A President Trump Is, And Always Has Been, About Y-O-U.

I got up at the crack of dawn and got my coffee, but it’s entirely too cold for the paint to stick. So I’m kind of stuck. Since painting has caused me to entirely neglect my blogging, I thought I’d take a minute a write more my thoughts over this crazy election. I’m from the old political school like the Clintons, in that Donald Trump is now our preident-elect and it is the obligation of all Americans to work with him. It’s why both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama came out and said as much. That’s politics. And the office of the presidency will have my respect even if the man does not. Because that’s the way politics works and if you knew anything about  them, you would agree instead of having spent the last 8 years calling Barack Obama “not your president” and every name you could think of and verbally assaulting his wife for everything from dancing to her wardrobe choices. But for those same folks — who spent eight years creating the “Thanks, Obama!” meme — to suddenly expect people to respect Donald Trump, a man who is not worthy of anybody’s respect, just because he’s the president is about as self-righteous as it gets. Barack Obama was worthy of respect in every sense of the word and you couldn’t issue it, so it’s a bit hypocritical and condescending to suddenly turn around and say we’re supposed to respect a man who claims he can get away with grabbing women by the privates because he’s rich.

Look at it like this — while I hope your children are “perfect” and healthy, let’s say they’re not.  Let’s say they are born with a cleft palate or a heart defect or they have seizures or they suffer cancer. Now imagine Hillary Clinton stood on a presidential campaign stage and mocked that —  then tell me how you would feel if she was suddenly elected president of the United States and the same people that struggled with the very definition for 8 years, sudenly said — “Hey, you gotta respect her, she’s the president!”

No, as an American it’s my duty to respect the office of the presidency even if the GOP has spent the last eight years not doing the same thing. It’s not my duty to have respect for him as a man and I never will.

This is not normal election and Donald Trump is not a normal person or a normal president elect. And I want you Trump supporters to stop pretending that this is a victory for America. This is a victory for you.

This is a victory for you, Mr. I drink Margaritas at the Camino weekly, who wants to build a wall around Mexico (which is never going to happen for many reasons — but mostly, geography and international treaties that restricts such).  This is  victory for you, Mr White Man who can only feel superior about yourself when you’re believing that, no matter how low, at least you’re better than brown man. This is a victory for you, Mr So-called Christian, who hates gay people and don’t think that they should be constitutionally given the same rights that you are even though the Supreme Court has ruled otherwise. This is for you Mr.  Likes to Grab Women by the p*ssy and get away with it.  This is for you Mr. Country Guy that used to run from the law when the blue lights showed up at a keg party but say every time an unarmed man is gunned down 16 times by law enforcement and he happens to be black that “he shouldn’t have ran, though.”  Don’t,  for even a second, go on pretending in your delusion that this is a victory for America. This is about how Donald Trump  made you feel while the rest of the world is looking on in horror and shame and fear.

That’s why nothing he did mattered. So many times things that he did would be catastrophic and disastrous for a candidate in an election year. It’s why so many things Donald Trump did were unprecedented for somebody running for president — yet they didn’t matter. From not releasing his tax returns to not turning over coherent medical records. It didn’t matter, repeatedly, as it baffled pundits, scholars, and the media. As the world watched on — part in horror and part in amusement. It didn’t matter because this election wasn’t about thinking; it wasn’t about sanity, common sense, or rational behavior. It was about emotions.  It was about how he made you feel.  You who are angry that we had a black president  — who created economic turnaround from the mess the white guy from Texas left us — for 8 years. You who were angry that gay people can get married.  You who are angry that you can’t kill an unnamed black man and nobody asks questions any longer in America. This isn’t about the country,  this is and always has been, about you.

America is stable;  she is steady. As we go, the world goes. We’re not supposed to fall apart or elect a man so stupid that he can’t even identify the Constitutional Amendments, or even correctly.answer the number of them.  The good thing is that Donald Trump doesn’t have much power as president. The bad part is that one of the powers he does have is the ability to negotiate and enter into treaties.

NATO is a treaty, Trump supporters.  Donald Trump has already stated he wants to pull us out of NATO — which is exactly what Putin wants. Why do you think Moscow was cheering the results of the American election while the rest of the world was mourning?  The only thing that  coaxes Vladimir Putin to pull back on his aspirations of taking over larger parts of the world is the fear of the American presence in NATO.

