The Douche-bag’s Guide to Justifying the Murder of Us All

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By Persephone

So….we have a president who pushed, shoved, and blundered his way through meeting with countless world leaders on his international tour.  When he came home, he promptly decided to remove this country from a non-legally binding agreement whose sole purpose was to ensure the health and safety of future generations.

It didn’t matter that the U.S. was instrumental in the writing of the Paris Climate Agreement.  It didn’t matter that our involvement would increase the involvement of other countries.  It doesn’t matter that climate change is accelerating, and action was needed yesterday.

Nope.  None of this mattered.  President Cheeto instead yanked us out of the agreement despite much criticism from Democrats, including Federal, State, and local political representatives.  Even a few Republicans have offered misgivings.  And now the rest of the world looks at us like we’re total trash.  Since we voted for this asshole, we really are total trash.

I’m just so angry over this.  I’ve been processing this latest news for several days, and I just cannot relinquish this anger.  There was just no reason for any of this.  Trump could have easily remained in the agreement as a show, then simply not contributed.  There were no legal obligations, nor were there financial penalties for not participating.  His pulling out of the agreement the way he did…it was just a giant fuck you to the rest of the world.  This “America First” attitude is going to screw us more than we realize.

President Cheeto cited several reasons for his actions, each reason less reasoned than the last.  He claimed it was economically a bad deal without backing it up with any facts (such a rare strategy of his).  It doesn’t matter that the country’s leading economists disagree, as only a moron would see sticking with old fuels like coal as economically sound.  Renewable clean energy is the way of the future, and the world’s economies are starting to reflect that.  It’s only the people leading these industries who are going to succeed financially.  Just saying.

President Cheeto also mentioned that the other countries must be laughing at us.  Well, thank goodness we dodged that bullet.

He also claimed that the agreement wouldn’t actually help much towards halting the effects on climate change.  True, it doesn’t cover anywhere near enough to halt the acceleration in global warming.  However, it would slow it down considerably.  I’d like to point out, though, that our commander-in-chief hasn’t actually told us what would do more to halt warming temperatures.  His administration even stated that President Trump is more environmentally considerate than any other president.

Sigh.  Whatever.  We’re listening, Mr. President, but we’re not exactly expecting miracles here.

So, we’ve dropped out of an agreement that benefited everyone involved.  By dropping out, we’ve severely reduced our credibility with the rest of the world, and other foreign nationals are looking at us like we’re crazier than a bag of cats.  Our businesses, global influence, and environment suffer greatly as a result.

There are no winners here.  When Trump’s involved, are there ever any winners?  He’s the only negotiator I’ve ever witnessed that would actually trade in a reasonable, mutually beneficial agreement for universal ill-will.

And I’m thinking the tropics are a good place to hang out while waiting for the world to end.  Who’s with me?

Picture from sciencealert.com

The AHCA Passed in the House

By Persephone

Today, the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act, to replace Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.  The AHCA is a rushed bill that no longer requires insurance companies to sell coverage to patients with preexisting conditions.  Preexisting conditions would now include being a rape victim or being born with a heart defect.  Planned Parenthood would be defunded by this bill.  Millions of people would lose their health insurance under the AHCA, and many of them could potentially die as a result.  The only people who benefit are the extreme wealthy.  If you are old, sick, female, or poor, you are screwed.  It’s now up to the Senate to figure out if they have a conscience or not, because apparently the House of Representatives have misplaced theirs indefinitely.

This is normally where I’d say something snarky, but I’m just not in the mood.  I’d hoped so much that this bill wouldn’t pass.  I even called my representative this morning, as did my sister.  I’m so tired of hoping that Republicans will prove us wrong.  I just want some moderates to crop up and rule in the favor in the people, you know?  Well, not this time.  Probably not for a very long time.

As some of you know, I’m currently on health insurance through the ACA.  It’s what allows me to substitute teach while attending graduate school.  While I’ve gone without health insurance for long periods (years) before, I’m relieved that this is no longer necessary.  I’m very fortunate.  I’m 31 years old and childless.  I also tend to be disgustingly healthy.  It’s been my privilege to take part in the ACA, drawing down the costs of those not so fortunate.  Because people like me have Obamacare, the truly sick can afford their premiums.  I made their health insurance possible.  It’s heady stuff.

