We Have a Code Dress


For the first time since Rachael began school, they had an assembly that included an emphasis on a dress code. Rachael informed me that any tank top had to have a two finger-width strap. An abridged Rights & Responsibilities packet that was more for kids came home, and a section specifically addressed dress code. There was nothing in it that set off alarm bells for me: cover your tummy and underwear; no inappropriate logos or swearing; wasn’t divided into a boys section and girls section. So it hasn’t been a problem, until this morning. 

Today, Rachael put on a dress that she has worn to school countless times. It is the dress seen above: a halter-style dress with spaghetti straps. 

Here it is again, making you feel uncomfortable because a 9 year old is showing off so much shoulder.


If it were inappropriate for school, I wouldn’t let her wear it. As we were walking out the door to the bus, Rachael stops, with an awful look of sudden realization on her face. 
“Mom, these straps aren’t two inches!”

There wasn’t any time to change, (and even if there were, I still wouldn’t have made her change.) So, now Rachael is going to be focused on worrying that she’s going to get in trouble for violating the dress code, rather than focusing on learning. I’ve at least raised her well enough to be indignant about the fact that the reason for the dress code rule is so too much skin isn’t showing. 
“That’s ridiculous!” she railed. “As long as you’re covered and there’s nothing hanging out, it’s fine!”

I told her that if she did get in trouble for some reason, that she had my permission to wear the dress and that I would get in someone’s face. Still, I know that her joy of making a cookie map of Virginia today has been slightly tainted by the fact that the school has made her self-conscious about what she’s wearing. 

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My Children, My Chore

An artist’s rendering of the girls.

Online source, modified by me

My kids are spoiled, entitled, lazy, brats.  And it’s our fault.  Despite the fact that we say no, put our foot down, and don’t allow them to get away with shit, we’ve still managed to foster an environment in which one minute our children will be complete angels, and in the next they will be complete and total assholes. (I will say to be fair to Zoë, she does have Oppositional Defiant Disorder, which I’m sure half of you will say is a made up disorder that is simply the easy way out from disciplining my child. To you I say, Bwahahahahahahaha! Oh, shit; you’re adorable!)
One of the ways in which this lazy brattyness manifests itself is through whining over chores. We have told the girls to help by cleaning their rooms, the living room, the basement where they have their playroom, emptying the dishwasher, feeding the cats, and putting away their clean clothes, but not with any regularity. On the rare occasion they follow through without the wailing and gnashing of teeth, but their marching orders are usually met with stomping, screaming, “Why do I have to do everything?”, (a personal favorite) and whining at a pitch that makes me surprised that the words “Some Pig” aren’t woven into a spider’s web at the tops of their door frames. These reactions are increased ten-fold if we have told them to turn off a screen in order to carry out these chores, at which time their screen privileges are threatened, and they shut the fuck up for awhile.  If the task involves cleaning a room, they will stand in the middle of the room, survey the damage, and then suddenly forget what anything they own looks like. Furthermore, they will flail about because they have temporarily lost the use of their arms and hands. The force of gravity will increase on their butts, and we will find them playing 10 minutes later, often having made the mess worse. When they are discovered by Mike or me, they will immediately jump up and plead for their lives by saying, “I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I got distracted!” Oftentimes, one will throw the other under the bus and say that it was their sister who had distracted them. It is also at this time that they will take the opportunity to ask for a snack, because they are absolutely dying of hunger. They, having done nothing and it having only been 10 minutes, are denied their request. This will set off a great and deep wail of hunger, in which they writhe around on the floor as though they are dying from demon possession. They are told that the sooner they finish, the sooner they can eat.

                                                                Image source

This process goes on loop for the next 1-3 hours, depending on who gives up first. Sometimes I stay with them to help them stay on task and, lo and behold, Rachael is able to remember that books do indeed belong on bookshelves. Sometimes I end up cleaning it up with them or for them because it’s easier and less exhausting than keeping them on task and yelling at them. And sometimes we hear them playing upstairs together nicely for the first time all weekend, and decide that’s more important that following through on being able to see carpet to walk upon.
And then, I had this amazing idea! I put my psychology degree to use and thought, What if we created a set list of chores for the girls to complete on a regular basis, for which they receive monetary reinforcement upon completion each week? I’ll call it, a Chore Chart! I can’t believe no one has thought of this before! I’ll take it to all the parenting magazines and blogs! It will revolutionize parenting and how children learn responsibility!

cfb0Zi46

…………………………………….. Ahem.

So far, Rachael’s like, Fuck yeah, I’ll do chores for money with a good attitude! We’ve tried rewards for chores before, money and candy, but I guess having it laid out for her helps Rachael understand and value what she can earn and how she can earn it.

Image via Pinterest

Zoë, on the other hand, took a lot of convincing. Once she understood that she would be saving money and be able to buy things she wanted that mommy and daddy didn’t want to buy with their own money, she thought it was awesome! However, when it came time to actually do said chores, I would have preferred my chances with an angry gorilla. Zoë’s funny, (in this case, funny uh oh) in that when she decides that she wants to do something, she’s a fantastic helper! She will actually do a good job of cleaning her room by herself, (sometimes of her own volition) if she’s in a good, amenable mood. When she’s not, there is no positive reinforcement, no bribe, no negative reinforcement, nor any punishment in the world that will move her to do what you want her to do. You could offer her a kitten party, on the beach, with all the ice cream and lemonade in the world, followed by a week at Disney World if she would just put away her clean clothes, and she would tell you, Yes, please! I would love all those things so very much, BUT I’LL NEVER, NEVER PUT AWAY MY CLOTHES BECAUSE I HATE HATE HATE IT SO MUCH! The way I managed to get her to put away her clothes yesterday was by staying with her and naming an animal for each letter of the alphabet for each item she put away. 27 items took around 90 minutes. She made up an extra letter called ölazella, and it makes the “biz” sound. No, I didn’t have anything else to do. Why do you ask?

I feel like I did have a small bit of genius by making weekly bonuses available. Each child will earn an additional 25 cents for each room if their bedroom, living room, and basement does not require cleaning at the end of the week. Each child will earn an additional 25 cents each week for a good attitude about their chores. This means that they do their chores without having to be asked or do not complain or have to be told multiple times to do their chores. Rachael suddenly became very eager to do all the household chores, including those which were not assigned to her.

So we’ll see if this helps with the lazy brat attitude. It already helped me this weekend; the kitchen stayed cleaner because Rachael stayed on top of unloading the dishwasher. This intervention is long overdue. I actually apologized to the girls this weekend for having a part in creating their shitty attitudes, right before making sure they understood that that doesn’t excuse their shitty behavior. In the meantime, maybe I should make a parenting chart for Mike and me. Gold stars for not giving in to girls’ whining! Rainbows for following through on punishments! Laser cats for less screen time!

Women’s March

A protest, in cross-stitch

On Saturday, January 21, 2017, I marched with millions of women, men, and children all across the world on all 7 continents to stand in support of women’s rights. Independence Ave in Washington D.C. was so packed with people that the March really began as a shuffle. Everyone there had different, personal reasons for being there. Some were disabled or had children with special needs and wanted the Trump administration to view them and treat them as people of value, worth of respect. Others were marching as part of the LGBTQ community or an ally, demanding to be treated as equal under the law. I saw women proudly wearing colorful head scarves and hijabs, once again reminding our government that they and thousands of refugees are not to be feared, simply because terrorists falsely claim the same religion of Islam. So many women carried signs that declared their bodies to be their own. The decisions made for their bodies should be their own. Having healthcare they choose for their bodies should be a right. Their bodies are not for men to do with what they please. When men do decide to legislate and do what they will with these women’s bodies, they had better believe these women, with their powerful pussies, will fight back!  

