Wednesday, May 25, 2016

"Excuse me 7"

We found out yesterday that Katie will start fifth grade in the Enhanced Learning (aka, Gifted) Program at school. She's super excited about this opportunity to meet some kids with similar interests and intensities. She's struggled with her peer relationships in the classroom since first grade, complaining that nobody understands her and she feels weird and alone. Here's an excellent post about the emotional intensity that often accompanies intellectual intensity:
Giftedness has an emotional as well as intellectual component. Intellectual complexity goes hand in hand with emotional depth. Just as gifted children’s thinking is more complex and has more depth than other children’s, so too are their emotions more complex and more intense. 
Complexity can be seen in the vast range of emotions that gifted children can experience at any one time and the intensity is evident in the “full-on-ness” about everything with which parents and teachers of the gifted children are so familiar. 
Emotional intensity in the gifted is not a matter of feeling more than other people, but a different way of experiencing the world: vivid, absorbing, penetrating, encompassing, complex, commanding – a way of being quiveringly alive. 
Emotional intensity can be expressed in many different ways: 
as intensity of feeling – positive feelings, negative feelings, both positive and negative feelings together, extremes of emotion, complex emotion that seemingly move from one feeling to another over a short time period, identification with the feelings of other people, laughing and crying together 
in the body – the body mirrors the emotions and feelings are often expressed as bodily symptoms such as tense stomach, sinking heart, blushing, headache, nausea 
inhibition – timidity and shyness 
strong affective memory – emotionally intense children can remember the feelings that accompanied an incident and will often relive and ‘re-feel’ them long afterward 
fears and anxieties, feelings of guilt, feelings of being out of control
concerns with death, depressive moods
emotional ties and attachments to others, empathy and concern for others, sensitivity in relationships, attachment to animals, difficulty in adjusting to new environments, loneliness, conflicts with others over the depth of relationships 
critical self-evaluation and self-judgment, feelings of inadequacy and inferiority 
Many people seem unaware that intense emotions are part of giftedness and little attention is paid to emotional intensity. Historically the expression of intense feelings has been seen a sign of emotional instability rather than as evidence of a rich inner life. The traditional Western view is of emotions and intellect as separate and contradictory entities, there is however, an inextricable link between emotions and intellect and, combined, they have a profound effect on gifted people. It is emotional intensity that fuels joy in life, passion for learning, the drive for expression of a talent area, the motivation for achievement. 
Feeling everything more deeply than others do can both be painful and frightening. Emotionally intense gifted people often feel abnormal. “There must be something wrong with me… maybe I’m crazy… nobody else seems to feel like this.” Emotionally intense gifted people often experience intense inner conflict, self-criticism, anxiety and feelings of inferiority. The medical community tends to see these conflicts as symptoms and labels gifted people neurotic. They are however an intrinsic part of being gifted and provide the drive that gifted people have for personal growth and achievement. 
It is vitally important that gifted children are taught to see their heightened sensitivity to things that happen in the world as a normal response for them. If this is not made clear to them they may see their own intense experiences as evidence that something is wrong with them.
Last night, Will and I were talking about how proud we are of Katie's growth, and how excited we are for her future. He asked me, "Are you proud to find out our kid is gifted."

"I've known she was gifted for a long time. I didn't need her to take any test to tell me that. I started to figure it out when she was about two," I said.

"You mean when she memorized Goodnight Moon and 'read' it to us?" Will asked.

"Yeah, but also, remember that time she said, 'excuse me 7' to the magnet in our fridge?"

Katie, age 2

When Katie was two, she went through this phase of storing random objects inside the refrigerator. You'd open the door to get some half and half for your coffee and find your car keys.  Time to make lunch?  Oh, there's my hairbrush.  At least she didn't store her used diapers in there like she did in her play kitchen.  It's such a fun age when they learn how to take off their diaper after taking a crap, but they haven't quite learned what to do with it.

