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Not hate – just new tech and jobs!

magic Man bandWhat are the red states to do now that they require ‘suspicious’ people to present their birth certificates to gain access to the bathroom?
I envision a new law requiring everyone anticipating going to a public bathroom to be issued (i.e. in republican vernacular: buy) a properly colored ‘magic band’ not unlike those you use at Disney World. The bands would be linked back to the database that Trump and Cruz are building to control Muslims and immigrants, a database that can surely be expanded to include direct links to state birth records and a newly required 23 & Me DNA test. And like Disney, the entrance to all public bathrooms would be guarded by a scanner that reads your magic band and sets off loud alarms and locks the bathroom door if you are not qualified to use that particular bathroom.Of course, “real” women would be locked inside, but republicans don’t really care about women anyway. After 30 seconds, if an ‘offender’ is still proximate to the wrong bathroom door, newly hired Bathroom Police would be dispatched.
See? It is not hate driving these laws.
The republicans are just stimulating economic development and new jobs after all.

Just too much hate

hateI have to admit I am angry.

I am one of those “freaks” who you do not want sharing a bathroom with your daughter.

I have worked a job essentially every day since I turned 16. I did all the things republicans preach you should do so that you are not a “leech” on society. I came from a lower middle-class family that could not afford to send me to college. I studied hard in school, played sports, participated in civic activities, went to church, and eventually won a scholarship to the University of Alabama and a congressional appointment to the United States Air Force Academy. Because we were then (and still are) in war, I chose the latter. I wanted to serve our country.

And I did. But I became frustrated by the politicians running the war and costing my friends lives. I left the Air Force and used the GI Bill to get a master’s degree. I found a job with a good company in Mobile and worked my way up from the drafting board to the board of directors of a large environmental engineering firm. I worked on or led many engineering projects that still are important, functional parts of the infrastructure in many cities in Mobile and Baldwin counties, and, indeed, across many southern states. But my boss found out I was trans and kicked me out of the company, destroying my financial stability and even my ability to get another job in engineering. I was blackballed for being “queer.”

After I graduated from the Air Force Academy, I got married to a wonderful woman, had a daughter who has out-shown me in her accomplishments and who now is a mother to the most perfect child of her own. I am still her father and grandparent to her perfect baby. But the love of my life divorced me, and continues to drive a wedge between my daughter and myself. I have not spent Christmas or birthdays with my daughter for almost 20 years. I know she loves me and is torn between her mother and me. But it hurts so very much.

To republicans and many so-called Christians, I am a freak who should not be allowed to use a public bathroom. I am a freak that can be refused service, a job, a place to live, just because I don’t fit their idea of a ‘normal’ person. Ted Cruz’s Christian supporters even believe it should be legal to murder freaks like me.

Though I was never afraid all the time I was serving in the Air Force, flying F4’s during the Vietnam War, I am now afraid.

And my closest friends, who are republican and will vote for either Trump or Cruz, don’t understand why I am afraid.

Although we freaks have made tremendous gains these past seven years, all could, and, most likely will, be washed away if a republican is elected president.

I have seen the dominos begin to fall, beginning with Kansas where they have placed a bounty on the heads of trans people, to North Carolina and Mississippi where they have passed terrible hate laws in the name of ‘religious’ freedom, to Louisiana, where the republicans have introduced a bill that doubles down on NC and MS and specifically targets overturning the LGBT anti-discrimination laws in NOLA. How can Alabama fail to follow suit?

Soon I will not be able to legally use a public bathroom in my home state. Thanks to my local probate judge, who told me that he would not accept my petition to change the sex marker on my birth certificate unless it was prepared and presented by a lawyer, I have not been able to afford to get my birth certificate to match my social security card and passport.

I have turned 70 this past December. My life is more behind me than in front of me. I wonder why I keep fighting to stay alive.

I went back to school after losing my engineering career, thinking I could get a Ph.D. and a job teaching. But I had not reckoned on the age discrimination that exists in universities. They will always take a young new Ph.D. in preference to a 65-year-old new Ph.D. every time. And, of course, being a trans-freak does not help.

When I was on the board of BCM Engineers, I helped to get the company to give a scholarship to Auburn’s Civil Engineering school. I got my masters there, served on the school’s board of visitors for almost 10 years, but was told that they would not accept me into their doctoral program because of my age. At least, they were honest.

So here I am at 70. A freak. Working multiple jobs as an adjunct for a pittance but enough to keep me off welfare.

And I am so very tired.

Sometimes I think the hate I see coming is just too much to endure.

But I will stand up and fight. I will not go quietly.

I hate politics.

Demigods

Demigods

I am taking time away from my teaching duties – no I will never be able to retire – to voice some troubling thoughts I have been having.

I am distressed at the extreme polarization that I see because of the upcoming election. While I can understand and support people becoming enthusiastic for a particular candidate, I hate the obvious hatred that each side has for the other. We just cannot seem to debate these issues in an adult fashion. Everyone seems to have their heels dug in and refuse to open their minds to anything the other side has to say.

Still, I regret that politics has begun to drive a wedge between some of my dear friends and myself. I do not want to lose their friendship and have tried to purge my mind of the issues, but increasingly I feel the need to separate myself from them.

Perhaps my closest and dearest friend is a Republican. I have known her for almost ten years and we have survived many hardships by leaning on each other.

But her decision to support Republican ideology, specifically Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, has placed such a strain that I just cannot find the energy to raise my shields and spend time with her. She just does not understand why I feel threatened by the current Republican intent to drag us back to a time when non-white and non-traditional people were excluded and killed because they violated a distorted Christian view.

Republican dominated legislatures across the country are racing to see who can pass the most restrictive and regressive legislation against the LGBT community. All in the name of “religious freedom” to discriminate. Thankfully, some large companies have put pressure on a few governors to veto the onerous legislation, but even so the Republican diehards say they will try to override the vetoes. In my home state of Alabama, the extreme conservatives control the legislature and have fought tooth and nail against the rights of same-sex couples to get married. I expect them to shortly take up the example of North Carolina and Kansas who have unbelievably regressive anti-LGBT laws and bills. Alabama may be broke, but they can find time to spend on these hateful ideas.

My sweet friend intends to vote for either Trump or Cruz. Trump scares me because he is doing the things Hitler did to incite the base to hate people who are not-white or non-traditional Christian. Cruz is even worse because he has aligned himself with extreme evangelicals, some who advocate the legal murder of LGBT people.

I have this recurring nightmare where the right-wing police come for me and she stands silent. It hurts too much and I cannot understand why she cannot see this.

Gerrymandering – Time to end it.

I watched President Obama’s talk to the Illinois Legislature yesterday and, among his points, was a call to stop the gerrymandering that is so predominant in our partisan country. Gerrymandering is the practice of drawing the voting district lines to ensure the desired outcome. Usually, that means republicans draw the lines to help republicans get elected and democrats draw them to help democrats get elected. That is nothing new on the political scene as it has been practiced a long time.

300px-The_Gerry-Mander_EditThis political cartoon, published in 1812, depicts the result of the Massachusetts legislature efforts to favor the incumbent Democratic-Republican party candidates of Governor Elbridge Gerry over the Federalists in 1812.

If you look at Alabama’s current legislative districts (https://ballotpedia.org/Redistricting_in_Alabama), you will see many if not most of our districts look very similar to the gerrymander cartoon. The same is true in most states. (more…)

8211 9th Avenue South and Oh Carol!

8211 9th avenue soJust thought I would take a moment and see what Google had on our old house on 9th Avenue. Turns out it is still there and for sale – a steal at $34k! Reading the specifications I am surprised how small the house is – about 1100 square feet, with two bedrooms and one bath. The house is hard to see in this Google photo and the one the realtor posted is the same one, but you can actually see the house pretty well here. The house on the right is the Jone’s rental house I told you about in my post on model planes. When we lived there, the lot on the left was vacant, and then came Jones the lawyer’s house. But I like being able to scan around from the street in front of our house, 9th avenue of course.

I have a lot of memories about that street and the hill that leads down to the Parrot’s house. I can remember (more…)

Mules, mules, mules and the white stuff!

This morning while scanning the tv channels looking for something to distract me, I stumbled upon a “marathon” presentation of the 1950’s TV show “Death Valley Days.” What caught my attention was the theme song being played at the end of an episode from 1953. I immediately stopped scanning and waited to watch the next episode.

Hearing that song brought me back to my childhood in the West End of Birmingham. In 1953, I was eight years old and a fan of that TV show, Death Valley Days. So much so that my mother saved up box tops of 20 Mule Team Borax, or Boraxo as I remember it. (more…)

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