Did you hear who Obama’s voters are? Just ask Romster.

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Have you heard? If you vote for Obama you’re part of the 47% of people who don’t pay Federal income taxes and you want the government to give you everything. Yes, that is what Romney told a group of wealthy donors. Little did Mr. Never-Gonna-Be-President know that the conversation was going to be taped. I highly recommend watching the end of Romney’s campaign. Oops.
I mean, c’mon dude. You boast about your intelligence and that you’re a business man — you should PROBABLY know how numbers work and what they mean.
Yes, it is estimated that around 46% of Americans do not pay Federal Income Tax. That’s about the only factual thing you’ve ever said, Romster. But it is high given the economic downtown. Prior to the economy crashing, 40% did not pay income tax. Furthermore, Romney frames this like there are a ton of people just not paying taxes. But they do pay other Federal taxes. When you factor in paying Federal pay roll tax, only around 17% of Americans did not pay Federal income or payroll tax and 14% during better economic times.

Those “moochers” as Romney alludes to. Damn them. Whose them, you ask? They are the elderly — who can’t work. The disabled — who can’t work. Or students, who are acquiring an education and will work and become taxpayers in the future. This article continues to break down the ignorance of Romney’s rant to his chronies. I will let it do the talking in terms of facts and lies here.
But what I want to emphasize is how disturbing it is that Romney blatantly does not support the poor or working class. He is constantly referring to his wealth, his business background, and everything else privileged in his life. He refers to these aspects of his life and considers that to be the attainable goal for all of society. Well, duh, we’d all like to be rich and have good hair, but unfortunately life and governed society doesn’t work that way. They didn’t teach you that at Bain Capital, Romster?
Also. There is this huge misconception that people on welfare want to be receiving assistance indefinitely because they are lazy. Those who are on welfare don’t get much of a voice if a voice at all during these heated political debates. But the people who work with and serve the poor do have a voice. It’s about time we start standing up and yelling that this is inherently FALSE. The majority of people on welfare do not want to be on welfare and work very hard to support their families without public assistance. Also, welfare is set up in such a way that your average person receiving benefits can’t be on welfare for an extended period of time. Thus when you receive public benefits you’re given a case manager who helps you break down the barriers you are facing that hinder being self-sufficient. So don’t talk “personal responsibility and care” Romney – because you’ve never had to maintain those two things in times of complete and utter despair and vulnerability. Oh but right, that’s because you were born with a silver spoon — and so was everyone born in America. Welp, somewhere along the way that silver spoon rusted for 15.1% of Americans living in poverty. But you’re privilege and wealth are blinding you greatly, Romster.

If you want more people to pay taxes, how about you start talking about policies to help them get the opportunity to work to qualify to pay Federal income taxes. How about you start addressing poverty instead of your rich chronies who deserve that tax cut. How about you start opening your eyes to society and the problems it is facing instead of having your head so far up your ass that you legitimately think that kids should just ask their parents for money and Paul Ryan was a good VP choice.

I do have to thank you, Rom. Because you’ve been on quite the path of self-destruction lately. I’ll take the next four years with Obama, please. Not because he’s African American either — because you went there too.

Quote 1: “Had he been born of Mexican parents, I’d have a better shot of winning this.”

Quote 2: “”we are having a much harder time with Hispanic voters, and if the Hispanic voting bloc becomes as committed to the Democrats as the African American voting block has in the past, why, we’re in trouble as a party and, I think, as a nation.”

I mean, if you’re trying to win votes because you’re right, you aren’t tied or even close to Obama right now in the polls, you probably shouldn’t be racist and ignorant. Oh wait, you’re solution is to ask your chronies to donate millions of dollars to you — because well, if you’re running for President you should just ask your rich friends for money, right? Because your business background somehow made you think that simply being elected for President would lead to a boost in the economy and increased capital. Now you think you’re Harry Potter or something with your magic wand. Right. (You probably think there’s no way he said this. Welp…he did).

“if we win on November 6th, there will be a great deal of optimism about the future of this country. We’ll see capital come back and we’ll see—without actually doing anything—we’ll actually get a boost in the economy.”

And that, my friends, is why Romney is ignorant, racist, selfish, and well, plain stupid. I don’t care what he says on camera. Speaking candidly when he had no idea that he was being videotaped shows his true colors and what he truly thinks about his egotistical self and his role to fix the United States. If you’re Hispanic, Mexican, or poor — welp, you’re screwed.

FOUR MORE YEARS. Obama2012.

