The Internet is a Scary and Dangerous Place

The horrors that you find online are terrifying. They lurk in the shadows of anonymity. You don’t even know they are there until… that moment when.. you log into your social media account. That’s right, I’m talking about the keyboard warriors that feign outrage as the tides tell them to. The ones that you respect until you see their social media posts and you wonder, “Who is that monster?” I get it. I’m terrified also anytime I log onto social media. In fact, I would probably avoid the whole thing entirely if my livelihood didn’t exist in this scary, anonymous world.

See the thing is, I have never said anything on social media that I would say outside of it. My blogs, as boring as they may be to some, are me. They are genuine and authentic. Sure, sometimes they are so dripping with sarcasm and mockery of things that I find ridiculous. But I promise that I mean every word that gets typed up in this little box. I really don’t have any care if people hate me by the time I’m done saying something. That’s their problem; not mine. My mom always told me to never say something behind someone’s back that I couldn’t say to their face. Unfortunately for her, the lesson took too well. Because I do just say whatever the hell I want and I don’t care if I say it to someone’s face. Good thing I can defend myself if I need it because I’ve seen the look in other’s eyes when words just come right out of my mouth. Honestly, I wish I could say I felt bad afterwards. But, I usually don’t. I take it back. I just don’t feel bad afterwards. I’m pretty terrible.

Back to the original point. I see the way people talk to each other online. It’s sad. “deranged lib”? You can not be a deranged lib and still think Trump is terrible. I think Trump is terrible and I make no secrets that I thought Hillary was also a horrible idea for president. There is a middle road, just more people need to learn to take it. I didn’t even really like Johnson but by the time I went through my list, I decided to vote for the Vice President I’d rather deal with. No brainer: Weld all the way.

People hate each other. Hate. It’s not one sided. The so-called “deranged libs” are just as guilty as the other side… I’m not even sure what the Republican equivalent is… I only see the “deranged lib” or “libtard” on my social media. The minute you even correct someone for their blatant (or misguided) disregard of the truth or point out their hypocrisy on topics, you are automatically a villain. Sure, I’m a villain that’s a fan of facts. Yes, the Space Force is a waste of money when there is already NASA and the Air Force Space Command. Yes, the wall is a waste of money. What about people who tunnel in underground? What about the ones who manage to sneak by an underpaid border agent that really doesn’t care or the ones that get bribed to look the other way? How about the people that come by taking a boat? Walls won’t help any of these situations. I’m a realist.

If I correct you on social media because of any of these things, it’s not because I’m a deranged lib or an alt-righter. It’s because it’s about time people worry more about the actual facts of a situation without following blindly with an “it’s us or them mentality”. It’s because I believe in civil discourse. It’s because I believe name-calling is wrong on all levels, especially when it’s over who you voted for or what your personal beliefs are. I don’t hate you. I don’t even care about your political beliefs. I have some people who I wholly disagree with on so many levels on my social media. I don’t mock them for it. I add in a comment pointing out that they are factually incorrect on something and stand my ground and then leave it alone because apparently people hate reason. Friends are friends and they aren’t worth losing over a hopefully short-term trend of “if you’re not on my side, you’re the enemy”. I won’t stoop.

I don’t think the baker refusing to make a cake for a gay wedding is the same as denying a Trump employee service. Following your morals, whether I agree with them or not, is respectable. I can just choose to not spend money in your business. Refusing to serve Sanders in a restaurant? Petty, but it’s the choice of the business. If you don’t like it, don’t spend your money there. Spoiler people: things really are just that simple. I don’t purchase things from Hobby Lobby or Chick-Fil-A because my beliefs don’t align with theirs. I don’t make posters bragging about that. They have their rights and I have mine.

People say, “Well Obama started it..” blah blah blah. Guess what? You can stand on your adult feet and end it. Change only happens if you care to make it. If you’re not trying to create change, you are part of the problem and have no, and I mean absolutely no, right to call anyone else the problem. People are spending too much time stooping. You cannot call someone a “libtard” or “deranged lib” then get pissed if they return the jab. Be better. Everyone needs to be better. I’m actually really sick of writing about this. I’m sure I’ve written a very similar post at least 5 times already. It’s disgusting. I’m disgusted.

