politics

When I broke my political silence on Facebook

Last week, I entered bizarro world for a time.  It started shortly after I posted on Facebook about the concentration camps on the border.

For several years now, I’ve been quiet about politics on Facebook.  I used to be more active, sharing everything, stirring the pot a bit to get conversations going.  I got even more active after we kicked Richard and Tracy out of our lives, because Richard had actually argued with me over posting things he didn’t like.  For a long time, it felt like I could say anything I wanted without worrying about him harassing me over it.

But then others of my FB friends started to act like him.  The political situation got worse and worse in the state because of Walker’s crazy totalitarian actions, then in the country as black people began to speak out more on what they go through every day, and white people got offended.  My husband was one of those, and I didn’t want to see him yelling at people or posting something offensive.  He used to be more moderate, but he started listening more to the right-wing.  I had to stop watching the Daily Show with him because he kept yelling at the screen when they said something he didn’t like–but which I agreed with, making it feel like he was criticizing me, too.

Also, more friends and family started friending me, and many were Republican.  My brother-in-law also has a tendency to unfriend his own family when they say things too “liberal” for his taste (he’s a proud Dittohead).

And then members of my church started joining my Facebook, lots and lots of them.  I don’t know how they all feel about politics etc., but I know at least some of them are very conservative about things like LGBT.

So I stopped talking politics on FB.  Or anything controversial.  So I didn’t say much at all on FB, really.  But my blog was safer, so I spoke out over there.  Then got my Twitter account.

Well, a couple of weeks ago, I felt like I had to post some things that could stir up trouble.  One, on June 15, was a video of that black family in Phoenix who got abused by cops.  Normally I was too scared even to mention such things, but I felt this, finally, would prove to white nay-sayers that prejudice is real.  Also, on June 14 I posted the Esquire article explaining that the border camps are actually concentration camps.

I thought I might get some pushback on the Esquire article, because people kept denying that migrants are being mistreated, but surprisingly didn’t.  Then on the 17th, I posted a tweet thread by Elizabeth C. McLaughlin and a couple of articles to back up what the thread claimed, one about the dog pounds and one about the freezers.  I posted these because McLaughlin’s thread said “Don’t look away” and “Fascism is here,” and described the conditions in the camps, as well as rumors that

ICE facilities with beds and food are EMPTY, because the Trump administration is moving refugees into military-run concentration camps where they can do ANYTHING THEY CHOOSE without oversight, media scrutiny or advocate access….Unlike ICE facilities, which allow site inspectors inside, there will be no inspection of military-run camps. The military will be able to deny access to anyone it chooses. No media. No oversight.  Lawyers will not be allowed in. Human rights monitors will not be allowed in. The camps will also be protected airspace, meaning that no drones can fly over them to take pictures of what’s going on inside.

I hadn’t found proof of the last one yet, but had already heard about (and written my Congresspeople about) migrant children being moved to Fort Sill, which already got people worried that Fort Sill would become a concentration camp again.  (It held Japanese-Americans in WWII.)  Then I found this article from CBS, which confirmed the lack of oversight in military-run camps:

The Fort Sill site will be the second location out of more than 160 shelters nationwide to be located on federal land, and as a result it will not be subject to state child welfare inspections. The only other site not overseen by state authorities is the nation’s largest such facility, in Homestead, Florida.

McLaughlin kept repeating, “Please share.  Lives are in the balance.”  On June 20, she added,

A lot of folks on this thread have doubted the existence of my “friend.” Please meet my friend — a lawyer, a warrior and a heroine, and who is finally able to be public about the horrors of what she has seen inside US concentration camps.

This was also shortly after reading about a detention center where migrants were standing on toilets just to be able to breathe in the overcrowding.  Then I read a tweet thread describing a Rolling Stone article on guards using racial slurs against migrants, including the Nazi term “subhuman.”

On the 17th, I trolled Trump (who said ICE was about to remove millions of illegal aliens) with the comment,

Removed? To go where, exactly? Concentration camps? Are the death camps next???

McLaughlin’s thread was also the reason why, in the wee hours of June 18, I posted on my blog, Call it what it is: concentration camps.  We are turning into Nazi Germany.

Then on the afternoon of June 18, I read Jonathan Katz’s Call immigration detention centers what they really are: concentration camps.  I had found it on Twitter that day.  So I shared it on Facebook.

