Ya Basta

There’s a lot going on through my head right now. I’ve felt a gamut of emotions in the past 12 hours and even then I can’t fathom what any minority and marginalized person in this country must be feeling right now. I’ve felt doubt, remorse, fear, intense anger, anxiety, disappointment and repugnance. I’ve tried to fit some sort of hope in there but it’s not easy. It hurts that things have gotten this bad, it really does. The one thing that’s keeping me going is my continued belief that the president elect is the catastrophe that will unite people and make them think “well shit, maybe we’ve been wrong the whole time”.

I grew up in a rural area of North Jersey, his rise to power is not surprising to me, but I hoped and I wished that maybe things wouldn’t come to this. Now that they’re here though I have to try very hard to not succumb to a complete breakdown, and this is coming from someone who to the outside world appears to be a white hetero-normative male. This isn’t a time to fall. This isn’t a time to let this shit get us. It may be easier for me to say that but goddammit, we need to help each other through this. There is such a divide in this country right now and if we don’t actively move to close it the entire country is going to collapse. I spent a good amount of time this morning screaming in my head at imaginary Trump supporters until I remembered that anger is what got this country into this mess in the first place.

This country has been dealt a serious, self-inflicted wound. As difficult as it is, now is not the time to pour salt into it. People need to band together and close that divide that has completely separated this country. Now is a time not for righteous anger, but for righteous charity, empathy, sympathy, and understanding because right now we are in serious short supply.

The Beauty of Gray

Here’s a concept that’s pretty foreign to a lot of people. Are you sitting down? Good, the world is not just “black or white”, “us or them”, “1 or 2”, “good or evil” or “a or b”. With almost everything there is an entire spectrum of ideas, beliefs, and feelings. Now I know, this idea is tough for plenty of people to handle, especially with how polarized everything is right now, but believe me, there’s an entire gamut of possible answers to nearly everything.

Here’s a simple example. I like Star Wars, I do not however like the three prequel movies, but I still say I enjoy Star Wars as a whole. Here’s another one, I also like Star Trek. I’m not a fan of the new movies, I never got into Enterprise despite the charm of Scott Bakula, and a lot of the old movies are garbage along with plenty of episodes of each show (i.e. every single first season of every Star Trek show). This is an example within an example because I like both Star Trek and Star Wars. Also, my tastes have changed over time. I used to love Star Wars more, but now I like Star Trek more. People can change and in turn their beliefs can too. Scary, I know, but it’s okay, we’re not in the weeds yet. You still have time to turn back if all this talk of changing minds and not choosing one over the other is scaring you.

Still with me? Cool, here’s another example. You can still support Bernie Sanders, but vote for Hillary Clinton, hell you don’t even need to like her. SCANDALOUS! I KNOW! but hear me out. It may also surprise you to see this isn’t a radical idea. People have been making compromises while voting for elected officials for the entire history of this country. Is it right? Not entirely, but without going into the argument for or against the two party system, it’s also life. So sure, you can respond with a “I’LL VOTE FOR HER BUT I DON’T NEED TO LIKE IT!” all you want and all I’m going to do is shrug my shoulders, roll my eyes at you and give a thumbs up. You want to talk about compromise? I’m a very far leftist, some would say some form of anarchist even, but I agree that my core beliefs don’t fly in this current society so I keep to them as much as I can but make compromises every day. Shit man, I work literally across the room from a team from Comcast. Do I run up to their door everyday spouting anti-capitalist rhetoric? As much as I would like to (and I REALLY would like to), no, I don’t.

Still with me? Here’s another shocker, and this one could be an especially heavy pill to swallow. You can support Black Lives Matter, AND the police. On the flip side, you can support law enforcement but also hold them accountable for their shit. This is a huge blast to many people’s world views, I know. Seriously though, you can still support law enforcement but also accept that they’re people and there are good people and downright shit bags. Therefore, by the transitive property, there are good police and piles of shit wearing blue uniforms. On a similar topic, not all Muslims are terrorists, not all immigrants are enemies, not all poor people are lazy and good for nothing, and not all rich people are entitled (this is one I’ll admit I have serious issue with, but I’m working through it). Further along these lines, just because someone is rich, doesn’t mean they worked hard to get there nor do they deserve it.