Now that might go away.  It’s a heavy price people in this country will have to pay, just so the Republicans can make a point.  Message received: their desires are more important than the health and safety of the people they represent.  Shame on every single one of them.

Tread Carefully, President Cheeto. Your Triggers are Showing.

By Persephone

So, after surviving 100 days and the longest presidential campaign known to the United States, I’d say we’ve learned a few things about Trump.  He’s petty, vindictive, forgetful, and weirdly inarticulate for a dude with a B.A. in economics.  More than anything, though, he’s very easy to set off.  Protestors, celebrities, politicians, and reporters have all stumbled across topics that seriously set him off.  You can tell because he tweets his feelings.  The more he overreacts or harps on about a particular issue, the more you just know he’s pissed.  It’s a beautiful thing.

In honor of our Commander-in-Chief’s overly sensitive nature, I have compiled a list.  Here are all the little or not-so-little subjects that just stick in our orange leader’s stupid craw.  Enjoy.

  1. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote.  This pisses him off so much that he still brings it up nearly six months after the election ended.  He even made up a voter fraud scandal to place Hillary Clinton’s votes under scrutiny.  It doesn’t matter that he won the electoral college, which in turn won him the presidency.  Such facts don’t make a difference to him, as winning means so much more than actually running the country.  It’s really all about the win.  In a delicious twist, Hillary Clinton taunted President Cheeto just this week in an interview at the Women for Women International Luncheon.  “Remember,” Clinton said,  I did win by more than 3 million votes than my opponent.”  She’s noticed how much this fact drives him up the wall, too.  I wonder what Trump will be tweeting about at 3 a.m. now.
  2. The size of his inaugural crowd as it compares to Barack Obama’s.  Yes, this is still a thing.  President Cheeto’s inaugural crowd was a perfectly respectable size.  Some people actually wanted to see him take the oath of office.  For some reason.  However, side by side photographs of both crowds easily disprove Trump’s claim that he had the biggest crowd of any presidential inauguration ever.  What a dumb lie.
  3. His small hands.  This is an observation that’s dogged him since the 1980s, and he’s still affected by it.  So, go us.
  4. The fact that Ivanka is his daughter.  On multiple occasions through frequently very public stages, Trump has mentioned how much he would have liked to date Ivanka if she weren’t his daughter.  It’s gross and disturbing, but it’s also clear that Donald Trump finds his daughter very attractive.  His greatest regret seems to stem from those pesky incest laws.  Ew.
  5. How so few celebrities like him.  For his inauguration, Trump reportedly asked big named celebrities who turned him down flat.  Celebrities such as Elton John and Rebecca Ferguson turned him down flat.  The actual inauguration turned out to be, by all accounts, insanely dull.  Actors won’t give him the time of day, either.  As Trump clearly loves the spotlight and nothing ensures that like hanging out with talented celebrities, their obvious disdain bothers him.
  6. How so few world leaders like him.  Since becoming president, Trump has met with leaders from Germany, Canada, Japan, and China.  He’s spoken on the phone with many other leaders.  Other than dictators, these world leaders tend to treat him politely in an effort to avoid any world wars, but you can tell his lack of political knowledge gives them physical pain.  It doesn’t help that Trump can’t measure up to any of these other world leaders in terms of intelligence, presence, dress sense, or civility.  Justin Trudeau of Canada particularly outshined Trump during the state visit–Trudeau really does have some beautiful humanitarian policies as well as blue eyes so flawless you find yourself irretrievably mesmerized by them.
  7. Questioning his troubling love of dictators.  This is a thing.  God help us.  Trump loves complimenting dictators like Vladimir Putin of Russia, Bashar al-Assad of Syria, and Kim Jong Un of North Korea.  Absolute power fascinates Trump.  We should question his unneeded praise of authoritarians.
  8. Having to work for anything.  There’s a reason he’s always taking vacations.  And why he kept overextending his businesses in the 90s to the point he had to keep declaring bankruptcy.  Buying businesses is easy; it’s making them profitable that proves tricky.  Becoming a reality TV star saved him, and that’s not really work when all you do is sit there and get praised.
  9. Having to learn or think.  He hates that.  He really does.
  10. Protests.  We snowflakes are constantly hitting the streets, the airports, and our state capital buildings with grammatically correct posters.  He just can’t compete with that with his own followers.  So, Trump does what he always does when someone threatens his thing grasp of reality.  (Remember, in his reality, Trump is loved by all.)  He throws out unsubstantiated claims that we’re all paid protesters and throws little hissies on twitter.
  11. Having his own words quoted back to him.  Fact-checking is the bane of his existence.  This is the real reason he hates reporters.  When doing their jobs, journalists are encouraged–nay, expected–to check the validity of the President’s claims.  When a president spouts dumb, easily disprovable shit like having achieved the biggest electoral win ever or how the travel ban isn’t a ban, it’s up to the journalists to remind him of reality.  Reality and Trump have never been friends.  If Trump ever accepted reality, he’d finally see that he’s an old, senile, racist, sexist, incoherent, stupid failure of a businessman who should have left politics well enough alone.  Because he will be impeached.  Judging by all the lawsuits his conflicts of interest have spawned, Trump’s businesses probably won’t survive the onslaught either.  Pretty hefty price for a guy to get adulation at rallies.
  12. Any criticism at all, really.