We already know that Donald Trump gets resources from Russia because he can’t get them from US lenders because of his financial track record. We just don’t know how much because he wouldn’t release his tax returns. We also know that if  there’s no America in NATO, there’s nothing to stop Russia from invading all the nations Putin sets his sights on surrounding Russia. You don’t wake up one day at 72 years old with Donald Trump’s money and resources and say that you suddenly want to be a force of good in the world and start by running for president. If someone with Donald Trump’s money wanted to start doing something good for America, it would begin with writing a check. Someone as gluttonous and self-indulgent and narcissistic as Donald Trump doesn’t want the stress of being president of the United States of America because he cares about you — it’s a job that ages you about 15 years in 4.  Donald Trump doesn’t need to be president for an ego boost — he gives himself one of those daily. No,  it’s got to be something more sinister than that. But for half of the campaign, I couldn’t figure out what it was.

And then there’s Russia. 

We know that they hacked emails to help elect Donald Trump. Why? Why would Russia want Donald Trump to be president? What would Donald Trump want out of Russia?

Because if there’s a Trump presidency and a president’s responsibilities include  negotiating treaties, and a president Trump can pull out of NATO, Putin can invade all the places like Crimea all he wants. What would Trump want out of Russia? Money. The same thing Donald Trump always wants — money.

Eastern Europe is looking on in horror and the rest of the world is terrified. Black people, gay people, transgender people, immigrants are frightened by the promise of a Trump Administration. Unlike your bogus Barack Obama fear  peddled for 8 years — “it was the end of the world;  he’s Satan or the Antichrist; he’s coming for your guns”  unlike that horseshit (we know what that’s all about, he was black), this fear is real. The hate, the rhetoric, the violence that Donald Trump has incited during this campaign is scary and it’s real — because we’ve seen that before in America. We’ve seen it in George Wallace; we’ve seen it with the KKK;  we’ve seen it for decades in America because that is our history as a people. So the fear that people have is very real. The fear that the rest of the world has knowing that an incompetent person who thinks he knows more than the generals is now in charge of the most powerful fighting force in the history of mankind, is very real. So do not, for one second,  come to me on my Facebook barring that Donald Trump “is a victory for America” bullshit.

Donald Trump is a victory for you, Mr. Angry White Man, that  probably makes under $55k a year — if I’m going to be honest .

Is this the end of the world as we know it? Because I don’t feel fine.

You know, I’m not a fear monger. I’m a “Honey, it’s going to be ok!” when the check engine light’s on, the muffler’s dragging, and you’ve got $2 worth of gas and 257 miles to go.  I am an optimist until it kills me. If there’s a ray of sunshine to be found, I can find it.  It’s all about the choice you make, and  I think that’s a decision you have to make — or maybe it’s a coping mechanism — when you come into this world a little different.   You learn early on that the world will eat you alive unless you choose to embrace it —  and it’s still going to try, then.

This election feels like a bad dream. Just like when you go through a bad break up or you’ve been cheated on, you have moments where you forget and then suddenly, the room starts spinning, you feel like you’ve been punched in the stomach, it becomes harder to breathe — and then it happens.  You remember.

You remember.

Every presidential candidate since Richard Nixon has released his tax returns. It’s unprecedented to not. It’s unprecedented for a presidential candidate to admit that he doesn’t pay taxes — and to state that that makes him “smart.” It’s unprecedented for a presidential candidate — particularly one courting the white Evangelical vote — to have three wives and to admit that he gets away with grabbing women by the p***y.  It’s unprecedented for a presidential candidate to not, at the very minimum, be able to locate the countries in the Middle East on the map. It’s unprecedented for a presidential candidate to claim that he knows more about war than the generals who have spent their lifetimes fighting it.  I’ve been studying radical terrorism for the last decade and I can’t figure it all out.  It’s like comic book allegiance, it’s a deep and intricately complicated bunch of alliances that nobody who isn’t a  guest star on ‘The Big Bang Theory’ really wants to spend their time figuring out.  It’s unprecedented for a presidential candidate to stand on a campaign stage and say that he’s going to shut down the “Department of Environmental” — here’s a tip, that’s not a real thing.  It’s unprecedented for a presidential candidate to begin a campaign talking about ending birthright citizenship like he doesn’t understand that there’s a place in the Constitution for that.  It’s unprecedented for a presidential candidate to be so freaking stupid.

