I looked in the mirror and came away…disapointed

This just in:  Some things really get to me and others just roll off my shoulders, unnoticed.

I woke up this morning and checked my news feed and felt like our country is crumbling before my eyes as I stand by and do nothing – other than pound my chest via this blog.

There are three things that really bothered me in the news today, but first…I want to start with a quote:

“Every country has the government it deserves.” – Joseph de Maistre

In short, what I am about to complain about is my fault.  Rather, its our fault.  It’s our fault because we allow it.   It’s our fault because we feel helpless.  It’s our fault because we do nothing. It’s our fault because we ignore it.  It’s our fault because we think it’s not.

Item #1:  Guns

I’m not going to make an argument about gun control.  I won’t because it won’t change a single mind.  But, I need to be clear…Without guns, the United States wouldn’t have 36,000 gun deaths a year.  I’m tired of hearing things like “We, in congress, will do whatever it takes to make this stop…even if it means sending twice as many thoughts and prayers as normal.”

We have gun deaths because we allow it.  We don’t need to pull triggers to be culpable in every preventable gun death.

Item #2: Religion

I don’t care if you are Christian, Muslim or belong to the Order of the Jedi.  The only thing I truly believe is that if there is a supreme being, it would either be (1) indifferent about us or (2) a total asshole or (3) deeply disappointed in the fact that we use religion like we do.

I think the Pope is a great guy.  I also think he has as much of a direct line to God as my Labrador.  None of us knows the will of God.  Those that tell you they do are just making a power grab.

The biggest problem with religion in the United States is that the same people that don’t think gun deaths are related to guns, also fear that Christianity is going to become a minority “belief system” in the United States.  They think that guy over there will convince someone to believe that he knows the will of God instead of the charlatan that is currently telling you that very same thing.  The biggest problem is that these people vote…in droves.

Item #3: Racism

In the last week, a lawyer went off script in New York because people around him were speaking Spanish.  Two dark skinned guys were detained by an ICE officer because they were speaking Spanish in public (both were U.S. citizens).  A black man was pulled over for not using his turn signal.  They noticed leaves on his windshield and said, “That looks like vegetation” and used that as an excuse to search his car.  Black people are being shot and threatened daily.

Historically, in our country, steps forward in Civil Liberties have always come by way of legislation.  Left to our own devices, we would still have laws that say, “You can’t eat here because the color of your skin if offensive to me.”

Living in a system where Civil Liberties are Legislated, allows me to pretend that we are not racist.  The racism is hidden because that type of behavior is illegal.

Now that we have a racist president, it has become okay to be racist again.  You can call the cops because there is a black man walking down “your” street.  You can call the FBI because a Muslim is talking into a cell phone in “your” mall.

So there you have it…my morning rant.

We don’t have to be country that puts up with any of this.  In fact, we were born into  the world were these behaviors would have been unthinkable.  I can’t see our Forefathers writing a Constitution that says: (1) Unlimited and unregulated guns will make us great or (2) To be a citizen you must first pledge allegiance to a Christian sect of your choice or (3) Only white people will have rights.

I you disagree with me, I’d love to hear about it.  If you agree, then I suggest you start doing something about it….Something like voting in November.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

It all makes sense now…

This just in:  I read an article a couple of days ago (N.Y. Times or Wapo) that said we shouldn’t keep trying to understand Trump voters.  Then it went on to explain why.

First, let me start with a short story.  I grew up in Wasco, Ca, population 7,000 in the 1960’s.  We had about 40% hispanics and maybe 10% blacks.  The rest were white.  I have fond memories of growing up in this small nest in the middle of nowhere.  Life was good.

Last year, Wasco made the list of the top 10 places in California that you don’t want to live in.  Crime was so high you had a 1 in 12 chance in being involved in a crime in a single year.  Years ago they had built a prison nearby.  The population surged  to about 25,000.  The demographics changed strongly in the direction of hispanics.  The last time I drove through, all of the stores had Mexican names.  It felt like I was in a different country.

I longed for my hometown to return to its Mayberry roots.  No crime.  Small.  Simple.

There you have it.  My little story.  I’m not blaming the prison or the Latinos or any other specific influencer for the change.  I’m just saying that it changed.

So, what about the story I read in the paper.

It basically said, “Trump supporters have noticed that the United States, is no longer a predominant White, Christian nation…and they resent this.”  It went on to say they support Trump because they think he will stop this.

When I thought about this…everything became clear.

People are not conservatives because they want to return to the past.  They are conservatives because they are uncomfortable with the future.

Trump comes along and promised to basically erase anything and everything that is not White and Christian.  He has lots of other loopy ideas as well but for those that fear change…he had them at “White and Christian.”

It turns out that race is a very divisive issue.  More than half of the Russian Troll Machine posts had to do with race.

So, to fear that we are becoming a non-white country seems to be a powerful thing for some people.

This is a fundamental part of their psyche.  You can’t argue them out of this rut because to give it up would be to give up what makes them who they are.

It’s not wrong to long for the past.  It is wrong to think you can turn back the clock.

You can’t because time only moves forward.

Long for the past but continue to look forward.

Why?

Because that is where the future is.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

And the Answer is…

This just in:  The United States has a very large population of uneducated racists that will believe anything they are told.

That is the problem.

Trump releases a memo that basically says, “Carter Page has been under FBI investigation for about a year because of suspected ties to Russia.”

Trump then holds this up and says, “See!  The FBI is biased against me!”

To me, this makes about as much sense as stubbing your toe and then screaming, “Carrots cause rabies!”

But people in rural America will only hear Trump and nod in agreement.

This morning, Trump tweeted about thousands of British that were in the streets protesting against their universal healthcare plan.  In truth, people were protesting that the government needed to spend even more to make the healthcare even better.

In short, Trump tweeted the exact opposite of what was going on because he wants to turn us against universal healthcare.  His supporters….they will nod in agreement that healthcare is bad…M’kay.

Trump is actively deporting people willing to take the most menial jobs; ignoring that we need those people to help our economy grow.

Trump only wants to bring in people that can take high paying job positions; ignoring the fact that they will be taking those from current citizens.

In short, he is kicking out low wage earners to bring in high wage earners and claims that this will create high paying jobs.  Jobs we don’t need as unemployment approaches record lows.

And yet…Trump supporters nod at his wise counsel.

This is a problem.

In a democracy, the people govern themselves.

In our democracy, the people are not qualified to govern themselves.  Unless, we consider counter-science to be something we want to strive towards,

Trump is not the problem.  Get rid of him and we still have 60 million people that think what he is doing to our country is a good thing.

This is sort of a bummer to me as I have no clear path forward from here.  Cut off the head and we still have a body rife with cancer.

Maybe the answer is not “get money out of politics” or “stop electing racists”.

Maybe the answer is as simple as “Improve education.”

The sciences matter.  History matters.  Economics matters.

Racism comes from entrenched beliefs in ideals that are demonstrably false.

Fix education and you may find that an educated population is, in fact, capable of governing themselves.

Up, up and away…

Jim

Resist

This just in:  I don’t care about anyone’s opinion about things like abortion or gun control or food stamps.

I don’t care because I welcome the diversity of views.  Tell me about what you believe and I’ll respond and we can discuss the issues and hopefully come to learn more about each other’s position.  In the end, we may still disagree and I can accept that; thus, the harsh “I don’t care.”  In other words, when we are done, let’s both move on.

Trump is a different beast.

I don’t care about a lot of stuff he does.  I don’t care about the Porn Star thing.  In fact, I expect that.  I don’t care that he plays golf.  I don’t care that he watches a lot of television and is obese.

However, there are things he does that fundamentally threaten the world and my place in it.

I grew up singing “American the Beautiful.”  We were always on the right side of things.  We took care of the poor.  We stood against oppression.  We formed alliances that were mutually beneficial.  We created a huge military based on the idea that if we were too big to fight, there would be no fight.

We stood for human rights.  We led the way in pursuit of science and innovation.  Our economy was the biggest and getting bigger.

Our Constitution reigned supreme.  First Amendment rights were our crown jewel.

We took care of each other and saw ourselves as the Good Shepherd guiding the world with a soft hand.

Now that is no longer the case.

We have passed into the dark side of the moon.  A place where we shun logic.  Human rights outside of our borders are unimportant.  We won’t play with others, expecting them to bend to our will and then watch as they simply turn to others for leadership.

Internally, money is king.  Money runs the government, making the idea of “American Democracy” a global joke.

We break up families for no real reason other than it appears to give the president a boner.

We are alienated from nearly every ally that we’ve had for the last 100 years.  Even the UK hates us.

We justify things like lying, money laundering, fear mongering.  Even worse, we embrace hate, racism and religious targeting.

Our Constitution is worthless in the face of a president that ignores it and a Congress that supports him.

Now you have my attention.

Now I care.

What Trump and the Republican Party are doing is affecting my view of myself.

I can do nothing short of resisting.

Thus…I blog…while wishing I had a bigger soapbox.

Still, I feel better having resisted.

Up, up and away…

Jim