memories, mental health, politics

Get the woman a snack…

A friend of mine shared this today on Facebook…

Good advice. I would also advise proofreading.

When I saw this, I was suddenly reminded of a story Bill told me about his ex wife. Bill’s ex is quite narcissistic. She has a way of turning the most trivial and ridiculous issues into huge dramatic events. She would take any mundane situation and turn it into a test of Bill’s love. Inevitably, he would fail, because nothing he did was ever good enough. And sure enough, that’s what she did one day when they stopped at a gas station and she wanted a soda.

Bill went into the gas station and bought his ex wife a plastic bottle of Dr. Pepper. When he handed it to her, she immediately got upset. Why? Because it wasn’t a fountain drink. Ex claimed that if Bill had really loved her and cared about her feelings, he would know that she prefers fountain drinks with ice in them to bottled ones. The rest of the road trip was spoiled by the heavy cloak of resentment that hung over them as they sat in the car, fuming at each other over the wrong soda.

Naturally, this seemingly insignificant event in their marriage turned into a huge row that Bill still occasionally talks about years later. It wasn’t so much about the soda, and the fact that Bill brought her a bottle instead of a fountain drink. It was about her constant need to test him, and to find ways to criticize him for anything and everything. It was her way of trying to stay in charge by turning on her rage machine and forcing Bill to be on the defensive. That kind of behavior, which she frequently indulged, was crazymaking. He never knew what would set her off.

I have experienced the same kind of treatment. It mostly came from my dad, who was not a narcissist, but did suffer from alcoholism. There were times when he could be very reasonable and calm. Then, there were times when he would freak out over something totally innocuous. And it was hard to tell when he would be calm and reasonable, or when he would blow up in my face. It caused a lot of anxiety. And then the anxiety would turn to depression, because there was nothing I could do to anticipate or stop the surprise attacks. All I could try to do was avoid my dad, who was supposed to be a “loved one”.

I think that’s why today, I have such a hard time with people who are verbally abusive. I can’t deal with people who yell at me. That’s a very quick way to get on my no contact list. Verbal abuse is not acceptable. It causes invisible psychic damage that makes it harder to trust. If you’re a decent person, and you don’t enjoy conflicts, you’ll soon find yourself walking on eggshells around this type of person– people who are always looking to be disappointed and critical.

Fortunately, I don’t really think that much about Ex anymore. It’s amazing how liberated I feel from her now, since Bill’s younger daughter started to communicate with him. I now see her as more pathetic than anything else. But I know that she still wreaks havoc toward anyone who is forced to be around her or deal with her. And she is remarkably similar to other narcissistic types we know… like Bill’s wartime boss, who delighted in fucking with people’s heads in Iraq. As if being at war isn’t bad enough!

A person has to be pretty miserable to ruin a road trip over a bottle of Dr. Pepper. Frankly, I love it when Bill brings me snacks. He knows what I like, and even if he brings me something unexpected, I usually end up enjoying it. Because if he brings me a snack, it means he thought of me. That, in and of itself, means he cares. Now, if he brings me something loaded with mushrooms, that would probably hurt my feelings. Bill knows I have a phobia of mushrooms. But Bill would never do that, even if we were fighting. He’s just not an inconsiderate person.

Moving on…

I didn’t actually mean to write about this today. There’s a lot I could rant about. For instance, I saw the below picture on Facebook as I was waking up this morning…

Absolutely unacceptable! Shocking this this is going on in 2020! Sadly, I don’t think contacting the police will even help, since a lot of police departments are staffed with the same types of thuggish creeps.

And I could also write about the dipshit white supremacists who plotted to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, supposedly to put her “on trial”. What the fuck? Where do these people come from? And what gives them the idea that they have the right to kidnap elected officials? What did they think the outcome would be?

I think Donald Trump, who is also a narcissist, emboldens these people into thinking that he’s going to let them turn America into their warped vision of what they think it should be. Sad to say, their ideals are steeped in racism, sexism, and classism. On the other hand, if Gretchen Whitmer were a man, I doubt they would have ever tried this. These white supremacist fuckheads think women are inherently weak. I’m just glad they were dumb enough to reveal their plans on social media, so they could be dealt with properly before Governor Whitmer was hurt.

You would think that people could see that our leader, much like Bill’s ex wife, is toxic, crazy, and turns little problems into big ones. This morning, I actually saw a news article about Trump demanding that Hillary Clinton’s emails get made public. Why? I guess it’s because he’s losing big time in the polls and is scrambling to get people to talk about something other than the pandemic. But honestly, in 2020, who cares about Hillary Clinton’s emails? She’s not running for president. It’s a lot of much ado about nothing. Same as the bottle of Dr. Pepper versus a fountain drink.

“Anna Mae, just take the cake please.” I feel like people like Ex, Trump, and Bill’s wartime boss are like Ike Turner, force feeding everyone their bullshit.

And good people– good leaders– like Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who enacted policies for public health reasons, end up being targeted by dipshits with guns who think that America should be a place where the women are kept in their places. They’d prefer them to be beautiful, quiet, and docile… and just take the cake, please. It’s positively sickening. But it’s always sickening when abusive jerks get the upper hand.

Anyway… it’s time for breakfast. Bill made me a big snack. 😉

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condescending twatbags, language, politics

“Christians” who follow Trump. Seems like an oxymoron… emphasis on “moron”.

Apologies to my dear friend, whose page hosted the topic of today’s post. Also, I hope she doesn’t mind that I cursed in a post her Christian friend read.

I got into a short online spat with someone last night. It wasn’t a very serious spat, mainly because I didn’t take the guy’s comments seriously. Unfortunately, I have gotten to the point at which I tune out most people who are staunch Trump supporters. As each day passes, I find myself with decreasing patience for people who still champion Trump, especially when they profess to be Christians.

