“Write What Scares You” Part 3.

Like I said. I’m fire breathing angry about people telling me I don’t understand, when I do understand, and far better than any of those people realize. So.  More words I’ve written in the past month.

So you know. When the ACA gets destroyed (and the GOP, in US Congress, and The Donald, clearly want to get rid of the ACA), My eldest child will be uninsured. So you know. They’ve spent the past 4 years looking for work. And finding none. Can’t get a job at Walmart. Can’t get a job at BestBuy. Can’t get a job picking fruit on a farm. Can’t get a job washing feces out of stables.

4 years of effort. No job. Not even a nibble.

No 401K, no 403B, no retirement fund of any kind, no contributions to Social Security. No work. None. Nada. Zip. 4 years.

There are 95 million like them in the US. People who have left the workforce. Because, they can’t find work. Period. There are no jobs for them. When even McDonalds won’t hire you, what does that say? How do you deal with that? How do you “work hard, and get an education, and make something of yourself” when that’s what your dealing with? Hell, even starting a small business is anything but trivial, as there’s no source of income, and therefore no funds, to start it with.

This is what a lot of millennials are dealing with. More of them are dealing with this very problem, all the time.

I know 30 year olds, mid-30s, who can’t find a job. College educated. Able to type. Able to run a computer. Able to word process. Able to fill in forms. Able to be an office assistant in any office, anywhere. Able to man phone lines, and work in call centers. And. They can’t get work. They can’t find work. They beg for gig work, online. “Go visit my Fiver page! For $5 I’ll do a Tarot reading for you! For $5, I’ll record any song you want me to sing, and you can give it away as a Christmas present, or a Birthday present!”

One of my dear Facebook Friends (whom I hope to meet in Atlanta in September, at Dragon*Con) is disabled. She lives in physical pain that leaves her on her back, on the floor, gasping for breath, tears streaming from her eyes. She’s doing everything she can. But, the medical insurance has become a problem, after the past few years. And her disability claims have so far been denied. And, she’s been out of work now for over 2 years. She didn’t quit her job. She had to give up her job, ’cause she physically could not be at the school she worked at, every day it was open. She missed more, and more days.

I worry about her.

She’s got a GoFundMe page, where she asks for help with her medical expenses. And she’s got a small store on the net, where she tries to earn any money she can to help pay the medical bills. For her, a ride from the house, to the Georgia coast, is pure misery. She ends up in such physical pain she can’t sleep when she gets there. Sometimes, she goes for days on only a couple of hours of sleep, because that’s how much she hurts.

Did I mention I worry about her?

She literally can’t work hard, and get ahead. Literally.

There’s others. The list of names goes on and on. If I had the income, I could spend well over $100 a week, just on GoFundMe pages, helping people obtain the medical care they need to simply stay alive. And telling those people, “Get a job, and deal with it” doesn’t work. Because. They’ve been trying to get jobs for years, and have gotten nowhere.

The best part? Almost to a person, none of them would be welcome in any church I’ve ever tried to attend. Because. They are different. They don’t fit the social behavior requirements of any of those churches.

Another reason I don’t attend any church.

Yeah, I know. I’ve been told, repeatedly, “Those people need the church!” I know that. But. Sending a homosexual, or transgender person to a church? Really? That’s gonna help them? Sending a person who has had brain damage and memory loss from a concussion to a church is going to help that person? Hell, the church is likely to absolutely torture these people.

Yes. I try very hard to understand. I do. I try very hard to look at things from more than one perspective. I really do. I understand completely how people feel about things like the ACA, and Social Security. I honestly do.

I also understand how people would behave about those same topics if it was someone they knew. Someone they cared about. A daughter. A son. A mother. A father. Brother, or sister.

I find it amazing how cold, and heartless some people can be, in proclaiming, “Get a job! Earn your keep!” and how desperately they fight for the government support of their relatives and/or friends, when it’s someone close to them.

And I find it a striking contrast far too many people are completely blind to. Completely, totally blind.

There are reasons I spent 6 years in psychotherapy. And there are reasons I take 40 mg of fluoxetine every freakin’ day. Because. I see this kind of behavior all around me, every day, all day long.

And it literally drives me mad.

So, now I’m waiting to see what changes start to happen at the Federal Government level. And to see how those changes affect people. Something I can afford to do. Sit back and wait. Because. I’m a white male. I’ll be OK.

Yes. I’m angry. I’m tired of dealing with people who can’t see the double standards that apply to everything they touch in life, and refuse to admit those standards even exist. And yes. In the days ahead, I’ll have more to say.

If you can’t handle that. If you can’t handle me speaking of the things I observe around me every day. Then fucking leave.


“Write What Scares You, Part 2”

I recentely shared these words with a friend. Because. I knew my friend was especially disturbed by the events of the last few days, in particular the psychological assault on journalist Kurt Eichenwald (read about it here– unless, of course, your one of the millions who sees the link is to Newsweek, and believes everything Newsweek publishes is a flat out lie).

