A Much Needed April Fool’s Day

The day of pranks. The day where your favorite companies put out the most ridiculous ideas for the amusement of their fans. Sometimes their ideas are so ridiculous but so good that you can’t help but to want these plans to come to fruition. It was refreshing to see something so ridiculous that it couldn’t possibly be true and realizing that you weren’t actually reading the news. It was a great change for me.

But the day has ended. Now we are stuck reading news that is too ridiculous to be true but actually is. When your instinct after reading a headline is to check if it’s from The Onion or some other similarly hilarious news site. Where there is a Reddit dedicated to “NotTheOnion” news stories. There isn’t going to be a giant meteor coming down to destroy us; we’re doing an awesome enough job doing it ourselves. I don’t mean this as a compliment.

We are being pandered to and lied to and told that anyone who is against us are the enemy. The Russian investigation? A ploy by the sore loser democrats who are the enemy of the people. The bad media coverage? A ploy by our enemy, the media. Does AOC and Donald Trump get unfair coverage from the “other side”? Absolutely. But if you ask me, there shouldn’t be an “other side” when it comes to reporting. It should be facts, not opinion wrapped up in a box titled “facts”. The enemy isn’t the one correcting the facts; it’s the one that’s spreading misinformation and enjoying the ignorance in those who blindly follow.

Are there media outlets and pundits willingly misleading us? You’d be silly to think that they aren’t. These people aren’t in it for their journalistic integrity; that’s a thing of the past. They are a business. And the best business model right now is feeding into the misinformation and half-truths by offering more, not correcting the news.

It’s more important than ever to look at things from someone else’s point of view. To listen to each other. To be kind to each other. These people are only profiting off of us fighting about what’s fact and what’s fiction. We can change it.

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It’s Time for Election Talk!

Does the thought of politics make you audibly groan? Do you think to yourself that it can’t get much worse than it is right now? Then I’m here to make your day: Election 2020 is not so rapidly approaching which means we get a full year and a half of election discussions! Yay! I know… so exciting. I’m here to add to that excitement.

That entire first paragraph was all sarcasm, in case you couldn’t gather that. There is nothing exciting about this. When I was a kid, getting to the age where I could vote, there was an episode of “South Park” about the election. The premise: You could vote for the Turd Sandwich or the Douche, joking that there are never any good options for president so you just have to stick to the one that is the least awful. Unfortunately, this seems to be a reality today where you go into the voting booth and think to yourself “which of these is the least terrible option”. I’m sure that’s exactly what our Founding Fathers had in mind when they came up with this system.

That’s exactly how this 2020 Election is shaping up. I groaned when Elizabeth Warren announced her intention to run. Then a couple of other people did too, and honestly I couldn’t even tell you what they look like or who they are because they are that unknown to me. If the Democrats have any intention of winning, they should probably learn from the mistakes of 2016. Hilary Clinton was the choice that they wanted, not the people. Not the rational, more centrist Democrats. The celebrities did. The ones who desperately wanted a woman president did. Imagine how progressive we look if we did? It would have worked if they had chosen someone more universally likeable. As an Independent, there was going to be no way I was going to vote for her. (And fortunately, thanks to the Electoral College, I didn’t have to.) There was no way I was going to vote for Donald Trump. I went 3rd Party and no regrets. My conscience is clear. I didn’t vote for either of these shady people who I felt had no business representing our country.

By the way people have already thrown their hats behind Warren, it will be a Hilary 2.0. She will be shredded by the conservative media for her need to do anything to make her more likeable/relatable and the fact that they can’t let her live down the whole Native American thing. She will be eviscerated. She’ll lose, probably big time. Unless people are that sick of President Trump by then that they just say “eff it”. Again, I’m glad I can go 3rd Party without worrying since Massachusetts will never vote for him and the Electoral College decides elections.

If the Democrats were smart, the would worry less about putting up candidates that make them look like the “Progressive and Diverse” party and more about putting up a capable candidate that has a shot of winning. They practically handed President Trump the election by putting Hilary up there. And they are certainly going to make that mistake again.

None of this would matter if people realized that there are other options. Instead of wishing for a change in the politicians, make the change in the politicians. You’re the voter. You’re the boss. You don’t have to vote for someone because they are the “same party” as you. You don’t have to vote for someone because they are a woman. You are supposed to vote for someone with the same ideals and vision as you, or at least as close as possible. You are supposed to go with someone who you feel could put together the broken pieces of what’s left of our country’s solidarity. Vote your conscience; not a letter.

