Don’t Feed the Trolls

When my dad came to me to help him organize a political event I was thrilled and, quite frankly, honored.  The person that I admire most in the world wants to work with me on something he cares about. Let’s get started!  

Everything has been great thus far!  I guess I should say almost everything.  We’ve gotten the venue, food plan and got a schedule together of what we need to do.  We are both first time organizers so it’s been interesting working through the kinks together.  We’ve got over 40 attendees so we must be doing something right. The part that I wasn’t anticipating was exposing my dad to the ugly side of social media.

I should have known to prepare for this.  I’ve had my page for over a year now. I get hate all the time.  Maybe I’ve become desensitized to it because, honestly, I don’t even notice anymore.  What I didn’t anticipate was how angry I would feel when people do the same thing to my dad.  People go out of their way to be mean and sometimes quite aggressive. Some examples:

 

  • If your calling for a “revolution” then it shows just how treasonous you people really are.
  • Layton losers (This guy came back multiple times to post this.  He must have a lot of time on his hands.)
  • I shouldn’t have to pay more just because you made a choice to be a stay at home mom

 

Those are three from the roughly twenty negative comments that were received over the weekend.  I would include more, but most are deleted now. A direct threat of violence was also received. Seriously?  My knee jerk reaction was to respond to all of them! Tell them that calling us treasonous is the same as calling for our deaths, congratulating them on being enormous a**holes or calling them out on how uninformed their comment is.  This is my dad you’re talking about! How dare you?! But instead I decided to take a deep breath and remember my motto on my own page. Don’t feed the trolls.

Part of what makes pushing for change hard are the people that push back.  We’ve got to stay committed and keep our eye on the prize. Healthcare for all must become a reality in the United States.  Every person, including those that so wholeheartedly push against the concept, deserves healthcare. It should be a right in this country.  No amount of trolling will change my mind about that.

 

 

Our Next President Must ‘See Race’

There are plenty of reasons to disqualify Howard Schultz as a presidential candidate in my mind:

  • Not selling his Starbucks stock
  • being opposed to universal healthcare
  • me having a bitter taste in my mouth about a billionaire as president
  • him acting like taxing the rich is a ridiculous idea
  • his third party bid would help re-elect our current president

He’s been a nonstarter in my mind from the beginning, but the debate surrounding his candidacy has been interesting to watch. After the election of Donald Trump I can let my mind drift to things that I would have never thought possible. Maybe a third party candidate could win. Who knows? But then came his town hall on CNN. He was asked about racial profiling in America. His response is the number one disqualifier in my book:

‘I didn’t see color as a boy and I honestly don’t see color now.’

I was born and raised in the suburbs of Utah. My graduating class was roughly 2000 people. Of those about 3 or 4 students were black. We were white. Sure, there were some other ethnicities around, but we were white. I grew up believing racism to be a thing that used to happen long ago. I had a few experiences that should have told me otherwise, but I was young and didn’t see them.

For example, I got a job at Crown Burger and I was the only white person on staff. I got paid a dollar more than everyone else because, I was told, I speak English. Well, everyone else spoke English too. I was the only one not required to help clean after closing. I still don’t know how long it takes to close down a restaurant. One time around Christmas, paychecks were being withheld until a certain time. Everyone was very upset about it. I walked to the back like normal and the manager gave me mine before the allotted time without a second thought. Maybe I didn’t see it because I developed good friendships with many of my coworkers. I bought Lourdes 30 minutes on my phone so she could call her mother in Mexico. I went to a Mexican dance club with Leti. I attended a baby blessing and gave gifts for birthdays. I laughed and joked during work without a care in the world. One of the girls told me her uncle was hit by a car and killed.

I said, ’OMG what did the police do?’ She looked at me with such exasperation when she said, ‘Sarah, nobody cares about us. That includes the police.’ I should have seen race then, but I didn’t. I actually just didn’t believe her.

