Friday, 29 July 2016

My Blog, My Say

Let me start off by saying that although I live here in England, I am a United States citizen and I care deeply about what will forever be my homeland. The coming election in November is on my mind constantly even though this Brexit bullshit that's happening here is front and center.

Living over here has opened my eyes to a lot of things. Like any new experience, you have some important takeaways. Things that change you. Things that make you think. Ways you never knew existed if you hadn't experienced them yourself. Not all are good. Make no mistake, I'll never understand certain things like the popular foods, the lack of air conditioning, the plumbing, Parliament and so much more. The longer I'm here, the more I learn, so maybe one day, it'll make sense. What I DO know though, is that some things work really well. Some things can only be described as impressive. The gun laws, for instance. Impressive, to say the least. I can't explain what it's like to wake up and read or watch the news and not see a shooting in the headline. Just stop and try to imagine what it would be like every day to not hear about a local thug that shot a store owner, or a kid injured in a drive-by shooting, or a random robbery at gunpoint; to not hear about a cop shooting a person because they suspected he had a gun, or to not hear of a person shooting a cop. Can you even fathom what that's like? Let's go one further. Can you imagine NOT hearing a friend or a relative or overhear a stranger at a cafe blaming the nation's leader for it?  Blaming the actual President of the United States for the state of society's current climate? Listen, over here they have some seriously strict gun laws. Getting them, registering them, it's a process, a lengthy, sophisticated, complex process. There are so few illegal guns because of it. The police don't carry guns. They carry tazers, batons, sure; but if gun force is necessary, they make a call for the next level team. They rely on training, heavily. Even with the "open borders" policy, the terror threat level what it is, their presence has stepped up at soft target spots, but their weaponry: same. Still confident they can do their jobs as they always have. Citizens aren't crying about needing guns to protect themselves and their families and homes. This is a total melting pot of religions and ethnicities and sexual identities. They've had legal same-sex civil unions in place way longer than America has, so passing equal marriage law was tough to push up the ladder of Parliament, but it got done. Peacefully. Things get moved forward while traditions are honoured and history is preserved - it's an odd paradoxical way of life. Maybe because so many people migrate here. It's like the entire population living in Texas, all squished into a space the size of Rhode Island, if you can imagine.  There are immigrants who have lived here since the borders were opened to them 20 odd years ago, who have families, live an honest life, they are hard working, they have privileges and advantages they might never have had if they hadn't left their homelands. Yet, they co-exist and more often than not, peacefully. Something that, if I hadn't moved here, I would never think could be "a thing".  British people live to travel. I've never seen anything like it. Brits love a holiday. Their quest to see the world knows no bounds. For £100 you can fly to Spain, for even cheaper you can hop a quick flight to Amsterdam, or Denmark. They love going to Dubai, Turkey, Thailand, China, just about anywhere they've never been. They've been exposed to life in other places. It seems to have made them far more accepting of others who may not be just like them. They are tolerant, I'll say that. This Brexit thing, though, has brought out the worst in people lately, yelling racist or even homophobic slurs, stirring tensions they never knew existed.

I've been here 5 years and never really heard people say anything other than the passing jabs around election times. Sure, right now over here you can hear people blaming Cameron, Farage, Corbyn, and now Theresa May for the rocky state of things in Britain, post-Brexit. Of course. But, when I see and read things about the Brexit voters who squandered their voting right, or who didn't take the time and do the research, people who took the advise of their grandfathers, or someone who got a "tag line" stuck in their head and that was enough to convince them to vote "Leave", someone who thought it would be a good idea to "shake things up" for the hell of it because "it's not working the way it is now, so why not?" or someone who just didn't know what the EU meant, what it meant for a country to be in it, or futhermore what "Brexit" itself meant, they just blindly walked into their polling station and voted "Leave" honestly made my stomach turn. Why? Well, look at what's happened since? No plan, no exit strategy, no idea what to do next, and no one to turn to. England wasn't prepared because, let's be honest, no one thought it would happen. The "Leave" voters were quiet about their decision until it came time to vote. So, you can see WHY this election in the U.S. means something. Actually, it means EVERYTHING. What's happened here should be a lesson to you, America. 

