Two open letters (to Comedy central and to Larry Wilmore)

I love you, Larry Wilmore, and I'm really, really pissed at Comedy Central.

I love you, Larry Wilmore, and I’m really, really pissed at Comedy Central.

First to Comedy Central:

What the hell? Canceling The Nightly Show? This is one of the sharpest, funniest, most on-point shows on late-night TV.

What’s more, it was a point of view that differs from all the rest of late-night programming.

Wilmore and his cast were African-American, Latino and a Jew, which made for great diversity. We who are part of the increasingly diminishing white majority in this culture need that perspective, and Wilmore presented it with a great deal of humor.

It was sad enough to see The Daily Show become more comfortable and less cutting-edge, but I still had Larry Wilmore and company.

Now you have taken that because it doesn’t fit your sixth-grade, white demographic, which seems to prefer tits and ass, puke, shit and infantile pranks of South Park, Midnight Swim and Tosh.0.

God forbid you should toss us a half hour of intelligent humor four times a week.

Well, I’m done with you. I know, I’m just one old white woman, but there are more like me out here, and we have buying power.

At midnight on Thursday, I will remove Comedy Central from my lineup. There’s nothing there for me.

I hope someone else picks up Larry Wilmore. He has one hell of a lot of talent, which is more than can be said for the rest of your lineup.

And to Larry Wilmore:

Dear Larry,

I love you. I love your dimples and that devilish smile whenever you know your humor is perfectly on point (“That’s right, motherfucker, we haven’t forgotten about you.”).

I have a big old crush on Mike Yard, but your entire case is wonderful. The humor is smart and cutting, and unlike the rest of late-night TV, it comes from diverse perspectives.

I know that the rest of Comedy Central’s lineup is puerile, immature, white-centric and devoted to tits and ass, puke, shit and piss. So, with your departure, the Comedy Channel is crossed of my list of channels I watch.

I’m an old white woman who appreciates different perspectives, and I often found myself eager to see your take on world events. You never disappointed.

I watched with delight as you spoke at the Correspondents’ Dinner and the media were so furious they refused to laugh. Just so you know, I laughed my ass off.

See, I’m a former reporter. I started in media when people were still doing investigative work and calling out bad policy. Now instead of the watchdogs of government, media have become the lapdogs.

I do health care advocacy work because my son died eight years ago from lack of access to health care, but I also am part of the NC NAACP, which works on a variety of issues through the Forward Together Moral Movement. It’s not easy living here in NC, a wilderness of ignorance and bullshit, but your show put a smile on my face at the end of the day, no matter how angry I felt at the backward movement of this state’s legislature and governor.

I hope another channel picks up your show. I know I would be as devoted a fan as you could ever have (not to the point of being obsessive, but certainly adoring).

I’m so sorry Comedy Central has decided to “denegrify” the 11:30 p.m. time slot. I will miss you. I will always love you.

Leslie

 

#AltonSterling, #PhilandoCastile. Say their names; weep for them

#AltonStirling

#AltonSterling

#PhilandoCastile

#PhilandoCastile

Negroes
Sweet and docile,
Meek, humble, and kind
Beware the day
They change their mind

– Langston Hughes

As the bodies of black and brown men and women continue to pile up like casualties in a terror attack, I am forced to relive, again and again, the death of my own child from injustice.

My son died from negligent homicide, killed by doctors who knew he was gravely ill and who refused to treat him because he was low-income and had no insurance.

He died at home with me holding his hand. If I have anything to be grateful for, it is that I got to say goodbye. I got to tell him one last time that I loved him and that life without him would be so, so hard.

In the last two days, I have watched video of the blatant injustice of two executions of black men who had committed no crime other than being black men in the path of violent, power-mad cops.

I watched as the widow of Alton Sterling talked to the press and their son lost his composure and wept. I did the same. I’m still weeping after watching the video of the execution of 32-year-old Philando Castile in Minnesota last night.

I weep for his mother and his girlfriend and for the little girl who was traumatized by witnessing his murder and the abuse of her mother. Imagine a 4-year-old feeling compelled to tell her mother she’s there for her after such an atrocity.

I weep for all of the families and friends of people who are executed summarily with no trial, without reason, without respect for the fact that they are human beings.

These victims of violent racism are my children. They are my brothers and sisters. They deserve justice, although their families are unlikely to see it.

