A Sad Day In America

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No matter who wins today… it is a sad day in America. It’s a day in which our citizens were forced to pick between two bad actors. A day in which our differences are magnified and our tolerance reduced to rubble. It’s a day everyone wishes had happened months ago so we would have been spared an election in which ugliness triumphed over decency and the worst in bad behavior was seen by our young.

When I was a kid growing up, I was excited about the possibility of someday having the privilege and honor of voting for president. It was taught that it was my duty to vote and I felt lucky to be able to exercise my right to determine which way I wanted our country to go. No more. Today as a fifty-five-year-old, I feel defeated and pessimistic by this system I once felt so comfortable in.Even worse, I feel scared and vulnerable that this experiment in Democracy is failing before my eyes and there are few alternatives available to replace it with.

These days, I no longer believe that my single vote can make a difference in which direction our country moves. And if I, an indoctrinated child of the 60’s can feel this way, why would any young adult, who now sees the world through the eyes of social media, believe that their vote would make a difference? In these days of declining voter participation in the electoral process, how can we expect our children to want to vote, much less hold the process sacred, when they hear so many people dissatisfied with the candidates and the deadlock we have been enduring? Why would they want to participate in any election when they have been told that it has been rigged? Why would they have faith in the system when so many of their elders no longer do?

Today, when I went to vote, I realized I was stooped over like an old lady, the weight of this election bearing down on my body, crushing my spirit and soul. Instead of being joyful I felt sorrow that our country had come to this…so many words without substance, so many promises that will never be fulfilled and so much hatred that neighbor has turned against neighbor. And I wonder whatever happened to the enthusiasm I once felt and I question if I can ever get it back?

Yes, today is a sad day because the possibility of new beginnings and the excitement about exercising our right to vote has vanished; replaced instead by an obligation to vote for the lesser of two evils. This election and these two candidates have brought this country to new lows we never should have reached and today I wonder if it is even possible to dig us out of the hole we find ourselves in. The promise of America has been compromised and it is a sad day indeed.

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You Say You Love Me But…

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You know my story. Three homegrown kids, three adopted from Korea. Two with autism and other disabilities. You know how hard we have worked to create this family by pouring our souls and our finances into getting exactly what our children need to succeed as they inch closer to becoming tax-paying adults.

You have been with us through our pregnancy issues and through our long and precarious adoption processes. You have stood beside us we were challenged to take on the school system and the medical establishment. You listened to my tears on those days where hour-long meltdowns were a common place occurrence and when our hearts were broken by  diagnoses that initially seemed as if they would be impossible to traverse. (They weren’t).

This YOU I am referring to is…you… my aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, and best friends. The people I have known and loved for a life-time.You… the people who have stood by my side through thick and thin for so many years. You…the people who have treated my kids like their own. I adore you, but at this moment in time, I must confess that I am confused. You tell me you me and love all of my children equally.  You assure me my boys are amazing. You also say that my daughters are intelligent and talented young women. And you tell me you would like your Caucasian son to marry my Asian daughter someday.  And yet, you also tell me you are voting for Trump. I just cannot wrap my head around this because the YOU that I know cares deeply about others and asks WWJD?

And so I have to ask, how can you vote for a man who makes fun of people with disabilities? People like my children who struggle for acceptance. Individuals, who like my boys, just want the same opportunities as those who aren’t in wheelchairs and are sighted. You of all people know of our family struggles because you have held my sons hands when they were sobbing because they have been bullied, yet again, and you were livid at the way they had been treated. Yet, you support a MAN who should know better yet makes fun of the disabled anyway. Where is your righteous anger at him?

You know that there are millions of disabled in this world who are thrown off public transportation or denied jobs because of their autism or missing limbs. We’ve talked about this and you have expressed your dismay. So why is it that you do not understand that if the leader of the USA bullies the disadvantaged, that he setting the framework for how we are to treat one another? That Trump is, in effect, telling the school yard bully that it is okay to intimidate your kid and anyone within arms reach . Don’t you realize that these kinds of hurtful/shameful behaviors will increase and once again reach into my home? The home of people that you say you love!

