One Sided Bias

As humans we have a vested interest in being right. It’s why we argue. We are willing to lose loved ones and friends in order to prove ourselves to be right. Wars are fought and people die over desires to be right. An extreme example, perhaps. But, when you boil every disagreement down to its most basic beginning the root cause is always right versus wrong. Opinion or fact doesn’t really matter because when someone so strongly believes they are right, they cannot see reason and there is little that can be done to persuade them otherwise.

This is one of my shortcomings. Much of my beliefs and opinions are ones I hold dear and will fight tooth and nail to defend. Many of these are based in science and proven facts, but many are also strictly opinions (like the fact that Pumpkin Spice is an abomination).

After this election I have come to see that this one-sided approach to life and politics is detrimental to our country and to myself. Why? Because we are slowly working our way towards divides and wounds that cannot be bridged or healed.

My fundamental understanding and perception of Right vs. Left is this … the Left has deep concern for human beings and the Right has deep concern for money. A simplistic view, absolutely. But, every disagreement on policy that I have had with the Right has boiled down to this: I would argue the benefits to mankind and Americans and they would argue the impact it had on their wallets.

I may be naive, but I truly want to believe that the Right is not as callous as this perception has led me to believe. So, my challenge to myself is to learn and to understand where the Right is coming from. To put aside my personal biases and listen to their core beliefs and values. I’ve taken the time to do this with the Left, but not with the Right. It is far easier to stomach beliefs you agree with than to digest those with which you do not.

The first step I am taking is to listen to Paul Ryan’s audio book, A Better Way. Once I wrap up Cory Booker’s United, I’ll be submitting my ears and time to Paul Ryan. The challenge will be to listen with an open mind.

Now, I know Paul Ryan isn’t the end all be all of the Right, but it’s a start and I am open to book recommendations. Leave yours in the comments.

The Death of Rational Conversation

Although I did not grow up with social media, I barely remember a time without it. The act of checking my feed has become routine and at times, addictive. I do find it ironic that the technology meant to connect us and keep us informed has created a culture that is more disconnected and uninformed than ever. But, perhaps the greatest tragedy of social media is our loss of ability to carry on rational conversations, debates and disagreements.

Behind the false security of a computer screen, we are brazen in our opinions and brave with our words. Things we would never dream to speak aloud, we freely scream on Twitter and Facebook. We can choose to ignore or block that with which we disagree and we, without consequence, taunt and threaten those that dare to dissent. Gone are the days where we shouldered the responsibility of the words we speak.

Freedom of Speech is one of our most powerful and coveted rights (except, perhaps the right to bear arms, which if highly ironic). Despite this, there always have been consequences for using that speech to libel, slander, threaten, harm or intimidate. Those types of speech are not protected by the First Amendment, but they are seemingly protected by the anonymity of the internet. Our laws are just beginning to catch up, but it will be decades before we are close to both protecting Free Speech on the internet and also regulate non-protected speech.

This is not the greatest threat to American Democracy, however. Internet bullies and trolls are a terrible side effect, but they are merely an annoying gnat compared to the loss of rational debate, reputable news and respect of differing ideas. Over the past decade we’ve lost all traces of common sense. We’ve lost the ability to treat each other with respect. We’ve lost our willingness to learn new ideas and thoughts. We’ve lost our desire for seeking out factual information. We’ve surrounded ourselves with like minded friends and ignore those with differing opinions. We’ve rejected the notion that our diversity of thought is what makes us great.

I am just as guilty as anybody on all of these, but I am working to do and be better. I’m working my way out of my liberal bubble and trying to understand what the Right has to say. I don’t always like what I hear or read and I don’t always keep my mouth shut, nor will I ever keep my mouth shut when I encounter injustice, inequality, oppression and false/fake news or misinformation.

To make matters worse, we have major political candidates and influences not only embracing fake news and misinformation but also discrediting and rejecting the Press. We have a president-elect that is actively working to discredit and destroy journalism. We have a president-elect that is refusing intelligence and security briefings. We have a president-elect that is opting to rant on Twitter rather than hold press conferences. This is dangerous and it is an attack on the very freedoms we hold dear.

