Friday, April 21, 2017

Happy Existential Crisis Day

Birthdays are an interesting time for me. Some people hate the fact that they are getting older and thus they hate their birthdays. I wonder if that's a shallow understanding of what is truly happening, however.

I don't really mind getting older. In fact, I tend to enjoy my age. I like the idea of having been around, learning, and maturing, yet I still tend to hate my birthday. It's not that I'm a year older, it's that it provides a mini existential crisis. It's the day to celebrate me and the majority of the planet couldn't care less. And why should they? Who am I to the cosmos?

If there's one thing people like, it's having purpose and meaning in their life. Of course, this only comes from within themselves, but they often seek it without. A birthday is a great day to realize how meaningless you are if everyone around you isn't clamoring to shower you with praise and gifts.

My own birthday is filled with maybe 20 Facebook posts and 3 text messages. The culmination of my existence, the total mass of my worth condensed to a single day weighs less than a feather. The celebration of me is naught. I am nothing. And this is why I do not like birthdays. I do not like realizing that I have very little worth in the eyes of others.

Of course, this is a rather foolish way to measure one's worth. It's not particularly wise to measure worth based upon Facebook and text messages. I could have great value to people who would never even meet me, and I may mean a great deal to many people, but that does not mean anyone is going to do anything special on this one particular day. Still, there is always some strange expectation that maybe they should. For those who have such friends and family as would shower a person in celebration, I presume birthdays are less dreadful, but for those who don't, it really should not be seen as a decree of worthlessness. Like most things, that is far easier said than done. I may very well never enjoy birthdays even despite recognizing my value outside of them.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Labels Cause Division - Enough is Enough

I used to speak very openly against harsh racist/sexist rhetoric. It seemed that anyone and everything was called racist or sexist even in many cases that hadn't a shred of evidence. Mentioning so only ever proved my "white privilege" in the eyes of those spewing such rhetoric. I would then be called racist and sexist myself trying to disguise myself as an advocate of equality. I tried to fight on the side of reason and understanding and it yielded only false accusations and hate in my direction. I remember it being quite frustrating and even to the point of anger. I wrote out a detailed record of my upbringing showing just how much integration and non-racism I grew up with here in hopes to prove my lack of racism and worthiness to have an opinion:

At some point, however, I gave in. I decided that even though I cannot see the racism around me due to my "privilege" (despite hating the use of that word in such a way), it must indeed still be a problem elsewhere. Riots and shootings and what-have-you showed the racial tensions and proved that it was a problem. I decided that indeed we need to do more and just maybe I was wrong about it not being a huge deal. I drank the same Kool-Aid as all the other progressives and noted every external racial injustice as proof of the tensions that I could not personally see. Part of this switch had a lot to do with the fact that I clearly identify Republicans as wrong about so many other things--so why not assume they're likely wrong about this issue too? Further, I saw Trump's victory as solidifying it. Clearly he was a racist, sexist, xenophobic bigot and therefore so much of the country must be fine with this and we obviously have a problem.

But what is the truth? The truth can be extremely difficult to determine. There clearly is some kind of tension and problem, but where does it truly stem from? I found myself labeling Trump supporters as racist, sexist, xenophobes for even contemplating Trump for president. I became one of the very people that I tried discrediting for so long. But why? Because of the media I consumed. I saw so much rhetoric about Trump's racism and sexism that I could not see it any other way. It became so obvious to me that I could not fathom anyone being so awful of a person as to vote for him. The media convinced me so thoroughly of Trump's incompetence that it polarized my view against him and his supporters. I became quite angry to the point of wishing I had someone or something to lash out against. In short, the media took away my reason and turned me into one of the illogical zombies I used to try to reason with.

Which got me thinking... How much of the tension we see today is actually due to the media trying to prove a problem exists? If they make enough people convinced and angry, it will create a bigger problem itself. It made me angry, hateful, and spiteful when before I was being very careful, collected, and thoughtful while seeing both sides of issues. Minority groups are absolutely terrified now due to Trump's win and whose fault is that? The media made him out to be such a racist that we expect him to deport and destroy all minorities and let the KKK rise up and rule our country. Their fear and our compassion for them now leads us to hate and violently protect or protest. It makes us want to make our own voice louder and more clear and fight the "haters." I imagine that many of the anonymous acts of hate and vandalism in the name of Trump might very well be leftists trying to make him look worse and "prove" just how bad Trump and his followers are. There's really no way of knowing, but that doesn't stop us from point the finger with accusatory labels.

