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.

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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.

 

Ilhan Omar: The Embodiment of the American Dream

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The American Dream

I remember sitting in history class as a freshmen in High School, listening to my teacher drone on and on and on about how people traveled thousands of miles, even in horrific conditions to come to the United States. He explained that it’s the quest for the so-called American Dream, that not just citizens have it, but immigrants too.

People travel here, immigrate here, both legally and “illegally” to have a shot at the American Dream. I’ve posted the definition above, but let me tell you what the American Dream meant to me and my family, and many other families out there.

Growing up, my Dad’s dream was always that us kids would be better of than he was. He didn’t go to college, he worked as a car mechanic (and then eventually a tech for another company) and he wanted us to be BETTER than him. So growing up for me, was about bettering myself, going further than my parents or any other ancestor with the base that they had built for me.

Now that I’m a parent, it’s the same. My version of the American dream is that I want my daughter to do better than I have. I want her to work hard, and make a wonderful life for herself with the base that I’ve built for her. The never ending American Dream, is to work hard, achieve more and to set the footing for the next generation. Why? Because we’re lucky to live in a country where that is (was?) possible.

Now I’m sure that you’ve heard about Trump’s tweets and comments regarding “The Squad”. If you haven’t, here you go, you get to suffer with the rest of us.
Screenshot_20190718-175151_Twitter.jpg

So there is a lot of bullshit to unpack with those tweets. First, 3 out of 4 of those congresswomen were born in the United States. The 4th, immigrated here and became a citizen. (So maybe he’s right in the first tweet about our government.)

Secondly, does he really think Congress is just there to eat his ass? They’re there to run our government. That’s literally their job. More importantly, it is not illegal, shameful or wrong to criticize your government. It’s pretty much how this whole country came about in the first place.

Last, can we just go ahead and point out that ALL 4 of the congresswomen are people of color. Telling people of color to go back where they came from is inherently racist in the USA. It’s something that any minority group has had to deal with their whole entire existence. It’s absolute horse shit, since this country was literally founded by immigrants and then built on the backs of said immigrants and slave labor.

Anyway. Trump had another Nuremberg rally last night. During which, his cult-like supporters started chanting “Send her back”. (It really is telling that all of their hate filled chants are only 3 words long.) An entire demographic (I’ll let you guess which one) were chanting to send a literal American Citizen and Congresswoman, Ilhan Omar, back to where she came from.

Since then, social media has been flooded with anti-immigrant and general racist garbage from the Republicans. Including one, which I will not share here because it’s pretty graphic, in which a woman in a Niqab was hung from a crane. With the hashtag #IStandWithThePresident.

I am appalled. I am completely disgusted with how our President acted, and how my fellow Americans are currently acting. It’s fucking sick. However, it got me thinking about Congresswoman Omar. I did a tiny bit of digging, and confirmed what I already believed.

She is literally the embodiment of the American Dream.

She was born in Somalia in 1982. Her mother died when she was only 2 years old and she came from a family of educators. As some of you know, her and her family fled Somalia during the war and spent about 4 years in a refugee camp.

They made it to New York in 1992, and then moved to Virginia and then finally to Minneapolis. Her family was pretty working-class, but she was raised with a very strong respect for Democracy. She used to interpret for her grandfather at caucus meetings.

She finally was awarded her citizenship in 2000 (7 years before Melania Trump by the way) but had a rough time before and after. She was consistently bullied for her culture, more specifically her hijab. It ranged from boys putting gum on it, to literally pushing her down the stairs and assaulting her.

She persisted.

She went on to get a Bachelors in Political Science and International Studies in 2011, and held many jobs in politics in the mean time. During one job as a Senior Policy Aid for Andrew Johnson, she was attacked, yet again, by 5 people and injured.

She still persisted.

She ran for and was elected for the Minnesota House and took office in 2017. During which time, she amazingly co-authored 266 bills between 2017-2018. Shortly after that she was elected to Congress. She is the first woman of color to serve from Minnesota, and the first Somali-American ever. She was also one of two of the first Muslim women to be elected.

