Judgey Much?

I get a lot of requests about my thoughts on political subjects.1  I tend to avoid them or at the very least discuss in private. My reasoning has always been people have a right to their opinions, even the ones I don’t like. However, you do not have the right to tell me how to live or enforce your beliefs on me. I draw the line at bigotry. The intersection of these two fundamental principles is entirely up for discussion which is what brings me to my post today.

One of my far away readers, all the way from Sydney, wanted to know my thoughts on the right of a baker or florist to not provide service to me for a same-sex wedding. And as always, I’m all about distinctions so I have sort of a split take on it. There is always that ‘gut’ part of me that says, “why would I want to do business with anyone who doesn’t want my business to start off with?”  I mean you can always choose someone else, right? Then my logic kicks in and I start rationalizing it out.

The problem I have with these so called moral-objectors is their outright hypocrisy. In several of the high-profile cases hitting the news, several of them flat out admitted they don’t particularly question most of their clients. More still when questioned specifically hem and haw over it and until they finally admit the truth. A couple of them even went so far as to admit they don’t really care about the “sins” of most of their clients as long as they weren’t gay.  Therein lies the distinction. Most of these folks regularly make no inquiry into their clientele’s beliefs. If you’re that devoutly religious then you would think they screen all of their customers to avoid violating their beliefs, right? It is no secret I have less and less use for religion as I age. The dissent and destruction is causes far outweighs the benefit IMO. However, I can’t deny it represents a powerful foundation for many people. And if I found a person who truly walked the walk then I’d honestly be more supportive of their freedoms. I can still disagree with most of religion and accept your right to believe and walk your path. Tangent: Ironic how I can accept them but they can’t accept me?

It isn’t really about belief. It is about enforcing their morals on you. In other words, bigotry. These people disapprove of your choices and by refusing they are telling you,  “Your ‘lifestyle’ is not OK with me; I am going to punish you by refusing to provide you a service I provide to everyone else without question.” That is really what it boils down to. So no, it isn’t really about their beliefs. It is about their ability to discriminate against you.  That I have a problem with. I can’t support these people’s so called freedoms because they are liars and frauds.

As for myself, I don’t think I’d sue. One, I don’t have the financial resources for that. Two, I don’t work in a job where I could just miss sh*t-tons of work for the never-ending court appearances, hearings, etc. I’d probably make a big stink, share it with as many people as I could and move on to someone else who wanted my business. However, I applaud those who stand up and won’t back down. I applaud those who can sue and take on the fight for everyone to be treated equally.

 




  1. Mostly, from my 20-30 crazy but exceptionally loyal readers. hehehe []

Pride & Prejudice

So as usual, there is in-fighting amongst all the letters in our glorious alphabet of communities. This year seems to have taken a new twist as people are losing their sh*t over changes to the rainbow flag in PA. Apparently, some folks have decided to add extra stripes to denote the inclusion of race.

For my part, I don’t really care either way. If you want to add some stripes to represent the inclusion of race on the flag be my guest. The rainbow flag is just a symbol. It doesn’t define me or my life so modifying it doesn’t really affect me one way or the other. Symbols are meant to represent us, not define us.

On the one side, racism is just as prevalent in the gay community as it is in the straight world. What harm is there in adding reflections of race to show inclusion? Even though the flag wasn’t meant to reflect race, so what if some people want to include a variation that includes it. I’ve seen so many personal variations of the rainbow flag for years. Where is the outrage on all those variations? No one owns a symbol anymore than they own an idea. Let us all stop acting like changing a recognized symbol will end all our hard earned rights.  

On the other side, I also don’t really think it helps anything. Many of our racial tensions are tied to various socioeconomic issues. Until we work thru these, changing a symbol does absolutely nothing IMO. Actions are stronger than words. How about we stop using disrespectful terms to refer to other races? How about we stop acting like every unflattering joke or mention of race/gender is an attack? Even better, how about we stop marginalizing everyone because of the actions of a few? Instead, let us accept that others suffer differently than you. Be willing to look outside your sphere of existence to see thru another’s eyes.These actions and attitudes are much more effective at stopping hate, mistrust, and fear.