What we have got to figure out – before it is too late – is how we can reengage and encourage diversity of thought and ideas. At one time, both parties worked together for the common good. We have to figure out how to do this again or the divisions between us will only grow stronger and more dangerous.

In the grand scheme of things I would like to believe that all Americans want the same thing – a safe place to raise families, living wages, equal opportunity and the ability to leave a planet for our children and their children to grow up on. We have to want this not only for ourselves, but also for our neighbors. We only succeed when we all succeed – getting ahead by breaking the back of those below you isn’t true success.

This desire should unite us, not divide us.

An Unpopular Opinion

Heading into the voting booth during the Democratic primary, I struggled greatly with my decision. By the time Tennessee’s primaries rolled around, it was clear the Donald Trump was likely going to be the Republican’s nominee. That was a terrifying proposition. So, I knew the candidate we selected as the Democratic nominee had to be someone that could annihilate Trump. To be honest, I wasn’t optimistic about either of our choices – despite my personal feelings for both of them. I like Secretary Clinton and I like Bernie. But, I am one voter. Did I think either candidate could cross party lines or inspire Independents? Eh.

Bernie’s Progressive ideals and policies appealed greatly to me as a young American who worked her way from poverty level income to having a professional career and being comfortably middle class. I was personally familiar with the difficulties of living on a non-living wage. I also have intimate experience with student loans and debt. My professional career is in a field where workers are grossly underpaid. Every single day, I see the damaging effects of income inequality. Bernie is the only candidate talking about this and he is the only one with a plan of attack. But, Bernie is a Democratic Socialist, something few fully understand and also something the Right uses against him. The Right has created a fear in their followers that social and income equality is an attack on America, when in fact, it is quite the opposite. But, I knew the label would hurt him in a general election.

My biggest issue with Bernie and some of his supporters was the way in which they handled themselves during the primaries. Was Bernie treated unfairly by the DNC? Absolutely. But, if you want real change and you want your actions to be taken seriously, you must act like an adult. Don’t whine. Don’t protest without action. Speak up, but speak intelligently and respectfully. As millennials, we are already fighting an uphill battle to be heard and respected, and many of Bernie’s supporters didn’t do us any favors in making progress here. That said, Bernie offered real hope for change to so many of us who have felt disenfranchised and abandoned by Washington. This was the one thing I thought might help him in a general election.

Secretary Clinton, on the other hand, was the establishment darling. She’s seen the Presidency up close and personal and she’s been involved in government for much of her life and career. Her policies fell into alignment with the DNC and she didn’t challenge the establishment. Her shortcomings, however, were far more divisive than Bernie’s (in my opinion). She has a polarizing personality and is a strong female – something I don’t think American voters are ready for. Particularly, independent votes and Southern and Middle America. Not to mention Benghazi and the email situation, both of which have haunted her since before the nomination. But, she had the full support of the DNC, which did mean there wouldn’t be friction in the Democratic party like Trump was causing on the Right.

I did not vote for Secretary Clinton in the primaries – despite my reservations about public perception of Bernie. I knew their perception of Secretary Clinton was far worse. But, my primary reason for casting my democratic vote for Bernie was sitting on my hip. My then one year old son. The vote I cast that day and every vote after has been and will be done with his future in mind. The candidate I chose was the one I felt would have his best interest in mind. I wanted him to have a future where healthcare and education were guaranteed rights. I want him to have a chance to succeed and I want his friends and classmates to have that same chance. For me, the candidate that would fight for that along with me was clearly Bernie.

That said, I also knew that whomever won the DNC nomination would be getting my vote. While I didn’t support HRC during the primaries, I still knew I would support her in the general election – that was never even a question. For those that say that I am dumb for following party lines, I’d like you to provide me with a good option outside of the DNC. The Green Party isn’t strong enough to gain enough votes to earn federal support, and the Libertarians don’t believe in government. As someone who supported and believed in Bernie, there is no way Gary Johnson would have ever earned my vote. Someone who doesn’t support a federal minimum wage cannot and does not speak for working Americans. That is just one example of the shortcomings of the Libertarian party. Side Note … how does one run for an office that they don’t feel should hold any power? Asking for a friend.