Dear Mr. President

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Dear Mr. President,

            I have spent the past four years – five or six if you count your campaign – defending my love and respect for you as our leader based almost entirely on your character. In conversations about politics and bickering with friends and colleagues about whether you are a “good president,” I do not let myself get caught up in the decisions, policies, and complex Acts that you have made and passed to improve Healthcare, re-stabilize our economy, bring soldiers home from Afghanistan and Iraq, or reduce the unemployment rate in our country. Most of my friends scoff at my neglect for the intricacies and consequences of decisions that you have, according to them, single-handedly made.It is not that I neglect them, I just choose not to act like an expert amongst non-experts alike.  I do not let myself get caught up in arguments about your decisions because I, nor the people I converse with about such topics, have the knowledge base to know what exactly goes into these decisions and what outcomes were expected when decisions were made. Furthermore, we don’t have the knowledge base to completely understand what outcomes have occurred and what that means for our country. I share your frustration and distaste for cable news because no one knows what they are talking about 99.9% of the time. What the American public is fed through media, news, and dedicated bloggers about your decisions is about as valuable as the trash I took out this morning.

            As a disclaimer, I want to mention that I do follow your policies, decisions, and Acts that are passed or in committee to be determined. I applaud you for protecting the rights of women in an era where we constantly feel as though we’re being pushed back to 1942. I applaud your dedicate to the health of America and seeing the long term value of preventative healthcare. In fact, I applaud you, in general, for seeing the long term impact of your decisions rather than “what will this policy do for me and my administration in the next year or two.” That attitude is both dangerous and ignorant for the well-being of our country. Personally, I believe the uproar about your decisions over the past four years stems from the fact that America wants to see immediate change and yet 9 out of 10 times, change takes a long time. History and the reality of our own lives should be enough to show us that, but apparently we are not at the capacity, as a nation, to comprehend that. Myself included. I am desperate for change in higher education and financial aid as I drown in over $100,000 in student loan debt and I am not a lawyer or a doctor. But I am grateful for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program and I understand that change takes time, in this case, 10 years. We’ll get there.

But let me return to your character and my rationalization for my vote this coming election year. As a social worker, I value and depend upon the strengths-based approach and person-centered model when facing any situation or working with any individuals in my professional as well as personal life. I look at the election for president through this lens in two ways. First, I consider the president’s strengths. Your list is long and strong, Mr. President. You prioritize – so much that you only wear gray or blue suits to remove one more decision from the long list of those you make each and every day. You understand the necessity of routine when you have a schedule as chaotic, versatile, and demanding as your own, yet you do not lose sight of the value of surprise, freedom to participate in leisure activities, and freedom to “wander,” as you said in your interview with Michael Lewis. You cling to the reality and lifestyle of those who are not in public office because frankly, your decisions impact those people the most. In short, you recognize the constraint and privilege that comes with being President yet you do not let that dictate the choices you make every day about America. You are genuine. You also told Michael Lewis that you feel a lot better about decisions and arguments you are making when you believe the words you are saying. Every time I hear you speak, that is so obvious. Do I even have to mention that the same can be said for your beautiful, intelligent, and driven wife after her awesome speech at the Democratic Nation Convention? Her love for you was so obvious and pure throughout her entire speech. Lastly – though the list can go on and on – you know you are not always the expert and you appreciate the input of your team. This is evident in so many of your decisions but Michael Lewis exemplified this in his telling of your decisions to intervene in Libya. You called upon many staff, including junior staff, because having them make the argument you wanted to hear was more important than you making it yourself. A true leader must value and consider those who he leads in order to achieve success. You embody that.

When thinking of the presidential election from a person-centered lens, I first consider you as a person. Your story of working your way up and your modesty as you did so – your best friend didn’t even know you were as successful as you were until he read your book. The way you love Michelle and father your two stunningly beautiful daughters. The way you carry yourself in the public eye. The way you have your values and morals and refuse to loose sight of them despite the strong efforts to blur or taint them with politics and greed.The way you ensure clarity when making decisions and do not hesitate to reach out when you think you may be in over your head. The way you refuse to show emotion when the emotion is not genuinely there. The way you chose your words carefully and strategically not for a selfish reason but to ensure you are speaking clearly and adequately so the American people are aware of your expectations and intentions. You are a genuinely good person.

 Secondly, I view the presidential election through a lens that determines whether you value strengths-based and person-centered. You constantly refer to the strengths of our nation and how those strengths can contribute to policy and action for change. You constantly point out the working families and how hard they are trying to make ends meet despite facing several stressors and barriers. You focus on the good whenever you can and when you have to focus on the bad, you paint the picture of what a good outcome will be. You see the strengths in your staff and you utilize them. You see the strengths of the other party as you try to break down party tensions to achieve a common goal. You focus on the strengths of your administration and the strength that the American people portray as we enter into another election year rather than the flaws and faults of your competitor. In terms of the person-centered model, you constantly consider who will be impacted by the decisions that you make – whether it is the millions of people being threatened in Libya, the American soldiers fighting for our freedom, or the low income family trying to pay their mortgage but facing foreclosure. You consider the people. You are for the people.