I think I vaguely noticed on June 18 that Senator Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) had just said or tweeted something about this.  But you’ll note that I and others were sending up the alarm bells before then, urgently spreading the word that these are concentration camps, to get people to realize the fascist path we’re heading down, and rise up against the camps to get them shut down.

So I was shocked–especially after little but “likes” on my posts all weekend–when the mother of a longtime friend attacked me.  Not just disagreed with–downright attacked me.  First she told me to educate myself on what the Nazis did.

Wait–What?  World War II enthusiast here.  I’ve read Anne Frank twice; seen all sorts of WWII movies, especially ones about POW camps or concentration camps; even watched films made of the Nazi camps in German class.  My German teacher was Polish, lived through the Occupation, and made sure we knew about WWII.  I was obsessed with WWII in high school, and wrote a story about it.  I saw Schindler’s List in the theater, and then again later.  And for the past four years, I’ve been doing in-depth research on WWII for a novel, including books, Google and videos.

I frickin’ know all about the Nazi concentration camps, dang it.

I had just read the articles explaining concentration camps and their history.  I got upset with her attacking me and making me sound ignorant when I was anything but–especially when experts on concentration camps and the Holocaust–and George Takei–were also saying that these are indeed concentration camps.  It was insulting.

AOC is already the subject of a disgusting smear campaign by the GOP, but I didn’t know about the furor over her comments on this until my friend’s mom said, “Oh, so you’ve been listening to AOC, I see!”  Then she dismissed everything I said because AOC had also said it.  I told her this was a logical fallacy, and that I only just heard that AOC said anything at all about it, but she still didn’t listen.

Her insults and dismissals continued.  She said things like, “Have you been there?  I’d like to see pictures if you have.”  I said I hadn’t been there (I didn’t even know where “there” was or have the means to do that), but pics are all over the Net.  She said AOC hasn’t been there either, so she doesn’t actually know what’s there.  So she refused to believe the accounts of people who HAVE been there, or THEIR pictures, just because I hadn’t been there and neither had AOC???!!!

I was about ready to scream.  I decided to stop responding lest I say something that would make my friend, her daughter, angry.  But she kept coming at me.

One friend said that she’s a horrible person so he’s going to block her without even knowing her.

Another friend asked her if SHE had been to the camps.

An old high school classmate posted that he didn’t agree they were bad, that most of the migrants were glad to be there because conditions were much better than where they’d been.  Well, your agreement or disagreement does not affect the facts or the truth.

This infuriated me so much, that the truth would be dismissed just because some right-winger and/or Trump told her not to trust the “fake news,” while kids are suffering and dying–that I started posting more links.

Lots and lots of links, pulling up my sources from the past few days, proving that this is not some fever dream of AOC’s.

They were not posted on her wall, but on my own, for all my friends and family to see, because this is important and they all need to know so they can act.  I also deleted all the responses she and others had made on my share of the Katz article.

But the friend’s mom refused to listen to facts.  She didn’t notice that I had disengaged with her, refusing to respond to anything she wrote.  She’d post ignorant cartoon memes about Nazi camps on my timeline as “proof” that it’s wrong to call them concentration camps.  She’d make snarky comments on my posts.

I shared an Amnesty International article describing horrid treatment some migrants had received, which also laid out the facts of the border situation, immigration laws, and international laws on how refugees and asylum seekers must be treated.  It also described a heartbreaking story of a woman told she had no rights here or to stay with her son.  But my friend’s mom shared it on her wall with the note that no, she has no rights here, and should go back where she came from.

She kept making comments to me.  She’d say I should learn Spanish and tell them not to come here.  She’d say they were committing a crime by coming here (which is false).  I read as much as I could, educating myself on the situation, only to have her dismiss it all and try to shame and harass me into agreeing with her.

Meanwhile, the night of the 18th, I was so upset at what she said that–despite going to bed very late–I could not get to sleep.  I believe I only got a few hours of sleep total.  I was in mental and emotional turmoil.  John Pavlovitz tweeted something about this on the 19th, your anguish and PTSD as you learn the true colors of your Republican friends/family.

Now, several things had been going on when this all happened.  First, for years, people have assumed I feel a certain way about issues, because I avoid politics on Facebook and in person.  I put a gay character in my book; a fellow Writer’s Club member was surprised, because she had made assumptions about me.  Another member posted stuff about abortion on my wall, assuming I’d agree with him, which I did not.  Somebody who barely knew me was shocked that I listen to Rammstein.