One by one, Freddie Gray’s killers have been let off. No one is guilty, even though a young man is dead with no trial. The cops were his judge, jury and executioners, and that, apparently is OK in our society.

Yes, I know cops face danger every day, but if they can’t see the difference between real danger and racism-fueled perception of danger, they need to be off the force.

If they think they have the authority to shoot someone whose only offense is driving with a broken tail light (and I know first-hand of cases where an officer broke a tail light after a stop so he could claim justification for the stop), they need to be in jail.

Selfishly, I am grateful that my surviving child is white. But his granddaughter is biracial, and her skin is dark and her hair black and curly. She is beautiful and smart and funny, and as she grows up, she will be in danger because she isn’t white.

This is unacceptable to me, as it has been since well before my great-granddaughter was born. We can not continue to allow this. We must stand up and demand justice. When cops walk away unscathed, we have to demand federal civil rights charges be brought.

We have to wake up to the injustice here because there are still people who believe these murdering cops are justified.

When a black person is summarily executed, we see his record all over social media within hours; when a white person murders someone, we learn about his church activities or that he was just a troubled young man and we should all be upset that he didn’t get the mental health care he needed.

We live in a racist culture, and if you can’t see it, you are part of the problem.

Stand up and be heard. If you’re a cop, speak out against this violence.

I stand with my brothers and sisters, my children, my beloved fellow human beings. I will do all I can to defend you. I will try to protect you. I will speak out for you.

Tell me where I am needed and I will be there.

I love you.

 

 

 

 

 

A message to Millennials about disappointment and revolution

bird party

You so wanted Bernie. I know. I did, too.

But I also wanted Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern.

My generation had the Vietnam War, as seemingly never-ending as Afghanistan is today.

We had the draft, and rich kids got out of it because they could afford college and then grad school and medical deferments.

Today, college is even more expensive — much, much more expensive, actually — giving most of your generation the choice of military service or a lifetime of debt.

The system is even more corrupt and you feel powerless. Bernie was our best hope of fixing it, but the system crushed our hopes. The DNC steam-rolled the primaries, I believe, because Hillary was promised the nomination this time for stepping aside last time. The media, which worked hand-in-hand with Wall Street and Big Money, ignored Bernie and focused on the circus that is Trump.

I do get it.

And I’m not going to tell you that you HAVE to vote for Hillary, even though I believe we can’t allow Trump anywhere near the White House, nor can we allow any Republican to appoint justices to the Supreme Court.

But you have thought about that, and your attitude is NOT that of a spoiled child. Don’t let anyone tell you it is.

Perhaps we really do need for the current system to crumble before we can build a better one. I hope for your sake that’s not the case.

You’re scared about what’s happening to this country because you have to live in it for the next 50 or 60 years — that is, if you can survive on starvation wages and without access to quality health care.

So what do you do?

Well, we all work together.

Bernie started a movement, and perhaps, like Moses, he won’t lead us into the Promised Land. Perhaps it’s up to the next generation to finish the work he has started. Maybe we need to build on his work at the local, state and Congressional levels.

There are a number of candidates running for offices down-ticket who share Bernie’s views and passions. Vote for them. Get out and work for them. Do phone banking for an hour or two a week. Knock on doors. Donate to their campaigns if you have a spare few bucks.

Don’t let any right-wing candidate run unopposed. Find a candidate, either in an established party or in a third party. Even now, when it’s too late to get on the printed ballot for November, we can — and must — run write-in campaigns for good candidates. Local and state elections are our best hope right now, and the best way to build a viable third party.

The right built its success over many years, quietly winning local elections, then seats in state legislatures and finally taking Congress.

I’m part of the Moral Monday Movement, which is a fusion movement. Together we work on health care, voting rights, common sense gun laws, education, LGBT rights, the campaign for a living wage, safe housing …

The most frustrating thing about the Movement is that it takes time.

It’s important to not listen to elders who tell you that you don’t know how to make these changes, because the phrase, “that’s not how we did it,” is so dangerous.

We did make change, but we didn’t finish the job, obviously. We changed laws and the right wingers gained power and chipped away at the changes we made.

But we are fighting back. Yesterday, I was in Richmond, Va., in federal court, listening to the NC NAACP’s lawyers challenging North Carolina’s voter suppression law. I think it went well. I think we have a good chance of overturning most or all of the provisions.

In fact, most of the worst of the laws these clowns in North Carolina have passed are working their way through the courts, costing taxpayers millions of dollars.