A very dear friend of mine shared today’s featured photo. Although I agree with it, I wasn’t going to comment. I usually don’t comment on such things on Facebook, because they lead to pointless arguments with people I don’t know or care about, and then I end up getting upset, although I usually end up with a pretty good blog topic for the next morning. But Bill has been away on business and I was bored and completely sober.

So anyway, I came across my friend’s photo and happened to read the responses. The first was by a male Christian friend of hers who supports Trump. He chastised my friend for “painting with a broad brush”. This was his comment:

Be very careful now! You are getting ready to cross lines that shouldn’t be crossed. I support Trump as President. My faith in the Lord is colorblind and non political. You are using a broad brush my old friend and becoming what you say you are against. I know plenty of people that support Trump that are none of those things. I know plenty of democrats that aren’t socialist and believe in the Lord too. You might want to rethink sharing this post. Just saying.

A mutual friend of ours left an astonished and amused response.

Uh, you support Trump and are warning people about “crossing lines”???!!! OMG, that is PRICELESS. 😂😂😂

When I read the first comment, I just felt tired and annoyed. So I wrote, “I’m so tired of Trump supporters.” And I am. I’m just really tired of them. I’m tired of seeing and hearing Trump and reading headlines about his depressing, trolling comments. I’m tired of watching people in the United States cheer on Trump as others languish or die of gun violence, police brutality, and COVID-19. I’m tired of hearing people praise Trump’s non-sensical gibberish. But I am ESPECIALLY tired of so-called Christians who give Trump respect, support, and a PASS on his bad behavior, when Trump is about as Christian as a broken cattle prod.

And I’m really sick of Trump supporters claiming that liberals are “socialists” or even that socialism is a terrible thing. The vast majority of them don’t even know what socialism is and are only parroting stuff they’ve heard from equally ignorant people who also don’t know, as they collect their government benefits and rely on publicly supported entities like schools, fire stations, public health offices, and police departments. They often confuse socialism with communism, which also isn’t in and of itself a “bad” thing. Communism doesn’t work too well, but it’s not evil. It’s just flawed, much like capitalism is.

I wasn’t going to comment again, but the original poster’s Christian Trump loving friend came back and left a “polite” response. Well, I suppose it was polite. He’s above using cuss words.

that’s what I mean! Very careful how you batch folks into groups. I never said anything negative about anyone and the only thing you had to come back with was negative. Now let’s talk about character here? Be very careful because we are all being judged. I care for A. I don’t know who you ladies are but I would suggest some soul searching. This time think a little before you come in to our conversation with a snappy comeback. It sounds as though you are not being very receptive to other people’s opinions and you are casting stones when you yourselves live in glass houses. Isn’t that one of the things you say you don’t like about President Trump? I’ll pray for you both.

Sigh… Seriously guy? Save your prayers for the country. The country needs your prayers much more than I do. Many individuals who are out of work, homeless, facing deportation and separation from their children, sick and dying, or drowning in debt need prayers more than I do. I’m doing pretty well, mainly because I am not living in the United States right now. Against my better judgment, I left a response.

I don’t like Trump because he’s a wannabe dictator and a rapist. There is ample evidence of it that dates back from before A, E, and I were born. And I’m tired of Trump supporters because they refuse to see what is right in front of them. He is not your garden variety conservative, you know.  

As for your prayers, you should save them for the country and the many people who are suffering and dying under Trump’s cruel, self-serving, and downright stupid policies. It’s going straight down the toilet.

The Trump supporting Christian wrote this in response:

America will never go down the toilet. The troubles we are having are because we the people have allowed the liberal, progressive politicians run our country for far too long. We are taking it back and that’s with President Trumps help. He knows he works for us and that’s the difference. Obama, Biden, Pelosi, Schumer , etc. think we work for them. We will see where we stand in a few weeks and what the next step is in taking our country back. I will continue to pray for you and thank you for your thoughts👍

I thought about telling him, again, to save his prayers for people who want and need them. Thoughts and prayers don’t do jack shit for people who have lost their homes to uncontrolled wildfires, wind damage wrought by tornados, and flooding caused by hurricanes. Trump doesn’t care about those people, either, nor does he care about those who are giving their health and even their lives to help people in crisis. Trump would rather golf and eat a fucking cheeseburger… and then maybe fuck someone, other than his wife, that he thinks is pretty, although he may not be able to get it up as well as he once did.

But I did leave our Trump supporting friend a comment. It was a provocative one. I don’t usually go this low, but I just felt frustrated and irritated, especially by the guy’s patronizing tone toward me. I’m beyond tired of it.

you have really drunk the conservative KKKool-Aid, haven’t you? Well… we’ll see what the future holds. I am sure many Germans had similar love for Hitler.

Another friend from our hometown, a Black man I’ve known since the fourth grade, was pretty shocked and (I suspect) delighted by that comment. And he left me a hearty response which made me laugh.

Damn! It is not necessary to put both feet in his ass when one is sufficient! You are straight vicious!😂

Then our Trump loving Christian friend came back with this…

For goodness sakes! Another Hitler reference. ? Now listen, Hitler would have never support Israel. Israel was under attack but it wasn’t by this President. Further more, Hitler was a socialist. He was driven by hatred and discontent. Trump is a competitor and wants to win. That’s getting old and tired. Look, no true Christian puts his faith in any person. I have as much Faith in President Trump as I do any President. When you look at the proof. He’s is getting done what he said he would do. That means he deserves another chance. If he wasn’t get it done then there wouldn’t be so many upset with him. No, I just think this is because he wasn’t supposed to win and the losing side is still angry. As for Religion and President Trump, the Lord has done his works through many people who weren’t perfect. None of us are.

