Hey Washington, Remember Family Values?

 

This week’s news was exhausting! There’s just too much news to keep up with. It feels like scandal after scandal and it’s become demoralizing for me. I took some time to step back and refocus on what’s important, my family values.

Here are 5 values that Washington has forgotten:

  1. Integrity
  2. Empathy
  3. Tolerance
  4. Being Team Oriented
  5. Standing for justice

At Blue Mom Red State, I believe that we need to apply the same rules to our representatives as we do to ourselves. The culture of corruption in our government has to stop! It’s time to hold Washington accountable! We must elect people that have real guiding principles.

Elect moral people this November! Vote in 2018

How Did We Get Here?

After a few days offline and a few days of analysis paralysis, the big resounding thought in my head is how did we get here? The bigger one that comes after is how are we going to recover? The latter question is the one that scares me more than anything Trump can really do. Seems strange to feel that, but I have plenty of proof in my own life as to why I feel that way. It all goes back to the beginning.

What it’s like being raised by a pathological liar.

When I look back on my upbringing I can’t help but think of a huge pool of muddy water. Thick, slimy muddy water. When I look closely, I can see me and my other siblings lurking around underneath the surface. Every once in while, one of us comes to the surface for a much needed breath. Passersby look down and wonder what on earth are they doing? Don’t they see they are swimming in disgusting water?

What the people don’t see, behind the pool, hidden in the maintenance closet, is our mother filling bucket after bucket of muck and mire. Anytime any one of us finds our way to the surface, finds any clarity, she is ready to pour more mud. As she pours she tells us not to worry. I love you, I’m protecting you, the only person you can trust is me. How do these 5 people accept this? How come they don’t just see what’s happening to them? It’s because it didn’t happen overnight.

It took time, effort, persistence, cruelty and gaslighting.

Back when I was young and the water was clear I loved my mom. Just like every other kid, I trusted her. Admired her even. Anything she would say I took as truth. So, when she began telling me that I was too shy to make friends, I believed her. When she would tell me don’t even bother, people won’t like someone like you anyway, I believed her. When she told me that her husband is just a touchy guy and my discomfort was silly, I believed her.

Slowly, she started putting little tablespoons of mud into the pool with me. With each little lie, another tablespoon. When I was a little older, middle school age, I started to see some things that were confusing. I had some friends. They seemed to like me. I was good at basketball. The coaches seemed to think I had potential. I was sitting in health class in 8th grade when I realized that my relationship with my stepdad wasn’t normal. Maybe she was wrong all along. Maybe I am smart, athletic and funny.

Then, I didn’t get asked to dance at the first after school dance. I came home crying to my mom. In that moment of vulnerability, my mother told me, ‘see, I told you. Nobody likes you. You’re too shy to make friends. You’re best off here where nobody can hurt you.’ And, like most kids, I believed her.

By this time, the water was murky. It was hard to tell what was true and what was false. We would go back and forth between my mom and dad’s house. Life was so starkly different between the two. My dad was predictable, consistent. After a couple days of being there I could start to see the harm my mother was doing.

I would go back to her, try to call her out on her lies and deception only to be gaslighted and confused again. Enormous fights would erupt after she pitted me and my siblings against each other. I would always be the first to cry. She would turn to me and call me weak. She would taunt me, ‘awwww, you gonna cry now? Is Sarah just too sensitive to deal with her life?’ At the end she would hug and comfort me.

It’s confusing to want comfort from the thing that hurts you, but I did. I grew up paranoid that something bad was going to happen at any time. I was afraid of being stabbed in the back by my siblings. I had to keep my guard up to make sure my ‘weaknesses’ weren’t used against me. I became desensitized to sex and privacy to get through my days. The only thing she could think about was herself and it didn’t matter what happened or who got hurt as long as she came out ok. After years of emotional and sexual abuse, pathological lying and deception, I couldn’t tell up from down. I couldn’t see that I was swimming in a pool full of slime.

