My How Far We’ve Gone (Back)

This time eight years ago, I was filled with so much hope and joy. I was expecting the birth of my first baby girl. We had just elected our first black president. Although the economy was tanked due to eight years of failed Republican policies, things were looking up. The stock market had begun to rebound almost immediately at the news of President-Elect Obama, and most people were looking forward to an era of hope and change.

Fast-forward to now. The hope is gone. The change is abhorrent. I feel more fear and dread than I’ve ever felt in my entire life walking around in my brown skin in Texas of all places. The campaign and now election of Donald Trump (AKA “The Rapey Cheeto”) has brought forth so much hate, so much racism, so much xenophobia, homophobia, islamophobic, and every abhorrent phobia related to humanity you can imagine. Almost as immediately as the election results came out, reports started flooding in about the harassment and even assault of racial, ethnic, and religious minorities. Muslim women have had hajibs ripped from their bodies. Black people have been called niggers and told they can’t wait for us to get sent back to Africa or “put in [our] place.”Latinos who were born here and have been here for more generations than most white people are being told to “go back to where [they] came from.” Asian Americans are being harassed more than any time in post-WWII history.

Graffiti found the day after the election.

And white America still has the nerve to say, “I voted for him, but I’m not a racist.” No, you absolutely are. It doesn’t matter if you voted for him because you foolishly believed his claims to be pro-life. It doesn’t matter if you voted for him because of your idiotic belief that someone who has filed bankruptcy four times is a good businessman [as a former bankruptcy attorney, I can assure you that no good business person files bankruptcy four times]. It doesn’t matter that you voted for him because the other option was pretty bad [at least she wasn’t endorsed by the Alt-Right and the KKK]. There wa nothing hidden or ambiguous about Trump’s hatred of the other. It’s well-documented. If you didn’t see it, it is either because you share his beliefs and therefore see nothing wrong with them or because you chose to be willfully ignorant. Neither position is commendable. By being complicit in racism, xenophobia, homophobia, misogyny, and the like, you are by association endorsing hatred. By voting for someone who campaigned on these beliefs, you are by action endorsing hatred. This is on you. You did this.

For people who like to brag that they are pro “family values,” Trump voters cast their ballots with no families in mind except their own. For people who call themselves “pro-life,” their actions in this election show a blatant disrespect for the value of others’ lives. This election wasn’t just about politics; it was about what we as a nation find acceptable in terms of behavior. The message that 50% of you sent on Tuesday is that you will accept bullying and intolerance and that you have no empathy.

If you are disgusted by the harassment being directed at your fellow man right now and you voted for Trump, understand that you are to blame. If you are disgusted by the harassment and didn’t vote for Trump, but stood by silently while people endorsed his ideas of “taking this country back” or “building a wall” or “putting them in their place with law and order” or “grabbing em by the pussy,” you are also to blame. You don’t get to absolve yourself from this because you turned a blind eye to hate speech that wasn’t directed at you.

Spare me the calls to come together or respect the president-elect. Where were your pleas of respect when President Obama was subjected to racial slurs and caricatures and threats of violence? Where were your calls of unity when during the Rapey Cheeto’s acceptance speech someone yelled, “Kill him!” at the mention of President Obama. Where, for that matter, was Trump?

I wish I had time to weep for this nation and what we’ve become (again). Unfortunately, I’m too busy trying to figure out how to protect my three children, my extended family members, my friends and their children, and myself from this onslaught of violence and hatred that has started.

Kudos, “Patriots”! You took your country back… all the way to the 1940s.

Please Stop Saying Ted Cruz’s Daughter “Hates” Him

The media has finally done the impossible—make me feel sympathy for Sen. Ted Cruz. Sure, the guy is a psychopath and creepy as all hell, but “even his daughter doesn’t like him” is a pretty cruel indictment, especially when we’re talking about a little child, and not some teenager or adult who has given a statement saying she doesn’t like her dad.

How many of us parents have had those kind of moments when our little kids don’t want to have anything to do with us? I’m sure if I was in the public eye, I could have had a day with one of my children where a hug as just not happening. But that doesn’t mean your kids hate you.

Yes, as a father he should’ve had more respect for his daughter’s body autonomy and just left her alone instead of forcing affection. And he should not have tried to use his child for political points.

No, Ted Cruz is not a good person. But for the love of all things good, please stop saying his daughter “hates him.”

Mass Shootings… I’m Confused

The Oregon shooter was a British, IRA-supporting, biracial, neo-Nazi, anti-theist, self-proclaimed conservative Republican… Color me confused.

And this obviously mentally ill person was allowed to purchase three handguns and an AR-15. There have been 45 school shootings this year. Texas Legislature recently voted to allow guns on campus (idiots) and other Teapublican law makers don’t even want to talk about gun control.

Again, color me confused.

