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.

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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.

The Internet Lies

You see the funny memes, witty comments on things that they want to pass off as facts. Rather than taking these funny memes as what they are, people tend to take them as facts. The big one going around right now is about lettuce killing more than illegal immigrants. If you took it as a funny meme just like I did, you laughed and ignored it. But then… there are the people who share this as a fact. Then their friends share it thinking it is facts. Both “sides of the aisle” are guilty of doing this. (Remember the toilet challenge that didn’t exist?) The sad truth is that the internet lies and people still believe it.

It’s our fault for not educating ourselves. We get upset when people point out that the meme is a lie. We ask for facts, then dispute the facts because it didn’t come from a news source that you recognize as news, aka whichever one you believe is biased towards the other side’s agenda. I agree that there is a major bias in the mainstream media. That will never be addressed because news organizations like CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News are businesses. They do what it takes to get ratings, regardless of their job as journalists. The ones on those channels that do the unthinkable, you know reporting the news, get called names or are ignored because people may not like what they are saying. They get dismissed as “the other side”, and their facts are dismissed as bias.

To help with this, I figured I’d let you in on a little secret: memes are devices of humor, not fact. If you think there may be truth to the meme, do yourself a favor and research it. If it’s fact, then you can pass it off as such. If not, don’t get surprised when people call you out on it. I’ve done it to my friends on social media. And they haven’t unfriended me yet for it. The world is complicated and divisive enough as is. We don’t need to add to it by resharing lies. This brainwashes the masses and it isn’t a good look. We should be focused on what we can do to improve the future.

So remember: the internet lies. Trust no one and educate yourself because no one else will. Don’t be a lemming that follows blindly. Be your own, kind and intelligent individual.

Just Another Offensive Political Post

Back during the election, back around the time where I was conflicted about going for Hilary Clinton despite the fact I thought she was terrible at the job because at least maybe she would have been better than the other option, the decision was made very quickly for me over her emails. It was simple. She toed a line that she shouldn’t have. I understood that. I understood that voting for someone who was already questionably fit for a job despite a system seemingly rigged in her favor, wasn’t an option. I couldn’t elect someone that was at least a borderline potential criminal. That would be a slap in the face to the office, I felt. Being president means representing the American people and I wanted someone who would honor the office. Who would be a positive representation of our people. Who would display strength. Who wanted to change the political climate of America, a country about to implode. And she wasn’t it.

But then, there was Donald Trump. I had dismissed him long ago as a shady businessman who really had no place even in the running for office. Who spent more time writing Tweets at a lower ELA standard than my 6 year old could write. I thought he was a criminal, along the same lines as Hilary, and also felt he was completely unfit for the presidency. We may have forgotten that Hilary may or may not got away with her crimes, but the same people willing to chase her with pitchforks have seemed to disappear now. “Her crimes, her ineptitude, made her unfit to be president”. I argue that the same is true of President Trump. You know what innocent people don’t do? Lie. They don’t deflect. They don’t turn everything around. They cooperate. Remember when people were getting shot by the police, and they would argue “If they have nothing to hide, if they are innocent, why run?” Again, the same principle applies here. If you are innocent and this is just a witch hunt, why hide?

Do I think he colluded with Russia to win an election? Let’s face it, election meddling is a more common practice than we’d like to think. But I’m not entirely sure I believe he knowingly colluded, though his staff may very well have. What I do think is that maybe people knew he was shady and guilty of a lot of crimes that no one paid attention to until he was elected, and Russia decided “Chaos shall reign in America”. To put someone like that in office, would create such an ideological divide in the country that could easily take us down. To weaken us. (Maybe I’m a bit of a tin-hatter here, I concede.) Whether that last conspiracy theory I mentioned is crazy or not, you can’t deny that this plan would have worked as intended.

There is a sharp contrast that Republicans should take note of here. President Bush and his father loved their country. You may not have agreed with their politics and thought that their approach was misguided, but they genuinely thought that they were doing the right thing for their people, the American people. That is why they are admired today, and why President Bush was mourned by this country. President Trump doesn’t love his country. He loves himself. He loves his name. He’s about selling out venues and being talked about, even negatively. It’s a toddler mentality. Even negative attention is still attention. Did any family I know personally benefit from the tax plan? Unless we’re going to get some great refund at tax time, nope. I was able to buy a package of more expensive toilet paper with the extra $10 in our paycheck ($5 a week, since we get paid bi-weekly). I’m not better off by his policies. But I’m willing to bet his family is greatly benefiting from it.

We can’t be selective in which crimes we ignore and which ones we are willing to riot over. If you were passive over any crimes Hilary maybe had part in but screaming from rooftops about Trump’s, you are part of the problem. Criminals shouldn’t be treated so differently from people who commit similar crimes. Why did Brock Turner get 3 months in prison when he was caught in the act of sexual assault, but even a less privileged white man could get at least double that without any proof? If President Trump isn’t guilty, this investigation shouldn’t bother him. He should welcome it to clear his name. Wasn’t that what they all said about Hilary? I can’t even keep track anymore.

The Thanksgiving Spirit

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Mine was full of family and there’s nothing more I could ask for.

The Thanksgiving spirit is the topic of today’s post. Why am I talking about the Thanksgiving spirit after the holiday has passed? First of all, Christmas has started to even encroach upon my favorite holiday of Halloween. As much as I despise the holiday, it should get a month just like Halloween and Thanksgiving should get. 1 month is all you need for 1 holiday. There isn’t a war on Christmas, there’s a war on every other holiday that isn’t Christmas and I won’t stand for it. You don’t need to start putting out Christmas stuff 2 months early. You deserve the blizzard. /endrant

The point wasn’t for me to go on a tangent about my dislike for Christmas and it’s encroachment on other well-deserving holidays. To be fair, I’m not even a huge fan of Thanksgiving. For those of you who haven’t sworn me off yet, let’s continue. The point is about what the holidays are about. This is a time for kindness because if you’re not going to be kind for the rest of the year, this is the one time a year that you should focus on being a better human being for at least a few months. This is the time to give back to those who aren’t as fortunate as you are. The holiday spirit is about bringing light into other people’s lives, doing selfless acts for at least a month or 2 out of the year.

As I was looking through social media, I was happy to see those special moments from families. The pictures of adorable babies enjoying their first Thanksgiving. The meals that people had slaved over to serve their loved ones. People posting about the things they are thankful for. It was awesome to see. It was uplifting and grand.

Then… there were the other posts. Sites like Occupy Democrats, which I still have no idea why they keep appearing on my new feed, show up pushing an agenda. Some people on my friends list? Also posting pushing agendas. This is Thanksgiving. This isn’t the time to further divide; it’s the time to come together. That is the type of behavior I find more unacceptable than listening to people yell at me for refusing to participate on Black Friday.

Think before you post. Think to yourself: “Is this appropriate to post today?” In fact, you should think that every time you consider posting something on the internet. I have a challenge that I’d like to suggest. Starting today until the start of the New Year, try not posting something antagonistic. Don’t put people down. Let divisive language and politics die. Choose not to judge someone vocally. Don’t pick fights with anonymous people online. Break the habit so starting the New Year, we can start anew. Imagine the change that could happen. Imagine how much nicer the world would be.