Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Aren't you scared?

That question was posed to me by my daughter a couple days ago. She told me that they had posted the ISIS "hit list" (I have no idea about the validity of said list) and said Seattle was on it. It makes sense. This area has military bases, ports, vulnerable travel routes, areas where large groups of people gather. I'd understand if we were really on some terrorist hit list.

She asked if we were far enough away from Seattle to avoid any damage from bombs. I said, "I don't know. If it's nuclear, maybe not."

"Aren't you scared?"

I didn't even really need to think about this. I told her, "I can't be."


I told her I was not willing to live a life in fear. There are things that we cannot control and what is the point of worrying about them. If they're going to happen, they're going to happen. I also told her much of the time, media plays on our fears and make things sound worse than they are in order to get ratings. Politicians use our fears to get votes. I don't ignore that things are frightening right now, but I will not let my fears run my life.

I think she got it. Living in fear would only make me, us, the world, batshit crazy. If ISIS comes and bombs Seattle tomorrow, I can't stop it, I can't control it, I will just need to handle it if I make it through.

I will not let the media, politicians or terrorists play on my fears.  Only spiders can do that.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

It's NaNo Time

I've decided again to try my hand at NaNoWriMo again. This will be my 7th year. I've only "won" two times. The pattern appears to be the lack of time since being divorced. I've been close. I think I got up to 30k one year, but I decided to put that book aside when I found out fairy tale retellings were all the rage (which seemed to happen while I was writing that one).

I'm pretty determined this year. I've not finished a book for a while (and by a while I mean 3 or so years,  I mean, I haven't even written a blog in two months). I would like to get one completed project under my belt. Maybe that will get me more motivated to write more.

I've also decided to sway from Young Adult and write a women's lit novel.  It's kind of about a middle aged woman struggling to find where she fits in the world while battling severe depression. So, not really a far stretch from what I normally write, but I think it will be fun to be a little more free with my words.

So far I have just over 3,600 words.

Who's doing NaNoWriMo this year? What are you writing?

Good luck to those of you participating.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Today is Septmember 11th...

The images of that day are scars on the memory of those who were old enough to remember. I remember. I ran daycare out of my home. I had a number of children and employees with me.  My husband at the time called and said, "Have you seen the news? Do you know what's happening?"

Of course I didn't. I had nine children in my care and didn't allow television.

"A plane just ran into one of the World Trade Center buildings."


"Oh my God, there's a second plane. The second building has been hit."

My husband, he was a joker. "No they didn't. Not funny."

"No Megan. Turn on the radio, the television, listen."

Oh my God. I turned on the radio. It was happening. For real. Not just some surreal nightmare.

Then they hit the Pentagon. I had a friend who worked there. Also, my sister was in DC at the time and no one could reach her.

Fear was instilled in every American that day. Whether you knew people on those planes, in those places, or even if you didn't. We all had one collective mind that day. Terrorism, devastation, death.

I've been to the memorial. All the names etched in stone, the ever flowing fountains that reflect the absence of the once  monumental skyscrapers...it's beyond profound. And there's a tree. The Survivor Tree.  The trunk of a pear tree saved from the wreckage of the attack and replanted. It has grown into a new tree, a symbol of survival of course, and rebirth.

Since I've been there, they've taken seven story steel tridents from the original buildings and placed them in the museum to greet visitors. (or maybe it was all there and I just didn't go in because the fountains were so exhaustive). There are a lot of strange conspiracy theories about these tridents, but I believe they are like the Survivor Tree. They lasted through the wreckage and are now a symbol of resilience.

None of this actually has to do with the reason I'm writing this blog. I'm writing this blog because many quotes came about from our nation's tragedy. We bleed Red, White & Blue. United we stand. We came together as a country....

This last one is what I'm focusing on. WE CAME TOGETHER AS A COUNTRY...

We did. For a brief period of time we were united. And that convergence happened no matter who
we were because we were all fighting and devastated and mourning the same cause. It mattered not if you were white or black. Christian, Muslim or Atheist. Gay or straight. We were all grieving for every single person -  man, woman and child - that died in that terrorist attack.

So what happened?

