It’s a Super Tuesday… or So They Say

Last week, I spoke about Super Tuesday. Well, here we are. The Democrats are down 3 people, two of which actually had some sort of momentum while there are still people in the race that probably have no business being there. That means the two realistic options are Biden or Sanders, neither of which bring any sort of excitement for me. Neither of which I can stand behind. And likely neither of which will win in the election against Trump, which is even less exciting for me than anything else.

With many candidates who have dropped out of the race backing Biden, I wonder why. I really wonder why. Half the time the man stumbles over his words and I’m convinced he doesn’t even know where he is for the most part. His ideas were that he’s done everything that has made America great and fought against everything that wasn’t. At least that’s what he says. I’m fairly certain that facts disprove this. He’s meme-worthy for sure, but we already have a president that goes viral for all the wrong reasons; we don’t need another bumbling idiot in the White House. Yes. I hate saying that about them because it disrespects the office and as much as I dislike the president, I don’t believe in disrespecting the office. Even if he doesn’t believe in that.

Then there’s Bernie. I didn’t feel the Bern last election cycle with him and I certainly don’t feel it now. Don’t get me wrong, I get the appeal. He has his convictions that he believes in and doesn’t care about the establishment. He is the anti-establishment candidate in many regards as Trump was. The establishment doesn’t want him to win and will try to stop it, but they may not be successful. He promises a better future in such an idealistic way, again like Trump, that it can blind his more fervent followers. Sure, I love the idea that I can send my kids to college without worrying about the costs or that I can worry less about medical bills. But what does all of that cost? Much like Trump his concern seems much less about the middle class, a group that seems to suffer no matter who’s in office. Whether they want to just give free stuff to the lower or upper class, the middle class still has to carry most of the tax burden.

It’s not that, generally speaking, the rich aren’t getting taxed a massive amount. That’s a half truth that we’re told. They get taxed a higher percentage and may pay more when they have to. But they have rich accountants that minimize what they owe as much as possible. The middle class are hit the hardest with tax bills, primarily because they may struggle to pay what they owe. Most middle class people live paycheck to paycheck. A massive $2000 tax bill at the end of the year isn’t really that feasible. And now we have to pay more for programs? Why not make budget cuts to programs and fire unnecessary personnel or reduce their paycheck? American’s have to make cuts to balance their budget, even the difficult ones. Why can’t the government do that?

That’s the problem today. You are really choosing between an old, out of touch man that wants to keep things the way they are or an old, out of touch man that wants to make radical changes that our country probably isn’t ready for. Or you could vote for any of the other candidates in hopes that one of them picks up traction over these two. Except Bloomberg. Please don’t do that.

It’s All About Freedom of Religion

In the State of the Union address (yes, I know that was so long ago), President Trump declared that he would fight for religious freedom and allow prayer in school. This goes right along with the Republican talking points of everything is wrong with the world because they took away prayer in school. God is the answer to all of the problems these days, at least that’s what they tell us.

But, which religion is he fighting to protect? Which God will be prayed to at school? Because Freedom of Religion doesn’t just mean “Freedom of Christianity”. In the speech, he distinctly said protections for “pastors and reverends”. What about rabbis? What about imams? What about agnostics or satanists, or those who pray to the Flying Spaghetti monster? Because right now, it only sounds like “Freedom of Christianity” that he’s going to fight for.

I remember, and this was so long ago so I could be wrong, that people came over to America for religious freedom. They didn’t want to practice the same religion that they were forced to where they were, so they came here. The founding fathers made it a point to protect religious freedoms, the freedom to practice religion as you want to. It didn’t say that you had to practice a form of Christianity to have a right to this freedom. It didn’t say that someone else’s religious beliefs can dictate how another lives their life. It said that people had the freedom to celebrate God as they choose to.

Forcing prayer in school is a slippery slope. There are so many different religions or non-religions that it seems impractical to make any laws about prayer in school. I’m of the belief that if you want your child to pray in school, send them to a religious school. Heck, since you want to push for-profit schools then this can be more reasonable. But to force it in public schools? I would tell my child to do what he felt was right for him and if he decided not to pray and got in trouble for it, they can come to me about it. Because he has the right to practice religion as he so chooses, even if he chooses not to.

