I lose what's left of my sight? HOW?My job is perfect for traveling. I can do it from anywhere as long as I can connect to the internet. Easy enough to manage in this day and age. The wife's is a different story. She's chained to her desk Monday - Friday. No telecommute opportunities for her. Oh, she has ample vacation time available to her, but trying to get approved to take any of it is a fucking joke. And if she could get the time off approved, where in the fuck could we go with our limited budget and car that needs brakes and tires and a tune up first, when we can't even afford to get the brakes, and tires, and the tune up? At this point, I'd take a nice meandering drive through Amish country with a stop off somewhere for lunch, and I'd consider that a god damned luxurious treat. Meanwhile I watch all my friends, year after year post travel pictures on facebook, and I wonder how did they afford that with children to care for? How did they get time off work to go to the beach? I don't understand how we can't make that happen, while so many others can. Sure, they get tax refunds each April, while we scrape together what we can to pay in what we owe yet. I want to travel. I want to see those places I haven't seen in years. I want to see the places I've yet to see. It's been a few years since the last time I was able to take a vacation, and that was with a family group, for just a weekend at a cabin an hour and a half away.
Sometimes I want to scream, "I'M GOING BLIND, GOD DAMMIT! TAKE ME TO THE FUCKING BEACH! I WANT TO SEE THE OCEAN JUST ONE MORE TIME!"or, "PLEASE, just let me see the fucking Rocky Mountains for 1 day, for fuck's sake! Just ONE DAY!"Is it that so hard? My sight is vanishing, and along with it are all my chances to see things like the slopes in Denver, or the northern lights, or an elk...But who would I scream at? It's no one's responsibility to make sure I get to go places and see things, but my own. No one else is responsible for that. It's my own problem that I didn't end up wealthy, well educated, and ready to take on the world. It's my luck of the draw that I got all the bad genes and get to lose my sight. And it's my luck of the draw that the only person I'd want to travel with is tied to a desk at a job that won't allow her to use her vacation days. And it's my luck of the draw that our combined income barely keeps our heads afloat as it is, much less trying to afford to travel anywhere. No wonder Americans die young. We're stuck at our desks for 8+ hours a day, sitting and staring at an LED screen, then we're sold garbage that's labeled as food, and then we're paid a fraction of what we're worth, and we never get to relax and unwind,and when we do, we're breathing in toxic, polluted air. If I was a religious person, maybe I'd pray about it. But I'm not, so that delusion of hope through prayer is absent. So now what? Nothing, I guess, except come here and write about it. 

"I said Venice, and you heard Vegas. Now I say either way, baby, let's go..."