She has literally busted her ass, and embodied the American Dream. She is literally what Republicans say they want opposed to “illegal immigrants”. They want someone to do it through the right channels, and contribute to society… except for they still dislike her. It doesn’t even matter to them, that her American Dream is to serve the American People!

To think, Republicans everywhere are calling for her deportation, or telling her to go back where she came from as if she’s not American enough somehow. Hell, she CO-SPONSORED the 9/11 Victims Compensation bill, you know. The bill that helps take care of victims and first responders that were effected that day? You know, the same exact bill that the Republicans blocked. (Rand Paul – the guy who literally was the 51st vote on the huge tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, is now complaining that we don’t have the money to take care of our national heros. Fuck you Rand.)

It’s fucking ridiculous. She’s being touted as Anti-American, an Anti-Semite (because she criticized Israel’s government and their funding our politicians – for the record.. fuck Israel. You can criticize a government, you SHOULD criticize a government. It’s criticizing entire races/religions that gets you the boot), and a whole bunch of other shit, when she has done more for this country than the vast majority of us.

My point is, is she has literally embodied the American Dream. She busts her ass for herself, her family and for America, and Republicans are shitting on her (and the other 3 congresswomen).

It’s because they do their jobs and criticize and try to fix our country, and because they’re women of color. It’s both. I haven’t seen anyone tell Bernie Sanders to go back to where he came from, he has almost the same view points as all these women, and yet? Nothing. So yeah.

As of this point in time, the Republican Party that we all knew is dead. Our country is headed down a downward spiral, and people are openly shitting on (and physically threatening) the only people who seem to give a damn.

I don’t even know what to say anymore. It’s like watching a train-wreck. You can’t look away.

Except for it’s our country’s fall.

 

“I reported you for manufactured racism. That’s probably why your comment got deleted. MAGA!”

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For once I don’t even know where to start. I feel such utter shame for my country and our fellow citizens. I am so sad and depressed about the state that our country is in, I don’t even know what to say, how to begin to explain it. I have poured two new cups of coffee since I’ve written this paragraph.

So after immense pressure, Facebook has decided to ban white supremacist content¬†from it’s platform. The reason being that white supremacists have been behind so many heinous attacks as of late, and it’s known that they use social networks to organize. Facebook had done the same for ISIS, and it was well accepted, yet for some reason the #MAGA crowd is all up in arms about it.

Here’s a link to an article explaining the ban.

Now, one would think that both parties and their supporters can get behind the stance of “Nazis & hate speech have no place on Facebook or in everyday life”. Yet again, I was mistaken. I scrolled through an article’s comment section, only getting more nauseated as I went. I saw calls for BLM to be banned, as well as Muslims as a whole, even a few people claiming that the KKK & Nazis in the United States doesn’t even exist. A lot of people were saying the media fabricated the story, which led me into a conversation with a very delusional man.

Don’t mind the font change as I switched from my phone to my Chromebook towards the end.

56191373_10215511195066790_4978072434155454464_n55465010_10215511195306796_8192462332559884288_n55564360_10215511195666805_547192448556728320_n55560442_10215511196026814_1350059159168483328_n56264360_10215511196306821_3523091875395272704_n55458343_10215511196586828_3638873958788366336_nScreenshot 2019-03-28 at 9.22.35 AM

I really could have¬†handled myself better, I could have, but I was getting super frustrated. There was so much I wanted to say that just wasn’t even worth my fingers extending to each letter. Not once did this man denounce white supremacy or nazis, despite me asking repeatedly. Not once did he answer on whether or not he was angry at fox news for using “the race card” just like MSNBC and everyone else did.

He was the stereotypical Trump supporter. He refused to answer any questions, or explain any of his reasoning, or even denounce Nazis. As I told him in the comments, he and people like him is why Trump isn’t gaining followers, and frankly, with this kind of behavior and rhetoric, why would anyone want to be associated with Trump Supporters or more importantly the Republican Party.

