Bill, love, marriage, music, musings, travel

It can be so good to be with someone who takes you places you never dreamed you’d be…

I took the featured photo yesterday, when Bill and I were at the bottom of a fairly deep cave. Not everyone could have taken that journey with Bill. I know his first wife would not have been able to… at least not yesterday. It was just one of many things we’ve been able to do together, but may not have been able to do with someone else.

I know it’s corny, but I get a lot of inspiration from music. This afternoon, as Bill prepares for yet another trip to Bavaria on business, I’m reminded of an old John Denver song. If you know anything about Germany, you might know that many Germans LOVE John Denver’s music. There’s a fair bet you’ll hear a stirring rendition of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” at any fest where there’s live music.

John Denver wasn’t actually the only songwriter for that song. It was also written by Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert, a then married couple who were famously members of the 70s act, Starland Vocal Band. They were the ones who sang “Afternoon Delight”, a total guilty pleasure song about nooners. Danoff was also one of former President Bill Clinton’s classmates at Georgetown University.

I like “Take Me Home, Country Roads” as much as any survivor of the 1970s does, and I’m sure to join in singing it at any German fest. But the song in my head today is another one of John Denver’s traveling songs. It’s one that I first heard sung by Olivia Newton-John; she covered it in 1975 for her Have You Never Been Mellow album (another guilty pleasure song for me). I was a BIG Olivia fan in the 70s… still love her music today, may she rest in peace. Behold:

John Denver wrote “Follow Me”, but I identify a lot with Olivia’s cover. On the other hand, it really is John’s song, and his doesn’t include a banjo. She also changed the last couple of lines of lyrics, which kind of changes the meaning of the song.
John Denver performs his song in 1974. The words to this song make me kind of verklempt.

Check out the lyrics…

It’s by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done,
To be so in love with you and so alone.

Follow me where I go, what I do, who I know
Make it part of you to be a part of me.
Follow me up and down,
All the way and all around,
Take my hand and say you’ll follow me.

It’s long been on my mind,
You know it’s been a long, long time,
I’ve tried to find the way that I can make you understand
The way I feel about you,
And just how much I need you
To be there where I can talk to you
When there’s no one else around.

Follow me where I go, what I do, who I know
Make it part of you to be a part of me.
Follow me up and down,
All the way and all around,
Take my hand and say you’ll follow me.

You see I’d like to share my life with you
And show you things I’ve seen,
Places that I’m going to
Places where I’ve been
To have you there beside me
To never be alone
And all the time that you’re with me,
We will be at home

Follow me where I go, what I do, who I know
Make it part of you to be a part of me.
Follow me up and down,
All the way…
Take my hand and I will follow you.

I just wrote a travel post about the upcoming adventures Bill and I are looking forward to having very soon. The gist of the post was about how I’ve been fretting a little bit about my ability to do some of the things we’ve always done on our trips. I’m not a spring chicken anymore, after all. But we went to the Kubach Cave yesterday, and I managed to make it up and down many, many steps so that we might see the inside of one of Germany’s show caves.

When we got to the bottom of the cave, I looked over at Bill and said, “Here’s yet another thing you’d never be able to do with Ex.” It’s no secret that I dislike my husband’s ex wife for many valid reasons. But, the truth is, she and Bill were completely incompatible. Even if she’d been a perfect sweetheart to him, he would not have been able to go to that cave with her. She currently lacks the physical stamina or ability to make such a trip.

Even when Ex was a lot younger, she was never one to go for physically challenging walking trips. Bill said she had a tendency to “wilt” in hot weather. She was more likely to swim for long periods of time, which Bill enjoys a lot less– mainly because he doesn’t like being seen in a bathing suit. He has, however, started to appreciate the nude experiences. I doubt he would have ever done that with Ex, either. 😉

Checking out her recent social media, I see that Ex just had surgery on her ankle, which I know has given her trouble for a long time. Bill told me it stemmed from an accident she had, trying to garden with bare feet. She stepped in a hole, lost her balance, then fell over and broke her ankle. Apparently, it never properly healed. Or maybe she got hurt again and injured the other ankle.

Anyway, she just got surgery, and the meds made her sick, causing her to have to go back to the hospital. Even if she enjoyed climbing stairs and walking a lot, she literally would not have been able to go to the cave yesterday.

Thinking back on our almost 21 years together, I am amazed at the places Bill and I have managed to go, and places we still plan to see. Given the fact that neither of us ever had a lot of dating partners, it’s astonishing that we ended up together, and we’re able to have so many incredible adventures.

