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Isn’t there a point of going too far?

I just read that a leader in the Women’s March is calling for a boycott of #Starbucks because of an affiliation with the #ADL.  Really?  Talk about a disconnect.  The Women’s March.  What does it mean to you?  I marched that day just over a year ago.  The day after trump was sworn into the office of President of the United States.  It shouldn’t have been that way, but it was.  To me that march was about everything awful and repulsive people were becoming here, how it was becoming ok to act out all of that hate.  It was about inclusiveness.

Last week, two black men were not only kicked out of a Starbucks, but arrested, for the simple act of pointing out a baristas’ racism.  Let me repeat, one person was a jackass to another person.  Stop.  Before you go off on me, start typing your comments, screaming I have no place to belittle the experience of being discriminated against, I’m not black and could never know.  No, I don’t know what it’s like to wake up every morning as a black man.  I empathize with the fact that every morning waking up as a black male, there is a chance they could die because of their skin color.  I don’t think there is another demographic that lives with that specific fear in this country.  There is no denying this country hasn’t become ‘every man is equal’, where everyone is judged for their character and not their appearance.  Now, you can be angry and stop reading, or you could take a breath and follow my (sometimes strange) logic.

We saw how immediate and successful social media boycotts were regarding NRA affiliation.  The swells of reactions, posts, podcasts and coverage to the latest event. This is the atmosphere that is around us in the wake of instantaneous information.  At the rate these boycotts are called for, all companies would eventually be on one list or another.  Remember the Chick-Fil-A outrage, that the owners did not support LBGT rights?  Do you also remember once the boycott was in full swing the lines to get that chicken sandwich wrapped around the buildings (a backfire boycott).  Or the employees and managers of Chick-Fil-A that were / supported the LBGT community spoke out in defense of the very company thats COO opposed same-sex marriage because it was a good place to work.  I do have to say here, SERIOUSLY guys, they aren’t known only for their chicken, anti-cow cows and lemonade, everyone KNOWS they are closed on Sunday, because the owners are religious (devout Southern Baptists).  There is a large grocery store chain in Texas (before they were purchased), Randall’s / TomThumb that did not carry alcohol, of any type.  The owners were Mormon.  If they didn’t sell alcohol I’m not thinking it’s too hard to imagine of their LBGT views.  As far as I know there hasn’t been a boycott.

So, we have a national company.  The Vice President, Bob, hates puppies.  One weekend, Bob attends an anti-puppy fundraiser that’s covered by the news.   Who cares?  Should Bob, who attended as Bob the individual, be fired from the company because pro-puppy advocates threaten to boycott unless he (Bob) is fired?  Now what if Bob the VP runs over puppies in the company van?  Is that now the company’s fault for the action of one employee?  Will the reaction of the company be enough?  What is the “right” reaction; training, firing, donations?   Now say that same company hosts and donates to that same anti-puppy fundraiser covered by the news.  In the second scenario, is it more acceptable because it’s not just Bob but the company that supports anti-puppy organizations?

Does that company get publicly ‘punished’ in all situations?

This brings me back to the bathroom blockade.  Starbucks is an international company, a successful company.  They are diverse, customer oriented and focused.  Even in their mission statement has ‘a culture of warmth & belonging, where everyone is welcome’.  They have been underfire regularly for many reasons (makes you wonder how they still make money).  Cups, gay rights, gun rights plus a slew of fake controversy (not supporting military, foreign investments).  There are more than 26,000 shops across the globe with more than 250,000 employees.  This is why I ‘minimized’ the encounter that it was one person being a jackass to another.  Now if the company did nothing, or worse, supported the actions and behavior of that one person, I would flip out with the rest of them.  However, she was fired.  She was fired, the CEO apologized and on May 29th more than half of the employees in the company (170,000+) will have racial-bias education.  Why still boycott them?

boy·cott (boi′kŏt′) tr.v. boy·cott·ed, boy·cott·ing, boy·cotts

To abstain from or act together in abstaining from using, buying, dealing with, or participating in as an expression of protest or disfavor or as a means of coercion: boycott a business; boycott merchants; boycott buses; boycott an election.

It shouldn’t have happen and if you want to just be pissed at them just because, go for it.  But still protesting a specific event with demands that the company has met or is acting in good faith, what is the protest really for?  The local protest (well, and viral) in front of the store was the catalyst for the company wide positive reaction and the initial reason that managers employment was terminated.  It was successful, very successful.  Now the step forward should be education, working on the root cause.  Energy focused on the error, the past, is wasted.