Back to the issue at hand … my unpopular opinion. Ready for it? Here it is … HRC lost because we cannot get along. She lost because the DNC ignored Bernie’s platform and its popularity among young and working class voters. She lost because the DNC ignored Bernie’s supporters and did little to reach out and bring them in. She lost because HRS’s supporters chided, mocked and belittled Bernie’s supporters. She lost because of Benghazi. She lost because of emails housed on a fucking private server (the dumbest fucking reason of all). She lost because the Right is so effective at spreading false rumors and “news” that is meant to terrify gullible voters. She lost because Donald Trump and his team were very effective at manipulation. She lost because she ignored so-called Democratic “safe states.” She lost because she didn’t connect with working Americans. She lost because she was and is too friendly to the 1% and corporate America.

Hillary did not lose because she is a woman. She did not lose because of Bernie or Bust voters. She did not lose because of third-party voters.

She lost because we didn’t fight hard enough to come together. And, that is the true reason. Everything I mentioned above was part of the division. As Democrats, we let those reasons come between us and we let it lose us the election. We essentially handed Trump a victory and the keys to our nation because we bickered like babies. And you know what, we are still bickering. Don’t believe me, find a post within the Pantsuit Nation and comment about Bernie or mention you supported him. Just wait for the rabid dogs to appear ready to call you the same thing the Right does (whiny, cry baby, entitled millennial, delusional, uneducated, etc.).

We have got to move forward and focus on the special elections from those seats left empty because of Donald’s cabinet appointments. We have to focus on 2018 and 2020. The DNC must welcome the Progressives in and it must work to incorporate a more inclusive platform that speaks to the voters and Americans that we lost in 2016. But, more importantly, we must work to incorporate each other – both new Dems and old, establishment Dems – into a party that appeals to and works for ordinary Americans. We can’t afford not to.

Bernie Sanders: Our Revolution

This may not be a popular POV, but I was and always will be a Bernie supporter. I was vocal about my support during the primary and am still following him. For me, there was always something missing in the straight democratic platform. Sure, I’ve been a democrat for as long as I can remember … I think Dukakis was the first I remember voting for in our school elections. But, I knew my ideals were far more left than even the most liberal democrat … and then Bernie came along. As did the terms Progressive and Democratic Socialism. It was then I realized what was missing in the platform of the DNC. And, while I voted for Secretary Clinton and was a fierce supporter of hers after the Democratic National Convention, I still find myself asking “what if.”

In the days and weeks following the election, I found myself sinking deeper into the what if narrative and started stalking Bernie on social media. I was delighted to see he had released a new book that outlined his platform in detail and provided a postmortem on his campaign. So, I quickly downloaded and have spent that past two weeks listening to the audio production (narrated by Bernie himself and Mark Ruffalo) during my commute.

The first half of the book provides some back stories on Bernie’s life and career and then dives straight into his presidential primary campaign. One thing I have always appreciated about Bernie is his honesty – no matter how brutal the truth is. He assigns sainthood to no one (except, perhaps himself at times, my only complaint). To be perfectly honest, this was likely my least favorite part of the book. I had already lived through the campaign process and this was like ripping open a closed wound and pouring salt into the now fresh wound.

The second half of the book, read by Mark Ruffalo, was a complete outline, in detail, of the progressive platform. It contained statistics, solutions, causes and, did I mention actual solutions to the problems faced by every day Americans. Real solutions … such a novel idea.

Several times in the book I was moved to tears. Why? Because Bernie gets it. He truly knows and understands the real struggles that ordinary Americans face every single day. He writes with passion, compassion and empathy as he tells stories of single mothers, coal miners, fast food workers – the under paid and under represented.

What he also knows and understands is how corporations and the 1% are guiding American politics. He discusses, in detail (shocking, I know), just how destructive their lobbying and political activism is to American democracy. If you don’t know the details of how Walmart is the largest recipient of government welfare, you are in for a shocking and rude awakening.

In Our Revolution, Bernie takes corporate America to task and he doesn’t apologize for his hard stance and definitive defense of working Americans. Most politicians today are so far removed from Middle America and the working class, but not Bernie. He took the time to listen and he actually paid attention to their stories and struggles.

