Hello everyone! Me again. Today I’ll be pretty quick and to the point. There seems to be much ado right now about what is truth. And I’ve been sitting, thinking, and pondering how to approach it. Truth is, in reality many things, but not necessarily all of them at the same time.
Truth is gritty. Truth is uncomfortable. Truth is not always pleasant. Truth is often difficult to hear and hard to accept. Truth is freedom from deceit. Truth is impartial and doesn't care about your prejudices. Truth has no race, religion or sexual orientation. Truth can be difficult to speak. Truth is simply what is or was. Truth is stationary and has no opinion. Truth is not a compromise because it cannot be changed. Truth is freedom from deceit. Truth is neither transparent nor hidden. Truth cannot be false. Truth is infallible and doesn't depend on how many people believe it. Truth is unaltered by your opinion. Truth is what happened, not how you feel about it. Truth is simply what is true.
So, when is truth not the truth?
Don’t be confused because lies are pretty. Lies tell us what we want to hear. Lies bolster a preconceived idea and placate, rather than challenge. Lies are meant to feed you a deception you will enjoy and distract you from an unpleasant truth. But no matter how often a lie is repeated, it can never be true. It will always be a lie. It will always be a deception. The truth has no opinion. It simply is true.
We are One Woman, One World.
Ann Lavendar Truong
photo credit: NBC News, Meet the Press
Hello everyone. It’s me again. Okay, you don’t have to read that so dispondantly. Let’s try again with some pep in that mental reading voice. Hello! I’m back!
Now we can get down to business.
There is a great deal of concern about Trumpaloompa’s Supreme Court Justice pick, Brett Kavanaugh. Some have been familiar with fighting his work for some time, while others met the announcement with a big round of, “who?” Well, if you aren’t familiar with him and are currently curled up in a ball with your favorite blanky and stuffed animal whispering, “Please be a dream. Let me wake up,” over and over again, begging the universe as a whole that you’ve been stuck in a coma-induced nightmare for the last year and half, then let me sum up Brett for you. Bad. Bad choice for women. Bad choice for LGBT. Bad choice for voting rights. Bad choice for if you would like our nation to remain a democracy that holds every person accountable to the law, up to and including the President of the United States. So, bad if you don’t want to rubber stamp four years of dictatorship after every election. But we are going to focus on the first one today. Okay, not just Bad. The bad for women one. But not in the way you think.
I’m not going to be here to bash old Brett today. He’s a crappy, ultra-conservative, far outside the mainstream, Republican. Just exactly what we would expect from a Trump pick. We would be having this discussion about basically anyone the Ultra-Conservative, Religious Right throws our way. And that is kinda the point. The Right Wing Conservatives are not the only bad guys in this article.
Suddenly, once again, and with ever-increasing zeal, the Right has been pushing hard against women’s rights. We have seen so many attacks both through this administration and the policies they have proffered and from the empowered conservative minority. Exactly as we should have expected, and most of us did.
But who is to blame? Well, to some degree, we are. Whoa! Did I just say that? Oh, yeah, I did. Why would I say such a thing? Well, because we settled for good enough. We settled for a Supreme Court Ruling to guarantee our reproductive rights. We have had since January 22, 1973 to establish something more permanent; to guarantee our rights to our own bodies. But instead of pushing for this, we put our trust in a court, in a court whose justices would change over years, in a court where the decision could be challenged again and overturned. We left our rights thrown into the turmoil and unsolidified body of political whims. We have been political pawns for both sides of this coin.
“Both sides?” You might ask. Yes. Many minority groups have won their freedoms initially in the courts. But did they leave their freedom bound to that decision, alone? No. We enacted constitutional amendments to safeguard them. Now, women are not exactly a minority group, are they? No, they are roughly half the population. What women ‘are’ is a subjugated half the population continually told we must depend on someone to safeguard our precious, human rights or those rights could be swept away. And far more easily than they were established.
Women have been as much pawns to the Democrats as they have to Republicans. Election after election, for more than forty-five years we have witnessed Republicans playing fictitious heartstrings claiming they want to protect babies, when all they really want is to implement their so-called Biblical ideologies into the bedrock of our laws and keep firmly women in their place in our patriarchal society. But what did the Dems do, you ask? Well, their actions, in reality, are almost as bad. They have used women’s reproductive rights as part of their talking points, making it a part of their party platform to gain female votes. They encourage women to vote for them to ensure their rights are “safeguarded.” But they did not push, and keep pushing, for the only thing that could really protect a woman’s right to autonomy: a constitutional amendment.
Approximately 80% of the United States supports a woman’s freedom of reproductive choice, including abortion of non-viable fetuses, plan B, birth control, and voluntary sterilization. Almost everyone would be horrified at the thought of having to disclose their sexual activity, measures of birth control or reproductive procedures on an employment application. We have laws safeguarding the medical history and treatment of individuals which prevent employers from accessing medical records and/or using it as a determination for employment, and the potential employee must only disclose disabilities which might prevent them from being capable of performing the tasks required for the position. Those disclosures are a safety issue where people could be harmed. For instance, if you are blind, then you probably shouldn’t be a pizza delivery driver. If you have seizures, then you might not should work in a Discotheque.
But there is no equivocation between an illness or condition which could potentially result in injury or death and the reproductive choices of a woman made between her and her doctor. The latter has no affect on the employer nor other employees. But the Democratic Party has used Choice as a rally cry to charge women into repetitive battles to keep their rights. They kept us teetering on a high wire act with the constant threat of falling and no safety net.
Now we are about to fall and go splat. Thanks a lot.
But they aren’t rights, are they? I mean, they should be, but they aren’t. Women do not have freedom. Inalienable rights are something that can’t be taken away by a Supreme Court Justice, or any court. They are protected. And they do not need the election of a particular party to safeguard them. There have been plenty of opportunities to push these demands forward, to change the dialogue, and to make equality a priority. But where have they done this? Instead, they have acted in defense, constantly. While I can appreciate attempting to defend our rights, it is not the same thing as ensuring them. The truth is that the Republicans benefit from attacking women’s reproductive rights by espousing religious dogma and the Democrats benefit from the constant attack by scaring women into action. Why should the Left change this tactic if it works to energize women into voting for them? It is a built in money-maker.
It is the fact that women are still fighting the battle for autonomy of their own bodies, something men have without question, which says we are not equal. We are still second class citizens with almost, but not quite, the same rights as men.
I’m certainly not saying to discard your ballots. Nor am I suggesting to vote for those who would take your freedoms and throw them away. But we need to hold those we elect to a higher accountability. We need this fight to happen. The fact is that should Trumpster’s pick -Bretty-boy- be confirmed, the only hope for women to overcome this mess and establish any meaningful permanence to reproductive freedom will be through amending the constitution. It is the one thing no court can change.
Oh, and LGBT, you are probably next. Your rights to non discrimination, to marriage, to adoption, to your employer staying out of your sex life, those are on the chopping block, too. Any freedoms safeguarded by the Supreme Court decisions of the past are not set in stone. Those freedoms are illusions, as easily, more easily in fact, swept away as they were established.
We can no longer afford to be pawns in these political power games. Our freedoms and rights are not prizes, nor gifts. If we are going to be forced to fight, yet again, we must fight for something more than simply staying an execution. We must fight for permanence. We must fight the most difficult battle, and win it, to ensure our daughters won’t have to fight it, and theirs again.
This is a game of chess, no doubt, but we must stop allowing ourselves to be the pawns of those seeking power, when in truth, we are more powerful, we are strong; we are queens.
Resist. Fight. Demand better.
We are One Woman, One World.
Ann Lavendar Truong
photo credit: https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/46091596162659554/?lp=true
Links: More ways to find me or colleagues of mine to check out!
It is difficult to even know where to start on this one. I know I have been quiet a while, not intentionally ignoring the world, just working on deadlines that have consumed my time. You know, my day job. But this is so egregious I have to set work aside for a few moments. I cannot allow this to pass and be swept away by the next tidal wave of stupidity this administration throws out to consume and dull our sense of morality and justice.
It has become our nation’s policy, under the “Trump” administration, to kidnap immigrant children from their parents. The parents are told the children are going for a bath, and are carted away in horror and fear to a separate concentration camp, without the consent of their parents or even knowing if they will ever see their family again. Maybe calling it a concentration camp ruffles your feathers, feels a little too uncomfortable. Maybe you’d feel better with ‘internment camp’. Well, it sure as hell isn’t a summer or day camp. It isn’t government sponsored daycare, either.
By the admission of the administration, this tactic has been employed to discourage “mothers” from entering our country with their children. It is punishment of the cruelest form. Oh, but to hear Trump talk, he says this “law” is the fault of Democrats. If only those pesky democrats would break down and approve his wall, then there would be no need for kidnapping children.
Yes, I did say kidnapping. That’s what it is when you take a child from their parents and then demand something before you give them back. This is not the fault of Democrats. And it is not a law. This administration, and the GOP in totality for harboring them, is responsible 100% for their own actions. This is not a law, it is a policy of the Trump administration. It is a scare and control tactic. Trump behaves like an abusive spouse, telling Democrats it is their fault this is happening, if only they would give him what he wanted, then he wouldn’t have to do terrible things.
