Ilhan Omar: The Embodiment of the American Dream

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The American Dream

I remember sitting in history class as a freshmen in High School, listening to my teacher drone on and on and on about how people traveled thousands of miles, even in horrific conditions to come to the United States. He explained that it’s the quest for the so-called American Dream, that not just citizens have it, but immigrants too.

People travel here, immigrate here, both legally and “illegally” to have a shot at the American Dream. I’ve posted the definition above, but let me tell you what the American Dream meant to me and my family, and many other families out there.

Growing up, my Dad’s dream was always that us kids would be better of than he was. He didn’t go to college, he worked as a car mechanic (and then eventually a tech for another company) and he wanted us to be BETTER than him. So growing up for me, was about bettering myself, going further than my parents or any other ancestor with the base that they had built for me.

Now that I’m a parent, it’s the same. My version of the American dream is that I want my daughter to do better than I have. I want her to work hard, and make a wonderful life for herself with the base that I’ve built for her. The never ending American Dream, is to work hard, achieve more and to set the footing for the next generation. Why? Because we’re lucky to live in a country where that is (was?) possible.

Now I’m sure that you’ve heard about Trump’s tweets and comments regarding “The Squad”. If you haven’t, here you go, you get to suffer with the rest of us.
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So there is a lot of bullshit to unpack with those tweets. First, 3 out of 4 of those congresswomen were born in the United States. The 4th, immigrated here and became a citizen. (So maybe he’s right in the first tweet about our government.)

Secondly, does he really think Congress is just there to eat his ass? They’re there to run our government. That’s literally their job. More importantly, it is not illegal, shameful or wrong to criticize your government. It’s pretty much how this whole country came about in the first place.

Last, can we just go ahead and point out that ALL 4 of the congresswomen are people of color. Telling people of color to go back where they came from is inherently racist in the USA. It’s something that any minority group has had to deal with their whole entire existence. It’s absolute horse shit, since this country was literally founded by immigrants and then built on the backs of said immigrants and slave labor.

Anyway. Trump had another Nuremberg rally last night. During which, his cult-like supporters started chanting “Send her back”. (It really is telling that all of their hate filled chants are only 3 words long.) An entire demographic (I’ll let you guess which one) were chanting to send a literal American Citizen and Congresswoman, Ilhan Omar, back to where she came from.

Since then, social media has been flooded with anti-immigrant and general racist garbage from the Republicans. Including one, which I will not share here because it’s pretty graphic, in which a woman in a Niqab was hung from a crane. With the hashtag #IStandWithThePresident.

I am appalled. I am completely disgusted with how our President acted, and how my fellow Americans are currently acting. It’s fucking sick. However, it got me thinking about Congresswoman Omar. I did a tiny bit of digging, and confirmed what I already believed.

She is literally the embodiment of the American Dream.

She was born in Somalia in 1982. Her mother died when she was only 2 years old and she came from a family of educators. As some of you know, her and her family fled Somalia during the war and spent about 4 years in a refugee camp.

They made it to New York in 1992, and then moved to Virginia and then finally to Minneapolis. Her family was pretty working-class, but she was raised with a very strong respect for Democracy. She used to interpret for her grandfather at caucus meetings.

She finally was awarded her citizenship in 2000 (7 years before Melania Trump by the way) but had a rough time before and after. She was consistently bullied for her culture, more specifically her hijab. It ranged from boys putting gum on it, to literally pushing her down the stairs and assaulting her.

She persisted.

She went on to get a Bachelors in Political Science and International Studies in 2011, and held many jobs in politics in the mean time. During one job as a Senior Policy Aid for Andrew Johnson, she was attacked, yet again, by 5 people and injured.

She still persisted.

She ran for and was elected for the Minnesota House and took office in 2017. During which time, she amazingly co-authored 266 bills between 2017-2018. Shortly after that she was elected to Congress. She is the first woman of color to serve from Minnesota, and the first Somali-American ever. She was also one of two of the first Muslim women to be elected.

