Sunday, January 24, 2016

What Am I?

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I am a bleeding heart liberal with loaded handguns upstairs and down. I even drew a gun once on two kids who threatened me in a mall parking lot. Would I have shot them if they'd kept coming? Yes. I took my training with law enforcement. I support commonsense gun control.

I love puppies and kitties and every other kind of baby although I'm not especially enamored of most grown up people. I own three 3 cats and a dog of my own (or rather, they own me).

I can be a total redneck when it comes to NASCAR. Go ahead - say something nasty about Jimmie Johnson! I dare you!

I think we should legalize marijuana and even prostitution. (Why shouldn't adults be free to enter into consensual contracts with one another? Don't we believe in free enterprise and less intrusive government?)

I have no problem with political correctness. Trying to be aware of not hurting someone's feelings is just another way of offering one another respect. Can it be carried too far? Yes, and often is - by both sides. I'm just trying to be pleasant when I wish you Happy Holidays, not undermine your faith.

I believe in gay rights. I don't think God cares if people are gay. To be really trite about it, some of my best friends are gay.

I'm okay with the death penalty for particularly heinous crimes. I think society has a right to rid itself of humans that have turned malignant, just as the body tries to rid itself of cancerous cells.

I love the earth itself more than I love mankind. I think that over all, we've been terrible stewards of our planet. Those chickens may come home to roost one day but thankfully, probably too late to affect me. I'm glad I don't have children and grandchildren who will pay the price for our self-interest and greed.

I have worked for Democrats and Republicans and loved them both. My favorite bosses were a Democrat Mayor and a Republican Sheriff.

I have never been very sensitive. I have laughed heartily at sexist jokes and racist jokes and gay jokes and religious jokes.

I was recently called a predator because I'm so smart, I'm able to lure less intelligent people into being lemming libtards. I still haven't quite figured out if there is a compliment in there somewhere. More to the point, why would I want to do this unless I really believe it? Just to prove I can? Trust me, I have no aspirations of my own superiority.

I'm a hypocrite about certain things. For instance, I love steak and pork tenderloin and fried chicken but probably if I had to do the actual killing of cows and pigs and chickens, I'd become a vegetarian. I don't even like to catch fish. I don't even like to stomp on bugs....except spiders. Outside, it is "live and let live" but if they come in my house, spiders are dead....and fleas. I hate fleas.

I follow no particular religion. I can neither confirm nor deny. I lean toward believing in reincarnation but I couldn't say for sure. I lean toward believing in some kind of life after death but, again, I couldn't say for sure. I'm content to wait for the answers. In the meantime, I don't care what others believe, be they Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or Jew.

I'm inclined to think that there is no such thing as Prosperity Theology. I'm inclined to think that ministers who live in mansions and drive Mercedes are on the wrong theological track. I'm inclined to think that whoever is in charge doesn't approve of rape, beheading, torturing or burning people alive in His/Her/Its name. These are things I think, not things I know for sure.

America speaks about its love for children, especially those of the pre-born variety, but I don't believe we really mean it. We would take better care of them if we did.

We all claim indignantly that we're not racists, no way, but though we speak the words, our actions prove something different. The election of Barack Obama has brought this glaringly light. Racism is alive and well in America. I think 99 percent of police officers are good people, trying to do a good job, but having said that, some of them seem to be doing a lot of unjustified shooting and most of their victims are black.

I think we would be very sorry if we deported all our immigrants but I do believe we need a better system of monitoring who we allow in and for how long. Why in the world when we all agree we want better border security, we can't get together and devise a bipartisan policy, I don't understand. Do some people want the issue more than the resolution?

I write all this to show that labels rarely apply to anyone 100 percent of the time. We are all an amalgam of opinions and beliefs. Few us follow in lockstep with any faith or political philosophy. In our country today though, we use a kind of shorthand - liberal, conservative, Christian, atheist, and once we've placed someone into one of those slots, we think we know all there is to know about them when we only have the merest understanding of who they really are.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Feel the Bern but Don't Burn Your Bridges

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I'm starting to get pissed off at Bernie Sanders fans, just as I got pissed off at Barack Obama fans in 2008. I almost never trust messianic true believers. I like some politicians better than others but I've never found one I thought was worthy of worship. I have never thought of a politician as my savior.

But many Obama supporters did believe this about him in 2008. They saw the promised land of hope and change lying just ahead of them if only Obama was elected. I was content to vote for him once he was nominated though I'd have preferred Hillary. He was elected and I think he's been an excellent president. He'd have been even more excellent if he'd have had even a tiny sliver of cooperation from the Republicans.

And that's where I was back then. I never believed in hope and change because it would have taken two sides to pull that off and, having seen them in action during Bill Clinton's impeachment, I didn't think for one minute that the R's would cooperate.

To me, Hillary was the one who'd paid her dues and served her time and had the experience to lead us into the post-911 world. But his acolytes saw Obama as the knight on a white charger to whom all things would be possible. He had pulled Excaliber out of the stone and he would use it to conquer evil and injustice.

Well, of course, those exalted expectations were not, and could never be met. Obama was elected but evil and injustice went on just as it always had. President's have limited power, after all. They cannot single-handedly turn the world, or even just their country, into a land of milk and honey.

So, Hillary was campaigning against, not just a man, but a saint. 

And, damned if she isn't campaigning against a saint again.

This time, instead of a young, hip, handsome black man, it's an old, rumpled, curmudgeonly Jewish man. Is "man" one of the key words here, do you think, or is their gender beside the point? 

Whatever it is, many of those who "feel the Bern" are becoming as cultish as the Obama adorers before them. This is no longer a race between two people, either of whom would be head and shoulders above any Republican nominated. No, Bernie is The One, the Only One. It has to be him, only him. If he isn't nominated, they simply won't vote. He is pure, don't you see, as opposed to Hillary?

No future president can pull off everything their followers would like them to pull off, especially if they have a Congress of the opposite party to deal with. None of them have supernatural powers despite what Obama's followers then and now Bernie's followers would like to believe.

I'm voting for Hillary in the primary. If Bernie gets the nomination, I'll vote for him in the general. If you're a Democrat and don't pledge to vote for the winner, you're a pure fool. 


Thursday, January 7, 2016

Conservatives, Thy Name is Psychosis

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A large segment of America seems to be suffering from self-induced psychosis. I listen to the conservative Patriot channel on my car radio as I'm traveling and after an hour or so, I want to shoot myself. The hosts scream and shout and rant and rave. "Woe is us! Be terrified You are beset by enemies on all sides! Our president is a Kenyan Muslim communist (socialist, fascist and every other negative -ist you can think of) bent on destroying America. Keep your guns handy because you will need them to "take America back".

That meme, "Take America Back" is one of the most frequently seen on Facebook. I saw one just this morning. I always ask in comments - "can you give me a few more details about how that actually works in practice?" Crickets. They don't have a clue. Maybe it is fearsome armed militias taking the country back one bird refuge at a time.

I hear and read constantly about how awful America now is. A shadow of its former self. That's what Donald Trump's campaign is all about - making America great again - because it's not great now, you know.

But I'm 69 and I haven't noticed all that much major change in America myself. My life goes on pretty much as it always has. I can't think of any freedoms I've lost unless you count wearing seatbelts and not being able to smoke where I used to smoke and driving 55 on non-interstate highways (none of which happened under Barack Obama). I bought my son's Glock from my daughter-in-law and the background check took maybe four minutes. I have to have health insurance now but then I've always had health insurance. I always wanted to have health insurance. People have different perspectives on what freedom is. I think it is not having to pay for dead beats who choose not to pay for insurance and then go to the emergency room when they are sick or in an accident.

Do I think America is perfect? Not by a long shot and some things I see make me sad. I think it is pathetic that while France invents a replacement material for healing broken bones and Japan (as well as other countries) invest in bullet trains that speed their citizens to their destination 4 times faster than any train we have here and while other countries build state-of-the art hospitals and airports and bridges, and while other countries enthusiastically engage in switching to renewable fuels, we here in America have been recently ruled by Neanderthals who cry "poverty" and say we can no longer afford to be the world's innovators....unless we're talking about weapons, of course, then money is no object . Watching our infrastructure decay makes me sad.

The whole world comes together over climate change but our Republican leadership pooh-poohs the idea because, what do scientists know? And what do women know about their own bodies. Nothing, I guess, that's why Big Daddy has to take charge of us. And though the major industrialized nations of the world were all involved in the Iran negotiations and sent their top physicists, what do they know compared to Republican congressmen?

They don't even like each other. They got rid of John Boehner and they were all - "hurray, victory for our side!" Then they elected Paul Ryan Speaker and now they hate him too because he compromised on a budget deal. The hosts on the Patriot Channel we're ready to draw and quarter him.

So, that's what makes me long for the America that used to be....seeing us falling farther and farther behind because of the archaic thinking of the people we elect.

The world is a dangerous place but it seems so much more scary to the conservatives. Home-school your kids because they might be exposed to alternate philosophies. Keep Guantanamo open at a cost of $1,000,000 a year per prisoner (as opposed to $30,000 in a federal facility) because we're too frightened of the detainees to have them touch foot on our soil. Don't let in Mexicans or Muslims. Imprison as many Blacks as we can because we know they are all thugs, better keep them away from us. Or, hell, maybe just shoot them.

It makes me sad to see so much of America living in a world of fear and conspiracy and paranoia stoked by their media - Fox News, radio talk show hosts, conservative blogs. Their stock in trade is crying wolf. They're coming for your guns! There are death panels in Obamacare! The president has seeded his administration with Muslims! He's going to declare martial law and call off the 2016 election! FEMA camps! Black helicopters!  Jade Helm!

No matter how many times the predictions don't pan out, they are never discouraged but go chasing after the next one with just as much fervor. Conservatives, thy name is Psychosis.