COVFEFE AND CLIMATE CHANGE

There is never a week that goes by when something entertaining isn’t going on. The Climate Change denial is real. The covfefe is real. The bragging about things that really don’t matter enough to be bragged about is real. But enough about Donald Trump. I can see the logic behind the argument against the Paris Agreement, but there is some fault in it. Namely, that if we don’t have a livable globe, the fact that someone is “for the people of Pittsburgh” is irrelevant. Because there will be no people left. Although, being for the people of Pittsburgh would indicate being for the people at all, which isn’t even clear to me. Though presenting a healthcare program that knocks some twenty million people off healthcare doesn’t seem to support a “for the people” position in the slightest.

Whatever. There are too many things to talk about today and I don’t want to get sidetracked through this whole post. Climate change. It is important because it is real. For anyone saying it isn’t real, take a moment and think to yourself: is it possible? If you answered yes, please read over the science, as I think you will find that your assertion is incorrect when presented with evidence. If you answered no, I’ll be responding personally.

So why not? Why can’t people cause climate change? Is it that the Earth is some sort of infinite object? For those of you reading along, this is one of the biggest reasons people don’t get climate change. They believe that the Earth is too big for us to have a real impact on it. This dates back to the Old Testament, and other religious inclinations that swayed society hundreds of years ago. The Earth is viewed as immortal, evergreen, etc. But think about it. It isn’t. It’s just a ball of matter.

Think of any ball of matter. Actually, lets think specifically of a ball of wood, the size of your hand. Put a lit match to that wood—just one. Now, it probably didn’t light up. Add in a few more matches. It might still not light up. But eventually, it will, right? Maybe after 10 matches, it lights up on the side, but dies out quickly. After 100, it ignites. That’s the problem with man-made climate change. It takes literally billions of matches to make an impact, because the Earth is huge. If you saw your house burning, you wouldn’t say “that’s nothing.” You would be thinking “Oh god! How do we put out this fire!?” The science is the writing on the wall, in the moments before ignition. The fires have started, and while some have burned out, people are still lighting matches. It won’t be long before it burns up.

Ok, yes it is true this is a bit of a crude metaphor, but it is a metaphor for a reason. And the logic is sound. The Earth is a ball of matter, like anything else, and it can only be burned so much. Pulling out of the Paris Agreement displays the ignorance of this situation. Truly caring for citizens—both of Pittsburgh and the rest of the world—is to protect them, their children, and all peoples there after.

——

 

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TALKING ABOUT THE VOID

Do you ever hear the aching call of the black void, so calm and so quiet, yet full of remorse and desperation? With the controversy over 13 Reasons Why, as well as the general sense of nihilism among many of my Millennial counterparts, I figured I should take a short time to talk about it, since I shared in an interesting conversation about “the darkness” with someone recently.

As I and others of my age group grow into adults, we become more and more aware of our place in the world…as tiny specks. One in seven billion. It is hard to feel special when the numbers are so stacked against us, even if we are the biggest living generation around. The sense of hopelessness and inability to succeed seeps into our everyday life—which in the grand scheme of things is ironic, since Millennials are better off than most generations that the United States has experienced, in terms of upbringing and living conditions (though that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Saying someone with a DVD player is more well off than someone with a VHS player is negligible when neither has a television). I think this is an apt reason for why Millennials are often considered entitled, but I don’t really want to rehash an argument that boils down to opinion and chosen perspectives, so that’s all I will say on that.

What I do want to talk about is the sense of hopelessness; the so-called “void” people often reference. Maybe it is because we have (sort of) normalized feelings of depression, enough to where people can speak more openly about it, but I don’t know. I think perhaps the actual depression might be hidden somewhere else. Regardless, this void is something we (Millennials) talk about together. The general sense of “I don’t want to adult” or “everyday is awful.” First of all, it isn’t the first time this has happened—every generation goes through struggles becoming an adult, Millennials are just a little later to the party.