This whole pissing match is a reflection of the deeper issues within our umbrella. These ever growing trends of attacking and/or shaming anyone who disagrees, even in the slightest, are doing the work of our enemies for them. We are destroying our communities from within. Our umbrella of people rarely agree on any given topic. Why must we make enemies of each other over different view points like this? The level of vitriol and disgusting behavior I’ve seen on both sides has been deeply disturbing. This is not how we should be treating each other.We can disagree with our allies w/o labeling them as enemies. We can be patient and show understanding as we try to educate those around us who thru privilege or ignorance don’t understand a given viewpoint. Shock value and strong-arm tactics might sometimes work against our enemies but when we use them on our allies we only further the divide between us.

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t have all the answers, but I still support equality and freedom for all. That makes me an ally even though I’m a person who won’t be shouted down just because I don’t always see eye to eye with everyone else. When we silence the voices of our allies over internal squabbles, what is their motivation to speak for us when we need them? And don’t even get me started on the growing tide of small groups who decide they can’t compromise even a little. They demand to have their way or else. If you refuse, they do everything possible to obstruct or shut down the process. How is that productive? You don’t win hearts and minds that way.

While the LGBTI movement has taken some significant large steps recently, it took decades to get this far. We gained many of our rights slowly one at time. We still have more to accomplish. Many of these new found rights are under renewed attack. We need to be unified now more than ever.

Stupefy

Today is brought to you by the letter S.

stu·pe·fy

ˈst(y)o͞opəˌfī/

verb

verb: stupefy; 3rd person present: stupefies; past tense: stupefied; past participle: stupefied; gerund or present participle: stupefying

  1. make (someone) unable to think or feel properly.

And how do we avoid stupefying those around us on social media when presented with a story or “news” item we want to believe but aren’t really sure is true? Let me offer you these short rules. 

  • Read the article. Does it match the title? If not, ignore it. Otherwise,  move on to the next step. 
  • Do you trust the source? Is the source well known or legitimate?1 If not, don’t share. Otherwise, move on to the next step. 
  • Has the source been caught fabricating stories or publishing false and/or misleading edits of stories? If so, don’t share. If not, move on to the next step. 
  • Seriously, go read the article. We all know you didn’t read it. If it really passed the previous steps move on to the next step. 
  • Does the action / event / article cite sources or provide proof to back up claims, accusations, and/or accomplishments? Sourcing yet another article with no proof is not a valid source. If not, don’t share. Otherwise, move on to the next step. 
  • If you’re too busy to read it, can’t go thru all the steps, or you feel the article is too long, don’t share it. Otherwise, move on to the next step. 
  • Does the article attempt to guilt or scare you into sharing it? If so, don’t share. No, you arent helping others “just in case“. Otherwise, move to the next step.
  • Does the article attempt to incite hatred or violence against others based on bias? If so, don’t share it.

If it passes all these steps then and ONLY then should you consider sharing it. Even then, you should still ask yourself if sharing will contribute in any way to the discussion? 

Now you know. Next time you are about to share a news story on social media you know what to ask yourself to avoid stupefying others. 

😜




  1. stating how many people removed from you can contest to its authenticity is not trustworthy ie “my coworker’s cousin’s wife can attest to this and she is  [insert contrived position of authority here]” []

Recovery

I’ve been avoiding social media and most of the news these last few days. It’s all been so depressing and sad I just needed a chance to recover before I dove back into it all. And on queue, everyone is jockeying for the moral superiority. What a total turn off. Ugh.1

Believe it or not, some of my readers are/were Donald supporters.  I know, crazy right? I make no bones about supporting mostly democrats these days. It isn’t because I’m a hard core party line groupy, they just often make the most sense and/or are will do less damage based on the choices given. I was an ardent (and still am) Hillary supporter. She would have been good for this country, all the rhetoric notwithstanding. She had her issues that concerned me, but so does our current President. Anyway, I got a few snarky humble-brag emails from a couple of aforementioned readers. My response to them is my response to all, “careful what you wish for, because once you get it, you’re stuck with it.” In this case, we are stuck with Donald for at least 4 years. Watching the disaster that is his transition has been both hilarious and frightening. These clowns can’t even manage a transition and yet magically we expect them to manage a country, foreign affairs, the national budget. Really? 

I hope we recover from this. I’m a pretty optimistic person but I see this as sign of bad things to come. I truly hope I’m wrong. And unlike everyone trying to point fingers, I don’t blame the people who voted. I don’t blame the people who voted for Donald, Jill, or Gary. At least they got off their asses and voted. They exercised their right to help determine their future. And while it certainly played a role, I don’t blame the voter id laws or the clowns trying to intimidate voters at polling places. It is arguable that without these influences Hillary might have won. Now imagine if half of the non-voting voters had actually gone to the polls. A mere 25% of the absent voting publc would have changed everything. It would have offset all the attempts above and then some. How do I know this? Statistics don’t lie. Statistics repeatedly show lower voter turnouts benefit the republicans. Even with all the shenanigans above, Hillary still won the popular vote by over a million votes (and still counting). That means the crazy, insane voting block, which represents only 1/25 of the total, consistently swings elections because other voters stay home. Over and over again we see it play out. And we saw it again this year. Not voting for your interests is a vote against them. 

I don’t buy the bullshit argument we need to coddle straight white men. We don’t need to coddle them. We need to get more women, minorities, and LGBTI foks to the ballot box and kick their selfish asses to the curb. As a collective we outnumber the selfish white men. And here is the crux of the problem IMO. White society is slowly realizing the system no longer predominantly represents them anymore. It scares the shit out of them. Deep down they are afraid of becoming the minority and discovering what it feels like to be discriminated against. This is what drives the cognitive dissonance that allows people to look past Donald’s racist, sexist, xenophobic, etc, etc, etc behaviors. They can’t reconcile the contradiction so they block it out. This is what won the election for Donald IMO. 

I’ve said it before,2  indifference is going to destroy us. The more we abandon our cherished rights and freedoms, the faster they will be taken from us. We run to social media to whine or we run into the streets demanding “something be done“. Meanwhile, the people in power keep on doing what their doing. They know there is very little consequence so what’s to fear? 

The republicans do get credit for reading the writing on the wall. They took full advantage of the openness3 of the internet and social media. They never let up with their false attacks on opponents. Social media has become the perfect dissemination tool for “story” after story of half truths and flat out lies to confuse an increasingly poorly educated populace. Even our normal media outlets have shifted away from truth and facts to trying to garner ad-clicks. The flashier or more outrageous the headline the better. Doesn’t matter anymore if the headline matches the story. People then see these shitty stories, shared and reshared over time and develop a completely contrary view of reality based on lies and half truths. It’s only now, after it might be too late, suddenly social media is taking notice. No mention yet from traditional media. Maybe they just need to die out and be replaced. 

We’ve built the perfect democracy busting engine using a trifecta of parts; indifference, ignorance, and a media platform devoid of integrity. 




  1. I know this article is probably too long to hold the attention of most folks so I won’t bother with the ‘long rant ahead’ admonishment. I mean even the headline is devoid of anything flashy. hehehe []
  2. And again, I hate being right here []
  3. Read no regulation on what’s called news []

Worlds End

I’ve written and rewritten this post several times now, which tells me my thoughts and emotions on the subject haven’t settled yet. 

Where do we go from here? A man no one took serious in the beginning with his crazy talk and racist banter has vaulted to the highest office in our land. And he didn’t steal it.1  He won it because he secured the necessary electoral votes. And even though he lost the popular vote, he will be our next president. To say I’m sad, heartbroken, distraught, and even fearful of the coming future would be an understatement. The world is still turning but our society in America is about to undergo a radical shift and not for the better I’m afraid. 

This is not an ordinary election. This is not just sour-grapes over my candidate not winning. There is a real palpable fear for not only our very democracy but our families and loved ones. So I guess the real question is how much can one man (and his party) damage our country in a single 4-year cycle? We could hope he ends up being a lame-duck due to in-fighting with his own party. I certainly don’t think he will tow the line for them. But what about the issues he does agree with? What about his own crazy notions? 

The Republicans are already lining up to repeal the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. Millions of people in the double-digits will lose access to even basic health-care. Granted, insurance exchanges and the companies in them don’t have to stop. They could continue to offer acces. However, the rules that stop them from rejecting folks with pre-existing conditions will be gone. Many other rules that made the program so successful will also be gone. And states would also be free to forcibly abolish them by creating new laws. 

