A Few Words About Applying for Government Disability Benefits

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(The below was written out of simple outrage from what I have seen happen to fellow human beings who are genuinely too sick and weak to work, but are expected to wait years for any help from the government programs they have paid into all their lives. I am fortunate to have other resources to survive on while unable to work, but not everyone is so lucky. Many homeless you see on the streets are actually disabled veterans and citizens who deserve so much better…)

Applying for government benefits, even those you have worked for and earned yourself, can be a ridiculously long, complicated, and humiliating process BECAUSE they design it to be so. They want to break you down, make you give up, make you give in. They expect the sickest and weakest among us to jump through hurdles on command, knowing it is almost an impossibility unless there are others propping us up.

Honestly, I think they hope that you will die on your own before they have to do a damn thing. I can picture Uncle Sam with fingers crossed, hoping you buckle under the stress and poverty, or even end up taking your own life from the hopelessness and despair of feeling useless, discounted, and vilified by a media that touts how “easy” it is to fool the system and labels those who are disabled as leeches or lazy.

Apparently discrimination laws don’t apply to the government either, since they clearly indulge in age discrimination, something every lawyer will blatantly tell you up front. Even publicly, you can find legal representatives in the field explaining why you are simply fucked if you dare get too sick before age 35, 40, or even 50. So if you are a young adult or middle aged person struggling with a chronic illness or severe pain condition, you had better tell it to get lost and come back in 10 or 20 years. Yeah, that works. After all, young people aren’t allowed to be sick or disabled.

You know, it is really funny, that many of the same people who are so public about being pro-life are also always trying to cut social safety net programs like disability or make them harder to access. If they could, I think sometimes that the government would perform adult abortions on those too weak or sick to continue to prop up their sick, twisted system. Getting rid of us all would be so much easier, wouldn’t it?

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I Fell in Love Today

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I fell in love with a glimpse of you today…and you never even knew.

But there you were, sitting cross-legged, Indian-style on a gravel walkway winding through a field of scattered tombstones. You wore a grease-splattered McDonald’s uniform and were happily occupying your own world. Your head was down, but bobbing slightly to the rhythm of whatever music was streaming through your earphones.

Was it simply a short break or was the work day done? What was it like to leave the circus that is the home of Ronald McDonald, only to take shelter in the land of the dead a few hundred feet away? The image of you, of all that you represent washed over me and still remains in my mind’s eye – a jumbled collage of America, commercialism, youth, morbidity, and the ever-present hope of eternity.

Why I, In Good Conscience, Cannot Vote for Hillary

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I have been struggling for a while about what I should do on voting day. Part of me said that I needed to vote for Clinton because I live in an important swing state (Ohio) and there is a reasonable possibility that the unknown loose cannon that is Trump might be even worse than Clinton. Not to mention the fact, that since getting the nomination, Trump has been surrounding himself with establishment right wing Republicans, which definitely don’t represent my own point of view. Also, I couldn’t help but think of those all-important Supreme Court vacancies that the next president will undoubtedly fill. Surely Clinton would pick people at least a little better than Trump, since I am personally against theocracy in any form and don’t think religious beliefs should be used to form law.

However, I do have some major issues with Clinton. #1 – Her ties to the establishment, big banks, and corporations. #2 – She has made some horrible decisions (voting for the Iraq War, NAFTA, initial support of the TPP, her email stupidity, etc.) #3 – She is often described by those who know her personally, or have worked for her (such as secret service agents) as narcissistic, angry, cold, vengeful, and calculating…aspects it is definitely easy to see in her. However, I could look past these aspects, as they still didn’t make her necessarily worse than Trump. What I can’t look past, is her hunger for war and destruction.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a complete pacifist. I definitely believe in protecting ourselves and others whenever possible, but not in being a bully or trying to force our rule on the entire world. I support our individual troops, but I do not support our current Military-industrial Complex. Hillary’s obvious intentions to continue or even escalate our current conflicts, engage in war with Iran, and now her threats to further combat with Russia, make me feel that I can no longer vote for her and just hope for the lesser of two evils. If we enter into a war with Russia and/or China, there is a good chance things could end up literally going nuclear and I can not willingly play a part in putting people into place that I feel might intend to lead us that way. I am no fan of Putin, but I do wonder why he has been so adamant that if Hillary becomes president, there will be no turning back and there WILL be all out war between the US and Russia. What does he know that we don’t?

For this reason, I will likely vote third party (or maybe just write in “Turd Sandwich”), even if it is “throwing my vote away” as some accuse. I would rather vote my conscience than vote for the same status quo or even worse that is leading us towards what may look like the destruction of our entire planet if we aren’t careful. If I seem a bit crazy or conspiracy-minded for being worried, please take the time to check out some alternative media, since the stuff we are being spoon fed by the mainstream media is little more than propaganda for the establishment and their cronies.

Political Posturing and Endless Arguing Do No Good

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As I watch the massive amount of political posturing and relentless fighting come across my Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages daily, I get sick of all the mudslinging, unfair attacks and hateful commentary that accomplish absolutely nothing. I’m not saying that it is wrong to have political ideas and feelings or to stand up for what you believe, but when both sides become so rigid that they won’t work together at all, everyone suffers in a multitude of ways.

