Dear First Lady Michelle Obama

Just before Christmas in December 2006, I reached out to you, hoping you would weigh one more thing as you and your husband decided whether or not he should run for President, and I made you a promise.

I was sympathetic to your history changing decision and excited for 8 years of an Obama White house. And I promised you no matter what happened, we Moms would have your back.

So much has happened since I wrote those words that graced my own blog, the Huffington Post, and the Chicago Sun-Times. First and foremost let me say how incredibly proud I am of this administration and of you, the most amazing and flawless First Lady our country has ever seen. It may not have been your favorite role, but damn if you didn’t nail it.

You launched programs that changed lives. From eating right and exercising to making sure military families had a helping hand, your legacy will live on well after you and the family have moved out of that big house on Pennsylvania Avenue.

I know things haven’t been easy, and that you have dealt with more…what’s the right word here…bullshit than any other First Family. You just weren’t under the microscope of the public eye, you were under the microscope of being the first in American history and that history weighed on everyone in the West and East Wings.

You raised two daughters who, by all means, seem to be strong, proud, intelligent young women who will no doubt follow in their parents’ foot steps. I watched as my children grew with yours, passed mile stones and sprouted their wings. Just that accomplishment alone would be enough for praise in this day and age, but you managed to do more, be more, and give more.

You opened the White House to so many families, of all colors and religions and sexual orientations like no First Family has ever done before. Some of my favorite moments of this Presidency are of you and your husband welcoming so many regular citizens into the house of the people and simply chatting.

I hope we Moms have been a source of strength for you. Today, as you embark on the inaugural Women’s Summit at the White House I truly hope my words from 2006 pledging us Moms would have your back has been a tiny source of strength. We’ve been beating back the haters online and off, vigilantly defending the good you do and the good you are.

I want to thank you for making that tough decision way back when, and deciding to take the road to the White House. As a nation we are much better to have had you, and as a mother you have given the rest of us a shining example of what can be if we’re willing to take risks.

Congratulations on two successful and inspiring terms and I hope you find solace and peace in your life after the White House…we Moms will always be here when you need us.



Erin Kotecki Vest

Dear Senator Bernie Sanders, Please Step Down

Dear Senator Sanders,

Just after Super Tuesday in February of 2008 the writing was on the wall for Secretary Hillary Clinton. Despite a strong showing, it was obvious she wasn’t going to win enough delegates to be the Democratic Party’s nominee for President and I politely asked her to step aside.

Flash forward over seven years and here we are again. Democrats are arguing with Democrats. Blue voters getting testy against their own blue voters as you and Secretary Clinton battle it out. The party splitting, severing itself with many refusing to support the eventual nominee and nastiness all around.

You talk of revolution. You talk of changing the system. You talk a lot like someone wanting to shake up Washington despite you being part of the Washington machine nearly your entire career. Which is why I’m asking you to do something revolutionary. Giving you the opportunity to show the world just what a maverick you really are.

While this primary has been all well and good and you have my utmost respect for pushing progressive policy, our party is suffering and people are becoming more heated by the minute. For that reason, and many more, I ask you concede the nomination and allow the Democratic party to heal.

I know you have said you are sticking it out until the end. I know you said you are not going anywhere, but please understand your continued campaigning only serves to tear us further apart and to give further ammunition to the whack-a-doodle crop of Republicans looking to win the White House.

Statically speaking it’s all but over. You have pushed Secretary Clinton further to the Left, and for that I thank you. However every minute you stay on the trail is another minute I hear “if Bernie doesn’t win I’m writing him in,” all but assuring the very scary realization we could be looking at a President Trump or a President Cruz. This can not happen, and you need to make sure it doesn’t. Senator I need you to throw your support behind Secretary Clinton and tell your “Berners” to vote for her in November.

In fact, it’s not enough you simply ask your supporters to vote for her, you must make an impassioned plea they cast their ballot for the former Secretary of State, Senator, and First Lady. You and I both know she is more than qualified. You and I both know she will continue the great work done by President Obama.

Seven years ago I thought Secretary Clinton was too divisive for our country. Her name still seems to bring a gut reaction from voters. However after the last “revolution” of Hope and Change, we now need someone who plays hardball in DC. We need someone who has spent a lifetime taking these men down.

I don’t mean to imply you can not play hardball, but let’s face it…when it comes to the candidate that is tough as nails, handles the GOP fake scandals like a pro, kick’s ass and takes names Secretary Clinton comes to mind quickly, while you might be a forceful nudge.

Everyone seems to think you have zero intention of stepping down, regardless of the delegate math, because you have the money to back you until November. But I am asking you show your supporters you truly are a Democrat and do what is best for the party, nay the country, and step down while leaving the millions left for Democrats all over the nation to win back Congress and the White House.

I realize this is a shot in the dark. But I’m hoping you are that “non” politician you claim to be and you do the “non” politician thing. Step aside, endorse Secretary Clinton, and throw your weight behind every Democrat running. We need time to come back together before November and not only would you be a team player by stepping down, but you would also be the one who unites the party in one of the most critical elections of our time.


