Monday, September 14, 2020

Musings


 Sometimes, I have something on my mind, and I think it will make a good post. When this happens, and I can do so, I sit down and write the post out. Occasionally, once I get it written, I decide that I don't want to post it. I have a few posts like that saved on my computer, but I doubt they will ever see anyone's eyes but mine. I sometimes go back to them and reread them and edit those posts, and sometimes I do end up posting them. Rarely, I go back to a post I've decided not to post and then post it later. 

Lately, I have had the political situation of the United States on my mind a lot, so I have written several politically-oriented posts. However, I feel like I am beating a dead horse with the vote for Biden themes. Yes, I want you to vote for Joe Biden, and I think my American readers are likely to do so. Quite frankly, if you are reading this blog and are even contemplating voting for Donald Trump, you are in the wrong fucking place, and I hope you leave and don't come back. If you have a gay friend or family member and are voting for Trump, you don't actually care about that person. You are homophobic, and that's the end of it.

 

I also write about my health a fair amount, but I know people get tired of reading about my headaches. We won't even get into my diabetes or high blood pressure, among the other things that I need to improve about my body. Sometimes, I guess it does seem like I am whining too much, but at the end of the day, this blog is where I write down my thoughts. If you have thoughts about what I write, you are always encouraged to leave a comment.

 

I have also ranted about people not following guidelines to keep others safe in this pandemic. You can only tell people to wear their masks so many times. My university has been very strict about wearing masks, and we currently have zero cases. My Texas friend is not having the same luck with her college. While they have rules, no one is following them, and no one is enforcing the rules. It's Texas, what do you expect? My parents are not as cautious as they should be either, and I won't even get started on my sister and her family. 

 

I haven't talked much about work lately. I am still working mostly from home, but I am going into the museum two days a week. Last week, it was four days because issues mainly of the fact that I live the closest to the museum. Because of this, I am expected to go in for emergency needs and for things that "won't take long." Being on call all the time is trying my patience because I am not paid to be on call every waking minute. My boss and I will talk on Wednesday when we will be the only two working. It won't matter because he will say, "We will do better and be fairer about who comes in at off times." He always says he will "do better," but he never does.

 

So, those were my thoughts last night. I had not planned to write this much. I had only planned on talking about having a post ready but not wanting to post it. My back-up plan had been to discuss Vermont Virtual Pride, which was this weekend and last week. They created a program called Pridestream, which was broadcast on the local CBS affiliate. It was hosted by François Clemmons, who was Officer Clemmons on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Clemmons is gay and was born in Alabama, and also like me, he ended up in Vermont. After retiring from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, he became a professor at Middlebury College. 

 

I am usually a fan of what the Pride Center of Vermont does, but this pride was a bit of a disappointment. It was supposed to feature both local and nationally-known recording artists, activists, and phenomenons, including performances and appearances by Jonathan Van Ness, Big Freedia, Low Cut Connie, Ben Cohen & Jerry Greenfield, Dwight & Nicole, Be Steadwell, Marjorie Mayhem, pineappleCITI, Amber & Lucy Belle LeMay, Maddy Jameson, Unnecessary Inventions, tip/toe, and more. They featured them all right, but I just can’t say it was entertaining. Thankfully, it only lasted an hour. Hopefully, next year’s pride celebration will be back to normal. Anyway, I had hoped to talk about how good the Pridestream was, but I'm afraid I can't. 

 

Hopefully, this coming week will be better than last week was. If it turns out to be worse, I might explode on someone. I am reaching my boiling point with my coworker, and my constant headaches aren't helping my temper. I am almost always irritable lately, and I don't like being irritable. I want to be happy and things to go smoothly.

12 comments:

George Safford said...

You are quite hard on yourself. Take deep breaths and pause from time to time. Your wakefulness and writing ability are quite apparent. That is your asset. We appreciate your sharing yourself with us. Your musings are often ours, too. Allow yourself some freedom. You are worth it.