So, what’s the point of this list?  It’s a guideline.  These are all the things that drive our current president crazier than he already is.  It’s what causes him to lash out at reporters, tweet like every insecure troll before him, and not accomplish anything on his presidential agenda.

You get what I’m saying here, don’t you?  The more we piss him off, the less likely he’ll ever build a wall, ban Muslims, deport all our immigrants, or destroy our environment.  We need to make this our priority–go out and protest, tweet about his small hands, and fact check every lying word that flies out of that fish-like hole he calls a mouth.  It’s the only way we’ll get through this travesty of a presidency.

There’s No Point in Asking, “What If?” Well, Maybe Just This Once.

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By Persephone

Two nights ago was the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.  President Cheeto decided not to go before the invitations had even been sent out.  Shocking, right?  He figured his time could be better spent talking at yet another rally, seemingly forgetting again that the election’s over, than sit down to dinner with the press and hear some well-deserved criticism.  But this isn’t about that dinner.

On that same night, political satirist Samantha Bee provided her own “Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.”  It was pretty entertaining, actually.  Will Ferrell performed a stand-up routine of his iconic George W. Bush impression.  Jake Tapper interrogated Samantha Bee as only he could, and Bee eviscerated several news organizations (specifically, CNN and Fox News) while congratulating others on a job well done.  The purpose of her dinner was to promote good journalism in a world growing crazier by the minute.

One segment stood out to me.  Mostly because it was unexpected but also because I cried.  That’s some pretty powerful stuff.  Samantha Bee performed a monologue as if Hillary Clinton had won.  If we hadn’t elected a walking cheesepuff with golden pubes on his head, we’d have our Madame President.

It’s an intriguing bit of wishful thinking.  I’m not delusional…at least, I’m not about this.  I know that there’s no way we’ll ever have Hillary Clinton as our Commander-in-Chief.  It pains me to say this, but that boat has sailed.  Even if Trump was impeached tomorrow and subsequently removed from office for treason, that wouldn’t change.  Even if Mike Pence was found to be complicit in this investigation and was thrown in jail, that wouldn’t change.  Even if they held a special election because of the contentious results of the election (contentious because of Russian hacking and the FBI’s last-minute reopening of the investigation into Hillary’s emails), that wouldn’t change.  Hillary Clinton will never be our president.  We are stuck with leaders forevermore that are not her.

I’ve accepted this.  At least, I thought I had until I saw Samantha Bee’s depiction of an alternative present.  And it broke my heart.  Since the election, I’ve seen a lot of negativity thrown Hillary Clinton’s way.  Hell, the negativity was aimed at her with expert-like precision during the election, too.  She’s undergone so much bad press and multiple investigations for years. Even now, when people say they still don’t like her, I ask why.  I have to know–what was wrong with her?  How could anyone choose Trump over her?  They very rarely give me a real answer.  It’s usually, “I just didn’t like her.”  Or, “She seemed fake.”  These arguments make not sense to me, since Trump isn’t exactly the posterchild for likability or honesty.

Despite all these trials and tribulations, Clinton developed into a smart, well-reasoned, and compassionate human being.  That’s the part that kills me.  Her every move has been analyzed and reanalyzed for decades, yet she’s never been charged with anything.  If there’d been something to charge her with, believe me, it would have happened.  Other than using a private server as well as a personal phone to send work emails (which both Mike Pence and Colon Powell have done, thank you very much), all of Hillary’s actions have proven to be above-board.  Wild rumors might have abounded, but she’s never been anything but a hard worker who cares about the people under her care.

