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Tomorrow is Election Day, and Ladies, we have a lot at stake in this election. The purpose of this entry isn’t to try to force you to vote one way or the other. No. I’m pleading with you to simply vote tomorrow. Recognize the Feminist in yourself and exercise your womens right to vote.

Please Don’t Refrain From Voting

I’m speaking to all of you amazing women out there who are eligible to vote and are registered  but are choosing not to vote.

This isn’t about choosing a female President. Thats not what makes this about feminism or women’s rights. 

This is about making the most important decision of your life: using your civic duty to vote, a right we had to fight nearly 100 years to obtain legally. A right that took us 132 years, from the conception of our nation, to obtain.

That, my amazing Ladies, is what makes this a Women’s Right issue.

That’s what makes it a Feminist issue.

Nothing could be more Feminist than exercising our right to vote.

I know that we’ve heard for the past 18 months just how. very. important. this. election. is. We’ve been telling each other how important Donald Trumps fuckery is. We’ve been telling each other how Gary Johnson’s lack of education and personality is. We’ve been telling each other how Jill Stein’s general anti-science whackadoodly-ness is a problem. We’ve been telling other that Hillary Clinton’s e-mails are a huge conspiracy and somehow… criminal? And she personally murdered people in Benghazi? Anyway.

We know the choices in the election that we’re expected to make are important.

Yes. We know.

We’re going to be voting for ourselves, for our own personal benefit, sure… but we’re also going to be voting for our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, best friends, nieces, neighbors, and most especially our daughters, granddaughters, and great-granddaughters. If they don’t or can’t vote; if they’re voting for who we believe in our heart is the wrong candidate, then we really are voting on their behalf.

We’re going to be voting to maintain the right to decide what to do with our own healthcare; our bodies; how we’re treated in the workplace; how we’re paid; if we’re viewed with respect or as sex objects, and disposable. 

It’s not drama or cliche to state that our lives, as women depend upon voting. Not just for voting day, and not just for four years or eight years. Our lives depend on the outcome of this election for decades to come. That’s not a cliche.

If you’re feeling disenfranchised, I get it. If you’re feeling as if there isn’t a candidate that represents you in any way, I get that too. If you’re feeling as if each candidate is saying something you can understand, but none of them are “perfect enough” I really do understand. I commiserate wholly. I understand all of those feelings, because I’ve cycled through them myself at various points in this election season.

Every election is important, and every single one seems to cause increasingly bad anxiety, but I realized that anxiety has much more to do with the increasingly horrible hate and anger I see among the people around me. It’s become more entrenched than ever that there’s a My Side versus Your Side in politics, with people convinced that the Other Side is not only not their cup of tea but evil. There’s this idea that if someone opposes your political views, or they voice a dissenting view it’s a declaration of war and a relationship destroyed . 

Over the past two weeks, there’s been an increasing frenzy and panic from those who think their “side” is losing. I see that happening, and I see women who have always voted stating that they’re not voting in this election… at all. Not just in the Presidential Election, but the General Elections as well.

Your Vote Matters So Very Much, Ladies

So many people, so many women believe that a single vote… their vote doesn’t mean anything. 

Ladies… oh my gosh, it does. It’s your voice!

It’s your individualty showing through, the one way to make sure your opinion and thoughts are given a voice to say that you  matter. 

It’s really intense, and the best ways to make a positive difference. We don’t have to like the fact that we have government, or how it runs. We don’t have to like the system. We’re part of it whether we like it or not and if we want and plan to ever change the parts of the system that aren’t working properly or fairly, then the only way to do that… to enact change is to vote. Get involved.

Back in Time…

Rich white Christian men have always known these things. They know that every single vote has power. Why do you think they denied women, all women, the right to vote until 1920?  

The first time the United States ever used elections and voted was in the United States presidential election of 1788–89; it was the first quadrennial presidential election. It was held from Monday, December 15, 1788 to Saturday, January 10, 1789. Some men, an elect few, were allowed to vote. In the 1830’s the vote to extended to ALL white men, and in 1868 it was extended to Black men. 

But it wasn’t until 1920… 132 years after elections and voting were established as a fair way to establish leadership, for women to obtain the right to vote.

Women Were NOT “Given” the Right to Vote

History will say that all who were born in the United States have been, by right of birth, U.S. citizens from the very beginning. 

People frequently say things like American Women (all women in all demographics) were GIVEN the right to vote. Black Men in America were GIVEN the right to vote.

That’s not the truth. We had to fight for it, clawed ourselves bloody and bruised, literally, through public speaking and the court systems to obtain the right to vote.

