International Day of the Girl Child.

When I moved to New York, I was desperate enough to be hopeful. I had been working for nearly a year at a newspaper job that paid me just over nine dollars an hour. One of my superiors harassed me on a daily basis, criticizing everything from my work to my shoes. She called me in the middle of the night to berate me and embarrassed me in front of my peers. When I reported her behavior, I was told that it wasn’t “personal” and that I should tolerate her attempts to sabotage my professional career, all for little more than minimum wage. I lived with my parents. I paid only the interest on my student loans. I saved and went out little and amassed enough to get me to New York City, the beacon of all things creative. The first month without a job was breathtaking. I went out often to breathe in this new place was that now my home, filled with so many parks and stores, colors and shadows, shores and claustrophobic roads.

The second month, I grew desperate. I applied to any job I could. I had no experience handling food, but I decided to go to an open call for Subway employees. It would be something, I told myself. It would only be temporary. I was embarrassed to walk into the narrow shop holding my resume with its useless Latin and Greek praises–summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Tau Delta. I sat down with the owner at one of his small tables, but he didn’t even glance at my (over)qualifications. “You should know I don’t hire girls,” he said.

I was stunned. “But that’s illegal.” My protest sounded weak even to my own ears. Why would I want to work for a man who would hate me for lacking a Y chromosome? Because I had to pay my rent and student loans. Because I had to eat.

“Girls cry whenever there’s a problem. They cried every day here. They do not work. Are you going to cry?”

I didn’t cry. I left the shop enraged that I had wasted $4 of my rapidly dwindling funds on the round trip. The worst part of this story? I’m one of the luckiest girls in the world.

Sexism comes in so many forms that we ladies have to harden ourselves to it because we do not have enough time, patience, or sanity to confront all of the issues we encounter on a daily basis. A man almost ran into me at a door two hours ago because he wasn’t paying attention. He apologized and quickly added, “I only look at the women I’m interested in.” Excuse me? As a white, arguably middle class American who isn’t exactly skinny or the conventional version of “beautiful,” I encounter sexism that is most frequently based on my looks or my so-called ability to do a job. This is unacceptable, and yet I’m fortunate for the privilege. We live in a world where some girls are considered property. Families sell their daughters into prostitution, into rape. Female babies are murdered because male children are more desirable. There isn’t enough time and there are not enough words to depict the atrocity that happens around the world every day to girls specifically due to their gender.

We do not deserve this. We were not born weak or lesser or lacking. We are beautiful in spirit and do not need to have perfectly symmetrical faces and white teeth and impossible hair in order to have worth. We are just as capable of being intelligent, productive, strong, creative, and remarkable as our male peers. Magazines should not be telling us how to wear skirts and get skinny enough to resemble a heavily manipulated impossibility; they should be teaching us empathy. We live in a society that makes a killing on fostering doubt and unhappiness. (Are we the Photoshop proletariat?)

Today is the second annual International Day of the Girl Child. This is not a Hallmark holiday created to make you buy a card. The United Nations came up with this. Girls around the world suffer due to lack of access to education, healthcare, and other opportunities for personal advancement. They are taught to marry, to reproduce, to obey. The laws and punishments that stand in the way of some of these obstacles are horrific. You may think it’s a world away and just too much drama to bring into your own life, but what you don’t have to imagine is someone’s brutal reality.

I’d recommend some charities here to help out, but honestly, to do the research on your own is an empowering and humbling process. If you can, please reach out and help out the girls and women of countries less fortunate than your own. If you don’t have any money to spare, as so many feel today, volunteer. Get involved. Just tell one girl around you how much she means to you. Strive for equality every day. Then maybe eventually I won’t have to write posts like this.

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Fuck the Tea Party (yes, I’m mad and I swear).

Fuck the Tea Party.

Seriously, I have no kinder words for these people. Fuck them. If you think that’s harsh and unfair, I’m going to do my best to explain my opinion, but if you still disagree at the end, you should probably just roll your eyes and move on because I won’t be able to lift my jaw off the floor to even fight with you.

