A heartfelt “thank you” to Senator John McCain.

John McCain US Senator visits Slovenia

The ACA (otherwise known as Obamacare) was hanging in the balance, poised to be killed by a group of cold-blooded old white men that only cared about more tax breaks for themselves.

Led by the compassionless Mitch McConnell, they operated in the darkness, behind locked doors, and only with other Republicans.   They turned their backs on the pleas from thousands who would sicken and possibly die without the ACA or the Medicaid expansion that went with it.    Not once did they show any concern with how the people felt about what they wanted to do.

As it turned out, they had no real plan.   They had seven years to come up with a better replacement to Obamacare, but it became increasingly obvious the only thing they really cared about was repeal.   Every plan they came up with was worse than the last.  CBO scores predicted these bills would leave tens of millions without healthcare, and kill thousands of people every year.

For months, this group kept threatening to “repeal and replace” the ACA, leaving millions of people terrified they could lose their health insurance or their loved ones could.   The uncertainty and the threats to “repeal and replace” and finally, just “repeal” left people anxious and on edge, never knowing what each new day would bring.

It was like they were f*cking with our minds.

On Monday,  we learned of the sad news about Senator John McCain — that he had a very malignant and usually fatal form of brain cancer called glioblastoma.   In spite of his diagnosis and recent surgery for a blood clot above his left eye (which was how the cancer was discovered), he announced he would be flying to Washington to vote on whether to repeal and replace the ACA.

Because McCain is a man who always seemed to have a heart, and usually did the right thing, people were hopeful that he would be one of the few Republicans who would cast a “no” vote.  In light of his serious illness, which would be treated with top of the line health insurance paid for by our taxes, how could he vote “yes” to taking healthcare away from millions, some of who might be suffering the very same illness he was?

But he did the unthinkable. He voted “yes.”   People who had counted on him to do the right thing were enraged and devastated.   How could he do this?  People comforted themselves by trying to explain it away:  “Well, you can never trust a Republican to do the right thing,” or “At the end of the day, even McCain will always vote with his own party.”  I always liked McCain and this felt like a terrible betrayal.   Maybe he was just like all the rest of them and had no heart either.   I felt angry that I was paying for him to have such excellent healthcare, but mine would probably be taken away.

It didn’t seem to matter that McCain later gave a scathing critique of the GOP’s irresponsible and closed-door way of handling the repeal and replace issue, because he had still voted for it.  His words seemed hollow.

But the GOP wasn’t done yet and neither was McCain.

Yesterday, McConnell put the “skinny” repeal bill on the table and there would be another vote.    Under the “skinny” bill, only 16 million would be left uninsured — better than 23 or 24 million, but still atrocious.

All the Democratic senators and two Republicans, both women, voted “no.”

At 1:30 in the morning, there was one final vote to be cast, which would be the deciding vote, and determine whether the ACA would live or die.   I for one didn’t hold a lot of hope.  I don’t know about others.

The Senate went dead silent as John McCain slowly made his way up to the Senate clerk…and gave a thumbs down sign, indicating his decision was “no.”  His was the third Republican “no” vote.  The other two were senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski.  It might have been the most dramatic moment in U.S. Senate history.

 

John McCain, a man who is probably dying, by casting that one vote, saved thousands of other Americans from being sent to their premature deaths.   He also killed the bill that would have been their death sentence.

I think McCain voted “yes” the first time in order to be able to vote “no” later and put the issue to rest for good.  If he’d voted No the first time, I’m pretty sure Mitch and his lackeys would have kept trying over and over to ram their bill through and the issue would never die.

Of course, Trump will try to sabotage the ACA and keep talking about how he’s just going to let it “implode.”  He thrives on scare tactics, threats, and negativity.    He may succeed in sabotaging it, probably by refusing to pay the subsidies, but at least for now, those of us who rely on the ACA will be okay.    We can stop holding our breath.

I think we’ll actually get to single payer, like every other civilized country.  Most Democrats now support the idea, because they know there isn’t anything else that would cover more people and cost less than what we have right now.  And for the first time, a majority of people are demanding it.   I wonder when some moderate Republicans will begin to see that single payer is our best bet, too.   It seems like in America, we have to fight so hard for things that come to other countries with relative ease.   We are so far behind in so many things, especially our unnecessarily complicated and heartless healthcare system.

I’m very proud of my fellow American John McCain.  He went up against his own party and defied them.  In so doing, showed that his real priority is the people and that he knows the government is there to work for us, and not against us.   He will be remembered fondly by history.  He more than lived up to his reputation as a man with integrity and an American hero.

