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Make Donald Drumpf Again

“If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. OK, just knock the hell … I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees.  I’d like to punch him in the face, I tell ya. I love the old days. You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They’d be carried out on a stretcher, folks.” Donald Trump

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When I first heard that Donald Trump was planning to run for President of the United States, I had a good laugh about it.  The thought of that floppy-haired old man running the country instead of telling people they’re fired in between bankruptcies was seriously comical.  I was looking forward to seeing how he was going to campaign because it would be entertaining for us all.  But then, something unexpected began to happen.  People started to take Trump seriously.  Supporters started to emerge from the woodwork and proclaim that Trump was the hero America needed.  That he would indeed make America great again.

John Oliver delivered a masterful piece on Trump, AKA Donald Drumpf. The custom hats are sold out, and the video of Last Week Tonight received over 20 million YouTube views in about 10 days.  Oliver discussed the power of Trump’s name, how it is the cornerstone of his brand, but countered with how his “real” name, Drumpf, is much less magical.  He drove a lot of points home, the key one being that we’re getting far too caught up in the name and the myth of instant success that is associated with Trump.  We’re overlooking the fact that the man is, for lack of a better term, full of shit.

 

Trump’s run for President isn’t funny anymore.  Our modern version of Hitler seems to have successfully brainwashed thousands upon thousands of people, enough to win state after state as he plows his way through the country.  Weak-minded people, mostly white folks in their 40s and higher, are promising to vote for Trump during rallies as their hold their hands high in the air.  His support system grows stronger every time he appears on TV to yell about immigrants or his “meager” beginnings with a million dollars in his pocket.

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This isn’t a matter of not liking a candidate because I disagree with their views, it’s a matter of not liking a candidate because he’s a colossal dipshit who shouldn’t be allowed to manage a game of Sims, nevermind an entire country.  Donald Trump is a confused little boy whose parents told him he could do anything he wanted when he grew up, not knowing that their little boy would take that to the letter as an adult and try to buy a country.  He enjoyed fear mongering.  He’s a racist, and a sexist.  He doesn’t know dick about what it takes to run a country.  Hey, neither do I, which is why I’ll never try to get that particular job.  It isn’t for everyone.

We are a country obsessed with celebrities.  We make nobodies famous through reality television and YouTube.  We created President Trump because we have a fascination with idiots and memes and GIFs, and Trump makes for good entertainment.  We care more about upcoming SNL skits about Trump than we do about the fact that he will likely burn down America within his first week.  We created the Jersey Shore, we are responsible for the dozens upon dozens of Kardashian shows, we ruined MTV, and we continue to obsess over the frivolous while ignoring reality.

Our current reality is that Donald Trump has a damn good chance of becoming President of the United States.  Luckily for us, a good chance is very different than a secured victory.  We still have time to make this right.  We can put a stop to this cartoon world and right the ship before this vulgar human gets anywhere close to swearing in.  We need to save this country from becoming little more than a running joke.  We need to give a damn about more than cat videos and face swapping and actually see how harmful Trump truly is.  Time is running out; this train needs to be derailed immediately.  We need to decide whether we want to live somewhere that we can be proud of or live somewhere resembling a preschool playground.

TRUMP ON WOMEN:  

  • “You know it really doesn’t matter what they write, as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.” 
  • “There was blood coming out of her eyes… blood coming out of her… wherever.” 
  • “Women; You have to treat them like shit.”

TRUMP ON THE MILITARY:  “26,000 unreported sexual assults [sic] in the military — only 238 convictions. What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?”

TRUMP ON FORMER PRESIDENTAL CANDIDATE CARLY FIORINA:  “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!”

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Who Gets Your Vote?

The very first time I voted, back in 2000, I voted for Harry Browne for President.  It was very exciting for me to finally feel as though my voice would be heard.  I knew Browne had no chance of winning, but he was the best candidate in my mind and I wanted him to have my vote.  My college campus had countless resources for students so that registering to vote was easier than finding a keg party.  We were all highly encouraged to get out there and make our generation be heard and seen.  Getting that “I Voted” sticker for the first time was a thrill, I won’t lie.  A tiny piece of sticky laminated paper that was worn like a badge of honor up until it crinkled up and fell off late in the day.  If you didn’t have that sticker, you didn’t want to leave your dorm room.

In elementary and middle school, we would hold mock elections, complete with the actual voting booths that would be used by the adults later on and the stickers to let the world know we cast our vote.  Back then, I always voted Democrat, regardless of what the candidate stood for and what I knew about them (which at that age was very little).  Once practice voting was over and I began educating myself more, I began seeing how the party wasn’t everything and should not be a deciding factor in who my support goes to.  It’s a nice starting point, but it doesn’t tell the whole story.