As a young, single woman who has spent much of her post-college life uninsured, I am a fan of the Affordable Care Act. I don’t think it goes far enough to correct the overwhelmingly awful health care model we have in America, but it’s a start. We are the only country of power and wealth that has this sort of backwards system. “But I don’t want to pay for the lazy to have health insurance!” you may cry. Are you saying I was lazy for the three years when I was working full time in a depressed economy? Under the ACA, I would have been covered by my parents’ health insurance until I found my current job, which finally gave me a break so I could see a doctor (but not a dentist, but that’s a rant I’ve already covered, methink). “But it’s hurting employers!” No, it’s not. That’s stupid. “But I don’t want to cover some slutty slut’s slut pills!” Look, if you’re not going to support programs to feed children in poverty or let ladies have the right to choose safe, legal abortions, you’re going to have to concede some free birth control. When individual aspects of the ACA are polled on their own, they get overwhelming support by the public. Call it “Obamacare,” and people freak out. Misinformation about the law is rampant, so educate yourself before you slam it.

You see how I called it a law? Because it’s a law. It was passed by both houses of Congress. The president signed it into law. The Supreme Court upheld it. Obama basically made his reelection campaign about it, and he won. Republicans have tried to repeal this law several times, and they’ve been defeated every time. I repeat, this is a law that will not be repealed under normal circumstances. To take the entire nation and, now for a sexy twist, WORLD economy hostage to try to repeal a law you can’t repeal through the proper legislative process is stupid, dangerous, and unprecedented. I’d call it childish, but that would be an insult to children, who have to take social studies/civics class and therefore have a firmer grasp of how the government is supposed to work.

Our country has basically been living paycheck to paycheck for a while now. Congress has been having debt ceiling fights for years, and yes, we spend an awful lot of money and don’t do a very good job with it. But that’s why liberal and conservative minds get together and hash out ideas that can please both sides to a certain degree. Obviously that should be a priority of government at all times, to be as efficient and good to your people as possible, but raising the debt ceiling was never controversial before Obama. There’s even an episode of The West Wing (RIP, one of the best shows on tv) where Democrats try to attach a minimum wage hike to the debt ceiling bill. The Republicans are scandalized that anyone would play political chess with the debt ceiling. It’s routine! How could you? The solution: the minimum wage amendment becomes its own bill, the debt ceiling is raised through a clean bill, and America gets a $10 minimum wage. Oh fictional world, I wish I lived in you.

We’ve been under sequester conditions for months. We never fixed that. Instead it’s all been about passing another CR and then getting to the debt limit. The fact that we even had to endure the sequester is bullshit since it was supposed to be so horrible that everyone would just give up and find a compromise. Apparently that was as successful as my great-grandmother’s hopes that I would eat some chicken last month because chicken is obviously vegetarian-friendly. So the government needed to pass a CR to keep paying its shit. Rather than do that like, I don’t know, representatives of the people who elected them and pay their salaries, one fraction of one party in one house of one branch of government decided the death of a law they didn’t like. This did not work out, so they tried to delay and castrate the law instead. This also didn’t work. If you don’t have permission to shoot a law point blank, then asking to merely poke it all over with a steely blade until it bleeds to death isn’t going to go over either. Just sayin’. And it didn’t. And now our government is almost entirely shut down. All the House had to do was pass a clean CR. Their stance is, “Well, all the Senate had to do was pass one of our ridiculous bills.” It’s like a bank robber blaming the police for a hostage getting hurt because they didn’t hand over a helicopter.

Let’s be perfectly clear here. House Republicans, or really the core Tea Party nutjobs puppeteering this shitshow, are the ones responsible. “But Obama and Democrats won’t negotiate!!!!” you might cry breathlessly between involuntary utterances of “Benghazi” (as Rand Paul has already linked the two, like the creative chap he is). How do you negotiate with someone who wants to give you nothing? Sane people want to keep the government running. Insane people think it’s okay to risk everything to get rid of a LAW. The only thing they’re open to negotiating is the form of execution and whether Obama would like to smoke one last cigarette while it happens since oh my god he used to smoke and he’s afraid of his wife and let’s misquote a joke! The only thing that Democrats stand to gain is the government reopening, which should not be an accomplishment since the government should be able to keep the fucking government running. Republicans have everything to gain, except they don’t because their demands are stupid and ridiculous. Even if you don’t care for the ACA, and you can have an opinion that doesn’t match mine, if you think this unprecedented political circus is worth saving us all from, gasp, better health coverage at almost universally lower rates, I feel really sad for you. Genuinely sad for your lack of empathy. How do you relate to other people? Because wow.