So, ask yourself, what would life be like right now if she’d won?  Well, I guarantee she wouldn’t be going golfing every weekend.  Bill would be staying in the White House, unlike Melania.  Our secret service wouldn’t be run ragged trying to keep the president safe.  Trump would be making her life hell, but so would all the Republicans in Congress.  She would have renominated Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court.  I argued with a Social Studies teacher (a colleague of mine) about this one, but I believe that she would have done it.  He figured that as a politician it would be more advantageous to choose a more liberal-minded judge.  I, however, looked at the Republican Congress.  She would have done the same and chosen the more moderate Merrick Garland.  The Republicans would have breathed a sigh of relief not to be getting another liberal on the Supreme Court, and the Democrats would have been appeased that the seat wouldn’t have been stolen from them.

More than anything else, though, what would the atmosphere be like?  Would you be terrified that Hillary would bomb North Korea in the morning?  Would you wake up to your twitter account to find out she’d thrown out a dozen or two crazy rants at 3 a.m.?  Would the majority of Americans be looking at the free press like they’re the enemy of the people?  Would we have ever allowed her family to take over key roles in the White House?  Would there be random press releases where the president spent all their time yelling at the press for being fake news?  Would you be worried about losing your health care or access to birth control and cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood?  Would you wake up every morning feeling sick to your stomach because of what is happening to our country?

Hillary Clinton’s presidency would have been so vastly different from today’s.  Sure, we would have been just as divided as we are now, but the democrats wouldn’t be clearing out craft stores of their posterboard every weekend.  Clinton would also be the target for multiple investigations (she always is), but unlike Trump’s, these investigations would turn up nothing.  Clinton would be working towards gaining more jobs in the midwest, not lifting sanctions on coal that will produce no coal jobs anyway.  She’d be working with EPA, not trying to demolish it.  She saw that alternative sources of power were the way of the future, so we’d move the country gradually away from fossil fuels.  Her first 100 days would have been a booger for her considering all the opposition she’d face in Congress, but this is Hillary Rodham Clinton we’re talking about.  This is Hillary.  She’s faced opposition every step of the way, first at home, then school, then Arkansas, the White House, the Senate, and finally as Secretary of State.  She’s a worker, and as all three of the Presidential debates she shared with Trump proved, she’s fucking smart.

But that’s enough indulging.  Hillary Clinton will never be president, and it’s masochistic to contemplate.

I highly doubt she’ll ever read this, but Hillary Clinton, I just have one thing to say to you.  It was my greatest honor to vote for you last fall.  My state has mail-in ballots only, and I voted for you so fast that I practically broke the sound barrier getting my ballot to the post office.  You are a good, kind individual who deserved better than what you got.  I will never regret voting for you.

For those of you who didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton, I have just one thing to add.  I hope you’re happy.

 

Photo from The New Yorker

Lie to Me

By The Oracle

Most police officers don’t trust eyewitness testimony. In a crowd of twenty witnessing a crime, you get twenty different stories. People have a tendency to add their biases to what they see. When you add the desire for certainty, people can convince themselves of details that don’t exist. You know what detectives love…video footage. A video camera doesn’t have biases. It just records what happens. It’s amazing what happens when an eyewitness sees video footage. It tends to send them off balance. The reason I mention this is our country seems to have a problem with deciding what it’s actually watching. We have several million people who aren’t sure what they’re seeing.

Perception is dangerous. Especially when what we perceive is different than what we are seeing. I think we’ve all been feeling a bit disoriented lately. I can say without any doubt that President Trump is awful. He’s been awful from day one. He’s never hidden the fact that he is awful. It’s out there for anyone to see. He’s brazenly racist, misogynist, ignorant, bullying, greedy, etc. The evidence is there. You can’t miss it. Unfortunately, he tells people that he is “honest, hardworking, smart, temperate, etc.” and everyone cheers. This is the disconnect that seems to be infecting a large section of the population. They are willing to disregard what they see and hear for what they are told. I have been trying to figure out what went wrong in the election of 2016 for months, and my best theory is that Trump voters wanted the lie.

