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Thoughts on the Eve of the Election and Why I’m With Her

8 Nov

I am genuinely frightened at the prospect of a Trump presidency.  The very thought that a racist, misogynistic, narcissistic demagogue could possibly be elected President of this country should frighten us all.  However, we still do not live in a world where every person can see the clear error in Donald Trump’s ways. Today, on November 8, 2016, I will cast my vote for Hillary Clinton.

When the election first got underway, I was pro Bernie.  I voted for Bernie in the primaries, and proudly.  I found his brash, honest way of speaking to be refreshing.  But then, the reality set in.  Bernie was not electable by many segments of the American population.  As his defeat in the primaries was clear, I at first was angry at the prospect of voting for Hillary Clinton.  I am still unsure why this is, but I do have to attribute part of it to internalized misogyny.

As a young woman, I have been very lucky.  I was always told I could do whatever I wanted if I put my mind to it.  Even my father, with whom I do not have the best relationship, told me that I could do anything.  He said that the quality he admired most about me is that no matter what, I get back up and try again.  He admired my persistence and drive.  I took this to heart.  I went to college and double-majored.  I interned at NBC.  I started this blog to express my unapologetic feminist thinking.  I am a stand up comedian and a pretty good one at that – in a world where stand up is seen as a man’s game.  I am living a life that women in many other countries are not privileged enough to lead.  I know that without the sacrifice and bravery of many women before me, this would not have been possible.  Hillary Clinton is one of those women I should thank.

young-hillary

However, I was still angry about voting for Hillary until very recently.  People who I consider my friends (women at that) urged me to watch anti-Clinton propaganda in tee form of a “documentary” called Clinton Cash.  This film, produced by employees of Breitbart, did nothing but attempt to smear the critical life’s work of Hillary Clinton.  Hillary has served the public many times over – as a public defense attorney, as First Lady of Arkansas and the U.S., as a Senator of New York, as Secretary of State.  And yet, it all comes down to one thing for some people – she’s a woman and therefore she’s a shrew, a bitch, evil, cunty, a witch, a whore, etc.  These are the words that people use to describe women in positions of power.  Why?  Because women in power are threats.  Women in power must be silenced.  Women in power are not deemed fit for public consumption.  I’ve been fed this lie and shamefully believed it myself.  As I get older, I see how our society attempts to shape women into obedient little girls.  None of us should stand by idly.  Today, I see no other more responsible option as a citizen than voting for Hillary Clinton.

I vividly remember a moment in my third grade class at Skyway Elementary School in 1996.  My teacher at the time, Miss Burke, is leading a discussion on the election, which at the time is taking place between President Clinton and Bob Dole.  Miss Burke says that she wants to see a black man become President in her lifetime.  She then says it would be even more amazing to see a woman become President.  This memory is so vivid in my mind – only twelve years later, we had our first black President.  I proudly attended the 2008 Inauguration, braving the coldest, most bitter winter of my memory in order to see Barack Obama sworn in at the Capitol.

I was raised by a proud Democrat mother. I was taught from a young age to recognize the values that form the fabric of our country – equality, justice, aid for the sick and poor, and the championing of women and minorities.  I am unapologetically liberal.  I am unapologetically feminist.  I am strong, I am independent, and I am fierce. I’m with her.

#ImWithHer

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Donald Trump is Not Qualified to be President; Vote for Bernie Sanders

24 Jan

Donald Trump

Just when you thought things could not get any more strange in American politics, Donald Trump noted while speaking at a Christian college in Iowa.  Trump, while holding his hand in the shape of a gun, said the following: “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK?”

In this moment, Trump ironically and unintentionally pointed out the problem with those supporting him.  These people do not understand the issues at stake in this election.  We are at an impasse that may only be divided between the rich and the poor, the old and the young.  The rich continue to take what we’ve earned through blood sweat and tears, forcing us into labor that does not lead to a comfortable life and retirement, but rather, people working until their dying days.

This election is most critical for women and minorities.  Women now outnumber men in the United States, and minorities now comprise over 36% of the population.  There are 83.1 million members of the Millennial generation, the vast majority of whom support minimum wage increases, pro-choice agendas, and reforming the student loan industry.  The feminist movement is in the midst of a fourth wave.  This is a time ripe for revolution.

