It’s Like Watching Something on Television

Who doesn’t enjoy watching shows that discuss political intrigue and unbelievable circumstances? We binge-watch television shows and movies all about these topics, discussing what would happen if this were the real world. We’d laugh; that would never happen.

…Except, isn’t it? What if we watched a television show where the president of a country that brags about freedoms, ends up deciding that they are going to be the president forever because they want to even if they are voted out? Because it isn’t possible that there are people who legitimately don’t want him as president anymore. Because people are tired of reading Onion article headlines and wondering if it’s actually real because the “reality” we live in just doesn’t seem quite real anymore.

I’ve been avoiding writing lately. I haven’t “felt” it. My heart isn’t in it because honestly my heart isn’t in much right now. The world around me hurts my brain and whatever soul I have left and I’m left here jaded because everything just feels so insane to me right now. My only thought is “Would everyone be so cavalier about what’s going on right now if the other party was doing it?” Because, I’m pissed at both sides of the arguments and I know for a fact that I would be pissed in either situation. If Schumer had said “Trump shouldn’t get his pick because we have 6 months left in the election” and then said “Early voting already started and Biden gets his pick”, I would be outraged. And I’m honestly enraged that people don’t seem to care about it except the Democrats, who are the party of righteous indignation. But are they outraged because they are right? Or are they outraged because everything outrages them right now?

Do I agree in the choice to let President Trump select a Supreme Court Justice when an election has already started despite not letting President Obama do the same several months out of the election? No. If you can’t do it in one situation, you shouldn’t do it in the other. When you are on camera and you reiterate this point, then back it up because it benefits you, it’s wrong. It isn’t about benefiting you politically; it should be about what’s right. If they had let President Obama get his pick out and then did it now, I wouldn’t necessarily like it but it wouldn’t be wrong. What’s wrong is potentially putting someone up who wants to make laws based on their religion, not the constitution. A Supreme Court Justice should uphold the constitution, not push a religious agenda.

I don’t want to talk about any of that. I don’t want to keep talking about how insane the world we live in right now is. I don’t want to remind people of how divisive the country is and how people either don’t realize or don’t care that they aren’t helping matters. I hate how in the past I could point out logical flaws in people’s posts without any problems or even with comments of “I never thought of it like that”, but now I refrain because people don’t care about what’s logical or reasonable. They don’t like the effort of free-thought. Everyone has to have an agenda. You are either with them or against them. It couldn’t be possible that I don’t like President Trump and not be a Democrat. It can’t be possible that I’m not that keen on Biden but am not a Republican. People seem to think that independent thinkers actually exist. We do and we’re pissed.

We live in a television show now. We live in a television show that has ruined actually watching these types of shows. Why should I finish watching “House of Cards” if I’m essentially living it? What happens if I wished “Designated Survivor” actually happened, but maybe without Ben Carson taking over as president? It doesn’t matter anyways. I’m getting close to just thinking that it just doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what party is in office if you can’t fix the underlying problem: the States of America are not United. They are divided by race and religion and political ideals. They are divided by the principle of “whoever doesn’t agree with me is the enemy”. It doesn’t matter if they back up their opinion with rational thought; it’s not about facts or logic. It’s about right and wrong, even if the truth is somewhere in the middle.

Misinformation and You: How You’re Helping the Problem Get Worse

I browse my social media feeds, and it’s shocking how many people take memes seriously. As if memes are a way to get valid information. I hate to be that guy, but they’re not. Memes are funny and catchy. Generally, if you read information on a meme, it’s probably not true. The way people stand up for Dr. Stella Emmanuel for her brave stance on the “COVID-19” hoax is what is wrong with America today. This is why we have anti-vaxxers and a resurgence of diseases that really should be a non-issue anymore. Why are the same people against anti-vaxxers now supporting the claim of someone who talks about demon sperm? Because they see that their political party supports her, so she must be reliable.