Thank you, Senator McCain, and I am praying for your speedy recovery.

Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and all the Democrats who voted “no” last night — thank you to all of you too.

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The Religious Right cares about control, not morality.

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Christian Right leaders (in both politics and the churches) — many who embrace the horrific theology of Dominionism/Reconstructionism — pretend to care an awful lot about morality.    They rant on endlessly about abortion and homosexuality.  They want to roll back laws that protect women’s health and reproductive rights.   Today, Trump passed a bill that bans transgender people from military service.

But do they really care about morality?

I don’t think so.  Their hero (who is supposedly going to make America a “Christian nation”) is a philanderer, adulterer, tax cheater, con-man, possible traitor, narcissist, bully, and only worships himself and money.   He holds himself above the law and doesn’t even think he needs God’s forgiveness.

Trump talks an awful lot about God — such as his tweet today that said (the caps are his own), “IN AMERICA WE DON’T WORSHIP GOVERNMENT. WE WORSHIP GOD.”   Yet I doubt the man has ever darkened a church door, said a heartfelt prayer, or ever really read the Bible.   Trump doesn’t give a hoot about God, only about power and control.   He’s a man without a conscience or a moral compass, but he  sure does seem awfully concerned with everyone else’s morals.

To the powerful leaders of the Christian Right (including many church leaders), morality means only one thing, or maybe two things (and they are closely related):  gender roles and sexual behavior.

They care nothing about being kind to others, helping those in need, welcoming strangers, turning the other cheek, loving their enemies, telling the truth, calling out wrongdoing, being ethical in business dealings, paying their fair share, and loving their neighbors as themselves.   In fact, when you hear them talk, they hardly ever mention the Gospels and Jesus’ message of love.

Instead, the cherry pick the most punitive passages from the Old Testament (and ignore those like the one illustrating this post) to justify their greed, hatred, bigotry, racism, sexism, denial of facts, and lust for power and control.   Certain passages have come in handy for instilling fear and terror which are used to dominate.   They talk about hell an awful lot, and seem pretty sure they’re not going there but YOU are if you disagree with them.     Dominionist church leaders even tell their followers that they will burn in hell if they didn’t vote for Trump or don’t support his policies.   It’s a toxic stew of religious abuse, fear, and hate — and unfortunately, it works.     It operates in the same manner as a cult — because it is a cult.

They use the talking points of abortion and homosexuality to instill fear (of going to hell), and control.   To a lesser extent they focus on other things that offend them — strangely, almost all are related to gender roles and the patriarchal belief that women are biblically mandated to be submissive to men (even when the man is an abuser):  women’s reproductive health (including birth control), adultery, divorce, private sexual behavior, and sex roles in the family.    Oh, and there’s a few other things they condemn:  Muslims, atheists, and liberals.

They justify their patriarchy and narrow minded views by quoting selectively from the Bible, but ignore the words of Jesus, who rarely if ever mentioned sex roles or homosexuality, never sent away a stranger, and never once said women were required to submit to men or tolerate abuse.  I don’t know for certain what Jesus’ actual views about sexual behavior were (since he never really went there), but I do know that there were things that were far more important to him, such as being kind to your neighbor, not being greedy and selfish, welcoming strangers, and caring for the needy and sick.

Jesus was gentle and kind.  He never turned his back on the “least among us.”  He was even loving toward sinners, as he was toward the adulteress who approached him.   But he only had harsh words for the powerful Pharisees, who were the equivalent of today’s legalistic right-wing Christian leaders and politicians.

America has a long history of the separation of church and state, and for good reason.   The Founding Fathers weren’t stupid.  They knew that when you try to mix the two, you wind up corrupting both.  That is what’s happening now.   There’s nothing un-Christian about keeping church and state separated.   In fact, it’s what’s kept Christianity from turning into a cult of power and hate.

Things that until very recently were considered sinful or at best, secular — greed, selfishness, seeking wealth and political power, corruption, hatred, bigotry, and taking from the poor — have now all been embraced by the Christian Right, using the heretical doctrine of dominionism to justify their actions.   Incredibly, they have Christianized the diabolical.  It makes you wonder who their real “god” really is.

They go on about the “sanctity of life” but seem to care only about fetuses and embryos.   But they are anything but pro-life.  Anyone who wants to take Medicaid away from pregnant women, make women’s health (including pregnancy) a pre-existing condition,  support the death penalty,  build more weapons, support torture, start wars, remove laws that keep the mentally ill from buying guns, gut education funding, destroy the environment,  remove laws that make our workplaces safe,  and kick millions of people off healthcare are definitely not pro-life.