Then the LGBT marriage issue comes up. I personally think this will be a hard one as the SCOCTUS was fully constituted when the case was originally heard and rehearing a decided case so soon is unprecidented, not impossible but unprecidented. It is easy to argue we are in unprecidented territory and relying on precident isn’t a real comfort. And that doesn’t mean the legislature can’t find other ways to interfere just like they’ve done with abortion. He already gets to pick the next justice for the court. You can guarantee it will be a hyper-conservative anti-gay one. The cronies behind him are already laying the groundwork and building their lists of hopefuls. Racism and homophobia are out of the closest again. And any case decided while the SCOTUS was not fully constituted can be brought back up the chain and reheard. You think the new court will favor Union rights? And what if something happens and he gets to appoint more justices? He will sway the court for decades. 

I read announcements today regarding many of Trumps’s previous choices for his cabinet and was mortified. Palin, Christie (if he doens’t end up in prison first), Guiliani, Carson, etc. His list is full of anti-LGBT, anti-science, anti-climate change, and anti-women choices. And let us not forget the no longer subtle racist individuals in his campaign. These folks, thru his appointment, pose as much if not greater threat to us than he does. 

No, the world didn’t end yesterday. And it won’t end tomorrow. But once Trump takes office and starts changing out the heads of government, what will become of our society? I wonder how many of the people pretending this isn’t a national tragedy will still be nay-saying it 4 years from now. For everyone’s sake, I hope they’re right. For myself, I’m fortunate to live where I do. California is a stronghold of democratic values and San Francisco is at the head of the pack. But we’ve already seen incidents of hate and homophobia here, yes even here we aren’t completely immune. 

I’ve reached a point of stability in my life where I’m not overly worried for myself. And I’m saying that because I dragged myself from nothing to where I am today. But I worry for those like me still struggling to reach where I am. I imagine so many LGBT folks out there struggling the way I did just to get ahead and to make something of themselves. They get to face newer and higher hurdles because of our politics. I worry for the rest of my community. Trump isn’t even in office yet and attacks against LGBTI and minority communities are on the rise. I’ve read some of my friends trying to down play it like it isn’t a big deal. Mind you, many of those friends are white and aflluent so of course they don’t feel threatened. But, if trump crashes our economy or removes many of the restrictions that keep companies in check, they might be singing a different tune when they find their 401k’s have become worthless. Or they wake up to find their food/water has been poisoned. The EPA will most certainly be neutered. What about the FCC? What about education? I worry for my younger brother. He won’t have access to medical care if his wife loses her job. He is suffereing from digenerative bone disease in his back and still has a couple years of medical needs ahead of him. And whatever the final outcome, he may need access beyond that? 

And that is just the tip of the iceberg. I don’t think the American people realized how dangerous Trump and his sycophant cronies really are. They got caught up in the hype and the sensationalism that is our media now. But they will find out all too soon. Or, we’ll keep ignoring climate change and the environment will kill us off 

by the millions. Either way, as a life long optimist, I’m strugging to find hope right now. 

As my maw-maw always said, “careful what you wish for because when you get it, you’re stuck with it.” I just hope we can survive being stuck with Trump. 




  1. That point being arguable based on the never ending propoganda against Hillary but the reference is more to the Bush/Gore debacle. []

Great Again

You know what I hear when people say, “…make America great again”? 

  • I hear white people who want things to go back to the way they were when they could blithely ignore the racial injustices in the world because of white privilege. They want the ability to keep pretending racism doesn’t exist because they never see it (Or want to see it).
  • I hear white men who want women to go back to being home bound and barefoot. They don’t like the idea of a strong women or that women deserve equality in the workforce.
  • I hear white people who want gays to go back to pretending they don’t exist. They don’t want to be faced with the soul-chilling idea that a religion they were institutionalized into since birth might be flawed. They pretend gay-bashing or deaths of the LGBT community are their own fault for being so ‘different.’  They don’t want to be faced with the idea that Trans people are real and just want to feel safe in society.
  • I hear white people who suddenly notice the world, society, and media no longer features them as the primary representation of America. Deep down I think they are afraid they might end up going thru what minorities or gays have gone thru for decades. 

I hate to break it to ya white people but America wasn’t always great for everyone. Many of us faced untold hardships, harm, and even death at the hands of your indifference. Even a poor white person has a leg up on many minorities and gays. And guess what? We aren’t going to go back to hiding or pretending we don’t exist. Minorities are not going back to separate but equal.

