2016: End of a Rough Year

December 31, 2016

I don’t think I’ve ever seen people so angry at a year, a manmade block of twelve months, like it was some independent actor. “2016 kicked my ass!” Granted, 2016 was the year that took away Carrie Fisher and gave us President-Elect Donald “Pussy Grabber” Trump, but it’s not the damn year’s fault. We’re all glad it’s over, but there’s little hope that 2017 is gonna be any better as America suffers the results of the greatest con in history and deals with even more cultural icon deaths. (Can I get $20 on Hugh Hefner by Valentines Day?)

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On the home front, it was a wonderful year as I watched our daughter Cozy go from a toddling toddler to an articulate 2-year-old who is happy to argue that Mickey and Minnie Mouse are really the same person/mouse and knows the proper usage of no, nope, and “No way, Mommy.” She can also sing “Hey Jude” all the way through. (Well, at least the good bits.) It’s been an insane year watching her transition from “baby” to “person.” A highlight of each day has been picking up Andrea from her job at the law firm and relaying what amazing feat she’s accomplished that day. Yesterday she put on a dress by herself and then put a little Santa figure on a spinning turntable and screamed, “Help, Daddy!” over and over again. Poor Santa.

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This blog has been a great way to chart both her development and the development of the world she is growing up in. I’ve been able to bounce back from macro to micro on a weekly basis. From her potty training to the terrorist attack in Brussels, it’s all been here, warm and fuzzy moments and moments of shear horror. Of the 54 posts in 2016, the most popular  (over 9,200 reads) and discussed (30 comments) was one of my several pieces on rape culture, entitled Why we can’t have good things: Men and rape culture (June 2). My favorite piece was actually written by Andrea, a powerful guest essay on her border crossing, that was latter published in the collection, A Journey of Words.

Donald Trump’s name was in the title of seven blogposts but, in a way, his tiny fingers were in all of them as he is the figurehead of the cultural backlash that our Cozy must live in. If Russian Stooge Trump (or Crooked Trump, either works) makes it to the end of his first term, Cozy will be six-years-old and we’ll be hoping there will still be public schools to send her to. Let’s hope there’s still a United States, as well.

There has been plenty of commentary on Cozy’s gendered (or non-gendered) development, as well as commentary on shows we watched while she was asleep or at her abuela’s (The Walking Dead, The Good Wife, Stranger Things, etc.). A little bit about sports, Sigmund Freud, and maybe not enough about why saying “all lives matter” makes you sound racist.

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The blog has really helped me with my writing. The piece on Bowie’s passing was published in a magazine and two of my pieces on Trump, “Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity” and “Who the hell is supporting Donald Trump?”, were published in Counterpunch. Three of my favorite pieces were written far from Portland. My piece on Patti Smith was written in a coffee shop in Greenwich Village, New York that she hangs out in, the post on the Orlando gay bar shooting was written in Washington, DC, and the piece about sexism in Cuba was written on a flight from Havana to Mexico. Like a rolling stone.

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Who knows were 2017 will take us. It feels like the Trump trolls, Trump billionaires, and Trump generals want to roll America back to a dark time where the freedom of anyone who wasn’t a straight white cis-gendered Christian male was just a far off dream. But I think they underestimate our will to defend what we’ve won and fight on every single front, including on-line. My sincere hope is that Donald will realize this job is a bit harder than he hoped and go back to his tacky gold castle after a few months of trying to understand how the Constitution actually works.

In the meantime, we will be raising our daughter to stand strong against the next generation of pussy grabbers that Trump has been fostering. We will travel, write, make art, and continue to rage against those in power who rage for the machine. And maybe dad will take a great job somewhere on earth to help move the wheels of justice in the right direction.

Here are the Watching the Wheels posts of 2016. Thank you for letting me share these thoughts with you.

