Monday, August 31, 2020

My Political Outlook Struggle - Part 2 Why I Am Republican

 You can read Part 1 HERE

    Now days that R word can be seen as quite the nasty word. After writing about the first R word I did feel a lot of angst and stress lift off of my chest. These topics have been weighing me down so long that I forgot how cathartic blogging really was. But I don't know how many blogs it will take for me to be comfortable saying, I'm a Republican. 

    People ask, Why? It used to be simple, my dad and grandpas taught me tax cuts were good and the red side was the one who cut taxes. It was very cut and dry. Now at 37 it isn't so easy. Part of me wants to keep it easy and say it's the tax cuts. Reality is, it is so much more.

    School Choice - my children went to Charter Schools, it saved my daughters education. She was extremely behind when we got her from foster care and her first year with us in a public ISD, was a disaster. We moved her to a charter school and she went from a kindergarten level learning to on pace in 3 years. It was a miracle. Now she is in a dual program high school, taking an advanced math class, and excelling. Competition brings the best to the top. And all students deserve to go to the best, not just the rich who can afford private schools. I've always been a fan of the voucher program, I remember debating this in high school. This is almost the most important issue right now to me as a voter.

    Abortion is a really hard topic for me. Losing my daughter Elizabeth in 2007 to abortion will be the hardest thing in my life. Choosing to continue my life while ending hers. The pain I feel daily sometimes is insurmountable. It's been 13 years and it feels like yesterday. Honestly, I used to hate Republicans. Because of them I had to sign 27 pages saying I understood I was murdering my child. But it was her or me, she was making me sick, and in the end, September that year, I almost died of septic infection because of the pregnancy. I resented the Republicans in Austin a lot honestly. But as I have gotten older and reflected on my feelings and my religion I have come to terms with the Republican's on this issue. I will never think an abortion is the right choice if your life isn't in danger. But, I will never think it is my right or place to judge or tell you what to do. We all are adults. But, abortion, I believe in preserving those babies lives. Even though I voted no to making a state wide abortion ban, I just can't vote for the left. I can't bring myself to give the power to end so many babies lives. My husband and I could NEVER deliver a child alive, yet so many people end their babies lives. For that, I vote Republican.

    The left says they are not trying to take away our 2nd Amendment, but it sure comes across like you are. My opinion, we have a mental health crisis in America, not a gun problem. Making it harder for people in general to get guns isn't the solution. Improving our healthcare is. Gun's don't kill people, people kill people. in 2018, 14,123 people in the US were murdered, 10,265 were by some type of firearm. I know that number is staggering. But this article explains that while this number seems extremely high, it is still much lower than the number of people who die of heart disease. To me, I believe, if we focused as much attention on the food consumed in the US as we do gun control, you would actually save more lives. If you want to fact check, please feel free. Here is my source. I think efforts need to be done to decrease the amount of violent death, absolutely. But, gun control isn't it. Health care is.

    Obamacare, honestly, I have not seen how this has helped the world. You taxed people for not having health care and you raise the cost of health care for those of us who already had it. I think competition brings about better quality care. I read about the Republicans helping the Vets with better medical care, I hope it's true. Trump said he would, and the entire Republican party, protect pre-existing conditions, again I hope this is true. I don't see how letting the gov't dictate health care is a good thing. Have you ever known the gov't to control something effective and efficiently? You cannot tell me that Congress is good at effectively and efficiently carrying out policy, how are they going to carry out health care?

    Business, I think the Republican economic policies and practices help out more businesses than the Democrats. I think the trade deals that have helped farmers and steel workers is important. I think the Democrats have too many regulations. Do I think we need to wipe out all regulations, no, but I think over regulating is a very bad thing. I think the environment is in jeopardy of really being hurt if we do not stop our current path. But there just has to be middle ground. Somehow to save the planet and not cost all those workers their jobs.

    Lastly, for the moment, taxes. I just believe lower taxes stimulate the economy. It puts more money in the hands of consumers. It allows for our spending to increase which supports businesses. More spending in business means more tax revenue collected by way of sales tax. Biden reversing the tax cut isn't a good thing. We all know sometimes you just have to raise taxes, President Bush faced that when he was up for re-election, but this isn't that time.

    I hope that my reasons for voting Red on November 3rd make sense. I think there are people out there like me that mirror these thoughts. I read an article today from a Catholic Bishop that said it is our duty as Catholics to vote our conscience ... this post is mine. 