But yet, how stupid was he?  Because he came out and said everything that he thought a certain base of the GOP electorate wanted to hear. And it worked. Like a dream. Even though he’s on tape contradicting himself with just about everything he’s ever said. Even though he proved throughout this campaign, time and time again, that Donald Trump would lie when the truth sounds better. So you have to ask yourself why. Why?

Donald Trump played his voters — played them like a fiddle — and they sang right along.

But, again, you have to ask yourself why? Why!?

Donald Trump doesn’t care about you. Donald Trump didn’t play you to become president because he wants to be a force of nature for good in this world. Anybody with Donald Trump’s money and resources who wanted to do good in this world would have already done it. Donald Trump used ignorance, racism, hate, bigotry, sexism, and fear to gain access to the most powerful position on the planet. You have to ask yourself why that would be. Why would he do that?

I’m afraid the answer to that is Russia. And I’m afraid the depth to the why behind that remains to be seen. My fear is the same one it’s always been.

6,700.

6,700 is the number of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians. Those are the numbers of lives lost the last time the United States made a disastrous presidential decision.

My lifelong best friend said everything happens for a reason. But sometimes the reason is people are stupid and they make bad choices. Sometimes the reason is that people can be bought, they can be duped, they can be swindled. We have free will in this life. When we go into the voting booth and press the lever, it’s our decision on who we choose. God has nothing to do this, and I can promise you that God did not elect Donald Trump as Commander in Chief of the most powerful fighting forces the world has ever known. We did that. God just didn’t stop us from it.

What God can do, however, is turn anything bad into good. Even ridiculously barbaric and disastrous election results.

The prayer of everyone who prays and believes right now should be  that God helps us do just that.

I’ve been studying the science of politics my entire life and I can tell you, without bitterness, resentment, or reservation,  that I have never been so afraid in my life. I know too much to not be.

Dear Mr. Trump

This morning when I got my coffee, my car just sort of steered itself to the Taylor’s house. I needed to see the sweet faces of my twins to remind me how much good there is in America to still believe in.

My entire life I’ve had a vision of our country that was sold to me by my forefathers. The Martin Luther King Jrs who shook stuff up; the Bobby Kennedys who preached about change; the ones who paved the way to make progress possible; the Rosa Parks who refused to comply, the Freedom Writers who refused to be deterred, the Alexander Hamiltons who refused to be quiet; the Pat Summits who refused to be denied; the Dolly Partons who refuse to live life small (pun intended); the Abraham Lincolns who refused to go gently into that good night — even when it took his own life.

The American people are vigorously generous, unfazed, and good. We are faith based and chivalrous. Kind hearted and strong. Powerful, but aware. Dominant,  but decent. Omnipotent,  but wise. A force for good in this world.

I saw none of that last night.

We gave into anxiety. We let our hate be stronger than our love;  let our fear be stronger than truth. We let our differences dictate irrationality.  We allowed what divides us to be stronger than what unites us. We let bigotry win.

While conventional political wisdom always tells us that a two-term president is followed by a president from the opposing party, there’s nothing conventional about this election. And there’s nothing conventional about hate. As I set in the floor sobbing, grieving like a death that I seem to be mourning, I realized that’s because I was. It was. The death of a dream.  The death of the nation that I always believed in, the one where good always wins. Where the little guy stands up to the bully. Where the hero always saves the day.

With a nation whose history is composed of the oppressions and prejudices that have befallen the United States, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we’re here. But it does. It did. It always will.

I thought we were better than that — farther along than that — and we’re not. And that can’t help but hurt.

Last night we just told the world who we were,  and if they listen to the great Maya Angelou — they’ll believe us. And that’s what hurts most of all.

I’ve dreamed about getting arrested in a civil rights protest since I learned what they are, so I should understand and expect setbacks following progression. But this one caught me by surprise. Just like the deep-seated racism that was revealed to me with the presidency of Barack Obama, the election of Donald Trump has revealed to me just how far we still have to go.

No wonder it feels like grieving. This is the wake for the country I thought I knew. One I didn’t realize was so sick until morality and the golden rule had all but died.  And it wasn’t the only thing that fell over.  With its passing it threatens to take us out too.