Photo by Megan Rei, Megan Rei Photography

 
I saw black women and white women. Latina women and Asian women. Palestinian women and Indian women. Gay women. Straight women. Trans women. Married and single women. I saw old women in need of wheelchairs and canes and I saw tiny babies harnessed closely to their mother’s bosoms. I saw Christian women, Muslim women, and women for whom religion did not matter. I encountered some assholes, but for every 1 of them, there were 10 incredibly nice and considerate persons. I saw so many men there, supporting their wives, girlfriends, and friends.  

Photo by Megan Rei, Megan Rei Photography

  

Photo by Megan Rei, Megan Rei Photography

  

Photo by Megan Rei, Megan Rei Photography

 
So many different people with so many different reasons to march. But we were all unified by one thing: We are nasty women, and we will fight for our rights. We will fight for our rights, even though we shouldn’t have to fight for them- they’re rights most men certainly don’t have to fight for. We will fight for our rights, even as other women try to tear us down by telling us that they don’t feel like their rights are being assaulted, that women in other countries have it worse, that we’re just complaining, and that we’re all in charge of our own destinies. 

Photo by Megan Rei, Megan Rei Photography

 Record scratch– So I have to address the last bit of nonsense up there.
Why do you feel the need to tear down those of us who marched? How does it ruin your life or your day to know that millions of women either feel disenfranchised or are marching in support of disenfranchised women? Do you feel threatened? Do you feel like, perhaps these women are causing you to examine your life and the lives of others and it makes you uncomfortable, so you have to shut it down? Have you tried listening to women outside of your white, upper-middle class, suburban bubble, without pre-judgment or talking points already loaded, waiting to shoot down and invalidate their experiences?

Did you actually give a shit about female genital mutilation before Saturday? What about honor killings- I mean, beyond reading about them, being upset by them, and then pinning a good crock pot recipe on Pinterest? What have you done to address all the horrible injustices perpetrated upon women in other countries? Did you know that child brides and forced marriages in the US are also large problems? Why the need for a false dichotomy? How does the problem of women not being allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia invalidate the problem that women in the US are paid less than men for equal work? Or that the very private and painful decision of a late-term abortion is not accurately characterized so it can be used as a political football?

Tell me, were Susan B. Anthony, Lucretia Mott, Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Sojourner Truth nothing more than whiners and complainers when they fought for a woman’s right to vote, (which was only afforded to us less than 100 years ago?) What about women who learned to drive during World War I, even though it wasn’t lady-like? Or the women who were so scandalous as to reveal ankles or wear slacks? And the women who demanded to work outside the home and be treated equally there? (Of course poor women have always worked.) Have you asked your husband for permission to have birth control, for whatever reason, lately? No? You can thank the women who fought for that, too. 

It’s pretty easy to forget about all the rights we have as women today because women who came before us were maligned, outcast, jailed, tortured, and killed because they fought, protested, and marched for them, isn’t it? But, in doing so they took their destinies into their own hands, and on Saturday, so did we! 

Photo by Megan Rei, Megan Rei Photography

 
By the time I got home, I was hurting. Badly. The only time I sat down from 8:30 am until 5:30 pm was when I sat down for 30 seconds to pee. I hadn’t eaten a meal since breakfast, so as I scarfed down my bacon cheeseburger I was cranky, exhausted, and in a fuck ton of pain. The streets were so crowded, (and I must have been a crowd traffic magnet) that I experienced what popcorn in a popper must feel like and my butt got a lot of action. But, as I fell asleep to pictures of the crowds from all over the world, I felt so gratified that I had been a part of it. I felt privileged to have a husband who supports me and that I had the choice and ability to make my voice heard. This is the beginning of me fighting for myself, my girls, and other women. I marched in 2017 with the hope that my daughters won’t have to march for the same things in 2027.
Check out Megan Rei Photography

Carrie Fisher was valuable as Princess Leia


Rachael: Mom, why are you crying?

Me: Carrie Fisher, the woman who played Princess Leia, died. 

Zoë: No more Princess Leia?

Me: No more Princess Leia.

I’ve been reading posts and tributes to Carrie Fisher on social media, and I’ve noticed something that’s beginning to bother me. 
There seem to be 3 types of posts:

1) Remembering her as Princess Leia

2) Remembering Carrie Fisher as a whole person, including her writing and battle with mental illness

3) Posts which imply that, if Princess Leia is the only reason Carrie Fisher is important to you, then you are a shallow fan who doesn’t really understand how important she was 

Even when something this serious happens, it seems geeks feel the need to engage in one-upsmanship- to be the supreme, everlasting know-it-all. For those not in the know, it’s the way geeks establish social hierarchy and feel better about themselves after being put down and excluded from other social groups for so long.  While Carrie hated being relegated to sex symbol status, she had no problem with fans loving her for being a badass space princess. In fact, I have a feeling that if Carrie were to witness the dumbfuckery people are engaging in on her behalf, she’d tell them to fuck off and go suck on a bag of dicks in a corner. 

Look, I think the openness with which Carrie lived her life helped so many people. She made it okay to be honest and fucked up and mentally ill. She made it okay to laugh, both in spite of your pain and because of it. Anyone familiar with her work and life beyond Star Wars should absolutely share it and how it has been important to them, just so long as it is not at the expense of how Carrie Fisher was important to others. You don’t get to decide how someone impacts another person’s life. You also don’t get to assign value to that impact.

I don’t really remember the first time I saw Princess Leia Organa on screen and how her character affected me. I was around 8, and a lot of my memories are inaccessible to me because of repression. Thanks childhood abuse!  But I do remember the first time I had an incredibly strong reaction to Leia. Return of the Jedi, rescuing Han, and Leia is all alone in that “Gee, I wonder which man made that creepy costume decision” bikini, with space slug mobster, Jabba. Once stuff started going down at the sarlacc pit, bitch didn’t wait around for someone to come get her. She jumped up and strangled that slug to death with the very chain that made her captive. I remember thinking, “Holy shit!  That is so badass!”  

For a long time, until rather recently, that’s who Carrie Fisher was to me. She was the actress who didn’t wait for anyone to come save her and was every bit as important as the boys. I also feel fortunate to have seen Wishful Drinking and to hear her speak candidly, with all the acerbic wit she could muster, about living with Bipolar disorder. And of course her service dog, Gary, is a gift to the world.

Via radiotimes.com

My girls, 5 and 8, still only know Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia. At age 4, she was the first princess that Rachael really saw take matters into her own hands. She inspired for Rachael a love of independent, kickass women, which led to the radical notion that women are just as strong and valuable as men.  Just the other night as I read the introduction from her new Women in Science book, and how horribly and unequally they were treated, Rachael declared that when she grows up, she wants to do something to make sure that everyone knows men and women are equal and that women are able to enjoy equal rights. If that’s what comes of only knowing Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, I’d say that’s pretty fucking valuable.

Let’s Talk About My Uterus

The Wonder Years

I mean, everyone else is talking about my uterus.  Well, not mine specifically.  But what happens inside, outside, and around the uteruses of our nation’s women is deemed so important that they get their own special laws and Supreme Court rulings!  Hooray!  Don’t you just feel like there are so many legislators and jurists out there who are super concerned for women’s health and just want to protect us from ourselves?  I sure do!

For years, Republican state governments have been trying to weasel their way around Roe v. Wade, passing laws which make it increasingly difficult for women to have access to good healthcare and safe abortions.  The vitriolic pushback that met President Obama’s Obamacare rule for birth control coverage in insurance policies was astounding.  I wasn’t aware that we had time traveled back to the 60s and 70s, when only married women with permission from their husbands could gain access to birth control.  Eventually, after hard fought legal battles, the birth control provision went into effect, (with a few notable exceptions, (I’m looking at you, religious zealots!)  Now that President-elect Trump has a Republican House and Senate, who knows what sort of laws will be passed which strip women of their autonomy? And with Trump’s potential to fill more than one vacancy in the Supreme Court, will Roe v. Wade be relegated, a Vice President-elect Mike Pence said, “…to the ash heap of history.”

