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36 hours in and I am already down the path of self-reflection.  Does vacation do that to you?  I am questioning where I live, how much I work and what I can do to reclaim a sense of balance. Step one- I should probably avoid the spike in these thoughts due to pushing them aside until I am on vacation.

I am resolving to getting back to my artwork. I still want to learn Spanish. We still want to live somewhere we have access to gardening. I would still like to live near to my biological family. We still want to live in Europe. And yet where I live is lovely and the life I have need not change in order for me to be happy. Is there such a thing as happy AND unsettled? Restless-bliss? A first-world problem indeed.

Day two – mostly jet-lag recovery and a stunning bus trip to Ciutadella- a quaint harbor town on the other side of Menorca. Our base in Mahon has been calming. It’s off season so there are no crowds, the town is sleepy and in a short afternoon we are able to walk the entire circumference.

We tend to make big decision on trips like this. Often it starts with a conversation about where we travel to NEXT year and circles around to what we think about our life, career, friends and the quality time we spend. This time around we have stated to each other that adopting a child is not a viable option nor a pursuit we are going to take on actively. it feels like that ship sailed some time ago and that reality steadies our resolve to be passionate uncles and to push ourselves to continually grow and contribute to the growth of others where we can.

I’ll find time to resurrect the drone and see if I can fix it. I’ve been tentative with the selfie stick only becuase I fear the looks and we are off to such a great start, I’m not sure getting whacked by a hello-kitty stick would make this trip better.

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I spent the evening listening to Fox News. I understand more now why our nation is so divided. We are being duped so we stay divided. I am saddened, and I am fired up. Trump is #notmypresidentyet- but that doesn’t make me a sore loser.  Yeah, I have been quiet on #Trump since the election. That time is over.

I have listened to the push-back on the #notmypresident movement and the cries for disappointed folks like me to stop being sore losers. Well, he is #notmypresidentyet, I am not a sore loser. I’m just profoundly disappointed. I accept he’s been elected by a minority of Americans, but don’t expect me to jump aboard the Trump train. Not now. Not yet. I need him to show up, man up and apologize.

But he will not apologize.  That’s one of the main reasons I am disappointed. We elected a bully that gloats the results of outright hostility and lying. I believe in redemption and forgiveness, but Trump clearly sees no wrong in his actions.

Why do I remain so bothered? Why do I want an apology? Why is he #notmypresidentyet?

  • Misogyny – the systemic hatred of women. It won. There is a rudeness and condescending way in which Trump spoke about women during the election and I will not let that go until I see a change and hear an apology. Michelle Obama said it best, but we all know the way he brushed off his language as “locker room talk” was a pathetic attempt to excuse away the inexcusable. I am sick of people brushing his words aside and being willing to accept him as a change agent someone who breaks up the status quo as though that is enough to look beyond his misogyny. It is not enough for me. All the change he might bring (and yes, I’m hoping he is successful and does good for our country) is not enough for me to accept the systemic hatred of women he emboldens. He applied sexism as a tool and then denied its very use.
  • Racism – he’s a proven bigot and racist. Unlearning my own inherited sexism and racism in my early years has made me a better person. It is thanks to patient women and patient, caring women of color that I can understand my white privilege and become more responsible for my own racist actions. Trump flaunts behaviors that look like he feels entitled to his sexist behaviors and that he has no idea of how white privilege has aided him. I want leaders who live by examples that can help shapes our children. What lessons do kids learn from Trump actions? That scares me.
  • Hate bating bullying – Trump used it as a tool and he won. Why should that make anyone happy? He’s even back-peddled from many of the position he touted during the election process – (making him slightly more tolerable?) – but not enough to lull me into complacency. Fine, he’s a good strategist. He played chess and won. But his debate behavior (talking over Clinton, blurting out insults, leering over her as a power-play) and his campaign trail race-baiting was a calculated call to the worst sentiments of racism, fear and division among us. He is part of the financial and political elite that works to drive American apart so we don’t focus on them and hold our political systems and officials accountable.