I find it hard to believe far right Christian leaders even have much empathy for the unborn.  They seem incapable of empathy, so it makes absolutely  no sense that they would care so deeply about unborn babies but at the same time be so callous about the health and lives of born babies, children, women, refugees, and humanity in general.   Especially when you consider that Medicaid covers nearly half of all deliveries.  If you toss all those pregnant women off Medicaid, what will happen?  A hell of a lot more abortions, that’s what.   So how are they pro-life?  They aren’t.

The truth is, they don’t care about people, born or not.   The abortion issue (and other gender-related issues such as homosexuality) is a talking point they’ve latched onto in order to control people, especially women.    It’s also how they’ve managed to marry together religion with politics.  Far right politics has hijacked the churches and corrupted Christianity.    Their “morality” is all about control, and they will do the most immoral things imaginable to get it, as we see with this presidency.

I’m fed up with right wing politics’ bastardization and corruption of Christianity to suit their own agendas.  Over time, they have twisted Christianity into something dark and diabolical.    These heretics have held Jesus hostage for almost 40 years and it’s time to take him back.

I apologize about how harsh this may sound, but I’ve been feeling pretty strong about it lately, and sometimes the truth hurts.

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Partisan politics? Or right vs. wrong?

Before this blog changed its focus, a few times I said that religion and politics were subjects I wanted to avoid.  I was afraid of putting people off who may not agree with my political and religious beliefs.    It’s ironic that now those two things seem to have become my main focus.

I feel called to write about them now because they are both so intertwined and both have been corrupted by unbridled greed and narcissism.   This isn’t just partisan politics as usual.  It’s not liberal vs. conservative.  It’s not about transgender bathrooms or gay marriage or whether abortion should be federally funded or not.

We’re not in the same world anymore, when people could fight over whether George W. Bush or Barack Obama was the better president or had the better policies.   Both men, in my opinion, were at heart moral men.  Both made mistakes, sometimes big ones.  Neither were perfect.  Neither were bad people and neither deliberately tried to destroy our country.   You might have preferred one over the other based on your political or religious leanings, and you would have had good reasons for feeling the way you did either way (even if I didn’t agree with your reasons).

But we’re no longer in that universe.   Things are not normal.  This isn’t politics as usual.  Trump is not a normal president and he is not a good or moral man.  Neither are the people who are working for him.  Say what you want about Hillary Clinton (and I wasn’t a huge fan myself), but there is no way any rational person could think that Trump is the better person.   I’ll just leave it at that because I know how polarizing Ms. Clinton is.

When you have a president who is actively trying to tear down democracy  itself,  who appears to be dead set on harming or killing tens of millions of people by dismantling their safety nets, who wants to build a wall against our ally to the south, who threatens to take away Medicare and Medicaid, who denies that our climate is changing and denies science itself, who intends to destroy the laws that protect our environment, who writes up a budget that de-fund any programs that improve the quality of our lives, who gaslights anyone who disagrees with him or disapproves of his policies, who lies on a daily basis, who refuses to release his tax returns, who is pathologically envious of his predecessor and started a smear campaign against him (the “birther” lies),  who fires an honest FBI agent for investigating possible collusion with a hostile foreign power, who has shady business dealings (possibly with a hostile foreign power), who hires family members  (who also have shady business dealings) with no experience for cabinet positions, who is isolating us from our allies (the same way narcissists will try to isolate you from your support systems), who chooses people for cabinet positions for the sole purpose of destroying the very things their departments are supposed to protect, who is vindictive, who threatens, who bullies and calls other people abusive names, who mocks the disabled, who brags about grabbing women’s private parts, who shows no empathy toward anyone, who tweets constantly about how badly he is treated, who never apologizes or admits wrongdoing, who calls any news he doesn’t like fake, who encourages violence and hatred and racism at his rallies, who admits he doesn’t even need God’s forgiveness  — well, then we are no longer talking about partisan politics as usual.  We are talking about right versus wrong, good versus evil.

I have a background in narcissistic abuse as the survivor of narcissists and sociopaths, and now I can see clear as day the massive narcissistic abuse occurring on the national level with this president and his cold-hearted cabinet members who care only about money and power, and gleefully celebrate the prospect of taking healthcare away from millions of people.