Beggars Can’t Be Choosers

I am proud to come from a big military family. I have so much respect for the military because these are men and women who go out there to answer a call within themselves to serve. They risk the ultimate sacrifice. Their families risk the ultimate sacrifice. These men and women are something greater than the rest of us mere mortals. I cannot properly express the admiration I have for them. Everyone should have this same respect for our military.

I could go on to discuss how mistreated this group is, this group that we owe so much to. They get crappy pay, sometimes terrible housing. And that’s while they are active. Afterwards, they struggle to get adequate medical care and often end up homeless. They become forgotten. They may be disabled, physically or mentally or both. They went over to protect our country and the people within it and they don’t get a damn thing in return. It’s awful and disgusting and a story for another day.

People who willing want to serve in the military and meet the mental and physical capacity to should be able to have that opportunity. Isn’t this the type of freedom we’ve been fighting for? People in the LGBT community who want to protect and serve their country should be able to. I don’t understand why they shouldn’t be able to. Especially with military recruitment in a consistent downward spiral, beggars can’t really be choosers. Even a revered General Mattis said of this topic “Can’t they hold a gun?” Is it really more complicated than that?

So when you say that transgender people can’t serve if they want to go under gender reassignment surgery, why not? How much money is actually paid for this type of medical care in the grand scheme of the military budget? Spoiler alert: According to what I read, a lot less than 1%. Not even 0.50%. The budget concerns isn’t the issue. If it were, maybe you should spend that $5.7 billion you want for a wall and put it towards the military so that they have adequate care while they are serving, and after.

Let whoever is capable and willing to serve and protect do that. You could be missing out on a soldier that could go on to do great things, then look back and credit the military for shaping their life for success. That type of story sells itself and recruitment would be right on track. Instead, people prefer to squabble about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” or letting Transgender people in the military because of their own personal bias. I don’t throw around accusations like “homophobic” or “racist”, but policies like this are discriminatory. Next, women won’t be allowed to serve because their medical care costs too much and men can’t control themselves not to sexually harass or assault them.

I stand by my military. I stand by any person who wants to serve a cause bigger than the rest of us. I know I don’t have it in me to do what they want to do, so I admire them greatly for it. I don’t care about if they are LGBT or not. They deserve admiration for doing what so many of us are unwilling to, not become the topic of court cases still trying to fight for their rights.

The Funny Thing About the News

Over the weekend, you may have seen something about the Native American veteran and the kids from the Catholic school. While most mainstream news organizations reported the same exact news story, the more fringe “news” sites on either end of the spectrum reported vastly different “news”. Then the people who follow those news sites yelled at those who posted articles from the more mainstream sites about how they should apologize for spreading false information. For the record, if you use the website “Twitchy.com” as your news source, I will take you as seriously as I would if someone posted something from Occupy Democrats as their “source”. Those are both propaganda sites with an agenda, lacking any journalistic integrity. Not that the mainstream media has much of that anymore anyways.

The thing about all of these organizations is that they took small clips of the event, using whichever clips best suited their needs. Even editing the video to make it better fit whatever agenda they wanted to spread. The truth about what happened? Only the people there know it and they won’t say either way. Because in many of those cases, each side probably had something to be embarrassed by. Again, this is a topic I’ve discussed far too many times on this blog: the media lies.

After seeing several videos posted about this event, it looks like it was something even more simple than what anyone talks about. Two groups seemed to be yelling slurs back and forth to each other, being generally obnoxious, and the group of Native Americans came in to stop the fighting. Something seemingly so simple turns into “racist kids yell at Native Americans” or “Liberal gets in face of teens who don’t know any better”. Again, just my interpretation of what I saw on the videos. Yes, those kids were yelling slurs at people who were yelling slurs at them. Yes, they should have known better to not engage if the other group started it. Yes, they are teenagers and teenagers do dumb things sometimes. This “story” shouldn’t have lasted more than a day of people arguing about it. Honestly, there are far more important things we should be arguing right now. Like fighting for honest, pure, and unbiased media coverage of everything.

