Growing Up in America
The Domestic Terrorism against our Children
By Dee Jae Cox
I was FOUR the first time I remember hearing gunshots. Loud, reverberating, deafening… Pop, Pop, Pop, as my mother shoved me under the bed, begging me to stay there, stay silent and don’t come out no matter what I heard. She was trying to leave my father again, he had found her apartment, there was the sound of glass shattering and splintering into tiny fragments as he took aim at all of the windows and from my dark hiding place I could see tiny droplets of glass rain scatter on the floor, I closed my eyes and willed myself not to scream. Pop, Pop, Pop…
I was FIVE the first time I saw a gun up close, my father resting the stock of a rifle against his hip. The barrel pointed at my grandmother, as he told me to put my shoes on and that I was leaving with him. My grandmother had taken on the role of caretaker while my mother was at work. But she was no match for a gun and so she stood silent as I was ushered out of the apartment.
I was EIGHT the first time I attended a funeral. A 32-year-old mother of four small children who had gone to a friend’s house and had in some way angered the woman’s abusive husband who then just picked up his gun and shot her. It was that quick. She had cared for me. Fed me when I was left alone. Her daughters were my friends. And with the single pull of a trigger, she was dead. Her children's lives irrevocably changed and devastated by this madman.
Pop… Pop… Pop…
I had never experienced death before. Never experienced the end result of the terror that I lived with. And now there it was stretched out before me.
I was TEN the first time that I fired a gun. It was big and heavy and when it fired the kick knocked me in one direction and the gun in another. My father laughed. He had known it would do that. He had not even considered the danger to others or me. The sound was deafening. The noise and jolt terrifying.
Me on my ass shaking and scared, met with my father’s laughter.
I was FOURTEEN the first time I had a gun pointed at my face. I was battered, badly beaten and still running my mouth as my only form of defense. My father, with his hand steady, finger on the trigger, calmly said, “When you think you can out run a bullet, then you can talk back to me.”
I thought he was going to kill me.
I thought that I wanted him to.
One POP and I would finally escape the abuse.
I was EIGHTTEEN the first time I held a gun and learned that it was called a weapon and its sole purpose was to kill. It has no other function. People or animals, the shooter gets to decide. The Army gave me a medal when I hit just the right spot on the target. I wasn’t afraid of the noise anymore. But I learned a healthy respect for the carnage and destruction my weapon could inflict. I had grown up with guns and accepted their presence as a normality without questioning the need for such an ‘equalizer’ as my father had called them. The Army taught me that a weapon wasn’t a toy, a joke or a harmless bravado. It was designed to kill. And when I got out of the service I actually missed the security and the protection that I had felt with my weapon in a holster against my body. I felt vulnerable, but I had learned enough to know that the security it had given me was a fallacy. I’m not of the belief that the more people who are armed, the safer we are. I had grown up in a home with many guns and I never, ever, felt safe.
This is America, the land of the free and the home of the brave. We value our constitution and we fight for the right to bear arms. And if this is an average day, 91 Americans will die today from gun violence. If this is an average month, 51 women will be shot and killed by a current or former husband or boyfriend, the presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the odds that the woman will be murdered by 5 times. If this is an average year, a gun will kill 12,000 people in this country, an estimated 3,000 of them will be children.
I woke up on my birthday, June 12, 2016, to the news that the most deadly mass shooting in the history of our country had just occurred. 49 innocent people were dead, 50 seriously or critically injured. The knowledge that this was a hate crime against the LGBT community made me choke. Every mass shooting had new targets, but motivated by the same hatred and rage against one group or another. I thought about the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, 27 killed, 20 of them were six and seven year old children. And since that incident another 188 school shootings have occurred.
Mass murders and single shootings, continue to happen in churches and clinics, in homes and businesses all across the country, everywhere we go, there are crazy people with guns. Men who hate women, Men who hate Blacks, Men who hate children, Men who kill in the name of religion or politics or whatever other insane excuse they can come up with to justify their violence. Men who can buy a gun easier than some can buy a six-pack of beer. This is America and we cling to our antiquated notion that the Second Amendment’s reference to a ‘Well Armed Militia’ isn’t referring to the National Guard, it gives individual citizens the right to strap an AK 47 to their back and walk through Wal-Mart.
Pop… Pop… Pop….
How many of America’s children are growing up with Domestic Terrorism? Not inflicted by men who speak a different language and hate America. But by Men who vow their love of God and Country, but still would rather risk seeing children terrorized than prevent even the craziest of abusers or mentally unstable persons from buying a weapon or strapping that AK 47 to their back. American Children who grow up with the fear and risk of gun violence in their homes, in their schools, in their churches and in every aspect of their lives. Arming a ten year old isn’t the solution. Teaching children to fear immigrants and different religions while ignoring the threat at home is the true act of terrorism.
History should be the wild fire that burns brightly and prevents the darkness from dragging us back into a brutal past.
I saw the film, Suffragette, this week and was struck by the power of this moving chronicle of the women's movement in England at the turn of the twentieth century . It is so infrequent that we are given a glimpse into women's history. "Iron Jawed Angles" was a brilliant film made over a decade ago and it seemed everyone assumed that pretty much covered all we needed to know on women's history. We got the right to vote, what else was there?
What I am so choked up by is the knowledge and realization in a film like 'Suffragette" is not just the horrific and brutal fight that women went through for suffrage, and are still going through in some nations, but the realization, as portrayed in the film, that the right to vote is not just about the ability to participate in the political system, it is about the right to live as a free person. Women have historically been viewed as little more than indentured servants. The significant difference being that their debt was never paid and their free labor contract never ended.
Regardless of class, power over ones own affairs was always relegated to the male members of the family. Prior to marriage all possessions belonged to a father, brother or other male relative. Upon marriage, the husband assumed all control of property, money and personal liberties. This control even extended to the children that she birthed. They were considered the property of the husband, just as she was, and could be beaten, battered and even given up for adoption without the mother having any legal right to intervene.
We so often tend to look at women's history as simplistic. Easy. Not complicated and not worth much note. We don't acknowledge women's contributions in our society or history because they were often done without recognition or credit was given to a male counterpart. But when viewing a film like Suffragette, we catch a rare glimpse of the complicated mess women's history has been. Historically a woman's life expectancy was shorter because she was forced to bear numerous children that she could neither support nor adequately care for. This not only took its toll on her physical well being, but her emotional and psychological health as well. Career options limited. Cheap labor, still the standard as reflected in the statistic that 2/3 of minimum wage jobs are held by women. And women are sill paid 78 cents on the male dollar.
