December 31, 2018
It’s a universal truth – time passes more quickly as you get older. The span from 1970 to 1978 seemed to be a millennia when I was a kid. The jump from 2010 to 2018 was just a minute. And it doesn’t seem much has changed in those years (other than the fact we had a sane intelligent grown-up in the White House). The #1 song the first week of 2010 was Ke$ha’s “TiK ToK.” Think about the change of music from the beginning of 1960 to the end of 1968 – Marty Robbins’ “El Paso” to Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard it Through the Grapevine.” What was new in 2018?
It’s hard to sum up a block of 365 days. When I think of every stupid thing Donald Trump has done in 2018, I also think of Black Panther, the March for Our Lives, and the massive blue wave that brought the grown-ups back to Congress in November. It seemed like this would be the year that Mueller brought down Baby Trump, but let the man take his time and do it right. There are currently 17 (known) investigations related to Trump. There have been numerous indictments, guilty pleas, and prison sentences so far in this “witch hunt.” Trump is the guy who famously said, “I surround myself with the best people. I know the best people.” 2019 will be fun.
The madness of King Donald aside, 2018 on the home-front has been an exciting year that has seen my feet stepping on to more airplanes than ever. My work on extremism has taken me all over the world, including a UN workshop in Abu Dhabi, UAE, as well as scholarly meetings in Oslo, Norway and Washington DC. There were a few presentations in NYC, one in Chicago, and a ten-day community leader exchange to the UK to study countering violent extremism programs. My participation in DC on a congressional panel on hate groups was covered live on C-SPAN. And I did dozens of local presentations and trainings. Andrea came with me for the Oslo (via London) trip and I had a blast bringing Cozy with me on one of the New York trips. (That girl can now hail a cab.) So many highlights.
Every time I left the USA, people wanted to understand what’s happened to America? How could we let something like Donald Trump happen? I had to remind them that all countries have problems with isolationist nationalist demagogues. We just happened to end up with one who was a TV star. This also weighed heavily when Andrea and Cozy went to Mexico this year and we had to have multiple plans in case the racist Trump immigration policy (You don’t hear about any Canadians being deported) separated mother and child at the border.
On a personal level, the search for full time work continues. But I seemed to be working a lot, regardless. I clocked in a full year of teaching at Portland Community College with some of the most amazing and dedicated students I’ve ever had in my almost 30 years of teaching. I conducted numerous diversity trainings and led workshops for teachers. This year saw the birth of Randy Blazak Consulting LLC, to facilitate the work I do on criminal cases and consulting projects for the city. And of course, there were the weekly educational bus tours with the Fair Housing Council of Oregon. The best part was the fact that Andrea began her teaching work at Portland State and we could grade papers together.
I don’t know how to summarize a year. It seems like we started the year with a government shutdown and here we are again. I do know that Cozy went from 3 to 4, and that’s a light year in child development. She started the year ballet dancing in the living room and she’s ending 2018 by teaching us how to hula dance. My favorite new thing has been Andrea and my YouTube channel, Vinyl Fetish, where you can find us (often after too many drinks) discussing records. 2018 whizzed by like a whir of images; Finding Andrea in a record store in Oslo, Cozy heading off to see a Broadway musical (Frozen), me seeing Donald Trump in the back of his presidential limo, tweeting as he pulled into the White House. I have a feeling 2019 will be much more real, especially after the Democrats set up shop in the House.
I didn’t keep up my furious blogging schedule in 2019, but I did get some good pieces out (along with a piece for Huffington Post). Of the 43 articles on a wide variety of topics, my piece on Brett Kavanaugh and bro culture was the most popular post, followed by my Handmaid’s Tale-inspired “America is Becoming a Dystopian Nightmare: What Do We Do Now???” There will be plenty to write about in 2019 as Trump’s house of cards caves in, Cozy turns 5, Andrea and I settle into our roles as teachers, and patriarchy tries to desperately hold on to its violent reign of terror.
Let me revisit one of my favorite moments of 2018, meeting Gloria Steinem at a event I was speaking at in Manhattan. I asked her how she was explaining the whole Trump thing. She said, very clearly, that the moment a women is most at risk of being murdered by her abuser is when she is finally breaking free of him. We won’t be murdered. Let’s break free in 2019.
2018 WTW Posts
Let’s End Duality: Make America Grey Again (January 4, 2018)
In Defense of the Classroom (January 12, 2018)
Our White Supremacist President (January 16, 2018)
Gender – Nature vs. Nurture 7: Baby – Toddler – Girl (January 25, 2018)
Confronting Ableism by “Looking” in the Mirror (February 5, 2018)
On becoming the working poor or How I robbed Peter to pay Paul (February 9, 2018)
The Vinyl Fetish Club is here for your sexy music needs (February 14, 2018)
America is eating its young. Maybe it’s time to get the hell out. (February 15, 2018)
Generation Z will turn this gunship around (February 23, 2018)
My Conversation with Gloria Steinem (March 2, 2018)
Masculinity Isn’t Toxic. Toxic Masculinity Is (March 9, 2018)
Dad Love: An Open Letter to Non-Breeders (March 19, 2018)
What Do We Give the World? (March 29, 2018)
Jukebox Hero 3: Right Here, Right Now Watching the World Wake Up (April 5, 2018)
Dropping F Bombs and White Privilege (April 12, 2018)
Talking About Gender and Violence in the Middle East (April 19, 2018)
Incels: Just the latest chapter in the war on women (April 26, 2018)
Jukebox Hero 4: I’m Wide Awake – U2 (Part 2) (April 29, 2018)
Get out of your country! (May 15, 2018)
Entering the Phallic Phase: Psychoanalytic Feminists, Help! (May 24, 2018)
Guest Essay: The Status of Women by Andi Barrios (May 31, 2018)
Thinking about Racial Reparations (June 10, 2018)
Watching America die, I sent a Statue of Liberty to Donald Trump (June 20, 2018)
America is Becoming a Dystopian Nightmare: What Do We Do Now??? (June 28, 2018)
We’re all intersectional (just some more than others) (July 6, 2018)
Witnessing the end of the American Century from the former British Empire (July 14, 2018)
Imagining a Time After Nations (July 20, 2018)
What I’ve Learned about Countering Violent Extremism (is the opposite of what I’ve been told to believe) (August 3, 2018)
What Do We Do About the Nazis After Charlottesville? (August 11, 2018)
My best friend is 4 (August 17, 2018)
Can I be a feminist, too? (August 24, 2018)
She ain’t heavy, she’s my daughter: Trying to understand child abuse (August 31, 2018)
Are you “friends” with a Russian bot? Taking a stand against idiocracy (September 13, 2018)
Stop saying racists are bad people (September 21, 2018)
Brett Kavanaugh and Bro Culture: Let’s Look in the Mirror (September 28, 2018)
Columbus Day: Celebrating child rapists (October 7, 2018)
Taking Manhattan with a 4-year old (October 23, 2018)
President Trump is not smart enough not to throw America into a civil war (October 29, 2018)
At which mass shooting will your loved ones be killed? (November 8, 2018)
I’ve been given a small space, against the wall (November 19, 2018)
Stone Mountain is a rock with a lot of racial baggage: Finding solutions (November 22, 2018)
“I just had to let it go…” On Parenting and Mortality (December 8, 2018)
Dad’s Top 10 Favorite New LPs of 2018 (December 20, 2018)
2018 in Review – Grow up and see the world (December 31, 2018)