Friday, January 20, 2017

Cousins, There's No Joy in Division, and Vera

Trigger/Content Warning: the following blog post contains mentions of child abuse, domestic violence, rape, and ableist language.  Reader discretion is advised.

This week marked the fifth year anniversary of my Uncle Tom's death.  I didn't get the chance to know him as well as his wife, children, co-workers, and former fellow Vietnam Vets did throughout his 65 years on this planet rock.  I'm not going to allow that to stop me from mourning his death, because, well, he is my uncle.

One of his children - one of my cousins - shared a worded graphic onto her Facebook timeline, with the graphic describing how today's family is not the same anymore.

A screen shot of a graphic shared on Facebook from [blue redacted]. Black text on
 white background, states: Family isn't what it used to be. (Neutral face emoji.)
It use to be a time when you could go to your Grandma house to eat, hang out with the family,
and just have a good time. Now everybody choose who they wanna deal with.
Aunts and uncles choose which kids to be proud of. Brother's and Sister's treat
friends more like family. Cousins talk about each other they aren't flawed.
Grandparents spend time with certain grandkids. And the only time you see everyone
together is at a funeral. (Disappointed face emoji.)
I commented on it with some hashtags. Then another one of my uncle's children - another cousin of mine - chimes in with a reply to my comment on their sibling's post:

Screen shot of my comment on [redacted name]'s post. #RealTalk #TrueStory
#StoryOfMyLife [Green redacted] responds: Maybe u should have a chat with your mom.
I reply: Hell naw, I have spoken to either of my parents since October 2014. Both of
them decided that my second ex-fiancé/attacker was more important to have in their
lives than me. ("have spoken" should be "haven't spoken")
Like, really?  Why should I have to talk to an estranged parent over non communications between cousins?

As I deduce from the response, my Cousin [redacted with green quadrangles] does not know about the struggles I had gone through over the past few years.  I extend an olive branch in the form of sharing a blog post discussing what I had to endure (and not as a shameless plug, for once):

Screen shot of a conversation. I type: I hope this helps, Cousin [green redacted]. https://thisthatandvera.blogspot.com/2015/03/forgiveness-individual-results-may-vary_30.html
[Green redacted] fires back: Vera Didenko, whatever!! U haven't been in my families life ever,
You know NOTHING about us, Vera if it wasn't for Facebook u wouldn't even care... or want
to know us... sometimes fb is for those u just want to creep and see what we're doing.
This is the type of rhetoric I would come to expect from my own mother about having a relationship with her late brother's family, but not from my late uncle's children themselves.  I mean, at least demonstrate to my second cousins - [green redacted]'s children - proper use of the English language for G-d's sake.

This also resembles where my country is right now.  One side trying to get to know one another, and yet being forced back into their camps of origin, expected to hate one another.

We have a brand new President of the United States, and his name is Mr. Donald J. Trump.

I didn't vote for the guy.  I know a bunch of people didn't vote for the guy.  I know a few folks who openly admit voting for the guy.  None of that is relevant anymore.

We have a brand new president, whether folks like it or not.

What sickens me (yeah, I said that) is how many people are crying over proverbial spilt milk.  What people are saying now, words and phrases and sentences equivalent to Chicken Little screeching, "The sky is falling," are nothing more than plagiarism from folks who said the same exact shit eight years ago when Former President Barack Obama was elected and then inaugurated. 

As a pansexual and gendervague brat, I am not afraid of this upcoming administration.  And neither should you.

Yeah, I see Mr. Trump appointing a bunch of people who seem to be uniquely unqualified for their positions in his administration.  Okay, I see one of the first things the Trump administration wants to get rid of are these.  Many of my people - whether they are gay, trans, Black, disabled, Hispanic, autistic, or a combination thereof - are fearful for their lives.  We are fearful because the upcoming president and his staff, in the power positions they are in, embolden a select few assthieves to showcase themselves in public as the racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, ableist, transphobic, and homophobic human beings that they have always been behind closed doors.

Here is the problem: these folks are my people, too.  And whether you choose to admit it in public or not, they are your people, too.  Why?  Because we are human beings.

The Trump voters who want their livelihoods back because their jobs were exported to lands where big chief executive officers end up proverbially lining their pockets from the money they saved?  They are my people.

The Clinton voters who want their livelihoods remain in tact because without them many will end up dying from either lack of health care access or protections from hate crimes for being who they are, or both?  They are my people.

