My experiences as a totally blind and hard-of-hearing person, part 1

One thing I have struggled with as a person with both total blindness and progressive hearing loss was which community to identify. I hope this part will not sound too condescending by any means. I have challenged blind people to think about how they would function if they lost their hearing one morning, and, to be honest, a lot of them would be devastated to the point they would want to kill themselves. This was usually the result of when someone asked the usual question of if you’ve been told that you could’ve gotten surgery to restore your eyesight, would you go for it? Many blind people would never do it. Yes, some people would be devastated if they became deaf, but just like how they like being blind and consider that to be a part of their identity, they would respect that I could love being deaf blind, and that it is a part of my identity. Still, many blind people use their hearing a lot, though, and have echolocation.
Most people say it is easier to be deaf than it is to be blind, but when you are already blind, you cannot see yourself as being deaf. No two disabilities are superior to one another. There is a lot of cruelty and internallised ableism towards deaf-blind individuals by some blind people, but I know that not all blind people are like that. I mean, a lot of blind people hate being asked how they use a computer if they cannot see. Likewise, those same blind people who hated being asked that asked me, how do you do music if you have trouble hearing it? It is because they view their hearing as everything; they would just simply collapse and feel like they can never get up again. That is why I remind them to be more open and inclusive towards our siblings with combined disabilities that have blindness in addition to the mix. Some people I’ve talked to agree that deaf-blind people are always left out of accessibility initiatives. Still, people in the blind community continue to refer to this blind gentleman named Kennith Jernigan whenever they argue about codependence, interdependence, independence and dependence, and he wrote the well-known banquet address called The Nature of Independence in the nineties. However, I would argue that The Nature of Independence was written from the point of view of someone who was only blind and married. It was not written by someone who was deaf-blind. It was not written by someone who was blind and in a wheelchair. It was not written by someone who was blind and had a severe chronic illness. It was not written by someone who was blind and had autism, Down’s Syndrome, or any other kind of learning, intellectual or developmental disability. Still, it seems that a lot of blind people, particularly those who are proud of their accomplishments, are overly ambicious and would consider relying on sighted or blind assistance as a sign of weakness or being inadequate. This is where the cultural aspect comes in, because in south America, people are more likely to offer you assistance, whereas here in the US, people tend to be hands-off. A lot of members misquote it. It probably did result in people believing that they are better than I for not pre-boarding an aeroplane and things like that, but I don’t think those people actually read it.
Whatever happened to the concept of work together, help others, and all those things we learned growing up? Besides, it is not a crime to ask for help, and sighted people use assistance all the time, so why should blind people be an exception to the rule? They are so anxious to show society that they can do anything. Besides, Kennith Jernigan did use assistance at conventions, and other members criticised him for going guided travel. Oh, and how can we make talking ATMs more accessible to deaf-blind people? How about movies with audio descriptions? Seriously, deaf-blind people are being left behind it is not even funny. I definitely also went deaf blind people to be included in making appliances more accessible. I have noticed that a lot of things talk now, but if you are deaf-blind, that doesn’t help. So many blind people say they want to make things accessible, but what they really mean is that they want those things to be accessible for only themselves in the current moment. That is because they are not following universal design. Not all deaf-blind people can read Braille due to barriers related to a learning, intellectual or developmental disability. Deaf people who do not develop oral language skills almost never develop reading comprehension beyond the sixth grade anyway, but still. I would imagine that deaf people are the same where they only think of and include deaf people who meet societal expectations in every other way.
Europe uses spinning cones to tell deaf-blind people when it is safe to cross streets. Australia uses relays that vibrate and give tactile feedback. Japan uses Braille signage that is printed directly on railings where they would be extremely conspicuous to anyone using them. I do not enjoy being independent as a totally blind and hard-of-hearing person. But I truly believe we are all interdependent. I have written very cogent remarks here. Perhaps the most important part about being independent is knowing when and when not to need assistance, as well as being extremely self-reliant. Be lucky that you have what you have, and use it to the fullest. Do not depend on anything too much as everything has its time and purpose.
Older people might say that I’m not as independent as they are because I rely on my phone too much. I think that a lot of people just get stuck in the rebellious independence stage discussed in the speech. Other blind people have told me I wasn’t as independent because I used audio descriptions at the theatre, and while I don’t use a guide dog, they would’ve probably criticised me for it, as well. I am not perfect by any means. Yes, people do not want you to use guided travel at training centres because you are there to learn and develop new skills, but even when you are out of it, they act like you should be at the centre forever. Kennith Jernigan agreed that the way we do things while we are in training is not the same way that we would do it in everyday life. For example, if I took a college math class where calculators were not allowed, I would have to learn how to do everything by hand so as to master new techniques. But, when I am out in the field, it would be ridiculous for me to continue doing it this way when I can have a computer