If Dr. Fauci had said anything about conditions being caused by demon sperm, as someone who suffers from gynecological disorders, I’d say dude is crazy and maybe we shouldn’t follow what he says. I don’t care about political parties; I care about science. The problem is that science can be skewed and people eat that stuff up and believe it. Why? Because their political party fan pages tell them so.

So what’s the common denominator here? People who blindly follow and don’t really care about facts. They just eat up whatever people want them to think and just trust it or don’t really care to do their own research. And the people in charge are okay with that because if you can think for yourself, you’d call them out on their crap. Me? My allegiance will always follow the facts. I do my own research because, we have the internet and you can always do all the research you want on your own. However, the minute that you just follow a specific biased site or non-reputable biased sites that flat out lie, then you aren’t really doing your own research. You need to read around different sites and determine what’s real and what isn’t. It takes time and patience, but damned if you come out more logical on the side.

Maybe I’m just unique in the fact that I don’t side with any political party because I mistrust them. I can maybe think of 1 or 2 or maybe even 3 politicians that I would really stand up for, and that’s a very small number. And spoiler: they aren’t from the same party. I respect politicians who state facts, not skewed opinions offered as facts. I respect politicians who stand by their principles, even if it makes people hate them. That’s what I respect. That’s why I don’t trust Pelosi or Schumer or Trump or McConnell. They want us to be divided because it gives them more power over us. It pits us against each other so they can retain the power that none of them really deserve.

I feel like I keep reiterating the point here, but people need to start waking up. People are dying from a virus because it was made into an “Us. vs. Them” political statement. It isn’t. It’s a “the damn virus is going to kill us all if we don’t stop being jackasses who only care about what political party someone is” problem. I saw a Facebook thing, and it said “How many of your friends are Biden followers and how many are Trump followers?” My answer: who cares? I don’t determine someone’s worth by their political beliefs and if you do, that’s your problem. Strike that, that means you are the problem. You are why America is going downhill. We’re Americans, dammit. We are built on the principle of free speech and following our own beliefs. We didn’t become free because people sat around and listened to what people in charge told us to believe; we became free because we fought against that.

In Careful Consideration: A Political Post

I try to avoid things that are too political. Why? Because in the polarizing world that we live in today, you get disgusted comments about how you’re a lib-tard snowflake or a Trumper without anyone taking what you are saying with any consideration at all. People don’t want you to disagree with them or have thoughts that are independent of a political party. That’s insane, right? Not being bound to a specific political party, rather just having your own, independent thought that doesn’t have a party? Crazy.

I have opted against that. I’m sure in my passing comments you can gather that I’m not a fan of the president. He was voted in and I respect the office, but it’s way too hard to respect the man in the office. I didn’t necessarily like President Obama, he had his moments that I applauded him for and things that left me go “Huh, how about no?” And that’s OK. Because your beliefs don’t have to be bound to a political party. That’s what America’s all about. You can be different. You can speak your mind. You can say that you don’t agree with the president without it being more than just “I don’t agree with him”.

It does scare me in writing this. If a president can just send a militarized police force wherever he wants in the name of “Law and Order”, what’s to stop him from secretly going after anyone who speaks out against him? It’s apparent that no one cares to stop him from doing anything shady. I don’t see him deploying secret military to quiet down KKK rallies. What if President Obama did that? Would that still be perfectly fine? The answer is probably not and there would be riots over this blatant disregard of the constitution, as there should be. If people are protesting responsibly, respectfully, and there’s no violence, then anyone has the right to protest whether you agree with them or not.

I keep thinking about things that are going on right now and all I can think of is “What if President Obama did that?” President Trump blames President Obama for stuff all the time, but I distinctly remember watching Fox News segments where they would go off on President Obama because he blamed President Bush for things. “Well, you’re president now and the buck stops with you, right?” President Trump blames President Obama, and all they do is defend it saying “Well, he’s right to blame him because look at the mess he left for President Trump to clean up.” You can’t have it both ways. You absolutely can’t have it both ways. And, no, I don’t think it has to do with Fox News being racist; it has to do with the fact they are pandering to the Republican base as CNN and MSNBC pander to the Democrats. It isn’t about fair reporting; it’s about money, power, and ratings.