But much more than this, the right to vote allowed women to start having a voice in the laws that governed them and denied them equality. Voting allowed them to eventually gain the rights to their own children, property and earnings. Voting gave them the right to participate in electing officials that were now forced to consider women's needs and rights in the law making process. Just as the election of our first black President forced America to continue to seriously look at the inequities in racial civil rights, it is my hope that the election of our first female President will force America to look at our long ingrained gender inequities. To stop accepting the subjugation of women and girls as a natural part of any religious practice or government policy.
Suffragette is a brief glimpse into the window of a history that was brutal and chilling in its efforts to claim victory. A history that should never be forgotten or taken for granted because at every step we are reminded that the journey has not been completed. Women have always been the silent majority in American culture. We settle for less representation and elect politicians who tell us that our needs are secondary. Films like Suffragette are vital and so powerful in motivating us to keep moving forward.
History should be the wild fire that burns brightly and prevents the darkness from dragging us back into a brutal past.
The other night I was at a candidate’s forum for the Stonewall Democrats and snapped a photo of the political candidates who were vying for the Stonewall endorsement. What was most notable to me was the fact that there were 8 men and 1 woman on the stage and the image seemed to so perfectly reflect the gender inequity that exists in our government and political system. Some may ask why it matters if women have so little representation in our government? I suppose there were those who also asked that question when Alice Paul was chaining herself to the white House fence demanding the right to vote, before she was arrested and thrown in prison.
The image of 8 men and 1 woman running for office - on the Democratic side of the political spectrum no less - made me wonder how women had managed to get left out of the affirmative action movement and are still no further along in the struggle for gender equity? 95 years of voting and still only 18% of the electorate.
In 1965 President Lyndon Johnson said, "You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race and then say you are free to compete with all the others, and still just believe that you have been completely fair."
President Johnson's statement expressed the reasoning behind the contemporary use of Affirmative Action programs to achieve equal opportunity, particularly in the fields of employment and higher education.
Affirmative Action or positive discrimination; is the policy of favoring members of a disadvantaged group who suffer from discrimination within a culture. It was originally established to give racial minorities and women a leg up because they had historically faced overwhelming discrimination.
The emphasis is on opportunity: Affirmative Action programs are meant to break down barriers, both visible and invisible, to level the playing field and to make sure everyone is given an equal break. No guarantee of equal results, but a belief that that if equality of opportunity were a reality, all groups facing discrimination would have more of an equal opportunity and therefore more of a racial and gender equity would become evident in employment and education.
That is obviously not what has happened to date. Somewhere along the way women became excluded from that consideration. Sexism always a frontrunner in any race for equality. Affirmative action became about giving priority consideration to persons of color, which was a very necessary thing, but women of all races were not accepted as a societal group that should also be granted consideration under that umbrella.
Despite the appalling low statistics of women in government (18%) Forbes 500 CEO’s, (4%) and Corporate boards (15%), many still fight against giving women the 'leg up' that affirmative action was intended to do. Women are conferred 60% of the Master’s degrees in this country and yet make only 78 cents on the dollar in contrast to their male counterparts. Only 20% of the work that is produced on the stage or screen in this country is written by women, meaning that 80% of the stories that are told or perspectives we hear, are male.
1 in 4 women will experience violence by a partner and Domestic Violence causes more deaths for women in America than cancer or traffic accidents.
I could go on citing the inequities, but what I am most astonished by is the notion that while affirmative action has been a rally call for many on the left, their believe in supporting that system did not include women. So many do not acknowledge the need to promote the same ideology to gender as they would so readily agree has been needed to achieve racial parity.
We constantly hear the call for more women in politics and yet when they run, they seem to be given little leeway and in voting practices many progressive men and women don’t give additional consideration to the overwhelming need for gender equity.
It’s maddening because I feel like the dots are not connecting. We need more women in positions of writing laws and governing to create more of a gender balance and perspective in leadership and government, yet the same people who propose to support the concept of affirmative action when it is applied to people of color, do not practice that concept when it comes to women. I have so often heard friends say that they would never vote for a woman just because she’s a woman, and while I agree with that in part, I would not vote for any one who had not committed themselves to the principle platform of the democratic party, I would absolutely vote for a democratic woman, especially because she is a woman.
Especially because we need more women in government. And if they are supporters of democratic principals, pro-choice and pro-equal wage and believe in the same progressive ideas that I do, then hell yes, I’m going to give priority consideration to a woman, because right now 82% of our congress is male and someone has definitely been giving priority consideration to that half of the population for a very long time.
I love Canadian TV. It seems like they are so far ahead of the U.S. when it comes to gender equity in their shows. One of my favorites is a series called “Continuum.”
It’s a science fiction show that centers on the conflict between a group of rebelling terrorist in the year 2077, who are about to be executed for their rebellion against the government and they manage to escape through time travel from the year 2077 back to the year 2012. A police officer, by the name of Kiera Cameron accidentally gets caught in the time traveling device with this group and ends up back in 2012 with the escaped criminals. Kiera is just a City Protective Services (CPS) law enforcement officer who lives an average, normal life with her husband and son in 2077-era Vancouver. She upholds the laws of the corporatocratic (a government dominated by corporate business interests) and the oligarchic dystopia of the North American Union and its "Corporate Congress,".
Oligarchy is a Greek word meaning ‘few to rule or command’. It’s a power structure or form of government where the law and power is with a small group of people. In the show Continuum, North America has become a technologically advanced high-surveillance police state under the rule of a ‘Corporate Congress’. I bet you know where I’m going with this, don’t you?
So, while concealing the fact that she’s a police officer from the future, Kiera works to track down and stop the terrorists, a group of self-proclaimed freedom fighters known as "Liber8" who are intent upon preventing corporations from taking over the government. This group of terrorists traveled to the past in hopes of changing the future of the world and preventing the ‘Corporate Congress’ from ever coming into existence and power.
I love science fiction and fantasy shows. But the idea of a ‘Corporate Congress’ is starting to look a lot less like science fiction and a lot more like the world we live in.
