Helpful Definitions

October 6, 2016

Deplorable: Person who is racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, and/or believes that those of a different gender/race/religion/sexual orientation/ethnicity are less than, and should be despised/persecuted on those grounds alone.

If you fit this definition, guess what? You’re deplorable, yes, she was talking about you, and you should be ashamed of yourself.

If you don’t, you’re not, she wasn’t, and we’re cool. You can still not like her because of her policies, but not because she thinks it’s un-American to be a bigot. Unless you think it’s not un-American to be a bigot.

Then you’re deplorable.

Things I Learned Today About Sexual Assault and The People Who Taught Me

October 14, 2016
1. Men don’t rape women unless they’re pretty. (Source: Current Republican Presidential Nominee [hereinafter “RPN”])
2. It’s okay to assault women if you’re in the private sector, but not if you’re in the public sector. (Pete Hoekstra, RPN Campaign Co-Chair, Michigan)
3. If you don’t vote for the RPN, more women will be assaulted. (Michelle Bachman, Former Republican Congresswoman from Minnesota)
4. You couldn’t grope a woman in the First Class section of an airplane in the 1980’s because planes with movable armrests didn’t exist back then (except for the ones that did)(Katrina Pierson, RPN Spokeswoman).
5. If a woman doesn’t immediately report a sexual assault, it probably didn’t happen. (Joe Scarborough)
6. Women who DO report sexual assaults are obviously “just looking to get some free publicity.” (Hope Hicks, RPN Spokeswoman). Because all women want to share that sort of humiliation, and that’s exactly the kind of publicity people actively seek out.
7. IF a woman reports a sexual assault, you should tweet her phone number to as many people as you can so they can harrass her even further. (Lou Dobbs, Fox News)
8. Every person who makes accusations of sexual assault should be heard. Unless you’ve made them against the current RPN. (Kayleigh McEnany, RPN Spokeswoman)
9. Telling a 10-year-old girl that you’ll be dating her in 10 years, when you’re a 46-year-old man, is completely normal. (Curt Schilling)
10. You’re not allowed to judge someone for their despicable comments about sexually assaulting women unless you are “without sin.” (Former NY Mayor Rudy Giuliani)
11. If a man hasn’t assaulted YOU, then there’s no way that he could have assaulted anyone else. (Kellyanne Conway, RPN’s Campaign Manager)
12. The RPN wouldn’t be such a disgusting pig if all those liberals hadn’t promoted the sexual revolution, which has devalued women. (Jeffrey Lord, National Spokesman for RPN’s Campaign)
13. If you can’t handle being sexually harassed in the workplace, you don’t belong there, and you should be a kindergarten teacher. (RPN’s son and namesake )
14. The correct answer to any question about RPN’S hot mic comments is: “We have to defeat ISIS and reduce the national debt, and Obama has ruined this country.” (RPN’s running mate). Sort of like the answer to the question, “should dogs be allowed to vote?” (Answer: Obviously) is, “eating carbs after 6 will sabotage your weight loss program.”
It’s been a very educational day.

What I Learned Today on Social Media


November 9, 2016


1. All Democrats are lazy, unemployed, and survive on public subsidies. That’s why they have all that time to protest.


2. Democrats love President Obama because the ACA provided them with free insurance that only Republicans had to pay for.


3. Black people should get over the whole slavery thing because it happened 150 years ago.


4. Anyone who is unhappy with the results of the election should leave the country, which would be better off without us lazy, entitled Democrats, anyway.


5. Cats sure are cute.


6. The real victims in our country are white men. It’s so unfair how they have to pay child support to their mean ex-wives.