Susan said...

Wishing you a better week too, Joe. Glad you will be talking to your boss on Wednesday. We all have to stand up for ourselves. And if he doesn't "do better" remember, there are always follow-up talks. Take care. <3

Anonymous said...

How were the tacos last night? As the above comment says, do vent what you feel when you post. It helps. Roderick

VRC-Do You! said...

Dear, it is your blog...Write about what you want...I may not be interested in a certain topic you post-religious-and I will just give it a quick perusal...Believe it or not, I used to be super religious, church two times a week, leading services...That was in my late teens, early twenties...Once the gay thing kicked in I moved away from that and leaning towards a neutral stance/atheist...I would never denounce one's own religious belief...That is theirs...Well, unless they are sacrificing virgins or something like that...All posts are fair game...The point, in my view, is to post and solicit dialog...And even receive a different viewpoint, another angle, or just praise for your thoughts...Yes, the work thing is an issue...Being on-call...As a manager, we actually address this topic...I would ask your boss to explore the idea of what hospitals/others do for those on-call...If one is on-call one can't just go about their day...They half to temper things just in case...I hear in California they must pay a half-day wages for those expected to be on call...But no less than two hours and or more than four hours...I would ask that a policy be developed if the university does not have one already that can be applied to your group...As an exempt employee, the on-call for my department would fall to me...But rarely, if ever, do I get called...The political stuff is affecting me...What bothers me the most is those who sit around a do nothing...It's business as usual...Rome is burning...Folks are enablers and sitting on their hands because they are getting something...How can they look at themselves in the mirror...They ALL should be voted out...Trust me there will be rules/policy written because of what has happened...It's like those obscure rules that you read about...You think WHAT someone actually did that so they now have the rule to cover it...Keep on being you...Take care of your health...We want you bitching way into your 80s...

Joe said...

Thanks, everybody, for your comments and encouragement.

Roderick, the tacos turned out great. I tend to make steak tacos by browning strips of steak and then cooking them in 1 can of Rotel tomatoes, 1 can of beef broth, and one taco seasoning packet. Last night, I also heated up some refried beans to go with the tacos. I also prefer the soft flour tortillas (unless I am using ground beef, then I like the hard taco shells). I tend to get the taco boats made by Old El Paso. Then it's just putting the beef in the taco bowl, adding some shredded lettuce and cheese, and top it with sour cream and taco sauce. Yummy! We don't have any good Mexican restaurants up here, so when I want Mexican, I have to cook my own.

Brian said...

I have been a reader of your blog for a couple years now and I thoroughly enjoy your content and reflections. I hate to hear that I am not welcome here because, as a gay man, I support Donald Trump, the most pro-gay President in American history. I will respect your wishes and no longer follow your blog, but I would strongly encourage you to expand your tent and tolerance for other views, because there are many good people who don’t always come to the same conclusions that you do.

Joe said...

Brian, I am sorry that you support Donald Trump and think that I am close-minded. Therefore, I have to ask how did you come to the conclusion that Donald Trump is " the most pro-gay president in American history"? Let me point out some of the things I have seen that he's done for LGBTQ+ Americans. On January 20, 2017, the day Trump was inaugurated, his administration immediately removed several social issues from WhiteHouse.gov, including a page dedicated to LGBTQ+ rights. Trump signed a law that undercut Obama’s anti-discriminatory protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer contractors. The Trump Justice Department argued a major federal civil rights law does not protect employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation, again taking a stand against a decision reached under Obama. The Trump administration took a number of steps undercutting rights for transgender Americans, including a ban on transgender troops, removal of anti-discriminatory protections, and adopting a regulation that defines gender as a person’s biological sex. The Trump State Department has even appealed a federal judge’s decision that it must recognize the U.S. citizenship of a young girl born via surrogate to a gay couple. Though the couple is legally married, the State Department claims because the daughter was born in Canada to a surrogate, she is “born out of wedlock” and not entitled to birthright citizenship. That is just the tip of the iceberg. Plain and simple, Donald Trump has attacked LGBTQ+ people because of who we are and whom we love. His administration has sought to allow discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in health care, in employment and foster care, in schools, and even in housing. The president, vice president, and those who work for them have endeavored to systematically roll back our rights and deny us out dignity. I am always open-minded, but I repeat my question: how did you come to the conclusion that Donald Trump is " the most pro-gay president in American history"? I would legitimately like to know.