When you start looking at the right wing of the Supreme Court of the United States serving the interests of Corporations instead of American citizens and seeing the Republican House of Representatives dancing in delight over those decisions, it’s difficult not to grow suspicious of the Republican Oligarchy approach to American government. In 2010 the Supreme Court's ruling on what is known as the ‘Citizen’s United’ case, effectively gave corporations the same rights as individual citizens when it came to spending money on elections.
That pretty much opened the gates for Corporations, who most frequently have way more money than individual citizens, to begin their efforts to sway elections in their favor.
Justice Stevens wrote in his dissent of the Citizen’s United Case; "A democracy cannot function effectively when its constituent members believe laws are being bought and sold."
Last Week the Conservative Judicial activists on the nation’s highest court, once more decided that, Corporations were people and actually had more rights and entitlements than the ‘regular’ people, well more rights than women people at least. Professor Katherine Franke, Director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School, wrote in her article “Hobby Lobby 2.0: The Broader Implications for the Left”
“Hobby Lobby argued that religion ought to work like a trump card, throw it down and it out-ranks all other rights that might also be in play, such as women's reproductive liberty or workplace equality.”
In a nutshell she said that Conservatives like to use religion to do an end run around democracy. When they can’t change laws that they don’t like (i.e. laws that favor. racial equality, marriage equality, workplace equality or gender equality) they immediately claim that the new law is a violation of their religious freedom.
Hobby Lobby is as much about corporate power as it is about religious freedom. Hobby Lobby jumped up and down about being good Christians in front of the Supreme Court while continuing to do business with China.
Jonathan Merritt, confronted Hobby Lobby’s hypocrisy in his article ‘Stop Calling Hobby Lobby a Christian business’
He wrote “Imagine a nation with nightmarish labor conditions, inadequate workplace regulation, and rampant child labor. You've just imagined 21st century China. Seventy thousand Chinese employees die every year in workplace accidents — that's roughly 200 humans snuffed out of existence every day.”
That is what happens when corporations do not have to comply with any type of labor standards or safety regulations.
“Starting this year in Shanghai, minimum wage is rising to only $293 per month That's about $9.77 per day. If you were wondering how Hobby Lobby could sell wicker baskets for next to nothing, now you know.”
And that is the result of no minimum wage laws to ensure workers make a living wage.
What about China's one-child policy, which discourages having daughters to the point that it fuels an underground abortion industry?
According to the Population Research Institute, "most of the abortions have the character of a rape. That is, they were performed on women who were ordered, or even physically forced, to submit to the knife."
Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised, then, that China accounts for 19 percent of the global population, but 56 percent of the world's female suicides. Approximately 500 women take their own lives in China every day.
Merritt said, “You cannot call your business "Christian" when arguing before the Supreme Court, and then set aside Christian values when you're placing a bulk order for cheap wind chimes.”
One of the most important reasons people form Corporations is to protect the personal property of business' owners from creditors seeking payment for debts that business might incur. Corporations exist in order to create a legal separation between a business and its owners.
Justice Ginsburg, wrote in her dissent of the Hobby Lobby Case;
“By incorporating a business... an individual separates herself from the entity and escapes personal responsibility for the entity's obligations. One might ask why the separation should hold only when it serves the interests of those who control the corporation?”
Corporations want to benefit from the doctrine of corporate separateness when creditors want their money, but then they want to scream religious infringement when it serves their interest. They want their cake and they want to eat it too and the right wing of our judicial and legislative systems are allowing them to do that.
So now that the Supreme Court has ripped the ‘Corporate Veil’ off of Corporations and blurred the lines between Corporations and their owners, it’s not only women who are at risk of losing their rights. Think about a Congress that also sides with these corporations.
In addition to dancing in the aisles over the Supreme Court’s siding with a Corporation’s rights over women’s rights, just yesterday, The GOP-led House of Representatives passed a stimulus measure voting to make yet another corporate related tax cut permanent. This adds $287 billion dollars to the deficit over the next 10 years.
Now these are the same people who want to do deprive seniors of their Social Security, deny Americans affordable health care and take school lunches away from hungry kids in order to save money and yet always seem willing to add to the deficit when it comes to propping up Corporations with more tax cuts.
They are still trying to sell that tired old trickle down theory of Ronald Reagan's. Just give more to the rich and eventually it will benefit the poor. Thirty years of those misleading types of Republican policies have more than proven that it’s a lie and it does not work. And let’s not forget Bush’s disastrous economic style of tanking the economy by giving major tax cuts to the wealthy and putting two wars on a credit card.
But if you love science fiction and want to see the ‘Corporate Congress’ become a reality, then in addition to watching ‘Continuum’ on the Syfy channel, all you have to do is vote Republican.
This week, an actress by the name of Juanita Moore died. She was 99 years old and passed away on New Years Day. You may not remember her name, but how could you forget her performance? Juanita Moore was nominated for an Oscar for her role in the 1959 version of Imitation of Life. She was only the fifth African-American to receive an Academy Award nomination – and it was for playing the role of Annie Johnson, in Imitation of Life.
Imitation of Life was based on the book, by the same name written in 1933 by Fannie Hurst. Hurst was a Jewish white woman and supporter of feminist causes. She also supported African Americans in their struggle for greater equality. The book and the films are set in different time periods, the book reflecting the 1910 era; the two subsequent films were made in 1934 and 1959. I’ve seen both versions and read the book and the basic elements are the same. It is about two mothers, one black and one white and their daughters. It reflects the racism and the sexism of eras that were destructive and cruel to all who weren’t in the ruling class of white males.
From the turn of the 20th century until the Supreme Court ruled in Loving v. Virginia in 1967, numerous Southern states passed laws enforcing a "one-drop rule", requiring that persons of any known African ancestry had to be classified in records as black. Only black and white was recognized as racial categories, and racial segregation laws restricted blacks. Imitation of Life reflected the tragedy of those laws. A young black woman who so desperately wanted to be accepted that she denied her race and her mother in an effort to pass as white and escape the cruel injustices that were inflicted on her simply because of her race. Two mothers, one black and one white, each struggling in their own way to survive on their own and raise their daughters in a culture that placed insurmountable obstacles on their path to survival and independence.