Then some blogger called my friend Giacomo Sanfilippo, who writes Orthodoxy in Dialogue, and other like-minded bloggers “wolves in sheep’s clothing” for countering church leaders on such issues as gay rights.  Since I’ve been blogging about this even longer, I was a bit miffed at not being mentioned, but this blogger basically included me in his sweep of liberal-minded people in Orthodoxy.

I’d also been seeing so much right-wing crap on my Facebook wall, overhearing it when visiting family, and burning up inside at things my husband would say about politics, while I tried desperately to avoid engaging.  Just a few days before, I went to my husband’s wall for a photo, and found some disturbing and misleading meme about AOC.

Somebody telling me that the concentration camps are not concentration camps, and that there are no human rights violations there, and that if there are they are deserved because they are criminals who should not be here, was the catalyst.

I was sick of being quiet about how I really feel.  So I finally blew up all over Facebook, basically by sharing links about everything from the concentration camps, to LGBT rights, to Black Lives Matter.

I shared lots of articles from Orthodoxy in Dialogue, the most controversial ones, about abortion and LGBT rights and Nazis in the church.

I wrote, “Please support.  The struggle is real” on my share of BLM.  The friend’s mom wrote, “All lives matter!”  So I deleted that racist dismissal.

I deleted all her snarks, all her comments, all her cartoon memes.

Funny thing–She was the only one making them.

Then she stopped.  I thought she had finally realized my shares were the truth, not make-believe, and was processing it, getting past the cognitive dissonance.

Then a day or two later, she came back.  Started posting snark on my posts again.  I shared a petition about human rights violations in Gitmo; she came back with, “Are you sharing research for a book?”  WTF does that even MEAN?

Hubby tells me that yeah, she’s an extremist, that he sees it on his wall.

I finally unfriended her.  And Facebook is quiet again.  Even though I keep posting how I REALLY feel about everything, even Trump and the Wisconsin GOP.  Still waiting for somebody to complain to my priest, but nothing yet.  Nobody said anything at church, except to ask who was giving me trouble, since I’d deleted all this person’s posts.

Toby Gialluca tweeted on the 24th,

Everyone asks how I cope with the human suffering and abuse I witnessed at the CBP facilities. I struggle to find the words to convey what I have seen. It was a defining event in my life. There was my life before, and my life now. I will never be the same.

But I guess it’s all fake news, right?  They can leave any time they want, right?  It’s great there, right?

WRONG.

Thoughts on the Mueller Report and Amash

Yes, I’ve read the Mueller Report.  I just finished it a few days ago, and now I’m reading some underlying documents published in the Washington Post’s e-book of the report.  It’s quite clear that Trump has committed offenses worthy of impeachment.

This is not the Bible or the Constitution, subject to interpretation based on your conservative or liberal leanings.  This is written literally, with legal analysis.  Mueller clearly lays out a number of incidents and whether or not they are obstruction (usually “yes”).

Also, he makes clear that he found no proof that the Trump campaign actively participated in the Russian hacking and influencing of the election–something which, also, the Mueller Report proves happened.  HOWEVER, some members of the campaign (Trump is up for question as well) tried to benefit from that.  They and the Russians were indeed in contact–and one Trump person even passed over polling data to the Russians.  Usually their efforts failed because of ineptitude etc.

Just as Trump’s attempts to obstruct also failed because people refused to follow his orders.  But you know, under the law, *attempting* to commit a crime and failing is still a crime.

The Trump Tower meeting was a setup by the Russians.  They lured in the Trump campaign with promises of dirt on Hillary, but they really wanted to talk about the Magnitsky Act, which upset Russia and led to their ban on Americans adopting Russian children.  (That’s where that “we just talked about adoption” thing came from.)

Mueller also made clear that his lack of indictment of a sitting President is only because the DOJ has this as a policy.  He also responded to one of the president’s lawyers, who argued that investigating a president is unconstitutional because it affects his ability to govern.  In a long and detailed explanation, Mueller argued that it is indeed constitutional to investigate a president.

Mueller also gave potential motives for Trump to try to obstruct the investigation, especially since he didn’t seem to actually be involved in colluding with the Russians.  Basically, that Trump fears what ELSE will come out, crimes committed by him and his family.

But don’t take my word for it–Read the report for yourself and see.

Trump has been behaving more and more like a guilty man all the time.  The more he fights to keep his finances and other activities under wraps, the more his actions scream that he has something to hide.

Do you really doubt this?  Trump has been a known shyster for DECADES.  This isn’t some figure of sterling character–This is Donald frickin’ Trump.  His malignant narcissism is no surprise.

