Category Archives: Political Stuff

What Just Happened?

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I thought I was in the majority…

Not according to race, or religion or gender or anything unimportant like that. In the one way that matters.  Common sense.

I grew up in a country that used to make sense.  People grew up from children into adults who – while never perfect – at least never went so far against their own common sense as to be dangerous to themselves (and others). Not until November 8, 2016.

The United States used to be a leader.  Yes, that’s the correct wording – it used to be.  No matter your level of patriotism and pride, you can’t deny that the U.S. has fallen behind numerous other countries in education, healthcare, equality, infant mortality rates, etc.  The list where we’re not first (or even top 10 or top 20 anymore) has become staggering.

Now we’re like the big brother who was cool in high school but then, when his “music career” never took off, got hooked on meth, made a lot of incredibly poor decisions, embarrassed his family and now is but a shadow of his former self.  The other countries have grown up, found success and made a name for themselves, while we just took a massive hit of our latest drug of choice, flopped down on the couch, turned the tv to something pointless that may or may not be a comedy – something that we won’t even watch – and settled in for a four year nap.  And the world will grow and develop around us while we’re snoring and drooling into our sleeve, occasionally moving enough to shove a handful of junk food into our craw and think back to the days when we were really something.  When we were cool.

It’s humiliating.

We’re a shell of our former self and we’re not going to get better until we admit we have a problem.  And on November 8th, when everyone came over for the party and we were so wasted that we wandered into the living room telling sexist jokes and soiling the backside of our last clean pair of ripped up jeans as everyone awkwardly watched and felt completely mortified and humiliated for us….?  Yeah, that should be our wake up moment.  Our “I’ve completely shamed myself and need to make changes before it’s too late” moment.  We’ve hit rock bottom.

Now here I am living in Fayette County – a county that voted over 64% for ignorance and hate.  And I’ve never felt so alone.  But I was kind of prepared for that.  After all, I voted behind a guy who had a Trump sticker covering one half of his truck’s rear window and a confederate flag sticker covering the other half (both not-so-subtle racism and complete driving ignorance wrapped up together in one 99-cent purchase).

I know someone who voted for ‘that guy’ because he was scared the democrats were coming to take away all of his guns (regardless of any rational attempt to explain the fallacy of that logic).  And his wife used her individual vote to choose the same guy because her husband was scared that the democrats were coming to take away all of his guns.  And there’s the woman who voted for him because “he’ll get rid of partial birth abortion” even though that was something banned in a previous decade and doesn’t actually exist.  Or the person who made their decision based on Benghazi without knowing either A) what happened in Benghazi or B) what continent Benghazi is located on.  Ahh, democracy in action…

And please don’t get me started on the “Christians” who simply voted straight down the Republican ticket because that’s the party of “Christian” morals and values…  When did “Christians” lose the ability to think (and read, and research and reason…?)  And, most importantly, when did they lose the ability to feel love and compassion for anyone the slightest bit different than themselves…?

So sure…I knew I wasn’t living in an intellectual Mecca around here (pun intended – if you get it, you probably voted on my side).  But I thought I could temporarily escape from my little county of crazy whenever I wanted to, simply by going out into the rest of the United States occasionally once the election was over.  Someplace that wasn’t fueled by rage and fear and complete and total ignorant self-interest.  But apparently not.  It obviously stretches far beyond the borders of what I thought it would.

So who wants to get in the car with me, or hop on that train, or board a plane with me and take off to someplace better?  At least for the next four years or so.  By then, maybe the majority of people will have learned their lesson, grown up and shown that they can once again be entrusted with making intelligent adult decisions.

It’s either that or I’ll have to see if it’s too late to volunteer for a mission to Mars. At least we haven’t had the opportunity to mess that place up. Yet…

Dancing With The Political Candidates

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I don’t have the longest attention span.  I’ll admit it.  Like most Americans, I’m completely capable of mentally drifting away and toning things out when something equally as interesting is brought to my attention.  It’s become the American Way of life for all of us.

It can pertain to work, to conversations with friends and family, news, books, television shows…  The list goes on.  And, rather than complain about it or argue with you about how wrong it is or that we need to do something to fix thIs epidemic, I’m simply going to accept it and embrace it.  We need to use it in a way that makes sense – or at least provides a little entertainment value to the world around us.  By combining things that might not seem meant to go together so we can focus on a couple of things at once.  So, with that in mind, here’s what I’m suggesting…

Dancing With the Political Candidates

This would be a combination of the show Dancing With the Stars and the ongoing political bickering that seems to go on throughout the same television season.  Sure, just like all kinds of new ideas (like powdered peanut butter or Ben Affleck playing Batman), I know it sounds crazy at first. But just hear me out.

PROS:  #1 There would be no more debates.  None.  And very few people would even notice.  Do you remember when debates used to be about actual issues?  We would tune in and find out that so-and-so wanted to up defense spending by 10% while another candidate wanted to cut educational spending by 50% to allow for more spending on road signs and research to fight the itchiness caused by mosquito bites.   It helped us make a decision when we knew what they somewhat believed in.  Now, they call each other names and discuss the size of a candidate’s hands without even giving us a measurement to base it on, so what’s the point?

#2 Less spending.  The network carrying the show would provide their own advertising budget and tell us when it’s on and when to watch.  Nobody would make us feel poor by telling us that they’ve spent $20 million of their own money paying for radio ads in rural Iowa.  And no one would be calling us asking for donations either.  They’d just show us commercials and hope that we’re persuaded to buy the right cars or beer or burgers.  And, with DVR, we wouldn’t even have to watch those pesky commercials.  Ahh…technology…

CONS:  #1 Well, the talent level wouldn’t be very high, and so things could get a little dull by the end of the season.  And the creepiness factor might be a little overwhelming (like when you would see Ted Cruz looking intently at his partner while doing the Tango.  Brrrrrrr…).  Then there would be Hilary Clinton stepping all over her partner’s feet in sensible shoes while doing the Rumba in a solid-color pants suit, Donald Trump telling everyone how “great” his Paso Doble was while tweeting nasty personal remarks about the judges who all gave him 4’s, or Bernie needing a little help stopping his quick-stepping as they wheel around the stage so he doesn’t go tumbling off into the crowd.  But the show would only be on every four years, so there’s that.

#2 We’d need a lot of candidates to start with.  So that means more people who think they deserve to be president out there asking for our votes.  Senators we’ve never heard of, governors, business people, lawyers, and people who just want to get on TV.  Heck, I might even try to get on if I’d get paired up with the right professional dancer.

So I’m not saying its perfect.  But it’s got to be better than the process that we’re dealing with now.  And I’ll bet more people would actually participate in the voting process if they could do it from home, sitting on the couch and dialing a toll-free number.  Heck, the majority of people might vote more than once.  Now that would be democracy in action.

We might not end up with the best overall world leader this way.  But we’d at least have someone with the right moves…

The Day Bernie Came To Town

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Okay, didn’t I just say yesterday that I was avoiding political stuff?  Well, I guess I lied.  So deal with it.  And that was before Bernie Sanders paid a little visit to our area anyway.  Well, not exactly here in town, and not exactly here in this rural little county either, but He did come to Pittsburgh, which is only a county away.  So it’s like he almost came for a visit…

I didn’t get to attend the rally, but I would have loved to hear him in person.  I don’t agree with him on everything – that’s not a realistic possibility when there are so many issues to be addressed these days – but I agree with a lot of it.  And I absolutely love it that his agenda is people.  All people.  And that’s something that I can definitely get behind.  So I would have loved to go to the rally, try to shake his hand and wish him well.  Okay, forget that.  He’s got that kind of attitude and personality that makes you want to skip the handshake and give him a hug instead., doesn’t he?  Think Secret Service agents have to deal with many people trying to do that?  Probably not for any of the other candidates anyway.

I’m disappointed that the state of Pennsylvania doesn’t seem to be supporting him very well at this point.  But there’s still time.  Not everyone comes around at the same pace and it does seem like this area is a bit slow to change or accept new ideas…

I’ve been oh-so-tempted to write “what are you thinking?!?” pieces trying to explain the truth about other candidates in the race (not to mention a piece yelling at my old home town in Michigan for hosting a Trump rally and then actually voting for him) but I figure that this year, the candidates are acting crazy enough that all people need to do is open their eyes and watch the news and that should do the convincing, right?  Just let them talk and they’ll keep on telling the world why they’re not right for the job.

At least there hasn’t been a debate in a while.  I’ve probably gotten just as loud yelling at the idiotic non-answers that I’ve heard as my neighbor does when the Steelers play.  Me, I grew up a Detroit Lions fan so I’m used to pain and don’t yell at them.  Much.  Think that means that I’m entitled to at least have my candidate win this November?  After all, that would be about the same time that I would have given up on any chance of a Lions’ Super Bowl appearance.  Or even a lone, solitary playoff win…