When I see all the pointless arguing and hateful vendettas waged by certain politicians and their followers on both sides, I often think of a poem I wrote a while ago and included in my last book “Searching for the Truth“. I would like to share it here in hopes that people begin to keep the bigger picture in mind and not get bogged down with every ridiculous detail or distracted by every political tantrum.

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The labels we give ourselves –
Democrat, Republican,
conservative, liberal –
why do we let these
names
fool us
into believing
that’s all we are?

The truth is
we need each other
like it
or not.

Left to ourselves
and those of our kind,
we lose balance
and perspective.

We forget

that there’s a whole world
outside
of our own narrow view.
A world of trouble,
a world of tragedy.
A world that
desperately
needs our help.

A world
that doesn’t benefit at all
from another pointless debate.

Racial inequality and injustice – why should I care?

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This post isn’t about one particular incident, but the numerous incidents of the last few years that have happened in the public eye. I know some people who still claim there is no real racial inequality or injustice in our country, but I just don’t see how someone can truly feel that way. Perhaps they don’t want to believe it is true or they are listening to media that spins everything a certain way, I don’t know. But I don’t see how anyone who hasn’t been living in a cave can say that racial inequality and injustice are not problems in America.

Now, on to the next question…why do I care and why do I think everyone else should care? I know some people who have posed this question or at least implied it. Why do I, a white woman who lives somewhere between poverty and middle class care so much about racial inequality and injustice that doesn’t affect me? Because it DOES affect me. It affects us all. So below I am sharing some reasons that I personally care so much about this topic. Some of the reasons are personal and some are universal, but they all make me care very much.

1. I care about racial inequality and injustice because I have seen people I love experience it. Growing up I had a step-father named Charlie who was African American. I loved him dearly and considered him family, but many people thought it was wrong just because of his race. I care because my mother had two white children but she also had a child who was half African American. When that child died, people told her it was “better off that way”. They never would have said that about me or my other sister. I care because when my husband and I fostered we saw a huge difference in the way schools and even our prior church treated kids of other races. Some in our church even told us it was wrong to take in kids of another race. One school secretary said she wished that those of us who foster would stop bringing “kids like that” to their school, yet no one ever had the nerve to say that about our white foster kids.

2. I care about racial inequality and injustice because it breeds hatred and violence, which affects us all. When people are angry, hurt and oppressed, many turn to violence to show their rage. I do not condone these violent reactions, but I do understand them from a psychological view. When no one listens or cares about your suffering, it is natural to want to draw attention to the pain. Often people end up choosing negative ways to do so because they don’t know how else to get people to notice and care. And when violence breaks out, it is no respecter of persons. Anyone may become a victim, even you and your kids. That is a reason to care very much.

3. I care about racial inequality and injustice because prejudice grows. The LGBT and African American communities may be two of the most oppressed groups in America right now, but they aren’t the only ones. As a woman, I know women are oppressed and disrespected in many ways too. As are Hispanics and Jews. I could go on listing, but the point is that when we approve of prejudice in any form it spreads and can rapidly grow out of control.

4. I care about racial inequality and injustice because I love this country. I love the ideals of equality for all and the “land of the free”. I was proud growing up to say I was an American. I loved knowing and befriending people from all different races and cultures. I loved growing up with heroes and role models of different colors. Now I’m not as proud. Slowly this country is feeling more and more hostile and uncaring. High profile people are saying blatantly hateful and cruel things about people who are different than them. Even worse, many vocal supporters agree with them. I still believe in the American dream, but I fear many others don’t.

5. Lastly, I care about racial inequality and injustice because I am a Christian and Jesus cared very deeply about those subjects. He cared about the hated and oppressed and fought constantly with those doing the oppressing. WWJD? He sure wouldn’t be hating on the poor and mistreated.

Is America spoiled and lazy?

Me trying out the beds the Native Americans used to sleep on...ouch!

Today our family visited an ancient Native American village and archaeological site.  Even though our 12-year-old foster son complained the whole time because he wanted to go home and sit in front of a tv or computer screen, my husband and I had a good time.

While we were there, it really hit home how lazy and spoiled some of us have become.  The settlement was only 800 years old, but back then, they grew their own crops, hunted their own game, made their own clothing, built their own homes, raised their own children (no daycares) and even buried their own dead.

Life was hard back then, there is no doubt about that.  About 50% of the children never lived to the age of six and most adults died by the age of 40 due to infectious diseases and untreated chronic health conditions.  Most of their homes were bare one room huts where 8-10 people lived.  Their beds were nothing more than sticks tied to the wall with a few deerskin blankets.  I laid down on one of those beds today, and let me tell you, they are UNCOMFORTABLE!!!

Although I certainly wouldn’t really want to give up my comfy life to go live in a hut and grow my own corn, the trip today did get me thinking about how lazy, spoiled and anti-social Americans have become.  How would our kids today who absolutely have to have a cell phone and the latest jeans deal if our society was suddenly thrown back into an agricultural, hand-to-mouth living situation?

Some cultures of the world still live like that ancient village, in some ways I wonder if they aren’t living lives that are more fulfilling.  Which is more rewarding?  Watching tv for hours a day or creating something worthwhile, something that will last?