Your Outrage Is Bullshit

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So Donald Trump’s “Grab Her By The Pussy” video was leaked last week, and predictably, everyone is all up in arms, as they have been every time he says something shocking, which is pretty much every week.

News anchors are outraged. Republicans are outraged. Democrats are outraged. Social media is outraged. Everyone is all, “How can he talk like that? That’s sexual assault! He’s talking about sexual assault!”

That outrage is bullshit.

Every single one of you has heard a guy talk like that. Maybe he didn’t say, “Grab her by the pussy,” but he said something equally, if not more, offensive. You’ve heard it more than once.

I’ve heard guys talk like that more times than I can count. And I don’t make it a point to hang out with douchy guys, but that is the culture we live in. Women are consumables, and this language – this behaviour – is a testament to how superficial and disposable we are.

If you tell me you’ve never heard someone say something like what Donald Trump said, you’re lying. You have. If you didn’t realize at the time how offensive it was, and you needed the world’s outrage at Donald Trump to make it clear to you, well then let it be clear now.

You’ve heard it before.

And you didn’t just hear it in the locker room. It was in the car. It was at the mall. It was hanging out with your friends. It was in the boardroom.

Remember when Donald Trump said, “She had blood coming out of her…whatever..” and everyone was all, “What did he just say?!?!”

I remember being in an employee meeting ten years ago. In a bank. With a Vice President. A Vice President who, in that meeting, said the words, “I think she was in a bad mood…I don’t know…she must’ve been on her period or something.”

If you’re a guy and you’re reading this, check yourself. You’ve said a questionable thing or two or twenty.

Everyone was so mad when Trump said, “I just start kissing them. I don’t even wait.”

Guys, you never did that? Never kissed a girl without asking? Never touched a girl who didn’t want it? Here’s a tip: If she pushed you away, she didn’t want it. If she cringed, she didn’t want it. If she turned her head, tried to wrestle free, told you to let go, she didn’t want it.

You’ve all done it. Or you know someone who has.

I remember the first time.

I was in a crowded movie theatre. I was 15 years old. The man next to me put his hand on my knee.

I was young. Innocent. I didn’t know what to do. I wondered if he had mistaken my knee for the arm rest. I was scared.

It took just one hot minute before his hand started to move up my leg. I shoved it off fast, then didn’t move a muscle. He didn’t touch me again.

How many women have been touched by men on a crowded bus?

All of us.

How many women have been grabbed by a guy in a club?

All of us.

Guys, did you ever see a girl you thought was hot? Did you ever grab her around the waist and hold her tight, saying something like, “Hey baby, come here. I wanna talk to you.”

Ever hold on to her waist, her arm, her wrist, so she couldn’t get away? Ever seen someone else do it? Have you ever seen a woman be assaulted like that? Have you ever assaulted a woman like that?

Don’t act surprised and offended by Donald Trump. You know someone just like him. You may be just like him.

Don’t act indignant over what he said and did when you have said or done the same thing, or have witnessed someone saying or doing the same thing and not intervened. You didn’t shut them down.

You didn’t defend the woman who was grabbed.

You didn’t help the woman who was trying to get away from unwanted attention.

You didn’t call out the friend or teammate or coworker or boss or vice president for saying something so insanely asinine and offensive that you almost couldn’t believe that they said it.

They said it. They did it. You probably have too.

Your outrage is bullshit.

Trump isn’t an anomaly. He’s just another guy.

**Don’t even come at me with your Not All Guys crap. DON’T EVEN.**

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Michael Franti, Part: The First

I have a lot to say about what Michael Franti has been up to in recent years, and one day I will. But for now, I want to take it way back.

So it’s my second first date with Stu, (weird, right? But true. Second first date.) We’re at his place. And he’s telling me about this artist he really digs named Michael Franti, and puts this song on first.

“Love, why did you have to go away?” Those are the first words I ever heard Michael say.

They hit me hard. I was hooked from the start.

To this day, this song makes me want to cry, because it’s pretty much how I feel about the world almost all the time.

And even if his musical path has gone in a direction I may find hard to follow, I’ll never forget how much he inspired me as an artist. How much fun I had at the 15 or so Michael Franti and Spearhead shows I’ve been to. And I’ll never forget sharing our wedding day with him.

And this is is where it started.

 

 

 

 

19 Things

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1. I support the rights of gay people to live without persecution, with all the same rights and freedoms as everybody else.

2. I support the rights of women to make their own choices with their bodies.

3. I believe in government-funded healthcare and education.

4. I support Black Lives Matter, and I tried to join the NAACP.

5. I believe that the entire criminal justice system in the United States needs a complete overhaul.

6. I think I will break if I see one more video of a black man being shot in the street.

7. I don’t like to eat animals, because I think it is mean to the animals, and that matters to me.

8. I am against routine infant male circumcision.

9. I support the right of the Palestinian people to live with dignity and humanity.

10. I support the right of Israeli’s to live in peace and security.

11. I believe there is no place for religion in the school system.

12. I think it is utterly shameful that in Ontario, public money is used to fund Catholic schools.

13. I think most of the news media is entertainment, not journalism.

14. I think that large-scale animal agriculture is the biggest threat to our planet.

15. I cry when I think about Syria.

16. I cried when it was over for Bernie Sanders.

17. I believe that if everyone doesn’t have them, they’re not rights, they’re privileges.

18. I believe that injustice will never be abolished until those who are served by it are outraged by it*.

19. I believe we’re all just walking each other home*.

 

*With special thanks to Plato and Ram Das for being more eloquent than I could ever be.