The wrong targets were chosen. A war started. The Patriot Act was sanctioned.

Boundary lines were then again drawn.

I'm sorry, everyone in a turban is not a terrorist. Everyone from the Middle East is not against America. Most of them (not unlike those from Mexico) are still here for that American Dream that's been touted for decades by those who came before them.

Media took over. Maybe they had help. But fear was perpetuated. Therefore, many live in fear of those that are different or those they do not understand. And that is wrong. That is profiling.

And then of course the liberal left vote in a black president, and all hell breaks loose.

Now these are the things that divide us. Those who tolerate and embrace the differences in our society, and those who abhor it.

And I'm only venting. I don't have an answer, because sure, there are terrorists and there are illegal immigrants abusing our systems. Of course there are American citizens that are also terrorists, think Timothy McVeigh. Think about all the school shootings like Columbine and wherever else shootings took place in our country. And many Americans abuse medicaid and welfare ( which they are honestly not called anymore, get with the program) but so many others DO NOT abuse the system, but legitimately need it.

So honestly, there is ugly all over the world, including our own country, I know this. But why do we, the non terrorists and non abusers fight each other?

If you believe in freedom, which is seems like everyone in America does, how can you not believe in equal rights women's rights, LGBT's rights? How can you not think that the majority of people in this country want it to be great? Want to see greatness in themselves? Their sex, religion, race, culture or sexual orientation doesn't matter. What matters - and this is what it's all about - is our freedom and the fact that we have to come together and be a great nation again.

As long as we're divided, we're vulnerable. And we can't let another 9/11 happen ever again.

Monday, August 10, 2015

In Defense of #BlackLivesMatter

 Photo by Gage Skidmore  Some rights reserved
There was a lot of hub bub with the disruption at the Bernie Sanders rally by BLM protesters. I have variety of feelings about this, and I'm not sure they are all easy to convey, but I am going to try.

I think the two women who disrupted the rally in the name of BLM chose their venue poorly. Why take the stage away from Bernie Sanders, who more than likely is your best ally in the presidential race? Why protest to people who, also more than likely, support the BLM cause? It seems like a waste of time, energy and resources.

Washington State Senator Pramila Jayapal did a thoughtful editorial on what happened at the event and while I think she makes some good points, I think some of what she says is a little off base. She said the mostly white crowd turned ugly. Yes, I think people in the crowd were feeling many things, anger, disappointment, sure, probably some racism, and I'm sure there was some solidarity, but for her to point out that the crowd was mostly white seems inconsequential. Washington State is 81% white and 4% black. I think no matter what the ratio of white to black, people were going to feel many different things about the protest. White or African American I'm sure some would agree and others would disagree with the protest.

There were many different reasons for the individuals in the crowd to feel the way they did and it wasn't necessarily because they don't believe in the BLM movement. As Jayapal also stated, some were probably annoyed by the disruption, some may have disagreed with the tactics, some were disappointed because after standing in the hot sun all day, they didn't get to hear Sanders speak.

Sanders may have handled the situation poorly; I think that's forgivable. He was caught off guard. The protesters handled their demonstration  haphazardly, as if they didn't have any kind of plan at all. Then to call the entire crowd a bunch of racist supremacists...well, they reduced themselves to that in which they are decrying - racists. I'm one of the most tolerant people I know, and I would have felt highly offended and disrespected had I been there. I probably would have booed them too. If you're going to dismantle an event in that way, how about instead of insulting everyone you try to connect with them and urge them to pull  together as a community to fight injustice. And don't scream at people. And when you've had your say, give the mic back. There were important things that needed to be discussed by Sanders and they affect everyone, including the black lives that matter.

Did the protesters achieve what they set out to do? Maybe. They made people listen. They made people remember Michael Brown and other blacks killed unjustly. But as I said before, I would guess the majority of those in that crowd had already been listening and still remembered Michael Brown,  Eric Garner, John Crawford, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, and of course Trayvon Martin, whose death incited the formation of BLM in the first place. I would bet those women were preaching to the choir.

BLM on a national level needs to rally their local chapters and ensure everyone is on the same page with their tactics and goals. What they do and how they represent should be consistent across the board. I know there's some question about the validity of these women actually being part of BLM, but at this point it doesn't matter. They disparaged the movement in many people's eyes resulting in a loss of support of a worthy cause.