During the months before election day, our television screens and radio stations are jam-packed with political ads, the most misleading, useless, and often comedic thing about the election and the candidates.  Rather than clearly express goals, intentions, and desires, the majority of candidates launch attacks on their opponents and simply say that they are the polar opposite of this awful person.  Guy A voted against better funding for public schools.  Woman B doesn’t pay her taxes.  Occasionally you get a person like Mourdock who will say or do something worthy of a negative ad, but for the most part it feels forced and doesn’t assist voters whatsoever; I need to know what a candidate stands for, not just why the other guy isn’t worth my time.

Regardless of party affiliation, candidate preference, general outlook on the state of this country, or other vote swaying factors, the general consensus seems to be that you must get out and cast your vote today.  The importance of voting seems to be in the spotlight more and more with every passing election, be it because of the ease we can now communicate with others worldwide or because of close elections in the past few years where it seemed that every single solitary vote carried a lot of weight.  If you fail to vote, you are almost shunned by peers and coworkers, looked at as someone who doesn’t care about their country and who has no interest in securing the best future for themselves and for the rest of us.

What I feel is most important is for everyone to be as educated as possible about the candidates, the process, and the power that our future President actually has.  So many people used to think (and surely some still do) that popular vote secured the new President.  Too many people fail to realize that our system of government is built with checks and balances that keep the President from simply doing what he feels is best.  A large number of people take political ads as pure fact instead of doing a bit of research themselves, leaving their education up to thirty-second spots between their favorite television shows.  Voting is important, but it means a lot more when you are educated, prepared, and know that simply electing a shiny new guy isn’t a quick and instant fix to all of our problems.

Pushing the need to vote is important, but we should also be pushing the need to be properly educated and informed prior to casting that vote.  We need political ads that highlight the candidate’s goals, plans, and outlook for their future term.  We need to be less focused on how good someone looks in front of a camera and be more focused on what they can and will try to do for us.  We need to base our vote on factors that actually matter rather that basing our vote on race or religion.  We need to have realistic expectations from our leaders instead of expecting them to wave a magic wand once in office and cure all that ails us.

My prediction is that Obama and Biden see success in this election and will have another four years to try to improve the state of this nation.  I hope that this time around, they receive more support from Congress and that we start to focus more on the successes instead of only highlighting the failures.  I hope people like Mourdock quickly fade into the background, their nonsensical statements becoming a distant memory as we stop quoting God in order to justify our crazy beliefs and wishes.  I feel that this country is a mess, but I have hope that we will see upward trends in the next few years.  It may be slow, but I feel it coming.

WEIGH IN:

Did you get out and vote?  If you’re brave enough to say it, who did you vote for and why?

If you declined to vote this year, what kept you from the polls?

God’s Will And My Body

“You know, this is that issue that every candidate for federal or even state office faces. And I have to certainly stand for life. I know that there are some who disagree, and I respect their point of view. But I believe that life begins at conception. The only exception I have to have an abortion is in that case — of the life of the mother. I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God. And I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”Richard Mourdock

I haven’t always been an atheist heathen.  I was raised Catholic, baptized as a baby, received my communion, and was confirmed as a member of the Catholic church as a teenager.  At 16, I would accompany a friend to youth group in the Baptist church he belonged to.  I prayed when things were good and prayed even more when things got rough.  I believed that my past friends and relatives were watching me from heaven and I hoped that I was a good enough person to land there myself.  And then, I went through a string of awful events in my life that no amount of prayer or belief could fix.  I was even shunned by a local Catholic church for having a child out of wedlock.  I lost my belief and I’m okay with it, but I do still understand and respect those who believe in God and would never insult them for it.

I was trying to avoid weighing in on Mourdock’s comment, but it’s been bothering me and I can’t seem to escape it.  It’s a topic that hits close to home in a way for me; I didn’t get pregnant due to a rape or anything of that nature, but I went through some other things on the list of things a woman should never experience.  I also lost 90% of my belongings, including things that are irreplaceable.  The list goes on and is a tad too personal to list here, but the point is that I suffered and was surrounded by people telling me that it was God’s will and that God had a plan for me.  God was pushing me, testing me, and preparing me for something great.  God would never give me more than I could handle, so I shouldn’t worry.  God knows best.  I’m sorry, but I can’t believe that my personal shit storm was part of some greater being’s plan for me.

I understand the belief that life is a gift from God.  The creation of a human life is a special thing regardless of religion and should be respected.  I understand the belief that life begins at conception; I don’t think the fetus can be considered a life until further into the pregnancy, as it is too underdeveloped in those early stages, but I respect those who believe it begins at the moment the sperm and the egg collide.  What I do not and cannot respect is the idea that God has it in His plan for women to be brutally raped and for a pregnancy to result.  I do not believe God would want these women to be mentally scarred and to bear a child that is a constant reminder of this violent and personal attack.  I do not believe that anyone would continue to worship a God that would cause so much pain and suffering, throwing babies into awful situations with abandon.

This is ultimately an issue of whether or not abortion is right and proper.  Is it wrong for a woman to get an abortion regardless of the situation or is it wrong only when abortion is used as a form of birth control due to the irresponsible actions of the man and woman?  Mourdock isn’t the only one who feels abortion is wrong; Republican Todd Akin stated that women cannot get pregnant if they are victims of “legitimate rape” because their bodies will just say no.  It amazes me what people will say when they are pro-life and believe abortion to be a horrible and unthinkable act.  To say that a pregnancy caused by rape is God’s will or to say that a pregnancy is impossible if the rape isn’t legitimate is insulting, incorrect, ignorant, and pretty idiotic.

The National Abortion Federation states that “surgical abortion is one of the safest types of medical procedures. Complications from having a first-trimester aspiration abortion are considerably less frequent and less serious than those associated with giving birth. Early medical abortion (using medications to end a pregnancy) has a similar safety profile.”  Research shows that abortions performed before the 24th week of pregnancy do not cause the fetus any pain since they happen before cells are specialized, so there can be no pain to the fetus because there are no nerve cells formed yet.  In some cases, choosing abortion is a better option than having the baby.  This naturally doesn’t mesh well with everyone’s beliefs, but women should be given the right to choose and to seek out abortions so long as they are done safely in a clinic and done early on in the pregnancy.

Abortion is now and should remain an option for women who are raped and find themselves pregnant while still reeling from their attack.  Women should have the right to rid themselves of every memory of a rape, especially in the case of incest, without being made to feel guilty, to feel like monsters, or to feel like it wasn’t a rape because they secretly wanted it to happen.  I find it wrong when women get 7 or 8 abortions due to their irresponsibility with birth control, but I respect their right to do what they wish with their body and with the fetus prior to it becoming too developed.  In the case of rape, there should be no question of whether a woman has the right to abortion, and especially no nonsense about the father’s rights; once he made the decision to sexually assault a woman, he lost his rights to any child that may have come from that attack.

It frightens me a bit how much and how strongly religion is brought into politics.  There is meant to be a separation between church and government, and we’ve definitely seen evidence of this in our schools, as Christmas celebrations have become treeless holiday parties, prayers are banned, and God must be absent.  We are so extreme about keeping our children in a religion-free learning environment, yet the people who we elect to lead us, both state and countrywide, are allowed and almost expected to make their religion known and to quote their God while proposing policy?

This is not a country where God is an absolute.  Not to be rude, but you can’t prove His existence and you can’t force every person in this nation to accept Him as their one and only God.  As such, this country should not have to hear politicians throw God around while trying to create such serious policies as the legality of abortion and whether or not a fetus is a viable life during the first trimester of pregnancy.  Of course the politician should use their belief system to guide them, but they should not be coming out and stating that X is true because God says so.  That isn’t law.  To a nonbeliever such as myself, that is fiction.  It’s convenient to say God wills it so, and since God cannot be seen, heard, or confirmed, it’s all too easy to say X and Y is His will since it cannot be questioned.

Everyone is free to believe what they will, but when you are a person who has the power to change our nation, you must base your arguments in logic and provide concrete information and solid reasoning.  Had Mourdock simply stated that he has a moral issue with abortions in any case and while he sympathizes with woman in situations of rape and incest, he simply can’t say that he is in full support of abortion, I doubt people would be hitting him as hard as they are right now.  Instead, he chose to throw God into the mix and declare it His will that victims of rape and incest find themselves pregnant.  He made himself look foolish and he reconfirmed my belief that there are too many politicians using God as their scapegoat when they can’t quite find the right argument to use in order to make their point.