There was controversy around this film and novel, some saying that it depicted African American’s in stereotypical roles. And I’m sure that’s true. But it was a story that was reflective of its time when racial and gender oppression were so blatant that a woman felt desperate enough to try and pass as white so that she could find a good man and survive in a culture that told her there was something wrong with everything about her.
And for those of us who did not grow up with memories of segregation or Jim Crow Laws, or the one-drop rule to determine race. Who could forget the heart wrenching scenes of Susan Kohner’s character, Sarah Jane, as she cried, proclaiming that she was white and then hugged her mother for the last time as she denied her, or the powerful funeral scene when Sarah Jane sobbed and after a life of running from who she was, finally admitting, “That’s my mother”.
These painful and dramatic scenes cut to the core of who we have been in this country and why it is so important to remind ourselves that we don’t ever want to go back.
I hate to even mention ‘Duck Dynasty’ in the same breath as Imitation of life, or great women like Juanita Moore and Fannie Hurst. And I do so only to contrast greatness and ignorance. The star of this reality Red Neck show, Phil Robertson has been in the news for his racist, homophobic and misogynistic comments.
Robertson’s pedophile video where he stated, and I quote, “Look, you wait till they get to be 20 years old - the only picking that’s gonna take place is your pocket. You gotta marry these girls when they’re about 15 or 16.”
This video hasn’t gotten the outrage it deserves because, well forcing girls in to marriage when they are still children is not a completely foreign concept in our culture where marriage laws in most states still make the legal age 16 with parental consent.
Yet a video showing a 67-year-old man waving a Bible from his pulpit and using it to justify acts of pedophilia by adult men seems to be over the top for most reasonable people.
Some on the right cried foul that it was a violation of ‘freedom of speech’ rights for Robertson to be rejected for his hateful racist, homophobic and misogynistic words. Seriously? Freedom of Speech was evident by the mere fact that, unlike the Punk Rock Band in Russia, Pussy Riot, Robertson wasn’t thrown in prison for a few years and forced to have regular gynecological exams for simply voicing his opinion.
Robertson has a history of violating underage girls. At age 20, he was having sex with a 14-year-old girl who got pregnant and was he forced to marry her at 16 to avoid going to prison for statutory rape in Louisiana.
Police reports show Robertson, in drunken rages, beat and abused his wife and children and then threw them out of his house before he later claimed to “find God” and repent for his ways. But this is the man advising other adult men to go after child brides.
It seems that on the right we have a group of Americans who are so intolerant of others and whose hatred towards gays and blacks and women is so ingrained that they will embrace a disturbed star of a “reality” show in a desperate attempt to rationalize their own bigotry, homophobia and misogyny.
According to Forbes Magazine, “Duck Dynasty” is the most popular show on the A&E Network. It has 14 million weekly viewers. That is pretty scary.
A new Pew Research poll showed that Republicans are even more anti science than they were 4 years ago. According to the poll, 67 percent of Democrats acknowledge that all living things on Earth evolved over time. That’s up by three points from a 2009 poll. 65 percent of Independents also agree that evolution is a real process supported by scientific evidence. On the flip side, Republican support for evolution science has reversed. In 2009, 54 percent of Republicans believed in evolution. Four years later, that number now stands at 43 percent. More Republicans now reject evolution than support it. They deny science and fact. Apparently, stupidity has become a Republican value as the party shifts further to the extreme right wing. More state abortion restrictions were enacted in Republican controlled states between 2011–2013, than in the entire previous decade. In 2013 California moved to expand women’s reproductive rights. Hawaii became the 18th state to provide protections to women who have been sexually assaulted by enacting a new law requiring that a woman receive medically accurate and unbiased information on emergency contraception from the hospital treating her injuries. While at the same time Oklahoma and Missouri moved to restrict access to emergency contraception after rape.
In the past few years Republicans have made incomprehensible efforts to strip women’s rights from them. Republicans and their teabag cousins want to claim that they are the real America. The South will rise again is a popular chant. As if the Southern states did not already distinguish themselves with seriously depressing statistics in every quality of life category, eleven of the top 12 states with the highest mortality rates are located in the South. Every factor contributing to higher than normal mortality rates is the result of conservative policies that were paid for by the Koch brothers with propaganda from Americans for Prosperity and the Heritage Foundation. They are all organizations representing corporations benefiting from low wages, no corporate taxes, no environmental protections, no labor protections, and no healthcare for what Republicans call the real America.
I am so fortunate to live in California, one of the most progressive and economically stable states in the U.S. And where affordable health care and women’s rights are not blasphemy and our Governor is actually interested in a better life for our citizens as well as business. It is difficult for reasonable Americans to comprehend why people vote for Republicans when their policies have transformed most states under Republican leadership into poverty-ridden regions. They convince voters that health insurance is a bad thing and so you have states like Texas with the highest uninsured rate of residents in the country.
It is no coincidence that Republicans pass Draconian abortion laws, and convince residents that voter suppression laws are necessary to preserve their Christian way of life. Bigotry, homophobia, misogyny and ignorance have become a way of life for many on the right who live in fear that their god and their guns are being stolen from them.
There is a quote from the 1930’s that states, “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross”
On New Years’ eve the Supreme Court made another decision that placed the division of church and state more critically at risk when it exempted groups affiliated with the Catholic religion from complying with the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act. The groups, none of them churches, complained the mandate violated their religious freedom. Catholic organizations demanding exemption from the mandate see it as restricting their biblical right to impose their religion on their employees and the High Court agreed. The irony is that in this particular case we’re not even discussing the distribution of birth control by the nuns, or even their insurance company. This is a pure and simple case of the church’s over reach and blatant effort to control the rest of America with their religious beliefs.
Extremist Christians are adamant the First Amendment protects their religious freedom to impose compliance with their religious beliefs on all Americans. In Utah they are demanding that recent legal approval of marriage equality be stopped. Their case states a refusal by the federal government to accommodate a state’s biblical definition of marriage.
The Founding Fathers wrote a constitution that was aimed at protecting Americans from religious tyranny. The Right wing fundamentalists are determined to be make America a theocracy and we should all be terrified of those who are wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.
A moment on women in History. On December 27, 1927: Anne Legendre Armstrong was born.
She was a United States diplomat and politician, and the first female Counselor to the President; she served in that capacity under both the Ford and Nixon administrations.