So what does all of this have to do with the Women’s March?  First, I take offense to the fact that a single person is being labeled as a “Women’s March Leader” and making blanket decisions and statements for the millions of people coming together for largest single day movement ever.  This single person, Tamika Mallory, under the moniker of co-president of the Women’s March, is calling for re-boycotting Starbucks.  The crazy ass chain of connection is the reason I had to write this.  Ready?

  • Two black men enter a Starbucks to meet someone.  While waiting, one asked to use the bathroom.
  • The manager refused to allow him stating it was for paying customers only.  During this time, a white male was allowed to use the bathroom.  He had not purchased anything.
  • He confronted the manager.  She had no response or reason for the action, demanding he leave and calling the police.
  • The video goes viral.  People boycott the location where it happened.  Others called for a boycott on line.
  • Starbucks acted: fired the manager, COO apologized for the employee’s behavior, the company announces racial-bias education classes.
  • Starbucks enlists organizations to assist and participate in this education.  Some are Eric Holder, Sherrily Ifill (President NAACP) and Jonathan Greenblat (CEO ADL).
  • Tamika Mallory calls for a boycott of Starbucks (again) because of it’s affiliation to the ADL (Anti Defimation League).
  • At one time the ADL CEO criticized her support of Louis Farrakhan.  Tamika Mallory supports Louis Farrakhan.
  • Farrakhan has indicated anti-semitism, anti-white, homophobic, Scientology involvement.

So, what did or does the Women’s March and the Women’s March movement mean to you?  For me, it’s more than marching in the streets, clever signs and pink pussy hats.  It’s about inclusion, education and change.  It means standing up for each other.  It means power and persistence.  It means responsibility.  With numbers that power is great and the responsibility greater.  Having so much influence on a national and international commerce by calling for a boycott is amazing.  Flogging that influence isn’t constructive and can even be corrosive.  Calling for a boycott for every non PC event, action or inclusion only takes away from the influence and dilutes the power.  So before jumping on the bandwagon for a boycott, just remember puppies.

Yes Or No

These are two words I would think every person over the age of three would know the definition of.  So why do politicians have such a problem with answering a question with one of these responses.  Most of the time it’s made really easy to narrow down the ability to use these two responses.  When someone starts a question with “Yes or no, . . .” you should be able to actually use them in your answer.

I have to categorize any person in power, political or corporate, as being a sleazy, slimy, evading, self serving ass when they refuse to answer simple yes or no questions.  They get 5 stars when they do this crap under oath.

Within the day of the murders in Parkland, students were already demanding action.  They were already calling out their leaders and the NRA.  They already were calling bullshit on politicians who were trying to direct the discussion to mental health.  They want change.  That change is gun control.  That change is getting the NRA’s money out of politics.  That change is simple.  Do you believe there should be reasonable gun control?  This has been the question of the circuit and really is a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response.  You can explain your answer after you have provided the actual answer.

It has been said by more than one person, that any elected official that has taken donations from the NRA has blood on their hands.  Anyone who allowed the law to lapse making it easier for the mentally ill to attain weapons.  Anyone who has not taken action to ban bump stocks.  It really covers about every politician.  The concept was posed to Representative Curbelo of Florida’s 26th, when asked on This Week, “Yes or no, does Marco Rubio have blood on his hands”.  The question was posed to him three times.  He never answered.  He did exactly what these kids are calling politicians out on.  Providing a canned answer that doesn’t commit to anything, blames the other side, or blames everything on, in this case, mental illness.

Hearings on the hill should demand those being questioned to answer yes or no questions.  If they are not willing to, the only other option should be the 5th.  Reporters need to hold their interviews to the same standard.  Answer the question, then you can explain.  If you can’t answer the first question, you don’t get to vomit your opinion.

Yes, politics is about compromise, but how can you compromise with anyone when they can’t even take a position in public?  No, we won’t put up with this shit.

We’re All Mad Here

The title is from Carrolls’ ‘Alice In Wonderland’ but it rings true each and every day.  We are not perfect people, everyone has a flaw or many.

Almost 49% of kids 13-18 have or will have a serious mental illness, over 30% drop out of school, 70% of kids in the justice system have some type of mental illness.  Adults, 1 in 5 experience a mental health illness in a given year (NAMI.org).  In a given year.  That includes the mom on your block that went through post-partum depression, or the kid across the street that has ADD, or you after you had a major transistion in your life and was feeling a little anxious, or couldn’t sleep.  1 in 25 adults live with a serious mental illness.  Meaning it is ongoing like schizophrenia, PTSD or autism.  With these numbers, chances are you or someone you know will fall into one or more of these categories.