Hillary Clinton has been taking a lot of criticism about her campaign. Yes, she lost. That’s a metric you can’t get around. I’ve heard people blame misogyny, a lack of vision, stupidity, disconnect with the “working” populace, etc. I think the main reason she lost is she wasn’t willing to brazenly lie. She was willing to tell people the hard truth. She told coal miners that their jobs weren’t coming back. She wasn’t willing to tell manufacturing workers their jobs wouldn’t go overseas. She didn’t lie about what was going on in the Middle East. I won’t say that she was always completely honest, but she really tried not to lie. While a lot of people really liked that, unfortunately, a lot of people really hated reality.

I will admit that reality can be hard. No one wants to hear that their job is going away, or that their healthcare is up for grabs, or that maybe the way we look at other countries is ignorant. And it’s easier if you’re uninformed to build a worldview. Many people don’t like complex issues. They want to be simple. The only problem is that you build a worldview and then find information to fit it. It’s never challenged. And when confronted with facts, the individual will discard them rather than go through the trouble of changing their thinking. If you love facts and the truth, your worldview is constantly changing. I personally know that I don’t know everything. My view of the world is shaped by what I see, hear, and learn. My worldview is shaped by the world around me, and it is being updated constantly.

For the situation to change in our country, we need to fall in love with facts again, especially when they are uncomfortable facts. We need to pledge allegiance to the truth. We must strive to sniff out lies and falsehoods. And we must abide by what the truth presents us. We must plan the future with our eyes wide open. Most of all we must reject those who would mislead us for their own gain. “No more lies” should be the new national creed.

What a Turnout! It’s Almost Like People Think Science Matters…

By Persephone

Well, my family and I joined the March for Science in Spokane yesterday!  It was a lovely turnout–my guess is that somewhere between 500 and 800 people were there.  It definitely ranks as the largest protest I’ve ever been part of, and it was still one of the smaller ones of the day.  Hundreds of cities worldwide took part in this one.  It was a biggie.

It actually was a great afternoon.  The sun came out periodically to warm us up, but it never got super hot.  We got to hear from many speakers for a little over an hour (although I had a hard time hearing what they were actually saying).  However, the other people in the crowd were fun to talk to.  You could tell we were all thrilled to be around others who cared that the current Presidential administration’s take on the environment is to deny the existence of climate change and to defund the Environmental Protection Agency.  These are not small things to be concerned with.  We fully realized that, so we showed up where we were needed.

Then, we marched!  Cops smiled and waved at us, and local passersby did the same.  There was a lot of positivity about the march, and we left feeling like simply adding our numbers to the mix helped in some small way.  Plus, we got to read some hilarious signs.  Some of my favorites read, “Who knew climate change was so complicated?  98% of scientists.”  Also, “Science saves lives.  Ask a doctor,” then an arrow pointed down towards the man holding the sign.  There was a lot of imagination in the crowd today.

So, yeah.  That was a lot of fun, and I feel like I at least helped raise our voice against the climate change denial that’s been running rampant lately.  My dad was a soil scientist for EPA for twenty years.  I hope I made him just a little bit proud today.  I wish he could have been there with my sister and myself.

After an Endless Cycle of Tweets, Investigations, Rumors, Resignations, Failed Health Care Bills, Bombings, Filibusters–What Do You Mean It’s Only Been 3 Months??

By Persephone

We’ve hit another milestone, and I was totally bowled over by it.  Yesterday was the anniversary of the day President Cheeto took his oath of inauguration in front of a huge crowd of almost ten people.  That’s right!  That was only three months ago!  When I realized that yesterday, it took everything I had not to just buy a bottle of scotch and drink myself into oblivion.

Oh, what a ride it’s been!  First, we had to spend weeks hearing about how easy a win Trump had over Hillary (who won the popular vote), then how much bigger the crowd at his inauguration was than Obama’s (despite the photographic evidence).  Flynn, his security adviser, resigned after he was caught lying about meeting with Russians.  He later admitted to working as an operative for Turkey.

Mike Pence, it turns out, had acted fast and loose with his emails in a manner similar to Hillary’s despite his criticism of her doing just that.  He also thinks women lust after him so much that he can’t eat alone with them.  God, Republicans give me a headache sometimes.

After all that waiting, Merrick Garland wasn’t put on the Supreme Court.  Instead, we’re stuck with the plagiarist and perfect picture of a bland white guy Neil Gorsuch.  On top of all that, there’s now rumors that one of the Supreme Court justices is planning retirement this summer.  No, gods, no!

