Umm…Waiter, There’s a Hair in My Politics

OK…so far, I have stayed far away from the Taco Haven brouhaha because a lesbian taking this one on is real cliché.

Think about it. Let that joke sink in. Yes? And…go…

Here’s the deal: I love tacos.

(That’s what she said.)

But, seriously. I love them.

They encompass my major food groups: carbs and cheese. Boom. Right in a neat little package.

Give me a potato, egg, and cheese taco, and you will make me very, very happy.

Now, you may disagree with this. Your favorite taco may be potato, egg, and bacon. A. Because bacon is scrumptious, and B. because you’re lactose intolerant.

I, on the other hand, am a vegetarian, so bacon is not so much something that I eat.

But here’s the deal: there are more things we agree on in this taco – potatoes and eggs – than there are on which we disagree.

With me so far?

Now, let’s say we’re out for breakfast. You order your taco; I order mine. Inside mine, however, is a hair. Game over.

I mean, a hair…? In your taco…? That’s not OK.

And while you may offer me a bite of your taco…

(That’s what she said.)

I can’t eat it because of the stupid bacon.

And, really…I can’t stop thinking about the hair. Now, even you’re thinking about it. The whole restaurant is now abuzz with the fact that I had a hair in my taco. Everyone is looking at his or her taco and wondering if it has a hair in it, too.

See…a hair taints everything you eat. Could be the most magnificent taco EVER, but you find a hair in it, and the whole experience is overshadowed by that one single hair.

So, now, the leap…

The “men in girl’s bathrooms” argument is the hair.

Borrowed from San Antonio Express News.

Borrowed from San Antonio Express News.

We’re going along, having a perfectly legitimate conversation (read: taco), when BOOM…a hair.

We have a fundamental disagreement about bacon and cheese. You think the nondiscrimination ordinance somehow took away your religious freedoms, and I think your “religious” argument is based on prejudice. I won’t change your mind; you won’t change mine. You’re lactose intolerant, and I’m a vegetarian.

But you should be just as disappointed in the hair in our discussion as I am. It ruins the ENTIRE taco – the potatoes aren’t good anymore; the eggs aren’t good anymore; hell…even the brilliant tortilla is tainted.

Actually, this is the state of our politics today.

Hairs.

We don’t discuss the things we agree on anymore. We can’t even dialogue on that which we disagree because a small faction of our community dropped a hair into the conversation, and we keep talking about that.

  • Abortion Hair: 20-week abortions.
  • Gay Rights Hair: Pedophilia.
  • 2004 Election Hair: Swift boat.
  • 2008 Election Hair: Obama was born in Kenya.

There are more, but you get the idea. Hair.

It’s become the thing that everyone is talking about, and it shouldn’t have been in the taco in the first place.

So, let’s get the hair out of our tacos and go back to just having breakfast together – maybe not at Taco Haven ‘cause this is really more about their support of the hair – but somewhere else.

We live in San Antonio, for crying out loud. There are plenty of taco places. I know some great places to get a taco.

(Again…that’s what she said.)

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Abortions and Angry Time with Google

Uh oh…she hardly ever blogs anymore and when she does it’s always while standing on a soapbox. She’s not a blogger; she’s an angry elf.

Oh…I’m angry.

If you’re not abreast (pun intended, as we are talking about women’s issues) of the debate going on in Texas, let me first ask “WHAT the WHAHHH???”

And then let me summarize…

texasBasically, during a special legislative session called by Texas Governor Rick Perry (I’m a huge fan </sarcasmfont>), redistricting and abortion were added to the agenda (other topics, too, but I won’t bore you with all of them). During this special session, while multiple bills were filed, it is Senate Bill 5 (SB5), by state Senator Glenn Hegar (R-Katy, TX), that is making the headlines. SB5, in a nutshell, would make abortion illegal after 20 weeks, while also establishing new requirements and regulations for those facilities that perform abortions. More specifically, it would force the closure of 37 of 42 clinics, which currently offer abortion services in Texas. That leaves five (FIVE) clinics in the entire state of Texas.