I used to believe that birth control was the gateway to parenthood.  What do you call people who use birth control?  Parents!  I used to believe that abortion was the easy way out and you were being selfish after being a slutty slut.  I even had a t-shirt from the Christian bookstore that said “Endangered Species” at the top and the Earth surrounded by animals, including elephants and panda bears.  But smack dab in the middle, with the Earth as its amniotic sac, was a white fetus.  Yeah.  I was that asshole.  I calmed down significantly during college, (you know, because those ungodly liberals exposed me to dangerous things like “ideas” and “critical thinking” and “other points of view”) but I remember when I had my lightbulb moment on abortion.  It was after my rape-adjacent experience.  In the morning light, he noticed that the condom had broken.  Shit!  So not only did I get to feel gross and guilty and ashamed of allowing someone to have sex with me, even though I didn’t want it, because it didn’t seem like my consent really mattered to him anyway, but I had to worry about whether or not I’d be knocked up with this shit-for-brains’ kid.  I don’t remember why I didn’t just go get Plan B* at the Health Center.  I remember thinking, There is no way I’m going to have the rest of my life ruined because of this.  If I end up pregnant, I’ll need an abortion.  

Oh.  It hit me.  What was apparent to plenty of other people had finally broken through the life-long pro-life programming- This was my body and my decision.  Whatever I thought was best for myself and my life wasn’t anyone else’s business.  And if something like this was happening in my life and I wanted this access to abortion and proper healthcare, without interference from outside forces who know nothing about me nor my body, then who the hell was I to limit other women in their choices?  I sure as hell wasn’t going to be one of those hypocritical people who justified their own abortion, but denied that choice for someone else.

Fortunately, I did not get pregnant.  Thanks to access to good healthcare, education, and a dose of good luck, I’ve only ever been pregnant on purpose.  (Tell a non-OB doctor some time that you might be pregnant because you’re trying to get pregnant.  It will confuse the hell out of them!)  I’ve been fortunate enough to not have to make that choice.  But I’ve thought about what Mike and I would do if I were to accidentally get pregnant now.  He and I have talked about it, and the reality for us right now is that another pregnancy and baby would be a catastrophe.  Both of my pregnancies with the girls were miserable; Rachael had me barfing until I delivered her and Zoë caused me to have a horrible case of PUPPPS for 20 weeks.  After experiencing pregnancy, I don’t think anyone should be forced to go through it, especially if the pregnancy is the result of sexual violence. Add that to fibromyalgia, which includes chronic fatigue as a symptom.  Now add one child with ADD and an executive functioning disorder and another with ADHD and Oppsitional Defiant Disorder.  Yeah, no.  We’re barely coping now.  So we take precautions.  I have a hormonal IUD which, not only prevents pregnancy, but also regulates a very painful uterine condition called adenomyosis.  Of course, now that I think about it, there are scientists people who feel the IUD is an abortifacient.  It’s not true, but that’s how they feel, so laws and mandates need to be changed so women don’t have access to not just medical and surgical abortions, but different forms of birth control.  But let’s not pay attention to the nitty gritty details of women’s healthcare.  That ruins all the fun, fun, fun!

Last night, I watched the most recent episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.  Spoilers ahead if you’re not caught up.  

Main character, Rebecca’s, paralegal and best friend, Paula, has been accepted into law school.  At the same time, she discovers that the rekindling the passion in her marriage has led to her accidental pregnancy.  Paula has a full-time career, two children who are the worst, and a husband who, (bless his heart) is trying to pick up the slack at home so she can have the baby and go to law school.  But their family just isn’t in the right place to add another child, even without law school.  So, after agonizing over the decision, Paula makes a choice.  She chooses to have an abortion, not because she’s selfish or a bad person, but because it’s the best choice for her, her family, and their future.  Given the taboo nature of the subject, I was heartened to see it talked about in this context.  

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend


We see her, after having been to the doctor, lying in bed.  She’s not a devastated mess, but you can see the sadness in her eyes.  It wasn’t a decision she wanted to make, but she made that decision with her husband and her doctor.  Thank goodness no one was standing in her way, presuming to know what was best for her.