I doubt many reading this are on the Right, but if you are and want to understand where Progressives are coming from, I recommend this book. Further, if you are one of the members of the DNC who attack and bemoan the “Bernie or Bust” voters, take the time to check out this book, at least the second half. The policies and positions he outlines are important and they are crucial to rebuilding the democratic party.

Snowflakes, Delicate Little Snowflakes

A delicate little snowflake. That’s what the Right likes to call the Left – especially us bleeding heart liberals (since when did caring for human beings become a bad thing??). It’s meant to imply that we are weak and delicate. Sure, one snowflake can melt under the sun and heat, but 65 million snowflakes? Together, snowflakes are mighty.

When snowflakes come together, it’s a beautiful and majestic sight. People dream of it and when it happens on Christmas, it’s pure magic. One Snowflake can’t change the landscape on its own, but bring us all together and we can change everything.

Together, snowflakes are anything but delicate.

Together, snowflakes can bring power to its knees.

Together, snowflakes can move mountains and reshape landscapes.

Together, snowflakes can shut down cities and stop traffic.

Together, snowflakes can change the conversation.

Together, snowflakes can unite us all.

Together, snowflakes can blanket the ugly and reveal beauty.

Together, snowflakes stand tall and grow stronger with every additional snowflake.

Alone, a single snowflake will melt and wither away. But, when we come together, we add up to an unstoppable force.

Entitled Millennial

I am an entitled millennial libtard.

Some will say I am a delicate snowflake … or a delusional one, depending on who is doing the name-calling. This used to bother me. I used to argue that I was not a millennial, but rather a Gen Xer. And depending on who is defining the terms, I fall into either generation. After this election, I am embracing my millennial status fully and unabashedly.

We are not entitled, lazy brats. We aren’t asking for the world to be handed to us. We aren’t living in our parent’s basements – and those that are, aren’t there out of choice. We aren’t delicate little snowflakes asking to be coddled.

What are we? We are strong and we fight against injustice. We work hard. We are entrepreneurs. We are leaders. We are voters. We are contributing to society. We care – about America, each other, our families, our friends, our futures and our careers. And, like it or not, we are the future of America and we have some pretty big ideas. All we are asking for is the same respect you demand from us and an open table for discussion.

Why do they call us entitled? Is it because we demand to be heard? We demand equality for all? We demand social justice? We demand that our planet be taken care of?

Is it because they are scared that we are right and that the previous generations might just have screwed up so royally that our generation and the ones to follow will be cleaning up their mess for centuries?

Let me lay out just how “entitled” we are …

We don’t want free education. We know public education comes at a cost. We understand that making post-secondary education accessible for all isn’t free. What we don’t understand is how the greatest country in the world can place such a low value on education. How is it that in 2016 in America, college is a privilege? How is it right that college is nothing more than a pipe dream if you weren’t born into the right home, in the right part town and with the right skin color? You scream at us to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, but what do those without bootstraps do? They fight cyclical poverty and oppression and are greeted with anger, hate and violence if and when they break free.

Healthcare is not a privilege. Period. End of story. The fact that we even argue about the cost to keep people – children, senior citizens, moms, dads, etc. – healthy is disgusting. No parent should ever have to worry about financial ruin if their child is sick. The arguments I hear against the ACA or even a single payer system are despicable. When you argue about the cost to tax payers or insurers to cover those with preexisting conditions or those high risk individuals, you are putting the value of a dollar over the value of a human life. That is entitlement. Desiring a good healthcare system that benefits all is not entitlement.

If my taxes are raised to cover the cost of these, then count me in. The few extra dollars I’ll pay each month far outweigh the consequences of not acting. I’ll gladly give up another 3-5% in taxes to ensure my son has a future in which all Americans, including him, are educated, healthy and equal.

Equal rights for every American is a fundamental right guaranteed by our Constitution. Our country was founded on the idea that all are created equal and should have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Again, demanding social equality and social justice isn’t being an entitled brat, it’s being a defender of the American Constitution and being a decent human being.