I hate that it takes so much time to do this work, but I will stay in the fight because I’m fighting for your generation more than for my own.

And I want you to know that there are more people of my generation who understand than you think, and we want to work with you.

With our experience and your fresh ideas, this revolution (actually, more of an evolution) can’t fail.

We have crossed the line into an uncivil society

Rachel Alexander was one of the 102 victims of Sunday's massacre in Orlando. She faces mounds of medical bills.

Rachel Alexander was one of the 102 victims of Sunday’s massacre in Orlando. She faces mounds of medical bills.

Rachel Alexander is one of 53 surviving gunshot victims from Sunday’s massacre at Pulse, an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Fla., and she has another problem — finding a way to pay what will be massive medical bills.

It wasn’t enough that she was targeted because she frequented a business that caters to LGBT people; now she faces lifelong debt or bankruptcy because the state where she lives has chosen to not expand Medicaid, and even if she does have insurance, the deductibles and co-pays will be massive.

In other words, not only can we as a nation do nothing about gun violence; we can’t do a damn thing about access to health care, either.

The money from the Gun Lobby has been used to bribe Congress into total inaction on access to guns, and the money from Big Pharma and Big Insurance has prevented adequate access to medical care for millions of Americans, especially in states like Florida.

The Affordable Care Act provided some badly needed insurance reform, but it left the insurance companies intact and still in charge. It provided insurance coverage to some 22 million Americans, but because the Supreme Court voted to reject the mandate for states to expand Medicaid, it left another 22 million Americans uninsured, and millions more with insurance plans they can’t afford to use because of high deductibles and co-pays.

If you’re in your mid-20s, as many of the victims were, and you work an entry-level job, that $5,000 deductible you have to meet before you start getting benefits might as well be $5 million.

The 102 people who were shot by a religious zealot (and, according to some, a self-loathing gay man), who despite being on the no-fly list was able to buy an AK-15, were victims of a society that cares not at all about human lives, and now the 53 survivors face choosing between a lifetime of debt and bankruptcy.

If you’re not outraged by this, you’re part of the problem.

If you think we don’t need to do something about access to guns, you have bought into the hate and malice being peddled by the NRA and others.

If you don’t want your tax money to go to paying for health care for everyone, and you consider yourself a Christian, a Muslim or a Jew, go back and read your scripture because all three sacred texts talk about loving and caring for each other. Nowhere do any of these texts tell us to adopt an I-got-mine-get-your-own attitude.

If your member of Congress is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Gun Lobby, Big Pharma and/or Big Insurance and you vote for him or her anyway, you are part of the problem. If you don’t vote, you are part of the problem.

We have crossed a line here, and I think it was after Sandy Hook, when we failed to do anything about access to guns. We are no longer a civilized society. We are devolving into chaos.

It’s long past time to fix this. We must pass sensible gun laws. We must offer universal access to health care.

To do this, people of conscience must vote. We must vote in every election, in every race. We must demand better or we never will return to being a civilized society.

If you want to help Rachel, you can visit her Go Fund Me account at www.gofundme.com/laurawillprevaill.  To donate to a fund for all the victims, visit www.gofundme.com/PulseVictimsFund.

If you don’t know how to reach your member of Congress, visit www.house.gov/representatives/find/.

Where do we go from here? Some thoughts on guns and zealots

shooting scene

I don’t even know where to begin. Fifty people dead at the hands of a religious zealot in Florida and everyone wondering how this could happen.

I do have some thoughts on how this came about, and what we might do as people of conscience.

First of all, understand that Muslims are not the only religious zealots. So-called Christian zealots who denigrate LGBT people are as much at fault as Muslim zealots.

Zealots of any stripe are dangerous. Timothy McVeigh was a terrorist and a “Christian.”

So this man was a zealot who happened to be Muslim. It is not a reason to hate all Muslims, and be assured that the majority of Muslims are not happy with this man, who, by the way, I refuse to name. He doesn’t deserve the publicity.

Next, every one of us who supports restrictions of any kind on LGBT people can share in the blame for this. Did you vote for Amendment One in North Carolina? That was a vote to deny LGBT people equal rights under the law. And if your religion is the reason you voted for Amendment One, you need to go back and read about the separation of Church and State in the Constitution.