 


I was working at Buckle when one of my coworkers was expressing frustration about not being able to find a particular brand of clothing her son wanted. She went on to explain that her adopted son is black. He’s entering his teenage years and is struggling with figuring out who he is. I want to put my foot in my mouth when I think about what I said, ‘Doesn’t every teenager struggle with that? Why can’t he just wear something else?’ She said when you’re different from everybody else it can present unique challenges.

She, as a mother, wanted to do all she could to alleviate that inevitable struggle he faced. I should have seen it then, but I didn’t. I dismissed the whole interaction as a mom being overly sensitive about her child, perhaps even overcompensating for that fact that he was adopted. Silly, young girl I was. Now that I have a child that is different, I wish I could go back in time and give this woman a hug.


When my sister got engaged to a black guy I remember my grandma said, ‘Oh no, is she really gonna marry that colored fella?’ I should have seen it then, but I thought to myself, ‘Well, that’s a generational thing. What more can you expect from an old lady?’ When my sister became pregnant, I started to cry because I didn’t live near her at the time. My other grandma misread my emotion and said, ‘I know, what is your dad going to do when she shows up on his porch with a biracial child.’ I remember being confused about why having a biracial baby concerned her so, but, of course, I didn’t ask.


I wasn’t truly confronted with the issue of race until I moved to California. I worked at a clothing store at the Del Amo mall when I realized I had no idea how much of a bubble I lived in my whole life. A black woman entered the store and immediately I was instructed to follow the customer around in my earpiece. It’s not that abnormal to have repeat shoplifters so I assumed this customer was known to the team. The method I learned in Utah to prevent shoplifting is to give attentive customer service.

So, I approached the woman and I asked if she needed help finding anything. She said no thank you and kept shopping. The voice came over my earpiece again, ‘This isn’t Utah, stay on that lady.’ I felt awkward because I just talked to her. She was looking at some t shirts so I said, ‘We just got those in. They’re really cute.’

She looked me dead in the eyes and I’ll never forget what she said. ‘I’m not going to steal anything.’ In my surprise, I blurted out, ‘Oh sorry, they told me to watch you,’ gesturing over to my coworkers. She let out a knowing sigh, ‘Imagine that, out of all the customers in this store they told you to watch the black one.’

When she left the store, I got angry with the team. Why did they embarrass me like that?! My manager looked at me and said, ‘Black people steal Sarah. You have a lot to learn about how things really are.’ Well, she was right about one thing. I did have a lot to learn about how things really are.


The time I spent at that store taught me more about racial animosity than a lifetime in Utah ever could. I was speaking loudly and slowly to an Asian customer once. She said, ‘I’m Asian, not stupid.’ A black trans employee didn’t make it to work because she was beat up at the bus stop. I tried to break up an argument once when the girl turned to me and screamed, ‘I don’t need a white girl to vouch for me!’ I can give countless examples of tension while I worked at that store and lived in that city.

I struggled to figure out how to conduct myself once I started realizing people judged me for my skin too. People assumed I was rich, that my life was easy, free from the struggles of the people around me. In some ways those assumptions were right. I never had a problem getting a job or an apartment. I was pulled over once when I had a bag of weed in the car. I had it on the passenger seat, right in the open, when the officer approached the window. My car wasn’t registered and I didn’t have my license because I had lost it at a bar somewhere. Sounds like the recipe for disaster right? Nope. The cop took the weed and told me to go home. No ticket, nothing. It’s hard to imagine the same outcome happening if my skin wasn’t white. My own biases emerged as time went on as well. I visited my sister once and shocked her with my harsh rhetoric about the city I lived in. I was knee deep in the realization that it is easier to be around people that are similar to you.

When I returned to Utah, I was again culture shocked. I remember walking down my dad’s street and crying uncontrollably. After living in an impoverished neighborhood riddled with crime and uncertainty, I was struck by the beauty of the neighborhood. The safety I felt was so relieving it felt tangible. It was hard to explain to my family members the guilt this relief was causing me. The struggles in California are crushing people. I was able to just throw my hands up and decide I’m done with it. It was hard for me to square with the fact that people are born into impossible situations with no safety net. They don’t have the resources, knowledge about programs available, family financial support or anything else.