President Cheeto has yet to relax his dedication to his twitter feed.  His tweets have flooded the internet, accusing Obama of illegally wiretapping him with not a shred of evidence to back up his claim, starting up a twitter battle with Arnold Schwarzenegger, throwing a hissy fit because Nordstrom’s dropped Ivanka’s line, getting pissed at the press, claiming all the protesters against him were paid to do it, and threatening to send the Feds into Chicago.  There’s so many more tweets of varying degrees of ridiculousness, but I don’t want to spend all night on this one.  I can at least disprove one claim, though.  As a protester myself, I can admit with absolute certainty that I was not paid to do so.  And I’d do it again.  (And I will).

The health care bill…after hearing the Republicans bitch for years about the ACA, it turns out that they didn’t know what to replace it will.  The bill sank and sank hard.

The Russian investigation is still ongoing.  It’s now extended to include many members of the Republican party.  It turns out that the Russians might have quite a bit of blackmail material on them.  Remember when the DNC got hacked last summer and a bunch of Hillary’s emails were released on WikiLeaks?  Well, it turns out that the RNC was hacked, too.  They just didn’t release any information from that hack to the general public.  But the Republicans started backing up Trump almost overnight during the election.  I’m not saying the Republicans are actually getting blackmailed, but I’m certainly thinking it loudly.  The fact that the head of the Congressional Oversight Committee Jason Chaffetz has been pussyfooting around on investigating Trump this whole time…well, I’m definitely suspicious.  Chaffetz also just announced that he’s resigning early.  Weird.  True or not, these claims of money laundering and collusion with the Russians is going to taint Trump’s presidency for the rest of history.  This is a shame only because there’s so many other factors to taint Trump’s presidency, and these factors are frequently neglected by the press as well as the public at large.  There really is a lot to take in with this presidency.

The Democrats are trying, but without a majority in either house in Congress, about all they can do to slow down bills from getting passed or incompetent people from getting appointed is to filibuster their hearts out.  And they’re doing their best on that score.

What else is there to say?  Unfortunately, way too much.  This is just one car on the crazy train that the minority of voters elected for us.

We’ve survived the first three months.  Assuming that this presidency doesn’t go down in flames, whether through impeachment or resignation, we only have 45 more months to get through.

Maybe scotch really is the answer, after all.

Dictators: What Do They Have in Common? Well, Let Me Tell You…

By Persephone

We’ve been hearing an awful lot about dictators in the news lately.  First, we learned quite a bit about Syrian President Bashar al-Assad–mostly in response to the horrific chemical attack a few weeks ago that killed over 80 people.  Assad took over as President when his father died in 2000, and a civil war broke out in Syria in 2011.  Mass murder (nearly half a million people have died) and arrests have been the result, and homeless refugees have fled their native Syria in terror.  Assad is a real asshole, and he possesses significant control over his government.

This week, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey held a seriously whack election.  He asked his people to vote to expand his powers as their leader, diminishing any checks and balances in their government.  You’d think this one would be a no-brainer, right?  Yet, Erdoğan believed the whole vote would be a slam dunk, and he squashed all opposition and cheated his way through the election to ensure that.  Unfortunately, he succeeded, although by a very slim margin.  His powers are now stronger than ever, and he is set to rule Turkey for a very long term.

So…what exactly is a dictator?  Well, if you type the name into google, you’ll receive the following definition: “a ruler with total power over a country, typically one who has obtained power by force.”

Lately, though, I’ve contemplated less on what a dictator is and more on how a dictatorship starts.  Their initial platforms probably don’t involve threats to commit genocide or to take away all individual rights.  Even Hitler started off with some subtlety to his political career.  However, these guys all started off with one very unique trait in common.  They were all very strongly opinionated in their political views.

Think about it.  On the conservative side of the political spectrum, you get the guys on the extreme right that turned totalitarian whackjob.  This list includes Benito Mussolini of Italy, Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, Vladimir Putin of Russia, and of course Adolf Hitler.  These are the guys who started off on a platform of traditional values and limiting government’s role for social programs.

