Dear Democrats

Dear Democratic partisans everywhere,

I’m gonna need you to take a seat. And to be quiet. For at least five minutes. Because America’s future depends on it. Yes, all you “rah-rah, stronger together, go go Hillary” Democrats who are enraged at the wrong people, sit down. Chill. I need to tell you something that may change your life, and I hope you’ll hear me out.

You are destroying the Democrats chances of winning ANY future elections.

Shhh, remember I asked for five minutes of silence? Please, hold your questions until the end.

shut up louis ck shh be quiet shhh

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Blaming third party voters is destroying the Democratic Party.

Telling third party voters that they’re “exercising straight white privilege” (real quote…I’m not kidding) is destroying the Democratic Party.

Blaming Bernie supporters is destroying the Democratic Party.

Screaming about how anyone who voted for Trump is a racist, sexist, xenophobic, misogynistic asshole is destroying the Democratic Party.

Seriously. I’m not kidding, and I’m not exaggerating.

Think about it. Let’s go back in time, shall we? Remember the primaries? You may have even supported Bernie back then (bless your heart). Maybe you supported Hillary from the start (that I have some issues with, but we’ll let that go for now).

Do you remember the CNN and MSNBC propaganda against Bernie? The hundreds of articles attacking Bernie from the New York Times, Washington Post, Think Progress, and Slate (and dozens more)? Even if you weren’t a Bernie supporter, come on, you knew the whole “pie in the sky, he’s crazy, he’s an evil old socialist” arguments were just a load of crap. Deep down, even if you let their lies wash over you back then, you know they were just that: lies.

Let’s go to the town hall with Rachel Maddow in April. Hillary is leading in the primaries, and it’s becoming evident that she may win the nomination. But the primaries aren’t over yet. Maddow asks Hillary what she’ll do to win over Bernie supporters during a general election. What was Hillary’s answer? “But I have more votes than him.” And a bunch of gloating.

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She was visibly disgusted at the idea of earning the votes of Americans. (Side note: Watching this clip post-election is just amazing given the results).

How many Bernie supporters did she win over with that answer? My guess would be -3,000, roughly. As a Bernie supporter myself, that was the first time I knew, “I cannot vote for her. She literally just told me she will do NOTHING to win my vote.”

Now let’s recall the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia at the end of July. If you were watching CNN or any other mainstream outlet or reading a mainstream publication, you may not have heard much about the convention shenanigans.

“No TPP” chants were drowned out with “Hillary, Hillary” chants. Why didn’t the DNC want people chanting against the TPP? Could it be that their nominee had lobbied in favor of the TPP 45 times?

Videos surfaced of Bernie delegates’ seats at the convention being stolen from them. White noise machines were placed directly in the areas where Bernie delegates were seated. The media was pretending there was “unity” at the convention while Bernie supporters were protesting against Hillary Clinton. Bernie delegates were kicked out for having pro-Hillary signs, and other Bernie delegates’ signs were covered up with pro-Hillary signs. Bernie supporters constantly booed the mere mention of Hillary’s name (to be drowned out by “Hillary, Hillary” chants, as directed to do so by the DNC). So much for unity, right?

You may brush that off. “No big deal. Those supporters were just upset their candidate lost. Understandable.” Sure, that argument makes sense, and is pretty accurate. But if you don’t think the tension at the convention was a sign of things to come, then you just weren’t paying attention.

Throughout the general election, Hillary snubbed the progressive base. Her message was, “Look at the other guy! Don’t vote for him! Trump bad!” rather than explaining what she would do to help progressives (because she wasn’t going to do anything for progressives). She spent most of her time pointing at Trump and his faults rather than discussing what she would do in office. Why? Because she wouldn’t bring anything progressive to the White House.

Another sign she snubbed her base? Who was Hillary’s pick for Vice President? I’m sure you forgot already, because he’s that forgettable, but it was Tim Kaine. Since you forgot, obviously her pick was a mistake. Kaine was in favor of the TPP. Like Hillary, he was in the pocket of Wall Street donors. Also like Hillary, he was a dangerously conservative “Democrat.” When Hillary had the option of choosing someone progressive such as Elizabeth Warren, Hillary’s response was, “Nahhhhh, I’m cool. I don’t need a progressive VP. Come on over here, Tim!”

Part of a politician’s job is to win votes. Why do they campaign all over the state or the country, depending on what office they’re running for? They campaign to put their message out into the world in the hopes that people will hear it and support the message. Politicians campaign to win votes, and that’s the key idea here.

It’s not every day Americans’ job to vote. Voting is a right, not a job. It’s not American citizens’ job to support a candidate at all. Americans decide whether or not to support a particular politician based on what they hear and see. It’s not the citizen’s fault if they decide not to support the candidate. It’s the fault of the politician for not convincing the voter to support him/her.