I apologized, mainly to my dear friend, whose page was hosting this spectacle…

Sorry… I am just really fed up with willful ignorance and “thoughts and prayers”. I happen to live in a place where people have seen this very same shit happening. More than a few of them have mentioned the similarities. Watching the decay of the United States from afar is heartbreaking and scary, and I am tired of condescending platitudes from people who profess to be followers of Christ, yet support a racist rapist who doesn’t give two shits about anyone but himself.  

Generally speaking, I am not vicious at all. I really try to be open minded. But Trump is not like any other leader I have seen in my lifetime.

Then the Christian came back and complained about the language being used. SIGH… I really think God cares about things more important than swearing, like young women being shot by the police while sleeping in their beds. But this was his comment…

let’s not talk about feet and asses. I was trying to keep this above board. Opinions differ and that’s healthy. Why is it when someone hits a nerve foul language and courage through grammar starts? I know I’m right in my thinking because I’m living proof. I have a worked hard my entire life and achieved my wisdom through experience and hard knocks. I don’t get my facts through the liberal media and the lies they spread or some half wit professor paid to spread their socialistic nonsense. Where do the references to Hitler, KKK, etc. come from? Do you have actual proof of those things? Why is it that before he became President all of the liberal media morons worshiped him and we’re giving him awards? The reason I commented to A was because you can’t lump Trump supporters as racists and hypocrites just like I can’t lump you in with thugs and criminals because you haven’t spoke out against the riots and attacks on the police. That would be right for me to do now would it?

My Black friend apologized for his “ass” comment and commended me for my “passion”. Then he asked me not to apologize because people like me give him hope. That made me feel good. But I also wanted to add a clarification, for the Christian guy, just to explain my references to the KKK and Hitler. In fact, if I thought it would do any good, I would also supply links to a couple of blog posts I wrote last year that illustrate why I think of the KKK and Hitler when I see someone doggedly and mindlessly supporting Trump. But I think I’ll just link them here for the curious, since I doubt he’d take the time to read.

Anyway, this was my latest post, and probably the last one I’ll write about this, since I have other things to do, like pluck the weird hairs from my chin and upper lip and clean the lint from my butt crack.

To be clear… I don’t think that we’re mimicking the Holocaust yet, nor do I think Trump is just like Hitler. I think he shares many leadership and personality qualities with Hitler and many people are reacting to him in much the same way Germans reacted to Hitler. Trump has also surrounded himself with charismatic toadies like Hitler did, and they are doing his bidding. And those who have read about history will be able to note the similarities. However, to my knowledge, there isn’t an actual genocide going on, which is a very good thing.  

People who support Donald Trump may call themselves Christians and they may not say or do the horrible things Trump has done. But by supporting him publicly and voting for him, they are telling the world that Trump’s reprehensible comments and actions toward women, minorities, disabled people, unattractive people, poor people, fat people, and anyone else who can’t do anything for him are totally okay. And that, in my book, makes his supporters very poor followers of Christ.

By the way, I highly doubt that God cares if H writes “ass” or I write “shit”. They’re just different words for things that everyone has and does. That’s another thing that bugs me about so-called Christians who support Trump. They’re much more concerned about policing other people’s language than they are about demanding decent behavior, competency, and proper decorum from elected officials. Trump also uses filthy language, including a well-known euphemism for vaginas. That’s keeping things above board, right?

Sigh… anyway, I think I’m done with that little online fracas. We have bigger fish to fry. Next weekend is going to be a whirlwind. We are planning to go pick up our new pooch. This was going to be a somewhat leisurely trip down to Slovenia and back by Monday. But a couple of days ago, Bill got a summons to court to serve as a witness. The hearing is taking place on the day we were planning to come back to Germany, and it requires travel to another state. So we’re going to have to rush back, and it’s going to be very exhausting and potentially frustrating, depending on traffic and border stops. With any luck, it will go off without a hitch, and we’ll have something to focus on besides politics, plagues, and police brutality.

However… I will admit that I enjoyed this little clip from yesterday’s news.

It was a little challenge to the protective bubble of followers who usually surround Trump. I got my ballot and voted ALL BLUE for the first time ever. Fuck Donald Trump.

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politics, social media

Social media can reveal a lot about a person…

A couple of days ago, I wrote about my former relative, who wrote that she thinks people should be replying “Trump 2020” on every Facebook post. I’m not sure where she got the idea for that. It seems to me like a very good way to lose friends. But anyway, even though we haven’t “talked” in ages, I was kind of curious about where her newfound spirit for social media activism came from. I decided to visit her page, and found this…

When I see this kind of stuff on a person’s page, I figure the stupid is very strong… and I know that they worship Donald Trump.

This seems to be a rather tone deaf response to all that is going on lately. Why would someone post something like this publicly? Even if what this says is technically true– and I’m not implying that it is— it doesn’t seem to reflect the attitude of certain white Republicans today. For example, it came out in the news that Derick Chauvin, the guy who killed a handcuffed George Floyd by choking the air out of him while pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck, was recently accused of voter fraud. Chauvin owns property in Florida, but has been living in Minnesota. Nevertheless, he reportedly voted illegally in Florida in 2016 and 2018. And, guess what party Mr. Chauvin is a registered member of? That’s right– the Republicans! And this is the same party that does not support mail in ballots, for fear of “voter fraud”.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I used to know this woman offline. In fact, for the first years of our relationship, our dealings were entirely in person. Most of the time, she was basically nice to me, except for the times she backhandedly insulted me. I never saw the “racist” side of her personality, though, before I interacted with her on Facebook. Maybe it’s because I also never saw it in my relatives until somewhat recently. It’s kind of sad what social media can reveal about a person. In some ways, it’s less personal than face to face interactions, but in other ways, it’s not. I think, after reading the above post and the many others she’s written since she posted “Trump 2020” on my page, she’s revealed some rather ugly truths about how she feels about people of color and those who don’t vote the way she does. She’s certainly not as “nice” as I once thought she was, and has joined the ranks of people who are obvious Trump supporters– people that Trump himself would never deign to give the time of day to, according to his long time (but now probably former) friend, Howard Stern.