She has literally busted her ass, and embodied the American Dream. She is literally what Republicans say they want opposed to “illegal immigrants”. They want someone to do it through the right channels, and contribute to society… except for they still dislike her. It doesn’t even matter to them, that her American Dream is to serve the American People!

To think, Republicans everywhere are calling for her deportation, or telling her to go back where she came from as if she’s not American enough somehow. Hell, she CO-SPONSORED the 9/11 Victims Compensation bill, you know. The bill that helps take care of victims and first responders that were effected that day? You know, the same exact bill that the Republicans blocked. (Rand Paul – the guy who literally was the 51st vote on the huge tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, is now complaining that we don’t have the money to take care of our national heros. Fuck you Rand.)

It’s fucking ridiculous. She’s being touted as Anti-American, an Anti-Semite (because she criticized Israel’s government and their funding our politicians – for the record.. fuck Israel. You can criticize a government, you SHOULD criticize a government. It’s criticizing entire races/religions that gets you the boot), and a whole bunch of other shit, when she has done more for this country than the vast majority of us.

My point is, is she has literally embodied the American Dream. She busts her ass for herself, her family and for America, and Republicans are shitting on her (and the other 3 congresswomen).

It’s because they do their jobs and criticize and try to fix our country, and because they’re women of color. It’s both. I haven’t seen anyone tell Bernie Sanders to go back to where he came from, he has almost the same view points as all these women, and yet? Nothing. So yeah.

As of this point in time, the Republican Party that we all knew is dead. Our country is headed down a downward spiral, and people are openly shitting on (and physically threatening) the only people who seem to give a damn.

I don’t even know what to say anymore. It’s like watching a train-wreck. You can’t look away.

Except for it’s our country’s fall.

 

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Chronic Illness: Battling Feeling like a Burden

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It’s a lovely summer afternoon, even if it is a bit humid outside. I’m sitting out on my back deck, with a cold Porter, my journal and my chromebook. My dog is sitting on one of the cushions on the deck, and I’m watching the not-so-little-anymore-squirrel babies climb all over the wooden fence.

It’s a nice afternoon, enjoyable, and I am most certainly grateful for it.

I haven’t been feeling good these past couple of weeks. It started off innocent enough, a bit of cramping, a few extra trips to the bathroom, lack of energy. All of which happen, even during “remission” from Crohn’s Disease. Admittedly though, with my past experiences with Crohns (the first 10 years out of the 12 I’ve had it) it did strike a bit of fear into my heart. I never want to be that sick again.

Anyway, I carried on as I normally do. Upped my water intake (as even a mini-flare will dehydrate me and set my IST & POTS off), at a little bit less, and generally took it easy. Of course, sometimes life just doesn’t work out the way you want it to.

Late last week the symptoms rocked their way up the scale of severity. Joint pain, near constant nausea, between 10-20 bathroom trips during the day (I don’t count at night as I’m too busy being an emotional wreck) and of course a headache and/or migraine and constant tachycardia.

I knew a full out flare was happening, but there was a problem. I had bought tickets for us adults and our kids to go see Reverend Horton Heat at Milwaukee’s Summer Fest. It was also super humid, and pretty hot out, which could put anyone on their ass, sick or not. However, one of my biggest takeaways from being chronically ill for more than a decade now is to never let your illness steal everything from you.

So we went, we made it there just in time, and 2 out of 3 of the girls enjoyed themselves (we brought the neighbor’s daughter with us) and it was fun. I had a super hard time regulating my temperature (Thanks Autonomic Dysfunction) which was pretty miserable and embarrassing as I was sitting there drenched in sweat and shivering. It was honestly worth it to see my kid trying to get video of it and grinning. The kids were all super tolerant of my extra bathroom breaks, as well as being generally exhausted afterwards.