It’s true that a lot of the reason we’ve been able to do these things is because we’ve made certain choices. We don’t have children together. We don’t own a home. We live in Europe, so it’s a lot easier to travel to some of the world’s exotic places. We don’t currently have the tax burden in Europe that we’d have in the United States. I’ve also been making a very concerted effort to pay off debt.

I think the number one reason why we’ve been able to go on these adventures together, though, is because we want to do it. We like each other’s company; we like to do a lot of the same activities; and we make a point of seeing places and doing things together. The end result is that when we pose for pictures, like the one below, we look like we’re having a good time… because we are.

Granted, I took this photo before I climbed 456 steps one way…

I think if I could give my younger self some advice, I’d tell her not to worry about being dateless in her 20s. There’s a good chance there is someone out there waiting… the right person. And in my case, there was. On the other hand, I also know that sometimes there is no “right person”, so you have to make things work alone.

I was in the middle of trying to make things work on my own when Bill came into my life. He had a lot of baggage, and common sense would have told me to run far away from him. But I couldn’t help but be enchanted by his good nature and willingness to laugh at my jokes… some of which are pretty obscene. So I took a chance on him… and he took a chance on me, after having been through an abusive relationship with his ex wife. Now we’re both smiling, and having many wonderful adventures together.

We have been literally living John Denver’s words in “Follow Me”… which I’ll admit, we’re privileged enough to be able to do somewhat easily. I realize that not everyone can literally follow another person. Perhaps another way to take that song is metaphorically. You don’t have to physically follow someone to be on the same wavelength. You can follow them mentally and emotionally, too. For Bill and me, I’ll admit… it’s easy. We both want to do it. For others, I don’t know how easy it is.

I just know that John Denver’s words really speak to me today, as I think about how Bill and I followed each other up and down a steep cave’s steps and had an experience of a lifetime. I do mean that, because we probably won’t be visiting that cave again. But we will visit other caves… and I know that, at least for now, we can still take each other’s hands and follow each other. And I am very grateful that we are still so able to do that.

I also know that for as much as I dislike Ex… if she hadn’t been willing to let go of Bill at the precise time she did, we probably would not be having this life together. So a small part of me will always be grateful to her for that. I’m so glad I can follow Bill… and in turn, he follows me (he’s one of the few and proud, actually). And not just on social media, either. 😀

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controversies, lessons learned, marriage, narcissists, politics, religion, sex, sexism, slut shamers

Is he really like a male version of Monica Lewinsky?

A few days ago, I started reading Giancarlo Granda’s book, Off the Deep End: Jerry and Becki Falwell and the Collapse of an Evangelical Dynasty. For those who don’t know, Giancarlo Granda was the infamous “pool boy” who had a rather kinky affair with Becki Falwell, while Jerry Falwell, Jr. sat by and watched. The affair, which began in 2012, was in the news during the height of the pandemic. People were buzzing about how this powerful couple, supposedly evangelical Christians leading a very famous Baptist university in Virginia, were drinking, partying, and having wild sex with a young guy from Miami.

I’m nowhere near finished reading the book now, but I don’t think it’ll take too long to get through it. It started off kind of slow, but then jumped into high gear. Just this morning over breakfast, I got a couple of chapters further into the sordid saga. I read aloud to Bill and we talked about Granda’s story, as well as his excuses.

There’s also a Hulu documentary about this… Maybe I’ll watch it.

As I read about how the Falwells lured the handsome 20 year old man (circa 2012) into their world, I feel a strange mixture of disgust, shock, amazement, and basic empathy for Granda. He admits early on that he was fascinated with business and the idea of making a lot of money. He was a good looking, ambitious, and somewhat naive guy, looking to break in with the high rollers of Miami, and he took steps to make that idea come to fruition. That’s why he was working as a “pool boy” at the Fontainebleau, a luxury hotel in Miami, where rich and famous people hang out to relax and make business deals.

Granda didn’t know much at all about the Falwells when he was approached by Becki, an attractive brunette with brown eyes who was, at that time, in her late 40s. He just knew that anyone staying at the Fontainebleau had lots of money… enough to rent a daybed for $150, run up four or five figure restaurant and bar tabs and tip accordingly. Becki was fit and attractive, and Granda was a young man in his sexual prime. So when she invited him to meet her at a Days Inn, he agreed– even though she added that her husband wanted to watch them together.