Who are obvious Trump supporters? They’re the ones posting memes like the one with which I started today’s post. They’re the people who do things like drive their cars into crowds of protesters and lead Ku Klux Klan groups. Are all Republicans like this? No, of course not. Some Republicans are basically intelligent and decent people. They vote Republican, and let other people vote the way they want to vote. I think there’s a difference between Republicans and Trump supporters, too. Some Republicans– even prominent ones– are wisely turning on Donald Trump. But a whole lot of Trump supporters are embarrassingly out of touch with basic decency, so much so, that when I read a news story about someone doing something incredibly stupid, I can almost always correctly assume what political party, and more importantly, which prominent politician they support.

Last year, when we were blissfully ignorant of the oncoming pandemic and racial riots, I posted about two guys who got arrested because they got drunk and shot each other while wearing a bullet proof vest. One of the men was injured during this stunt and went to a hospital. Staff members called the police, and after they managed to get the guy to tell the truth about how he got injured, he and his friend were charged with aggravated assault. I wrote a post about it, and commented that I bet I knew which candidate they supported in the 2016 elections. One of my Republican friends commented on the post. It caught the attention of one of her more outspoken and less civilized friends, who then chose to take me to task.

My conservative friend’s friend visited my Overeducated Housewife Facebook page and bitched me out because I wrote in that post that I could tell the guys were Trump supporters. I ended up writing another post in the Facebook poster’s honor. He couldn’t understand how I made the “leap of logic” that Trump is to “blame” for the actions of these two gentlemen in Arkansas who decided to handle firearms while drinking. Trump wasn’t to blame for what those guys did, and that wasn’t my point. My point is that a certain type of person is charmed by Donald Trump, and it’s obvious by their behavior which way they vote. The Republican party is, for sure, very different now than it was when I was younger. It’s been co-opted by religious zealots, greedy people, and racists. There are still some old school Republicans out there who are not like Trump and his ilk and want to take back their party. But unfortunately, they’re being drowned out and lumped in with the monster they created in Trump.

But just to give Trump supporters a break, I will also mention that liberals have their issues, too. I can understand why some Republicans are not impressed by Democrats. It gets tiresome to read preachy, sanctimonious, shaming posts about racism, face mask wearing, white privilege, and other social issues. People love to get on a soapbox. I’m no different, although I mostly try to keep my preaching confined to my blog. I don’t agree with all liberal ideas, and I certainly cringe a bit myself when someone posts something that presumes to tell me how I should feel or behave. People probably mean well when they post that stuff, but when it comes down to it, it usually has more to do with making themselves feel better than actually effecting change.

It’s kind of like what happened ten years ago, when my older sister tried to manipulate me into driving to North Carolina from Georgia. At the time, my dad was hospitalized. She couldn’t make it to see him in the hospital herself because she lives in Minnesota and couldn’t afford the air fare or time off work. When I demurred about her proposal, having just spoken to our mom and been told not to visit, my sister tried to lay a big fat guilt trip on me by becoming extremely bitchy and accusatory (which, by the way, is NOT a good tactic to use on me). I surmised that she was doing this because she couldn’t/wouldn’t come visit my dad. She felt badly about it. Since she was feeling guilty, she figured she could nag me into visiting instead and do what she felt she should be doing, not considering that maybe I had other things to do or our mom might not want me to come.

I finally had to firmly tell her that I would not be jumping in the car and driving up to see my dad on her say so. Instead, I would speak to our mom and find out what would be most helpful for her. That’s what I did. It turned out my dad was going to be moved to Virginia anyway, so a visit to North Carolina was not a good idea. Mom wanted me to go pick up a piano that was in the house she was selling. I did that, then visited my parents in Virginia. My sister was “happy” that I’d made that concession and said she wanted me to tell her how our parents were. But the reality was, she didn’t actually care. She just felt guilty and thought that by nagging me to change my behavior, she would feel better about her own shortcomings. That’s what I feel like many of the guilt mongering/shaming posts are about– making people feel better about themselves by pointing fingers at those who happen to read their posts on social media.

I’ve seen many annoying posts from people on both sides of the political spectrum, although I have gotten rid of most of the egregious Trump fans. Every time I see a preachy post from someone reminding me to “check my privilege”, I cringe a bit inside. It’s not that we shouldn’t be “checking our privilege”. It’s more that I don’t think a person’s behavior will necessarily be changed by a Facebook post that has been passed around like a stale plate of hors d’ouerves. Could a person be inspired to change their behavior by a Facebook post? Maybe. But the ones that tend to stick with me are the ones someone took the time to write personally, not something that was just liked and shared. Most of the preachy posts– including the ones suggested by my former relative who is posting “Trump 2020” on everything– are meaningless virtue signaling posts. At best, they are very annoying. At worst, they show everyone who you really are deep down inside. It’s not always a pretty picture.

Social media has really changed how people communicate. I suspect Facebook was originally supposed to be fun– a place for friends and family to get together and stay in touch when they couldn’t be together in person. Now it’s also become a place for people to preach at others, get into fights, and share news, some of which is “fake”. I remember hesitating to join Facebook back in 2008. I was finally convinced by a former friend. Seems kind of appropos that we’re not friends anymore, doesn’t it? Social media is, in some ways, a lot less intimate than in person communications… but in other ways, it reveals a lot more about a person than they might realize. If not for Facebook, there’s a good chance I would still consider my ex friend a friend and my former relative a relative.