Brian said...

Joe, I understand your position and I did not say that he was a hero for our cause, just that he is more pro-gay than his predecessors, who all entered office in opposition to same-sex marriage.

President Trump is on a mission to decriminalize being gay around the world and he is standing up to Muslim Brotherhood nations who do serious harm, up to murder, to gays. President Obama was silent on this issue. President Trump has also appointed the first ever openly gay presidential cabinet member, Ric Grenell, who was previously the influential Ambassador to Germany. President Trump has appointed several gay ambassadors and judges. The Supreme Court Justice who joined with liberal judges to end employment discrimination against gays, Neil Gorsuch, was his first Supreme Court appointee.

As a lifelong gay Republican, it means a lot to me that he has consistently called on gays to speak at both of his Republican National Conventions he has led charge of. It brought tears to my eyes when he took a risk at the 2016 convention and called on Republicans to support gays and protect us against our enemies. He emotionally responded, telling the crowd he was so glad to hear them clapping on the issue, after they responded with widespread applause. He also sells gay pride-themed Trump for President merchandise in his online store, which would have been unheard of from any Republican presidential candidate in the past.

Some of the issues you mentioned — transgenders in the military and the case of the child born to a surrogate in another country — have little to do with gay rights and a lot to do with other underlying issues, like ensuring the safety of our military while being cost effective and interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment for birthright citizenship qualification. I have voted for Republicans in the past who opposed same-sex marriage and gay rights, because I am not a fan of identity politics and there are more issues I look at than just gay rights. I am pro-life, pro-gun, and pro-economic freedom. I believe that less government means more freedom. As a gay man, being pro-life is important to me because when straight people find the gay gene, we will be aborted more than any other group and gays will be extinct. Also, as a gay man, having the right to bear arms is important to me for my own personal protection against those who would try to hurt me. I want a government so small that it stays out of my bedroom and away from my pocketbook.

I don’t usually discuss politics, although I don’t mind that you do. I chew the meat and spit out the bones. It just kind of hurt that your blog has been part of my daily reading and you know longer want me as a reader because I support President Trump. It felt a lot like when I told a close friend that I was gay and she told me that she appreciated our friendship over the years, but she no longer wanted to be my friend. I didn’t mean that you were closed minded. You certainly have a right to feel however you do, but I think cancel culture has made us all a little less tolerant of views that differ from our own and I don’t know how healthy that is.

Joe said...

Bryan, first of all, let me address your assertion that Trump is “on a mission to decriminalize being gay around the world,” something that Grenell announced, yet when the Trump administration and the State Department were asked for comments on, they had no idea about any such policy. Also, he criticized Gorsuch for rulings that he disagreed with, particularly those intended to help the LGBTQ+ community. As for the gay people speaking at the RNC and gay pride merchandise in his online store, I see that as merely pandering. There will always be people who vote against their own interests. There were Jews who supported Hitler and the middle and lower class who support Republicans even though the Republican Party only passes reforms that help the wealthiest in society. I’m not saying these two are the same thing, just examples of my point. You also say, “Some of the issues you mentioned — transgenders in the military and the case of the child born to a surrogate in another country — have little to do with gay rights and a lot to do with other underlying issues, like ensuring the safety of our military while being cost-effective and interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment for birthright citizenship qualification.” However, I strongly disagree. The military has NEVER been cost-effective and working for a military organization, I see this issue very clearly. Transgender people deserve the same rights as everyone. Furthermore, the Fourteenth Amendment does not apply to the surrogacy question. That question instead is covered under the Naturalization Act of 1790 provided for birthright citizenship for children born out of U.S. jurisdiction to two citizen parents and the surrogacy questions should fall under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

