A President, Dr. King, and My High School: Forward

Long ago, back when microwaves were new and we still used VHS tapes, I spent many long afternoons in the Journalism room at my old high school in St. Clair Shores, Michigan. During one of those late nights when we were rushing to get the school newspaper together (times I still think about and cherish more than any grown woman really should) I wrote an article arguing Martin Luther King Day should be celebrated by my high school.

At the time South Lake High did not recognize the holiday and if you were lucky one of your teachers might make you do a worksheet about Dr. King’s life…but I honestly don’t remember ever even doing that much.

We were a predominantly white school. Detroit was literally across the railroad tracks. You would never have known it was a holiday, or even an important day in history if you walked our halls in late January. Yet all around us Dr. King’s legacy was being honored…but no, not here. It was just another day in privileged suburbia.

My article was printed in the January edition of the Lancer and there were some who just thought I was asking for the day off. Of course had they read the damn thing they would note I advocated there to be LEARNING behind our acknowledgement of the holiday…yes, the angst filled teen in me lives on.

2013.

It has been 20 years since I graduated and I’m told there is no school on Monday.

I had to confirm the news with people back home. I’m still not entirely sure I believe it…but there is more. And it is making the inauguration of President Obama and the MLK celebrations that much sweeter.

South Lake will be hosting the annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration with the Youth Diversity Council and the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion. My child hood friend and fellow alum Edward Cardenas writes,

The event will honor the work Dr. Martin Luther King with a local flavor including the viewing of a student-produced video and presentation of a community quilt. The quilt, was the idea of South Lake Principal Carmen Kennedy, who is also the event’s keynote speaker.

Twenty years and I am finally seeing an amazing change. The celebration of Dr. King’s legacy at my high school…where what once was our all white and privileged hallways didn’t bat an eyelash as his birthday passed. A Youth Diversity Council! Just learning of this (which I understand has been going on for a while now) had me grinning ear to ear.

Yes, the demographics have changed as have the times but we have moved forward. And we continue to move forward as a nation. I’m not sure if the President knew just how appropriate that slogan was when he and his campaign asked the people for a second term.

That, just like my old high school, our nation must move forward and we must finish what we started.

FORWARD, hope, change…those were just a few of the reasons my children and I attended the Democratic National Convention to see the President speak and accept his party’s, OUR party’s, nomination for a second term.

DNC 2012

So as the nation watches the President take the oath of office, I will be thinking of how much has changed since those days twenty years ago. And sadly, how much has not changed.

I will savor the good that has come of President Obama’s first term and prepare for the hard work that must continue in his second. I will think of the articles my children may write in high school, and how they will differ from my own in the hopes their battles are somehow not as profound, not as landmark. Yet I know each generation will have their challenges. Although that is almost the beauty of all of this really as we watch history unfold.

With the change we have already seen, and the hope of four more years…I have no doubt we will continue to move forward.

Together.

My Family Thanks YOU: Four More Years

Tears of joy as the final states were called and the President was named tonight’s winner:

Tears of joy all around. Four more years. #obama2012 #blogforobama #shevotes #blogher

…and a quick video once I gathered myself a bit:

I want to thank everyone who worked on this election for all of their hard work. From my family to yours…my deepest thank you. From our hearts.

My children have had the privilege of seeing this election from the inside. They were at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. They voted with me. They have watched endless hours of news, heard me speak on the matter, heard their Dad talk about it and all the issues involved.

If anything else has been learned from all from all of this, it has been that children are smart and they cut to chase. As my son said today, “Obama has to win, because  Romney has only been for some people while the President has been for EVERYONE.”

Tonight it seems America agreed with my nine-year old. Now let’s hope everyone can come together and find common ground to move FORWARD.

 

Four Years Later: Indivisible

I can tell you that many, many things have changed in our home in the past four years.

From celebrating the election of President Obama, who I backed earlier in the race than some which got me into a good bit of hot water, to my first visit to the White House.

Yes, the first year of the Obama Administration was a whirlwind for myself and my family.

I had taken on my first full-time  job since having our first child and thrown myself in the same way I throw myself into everything- with all I have. I traveled, I spoke in front of small crowds, large audiences, students, and chatted it up with national news outlets.