We can’t let that happen, America. If they divide us, they conquer. If they fill us with hate for our brother, they win.

I won’t let you win, Donald Trump. I will let no man pull me so low as to hate him —  not even you, Mr. Trump.

So I wish you the very best of luck, Sir.

May God bless you and the ALREADY great United States.

Election Predictions.

Okay.  So, for all you Donald Trump supporters that like to tell me things like “I’ve lost my damn mind”; “I’m full of shit”;  “Obamacare is a joke” or any other one liner the Trump supporters have thrown at me recently, I’m going to explain to you how this works. We’re about to play a game called the first one to 270 wins. Soooo,  I’m going to make my predictions like I normally do every election and I don’t think there’s anyone left to delete me after 4 years ago (where 40 people unfriended me on election night who had held on for the campaign because they thought they were going to get to tell me what’s up — they were wrong), but let me go ahead and put my sassy bit of political punditry out there for you and we’ll see if I’m right. 

Voter turnout in Florida was higher during early voting than it was for the entire 2000 election. Now,  what that means is that that’s good news for Hillary Clinton. The data shows us consistently that when voter turnout is high,  Democrats win across the board. That’s why voter suppression legislation is a thing. Voter ID laws have nothing to do with voter fraud — it doesn’t really exist — it’s about keeping turnout down. Because when turnout is low at the polls, Republicans win.

It’s why Republican-controlled states like Texas and Tennessee have passed legislation that allows voters to use a handgun carry permit ID to vote, but not a college ID. College students overwhelmingly vote Democrat and they only want a certain kind of voter casting ballots — and college students aren’t it.

It’s also why States like North Carolina and Virginia that went for Barack Obama in 2008 — states that have not been carried by a Democrat in ages — enacted some of the strictest voter ID laws in the country after the 08 election. Because when less people vote, Republicans win.

So if that turn out trend in Florida holds, I’m predicting that Hillary will carry Florida. Now,  Trump will win the usual Republican strongholds:  Alabama, MississippI, Tennessee, Kentucky, Utah, Texas, the Dakotas. Kansas. Oklahoma.  I’m not ready to predict that we’re at the point where a Democrat could take a southern state like Georgia, but if voter turnout is high in Atlanta, Hillary could give him a run for his money.

Ohio worries me because we know as Ohio goes, so goes the nation.  And Rust Belt areas like Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio where factories have closed and voters feel left behind, have been swindled by this “I’ll bring jobs back” bullshit Trump has been peddling, and the hardest hit areas could fall for it out of desperation without realizing that Donald Trump makes everything he sells in sweatshops in various, different nations. The shirt manufacturer Van Heusen, who manufactured a line of shirts for Trump, told the New York Times he never once even mentioned making the shirts in America during the negotiations. It wasn’t even important to him. But the Rust Belt states worry me.

However, Donald Trump needs to not only win the usual Republican states, but he must win all the battleground States. The same is not true for Hillary Clinton. She needs the Democratic safety nets  plus one. I  think Iowa is one blue state that Donald Trump could flip. I think Hillary takes Nevada, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina — if turnout in urban areas of North Carolina are high.  I think Kelly Ayotte will be sent packing, but I’m not sure we’ll take back the Senate.

That’s it.

Ok. Let’s do this, y’all.

I haven’t even been nervous all day because I trust the American people, but suddenly — my stomach just got tight.

It’s game time.

Why Write, Why Blog, Why Paint?

image

I’m only speaking from my experience here,  but when you lose someone close to you unexpectedly — whether it’s a boyfriend or spouse or child or a parent — it’s amazing how therapeutic you can find the everyday things in life. The simple things. At least that was true for me. Although you’d never know it now, following the death of someone that I love, I begin to work in the yard. I grew things  from seed, I made my own potting soil by mixing vermiculite and three other things I can’t even recall now.  I was the only 23-year-old in the garden section of Lowe’s  every morning at 8 a.m., but it helped me learn to trust God again. I planted 35 hostas around the tree in my backyard in one weekend before I even realized that hostas won’t thrive in my soil, so then I started all over again.

