A Serious Question

Before I launch into my rant I think it’s prudent to point out context. Sexual assault is heinous. I can hardly be called a feminist but a man who takes intimacy that hasn’t been offered is loathsome to me, deserves violence and I don’t really give a shit about the context. I’ve done rape counselling and taught rape prevention for 15+ years, usually for free. I’ve physically intervened when men were being overly aggressive and have escorted women home or back to their hotel rooms if they’ve over imbibed, been drugged, or fear going alone. This is one of the few issues I take very fucking seriously and I’m sure most, if not all, women would agree with me. So I’m not kidding when I ask the following question: Why is sexually assaulting me okay?

I wear a kilt. A lot. Most of the time, even. I like kilts. They’re comfortable and provide great ease of movement. Almost every time I wear one I’m assaulted by a woman. I have had dozens of women I didn’t know reach under my kilt and grab my ass or balls. I’ve come home from a night out with bruises. I know men who own kilts and won’t wear them because they’ve been repeatedly mauled. There are a number of Scottish themed restaurants that have had to stop having waiters wear kilts because their female patrons would not stop grabbing the servers dick. Why is this okay? What would happen if I lifted your dress and inserted a finger in the middle of Fremont St?

The physical assaults, while common, are nothing compared to the verbal ones. Literally thousands of women have come up to me and demanded to know what I’m wearing under my kilt. Really? Do you have panties on? Are they sexy and lacy? What color are they? If I asked them the same questions the police would likely become involved. In fact if I behaved like they do I’d have a sexual predator tag next to my name. But you know, it’s all in good fun. Besides, I didn’t have pants on so I was asking for it, right?

You know what the worst part is? The attitude. After the experiences I’ve had with rape survivors it is fucking disgusting to hear the exact same justifications offered in the exact same words from a middle aged housewife. “It’s just little grab.” “Well, I’ve been drinking.” “Chill out, we’re all just having a good time.” “Oh, I didn’t know you were a prude.” “You wish I was assaulting you.” “You probably liked it.” “What did you expect, wearing that?” Just once I’d like to grab them back, but that would probably mean jail time. My regular response now is to loudly say “Fuck you, cunt” every time it happens.

I admit that I’m not the sensitive type and it hasn’t really caused me any psychic damage. It doesn’t scare me because I certainly have the skills to keep from being dragged off and raped. If I’d never worn a kilt I might even find it funny. But consider that my wife is usually standing next to me. That can’t be too fun. It’s happened repeatedly when I’m with my kids or the young children of a friend. Does that seem reasonable?

The saddest part of this whole thing is that it’s made me a little less sympathetic towards rape victims. I was guilty of the belief that men were more predatory and less empathetic. I viewed sexual assault as a male issue but now I realize that it’s a human issue. The main difference seems to be that, when confronted, a woman can fight back but a man can’t.

As a culture we’ve come a very long way toward not blaming a woman for being the victim of assault. I know we still have a ways to go, but when does the same consideration begin to extend to the other half of the population? I’m not going to hold my breath. I always remember the words of Nietzsche: “Slaves don’t want to be free, slaves want to own slaves.” Or in this case: “Women don’t want to stop assaults, they want to be the assaulter.” So congratulations, women. Equality! You’re every bit as evil as men. Actually more so. Because lots of us men think it’s a problem and I haven’t yet met a woman who apologized.

Another Retirement

In my last post I referred to the fact that I’m retiring from politics. It’s not my first retirement and I’d like to explain what that means. It’s part of my process, a strange result of my training path an interesting paradox that arises out of growth. As your inner world widens and deepens your concern for the ‘real’ world tends to narrow and drop away. Or, put another way, you just ain’t got interest in bullshit no more and there’s a lot of bullshit out there.

Everybody has some experience with this process. As a teenager you’re extremely concerned about appearances, status, or peer pressure. Hopefully as you get a little older you recognize these charlatans for the impostors they are. Try to explain the irrelevance of shoe brand to a teenager and you’ll know exactly what I mean. As you become more aware of the world and your place in it this process is repeated over and over. I like to think of these events as retirements. It helps soften the grieving, and there is grieving. Even the loss of bullshit is a loss, sad and sometimes disconcerting, because some surprising things leave your life. After all, change always means a thousand little deaths. Let me give you some specific examples:

As a young man I was fascinated with economics. I followed the stock market and learned quite a lot about monetary policy and the way it interacted with daily life. I also wanted to be rich. My training changed that pretty quickly. Money is the way to keep score in a game I don’t want to play. It’s bullshit, and I retired.

I was raised Irish Catholic. I left the Church as a teenager and spent years messing around with other religions. I was a Buddhist for quite a few years and flirted with Taoism for longer. I can discuss most religions, from Wicca to Wodin to Islam, with some facility. And you know what? Most of it is bullshit. I retired from religion.

I started graduate school twice. I thought I wanted to study philosophy and psychology. Maybe be a therapist. Turns out most of it is ego laden bullshit and I retired early.