My mission was to make sure the world knew that women online were a force. They could not only be the difference in elections but also change the world.

I’d like to think I succeeded in spreading the word and creating opportunities for every woman. The stay at home Mom, the career woman, the childfree, the childfull, the hobby writer, the hard core moneymaking writer, and even the just finding her way blogger.

At home, I would like to think I put just as much effort into my children and into my marriage. Making dinner when I could, making sure everyone was where they needed to be, had what they needed to have in their possession, got done what needed to be done, and was loved ridiculously along the way.

I was exhausted, but happy. It was chaotic, but fun. I looked forward to important conference calls, parent teacher talks, and husband wife romps later on.

And just as my life began to reach the peak of where I had always hoped it would be, everything came crashing down.

Everything.

And now nothing is where is should be. Where it was. Or where I want it to be. Parts of my body are missing. I do not recognize myself in the mirror and when I do, I struggle with what I see.

I try so very hard to keep the normalcy of what once was, only to find I’m the only one still trying. Or at least, the only one who seems to think life can go on just as it was.

Before Lupus.

BL. AL. It’s like Before Christ and After Christ, but without all the miracles.

I now cherish every moment I have with so much more enthusiasm than I thought possible, only to find blank stares from the kids with the typical ‘Mom, stop hugging me so tight’ eyeroll. And that romp in bed is more of a snore induced by drugs and the hope of maybe a kiss before work. Hope being a strong word.

I feel like I am living someone else’s life. Because this certainly is not the life I planned. It’s not the life I had. It’s not the life I want.

But it is, currently, the life I am given.

So I remain grateful that the stroke wasn’t even detected until after, and the rehabilitation was minimal. That I only lost part of my colon, not all of my colon, and I do not have to wear a bag…which certainly would have destroyed any hope I had of a sex life.

I remain grateful not having a gall bladder means I can only have one or two fried pickles instead of a basket full, keeping the 100lbs I have gained from steroids to just 100lbs.

And I will forever pretend I am grateful that the total hysterectomy, which finally rid me of the excruciating pain from the inflammation destroying my uterus and ovaries. I will never have another period and never have to carry tampons or pads or worry about any of that mess ever again. Even if it has destroyed me emotionally in too many ways to count.

I’m grateful my little family has grown closer in many ways, having gone through a tremendous crisis that my kids can now talk to producers on camera about it:

…the worst was when she got sick on Mother’s Day..WHY WHY DID IT HAVE TO BE THAT DAY!!

Now it only reduces me to minor humiliation and minor, inner sobbing.

Just like every single day when everyone finally walks out the door to go about their lives, and if I don’t have to leave for the doctor I sit here wondering what to do with my life…feeling again, only minor humiliation that I no longer am what I was to any of them, yet am something different. Some of which I am proud of, most of which I am not.

As I grow stronger, as we get a handle on this beast, I am getting a handle on me. And she’s pissed off.

I have no one to talk to about this anymore, because frankly no one should have to talk with me all the time about this. They deserve a break and a normal life. So I write here. After so many years- getting sick just after President Obama was elected, and now coming up on the next election, all of this is old old old old old.

And the truth of the matter is I hate it. And while I understand things will not be the same, I want them as close to the same as they can get. And I am fighting so fucking hard to get there. So hard. Too hard maybe.

I know I am the only one who can fight, I just miss doing it with locked arms all around me.  My husband, my mother, my brother, my father- all my biggest supporters have their own lives that must be tended to and they can’t spend four years on me, me, me, and only me. I don’t expect them to. And I do appreciate their support now when it’s given. They remain amazing and there for me. In very different ways now, of course. But they are there. For that I am grateful. So many have lost their family over so much less. I’m trying to remind myself of that as I trudge through.

So four years later I keep getting asked over and over and over again if my life is better than it was four years ago.

I got mail #Obama2012

No. No my life is not ‘better’- but that depends greatly how we are qualifying ‘better.’

It’s ‘better’ in that I am getting healthier. Stronger.

It’s ‘better’ in that our medical bills are becoming more manageable thanks to the Affordable Care Act aka ObamaCare.

