Friday, December 25, 2020

My New Bio

I wrote a new bio for the new year: Author and Artist at DanniStories, my writing business. You can find my writing on Amazon Kindle, where I’ve been since 2009. My passion is writing! I love to learn about science, and use what I know about psychology to be helpful. Firmly believing I can make a difference in people’s lives through my stories. My specialization is social issues that affect young adults.

I know what it’s like to be a single parent, to deal with handicaps as a child and adult; live on a shoestring budget. I’ve struggled with wheelchairs on buses and trains. When I was working, I wrestled with attendance policies. Through my writing, I take my reader on a journey with my characters to see what these issues are like day-to-day. My characters are guides to help young people learn how to communicate their needs and wants in constructive ways. My message is, “My problems may slow me but they won’t stop me.”

I was named for the decibel, so I guess I learned to sing so I could make pretty noises instead of annoying ones! Dannis Belle on my mail doesn’t keep people from trying to make me Mr. Dennis Cole , so sometimes I’m guilty of annoying noises at the mailbox. Look for my stories on Amazon under DanniStories
By: via DanniStories

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

YouTube Originals AI Series Enthralled Me

This is an excellent series about Artificial Intelligence and it's hosted by Robert Downey, Jr who played Iron Man. Each episode [there are 8] shows how AI is already changing life as we know it. It's a great series! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IvQ3fYKnfM&list=PLjq6DwYksrzz_fsWIpPcf6V7p2RNAneKc&index=9
By: via DanniStories

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Children Don't Belong Behind Fences

 

Picture by Noma Peet from Pexels.com of a refugee child.

It amazes me how long we as a country have been ignorant of the cruelty perpetrated inside our borders. The first child should never have been separated from a parent who escaped into our country.
Some came without parents but with other kids or an adult or adults. Or they came alone. Before we start arresting or putting people in chain-link enclosures, we should be asking why. Why are these people so desperate to get into our country that they come into a desert with nothing, no minimal preparation? Many die in our deserts. Who in their right mind would do this but someone who faces death in their own country?
https://www.refugeesinternational.org/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refugee_crisis
https://www.rescue.org/topic/refugee-crisis
Some pay to be smuggled in to seek work. Some are enslaved and their families held hostage back home. Human trafficking brings some migrants in illegally. They are not criminals, but slaves, used for work or prostitution so their slaver makes money.

https://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign/what-human-trafficking 

                https://humantraffickinghotline.org/

There are some who know it's illegal but they are desperate for jobs. But the number of actual criminals among this human flood is very low.
We assume that we know so much about these people, who risked death to come to our country. If they are poor, how are they going to know about our policies? They might not have the latest cell phone with Internet. They might not even have a radio. They most likely came from a rural area with no services. None. Think primitive camping. Those that come from more populated areas might be political refugees, or maybe they just made the wrong person mad. There are as many hidden stories among these folks are there are folks.
Here is what the United Nations says about refugees:
"The process of refugee resettlement to the U.S. is a lengthy and thorough process that takes approximately two years and involves numerous U.S. governmental agencies.
"Refugees do not choose the country in which they would like to live. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency identifies the most vulnerable refugees for resettlement and then makes recommendations to select countries." From the UNHCR.
Are all of them refugees? According to the International Rescue Committee, "Tens of thousands of children and families from Central America have fled extreme danger—murder, kidnapping, violence against women and forced recruitment by gangs. Those arriving at the U.S. border are being depicted as “illegal immigrants,” but in reality, crossing an international border for asylum is not illegal and an asylum seeker’s case must be heard, according to U.S. and international law."  
Refugees, Asylum Seekers, Immigrants, and Migrants: What's the Difference? 
This article clarifies that an immigrant plans to settle in another country. "Immigrants often go through a lengthy vetting process to immigrate to a new country. Many become lawful permanent residents and eventually citizens.
"A migrant is someone who is moving from place to place (within his or her country or across borders), usually for economic reasons such as seasonal work.
"Many of those crossing the U.S. border from Central American countries—El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras—are in fact asylum seekers, not migrants. They have a well-founded fear of persecution if they were to return home.

