Month: July 2016

Trust Issues

 

I watched Hillary’s speech last night. I’ve been watching parts of the DNC to see my favorite speakers speak, and to also witness the historic milestone that’s happening for women in this country. You can think it’s not a big deal, but it is.

 

https-%2F%2Fblueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.com%2Fuploads%2Fcard%2Fimage%2F160584%2FGettyImages-584450286

Image via Mashable

I almost forgot, while texting my friends during the speech, how important it was. I was sending out snarky comments and jokes about Morgan Freeman and the “fight song” and stuff. Then my friend goes, “Stop being so cynical – we’ve been waiting for this shit since we were little – a fucking woman president.”

It felt like when your mom calls you out, basically saying “stop being an asshole” – and you realize that you were being an asshole and feel ashamed and you’re like, “Sorrrrryyyy mooooommmmmmmm….”

Anyway, I snapped back into the moment. But what I realized later is that maybe I am more cynical then some of my peers when it comes to poltics. Today I was talking to a friend about Hillary, and she said “this is why I love and hate her.” And my feed is full of Bernie uber-fans that are mourning their loss right now – there is just a lot of emotion in the democratic party currently.

It made me think about how I’ve never had strong emotions for politicians like that (at least not for Democrats. I obviously have strong feelings of dislike and disgust for some Republican politicians – can you blame me, when they are trying to tell me who I should be and what to do with my body and sexuality all the time? And trying to make people in my country feel like second-class citizens?).

With Obama, I was smitten. But I was mostly emotional about the historical significance – once I got to grad school, I became more cynical and came to believe that all politicians, or people in large social institutions, are never perfect (what human is) and that they are a product of the larger machine. I stopped seeing them as people to get attached to, and more as facilitators of change, good or bad – I removed the emotions from it.

This wasn’t a hard thing for me – I have this thing with trusting adults, in general. It’s hard for me to do.

….I just realized I said “adults” which is hilarious, since I suppose I count as an adult at 27 years old. Ha.

What I mean is: people my parents’ age, and particularly those in a role of authority. So Anthony’s parents, my friends’ parents, all good – professors, bosses, boss’s bosses – I keep my distance. I just don’t trust them – I expect them to let me down. And a lot of them do. Because they’re human.

Don’t get me wrong – I get very emotional about politics in general. I’ve been known to take things to a weird place when we’re talking politics in a bar and talk unreasonably loud and look like I might cry at any second. I’ve cried in restaurant bathrooms about the fact that rape is a thing. I’ve cried in cars about how hard it must be for transgendered people. I’ve almost cried in class from being overwhelmed by my white guilt. I’m not trying to be like, “look how empathetic I am” – I’m just saying I’m not this stoic person when it comes to the news.

Bernie was saying everything that I dreamed a politician would say some day – and I never thought it would happen. He really surprised me and gave me hope – that a democratic socialist agenda could be widely embraced. It was almost too good to be true. I didn’t think he would make it to the nominee, so honestly I unhooked from it all. I voted for him in the primary, because if anything, I wanted the party to move more left. And I think that happened. It was amazing, watching his whole movement. But I never like, fell in love with the guy. Out of all the politicians, he would be the one I would get emotional over – but I just didn’t.

With Hillary, I don’t love her or hate her. I am for SURE going to cry my eyes out if she wins, seeing that insanely amazing historical event take place. But it’s not about her. As a person. She’s fine – I respect her. What I hear from some of my friends is “but I just don’t trust her!” And I think – “Of course I don’t trust her. Why is that even relevant?”

Does that make me weird?

I guess we should define trust… Like I expect her to do things I won’t agree with. Do I think she’ll tank the country? Of course not. I think it will be MUCH like the last 8 years. More of the same. Not ideal, but not bad. Just what I have come to expect, at a federal government level. I have hope for change in people’s minds and hearts and through socialization and person-to-person contact – those things then get fought for all the way up to the top – by people at the bottom.

I don’t know – I just beleive that there is no point in putting our trust in a politician – trust as in, “I know they won’t let me down, and if they did, I would be crushed and surprised”. I can find politicians that I will agree with most of the time – but if it turns out that they are secretly fucked up in some way, I’m not surprised. I feel this way about Cory Booker, Liz Warren, Joe Biden, etc. There is just no way I know their entire track record, or that something in the future won’t come up that I will disagree with them on. These are people I don’t know – why would I trust them to always make decisions that I agree with?

I feel the same way about people working in the legal system, people in other government roles, spiritual leaders – people in large social institutions. I won’t put all my chips behind an insititution, or someone representing an institution’s interest – because inevitably I feel that they will do something I don’t agree with. Institutions are slow to change. They aren’t on the cusp of new ideas and aren’t the first to embrace social justice movements – they move slowly, and try to uphold the status quo. That’s their whole thing.

One of my friends says that subscribing to a label – feminist, democrat, republican – clouds your judgement. It makes you follow that group blindly and not research the facts independently. I definitely post things on social media without an independent investigation on my part from sources that seem to me to be promoting the right ideas. Ideas I agree with. That is also not ideal. But I think it is important to embrace labels and movements like Feminist and Black Lives Matter, to promote change that needs to happen. That doesn’t mean I agree with every democrat or feminist, just because I apply those labels to myself. But I get what he’s saying. I don’t think that groups in this arena can be trusted blindly to never go astray from what I believe in.

