Archive for the ‘Ally’ Category


It’s been a few days since Brad and Angelina publicly announced not only their separation, but their divorce. I wasn’t going to write about it because, well, it felt icky. There have been so many hateful people out there already contributing their two cents, and although I guess I shouldn’t be shocked the strength of the spite does shock me. People are… I don’t know… gleeful about the news.

I’ve seen the comments that are along the lines of,

“Well, she cheated on her boyfriend with a cheater and married him, so what did she expect?”

That was actually the most kind comment, and the most restrained.

I think that Angelina expected she would have a partner in her life who, once he adopted their children and fathered a few more, would also be a competent co-parent with her. I think she thought she found her soulmate, at least for a while. I think Jennifer had thought the same thing.

Brad must be really convincing.

Whenever I hear about celebrity couples divorcing, I don’t take it as an opportunity for entertainment. I mean, I don’t celebrate or cheer or joke when a friend or family member gets divorced. I might feel relief if it’s someone I know, and it’s something they wanted. But celebrating and being vicious about it… that’s wrong. I’d only celebrate, so to speak, if the loved one told me they were planning a celebration. To be honest, even then it’s uncomfortable. I know there’s this thing called Divorce Parties and some people celebrate the anniversary of their divorce every year. Those, I find amusing, but they have to be done by the individual. It’s their right, not ours. It’s they who get to trash the former spouse.

It’s a marriage ending. It doesn’t mean that how it began was in the best way. It doesn’t mean that the marriage was unsuccessful. It doesn’t validate or invalidate how the relationship began. It’s not a spike in the eye, driven by the wronged person in the previous relationship. All it means is that a current marriage is ending, and when that happens it’s sad.

It’s sad to hear that something terrible occurred during a marriage that’s caused one of the partners to file for separation and divorce. It’s sad because these people originally came together with feelings of love, joy, happiness, and passion even if others disapproved. In this instance, children have been involved from the very start. This couple has a large family by choice, and every  member of this family has been affected by whatever has been occurring and will now be affected by the divorce. They’ve all been through a lot together; loss of family, illness, trauma, and also a lot of joy. Think about that. Think about how this couple loved their children so much that while they were happy enough to remain common law partners, they legally married because their children asked them to do it. Then to show how important it became to them they included the children in the ceremony and the creation of the bridal gown. This has been a family that loves each other. They’ve tried whatever it takes to stay together. Let’s assume that. Let’s assume it because things like separation and divorce don’t come out of nowhere.

That makes this sad. This family has to find a new way to move on, and find a new normal. [Edit: If TMZ can be believed, Angelina filed for divorce because of how Brad was parenting. She cited irreconcilable differences, and her attorney stated she did it for the health of the family. Sources who she’s close to say she did it because of anger issues, alcohol and weed misuse, and that she requested full physical custody of all six children with Brad getting visitation. She did this for safety reasons for her children. Not because he cheated or she cheated. For the children. That’s SAD and it’s upsetting. But here we have people making jokes and saying how it’s somehow payback to Angelina for how Jennifer was treated. Payback? There are children suffering. What kind of God would inflict payback on children of a couple whose relationship began the way it did? How callous is it that people are making light of the split? And how can these children find a new normal where they can’t live without their dad because he’s not living in a way where he’s got their best interests in mind. He’s got his own best interests in mind.]

How many other typical American families ie. non-famous have had to go through very similar situations? Who can relate to this? Have we really lowered ourselves into believing that crushing those who are already at their lowest is entertaining? That it’s funny? That it’s acceptable?

I apologize for the tone of this entry. I’m sorry if this sounds Mother Superior. It’s just… sad. Sad to me that the viciousness is so acceptable. I know that my opinion is just a drop in the bucket, and probably not a very popular one. That’s okay. I just felt like someone had to step in for the children. I felt like I was defending a loved one who has been in similar situations. And I hate it.

*Disclaimer: This is not to say that divorce can’t be appropriate for some couples. While sad, it can also be liberating, a relief, better for a family, and other positive words… but there’s a reason for an end. And the reasons are most often sad. I’m not against divorce.

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Hmm. So Phyllis Shlafly has died at the age of 92 years. It’s easier to explain what she stood against than what she stood for, politically and religiously. Suffice it to say, she was against: feminism, Women’s Rights, the Equal Rights Amendment, bilingual education, abortion, religious freedom, Communism, equal pay for Women, and a few other things I forget at the moment. To give you an idea of how little I agreed with Phyllis and her politics and religious ideologies: The likes of Ann Coulter, Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and Ted Cruz are mourning her death as a great, great loss to America and the Conservative Right.  