do that for me in the blink of an eye; the skills are simply an adjunct. Likewise, it would be foolish of me to criticise others for using calculators and accusing them of taking shortcuts. They would have every right to say that I was being altogether arrogant in that regard. Of course, one could argue that if the power went out, or the batteries stopped working, then your math skills would definitely be of service. They would say the same about blind people relying on their devices that could fail one day, and since the brain almost never fails, they should always rely on that. I am really good at technology, and I notice myself almost never using a reader to do things such as manage my finances and read my mail when other blind people say that they use a reader for these things all the time. I don’t think of myself as more independent than they. It is just easier for me not to have to rely on a reader most of the time. I might decide that I’m not going to follow this person, or I’m not going to go cited guide because I really want to learn about this area, and I really want to develop some new skills. Sometimes it’s also about priority. For instance, if you need to be somewhere as fast as possible whilst having a conversation, it might be perfectly fine to go guided travel because you probably already know the layout of the environment. Even sighted people do things differently depending on what their priorities are and how they want to do it.
I believe the problem is that a lot of blind people act like they want everyone there to be blind. Well, that is exactly like me saying that everyone who is only blind should be deaf-blind. The problem is that when many people in the NFB, as well as many people out of it, say blind people, they only think of and refer to people who are just blind and have everything else that meet societal expectations. They sometimes forget how diverse the blind population can be. If I said a sighted person, I could be referring to a sighted person with autism, a sighted deaf person, a sighted wheelchair user, etc. The same should apply if I said a blind person. Some blind people want other blind people to experience what they could never have. Actually, some people have started thinking about this because it is common for hearing loss to deteriorate with age. Also, some people lose their ability to know in which directions sounds are coming from, whether due to allergies, migraines, or what have you….
That is why I value Helen Keler’s philosophy more, because she knew what it was like from the inside. I was not allowed to have an SSP at several NFB-sponsored activities, and whenever I attempted to use guided travel, someone would come up, I do not know who, and, gently but firmly, separate me. I got lost numerous times because of that, plus I could not hear the crowd in a noisy environment, or I might hear them, but it would later turn out that I would be following the wrong one. I didn’t have a cell phone back then, so I had no way to call someone for help. Some might say I was lazy and did not want to try hard enough, but as I grew older I was able to justify my need for additional accommodations on the basis of having severe hearing loss, especially around 2013 and on. When I discovered HKNC, it was like a whole new world has sprung up before me with a number of countless possibilities. I know that the NFB has been changing in the last ten years, and that the Deaf-Blind Division has been created, but frankly, I would not deal with them until they can prove to me that they really want to accommodate me; not only for the blindness, but for the severe hearing loss I have, as well. It is not just about me. It is about my fellow deaf-blind friends, too.
I don’t know if I can ever have completely positive relationships with other sighted people, or even blind people, but I want that for other blind and deaf-blind people. I want them to be integrated in ways I might never be able to have. I want them to be able to meet sighted people who believe that blind and or deaf-blind people could never have a job, and then have a meaningful and equal relationship with that person even though I can’t do it. My emotional feelings toward sighted people in general, as well as some blind people, and toward the whole situation basically make that impossible, but I’m glad that other people don’t share those feelings, and I don’t think they should. Logically, my feelings aren’t what I think.
Sometimes, blind people do need to be reminded that Deafness and other disabilities affect how you do things, but I think the key point they are making is that BLINDNESS itself does not create dependence. And yes, sometimes that can come off as a little tone-deaf when they are dealing with people with other disabilities. But it is all attitude and all problem-solving to figure out what will work for you. You can try different things, be open to new ideas and be a CAN do person, or you can make excuses, say no to everything and be a CANNOT do person. Not everyone is going to be able to do everything by themselves all the time, and I do not think anyone expects that, but I think they wants you to at least entertain the possibility, play around and experiment with it, and see how far you can go.
This is a very interesting perspective of blindness. When someone is blind, it does not make basic tasks impressive, when someone is deaf, it does not make basic tasks impressive, but because I do not understand what it is like to be both, it makes me think basic tasks are impressive, even know it is just combining 2 things that are not impressive. That is very strange. The lack of having experience is definitely a the leading factor for different mindsets. I know you performing basic tasks is not impressive, but the lack of experience makes it hard to think outside the box. If I could not do basic tasks extremely well, I would not have been able to go on the internet and share my story, so it is very hard to think about what someone has done and then use that to say, oh, well because they did this, then everything else before that must be easy to them. Instead of using what we have seen you do, we use the lack of our own experience to determine what is and is not impressive or easy for you.
So, to drive my point home, I might blow the whistle by recording what goes on at these training centres and take a vow of silence and only communicate in sign language. Or, I might just do an expose on them. How, I know not, but I swear I will do it some day.