So what is the truth? I can't really say. I only know my own little bubble and the rhetoric I hear from the media. The media might be creating its own problems, so it's hard to truly trust what I see. Clearly there is some kind of problem, but the root cause is far too intricate and complicated for me or anyone to comprehend from their home. In such a regard, perhaps it is best that I simply mind my own business. The racism going on in Ferguson, for example, has nothing to do with me. The racism in my own home town (which seems non-existent where I live) is my own business which apparently needs little to no change. If I worry about my own and everyone else worries about their own, then perhaps we can better get down to truth. Those in Ferguson know exactly what's going on in Ferguson and only they can make it better. But even for them, I wonder how much they're feeding on the media to make them disproportionately angry or even making the police disproportionately fearful. We're not seeing things through our own lenses but through the lenses of a hyped and hysterical fear-mongering media.

The concept of keeping to self actually scares me, however, since I don't want to ignore the plight of others. But without full knowledge, I could just as easily make matters worse rather than improving them. If I want to help Ferguson, I should probably move to Ferguson. As it is, I do not live there and I should probably focus on my own affairs. This is probably best seen as a general concept, however, rather than a hard-fast rule. Things like Global Warming affect everyone everywhere and I certainly cannot see it here in my little corner. This, however, has some clear data. Temperature averages are entirely objective. Amount of racism is entirely subjective. So if I see something racist or sexist, it becomes my responsibility to stop that crap in its tracks, but if I don't see it, I can't hardly think any longer that I need to personally do something.

The fact is, the world is filled with people and unfortunately, lots of people suffer. I cannot solve every problem and likely I cannot personally solve any problem. I have the greatest chance only at home. On top of this, there are those who clearly use our compassion for their own gains who create companies and organizations to fuel our flames and take our money when we try to help. By getting so inflamed and trying so hard to advocate for these "poor souls" that we know nothing about, we very well might be creating more problems than we resolve. If we want to support such causes because it seems better than doing nothing, then fine, but we should probably leave the anger, hate, and rhetoric out of it. I think we're being played, and the rich are benefiting from our fighting against one another. If we're truly concerned about people, then we should first concern ourselves with our tongues and how we treat those around us. We know very little of what we think we know, and others think they know things quite differently than what we think we know. It is nearly impossible to judge. So we should focus on kindness all around and fix what is in our immediate field of view. In such a way, we are far less likely to be controlled by media and become a pawn of hate and division.

All that said, I'm really still wondering about Trump. There were so many things that pointed to him as a terrible person and the only thing I even know about Hillary were her emails to which she had been thoroughly examined and found entirely innocent. But again, that's just the media I watch. I know for a fact that there were far worse things mentioned when Bernie was running against her. My memory is simply too short to remember what those were. She is just as much "the man" as any politician before her and Trump is anything but. He may be a terrible person in many ways, but he's not "the man" as far as we know. In such a way, I'm rather interested in what will truly happen. Will he fill the role that everyone is crying about? Or will he actually do something to break our corrupt system? Who knows. And with the media I see, it's awfully hard to tell. As it is now, they're continue their rhetoric that he's assigning white nationalists and whatever else into power and we should all fear for our lives and the lives of minorities. But again, the left is quite prone to false labels and over exaggeration. So I don't know what to believe anymore. They cried wolf too many times and my ears are beginning to ignore such cries.

At any rate, no matter how terrible Trump is or might be, I take comfort in remembering that the vast majority of people who voted for him did so for legitimate reasons and concerns beyond hate. And if the other half of the country can't see that, then I'm going to have to say that they, themselves, are the problem. But if they can see it, then we have a platform for common ground. We need to stop fighting each other and instead start agreeing everywhere we see the chance to agree. If we do that, then Trump doesn't matter at all. The people will rule and Trump will follow. We have a lot of people who care, but they need to learn proper manners and to stop vilifying the rest of the world. Otherwise, we will simply become all the more polarized for practically no reason and things will devolve even further into hate when we could instead make some significant progress.

In short, enough with the labels already. The labels only make things worse. When someone is labeled, their ears close off and conversation is impossible. If we truly want to do some good, then we absolutely must stop labeling. The reason we got the polls so wrong, I imagine, is because all the labels were shutting people up so that they did not feel free to speak except in the closed, private, voting box. Labels have got to go.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Lessons From Trump

I have been wrestling with my thoughts since the election like so many others. A lot of Trump supporters are now getting a lot of flack which they likely had not been getting in such heavy doses before. Because, quite frankly, we all saw him as a giant joke with no chance in hell of winning. But he did, and now we are pissed and scared shitless. We were proven oh so wrong and we are absolutely stunned by this outcome.

