Sticking around a while


8a235-tdogj

(I almost regret drawing this now)

I haven’t written much here recently, mostly because I’ve been so busy.  My life seems to have been caught up in some kind of whirlwind that has been propelling it forward at 4x the normal speed.  So many good and bad things that it would take about five posts just to summarize it all.

That said, I have some good news to report.

After He Who Shall Not Be Named became president elect, it really felt like my country had suddenly become a place I was afraid to live in.  Not because I’m one of the many who are literally threatened by his proposals, I’m fortunate enough to have the ‘right’ skin color and gender, but because of the people who look like me that supported him.  And, would you want your tax dollars going to that asshole?

But it’s not just that.  For the past five months I’ve been working on a book about spirituality and life.  As an agnostic (basically someone spiritual without a specific religion), I became obsessed with writing something that would basically be a bible for people like me.  I was making a lot of progress and was really, really excited about where it was going.  It’s a totally new way of looking at life and death, at being open minded and appreciating diversity.  In a lot of ways it’s a really beautiful set of concepts that I think could unite people around positivity instead of dividing them.

The thing is, He Who Shall Not Be Named actively goes against every single part of my new ‘religion’.  Literally, point for point, that asshole violated every guiding idea that I came up with.  It’s all about truth, equality, and being accepting of those with differences.  Half the time he violated all of those in a single tweet.  That’s terrifying.

I couldn’t sleep the night of the election.  I was horrified.  Not only was this country a far, far scarier place than I ever imagined… A MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE VOTED AGAINST EVERY PRINCIPLE I HOLD DEAR.

I almost threw away my book, my cherished project.

I wanted to leave the country, after throwing up everything I had ever eaten.  I wanted to crawl in a hole in some far part of the world and hide, hoping the end of days would miss me.

That feeling lasted for two days.  I was shopping for cheap property in Canada.  Not kidding.  I’ve been to Canada a number of times, it’s a truly amazing place that deserves a lot more recognition than it gets.  I’d consider that an upgrade in almost every way.  Did you see how awesome they’ve been with the Syrian immigrants?  Makes me tear up.

But then I had this thought.  The only reason that He Who Shall Not Be Named got elected is because of fear.  A lot of people who are normally smart and kind allowed fear to blind them to the obvious faults of someone who never should have even been in the running for political office.  They allowed fear to mislead them.

Which meant, if I let fear of the future influence my decisions, I would just be promoting the same mistake.

So, instead, I decided to stay and fight.  Not with fists or even words, but with love and compassion.  I’m going to try to live up to my own ideals and continue to promote them.

I picked up my book and kept writing.  I also made a few phone calls to various charities to see what I could do to make the world a better place.

That’s where the good news comes in.

This week, I heard back from my favorite of the organizations.  Without naming them, they support a lot of people that have earned it and really need it.  They’d like my help organizing a new program to spread their message and raise funds.  I’m ridiculously excited because the program is really cool, the charity is amazing, and I’ll get to help out one of most deserving groups of people.

I guess the message is this, no matter how scary the world might seem, no matter how bad things look, it’s worth sticking around and standing up for what we believe in.  And every one of us, no matter our talent or ability, are still capable of improving someone else’s life and making the world a better place.

That asshole doesn’t represent me, what I do represents me.

O.M.F.G.


I genuinely don’t know how to write any of this because, quite literally, the possibility never occurred to me… but somehow the unthinkable seems to have happened.  Not just unthinkable, un-fucking-fathomable.  You might imagine me perched over a type writer, fingernails chewed to the quick, trying to think of witty one-liners, but the truth is I just feel hollow.  Gutted.  It feels like this is all a form of mass hysteria, as though there’s still a chance to wake up in the morning and find out this all one sick dream.  Please, god, if you grant a single prayer in this poor agnostic man’s life, let this all be one really bad dream.

I would probably be crying right now if I wasn’t so fucking scared, and fear is barely winning the war over shame at this point.  I am so fucking ashamed of my country tonight.  And, as a veteran, I don’t say that lightly.