My Impressions on Bullying and Harassment

When you hear about bullying or harassment, what emotions do you immediately feel? It can vary widely based on your schemas and experiences. Regardless, you should know what’s happening by peering into the points of view of others that differ from your own. How and why this happens will be described to the best of knowledge below.
First, bullying and harassment are not the same thing, although they may share similar meanings. Bullying refers to the constant act of picking on people who are believed to be inferior to the person doing it because they feel they possess a better status or trait than the victim. Things include age,intellect, gender, disability, race and ethnicity or nationality, even socioeconomic classes and more subtle things like microagression, especially in patronising certain individuals in a professional context.
Harassment is a criminal offence when a person continually or repeatedly does something of which the victim has persistently asked and told the harasser to stop. This may be a result of them wanting to stalk the victim for whatever reason, or simply because they insist on doing something the other person didn’t want. This latter type of harassment is more of an indirect form than one that is deliberate. Both are equally devastating, and there has been efforts to criminalise bullying, as well. Nevertheless, there are a broad number of motives as to why one would want to bully and or harass someone else, and I can tell you that there is likely no way I can cover them all.
How bullying and harassment affects a person in the long run depends on several factors of said person. If the person is mentally and emotionally stable, which is to say that they are totally self-confident and they have a positive outlook on their lives, they may feel somewhat impacted, but they would most likely vent and use other forms of expression to talk to other people to insure that the victim was not at fault. Others, however, may not have this kind of reaction, especially with those who have a lower intellect to emotion ratio. These type of people may suffer the most from an attack of a bully. Since they have little to no ability to reason and to think rationally, they often rely on their emotions to express how they feel and sometimes results in self-destructive behaviour. However, it is possible that a person could have their intellect reduced if the bully picked on the same person for an extended period of time. This type of change is called ‘neurosis’. If not treated, the person could end up sharing the traits of someone who would normally be a neurotic (more emotion than intellect). The opposite to neuroticism is psychopathy, which is someone who has more intellect and less emotion. It is also known that children who grow up with abusive parents may become abusive themselves, though they usually learn not to follow in their stead.
The remedies for dealing with a bully depends on the kind of person they are targetting, as well as the bully’s familial background, and possibly other things. you, the victim, are mostly psychopathic, you can find non-physical ways to intimidate the bully and make them submissive if possible. If you are primarily neurotic, however, you may have a harder time standing up to a bully since you would be too submissive, whereas the bully would usually dominate over you. Note that the majority of bullies are acting out of sheer cowardice and ignorance. However, there are things that you can do to help speak up for yourself and realise that there is nothing wrong with you, and that you will pull through. Be sure to address the situation at the micro-level if you can, rather than going all out and going to the macro level. Also, be sure to get plenty of evidence that would be significantly unfavourable to the bully, no matter how hard they would try and convince people that you were bullying them.
Things like mixed martial arts and other forms of sports (physical or mental) can be used to build confidence by stimulating all areas of a person’s brain, allowing for further development of intellect. Examples of when I was bullied or harassed and how I dealt with them are rather hard to find since I was able to get out of most situations. When I was younger, I was often made fun of because of my disabilities of blindness and severe hearing loss–even by people in the blind community! Some sighted children would make me bump into things, and they would laugh and taunt me. However, I did not experience a lot of emotions except for sadness and being upset in general. So, I thought of inflicting the same pain that the bully did to me, but I think that is normally not the best thing to do; I sometimes felt it would have been the right thing to do, because I wanted them to hurt just as they had hurt me. However, the line between wanting justice and revenge become blurred, and sometimes, whether you want to give someone a taste of their own medicine, two wrongs don’t always make a right. And, as aforementioned, hurting a bully first would be consider taking too big of a step… it should only be used if nothing else works.
The problem in many schools today is that both the bully and the victim end up getting suspension time because they have a zero tolerance policy for any physical violence. However, the law does authorise anyone to act in self-defence if the situation warranted it, and if the means of self-defence was proportionate to the offence As an example, you cannot choke someone to the point of near death simply because they punched you a few times. However, the attitude must always be, ‘I do not want to fight, period.’ You should always maintain this attitude even if others will call you chicken or coward These are all forms of peer pressure used to get you to conform to a dominant culture, and possibly, at the subconscious level, because they want to get you in trouble for fighting with them.
In conclusion, bullies often have fears of their own. Fear and lack of understanding makes us do strange and irrational things. Nobody can control how they feel inside, but anybody can choose how to respond to these emotions. Knowing this can help you to a great extent to gain positive power to defend yourself rationally. As usual, new methods are continually being invented by psychologists and sociologists, as well as politicians and other legal personelle. All these things will hopefully prevent bullying and harassment. This kind of behaviour cannot only occur in children, but more often than not, it can just as well happen with adults, too, especially if they do not agree with one another on any given situation and who has no ability to control their anger and frustration. The best thing that can be done is to realise who will be their true friends and who to stay away from. Visit the Stop Bullying web site for more information, and remember that there is always help. Simply dial +1(800) 275-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. Two-one-one Info also provides resources for immediate need.
As always, stay safe!