I suppose he figured this was a one in a lifetime opportunity, one of life’s little adventures that can only come up for the young and daring. Maybe it would lead to a lucrative business deal. Like a lot of young folks who work in hospitality, Granda was focused on making money and connections. I’m sure the prospect of having sex with an older woman also appealed to him, even if Granda wasn’t too keen on the idea of her 50 year old husband watching them and jerking off in the shadows.

According to Granda, Becki quickly attached herself to him… and in a weird way, so did her husband. The two did all they could to stroke Granda’s ego, to get him to continue having the affair. Later, they invited Granda into their business dealings, and were it not for the inevitable implosion of the relationship, he might be a high ranking executive at Liberty University today. But there was a big scandal, which caused Jerry Falwell, Jr. and his wife to fall very publicly from grace.

As I was reading Granda’s book this morning, I remembered the Monica Lewinsky scandal, which happened in the late 1990s. Lewinsky, for those who don’t know, was an ambitious White House intern from California. She wasn’t exactly an innocent, blushing virgin when she encountered then President Bill Clinton. In 2ooo, Lewinsky was a guest on Larry King Live, and she admitted that when she was barely out of high school, she had an affair with a 40 year old married man. So, although she was a very young woman when she served as an unpaid White House intern in the 1990s, Monica had some experience. And she knew damned well Bill Clinton was, and still is, a married man when she engaged in oral sex with him in the Oval Office.

Still… I will concede that it was probably difficult for her to consider not giving Clinton what he wanted. It’s not like she didn’t have prior experience. She had big dreams and lofty goals, and Clinton was the President of the United States! I’m sure, in her mind, blowing the Commander in Chief might lead to good things for her future. Talk about landing a big fish! In that way, she and Giancarlo had something in common, I guess.

Of course, Monica in the wake of her scandal with Bill Clinton, wound up being the butt of jokes for years. People had no respect for her, and she was relentlessly slut shamed and lambasted for her inappropriate relations with Bill Clinton. By contrast, I don’t remember a lot of people being quite as harsh regarding the Clintons.

Sure, many Republicans were deriding Bill Clinton for being immoral and unfaithful. Curiously, a lot of those same people have few issues with Donald Trump’s disgusting philandering behaviors. But, I didn’t hear a lot of people hurling shame at Clinton for accepting sexual favors from a woman young enough to be his daughter. That attitude certainly didn’t come from people who voted for him. I remember a lot of them saying that Clinton’s sex life was irrelevant, as they ridiculed Lewinsky for sullying their hero’s reputation.

Eventually the whole Clinton/Lewinsky sex scandal thing… blew over (see what I did there?). We don’t talk that much about Monica Lewinsky now. She’s 50 years old and living in California. But Giancarlo Granda brought up her name in his book, and I couldn’t help but kind of nod… as I’d thought of her, too, as he related his story about how he got trapped in an extremely inappropriate sexual relationship with the wife of the now former president of a huge evangelical university in my home state of Virginia.

But then I thought about the situation some more. I determined that Granda’s situation with the Falwells actually wasn’t that much like Lewinsky’s with the Clintons. First of all, Granda didn’t really know much about the Falwells when he ran into them at his job in Miami. Monica Lewinsky, by contrast, certainly knew who Bill Clinton was. He was the very obviously married President of the United States.

While the Falwells are also married, Becki invited Granda to engage in sexual acts with her with her husband’s cooperation and express encouragement. Indeed, Jerry Falwell, Jr. actually watched the two of them doing their business. Hillary, on the other hand, didn’t consent to Monica’s affair with Bill Clinton.

Secondly, the relationship Monica Lewinsky had with Bill Clinton was relatively short lived. There were nine encounters between November 1995 and March 1997, none of which involved sexual intercourse. Granda writes that he never had intercourse with Becki Falwell, but there was everything else, and the relationship didn’t end when the sex part was over. Granda was involved in the Falwell’s business dealings, and continued an emotional relationship with them.

And finally… while I don’t condone rich, powerful people taking advantage of others who are much younger and ambitious, there is a difference between how men and women are viewed in these situations. I know a lot of people are trying to work toward gender equality in the United States, but the truth is, there’s still a powerful force trying to keep women down. A woman who has an affair with a married man is still often considered a homewrecking whore. A man who has an affair with a “cougar” is often considered a lucky guy. And a lot of people, looking at what Granda got out of the deal, would say that he was lucky. This was a young, handsome, healthy, ambitious man who was looking for a way into the rich and fabulous lifestyle. He found a way through the Falwells… and all he had to do was stroke Becki Falwell’s ego and keep her entertained.