One day Katie opened the refrigerator to grab her cup of milk. On a shelf inside she'd left one of those plastic magnets you get with the set of ABCs and 123s.  The kind kids like to drop onto the floor for you to step on, put in their mouths to freak you out, lose under your frightfully dirty refrigerator.  Or, in our case, the kid likes to hide them in the fridge. As Katie reached for the cup, her hand passed over the magnet.  She said, "Excuse me L." Then she paused, picked up the magnet, flipped it over and said, "Oh, excuse me 7."

Brilliant AND polite. We're so proud of our Katie Bug.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Natural introvert or socially anxious extravert?

This post about the difference between introversion and social anxiety is an interesting read. I zig zag back and forth between "E" and "I" on the Myers-Briggs test. I love people and getting to know people and sharing ideas with people and surrounding myself with people. But people can also be a drain. I love socializing, but then I need time alone to recharge my batteries.

One thing I've noticed is that when I routinely take prescription Sertraline for my PTSD, I feel much more "E" than "I". And when I lapse and decide that I don't need meds, I tend to feel more like an "I". Makes sense. Sertraline is also prescribed to people with social anxiety disorder.

After reading this post, I think maybe I'm not really an introvert, but a socially anxious extravert.

I think I was born an E. But it's hard to be an attention-craving, friendly fat girl in a fat-shaming society. I was sent to Weight Watchers in third grade, and it was soon after that I began to spend more time alone in my bedroom or on long walks by myself. Being an extroverted fat girl in a fat-unfriendly society made me believe that there was something wrong with me. Made me believe I was not good enough in most people's eyes.

I avoided social situations because I felt like I was too physically revolting to most people. I HATED public speaking for most of my life. The idea of people looking at me, seeing how fat I am, thinking to themselves, "What a lardo. She needs to go on a diet," made me stay seated in class as a teen or at work meetings as an adult, even if I felt like I had something interesting to say. I silenced myself, preferring to stifle my naturally exuberant personality so people wouldn't look at me.

The year I turned forty, my brother died and it occurred to me that life is way too fucking short not to live it to the fullest. Around that same time I read the book Health at Every Size by Dr. Linda Bacon. I finally got the nerve to stop dieting. Only took me thirty-one years, a bout with anorexia, and an obscene amount of days spent sobbing.

I'm forty-five now. I haven't been on a diet in five years. I'm still fat. But I'm healthier than ever. My cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure, and bone density are in the healthy to excellent range. I go to bed at night feeling good and I wake up excited about the day.

Another big thing: I've gotten over my social phobia.

After I turned forty, my brother died, and I quit dieting, ready for some full life living, I finally decided what I wanted to be when I grew up. A storytime lady.

Storytime at the library was my favorite thing in the world when I was a little kid. Books saved my life many times when I needed a friend, or a laugh, or some sympathy as I got to be too old to go to storytime. I was thrilled when my own child was born and we started going to storytime at the library when she was four months old. But then she got too old for storytime. Which meant I couldn't go to storytime anymore. Which made me very sad.

But what if I didn't have to stop going to storytime? What if I could figure out a way to get the nerve to LEAD my own storytime?

I did it. With a combination of psychotropic medicine, cognitive behavior therapy, and pure, self-healing perseverance, I learned how to lead a storytime without worrying about all the eyes on me. Without worrying that the caregivers will think I'm revolting. I joke around that the reason it took me so long to find my dream job is because I never thought I could be a storytime lady because I don't have a great singing voice. that it's my job to demonstrate to caregivers that it's OK to sing with your kids even if you don't have a great voice. But honestly, the reason it took me so long to find my dream job is because for far too many years I feared judgy eyes on my fat body.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Loretta Lynch, Vanita Gupta, and the Obama Administration calls out North Carolina on its transphobic bathroom bullshit

Great news from The Department of Justice today. Watch here:

My favorite quotes:

"Let me also speak directly to the transgender community itself. Some of you have lived freely for decades. Others of you are still wondering how you can possibly live the lives you were born to lead. But no matter how isolated or scared you may feel today, the Department of Justice and the entire Obama Administration wants you to know that we see you; we stand with you; and we will do everything we can to protect you going forward. Please know that history is on your side. This country was founded on a promise of equal rights for all, and we have always managed to move closer to that promise, little by little, one day at a time. It may not be easy – but we’ll get there together." --Loretta Lynch, Attorney General

"Here are the facts. Transgender men are men – they live, work and study as men. Transgender women are women – they live, work and study as women." --Vanita Gupta, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights

This weekend I finished reading the book, George by Alex Gino, about a transgender fourth-grade girl, so this case has been on my mind. Here's my review of it:

GeorgeGeorge by Alex Gino
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

George is a sweet, sensitive fourth-grader with a secret. She's a girl. She's got a boy's name, and a boy's body, but George has identified as a girl for as long as she can remember. When her teacher refuses to let George audition for the role of Charlotte in the school production of "Charlotte's Web," George and her best friend, Kelly, figure out a way to get the right girl up there on stage. Along the way, George finds the courage to share her secret with her older brother, her mother, and, eventually, the whole wide world. George is a beautiful, thoughtful book about a transgender girl's triumph to be who she is, and to allow the world to see her as she sees herself. Highly recommended for all ages.

View all my reviews

I'm proud of my country today.

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” --Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Someone called my kid fat

It was almost an afterthought. We'd already been sitting on the couch for twenty minutes, talking about our day. We call it Sunshine and Shadows, our after-school talks, about both good things and bad. I got the idea from an educator I know. It's a simple way to let people, especially kids, know that you're open for discussion. Our nine-year-old loves to play Sunshine and Shadows. Like it's a game. Family game night meets group therapy.

Kate: Let's play Sunshine and Shadows!
Me: OK. You go first.

Sometimes I change it up a bit. I'll say, "OK. Daddy goes first." Just to teach her a little social courtesy and patience.

Today it was just Kate and me, so I let her go first. She'd been telling me all kinds of things that had gone on throughout the day. Both good and bad. Most a mix of both. I thought she was about done and ready to get our Bob's Burgers jones on.

Me: Well, anything else happen today?
Kate: Someone called me fat.
Me: What?
Kate: In Music today. Someone called me fat.
Me: What? Why? What happened?
Kate: Peyton* called me fat.
Me: Why? What was going on?
Kate: It was in music class. I was sitting down. He needed to get in, so he said, "Move over, Fatso!"

Kate lifted up her shirt and poked her belly with her finger.

Kate: I don't even think I'm that fat.
Me: No, you're not.
Kate: But he said it in a mean way. He meant it as a mean thing to say.
Me: Yeah, I'm sorry, Honey.

Kate poked my belly with her finger.

Kate: I mean, I know there's nothing wrong with being fat, but he said it in a mean way.

Kate's sensitive about my weight. She knows that I was sent to Weight Watchers in third grade, and that I was diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa by fifth grade. She knows I'm a Health at Every Size advocate now, and that one of my goals is to help people boost their body image, to raise a generation of children without eating disorders. To the outside world, I'm another fat mother. To Kate, I'm a badass fat activist.

Me: I know. Many people in our society still think that it's bad to be fat. So they think the word "fat" is a bad word, something you say to insult someone.
Kate: Yeah. He was saying it like it's a bad word.
Me: What did you do?
Kate: I told the teacher.
Me: And then what happened?
Kate: He had to go to the buddy room.
Me: I see. So, are you OK?
Kate: Yeah, I'm fine.
Me: You know what he said is more a reflection of him than of you, right? Sad people try to make other people feel sad.
Kate: That's the funny thing, Mom. Peyton's, well, kind of fat.
Me: Oh! So he's probably been called "fatso" himself. That's how he even knows the word. People treat others the way they've been treated. Maybe his mom or dad or brothers or sisters call him "fatso."
Kate: Yeah. Probably. Man, now I feel sorry for bullies.
Me: Yeah. I know what you mean. But don't let bullies mistreat you because you feel sorry for them. Always stick up for yourself. But understand that they are probably coming from a sad place.
Kate: I know, Mom. I know.

