Life

Get It Out of My Head. Please Make It Stop

I cannot write political blog posts anymore. The same internal dialogue makes me start–then stop–writing articles, Facebook updates, comments, and Tweets.

Am I alone in this? Please help.

Here’s a typical thought train:

I can’t even with this guy on Facebook. He has no idea how hypocritical he is. Every day he has pro-Trump posts. And now he shares something about bald eagles being killed by lead poisoning. What the hell?wth

Does he not realize that Trump’s pick for the EPA wants to dismantle as many environmental protections as possible?

Wait, let me google Scott Pruitt again…Ok, yea, he’s terrible on this. Certainly no champion of helping bald eagles dealing with lead.

Typical Trump voter, so hypocritical. Maybe I should write a blog post on all the hypocrisy we’ve seen so far.  Never mind. That is the least original idea ever. Like the world needs more writing on Trump being a liar and hypocrite. Real out-of-the-box thinking, Paul. Sheesh.

Anyway, I’m going to comment on this Facebook post. Someone should say something. It can’t go unchecked. If no one calls him on it, the guy will go through the whole day without realizing how terrible his opinions are. You can’t be a Trump voter AND get to pretend like you are the new Jack Hanna. Wait, maybe a good post would be discussing the tragic irony of how the symbols of our nation are literally dropping dead. Eh…forget it. No one wants to read that. This isn’t a freshman English assignment. Political blog posts about symbolism?  Get your head in the game.

But I am responding to this Facebook thing. Even if I don’t change this guy’s mind (I won’t), the quiet lurkers will notice. Maybe it will have an effect. Too many Trump voters have no idea what the President is actually doing. Policy-wise, I mean. 

That’s the root of the problem, isn’t it? That Trump supporters don’t really know the details of things. They assume he’ll support policies that will personally help them. They ignore the crazy and give him the benefit of the doubt on every-god-damn-thing.  Crap, that is exactly the critique used against people who “worshiped” Obama. Stop it Paul, that is a false equivalency.  

All this thinking is a little high and mighty of me, isn’t it…like I’m so smart and clearly wiser than these fools. Am I just as hypocritical?  I say I love animals, but I eat meat. Lots of it.thinking5

I know how this guy will respond on Facebook, though. He’ll say that just because he supports Trump doesn’t mean he supports everything the administration says or does. Great, tell that to the bald eagles.

Or he will try to find something bad about Hillary Clinton and then say, ‘so you must support that too, right?’ 

Or maybe he’ll play it really understated and use the ‘lets give him a chance’ line.

I’ll have to go into the specifics about exactly what Pruitt plans to do with the EPA. Honestly, I’ll need to research that. The only thing I can remember right now is that he is a climate change skeptic (or should I say ‘denier?’), and I think he sued the EPA while in Oklahoma. Something like that. 

Is that hypocritical of me, that I don’t really know the details off the top of my head and am kind of assuming?  At least I’m willing to look it up, and I know the gist–Pruitt is terrible for the environment, right?

I’m sure Trump voters do that same thing though–a quick google search, find an article, and then spit it back out. Ugh. Am I falling into the same trap?  No no. Don’t be silly. Don’t forget the one thousand other awful things Trump has said and done. Keep perspective. But that is probably what Trump voters told themselves during the election- ‘That may be true, but don’t forget all the other terrible things about Hillary.’ 

thinking6You know what, never mind. It’s not worth it. I only see this guy a couple of times a year. I don’t have time for back-and-forth comments all day. He shares a lot of baseball posts too. Move on. Remember, life isn’t politics…

Wait. What are you talking about? Paul, don’t be a moron. Now is not the time for silence.  Silence only normalizes this horror show of a presidency. Speak boldly and confidently, rise up and……  

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

20 minute internal dialogue. Nothing accomplished. Repeat 5x a day.

Is this how Trump wins?

I’m Usually Not the Marching Type, But…

Donald Trump is President of the United States today. Tomorrow I will join fellow citizens in marching on our National Mall in Washington DC. 

You may be joining me in DC. You may be rallying in a different city. You may be rooting along from your living room. OR…you may be saddened and confused that people would do something like this.women10

You could be thinking…

Get over it already! He won. Move on.

I can’t stand people who protest. You’re just lucky there are brave men and women who allow you the privilege.

We all need to come together and support the President. We are all Americans.

I respect that 63 million people voted for Donald Trump. He was certified as our next President by the electoral college. A rally will not change that.  But please don’t misunderstand what is going on. The marches are not an attack on our country; they are a validation of what makes it great.


women20(1)  The right to assemble was enshrined by the Founders–a tool for those who do not have official power. It’s a demonstration of solidarity…
We are still here and will not go away.

(2)  Exercising that right is especially critical now–at a time when a single party controls the Presidency, House of Representatives, and Senate. That same party controls 68% of state legislatures and 62% of Governor’s offices. This is the most power in the hands of a one group since the Civil War.

(3)  But there is a disconnect. Because, the current President lost the popular vote by 2.8 million votes. That is a 5x bigger defeat than when George W. Bush lost it in 2000.