——————–

A friend of mine had her 11-year-old daughter call me one day because they were driving through the East Coast, and she was complaining about all the time they were spending in the car.

“How long have you been in the car?” I asked.

“7 hours,” she replied.

“How many states have you driven through?”

She listed three.

“For reference, if I got in my car right now and headed north for seven hours, I might not even make it across the Texas state line.”

She responded, “Well, that’s unfortunate.”

—————-

Basically, it’s a big state. So, FIVE clinics that would provide this service would be like only one food truck vendor at San Antonio’s NIOSA.

You can read more about SB5 and the surrounding controversy here. Or here. Or here.

Look, I could now write a research paper on all the statistics I found on abortion, (like these) but I don’t want to lose focus on why I’m angry.

*Disclaimer: I got some of these stats from the Guttmacher Institute, which we all know to be an evil arm of that horrific Planned Parenthood organization.

But I do want to address some statistics that this bill addresses:

  1. Fewer than 0.5% of women obtaining abortions experience a complication, and the risk of death associated with abortion is about one-tenth that associated with childbirth. (For more information, click here.)
  2. 98.5% of abortions occur in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. (For more information, click here. Or here.)

These are actual facts. I know facts can be difficult to understand. Hell, we have elected officials who claim that rape kits – you know, the things that collect DNA for authorities – can actually “clean you out,” meaning there is no need to worry about getting an abortion ‘cause you can’t get pregnant. No…seriously…that happened.

We are creating legislation to make it nearly impossible to get an abortion due to the less than 2% of abortions that happen in the time frame that is most troubling to Republicans and the less than 1% of complications arising from the procedure.

This is when I start having heart palpitations.

Remember the gun debate? You know, every time a mass shooting takes place, one side of the aisle screams, “WHEN ARE WE GOING TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT GUN CONTROL?” While the other side screams, “YOU CAN PRY MY GUN OUT OF MY COLD, DEAD HAND.”

Then, the conversation becomes one that discusses the statistics.

“Tobacco use kills more people per year than firearm homicides.” Or “according to the FBI, the #1 weapon used in violent crimes is a baseball bat.”

So, Republicans refuse to entertain a debate on exercising more control on the nearly 27,000 gun homicides that happened between 2009 and 2011, but want to restrict legislation due to the estimated 18,000 of 20 or more week abortions that happened between 2009-2011.

Now, I’m not silly enough to think that I’m comparing apples to apples on this. (And, quite frankly, I suck at math, so all those numbers could be wrong.) What I’m trying to show is that the 20-week abortion clause is a shiny object designed to make you think that Republicans are concerned about fetuses. Moreover, the more stringent restrictions on clinics clause is a shiny object designed to make you think that Republicans are concerned about the well-being of women during the procedure. But they are simply shiny objects.

Because this bill is solely designed to make abortions next to impossible to get in the state of Texas.

Do not be fooled by propaganda.

Do not be conned into thinking that this is about human life.

This is a religious and partisan argument that ultimately makes women’s lives harder.

So, hell yeah, I’m angry.

You want to restrict abortions? Say so. Stand in front of the people you represent and say, “I think abortion is wrong, and I don’t want anyone to get one.”

Allow your constituents to make their decisions based on clear information.

Don’t purport to care about women’s well-being.

If you did, you’d start talking to young women AND young men about contraception rather than just abstinence only.

If you did, you’d start talking about preventative healthcare and family planning.

If you did, you’d refrain from adding additional restrictions to social programs.

Let’s call this what this really is – an opportunity for Texas to summarily end abortions in its state.

So, you do not fool me. You just make me angry.

An Apology

Confession: churchies make me nervous.

For clarification, a “churchie” is someone who self-identifies as “born again,” a “follower of Christ,” someone who “found Jesus,” and/or anyone who describes him/herself as “religious.”

