2020: New Year, Same Dystopian Shit

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January. The beginning of the cold months without the sparkly lights and ornaments. Just cold, slush, rain, snow and a growing ache in joints that you’ve abused far too often over the years. It’s the season of boots, warm jackets, coffee and a general disdain for the wind that seems to always be howling in the Midwestern United States.

As always. I tend to reminisce a lot this month. The years pass faster now, and it’s not as painful as it once was and I am more introspective than I used to be. Taking a trip down memory lane is a lot more analytical, less emotional, more fact finding and note taking than tears or wishes for a time past.

People are shaped by their lives, not just by their own actions but by those around them, current events, and the environment. Events in a person’s childhood could very well effect how they view the world as an adult, right down to their politics or their favorite cardigan color. Then of course, as the child grows, they learn how to adapt and process what goes on in the world around them. Children turn into teenagers, and teenagers turn into adults, and the rowdy twenty year olds at the pub mellow out into well rounded individuals.

Or that’s the hope anyway. I think that mindset comes about from the idea that “things will get better”. No one really believes that the world stays a stagnant place, we’re taught in school that the human race is advancing at an ever faster rate! In the future we’re going to cure hunger, poverty, global warming, government corruption, disease and on and on and on. So the terrible things we face when we’re younger, we can endure them because surely, some day soon, we won’t have to anymore.

Well. This will be my 34th trip around the sun, and I’m wondering: when the fuck does it get better?

Why are all the things that plagued my childhood still an issue? This is what I don’t understand. Supposedly the United States of America is one of the best countries out there, if you listen to our current president, we’re the best at everything we do.

  • So back, more than 20 years ago now, Blue Cross and Blue Shield tried to kick my mother off of her insurance while she battled lung cancer.. this is still the reality for cancer patients and chronic illness patients throughout our country. Not only that, but a cancer diagnosis and treatment, or any chronic illness for that matter can bankrupt a family.. why hasn’t this been solved in the last 20 years? Why is it just accepted as the norm for a family to open a GoFundMe to try and save their home as the medical bills flood in?
  • Why is hunger and poverty still a major issue in our country? The lines for the local food pantries are down the street as our government restricts who can get food assistance and who can not. There are children, in my own neighborhood, that rely on school lunches as their sole meal of the day, and this is a common occurrence in America. Enough so that we have pledge drives for it. Wages have barely budged, while inflation has run amok, and our government boasts almost daily about how great the stock market is doing. Newsflash: A good day on Wallstreet does not put food on the table for the poor.
  • Homelessness. I remember visiting downtown Chicago as a child for my first trip to a big city restaurant, and asking my Aunt why there was a man sleeping on the pavement. I remember tearing up through our entire meal because the idea that people didn’t have a place to sleep at night didn’t compute in my little-kid-brain. If that was reality for some people, I’d never complain when our pantry ran a little short or I couldn’t get new school clothes. Now? We have more vacant houses than we know what to do with thanks to shady real estate investors and Wallstreet con artists, yet we still have families, even veterans sleeping on the streets. How the hell, is this still a problem in the greatest country on earth? (/s)

I could go on and on and on. I don’t mourn so much for my own past any more. My childhood was good despite losing my mother, and the ensuing turmoil. I had gotten through it because “things would get better”. I honestly believed that when I was older I wouldn’t see my friends losing their houses to medical debt, I wouldn’t see children go hungry because working 2 jobs wasn’t enough to put food on the able. I believed in this country.

So no, I don’t mourn for my past anymore. I don’t get angry at the medical debt that I have accrued in the past decade, or the struggles of my childhood, or the sad memories. I mourn for what I had believed would be in the future. I mourn for what we could have been. I mourn for what and who we have lost along the way.

Now, in 2020, with another conflict in the Middle East brewing, with half of our country rallying behind the thought that health care is not something that every human should have, my feet are firmly here in the present. It’s 2020, and our president is tweeting out images of dead Iranians and racist Photoshop jobs and boasting about wanting to commit two different war crimes within a weeks time while the rest of our government sits by idly.. I’m here now, I’m no longer wallowing. I’m here to witness the hunger, the pain, the war, the hate.. because honestly? America, we’ve waiting too god damned long.