It’s ‘better’ in that we did not lose our home due to foreclosure, or even get near foreclosure, because JP Morgan Chase worked with us to modify our mortgage (through HARP and HAMP) and I was finally granted the private disability check that took a chunk out of every paycheck I made with that full-time job I took after the President was elected.

It’s ‘better’ in that my daughter still has Title IX in place to play co-ed, PeeWee basketball, and she can score her very first every basket:

It’s ‘better’ in that the President has backed same-sex marriage, equal pay for women, he has repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, he has taken care of Osama bin laden, he has put into place an Auto rescue of Detroit keeping many of my friends and family back in my hometown in jobs.

And, as always, his administration has taken the time to show the compassion to follow my illness and express their concern and thoughts when necessary. For that, I am grateful.

These are good people.

I don’t think any of us are where we thought we would be four years later. My family being probably more surprised than any of you.

But I know there is no way we’re going back. None. Just like I refuse to go back and allow this illness to overcome my mind, body, and soul…I refuse to let the political illness attempting to turn back the clock in this country to overcome our collective mind, body, and soul.

We are Americans and we do not give up. We have a strong family here in my home and we certainly do not give up.

I refuse to allow setbacks, and seeing that brink of the abyss, to scare me into thinking turning around is the right answer. I know nothing could be further from the truth.

I also know the hearts of all those involved. From my family, to my friends, to those working for me and you in the White House. And I know how hard *I* fight.

There is too much fight in me left to allow how far we have come to slip away with fast talking, slick, typical frat boys trying to sell me an easy fix.

There is no easy fix to Lupus, and as the President has said from day one, there is no easy fix to the mess we’re in. We will have to continue to work hard and continue to work together.

I know it is a lot to ask of anyone. We are all tired.

I’m willing to go this alone and shoulder it all for myself and for you and yours. But I ask that you join me, because we are so much stronger together. We are so much stronger when we work as a team.

We are so much stronger united.

…indivisible. Through sickness and in health. With liberty and justice…

…for all.

It’s Ok to Viciously Attack Women Online, so Long as They Are Liberal

Oh wait, I’m sorry…they call us ‘leftists’ now.

Longtime Republican and actress Stacey Dash tweeted her support for Gov. Mitt Romney this week and was, as is sadly typical of the internet, viciously attacked for her comments. She was called every name in the book from a ‘house negro’ to an ‘Uncle Tom’ and had her fair share of equally disgusting sexist barbs tossed her way as well. Things even went so far as a death threat (of sorts), something I am all too familiar with in my own online life.

Typically women’s groups rallied to her defense. Now, when I say women’s groups I mean ‘traditionally liberal, feminist’ women’s groups. Because that is what they do. Some would even say that is their ENTIRE PURPOSE- to point out sexism and racism and horrible, vile attacks on women so they can be exposed and, hopefully, STOPPED.

Even Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law student also attacked for her political views, tweeted her support for Dash.

Now I’m going to write some things that are certainly not going to win me any popularity points with the Right…but I no longer care. I’m disgusted at their behavior and disgusted at their bandwagon care for women.

Yes, I said ‘bandwagon care for women.’ 

You see, the internet exploded with conservatives voicing their support for Dash…and rightfully so. The internet exploded with liberals ALSO voicing their support for Dash…and rightfully so. What never happens, ever, is when a liberal woman is attacked does the internet explode with both sides showing their support for the liberal woman.

As far as the Right is concerned, liberal women get what they deserve. Be it attacks of the most vile nature, be it relentless sexist, racist, homophobic slurs. Be it death threats against these women or their children.

Liberal women, as evidenced by the lack of support from the Right, are not worth defending and apparently should be left for dead.

The Right is silent when the same types of attacks are launched at liberal women. And when NOT silent, they join in on these attacks.

Yet when a Right leaning woman is attacked, all hell breaks loose and suddenly they are all feminists. Staunch Republicans are shocked and beside themselves that this sort of vile behavior happens online. They rally support for the victim and blame every liberal for the attack.

Now, we all know there are lunatics online. We all know there are trolls. And make NO mistake- the people attacking Dash are lunatics and trolls. They are NOT surrogates of the campaign. They are NOT pundits. They are NOT television hosts, radio hosts, or even prominent bloggers. They are NOT elected officials. They are lunatics and TROLLS.