I want to conclude with the words of Reverend Susan Russell, Episcopal priest from California:

As a priest and pastor I can’t count the number of times I have met with, talked with, counseled with and engaged with people who struggle to make sense of “the God thing.” Many of those conversations start out with the statement “I don’t believe in God.” But once I get them to tell me about the God they don’t believe in, it turns out I don’t believe in that God either.  Because here’s the deal: If I thought my only choice was between “Richard Mourdock’s God” (who “intends” that a woman bear the child of her rapist) and “No God,” then I would be an atheist faster than Mitt Romney can change positions on a political issue.

But I am not an atheist. The God I know and serve is one of justice, love and compassion — not judgment, exclusion and condemnation. The Jesus I follow is the one who preached peace, challenged poverty and liberated women. And the church I belong to is one that stands proudly in the prophetic tradition — committed to putting our faith into action on the issues of social justice that challenge our generation just as our forbears did in theirs.

As theologically indefensible as I find his position on a woman’s right to choose, the First Amendment protects his right to be whatever kind of Christian or Muslim or Jew or Buddhist or Atheist they choose to be.  What the First Amendment does NOT protect is the right of any of us to write our theology into our Constitution — something Joe Biden got totally right in his vice presidential debate with Paul Ryan“I accept my church’s position that life begins at conception. That’s the church’s judgment. I accept it in my personal life. But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews and — I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the congressman. I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that women can’t control their body.”

There are many things at stake in this presidential election, but choosing between faith and freedom is not one of them. Protecting the freedom of others to believe what they choose to believe about what “God intends” protects not only our own freedom to believe what “God intends” but defends our democracy from the very real threat of theocracy embodied in the policies of candidates like Richard Mourdock. And that is a battle worth fighting — no matter what you believe or don’t believe about God!

Casting My Vote

I’m not a political expert and I’m not about to pretend to be, but this year’s Presidential election just makes me sad.  I felt similar in 2000; I didn’t want to vote for either Bush or Gore, choosing Harry Browne instead due to his views and promises.  I knew he wasn’t going to win, but I didn’t feel that Bush or Gore were the best choices and I don’t have the right to complain if I abstain from the election.  This time around, I don’t even have a Harry Browne to turn to.

There are over three hundred million people in the United States.  Nearly two hundred million of them are 21 years old or over.  Out of that two hundred million, there should be a fairly large number who are of the proper age to run for office, are natural-born citizens, and have the proper education and credentials.  Yet, out of all those people, we are given candidate choices that are sub par at best.  I was one who had faith in Obama and cast my vote in his favor in the last election, but my confidence in his abilities has wavered because he is either unable to do the job to the best of his ability due to checks and balances, or he doesn’t have the same vision he projected while campaigning.  As for the other options we’re given, I have zero interest in any of them taking up residence in the White House.

When I learned about our government in school, I felt proud that our country allowed the people to make such important choices in deciding who runs what.  The older I got, the less proud I became.  I do appreciate the structure, but at this point in time I don’t feel that it’s working the way it was originally intended.  Not due to the system being flawed (though it may be) but due to people being focused on power and influence rather than on keeping the country running like a well oiled machine.  The people out there who could make major differences are outnumbered by those who have their own best interests in mind rather than those of the masses.

With as many people in this country who are qualified and able to run for President, I fail to understand why we seem to be scraping the bottom of the barrel for candidates.  We should be choosing between the best people available for the position, not the people who a select few groups decide is the best.  We shouldn’t feel this limitation in elections, knowing that either a Republican or Democrat will win, but rather feel that any of the candidates has a fair shot at the office.  We shouldn’t have good people go unheard just because they can’t pull in the money that Democrat X or Republican Y can pull in to fund campaign costs.  We should be choosing our President from the best of the best, and that is not what we are doing at all.

What sickens me further are the campaign efforts to sway the public vote one way or the other.  I should be hearing what Person 1 can do for this country to make it better, not why Person 2 is a lowlife and doesn’t deserve my vote.  I don’t care that Person 2 got a parking ticket last year, I want to know what Person 1 is going to do about the economic state of the United States.  Unfortunately, every time an election approaches, we are smothered in ads insulting the opponent, sometimes offering the opposing and better view of the person we are meant to vote for, but it is overshadowed by the trash talk.  What sticks in our minds is all of the negative, not the positive things the candidate can offer, and that’s simply not right.

I want to see things fair and balanced.  I want every candidate to get equal air time to state their views and address public concern.  I want all parties to be treated with the same amount of importance.  I want to be presented with the best this country has to offer for that office out of the many people who are qualified.  I want to hear exactly what each candidate has to offer our country without hearing nonsense about other candidate’s college days that has zero relevance to their ability to run this country.  I probably want the impossible.  At the very least, I want an improvement.  We seem to be getting worse and worse as the years go on.

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