I hope I have successfully berated all of you, no matter who you voted for or who you follow. United we stand….

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I Don’t Agree with You… and That’s OK

Can you be friends with someone who you don’t agree with? That seems to be the question that everyone is asking these days, especially with the divisive political environment that we live in. People have their fundamental beliefs about what is right or wrong, leading to sometimes overly passionate discussions among friends and family that can quite honestly lead to consequences that are absolutely uncalled for. Said consequences include: denial, name calling, and ending the relationship with the other person. These are the times that we live in.

Me? I like having friends that I don’t agree with. As long as they have an informed opinion of the topic and can articulate their beliefs without using the go-to names that the mainstream media on both sides of the aisle use as talking points, I love a spirited discussion. And no, I don’t agree with everything. I will point out untruths. And if people aren’t okay with that, then that becomes their problem not mine. I won’t refuse friendship with them over that. If they want to, that’s ok. I’m okay with losing a friend that has such little value in our friendship that they dismiss it entirely over something meaningless in the grand scheme of the world.

I will not take arguments seriously if you say, “I saw it on ____ (any mainstream media site, left or right leaning).” These organizations are lying to you and trying to skew you in their direction. Don’t fall for it. Be your own person. Back up anything you see on these sites on other sites from all over and piece together the information yourself. I promise those extra few minutes are worth it. Memes? Also definitely not a source of news. Memes are humorous creations that are there to make people laugh, not to tell facts. Again, take the time to do your research before believing anything. The internet lies, in case you didn’t notice. I will point this out and move on with my life. I really don’t care if you argue or call me names afterwards. If you want to believe you’re right and I want to believe I’m right, that’s done and over with and not worth the back and forth. I don’t engage like that.

The more people realize that this is just a phase in the world, the sooner we can be done with it. I find tantrums on social media as entertaining as ones with my child. I won’t pay too much attention and eventually it will go away. Friendships and family are more important that being right. Will it be worth it 10 years from now to break down a strong relationship for something that won’t matter tomorrow? No. It isn’t.

We are all different. We have to accept those differences because that is what makes this country so great. The fact that we are allowed to have our own opinions is something we should treasure, not berate each other for. As someone who has given up faith in supporting either of the major parties, the conspiracy theorist in me wonders if this is all a scheme from both the Democrats and Republicans to occupy us so that they can destroy our country without us paying attention to them. If it is, it’s working perfectly. We are too busy fighting each other and resulting to schoolyard insults that it’s honestly embarrassing at this point.

 

Can I Just Homeschool the Boys Already?

That is what I texted my husband today. I’m pro-school. I look forward to those precious moments that I have to enjoy snacks without sharing with my kids or getting work and projects done or even just enjoying the house being clean for at least a few hours while the Hurricane and Tornado are at school. Homeschooling my children never even crossed my mind, except to decide that it wasn’t what we wanted.

Every time a school shooting takes place, I hold my boys a little tighter. It shouldn’t be that way. There has to be a better way. Even in a relatively safe location like mine, there are enough violent cities close enough to me to know that anything can happen. School shootings can happen in my quiet city as they can happen anywhere. That is scary. It is scary to know they are supposed to be safe while at school, but they really aren’t.

I received a call from my oldest kid’s school informing me that all week they have been doing lockdown drills. Since this weekend, there have been numerous “hoax” threats against schools in the area, including one threat towards a school in my city. It’s scary. I’m glad that they caught the individuals who made the threats. It should have been comforting to know that these were hoaxes and not credible threats, but it wasn’t. Anything can happen anywhere, and it is scary as a parent to not have any control over that. Especially when a bullet is found in a classroom in a school very close to us, just across the bridge in the next city.

I’m not going to make it about gender. In these cases, girls were involved in the threats. I’m not shocked by a girl doing it when statistically boys are. Girls are just as capable of malicious intent as boys are. I would even argue a point that of all my friends to cross, I would be more afraid of my female friends (honestly, me, I would be more afraid of me) than I would be of my male friends. Gender has nothing to do with these threats. Society has everything to do with this. Maybe they found it funny to cause panic. Maybe they didn’t care about the consequences because they didn’t think they would have any. I hope the books get thrown at them and they get hit in their bratty little faces with it.

