Friday Friday no better day

This debacle called the “2016 presidential election process” is just a gigantic circus, inclusive of flying monkeys, dancing bears, and prancing ponies. I’m tired of hearing about Trump’s blatant obnoxious comments, Hillary’s denials, and Cruz’ devil-like behavior.

Are there any good politicians left in this country? One who truly cares about the people, one who is willing to sacrifice his/her life for the next 4-8 years as our leader, who is virtuous, has good character, and is not a crazy asshole/feminist-in-denial?

(Pssst, don’t say Bernie.)

I pose these questions to my students on a daily basis, but this one is especially poignant: When it comes time to vote for a president, and you do not like any of the candidates, what will you do?

The overall consensus: I’m not voting.  And, for once, I totally agree.

Why? I refuse to vote just to vote. I want to vote for someone who I feel will be a benefit to our country, to improve our economy and how other countries view us (and, let’s be honest– none of the candidates, as far as I can see, will meet those criterion), and genuinely not be an asshole or a lying/scheming bitch.

So, there, I said it.

And, for now, that’s where I stand.

the rise of the fall

81it1zzbntl

Currently, I am reading The Fiery Trial by Eric Foner. I have been thinking a lot about state and local history  contemplating writing an article or a book about the role of slavery in NJ. That is because I spent 90 minutes in Barnes and Nobles yesterday looking for particular books about particular topics.  Granted, I bought this book a while ago and have not read it yet as I’m usually drowning in schoolwork.  But, I like Eric Foner– I use his textbook in one of my classes and have read a few of his books, in addition to seeing him in person at a symposium.

 

If you’ve been following me for a while, you are well-aware that I haven’t written anything since my graduate thesis a few years ago. The energy and emotion I put into that 100-something page research just burned me out for a long time. I have been wanting to write, but have had difficulties pinning down exactly what I’d like to research.

Last year, I presented to a genealogical group the topic of slavery in my state.  No matter how much information I discover, I still don’t know it all.  In my area, people recognize me as a local historian, but I have an issue with being called a historian as I haven’t written or published anything.  My desire is to write, to research, to put my heart and soul into something that will give me some form of fulfillment and reinvigorate my desire to be more a part of my field.  Well, more than just merely an adjunct.

So, here are a few local links (love the ‘Net when it cooperates) about slavery, including old slave laws, if you are interested:

So, if the “university-which-shall-not-be-named” wants to link me for history, well, here you go.

But, if you steel my writing mojo, there’ll be hell to pay.

 

*bang head here* and repeat

The most exhausting part of being a teacher is the frustration I feel when my students (most, some, all) fail to follow simple directions.

Write name here _______________

“Where should I write my name?”
“Read the paper.”
“Yeah, but where should I write my name?”

The frustration comes from many elements that have churned the academic wheel with a limping hamster that has been dropped on its head once too many times.  Where’s that leave us?  With an inept generation(s) of people who need to have their hand held as they are dragged through life. And, if they are dissatisfied with the fact that they have failed, due to their own ineptitude, it becomes someone else’s fault.

“I want to talk to you about my grade.”
“Okay…”
“I don’t know why I’m failing. And, I think you’re unfair.”
“You are failing because you don’t come to class and when you do, you are sleeping. You haven’t turned in any work, either.”
“Why didn’t you remind me it was due?”

My fault, go on, say it. It’s my fault that those affected by the lazies fail, why they don’t come to class, who will, in the end, inevitably have to repeat the course two or more times. I’m fine with taking the blame, it’s not my first day at the rodeo.  Understand, however, that I also have expectations– come to class, do the work, meet your deadlines ON time, and don’t make excuses.  That is seen as “too harsh” and “god-awful mean” because I, in my not-20-anymore brain want these people to be self-reliant, hard-working, and responsible.

//insert laughter

Today, I met with a student that I’ve had before. This student is argumentative, sometimes rude, overtly outspoken, and most of the time missing in action.  Today, this student wanted to know why I didn’t give him/her an A.