I’d make some grand statement about how I don’t need God to be a good person because I’m not all that great. I’m morally questionable, at best. But that isn’t because I wasn’t raised in a religion; because I was raised Catholic. I’m just human, who has some great days and some not. But the idea of forcing religion on people will only make them run further away from it. Forcing prayer in school, especially on those who aren’t even Christian or religious, won’t help people find God. People need to find that on their own, on their own terms and in their own time. If they don’t, then they don’t need to. That doesn’t make them bad people. People should be more focused on one’s actions and less on judging them because they “believe in the wrong God”.

That New Teen Drama “SOTU” Was Really Great!

Oh.. that wasn’t a teen drama. Those were grown ass adults acting like children in the roles people elected them in: our government. It played out like an episode of (insert teen drama here). One person did something wrong. Another person did something wrong. Weird things happened that you didn’t get. You get that one heartwarming moment that makes you go “awww”. Then everything goes to hell. That’s how those teen dramas go and that’s apparently how the State of the Union went as well.

It started off as normal with all of the insane pomp and circumstance that we have grown accustomed to. One that is very… regal in nature. Yes. Regal. As in “royal”. As in they are treating every one of our presidents as if they were monarchs, deserving of celebrity status just because they are presidents. How dare you criticize the president! They are presidents because God declared it so. Just like the kings and queens who just happen to have the right bloodline.

Then it was the “non-handshake” heard around the world. Sure, was it awful of the president not to reciprocate the gesture? Absolutely. He should be held to the highest standard of civility and morality and everything else. Did she put out her hand knowing that the president was a petty child who doesn’t know how to behave when mommy and daddy tell him to dress up and be nice? Absolutely. This was a smart move that gave her some moral high ground.

A high ground that she managed to keep as she seemed to scold her party for acting up, like the grumpy grandmother who knew her kids were going to be stubborn brats but brought them along anyways. A high ground that she kept when she stood up and applauded at various parts during the SOTU. A high ground that she lost when she tore up her copy of the speech right behind the president for the cameras to see. To do it again, just to make sure people got the hint. It was spiteful, maybe deserving, but spiteful. She’s the distinguished speaker; she also should be held to a higher standard.

Sure there were some amazing moments there, albeit selfish strategies that were solely there for his campaign and not the morale of the country. The best of those moments is when the soldier came home from his deployment and surprised his family. That was the best moment of the night. It wasn’t the student he gave a scholarship to and discussed how he was going to orchestrate the downfall of public schools by giving money to for-profit schools that just want to make money and don’t care about their students. It wasn’t the moment he gave Rush Limbaugh a Presidential Medal of Freedom in the middle of the SOTU, when he could have done it before or the next day. Glorifying a man who spends most of his time spewing hateful untruths. It was this moment where a family were so happily reunited that will be the best moment of the night.

Did I believe anything he said? Of course not. Some things seemed factually impossible or half truths. Yes, the rich are doing much better since they are getting money back from taxes instead of having to actually pay them. I’m not doing any better since his election. His tax cuts give us a whole $10 extra a paycheck, which means we lose $2400 in refunds at the end of the year. I’d rather the extra money at the end of the year than have that extra $10 that means I can splurge on the fancy toilet paper. Nothing is better unless you’re rich enough to line the coffers of the party in charge.

Pelosi’s rationale was that she ripped up the speech because it was a “Manifest of lies”. It was. She’s not wrong. But the problem is that most people either don’t care because they so blindly follow this man without a care of facts or because they so blindly hate this man without a care of facts. He’s done nothing to make the country more united; but he has done an amazing job of making sure that we stay as divided as possible. People follow his lead, whether they support him or not, lacking any sort of civility or free thought. I was never really good at blindly following anyone. What I am good at is being rightfully cynical of everyone who represents our country right now, except Romney apparently.

It’s a high school drama that we have watched unfold for nearly a decade and it’s only getting more dramatic twists and turns every year. The problem is that we seem to be okay with that because we’re the ones casting this drama, not some overpaid casting director. We’re the ones that are okay with settling with the way things are when we should be rebelling and fighting to make things right.