*Name changed to protect identity.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


I named our daughter Kate Carleton because it sounds presidential. Seriously. Doesn't Kate Carleton sound like someone who gets things done?

We named her Katherine, actually. After my sister Kathryn. After our great-grandmother Catherine.

Will wanted to call her Kat, which now that I know her suits her, but I got my way and we started calling her Kate from day one.

By the time Kate could advocate for herself, and around the same time she began writing her own name, she announced that she no longer wanted to be called Kate. From then on, she'd be Katie.

Katie? Ugh. Katie doesn't sound presidential at all.

Katie sounds like a spoiled girl who always gets her way.

Kate got her way, and we began to call her Katie when she was four.

"Are you sure you want to be called Katie?" I asked. "It's one extra letter you have to spell when you write your name."

"That's OK. I like Katie better."

So we called her Katie. It's her name, I guess.

But. I'm the one who cooked her in my belly til she was well done. Five days overdue, to be precise. I feel like I should have some say in what name we call her. I tried to call her Katie, but I'd slip up from time to time.

"It's Katie, Mommy."

"Oh, yeah. Sorry. Katie. It's hard to remember to call you Katie when we called you Kate for four years."

Eventually I got used to calling our daughter Katie. She's nine now. Five years have passed. She's Katie, even though it doesn't sound presidential.

"I don't want to be president," Katie says.

"Why not?" I ask.

"I just don't want that kind of responsibility."

"Yeah. Me neither. I guess I should let you be who you want to be."

"Yeah, Mom."

Mom? When did I become Mom? What happened to Mommy? How come if I have to call her Katie and not Kate, she can't call me Mommy and not Mom?

"Fine. You can call me Kate if I can call you Mom."

"OK!" I agreed. But it backfired on me because I was already used to calling her Katie by then, so I forgot to go back to Kate. Katie, on the other hand, readily calls me Mom and not Mommy. No problem.

"Mom, none of the other kids at school call their moms Mommy."

Fine. Be like everybody else, if that's your thing.

Katie and I went to a new church the other day, and on her name tag she wrote, "KaCy".

"KaCy? Isn't that your avatar's name on the WiiU?" I can't believe I've learned how to speak Gamer in nine short years.

"Yeah. And that's what I want to be called now."

"What? I thought you wanted to be called Katie?"

"I did for a while, but now I want to go by KaCy."

"Duuuude. You can't just keep changing your name like that. People get used to calling you what they know you by. Remember how hard it was for me to remember to call you Katie instead of Kate when you re-nicknamed yourself when you were four?

"You call me Katie now."

"Yeah, man. I don't think I can do it again. KaCy? And why do you spell it that way? Why not just KC? You know. Your initials. Katie Carleton."

"Because I want it to be different. I want my name to be unique."

I remember when I was looking at baby names while pregnant with our daughter. I kept gravitating toward classic names. Except for Stella. I wanted to name Katie Stella, but Will said no, he didn't want his kid growing up with people yelling, "Steeeeeeeeeeeeeeeela!" at her all the time. And, Stella's the name of a blowup doll we once met down at the Winfield bluegrass festival, but that's another story. I can see why a dad wouldn't want to name his kid after a blowup doll.

I remember reading about how most kids born nowadays have unique names, so much so that names like Katherine had become rather rare.

Apparently it's not rare enough for our Katie bird. She wants to be known as KaCy now.

"Fine. You can have other people call you whatever you want, but I wanna call you Kate. Or Katie. Or Katie Bug. Or Punkin. Or Punk. OK?"

"Yeah, Mom. That's fine."

That same day I got an email from one of the members of the church we went to letting us know she'd be happy to answer any questions we had. I found myself replying that we had a great time, and that KaCy and I'd try to make it next week, too. KaCy. This kid of mine. If she wants people at church to call her KaCy, fine. I didn't want to confuse them by my calling her Kate or Katie or Punk or whatever, so I referred to her as her prefered name, KaCy.