However, as the spoon theory goes, I used more than my fair share of spoons that day, and was negative spoons the next couple. The night before last I was fucking done. I was in and out of the bathroom, and in immense pain. I couldn’t keep food down or even bother digesting it, and was so exhausted I would burst into tears at random.

I condemned myself to bed for the day yesterday because I just couldn’t function anymore. Beyond bathroom trips and needing more water, I just laid in bed. The nausea was completely over powering in the morning, and I spent more time running to and from the bathroom then I did laying around. I knew I had overdone it, and had overdone it for something fun, needless to say I beat myself up for having a day in bed.

Instead of laying there, sleeping, or just letting my body rest, I worked myself up about the things I should have been doing. It was absolutely ridiculous. However, when you’re chronically ill, in chronic pain, or disabled it’s a constant worry.

I’m not pulling my weight.
Everyone has to take care of me.
I should be doing more.
I’m not as sick as [insert time in the past].
The kids are going to hate me for not being fun.
I have so much to do.
Laying in bed just makes everyone else pick up the slack.
I’m a burden.

It’s absolute trash, not to mention bullshit.

It’s just hard to realize that sometimes you need a little rest. Sometimes, you have to take a day off.. just like any able-bodied person. It’s also important to say that anyone you’re with, whether a significant other or family, should love you enough to understand this.

Some days we just have to put our to-do lists aside, and take a day or however long to recover from pushing ourselves further than our bodies allow. There’s no sense in running ourselves on negative spoons, making our bodies worse for the wear, unless there’s no other choice. When that happens, we can only do our best and rest when we can.

It’s super important to remember that no one asks to be chronically ill, and almost all of us would rather be living normal lives. It’s important to give people the finger if they give us any shit for resting, healing or being sick. That includes ourselves.

Take a break. Get those spoons back.

 

The Fall of American Democracy – The Rise of the Resistance and of Hope

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Note: This will be mostly free write, with most likely few sources. I have been struggling to put my thoughts into a coherent order for days now, but have only been able to muster disgust and anger. 

“If you want water, just drink from a toilet.”
-Border Patrol to a woman in custody at Southern Border

Have you ever felt utterly disgusted in your country? I have. I do. Every single time I think that things will get better, something else pops up, and I feel like vomiting. Whether it’s hearing interviews with detained immigrants about their treatment in our Concentration Camps or seeing how Border Patrol acts via a Facebook Group: Propublica Article, it disgusts me.

Then we have our so-called Christian President and Vice President championing this behavior, this crisis, that their administration CAUSED. We have people who are crammed in a room built for half the number, which leaves them only able to stand, for DAYS, and these god damned Christians are fucking cheering it on.

Vice Article on Camp Conditions

I read these articles, I watch the videos, and I’m disgusted. Yet, some Americans believe it’s “Fake News”. Some just don’t give a shit, and some even LIKE it. I watched a video a little while ago of a Grandmother from SoCal that was trying to drop off toys to a camp being detained.

Between the camps and SCOTUS refusing to rule on Gerrymandering (PDF from SCOTUS), and Americans just burying their heads in the proverbial sand, America’s version of Democracy is dying.

And. No. One. Cares.

At least not enough of us. Hell, currently America is so convinced that Antifa is a terrorist group, yet they won’t fucking say shit about the fascist pieces of shit who attack people every day. America is so goddamned scared of “brown immigrants” that we’re turning our cheek while we erect concentration camps on our border. America is so god damned weak right now, we’re letting politicians change their districts so they can get more votes for their party.

It’s sickening.

However there is hope, it’s just ever so hard to hold on to these days. In my rage against organized religion, especially in relation to our current events, I stumbled into what I refer to as “Religious Twitter”. All of a sudden I’m reading the tweets from a Rabbi.