*I did end up using Plan B twice during college.  Again, thank goodness for access to healthcare.  And, no, those don’t cause abortions either, because science. 

Hurting Each Other

Doctor Who

I’m going to try something different.  Rather than writing a blog on how devasted I am by Donald Trump’s presidential win or a think piece on the minutiae of all of Donald Trump’s policies…. again…. that will only preach to the choir or make the other side of the debate see,  if they would just OPEN THEIR MINDS!….. Ahem…. I want to write about the arguments people are having from both sides.  I want to invite comment, dialogue, and introspection.  I want people to speak to one another, respectfully, to see if there’s any possible way we can understand one another. It’s been my experience, in conversations and fights, that we are quick to assume one another’s thought processes, beliefs, and motives.  On the one hand, supporters of Donald Trump must be racist, misogynist, xenophobic, uneducated, bigots.  On the other hand, supporters of Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders must be Godless baby killers, who think everything should be handed to them by the government, without any thought of responsibility or impunity, and cares more about the welfare of foreigners than the security and economic well-being of our own country.  The moment we begin doing this, all is lost.  We’re all guilty of it.  Yesterday, a good friend let me know that, even though my careless words weren’t directed at her, they had made her feel like I thought she was dumb and racist and even a bad parent.  

I’ve also noticed how, post-election, things seem to have been turned upside down.  For years, white, blue collar workers, especially, have been crying out that they feel ignored and their fears, invalidated.  Unemployed and underemployed, they’ve said that President Obama has done nothing for the economy.  Rather than addressing that real fear, we Godless liberals simply tried to shut them up by pointing out how much the unemployment rate has fallen.  When people complained about the cost of their Obamacare premium or how they were losing their insurance, we scoffed, assuming they were doing something wrong or that they just didn’t understand the way the system works.  Then we pointed out how it was really the fault of the greedy health insurance companies pulling out of the Obamacare system, as though pointing that out magically fixed their problem.  

Now, with Trump’s election, we’re the ones being told to calm down, in what feels like the most patronizing way possible.  Immigrants are terrified that they will be rounded up and placed in internment camps.  Muslim citizens are fearful that they will be persecuted or unlawfully deported, and wonder if they should just flee the country now.  LGBT citizens are fearful that they will lose their right to marry and federal protections from discrimination, (because Mike Pence has said those protections would be rolled back.)  Mike Pence also supports conversion therapy, (and paying for it with federal funds) something that has been found to not only not work, (nor should it have to, because there’s nothing wrong with being gay) but is extremely harmful. They also fear for their lives, as there has been a surge in LGBT hate crime, especially within the last 48 hours.  African American communities are worried by the election of the “Law and Order Candidate”.  The one who said he would bring back “stop and frisk”, the policing practice which was ruled unconstitutional for its targeting of black and brown men.  They worry that the endorsement from the KKK and David Duke’s rejoicing upon Trump’s election means even more open racism and racially-motivated hate crimes ahead.  Women are worried that their health and rights to their own bodies are in jeopardy because Trump has said that women should be punished for having abortions, he would defund Planned Parenthood, and that he would work to overturn Roe v. Wade, (which could happen as he fills Supreme Court seats.)  As the governor of Indiana, Mike Pence has signed multiple anti- women’s health and abortion rights bills into law.  If Obamacare were to somehow magically not get repealed, Pence has said that they will roll back the birth control mandate for health insurance.  Speaking of health insurance, there are plenty of people who do like Obamacare and the benefits it provides. Like the fact that you can’t be denied because of a pre-existing condition, or kicked off because you’re too sick, or can’t have lifetime monetary caps placed on your treatment. Speaking personally, as someone with a chronic illness, I now worry that insurance will stop paying for my treatment at some point. 