The problem is that when citizens who were born in the United States are not treated equally, are not given the same rights, or the laws that ensure equal rights are not upheld in courts or by law enforcement, then we are not really all considered citizens. We are Other. We are Less Than. We are Property. We’re disposable and not worthy of tthoughts or consideration. 

Any perceived threat to those in power is met with intimidation and creation of loopholes in the laws that are intended to protect those who are being discriminated against. The perceived threats are smote out early, fast, and without mercy. It’s how American men learned to deal with the British when Independence was fought for and won. Those same tactics were used against Native Americans. They’re used against all Federally Protected Classes. There’s a reason they’re protected… and yet those in power, those with extreme prejudices, still try to break those laws and create laws in direct violation.

Right now? 240 years after The Continental Congress approved the final wording of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th 1776? 

The rights of women as equal citizens worthy of respect has not progressed for many men… and sadly, for many women. There are women who are perfectly happy to let men decide their fate and rule their lives. Back in the colonial days it was a throwback to England’s customs and traditions to have women be the “wards” of their fathers, and then property of their husbands. This is an idea that still permeates our culture today. Some claim it’s Biblical or just a desire to have a “traditional marriage when life was good in the 50’s.”

The Women’s Right Movement began as far back as 1848 in the U.S. Women recognized the injustices including and especially upstanding women in the community and their religious communities. 

“The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

  • Married women were legally dead in the eyes of the law
  • Women were not allowed to vote
  • Women had to submit to laws when they had no voice in their formation
  • Married women had no property rights
  • Husbands had legal power over and responsibility for their wives to the extent that they could imprison or beat them with impunity
  • Divorce and child custody laws favored men, giving no rights to women
  • Women had to pay property taxes although they had no representation in the levying of these taxes
  • Most occupations were closed to women and when women did work they were paid only a fraction of what men earned
  • Women were not allowed to enter professions such as medicine or law
  • Women had no means to gain an education since no college or university would accept women students
  • With only a few exceptions, women were not allowed to participate in the affairs of the church
  • Women were robbed of their self-confidence and self-respect, and were made totally dependent on men

Now, in view of this entire disenfranchisement of one-half the people of this country, their social and religious degradation, — in view of the unjust laws above mentioned, and because women do feel themselves aggrieved, oppressed, and fraudulently deprived of their most sacred rights, we insist that they have immediate admission to all the rights and privileges which belong to them as citizens of these United States.” ~ Elizabeth Cady Stanton

 

In the 1830s, the vote was extended to all white men, in 1868 to black men. Except in the South especially, there were disenfranchisement laws such as Grandfather clauses that said if your grandfather could vote, so could you. If your grandfather didn’t vote, where did that leave the black men who had just won the right to vote? There were also literacy tests. If someone couldn’t read, they couldn’t vote. At the time black men won the right to vote (won, not given) most were not free men, they were slaves, and many slave owners severely punished their slaves if they were caught reading or learning to read. Nice, eh? Such a lovely history of voting disenfranchisement.

When the 19th Amendment was passed in 1920, it legally enfranchised all women to vote, white and black. 

However, within a decade, state laws and vigilante practices managed to disenfranchise most black women in the South. Additionally, there were expensive poll taxes. Yes you had to pay a poll tax in order to be allowed to vote and if you were poor, or poor and black, then you couldn’t vote. 

It took women nearly 100 years from the start of the Women’s Movement to win a bitter battle to vote against staunch, hateful adversity and yet now, not even 100 years after women won that most tedious of fights, there are women ready to give up their votes? 

Shameful. I’m sorry, but it’s shameful.

The Disdain Is Not One of Moral High Ground

By refraining to vote in the General Elections and/or the Presidential Elections of 2016, the worst of us… our apathy, impassivity, disdain, show a clear negligence and clear disregard for accountability in the well being of our local and state governments as well as our national government. 

You’re not making a statement, not even one that states how weary you are of it all. The only disdain that you show is to your fellow women, and those who fought, were imprisoned, and died for your right to vote.

By refraining to vote, Ladies, I can’t help but notice a clear lack of empathy. I can’t help but notice your choice to ignore the very real issues that face every single individual in this country, but especially those that will affect those closest to you.

If you refrain from voting, you’re not making a statement of any kind. Your voice won’t be heard in any way. Not politically, not socially, not morally or ethically. The vote is your voice, and the vote is how you make your voice count. 

Refusing to vote, whether out of frustration or to make a statement, stifles your voice in every way possible. You lose a right, willingly, that was fought for very heavily… a right that women before us died for and were imprisoned for while fighting.

