GO VOTE

Hello everyone,

 

Alright, I’ve decided to take a bit of time today to impress upon my growing readership the importance of voting (like no doubt every other website is doing right now as well). People always talk about how you should go vote, and that is super important that you go vote. Even if you are voting between a Giant Douche and a Turd Sandwich. I don’t see voting quite the same way as I think most people do, especially not the people who say that “it is your duty to go vote as a citizen.”

Voting is a decision. And, like everything else in this life, it starts with the choice of yes or no. Do you want to get off the computer to go vote or not? Well, I’ll start with reasons for not. First, neither candidate appeals to you in any remote way. In all honesty, I have no clue how this could happen, but for arguments sake lets roll with it. Lets say that you think that the only answer to all of our problems exists in putting the whole world into a black hole in space. I don’t think any candidate wants to solve problems that way, so that’s an example of this (I suppose). Hungry? Black hole it. Annoyed with the neighbors? Black hole them. It doesn’t make much sense does it. But, in this instance voting is irrelevant because you will not get any aspect of life that you want out of the choices.

The next reason not to vote is that a person doesn’t have time to. And I don’t mean “I don’t have time to” people. I mean “I work from 4 am to 11 pm with a 30 minute lunch break” people. That’s a pretty feasible excuse, and it’s a problem with society, but it’s a reality. The last reason I can see is that you simply don’t want to participate in the world as we know it. I think of monks in off the grid areas when I think of this, but the people who are completely out of touch and unaffected by the rest of the world, and do not care how the world outside of their space deals with everything, and knows their space will not be enclosed upon in their lifetimes. To be honest, those are all the reasons I can see to not vote, but again, it is your choice to vote. Let’s get into the reason why.

The reason is simple. The person elected will change how the country works and, and this is the important part, that will impact your life. “But these candidates both suck” is an excuse I hear often. So? Doesn’t one suck more than the other? Life doesn’t always give good options. Sometimes it’s jail or death. Sometimes its college ruled paper or wide ruled paper. Sometimes it’s a 10 hour shift or a 12 hour shift. Neither choice is good, or even exciting, in some points in life. But they will have an impact on you. They might start a world war. Or not start one when it needs to be started. This is the simple reality that we live in. And it’s easy to find something to agree with a candidate on. One person want’s to limit the people entering the country, one person wants to expand the minimum wage. Neither of those matter to the average person? I doubt it.

One of the things that I can understand that make voting hard is a hierarchy of values. Maybe you think that Donald Trump’s border security pitch is ideal, but you think that Hilary Clinton’s position on wages is also ideal. How do you choose? Well, which is more important? This is called a hierarchy of values. And they can be the tough choices, but they are choices that you need to make in life—life doesn’t make choosing easy every time. But if you do not choose, then things end up worse for you when the ideal you eventually decided was secondary, but could not decide when voting was happening, wins. Maybe you feel like your vote doesn’t matter. It does. Because while one drop of water does not make an ocean, without any rainfall the sea would be empty. And every drop, from the first to the trillionth, adds depth to its waters. So please. Go vote.

THE LAST GREAT DEBATE

Hello everyone,

 

Alright, so, the third and final debate is out of the way and we get to discuss it. Now, hopefully things have digested in your stomach a little bit, and not given you too much indigestion, because talking about last night it certainly a curiosity. I’ll try to touch on both candidates today as quickly and succinctly as possible in my short time.

Ok, so let’s get down to it. Today I’d like to start on the left, with Hillary Clinton. She did a pretty good job as usual. Now, I know there are a lot of people that don’t like her, but it’s pretty hard to argue with how prepared she is for these speeches. I mean, her closing statement was pretty indicative of that—it was made up on the fly and sounded like it had been prepared two weeks in advance. That’s pretty hard to do, even for a professional improve actor. Especially when staying in line with policy. She was composed, firm, and stuck to positions that were backed up with evidence. The Wikileaks refutation she made, in which she pointed out that numerous US intelligence agencies have linked these leaks to direct hacks by the Russian government to sway the campaign trail is a great example. Another great use of factual evidence was in the comparisons between the two candidate’s tax plans, in which she cited several bipartisan economists as having backed her plan as the more likely one to create jobs and promote income for people.