I list all these grievances and think, How could people think we’re all overreacting or just sore losers?  How do they not understand our fear or that we no longer feel safe in our own country?  This President-elect certainly doesn’t represent me or most people I know and our values.  We’re going to fight back and return our country to what it was….Oh.
It hits me. I finally get it.  Rightly or wrongly, this is how the people who voted for Trump have felt the past 8 years.  Obviously, I disagree and voted for Hillary, but I think I finally understand what it is we have to do in order to engage with one another productively.  We need to engage with one another on those feelings of fear and marginalization, not on tax policy, trade policy, and how to wage the war on terror. We need to acknowledge those feelings in one another and try to understand that they come from a place of honesty, without ill intention. We have to drop the facade of superiority, leave our armor on the moral high ground, and meet one another on neutral ground to listen to one another, without having the next shot already loaded in the cannon and ready to fire.  We have to explain how we feel, without insisting that the other person come around to our way of thinking.  I do not suggest that we abandon our principles and advocating for them. I do not suggest that we do not stand and defend others and ourselves against vitriol and hatred whenever it comes our way.  I do, however, insist that if we continue on our current path of discourse, we will do nothing but continue to talk past one another and hurt each other.

Doctor Who

A Hot Mic Was in the Room Where It Happened

A former colleague of mine grew up in Chicago.  She would sometimes tell me stories about what it was like living in the city decades ago.  I remember being horrified by one story in particular- a story about walking to and from school.  Apparently, she needed to avoid shortcuts through alleyways because of the men who hung around on her route; they liked to prey on girls.  But even if she stuck to broad daylight, these men would still grab breasts, bottoms, and anything else they could get their hands on for a quick attack and run.  One thing that still makes me inwardly cringe when I think about it, is that these disgusting men would walk up to girls, including her, and grabbed their crotches.  I couldn’t fathom the sick, twisted audacity that would compel men to rob girls and young women of their sense of power, safety, and dignity.  I was appalled that no one would do anything to protect those girls, including the police.

Talk less.
Never did I think I would hear about something like this again, especially in the context of a presidential campaign.  Unless you’ve lost power from Hurricane Matthew or are over at Fox News with your fingers in your ears, yelling, “LALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALA,” you’ve heard or read the transcript from the vile Access Hollywood video in which Donald Trump and Billy Bush engage in locker room banter misogynistic conversation about Trump’s methods for committing sexual assault against whomever he pleases.  Before yesterday, Trump was able to get away with his misogynistic, (and racist and xenophobic and bigoted) behavior and speech because it was only alleged, as in the case with statements made by former cast and crew members from The Apprentice, or it wasn’t bad enough for major Republicans to throw up their hands and say, “I’m out!”  (“But he’s not a polished politician and speaks from the heart!”  BLORCH!)  But now it’s on tape.  It’s undeniably Trump.  And it’s an admission of repeated sexual assault.  

He’s ne’er gonna be President now!
In any other year, in any other not bizarre reality, Donald Trump would never have been the nominee, let alone be in a tight Presidential race.  A good portion of his supporters are angry, die-hard Republicans who probably feel like they have nothing to lose; everything else seems to have failed them.  Then there’s the portion who are like the drunk guy at a party screaming, Wooooooo!  Most of the politicians who have gotten behind him feel they have no choice if they want to get reelected or keep Republicans in power.  But Trump’s declaration of grabbing pussy has been enough to make the needle on the record scratch, and make them all sit up and pay attention.  GOP bigwigs met in DC last night to discuss what to do moving forward, (even though it’s too late to replace Trump on the ballot.)  Various party leaders, down-ballot candidates, and others began putting out statements ranging from the kind of condemnation you’d hear from a principal in a John Hughes movie, (Paul Ryan, Reince Priebus) to a refusal to endorse Trump any longer, (Jason Chaffetz, Barbara Comstock) to outright silence, (running mate, Mike Pence, dismissed his press pool when the news broke and later fled from reporters in silence.)  I have to say, the Republican collective clutching of pearls, followed by polite outrage, is a little hysterical to me.  “Oh my stars, (and bars!)  I can’t believe Donald Trump would say something so vulgar!”  Really?  This entire campaign he’s shown you who he is.  But there are none so blind as those who will not see.  