From 1966 to 1968, she was the vice chairman of the Texas Republican Party. From 1971 to 1973 she was Co-chairman of the Republican National Committee, and She was the first woman from either major party to keynote at a national convention when she was the keynote speaker at the 1972 Republican National Convention.
She was the first woman co-chair of the Republican Committee, ERA supporter, cabinet-level advisor to Richard Nixon 1972-74, first woman Ambassador to the Court of St. James 1976-77, co-chair of Reagan-Bush presidential campaign, 1980.
In 1987, Armstrong was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Ronald Reagan.
She died in 2008. And there is little doubt that she probably would not have been allowed to participate in today's Republican party. She supported the ERA and would have been viewed as too liberal for the over the top conservative movement of today.
Anne Armstrong was a Republican woman who made a lot of valuable contributions when the GOP provided a strong balance in our country and stood for something other than obstructionism. I know a lot of people would like to believe that their Republican party is still the party of Lincoln, but we all know that isn’t the truth. Today’s Republican party stands for nothing but their own self interest. They’ve drastically cut food stamps for the poor, eliminated unemployment rights for 1.3 million Americans right before Christmas, stripped women of their reproductive choices in every state that they control, refused to even consider raising the minimum wage or pass laws that would support equal pay for women.
This is not your father’s or your Mother’s GOP. They use religion as a weapon and go about assaulting everyone who disagrees with them.
This is truthfully the ‘do nothing’ Congress of all time who was willing to throw a tantrum that cost the American tax payers 2 billions dollars when they shut down the government over not getting their way. They have done nothing in the national congress but vote to defund the Affordable Care Act…. 44 times. And yet have offered no viable alternative. 48 million Americans were uninsured prior to Obamacare. That’s over 15% of the population. A report released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) shows that on average, uninsured families can only afford to pay in full for approximately 12-percent of hospital stays they may experience. the uncompensated cost of care – is up to $73 billion a year, a significant portion of which is shifted into higher costs for Americans with insurance and their employers. The number of uninsured is cut almost in half by the affordable care act. I'm still seriously trying to see the downside to affordable health insurance.
One of the things I hear most from Republicans is their philosophy of ‘taking personal responsibility’. I worked in Social Services for a long time with homeless and victims of domestic violence. And you would be blown away by the number of people who work full time, sometimes even two jobs and frequently have to chose between paying rent and eating. The Republicans want to fight against raising the minimum wage for these ‘working poor’. They want to give tax breaks to the big businesses who frequently find ways to avoid offering health insurance to their employees.
I’ve heard that we decide our political affiliations at an early age and most often stay with them our entire lives. But today’s GOP is not the party it was when Lincoln was president ,or even when President Eisenhower sponsored and signed the first civil rights bill since reconstruction.
The Democrats have long since been the party that has obviously accomplished more social justice. This is why they are referred to as 'Progressives'. I have come to refer to the right wing as the 'Regressives'.
Just a few of the major laws passed under Democratic Presidents:
40-hour Work Week
Minimum Wage Law
Social Security Act
Family and Medical Leave Act
The 19 Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. Women’s Suffrage Amendment Civil Rights
All of these accomplishments were under a Democratic president. Even the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Motor Voter Act of 1993 were under Democratic presidents. Democrats want you to vote, unlike many in the Republican leadership.
And it’s been statistically proven that the American economy does better under Democratic presidents than Republican. Since the end of World War II, the U.S. economy has grown at an average real rate of 4.35% under Democratic presidents and only 2.54% under Republicans.
So why do people who make less than a million dollars a year vote Republican? I have no idea. I haven’t figured that out why anyone would vote against their own self interest. My only possible excuse would be that the GOP has high jacked religion and twisted social issues in order to manipulate the fanatical moral fibers of some people.
But as we enter a new year, I really hope that more people will give thought to their long held belief systems and seriously consider if those self-destructive beliefs are serving the greater good or even the personal good. Change is never easy. But they have proven that those who more easily adapt to change…. do live longer.
It really must be the holiday season. This week a miracle occurred. The Pope and I actually agreed on something.
I’ve never been much of a fan of the Catholic Church or any organized religion that suppresses women and teaches them that they’re subservient. But this week I read an article about how Pope Francis is taking aim at the ideologically obsessed Christians. He’s actually calling right-wing, fundamentalist Christianity an “illness. I’ve certainly given my opinion on that topic. In September, Pope Francis attacked “savage capitalism” and took up the plight of the unemployed against a system that worships money. Earlier that month, the Pope also criticized conservative Catholics for focusing so much on abortion, same-sex marriage, and contraception. And in July, Pope Francis put the brakes on hating gay people, saying that we shouldn’t judge or marginalize them. Clearly, Pope Francis isn’t fond of the extreme ideals of the Christian Right. He supports helping the poor. He believes in economic fairness. He denounces hatred of gay people. He thinks the war against abortion and birth control has gone too far. This was a huge revelation coming from the Catholic Pope. And it got me thinking about all of the other amazing things that have happened this year, especially for women. I mean if the Pope can actually say out loud that there is too much focus on abortion and contraception and agree with me that there is a serious bunch of whackos on the right, then anything is possible. So I decided too look back over the year and find my attitude of gratitude, as a friend likes to say. 1. I have heard the word feminist used much more this year than I have in recent years. The definition of feminist means that you believe man and women are equal… pretty radical. But somehow over time that word got hijacked into meaning that you are a man-hating hag who wants to castrate all males of the species. I’m pretty sure that was Rush Limbaugh’s definition. Thankfully I’ve really been seeing it used in its true form…. A feminist being the radical notion that women are people. Even Beyonce said. “I guess I am a modern-day feminist. I do believe in equality.” "John Legend said, “All men should be feminists. If men care about women's rights the world will be a better place. We are better off when women are empowered — it leads to a better society."
2. After one of her superiors threatened to fire her if she didn't slim down, Academy award winning actress Jennifer Lawrence was pretty angry. She told Harper's Bazaar UK that "If anybody even tries to whisper the word 'diet,' I’m like, 'You can go f**k yourself.'" This inspired young women across the country to do the same thing. I’ve even heard several actresses objecting to having their images airbrushed. I’m hoping that it’s a trend.