More Issues That Seem to Keep Prevailing in This Country

I don’t know if I can make this post, or any post for that matter, short because I know how much we all find political stuff boring since it feels like we’re just repeating the same thing over and over. However, I’m going to outline some bad experiences I’ve had on several social media platforms and sometimes in person, and some remedies I came up with right on the spot to try and combat them.
About six or seven years ago, I was out and about late one week night in the down-town area of the metropolis. I had previously gotten left behind because I didn’t know that my group had evidently left, nor in which direction they had gone. So, not knowing how bad things could get, I eventually made my way (with some assistance) back to the dorms. On the way in, however, this rando stopped me and grabbed onto my left shoulder and spoke to me gruffly. I felt very vulnerable at that point because there were several of them just hanging out on the porch, probably beyond drunk, stoned, high, or whatever. I’ve heard horror stories about harassers and predators on the news, and, to my dismay, my phone had previously gotten wet, so I couldn’t use it for gathering evidence. Although I’ve only had one near miss, I sometimes tighten up inside every time I’m walking and hear guys shouting and swearing angrily, which hasn’t happened all too often fortunately. Still, being in the vicinity of guns and fireworks sometimes scare me and I end up getting paranoid.
About three or four years ago, I’ve read some books featuring fictional victims along with a connection to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN). There were some things that I particularly found fascinating, especially after I read another series later on. If you remember from my earlier post about how babies slowly develop consciousness, and how they mostly operate on autopilot until that happens, sometimes I wonder if an abusive experience could be so traumatising to the point the brain would be able to suppress it completely. It’s absolutely true that when a person is traumatised, they can’t remember a lot of details except for the main ones, which suggests that the brain uses a network of neurones to store gross details and eliminate fine ones. By the way, the two books that I first read were Hopeless and Losing Hope, good choice of words! Then I later learned about a series that was set in my home state of Oregon, called The Programme. Sometimes, especially when our brains are capable of remembering everything as we get older, we let our experiences eat away at our inner core. Still, you might never be too old to suppress a bad experience. But, knowing what I went through nearly three years ago gives a perfect example of how dwelling on it can really change your brain chemistry. I’ve heard researchers trying to invent a prototype that was similar to the one used in The Programme, including using light-sensitive proteins to guide them in mapping out memory cells.
When I went to attend a festival over at Gala Choruses in Denver, Colorado, I came up with a brilliant idea that it was a wonder how it had slipped my mind when I could’ve done this a lot sooner. This was of course if I could make it work legally. Fortunately, many laws have this loophole. My idea was to keep a daily record of my activities in audio form, and sometimes video, if it were warranted. I call it the #RecordYourDay campaign. Now, in almost all states, you can say that at least one person must consent to the recording, which can be constrewed as the person making the recording. Unfortunately, Oregon is not one of them. Here’s why. I once read an article about how the military was concerned that Furbies had the ability of recording or eavesdroping on their conversations. That’s why I believe in recording police brutalities, especially when dealing with unarmed people of colour. Or, why victims of bullies should wear body cams and stuff when the bully turns around and pretends to be the victim to get the real victim in trouble.
Anyway, last year sparked a lot of high-profile controversies about whether famous cisgender heterosexual male celebrities had been taking advantage of certain minority groups in the entertainment and legal industries. This was probably caused by the aftermath of the 2016 election, though it could’ve just as well been caused by a completely unrelated incident. At any rate, a new trend started popping up on social media called the #MeToo movement. Although this is slightly extraneous, I came up with an idea for an invention back in 2015, but when I looked it up, I saw that it was already being considered. I was going to call it an anti-rape device, but surprisingly, someone else had beat me to it. So, for those on my Facebook who were in abject defeat following the approval of a new judge in late 2018, I knew I had to think fast on how best to respond. We should all have the right to be righteously angry. However, it always amazes me (and not in the good sort of amazed) that people truly think we want to make these things up, that we truly want to say that someone (or someones) said or did disgusting things to our body (which could prompt other people to say or do those things), and now they say that women and transgender people need mental help because we’re angry all the time. Screw that. They truly think we want to risk mockery at best, ongoing harassment, job loss, and physical violence at worst? They truly think this? Yeah, I think they do…because they believe the way the media has sensationalised narcissism and other personality disorders, and they’re more than ready to slap those labels on people who are saying things they don’t want to believe are true. I believe it is bottom-of-the-barrel despicable for the president of the United States to mock anyone at one or more of his disgusting ego-building rallies. His mockery is a symptom of the problems plaguing our country from the top down. Anger is important as it motivates us to keep fighting. I also dislike it when some women are like, ‘Oh, well just don’t bother him when he’s drunk’, or ‘If you had just kept your mouth shut, this wouldn’t have happened.’ Seriously! Why do they let these guys walk over them, and then blame you afterword? That is seriously demented, and if anybody says it was just nothing, that those guys were just paying you a compliment, screw that, too!
Some time in September 2018, a new supreme court justice was nominated. However, someone decided to hault the progress by testifying in front of the congressional committee. You can see the testimony for yourself.