In this day and age, with the media being what it is, so powerful, so influential, and yet so careless, it really is up to an individual to fucking THINK for themselves, to listen, to do whatever it takes to understand HOW something works, to decide what's important overall, get involved at even the smallest level to do some research, to not be led by fear, or snazzy catch phrases, biased news outlets, outspoken bullies or just quit being a slacker for once. Let's be honest for a minute. Most people don't think that much about something until it effects them on a personal level. My biggest issue is that people will make their minds up so quickly out of sheer frustration. They are effected by their own frustration. I can't even count how many times now that someone, mainly on Facebook, have said, "I'm fed up with career politicians. We need someone who doesn't play games, who isn't afraid to say what they think, to shake things up. I don't want 4 or 8 more years of the same shit."  I've had people tell me that not enough is done for our Veterans, not enough is being done to take out Isis, I've had people say they think President Obama is a Muslim, or that he's on the side of radical Islamists, that our troops are in danger constantly because of him and his decisions. They blame him for the racist climate that's growing, for the corruption or injustices that happen, yet time and time again, the bottom line is that those people are sitting on their asses, making assumptions, judgements and observations based on what they feel, not what they know. They don't know what it's like trying to push for change and getting blocked by the GOP. They only know the change that they wanted didn't happen. They fear someone knocking on their door and taking away their guns. They haven't listened to the purposed changes to gun laws. They only hear "2nd amendment rights" and they've stopped listening after that. They hang onto a Trump statement about "having more good people with guns to stop bad people with guns."  What that statement does is tap into an inherently deep fear that society has right now. Trump has found his niche. Between the wars, the growing number of terror attacks, the racial tensions that creep up because of the alarming number of shootings and the now uneasy, agitated cops due to the amount and ease of obtaining illegal and legal automatic rifles right in our own country - Trump has found the thing that we're having trouble with. The tender spot in all of us, he's found the thing that the press and people both are struggling with as a whole, and he's tapped right into it by promising to fix it. He thinks he's shining a spotlight on it, but the truth is, all of it has been happening for so long and it's only now because of social media being what it is, there's a platform to report it, share it, grow it, and most importantly manipulate it. 

When you have an injury, it hurts. When it's serious, it hurts a lot. When it gets to be unbearable, you know you have to see a doctor to make it better. Most of the time it gets better. Sometimes, it doesn't, but you have to try to make it stop hurting because no one likes to suffer. It may take a long and arduous treatment plan. It make take a few pills. Either way, you go to an expert and LISTEN to that expert, that educated person who knows more than you do about sickness, disease, the body, bones, blood- all the stuff you don't know because maybe you're a mechanic, or a salesman, or a housewife, or a CEO, but true as shit, you aren't a doctor. So, you listen, you do some research, you get involved in your treatment, you weigh your options, you make an informed decision. I know you see what I'm getting at here. And of course, there are no guarantees it'll get better. But, you did everything you could possibly do to make yourself well. 

