Voices of Americans

You know, those who know me personally, know I love America.  Even on its worse day, the country of my birth is pretty darn amazing.  The freedoms we have here we often take for granted, and as someone who has been blessed by being able to travel internationally, I have seen the differences that exist around the world.  One freedom I hold very dear is free speech; sure, I often am saddened or infuriated by some who utilize this right (can you say “God Hates Fags”?), but I would still stand up for their right to say it.

And that brings you to today’s “shake your head” moment – every American, whether you agree with them or not – has a right to share their views.  Political views.  Religious views.  Those who have a larger platform than I do have a right to share it and to call us to stand up for whatever, and those who are “nobodies” have a right to climb onto a box and share theirs as well.  We, as Americans, usually can decide whether we want to follow, agree with the statement, etc.  But to say ANY American should not have a voice is blatantly disregarding the very core of our constitution.

Recently, I read the following post a friend shared on Facebook:

Dear Hollywood celebrities,

You only have a place in my world to entertain me. That’s it.

You make your living pretending to be someone else. You play dress up like a 6 year old. You live in a make believe world, in front of a camera, buffered from the everyday struggles of hard working Americans. Your entire existence depends on my patronage.

I’ll crank the organ, you dance.

I don’t really care where you stand on issues. You see, you aren’t real. I turn off my TV or shut down my computer and you cease to exist in my world. Once I am done with you, I can put you back in your little box until I want you to entertain me again. I hope you realize that the only words of yours that matter are scripted. In my world, you exist solely for my entertainment. 

So, shut your pie hole and dance!

Many liked this post, and shared comments either laughing, saying “amen!”, or decrying actors and actresses for the incredulous act of voicing their beliefs publicly.  In many scenarios, I have heard it said that “they are just actors, they should shut the hell up.”

However, I would like to offer up a few alternatives, because if you agree with the above and want to shut the voices of Americans who happen to be Hollywood celebrities, you open up the door to do the same in other venues.  For example:

Dear Janitors,

You only have a place in my world to serve me, to clean up my mess. That’s it.

You make your living scrubbing my toilets or throwing away my trash. You probably dropped out of school and maybe even get government help on my dime.  I have no idea if you are able to read, take drugs, or have had an intelligent conversation in your life.  You obviously have no ambition in life, let alone have the capacity to have an opinion in areas such as politics.  Your entire existence depends on my crap.  Literally.

I’ll make a mess, you clean it up.

I don’t really care where you stand on issues. You see,  I walk away from that toilet or trash can and you cease to exist in my world. Once I am done with my mess, I can put you out of my mind until I need you to clean for me again. I hope you realize that the only words of yours that matter are “let me get that for you”. 

So, shut your pie hole and clean!

Many would say the above is offensive, but perhaps not the first “letter”.  And to me, that is hypocrisy.  Why would one job/social standing/income be excluded from constitutional rights while others are allowed to have a voice?  Why does an American that has a job that makes more money be relegated to “dance”?  Aren’t they just as American as you and me, even if we struggle more financially?  And to THAT point, where are the letters to professional athletes, Wall Street Executives, or millionaire businessmen who made their money initially from family loans?  Does the first letter suggest that OTHER people who are “buffered from everyday struggles” do not need to shut their pie hole?

Hmmmm.

 

Maybe the truth of the matter is this…….people who don’t agree with your political views need to shut their pie holes and dance.  And that, my friends, is taking the constitution and spitting on it.  And that, sadly, is where I believe we really exist today.  But I will not stop loving America.

Questions

It has been ten months since my mom passed away.  Of course, dealing with that has been a journey; sometimes something reminds me of my mom and I laugh, or sometimes I get tears in my eyes, and I often miss her.  That is all normal…..to be expected.  Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror – especially when my hair is wet and slicked back away from my face – and I get a little freaked out because I look so much like her.  Sometimes I just ruminate about my life with her, the moments we’ve shared, etc.

I have been traveling to Kentucky for work lately, and I never expected it to create such a stir with memories about my mom…….I never thought it would create a serious of questions that I have no way to answer.  My mom moved to Los Angeles when she was two years old and lived in California the bulk of her life.  When she and my dad divorced in the early 90’s, she was working for her brothers.  However, some were retiring and eventually the company was sold.  I BELIEVE my mom lost her job at that point.  Not sure what she was going to do to support herself, she and a friend she met at work moved to Kentucky, where her friend grew up.  I was a young mother at that time, focused on taking care of baby Kirstie and making my own marriage and life work, so I wasn’t as involved in my mom’s life as I usually would be.  I remember we exchanged letters during this time, and honestly she was pretty bitter about her divorce and I emotionally pulled away since I felt I was put in the middle of it.  But, the bottom line is she moved away from everyone she knew, went to a place where she basically knew no one, and was on her own.

Being here, I wonder where she lived.  I wonder what she thought about the green hills, the pictures of horses everywhere, did she like the Bourbon BBQ that is so prevalent here?  She ended up getting a job at a Taco Bell out here, she really couldn’t find work (the economy was struggling at the time) and I wonder how the heck that felt.  I wonder if she was scared, if she felt isolated.  In one of her letters she mentioned that there was only one phone in the neighborhood she lived in and the owner would take messages for the neighbors and it was difficult to connect.  She said she got a message that someone called her but they didn’t think to get a name, so she wondered if it was me.  Reading that letter in my mind now and being in this state triggered so many things to wonder about.

And that led me to so many other questions.  My mom was born in 1935 – she was alive during all years of WWII and was 10 years old when it ended.  How did that impact her life?  Did she and her family have rations during this time?  Did she fear Germans at this time, when Germany was easily the targeted “enemy”?  Was she ever scared that the war would come to California?  Does she remember the Japanese Internment Camps and what did she think about them?  And why the hell did I never think to ask her about this?  I know SO MUCH about my paternal Grandma during the depression, even about her early marriage during this timeframe, but not my own mother?  I have no idea why.  And now I can’t even ask my mom.

So, here I am early in the morning blogging about it.  I feel a connection to my mom here in Kentucky and that also seems strange.  But I guess while I write this as a form of personal therapy, I also yearn to remind you something you probably will nod at but maybe not think about again – treasure the time you have with family.  Don’t take it for granted.  Inquire about life details that may not seem important really now and maybe even feels mundane, but are actually pieces of gold that will be lost forever if you miss the opportunity to ask.

And mom, I miss you.