3. After the fatal, brutal gang rape of a student caused international uproar and mass protests, the Indian government took drastic action. On March 19, the parliament passed an anti-rape bill that doubled the punishment for rapists. This set the stage for a global conversation about sexual assault and the persistence of rape culture across borders.
4. I saw the most amazing commercial targeted towards little girls. It was created by Goldiblox and it was so creative and empowering for girls that I had to watch it several times. Instead of the usual pink and frilly and dolls and tea sets, it showed the ingenuity of little girls. Their website says, “We believe there are a million girls out there who are engineers. They just might not know it yet. We think GoldieBlox can show them the way.”
5. Wendy Davis. Seriously do I need to say more than that name? After Republicans tried to pass an anti-choice abortion bill that would shut down one-third of abortion clinics in Texas, Davis took it upon herself to filibuster the heck out of that law. Though the legislation ended up passing over the summer, it inspired Davis to run for governor and she’s vowed to reverse that bill the minute she gets into office. Not to mention that Rick Perry’s wife came out as Pro-Choice. …. That was the cherry on the cake.
6. Gloria Steinem, The writer, feminist icon and co-founder of Ms. Magazine has been fighting for equality for more than four decades. Was awarded the “Presidential medal of freedom”, by President Obama. This is the highest civilian award given. She received her award in November at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. where she was the first woman to have ever spoken at the Club back in 1971 when the Press Club finally admitted women. When she accepted her medal, she said it "was a medal for the entire women’s movement."
7. The Affordable Care Act… better known as Obamacare was a huge success for women this year. Despite a bumpy roll out, which is pretty normal for any major program like that, this is a huge victory for women. We will no longer pay more for insurance just because we are women. Since we frequently do earn less income, this will provide health insurance for us and our families at affordable rates. Free preventative care, which includes birth control. Maternity care… you probably didn’t know that only 12% of the current plans on the individual market include that. …. The Right wing wants to force women to give birth, but they don’t want insurance to cover the cost of that pregnancy and birth, or pay a woman equal wages to support that child or even allow birth control to prevent the pregnancy to start with. Sorry a core issue for me. …. Getting back to the things I appreciate.
8. The Senate has cleared the way for Janet Yellen to become the Chair of the Federal Reserve. … this is huge. We’re talking about overseeing the world’s economy. This is the first time in our nation’s history that a woman has ever held this high level position.
9. On July 12, Malala Yousafzai celebrated her 16th birthday by delivering her first speech since she survived a bullet to the head by the Taliban. Her words inspired millions around the world, especially after she made some enlightening feminist statements like, "We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back." She was on Time Magazine’s list for ‘Top Person of the Year’ and she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize… which she should have won in my opinion.
10. California Woman 411. Having the opportunity to do this show and meet some of the most inspiration al women around is such an amazing thing. And I truly appreciate this station. So many of the Progressive talk stations are under attack around the country. I recently heard about the progressive talk station in Los Angeles being converted to a Sports station. The Right Wing does seems to have a monopoly on talk radio and it’s pretty impressive that RR Broadcasting maintains their commitment to KPTR 1450 AM.
This list isn’t inclusive of everything that should be mentioned and it’s not in any particular order. Depending on the day or the mood each could be more relevant. But I think that as this year draws to a close, it’s important to look at the achievements and the progress as we continue to call out the changes that need to be addressed.
We have to remember that "Feminist" is not a dirty word, contrary to what the misogynist on the right would have you believe. If something isn't fair or isn't right, you don't have to keep quiet and act like a 'lady.' Speak up and say NO to things that you feel are wrong and you’d be surprised to find that you’re not alone. I am an optimist. I believe the glass is half full and you have to look for the good. But that does not mean denying what’s bad and doing what you need to do to fight for change. We all have to find our attitude of gratitude list.
This week the Republican-dominated Michigan state legislature pushed through a bill on requiring women to purchase separate insurance policies if they want to have an abortion. The law, which takes effect in early 2014, will also ban women from purchasing the policy after becoming pregnant under any circumstances, including rape and incest, causing opponents to refer to the policy as “rape insurance.” So a woman would basically have to plan ahead if she was going to be raped and need an abortion. But let's not make the mistake of placing abortions on a hierarchy of what is an acceptable need. (ie rape) and what is not (ie unplanned). A woman has a legal right to a safe, affordable and accessible abortion under any circumstance.
This is just the latest in a very long line of legal, financial and geographical barriers that Republicans have constructed to prevent women from exercising their rights to safe and affordable reproductive choices. It’s easy to become numb to the continuous erosion of your rights. But unless your Ann Coulter, who seems to hate women as much as Rush Limbaugh, how can any woman really be accepting of the misogynistic health risks that women are now being subjected to in this country?
Since 2010 When the Republicans and their zealot cousins in the Tea Party flooded into state legislatures, as well as the US Congress, over 1100 laws have been proposed and or passed to restrict a woman’s right to abortion and birth control. These people are serious. Do you think this has anything to do with protecting women’s health? No. The number one killer of women in this country of child baring age prior to Roe V Wade, was botched abortions. These legislators, predominately male, have no regard for a women's health and safety. Their primary concern is infusing their archaic religious dogma into our cultural norms.
Restricting women’s access to safe and legal abortions puts women’s lives in serious danger.
Every day, every hour there are events going on that impact our lives. And we have to pay attention. Something really dangerous has came into play these past few years. The overwhelming and insidious intermingling of religion into our politics. We have historically been very clear in our separation of church and state. Even the Republican God, Ronald Reagan said, “We establish no religion in this country. We command no worship. We mandate no belief, nor will we ever. Church and state are and must remain separate.” Article VI of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution states that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States. This is to ensure that we maintain our country as a democracy and not a theocracy.
Theocracy is a form of government in which a religious deity or god, is officially recognized as the civil Ruler and official policy and laws are made based on the belief system in that deity. The word theocracy originates from the Greek meaning "the rule of God".
We’re always told that ‘Religion and politics’ should not be discussed in ‘polite company’. I’m probably a little too opinionated to ever be considered polite company. We have a real problem in this country. And we can’t dance around the GOP elephant in the living room. And it’s not the right wing zealots who are screaming about their freedom of religion while stripping us of ours. it’s the rest of us who are cowering when we’re accused of not being ‘religious enough’. In the past few years, the Republicans and their Tea Party cousins, have taken their religion and shoved it down our throats and we continue to dance around the issue. Are we afraid to piss off God… or Ted Cruz?
