Getting Political In A Nice Way?

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are:

ginger ~ coin ~ Kentucky ~ jinn ~ dead ~ shadow

They were submitted by: http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.

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First, let me say that I found these words EXTREMELY difficult.  No worries, I like a challenge.  I’m using my words to get a little political today.  I’ve dipped my toe into the world of political punditry from time to time, but I’ve avoided jumping in altogether.  It’s not that I’m afraid to have difficult conversations, or that I’m short on opinions.  Given the political landscape of our current time, I’ve just decided my approach should be more thoughtful and introspective.  Why do I believe what I believe?  What do I actually believe? Do I understand what I believe? Can I articulate what I believe? Can I articulate what I believe in such a way that it doesn’t close down the conversation, but opens myself and others to meaningful dialogue and an exchange of ideas and knowledge?

I don’t know. I’ve spent the first 6 months of this new administration trying to answer these questions for myself.  Seeking to learn what I didn’t understand, I’ve become a student of all things politics.  Better late than never I suppose.  I’ve always held the opinion, wrongly I believe, that what happens in Washington, what happens at the state and local levels of government really doesn’t affect my life in any real tangible way I can see and identify. I think many people feel this way.  Most of us are just trying to survive the best way we know how, taking care of our families and responsibilities.

I believe that there are groups and individuals on both sides of the political aisle with voices so loud, painting the other side of the fence with broad, sweeping generalizations, dominating the political stage, that most of us feel as if we’ve been left out of the conversation altogether.  Most of us hover in the shadows, staying quiet, out of the fray.

There is a general feeling that civil conversation, debate and discussion are dead.  The cacophony of vitriol, hatred, indignation, malice, anger, self-righteousness, sanctimonious superiority and fear is reverberating across our nation in staccato fashion leaving very little room for anything else, or any other voice.

I’ve never held the expectation that any President was a Jinn, or magical genie, with a magical wand that could cure all that ails us as a nation and as a people.

(I have to stop and take a moment to appreciate how I worked that word “Jinn” into this blog post, I mean…I’m totally patting myself on the back over here!)

I did not vote for Donald Trump but I’ve tried REALLY hard to give him and his administration the benefit of the doubt.  Trump supporters genuinely believe that life is exponentially worse for them now than people just like them 50 years ago.  Hence the “Make America Great Again” slogan that seems to be so popular. I’ll give credit where credit is due, Trump certainly knows how to play to his audience, to his core base.  He knows how to work and manipulate the media.  I can’t help but feel that he’s treating the Presidency as another reality TV or game show, where he is merely starring as the President.  I’m not sure he actually holds any vision or fixed ideology or belief system.  He’s a series of contradictions, and I’m not sure that Trump’s promises of a greater America line up with the rest of his party affiliation, or that even understands what that means.  I’m concerned that so many offices of our federal government, both domestic and international have yet to be filled.  I’m concerned that we seem to have no clear direction, no vision, no plan.

There are idealogical differences between our two main party affiliates that may never be bridged. For example, the idea that health care is a privilege not a right or the role assigned to the federal government and the size of that role.  It seems that we cannot even currently agree on basic facts.  I could never have raised my children under the guise of subjective truth.  I’m not sure I know how to navigate in a world where nothing is ever true or factual.  I believe in a free press, it is essential and necessary to our democracy.  There are principled and ethical bi-partisan news organizations and journalists doing a terrific job despite an ever-increasing hostile environment.  I don’t really care where you get your news, but I believe in your inherent democratic right to get it wherever you want.  My hope would be that people would listen to a variety of sources, seeking knowledge and understanding from all sides of the conversation, but if you want to read things that only support or agree with your current worldview, that is your right and I would never seek to undermine or take that right away from you.

What I’ve really tried to do in the first six months of this administration is understand why people voted for Trump.  I looked specifically at the states where he currently has a solid base and overwhelming support, states like Kentucky.