What I don't understand is how someone who loves their wife, daughter, mother, aunt, sister, niece, or girlfriend can support a candidate who calls women "pigs", who doesn't want her to have a choice when it comes to HER body, someone who doesn't believe she should be paid equally for the work she does along side a male co-worker doing the same job.  Someone who professes his love for this country yet has his name brand suits, ties and caps made in China. Way to help the economy, Big D. What I don't understand is how someone who has a gay or lesbian son, daughter, niece, nephew, brother, sister, friend, or colleague can support a candidate that wants to take away their equal right to be married to the person they love after fighting so hard to get that right only just 13 months ago. There are so many things I don't understand about anyone who can support a candidate with no experience on foreign policy, that's never been in public service, that's never fought for a law to be changed, that's never had to struggle on the way up, that doesn't understand what a middle-class working person's life is like at all, that's never had a passion for politics, that's not well versed in debates, that's not a stable force, that doesn't know poise, doesn't know the first thing about crisis management, hides his tax returns, has a wake of financial debt and bankruptcies, lies repeatedly, thinks laws don't apply to him, who mocks the disabled, TWEETS insults, misspells those tweets, insults anyone who disagrees with him, and God, ugh-the list goes on and on. His ignorance is only matched by his self confidence in that very same ignorance and the worst part of it is that Trump prides himself on his supporter's ignorance. "I could walk out onto 5th Avenue and shoot someone and they'd still vote for me." There's more: "If I ever ran, I'd run as a Republican because they are the dumbest group of voters in the country. I could lie and they'd eat it up. I bet my numbers would be terrific."  Quotes. Quotes taken from actual recorded, printed interviews. Not made up lies. Actual quotes. No explanation or excuses like we've had recently when he was "only joking" or "just being sarcastic" about imploring Russia to hack into private email servers to look for Hillary's deleted emails. Nope, he just leaves those quotes hanging out there for all his supporters to see because he knows they won't listen, they won't feel it, they won't let it bother them because they want someone in office that's not a career politician. That's what they want. They want a guy that'll become instantly unhinged when challenged about anything. Because that's going help "shake things up." That's going make the "world be scared of us." 

I don't know about you, but one of things I think about a lot is the fact that our society is so glued to anything that "goes viral". We eat it up with a shovel. Any kind of 'expose', any kind of new discovery, any "Breaking News" aiming to tear into someone's fame or fortune. So, with that in mind, with so many fame-hungry reporters and investigative journalists out there looking for a big break, looking to crack something wide open, to expose an untruth, a pay off, or a cover-up then why hasn't Hillary Clinton been shut down? Could it be that there is nothing to take her down with? Could it be that after hours and hours of grilling in Senate hearings, and them mulling, and combing over documents and testimony that no one could find anything to charge her with? I feel like if something was there, someone would find it. Like a dog with a bone. Eventually, the bone gets found. No bone. Why, after much investigation, money, and time spent on it, was nothing classified or critical found, deleted or not, no chargeable offensive be dug up? If it's such an enormous big deal, why haven't we addressed the fact that it happened to both Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell? The very same thing. Private email servers, deleted emails. Same exact thing. Anything horrible happen when they did it? Anything horrible happen when Hillary did it? Even if people think "Oh, she got away with it!" Okay, let's say she did and she didn't get caught. I don't know about you, but I want someone with that kind legal finesse on my side. Does she have a never-ending jet stream of lawsuits surrounding her? Has she made her taxes public? Has she been sued? I want someone in the White House who has actually spent time in the White House. Do you think she hasn't learned anything from her time as First Lady or as Secretary of State? Like, she was just there eating apples and shooting the shit with world leaders about their kid's last crap-filled day at the zoo? It's fucking serious stuff that goes on in the Situation Room. Do you think Donald Trump has the attention span to listen and learn because I haven't seen that in him. In fact, the guy that ACTUALLY wrote "Art of The Deal", Tony Schwartz has gone public, openly stating that "the Donald" has no attention span whatsoever, to the point that he couldn't talk to him for more than 15 minutes without Trump ending the conversation, so Schwartz had to compile his material based on phone calls he was allowed to listen to and interviews with other people that had spent bits of time with Trump in order to get enough to put together the book about Donald Trump, that Donald Trump hired him to write! Is that the guy we need sitting in a room with world leaders? Is that the guy we think can learn ON THE JOB? I don't have time for that! Do we have four fucking years to hope he has the mental capacity to listen and learn the job of President of United States while he's actively the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES? Or ..Ooooooo...maybe he can TEACH US a thing or two, huh? Like how to bully people? How to torture criminals? How to segregate entire religions and ethnicities? OMG, how cool! To kick out Mexicans and Muslims NOT JUST THE ILLEGAL ONES, guys, it's even likely those who have contributed to our economy, our armed forces, will be kicked out too, because why just stop at the illegals? Let's get 'em all out. Right? See what I did there? Just like him, I tapped into your deep seeded anger and frustration again with his bullshit about building a wall. I mean, I don't understand how this sits well with ANYONE, whether you support Bernie or Hillary or not. Just hearing this fascist rhetoric makes me question everything about humanity. The GOP is no better. Look how fast they jumped on Tim Kaine for wearing a symbolic pin that supported his son's marine troop, thinking it was some foreign alliance of some kind! And what about how before the DNC had even finished they were saying that instead of having the Mother of The Movement, the Mom's who had lost children at the hands of police, on stage pledging their support of Democrats, they felt the wives of the slain Dallas police officers should have had a spotlight on them. Well, guess what? They did have the spotlight... BECAUSE THE CONVENTION WASN'T OVER YET, they still had a day to go! 