Of course there’s more to her than this paper doll figure I’ve set up for you here. She had far more depth, vicious all the way through, disguised as a Conservative who was an advocate for women, families, and children. I don’t really make it a habit to celebrate the death of anyone, but I’ll say that I won’t mourn her passing, or find her to be a loss to the world. Her passing isn’t a loss for America. I’m sure that this isn’t an appropriate response to someone’s death. After all, we’re taught that it’s poor form to speak ill of the dead even if they deserved it.

So while I won’t, or can’t feel sorrow at her passing, I also can’t celebrate her death, as so many on social media are doing today. Her voice brought about conversation, discussion, counterpoints, argument, and a thoroughness so that each opposing viewpoint was forced to look at itself. She was an extreme in her ideas, and she was fierce… and that fierce passion she had was something that I can actually admire. I don’t admire the great majority of her causes, but the emotion behind it… can’t we all?

I do feel sorrow for her family, that they’ll feel a loss without her, as I’m sure she was a good mother and grandmother. It sounds to me that she was an astounding advocate, and one that you would have wanted in your corner. She was a woman who felt passionately about a great many things, and not everything about her was terrible. Maybe she was a sweet grandma.

Yes, I found this woman to be a disgrace and a traitor to all women of America whether they were Left, Right, Conservative, Liberal, Republican, Democrat, Independent, Christian, non-Christian, and anyone in between. She may have been a mean old hag, dangerous to our nation’s values, but celebrating her death is beneath us. This mourning period is not really for her but to pay respect to her family and those who did personally love her and will miss her.

As much as I despised her politics and how she twisted Christianity, I didn’t know her personally and so…. I’m trying to apply my belief that 99.9999% of all people have good in them. No one is all bad, just as no one is all good. We owe it to people to assume that there was something loveable about them. After all, the Catholic girl in me says that she was a child of God, and God doesn’t make junk. As a parent, I know that our children grow and make their own choices and we have to let them figure out the consequences as they go. Sometimes they get it right, and sometimes not. Free will and all.

That all said, I find it far more disgraceful and embarrassing to capitalize on her death. It’s shady and slimy. What am I talking about? Just check D. Trump’s Twitter account. Trump and Pence are cashing in on her death. They’re encouraging people to buy her book about D.Trump as a “tribute” to her life and death. Considering she was against free trade, I think she’d expect that after death people would do one of two things: vilify her as heathens do, or mourn her as good Christians do. 😉 And I’m sure she’d want her book to sell sell sell sell sell to help capitalize gains for her family fortune. I think that first and foremost, she would want a proper mourning period; she would want respect from those who actually respected her. For Christians, that typically means attending a wake, and a funeral, and bringing a casserole for the family to freeze or making a donation to a cause the decedent felt strongly about. Then later on, encouraging people to buy the damned book for her family’s gain and your own political gain.

I’m not sure how to close this one. I still have a lot of thoughts floating around, but I don’t want to flood a single post.

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You know what I just realized? I write a lot about disability and advocating for disabled individuals. I write a lot about acceptance in disability, whether you’re a parent, friend, coworker, or even someone who has never met someone with a disability (that you know of); and yet I’m not sure that I’ve ever explained in the simplest of terms what a disability is.

I just get so fired up.

Disability is a physical, neurological, or mental condition that limits a person’s movements, senses, or activities. It may cause impairments, infirmities, and disadvantages, to performing activities in society due to the barriers that exist.

What I try to address is this:

Barriers exist not because someone is disabled, but because society as a whole hasn’t figured out how to:

  • Fully accept disabilities as normal and nothing to be ashamed about
  • Fully accommodate all disabilities and invest in the people who have them
  • Incorporate Universal Design so that ALL PEOPLE may participate in ALL ACTIVITIES equally

And those things are important because people who have disabilities are PEOPLE. People who are deserving of being treated with dignity, respect, grace, and equality to be viewed as valued members of society that contribute as equally as anyone else can.

This is a lesson that you’ll learn well when you become disabled through an accident, illness, or age if you’re not presently disabled. 🙂

 

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I saw this on the news on Tuesday in a brief world news update. I’m going to give the trigger warning that this is about disability and harm, injury, and murder of disabled individuals. If that is too much for you to handle, please don’t continue reading. It’s taken me a couple of days to write this because A.) it’s emotionally traumatizing and draining and B.) I’ve been sick for the better part of three days and sleeping, but am feeling better today.