I remember exactly when I stopped believing in organized religion. When I became educated and free thinking and looked beyond the dogma that I had been spoon fed. I was in college and writing a paper on the women’s suffrage movement. And as usual I went off on a hundred other tangents in my research and really started learning about the history of women in the church. In just about every religion women have been subjugated to roles that are basically chattel. No voice, no self determination, deemed by the church to be the origin of the original sin and nothing more than seductresses who lead men astray. Seriously. This is women in the history of the church. My mother immediately had a heart attack when I made the announcement that I could no longer believe in a religion that obviously hated me.
And it is that misogynistic tyranny that the right wing have brought in to politics in recent years. The Republicans in their efforts to turn the American Government into a Theocracy, have seized control of our consciousness and made us fear for our mortal souls if we rebel. …. Very similar to what happened in the Dark Ages when progress stopped and society became embroiled in religious superstition and ruled by the church. Moral standards weren’t any higher, they killed and tortured and stole and prevented any scientific knowledge from development.
Their whole objection to marriage equality is that it is against their religious beliefs that marriage is between one man an one woman. Marriage is a legal contract between two individuals. It has nothing to do with religion…. Unless you make a choice to go off and have a church ceremony…. The state issues a marriage license and it is the state that recognizes that contract or dissolves that contract in the cases of divorce. Historically women have again pretty much been used as chattel in marriage. A woman would be given from the father to the husband in exchange for property or titles. So this moral objection to marriage equality based on the sanctity of marriage is a new evolution. There was no moral outrage when women were traded for property.
The GOP is about forcing religious doctrine on to Americans and turning this country into a Theocracy instead of a democracy. Women’s lives are endangered when they have restricted access to abortion and birth control. Period.
The Christian right scream that their rights are being denied and trampled upon and yet have such callus disregard for the way they deny others their freedom. That is a theocracy. The great thing about being pro-choice is that you don’t have to believe in abortion, you just have to accept that America is a Democracy and not a Theocracy and that you don’t get to make that personal choice for every woman in America.
The Republican lawmakers do not have clear boundaries between the misogynistic fanatics like Rush Limbaugh or the fire and brimstone preacher on the pulpit. They incorporate these twisted views into their politics and then pass laws that force the rest of America to live by their fanatical rules. They are working to incorporate this ‘mandate from god’ into our government. Keep Jesus out of my Vagina as a friend of mine likes to say.
Why do women vote against their own self interest? I have heard so many times that the Republicans are the ‘fiscally’ responsible party. How absurd is that? Forbes magazine listed the top five worst Presidents for the economy… guess which party held 4 of the 5 spots? Yep, the Republicans. George W. Bush was number 1 worst president ever for our Economy and his daddy was number two, of course in all fairness Bush Sr did get stuck with Reagan’s mess. Then they were followed on the list by Nixon, Eisenhower and then Truman. Seems that the GOP fiscal policies of giving tax breaks to the rich and boosting income inequality for the rest of us, isn’t a very sound fiscal practice.
Supporting abortion rights isn’t a moral sin that is going to damn you to hell for all time. And the owner of Hobby Lobby should not be allowed to dictate that his religious views outweigh every woman in America who have a right to access affordable birth control through their health insurance companies.
As long as I live, I will never understand religious objections to birth control. That way of thinking is as misogynistic as it gets. Deny a woman birth control so that you can control her sexual behaviors. Not only sexist, but stupid and impractical. I heard someone say once that if men got pregnant, birth control would be dispensed like Pez candy.
Complacency is Complicity. We have allowed the religious zealots on the right to co-op religion. It’s as if they are they only ones that know how to define it and any one who disagrees is a liberal moral degenerate. We have to stop cowering under the attacks of these bullies. And make no mistake that is exactly what has become the platform of the GOP. Bully until you get what you want and scream that your religious freedom is being jeopardized while you trample the hell out of everyone else’s rights. The religious wackos aren’t going to change, but those of us in the center and to left of crazy, have to stop allowing ourselves to be intimidated.
When I was 16 and getting my driver’s license, my driving instructor purposely took me down a dead end street and I didn’t even realize it until I couldn’t go any further. He told me that I couldn’t be a myopic driver and that I had to pay attention to what was going on around me or I was going to keep finding myself on dead end streets. We have to stop being myopic citizens in this country. We have to look around and pay attention. Women's rights will continue to be eroded until we say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
Opening for the December 7, 2013 airing of "California Woman 411" Women In History - Pearl Harbor Day -
It’s no secret to anyone who knows me - that I love history. I love to read about it and write about it. I think that history gives us our foundation and insights to who we are as a nation.
I have always had a special interest in World War II for some reason. Maybe it’s a reincarnation thing and I lived another life during that era. What ever the reason, I was especially fascinated during the years that I lived in Germany and visited the landmark sites where so much of that war had occurred.
I usually like to end the show with information on women in history, but given what a historic day this is, I decided to switch things up and open the show with women in history.
December 7th is Pearl Harbor Day. As President Roosevelt called it, “A day that would live in infamy”. On December 7, 1941 the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor Hawaii. the attack started at 7:48 a.m. Hawaiian Time. 90 minutes after the attack began, it was over. And 2,386 Americans were dead and 1,139 had been wounded. It was equivalent to 9/11. Unexpected and devastating.
Lt. Annie G. Fox served as the chief nurse in the Army Nurse Corps at Hickam Field during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
And she was the first woman in history to receive the Purple Heart for combat service for her role in coordinating treatment of the wounded that day.
It was the attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the United States into World War II.
But there was also another woman who was at Pearl Harbor on that infamous day. A pilot by the name of Cornelia Fort.
This is an excerpt from a magazine article that Cornelia wrote for “The Women’s Home Companion, July 1943 issue.” It’s titled
"At the twilight's last gleaming"
Cornelia Fort's EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT of the attack on Pearl Harbor, December, 7, 1941
"I Knew I was going to join the Women's Auxiliary
Ferry Squadron before the organization was a reality,
before it had a name, before it was anything but a radical
idea in the minds of a few men who believed that woman
could fly airplanes. But I never knew it so surely as I did
in Honolulu on December 7, 1941.