Enough is enough. It’s time to move forward and start solving some of our problems instead of dumping gasoline on the fire. It’s 2020, what will you do?

Distress

 

 

 

Freedom of the Press

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Media in America (and of course around the world) has always been biased. Sure there are some sources that are more towards the middle, but you can usually put a media network on either the left or the right. This is nothing new, regardless of this administration or Obama’s.

Fox News was literally created to cater to conservatives. Here’s the Wikipedia page for the channel, with lots of information: Wiki – Fox News. So the news station was created to be biased. Whatever, that’s not why I’m writing, we already KNOW that Fox News is a Republican echo chamber.

What has caught my eyes in the past few days, is that Fox is catching the Fuhrer’s ire even without Shep poking the bear. How is that you say? Did they call him a traitor? Did they question his loyalty to America? Did they parade a guillotine on stage and slice the head off of a Trump mannequin? Nope. They dared to speak to a democrat the first time, now they gasp, are going to interview Comey.

You know. They’re going to do their damn jobs.

Trump Fox News 2

First off. Commiecast? Hahahahahahahah. Okay Boomer. Someone introduce this man to some real communists.

Second off: Most of you know my disdain for Fox News. Hell, I don’t like CNN or MSNBC either. I prefer fishing my information out of NPR and other mediums and researching to find out what I believe. Either way. Even if the networks themselves suck, there are decent journalists working for those networks, there are people who are doing their best to bring us the news as they know it.

Not to mention, what happened to Freedom of the Press? Whether Trump or the rest of his bootlickers, or any one else for that matter likes.. Freedom of the Press is still a fucking thing! It still covers Fox News, MSNBC, CNN and whomever else despite the USA falling to 45th in the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index in 2018. 

Which brings me to another point I’d like to bring up. I keep hearing that the MAGA crowd is filled to the mother fucking brim with PATRIOTS™ who defend our constitution with their might rifles, bibles and flags right? That they’ll defend our country when we need it? They’ll defend our citizens? Fucking damn straight! What I’m trying to figure out, is why the fuck I only hear about them defending the 2nd amendment. Why the fuck am I hearing that they turn on anyone who has a differing opinion than Trump?

Why aren’t these so-called-patriots calling out Trump when he insults journalists? Why aren’t they defending the press? Why aren’t these so-called-patriots turning on Trump when he insulted a previous POW & War Hero? Hell, why aren’t these so-called-patriots offended that Trump skipped out on serving himself? Hell, aren’t these so-called-patriots realizing yet that their glorious leader is widening the deep divide in this country when he calls more than half of it’s citizens lazy, enemies of the states and liars? Spoiler: It’s because they’re not actually patriots. After this long? They’re just brainwashed in the least, racist hate-filled warmongers at the worst.

[Oh, and if one of you even thinks about sharing that god-awful newsweek article by Andy with me? Don’t bother. It’s propaganda. Look up Andy outside of Conservative circles. Every person he lists that died? Was a Leftist. Fuck Andy and Fuck Newsweek.]

It’s just a fucking shit show. When Trump first turned his attention to Fox News and belittled them, it was humorous. You know, they’re basically State Media. However, this far into the administration, where people are dying.. our government is refusing vaccinations to children held in it’s camps at the border.. our president is calling journalists the enemy on a regular basis.. we need the press. All of them. Even the biased asshole basically state media ones.

 

Impeachment Hearings: Just Testify Trump!

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Rep. Pelosi Invites Trump to Testify

You know, at this point you’d think I’d be rolling around and basking in the circus that is the impeachment hearings. Spoiler alert: I’m not. To be honest, I’m watching them with true feelings of shame peppered with rage.

Rage at how Republican representatives have treated our ambassadors during proceedings, how our president has spoken about our ambassadors to foreign leaders, and how our president has used our people to benefit himself, instead of our nation.