I’m baffled when I hear people saying, “Anyone who didn’t vote has no right to complain,” and then five minutes later blame voter suppression laws pushed by Republicans as one of the main reasons Hillary lost. Don’t blame people who didn’t vote when many DID try to vote and were turned away by the very same voter suppression laws that you’re complaining about.

So after all of my ranting, do I think there is someone to blame for Hillary’s loss? Yes. And who do I blame? I blame…drum roll, please…Hillary Clinton! Shocker.

Think about it. We’ve had problems with people blaming the wrong factors for the Al Gore loss, but let’s look at the John Kerry loss to George W. Bush in 2004.

Did you blame third party voters or people who didn’t vote at all for Kerry’s loss? No. You most likely blamed John Kerry for not being a strong enough candidate.

The Al Gore loss was Gore’s fault. Yes, there were many factors that played into it, but the one to blame in an election loss, when it really comes down to it, is the candidate.

A myth has floated around for years that Ralph Nadar’s third party run cost Gore the election, and that myth has resurfaced this time around because history has repeated itself. Like in 2000, the Electoral College loser has won the popular vote. Yes, that sucks. But that’s not the point. Both in 2000 and in this election, more Democrats voted for the Republican candidate than voted third party. That’s a fact. 9% of Democrats voted for Donald Trump, and a whopping 11% of Democrats voted for George W. Bush in 2000. Even though more voters cast their ballots for third party candidates this election, Stein and Johnson, combined, received a little over roughly 4% of the vote.

So why aren’t Democratic loyalists yelling about Democrats who voted for the other guy? Because that doesn’t boost their egos. They need to find someone to blame, and it’s easier for them to blame those who voted for a more progressive candidate. It fits their narrative that third parties are evil and that Democrats are saints, no matter who the candidate is.

Even though I fully blame Hillary Clinton for losing, I do have someone else to blame for enabling her.

I blame the DNC.

I could go on and on about the faults of the DNC (but that’s for another blog post, because I could rant forever about that, obviously). But to be clear: It is a fact that the DNC and Hillary camp colluded with the media to attack Bernie and report propaganda, cheated by receiving debate questions early, and suppressed the vote during the primaries by fighting for closed primaries, fighting to keep independents out of the voting process, limiting the debate schedule, limiting polling places, and involving themselves in the primary voting schedule. If you think that the DNC is against voter suppression, you’re mistaken: They are only against it when it doesn’t benefit them. But when it does, they fight to suppress the vote just as much as Republicans do.

I blame the DNC for ignoring the thousands and thousands of people (many of them millennials) who showed up to Bernie rallies all over the country. The DNC attacked Bernie with inaccurate arguments like saying his ideas were “unrealistic.” The DNC concocted the idea of “Bernie Bros,” similar to Hillary’s failed attempt at fabricating “Obama Boys.” Who are “Bernie Bros” or “Obama Boys”? They are, according to pro-Hillary writers and team members, sexists who support Bernie or Obama over Hillary simply because they’re sexist.

To be clear: The reason people supported Bernie or Obama over Hillary was because they didn’t believe Hillary was a good candidate. Plain and simple. Were there the occasional Democratic voters who were sexist against her? Probably. But were there thousands, maybe millions of them? Hell no. Hell. To. The No. The millions of people who voted for Bernie over Hillary didn’t support Hillary because of her RECORD, not because of her gender.

Hillary Clinton voted for the Iraq War, an illegal war against a country that didn’t attack us, which has killed thousands of people and will cost trillions of dollars.

Hillary Clinton voted for the Patriot Act. She voted to virtually erase the Fourth Amendment.

Hillary Clinton has been flip flopping on the issue of gay marriage for decades.

Hillary Clinton has promoted fracking all over the world. During a debate in March, when asked if she supports fracking, Hillary gave a convoluted, obnoxiously rehearsed, nonsensical (and, frankly, bullshit) answer which basically concluded to say that, yes, she would continue to support fracking so that she wouldn’t upset her donors. Bernie, on the other hand, famously said, “My answer is a lot shorter. No, I do not support fracking.” Short, simple, and without bullshit.

Hillary Clinton claimed she wanted a $12 national minimum wage before flipping to support Bernie’s $15 proposal.

Hillary Clinton has spoken quite negatively about universal health care and universal college (and progressive ideas in general).

And, probably most famously, Hillary has lobbied 45 times in favor of the TPP. Even though Donald Trump said it, it’s actually true that Hillary used to call it “the gold standard.” Because of Bernie, Hillary became more careful about her TPP-talk, but don’t kid yourself: She’s still in favor of the TPP.

Given all of these facts, calling anyone who supports Bernie over Hillary a sexist is, at this point, a complete joke. Note: sadly, while trying to find an article to cite about this fact, most of what I found were sloppy, pathetic articles about “Bernie Bros” and how sexist it was for Bernie to even run against a woman, courtesy of everyone from the Washington Post to Vox).