That does not make the attacks any less vile or sick. 

But let’s compare that to attacks on liberal woman. Attacks that HAVE come from surrogates of campaigns, pundits, television hosts, radio hosts, prominent bloggers, elected officials and yes, lunatics and trolls.

I am exhausted by all of this. I am exhausted that I can work 24/7 to combat sexism online against women of ALL political parties and have bi-partisan support when a Republican woman is attacked, yet have ONLY progressive support when a liberal woman is attacked.

I am exhausted that when I tell the story of getting death threats online, of my children being threatened…their blood threatened to be splattered across their school playground…I am told by a right-wing Fox News pundit to go play my violin. Yet that SAME right-wing Fox News pundit is now championing the defense of Dash and the vile attacks against her.

Tell me, if my daughter acts like a good little lady, all GOP’d out and nice…will she then be defended if attacked?

Her tea cup is bigger than her head #allhailhala

But if she goes ‘leftist’ like her mother, will she be ignored and will the Right pile on?

This is not a political game. This is not how we score political points…off the backs of women who are risking their lives and the lives of their children to speak out and speak up. Women who believe so fiercely in making the world a better place that, like Dash and like myself, we stand up to those attacking and keep speaking out and speaking up.

All while the Right uses it only as an opportunity. Because that is clearly the ONLY thing they are about-opportunities. They do not truly care about women or children. They care about winning and scoring points. As evidence by what they do when faced with one of their own under attack and someone who’s not one of their own under similar attacks.

They are nothing more than opportunistic vultures doing what politicians have done since the beginning of time: whore their own for power, no matter what the cost. Sacrificing the women and children first and showing, time and time again, they really do not care about them at all…only using them as a means to the end.

Meanwhile, the rest of us will be fighting for those women. Yes, even the ones on the Right. Because we actually walk the walk and BELIEVE in equality and BELIEVE all women should be defended when attacked, not just the ones who declare their vote for Romney.

We also believe in our President, with two daughters of his own, who has a record on women’s issues that shows he too walks the walk.

So let the lip service to Romney, Dash, and their fake concern for women on the Right continue. The rest of us will be here…still…doing the real work behind the scenes. Again. And again. And again.

47%, a Mother, & Damn Proud

When you basically tell a mother, fighting for her children to stay fed and warm and with a roof over their heads, that they are moochers…or feel ‘entitled’ to handouts…yeah, you better believe the claws come out.

I sat here tonight thinking about all the people in my life and how hard they work, or have worked, over the years. My parents. My friends. My husband. Myself.

How many years of paying into the system that was supposed to be there for us when needed. It wasn’t supposed to be there for us with the promise of ‘shame’ and ‘embarrassment…’ no, it was just supposed to be there. There was no shame or embarrassment in working hard and taking your money back out.

But don’t tell that to Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and the rest of the gang who has somehow turned the typical American dream into a nation of victims, expecting government to care for them at every turn.

Sigh.

Then I stopped and thought about how many of those people in my life, at one point or another, used a government program to give them a boost, or provide them a safety net, or even just furnished their fridge with some food when times were tough.

Parents on Medicare and Social Security. Grandparents on the same, along with a pension. Myself having once collected short-term disability from the State of California and now having applied for Social Security disability benefits.

Friends and their children on state programs to make sure they have vaccinations and well-checks. Formula. Diapers.

Other friends who used Pell grants and student loans to enter higher paying jobs. You know, the kind of jobs that are now supporting their families, have gotten them off all assistance, and have put them in a position to give back to their communities and put money into the economy.

And then there are those I know and love who have made the ultimate deal with the government and entered the government’s ultimate program: to serve their country in uniform in exchange for many programs unavailable to the rest of our citizens.

I’m not sure where this entire idea about government programs are all ‘bad’ came from. I’m not sure how or why those who use them are moochers or freeloaders or undeserving entered the public discourse, but I can tell you this…it’s all bullshit. All of it.

You may have some tiny percentage of people who abuse the system. Why they are the stereotype, I also have no idea. Why that is what is stuck in some conservatives minds as the ‘real’ 47% is beyond me when every stat shows otherwise…but I can’t convince crazy. They are, however, very fond of saying ‘oh but not you Erin…not people like you, either.’