America is great. It is also horribly flawed. We aren’t perfect, we aren’t even a role model in many areas anymore. Our greed and indifference mixed with rising anti-intellectualism is slowly leading to our undoing. It’s not the ‘blacks, gays, muslims, women, etc’ that have ruined this country, it is your willful selfishness and blind indifference to the injustices faced by others not like yourself.

And if being faced with the idea that you bear indirect (and direct) shame for said actions is too much to bear, try walking in a black man’s shoes for awhile. Try to have a normal life as a minority, a gay/lesbian/Trans person. Tyr being a Muslim women in an oppressive fundamentalist country. You have no idea what makes America great because you aren’t part of that equation. If you think America needs to be great again, here’s a news flash for ya, YOU are the problem.

 

Scared? Welcome to our world.

Scalia

I’m still digesting the news Antonin Scalia has died. I know in today’s environment of fast-moving news, this is old news for sure. That aside, my instinctual reaction was one of joy. I’ll be honest the realization I was joyful over someone’s death bothered me a bit. The initial idea was a man w/so much influence to harm me and mine was gone. This sort of visceral reaction reminded me of my step-mother’s death. Unlike my foster mom, I was ecstatic when my step-mom died. She was the only person on this planet I’v ever felt true malevolence toward and I threw a party when she died.

Why did I associate a man who has never personally done me any direct harm with a women who delighted in abusing me daily as a child? Yes, his influence did harm me in very indirect ways but it wasn’t a direct connection. Why would I associate him with my step-mother? I mean I didn’t care for Scalia but I never hated him.1 I don’t really have an answer yet but distinctions matter and I’m working my way thru the grey areas. (pun intended)

If you know me, you know I try not to see the world thru the lens of absolutes. It has become one of the defining characteristics of my id. It is easy to believe in simplistic right/wrong, good/bad actions. It requires no sense of self or morality to avoid delving beyond the idea of ‘you wronged me’ mentality. I am fond of saying the devil is in the details. While part of me is glad the man is no longer in a position to do me harm, I’m not celebrating his death. He had a right to life as much as I did. I can’t bring myself to celebrate his life but I’m working on disentangling my emotions over his death.

People like Scalia truly believe their ideologies. He wasn’t an ignorant follower. He was well-educated and even respected as judge for decades. While he deftly avoided any real-world interactions with the LGBT community, he believed what he was doing was right. Of course, it is much easier to marginalize people when you avoid getting to know them as human beings. History is littered with examples over and over. This by itself is often a marker for a failed ideology.

While I won’t mourn Scalia’s passing, I don’t hate him. I try not to take joy in his death. It should be beneath me to feel that way. I am grateful he will no longer be in a position to influence my very existence. I will remember the lesson he taught us. We cannot let our own ideological beliefs blind us to the suffering of others. We cannot become so rigid in our thinking we forget human beings do not require permission or conformity to exist.




  1. Contrary to what you read, the act of hating someone takes a lot of energy. It is a dedication of sorts. []

Destroy

I’m in a mood today.

Why is it anytime something happens the so called "devout christians" don’t like god is going to destroy America?’ Every other day now there is some hypocritical blow-hard declaring we are going to be destroyed if [abc person] gets elected or [xyz law] passes. SMDH

Out of all the atrocities occurring in the world on a daily basis ‘god’ is going to smite us because they don’t get their bigoted way? I guess having a monopoly on the idea of what a god would/wouldn’t say means one gets to deftly ignore everything else in favor of cause de jure. These folks always ramp up their rhetoric during elections. They can’t use common sense or logic so they fall back on fear and ignorance. They are utterly predictable now.

What is sad in all of this is they are gaining influence. As we let our children continually be deprived of a decent education in this country, ignorance and anti-intellectualism are on the rise. The ignorant are often easily swayed by emotions. Add in the mind-numbing influence of social media these days and it is a perfect platform.

Here’s a newsflash for said folks. Your god isn’t going to do anything. We; however, will most likely wipe ourselves out. It won’t be because of who won/lost an election or what law passed or didn’t. No, our blind indifference to the devastation we are causing this planet will mostly likely be a contributing factor. And we’ll never do anything about it because our greed is too powerful. Our never-ending obsession with wealth and control will be our end.

In brighter news, [insert choice] sports team won something! That is totes more important than any tree-hugging hippie news right?