After this election, as progressives and Democrats, we are all hurting. We are all angry. We are all scared. We are vulnerable. And while dealing with these emotions, we all want to blame someone.

But if we blame the wrong factors, we will hurt the Democratic Party.

Blaming those who Hillary snubbed for not voting for her is missing the point. Hillary and the DNC spit in the faces of millions of progressives. What did they expect to happen? Why would millions of disenfranchised voters show up in droves to vote for someone who essentially said, “I will not fight for you, I will not support you, and I will simply expect you to bow down and vote for me”? The most Hillary did was concede to Bernie (not without kicking and screaming the entire way) on a couple of issues, like the $15 minimum wage and language to fight more strongly against climate change, for the Democratic platform.

Blaming American citizens who voted for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson or sitting out the election is not only an inaccurate argument: It’s also a waste of time, and it’s only hurting the party.

Why, you ask? Because you’re helping Trump in winning a second term.

Think about it: Do you think shaming millions of people who didn’t vote for Hillary will win them over into voting for a Democrat in 2020? Do you think writing whiny Facebook statuses saying “Third party voters have no right to complain!!!! #StrongerTogether #ImStillWithHer #ImWithHer #Hillary2020” is going to win over ANYONE who didn’t vote for Hillary?

No. You know what you’re doing? You’re doing the same shit Hillary did. You’re alienating progressives. You’re spitting in their faces. You’re ignoring the fact that Hillary lost the Electoral College to the most disliked candidate in election history. You’re ignoring the fact that before the election, Hillary Clinton was the No. 2 most disliked candidate in election history.

With the two most disliked presidential candidates being pinned up against each other, what did you expect to happen? You expected Hillary to win in a blowout? When she was down in the polls a week before the election? If you truly believed she would win in a landslide, then not only were you not paying attention to the election, but I’d venture to say you were asleep for about a year and a half. Yes, most of us assumed she would win, but no one who was paying attention thought it would, by any means, be a landslide.

If you continue to shame third party voters or people who didn’t vote, then you are just asking for Trump’s second term. Now is the time for the Democratic Party to become more progressive. Now is the time for voices like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Nina Turner, Tulsi Gabbard, and Keith Ellison (who was laughed at for saying that Trump should be taken seriously) to be the majority of the party, the voices that are the loudest. If the party continues to prop up corrupt, establishment candidates, then they are handing Trump a second term on a silver platter.

Now is the time to be joining together and learning from mistakes. We must work together to pick up the pieces. The Democratic Party is in shambles, but there is hope. And the hope is with the progressive voices.

All I ask is for everyone who wants someone to blame for this election disaster to stop blaming those who aren’t at fault. Stop blaming people who you need to be reaching out to in order to win future elections. Yes, we know who to blame. It’s those at the DNC for their cheating, corruption, and embarrassing miscalculations. But don’t forget: In the end, Hillary Clinton lost because of Hillary Clinton.

The Democratic Party needs to be the party of unity again. The party of progression. The party of the people. The every day American citizens. I’ve believed in this party my entire life. And I still believe in it. The party seems to have lost its way, but I believe it can be the party of the progressives once again.

Sincerely yours,

A progressive

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I am a woman, and today I am scared

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As I reflect on this historic and shocking election result, I look at this photo and remember more peaceful times in my life. Even though I’m still afraid, this photo is comforting. 

This blog post is a complete stream of consciousness. Today, like millions of people all over the world, I woke up from what I hoped was a nightmare. But it’s our reality now: Donald Trump has been elected President of the United States, and in nearly a landslide at that.

I woke to dark clouds and rain in New Jersey. It fits with my emotions today. Today, I have reflected. I have cried. I have searched within myself for my thoughts on this election and the results. I have numerous emotions today. Among them are devastation, fury, and disbelief. But the one I am having the most difficulty with is fear. And that is the purpose of this blog post.

I am afraid for, to put it broadly, the world. Yes, I’m terrified for the environment. For Muslim-American families having conversations about not wearing a hijab in public because they are afraid for their safety. I’m terrified for African-Americans who not only are disproportionately targeted by the police, but may deal with nationwide disastrous and racist “stop-and-frisk” policies under a Trump presidency. I’m terrified for the LGBTQ community because our Vice President, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, signed the “religious freedom” bill in his state, which allowed for businesses to discriminate against groups they don’t like, specifically anyone identifying as LGBTQ. And even though I am heartbroken beyond explanation for all of these groups, most of all, for personal reasons, I am terrified most of all for women. And I am now terrified as a woman for the first time in my life.

I am terrified for many reasons. Yes, it’s partly because Donald Trump said he would punish women for having abortions. Yes, it’s because he has threatened to appoint pro-life Supreme Court justices who would not only be pro-life, but who would overturn Roe v. Wade, which gave women the right to choose to have an abortion. And yes, I’m also horrified that Vice President Mike Pence has pushed for legislation that would force women to pay for funerals of not only aborted fetuses, but for miscarriages. But even though these are reasons to be scared as a woman, it’s beyond this. I’m terrified because of the words Donald Trump has said, and memories throughout my life he has brought to the surface. For the first time, I am reflecting on several memories I have never dwelled on before.

