Tag Archives: politics

March for Our Lives-FW

 

Marching was the last thing I wanted to do today. But I did it anyway. I joined the March for Our Lives protest in Fort Worth. I was tired, burned out from work, and would have much rather have slept in. But, after years of trying, and failing, to get people to care, now that people are finally giving a damn I can’t in good conscious sit at home and do nothing.

I graduated high school in the much hyped year of 2000. And I wanted to change the world. I wanted to organize for feminist causes. I wrote letters to my representatives, lamented that there were no organizations of like minded individuals in my school. Aside from me, no one seemed to care. Even in college, when the US invaded Iraq, I went to a peace rally that had a grand total of maybe thirty students. Even getting my fellow college students, who would complain about the campus housing constantly (there was only one campus housing complex on my campus, and they took full advantage of that)  to just sign a petition to have more than one option for campus housing was pulling nails, and this was something that impacted us directly! It felt like I was the only one who cared about anything, and trying to get other people to care and organized just got me branded as a nuisance. To this day I just accept that I’m going to speak out alone because no one will stand beside me. It’s lonely, but I can’t in good conscious stay quiet.

I know these movements come in waves. The 90s were a quiet decade to grow up in. I often feel like I was born at the wrong time. Now I have two small children and it is hard for me to join protests and be as active as I would like because of it. And it also feels like it’s never been more important to do so, because the changes I make now can benefit my kids in the future. Consequently, if we DON’T do something about gun violence, global warming, getting Trump out of the White House, etc, then my children are going to suffer greatly.

Yesterday I had a client in crisis, which as any mental health professional will say, is extremely emotionally draining. But the upcoming generation is doing something that people of my generation failed to do: give a damn. So I made a crappy poster even though I was exhausted last night. I put a lot of thought into the words but obviously, not the design. When I woke up I found my son had added his signature on the bottom, which is charming in it’s own way. He’s part of the reason I’m marching, so it was good to have his endorsement. It’s not the prettiest sign, but what matters is that I was there.

And so were thousands of others. Crowd estimates were between 7,000-8,000. There was one counterprotestor, spewing bile on a megaphone he did not have a permit for. While one of the students who organized the march (Lillian Scott) read the names of the Parkland students who were murdered and observed a moment of silence, he kept talking. When Lillian Scott started speaking, she raised her voice to drown him out, and we clapped. He was another example of right wing hypocrisy that will hopefully soon go extinct. The people leading the march are the future.

I used to be proud and excited to be class of 2000. We were supposed to lead the way and usher in an astounding new millennium. We haven’t. Right now I would have traded the empty prestige that came with being the class of 2000 to join a generation that is actually making a difference. I wish I were a part of this new and upcoming generation. Because when I read the multitude of scary headlines the plague our news, reading about them gives me hope that maybe, just maybe, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

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But I’m the One Going to Hell

I was five when I was first told I was going to Hell. A friend’s mom said it to me. A grown woman said that to my five year old self because my parents had recently explained atheism and that they were atheists to me. Let’s just say, I was completely unprepared for the vehemence and hatred with which people would respond when I answered their questions about my belief system.

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Are We Asking Too Much of Ourselves?

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Yesterday morning the local UU hosted a discussion on how to reach out to people warped by intolerance and help them to become tolerant. It is a vital discussion, especially given the current climate, but the whole time I was there I felt a critical component was missing. While the information was good and vital, such as don’t mock people’s beliefs, try to find the common ground, etc, several people talked about how they just couldn’t have these conversations without them deteriorating. As I was driving home it hit me. It’s easy to talk about calmly having these discussions with people who hold intolerant viewpoints in a safe setting filled with people who agree with you. It’s another thing to hold them when you hear someone spout hatred, especially if you are, like I am in the southern US, surrounded by people who hold these views.

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How Fast Liberty Dies

Right now I am in shock at just how quickly Trump’s war on liberty is advancing. I feared it would happen, but I foolishly thought it would advance over a period of months. I did not imagine it would be this bad a week out. The assaults on liberty are numerous that before I can write on one, another happens.

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Undocumented Workers and the Availability Heurestic

There’s a lot going on this week that is alarming. The news that Trump is planning to publish a weekly list of crimes committed by undocumented workers is one of them. As someone with a background in psychology, let me explain.

You know how flying an airplane is the safest way to travel but people think it’s dangerous or get nervous flying? Well, the reason is because of the availability heuristic. We think airplanes crashes are common because when they happen, we hear them about them on the news, when in actually, airplanes crashes are rare, which is why they make the news. Meanwhile, car crashes which are extremely common and happen everyday, don’t make the news and people don’t worry about getting into a car, even though it is the most dangerous thing each of us will do on a daily basis.

When I was teaching psychology I would have my students raise their hand if they’d ever been in a car accident versus a plane crash. Most would raise their hand for car crash, but no one had ever been in a plane crash. Even with this, my students would still have a hard time accepting that planes were safe because they could all remember hearing about plane crashes on the news, and not car crashes.

Now, the data tells us that undocumented workers are no more likely to commit crimes than other people, and that they don’t bring waves of crime into the US. Yet if Trump publishes a weekly list singling out undocumented workers, well, think about this in the context of the availability heuristic and put two and two together.

Here it is spelled out. The list goes out, people here about it on a weekly basis, so contrary to what statistics and other evidence tells us, people think undocumented workers cause more crime than they do, and you basically build a scapegoat. Undocumented workers don’t cause crime. The causes of crime are complex and stem from multiple sources. Creating scapegoats will not do anything about crime, but it will create a vulnerable group of people for others to target their anger at.

Bottom line, this is wrong, and the consequences are horrendous to contemplate on.

Ted Cruz Refuses to See Constituents

Yesterday, 28 constituents, tired of being unable to leave messages with Senator Cruz, visited his office to talk with him directly. Not only were they denied permission to see him, go into his office, or talk with his staffers, but they called police to ask them to leave the property. You can see the video here.

After they left, Cruz actually shut down his office for the day.

I later learned that this is not the first time Cruz has shut constituents out of his office.

This is only feeding my belief that my government does not care about my voice or what I think and does not represent me. And that elected officials are doing this is extremely concerning to me. It indicates they feel they do not need to answer to the people.

I have major phone anxiety, but I have been calling my representatives, begging them not to confirm Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary. Among many things, she has stated she feels whether to implement IDEA, which is what guarantees children with disabilities and education, should be left to the states. This is done in the so-called name of school choice. Yet private voucher schools don’t have to accept children with disabilities. So what sort of choice is that for families like my own?

Even with IDEA, schools in Texas try to do as little as possible for children with disabilities. They were actually investigated by the Feds at the end of last year for putting illegal caps on how many children could be diagnosed with a disability. I have no doubt that if it is up to the states whether or not to enforce IDEA, then my son’s right to an education goes out the window.

While Buddy is not currently in public school, we are hoping to get there with him someday. And the thought that we may not have that option scares me. Further, I actually care about families with children with disabilities who can’t afford/don’t have the training to pursue alternative methods and will be left with nothing if public schools refuse to take their children.

And bluntly, Cruz’s actions are telling me he does not care what I think and about families like mine. This is not the behavior any elected official should adhere to. The people of Texas are paying his salary and for his office. We deserve to be heard.