So I feel like I’ve been called to shed light on the truth and help expose the lies and abuse and corruption in this presidency.    I feel like I’ve been called to speak up for those who have no power and no voice.   No, I’m not special or any different from anyone else; many other people have also recognized this need and are doing the same thing I am.   I feel like if I wasn’t doing this, I would be failing in what I know I’ve been called to do.

It’s exhausting, and some days I just can’t deal with it.   Some days I feel so depressed over all this I just want to lie down and never wake up.   Some days I feel so filled with despair, scared, and helpless — much the same way I felt as a little child in a narcissistic family.   Some days I’ve actually cried about it.  (Go ahead and call me a snowflake).

I’ve been on a blogging roll the past few days, but I think the occasional hopelessness and terror that overcomes me is what has been keeping me from posting for days at a time. This work is exhausting and saps your energy.   Sometimes I just need a break from it to stay sane.

When I wrote about my own abuse situation, I was already No Contact with my narcissists.  It was easier to write every day about it because I wasn’t in the midst of it anymore.   It was easier to process from a distance.   It was cathartic and therapeutic to spill out everything here on my blog.

But now, I feel like I’m back in the midst of the abuse, only in an abusive situation that’s so much bigger and more dangerous than the other ones, and sometimes I feel incredibly tiny and helpless.  Sometimes I feel like there’s nothing I can do at all, like there’s nothing anyone can do.  Sometimes I feel like I’m on the Titanic and I know it’s going to sink and I know I won’t get a lifeboat and there’s not a damn thing I can do except hope and pray for a miracle.

At the same time, I know that giving into despair and helplessness or fear won’t help me or anyone.  Giving in and giving up means THEY win.

We cannot allow the bullies and abusers to win.   We have to fight back. We can’t throw our hands up and say, “oh, well, there’s nothing I or anyone can do.  The situation is hopeless.”

We may be weak and scared but there are more of us than them.   A lot more.

I know I’ve been prepared for many years  for the work I have to do now, and writing about the spiritual war going on in this country right now (I do believe it is a spiritual war) and exposing the abuse and the lies is something I feel compelled to do, even though it’s not fun and is sometimes personally triggering.

For some reason I don’t understand, I have a sinking feeling about the healthcare bill vote tomorrow.  Mitch McConnell and the rest of the greedy sociopaths trying to take away the safety net of millions of Americans are relentless and merciless.   They don’t care about us.  They don’t care how much we protest and plead.   They turn a deaf ear to the tragic stories so many people tell them.

They just don’t stop, no matter how many times their heartless bill fails to pass.  They are dead set on getting their lousy tax break, no matter how many people they hurt and how insane and panic-stricken they are making so many thousands, if not millions, of people feel.   It is truly crazymaking, the way they keep trying to ram it through over and over and over.   You can’t ever relax, you’re constantly on guard, constantly worried and panicked. I wish they would just drop it already. I wish they would engage Democrats and work together to try to improve the ACA instead (or come up with something that really is better), but nope, they want things their way.   They want their damned tax breaks.  They refuse to compromise.

I feel like it’s going to pass this time, and I’m scared, along with millions of others.

But there is something you can do.  It’s not fun and it’s tedious and annoying and time consuming.   We shouldn’t HAVE to be doing this.  It makes me angry that we do.  In no civilized society should we have to fight for our basic rights and even for our lives.   But if you care about saving the Affordable Care Act, you won’t care how tedious or boring or infuriating this task is.

I am asking you to call these people sometime in the next 24 hours, preferably tonight or tomorrow morning.    Please tell them to vote No on the Republican health care bill.

We can’t let them win on this.  It’s immoral and it’s cruel.   It’s not about partisan politics, it’s about lives.  It’s about your children and mine.  It’s about the disabled, the working poor, familes with children, your grandparents, your parents, your sister, your brother, your friends and your neighbors.    It’s about you if you aren’t wealthy or if you are older or have a pre-existing condition.   Even if you have insurance through the place you work, under this bill, employers would no longer be obligated to offer you insurance.  So don’t think you’re not in danger too.

Everyone will get sick.  No matter how healthy you are now, at some point you won’t be.  Even if you never get in an accident or develop a disease like cancer, you will grow old one day and need affordable healthcare.  Unless you are wealthy, under this bill you may be left with no safety net when that happens.

There’s no excuse for this bill that punishes people for being vulnerable, other than greed and possibly, a group of evil people who actually want to see “the takers” and “nonproducers” (anyone who isn’t just like them) suffer and die.

So please make these calls.  I am going to now.

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Insanity is our new normal: the rise of the Christian Taliban.