The story of my life… grade whining by people who didn’t strive for the A.  They want the A because their entire life, people have given them trophies, medals, certificates, and breathed the mantra “everyone is a winner” to them. They were bred to expect a handout, to anticipate hand-holding, and to accept mediocrity.

“You never were in class.”
*Blank stare*
“You do realize that attendance is mandatory.. right?”
*blank stare*
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
*a pause to gather his/her thoughts, or to shake off the hangover that is apparent*
“A politician.”

Well shit… we have another winner.
Another person who wants to enter politics just to call people out on their shit.
I do that daily and I’m not a politician.

“Listen, I’ve known you since you’ve been at our institution.  You’ve taken my class a few times, and I think we’ve gotten to understand one another a little, yes?”
“Yeah…”
“So, I’m going to be frank with you… if you have goals and aspirations, which it appears you have, that lead you into the world of adults and real-time life, you cannot act like a college freshman. You’re an adult.  You can think for yourself. You can be responsible enough to feed yourself, clothe yourself, and get yourself to and from school when the mood fits, yes?”
“Yeah…”
“Well, do not settle for 3rd place and expect to be rewarded as though you won.”
*Eyes squint, face contorts*
“We have a world filled with sheep and people who ride on coattails and have their hands out to receive but have rarely given back to those who have helped them….rarely strove to achieve and win.”
“Okay…”
“You want to make a difference?”
“Yes…”
“Then start by finishing your classes. You’ve been here five years already and aren’t even close to finishing.  Get it together. Show up to class.  Do the work that is expected of you better than you have. Show the professors that you are capable of more, that you are smarter than what you have shown, and that your argumentative side is not a negative attribute but a positive one…”
*Part of a smile emerges*
“I am tired of entitlement, I am tired of whining about grades, I’m tired of expectations that are one-sided with no reciprocity.”
“Okay…”
“Finish your courses and graduate.  Get a job in the real world with real world expectations.  Do well and excel.  Make a difference in someone’s life.  Don’t be a pain in the ass when you go to class, don’t argue with your professors, classmates, boss.  Just get a move on with your life.”
“I’ve been stuck in a holding pattern…”
“I know and I’ve seen it.  Go to class.  Be on time.  Be polite.  Be the A student that you want to be.  Don’t demand a grade, earn that grade.  Now, go earn a grade.”

And, with that, I sent the student on his/her way.

An hour later, my friend texts me, “What did you say to her?”
“Why?”
“She showed up, on time, and is nice and participating.”
“I had a talk with her.”
“Holy fuck.  I don’t know what to do with this.”
“Teach her.”

I may only be a part-time, peasant professor.  I may teach particular subjects that most people find boring or not necessary.  I may hold them to standards and have expectations that they deem to be too high or too out of their reach, but I will tell you this much… I won’t be berated by a student who expects something for nothing.  I pull out my soapbox from under my desk, stand on it, raise my voice to address the crowd, and speak.

So, here is my speak… this is my truth… this is my “don’t give a shit” moment.

I am tired. I am frustrated. I am worn down.  I am sore.  I am achy.  But, I will not quit. I cannot quit.  If I quit, I will never forgive myself.

*Puts away her soapbox*

Now, go to class, be on time, be polite, and earn a grade.

 

during a stormy evening…

I realize NOW that sharing ideas for research is a terrible idea. Even if the other party has good intentions initially, it usually results in them doing something w/ my research (or part therein) and taking credit for it.

I don’t have time to write an academic book. I wouldn’t even know where to start. I wrote my thesis 9 years ago (holy shit!) and never wrote another academic thing after that.  It’s not like I didn’t want to. I have a pile of research in my office– binders and binders of it.  But, either it’s the motivation or the time… or both, that keep me from writing.

So, help me. Help me get on the path to publishing an academic book.  Help motivate me. Help direct me.  Help.  Just help.

My co-researcher on a local history topic and I feel as thought he has defiled the topic for me forever.

FOREVER.