If you want to protest, if you want your voice to be heard, then get to the voting booth! That’s where it happens! The more of us that vote, the more of an effect we’ll have!

It ought to enrage you, Ladies, no matter what your political affiliation, that Women’s Rights are even debateable and in question

We need to make sure that we send the message that Women’s Rights are not actually on the table, to be discussed seriously as to whether we have a right to be treated with human decency.

Trust Me, There Won’t Be Enough Good People Voting

Unless you vote, there won’t be enough good people voting.

We can’t give tacit permission for any government to red pen the Constitutional Amendments that ensure women have Equal Rights, Civil Rights, Human Rights. If we don’t vote, that’s exactly what we’ll be doing. 

Choosing not to vote, and the apathy that would show, that choice you make gives  lawmakers the ability to continuously and regularly vote against Women’s Rights… and it doesn’t impress me. It disgusts me. Because when enough people decide that their votes don’t count, then enough good people don’t show up at the polls to vote in good people. And then the good people who would enact better policies and laws than the “other guy” end up screwing over everyone… especially women.

My fear here is that too many women are in the frame of mind that there will be enough other voters to “make up for” their vote, and therefore their candidate will make it in. Or that there are women who are throwing away their vote by allowing their significant others to tell them who to vote for rather than allowing them to make up their own minds. Or that there are women who really do believe that their vote won’t matter at all so why bother because “the election is rigged.”

No, no, and no.

Nifty Fact

I love it when I stumble on neat little facts because I can always use them at some point. For instance, this one:

There were about 125.9 million adult women in the United States in 2014. The number of men was 119.4 million.

My math skills aren’t fabulous, but I think that’s 54%. In fact, I believe that I’ve heard we do make up 54% of the citizenship of the United States of America.

That makes women a very powerful force in this country. That makes us an important force

One would think that the Women’s Rights Movement, a Human Rights Movement to be clear here, would have moved our rights and how this nation respects Women along much further than it has. It’s been moving at a snail’s pace and America’s Daughters are taking the rights we have fought for and won for granted.

One would think that for all of the talk we do, Ladies, we’d recognize our true power. It lies in the fierceness of not backing down, and using our power to vote.

Why? Because it’s historically inaccurate, and it’s not how it really happened. There were Civil Rights Movements. There was Women’s Suffrage and a Women’s Rights Movement that is still ongoing. This nation is still going through multiple Civil Rights and Human Rights movements in multiple areas right very now… yes in 2016.

To throw your vote away as if it means nothing, to throw it away in protest, is disowning responsibility for anything that may go wrong later. It’s not a way out. You will still be culpable.

Your vote is YOUR vote as long as you use it. Don’t make excuses to abstain from voting. It’s not only your civic duty, it’s your ethical, moral duty. 

What I really, really do care about in your vote? Please be sure to educate yourself from unbiased sources; fact check. So if you’re going to Fact Check Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, don’t go to either of their web sites. Don’t go to any politically based sites either. Choose neutral sources, and by that I mean “not Facebook memes or info-graphics.”

There ARE unbiased resources out there where you can find the actual facts for each candidate. All of them, all of the political parties. It’s how I narrowed down my choice. I know many of you disagree with my personal choice and you know what? THAT’S OKAY WITH ME!!!! You know why? It’s your opinion, and it’s your vote. YOUR VOTE.

You just have to make sure that you’re there at the polls! We have to use our rights to vote that we fought so very hard for, not so very long ago, or we risk losing all of the rights we’ve fought for. Every single one.

Doing nothing, being complacent, is the same thing as knowing there’s evil about to enter and do evil things and doing nothing to stop it.

VOTE. Just vote. Disagree with me until the cows come home regarding my personal politics. That’s awesome. I don’t care! The election is tomorrow and then it’s over! Then we get to deal with fallout! But for now, for now we just have to commit to voting!

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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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A friend on Facebook shared this article about an artist’s rendering of Donald Trump: it’s a statue of him in his birthday suit. I’ll spare you the images, but here’s the article source I’ve chosen to use (rather thsn the one my friend shared) with an excerpt:

 

Source: 11 photos of NYC’s naked Trump statue | The Verge

Five identical statues of a nude Donald Trump have appeared overnight on street corners in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Seattle, and New York City.

The Washington Post reports that the anarchist collective INDECLINE is responsible for the statues, and are calling this project “The Emperor Has No Balls.” The name is ostensibly a reference to the famous fairytale “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” in which a narcissistic emperor gets conned into strolling amongst his people in the nude. Mr. Robot fans might liken the stunt to the one pulled by the show’s anti-capitalist fsociety, who symbolically removed the testicles from the iconic Wall Street bull statue.