To be fair, though, there have been a number of left-wing dictators.  I say this as a bleeding-heart liberal myself.  Remember that Communism is considered to be a liberal construct, as it’s meant at its core to give everyone the same rights, salaries, and responsibilities as everybody else.  Communism was meant to promote the ultimate equality.  This sounds like an interesting idea, but there’s a reason why government shouldn’t have complete control over everything, including the economy.  The result of these forays include famously dangerous dictators such as Fidel Castro of Cuba, Vladimir Lenin of Russia, Joseph Stalin of Russia, Mao Zedong of China, and Kim Jong-un of North Korea.

For both sides, there’s quite the list of murderous bastards.  Whether they’re extremely conservative or extremely liberal to start with, these dictators simply turned into something this world doesn’t need.  Bastards with power.

This might only be my general musing over this topic, but I do hope you take away one thought from all this.

No moderate has ever turned into a dictator.  I’m just sayin’.

 

Pictures from telegraph.com and biography.com

Why Would Anyone Want to Rewrite History?

By Persephone

Recently, I’ve noticed a very worrying trend.  A lot of people seem to be re-imagining a history that never existed.  They only focus on the stuff that places former generations in a good light.  This is a troubling habit in and of itself.  Focusing just on the parts of history that you like means you ignore everything else.

But it gets worse.  Of course it does.  Social media and even academics are starting to rewrite the parts of our history that they don’t like.  Ben Carson refers to African slaves as “immigrants,” public schools aren’t required to mention (much less teach) the Holocaust to teenagers, and textbooks are changing the word “slaves” to “workers.”  What the hell is going on?  Why would anyone want to rewrite history?

Sean Spicer calling concentration camps “holocaust centers” is just a symptom of a society that’s been blinding itself for decades.

I can’t speak for the whole world, but I figured I could at least study this desire to change history from an American perspective.  It’s probably just as good a method as any.  We do tend to be trend setters, after all.

We as Americans are insanely spoiled.  It’s true.  We hear about violence in Chicago and Detroit, but for the most part we are completely detached from the reality of what that means.  A school shooting occurs, and for most of us it’s merely a story on the news.  These things don’t affect us on a personal level, and most Americans don’t analyze them too closely.  If we did, you can bet your ass we’d finally enforce some god damned gun control laws already.  Instead, we’re bombarded by so many violent images that we grow anesthetized to such imagery.

At least, we do to a certain extent.  I still sob over the Sandy Hook shooting.  Twenty 1st grade kids were brutally murdered.  If you can hear about that massacre and not want to conduct background checks on potential gun owners, you’re a fucking monster.  This shooting still affects me so much that when the Orlando shooting occurred last year, my first thought was, “Thank God it wasn’t an elementary school.”  Over 100 people were shot, 49 of them fatally, but all I could think about were that no children had been harmed this time.  I’m a gay woman, and that was a horrific hate crime targeting homosexuals.  Yet–and I hate myself when I admit this–I’m still pathetically grateful it wasn’t an elementary school.  Kids are off-limits to assholes with guns.

When such news is on television, though, it frequently doesn’t shake us.  As long as our own little worlds are secure, Americans can exhibit a surprising surplus of denial.  Someone getting shot in Colorado doesn’t affect us so we might retweet a news article or share a prayer on facebook, but that’s the extent of our involvement.  Our concerns lie with working, family, shopping, and leisure time.  Lots of leisure time.  It’s what we do.

We apply this same mentality to history.  Thinking about the Holocaust scares us if we truly analyze it.  When dictators like Bashar al-Assad bomb and drive away all dissenters in his native Syria, we figure that’s okay because it’s a Muslim thing.  It’s to be expected even.  However, Hitler’s different.  White guys are supposed to lead people in the correct direction.  That’s what we learn in school through a constant barrage of successful white male scientists, politicians, religious leaders, monarchs, entrepreneurs, actors, and the like.  These are the guys we’re taught to look up to.  White men are supposed to have a strong moral code.  It’s only okay to be ruthless murderer if you’re not white.  Hitler’s atrocities during the Holocaust were so irredeemable, so bloodthirsty, so callous, that he proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that cruelty isn’t limited to any race.  Bastards are bastards, regardless of their religion or skin color.

Probably what truly freaks out Americans on a subconscious level about the Holocaust isn’t Hitler, though.  He was just one guy.  You can see having one bad egg and all that.  No, Hitler had thousands and thousands of soldiers who followed his bidding.  These soldiers were conscientious young white German men who committed outright murder on a massive scale.  They were normal people who should have been just like you and me, yet look at what Nazis committed.  By dehumanizing Jews, homosexuals, and the Romani people, Nazis felt it was okay to treat them however they wished.  And the Nazis did.

