I've been thinking a lot lately about my words of the year. Last year's was Kerpow. And there were definitely times I needed to fall back on that and use it for an extra umph to see me fighting through things. This year's is survive, not entirely optimistic about the shit I'd be facing this year and doing my best just to stay alive. I've faced a couple moments when that didn't seem too easy. But, cheesy as it sounds, things do get better. But then they get worse again. Unless something significant happens (for example, losing much of the west coast of my country in a North Korean strike that's going to happen within the year unless something stops it) I've decided I want to make next year's word kindness. I've been having a hard time lately feeling good about my country. I love it but it doesn't love me or many of my friends or family back. And I have a lot of hatred for people who want to take our rights away. Which doesn't feel good to me. I don't like feeling full of hate. I keep thinking about organizations like SNCC teaching people how to peacefully resist by showing sympathy and love for their fellow man and trying to connect to them as equal, fellow human beings. And, no, I'm not saying love will fix everything. I think the country's too damn broken for something that simple. But there is something to be said for trying to figure out where the other side is coming from and realizing that they're just as scared as you and feel just as helpless, and that's why they find it necessary to take away your rights. Bullying and picking on scapegoated minorities are easy moves to make themselves feel better and put the blame on someone else. But it doesn't fix things. It makes things worse. And it's happening just a little bit at a time. A travel ban here, a policy there. Pretty soon we'll be left with nothing.
So, yesterday's tweet announcement kicking transgender servicepeople out of the military is outrageous and terrifying but hardly surprising. (My mom actually called me yesterday to see how I was doing and said she'd been crying off and on all day about it). These are qualified people keeping me safe. And considering North Korea is going to be able to hit the continental US within the year, I need all the people keeping me safe I can get right now. These are individuals in leadership positions or specialized positions or even key strategic positions. And pulling them out now not only weakens us but shows our enemies that we'd rather tear ourselves apart than unify. And it's even worse that, because of the change last year, people have been able to be open and authentic about it, which they might not have done, and now they're paying the price for that honesty. So, yeah, I'm irate. But I completely also get why it happened, especially if the people Trump met with suggested that they use the "savings" to help fund the wall.
There's been a lot of talk about this. But what I haven't heard as much talk about is Title VII. The Department of Justice now says that the Civil Rights Act does not cover employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. It'll still be the courts that decide it in the end, but I'm not as optimistic as some people seem to be about it. So, yeah, the DOJ say it's not against the law to discriminate against somone or terminate someone's employment just because that someone has a particular sexual orientation. That hits hard. The DOJ is basically giving people the ability to be bigoted and discriminatory. And there are lots of other laws and regulations that prevent it, but when the law of the land is that it's okay to discriminate, that sends a pretty strong message.
But the thing is, none of that stops us from speaking out for our fellow man. None of that stops us doing everything we can to make it safe for our friends and family and neighbors and community. Yeah, things are fucking unfair right now. Yeah, people in charge are being idiots who don't think things through first. But that doesn't stop us from loving each other and protecting each other. (And, just to be clear, by loving I do not mean, for example, Donald Trump kissing a lesbian Medal of Valor recipient who is holding herself up on crutches and unable to push him away if she wanted to. That's just disgusting and creepy.)
Today I unpackaged a t-shirt I recently bought. (And how awesome to see the words "Your Obedient Servants @ TeeRico" on the packaging?) Because now, more than ever, I really need this:
And, in honor of next year's word and a reminder to myself to try to do less hating (even when it's totally deserved):
Oh gods, that beautiful, smoooooth voice. Chris Jackson's singing kills me. I have watched this/listened to this an embarrassing number of times.