Well… pardon me if anyone finds today’s post preachy and obnoxious. I truly don’t mean to be that way, even though I know I am sometimes. I figure most people who are adults don’t need me to tell them what to do, anyway. I’ve mostly taken to not commenting on people’s controversial stuff now because the few times I have, strangers to me– friends of friends– jump down my throat. Life is unpleasant enough right now, and I don’t enjoy being deep throated by strangers, so I mostly stick to writing this blog… and some readers think I’m stupid for that, too. But they still come back for more. Imagine that!

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musings

Offensive fashion statements… or, who was that hooded, masked man?

As Patrick Starfish would say, “Good morning, Krusty Krew.” This morning, in contrast to yesterday morning, I am actually itching to write something of substance. Before I get cranked up with today’s post, I want to thank those of you who took the time to listen to my musical offerings yesterday. I truly appreciate it when anyone listens and comments on my recordings. I don’t put them out there very often because I hate making videos and I never know how they’re going to be received. But it does bring me great joy to sing songs and share them with others. So if you took the time to click on my channel, thank you very much. It means a lot to me, even though I did lose one subscriber on YouTube (bwahahahaha!). It’s okay. I’ll stay humble and stick to my day job.

Now, on with today’s controversial topic, which I hope readers will read and consider with an open mind.

Yesterday evening, I came across two news articles that caused me to react in different ways. After thinking about both of these issues, I realize that they’re two pieces of the same “puzzle” that faces everyone on the planet today. The first article that upset me was in the Washington Post. It was a piece by Robin Givhan about how face masks are “here to stay” and have now become a fashion accessory which may, very soon, become as essential as undergarments. Givhan writes:

Fashion always finds a way. Human beings are undaunted in their search for ways to stand out, to communicate, to thrive in a treacherous environment. And so the face mask — once purely functional, once perceived as an exotic accessory — has evolved at breakneck speed into something more.

It’s more essential because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that Americans wear a mask when interacting with others. It’s more aesthetically pleasing. It’s also a more complicated cultural proposition. And, of course, the face mask is political because both the president and the vice president have refused to wear one on highly public occasions and because some protesters have insinuated that masks are un-American.

As the country moves toward reopening, masks are assuredly part of our future. And in some ways, their evolution is the perfect encapsulation of how much life has changed in a blink of an eye — and how challenging, both intellectually and emotionally, it will be for us to go forward.

I have written in previous pieces about how, personally, I don’t like seeing face masks being normalized and turning into fashion statements. I realize that I can’t stop them from evolving in such a way. Some people like wearing them and feel safer with them with them on. However, count me among those who have no desire to be mandated to wear a face mask for the rest of my life. In fact, I don’t even like that the masks are being pushed on everyone via peer pressure. I would hate to see them become like seatbelts, which most everyone is compelled to wear nowadays.

When I was a child, seatbelts were entirely optional. I have many memories of riding without them in those days, lying in cargo areas in my dad’s many vans or riding in the back of pick up trucks. At one time, my dad had a Volkswagen pop top camper, which had a bar across the ceiling that we had to push to get the camper top to go up. I used to swing on that bar like a monkey when I was a kid. It was very unsafe and unthinkable today, but great fun back then. I don’t regret the experience of swinging on that bar as we cruised down the interstates.

Now… as a sensible adult, I understand why all U.S. states and many developed countries require people to wear seatbelts. New Hampshire, the one seatbelt law hold out, currently doesn’t require seatbelt use for adults, but does require people under age 17 to wear them. It also looks like New Hampshire will soon require seatbelt use for everyone. However, generally speaking, I am opposed to “nanny” laws in principal. I think people should wear seatbelts because it’s the smart thing to do, not because they might get a ticket. I also wear one because if I don’t, my husband turns into Pat Boone.

I have seen face masks being compared to seatbelts. I don’t think they’re the quite same thing. Riding in a car without a seatbelt has always been inherently dangerous. Being in public without a face mask has not. Moreover, facial expression is a big component in effective communication and identification. A lot of things can’t be feasibly done in public if a person is wearing a mask… things that bring joy, like eating, drinking, lip reading, and smoking (although smoking is not something that brings me joy) or playing woodwind instruments or horns. Although speaking and singing are possible while wearing a mask, they aren’t as easy to do. Breathing isn’t as easy to do while wearing a mask, either.

I imagine that when summer is fully upon us, people who don’t routinely wear masks will realize what being forced to wear one at all times could mean. The thought of it really depresses me, especially since there is still some debate as to how helpful the masks really are. Face masks in 90 degree weather sound like a recipe for a lot of sweat, smelling of one’s own bad breath, and possible tan lines, not to mention kind of a creepy dystopian feel to society in which we won’t be allowed to see each other’s smiles in every day society.

I was a bit perturbed after reading Givhan’s article about how masks are becoming a fashion statement, especially since so many people commenting seem to be all for it being a permanent fixture. I don’t think a lot of people have thought about it very deeply. I intend to resist that trend as much as possible and only wear masks when I absolutely have to in order to avoid harassment or legal trouble. I posted about it on Facebook and my friend Sara, who is a nurse at the Mayo Clinic and has to wear a mask all day, fully agreed with me that wearing masks full time should be a no go. Especially since the coronavirus epidemic hasn’t been an issue for that long. Some people are now pushing for laws… and I know that I’m not the only one upset about the prospect of face masks being as necessary as underwear. In fact, another article drove home the idea that requiring face coverings at all times could be a very slippery slope.