We also believe in science and we know that our dependence on fossil fuels is dangerous to our planet and our economy. The greed for oil has clouded our judgement on foreign affairs. Our greed for things like plastic, money, cars, etc. has started to destroy our planet. Science is not a fairy tale. It’s not a joke. It’s not a hoax. It is real and we are terrified for the future of our planet – it is the only one we call home and we are treating it like a toilet. Wanting a world to raise our families in isn’t being entitled, it’s being a good steward of the planet.

We believe in the First Amendment and our protests and marches aren’t just for show. We believe in the what we are fighting for – we aren’t whining or crying. We are fighting. You are intimidated because we aren’t just sitting back and taking it. Previous generations fought for and won social change, how are the protests of today any different? How is exercising the rights our Founding Fathers believed so strongly in being entitled?

You want to know what real entitlement is? It’s being born lucky and privileged and thinking that the world owes you something when you already have everything. Entitlement is dismissing those that are oppressed and ignored as being whiners. Entitlement is caring more about someone having more than you rather than worrying about someone that has less. Entitlement is putting the value of money above the value of your neighbor. Entitlement is having the privilege to ignore a problem because it doesn’t apply to you.

The next time you want to slap the label of entitlement on me or my generation, take a good, long hard look in the mirror.

But, You Did It

I often hear people complain about the poor and ask why can’t they just get a job. They look at the homeless with disgust and fear rather than compassion. Work harder! Go to college! They look to my path and story and tell me, “you did it.” Yes, I went from making a poverty level income to having a professional career. But, I was lucky.

I was born into a white middle class family. I had the luxury of choice. When I chose to not go to college after high school, it was an option not a mandate. When I chose to take a $20,000 pay cut to finally go to school, I had that option because I had a white middle class upbringing to fall back on.

Yes, it was hard and every monthly bill was a struggle. But it was a choice. Yes, I worked 40-70 hours each week while going to school full time. Yes, I still did it in four years and graduated with honors. But, I was lucky. I was so lucky.

Had I not had a mother to lean on when things became near impossible, I wouldn’t have made it.

Had I had children, I wouldn’t have afforded it.

Had I been unable to get student loans, I wouldn’t have even tried. Although, now as I stare at that mountain of debt, I wonder if it really was worth it.

Had I been born into a family where college was a pipe dream, I’d never have known I even had a choice.

Life and luck handed me a lot of privilege that made it possible for me to go to college and begin a career that gave me the opportunity to get ahead.

I didn’t ask for or expect handouts, but I am grateful that they are available for those that need them because they weren’t born into the situation I was.

For so many children in America a reality in which there is no choice truly does exist. Those born into abject poverty. Those born into a family where no generation has ever gone to college. Those who were brought here illegally as infants and children.

These children go to bed hungry and they wake up hungry. They miss class so they can work to provide for their families. They forgo their future in order to help their family make ends meet. They repeat the cycle with their own children because it’s all they know.

Let’s look at a quick, generic sample of how this plays out. Say they get a job at minimum wage after high school so they can start to save for college. Their pay is $7.25 per hour and they work 40 hours a week. Before taxes, they earn $290 a week; after taxes (assuming state income tax) they take home roughly $247 a week. That’s $988 a month or $12,844 a week. For fun, let’s say they add a part-time job that’s 15 hours a week and bring home an extra $100 a week to being their annual total to just over $18,000 and the monthly to $1,388.

Let’s assume the following information: they don’t live at home because their home isn’t safe or stable, they are single and don’t have a child to support. For the sake of argument, it’s highly likely that they are supporting at least one child, but let’s keep it simple.

Rent: $600
Utilities: $150
Groceries: $150
Transportation: $150 (maybe they have a car or they take public transportation – this is likely a lowball estimate)
Health Insurance: $200 (if they are fortunate enough to have the option)
Total Estimated monthly bills: $1,250

Working 55 hours a week at a full and part time job, they are left with just $138 to save for emergencies and their future. That’s assuming there is no debt and no unexpected bills. And that they don’t buy other necessities like clothing, household supplies, etc.

I wish I still had the budget sheets from when I was in this exact scenario … entire notebooks filled with numbers and attempts to make the ends meet.

Higher education is not affordable or attainable for all and that is unacceptable. Changing your stars isn’t something that can be done without blood, sweat and tears while tearing down the very walls put in place to keep you on your side of the tracks. So, telling someone to just get a job or just go to college isn’t a solution.