An anonymous spokesperson from INDECLINE told the Post, “like it or not, Trump is a larger-than-life figure in world culture at the moment. Looking back in history, that’s how those figures were memorialized and idolized in their time — with statues.”

 

The question came up the particular article she shared and in other places on my friend’s FB as to whether or not it’s body shaming. 

Nope. Not even remotely. It’s shaming him, all right, but it’s shaming his behavior, attitudes, personality, and proclaimed beliefs.  According to the artist/s as we can see from the project’s name, it’s 100% politically motivated, and it’s not necessarily intended to be unifying. 😶

We know what it means when we say that someone “has no balls.” Not all art is Deep Thought, after all.Other interpretations and how people feel about artistic renderings is something else entirely. 

Many people are under the false impression that art is supposed to be happy, joyful, touchy-feely, feel good stuff that’s colorful, pretty, aesthetically pleasing, and non-controversial. Many people seem to think that art is supposed to be an expression of one’s inner soul, one’s inner beauty, and an expression of the great ideals of our inner and outer worlds. 

That when we spark creativity in our children, it must always come out positively, sparkly, colorfully, joyfully, happily, beautifully. When our children express themselves in their art showing sadness, anger, and other emotions and thoughts that we find uncomfortable to deal with we stifle them.

We don’t teach our children (or anyone) that art isn’t supposed to please everyone. We don’t teach them that:

  • Art can be offensive
  • Art can be ugly
  • Art can be messy
  • Art can be crass
  • Art can be ballsy
  • Art can be ungraceful
  • Art can be hateful
  • Art can be sad
  • Art can be morbid
  • Art can be inept
  • Art can be prickly
  • Art can be void of color and sparkles and glitter
  • Art can be disorganized
  • Art can be more honest than you want it to be
  • Art can be undiplomatic
  • Art can be political
  • Art can be uncomplimentary
  • Art can be distasteful
  • Art can be uncomfortable
  • Art is a device for communicating things in a way that words are inadequate for expressing
  • Art is a device for instigating discussion and different ways of thinking versus the echo chambers we become so used to being in

 

It’s a fantastical political statement, which of course art has done for centuries. Art has a way of humbling the individuals, its subject matter, in a way that no other representation can manage. It’s not the first time that art has stripped an individual down completely in such a manner, in such a statement as already mentioned in the article that I chose to share.  As an artist, I think that it’s important to allow and view any artist’s impression of ANY public figures, as art is part of our freedom of expression ie. freedom of speech. It’s protected. 

I find the statues to be crass and ugly, but I think it was wrong to deface them while removing them from immediate public view. They could have been safely removed and privately housed.

This group, INDECLINE, intended this to be a political statement targeting D. Trump, and for it to hit below the belt, but it’s serving other purposes.On top of the political statement that was intended, people are remembering how to be silly. 

We all take ourselves so seriously during the election seasons, and we all hold so fast to our opinions and our candidates that we forget to laugh sometimes. We forget to strip the candidates bare, including our own chosen candidates. 

These statues stripped Trump bare politically and “literally” in a figurative representation of his birthday suit (let me point out quickly that I know something that’s figurative can’t be literal). 

It’s stripping Trump bare without the brass, hype, fandom, bank notes, gold-plated everything, or the noise that bursts from his face; without the pomp and circumstance and finely tailored clothes, he’s just a typical pudgy 70 year old man with a cranky face and intimidating posturing.

Do I think D.Trump literally looks like that under his clothes? Do I think about what he specifically looks like? Do you care what I think about that? 😂 I’ve no clue and I never took time to think about it until now. I’ve always wondered why women found him attractive, but different women find all kinds of men attractive… and with him I always figured that his perceived power and his money came into play. 😉

What I think regarding how INDECLINE chose this representation is: They found an average 70 year old man and used him as their model for the body of the statue.

I’m not talking about the average fit 70 year old movie star that works out with a trainer at the gym and a nutritionist, and looks dashing in a bathing suit and people comment on how he looks 15 years younger… such as Tom Selleck and Sam Elliot. They aren’t your average 70-something year old men, and it’s safe to say that they ie. someone who looks like them wouldn’t have been his body double models for the statue.

In reality, Stephen Root (yes, granted, he’s only 64 years old but I thought he was a little older) is likely a far more accurate representation and and much more similar to the model that was used. That’s practicality. That’s having sat in several college art classes in which I had to draw from a real life aging nude male model.