Donald Trump, our elected President, has been accused of sexual assault by more than a dozen individuals. The numerous allegations range from unwanted kisses and touching to rape of not only women, but of girls, minors. The now infamous Access Hollywood tape is a moment in time. Donald Trump said that not only does he grab women “by the pussy,” but he also said, “I don’t even wait.” What doesn’t he wait for? Consent. Donald Trump said, on tape, that he sexually assaults women. The women who came forward after the tape’s release verified his own admission.

As if there couldn’t be more damning evidence of Trump’s treatment of women, he has been documented verbally demeaning women. In my opinion, the most egregious example is his treatment of Miss Universe pageant winner Alicia Machado. Trump publically shamed her for her appearance, calling her “Miss Piggy,” “an eating machine,” and brought press to film her exercising after he put her on a weight loss plan. Machado suffered from anorexia and bulimia for five years due to this harassment.

With each story released of Trump’s treatment of women, I started to look within. Of course I was disgusted and angry. But for some reason, Trump’s blatant sexism made me think back to memories I’d almost forgotten. I want to express that I am not, in any way, equating my experiences to any of these women, or to anyone else’s personal story. But I have read other women’s stories, and I remembered events I’d almost forgotten occurred throughout my life.

I remember in fourth grade, when a boy in my class was standing behind me and stroked my hair. I turned around, obviously a bit creeped out. He just smiled at me.

I remember in eighth grade being called “ugly” by a boy I had a crush on.

I remember freshman year of college receiving Facebook messages from multiple strangers telling me they had seen me around campus and wanted to hang out with me because I was cute.

In the spring of my freshman year, I had a date to watch a movie with a guy in his fraternity’s apartment. I asked a mutual friend, who was in that fraternity, where the apartment building was. My date found out I had done this and shamed me for asking someone else where the building was. He hinted that he didn’t want me to tell people where I would be that night. He told me that if people knew where I was going, they would start rumors about me and would spread lies about what I was doing. Nothing happened when I watched the movie with him. But after that, he messaged me on Facebook with unwanted and pushy sexual advances. I never hung out with him again.

On Halloween weekend my first year out of college, I went to a bar with a friend. Two guys approached us, and we all started talking for a while. One of the guys seemed interested in me and was friendly. I went to use the bathroom, and immediately after I returned, when I wasn’t looking at him, he grabbed my butt completely out of nowhere. I had met him less than an hour ago. I looked over at him and he smiled at me.

Later that same year, I went out dancing with a group of friends. A male acquaintance was dancing with me, and he started trying to feel me up and move his hands between my legs. I stopped him and he became more pushy. He told me that he knew I “wanted it,” and said that I needed to have sex with him. I kept telling him he was mistaken and that I wouldn’t. The last thing he said before I grabbed my close friend and ran off was, “At least let’s go out to my car and I can lick your pussy.”

About a year later, I was in a relationship. My boyfriend wasn’t in town, and I went out with a female friend. A man came up and sat down next to me at the bar. At first he was harmless. But not much later, he told me I should come home with him. I said, “I have a boyfriend.” He asked, “Well where is your boyfriend?” I told him he was out of town and he immediately responded, “He doesn’t have to know.” I refused his request, but that didn’t stop him. He then asked for a kiss. I refused, but that apparently wasn’t good enough. He turned it into a game. He said he would pay me to kiss him. I kept refusing, but he didn’t stop. He jumped off his bar stool and ran to find his friends to ask for money. He came back, and offered me five dollars, ten dollars, fifty dollars, and continued to raise the amount of money he’d give me to kiss him. No matter how many times I said no, he didn’t stop. His friends were nearby and amused by the situation, but didn’t do much to intervene. His friends apologized after he finally gave up, saying that he was just very drunk.

About two years ago, on yet another Halloween night, I was out watching a band with a friend. Out of nowhere, an elderly man (I would venture to say he was at least 70 years old) came up behind me, wrapped his arms around me, put his face and body against mine and said, “You are so gorgeous.” I wriggled out of his grasp and ran off with my friend.