BUT, this sense of hopelessness also is a call for unity and common ground. I can go up to anyone in my school and show them a meme about “struggles” or “#adulting” or “anxiety and depression” and they will get it—half of them will probably openly admit the text lingo “same”—which means “I feel the same way.” Which, I think, in some ways provides avenues for happiness down the line. This is because, in theory, life will not always be so daunting. At some point we will all come together with our common experiences and have one united voice. It also helps break down the barriers that other generations have experienced—race, sex, romantic inclinations, etc…they all pale in comparison to the feeling of “the void” (I am hopeful the same is true for class, but we shall see).

Anyways, those are just my thoughts on the struggle that many of the blossoming youth in America are dealing with. Do you agree or disagree? Have further thoughts of opinions? Let me know!

——

 

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THE FLAG-BEARER

The streets filled with the thunder of footsteps as we marched down to the capital. Thousands of us had heard the imperial message of our leader, reminding us of the tentative balance that democracy constantly hung in. Unlike the indecisive nations of the world, however, we were unafraid of our government. Our revolution had been different. Main Street—the street we now trampled on—had been the site of our reincarnation. It had been a bloody debacle, in which many lost their lives on both sides. In the end, however, we had claimed victory, though the red from the blood baths had permanently stained the street a faded red.

I was the flag-bearer—holding the large steel pole to display the symbol of our nationalism. The fabric was a vibrant red, with a gash of heavy crimson through the center, to symbolize the scars of our nation’s beginning. I was near the front, pushed off to the right so that the heads of the masses could approach first. The front-runner was a man dressed in a black leather robe, with a dull silver lining around the edges. On his head sat a matching hat, and he had donned a pair of intimidating shades, despite the overcast weather. He walked with a terrifying air of power.

Since the revolution, he had been named the Enforcer. The role of the Enforcer was just what it sounded like…to enforce the law. He had rescinded his name the day he had been given the role, twenty years ago. His strength of youth had left him, and his stark black hair had been speckled with the salt and pepper of age, yet he walked with an air of resilience. Each of his large strides (for he was nearly six-foot five-inches tall) seemed to rise above the clatter of boots behind him, and each step seemed to shake the Earth itself.

Around his waist were the only two guns in the whole of our nation. After the bloodbath of Main Street, even the most remote villagers could not argue with the destructive force that these weapons were capable of. Only the Enforcer, the final level of judgment, was allowed to bear arms. He was a zealot, but not an unrestricted or careless man in his demeanor. The only zeal he defended in his life was the just treatment of things in life. Hence why he alone could wield the twin pistols with the power to take life in an instant.

But it with the strength of power that men become the most susceptible to corruption. While the Enforcer was a great man—and in many ways still is—he himself has failed his own duties. Perhaps that is why at the capital building there stood a legion of men in all red. They stood atop the stairs, looking down on us, and we halted at the base. The white marble steps contrasted the red of the street stunningly, the way a pillar of light cuts through the darkness around it.

Yet as we stood there, the crimes of the Enforcer paled in comparison to those of our ruler. Broken promises, violent language, and irresponsible behaviors. The minor follies of the average man beg the forgiveness of his peers. I, myself, struggle with my sexism. Even now, I refer to men and mankind, rather than the humanity we live in. Yet in the end, is it our struggles, or whether we overcome them, that should be judged? Do we mock the single stray bullet, or praise the steady hand that has time and again liberated us?

These questions I pondered, with the cool steel of the flagpole in my hand, in the moments before we tore down the regime of anarchy, cut down the battalion before us, and restored order to the people. After, I returned to my lonely desk job, the Enforcer went back to his building, where he drank his nights away, and I assume the rest of the crowd dispersed back to their usual lives…but that one day, the moment we chose to overthrow tyranny and return the power to the people…that’s what makes living worth it. That’s what makes our country great.