And why? Why that pudgy representation in addition to the small balls? Because apart from swimming in a pool of bank notes, can you really picture D. Trump working out in a gym? Even if it’s one he had built in one of his homes? 

I think it’s more realistic that the only time he sweats is when he’s lying (as he stands) underneath the lights of the cameras. And that the reason his suits, expensive and tailored as they may be, are a little too big and ill-fitting in order to hide the fact that he’s no Sam Elliot underneath. As someone who used to be thin, and then hovered around 280 lbs for far too long and is only now back below 200 lbs, I know the tricks to hide weight that I’m ashamed to have.

Or perhaps he’s lost weight and really is just too cheap to buy a new suit or have his current ones tailored.

I know I’ve said multiple times in my blog that I find him to be vile for things he’s said and done, and I’ll admit straight out that the ugliness I believe to be in his soul (if he has one) affects my visual perception of him apart from the bright orange skin and questionable squirrely hair. 

The fact that the statues were damned orange and included his iconic hair, real or toupee, is exaggerated and made the statues’ identity undoubtedly recognizable to the entire world even if nothing else about those statues can?

That’s funny.

That’s funny because the statues are 3-D caricatures, which happened to have been crassly naked. Caricatures are a worldwide phenomenon, and they’re traditionally funny. We got to fairs and circuses and carnivals where there are artist vendors who’ll do your caricature for $5 as a keepsake. We laugh at them, because they capture the parts of us that are most recognizable, even that parts we might not want to be so recognizable. They’re also traditionally used in political cartoons, which are hardly ever flattering (that’s being kind). It’s not such a huge jump for someone to sculpt one.

Please note… I’m not remarking at all about my personal unbiased opinion is about his physical appearance as a human being because a person can’t help the genetics they’re born with. I think to do so is an ugly thing. The rest is fair game. That’s the point of the statues. They’re not about his outward appearance.

That means that any artist anywhere has a lot to work with.

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This article below from The New Yorker is a must read. All of the things discussed in this article are verifiable. In fact many, many of the things discussed in it are things I’ve found in my own unprofessional, layperson’s research over the past year. There’s nothing that’s really surprising in this article: Trump is an immoral, uneducated, dangerously selfish, unfeeling, pathologically lying, psychopath.

If you’re a Trump Supporter or you’re on the fence, please read this New Yorker article, and let it help you understand how immoral it would be to vote for this individual. Your conscience would not be clear, but marred.

It’s so very easy to find unbiased information about him that’s factual and none of it, literally none of it is good. He’s playing everyone for a fool, running a game show. A man who hasn’t evolved a single bit since fifth grade.

Just like it’s very easy to find unbiased information about HRC that’s factual and not put out by the GOP. HRC, who has evolved somewhat and who has a proven track record of helping people and establishing humanitarian works even if she’s made some questionable choices, would be a vote that allows me to sleep well at night.

Even pretending to consider voting Trump? Gives me anxiety you wouldn’t believe. A fear I can’t describe. Nausea in the pit of my stomach that won’t go away.

 

In “The Art of the Deal,” Tony Schwartz helped create the myth that Trump is a charming business genius. Now he calls him unfit to lead.

Source: Trump’s Boswell Speaks – The New Yorker

 

And let me just say… this whole fucking thing with Melania and that damn speech. It really does get worse and worse. I take back what I said. Let’s not gloss over the fact that she outright plagiarized the speech. Whether you like or hate Michelle Obama, her speech was plagiarized from eight years ago. And no, Michelle Obama didn’t magically create a time machine that brought her here to 2016 to plagiarize Melania Trump’s speech. Sit the fuck down. And no, it’s not Hillary Rodham Clinton’s fault that Melania Trump plagiarized the Democratic First Lady’s speech.

She plagiarized, a criminal offense. Okay? That happened. She refuses to admit it happened or even apologize. In fact, she and her husband are doubling down.

So today, this happened too. Let’s just try to absolve Princess Melania.

 

A staff writer of the Trump Organization, the company owned by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, has claimed responsibility for inserting passages in a speech given at the Republican National Convention by Trump’s wife Melania that resembled parts of a 2008 speech by first lady Michelle Obama.

The woman, Meredith McIver, released a statement on Wednesday apologizing for using the language, which she said Melania Trump recited to her in a phone call, without checking to see how closely it matched Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention eight years ago.

Source: Trump staff writer takes responsibility for Melania speech controversy

 

Read between the lines there. Melania Trump recited what she wanted to say in her speech. The speech writer, Ms. McIver, failed to fact check and edit the speech properly to make sure that Princess Melania wasn’t plagiarizing. Therefore she’s taking the fall for Melania. Yeah. Very up and up goings on over there, yeah?