I began to realize what white privilege actually means. It doesn’t mean life isn’t hard for white people or white people don’t work for what they have. People don’t say it to somehow diminish who you are or make you feel shame about being white. It doesn’t mean that white citizens owe them anything.

What it does mean is that out of all the struggles a person can experience in life, race won’t be one of the ones that white people face. It’s a way to point out that racial issues often get overlooked because the majority of people don’t experience it, especially here. It’s an acknowledgement that problems that exist today are largely due to generational oppression of minority groups.


It’s easy to assume that racism is a thing of the past when it doesn’t have a negative impact on you daily or when you live in a place that is dominated by one group of people. I have the luxury of choosing whether or not to look at the subject closely. Others don’t have that choice. Racial bias is woven into the fabric of our society, but it is institutionalized as well. It’s built into:

  • the criminal justice system
  • the housing market
  • the banking system
  • the school system
  • the healthcare system
  • policing
  • employment opportunities
  • every other institution in our country

You can see it clearly in generational wealth or generational poverty patterns. Even our elected leaders don’t reflect the population, although it’s getting better. Racism has been a driving force in this country since its inception. That’s undeniable. Our leaders must understand and face that fact.

Not seeing race is a form of willful ignorance that will most definitely propel us forward on the path Trump has sent us on. We need a course correction, not fuel added to the raging fire of racial injustice. Howard Schultz can choose not to see race if he wants. If that’s his choice than he has no business running for president.

We need a leader that is prepared to call out racism, denounce it and educate the public about how to solve the problem. We need someone who will study the subject and listen to the outcry. We need a leader that can show people how to be an ally to oppressed groups especially when you might not be experiencing that oppression yourself. We need a leader that can help us take steps toward the perfect union that America is supposed to be. They need to be driven by empathy and a care for all people. We need to elect a president that believes that all people are created equal while at the same time acknowledging that our system and society are far from treating people that way.

I’m a Democrat. Here’s Why

The new year has caused me to be very self reflective. What are my strengths and weaknesses as a parent, wife and friend. All the normal resolutions bump around in my head. Cook more, eat healthy, read to the kids more, keep the house cleaner, etc. It is a familiar routine. There has been one major difference with this new year though. Last year I launched the blog. I have spent half of the year in a new, and often uncomfortable, place. Putting my political views ‘out there’ definitely threw a wrench in things! I struggled to cope with hateful comments and unsolicited sexually explicit pictures. I felt weighed down by the workload, pressure from my self imposed deadlines and constantly behind on the other duties of my life. I went through months of self doubt after opposing arguments made their way through my social media accounts on a near daily basis. Because of this, I spent many hours examining my own positions. Why do I feel the way I do? This was the question on my mind as I was reading through the Declaration of Independence recently. There’s a section in it that we all are quite familiar with:


“…all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”


After months of introspection, this line jumped off the page for me. This single line, and my firm belief in it, can explain the roots of my progressive views. First of all, the definition of unalienable must be understood. Unalienable, nowadays inalienable, means unable to be taken away or given away by a possessor. So, unalienable rights cannot be taken/given away. The rights that are specifically listed are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In my mind, the industries that impact these three rights, that cannot to be taken/given away, should not be for- profit.

Life: It’s time for universal healthcare

The right to life is directly impacted by the healthcare system. Every living and breathing human should be able to get the healthcare they need regardless of age, condition, financial position, housing status or any other factor if life is truly an unalienable right. Insurance companies, personal finances and employment status dictates an Americans right to life as it stands currently.

Liberty: No for-profit prisons

Prisons or immigrant detention facilities shouldn’t be financial goldmines for anyone. This only incentivizes longer sentences and more detainees directly impacting the unalienable right to liberty. The prison system and society don’t integrate former inmates back into regular life efficiently causing people to continually end up back in prison. If we treated liberty as the unalienable right that it is we would focus more on rethinking how we treat our incarcerated community to help ensure liberty is restored and sustained.