And when these people do break those barriers, some bemoan that they are taking our jobs and that it’s not fair.

What isn’t fair it right is tearing these people down whether they win or lose. Having compassion doesn’t make me a weak, pathetic liberal. It makes me a human being.

We need more compassion. We need more understanding. We need more support. We need more kindness. We need to do and not just say.

 

The First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Freedom of religion. Freedom of speech. Freedom of the press. Freedom to peacefully assemble. Freedom to petition the government.

All right there in one amendment. The very first one. Our Founding Fathers found these six freedoms to be so important they wrote them first and grouped them together.

Why? Well, one would assume they believed strongly that these bore the weight of democracy. I’d wager to say they are grouped together because each of these freedoms are crucial together.

The First Amendment is not a buffet. You don’t get to pick and choose what applies, when it applies and to whom it applies. Every single citizen in America is guaranteed these rights regardless of whether you agree with what they are saying or not.

I share a lot of things that are my opinion and beliefs and I am passionate about all of them. When you disagree and comment, I respect your right to do so. I also reserve the right to respond. I continue to work on doing so more respectfully.

Freedom of Religion – the majority of America is of the Christian faith, but our country was founded as a haven for those seeking freedom from religious persecution. But, a few hundred years later and we seem to have forgotten this. There is a reason Thomas Jefferson fought for separation of Church and State; when the government meddles in religion or the church meddles in the government freedom of religion goes out the window.

Freedom of religion applies to Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Atheism, Scientology or any other religion. Before you argue about terrorism, let me remind you that I am talking about religion, not violence. Christianity has been on the giving end of violence, terror and fear over the course of its history and yet I can still separate the faith from the acts of those perverting their religion to further a personal or political agenda. Hence, separation of church and state.

Freedom of Speech – this is one that social media has put under attack. If we don’t like what you post, we feel you to shut up. If we don’t like what we see we attack. Over the course of history, we have defined what constitutes as free speech and what does not. Not included: hate speech, speech meant to incite or threaten violence, slander and libel. What is included: burning flags, sharing opinions, art, disagreement, etc.

Burning flags is a hot topic lately, pun intended. Here’s what I’ve never understood, getting up in arms as if by someone burning the flag they are attacking your freedoms. Yes, the fabric is gone, but the meaning still stands – the meaning of the flag lies with us, not the cotton or fibers that construct it. We, the citizens of the United States of America are the only true representation of our values. Can you imagine how angry someone must be to burn the symbol of the very freedom that gives them the right to do so? How threatened must they feel in their own country? It’s an act of protest and an expression of free speech. As someone who isn’t a minority, it might be hard for me to understand the true feeling of being oppressed by the country that touts freedom as it’s biggest calling card. But, the burning of the flag, the symbol of that freedom, is an act against the oppression. It is a way of saying “you say we are free and yet you refuse to provide those freedoms and protections to us based on skin color/religion/social class/etc.”

Freedom of the Press – without this small sentence the democracy that we live in would cease to exist. Dramatic? Yes. True. Absolutely. The press’s job is to report to the American people what the government is doing. And, yes, bias is often laced in the reporting. But, just because you don’t like what you hear does not mean it’s true.

Just as there is left leaning media there is right leaning media. You need to find a balance that provides both sides and reports it. And for the love of everything, please check facts. If you only follow Alex Jones or Michael Moore, you’re not getting he whole picture.

Freedom to Peacefully Assemble – If you’re still reading, bless you. I debated putting this first, but opted to follow the order the Founding Fathers laid out. The course of American history has been changed because our citizens are willing to stand up and come together for what we believe if right and just.

Rioting is not peaceful assembly. Taking to the streets and marching in protest is peacefully assembling. Blocking traffic is not rioting. Let me say that again … blocking traffic and marching are not rioting. They are not pathetic. They are standing up and coming together to fight what they feel is a violation of their rights. Just because you don’t agree with or understand their position does not make it any less protected by the First Amendment. For example, I despise all that the KKK stands for, but they still have the right to March. Where they lose that right is when they become violent or incite violence. Well, and the whole hate speech thing.