I am now finding a lot of Trump supporters taken aback as if they voted for their favorite candy and now they are being yelled at for it. They do not understand why they are so suddenly being maligned and hated--why everyone thinks they're racist, sexist, xenophobic, bigoted haters. They are confused much like we are. Most of them think we are overreacting. And yes, some of us certainly are. But it is extraordinarily hard not to be in these circumstances. Trump supporters just don't see what they've just unleashed.

Before listing out the detriment for Trump supporters to understand, I'd like to start with why people voted for Trump to begin with. It is not because they are racist or sexist even though Trump brings such people out of the weeds. This is an entirely ignored side effect from Trump supporters which shows only their priorities, not their racism or sexism.

Here is why people voted for Trump:

Because he is Republican.
This is more complicated than the surface looks. Republicans now own the House, Senate, and President. They didn't vote for "Trump" with their vote, they voted for Republican domination. For republicans, this is a good thing. For the rest of us, God have mercy!

Because of Abortion
We need to stop the rhetoric that they are anti-women for being anti-abortion. They are not convinced by our false labels and it makes us look stupid. They are anti-abortion because they truly are convicted that it is murder. By labeling them with such colorful language, they got pissed for being so demeaned and rose against us. They do not see it from the perspective that women should get to "choose" to kill babies and they are continually told lies within their bubbles that babies are aborted on the day of delivery. Thus, to them, this is hugely important.

Because He's a Businessman
In their logic, our country needs a businessman to get us out of debt. Trump is a businessman. Therefore, he'll get us out of debt. Obviously this ignores a lot of problems: he's not by any means a good businessman, he's got a conflict of interest as a businessman, and he plans to give cuts to the wealthiest in the nation thus making our economy worse. But hey, a bad logic is better than "I want the racist!"

Because of Obamacare
For some people, the cost of healthcare has become insane. They cannot afford their premiums and their out of pockets. They did not trust that Hillary would fix this and in fact would "expand" up on it. Hillary offered no details on how she would make it better. She simply said she'd keep what worked and fix what didn't and Trump at least offered to abolish it which is a guaranteed fix for them. It adversely hurts many other people, of course, but people will look after their own first. Hard to care about the poor when you yourself are not making it in the middle class.

Because He's Not Establishment
He's not "bought out" by giant corporations. Yes, this ignores that he is in and of himself a giant corporation. They didn't get that far in the math, I guess. They, like us, are sick of big money in the white house and they thought he would stop it. The Democratic party screwed us over by screwing over Bernie who would have been the non-establishment choice and perhaps would have gotten some Trump votes for himself. They messed with the program and they burned us. We should be more pissed at them than anyone else at this point.

Because of Immigration
People see our country failing and they incorrectly attribute the waste to the poor who get things for free without working--especially those who are not citizens. This is not true, of course, but it's what they think and it makes sense as a baseline assumption of one-depth logic. Because of it, they think that deportation will fix it. Of course, this ignores that illegal immigrants are actually paying more taxes than people like Donald Trump, but it's not because they're xenophobic that they want them deported.

Because they Are Racist, Sexist, Xenophobic, Bigots
Some people truly did vote for this reason, I am sure, but so many Trump voters likely fell into one or more of the above without considering the effect he might have in this manner. These haters are now acting out because they think it is okay given that half the country voted for their racist man. They are mistaken, of course, that they were at all trying to uplift this kind of behavior. The fact is, they did not see this as big of a deal as it really is. And how could they? They're not living it and when they talk about it, they are immediately labeled with false colorful language that pisses them off and encourages them to fight back. And fight back they did.

Why We Are Devastated

Global Warming
Whether or not you believe this to be occurring, we of the left certainly do believe it. It is not a matter of opinion to us. All the facts point this way. The only hoax comes from fossil fuel companies who benefit from not switching to renewable energy. There is a catastrophic risk in not dealing with this. So much damage is already done and more will be done if we do not move quickly. We don't have 4 years to wait for Trump to screw with it. This is (or should be) #1 priority and we cannot afford a denying president. This is not paranoia, it is 100% real. Please oh please do some research on it.

Our economy is not sustainable as it is. I know this is why people voted for Trump, but the fact is that he will make it worse. He has proven time and again that he is the most important thing on his mind. From not paying his contractors, using donations to buy paintings of himself, from sexually assaulting others, and being openly racist in his rental dealings. He is not in favor of the rest of us and he is himself a giant corporation. We have zero faith that he will make things better and has an unfortunate ability to bring us into a great depression. We only barely escaped it in 2009 but we only bought ourselves time. The problem was not resolved. Trump could very well collapse it single-handedly.

We've been at war for some time, yes, but Trump is a very trigger-happy man with a set of nuclear codes at his disposal. While many glibly say, "Ah, hell, just nuke 'em!" Trump might very well do just that. He is very unstable, selfish, and foolish. And even if he doesn't make the call, it is clear that Russia's Putin is very excited for Trump as president. Either he and Trump are friends, or Putin plans on using the advantage of a foolish president to pull some crazy shit. We want to prevent crazy people from having automatic rifles, but we just gave nukes to a hateful, ill-tempered man. This is a very dangerous situation.

Whether or not one believes it is a sin for a boy to like boys or a girl to like girls, there is a huge problem in how America treats such people. The LGBTQ community and other minorities are mistreated in so many ways that they often live in fear. Electing Trump, whether or not you are a hater yourself, has already unleashed a flurry of attacks. With such a leader as Trump, they feel free to express their hatred far more openly than ever before. This has created a hole of intolerance and made the lives of so many people far more dangerous than before.

We've been trying so hard to make sure that everyone has an equal chance at success. Not everyone does. This is disproportionately affecting minorities and women. Whatever you think the reasons are, it is a mere fact that the discrepancy exists. I think we've done a terrible job by labeling people and throwing the word racism around like candy at a parade, but it is in fact a reality. And this reality is becoming all the more apparent specifically due to racism and sexism that is now seen as appropriate because a racist and sexist was voted into the white house. Our efforts at equality will now be stunted, but hopefully we can overcome anyway.

What I've Learned

I Was Right - We Are Jerks
I was correct in thinking that the language used by the left was detrimental. We unleashed this upon ourselves with accusatory word-choice. And we keep right on doing it even now. We cannot throw around accusations of racism, sexism, and so on without the opponent getting sick and tired of it. I know just how easily those words are thrown around because I am an advocate who has been so accused many times myself. We need to calm the f&#* down and get our act together peaceably.

Education is oh So Important
The common denominator in all our problems is lack of concise argumentation and ability to use logic. People think with so many things other than their brains. Some think with their reproductive organs, some with their sphincters, and others with their eyes. We need to think logically and critically before we kill each other in a rage. The problem, however, is that so many of us are incapable of logical thought. We do not teach logic in school and we do not teach the psychology of our brains that leads to poor conclusions. This needs to change.

We Really Need Voting Reform
We are fed up with voting for two parties. Our current system requires that we do by nature of requiring a majority and allowing only one vote. It is an ancient and easily corruptable system. It must go. We need this:

I Don't Know What to Do
This is the biggest pill to swallow. I know what's wrong, I know what things outside my power would fix it, but I lack the skills necessary to make a change at my level. I've been saying these things for so long. I've been kind, patient, and understanding in my explanations and dealings with people hoping to spread it around but people don't get it. Maybe it's still making its rounds, but it did not save us from this mess. Like this post, I am sure only a few will read it and certainly no one will share it if it follows all my other endeavors. I am at my wits end trying to figure out how to impact a culture. I'm a nobody. It does not seem like it's up to me. I am not the motivational speaker you're looking for. So what do I do? Give up? Keep trying? I don't know. I don't know what is my role in all of this. I just know the problem and the big-picture solutions with nothing to do with any of it but cry. Hopefully someone else with more clout and money can do the right thing and get the rest of the masses mobilized for good.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Would Jesus Be a Republican or a Democrat?

Ignoring the obvious silliness of such a question, I think it is high time to look at the values in each party and align them with the words of Jesus. I say this because I find it quite strange that Christians so often align with Republicans rather than with Democrats. When I think of the Republican agenda, I immediately think of the following. Granted, this is not conclusive and is just my opinion, but these are the hot ticket items I always see being fought for via memes and outcries.

1. They want to keep their guns
2. They want to end abortion
3. They want marriage to be only between a man and a woman
4. They want to stop the poor from abusing government provisions
5. They want to keep our borders tight.
6. They want to extradite illegal aliens.

When I think of Democrats, these are the issues that come to mind:

1. They want to help and support the poor and struggling
2. They want to preserve our planet and prevent our destroying it
3. They want women to be able to choose whether or not to remain pregnant
4. They want to provide support for those coming to our borders
5. They want to provide amnesty to illegal immigrants.
6. They want fair treatment of all races, genders, and lifestyles

Of these issues, there is a fairly stark contrast. The Republicans are 2/3 about "me" and 1/3 what they don't want others doing. Only one of those can even pretend to care about others and that is in ending abortion where they pretend to care about the baby. I say pretend, because they care nothing for the baby once it is born. They do not want their tax dollars supporting those who cannot afford to care for their children. But they want their guns for their own hunting and protection, they want others to have sex the way they permit, they want to stop wasting money on the lazy poor folks, and they want to keep themselves safe from a presumed threat of immigrants.

The Democrats, on the other hand, are 6/6 on issues of caring for others. Granted, the abortions is the only one that can appear not to care about babies, but I assure you it is 100% in the interest of the mother and of society at large. They care about the poor whether some abuse the system or not. They care about whether or not our planet will be usable for our children and their children. They care about helping refugees at our borders and providing a sustainable life to aliens who sought what we all get for free in America: freedom and a pursuit of happiness. They want no one to be hated and mistreated.

Now really, which one truly sounds like Jesus? Did Jesus care about weapons? They obviously did not have guns at the time, but he specifically told Peter that those who live by the sword shall die by the sword and made him stop attacking against a government official who was obviously out of line by arresting a peaceable man. If you're foolish enough to bring up the verse where Jesus told Peter to sell his cloak to get a sword, then you are clearly not paying attention. Jesus did not condone violence even at the hands of an oppressive government, so clearly he was not truly referring to getting swords or fighting with them. He had another meaning behind it. Jesus offered that one would win via love rather than violence. He did not promote fear of others, he promoted love at the expense to self.

Further, Jesus seemed quite bent on helping the poor. He did not worry about the poor being abusers of handouts--he worried about the rich being selfish and evil. He fought back against the rich by getting his own followers to live for the very purpose of helping the poor. If you look throughout the Bible, a focus on the poor was extremely important (see below). Sodom and Gomorrah, most known for being destroyed for sexual acts, was explicitly stated in Ezekiel 16:49-50 as being destroyed for their lack of concern for the poor and NOT for sexual acts. Things like homosexuality hardly even finds its way into the Bible. Even then, Paul made clear that Christians ought not worry about the acts of those who are not Christians. Rather, they should be more concerned with the behavior of those withing their own fold so that they do not make fools of themselves. So if homosexuals are not harming anyone, then let it be. Shoot, Paul said not to even consider marriage. So if homosexuals get married, who freaking cares?

The entire Republican agenda is bent on fear of gays, transgenders, pedophiles, aliens, government, etc, etc. The only thing they ought to be fearing is the direction they are heading and just how much they are not following their own religious leader.

Let's face the facts here. Christianity is not what it used to be. It has fled the teachings of Jesus and revolted against him. While I do not intend to endorse Hillary specifically, Jesus would most certainly be ashamed of his followers voting for Trump and aligning with a Republican agenda. Our government is flawed in many ways even within the Democratic party, but one ought to at the very least uphold the principles of the Democratic party even if we can't trust the party itself to pull them off. Jesus would have us find our own way to uplifting his cause of love and peace and foregoing the entire Republican agenda all together.

To understand just how far Christianity has turned from Jesus, check out the book Christians Are Revolting: An Infidel's Progress.

The Bible regarding the Poor:
Proverbs 14:31
He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.

Proverbs 17:5
He who mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker; whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished.

Proverbs 19:17
He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done.

Proverbs 21:13
If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.

Proverbs 22:9
A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.

Proverbs 22:16
He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives gifts to the rich—both come to poverty.

Proverbs 28:27
He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.

Proverbs 29:7
The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.

Proverbs 31:20
She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.

Ezekiel 16:49
" 'Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.

Matthew 5:3
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 19:21
Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

Matthew 26:9
"This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor."

Luke 12:33
Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.

Luke 14:13
But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,

Luke 19:8
But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount."

Acts 9:36
In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas ), who was always doing good and helping the poor.

Acts 10:5
The angel answered, "Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter.

Acts 10:31
and said, 'Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor.

Acts 24:17
"After an absence of several years, I came to Jerusalem to bring my people gifts for the poor and to present offerings.

Romans 15:26
For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem.

Galatians 2:10
All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Third Party Cannot Win - And Here Is Why

Not at all to say our 2-party system is a good one, and in fact quite the contrary, but it is unfortunately the only method of our current system to function. Perhaps we can fix that, but first let us understand the problem and why third parties currently stand no chance in hell (or in America) of winning. Parties were invented in 1790 out of necessity--to win an election, one must win over 50% of the electoral votes. So imagine that we had no parties and 10 people ran for president. Further imagine that we gave each of them an equal say in debates. Not only would this be far more catastrophically painful to watch, it would result in a mashup of votes. If we assign some votes to each of these candidates assuming that they each had their own good points that people agreed with, we would see that each one would get around 5% to 15% of the votes. No one gets more than 50%. Because of this, the House of Representatives now picks a president for us. No more popular vote. We all just wasted our time voting for no reason. That's where parties come into play.

Imagine that some of these candidates were very similar to one another. I may have voted for John, but Julie would have been good enough--certainly better than Frank or Sally whom the House just voted in. If we took John's and Julie's votes and combined them, they could have had 30% instead of 15% each. If we find a few more candidates to merge with, we could have all agreed to vote on this one person and received more than 50% of the votes to swoop in for the win. It may not be each of our first pick, but it is certainly better than having no voice at all when the House votes on our behalf! So people of like mind X pooled their resources to vote for a strong X-oriented candidate. These are the issues we collectively care most about and X will help us unite our votes.

Of course, those who care strongly for the opposing viewpoints will then do the same thing lest they become voiceless in the race. So they pool their resources to make candidate Y. If, by chance, there are other viewpoints not well shared with X or Y, they could make Z. But now, the votes are no longer going to be 49% to 51% with a clear winner, we are going to get 25%, 30%, and 45% (for example). No majority winner of 50% or more. So once again, the house gets to pick for us because we as a people could not make up our minds. The House preferred the guy who got 25% and now the least-desired of the 3 gets voted in. Well that's certainly not desired since the Zs would have much preferred X over Y and now 75% of the population is left extremely unsatisfied.

As long as it requires more than 50% of the votes to become president and we can only vote for one person, we will be forced into a 2-party system. Absolutely guaranteed. It is simply the smartest thing that smart people can do: unite their votes. Any division past 2 people will destroy any chance of the people picking their own president. Thus, if you do not like the 2-party system, we must find a new method of voting that does not permit only a single vote or which does not require a >50% majority.

With the technology we have today, it would not be hard to come up with a better system of voting. We could vote for our top five favorite candidates in order of desire and have an algorithm find the winner. I want Frank, but I'd be down with Sue if not enough people agree on Frank. Lo and behold, this form of voting has already been invented. It is called Single Transferable Voting. The basic idea is "if it can't be Frank, then transfer my vote to Sue." Everyone wins, no wasted votes, you vote your true conscious, you get someone who best represents the people. So rather than voting third party, let us combine our votes for now to prevent a catastrophe and then push the agenda for voting reform which is the only way to break the 2-party system.

Monday, October 3, 2016

What's So Wrong With Right?

I cannot stop thinking about the differences between right and left. I used to be extremely right-wing myself. I can understand how I was forced into this way of thinking, but what I cannot understand is why some people never recognize how much pain and suffering is caused by ill-conceived ideas such as assuming the worst of those on welfare. I used welfare to support myself, my wife, and my son while I went to college and it was an absolute life-saver. I am now quite established in the middle class and have likely paid enough taxes to afford all the support I ever received. I further cannot understand how it is Christians, of all people, who praise a God of mercy and love who make up the majority of the right. Well, actually, I wrote an entire book on that subject so I understand it just fine, but I still do not understand how some people refuse to critically look at their own beliefs. Willful blindness is amazing and terrifying.

Jesus taught a message of love toward the poor. The Christian right instead teaches disdain for the poor. They are lazy, as the story goes. The left sees them as just the opposite, of course-- they are filled with misfortune. I wonder how many from the right or left have actually even spent any time with the poor. This is one thing I can actually speak about through experience. I spent time with the poor. I befriended the poor. I did not merely hand out shoes, shirts, or pizza and walk away, I studied, walked with, and talked with the poor. I drove them to visit their friends and family. I loaned them my house. I bought them furniture for their apartments. I know the poor quite well--at least the poor of Kalamazoo, Michigan. I also know that I was the only one doing it. People "served" the poor, sure. They spent an hour serving up soup or hot dogs to any and all who would come, but they did not sit and dine with them as Jesus would have, and so many of these programs were done for the sole purpose of preaching and converting them to their faith rather than simply loving and caring for them.

Most of these poor people were mentally ill; they could not hold a job if they wanted to. They were not lazy, they were incapable. Of all the poor whom I found and spoke with, there were only three that stood out as abusing the system. Two of them were friends and simply found this lifestyle so much easier, though I have a hard time believing it was all that fulfilling. The third was presumably a drug addict, but I never confirmed this beyond the gossip. He seemed capable enough to me, however, so I do not suppose he ought to have been poor. Everyone else seemed to have the mental acuity of middle-schoolers or less. No sane person hanging out with these people would assume they were perfectly capable of getting jobs. The best that could be done for them would be to get them off the streets and provide something to occupy their time while they live out their days.

The right does not see any of this. They are entirely blinded to it somehow. It is the fault of the poor that we are in such a mess of a country. There are indeed those who abuse the system of welfare, sure, but somehow they miss the fact that the rich are abusing it a billion times over while the entirety of the poor comprises an overall small portion of our expenditures. Donald Trump, for example is likely paying zero dollars in taxes. Nothing. If he were paying some 30% in taxes like the rest of us, then our country would be in a much better position than it is now. And it's not just him. All the rich are avoiding taxes via loopholes in the tax code based upon their businesses. Back when our country was thriving the most, the rich had 70% taxes that they were actually paying. But the rich continue to feed the propaganda that if they get tax breaks and make more money, then they could make more jobs. And this leads me to another staggering question. How can the right be so duped by this? I simply do not understand how they can believe this.

How much money does one need to make before they finally start putting more of that into "making jobs?" Is it $10 million a year and every penny extra goes towards making new jobs? Maybe $10 billion? Heck, I would be opening my own shop with $10 million and yet the rich simply sit on it. Give it to me and more jobs will actually be created. It should be quite obvious that putting more money in the pockets of the rich simply puts more money in their pockets. Jobs are the last thing they create and only if absolutely necessary. They are already doing quite well for themselves and have no reason to create new businesses and new jobs unlike someone like me. And when things get tough, they keep their bonuses and high wages while laying off others who then become the poor that the right so despises. The fact that they're rich does not stop job loss. The economy controls jobs, not the rich, and the economy thrives by those who buy things: the middle class. The right should instead be despising the rich. How can they be so wrong about this? How can they possibly believe this tripe? It baffles my mind and I am miserably saddened by it. It hurts them and it hurts others. The country fails and flounders while they hate the poor, love the rich, watch America burn, and chant about how great of a country we are. What in the world is going on? I just don't get it and it grieves my heart.

So many people could be helped if they would simply soften their heart to the plights of others. But they've been so trained, I guess, to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps that they cannot fathom being in someone else's shoes. They cannot see what is going on in another person's life that may prevent them from holding a job or to see what drives a person to drugs or insanity. It is entirely impossible for them to love those less fortunate. Are they all bullies? Does it simply make them feel better about themselves? I just don't get it. The only thing I know is that they, too, have a problem which could use some help. I just wish I knew how to help them. I would love to help them see, but they do not hear facts despite being mostly capable-appearing individuals. They are somehow entrenched in their hate or disdain from the culture in which they grew. How in the world can this culture be changed? What can we do to open their eyes? Argumentation does not work since they are not interested in logic. So what would? What would help them see? Is their state similar to the state of the poor where nothing can truly help except to wait out their time? Is help simply outside the bounds of reality? Are they too far gone? I hate to believe so, but I just don't know.

I weep, knowing the pain and suffering caused by the right and the self-detriment of their condition. I know of no solution and it saddens me all the more. Why must they hate those in the most need? Why must they hold themselves higher than others? I have a stream of questions that may perhaps forever go unanswered. I simply hope that our culture can slowly change the next generation and the next after that while we see the right slowly die off in old stubborn age. But if their children grow within the same culture as the right, then they, too, will become the same. We mustn't allow the right to have an isolated culture apart from views of the left and experiencing the plights of the rest of humanity. Perhaps the best solution is inundating different experiences into our media. The right hates inclusiveness, of course, but perhaps this is why we do continue to progress. Our TV shows and music are perhaps the answer if our creative forces are so willing to make the difference. I have hope that they are and I see it quite often in the shows I watch. For this, I have hope for the future, but I still weep for the present, especially when so many of the left are just as blind as the right, picking their stance and ignoring what makes a person side with the right. No desire for understanding, just hate. I can understand this a little more, I suppose, but it is still ignorant and ill-founded to hate people who need help or to hate those who are beyond help. We are all in this mess together. We are all created by what goes on around us. I am simply glad that we appear to be progressing away from hatred however slowly it may seem.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Bernie Supporters Aren't Supporting Bernie

Image result for Bernie facepalm

As we know, and to the surprise of many, Bernie amassed quite the following during the primaries. He truly put Hillary's nomination at risk and many of Bernie's supporters developed quite the disdain for Hillary in the process. Such discontentedness with the opponent is often a side effect of competing for office, but not generally to this extent. Bernie promised to destroy the current money-driven fabric of our country and restore the delicate balance of the classes while Hillary sounded like she would merely stay the course. He wanted to right what was wrong while she wanted to make things slightly better with no drastic changes. His followers had so much hope in him that many cannot fathom voting for Hillary in his stead. It is perfectly understandable. Now that Bernie is no longer an option for presidency, however, his followers are slapping him in the face while simultaneously praising him. This needs to stop.

If a Bernie-supporter truly believed in Bernie, believed he wanted what was best for the country and its people, and believed that he knew how to bring it about, then why do they no longer trust him when he endorses Hillary? Do they believe he's given up? Is this the Bernie they were supporting from the get-go? A man who gives up? Bernie has been rooting for the people for so many years and all of his followers know this. You think he's suddenly given up all hope and rationality? That his expertise has diminished and his logic reduced to foolishness in his endorsement of Hillary? Can we be any more blind and foolish?

Bernie is wise. He understands the system better than any of us could ever hope to. There is a reason he is endorsing Hillary and it is not because he's given up. He knows exactly what he is doing. If we trusted him to rule our country, then why do we not trust him now? He believes this election to be absolutely crucial for our country's direction and yet we suddenly think he's a ninny? He stood up for civil rights and got himself arrested for it yet we think he has no backbone? He has proven himself time and again. Bernie has a plan. It is not his initial plan, but plans change and evolve when things don't go as hoped. His presidency is no longer an option so he has adopted a new strategy. It is not the preferred one, but it is the best one he can see and he's the one with all the experience, not us. It is not even hard to see why he endorses Hillary, but his "supporters" are too lost in their grief to be consoled or to use any logic.

Bernie endorses Hillary because he understands the power of unity unlike his turncoat followers. The very reason we have primaries is to unite the vote of like-minded people so that we are more likely as a whole to get what we want. Our system of voting, which is abhorrent by all standards and needs to change, does not function without such unity. If there is an idiot tyrant which 40% of the population supports for some reason, and two people who are identical by every standard except one likes video games and one likes books, then 40% will go to the tyrant and only 30% to each of the other two based on who likes books or games more. Presidency requires majority (more than 50%), not simply plurality (less than 50% but more than everyone else), but it does not go back up for revote to the people if no one achieves this. The freaking house of representatives makes the call instead. And guess what? The house likes the Tyrant. So now, despite 60% of people being wise enough to choose someone other than the tyrant, the tyrant wins because they couldn't agree amongst themselves on whom to vote for. Their unity was lost over books and video games rather than on anything important. This is how our system is set up right now whether we like it or not. Destroying this unity is going to change nothing about the current system. If we want change, then we need to be unified more than ever to push for that change.

With Hillary, Bernie knows that we have a much higher chance of changing how we do things. He has an agenda to continue the fight, to rally the people, and to get significant change. He may not be president, but he can do far more good with Hillary in office than with Trump. And if the non-idiot-racist-sexist-fascist-pigs are not united, then the idiot-racist-sexist-fascist-pigs win and we go backward rather than forward. Bernie knows the system better than any of us. If he sees the best hope with Hillary, then by all means we ought to vote for Hillary. It is not the time to blindly pick any other person just to complain like a child. Yes, the system is corrupt and unfair, but again, this will not be changed by voting "your conscious" as many like to call it. Your conscious should be telling you not to split your votes. Your conscious should be telling you to unite the like-minded people who care. That uniting decision has already been made even if many of us do not prefer it. The majority of us, however, apparently do prefer it. It is not voting out of fear, it is voting out of logic and unity for the greatest good of our country.

In the end, if you want a third party to have a chance, it is too late to do so in this election without a sudden and massive grass-roots effort which is unlikely to unfold. The third party would need to hold primaries of their own with a massive outreach campaign for people to participate in order to make a uniting voice exactly like the Republicans and Democrats do. They did not do this and it is unlikely to do so without massive funding which they do not have, so it is too late. The only way to make a third party viable now is to prepare for the next vote in 4 years. Start saving up money and hold a primary in 4 years. The other way to bust up the two party system is to lobby with Hillary in office to change how we do our voting. Votes should not be one all-or-nothing vote. There are many other systems that other successful countries use. We could easily vote for all people whom we would not mind in office with a simple denoting of whom we prefer. This change can only be made by we, the people, banding together in unity and calling for this change prior to the next election. This would make ALL candidates viable and destroy the corrupt system. It would be hard to change given the big money in the system, but it would be even harder with Trump destroying our nation than with Hillary even if she is less capable or worthy than Bernie.

So let's be wise about this. If you want to make a difference, then make the best decisions to do so. The best decision is not in voting third party in this election. That is merely a desperate cry which will not be heard and it is unconscionable. It is not a vote of conscious--it is the complete opposite. A vote of conscious says to unite with others to have the strongest fighting chance. Do not pull away now and make things worse. It is not the lesser evil to vote for Hillary, it is quite literally the greatest good at this point. It could have been a greater good with Bernie, but it is currently the best we will get. And let's be honest, it is so far beyond better than Trump that it is ridiculous. Use that conscious you claim to be voting with and do the right thing: be united with the rest of us and push for greater change beyond the election rather than destroying all hope to do so with Trump in office. Put your trust in Bernie in action and support whom he supports at this time for the greater good.