Citizenship and Recovery

In 1983 I turned 18. Ever since then I’ve been voting in an election. That’s 35 years of pulling the flapjack or insert the paper in the ballot machine.

Though I have zero faith in our elected officials I’ll vote in the coming election and continue to vote in those in the future.

In the early 2000s an advocate started the “I Vote I Count” campaign to register to vote people with mental illnesses.

We cannot allow ourselves to be “mushrooms”–kept in the dark and fed a lot of bull.

By not reading newspapers or watching TV news and using our critical minds to analyze what’s being told/sold we won’t get anywhere.

It’s often that change happens at the speed of the old Pony Express: it takes years for our elected officials to be wrestled to the mat to take action.

Yet putting on our Everlast boxing gloves might actually be the best way to show that we’re not going to remain silent on the things that matter to us.

The victory of Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez in a recent New York City election is a testament to how a scrappy underdog fighter could win out over a longtime establishment government official.

It’s called the “blue wave” if I remember right.

The next step is to call and write our representatives to make our voices heard.

Years ago at HealthCentral I wrote about Citizenship and Recovery. Back then I was only one of a couple people who detailed the benefit of participating in our democracy when you have schizophrenia or another mental illness.

I still say: if you want to vote Republican that’s your choice. If you want to vote for a Democrat that’s fine too.

I’m making the case–as I wrote in the blog before –that a band of committed citizen activists can make a difference.

Alas, people without economic equity in American society might think it’s not worth voting. In this regard we’ve ceded power to people with the money to write laws whose very word-for-word language is written by corporations and given to elected officials.

Also, laws are being enacted at the State level that prevent or make it harder for people to vote in elections.

It can seem like things are rigged against ordinary citizens.

That’s why it’s imperative that the disadvantaged among us don’t give up the fight for economic equity.

No one anywhere in traditional media (I read a lot of it) has used the actual word oppression or even repression to describe what the denial of rights constitutes.

Yet in effect laws being enacted serve to keep people from having equity of any kind in America.

These laws take away our right to decide what’s best for us and put it in the hands of the government.

Big Brother anyone? Remember the book 1984?

This trend of oppression will only continue unless ordinary citizens speak out.

We need to make our voices heard.

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Obtaining Sexual Equity

I’m compelled to write about hot topics in the news. To filter what’s happening through my critical eyes and offer insight to spark debate.

At fifty-three years old I’ve become a Rebel – Feminist.

You’re told to “stay in your lane” and not offend readers. My lane appears to be on the Left. This impacts what I have to say.

One news article in the Atlantic online yesterday stressed that we cannot abandon due process in trying in the courtroom men accused of sexual abuse.

“Innocent until proven guilty” is the tenet of justice that we’re supposed to adhere to in the U.S. legal system.

The Atlantic writer claims we cannot rush to take the side of the alleged victim.

The female author of the Atlantic article wrote about how college and university administrations have responded to women students who claim they were raped.

In response, it appears that male students have been told to ask permission at every step of the way in order to advance to “third base” and then consummate the act of having sex.

Innocent until proven guilty should be the legal standard with due process adhered to.

This is irrefutable in terms of justice.

What I err on the side of [as a woman] is not accusing women of making up stories.

Everything about this current scenario in the news reinforces the need and right and duty of women to have sexual equity–ownership–of their bodies not just sexual equality in society.

If sexual equality means we appoint a female version of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is that really an improvement?

Women need to be taught to speak up and speak out immediately.

We shouldn’t be afraid to be assertive in the bedroom and in the boardroom and out on the street and in public.

The Republican woman who published the 2018 book excoriating female students who report rape on campus also attacked women who demand sexual equality with men.

I forget the title of this book or the author’s name. It was on the new books shelf at the library two weeks ago.

Inexplicably, the author blamed female students for reporting rape on campus. She claimed the so-called “sexual revolution” only caused harm because it loosened the morals of women. Again, blaming women for how men treat us.

If you really don’t want to have sex with a man, tell him no. This should ideally happen before your skirt is taken off. It can also be stated when you’re naked.

A lot of women write news articles about the supposedly “gray-area” nature of exactly when and how a woman is supposed to tell a man to stop and not go any farther.

These women writers claim that matters of reporting rape are simply not true. That the woman decided after the fact that she shouldn’t have had sex or that the sex was bad.

