George H.W Bush's Relationship With The Black Community

As A Black Woman, George H. W. Bush Wasn't My Hero

But maybe he was a hero to somebody else.

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Many Americans, world leaders, and dignitaries paid their last respects to former President George H.W Bush on December 5th, and I am not ashamed to say that I wasn't one of them.

Like most of you, I was taught that if I didn't have anything nice to say, I should just keep my damn mouth shut, but then again, where is the fun in that?

Throughout the day, I caught snippets of the service televised from inside the National Cathedral in Washington, and I was arbitrary, to say the least. It was a nice service, I mean if you enjoy classical hymn's, unfunny anecdotes and an orange president in the front row, but it was also prevaricating.

H.W Bush was described as "close to perfect," by his son, and many others spoke on the late-president as a dignified leader who led with courage, honor, and integrity. And I am sure he encompassed all of those traits---to somebody, but I can't help but not think of his arduous legacy on the topic of race. And somebody needs to critique his infamous way of doing politics and the nasty, fear-mongering way he won his presidency in the first place.

The former President had a political career that encompassed the decades surrounding the Jim Crow era and the civil rights movement, respectively. The political arena shifted, and it was the first time in American political history where it actually mattered were you morally fell in regards to race. You were either racist, or you weren't. And to keep it simple, I'm not talking about covert or institutional racism (yet.) I'm referring to overt, release the hounds, open the fire hose, bomb the church, beat 'em, tie 'em to a fan and drown 'em, shoot him in the head, strange fruit racism. And President H.W Bush seemed to ride that line throughout his political career.

On one hand, he would vote in favor of the 1968 fair housing act, openly denounce the Ku Klux Klan and its former leader, and appoint Colin Powell, as the first black Secretary of State. But none of that leaves us sure of his view on black people as he has also opposed civil rights legislation, referred to his own (half Mexican) grandchildren as "the brown ones," and put that troll of a man, Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court.

But nothing said, "piece of sh..." like his strategy of subtle stereotyping, playing on suspicion, fear and group-based guilt.

Bust got elected president after a campaign sullied by the egregious Willie Norton ad, about a black who murdered a white woman during a temporary release from prison.

Now, what we are not going to do is pretend not to see the stereotypical and damaging narrative of the big scary black guy, and the poor innocent white women being used to further a political and capitalist agenda.

While Bush's campaign did not actually release the ad, and it instead came from a third-party group, Bush absolutely exploited its influence as well as the image of "the dangerous black man." His 1988 campaign ran on his "touch on crime" stance, and he absolutely took advantage of the ad's effectiveness---as opposed to condemning it.

While the "purpose" of the ad was to criticize opponent, Michael Dukakis,' lax stance on crime, and support of furlough programs, many, including myself, would argue that if this was the true nature of the ad, and not to exploit the image of "the black man," why not run the ad without the face of Willie Norton? Wouldn't it have conveyed the same message?

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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Dear Senator Walsh, I Can't Wait For The Day That A Nurse Saves Your Life

And I hope you know that when it is your time, you will receive the best care. You will receive respect and a smile. You will receive empathy and compassion because that's what we do and that is why we are the most trusted profession.

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Dear Senator Walsh,

I can't even fathom how many letters you've read like this in the past 72 hours. You've insulted one of the largest, strongest and most emotion-filled professions.. you're bound to get a lot of feedback. And as nurses, we're taught that when something makes us mad, to let that anger fuel us to make a difference and that's what we're doing.

I am not even a nurse. I'm just a nursing student. I have been around and I've seen my fair share of sore legs and clinical days where you don't even use the bathroom, but I am still not even a nurse yet. Three years in, though, and I feel as if I've given my entire life and heart to this profession. My heart absolutely breaks for the men and women who are real nurses as they had to wake up the next morning after hearing your comments, put on their scrubs and prepare for a 12-hour day (during which I promise you, they didn't play one card game).

I have spent the last three years of my life surrounded by nurses. I'm around them more than I'm around my own family, seriously. I have watched nurses pass more medications than you probably know exist. They know the side effects, dosages and complications like the back of their hand. I have watched them weep at the bedside of dying patients and cry as they deliver new lives into this world. I have watched them hang IV's, give bed baths, and spoon-feed patients who can't do it themselves. I've watched them find mistakes of doctors and literally save patient's lives. I have watched them run, and teach, and smile, and hug and care... oh boy, have I seen the compassion that exudes from every nurse that I've encountered. I've watched them during their long shifts. I've seen them forfeit their own breaks and lunches. I've seen them break and wonder what it's all for... but I've also seen them around their patients and remember why they do what they do. You know what I've never once seen them do? Play cards.

The best thing about our profession, Senator, is that we are forgiving. The internet might be blown up with pictures mocking your comments, but at the end of the day, we still would treat you with the same respect that we would give to anyone. That's what makes our profession so amazing. We would drop anything, for anyone, anytime, no matter what.

You did insult us. It does hurt to hear those comments because from the first day of nursing school we are reminded how the world has zero idea what we do every day. We get insulted and disrespected and little recognition for everything we do sometimes. But you know what? We still do it.

When it's your time, Senator, I promise that the nurse taking care of you will remember your comments. They'll remember the way they felt the day you publicly said that nurses "probably do get breaks. They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day." The jokes will stop and it'll eventually die down, but we will still remember.

And I hope you know that when it is your time, you will receive the best care. You will receive respect and a smile. You will receive empathy and compassion because that's what we do and that is why we are the most trusted profession.

Please just remember that we cannot properly take care of people if we aren't even taken care of ourselves.

I sincerely pray that someday you learn all that nurses do and please know that during our breaks, we are chugging coffee, eating some sort of lunch, and re-tying our shoes... not playing cards.

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