Let Us All Unite!

 

It’s depressing how divided my country has become. I look around and see more than just two different political views; I see two different realities. I’m not just living in a different country than those I disagree with; I’m in a different universe.

Has it ever been this bad before? Was it this bad during the Vietnam War? The Cold War? The Civil War? The Revolutionary War? I don’t like the fact that when I think of periods with intense division they are all periods of ‘war.’

A few months ago I did something I thought was really cool. I had to fill out a form to take a hearing test and it asked for my nationality. After thinking for a few minutes I put down what I felt was most appropriate: American. Sure, my ancestors came from western European countries, but that’s been over a hundred years ago and I never met any of them. It doesn’t make sense to say I’m ‘Irish’ or ‘English’ or ‘German.’

For better or worse I’m an American.

But now is a strange time to be an American. I don’t feel that I need to add a pronoun to say I’m European American. It’s only somewhat important at the moment whether someone is African American or Asian American.

What people care about is that I’m a Liberal American. An American Democrat. A Progressive American.

I have a part-time job writing for a local newsweekly. I try to focus on local politics in the area. I usually do a preview of county elections and I’ve covered the Mayor’s State of the City. It’s important stuff that doesn’t always end up in our local daily paper.

Something I notice about local politics as opposed to state or national level politics is that the D and R behind people’s names don’t matter quite as much. I can safely assume someone’s views and priorities by that letter, but it doesn’t define them to the point where I feel they’re an enemy. I know what talking points I’ll probably get during an interview, but they don’t seem like boogeymen in a lightly colored mansion hundreds of miles away.

Maybe that’s because the mayor is more likely to be my neighbor. A city councilman could be my waiter. If I want to say something to a county commissioner I can pick up the phone and dial the number. These aren’t people that are far away who I can easily dehumanize.

Maybe at the local level it’s just easier to remember that in spite of our differences we all want to make our community a great place to live.

It can be frustrating to browse Facebook anymore. A lot of the time I want to get into arguments. I want to know why people hold their views. I want to know where they get their information.

But for the most part, people don’t want to share that sort of thing.

So my New Year’s Resolution is that the next time I see something I find completely ignorant I want to write a bitchy comment to on social media I’ll ask “how does this help anything?”

Seriously, how does bickering about whether Democrats want to raise your taxes or if Republicans want to allow corporations to run the country help anything? You’d think having cellphones that connect us with every newspaper on the planet would make us more informed, but it’s still just the same thirty-second sound bytes I’ve heard my whole life. Only now they’re memes.

A good example is the recent tax cut. I don’t understand how anyone making less than $75,000/year can be happy about it. I’ll see my taxes raised within four years at my income level. Everyone under that threshold will see an increase at some point in the next few years, but I have coworkers who make the same wages as I do who are tickled pink by this.

What’s even crazier is that sexual assault and foreign interference in an election have also become partisan issues.

And you know what? They’ve already won. We’re arguing about whether Obama or Trump is better while they pick out pockets.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Let’s work together. Let’s bridge that gap.

Like anything else in this world, I may fail. But goddammit I’m going to try.

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I Could Run for Senate!

On my way home from work the other night I was struck by a thought that hasn’t occurred to me for a while. I could run for office! I’ve always been partial to the idea. That’s why I made sure to get all my tattoos in places where a suit would cover them and I’ve tried very hard to keep all my extreme viewpoints to myself.

But after my third DUI I gave up on the idea. I mean, I probably wouldn’t vote for someone with three DUIs, even if they were in recovery and hadn’t touched a drop of alcohol since the last one. Even the people of Cleveland, OH wouldn’t elect someone with three DUIs as their mayor.

But obviously, there are some people who would! I was ecstatic that Doug Jones beat lunatic Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race, but it really opens my eyes to the fact that literally any maniac can run and be considered!