You see, I grew up in a Republican Household. My entire family is Republican, hell I hold several conservative view points as one of my friends like to point out. I made the decision to start voting Democrat after disagreeing with some of the Bush Era policies. Then I learned really quickly, through conversation with Republicans, Socialists, and general Leftists during the Obama Administration, that there were things I didn’t like with them either. I learned to question things, have conversations and debates with people (I’ll let his comment about Identity Politics go, as that’s a blog for later). I learned, or had thought I learned, that there is middle ground between the parties.

I had always thought that denouncing racism and white nationalism/supremacy was a given. Why wouldn’t both parties agree that boneheads are bad? Of course there’s those assholes who run around with Confederate flags and seig heil-ing that ruin it for the families who have history in the Confederacy. Shouldn’t we all be condemning them?

As this administration began it’s term, not only did we see a ton of white supremacists pop out of the wood work, sympathiezers and those who turn a blind eye became glaringly obvious. All of a sudden Nazis are marching the street, PROMOTING ON FACEBOOK among other sites, and a large section of Trump Supporters either embrace them or turn a blind eye.

When those of us left cry out about Nazis recruiting via social media, or attempt to get white nationalist sub reddits closed down, we’re told we’re manufacturing the racism, that we’re all making it up for ratings. Then when we try and talk, you know, have conversations.. the way people share their viewpoints.. the Trump Supporters refuse. When we ask why we’re “snowflakes” or what have you, we get “MAGA!!” or “TRUMP 2020!” or straight up accused of “race baiting”, being unpatriotic, or told to get out of the country.

When we show legitimate facts, THINGS THAT HAVE HAPPENED, they refuse to talk to us, crying FAKE NEWS. This is what the Republican Party has become, what used to house wonderful men and women, is now nothing but a violent dumping ground for racism, slurs, classism, and their own propaganda. It’s a sad sad day, but at the same time, I can’t even count how many times I’ve felt shame for this country as of late.

I decided to post about this, and this guy I talked to (without bluring his name, as if he can talk like this on the internet, he should be shown to the world) because I believe it’s pertinent to the current state of the Republican Party and our country. This guy is what people think of when they think of Republicans now. This is one of many faces of that party, and I pray that the party itself wants to change that. We cannot allow such uneducated rhetoric to bounce around our country. As you can see, the guy above has bought into and is parroting the same propaganda that comes out of Fox News, Sarah Sanders and Trump’s twitter account.. despite proof to the contrary. This is the current direction of our country.. a country where a party refuses to denounce Nazis under the guise of Freedom of Speech (which 1. doesn’t protect hate speech and 2. pertains to government entities).

As to those people telling me to get out of my own country? No. You don’t move out of a house because you need to replace the hot water heater, you stay and fix it. Speaking out is Patriotism. Protest is patriotism. None of us “leftists” are going anywhere.

2018 & 2019: The Resurgence of the Klan & Nazis

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“If we could get the Klan to go up there and clean out D.C., we’d all been better off,” Sutton told the¬†Montgomery Advertiser. “We’ll get the hemp ropes out, loop them over a tall limb and hang all of them.”

NPR’s update on Alabama publisher who made comments about the Klan

Okay, I’ll admit. I’m on the younger side, and don’t have a lot of experience with Klan garbage. I learned a white-washed version of them in school, and learned more about them via research over the years. Honestly though, I’ve never had the luck to be able to protest a Klan rally, or even to trip one on the street.

The northern states¬†do¬†have active Klan chapters (circle jerks with special salutes?), like Indiana.. who just made the news as their state’s klansmen (women?) managed to get permission to hold a rally in Dayton, Ohio.

Local News Outlet’s Story on Klan “rally”

However, even with them so close, and dealing with the utter bigoted trash that speckles WI & IL, I haven’t dealt with the hooded bastards. Nazis, sure. Has anyone seen Mchenry? Boneheads STILL walk the streets there, and are generally accepted into the town and county.

Hell, Illinois republicans fucked up and let a Nazi win a primary unopposed. 

