The Educated Free Thinker

I usually reserve this blog for entries about swimming, cycling, and philosophical musings related to my motivation within the “athletic” (as I wouldn’t define myself as an “athlete” despite riding centuries and marathon swimming across channels in open ocean) endeavors. Too much has been circling around my head though in the last 10 days that has affected me greatly and brings a huge concern to me mentally and emotionally as I go through the next 4 – 8 (heaven forbid) years.

Like many, I cried a lot on Wednesday, 9th November. I woke up at 2:00 AM, looked at my phone, and saw the worst news I think our country could possibly ever receive. Now mind you that I do not think anyone in politics is an angel as a former director of mine taught me that no one is pure evil or pure good as we’re all somewhere in between. However at 2:00 AM that morning I saw the closest thing to the beginning of the Apocalypse that I’ve seen in my 39+ years on this planet. I cried no less than 4 times that day. It wasn’t because “my candidate” lost. It was because I knew that the country was going to change in the wrong direction. There is good change and bad change and there is no way that the outcome of the election said that bad changes were coming our direction.

The Facebook posts by my friends and those in Pantsuit Nation were absolutely heartbreaking and made my disappointment and sadness even worse. Yes I was upset when Gore loss to W (and I still remember my dad saying “That idiot didn’t even win his home state!”) but that was different. W came across as a simpleton and how much harm could he do really? This time though..oh my word…here was someone that the KKK supported openly and has made such insensitive and condescending remarks about almost everyone. Forget about undoing everything Obama did, this guy was about to do everything that Lincoln did even.

The argument of “We survived Obama. You’ll survive this.” is total BS. Why? Because Obama wasn’t seeking to take anyone’s rights away. He wasn’t looking to strike fear into anyone. He was charismatic and diplomatic. He wanted to work with everyone to come to a solution. He never viciously attacked anyone. He never came across as drunk with power. He thought carefully about the results of his actions. He never wanted to hurt any of the people he represented. He was selfless. He didn’t let anyone get the best of him, or at least he never dared show it publicly. He took the job seriously. I greatly admire him.

Spurred by a hair-pulling experience by a total stranger’s experience with her therapist on Pantsuit Nation, I also feel like I should clarify some things about myself:

  • I’m not a Democrat.
  • I’m not a feminist.
  • I’m not gay.
  • I’ve never had an abortion.
  • I’ve never been married or divorced.
  • I was raised Catholic.

It’s worse. Much worse. I’m an educated free thinker.

I don’t belong to any political party. In California I’m registered as “Decline to State”, which is our version of “Independent”. As I told my 7th Grade teacher when I was thinking of not considering myself Catholic anymore as I saw a lot of their contradictions, I don’t need anyone telling me how to think. I’ve never voted for a Republican and it wasn’t because the candidate is identified with that party. It’s because I don’t agree with them on the policies that they want to enact in office as individuals. I happily voted for Bernie in the primaries as I thought and still do think he was the best choice for our next President. I voted for Hillary in the general election because even though I agree more with Jill Stein’s views, I don’t agree with her action methods sometimes and feel like she can be a bit of a loose cannon. She’s the Green Party version in Trump in a lot of ways of just coming across as an angry person a lot of the time and I think to be a world leader, you need to be a lot calmer and more diplomatic than that. For the general election, Hillary was the only one on the ballot who I saw as having the grace, professionalism, level-headedness, and “down to earth” persona to carry out her plans without getting hot-headed and angry about it. Above all, I felt like she generally cared about the country and making it better across the board. I trusted her to do the job and be able to focus.

I support equal rights for everyone to be treated fairly and under the same laws. Why should anyone be treated differently? You don’t get to choose who you fall in love with, for better or worse. I’ve never understood how what someone is doing in their own personal life affects anyone else’s. I have friends with open marriages and I remember telling one that hey, as long as it’s all out in the open and no one is getting hurt, then what’s wrong with that? How is it that we live in a country where people having multiple partners is seen by some as acceptable but two people madly in love who happen to be the same sex is seen as unacceptable? How come straight people can get married for 55 hours and somehow that preserves the meaning of marriage but two people who have loved each other and been there for each other for decades somehow is an abomination? Whoever said that a gay couple wants to get married in your church?