Humans. *head desk*

Just me. Checking on you once more.

Twitter. Ah. Twitter. The land of “I can scream louder, longer than you.” In many ways, all twitter is is a 140 character limited version of the early BBS and Chat Room systems. And those were cutthroat. There were reasons people had anonymous names. Not just to attack others with, but to survive the attacks of others.

Sometimes, people tell me the ‘net is a bad thing. That it drew out the worst in people. But, see? They’ve got that backwards. They get lots backwards. Think about it. What the ‘net does, what Twitter, and other sites do, is allow the darkness that lives inside a hell of a lot of people to have a voice. That’s not a bad thing, so much as a true and honest thing. On the ‘net, we see people as they really are. Not as they appear at work, or in person.

At work, you have people like those I used to work with. “You’ll never see me angry. I don’t get angry at work.” Ah, really? “This is not a place where you care about others. Keep you nose clean, and do your job.” Ah, really? “You can’t afford to care too much.” All things that have been said to me by people I’ve worked with. I could list thousands more.

So, yes. A Newsweek journalist got attacked on Twitter. And has received a zillion death threats. And, while I agree that’s not a good thing, I also declare it shows the truth of the country we live in. Right there. In black and white. For everyone to see.

The US is home to some of the most hate-filled, violent, petty, heartless, backwards people on the planet.

I am, as you may know by now, a baptized Southern Baptist. My father was a Southern Baptist pastor. My brother is an ordained Southern Baptist minister.

I walked away from a church in 2011. A church filled with normal people. Who all believed, to a person, the universe was only 6000 years old. Who all believed homosexuals were agents of Satan, to the point they agreed with the pastor when he declared he saw a man in a skirt, and wanted to throw up. Who all agreed there was not really anything like depression, and all you had to do was get right with God, and he’d fix your messed up thinking.

I kid you not, my friend. These people are real. And they are everywhere. I first became aware of their presence in 1975, when a fellow student in high school biology class made certain I knew he understood he had to memorize that biology crap, to get a passing grade, even though he knew from the Bible that none of it was true.

It is this kind of person, this “I know the truth, and am willing to fight for what I believe” kind of person that is revealed on the ‘Net. On Twitter.

You’ll notice I killed off my Twitter account months ago. I did that for a lot of reasons. We’re talking about some of them in this note.

Do you have any idea how many devoted Christians actually believe Islam is the religion of Satan? I could ramble on that for days. I’ll stick to one detail. The spreading of religion. See. The Christians hold nothing back when it comes to being Evangelical. “It’s in the Bible! Preach the word of God! The story of Jesus! Save the world!”

The humor? Same damn thing’s in the Islamic faith. Exact same thing. Same “spread our religion, spread our faith” directives.

And when it’s Christians doing the spreading, it’s the work of God. And when it’s Muslims doing the spreading, it’s Muslims trying to take over the world, and erase their religion, and their freedom to believe as they want.

*head desk*

And they can’t even begin to wrap their head around that reality. Trying to explain that to them is like trying to explain quantum mechanics to a concrete slab. Can’t be done. In some ways it’s worse. ‘Cause they’ll chastise you, and tell you how they’ll pray for you, and chase you from their presence, ’cause you’re testing their faith. The list goes on and on.

It’s awful that we have victims, like you shared yesterday. But. I’d rather have the victims, so we can all see the truth of the world we live in, than be blind to the truth, and wonder what the heck happened when everything comes apart.


*Head Desk*

“Write What Scares You”

Rachel in the OC always pushes the thought, “Write what scares you.” So, here’s where I write part of what scares me. Something I’ve never said publicly before. See. There are people who really piss me off. That comes from me being able to change perspectives like most people change shoes. And changing perspectives, I have learned, is something most people couldn’t do if their lives depended on it. I don’t know why that’s the case, but it is the case, no matter what perspective an individual seems to have.

Since November 8th, I’ve been called a fucking liberal. You know. One of those weak people who believes everybody deserves the right to food, and a safe place to live, and it doesn’t matter if they can earn a living or not.

Since November 8th, I’ve been told it’s not worth even trying to talk to me, because I will never understand the truth, and will never change. The implication being I should shut up,  and let whoever won the Electoral College and the various congressional elections, do what they were elected to do.

Well. That leaves me fire breathing angry. Because. Unlike the people who blast me with that type of declaration, I can actually understand something other than my own perspectives, and my own beliefs.

Today, I wrote these words, shared with a good friend. I’ve decided to put these words here, on my blog, where anyone can view them, read them, and react to them however they react to them.

Telling me I’m not aware of different perspectives… Jesus. What do you people think I am? Stupid?

Shh. I’m being evil Mark. 🙂 See. I do understand. Better than a heck of a lot of other people realize. And I’ve hammered my brother, and an old friend, on their perspectives, and political/social views.

It’s not hard, really. All you have to do is speak the truth. Which is what I did. And it’s been a week now. And I haven’t heard a peep out of them. Because. They know the truth. Even if they don’t want to admit it.