Pursuit of Happiness: Public education from PreK – Secondary Education

The pursuit of happiness is all about retaining the ability to change your circumstances. Education is vital in this pursuit and should be available to all from preschool through secondary education. As it stands now, banks and universities decide who gets to try, therefore deciding who gets the unalienable right to pursue happiness. There should be a public education option at every level of education to ensure that every American has equal opportunity to change their station.

These things, driven by empathy, are what forms my basic ideology. This is why I find myself on the left side of the political spectrum. Some call these ideas radical. I call them bold and ambitious. Having a healthy, educated population is an investment that is worth all the time and money that would have to be spent to make it a reality. 2019 will be full of surprises I’m sure. Hopefully some bold, ambitious policies will be one of them.

Society Isn’t Designed For Autistic People

I was at dinner with some friends over the holiday. We were doing the normal chat, talking about our lives, our Christmas plans, our husbands and our kids. One friend asked me how Oliver is doing. I said he’s doing great. She followed up with a question that surprised me a little. She asked, “So, is the therapy curing him?” This may seem like a simple question for most people. For me, it feels mean.

I choose not to be offended or insulted though. She, like most people, view autism as a disorder that needs curing. I responded that best way I could think of, especially because this particular friend is currently exploring the possibility that her son may be autistic as well. I told her that the therapy isn’t a cure for autism. He will always be autistic. It’s not a disorder/disease. It’s the way his brain operates. So, yes, he’s doing great. But I suppose I’ve always thought he’s doing great. I left it at that.

This conversation caused me to think a lot about my kids and how the therapy is impacting their lives. This line of thinking is a regular occurrence for me. Anyone who knows me well is aware of the fact that I can dwell on little choices I make about my kids for extended periods of time. I project 20 years forward and try to picture how the decisions I make today will change the trajectory of their lives. Of course, it’s a fruitless exercise.

Anyway, I was deep in thought about ABA therapy when someone reached out to me about it. She sent many articles about the permanent impacts of ABA. She pointed out some real concerns that happen to be concerns that I share. I read through everything she sent and prepared for my upcoming meeting with Oliver’s team. As it turned out, the director of Utah from the company that is providing our services was coming to my house that very day. I would have a chance to talk through my thoughts before I head into this inevitable black abyss of worry that I’m being a bad parent. Funny how the timing worked out that way.


When she arrived, I dove right into my concerns that she is very much familiar with at this point. I told her I’m worried about:

  • teaching him to hide his emotions rather than process them
  • working him too hard
  • him learning that there is only one right way to do things which isn’t his way
  • Max feeling like his needs are not as important as Oliver’s
  • learning blind compliance to authority figures
  • him feeling like the only way to be successful is to conform to an image that we design
  • ABA feeling abusive to him

She listened to me, as she does every time, with understanding and compassion in her eyes. We walked through all of his programs, like we always do, as I sorted through my thoughts about it all. We evaluated his hours and talked through his school schedule. She told me again that if change is needed that I can call her anytime and they will be put in place right away. Of course, I already knew that seeing as how I’ve called for changes many times. I walked away feeling grateful for her, for the team we have and especially for this woman that took the time to send me her thoughts. I’ve never felt more confident in the choices I’m making for my family. I’m sure a fleeting feeling, but at least it exists today.

The truth of the matter is Oliver doesn’t need to change anything about who he is to have a successful, happy life. Unfortunately, there’s another truth that has to be acknowledged. Society isn’t designed for autistic people although it is getting better. Schools have sensory activities worked into the curriculum, there are teachers that specialize in helping kids that learn differently, even Vivint Smart Home Arena (still the Delta Center to me) has a sensory room! These things help, but they aren’t enough.

School is set up for kids to come in with a certain level of vocabulary, basic skills for following directions, the ability to learn in a group setting and to understand what’s being asked of you. These are the exact skills that are developing much more slowly than what any public school can accommodate. That is where the ABA therapy comes in.


Basically, the strategy that I have insisted upon is building confidence in himself paired with understanding the society that we live in. It’s OK to feel sad/angry. You can cry, scream, punch a pillow, go to your room, say how you feel, walk away, ask for a treat, get a hug and countless other things, but it’s not OK to hurt yourself or others. The focus of the therapy is not about making the one correct choice and baiting him into making it. It’s about teaching him to generate his own solutions while steering him away from the ones that are detrimental to him and others.

  • It’s OK to explore a new environment, but it’s not OK to wander to where mom can’t see you.
  • It’s OK to be fearless, but it’s not OK to run into the street or jump into a pool alone.
  • It’s OK to be different and learning to stand up for yourself goes along with that.
  • You don’t have to change your interests to make friends, but you do have to be kind and listen to others.
  • You also don’t need to be friends with everyone, your real friends will accept you.
  • You don’t need to give up on your fascinations, but you do need to recognize/cope with situations that don’t accommodate them.
  • It’s OK to need help, but you need to learn to do things on your own.

Autism Hurts


As I write this down it makes me realize that these lessons aren’t reserved for people who are not neurotypical. Every child has to learn about how to function in society. Every person experiences positive and negative things on their journey to adulthood. I can’t prevent pain from touching my kids. I figure the best thing I can do is equip them with a strong moral compass, teach them the importance of setting boundaries and model strategies for dealing with pain.

The therapists help me do this by:

  • reading books to the kids
  • watching videos followed by asking questions
  • playing games that require turn taking
  • creating problem solving boards to help support emotional processing
  • making visual schedules to help the kids know what to expect
  • bringing sensory toys to help alleviate anxiety
  • making flashcards to help improve vocabulary
  • spending time with me to talk through any concerns that I have

The consultant meets with the teachers at the school to come up with plans to support his specific learning style. They provide a weighted blanket for him when he has to sit and listen. They keep a dinosaur card on the board at school to let Oliver know when it’s dinosaur time. The teachers now make time during the day for all the kids to pretend to be dinosaurs. The school speech therapist, private speech therapist and occupational therapist all use dinosaurs and Godzilla to help him along.


At the end of the day, one of the reasons the therapy has been so good for him is because the adults have decided to put him in charge of his own life. We don’t get to create an image for what a good kid looks like. He’s already a good kid. The team helps him learn how to function in the society we have today, not for the society that we ought to have. The society we have today doesn’t make room for people that are different very easily. We need to push the public school system, the courts and challenge societal norms to achieve the changes needed to make room for everyone. It will take years of persistence, awareness and organizing. In the meantime, therapy and other support is the answer for us.

I believe that sharing my life will help create a community that feels urgent about having a more empathetic and inclusive society. Not everyone will understand or agree with my methods. All I can do is keep the conversation going and keep doing the best I can.

 

Becoming Blue Mom – The Abandoned Speech

For those of you that don’t know me, I am Sarah Bourne. I run a website called Blue Mom Red State. My mission with the site is to encourage Utah communities to lean left by sharing experiences on my own life. By illustrating how politics touches my life I hope to inspire more people to vote.

I haven’t always been a political person. My political awakening began almost 3 years ago. I was a stay-at-home mom to two little boys. I was struggling to adjust to my role as an in-home parent. Being outside the workforce made me feel irrelevant, disconnected from society. I could feel my relationship with my husband growing distant due to the fact that our lives were so different. I needed to do something about this.

I decided that I was going to start following the news. I didn’t have lofty goals or some grand plan about it. I just wanted to have a conversation with my husband that wasn’t about how many diapers I had changed that day. One of the outcomes I didn’t anticipate was how good it felt. I love learning new things and I found that I felt passionate about many issues. I was beginning to feel better about things.

Then, my oldest son was diagnosed with autism. The recommended treatment was ABA therapy. This behavioral therapy consists of 30 hours a week of intensive, hands-on therapy that costs anywhere from 60k to 100k a year. The treatment would last from 3-10 years depending on Oliver’s progress.