Erin Kotecki Vest
mother, activist, lifelong Democrat

An Attack on Valerie Jarrett is an Attack on ALL Women

You might have missed my twitter rant over the weekend. I had officially HAD IT with the attacks on Senior White House Advisor Valerie jarred and I basically LOST IT via a TweetRage:

And that is exactly what is going on here. Politico publishes a piece basically saying Jarrett should go because she’s too close to the president and despite having done nothing that any other male in her position has done with any other president in history…she shouldn’t. Or something. It’s a steaming pile of sexist crap that would never be written of any male senior advisor. Ever.

Don’t think we didn’t notice, Politico.

Apparently it’s only a bad thing to have the president confident in you, if you are a woman.

Apparently it’s only a bad thing to have earned the trust of the First Lady and your boss, the president…if you are a woman.

Apparently helping the president make the decisions that affect our nation and sometimes the entire world is your role as a senior advisor…unless you are a woman.

In fact, because you are a woman, shouldn’t you really be in the East Wing with the lady-folk, gossiping and giggling and perhaps decorating the incoming White House holiday trees? Certainly not helping to shape policy or working with powerful MEN.

I wish I were kidding about the East Wing quip, but Politico actually makes an East Wing quip.


I want to make it clear, before everyone begins their attack on me for supporting a woman they will have all sorts of names for, that I have personal experience with Ms. Jarrett.

I will never forget the first time I met her. It’s possible tears were shed:

Then came an intimate lunch with Ms. Jarrett at the BlogHer conference in 2009. I greeted her at the hotel doors and walked her into the conference, first making sure to say to hello to my husband and then introducing her to the room. We embarked on a conversation that would be a turning point for me and, I’m sure, a few others.


After almost an hour of talking health care with a group hand-picked bloggers from all backgrounds who had talked about health and healthcare on their blogs, Ms. Jarrett gave her number to one of the bloggers so that this particular woman’s husband could call her and she could set him straight on a few issues.

Not only was the call made, but that blogger then went on to visit the White House, with her Right-Wing radio show host husband and kept the conversation going with Ms. Jarrett.

That is just the type of person Ms. Jarrett is and that is just how committed she is to the President’s agenda. She will call your crazy, right-wing uncle up on the phone personally and attempt to tell him just why all those email forwards he sends are not only lacking facts, but they are downright insulting. The woman knows no fear and will mix it up with the average voter and the most powerful men in Congress. They are all on equal footing in her eyes and you can bet good money THAT is why she has a bullseye on her back, NOT because it’s post-midterms and the West Wing should ‘shake things up.’

If the midterms were truly the reason, then why have they been calling for Jarrett to be fired since the moment she was on staff?

It wasn’t long after the luncheon, BlogHer Co-Founder Elisa Camahort Page and I flew from the West Coast to Washington DC to make sure the Obama Administration knew exactly how powerful women online had become. Ms. Jarrett knew and gave us the opportunity to present our findings to some very powerful people while she listened intently and nodded in affirmation every time we hammered home a point about our strength, our ability to be highly influential, and our undisputed takeover of the Internet.

THAT is the Valerie Jarrett I know. And am PROUD to know. So to see a hit piece appear afer the midterms, with not only zero substance but a healthy dose of ‘get back in the kitchen and know your place woman’ to boot…Erin MAD. Erin SMASH.

Every woman should be MAD, HULK MAD. They have never and would never say these things about Axelrod or Plouffe. The things she does are normal, typical, entirely mundane in the eyes of a male Senior Advisor. The Axelrods and Plouffes were never disrespected or even questioned should they have the ear of the president…it was THEIR JOB. Jarrett does the same and it’s some whacky new conspiracy worthy of throwing her in the Potomac to see if she sinks or floats.

Sorry, but I refuse to stand for it and so should every single one of you. You may not like Ms. Jarrett, or the President. Or maybe you DO like Ms. Jarrett and the President. Either way it’s time to put an end to the nonsense.

I’m going to leave you with one more personal story and then let you make up your mind on the character of the President’s most trusted Senior Advisor, one just a few family members know:

It was very difficult for me to be sidelined when I was first diagnosed with Lupus. From all of the surgeries to having a stroke, I was upset and depressed to not be playing a role in bringing you opportunities to connect with our elected leaders.

During a time in which I was doing absolutely no work, I watched Ms. Jarrett attacked, yet again, and I reached out to her with a very short ‘hang in there, you are doing so much good for so many of us’ note.

I didn’t expect to hear back. She’s a very busy woman and the job of a Senior Advisor to the President is extremely demanding. Even more so if you are a female constantly fending off attacks the men in your position don’t have to deal with.

I heard back almost immediately from Ms. Jarrett. And while she did thank me, she wasn’t concerned for herself…she wanted to know how I was doing and if I was ok and to know that she would be thinking and praying for me and not to worry about her.

So many of you can choose to believe all the headlines and form in your mind the caricature of a woman they want you to know. Or, you can use my examples and my real-life experience with the woman some of us DO know.