Bullshit.

Because statistically, it’s allllllll people like me. The disabled. The ones who need temporary help. The ELDERLY.

Just recently, I was finally approved for long-term disability through my private insurance. We began this process in November. As part of this ‘deal’ I’ve also agreed to use the lawyers provided to me by said private insurance so they can now deal with the Social Security Administration on my behalf. You see, they don’t want to pay me…they would much rather the federal government forked over the dough.

Best.letter.ever After nearly a YEAR of fighting!!!!!!

I’m sure this somehow also lowers me in the eyes of the holier-than -thou conservative who think government shouldn’t be taking care of me. Never mind that in order to even get the money I put in out of every paycheck, this is what I need to do…none of that seems to matter…what matters to them is these are THEIR tax dollars and apparently since I am currently not putting into that system, I’m a freeloader for taking out.

I’ve gotten nasty emails about taking my kids out to dinner. I’ve gotten tweets asking where I got the money to buy a nice handbag. I’ve even gotten Facebook messages wondering how someone publicly discussing her attempts to get her mortgage modified and having a mountain of medical debt has the audacity to take her children to Disneyland.

It seems that the moment you have accepted any sort of government help, the citizens of said country believe it is their business to manage your family’s budget.

I could tell you all about what gifts I have received or what family has paid for. I could tell you what we’ve saved for in order to provide treats here and there for the kids or myself. I could even tell you what has arrived in the mail, generously, from wonderful friends.

But I don’t feel I need to explain. Nor do I feel it is your right to know. For all you know, I spent every single dime that came to me via the government on something entirely frivolous just to piss you off. And as far as you all know, that is my choice.

In a way, I wish I had, because the outrage has made me just angry enough to do it…and I could use a nice pair of $4k heels.

Instead, I find myself reminding people my husband is still gainfully employed and my current check comes from a private insurance company…but then I get mad I even said that. Even wanting to tell people that is bullshit. It may be none of your damn business but you sure have made me feel like I need to justify things. Something. Anything. All because of this utterly insane notion that somehow, somewhere down the road, it became un-American to accept help. It became un-American to pay into a system and then retrieve that money from the system.

But what is worse…what is even more insulting…is that somehow they have made me feel as though I didn’t work for what I have. That my father didn’t work for what he has. And that all of my friends and family and loved ones are not currently doing all they can to simply provide for their kids and their parents and wouldn’t choose work over taking help any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Do you think I ENJOY Lupus? Do you think I ENJOY collecting my disability check so I can sit on my ass and receive treatment and NOT be able to travel and rule the motherfucking world as God intended me to?

Shame on you Mitt Romney. Shame on you Paul Ryan. Shame on you fellow conservatives for emotionally and mentally abusing so many of us who have worked, wanted to work, or tried to work. For publicly shaming anyone down on their luck, looking for compassion, looking for just a little bit of understanding and love.

I always knew politics was ugly. But never in my life did I think a group of people would stoop so low as to kick those who are down. Never in my life did I think those wealthy and those in power would laugh and spit on the poor. Never, ever in my life did I think you would treat a mother, this mother, with anything but respect for doing all she could to take care of her family. For doing all she could to get herself healthy so she could work again. For doing all she could to make sure she never had to take any money, from anyone. EVER.

Perhaps family and love and compassion means something a bit different to Democrats than it does Republicans these days. Perhaps you see dollar signs and we see people. You see deficits and we see a table in need of food. You see tax hikes and we see a child in need of books.

You see the entitled and the victims and the 47%…and we simply see Americans.

Damn proud Americans.

Our Trip to the Democratic National Convention- Part II

Because this is personal. #dnc2012

Things are different now. As a Mom with Lupus, needing a wheelchair for long walks, the kids and I are automatically treated differently where ever we go. So as we went into the Time Warner Cable Arena to hear Thursday’s speakers, I wasn’t surprised to find us in the ‘wheelchair’ section. That means you are behind a curtain and in a balcony where all the chairs are taken out and wheelchairs pull on in. We got to put a chair next to my chair so my nine-year old could sit next to me, but my seven-year old needed to stay on my lap. Due to the weather and the change from Bank of America Stadium, we were lucky to get in at all…so I wasn’t going to complain and demand another chair.