It is with careful consideration that I make such controversial statements as I just did, that you can criticize a president no matter what party is in power. You can criticize politicians that are paid with your tax payer dollars to represent you. That’s what America is all about. Unfortunately, it’s been a long time since people would consider other points of view and be open-minded to the fact that they’re wrong about something. Maybe things would start getting better if people were more loyal to silly things like facts than a political party that only wants power and money that comes from their positions.

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.

When Watching History Unfold

No matter what side you’re on (and I don’t really mean political parties), watching the impeachment is actually important for history. I like watching history unfold, telling my children stories about it. Both of my boys, my oldest who is in AP history and my youngest who just wants to know everything about everything, have watched along with me. Why? Because one loves history and the other loves knowledge. However, the problem comes in when I’m trying to teach my children about this moment.

Remember how I just said it doesn’t matter what side you’re on? That’s the first part of the problem. There shouldn’t be a “side”. It should be what’s right; what’s just; not: “they’re lying no you’re lying no there’s nothing there but there’s something there that may not be moral but it’s not illegal okay maybe it’s not illegal but it may be illegal but not really but kinda”.

My youngest asked me what should be a seemingly simple answer: “Did he do it?” No parent really wants to say “I don’t know” to their child when trying to teach them something. But that’s the truth. We don’t know because no one cares to tell us the truth. The American people deserve to know the truth. To see the truth. All we get to see is grandstanding and mudslinging and half truths. We don’t know the answer. The people who want to know don’t participate in “sides”. I want to know the truth. But all I see is a partisan event unfolding in front of me where it doesn’t matter if he actually did it.

You may be thinking “Of course it matters”, but you’re wrong. It doesn’t matter. The Democrats just want him to be guilty because they don’t like him and that can set a very dangerous precedent for the future. The Republicans want him to be innocent because they don’t want to be wrong in backing that horse. Neither side cares about the truth or integrity. They care about being right and getting their way. That’s unfortunate because in the end, the Americans are the ones getting screwed. They are the ones that are left in the dark arguing talking points that they heard from “their side” rather than caring to take the time to see whether or not he’s guilty. And if he is guilty, that just shows he can get away with more because, why not?

Not that it matters. Even if they had him dead to rights doing something illegal, the Republican lemmings wouldn’t care. I actually am starting to believe that he could kill someone on stage, right on camera, and they’d just say “Well, he’s our guy so he can really do whatever he want. That dead guy probably did something 20 years ago that was super illegal anyways.” Even if he was completely innocent, the Democrat lemmings would say “well, he did something wrong and we’re going to find it” and waste more of our time. It doesn’t matter if he did it or not: he’s going to get away with it.

It’s not the politician’s fault; it’s ours. We’re the ones that keep electing people that only care about their own interests. Who care only about party first and everyone else later. That’s our fault. We’re the ones who don’t look at stances or records, but at that tiny letter next to those people’s names. The minute we start saying “I’m voting for _____ because he’s ____” is the minute we are complicit. It’s that “Us vs. Them” mentality that’s ruining America and we’re just sitting back going “But Fox News/MSNBC/CNN said this and that means it’s absolutely true because journalistic integrity. They wouldn’t lie to us.” Oh yea they would, and you’re eating it up.

So how did I answer my son’s question? I told him the truth: It doesn’t matter. He looked confused. My oldest understood. “But you break the law, the police come.” That concept seemed so simple. “You are innocent until proven guilty in America”, I said. My oldest son snickered. He wasn’t wrong. “So he didn’t do it?” I sighed. “No one knows and no one really cares.”

Was it Really about a Boo?