I too am pro-life, and I always have been, but I do not believe the government should dictate laws to control someone’s body. I am also pro-gun, as I own a few family heirlooms that are firearms, but that does not mean that I do not believe there needs to be regulations on gun ownership. No civilian needs to have access to automatic or semi-automatic weapons. However, I disagree about the government being small. I think it is our responsibility to make sure no one starves to death, that everyone has access to healthcare that is affordable, and that those who are homeless, no matter their sexuality, can have a roof over their heads. Trump has consistently been against welfare for those who need it. He has been against making necessary changes to healthcare so that everyone has affordable access. Also, he has been a proponent of allowing homeless shelters to turn away LGBTQ+ people because of their sexuality. I think we need a government that can push for humanitarian issues, and therefore, I believe in a stronger and larger government, but one that is efficient.

Also, let me explain my comment: “Quite frankly, if you are reading this blog and are even contemplating voting for Donald Trump, you are in the wrong fucking place, and I hope you leave and don't come back.” I am sorry if I hurt your feelings, but I have faced so much discrimination from family and people who purported to be my friends because they are supporters of Trump. Some even claim to care about LGBTQ+ issues; others do not. However, I do believe that if you support Donald Trump, then you are supporting racism, homophobia, and ignorance among other negative traits. I do not want that negativity in my life. If you read my blog regularly and enjoy it as you say you do, I don’t understand how you can still support Trump. I have never posted anything to this blog that isn’t true.

Finally, I do not think that asking Trump supporters not to read my blog is cancel culture. The problem is cancel culture isn’t real, at least not in the way you seem to be using it. Instead, it’s a catch-all for when people in power face consequences for their actions or receive any type of criticism, something that they’re not used to. To me it is similar to fake news, it’s a catch-all phrase for any news conservatives don’t agree with.

Brian said...

Joe, As I said, I understand your position, but I still disagree. I do enjoy your posts, because I am a history teacher, member of the churches of Christ, and an Alabamian. We share some things in common. I also relate to many of your experiences growing up gay that you have written about. And, I even enjoy reading your political posts, because they present informative views contrary to my own and provoke me to think,, even though I disagree with some of your political views. I know that I can count on you to research your position well, and that is refreshing.

I would push back on your association of all Trump supports with homophobia and racism. As a gay man, I know how painful homophobia has been and I have never heard the President say anything remotely homophobic. I have never seen him do anything that led me to believe that he dislikes gays. Some of his supporters are another story. But, I know homophobic people who are voting for Joe Biden too. In the black community, it is quite common to be homophobic and a Democrat. That brings me to my next point: as a black man, I know how painful racism is and I have never heard President Trump say anything racist. He has denounced racism and white supremacy, provided historically significant funding to HBCUs like the one I graduated from, created opportunity zones for black business owners, and, prior to the pandemic that has shredded every nation’s economy, he led historically low black unemployment. President Obama did none of these things. There are also Democrats and Biden supporters who are racist, particularly in the black community, which I have the most experience with.

Vice President Biden and Senator Harris are responsible for countless black men serving extended sentences for relatively minor crimes and in far greater numbers compared to white people. Biden’s crime bill and Harris’ policy of prosecuting marijuana users — particularly racial minorities — despite the fact that she smoked marijuana, are inexcusable. Biden thinks I’m not black, because I’m not voting for him. Biden thinks poor kids deserve as many opportunities as white kids. But, Biden didn’t want his children to have to go to school with black students. Why, because he said integrated schools would be like a jungle. He opposed busing Senator Harris to an integrated school when she was a child, a fact she has soon forgotten. I grew up in Alabama’s black belt, where schools are still segregated. I teach in Alabama’s black belt, where schools are still segregated. I see the harm that the policies Biden supported did. I think you were on the other side of the road when you taught in Alabama’s black belt, but I’m sure you can testify to the harm segregation has done. President Trump has made exposing Biden’s segregationist history part of his platform.