Totally negating the responsibility of the man to do the right thing. Offloading the responsibility to women.

Only women are taught to “go along” with what other people tell us we’re supposed to do.

Women have been told that our bodies don’t belong to us–that we don’t own our bodies. That we exist to please men and cater to their needs only.

Republican men and women–are they on a mission from their God or why else would they do this–now get to decide how other women live our lives.

We no longer have the choice to use birth control or to decide not to have kids.

Our daughters and nieces will be growing up and coming of age in a world where white men on the Supreme Court mandate that a woman’s role in life is to be barefoot and pregnant.

People claim Brett Kavanaugh won’t repeal Roe v. Wade. Only I’m confident he will. This whole situation in the news has been unfortunate.

Yet in my estimation the underlying good is that women are coming forward. Anita Hill and Christine Blasey Ford took lie detector tests that proved they were telling the truth. Women are speaking out and demanding that things change.

We cannot remain silent on the things that matter to us.

My lane is on the Left. That’s just how it is.

Justice in Traction or Stereotypes in Action?

OKCupid rated me as more political (by a seeming landslide on the horizontal bar graph) than their average user.

I report from the land of Brooklyn where I moved to when it was pre-gentrified.

From my vantage point I’d like to see a Supreme Court judge appointed who lived in Brownsville and attended Brooklyn Law School.

The closest we’ve come to this is Sonia Sotomayor who was born and raised in the Bronx.

This is a tricky thing to write about.

Can we assume that gender, race, and religion will influence how a Supreme Court judge rules on a case? If it’s not supposed to influence a judge and this wouldn’t happen in the courtroom then it wouldn’t matter about the complexion of a nominee.

Might it be a stereotype to assume that Brett Kavanaugh would vote against women’s rights?

2,400 law professors signed an opinion article in the New York Times advancing their position that Kavanaugh is not fit to be a Supreme because of his temperament and his histrionics in response to being grilled on his alleged sexual misconduct.

Here’s what I think: the Supreme Court should reflect the makeup of average Americans.

Why is it that only a man who can afford to drop $200K on an Ivy League education is the one appointed to the Supreme Court?

 

Remembering Political History

We cannot argue as GOP leaders in today’s news articles claim that “the Dems” are resisting Mr. Toupee’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

For those who forget history, 2 years ago the GOP refused to even consider President Obama’s duty to appoint a Supreme Court judge when a vacancy occurred.

American blog readers, you and I who forget history are condemned to watching the dangerous partisanship bickering and badmouthing over and over again.

Can I ask you a question I asked in the last blog entry? Have you ever spoken with a rape victim? It’s upsetting.

The taxi driver who often picks me up blasts alt-right radio jock commentary. Yesterday the talk show host vilified women who speak out about having been sexually assaulted.

This [white] [male] alt-right talk show radio show host in his own words called the victims “psychologically disturbed” “liars, liars, liars.”

In all of this we cannot equate seeking justice for victims with being an attack on the agenda of the GOP.

Remember, this same GOP wouldn’t even allow President Obama to do his duty to appoint a Supreme when there was a vacancy under his watch.

The GOP conveniently forgets that no mention of sexual misconduct was made against Neil Gorsuch and he was voted onto the Supreme Court under Mr. Toupee’s rule.

I’m not saying that Brett Kavanaugh is guilty. I simply find it curious that this guy who was allegedly the patron saint of beer pong or otherwise beery and is now teary-eyed over the accusations–I’m saying that something doesn’t add up.

“I’m done” with the sense of entitlement that well-off Americans have been and continue to be endowed with.

It costs something like $200,000 to obtain a 4-year Yale degree. Those students most likely didn’t ever work in a fast food joint or retail a day in their lives.

My first job ever was as a cashier in Mickey D’s–McDonald’s. I wore a horrible brown uniform for 13 months while I attended [a local public] university.

People who claim Kavanaugh won’t repeal Roe V. Wade are mistaken. He will–because he can’t be trusted not to seek revenge for what happened to him.

Okay-go ahead. Vote for the guy or gal who is against birth control, who is against trusting a woman to make the choices that are right for her.

Vote Republican if you want. That is your choice.

I, for one, have lost total faith in the battering rams of our elected officials.

The Brett Kavanaugh affair was the last straw for me.