He wants to change the course of the info (we hit multiple dead-ends and I’m not about to rewrite the exact same thing), and now wants to sell it off to the paranormal community.

I told him that I’m not putting my name on historical research if its about this new direction. I’m not. I will never be taken seriously by the academic community (not that I will anyway– just an adjunct is more than a comeback line, it’s a one-way stop into academic peasant-ville).

*sighs*

I want to be more than just some simple adjunct… bound by the confines of the Obamacare specifics that limit the number of credits an adjunct can teach because schools are more than reluctant to give us benefits… but have no problem dangling that “if you do this job, one day you too may be full-time” carrot in front of us.

I’m getting tired of the damn dangling carrot.

I’m also tired of doing the same work as a full-timers (or more) and getting shit… I make about $700-750 per credit.  So, do the math… $750 x 16 credits.  And, that doesn’t include the blood-sweat-and-tears that accompany this job.

For instance, last night a student was messaging me (app, not my cell) about how he thinks I am unfair because I won’t let him turn in his work late.

*SuperSigh*

Every single day, I repeat the same directions…

Every single day, I feel frustrated because (young) adults don’t follow the directions…

Every single day, I grow more disenchanted with education and am currently scraping the bottom of the academic barrel…

Every single day, I see an increase in this entitlement nonsense where students demand more from me than they give…

Every single day, I swear I am going to quit, but don’t…

Every single day, I wish education was better…

Every single day, I wish that this generation would take a long, hard look at itself and fix whatever it broken, stop blaming their parents, bosses, teachers, and peers; take credit for their mistakes, apologize when necessary, and say “thank you”…

And, perhaps THEN I will have less stress, be happier, and actually enjoy my job every single day.


 

I have sworn off discussing the candidates for the presidency.  Why?  It’s fruitless. There’s nothing we can do and are damned either way.  If the United States is planning on setting itself on fire and throwing itself into a vat of gasoline, this election will cinch it.

And, I evoke my right to not vote.  Yes, you heard me… the one who advocates everyone voting, no matter WHO the candidates are… has said she will NOT vote.

I am not settling. I am not voting for the “lesser of the evils”.  I refuse to vote for anyone as president if they insist on making it about themselves and not about the people. I will create a public disturbance, preaching Rousseau’s social contract and Locke’s theory of government until someone in government says, “You know what, she’s right… the people can remove us from power… our founders put that in there as a safety valve or a big red stop button… this way we can avoid tyranny, corruption and abusive leadership and return to the true nature of this republican-democratic model of government… one that intends to allow the people the ability to choose and elect their representatives… representatives that actually listen to what the people want and not pay sole attention to their own interests… in other words, actually rule for the people, in a way that will benefit them, not us.”

You know, we’ll never hear a politician, regardless of the political affiliation, admit that they are self-centered opportunists who are using their position and even prestige (if they have any) to better themselves.

IS IT SO DIFFICULT FOR POLITICIANS TO CARE ABOUT THE PEOPLE? Or, better yet, not just merely care… act on it. DO IT!

Can you sense my frustration? My anger? My righteous-indignation?  The part of me that screams “I’m just so sick and tired and I’m not going to take it anymore!“, loudly emoting from my inner core?

Maybe its just me that can hear it.  I’ve been dragging my soap box around for weeks now… pontificating on the evils of politics… the evils of self-centered misogynistic politicians who play by the “boys club” rules… the arrogance… the lies… the dirty-dealings… the blatant slap in the face of hard-working Americans who just want to feel appreciated and that their hard work was not for nothing.

SO, here I sit, pirating my husband’s laptop, pondering my life.

I’m at an emotional cross-roads.  If I stay on the path I’m on, I’ll be an adjunct for the rest of my life.  I’ll never progress and will remain in this stagnate position with a perpetual carrot dangling just out of reach, but close enough to keep me stuck.

I can make a turn, but then the uncertainty of the unknown is staring at me.  I could end up unemployed(er), unhappy(er), and further away from something that’ll make me feel worthy (?) and as though I didn’t waste my life.


