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Entries in politics (14)


This is Totally Normal

I realize it's been a while since around November 8th when John Oliver crafted the #ThisIsNotNormal thing, but I continue to have thoughts and feelings about it.

You guys, this racist bullshit that you are experiencing that's masquerading as the executive and legislative branches of the government?

IS TOTALLY NORMAL FOR AMERICA. I'm over here rolling my eyes at people who are sharing these posts of people being detained at airports and hashtagging it with #thisIsNotNormal.


This is not normal FOR YOU, BRO.

Two months after 9/11, my dad was taking a flight to North Carolina. He was pulled aside, detained and questioned. This was a domestic flight from Florida to North Carolina. My father, at the time, was 67 years old, had lived in the U.S. for thirty two years and had been an American citizen for nearly fifteen years of those years. Since then, between my parents, in laws and extended family, this family has had over half a dozen encounters like this. 


This is totally normal for US. 

So, why? Why bring this up in the first place? 

Well, look, there's two major kinds of racist/xenophobic/discriminatory paradigm:

1. Superiority Based Racism/Xenophobic/Discriminatory Paradigm: This says, "America is amazing and wonderful, white people made America, foreigners are terrible, gays are deviants, the only black people that get shot by the police are criminals, blow all of those sand people up and we'll be safe, etc."

And, then, there's:

2. Cluelessness Based Racism/Xenophobic/Discriminatory Paradigm: This says that the current climate of racism, xenophobia and discrimination is some sort of aberrant occurrence and totally ignores the pesky yet relevant fact that this triumverate of bullshit (racism, xenophobia, discriminiation) is somehow NOT woven into the tapestry of the American story.


You know.

I like John Oliver.

But let's not forget John Oliver is the great grandson of an Imperialist Britain which used racism, xenophobia and discrimination to dominate over half of the world's population in throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

And then let's not forget that all those people who are using #thisIsNotNormal are the great great great grandchildren of people who appropriated North America from native peoples with their slaves in tow captured from Africa all of which was justified by racism, xenophobia and discrimination.

Barack Obama, our great hope, our American dream... was not normal.

This guy? P45? Is totally normal.

And he will never NOT be normal if you don't own him as a product of who we have chosen to be as a people for two hundred years.




The Ambivalence of Vulnerability.

There are a thousand different ways to express this, and they feel weak, shameful and pseudo-catastrophic. A few years ago, I read all of Brene Brown’s books, and they changed my life. I learned about the power and courage of vulnerability. I learned vulnerability is a magic key that opens you up to abundance and love in the universe in a way that holding your flaws, fears and mistakes too close will never allow. I came to love the idea of vulnerability – the delicate balance it requires in personal relationships or the way it can inspire friendships and cooperation in phenomenal ways.

Today, I loathe vulnerability. I hate how vulnerable I feel when I watch a man talk about killing the family members of terrorists. Or closing borders. Or requiring ID badges. Or, basically, any time he opens his idiotic, stupid-headed mouth.

I hate the total loss of words I had tonight when my emotionally rock solid daughter asked, “What is going to happen if Donald Trump wins? Are we going to be okay? Is he going to make us leave?”

I do not know the answer to this question.

This vulnerability? It’s victimhood. It’s the haunting sting of being bullied by someone so much more powerful than I am. It’s that familiar feeling of watching people who can do something, sit back and do nothing.  It’s the vulnerability you feel when you hear someone give you the backstory, the rationale, the reason why your abuser is who he is. You don’t care what those reasons are because it does not stop them. I do not give a damn why we are here. Stop telling me why why are here.

We are here. And I am very afraid.

This vulnerability is the finality of knowing you can never count on the people you thought you could count on again. People who love you, they are supposed to stick up for you. They are supposed to say, "You cannot talk about my friend like that." They are supposed to stop people from talking about you like that. They are supposed to effing do something besides make jokes or lament the journey to this place.