People have a right to believe or to not believe, and that is fine. However, everyone was blaming her for coming forward after 30 plus years. But, nobody seemed to be blaming the males who came forward after 30 plus years regarding priests molesting them, like in the recent Catholic church scandal. So, if nothing else, it’s  a double standard. Some people think he’s lying and others think she’s lying. There is absolutely NO irrefutable evidence. All any of us have is her word and his word. It’s the same with Stormy. You probably don’t have any proof, it just rings true. The same goes for Roy Moore. I think one or two of those women had something happen to them by Moore. But then, all these cockroaches come out of the walls and dilute the real accusations. Cosby was found guilty, and I think that was the right verdict, but he had evidence presented in the court of law and was found guilty by his peers. Presumption of innocence is mandatory. It’s the constitution. RAINN has some pretty good information on the topic. Sometimes, this thing about treating people as innocent until proven guilty is so warped that you might as well be treated guilty until you were proven innocent. This has happened one too many times with framings and other things.
Since a lot of attention by the media is chiefly focused on the alleger, I think it is equally important to consider how the alleged person might be feeling, even if you don’t think they are worthy of consideration. If that is how you feel, then you are probably biased towards that person. Maybe you’ve had a similar experience and found it easier to sympathise. This is a huge problem in this country when one is attempting to select an equitable jury panel for a high-profile case. Although the media is free to impose upon such cases based on the first amendment, I believe there should be some restrictions to prevent the media from covering these things until a vertict has been reached and the case was at an end. Of course, no one can stop any juror from seeking information from outside sources. However, if you stopped for a minute and really thought about it, then why in the world would you expect Judge Kavanaugh not to be emotional and pissed? Just once, think of what it must be like to have someone lie about you to the world. The whole entire world. Because that’s where he’s coming from. Unless she had clear, concrete, and consistent evidence, that went all the way through, along with reliable witnesses, I cannot find any legal basis to accredit Ford’s testimony. That is not to say that I am invalidating her unsubstantiated and uncorroborated story; I just don’t see any way she could’ve won. She couldn’t tell you when it happened, where it happened, who was there, how she got there, how she got home, and who the people were at the party… well, except Kavanaugh. She could only tell you what happened, and of course, only fate knows why. So, we are to take this as the adequate burden of proof. This is America. Due process is a fundamental principle of our nation when the constitution was ratified. This witch hunt was orchestrated by the Democratic National Committee and nearly destroyed a man, his career and his family. Of course he was pissed. This stunt could’ve made him lose everything. You can say what you want about ford’s and Kavanaugh’s testimony–her story stinks to high heaven, he could’ve been pummeled with death threats, her accusations had no merit, and so on and so on. My point here is that I want to convince people to really think with an open mind and stop jumping to conclusions because of how the media portrayed a certain group of individuals.
I’ll give you another example that someone had expressed on the same platform. It was evident by this person’s demeanour towards Kavanaugh that they were influenced by information that could only be described as hearsay. What supposedly happened was that Kavanaugh had made some decisions regarding pregnant women with developmental disabilities, and how he encouraged their guardians to consider abortion. Of course, many disability rights advocates would argue that no matter how severe one’s mental capacity was, that person still had a right to speak their opinion in whatever way possible. Others would argue that it was medically necessary because the person was mentaly or developmentally unstable. My point here was that this person had gotten this story from a a media source, and since they generally tend to be extremely biased, I suggested that said person call the courthouse directly and purchase an audio record of that case, so as to get the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. This article, as well as this second article do a pretty good job at explaining how we should choose our battles in life.
Now, here’s another perfect example of why we have such high standards in this country, and why it is further exacerbated by instant gratification. About a year ago, someone told me that they had read an article in which a female had consensual sex with a male, but for whatever reason, she disliked him to the point she fabricated stories in order to slander and defame his character by claiming that he had raped her. Of course, you’d expect everybody to immediately sympathise with her. Still, there are no words to express how the behaviour of so many is causing such anguish. There was a time when we all depended on our fathers and forefathers, our grandfathers, our husbands, boyfriends, or any other male-identified figure to fight for our freedom. A freedom to love, to work and worship as we please. Now Now to hear that our own disgusting leader flagrantly mock a somebody who had the courage to tell their story, to listen to a contemptuous crowd egg the mocker on, to basically be told that women don’t seem to matter? As you say, to daily see the way the disabled are disregarded? I just cannot fathom this.  I am not a cynic, (or I try not to be), but there are just times that sicken me.  I know that the higher power will make things right in the end, but being patient is so hard. I completely and totally agree, which is partly why I bothered writing a post about it. It’s to raise awareness. It’s to call out bullshit. It’s to let people know that this ugliness happens, and women–or at least anyone who identifies as female–aren’t going to take it silently any more. But You know what, some conservatives label liberals as entitled. The truth is, it’s the conservatives who are entitled, especially the white, straight, cisgender men. They are entitled to act and speak as they please with impunity. They have been taught from day 1 that no matter what they do, they’re at the top of the food chain, even now when they are the minority. It’s no wonder why they are feeling threatened. This country, not to mention the majority of our societies, are extremely patriarchal and male-dominated. And, part of the reason I don’t really like feminism is because although they claim to advocate for equality, the truth is that they only want to advocate for female domination, and they end up turning misandristic. So, what would happen if we had the same male gender, but of a different type? What if we had more gay men lead the nation?

Before I conclude this post, I’d love for you to all head over to Pete’s campaign and sign up to become a volunteer and a donor. We need all the support we can get if we are to help him reach the next level.
Stay safe and until next time!

An open letter to friends and family who are shocked to discover I’m a liberal… [reshare]

Not my words! Before I share this with you all, I wanted to let you know that I added some comments to better illustrate how liberals can agree on the same thing but from different angles.

I’ve always been a liberal, but that doesn’t mean what a lot of you apparently think it does.
Let’s break it down, shall we? Because quite frankly, I’m getting a little tired of being told what I believe and what I stand for. Spoiler alert: Not every liberal is the same, though the majority of liberals I know think along roughly these same lines:

You got that right! So, what exactly does liberal mean? The dictionary defines it, as well as its origin, to be free from restraint, liberation, and progression. It is believed that the more one is informed about the advances of science, the more progressive one will be. Being conservative basically means keeping onto things like traditions and customs, conserving moral values, and often not keeping up with the sciences.