 

Recently, I was thinking about my own mortality.  When I am gone, what will people remember me for?  Will I be remembered fondly? Will people laugh at me?  Laugh with me? Laugh at my memory? Forget me?

For as much as I don’t want to be in the limelight, I also don’t want to be forgotten. My fear is that my kids, for instance, won’t think of me, won’t miss me, won’t wonder what their lives would’ve become with me there.  My fear is that people will continue on with life as though I never existed, nary giving me a second thought.  My life, my memory, my legacy will evaporate like a slight mist, a wisp in the wind.

And, that leaves me to say the inevitable…

I don’t want to be forgotten a few weeks or a month after I’m gone.  I want people to talk about me, think about me, have a drink in my honor. Laugh, smile, snarl and yell… I want to be remembered as much as I remember… and not forget who I am, was, or could have been.

What is my legacy?

.

.

.

I don’t know.  I have no idea.  I want it to be lasting… a real and honest legacy.  Let my life not have been in vain, is my plea.  Not. In. Vain.


 

When you vote in November, think about legacies, about the common people, about what this could mean for all of us, not just the upper classes or illegal immigrants, working class, or politicians.  Will this candidate truly improve the lives of the people of this nation? Will they work in our best interest? Care about how their decisions impact me?

If there is not someone worthy of our vote, we, the people of the United States, who are endowed with certain unalienable rights– life, liberty and pursuit of happiness– should use their voice, not to riot and destroy, but to get the attention of the political elite who decides our lives for us– by not voting… by not choosing the “lesser of the evils”… by not settling… by not allowing just anyone, regardless of political party, to represent us.

If you wouldn’t let some asshole destroy your personal reputation, why would you allow an asshole to destroy your country’s reputation?

It’s time to take a stand.  To allow our voices to be heard.  And, this is why I’m not locking this post.

Call me a radical.  Call me an anarchist.  Call me a chaotic mess with no direction in her life.  You may be right. You may be wrong, but I’m not crazy.  I’m incensed.  I’m angry.  I’m frustrated.  I want change… and not the change promised in an election to get votes. I  want the type of change that makes me once again proud to be an American.  And, proud for all of the right reasons… not because I have to be, or was taught to be, but because deep inside my inner self, I can’t help but explode with pride.

 

Hillary v. Trump: Virtual Insanity

With less than a year until the presidential election, I can’t help but ponder for a moment the potential of the front-runners as possible president.

First of all, Mrs. Clinton. Although I’ve never met her in person, I know enough about her and her husband’s antics as governor, then president of the US to fill a large room w/ note cards.  I am all for a woman becoming president, but not just any woman, and mostly not this woman.  I trust not a Clinton, no matter who stuck what where and how or when.  The name, regardless if it belongs to husband or wife is synonymous with “can’t trust you beyond the charismatic charm” (or lack thereof).

When I was an undergrad student, my American Presidents’ professor assigned me Bill Clinton to do a presentation on.  Oh, I wish I could find that paper… it was filled with the underhanded garbage these two were associated with while he was governor of Arkansas and also as president.

I am a history professor. My job is to look for patterns in history, repetitive cycles of repeated events–new people, new time, same situation sort of thing.  I pride myself on my ability to compare anything I am teaching to what is going on in the news.  So far, my success rate is 95%, which in academic terms is an A.

Other scandals the Clintons (he/she/both) have been involved in:

  • Chinagate: During the 1996 Clinton-Gore campaign, they supposedly took bribes from banks in China as well as the government itself to help their dwindling poll numbers. According to reports, the Chinese Embassy in WDC helped filter funds into the DNC (Democratic National Committee).  As far as Hillary’s involvement, she supposedly instructed Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown (who later died in a plane crash) to sell seats on dept trade missions to China. The “scandal” with Bill and Monica took precedent and saved this scandal from receiving any significant media coverage.
  • Travelgate: The 25-year old cousin of Bill Clinton (Catherine Cornelius) was allegedly promised the position of director of the travel office. Hillary supposedly and indirectly fired seven employees from the US travel office and replaced them with associates from Arkansas (not a shock, this does happen).  Either the records were incorrectly filed or lost regarding this.  Moreover, the Clintons also supposedly gave a White House airline contract to a friend.  In turn, Mrs. had the FBI investigate Billy Dale, who was the head of the travel office, which ruined his career (especially after it was determined that he did nothing illegal), and was then audited by the IRS for about 3 years after that. A memorandum from a former Clinton aide shows Hillary as the central figure in the 1993 travel office dismissals and out of fear, the aide did not question Mrs. Clinton out of fear of reprisal.
  • Whitewater Scandal:  The Clintons were partners in a shady real estate development firm (Whitewater Development Corp) in Arkansas. There were accusations of impropriety against the Clintons, and soon others surfaced– improper campaign contributions, political & financial favors, and tax benefits. The McDougals, friends and majority owners in this firm were jailed for fraud and Gov. Jim Tucker, who was Clinton’s successor in Arkansas, was also jailed for fraud along w/ municipal judges David Hale, Eugene Fitzhugh, who worked w/ McDougal. The Clintons emerged unscathed and stating that they did nothing wrong.

THIS IS REMINDING ME OF PRES. GRANT’S ADMINISTRATION THAT WAS RIFE WITH SCANDALS… NONE OF WHICH HE WAS PERSONALLY INVOLVED IN, BUT STILL. (His reputation was still marred.)

  • Filegate Scandal: The Director of the White House’s Office of Personal Security, Craig Livingston, “improperly” accessed FBI files on several hundred individuals (this was long before the “Patriot Act,” which in my opinion is a gross abuse of our constitutional rights, but I digress).  When asked about it, Mrs. Clinton called it a “completely honest bureaucratic snafu.” Most of the files were on people were in previous Republican administrations.  Mrs. Clinton hired Mr. Livingston and supposedly looked at the files and requested this move.  She was accused by Republicans of violating privacy rights of individuals she viewed as political opposition.

WHAT IS IT WITH PEOPLE ADDING “-GATE” TO EVERYTHING? LIKE THIS IS AN EXTENSION OF NIXON’S WATERGATE SCANDAL OR SOMETHING? (Probably…)

  • Lootergate: Both of the Clintons started shipping White House furniture to their private residence in Chappaqua, NY. The Clintons claimed they were donated, but only some were shown to be and were intended to stay at the White House.  The Clintons returned some of the furniture after they were pressured to do so.  Moreover, when Hillary became a junior NY Senator, she was criticized by GOP lawmakers and others for accepting presents before joining the Senate and was restricted by a strict ethics rule that prohibited the acceptance of gifts worth more than $50.

 

I DON’T KNOW IF THAT’S SO MUCH A “SCANDAL” AS IT IS BEING A FURNITURE GRUBBER WITH STICKY FINGERS… But, then again, if they so nonchalantly took furniture that wasn’t theirs, then what else have they taken that didn’t belong to them?

  • Drug Dealer Donor Scandal:  A convicted drug trafficker, Jorge Cabrera supposed made a large donation to the Clinton’s campaign and was invited to the White House without the Secret Service present.
  • Ponzi Scheme & Political Favor Scandal: A convicted pyramid investment promoter, Norman Yung Yuen Hsu, was a major DEM donor and contributed an undisclosed amount to Hillary’s 2008 campaign. He was later sentenced to more than 24 years in prison in 2009 by a judge who accused him of funding his fraud by manipulating the political process.

ANYONE ELSE GETTING A HEADACHE YET? I’M NOT EVEN AT TRUMP…

  • Bengazi: On 11 Sept 2012, Islamic militants attacked a US diplomatic outpost and CIA annex that resulted in the deaths of 4 Americans, including J. Christopher Stevens, the US Ambassador to Libya. The US increased security after the attack and began to investigate. In the aftermath, State Dept officials were criticized for not allowing additional security at the consulate before the attack. As Sec of State, Clinton took responsibility for the security lapses.
  • Email-gate:  Okay, let’s recall that 30,000 State Dept emails went to her personal email (gmail) at her personal server at her house… apparently a major no-no when it comes to Top Level Security Clearances and Shit. Then, when told she had to turn over said emails, it took her forever and a day, and in the meantime, she deleted many citing they were “irrelevant” or of a personal nature.