There are several “bottom line” items for our Conservative friends. These include money, religion, protection of faith and family, and “earning your way” (I say that last one in quotes, ’cause I can’t figure out how to express it any better way).

Money. They can’t live by spending more than they make. Companies can’t spend more than they earn. Churches can’t spend more than they make. A lot of states have “balanced budget amendments” in their constitutions. These people look at the US budget, and go off the deep end. Because. Their government is spending money far faster than it earns it. And that has to change. That has to change, even if it hurts. The debate becomes how to change that. And always, with the Conservatives, national defense is NOT on the table. Period. That leaves Medicaid. Medicare. Unemployment. Roads. Infrastructure programs. Housing. Education. And pretty much, every social program that exists. The math becomes simple. Keep defense. And butcher everything else.

And how do you butcher the rest? How do you cut unemployment spending? How do you cut health care spending? How do you cut education spending, infrastructure spending, any kind of spending?

Take it out of Government hands, and put it in private sector hands. The government stops spending, and the private sector has to take up the slack. That’s the GOP budget in a nutshell. Pray innovation takes hold, and we get oceans of companies doing what SpaceX, Blue Origin, and others are doing. Get the government out of the way, and let private industry respond to the problems of our society.

That’s the plan. In a nutshell. Balance the federal budget. No matter what. And expect the US population to make up the difference.

Religion, the same thing. Let the religions figure out what’s right and wrong. Don’t legislate it. If religion says, “Homosexuality is a sin, and homosexuals are minions of Satan, and should be destroyed,” then so be it. It’s not Government’s roll to tell religion what to believe. That’s the responsibility of the people of that religion, and it’s leadership.

You begin to get the idea now, don’t you?

Education. It’s clearly not free. Look how much the Gov. spends on public education. Since it’s not free, and the public education system is, as we all know, not working, and rife with corruption, and problems, get the Gov. out of the way there. And let the people of the country fix the education problem the same way they’ll fix the religion problem, and the social programs problems.

If your child is disabled, should everyone else carry the financial load of caring for that child?

You get the idea.

I’m certain you get the idea.

This is what the current conflict in this country is all about. And there’s a growing harshness in people that says, “If you are so disabled you can’t earn a living, you deserve to die.” Harsh, but true.

If you look at Exodus in the Bible. There’s passages in Exodus for how the Israelites were to deal with disabled and sick people. Straight out of mother nature. Straight out of animal packs. Put the sick one outside the camp. If that sick one recovers, have the priests examine that sick one, and determine if they can return to the camp. If they don’t recover, they die.

That’s exactly where we’re heading. If you can’t work. If you live in such physical pain that you can’t work. If you are severely autistic, or handicapped, or have any other disability. Tough. That’s life. That’s how the world is. It’s not everyone else’s problem. It’s yours. Deal with it, and don’t expect help. Except maybe from religious organizations, and charities. If they have sufficient funds, and resources.

I could ramble on for days and days about all this. I could. By now, you’ve figured that out.

So, when a conservative tells me I don’t understand, and I’m a lilly livered, liberal. I have to laugh about it. Because. I do understand. Far more than they will ever realize.

There. I’ve written another of the many things I’m terrified of writing. Because. I’m fucking tired of people telling me what they’ve told me throughout my entire life. “You can’t be that way!”

I am that way.

And I can understand far more than most people realize I can.

So, shut the fuck up with calling me a weak, pathetic, blind, liberal, and fucking try to see something beyond the tip of your nose. Expand your fucking limited horizons people!


Fucking  humans!

*Head Desk*

#ThursThreads Week 245 : That Makes Two Of Us

I was starting a war, putting other transgender people, and those who supported them, at risk. So I took the time to learn who the transgender people in the area were, and who supported them.

A soccer mom, with two adopted daughters. She’d opened a diner, and was doing well. Especially at lunch time. People had to eat. She worked hard to give her daughters everything they wanted, and to teach them how to live, how to care for the people around them.

A retired couple, spending their last years together in the happiness they always wanted. The apartment complex owner who rented a flat to them, and always checked to see if they needed anything.

A mechanic at the best car dealership in the area. The dealership’s owner who defended him from the guys who didn’t want to work with him, “He’s the best mechanic I’ve ever seen.”

Samantha, a 13 year old who wondered if anyone could ever love her for who she was. Her parents who wondered when she would come home from school in tears again. Julie, the neighbor’s daughter, who walked Samantha to and from the bus every day, and sat with her at lunch.

Julie knew how Michelle had been murdered, and put on display, and what had happened to Michelle’s neighbor. Julie who said, “I’ve got a bad feelings about all this,” one night, before bed.

I nodded, and thought, “That makes two of us, kid. That makes two of us.”

247 Words
Mark Ethridge (I’m not on twitter, you know)

This is part 4 of the Armor 17 story I started in Week 239 of #ThursThreads. It’s Week 245 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read.