I’ve long accepted my ability to blend in with the majority of Americans (white men) as an obligation to look out for others. Obviously being gay helps me identify as a minority. I am sure that is why the election of Trump strikes so deeply at my core values.

I have to keep reminding myself that roughly 47% of Americans did not vote. Unbelievable. Inexcusable. Some 4-6% of Americans voted for a 3rd party candidate.  That means less than 50% of Americans voted and even if Trump and Clinton had split the rest (they didn’t – Clinton won the popular vote, among those that voted) – that still means only 1 in 4 Americans stood up for Trump.  I’m also willing to accept that is a small minority of them that embody the sexism, racism and bigotry that he did during the campaign.  I want to believe he’ll be President of all of us and that most of his supported are just equally pissed off as I am and wanted a change.

All of that is going to take time and adjustment.  My way of adjusting will be to write about it.  I welcome comments, but I know I’m doing this mostly as a coping mechanism.

I’m also starting a separate blog, Occupy My Street and soon will be joined by others who have something to say.  Feel free to join the conversation, occupy my street and I’ll occupy yours.  That way we can come together. That way we can stop letting the 1% define the agenda that keeps us fighting one another instead of holding them accountable.

For now, he’s #notmypresident because I can’t look past the horrible behaviors until I see a change or year an apology.  I’m holding my breath.

#unclerandy

Thank you Facebook, you’ve made an addict out of me. I look at you all the time and I wonder how I will relate to you in the future. You’ve also blocked out all the awesome cat and dog videos with opinions parading as facts.  Facts matter. Opions are interesting.  I’ve been unfriended and it hurts.

Truth be told I looked at my friend list yesterday to see who I might need to dump. This Trump-Clinton,  18-month “hell-hole” has left me exhausted and the pain of a Trump election has left me looking to create my own echo chamber. I had slipped into the “if you are not with me, you are against me, a$$hole thinking.” That’s a dark space I want to escape. That purge will not service my learning or our creating community well, so I looked over my “friends” list to find people who might be able to engage in a meaningful, spirited, but respectful conversation.

What I found is that nearly a dozen of my work, college and high-school mates have dropped me. I’ve been un-friended without warning. I will live. I don’t like it.  Not one goodbye, not one reason why. I’ll no longer get to see their kids, learn what motivates them or see what awesomeness they ate last night. I fundamentally believe that in getting to know people who are vastly unlike me and that have different opinions, I can grow- and so can they.  Without interactions with those that differ than me I remain stuck in my own thinking. I’m like wine – under stress and challenge, I produce a better fruit, we are a better vintage. Do I push for Blue States of America or United States of America?

There is much I want to say about this election.  There is much I will say. I am also, like many of you, stirred to action. Before I go to those spaces, the most important thing for me to say as white man is that I am sorry.  I have tried to combat sexism. I have tried to be an example of unlearning my own racism. I have tried to be an example of Christian faith that joins people of all religions into community rather than emphasizing our difference.  White men failed and I feel accountable. I am sorry and heartbroken.

My next post?  Facts & Opinions.  I’m searching for a way to engage my family. This passion reminds me of how annoyed my father Clovis would get when someone wouldn’t concede a fact. He’d get fired up a swear in French if someone couldn’t agree to what is a known fact.  I miss that. Today opinion seems to conflate with fact and there is an important difference.  More on that later. For now- again, I’m sorry. I’m sad. I’m still your friend.

#unclerandy

Opinion http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/opinion

Fact: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fact

 

 

 

My meditation word and work this year is “purpose.”  Last year it was priority. The year prior, patience. Next year and the subsequent years (until I am 50) are the words integrity, serenity and release.  My mantra- patience, priority, purpose, integrity, serenity, release. Wow. I have needed ALL of them. So have you.  Tomorrow many of the people I know, love and respect are going to be as equally afraid for what is next as I have been. I promise I will not gloat.

