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.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The War on Depression

At the risk of sounding like a Republican, I am not a doctor and I am not a scientist. But that does not stop me from having strong beliefs and hypotheses about a medical profession I know nothing about! In short, take everything I say with a healthy dose of skepticism. I am not going to attempt to write out any full-blown conclusions, but to analyze my own self and relay my experiences for what they are worth. Perhaps it can help others.

To start, I have a somewhat mild and irregular depression. It comes and goes, sometimes rapidly, sometimes slowly. I can go a couple months without any symptoms and suddenly I'm in the depths of despair for seemingly no reason. I might come out of it in a day and sometimes it takes weeks. It may be on and off throughout every day for a prolonged period of time. It all just depends. But depends on what?

I like to see the world through the eyes of programming. I think much of the world operates like programming: cause and effect. A program does something because it is programmed to do so under certain stimuli. Granted, the world has nearly infinite stimuli so it can be hard to nail down any one particular culprit and it may very well be a mix of culprits. I'm constantly searching, observing, and hoping, to come to some conclusions by analyzing inputs and outputs.

I recently had a stretch of depression that lasted a few weeks. I felt like doing nothing. I just wanted to lay around the house or go back to sleep as soon as I got home. I try to fight through it rather than sleep since sleep never really helps anyway and I have a wife and four kids to look after. No one wants an absent father, but it can be exceedingly hard and filled with failure to try. That, of course, is also depressing and furthers a cycle.

Why am I depressed? I'm not sure everyone has a reason. I'm not sure I always have a reason myself. Sometimes I just feel like crap and I don't want to do anything. I think, however, that most of my depression stems from a type of trigger and I think environmental factors make me more or less susceptible to that trigger. One such environmental factor has something to do with consuming liquids that are not purely water. Now, don't get me wrong, I can still be depressed drinking only water, and I can still be happy while gorging on soda and coffee. This makes it hard to identify them as possible problems. What I think is going on, however, is that caffeine and/or aspartame, and/or Splenda (sucralose), and/or sugar, and/or alcohol puts undo stress on my body and makes me more likely to succumb to the other pressures which cause my depression.

So what's the true cause? It's likely quite dependent on the person. When I am depressed, however, I am most often considering my own worthlessness. I do not feel valuable no matter how much evidence is presented otherwise. I will brush it off as meaningless. I want to contribute but I don't feel as if I'm successful. I've written a book, but no one reads it. I'm very logical and well-thought-out, but no one wants to hear my words. I can program, draw, run, joke, or do any other human faculty, but never as good as others. No one values my abilities, and those who think I'm great are simply uninformed or clueless. I'm useless. I'm a nobody. And I'm not okay with that. When I see someone else getting attention, especially for doing or saying something that I, too, have once said or done, it is a slap to my face. They're worthy and I'm not. But why? What's wrong with me? These events, I believe, have a chance to trigger my depression depending on my other environmental factors of food choice, exercise, sleep, liquids, etc.

So for the best chance of avoiding depression, the easiest thing I can do is avoid all liquids that are not water. This helps quite a bit. A single drink may or may not have an impact depending on what simultaneous triggers I receive which are entirely unpredictable. Sometimes they come from others, and sometimes they come from within myself. If I consider something I want to do and then consider how hard it would be to do it with skills I do not yet possess, I freeze up and feel overwhelmed. I begin to contemplate my own inabilities which gets me down a little. Getting down, I realize that I could never pull it off because I get depressed too easily. All these things begin to depress me as I think about them.

Other times, it's just a flat-out rejection that triggers me. If I show someone something that I made or wrote and they brush it off, argue with it, or otherwise invalidate me, there is a high chance I will shut down. I'm apparently very easily triggered by rejection. Somehow, rejection, feelings of rejection, and a lack of belonging or value are the triggers which press on the true cause of my depression. Knowing this is actually half the battle. Understanding where my dark feelings come from (a physical/emotional/mental need or corruption in my brain) I can suddenly realize that it's not "me" that is truly worthless. It's like having a broken finger. A person doesn't lose value as a person simply for losing a finger's use, and I'm actually quite successful and accomplished for having such an ailment as this. It helps ease the pain to recognize it's not a problem "with me" but with my body. It takes just enough edge off to potentially help me overcome. It is not a magical cure, of course.

So what is the cure? For me, I presume the cure has something to do with resolving these unmet emotional needs which probably stem from childhood or young-adult experiences. As a child, I had very few friends, no strong family relationships, and I coupled this with an out-of-the box mentality. By thinking outside the box rather than fitting in, I found myself... well... not fitting in! I was quite often rejected, dejected, and alone. I rarely felt belonging, and I rarely felt valued. So now, as an adult, how do I fix this? I presume that if I manage to find my sense of worth despite the onslaught of inferiority to the online world of giants and my severe lack of meaningful relationships, I could probably rid myself of depression for good. All I really know for now, however, is that drugs have never helped, religion was all the more devastating and likely caused most of this to begin with, and it is very, very hard to overcome. Depression is a spiral to the depths as it produces self-loathing which perpetuates more self-loathing. Is the key to beating it within myself? Am I entirely reliant on others to justify my worth? Is the key in finding a new way to see myself? I have no idea. But for now, I'm going to keep a close eye on my intake, try to stop thinking when negative perceptions arise, and take indefinite breaks on projects with no thought or regrets when I find they are fueling my sense of incapability.

If possible, I will try to find ways to belong to some kind of group, but this does open the door to more rejection and teeters on a fine line of helping and harming. I'm glad that my own depression does not last forever. I can mostly function and accomplish some pretty great feets such as finishing my basement by hand, writing a book, developing an Android app, designing my own papercraft, making a board game, etc. It's just a shame they're never as good as they could be without the ailment. No, wait, that's thinking negative thoughts. I'm such a dummy for failing even in this post. Gah! That recognition was further negative. I'm such a failure! No, wait, I know how to handled this, "STFU, brain! You're malfunctioning! I'm going to go watch TV now."