When you lose faith in the people who love you, you beleive you will never get it back. You are left with the realization that having faith in people is a precarious proposition at best. Let me tell you, there are very few points that are lower than this one, emotionally speaking.

Disconnected. Alone. Vulnerable... I listen.

He says what he thinks, so, you know, take the abuse. Let’s keep this family together. Don't forget, you're lucky to even be here. You thought you were big enough to sit at the table? Listen. We will make you leave if we want. There is nothing you can do. We were great before you came here. We want to be great again. You made us un-great. We're just trying to go back to what we were before you showed up and screwed everything up.

Also? Jesus. Guns. Racism.

I gasp for air under the weight of this vulnerability that leaves me weak, sad and scared.  I had no strength to loan my child when she showed me her vulnerability.

 “I don’t know if will he make us leave. I don’t know. I know that no matter what has happened to me in my life, Allah has provided me with the best of things in the end. This is something I know to be true because I have lived it. I don't know what's going to happen, bete. Some things, we have to just let Him sort out.”

I can say what I think, too.


Election Day is Coming. And I Decide to Brainwash My Child.

As the presidential race comes to a close, I'm proud to say that both of the children have grown in their awareness not only of the election, but some of the issues, as well. At my Babble Voices Blog, Native Born and Raised, I explain how I tried to teach N. the difference between Republicans and Democrats and how that was a colossal failure.

We value ideas because they are, wait for it, valuable to us. Many times, we choose one set of values over another because we believe that what we have chosen is superior to the alternative. Not all the time is about superiority, but most of the time is. So, when I explain politics to my child, no matter what I say  or what my intention is, I color that presentation with the passion of what I believe to be both just and true.

You can read the whole post here.

Also, many thanks to Nijamatics for the DOPEST MASTHEAD EVER.


I've Been Writing. Just Not Here.

Did I mention I got a day job? I did! You are now reading the words of an assistant to a montessori elementary class. I'm having a terrific time, etc., but have been regrettably busy "assisting" and what not. 

This doesn't mean, of course, that you've lost your full access pass to all things Faiqa.

Here's me being self righteous about world hunger.

From "Children Are Starving in Africa. So, Eat That." on Babble.

“There are children starving in Africa.”

I’m not making this up. That’s exactly what she said.

The kids hadn’t finished their lunches or something. She thought they were being wasteful. With a heart full of beautiful intention, she sought to imbue them with perspective. Instead her words plunged me into a deep state of irritation and anxiety.

There are children starving in Africa.


And then here I am being very un-self righteous. Because consistency is for weenies. 

From "Helicopter, Free Range or Honey Boo Boo Parenting? Who Cares" also on Babble.

According to Lenore Skenazy, author of Free-Range Kids, I’m a negative symptom of the stranger danger campaigns of the early and mid-eighties and am hindering my children’s developing self reliance and their independent social maturity. Parents who won’t let their children ride the subway alone or play in Central Park unattended are control freaks — obsessed with their own sense of security rather than their children’s good, don’t you know?

Wait, there's more. Let me tell you about my mutha, Dr. Freud.

From "Coming Soon to a Theater Near You: I've Become My Mother":

"Even thinking about the movie The Exorcist creeps me out. Like, just now, my husband just walked into our room while I was typing this and I almost peed in my pants because I thought it was the devil. I once tried to read The Exorcist, but couldn't finish it. The book makes the movie feel like that episode of "The Cosby Show" when they sang on the staircase and Rudy was all "BAAAABY!!" Which is to say that the movie is a cake walk because every time I finished a page of the book… I almost peed in my pants because I thought the devil was under my bed.

These days I find myself living in a benign, yet twisted version of my own horror movie."



There's even MORE. 

"I just wish that I could, like, possess the body of the body of someone who does PR for Mitt Romney. I'd be like, 'So, the good news is that we have a celebrity endorsement. The bad news is that it's Nikki Minaj."

