Tag Archives: politics

Doomed to Repeat


I haven’t blogged in a really long time—six months—not because there hasn’t been a lot to blog about, but because I’ve been forcing myself to keep my head down and get that darn fourth book of the Gifted Ones series finally finished. And I’m actually close on that, but the PC police finally got to me today. Mass shootings, illegal immigrants, retiring Supreme Court Justices, and God knows, FBI soft-coup plots couldn’t drag me away, but when you start messing with my childhood memories in the form of Laura Ingalls Wilder, you’ve gone too far!

Like millions of children the world over, I adored the Little House on the Prairie series, both in book form and on TV. I read the entire series through at least three times. What I, as a kid growing up in the 1960s and 70s, loved most about the series was the authentic taste of a time I’d never know. I was enthralled by the idea of people literally living off the land, building their house with their own two hands, and dolls made of corn cobs.

My young mind was boggled and shaped by events such as hail storms that destroyed the crops—the family’s sole source of food and income, or the bout of Scarlet Fever that left Laura’s sister permanently blinded because there were no antibiotics to quickly knock it out in a day or two. Reading those books helped me develop an appreciation for the time I lived in–for the grocery store within walking distance, the school bus that saved me from sub-zero temps, and our hot and cold running water and flushing toilets.

Laura Ingalls Wilder and her Little House series fascinated us all with its intimate view of a time long past, that is, H-I-S-T-O-R-Y. American history. A realistic, unvarnished, non-white-washed view of American history. And yes, one that is frequently politically incorrect. It appears that Ms. Wilder’s honest recollections of what life was like in the late nineteenth century have now rendered her persona non grata in the literary world. Lines such as this one, describing the Great Plains of the US as a place where “there were no people…only Indians lived there,” can apparently no longer be taken in context.

This week, the narrow-minded “Association for Library Service to Children” decided to remove Ms. Wilder’s name from a prestigious children’s literature award, because of the perceived anti-black and anti-Native American sentiments that are occasionally expressed in her books. I would ask this group, what type of sentiments should a five- or ten-year-old girl have had in the 1870s? The books are truthful representations of the attitudes and experiences of Laura Ingalls’ childhood world. They are autobiographical. She didn’t sugar-coat what she saw and heard and felt, because she wanted to share what her life was really like, not what folks a hundred and fifty years later might have preferred it to be like.

So go ahead, take her name off the award. While you’re at it, might as well take her books off the shelf, too, along with countless other literary gems that honestly reflect the time periods they’re about, like Huckleberry Finn, and most everything Shakespeare wrote, and when you’re done with that, go on and knock down a bunch of statues of guys who weren’t saints but were heroes in their time and place, because, hey, it’s better to make unpleasant history disappear than to study it and learn from it and appreciate it for what it is. Shoot, nobody really likes learning history anyway, right? Let’s just all live in the present moment and keep up with the Kardashians, because that’s like, really super-duper important stuff…

</rant off>

Me Me Me, Too Too too

Powerful Woman

Trigger Warning: I’m getting ready to be super-duper politically incorrect. I mean, even more than usual. Like, way more than usual. So if you can’t stand the heat, here’s a link to a cute puppy page, because I can see you need a safe space.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this whole #MeToo movement, about women telling tales of sexual abuse from long ago, particularly if the perpetrator is someone rich, famous, and powerful. Initially, I didn’t want to comment, because I’m not a joiner. I hate saying “me too” about anything. I’m terribly contrarian and individualistic and love to look for flaws in any form of groupthink, but I’m ready to come out of the closet now and join the #MeToo movement…if only to tromp all over it.

In my younger and prettier days, I experienced the entire gamut, at one time or another, of what is now referred to as sexually inappropriate behavior. So I get to talk about this subject without the SJW’s telling me to “shut up, you just don’t understand,” because I totally do.

Some of those youthful experiences simply hurt my feelings or left me fuming angry for a couple of days, while others caused me great distress, like therapy-and-mood-stabilizing-drug-level distress, so first I have to say, yes, there is a spectrum; while a butt-pinch in a smoky bar might be crude and belittling, it’s not life-changing. It’s just not. And a guy who “forcibly kisses” a woman shouldn’t be classed with serial rapists and child-molesters. We might call him creepy or filthy or some other words I won’t use here, but should he be put in jail? Absolutely not. Now, one of my lovely perpetrators probably should have been put in jail, and maybe would have been, if I’d been up for having my life turned upside down with cops and courts and public shaming and tearful family members and lost friends. Yeah, no, I didn’t go there, and I don’t regret it.

But if that guy was running for office or had a high-up corporate position today, some thirty-odd years later, I absolutely would NOT step up to the podium now, choking back tears, with Gloria Allred at my side, and out the dude as a slime-ball. And for saying that, I’m sure the Feminist Police will have my head. Especially if said slime-ball was someone they were ardently politically opposed to and wanted to destroy. It’d be my duty, they’d have me believe, to save all of womankind from this creepy person of the male persuasion. Even if the creep has cleaned up his act and is no longer a threat to anyone.

Which brings me right to my point. What, really, is the purpose of all the long-ago story-telling, of the #MeToo’ing? What is the motivation for sharing with the world how this big, important person wronged you back when Jimmy Carter was president?

Well, maybe you’ve never told anyone before. Maybe you need support and therapy and soul-cleansing to get on with your life. Fair enough. So go get some–call a hotline, hire a therapist, tell a friend. Trust me, it’ll do a lot more for you than an anonymous post on Facebook. But then, typing a hashtag takes way less courage than actually trying to resolve your issue.

But maybe you’re past that. You’re good with whatever happened. It was a long time ago, after all. Now you want to offer support to other men and women who’ve suffered as you have. Okay, that’d be a nice thing to do. But of course, you can do that without naming names. In fact, you can do it without going public at all. You can join support groups, do volunteer work, write songs or books or poems that express your outrage and your pain and help others work through theirs. But those things take time and energy; where’s the fun in that?

Maybe your reason for “coming out” is more serious. Maybe you want to try and stop an active predator or help another victim put him away. That’s a laudable purpose indeed, and surely, the right thing to do. If your testimony would keep this person from hurting someone else, then by all means, give it and any evidence you have to the police and the courts. Or to the head of the school where the person teaches. Or to the H.R. department where he works. That is how Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein were eventually stopped: police procedures and due process. Not much glory or limelight in that, but it works.

But what if the bad guy is no longer a serious, active threat? President George H.W. Bush comes to mind—90 year old man in a wheelchair. Or what if all the allegations are ancient and unprovable, as in Judge Roy Moore’s case? Or what if they’re provable but not realistically prosecutable, as in Senator Al Franken’s situation? Even if everything these men are accused of is true, what is the point of the finger-pointing? You want compensation for your pain and suffering? That’s not unreasonable. File a civil suit against them. Nobody else has to know. In fact, they’d prefer it that way; if there’s any believability to your story, you’ll get what you want, and they’ll get your silence in return.

But maybe it’s not about compensation. Maybe you just want to warn us that this guy is creepy. You want us to know he’s capable of bad judgement, stupid mistakes, and nefarious deeds, or at least he was, at some point in his life. Good thing none of the rest of us has ever done anything we regret. Good thing none of us has one single thing in our pasts that we’d rather no one know. Because surely that one thing absolutely defines who we are and what we’re capable of, a decade or three down the road.

But maybe your desire to share your story is not about helping the world to understand this person’s character. Maybe it’s more that you just want people to know that, damn it, he hurt you all those years ago, that you were a victim of this now rich and powerful person, because poor you, your life was ruined. Unless of course, it wasn’t. Not saying you didn’t suffer great pain, but are you happy today? Do you have a good life? Do you like who you are? If you do, what would you go back and change? How do you know that your worst experiences aren’t the ones that made you who you are?

Okay, maybe it’s none of those things. Then I’ll ask again, why share the ancient history? Maybe, just maybe, what you really want is to bring the person down. Maybe you want to destroy his life and his career and his family—because that’s the likely outcome of a #MeToo tale. Maybe you want to exert control over this guy when he’s vulnerable and unable to fight back, just like he did to you once upon a time. Maybe you just want to even the score.

So maybe you’re stooping to his level. Maybe you’re abusing your power in what is currently a socially acceptable and rewarding manner.


Maybe I just got too close. If you’re feeling the pain, I refer you back to the cute puppy page.

Non-Toxic Masculinity

maturity wisdom

“Honey, I’ve got one bit of advice for you: marry a guy who can fix things.”

This I said to one of my darling daughters recently, as we watched her dad painstakingly repairing a bed frame which had fallen apart. With plyers, wood glue, and a handful of screws, he turned a pile of bent and broken wood-look product back into a queen-sized bed that could be used at college, rather than relegated to the town dump.