With that being said, if anyone votes for Donald Trump for President of the United States, they have no idea of the damage they are doing.  He is a lunatic and many Americans are eating it up.  We are corporate drones.  We are the drinkers of sponsored Kool Aid.  We love cheap TVs.

Do not vote for Donald Trump.

The author of this blog proudly endorses Bernie Sanders for President of the United States.

Tarantino and His Love Affair with the N Word and “Bitch” in The Hateful Eight

8 Dec
Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Bruce Dern in The Hateful Eight

Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Bruce Dern in The Hateful Eight

Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight is now playing in theaters, and the film raises numerous questions about the director’s goals and messages intended in this work.  The film is being shown in 70 mm film, in line with Tarantino’s love of the medium, and it also stars several of Tarantino’s favorite recurring actors, including Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, and Samuel L. Jackson.  What I took away from this film is that Tarantino essentially wants his audience to be disgusted by the things they are amused by.  This includes the use of racially-tinged language, violence against women, and rape.  Tarantino wants us to look at ourselves in a way that he first hinted at in Inglourious Basterds.  Unlike the revenge films of Tarantino’s earlier canon, The Hateful Eight is modeled more on a mystery whodunit.

Many people are already saying that this film is racist and misogynist.  However, Tarantino’s message is exactly that our society is racist and misogynist.  The action of the film follows John “The Hangman” Ruth (Kurt Russell), a bounty hunter who captures Daisy Damergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh), for murder.  Ruth’s intention is to take Daisy to Red Rock to be hanged for her crime, but a blizzard impedes their travels, causing the two to have to seek shelter at Minnie’s Haberdashery.  We never really learn any of the details of who Daisy killed, which is key to the understanding of how Daisy is supposed to function.  Leigh plays Daisy as a disgusting, foul-mouthed wretch, and within the first few minutes of the film, Ruth elbows her in the nose, calling her a “bitch” who needs to “shut up”.  This moment should frighten the audience.  Our hero character, Ruth, may not be trustworthy in this moment, and the remainder of the film is a slow-burning mystery that is not revealed completely until the last scenes.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from this film is that the audience is made to feel uncomfortable in various ways.  The most obvious way is Tarantino’s use of the word “nigger,” which appears around seventy times in this film.  It’s not simply the use of the word that is bothersome, it is the comical and drawn-out manner in which the word is uttered by several of the actors that makes it unpalatable.  Several actors pronounce the word more like “niggaaaaahhh” to place strong emphasis on what they are saying.  This choice may appear to be insensitive, but I found it very purposeful and indicative of the way that Tarantino wants his filmgoers to question the use of language.

The treatment of Jennifer Jason Leigh’s character is also highly effective in drawing out Tarantino’s intended messages on misogyny.  We never learn the nature of the murder that Daisy commits, nor do we really know anything about who she is, except for small hints of a colorful personality.  John Ruth intends to take her to Red Rock to be hanged, but in the interim, Ruth has no problem with striking Daisy with brute force, calling her a “bitch” each time.  The first time Ruth hits Daisy, a game is established.  The other characters use Ruth as a punching bag.

Tarantino certainly does not hate women. He is not a misogynist by any means, as we can see that from the numerous examples of strong women in his previous films – Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction, The Bride and O-Ren Ishii in Kill Bill, and Shoshanna Dreyfus in Inglorious Basterds all come to mind.  Tarantino worships these women, and his characters are strong and multi-faceted.  Daisy is no different, who is strong in her own way.

Near the end of the film, the crux of  the action is revealed by a character.  Oswaldo Mulberry (Tim Roth) delivers some very critical lines about justice versus frontier justice.  When speaking to Daisy, he explains that when there is a murder and a trial takes place, followed by a hanging, that is true justice.  However, if no trial takes place and the people take control of the matter, simply hanging the accused in the town square, that is “frontier justice”.  This film is thusly more about the application of “justice” and how we apply it to the violence of today.  Is it right to simply go ahead and hang someone without knowing their intentions or the validity of their guilt?  Or is it more wise to hold a trial and act fairly?  This is the question that the audience is left to ponder, and Tarantino is making a very valid point.  Should we flay the filmmaker for his use of jarring images and offensive words?  Or is he trying to deliver a deeper message?

This is a very difficult film made by a director and writer who does not shy away from difficult subject matter.  For hardcore Tarantino fans, this film will be appreciated as a part of his canon for years to come.