Hell, I even forgot what a madman Roy Moore was until a coworker brought it up last night. I completely forgot about his extreme anti-LGBTQ views, his open Islamophobia, his being a leading voice in the Obama birther movement and other conspiracy theories, his claim that NFL players kneeling during the national anthem were breaking the law, or that he was removed from the Alabama Supreme Court… twice.

All of that was completely overshadowed by the fact that he pursued romantic relationships with and allegedly assaulted girls as young as 14 while he was in his early thirties. It’s strange to think that the thing about him I find the least disturbing is his pedophilia.

I suppose the only problem with me running is that I would have to change my party affiliation. I fit pretty comfortable on the left side of the political spectrum and don’t see that changing anytime soon, but Democrats have shown they are less willing to protect scandal in their own ranks. Sen. Al Franken has been forced from office “while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office and a man who repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party.” 

I suppose it shouldn’t be too hard to run as a Republicon. I don’t think many people pay a whole lot of attention to anything to anything other than the D or R after someone’s name. I could still keep all my beliefs about equality and the need to fight against the concentration of wealth and power into the hands of few people, but I’d just say things like “jobs” and “freedom.”

Come on, Donald Trump has built a political career on saying he’s working to help the little guy and then has supported legislation specifically designed to fuck him without exception. If he can do it, I probably can.

Let’s Rob a Bank

 

I’ve always wanted to rob a bank. This could be Elmore Leonard’s fault as he always made it seem like a really cool thing to do, but I’m going to blame Kathryn Bigelow’s  1991 film Point Break. Either way, somehow I got it into my head that it would be a good idea to rob a bank… and I think now’s the time.

The Republican-controlled legislature just passed the biggest tax reform bill in 30 years, and as you would expect it’s Robin Hood in reverse. The new taxes offer tax cuts to corporations who offshore jobs, end many deductions for the working class and is expected to raise the deficit by a trillion dollars. And that’s just the highlights. I’m sure there are going to be many more far-reaching effects.

I shouldn’t be too mad really. I’ll get a modest cut for a year or two before I see an increase. My student-loan interest deduction is going away, but it won’t break me. I’m not going to go hungry.

Maybe I’m just pissed off because I know a lot of people will go hungry. A lot of people are going to lose health insurance. I’m not going hungry, but I’m not so wealthy that I can donate enough to help all those needy people in my country. I don’t even like to think of people in other countries because it’s too overwhelming. I give to my church, the Salvation Army, and other charities, but it never feels like I’m doing enough.

I’m not a libertarian. I don’t have a huge problem paying taxes. I just don’t like it that my taxes are going toward dropping enormous bombs on Afghanistan and gold-flecked toilet paper for the oval office.

And I keep wondering why the United States has such bad roads, bridges and infrastructure. Aren’t we the richest nation on the planet? I know we’re the largest economy. We should have a highway system that is the envy of the world, every American should have health care, the plumbing in Flint, MI should have been replaced before it could become a problem and should be able to spew Pepsi AND we should be able to do all this stuff and still have plenty of money left over to build that stupid wall on the Mexican border.

But we don’t. People sleep on the street and go without food to buy medication so we can give enormous tax breaks to multi-millionaires who pay their workers starvation level wages so they have to rely on welfare to make ends meet. Then they cut the welfare benefits.

The money held in banks is insured by the federal government so technically I wouldn’t be stealing from Chase, PNC or any other average joes like myself. I would be stealing from the government that has just voted to steal from myself and everyone I know. In fact, they’ve voted against everyone in this country who makes less than $75,000/year. They’ve voted against everyone with a conscience.

Anyone with me? I’ll need a bit of cash to pay off my student loans, but the rest can go to UNICEF. I don’t want to be rich, I just don’t want anyone to be extremely poor.

 

 

A Few More Thoughts on Current Political Developments

Oh shit

After last week Friday, it is impossible for anyone to deny that the Trump campaign administration tried to collude with Russia.