My husband, like my dad, is an old-school “fix-it” guy. He can change his own oil, chop wood for our fireplace, replace faucets, trouble-shoot car problems, wire up any kind of TV or stereo system you want, and even solve most computer problems (with a reasonable allowance for unpleasant language). He recently replaced our hot water heater under serious time pressure when it blew out, spraying water like a fire hose into our guest bedroom, while we were packing for a cross-country plane trip that same afternoon. Then, when we were on the trip and our rental car broke down, he took care of that, too—using zip ties to shore up an undercarriage that was dragging the ground. MacGyver would have been proud.

I know I sound old-fashioned as hell, virtually anachronistic, when I say I admire these characteristics in my spouse and find them attractive. Yes, attractive. There, I said it. I do not find masculinity toxic, as seems to be the fashion these days. There’s something to be said for a little grease under the fingernails, a hairstyle that doesn’t require “product,” and knowing which end of the hammer strikes the nail. In fact, I’m concerned about the dying art of manliness. How many young men today can change a tire without calling the AAA? How many can grill a decent steak—I mean, outside, over coals, without George Foreman involved? Could these young fellas survive even one night out in the woods without a smartphone and a cable-ready RV?

Well, can you do those things, Maria?

Yeah, I can hear the mocking questions now. Could I perform any of the aforementioned macho activities? Heck no. I’m a girl and darn proud of it. That’s why I married the poor slob; so he could handle all that stuff for me. And I do girl stuff for him in return; shoot, just last week, I sewed a button back on one of his golf shirts. Yay me.

Understand, I am not saying all men have to be ultra-masculine testo-beasts, or that all women have to be cookin’ and cleanin’ fools. Do what you like, do what suits your personality and lifestyle, but don’t marginalize those who are comfortable in traditional gender roles. And stop bending over backwards to push a role-reversal agenda that’s not natural for the majority, in deference to those who choose a different path.

And before you argue that our gender roles are not natural, but rather, a product of enforced norms, sorry, but science proves you wrong. Even primate babies prefer traditional gender-specific toys when given a free choice; male monkeys like trucks better, and the females prefer dolls. And of course, there’s loads of research showing that environmental chemical contamination is responsible for a lot of the current gender-bending, at least in the animal kingdom (I won’t even bother to cite that remark, since a simple Google search will flood your screen with reading material on that topic).

Am I trying to insult the “gender-fluid” culture here? No, I’m not. I’m simply saying that I’m tired of having this politically correct crap shoved down my throat every day. Most humans fit pretty easily into traditional gender roles. Sure, some guys like to cook and are really good at it, but they’re still very masculine men. Some girls are total jocks, but also love to dress up, wear make-up, and curl their hair (my daughters). Some women have well-developed careers in traditionally male STEM fields, but still choose to stay at home and raise their kids (me, with hat tip to James Damore). There are no societal barriers to any of us living our lives as we choose nowadays. We don’t need schools and movies and books and kids’ television shows constantly pounding us with the message that “girls can do boy things” and “boys can do girl things.” Everybody knows that already!

So sorry, but I’m not buying what they’re selling. Masculinity is decidedly non-toxic. It’s normal and healthy for about half the population. My husband loves his chain saw, his John Deere riding mower, and his 1990 red Ford pick-up, and I find that all rather sexy. (Plus, it keeps him out of my hair when I’m trying to work on my books.) Hopefully, he finds my version of femininity equally attractive. Which reminds me, gotta run to my wifely duty for the day: time to pick up dinner at Taco Bell.

Neither Black nor White nor Brown nor Red, only Evergreen

evergreen state

With my two girls in their first year of college this past year, I’ve been highly attuned to all the craziness that’s been going on at Berkeley, Notre Dame, Middlebury, and other colleges, and now Evergreen State College. Whoever heard of Evergreen State before this past week? I think they’re having their fifteen minutes of fame, and I hope they’re enjoying it, because I suspect the enrollment’s going to drop, at least among students who actually want an education and hope to get a job someday. I feel like a broken record on this topic in my house, ranting and raving about the continuous assaults on free speech and critical thinking at these institutions of supposedly higher learning.

The latest such disaster is occurring at Evergreen, a tiny liberal arts college in Washington state. If you haven’t heard about this one, the short version is, a bunch of whiny babies, er, students from this college threw a collective fit because one of their professors exercised his right to free speech in a polite, thoughtfully written letter objecting to a planned activity that banned white people (including professors and staff) from being on campus for a couple of days. He failed to see how such a racist policy was helpful in improving race relations, or, ya know, teaching college students the information they were there to learn. These students literally cornered their professor in a hallway and hurled curse words at him and refused to let him speak in defense of his not-unreasonable point of view. In other words, they weren’t the least bit interested in any “conversation”.