And that woman kicks ass and has forever earned my respect.


No really. It’s going to happen. And it REALLY does not get any more scary than voting GOP.

Here in California’s 25th district we Democrats got the short end of the stick in our new ‘top two’ primary system. Yup, I have two Republicans to choose from and zero…count ’em…zero Democrats.

There is no write-in. There is no ‘none of the above.’ There is no other choice. 

There is only vote, or don’t vote. (I’m dying to try a Yoda line here…)

And I really can not stand the idea of abstaining. I know many of you Dems think this is the way to go and that’s your choice. However I feel if I don’t use my vote, a more extreme candidate will get into Congress. I need the guy who will do the least amount of damage in two years. I need the guy who might, maybe, kinda, think about listening to me and MY issues and ideas and beliefs. I need the guy who is open to change.

Yes, I still believe in Hope and Change.

The problem? Figuring out which candidate fits this description.

So me being, well, ME, I began a quest in late August to get both candidates to sit down with women Democrats. That was the initial idea. Hey, it’s what I did before Lupus starting taking my organs so I figured I had the street cred. If I can sit down with the President, his senior staff, get his wife to blog, bring conservative bloggers to the White House, get the RNC to have THEIR  Congresswomen blog AND participate in talks with bloggers, arrange meet and greets with elected officials and bloggers…I could do this, right?


The difference? This wasn’t for ‘work.’ This is for my hometown. My household. My district. MY OBAMACARE. My Reproductive RIGHTS. My wanting to punch in the nose every politician *cough* GOP *cough* responsible for opposing every.single.thing. MY President has attempted to accomplish since day one. Yes, day one and the infamous meeting while Barack Hussein Obama was putting his hand on the Bible and taking the oath of office.

I needed these meetings to happen and I needed it bad. I need to look Tony Strickland and Sen. Steve Knight in the eyes and find out what type of men they really are.

Unfortunately, by about mid-October they still didn’t have much of a desire to meet with me and my merry band of nose punchers. (they know I kid… I didn’t even flick their arms!)

So despite being in the midst of a round of IVIG I dragged my sorry butt to a local debate between the two. I made a point of speaking to them both, reminding them I had been pestering them and their staff (and wives) via FB, email and voicemail- and then launched into my credentials again so they knew they would be in good hands, regardless.

As anyone I’ve worked with will tell you, I’m over the TOP fair to the political types…to the point of driving my bosses nuts. However, look at it from their point of view. In the case of my job, many of these elected officials see only the ‘bad’ in social media and it scares them. They can’t control the message. They certainly can’t control the comments. The Internet can be a rough place. So I always, always allow the elected officials to lead and go with what they and their staff are most comfy with. My pitch to Strickland and Knight was the same- I’d even offered to give them the questions ahead of time (something Knight totally laughed at…bonus points for him…but he still wouldn’t commit) -Anything. Because not only would these two be walking into my blogging world but also (hopefully) into a group of left leaning folk (I ended up with a few men).

Finally, I’m thrilled to say, after meeting me in person at the debate and hearing my resume, the Strickland camp accepted. I tried at the same debate with Knight, but he just wasn’t so sure yet. I can’t blame the guy. I’m just as passionate in person as I am online and I don’t think anyone from his staff was nearby to save him when I cornered, I mean, approached him. But I did follow up with both right after and had Strickland scheduled for an intimate gathering at my home. Still no reply from Knight.

With the day now here, and Knight still not responding, I gathered 8-10 Democrat or left leaning community members who are influencers … people from various backgrounds and sectors that could then take the message back, word of mouth or via their own social media, should they be so moved by the candidate. LGBTQ, Business, Moms… you get the idea.

I put out some waters next the photo of President Obama and I (what???? oh come on I HAD TO) and near one of my boxes of White House M&Ms (I had to do that too, I just had to) made sure the kids were busy with legos and we greeted Tony Strickland, Republican, as he walked in my door.

We kicked things off with the very influential Leah aka @bookieboo who grilled Tony (I get to call him Tony now…which is nice because Newt insisted on MR. GINGRICH and Congressman Buck McKeon – the one retiring that these guys want to replace- prefers Congressman, if he’s even listening…and don’t even get me started on Mr. Speaker…but boy was it much nicer when it was MADAME SPEAKER) on GMO labeling and farmers.

