Thursday, November 10, 2016

Reality Bites

The 2016 U.S. election is over.  It's two days after, now.  I thought it best to let it sink in a bit before I offered my opinion.

I know there are those that will agree with some of it, some will disagree.  I don't care either way.  How I see it is how I see it.  And I respect most others' opinions.

My views have changed over the years.  Maybe not all that drastically, but they have.  Some would be shocked and disappointed at the tweaking of how I see some things, some would be... "meh".  I'm fine with all of it.  One of those views is on the whole "gay thing".  I used to say, 'I don't agree with the gay lifestyle.'  I think that comment is just idiotic and dumb today.  How do you agree or disagree with a lifestyle?  How someone lives their life is inconsequential to me or anyone else, as long as no one gets hurt.  The only people I see getting hurt are gay people themselves, getting beaten up or denied their human rights by those who oppose them.  So who's wrong here?  Throughout my years, I generally have only seen the most gentle of people within the gay community; who care, in many cases, more than their straight counterparts about the good of all humankind.  When the issue of gay marriage comes up, the real firestorm begins.  Voices are raised, soapboxes erected, bibles come out... and hatred exposed.  The ugliness of humanity is magnified in all its self-righteous glory.  And over time, though I've not bought into the hatred of it all, I was unwittingly a part of it, because I "didn't agree with the gay lifestyle".  But I ask myself the question... if a trio of guys are beating up another guy on a street corner because he's gay, and I'm walking on the other side of the street, do I ignore it and continue on, or take my taekwondo black belt ass over there and protect the innocent man on the ground getting abused?  If I don't, I'm as guilty as those beating him up.  So I would go over and do the right thing, and defend him.  Jesus would be appalled.  Appalled that three guys chose to vent their prejudism through violent behavior against a peaceful individual who shares passionate love differently than they do.  Real Christians defend those who are helpless.

With the civil war going on in Syria, and millions fleeing the country, many are seeking refuge in other parts of the world where they won't get bombed or shot at, like many of their friends or family members already have.  Stop and think, if you will, of your city being under siege from an invading army; many of your friends are dead, much of your family is dead or gone, and maybe you only have a child or two, and if you're lucky, a spouse with you still alive, and you make your escape.  You find a kind foreign force willing to take you in, give you shelter, and prepare you for life somewhere else that you won't have to dodge bullets or landmines.  But you so love your city!  How could you leave where you've lived most of your life, and never come back?  Then you ask yourself, how could you subject what's left of your family to chance by staying?  So you submit to the vetting process by the samaritans, and by some crazy stroke of luck and good fortune, you get whisked off to another country where there's no war.  No bombings.  Just a very different way of life, albeit peaceful and welcoming, that lets you take your religion and harmless belief system with you, after the vetting process, and settle amongst a new group of neighbors in a calm, war-free setting.  You're crazy grateful at the good fortune afforded you to escape the sad, violent war zone, and come to what's comparitively viewed as paradise.  Nearly everyone around you has a different color of skin, but it doesn't seem to matter to them.  They're welcoming you with open arms.  Your faith in humanity is somewhat restored.  You're surrounded by countries that have checkpoints, but no barriers.  No barbed wire or fences to forbid you from where you want to go, provided you have legal documentation to prove who you are.

I've written ad-nauseum about how I have a mental illness.  A disability.  There are pros and cons that you can't visually see it.  Some won't believe I have it, unless they see my medication bottles or know my medical history.  And then, some still won't believe it!  But I'm very fortunate that I don't need physical assistance to come and go.  I need no wheelchair or walker or artificial limbs.  I have no degenerative physical ailment.  One time, when I broke my foot on the job and wound up losing said job because of it, I was down on my luck and went downtown with some friends.  I don't drink a lot, so when my friends threw one down after another, I decided to leave.  The walk was a couple of miles home, and that's a long way when you have a cast on your foot up to your knee.  As I began my lonely trek home and crossed Main Street, a group of ladies nearby pointed, laughed and mocked my limping, while I cried putting one painful step in front of the other.  It was a very lonely, depressing time in my life, and I thought to myself as I soldiered home, "what if this is how it was all the time?"  I experienced only a tiny, microscopic example of what it was like to be a permanently disabled person.  It was horrifyingly lonely.  No one offered to stop and help during the 45 minute journey home, where I'm sure I looked visibly tired and in pain.  I'm grateful this happened, believe it or not.  It gave me a wealth of understanding for those who are far, far worse off.  It gave me eyes that were sharper than they were previously.

All these things helped shape the man that I became today.  I'd say that I'm a fairly decent guy.  Maybe not overly smart, certainly not monetarily rich, and even prone from time to time to a joke about someone less fortunate, though I so try not to find humor or entertainment in such things, because there isn't any!  Perhaps that's a part of growing up.  People have to do that - grow up.  Perhaps maintain their "inner kid" and retain some of that innocence, to prevent you from becoming some stiff, boring old windbag.  My wife and I behave like kids around each other all the time!  We say it keeps us young.  Some people around us call us a cute couple, some might call us immature, which we actually take as a compliment.  Keep your boring-ass 'maturity'.  Go to tea parties or luncheons or meetings or whatever you call entertainment.  We'll keep our movies, gym outings, TV watching in our onesies with our snacks and pop and making supper at home together any day.  I've learned over time how much I value the women in my life.  My Mom is my original hero.  She raised seven of us virtually by herself, and most of us fought back against being raised properly, but we all made it.  We all got married and had families, and were responsible to them.  None of us were in trouble with the law because of the values instilled in us by our mother.  In other words, we all have our family values.  And all of the boys, despite growing up in adversity, maintained respect and love and admiration for our female counterparts, all shapes, sizes, colors and ages.  I would dare say we are all gentlemen.

Something Mom taught us all was to be raised Catholic.  She revered the Popes of the times, brought us to church on Sundays, and reprimanded us if we cursed in the house, or anywhere for that matter, while she was around.  We were to recognize Christmas as Christ's birthday (I know it's really not, that it was really some other time, but whatever), Easter as Christ's resurrection (read between the brackets before the last comma), and observed other events on the Catholic calendar.  There are protestant religions that are more or less the same, with a tweak to the Catholic beliefs here and there, which are all fine by me as long as we worship the same God, peacefully.  Most Christian religions would see the Pope as their leader, I think, some maybe not.  And some popes, they agreed with more than others.  Our current one, Francis, has really emerged as the Pope we need for our times.  He's worked vigorously to bridge the gaps between faiths, heal the wrongs of the Christian past (a very, very tall order, but at least he's trying), and tried to restore faith among those who have lost it.  He's the most Christ-like Pope I've ever known of, welcoming everyone in his presence, championing the poor and the weak, and yes, even offering an olive branch to gays.  We so need him in these times.  When he speaks on the issues of the day, people listen.  He's even warned us not to be too focused on abortion issues, and allowing it to fade out all other important subjects of our modern era.  He continuously warns us about climate change, and tells us to embrace science alongside religion.  Never mind a progressive Pope, this man is a progressive human being altogether, perhaps moreso than any of us.  At least most.

Growing up, I was taught, as most of us were that becoming the nation's leader was the finest thing you could be.  The very finest.  Here in Canada, it's Prime Minister.  In the U.S., it's President.  But I've recognized in the States that young men more aspired to be president than Canadians did prime minister.  It was romanticized in songs, poems, speeches, and kids would pretend to be the nation's leader.  A lot of little boys would study hard in school with hopes of serving in public office, and who knows?  Maybe become president one day!  "Son, if you study hard, work hard, pay your dues, and respect your fellow human beings and do all you can to serve and protect them, you deserve to be the leader of the country."  That kind of thing was spouted all the time in TV shows, which would in turn influence little boys everywhere.  Now, the world has changed.  Girls have a shot at it, too.  Girls are recognized as being at least as smart as boys are, and every bit as capable of doing what boys do.  As time goes on, the competitive spirit between genders is deteriorating, and we are being all seen more as equals as we seek out amongst ourselves who is best to do whatever task is at hand.  As long as the good of humanity is served and our dignity respected and recognized, may the best person lead us to further greatness as a people.

%&^###$ -----"vinyl record scratch"-----&*#$%++%

Donald Trump is president-elect of the United States.

This man has made it a promise to repeal gay marriage.  Has claimed to be Christian while behaving the most un-Christian-like throughout his ENTIRE CAMPAIGN.  He's incited violence at his campaign rallies while pledging to his supporters he would pay for their court costs if they're brought up on battery charges against protesters.  He has openly attacked Muslims and their faith, offering and promising to block them from coming to the U.S. if elected.  He belittled an American Muslim Iraq war hero and his parents.  He marginalized blacks at his rallies, and pleaded ignorance to any knowledge of the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacy advocates that openly supported his campaign.  He pledged repeatedly to build a fucking WALL between Mexico and the United States to keep Mexicans out, because, he says, they're "rapists, drug dealers and murderers"!  He kicked a baby out of a rally because it was crying, and belittled the child's parents.  He said he would "bomb the shit" out of middle east countries and even possibly use nukes on them.  He's pledged his support to Vladmir Putin and aligned himself with Russia and its atrocities to modern humankind, and even invited them to spy on his rival Democratic Party.  He would stop the flow of refugees to the U.S., which was barely a miniscule trickle to begin with.  He infamously mocked and made fun of a disabled reporter.  He's mocked and made fun of ("Miss Piggy") a Miss Universe pageant winner for gaining weight from depression.  In fact, he's made fun of women just about every goddamned day.  His hatred for Rosie O'Donnell ruled his Twitter account.  When he was discovered as having said he loves to assault women in the infamous "hot mic" debacle ("grab them by the pussy"), HE DIDN"T APOLOGIZE.  Instead he just attributed it to "locker room talk", like that would normalize it.  He repeatedly cheated on his women (three wives and counting) unapologetically, even bragging about it.  HE DENOUNCED THE POPE.  [where, oh where, are you so-called republican Christians to defend your leader???  Oh, wait, it's TRUMP you worship, not Christ] He belittled the poor and uneducated.  He dodged the draft to Vietnam while shaming fellow republican John McCain for being a P.O.W. there.  He's said people who get abortions need to be punished!  He NEVER served in public office in all his 70 years.  He's declared bankruptcy and defaulted on loans more times than anyone could imagine, and as a billionaire did not pay taxes, AND BRAGGED ABOUT IT.  He promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act and deprive millions of health care who've not had it before Obama took office.  He accused Hillary of scheming to repeal the second amendment, which 1) is virtually impossible, and 2) SHE actually sought to protect to keep guns out of the hands of the worst people in society......And he said he'd have Hillary Clinton investigated in efforts to have her put in jail if he were elected.  That's right, he said he'd incarcerate his political opponent.

I was going to get into the whole Bernie Sanders would have won in a landslide if only Debbie Wasserman Shultz hadn't rigged the Democratic primaries tirade, but there's no point anymore in getting into what-if's.  Sanders appealed to a wide swath on the right AND left, and was the perfect matchup for Trump to take him down.  Trump was the alternative republican candidate, Sanders was the Dems' alternative.  Instead they chose institution over a more relateable rebel.  But I digress... The fact is, nearly half of eligible Americans decided not to vote at all.  Half of the rest picked Trump to be their leader, and leader of the free world, over a woman who's served in public office for over 30 years, and whose worst mistake during her campaign was calling Trump supporters "a basket of deplorables".  Well guess what... those "deplorables" proved her right.  Repeatedly.

I realize there are a lot of Americans who are shocked and saddened at the outcome of events on November 8, 2016.  My heart goes out to you.  I know some of them.  Some are angry and afraid of what will come in the days and months ahead.  The republicans don't just have a president.  They now control the senate and the house of representatives, and will surely appoint a seventh tie-breaking conservative judge to the Supreme Court.  Gay rights and women's rights will exit the country like the Obama family from the White House, and most of the progress made with the deficit, health care, human rights, environment and the economy will surely be reversed.  It happens with every turn of republicans leading the country.  And that's not even to mention whatever new wars they will invent to spend taxpayers' money on.

But here's the real butthurt... America, you wanted this, and now you've got it.  You think Trump's going to give you jobs?  Reduce your deficit?  Increase your wages?  I won't even offer a rebuttal for that.  I'll let you experience it yourselves over the next four years.  Oh, and since you've elected a reality show host/non-public service candidate for president, congratulations!!  You've just won the distinct opportunity to have a legitimate contender on the next presidential ballot, Kanye West!  What??  No way??  WAY.  Who did you just elect??  Wait and see.  Kanye 2020.  I bet the signs are being made right now.

And I do not subscribe to the whole "we have to work together" shit people are saying right now.  Please re-read this blog and try to say that with a straight face.  You have a racist, elitist, misogynist, homophobic bigot for president.  Overseas, you cheer when you see countries that have riots in the streets with the people trying to take back their country from people just like Trump.  The people who have voted against Trump are only trying their best to put the fire out before it turns into an inferno.

God bless the U.S.A.  And God bless those trying to protect what its founders sought to always guard against.