Many people think I am crazy to focus on these aspects. But I really don’t think I am. Because when I fell in love with my partner, these were the attributes that I fell in love with. When I pick my friends and look back on my life-long friendships, these are the attributes I consider and depend on. When I interview for a job, I expect to see these attributes in my boss who is sitting in a leadership position. When I am stuck between a rock and a hard place at work, I look to people who will exemplify genuine and rational decision making skills to help me. When I chose to be a social worker I did so because I valued team work, strengths-based approach, meeting the person where they are at, and seeking justice for those who don’t know how to seek justice for themselves. I do not understand how America doesn’t think about the election and voting for president through this lens. Nor do I understand how we cannot hold our president to the same standards to which we hold the most important people in our lives. 

So when I said I don’t dwell on the intricacies of argument for and against your policy, I say this because I don’t have to. Just as I obeyed (for the most part) my parents rules because they had my best interest in mind. Just as I took the risk to fall in love hoping and deep down knowing my partner has and will always have my best interest in mind. Just as I trust my mentors and leaders that lead me to have not only my best interest in mind but those that we serve as social workers.I do not have faith that Mr. Romney will put party differences aside and do what is best for this country, especially the more vulnerable and discriminated. I do not have faith that Mr. Romney will fix our economy without sacrificing the poor and middle class. I do not have faith that “asking your parents for money” will solve the financial crisis affecting so many college students today. I do not have faith that Mr. Romney means well, cares about the American people, and can step aside and let others help him make decisions. At the end of the day. Romney does not epitomize a true, strong leader.

I have faith in you based on everything I discussed in this “letter” because I know you have the best interest of the people in mind. You’ve instilled that faith and trust, Mr. President, and for that you have my respect and my vote.

All my best,

A concerned but devoted citizen

Life as a Prostitute: The Realities are Largely Ignored.

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Today, Robin Hustle wrote a blog-piece for Jezebel entitled “How to tell your parents you’re a prostitute.” Of course, my interest was peeked. My first reaction was to the stereotypical photo used to compliment the blog: black, tall heels. The picture that has been engrained in our heads by Pretty Woman.

I am choosing to respond to this piece not out of a place of judgment for Ms. Hustle. In fact, I admire her confidence, self-awareness, and comfort in who she has grown up to be — an artist, a daughter, a prostitute. Not many people can achieve the seemingly confident, self-aware, comfortable state of mind and being like Robin displays in this blog.

With that being said, I find her blog to epitomize the dangers of a) referring to prostitution as sex work b) telling the story in the way that she did with no consideration of “the other side.” Robin Hustle had the fortunate opportunity to grow up with two very loving and supportive parents. Sure, they were awkward and in denial a little bit about her sexuality and then her chosen “profession,” but Robin notes how grateful she is for her parents support. She discusses the rationale behind choosing to be a prostitute — it was to be able to focus on what she really loved doing — art & writing, which we all know is not a lucrative career path to journey down. She was able to step back and assess her life and balance her dreams with paying the bills. She spoke of the men she had sex with with endearment and portrayed them as healthy transactions. She did mention she felt a little uncomfortable or afraid a few times, but overall, she considers her profession to be safe and healthy. In fact, she was “pissed” when her dad mentioned that he can only picture prostitution as exploitative. Her response to this goes something like this “me, of all people, c’mon dad. I’m not like that.” Okay what did she actually say? “You’ve known me for 28 years. When have I ever struck you as someone who would choose a demeaning profession?”

Well Ms. Hustle, it is a demeaning profession for most involved. You grew up exploring your love for art, writing, and talking about complex philosophical concepts with your loving dad. But did you know that the average age of entry into prostitution is 12 to 14. Think about the conversations you were having, the activities you were partaking in, and the love you experienced at that age. Now imagine millions of young girls across the globe being forced to sell their innocent, still developing bodies for sex. Think about the men who purchased sex from you and stop and wonder if they purchased sex from a minor the week before. You brush off Catherine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin’s research but they, along with Melissa Farley and Gloria Steinem, have spoken to tens of thousands of women and girls in prostitution. They have used sound research methods to report the extreme and extensive violence that takes place in the commercial sex trade, primarily at the hands of the johns — men who purchase sex. They have helped determine the average age of entry. They have established the pattern that pimps and traffickers prey on vulnerable girls — those who grew up without loving parents like yours, Ms. Hustle, those who grew up fearing the next time they were going to be sexually and/or physically abused, those who grew up living off of less than $1 to $2 a day. So many of these girls are given heroine, crack cocaine, meth — all to sustain them in the ‘industry’ and maintain compliance to continue to earn a profit for their pimp.