My most recent memory is from only about two weeks ago, and it still rattles me. My mom, two sisters, and I traveled into the New York Penn Station on the train. When we arrived, it was insanely crowded, and I felt someone bash into me from behind, and it felt deliberate. While discussing where we needed to go, the man who bashed into me came up from behind me and said, “Where are you trying to go?” Taken aback (he was visibly drunk and/or high), I gave him a look (I have an expressive face, and this time it got me in trouble), turned away, and kept walking. Apparently this set him off. He went on to follow my family and me, circling around yelling at me. “Ugly bitch. Fucking ugly bitch. You fucking ugly bitch. You ugly bitch. Ugly bitch.” He spit every word at me slowly and with hateful venom I’ve never experienced before from a stranger.  I tried to ignore him as my family and I kept walking. He followed us up a flight of stairs, inches away from my face saying, “Ugly bitch, you ugly bitch.” I felt and saw him out of the corner of my eye as he made a swipe at my ponytail. When we reached the top of the stairs and kept walking he circled over to my mom, saying, “You raised this coward?” The last thing he said to me before my family and I found our exit out of the train station and raced away was “Faggot.” After we were away from him one of my sisters said he had been trying to trip me while I was walking up the flight of stairs.

Why am I telling any of these stories? Why am I remembering them now? It’s because our newly elected President of the United States reminds me of these men. None of these men waited for consent, and Donald Trump has admitted that he doesn’t, either. Throughout his entire life as a celebrity, he has spewed hatred towards women. He and his supporters have called his admissions of sexually assaulting women “locker room talk,” which means that, according to them, not only are his words acceptable in private conversations, but they believe these are words you’ll hear ordinary men all over the country saying. After the election results and reflecting on my own experiences, I have to just hope this isn’t true.

I could discuss why I think Hillary Clinton lost and who I blame, but that’s for another post. Today I am reflecting on my fear. My fear of being a woman in this country. Donald Trump has set an example that not only can you get away with sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape, without consequences, but you can become President of the United States despite the country being fully aware of it. And win in a landslide. Last night, we elected a President who has most likely sexually assaulted multiple women, and may have raped both women and girls. We have elected someone who does not respect half of this country based solely on their gender. Not only does he not respect them, but he has violated them, and these human beings have been psychologically damaged because of his actions. Donald Trump’s supporters have vocalized their dismissal of these allegations, and some have said that even if the allegations are true, that doesn’t change their minds about Trump. Not only is our newly elected leader a possible rapist, but millions of his supporters don’t seem to care. And that terrifies me. What also terrifies me? At least one of the men in this story is a Trump supporter, and one has since had a child.

I don’t have any solutions right now. I don’t know what to do to stop this country from moving forward.  I’m just as lost as the rest of you. All I know is that I am a woman, and for the first time in my recollection, I am afraid to be a woman. I am afraid for our country. I am afraid for our world. But right now, today, I am afraid for our women.

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Our country is in a dark place. All I can do today is look at photos of more hopeful times, when I was at peace.

 

What’s with all the hate?

Source: eryica.org

Source: eryica.org

America, the land of the free (kind of), is a country that is founded on the freedom of speech in all forms. This includes the internet (yay, WordPress!).

Because of this freedom we have to speak our minds when citizens of other countries sometimes aren’t allowed internet access, we sometimes don’t think before we speak (or type).

Sometimes, people say stupid things. Violent things. Offensive things. No matter how vile their words, what can we do? Not much. No matter how horrific the person’s words are, he or she is exercising his or her free speech.

In some cases, people can be penalized for cyber bullying or making terrorist threats. But with these situations, there has to be plenty of proof. On the internet, there are millions of nutcases spouting hatred, so not all of them can be penalized for their speech unless they’re making obvious threats and there is evidence they are planning to follow through with those threats.

I see stupidity on WordPress every day. The theory I’ve come up with? The stupid ones spouting hatred do so because:

1. They feel threatened, and are lashing out against a perceived (but not real) threat,

or

2. They allow isolated incidents from their lives to influence their opinions about groups of people.

Recently, I’ve noticed the most hateful rants on WordPress are from anti-feminists and racists. Surprise, surprise.

Yes, these people are exercising their freedom of speech (however narrow-minded their speech may be). However, the problem is that these vicious attacks I’ve seen while perusing WordPress is that they are generalizing hatred towards entire groups of people. When this happens, and numerous people join in, there is a higher likelihood of violence. This is just how it’s worked throughout history.

Racism, sexism, homophobia, and other kinds of hatred towards groups of people still exist today. With the internet and the popularity of blogging, the world is at our fingertips. So for people whose mission it is to spread hatred, it’s as easy as clicking “Publish” on a vile post of their innermost thoughts.

Unfortunately, I have noticed that the amount of particularly sexist and racists blog posts have been increasing in the last week. My theories as to why?

1. International Women’s Day–The anti-feminists are absolutely livid that many people around the world are voicing the truth that women are still not equal to men, and that this must change. It’s clearly pissed them off.

The anti-feminists’ posts vary in their anger and sexism. But some that I have stumbled upon are simply disgusting. They write how much they hate all women, and some even state that women deserve violence.

Some anti-feminists disguise themselves as saintly Christians. One blogger left some insulting comments on my blog post, My Response to the NYC Pastor. I don’t mind the occasional debate, but this wasn’t a debate. She commented only to attack all feminists.

Her claim? That because I identify as a feminist, I am a “nasty bitch,” and that all feminists are “radical, second-wave lesbians.”