If this somehow isn’t mass hysteria, or a really bad dream, or a fucked up episode of Punked… all I can do is apologize to the world.  I am truly, desperately sorry that this shit is happening.  This makes Americans look fucking awful, I know.  I can only say that most of us are sane, decent human beings… or at least I thought so until today.  As cynical as I claim to be, at heart I believe the true nature of human beings revolves around kindness and generosity.  In my book, those are the core principles of humanity – kindness and generosity, especially toward our fellow human beings.  That something like this could have happened seriously shakes my faith in humanity, and that isn’t some blogger hyperbole.  Tonight is a night that needs no exaggeration.  Fellow Americans broke my heart in way I hadn’t thought possible.

I went to the polls, I held my nose and voted for the only candidate.  I did what I could, so I refuse to take a full portion of the blame for what’s to come… and there will be a lot of blame being thrown around in the years to come.

To the next generation, I apologize.  Shit just got a lot worse for you, I know.  Us parents, and our parents before us, had already done a pretty good job fucking up the world for you, I guess this is just the icing on the proverbial apocalyptic cake.  If we hadn’t left you with an impossible future before, it’s certainly a magnitude closer now.

At this late hour on the end of a psychedelic, bad trip of a day I’ll leave you all with one last, sad premonition: Unfortunately, my fellow Americans, almost all of us are going to live long enough to profoundly regret not doing more to prevent this from happening.

Conversations to avoid with your FWB


Just in case you were wondering, yesterday’s post was an April Fools joke.  Though apparently “I’m voting for he-who-shall-not-be-named” was a popular one yesterday, and you all know me too well, because I didn’t get any freaked out responses.

I mean, c’mon, I won’t even name the guy here because he doesn’t need any more free publicity.  He’s either he-who-shall-not-be-named or maybe-anti-christ, which is a little ironic because so much of the Republican base is composed of fundamentalists.

The only reason I bring this up, other than to point out yesterday’s joke, is to talk about conversations you should avoid with your FWB.  Or, in my case, ex-FWB.

Jane and I have maintained the friendship part of our FWB arrangement even though we stopped having the benefits.

What’s kind of amusing though, is how little we know sometimes about the people we have casual relationships with.  I mean, I thought I knew her pretty well, but when the conversation turned to politics last week I was in for a surprise.

He-who-shall-not-be-named was in the headlines for some of his usual ridiculousness.  I made a joke at his expense.

Her response?  “Yeah, but he’s still better than the other options.”

I did the whole comical double take, mouth hanging open.  Whaaaaaa?  Are you kidding me?

To clarify a little bit on why I was shocked; Jane is a minority, she’s young, she’s educated, she’s very open minded in certain areas.  In my mind, none of those things are associated with you know who’s supporters.  However, she’s also religious.  Now, I’d never really thought about her faith in any serious terms because, well, we were very kinky FWBs for a while, she’s divorced, and she doesn’t really talk about her Church.  But apparently, it plays a much larger role than I suspected.

The conversation went on for a while and her argument boiled down to “Well, who else is there?”  And, to a small degree, I can empathize with her situation.  I mean, I have a hard time imagining ever being a Republican, but if I was I’d be pretty f***ing disappointed with the current options too.

Cruz is a a sniveling little, back stabbing, lying, greasy wannabe who’ll do and say whatever it takes to get ahead, no matter how despicable.  If you google “most hated man in washington” the first page is all articles about Cruz.  And that’s what his contemporaries have to say about him.  You think he’s going to be able to convince all those same people to vote for anything he proposes if, god forbid, he becomes the leader of the free world?  How is he going to get anything done?  And even if he does, he’s so fundamentalist his ideas are terrifying.

Kasich seems like a mostly reasonable dude but nobody thinks he’s got a chance in hell.  Bush or Rubio would have been half decent candidates, for Republicans anyway, but they were shot down fast.

So, who does that leave?  I mean, the Republicans are truly screwed this election cycle.  There are no good options and even the “least worst” are terrible.  The pundits wonder how maybe-anti-christ can shake off the massive blunders that would have killed any other campaign but the reason is simple, who else have they got?

The conversation with Jane was actually quite interesting.  We agreed on most points, we’re just different parties.  That might have bothered me if I thought he-who-shall-not-be-named had a chance in hell of winning.  Sure, he’s at the top of the polls in his races but that really doesn’t mean shit these days, especially considering a large percentage of his “base”, Republicans, are just as against him as the Democrats are.  What other candidate has a #NeverXXX that’s trending among his own party.

