Archive for the ‘America today’ Category

I’m not the confrontational type. I’m not the loud type. I’m not the “in your face” type.

But there are changes going on inside of me; inside of my mind. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and I know time is short. Maybe it’s because I am just fed up with things. Maybe it’s because old feelings and memories that I have suppressed for decades have come tumbling back into my mind. I’m seeing things that I saw before but didn’t face and I’m facing them, at least inside of me. I’m angry at the way things are. The next step? I think I have to start speaking out; start acting. I have to try to help bring about some changes.

What kind of things? Well, I keep seeing, day after day after day, instances where women get blamed for men’s actions and poor decisions. Yesterday, I read about a court case where a Yale student was exonerated of rape charges even after the jury was shown video tape footage of a very drunk girl being dragged to her room, barely conscious. The young woman was asked, in court, by the judge, why she had chosen to wear a close fitting cat costume to the Halloween party where she encountered her assailant. The judge asked her why she hadn’t worn a Cinderella costume or something  “like that.” So the male walks free and the female is left not only with the trauma of waking up after passing out only to find that her clothes are off and the guy is on top of her, but she is also left with the humiliation of having to testify in open court and then called a liar. The jury’s verdict called her a liar. The judge’s questions called her a liar. Yale called her a liar. They failed to stand by a female student in favor of a male student.

Why is it that when a girl gets pregnant she is blamed for it; often she is said to have seduced the guy. Why is it that no one blames the guy? It’s pretty difficult for a girl to force a guy to get her pregnant. Possible but difficult, yet it’s the girl’s fault.

Why is it that when a woman is sexually assaulted, she’s to blame because she wore provocative clothing or smiled at a stranger?

And this one, while unrelated, still gets at the point that women are always blamed. Why is it that when a man cheats on his wife or partner, it’s the woman’s fault? She didn’t pay attention to him. She didn’t dress nice for him. She didn’t wear makeup for him. She didn’t hold his interest. It’s her fault he couldn’t keep his zipper up in the presence of other women.

Yup, time after time, it’s the woman who gets blamed. It’s always our fault.

And this all keeps women down. It keeps us from speaking up and reporting attacks. It keeps us oppressed. In our place.

It won’t end or change significantly in my lifetime but I have daughters and a granddaughter and I pray that they will see this change in their life times. For now, all I can do is express my anger over the way things are and I can support women who have been victimized by the system. I can tell my stories of my experiences; there are more than one. I was blamed. Then I got smart and stopped reporting them because no one would believe me anyway. It’s time to speak up in the hopes that others will benefit.

Changes. Lots of them. The time has come.


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I remember being in middle school and learning about the political process and about voting.  We watched films about how to be involved and how important it was to get people to vote.  In more than one of the films, I saw volunteers driving people to the polling booths to vote.  That has stayed with me for over forty years.

I remember when I was in high school and close to voting age. As I got closer and closer to 18, I got more and more excited about voting.  And once I turned 18 I voted in person in every single election.  I did notice that not everyone was as enthusiastic as I was about voting and about getting out the vote.  As the years passed, it was more and more disappointing to see that there wasn’t a big push to help those that needed help getting to the polls or to get people registered to vote.

At one time, when my kids were in elementary school, their school district was involved in a bond measure.  We got everyone involved.  The kids went door to door passing out leaflets about the bond measure and talked about what it would mean to them personally if the bond measure passed.  I was willingly a part of the team that made phone calls in the evenings to inform people about the bond measure and what it would mean to the school district.  Then we called to remind people to vote in the coming days and then on election day we called again to see if people had voted and if they could not get to their polling place we sent someone to their home to pick them up and give them a ride.  I loved that campaign and I felt that I had made a difference when our bond measure passed.

Sadly, it just doesn’t happen anymore. There have been very few times that I’ve seen a push for votes.  A real push…the kind where you call people and see if they need help getting to the polls.  The kind where you answer phones and questions about where a person’s polling place is.  I think that it has a direct effect on people voting.

Some years ago, I moved to Oregon where there is no voting in person.  It is all done by mail.  You register by mail.  You get your ballot in the mail and you return it in the mail.  It’s not the same.  I just don’t feel invested in the system when I cannot physically vote at a polling place.  I see the benefits of voting by mail but I don’t feel like it is for me.  In most cases I don’t even make up my mind about who or what I will vote for until the day before the election.  I can’t see filling out my ballot weeks before the election and then returning it.  In fact, I don’t mail anything.  I really don’t like and don’t trust the U.S. Postal Service so I don’t use it.  I wouldn’t trust them with my ballot.  And then there is the part where I would have to remember to actually mail it in time.

It’s not the same.  It just isn’t.  And in this case, I think it is sad that things are changing.  I think it is sad that we don’t have that one on one personal experience of voting our ballot or of participating in the process and helping others to participate in it.

It’s not the same.

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