All they initially said was that a man stabbed over a dozen people in a home for disabled people.

When I heard this, I immediately went online to see what had happened. A man who was a former employee at a home for disabled people and aging people intentionally went in there to kill as many people as he could. This horrifying event happened in Japan.

It was initially reported that he was fired, but he actually resigned. More on that later.

He tied up the employees after he broke in during pre-dawn hours. All of the residents were sleeping. His intention was to kill as many disabled residents as possible, and so while they were sleeping, he murdered 19 people. He seriously injured 26 more people, some very severely. Oh… but not the non-disabled workers.

What’s outrageous is that he wrote a letter several months prior to the incident expressing his intent. He essentially wanted all disabled people with severe difficulties socializing and physical disabilities to be euthanized.

He was even committed to an institution earlier in this year, 2016, to prevent him from harming others after that letter. He resigned when he was committed. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, he was discharged from the the hospital in March and the hospital never informed the care center for the disabled people even though it was requested that they do so.

So. In a country where there are hardly ever any mass murders (thanks to not being allowed to own guns), and where this is the worst mass murder since WWII… that’s what, 70 years? and this is only a blip on the U.S. radar? It’s only being kept up with updates on CNN? Really?

Do we only have compassion for people who are mass murdered now if there are bombs and guns involved? If they’re in a European country? If they’re non-disabled?

Why aren’t we outraged?

This could easily have been in the U.S. considering the attitudes people still have regarding disabled people. Anyone who is Other isn’t worthy of notice, services, or the rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. Anyone in a marginalized group is Other. This has been made especially clear in Connecticut lately, if you’ve read my recent post on our Governor Malloy. There’s more to come on that ridiculousness if I remember to post about it, since that jackass spoke at the DNC, and he decided to use his disability to promote his political career. Oh hell, why not now. Governor Malloy, the governor of Connecticut, ranked tied for the worst governor in the entire United States, has mismanaged funds in the state so badly that we’re in a major deficit. Yes, he mismanaged the money. He’s ignoring that fact and telling us that it’s the “new economic reality.” He’s cutting funds everywhere he can for disabled people and aging people. For the Centers for Independent Living, the disability centers? He just cut our funding by 45%. Last year he cut us by approximately 35%. Five centers were running on only almost $500K between them in order to serve a growing disabled population due to a growing aging population. Just one center alone saves the state millions… MILLIONS of dollars a year. But he cuts the budget annually, and we have to justify why we should be allowed funding.

He gives lip service to disability rights and services. He talks about caring for us, tries to pretend he’s one of us. Except he doesn’t become OUTRAGED over the crisis of lack of services, and he doesn’t make damned sure that we stay in place to provide services in the agencies or social services or human services.

And no one is OUTRAGED when disabled people are murdered or harmed. No one is outraged. No.

Think about the sheer audacity it took to murder as many disabled people as possible at that Japanese facility, with the belief that their lives aren’t worth as much as non-disabled lives. That man believed he was performing a kind act… Euthanasia. What a nice, polite, kind-sounding word. Euthanasia. What a kind word to use in place of what he really did.

What he performed was an act of mass murder, there’s no doubt of that. Those people simply had neurological differences, emotional differences, physical differences, differences due to being aged. They weren’t animals that couldn’t be rehabilitated and needed to be put down. They were HUMAN BEINGS. They were murdered for being different and having needs that were different, accommodations that were different. This was Eugenics at work, people. Eugenics.

Euthanasia is a tool of Eugenics. Because is most instances, euthanasia isn’t carried out on a willing party. It’s carried out by someone who presumes that they’re doing a kindness to someone based on their own judgment of what someone else’s quality of life is. They assume that someone’s quality of life and value of life is worth less… worthless… if it’s not the same as someone who isn’t disabled. And somehow that gave him the power and the right to decide who lives and who dies. And there are doctors and family members who try to make this decision for other people every day based solely on the disabilities people have.

And who is outraged? Who is speaking out about this? Why isn’t this being condemned for the horror that it is? Mothers, daughters, aunts, grandmothers, sisters, fathers, brothers, uncles, grandfathers, sons, friends were murdered in cold blood. For no logical reason.

Oh… do I seem upset? It’s because I am. It could have been people you know living in any disability facility. It could be you when you’re infirm and disabled as an elderly person or after a car accident when you’re convalescing.