I found a woman of faith, who was speaking out. Who was outraged, who not only raised her voice for what she believed was right, she used her faith to back her up. (She also posts a lot of information regarding Judaism, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Education is always a plus.) Before I knew it, I was coming across different Rabbis, Pastors, and even a Priest who were fighting for these immigrants, against racism, sexism and antisemitism.

Then This!

Needless to say, my opinion about organized religion has been rocked a bit, and these people have given me a bit of hope. I have always had faith in antifa fighting the good fight, and I have faith in the politicians who are standing up and strong, and I have faith in the people who have been screaming with me. Having a bit more faith helps.

It’s just daunting, it’s simply disgusting how our country is behaving, how our government is behaving. It’s hard to watch democracy fall. It’s painful.

Yet, not all Americans will be on the wrong side of history when our grandchildren read about it. It’s hope, and more importantly, it’s a hell of a start.

 

To Be or Not To Be: Social Justice Warrior Edition

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Wikipedia Page: Social Justice Warrior (SJW)

Those of you that have known me for a while, both in real life as well as online, know very well that I’m very active in politics and ethics. I have long written about what I’m passionate about, and have used my accounts to share with the world, what I consider injustices and atrocities.

My stance has always been that if you see something that you believe is wrong, or horrific, show the rest of the world. A lot of people inadvertently have their head buried in the sand, especially with media being a bit biased in certain demographics. It’s incredibly hard to get information these days, despite the journalists who head to the front lines to share photos and interviews with us.

So I share what I can. I spread my opinion, usually with sources, via my accounts and this blog. Maybe someone out there, will read them, open discussion and information can be exchanged. Maybe someone will learn something that they didn’t currently know, whether it’s the conditions in the camps at our border or a politicians history.

Most importantly, I share screenshots of atrocious behavior from Homophobes, Nazis, White Supremacists, and generally bigoted people. Why? Because in this country, in our current political climate, this kind of behavior is acceptable and more and more of them are coming out of the woodwork.

Errko - Nazi Rape CultureErrko - Curbstomp

Erkko - Nazi - Abortion

This is from a white power woman who argued with me on twitter last night, the rest of her page was 100% white power garbage.

Like I said in the tweet at the top, if you don’t call out the bullshit, if you don’t stand up to racism, it lets everyone know that it’s acceptable, and no one will do anything to change it. (Note: that tweet was before I knew she was a Nazi, Jon went and looked at her timeline as I was dealing with threats for criticizing a bot on Trump’s timeline).

This is something I’ve always done, this is how I was raised (especially by my grandmother).. that you stand up against those that do wrong, commit atrocities, or those that would destroy this country.

Apparently, despite my accounts all being like this since I got into politics (and had readily available internet, haha), despite the fact that this is who I am both in real life and online.. I hurt someone’s feelings. It’s bound to happen, and it does happen quite a bit. I shared this:

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The whole point behind this tweet was how stupid it is to use “culture and heritage” and the confederate flag as a platform for being a complete ass. Those that hide behind that flag with their hatred don’t think it’s so funny if us Northerners use the same mindset. I shared this on my page, hoping to piss some more people off, as true colors have been showing time and time again. (It truly makes it easier to delete people off of my friends list.)

Not to mention, I have made it ABUNDANTLY clear how I feel about that flag being used to spread fear in everyone who is not white/conservative. I couldn’t give two fucks what your heritage is, or if you’re proud of it or not.. this flag means a lot of horrible things to a lot of different people, and that’s the way it is.

Anyways, as predicted. My old friend responded. He apparently missed the ENTIRE point of the tweet, and told me I could come try if I “want a closed casket funeral”. Despite me explaining the tweet, he still went off on this tirade about me being a Social Justice Warrior. He was tired of me “picking fights”, posting information and “ramming it down his throat”. It apparently didn’t matter that I’ve been this way since we met.. back when I was 16 years old. You know, when I actually lit confederate flags on fire and was a SHARP? It also didn’t matter that there was a little button called “unfriend”.