Lest anyone misunderstand me– I’m not saying I think Granda is lucky, because I don’t. I’m saying other people– those who are a lot more cynical than I am– would say he was. I do think the Falwells took advantage of Granda and even victimized him on some level, but in fairness to the Falwells, Granda was an adult at age 20. He knew Becki Falwell was a guest at the hotel where he was working. He knew she was married. Like a lot of people, he let his desire for money, power, and sexual gratification override his common sense. Yes, he was young and naive, and the Falwells were rich and powerful, but he had to know that on some level, what he was doing was wrong, and could potentially to lead to disaster. The Falwells actually brought Granda into their family and treated him like a son– which is, in its own way, especially gross. If he was like a son to them, that would make Becki like his “mom”. Eew.

Monica Lewinsky certainly wasn’t innocent in her situation, either. But she got a hell of a lot more flak for what she did than Granda ever could. The only reason people are talking about Granda today is because he wrote a bombshell book. It’s not even a super popular book, from what I can tell. People were making trashy Monica Lewinsky jokes years after her affair with the former POTUS was revealed. When she resurfaced a few years ago to give a TED Talk, the jokes and criticisms began anew. While her notoriety helped her in some ways, it also significantly hindered her, particularly when she wanted to be hired for certain jobs in communications and marketing.

A lot of people were snarking about this when it first came out… and had very little empathy for Monica’s plight.

I don’t know what leads some people to have sexual relationships with people much older than they are. Monica was 18 years old when she got involved with the 40 year old man. What did they have in common? My guess is that she was looking for someone mature who could provide emotional and financial security of some kind. While it was legal for her to be with a man that age, my guess is that the guy manipulated her. Later, when she had a chance to do sexual favors for Clinton, it probably didn’t seem that wrong or inappropriate to her. Again, it wasn’t like she didn’t have any prior experience.

Granda writes that he was manipulated, groomed, and victimized, too. But he freely admits that his motivation was making money and getting an inroad into the high level real estate business world. In both cases, I think the young people involved were left with significant regrets. Granda claims he was “used”, but I would submit that he used the Falwells, too. He saw them as a ticket to financial success in the business world, even though they were a married couple and in charge of a huge Christian university.

I hope to be reviewing Granda’s book soon. I just wanted to write about this theme while it was fresh in my head. Granda does bring up Lewinsky and compares his situation to hers. There are some similarities, but I think the lingering effects of Monica’s case were much more serious in the long run. She’s a woman who got involved with one of the most recognizable and respected people on the planet. Clinton never made her part of his family, or brought her into the family business. When it was over between them, she was branded a homewrecker, while Clinton’s reputation wasn’t damaged that much at all. In fact, check out this sympathetic song…

Eric Schwartz says Clinton got a blow job… which is not so “bad” in the grand scheme of things. If Giancarlo Granda had been a woman who had sex with Jerry Falwell, Jr., I’d pretty much guarantee the people of Liberty University would be calling Granda a “slut” and forgiving Falwell.

Granda is a man who didn’t even really know much about the Falwells before he fell into their trap. My guess is that even before this scandal happened, Jerry Falwell, Jr. had far fewer admirers than either Bill or Hillary Clinton still have. And some of us– myself included– had never even heard of Becki Falwell before this situation came to light. But this story is just a reminder that a lot of people in high places are probably folks you wouldn’t actually want to know… because so many of them got to where they are by doing yucky, hypocritical, immoral things.

The Bible even tells us this…

“Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

Matthew 19:24

I’m not a particularly religious person myself, and clearly neither are the Falwells. But they sure had no problem using the God fearing to fly the Liberty University corporate jet to get to the Fontainebleau, where they met “poor”, “hapless” Giancarlo, looking for a ticket to get to where they were. It makes me glad I decided to go to a “godless” public university, where I had the complete freedom to do as I chose, and my tuition dollars didn’t go toward satisfying the former university president’s exotic and bizarre sexual desires. Jerry Falwell, Jr.’s conduct sure doesn’t seem like very Christlike behavior to me.

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book reviews, politicians, politics

Repost: Reviewing The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents…

Happy Sunday, y’all. It’s already creeping up at 2:00 in the afternoon, and I find myself a bit uninspired after I wrote a fresh travel post. Since I’m a little blocked and don’t have a fresh topic in mind, I’m going to repost a book review that somehow never got put up in the earlier days of this blog.