  1. I believe a country should take care of its weakest members. A country cannot call itself civilised when its children, disabled, sick, and elderly are neglected. Period.
  2. I believe healthcare is a right, not a privilege. Somehow that’s interpreted as ‘I believe Obamacare is the end-all, be-all.’ This is not the case. I’m fully aware that the ACA has problems, that a national healthcare system would require everyone to chip in, and that it’s impossible to create one that is devoid of flaws, but I have yet to hear an argument against it that makes ‘let people die because they can’t afford healthcare a better alternative. I believe healthcare should be far cheaper than it is, and that everyone should have access to it. And no, I’m not opposed to paying higher taxes in the name of making that happen. *Canada and the UK seem to have little problem with this. Why?*
  3. I believe education should be affordable and accessible to everyone. It doesn’t necessarily have to be free (though it works in other countries so I’m mystified as to why it can’t work in the US), but at the end of the day, there is no excuse for students graduating college saddled with five- or six-figure debt. *Many countries let you study core classes that pertain to your field. This is much like how homeschooled children would be taught. Teachers need to teach because they really want to teach, not because they want to collect a paycheque.*
  4. I don’t believe your money should be taken from you and given to people who don’t want to work. I have literally never encountered anyone who believes this. Ever. I just have a massive moral problem with a society where a handful of people can possess the majority of the wealth while there are people literally starving to death, freezing to death, or dying because they can’t afford to go to the doctor. Fair wages, lower housing costs, get access to universal healthcare, affordable education, and the wealthy actually paying their share would go a long way toward alleviating this. Somehow believing that makes me a communist. *I believe in a classless society where truly disabled people can get the help they need, while those with manageable disabilities or inconveniences can get the support needed to be successful. It’s like a scale; if you’ve got too much on one side, you can simply remove some of the weight until it was balanced. Then again, perhaps hierarchising disabilities might not be the best approach by all means.*
  5. I don’t throw around ‘I’m willing to pay higher taxes’ lightly. If I’m suggesting something that involves paying more, well, it’s because I’m fine with paying my share as long as it’s actually going to something besides lining corporate pockets or bombing other countries while Americans die without healthcare… *or feeding our inmates who might as well be given the death penalty. We seriously need to get our government out of debt, or make it file for bankruptcy and start anew.*
  6. I believe companies should be required to pay their employees a decent, livable wage. Somehow this is always interpreted as me wanting burger flippers to be able to afford a penthouse apartment and a Mercedes. What it actually means is that no one should have to work three full-time jobs just to keep their head above water. Restaurant servers should not have to rely on tips, multibillion-dollar companies should not have employees on food stamps, workers shouldn’t have to work themselves into the ground just to barely make ends meet, and minimum wage should be enough for someone to work 40 hours and live. *In order for that to happen, though, we need to fix our economy.*
  7. I am not anti-Christian. I have no desire to stop Christians from being Christians, to close churches, to ban the Bible, to forbid prayer in school, etc. By the way, prayer in school is NOT illegal; compulsory prayer in school is – and should be – illegal). All I ask is that Christians recognise my right to live according to my beliefs. When I get pissed off that a politician is trying to legislate Scripture into law, I’m not ‘offended by Christianity’ — I’m offended that you’re trying to force me to live by your religion’s rules. You know how you get really upset at the thought of Muslims imposing Sharia law on you? That’s how I feel about Christians trying to impose biblical law on me. Be a Christian. Do your thing. Just don’t force it on me or mine. Just like it is illegal to sacrifice a person, it should also be illegal to impose restrictions that would be detrimental to human civilisation. *That obviously includes making so-called laws and policies that are unfavourable towards a minority group because of your religious upbringing.*
  8. I don’t believe that LGBTQ2SIA+ people should have more rights than you. I just believe they should have the same rights as you. *The same applies to all other minorities; that’s why I believe in the #AllLivesMatter movement.*
  9. I don’t believe illegal immigrants should come to America and have the world at their feet, especially since THIS ISN’T WHAT THEY DO (spoiler: undocumented immigrants are ineligible for all those programs they’re supposed to be abusing, and if they’re ‘stealing’ your job it’s because your employer is hiring illegally). I’m not opposed to deporting people who are here illegally, but I believe there are far more humane ways to handle undocumented immigration than our current practices (i.e., detaining children, splitting up families, ending DACA, etc). *There are certain Green Card eligibilities that pertain to skills in the science and art, as well as those seeking immediate refuge under the Violence Against Minorities Act. Besides, what would be the point of building a massive wall across the Southern border? It not only shows that you are discriminating against Mexicans, but it’s a largely flawed idea. Determined people would find ways over, under, and around it.*
  10. I don’t believe the government should regulate everything, but since greed is such a driving force in our country, we NEED regulations to prevent cut corners, environmental destruction, tainted food/water, unsafe materials in consumable goods or medical equipment, etc. It’s not that I want the government’s hands in everything — I just don’t trust people trying to make money to ensure that their products, practices, etc. are actually SAFE. Is the government devoid of shadiness? Of course not. But with those regulations in place, consumers have recourse if they’re harmed and companies are liable for medical bills, environmental cleanup, etc. Just kind of seems like common sense when the alternative to government regulation is letting companies bring their bottom line into the equation. We are actually doing much worse than we are for future generations if we continue destroying this planet. *But, George Carlin said that this planet has been through times much worst than we have. If you watch Legally Blonde II, or as I call it, Politically Blonde, you can get a good taste of how strong corporations are, and what could happen if we made animal testing illegal unless they were ethical, or what could happen to the economy if we outlawed cigarettes. It’s a wonder why we make so many laws that are favourable to corporations, but not so much for the consumer. Just look at net neutrality! That’s why we need to come up with alternative practices that are moral and ethical, and obviously something that will benefit everyone.*