Sunday, August 30, 2020

My Political Outlook Struggle - Part 1 Racism

    With the November Election looming ahead of us I think it is pretty safe to say it is weighing on most of the country's mind. Often times it feels like there is no right answer, but I think a lot of us on either side feel there is a wrong answer. It is so hard for me in this day and age to feel accepted anymore. I find myself feeling more at ease with people from high school that I thought were exact opposites of me. Sometimes it is family that makes me feel isolated or even close friends I consider family. But most of the time it is Facebook. It seems like every instance that I open the app on my cell there is either a riot picture, an anti-Trump post, a 'sleepy Joe meme' or any variation in between. There are long copy and paste posts about what the left or right is 'really' standing for or my least favorite, abortion posts. With so much doom and gloom everywhere I look, is it a wonder on why I don't feel like I belong?

    I've made no secret about it, I am voting for President Trump this year. I've been a Republican almost my whole life. I was raised by Republicans & I am raising my children to be Republican. But, I'm also raising them to think for themselves on every issue, I just, notice myself leaning on the right most of the time. I try very hard to make sure I present both sides of each issue though, in my defense. I work hard to make sure I give unbiased teachings.

    What kills me about this is now it is almost like society wants to shame you for feeling certain ways about the different issues. What ever happened to people having a healthy debate, a difference of opinions, a voice? Why is it now you are automatically a racist loving skinhead supporter if you vote for Trump? That's not fair to me, or others like me who do not condone racism at all. At the same time, it isn't fair to those who are going to vote for Biden for me to think you're a socialist loving commie who just wants my tax dollars to pay for your lazy self sitting on the couch collecting unemployment. There has to be a common ground, a way to express how you feel, without being tossed into a pigeon hole label.

    I've spent the better part of a month thinking about this series of posts. I looked over my blog and realized that once President Trump took office and began his tenure as our Commander and Chief, my opinions became more and more sparce. I am actually scared to post my own thoughts on my blog. That realization bothers me. It made me want to dive into what is going on in my own head and why I am feeling this way. 

    For that, we need to start at the beginning. Because when I say, I am not a racist and I do not condone that behavior, I truly mean it. But, there is more to Ashley's way of voting that just that. So in this series of posts I am going to give my unedited opinion on these subjects. If you don't like it, then don't read it. If you don't agree, that's fine, I would love to have a healthy debate with you over it, but a debate, not a condemning argument toward one another.

- Racism 

- Why I am a Republican

-Catholicism

- President Trump

    Those are the topics that have been hanging over me for the whole month of August and that is the order I am going to discuss them. I don't expect everyone to agree with me, life would be boring if we always did that. But, this is my blog so I do expect anyone who comments to be polite. I have no issues deleting rudeness. 

    Racism, a German/Lebanese-American's Point of View:

    For the first thirty years of my life when you asked me 'where are you from' I used to say Kansas. As an 'adult' with kids I now say Texas, because as an adult, I realize Texas is my home. But, that doesn't mean you can take the Kansas girl out of me. 

    I moved to Houston when I was 11 years old, 6th grade. Not an easy time in anyone's life. Most girls hate middle school, at least none of my friends act like it was their favorite time in life. For me, it was horrible. The absolute worst years of my life. 

    I spent 4th and 5th grade at Longfellow Elementary in Kansas City, Mo. It was very different from Landolt Elementary in Friendswood, Tx. I honestly didn't know what racism was when I moved here. I didn't know I was 'supposed' to act differently around people. My first kiss was the cutest kid in school. Note, I said 'kid' not 'black kid'. I just didn't think of people in those terms. It never occurred to me to describe Jordan as 'the cute black kid', to me, he was the cutie who played dodgeball with me after school. It wasn't until I moved to Texas that I realized people treated each other differently. I am not saying racism doesn't exist in Kansas & Missouri, I am simply saying, the kids I was in class with all day, every day, didn't treat each other that way.

    I can remember 6th, 7th and 8th grade so vividly. We were at lunch and I was sitting across from two boys in my class, they were both black. One of them looks under the table and then looks back at me and says "You see her legs, how thick, you know she has some black in her." It was in that moment that I realized life was going to be very different down here. It didn't feel like it was a different for the better. In KC,Mo I had friends that were both black and white, the school I went to I think had mostly black students. It never made a difference what race we were. But in Friendswood, it sure felt like I was singled out.

    Being the new kid is hard enough but I was also 'fat' as the bully always said to me. I also chewed my nails and didn't yet shave my legs. I'm half Lebanese and sadly have a lot of hair. It isn't my fault, it's my DNA. I was called names like Chewbacca, ugly, fat, disgusting. All because I was new. Now you may be wondering, what does this have to do with race? Well, the only people who ever bullied me, until 10th grade, were black. This one girl, and her friends. Every year. She even tried to beat my dog up with rocks one time.