7. Cheesy Corn Casserole…the perfect new addition to your Thanksgiving line-up!


8. Some people voted for Trump but didn’t actually want him to win.


9. Hillary Clinton runs a child sex ring with a bunch of Muslim guys. Probably why she lost.


10. You can never see too many pictures of a koala bear.


Curt Schilling is an Idiot

October 26, 2016

Curt Schilling says that the Republican Party presidential nominee’s comments about wanting to date underage girls is no big deal,…/300924-curt-schilling-defends-trump-af…, and he doesn’t have a problem with his candidate’s now-infamous hot mic comments because they were made “over 11 year ago” and because he (Curt) “is bigger than those remarks and we have all said stupid things throughout our lives.” This from the same man whose first reaction to sexually malicious tweets about his 17-year-old daughter was, “I’m going to get in the car and go kill somebody,” the same man who would “rather kill [the guys who posted the tweets] than speak to them,” the same man who claims to believe that “no woman should be subjected to the abuse that his teenaged daughter faced,” the same man who said, “if you’re a young lady and being harassed, first of all it’s against the law. As a young lady and a human, no one, anywhere, ever, is allowed to talk to you that way.”…/curt-schilling-this-wasnt-a-mistak…. So, what have we learned? It’s okay to ogle 10-year-old girls, or to make jokes about dating them “in a few years,” or to grope women, or to joke about grabbing them by their genitalia – unless it’s your daughter. Well, Curt, those 12 women your candidate assaulted, that 10-year-old-girl he wants to date, those young women at the Miss Teen USA pageant he walked in on while they were getting dressed—they’re ALL someone’s daughter. Just because they’re not yours doesn’t mean it doesn’t count.

Top 10 Positives of a Donald J. Trump Presidency

December 31, 2016

10. Stock market bump lines pockets of top 1%…Trump Electorate, not so much.
9. No health insurance? No problem! Lots of hospitals have charitable forgiveness programs, and the ER is always open!
8. Four years for Trump Electorate to ponder and appreciate the immortal words of Lewis Carroll.
7. Pharmaceutical industry booms as same Electorate turns to prescription drugs in attempt to combat only consistent and predictable “policy” of DJT Administration….gaslighting.
6. Muslim Registry nothing like Nuremberg Laws of 1935…Nothing like them. Not even a little bit.
5. Deporting all those pesky illegals = jobs for Americans looking to break into the housekeeping and produce picking industries.
4. Finally, a conservative Supreme Court! Instead of the 4/4 split and Anthony Kennedy swing vote, now we’ll have a 4/4 split and Anthony Kennedy swing vote!
3. America is gonna be great again, once we get rid of everyone who isn’t a straight white male Christian or the women who exist solely to service them…you know, women devoid of any ambition or sense of self-determination…women who keep their mouths shut, even when someone is grabbing their p*ssies. That’s an America we can all be proud of!
2. It’s not like transparency in government, or in our Commander in Chief in particular, is important or anything.
1. 4 years x 365 days per year = 1,460 days in which 65,844,610 people work together to make sure that this despicable, deplorable, waxy-faced toilet plunger, this barely literate, moist-sweaty toddler-Man, this skid-mark on America’s tighty-whiteys, this bile-spewing bad joke on every living creature on the planet, gets the Mitch McConnell treatment so that on January 20, 2021, he can return to his Cap’n Crunch Penthouse to reflect on all the good he did for the Electorate he laughs at in private.

This is the man you elected, Trump Voters. Don’t say you weren’t warned.


Raising Little Racists

December 14, 2016

A child, or children, in the school district in which I live recently wrote the “n” word, as well as swastikas, on the window of a publicly-owned school bus. I don’t know what age/grade range we are talking here, although I am not sure it really matters.

That children of any age, in any locale, would engage in such behavior is awful, but the fact that it happened in MY home school district is pretty horrifying. I live in a suburban, middle class school district largely populated by children with plenty of food in their high-end refrigerators and two parents in their 4-bedroom, 2-car-garage, single-family homes. Our parents spend many weekends attending day-long soccer tournaments, pay for karate and piano lessons and educational enrichment at places like Kumon and Sylvan Learning Center. Back to school night is usually a zoo, teacher conferences are usually attended by both parents, and the PTA is a robust organization that probably has enough volunteers for three school districts. We have a Whole Foods. We have wine enthusiasts. There are many yoga studios.

Ours is a well-funded school district whose children routinely earn high standardized test scores. Our high school regularly sends its sports teams to statewide championships. We employ caring, qualified, devoted educators who are committed to providing the best possible education to all of their students, regardless of their limitations. Some older residents complain that school taxes are too high and criticize the forward-thinking decision to build new schools or update old ones so that they are state-of-the-art learning facilities. High schoolers have many AP options, most go on to college, and judging by the student parking lot, drive pretty nice cars.