GMO LABELING, ORGANIC FARMING: To the room’s surprise Tony said he would be entirely open to a federal standard for GMO labeling and would seriously look into it- asking very sharp questions about Europe’s standards and other states and what they have done and he thought it made a lot of sense to know what is in our food. Leah then went on to explain how family farms can have a hard time, almost impossible, going from using pesticides to organic, and there is a HUGE demand for organic. So much so that we have to bring it in from other countries. Which sucks, when we could totally corner the market here and supply our own. There is a three year period where, apparently, the family farm soil has to literally just sit and the farm has zero income. Something the majority of family farms these days simply can not handle financially. So she wanted to know if Tony would consider any sort of federal funds or subsidies to help these farmers make the jump to organic farming. Turns out, Tony would consider it- but in a pilot program. Something he thought might be smarter to start with before really committing a ton of money. And again, he would absolutely look into it and thought a pilot program was a good start.

tony Headshot-2

LGBTQ: We then moved on to LGBTQ issues. Now, there was some flack around these parts because the candidates were asked during a forum to raise their hand if they would support ENDA. Everyone but Tony raised their hand. Causing a total uproar. So Tony told us, under no uncertain terms, he has ‘evolved’ just like President Obama on the issue. And the ENDA hand raising thing- he says he hadn’t read the bill, and he had been burned before on that sort of question and didn’t want to commit to something he had not read. He also, very savvily for this Dem crowd, talked about speaking with others who had told him this version of ENDA was very watered down and from what he understood many LGBTQ activists weren’t happy about it (totally true) and wanted STRONGER legislation.

Then we got to the nitty gritty. Marriage. He said he stops short of ‘marriage.’ YET believes in total equality…just not the whole ‘marriage’ word. He wants equals rights, allegedly, but not under the term ‘marriage.’ Now, we all know that many rights come along with that word under the law. Many same-sex couples can not have simply because of that word. However Tony said he wants those couples to have all those rights, he just stops short at the ‘marriage’ word. He admitted to me at the debate this was his own, personal issue and he knows he’s evolving. He said (D) Speaker Perez (gay) teases him that he will get him that last step…so of course I told him I’d be right there too…pushing. We also got into religious exemptions and how that would work. He agreed no one should ever lose their job because of their race, sexual orientation, etc. But he did say where the crux maybe is when someone is hired to say, teach Jewish theology and they have an issue doing the work because of their beliefs. He said that’s where it gets tricky and he could see, in that particular type of case, where the law would need to also help the employer. However the janitor or whomever should be protected- even in religious universities, etc. (Needless to say some in the room still want total clarification on this issue because we got very detailed)

GRIDLOCK: I then had to jump in and ask about the current climate in Washington and gridlock. Because so help me if I see another straight up and down ‘we will vote against anything the President puts out there’ from the GOP I will tear all of my hair out and SEND IT TO TONY along with  photo of my bald head and a bill for my blood pressure meds. Will he be in lockstep with his party? – Tony says no, and his record shows it. And he’s right, he has gone against his party numerous times, notably on green energy and they weren’t very happy with him when he sued Gov. Gray Davis back in the day. He could easily tell us 6-7 instances where he did, in fact, go against his party and said he would not be afraid to do the same in DC.

DC POWER: Which lead us to what sort of pull he might have as a Freshman Congressman in DC. Turns out, Tony’s got some pull. He says he’s wanted on several committees already (including the coveted Armed Service committee) and he has friends in DC on both sides of the aisle. In other words, he won’t be your typical Freshman with zero contacts and zero pull. He compared himself to his challenger and said while it’s important to be close to your local elected leaders to take their concerns to DC, the powers in DC really are not going to care what the mayor of Santa Clarita thinks while they vote on federal issues.

EDUCATION: We moved on to education. He said he believes California has failed the kids around here and we must do better. He also agreed that kids will only learn if they feel safe, and talked very personally about bullying and supporting anti-bullying measures. We heard a very touching story about his daughter and how it made him realize how important it was that children LIKE going to school and not FEAR or have worries when trying to learn.

LOCAL YOUTH: This lead to a question about the youth in our area. With the comment being made it seems all they do is ‘heroin and screw up on social media.’ Tony talked about how as a Congressman it was up to locals to support nonprofits and things like the Boys and Girls Club- but said as the Congressman for the area he would be active in making sure these places are supported and committing himself to helping out. He mentioned he helped out with ‘gamers’ (hey, that’s my family) and setting up some gaming spots in our district, along with his various sports projects. The guy is like 6’5” so…lots of basketball people. In fact, one of his goals if elected is to play basketball with the President. He wants this pick up game, bad. From one basketball player to another… I can tell. And I have to admit, a bipartisan pick up game with the President sounds like a good way to break bread. I just really want an invite too. (hint, hint)

GUNS: We then got into the 2nd amendment. This got interesting. Tony said he’s very pro-2nd, as one would expect, but he has been in trouble with local NRA groups for not going far enough. But he doesn’t think you need a tank or grenades. He said he really wants to explore the mental health issue tied to this- because he believes if we can get a hold of that, we can solve a lot of these violence problems. The room then, of course, got very detailed- where does he draw the line on weapons. He wasn’t entirely sure, having been told by experts (he does not own a gun, but supports those who do) that many of these weapons you can simply change out one part and they are legal again. He does know that military style tank and crazy over the top stuff doesn’t need to be in your arsenal. Something local NRA groups are taking exception too.