I’d rather be divisive, than indecisive.
Trump’s comments were repugnant and felt so violating that I felt nauseous as I fast-forwarded over the video whenever it was replayed on the news.  Yet, it’s the responses from many of Trump’s fellow Republicans which make me feel truly objectified and stripped of my power and dignity.  Anything short of a condemnation of Trump’s words AND actions, and a repudiation of Donald Trump and his candidacy, is feckless and meaningless.  It demonstrates to women in this country that elections are more important than their dignity.  It is reinforcement of rape culture at the highest level.
It is also not enough to say that Trump’s words were vile and that women should never be spoken about this way.  Trump didn’t just say that he thought about sexually assaulting women.  He claimed to have sexually assaulted women, simply because he could.  Because of CNN’s Erin Burnett, we also know that Trump wasn’t just talking a big game.  (Related, Scottie Nell Hughes can go jump up her own ass.  Also related, Ana Navarro is kickass!)  How, in the name of Zorp, can we have a president who openly admits to sexually assaulting women?  It doesn’t matter if it was 10 years ago, an excuse some supporters have used to brush off how serious this is.  It is not as though the “mistakes” he made have a shelf life and no longer affect the lives of the women he assaulted after 5, 10, 15 years have passed.  To elect a President Trump will revictimize these women, reinforcing their lack of power against such a predator.

They don’t need to know me; they don’t like you.
The call by some, e.g. Rep. Comstock, for Mike Pence to replace Donald Trump at the top of ticket infuriates me!  How the fuck does that even make sense?  Set aside the fact that the man is xenophobic, unethical, (“In a unanimous opinion, the appeals court said Gov. Pence acted illegally in accepting federal money for refugee resettlement and then refusing to use that money to aid Syrian refugees.”) homophobic, (and this….this list is not exhaustive) anti women’s rights, and the governor of a state where he might not have been reelected, as Hoosiers weren’t thrilled with him, overall.  You still have a man, who claims to be a Christian, and is so thirsty to be President that he hitched himself to Donald Trump’s wagon.  Clearly he has poor judgment and an ambition which outweighs his personal relationship with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  You have a man who lied his way through the Vice Presidential debate.  Also a man of faith, Tim Kaine’s aggravated crazy eyes led me to believe he was going to call upon God to smite Pence for breaking the 9th Commandment.  You have a man who has repeatedly refused to answer how he can square his faith with the words and actions of Donald Trump. You have a man who seems like a measured, reasonable politician in interviews and on the debate stage, but who hid from reporters, rather than denounce Donald Trump for assaulting women.  You have a man who, after taking time to collect himself and get the campaign messaging on point, still refuses to flee from sin.  From the article, referring to Trump’s debate tomorrow night, “…he looks ‘forward to the opportunity he has to show what is in his heart when he goes before the nation tomorrow night.'”  Are you fucking kidding me?  He has shown us what’s in his heart, repeatedly!  And no, Trump didn’t apologize.  He said he’s sorry he’s done dumb stuff, sorry if anyone was offended, but the Clintons started it!  You know, at the Vice Presidential debate, Mike Pence used the line that so many pro-lifers use: We judge a society by how it treats its most vulnerable citizens.  Perhaps he should reflect on that and apply it in his own life, rather than tacitly condoning the actions of a monster.

You want a revolution? I want a revelation!
You know, my colleague and friend didn’t just suffer through her assaults and humiliation until she moved away. No, she learned to fight back.  Finally, she had had enough, as one would-be pervert discovered one day.  This soft-spoken grandmother narrowed her eyes as she recounted how she squeezed his balls and commanded, “Don’t you ever touch me again!”
In November, we women need to grab our country by the balls and say NO!  We cannot allow a predator to claim the Oval Office, nor can we ignore the behavior and words of the politicians who have continued to stand by this predator.  We reaffirm our power with each vote we cast!  Together we will say, “Fuck you, Donald Trump!  You cannot do whatever you want!”