How was I going to overcome this situation?

My solution was to escape and never look back. I got married young, moved out and tried to pick up the pieces. I was still in a muddy pool. I still don’t know up from down. The only thing that has changed is the person filling the pool is gone. What do I do with the mess that is left? First I had to drain the pool. That takes time. Years of counseling to try to sort out what parts of my life were a complete lie and what parts were real. Great, the water is gone. I looked down and saw that I was still covered in the filth that was left behind. How do you clean that off?

With counseling, a lot of guessing and checking (HUGE mistakes) and time (10 years!), I was able to figure out basics like right from wrong, how to hold a job and to trust other people. The road to recovery was almost harder than living through the deception and abuse. It took constant effort to change my worldview. The crazy thing about recovery is it’s never finished. Every once in a while I will still find some dirt left behind that needs cleaning.

The country is going through the same thing with Trump.

Oddly, the experience with the Trump administration feels very similar to this period of time for me with one major difference. This time I am a passerby. I look into the cesspool of all things Trump and think how does anyone believe this guy? How can he gaslight so shamelessly and people just fall in line? How does he have so many people hoodwinked that we are abandoning basic principles like ‘be nice to one another’? The parallels between my mother and Trump are uncanny.

Here are a few examples:

  • pathological liar
  • incapable of feeling empathy
  • fosters an environment paranoia amongst people close to him
  • over sexualizes his own daughter
  • disrespects women
  • taunts and bullies people he views as weak
  • spends most of his time convincing his followers that the only person that can be trusted is him

He does this by design. At this point, he could shoot someone on 5th Ave. He’s got a pool with half of America in it and he’s the one muddying the water. Lucky for us presidents come and go. My fear is that when his reign is over and the water drains, what will we be left with? How much time will it take to recover? Who is the person that is capable of dealing with the filthy aftermath? If the recovery is going to be worse than the damage, we are at the tip of a very ugly iceberg. Hopefully I’m wrong.

What’s All the Fuss About Anyway?

I keep hearing the same questions lately about the family separations at the border. Why so much energy now? Didn’t Obama do the same thing? Isn’t it just the Trump haters looking for anything and everything that he is doing wrong? There seems to be plenty of confusion about this sensitive and divisive issue, but one that concerns many. Politicians and pundits like to muddy the water surrounding issues like this for whatever reasons suit them best at the time. It’s hard to cut through the noise. Here’s a few things that might clear it up.

  • No immigration laws have changed. A zero-tolerance policy was put it place.

There’s a big difference between a law and a policy. A law is a system of rules that are enforceable by a government. A policy is the method in which a law is enforced. For example, the speed limits are set by the law. We all know that you can drive 5 or 10 over the speed limit without getting pulled over. I’ve heard stories of people getting out of tickets just by explaining to the officer what’s going on, although that has never happened to me, ha! That is because the policy in place is that the police officer can use his/her discretion in this situation. It would be well within the rights of the sheriff to enforce a zero-tolerance policy for speeding requiring all officers to ticket and prosecute every person that exceeds the speed limit, even by 1 mph.

This decision would have huge consequences even though there was no change to the law.

  • Jails would fill up
  • Courts would be overrun with cases
  • There would be no room for impounded cars
  • Children would be separated from parents
  • Police resources would have to be reallocated to patrolling the streets with more scrutiny.

It doesn’t take a vote to change a policy. Policies are changed by the person running an agency. That is why when Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a ‘zero-tolerance policy on criminal illegal entry’ it created a crisis at the border. Officers at the border were no longer able to use their own discretion on the misdemeanor charge of crossing the border.