I had hurt his little snowflake feelings. Or rather, I made him think uncomfortable truths. (Although I am kind of upset that it was someone else’s tweet that did it, not my comments on his page about his blatant misogyny.) Either way, I accomplished what I set out to do, and even got called a Social Justice Warrior.

My point is to call out bullshit when you see it. If you hurt people’s feelings along the way, make them uncomfortable, or even lose friends, it’s worth it. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m taking back the term Social Justice Warrior. I’m not going to let the assfucks who turned it into a derogatory term own it anymore.

Just remember, if you don’t stand up to injustices.. they become normal. Don’t stop standing up and speaking out just because you offend someone, or because they try to drag you down. Someone has to do it. Why shouldn’t it be us?

Stand up.
Use your available platform.
Share information.
Make the world a better place.

Just. Stand. Up.

 

Ignorance of Politics/Current Affairs

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Back when I was still an angsty teenager, I had a current affairs class. We brought up current affairs and discussed recent news in class as well as learned how to debate. I, in all my teenage glory, lashed out at my teacher regarding news in the middle east, and screeched about why should I even give a damn. My teacher provided the above quote, and I’ve referenced it every few years since.

A lot of people in this country purposely ignore the news, whether it’s about the Midwest farmers struggling or what moronic thing our government has done that day. It’s a privilege that people believe they have, as surely x, y & z will not effect us!  However, that is most definitely not the case even in the broadest of instances.

When you go to the grocery store, and marvel at the prices of food as they increase, if you’d turn on the news, you’d know why. If you see someone filming a police officer making an arrest, if you paid attention to current events, you’d know why. If you rage about getting a ticket for code compliance for something you’d never gotten a ticket for before, reading your town’s newsletter might explain that (or your code compliance officer is a dick like our neighborhood’s).

On the larger scale of current events, it’s even more important to pay attention, in my opinion that is.

When your country is ordering “retaliation” against other countries, you might want to pay attention. Even if you agree, this might effect your family in numerous ways. It could result in a loved one being sent over seas in the military, it could effect your income and prices of goods.

When your government is detaining people in camps, regardless of what you would call the camps, not only should this appall you, but you should pay attention. If your government will detain people that they don’t agree with, regardless of laws, what’s to say that they wouldn’t detain you and your family in the future.

Things you don’t pay attention to effect your daily life quite easily.

Regardless of where you stand with politics and our current laws, hell even our Constitution, knowing your laws, knowing your party/country’s stance on certain things is essential. Why? Every time a new person is elected, they have the opportunity to change those laws, your rights.

Something to always keep in mind is that a country doesn’t always change via a coup or by some other drastic means. Sometimes it’s a very slow, gradual change. So keep your eyes open, that way if your country goes in a direction you don’t like, you’re aware and in a position to do something.

As always, Nazi-Germany is a great example. Do you think that one day people woke up and knew that their neighbors were being carted off to the gas chambers? Nope, because that’s not what happened. First there was rhetoric and propaganda. That progressed to deportations. From there, detention camps started, a la concentration camps. Once labor wasn’t the easiest solution, death camps were created. It wasn’t an overnight thing, it was gradual.. and everything starts somewhere.

The argument that it doesn’t effect you, is almost always null. Politics effect you, whether or not you like it, whether or not you pay attention. In order to understand the world around you, understand the things that are happening and have happened, you have to pay attention.

So please. Pay attention before it’s too late.

Friends & Differing Political/Moral Opinions

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For about a year I kept seeing this meme float around Facebook & Twitter:
Politics and Friends

Fucking wrong. This shit irritated me any time I saw it.. because what it’s essentially saying, is that you should respect someone even if they believe in taking your rights away. That you should continue to remain friends with someone who has vastly different morals from you, or even no morals, despite the fact that it makes you uncomfortable. It essentially says that you should shut up if one of your friends believes in some horrible shit.

It’s fucking wrong.