CONTRACEPTION & ABORTION: And then came some of the biggies.. contraception, abortion… the ones that usually divide a room in two in seconds. Turns out Tony told us he’s fine with ALL forms of contraception- even the ones cited in the Hobby Lobby case and their availability. He says he’s pro-life, and has also evolved on this issue, as he believes in terminating a pregnancy if it occurs by rape, incest, or could endanger the health of the mother. He also agreed with the room when it was stated we can’t imagine anyone making that decision for our daughters but our FAMILY should the worst happen and a rape occurred. Tony said he would want that for HIS daughter, that option, and for it to not be in the hands of the government.

EQUAL PAY: Tony also told the crowd he is FOR equal pay for equal work for women and supports it entirely.

ACA: Because Tony started his campaign on a ‘repeal Obamacare’ effort, I then had to ask the million dollar question…will he vote to repeal Obamacare? Because he has said he would when this primary began, changing his tune and taking it off his website once he began running against Knight and NOT a Democrat. I should mention other things were removed as well and his stances on issues that we discussed like this and others have changed since this campaign started. He acknowledged he’s changed and now wants to ‘fix’ health care in America, not repeal ACA…but said it’s doomed to fail if it’s not fixed. He talked about his work with a health care program for children in CA. He thinks we should all be able to take our health care with us, job to job… wherever…and it be ours, not your employer’s, etc. I said…well that’s what ACA does when you buy through the exchange, I also told him of my family’s savings and how this whole premiums going up thing is crazy because they’ve been going up since well before I had my first child in 2003. Tony said he understood and that what he sees is ACA crashing if it’s not fixed because of the high number of sick people enrolled and the lack of young people enrolled. And we talked about how to get the young enrolled and he discussed how we didn’t need someone appointed to ‘track down’ those not paying and how that system isn’t even in place. I told him well, the IRS is where you get hit so if you file taxes it’s totally in place.. I didn’t really get a response to that one. But he did say he was committed to fixing, along with the President, the bumps that come up.

I then, dead seriously, told him if he was one of those 45th or 50-whatever votes to repeal Obamacare by the House he’d have to answer to me, because so help me if I see that I would lose my every loving mind. The room giggled but anyone who knows me and I could tell Tony & his staffer knew -I was NOT joking. And you really do not want a pissed off Erin in your office and you can’t hide in DC because I will show up there too, just ask the White House.

BIPARTISANSHIP: Which leads me to our conclusion and him promising Democrats and the left a seat at the table and a voice if he’s elected. In fact, he encouraged it and seemed to be counting on us to teach him more about the LGBTQ community, which he admittedly didn’t even know what it stood for. He wants to learn. He told us we are not always going to agree, and he may not go along with what we want (he is a republican, after all) but we are invited to lobby him to see our point of view or scream at him  until we’re blue in the face over a vote he may have cast. He said he has a track record of being bipartisan and finding common ground and will work hard to make sure he represents the entire district, not just the Republicans- and everyone in the room was welcomed to be part of that process should he make it to DC.

Hands were then shook, cards exchanged, the kids even popped in but suddenly they were all too shy to ask questions even though my 11-year old REALLY wanted to grill him on equality.

Now I remain sitting on pins and needles to hear from the other man in this race, State Senator Steve Knight. Should that happen at any point I will do the same and blog the entire event or his written or spoken answers to the same questions asked of Tony Strickland. And it will be posted in the same manner.

Regardless I will be making up my own mind very soon and writing a post on that specifically, and why I think one Republican deserves my vote over the other. Should the Knight answers come in AFTER my endorsement, I will STILL post them for all to see. Since I could go either way, and many others could go either way, I will post what I get no matter what. In the meantime you can visit Sen. Knight’s website and Tony Strickland’s for more details.

Now to celebrate Halloween with all the gore and upset stomach from too much candy and the added bonus of election signs on all my neighbor’s lawns. We live in scary, scary times, as I cast a ballot for a Republican. 


Crossposted on and

Foam Fingers vs. Peanut Butter and Jelly

My daughter tries to show me she’s a “big girl” all the time. She makes her own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Gets herself dressed, even when her choices may not match. She even tests just how much she can do on her own by trying things that she may not, exactly, be ready for…

#allhailhala successfully bedazzled her face #gravityfalls #subway

Last night Miley Cyrus tried to show the world she’s a “big girl” too. But instead of sweetly accomplishing the culinary pb&j, she masturbated with a foam finger on stage with teddy bears and Robin Thicke.

We get it Miley, you’re not a little girl anymore. Unfortunately Ms. Cyrus you also showed us you aren’t a woman yet. At least not a responsible one.

I’m all for music and art shocking and pushing limits. But I don’t think that’s what Miley was trying to accomplish at the MTV Video Music Awards. She was no Madonna rolling around in a wedding dress, shedding her virginity. She was no Lady Gaga showing off her avant-garde art schooling.

She simply looked like a little girl trying very hard to show us she was a big girl. Just like my daughter tries to show me every single day. The difference?

My daughter is eight.

The good news here is we all can relate. Remember when you were younger and you so desperately wanted to be seen and taken seriously and NOT treated like you were, well, 20? Miley really wants us to know she’s to be taken seriously as a “big girl” and not a little kid…certainly not one who could possibly be associated with Disney or anything young and pure.