This book review was written for the original Blogspot version of OH on November 23, 2015. I’m keeping it mostly as/is, so please pretend it’s 2015.

I just finished reading Ronald Kessler’s 2014 book
The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents.  Although I’m not usually one to follow politics, I do think celebrities are interesting.  Let’s face it.  A lot of high level US politicians are really celebrities more than anything else.  Ronald Kessler is an investigative journalist who has written for The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.  Many of his books are about politicians and government agencies.  The First Family Detail is Kessler’s book about what it takes for Secret Service agents to protect presidents and vice presidents and their families.  Kessler interviewed Secret Service agents who worked with all of the most recent presidents, throwing in some anecdotes about US history and what it was like for earlier presidents who didn’t have Secret Service protection.

According to Kessler, the Secret Service is underfunded and agents have no home lives.  They work long shifts and don’t get much time to sleep, let alone spend time with their families.  Many of the people who work as Secret Service agents are the type who are instinctively protective.  It’s their job to take a bullet for those they are tasked with protecting.  However, sometimes protectees don’t make it easy for them.  In fact, sometimes those being protected by the Secret Service deliberately sabotage their efforts to safeguard them from those who might do them harm.

Kessler includes stories about Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Bush and the hellraising they did, particularly when they were in college.  He writes of Joe Biden and his frequent expensive trips to Delaware, requiring agents to stay well out of sight.  Hillary Clinton gets a lot of mentions as well.  She is supposedly very difficult, something that one of Bill’s co-workers, who once had some dealings with Mrs. Clinton, verifies.  Nancy Reagan is likewise reputed to be very hard to work for.  By contrast, Laura Bush and Barbara Bush are supposedly much loved and respected by Secret Service agents.

There are some times when Kessler repeats himself.  For example, he writes several times about Mrs. Clinton and her famously nasty disposition.  He writes more than once about how Secret Service agents work all the time and are underfunded.  He repeatedly writes about Bill Clinton’s trysts with mistresses.  On the other hand, I did learn a lot about presidents as I read this book, including a few I forgot ever existed because they didn’t last very long.  

I also felt that sometimes Kessler was too political.  To me, he came off as being pro Republican.  Everybody knows that George W. Bush was a very polarizing president.  A lot of people dislike him intensely.  Kessler makes him out to be this great guy who isn’t how he seems in public.  By contrast, Bill Clinton was a very popular president, but Kessler depicts him as a complete scumbag.  While these characterizations may have truth to them, they also make Kessler seem a little biased.  It seems to me that this book should have been more objective.  Kessler should have made the observations more obviously those of the agents working with the presidents and less like they are his personal opinions.

A number of reviewers on Amazon.com have noted that The First Family Detail is much like an earlier book Kessler published.  One reviewer went as far as to comment that this book is more like an updated version of Kessler’s In The President’s Secret Service, which was published in 2009.  I haven’t read the earlier book, but enough people have mentioned the similarities between the two that I probably won’t bother with it.

Overall, I thought this was a good read, though it would have been better with a thorough editing to remove the redundancies.  It held my attention and informed me, though I will admit that some of the revelations are a bit gossipy.  I would recommend it to those who haven’t already read the other book and those who find presidents interesting.  This book puts a human face on people the vast majority of the public will never meet in person.  At the same time, the look Kessler gives to presidents and their families confirms to me that anyone who runs for president must pretty much be a narcissist.  And, if I am to believe Kessler, Hillary Clinton is likely the antichrist.  He as much as flat out says he hopes she won’t be president… or, at least many folks working for the Secret Service hope she won’t.  

ETA in 2023… I wonder what he thinks of Trump. He probably thinks Trump is awesome. Obviously, this book is a bit outdated by now.

As an Amazon Associate, I get a small commission from Amazon on sales made through my site.

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condescending twatbags, controversies, politicians, politics

“Just lie back and enjoy it…”

Today’s post is going to be about a potentially disturbing subject. Reader discretion is strongly advised… (as it is every day, but today it’s even more advised than usual… 😉 )

Yesterday, as I was writing about how I think Americans need to grow up about their gas habits, I happened to run across a horrifying news article about Michigan GOP candidate Robert Regan and his misogynistic views. I was absolutely repulsed by what he said on a Facebook livestream. I don’t understand how and why people who are running for public office are allowed to say such vile, despicable things and still have a hope in Hell of being elected.