I am not proud of this confession, but I share it now as we move into hearings on marriage rights, which is generally argued on religious beliefs.

Here’s the deal…churchies are the people who say things like the following:

On marriage equality: “Basically marriage will be completely destroyed, families will be destroyed, children will be hurt by this. And freedom of speech and freedom of religion, including in the pulpit itself, will absolutely be bulldozed over,” Mathew Staver, Dean of Liberty University’s School of Law.

After the Aurora, Colorado massacre: “We don’t have a crime problem, a gun problem or even a violence problem. What we have is a sin problem. And since we’ve ordered God out of our schools, and communities, the military and public conversations, you know we really shouldn’t act so surprised … when all hell breaks loose,” Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas.

On marriage equality: “Anything other than a man marrying a woman is two disturbed people playing house,” John Hagee, senior pastor and founder of Cornerstone Church.

After the Newtown massacre: “The question is going to come up, ‘Where was God? I thought God cared about the little children. God protects the little children. Where was God when all this went down?’ Here’s the bottom line, God is not going to go where he is not wanted,” Bryan Fischer, American Family Association.

These are churchies.

Let’s be clear: I grew up Catholic. My grandma’s best friend, a man I deemed my “other” grandfather, was a Catholic priest. I was 10 when I received my first bible. I was wrestled out of bed every Sunday for the Catholic dance – stand, kneel, sit, kneel, wine, kneel, sit, stand. I never felt connected to God in a Catholic church. I remember feeling closer to God during conversations with my grandma than I ever did sitting in a pew, robotically reciting the prayers I had learned in CCD class.

After my parent’s divorce, my mom took us to a Lutheran church. It was here that I went to church camp, sang in a choir, and joined a youth group. Church was fun and filled with volleyball and lock-ins. It was also here that I began hearing about “totally twisted perverts” – the homosexuals who could destroy life as we knew it.

I stopped going to church when I was a teenager. I haven’t returned. Well, I go when required – weddings, funerals, the occasional family outing.

Churches (and the churchies) make me nervous. And here’s why…

The God I have come to know – the one that asks me to be the best me – is not the God that these churches (or churchies) speak of. That God is scary. He believes we are all sinners – hate the sin, not the sinner. He is vengeful and spiteful. He shows his wrath by helping kill innocent children or desecrating cities due to homosexuality. The God of the churchies needs a mediator to hear you – a priest who can tell you what your punishment is for the sins you have committed. Churchies stand outside military funerals and claim their God kills soldiers because “God hates fags.”

I am not trying to get into a religious discussion – that can’t be done in a blog or on Facebook. I am happy to go to coffee and have a legitimate dialogue, as I have been known to do with many a Christian.

What I do want this blog to be is the start of a change. For me.

This is an apology to you, my Jesus lovin’ Christian friends. I apologize that I allowed these churchies to cloud my assessment of you. I am sorry that I let a select few corrupt my views of so many.

It is not your fault that a few of you are extremists. It is not your fault that a select group of you seem unloving or judgmental. It is not your fault that the loudest (and generally angriest) of you are generally the only ones heard.

Perhaps it’s because only recently have I actually met a few of you that helped me redefine what “churchie” means: that being a Christian means loving all and being the best you. It means having a relationship with God outside of your relationship to others. It means being comfortable enough in that relationship to not need to make others feel like their relationships are less than. Being a real Christian means that you spend your days being the best you and understand that others need to be the best them.

So, while you may not catch me at church every Sunday, what you will see is me being my best me.

More importantly, you will see me change…’cause we are nothing if we can’t evolve.

It’s taken me a while to figure this out, but I know that you will forgive me…it’s kind of what y’all do.

PS. Heard of the Reformation Project? It’s kind of awesome.

The Boy Scout Challenge

Dear Mr. de los Santos,

I accept the challenge – made in your recent editorial in the San Antonio Express News – to help the Boy Scouts of America accomplish incredible things for young people and the communities we serve.