This is why we cannot forget our history.  We cannot forget what happened during the Holocaust.  We cannot ignore the existence of slavery.  We forget them, and we commit such acts again.  Already we’re dehumanizing Muslims.  Don’t forget that President Cheeto signed two executive orders to ban Muslim immigrants from entering into this country.  Even now he refuses to allow Syrian refugees into the U.S.

Just think about that.  Earlier this month, Trump freaked out about an attack in Syria using chemical weapons.  Because he saw all the dead children on the screen, Trump flipped and bombed an airport without actually doing any real damage.   My question for our president is…what did you think was happening in Syria?  There’s been a civil war there for years.  Over 400,000 people have died (often from bombs), many of them children.  Where did all this outrage come from?  And why don’t you direct it towards rescuing some refugees?  Because they’re Muslim, and Muslims are considered to be all dangerous terrorists by many Americans, we instead fight taking in refugees tooth and nail.  We can be outraged that children are dying, but we’re not actually willing to save them.  Because we’ve dehumanized Muslim people.

This recent trend to rewrite history…hell, this trend to rewrite current events…they need to stop.  Now.  Closing our eyes doesn’t make the bad stuff go away.  Pretending something different happened doesn’t make it go away.  Opening our eyes, learning everything we can–that’s what’s going to prevent this shit from happening again.

Education is what can save us all.  A healthy dose of compassion once in a while also wouldn’t hurt.

Try it, Trump.  I dare you.

How Non-Christians View Easter

By Persephone

I’ve made no secret of my own religious beliefs.  My friends and family know it, but I try not to be super preachy about it.  I’m just very quietly Druid, and yet somehow people are still offended by it.  They assume that means I’m spiritual without being religious.  That I just haven’t found Jesus yet.  That this means I have no moral values.

Sigh.  Where do I even start?

Can I just say, I’m really tired of Christians assuming everything to do with non-Christians?  For one thing, we’re not all the same.  Vox recently did an article saying that the number of atheists in this country could be as high as 26%.  While that number does seem a little high, I can deal with it.  However, their methods make no sense to me.  The entire vetting process to reach those numbers is through the simple question, “Do you believe in God?”

Now, I can believe quite readily that 26% of Americans don’t believe in God.  That’s believable.  It just means that they’re not monotheists.  As in, they don’t fall into the category of Christians, Muslims, or Jews.  That’s right.  Since I’m not a monotheist myself–I do not believe in God–I lump you all together.  No one’s ever managed to explain to my satisfaction the animosity between those three major world religions.  If three groups of people believe in God, that should be enough for them to get along.  Apparently, it’s all the extras attached to their faiths that caused all the millions of deaths over the last several millennia.  Bizarre.

However, not believing in God doesn’t make a person Atheist.  You’d think that the PhD psychologists conducting this study would have noticed the distinction.  I don’t believe in God, but Atheists take it a step further and don’t believe in any form of the afterlife.

That’s not me.  I believe our higher power is our planet.  She guides and protects us.  When I pray, I pray to my ancestors who have passed before me.  I practically have my father’s spirit on speed dial.  If you find that weird, bite me.  Christians follow a book that states people with poor eyesight should be stoned to death.  My beliefs are nowhere near that whack.

But that’s the point, isn’t it?  My faith is my faith.  No one else’s.  I might not agree with a lot of Christian teachings, but I’m not going to tell them that they’re wrong either.  As long as you allow me to believe in my own faith, I’ll leave yours alone.  The same goes for all other religions.  Because, as I said, not all non-Christians are Atheist.  This list includes Shintoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, various tribal religions, and so many other freaking religions that have been around a lot longer than these upstart monotheistic faiths.  Hell, some people even make up their own religion.  Such is the joy of living in a country whose very first amendment granted us freedom of religion.

So, yeah.  I got to celebrate Easter today.  It’s one of my favorite Pagan holidays.  Since we celebrate it with such emphasis on the bunnies and the eggs, the original Pagan theme of fertility is still riding strong.  I don’t know how anyone fits in all that resurrection talk when all kids want to do is dress up, hunt for eggs, and hug the Easter bunny.  Tee hee.