She sounds like the life of a party.

Source: memegenerator.net

Source: memegenerator.net

After I did my research, I realized that her entire blog was devoted to the evils of feminism. She claimed that every feminist is a nasty bitch. Every feminist is a radical lesbian. Every woman who works outside the home is a radical, second-wave feminist. Every woman who doesn’t set her sights on marriage is a slut who will wind up old and abandoned.

Those are her words, not mine. Don’t worry, she makes sure to widen her horizons and discuss her hatred of homosexuality, abortion, birth control, Democrats, and anyone who isn’t an American.

Thankfully, my new blogger friend, roughseasinthemed, came to my aid. She also wrote a response to the drama with our opinions being attacked out of nowhere.

Now onto my second theory of why there’s more hate on WordPress as of late:

2. The University of Oklahoma fraternity racist chant scandal–Two days ago, a video surfaced of fraternity members chanting a horrific racist chant. Racist blog posts have surfaced in light of this event, and one post I encountered claimed that the chant was “harmless.”

On the dreaded comments section of some articles about the event were just as misguided. The statement, “Does this mean that any comedian who makes fun of white people will be in trouble, too?” was the favorite comment among the racist commenters.

Here’s the problem with that statement: If a comedian tells “racist” jokes in his or her act, they are only jokes. The racist chant the fraternity members were chanting? Not funny, and not a joke to be taken lightly.

The second problem with that statement: This incident is evidently not the only time racism this severe has been witnessed by students of the University of Oklahoma campus. Again, not a joke, and not to be taken lightly.

While some may say to just ignore the stupid people, ignore the racists, ignore the sexists, I don’t know if that’s always the best tactic. Sure, we shouldn’t feed into their attention-seeking tendencies. However, the problem with online hate speech is that it’s easy to spread. The more people it reaches, the more of a threat these people are to others.

Take, for example, the Men’s Rights Movement. On the surface, some people think, “They’re harmless. Just a bunch of whiny guys who feel rejected by women. Don’t pay them any attention.” Most of their “movement” is confined to Reddit forums where they pat each other on the back and vent about evil women. Harmless, right?

When one of those men writes a 141-page manifesto and goes on a shooting rampage, the idea of “men’s rights” isn’t so harmless anymore. When this man kills himself after he murders six people, wounds 14 others, and his fellow “men’s rights activists” call him a hero? That’s dangerous.

The concern with racists online is obvious because of America’s history. In a country with a variety of cultures among our population, it’s disturbing that today, in 2015, there are so many people stuck in their racist perspectives. That fraternities spout this hate and blindly follow it. What’s more disturbing is that some people are upset that these idiotic students were rightfully punished. Racism should not be tolerated on a college campus, and especially not in a fraternity, a supposed “brotherhood” of like-minded members.

While many of us simply ignore these racists and sexists, brushing them off as “harmless nutcases,” we have to keep in mind that not all of them are harmless. Some are dangerous, and have made that evident. It’s unfortunate that the internet allows these people to publish their hate speech to wide audiences, but the entire world doesn’t hate. These people are misguided, misinformed, and angry.

Source: memeburn.com

Source: memeburn.com

Just like Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Hate cannot drive out hate.” Speaking up to the hate and helping to drive it out is the only way to attempt to erase some of the remaining hate in the world.

If I Had a Dollar (Why I Am a Feminist)

This powerful Freshly Pressed post says it better than I ever could. An important read, and I think everyone, men and women, must read this. Feminism is not “a thing of the past.” It is now. It’s you and me. It’s your parents, grandparents, and strangers on the street. Feminism is everywhere. We live and breathe it, and there are enemies fighting against it. Feminism has been misconstrued, but the heart of it is equality. Feminism isn’t a dirty word. What’s dirty is pretending that we don’t need it.

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image courtesy Devil Doll image courtesy Devil Doll

Because my mother was a painter and a beauty when artists had patrons and a woman like that needed a man to take care of her, so she married a money man.

Because my mother’s mother was a beauty and her mother was, too, and that’s what people said: “She was a beautiful woman,” as if that was the only remarkable thing.

Because I was born in 1966, the year Betty Friedan and others started the National Organization of Women and challenged an industry which required flight attendants to quit if they got married, pregnant, or reached the age of 32.

Because when my mother had me, she stopped painting and started cleaning house and throwing dinner parties and smoking too many cigarettes and crying in the mirror.

Because my mother never told me that I looked pretty because she did not want me to grow…

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Internet High Five to Jennifer Aniston: Women Making Our Own Dreams

Source: fullmasala.com

Jennifer Aniston became my hero a couple days ago when she was interviewed by Carson Daly and she stated that she doesn’t have a checklist for her life, and she does not need to define her womanhood by marriage or procreating. The “checklist” she refers to is an idea our society invented as a list of social norms we all need to follow in order to fit in as American citizens.