Criticizing presidents and politicians is the American way. It is our right as the people who these people are supposed to be working for. It’s our right as Americans to be able to express ourselves in a peaceful manner. We were given those rights in the constitution and we should be very thankful to have those rights, especially when you take a look at how people are being silenced across the globe. We shouldn’t take this for granted because I fear we may not have these freedoms for long.

When President Trump got booed at the Nationals game, it became a topic of discussion about how people should respect the office. I respect the office even if I may not respect the man holding it. But I don’t think that people should mistake blind loyalty as respect. There’s nothing respectful about blind loyalty. This is usually based on fear or ignorance, not respect. I get how an audience booing at a sitting president can be seen as disrespectful. I can see how chants of “Lock Him Up” can be disrespectful. But it’s not really about respect, is it?

When Obama got booed in public, conservative sites praised this. These were the American people using their God-given right to express themselves. These were true patriots. Now that Trump gets booed, these same people rant about the disrespect this president has received. The other side is just as guilty here because they have also flipped the script from taking one incident as disrespectful and the other as a proud moment for Americans. Make up your mind: is it disrespectful to boo a president or not?

It isn’t the act that is appalling; it’s the fact that these groups can’t get their story straight and the majority of people don’t seem to care. Would I boo a sitting president to their face? Probably not. But does that mean I don’t think other people should? I’m not entirely sure I like the idea of toeing that line of freedom of speech and disrespect. If it went to a side of violence or downright bullying, then I think there’s an argument for disrespect. Booing is something entirely different. You boo when you’re at a performance if you don’t like what you see; isn’t that all this president is? He performs on a daily basis, giving fodder to everyone around him through his unleashed Twitter account.

Now, what about the “Lock him up” chant? Was that disrespectful? I would argue “no”. I would argue that this is a precedent that he created himself when he did the same to Clinton as his political rival. This encouraged his followers to do the same. I’m all for the “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander” approach. If it wasn’t disrespectful that way, then it isn’t disrespectful when it comes back to you. If it was good enough to say to another person, it’s good enough to be said to you. The point is, when you open that floodgate, you should accept it. Just like people who “applauded” Clinton’s deplorable statement about Trump supporters should accept the “scumbag” label from Trump. I think both people should be ashamed of themselves for this insulting approach because I think these terms help to further divide the country. We need to start working together, not growing further apart.

The problem is as long as people rationalize and blindly follow, things won’t change. The world doesn’t need followers right now; they need leaders. They need to know that disrespect doesn’t change because of what party someone follows. They need to know that if they say something awful that they should suck it up when it’s used back in their face. The people should stop rationalizing those grown-ass adults who are supposed to be running our country when they sling insults at each other. They should stop applauding something as “so powerful” on one side, but slamming it when it happens to “your side”. There shouldn’t be “sides”. There should only be “Americans”. United we stand… divided we fall…

The Innocent Have Nothing to Hide

I live on the basic principle of “The innocent have nothing to hide”. Sure, it makes me a bit paranoid but this believe has served me very well in all my years. It helped me pick out the cheaters or weed out the friends that shouldn’t be trusted. This is probably what would make me a terrible juror as I would just assume that anyone lying or refusing to answer questions would be guilty. Though, we’re all guilty of something.

When the Clinton Email scandal happened, I said “The innocent have nothing to hide”. I didn’t trust her. I thought she was guilty of something. That’s why I didn’t vote for her. When Trump refused to release his tax returns as is customary, though not required, I thought this again. That’s one of many reasons why I didn’t vote for him. (#3rdPartyLife?)

Even today with subpoenas being ignored and other things that may be viewed as obstruction, all I can think is that innocent people have nothing to hide. It reminds me of something that I always say to the kids when they lie to cover up a misdeed: “The coverup is always worse than the crime”. I don’t care if you broke a plate but if you lie about it to my face after I stepped on the leftover glass shard that was missed during the cleanup, I’ll probably be really pissed and in pain.