My family was derailed and I struggled with the transition. How were we going to pay for this? How were we going to make this work? As time has gone on it has become clear to me how critical this therapy is for him. They taught him his name, how to talk, how to wait, how to be in a store, how to get dressed, how to watch for cars, everything. When it was time for him to go to school I was so excited because he had made so much progress. I was sure it was going to go well. The reality was the school has a hard time supporting him.

He doesn’t understand basic social cues. He doesn’t understand sitting in a circle to listen to the teacher read a book. He doesn’t understand that the show-and-tell toys aren’t for him to play with. All these things that neurotypical kids can be easily taught don’t connect for him. I can see everyday the genuine effort of the teachers to provide the free and appropriate education that my son has a right to, but they just don’t have the resources.

Oliver isn’t the only one either. The special needs class across the hall is severely understaffed and in over their heads. I recently approached a woman running for office in my area about the issue and she brushed me aside. I’m frustrated and sad. What am I going to do about this?

His diagnosis caused me to go through long periods of self reflection. It caused me to think long and hard about what kind of life I want my kids to have and what I was going to do to make it happen. I wrote a lot. I wrote about the hardships I was going through. I wrote about the many incidents that happened with my friends, family members and people in public that made me feel like a bad parent. I came to realize that we live in a society that has rigid expectations about what a good kid looks like, what they are supposed to act like.

I’ve struggled to adjust to my new life as a special needs parent. I want more understanding from people, more support, more empathy. I feel isolated, alone, like an outsider. I’ve immersed myself in the issues surrounding my situation. I’m constantly trying to learn more about the healthcare system, public education and other social issues. I have spent much of my time learning more about how the government works and those who serve within it.

I have come to realize that many of policies in place don’t serve my family as I believe they truly should. ‘Why is this?’ I wonder. The answer is that our government’s decisions are not being guided by the universal values that we all share. Integrity, compassion and empathy, tolerance and inclusivity, being team oriented and standing for justice, not just for the people that fit the mold. It is our responsibility as citizens of this state to elect people that reflect those values.

I believe that Deana Froerer embodies these values. She believes that we are in this together. So, spread the word and get people registered to vote. Continue to support her campaign anyway that you can. I believe that she will bring positive change to Utah which is exactly what we need. Thanks again for your time and your donations. Keep up the hard work and let’s do this!

You’re Only as Good as the Company You Keep

I know from personal experience that the people you surround yourself with can really have a great impact on your life. For example, I worked at a retail store in California. Now, this store had a policy that customers could only buy 49 items a day. This policy existed because bulk buyers from South America would come and buy hundreds of items on sale to resale them south of the border. The company wanted to minimize this practice as much as possible. The manager of the store I worked at figured out a way around this policy. He decided we would let as many bulk buyers come to the store and buy as much as they wanted.

We would task someone with ringing these purchases round the clock by breaking up all the items into $40-$50 increments to avoid being red flagged by the company. At first, I was hesitant about the whole thing, but I didn’t say anything. Over time, I didn’t feel bad at all. Our store was getting national recognition for our sales and praise for keeping our store organized. We could do it all! I was in the running for an award for best assistant manager and I was getting a lot of attention for my merchandising skills.

So much good was happening for us. What they didn’t know was we didn’t have to deal with problems most stores have to deal with because we were breaking that policy. We didn’t have to sensor hundreds of items saving tons of hours that we could devote to other things. We weren’t sitting on extra product that tends to gum up the backroom causing major organizational and merchandising problems. Our numbers were padded by the many sales we wouldn’t have otherwise had if we were following policy and turning away these bulk buyers. We wouldn’t tell new hires about the policy. Anyone who pointed it out would get scheduled in the evenings so they wouldn’t see what was happening.

The management team, myself included, lied to upper management to keep our ruse going. Eventually we were exposed. Someone on the team called an anonymous hotline detailing all the things that we were doing wrong. An extensive HR investigation ensued where I was interviewed multiple times about what was going on. When asked why I did this I remember answering, ‘I don’t know.’ That felt like the genuine answer at the time. I didn’t feel like I was doing anything horribly wrong. I sat there looking at all the documents they had with my name on them, my employee number all over stuff, emails I had written, lies I had told. I was so shocked at myself.

Clearly this was the wrong thing to do so why did I do it and why did it feel so easy? I was fully prepared to be fired when the district manager came to the store after the HR investigation wrapped. Turns out the manager said it was all his idea and he directed us to do it. He was fired and the rest of us were spared. Long story short, I was able to redeem myself and ended up having a very successful run at this company leading to greater opportunities.

Why did it feel so easy? Why didn’t I feel bad about it until I was faced with justice? It’s because I was immersed in a culture of corruption/wrongdoing. Looking back on this experience, I have come to realize that what they say is true. You can only be as good as those you surround yourself with. I was desensitized because the standard was low. I was living in a culture where wrongdoing wasn’t a big deal. ‘Everybody’s doing it’, ‘if you can’t beat them join them’ kind of thing. Part of what made it possible was keeping people with higher standards away. It was also keeping people that you trust to keep their mouths shut close by.

Short term positive outcomes justified what we were doing. It even made it feel good. Sure, there are times that your own standards can raise that of your friends, but it seems so much easier to be dragged down rather than pulled up. Doing the right thing often times feels harder than going with the flow. Plus, there are down sides. There are plenty of examples of whistle-blowers that get shamed or disparaged. The idea that a tattletale is bad is ingrained in us from a very young age. Doesn’t this mentality keep a culture of corruption and wrongdoing going?

These are a few of the reasons why I believe it is essential to teach my sons the importance of keeping yourself surrounded with people that hold similar values. Not same religion or same life, but same values. One of which is standing up for what is right even when it is hard.

Because I believe all this to be true, I can’t help but believe that the current president and his administration are rotten to the core. The best way for me to make my point is to compile a list of people that currently surround the president or spent many years with him.

  • Michael Cohen – (personal lawyer/friend for at least 10 years) pleaded guilty to 8 crimes, two of which he said was done ‘in coordination and at the direction’ of Donald Trump
  • Don Jr, Eric and Ivanka Trump – (kids) Donald Trump Foundation is currently being sued by the New York AG for multiple violations on how donated money was used.
  • Jared Kushner – (son-in-law) routinely fakes documents in his business. Charles Kushner, Jared’s dad, served time in prison for illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion and witness tampering. The entire Kushner business is really shady and is worth reading about.
  • Paul Manafort – (campaign manager) found guilty by a jury of our peers on 8 counts.
  • Chris Collins – (House Rep and first endorser of Trump) indicted on insider trading charges
  • Duncan Hunter – (House Rep and second endorser of Trump) charged with mishandling of campaign funds.
  • Jeff Sessions – (current AG and third endorser of Trump) enforces policies that result in kids in cages and has routinely lied about his contacts with Russian officials
  • Elliott Broidy – (friend and fellow client of Michael Cohen) paid women for silence through Cohen and is currently under federal investigation for selling influence with Trump administration.
  • Mike Flynn – (National Security Advisor for campaign/White House) pleaded guilty for lying to the FBI
  • Stephen Miller – (advisor to the President) his own family denounced his policies on race and immigration. He is definitely worth learning more about.
  • Jim Jordan – (House Rep, has a full endorsement from Trump to be the next Speaker of the House) currently being interviewed in an investigation at OSU for helping to cover up widespread sexual abuse
  • Roger Ailes – (Friend/role model) was removed from Fox News after multiple allegations of sexual abuse surfaced. He was the CEO of Fox News.
  • Scott Pruitt – (former EPA director appointed by Trump) was the subject of at least 12 congressional investigations into his spending of taxpayer dollars and conduct. He has resigned.
  • Bill Shine – (White House Communications director) played a role in covering up Roger Ailes crimes at Fox News.
  • Rob Porter – (former Staff Secretary for the President) credibly accused of domestic abuse by multiple wives
  • George Papadopoulos – (advisor on campaign) pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI
  • Carter Page – (foreign policy advisor to the campaign) under FBI surveillance for years, even prior to the campaign
  • Sean Hannity – (friend and fellow client of Michael Cohen) constantly lies and promotes conspiracy theories
  • David J. Pecker – (longtime friend) CEO of media company that Michael Cohen mentioned in court during his guilty plea