Following that episode, they assailed the president of the university with a further barrage of screaming foul language and a written list of demands, including pizzas, no homework, and a forced apology for all of the president’s personal short-comings, like not using gender-neutral pronouns. If you watch any of the video of this, your first thought, like mine, will probably be “Dog Day Afternoon”, and the second will be, “What the heck are these kids gonna do when they get out in the Real World?”

My words to these coddled, self-important young folks would be this. You’re so concerned about privilege. Lots of people have privilege in this life—some are super smart, some are really attractive, some are quite athletic, some are musically talented or great actors. And some people (even the same people sometimes) have significant disadvantages—maybe they were born into abject poverty, maybe they grew up with two alcoholic parents, maybe they have physical or mental disabilities you can’t see, maybe they were beaten or raped or robbed at gunpoint in their lives, or something else way worse than belonging to a particular ethnic, racial, or cultural group that some people treat unfairly. News flash, kiddos: We’re not all equal, and we never will be. And there’s nothing right or just about trying to make us so. Should we have cut off Michael Jordan’s feet so he wouldn’t be so darn tall? Would the world be a better place if we had taken away J.K. Rowling’s typewriter after the first Harry Potter book? ALS wasn’t enough to slow Steven Hawking down; maybe we should’ve given him another handicap. You don’t rise out of oppression by pushing other people down. So stop whining about what you ain’t got and how someone else needs to give it to you. You just might get your wish.

Kathy Griffin Learns a Lesson about Free Speech

kathy girffin

I haven’t blogged in a really long time, because I’ve been trying to keep my head down and get this darn fourth book in The Gifted Ones series finished, but shoot, I just can’t keep quiet about the Kathy Griffin thing. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you either live under a rock, or you only read books and don’t pay attention to TV or the Internet, which makes you awesome! Unusual, but awesome.

So for you awesome folks, here’s the deal. Kathy Griffin is a comedienne of great fame and wealth who thought it would be funny or cool or whatever to share photographs of herself holding up a fake, bloody, severed head of President Trump, ISIS-style. I don’t personally find that remotely amusing, but I am also a staunch supporter of the first amendment to the Constitution, which accords to all U.S. citizens the right to express themselves freely. Contrary to what the far left would have us believe, free speech does include horrible, hateful speech and speech you just don’t like, a fact which has been reaffirmed by the high courts multiple times.

IMHO, Ms. Griffin’s photographs fall into the category of horrible, hateful speech, and I do indeed defend her right to express herself thusly. What I find ridiculous, however, is her speech yesterday, wherein she attempted to turn the tables and somehow blame the Trump family for all the negative fallout she received as a result of her little stunt. Here’s what she had to say about their reaction:

“What’s happening to me has never happened in the history of this great country, which is a sitting president of the United States and his grown children and the First Lady are personally, I feel, personally trying to ruin my life forever.”

Uh, sorry, Kathy, you don’t get to play the victim card. The right to free speech is just that. It does not offer protection from the repercussions of the speech (short of physical assault). When I was a kid, the typical example was that of the KKK being protected by police as they marched down the street in their white hoods in a public parade; people might be screaming at them as they marched, but they were free to march. I rather liken Kathy Griffin’s ISIS photos to those marches. The Constitution protects her right to self-expresssion, and likewise protects the rights of everyone who responds to her with a little self-expression of their own. If you throw rotten tomatoes at someone, don’t be surprised if they scrape a little off and toss it back on you, and certainly don’t ask anyone to feel sorry for you as a result.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

baby its cold outside

Wow, I just couldn’t keep quiet on this one. I am soooo tired of living in this P.C. world where a bouquet of roses turns into a bundle of withering weeds with the snap of some do-gooder’s fingers. Just in case you haven’t heard, apparently, the cheery, romantic 1944 Christmas song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is really a song about date rape. Yeah.