My dad and I ended up a lot alike. He was born in 1943 and grew up in Southern Illinois. He remembers segregation and didn’t understand the point of it. I was raised pretty blind to differences between people. I didn’t realize until looking back that my grade school class only had two black children, a handful of Asians, and predominantly white. I never thought of it. When I was a sophomore or junior in high school, my history teacher brought in two gay men to speak to us. I think it was her way of introducing “sensitivity training.” I remember when they said that they were gay I thought “And your point is….??” I really didn’t care as it made no difference to me.

A longtime friend of mine used to play “the pronoun game” when telling me anything about his dating life. I remember when he finally told me that he was talking about a guy as he hesitated and finally said “him” and looked at me for a reaction. I had none so he continued talking. Since then he’s been very open to me when talking about his relationships and I even met one of his boyfriends when they were dating. My mom recently asked me why I had never dated him and I had to tell her why. I had a good laugh about it with my friend afterwards.

I dated a guy for 2.5 years who when I’d tell people that I was the first woman that he’d dated in 20 years, they were confused. “How could he not have dated anyone for 20 years if his libido is that high?” I would then have to point out the obvious that he had been dating men those 20 years. Some were horrified and asked how could I date him. I’d jokingly say that I’m sure he’s showered since then. I didn’t care and it was actually flattering in the beginning as it was obvious that we liked each other for who we were. Our relationship didn’t work out for other reasons. One of my closest cousins is married to a man who identifies as gay apart from the fact that he fell in love with my cousin, a woman. You really don’t choose who you fall in love with.

Mississippi? Actually this woman’s car was vandalized last week in Denver, Colorado.

In college I had a housemate who asked me when we first met on how I felt about interracial marriages. We were living in Akwe:kon, the Native American Residential Program House at Cornell University. She was white as snow and from Michigan. I just blankly looked at her and said “Well as the product of one, I’d have to say that I’m okay with it!” She was weird. I’ve never been asked again.

I actually didn’t know what my ethnic background was for a long time until I was asked to put it down for some reason in 5th grade by my homeroom teacher. I knew my mom was from Peru and we had a lot of family there as we went to visit once or twice a year to stay with my grandparents. I didn’t know that that side of the family was ethnically Chinese. I didn’t know that most families I knew weren’t eating the same food at home as my mom cooked a lot of Peruvian food. We went to dim sum on the weekends. One of my sister and my favorite restaurants was Mifune in Burlingame. Mifune was a Japanese restaurant that was usually empty when we went and we didn’t know why (or care quite frankly as we just wanted to eat). We ate all sorts of different cuisines without realizing that it was all from different countries. I didn’t know that we were “different.” I didn’t know what my dad’s family’s background was (Answer: Slovenian and Croatian). All I knew was that “Grandparent’s Day” at my Catholic school sucked because it was an entire day dedicated to activities with your grandparents and the closest mine were was in Arkansas where my paternal grandparents had retired. Family friends used to attend as surrogate grandparents so I wouldn’t be one of the only kids in the entire school without a grandparent that day. It was usually around their annual Mexican vacation though so my mom started letting me stay at home that day on the years that Joe and Jackie couldn’t come with me. I was too embarrassed to go alone and am thankful that my mom accommodated me.

My mom when she was in grade school.

I was filling out a form this morning that asked me what my Ethnic background was. I hesitated as now I don’t know if that would really help or hurt me. Having seen the open racism towards others in the last 10 days gives me reason to pause. I’ve always been proud of where my family has come from and now I’m afraid of how other people are going to react. I’ve heard some people say that it’s good to have this racism out in the open. WTF? That didn’t come with a “so now we can resolve it.” It was common belief that racism and prejudice were wrong before and now there are those who think that it’s acceptable and almost (shudder) American to act like that. I can’t believe those who idly stand by and ignore it saying things like our fears of treating others as sub-human from a government level and/or having a government that will allow it to happen. It’s already happening. They’re not the ones affected by it. Unfortunately it reminds me of the starts of WWII with the Jews except now it’s everyone that is not Caucasian, not “straight”, and/or not male. There were a lot of Germans who didn’t think that anything was going to happen in their country either when Hitler came to power and look at what happened. When you’ve got the KKK throwing the winner a victory parade, red flags should go off that THIS IS NOT GOOD. The KKK wasn’t throwing a victory parade when Bush won in 2000. Ignoring what is going on is saying that you don’t care what happens to your friends who are already affected by it because you don’t really care about them. If your friend gets hauled off to an internment camp or the victim of a hate crime, are you going to sit there and say “Gee, I didn’t think that would happen” and then be sorry? How many Germans watched their friends get hauled off to concentration camps by the Nazis thinking that there was no way that Hitler’s government would really round up all the Jews and perform genocide. What about what happened in Cambodia with Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge back in the 1970s? How can our country be putting a government into place that has no real interest in protecting the very people that these civil servants are supposed to represent and work for? The American Dream where we were a melting pot where people could come from all over the world and be whatever they wanted to be has been killed 10 days ago. When Europeans immigrated here starting in the 15th Century, they were escaping religious persecution. Ironic now that a right wing nut job is now starting to put a cabinet together that seeks to either directly persecute others for nothing more than their sexual orientation, color of their skin, and/or religion and staging a war on immigrants ignoring the fact that ALL of us have immigrated from another country in our family tree.