America: Home of the free. We think we can do “whatever we want,” as long as we abide by the laws. Right? Wrong! Before you get your panties (or boxers) in a twist, think about this: The American Dream. The beautiful idea our founding fathers invented.

Over 200 years after our country was founded, people still blab on into eternity about this completely fabricated idea. We are taught this “dream” throughout our American education as if it were tangible (spoiler alert: it’s just a dream). And what is that dream? Originally, the dream was to have “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” But over the course of history, societal norms evolved that dream into something a little more specific. Sure, we all want to be happy citizens. Yet in order to fit in with the rest of society, we are required the same things to achieve that happiness. The Checklist:

  1. Education
  2. Marriage
  3. House
  4. Kids (A.K.A. “family”)

Over a hundred years ago, this list did not exist. Before the Industrial Revolution, we married and had children to survive. We were agricultural beings, needing many hands to tend to the fields. Women were second-class citizens and didn’t have the right to so much as own homes. Marriage and children did not used to be social norms; they were necessary for a woman’s survival (unfortunately).

Time travel through those decades, and women slowly became more equal citizens. The right to vote, own homes, have their own checking accounts. Today, some women believe that we have achieved that wonderful sense of equality. Sorry to burst your happy bubble, but it’s not true. Women still have a long road to travel in order to find it.

In the past, marriage and children was required of women and it necessary for survive, but today that’s not the case. If it’s not, why do we get married and have kids? There are a billion potential personal reasons people have. But the main reason? It’s on The Checklist. And the problem is that this list pertains mainly to women.

If we think our American society portrays men and women equally, we are lying to ourselves. What do we call a man who remains unmarried and childless? A bachelor. And we imagine that these men are mainly sexy, like George Clooney (even though he was briefly married from 1989-1993 and has remained a bachelor until just recently).

Source: sofeminine.co.uk

What do we call a woman who remains unmarried and childless? A spinster. Cat lady. We assume she’s barren.

Source: teen.com

Women like Jennifer Aniston are badgered for years when people ask, “When are you getting MARRIEEEEED??? Are you going to have BABBBBIEEEESSSS???” Sure, men are asked these questions sometimes, but not nearly as often as women.

If a man lives alone and never marries, his house or apartment is called a Bachelor Pad. I don’t know about anyone else, but I have never heard anyone call a single woman’s house or apartment a Bachelorette Pad. Why? Haven’t you heard? A man living alone is sexy, but a woman living alone is tragic! (I kid, I kid, but some people do happen to believe that crap).

Throughout history, the American Dream morphed into a list of requirements for all citizens (women, more specifically) to achieve by a reasonable age in order to fit into society. While The Checklist applies to both men and women, it appears in our society that for some reason, it’s more necessary for women to cross everything off their list than it is for men. Why? Probably because of American society’s sexist beliefs that men don’t necessarily need women, but women need men.

I am giving an internet high five to Jen Aniston for throwing The Checklist out the window. She is living proof that women can have whatever life they choose. Some may live by The Checklist, but it’s not a requirement. The American Dream should be whatever dream we want it to be. Better yet: Forget the American Dream altogether. Have your own dreams. Create your own list, or don’t write a list at all. We should be free to live the lives we want, not the lives we should.

Source: bicikel.com

Ending on a humorous note, here is a clip from the late and legendary George Carlin. He said the American Dream is called a dream because “you have to be asleep to believe it.”

 

Robin Williams and Richard Cory: Poetic Analysis

Source: conspiracy-cafe.com

One day after the shock of Robin Williams’ death, I cannot help but recite Edwin Arlington Robinson’s 1897 poem, “Richard Cory,” and see that, line by line, this poem is tragically fitting to a man the world has dubbed a “sad clown.”

 

Richard Cory

 

Whenever Richard Cory went down town,

We people on the pavement looked at him:

He was a gentleman from sole to crown,

Clean favored and imperially slim.

 

And he was always quietly arrayed,

And he was always human when he talked,

But still he fluttered pulses when he said,

“Good-morning,” and he glittered when he walked.

 

And he was rich–yes, richer than a king–

And admirably schooled in every grace:

In fine, we thought that he was everything

To make us wish that we were in his place.

 

So on we worked, and waited for the light,

And went without the meat and cursed the bread;

And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,

Went home and put a bullet through his head.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From the first line, it is clear that Richard Cory is separate from the townspeople: “Whenever Richard Cory went down town,/We people on the pavement looked at him.” Richard Cory is a rich and intelligent man, and this sets him apart from everyone else. Throughout the poem, the town is united in the pronoun “we,” and Richard Cory is on his own, but it is not in a disdainful way. Richard Cory is regarded as “a gentleman from sole to crown” and that “he was human when he talked.” He manages to stay humble and kind to the people he talks to, despite the admiration of the people he meets.