I’m not implying Donald Trump was personally involved or is directly to blame, I haven’t seen enough evidence to make that kind of judgment yet, but I do have something I think everyone should consider.

Trump either knew his campaign chairman National Security Advisor was up to some shady business that could possibly lead to a number of charges, and either didn’t care or thought he could get away with it…

Or he had no idea Paul Manafort Michael Flynn lied to the FBI.

I’m not sure which is worse. That he knowingly hired someone who would engage in unethical behavior or that he would hire someone without knowing enough about them to be certain they wouldn’t engage in such unethical behavior.

Either way, is this the kind of guy we want having input on how we manage our tax code? For all we know he might be embezzling our taxes and social security to gild the White House and have prostitutes pee on the Obama’s old bed.

High School Dropout Thoroughly Convinced He Is Smarter Than Harvard Professor

Gadsden, AL – Robert Hodge, a busboy/dishwasher at a Denny’s in Northeastern Alabama, took to Twitter today to call former Harvard Professor and current Senator Elizabeth Warren a “stupid fucking libtard cunt that’s should get a refund on her JD degree.”

“Yeah, I let that liberal Liawatha bitch have it,” said Hodge during a smoke break during the dinner rush. “I’m just so sick of these people with educations and degrees acting like they know it all. It’s just a piece of paper ya know?”

He also took to both Twitter and Facebook to call Democrat candidates things such “DemoRats,” “Feminazis” and “Snowflakes.” He has managed to troll many opponents of current Senatorial Candidate Roy Moore by calling them “Blue-Pilled Sheeple.”

“All these coastal elites think they’re so smart,” he said. “But it’s just that they’re so brainwashed by the mainstream media. I get my news from the real media. I watch and read stuff from Breitbart, Fox News, and Infowars. Those are the only sources telling people the truth!”

Despite never attaining at High School Diploma or GED, Hodge is completely convinced he could do a better job running the country than some of our  former leaders.

“Barack Obama was nothing but a lazy, stupid ni- black guy,” he said. “Well, I shouldn’t say that. He was pretty smart for a black guy, but he’s still dumb compared to me.”

“I’m just glad we finally got a president with some sense. One who’s going to lower taxes, ban Muslims and execute queers.”

When it was pointed out that President Trump hasn’t been able to do any of these things despite his party controlling all three branches of the federal government, he shouted “Fake News” before reentering the Denny’s to clean up chocolate milk spilled by a toddler.

Protect Internet Freedom

George Lakoff

Donald Trump and the Republicans are trying to restrict American freedom and destroy the Internet as we know it.

They want to hand control of a crucial public resource – the Internet – over to corporations. These corporations will then be able to restrict the flow of information, effectively censor voices of dissent, and charge outrageous prices for access to online services.

This is an attack on American freedom, and it should alarm every citizen who cherishes the free flow of information in the digital age. We can’t allow corporations take control of our Internet. But stopping this nefarious scheme requires urgent action on this issue, most commonly known as Net Neutrality.

I don’t like the term Net Neutrality because it obscures what’s really at stake: FREEDOM. Our freedom to access the information and resources we need to keep our democracy healthy is under threat. Yet, Republicans on the Federal…

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Men won’t save Alabama. Women can.

American / Unionist

By Aristophanes


Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with a further analysis of Alabama’s election laws, specifically regarding Roy Moore’s ability to withdraw from the Senate race.

An earlier version of this story stated an incorrect term length for the Senate seat from Alabama. As this is a special election, whoever wins will merely serve the remainder of the pre-set length of the term begun by the last elected officeholder, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who left to serve in the Trump administration. In this case, that is three years.


On Thursday, the Washington Post dropped a bombshell report that could have ramifications for Republican control of the U.S. Senate.

The story, citing more than 30 sources, details several accusations of child molestation against Roy Moore, the conservative firebrand and former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Moore is running as the Republican nominee for one of the state’s…

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