——

 

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FEAR VS. LOVE

Hello everyone,

 

Today I wanted to talk to you all about power. I have been watching House of Cards over the weekend, because I was deathly sick with something, and was bedridden pretty much the whole time. Anyways, if you have not seen it, House of Cards is a show about a politician named Frank Underwood, who uses his political prowess to rise to power, subverting the traditional means of democracy. He uses anything from intimidation to extortion to get what he wants. When people do not give him what he wants, he will not hesitate to take them out. That’s the basic idea of the show.

Now, these are all traits of a dictator, and they are pretty static concepts when said broadly (like I just did). Let’s take the famous Machiavellian quote “it is better to be feared than loved” and consider it for a moment. It’s certainly true, right? At least, for a leader. Beowulf is a famous example, who was loved by his countrymen but also, deep down, feared as well. Seriously, in the story of Beowulf, kingdoms much bigger than his refused to challenge his because he was so feared. There are many literary examples of this, but even historically it’s true as well. Stalin is perhaps the best example of fear. Stalin was an awful guy who ruled with an iron fist, but nobody questioned his title, even though it was undeserved. Those who did…well…added to the death count.

Of course, fear fails. Not immediately, but eventually. Nearly every revolution was born because someone stopped being afraid. Or rather, many someones. Eventually, someone slips through the cracks, and starts a movements that ends the regime. Whether another regime replaces that regime is a different story, but it can be said that the power of one individual runs out eventually, no matter how much they are feared.

Love, on the other hand, is ineffective for individual leaders. Certainly, it is good if a monarchy is loved, because there is less likelihood for the want of a revolution, but it is impossible for a monarch to please everyone. It’s part of why presidential approval ratings are typically not in the nineties. However, it is good for leaders to be loved in communal societies. When the focus is not on the one, but rather the collective, then the need for love increases. Typically, these societies do not have one individual “king,” and if they do have some sort of leader, that leader is not considered superior to their group. Rather, these groups need love because they need to be able to work together and discuss, constructively, the different avenues to success. Without discussion, no progress would be made.

I bring this up because we live in extremely divisive times. It seems that nobody wants to sit down and talk to each other, rather they rally behind their leader of choice, and hope to dominate the opposition. Which is unfortunate, because I think what made America great is the community. The idea that we can be individuals, but united by a single goal. Not a person, but a goal: each other. That’s something I think we need to get back to.

——

 

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BUS RIDE

I ride the bus everyday,

With a variety of people.

There are homeless,

There are businessmen,

There are mothers with their children

Trying to get them to school.

 

Everyone smiles,

Some people wave,

And a couple brave souls venture to talk.

There is a new driver, Don,

And he’s a different kind of driver.

He hates the squeaky wheel.

 

The bus I ride everyday has a squeaky wheel—

The one at the front

On the passenger’s side.

When the bus runs smoothly

She mostly keeps quiet.

But when the bus brakes too hard

Or when the drive swerves dangerously

She makes a racket.

 

Most of us don’t mind the noise—

It reminds us that we need to get a car someday.

But Don—oh Don—he hates it.

He told me the bus line he used to run

Had no squeaky wheels.

Every bus was spick and span.

 

Don loathes the noise.

Every time it rears its head

He’ll shout out to the crowd.

What he doesn’t realize

Is that he’s part of the reason it squeaks.

 

Don drives too fast.

He likes to speed across railroad tracks

Instead of look both ways first.

He likes to take sharp turns

Going forty in a fifteen.

So it’s no wonder she hollers at him.

 

But the problem isn’t just about Don—

Though Don certainly could be better—

He could be the one to step up

And address the problems of the squeaky wheel.

But this is also a problem with the bus company.

Leave a squeaky wheel too long,

And it just might come off.

 

And if one wheel falls off the bus,

You had best be ready for the oncoming accident.

——

 

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SKYLINE VIEWS

Why ruin such a beautiful view

With buildings?

Can you picture the skyline

Devoid of human progress?

 

No pointy buildings

No gashes on the clouds

No cars running

And drowning out the sounds.

 

No rows of dead trees

From the polluted air

No smell on the breeze

From the industrial lair

 

Just you and the hill for miles to see

Can you picture what that wonder would be?