I’m Brianne: A White, Straight, Female and Boxed Color Ginger Author

That title probably stirred something in you. It seems kinda silly that I distinguished myself using not only my physical traits, but also my sexuality. It’s silly because what do any of those things have to do with me being an author? These aren’t things that can determine my skill. It may be interesting to someone who wants to know read works by female authors, but there’s no other need for that. Knowing all of that about me is unimportant to my adequate talents at words.

Every time that I read something, it seems important. “Gay Actor _____ stars as _____.” “First Female Lesbian Coach in the NFL.” “Transgender soldier gave WikiLeaks confidential information.” Why can’t it just be “____ actor stars in _____.” Why do we have to use these labels as titles, as if that’s all they are? It doesn’t matter. Him being gay doesn’t make him better or worse as an actor; his talent does. I’d like to live in a time when none of that matters. Where instead of “First Female Lesbian Coach”, we get “Katie Sowers is the offensive assistant coach of the San Fransisco 49ers”. It shouldn’t matter that she’s female or a lesbian; it should matter that she’s a person who does a good job at what she does. That’s what matters.

I get it though. When you’re a ground-breaking figure. You are shattering ceilings that really shouldn’t be there anymore. They keep telling us that times are much different now and people are more accepting. But they’re really not. I like that they featured Katie Sowers so much because it shows women that there is a place for them in their dream jobs, even if it’s in a male dominated world. I like that if I ever am blessed with a daughter that she could see these women running for president and coaching in the NFL and doing whatever the hell else they want so she can be inspired to follow her dreams. But we should focus on the important things, like talent or morality. Are these good role models? It doesn’t matter what they identify as or who they love. It matters that our children can look up to them.

I remember the first time a friend came out to me. He was nervous and scared about my reaction, which was “I don’t care.” He was pissed at me and I didn’t get it. I didn’t care. He was my friend. He was kind to me. Who he loved meant nothing to me because I didn’t care. He took it as I didn’t care about this struggle. That I shrugged this momentous occasion for him off because I didn’t care about him. I understood that. This was a big moment for him and the idea that I dismissed it was rough. He understood that I didn’t dismiss it because I didn’t care about him; that what he said to me was insignificant to how much I loved him moving forward. He was my best friend; that’s what I cared about.

There are moments when making note of their gender, sexuality, and race matters. It’s fine to say that Katie Sowers was momentous because she was the first. But that shouldn’t be the focus of every article. It’s fine to say “Lil Nas X is the first gay rapper”, but does every article have to say “Gay Rapper Lil Nas X…” Maybe it should say “Rapper of that Annoying Effing Song that I Can’t Escape”.

Maybe by changing this narrative, we are getting rid of glass ceilings. We aren’t pressuring a woman to be the first female president. We aren’t telling people that they have to come out because it’s really not our business because they should succeed based on their talents. Sure, let’s celebrate those momentous occasions that are worth noting, but let’s not dwell on it or focus on it. Let’s let the ceilings shatter and focus on making sure there are none left to break.

Our New Adventures in Impeachment

I’m not sure what I expected when I turned on the impeachment hearings to watch them. Maybe I wanted to watch because I was old enough to watch the Clinton hearings. It was an interesting thing to watch, the constitution in action. I was never someone who was particularly interested in political science, but I thought it was interesting because it was something I’d never seen before. Looking back, I still recall how the president went from ridiculously asking “what do you mean by _____ ?” to “I apologize for my actions and lying to the American people.” But I was told this was history. That when a president lies, they need to be held accountable for that lie.

When the new impeachments finally started going forward, I struggled to watch it. I still had that desire to watch the constitution work on screen, but it was different. Maybe it’s because now I understand the ridiculous political circus it all is. Back then, Clinton was guilty of having an affair with an intern and lying about it. Something that as an adult now seems irrelevant to me. Silly, even. Politicians cheat on their wives. Especially with interns that they have power over. Hell, the current president has cheated on his wife. “Well,” they say, “it isn’t about the affair; it’s about the lie.” But, couldn’t the same apply here?