We will have to agree to disagree. But, I believe cancel culture is very real and in opposition to the Christian principles of grace, mercy, and forgiveness. J.K. Rowling has made good points about cancel culture. If I canceled every white person I’ve heard use the “n” word or every black person I have heard make racist comments against white people or against gay people, I would be the only person in my circle. Yes, I believe people should be held accountable for their actions, but I don’t think a point of disagreement is enough to write someone off.

Joe said...

Brian, other than politics, it seems we have a fair amount in common. You so make some valid points, but you also make some points with which I disagree. Primarily, just because Trump has not explicitly said anything homophobic doesn’t mean he’s not. His actions speak louder than his words. His support of Roy Moore is one but also choosing Mike Pence as his VP, who has made many homophobic remarks, is another. As for racism, calling the pro-Confederate, pro-Nazi, and pro-KKK protestors of Charlottesville “very fine people,” is where I see a problem with racism, though that is not the only thing. I also agree about your point about Harris, and as you may know, I was not happy with that choice. As for Biden, what mistakes he’s made, he has apologized for, something that Trump never has, including but not limited to, his racist housing policies in his buildings.

School segregation is a significant problem just as it always has been. Where I taught, I think three black kids were in that school, while there were about three white kids in the public schools of that county. I did not like working for a segregation academy, but it was the only job I could find, and I worked hard to educate those kids against racism and homophobia. Sadly, seeing some of their comments on Facebook, I failed at that miserably.

While I disagree with much that you say, and I do think you are incorrect about Trump’s racism and homophobia, you have been nothing but polite in responding to what I have had to say. Therefore, I apologize if I made you feel unwelcome. You are the first and only Trump supporter that I have come across who has been open to even the slightest amount of dialog. I do appreciate that you read my political posts because I do research what I write. As a historian, you know that we are researchers at heart. The friends and family that I have who are Trump supporters refuse to see any reason. If you are willing to read what I write, I do welcome and open and honest dialog. Again, I apologize for what I said. That comment about not wanting Trump supporters reading my blog is because I have had a LOT of hateful comments that I have had to take down from Trump supporters, and that was who I aimed that comment.

I do find when there is a significant and unyielding point that the other person refuses to have a dialog about, it is enough to write someone off, which is something I really hate to do. I recently had to block any communication with a person who had been my best friend growing up; however, her hypocrisy and QAnon leaning beliefs were too far for me to condone. She had begun harassing me with hateful comments and ridiculous videos because of my support for Biden, who I truly do believe is a good and Christian man who wants to help this nation.

Brian said...

Joe, I understand where you are coming from and I appreciate your being apologetic for the statement. I know you are not the kind of person to be uncivil or rude when it is not justified, which is why I initially decided to comment instead of just leaving it alone. I have read some of the hateful comments from the anonymous commenters I believe you are referring to and their conduct was uncalled for and unacceptable.

I definitely understand cutting off contact or ending relationships with individuals who harass you for your views. While I am a partisan myself, the division created by politics in our country is deeply troubling. I can’t believe something as simple as wearing a face mask has become a political issue, instead of a public health issue. That is only one example.

One of the points of disagreement I have with President Trump is his unwillingness to make attempts to unify the country. As Secretary Clinton’s 2016 slogan appropriately pointed out, we are “stronger together.” I contemplated voting for Biden, in the beginning and before he adopted the most progressive platform in American history, because I do believe he is interested in unifying the country, even if it is around his ideas that I disagree with. I will not lose sleep if he wins, because, deep down, I do believe he is a good man who is repentant for the trouble he caused earlier in his career. He strikes me as a good man, just like you.

Have a good evening, my brother in Christ.

P.S. I hope your health issues improve and you start feeling better. I look forward to continuing to read your blog.