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Scene from Hulu’s version of The Handmaid’s Tale

 

Something I’ve been saying a lot lately is that there is no such thing as a conspiracy theory anymore.   That’s because America has gone insane and all the crazy tin-foil hat theories we might have scoffed at ten or twenty or even just five years ago are actually happening right now.

One of them is the rise of the “Christian Taliban” a/k/a Christian Reconstructionism and Christian Dominionism.

The following excellent and well-researched article defines in great detail what this dangerous and ungodly cult believes and what it plans to do here in America — and it’s succeeding.  It’s a long article but definitely worth reading to the end.

Dominionism Rising:  A Theocratic Movement Hiding in Plain Sight

The takeover of the Republican party by Christian Dominionists and Reconstructionists is very scary and very real.  They believe that certain Christians (the “elect”) are ordained by God to take “dominion” over America; this belief is based on the Genesis story where God told Adam and Eve to “take dominion” over the earth and “subdue it.”  To them, “subduing the earth” means exploiting it unsustainably (because God will clean up the mess).  They think that those who believe that subduing the earth means sustainable stewardship are showing a lack of faith in God’s ability to replenish what humans take from it (their attitude is analogous to the arrogance of teenagers who trash the house after a party and expect their parents to clean it up as opposed to responsibly cleaning up their own mess).

Their goal is complete control and a replacement of our Constitution with Old Testament Biblical law, complete with harsh capital punishments for countless offenses and sins. Women would return to being chattel and having no rights. Gay people and non-believers and many others who don’t conform to the forced regime could be stoned to death (as they did in the Old Testament) or otherwise eliminated.   The teaching of science (especially evolution) would be banned and public education would be eliminated.   Birth control would most likely be outlawed and abortion could carry a death penalty.   Higher education would be discouraged, especially for women.  Critical thinking of any kind would not be allowed.  In a fascist, totalitarian theocracy, you can control your subjects much better if they are unable to think for themselves.     

This is no exaggeration. There are a number of Dominionists/Reconstructionists high up in the Republican party right now.   Ted Cruz is one of the most famous.   So is Mike Pence.   And that’s just for starters.    Their brand of Christianity is the American version of Sharia Law. The sort of oppressive, authoritarian society described in the 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale could actually become reality here.  

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These people have great wealth and influence and know how to infiltrate politics at every level and get politicians to do their bidding.   It’s very possible they could succeed.   They believe that Trump, though not particularly religious himself (most of these Dominionist types are well aware of his sinful lifestyle and lack of repentance) has nevertheless been appointed by God as a sort of “wrecking ball” with the intention of destroying our democratic institutions and democracy itself as we know it, to make way for the totalitarian theocracy they believe God wants installed in America before he will allow Jesus to return.  These people compare Trump’s rise to power to King Cyrus of Persia in the Old Testament.   These Puritan-like Calvinists believe that it is their moral duty to take from the poor, disabled and other vulnerable people and give to the already wealthy because they are God’s chosen people (according to their Calvinist beliefs, their wealth and power means that God favors them).   They also believe that slavery is “benevolent” — the leader of the Dominionist movement, R. J. Rushdoony, actually said that “some people are born to be slaves.”

This ugly and hateful theology is NOT real Christianity and is in fact alien to anything taught by Christ and is the polar opposite of His message of love and compassion for the “least among us” in the Sermon on the Mount.   Their dreamed of theocracy is all about control and power by a wealthy few and the subjugation, suffering, oppression, and death of the masses.   In their Orwellian way of twisting the meaning of words to their own benefit, “religious freedom” to them means not the freedom to worship as you choose, but the freedom to oppress and punish others who worship differently than you do.  

These sick, blackhearted people are religious terrorists who will destroy this country and our freedom if they are not stopped in their tracks. They are a much more real danger to us than ISIS or Muslim jihadists, who are unlikely to be any real immediate threat to us.  Yet these same homegrown terrorists are the ones instilling hatred and fear against Muslim terrorists, who operate the very same way in the name of Islam (and of course most Muslims are not like that, just as most Christians are actually good and decent people).  

Wake up, people! This could happen here. We can’t be complacent and assume it won’t just because it sounds insane. It is insane, but insanity is the new normal.  We can’t ever accept it as normal. 

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Rollin’ on the river.

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On Friday, I had a day off.  The plan was for me, and my daughter and her friend to go tubing on the French Broad River (yes, that’s it’s actual name).    We started off around 1 PM, parked our car, signed up at Zen Tubing and paid our fees — 3 rented tubes and another one to carry our small cooler.  We also purchased a waterproof box to carry our cell phones.  Then a bunch of us boarded a jitney bus that took us about 3 miles to where we picked up our tubes and headed off.

