9/6/12 5:14 pm
I felt 12 years old today. Sitting in the back seat of my parents car, after they picked me up from work. I am 45.
Traffic is especially heavy this hour, semi-trucks barrel past, their brakes and muffler engage, discharge, engage…keeping pace with our car. I barely notice the sirens or the cars whizzing past to cut in front of us. My “mom ears” are on – a colloquialism my daughter offered when I was busy online or on my phone, compartmentalizing and blocking out any input. It became a bad habit.
I’m happy to not be driving for once, happy to be driven. My step-dad is sitting in the passenger seat directly in front – I don’t recognize him anymore…at least from the back seat. He’s looking decidedly older, his birthday was today, and at 67, I realize he probably won’t change much. So set in his ways and means of decision-making. His life…oh God – it was rough. Mine, was tough, but with so much potential….his was rough and during the 50s and 60s. Despite our history, and our most recent falling out – I begin to wonder if maybe he’s open to seeing some things a bit differently…
Dad’s your typical Republican; economically conservative, a former cop of 35 years – completely biased and successful in suppressing outward bigotry for the past 10 or so. Lately, he’s been under the impression that I’m..I dunno … stealing from them? I would laugh if it weren’t so pathetic.
How can you steal from “nothing?”
He’s pretty much lost everything due to his bad choices, and bad luck: his license, his car, his job … basically his freedom. The financial toll is wearing on him and my step-mom. They bicker a lot more. Our house (his house), though seemingly well-maintained on the outside, is in utter disarray on the inside. Gutting it would feel more homey. Maybe a bit of paint? I asked him once, he’s far too disillusioned…even to do that.
I’m not sure that’s the word for it, but I’ll think on it and get back to you. So. Yeah. He’s conservative. I’m not. He wants to keep guns legal, of course; wants less government, tax breaks for the companies will bring more jobs; wants people to “find their moral center” and “get back to basics.”
Right now he’s living pretty fucking basic.
He blames crime and poverty on the lazy immigrants. I think, to him, our black population is all immigrant-based. Ugh. He couldn’t understand why I couldn’t get a job. Any. Job. “You’re a smart girl, why don’t you walk up to Cub Foods and fill out an application?”
“It doesn’t work like that anymore Dad, everything’s online now.”
“Aren’t you a computer-saavy person?”
“Yup, believe me, Dad, I’m trying.”
So. After our last passive aggressive bout of “I’m going to eat all your food and then what will you do with no money coming in yet, Lazy-Child-O-Mine?” I told him a little story…
Slowly at first. Talking about this was hard for me and I had to be very careful so he would understand. Plus, talking about politics with him was usually taboo. But let’s start with jobs. We begin talking about business and about how immigrants are coming into this country “taking away our jobs.”
Well I agree to a certain extent, but not how he thinks it’s happening. So I say “Well, Dad, you know big business is kinda shipping them out of our country too…overseas.”
Big Business. Lots of Lobbyists.
Anyway, I nod and start to talk from a different angle. Well, you know how I’ve been on this human-trafficking kick, how I’m researching different programs I could become involved in, programs that assist victims of human trafficking. It’s really exploded due to the increase in online gaming and social networking.
Then I told him about my cousin, and how I think she’s living in L.A. as a webcam sex worker – nobody knowing how she got there, and highlighted the rest of our family’s plight – especially the women.
Then I said…”you know, I had a stalker too, probably still do. Really tried to get me to do some weird stuff.”
I let him stew for a bit. A couple days later, we played another game called “hide the sunglasses.”
And so this morning on the way to work, I started talking to him and my step-mom about my situation. He asked how I could tell I was being stalked. “Well, I know enough about technology, to know bad stuff is happening to me, dad.”
“Do you guys remember about 20 years ago, when Bush announced they were planning a ‘New World Order’ or some such? Well, so what if a bunch of other countries took offense…you know if they weren’t already offended by the States.”
So many countries seem to hate us, are we already a foregone conclusion?
I continued to ask them if they remember hearing about that Kony 2012 campaign.
No….oh wait, maybe… wasn’t that a hoax?
Nope. Joseph Kony is this African Warlord who kidnaps children then tortures and brainwashes them to do his bidding, including going back and destroying their own homes and families. I’m not sure how active he is now – but my theory is that Kony saw that “New World Order” peace and decided to take action. And maybe there are lots of Kony’s. And maybe there are lots of countries being destroyed.
I had an online course with someone from one of the countries near there, and he took a shine to me. So it seems. Hacked my email, my phone, my skype, my computer, figured out my gaming accounts, downloaded key loggers, the whole bit. Then he would “appear” at very opportune moments or happen to mention things I had been emailing other people about, or start talking about a course or a job, etc etc. I thought we had so much in common. And then he wanted assistance with a project that he was working on with our professor. Telling me he was planning on building a school back in Africa and would love it if I wanted to be a part of it. Asked me to go to conventions with him, etc. etc. All very subtle, but seemingly on the level.
And then I moved in with a girl. And joined a Buddhist organization. I’m such a risk-taker.
And he got more assertive…started talking more contrived, about how my Buddhist organization was growing in Africa and China. Mentioning they had a “cure” for lesbians in his country, talking about the number of wives the men could have. Then he talked about how he knew important people back home and how he was hosting a V.I.P. from Uganda – “Connie” – in his home in the Cloud.
It got weirder after that. And I got scared, and I still am…but I’ll never let it decide my fate.
Tribal Warfare is all about targeting and destroying from the inside out. I used to be able to see it online, but I can’t find it too much anymore. It starts with targeting and stalking individuals – or following other groups that are doing this and then piggybacking onto their efforts. Making individuals weaker and more vulnerable than they already are. Creating situations in which they make or are forced to make poor choices. Preying on their secrets and insecurities. They isolate targets, brainwash them into thinking they’re crazy or less than, and once they have ‘nothing left’ they use whatever means they can to get those individuals to join together and do it to someone else. Maybe it’s for money, or power, or sex – maybe it’s under the guise of righteousness or justice, or because they’re being blackmailed. They prey on values, morals and beauacracy. Ruin an individual, then the family, then the community…and then they come in and institute their own policies (going back to basics, redacting women’s rights) take what they want from whoever they want. And if they can traffic a few white blonde girls in the meantime, all the more better.
“So, maybe this is all about ‘Right Here Right Now’, Dad. Maybe he’s the man for this job, right now. You KNOW all this didn’t just start 4 years ago.”
And I squeezed his shoulder and said quietly, “Happy Birthday, Dad. I love you.”
He couldn’t look at me the rest of the night, but I swear I heard the Democratic Convention coming from his room later on. Maybe my dad is more “misaligned” than he is “disillusioned.”
Everyone wants to be part of the solution…I get it. However….
IMO, the solution is deceptively simple, but oh so utterly hard to do:
- Just stop. Stop blaming, hating and “contributing” to anyone else’s misery.
- Talk about stuff.
- Know you’re loved, love yourself..feel it in your bones. People have got some weird shit in their closet, 99% of us are no different than you.
- Keep your family close, no matter what.
- Sing… and Dance.
Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: But it ain’t all buttons and charts, little albatross. You know what the first rule of flying is? Well, I suppose you do, since you already know what I’m about to say.
River Tam: I do. But I like to hear you say it.
Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: Love. You can learn all the math in the ‘Verse, but you take a boat in the air that you don’t love, she’ll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps her in the air when she oughta fall down, tells you she’s hurtin’ ‘fore she keens. Makes her a home.
River Tam: Storm’s getting worse.
Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: We’ll pass through it soon enough.