My point being, this is a well-funded school district that largely serves the children of educated, well-heeled, high-end-luxury-car-driving parents who expect that their children will receive an outstanding, diverse, and mutli-faceted public education, from kindergarten through graduation. They believe themselves to be unencumbered by bigotry of any kind and strive to instill in their kids the values of kindness, respect, and acceptance of all people, regardless of color, race, or creed. These same parents, if you asked them, would likely insist that they do not tolerate racism in any form or from any source, including, and most especially, their children.

But now, at least one kid has written the “n” word, as well as swastikas, on the window of a public school bus.

That this happened probably shouldn’t be a surprise, even in my school district, given the current political climate in which a newly-emboldened segment of our country has learned that they can share the fact of their deplorability with the rest of the world without fear of criticism or negative judgment. At the same time, the person who emboldened them in the first place has refrained from condemning this conduct in any meaningful or effective way. Instead, he has remained uncharacteristically silent as to whether such behavior is consistent with the agenda he hopes to pursue as president, having apparently determined that the cast of “Hamilton” and “Saturday Night Live” present a larger and more invidious threat to civility and public discourse than the increasing incidence of racial epithets and anti-Semitic slurs by school children.

The blog by Dr. Munson is thoughtful and conveys the depth of understanding and insight required to generate awareness and sensitivity, which is the only way that such ugliness is ever erradicated. As a parent who has attempted to instill values and morality in my children by means of this type of respectful dialogue (as opposed to the “because I said so, and don’t argue with me” approach), I applaud Dr. Munson’s patience and good intentions in the hope of enlightening those who might otherwise add their voices to such hateful expression.

As a parent, however, I also understand that there are some moments when the “because I said so, and don’t argue with me” approach is an appropriate response to put an end to behavior which is unacceptable, such as running out into the street or jumping up and down with an open pair of scissors in ones hand. On those occasions when our children are doing or about to do something potentially life-threatening, we don’t stop to engage in a “teachable moment” dialogue, unless by “teachable moment” you mean, “STOP THAT THIS INSTANT, NOW, AND DON’T EVER DO THAT AGAIN.” If you want to sit down later, when all involved have cooled down and are sufficiently removed from the emotion of the situation to discuss why it’s not okay to play with razor blades or get into that stranger’s van to help him find his puppy, that’s fine. But perhaps the overriding message to be conveyed in such instances is that some things, you just don’t do, ever. EVER.

As a parent who has also raised millenials against the backdrop of the self-esteem movement, moreover, I have shied away from shaming my children, preferring instead to point out that certain behavior is not okay without suggesting that the child in question is an inherently bad person for having engaged in it. I think this is the right course 99% of the time, but there are circumstances in which shame is appropriate, and when children should be made to confront the reality and enormity of their conduct. It doesn’t happen all that often, but when it does, it should be addressed swiftly, unequivocally, and absolutely. For example, if your child were to call a friend a “retard” as shorthand for suggesting that said person, though of average intelligence, is nonetheless behaving in a way that casts doubt as to his or her judgment in a particular situation, an appropriate response would be, “That is not okay, you know better, and you should be ashamed of yourself.”

And so, when I read the article in the local newspaper about some budding little anti-Semitic racist(s) living in my own backyard, I ultimately concluded that Dr. Munson’s blog was probably the right response. I believe that beginning a dialogue and creating a forum for honest and respectful discussion is a good thing. Facilitating all of us in becoming more enlightened and enriched by the sharing of our collective experiences is a good, high-minded approach. Perhaps it will even encourage us to rethink old attitudes and emerge as more loving, mindful, and inclusive individuals who, in turn, set an example of acceptance, tolerance, and caring.

But I had another response as well as regards the children who scrawled this filth on the windows of busses my tax dollars helped pay for and maintain, and to those who taught them such hatred:

Shame on you. You know better. This is not okay. Don’t ever – EVER – do this again.