But this meant a 2nd grader on my lap for nine hours.

As soon as we got settled in section 213 the kids immediately got excited. Congressman Barney Frank was at the podium and the crowd was fired up. My daughter, in particular, cheered with enthusiasm every time the crowd did…while my son was a bit more reserved. Soaking it all in.

As the hours went on…and on…and on…the kids acted as kids do. They listened, they cheered, they ignored and played on their iPads, they cheered again, they watched videos on the jumbotron, ate concession food, and then started to slump a bit and wiggle as time ticked on and on.

Mom, what does he mean about that dogs don’t hunt? Don’t dogs hunt all the time?

Mom, I’m glad they are thanking the soldiers but I can’t hold the sign up anymore my arms are tired.

My family says thank you @ #dnc2012

And then, over the course of dozens of speakers and many hours, something happened.

It was that something I had hoped might happen. The reason I brought them.

Mom, why do they keep talking about women getting as much money as men? Do women really not get as much money as men?

Why would anyone say climate change is a hoax? That’s just dumb. I’m sorry, I know that’s a bad word…but that really is dumb, Mom.

Mom, why can’t that lady walk right? I know the pledge and I can say it too- (puts hand over her heart) but why are you crying? What’s wrong with that lady on stage Mom?

Who was that last lady speaking? She was really awesome! She’s the leader of the whole Democratic National Convention? I really like her!

…and this went on. And I answered as best I could while holding one child and trying to keep another from kicking the chair in front of him.

Think about that for a second. My nine-years old son who was fidgeting like a typical boy, was listening intently enough to catch the President calling out climate change deniers. My daughter was INSPIRED by an accomplished female politician at the age of SEVEN.

My children did what I had hoped they would do, even if they found a lot of it “boring” and even if it was exhausting for all of us…they had that spark lit.

It happened. I saw it happen.

And then, to top it all off, once the President took the stage they were swept up in the excitement of it all. They forget how tired they were. They forget that just moments before they were complaining and ready to go home. They listened to every word. They waved their flags with pride. They leaned over and craned their necks to see him better at the podium. They jumped up and down as the confetti fell and cheered for their country, their own beliefs, and the President of the United States.

Hello Mr President!!! #dnc2012

The convention gave our family moments we will never forget.

It took a lot out of me to get us across the country to Charlotte in order to be there while the President accepted the nomination. Something we could have watched easily on tv from home.

I get to start treatment just after we land back in Los Angeles, the kids will be back in school, turning in their reports about their trip and telling their classes about everything that happened. But my hope is they won’t soon forget that they were part of history. That they were there. And that their Mom was healthy enough to take them, even if she needed some help.

The President and this administration has done so much for my family with their legislation and their work, when the opportunity to travel to Charlotte crossed our path- how could I say no?

I got to share my family’s story with the world so they could experience exactly what the president talked about on Thursday night – hope, and yes, change. Change that comes from you and I blogging our lives be it about living with chronic illnesses to single parenthood to just the everyday monotony of being Moms.

Politics is personal.

Take your personal story- even if you think it doesn’t matter- and tell the world. It matters. If my family can travel to Charlotte just so I can talk to you about the Democrat’s platform, just so I can tell you what it means to support President Obama, just so I can explain a bit better why ObamaCare is vital to my health…then you can talk about your day, your life, your struggles as an American.

Politics is personal and in 2012 it is vital to making sure we re-elect President Obama.

As my kids will now tell you…it may be a bit boring, but the confetti at the end is worth it.

Let’s see some more confetti come November 6th.

Our Trip to the Democratic National Convention- Part 1

An Open Letter to the Anti-Abortion Protesters at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte:

Hi. You might not know me. I was the Mom who was wheeled by with her two small children yesterday somewhere between 3-4pm eastern. My beautiful and smart-as-a-whip little girl was on my lap, as my father-in-law pushed my wheelchair. My son was holding his grandmother’s hand and my hand on the wheelchair as we crossed the street onto your corner.