I’ve got some liberal friends that are terrified of the guy, but I just laugh.  He doesn’t have a chance in hell, and I’m not just talking about the polls that show he’ll lose no matter who the democratic candidate is (stats).  He’s too divisive, even for a Republican.

Look at it like this, pretend for a second that the US hasn’t been trending more liberal over the last decade and just look at the population breakdown (reference).  More than half the US adult population is women.  He has a 71% unfavorable opinion among women, so already he’s got a major handicap.  Sure, some will hold their nose and vote for him anyway but we’re not done yet.  40% of the US adult population is composed of minorities.  Who polls poorly among minorities?  You guessed it.  There are around 80 million millenials in the US, most of which lean liberal.  That’s where Sanders has been getting most of his votes.  They overwhelmingly poll in favor of the democrats.  Who does that leave?  Middle aged, white, male, lower middle class, republicans.  That’s a tiny, tiny slice of the cross section of the US population.

The bottom line is that He-who-shall-not-be-named is part of a party with a base that’s already dwindling and he’s gone so far to alienate those that remain he’s just shooting himself in the foot.  His slice of the American pie shrinks every time he opens his mouth.  He’s a joke and doesn’t seem to be aware of it yet.

That said, now I know not to bring up politics or religion with future FWBs.  It’s a good thing me and Jane aren’t fooling around anymore, I don’t think I could bring myself to sleep with someone who’s on the wrong side of my politics.  Actually, I could but I’d probably be conflicted about it afterwards.  Maybe.

If you care about politics…


Originally I was going to write a post about a really crazy, sex filled dream I had last night (I know, right?  Weird week for dreams), but then I ran across this article about the democratic race that was just too good not to post.

Personally, I consider myself something of an independent.  I’m very liberal, big on social rights, so I tend way more often towards the democrats (also because republicans are fucking insane) but I’m way too cynical about politics (and politicians) to actually be part of a party.

That said, I’ve been paying a lot of attention to the democratic race this year.  One, because I can’t stand Hilary Clinton (post), and, two, because the republicans are even more terrifying than usual.  I’ve told several people already that if Trump gets elected I’m going to renounce my citizenship.  Thankfully, it won’t come to that because it’ll never happen, but the prospect is scary enough.

Now, I’m not a fanboy for Bernie, and I’m still dubious about his chances against Hilary in the long run, but he does talk a lot of sense.  Whether he could actually get any of that stuff done is questionable, but he’s pointing the right directions at least.

Amidst all the pundits, idiots, and other mass media time wasting I stumbled upon a a diamond in the rough, a blogger for Huffington Post.  Unlike so many of the “real” journalists and reporters, this blogger, who’s a PhD student, did some serious research on democratic political trends as they relate to income inequality and economic crises… and how that all relates to Hilary v Bernie.  It’s a fascinating article if you have the patience to get through all the technical details.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/benjamin-studebaker/bernie-vs-hillary-matters-more-than-people-think_b_9209940.html

Why I’m terrified of this Presidential election


When I was growing up I never followed politics or the news.  We lived in a small town in the middle of nowhere, all the headlines took place in a different world.

All that changed when I joined the military.  It didn’t take long to realize that politics and world news had a huge impact on my life.  Invading Iraq?  Oh, shit.  Bush was reelected?  Oh, shit.  And all those weird places they talked about on the news?  Yeah, I’ve been there, I’ve met people there, I’ve got the t-shirt.  Everything became relevant, I started really paying attention to what was going on around the world.

Most of the time when I notice headlines about politics my reaction varies between mild disgust, surprise, and disappointment.  It’s not often that politics scares me, but I’m terrified about the next US election.  Terrified.  I haven’t been this worried since Bush won a second term. Continue reading

Show me the money!


Today I’m going to talk about two things that I almost never talk about here, money and politics, because I heard a story on the radio that really irritated me.  I mean, things never piss me off, right?  It’s so out of the ordinary.

On NPR they were discussing the Obama administration’s comments on ways to raise money for highway repairs.  One of the possible “fixes” is to open up interstate highways to be tolled.  The Washington Post article.

Apparently, no one has any money to pay for road repairs.  The costs have increased beyond the money that has been raised by “traditional” means.  Traditionally, these were covered by taxes on gas purchases, but those have been declining as cars get more efficient (according to the article, anyway).  The tolls would theoretically pay for repairing roads, passing on the costs to the people who use the roads.

Now, this really, really pissed me off. Continue reading