If our children aren’t safe in schools, where are they safe? This is not a gun issue. If someone wanted to harm our kids and do that much damage, they could easily make bombs to cause destruction and death. This is an issue of what we are going to do to protect our kids. I’m scared. I can’t let them see it. But I’m really scared. We need to do better.

Teachers with Guns

I’m not sure about most people, but I can think about a few teachers in my time at school where the thought of them with a gun was infinitely scarier than the craziest kid in our class. I won’t name names, but trust me there are a few of them that I swear would have shot their students if they had the means to. Times were different back then. I think. I don’t even know anymore. For all I know, back then was the wild west and they all had guns. Times were different back then.

Joking aside, this week there will be a national protest against gun violence in schools where students will be walking out. (My oldest has been deeply considering this and asked my opinion. As I did the last time he pondered walking out, I shrugged and told him to do what he thought was right. Not sure where he ended up but I guess I’ll find out when he gets home.) I remember when Columbine happened. I remembered the drills that took place afterwards, where the police would actually pretend they were shooters trying to break in the classroom. It was scary, even as a teenager. I knew it was fake. I knew it was just a drill. It was still terrifying as they aggressively banged on the locked door trying to get in. Realism got the point across back then: we weren’t safe in the schools. Every time there was a fire drill, I would worry that it was a fake and something was going to happen. I remember wanting to cover my ears and trying, only to be scolded for it. I remember my chest feeling like it was going to cave in every time we had any drill at the school. It wasn’t their fault. This was just how things were going to be now.

Then, I became a parent. I wasn’t too worried about him at elementary school. Those places are so locked down that you can’t even get in while wearing a hat. Then Sandy Hook happened. I worried every time that I put my oldest on the bus to school that today was going to be the day I get the bad news. Now, I worry about both of them in school. School should be the one place where they are safe from that level of violence. Children should not be massacred in schools.

This is not an anti-guns post. I’m not anti-gun. I’m anti-crazy people and criminals with guns. There’s no perfect solution for this that will fix it overnight. People are going to hurt people no matter what. That’s a fact and a scary one. What this will be is a post that is anti-teachers in the classrooms with guns. The idea of giving federal aid to schools to train teachers to use guns and have them in the classrooms is insane to me. First of all, the original scenario: Giving guns to underpaid individuals in high-stress jobs never ends well. Also, where is this money coming from? I see a lot of policies coming out of this administration that involve money but not a lot of revenue coming in. There is also the final problem with this solution: you have schools that do not have enough money to run, buy supplies, or can’t run after-school programs. There’s no aid coming in for that. But, hey, let’s give them money so they can spend it on the NRA’s cause so I can get more money when election season rolls around. The idea makes me feel uneasy and almost makes me consider homeschooling as an option.

The point is that teachers already don’t have what they need to run a classroom and teach our children. They don’t have the time or the resources because of bureaucracy and lack of funding. But now, you are going to give them money for guns. Awesome idea. Why not make sure that the resource officer is actually on site in case something goes wrong? Why not give them that money to focus on helping kids who are bullied to the point of wanting to shoot up a school? Why not use the money to create better anti-bullying initiatives or more ways to constructively decompress at school so kids aren’t so stressed out? I can think of a dozen other ways that money could be used to help prevent these things that do not involve arming that crazy teacher that doesn’t even want to be there to begin with.

I agree with the sentiment that “guns aren’t the problem; people are.” I don’t have a gun. I’m too crazy for that. I have shot people with a BB gun and didn’t feel remorseful for it. I’m too short-tempered, anxious, and paranoid for that. Heck, I even admit to having something that can be used as a weapon around me at any given time. People are crazy and irrational. Parents are letting their kids do whatever they want without accountability, creating a culture of dumb, entitled, and even more irrational people. “More guns” is not the answer; “fixing the broken culture” is.