Only love can win

http://www.catholicteacherresources.com/2012/02/peace-prayer-service/

I’m going to say some stuff here that some people may not like.  And that’s okay.  We’re allowed to have a difference of opinion and still love each other around here.  If you can’t do that, allow me to tip my hat to you as you make your way over to another, less offensive blog for now.  Hope to see you back here real soon.

So here’s the deal:

There’s some shit going down on the other side of the world.  It’s all over the news on tv and on the radio and in the paper and in social media.

A lot of people have been all up in my Facebook these days with their opinions on the recent flareup of violence in the Middle East.  I’ve got people filling up my newsfeed with pro-Israeli reports and other people filling up my newsfeed with pro-Palestinian reports.  And other people filling up my newsfeed with cat videos, which is the most offensive of all.  But I digress.

I’m not an expert in politics in general, and I’m certainly not the most knowledgeable about Mideast politics.  It seems that the issues run so deep and so far back and are so tangled up in culture and religion and economics that to truly understand the heart of the matter would take years of study and conversation and to be quite honest with you, my heart just can’t take it.  Just scratching the surface of it right now is almost too much to bear.

Because I have a daughter who is both Jewish and Muslim.  She has blood coursing through her veins that carries the history of slavery and oppression, of conquerors and pharohs, and of people who just can’t freaking get along.  And truly, I worry sometimes about the weight she will carry in her life because of it.

The day will come when she will ask me what side I’m on.  My opinion will matter not only because I’m her mother, but because I’m a Muslim woman who chose a Jewish man.  And I still choose him, happily and wholeheartedly, every single day.

And also I know, in her heart, she will be asking me what side she should be on.  But how can she pick a side?  How can she turn her face to her left, trying to deny her right?  How can she pretend that choosing in favour of one side isn’t also choosing against another, and that would mean choosing against herself?  How can she choose between her mother and her father?

In our house, in our family, she will never have to.  I am committed to this with all my heart, and I will shoot down and knock out anyone in our extended families who try to sway her to one side.

We are not going to get into who’s right and who’s wrong.  Both sides have arguments that are valid, and both sides have arguments that hold no water with me.  So they can have their reasons, and they are welcome to them.  And that’s what we will teach our daughter.

And when she asks how she is to choose a side, we will tell her she doesn’t have to.  All she has to choose is love.  Each side feels they are right.  Each sides feels they’ve been wronged.  Love them both.  Honour them both.  Fight for them both.  Not for one side to win, but for both sides to win.  Not for one side to conquer,overcome, and defeat, but for love to conquer, overcome and defeat.

We will not pick sides.  We will simply hold up love as our standard.  That’s all she needs to know.

I remain hopeful

It’s election night in the United States, and the world is holding its breath to see if Barak Obama will maintain his seat on the throne of the world for another four years, or if Mitt Romney will usurp him as head of the free world.

Mitt.  Damn.  I hate that name.

But anyway, I digress.

Four years ago, I watched the election results unfolding with excitement while sitting on a friend’s couch, as Obama rode his “Yes We Can!” magic carpet all the way to the White House, with no real opposition.  While results are still coming in, I feel fairly confident that Obama will ride that carpet back to the White House, though he may be holding on to the tassels this time around.

In 2008, it was heart-stopping to think that a black man could be President of the United States.  The excitement around that possibility was palpable.  After Obama won, a downtown movie theatre showed his inaugural address to those of us who lined up in the cold to watch.  Even in Toronto the feeling was electric.  My favourite line from that speech was one he addressed to those opposing forces in the world: We will extend our hand, if you will unclench your fist.

Magic.

And now it’s four years later.  Another election, another couch, another spark of hope for the future.  But maybe not quite as bright a spark as the last time around.  The economy in the States is still a mess, family and national debt is mounting, and unemployment remains higher than everyone is comfortable with.  In all this, hope is slowly being displaced by desperation.

Even though this isn’t my country, it is the country that has the most direct effect on what happens in Canada.  That gives me a vested interest in what happens south of the border, and I remain hopeful.

I remain hopeful because even though he didn’t do everything he said he would, I truly believe Barak Obama spent the last four years doing his best.

I remain hopeful because he repealed ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, a policy so revolting and unconscionable that its time on the books will certainly go down as a blight on the country that instated it in the first place.

I remain hopeful because Obama finally finally finally came out in support of gay marriage, throwing his support behind the love and lives of all the citizens of his country.

I remain hopeful because even though his opponents tried to stop him at every turn, Obama pushed forward with an agenda that would ensure health care for every citizen in the country.  It seems baffling to me that this should have been a bold move, rather than an obvious one.  But bold it was.  And he did it.

I remain hopeful because even though she didn’t win the nomination, Hilary Clinton came awfully close last time.  A strong, independent, assertive woman.  I do believe we will see a woman sitting on that throne before the end of my life.  Maybe even more than one.

I remain hopeful because as Barak Obama lit a spark at the 2004 Democratic National Convention that grew into a fire that led him to victory, I saw a new spark lit at the DNC this year when Julian Castro spoke with passion and engagement to a crowd that went wild.  He gave me hope that there are still good politicians coming through the ranks – people that will invigorate new generations of voters in the years to come.

But mostly, I remain hopeful because I have to.  Without hope, without optimism, what’s left?  A life of resignation.  A life of inevitable disappointment.  A life of long sighs and downcast eyes and waiting for the next axe to fall.  I don’t want that to be the world I live in.  I don’t want that to be the world my daughter lives in.  So I remain hopeful.  No matter what happens.