"May 29, 2020 – Yet another HHS Office of Inspector General report is published, revealing that CBP separated more asylum-seeking families at ports of entry than previously reported, and for reasons other than what had been outlined in public statements. CBP claimed it had only separated seven asylum-seeking parents from children between May 6, 2018, and July 9, 2018. But in reality, at least 60 asylum-seeking families were separated in May and June 2018, at 11 ports of entry."

https://www.splcenter.org/news/2020/06/17/family-separation-under-trump-administration-timeline
Now we're putting parents and children in jail. Is that any less traumatic to these poor children? If you have a child or a niece or nephew or any child relative, would you want them put in a cage? Psychologists think these poor children will have dire mental health consequences for years from being in such a situation just a few days. But, the nightmare doesn't end there. See American Psychological Association's article on what the stress is like for an illegal alien's children. 
There are many more articles there to support my position. I realize our country can't take in all the refugees, not just Hispanic, but from many other parts of the world. Every industrialized country has a quota of how many refugees it thinks it can absorb. We have cut ours to a third. Is this a Christian thing to do? We are mostly a nation of people who believe in God, and most of us still believe in Jesus Christ. Would Jesus put children in chain link fences or prisons? Would He put refugees in prison before they were charged with a crime? Yes, migrants are here illegally, but that status might change if they were accepted in as legal workers. For the refugee, when your life is in danger, you don't have 5 years to apply to a refugee organization and wait while they come to kill you until your application is approved. I think most of these poor people run first and don't have a clue about the legal process. All they want is escape. For the migrant worker, all they want is a job. Some may want to stay permanently. Then they are immigrants, and they want citizenship. The migrants just want to work and send some money back home while here temporarily. They improve our economy while they work here. They pay taxes. We need the workers.
For those who are so adamant about well, these people broke the law and so they deserve... consider that many of them are actually not breaking the law to seek asylum. If murderers were after you, would you think to check with a lawyer first?
And to those who cite moms who broke the law have their children taken away, are those kids put in chain link fences with a mat on the floor? No. Some have relatives to take them. Others go to a warm, hopefully safe foster home with a real bed. 
To be a foster parent, you must provide a bed for each child, at minimum. Some states have a square footage requirement. See  
https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/homestudyreqs.pdf
 
Yes, the migrants are breaking the law to come across the border. In this country, last time I looked, a person was innocent until proven guilty.
Most refugees and migrants alike are 
able and willing to work. Why not give these people our unwanted jobs and put them to work instead of filling our prisons? We should have a system in place for those who cross our borders. Give them some sort of temporary permit so they can legally work. Allow them basic human rights, rights we agreed to in our United Nations. We don't need a wall. We need compassion and understanding. We need workers for our fields, restaurants, and other jobs our native people don't like to do. This isn't taking jobs from our people.
Here's what the National Academy of Sciences had to say about the 
impact of illegal immigration on our economy:
"The entry of new workers through migration increases the likelihood of filling a vacant position quickly and thus reduces the net cost of posting new offers. The fact that immigrants in each skill category earn less than natives reinforces this effect. Though 
immigrants compete with natives for these additional jobs, the overall number of new positions employers choose to create is larger than the number of additional entrants to the labor market. The effect is to lower the unemployment rate and to strengthen the bargaining position of workers." Wikipedia has a lot more about the issue, with good references, for the most part.
How many of us are standing in line wanting to harvest fields? The Occupational Outlook Handbook is a government resource that anticipates demand for every job in the country, even though some jobs go by different names. Here's what it says about farm work:
"Smaller farms that sell their products directly to consumers through venues such as farmer’s markets might create some new opportunities for agricultural workers. These direct-to-consumer farms have grown in popularity, and farmers at these operations may hire agricultural workers as an alternative to expensive machinery.
"Job prospects for agricultural workers—especially farmworkers and laborers and agricultural equipment operators—should be very good because 
workers frequently leave the occupation due to the intense physical nature of the work. [bold added by me]
"Prospects are expected to be best for those who can speak both English and Spanish."
https://www.bls.gov/ooh/farming-fishing-and-forestry/agricultural-workers.htm#tab-6
You may argue that people want fast food and restaurant work, as well as service industry work. The Occupational Outlook Handbook says,
Employment in food preparation and serving related occupations is projected to grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations, and gain about 1 million jobs. Population and income growth are expected to result in greater consumer demand for food at a variety of dining places, including restaurants and grocery stores.
Food preparation and serving related occupations is the lowest paid occupational group, with a median annual wage of $24,220 in May 2019.
https://www.bls.gov/ooh/food-preparation-and-serving/home.htm
Also, the ability to read and fill out the application in good English definitely helps us natives. Did you know that many Hispanic folks coming over the border speak Spanish poorly? They are used to speaking Native Languages like Mayan, Incan, or others that are as diverse as other Native Americans' languages. Did you think that Native American applies only to North America?
You might want to read this 
NPR story about this family. "Hilda learned Spanish in the U.S., while she and Jayro were in a detention facility. They'd been caught at the border, and they spent nearly a year locked up. Nobody in there spoke Mam.
"She says she was placed with an interpreter she could barely understand.
"She tried talking with her son, but he'd made up his mind to forget that language. She became depressed. So another detainee taught her Spanish." From the article 
"Wanted: Speakers of Mayan Languages..."
This makes for huge language barriers for all these poor people, and many opportunities for miscommunication and misunderstanding. But the ones who are suffering the most are children. Is anyone listening?