He’s always been an icon of greed and self-worship.  None of his actions can be presumed to be for anybody’s interest but his own.  None of his promises to his supporters can be trusted.  It’s all for show, to bind them to him.  He weaves a spell over people just like narcissists do, then when their lackeys wake up to the truth and act against his interest, he turns on them like a wolf.

None of this is a surprise to those of us who have studied narcissism for years, so every time the press has acted surprised at his actions, I’ve thought, “You’re kidding, right?”

I’m also curious what Howard Stern, longtime friend of Trump’s, has to say about him now, after kind of defending him in the beginning.  He just came out with a new book, and says,

“Now here he is sitting in the Oval Office and flying around on Air Force One,” Stern writes in the introduction. “Two years into his first term, I’m still trying to wrap my brain around it. I feel like I’m living in an alternate reality…[B]elieve me, I’m as shocked as you are.” –Quoted in Daily Beast

He told Trump he couldn’t endorse him as President, and hasn’t heard from him since.  In a New York Times interview, he says Trump probably didn’t actually want or intend to be president–that it was probably a publicity stunt.  As most of us have already figured out, Stern traces Trump’s narcissism to his overbearing father.

And in the middle of all this, I discover a TEA Partier who I can actually like and respect, even if I wildly disagree with his policies: Justin Amash.  Here’s a man willing to stand up to everyone in his own party and be condemned by them, so he can tell the truth: that Trump has done actions worthy of impeachment.

Other Republicans and TEA Partiers–even Lindsey Graham, who used to be more of a truth-teller–have been closing ranks and showing no signs of actually reading the Report.  Or if they have, of trying to downplay it and pretend that it says what it doesn’t actually say.

McConnell is obstructing justice by refusing to give even bipartisan bills a hearing, while Graham uses a common tactic of narcissists and abusers: shouting down the whistleblowers.  The closer the Democrats get to the truth and justice, whether about this or Kavanaugh, the louder Graham shouts and screams and berates.

Which makes us wonder if the Russians have something on Graham, too.  McConnell’s home state, Kentucky, is getting a new factory from Oleg Deripaska, one of the oligarchs named in the Mueller Report.

History will not be kind to the Republican Party of our era.

That is, assuming the fascists don’t take over and make the history books say “all praise the GOP.”

But the GOP has been doing a lot to stir anger lately.  They seem to have forgotten that a large part of the country does not agree with them, that angry citizens turn into active voters.

This could tip either way: People keep expecting a “Reichstag Fire,” or fake crisis that Trump/the GOP use to fool the populace so they allow Trump to take ultimate power.  That’s what the Nazis did.  (Something like that also happened with the Patriot Act years ago, though that crisis was real.)

Or the side that sees through the GOP gaslighting and refuses to be fooled, could rise up.  We see signs of that as well, in the justice system, the voting booth, and House Democrats–though some feel they’ve been dragging their feet.

 

My first post on ClassicPress! –and Wisconsin is doomed

1: Okay, first a quick note registering my upset with the Lame Duck Session.  My assemblyman has not responded to my e-mail (unless it got buried somewhere), but my senator did.  He, at least, has a conscience, and didn’t vote for the stripping of powers from our newly-elected governor/attorney general until he was satisfied that it was no longer immoral.

But I’m not, and neither are lots of us who are upset, dismayed, and angry at this outright, audacious power grab by the Wisconsin GOP.  We elected Evers and Kaul to pull this state out of the hell of corruption–which keeps getting worse all the time–where it’s been lying since Walker took office.  But the state legislature wants to ensure we stay down there.

I keep seeing this lately: GOP complains when Democrats are in power, then when one of their people is in charge and really screwing the people over, tells them to “suck it up” and deal with losing.  Then Democrats get in power again, so GOP takes their power away.

Update 12/7/18: My GOP senator put out a statement that he greatly disagreed with the original bills and did what he could behind the scenes–negotiations and such–to amend them until he was satisfied that they did not overreach, that there are still checks and balances and the new governor’s and AG’s powers would not be stripped.  Of course, whether he went far enough is probably going to depend on who you talk to, but I give him kudos for his extraordinary efforts and listening to his constituents.  We will see what happens in the coming months.

2: But enough of that rant.  Wordpress is updating today to 5.0, which means Gutenberg will now be the default.  I’ve been following this for months, all the controversy, but lots of WP users probably have no idea what’s about to happen when they click the “Update” button today.