 

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Veruca SaltWhen I got home from work I had to go have a talk with one of my neighbors because of a situation with another neighbor’s out-of-control daughter.  The girl is in 2nd grade, a year behind my daughter and in the same grade as my friend’s daughter. Veruca moved into the rental house across the street from us at the beginning of the school year, and while she was a bit abrasive in the beginning, I thought that maybe she just needed to settle into getting to know the girls on the street and in her school.  She needed a chance.

I don’t typically blame children, especially young children like this in second grade, for inappropriate behaviors when I suspect that there are parenting issues and/or surrounding family issues at home.  By inappropriate behaviors, I mean going beyond being coarse and abrasive and an overly strong personality.  I’m the mom who teaches ALL of my daughters to try to determine if someone just has a strong personality and maybe social differences as opposed to outright being a bully.  I’m the mom who listens to her daughters while gently coaching them to remain sensitive souls, but to try not to take harsh personalities and attitudes personally.  I NEVER use the words “toughen up” or “develop a thicker skin” with them because that implies something is wrong with my girls.  I don’t want them to lose their own sense of worth and I think that their sensitivity is important.  It makes them sensitive to when other children are bullied and they step in and stand up for those children.  They stand up for their own sisters.

So we gave this girl a chance, the entire time letting my youngest know that playing with this girl was entirely her choice and I would never force her.  I told her that if she chose not to play with her at any time she would be allowed to tell the girl why.  Giving Veruca the benefit of the doubt hasn’t worked, I’m sad to say.  She has gotten worse instead of better.

I’ve learned that Veruca comes from a split family, and she’s often upset that her father lives several states away seeing her rarely.  I’ve learned that Veruca dislikes her stepfather, especially now that she has a 3 year old little brother and a nearly 1 year old baby brother (both of whom she adores).  She’s jealous of the obvious love and positive attention that they get, and the lack of attention she and her older brother get.  She and her older brother are very close, and he’s protective of her, and they’re disciplined more harshly and unfairly than their younger siblings.  They are not, however, parented.  We live on a busy street and the one and three year olds are allowed outside alone.  It takes at least half an hour before she notices the three year old is gone.  Veruca’s mom relies on the hope that other families are outside and watching out for her children.  Her little ones tend to run straight for the road unless they think my friend’s children are in their pool and then they’re sent over in their bathing suits and floaties without waiting for an invitation.  These are things I’ve witnessed firsthand or things that Verucal has told me.  I’ve caught her in several lies too and called her on them.  Whenever I call her out, I’m firm but gentle… I’m parental.  🙂  I don’t play games.  And I’m teaching my daughters not to play games because I want them to be mindful of how their actions and words affect other people.  I want them to be kind, but also to know how to defend themselves and each other.

Veruca is, simply put, not nice to any of my daughters.  She says some outright mean things, things I don’t care to repeat, but they’re clearly intended to be hurtful and she knows they’re hurtful… she waits until adults aren’t around.  She waits until the adults that she knows will chastize her because she’s bullying those children.  When my eldest is outside with her sisters keeping an eye on them, Veruca sasses her and is fresh.  Again making sure that no adult is present when it happens and tries to act innocent and as if she was misunderstood when she gets caught and overheard by an adult.  She offers to let Sweet Girl ride her scooter and then shoves her off of it.  She pushes Sweet Girl off of my other daughter’s bike.  She insinuates that she thinks Sweet Girl is dumb and stupid.  She has asked me what’s wrong with Sweet Girl, why is she behaving “wrong.”  She’ll ask my youngest to come out to play or come over when she sees her, and then when my friend’s daughter comes outside she’ll just run off and leave or say, “I don’t really want to play with you.  G is outside now.”

Luckily my other daughters stick up for Sweet Girl and tell Veruca she’s out of line and it needs to stop.  If my daughters get fed up enough to tell her straight out, “You’re being mean and I don’t feel like playing with you.  If you don’t leave I’m going in the house,” or “you haven’t been treating me nicely when we play, and you’re not nice to my sister, so I’m not going to play with you,” or when she knocks on the door tell her, “No, I’m not coming outside with you.  I don’t feel like playing with you any more,” she runs home to tell her mother how mean my girls are.

AND YET not once has her mother come to my door to find out why this happens, why my daughters tell her they don’t want to play with her, or anything.  She never comes banging on my door to tell me how mean my girls are for, well, anything.  Why not? Your daughter is upset with mine, don’t you care? You wave to me every day and expect me to watch your child at the bus stop when I help my friend and watch her child at the bus stop, but you won’t come to my house to find out why your daughter is upset?