                            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayan_languages

                            https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/01/06/a-translation-crisis-at-the-border

I originally wrote this article in 2018. Sadly, some of the articles have not been updated, but I updated what I could. All of the information I have presented is still relevant. 

 

Friday, September 4, 2020

Feelings Are Friendly If You Let Them Out

 Person Wearing Red and Black V-neck Shirt

Photo by Manav Sharma from Pexels

Life is never easy. Sometimes you have temporary problems; a blue day; a headache; the flu; someone you can't seem to get along with, no matter how hard you try. Some challenges are permanent. You become disabled. You lose a loved one. You survive a natural disaster. Anything that changes you drastically. How do you go on? Life isn't the same anymore.

But, no matter what the challenge, life is a happy thing. That's why I created DanniStories. My characters go through a lot, but one thing's for sure: They learn that no matter what, they can learn to enjoy life with its new limits.

I try to choose major life changes to write about. I've lived through some of them. I've had good friends who had others. Or, I've read the stories of people who lived the rest. Grief, tragic happenings, loss. They aren't easy.

What is happiness worth to a person? Lifestyle changes? Effort to accept what one cannot change? Learning to emphasize the "Can List" instead of the "Can't  List"?

Only you can decide how to overcome your difficulties and reach for the happiness. It's there. It's real. And, it's doable! Never give up on happiness.

The first step to happiness is let yourself grieve whatever isn't there anymore. Crying isn't happiness, but true happiness is the difference between sorrow and happiness. Without your trials, you couldn't know happiness. Everything would feel the same.

The second step to happiness is let yourself feel what you feel at the moment. Sad? Don't fight it. Don't give in to it, either. If you feel so devastatingly unhappy that you want to leave this life, GET HELP NOW. Call that number inside your phone book or look up Suicide Help Line online. Talk to that person on the other end of that phone call and let them help you. Or, call a close friend or relative who understands.

Quit pretending to be happy when you're not. Learn to recognize and express your feelings in constructive ways.

Angry? It's okay to say, I'm angry! Grrrrr! It's okay to warn folks close to you, "I'm feeling angry right now. It's not you. I'm just giving you a little warning that I might be grouchy, so I don't hurt your feelings." It's okay to pound your pillow, or pretend that the object of your anger is in a nearby chair and tell it off! It's okay to write an angry letter, then tear it up. It's okay to paint an angry picture or create an angry sculpture. Art and music are great ways to express feelings. If you express them while they are small [or smaller than they would be], they are easier to express. If you wait until anger consumes you, or hold it all in until you become your own personal volcano erupting all over your loved ones, that's not okay! Express it as it comes, and you can use the energy to do something creative or constructive. Clean your room or your house!

Anger turned inwards becomes deep sadness or depression. In effect, you punish yourself for daring to feel angry. This is only one cause for depression, but it's a big one.