You do not have to be friends, or hell, even tolerate someone who is morally corrupt, or actively working to/or voting for politicians who are taking away your rights. You do not have to be friends with, or respect someone who is racist, homophobic, sexist or is literally cheering on the concentration camps at our border.

You also don’t have to be friends with someone who slut-shames, someone who participates in class warfare, or someone who doesn’t believe that the poor deserve healthcare and education.

You should not be friends with, respect, or remain in contact with someone who is actively demeaning a social class, race, sex or anything of the sort. You know why?

  1. You’re enabling them.
  2. You’re letting them know it’s okay to be homophobic, racist, classist, sexist etc.
  3. Because you do NOT have to respect, stay in contact with or even be around someone who is in favor of stripping your own rights, or rights of those you love. You are not obligated to love, like, respect, or be around ANYONE. Period.

There’s a clear difference in differing opinions and having polar opposite morals.

I am friends with a few conservatives, but there is a clear understanding that A. They don’t have to be friends with me if they don’t want, and B. That their opinions do not effect my autonomy. I am however NOT friends with people who are racist, homophobic, who wouldn’t support me if I ever needed an abortion or who are blatantly classist. I will not be friends with someone who instead of talking with me about women’s healthcare rights, accuses women who need abortions of being sluts. I will not be friends with someone who believes that just because you can’t afford healthcare, that you don’t deserve it. I will not be friends with someone who hates someone else just because of the color of their skin, who they fall in love with or their accent.  I will not be friends with someone who supports life in jail for a woman who gets an abortion, but not only lets a rapist go free, but ALLOWS THEM VISITATION OF THE CHILD. (FUCK YOU ALABAMA).

By “respecting” someone who is literally striping the rights and lives away from others, you are just enabling them.. and thus you are part of the problem.

The Plight of Parenthood

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I remember when I first brought my daughter home from the hospital. It was the middle of the night, I was in immense pain, and I had a screaming infant in my arms at 2am. My shit bag of an ex-husband slept through it all, including the my own screams for help. So as I tried every trick I could think of, while sobbing and terrified that I would somehow fuck up that little being that was struggling in my arms.

That pure terror still exists 12 years later.

I’ve spent the last 12 years trying to do the best I can. I’ve admittedly made several mistakes, as all parents do, but my end goal is an aware, well adjusted young woman who stands up for what is right. There’s always that uncomfortable feeling that you’re doing something wrong. There’s that terror, that somehow you messed up.. that maybe that one time you grounded them you messed up their outlook.

It’s even worse when you’re tasked with helping to raise someone else’s little girl.

It pains me to be the one to teach a little girl about how to take care of her body. It saddens me to be the one to break it to her that the world isn’t the nice little place Sunday school had her believe. It’s thrilling, yet incredibly sad to be the one who teaches her how to ride a bike, roller skate, and play sports. It enrages me, that I am the one who has to advocate for her mental health, physical health and social skills.. not her mother.

When you spend so much time beating yourself up over your parenting, it’s incredibly difficult to see another parent ignore, neglect and refuse to parent their child. Being inadvertently handed the job of teaching a little girl everything she should’ve learned from her own mother in the last 9 years, and being forced to cram it into one summer is absolute bullshit. It’s even more daunting to know that a vast amount of what you’re able to teach and expose a child to will be undone with inattention, ignorance, and laziness over the course of 6 months.

It’s like trying to cram all of the anxiety of parenting over the course of 9 years, into a single summer.. knowing damn well that it’s just going to start all over the next summer. Unfortunately though, all you can do is try your best. It’s incredibly difficult not to lash out at the biological parent who is dropping the ball, who is ignoring their own kid and refusing to face the struggle of parenting their own child. It’s just rough.

Here’s to to raising someone else’s kid. Here’s to hoping that I can pick up the slack. Here’s to hoping I can help undo years of damage with the help of therapy. Here’s to hoping.