When the Government Shuts Down

If we are going to be completely honest here, we can all agree that arguing about a government shut down every few weeks accomplishes nothing. How about we try a few things to help avoid this situation in the future, such as:

A Budget. Back when President Obama was in office, the talking points were “every household in America needs a budget, so should our government”. They were right back then and they would be right today if they would care enough to argue that point. We get ourselves into this fight every single year because we do not have a sustainable budget. We may have a budget in place, but it obviously isn’t sustainable if we are worried about going into so much debt every 3 months that our government “can’t run”. We manage to pay Congress and Senate an obscene amount of money to do nothing every day, why not start there when we make budget cuts? You don’t want to do a budget, how about you don’t get paid like everyone else when they decide not to do their job.

Less Blamey, More Workey. In the time that both sides spent having their pissing contest about who’s fault it is, a resolution could have happened sooner. They need to realize the reason people do not trust politicians is because moments like this make us realize that they don’t care about us. Did they take a pay cut so the military could get paid during the shut down? Nope. They care about their money and the power of being a politician and nothing else but keeping both. Instead of making the focus how one side is holding American hostage, how about we keep the focus on our lazy politicians that just want to win?

About that Budget? Did I miss the part about the budget? No, I just felt like this is an important enough issue to be mentioned twice because apparently the politicians don’t get it. And when I say a “budget”, I mean an actual budget. I don’t mean a budget, with whatever special interests that they got paid for to put in a bill so that no one wants a budget and it never gets passed. I mean a line by line budget. “We get in _____ a year, here is how this will get spent.” There will need to be hard cuts that need to be made, such as food stamps and assistance going to hard working people that are struggling to make ends meet or those who are struggling with a disability that makes them unable to get work. I’m also for reducing the amount politicians get paid. For instance, Nancy Pelosi makes around $200k a year. That is insane. Politicians should make as much teachers or police officers. In fact, I would argue that police officers should make more than politicians. Maybe if we reduced their salary, we would get more people that actually care about us. Put more money into the schools, the firemen and law enforcement that protects us, pay our soldiers a livable wage, and funding to help cure cancer/Alzheimer’s/AIDS, etc.

Working Together. Party politics are ruining our country. I have made this opinion very clear. Think about your life at work or in school. When you are working on a group project, you are expected to work as a group towards a common goal. If you don’t, you lose your job or fail the project. “Our” politicians should be working together towards a common goal: improving the lives of Americans. Anytime they fail this goal to play games with people’s lives, they should be held accountable instead of saying it is someone else’s fault.

Those are just some of the ideas that I have to make things better in the coming months. Who’s with me? Who has other suggestions to share?

It’s an Us versus Them World

I spend a lot of time on social media. When working on my supplemental freelancing career, the articles can be so infuriating that social media drama breaks up this mundane work. What was once drama over people and their significant others or coworkers, which if I’m going to be honest really kept me more amused than it should have, has become something more.

I want to use sinister here because I am starting to believe this political hate is malicious. The people spewing it, purposeful in using hateful language as if it gives them power or shows that they are more intelligent. First of all, at least use proper grammar and spelling. When you say things like, “I may not be smart cuz imma trump fan and such but I get that your a libtard”, I’m not really sure what you are trying to prove. Are you being ironic by purposefully sounding unintelligent while also dismissing someone’s beliefs? No, I don’t think you’re dumb if you voted for someone if you honestly believe that he was going to do great things. I think that if you are dismissive and insulting that your aren’t proving any point but the one that I’m about to make: we are a divided country and if you are on opposite sides of a party line, you are at war with each other.

I may have heard this line somewhere, but I’m not sure where: “United we stand, together we fall”. To be very clear, I know exactly where I have heard it. This motto shaped our country from our forefathers. It wasn’t until now that I saw the truth in it. We are divided and I am very certain that as long as we stay this way, we will fall. People need to open their eyes. At this point I am very certain that Trump could murder someone on live camera and people would use it as a metaphor for destroying the liberals to make America great today. “So what if he killed that guy, I get a tax break for 8 years and stocks are up.” It’s actually become a little insane. I loathe the argument of “but if Obama did ______, the right would lose their collective s****”. However, this is exactly the case. Obama goes golfing, he’s lazy and not doing the job he was elected to do. Trump goes golfing and he’s making America great again. Can’t we just agree that maybe they both should have spent less time doing recreational activities and more time trying to improve the lives of their citizens?