But the story hasn’t been about them. The story has been about the man who used several knives rather than guns to commit this crime, a crime so severe that it’s been 70 years since anyone did something so heinous in that country. Not the human lives that were actually lost. Not the fact that he callously chose disabled people and chose the time of day when they would all be sleeping.

Sleeping. Please let that sink in.

The murder of 19 disabled people and the severe injury of 26 more disabled people occurred during the pre-dawn hours when they were sleeping by a man who broke into a facility where they were supposed to be safe and protected. Because they were disabled. They were targeted because this man felt their lives weren’t worth living.

Be outraged.

Do you know what happens instead of outrage at the marginalization and murder of disabled people? Do you know why no one is outraged when rights and accessibility is taken away unwillingly? When services are defunded and ignored?

Because society still believes that disabled people don’t belong in society sharing housing and services. That disabled children don’t belong in their childrens classrooms, sharing space and air and teachers attention. Because society doesn’t believe disabled people are competent to make their own decisions just because they may need some extra physical help, medication, mental health service. People who don’t have disabilities tend to believe they “know better” than disabled people; that what they believe is for the benefit of the disabled, it’s for their own good, even when, especially when the disabled person is completely competent.

People tend to believe that any disability means someone is less intelligent, less competent, less capable of making decisions for themselves. Why? Why is that? Because they’re biased about their own disability? Of course we are! We know ourselves best.

I have chronic pain disabilities, and so do you know the first thing people say to me when I reveal that to them? They assume I’m addicted to pain pills and that narcotics were my first go-to treatment, and that I MUST BE addicted to something that I MUST GET OFF OF with their advice. Because nothing is worse than addiction. Nothing is worse than relying on medication to feel better, because THAT is apparently a step towards addiction. And of course chronic pain = doctor shopping for narcotics because I’m a pillhead looking for a fix because hey, chronic pain isn’t real y’all! And y’all know better even though I’m the one with the disabilities.

Nope.

I’m an educated woman, and I’m educated about my illnesses. I keep my brain active and remain educated. I work as homeopathically as possible to relieve as much pain as possible. I work with a respected specialist who monitors my pain management. I’m not on narcotics. I have a team of doctors I see regularly for check ups, just as everyone ought to do. I know my own mind. I know my body.

But no one believes any of that because I’m disabled.

No one presumes competency. No one presumes someone with disabilities has a good life.

That means that no one presumes to know that it’s insulting to feel sorry for people who have disabilities.

No one realizes that disabled individuals aren’t sitting around feeling feeling sorry for themselves.

No one realizes that disabled individuals are productive members of society; valued members of families and friendships.

No one presumes to understand that disabled people aren’t living in spite of disabilities, or to prove something to non-disabled people.

No one thinks about how ridiculous it is to believe that disabled people’s lives are less valuable than any other life, no matter how disabled they are.

No one realizes that it’s horrific to believe that life isn’t worth living if one has disabilities.

No one realizes how absolutely soulless and outrageous it is to believe someone is better off dead than alive if they have disabilities.

 

 

 

 

Former employee of Japanese facility for disabled people turns himself in after killing 19 people in a stabbing spree at Tsukui Yamayurien facility in Sagamihara, officials say.

Source: Japan knife attack: At least 19 dead – CNN.com

 

 The suspect in a stabbing spree in a facility west of Tokyo that left 19 people dead wrote of his “ability to kill” disabled people.

Source: Japan knife attack: Suspect wrote of wanting to kill disabled people – CNN.com

 

 

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During this past fiscal year of 2016, our illustrious Governor Malloy (D) has brushed off all responsibility of the financial crisis our State is in. Between April and June 2016 he laid off 1,064 State Employees. He plans 2,000 more positions to be eliminated. and more budget cuts. All of this to cover his mismanaged $960 million deficit. That he created.

I’m not talking about froufrou State jobs like calling someone in to give the Governor a toilet seat filled with coins and dollar bills in his private bathroom. I’m not talking about dragging around a coffee and fruit & bagels cart on every floor, or cutting back from six assistants to only three. Not that those jobs aren’t important to the people who hold those jobs. I love coffee. That’s very well established. I love a great barista. And I would kill for a good assistant. But I’m talking about jobs that are providing services to people in dire need.