Trump is responsible. The buck stops there, with him. He most certainly can change that policy, since it is his administration which enacted it to begin with. Take a better look at reality. We were not stealing children and locking them up in abandoned Walmarts or tent camps on military bases under any other administration in our history. Oh wait… that isn’t really correct, now is it?
Our government kidnapped tens of thousands, possible many more, Native American children in an attempt to stamp out their heritage, culture, religion, and identity. But this isn’t the same, right? These are criminals, right? They broke the law, right?
There is no justification here. Who the hell are we becoming? We are not the shining city set upon the hill, the place of hope. We are degrading into a failed experiment. The GOP is responsible for this atrocity. They are responsible for holding children ransom to obtain congressional votes for policies which could not win favor on the merit of their value. This is quite literally the most appalling and disturbing thing I have seen from our government in my lifetime. There is no scandal in modern history more disturbing than the bluntness of this, the complete concession to use horror tactics directly against children for political expedience.
The United States is not, nor has it ever been, a perfect nation. We have our share of atrocities we have committed, our own form of Imperialism and Expansionism. But eventually, we began to evolve. The Great Melting Pot became the home of refugees, immigrants from every corner of the world. And though painfully slow, we began to change, to better ourselves. We took steps, sometimes teetering baby ones and sometimes giant leaps, toward the realization of a truly equal society of acceptance and tolerance. Sometimes we landed poorly on those leaps and twisted an ankle, setting progress back a bit, but overall, we kept a forward momentum.
Right now, we are no longer looking forward to becoming the best version of ourselves. Our nation has turned its back on that progress and turned firmly around. We are no better today than we were when we stole Native American children from their families and tribes. Seems like we can’t get past repeating our history of stealing brown people’s children.
If this state sponsored kidnapping of children doesn’t bother you, then you are someone I really don’t want to know. If this doesn’t bring you some element of shame, then your sense of morality is purely corrupt. I cannot fathom supporting any policy so cruel, inhumane, and deeply sinister in conception, implementation, and intent.
And Trump is trying to pretend like he has no choice. There is always a choice. You, Trump, chose this path, chose to enact this policy, and you can certainly choose to end it.
Please, please, take a moment to act, to speak out, to demand we be better than this.
We are One Woman, One World.
Wasn’t it just yesterday kids walked out all over the country to protest gun violence and demand reasonable gun control actions… which do not involve putting more guns in schools and arming teachers? Yeah, I am sure it was. My own son wrote a brief piece regarding exactly that and his concerns with arming teachers with loaded weapons because he simply doesn’t blindly trust every teacher out there.
Well, now I stumbled across this Washington Post article from yesterday evening. It appears that Tuesday, March 13, just one day before students walked out, a teacher, Dennis Alexander, at Seaside High School in Monterey California “accidentally” discharged a weapon in a classroom, injuring a seventeen year old student. Despite the fact the teacher is a reserve police officer and has had firearm training, he saw fit to exhibit extremely poor judgment by first bringing an unauthorized firearm to class, second by not visually inspecting the firearm to ensure it was not loaded, then by discharging the firearm intentionally in the ceiling when he said he thought it was unloaded. Debris fell on the student and a bullet fragment lodged in his neck. The teacher further demonstrated poor judgment by not dismissing the injured student to be seen by medical staff, dismissing the class or even reporting the incident. The parents had to call the police to initiate an investigation and, after school, take their son to the emergency room for treatment where the bullet fragment was removed from his neck. The school did not notify the parents.
So, not only did this teacher exhibit poor judgment, but the entire school did as well. They did not notify the police nor the parents of the children affected. Reports indicate two additional students had minor injuries from falling debris.
In an echo of my warning from yesterday, trusting a teacher to teach is one thing, trusting a teacher with a loaded gun in a classroom is completely different. Who knows what was in his head that he thought this was appropriate behavior? Using a loaded gun as a prop in a safety class shows no trace of responsibility. If he just had to use a real gun, why not make sure it was unloaded before he brought it to school? Why not use a perfectly and always safe toy gun?
This is Exhibit 1 in why arming teachers is a bad idea. This accident could have been far more tragic. Thankfully it wasn’t, but we need to learn from it quickly. This was in the hands of someone who was trained, more training than teachers would likely receive. Introducing more guns into classrooms is just stupid. It endangers our students because we cannot regulate stupidity. We cannot regulate poor decisions and irresponsibility to the scale of every classroom in the United States. We cannot trust every school and school district to act responsibly.