Unfortunately she failed miserably to show us she can be a responsible “big girl.”

We get it, we get it…you’re not a little kid anymore. But Miley hun, you could have just as easily of shown us that by rocking out in a sexy outfit, complete with teddy bears, and by throwing in just a touch of class.

Instead you used that foam finger to stroke your vagina and give the middle finger to all the kids who looked to you as a role model. You made it very clear you do not want that title any longer. And as a parent, no worries there, you’re not getting it.

Luckily in my house we don’t idolize celebrities anyway. However we do enjoy being entertained by good actors and singers. Notice I said good actors and singers. After last night’s performance I’m not sure you fit in that category either. But hey, you are young. And as we all tried to show the world we were “big girls” we’ve screwed up a bit. So I’m willing to give you another chance. After all, the world gave me more chances when I was trying very hard to be taken seriously in my early 20’s.

Just take it from those of us who have been there- if you want to be taken seriously a foam finger and long tongue aren’t your ticket to adulthood. Unless that adulthood consists of a trailer park, a stripper pole, maybe an abusive partner and a few addictions. Is that what you want? Is that what you want the world to see you as? The former Disney star turned white-trash entertainer, doing shows at the local watering hole while dirty old men stick dollars in your teddy bear thong? Is that “big girl” Miley’s dream?

Next time, stick with pb&j sandwiches and mismatched clothes.

Trayvon’s Heart Missing for White, Mom Jury

I think we need to talk about the other elephant in the room regarding the Trayvon Martin case:

this jury of predominantly white “Moms”- or so I keep hearing.

As if, magically, this will take away any issues of race or privilege or any other issues…simply because all these jurors were mothers and female.

I’ll just go ahead and say it and take the heat: some of the biggest people with racial issues I know are white feminists. Mind you I did not say every, I did not say ALL, I said some. Simply…some.

I found out first hand when I was the first blogger to publicly ask former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to step down from her run so then Senator Barack Obama could claim the nomination for President. 99% of my hate mail came from white feminists who were shocked and appalled I dared ask a woman to get out-of-the-way for a man. They accused me of being at traitor to my gender. They accused me of being a N-gger lover, out to “impress” the “other” minorities, while ignoring my own. They also told me women needed this more than people of color and I should know that because I AM a woman. How dare I fail to understand their struggle and how dare I put those of color’s struggle above women’s struggles?

So when I heard the jury was made up of a bevy of white females, I did not feel any better for the prosecution’s chances. Even if they were liberal, white, females. I knew all too well the history of racism some of these women carried in their hearts and I knew some believed their plight was far worse than any other minority’s plight. I also knew, deep down, some may be harboring some very racist views.

It was the age-old “but our struggle is harder than your struggle” fight that I’ve watched play out over blogs over the years. Even on my own.

But hey, maybe I was way off base. Maybe my gut feeling was totally wrong and these were enlightened, totally biased free women. Sure they might have the usual issues anyone would have with race and gender and class, but perhaps they were smart enough to put all that aside for the trial and move forward like rational humans.

And then came Anderson Cooper’s interview with one of the jurors. My stomach churned and sadly, I felt like my initial thoughts just might be true. I certainly didn’t feel any better about my theory as to the panel composed of George Zimmerman’s peers. Juror B37 said she had no doubt Zimmerman was “afraid” – my question…how afraid can you be if you take your gun and pursue the person you are allegedly afraid of? But what caught my attention most was juror B37’s comments on witness Rachael Jeantel. “A lot of the times she was using phrases I have never heard before and what they meant…that’s way they talk…” (emphasis mine)

Does she means the way teens talk? Doubtful. I think considering she was discussing her “communication skills” she was speaking directly to race. Directly. Go ahead and click on the link to her discussion of Jeantel. How she felt bad for her. How she felt she was uneducated. Really? She was speaking about her being a teen then? Juror B37 sure tried not to say it, but it was clear to me she was speaking about race.

And to Jeantel’s credit, she was respectful of the juror’s comments, even saying her parents helped her calm down and she was raised to not cuss and respect her elders.

Certainly doesn’t sound like someone who was ashamed of herself or her education to me there Juror B37. In fact, Ms. Jeantel out-classed you and showed her education far better than you did on national television.

So where does that leave us? With a generation gap or a racial gap? Or does that just leave us with those who are upset at the verdict and those who are not?

I’ve been told I’m race-baiting by even bringing up black witnesses and white jurors in this case. But an unarmed black teenager was killed, he was considered suspicious for walking through a neighborhood in the rain, carrying candy and tea. SO VERY SUSPICIOUS that George Zimmerman felt it necessary to follow Trayvon with a loaded gun.

I can’t think of any teen or man who wouldn’t confront Zimmerman if they were being followed. And there sits this jury of predominantly white women actually thinking it’s Zimmerman that was scared. The man with the gun. The man who did the following. SO SCARED HE FOLLOWED TRAYVON. If you are scared and afraid for your life, do you chase after the person who you are afraid of? I’m just asking here. And if you are a white woman sitting on that jury -are you the typical stepford-wife thinking Mr. Zimmerman was oh so brave for following that thug of a black boy daring to traipse through their neighborhood?