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It’s a good thing I decided to buy some cheap water shoes with treads because the rocks as you’re getting in the tubes are very slippery!

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Soon we were on the water.   There were straps where you could attach the tubes so they wouldn’t separate, but at first they kept getting tangled and it seemed like we weren’t moving at all. But we actually were moving, because when I looked back behind us, the boarding point was very far away.

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Soon we were in the groove and rolling down the river.   The trip is about 3 miles (back to the rental and sign-up place) and takes about 2 – 2 1/2 hours.    It’s incredibly relaxing and the tubes are comfortable.  Soon I was leaning back in my tube and just taking in the gorgeous scenery all around.

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The cold water felt good on my feet as I spashed them in the water.  Blue dragonflies   were everywhere, landing on our tubes, on our cooler, on my body!    A lot of them were mating in mid-air (which I wrote about in my last post).     I should have taken a photo of them but they’d always move before I had the chance.   They did become slightly annoying in some areas, because there were so many. But other than that, the trip was perfect, and so relaxing.

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In some areas the slowly moving water became more like rapids, and going over those was a lot of fun.   At one point we got caught on some rocks and my daughter’s friend had to get out of his tube to get us free (the water in the river is surprisingly shallow, and we were told never gets over about 5 feet, even in the middle).

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In some areas there were rocks you could sit on, and at one point we did.  We got out of our tubes and climbed up on the rocks (again, they were so slippery I had to put my shoes back on) and took some pictures.   We looked over at the side of the river and saw some kids swinging from a rope into the river and swimming in it (you can see that in the below picture):

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The French Broad isn’t really great to swim in.  I’d heard it’s infected with e-coli, so you definitely don’t want to drink it.  But for tubing or kayaking it’s perfect.

Finally, we reached our destination, and we were all sunburned but I felt so relaxed.   Afterwards, we stopped for ice cream and headed home.  I’ll definitely go tubing again soon.

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Bugs have terrible boundaries.

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I’m hooked on a blog I found a couple of months ago called WaitbutWhy.   It’s a blog for people who like science and geeky stuff and think about the same kinds of weird, random, shower-thought sort of things that I do.    Some of the stuff its author, Tim Urban, writes about will absolutely blow your mind, such as this incredible article about how to fit all 7.3 billion people on the planet into a building that would fit in a space smaller than Manhattan’s Central Park.  Yes, it can actually be done (but it would be terribly cruel!).

Some of his posts are hilarious because they’re so true and relatable.   In my last post I mentioned that bugs (ants, to be specific) can be beneficial to the environment because they help break down dead material, but let’s be honest here — Do any of us really LIKE bugs?

They invite themselves where they are not wanted.  They walk on our food and spit in it and lay their nasty eggs in it.   They violate our bodies without our permission, sometimes painfully or causing unbearable fits of itching.   They hide inside our bedcovers and crawl all over us when we’re trying to sleep.  Some bugs have an unsettling way of flying in your face repeatedly.    They won’t take no for an answer.  They look like microscopic monsters or aliens from another planet.   Their nasty dead carcasses can be found all over your windowsills, your floors, in your bed, inside your refrigerator. They are stupid (moths fly straight into electric lights — how have they not gone extinct yet?).  Moths burrow inside your clothing and chew holes in them.  Roaches and mosquitoes carry diseases.   Termites can bring down your home (and during their horrifying spring swarms, they obnoxiously drop their wings after having sex — all over your hardwood floors.  (I know, because this happened to me — I spent two hours vacuuming them all up while crying and whimpering in terror).  I wrote about that awful experience in detail in this post about my weird phobia.  Here is an excerpt.

The worst experience I ever had with my phobia was the time we had a termite infestation. I was home alone at the time, watching TV in the living room and something made me look across the room. Something weird was happening on the hardwood floor. It looked like it was sort of…undulating. I got up to investigate and saw what appeared to be THOUSANDS of ant-like insects walking, flying, and DROPPING THEIR WINGS ALL OVER THE FLOOR. I started shivering and crying as I frantically went to go find the vacuum cleaner. I couldn’t think straight. Whimpering in terror, I had trouble plugging the damn thing into the wall because my hands were shaking so badly. In a panic, I sucked up every last one I could see, but MORE KEPT COMING OUT OF THE WALL. I didn’t know they were termites–I didn’t know about the “swarmers” (the termites who mate in the spring and have temporary wings until they mate) until Terminex told me that’s what those were. THOSE UNHOLY FLYING FAKE ANTS WERE HAVING SEX ALL OVER MY LIVING ROOM FLOOR!