I think the thing that we all agree on is that there is no such thing as a perfect politician. There never has been. We've had bumbling idiots in office from Ford to Reagan to the Bushes, who left piles of shit for the next guy to step in and TRY to fix against all kinds of odds. Maybe it's not better, but I look at statistics, real actual statistics from credible sources, and I see an improved job rate, a decent economy, I see growth. Futhermore, I see respect, I see steps forward, I see a movement towards equality, towards a better education system, I see a government that's trying to improve things, not sit back and do nothing. You know who's sitting back doing nothing? Trump supporters. Making memes about Hillary's looks, or making up lies about scandals, and her clothes and her family - that's not helping anyone. That's showing your true colors. And trust me, as a non-Trump supporter, I wish it was easy to sit back and say nothing about Donald, but the guy brings it on himself, not knowing that Tim Kaine was from Virginia, not knowing Scotland voted STAY in the EU, not knowing enough about NATO,  lying about Putin. The only reason he gets made fun of in the press is because he welcomes it. He welcomes being in the headlines whether he's being made an idiot of, or if Fox News is defending him. He doesn't care because he's a topic of conversation and that's all he's really about. His name, his brand, himself. "I, alone, can fix what's wrong with America." Does he think he doesn't need Congress or the Senate, or votes on things?? I kind of picture him sitting in the Oval Office with a shiny pen and saying, "Today, I'll stop ObamaCare," and signing a single form, thinking that's enough, and sitting back and shouting, "Ok, done. Hey, someone get me Netanyahu on the phone, that guy needs to know who's boss around here," as he clicks his pens like a mad man. Honestly, that's my vision of what he'll be like. Advisors, PR people shaking their heads in disbelief. 

The thing that really gets me pissed off is that, and I know you've seen stuff like this all over the internet, but it's really something to think about: if Hillary Clinton had 2 failed marriages, 3 kids with different men, if SHE had cheated on Bill, if SHE had personal and business bankruptcies, if SHE had cheated middle class working Americans out of payments for work they had done for her, if SHE called someone a pig, if SHE didn't make her taxes public, if SHE told a reporter to shut up or be quiet, if SHE asked Russia to hack into our government's emails, if SHE lied about knowing Vladmir Putin, if SHE had done just ONE of those things, she would not even be considered for President and you know it. You know it in your heart, you know it your head. And if we're being real here, let's not mince any words or facts: our current President has to STILL send troops out to clean up the absolute and utter mess that Bush and Cheney created when they started a war because THEY HAD A HUNCH ABOUT WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION. A hunch. An unfounded hunch, to be clear. If your family has been effected by it, if your son or daughter or relative lost a life in this war, you have them to blame. If you're worried about our Vets, do something positive to help them. Make your voice known, start at a local level, follow the chain up to be heard, not just sitting around perpetuating hate about the guy that inherited the shit storm; that guy TRIES. What does Donald Trump do? Make up lies about Obama's birth certificate. Question his loyalty to the United States. What has Donald Trump done, even as a private citizen, to create change? Nothing, that's what. Has he even been on Capital Hill? Has he ever stood on the floor of the House and spoke up about something he cares about? Nope, just insult the judges, senators and governors that have. At least they tried, whether they succeeded or not, whether the change was for the better, whether it was something no one heard of, they TRIED. He's done nothing. He serves himself and that's all. He doesn't listen, he doesn't learn, and he doesn't know anything about what it takes to run a country and he never will. I don't want someone who thinks America isn't great, I don't want someone who preys on our fears, I don't want someone who has had everything handed to him, and come to him easy, I want someone who knows what it means to work. 