“For the love of God, don’t vote for my dad!”

Before yesterday, I had never heard of Robert Regan. The only place I’ve ever been to in Michigan is the airport in Detroit. I do have some friends from Michigan, but that’s not where we met, and most of them don’t live there anymore. So there’s no reason I should be personally interested in Michigan’s local politics. Except lately, I have noticed a lot of incredibly disgusting comments by Michigan GOP politicians, like Garrett Soldano, who has said he thinks abortion should be outlawed because of the potential that a developing fetus might someday be President of the United States. I was grossed out enough by Soldano’s anti-woman attitude… but now, Robert Regan has him soundly beat!

Mr. Regan, who hopes to represent Michigan’s District 74 in the state legislature, was participating in a discussion sponsored by the Rescue Michigan Coalition, a conservative group who support Donald Trump, and his idiotic insistence and baseless claims that the 2020 presidential election victory was “stolen” from him. I don’t understand how certain groups of people can’t fathom why people didn’t want Trump to stay in office. Many Americans think Trump is a disgrace, and for very good reason. But we still have people like those in the Rescue Michigan Coalition who wholeheartedly believe that Trump should be president. The mind boggles.

On Sunday night, Regan was involved in this Facebook livestream, which also included a woman named Amber Harris, a Republican strategist. Ms. Harris said that it’s now too late to challenge the results of the 2020 election. She thinks it’s time for Republicans to give up on their “Stop the Steal” nonsense and focus on future election battles. To that, Mr. Regan, who has three daughters, said Harris’s attitude is like what “I tell my daughters, ‘Well, if rape is inevitable, you should just lie back and enjoy it.’ ”

WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?!!!!!

Unfortunately, Regan isn’t the only Republican who has made such a shockingly misogynistic comment about rape. Yesterday, I included a meme in my post that listed some of the awful, ignorant, and downright stupid things Republicans have said about sexual assault. What is especially sad to me is that not everyone who made these comments were men.

As I was reading the article in the Washington Post to Bill last night, I asked him what it’s like for a man to have sex. As a woman, I have no idea. I can only expect that men don’t find most sexual encounters to be painful, since they aren’t usually on the receiving end. At least they aren’t usually when they are having consensual heterosexual sex. Bill said that sex is never physically painful for him. However, he knows that sex is often painful for me. It’s not painful when I’m physically ready to receive him. But even though I love Bill with all my heart, I have to be physically ready for sex before I can actually enjoy it. I don’t know about other women, but I’m very sensitive. Sex can be difficult for me, even with the man I love.

I have never been raped, but I can only imagine, based on my own experiences, that being raped would be extremely painful for most women. Imagine being terrified, brutalized, and completely repulsed by a sexual partner who is insisting on having their way with you. Rape is a violent act. It causes pain on multiple levels. It’s not something that people enjoy. It’s the worst kind of physical assault.

I cannot believe that Robert Regan, father of three daughters, has actually told them that if rape is inevitable, they should just “lie back and enjoy it.” What the hell is wrong with this man?

To her credit, Ms. Harris, who was also reportedly shocked and horrified by Mr. Regan’s comments, said “I’ve got advice to give to your daughters: Don’t do that. Fight all the time.”

Mr. Regan’s daughters do not support their father’s vile viewpoints. In June 2020, Stephanie Regan urged voters not to elect her father. In a tweet that went viral, Ms. Regan wrote “If you’re in Michigan and 18+ pls for the love of god do not vote for my dad for state rep. Tell everyone.” In subsequent tweets, she wrote “I don’t feel safe rn [sic] sharing further information regarding his beliefs, but please look him up and just read for yourself.”

Mr. Regan responded to his daughter’s comments with a statement on Facebook, pictured below.

I feel so sorry for Regan’s daughters.

Later, he was contacted by The Hill for a comment about his daughter’s comments. Regan said:

“A lot of students when they go off to these liberal university campuses, like the University of Colorado, the University of Texas and Austin — and she went to the University of Colorado in Boulder — and you know, they just kind of get sucked into this Marxist, communist ideology and she and I just don’t see eye to eye when it comes to the whole socialism, communism, Marxist philosophy,”

and then, when he was asked what he thought would prompt his daughter to make those comments about him, Regan continued:

“her big thing has to do with the systemic racism that’s going on in the country.”