You know who I do trust? My sister. Anthony. Friends who were there through my grad school idealist phase of realizing how fucked up the world is and who agreed and let me rant for hours and listened. I trust that whatever they are saying to people regarding politics, that they will say what I would say. And that’s an amazing thing. I know that if Anthony is in a room where someone says something racist, or homophobic, or sexist, that he will speak up (he is much braver than me when it comes to these confrontations) and that he will say what I would. I can’t believe it sometimes – it’s amazing.

 

I wish I felt that way about politicians.

 

 

What do you think? Do you think people like me are too cynical about politics, or maybe not cynical enough? Do you trust certain politicians? How do you define trust when it comes to politics?

 

 

Failing words

I haven’t had the words to address the past couple of weeks and all the insane shit going on in our world right now. I still don’t have the words. I don’t feel that I can add anything to the conversation that would be helpful or comforting or productive. But I also don’t want to be can’t be silent.

The tension surrounding police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement has pierced through to everyone’s hearts. It is on all of our minds. Finally. White people have not had to face these things head on. We still aren’t, but finally this is something no one can ignore right now. It is coming up in my conversations at work, with friends, on social media – everywhere. People who might not normally think about these issues because of their privilege are thinking about these issues.

I honestly don’t know what to say. It’s odd, because if you meet me in real life, it becomes clear early on that I am not shy about talking politics. I am passionate about equality and I don’t try and hide it.

But for some reason, I don’t talk about it much on the blog. Sometimes it feels like work – I was a Sociology graduate student and talking about these issues was my job for a long time. It also is exhausting. Where do I even start? Do I do a post on what feminism is compared to what people think it is? Do I do a post about how reverse racism isn’t a thing? Then it feels weird to act like an authority on these topics or something, when I’m not… So I end up talking about how guilty I feel sometimes, and try to make sense of things through documentaries and helpful articles…. it helps sharing, but it all feels…inadequate.

But. I can’t be silent, and I have to use whatever voice I have to speak my mind. I can’t keep hearing people say “All Lives Matter” and feel like I am just sitting here, in my privileged life, appalled at the state of things, and not say anything – even if it is inadequate.

Bottom line – this is not acceptable. We cannot, as the privileged group in power, see these terrifying things, see our fellow citizens treated this way, hear them cry out in pain, and act like everything is okay. We can’t ignore statistics, we can’t ignore the stories and painful words of our neighbors in such pain and torment – we can’t support whatever systems are in place causing this pain. We have to listen. We have to look at each other and think of what we can do to help. This feels like the 60s – all of these clearly unfair and horrendous things happening in our cities, and white people are doing nothing. Much worse, some white people are saying, “Why do we need to focus on only that?”

I don’t know. My words are failing. They come out and just fall on the ground, just pathetic attempts to do – anything. I feel hopeless. But I don’t feel a fraction of the hopelessness others in this country feel.

I want to turn off the news. I want to not think about it for a while. But that is my privilege, right there.

I am going to share some things I have said and shared online as things were unfolding, in case they are helpful, or in case they speak better to what I wish I could communicate than what I can put in writing now.

FullSizeRender (5)

The status below came up in my “memories” on Facebook – nothing has changed. Or have things gotten worse?

FullSizeRender (4)

The beginning quote is from this powerful article, “I, Racist”.

One of my friend’s awesome commentary:

blog

A comic in the comments that was also perfect:

blog2

 

Why white people freak out when they’re called out about race.

 

This clip of good people gives me a glimmer of hope.

 

 

 

And finally, why reverse racism is not a thing. I seem to be explaining that a lot lately, and this video sums it up way better than I can:

 

 

 

 

I hope desperately that we can all learn – quickly – to lead with love and listen first.

 

<3

 

 

Bathroom sink miracle

So, I’ve had a battle with our bathroom sink since we moved in. There was always this corner that pooled water every damn day, and all this gross scum made my cute pedestal sink all frat-house-looking.

I scrubbed. And scrubbed. And bleached. And Comet-ed. And nothing worked.

Then, someone (guess who? Emily, as fucking always) told me to use Bar Keeper’s Friend. And you guys, that stuff worked when I was about to give up all hope. Check it:

Before:

FullSizeRender (2)

After:

FullSizeRender (3)

It may be a subtle change to you, but this is LIFE-CHANGING for me. Pretty, white, shiny silver, lovely little sink! Yay!!

Only thing: I cannot get my bathtub to fall in line. No intimidation tactics, verbal abuse, violent threats, or even, dare I say, the unstoppable Bar Keeper’s Friend itself, can get that thing looking clean. It’s all porous and weird and when I try to bleach it it gets these brown streaks…? BKF helps, but it is still unsatisfactory. Any ideas?

My bathtub is like some intense level of evil, so I hope that in your normal life BKF can help solve any cleaning woes you may have in a flash – I had to share the good news because that shit is not messing around. Let me know what you think if you aren’t already a fan!

 

 

%d bloggers like this: