The One Where Emily Hates the Term “Oriental”

Don’t mistake me for a rug, or lamp, or china doll for that matter
Part One in my ongoing series about Asian Americans

I’ve had these thoughts in my head for a while now. And to be honest, I’ve wanted to write them into one cohesive “thought” since I was in my early 20’s. With the recent events in Atlanta and throughout the entire US; now seemed to be the right time to sort all those thoughts and write them down and share it with you.

I warn you now, I have a LOT to say. Rest-assured, I will separate these thoughts into a series of posts. Perhaps, so as to be overwhelmed with what I’m writing. Because I really hope you read the following posts and learn something from them. And perhaps share what you learned with your family & friends.

I’ve overheard people talk about how they do not think the violence against Asian Americans is real. Or they believe that, based on our ethnic culture, we don’t “mind” that such actions happen. But what you see and read in the media today about such hate crimes are absolutely true. As a First Generation Asian-American (well, technically Pacific Islander), I do believe that we (AAPI – Asians and Pacific Islanders) tend to feel that “disconnect” in life-experiences more acutely; we tend to feel torn between two cultures. We tend to say that we live two different lives.

It’s tough having to blend both our AAPI and American cultures together. This is why you’ll constantly hear that immigrants & 1st Gen Asian Americans feel like they live in two different “worlds.” Each culture has a way of doing things, getting the job done. There’s my Filipino heritage; one that has many customs that has been passed down from generation to generation. These things I learned from my parents and aunts & uncles who had grown up in the Philippines.

However, with the American culture, I simply learned along the way. At school there was maybe one or two Asian American kids other than me and my brother. I discovered that my classmates and teachers would routinely perform actions or say phrases that I had never heard or seen before, leaving me bewildered. Yet these same behaviors were normal to them. Growing up with our Filipino family & friends, I felt comfortable enough to ask questions and learn more about my Filipino culture. In contrast, I was afraid to ask questions about “normal” American behavior for fear of being judged. To solve that, I would simply observe my classmates and teachers to determine what they considered as run-of-the-mill everyday stuff. And of course, watching TV shows; I wouldn’t have known that porkchops went well with applesauce until Peter Brady said so. Growing up this way, I felt torn between the differences in culture. It often felt as if I was being torn apart and pulled in two separate directions. And somehow, I had to find a way to cope with this.

That said, my experience (as well as other Filipino friends / family), there is usually that ONE event in our lives (despite our parents’ warnings) where we acutely recognize how different we look from our classmates, and it becomes blatantly clear that we are seen differently in their eyes. I believe that this learned behavior is passed on from parent to child. And I also believe that this behavior usually rears its head when my teachers, classmates and co-workers, when feel that we pose a “threat” to them. But more of that later. I promise.

I’ve shared some of them in previous post, but the one that REALLY opened my eyes was my first summer job.[i] I’ve shared the story before in other posts, but here’s the gist of it. At 14, I was hired at a fast food joint because I wanted to make some extra spending money. I figured it couldn’t be too hard to work a register and take orders. But that’s not what I was assigned. At first it was washing dishes in the back. Then it was being put on the food line, all while other “new hires” got to work the registers and take orders. I had a gut feeling it was because management didn’t want customers to see me.

Needless to say, I lasted 3 months at that place and refused to work there again the next summer. Though I left that situation, I regret not having said something to that manager. Or even the assistant manager, who recognized what was going on.

Growing up in the 80’s, I was labeled every kind of Asian celebrity out there; from Margaret Cho to Ming Na Wen (in her Joy Luck Club days, not the Agents of SHEILD days). Later it would become Sandra Oh or Lucy Lui. Any other person out there may have thought it was a compliment to be compared to beautiful actresses. For me, those “compliments” felt as if I was just viewed as an object in non-Asian persons’ eyes.

Which brings me to the next issue: Being called “Oriental.” IMHO, I think that being called “Oriental” feels as if I were an object or a property to be owned; a vase, a rug, a style of decor for example. I feel this way for two reasons:

    1. That term lumps every Asian Ethnicity into one group, when — as of the 2010 US Census data (2020 still not available), there are close to 30 different Asian cultures around the world.
    2. It’s rude. Seriously, would any other subgroup like German Americans or Italian Americans like it to be lumped as European? Yes, the term “Asian” does the same, but Oriental makes it sound as if I was from a distant land in the East where so many luxurious items could be taken back to the US. Things like jade, gold, porcelain, mah jong (ii). And also, not ALL Asians are in the “East.” There’s a reason that Pacific Islanders are added to the mix, as there are other countries / ethnicities west of Hawaii (the Philippines being one of them).

Yes, I realize the term “Asian” does the same thing. However, being called but Oriental makes it sound as if I was from a distant, came from Eastern World where so many luxurious items could be taken back to the US. Things like jade, gold, porcelain, mah jong. [ii] And also, not ALL Asians are in the “East.” There’s a reason that Pacific Islanders are added to the mix, as there are other countries / ethnicities west of Hawaii (the Philippines being one of them).

I’ve taken many people by surprise when saying that I don’t like the term “Oriental.” By no means do I believe that using the word “Asian” is JUST a “politically correct” term for “Oriental.” I truly believe that if you are going to label a person by ethnicity or race, then get your terms (or even just the correct country) right.

As an RN, I’ve taken care of every age group including WWII and Vietnam / Korean War Vets. [iii] While I’m conscious that “Oriental” was the term they previously used; but, if my Mom can (for the most part) use her iPhone to send emails, chat or even look at the FB app, then I would think that someone can learn how to keep up with other changes in society.

And, oh BTW — did you know that in 2016 a federal law was passed to remove any mention of the word “Oriental” in any federal document? [iv]

(more in Part II)


[i] Well technically it was babysitting. I’m still amazed how parents were confident in me to leave their child(ren) in my care! 

[ii] Yes, I know mah jong has been the go-to Asian game (especially when betting is involved) for all Asian ethnicities. Also the mah jong you see as a pesky ad while mindlessly playing games on your phone … that’s not the mah jong that Asians play.

[iii] Interesting anecdote: WW2 vets either despised me or loved to share stories about their time in Asia. Vietnam / Korean vets; however, tended to be more angry and very suspicious (of which I can empathize).

[iv] That is the same law that was passed to strike the term “Negro” in all federal document

News From The Frontline: Thoughts on the Past 12 Months

It’s been a year since COVID first hit Southeast Detroit. I remember clearly, only because Hubby & I – at that time – were at St. Andrews Hall for a Howard Jones concert (yes, I’m an 80’s new wave chick).

Also, that afternoon at work, the other Case Managers and I noticed a LOT of staff up at the front desk for what we though was an impromptu staff meeting. The next day, we would find out that this particular unit (of which I was assigned to) would be the dedicated COVID floor. Within 10 days, this floor would later become an ICU-Annex for the overflow of COVID cases.

Anyway at this concert, HoJo announced to the crowd (it was actually pretty packed) that the US had officially closed its borders from any person entering or leaving the country. Poor HoJo (who lives in the UK) stated, “Well, I guess you’re stuck with me for a while.”

The next morning, was a blur – not only because I was tired – (getting old sucks), but it seemed like our world turned upside down. It was mass confusion, as we were beginning to get more and more COVID cases. There were lots of questions about PPE and who gets to where them. How do we begin to transition the other non-COVID patients of our unit? How many COVID cases are we expected to get? What are ever-changing guidelines for treatment?

But despite the confusion, I would say that within 10 days we had mostly adjusted to the flow of things. I say “mostly” because how does one get “adjusted” when several patients were being emergently intubated (places on a vent) and/or performing CPR to our patients, sometimes simultaneously? This continued to be the case until early May 2020, when there were less admissions for COVID.

At that time, I hesitated to say to other non-healthcare-related people, that we were “done” with this massive wave of acute COVID cases. And sadly, after Memorial Day and Independence Day, those numbers began to rise once again. I forewarned those who thought it was “over” (or in some case, didn’t even believe that COVID existed) that we were no way done with this virus.   

I correlate that the decrease in hospital admissions for COVID in late April for happened for two reasons:

  1. There were guidelines (kinda sorta) for diagnosing and treating COVID, which meant that the hospitals only admitted those COVID patients that had COVID-related acute respiratory failure (ARDS) / pneumonia or other life-threatening events related to COVID symptoms. And,
  2. People believed it was safe to return to “normal.”

That same belief has happened time and time again (after Labor Day and before Thanksgiving through January of this year). People thought it was “safe” and masks and social distancing weren’t necessary at anymore. In fact they were happy the Stay-At-Home restrictions were lifted if only to gather with friends in person, go out to restaurants, and shop.

And I get it. I wanted to do the same. And I had gone into restaurants and occasionally met with some friends in the evenings. I felt so cooped up that I just wanted to be out of the house for more than a half hour at a time. It also didn’t help that, as an essential worker, I had continued to go to work.

I also understand the economic crisis due to COVID; how bad small businesses and restaurants got and how many of them had to furlough employees and/or close their business. It saddens me that some of my favorite places to go (ahem – bookstores, cafes, etc) do not allow any person to linger in the store / restaurant for too long.

Add COVID-19 in the mix, well … it’s no wonder that many people turn to non-constructive or destructive behavior. More alcoholics and other addicts have reverted to their old behaviors; illegal narcotic use has increased dramatically. The rate of depression has skyrocketed over the past year. Not to mention  the PTSD that front-line workers experience, but still continue to go to work despite it all. We shouldn’t forget those experiencing Long-Term COVID, as well. Trust me; I’ve experienced PTSD*** and Long-Term COVID episodes first-hand.****

In any case, I’m just writing here to tell you my experience with COVID over the last 12 months. Like most people, COVID remains a central part of their lives. For me, it’s work (though I now work for a different health system, thank goodness). And anxiety & depression. Don’t worry, though. I’ve been receiving treatment for both.

Please know that if you are experiencing ANY of these feelings, it is COMPLETELY NORMAL. However, if it limits your ability to function at home and work, it is COMPLETELY ACCEPTABLE to ask for help. It doesn’t mean seeking out professional services. It could simply be reaching out to your best friend, your spouse, or me. I’m always good ear for others (must be an RN thing).

I’ll stop with that statement. Besides, this is yet another lengthy post (#SorryNotSorry). I wish everyone health and happiness. And love. You can’t have enough love in this world.  

PS. Like my “Emily The Riveter” pic? 😂 #HailToTheFrontLine 💙💛

*Studies have shown that wearing two masks at a time (one being “medical grade) can help in preventing the spread of any of the COVID-19 variants out there. And they are out there. Right now. In Michigan.

** Unless you’ve experienced a severe allergic reaction to the contents of the any of the vaccines, both in the past and after receiving the first of 2 doses of the vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna)

*** Long term COVID symptoms I’ve experienced include brain fog (can’t recall activities that I’ve done or need to do), anomic aphasia (word-finding difficulties), and rashes to the skin.

**** PTSD incidents began to occur for me when both Hubby & I got COVID; especially when Hubby required hospitalization and *barely* squeaked by with NOT having to go on the vent

An Open Letter to the Other 50%

Dear People who, four years ago, told us that we should “get over it” and believe that the 2020 election was rigged,

Let me first start off by saying that you now need to eat your own words. An election that has been validated multiple times by various highly respected people / groups … one that has been brought to multiple State Supreme Courts and dismissed was NOT stolen by ANYONE.

I’ll also add that 50% of the voters in the 2016 election did NOT want this incumbent president to represent our nation in the first place. We may have not liked the results, but as good citizens and stewards to our country, we respectfully accepted the results and carried on.

As a Republic Democracy for 245 years (this July), the US has provided its citizens the right to choose their own representatives; ones that will take to Washington DC (and the world) the wants and needs of its constituents. It was one of the core values of our Founding Fathers, and through a democratic process, the US Constitution has added amendments (15 & 19, in fact) to secure the rights for ALL citizens of the United States, whether by race or by gender.

The example you have displayed at the Capitol Building today is completely void of Democracy. In fact, you have interfered in the voting process. This means you have actively defied our Constitution; our moral value as a nation.

You follow the words of a person who aims to make (or keep) America great again; the same person who has stoked the fires of anger & hate for his & his family’s own gain, and incited his followers to protest this 245-year-old voting process. You have stormed the Capitol Building, disgracing our Democracy by taking selfies of yourself smiling while sitting on our US Senators’ desk.

You have disrespectfully walked on the Senate & House floors, pretending to be the Senate / House speakers (yes, I’m talking about you, Arizona QAnon Viking Man).

You have walked around our Capitol in Militia uniforms, also taking selfies in the Capitol Building’s Rotunda.

You have waved many a flag of a nation that has not existed in over 150 years.

You hung an effin’ noose in front of the Capitol Building.

May I ask … is THIS what you think will make America great again? Because, quite frankly … despite our economy and the poor COVID pandemic response, I never thought America had EVER lost being great.

Greatness is in how you handle crisis. Greatness is subscribing to the needs of your audience, whether you agree with them or not. Greatness is how you lead others through the difficult times. Greatness is about the art of compromise.

Greatness is NOT selfish or narcissistic. Greatness isn’t someone who wantonly disregards public opinion. Greatness doesn’t trade science for conspiracy theories or unproven facts. Greatness is NOT a person who strives to divide people, in the name his own personal values. Greatness is not “Me.”

Greatness is “Us.”

A great person should be smart enough to know that leading a Democracy requires the assistance of those who also strive to be the best for themselves and — more importantly, others. Greatness is understanding the concept of Teamwork, rather than subscribing to the practice of autocracy.

Greatness, as a leader in our Government, is a person who wholeheartedly believes in the Constitution & the Bill of Rights / Amendments. Greatness is maintaining what works for our government now. Greatness is updating (as needed) and securing our government … OUR nation for the future.

Greatness is honoring a pledge you have made for our country & flag; one that believes that our Republic is “One Nation under God,* indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for ALL.”

Our nation remains great and will continue to be so as long as we BELIEVE it will. Democracy requires diligence in maintaining these documents and pledges. Democracy requires respecting others, our land, and our government. Democracy requires the ability to compromise.

Despite what you think, your actions today are very much NOT “American.” Unfortunately, your display today has likely solidified what the rest of the world generally thinks of a “typical American:” selfish, brash, and loud. (Yes I’ve been watching too much “Emily in Paris.”)

You may have thought your demonstration outside (and, well inside) the Capitol was a given right in our Constitution; that you were entitled to the “Freedom of Speech.” However, when you actually read the first Bill of Right, it addresses the right to assemble PEACEFULLY.

It stopped being peaceful the minute you stormed the Capitol Building, disrupting our government from upholding the Constitution that they pledged to protect.

What you’ve really done is make a mockery of our government. **

For those of you that went to grade school with me, you’ll recall our 5th grade teacher, Mr. K. who was also our social studies / history teacher. He was SO very proud to be an American, and never failed to remind us that the United States was the best country in the world. Being of feeble 11 years of age, I didn’t fully grasp the importance of the “Cold War” which he always referred to when making such statements. However, what I did grasp was him constantly saying, “If you don’t like it here in America, then you can leave.”

While I have been pretty outspoken about my political beliefs over the past 4 years (well, actually more than 12, but who’s counting?), it may come as a surprise that I still love it here in the US. ***

I’ve been afforded opportunities that I may not have experienced if my parents return to the Philippines, if my parents didn’t utilize those unalienable rights afforded by being a US Citizen.

I’ve been given a stellar education. And despite my gripes about my previous employers, I probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to get as far as I have in my career.

I owe all of these opportunities – well, first of all, to my parents, but also for the ability and freedom to better myself in this nation. I don’t take for granted the freedoms we have. I believe the purpose of a three-branch government is important to keep the checks and balances in line. I don’t take issues of race, gender, or identity inequality (or any inequality, for that matter) lightly.

I believe that our democracy should a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Frankly, what you have done today has sorely disappointed *this* citizen of the United States. Yet your action have not dampened the pride that I have for this country.

In fact I remain ever hopeful that this is but a dark time in our Democratic nation and that “We the People of the United States” will continue to “form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

Those were the words of our Founding Fathers. Live them. Breathe them. Respect them.

With sincere respect,
A Proud Asian-American Daughter of the United States

(Off soapbox. Peace out!)


* Yes, I realize that there is much controversy surrounding the addition of religion into our Pledge of Allegiance.

** By “government” I’m *not* referring to a specific person or persons; I’m referring to its entity as a WHOLE

*** Despite seriously considering moving to New Zealand, but the pandemic foiled that plan. D’oh!

Politics & Catholicism, Part Two

Hey there! It’s me again. Figured I would pick up where I left off off that (seriously LONG) post. 

So I’m warning you again, If you don’t want to read about Politics & Catholicism, then click away and don’t bother reading Part One, either

Okay, don’t say that I didn’t warn you! 

Hopefully you’ve read my (entire) post about Catholicism & Politics (with emphasis on Catholicism). Have you decided where I stand on that ONE platform? Have you decided where YOU stand (again) on that ONE platform? The same ONE that most (not all) Christians base their reasons to support one particular candidate for president? 

Because now I’m going to emphasize on Politics. So, if you don’t wanna read about it, I suggest that you skip reading this post all together. (Though I hope you do, as I believe I have some valid points.)  

To start off, I’d like you to consider everything else that this country is currently experiencing. I want you to understand why it’s VITAL that every voter look at the bigger picture outside of Roe v Wade. 

Let’s talk about my favorite issue first, healthcare & COVID-19. And YES, I do believe that COVID-19 exists. I had it. I felt it. It sucked. Big time. NO, I don’t believe in the whole 5G/Coronavirus conspiracy (which, BTW has been debunked several times). NO, I don’t think this virus was developed in a lab in China. Nor do I believe that the US Military created this virus and kept it hidden in a a super secret Military base, to be used for biological warfare. Those conspiracy theories (spread from both ends of the earth from the US to China to a mass of other countries), seek to divide us as a nation and as a First World Country around the globe. 

Word of advice: If something sounds totally off the wall, chances are that they are. Fact check your sources. Research if there is ANY truth to whatever latest theory is out there. But more important, DO NOT share ANYTHING on FaceBook / Twitter / Reddit or or any other social media outlet until AFTER you’ve completed your fact-finding investigation. Do the same thing before sending out or forwarding an email to your family & friends. The same goes for text messaging. Most importantly, DO THIS BEFORE YOU CAST YOUR VOTE. It’s important, especially in today’s world to be well-informed about our government. 

As it is, data can be misinterpreted as well. Sources regarding COVID-19 such as our Federal Government and other well-respected agencies like the CDC (?) or WHO (World Health Organization) are all reporting different numbers. Research the source you are using to find out where they gathering their data? (Personally, I trust WHO). 

One thing that has been consistent is the number of COVID-19 related deaths. All agencies are reporting that the US is the leader in deaths. As 4:00 pm on Tuesday, October 6th, WHO reports 208,787 confirmed US deaths. How can our country have these numbers when the US is seen as the richest, wealthiest country in the world?

I can answer that. Well actually, I can answer it in many ways, but I will stick to just one example: Disparity in healthcare coverage. 

Hopefully everyone has read and learned something about disparity, when it clearly has been all over every media outlet over the past week when Trump tested positive for COVID. (Wait, it’s only BEEN a week?) Here’s what I think: 

  • How is it that government officials have access to COVID testing daily, when when the low-income / high risk population or even front line workers can’t even get one? I just think of how I was treated when I requested a COVID-19 test: “Why do you need one? and “Are you symptomatic? Well then you’ll just have to go home and quarantine.”
  • How is it that those in Healthcare careers, who are sacrificing their own health for the health of others go from Heroes To Zeroes?” where their moral obligation is to treat EVERYONE the same manner? How is it that we are asked to provide the absolute “best” treatment for COVID to someone the deem as a VIP (you know, major donors, celebrities, presidents)? 
  • Why does Trump receive preferential treatment? Is it because of his insurance? Spare me the point that it’s because HE is the president and he deserves that treatment. Let me just point out that WE PAY for his healthcare (and salary, BTW) with the TAXES we contribute from our income. The guy hasn’t paid his income taxes but TWICE over the last 15 years; yet he gets FREE HEALTHCARE from us taxpayers.  Furthermore, many of these same taxpayers can’t even qualify — let alone, afford — to receive healthcare for various reasons. Maybe they make too much money and/or have too many assets to qualify for Medicaid.  But they also don’t have enough money to pay for a Marketplace (Affordable Care Act) insurance.  
  • Lack of insurance is a HUGE  problem for our entire population, especially for the low-income / high-risk population, where there is concern if they can afford medications, tests, office visits, hospital & ER admissions. This is a major factor on why people won’t seek, let alone receive care until it becomes an emergency. 
  • And why does Trump continue to downplay the pandemic by essentially telling the country that he “survived” COVID? Why does he feel he needs to make sure the country knew he was still strong despite the obvious dyspnea (shortness of breath) he was hiding when he spoke to his “people” on the Truman Balcony after being discharged from the hospital? As someone who’s husband was admitted to the hospital for COVID-19, I call BS that he’s doing well. No one’s O2 saturations just recovers from COVID-19. Yes, they can be weaned off of oxygen, but may still require to use it with any shortness of breath from exertion. Hubby *still* had difficulty breathing for an additional week after his 3-week stay in the hospital. PLUS, Dexamethasone. Having been on steroids in the past, I know how great it feels once it kicks into your system (don’t even ask me how much I weighed about 2 months after starting them). So I’m assuming this “burst of energy” is why he thinks he’s doing better. And BTW, we haven’t see Trump in the last 2 days; perhaps his Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) has returned. 
  • Why does Trump still insist that COVID-19 is no big deal when close to 210K of our country has died from it? Why is he encouraging people to return to their normal lives, while simultaneously displaying that he doesn’t need to wear a mask anymore? The sheer fact that he walked into the White House without one, after instructing the country to “not let COVID rule your life,” just makes me SO. ANGRY. And then he has the gall to add, “Now I’m better, maybe I’m immune, I don’t know.” Does he realize that he has TOTALLY undermined (yet again) the entire Healthcare Profession by NOT following the standard treatment guidelines for COVID-19? 
  • And BTW, standard protocol is that a positive COVID-19 patient should remain quarantined for 14 days from first known exposure PLUS an additional 72 hours after ALL symptoms are gone. (I mean, I’m not even gonna get into the cluster f**k that is contact tracing.) Yet again, he disregards everything that is considered protocol for any COVID-19 patients AND expects to get the best possible meds to treat COVID-19.  Of which his physicians (and other non-medical personnel, because, you know — Science.) ALLOW him to DICTATE HIS CARE? IMHO those that allow him to get what he wants are complicit with his actions; they’ve become codependent. Seriously, working with Trump must be equivalent of taking care of a toddler.
  • Why does Trump insist to promise that vaccines will be “coming momentarily,” as his administration blocked the new FDA Coronavirus Standards? That’s important; especially for those in research and ultimately the recipients of the vaccine. There’s a reason why accurate trial studies need to be done prior to the distribution of the vaccine. Seriously, would YOU want to take a drug that has not been thoroughly studied? I’m exaggerating here, but what if you grow a donkey tail as a result of it? Or what if you, or worse your child develops a serious reaction to it? Would you take that risk if the vaccine was distributed today?

Again, remember Trump’s platform AND actions he has created / endorsed regarding COVID. Think about how his “date” with COVID-19 went for him; how he received the VIP treatment despite not having contributed tax dollars to insurance.  Think about how he claims the common flu is more dangerous than COVID-19. Think about how he gives inaccurate data about the number of deaths from COVID-19 (again as of yesterday) versus the number of estimated flu-related deaths from 2018 to 2019 (32,157) versus the number Trump seems to consistently throw out (100,000). 

Let’s tackle Economic Inequality next; though I straight-up confess that I don’t know US Economics that well. 

First off, can I just say how absolutely despicable that Trump has been robbing from the poor to make him rich? He’s the Anti-Robin Hood of modern times. Anyways, please think of the man who does such things and ask yourself if you would want to be complicit (or worse, apathetic) with his actions. 

  • And then Trump claims that he is the most successful president in history by passing the “Best. Tax cuts. Ever.” Yes, he provided tax cuts for everyone; however, in reality these tax breaks (in the long run), favor large corporations and savvy investors who know how to hide their money. Not the “Everyday Jane / Joe” who could *actually* use the tax break. 
  • Let’s face it, Big Corporations are really the ones ruining — oops, I mean RUNNING — our government. Worst yet is that they are typically white privilege men who work by using the “Good Ol’ Boys” mentality; in other words, “You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours.” Trump, prior to being elected, is a *fine* example of that. How many business ventures of his have failed? How many people has he financially ruined every time he declared bankruptcy? How much money did he ACTUALLY receive from claiming losses on his different ventures?  
  • How do YOU think Trump is currently doing, by treating the US Government as Big Business with him as CEO and Congress as the Board of Trustees, rather than the Executive and Legislative branches of our Democracy that had been developed by our Founding Fathers and was written in our Constitution? (We won’t even *talk* about what’s happening in the third branch, the judicial branch AKA the Supreme and Federal Courts. (RGB RIP) 
  • Hear me out first, as I somewhat understand why many people voted for Trump in 2016. He promised that he’d bring back jobs to the US. He promised to “drain the swamp” in Washington DC. He promised to “Make America Great Again.” And now he wants to “Keep America Great Again.” Has he delivered on that? 
  • Jobs: The average unemployment rate from 2017 to March 2020 was 6.8. And that’s before the pandemic. Compare that from 2013 to 2016, Obama’s last 4 years, that average is 5.8.
  • “Draining the Swamp” In other words, removing corruption from the White House and run a government that would “serve ordinary Americans rather than personal and/or special interest groups.” HAH! 
  • Let’s talk about his family; in particular, Jared & Ivanka. Didn’t Trump specifically promise during his 2016 campaign that he would relinquish the reigns of “The Trump Organization” to his children? (Nepotism anyone?) And then demand that The Kushner’s receive high-level security clearance, despite all the red flags that intelligence officials were concerned regarding Jared. Why give them this clearance? For what reason?
  • As for Ivanka, it was recently discovered in Trump’s (unreleased) tax return that “The Trump Organization” paid $747,622 in fees to an “unnamed consultant” for international hotel projects related to his business. I find interesting that this *exact amount* was paid out to Ivanka through a consulting firm that she co-owns. And we’re giving her clearance that allows her access to data that affects national security, counterterrorism / counterintelligence, and other highly sensitive data? 
  • Now let’s see who Trump “handpicked” since the start of his term to “serve ordinary Americans.” And which staff Trump placed, then replaced, and replaced again; over and over, ad nauseam. In fact, Trump prefers to use the term that “acting people” work in his administration. He has explained the turnover by stating that “the reason they are ‘acting’ is because I’m seeing how I like them.” Really. Not kidding. As of September 30 2020, Trump has had a total of 415 individuals that were dismissed or resign. I guess he thinks the US Government is like his reality TV show, The Apprentice. 
  • But seriously, let’s compare the percentage of staff turnovers for the last 6  presidents’ “A Team” (the group of the president’s top advisors) during their first term: Reagan 78% | Bush Sr 66% | Clinton 74% | Bush Jr 63% | Obama 53% |Trump 91%.  Hmmm … I can *almost* hear Trump saying his tag line in The Apprentice. “Your FIRED!”

I promise, I’m almost done; however, I wanted to take the time to discuss racism within our country. Studies have found that, during this current state of unrest, rates regarding race-related encounters has increased. (Duh!) But it was also reported that this unrest was NOT a result of what happed to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and the countless others who haven’t received as much news coverage. Or the shootings in Charlottesville and Kenosha. Or how the National Guard was deployed for riot control. Rather it is a result of the systemic growth of racism against race, religion, immigrants, and ethnic backgrounds;  especially our Native Americans. Let’s not forget that countless countries arrived in the “New World” stealing the land out from our indigenous people in order to colonize / convert others to their ways, religion, etc. 

So, let’s get down to it. Here’s what I want you to remember when it comes to casting your vote. 

  • We currently have a US President who actually *promotes* segregation. He certainly has proven that time & time again. How can he blame the far-left for actions that have been linked to the far-right? He refuses to acknowledge that there are even ANY far-right groups, let alone state that these groups were responsible for instigating riots among peaceful protestors. He ABSOLUTELY refuses to commit to denouncing the actions of such groups. The “Stand down, and stand by” statement should be a clue that he seeks to diminish the lives of others who they deem inferior to them. Another one would be, “There are fine people on both sides.” Don’t just focus on “fine people.” Rather, focus on the “both sides” statement. Does it sound like he’s trying to bring people together? 
    
  • What about “The Wall” which Trump wants Mexico to fund?  Or that he calls COVID-19 the “China Flu” or “Kung-flu?” As a first-generation Filipino American, I find those things absolutely disgusting; especially because he is the face of our nation. I’m not sure how anyone could call Trump a leader when he can’t even lead appropriately. A good leader seeks to lead the people he’s responsible for; a great leader is one that seeks to find balance and inclusion. Trump doesn’t have the ability to unite our country; instead, he aims to divide and segregate. I’m ashamed that he’s the face of our country and that his actions on the world front likely confirm (or at least lead them to suspect) that all Americans are like him. (Please Canada or Australia or New Zealand! Please let me immigrate to your countries!)
    
  • Has Trump provided support for others that are not like him or don’t have the same beliefs as he does? As it is, he actively seeks to separate families. And YES, I understand (though don’t agree with) why he’s deporting “illegal immigrants.” But what about the children left behind that were placed in Migrant Detention Centers? Trump has no problem about talking how he’s going remove all the “illegals,” but I honestly can’t recall a time where he’s addressed and / or acknowledge these children and the horrid conditions the children live. These centers are overpacked and understaffed, let alone fully stocked on basic needs, which results in these children living in a manner where they don’t have sufficient food or even access to showers (let alone soap & shampoo). How can Trump turn a blind eye to all of this? How, as Catholics are we protecting THESE lives?  

I have SO much to say about Racism, both in the past and in the present. But maybe that’s another entirely separate post. Because yes. I know this is long. 

So what spouted this verbal (written?) diarrhea? Well, definitely the 2020 Presidential Election and whether or not a voter should decide on a particular candidate because of ONE platform that the Catholic Church has about life. But it also goes back to the initial article by Jeannie Gaffigan that I shared in the previous post. 

As a frequent fact checker and as person that has always had a thirst for knowledge, I actually did my own research about Politics & Catholicism.

What I found was a guide written by the US Catholic Bishops regarding the political responsibilities of a Catholic citizen. This guide DOES NOT tell you what or who a Catholic should choose when voting; rather it suggests how your Catholic faith can intermingle with Politics so that the voter can make an informed decision. 

This is one lengthy document with a LOT of information about the Church’s stance on particular issues. It also talks about whether or not one should vote on one candidate based on a SINGLE PLATFORM the candidate subscribes to during the campaign. What I got out of reading this guide was that the Church suggests that we should consider ALL of the candidate’s past actions / behaviors / issues which may go against your moral code. In short, this guide asks you to CONSIDER THE WHOLE PICTURE. In fact, there is a portion of this guide that advises this action:

“In making these decisions, it is essential for Catholics to be guided by a well-formed conscience that recognizes that all issues do not carry the same moral weight and that the moral obligation to oppose policies promoting intrinsically evil acts has a special claim on our consciences and our actions. 

These decisions should take into account a candidate’s commitment, character, integrity, and ability to influence a given issue. In the end, this is a decision to be made by each Catholic,  guided by a conscience formed by Catholic moral teaching.”

So yes. Once more, please please PLEASE be informed about all the candidates’ stance on issues, their integrity and character before voting. Ask yourself if either candidate will be able to lead our country. And when the elected candidate leaves the Executive Office, try to imagine what kind of legacy that person will leave for our country, let alone the Earth we share with other countries. Consider how you believe that person will shape our country and the world for the future generations.

That’s it. That’s all I can write about for now. (Whew!) I will sign off after leaving another portion of the Catholic Bishops’ guide. 

From the “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States”

“The political realities of our nation present us with opportunities and challenges. We are a nation found in ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,’ but we are too often divided across lines of race, ethnicity, and economic inequality. 

But the right to life itself is not fully protected, especially for unborn children, the terminally ill, and the elderly; the most vulnerable members of the American family. 

We are called to be peacemakers in a nation at war. We are a country pledged to pursue ‘liberty and justice for all,’ but we are too often divided across lines of race, ethnicity, and economic inequality. 

We are a nation of immigrants, struggling to address the challenges of many new immigrants in our midst. We are a society built on the strength of our families, [where we are] called to defend marriage and offer moral and economic supports for family life. 

We are a powerful nation in a violent world, confronting terror and trying to build a safer, more just, more peaceful world. We are an affluent society where too many live in poverty and lack health care and other necessities of life. 

We are part of a global community charged with being good stewards of the earth’s environment, what Pope Francis calls ‘our common home,’ which is being threatened.

They are intertwined and inseparable. As Pope Francis has insisted, ‘We are faced . . . with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature.’”

Politics & Catholicism, Part One

Warning you now. If you don’t want to read about Politics & Catholicism, then click away and don’t bother reading Part Two, either!

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Another chance to change your mind

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Okay, don’t say that I didn’t warn you! 

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Before writing this extremely long tirade regarding Politics & Catholicism, I truly debated if I should share this article, let alone go on a rant. As you can see, I ultimately did. 

This article was written by Jeannie Gaffigan, the wife of well-known comedian Jim Gaffigan. In this piece written for “America: The Jesuit Review,” Jeannie stated that — though she is firmly Catholic in her beliefs, and is most-definitely pro-life (as most Catholics are) — wrote that she will not be voting for Trump this election. She stated the impetus for writing this essay was the Twitter Storm that ensued after Jim, who has always been non-political in every single act he performed or interview he has done, had uncharacteristically tweeted a “profanity-laden rant against President Trump.” 

Personally, I don’t think the tweet was that bad; however, the responses he received (as well as on Jeannie’s own Twitter account) was full of vitriol & hate. And many of them  (continued to) spread misinformation. Several responses even turned to quoting Trump when he called his opponent as a “fake Catholic.”

Which, for someone who ordered law enforcement to deliver tear gas to peaceful protestors & the surrounding media personnel standing in his way just for a photo opportunity, Trump certainly didn’t display Christian-like behavior. Ironically, that photo op was to show the public that he is a good, God-fearing Christian. In actuality, his actions prior to this photo op (and even after the tear gas was delivered) proved that he is definitely NOT Christian. Seriously, he doesn’t even know how to hold the Bible properly!

But we’ll get to that in my next diatribe, as I suspect this post will end up being super long. Anyhoo …

After Jim’s tweet, close friends and families of theirs had privately came up to Jeannie to informed her that they didn’t like Trump either; in fact, they hate everything else that he stands for. However, they also suggested that as a “Real Catholic,” she should “hold [her] nose and vote for Trump if only because the Catholic faith dictates, above all, we must vote for the pro-life” candidate.” 

What I like the most about Jeannie’s article is she stated so eloquently those exact reasons that *I* won’t vote for Trump. Well, actually she quotes from Pope Francis’ message that he delivered to the US  as a result of the #BlackLivesMatter campaign, which went into overdrive following the death of George Floyd and other similar events (before and after) his death. 

Pope Francis said, “We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.”  

Jeannie then wrote that systemic racism in our our current culture has led to the economic and social inequality we’re currently experiencing — or rather, just now “noticing” — in our country.   And in the current state of affairs, it is virtually impossible to claim  that we (as Catholics) are truly practicing a “culture of life,” which protects the the sanctity of ALL life. Jeannie goes on to add that , “… we [as Catholics] have been complicit in a long history of de-valuing our fellow human beings based on the color of their skin or the way they came to this country.”

As someone who has had 12 years of Catholic education (and has also been label a “Fake Catholic”), this goes against everything I learned about humanity in school and during the thousands of homilies I’ve listened to in the course of my life thus far. And, although my Mom sees me as a “Lapsed Catholic,” I want her to know that all the money that my parents spent on my education did not go to waste. I have *always* turned to what I was fundamentally taught during my formative years. And I continue to practice these principles of Catholicism today; not only spiritually, but ethically as well.  

My actions are the result of practicing a lesson that I was taught during my formative years and is a moral principle for several different faiths: 

“Love one another; [and] just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”

(John 13:34

The Golden Rule, or as it is defined by theologians, the “Ethics of Reciprocity.“ It’s the first thing you are taught in Catholic school (and/or catechism classes). It’s the one act that is almost inherent for most Christians, and the rule that even any empathetic person that choose to be agnostic or an atheist. 

As someone who chose to be an RN, I am inherently drawn to treat everyone with empathy, of which I learned from that Golden Rule. It certainly is a lesson taught in Med School (“First, do no harm”) and Nursing School (via The Modern Nightingale Pledge that “Nursing is a ‘Missioner of Health … dedicated to the advancement of human welfare.’”)

How about Muslims?” you might ask. While not directly quoted in the Quran, Muslims also have the intrinsic belief that they “must think about how their actions affect others; to see the world in a whole new way – through the eyes of another.”   

The basic gist is: Be good to one another. 

Can you, as a Christian, think that Trump is following the Golden Rule? Jeannie Gaffigan certainly doesn’t think so, stating in her article that “Mr. Trump is only pro-Mr. Trump.” How can someone claiming to be Christian say that prisoners of war and soldiers who died defending our freedom are “losers” or “suckers” ?!? 

I could cite many (MANY) more examples of how pathologically narcissistic Mr. Trump is; but I won’t. Yet.

Any sane Christian would agree that Trump has broken all Ten Commandments AND has committed all of the seven of the Deadly Sins. I (obviously) subscribe to that thought. Wholeheartedly.  However, after much reflection and  prayers  (yes, Mom, I DO pray) I cannot vote for a person who is not sympathetic, let alone empathetic. Trump definitely does not think of others, except if it affected him personally. As a matter of fact, I believe he doesn’t even *think* about — let alone pray for —  those individuals & groups that do not subscribe to his beliefs. Truthfully (and stay with me here, my friends), Trump probably doesn’t know the Beatitudes, much less recognize that MANY Christians use this as a guide to *understand* and learn from those individuals / groups / religions whose thoughts don’t align with their own beliefs. 

As a refresher for my friends (and a lesson for those friends that are not familiar with the Beatitudes), here they are: 

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. 

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. 

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me.

Matthew 5:3-10

Forgive me if you find the following sentences insulting. Before you cast your ballot (stone?), I beg you you to See. The. Whole. Picture. Before deciding who should represent and lead the American People. Please DO NOT cast your vote simply because of the ONE platform on the current president’s stance – or rather “indifference” – regarding Roe v Wade. Think of the OTHER platforms that he promotes during his (COVID-19 ridden, non-mask wearing, anti-social distancing) rallies. 

Let me say this in another way. If you (Catholics & Christians) are planning on voting for Trump just because he agrees with only ONE of his many platforms he’s using to run his campaign;   or because who is “for” (better stated, “indifferent” about) Roe v Wade .. please please PLEASE remember those Beatitudes. Ask yourself if Trump plans on helping ALL the individuals named in the Beatitudes, as WELL as those unborn children who’s life you’re fighting to defend.  

Does that mean I’m pro-life? As a confirmed Catholic, that answer is tricky and it depends on the events & situations surrounding the woman & her loved ones. I think there are circumstances such as complications during pregnancy, as well as the lack of support & financial means to raise a child, are involved in making a decision. And I am aware that, even if it’s not directly stated in the Bible, the interpretation is that the woman should keep the child. 

But (and this is where I bring up empathy) think about it in the context of yourself, your sister, mother, aunt, daughter, grand-daughter: 

What if you were single or married to an abusive spouse? What about the safety of the the child once he/she is born? 

What if your sister is unable to financially afford even the basics for herself, let alone a child? 

What if your daughter’s pregnancy happened as a result of rape? Of incest? Of sex trafficking? 

What if your grand-daughter had a miscarriage in the late 2nd or 3rd trimester? Would you expect her to keep the lifeless child in her womb until she is able to deliver her stillborn baby? 

What if, in the desire to have children, your infertile daughter & son-in-law seeks other means to start their family and it doesn’t “take”? What if they didn’t have enough money to go through another round, using frozen eggs .. But they can’t anyway because they didn’t have enough frozen eggs to even try again? What if a year passes, and your daughter (now confused, hurt, and ashamed with still not having kids) receives a call to renew the “rent” to keep these eggs frozen — but didn’t have the thousands of dollars it takes to keep them frozen for another year? What if that couple had no other choice but to “give them up?” 

Yes, that last situation was true. And yes, it did happen to me. 

What about adoption, you may ask? Well, let me ask you to put your empathy hat on once again. What if your sister wants, yet knows she is unable, to keep the child (for various reasons as mentioned above)? What if your sister was given different CHOICES and ultimately decided to put the child up for adoption? As a woman who is infertile (well, menopausal TBH), I believe that this is *much harder* to do than the general public would think. 

If you *truly* believe that adoption will “solve everything,” then, once again, you should examine the whole picture. Ask your sister why she is / was leaning one way or the other. Understand the various reasons your sister is making (or already made) the decision she did. Seek to understand, rather than instruct your sister what she should do. 

Don’t tell your sister what YOU would do in her situation; rather, ask her what YOU can do for her. 

And support (and RESPECT) her decision, regardless of it goes against your belief. 

I can’t tell you what it would be like to give up a child (we couldn’t even have one if / when we tried, anyway 🙃😝😂) or even to end a viable pregnancy, but I imagine that person would continue to live her life with a ginormous gaping wound in her heart; knowing that her child or his / her spirit is out there somewhere. I imagine she will always have the feeling that a part of her is missing in her life and stay with her the rest of her days, even when she wanted to get / could get pregnant again. 

Can you see the resemblance in emotions for a woman that couldn’t have kids of her own? After over 15 years of infertility, I *still* have that gaping wound and hole in my heart (and can’t forget “good old Catholic guilt”) from our attempts to have biological children of our own. From losing those frozen eggs. 

So I can hear the question now: “Why didn’t you & your husband try to adopt?” As an infertile couple, we DID consider that alternative. Let me just tell you (from experience) that it isn’t EASY to “just adopt.” There are financial issues, privacy issues, and the overall feeling that you’re not “good enough” to be *approved* by the agency to be placed on a list; let alone  *chosen* by a woman. For those that sought to adopt, I’m simply in awe that they could open their hearts and home to accept a non-biological child. I’m absolutely thrilled that those adoptions were successful, and that they were able to start (or complete) their family in this method. 

In my case, I was overwhelmed by the thought of starting our family by adoption. My confidence had been shattered to pieces by years of doctors appointments (sometimes daily looky-see’s down there 😱). Simply stated, I couldn’t “just adopt” after years of failure and disappointment to have a biological child of our own. I was afraid that, even though we might have been chosen to be parents of that women’s child, the biological mother or father or other family members may change their mind and then take away the baby I had been wanting to raise since first go married. I had no power in our ability to have biological children let alone adopt, so at least I can direct the narrative of our situation and “Let God, let go.” 

Obviously, Hubby and I ultimately decided that if it was meant to be, then it would be. And since nothing came of it, we decided to be fur parents instead. After finally making the decision to remain child-free, I felt the entire weight of the world lifted off my shoulders. 

So after reading my own experience, ask me again if I’m pro-life or pro-choice. Ask me if I believe that each person is unique and that their life experiences lead them to make the decision they do / did. I know what I am, but I want you, as a reader, decide on where I stand — and where YOU stand — on this issue. 

Okay, as I knew this would be a long post, I will just leave off here and continue my rant in the following (long) post. 

Read Part 2 now. Or later. I have no problem if you decided to take a break, especially if you feel I’ve talked (written?) your ear (eyes?) off.