At the minimum, there was a ton of lies coming from President Trump. A summary of a transcript is different from an actual transcript. I could write a summary of something; doesn’t mean it covers what it’s supposed to. When I talk to someone on the phone and my husband asks, “what was that?”, I don’t give him an exact statement of what I said. I don’t say “Was just talking about the kids with my mom and how the nursing home search was going for Gramma. Oh, I was complaining about how I never get to sleep in but you always get to and it’s annoying AF.” I say “Oh, I was talking to my mom about the kids and asking about the nursing home search for Gramma.” The summary is very different than the actual conversation. The only difference is my husband isn’t questioning me about potential treason; he’s concerned if there is something wrong with my our family.

Watching this is insane. It’s grandstanding, unless of course it’s your guy you are asking the questions to. It’s asking a question but then not liking the answer, so you scream about how they aren’t answering the question the right way. It’s a little crazy. You can’t accuse one side of being biased when you are clearly also being equally biased. You can’t complain about the Democratic lawyer being a witness on the stand when you say Schiff should be there, but not complain about the Republican lawyer being there despite that Nunes/Trump/White House Counsel should be there. You can’t have it both ways. Except you apparently can. Because everyone up there is crazy.

If you don’t have anything to hide, just show the people what they need to say “You know what, we were wrong. You didn’t do what we thought you did.” But why not just do it? Why not just come to the hearings and clear your name? I don’t understand. Innocent people have nothing to hide. Is the issue that you did the thing? Or that you did another thing that was worse and/or equally bad and it will come out? What is it? Or are you completely innocent? I’m a skeptic. I don’t think anyone is innocent here. It’s just a matter of which scapegoat goes down instead of the president.

Should the impeachment be going on? If you can impeach a president for having an affair and lying about it, you can impeach a president for potential treason. When your defense comes down to “He’s too inept to be guilty”, there’s a problem. If he’s too inept to be guilty, maybe he shouldn’t have access to the military or nuclear codes or I don’t know, be the president. If he is guilty, I think he should be punished for his crimes. I’m a big believer in justice. But this is a circus orchestrated by both sides for political gain. I think he’s absolutely guilty, but no one cares about that. They just care about the politics. Who cares about what’s right or wrong when #amgreelection”?

It doesn’t matter. Even if he is guilty and gets impeached, Senate won’t do anything about it. They don’t care. The Democrats don’t care if he’s actually guilty, they just want to take him down. I don’t care about whether or not he goes down; I’m just a big fan of the truth. I have this silly belief that if people are guilty, then they should get an appropriate punishment for their crimes. I know, I’m old-fashioned. I just wish we didn’t have this clown circus of both Democrats and Republicans running the show because this seems like I’m watching something that is made up for the Onion. I feel like they can’t stay with an intelligent thought or properly articulate themselves for longer than a few seconds before they devolve into toddler tantrums that rival any I had ever seen. America deserves so much better than this.

The True State of the Union

The State of the Union address is finally upon us. This is the day that happens every year, where we listen to our president give his propaganda lines and let us know what agenda he thinks is the best approach to running our country. We give them extra air time to lie to us, while some will follow every word blinding or dismiss it without listening depending on your political affiliation. Then a select member of the other party tells us why the first party is wrong. Both are vague with no definitive fact checks. No one cares. I’ve even considered playing a drinking game where I took a sip every time the entire party stands up to clap, making the thing a lot longer than it needs to be. I like my liver too much for that game. It does remind me of those handful of times where I attended mass though.

That isn’t the actual state of the union. This is a perceived state of the union based on a specific agenda that they want to push. Fortunately, I’m here to tell you all about the real state of our union. How both parties are failing our country and we’re complacent to this. This is my perceived state of the union.

Democratic politicians are boycotting the state of the union. What ever happened to the “When they go low, we go high” approach that Michelle Obama so passionately spoke to us? Don’t boycott the State of the Union address. You can disagree with him without being blatantly disrespectful. Respect the office, even if the President doesn’t seem to. If you want to seem better than the President’s childish antics, fight on another day in a respectful manner. Don’t also be childish. Do not make the divide even more fractured.