  11. I believe our current administration is fascist. Not because I dislike them or because I can’t get over an election, but because I’ve spent too many years reading and learning about the Third Reich to miss the similarities. Not because any administration I dislike must be Nazis, but because things are actually mirroring authoritarian and fascist regimes of the past. *My question then is, why do some people still believe in the confederate flag? What would happen if we had a dictator who was extremely smart and ethical?*
  12. I believe the systemic racism and misogyny in our society is much worse than many people think, and desperately needs to be addressed. Which means those with privilege — white, straight, cisgender male, economic, etc. — need to start listening, even if you don’t like what you’re hearing, so we can start dismantling everything that’s causing people to be marginalised. WE must also have a fighting force that is open to everyone. *That includes making compulsary military service the same as jury duty–no one person should be given preferential treatment because of their assigned sex or gender. Similarly, if anybody tells you that they don’t like white Africans (those who talk ghetto), well, I’ve got news for you, buddy. All of us, our entire species, actually originated in Africa, at least by evidentiary record kept by scientists. So, whether you are white, Asian, or anything like that, then you are still an African, and so am I, because we are Africans by origin; we just moved around every few generations.*
  13. I am not interested in coming after your blessed guns, nor is anyone serving in government. What I am interested in is sensible policies, including background checks, that just MIGHT save one person’s, perhaps a toddler’s, life by the hand of someone who should not have a gun. (Got another opinion? Put it on your page, not mine). *I am thinking of requiring tests the way driving and ham radio do, but owning a gun is currently seen as a right, not a privilege, so having guns out in public would put others at risk. However, that is not to say that you have the right to use your gun in public irresponsibly without some training. I also proposed the idea of having smart guns with advanced sights and tracking, but many people have strong oppositions to the government spying and encroaching on their privacy, not to mention that they are supersticious about the mark of the beast because I suggested we use biometric sensors.*
  14. I believe in so-called political correctness *and euphemisms.* I prefer to think it’s social politeness. If I call you Chuck and you say you prefer to be called Charles I’ll call you Charles. It’s the polite thing to do. Not because everyone is a delicate snowflake, but because as Maya Angelou put it, when we know better, we do better. When someone tells you that a term or phrase is more accurate or less hurtful than the one you’re using, you now know better. So why not do better? *Even if it doesn’t make sense to you, take a moment to feel it from another person’s perspective.* How does it hurt you to NOT hurt another person? *I always like transparency. I do not want to use words that are vague or misleading, or that tend to screen out a particular group of individuals, which is why I will explain why you should say this instead of that. I know what some people will say..stick and stones will break my bones. Not always true! Also, I am extremely opposed to using gender exclusive language and will do whatever it takes to eradicate it, even if I have to make sacrifices for the way I approach the issue. This means that you cannot say things like he or she, he/she, s/he, etc. unless you also included a gender-inclusive pronoun. You will also not say men and women, women and men, unless you also said and those in between. So, beware, you have been warned!*
  15. I believe in funding sustainable energy, including offering education to people currently working in coal or oil so they can change jobs. There are too many sustainable options available for us to continue with coal and oil. Sorry, billionaires. Maybe try investing in something else. *Yeah, why don’t you do us a big favour and get an amateur radio licence, so you can just learn how to build your own self-containing life support system? As a matter of fact, that’s what the International Space Station is using for their power source, plumbing, food, and air supply. Go here for the perfect example.*
  16. I believe that women (cisgender and transgender) should not be treated as a separate class of humans. They should be paid the same as everyone else and who do the same work, should have the same rights as everyone else and should be free from abuse. Why on earth shouldn’t they be? *What about including our nonbinary folks, i.e. those who identify as neither male or female? We should also be using more harmony-based vocabulary, like saying reproductive choices instead of abortion, as Pete Buttigieg once said. I’m sure he said this because some trans-men may not like the term abortion, and because abortion generally has unwanted connotations. Also, don’t take this the wrong way, but I don’t want anything having to do with feminism. I personally find that term as arrogant as the #BlackLivesMatter. If you really want true equality, consider using the term egalitarianism or equalism.*
  17. *And, speaking of abortion, I have my own outside-the-box views on the matter. I think we need to consider medical abortions, i.e. abortions that are medically necessary as a human right, which would therefore make non-medical abortions a privilege. I also believe that as artificial wombs are further developed, we could transplant the foetus without killing it. If the government only funded medical abortions, then it would be your responsibility to cover a non-medical abortion. If you can’t afford it, too bad! Consider adoption, instead. Yes, I know that some people used to end pregnancies using coat hangers, but I would strongly discourage such practice. Also, think about it this way. If you let yourself get knocked up at a party without protection, you have made an irresponsible decision that will irreversibly change your life forever. The baby didn’t ask to be brought into this world or give consent, it was your own carelessness that did it! So, you might as well enjoy your work, or consider adoption. Now, if you were raped in the legal sense, you might have a different story to tell. Bottom line is. I believe in pro-choice, not pro-life or pro-birth or whatever.*