When I was in second grade I stood up in front of my class and announced that I wanted everyone to start calling me Becca instead of Rebecca. At home I went by Becky or Beck. But when Mom enrolled me at my new school a month after first grade started, she wrote my legal name on the form and the teacher never bothered to ask if I had a nickname. My teacher was mean, so I never corrected her when she called me Rebecca. By second grade most of my friends called me Becky, and my teacher was nice that year, so she called me Becky, too, but somewhere I heard the nickname Becca and I thought it sounded beautiful. Becca is beautiful and cool and confident. She remembers to pack her toothbrush when she spends the night at someone's house and she's not afraid of the dark. Becky is some dorky girl's name. My name.

I wanted to be Becca.

But no one could do it. Everyone knew me as Becky by then, so nobody could remember to call me Becca. I got tired of correcting everyone and eventually I dropped it. I've gone by Becky ever since.

Once, before Katie was born, my husband Will and I went camping with some friends. One of his friends brought along a woman named Becca. I fell in love with her almost instantly. Not in the I want to marry her way, but in the I want to be her way. Becca was beautiful and cool and confident. She remembered to bring her own food--homemade granola-- and she set up her own tent. I, on the other hand, managed to break our tent that night. Zippers and I aren't very chummy. What can I say? I'm a dork. Call me Becky.

So I get it, wanting to go by a different name because you think you could act differently with a different name. But does it really work that way? Would I be cooler if I started going by Becca? Will Katie or Kate or KaCy feel more confident and in control if she goes by a different name?

My husband, Will, would say so. Try being a chubby 12-year-old boy named Willie when the movie, "Free Willy" comes out. He's been going by Will ever since.

Friday, April 8, 2016

My Best Effort: Existential Depression, My Kid, and Me

I had a really good talk with Katie's therapist this afternoon. Our nine-year-old, Katie, has been struggling at school with her peers. She has temper tantrums when her peers don't act respectfully toward her, and lately even when they don't act respectfully toward others around her. She vacillates between feeling intolerance and disgust for her "immature" classmates and feeling like no one likes her or cares about her and that she's worthless and alone. Things are getting worse instead of better. Today, my husband Will had to go pick her up from school because she was biting herself and talking about how she wants to run away. She told the school social worker that she didn't "want to be part of this world."

Shit. My poor baby.

Shit. That was me when I was a kid. But I'd always attributed my depression and anxiety to my shitty childhood in general and to specific traumatic events such as being sexually abused as a preschooler and being sent to Weight Watchers in third grade. I thought my depression was a product of my upbringing, not my genes.

But it makes sense. My mother had episodes of depression so severe that she received shock therapy a couple of times before I was even born. Her mother was agoraphobic for decades, and she abused my siblings when they were under her care while Mom worked after she divorced their dad. My family tree is fertilized by a cocktail of booze, pot, and sertraline, with a side garnish of God and binge eating junk food. Even if I'm not fucked up because of my fucked up childhood, but because of my genetic quirks, it's those genetic quirks that probably led to my mom's and my grandmother's less than stellar parenting decisions, and, now that I'm a mom, I can join that club, too.

Nature or Nurture? Both.

Despite my husband's and my best efforts to raise Katie to be confident and happy and kind, to protect her from abuse and to teach her to love her body and herself, our kid is hurting.

Shit. I thought all I had to do was be a "great mom" and we'd all live happily ever after. Turns out, I'm not a "great mom," just a mom putting forth my best effort.

Maybe my grandmother put forth her best effort. Maybe my mom did, too. Maybe I should quit blaming bad parents for producing fucked up kids and accept that no one understands completely why life is full of suffering and the best thing we can do is love each other and hang on.

More and more, we suspect that Katie has inherited my depression and anxiety. Not my proudest parenting moment. I'm proud that she inherited my funny face and my smile. I'm proud that she inherited my philosophical nature and my goofy sense of humor. I am not at all proud that I probably gave her the genetic propensity toward depression and anxiety.