At one point I found myself quickly looking up procedure to see if Rep. Elise Stefanik was allowed to speak in the beginning of the hearing.. just to make sure that Schiff wasn’t being a jack-off when he told her to quiet down. He wasn’t, and she went to Harvard, she knows this.. yet she’s been whining about it to the media and on Twitter in the days since. I figured this out via Google. She went to fucking Harvard. Elise can take several fucking seats and shut the fuck up. So can anyone else whining about how unfair Schiff is being. It’s called procedure. Fucking learn it.

I’ve been watching this shit show. Watching Nunes try again and again to out the whistle-blower despite laws designed to protect him/her, while the ambassadors describe people in Ukraine DYING as Trump played games with aid they needed trying to get just the tiniest bit of dirt on the Bidens. Just to be clear, the Bidens can jump into an active volcano for all I care, but it is NOT okay to use the power of the office of the POTUS for your own personal gain.

I almost screamed as I saw Trump tweet, let me rephrase, as I saw Trump live-tweet about Ambassador Yovanovitch and her career. As she was testifying about how he told Ukraine’s president that “things would happen to her” and how she felt threatened, he slammed her, in real time, and tried to nullify her life’s work.

Then despite saying he wasn’t even paying attention, proceeded to continue to tweet for the rest of the day.

So as Schiff did last week, Pelosi has invited Trump to testify. Now I know that the common thought process is that Trumps lawyers won’t let him because he will get up there and lie his way into a jail cell (or in this case impeachment). However, at this point, I think that the American people.. Democrat, Republican, Independent, [Insert whatever 3rd Party Here] deserve to hear him speak. Period.

We are all subjected to his rallies, where he rambles on about how stupid Nancy Pelosi is are and how bad [insert immigrants, chicago, NYC, California, MS13, etc] are and Sleepy Joe Biden, Do Nothing Dems blah blah blah.. and then he tweets 30 times a day with the same propaganda.. let him speak. Let him tell us.. in his own words, without a teleprompter what happened, what he did or didn’t do, and what he thinks. We deserve to hear it.. unfiltered.

If he’s going to say that Schiff is altering it, or the ambassadors are lying or don’t know what they’re talking about.. I want to hear him testify. I want to know why he thought it was justified to ask another nation to dig up dirt on his rival, despite having the proper channels to do it if it was indeed for national security. I want to know why he felt the need to bash an American citizen, an ambassador to a foreign leader. I want to know what “things” were going to happen to her. I want to know if he understands the whistle blower laws.

I want to hear him answer, personally, every single question congress has to ask him.

I know I won’t. I know we won’t though. He’s essentially a keyboard warrior, a stereotypical chicken. He hid from the draft, he hid from any real work in his entire life. He hides from any criticism in the real world, and then lashes out from twitter or his safe little rallies. He demands to face his accusers, and then hides behinds his phone.

I know one thing though. I’ve had enough.

 

Everyday Citizens: Maybe Not a Wave, but a Steady Stream of Questions

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Remember last Autumn we had the talk of a political Blue Wave? Regardless of the vote, there didn’t seem to be much of a change in the people you and I knew in real life. People on the left stayed where they were, Centrists kept dancing on the fence, and Trump supporters kept on blindly following. Sure there were the few defectors, especially the ones in the public eye.. you know.. just like today who are still releasing books after the fact instead of doing something about it when they are in the muck of it.

Either way. When it came down to it, some seats in congress changed but it didn’t seem to change much in our day to day lives. Lately though, I noticed, people seem to be waking up a little bit. I don’t know if it’s because there’s more Republican politicians jumping ship, so more people are comfortable talking about what they’re not okay with. Maybe, something Trump said, or one of his children have said was the line drawn in the sand? (Could it have been Ivanka quoting Lincoln at her father? Or maybe Junior equating the sacrifices of those buried at Arlington Cemetery to his business sacrifices?)

Who knows. All of a sudden people ranging from my own extended family, to neighbors and long term friends I’ve had are talking, debating, and even walking away from the Trump administration and even the Republican party. It does give me a bit of hope.