——

 

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THE FORK

The drive home from work takes a short while. Some twenty minutes. It’s nothing special—I certainly wouldn’t write home about it. For the past few weeks, there has been a construction crew on one corner, where the road forks into east and west. I had never seen the construction crew working—I assumed they worked late at night, after I had left, or early in the morning, before I arrived. But today, things were different. As I was coming along the curve of the road that leads up to the fork, a construction worker with a large, abrasive red stop sign jumped out in front of oncoming traffic. The blue Toyota Prius that was three cars in front of me, slammed on their breaks, which caused the following cars ahead of me to do the same. I, like the cars in the lane parallel to us, did the same, and we came to a stop about fifty feet from the fork.

The construction worker was dressed in the abhorrent orange vest that they wear for their safety, with a pair of intimidating shades. It would not have appeared quite so bad if he had not had such a smug grin on his face—like he had done this solely to ruin the waning hours of our day. What was worse, is that there was a tractor with a towing cable tied to it backing up from between the fork—in that space where, if you were to drive full speed through, you would eventually hit a tree. Traffic was dead stopped, and the lanes were backing up. Still, this guy stood there with a grin on his face.

Now, I could not fault him—I mean, it is his job and he probably knows it better than I do. But the tractor was in the left lane—the one to head west. I was in the right lane, which heads east. There was a full five feet between the tractor and the lane—plenty of space to fit by. In fact he should have only stopped the left lane. I felt a twinge of anger inside me. The roar of horns behind us did nothing to calm me down, either. The incessant BEEP-BEEP BEEEEEEEEP of the horns was infuriating. I was looking around—behind me, ahead, to the sides—looking for a way out. And finding none.

Apparently, I was not alone in this feeling. In a surprising burst of speed, the blue Prius shot forward. The construction worker looked on in horror as the little machine whizzed by him. It was like the floodgates of a dam had been flung open, and our whole lane surged forward with waves of anger. But it didn’t stop there. We rounded the corner going faster—faster around the corner than we had ever gone before. Sixty, seventy, eighty miles per hour! We shot through the red light like a bullet (the blue Prius had not been quite so lucky. Its entry was met with a crater into a white Honda Civic. But small losses are needed for revolution. We sped and sped and sped like a herd of beasts through the road, until finally I came to my turn off point. I realized that I could not make my turn, and terror took hold. I was no longer the pack of noble animals coursing against the flood of a cruel system. I had become the wolf—the cruel, malicious hunter who decimated everything in my path.

——

 

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HEROES IN AMERICA

My stomach growled with hunger pains,

Like a lion ready to strike.

I dug through garbage in the rain

Desperate for something that I’d like.

 

It was a black and frigid night,

Like something out of a novel.

Yet heroes overcome their plight,

While I sit freezing and grovel.

 

My toes are blue and frost bitten;

My overcoat tattered and torn;

My socks and shoes have holes in ‘em,

I loathe that I were ever born.

 

Of course, that’s just another day

As a Vet in the U.S.A.

——

 

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GOLDEN STRUGGLES

It’s hard to believe

Life is hard for everyone.

Even Donald Trump.

 

Although Donald Trump

Might not have it quite as hard

As a Harlemite.

 

Better dipped in gold

Than underneath a bootstrap,

Or invisible.

 

In the beating sun

Better to carry the whip

Than pick the cotton

 

That life’s more easy;

Even if they both get burned.

Only one gets scars.

 

But that’s hard to see

From a penthouse apartment

In your own hotel.

——

 

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THE PAINTERS

White

Look at those white men.

How do you agree with them?

Do they control you?

 

Yellow

Hey, long time no see.

He knows how to use chopsticks

And likes to play joke.

 

Black

Aye, boy, come here now.

I saw what you did to him,

Get that jacket off!

 

Brown

What was his name? Juan?

Hey! Juan! Can you pull my weeds?

His name is Steven.

 

Painters

We see face value

Rather than hear ideas.

Coloring who’s good.

——

This is one poem made of 5 separate haikus. That matters.

 

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