To learn what the fuss is about, see here and here.  The controversy is so fierce and people are so concerned that the Gutenberg editor will break older sites, that there’s now a page to help people fix their sites.

The thing is, Gutenberg is not only a huge change from the old editor, making it hard to understand for many, and hard to use for many with accessibility concerns, but it’s only the beginning.  Menus and widgets are slated to be next, converted to “blocks” as the backend of the site is moved to heavy use of Javascript.  I’m concerned about that because it seems like every time a plugin moves to Javascript, it gets buggier.  So now my whole admin screen will be Javascript?

Other concerns are that older sites with lots of modifications to fit the old editor, and with lots of posts written in the old editor, are going to break.  Reports are coming in that such posts–though they are put in a “classic block” to preserve them–are having issues, that converting them to Gutenberg causes issues.  And for those of us who write long posts, the Gutenberg block-based editor is hanging up and interrupting the writing flow.

The official word from Wordpress is that you can use the Classic Editor plugin (or Disable Gutenberg plugin) if you don’t want to use this.  BUT it’s only going to be supported for three years, and before those three years are up, the widgets and menus will be re-structured.  So this isn’t really a solution if you don’t want to ever use Gutenberg; it just puts it off for a few years until you’re forced to use it.

Because of the outcry, a Wordpress fork has been developed: ClassicPress.  At first it seemed like a pipe dream, but lately it seems like a truly viable alternative.  And if it doesn’t work for you–important plugins start supporting only Gutenberg and no longer work, some plugin doesn’t like ClassicPress, or whatever–you can always revert back to Wordpress: The migration plugin has been altered so you can do so, or you can use FTP or backups.  (Always back up your files and database before making changes like this.)  I often use FTP to overwrite my core files when something on my site goes buggy, or an update crashes the site.

I’ve been pondering this for several weeks while watching the controversy.  I believe it’s best for Nyssa’s Hobbit Hole to switch to ClassicPress to preserve my thousands of posts and pages, and all the modifications I’ve done over the years.  It’s also mostly a text-based site which could suffer from the Gutenberg changes.

But my author page should be safe in WP 5.0 and Gutenberg.  (I might turn off Gutenberg for the blog, which I can do with Disable Gutenberg.)  It’s only a couple of years old and has few pages, pages which might actually benefit from the things Gutenberg can do.  But for now I’ll have Disable Gutenberg on (I see it’s working), until I have a chance to play with it.

I’m also disgusted by the response to people who complain about Gutenberg or suggest other ways to add it without forcing people to use the new editor.  Countless people are saying it should be an optional plugin, for example.

But they keep hearing: Can’t stop a moving train, this is how Wordpress is going, this is the decision that was made, and–maybe not from the WP CEO, but from others–Gutenberg is superior while you’re all curmudgeons who hate change, only a tiny minority of developers hate this while bloggers love it, etc. etc.

But people have legitimate concerns, and I know bloggers who refuse to use Gutenberg.

If this is how people will now be treated for their concerns, the arrogance has really put me off.  That’s the other reason that I’ve moved Hobbit Hole to ClassicPress.

So far, so good.  ClassicPress is working with my plugins.  We’ll see how it works, then.  The only drawback is it doesn’t appear to be working with PHP 7.3 yet, and I want 7.3!  (PHP is like an engine driving your site; 7.3 is more powerful than what I have now.)

Update 12-8-18: Editing a page in Gutenberg was spitting out all sorts of PHP errors.  So my Author Page is also now in ClassicPress.  🙂

 

Rapists apologizing–or not

I just read this article by Deborah Copaken.  She’d been raped 30 years ago, but didn’t tell anyone at first.  She then told the intake psychologist at her University Health Services, but was advised not to report it to the police, because of the irreparable damage it would do to her: She wouldn’t be able to live in Paris as she planned, and her sex life would be dredged up and judged during the trial.  She didn’t tell her parents till years later–and did it through a memoir, not to their faces.  Due to the Kavanaugh hearings, she finally got the courage to write to her rapist and confront him.  His response:

And do you know what this man did, less than half an hour later? He called me on the phone and said, “Oh, Deb. Oh my god. I’m so sorry. I had no idea. I’m filled with shame.”

We spoke for a long time, maybe 20 minutes. He had no recollection of raping me, just of the party where we’d met. He’d blacked out that night from excessive drinking and soon thereafter entered Alcoholics Anonymous. But that, he said, was no excuse. The fact that he’d done this to me and that I’d been living with the resulting trauma for 30 years was horrifying to him. He was so sorry, he said. He just kept repeating those words, “I’m so sorry,” over and over.