Contempt

Poor Kim, she is being played for the victim and being left out to dry. Once the crazies are done fund-raising off of her, they will leave her high and dry to pick up the pieces of her broken life. She will scuttle back into obscurity to be randomly evoked as a bad joke.

Of course, a simple civics lesson might have helped educate her on how her job role and the government actually works. She then might have avoided be played for the fool. Sadly, that isn’t the case. And her willful ignorance is not going to save her, no matter how the crazies spin it. They want her to lose so they can hold her up as their new martyr.

As an elected clerk, she took an oath to uphold the law. You have the right as a citizen to have a religious belief. You have the right not to be persecuted by the government (and your employer when different) for that belief. You can even request a reasonable accommodation for said belief. However, you do not have the right to refuse to do your job based on belief. An important distinction the people taking advantage of her are deliberately obfuscating. The moment the SCOTUS ruled on the Obergefell vs Hodges case, it became defacto law. If she now feels she can no longer follow her duty/oath of office because it violates her "god’s law," then she should resign. You are not guaranteed employment if you feel your personal religious belief conflicts with your employment requirements.

Not only did she refuse to do her job, she also refused to allow any of the deputy clerks to do their job. The judge gave her a way to save face and not be in contempt and she still refused.1 This negates any possible resolution through accommodating her belief. She has repeatedly and steadfastly projected her bigotry onto her subordinates. In the best possible twist of ironies, her employees could now sue her for religious discrimination. Wouldn’t that be lovely!? hehehe

Of course, the fundies might take her on as a spokesperson after she loses. Like previous made up martyrs, they’ll trot her around until the money-making dries up and then she’ll be abandoned. She’ll be the punchline of memes and jokes for awhile and after that forgotten completely. The annals of history will not remember her. And their failed (and marginalizing) attempts to align her with such great civil-rights activists such as MLK and Rosa Parks are frankly insulting.




  1. again, it appears based on advice from her representation with an agenda []

Helpless

My little brother had a medical scare recently and I watched as his FB profile filled up with ‘prayers​.’ My first thought was to be angry. The I remembered most people grow up being conditioned to accept their religion as-is. It is just part of the "known" to be filed away and referenced when needed.1

Afterwards, I began to ponder why people always want to pray for everything. And I don’t mean people who are devoutly religious. I’m talking about every-day folks who offer to "pray for you" anytime life isn’t going your way. The obvious answer is they feel helpless to do anything. Therefore it is to be turned over to the [insert made up deity of choice here] to handle and take responsibility. The act allows said person to feel like they’ve done something, no matter how meaningless the act may be. It also means they don’t have to feel guilty over the outcome.

*

Religion spans back to the earliest days of human existence. It spawned from our inability to explain the unknown forces around us. If you’ve looked at the origins of religion of any culture you see similar history trails. It is perfectly understandable in human nature even today; in the absence of knowledge, many will fill in the details with an explanation. And having no concrete denial or refutal, that theory becomes truth. Is it really that hard of a stretch to realize we simply turned our gods (the moon, sun, and stars) into beings, then into a being.

But why did religion persist? Why do we continue to cling to it in abject fear of having it taken away? IMO, at our core, we cannot reconcile the idea of mortality with our own awareness. To do that would mean admitting in the grand scheme of creation we mean very little. If humanity disappeared today, the universe would not even notice. And instead of realizing how precious that makes us, we fear and resent it. And instead of valuing life that much more, we turn to making up fables to inflate our importance.

On a different tact, I also think for many it is a cop-out. They really don’t want to help or be involved. Your drama is yours and they want no part of it. So the easiest answer is, ‘I’ll pray for you.‘ How convenient? I’ll just mumble some words into the ether and a magical being will hear me and fix whatever is wrong with you. Totes logical, right?

*

In my eyes, religion is no longer a benefit to humanity. It routinely does more harm than good and continues to do so in an exponential manner. It is time for us to shed our fears and grow up as a society. I realize it won’t happen anytime soon. However, the more we talk, learn, and grow, the more the idea will catch on. We can no longer hide our own failings behind misguided (and often blatant bias) religion. We cannot cloak our hatred and fear of others in belief. We cannot continue on this path if we hope to survive.




  1. The brother is doing fine. He is getting treatment for a blockage []