Do you support the bathroom restrictions in North Carolina’s Hate Bill 2? Then you support singling out people who pose no threat. You also support further marginalization of an already marginalized group of people and you target them for harm by making them “less than” or “other.”

These kind of actions feed the hate of zealots, makes them feel more comfortable in their hate, and in their mind, justifies it.

My late sister was married to the love of her life, who also happened to be a woman. Her marriage in 2007 was one of the happiest days of MY life because it allowed her the protections that come with legal marriage. She deserved that as much as any straight person I know.

Next, let’s talk about support of the NRA and its extremist agenda of assuring unfettered access to guns for everyone.

Not everyone should have a gun. Mandatory background checks and regulations specifying who can not have a gun are a necessity if we are going to keep people safe.

The man who killed 50 people and injured 53 more in Orlando was on the no-fly list because of suspected terrorist leanings, but he was able to buy a gun capable of that carnage. A friend on Facebook asked why this guy wasn’t on the FBI’s radar, but he was; he was just able to buy that gun because the NRA has bribed so many members of Congress that we can’t even have a law denying a gun to suspected terrorists.

And please don’t give me crap about Second Amendment rights because you’re probably one of those people who voted to restrict the rights of LGBT people to marry, and that’s a violation of their First Amendment rights. You can’t worship the Constitution in pieces — you either want the rights it conveys or you don’t.

You also need to realize that the Second Amendment conveyed the rights of gun ownership within “a well regulated militia,”  not unfettered access to every weapon ever devised.

Perhaps we need to start listening to reason. Perhaps we need to start showing respect for each other and listening to real concerns on both sides.

I don’t want to take everyone’s guns away. I choose not to own one, but if you are a law-abiding citizen who wants to hunt or who wants to own a gun for personal protection, I don’t have a problem with that.

I do, however, have a problem with semi-automatic weapons.

I do have a problem with people being able to buy a gun without a background check.

I do have a problem with a suspected religious zealot being able to walk in and get a gun even though he is considered too dangerous to get on an airplane.

We have become a circus in this country. A crazed, insane, zealot-run circus. We refuse to talk to each other and what’s worse, we refuse to listen to each other.

These 50 people are dead because we can’t get Congress to pass a law denying guns to suspected terrorists.

These people are dead because we allow the vilification of innocent LGBT people without challenge under the guise of “religious freedom.”

Well, your freedom of religion should not restrict the rights of others. That’s what freedom of religion means. You worship in your way and you don’t get to impose your beliefs on me. You don’t get to have a theocracy that aligns with your beliefs.

It’s time to start having a real and reasoned conversation in this country, about guns and about religion.

Let’s lock out the NRA and other powerful, moneyed hate groups and start to talk to each other, and more importantly, to listen, with respect, to people’s concerns.

 

 

 

 

 

The way forward

Josh Brannon, Congressional candidate for the 5th District in NC.

Josh Brannon, Congressional candidate for the 5th District in NC.

I met Josh Brannon two years ago at a Moral Monday event. He was running for Congress in NC District 5, opposing Tea Party darling Virginia Foxx.

This year, he’s running again.

Before Bernie Sanders ever announced he would seek the Democratic nomination for president, Brannon was running on an almost identical platform. It’s the same platform he’s running on this year.

Here in my district, the 11th, we have Mark Meadows, a far-right extremist who was one of the architects of the 2014 government shutdown. In 2014, we put up an incredibly weak candidate, a man who is homophobic and Islamophobic and who had pretty poor people skills.

This year, we have Rick Bryson, a native of Bryson City (yes, the town is named for his family), who has a plan to draw good jobs to the region and who will support progressive policies across the board.

Rick Bryson, candidate for Congress in North Carolina District 11.

Rick Bryson, candidate for Congress in North Carolina District 11.

So, here’s the deal. We can work for people like Josh Brannon and Rick Bryson, people who will lead us to a better, fairer, more progressive future, or we can sit and whine because Bernie didn’t take it all.

You can’t change the direction of the nation in a single vote, much as we who supported Bernie wished it to be so.

The extremists on the right started small. I remember hearing in the fundamentalist church I attended as a child in the 1960s that “we” needed to start with school boards and town councils and work our way up; that this was the only way to take over the country.

And that’s what they did. As a reporter, I learned the buzz words they used to identify one of their own in an election.

“Family values,” “traditional values,” “creation science,” and more. When I heard these words, I knew to ask questions about policy, and most of the time, the true colors of a religious zealot came out.