The Kid’s First Trip to the ER: Anatomy of a Panic (January 4)

My Little New York Patti Smith Dream (January 9)

How David Bowie Bent My Gender (January 11)

I’m in charge of your butthole: The intimate world of parenting (January 20)

What does the Bundy militia really want? (January 25)

Violence is the answer: I’m over football. (February 2)

Pushing back against trolls (February 10)

A Valentines Poem for My Beloved Wife (February 14)

18 thoughts for Cozy’s 18-month birthday (February 17)

Ben Carson is not retarded: The language of marginalization (February 23)

A Coyote brought her to us – Cozy’s birth week (March 2)

Who the hell is supporting Donald Trump? (March 10)

Me and My Shadow: More baby brain fun (March 17)

Living in an age of terror: Brussels (March 22)

A Zombie Ate My Baby! Social anxiety and The Walking Dead (March 28)

A Year as a Penniless Writer (April 6)

The Feminine Mystique: Stay-at-Home Dad Edition (April 14)

We need a Rosa Parks of genitals: North Carolina and the need to pee (April 21)

Prince Died for Your Sins: Prophecy and Phallacy (April 28)

Farewell to my Good Wife (May 4)

Cinco de Mayo guest essay: A Conversation with the Serpent (May 5)

Saying “No” to Elmo: The Superego vs. the red monster (May 13)

The Millennial Effect: Here comes Generation Z (May 18)

Douchebags, Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The perils of wounded masculinity (May 25)

Why we can’t have nice things: MEN and rape culture (June 1)

Sometimes you really need a moment. (June 12)

Ode to a Gay Bar (June 15)

Gender – Nature vs. Nurture 6: Fierce fashionista for a fiercer world (June 22)

Dad Love 8 – I’m on drugs (June 30)

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The Man Way: The stupidity of fighting terrorism with more terrorism (July 6)

Here’s Why Saying “All Lives Matter” Makes You Sound Racist (July 12)

The Casual Sociologist: Causally watching race and races from Mexico (July 26)

Empathy and PTSD in Rape Culture: Maybe a veteran would understand (better than Trump) (August 3)

Dad Love 9: I Become Winona Ryder in Stranger Things (August 8)

Feministing in Havana (August 14)

I found a 2-year-old! (August 22)

My Unintended Gap Year: The humility of looking for work (September 1)

So I Married an Alien (September 8)

The Princess Problem (September 15)

Owning My White Privilege: Stories I won’t (have to) tell my children (September 21)

How Donald Trump makes me a better feminist (September 28)

The Dream Police Are Inside My Head (October 6)

Donald Trump for President of Rape Culture (October 10)

Can you lead an authentic life in this mortgaged world? (October 20)

What drugs go well with a toddler? (October 26)

My toddler has flown the nest and I don’t know what to do with my hands. (November 3)

11/8 > 9/11: Trump’s body count starts now (November 10)

Bring on the anal phase! (November 15)

Watching the Wheels turns 2 and can use the potty! (November 23)

Butterflies for the Children of Aleppo (December 1)

Delayed gratification and Santa’s Advent calendar (December 7)

Writing to Live: The birth of the “rock novel” (December 14)

Trump Lessons 1: Is this sexist? (December 22)

Father Randy’s Top 20 for 2016, Back to Vinyl (December 27)

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8 thoughts on “2016: End of a Rough Year

    1. I’m lookingoing forward to hearing about all the damage these “protesters” cause in their city and say it’s their right to do that. Then after all the damage is done, they’ll attempt to raise money, but not nearly enough to fix the damage. Portland is a prime example.

      I do hope that Trump does the one thing that the Obama administration didn’t do and that is make peace with Israel. Not to mention, try to decrease our national debt. When Bush left office, we were $8 trillion in debt, now we’re over $20 trillion. We are really behind in academics, and we are a country that is taken as a joke. I hope Trump can change all that.

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      1. Your concern for ordinary taxpayers is duly noted so how about raising money for the taxpayers in NY who are obliged to fork over a million dollars a day to pay for the Trumps to live there, disrupting lives day in and day out.