Feeling afraid? Fear, worry, and self-doubt can be paralyzing. Try to learn about whatever it is that scares you. I am terrified of wasps, so I learned a little about them and their ant cousins. I learned not to fear bees [but not killer bees] because honey bees are not aggressive and they are vegetarians. Fear of failure can be a big problem because humans learn from their mistakes. If we never made a mistake, we couldn't learn how not to repeat that particular mistake, now would we? Allow yourself to make mistakes. Fight self-doubt by remembering things you did or do well. Let yourself fear, but don't let fear stop you from doing what you need to do. What's the worst thing that could happen if what you fear, happens? If it's not illegal or immoral, such as asking for a raise, a date, or help with a task, try taking a small step towards doing it. Make small talk with your boss. Open a door for the lady, or let him open the door for you. Tell someone that you're having trouble doing whatever it is that you need help doing, and see if someone offers to help.

Sadness, that's a tough emotion. No one seems to understand it. But, you can help them understand it. It's okay to say, "I'm feeling sad right now, because" whatever you're sad about. Maybe someone said something that hurt. Maybe you're missing a person or pet who died or has gone. Maybe you're feeling blue and you don't know why. But, if you tell someone, you're not alone with it now.

There are many other emotions, but they often lead to these three, if they are uncomfortable. Expressing them can help a lot, maybe more than you think if you do this on a regular basis.

For more tips, check out:


If you feel like hurting yourself, please don't! Try these helplines and talk it out!


A New Currency: Community Currency, Trading What You Have For What You Need

100 US Dollar Banknotes

Photo by John Guccione www.advergroup.com from Pexels

I propose that a new kind of currency be instituted by the Federal Governent, to exist alongside the dollar.

Poor people have nothing, especially the homeless. Often cities take what little they have to fight public health problems with encampments.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/homeless-shelters/unsheltered-homelessness.html

Many poor people collect recyclables to make money. 

https://www.vidasostenible.org/incentive-for-recycling-in-poor-communities/

Why not offer them the option of trading whatever they can do for what they need? This is basically the barter system made into credits that can be exchanged. Anyone who wants money can work directly for pay, or trade what they have for credits, trading them for money when they need or want it.

Credits

To earn the credits, people would need to prove that they did them, through a picture or short video. There would need to be a way to exchange the types of credits for other credits.  There would need to be proof that is valid, to make the credits valid.

ID

People participating in this new medium of exchange would need a valid ID. There would need to be a way for them to get the proof of citizenship to get an ID. There would need to be a provision for those who cannot prove citizenship to be able to get an ID.

Just having an ID is not enough, because it can be cloned or stolen. There are several high tech ways to identify a person. Facial recognition, fingerprints, retinal scan, DNA. A person's privacy must be maintained.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biometrics

There must be a way to store a person's records and keep them private except in the case of crime.

https://www.eff.org/issues/biometrics

There must be a way for each person to have an account to tie him or her to credits.

Each person must have access to a cellphone to record video, or a neighborhood recording station, or a friend who can record. For this system to work, every person needs a smartphone, and a way to replace a stolen one quickly.

https://www.freegovernmentcellphones.net/

I have a free government phone through SafeLink, and I can vouch for this site being genuine. I used this link to get started with researching mine.

Exchange

There should be a means that someone with too much of one kind of credit could exchange it for another kind of credit. There should be a way to exchange these credits for money also.

Recommendations

A person could earn recommendations on their account, to signify their reputation in their communities. Anyone could write a recommendation for a person, for a specific job performed, or willingness to help, honesty, any one trait or task.

A person could also earn demerits. The process should have rules like, no degrading comments, no hate speech, no accusations without proof. A community could have a Demerits Council to hear arguments and try to determine whether the demerit is earned.

Or there could be one Council to hear recommendations or demerits and decide which is warranted. Recommendations should affect credits only. Demerits would affect reputation only. There should be opportunities for people who earn a demerit to do something to make up for it. If a person were caught littering, for example, they could remove a littering demerit for cleaning an area proportionate to the area littered. Demerits should be temporary, and public until removed by acts of public service.

Stations

There would need to be stations to accept the trade and give the credit. There would need to be a way to verify the ID of the person, so some technical equipment needs to be on board. Workers who might do part of this work would get various types of credits, and so would the neighborhood, city, state, and Federal Government. At some point, there might be an International Currency as well. As more people use the system, some of the credits earned by each neighborhood or city could be put back into the system to automate the processes.

People who want their own little business could operate their own station. Owners could start with one station and add them as they get credits to build another. A neighborhood association could start one, or an individual, or a corporation.

I will be posting articles suggesting what possible kinds of credits could be traded for what soon.

 What a token economy is, and how it can be used.

https://vkc.mc.vanderbilt.edu/assets/files/tipsheets/tokeneconomytips.pdf This tip sheet for teachers explains how a school classroom can have students earning credits they can exchange for what they want. It also describes several apps for this purpose.

Wikipedia has a more in-depth explanation:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Token_economy

Microsoft has developed one using virtual currency similar to Bitcoin:

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/microsoft-driving-standards-for-the-token-economy-with-the-token-taxonomy-framework/

You may have encountered some companies with token economies. For instance, Amazon's Coins

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0096E8EC2

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_community_currencies_in_the_United_States


Thursday, September 3, 2020

I Love GIMP

Test

Picture from https://www.gimp.org/tutorials/GIMP_Quickies/ where you can learn to use GIMP for simple tasks.


I love GIMP, and it is free! If you want to edit a photo, make a poster, mix two photos together, or get rid of a background element in a photo, GIMP is excellent! Get it here: https://www.gimp.org/downloads/
By: via DanniStories

Elshar Mashai, Where Tens of Thousands of Colonies of Elshars Come From





Elshar Mashai is in the 7th Galaxy [Large Magellanic Cloud]. The cubes you see are the stone houses of hundreds of thousands of provs that cover Elshar Mashai. Most Elshars are traders. Trade is measured in how many times an item traded changes hands in a local day, sunrise to sunset. A persons' trade balance at sunset determines which of these cubes, in which prov, that he lives in that night. Cube houses have one window and one doorway, and an adobe oven. This side faces The Barrens, so the openings are on the other side. Most sandstorms come from the Barrens side of each prov.
It is a colony of Elshar, where all of the Elshar people and their 10,000 colonies come from. 
This render came from a file I created in Vue 2016.
By: via DanniStories Telegram Channel

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Tiny Houses As A Solution To The Homeless Problem

 This article https://thetinylife.com/what-is-the-tiny-house-movement/ is a good introduction to tiny homes and what they are all about.

Let me be quick to point out that tiny houses are not limited to low-income folks. Many owners of tiny homes were wealthy and got tired of working to support a large home. They wish for a simpler life.

However, what better way to solve the immediate problem of deaths on our streets so numerous that they don't even get into the news? Many of the homeless are handicapped, and/or sick. They die without shelter. Tiny homes can be very quick to build, and having a place that locks helps a homeless person have a little security in a very insecure place. It would give them a place to store their few belongings.
https://endhomelessness.org/homelessness-in-america/homelessness-statistics/state-of-homelessness-2020/

 It is relatively easy to buy a tract of land compared with the mountain of paperwork and legal expense to buy a house, any house. I am a former homeowner.

https://www.zillow.com/home-buying-guide/how-to-buy-land/

I never knew much about Zoning until I researched it. I would love to downsize to a tiny home. However, most Zoning is built to keep big business housebuilders in business.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoning

Tiny Homes can be built to code and be safe to live in. There are an array of environmentally sound principles that one can live by to recycle your waste, generate your own electricity and gas, and keep your tiny home cool or warm. They can be any architectural style. You may live in a rural area, off the grid, or in an urban area connected to familiar utility services. They can be any size. Families can live in them. They are easier to keep clean and maintain because, by definition, a tiny home is 400 square feet or less. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiny_house_movement

Want more space? You might want a small house like a cottage or bungalow. You can build a house more cheaply if it is less square feet. There are plenty of building codes in existence to insure that when you build, you are not building a firetrap, a structure that is flimsy, or a home for roaches or vermin.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bungalow

The main obstacle to smaller houses is that the housing industry is built around expensive homes and profit. Communities that have experience with inexperienced DIYers who built homes of cheap materials and tried to circumvent zoning regulations made tougher laws to restrict homebuilding, laden with license fees and permit fees.

There needs to be a compromise between communities and the people who need housing.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/10/12/tiny-houses-arent-just-millennials-they-could-help-homeless/756955001/

During the Great Depression there were Hoovervilles. People made shelters out of cardboard, literally anything lying around that they could use. Most of our housing laws and local codes grew out of the desire never to have those again. They had inadequate sewage and bred vermin, filth and disease. People decided that small houses led to these kinds of poverty conditions.

https://www.history.com/topics/great-depression/hoovervilles

They were wrong. It wasn't the size of the houses. It was the desperation of poor people.

Today we have tent cities in every major city. City fathers want to get rid of the homeless. They don't consider giving low-income people a chance to own a space. They cite health regulations and zoning regulations that are too high a bar for most low-income people to meet and still own a place.

https://popcenter.asu.edu/content/homeless-encampments-0

There is an alternative. There is pride in ownership. There is safety in having a small space to keep your things in, and lock yourself into for protection. 

Enter people like Elvis Summers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eq9Y40mv3Ok

https://www.thetinyhouse.org/

https://www.youtube.com/TheTinyHouse

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhFKPZqFd3o

The first link is an interview with Elvis Summers on his struggle to provide emergency shelter to the homeless and the corruption in the government and how they are fighting his project.

The last is a documentary about his work.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

DanniStories.com Is Working Again



DanniStories.com is now live again! Still working on bugs, but it is safe to use. Please report any problems to postmaster@dannistories.com

As usual, you may write me at dannis@dannistories.com
If you are seeing this post on blog.dannistories.com, you may also see them at Twitter.com@dannistories or this Telegram feed @DannistoriesPublic

DAZ to Blender Bridge


Another recent DAZ freebie I'm excited about, that I asked for over years! https://www.daz3d.com/daz-to-blender-bridge
If you use another 3D modeling software, check it out! DAZ has added a bunch of them!
By: via DanniStories

Freebie DAZ Business Class Two By Aave Nainen

Render by Aave Nainen from link below!
Here's a freebie I got last week from DAZ that I'm really excited about, by Aave Nainen! https://www.daz3d.com/business-class-two
By: via DanniStories

DAZ Freebie Choices For DAZ Lights

https://www.daz3d.com/choices-for-daz-lights
By: via DanniStories

Hmmm, wonder if it works in DAZ 4?
By: via DanniStories

DAZ Platinum Club Freebie M6 Sport Dynamic Hair


https://www.daz3d.com/michael-6-sport-dynamic-hair for Carrara. I will see if I can use Carrara objects in DAZ, but I have an old version of Carrara also.
By: via DanniStories

DAZ Platinum Club Freebie Modular SF Wall Lights

Look what I just got from DAZ! It's one of this week's Platinum Club Freebies! I think these are cool! https://www.daz3d.com/modular-sci-fi-wall-lights
By: via DanniStories

A Resolution Condemning Police Brutality


Person Protesting next to Cops

Photo by Josh Hild from Pexels

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Watching United Against Trump broadcast

Watching https://www.unitedagainsttrump.org/ now
By: via DanniStories

Social Justice



 I haven't written for a while here. I get frustrated with the sheer number of comments that want to sell my readers something, or are just plain vulgar. I want my blog to be a safe place for young readers to come.

But, it is time for me to be on here more often. I have been quite vocal on Twitter, often posting with hashtags like #BlackLivesMatter and more recently, #VoteBlue2020. We are living in turbulent times.

Photos by cottonbro from Pexels

I plan to post shorter and more frequently. I want to talk about lives I have known. Lives that matter to me.

Why do I write about single mothers, the poor, people with handicaps, with mental illness, and people are abused? Because I want to see social change.

I want to see protections for people who are Different from the majority. I am 61 years young. I have had friends from all walks of life. 

Photo by Rosemary Ketchum from Pexels

Among my friends are members of the LGBTQ+ community. My older daughter is one of them. She doesn't speak to me and hasn't for years. I think she just expects disapproval from me if we were to speak. She carries a lot of hurt inside her, and I am responsible for a lot of that hurt. There are many ways I could have been a better parent to her.