Just before I was about to go to bed, I noticed a news item posted by a friend in California. A man in Santee, California went into a grocery store wearing a white, cone shaped hood. The San Diego Union-Tribune referred to the hood as a “KKK hood”, which it probably was. However, the man was not identified by name by the newspaper. In fact, other than a picture of the guy demonstrating his choice to wear the hood, along with shorts, t-shirt, and shoes, not much information about the man was provided at all.

I shared the article on Facebook, and a few friends automatically labeled the guy a racist. And, to be honest, he probably IS a racist. However, there is no way to know for sure. I suspect the guy wore the mask to make a point about the requirement to wear face masks. The rules are pretty broad right now. Your nose and mouth are supposed to be covered. The white hood accomplishes that. Because a hateful group of racists have co-opted the white, cone shaped hood into a symbol that immediately identifies one as a white supremacist, it’s taboo to wear a hood that looks like that in public. This guy chose to wear one anyway. He technically followed the rules by covering his face and mouth, but he did so in a way that was sure to offend other people.

I brought up the fact that since I’ve lived in Europe, I’ve noticed the Confederate battle flag being flown or otherwise displayed in various places here. When I’ve shared my observations with American friends, they almost always react with shock and dismay. To many Americans, the Confederate battle flag (which was actually only one of many used by Confederates during the Civil War) is ALWAYS a racist display. I grew up in the South and saw that flag all the time while growing up. Hell, when I was in South Carolina going to graduate school, there was a Confederate battle flag on top of the Statehouse. It was later relocated to the grounds of the Statehouse, where it stayed for years before it was finally put away for good. Yes, many people see that flag as a racist symbol, but others still insist that it’s about southern pride and a spirit of rebellion.

I once had an Italian Facebook friend. I guess we’re technically still friends, but he left Facebook last year, claiming that people didn’t want to engage in healthy debates with him. I’m sorry he left, especially since we have lost touch. Although he could be very obnoxious and even kind of mean at times, I liked the perspective he presented. He is an intelligent and articulate guy, and I miss getting his input on some topics. One time, he explained why it’s not really uncommon to see the Confederate battle flag displayed in Italy. That flag doesn’t have the same connotations to many Europeans as it does to Americans. A lot of people in Europe see that flag as only a symbol of southern rebellion. In fact, there’s a Harley Davidson garage located not two kilometers near where we live, and they proudly fly the Confederate battle flag. I’ve also seen it on a cab driver’s bumper in Ireland. To many Europeans, it doesn’t stand for racism like it does in the United States.

While the white hood and, especially, the swastika are definitely taboo in Europe, as they are in the United States, I would imagine that those symbols, when taken to a place where they have no meaning at all, would not inspire outrage. When it comes down to it, they’re just symbols, and they only have the meaning that people give them. Personally, I think we should pay more attention to the racist attitudes that actual people have rather than the symbols used to promote those attitudes. It’s also not lost on me that when those symbols are presented, they identify those who have those sentiments. That makes it much easier to choose not to associate with them… although a lot of them are simply ignorant, and their ignorance doesn’t necessarily make them horrible people. At least not in my opinion.

Does “God” feel the same way about Confederate battle flags and white hoods made of cloth?
Isn’t this a blip? My father was a proud flag carrying conservative, but he never hesitated to wear ugly clothes inspired by the American flag. I think Americans should probably think longer and harder about this issue.

Back when football player Colin Kaepernick was regularly in the news for “taking a knee”during the “Star Spangled Banner” to protest racism, a lot of conservatives were upset because they saw his actions as disrespecting the American flag. Curiously enough, “God”, the popular Facebook page, even referred to the American flag as a “piece of cloth” and the national anthem as just a song. I remember blogging about this subject, and to make my point, I included the photo below.

I am not at all condoning the actions of the “very fine people”. However, one could argue that the Confederate battle flag and, in fact, other symbols made of fabric, such as white, cone shaped hoods, are also just “pieces of cloth”, as “God” claims the American flag is.

So anyway… all of this led me to conclude that the guy who walked into the grocery store in his white hood is possibly more of a pissed off Trump supporter, rather than a flat out racist. He’s pissed off because he resents government overreach, and he sees having to wear a face mask at the grocery store as a violation of his personal liberties. He may also be pissed because Trump may very well (hopefully) get his ass kicked during the elections this November, and that may mean more left swinging laws. Remember, Trump and Pence don’t willingly wear masks, either, and Trump has gone as far as to encourage citizens to rise up against their state governments and demand that restrictions be lifted so life can get back to “normal”.

So instead of grudgingly wearing a regular face mask like a good citizen would, he decided to cover his face in a different way. He wore a white, cone-shaped hood, which to many people is an extremely horrifying symbol of racism and hatred. He made a lot of people very uncomfortable. However, he wasn’t violent and didn’t physically hurt anyone, and after being asked repeatedly to remove the hood (and probably what was his nose and mouth covering), he did comply. He paid for his items and left the store without incident, although local law enforcement is “looking into the matter”. Santee, California reportedly has a “checkered past” when it comes to racism, and its mayor has gone on record to denounce the hooded shopper’s actions.

It occurred to me that ultimately, the white cone hat guy was expressing himself. Granted, he was expressing hatred, disrespect, and disdain, which are ugly, antisocial expressions. But when it came down to it, he was expressing himself, which in the United States, he still has the right to do. Then I thought about it some more. Judging by the photo in the news article, I’m about 99.9% certain this dude probably is a racist on some level. But– is it possible he wasn’t? What if he was just a smart assed troll trying to rile people up? What if he was from another country and wasn’t aware that the hood would offend (highly unlikely, but technically possible)? Maybe someone paid him to wear the cone shaped hood on a dare? Not knowing anything about the guy, I can’t know for sure what his story is, although I think it’s perfectly reasonable to assume he’s a racist. Or maybe he’s just a frustrated, pissed off American making his feelings known in the most offensive way he can think of, not unlike when Melania Trump wore her “I really don’t care, do U?” jacket. I am certainly not condoning that the man chose that way to express himself… but I can see how that explanation could be a possibility.