    But see, I was raised to love people, so I didn't think it was a race issue, I thought it was a personality issue. She was, may still be, just a bitch. It didn't occur to me until college that maybe she just hated me because I was white. I could have let these experiences growing up make me think everyone of African descent was like this, but I knew better. My parents raised me better than that. See, I'm from Kansas. In Kansas, we learned everyone was equal. 

    I've only claimed to be a Texan for about 6 years, because sometimes I am really ashamed of what I see people say. Today I saw a 'friend' say they were proud of that 17 year old for shooting the protesters. That made me so sick, and made me remember what I realized in school, racism really is a southern thing. He was glad this boy just tossed away his life ending anothers. I just don't even know how to comprehend that. Now I have seen a lot of people post articles this weekend over this kid, a kid I just feel sorry for. Sorry that he felt it necessary to go to that kind of length. Self defense or not, he never should have been there, never should have taken a gun to a protest. Words, words are what belong at a protest and nothing else.

    Back to my experience with racism, 9/11. Now, unless you're a friend who knows 'me' I am sure you think I am a typical white girl. No need to question it. But I am much more than that. I remember in high school my dad telling me if I told the wrong person I was Lebanese they could pick on me. I didn't understand it. You see, I was so naive. I was proud of my heritage. I AM proud of my heritage. I love hearing stories my grandfather tells of his father coming here from Lebanon & what it took for the Nemer's to make it in America. I am a 3rd generation American on the Nemer side and a 4th generation American on the Ruffin side. My mom's adopted so I don't know their families history, I just know there is German there. But, her adopted parents, my grandparents, were Irish & German, and both were very proud. I claim to be Irish because my grandfather Pete, he was a proud Irishman, and raised my mom to be a proud Irishwoman. 

    9/11 happened - being Arab became a really bad thing. Honestly, for a time, I stopped telling people I was Lebanese. I heard stories of what happened to a childhood friend, I saw stories of what happened to people back home, I specifically remember a story about a dry-cleaners vandalism multiple times. I know a couple of the terrorist were from Lebanon. This broke my heart. I was now ashamed of where my family had come from. 

    Freshman year was very weird, there was a KKK rally the same night the Black Panthers came to speak - who does that? I remember seeing flyers for the KKK rally. Talk about sick. I learned that Conroe was the lynching capital of the world. Where the hell was I living? Gross. I was so scared of people that when I moved into my apartment for the first time a neighbor frightened me. I knew nothing about him, nothing. And after 6 years in the Texas school system all I knew about the confederate flag was people who had it, hated anyone of color. So when a neighbor was blasting his radio I went to go ask him if he could turn the music down. When I looked into his apartment and saw the HUGE confederate flag looking back at me I froze. I didn't want to get shot, and I didn't want to make an enemy. I was literally shaking. He was playing I think an Xbox or Playstation, I can't completely remember. I stumbled with the words asking him to lower his music and then I ran home.

    Jeff later became one of my best drinking buddies in college. He taught me that the confederate flag was actually the state flag where he was from. He wasn't a racist, he was a damn good guy. He was a truly amazing person. He helped teach me so much about who real southern men were. While he and I have lost touch we are still friends on Facebook. Him, his wife, also a drinking buddy from college, and their daughters look to be living a really amazing life together. Sophomore year, Jeff, taught me that maybe not everyone in Texas was a crazy racist. 

    By my Senior year I was no longer ashamed of where my family came from. I had Lebanese and Middle Eastern friends growing up, but I made a friend my senior year that really brought it all home. Gabi. He actually taught me some Arabic, writing and speaking. And by some I mean less than 100 words, I suck at foreign language. Just like the friends I had as a kid this man was so giving and generous. He helped me with my Economics project all year. Because of his help I, Ashley Nemer, got to give my research presentation at a REAL Economics conference in San Antonio. ME! He helped teach me that under it all, us Lebanese, we are really nice people. 

    Obviously my experiences with Racism are nothing compared to what the African American community, the Jewish community or any other marginalized group of people have to deal with. It's a small drop compared to the avalanche of hatred others experience on daily basis.

    But me voting for Republican's, President Trump, isn't because I am one of those Racists. It's because I am one of those who have felt oppression. Being fearful of who I am, being scared to voice out about being proud of my heritage. It's because I believe in the rights of our constitution and Bill of Rights. Because I believe protests should be peaceful and not riots. 