Asking a Right to Life Party member about nuclear policy, I got the answer that we kill more people with abortion than with nukes. I asked about economic policy and got more of the same. No matter what I asked, the answer was about abortion. In a race that was nonpartisan, that was important for people to know.

School board members decide what will be in our schools’ curricula whether they will learn the science of evolution or the religion or “creation science;” whether they learn the truth about human reproduction or the proven failures of “just say no” abstinence education.

We all know now what happens to education, health care, voting rights, workers’ rights and more when we elect right-wing zealots to state legislatures. Just look at places like North Carolina, Kansas and Texas.

When we don’t vote and the zealots do, we get what they want, not what most Americans want.

Still, most of us sit home on Election Day, especially in off-year and primary elections. I don’t know what people who don’t bother to vote are thinking when they decide not to go to the polls.

And I understand that we who supported Bernie Sanders are really, really disappointed that he didn’t win.

But we have to remember that a president can’t get a whole lot done without support from Congress, and if we allow the radicals and zealots to control Congress, we won’t see any progress toward a more just society.

So, my fellow Bernie fans, we must work toward a Congress that will allow progress and not regression. We have to get out there and roll up our sleeves for people like Josh Brannon and Rick Bryson.

So, just because your choices for president aren’t your first choice, it still is wrong to sit out an election — any election, from school board to city council to state legislature to Congress to president.

Get out and vote this year, even if you can’t bring yourself to vote for president. There are plenty of people down-ticket who will make this a better nation, but they can’t do it without our votes.

The morning after

Looks like this is the match-up for November.

Looks like this is the match-up for November.

 

It appears we have a Democratic candidate, and it is historic.

Millions of racists are about to show their sexism, and millions of poor losers are ready to let the nation crash and burn because they didn’t get their way.

Welcome to the world of politics, Millennials.

Hillary Clinton was not my first choice; Bernie Sanders was, and I was as passionate in my support for him as anyone.

Most people who know me understand that my most important issue is access to health care, and Hillary Clinton has said she doesn’t see us ever getting to single-payer. Bernie promised me he would fight for it.

I met Bernie twice and told him how my son died from lack of access to health care. Both times he hugged me and said, “I’m working on this, I promise you.” He will keep working on it in the Senate now and I have to be OK with that.

Movements take time and revolutions rarely achieve their goals at the voting booth.

So, rather than flip the bird at the country, I will vote for Hillary and hope that we who supported Bernie will pull her to the left.

I say this because I don’t believe violence is the answer, and the fuck-you attitude of some of Bernie’s supporters will only lead to violence.

Here is why I don;t think writing Bernie’s name in or voting for Jill Stein is the solution:

Four years ago, when the Democrats here in North Carolina ran Walter Dalton, an incredibly weak candidate, people shrugged and said, “So, let the Republicans take it all, and then we’ll win it back because people will be so pissed off.”

I told one friend I thought that was a dangerous tactic, and I was right. The damage the extremists have done in this state is epic, and some if it will never be fixed.

Coal ash pollution is forever, as are fracking chemicals (which have yet to be unleashed, but the General Assembly has approved their use and the governor signed it).

The 8,000 or so people who have died from lack of access to health care because these people refuse to expand Medicaid can’t be resurrected. They are gone. Ask their families how your attitude worked for them.

The children who are in our schools are missing a decent education as teachers stage a mass exodus from the state, and those kids can’t get that opportunity back.

There are damages that can be fixed, but they will take time. Rebuilding our state’s reputation will take a generation or more.

So, go ahead, flip off the candidate that could prevent these things on a national scale. Sure, let Trump take it and see how quickly we’ll be at war with China or North Korea, or both. Watch things escalate in the Middle East. See how long it takes somebody to use a nuclear weapon. Maybe we could start a pool to see who comes closest to the date and time. Bonus dollars for a reason for the mess. (“China insulted my wife.”)

Vote for Trump and watch your Social Security and Medicare disappear. Watch your Supreme Court become a rubber stamp for the wishes of the extremists and billionaires. Watch your water become too polluted to drink while what little drinkable water is left is privatized and sold for profit. And watch as minimum wage is abolished and your children are forced to subsist on $2.50 an hour.

Hillary Clinton is the most examined candidate of all time. She has endured a quarter century under the microscope, and no one has found anything concrete. She did not break the law with her e-mails, even though her detractors want to believe she did. She did not cause the embassy in Benghazi to be attacked — the Republicans in Congress who denied her request for funding for security there are far more responsible for that fatal attack than she was. She didn’t kill Vince Foster.

