I’m feeling melancholy today. A memory popped up on Facebook about a cancelled hearing and waiting for a trial date. Not something pleasant to share with a smile. A hard time. A sad time.
This is, in its own way, a sad time. Not like then, of course not. But sad, nonetheless. I almost feel as though our country has fallen into some kind of dark hole, and that is hard to get people to even see the need to climb out. Why such horrible intolerance and cruelty? No one listens to each other, and the walls between belief systems have grown so tall! It’s us or them now. If you don’t believe everything that I do, and toe some kind of invisible line, then you are a horrible, evil person, and I get to call you names, hope for your downfall, cheer when you are in pain, and say that it serves you right. Why? Is this the America of barn raisings, and bringing food to your neighbor in sorrow, and picking up a stranger’s child who has fallen from a bicycle? I see many posts that mourn the loss of these things, but the same people post that California should fall into the ocean and good riddance. Or advocate withholding medical care from a sick child because of wrongs done by the parent. You can’t have both. This is a kind nation, kind to everyone, or it’s a mean selfish nation and only a small percentage deserves to prosper. Which do you want to live in? Seriously? If your town was facing a flood, or you lost your job, or your faith was used as a reason to persecute you, how would you hope the rest of the nation would respond?
i’ve been thinking about my boys a lot today. Neal was invariably kind and helpful to everyone, whether he knew them or not. Ian, made friends right and left, at the drop of a hat. It never occurred to him that anyone was not his friend at first sight. And Devon, he was a builder of bridges. He brought disparate groups of children together, and included everyone in play – even kids who didn’t like Star Wars. No one was “other” to Devon. The only times I ever saw him angry, was when someone was being treated unfairly. He was 7 years old. He saw the wothiness in every single person, and acted on it every single day! Why can’t today’s adults manage to even be civil to each other? Tolerance shouldn’t be either a meaningless buzz word, or something to snear at… not in a pluralistic, democratic, humanistic society like this is supposed to be. Be a Devon for a change. Build a bridge. You will find that you have many things in common with people on the other side of the canyon. Have some tolerance. Monkey.
The first time I was sexually assaulted, I was 11. My uncle groped me, and twisted my developing breast. It hurt. When I told my mother, she said I must have misunderstood. When I was 50, an old man in a wheelchair grabbed my ass with both hands, pulled me to him with arms of steel, and buried his face in my chest. I reported it to my employer, because the man was a donor who haunted every event at the college where I worked. I didn’t want anything to happen to a student. Instead of being private, the story spread over the campus like wildfire, and people kept telling me how hysterical it was.
There have been other assaults throughout my life; a room service waiter at a fancy hotel in Rio de Janeiro, when I was traveling with my parents (almost sixteen), college friends (3 different times), the creepy old guy whose granddaughter played with my little girl (he told the neighborhood I was a lesbian after I refused his advances. I wouldn’t have cared, but neighbor kids kept asking my children about it and making them cry.) There was the neighbor who I felt sorry for because he was trying to get to the store on crutches. I offered him a ride and in the parking lot, instead of getting out of the car, he grabbed me and kissed me. (Then got angry because I wiped my mouth.). Oh, and the young kid who asked me to have a cup of coffee and discuss selling my car. He walked me to my car afterwards and suddenly pinned me to the car door, shove his tongue down my throat and tried to force my hand down his pants. The most recent was at a nursing home where I was visiting with my therapy dog. Guy in a wheelchair grabbed my breast and tried to yank down my pants. That was a month ago. I’m 59 … A fat middle aged grandmother, for heaven’s sake! This is the misogynistic rape culture many women have to deal with, over and over again. We have to be on guard everywhere and in all circumstances, even if we are too young to really understand, or too old to think we should still worry. It’s not a misunderstanding. It’s not something to snicker about. It’s not a trivial adolescent silliness, or just boys being boys. It’s a trauma, every time, because it brings back every other time and reinforces the fact that it usually doesn’t help to report what has happened, and that you, the victim, will probably be blamed. Make no mistake – we remember each and every incident with perfect clarity, even if we never speak of it. Every single time. Monkey. #notokay
Happy Ian Day! Today he would be a teenager, big 13! Mercurial, funny, and full of energy, his bright mind went in a million directions at once and he acted on whatever came into his head. He told me once that his brain was full of fire, and sometimes he just had to shake it. So shake your head, and do something surprising today, something silly or investigative, or fun. Ian would like that. Ian Harold Williams, 9/27/03-8/8/07. Monkey!
Devon had a very scientific mind, and asked questions about everything. He wanted to know the why and the how, and I was his information source. He knew I would always tell him the truth, and that I would always find him an answer if I could. This made for a few awkward moments, because he always double checked other peoples’ answers with me, even if they were sitting right there listening. And I never expected to have to answer questions about where babies come from again. I fielded those questions with my own kids, and it didn’t seem fair that I had to do it again with grands.
Still, I think he would want me to address this. He was a fixer. I am a fixer. I was the only other member of his “Smart Club”, so that kind of puts the responsibility on my shoulders. So, deep breath, because Devon would expect me to…About Climate Change.
This isn’t a conspiracy or whatever you wish to call it. The world is getting warmer. Fact. The seas are becoming more acidic and coral reefs are dying. Fact. We are pushing other species into a mass extinction. Fact. Some have argued with me that some scientists say it doesn’t exist, but there will always be naysayers that can be found if you look hard enough. Just as there were scientists who claimed a Neanderthal was just a man suffering from rickets who was in so much pain that his skull formed a permanent brow ridge. Just as there were those who insisted that the Earth was flat.
The consensus among scientists is pretty widespread. The current epoch has been called the Anthropocene Era. It starts when humans first started having a big impact on the environment around us. When we started changing things by planting seeds where they hadn’t been before or domesticating animals for our use. If we want to live comfortably in the future, it is in our best interests to try to slow down climate change if we can. I don’t care if it’s something that has happened many times in the past. I don’t care if it’s just the Earth going through another cycle. If it happens in the near future, it is going to cause terrible misery, world wide. I don’t want humankind to suffer, when when there may be things that we can do to help. The Earth is getting hotter. The seas are rising. My state is in a terrible drought and is a raging fire. Why would anyone not want to do something about that if we can? Let’s stop arguing about the political or religious or economic ramifications, or about how and why these changes are happening. Let’s just try to make things better, if not for the sake of the globe, then at least to make life a little easier for our own progeny. Monkey.
Murder is a very serious thing, and NEVER something to joke about. EVER. If you make a statement that even implies advocating murder, you, personally should apologize. Not justify. Not send others to claim that what you “really meant” was something different.
Last week I said the same to a young lady who suggested someone take a gun and kill Clinton. I said that it’s ok to have strong feelings about someone’s politics or actions, but not to advocate violence. She said that she wasn’t joking, and that Clinton deserved to die a terrible lingering death. I told her that NO ONE deserves to be murdered, and that murder is a terrible act that has serious consequences for the families and friends of murderer and victim. It’s something I know about. She blocked me and removed me from the support group she had begged me to join.
This is a very serious thing. If even one unhinged person takes Trump’s word as a call to action, he is responsible. It’s time to take to his beloved Twitter and actually say, “I was wrong.” Monkey.