People that have disabilities are the ones who are suffering the most, with children and families not far behind. Aging population that have disabilities. When I say disabilities, I mean significant disabilities. Families and caretakers of disabled individuals. So, we’re talking about people who need and will need services like this for children, youth, young adults, adults, and aging adults:

 

  • Sign language interpreters were just cut from services provided.
  • Health care workers at UCONN Health Center
  • Social Workers, already short staffed
  • Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services; mental health assistants; caseworkers;
  • Department of Developmental Services
  • Department of Children and Families
  • Education Employees in several important Technical Schools

And just for fun…

  • Department of GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY
  • Department of Corrections
  • The Judiciary Department
  • Military

 

People like this young woman Jenny are being affected immediately. Dangerously. But Governor Malloy’s response is that while it’s unfair, it’s our state’s economic reality.

 

Connecticut’s largest health care workers union took to the airwaves Thursday to protest ongoing state employee layoffs.

The commercial launched by SEIU, New England 1199 and airing on Connecticut stations and the internet, features a woman, identified as Jenny, who is living with cerebral palsy.

In the 30-second spot, Jenny, who “speaks” using a computer that reads her eye signals, makes a direct appeal to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to restore her state-appointed speech pathologist, identified only as “Mallory.”

“My name is Jenny,” she says to open the ad. “I was born with cerebral palsy. This computer is the only way I can communicate. Mallory is the only worker employed by the state of Connecticut who knew how to customize this computer so my voice can be heard. On May 3, Mallory was laid off. Governor, please bring back Mallory and all of the laid-off state workers. We need them.”

Malloy and the legislature built big savings in salary accounts across most state agencies into the $19.76 billion budget adopted last May for the fiscal year that began July 1. Officials cut spending more than $800 million below the level needed to maintain current services to craft a plan that does not increase taxes.

More than 250 of the speech pathologists and communications therapists New England 1199 represents at the Department of Developmental Services have received layoff notices.

(Cont.)

Source: Union ad features disabled woman’s appeal to reverse state layoffs | The CT Mirror

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Yesterday, ASAN’s Ari Ne’eman announced he was stepping down at the end of the year. That was important. Here’s the announcement.

Organizations go through many stages. One of the most challenging and important are transitions in leadership, particularly when they involve founding members. Over the last ten years, I have had the honor and privilege of building and directing the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. That experience has been one of the single most important and impactful …

Source: A Message from ASAN President Ari Ne’eman | Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Then, prompted by the announcement, an entry was posted on ASParenting Blog by Melody. I credit and thank my friend Nora for making me and others aware of this disappointing report. Nora writes the blog A Heart Made Fullmetal.

I’m sharing Melody’s post about ASAN because as a mother blessed with an autistic daughter, I’ve looked to ASAN (Autistic Self Advocacy Network) as a guiding hand. I’ve shared them as a valuable resource to other parents and to autistic individuals that come into my workplace.

While I realize that the majority of experiences of employees are likely possibly maybe positive, if any of what is reported in this blog is true and a pattern, and indeed is policy then I don’t believe I could support that sort of agency.

In fact, I know I can’t. I wouldn’t encourage my daughter or friends or consumers in my agency to take advantage of them with what I now know, and therefore I wouldn’t encourage you. You are just as important as someone face to face with me when it comes to accurate, compassionate, gentle representation by people who are being treated well in their employment.

If it were ever guaranteed and proven that changes were made, that Autistic people were being treated with dignity and respect, being paid fair and competitive wages, being give reasonable accommodations, I might change my assessment. Trust is cornerstone. I know that. Accountability is, as well, and so far, ASAN has not taken accountability or responsibility.

I should warn you that there could be triggers in this blog article below as it mentions abuse tactics towards Autistic people, but it’s important to read. It’s a tough read.

With Ari Ne’eman’s announcement that he will be stepping down at the end of the year today, I knew I was out of time to find a large source to post what you are about to read. Please sh…

Source: ASANs Past Abuse and Moving Forward – ASParenting

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I forget where I got it, other than Google

Candlelight Vigil

In the aftermath of the Orlando massacre, a three hour nightmare, I’ve realized that the moment it occurred and was made public was a moment that changed America forever.

I hope that none of us loses sight of what’s really important in this tragedy. These people matter. The 49 who were massacred. They’re important.