Hillary may not be as slick as her husband, but she is highly intelligent, and she is highly qualified.

I will vote for her, and I will hold her feet to the fire because movements take time. It took the right-wing extremists decades to take power, building a strong base as they climbed; it will take us time to get it back.

You can be more constructive by encouraging the formation of a viable third party in time for the next election, but there is no excuse for allowing a Trump presidency. None whatsoever.

So, instead of whining, get to work. You’ll never get anything if you don’t work for it, and sitting in a corner flipping the bird and sulking will get you nowhere.

 

 

 

.

 

 

 

Forget the jacket and look at the candidate

Hillary in her Armani jacket, which was criticized for being too expensive. Photo from CNBC

Hillary in her Armani jacket, which was criticized for being too expensive. Photo from CNBC

So, Hillary Clinton wore a designer jacket during a speech about income inequality. Big deal.

She’s wealthy. She can wear what she wants. Did anyone ever criticize any outfit worn by a man in a campaign because it was expensive?

In fact, we don’t even care what men wear. But when it comes to the first woman who actually could win the White House, we have been all over her choices.

Just look at what was in yesterday’s Washington Post, written by Leah Bourne:

“The polished outfit was in stark contrast to the fashion choices Clinton has made in the past. As first lady, Clinton wore frumpy pastel “skirtsuits.” As New York senator and secretary of state, she attempted a more serious look, wearing pantsuits in a rainbow of colors — so mocked that they sparked memes. In comparison to Michelle Obama, who’s become known as a style icon during her time in the White House and appeared on the cover of Vogue twice, Clinton has never been able to nail down a personal aesthetic that works for her.

But now, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, whose dowdy and matronly style has haunted her throughout her entire political career, is making her first real effort to play the fashion card.”

Do we refer to men’s clothing choices as “frumpy,” “dowdy,” or “matronly?” Do we then criticize them if they try to look better?

No and no.

I am a supporter of Bernie Sanders, but I know bullshit when I smell it, and I’m getting an overpowering stench right now.

Hillary Clinton’s style has nothing to do with her ability to lead the nation, and while I find her a bit too cozy with banks and big corporations, I will admit she is eminently qualified to be president, unlike the presumptive Republican nominee, and I will vote for her in November if she is the Democratic nominee.

Trump calls her “shrill,” and every network covers it. Trump, who can’t even string together a coherent thought. Trump, whose house looks like a bomb of gold paint exploded in the living room. Trump, whose megalomania, misogyny, and racism and sociopathy oozes from every pore. Trump, who believes he doesn’t need advisors because he has a very excellent brain.

But he’s a man, so it’s OK.

This whole kerfuffle over Hillary’s clothes is nothing more than sexism. We don’t attack her views; we attack her clothes, her hair, her voice and her laugh (which, by the way, I love).

Bernie Sanders is my first choice in the primary because I agree with him on the issues. But Hillary is competent and, if she wins the nomination, she will have my vote in November, no matter what she wears.

 

 

 

 

Mansplaining, explained

mansplaining

Another woman friend has un-friended a man on Facebook because he refused to stop accusing her of claiming all men are guilty of abusing women.

Now, my friend has been abused. She also has said a number of times that she knows not all men are abusive. But this guy keeps coming to her posts and repeating that she shouldn’t be such a man-hater because not all men are abusive.

Methinks he doth protest too much.

Look, guys, we know how we feel and we don’t need you to tell us.

We also know what our own life experiences are and how they affect our views. Again, we don’t need you to tell us.

During my Facebook shitstorm the other day, one man kept telling me why he isn’t bothered by being called honey and that I should share his view until I finally blocked him.

Later, another male friend came on and said he really couldn’t understand why it bothered me so much. He has lived in Texas for a long time and it’s part of the culture there. When I said I want the respect of not having my experiences invalidated simply because his were different, he agreed.

That’s how simple it is.

Try this, guys: “Oh, I see our experiences are different. OK, then.”

Or this, if you want to continue the conversation: “Wow, we have really different experiences. Tell me more.”

Mansplaining is when you try to tell us why we should share your point of view, even when our own experiences leave us with the exact opposite view. It’s when you close your mind to our perspective while insisting we be open to yours.