Indeed, I have looked through your list of merit badges and believe I can be of service to you in more ways than one.

  • I rescued and now care for five dogs, (don’t ask), making me the perfect person to help a young scout receive his Dog Care Merit Badge.
  • I own my own business, whereupon I work with nonprofit organizations on capacity building, increasing their ability to effectively serve more people, so I can certainly help answer questions and offer guidance for an Entrepreneurship Merit Badge, and may even be able to help a scout tackle your Citizenship in the Community Merit Badge.
  • I have been on stage since the age of five and spent four years teaching young children and teens the art of theater, so I kind of have some expertise for the Theater Merit Badge.

These are just a few, but I didn’t want to lose out on the Humility Merit Badge. (I don’t think there is one, but there should be.)

gay badgeHere’s the problem: I can’t actually accept your challenge, Sir. I can’t help the Boy Scouts of America help “young people grow into good, strong citizens” because your organization has a policy banning me – an “avowed and open homosexual” – from participating in your organization.

To believe that this conversation about gay rights – rather human rights – takes our focus away from our nation’s children and what is in their best interest shows how out of touch the Boy Scouts of America Corporation is from our nation’s current narrative. It is difficult for me to understand, then, how your organization is able to help young people grow at all.

When you reduce the conversation to one that is about doing what is best for our nation’s youth, then I ask you to be prepared to answer questions about your organization’s disservice to the very population it purports to represent.

Every day that you uphold your discriminatory and simpleminded policies is yet another day that your organization shows your scouts that it is acceptable practice to blindly discriminate against a sector of society based on misinformation and a lack of understanding. This does not do what is best for our nation’s children.

Every day that you proclaim to be an organization that provides youth “programs of character development and values-based leadership training,” while upholding a policy that asks for the “open” and “avowed” homosexuals to stand down, is a day that you show that lying about who you are is better than being open and accepting about who you are. This does not do what is best for our nation’s children.

To teach discrimination and a lack of acceptance doesn’t bring up good, strong citizens, but rather a group of young men who are close-minded, lack diverse life experiences, and, quite frankly, miss out on meeting some amazing individuals that can teach them incredible things about the world.

Your organization is currently at the center of a nationwide debate – not because of your work with young people, but because of its discriminatory policies and its unwillingness to see them as such.

Please don’t reduce this conversation to an Either/Or Proposition – either you’re concerned with the best interest of children or you want to talk gay rights. As a good, strong citizen, I believe this is a Yes/And Proposition. I am both concerned with the best interest of children and believe that means they need to understand human dignity.

So, I offer you a challenge of my own: I challenge you and the Boy Scouts of America to rethink your concept of “good and strong citizens.”

I argue that in an effort to be both good and strong, we should know that there are people who are “different” and good at the same time. I argue to be good and strong, we should learn from people and embrace diversity. A good, strong citizen questions antiquated policies and learns from, then rectifies, mistakes.

Let’s lead by example – a good, strong example – and truly help accomplish incredible things for young people and the communities we serve.

Look! I’m a “Reviewer”

So, check this out:

LOGO_THEATRE FOR CHANGESeek Truth. Create Story. Change The World. Theatre For Change is a coalition of South Texas dramatic media artists who are committed to linking the stories inherent within theatre, film, and new media to the needs and messages of non-profit organizations. We aim to weld the weakest links in our community by producing, reviewing, and creating works of theatre, film, and new media that encourage awareness, compassion, and a call to action.

This is on the front page of a new coalition of awesomeness that is happening in San Antonio. It’s called Theatre for Change. I dig it. Marry theatre to nonprofits to action, and you’ve just hit some of my favorite things in all the land.

I got to see Judy Shepard speak recently. They asked me to blog about it. I did. Here it is. Word.

Coming Out

For this blog, I pulled out the trusty, sanctimonious soapbox. I feel good on it…makes me feel taller.

I was brushing my teeth, counting…as usual.

“1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.”