He’s Not Who You Think He Is

November 9, 2016

He’s not pro-life.
He’s not a Christian.
He’s not prepared….
And he doesn’t care about your problems.
He does not believe he is accountable to anyone or anything.
But you believed him when he said he was, and did, and you elected him, and now he is our President-elect.
Which means he is MY President-elect, and as an American who loves this country, I will accept the will of a people I do not recognize or understand.
I will support him, just as his followers refused to accept and support her.
I don’t have a gun, and even if I did, you don’t have to worry about me starting a revolution based upon an election system that now magically appears not to be rigged.
To those crowing in triumph and reveling in how all those arrogant, out-of-touch, worthless, Ivy-League educated liberal elite Dems finally got their due, good sportsmanship and personal integrity require me to congratulate you on a hard-fought battle, just as I know you would have had the results been different.
In all of the vitriol and negativity that has been the 2016 Presidential Campaign, I guess I never realized how much hate there is in this magnificent, surpassingly beautiful country. I vastly underestimated the extent to which anger and frustration can so blindly and effectively and irrationally be marshaled towards the worst possible solution to complex and legitimate concerns.
He will be our President, and I will hope that he will be a good one and that you, my brothers and sisters who put your faith in him, were right.

In Defense of Negligent Mothers

June 1, 2016   

Over the last few days, I’ve read lots of well-written and articulate posts/blogs suggesting that maybe we shouldn’t be calling for the beheading of the Cincinnati Zoo Mom, and they’re right, for a lot of reasons.  But here are a few more:

First, assuming Cincinnati Zoo Dad was along for the trip, why is no one suggesting that HE’S a bad parent? Where was HE when all of this was going on? Why is HE given a pass? Was HE not equally responsible for keeping an eye on his child? That seems unfair.

Second, I remember a day when my oldest was 3 and we went to K-Mart to buy Easter shoes. In the three seconds it took me to check the price of a pair of white patent leather Mary Janes, my daughter disappeared. Turns out she was hiding in a clothing rack, from which she emerged unscathed [excepting whatever damage was sustained witnessing her mother in full-on thermonuclear hysteria and being party to petty theft (I ran out of the K Mart clutching said shoes without paying for them – I returned later to settle the bill)] but for the 5 minutes she was missing, I was convinced she’d been kidnapped by a predator and that I would never see her again.

That didn’t happen, and she is now a well-adjusted 25-year-old who occasionally eats bugs. Had it gone the other way, and had there been social media back then in good old 1994, I’m sure I’d have been the target of the sort of vilification now being heaped on Cincinnati Zoo Mom, notwitstanding that many have noted (and not always very nicely) the staggering degree of overprotectiveness I demonstrated when my kids were little.

Third, I don’t know the child in question, but any kid who can get himself over a protective barrier, survive a 15 foot drop, and speed through yards of jungle in a split second sounds like a kid who probably has a lot of energy and is pretty quick on his feet. I also had one of those kids – one who could scale a refrigerator at the age of 20 months (still don’t know how she did it) and was the only person in the house who knew how to successfully manipulate the child-proof locks and other safety devices designed and installed solely for HER protection. She required CONSTANT, FOCUSED supervision, and even that did not preclude injury to home furnishings and other people.

I tried my very, very best, every day, to stay on top of her and keep her (and others) safe, but my diligence did not prevent her from throwing a jar of spaghetti sauce out of the grocery store cart, or turning off all the lights in church during a Good Friday vigil, or emptying six feet of library shelf of several hundred books, or biting a friend on the cheek and drawing blood, or falling down the basement stair not once but twice…and the list goes on.

So, you can be a good parent, and you can try your hardest, but you will inevitably, and without realizing it, place your child in harmful, potentially disastrous situations. Sometimes, the child falls into a gorilla enclosure. Most of the time, they don’t.

The gorilla is gone, and that makes me very sad. But until you tell me that Cincinnati Zoo Mom was sitting in a restaurant working on her third margarita, reading People Magazine, and sniffing heroin, after having shot or otherwise disabled Cincinnati Zoo Dad, leaving her kid to run amok for hours on end with zero supervision, I think I will refrain from being a Mrs. McJudgy Pants and just be thankful that my kids managed to survive having me for a mother.

