Sympathy for the Devil

I’ll say it – I actually feel bad for Bernie Sanders.

bsp2I don’t agree with his politics and I think that the cult of personality that surrounds him is eerily similar to Obama in ’08. In fact I actually see his brand of politics to be in direct opposition with nearly everything I stand for with the exception of some notable human rights issues that I think most Americans agree on.

Under his policies my taxes will skyrocket and he will most likely set his sights on the Second Amendment in some absurd attempt to reduce crime. Hard working Americans will still be to blame for the lack of income equality and other myths about what will make us a “fair society” (at least in the eyes of folks like Marx and Engels) will be pushed until the safeguards that make America a separate entity from the likes of our European neighbors will be washed away.

So why do I feel bad for him? I think he’s getting cheated, and he’s going to lose to a very bad person.

That’s not me pulling for the lesser of two evils. I see his personal brand of politics as being more likely to put people into “resettlement and reeducation,” though I highly doubt something like that would happen under him. He perpetuates the concept of entitlement beyond that of which the current administration has been doing. After all this used to be a country where if you come here, apply yourself, accept your failures and learn from them that you can make something of yourself. Under Comrade Sanders people will be entitled to things simply because they want them without effort or ever really trying.

So why do I give a shit? Because I actually think he cares. In his own warped and twisted notion of what American should be like I think he actually cares about the poor and disenfranchised. He means what he says, at least to a certain degree, and I think that he’s probably riding the same absurd luck train that Trump has been on since late last year. I also think that the media, most of which in our country caters to the liberal side of things has been undermining him in order to push the Clinton campaign. We talk about campaign contributions as being the great moral evil, but nobody says anything about how the media portrays these people (or lots of other things – looking at you Katie Couric).

470462416-democratic-presidential-hopeful-and-former-u-s.jpg.CROP.cq5dam_web_1280_1280_jpegClinton claims to understand what it is like to be a woman, and it’s easy to see why she’d make a statement like that: she’s a woman. I think that’s where her similarities with your average everyday American female end. This is a woman who has known some degree of power for the last 30 or more years. True power, from the governor’s mansion in Arkansas, to the White House, to the Senate, to the position of Secretary of State. Hillary Clinton has never been an average American woman. For that matter she’s never been an average American.

Just on the women’s issues she’s a fraud. This is a woman who got a rapist freed and then laughed about knowing the guilt of the man who destroyed a 12 year old girl because she was able to get evidence thrown out. I might be able to admire her in some light if she stood by her husband after a single affair. Twist my arm, even a second, but her husband has been a serial cheater and some have claimed that it’s been worse than that to the extent that her husband is in fact a sexual predator. I don’t get how people can give her a pass on that. Once is an anomaly, but three, four, five… it becomes a pattern. For her to talk about women’s rights and dignity? Please spare me.

Now understand something right here: I’m not accusing him of that, and there are plenty of bogus accusations that have been thrown at men by some pretty desperate people. He’s a man of means and a public figure which makes him a target. But I get the sense that there has been a lot of hush money paid to keep things from the light of day. Again – not your average American. Once is an anomaly, but three, four, five…

imagesAs a gun owner and NRA supporter I’m disappointed that they came out this late in the game to back Trump. Trump is anti-gun and has stated as much in the past. His facilities are “gun free” and he applauded the “assault weapon” ban the Clintons pushed in the early 90s. He isn’t my candidate and he doesn’t represent my values. He is as much a threat to the sanctity of a free America as Clinton is.

And here’s why.

Both Clinton and Trump are in the party of Clinton and Trump. They are rich, entitled elitists who care only about their own interests and what will enlarge their enormous ego and prestige. Clinton rakes in millions of dollars in speaking fees and dares to talk about income inequality, while Trump has billions and tries to talk about the middle class. Neither of them have a clue what you or I have to deal with on a paycheck to paycheck basis. Trump dares to critique Bill Clinton’s fidelity to Hillary while having had at least one affair of his own. Hillary dares to talk about women’s rights, reproductive health, and rape having been willing to turn a blind eye to what her husband has been accused of. She was also a willing participant in setting free a sexual offender and then sat smugly about how she did it.

Both of them have had grievous things to say about the LGBTQ community in the past, and while I agree that it’s a person’s right to change their opinion, I think they should own what they used to believe and an opinion should never be changed because of political expediency. Both of these nitwits have done this and yet those of you who support them are willing to give them a pass over and over again. In all point of fact I would urge the LGBTQ community to not come out in support of her because she only started caring about things that mattered to you when it became politically convenient. I don’t buy Trump’s stance on 2A, don’t buy into Clinton’s on LGBTQ issues. They’re frauds.

Sanders is someone I actually feel bad for because I think that he actually means what he says. I think he’s genuine (mostly). Most of us didn’t know his name until a year ago, but we’ve known Clinton and Trump for the last 30 years at least. His policies would be disastrous to us as a nation, but I think that his heart is in the right place. He actually believes the Marxist bullshit he pedals. That doesn’t make him right because in all reality his means to an end is un-American and takes us further and further away from where we should be as a constitutional republic. I won’t be voting for him, or supporting him in any way. He has my sympathy though because while I don’t like his politics I can say I respect him as a person.

I can’t say the same for the other two.