We needed to enter the convention center to get our credentials to see the President speak and there was no way around you.

I saw you when we parked. I mentally calculated how to avoid your area. Not because I have any trouble teaching my children about abortion, or about differing opinions, but because they did not need to see 9-foot tall posters of dead fetuses while you screamed about me being a murderer through your megaphone. Scare tactics meant to frighten me and my kids.

Headed into Time Warner Cable Arena #dnc2012

On our first trip past, we avoided you. I gave myself a Mom pat on the back, but then quickly learned we had to doubled back and head right through you in order to get where we were going.

So I did what any Mom would do and explained to the kids, quickly, that we needed to walk near ‘a bunch of idiots’ who had ‘scary pictures’ and were yelling ‘very mean things.’ I then had them both cover their eyes.

We nearly made it past you, but my son, who was walking, had to look up every so often so as not to trip.

He happened to look up just as you put one of your horrible, misleading, evil, shocking for the purpose of shocking, posters in front of him.

He recoiled and yelled out. I held his hand tighter and said ‘It’s ok, we’re nearly through’ and we went as fast as we could past you.

Mom, why would they even do that? What is WRONG with those people?

They think they can change people’s minds about abortion. They think they can get women to give up control of their own bodies by shocking them with those pictures. They think if they are loud and they scare you they will get you to vote their way.

Mom, that is horrible. They are horrible. I HATE those people.

I don’t like them very much either honey. And normally I would tell you not to hate anyone, but I think in this case it’s ok. These really are some awful people.

So you see, guy with megaphone, lady holding baby, men with signs…while you have every right to be there and every right to scream and shout and shock your message from that corner- it didn’t work.

My daughter was horrified to the point of hiding her face, my son was disgusted and angry. He was angry you were trying to get people to vote your way by showing them those pictures. And once I explained to him what he was looking at threw his squinted eyes, he became even more angry you were flashing those fetus photos for the world to see.

But Mom, I thought you said girls had a real hard time with that, and it was sad. Why would they think it is easy?

Honestly honey? Because they are jerks. I know that’s a bad word…but they are. They didn’t care that you saw those photos, in fact, you saw how that man tried very hard to get in front of you and show it to you.

Yeah, that made me sad.

Do you want to talk about it?

A little. I’m sad those people are so mean Mom. And I’m never voting for what they want because they are so mean.

There you have it protesters. If you were out there to try to change the hearts and minds of those willing to even slightly consider your point of view, you failed miserably. As it turns out, you may have made sure to have driven away an open-minded young man.

And for all your talk of loving babies and children, you certainly showed zero love for the ones right in front of your face as we passed your way. You needlessly frightened little children, the same children you swear you care about so much you are compelled to stand on a street corner to preach about their souls and the soul of their mother.

Consider yourself at least two more votes down.
Oh, and you are still jerks. And I’m using my nice words.

Erin Kotecki Vest
Mom, Wife, Angry Democrat working hard to keep abortion safe and legal

Erin Kotecki Vest & Kids Head to the Democratic National Convention

#allhailhala and the start of her road to the white house

My Lupus ravaged body creaked getting out of bed before dawn this morning, as it does every morning these days.

And my oldest days "I can't wait to get to Charlotte!" #vestkidsDNC

I took my pills and made my usual cup of green tea, mentally going over the check list.

Sweatshirts in case it gets cold
the special bag that attaches to my wheelchair
Gum for the kids
Notebooks and pencils for homework
Those pills I switched to…no, not those, the other ones, the ones instead of the injection…
.

This went on in my head for a good 20 minutes before I sat here at my computer, wondering if I was crazy for attempting this trip at all.

But I know I’m not crazy. The President and First Lady keep asking if we’re ‘in’ this election.

As we pack up the car to head to the airport. Flying from Los Angeles, California to North Carolina…with two kids, two suitcases, a wheelchair, and enough medication to ensure I am comfortable for many days…we couldn’t be MORE ‘in.’

We will fight for those who fight for us. The kids know it. They understand without blinking an eye why this is so important…

Mom, the President has helped you while you are sick. Now we have to get people to help him.

That’s right baby. It’s time to help him.

Me & my tired boy #awesome80srun

See you in Charlotte.