Jones has previously described himself as a ‚Äúwhite racialist,‚ÄĚ or someone who ‚Äúknows the facts of race,‚ÄĚ in an interview with the Chicago Tribune.

A former member of the American National Socialist Workers Party, Jones said he also opposed equality, interracial marriage and school integration.

The worst part, in the actual election 56,350 people actually voted FOR him. Yes, not only did IL Republicans let a literal nazi win a primary.. more than 50,000 people voted to have him elected.

Klan is still shocking to me. I know that they never disappeared, it’s just that now they are a lot more public then they used to be. Somehow both the Klan and Nazis are getting smarter about it too (man, I really thought the meth would’ve fixed that for us). They are branching off and reforming into new, more acceptable groups. Hell, most republicans will even shun a white hood (at least in public, as that’s obviously not the case at the polling stations) or a swastika arm band.

Muh culture. - Imgur

Yet the support I see from friends of mine for groups that fall under “alt-right” is astounding. The most notable of late is The Proud Boys. (All though they have tried to distance themselves from the “alt-right” and have a token black man.) They are a hate group on multiple levels. Not only do they hate black people, they toss in a little anti-Semitism and misogyny. I’m not going to link their website because A. I don’t support views to hate groups home pages, and B. It’s atrocious.. my 11 year old could make a better website. So here’s the wiki on it.

The Proud Boys

Seriously guys. Just because you put a bonehead in a snazzy polo doesn’t make them any less of a heaping pile of trash.

What’s getting me all riled up is how all these hate groups have seemed to make a resurgence. It’s because of the same reason people find it acceptable to be horrible human beings this past year. Ex: Getting screamed at by the truck behind me as he floored over a median: “Go back to your own country!” I’m assuming because I had a “Resist” sticker (which has now been replaced by an antifa sticker) on the back of my car. You should’ve seen his face when he realized I was white as snow. Ex: A woman following my friend around Target because she was convinced she was going to steal something while she was shopping on her lunch break. Spoiler: my friend is black.

These people think it’s now acceptable to be openly racist because that’s what they’re seeing in our political climate. Hell, the former leader of the Klan voiced support for President Trump and it was like pulling teeth to get a comment from him on it.¬†https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/08/05/488802494/former-kkk-leader-david-duke-says-of-course-trump-voters-are-his-voters¬†When the Charlottesville fiasco shocked the nation, our president said there are “fine people on both sides”. Our own president mocked Elizabeth Warren by calling her Pocahontus. I shouldn’t even have to link the Central Park Jogger case. Lets not forget when he called immigrants racists and drug dealers.. but lets be specific.. he wasn’t talking about European immigrants.

Whether or not Trump is racist isn’t up for debate in this post. My point is, is that when you say¬†racially insensitive things¬†(read: racist) things, or when you tweet them for the whole world to see and read.. the scummier parts of our society are going to believe that someone high up in government believes the same as they do. Ranging from the literal nazi who ran in my state, all the way to the President. Believing that the President of the United States has the same views you do about Mexicans or Native Americans, gives these assholes a feeling of power.

The question is: What are we Americans going to do about it?

I don’t see nearly enough people denouncing racism, classism, or sexism these days. Hell, half of my facebook timeline was filled up with memes making fun of the immigrant children in cages, or the mothers who tried to cross our border with them. I don’t see the Christians living like Jesus as they demand we ship people applying for asylum back to whatever country they came from. It’s almost like they forgot who Jesus was. I browsed a page today (compliments of a nazi sub) that condemned any woman in a relationship with “colored people”, and the amount of support in the comments was disgusting.

So what are we going to do about it America? How do we fix the problem, when the problem starts at the top, and goes through a large portion of our country?

I know that I won’t shut up, I know that the hubs won’t shut up.¬† I know my daughter is growing up knowing to not associate with the bigots swarming our country now. Hell. I know that I’m planning a trip to Ohio in May. We’ll never stop voting, but is it enough when the racism and hatred is bred into the roots of America?

How do we fix this?