I still think that there was some sort of dealio struck between the Clintons and Obama during the 2008 election.  (Remember the Clintons met Obama at his residence and when they emerged from their meeting, she backed out of the race, he became president and she his Sec of State? That kinda stuff always screams “icky yicky fish guts” whenever I think about it.)

And, let’s not forget that the Clintons literally railroaded Monica Lewinsky after the affair surfaced and drove her underground. Like a girl never gave a blowjob before to a married man OR a married man never received one not from his wife. Yes, it was improper for a president (a married one at that) to fuck around w/ an intern (not that it probably hasn’t happened before).  But, the whole “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” opened the door to a whole generation of young girls to think that oral sex was not sex. (Trust me, I had to listen to 5th graders during this time tell me that the girls in their school were having oral sex parties in 5TH AND 6TH GRADES because it wasn’t really “sex”.)  I have students (male) today who want to be Bill when they grow up– no, not president or a politician, but a guy who gets it all of the time (but apparently not from his wife).

So, if Hillary buried this whole sex scandal of Bill’s (with Gennifer Flowers and Paula what’s-her-name and God only knows who else he plowed during his life that wasn’t his wife) to enable herself to one day become president then is she at fault for enabling her scumbag bastard of a husband to be a dirty dog while worried about her own political ambitions? Or, can we say that if she was willing to forgive and let bygones be bygones (*coughs*bullshit*coughs), then she will be a great leader. Right?  I have a hard time believing that any normal female can forget the humiliation and embarrassment that Billy boy created for her. We used to joke in the 90s that Hillary was the real president… and perhaps she wore the pants in the family while Bill traded his for secretative forays in the crevasses of the White House. (Hey, I don’t want to know about their sex lives, but they are public figures and, well, that’s what happens when you are a public figure.)

I also realize that other presidents had mistresses while in office, FDR comes to mind… but did they flaunt it, then deny it allowing the woman to take all of the blame? That’s totally barbaric and so pre-NOW movement of them to do to Monica, no?  Especially for a purported feminist such as Hillary.

Man, I think that Hillary stuff gave me carpal tunnel…

Anyway, here’s a list of Trump’s evils…

  • Trump “real estate school program” or Trump University
  • His sharp tongue in calling all Mexicans rapists, drug dealers, human traffickers, prostitutes and gang lords (or something to that effect).
  • Making inappropriate and misogynistic comments about female FOX anchor Megyn Kelly and other women. (By the way, why is it wrong to be angry about him calling women “fat pigs”? It has nothing to do with being PC.)
  • His mocking of a handicapped reporter
  • How many times has he been bankrupt? Had shady business dealings? Probably more than I can count on two hands and two feet.

Essentially, his filter is broken or he never had one.  And, although, I’m not in disagreement w/ his comments about Mexico, he never should’ve said it out loud. We all say things we don’t mean, but at least most of us are apologetic.

I still stand by the belief that he is a plant… either to disrupt the Republicans or to enable Hillary to win.  Either way, I believe that either candidate would be a great mistake and one that the American people may not recover from… and I do believe, wholeheartedly, that either or both (if they somehow end up cell mates in the White House) will do colossal damage to our country that will push us further down, cause people to hate us more, and create more security issues than even Obama’s administration has dealt with.

*DISCLAIMER: These are my opinions and only my opinions. If you disagree with me, that’s great. That’s what this American system of government is about. Having people with varying thoughts about politics. I’m also not excusing, supporting, or rewarding any behaviors that aren’t mine.  Also, you cannot use or reference my post in any academic or professional literary or journalistic piece without my explicit permission. So, saith me…

 

And, yes, I left this unlocked on purpose.  I need to start writing out in the public again…