So the situation with my friend.  Since I’ve been responsible for helping her get her daughter on the bus before my own girls’ bus comes, I’ve been able to witness up close some inappropriate behavior.  I’ve witnessed her outright say rude and mean things to my friend’s daughter… just vicious things… and saw that sweet little girl’s face crumble at hearing someone who was supposed to be her friend say vile things.  Namecalling.  Commenting on her appearance and her hair.  Calling her ugly.  Commenting on whatever she thinks will land a torpedo.  I called her out immediately telling her how inappropriate and mean it was, and how hurtful she was being to my friend’s daughter.  Instead of apologizing she first said that she had NOT said anything, that I heard wrong.  I corrected that business right away.  She then said that I misunderstood and she was joking, and as an adult I should have realized she was joking.  I told her that you never say cruel things like that even as a joke.  This happened three times on separate occasions and I finally told her that if it didn’t stop I’d be telling my friend.

From then on, she has made sure not to do it in my presence but she does do it.  Yesterday all of the girls were in my friend’s pool.  When my friend briefly went in the house, Veruca told my friend’s daughter to look under the water with her goggles and then full fledged mooned her.  She also flashed her privates.  Ok, kids may be kids but my friend’s daughter was upset and told my daughter, knowing my daughter would tell me.  She’s afraid of retaliation.  I found out last night and since you don’t really text this sort of thing, I told my friend face to face after work.  I introduced it as “this is my experience” and “my daughters had the choice to play with her but a situation at your house yesterday has escalated it to my daughters no longer being allowed to be around her and here’s why.”  I told her about how just minutes earlier when I was waiting for her to come out of the house, Veruca invited my daughters into the pool to play with them, and I said no to her.  Three times.  At the same time we said, “Obviously my/your girls don’t need an invitation because it’s open invitation even when we/you aren’t home but…” the fact was that this girl made the invitation when she had no idea if it was ok and it wasn’t her pool to begin with.

I then found out that she and her husband are aware of the inappropriate behavior and they’ve witnessed a lot too.  They’ve been debating cutting off play time with their daughter but they didn’t know about the bus stop incidents I mentioned.  We compared notes and some of the things I heard… curls my toes.  Most of what we compared matched.

We witnessed some gutsy behavior right then and there.  Some of what we already discussed about both Veruca and one of her little brothers.  Later when I walked home, their mother was only just coming outside wondering where her son was not even knowing Veruca had gone to get him and put floaties on him and tried to sneak him into the pool.  We had mutual concerns as to why we let things go on so long… we each didn’t know the full extent of the ridiculousness.  I know I’m being vague, but trust me, there are some issues.

I found out bullies other kids on the bus and in school and is in constant trouble for it.  My daughters were feeling like they were being targeting specifically, not knowing that they weren’t really “special” and Veruca essentially behaves this way all the time.  In fact, she’s worse when she’s not around my girls and my friend’s daughter.  Veruca doesn’t have many, if any, friends at school because she’s known as a bully and the children are either afraid of her or don’t like her.  My friend’s daughter and until yesterday, my daughters, have been her only playmates… her longest running playmates… because our daughters and we moms felt bad for her.  We also feel bad that there aren’t more young girls on our street for them to play with.  Not any more.  My friend stated that she’s going to tell her husband, and he’s going to say it’s the last straw and they’re going to do what he wanted to do since the first month the girl’s family moved in: not allowed to play with Veruca.  I’ll be honest now… I felt within the first two meetings that this is how it would turn out and debated pulling the plug right away.  I wanted to give her a chance and teach my daughters the value of giving someone the chance, of second chances, and prayed that Veruca would take those chances.  I hoped that if she was told directly enough times, and if when she was nice the reward was being played with, she would change her behavior and attitude.

I’m really sad that didn’t happen.  I’m proud of my girls.  I’m sad that they put up with it so long, but I think we all felt trapped having her live across the street and banging on our door constantly.  And we really are the type to give everyone a chance or six and the benefit of the doubt.  Until my girls get hurt.  Until my friends’ children get hurt.  Then I feel guilty that I let it go on so long.

I love my friend and her family, and I love her daughter.  My daughters and my husband love their family and especially their daughter.  It had to be done, and I know if it were my daughters, I would need to know so I could make an informed decision.  I feel bad for Veruca because I think that there’s a lapse in parenting and discipline that tells her that her parents care. My daughters have viewed this all along as a teaching moment, thankfully, and knew that I was open to them saying they never wanted to play with Veruca ever again.  I took the burden away.  They were relieved to finally have the fallback of, “We’re not allowed to hang out with you/spend time with you/play with you.  It’s time for you to leave.”  They have scripts in place for whatever her responses may be.  I’ve told them that first time or two she comes banging on the door, I’ll handle it if they feel too nervous to handle it because after all, I’m the mom.