“She’s a big believer in that,” he continued, while adding, “The only place where I really see systemic racism would be the abortion clinic cause they seem to target the African American community.” 

“I don’t buy into this whole systemic racism thing at all,” he later said. 

“I’m not saying there’s not hurdles to overcome. We all have hurdles to overcome. You know, as a quote-unquote rich, white, Christian male, people look at me a certain way. And it’s not always good. So, everybody has obstacles to overcome,” he also said, while adding he thinks [former] President Trump has “done more for the black community than any president we’ve had in the last 20 years.”

Wow…

On Monday of this week, after his controversial “rapey” comments were made public, Regan told Bridge Michigan, a news outlet, “sometimes” his words “aren’t as smooth and polished as the politicians are because I’m not a politician.” He says he’s “working on it.” He continued, “The only reason the left trolls attack you is because they know you’re directly over the target, dropping direct hits on an issue. If you’re not scoring hits, they leave you alone.” And specifically about his comments on lying back and enjoying rape, he said he only meant that “nothing is inevitable.”

Regan later tried to put his comment in perspective, repeating it with more context, which made it sound only slightly less offensive. He said:

“We’re sick and tired of the establishment telling us, ‘you just have to sit there and take it. Just lie there and enjoy it,'” Regan said. “This is the way this is going to be. And I used the example: ‘That would be like if I told my three daughters that rape’s inevitable and you should just lie back and enjoy it.'”

“That’s not what we do. Even in the face of very difficult odds, you go after it. That is what our founding fathers did,” he added.  

Right… and our “founding fathers” were slave owners who “wanted to be free…”

Regular readers might know that I am against allowing people into positions of power who have no respect for other people’s bodies. There are a lot of reasons why I am so against Donald Trump, but one of the main reasons is that he doesn’t have any respect for women. Trump has been credibly accused by multiple women of everything from lewd comments and inappropriate groping to actual sexual assault and rape. I don’t think rapists and sexual assaulters should be in power. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect that people who can’t keep their hands to themselves are not allowed to make and execute laws that affect everyone. Sexual deviants should not have political power. Is it too much to ask to keep rapey people out of the government? Especially the White House? I don’t think so.

I didn’t like Bill Clinton for the same reason I don’t like Trump. However, even though I don’t like Clinton for his yucky philandering dalliances, I do think he was at least a competent president. He’s also a hell of a lot smarter and more compassionate than Trump is.

Regan isn’t the only politician to make a comment to the effect that women should just “lie back and enjoy rape”. Back in 1990, a man named Clayton Williams ran for governor of Texas. On a rainy day in March 1990, reporters had gathered at Mr. Williams’ ranch and were “getting restless”. Williams chose to make light of the bad weather situation by comparing it to rape. He said, “If it’s inevitable, just relax and enjoy it.” Jeez. I guess some people have learned nothing in the past 32 years.

A few months ago, a similar comment about “enjoying rape” when it’s “inevitable” was made in India. According to the article I linked:

“There is a saying that when rape is inevitable, lie down and enjoy it. That is exactly the position which you are in,” KR Ramesh Kumar, the former Speaker of the Karnataka Assembly said on Thursday, drawing guffaws from the members including his successor Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri.

And:

The Speaker questioned how the session can be conducted if time was allotted to everyone. Then, in a note of resignation, Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri added: “Whatever you decide – I will say yes. What I am thinking is that let us enjoy the situation. I can’t control or regulate the system. My concern is about the business of the house, it has also to be covered”.

Obviously, this attitude about rape isn’t just an issue in America. However, I do notice it’s always men who say these things. When men make these kinds of revolting comments, they show that they are terrible people, and probably worse lovers, who are only focused on themselves and have no empathy for women. They clearly haven’t even considered the physiology of a woman, nor do they care if she’s enjoying herself. It doesn’t occur to them that rape isn’t pleasant at all. It’s a criminal act of violence. It’s physically painful and horrifying. It hurts. And hearing people who wish to be in power so cavalierly throw out comments like “I tell my daughters, ‘Well, if rape is inevitable, you should just lie back and enjoy it.’ ” In no way is that ever an appropriate thing for anyone to say, let alone a person who is running for office.

Robert Regan should be deeply ashamed of himself. I hope the people of Michigan take his comments into account when they cast their votes.

