I am not sure what that metaphor is about right now. I feel very much at sea confused about America, the work I do and the place I live. Being adrift is not a good way to right oneself if a storm comes and in sailing one seeks shore and avoids rocks lest they crash. Then there is being hit in the head with a stone and having your skull caved in and there are days when I feel that way as well.
With the current hysteria of white people going nuts over finding black people doing things and having fits over Latino people speaking Spanish, I was thinking about dressing a bunch of black men in outfits found in Saudi Arabia and then have the walk along speaking Spanish which really ought to send the masses into hysteria. Finally the dream that terrorists are in the caravan and have arrived to commit heinous acts upon innocent Americans busy cell phoning their encounters with black people at Starbucks, the park, on the street, at the pool, in the laundromat or anywhere and everywhere black people go which is everywhere and anywhere white people go. And that includes places where Spanish is spoken as well as many other languages you will hear when you are in public. That is why it is called being in public.
Today begins the funeral processions for Pittsburgh. The endless other victims of Kentucky, yesterday in North Carolina, in Tennessee, in anywhere and everywhere in America are either in the hospital recovering, home permanently damaged or are being prepped for burial. Lather, rinse, repeat when it comes to gun violence.
Then we have the sexual sagas that I am frankly exhausted from. The New York Times did a summary highlight of the men and what happened since #MeToo and over 200 men lost their jobs with over one half of those being replaced by women. Well okay then but I am not sure if this is a placate thing or a genuine resolution to do better? Time will tell. But this week Hillary mentioned she would have liked to been President. Forewarning? Foreshadowing? Forward thinking? Or just a rhetorical thought spoken out loud. I will be frank that she needs to be better than Trump and accept loss in a way he seems to challenge himself about winning. Move on. It is not easy but try.
I read today two horrific articles in Mother Jones. First about Core Civics private prisons and their role in Immigrant Detention. It is rooted in slave economics and in Washington State sued another private prison company a few years ago, largely thanks to Mother Jones that again exposed the issues of using Immigrants to do large portion of work for both the private and public sector and how they are treated like human garbage. So when you think of the South turn that compass north. The Seattle Times also exposed how prisons exploited their inmates and their are repeated stories across the country about riots and neglect and abuse of inmates. So much for giving them skills and opportunities to readjust and rejoin society.
But is any of this ever changing? Well I saw this with regards to Black Americans, to Women and to those who are a member of the Gay community and now I am seeing it all being reversed, all in my lifetime and I am not yet 60!
Yesterday I had an interesting conversation with a 13 year old girl who is in 8th grade. She wants to be called by a gender neutral name and with a male pronoun but when you see her she is very much a girl. She is confused about her sexuality and is "dating" a girl but the issue about bi-sexuality is clearly something that she also identifies with and is upset that friends do not like her saying that as it eliminates trans people from her dating world. Jesusfuckingchrist how many labels and identities can a 13 year old CHILD endure? She has been admitted to a hospital for anxiety and attends therapy both group and singular, I have no idea if she is on meds but I suspect her progressive family has her on a regime given the history. She is charming, funny, smart and just confused. Who isn't at her age and who isn't period? I felt for her as she is the first and likely only child in Nashville I will ever engage with on that level and it is clear she is truly needing a role model and mentor on whom nothing more than a chance to be one's self is needed. I asked her if there were any member of her group that she liked and could get to know outside of group. She asked me what I meant by the word "liked" meant. I knew she meant sexually or romantically and there we are today that the word like has even sexual connotation. I see why kids are confused.