Now, don’t get me wrong. My above written word does not negate all of my previous opinions. This country, it’s government and it’s citizens are broken, and it’s been this way for a very long time. These past few years have just worsened the cracks and made them very apparent. I don’t believe that Trump will be voted out of office, of even if he is, that he will leave willingly. Or even if he does, and we elect someone like Bernie Sanders, that this country will be fixed. (Although, that would be a teeny tiny step in the right direction.)

The one thing we can say about the utter dumpster fire this administration has been, even more so than the Bush Junior administration (purely because of the advancement of social media), is that it has gotten the general public discussing the current status of our country. Sure, not many of us are on the same page, but through this discussion some people are learning something of this. Hell, even I am learning more about different aspects of governments and past presidents that I hadn’t considered before.

Like I said in a previous post tho, we have to really work at it. The flow of information isn’t the same that it used to be. There’s so much harsh between the different parties and within each party that information and education isn’t flowing as much as it should be. I’m guilty of this as well. At my family’s Halloween party, my very conservative family’s Halloween party, when I heard anti-Trump sentiments, and more moderate or even progressive comments, I kept my mouth shut.

If we keep our mouths shut, and continue to shun others who don’t think the same as we do, that steady stream we have now, instead of a wave, with thin to a trickle.

Acknowledging I Can’t Do It All

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So I’m one of those dense people that will damn near kill herself, just so I can convince myself that I felt a little bit normal.. at least for a moment. Especially when it comes to my heart. My broad diagnosis is Autonomic Neuropathy, tack on Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome and I’m a big bag of fun.

I take care of myself for the most part. I up my salt intake, stay super hydrated, exercise to the best of my ability, the works. Sometimes though, it’s just hard to admit that I can’t just do everything that I used to be able to. Hell, it’s hard to admit that somethings are just different. 

A great example is temperature regulation and sweating. I have a super hard time regulating my body temperature, and when I sweat, I sweat A LOT. This past summer, I decided to take the kids to Summerfest to see Reverend Horton Heat. It was a partly cloudy, 75 degree day, and it was time for the kids’ baptism by fire into rockabilly. I was psyched. We got there, and by the time we got halfway through the park, I was overheating. It wasn’t hot, it wasn’t even particularly humid, but I could feel the sweat beading up on my forehead and on my back.

Walking through the park was starting to fuck with my heart rate, so once we got to the bleachers, I sat down for the show. Despite sitting, getting my heart under control.. I continued to sweat. By the end of the show I was soaked. By soaked.. I mean drenched. I looked like I had jumped in the lake. Talk about embarrassing. My face was beet red, I was burning up, and all because my body couldn’t control itself. We spent the entire ride home with the kids chattering, and with me beating myself up inside my own head because I stopped to by myself an over priced DRY shirt.

So yes, I have a hard time accepting all of this. Especially the symptoms that effect my day to day drastically. I’ve had a decade to get used to all of the Crohns Disease symptoms. I guess the heart shit is just more.. fresh? One of the things that really gets to me is how it effects my outdoor activities. Especially my yard work.

It sounds kind of lame, but I thoroughly enjoy working outside in my yard. Whether it be mowing the grass, or weeding my garden. The last couple of years, it’s just gotten progressively more difficult.  I mean, when I first started gardening, I used to be able to dig up my garden bed, by myself in a day. Add the fresh dirt/manure/etc wasn’t a huge deal, and I could plant everything by myself as well. Mowing the lawn? That was something to be done with a couple of cold beers set off to the side. Raking in the fall? More beer and a fire at night to burn it all. (Sidenote: there’s no leaf pick up here, and there’s a no burn law – so I burn at night because.. my yard. Eat me.)

Now, digging up my garden and adding new dirt is a two person job or it takes me all week. Planting, I still manage to do by myself, but it puts me on my ass for the rest of the day. Mowing the lawn? This was my heart rate: Screenshot_20191015-120436_Fitbit.jpg

.. and I have a relatively small yard too. It only takes me half an hour to mow it. There’s no beer involved anymore, just two bottles of water. So that leaves me to raking leaves.