Parenting is so hard. And, simultaneously, the most important work I've ever done. Maybe my job is to prepare Katie for this ambiguous life.

Anyhoo, her therapist and I suspect that Katie is gifted, and that she's experiencing what's called "existential depression." Here's a good overview of what that means:

"Because gifted children are able to consider the possibilities of how things might be, they tend to be idealists. However, they are simultaneously able to see that the world is falling short of how it might be. Because they are intense, gifted children feel keenly the disappointment and frustration which occurs when ideals are not reached. Similarly, these youngsters quickly spot the inconsistencies, arbitrariness and absurdities in society and in the behaviors of those around them. Traditions are questioned or challenged. For example, why do we put such tight sex-role or age-role restrictions on people? Why do people engage in hypocritical behaviors in which they say one thing and then do another? Why do people say things they really do not mean at all? Why are so many people so unthinking and uncaring in their dealings with others? How much difference in the world can one person’s life make?

"When gifted children try to share these concerns with others, they are usually met with reactions ranging from puzzlement to hostility. They discover that others, particularly of their age, clearly do not share these concerns, but instead are focused on more concrete issues and on fitting in with others’ expectations. Often by even first grade, these youngsters, particularly the more highly gifted ones, feel isolated from their peers and perhaps from their families as they find that others are not prepared to discuss such weighty concerns...

"...The reaction of gifted youngsters (again with intensity) to these frustrations is often one of anger. But they quickly discover that their anger is futile, for it is really directed at 'fate' or at other matters which they are not able to control. Anger that is powerless evolves quickly into depression."

Read the full article here.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Change Generation

Hillary Clinton says she understands why Donald J. Trump supporters are so angry
Posted by NowThis Election on Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Politics fascinates our nine-year-old, Katie. Her fourth-grade class is studying the current United States Presidential election.

Katie, overhearing me watching this video: "Is that Hillary Clinton?"

Me: "Yep."

Katie: "She sounds good."

Me: "Yeah, I like what she's saying here."

Katie: "I thought you liked Bernie Sanders."

Me: "I do."

Katie "But you like Hillary Clinton, too? I thought they were running against each other."

Me: "Yeah. They are. But they're both way better than the candidates on the Republican side. I like both of them, I just like Bernie more. But if for some reason Bernie doesn't win the Democratic nomination, I'll vote for Hillary Clinton."

Katie: "So Bernie's your favorite and Hillary's your second-favorite?"

Me "Yep."

Katie: "Who's your least favor--"

Me: "--Donald Trump. Hands down."

Katie: "Yeah, I thought so. So who's your third favorite, Cruz?"

Me: "No, John Kasich."

Katie: "Who's that?"

Me: "He's the governor of Ohio, and he's running for president."

Katie: "Oh. So Cruz is your fourth favorite and then Donald Trump is your least favorite?"

Me: "Yeah, of the major parties. There are other people running for president, too, but those are the five from the Democrats and the Republicans."

Katie: "And you want Bernie to win but if he doesn't you want Hillary to win?"

Me: "Yep."

Katie: "It'd be kinda cool to have a girl president."

Me: "A woman president? Yeah, that would be cool."

Katie: "This should be called the Change Generation."

Last night, we were discussing what the names of the various generations are, such as The Greatest Generation, The Silent Generation, The Baby Boomers, Gen-X, and The Millennials. Katie asked what the name of her generation is, and I said I didn't know, that sometimes it takes a while for a generation to develop its name.

Me: "Oh yeah? Why should it be called The Change Generation?"

Katie: "Because our presidents are about change. Like, if Hillary Clinton wins, she'd be the first girl president."

Me: "The first woman president. She's a woman, not a girl. We don't call Bernie a boy. He's a man. And anyway,  he'd be the first Jewish president if he wins."

Katie: "Bernie's Jewish? Like, Jesus?"