All people, regardless of reason, were detained, child removed, and charged with a crime creating the bottleneck issue I illustrated above. Where do we detain all these people? How do we get them through the already stressed immigration court? How do we pay for it? Is it worth allocating all these resources to a fragment of the overall immigration problem? They have since pulled back the zero-tolerance policy.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/attorney-general-announces-zero-tolerance-policy-criminal-illegal-entry

In past administrations, prosecutions were reserved for repeat offenders, criminals returning to US after deportation or people suspected of human trafficking. Officers were able to use their own judgement to decide what to do with people crossing the border. If it was decided that someone was going to be criminally prosecuted and they had children with them, they would be separated. At the end of 2017 there were just over 7000 kids in the care of Health and Human Services, many of which were minors that crossed the border without parents. In the span of 5 weeks over 2200 children were added to that count as a result of the zero-tolerance policy. Reports came out that said the government was anticipating 30,000 by the end of summer. I believe this number, along with reports of cruel treatment of the migrants, is part of what caused the national outrage.

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/392751-us-may-be-holding-30000-migrant-children-by-august-report

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/stats/southwest-border-unaccompanied-children/fy-2014

Push factors are things that would cause a person to leave their country of origin. Some of the push factors causing people from Central America to come to the border are gang violence, poverty and drought. Pull factors are things that would draw people to the US. One major pull factor is migrants are able to stay in the US until they see their day in court. That can take over 650 days. The US is going to have to work with the governments of El Salvador and others if there is any chance of stopping the migration northward. In the meantime, we need comprehensive reform which could include many more immigration judges to help move cases through the courts more quickly.

https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/increased-central-american-migration-united-states-may-prove-enduring-phenomenon

The protest on Saturday was about stopping the inhumane treatment of people at the border. It isn’t worth further traumatizing people who have already decided making this journey is better than what they left behind. There are many things we can do to reform the immigration system. Holding people captive shouldn’t be one of them. I marched on Saturday because I believe we should take an empathetic approach to immigration reform rather than an ‘us vs them’ mentality.

Twitter Probs

I started following Trump on Twitter last year because I was curious how many times he tweets compared to how many times his tweets make news. At first I was shocked at the volume, but now I rarely stop to open a tweet from him. One of the main reasons is because he lies a lot in them. He lies or he is misleading or he’s name calling. He quotes Fox and Friends and talks crap on other media outlets. He never misses an opportunity to disparage our government institutions. That is why I was shocked when a dear friend texted and said their favorite thing about Trump is the fact that he uses Twitter. He said he bypasses the media therefore we get all the facts directly from him. That would be great if Trump wasn’t constantly lying. I’ll put the bullying aside and just focus on the ‘facts’ that Trump dropped today in one of his tweets.

“Looks like Jerry Brown and California are not looking for safety and security along their very porous Border. He cannot come to terms for the National Guard to patrol and protect the Border. The high crime rate will only get higher. Much wanted Wall in San Diego already started!”

Now, right off the bat, saying the Governor of California is not looking for safety and security seems wrong. Gut feeling maybe. Jerry Brown has already committed 400 troops to the effort of combating transnational crime. He currently has 250 troops working on this, 55 of them at the border. The number of troops being sent to the border is still being discussed at the Department of Homeland Security. Brown is working with all appropriate departments to get the troops down there and is currently waiting for a written confirmation from Washington.

So, he has agreed to sending troops to the border, the number is still being determined. As for the border wall in San Diego, I assume he’s referring to the Calexico project that has been planned since 2009 and has nothing to do with his border wall. The omnibus bill he signed in March allocated $1.6 billion for border security, but not on construction of a wall. So, this tweet is misleading on every level. Fox and Friends aired a segment on Gov Jerry Brown this morning in the 6am hour so it makes sense that Trump tweeted about this at 6:24am.

https://www.vox.com/2018/4/10/17217146/national-guard-border-immigration-trump-obama

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/gov-jerry-brown-says-national-guard-chomping-at-the-bit-to-get-to-border/

https://timesofsandiego.com/politics/2018/04/17/president-trump-takes-another-swipe-at-california-over-immigration/

https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016/tables/table-3

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-wall-boasts-fake_us_5abd8932e4b0f112dc9b0b28