Yet Another Moral Outrage

I had some other things planned for today’s post… some lighter, fluffier, hopefully little-bit-funny things… then I found out about Judge G. Todd Baugh in Montana, and all those plans went out the window.
On Monday, Judge Baugh sentenced a pedophile… a then-49-year old teacher who two years ago raped his 14-year old student… who from the pressures brought on her by both the “relationship” and the trial killed herself in January of this year… to a month. I guess, to be more accurate, I should say that he sentenced this stain on humanity to 15 years, but then decided to give him time served for the one day the d-bag actually spent in jail and reduced the entirety of the sentence to 31 days. I’m not making this up.
What could have possibly made the judge believe that 31 days is a sufficient punishment for a teacher betraying the trust of a young girl in his care, grooming her to be a sexual partner, violating her, and then dragging this thing out until she could no longer take the emotional pressure [the sentencing was prolonged while this jerkwad underwent a three-year treatment program… which it turns out he wasn’t really attending, and during that time he was supposed to be in treatment, he continued to—in violation of the terms of the program—have contact with minors and entered into a sexual relationship, resulting in him eventually getting kicked out of the program]? Well, because the child was much “older than her chronological age” and was “as much in control of the situation” as her 49-year old rapist-teacher with respect to the relationship. ‘Scuse me??? She was a child. And this child was in this man’s care. He was supposed to be someone she could trust. And he violated her. She was not in control. She was 14. I don’t care how sexually experienced she was or was not or how much makeup she wore, he was still the adult here, he was still in a position of power, and he knew he shouldn’t be touching a 14-year old girl. Period.
The “judge” was also persuaded by the rapist’s pleas for leniency, because he was going to be “branded as a sex offender” for the rest of his life and has had his life ruined by the “scarlet letter of the Internet.” No, buddy, your life was ruined because you raped a child. You had a choice to make here which would have prevented you from being “branded as a sex offender” and having your life ruined—that choice was to not rape a child. But you did, and under normal circumstances, with a normal judge, you should have been required to pay the consequences.
All of this slut-shaming of the victim while feeling sorry for the perpetrator eerily reminded me of CNN’s coverage of the Steubenville rapists, wherein Candy Crowley, Poppy Harlow, and others harped on and on about how the guilty verdict and maximum fine would affect the poor rapists and showed not one minute of concern for the girl the “two young men” had raped. Poppy was practically on the verge of tears talking about how it was “incredibly difficult” to watch “as these two young men—who had such promising futures, star football players and very good students—literally watched as they believed their life [sic] fell apart.” Seriously. She said that. And it went on and on. Contributor Paul Callan weighed in on what such a verdict meant for these 16-year olds who were crying in court and how they would be punished for the rest of their lives: “There’s always that moment of just… Lives are destroyed. But in terms of what happens now, the most severe thing with these young men is being labeled as registered sex offenders. That label is now placed on them by Ohio law. That will haunt them for the rest of their lives.”
Yes. That happened. That was said. Are you outraged? If you aren’t, you should be.
These boys (like this teacher) will be “haunted” by the “label” of sex offender for their entire lives, because they made a conscious decision to become sex offenders. Sure, when each of these three men decided to pursue the act of raping a teenage girl, it never occurred to them that a consequence might some day be that they would be registered sex offenders… but it should have. Honestly, I would hope that the act of having sexual intercourse with someone too drunk, too unconscious, or too young to legally, knowingly, or rationally give consent should be enough of a deterrent to this kind of behavior; but for those fools who are somehow not motivated by morality and a conscience like the rest of us, I would hope that the legal system doing its job would be enough of a deterrent. For those who persist, then I’m happy we have the legal system there as a backup. At least it worked in the case of the Steubenville Rapists [I hope]. But this teacher? Where’s his motivation to stop?
“Judge” Baugh said he believed the Teacher-Rapist wasn’t a likely repeat offender. He had no basis for this really. I mean, the man couldn’t even successfully comply with a three-year treatment program after being caught raping one of his students! So now we’re just supposed to trust that he—after being given the lightest of slaps on the wrist—is supposed to prevent himself from diddling with young girls in the future? Not likely. And, I’m sure if someone was motivated to poke around a bit more, they would find that he’s poked around with a lot more students than this one.
If you’re curious of Judge Baugh has had anything to say since the backlash for his sentencing started, you’re in luck. Turns out he totally had something to say on Tuesday:

I think that people have in mind that this was some violent, forcible, horrible rape … It was horrible enough as it is just given her age, but it wasn’t this forcible beat-up rape.

Oh…. I get it! Not one of those “legitimate rapes”? Well, I guess we can’t be upset then, can we? Cuz, ya know, it’s not like those rapes where you don’t get beaten up at knifepoint actually count, right? Enjoy your re-election efforts this year, Braugh. Should be an interesting political season in Billings.
As for the rest of society, those possibly capable of learning, when are we going to learn to stop feeling sorry for the perpetrators and stop blaming the victims? When someone gets carjacked, you never hear, “Well, what did you expect driving around in a nice car like that on the open road where anyone could see you? You’re just asking to get it taken from you at gunpoint.” When a company is hit by embezzlement, no one argues, “C’mon now! It just had all that money sitting in its bank accounts! What did the company expect an employee would do??” But there are certain types of situations—those usually involving the already powerless (like rape, sexual orientation-based hate crimes, or racial/gender discrimination) where it’s perfectly normal to hear the victim getting blamed rather than holding the perpetrators accountable for their actions, even by people who are themselves similarly situated as the victims. We have seen it in Poppy Harlow and Candy Crowley sympathizing with the rapists over the rape victim. We saw it when Don Lemon blamed blacks for racial discrimination perpetrated against them. We hear it when a transgendered person or a gay person who is thought of by (those with issues) as “too flamboyant” is killed or beaten.
Perhaps its because we’ve let the powerful dictate the treatment of the powerless for so long that the powerless have started to believe the propaganda? I’m not sure. But I do know it’s time we put an end to this. Victimization is rarely (if ever) the victim’s fault.