I feel like I’m in a sitcom at this point because none of this seems real. I never voted for Obama or Hillary or Trump. I have long believed that a two-party system is going to ruin America and the animosity that people seem to have for each other right now is beyond ridiculous. Adults can’t have a reasonable or logical discussion. The minute you point out something you don’t agree with about this administration, you are dismissed as a liberal who watches biased news and voted for Hillary. The minute you disagreed with Obama, you were labelled a racist. What ever happened to having your own “grey area” beliefs that come from your own brain and not a pundit on television who is paid to tell people what to think? I don’t care when this started. Some people say Obama started it. Some say Trump. Some say that this has been brewing for a while. It doesn’t matter. If we truly cared enough about stopping it, we would.

Disagreeing with a president does not make you un-American. In fact, I believe there is nothing more American than having real concerns and beliefs that you are free to discuss. What isn’t American is putting people down for it. That is one step away from those political regimes that past presidents fought against to liberate those countries. You are not indecisive for voting 3rd party. You are voting for change and a fresh voice that has seemed to be lost in today’s politics. We need a redo before this country is lost forever.

The Tax Bill to End All Tax Bills?

Last week, I was too busy tending to the sick and being sick to do anything of use here. Yesterday, when I would normally do the post, was pushed aside for personal reasons. So today you get a rare Wednesday post.

Before then, I would like to make a few announcements. One, there will be a slow expansion to the blog. I will be adding a “geek culture” page for posting where I will cover gaming news and other things related to this genre. I love my video games, board games, and hope to even discuss local events relating to this topic (even news about the Overwatch League including the Boston Uprising. Go Team). There will also be a section dedicated to television and movies, another area that I have been wanting to write about. This will all be in addition to this “Random Rantings” blog that I already have in place. Eventually I plan to go further and add an area where I discuss any arts and craft projects that I am doing at the time. I hope that next year I will have more time to dedicate to this, so we will see what happens. I’m crossing my fingers.

The second announcement is that starting next week, I will begin the grueling process of editing and adding to the NaNoWriMo novel. I’m pretty excited about this and I hope that I can get it done in time to enter the Kindle Scout Contest, where I can get my book published if I win. More crossing fingers.

Now to get onto the actual topic of today’s post: The tax bill. I like to do research on things. I really like to learn everything that I can about everything, though sometimes I just blank out in the process depending on the topic. I know how to do basic budgeting for my household, but aside from that I’m pretty useless in anything to do with numbers and economics. I know what I’ve been promised: Your life is going to be so much better with this new tax bill, you’ll see. Will I? I’m a skeptic by nature. Republican or Democrat, I would not just believe this because someone told me it. I need to see numbers.

I found numbers. Numbers say that I will see more money coming back in our paychecks. What does this mean for our deductions at the end of the year that help us build savings or play catch up with bills? Those are numbers that I would love. Because I can always pay off credit cards from during the year and have some extra to put into savings as the taxes are now. That is money that I (and a lot of other people) rely on. Maybe this will be offset by the additional 5% we will see in our paychecks. Maybe not. Only time will tell I suppose.

However, you should be worried about something bigger than this. Corporations get a permanent tax cut while the rest of us peasants only get a temporary one. This tax break for us will only last until 2026, unless they decide to extend the cuts. Will they? That depends on how much this bill actually costs the American people in the long run. If they decide that they are losing too much money off of this, then no. We get screwed over and the corporations get to laugh at us for being so stupid for being excited over the 5% we get back. Do you think that even the Democrats would roll back the corporate tax rate if they regain power? Probably not. They have donors that they need to worry about too.

They don’t care. No one cares about the people that they make promises to. The only good thing that could come out of this is maybe if they lack any money, they won’t be able to fight to take away a woman’s right to choose or a person’s right to marry. I hope that this helps us because rooting for failure only hurts us. I don’t want to see the president fail the country because we would suffer for those mistakes. But let’s not praise this bill for being the savior of the American people; it’s a boost for the whole 8 years that we definitely have it.