When Silence is Deadly

Texas welcome center in Denton, TX

For many Texas-Mexicans (Tejanos), it’s the silence of our friends and our neighbors that are Trump supporters that is killing us.  Tragically, until last Saturday, it was figurative – how can they stay silent? How can they believe this bullshit? Then, everything changed in a moment, when a white man drove 11 hours from North Texas to murder people just like us in El Paso.  He felt empowered to murder us in cold blood in our cars, while fundraising for our children’s’ soccer teams, and simply grocery shopping, because we were brown.

My question to you – to the people I love that are Trump supporters – is when will you use your power to push back on the ugliness that comes out of our President’s mouth?  When will you force him to be a President for all American citizens, not just his base.

The Beauty of South Texas

South Texas is magical. It is and will always be my home, even when I don’t live there. It is where my family lives, where I grew up, where my heart is.

What makes South Texas so special has so much to do with its people. It is and I hope always will be one of those special places where people of different backgrounds, different cultures, and different races came together and proved that it is our diversity that makes us stronger.

As you travel from El Paso to Corpus Christi, along the Rio Grande and up the Gulf Coast, you have community after community of majority Tejano communities, but with Irish and German families all brought together. The Irish, German, Polish and Czech families settled in the region after the war with Mexico and became absorbed into the fabric of life in south Texas to create a culture that is uniquely different. From the Tex-Mex cuisine, to Tejano music (which is a fusion of classical Mexican music fused with Polka,) to the Texas-Spanish dialect, not English, not Spanish, but something in between.

South Texas is where I grew up side-by-side with neighbors, white and brown, that even when we disagreed with each other on fundamentally important issues, we found a way to be friends.

And then Trump happened…

In 2015, as Trump’s momentum grew, Mexican-Americans throughout the country, along with many, many others, were horrified with the language that Trump used to speak about minorities and immigrants. It was clear that he had racist tendencies, and it was also becoming clear that the people that believed in the rhetoric he was screaming about was allowing some of the worst in America to rise up.

For many of Tejanos in South Texas, his language around Mexicans and migrants hit home.  The migrant workers he berated were our aunts and uncles, our friends and family. The “rapists and criminals” he decried – were they US? Who were they?

Yet, we watched as some of friends, our family, started to embrace Trump. They rationalized his language as strong but accurate. Maybe he could say it in a better way but in your minds it was true. Some of you agreed with his economic policies. Some of you just like his style – loud, brash, angry.

Over the last four years, in a community in which color never mattered before, I started to see a divide – driven by a single polarizing figure.  And it hurt. It hurt because you could not understand the angst and the fear that we felt.  You could not understand that we are less then a full generation away from Jim Crow laws being repealed.  The scars of institutionalized racism still sit on the shoulders of my father, my aunts and uncles, even if they don’t talk about what it meant to be marginalized and segregated.

We saw something ugly and terrifying starting to build, supported by Trump’s words and actions, and had no idea what it could mean.

Now we see what could be

So, here we are.  The country mourns three mass shootings in less than a week. El Paso was clearly a hate crime, focused on the brown people that Trump has spent the last four years targeting.  As the shooter targeted the Mexican invasion at a border town, it did not matter if the brown person he shot was an American citizen or not. It didn’t matter if his victim’s families had been here for generations or were literally just visiting for the day. All that mattered to him was the color of their skin, and he felt justified thanks to the words of his President.

Trump has proven over and over and over again that he is not here to be an American president. He is here for his base, and candidly, whether they admit it or not, those that he is appealing have a problem with minorities.  They are the people who cheer “send her back.” They are the ones that believe in this “Mexican invasion” fallacy – which simple statistics (real DATA) clearly disproves.  That is a real fact, versus Trump’s alternative facts.

However, there are many who support Trump because you support the larger Republican platform.  He needs you to get elected too, yet you aren’t his base.  You know his language is wrong. You know his lying is immoral. You recognize his divisiveness is hurting this country. How far will you let it go before you take a stand?

My plea to my Republican friends and family

Speak up! Give your elected leaders the courage to stand up to Trump.  Stand up for your friends, your family, that he has put in danger with his inflammatory language.

My Republican friends hate the connection that non-Trump supporters make between the American president today and Hitler.  But, look to history to understand why the comparison matters.

My grandmother grew up in Nazi Germany. She lived through the war as a child. And she is scared. She is also a Republican who watches Fox News.  Her take as our country has changed in the last few years is simple.

It was the silence of the German majority that allowed Hitler’s power to grow until it was too late. Then, no one could speak up.

Trump does not care about those that don’t support him. My voice in his mind is silenced already. But your voice could matter.  Take a stand, force him to be accountable, push him to be the President that you thought he might be able to be originally.