Are You a Democrat? This Microwave Will Cost You More Than It’s Worth

4 Nov

 

 

 

Screen shot 2014-11-03 at 1.58.13 AM

 

The person selling this microwave hates Democrats and this microwave will cost you $500 if you are a Democrat.  “IF YOUR STUPID DONT CALL.”

LOLOLOLOLOL.

 

The Next Wave of the Feminist Movement and What #YesAllWomen Really Means

1 Jun

Photo Credit: Fotolia

The use of the hashtag “#YesAllWomen” is generating heated and necessary debate among social media users with regard to the recent UCSB massacre.  Elliott Rodger, the perpetrator of three stabbing deaths of his roommates, three shooting deaths of two women and one man, the serious injuries of several others, and his last act of suicide, is gaining public momentum due to his multiple YouTube videos and 140 page manifesto geared toward “retribution” against women who he felt rejected him his entire life.  Rodger felt entitled to many things, and the greatest of them was sex from beautiful women, which he was denied, in his own mind.

Rodger also specifically named one woman as the brunt of his reasoning for committing his final violent acts.  Rodger, who self-identified as an “incel,” or “involuntary celibate,” blamed his repeated rejections by women on the reasoning for his final maniac rampage.  The fact that the term “incel” exists should be infuriating enough on its own, because sex is not something that people are automatically entitled to.  This attitude of entitlement is what led Rodgers to kill, and it is quite similar to the entitlement felt by many men that all too often leads to acts of sexual harassment and assault.  Here is the truth about sex: sex is not something anyone, including men or women, has any entitlement toward.

A conversation about what rape culture really is, and how it affects the lives of all women, including your sisters, wives, girlfriends, mothers, daughters, and friends appears to be opening up in the mainstream.  However, there appear to be those who simply do not understand what the concept of “rape culture” really tries to accomplish, and one sickening article by Caroline Kitchens appearing in Time in late March called for ending “Rape Culture Hysteria”.  Ms. Kitchens’ use of the word “hysteria” to describe what she calls the outrage present on feminist blogs and other media outlets harkens to centuries past, when “hysteria” was often the go-to medical diagnosis of a woman experiencing any sort of emotional reaction.  Also formerly known as the “widow’s disease,” hysteria was once thought to be caused by retaining female sexual fluids, and in order to be cured, a woman must release them through intercourse.  “Hysteria” is not the proper term to use when discussing the cultural norms that perpetuate sexual abuse and harassment.

Kitchens misses the point and includes this quote by RAINN: “Rape is caused not by cultural factors but by the conscious decisions, of a small percentage of the community, to commit a violent crime”.  Surely, this may be true, but where did the values held by a rapist come from? Surely they were instilled by those among him.  This is a symptom of a cultural link to the values that promote sexual harassment and violence.  Although the term “rape culture” is rather jarring, it is clear that there is a sometimes invisible mode of violence set against women in this country and beyond.  Currently, there is no real conversation about misogyny and its effects on the women who are privy to it.  Misogyny runs deep through our society, and its most subtle touches may be seen in nearly every moment.

There are three distinct waves of feminism as defined by modern sociology, with the third wave referring to the period beginning in the early 1990s and lasting through the present.  Third Wave feminism incorporates queer theory and women-of-color corollaries.  Second Wave feminism focused on simply what was good or not good for women. The Third Wave maintains gender violence as one of its foci, and the reclamation of terms such as “slut” or “whore” is popular amongst third wave feminists. However, it appears that this reclamation is no longer appropriate in the face of what happened at UCSB.  In fact, there may be a backlash against sexual reclamation.  It is almost as though we are clamoring backward and saying, “Oh wait, there is actually no such thing as a slut!!”  This reconfiguring of Third Wave values may be leading to a Fourth Wave.

Let’s not forget every moment at which women are vulnerable to the stares and sexual whims of men.  Men have masturbated to me on the subway and in places that are supposed to be safe, like the library.  On one occasion I chased a man out of a college university library while simultaneously calling the police on my phone.  Someone I asked for assistance did not take what I was saying seriously enough.  This is the world we live in. A world where women remain in perpetuity as objects and men have every right to stare and please themselves as they do it.  A world where “she was asking for it”.  This needs to end now.