And then some Democrats are discussing that Howard Schultz shouldn’t run for president because he will take votes away from the Democrats in the election. First of all, this is a democracy and anyone who wants to run for president should be allowed to. On the same token, the rumors of the President trying to work magic to deter other Republicans from running for president is also something that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I will again point out: This is a democracy and anyone who wants to run for president should be allowed to. If the Democrats are that afraid of losing, maybe they should put up a viable candidate that people will actually want to vote for. If you’re that afraid that another Republican will run against you, maybe do a better job so that people won’t want to replace you.

That is the state of the union. It’s a sad state. There is something that we can do about it. We can change it. We can stop blindly following career politicians that feign concern, passion, and ideals for votes. Then they forget everything that they stand for afterwards when lobbyists are tossing money at them. Educating ourselves is the best defense. That is the best way to make a change.

On This Veteran’s Day

Normally, today would be my “Gaming” blog day. However, this is a special holiday that requires special attention. Tomorrow will be the “BluishOblivion Goes Gaming” day.

Today is Veteran’s Day, meaning that it’s time to recognize how we needed to celebrate our veteran’s by expressing gratitude to our veteran’s for their service. Some are lucky to return, but some aren’t as lucky. The families of these soldiers also do a service, supporting their loved ones as they answer a calling to defend their beloved country. However they end up in service, they serve and protect our rights. They risk the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that we can act like idiots when it comes to politics or dishonor them by showing disrespect by spitting on them or mocking their service. We have those rights because of our veterans.

Our veterans deserve better. The lack of healthcare, the high incidence of homelessness in our country, and the lack of mental health care for these people who sacrificed so much for us is appalling. I feel as though the biggest disrespect we give to our soldiers when they return home is how we seem to turn our backs on them. “Thank you for your service. If you need medical care, you need to wait 6 months. If you need housing help, good luck kiddo. But thanks for your willingness to die so we can do absolutely nothing for you when you come back home.” Isn’t that what ends up happening in a lot more cases than should happen?

I take this very personally. I’m lucky enough that I had family serve and come home without too much of an issue. I know people who weren’t as lucky. I’m even more fortunate that they didn’t have as many struggles as others have. They have jobs, homes, families, living normal lives. But what about the ones who don’t have that? What are we doing for them?

I remember when I found out my brother was going to boot camp after enlisting in the Army. I was only in elementary school, but I remembered being upset by that. He used to take me out to McDonald’s and to roller skating lessons. He was over 10 years older than me, but as a kid I just knew that I had a cool brother that bought me roller skates (blue and white, because I loved blue) and hooked me up with lessons. I nailed them, by the way, which is shocking considering how uncoordinated and accident prone I am. I remember being pretty inconsolable when he left.

It was a long time ago, so memories aren’t too fresh. I remember when he came home from boot camp, I couldn’t stay up late enough to welcome him. But I do remember making a sign. Then I remember waking up to him making us French toast. I stood next to him as he taught me the secret recipe to make the perfect French toast. We ate together. It’s moments like that you remember. He wasn’t home for long. He went out to see the world, even visiting Korea for a while. Eventually he ended up going to Texas where he was going to be stationed. We didn’t see him a lot back then. I also remembered when my sister-in-law would come up to visit and he bought all these toys for us, including an Army Barbie for me. (Though, I’m very certain now that it was my sister-in-law who bought that for me. She’s great with gifts.)

I was much older when he came back. But I remember how happy I was about it. That meant he was going to be safe. That I didn’t have to worry about something happening to him. It’s that worry that every person who has a loved one overseas has to be concerned with. You want them to come home safe and be the exact person you remembered. That doesn’t always happen. It’s a fear that’s constantly in the back of your mind. Today on Veteran’s Day, remember that. Remember to salute a soldier in uniform and thank them for your service. Thank their families for their service as well. Think about what you can do to help. Donate to the USO or write thank you cards to those who served. Write Christmas cards to soldiers overseas or in hospitals this holiday season. Donate to soup kitchens or volunteer time there because a lot more vets visit these places than should have to. Donate to help veteran’s get service dogs. Fight for their rights by talking to your representatives to see what legislation they are working on to improve the lives of these men and women who fought to protect our lives. These are seemingly small acts that will take only a little of our time, but will have such a significant impact on the veterans and their family. I’d like to also personally thank our veteran’s for their service. We can never repay the part of you that you gave up serving, but we can show you that we are grateful.