Now we’re approaching our country defaulting. This is unreal. Do you know what the Republican response is? Well, some people feel the heat and realize that this needs to get wrapped up to save some face since most Americans blame the Republicans for this mess (while blaming Democrats and Obama too, admittedly, but quite a bit less). Others just want to pass mini-bills to pick and choose which sections of government to open, because they only want to take social services hostage, not the parts of government to which they pander. And then there are those who have their heads so far up their own asses that their brains must not be getting any oxygenated blood, like Jim Sensenbrenner, Wisconsin Republican and one of the architects of this mess. Proving he has absolutely no clue what he’s done or how to fix it, he said this to The Guardian: “I don’t know if the drop dead date on the debt limit is going to be 17 October because the government is not spending any money now. This might get pushed back a little bit further.” This man knows fully well that parts of the government are open, that he and his peers will get paid in full, and that his party is trying to open even more bits of government to keep this crisis going. His response? To close his eyes, stomp his feet, and pretend that there’s nothing at risk but the freedom to die because you can’t afford health care coverage in this humiliating country.

This is more than a financial crisis. People are not receiving the social services or incomes that they need. While you may think that it’s great that you’re not paying for the food of some lazy asshole who won’t get a job, what about the cancer patients who can’t get treatment? What about the children denied food? Not everyone with government assistance is lazy. Not everyone has the ability to lift himself or herself up by the bootstraps. We are punishing our citizens while the punishers get paid. I don’t care that some of them are giving their salaries to charity, even though one Congresswoman in favor of the shutdown, Renee Ellmer, refuses to surrender her pay because she needs it. Get that? She needs to get paid many times more than the average household wage in America. The people furloughed? Fuck ’em. Randy Neugebauer (Republican, Texas) told a park ranger she should be ashamed of herself for keeping veterans out of national parks that have been closed by the shutdown that he helped create. She had no say in that room, but he did. He is the one failing veterans (not just in access to parks, but inevitably other services soon if things don’t change), and no amount of stupid PR walking some veterans to memorials will change the facts. Congresspeople should be working on a clean CR and a raised debt ceiling and a resolution to a fuckton of political and economic issues. They should not be out taking photos and sucking up to veterans. Don’t get me wrong, it sucks that they can’t get to memorials for their fallen comrades, but the parks never should have been closed.

It boils down to sabotage, plain and simple. These delusional Tea Party assholes are putting us through all of this for one law. You may say the Democrats ought to cave since it’s one sticking point. But the Democrats have negotiated many, many times over debt ceiling crises, crises that are all manufactured since Congress refuses to operate the way it did under other presidencies, and it has only gotten them more crises. These few members of Congress are impeding the very nature of constitutional democracy, and they should be ashamed of themselves. They are no patriots, for if they loved their country, they would do their damn jobs and deal with changing laws during a normal session. Instead, they inflict this suffering upon us all and claim to represent their people. That is disgusting and embarrassing. Their behavior is nothing short of insane, and I truly hope my Republican friends will speak loudly within their party encouraging these shameful individuals to stop putting the world economy at risk.

But I stand by what I opened with. Fuck the Tea Party.

PS – Let me shoot down two things I’ve seen on Facebook. Amendment 28 to the Constitution? It doesn’t exist. Google is your friend, as are facts.

And as for this:

1) “Democrat” and “Republican” do not mean the same thing today that they did back then. 2) This is really irrelevant if you’re saying Democrats have a history of evil, since I would like to remind you that Donald Trump is a Republican. 3) If you think generations of forced labor, torture, poverty, rape, and murder is comparable to the possibility that maybe if you’re rich you’ll have to pay more so other people can have health care so maybe they won’t burden other social programs your taxes already pay for, you are beyond help. To put it in my best Jesse Pinkman way, check your privilege, bitch! This disgusts me. I give up and will now go back to writing funny things and praising music.