Speak up!  Stand up!  

 

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Happy New Year to the Perfectly Imperfect

2017-1
Source: Great picture  borrowed from Armstrong Economics website (https://www.armstrongeconomics.com

My instinct is 90% of bloggers in the world are currently writing, have written, or plan to write some type of blog today to kick off 2017.  Every New Years Day provides an opportunity, somehow, to turn things around, and for those of us that feel compelled to share our thoughts and feelings, this is one of the days that you can’t help but share on.

Today, I think my blog will be different… I’m going to be fully transparent about my resolutions.  Essentially, I have none, because I don’t believe in them, have continuously failed at them, and quite frankly, believe that real change does not have to happen because it is a “special” day. When you are ready to make a change, you do it.  When you know you need to make a change, but aren’t ready, then all the promises around resolutions and change essentially turns into a giant pile of BS that is meaningless and makes you feel bad.  Continue reading “Happy New Year to the Perfectly Imperfect”

Back to School, Back to Sanity

back to school
Courtesy of BigStock Photos

Two out of my three kids officially start school tomorrow. It is a half-day, which I think is our school’s final evil comedic joke before taken on the craziness of all of our wonderful, monstrous, sweet, tantrum-prone, loud, LOUDER children for the next ten months.  I have never been so happy!

As a full-time, work-at-home mom, I will be honest. This summer has been HELL!  I won’t play the Facebook game and pretend everything is perfect.  It sucked. Continue reading “Back to School, Back to Sanity”

The Road Trip

along the road
Courtesy of Big Stock Photos

Several months ago, I had a “brilliant” idea. I work for an amazing company, and I have a home office. This gives me the freedom to work from anywhere. I talked to my boss, and I got the okay to work from “home” at my parents’ home in Texas for a week so my kids could spend some truly quality time with my family. I had this vision in my head – the open road with three kids, fun, sun and sand, and time to bond on my own with my kiddos after a really long few months of work, travel, and chaos of school-year ending.

The challenge is the trip is upon me and I’m terrified.  I’m terrified because it will just be my parents and I with the kids. I have tons of aunts and uncles and cousins who will help too, but I’ve never truly had to “own” being the sole parent for an extended period of time. My husband helps – with a lot – but he can’t join us because he has to work.  So for over a week, I will be the PIC – parent-in-charge – and I suck at it.  Continue reading “The Road Trip”

A Note to My Fellow Moms

Favorite Orchard Pic

Today is the day that mothers are celebrated. Today is Mother’s Day. Today, we are brunched, and gifted, and hugged, and loved. We are mimosa’ed like crazy, wined and dined, and thanked for all that we do.  It’s a good day!

Today, I would like to send a note to the moms that I know.  My mom, my sisters, my in-laws, my family, my friends.

You are STRONG. You are the backbone of your families no matter how they come to be. If you are there for the joy and there for the tears, there for the fevers and fears, you are the strength that keeps the family moving forward.

You are allowed to FAIL. The truth is that you can only fail if you are trying. We all want to be the best moms that we can be. We try a million different things to figure out our kids and help them grow and thrive and succeed. But, we screw up sometimes too. That’s ok! That’s proof that we are figuring things out as we go. If we were perfect, our kids wouldn’t learn how to make mistakes and grow from them. We need to be imperfect in front of our kids to truly succeed as moms.

You are allowed to FEEL. We all want to be in control all the time, but we are human. We are allowed to be angry. We are allowed to cry. We are allowed  to be scared. We are allowed to snuggle our kids and act silly. Emotion in context is strength, because it shows that we can deal with the good, bad, and ugly of parenting and life and feel it.  If our kids see our healthy use of emotion, they can learn how to deal with their own. It’s all part of the process.

You are NEVER ALONE. We all have a network of other moms, trying to navigate the terrifying and wonderful waters of raising a child to be kind, caring, and strong. Know your network and learn how to ask for help.

Know always that you are AMAZING AND LOVED.  It’s not easy being a mom. Being a parent – mother or father – is the hardest job in the world. But if you stay strong, keep trying and show your kids how you feel, you will always be loved. That is the greatest reward of motherhood. Our legacy is our children, and if we focus on our little ones, they will love us “to the moon and back” irregardless of our imperfections.

Have an Amazing and Happy Mother’s Day. If you are reading this, you’ve become part of my network, and I thank you for keeping me plugging along.

Now, time to go convince a 7-year old and 2-year old that playing the keyboard outside of the 9-year old’s bedroom door while he is sleeping is probably not the best thing… I am FEELING ANNOYED AND HAPPY.