 

 

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7 thoughts on “Sympathy for the Devil

  1. Didn’t realize you and the missus collectively make more than $250 a year. That’s why you’re worried about your taxes skyrocketing, right?

    And I still want to know what’s so very, very wrong about health care for all – even if it means some people who don’t exactly ‘deserve’ it get to have it too. (As the world exists today, there are plenty of people getting things they don’t deserve, and I’m not entirely talking about SNAP and welfare.) Every single time the hubby and I talk about him starting and building his own consulting business, the thing that stops us is health insurance. Either he’s going to have to pay a crazy ridiculous amount for self employed health care (something his parents have to do as his dad is an independent construction contractor), or I’m going to have to quit the job I like and get some mind numbing, minimum wage, soul killing, cube-land job where I’ll work 40 hours a week making just slightly more than I do now at 10-12 hours a week, just to keep us in affordable care while he tests the waters with a new company. And then I’d still have to take care of the rental property whenever I can squeeze that in. We can’t be the only people in the country who has a problem like that. What about independent artists? What about people who make their money on YouTube shows? What about the people who are in between jobs, maybe doing unpaid training for a new one? And even, what about people who have managed to cobble together enough cash to live on off of by collecting scrap metals, cans, and selling eggs from the chickens in their backyard? What’s bad about those types of people being covered? Why look completely and totally past that aspect of the idea of health care for all? I thought being able to pursue your dreams the way you want, was the original American ideal.

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    • I think you’re the first person to comment TWICE on my blog. I was starting to think nobody read this 😉

      Now, to your point: Starting an independent business is a massive financial venture. Working a “soul-crushing job 40 hours a week” is a thing denied to many people unfortunately. I think we’re damn lucky if we find a job that we like enough and that is financially supporting to do so that we can have a life at home we want. Right now we have a system set up by the current administration that requires us to carry health insurance or we have to pay a tax* (fine), regardless of our ability to afford health insurance. This is a lament I hear from the people this law was supposed to help literally every night.

      Wifey and I don’t make more than $250K collectively. The thing is that as long as I’ve known what a “Liberal Democrat” was they’ve been in love with taxes and how to spend them (other people’s money). More than likely that collective number is going to get lower and lower until it’s hitting people in the middle class. The fact is, how many people are actually making $250K? Enough to establish a health care system that is entirely free for 370 million Americans? Somehow I don’t think so, and when they “realize” this the only answer is going to be expanding taxes. There’s been a lot of talk about cutting military spending in a time when we’re dealing with ISIS as well as a China and Russia who are suddenly finding their balls. I’m not sure that they are interesting the in the “peace and love” sort of socialism that Bernie Sanders believes in.

      I work in healthcare and that provides me with a unique insight into this issue of healthcare being a “right.” I think to a degree this is true, but remember that if you present to an ER with chest pain, stroke-like symptoms, or any other life threatening situation you WILL be treated and taken care of. Hospitals and EMS services are constantly taking care of people and writing off the expenses that are accrued when people don’t have insurance or can’t pay. That’s not good, but it doesn’t mean that a socialized healthcare system is the answer. Part of the problem is the cost inflation in what hospitals charge for things like an IV drip of saline. For something that costs about two or three dollars to manufacture we are getting charged a few thousand dollars more. We might excuse some of that when we understand that hospitals, especially those who share resources under health care umbrellas, need to maintain massive facilities and pay huge number of staff, plus benefits, plus those who can’t or don’t pay for services rendered. Even if we erased the need for a person to carry health insurance because the federal government was going to take care of it for us (think about your last trip to the DMV or post office…) you still have to think about retirement plans and vacation time, which are other European Socialist things that people think we should start adopting. At what point can we break even on the cost? Plans like this would require literally years, if not a generation or two of subtle changes to not completely create a massive financial crisis. We already spend money like a teenager with their parent’s credit card so the answer seems to be “let’s raise taxes and spend more.” You can’t spend yourself out of debt.

      Then there’s the issue of healthcare being a right. I think there’s a valid point here, but we have to ask ourselves if we have a “right” to someone else’s time, effort, and resources. When does it become indentured servitude or even slavery in some cases? You have a right to certain things, but you don’t have a right to someone’s time or resources. This is an emotional issue because “Well it’s my health!” I would ask the majority of Americans “What have you done personally to take care of yourself?” If American youth were really concerned about the cost of healthcare they might consider stoping smoking, doing drugs, exercising, and getting a primary physician that can evaluate them on a routine basis. The first three anyone can do regardless of ability to pay, in fact that will actually save them money. There’s nothing more hypocritical than someone who smokes a pack of day while lamenting their lack of “right” to healthcare. The last element will tie in with what actually constitutes the American Dream toward the end.

      I see a little influence of Saul Alinksy in your argument there. Alinsky wrote a book called Rules for Radicals which people like Obama and Sanders have worked their political agenda from. The idea is that we hyper-emotionalize “our” issue to get everyone so fired up and fearful that it ends up in the media and as forefront issues on political platforms. We are seeing this in some of it at anti-Trump rallies and in groups like Black Lives Matter. Some of it is straight up terrorism, but more often than not it’s about demonizing anyone who doesn’t agree with “our” point of view because they are “racists, homophobes, sexists, etc…” This is necessary so that “we” are always holding the moral high ground even if we are completely wrong.

      I don’t think anyone is going to deny that working for a living sucks. Sometimes you put in a lot of hours and don’t get the return you like or think you deserve. To be honest, I don’t know a lot of independent artists or YouTube show folks who are able to make a living doing just that. In fact I’d have to say those who can are an anomaly, the exception to the rule. I am able to be a writer because the career I went to school for and the job that I do allows me to have that sort of lifestyle. You and I went to high school with people who have degrees that are worthless and complain that they are thousands of dollars in debt. They also think that healthcare should be free, and college should be free, and food should be free… and why? Because they can’t afford to live the way they want to as a result of getting degrees in things like Women’s Studies, 14th Century English Poetry, or Basket Weaving. If they thought enough beyond their own egos (and I’m speaking about two people we both know in particular) they might have a different situation that would allow them to afford the lifestyle they “deserve.” The hardest thing our generation has had to learn is that when it comes to your lifestyle you are entitled to nothing. If they want to know what they are entitled to, I’d suggest they take a look at the Constitution and the rights we established BEFORE the government was put in place. But that’s a document they seem to believe is dated because it prevents the government from interfering in people’s personal lives and taking away the rights of people they don’t like. That’s liberalism in the 21st century.

      Nobody is responsible for our happiness but us. I have my own set of established goals that I would like to meet in my professional and personal life, but first I have to accomplish A, B, C, and D before I can get to X, Y, and Z. It takes a long time and if we are serious enough about it and apply ourselves we will get there regardless of our sex, race, age, orientation, or gender identity. Don’t fall into the trap set for our youth by the likes of Saul Alinksy who uses these elements to divide people. Show me the laws that say men can make more than women who are equally qualified and we will agree “that is sexist.” Show me the law that says you can discriminate based on someone’s race and we will agree “that is racist.” The problem is that these sorts of laws have been illegal since the 1960s. Show me the legislation and we’ll agree the laws are wrong, and illegal, but the argument that something must be simply because it’s the only convenient answer is garbage. We are justly working to correct the latter two issues because as a society we are ready to accept those things. Is it overdue? I’d say so.

      The generation we are from has seemingly no concept of sacrifice. It’s gimme gimmie gimme. It’s all about ME, and to be honest that’s part of the American Dream. The issue is that they’ve got that part down great, it’s the WORK they don’t want to put in. It’s often work that is unpleasant, boring, and mind-numbing. It also builds character and teaches people the value that their own time means. That is sacrificing to get a better life for you and your family so that you can have your American Dream.

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  2. All I hear is ‘lower your expectations for your life’, which is, incidentally, what a lot of people like to say when they don’t like the idea of free state schools too. (…which… eh, let’s make k-12 better before we set our sights beyond that. But I digress.) I’m supposed to have smaller dreams, and be grateful for it, because some people can’t get a 40 hour a week job? That doesn’t sound like the unlimited opportunity from hard work that this country is supposedly founded on.

    There are parts of this health care system that absolutely suck, and there are parts that don’t. I think people too often forget how many people with pre existing conditions were able to finally get treatment when the new plans went into effect. To pay for it, we all have to participate. I get it. Is it ideal? No. Is anything that’s been compromised upon by one side that loves something and one side that hates it ever ideal? I can’t think of any examples.

    “More than likely”, eh? See into the future, can we? I have a hard time with statements like that because… well… yeah, seeing into the future doesn’t always work (see: the first time minimum wage was raised, among others), especially when almost any article against any kind of social medicine plan likes to leave out the fact that the programs are also going to have all the funding that the old health care programs did as well. In addition to a new health care system (just playing with a ‘if it does happen’ scenario here), will the welfare system need some major revamping so that it doesn’t encourage people to live off of it their whole lives? Yes, that already should happen anyway. Will there need to be more FDR, New Deal style programs to help people get jobs? Of course, but it’s worked before, so why not again? (Seriously though, doesn’t it seem to you, reading through those history text books, that capitalism eventually seriously fucks everything up until some socialistic programs have to be enacted to get everything back on track enough for capitalism to fuck it up again?)

    The only thing I’ve heard Bernie say about ‘cutting budgets’ in terms of military (and I’ve been paying quite a bit of attention to him because, like you, I feel he is actually the only genuine human in this race and therefore his ideas bear consideration) is that he feels endless wars like the GOP like to get us into are expensive, and he is right. There is also a lot of military spending that really can be cut, because the things they are developing are ineffective; but because certain people have certain contracts, they continue to be developed. If you’ve seen anything that says more than that, please link me up because I see a lot of people presuming he wants to gut the military budget and I can never find anything that actually says it.

    I’m going to have to save the rest of my rebuttal for another reply, because I have to get to my non soul crushing job, after taking this time away from my other very soul crushing job to start commenting in the first place. (Internet jousting wins over reno work almost every time.) 😀 TBC

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    • I don’t think we should be looking at this as a matter of having to lower your expectations. If we want something we can have it, however we might have to adjust our concept of how to get there. You make some interesting comments about people who want to make YouTube videos or be independent artists. If someone can make a living doing that then great for them, but while they establish themselves doing things like that why should the rest of us support them? That is sort of like making the argument that fast food workers deserve to make $15 per hour – the same amount that a paramedic in most states makes. Now I could make the argument that one profession is more valuable than another, but that’s not really the point. One however is a skilled profession requiring thousands of hours of training and education, not to mention continuing education that lasts as long as their career does. Fast food and jobs like that are entry level jobs – not careers. If someone decides to make their living doing something like that then why am I or any other American required to sustain them for everything else?