Suddenly, 30 years of pain and grief fell out of me. I cried. And I cried. And I kept crying for the next several hours, as I prepared for Yom Kippur, the Jewish holiday of forgiveness. And then, suddenly, I was cleansed. Reborn. The trauma was gone. All because of a belated apology.

I also know someone who was accused of assault many decades after the fact.  He did not, could not remember ever doing such a thing.  But instead of denying it, he apologized anyway.

Contrast this to how Kavanaugh reacted to being accused, even though many witnesses have confirmed that he used to get blackout drunk when he was in high school/college.  Can’t he even consider that he might have done it and just doesn’t remember any of it?  Why can’t he apologize when others have done so for sexual crimes they don’t even remember?

I’ve also thought about–with all this going on, and #MeToo–finally confronting Phil and Shawn, all these years later.  But I wonder if it would do any good, because haven’t I already done this, with nothing good coming of it?

They were not drunk or on drugs when they did these things; they were fully conscious and remembered later.  But they did not apologize.

While Shawn did do a lot of pushing to get me to do things I was not initially comfortable with because of my upbringing, he didn’t go against my will.  That was not his transgression.  Rather, after all the pushing, I eventually began to want what he wanted to do, so I let him do it.

But then he blamed me for not saying no to him, for letting him do it, and I’d be subjected to HOURS of him scolding me (well into the wee hours of the morning, even 5am) for letting him do it.

I always let him take the lead, because of these scold sessions; I never, ever started things, out of respect for what he’d said the last time.  Yet he still blamed me for the things he did this time.

I never understood why he’d blame me.  I never could figure out how he could live with justifying himself like this by turning around on me what he himself had done.  It was definitely an abusive relationship, full of gaslighting and DARVO.  And like many abuse victims, I was too in love, and too involved in it to recognize it at first.  I finally went to the school counselor to help me break free of him.

But the words of Libby Anne and other bloggers are finally making it clear to me what was going on, how he could blame me for what he himself did:

While conservative evangelicals give lip service to boys and men, too, having an obligation to remain pure until marriage, the burden of saying “no” falls primarily on girls and women. Why was Dr. Ford at a party where there was underage drinking? Why did she go upstairs in a strange house, alone? She put herself in harm’s way—can a guy be blamed for asking what she was clearly offering? Or so the logic may go.

In evangelical circles, boys and men can be more easily forgiven for touching “loose” women than they can for touching godly virgins. In Proverbs, the “wayward woman” leads godly young men to the slaughter. In evangelical circles, girls can easily find themselves painted temptresses, and blamed for their own assaults. —White Evangelical Forgiveness Narratives, Brett Kavanaugh, and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford

Then there’s Phil.  Years later, I see his ex-fiancée posting on Facebook about how wonderful he is–so gentle, so sweet, wouldn’t hurt a fly–except there’s a “Bipolar Phil,” a guy with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, who takes over.  Yet I remember this episode, where I clearly said that what he did was rape, so he’s already been confronted:

But one night, what a horror!  In the middle of things he said, “Give me your backside.”

I kept saying, “No, not that way!” but he kept pressuring.

Before we finished, while still on top of me, he withdrew and moved down to my anus, not actually in but trying to get in.

I pleaded with him to move.

I clearly said no, and I also struggled, trying to push him away.

But he didn’t listen and didn’t move, and he ejaculated like that.  It got all over, and I got mad at him for not respecting my wishes.

At one point, as he sat hunched over on the side of the bed in the darkness, I said that rape could be grounds for divorce.

He said in a trembling, petulant, upset voice, “So are you going to divorce me now?”

I said no, but our reconciliation was probably painful.  It felt like a rape.  I still think of it as one.  He did to me sexually what I didn’t want him to do, despite my pleas.  The trouble is, in a situation like this, how would you even prove it in court?

….

[O]ral sex…was another point of contention: It was gross, no matter who did it to whom.  I didn’t want him to kiss me afterwards, but he would whine that none of his other girlfriends said that.

I didn’t want to do it to him, didn’t want to put anything like that in my mouth, did not like the taste, would not do it long enough to get him to ejaculate, because it was absolutely disgusting.

But he kept trying to get me to do it.  (His “subconscious” tried to ease me into it.  More on that later.)  But I got no pleasure from it, was grossed out by the whole thing.

I may have been traumatized by this and the constant coercion: When the cafeteria served okra that fall, I couldn’t eat it, because it was slimy and reminded me of oral sex.