What that does is tells us our experiences don’t matter to you. It tells us that you think we have to conform to your view because it somehow is superior to our own experience.

It tells us our opinions are not valid because they don’t align with yours and that we are the ones who have to rethink our world view so it matches yours.

It’s telling us you want to protect us from one thing or another when we have not asked for your protection and you have not asked us whether we need it.

Mansplaining is condescending and disrespectful,  and if you haven’t figured it out so far, let me tell you it’s deeply offensive.

We don’t need you to explain our lives to us, OK? If that bothers you, too bad.

If we point out to you that what you’re doing is mansplaining, it’s time for you to stop talking.

Not later, NOW!

bernie hillary trump

I’m feeling beyond frustrated today as I listen to the acrimony between Hillary and Bernie supporters, each blaming the other for the demise of the Democratic Party.

I support Bernie because I want someone who will fight for universal access to health care now.

Yes, I know it will be blocked by Republicans, but if we start negotiations in the middle, we wind up with an agreement right of center and with millions of people still without care.

When President Obama and Nancy Pelosi took single-payer off the table, we lost all hope of getting that public option that would have given me a choice to buy into Medicaid. It would have offered competition with the insurance companies, which now have a legal monopoly. What we got was a half-assed solution that, although it offered millions of people the chance to buy health insurance, it shut out millions more and left the for-profit insurance companies in charge of the system.

We’re seeing employers stop hiring full-time employees rather than give money to the insurance companies. We’re seeing people having to buy high-deductible plans that they can’t afford to use, so they’re getting nothing for their money.

About once every 18 to 20 minutes, an American dies from lack of access to care.

But sure, let’s do it incrementally. Let’s tell the bereaved families of these people who are dying that they have to be patient. After all, we don’t want to offend those who support the system as it is.

There are very real and very high stakes in this election. Each election cycle, the corporations gain more ground and we the people lose. We can’t get a living wage, we can’t get universal health care, we can’t get affordable housing, we can’t get reasonably low rate college loans for middle-income kids, we can’t get big money out of politics.

But rather than focus on all that, we follow every move of Donald Trump, who’s only doing as well as he is because the media have decided he’s the story.

You see, in case you haven’t noticed, the media write the scenarios and we blithely follow along.

Four years ago, the media started saying the Republicans would take the Senate in 2014. It was an unlikely scenario, but the media kept repeating it until it became reality.

Now the media are saying Trump will beat Hillary if she is the nominee, and you can bet it will become a self-fulfilling prophesy unless we the people wake up and start thinking for ourselves.

Four years ago, the Democrats ran a lame candidate here in North Carolina, and he was beaten by Pat McCrory (#OneTermPat). As the election neared and Walter Dalton trailed, several Democratic friends told me they thought it was OK.

“Let them have it all and people will be so pissed they’ll send them packing,” people said.

Well, here’s what really happened. We cant expand Medicaid — in fact, we’re about to privatize it, and we’re cutting funding for the care of medically fragile children. That’s right, we’re going to let sick children suffer and die rather than ask the wealthiest to pay their share of taxes.

Our schools are suffering and being choked to death as we give more money to for-profit charter schools. Our teachers are among the lowest paid in the country, and our per-pupil spending is the lowest in the nation. Our once-proud university system is being cut down, bit by bit. In fact, some of our state universities are about to be starved to death, including some traditionally African-American schools.

We can’t raise the minimum wage, so people are in desperate need for social programs, like food stamps, which are being cut. Child care costs as much as college tuition, and we’re cutting programs that help parents afford it while refusing to pay a living wage.

If you lose your job because of discrimination, you can’t sue in state courts, and you have the shortest duration and the least compensation in the country on unemployment. The GOP did that almost as soon as McCrory took office.

Cities and counties can’t set their own wage levels or discrimination policies because of HB2, which most people think is just about bathrooms.

We are well along the road to becoming a third-world country in terms of the life of average citizens. Income inequality is at record levels, global warming is at the tipping point, we keep fighting pointless wars, and no one seems to notice.

We’re so complacent that half of the right-wing nuts who want to establish a state religion and allow people to die in the streets rather than give them access to health care are running unopposed.

Un-o-fucking-posed!

So the predictions of people finally waking up if Trump wins the election are wrong. If North Carolina is a predictor, and I believe it is, people will allow him to set up a fascist state because we’re too distracted by the media’s shiny issues to do anything about it.

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