The fact that the man wore the offensive KKK-esque hood into the store, technically complying with the order that he cover his mouth and nose, may seem like a bad thing. But, as I sat at the breakfast table talking about this with Bill, I concluded that his actions were not necessarily such a bad thing overall. Because it’s getting people thinking and talking about this issue. If face masks do become the law for the foreseeable future, people are probably going to have to come up with some guidelines. The guidelines aren’t going to suit everyone, and it may take some time to come to a consensus. By then, maybe a vaccine will be created and we can move beyond this pandemic without forcing another nanny law on the populace.

The first article I referenced in this post is about how the face masks are becoming “fashion”. Well, fashion is frequently distasteful. That’s part of the reason fashion is a thing, just like any art is. Art isn’t always beautiful or simple. Sometimes, it’s ugly and offensive. And if we want to mandate face masks for people, we should probably be prepared for those who will use their masks to make their feelings known through offensive fashion statements. I know a lot of people got a kick out of Mindy Vincent, the lady in Utah who made a face mask out of cloth that had penises on it. Plenty of people found that funny, especially when she told people that if they could tell her face mask has penises on it, they were too close. But other people, no doubt, were offended by it. Mindy Vincent has been selling the masks and has reportedly donated a lot of money to charity. That’s probably a good thing, depending on the charity. Some people would probably criticize her for that, too… or for the charity she’s chosen to donate to. The nice thing about America is that we can still have these thoughts and discussions… at least for now.

It’ll be interesting to see what becomes of the hood wearing guy and whether or not his stunt will have any legal repercussions, especially if we do have to wear the fucking face masks from now on.

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Trump

Mutual feelings…

I got a funny comment on a link on my official OE FB page yesterday. Someone implied that I’m an idiot. I don’t even think she bothered to read the offending post that prompted her to insult me. I think she was reacting to the photo with the post, which was of a grey, long-sleeved, t-shirt that had a picture of an orange version of the poison control’s Mr. Yuk on it and a caption that read “tRump is an idiot. Stay away.”

She wrote, “The only idiot I see…”

Who? Moi? I wasn’t absolutely sure what she was saying, so I went looking on her Facebook page to clarify. Sure enough, she had a 2019 era link to a post about Donald Trump and a personal comment about how awful it is that so many people “hate” him. She writes that those of us who disdain Trump must be “miserable”, and she “prays” for us because we’re so negative. She actually referred to those who oppose Trump as “haters”. From that, I surmised that she supports Mr. Trump and doesn’t understand why so many of us dislike him so much. Her comment on the link she shared was pretty thoughtful and reasonable. I might be willing to have a discussion with someone who practices what she preaches. But then she came on my OE FB page yesterday and called me an “idiot”, even though we’ve never met and she didn’t even engage me in a meaningful conversation. So I’m not sure she’s innocent of being hateful herself.

The woman’s last name is Fletcher, so I was inspired to dedicate a song to her. She appeared to be old enough to get the reference. If you were around in the 1980s, you probably remember it, too.

“I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” I used to play this song on my radio show when I was in college, ages ago.

I’ve never seen Ms. Fletcher on my social media before, and I doubt I’ll see her again. I don’t even know how she found herself on my Overeducated Housewife Facebook page. It’s not a very busy page, and I’ve decided that’s the way I like it. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t write this blog for money or fame. It’s just a place for me to express my opinions and share travel and music adventures. I leave it open for those who enjoy it. Since I moved to WordPress, I get a lot less traffic and fewer mean comments. But this blog is starting to pick up steam, so I suspect I’ll start getting more nastygrams from strangers who don’t like what I have to say.

Being called an idiot isn’t a big deal. At least Ms. Fletcher didn’t call me a cunt, like ‘ol Bill did. I’ll even admit that sometimes I am legitimately an idiot. However, when it comes to my opinions about Donald Trump, I don’t think I’m an idiot at all. The man has always been shady and creepy. The fact that some people voted for him in red states and made him the president of the United States doesn’t change my opinions about him. He’s not worthy of being the president. Any man who openly brags about grabbing women by the pussy should NOT be involved in world leadership, as far as I’m concerned. Trump has done a whole lot more bad things besides making misogynistic comments, but the minute he started bragging about molesting women at will, he should have been knocked out of contention for the White House. In 2020, we don’t need a sexual predator running the United States.

As I am still an American citizen, and we are the “land of the free and the home of the brave”, I feel quite alright in sharing my opinions about him– the most public of public figures— with those who care. Isn’t freedom of expression still one of our greatest liberties in the United States? Of course, it looks to me like Mr. Trump would love to muzzle the press and opinionated people like me. He doesn’t like to be criticized.

About an hour after I left that cute parody song for Ms. Fletcher, I noticed a spike in hits on another post I wrote about Trump supporters. They almost all came from several communities in Tennessee, very close to the Alabama border. One link came from Texas. I figure someone must have shared the link on Facebook, or something, because I got lots of hits all of a sudden on that one post. I assume they were friends and neighbors from the same community; perhaps even people in a local Facebook group. I decided to look up the places from where the hits were coming. Interestingly enough, one hit came from Pulaski, Tennessee.