The issue?  Aside from the obvious lack of care, coverage, availability and ability to seek help is the stigma.

stig-ma, noun; a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality or person.

When someone is having a crisis in this arena, and actually seek help, the wall that is placed in front of them is impenetrable.  First, you are dealing with the fact that you can’t fix you.  You are having to ask someone to help you.  You feel foolish because your problems are small and unimportant in comparison to the rest of the world.  Second is dealing with your insurance and finding a doctor.  By law there are minimum standards across the country called ‘Parity Laws’.  Of course there are exceptions and there are health plans that do not need to follow parity laws.  Once you figure out who your insurance will allow you to see, how often, and many times a higher deductible than regular doctor visits, you need an appointment.  Just like any specialty doctor, getting an appointment with a psychiatrist is defeating in itself.  Many don’t take new patients, most you have to wait three months to get that first appointment.  So, in a crisis, limited choices of doctors, expensive and you have to wait three months, and you better not tell ANYONE.  Because of the stigma.

We have this need to categorize everyone and everything, it just can be.  Yesterday in Florida was tragic, horrific and completely unnecessary.  The media just continued on their need to answer why and who.  Many times the why is never fully discovered because the assailant took their own life or suicide by cop.  We have the occasional time when the perpetrator survives.  Yet regardless of any of that, the initial reports, speculations and interviews will put the mass murderers into one of two categories because it makes them feel better.  They are either terrorists or mentally ill.  This needs to stop.  Sometimes why is never answered.  You can buy 1000 pounds of fertilizer or 10 rifles in this country easier than you can buy a decongestant.  That is your why.

Every time a shooting occurs and it happens to be a white person, it’s the easy answer to say, “They had a history of mental illness”.  What history, what illness?  Did they have ADD?  Anxiety?  Or are you just going to throw that out there so ALL mental illnesses can be put under this violent umbrella?

This is why you don’t tell your friends.  This is why you don’t say anything at work.  This is why people don’t seek help.  This is why suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among teens.

The issue with these shootings isn’t the illness, or that we don’t have adequate care or services, or that it’s like a rat maze to get help.  It’s the guns, plain and simple.  Don’t get me wrong, the mental health system in this country needs some serious revamping, it needs to be ok to have a mental illness, it needs to be seen as an illness and not just feelings and hearing voices.  There is brain chemistry going on that is physically not working correctly.  We have veterans from two non-stop wars that are coming home with some serious trauma, physically and mentally.  Instead of just giving them an oxy for their pain and send them on their way, each and every one of them need to have easy and simple access to the help they need.

Mental illness is not an American thing.  We don’t have all of the mad people in this country.  All countries have people that suffer from this illness.  So why don’t they have 17 kids dead today, or 600 wounded in their tourist hot spot, or 18 other school shootings that have already happened this year?  Guns and healthcare.

The second amendment was truly written to allow states to raise an army of untrained citizens to protect that state from a hostile government.  That is what a militia is.  In Texas, two militia were formed in the 1800’s and remain to this day, the National Guard and the Texas Rangers.  To have a gun to protect is one thing, having your own military style stock pile is another.  Every law enforcement organization, combat unit and guard are trained, tested and their guns liscenced.  There is no possible situation that I can imagine that would justify having a rapid fire weapon as a civilian.  There is no reason you can’t register the guns you purchase, that you must get a background check or that you must wait seven days.  No one wants to ‘take your guns’ but we do want to feel safe in our homes, schools and public places.  Your gun rights end when my safety, security and happiness ends.

So I came at this from two sides.  Journalism needs to stop categorizing these acts and just report the actual facts.  Just because someone suffered from depression is not necessarily the reason they decided to pick up a gun and kill his classmates and teachers.  It’s counterproductive in addressing mental illness and will keep the next person from asking for help.  The real issue is access to the guns.  Common sense legislation needs to be passed, the NRA needs to stay off the hill and out of politicians pockets.  After all, only about 5% of gun owners are affiliated with the NRA, which is a rather small portion of the population considering only about 33% of Americans even own a gun.

Put 2018 on your calendar

So many distractions, so many things we are having to do to keep our rights and act like humans to each other – but please don’t forget there is actually an election coming up in 2018.

Calling your senators and representatives needs to continue even if you never hear from them or are polar opposite of your opinions.

THIS is where we can really begin to change.
Support candidates that will represent the people, not special interests, candidates that support term limits, candidates that represent all of their constituents, not just their party, candidates who realize WE hired THEM.