I am back at the same school proctoring ACT tests. Well I was ignoring them and leaving it to the full time staff as in order to proctor said tests there must be waivers signed and a registered list of who is doing it for the ACT people just in case questions/exams stolen what.have.you. So I perched on the bleachers in the gym and from minute one I knew and watched two boys definitely cheat. They were wearing hoodies to cover their faces, they were looking around constantly and doing their best to be distracting without attracting attention. They raised then lowered their hands and as I watched them for two hours I was sure they were cheating. I finally called another Proctor over and said; "Those boys over there may need help one has raised his hands a couple of times but changed his mind but I think it is worth asking." He did and the boys dismissed him. After the break at the 2 plus mark, the Administrator arrived took the boys, their tests and other girl behind them (also well covered with a hoodie) out of the gym. After a few minutes she came and asked me if I had noticed something. Here is where I want to point out that all of the players in this scene are black other than myself. So while I knew for quite some time I had to figure out how to play this out to avoid the ubiquitous card being tossed. She asked me what I noticed. I told her that the sun was moving across the room and these boys were turning their head and at times I thought raising their hands, at first I was not sure if it was to ask a question or to block light. As I knew there were two vacant seats on my side of the gym they could move too and was ready to assist if that was the case so I asked the other Proctor (a black man I purposely picked a black man from the group) to see if there was a problem. He came away without incident but I said I watched the boys and the hand game was beginning until they realized it was I watching them so they did not look up again and I in turn quit watching them as well. She asked me what they were wearing and here is where again I had to lie. The infamous hoodie. I said I don't really notice kids much as they all look the same, sweatshirts, sneakers, I only notice if a kid is wearing color and I know that the boys were however sitting next to a girl in a bright pink shirt and that I did notice. I looked over her shoulder and checked and yes I was right. The three kids did not return and I am not surprised I have been with kids too long and you can just tell. But today in today's climate with me being white, they black and wearing hoodies they could have pulled out an iPad and started copying answers. This is where we are.
The ugliness in America does seem to fall along race and gender and that is the influence of the Church. I cannot deny that for almost all of the confusion and rage and justification of it comes from the houses in which one worships. The freak Mike Pence who refuses to cross the street without his wife is just such an example of how these intensely over religious individuals feel that it is Jesus that will solve the issues and I am not sure what they are praying for - forgiveness or justification? Even Pence who denied that Trump's rhetoric has contributed to this insanity managed to find the Jesus Rabbi to evoke prayer for Saturday's victims. Really? He can't even manage to co-exist with conventional Jews which may explain why anti Semitism is all the rage right now, emphasis on rage.
And in the same Mother Jones was an essay by a young woman who is struggling with her own recollections of a sexual encounter gone wrong and in some tragic way rationalize it. But that in the Evangelical community she was ultimately responsible for the boy's failure to respect her boundaries and wishes. And while this falls under the bullshit concept of the Purity Culture is it any different in the secular world? I do recall the pledges and rings and I also recall the million man march so there you go. They fall into the bin of culture that will undoubtedly be joined with Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter and Me Too eventually as a moment. Sort of like crazy versions of right to life and their never ending metamorphoses. They never really go away they just rebrand themselves as a new kind of crazy
As I work in Education I recall the sex ed bullshit and the sudden switch back and by then the horse had left the barn and for a couple of years teaching it I realized that Toto we are not in Kansas anymore. And here living in Tennessee abstinence is still very much a part of the curriculum and there are many more byzantine laws about sex and assault (I thought the entire time yesterday what fucking laws I was breaking during my convo with the kid) but many states realized this is not helping stop teen pregnancies but actually contributing to them. Yes this is how we roll, we don't want women to have sex, or have access to birth control or have any option if that fails but then we also don't want them to have medical care pre or post pregnancy, maternity leave, affordable child care and of course an education to stop this from becoming a pattern. But sure just say NO. Wait is that about drugs or sex?
A couple of weeks ago I heard on NPR a woman who wrote a memoir on the subject of the purity bullshit and again the trauma that happens with sexual assault is only added by the endless shaming and blaming. Yes the handmaids have a tale for you.
What I did learn or at least confirm my worst fears or beliefs is that religion really fucks you up and hence their obsession with fucking. They are the ones who need you to come and come hard to Church to fund their tax exempt institutions that have enabled them to be exempt not only from taxes apparently but from laws such as molesting children.
What I thought was the most salient comment was that the same belief about passivity and submission that is written in the below piece about how it affects women and their belief and attitude about saying no or confronting someone about their behavior is one undoubtedly shared by the Catholic Priests as they looked to cover up their sins.
Irony that these same rapists and molesters tended to other's confessions to seek absolution. Look Homeward and Inward there Angel!
So as the election focuses on Evangelical women and their seeming oblivion or acceptance of Donald Trump then these books and articles by women who have left the flock and now facing truths should provide you with insight into why even women "educated" are Republican. The role of religion, how one is educated (secular vs not) and the States they grew up in with their attitude towards religion as a significant role in the State House and not just the Church House is critical. Women are not stupid they are willing participants in the abuse of women in the same way Serena is with regards to Offred who is raped in order to conceive. America, the great!
Blood on the rocks means you are still fertile and that in turn makes you valuable in America. When you are old and female you are not valuable you are disposable and this is where we are when it comes to being a woman. Care giver from birth to death. Just whose is the difference.