(4) One side’s ability to enact dramatic alterations to society has never been higher. Yet that power is completely out of proportion to the public’s indicated desire for it.

 

The election…this year…is not normal.

I have been thrown on my heels since November 9th–growing further aghast at the conduct and temperament demonstrated by the man holding our most treasured office…

  • Defending a foreign despot over our own American intelligence officials
  • Threats to punish journalists who challenge him
  • Incoherent late night rants about TV shows and celebrities
  • Refusal to eliminate or even reveal personal business conflicts
  • Cabinet nominations that no reasonable person can claim represent the “best and brightest”

Millions disagree with me–you may be one of them. But I hope we can come together on at least one idea: We only sharpen our ideas when we are forced to defend them against those who disagree. 

Tomorrow, your Facebook feed may be filled with tired, one-liners. Please think before following along….

women14

No, if you see one picture of someone doing something stupid that does not represent everyone who is marching. Do KKK Trump supporters represent you?

No, we are not out of touch “liberal elites” from big cities. Some live in cities. Some don’t. Some are rich. Some are poor. Some aren’t even that liberal. We don’t agree on everything. But we do agree on many big things: like fairness, kindness, and competency. 

No, we are not snowflakes who need participation trophies. We’re folks who refuse to stay silent when we think we can make a difference. 

 

I am not joining this march in spite of being an American, but because I am. Democracy is not just the right to vote. It is an ongoing commitment to pay attention to your community, understand how issues align with your values, and put those values to action.

We are still here. We are paying attention. We will not go away.

Wedding Songs – Choose Wisely

A YouTube video went viral a few months ago showing Alzheimer’s residents in nursing homes who seemed to awake from a stupor upon hearing a favorite song from the past.notebok

Obviously, upon re-watching the video I mentally wandered to the year 2075, when my own mind may start to give as a result of tau protein build-up in the brain.  What songs will awaken me?  From there I thought, well…probably my wedding song.  Isn’t that suppose to be one that you never forget, a tune filled with memories of everlasting love, happiness, and excitement?  Yes, I think it is.  And as long as the marriage doesn’t end in divorce, one’s wedding song may very well be one of the only sounds capable of pulling you out of a near-permanent mental fog. Think: The Notebook.

The point is this: Do not take your wedding song selection lightly. If you are already married, this life-saving lesson isn’t helpful. If you married folks do not regret your wedding song selection, great. If you do regret it, consider a divorce and a second wedding to correct the mistake.

For those yet to marry, I recommend always having a notecard and pen in your back pocket with a running list of your top 3 options. Whenever you hear a potential winner, jot it down. My Top 3 as of this moment…

1) As Time Goes By – Louis Armstrong

2) One and Only – Adele

3) Everything I Do (I Do it For You) – Bryan Adams

 

If you read this whole post and are feeling generous, please let me know your own choice–I’m always looking for more options.

On Friendship

Last week I finally got around to reading the only Andrew Sullivan book I’d neglected: “Love Undectectable: Notes on Friendship, Sex, and Survival.”

It is three essays on various topics, connected loosely on the AIDS epidemic and his reflections of living through it.  The third struck me as the obvious gem. It’s on friendship.

Is there anything more central to our lives that we give less serious thought?

Sullivan places friendship on a shimmering pedestal, and its hard not to concur after reading his assessment.  Yet, compared with the thought devoted to family and romantic love, serious consideration of friendship is virtually nonexistent.  Part of the reason for this, he argues, is the inherent nature of friendships…

Lovers and spouses may talk frequently about their “relationship,” but friends tend to let their regard for one another speak for itself or let others point it out. […] In fact, you can tell how strong a friendship is by the silence that envelops it.

He goes on to challenge the primacy that our culture places on family and romantic love.  He notes that this was not always the case, as  older societies were much less reticent about honoring the immense value of platonic, chosen relationships. Contrasting it with romantic love he explains,

When a friend is apart from a friend she doesn’t desperately need her, feel abandoned without her, unable to conceive of a future without her presence.  She merely misses her, misses what her presence does for her, misses the familiarity that builds friendship, like a predictable tide the builds dunes.

I wonder, did the essay speak to me now because I’m slowly reaching a point in life where friendships seem tougher to obtain and maintain?  Childhood is all about friends, a mix of copying each other while pretending to be unique.  Leaving home for college is the pinnacle of friendship, living and breathing with friends (old and new) while figuring out how to exist away from home.  But afterwards?

It isn’t until we’re thrown out into the world for good and become swamped by daily struggles that it hits us: almost nothing is more valuable than our friendships.

You know the people that deep down, you truly consider your “best” friends. They aren’t necessarily the ones you speak with the most, live next to, or have the most memories with.  We simply all have people that, for reasons that are hard to pinpoint, make our lives feel better by their mere presence.   They often never know it.

Sullivan sums it up beautifully: 

Love solves a need, answers a calling, scratches an itch.  Friendship does none of these things.  It merely flourishes, a sign that human beings can chose one another for company, enjoy each other’s selves, and accompany each other on an enterprise, with no thought of gain or purpose.