Switch.

“1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.”

Switch.

“1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.”

I did this in the front and back of each side of my mouth. Brushing teeth is a counting thing.

I sometimes count out things. Particularly in fives. It makes me focus and slows my mind. I’m OK with this.

I finished my ritual, spit the toothpaste out, came up from the sink, and caught my eyes in the mirror. I was staring at my reflection when I started to laugh. Laugh is a strong word. I scoffed – yeah, scoffed – and whispered to myself, “Holy shit. I’m gay.”

Just like that. It struck me.

Now, at this point, I was 25 and married. To a man. So, this revelation at this time was…umm…less than awesome.

But the immediate calm I felt when I said it out loud was amazing.

We all have coming out stories. (Well, not ALL of us, but at least 10% of us.) Some of them are significantly more interesting than mine – nothing like a story that starts with brushing your teeth and revealing you’ve got a bit of the OCD.

I don’t share this as a “Coming Out Story.” I’ve been out. By 26, everyone I knew was aware that I was A Gay. I don’t hide it now. (Well, some might say I couldn’t if I wanted to – my hair gives it away. The lesbian faux hawk…what are you gonna do?) I don’t announce my gayness, rather I simply live my life as normal because there is nothing unusual with who I am…well, I’m unusual, but not because I’m gay. I mean, quite frankly, my need to count things is more unusual than my gayness.

So, why share it?

The “Coming Out Story” has haunted many the gay. Most recently, Jodie Foster, in what is arguably the most rambling speech I’ve heard in a while, came out as “single” during the Golden Globes, prompting a slew of responses, including one from George “It’s OK To Be” Takei. Rupert Everett, (remember him? “My Best Friend’s Wedding”…L.O.V.E. him) said do not come out, come out wherever you are.  Victor Garber is all sorts of gay.

The problem with the “Coming Out Story” is that it doesn’t change you, but it can change everyone around you. By that I mean, you don’t change, but the perception other people have of you might.

In fact, I recently had a coming out of sorts with a couple of pals. The conversation went something like this…

——————

Pal #1: (fishing in her chip bag for the crumbs) Are you gonna be gay?

Me: Umm…what?

Pal #1 looks at Pal #2 concerned. Pal #2 encourages her to ask me again.

Pal #1: Are you gonna be gay?

Oh, I forgot to set the story. Pal #1 is 7-years-old and recently had a conversation with her mom about what “gay” was. That conversation ended like so:

7-Year-Old: Do I know anyone who is gay?

Mom: Yep. Molly.

7-Year-Old: Awesome.

Then, they went back to watching TV. Pal #2 is her 10-year-old sister. So…

Pal #1: Are you gonna be gay?

She continues to eat her chips. I think she’s interested in my answer, but I’m not sure. I think she’d rather just eat her chips.

Me: Umm…I AM gay. Yes.

Pal #1: But you aren’t married.

Me: OK. But if I was gonna get married, it would be to a girl.

No reason to discuss marriage equality right now.

Pal #2: Well, you don’t seem gay.

Me: Interesting…what would make me seem gay?

Pal #2: Well, I thought gay meant three things: if you were a boy, you like boys and if you were a girl, you liked girls; that you were always happy; and that if you were a boy, you dressed like a girl and if you were a girl, you dressed like a boy.

Me: OK. Well, yes to the first point. And sometimes, to the last two.

Pal #2: You don’t dress like a boy.

Me: No.

No need to discuss sexual identity at this point.

Pal #2: You’re pretty happy.

Me: Generally, yes.

Gay. Happy. Duh.

Pal #2: And you like girls…?

Me: Yep.

Pal #2: OK.

“OK”…as though that is that.

Me: Is that OK?

Pal #2: Yeah.

I look at her younger sister.

Me: How ‘bout you? All cool?

Pal #1: Yep.

“Yep”…as though that is that. Then…

Pal #1: Can I have more chips?

And that was that.