Just because you, Ms. Hustle, did not have a pimp because you were able to enter the sex trade of your own volition and you can remain in that industry so long as it “suits you,” and provides you with enough income that your pocket does not mean you are the norm. Telling your story did not imply you were trying to say your situation as a prostitute — or sex worker as you prefer — is the norm. But when you scoffed at the idea that you could be exploited, you not only separated yourself from those who are victimized in the sex trade every day but you put yourself above them. You spoke from a place of pure privilege — which is unavoidable most of the time — but you take that privilege for granted and refuse to face it and check what that means in the face of other realities. Your reality is quite frankly not the norm, Ms. Hustle. Trying to portray the sex industry by your lifestyle negates the violence, exploitation, and trauma that millions of girls are experiencing globally. By saying, “I’m not exploited. I’m not in a demeaning profession” and implying that therefore that is the true image of the sex trade is like saying “well the middle class and rich exists so who really cares about the poor.” Though Romney and Ryan try and plant that seed, I’m not letting it bloom and nor should you. It is extremely selfish, ignorant, and dangerous. It feeds into the flawed dialogue that prostitution should be legal because it’s not all that bad and women should be able to freely choose their profession.

Although I am thrilled that you have spent the past decade making substantial money, following your dreams and doing what you love, all while staying healthy and seemingly happy. I am not thrilled that you’ve tainted yet another person’s image of prostitution. It is not a healthy, safe, happy profession. THAT is the REALITY.

 

TVPA 2012: Duh.

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Dear Congressman, Senators, and President Barack Obama,

I wrote this blog-o-letter from a place of frustration, disappointment, and passion urging you to sign the Trafficking Victims Protection Re-authorization Act. I hope that you will remember those who came together to propose this bill in 2000 — Democrats and Republicans alike. I have faith that you will put all political differences boiling in this election year aside to continue to be the leading country in the world combating human trafficking. I trust that you will live up the standards championed in the Trafficking in Persons Report.

Indeed, the United States considers itself the land of the free, however, there are hundreds of thousands of victims of human trafficking trapped, isolated, confined, and abused right now in our country. Certainly the U.S. is “a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor, debt bondage, document servitude, and sex trafficking.” Right now, there are pimps waiting outside of group homes waiting to prey on the vulnerable young teenager that runs out of fear, confusion, and desperation for a better life. Right now, a 12 year old is being forced to turn her first trick. Right now, men, women, and children are putting in their 10th, 11th … 14th hour of the day and unsure when or if they’ll ever see payment. Right now, men, women, and children are sleeping with 20 other works on the floor of a dark, cold shack trying to catch the few ZZZzzzs that they can before their shift from hell begins again. Right now, men are purchasing sex from women and girls with very little chances of being arrested.
But you know all of this — the TIP report tells you this every year. You are more than aware of the cruel human rights violations happening on our soil, in our backyards to our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and children. You’re well aware and yet you have stalled for a year without reauthorizing this critical piece of legislation. How anyone can argue against providing support and seeking justice for victims of human trafficking is beyond my ability to reason.

The services provided directly stemming from the provisions of the TVPA have saved thousands of lives in the U.S. Furthermore, the TVPA of 2005 has ensured me a job today working with foreign-born victims. In 2005, the U.S. created the T-Visa and T derivative visa for foreign-born victims of trafficking in the United States. Instead of facing deportation and returning to their war-torn, impoverished home countries, the U.S. recognized the importance of protecting these undocumented victims and providing them with services. Despite tension over immigration laws, the TVPA of 2005 earned bi-partisan support offering services, benefits, and eventual citizenship for foreign-born victims of trafficking. Because of this, men, women, and children have been able to stay here, earn an education, live independently and slowly rebuild their lives that were destroyed through enslavement.

The TVPA is deeply rooted in the United States of America’s values of freedom, justice, and the pursuit of happiness. All victims of trafficking deserve to be served, healed, and empowered to piece together the life that was shattered by selfish, profit-driven traffickers in the United States and abroad. By stalling to re-authorization the TVPA, you are steering far away from these values. If you cannot see the value and history of these values, I fear for this upcoming election year and the future of the United States. As we struggle to solve poverty, redeem the economy, and stop war and strive for peace — all complex problems with conflicting solutions, I see the TVPA as a no-brainer.

So please, consider freedom, picture the men, women, and children who have not known freedom for weeks, months, and even years, and do the right thing as Congress enters into it’s last session. As we come up on the 150th anniversary of Lincoln proposing the Emancipation Proclamation, I hope you, too, believe that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist in the United States.”