This is exhausting, but we’re almost through thoroughly blowing minds here.This last one will really shake your fundamental values or potentially wreck your bowels. Gender isn’t binary. Now before you burst into flames of confusion and worry and start crying in a corner, it’s true, gender is non-binary. There’s an entire spectrum of gender and sexual preference out there. In many cultures throughout the world and through history, there were many formal genders other than the two this society is accustomed to. That also means that a person can be very fluid in how they feel and who or what they identify as. That also means that just because a person may feel one way doesn’t mean they feel the need to express that to the world. On top of that, there are so many people that have spent their entire lives feeling one way, really want to express it to the world, but have been coerced through social and familial pressures to betray who they actually are and represent themselves as one of the two “accepted” genders. There are also many people who take that step and go against the social pressures and live their lives as who they want to be, how they want to dress, what they want society to see them as and that doesn’t make them perverts, child rapists, or depraved people, that just means they’re people who want to live how they want to live .

A year or two ago, a former coworker said that the world is a more complicated place than it used to be, and I said that is entirely bull shit. The world is just as complicated as it has ever been, it’s just people are starting to recognize it for what it actually is and when you try to take things and simplify them, that’s when problems arise. Anyone who tries to break things up into only two categories are lying to themselves and others. They’re doing it because they’re the ones that are too lazy to accept a world that is not just black or white, a or b, yes or no, chocolate or vanilla, Star Wars or Star Trek, Marvel or DC,  whatever. There are many people on this planet with many different beliefs, customs, and norms. If we clump everyone into one group or the other we are turning our backs on an entire spectrum of people and a world filled with gorgeous complexity.

Accountability

It seems every day a new thing happens that makes me want to see this entire broken country burn to the ground and start fresh. In this climate I understand that this statement is loaded, but it’s okay everyone, I’m white, you don’t need to worry about me burning shit down, right? Shit man, I won the million dollar race lottery. To think, all these years I’ve played it straight when all I needed to do was make sure my skin was showing and I could have gotten away with rape, murder, theft, assault, anything, all because of my skin. Isn’t that special? Meanwhile men and women with darker skin than I get shot for busted tail lights, selling CDs, going to church, riding the train, sometimes even in front of their families. The shooters are more often than not other white people, and Christ, they get a sandwich, a ride in a squad car, and a trial that’s only a formality. This is a broken system that gives slaps on the wrist to broken people.

Every time something hits the news, you have an entire population of people defending the police. I understand, not all police are crooked and it’s not an easy job. These people get “training” though, their badge says to serve and protect. Anyone who takes an oath should be held at a much higher bar, deserving respect but also deserving every iota of criticism and then some. We put our lives into the hands of these people and so many times we pay the price. Here’s an analogy that some people will understand better. You buy a product, lets say an MP3 player. You pay under 100 for a cheap MP3 player and it fails on you, you shrug your shoulders and say “well it was only $XX what did I expect?” Now, you buy a player with the Apple iPod pedigree. You spend several hundred dollars. It fails, you’re pissed “I paid $XXX for this! This is bullshit!” That’s what police are, they’re iPods. They have a pedigree and if they do something that goes against that pedigree, you’re damn right we should be pissed. Same deal with politicians, CEOs, Mayors, Judges, they have pedigrees, to blindly follow them is the dumbest fucking thing you can do. These people take a higher office, you’re damn right they should up hold its name. I am tired of peoples’ shield blindness. If you look at footage of a man shooting another man, very obviously shooting someone, you’re taken aback, it should be doubly so if the murderer wears a uniform.

Yes, this is police heavy, I know, but I’m trying my damndest to explain that this should be across the board. Engineers have a strict moral code they follow, it’s in the bylaws and it’s something every engineer agrees to when they graduate. If an Engineer creates a faulty product, or there’s a dangerous fault in a building, they’re held accountable. On top of that if they see something going on that is going to result in people getting hurt, they are responsible to report it or they are held equally accountable. This is accountability. People are trusting lawmakers, officers, judges, anyone with a title, and in turn there is a bit of respect warranted but if these people do anything wrong, the blade should be double edged. Get pissed, get angry, you have every right to. March up to the police precincts and shout. Organize, keep the message going, let the entire goddamn known universe hear it. Shout it in every language you can muster ENOUGH! YA BASTA! DOŚĆ! !كافية ASSEZ! TAMA NA! ! מספיק 十分な!足够!GENOEG! Shout it till you’re coughing blood, an ounce for every life cut short. When you come to from blood loss, start all over again. It’s time for people to be held accountable, all people, both in an out of uniform.

It Hurts

The recent attack in Orlando is just another part of the conservative wave that has crashed on us the past couple years. I want to think that this is the dying breathe of the far right and they’re deciding to use it to shout. It’s an election year, so we’re seeing a lot of people who know their time is ending doing everything in their power to fuck everything up and oppress everyone they can. At least this is what I want. I want these cases of politicians lashing out to be a show of fear. I want it to be true that these people are terrified and are simply reacting in the only way they can. I want these people to not be a sign of the future but a leftover relic of the past making as much of a bang as possible before being thrown aside to the annals of history. I want to believe in the people of this country and I want to believe in people in general. It’s not easy though.

I’ve tried my hardest to not be bogged down by the terrible news that pops up on my feed every single morning. Every day it seems there’s a new piece of legislation being passed by out of touch people, or a new act of violence against a marginalized group, or a mixture of both. With so much progression in the past couple years, it would make sense that people who fear their time is at an end to push back. There’s been so many strides in the past 10 years but there’s been just as much of a force of fear and hatred trying its damnedest to set things back to where they were. How much legislation has been passed with the sole purpose to oppress people? The big wins have been good, but they’re just battles, the war is far from over. So many people in power right now are not necessarily bad people, but they are fearful. There are a lot of things that have changed and they can’t keep up. A couple years ago I had this conversation with my Dad, and he admitted that he is terrified at the world now. Not terrified in the way I am, terrified in the way they are. He said the time of White Men being in power is ending and he is afraid. At the very least he admits it. There are those who do not admit it, and worse, hide their fears behind a facade of “protecting children” or “protecting family values”. They truly believe this of course, or at least perpetuate the lie enough until they believe it. That’s the real tragedy of all this. The people who do this really believe that they are right. They are afraid of things they don’t understand and instead of taking the time and consideration to learn these things they decide to lash out at them instead. Morals are sticky business to begin with, but they are being so skewed right now by so much fear and ignorance that what’s coming out is something grotesque.

America is a fun house mirror right now. A lot of people see these reflections and distortions are just that, distortions, but there is an entire population of people who see the fun house reflection as the true image and react the only way they can. It’s also unfortunate that many of these people are in seats of power and do everything they can legislatively to show off that power. Those without power in the traditional sense do their job by using the only power they can, force. Will this all turn out okay? Yes, I firmly believe that it will. I firmly believe that it is darkest before dawn and soon we will all come to a form of understanding. Already the outcry over so many of these instances as been loud, louder than I think a lot of people expected, and that is the one thing that is keeping what little light I have left inside me going. In the mean time though, 50 people are dead because they wanted to go out dancing, and many more will die before this era will all be a bad dream.

On the Topic of Authority

Most of the authority figures in my life thus far have been nothing but disappointment. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It makes people easier to approach if you know they’re just as flawed as anyone else. We’re all just products of broken machinery and our children will be the same way. It’s just a matter of how broken that machinery is that makes the difference.

For a long time, I’ve tried to run on the philosophy that respect is earned and not deserved and just because someone is in charge doesn’t mean they’re the smartest person in the room. They just happen to be the person people are listening to in that instant. Whether this is because they were put in that position, raised the ranks to that position, or just happen to speak loudest determines how effective of a leader they are. Which also begs the question, just because someone is in charge, does it really make them the leader?

This has gotten me in trouble plenty of times and where I haven’t openly got in trouble I’ve certainly made at least a few people nervous. It also has helped me adapt better and be, in at least one aspect of my life, more relaxed as my standards of the correctness and quality of those with authority are tremendously low. No one is sacred, everyone is flawed, empires crumble, and a person with even all the power in the world is still just a person.

Sometimes I Hate When I’m Right

Months ago I mentioned that Trump was the squid from Watchmen. With the sheer amount of momentum he has right now, my prediction back in August has been proven all too many times and I’m legitimately scared now. Sure, in the linked article I said I wouldn’t be worried, but now that he has a legitimate chance? Jesus fuck, you bet your ass I’m worried. A SHIT TON OF PEOPLE DIED FROM THAT SQUID!

That said, everyone outside of his goon squad is against him, so at the very least, that part of the prediction is also standing true. Graham even said “My party has lost its damn mind” and Romney had a delicious 10 or so minutes saying how untrustworthy Trump is. The man’s not even fit to manage a little league team and yet his ability to drum up the ugliness from the barren Earth of this godforsaken country has him ahead by over 200 delegates as of this writing (March 15, 2016, 9:04 pm) and he’s ahead in North Carolina. Kasich won his home state so that’s cool, that’s an additional 66 delegates the Trump machine won’t get, but other than that? Yikes, just yikes.

Now the question remains, if the GOP doesn’t broker the convention and Trump does get the nomination (please please please please PLEEEEASE no),  fight or flight? It’s going to come down to November and most likely, again, as of this writing, Clinton running against him. Clinton has decent enough numbers against him but will it be enough? Christ, the Dems regularly lose elections if it’s goddamn raining not to mention the statistic improbability of an incumbent party being reelected after a two term president. I’m hoping the fear of this Neo-Fascist opportunist grabbing the reins is enough to scare people into voting. If he wins though, do I jump ship and move away or fight for the soul of my country? By the time he can do any real damage I should have my engineering degree and be pretty to employers in other countries, but do I want to do that? This is a tough decision because there will be riots, oh yes, but do I want to take an active roll in them? This has happened plenty throughout history and the ones with the bigger guns tend to be the winners. That said though, the American Military has already come out and said “He will be president, but he is unfit to lead and he will not be our Commander in Chief.” Also that said, Trump supporters are some of the most well armed militants and terrorists in the entire world.

No matter what  happens, this country is going to be pretty broken up. Will everything be better afterwards? I honestly don’t know, and the sheer amount of anxiety this race is giving me is bigger than in any election in my life yet. Remember, even if Trump can’t do it, Cruz is in second place, and he’s a zealot. Cruz is a different kind of animal because he believes his actions have a higher purpose.

Fuck You, Nancy

AIDS-ribbon

The AIDS pandemic should have never happened. Epidemiologists everywhere call it one of the greatest embarrassments in modern history. A big reason for this was the Reagans. I’m not going to pretend I know exactly what I’m talking about. I’m not going to cite sources, and I’m not going to censor anything. I have fortunately never known anybody with HIV or AIDS to the best of my knowledge so I have never had to go through the sheer amount of anything that anybody who has has and nor will I pretend I even remotely know how that feels. I’m just someone, with a laptop, and a lot of anger.

The recent revisionist gaff that Hillary Clinton has recently made is unforgivable. What fucking activism did Nancy Reagan do? Turn her back on her friend Rock Hudson? Actively ignore the rising issue of the disease in the 1980s because it was “The Gay Blade”? Actively support her husband’s refusal to even talk about it? Tell me, please, what in the blazes did Nancy fucking do? I get it, it’s election year, you want to support as many people as possible and you’re trying to get people from the GOP to support you, but in turn you’re turning your back on A LOT of people in your own goddamned party! Jesus fuck, you’re cutting the rope when you’re half way across the damn bridge. She honestly doesn’t care and I hope this REEEEALLLY bites her in the ass because goddamn. This is why I can’t support Hillary. This is an active attack on a lot of people in her own party and she doesn’t have the foresight to even see it. I wasn’t a fan of her, but I wasn’t too angry with her (she DOES hate anyone who makes under $200k a year, but that’s a different story) now I’m just furious. As for Nancy Reagan? I don’t give a shit about speaking ill of the dead. I’m sure if she’s in the afterlife she believes in she’s somewhere nice and toasty, fuck you Nancy, and fuck you Hillary.