If you’re not familiar with the song, it’s a cutesy duet where a couple volley back and forth about how it’s late and the lady has to get home (as a lady would in those days). The lyrics and tone make it clear that both the fella and his lady don’t want her to leave just yet and are making excuses for her to stay. It’s been a sweet, festive holiday favorite for over 70 years, but this year, in the age of everything-is-offensive, a couple of singer-songwriters (Lydia Liza and Josiah Lemanski, whoever they are) decided the song was “sexually agressive”, and felt compelled to compose new lyrics to clean it up. In their haste to label another innocent pleasure as something unseemly, the couple re-wrote the song in ultra-politically-correct “positive consent” terminology. For example, “I really can’t stay/But Baby, it’s cold out there” became “I really can’t stay/Baby, I’m fine with that.” Um, really? That’s what passes for romance nowadays?

Look, anyone who’s read Little Miss Straight Lace knows I’m no date rape apologist. I get it. Believe me, I get it. It’s a terrible thing for anyone to experience and have to live with and be haunted by for years, but that doesn’t mean we need to see it everywhere we look—especially in places it was never meant to be! The original song was written by a husband-wife singing team to entertain their guests at parties. It was intended to be a light-hearted Christmas ditty, not cynical social commentary. If you’re seeing anything more than that, try taking off your Grinchy glasses and look again. And if you’re still struggling to have a happy holiday with all these thought police around, try whipping up a bowl of eggnog and invite them inside for a drink. Better not spike it, though, or someone will start crooning, “Baby I’m fine with that…”

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Left

betsy ross

When I was ten years old, I got to dress up as Betsy Ross and ride on a big “Happy Birthday, America” float in our local community’s Bicentennial parade. I no longer remember the reason I was chosen for that honor—straight-A report card or Dork of the Week or whatever—but I remember the experience. I was proud, super proud, to represent all that was good and right about my homeland.

Growing up in these United States, I would often hear scary stories about Russia and China and Cuba, and how the governments in those countries suppressed truth and presented only twisted propaganda to their populace. I would shake my head and feel sorry for all the people not fortunate enough to be living in a great free country like I was. In school, I studied American history and felt reverence for our forefathers who laid down their lives for the right to speak their minds, even when their ideas weren’t popular. Today, my heart is aching for the world that was.

Whatever political affiliation you may have, whatever feelings you may harbor about our outgoing Commander-In-Chief Barak Obama, I doubt you were expecting his recent remarks at a conference in Pittsburgh:

“We are going to have to rebuild within this wild-wild-west-of-information flow some sort of curating function that people agree to. There has to be, I think, some sort of way in which we can sort through information that passes some basic truthiness tests and those that we have to discard, because they just don’t have any basis in anything that’s actually happening in the world.”

In other words, let’s censor the Internet! No more debate about climate change or vaccine safety or Russian hackers. The official government-approved statement on all of these is out, and you will accept it. Then add to that, just last week, a Tweet by CNN anchor Chris Cuomo echoing a similar sentiment, as he informed us (incorrectly) that it would be illegal for any of us peons to read the Clinton/Podesta leaked emails, but it was just fine and dandy for our esteemed press corps to do it, and then pass their sanitized version of the truth on to us.

Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or Independent, I hope you are as appalled by these attitudes as I am. The idea that citizens of the United States should not be free to express or consume any information we choose is as un-American as it gets. The words “unmitigated gall” come to mind, but for now, let’s just call it Orwellian.

My response to the would-be thought police is this:

Do I look like a three year old who just asked where babies come from? Sorry, my self-proclaimed intellectual leaders, but I am an adult, and a highly educated one at that. But in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, I don’t have to be, to be allowed to make my own decisions. Maybe I’m an idiot. Maybe I’ll make bad ones. Maybe my choices will turn out to be horrendous mistakes, but they’re my mistakes to make. I don’t need you or anyone else to “curate” my information sources, thank you. I’ll decide who to listen to and who to ignore…and that might be you!

The Wild, Wild West of the free and open Internet is the best thing that ever happened to this country and the whole world. We can read a thousand differing opinions on each of a million different topics. Is some of it wrong? Is some of it potentially hurtful? Is some of it downright comedic? You betcha. But I’ll figure that out myself and glad to do it. We understand why you want to quiet dissenters, bury unpleasant truths, and spin reality like a centrifuge; it’s not exactly a new tactic, guys (see earlier remarks about Russia and China). There’s a reason we’re all turning our backs on CNN and MSNBC and The New York Times. Shuck the agenda, stamp out the spin, and give us the facts, if you want a rat’s chance of survival.

And while I’m on my soapbox: Long live the America I grew up in, where liberty and individuality were celebrated, not squashed, and where we were reminded daily that while we might find others’ ideas offensive, our freedom to speak our minds depended on us tolerating the same from everyone else. Three cheers for the First Amendment!