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Trump

Impeached again…

Last night, just as I was about to fall asleep, I saw the news that the House of Representatives had impeached Donald Trump for a second time. This news didn’t surprise me. I had a feeling that Trump would be impeached again due to evidence that he incited last week’s violent uprising at the Capitol. What makes the second impeachment remarkable, though, is that ten Republicans voted to impeach. Usually, when presidents get impeached, legislators vote according to their party affiliation. But this time, ten Republicans decided that Trump’s conduct was worthy of formal censure. By voting to impeach even though they are in the same party Trump is, they proved that they have basic decency.

For the past four years, I’ve watched and listened to Donald Trump. I’ve seen people champion and praise him. I’ve read comments from loved ones claiming that people didn’t give Trump a chance. And I just wonder what in the hell that man has to do before decent people wake up and realize that he’s a terrible leader and an even worse person. In U.S. history, there have only been four attempts at impeachment. Two of those attempts have targeted Donald Trump! The others targeted Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson. Richard Nixon was threatened with impeachment, but voluntarily left office before it could happen.

Here we have Donald Trump, who has been polarizing and controversial from the get go. He’s been involved in many shady business dealings, openly admits to harassing and molesting women, is insulting and rude to people who don’t kiss his ass, and curries favor with dictators. What, exactly, is it going to take before people realize that he’s completely ill suited to lead a country? Why are people committing crimes in Donald Trump’s name? It’s so obvious that he won’t be grateful for people’s efforts to keep him in office. He expects people to worship him, and so many people do… despite all of the evidence that he’s just awful.

I remember when I was growing up, hearing about Richard Nixon basically being forced to resign the presidency over the Watergate scandal. People often referred to him as a terrible president, even though he’d won a second term of office. Nixon resigned the presidency when it became clear that he was going to be impeached and removed from office. As he left the White House, he said he was resigning for the good of the country and asked Americans to support the new president, Gerald Ford. In Nixon’s case, he’d lost support from the Republican party, and it was obvious that he would be impeached and removed from office. But Nixon was also clearly a much better man than Trump is. He had the integrity to do the right thing.

If Trump had been in Nixon’s shoes, he would not have resigned. He would have gone through the proceedings and insisted that he was the best man for any job at all. Anyone who voted against him would incur his wrath, and he would spend his time finding ways to get revenge. Trump is a narcissist, and he can’t stand to lose. His four years as president have been terrible for the country on so many levels. I don’t write this because Trump is supposedly a Republican, but because to me, it’s easy to see that he’s just a despicable human being. And yet, some people keep saying that no one ever gave him a “chance”. Even my beloved Aunt Nancy, who has always seemed to be kind and intelligent, complains that Trump gets blamed for everything. Well, I will agree that not everything is Trump’s fault, but a whole lot of this shit is his doing. At the very least, he could have done a much better job asking people not to be violent and try to overthrow the government, right?

For God’s sake. The Capitol was ransacked by American people. The mob, who had come to Washington, DC at Trump’s invitation, threatened the lives of innocent people. Five people died. And Trump referred to the mob as “very special” and said he loved them. Only today, have I read that Trump has asked people not to be violent next week when President-elect Joe Biden takes office. And he only seemed to do that under duress. In fact, when the riots were going on, Trump wasn’t even there to be a leader. He didn’t accompany the supporters he’d asked to fight for him. Instead, he returned to the White House and criticized aides about how the scene had appeared, before attacking Mike Pence on Twitter. Trump caused the violence last week through his words. He should absolutely be removed from office or, at least be barred from running for office in the future.

I don’t have much faith that the Senate will do the right thing and convict Donald Trump for his obvious crimes and abuse of power. He clearly gets away with murder. I’m just relieved that we don’t have to endure another four years of this ugliness, even though I doubt Trump’s unhinged supporters will go away quietly. I feel sure that they will do what they can to undermine Joe Biden’s leadership. It does hearten me, though, to see that some Republicans do have a red line and Trump has finally crossed it.

Last night, I was sitting at home, where I’ve been for months on end. I was listening to disco and trying to boost my spirits, which have been pretty low recently. Every day, the news is worse… in just about every topic, ranging from the state of the environment and global warming to the surge of the coronavirus and new restrictions on our lives, to the masses of people who have lost their jobs and homes, to political unrest and violence. But Trump’s fans will continue to crow about what a “great” president he’s been. I just don’t see it. And I fear that if Trump doesn’t come roaring back, the way Hitler did, there will be someone even worse waiting in the wings to pick up where Trump leaves off.

It makes me very depressed and I wonder why I should bother sticking around.

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