The town as a whole admires Richard Cory: “And he was rich—yes, richer than a king–/And admirably schooled in every grace.” Everyone has put him high on a pedestal, and by the third stanza it seems that Richard Cory is even the town’s idol: “We thought that he was everything/To make us wish that we were in his place.” He is admired so much that people wanted to be him.

The twist comes in the last two lines of the poem: “And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,/Went home and put a bullet through his head.” The man had what the townspeople craved, and what many people want in life, but he ended his life with a fatal bullet. Money and admiration could not keep Richard Cory alive.

When I read this poem today, I cannot help but think of Robin Williams. While his and Richard Cory’s lives did not end in the same manner, they were both by their own hands, and suddenly, while we townspeople “went without the meat and cursed the bread.” Both were rich, intelligent, beloved by everyone, humble, yet devastatingly alone. We as a world are shocked because even though we knew of Robin Williams’ drug and alcohol addictions, we as outsiders thought he was happy. Many of us looked to him as our idol.

The death of Robin Williams, and like so many other tragic suicides, proves the paradox of “feeling alone in a room full of people.” Millions of people love you, know your name, look to you for inspiration, yet you may be fighting a battle against demons who are eating you alive. It is unclear if Richard Cory had reached out for help, but we know that just weeks before his death, Robin Williams had been in rehab, maybe asking for someone to help him fight his demons.

As time passes, we probably won’t be able to ever understand Robin Williams’ demons, but we can learn from his life, films, and kindness. Millions around the world suffer from addictions and depression, and as a society, we need to strive to erase the stigma of these illnesses.

A nonprofit organization called To Write Love on Her Arms, started in 2006, makes it a mission to bring awareness and help to those suffering from self harm, suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, and depression. With organizations like these, it is vital that we learn to have open communication in hopes that those secretly suffering will find the help they need.

Source: twloha.tumblr.com

 

Who Reads My Blog, Anyway? (Where in the World…)

Fellow WordPress bloggers, are you as obsessed with following your stats as I am? Sure, that’s not why we blog, but it sure gives you a rush. Seeing the numbers of your traffic increase (hopefully) is one of many reasons to keep blogging, knowing that people are reading your words.

For me, one of the coolest features is seeing the countries my viewers are from. I’ve had traffic from countries I’ve never heard of, and countries I’ve dreamed of visiting. Maybe that’s why I always loved playing “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego” as a kid. Since I’m so interested in culture and hope to travel more in my future, I decided to compile a list of the top ten countries that visit my blog. And maybe this will now be my Bucket List of countries to visit. Drumroll, please. And the winners are…

Source: www.ccfa.org Chicago, IL skyline

Source: http://www.ccfa.org
Chicago, IL skyline

1. United States–This is obviously number one because it’s the country I am from, and English is its native language. I’ve been to several states within my home country, but I’d love to see all 50 one day.

Source: sydney.concreteplayground.com.au My dream vacation

Source: sydney.concreteplayground.com.au
My dream vacation

2. Australia–In the middle of winter where I live, I sure would love a vacation to Australia right about now!

Source: cicorp.com

Source: cicorp.com

3. United Kingdom–I love British accents, British literature, and the history of the United Kingdom. I’d love to see some theatre, meet awesome people, and see the sights. Any followers in England wanna take this girl shopping in London? 🙂

Source: therooster.ca Beautiful scenery

Source: therooster.ca
Beautiful scenery

4. Canada–The scenery of Canada looks so beautiful, and being from Midwestern America, Canada isn’t that far away. I’d especially love to see Niagara Falls.

Source: boomsbeat.com Taj Mahal in Agra, India

Source: boomsbeat.com
Taj Mahal in Agra, India

5. India–It’s fascinating how many various countries view my blog. I find the Indian culture beautiful and fascinating because it’s so different from my culture.

Source: dchangrealestate.com Barcelona, Spain

Source: dchangrealestate.com
Barcelona, Spain

6. Spain–I studied Spainsh, and have always wanted to travel to Spain one day. I would love to explore many cities in Spain. The history, culture, food, and music interests me.

Source: thetastingnote.com

Source: thetastingnote.com

7. Austria–I sure wouldn’t mind visiting this place. Look at how beautiful it is!

Source: gerad.ca Amsterdam, Netherlands

Source: gerad.ca
Amsterdam, Netherlands

8. Netherlands–I know that the Netherlands has delicious chocolate. I am a chocoholic, so I think I should pay this country a visit for that reason alone…

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com Castle in Germany

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com
Castle in Germany

9. Germany–Who wouldn’t want to live in a castle in Germany? Maybe I’ve watched too many Disney movies. But a girl can dream.

Trip in Greece

Trip in Greece

10. Greece–I’m so excited that Greece is in the ten ten countries that visit my blog! I’ve been there once, and would love to go back. It’s a beautiful country.

Thanks to all my viewers from around the world! And to fellow bloggers, where are your viewers from? Any surprising countries?