      Unfortunately there is a degree of expectation lowering that we all have to come to understand. Nobody is going to be paid a million dollars per year for having a degree in Women’s Studies. That isn’t something that people pay those kinds of dollars for. Now add an additional degree in something like business administration, accounting, or some sort of healthcare related field and maybe we can discuss what makes that degree worth something.

      I love when Democrats talk about the wars the GOP has started. A quick run down of the last hundred years of military conflicts and the presidents who were in office at the time includes:

      Woodrow Wilson, Democrat: military intervention in Mexico and WWI
      FDR, Democrat: WW2
      Harry Truman, Democrat: Korea (ceasefire established under Dwight D. Eisenhower, Republican)
      John F. Kennedy, Democrat: Bay of Pigs, Cuba
      Lyndon B. Johnson, Democrat: Vietnam (ceasefire and pull out organized initially under Richard M. Nixon, Republican and completed under Gerald R. Ford, Republican)
      Ronald Reagan, Republican: Grenada invasion and Iran Contra
      George H. W. Bush, Republican: Panama and Persian Gulf
      Bill Clinton, Democrat: Bosnia, Kosovo, and Iraq (bombing campaign)
      George W. Bush, Republican: Iraq and Afghanistan
      Barack Obama, Democrat: ISIS and various tributary air strikes against civilians as well as some US citizens.

      That is 7 Democrats and 3 Republicans who have been in the White House when we got ourselves into a military conflict. That doesn’t stand up to the numbers that the GOP likes to start wars. According to this the Democrats have started more than twice the number in the last hundred years. As a bonus:

      Jefferson Davis, Confederate States of America, Democrat: The Civil War (the South shot first.)

      Ironically enough we also have been talking about FDRs wonderful works programs that did basically nothing but shuffle money and people around for years until WW2 started and then a massive industrial complex was created for war materials. The irony here is that it was the very thing that Herbert Hoover was arguing would save America in 1932 that saved us in 1941: industry, the same industry that FDR had said was not effective enough to bring us out of the Depression.
      Then he went and put 120,000 Japanese Americans in concentration camps, but that’s something that gets glossed over because Republicans are the real racists because they think people should work for what they have. Is it racist to think people should work for what they have, or to assume they can’t and encourage them to get onto social work programs that they can’t get off of because they pay more than someone would get on minimum wage. Black Americans have been voting Democrat for the last 50 years and have what to show for it? The cities that Democrats control are violent, poorly educated, or have contaminated water sources and somehow the Democrats who’ve been elected into these places are not to blame.

      You commented, “I’m supposed to have smaller dreams, and be grateful for it, because some people can’t get a 40 hour a week job? That doesn’t sound like the unlimited opportunity from hard work that this country is supposedly founded on.”

      You realize that you sort of conceded my point, right? Are we supposed to limit the things that we are working for because someone else made bad life choices and expects the rest of us to pick up the bill? Why should I limit what my potential worth or property can be because someone else doesn’t have the same drive to do what I’ve done?

      The question anyone who works for a living and has made money for themselves should be asking is; “Exactly how much of what I have do I owe you, and why?”

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  3. This conversation is going to take forever, with me closing on one house and desperately trying to finish the last minute reno projects on the other, while I also move out of it so I can get it rented, but I’ll give it my best shot here. Some random thoughts to fill the void until I have more time: 1-You sir, are ancient before your time. I kinda fear the grumpy odd, Grinch/yoda-esqe even adultier adult in your future. 😀 2- I am neither a Dem or a Repub, I usually find myself falling somewhere left-center, all angles considered. Both parties are pretty plainly horrible, especially this election cycle. What the fuck have we been witnessing? Seriously —

    The other points don’t need numbers.

    When I use myself as an example, it’s because it’s the easiest to use, not because I’m trying to overly personalize an argument. The idea that gov. provided health care could actually make a pretty big difference in our lives and how we could go about supporting ourselves is a fairly recent realization… like, within the last month/month and a half while we’ve been sorting through past and future finances, and various other life goals and plans, as one tends to do when making yuge (see what I did there? teehee) life decisions. Fast on the heels of that idea was the thought of just how much it really could change the way some people are able to support themselves and their families. Can something that opens up the opportunity for more people to have more freedom in how they fund their lives, and therefore being members of society that can contribute rather than take, be so bad? It really ought to make it worth more consideration than a lot of people are willing to give it.

    I honestly don’t mind working for a living. I’m fortunate enough to be able to do something I like, in addition to something else trying, but mostly satisfying. So is the hubby. Luckily for us, his skill makes decent money on a steadier basis.

    The way you phrased ‘think you deserve’ is interesting to me. I’m not sure if you meant it to, but it indicates to me that you might be of the idea that there aren’t people out there making less than they should for the amount of work they do.

    Just because you aren’t personally acquainted with YouTube artists or other people of that type of ilk doesn’t negate the fact that they are there. And, to jump off topic a tiny bit, there actually are a lot of them. Some popular enough for mainstream media to be interested enough to give them a prime time try. It’s a growing stepping stone. The things I listed were just some examples. There are numerous ways people could go about supporting themselves beyond what I listed. I didn’t feel the need to make a really long list, and I hope you aren’t really trying to negate the idea I put forth simply because you don’t know anyone who does those specific things.