If you have a roof over your head, if you're lucky enough to go out to dinner, if you have children you're raising and know the struggles of living paycheck to paycheck, if you want better health care, a better education system, a better criminal justice system, changes on a local level, changes on a global level, if you want better medical research, if you want less fear, if you want more forward movement in government, in world peace - you can't possibly think he's the guy that's going to do it. I say it because nothing has ever been hard for him. He came from wealth. His father gave him a million dollars to "get started in life." Did he have to put himself through law school? Did he have to work at job and save money for a house? He's got a passion for seeing himself in the news. That's his passion. He has not laid out a plan of action throughout his entire campaign, he can't focus on an answer about anything important, he retaliates at the slightest remark regarding his knowledge. I mean, seriously, who says "I know words. I know a lot of big words."??  Who says, "bigly"?? He gets so rattled that he can't even get proper words out and this is the guy that could possibly have the nuclear code and classified information and intelligence? Uh uh, no way, man. 

I think it's grossly unfair that his supporters spew bullshit like, "I don't want another four years of the same thing." Oh, really? Eating out of a garage can, are you? Gas prices so bad you have to take the bus to a job YOU HAVE? Paying too much in taxes because you're so wealthy? Oooo, poor you. 
If you don't like it, why haven't you left for Canada already? Sick of kids shooting each other and cops shooting innocents, sick of homegrown terror psychos shooting up nightclubs? Sick of crazy white guys shooting up schools and cinemas? Well, change the gun laws. Make it just a LITTLE BIT harder to get a fucking Ak-47. I don't think people realize what they have in their own country, the freedoms, the luxuries, because most of them haven't ever travelled anywhere else so they think it's soooooo bad. But to those people, I say, your own ignorance is what's sooooooo bad. People can be smart; you can have an ivy league education, a ton of money, a great job, you can be talented, creative, and be strong, but you can also be intolerant, illogical, ignorant, fearful and narrow-minded at the very same time and that's what Mr. Trump is counting on, my friends.

It's exactly what Nigel Farage and his "Leave" voters counted on, too. I can understand American's not fully understanding the implications of what's happened with this Brexit vote here in England, but I truly, TRULY, hope that you'll do a bit of research about it, from every angle, and get better informed about it. I seriously pray you don't end up in an extremely similar and scary situation: worried about the future of the economy, your pensions, the housing market, about the leadership of the country in general, the taxes, the businesses, market trade, the borders, the immigration policies, the families who lived here legally (because the borders were open) that will get sent away now, about the National Healthcare System (NHS), security, the advantages, financially and otherwise that being part of the EU afforded the country. Now, all of which hangs in the balance because of the EU referendum vote that happened on June 23rd, and more importantly, that was voted by supporters who knew nothing about what they voted for. 

You can defend your choices all you want, but you had better know what changes you're in store for if you are solid in your way of thinking. You also should know that your friends and family, that you hold so dearly and treasure, their lives will be just as effected as yours. So when you're cheering for that big Cheeto-faced, blow-hard that's full of empty promises and has the experience and leadership skills of a 12 year old schoolyard bully, while you're hoping, voting and cheering him on, you're hurting a lot of people you claim to care about.

Sure, it works two ways, but logically, and I DO mean logically, you can't fault the people who support and want a qualified, level-headed, experienced, stable, equality minded person that's got the political pedigree that's needed to lead a nation towards the change it needs. Logically speaking, I mean.