        Speaking of damages, just in our county, we’ve already had to pay for repairing buildings and underpasses that had swastikas painted on them, and for school busses that had swastikas painted on them, and their tires flattened and school had to be cancelled. Oh, um, right, we have to love these people, they should be a protected class, like gay people. But at least Democrats put up a sign telling nazis to move along. Unlike Christians who hunger to practice their religion on unsuspecting people. But they’re such cowardly hypocrites, they won’t put up a sign telling gays to move along, like they actually believe what they claim to believe, because that’s bad for business. They’d rather call people an abomination to God behind closed doors thinking they won’t get caught, until, in a fit of Christian martyrbation, they dox the plaintiff with their cellphone. They can’t ever be arsed to express even a teeny little bit decency, honesty, or even obey the laws of their state. And supposedly they’re all about “states rights” and “law and order”. Right, that’s for “other people”. Not for Trump who has bragged that he “has the right genes”, or his supporters. They won! And look, they went so far out on a limb as to say they don’t like slavery! They don’t! So don’t call them racist!!! And make with the ass kissing. They weren’t in the army to protect your freedom to protest, don’t make the mistake of thinking that, oh no, they went in so they could tell you that you need to sit down, kiss their ass, show some respect and know your place. And they call it “freedom”.

        Meanwhile Trump just said “Computers are complicated. I don’t know about security. Let’s move on”. So he is confused by computers and doesn’t care about security, but did he have to broadcast it to the world? Isn’t that just perfect. I feel so safe now.

        With all the Christian Creationists like Trump pick Betsy Devos running the government, our poor academics standards are locked in. “Teach the controversy”. Evolution is “just a theory”. “It isn’t settled science”. She is all in for revoking child labor laws. Put them in the mines that Trump wants to revive. Even Trump wanted to jail and execute children, he even took out ads in the paper to call for their execution. Oh, tell me again, how much these people just luuuuurve children. Even just the basics, children, they can’t wait to put them to work and exploit them to promote their religion. But of course the big big deal is we have policy disagreements with Israel. That is totally what the vaunted and precious White Working Class has been bellyaching about, lol.

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  1. Those are very valid concerns. Yes, I am a Christian and I’m not ashamed to say I’m a Christian. I would like you to know that not all Christians are like the Westboro Baptist Church. Yes, we don’t believe in same sex relations, abortion, and many other controversial topics, but not all Christians are in your face finger pointing and shaming. Me, I’m the type of Christian that will be your friend and pray for you.

    As sad as it is with people vandalizing public property with swastikas, I don’t ever hear about all the graffiti that’s done. By no means to I think it’s right to do that. I wish everyone would understand that is only defacing the community.

    I’ll do the very same thing for Trump as I’ll do for Bush. I’ll praise him for the good and I’ll criticize him for the bad. I’m not one of these people who has blindfolds on pretending nothing wrong is happening because I know things are messed.

    It doesn’t matter who is in the White House, gays are always going to judged, persecuted, and criticized. You can put programs in motion that helps and benefits them, but there’s going to be someone that mistreats them.

    One thing that we as a country need to do is rather then causing divisions, protesting/rioting, and so much more, we need to try to unite as a country. As the people said when Obama was elected, we have to accept that he was selected to be the new president. In the military, we have to take an oath saying “I will obey the orders of the President.” That means I may not like him as a person, but I will respect his title and obey his orders. As much as I don’t like Obama, I still respect his title and position.

    As far creation vs evolution, evolution still has something they can’t prove. Evolution talks about the big bang, but the one thing it can’t prove is where the first atom came from to cause the big bang to happen.

    Going into 2017, I do hope and pray that we can find a way to come together and not be enemies.

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    1. And… “I would like you to know that not all Christians are like the Westboro Baptist Church,” … well, that’s funny, I never said you were.

      I was addressing what you self righteously wrote last week when you compared the restaurant owners in Hawaii to the cake bakers in Oregon. You want people who broke no laws and voiced their minds publicly, since, you know, we hates political correctness and from what I recall, Trump supporters just want to “tell it like it is.” (Oh, I get it, it’s ok when Trump supporters do it to others, but not to you) to face punishment because people who actually broke laws by practicing their religion on others and doxxing them were punished. They acted indecently and cruelly and I’m sure you’ve been on their side ever since. So to me it looks like you’re invoking a horrible church to try to absolve yourself, make yourself appear “better than them”. That’s what Evangelical Fred Clark calls the

      “Thornton Melon morality. Melon was the character played by Rodney Dangerfield in the movie Back to School, the wealthy owner of a chain of “Tall & Fat” clothing stores whose motto was “If you want to look thin, you hang out with fat people.” That approach — finding people we can compare-down to — might make us feel a little better about ourselves, but it doesn’t change who or what we really are. “

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    2. See my other comment below re: your claims about evolution and the rest. I made the mistake of trying to reply on my iPhone at a party and then things went haywire. But your claims about what evolution addresses are utterly erroneous, you are not aware of the continuous, egregious vandalism from your little bubble, you say you will not have blindfolds on, yet you’ve demonstrated, with your own words, that you already do.

      You don’t know. You admit several times you don’t know what’s been going on. You also don’t know, even after the Iraq debacle, that you can’t defeat an ideology with guns, so for some reason you think Nazism was soundly defeated because the allies won. You obviously never heard of Stormfront, which I won’t link to.

      As an aside, you probably think we went to Germany for the express purpose of rescuing the Jews from the Nazi’s like The Super Friends with capes flapping. I know enough from Christians who obscenely make that claim, that is when they’re not denying the Holocaust altogether. Yet how is that even possible when the soldiers clearly stumbled onto the camps, having no idea they were there, and completely unprepared to handle the prisoners. But that never stops overreaching Christians from claiming credit, oh yes, they knew all along, they are heroes, even after the US turned away Jewish refugee children, sent them back to die. Christians just have such a heroic vision of themselves swimming before their eyes, why bother picking up a book or listening to firsthand accounts to see what really happened.

      I’ve even encountered an earnest but deluded Christian who used this historical revisionism to bolster his cockamamie argument as to why God had to harden Pharoah’s heart, just had to. I’m pretty sure he considered himself “one of the good ones” because he wasn’t in the WBC. Meanwhile he accuses others of promoting an “agenda” while engaging in historical revisionism, simultaneously exploiting an erasing the history of an entire group of people to goose his own agenda.

      Yes, you’re ashamed of your slaveholding family who probably quote mined bible verses to support their desire and God given right to continue to own humans. You manage to go that far, but you resent anyone who presses you to go any further. But once again, you can’t defeat an ideology with guns.

      All of it never crossed your radar and quite frankly, it offends you and it’s so unfair when people aren’t perpetually giving you the credit you feel is coming to you for knowing a pinch of history and doing the barest minimum, including saying “at least I’m not part of the WBC!”. How many ways have you said “why aren’t you all kissing my ass and giving me the respect I so clearly deserve, see how I’m rising above you and asking for unity, as long as it’s on my terms” so far at this point. Like, about 30 ways, according to my count. Yet you expect everyone to believe that you are so principled that for sure will be hold Trump accountable. And then you wonder why people are protesting.

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  2. No. Evolution does not ever ever talk about the Big Bang at all. Evolution never claims to address anything regarding the Big Bang in any way, Christian’s only disingenuously pretend that it does. If you are that concerned about education as much as you claim, and a person presenting a case in good faith, you would never conflate the 2.

    Yes, yes, we all know #nitallchrustians, why don’t you spread the word to Mike Pence. I know, I know, you want to be judged by what you feel is the best of your group while you are very quick to say “oh, it’s really the Democratics who are the real racists, they are the ones who supported slavery 150 years ago” while not bothering to do any research on that because you don’t like talking about race, unless you can bring it up yourself to accuse others.

    But it seems that mistreatment and persecution of gays including gay children is just going to keep happening, but it’s just the way it is, as long as you’re not all WBC then it’s unnecessary to address it except elect Pence who believes in reparative therapy. Right. Got it. Tell me again about #notallchristians.

    I will show Trump as much respect as he showed Obama, with his birtherism witch hunts throughout his entire presidency. I think that’s pretty fair. I mean, Trump wanted to shake things up, do things differently, so the old norms including obedience and respect for the position can also get tossed with the rest of it. You reap what you sow.

    I hope that Trump does well but I don’t go on websites with a giant

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    1. Chip on your shoulder, accusing one side and one side only of damage, of riots, complaining when they protest loudly and violently, then complaining when they protest quietly sitting down, and then make a plea for unity. Because it sounds like you want everyone else to do the heavy lifting while you sit there and say “I’m one of the good ones, I’ll be your friend and pray for you”.

      Sorry, but there isn’t one single thing that you wrote that lines up with the glowing image you have of yourself.

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