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Sorry.

Urban wrote a post about all these ways that bugs ruin everything, but what really stuck with me was his correct observation that —

Bugs have terrible boundaries.

They do, and maybe that’s why we hate them so much.  More than anything, I despise bugs (okay, I know technically most of them are insects, not true bugs) because they have zero sense of where you end and they begin.   Just like those predatory boundary-violating narcissists who make our lives a living hell and never seem to go away. 

In a post I’ll write later tonight or tomorrow, I’m going to describe the wonderful day I had tubing on a local river yesterday.   Everything was perfect — except for the hundreds of dragonflies swarming and hovering everywhere, persistently landing on our bare skin.   Swarming all around us — and mating in the air while they did so!  Do you have no sense of modesty,  Mr. and Ms. Dragonfly? Having sex in public.   In the air.  No shame, those dragonflies.   They all have abominable boundaries! So maybe I’m just jealous, because having sex while flying seems like it would be heavenly!

dragonfliesmating

I have nothing against dragonflies.  As far as insects go, they are generally pretty inoffensive.  Yes, they are big and kind of prehistoric looking (they scared the bejeebus out of me when I was younger).   The sight of their large outstretched transparent wings is slightly unsettling to me (though I have no idea why).  But I like them.   They don’t bite.  They eat mosquitoes and other annoying bugs that do bite.  They are also very pretty.   I have a love/hate relationship with dragonflies, and I guess the love wins out because I have a tattoo of one on my right shoulder.

I like dragonflies, but I like them from a distance and in limited numbers.  I don’t like swarms of them flying all around me, landing on me, and making love right in front of my face.

Good thing that didn’t happen when I was young, because I would have died from panic. Over the years, I overcame my phobia to the point where my feelings about dragonflies are mainly positive, although I’ve retained a bit of my old fear that snuck up on me yesterday when they were all around me and I couldn’t get away.  I dealt with it by pretending I was Spyro the Dragon with magical dragonflies protecting me.

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The extraordinary in the ordinary.

Some things we think of as ugly or ordinary can be beautiful and extraordinary when we see them through the eyes of a photographer, a naturalist, or a scientist.

I’m not a scientist, just an amateur photographer, but I deeply appreciate nature.  These ants that swarmed around a little puddle of syrup that leaked from a garbage bag were interesting to me.   They seem to come out of nowhere.  They’re so industrious and play an important role in our ecological balance.

ants

I took a similar photo last August while in Florida (here is my post about that).   One night we went fishing and used shrimp for bait.   This is what happened to one of my shrimp after just a few minutes of sitting in the hot sun:

fishing6

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The modern GOP is incapable of empathy.

robberbarons

Today, The Huffington Post published this article imploring the GOP to show as much sympathy and compassion for its constituents as it does for its wealthy donors and to each other.

While I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment, I take issue with this article because of its unrealistic assumption that the modern GOP is capable of compassion or sympathy.

In fact, they are not.    Maybe back in the old days (B.T — Before Trump), and among some moderate Republicans, that may be true.  But moderate Republicans are in the minority these days and hold almost no power anymore.   All three branches of government are hamstrung by far right Freedom Caucus or alt-right fascist types who want to take us back not to 1953 — remember, we had a lot more “socialism” during the ’50s, a decade that the far right seems to otherwise love —  but to 1900!  They want a Dickensian dystopia: a new Gilded Age, complete with robber barons, people dying from preventable illnesses (for lack of healthcare); hordes of uneducated, illiterate citizens; children begging in the streets or stealing so their families could eat (and providing a handy reason to send them to work at an early age); harsh punishments for minor victimless crimes, workhouses for the poor, rampant sexism and racism, voting rights only for property owners, women treated as second class citizens, and no civil rights at all.  The early 1900s cartoon above this post could just as well apply to today.

The type of regime the modern GOP wants to install would be hell for all but the very wealthy.   It’s the type of oppressive regime you find all the time in the third world, but not in any civilized country.  It’s interesting to me that Trump admires and acts respectful to   fascistic, authoritarian rulers, but insults and is rude to leaders of western democracies.

