Trump - and personal retrospective.

In one of his viewer question videos, youtuber C.P.G Gray recommends taking time "quarterly" to take an introspective of ones own actions and see what was for the best and what was for the worse. While a formal quarterly self-review is probably not likely or practical for most, now isn't a bad time to use your own social media footprint to see how you have changed and what you were doing and saying years/months/days ago and see the value it added to your life. I recommend it. I did this instantly and was pleasantly surprised.

I call this the "Donald Trump" retrospective.

We all have that crazy facebook friend or relative who goes on and on about their love of Donald Trump. Awhile back there was a thread on social media about "how to find your friends who support Donald Trump" (which for me ended up mostly being friends who were following Trump on Facebook purely to troll the Trump supporters). I found something interesting - nearly every Donald Trump supporter I knew posted incessantly about the Ebola virus. It turns out, much like the George W. Bush or Barack Obama's presidencies, Ebola did not destroy the world or the US or spread Islam, or war or socialism. People who always think the past was better and teenagers today are awful (cannot stress enough: Watch the vsauce video on "Juvenoia") 

"Really reactionary folks... not too bright," I thought. 

But what good does judging others do? You certainly aren't going to "wise someone up" (educate yourself sheeple!) How about improving yourself? 

  • I'm much less angry toward people I disagree with.
  • My views on gun control have gotten more moderate (still no fan of guns, referring to the laws).
  • I tend to feel like I have more understanding and forgiveness or empathy toward people who have totally different views on life... "in their shoes".
  • I've cut ties with people who are homophobic, anti-certain religions (you can see who you've removed from your newsfeed on facebook for this sort of thing).
  • I like people who are weird, different.
  • I'm a less active facebook user than I used to be. I rarely post anything political. It's mostly pictures of the kids and traveling.
  • I'm definitely a "logic person", not a fear-driven person. I do have trouble dealing with people who go "with the gut" rather than the "head".
  • Satire is my favorite form of discourse.
  • I value people who are important to me. 
Social media is a big thing for me. I've worked from home the past six years. Some family has moved away, started their own families and the same is true of close friends I rarely see anymore. I've connected more with people I've talked with more on social media than I did first in person, high school friends, co-workers, etc. This is a great foot print for me to go back and not only appreciate the fun things I've done as a parent and working in the entertainment industry the past dozen years, but also to see how I've changed - and where I need to keep making myself better. I'll keep that list to myself however.

So you see the Trump supporters on social media... rather than responding back with vitriol, it's more worth your time to "close that window" or "hide that story" and look at your own self. What did you do that you "cringe" about five years later? What changes have you made? Where can you keep improving?


The second half....

Coming up on a big birthday "milestone". Following the example of previous men in my family, heading toward the halfway mark on my journey through life. I've done a ton and have so many reasons to be grateful... looking at pictures... so many great memories. I'd say unlike most people, my childhood was not the time I look back on the most fondly; it was more my 20s and 30s that brought me joy. But the fact that I had those two productive, great decades doesn't make me nostalgic for the past.

But what now? Life is busy, challenging but also comfortable. It's been 6 years since I worked a job in an office. My kitchen, dining room and basement desks have been my "office" since 2009. I've come to enjoy the quiet, listening to the sounds the outdoors make or the sounds my house makes. It's never fully silent.

There's so much more I want to do. I think of my grandfather building a house... what it would be like to drive by a house you built. I think of the places I've not been yet. I've been nearly everywhere in the USA at this point other than the Pacific Northwest and New Orleans - those are the last two. Maybe write another book? It's less likely at this point. I've accomplished much in writing, more than I ever expected in music. I've become a father - an unending challenge but one I'm comfortable with. I've even started to paint (not good at this yet.. but I have time).

I might want to build something that's going to outlive me.

These upcoming years are mostly ones (until the end) where I will control the outcome. But also I will experience limitations I've never felt before, be it need for sleep, lack of physical strength or mental strain. Anger.. the great motivator for me for so long... it can't be that way. I remember everything but it's a curse when I remember the mistreatment by others.

God give me the strength to enjoy life, be proud of myself. Have pride in who I am.


One Party Country

Amid the fun everyone had with Donald Trump "losing" (aka getting one less delegate than Ted Cruz) last night, a sharp reminder was issued. With the democrats failing to embrace Hillary Clinton and the Republicans choosing Ted Cruz, we are just this much closer to having one party control our entire government.

The irony of this shouldn't be lost on the fact that the far-right tea party movement of the republican party is running on an "anti-government sentiment" despite controlling the house, senate, supreme court and majority of governorships (I refuse to refer to the tea party as a separate entity than republicans because they only support republican candidates).The consequences would be dire; decades of "progress" lost. Obamacare. The very mild tax reform done by Obama. Gone. Those "loop holes in tax laws" (which, by the way are things like day care and mortgage exemptions). Gone. Environmental laws (Cruz has attacked already). Gone. The deal with Iran. Gone. Roe v. Wade? Equal rights' for gays. Anti-Muslim laws. Help for refugees... the list goes on and on.

If you think I'm trying to scare you - I am. We are this close to this happening. Republicans will never lose the house (check out the way the house districts are drawn in red states with blue areas). Senate will be tough to lose as well because there are a lot of small states population-wise that are republican states. This is a long-term (more than 10 years) thing.

Republicans are voting on fear and "gut". Us non-republicans can continue to point out that our most recent example of a Republican president was George W. Bush (an utter failure), and we are right; but they will only link it to "Obama blaming things on..." arguments. Republicans aren't voting as libertarians (check out Rand Paul's numbers) or as moderates (sorry John Kasich). The voting is emotion. I heard one interview with a democrat caucus attendee who was torn voting for Hillary Clinton and said "his heart said Bernie and his head said Hillary and he went with his head." These republicans who all vote, trust me, ALL VOTE, will all be out there voting against moderates and liberals, they vote with the gut, the fear and the heart. They vote for a Christian ideal (not the type of Christianity shown by Pope Benedict, the kind driven by love, but the kind of Christianity of Phil Robertson).

A lot of Republicans are older. They are not in the primes of their life anymore. They can't physically or mentally do what they used to do. The brain naturally blames someone else (muslims, atheists, liberals... whatever.. it's always someone else's fault). The ideal 1960s America never existed no matter how many times you vote for candidates that are going to cut your pensions, raise your relative tax rates vs. the rich and start numerous military conflicts rather than try to negotiate a peace. Sorry.

And you non-republicans... that's what you are up against. Obama isn't the anti-Christ, he's sort of a mediocre-to-decent president... no single payer, Git-Mo is still open and the government is no more transparent than it was under Bush. But for most people the economy is better, there are jobs (albeit not high paying ones - but I'm sure a corporatist republican government would just kill the middle class more than Obama anyway). No party, democrat or republican is going to produce a better president than Obama is now, especially not in the first two years of the presidency when Obama was not a strong leader. This is the time to start looking very hard at Sanders and Clinton - who can win the general election. Clinton did not cut Obama badly in the primary. She's been soft on Sanders thus far, even softer than she was on Obama. Hillary isn't my ideal president because she is a corporatist (just as much as Obama is). Sure, we'd love Sanders but is that just unrealistic at this point?

I'll paint the bleak picture of a full-republican government control in 3 years from now. No Obamacare... health care companies have no competition so premiums are higher than ever. The rich are richer than they were under Obama. The poor are poorer (but they'll have no trouble getting guns). We are likely at war and still running up a debt. Gas prices are higher because of the war. We are one nation on the evangelicals image of God.

We are screwed.

We are that close to being completely screwed.