Nevermind it was Trayvon’s neighborhood too. Because I get the distinct feeling neither George Zimmerman nor the white, female jurors thought of that neighborhood as Trayvon’s either. Even though it was.

Tie in Juror B37’s comments on Ms. Jeantel and I see exactly how this went in their minds. Yes, I am a mind reader. (That’s sarcasm, people…I’m giving you my own theories here, not fact).

And to say race didn’t come into play is either total denial on the jury’s part or just another sad chapter in the long history of white, sometimes very feminist, women denying the plight of people of color in favor of their own struggles.

This isn’t a competition. We are not post-racial and we are not post-gender and we are not post-patriarchy.

Imagine what we could do together if we could only see the other’s fight and help. See the other’s pain and history and empathize instead of compare.

If we could only see the facts surrounding the death of a young man and not let things like our prejudice of a black woman’s “education” get in the way of her account of that fateful night.

And if only Juror B37 could have seen into Trayvon’s heart the way she claims she could see into Zimmerman’s. The man who pulled the trigger. Why is it she knew Zimmerman’s heartfelt intentions yet she couldn’t fathom Trayvon’s intentions and heart? Even after the witnesses and those who told of his unarmed walk home. His entirely legal, unarmed, entirely NON-suspicious walk home. But B37 couldn’t find any heart there…

and I can only come up with one reason why…

Meanwhile THIS white, feminist Mom has nothing but a broken heart for Trayvon and his parents. I can’t imagine their pain. I can’t imagine how they must feel after a jury of women couldn’t find reason under the law to put the killer of their son behind bars. I can not speak to the racism they may feel due to this case or the fallout regarding race sweeping through the nation. I can only speak to what I know. and I know white women. I am a white woman.

Sadly I had hoped they would see into the heart of a young boy before they saw into the heart of a shooter.

For Better or Worse

This is the week my husband and I celebrate bringing unconditional love into our lives forever. Love that no one can describe to you, that no one can begin to try to get you to grasp no matter how hard they try. Our children celebrate their birthdays. Two years and six days apart. One a decade old. The other, eight.

Beautiful signs of spring on the way to school

The rest of the country will be watching the United States’ Supreme Court hear arguments on another type of love. A love that can be legalized with the institution of marriage. Something else many find hard to put into words. Many find beyond difficult to explain the overwhelming joy it makes them feel.

My husband and I were married and had our two children. In my mind, we became a family when we declared our love for one another in front of our friends and family and even before that when we became domestic partners in the eyes of the law in order to make sure we could take care of each other in sickness and in health and in any legal matters. This happened BEFORE we were legally married.

Some would say, “…isn’t that enough?”

NO. It’s NOT enough.

Just because we were domestic partners does not mean that we were protected had we left California’s borders and it certainly did not protect us in the rest of the US and it’s territories. To this day, there is no one else I want making decisions for me should I become unable, than my husband. It does not matter why…it’s who I CHOOSE. I CHOOSE him. We are adults and adults should be able to make sure the person they want is allowed in the hospital room with them when they want, makes important legal and medical decisions, and inherits any and all and everything I find necessary-from property to personal items. And if I do not happen to write it down in time, it should be common sense this is the person who is in charge of all these things and GETS all these things. Oh, and by the way, this person also gets full custody of OUR children. The ones born of love.

The ones born into a family made of love.

In a “marriage” that did not include God or a preacher.

It also was not guaranteed to create chidden.

I now have no uterus or ovaries. If you were to ask my husband before hand, there would be no promise this “marriage” would produce children. Apparently my body agreed.

As you can see, I’m knocking down all the reasons many say you must “save traditional marriage” left and right with our family.

We did not have a traditional wedding. We did not have a traditional wedding ceremony. We do not have a traditional marriage, unless you consider “traditional” one that means we love each other and wish to spend the rest of our lives together.

As the country, once again, consumes itself with what “marriage” means in this day and age I only ask that you consider one question: What does family mean?

Our family started in a way many would consider illegal and immoral. Yet here we are, with two beautiful children celebrating birthdays and we’ve stood by each other through every vow repeated to one another long ago.

That’s more than I can say for millions of Americans claiming to be truly “married” while shunning my husband and I, while saying things like “why can’t they just have a civil union and not be married like us” and while trying to convince the country separate can be equal. In fact, I think I’ve heard that before…didn’t turn out too well then either.

Actions, Words, And Insanity

I don’t think many of us have stopped thinking about Sandy Hook. Which, in a way, I am grateful for because our country seems to have such a short attention span as of late we tend to move on to the next bright and shiny object before the last one has had time to figure out what happened.

December 14th, 2012 should never be just another one of those days that is pushed away and referred to as an aside by some street reporter at the next school shooting.

Because make no mistake, there will be another.

I hope with all my heart we never see another, but it seems any sense of unity or togetherness or willingness to do what it takes to stop the next is slipping away quickly.