All that said, I will still support BLM. I don't think these two women were the best representation of the organization. I think what BLM is doing is important. People need to understand that Black Lives Matter. And yes, all lives matter, but we, as a white people do not face the same challenges as the African American community. If you don't believe that, then you are part of the problem.

I believe BLM's fight needs to keep progressing and that changes need to be made in our criminal justice system, education, and in our communities in so many other ways. I honestly don't know if racism will ever completely go away. It's extremely difficult to eradicate centuries old learned behavior of abuse and oppression. I hope with the emergence of every new generation, the stereotypes, racial profiling and fear of our differences will wane. I hope that little by little people will stop teaching hate and start embracing diversity and exhibiting tolerance. I think we're on the right track, but I do think organizations like Black Lives Matter are important in the fight against social injustice and that they need our support.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Present Day Religious Tyranny

I was going to rant about a bunch of stuff, but this post became very long. So, today I talk about religious tyranny.

The religious right is trying to force Christianity on the rest of the country. How are they doing this? The Religious Freedom Restoration Act for starters. This is not a freedom of religion act. This is an act of discrimination and bigotry disguised as a freedom of religion act. There was only one reason this was put in place: so business owned by Christians could deny services to the LGBT community.

And now republicans in Idaho and trying to get the Bible into schools as a text of History and Science. Complete and utter bullshit! Not everyone believes in the same god. Not everyone, even some Christians believe that the bible is to be taken literally. A book that no one can verify is factual has no place in our school system. A book based on religion has no place being anything more than  a study in literature like Siddhartha or Paradise Lost.

The Pilgrims and Puritans left Europe to be free of religious tyranny. These are the people that founded our country. Do you think they would force their religion on us as the Church of England did to them?

And what about the Revolutionary War? Sure, it wasn't solely based on religion or religious freedoms, but it played a part. People were moved to fight for their freedoms, including their religious freedoms. Thomas Paine had a hand in this when he published Common Sense. He blasted the monarchy as taking on a sovereign authority that should only belong to God. He suggested that Americans follow the lead of Jews in the Old Testament and reject a monarchical government. He urged the colonists to take up arms to protect freedom of religion for dissenters and declared the colonies as an asylum of religious liberty.  Let me repeat that. Asylum of religious liberty.

Liberty's definition is: the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one's way of life, behavior, or political views.

No one's religion should be forced upon us.  It's right there in the Constitution.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; 

This means no national or state mandated religion. It says we are free to exercise religion. It does not specify Christianity as that religion. So, what do you think you're doing when you place a book based on Christianity in our schools and treat it as fact. Hey, private schools can do what they want. But public schools, schools run by our government should not impose Christian beliefs on those who attend.

We don't need the bible in schools. If you want to teach your children the bible, do it at home, take them to church. I'm not saying that some curriculum shouldn't be based on theory, after all, much of science is based on theory. However, the bible isn't science, and it's not a proven history. Religion simply doesn't belong in schools unless you are teaching children about ALL religions.

As for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act - it's original purpose was "ensuring that interests in religious freedom are protected."  It applies to all religions, but is mostly was put in place for Native American religions and their sacred grounds that have been victim to the expansion of government projects.

The Indiana RFRA allows individuals and companies to assert that their exercise of religion. Really? The Constitution protects our religious freedoms. Why do we need this? Oh that's right, so companies and individuals in your state can turn away people they don't deem "worthy" of their Christian value services. Governor Mike Pence says it's all a big “misunderstanding.” And, “This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination I would have vetoed it.”


In response companies have halted expansion to Indiana. It's also been criticized by the likes of the NCAA, Apple CEO, Tim Cook, Gen Con, Disciples of Christ, and Subaru.

All of this, as I stated before, is nothing more than religious tyranny. Something many of our ancestors fled from and fought against. Our country is not a Theocracy. We cannot let the ball keep rolling in this direction. If they force this on us, what of our rights will be in jeopardy next?

My Dad. He's awesome.

John Messina, Personal Injury Attorney

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