Alabama? Why no…this is Adam Yauch Park in Brooklyn, New York and vandalized yesterday. Yauch was Jewish.

A good friend of mine is Muslim from Iran. One of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet. Muslim registry? Please. The federal government knows exactly where she is and who she is. She and her husband have to submit documentation (photos, statements, etc.) every single year to show that their marriage is not a sham, she has not had any access to weapons-grade Plutonium, etc. He converted to Islam when they got married. They are two of the most peaceful people. The husband is actually more of a hippie with long hair who is completely against violence of any nature than someone who has sinister plans to destroy the world as we know it. Besides, our world is going to be destroyed by ugh..I can’t even say it and refuse to say it ever but you know who.

I was talking to a friend the other day about divisions. I never look at my friends as “my gay friend” or “my black friend” or “my Muslim friend” or “my Jewish friend” or “my female friend.” They’re just my friends. I look at more of how they love and what’s in their heart and soul than anything else that can be defined on a form. Isn’t that what should matter when we look at each other?

I believe in a women’s right to choose even though I’ve never had an abortion. I can see where pro-lifers say “that’s a child and it has rights!” What about the woman though? That’s a lifetime commitment there. If she didn’t want to have it and still did, the options then are give it up for adoption or treat the kid like she didn’t want it. Whoever wants to grow up in an unloving household? There are enough kids that are up for adoption and need loving homes. It’s not so simple. I don’t think it should be used as a regular means of birth control but I understand that accidents happen. They’re not all teenagers going “hey, we’ll risk it and always abort in case she gets pregnant.” And if anything I think history teaches us that women will go out and get an abortion anyway. My view is that with abortion legal, at least the woman is safer having it done by medical professionals instead of in a dirty bathroom with a coat hanger or drugs obtained illegally by someone in an alley. Remember from “Dirty Dancing” when Penny had hers from a guy with a dirty knife and a folding table? That’s what happens when abortion is illegal. Most women getting abortions aren’t waiting until the last trimester to decide “oh hey, I don’t want this after all.” Again, how does her having an abortion affect your personal life? I used to say when W was President that that’s fine if he took away abortion as long as he was willing to adopt every single one of those kids himself. And really there are some people who should not be reproducing at all.

I look at the hate towards them from others and during my lifetime I’ve become convinced that hate is taught. My parents never taught me that. It wasn’t the “San Francisco Bubble” that is why I turned out the way I did about this or any other issues. It’s because my parents overall never taught me to hate someone based on the color of their skin or sexual orientation. They’ve never even talked to me about it so I grew up never thinking that it mattered. People were just people.

Me at 6 years old in 1983.

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1 Response to The Educated Free Thinker

  1. Andy Stock says:

    Hi Kelly. Thanks, I think what you said is important. What to do? How to be? We need to stay straight, not over react, and be calm. I think the internet and social media tends to magnify only part of what is happening. Fanning fear flames. I for one will try to continue living like I have been, keeping with a practice of meditation with like minded people. When the opportunity to help or show kindness presents itself, I will try to be kind. Small steps, in the direction we want to go. And continue to try to see how things are connected, how our actions effect others, even down to driving slower, eating healthier, not taking on to much, not looking for pleasure or profit. Not taking in junk food for the mind. Bye for now.

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