Why would you support a man who promotes bigotry and hatred especially when you know that this increases the chances of MY children being hurt or killed by people who profess a dislike for those that are “different” from them? You’ve heard other children call my kids “Chinese eyes” as they pulled back on their own, mocking them, and trying in some way to make them feel “less than.” You have seen first-hand the hurt in my children’s eyes and their confidence shattered. Why would you throw your weight behind someone who promotes the worst in human behavior instead of the best? Why would you stand behind someone who promotes an “us vs. them” mentality that will be divisive instead of uniting? And when this promotion of hatred undoubtedly explodes into something unfathomable will you willingly acknowledge the blood on your hands because you stood with the man who was promoting it?

As if the above was not enough; what I really don’t understand is how you can support a man who disparages women, cheats on them and makes inappropriate sexual remarks about them. We all have mothers, sisters, and daughters that we value and love. If your mother or daughter was being treated in a disrespectful manner or subjected to sexual harassment by their boss or a man on the corner would you laugh about it and dismiss it the way you do with Mr. Trump? I would hope not because if you do what kind of person does that make you? Seriously. THINK ABOUT IT.

I could go on about Mr. Trump not paying small business people which quickly puts them out of business. And I could wonder why you would elect someone who can’t keep his own financial affairs in order and refused to rent to people of color. And I could wonder about a man who cheats on his spouse, lies under oath, and takes only the best for himself. But what I really care about is how Trump treats others… and that is what worries me. He acts as if he is entitled…. to dismiss reporters doing their job… to tease people who are different from him…to bully women and minorities while promoting discord and hate. These derogatory ways of treating others are the signs of a man who has lost his sense of humanity, his ethics, and his ability to promote and live in a virtuous manner. He is a man who lacks the understanding that most people are not born in the lap of luxury that he was and has no clue of what it is like to live the way most people do. He didn’t earn his wealth. It was inherited. Why would you vote for someone who is that out of touch with you and your situation?

So, when November rolls around and you go to cast your ballot, before you do, I want you to think about my children and how much you love them. I want you to remember all the wonderful women in your life. I want you think about the disabled, the poor, the elderly, and all the people who you respect and love who do not look like you. And consider this… that a vote for Trump is a vote against people like me who love their children with challenges. A vote for Trump is a vote against all the females in your lives. And a vote for Trump is a vote against kids who do not have the same invisible privileges that their white parents do. So think of me when you vote. Consider why I might be fearful for all those beautiful faces within my family if you vote for this Republican. Please… just yourself in my shoes… because someday you or a loved one might be walking in them.

“Principles of justice are principles that rational, self-interested people would choose to govern the society in which they were going to live, provided that they did not know, at the time they chose the principles, exactly what their own place in society would be.” – James Rachel’s forward  to John Rawl’s  book, Two Concepts of Rules.

This Is NOT A Truly Democratic Election

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Today I FINALLY get to go vote in my state’s primary. Frankly, I think it is a crock. Unfortunately, in the United States we have a staggered primary system that eventually determines which candidates will be each party’s nominee to run for president. This means that I am often denied the same opportunity to vote for who I really believe is the BEST choice for the job. By the time my primary comes around so many candidates have already been eliminated, not because they were not worthy contenders, but because they were not given the same amount of network air time, did not yet have the money to fight a decent campaign or have folded their tents for a multitude of other reasons.

I have to admit that I am discouraged and I am tired of not having the same opportunities as the folks in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina, etc. to elect our leaders. We need to have a national primary so that people living in late voting states like mine get the SAME opportunity to vote for who they really believe is the BEST choice for president.This is NOT a fair and free election when I cannot help determine who will be the nominee. It is a boatload of crap.

While I recognize that there are millions of people on this earth who are truly denied a basic right to elect their own leaders and my complaint might seem feeble in comparison, the fact is that on some much smaller level, I too, am experiencing a type of voter suppression. In the land of the FREE it is ludicrous that my freedom to choose has been taken away by a system designed to reward the “chosen” few. And thats not even wading into the issue regarding the quagmire of super delegates who further restrict my vote rendering it null and void.

So today I will go and vote. It often feels like I do so in vain. But I still believe that it is my responsibility to do so… and so I will. But I will be voting, as usual, for real change. And even though the kind of change I would like to see happen probably never will, I will not give up in the belief that my vote really does count…even if it doesn’t.