I think they’ve all handled themselves really well so far.  I’m raising some great little self-advocates.  And I’m sad that Veruca turns out to be Sweet Girl’s first bully and whenever it happens I’m not there.  Never again.

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English: Boston Red Sox Cap Logo

English: Boston Red Sox Cap Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve started and restarted this entry several times, and I can’t seem to start it appropriately.  I’ve been watching and listening to coverage about the bombings at the Boston Marathon.  Even though it’s not on the same scale as 9/11 with planes versus buildings, or the number of people injured and murdered, it has a very similar feel to me.  Someone suffocated their own soul in order to cause as much fear and damage as they could on a day of celebration in one of our nation’s most famous and beloved cities.

An 8 year old child died today in the explosions.  A child the same age as my youngest daughter.  Someone doesn’t get to bring home their baby tonight.  I don’t want to imagine that.

People were having limbs amputated on the scene because otherwise, they would have died.  And this is only beginning.  It’s only been four hours.

Thank God there was already a virtual army of first responders, medical personnel, and police officers.

But don’t you know that in my Facebook feed there are already people almost taking delight, it seems, over how things like this happen multiple times daily in other parts of the world.  The insinuation being, of course, that this happens on a large scale in war-riddled parts of the world and we not only barely notice but if we notice then we don’t care.  That all of those lives lost, maimed, and traumatized are somehow… I don’t know what.  But I find it self-serving and obnoxious.  It’s like saying, “Why are you so upset? You don’t have a right to be upset about this unless you’re also upset and passionate about this when it happens anywhere else in the world! You’re a hypocrite if you’re upset about this! Especially if you don’t know anyone in Boston!”

Well, of course this hits closer to home.  It IS HOME.  People we know and love participate in the Boston Marathon and attend Boston Red Sox games.  They come from all over the country to participate.  People walk around the city before these events to get a feel for the city or to look for parking or just to walk from their lodgings to the events.  Boston is everyone’s city.  If you haven’t been to Boston as an American, you’ve at least been to a city much like it.  You know someone who has been there or lived there or gone to school there.  You’ve attended a sporting even there.  You’ve gone to the theater or a concert there.  It’s pubs and hockey and so much more.

This sort of thing doesn’t happen here in every day life.  It’s not expected.  OF COURSE we’re upset.  This shouldn’t be a way of life anywhere, and it’s not a way of life here.

The people at this event were from every area of the country and nearly every walk of life.  The Boston Marathon is one of those symbols of America.  Just like baseball and emotional patriotism (oh hey, Boston Red Sox game tonight as well as Patriot’s Day, remember?).  This was personal.

I’m not sure how I’m going to explain this to the girls.  It’s not as if we haven’t had enough practice breaking other bad news to them.  They’re not allowed to watch the news, so they won’t be allowed to watch continuing coverage.  Luckily it’s not a school week either so other children at school won’t be bringing it up and I’ll have some time to figure things out.  It’s not like we really know what’s going on yet… no one has taken responsibility for the bombs and any leads haven’t been publicized.  We just don’t know, and we don’t even know if it’s terrorism and if it is, if it’s home grown or international.

::sigh::

For now I’ll just hug them bunches and tell them how much I love them.  I’m sure they’ll squirm away and tell me how weird and embarrassing I am.  I’ll then point out that I’m not the one who clips barrettes to my lip and then can’t get them off, even though I’ve done that more than once.  Well not RECENTLY, right???

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My home computer has given me the black screen of doom twice now.   Those are just baby crashes, right?  I’m still waiting for the blue screen of doom.  In any case, this computer is nearly worthless.  I can hardly to a thing on it.  It freezes and semi-crashes.  I’m  just hoping I’ll have time to order a new computer from this computer before that blue screen comes up.

It’s such a piece of junk that in the middle of as system restore last week IT DELETED ALL RESTORE POINTS RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF RESTORING IT TO AN AWESOME RESTORE POINT.  Oh, and the reinstallation CD’s are worthless.  Vivienne (the computer) hates them.  She must think they make her look fat or have too many calories or something.  But she won’t accept them.  She spits them out and offers these phony sounding error messages.

GAH it’s dying.  Gasping for breath.  It’s too bad I can’t smack it around like the printer at work to coax it to do what it’s supposed to do.

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