Photo by Misho Gugulashvili from Pexels

Mental illness is one issue I am very vocal about. I am mentally ill, and I know what it's like to be treated differently because of it.

Photo by Marcus Aurelius from Pexels

I am also mobility challenged. When I stopped struggling with elbow crutches and got a wheelchair, people at my church ignored me on Sundays. Many didn't. There are many misconceptions about handicapped people, and some people viewed me as giving up because I chose to use a wheelchair even though I can walk.


I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was persecuted because of my religion. People who criticized my Church would stand outside my cubicle at work and have long conversations about how bad my religion was, while I was trying to work. Let me make clear that I am not a member of the Reformed Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which practices polygamy even though it is illegal. My Church stopped this practice in the 1800's when Utah became a state. Both groups are called Mormons by non-members because of the Book of Mormon, an additional set of scriptures that we study alongside the Bible. The first group, to which I belong, believes in following the laws of the countries to which members belong. The second group is more like a cult.

Photo by Kelly Lacy from Pexels

Because I have Black friends who are close to my heart, I am against white supremacy. I am white. Many of my white friends don't see what #BlackLivesMatter is all about. They don't know anyone who is Black. They don't understand why Black people are tearing down statues and hate the stars and bars flag. They don't see these as the white supremacist symbols that they are.

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Too often, the homeless are pictured like this. Most homeless people are whole families!

Many of my white friends do not see that our government can help the poor. They say it's too expensive to help the poor and want to end social programs. I say it is not too expensive, and it is a Christian obligation, to help the poor. Homelessness is a huge problem in our country, yet police are constantly telling the homeless to move to less populated corners of our cities so the affluent do not see them. There are not enough shelters. The homeless consist of mostly families with children now. My white friends, for the most part, have never talked to a homeless or formerly homeless person, knowingly. I was homeless for a year and I know what it's like. I talked to my fellow homeless persons. I know what that's like.

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I also know what it's like to not have health insurance. Yet, we call universal health care socialist and fight against it. Lack of health insurance increases the numbers of the poor, the homeless, yet my white friends refuse to see that these problems affect all of us, regardless of housing status. Many people can't afford to go to the doctor until a health issue, often preventable, forces them to the Emergency Room.

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One of four of us in the US are addicted to drugs or alcohol. Many are addicted to prescription drugs because they ignore their doctor's instructions. I am grateful not to be included in this number, but I disagree with the ways that addiction is handled in this country. I see it as an illness, not a moral deficiency. If we had universal health care and included addiction treatment, we would see these numbers decline. Too often it is seen as a problem of people of color, and there is extra stigma heaped upon people of color who are addicted. Until we see this as a national problem with a national solution, we will continue to reap the heartache of addicts and their families.

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Which leads to my opinions on incarceration. We imprison too many people for minor crimes. Most people in our jails are people of color, yet people of color aren't committing most of the crimes. The cost of incarceration, both in taxes and in human cost, is unbearable. We need an overhaul of the criminal justice system, for the good of all of us. Instead of imprisoning the addicted, who often sell drugs to finance their addictions, we should be going after the drug lords who supply them. Our police should be using their military might against drug lords and criminal organizations, not against ordinary citizens who are protesting peacefully. They should be using this might against organizations that promote violence, not against those crying for justice.

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We need more social workers and psychologists, in our schools, in our communities, and in our police departments. More people than ever, in this time of COVID-19, are facing mental illness for their first time. Suicide rates are up, especially among our students. Teens are the largest group.

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We need vital changes in schools. Smaller schools, and more of them. More teachers at higher pay. Smaller classes would help with discipline problems and increase quality of education. We need to stop teachers from punishing the entire class when one student causes a problem. We need teachers to get more education in psychology before teaching a class. We need an army of social service providers in schools. We need to stop nationalized testing that discriminates against anyone who is not white.

We need Internet in every home. Special needs children, poor children, all need to have the option to learn at home, especially in a time of emergency.

We need health care that is affordable and up to standards. We need it available in every zip code. We need to quit closing hospitals because they are not profitable. Human life is more important than economics.

These are major issues in our country right now, and most have been major issues through this and the past century. It is time to solve them instead of passing the buck. It is time to say human life is more important than money.

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