We have a crappy system that allows campaigns to start running the day after an election (as well as allowing a president to use his time for campaign speeches starting the first month he was in office), that allows Super PACS, that allowed citizens United to happen. So because this country is in a non stop campaign in one race or another, find out who is up in your voting district in 2018, find the candidate you want to support, find out what you can do to help that candidate.

This country has far more humanity then what has been displayed and encouraged at various political events and all the rhetoric that goes with it. Its only purpose is to divide us into groups. Instead of focusing on differences and what’s mine is mine, focus on the us. There are basic needs, there are necessities, there are luxuries, there are splurges, there is the inevitable. Everyone knows this. If we start there, it’s s good place to start, because we all share in the needs, necessities, luxuries, splurges and the inevitable.

It shouldn’t take disasters of unprecedented damage and death to bring out the humanity this country has, it should be who we are every day. When you’re about to drown, you don’t ask the person giving you a lifeline where they are from, how much they make, are they getting benefits from the government, are they an immigrant. You take the lifeline, tell you’re rescuer thank you, I was surely going to die had you not come along, and when things aren’t as chaotic, but them a beer.

We don’t need laws to tell us to do the right thing, but until that day comes and this utopian idea of helping, harmony and happiness comes, let’s elect people who at least strive to keep our basic humanity in check.

Get out and vote 2018.

This Can’t Be Real & Why Is It Still Happening

I am stunned.  I can’t believe this is the world I live in.  What has this country let happen and continue to happen, inflaming every situation and relationship.

I am far from a patriotic, flag waving, country centered American, I’m just one of many who happened to be born here, citizen of the world.  What is transpiring in the United States is in no way American, patriotic, protective, honorable or humane.

THIS IS NOT MY COUNTRY!  THIS IS NOT AMERICAN!  THIS IS NOT PATRIOTIC!  THIS IS NOT HONORABLE!  THIS IS NOT HUMANE!

What will it take to even just remove this man from the Presidency.  I don’t care what your political affiliation is, any person that condones in ANY WAY hate, hate groups, violence and supremacy has no business in charge of this or any country.

I have questioned the legitimacy of this administration the moment it was confirmed that the election was interfered with.  At that moment, all executive and cabinet decisions and actions should have been frozen, regardless of who the interference appears to benefit.  I won’t bullshit, if Hilary or Bernie were in the oval, I probably would not have had it in my mind.  It actually would have just been a continuation of the never ending 30,000 email crap that’s been going on, along with Benghazi, uranium and hell, even Monica.  However, neither would not be condoning racism, white supremacy, neo-nazi groups.  Neither wouldn’t have insulted every ally we have.  They wouldn’t have exited the Paris accord.  They wouldn’t be having a pissing contest with North Korea.  They would have released her taxes.  They wouldn’t be knowingly and intentionally lying.  Daily.

Hillary & Bernie would not be standing in front of the press, yelling at them and anyone listening that it wasn’t the neo-nazis’ fault, but those aggressive, bat-wheelding alt-left protesters (who were there WITHOUT a permit).

For a year now, this country has had to shake its collective head, hope other countries know our outdated election system is in need of an overhaul, that the few do DO NOT represent the many and apologize for how the new “commander” in chief is behaving on the world stage.  However, all of his gaffs, inexperience, rudeness, bullish attitude are all repairable and recoverable once his term is up, but this.  No.

This country, if it does not act appropriately to these actions, actions cumulatively on a path littered with destruction to this apex of arrogance and hate, will destroy itself.  This country is rapidly on a self-destructive course with a mad-man at the helm.  For some reason, those that have the ability to remove this egotistical destroyer of all, have yet to do so, and with each day, the country loses more and more.  Soon, there will be no country, well at least the country that anyone knows.  It will become unfamiliar, foreign, cold, unwelcoming.  What you woke up to today, the beauty of the sky, the opportunities in front of you, the quaint or quirky neighborhood you live it, it will all change.  You won’t wake up to that anymore.

You go ahead and start to compose your own 1984 world, what it will be like for you and better yet, what it will be like for your children.  I’m almost 50.  I have no kids.  I could easily shrug my shoulders and just mind my own business, go about my day.  I’ve lived most of my life, I’ve actually made it longer than I thought, so ‘yeah me!’.  I can’t do that.  I can’t watch as this complete insanity not only continues, but is allowed to run off leash. People are the casualties from the daily barrage of words and actions from this crazy man.  Pick any topic, it has or will be shortly, impacted and chances are almost 100% in a negative way.

This must end.  Even if it means all of us going into the damn white house and carrying his ass out of there.