Of course, not everything about her is perfect. She interrupted Trump more than I would have liked her to, because to me it seems to put things “in his court,” so to speak, but that doesn’t mean by any means she was a weak. Her interruptions seemed to knock Trump a little off balance at first, because she had been polite to him the first two debates. She was also very forceful in negating his position on abortion, where she didn’t challenge his obscene statements about “day before” abortions, and indeed asserted herself as not only a person well aligned with women’s healthcare, but also the struggles that women go through daily.

I know I am left leaning, but Hillary’s debate last night was phenomenal, even for a “normal” debate. Much less one where she had to juggle a guy who does not play by fair rules. And that’s, unfortunately I think for Republicans, what happened with Donald Trump. Trump’s debate was a weird one. He started out…well, worse than his second debate, but still less “off the charts” than we have come to expect. That being said, there was a turning point, and I think it’s because Hillary got under his skin. I mean, telling a candidate she does not deserve to vote? A vote that is a protected right? Day-before abortions? Now, regardless of your position on abortions, abortion does not happen the day before a child is supposed to be born, even in late pregnancies. And if it does happen as late in the term as Trump claims, it’s not called an abortion, because the procedure is different. It’s a C-section, or induced labor. And it’s done because there is a problem with the child. It might surprise you, but nature isn’t perfect. There are a number of babies that develop without brains, or that die in the womb. And if they aren’t taken out, the mother will die too.

None of this is fun or fair. There’s no “I got out of it.” And this is how Trump has built his campaign, and I think (I hope) that this will be why he fails. His debate last night because a microcosm for all the problems he has created. A lack of respect for citizens, a lack of respect for people in need, a lack of respect for people who have done good, and a lack of respect for people who do not bow to him. He’s acted like a dictator in this election, and in all honesty, the bullying, the lack of emotional control, and the whining are all indicative of this. Democracy is a hard thing. And it does not come without faults or compromise. And the only way to usurp that is to defy it—which is exactly what Trump has done.

This is dangerous to the America we aspire to be, even if we are not there yet. Let me know what you think. Is it unfair to say this about Trump? Why?

THE SECOND GREAT DEBATE

Hello everyone,

 

Did anyone get a chance to watch the debate last night? Oh. You don’t like politics? Well that’s too bad. I mean it’s not like these people are vying for being the most powerful individual on the planet or anything…but I can understand not liking politics with how this political season has been going. I mean seriously, we’ve got a bully that’s managed to push his way into the race because he’s rallied the people who feel mistreated with strong-arm lingo that makes them feel good. Which is ironic, since these people talk about how “feel good” statements are such a problem.

Regardless of my distaste for Donald Trump, which there is quite a bit of, he was one of the participants of the debate last night. And I wish there was a way for me to appear bipartisan for this debate, but there just isn’t. Hillary did a great job on this election. She was prepared, she responded well to questions—sure, she wasn’t always on point with every single answer, because that’s how politicians answer questions, but she was able to both negate Donald Trump while also asserting her own ideas.

For example, let’s take when Donald Trump said she’s been wasting 30 years of public service. Which is depressing to have heard, but her response was perfect. She responded with the work she has put in over time, and how she has been able to find a common ground and compromise—something that we all no Donald Trump is incapable of. And if you think he is capable of it, before you start typing your comment, I want you to imagine that every few words you type, the computer added a random word or ten. That doesn’t make for good compromises to happen—that would just frustrate the hell out of you. That’s what Donald Trump did.

Now, you may think that being uncompromising is a good thing in a leader, because it displays power. But really, it’s dangerous. Even if you didn’t like the Iran Deal, it did protect our citizens more than a threat would. Threatening people who have or may have Nuclear Arms is absolutely insane. Why? Because we all bleed the same. The United States may be the most powerful country on Earth, but if it were bombed with Nuclear Weapons, it’s citizens would die the same as any other country. Which is something we need to come to terms with, since if Trump were elected president, I have no doubt the rest of the world would be on high alert.

But let’s step back and look at policy for a moment. Although policy was nearly devoid from the debate, one policy Donald brought up was to appoint someone to look into Hillary’s email scandal and get her sent to jail. Since apparently her multitude of hearing and investigations over various other issues were not enough to make conclusions. Including one done by the FBI. Anyway, locking up political opponents sounds like a very dangerous and slippery slope to be taking lightly. Even joking about the assassination of political opponents (a “joke” that is still very possibly something that was meant in earnest) is a frightening line to be treading. It’s reckless, and in all honesty, it feel like something that our president should not be doing. What do you think? Did I miss anything? Am I being unfair? Let me know in the comments below! Oh, and by the way, WordPress has asked me to subtly ask everyone to vote…so…I’m going to not be so subtle. Go vote!

DOUBLE STANDARD LOCATED!

Hello everyone,

Here we are again! Another week started! I’m actually typing this post on my phone because I’m not currently at a computer, and there’s a WordPress app! That said, I’m not sure how long this will be due to a lack of a “you have this many words” counter. Anywho, today I have been bouncing between a few different concepts for discussion, and the one I’ve landed on was one caused by an experience I had in class today. We are reading Beowulf for this class, and in the class we discussed in groups of three in order to get better insights. After, our teacher asked us to share with the class. She called on people to share from groups. This is where things caught my attention.

You see, there are a lot of women in the class compared to men. 21 women to 12 men, of my count was correct. A little less than a 2 to 1 ratio. Yet, in spite of this, the first 7 groups to speak all consisted of male voices. Now, there is a variety of reasons why a teacher would call on 7 males- I mean, it very easily could have been that the guys looked like they weren’t interacting during the activity, it could have been that they were not paying attention to the teacher when she spoke, it could even have been that she just wanted to hear what these guys wanted to say. Who knows? But, the fact of the matter is, by picking 7 guys to speak, we heard from almost exclusively men.

I know that to achieve random equality, this technically has to be a possibility, but it’s so astronomically improbable that 7 guys were picked to speak all in a row from these groups when there are so many more women available to speak in the class for reasons that were not sexist. Sure, maybe the teacher noticed there were more females and wanted to make sure the men didn’t feel intimidated, but this is Beowulf, the “manly man” story. This is a male’s wheelhouse. This is the kind of story guys like to hear and talk about (ok, not all guys, that’s a generalization, but you get my point).

So instead, I’m led to believe that this was a subconscious, sexist decision made by the teacher. She called the guys because she has bought into the idea that a mans ideas are of greater value than a woman’s. And that’s simply not true. I know because both my group members were female, and they made some great points. They were able to identify and empathize with this male brand of character, and look critically at perspectives just as well as the other guys in the classroom could have. Which is a sad double standard to have implanted in the brain. And my teacher isn’t the only one, this is a cultural norm that silenced women. Even in our election this year, we’re seeing a very good, well informed female candidate go up against a very loud, rude, and unpleasant male, and being treated on nearly the same level as him.

In my opinion, this is strictly wrong. But that’s gender in society for you. What do you think? Am I crazy? Is it unfair to put these assumptions on my professor? Let me know!

THE FIRST GREAT DEBATE

Hello everyone,

 

What an interesting time we live in! Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton debating for the candidacy. I feel like if you went back 20 years, this would be hard to believe. I mean really, Donald Trump? That liberal minded-wait, what? He’s a Republican? Wasn’t he pro LGBTQ and pro-choice for a while? Didn’t he say on camera that we had to increase wages? You’re telling me he’s not saying those things anymore? What happened?

And then there’s Hillary Clinton. 20 years ago, she was aspiring toward politics and her husband was coming up on his own election as president. And here we are. Of course, not everything about Hillary’s career has been great-people knock her for her use of a server in emails, and she has changed positions on several policies over the course of history. She backed NAFTA, which according to many experts has been a major failure. She also initially backed the TPP movement.

That being said, on the debate stage last night, we saw two very different people. At least, that’s how it started. Hillary was focused, expressive, and composed. Trump started out this way too. He even had some good argumentation in regard to trade. His points about taxation of companies matches tariffs that the United States has done in the past. However, as the debate wore on, it became clear that experience outmatched explosiveness.

Trump’s emotional bravado was shut down by Hillary’s hard use of factual information. She presented policy after policy with enough detail to be legitimate, yet not so much that it was hard to comprehend. Constant interruptions by Trump made him look more a child bully than a man ready to run the country.

Regardless of your political opinion, it’s hard to believe Trump was ready for the scale of the debate last night. I mean, the guy turned to calling Hillary’s argument “all words” at one point. Can’t the same be said about his own speech? What does he really get done? Hillary’s composure was undeniable, which was incredible. Sure, sometimes she sounded a bit mechanical, but I’d take a woman who was practiced and firm enough over this character that struggled to stay on topic. And of course, Hillary was not always on topic either-that’s a classic political fault of every president. But her ability to bring things back and eventually come around to the question at hand was unparalleled by her opponent.

Trump’s answer to a race question, purposely pointed at Black Lives Matter movements and police struggles, was turned into a foreign policy answer about eliminating ISIS, and an attack on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s “weakness” in this area. Is this really the person we want running our country? One who “agrees with Hillary” about unification, and yet presses divisive rhetoric and avoids relatively simple questions about racial injustice?

All this in mind, I would say that Hillary pretty clearly won the debate last night. If you didn’t watch it, I highly recommend checking it out. It was surprisingly easy to watch, which was not something I can say about all debates. What do you think? Did Hillary win? Is my analysis fair? Let me know!

UNDERSTANDING DONALD TRUMP

Hello everyone,

 

For the most part, I like to avoid politics, not because it isn’t of value or importance to society, but because the reality of our nation is that the federal government is so broad spread, there is very little impact in day to day life caused by it, and because I am a pretty good person, I don’t typically have to worry about restrictions by law. Sure, I know my positions on most aspects of politics, but I’m not really the type of person to go out and promote someone. I sense I share this position with a lot of people.

But unfortunately, Donald Trump has caused me to throw a lot of that out the window because he’s just so…awful. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with being conservative. I mean, I probably disagree with your positions, but being conservative doesn’t inherently make you a bad person. It just means you are cognizant of potential issues with progress. Sometimes this is bad, and sometimes it is good.

Donald Trump, however, makes things frightening, because, as he showed recently, he is willing to threaten people to get his way. I’m speaking, of course, about the reference Trump made to “Second Amendment People” and Hilary Clinton. The inference made between the two were that the people with guns could do something about Hilary—I.E., kill her. Sound scary if he were serious? It should. Start eliminating political opponents and suddenly things are no longer a democracy.

Now, Trump came forward and said that he was joking, and maybe he was. But the problem with this is that his joke still impacts people. As I was scrolling through Facebook, I saw a tweet that responded to this, which said that every joke is centered in a truth to some extent. If that were the case, then in some way Trump actually does want Hilary dead. It certainly would be backed up by his track record of horrible statements. Personally though, I think it doesn’t matter if he is joking or not. He could be being entirely sarcastic and really have no issue with Hilary and still it would be wrong to joke about this, because there is a portion of his audience, I have no idea how large or small they are, that will actually think that he’s totally correct, and even worse, there are some that will actually try it.

Either Trump knows this, in which case his “joke” is manipulating the public in order to further bend them to his will, or he doesn’t know the impact of his words, in which case he is not fit to be the president. If you ask my opinion (which, given that you are still reading this, implies that you are), Trump is manipulating people. He’s been doing it his whole life. He’s manipulated the world to think he’s the business Kingpin, he’s manipulated the Republican party to think that he’s capable of solving problems that their normal politicians can’t, and he’s manipulated American’s into thinking that there are problems that do not exist. It’s wrong, but it’s worked. It’s time to wake up and take steps to prevent his continuation.

HONESTY BEGETS ADMIRATION

Hello everyone,

 

Happy Monday! Ok, not so happy Monday, but hey, you’re reading this, that means that you probably survived it. Or are taking a break from work. Or maybe you’re “working.” Whatever it is, I appreciate you reading this. That being said, it probably is in your best interest to put this on hold and get back to work, if you are reading this at work. It’s dishonest to claim to be working while you are lounging (ironic, since I am writing this at work). Which brings me to my discussion topic for today: Honesty.

Honesty is something that we often put aside in order to succeed, or sometimes just to avoid blame. As we grow older, we are prone to lie less about small things like breaking a cup or stealing candy. Seriously, I have little brothers, they used to lie a lot more than they do now, even though they still lie a lot. It isn’t their fault though. They are afraid that if they tell the truth there will be some horribly punishment. Louis C.K. (really Cassady? Another Louis reference?) has made a perfect analysis of this, which I have put below:


But really, we lie because we need to get something. It’s a natural reaction. Which I think is something that a lot of people don’t understand. They like to contort lying with inhumanity, when it’s the opposite. People lie. People cheat. People steal. Of course, this does not justify their offenses or leave then unaccountable, but it does mean that some amount of lying is to be expected.

Which brings me to honesty. Why do we value honesty so much? Seriously, it is one of the golden standards of being a human being. Be honest. It’s something we are told time and time again. I think it’s another lower brain/upper brain battle that is on going. I think honesty is something that isn’t intrinsic to people, but we have nurtured people to do the morally correct thing for so long that it has produce guilt, and become a natural thing to do. At the very least it is a harder thing to do—and it is the more noble thing to do. Sometimes, however, some people try to lie about being honest.

One of my favorite examples of this is during a presidential debate, or during a public address by a politician. Apparently, a black coat with a white shirt underneath and a red tie somehow triggers the idea of honesty in our minds. So almost every candidate will wear these colors—it’s why they all look the same. Candidates do this to get votes—and can we really blame them? If we are that susceptible, then it is in their best interest to do so. Especially since candidates have to lie so often to succeed. Since lying is the bedrock of politics, why do we elect the candidates we do? The reality is that lying is often centered around a truth. For Hillary, it’s that she’s trying to do the best thing for the average person life without too strongly affecting the successful. For Trump, it’s that he doesn’t want to see America turn into a country that cares about its majorities first when the Big Businesses will be hurt. For Cruz, it’s that he wants to keep America as a bible thumpin’ country. For Sanders? Well, he honestly wants to see people not suffer. Which is admirable. And that’s why he’s such an outsider—because he is respectable. Honesty begets admiration.

THE GIRL WHO WAITED

Hello everyone,

 

We are back! Hope you all had a good weekend. Today I wanted to open up a discussion about gender roles in society, and how it categorizes us. I think it is reasonable to start with women because this group is significantly more disrupted by their gender roles in society than men are, as well as significantly more outspoken about their issues (this does not make their issues of less value, by the way. Just because someone is willing to say they have a problem does not make them a complainer). The obvious gender roles of women are as follows: passive, subordinate, physically appealing, emotional, caregivers, and incapable.

To begin, I would like to discuss the roles of passive and subordinate. They are quite clear, as anyone can perceive. The man has, historically, been the breadwinner, while the woman is generally his supporter. Even in when this is spun in a positive light, the stereotype still exists. Take Hermione from the Harry Potter series. Brilliant, but she’s not exactly the go-getter that Harry is. And she definitely isn’t the hero of the story—I mean it’s titled Harry Potter. Another cult of adoration is for the many partners of The Doctor in Doctor Who. They are always intelligent, and often times are even are the more forward member of the male-female partnership. But they are not The Doctor. And when The Doctor loses a companion, or is abandoned, he quickly moves on to the next one. Thus, through these allegories of our global “appreciation” for women, we have pigeonholed women to mere roles of “assistant” and “secretary” rather than “CEO” or “owner.”

I realize that these are fictitious, sci-fi stories, and both of which are technically British works in their own respects, but our cultures are not too different. They are close enough to where there is a massive following and even references to these works in American popular culture. Seriously, here’s a list of several Doctor Who references in television:

 

http://www.bbcamerica.com/anglophenia/2013/10/greatest-doctor-references-popular-culture-asides

 

This role of subordination is one of the features that has persisted throughout the multiple feminist movements, and while we certainly are better off than we were, say, a hundred years ago, we still have quite a ways to go.

Passiveness is definitely something that goes along with subordination, but I think it is something that we have made more strides in. Mostly because it is not society that stops being passive, it is the women within those societies. Simply speaking up and going against the grain is the opposite of passive. Unfortunately, we have quite a feel people that still promote the idea of the silent women. Trump is the best example I can think of for this idea, but in general the use of the word “bitch” to describe a woman who speaks out is akin with these ideas. It is no doubt a latent reason why so many people are against Hillary Clinton in the race—because she speaks out just like any other candidate. Yet because she is a woman, she is treated differently for it.

CONNECTING HILLARY’S TWO FACES

Hello everyone,

 

So politics are all the vibe right now, and one of the people that I haven not discussed at all is Hillary Clinton. Now, I have done quite a bit of work to reserve my judgments of Hillary because people have been so critical of her already, despite the fact that she has done quite a bit of work for the country that has resulted in positive gains. I mean, we certainly could do quite a bit worse (see 2001-2008 for more information). What I would like to discus though is that Hillary is most starkly criticized for her “flip-flops” on positions. The fact of the matter is that on numerous occasions, Hillary’s position has changed. First gay marriage was bad, now it’s good. First the Keystone Pipeline is good, now it’s bad. The list is quite long. The reality is that there are positive and negative aspects to switching positions.

First and foremost, let’s talk about the bad (because it’s so much easier to get the juices flowing by scapegoating someone). From a broad perspective, the changes in opinions create an inconsistency in ideals. It makes a person look like they will sell out for personal gains—there’s no moral solidity to their character. This is something that Donald Trump has gotten quite a bit of criticism for at the hands of John Oliver. Nobody knows if he’ll be the moderate Donald or the Donald that hesitates to disavow the KKK. It’s unpredictable, and opens the door to bad situations. At least with someone like Ted Cruz he sticks to what he says pretty strongly—no matter who it may offend. This kind of solidity is what people look for in a leader, which is effectively what the president is. The same goes for Bernie Sanders—his supporters have done a good job emphasizing how he has been on the right side of history at every turning point.

The second aspect of how changing positions is negative is that it makes a person out as manipulative. To manipulate someone, a person has to be able to spin things in a light that makes them look good. For whatever reason, Americans deeply hate the idea of having a manipulative leader (probably somewhat related to how Nixon was the greatest offender in this area in recent history). Ironic, since we then expect our president to manipulate the leaders of other countries in a fashion that favors us. Either way, changing sides at crucial election points, regardless of it was the right side to switch to, makes it look fake. SNL’s skit to display Hillary’s shift toward Bernie Sander’s progressive agenda by slowly morphing her speech and image to how Sander’s speaks pulls this to the forefront, but in a comedic way.

Of course, to some extent, this is a pathos-based reaction in order to demonize a person. Changing positions is a good thing to have the capacity for. Certainly, it is better to have always been on the right side of history. My ideal candidate on racial issues is always going to be the candidate that marched for Civil Rights than the one that opposed them. At the same time, I would take a racist that was willing to set aside their personal squabbles with other races in order to promote civil liberty for all. Even if Hillary has continued to believe that marriage is supposed to be a sacred commitment between a man and a woman in her private life, her willingness to accept gay marriage as something that people should be open to displays an open-mindedness to the ideas of others in political affairs.

Her willingness to change positions also exemplifies the willingness to compromise, something that the GOP seems to hold as a completely unacceptable alternative. Which is obscene. Nobody working in politics should sideline the ideas of others—nothing gets solved if that happens. Certainly, it is completely acceptable to disagree with a person, but to not even give them a hearing is not only disrespectful, it is negligent and elitist. There’s going to be a conflict of interest in politics—it’s Congress’s job to resolve these issues, not hold the government hostage until the opposition gives in—that’s a base form of terrorism. Hillary’s willingness to at least work things out and suspend her personal beliefs for the greater good of both America and the world is blatantly better than someone whose two options are “my way or the highway.” Personally, I think anyone incapable of an objective view in a multi-personal issue needs to hit the road themselves. They have disconnected themselves from the logos pillar entirely. Which is unacceptable for a good leader to do, because to understand and connect several trains of thought requires the ability to logically work out the differences in ideas between each station.