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 | Stanley Almodovar III, 23 | Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 | Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 | Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 | Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 | Luis S. Vielma, 22 |Kimberly Morris, 37 |Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 | Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 | Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 |Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 | Anthony Luis Laureano Disla, 25 | Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 | Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 | Martin Benitez Torres, 33 | Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 | Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 | Amanda Alvear, 25 | Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 | Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 | Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 | Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 | Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 | Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 | Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 | Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 | Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 | Cory James Connell, 21 | Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 | Luis Daniel Conde, 39 | Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 | Juan Chavez Martinez, 25 | Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 | Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 |Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 | Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 | Jean Carlos Nieves Rodriguez, 27 | Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 | Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 | Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 | Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 | Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 | Frank Hernandez Escalante, 27 | Paul Terrell Henry, 41 |Antonio Davon Brown, 29 | Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 | Akyra Monet Murray, 18 | Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25

The 53+ people who were injured, maimed, and hurt matter and are important. Their families and friends are important. The first responders, the police, and the nurses and doctors at the hospital who interacted with them, tried to save them, watched them die, are important. The people outside the club who watched it happen are important. The 9-1-1 operators who answered those calls are important. The off duty officer who was outside and realized something was happening and was the first to engage is important.

As a Christian, as a Catholic, I believe that above all else, we need to remind each other to make it a priority to choose love, compassion, empathy, generosity, loyalty, humanity, kindness, open mindedness, duty to our family and communities. This is my call to Faith. This is my call to Action. The only way we can make sense of things: remembering those who have died. Praying. Giving blood. Giving hugs. Communicating with Equality Florida (click here). Letting our LGBTQI+ family and friends and coworkers know that we support them, love them, need them… ESPECIALLY when we’re Christian… ESPECIALLY when we’re Catholic.

We all have such a capacity for love that most of us are still learning to tap into the potential of it. Well, it’s time to put down the chisel and grab the wrecking ball. We need to break open the dam and forget about the flood gates; we need to forget about holding it all in.

We’re a nation that is filled with diversity, and therefore intersectionality. We all experience the same emotions and have the same needs.

Everyone has an opinion, and they’re clamoring for their voices to be heard about what they believe is the most important thing. I have some opinions. I’m not so sure they’re lining up with what other people are talking about. I don’t really care. It’s my blog. I can talk about what I believe is important, especially based on what I’m experiencing in my home with my children.

I’m trying to imagine how hard it must be for the people who were actually involved. But I imagine the people I love who are in the LGBTQI+ community. I imagine my daughter’s friends that in that community, and how she feels when they tell her about their fears and grief. I imagine them going on vacation to Orlando, and being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I imagine it happening here, in a place that’s supposed to be a safe zone for them when “out there, somewhere outside” isn’t so safe. Fear and grief clutch at my heart, and again, I try to imagine that feeling in someone with more ties to the community.  Those are the people who deserve the empathy and connection and consideration. Those are the people who need protection, love, generosity, caring, and a sense of safety equal to that of what anyone else feels.

I have a difficult time with the people who choose to identify with the murderers, to the point that they become apologists and empathize with them. In this instance, there are vile people out there cheering him on believing he should have been hailed as a hero.

I don’t want to empathize with the shooters or those assholes who do.

Most people in the world agree to live by the codes, laws, mores, and social systems established in the societies they live in. Most people who don’t enjoy the society and have the will to change it go about changing the system legally and without violence. Most people live in a world where they care about their community as well as their core family.

We need to accept that we belong to more than our simple family units; we belong to our towns and cities, our states, our nation and yes, we belong to the Global Community. We all need each other. We have more similarities than we do differences. No single one of us deserves more than another, or is worth more than another. We form closer bonds with our parents, spouses, children, siblings, and friends, and that makes them important… but our value as human beings is all the same. Our needs are all the same. We’re all equal in God’s eyes, and so we should all be equal in each other’s eyes. We must be. God loves us all. Maybe he loves all of us enough for himself, but I believe that we were all put here to love and be loved. To respect and be respected. To learn. To build relationships. To see God in each other. To see ourselves reflected in others. To appreciate where we are, and the wonders of the Earth and the Universe and each other. To learn as much as we can before we look forward to the big pearly gates. Doing all of this while still honoring a relationship with Jesus, with God, while accepting everyone BECAUSE OF their differences can only fill our lives with more love.

I’m certainly not perfect. I have a hard time with this. I try my best to at least “not hate.” I may not love murderers or Donald Trump but as my daughters point out, “It’s not Christian to hate them. Jesus would say don’t hate anyone.”

So trust me, it’ll be hard for me to follow certain aspects of my own Call to Faith and Call to Action, but I beg you to try with me. Please. Let’s pay it forward with a kind act each day. It shouldn’t be a token act, but it doesn’t have to be a grande gesture all the time either. It SHOULD come from the heart and be genuine.

I’ve written far more than I intended to write. I had hoped to be much more succinct. My brain is just so full up. So sad. I don’t know what to do with it all.

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