I come from Virginia, and we have a Pulaski there, too. I was curious, so I looked up Pulaski, Tennessee, and read about its racist history. Pulaski is where the Ku Klux Klan was founded back in 1866. Nearby Franklin, Tennessee is where the first lynching of a Jewish man ever took place in the United States. On August 15, 1868, Samuel Bierfield was fatally shot by a horde of masked men who were believed to be members of the Ku Klux Klan. Bierfield was born in Latvia and came to Toronto in the 1850s. His life’s journey brought him to Franklin, Tennessee in 1866, where he opened a store and hired a black man named Lawrence Bowman. The two men were attacked; Bierfield was shot four times in the head at point blank range. Bowman was badly wounded and later died of his injuries. No one was ever charged with a crime.

The other hits from Tennessee were also from around that same area, not far from the Alabama border. I got pings from Lawrenceville, Tennessee, Leoma, Tennessee, Franklin, Tennessee, Columbia, Tennessee, and Lewisburg, Tennessee, as well as a couple of hits from League City, Texas. Now… it’s possible that there are people in those towns who feel the same way about Donald Trump that I do, but somehow I doubt it. I come from a conservative Southern town in Virginia myself, and I have an inkling about what life is like in small town America where people tend to vote Republican. Moreover, it seems that Tennessee still embraces racism, where people celebrate Nathan Bedford Forrest Day. Nathan Bedford Forrest was a Confederate general and a Ku Klux Klan leader. Last year, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed a proclamation declaring July 13 Nathan Bedford Forrest Day, thanks to an obscure 1971 law requiring that the governor issue proclamations for six state holidays each year, including days for Nathan Bedford Forrest and Robert E. Lee.

Maybe the people from Tennessee reading my post about Trump supporters were reading because they feel the way I do about Trump, but I have a feeling that they don’t. I wonder why they’d want to know my thoughts about their dear leader. Why does it matter to them what I think? Why look to be offended by one woman’s thoughts on a little read blog? No one left me a comment, but I’ll bet they were discussing my article on Facebook. I wouldn’t be shocked if they were posting degrading things about me. But since I don’t look to be offended, I’m not going to try to find out what they think about me. I’d rather not know.

When you’re a woman in a military community and have the nerve to refer to yourself as an “overeducated housewife”, you get a good dose of the nasty attitudes some ignorant folks from small towns harbor toward “uppity women” who dare to share their views. Those types of people– most of whom are white, southern men– prefer their women to be pretty, petite, polite, obliging, and docile. If you’re a woman who isn’t naturally like that and you refuse to change, you can expect to be on the receiving end of abuse. I’ve been called all sorts of distasteful names by people, but it doesn’t really matter. People I have loved have said worse things to me, so why should I care what some random yahoo on the Internet thinks?

I was raised by a conservative, southern, white man who didn’t like me very much. The feeling was mutual, if I’m honest. My dad often verbally told me that he loved me, but he also let me know in no uncertain terms that he didn’t much like me. He often complained about my laugh, saying it was too loud and “cackle like”. He said I was too opinionated and obnoxious. He said I was too fat, and called me “bitchy”. He accused me of being arrogant, and when it turned out that I had inherited a nice singing voice from him, tried to compete with me, even going so far as hiring the same voice teacher.

My dad said I’d never make more than minimum wage or find anyone to love me. Fortunately, he was wrong on both counts. There have been times when I’ve been paid hourly as much as six times the federal minimum wage. Since I married Bill, who is himself a white, southern man, I don’t even have to worry about making money. At least for now, Bill makes enough to support us quite comfortably, and he doesn’t mind sharing his wealth with me. By the way, my husband was very much loved by my dad, who appreciated the fact that Bill had served his country in the Army. One thing my dad was proud of me for was that I served my country in the Peace Corps. But other than that, he didn’t seem too impressed with me as his last descendant. He was usually a lot more critical than complimentary when it came to his opinions about me.

One time, my dad said he thought I was “nice looking”. I laughed and said, “You’re my dad; you have to say that.” His retort was, “No, I don’t.”

When people had a problem with me, more often than not, my dad would take the other person’s position. Sometimes, when I would express a thought, my dad would say derisively, often in front of other people, “Nobody cares about your opinion.” When I was living with my parents and had a room with its own bathroom, my dad would sometimes go out of his way to use it. He wouldn’t flush after peeing, so I’d later find his stale urine in the toilet, just as if he was a dog marking his territory.

At my sister’s graduate school graduation in 2003, when I was 30 years old and married, my dad chastised and humiliated me loudly in front of a crowd of strangers. I wanted to strangle him right then and there, but we had to get through a celebratory lunch.

By the time my father died in 2014, our relationship had become quite complicated. I was the only one of his four daughters who didn’t care to help spread some of his ashes at Virginia Military Institute. I still harbor a lot of ill will toward him and, I’m afraid it sometimes comes out when I run into certain types of people on the Internet.

So yeah… I have heard a lot of bad things from men over the years, some of them in the form of mean-spirited comments from men I’ve actually loved. A lot of men have tried to put me in my place and shut me up through shaming, insults, bullying, threats, and intimidation. I’ve run into some women who are like that, too. Bullies come in all shapes, sexes, and sizes. It’s taken me a long time to decide to fight back against bullies with conviction, but now that I’ve started, I won’t ever go back to being a victim.

But, for all I know, the hits from last night were all from people like Ms. Fletcher, who evidently simply respects Trump because he’s the president, and thinks we all should, too, even if he doesn’t act like someone respectable. She called me an “idiot” in a roundabout kind of way, which I guess is her right. So she thinks I’m an idiot. The feeling is mutual. But the rest of those hits from the KKK hotbed in Tennessee make me suspicious. I’m glad I live in Germany, where people aren’t armed to the teeth and automatically brimming with hatred toward those who see things differently and dare to express themselves. Germans have a troubled history, but they are wise enough to have mostly learned from it. I have hope that more Americans will learn, too.

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