Mean What you Say

November 10, 2016

“I wanted a change from business as usual in Washington.”
“I voted for the candidate who represented Republican values.”
“I voted for the lesser of two evils.”

These are some of the things I’ve heard and read in the last few days as those who supported Trump attempt to explain their decision. As an initial matter, I’m not sure that anyone should be required to defend why they voted for one candidate over the other, but given the current climate, it’s not surprising that some of the electorate feel compelled to provide a rational basis for their choice. And that’s fine.

In the last week, I’ve read two blogs by young college women, both of whom supported Trump. The first, “Dear Hillary, I really hope you do not become the first female president,” is a barely literate, severely fact-challenged pastiche of Clinton myths and faulty assumptions, and it deserves no one’s time or attention. It left me nauseous and contemplating my own wishful retort: “Dear Summer Marie, I really hope you never hold any position in which you regularly interact with young people.”

The second, “I am not a racist,” by Cassie Hewlett,, is better. It’s well-written and shows some insight and maturity, most importantly as to the point that not all Trump supporters are hateful, mean-spirited trolls looking to deport anyone who wasn’t born in this country, or to end marriage equality. Cassie, like many, explains that she voted for Mr. Trump because she supports small businesses, free trade, and a stronger foreign policy – nothing wrong with that. Cassie also points out that as a Republican on an American college campus, she spent most of yesterday surrounded by Dems in Mourning, which made her fear being ostracized if she were to express her happiness at the election results – that’s not cool, either.

But I have to take issue with Cassie, and with those otherwise rational and thoughtful people who voted for the human equivalent of Cheez-Whiz, because their choice for president addresses none of the stated reasons for why they picked him in the first place.

First up, change. A lot of Americans are really, really frustrated with the partisan-generated gridlock that has plagued our country ever since Senate Majority Leader and Perennial Turtle Impersonator Mitch McConnell voiced his intention to make Barack Obama a one-term president by opposing every single piece of legislation that wasn’t sponsored by a Republican. That frustration was evident in the Republican party’s nomination of Trump himself last Srping, and in the mass adulation of my candidate of choice, Bernie Sanders.

If you examine the results of the 2016 Congressional elections, however – and I did – it’s obvious that change was not, in fact, the driving factor in most voters’ election choices: Of the 472 Congressional races, incumbents ran in 424 of them, and 416 of those incumbents won re-election. Because 66 Senators were not up for re-election, 482 of the 538 members of the new Congress will be incumbents – that’s a whopping 90%. Does that sound like a mandate for change to you?

Next, a return to Republican values. The GOP has long been the party of strong foreign policy, a free market, and small business. It’s the party of people who were born in a log cabin they built themselves, people who aren’t looking for a handout, people who made their money the old-fashioned way, by sheer dint of hard work and determination. Those are fine values.

But in President-Elect Trump, we will have a commander in chief with no foreign policy experience – that is, none. Nada. Zilch. A man who, despite his many business ventures appears to have been far less successful than his gold-plated personal narrative would suggest. A man who has filed for bankruptcy more than once, who has presided over numerous entrepreneurial failures, and who is notable for stiffing small businesses for fees for services rendered and goods sold. And as for pulling oneself up by one’s bootstraps? Not so much – you can’t call yourself a self-starter when your first business venture was funded by $1 million you got from your dad.

There’s also the legitimate criticism that Trump is a Democrat in sheep’s clothing, a man who is secretly pro-choice, has no use for Christianity or any other religion, for that matter; a man who at one time said he agreed that the rich should pay more in taxes. From 2001 to 2009, he actually was a registered Democrat (as are most of his children), and he has donated to the campaigns of many Democratic candidates for public office.

Now, none of those things should be shocking or upsetting to those of us who bleed blue – and it’s the potential that he may turn out to be more moderate than his campaign dogma would suggest that gives me a small glimmer of hope. But Trump as the personification of Republican ideals? No. If Republicans had wanted someone who truly was, they had sixteen other candidates to choose from. They chose Trump.

Finally, the “lesser of two evils” defense. The flaw with this argument is that while Trump may be evil (although I think that may be too strong a word), Hillary is not. She is flawed, she was perhaps the single-worst candidate the Democratic Party could have selected, and she did little to correct the public perception of her as a dishonest and obfuscating career politician. But she isn’t evil.