    I am never going to condone a person being mistreated because of where their family came from. But I will never forget that lesson I learned with Jeff. That just because you're white, and from the south, you're a racist. You're actually probably a really cool guy who makes killer drinks and listens to damn good music. You're probably the kind of guy I want on my side when shit gets real. You're probably the same as me, just from a different geological location. So maybe next time you run across someone voting for Trump, don't jump to the conclusion their apart of the racial problem America is facing. You're not giving us credit, credit for being good decent human beings, who happen to agree with the Republican platform.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Harris County DA’s Office - Doesn’t Care about Special Needs

 Adoption is a blessing and a curse. In so many ways the good outweighs any negative, but the negative seems suffocating at times. Without going into all the personal details of my children’s world we had an encounter two and a half weeks ago, you could say, with the bio-mother. God - I never knew fear like I did on the 21st. 

When your child is away from you, missing, for any amount of time, your world collapses. The night and following day is like a blur to me now. If I didn’t vividly remember every moment my son was missing, I may have thought it was simply a nightmare and didn’t really happen. But, for a few hours, my world just was destroyed. 

But after the collapse you start to rebuild, and part of rebuilding with adopted children, special needs to be specific, comes to police/legal response. Now I have said since the day we moved into my little town inside of Houston, I love the police department, the people, everyone, in my city. I never want to leave, the support and compassion is unmatched.

But where is that support from Harris County?

On top of being my children’s adopted parents, we are also legal guardians of our son, who is special needs. This means that now that he is 18 he still has to receive help, like a lot of special needs families experience. Which means he cannot decide where he lives without our guidance and approval.

So when this bio-mother takes your ‘legal ward’ away from you, you would think that’s kidnapping. Since she is denying us access. But apparently, according to the Harris County District Attorney’s office, it is not. It seems the DA just picks and chooses which court orders to enforce and which laws to charge regardless of what the legal documents say.

How the hell are we supposed to keep our children safe when the court system is against us? 

For some perspective - bio-mother is on probation from drug charges from prison, not to mention she lost her parental rights because she was an abusive monster to her own children. 

So I asked, “Why does a druggie on parole get more protection than my son?” And the officer didn’t have any answer for me as to why the courts can’t help.

Not to mention that this monster didn’t serve a day of time for the neglect, abuse and torture she put my children through. Why didn’t she? Well when I asked this question 4 years ago I got “Because children are unreliable witnesses”.

How is this right? We have all of these social justice warriors out there fighting for rights of certain parts of the population who are overlooked and left to suffer, but what about my son? Why am I (and my husband) the only ones able to advocate for him? The officer told me “You can try Montgomery County since the bio-mother crossed county lines, maybe they will help you.”

I spoke with a Montgomery County sheriff’s officer yesterday afternoon. I will have to go up in person and file the claim, which I am going to do. But even he told me it’s a crapshoot on if their DA will take the charges. But that I had a better shot with them than I did with Harris County.

WHY IS IT OKAY FOR THAT TO BE THE CASE? WHY CAN’T HARRIS COUNTY GIVE A DAMN ABOUT PEOPLE’S RIGHTS AND PROTECT THEIR CITIZENS?

I am so tired, so damn tired, of the ‘left’ claiming they are the party of the people. No they are the party of the spotlight. Because if they were truly the party of the people then when a legally disabled, partially incapacitated adult is taken from his home against his guardians wishes and left on the side of the highway, you press charges!

I don’t care if you are republican or democrat or a tea party or an extremist- protect the citizens who can’t protect themselves! 

When I called the DA’s office to see about a protective order, here is what happened. It’s been a week now since I filed the application (I had to wait on the police report number before I filed) and the email reply I got was “someone will contact you in 2-3 weeks to hear your case” when I asked “what happens when it’s accepted” her reply was “cases that are approved right now are on the docket for December, so maybe January or February you will get to go to trial”. Really? 4-6 months to get a legal form to protect my children from this monster? WHAT HAPPENS IN THE MEAN TIME????

Where is the justice for my children? Where is the justice for all children who are abused or disabled and in the same situation as my son? 

Where is the parades of people telling the DA to fight for their right? 

Nowhere ... because they are just part of the system and only their family members care enough to fight.

District Attorney Kim Ogg - I didn’t vote for you before and I will never vote for you. Your website spouts all this pride about the things you have done for victims but I haven’t seen your office protect the victims living in my home that I have loved and cared for for the last five years. You may have done a few good deeds but from what I can tell, your office clearly only cares about easy cases. 

I may not have as large of a media presence as actors in Hollywood, but I do have a small social platform. And I truly feel like this is a fight worth fighting. People should know what their DA does out of the limelight, how their DA leaves disabled adults in situations that could turn life threatening. 

As I started this piece out about adoption I will close it with adoption. It’s hard. It’s tiring. It’s rough. But it’s worth it. Because these two individuals who have stolen my heart will always have a place to call home with a family who will love them unconditionally. And even through society let them down, I never will. I’ll always fight for them. Anyway I can.