Me: "Yep. And Barack Obama is the first black president."

Katie: "Yep. See, we should be called The Change Generation."

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Sing Louder

Twenty-three years ago, on March 15, 1993, I starting working at the library in the periodicals department. The longest amount of time I'd stuck with a job prior to the library was two months, when I was a nanny to three kids one summer. The shortest amount of time I've stuck with a job is one day, at Europlay at Oak Park Mall when I got fired for not sorting the Koosh balls into their bins correctly. And for being too shy to approach customers and sell them more than what they came in for.

With age comes wisdom, yes, but with age also comes confidence. You get to a part of your life where you realize, "I really just want to get paid to sing and dance with kids and read them a silly book or two". When your inner critic whispers, "you are too shy to do that," sing louder.

Friday, February 26, 2016


My husband, Will, likes to tease me that I'm overly optimistic about the good intentions of people. Once, at the beginning of a thunderstorm, I saw a group of young guys walking around the apartment's parking lot banging on windows to check to make sure everyone's car windows were rolled up. At least that's what I thought they were doing until I saw one of them bust open a window and the others jump in and try to jack the car. Will had to rush out in his undies to scare those hooligans off.

This time my naivete was directed toward Secretary Clinton. When I first saw a clip of her video demonizing black youths as "Super-Predators" and she said that we needed to "bring them to heel" I thought she meant "heal". Like, she wanted to bring them in to prison to heal. And I thought, we'll that's ridiculous, they're never going to get healed in prison..." Then I saw this clip of the #BlackLivesMatter activist's sign that says "bring them to heel" and I googled that term and found it means to bring someone into submission. Like a dog.

I support Bernie Sanders for President because he respects the dignity in all humans. He doesn't just say things to gain political power. He wants to make American great. Here and now. Not again. Not sometime in the future. Now.

Are you ready? Do you feel the Bern?!


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Bernie Who?

I love this headline: Bernie Sanders just easily won the New Hampshire primary. It's a remarkable achievement.

It is remarkable. Almost unbelievable. I'm flabbergasted.

I'm not used to politicians I whole-heartedly support actually winning! It's amazing how progressive our country has become in just a few short years. I remember back in 2008, when Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Dennis Kucinich were competing for the Democratic nomination, I actually intended to vote for Kucinich, but I changed my mind once I got to the caucus and saw only one other supporter in the room full of hundreds of people. The vote was close between Clinton and Obama, so I felt like it was more pragmatic to vote for Obama. I admire Hillary Clinton, but she's too much of a war hawk for me. So's Obama, but, you know, so are most people, and at least he was an out-spoken critic of the Iraq War while Hillary Clinton voted in support of the Iraq War while she was Senator of New York.

I recall telling some friends about my decision to vote pragmatically instead of idealistically and they asked me who I'd have voted for if I had the luxury of voting idealistically. I said, "Bernie Sanders!"

"Bernie Who?"

"Never mind. He'll never run. And if he did, he'd never win," I said. "He's a Democratic Socialist! He'd never get Americans to vote for him!"

I've never been happier to have been so wrong. Bernie Sanders won the New Hampshire primary today! And it is remarkable.

Back in 2008, when I'd fantasize about Bernie running for President, it seemed like such a long shot. Bernie wasn't even a United States Senator yet, but a Representative from Vermont. He'd been the mayor of Birmingham or Burlington or something like that. Living in Kansas myself, the only reason I'd heard of him was because I'd see him on Bill Maher and I respected everything that came out of his mouth. You can't say that about too many of Bill Maher's guests, or Bill Maher himself for that matter. He's one of those brilliant but arrogant people I don't really like but I like how they think. He's so irritating.

But not Bernie. Bernie's the best. He speaks and I nod my head. Yes. Yes! This guy gets it. And evidently lots of other people across this country are starting to get Bernie. It's so awesome to see Bernie get the recognition he deserves. It's so awesome to get the opportunity to vote for a person I truly believe in after so many years of settling for second best.