I think that about covers it. Bottom line is that I’m a liberal because I think we should take care of each other. That doesn’t mean you should work 80 hours a week so your lazy neighbor can get all your money. It just means I don’t believe there is any scenario in which preventable suffering is an acceptable outcome as long as money is saved.
So, I’m a liberal.

Some thought-provoking thoughts on our political system

Hello, my faithful readers.
Today I thought I’d give you all a quick reality check regarding our current political dilemma by sharing something I saw on Facebook a couple months back. After you read this, feel free to watch the supplemental video.

Civil rights, women’s rights, LGBTQIA+ rights, ADA, social security, it’s all a hustle. They happened because lawyers insisted the LETTER OF THE LAW be followed, and judges and congress went along. 
Word, the constitution, bill of rights, and the declaration our republic was founded on were not built for all y’all. The words written were of, by, and for the people who wrote them. They were the elite white, Christian cisgender heterosexual males with money, status, and power. They looked around the room at all the other household names, people with servants and concubines, people who could sign for anything they wanted, people with so much land they’d likely never seen it all in some cases, and they built a country for themselves. 
That they ended up hoisted by their own petard, their descendants forced to share a little of the great bounty of a continent was not what they expected.  It was a clever game taking advantage of the rule of law. 
They didn’t build it for us. They built it for themselves, and their natural heirs, names you know, people with jets and metric shit tons of money.  Insisting on equality against such a backdrop  is as foolish as the child who insists on having their own money. They pat ’em on the head and give them a quarter to make their bed, something they made them do anyway, then charge them thirty cents for lunch. 
Until and unless we confront the very nature of the republic, we are still playing a game, running a con, hustling the hustlers who set the whole thing up. 
If we are to have equality of opportunity and equitable allocation of resources, we must first call the game what it is, then rewrite the rules. Otherwise we make our beds and go in debt for lunch, and the adults snicker behind our backs and pat us on the head.
I hear you.  The more I peel this onion, the more I realize it is, like an onion, the same all the way to the core. 
Western and middle eastern cultures, those based on abrahamic traditions, are sorting systems through and through. I don’t know enough about eastern religion to comment too much on those. 
When your culture is based on a sorting of “us vs them”, damned vs saved, when that is a basic tenet, you’re pretty screwed to build an inclusive society in anything more than name only. 
I’m kinda an oddball. I was 11 years old when I questioned the catholic dogma of salvation through baptism and confession. It was 1967, and I’d seen the iconic photographs of Buddhist monks setting themselves on fire in protest of the war. I asked how it was that obvious martyrs very like those I’d learned about in my catholic school were not going to heaven because they were not catholic. That seemed so arbitrary and immoral to my 11 year old self I couldn’t accept it. I
Left the church soon after, convinced that arbitrary sorting based on the luck of birthplace and what church your parents take you to was nothing I could honor. 
Though a working class kid, first in a small town then out in farm country, I learned the redneck code, and the ethnic sorting of the mill town, where Italians and polish  and Puerto Rican’s and blacks had their own neighborhoods, yet a half Irish, half French Canadian and Mohawk kid didn’t really belong in any of them. In the rural area I learned the Methodist and baptist churches looked down on one another, and both derided Catholics. They only all agreed on one thing, those who were not members in good standing of one of the above were “lowlifes”, to be avoided. Hello, present and accounted for. Now watch me dust your asses on the regents exam. But I didn’t get many party invites, don’t ya know. 
Military service and college and living in different parts of the country and later in the Caribbean, exposure to cultures from around the world, working in industries as varied as teaching “educable retarded” to running a literacy agency, to my own shooting sports accessories business, to working as a contractor, I’ve worn all the shirts and hats, spoken the lingo, and followed the party lines, all the while aware that I was an imposter, a chameleon, the devil walking among them. 
In my quiet times I wrote a fair bit, never too deep, lest I blow through the veneer. 
What I learned is this. If you’re looking for GOOD people, there is no magic formula. You can get stabbed in the back in a sanctuary or university conference room as easily as in an alley. They just use different tools. 
I’ve learned to live my life loyal only to one race, the human race, without regard to anybody’s version of who the cool kids are. I’ve been treated well and badly by about every stripe of people you can pigeonhole. If they’re consuming energy and oxygen, they’re somebody, and have value. Some do terrible things they get locked up for. Some get to live in houses on top of hills after committing atrocities. Good people are where you find them. Any effort to stratify and exclude based on unearned characteristics is bullshit, only works for the chosen as long as they can keep it, and is unfair on its face.
For those of us by definition less able than the fully fit, understanding  where we fit in the mindsets of the dominant culture is a survival skill. If you don’t know what they’re thinking, how they allocate resources when it gets tight, you better be good looking, talented, and lucky.
Words are stunningly versatile things.
They have the ability either to create or to destroy, to lift us or to level us, to give us wings to crush us beneath their weight, to inspire us to reach
the loftiness parts of our nature or to drive us to the depths of our blackest darkness.
We know this from the way other’s voices have shaped us in both redemptive and debilitating ways.
The words of others can become for us the language for all we harbour unspoken in our hearts; every unfulfilled longing, each unhealed wound, every beautiful
aspiration, all the catalogued defeats, each perceived wrongdoing.
And the words of powerful people become catalysts for revolutions; hubs around which multitudes gather in tribes of affinity to create the world they dream
of, whether hopeful or horrific. Religious prophets and pop stars and political leaders all tap into the hearts of people in order to move those people’s
convictions from heart to hand—to move them.
Cesar Sayoc is the logical manifestation of the language of this President.
He is the sum total of his every reckless insult, irresponsible untruth, and calculated attack; the disfigured Frankensteined monster, made from every
factless conspiracy theory and incendiary rally rant, each corrosive verbal attack on people of color and immigrants and women (cisgender and transgender) and the media.
Cesar Sayoc is the clear accumulation of a seemingly endless Presidential Twitter feed, filled with nonsensical ramblings, spewed from the head of a man
who feels no accountability for the collateral damage of his words—either on those who are his targets—or those weaponised by him against them.
The words of a President weigh more than perhaps anyone else’s. There is a gravity to the voices of our leaders that corporately shape us in ways few things
do. They have always determined the trajectory of our nation, carried us through unthinkable tragedy, clarified who we are as a people, driven us to reach
for dreams that we believed were beyond us.
The words of a President, when wielded responsibly and with decency, help us to tap into our shared humanity; to remind us of our interdependence, of our
commonalities, of the responsibility we have toward one another.
But when tossed around carelessly, the words of a President (like this President), ratify people’s phobias, stoke the fires of their bitterness, sanction
the violence they cultivate in their heads, legitimise their irrational bigotry toward their neighbours.
Cesar Sayoc isn’t a surprise.
He may be an terrifyingly extreme extension of this President’s words, but he finds himself on a long and growing continuum of millions of angry, scared,
unloved, people who believe the world has wronged them—and now have someone (the most powerful someone), to tell them that they are right.
Whether it’s in racial epithets screamed at strangers in traffic, xenophobic signs posted near voting booths, venomous racists social media diatribes from
grandmothers, xenophobic outbursts at holiday meals, or vans plastered with anti-media propaganda—monsters are being made by this President’s words.
Yes, words make things and they kill things.
Cesar Sayoc is the kind of monster this President has helped create in unhinged campaign rants and social media tantrums and “lock her up” chants” and
dehumanising rhetoric—and the worst of it all, is that he seems oblivious to his culpability, defiant in his outrage, and determined to double down, no
matter how many people he places in harm’s way.
He refuses to use his words for anything but division and injury and enmity, and so those so desiring war, those seeking consent, those who share his heart—find
licence to be horrible.
 This President is a monster-maker.
It’s time we admitted it.