From the Hey! That's My Hummus podcast episode "Voter Registration Laws and Creationism".

That title makes it sound like creationism and the attempts at revising voter registration are somehow related... which they probably will be if some people have their way.

Anyway, it was good catching up with you.

How are YOU?



Down With the Punchy Political Graphics!!

We try to teach the next generation the value of kindness and compassion.

We talk to them of difference, acceptance and tolerance.

We discuss sportsmanship and compromise in elevated tones and disparage bullying and name calling.

Then, those little tornadoes go to bed and we jump on our blogs or the Facebook and post things like "Mitt Romney is big, fat stupid with his stupid magical underwear and I hope his stupid money catches on fire and that his stupid (handsome!) sons get hundreds of teenage girls pregnant so he knows why Planned Parenthood is useful and not stupid like him and his stupid magical {{repeat loop}}."

I won't lie, I thought these political updates of the graphic variety on Facebook and Twitter were super fun at first, but they're totally devoid of substantial intellectual discourse. Essentially, they convey that political belief can be boiled down to pithy sayings and badly put together graphics.

Politics should be complex, well thought out and discussed in a measured manner. If your stance on anything political can be summarized in a punchy graphic or even a series of them? My friend, I hate to break this to you, but you're doing it completely wrong. 

Consider double checking the "Share" potential and its relevance to meaningful discourse of a graphic before doing so.

"Is this completely missing the point of the kind of consensus that led to the building of our great nation?"

Now, I know some smarty pants is going to point out that in the 19th century, Aaron Burr, then Vice President of the United States, shot and murdered Alexander Hamilton, then Secertary of the Treasury and that this does not at all point to consensus and yet our great nation was still built.

I'm talking about macro-consensus... big picture stuff, Smarty Pants. Also, my response to that, which you should feel free to use any time someone points out a historical situation that may undermine a point you're trying to make, is this: "That was before the Internet."

So, okay. Let's try this instead.

"If I were in charge of modeling appropriate behavior to a small child who knows nothing of the world, would my behavior be a reflection of who I believe I am?"

Your values are only real if you practice them with integrity. Integrity loosely means "wholeness." Which I will loosely interpret as "as much of the time as is humanly possible" because I know even the best of us have our bad days.

If you're going to share something like this, for example:

Please stop telling your kids not to bully people. Don't tell them it's not nice to call people "dumb" or "stupid." Because that would make you a hypocrite -- one who is lacking in integrity.

I think Mitt Romney is a poor choice for a president.

I think Barack Obama is a better choice.

My reasons are complex, well thought out and are not based on assuming there are "thousands of dumb things he hasn't said." Don't get me wrong, he's said some dumb things. But who hasn't? I bet President Obama has said dumb things.

Once or twice.

Kidding, because as someone who believes heavily in compassion as a value, I will not champion dialogue that is not only dispassionate, but blatantly and gleefully cruel.I know this is a time honored tradition in the realm of politics -- mud slinging, berating, insulting. But... that was... before the Internet?

Tariq reminded me the other night that one of the easiest ways to change a dynamic is to assume the best of intentions on the part of the other. I assume that people who support Mr. Romney have good intentions and I'm very interested in those intentions. I'm not going to make assumptions about them because I know what it feels like to have people make assumptions about me. I will most likely not agree with them on many things, but I will be a more thoughtful person because I know how they feel and why they feel it. In that way, I win. We all win.

I will also not turn politics into moral judgment. I find it interesting how many of my fellow liberals will eschew our conservative countrypersons as injecting their personal morality into politics, yet have no problem making sweeping statements about how people who don't support universal health care think it's okay for people to die. News flash? That's a moral argument. I also seriously doubt anyone wants anyone to die. Point is, if you're posting stuff like that on your Facebook wall, you will never know the truth of the matter because you've initiated a conversation by automatically putting someone on the defensive.

And... telling them that they want people to die. I mean.


That's not going anywhere productive.

Like, ever.