At dawn that morning I drove from Waikiki to the
John Rogers Civilian airport right next to Pearl Harbor,
where I was a civilian pilot instructor. Shortly after
six-thirty I began landing and take-off practice with my
regular student. Coming in just before the last landing, I
looked casually around and saw a military plane coming
directly toward me. I jerked the controls away from my
student and jammed the throttle wide open to pull above
the oncoming plane. He passed so close under us that our
celluloid windows rattled violently and I looked down to
see what kind of plane it was.
The painted red balls on the tops of the wings shone
brightly in the sun. I looked again with complete and
utter disbelief. Honolulu was familiar with the emblem of
the Rising Sun on passenger ships but not on airplanes.
I looked quickly at Pearl Harbor and my spine tingled
when I saw billowing black smoke. Still I thought
hollowly it might be some kind of coincidence or
maneuvers, it might be, it must be. For surely, dear God .
Then I looked way up and saw the formations of silver
bombers riding in. Something detached itself from an
airplane and came glistening down. My eyes followed it
down, down and even with knowledge pounding in my
mind, my heart turned convulsively when the bomb
exploded in the middle of the harbor.
I knew the air was not the place for my little baby airplane and I set about
landing as quickly as ever I could. A few seconds later a
shadow passed over me and simultaneously bullets
spattered all around me.
Suddenly that little wedge of sky above Hickam Field
and Pearl Harbor was the busiest fullest piece of sky I
We counted anxiously as our little civilian planes came
flying home to roost. Two never came back. They were
washed ashore weeks later on the windward side of the
island, bullet-riddled. Not a pretty way for the brave little
yellow Cubs and their pilots to go down to death.
The rest of December seventh has been described
by too many in too much detail for me to reiterate. I
remained on the island until three months later when I
returned by convoy to the United States.
When I returned, the only way I could fly at all
was to instruct Civilian Pilot Training programs. Weeks
passed. Then, out of the blue, came a telegram from the
War Department announcing the organization of the
WAFS (Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron) and the
order to report within twenty-four hours if interested. I
left at once.
Because there were and are so many disbelievers in
women pilots, especially in their place in the army,.
Officials wanted the best possible qualifications to go
with the first experimental group. All of us realized
what a spot we were on. We had to deliver the goods or
else. Or else there wouldn't ever be another chance for
women pilots in any part of the service.
I have yet to have a feeling which approaches in
satisfaction that of having signed, sealed and delivered
an airplane for the United States Army. The attitude
that most nonflyers have about pilots is distressing and
often acutely embarrassing. They chatter about the
glamour of flying. Well, any pilot can tell you how
glamorous it is. We get up in the cold dark in order to
get to the airport by daylight.
None of us can put into words why we fly. It is something
different for each of us. I can't say exactly
why I fly but I know why as I've never known anything in my life.
I know it in dignity and self-sufficiency and in the pride of skill. I know it in the satisfaction of usefulness.
I, for one, am profoundly grateful that my one talent, my
only knowledge, flying, happens to be of use to my country
when it is needed. That's all the luck I ever hope to have."
Cornelia Fort was Stationed at the 6th Ferrying Group base at Long Beach, California, and on March 21, 1943 she became the first woman in American history to die while serving on active military duty. At the time of the her death, , Cornelia Fort was one of the most accomplished pilots of the Women Airforce Service Pilots.
The footstone of her grave is inscribed, "Killed in the Service of Her Country."
She was 24 years old.
Her sister described her as "A great rebel of her time." – I’d call her a true American Hero!
.... Dee Jae
Dee Jae Cox
I am by nature an optimist. I love to laugh and I don’t hold on to grudges. I am sincerely hoping that is the key to my longevity and will compensate for the lack of physical exercise. But as a Playwright and theatrical Director and Producer, I have also had my rose colored glasses ripped off of my face a time or two. I try and see the glass as half full, rather than half empty. But imagine that glass as less than a quarter full. Imagine two equal sized water glasses, one that is 80% full and the second that is only 20% full. Stand them side-by-side and visually take in that image. That will give you a picture of gender parity in American theatre in 2013… or rather the lack of thereof.
The Hollywood Fringe Festival is always a good jumping off point for discussions on gender parity in Los Angeles theatre. The number of female participants is usually inflated because of the self-production element, which in all honesty, self-production is something I would encourage any woman with the skills and means, to consider at any time of the year. DIY! That is what motivated my Cofounder Michele Weiss and I, to found The Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Project, in 2007. I’m a Playwright and I understand the challenges that we face and I wanted to find a way to help more women get their work on to the stage, though all too soon realized that our efforts were only a small step in addressing an overwhelming need.
A playwright tells a story based on their unique perspective, which really does differ between men and women. As female playwrights, of course we can create male characters. And no doubt male playwrights can create female characters. But we’re talking about one simple thing. Truth. I had a cherished mentor and writing instructor who taught me the word, verisimilitude, the appearance or semblance of truth; likelihood; probability. He used to say that it was essential that a play possessed verisimilitude.
There is a serious lack of verisimilitude in American theatre, when eighty percent of the plays that are produced are written by and about men. The absence of gender parity is a crisis and has not progressed in the past century; so waiting for it to catch up to the times is not going to happen on its own. Not only are women’s perspectives and voices denied, but also the trickle down effect of this discriminatory practice is insidious and seeps into the pours of how we produce theatre. The dysfunction is reflected in the lack of protagonist and leading roles for actresses. It is reflected in the low percentage of female directors, stage crew and it most certainly impacts the number of stories about women or even stories from a woman’s perspective. When the majority of critics who review plays are male, it slants the reporting, the reviews and even the amount of media coverage and awards that women receive.
Perhaps we’ve been indoctrinated that if we get on our feminist soapboxes and demand equality, we are just being downright rude. Theatre is not just entertainment, it is an ageless reflection of our communities, our culture and our lives. If that reflection has historically lacked gender parity and truth, do we simply acquiesce to the status quo? Or do we find the courage to undertake the mission of creating equality in the art that we value so greatly? As Producers of theatre, we can not be willing to sacrifice verisimilitude or to deny our right to expect it.
(Verisimilitude was originally published in the LAFPI blog, 'Persons of Interest.')
...I Can't Believe She Said That Out Loud...
Dee Jae Cox is a Writer, Director, Producer, Radio Host, Army Veteran, Feminist and a very opinionated woman.