While this is a much more important situation, the standard still applies. The coverup will always be worse than the crime. It wasn’t the fact that Clinton had the affair; it’s the cover up and blatant disregard of how betrayed others felt. He wasn’t impeached because he had relations with his intern; he was impeached because he lied about it and tried to cover it up.

Why would Trump hide his tax returns? Does he not want people to see what loopholes he used that all of the other businessmen use to keep more money in their pocket? Did he not make as much money as he bragged about and doesn’t want his poor ego shattered? Or did he do something shady? I think people would be less angry about using loopholes or that he isn’t a billionaire like he claims than if he committed fraud.

That’s really what this is about. Own up or stop complaining when people lose their trust in you. If you didn’t do anything wrong, then there’s nothing that needs to be hidden from the public. I don’t believe in blindly following anyone. I don’t believe in just trusting someone. Just because the Democrats say he’s guilty, doesn’t mean he is. Just because the Republicans call this a witch hunt, doesn’t mean it is. It just means politicians are more concerned about protecting their party than protecting the American people.

Eventually, the truth always comes out. That’s why it’s easier not to lie about it. Eventually someone will slip up or someone will blurt something out. But lies rarely stay hidden forever.

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.

I Watch for Talent, Not Politics

Over the weekend, the talk of the town was how dare/how brave Taylor Swift was for finally speaking out about politics. How she has lost/gained fans for voicing her opinion. How awful/great celebrities are for using their platform to brainwash/inspire the masses. Taylor Swift is a disappointment/true role model for the masses. You can easily circle the way you feel on the topic. I, personally, take a route of “I don’t really care” and “This has no real impact on my life”.

I love Ron Swanson GIFs. Spare a few Gir (aka: the Best Part of Invader Zim) GIFs, I only use Ron Swanson GIFs unless I couldn’t find the perfect one. I usually do and it makes me very happy with life. One time, like usual, I nailed a perfectly timed Ron Swanson GIF on a political post. A family member responded back with “too bad he’s a total liberal IRL”. My response: “I don’t care what he is, Ron Swanson is hilarious. I watch things to be entertained and if I’m entertained than I don’t care.” A person’s political ideals outside of the context of a show has no impact on whether or not I like them. Do I dislike Kanye’s music and personality because he is Pro-Trump? Nope, I dislike him because I think he’s an arrogant, jerk and I think his music sucks. Do I hate “Last Man Standing” because Tim Allen is a Republican? I dislike it because it’s a rebranded “Home Improvement” only less funny. Do I agree with everything John Oliver believes politically? Nope, but I die laughing every time I watch his show. I didn’t want “Newsroom” because I found it preachy and poorly written. I don’t agree with a lot of Tom Selleck’s politics, but I love him in “Blue Bloods”.

Maybe I’m just weird, but I like to watch things that entertain me. I get enough of politics everywhere else in the world. That’s not to say I don’t like watching sitcoms address serious topics or express opinions. But I want to be entertained while they are doing it. The opinions themselves have no impact on me. (I suppose, to a point. If someone does something completely off the rails, like spewing hateful comments or proudly displaying their Nazi gear I may be less inclined to want them to support them in anything that offers financial gain.) In general though, I don’t care. I barely listened to Taylor Swift as it is, aside from maybe 1 song (unless I’m working out. She does some great high energy music.) Will I listen to her more now because she made a political stance? Nope. It has no effect on me.

Now, if Taylor Swift had gone on a tangent about how anyone who was a Republican should be lynched and white people should be ashamed of being white and formed a group that was just as hateful as the KKK but was violent against people who didn’t agree with them, then yeah I would totally be all about destroying her career. But who cares? I love seeing comments from 65 year old people going “Well Taylor Swift just lost this fan”. Seriously, you probably didn’t even know who she was until either your grand-daughter idolized her or you saw the article on Fox News about being outraged for her spreading the liberal agenda. On the other side, “This grandma is going to start listening to Taylor because she’s so brave” because of the praise from the left-leaning media. No… no you won’t. This won’t affect her career at all. In fact, more kids may like her because some households will actually ban their kids from listening to it and if Mommy hates her then I have to do whatever it takes to listen to her. Because we’re a divided nation that can’t separate opinions and entertainment.