    You and I also went to school with people who earned legitimate degrees and are still having troubles getting a job. I’m trying to guess the people you’re referring too, but I’m guessing I don’t know enough about their actual lives to firmly connect the dots.

    Now, here is where I’m going to leave you tonight, because I really need some down time and the next little bit of what you claim about sex, race, age, and gender identity not holding you back is a decently large trigger for me, as a woman…. and I don’t want to play the ‘you’re a white male’ card, but…. you’re a white male. And then the assertion about our generation – which, seriously, straight out of the mouth of our parents generation – is just so generalized and convenient and simplified. It’s just so much more than I want to say right now. So, I’ll pick it up next time. 😉

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    • I love the image you’ve drawn of my Grinchy-Yoda-esq personality. I’m wondering if the Grinch is pre or post-Whoville though. If there is something I love it’s the concept of the “old soul.” Our pal Jeremy Brinkett wrote about that in his short story “Family Dinner.” I’ve also come to understand the concept that “religion is for people who are afraid of going to Hell, but spirituality is for people who’ve already been there.” I think that’s my Yoda persona, if I do indeed have it. The Grinch is probably a manifestation of survivalism.

      I’m also neither a Democrat or a Republican. I’m actually a registered Libertarian and feel particularly let down by Rand Paul and the other Classical Liberals who dropped the ball leading into the primaries this year. The primaries to me are just as important as the general election because it sets the tone for what the party message is going to be. I feel overwhelmingly let down by political radicals who came out in favor of Clinton and Trump. Rather than bring in people who have real opinions about things they’ve brought in these two political/monetary elites who haven’t spent a day in our shoes in decades.

      If it couldn’t get any stranger already, I actually feel safer with Clinton as a Democratic candidate and even President in place of Trump. With her I know what I’m getting, and I can trust in my favorite lobbies to do right by me. Trump is a wildcard and my tin foil hate wearing tendencies can’t shake the idea that he is somehow a ringer to make sure Clinton gets into the White House. On that though I’ll digress.

      If there’s something I don’t like to use is the “you versus me” argument. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights applies to all Americans, and to some degree visitors short or long term. I like to say “we” as much as I can because it’s more welcoming and inclusive. That might sound like liberal nonsense, but I tend to favor diplomacy over a fight. I’d rather show someone why my insight and beliefs can work to benefit them rather than be a threat against them. On that note I’ll point to the “think you deserve” point you made. It might have been a Freudian slip, but there has scarcely been a time in my own career when I thought that I deserved more money that I was making. The thing we have to consider though is that because I think I deserve something doesn’t mean I actually do deserve it, or that my boss can afford to give that to me. I’ve had bosses that have told me they wanted to give me a bigger raise than I was getting (and a raise in my field is about a rare as Sasquatch believe it or not) but they couldn’t afford it.

      I suspect that this is part of the reason that Churchill said that “Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy.”

      There’s no doubt that there are things that would make people’s lives easier, and government sponsored healthcare – if applied correctly – could work. This isn’t something that’s done simply by flipping a switch though. The first hurdle we have to take into consideration is the enormous population we have compared to other nations that have government based healthcare. Canada has a population of about 35 million people. The UK has a population of just over 64 million people. France has 66 million people and Australia has just over 23 million. All of these nations have this wonderful government based healthcare in place and they are a fair comparison to us as they are our closest friends internationally.

      The problem we face though is that our population is much larger than ALL of these countries COMBINED: 188 million compared to the US population of just under 320 million. Where does the money come from to pay for the health benefits of 320 million people? We have some of the lowest tax rates of any modernized nation, and while our friends next door talk about their free healthcare and free college their tax rates are also a heck of a lot higher than ours are. In other words there is no such thing as a free lunch. If you woke up with “free healthcare” tomorrow but your taxes were fifty to sixty percent of your gross income are you really going to be financially better off than you were yesterday?

      The idea that a YouTube artist could become viral or famous and be able to make a living off of it isn’t the issue. There are certainly people who’ve done that, J.K. Rowling was effectively an indie artist with nothing to her name before she got Harry Potter published. The image I get though is slightly different than I think you intended it to be. The idea I had in my head was of someone who expected the world to bend to their own designs simply because they thought they were owed something. It tied in with my comment about the little league trophy generation because we tend to think that we should be successful in something just because we want it to be so. The big point here is that while some are going to succeed and become that famous YouTube star, most are going to fail (have you been to my channel lately? It’s worse than MySpace over there).

      From that standpoint I can point out that while it would be nice to have a million followers on YouTube and be an Amazon best seller, I’m not. Not everyone can be a celebrity, an astronaut, a rock star, or President of the United States. As Judge Smails said in Caddyshack, “The world needs ditch diggers too.” It’s a harsh answer and probably not something you’d want hanging in Nine-Finger-Nadeau’s office 😉 but it does have some sort of application. We need to be able to fail because not everyone is going to be Bono because God knows we already have plenty of whiney rockstar elites flying their private jets all over the world to lecture us about climate change and our carbon footprints. The question ultimately isn’t to put down a dreamer but to ask if/when our dreams to be a ballerina/astronaut/football player don’t pan out can we find happiness in something else while keeping in touch with that thing that made us happy? Can we be happy without blaming the rich person because we are jealous of their fortune because that’s what I hear a lot of from the Sanders crowds. Money might buy a Wave Runner but it can’t buy happiness and we should be asking ourselves just how happy Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are on the inside. People with that much hate and crave power are rotten on the inside and Socialism is the magic pill in the minds of perpetual college students who think that the world owes them something.

      You know the people I’m talking about. We sat with them at lunch and I was very close to two of them in our sophomore and junior years. One of them has a degree in French with a minor in German – two foreign language degrees that most people are able to write their own ticket with. The problem with this individual in particular is that he developed a love of the halfling’s leaf and lost interest in having a “real job because it’s just easier to settle.” This is almost the opposite problem of what I was talking about above where someone with no job skills expects to make enough money to live on an entry level job. Here is someone with an absurd amount of potential who gave up on himself. I’ve got no problem with the halfling’s leaf on principle, but too much of a good thing is bad.

      As far as the other one is concerned she got a degree in fairy tales. Seriously, she was able to get a degree from a university that didn’t believe in grades and she walked away with an actual degree in fairy tales. Somehow she stumbled upon substitute teaching and found placement as a temp teacher with no prerequisite training in education, no degree in education, and as a bonus she has hated kids for about as long as I’ve known her. When she got laid off in place of someone with proper credentials (big surprise there) she refused to get any sort of job in order to make ends meet because she fancied herself as an educator. In the end her unemployment ran out and she lost her house. Who do you think she blamed? Not herself I can tell you that much.

      And that’s the manner in which they live their lives. Someone else is to blame for their life’s failures and shortcomings. There was literally nothing either of them could have done to better their situations, everything is someone else’s fault or “societies fault” – in other words the world didn’t spin on its axis to their liking. I’m not free of this either, there’s been plenty of times that things didn’t go my way and I found fault in other people, but as we age we start to learn that we are the only people responsible for our own happiness. Realizing this fact and accepting it and acting is not a singular feat. Sometimes we have to own our faults and realize that we screwed up, or that we didn’t try hard enough, or that life simply isn’t fair. We have no control over the wind, but when we realize that we can adjust the sails we can make things better for ourselves.

      I’m going to get to your last point now and I don’t want you to take this personally. This isn’t directed at you, but the overall concept of what your brought up in the last paragraph.

      I am absolutely fascinated by the “privilege” arguments tossed around by liberals these days. I’m not singling you out, but you did use the words privilege and trigger which made me smile. The very concept of calling someone on their privilege is so absurd that I can hardly dignify it. Telling someone that they are racist, sexist, homophobic or anything because they have the “wrong” opinion is actually racist, homophobic, sexist isn’t it?

      You can’t reasonably assume to understand what it is to be me any more than I can know what it is to be you. We grew up in the same place and got the same education so there are lots of things about us that are alike, so how am I privileged compared to you? There is also the suggestion that the person who has privilege is somehow too stupid to understand that they are “privileged.” What are we actually saying here?It can’t be assumed that anyone can know everything about someone else’s past because in the first place we shouldn’t be judging someone unless we can walk a mile in their moccasins, right?

      We talk about racism and sexism being major issues and I see a lot of that being because it’s too handy a crutch for some people to let go of. “If I fail it’s because the system is rigged against (X).” Spare me.

      I say to anyone who slings this accusation of “privilege” to tell me more about this mythical silver spoon I was supposedly born with, and I’ll tell them to shove it up their asses. Nobody can pigeon hold me based on the color of my skin or my gender because what would that be called otherwise? White straight men are demonized by the left of a routine basis because it’s convenient to a philosophy that claims everyone is a victim of someone else. It’s pathetic and as the American race we should have more accountability for ourselves.

      Again, none of that is directed to you specifically, but as an argument I find the concept of privilege to be absurd. I’m not some sort of elite person endowed with special rights because of my gender, race, or orientation. As I said previously, show me a law that provides that and we will agree that that law is any one of those things, but trying to imply that in 2016 the system is rigged systematically in favor or white males is ridiculous. They dare to call gun owners paranoid and then claim all this nonsense about “The Man” who is out to get them.

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  4. You’re a novel ahead of me, like always and I didn’t even dent your second tome. Quick like a bunny, while I wait for my last coat of paint to dry, (You should see me, I look like a Pollock canvas.) I’m cherry picking the easy-to-answer here, I apologize.

    I feel like someday there may be some kind of pre Who-ville (sorry but you’ve always been a grump. An oft hilarious grump, but a grump nonetheless) Grinch-yoda character unleashed upon the world. I’ve got a little collection of potential kid stories hidden away that I don’t usually tell anyone about… unless I mention them on the comments section of an internet blog… which would probably benefit from just such a foil.

    I worry a bit about people who are too in love with an old soul and hope they keep a young spirit to temper it with. I also sometimes wonder if I’m really one of the only people who don’t really search for religion and spirituality in their lives. Although I suppose I vaguely believe in Karma… but really deep down, I know that stuff like that is just the law of averages. Karma’s a much more satisfying concept though.

    Don’t get me started on the shiniest of two turds race that we have going on now. At the start of it all, I said I’d vote for Hillbags, if I had to, since Trump…. Yeah, there’s a lot of places I don’t have time to go right now. BUT, I can’t in good conscience simply just fall in and vote for Hilary now after all the DNC did during this primary. And it’s not ‘having my panties in a bunch’ because Bernie didn’t win, as so many people have been claiming of Bernie supporters. It’s the blatant obstructionism. I was one of those who were purged off the voter rolls this cycle. They tried to claim that I hadn’t voted since 2005, which I promise you is BS. They made sure to negate my vote, and now they need my vote? And all because of that stupid little ‘I’ next to my name every time the census comes around. If Trump wasn’t such an egomaniac, and had never been publically told that his last try for president was a joke and he’d never win if he really did try, (see the Comedy Central Trump roast, if you haven’t already. Worth the chuckle. Whoever wrote Snoop Dogg’s jokes was pretty spot on.) I’d be with you there, but my tinfoil hat would be tri corner shaped, because those ones that look like a beanie are just so five minutes ago. Unfortunately, Trump is a carney-handed, mango, man child, who doesn’t like to be told what he can’t do, so I’ll save the tin foil for something else. (Jet fuel doesn’t burn hot enough to melt steel! kidding, kidding.)

    To use myself as an easy example again, I spent a lot of years being paid less than the worth of the work I was doing. The people who employed me took advantage of the fact that I was willing to take care of managerial duties in order to make the actual job I was supposed to be doing, easier. It was easier to take care of it and know all the ducks were in a row, than to be yelled at and berated by frustrated customers when they weren’t. From there it lead to organizing staffing and schedules, making orders and all that other fun stuff that goes with running a business. Oh, and being held responsible for it all when something went wrong, but never given credit when things ran smoothly, which was most of the time. All while being paid less than the people who came in for the early morning shift, because, apparently it was more important to let the angry customers in to the club early, than it was to have a smoothly running business which wasn’t constantly double charging people every month. It wasn’t a matter of thinking that I deserved more, I actually really did. And there are tons of people out there that do. Of course, there are tons of people out there who think they deserve more than they actually do, but I hate the philosophy of letting them be used as the only example of what exists out there.

    And personally, I think people who work the kinds of jobs you do, DO deserve more. Don’t undervalue yourself. That makes me sad to see. Like you said earlier, your job required training and study and hard work and carries with it real consequences for real people. The McDick’s workers took a stand for themselves, (which is pushing McD’s toward automation faster, but let’s not pretend that wasn’t going to happen eventually, and now we’re one step closer to an automated world with no jobs for real people so maybe we’ll all have to talk about some kind of universal income situation sooner rather than later.) and they got more for the work they do. It doesn’t stop anyone else from doing the same. Granted, like you said, not everyone works for a giant corporation, that really does have money around to pay what’s demanded.

    Skipping a lot because my paint is dry….

    I’m still a bit foggy on who the he may be, but something you said lit a light bulb for the she. While you guys were probs close… well, there are a number of things I could say, but I feel polite today. Our moms were friends. We existed on the fringes of each other’s worlds. I was actually totally unaware that is how her life went, but hey, that is a consequence of the path she took. When reality didn’t meet her expectations, she was rigid and not supple, or some other such yogi, Namaste style thought.

    Now here is where I have a problem though, and you may call it blaming someone else or not owning something, but here we go, and I know you experienced this too, because, like you said, we grew up in the same situation, and essentially so did she: When we were all in school, prepping for whatever future we might want, correct me if I’m wrong here, but pretty much everyone was telling us, “just go to college. Go undeclared if you don’t know what you want to do, but still just go. It will give you the start you need in the world. You want to study fairy tales? Great, it’s something you like. You’ll like what you’re studying, do well, and then even just getting a ‘regular’ job after school will be easier for you. It will show whoever is hiring you for whatever job you’re applying for that you’re capable of putting your nose to the grindstone and finishing something big.”

    I was paraphrasing there, but now that I read it back, I realize that some of that is actually almost verbatim to some of those special college prep seminars we all sat through.

    So… in our most formative young adult years, this is what we were told by people who were supposed to know, who were supposed to care about where we were heading. If someone really did choose basket weaving: Can that really be considered 100% their fault? Is there no forgiveness here for following the conventional wisdom at the time? Once you’re out in the big scary world, and have that moment of realization for yourself, but still go on happily weaving? Sure, now it’s your fault; you found out something to the contrary and still went on. But before that? I say no, and don’t really understand the kinds of argument that are rooted in the hindsight of those situations. Somehow, we as kids were supposed to cut through that bullshit and know better? I swear, a lot of what people consider entitlement or ‘gimme’ is actually people going “hey, I did what I was told would work, and it didn’t, what the hell?” Lamenting the bad advice and offering it up as a reason for where you are, isn’t the same as demanding something. Also, it’s longbottom leaf, you nerdlette.

    You’re throwing around the words free health care as if I am also doing that and I know I’m not. I, and anyone I know who would consider the idea, understand full well that it’s not a something for nothing proposition and people who try to indicate otherwise are annoying. Just because something is a large undertaking doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be seriously considered and not brushed off.

    That idea you automatically had in your head about our aspiring YouTube artist, is part of the problem I have with arguments like yours. I believe I’ve used the words ‘brushed off’ several times already, but there you go. You heard ‘alternate money making’ and automatically thought, ‘I have to support you while you weave baskets’. Also, again, you’re getting very tied up with the specific examples I did give, rather than look at it like the general idea of alternate livings that it was supposed to be. So what if someone is content doing five or six things that separately aren’t enough to live on, but together are plenty and the person is fulfilled because they like all the things they’re doing? As long as they’re paying the taxes they should, don’t judge. (And as for your own channel… let the wickedly snarky J.P I know from HS out. He’ll take care of things.)

    —Holy cow, it’s two days later and I just realized that I never hit the post comment button. Wow. Oh well, let’s just continue like the first part of this doesn’t say I was going to post real quick. 😀 —

    Trust me, I’m a big advocate of keeping your dreams in perspective and making sure you want to be a rock star because you write good songs, play your own instruments, and sing your own lyrics, not because you five starred Free Bird on the first try in Guitar Hero and like the idea of slutty groupies. Even bigger advocate of still finding something related that fulfills you if your first plans didn’t happen to pan out. I often say that we all need to stop being so uppity about manual labor jobs. (at least until they have plumber robots and such.) We’re of a mind here.

    You lose me right after that though because you must be mishearing ‘jealous of their fortune’, or maybe not listening hard enough? I dunno. Either way, let them have their fortune, as long as it wasn’t built off the backs of workers who don’t get paid enough, moving jobs out of the country, or buying all sorts of advantages within the government, trying to push a style of economics that isn’t working, and let’s maybe have a look at these loopholes that get them out of paying billions of dollars in taxes. Let’s also hold them responsible for the reckless economic decisions they make with their bought influence as well. That’s what I heard as well as the concepts of universal health care and free state tuition. I’m not sure if you heard all that as well, but it was there.

    Now, I’m pretty sure I didn’t say privilege, though I did say trigger. Pretty sure privilege came from you, although, yes I do understand the idea of it. And I’ll offer up the same disclaimer as you did, and hope you don’t take any of this personally either. The very fact that the concept can fascinate you and that you can decide that you almost can’t deign to acknowledge it, is privilege. Privilege is the fact that little you could say that you wanted to be a doctor, or a lawyer, or a superhero when you grew up, and when you said it you heard: Sure you can be that if you work hard! You know what little me heard when I was growing up and I wanted to be a doctor? (And this was still like this in the late 80’s, early 90’s when we were just kids who wanted to be anything from doctors, to movie stars, to whatever our parents did, on any given day. It didn’t really mean much more at that point than we had seen a movie that sparked our imaginations.) I heard how nice it was to be a nurse and to help doctors save people. Or I could marry a doctor, maybe, and have kids for him. I could go to school until I was ready to settle down to a family. I could be a para legal, maybe, but law school would be so tough. Not to mention a waste, since I’d have to give up my career when the kids came, anyway, or I’d have to be one of those ‘career moms’ (say that with distaste when you read it) who is always working and never sees their kids. Oh, and girls weren’t firemen, policemen, and a whole range of other men either.

    I can remember at least three girls roughly around our age in school, maybe a year ahead or behind, being from such old school families that they didn’t even finish HS before they were married off to be baby machines.

    That’s the advantage you had over me. And it’s a psychologically powerful one. Now, luckily, as we got older, it got less acceptable to talk to little girls like that, and the ideas trickled through into older girls as well, but, Jebus, think of what your mindset would be all throughout school, if you were told and treated like that on a regular basis. If you couldn’t have trucks and a bow and arrow, you had to have baby dolls and a kitchen set so that you’d know how to be a good mommy some day. And if you took the crib out of the baby’s room in your Barbie playhouse and decided it was an artist’s loft instead– well, that girl ain’t right, is she? Oh, she’s just spunky now, she’ll settle down soon. Hear that whenever Mom’s friends come over, see how you look at the world.

    Yesterday I made sure to tell my niece what an awesome job she did on her spelling test before I called her the cutest thing on earth and she spelled one of the hard words for me rather than patting at the bow in her hair. I was the proudest auntie ever, but I still worry about what the world is telling her about what she can and should be.

    Don’t try to claim to my that the system isn’t rigged when James Smith, Jane Smith, and Jerome Smith all submit the exact same job application, and only James Smith gets called for an interview.

    Now, you can tell me to stick that all wherever I want, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s there in our society, ugly and underhanded and there. Are there tons of cases where someone wasn’t promoted, or whatever, based 100% off of their own merits, which were lacking? Of course. Are there times people are held back because of BS racist, sexisit, or elitist reasons? Of course. To deny either is silly.

    And here’s where maybe I’ll shock you, there is a whole subset of being a guy that gets me worried too. What you guys are told and exposed to, and denied, upsets me just as much. How many guys ‘don’t cry’ and have no idea how to handle something emotionally huge, like we’re all going to have to go through eventually? How many who would have loved to be a (insert ‘girly’ job here), but are (insert ‘guy’ job here) instead because it’s more acceptable?

    We’ve all got our own struggles to deal with, our mountains to climb, and our dragons to slay. I know from experience that having someone to help out makes it so much more tolerable. It helps get you to the point where you’re in a position to be able to help out someone who needs it too. Some people see that as weak, or just dumb, or even futile, but I don’t really want to see a world where there is no help offered out there, by the people who are able. The less people I help, the less people they can help, and the less we all help each other.

    And you know what, Boss? Mostly I’m tired of people being ugly to each other. I’m tired of all the pain I feel and hear in the world everyday. There’s too much of it. It’s like pieces of glass in my head all the time. Can you understand? That’s how it is everyday, all over the world. ;P

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