What she is, is a woman who is careful in her pronouncements (with the exception, perhaps, of the “basket of deplorable” comment). She demonstrated rigid message discipline, refused to react to repeated low-blow attempts to throw her off her game (think Donald Trump bringing along Bill Clinton’s accusers to the second debate, for example), and she was relentless in her preparation. There was a lack of transparency that concerned many, and the nagging sense that a whiff of scandal seems to follow her wherever she goes.

But whatever her shortcomings or lapses in judgment, she did not make statements that lead many groups to believe that, if she were to become our leader, they would be marginalized. She did not reduce women to objects of sexual gratification. She did not suggest that Mexicans are criminals and that those of Mexican descent cannot be counted upon to discharge their professional duties with integrity and neutrality. She did not threaten to ban an entire group of people from entering our country based upon their religion. She gave no one in this country – save the rich – any reason to fear that their way of life might be in jeopardy.

And this is probably the single-most important thing that Trump supporters do not understand. They do not comprehend the impact of Trump’s statements on the groups to whom they were directed. For her part, Cassie Hewlett credits her parents for raising their kids “closer to the city so that we did not grow up sheltered and ignorant of the diverse world around us,” and for not being told that she “could not date or befriend someone because of their race, ethnicity, or gender identity.” I guess the Hewletts are to be commended for their forward-thinking child-rearing philosophy, and yet inherent in same is the appreciation that ignorance is the natural consequence of the very sort of isolation that Donald Trump now seeks achieve.

Cassie says that, as a result of the parenting she received, she’s not a racist, or homophobic, or sexist, and I believe her. She’s not likely to be swayed by Trump’s rhetoric, but not everyone was raised the way Cassie was. There are plenty of people – people who were raised in a sheltered, ignorant environment, people who do think it’s wrong to date or befriend someone who isn’t of the same race, ethnicity, or gender identity, and if we are to be a nation of equals, it’s critically important that our leaders take care that their words and actions do not alienate the very people they were elected to represent and govern. Prejudice and bigotry and anti-semitism do indeed exist in this country, and probably always will, but it is the job of every American who claims to strive for the equality imagined by our founding fathers to squash that kind of hatred when they see it, not to promote it.

But, because we now have a country in which our President-Elect has let it be known that Muslims are no longer welcome, can you be even remotely surprised by the anecdote I read on a CNN comments thread last night, in which a couple of hooligans in a pick-up taunted a Pakistani gentleman, minding his own business and gassing up his car the day after the election, jeering, “it’s time for you to go back to your own country now, Apu”?

I don’t believe all Trump voters are bad – I am related by birth or marriage to a number of them who I know to be otherwise good and loving people. What I do believe is that the life experience of most Trump voters is vastly different than those of the groups who now feel unwelcome and disconnected in a post-Trump presidency America, and that the assumptions and privilege that underpin the lives of most Trump supporters (and, indeed, my own) don’t permit any meaningful understanding of what it is like to be a racial, religious, or ethnic minority in this country.

Those who voted for Trump hoping that he would restore economic prosperity and a strong defense were able to disregard and quickly forget all the things he said that they didn’t like as the gristly part of a steak they are anxious to dig into. For blacks and Latinos, and Jews and Muslims, for those of Middle-Eastern descent, and those in the LGBTQ community, those statements can’t simply be set aside and ignored as the thoughtless, careless comments of an impulsive man given to hyperbole that they probably were. Those statements, many of which were made when he felt himself to be under attack, strike at the very fiber of who they are and whether they have a place in this country. That’s why Trump’s statements were so terribly damaging.

It’s time to move on, now, and move on we surely will. We are a resilient people who have a lot of cat videos and Instagram posts to get to, and we will heal. In the meantime, we have to find a way to peacefully co-exist in this country. As the main character in “LOST” used to say, “live together or die alone.” We have to try to understand, and accept, and love each other – all of us, every part of us; we have to try to see all the things we have in common and to rejoice in all the blessings we share as Americans. We are one nation, one country, one beautiful and magnificent and abundant land of freedom and opportunity. Let’s try to live in it together.