Freedom to Petition the Government – if we all stood back and just accept things are the way they are, we’d still be under British rule. The Declaration of Independent was the first time we exercised this right, although we didn’t have the right to do so at the time it was written.

If our Founding Fathers hadn’t had the gumption to stand up for what they felt was right, we’d still be sipping tea and singing Hail to the Queen.

The First Amendment the defining Amendment for American Democracy. These rights, which apply to all citizens, afford us the ability to stand up and fight for the good of our collective republic.

Election Postmortem

Two weeks later and I’m still wrestling with the idea that a quarter of America has enough contempt for their neighbors to elect a president willing to strip them of their rights. Perhaps I am naive, but I used to believe America was making progress on its racial, religious and gender divides. But, here we are.

It’s 2016 and we still haven’t grasped the concept of love they neighbor.

The United States will never succeed or last unless we all come together to support each other.

We, human beings, are all in this together. We eat the same food. We breath the same air. We walk the same earth. We are born and we all die. Why is that we use the little things to divide us?

We put ourselves it little classification buckets and we cling to those titles like they are gold. But, what truly defines us as human beings is how we treat each other. Do we help each other when we need it? Do we pick each other up when we fall? Or, do we laugh and mock those who struggle? It seems we gravitate towards the latter. And, that’s why we are where we are.

Since the election, I’ve amassed a large number of new “friends.” This group is, for the most part, like minded. We all had a similar goal and are seemingly connected. And yet, when one of us disagrees with a core belief of another, the wolves come out with pitchforks drawn. We are so quick to crucify our own when a dissenting thought emerges.

Aren’t these different thoughts and opinions the very thing that makes us great? Aren’t different ideas crucial to progress and growth?

I am just as guilty of dismissing an idea I disagree with, but I, we, need to learn to embrace those ideas and our differences. We all have common goals – we want the country we live in to be safe. We want to have a chance to succeed. We want happiness for ourselves and for our children.

In order to want and actually have these things, we have to want them for all citizens, not just those that are carbon copies of ourselves.

While I’m not fully ready to embrace President-elect Trump’s ideas for a utopian America, I am ready to find a path to move forward. How do we bridge the divide? How do we come back together and restart progress towards equality?

I think we start by loving thy neighbor.

Just Another Libtard Snowflake

Why have I been sharing so many political position posts? The answer is simple, I am incredibly tired of being called a libtard and I’m even more tired of being ignored and dismissed for thinking the way I do. I’m also sick of people assuming I am lazy, uneducated, begging for handouts or whatever liberal stereotype they’ve decided to label me with.

My political opinions aren’t trivially founded. They are based on my years of life experience and education, just as I assume yours are. And, just like yours, they are valid.

I’ve read a lot of posts lately that have called us sore losers. They said we are pathetic and need to just accept the results and move on. They want us to respect Trump as the president-elect and fall into line.

Just like they did with President Obama.

I nearly choked writing that.

The lack of respect that has been given to President Obama and the First Lady has been repugnant. The First Couple has been the very picture of grace and dignity, but were judged based on the color of their skin rather than their merit and work. His nationality was questioned to a distracting degree. He was called the antichrist. They shouted from the rooftops that he was not their president.

President Obama won BOTH the popular vote and the electoral college in both 2008 and 2012. Don’t believe that, look it up via a reputable site. Another fact, president-elect Trump did not win the popular vote, but he did win the electoral college. So, when you say the majority has spoken, that is true. They have and they spoke for Secretary Clinton. We just happen to have a system in place that prevents direct democracy. There are several reasons for this that I won’t get into or debate.

Regardless of that fact, he is still the president-elect. I don’t agree with it. I don’t like it. I don’t support the platform and rhetoric he ran on, but I do support the office. And, yes, that is possible.

That said, I will continue to fight for and stand up for what is right. I will stand beside those fighting for their rights and civil liberties to be protected. I will fight for the poor and disenfranchised.

If this hasn’t become abundantly clear, my voice will only be getting louder. I am certain those that don’t agree with me have already tuned out and that is ok. But, my goal is to share my positions is a safe place and to have the ability to explain the reasons why I believe what I do. Perhaps even shed some truth on what it means to be liberal.