Let me precursor this with a little information about my next door neighbor. I share a driveway with a very lovely family, and the father in this family has very nicely tolerated me for a decade now. He helps me out from time to time, and I like to think that he’s adopted me even though it’s much more likely that he just thinks I’m a moron and he doesn’t want me to die some preventable death. It’s hard to tell as we don’t speak the same language, much as we try. His house and yard is very nice. He is super neurotic about it. Now, my yard isn’t horrible, and I like to plant flowers and fill my bird feeder, but I also don’t cringe that hard at the bald patch in my grass by the front door. His yard makes mine look like a dumpster, and unfortunately for him, my two gorgeous maple trees that just dumped all of their bright yellow leaves onto the ground? Part of that ground includes his driveway and yard.

My poor neighbor has been out with his leaf blower every day, blowing the leaves from my trees off of his yard, driveway, my driveway & walkway, both of our drainage ditches back into my yard (he’s also known for shoveling my walkway in the winter when he thinks I’m not looking, much like he unclogs my drainage ditch or fills my car tires).

I know it bothers him. I know it does, and I feel horrible. Jon hasn’t been able to handle it with his work hours, and then of course we got a random 4 inches of snow on his day off. (because who needs an Autumn when we can hop right into Winter riiight?!) and while I handled the first round with the mower, I haven’t raked because.. well. I know I won’t be able to handle it this year. I know I can handle some of the raking, but when I say there’s a lot of leaves, I mean… a metric fuck ton. Like a good 3 inches of leaves covering my entire yard.

… and I’m not ready to just hand over the fucking reins to Jon or someone else and admit that I can’t handle taking care of my own lawn despite the fact that I stay home. It’s my god damn yard, fuck off. 

So I spent sometime online just searching for alternatives. From mulching attachments for the mower, to leaf-grabber-thingies to baggers. What I ended up buying was a push yard sweeper. It’s similar to what I’ve used up on my Dad’s property behind his atv. It essentially uses a brush to sweep yard debris into a bag which to empty when it’s full. It isn’t perfect, but it’s less work than raking. I’m excited, it should be here by Monday, and I plan on tackling the yard on Tuesday barring more snow.

However it occurred to me, this was my first purchase I’ve made purely to assist myself because I couldn’t just do something the same way I used to anymore. I guess it’s the first time I’ve admitted defeat in a way, instead of letting myself use my stubbornness to figure out a way to complete a task. I don’t know, it’s an odd feeling. I guess I’ve avoided this moment for a decade plus and now my brain isn’t quite sure how to process it.

Either way. At least I won’t have to listen to the leaf blower every day now.

 

Education & The General Public

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Excuse my word vomit for a bit, but this is something I’ve been pondering for a little bit here. There’s always been a tiff of some sort between Republicans and Democrats. Hell, there’s a bit of fighting within the left and right.. as there is a broad spectrum of belief systems on each side. I’ve seen the brunt of it as I’ve traveled from conservative through liberal and the various sub-sects of anarchist and communist back to socialist. Nobody seems to get along for long. I imagine the right isn’t much prettier with their.. um.. yeah.

Anyway. So as American travels through it’s various stages of dumpster, and progressed into dumpster fire these past few years the in-fighting seems almost frenzied. None of the topics have really changed to be honest. It’s the same shit, just with different politicians plugged in, and a few new atrocities named. The difference I’ve noticed though is what I’m going to refer to as the “harsh“.

When I was a teenager, and just getting into politics (thank you 9/11 for the baptism by fire) the internet was a thing, but wasn’t.. if that makes sense. I mean, I suppose if you were an upper class kid, you probably had pretty good access, but if you were lower middle class or working class? Your access was limited to AOL disks in the mail that garnered you an ass whooping from your parents, or an hour of internet time at the library. So my learning about politics was from my parents (conservative), and my friends (anarchists, liberals and one don’t-give-a-fuck-eat-vegan-hippy). So it was a cluster fuck of biased-alcohol fueled hell at best, and misinformed at worst. I subsisted off of the Chicago Tribune, and what I could gather at the library computers for news, and then picked my friend’s minds.