I am, however, hoping that given how stirred up this nasty-long and terribly horrible election cycle has been, we can collectively remember that we are the UNITED States and that we live in community.  Community means compromise.  I just hope our elected leaders can do it.

But don’t get me wrong. I’m done being politely quiet when I see folks repeating lies. You are entitled to your opinions.  You are not entitled to make up your own facts.

Please hold me (politely) to the same standard. I look forward to the respectful dialogue.

Mash up time? Lets remember how great America is by standing stronger together!

#unclerandyelection

Headlines? I have considered buying a gun more seriously now than ever. I have considered “unfriending” people I love. I have become so frustrated I lead with anger over compassion. I look for articles that drive me mad rather than ones that lift my spirits. I find myself wanting to prove others wrong and myself right more than I value keeping dialogue going. Truth be told, I’m exhausted.

Yeah, I get it. She’s not your cup of tea. But she’s mine. And…. she’ll get stuff done. She’s smart. She fights for her values. She cares about poverty, and children, and women’s rights, and good global citizenry. She’s spent 35+ years being criticized and blamed and maligned. She’s had to morph herself into the most palatable, yet least distasteful version of herself possible because of sexism, opportunism, her husband and her own ambition- and we blame HER for the end result? This hate-on-hillary fervor falls just short of the “she shouldn’t have worn that dress” (pantsuit) – argument. It’s crap. We made her. We are lucky to have her.

In the deep, dark thoughts of my own passion for “the American way” I have told myself I would turn to violence to protect it. WTF. From whom? To what ends? I fear what the “fear of Trump” factor is making of me. Yeah, I’m calling myself out so you don’t have to.

What surprises me more now is not how far Trump has made it, but how much I bought the current narrative. Hook. Line. Sinker. I’m a goddamed sucker fish. Trump is a monster. But do we have to sink to his thinking? Examples…

  • Our system it totally broken. No, no it is not. We are not ISIS. Yes, America still can do good and we still stand for shit that matters. Despite media though-control, we are still free. Mostly.
  • All politicians are liars. Nope. That is actually a lie. Many suck. The system is flawed. We are too entrenched in positions but there are many, many people in public service that still believe in the higher ideals of the Republic, our Democracy and the democratic process. This whole balance of power thing we have- yeah, that’s pretty cool. Congress needs to grow up, but the Executive and Legislative Branches – that stuff is working. Have you read a full supreme court decision recently. All sides of the arguments. Those are some smart, smart people. Let’s add another justice and get out of their way.
  • Republicans are morons. They suck on the teat of Fox News.  Democrats are communists, hypocritically praying at the altar of MSNBC. Nope- I’ve let the stereotypes of the one define the group and all that is called is bigotry. I’m not proud, but I own it. We have more in common that we do that divides us

If you actually have read this, you are probably exhausted. So am I. I want so much more from my experience of America, but I’m slowly realizing that I can’t get it from the comfort of my couch, from behind the safety and the soft-glow of my various screens. I need to be part of the conversation, part of the solution.

I think we need a constitutional congress. Or we need a shut-up button when the village idiot spouts lies and we cower from telling them we actually only care about facts. We (I) need to take a real hard look at what we need today rather than looking back nostalgically at what we interpret our founding “fathers” felt we needed then. Times have changed. We need to as well.

But the path must be one of non-violence. This goes beyond the physical. In 2016 that should be a no-brainer. My desire to call up arms, to grab a gun and fight should be seen as irrational and irresponsible because it is. My nephew-in-law inspired me recently. He posted, “Like a lack of gun control, lack of tongue control only becomes an issue when we have gone too far and killed the character of the nation.” My husband commented that so too has Twitter and the lack of Thumb-Control. Brilliant. Words are the new weapons behind which many cowards hide.

I am not saying that times are not tough. They are. But we have first-world, American problems and we can fix them by sticking to what makes us special, together.  One Nation. Indivisible. Lets not let Trump convince us otherwise. Really. Let’s make America great again by remembering what we already have… community, integrity, social justice and UNITED states. Make America great? It already is.

#unclerandy