At a very young age I started to watch the news. I love to know everything that’s going on. I have a very good memory and I’m a terror at trivia games. A few years ago I saw it for the bullshit it is and had to walk away. That one was hard but my life is definitely better for it. Although, to be honest, I still watch Jeopardy almost every day.

There are many more examples. Issues and ideas I thought really mattered but, upon further contemplation, turned out to be bullshit distractions from the deeper path. And now it’s time to lose a true love. I’ve always been immersed in politics. I’ve worked on campaigns and written op-eds. I love the process, the speeches, the possibilities. One of my heroes, Dr Hunter S Thompson, was a political animal. Politics is big and shiny. It’s such a great distraction and seems so plausibly important. It isn’t. It’s bullshit. I need to retire and it kind of sucks. I’ll miss it for a while but I’ll be the better for it. I trust the process.

So what is ‘real’? What really does matter? Beats the hell out of me. This whole essay is uncomfortably self indulgent and I refuse to practice that kind of arrogance. Suffice it to say that at this moment it seems to involve Joy, Compassion, Beauty, and Center. I’m damn sure it involves kindness. I think practice, music, fun and craic are pretty important. I know I better train tomorrow. And I know Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion.

Don’t Do It. Please.

One Last Political Post

I’m sure no one cares but I feel compelled to give one last opinion on the election before I permanently retire from politics. (More on that later.) I think the right answer is a simple one: DON’T VOTE FOR ANY OF THESE TERRIBLE PEOPLE.

I’m not suggesting that you stay home. Go vote. Take a stand on ballot initiatives. Cast your ballot in local elections. The sheriff, school board, mayor, city council, probably even your congressman make decisions on the quality of life in your neighborhood and limiting your freedom. Do your civic duty. I won’t tell you what to choose, just don’t vote for president.

Let’s look at our choices. We’ll start with the 3rd party candidates. They could be a cute protest vote. Hell, the Libertarian candidate would be reasonably close to my own ideas. But let’s be honest, they aren’t going to win. They aren’t ever going to win. Voting 3rd party is like being a Satanist. Not that it’s not evil, far from it. But when you vote for them you’re affirming a mythology and choosing the losing side. I’ll believe in your omnipotent God but go with the side he’ll vanquish. It’s silly. It makes no sense.

How about Trump. I refuse to demonize him. I’m not worried he’ll end the world. But again, let’s be honest and admit he’d make a terrible president. He’s a narcissistic asshole and we have no idea what he’d actually do. Even his most ardent supporters would likely acknowledge that his appeal is largely based on the fact that he’s not a fucking politician. I understand, and even feel, the anger and futility that leads to Trump. The whole system is fucked beyond redemption and it makes emotional sense to vote for anyone outside that system. Alienation is a legitimate response but Trump is a buffoon and won’t help. I’m not sure he even wants to win.

That leaves Hillary. I have one very simple requirement from my president. Don’t kill anybody. You have that power now. You can dispatch drones and bombers that make little towns burning piles of rubble and turn human beings into laundry full of blood and broken bone. Don’t. You can dispatch our children and order them to destroy lives in our name, forever altering their future too. Please don’t. You can create more pain, more suffering, and more desperation than almost anyone else on Earth. I beseech you, don’t. Hillary will. She acknowledges it. It’s a central part of her foreign policy. I don’t care what kind of person she is. I don’t care about her trustworthiness or her scandals. I care that she’ll order people killed. I care that the fucking monsters who sent us into Iraq see her as a kindred spirit. I care about children in Libya and Yemen and on an on. I care that her view of the world allows for acceptable collateral damage. Mine doesn’t.

I get it. You’re a Democrat. You want to see a woman in the White House. You hate Trump and are scared of conservatives. But please, think about it for just a minute. Imagine a young girl, 13 or 14 years old. She’s sitting against the last remaining wall of her home, looking at the mutilated bodies of her family. Shrapnel from an American missile has shredded her belly and her intestines are running onto the skirt she was planning on wearing to school. She’s dying. What is she thinking? Will she care that the missile was ordered by a woman? Will she feel pride knowing that her killer struck a blow for equality for rich white women in America? And will she forgive your part in putting her in power? Or will she just cry and bleed out.

I know, I know, the world is a complicated place full of complicated issues. Well I’m kind of a simple guy. I don’t want people to suffer and die horribly. I don’t want parents holding dead children. And, if in some places in this world that’s inevitable, I DON’T WANT TO BE THE ONE WHO FUCKING KILLS THEM. The last two presidents have been responsible for unfathomable anguish. If you vote for Hillary that will continue and you will carry some responsibility for each and every lost or broken life. Now go ahead, let the justifications begin. But that girl will still be out there.

I have no one on to vote for who is willing to protect my rights, stop killing people, and can win. So I will not vote for any of them. Will it help? Probably not, but I won’t carry responsibility for a single weeping mother or raging father. Instead I’ll do my very best to take care of the people in my immediate orbit and hope that if enough of us ignore the system it’ll go away. And I’ll wait to Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion.