THE STATE OF THE UNION

Hello everyone,
Let’s talk about the United States of America. I’ve been learning about other countries and how they interact recently. For example, Germany has a recycling program that is vastly superior to ours, and in doing so, uses much less energy. Denmark has a social system in place that allows them luxuries that many family’s in America do not get. So why, then, is America called the greatest country on Earth?

Rhetoric. Rhetoric is used to control and manipulate people, and the US is very good at it. I mean, it’s in the name of the country. “United,” a word meaning to come together, often seen as being against an enemy. Our country is one that impresses the idea that we are forever together, and speaking against that is against the country. Which is ironic, since our laws say otherwise (see responses to Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem). But this rhetoric is repeated throughout the nation to do a specific thing. It keeps people quite. It keeps people unquestioning. And it overshadows real problems.

I strongly dislike Donald Trump, but he’s right in saying that America is not great. Of course, he’s wrong in asserting it was ever great if he believes it used to be great compared to today, and he’s wrong about why America isn’t great, but our union is not really that united. We are divided over so many issues. Healthcare. Welfare. Child abuse. Domestic disputes. Foreign entanglements. Business arrangements. Abortion. Climate change. The list goes on. And the problem is that there is a division in our thought processes. Now, surely everyone thinks differently. I doubt all Germans appreciate or see a need for recycling. But they realize it’s importance for unity.

Too many people do not realize that we are not a United States if we cannot find true unity. And the people in power aren’t the people who want it to be found. I don’t mean the president, but the lawmakers, and the businessmen and women who sponsor them. People like Donald Trump, who blame other people aspiring toward the idea of “the American Dream” for crimes they have not committed. To find unity, we have to find common ground based not in feelings, but in facts. Concrete data, where we can see the problems with our world and fix them. And then find pride in fixing those problems. World War II is a good example of this, because it brought everyone together under one banner. But it shouldn’t take a war to look for positive common ground. Unity should not come strictly in the face of death. It should be found in things as simple as “let’s find a way to get rid of this trash.”

What do you think? Is that impossible? Our nation is much larger than the European ones mentioned, does that make this goal unobtainable? Let me know!

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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!

TALKING FAME

Hello everyone,

 

It’s time to vent! Success is such an impossibly hard thing. Think about it. How many celebrities are there? Maybe ten thousand? If we assume all those people are American, there’s roughly a 0.003 percent chance that you a celebrity. That’s astronomically low. Yet in spite of that, we are pressured to look, act, think, and talk like them. Celebrities are what drives our culture, which very easily could be how things have developed naturally.

To expand on this idea, the idea of a worldwide celebrity is fairly new. Barring political characters, one of the first real “celebrities” where they would be recognized on street corners and such, was Ben Franklin. He was what I would call a political celebrity, much like someone like Obama. I mean, he was famous before he was actually directly involved in politics, but still. Anyway, Ben Franklin had a lot of positive and negative aspects to his character. For example, he had a few wives because, you know, he couldn’t really get it right. He also had a bit of a struggle with his son, who’s idea of work and such contrasted with his own. That being said, Ben Franklin is also vastly considered to be one of the spearheads of the revolution, and rightly so. Poor Richard’s Almanac did a lot to wake the common person to the injustice of the colonies.

On the other hand, he also taught us to learn from and idolize those we looked up to. Which isn’t inherently a bad time—I mean, religion has been teaching us to learn from those older and wise than us for millennia. Politics has always been telling people how to live. Regardless, it was different prior to the Internet, as well as the vast wealth and accessibility to knowledge.

Which brings me with my problem with learning and idolizing celebrities—we only see their highlights. I mean, every once in a while we hear the stories of the Peter Dinklage’s of the world. In fact, that’s often the one’s we hear most and expect ourselves to match. Yet there can only be so many celebrities. Can you imagine a world with seven billion celebrities? No. And many people will tell you it is hard work to get there. And I’m sure it is. That being said, it’s also hard work to wake up at two am every day to be at work by four am in order to clean the toilets. And you can argue that this job is some how less important than shooting a film, but if you’ve ever woken up daily at 2 am, you probably know that this is not the case. It’s hard. Your body is tired. Now, I’m not trying to discredit the work that celebrities do, but at the same time can we look at the work of the common man and give them a bit more credit?

Ok, with that off my chest, I also want to look at celebrity faults. We hold any mistake by celebrities at their throats. Yet, there’s so many people who do the same things on a daily basis. I’m not justifying things like saying, I don’t know, Mexican’s are rapists, because that’s bullshit and we know it. But take maybe a questionable aspect of a relationship. Take any heterosexual celebrity couple. If the guy went out with another girl, even in a purely platonic way, the paparazzi would be all over them. And that’s unfair. They should be able to live their lives with a bit more quietness. Or not. I guess their lives are for the entertainment of others. What do you think? Let me know!

CELEBRITY STATUS

Hello everyone,

 

Do you ever wonder what it’s like to be a celebrity? I certainly do sometimes. It would be kind of cool to have people pay for your drinks, be seated earlier because the whole restaurant recognizes you, and have the general public aware of the good you do in life. Of course, it’s not all perfect. In fact, it’s probably harder in many way to be a celebrity than to be someone more average. For example, because your every movement is tracked, it certainly seems possible that if you ever had an affair that the whole world would know about it. Which maybe is fair, since cheating is a pretty immature thing to do in life.

But lets say its something more innocent, like, let’s say that you, being rich, decide to splurge a bit and buy a fancy car that isn’t the best for the planet, around the pollution levels of an average car, then you are questioned about your commitment to the Earth and its well being. You say you love the Earth and want to see it flourish. A magazine writes that you are misguided and a hypocrite because you have the money to afford a car that will actually help the planet. Now, for you, have things really changed? Probably not, but the world would see you as someone who could do better, but decided not to, simply because you bought a nice car.

It’s things like this that make the position of celebrity a blessing and a curse. Leonardo di Caprio is another example of a celebrity where this is potentially true. By being extremely outspoken about Global Warming and other aspects of society, he puts himself out there to being ridiculed for various issues. I mean, lets say he just goes out with some friends, and one of those friends drives a Hummer. And the paparazzi takes and publishes photos of him getting out of it. Suddenly there’s a whole story about how his caring for the planet is some false public rhetoric in order to gain support for liberal candidates that are also hypocrites.

See how easy it is to be the blame? Some celebrities have accepted this and even embraced it. Take Kanye West, he’s a prime example of a celebrity that has accepted all the hate and shot it right back at the world—calling the screams of his haters his superhero theme music. Then again, Kanye is often seen as the kind of person that we should try not to be. Generally selfish, vain, abrasive. He’s not really a stand up citizen. He is, however, one of the biggest names on the planet. So I suppose there’s something to be said about that. Meanwhile, the celebrities that are doing good for the world—including Leo, Emma Watson, and a slew of others—are kept relatively in the background of the media coverage. So…maybe we should critique the media as well as our own television watching selves, rather than the celebrities? Is that fair? Let me know in the comments!

POTENTIAL FOR POWER

Hello everyone,

 

Today I wanted to discuss the media. Since as most people know, the media holds quite a bit of power in the world. I’m curious to what extent they abuse this power. I’m also curious what the extent of their power is, so I think I’m going to spend some time expressing how their potential power affects the world.

I use the phrase “potential power” because the reach and influence of the media varies based on too many factors for me to begin to understand how they would possibly make an accurate test about it. Let’s start with the most well known outlet—the television. TV has become something that’s pretty common in every household, even if it is secondhand. People who watch the TV for news are subjected to specific content, but content that is relatively current. This means that they have become aware of the news, just like with any other news source out there. At least, that’s the idea of it. However, many people believe that this news is filtered a lot in order to boost ratings. For example, the political media gave an abnormal portion of screen time to Donald Trump during the primaries because he was so obscene, which boosted ratings.

Of course, this is true of many news sources, however, we should stop to question whether this is right or not. For those of you hard core Bernie Sanders supports, or those of you who simply preferred him to Hilary, it’s important to point out that most people thought that Sanders was effectively given a “media blackout.” In other words, most Sanders supporters believed that he was being shut down by the media. Now, this is pretty hard to say, since I know that I could find videos of Sanders all over the internet, but in regard to television, I am not someone who really peruses the TV for content.

If you exist on Facebook, there is a good chance you had one of those friends that constantly blew up your feed with news about Sanders. Which brings me to the second source of media, the Internet. The Internet is it’s own entity that at this point is probably several times bigger that the TV. Hence why streaming television shows, news reports, and so on have become such an enormous aspect of the television stations. Many people get their news from the internet nowadays—whether it’s watching the Daily Show on Hulu, reading the New York Times articles on their iPhones, or just searching the web for general news. I like to think that the Internet is a little bit more unbiased (weird to say, isn’t it?) because there are probably less filters on what is “news” based solely on opinions. I’d imagine the Internet shows topics based on trending stories, which basically means however popular it is.

However, there is a good chance that I am wrong about this. Facebook is often reported as showing liberal topics in their “trending” section more than conservative topics. Now, it’s quite likely that this is because there are simply more liberals on Facebook than conservatives, but it’s hard to say for certain. What are your ideas? Is it scary to think that our news sources could be filtering what aspects of the news we here? Let me know in the comments!