—————

So maybe sometimes when you come out, it doesn’t change anything…it just makes you hungry for chips.

In a recent conversation with a straight friend (I only identify him as such to illustrate this point), he was adamant about the need for gay people to come out – “this is your civil rights movement. Own it. Demand equality.”

I am lucky. I don’t have the scary story of my family turning their backs on me. I have always just treated my “gayness” as just a piece of my life, but something about the way he said it resonated.

Somehow, it is my job to demand you treat me equally. There is something inherently unfair in that.

mlk

Today, as we celebrate the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr., I am reminded of this quote: “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

He spoke a lot about silence.

Indeed, in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, he wrote, “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. We must come to see that human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and persistent work of men…”

So, friends, on a day that celebrates the legacy of a man who dared to dream, and on the day when we see an African American sworn in for his second term, I ask for your voice. I will continue to come out – that is my contribution to the change. But I ask that you have your own Coming Out…as an advocate, as an ally, as a friend.

An Open Letter to the Quils

Dear Day and Ny,

Let’s be real clear…I’m not a good sick person. More specifically, any sickness makes me certain I am dying.

Also, I have been dying since Friday. My chest is filled with something that comes out into my tissue in an odd green-yellow color. My head hurts in a way that makes me want to break my cheekbones to relieve the pressure in my face. My cough sounds as though I have been smoking unfiltered pal malls for 72 years, (shout-out to my grandpa!), and I’m only 34.

During the day, I perch on my sofa – fake working – falling in and out of sleep due to a drug-induced haze of DayQuil, Allegra, ibuprofen, Mucinex, and expired doses of Alka Seltzer Cold and Flu. At night, I double-dose on NyQuil and fall deeply asleep, leaving my dogs to dance to the symphony of snores that are undoubtedly coming from my stopped-up nasal passages. If this illness won’t kill me, the overdose will.

You’ll note that the constant in my meds is you…The Quils.

I can say that I’m finally, after 5 full days of near death, on the mend. I attribute this to you both, Day and Ny. Well…you, some sleep, and a lot of time in my pajamas.

That being said, I have a bone to pick with you both.

Day, what is with your packaging?

DayQuil tablets

I mean, I think I understand the complexities of packaging in general (well, I’m still irritated that there are only 7 chips in a bag, but I digress), but the sheet of pills inside your cardboard box, particularly for someone already high on meds and dying, is a pain in the ass.

Once you get into said box, you’re required to use Popeye-esque strength to tear off the perforated, foil-covered pills, and then somehow manage to cut into the packet without slicing open your hand on the industrial-strength plastic. It’s more difficult than cracking open a new CD.

Then, if you’re not bleeding to death (and now having to rummage around for a band-aid), you are asked to swallow the two most ginormous pills I’ve ever seen. These are what my dad would have referred to as “horse pills,” although I’m quite certain no horse could swallow them either. Why can’t they be the size of Tic Tacs?  I’m already sick, Day. My throat is enflamed, and I can barely swallow water. Hell, make ’em dissolvable and call it a Day. See what I did there?

Finally, why can’t you fill the two empty packets? Why does one sheet only have four doses when it could have six? Is this a ploy? Because just as I’m starting to feel better, I’m OUT OF DOSES, and now I have to go pick up another box. Clever, Day. Very clever. GIVE ME MY EXTRA PILLS!

Ny, don’t think you’re off the hook, my friend.

NyQuilWhy must you taste like that? No, but seriously. I’m specifically talking about when you’re wearing green, but don’t think that you’re much better in red. In red, you’re merely tolerable. And then, I only tolerate you because just as I start to realize I’ve ingested what can only be described as a step up from a mixture of the consistency of Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner and the smell of Fabuloso, I am knocked out cold.

So, thanks, guys for your ability to turn my ickypoomongitis around, but now that I’m on the mend, I simply wanted to be honest with you.

Oh, also, I may be on you right now, which is why this might be slightly incoherent.

Your loyal consumer,

Molly