Ever since then, I have never engaged in this disgusting practice again, and have been blessed with a husband who also finds it gross and wants nothing to do with it.

Late summer, during sex, Phil sometimes tried to turn me over to do my backside–with a petulant, angry, stern look on his face, like he wanted to control me and I’d better do what he wanted or else.  I would refuse and resist his hands, and push myself back down.

…In September, he broke off the marriage and spent a couple of weeks psychologically abusing me.  Then he came back to me.  I thought he wanted to be married again, but he just wanted sex and a submissive puppet.

By now, my will was broken, and I was desperate to do whatever he wanted, just to keep him from leaving again.

If I didn’t want to do something he wanted to do, it meant I didn’t care like I said I did.

I felt like I was walking on eggshells, and the slightest thing might push him away.  I felt I had to align all my opinions with his, do things exactly as he wanted even though I couldn’t read his mind, or he’d divorce me.

He seemed like a different person.  After he broke up with me, I was a broken, submissive person who was desperate to do whatever he wanted, just to keep him from leaving again.  That meant even oral sex:

One day, when he got me alone, before I had a chance to even talk to him, and without a word, he pulled down his pants.

He got a strange, angry, stern look on his face, and pushed my head down–forced, really, since I couldn’t move my head whether I wanted to or not.

I didn’t want to–it was smelly, I didn’t know if he had washed it recently, and I never liked doing this–but I did anyway, because of the unspoken but well-understood threat that he would divorce me if I didn’t. —Described here

This was a man in full possession of his faculties who knew exactly what he was doing.  This was a man who–when I used the word “rape”–became petulant rather than apologetic.

Now I hear about the bipolar Phil, the FAS Phil, and that he’s fighting for his life due to chemical imbalances that have damaged his brain and made him suicidal.  Since I already confronted him years ago, I wonder if it’s even worth bringing it up again.  I feel like maybe I shouldn’t poke the bear and dredge it all up again.  I wonder if he even remembers, given his brain damage.  I wonder if it’s all due to the FAS and bipolar and a couple of other diagnoses–which his fiancée has alluded to, without naming them.  I wonder if bringing it up again would be the last straw that would lead to him killing himself.

So I stay silent.  I think it’s best.  But still, the memories keep getting triggered, thanks to our president and his praising of Kavanaugh, along with the many defenses of Kavanaugh that have been coming from conservatives lately.

But I guess we’re just snowflakes accusing an innocent man.

 

Holocaust Historian calls McConnell the Gravedigger of American Democracy

I can only hope that either this historian is wrong about the direction our country is heading–or that we will truly stop the progress of fascism in its tracks by a supposed “Blue Wave.”

The appointment of Kavanaugh despite huge and intense opposition has exposed yet more of the massive corruption in the GOP: Kavanaugh is a puppet, chosen for his ability to help Trump defy prosecution, while, at the 11th hour, Mitch McConnell threatened Collins into voting for him.  The FBI was forced by the White House to ignore some 40 corroborating witnesses in a merely nominal “investigation” for the sake of appearance, while we now have e-mail exchanges proving that Kavanaugh tried to keep his old classmates quiet.

We’ve been seeing these dirty politics and massive corruption for years in Wisconsin, ever since Walker got voted in, and now it’s happening at the federal level with the Trump regime.  Yet Christians have been duped into thinking the fat cats are somehow the “Christian” party, that the Democrats are the party of God-hating atheists.

A Holocaust historian, Christopher R. Browning, has written The Suffocation of Democracy, an essay for The New York Review of Books.  He compares our current political, economic, and cultural situation to that of the US and Germany between the world wars.

He compares Mitch McConnell to Paul Von Hindenburg, the president of Weimar Germany who made Hitler the chancellor.

He notes our similarities and differences to pre-Nazi Germany, but even the differences are alarming.  For example:

Upon his appointment as chancellor, Hitler immediately created a new Ministry of People’s Enlightenment and Propaganda under Joseph Goebbels, who remained one of his closest political advisers.

In Trump’s presidency, those functions have effectively been privatized in the form of Fox News and Sean Hannity. Fox faithfully trumpets the “alternative facts” of the Trump version of events, and in turn Trump frequently finds inspiration for his tweets and fantasy-filled statements from his daily monitoring of Fox commentators and his late-night phone calls with Hannity.

The result is the creation of a “Trump bubble” for his base to inhabit that is unrecognizable to viewers of PBSCNN, and MSNBC and readers of The Washington Post and The New York Times.