When I ran into new people and politics came up, I ate up information and it seemed like people were much more likely to share their point of view. This was how I learned that Libertarians gave me headaches at 16. You could sit down with someone at Denny’s, IHOP or whatever shitty coffee place and just talk and smoke and learn. I remember at one point talking to a bunch of 25-30 year rockers when I was about 16-17 when they were talking about the Bush Administration. I sat down with my over-sugared coffee and basically said “I’m an idiot and don’t know much about politics, but can I listen” and they shrugged and went on, even stopped to explain stuff to me if I had a question.

Now, almost two decades later, I watch kids fight each other on social media or discord or whatever. Which whatever, there’s always going to be little outbursts and tiffs like I said.. but when they turn on someone for not knowing terminology or for being misinformed or not knowing something… that’s fucked up.

We know damn well that our school systems are severely lacking. Most of my knowledge about politics/parties/governments/other countries came from my own research AFTER school. I’ll watch Leftists of whatever flavor tear Liberals apart for coming to them to ask questions.. which come on. Isn’t the entire point of everything to educate people? Maybe someone else will swing a little further left than liberal?

I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I’ve been all over the spectrum in the last almost 2 decades. Maybe it’s because I have a bit more sympathy because I didn’t face the harsh quite like today’s folks have to.

I just know that if someone asks me questions, I’ll give my opinion openly. Period.

That and everything is giving me a fucking headache.

Writer’s Block & the Current Administration

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I enjoy writing about politics, probably more than I enjoy writing about anything else. Politics grabbed my attention back during my teen years where newspapers were relevant and the internet hadn’t quite taken hold. I’ve read, educated myself on and wrote about several issues over the years, spanning 3 presidents (if you count physical notebook writing, 4) and enjoyed sharing my opinion with others.

Politics used to be something my friends and I would go to a 24 hour diner to discuss. Nothing like shitting on the use of drones to kill civilians over coffee flavored rust water and a pack of smokes. It was easy to sit down with people you disagreed with and discuss what was going on, what their take was on it, and to educate ourselves in the process. Those discussions are what fueled my writing. I could take what I learned, form my opinion and write out what I wanted in either my notebooks or the early version of this blog.

Now while I’ve always had multiple issues with pretty much any administration that was occupying the People’s House, and hell, I don’t think there’s ever been a time where I agreed with congress’ actions.. it’s just.. a lot now. My brain can’t seem to process everything that is going on, ranging from this current administration’s actions to congress’ inaction, to my fellow citizens appalling behavior.

Even with friends, it’s hard to talk about just one or two topics these days. There’s so much wrong with our government and country, it just ends up with everyone drinking more beer than we can afford. I was talking with Jon last night, out on the stoop with a cold beer, just about our current political events. The amount of bullshit we talked about in just half of an hour was so numerous that we couldn’t see a way to fix it. Our current events had us discussing the Impeachment Inquiry to our POTUS tweeting about his “great and unmatched wisdom” or that he tweets upwards of 40 times a day now, usually propaganda and name calling. We talked about the delayed actions of Congress, and the fact that even if Trump is impeached, his behavior has set a dangerous precedent for not just future presidents, but every day citizens.

As fucked up as it sounds, I miss the old days. Where when writing my congressman only included one or two things at a time. Where I could read the news without wanting a cigarette and a beer at 6 am. I miss being outraged about a handful of things a day instead of EVERYTHING. I miss feeling like it wasn’t hopeless short of a revolution.

When Trump took office, I tried to write. There was a lot of shit pissing me off, so I had a To-Write-About journal with a list of shit that I felt was important to write about. Not necessarily because people will read it, but to immortalize my words for myself and our future. As the months have dragged on the list spans several pages, just with topics not my notes and sources. Now when I sit down to write, I’m so overwhelmed it’s impossible to get started.

That’s just with National politics and current events too. I can’t even touch on the world right now.. ranging from Syria to Boris Johnson. I just throw up my hands and close my laptop.

Major kudos to those of you who are able to write about all of this, as some of us are just stumped. This era has to be written down, so maybe future generations can learn something from it. I just don’t know how to help, how to get my brain to focus. At this point I applaud those who are putting our current events and atrocities on (literal or not) paper.

Something has got to change.