Invader

It is said that the shooter at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh was concerned about “invaders” coming to the US in the migrant caravans. He thought Jewish people were assisting those in the migrant caravans and that was not okay with him.  He was a deeply hateful anti-Semite.

Can you imagine what the members of the Tree of Life synagogue are experiencing right now because of one man’s hatred?  I can’t imagine how devastating this would be for them, for anyone to be attacked in such a way, and to watch loved ones being killed.

I looked at his picture.  He’s white.  I’m white.  Obviously our ancestors crossed the pond at some point making both of us the descendants of invaders as well.

What makes someone like him the judge and jury of who can come to America for a better life?

Looking around at Trump’s Christian fan base, they seem ignorant to the fact that our country is crumbling by the day.  A portion of Trump’s Christian fan base thinks other issues are much more urgent, such as those who would celebrate that Satanic holiday Halloween.  I love Halloween, so take from that what you will.

My country becomes more baffling and broken each day.  This hatred festering in our country has got to stop.

 

Independence Day

This week the United States of America will celebrate Independence Day, on July 4.  242 years old.

I’ve been studying my roots.  I have new appreciation for the struggle my ancestors had to move to what they thought was the greatest country on earth.  I’m sure the rest of the world’s view changes day by day as Trump continues in his bizarre, irrational presidency.

All of my ancestors were Christians of one sort or another.  They were allowed to come to the US to pursue a better life.  Somehow though, the portion of American Christianity that helped elect Trump doesn’t think we need to extend this same kindness to our neighbors South of the Border.  How can these Christians reconcile the brutal behavior of the Trump administration with the teachings of Jesus?

We can do better.28085916085_11763ff751_c

Thoughts on Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month in the USA.  I have no idea how long that has been a thing.  I found myself with many questions.

I saw a list of  “badass women in history” somewhere.  I saw lists of poets and scientists and politicians.  I saw women lament that we’d have more poets, scientists and politicians that were female if only women hadn’t been held back.  While that is a true statement, it infers that women only somehow had value if they were a published poet or had won an election.

Shouldn’t Women’s History be all encompassing, and include the stories of all women? History is all around us.  I’ve been researching my family tree.  I have ancestors who were recorded as not being able to read or write on Federal Census records.  I have ancestors that stayed at home, ancestors that worked as stenographers and servants.  My grandmother had an eighth grade education, started work in a factory at age 13, and worked on and off throughout her life.  She didn’t work to achieve a lofty career goal, just for economic survival.

If you look far back enough you have an ancestor that lost a child to illness.  A mother in my family tree lost a child very young to gastroenteritis.  Perhaps your grandmother or great-great grandmother had a child that was afflicted by polio, a disease that we successfully immunize against today.

You can go to a museum and find out what your ancestors wore.  What they fixed for supper.   Some of our ancestors killed the chicken themselves.  No tidy prebutchered packages of chicken in the old days.  For some having a gun was a necessity, you may even have a great great grandmother who resorted to shooting whatever she could find for supper.

My mother will never be a published poet or recognized artist.  She has more of an artistic streak than I ever will  though.  She taught herself to play famous pieces on the piano and sometimes the guitar.  She’s painted many watercolors, perhaps just too flowery and feminine to every gain recognition.  She’s attempted to master Viennese pastry and authentic Mexican cooking.  She’s embroidered.  She made dresses for my sister and I were little.  She could make a beautifully decorated birthday cake. Just because her works weren’t seen by the world doesn’t mean they don’t matter.

My mom is just a bit older than Hillary Clinton and grew up just miles away from her.  My mom had a less priveleged background, so even if she hand wanted to be world famous there were more barriers.  Women at my mother’s high school were discouraged from enrolling in certain classes so they woudn’t take spaces away from the boys.

I’m part Polish.  I know the challenges my family faced 100+ years ago coming from Poland to America.  More difficult though is determining what was going on before they came to America.  While the famous Pole Marie Slowdoska Curie was gaining recognition as a scientist what challenges did ordinary women face during that time?

History is about the ordinary women, not just the women who were badass or world famous.

Bubble

I was ill recently.  I spent a lot of time sleeping when I wasn’t coughing.  Between being borderline hypoxic and dehydrated I felt as though my mind was playing tricks on me with the strangest of dreams.  When I finally felt better and emerged from the bubble of illness, reality was even stranger.  The orange man, Trump, was talking about shitholes.  People were encouraging Oprah to run for president. I thought America had decided TV stars with no political experience weren’t allowed to run for office.  Oh America, how fickle, strange and sometimes ugly you are.

Rule Book

When I was a child I remember having very strict notions about what was FAIR.  I think I also had some strict notions about what was just, even if I couldn’t have articulated the concept.  Of course fair as a child might center on trivial issues like each child at the birthday party getting the EXACT same sized piece of cake.

When I was a child I had the notion of an invisible rule book everyone followed, because that would be FAIR. One person would receive the same penalty for a crime as another.  The teacher would step in when she saw someone bullied.

Going to Catholic schools growing up I believed our leaders tried their best to ensure the public school system ensured equality of opportunity for all who passed through its doors.  When my own kids started public school, I saw that wasn’t quite so.

I believed my Catholic public school neighbor would stand up for me when his friend shouted “Dirty Catholic” across the street, when he saw me walking home in my Catholic school uniform.  I believed my parents would intervene somehow in the situation.

I believed that people wouldn’t selectively turn their heads away at the injustices of the world.

Of course little by little I realized my rule book was an imaginary work of fiction in my own brain.  If I got myself in a tizzy every time someone didn’t follow my rule book, I’d go crazy.

Recent events in the US from Charlottesville to the Las Vegas shootings to Harvey Weinstein make me sad.  That rule book in my head just won’t stay quiet.  No answers, just sadness.

I remember after 9/11, crying all the time when I watched the news.  Eventually I had to stop watching TV for a while.  Turning off the TV might be okay, but someday we need to pay enough attention to get our problems figured out.