The highly critical free media not only provide no effective check on Trump’s ability to be a serial liar without political penalty; on the contrary, they provide yet another enemy around which to mobilize the grievances and resentments of his base. A free press does not have to be repressed when it can be rendered irrelevant and even exploited for political gain.

 

For another example, we have free elections and a Constitution, but the machinations of the GOP in Congress, gerrymandering, and voter suppression, have been making it practically impossible for Democrats to be elected or to get anything they want, no matter how much the voters protest, call, and write letters.  As I’ve noted repeatedly, if we write to a Republican Congressperson, we’ll probably be ignored with some form letter version of “Sorry, but you’re wrong and we’re doing what we want,” since they’re only concerned with their rich donors and constituents who agree with them.  As Browning writes:

If the US has someone whom historians will look back on as the gravedigger of American democracy, it is Mitch McConnell. He stoked the hyperpolarization of American politics to make the Obama presidency as dysfunctional and paralyzed as he possibly could.

As with parliamentary gridlock in Weimar, congressional gridlock in the US has diminished respect for democratic norms, allowing McConnell to trample them even more.

Nowhere is this vicious circle clearer than in the obliteration of traditional precedents concerning judicial appointments. Systematic obstruction of nominations in Obama’s first term provoked Democrats to scrap the filibuster for all but Supreme Court nominations.

Then McConnell’s unprecedented blocking of the Merrick Garland nomination required him in turn to scrap the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations in order to complete the “steal” of Antonin Scalia’s seat and confirm Neil Gorsuch. The extreme politicization of the judicial nomination process is once again on display in the current Kavanaugh hearings.

One can predict that henceforth no significant judicial appointments will be made when the presidency and the Senate are not controlled by the same party. McConnell and our dysfunctional and disrespected Congress have now ensured an increasingly dysfunctional and disrespected judiciary, and the constitutional balance of powers among the three branches of government is in peril.

Just as I’ve been doing for two years, Browning compares the conservatives of Hitler’s day to the conservatives of ours, riding the popularity of a charismatic candidate into power–and hoping to use him and keep him under control while in office.

Browning hesitates to call Trump “Hitler” or the GOP Nazis, and doesn’t see them carrying out genocide etc.  But he notes how easy it would be for them to get us into wars, the massive damage that is being done to our democracy and our climate, and how our polarization will keep getting worse.

Read more here.

My own additional thoughts:

You’ll also note how Walker and now McConnell have declared themselves “unintimidated” by protests–effectively making protesters into mobs that must be suppressed, rather than American citizens exercising their rights.  And this is being cemented over the weekend by Trump and Republicans who’ve been declaring us Democrats an angry, unruly mob that doesn’t understand law and order, that must be put down.

Our legitimate concerns and reasons for objecting to Kavanaugh are, once again, being reduced to being upset that we “didn’t get our way.”  Our protests are being called “mobs.”

In other words, we’re being called another enemy of the people.  Just as Trump has been labeling the press.  Trump’s base, along with other Republicans, are being stoked into thinking they must fight us and put us down, for the sake of Murica.  This is dangerous, the kind of rhetoric that leads to concentration camps and genocide.  We’ve seen it over and over again–not just Hitler, but over and over throughout history and into the present time.

The GOP doesn’t seem to realize that they’re legitimizing the arguments of the Antifa, who say that only violence can change things.  The more the GOP ignores the constitutionally-protected protests of citizens, the more those citizens may start turning to the Antifa, out of desperation.  We’ve already seen fighting in the streets between the Antifa and Alt-Right, just like Weimar Germany saw street fighting between Communists and Nazis.

How do you think dictators get into power?  By declaring their opponents enemies of the people.  By suppressing their voices so they no longer have any say in the governing of their own country.

Lately, a huge chunk of conservative Christians have been treating Trump as the Messiah when he actually could be an Antichrist of our age.  Antichrists are not a one-time end-of-the-world phenomenon; they pop up throughout history.  Putin appears to be another Antichrist, along with other dictators of our time.

They’re working against Christ by violating His commands to love, to help the poor and needy, to do good.  While proclaiming abortion and gay rights the anathemas that must be suppressed no matter what, and making themselves the victims, Christians have sold their souls to the Devil while claiming to speak for God.

But there still is something we can do: Show up at the polls in November.  Don’t sit at home thinking a Blue Wave is assured.  Start voting every time there’s an election, even a primary.  Even a city council election is important.

 

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