Of course I could continue listing more people depending on what part of Trump’s life you want to look at. I could include people who probably started with good intentions, as I did, and are now complicit, liars, whatever you want to call them. My overall point in listing all these people is that he surrounds himself with people that lie, cheat the system and knowingly hurt other people. He berates people on Twitter that call for a higher standard. He ‘feels sad’ for people that get caught. He thinks it’s ‘unfair’ when people are held accountable. His behavior and his tweets have all the hallmarks of a culture of corruption, just like the one I worked in. It is laughable to think that anyone around him has us, the people of the United States, first and foremost on their minds. We’ve all heard the phrase ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.’ The people listed here are the apples. I haven’t even begun to address the conduct of the tree, nor will I since that could fill an entire book.

Yesterday was an eye-opening, shocking display of events which further proves that this upcoming election is vital for the health of our country. We constantly rag on Congressman and elected officials for not doing their job and being corrupt. Guess what? We, the people, aren’t doing our job! Only one third of the nation votes and that has lead us to this point. We must vote in every election. We must vote out the self serving people in our government. Furthermore, most the people that create the laws and policies that govern our lives are appointed by the people that we choose. It is critical to elect people that choose to surround themselves with good, honest people. We are seeing the results of the electorate’s complacency right now. There’s still time to redeem ourselves and it has to start with the midterm elections in November. It’s the people’s job to clean up Washington. Learn about your candidates, hold them to a higher standard and vote. Let’s do this!

You don’t have to take my word for it. Here’s more info from a wide range of outlets:

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/08/21/michael-cohen-striking-deal-with-federal-prosecutors.html

https://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2016-37369515

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/3/1/17053398/jared-kushner-scandals-russia-clearance-loans

https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/21/politics/paul-manafort-trial-jury/index.html

https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-york-congressman-chris-collins-is-arrested-on-insider-trading-charges-1533736677

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/duncan-hunter-and-wife-indicted-grand-jury-campaign-finance-violations/

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

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/elliott-broidy-under-investigation-doj_us_5b76f685e4b0a5b1febae11a

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/01/us/politics/michael-flynn-guilty-russia-investigation.html

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/08/13/stephen-miller-is-an-immigration-hypocrite-i-know-because-im-his-uncle-219351

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2018/07/18/jim-jordan-interviewed-with-perkins-coie-lawyers-as-part-of-ohio-state-investigation/?utm_term=.1816e4a38cdf

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/09/roger-ailes-fox-news-final-days

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-25/here-s-a-scorecard-of-the-scott-pruitt-investigations-quicktake

https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900027977/from-ailes-to-trump-meet-bill-shine-trump-s-new-image-man.html

https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2018/feb/14/timeline-rob-porter-domestic-abuse-and-white-house/

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/10/george-papadopoulos/544346/

https://www.businessinsider.com/carter-page-nunes-memo-2018-2

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2018/05/14/donald-trump-sean-hannity-speak-nearly-every-weeknight-report/607595002/

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/donald-trump-a-playboy-model-and-a-system-for-concealing-infidelity-national-enquirer-karen-mcdougal

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

 

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis was such a fun read and I’m so glad to add it to the book club! I’ve been really stressed with the Blue Mom Red State blog so it was the perfect time for this book. She talks about how to stay motivated in your life of chaos. One of my favorite chapters was about breaking promises to yourself. I do that all the time! She covers a wide range of subjects that most people can relate to like emotional eating, sex issues, parenting frustrations and many more. Definitely worth the read!

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