I awoke to a post by a conservative woman recommending, against every law enforcement training and instructions I have ever been told, that we should be teaching our six-year olds to RUSH and ‘dogpile’ the next armed assailant that enters a school.

As a mother my blood boiled more than I could handle, and given my health I screamed and shouted as much as I could on my phone before finally pulling out of the school parking lot. You know, where I was dropping off my kids where they go to learn things like math- NOT HOW TO DIE. I had to get it out, because as the days roll on, it seems the fringe is once again attempting to co-opt the conversation and lead the country down the crazy path. One that has zero business at the adult table. One that is devoid of any common sense. And one we can not afford to listen to this time around.

As suspected, my fears were realized later in the day when this gem of an article popped up at the National Review. Another fringe/ultra conservative woman but this one was clutching her pearls and blaming the feminization of schools for the additional deaths in Sandy Hook. Had there only been big, strong, men around….we poor, defenseless women wouldn’t be ‘sitting ducks’ – as though this were some pioneer settlement or something.

This is when I became unhinged and my tweets and Facebook posts went off the rails. Angry does not begin to describe how the article made me feel. Offended doesn’t even slightly cover the rage. The author, Charlotte Allen, clearly has never seen me protect my children. Ever heard of the term Mamma Bear? Understand WHY it exists? Do you have any idea what I would DO for these two? ANY?

I snapped this as we left this morning. They are so ready for winter break cc: @aaronvest

Allen also did zero fact checking (there were men in the building- she expected them to throw buckets or something, btw) and then insulted the memory and heroism of the women who GAVE THEIR LIVES saving children that day. Doing the exact thing she seemed to think only a man could do. Perhaps she thinks a man can DIE better, I’m not sure…but her linkbait, full of CRAZY post did what it was probably intended to do: rile up the feminists.

As a feminist and mother sometimes it seems some conservative women want to box me in. How can you be both? Don’t you hate men? Wait, you are a mother? I thought you aborted babies?

We don’t fit into their boxes and this confuses them. It can be hard to wrap heads around the idea that we love, have family dinners, take our children to school, help with homework, choose to be stay-at-home mothers and sometimes have no choice and must work to support our families. So when we ROAR just as loud to protect our babies, and willingly throw our bodies or do whatever it takes to save children, ours or others, it seems to not compute with some on the Right.

So when Allen wrote her drivel, throwing us back into the Romney-esq, 1950’s version of the America they all wanted us to go back to…with all males as the only possible heroes and the women just waiting to be saved…the Internet exploded in protest. And at the very least, my brain couldn’t handle yet another senseless and ridiculous blame game for what went wrong with society as a whole to lead to Sandy Hook.

Today it’s feminism, tomorrow it will be video games, next week it will be reality tv. When, if we are truly honest with ourselves…it’s ALL OF US and EVERYTHING.

And I want to be perfectly clear about the outrageous comments being thrown around as the entire world Monday morning quarterback’s what went on: these types of discussions have no business at the table as we attempt to assess, as a nation, just how to solve our gun violence problem. NO BUSINESS.

Yes, I realize what the President said. And I understand he would like all voices heard and I understand that we must look at everything. But we must look at everything REASONABLE and that has COMMON SENSE attached.

Children being taught to rush armed gunman against everything law enforcement has ever taught and women and children waiting for male knights on white horses to come save them are not reasonable nor do they have common sense attached.

And just to be clear, this also did not happen because GOD is ‘been kicked out’ of our public schools. First of all, a child may pray on his or her own whenever he or she likes in a public school. Quiet reflection is always allowed. Had a teacher lead my child in prayer while something like this was happened it would scare them further, as they are not religious nor would they understand what was going on.

And if your God isn’t around during school shootings due to some law on a book somewhere in some country, your God is rather weak. I suggest you shop for a more powerful one that can take out the law and the armed lunatic.

The bottom line here…this is NOT the time for your grandstand posts on crazy, far out, political dogma. This is the time for your grandstand posts on just how BOLD you can be when it comes to solving our nation’s crisis. On helping our nation heal. On coming up with ways we can all agree upon to make sure THIS NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN.

How many times can we all say this? This can NOT happen again, yet the more we do the CRAZY above, the more IT WILL. The more we only stick to our old ways, the less will get done. But that does not mean we let the fringe IN and that doesn’t mean we cave. Far from it. It means we fight like hell and we compromise. We are mature adults who should be able to solve this before more children die. We are mature adults who can come up with at least the start of some solutions while we work to fix the overall ills.

Let me repeat that: we are mature adults who should be able to solve this before MORE CHILDREN DIE.

I can not be more clear. If action is not taken there is blood on ALL our hands. YOU for not compromising. YOU for not listening to the valid argument of a gun owner. YOU for not accepting the stats on video games and kids. YOU for not doing more to fund mental health services. YOU for fighting against insuring 30 million more American through Obamacare.  And especially YOU for adding insult to one of the most horrific tragedies of our time.

Enough is enough. It’s now time to get to work and act.