The voters who voted for neither major candidate, knowing that their vote may not have counted due to archaic voting procedures for write in candidates, depending on which state they vote in?  They are my people.

When Keshia Thomas put her life on the line to protect a man with an SS tattoo from being attacked at a rally?  Both she and the man she defended are my people.

When Rabbi Arthur Lelyveld, z"l, had been attacked by a gang of segregationists?  Both he and the perpetrators involved are my people.

When children are born in this country to illegal immigrants, who may or may not be trying to become citizens themselves and have a chance at a better life?  Even the child and their parents are my people.

When Native Americans defend their rights to a piece of sacred land my ancestors flat out stole from? They are my people.

When an immigrant from Austria gets himself naturalized as a United States citizen and later becomes Governor of California?  He is one with my people.

Even a refugee from Ukraine who also gets himself naturalized but later chooses to continue a relationship with a rapist over their own child. They are my people.

They are your people.

They are our people.

We don't have to agree with them.  We don't even have to like them.

We do, however, have to own the fact that they are one of us; human fucking beings.

And what are we supposed to do as human beings?  Take care of ourselves and one another.

Camps and teams and groups and such belong in sporting competitions or employment specialties, not sociopolitical and ideological agendas.

The rest of this planet rock see us, folks who inhabit these United States of America, are legit laughing at us because of how we fucking behave towards one another.  If I were to hold up a mirror to your face, would you like what you see, or would you laugh at yourself as well for being such a comedic asshole?

The fact that this nation is divided so badly is why we, as human beings, can not have nice things.

This concept of social division is also why my uncle's family and my own estranged family do not even get along.

I responded to [green redacted]'s verbal stance with one of my own:

Screen shot of a conversation. [Green redacted]: You know NOTHING about us,
Vera if it wasn't for Facebook u wouldn't even care... or want to know us...
sometimes fb is for those u just want to creep and see what we're doing. I respond:
How do you know that? How do you know that I didn't want to reach out and
get to know you? Who told you that? Contrare to what you have been told, I have
nothing against you or any of my cousins. Just because I am a child of Aunt Judy's
does not make me a spawn of Satan. The fact that you strongly believe I have a grudge
against you simply because we're from different camps is quite sad. (Neutral face emoji.)
Maybe the photo that was shared hit too close to home.
Instead of being worried about whether or not we live or die in the next four years, how about we do this?  We, the People of these United States of America, demand the following from our elected and/or appointed Representatives in all of the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of Government:
  1. Enact a term limit for all elected and/or appointed Representatives, starting with the General Election in 2018.  Each current member of Congress will be sent home and allow brand new individuals run for the districts and/or states of their Constituents.  This will follow with the Supreme Court Justices being elected by the People instead of appointed by the President in 2019.
  2. Eliminate all federal, state, and locally enacted taxes with one main tax.  Ten percent of your earned income will go to the Federal government, and will be appropriated and accounted for by elected officials to ensure transparency.  This one main tax will fund the country's total budget, including both the mandatory and the discretionary budgets.
  3. Complete rewrite of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, to reflect the ever changing needs of our nation.  This will include that Congress will not have the Power of the Purse, but rather the American people will.
  4. And finally, ban all those lobbyists.  Tell them to get a real job.
At least, I do see a glimmer of hope.  A cousin from a different family (one of my mother's half-sister's family) defended me on this conversation, which had all started about who people choose to associate with as "family":

Screen shot of a conversation. I respond:....know that I didn't want to reach out and get to know you? Who told you that?
Contrare to what you have been told, I have nothing against you or any of my cousins.
Just because I am a child of Aunt Judy's does not make me a spawn of Satan.
The fact that you strongly believe I have a grudge against you simply because
we're from different camps is quite sad. (Neutral face emoji.)
Maybe the photo that was shared hit too close to home. [Red redacted] jumps in:
As someone who lived in the house, renting out the top floor- and having
spent considerable time interacting with both Judy and Victor, I can
state unequivocally they are both batshit lunatics.
With all deference to Vera, of course. SMDH
Both [green redacted] and [red redacted], and even [blue redacted], are my people. You reading is are part of my people.  We are all on this planet rock together for a very short time.  Minus murder, rape, and the synonyms associated, let us all be able to enjoy civil rights.  Let everyone, including White cishet Christian men, sit at the proverbial table and learn how to be better people and to live in a just society.  We may not agree, we may not even like; we must have to respect one another in order to survive what is yet to come.

Or else, the terrorists win.

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