I’m speculating here, but I wouldn’t be surprised if repealing child labor laws is part of their eventual plan to destroy democracy and any chance of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” for those who aren’t white, Christian, able-bodied, or unable for various reasons beyond their control to attain great wealth and power.    These ruthless monsters are waging war on the most vulnerable among us and I truly believe their intention is a modern day version of eugenics.  Denying healthcare to millions, attempting to dismantle public education, and removing laws that protect our air, water and food — while building underground bunkers for themselves so they stay safe when the air is unbreathable, the landscape looks like a war zone, and desperate hordes of impoverished are forced to steal and kill just to survive — is a sneakier, more underhanded version of the gas chambers of Nazi Germany.   Dark Triad people like Mitch McConnell want to thin the herd — but let “natural law” do the job instead of poison gas and concentration camps.   I’m enraged and terrified because I and most of the people I love are among those these conscienceless rulers want to eliminate, and that’s why I’m so passionate about this scourge on our nation.

malcolmx

I decided to comment on the HuffPo article:

Sympathy and compassion are traits of a democracy.   America is no longer a democracy. It’s an oligarchy. The modern GOP is a criminal, sociopathic organization whose members lack any empathy or conscience. They are all about greed and power, and they gaslight and demean and lie to anyone who cares about the “least of us.”   They call us weak, snowflakes, un-American, elitist.  This organized crime ring of grifters, pathological liars, Ayn Rand acolytes, greedy sociopaths, their spineless enablers, and the fake “Christians” who have twisted Christianity into something more closely resembling Satanism never will. They can’t because it’s alien to their dark natures. They are modern day Pharisees.

“By their fruits you shall know them.”

They bear rotten fruit.

“We have met the enemy and it is us.”

We have become the Evil Empire the rest of the world hates and fears.

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Changed my profile.

My blog has changed since I started it almost three years ago.   Although I still write about narcissistic abuse, I’ve expanded from my personal experience of it to the national experience of it under the new president.

I also write a lot more articles that have nothing or little to do with narcissistic abuse. I find that as my healing progresses, I have little need to write about my own experience anymore.     We all grow and change, and my painful past just isn’t a place where I want to spend too much time anymore.    It happened, I dealt with it (and still deal with it because healing is a process), and now I’ve moved on to other things that concern me (but where my experience and education as a narcissistic abuse victim give me some insight into these matters — at least I think they do).

So in keeping with my new focus, I decided to rewrite my profile.  It’s shorter and I think it’s snappier and more to the point than the old one.

You also might have noticed I changed the fonts and the look slightly.  I think it’s a cleaner look.

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Please stop calling suicide victims ‘selfish’ or ‘weak.’ (reblog)

One of the best blogs I’ve recently discovered is John Pavlovitz’s blog “Stuff That Needs to Be Said.”  Pavlovitz is a Christian pastor, but he is different because he abhors what has become “conservatism” and is an active member of the resistance.  Like Jesus himself, he is compassionate and bravely defends all those who are vulnerable or “different,” including groups many fake Christians hate and fear, such as the LGBTQ population and Muslim immigrants.

Every day, Mr. Pavlovitz writes impassioned, brutally honest posts calling out the darkness and evil so many of us see in the new White House and in the greater society.   I love what he has to say and I love the way he writes.  But he doesn’t write exclusively about the political situation.   In this post, he calls out those who accuse Linkin Park’s frontman Chester Bennington as weak and selfish for killing himself on Friday — and in so doing, defends all people who have sunk into such despair and hopelessness that they think suicide is their only way out.

Please Stop Calling Suicide Victims “Weak” and “Selfish”

By John Pavlovitz

Chester

Soon after news broke about the death of Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington, amid the flood of condolences and the raw expressions of grief and shock—came the others; the ones who are never far, always hiding just out of view, ever ready to crawl from out from the cracks.

In moments like these, they surface to offer flippant, callous, armchair sermons about how selfish suicide is, about how cowardly the dead person was, about why he or she should have thought of their children, spouses, loved ones.
They add insult to fatal injury by heaping shame upon a suffering that had already proven to be too much to bear for someone.
These people somehow feel fine critiquing dead strangers, before they’ve even been buried.

I’ve come to realize that there is only one kind of person who says things like this about those who take their own lives: a person who has never been where Chester Bennington was in his final moments, or where Chris Cornell was, or where 121 people in the US are every single day—where many are in the seconds it takes for you to read these words. The people who say such things, are those who’ve never (because of mental illness or acute trauma or severe addiction), been pushed to the precipice of their very will to live. They are people who (fortunately for them) have the luxury of their ignorance, who’ve never walked through this unrivaled internal Hell and wanted nothing more than to get out.

Read the rest of John’s post here

And follow his amazing blog!

 

 

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