What the hashtag #YesAllWomen attempts to carry out is not a front against men.  True feminists do not hate men, and the term “feminist” is not a threat to masculinity.  What it means to be feminist is to believe that women have the same rights as men.  It is not a pitchfork term meant to intimidate and terrorize men.  As a new wave of feminism appears to be approaching, it is critical to realize that this wave is about setting the status quo and aiming to make the world a safer place for all women.  Acts such as those committed by Elliot Rodger, although cowardly and a shock to the country, do not need to happen again.  There is a way of changing how we treat women, and it begins with taking a hard look at how the abuse of women by men in is perpetuated in our society.

Things That Will Break Your Heart: Chris Arnade’s Faces of Addiction

10 Feb
Prince spends his time salvaging scrap metal.

Prince spends his time salvaging scrap metal to get money for heroin.

The other day I stumbled upon a Jezebel article detailing an ongoing photo essay by Chris Arnade, called “Faces of Addiction”.  Viewing this photo essay should be mandatory for everyone, especially spoiled millenials who think that their lives are terrible. Looking through this photo series made me realize how incredibly lucky I am to have lived my life. Really, I have nothing to whine about at all. I’ve been blessed with so many amazing things: a solid mind, a world-class education, writing ability, attractive looks, designer clothes, trips, meals at nice restaurants, etc. I am blessed in every aspect of my life.  Unfortunately, as the internet and various social media networks prove, whining about anything and everything is the new marker of a narcissistic and selfish society.

Here are some examples of things that people often believe are real problems, when in fact, they are not:

“I cracked the glass on my iPhone!”

“Why is Starbucks out of bacon breakfast sandwiches this morning?”

“OMG! Why is the N train out of service on a Saturday night? Now I’ll never make it to that beer garden at a decent hour!”

“Dave Matthews isn’t coming to my city this year! WTF!”

People, these are not problems. After reading through a bit of “Faces of Addiction,” you will learn what actual problems are.  “Faces of Addiction” chronicles the lives of drug addicts and prostitutes in Hunts Point, Bronx.  For those of you who are not familiar with New York City, Hunts Point is the poorest neighborhood in all of New York City. Heroin plagues the neighborhood, ripping a cruel path of utter destruction in its streets.

Many of Mr. Arnade’s subjects have been addicted to heroin for years, if not decades.  Their faces show an indescribable sadness, eyes peering from behind weathered masks of who they were.  Sonya, who told her story to Arnade, gave up her family and stable life in Rhode Island to move to Hunts Point with a man who introduced her to heroin. Her description of what her life is like now is chillingly paradoxical: “I am happier in some ways than I’ve ever been in my life. But I’ve lost so many things. I want to get out of my addiction but in some ways it’s made me grow a lot. And I think I know now how to live more than I ever have.” Prince is a young man who suffered sexual abuse as a child. He is the oldest of seventeen children, and he spends much of his time scrounging the streets of Hunts Point for scrap metal, using what little money he gets to buy heroin. Arnade noted how positive Prince was, in spite of the life he leads.  Prince graduated high school and states that he hopes to finish college as well. Prince’s photo shows a young man dragging an air conditioner behind him, the composition of the photo offset by the bright colors of a graffitied wall.

Sonya, brought to the edge of addiction by a man named Erik.

Sonya, brought to the edge of addiction by a man named Erik.

Perhaps the most gut-wrenching stories (for me, at least) are those of women who were sexually abused from a very young age and thrust into a life of pain, addiction, and sex work through no fault of their own.  Egpyt’s story especially affected me. Raped by her own father since the age of three, Egypt tells Mr. Arnade that the only man who never treated her badly was God.  For someone who’s been treated so badly her entire life to still have some semblance of faith is simply amazing to me.

Egypt, a longtime victim of men.

Egypt, a longtime victim of men.

Arnade’s photo essay is a must-read for anyone who’s ever passed by a junkie or prostitute in the streets of New York, or any large city for that matter, and wondered what brought them to that moment in their lives.  We tend to go through life glibly, not realizing just how great many of us have it.  Chris Arnade’s message is a much-needed revelation in such selfish times.  If you can look through these photos without wincing, or almost shedding tears, then your heart simply needs some work.

The Elephant in the Nation: Why People Are Not Voting for Barack Obama

30 Oct

Many people will not vote for Barack Obama because he is black.  This was true in 2008 and it feels even more salient this year.  Perusing social media and noting the various reactions to the campaign make it clear that Mr. Obama faces challenges that should not even be at issue. He cannot help the color of his skin.

The fact that people are still questioning whether the President was born in the United States is unfathomable; no President has ever been under such scrutiny before. I have already said it, but will say it once more – it is only due to the fact that Barack Hussein Obama is black.

Never mind the fact that Mr. Obama champions the rights of women, minorities, and the LGBTQ community. Let us all focus on the fact that he is simply a few shades darker than his opponent, the shockingly incompetent Mitt Romney.

If any individual capable of critical thinking watched the three Presidential and only Vice Presidential debates, one thing should be terrifyingly clear: Mitt Romney does not have a plan. Romney has very little concern for issues related to women’s reproductive rights, the right for all people to marry whomever they love, the right to an affordable education. Romney’s stance on foreign policy, which appeared to impress many Republicans, was at best an attempt to simply repeat Mr. Obama’s answers while inverting particular words, all the while attempting to steer the topic back toward the economy.  And never mind healthcare – Mr. Romney thinks that an emergency room is the best place to go when you fall ill. This disgusting, out-of-touch and elitist attitude is being licked up like the nectar of Dionysus by many Americans.  This is terrifying. As an American, woman, and Latina, my heart weighs heavy with the thought of a Romney presidency. November 7th will either be a great day for America or one of the worst in history.

What is it that so many Americans claim to dislike about our President? Is it his policies or simply his background? As far as policies, Obama faces the most criticism for his desire to enact universal healthcare for all Americans.  Obamacare, as it is called, is the new red herring of our time.  Senator Joseph McCarthy would be having a field day if he lived in these times, surely calling every politician in favor of universal healthcare a Communist Pinko. However, universal healthcare is a standard in most other leading nations in the world, including Canada, England, France, Spain, and Argentina, among many more.  Otto von Bismarck, the first Chancellor of the German Empire, is credited with establishing a universal healthcare system in Germany in 1883 with the passage of the Health Insurance Bill. For those unfamiliar with German history, Adolf Hitler is often incorrectly pointed to as the source of such programs by the GOP, simply because he was a fascist. And let us not forget how the Republicans adore comparing Democrats (incorrectly, natch) to fascists. How simple it is for them.

Perhaps if education were up to appropriate standards, defining communism would not be difficult for many Americans.  Let us not forget that the United States ranks 31st in the world in K-12 education, 31st in mathematics, and 23rd in science. China is first in both science and mathematics.  For people who seem so concerned with the encroaching power of China, this country continually lacks the interest in upping the standards for education, and funding for schools and the salaries of teachers continues to vaporize. Currently, Great Britain, Japan, and Germany are the top-ranked nations in the world for education. Is it not fascinating how the country we once rebelled against continues to outperform us in this way? Barack Obama believes in the power of education to allow any American to achieve great things. Mr. Obama supports the continuation of Pell grants (Mr. Romney does not), which allow for the poorest students to receive education funding, the continuation of low-interest Federal student loans for millions of students who need them, and increasing standards in all American classrooms.  Mr. Obama is a product of what a good education can do for any American.  What is truly sad is when people like Donald Trump demand to see Mr. Obama’s college transcripts.  Not only would this prove that Mr. Obama was an excellent scholar, but it would also show the stupidity leading the GOP. I am sure if Mr. Obama’s transcripts revealed an “A” in a topic like World History that he’d be deemed a communist for even knowing about other countries. This is a society where ignorance is a celebrated quality and intellectuals face criticism for beng “elitists”.

What of women and their rights? Mitt Romney guarantees that he will dismantle Planned Parenthood. Millions of women depend on Planned Parenthood not only for reproductive health, but for basic healthcare needs.  Women without insurance are able to go to Planned Parenthood for physicals and checkups if need be. And what of the right to an abortion, especially in cases of rape? Essentially, if the Romney/Ryan ticket wins, women will face the dangers of Roe v. Wade being overturned by the Supreme Court.  Romney and Ryan have been consistently inconsistent with their opinions on the reproductive rights of women, and the fact that some Republican politicians are even questioning how one defines rape is disgusting. As President Obama accurately and admirably stated, rape is rape. Women have fought for years in this nation for valuable rights that could disappear in an instant next week. If you are a woman, your vote will count toward your physical autonomy and well-being – please choose wisely. Women should also consider the magnitude of President Obama signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law in 2009.  This historic act shows President Obama’s interest in the plight of women in the U.S. Mr. Obama will continue to place the interests of women in a high spot. Do not discount this when you step into the voting booth.

Also keep in mind that Mr. Obama is in support of the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, which currently defines marriage as an institution that takes place between one man and one woman. Instead, Mr. Obama supports the Respect for Marriage Act, which would recognize the legality of same-sex marriages. Naturally, the GOP cannot stand for this, and in their eyes, Mr. Obama must be stopped. It is amazing how our nation is in conflict regarding basic civil rights that are recognized by many other nations. Mr. Obama’s forward-thinking attitude and willingness to fight for the defenseless is highly admirable.

Finally, there is the issue of the economy.  Mr. Obama inherited an economy ravaged by policies passed by the GOP. If any President can be held accountable for the economy, it is George W. Bush, who enacted numerous tax cuts that benefitted all Americans yet inflated the national debt by $4.08 trillion, or approximately 40.8% from the years 2001 through 2007.  Naturally, Republican supporters thought nothing of these precarious tax cuts when they continued to receive their child tax credits or other tax credits that kept them afloat in these years.  However, now that the distrustful Kenyan is in office, it is all his fault that the ravaged economy is not magically fixed in four short years.  In spite of inheriting one of the worst economic landscapes of all time, Mr. Obama has kept the economy afloat.  In remembering that Mr. Bush advocated an Ownership Society, in which home ownership was the cornerstone for the entirety of the 2000s, one may note that the essential failure of the economy was the failure of sub-prime mortgages and the inability of the Bush administration to regulate the companies who were lending them to most everyone. These facts are conveniently lost to history, and Mr. Obama continues to bear the brunt of the blame for the flailing economy.  President Obama wishes to raise taxes on the wealthy and keep them the same for the middle and lower classes, something that has never crossed the mind of Romney, whose tax policy, which has no named numbers, resembles something of Reagan’s trickle-down policies that were in effect during the Cold War. Trickle-down economics is the practice of lowering taxes for the wealthy with the belief that it will benefit poor members of society. Simply put, it does not work.  Mr. Romney, who apparently paid only a paltry 13.9% in taxes on his income of $20.9 million, seems to think otherwise. This is less than the tax rate of the middle class, with those making between $36,000 and $86,000 paying 25% in taxes. How is that even legal? This fact is a major red flag that many are choosing to ignore simply due to a lack of support for Mr. Obama because he people view him as “un-American,” “communist”, and “socialist”.

What I believe truly bothers many Americans (at least those with half a brain), is how President Barack Obama stands for the interests of  what is often termed the other in many a liberal arts settings; this otherness is represented in the form of loving someone of your same-sex, possessing a uterus, or appearing ethnic in any way.  The problem is that what the Republicans still consider the other, is now the mainstream.  The United States is diversifying at a rapid pace, and Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have no use for women, homosexuals, blacks, or Latinos, among others.  They do not care if you vote for them. Why? Because they possess the audacity to believe that an election may be purchased.

Do not give them the pleasure of thinking that a suitcase full of money can buy the highest office in the land; Romney and Ryan are holding a gun to the temple of Lady Liberty and threatening to pull the trigger. Do not become one of their fatalities.  Why is no one questioning the supposed amazing “arithmetic” of their economic plans? Why is no one asking about their real plans for Social Security, Medicare, and countless other essential government programs? Why is no one questioning the fact that Mr. Romney appears to have no real grasp on foreign policy issues pertinent to these volatile times?

Who are Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and what do they stand for? Well, they’re just educated, upper-class, Christian, American white men. What harm could they do? Certainly no more than the formerly middle class, educated, Christian, American black man whom we call Mr. President. Racism is alive in well in America; do not let it win on November 6th.

The author of Fixed Air officially endorses Barack Obama for reelection.

Oxymorons in the Year 2012: “Young Republican”

25 Aug

Ah, election year! That scent is in the air once more! What is it, do you ask? Oh that’s right, it’s the smell of horse shit, wafting directly from computer screens across America! Lovely!

What is it about Facebook that makes people want to get political? After all, is it not possible that there are people who do not want to read/see/hear/”like” your opinion? It’s not an anonymous forum, and many people should really consider what they post on Facebook if they want to keep their personal and private lives separate. With that being said, I fell obligated to respond to a post made by a former high school classmate a few evenings ago on Facebook. We shall call her Ms. Smith.

Here is a screenshot of the post, with name and photograph redacted for privacy:

I believe Ms. Smith is referring to the Dream Act, which allows young immigrants, most of whom came to the U.S. as children, to obtain work permits and continue their education by remaining in the country. The Dream Act, while controversial, is simply extending benefits to those young people who came to this country not by their own choice, but by that of their parents. Why shouldn’t these young immigrants have a chance at success? If one is capable of completing college, but does not have the opportunity due to place of birth, then many other complications may arise.  Nothing is worse than unrealized potential. There are plenty of young people native to this country who do not take advantage of the educational system here.  I would also say that many young Americans feel entitled to have things with little to no work – a college degree, that dream job that pays six figures, home ownership, and a collection of diamond grills. Our forefathers based this country’s legislation on the premise of equal opportunity for all – not to mention the fact that we are all descended from immigrants (not counting those who are Native American). What is the real issue here?

At first I felt very angry about what she said, but now, after digesting it a bit, I feel very sorry for her. Not only is she dismissing these so-called “illegals” who are apparently impeding on her life, but she also goes on to accuse them of attempting to “utilize our education system, use our medical care and now take our jobs” in a subsequent comment.  Good god, they’re going to take my job!!!

First off, what amazing education system are they taking advantage of? The educational system in this country is broken, and going to college is nothing but  a faraway dream for a growing number of Americans. The real issue that needs to be discussed during this election year is the growing student loan debt bubble, which many economists will be next to burst following the housing market that imploded in 2008. Another thing that concerns many is Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s proposal to slash Pell Grants.  For those of you with too much privilege to Google, Pell Grants are rewarded to those students with the smallest of incomes, and often to the poorest families in America. Without this funding, great minds may be destined to languish.  There is, after all, great potential within children of every social class.  Unfortunately, our higher educational system is designed to benefit the rich.  Elite private colleges cost upwards of $60,000 per year to attend. This is out of reach for most people, and especially for the middle class.  The rich want to keep opportunity to themselves, and that is what is really at issue in the tone of Ms. Smith’s post.

Second, jobs. What sorts of jobs do many illegals perform? I’ll give you a hint. Most of them do not require letters after your name. Illegals perform many of the lowest jobs that most Americans would likely never take. Some examples: dishwasher, strawberry picker, sketchy construction jobs that often involve waiting on the side of a road for someone to pick them up for a day of work, laundry worker, etc. Most Americans would find this work “insulting” and “beneath them”. However, many of these jobs entail hard, honest work. The concept of working hard is being lost on young Americans at a rapid pace.

Immigrants are not COMPETING with me or Ms. Smith. They are trying to survive, and trying to have something that the ancestors of all Americans fought for in the past.  Many illegals are escaping horrible conditions and the possibility of a violent death.

What is the source of immigrant hate? The simple answer is racism, but I will not seek to make such a blanket statement. Another reasonable explanation, in my mind, is that very few people know what real struggle is. Until you’ve known what it’s like to wonder if you’ll have electricity, running water, or a decent meal, you likely have no right to judge people who legitimately benefit from social programs like food stamps, welfare, and unemployment benefits.

How did Ms. Smith’s Facebook adventure end the other night? Let’s have a look!

Ms. Smith’s response to one of her friends is the bottom portion of this screen shot. After the friend tried to talk some sense into her, she went on to say that she supports repealing an unemployment benefits extension. Blech. She then says, “Let’s get out (sic) people working, and get then (sic) working as soon as possible!” Oh my! Is it that simple? Where are these jobs? Let’s send all the 12.8 million unemployed Americans to these amazing jobs!!! Where are they?

Hey Paul Ryan, what do you think? Can we get these people to work?

Mitt Romney Gives Us Young People Valuable Advice

29 Apr

Mitt Romney, what a delightful example of the American dream!!! Living proof that all you have to do to become rich and successful is magically end up in the testicles of another very rich man! Nepotism gave this mildly smart man the chance at the highest seat in the country!! Nepotism could help you too, but only in your next life!! (If you believe in that sort of thing, which probably makes you a disgusting atheist pig who hates America and wipes with Ole Glory!) The only thing I love more than Mitt Romney is Mitt Romney’s valuable advice.  Uncle Mitt is one step closer to gaining the Republican presidential nomination, and his victory speech the other night blew my mind with the pearls this very smart man handed down to us young people:

“Borrow money from your parents, if you have to! Start a business!”

Shut up.

Uncle Mitt, you’re so smart! I will begin preparing my speech to my father right away. I think it will go something like this:

“Dad, I know that even though you’ve worked hard your whole life and now you get your hard-earned Social Security, I’d like to borrow that money and open up a taco stand that also doubles as a massage parlor. Clearly this is a sound business plan and I will need ALL of your monies now!”

Reality check.

My father is lucky he is receiving his social security in this day and age.  Any young person my age who has parents eligible to receive any such benefits are lucky.  It blows my mind to think that Mitt Romney thinks that there aren’t many young people supporting their parents instead of the other way around. Many of us will one day have our parents live in our homes (if we can ever afford a home after going to college), eat our food, and sleep in our beds. Oh, the horror. The Victor Hugo-reminiscent horror!

Borrowing money from your parents to make it in life must be some secret way of making it in the world that I have no clue about. If every kid could borrow money from their parents, there would be no need for student loans. There would be no need for little Sally to have to bartend in slutty outfits to support both herself and her aging mother.

I’d like to punch out his million dollar veneers.

Politics: That Thing That Causes Diarrhea of the Mouth

6 Feb

The fact that my blog is currently featured on the homepage of wordpress.com is nothing but a strange coincidence. I received an email from a WordPress editor yesterday morning congratulating me for good work. Of course I think it’s a great thing, a really fun thing to have so many people read what you’ve written. I have no control over why WordPress chose my blog entry, but I am assuming it has to do with timeliness, and not necessarily the content.

Normally I hate writing about political issues, and when I do, it is generally about something that has truly struck a nerve with me. This is why I chose to comment on the Tim Tebow controversy, without expecting it to become a debate about good and evil, right and wrong, etc. The truth is, no one will ever change their mind about abortion. It’s one of those issues that seems stuck in perpetual immobility. Regardless of this, people still have their opinions and will write the hell out of them whenever they feel like someone is shaking a finger at them.

Here’s an excerpt from a comment received today:

“Everything is turning political these days, and it’s getting old. When I saw the title I thought it would be a fun and insightful read on the SPORTS and the differences between the Colts and Saints ON THE FIELD. Then I read it and wished I hadn’t. Thanks for dampening my excitement about tomorrow.”

Okay, first off, I like sports. I enjoy the Superbowl like everyone else, and I’ll likely be watching tomorrow. First, their complaint of “I thought it would be a fun and insightful read,” really holds no sway. You really cannot judge an article by its title – I read lots of things everyday that somehow turn out to be different from what I was expecting. Then if I am not entertained I move on by clicking the next page. Next, this person’s annoying use of capital letters to spell “SPORTS” and “ON THE FIELD” is likely meant to insult my intelligence somehow. I know what sports are, thank you.  I will let this go.

My favorite part of the reader’s complaint: “then I read it but I wish I hadn’t.” Well, you read it anyway. And you left a three paragraph comment. Thanks for the page views! Then they try to make me out to be a Debbie Downer: “Thanks for dampening my excitement about tomorrow.” You’re surely welcome. Somehow I doubt that this person’s “excitement” was truly “dampened.” First, they were excited enough to write a short novel as a comment. Second, it’s just a football game. That’s the point. There’s not meant to be any thinking involved – which is exactly why I chose to comment on the Tim Tebow controversy.

The complainant claims, “everything is getting political these days.” You’re absolutely right about this. The Superbowl and CBS is choosing to douse the American public in the throes of a completely unnecessary political aim by a biased political organization. Football is meant to be fun to watch, and the commercials that go along with the Superbowl are typically among the most entertaining anyone will see all year. So why can’t the suits over at CBS refuse some money from a Christian organization? It’s due to greed. And what exactly is wrong about being “political”? The word has so much unnecessary baggage. The current state of the world cannot help but be “political”. Young people like myself, liberal and conservative alike, are taking the initiative to become involved in politics, and no matter the differences in ideology or worldview, it’s a good thing. (Like Martha Stewart would say.)

I really do not enjoy writing about politics as often as I do, but when I see something that jostles my mind and gets me going about what I believe, I cannot stand idly by. If I am too “political,” then so be it. At least I have the page views (and comments) to prove that people are reading.