She never said to only vote Democrat. She never said that you had to vote the same way she did. If people bothered to read what she said, she made a clear case on a fundamental level why she was voting the way she was voting. She used facts and said “She voted against this, this, and this and doesn’t stand for the same things I do”. She then went on to say that you should vote for whoever candidate best represents your ideals. If you’re going to go political, that’s the way you do it. You encourage people to vote however they want to, but they have to vote. They have to vote for their ideals, whatever they may be. Hers in this case happened to be Democratic. I don’t see them complaining too much when Republican celebrities do the same. In fact, I remember they applauded celebrities for their “bravery” when it suited them.

Am I more inclined today to listen to Taylor Swift than I was? Nope. I wouldn’t have even known had it not been plastered all over the news or social media. A celebrity is just as entitled to have an opinion as everyone else does. Should they tell their fans that they need to listen to them or stop being a fan? Absolutely not. That crosses a line. That shows they are interested in spreading an agenda. Telling people they need to go out and vote and then mention who you are voting for? I do that all the time. I don’t care if the person that listens to me goes out to vote and votes a different way. It just matters that they vote based on facts and conscience. This election season, go out and vote. I will vote for Republicans and Democrats on my ballot, based on the job they have done in the past and if they align with my beliefs just like I’ve always done. Maybe things would be a lot better out there if people did the same.

What We’ve Learned Since That Tragic Day

Tragic days are not the ones where your hair just won’t cooperate or when you can’t replicate that one good day you had a successful cat eye. It isn’t when your coffee order is wrong or they gave you a plain bagel instead of an everything. Those aren’t tragedies. Those are minor blips in the day that prove your self-fulfilling prophecy of today being the worst, most tragic day ever. Sure they suck, but I guarantee you won’t remember it next week, let alone 17 years later.

I could go into the events in detail. How we were in school thinking it was a joke until we saw the video being replayed in every class. Living in the “Era of the Internet”, you could see videos online that honestly still haunt me to this day. I remember how busy work was that day, being a MEPS waitress but also handling all of the military that was relocated there from the base for precautionary measures. They were somber, not the rowdy groups I was used to in there. I remember what happened after. I remembered a sudden hatred for not just the terrorists, but anyone who just “looked Muslim”. I remembered that everything was suddenly turned upside down. I remember that now as an adult who watched these events unfold my senior year of high school.

Those aren’t the important things to remember about that time. What’s most important is that in the face of the worst humanity has to offer, we saw the best in humanity. Our country always comes together in these times. The terrorists participated in these horrific acts on 9/11 or at the Boston Marathon hoping to break us. Unlike some things that are broken, we always came together stronger than ever. We helped each other through the madness. Emergency officials, both active duty and retired, joined forces to help with whatever they could. Our country stared back at these cowardly acts in defiance; no one was going to break us and if they tried, we would show them the strength in unity.

What we learned about ourselves during this time is a lesson that we seem to be forgetting again. That’s how history usually happens, right? We learn a valuable lesson and somehow keep losing it, only to relearn it again. We are stronger as one. No one can tear us down if we stay strong as a unified force. It doesn’t matter what political party you are, what religion you follow, who you go to bed to at night. None of that matters. We are Americans. We want our country to flourish and fight back from those who want to do us harm. We want to laugh in their faces. “You think you knocked us down? Think again.” The minute we forget these lessons is the minute that we become weak to these types of attacks again.

Today, remember all of that. Remember the lives that we lost today, especially the ones who sacrificed their lives to help others. Remember how strength in unity makes us unstoppable. Remember this now, in a world where people keep trying to divide us. This divisiveness will break us if we let it. We can’t let it.