And I also turned to painting. At three in the morning when you can’t sleep and you have all these “what if’s” and “maybe I should have’s” running around in your head, picking up a brush seemed to quiet that. And when I had successfully repainted every room in my house five times — and I’m not joking, the two little girls I kept could come in in the morning and never know what color the walls may be — I turned to painting everyone else’s house. People used to laugh when they would ask me if I love to paint and I would respond, “No, I actually hate it.”  They didn’t realize that I was serious. It was just something I inherited, a talent I was born with, a genetic gift from my mother that I never really even paid attention to until I was grown. I never took an art class in my life — that seems impossible now — but I was too busy with Speech and Theater. Art just didn’t interest me.  Still, it wasn’t so much the end result of painting that I liked or even the process,  it was what it gave me personally — peace of mind. Stillness of thoughts.

Like most artistic people, I enjoy the gift that art gives an overactive mind. Whether that is writing, painting, or music. Whenever I get confused about my place in this world, I pick up a brush. That’s much better than picking up a bottle.

So thanks for your interest in my pieces. There is nothing quite like planting a seed and watching it grow to remember that everything is as it should be and there’s nothing quite like doing a simple task and doing it well to remind you that God is still good and in control.

Thanks for being a part of my healing!

Dear America: I Wish We Cared About Solving Addiction as Much As We Care About Kim Kardashian’s Robbery

I can’t sleep thinking about that poor woman whose step daughter posted on the Yard Sale pages looking for a support group for her stepmother who had lost her son to addiction. It’s rampant, it’s growing, it’s everywhere. I’ve written many times about the fact that in Tennessee more people died of heroin overdoses than auto accidents last year.  Yet we force you to wear your seatbelt, but what action are we taking to insulate our population from overdose and to overcome addiction. Why are we still — yes, I’m talking to you Dickson County — covering it up? Why aren’t we talking about it, lecturing about this in our schools and our Sunday School classrooms?

Whether you drink yourself into a stupor;  you are gambling addict, a sex addict, a food addict, or you starve yourself — it’s all the same. Or, perhaps, if you’re not one of those,  you’re maybe one of these people that have $15,000 in credit card debt where you can’t step out of the house every morning without being dressed from head to toe because you’re so darn insecure.  Pick your poison.

Unless and until we fill that hole in our soul with something other than ourselves, we suffer. Where the disease of alcoholism gets you is that not only do we suffer in shame and silence, but our form of coping mechanism kills us.  With increasing frequency.  We have generations brought up under what I call the ‘Mama’s Broken Heart Generation’ — where you don’t feel, you don’t talk, and, God forbid,  you show your crazy, right? You lie to save face and you hide it, and the truth,  at all costs.  That was that generations’ mentality.  It’s also the signature characteristics of families peppered by alcoholism.

That particularly damaging line of thinking — never being able to be honest or be real about what’s going on in our life — is what drives people to seek some sort of solace outside of themselves. But we’ve also got to shatter this long-standing American-held notion that men aren’t allowed to have feelings.

I even had battles with Democrats who criticized President Obama when he shed a tear over not being able to do something about gun laws.

“A president can’t be emotional,” they said.

“Maybe Congress needs to be a bit more emotional, maybe Congress needs to shed some tears their own damn self and something might actually get done,” I said.

“Yeah, but presidents can’t boo hoo.  I mean, is he going to stand there and cry when we.get attacked,”  they said.

“He wasn’t crying when he killed Osama Bin Laden, now — was he?”

I think we know who won that round. 

When 20-something first graders were gunned down in their classroom and nobody gave a damn enough to do something, we have problems as a nation. And when one man can buy a weapon that killed 47 people in nightclub — it IS the damn gun,Conservatives.

We don’t want your handgun;  we don’t want your shotgun, we want to stop psychos from outarming the police, and we want to stop one-man killing crews from being able to slaughter dozens in minutes.

Anyway, this wasn’t a gun control rant,  this was a drug addiction awareness one. I’m simply linking to the fact that so ingrained in American society is the belief that we can’t feel emotions, that the president is not even supposed to give way to human elements of showing the ache that comes from burying babies in double digits.

Chhildren are dying, people are dying, in large numbers due to addiction, and I want to know when we are going to get serious about solving it and stop sweeping it under the rug as something ‘bad’  children do.

Yes, good little girls raised in the Church of Christ who can quote the Bible better than you, drink. And good children from wealthy homes who had every opportunity, try drugs and then wake up dead.

We’ve got to fix this so there are no more mothers like that poor woman on the yard sale page.

It’s time to get serious,  Tennessee!