So, can we please just return to reality and have a reasonable discussion about responsible gun control measures and stop placating to the NRA wet dreams of the Old West?
We are One Woman, One World.
Today, in honor of students using their civil rights to promote change in our society, I have asked someone special to me to be a guest blogger, Woodrow White. He is a fourteen year old eighth grader with some thoughts on the prospects of arming teachers in the classrooms, from his perspective.
Hello, my name is William Woodrow White, I am fourteen years of age and I am in Eighth Grade. I do not believe we should be arming teachers with weapons to counter school gun violence. This is because the students won’t know who this teacher is, how stable the teacher is, what is going on in their private life, and more. For example, if a teacher is unstable or having a pretty bad life, depressed, they could pull that very same gun on the students they are supposed to protect. Then there is the situation of a student quite literally taking the gun from the teacher. Of course, if teachers were to be given guns, then they would most likely have a safe with a lock, so the gun being taken from the teacher is unlikely. Still though, the possibility remains. I also believe AR-15’s, or any assault style rifles, should be banned, or at least have smaller magazines, and make bump stock modifications illegal. Gun violence is a problem in the United States and it must be dealt with.
For full disclosure, this is my son. I presented him with opportunity to make this contribution and I did not interfere with nor influence what he wanted to say. I did not edit his content. It is brief and to the point, but I found something sincerely disturbing and a point of view I had not really considered. What does arming teachers look like from the perspective of a student?
It is a funny thing that we just expect students to trust blindly. It is a painful realization that at fourteen my son is aware of the fallacies of blind trust for those in positions of power. He would feel unsafe in an atmosphere arming teachers like police officers. He sees the potential for that scenario to play out with tragic results.
I know the first impulse is to defend teachers, but his argument is not without merit. It does not take much sweeping through the news to find teachers who have abused their authority, endangered or even assaulted students. But aside from the few bad apples, it is two entirely different things: trusting a teacher to do his or her job and educate your child versus trusting a person with a loaded gun in your child’s classroom without a parent present. Those are two wholly different kinds of trust. My son’s paragraph highlights this from the perspective of the child.
Through the eyes of children we see the world anew. Instead of degrading students for their activism, perhaps we should take a moment to look through their eyes and reflect upon what they see. It can be a profound experience.
We are One Woman, One World.
More ways to become active
photo credit: Madison365
This won’t be a long blog. It’s premise is to pose a question to those who seem to believe arming our educators is the best policy to remedy the violence we are seeing in our nation. I ask you, for just one moment, to take yourself outside of being an American. Step away from your pride, your nationalism, your self-assured superiority. Cast all your notions of allegiance and patriotism aside. Not forever, just for a moment, and look at this problem as if through a window into someone else’s life. Don’t place any consideration into your beliefs of guns or rights or anything. Just take a look at the solution proposed:
Equipping teachers with firearms in classrooms all over our country.
Think about that and what that actually means.
I’m not talking about in relation to the ridiculous responsibility that teachers already are swamped under without adding this; not even that you think it could help stop these horrific crimes. No, think about what that means in reflection of who we are as a nation and as a people. Consider what state of unequivocal lawlessness we must achieve that placing guns in classrooms to ensure safety seems, somehow, reasonable.
This, even just considering it, shows a civilization in sharp decline, where our laws and methods are being abandoned in favor of mob mentality and vigilante justice.
We cannot be a free nation, or even a first world nation if we cannot even manage sending our children to school without teachers being armed. We are devolving rapidly. That is what this really means. It shows not only a massive loss of faith in all our systems, but an abandonment to all we have worked to achieve and every progress we have made as a civilization. While I agree our systems are not perfect and they all need drastic improvement to ensure that the true visions of equality and justice are served, this ideology makes no progress towards such ends. We do not fix our law enforcement system by simply throwing it away. We change it and improve it.
But what I see is a huge portion of the GOP and their supporters and the NRA would rather intentionally turn our schools into the worst visions of the Wild West than accept the fact that we need some basic, common sense, gun control laws. Laws do work. It is why we make them. Does a law stop all crime? No. But it does help prevent making it easy for criminals and thereby reduces crime.
Is this how we want to live? Is this who we want to be? Do we want to be a nation so afraid and so lawless that we send children to school under armed guards? Think about that. Do we want a loaded gun in a classroom of angry kids? Or in the hands of an angry teacher? Do we want guns that accessible for rash decisions made in anger or hostility? Do we want to project to the world that we are so unsafe we arm our teachers to protect, and against, our own children?
So, look through the window. See us without political, social or patriotic prejudices. At what state of degradation and collapse of a society does this occur? What are we turning ourselves into?
Just think about it.
We are One Woman, One World.