I have no hope that women, People of Color, and individuals with disabilities will ever get a fair shake in America.

Our government has become a blood sport, with elected officials getting Americans worked up over false issues that mask the reality that citizens’ rights are being taken away elsewhere while we’re not looking.

Mr. Toupee is set to repeal the Affordable Care Act provision that stopped people with preexisting conditions from being denied treatment or charged higher premiums.

Yes, the president is set to roll back this protection for those of us with preexisting conditions like mental illnesses.

President Obama was not without faults. Yet he accomplished some good things, like signing into law The ABLE Act.

Pay attention to what’s really going on behind the scenes: Stripping away the rights of the many disadvantaged Americans while the few in power partake in unrivaled access to success.

Elected officials are deciding our fate whether we like or not.

We can’t give up without a fight.

I Too Have Been Harassed

One dark night in the fall of 2002 I was waiting for a bus. It was ten o’clock. I had been waiting an hour for my bus. Since I couldn’t see who was coming behind me I occasionally turned around to look instead of staring straight ahead at the oncoming buses.

Before I realized it a male teenager came up behind me inches close to my body and ran his fingers through my hair. “Hey, sexy!” he leered before walking ahead.

By this time I decided: “Screw it. Get on the next bus wherever it’s going.” I had to wait another half hour.

The bus that arrived was going to the ferry so I got off at the terminal. Hustled my ass to the taxi stand and took a cab home from there.

The lesson to be learned from this experience: always have in your wallet fifty dollars if you’re a woman and might have to make a quick getaway.

Over fifteen years later I remember this incident like it happened yesterday: the male teenager’s dark brown curly hair; his brown eyes; and the gray hoodie he wore.

There’s nothing that can be done about this according to the [white] [male] cop that blamed me for being a victim when I reported that a 300-pound guy told me he was going to kill me.

It’s not a real crime unless you’re actually physically injured that is punched in the gut or bleeding. That’s the penal code.

Anything else only constitutes harassment. And harassment is legal when you’re walking down the street or waiting for a bus in the dark.

The right to free speech allows a person to say he’s going to kill you. The privilege of a man allows him to run his fingers through your hair while you’re waiting alone in the dark for a bus.

It begs the question: how far is too far? When is a man’s behavior acceptable, and at what point has it gone overboard? Can we really as women and as a society expect that casual harassment is okay?

Allegedly, 86 percent of Republican women approve of appointing Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Women in America are on a mission to deny other women our rights.

I think it’s truly unlikely that 3 women would lie about being sexually abused.

Have you ever talked with a woman who’s been raped about her experience? It’s chilling.

Blaming the victim is all too common. Not believing that a victim is telling the truth is cray-cray.

I have no hope for an end to the lunacy that has become our government.

My niece is 13. She might become an adult in a society where white men on the Supreme Court have decided she has no say in whether or not she wants to get pregnant and have kids.

We have to think of the generations of women coming up behind us.

Once the Supreme Court decides women have no say in whether or not they get pregnant and birth babies it’s open season on denying women and everyone else whatever other rights the Supremes want to take away.

 

The Golden Goddess

golden goddess

The Golden Goddess shown here is proof that making art is like riding a bicycle–you don’t really forget how to do it.

After I came out of the hospital the first time I stopped making art. Even though I was sketching and painting ever since I was in the second grade.

Making art has mental health benefits according to a research study an M.D. conducted.

Going to a Paint-n-Sip workshop is a low-cost, judgment-free way to try out art-making to see if you’re good at it or simply if you’d like to do it.

I say: do what you love even if you’re not good at it. With practice you’ll get better.

This is only the third painting I’ve actually done over the years. All three paintings were created from 2012 through today.

I’ve titled this painting Goldie.

What do you think?

Acting True to Yourself

I’ve learned a life lesson courtesy of having interacted with the jewelry vendor.

It’s a lesson I’m reminded of because on my job I deal with books and people every day.

The life lesson comes after years spent trying to conform by working in cubicles in corporate office jobs.

Mid-life is the time to get this schooling right once and for all. You won’t ever be happy trying to be someone you’re not.

This is a FACT in my book of life:

Taking joy in being who you are is the greatest gift you can give yourself. To be who you are when others don’t want you to be this person takes guts and grit. The glory of being you lasts a lifetime. To squander this gift is the greatest tragedy.