America

Happy 4th of July!

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Dear America,

This isn’t your greatest year.  It’s totally not your fault.  You are, of course, an inanimate object so you don’t have thoughts or feelings.

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Anyway, I want to say that I still love you.  I love what you stand for, regardless of what the administration says you are.  I love that one of your national symbols is the Statue of Liberty who welcomes everyone into this amazing melting pot of diversity.  I love that people still have the chance to get that “American Dream.”

 

That dream is becoming ever more elusive due to the hatred and fear that is running rampant thanks to the new administration.  I hate that people have to live in fear because of their religion or the color of their skin.  I fire3hate that some people might die without their necessary medications.  I hate that the President of the United States condones and supports the hate and the fear.  Mostly, I’m just sad that my country, the country that I would have given my life for, is not the America she used to be.

However, I have faith.  I have faith that this is just a dark spot in what will be a shining future.  I have faith that Americans can pull together to support each other in our time of need.  I have faith that love trumps hate and that love conquers fear.  I still have faith in the country that has found itself countless times after tragedy.

Happy Birthday, America.  Here’s to overcoming adversity and finding the light at the end of the tunnel.

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Book review: In Full Color

In Full Color: Finding My Place in a Black and White WorldIn Full Color: Finding My Place in a Black and White World by Rachel Dolezal

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Full disclosure: I don’t like Rachel Dolezal.

Despite my personal misgivings, I am a knowledge-seeker so when the opportunity to read Ms. Dolezal’s book presented itself, I took it. I even went into the venture with an open mind, ready to hear her side of things before passing judgment. Unfortunately, reading the book only solidified my feelings that Ms. Dolezal lives in a world of her own creation and feels persecuted by those outside of it (which is nearly everyone).

I will say that Dolezal had a horrific childhood and endured more than any child should. However, some of the claims in her book leave me dumbfounded. She highlights growing up in rural Montana where there were no black children. She didn’t even know such a person existed until she was given a National Geographic magazine as a young teen. Yet at the same time she knew she was inherently black. She compares doing manual labor on her family farm to being a chattel slave which is preposterous. This goes on and on throughout the book and rather than presenting a well-rounded view of society, it comes off as whiney and at times delusional.

Regardless of whether Dolezal is delusional is beside the point here. What the book does present is a well-rounded view of her experience. I was able to see exactly how she came to believe what she does and it is clear that her identity crisis started from a very young age. Her story is a very interesting psychological study in that sense this is a very good read.

Storms Reback is the only saving grace in this whole thing as the book is actually very well written. I’ve argued before that good writing can make a terrible book readable and it holds true for this one as well. I wouldn’t have finished it otherwise. Rather than paying for the book, just read some news stories on Dolezal and you’ll have all you need to understand her.

#Why I March

On Wednesday, I fell on the ice and tore some cartilage in my knee so unfortunately, I can’t be out in the street marching today.  I desperately wish I could be there physically but I am 100% there in spirit.

So, why do I march?  Well…

I march for those who are marginalized.  I march for those who are forgotten.  I march for those who are alone.  I march for those who are afraid.  I march for peace and justice and all that is good and loving in this world.

I consider myself to be a patriot, though maybe not in the way Trump thinks I should be.

I deeply believe in the American values of equality for ALL people regardless of race, creed, religion, gender identity, or sexuality.  I believe in America as a melting pot, once revered for welcoming the poor, huddled masses.  I believe that America IS already great and her spirit is indomitable.

I believe in America. I’m afraid for my country in this dark hour, but we’ve always been strongest when tested. We will weather this storm.

It will be a rough four years and we will not be the same in the end. I do not know if we will be better or worse but I am hopeful that, if we work together, we will all be alright.

Godspeed, America.

It might surprise some people to learn that I spent many years planning to join the army.  I would work out in my room every night before bed doing 1000 sit-ups, 1000 push-ups, 1000 jumping-jacks, and running in place for 30 minutes.  Even my plans for veterinary school tied in with my dream of becoming an officer with the Army Corps of Veterinarians.  Unfortunately, celiac disease crushed those dreams.

Now, I spend my time researching the best ways to protect the cultural heritage of the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and Syria.  I’m working towards a graduate degree in Museum Studies and Non-Profit Management.  My entire future is looking towards preventing war and working with our allies, and even our enemies, to protect our human heritage.

I consider myself to be extremely patriotic though I’m sure many Republicans would argue with me on that.  On the eve of an inauguration that threatens everything I have worked for and everything I believe in, I am afraid for my country.  I am hoping beyond hope that Trump will succeed, certainly not in fulfilling his campaign promises, but in leading America through a storm of his own creation.

At this time, I implore everyone to reach across the aisle and work together in every way.  We need each other desperately right now.  We cannot be men, women, conservatives, liberals, Christian, Jewish, or Muslim any longer.  We must go forward as humans and do what is best for humanity.

 

No More Apologies

I want you to know that nothing has made me prouder than to be your champion.  And to all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.

-Hillary Rodham Clinton

I keep hearing women apologize today.

We apologized to our children.  We apologized to our grandchildren.  We apologized to our friends. We apologized to strangers.  We apologized to the nation.  We apologized to the world.

No.  No more apologies.

We have nothing to be sorry for in this election.  We made history.  We did what nobody had ever done before.  We tried so hard and we came so far.  Yet, somehow, we still have farther to go.

We.  Will.  Get.  There.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.  So no more apologies.

Let’s get nastier.  Let’s face these next four years head on.  Let’s tackle this challenge in the ways only women can.