Do I think Trump is treated unfairly by the media? There have been some things that made me go, “really, that’s the issue you want to take with the man?” There are a lot of things that man brings on himself. Like tweeting before thinking, then having people quote his tweets, then saying he didn’t say that while the tweet is still up. The right media holds him up on a pedestal while the left vilifies him. I don’t like the man or his policies or anything he stands for, but lets get him on the lies and idiocy not stupid nitpicking things. Then there’s the left equivalent of AOC. She’s a grandstander who loves the media attention. Does she deserve everyone calling her an idiot all the time? Depends on if she says something insane. But she also doesn’t get a fair shot. The right mock her every chance they get and the left have made her their new rising star. There are plenty of things that she says that you can nab her for. But a video of her dancing or that fake meme about her talking about how you have no right to own guns is distracting from the issues.

Reading the stories and feeding into the agenda without educating yourself completely on the topic is exactly why the media gets away with this. Knowledge is power and right now the media is waving this around as if they think we are all idiots. And we are if we hang on their every word as if it’s a complete fact rather than a partial one that furthers their agendas, then we are part of the problem.

When Your Childhood Offends

Recently, there has been a take-down of some of the classics that we 80’s children grew up with. Let’s recap. Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving is an obviously display of racism. Rudolph, with the Island of Misfit Toys, glorifies being a bully. An iconic song from Little Mermaid disregards consent. (Let’s be fair here: you could argue that the original story glorifies suicide. Horrifically violent suicide.) There’s probably more but honestly, I don’t care. Honestly, I think it’s a little ridiculous and people obviously have way too much time on their hands. I think this has less to do with the culture becoming newly “woke” and more to do with the culture just likes to complain a hell of a lot more.

Everyone’s interpretation is different. I’m a person that feels that if you are offended by something, you have every right to be offended. Do I think these things can be a little silly at times? Sure, there seems to be a lot of insanity. Does that mean everything needs to change? Depends. It all depends on the offensive thing in question. I have an excellent example of what I mean. One Christmas, someone I knew got a set of stuffed animals based on the Island of Misfit Toys. The said person in question watched this stupid show all of the time. Was the gift made in jest as well as because they genuinely thought he’d like the gift because of his fondness for the show? Yes. Did the recipient of said gift get offended and pissed off for the rest of the holiday season, and still seemingly holds a grudge over this? Oh you can bet your butt on that one.

When news broke out about this iconic classic now being offensive for it’s treatment of the outcasts, was he the first in line to agree with this move? Nope. It was suddenly “what’s so offensive about this movie?” and complaining about people being snowflakes. His mind didn’t change on whether or not the gift was originally offensive, but suddenly the media that he favors told him that being offended over this show was stupid. He was simultaneously offended and not offended over the same exact thing.

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t have the world just cater to your every offense. There are certain things that will always be offensive. I am someone who isn’t easily offended, but I know where that line is and I am very careful not to go too far over it. Being offended for the sake of being offended because someone is telling you that it is offensive? That’s not how it works. Now if say Santa was doing the Hitler salute and talking about mass genocide, that would be offensive. That would obviously make the show something that we should just forget about. But in Rudolph, the outcasts save the day. There’s a valuable lesson in there. Sure, these characters were bullied. Sure, they could have told everyone to screw off and not save the day. But they overcame, they refused to go low, and they came out the heroes in the end. It isn’t about encouraging bullying; it’s about overcoming it and becoming a stronger version of yourself without caring what those other people thought of you. They were wrong. You are still awesome. That’s the moral of the story. (I should point out that I despise “Rudolph”, “Frosty”, “Charlie Brown” and anything Christmas or Disney related, so this is a completely unbiased perspective on this.)

It’s all about perspective though, isn’t it? It’s how we interpret what we see and read. That’s the big problem with religion. Not one group of people interpret the bible (or any other divine text) in the same manner, which is why you get so many sects of the same broad group of religions. Because racist homophobes want to interpret the bible in a manner that rationalizes their hate, doesn’t mean the bible is bad and everyone who reads it are terrible people. It just means the ones who interpret it that way are, and the same goes with every other religion out there. A classroom could read a book, and everyone in the room including the teacher may not exactly agree on what they took away from it. Because it’s perspective.

Instead of telling people how they should think or feel, maybe we should listen more. As the saying goes “God gave us 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason”. I’m not sure why people are so hostile to each other; to the idea of having a reasonable debate on a topic that doesn’t result in a screaming match. You’d be surprised at what you could learn from another perspective.