Historically, Kentucky has been divided politically, at least until the 1950’s. As social issues became more prevalent over national issues, more and more residents of Kentucky began voting Republican.  Kentucky is home to the current Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, the junior senator Rand Paul and the Republican governor, Matt Bevin.  Only four states gave Trump a larger percentage of victory than Kentucky, where he won five out of every eight votes.  Kentucky has been hit very hard economically by the loss of manufacturing jobs.  Kentucky is the number 3 automobile making state, but it’s eastern coalfield has shut down over half it’s mining jobs.  Kentucky is economically depressed, with over 440,000 residents on Medicaid.  Kentucky has also been hit extremely hard in the opioid epidemic, where over 90 people are dying EVERY day.  Pharmacies seem to be thriving in Kentucky.  In one rural county, there are eleven drug stores, mostly independent, scattered around a tiny city of 1,500 people.  Prescription pain killers are one of the best-selling items.  Kentucky is hurting.  They are  a people in abject poverty and pain. Black, brown, white, ginger…they are united in their suffering and distress.

(yeah, I know, not the best use of the word “ginger” but I did the best I could)

Kentucky, under the Democratic governor, Steve Beshear, was considered the main success story for the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare.  Trump’s promise to not cut medicaid and provide affordable insurance to ALL was important to Kentucky voters behind economic concerns.  Is he keeping this campaign promise?

When a reporter asked a Trump supporter at a recent rally what they thought about the current healthcare bill, they gave what is probably my favorite quote of all-time: “I don’t like that Obamacare at all, now that ACA care, that’s good stuff, we need to keep that but make it better.”  I’m not judging.  But I do think it illustrates my point about educating ourselves.

I’ve read the mere 142 page Senate Republican Health Care Bill.  I’d encourage you to read it as well.  I’m still trying to understand most of it, legal jargon not a language I speak fluently or even passably, but it read more like a tax reformation bill than a healthcare bill.  I would also encourage you not to discount or ignore the CBO or the Congressional Budget Office’s report on the healthcare bill currently on the floor of the Senate.  The CBO is a non-partisan agency in the legislative branch of the United States government.  It provides INDEPENDENT analyses of budgetary and economic issues facing our federal government.  Despite the aspersions cast upon the agency from our current administration, historically even when senators disagree with the CBO scoring, they respect its expertise.  Again, I would encourage you to read the bill for yourself, and research and analyze the portions you do not understand before forming a concrete opinion of it’s merits or pitfalls.

Trump’s big campaign promise was to not cut Medicaid and to provide affordable health insurance for every American. I’m honestly not sure he understands the difference between Medicare and Medicaid or if he’s even read the bill he’s claims to now support.

The most pressing issue for the residents of Kentucky is the economy and more specifically, jobs.  Mitch McConnell has a long history of blaming Obama for the “war on coal”.  Trump has promised to revitalize and reinstate the coal and manufacturing industries by severing “bad” trade deals, bringing back manufacturing jobs moved overseas, removing our country from the Paris Agreement, repealing environmental protections introduced under the Obama administration and cracking down on immigration.

Sure all those promises SOUND good (to some voters), but are they realistic?  Using emotional rhetoric to illicit a visceral reaction is easy and may give you results in the short term, but do any of these “promises” actually do anything to help not only the people of Kentucky but the American people as a whole?  Blaming immigrants for stealing “American” jobs gives a better sound bite to a divided country than pictures of robots sneaking across the border.  Automation has certainly helped creat the jobs crisis, and as far as I can tell has yet to be addressed by either party.  For every coal job lost, new jobs were created in solar and wind energy.  Progress is leaving people behind, not policy nor ideology.  The cost of manufacturing in the United States drives up the cost of goods.  Manufacturing our goods in foreign countries is cheaper, making our products more affordable.  Are people really going to pay substantially more for the “Made in America” label when they could get it cheaper somewhere else? The rising popularity of Amazon and other online retailers would suggest a resounding no to that question.  Mining jobs have been lost not only because of the environmental regulations but in larger part due to the competition of its cheaper counterpart, natural gas.  How do Trump’s promises seriously address any of these actual issues, other than to incite emotional responses to very real and tangible problems and concerns?

I didn’t even touch on other key and critical areas of concern, but I mean it’s a blog post not a novel, so I focused on touching not only two primary concerns for the nation, but also specifically for the great state of Kentucky.  Obviously, I have strong feelings and opinions and could write for days, but in the interest of the standard reader’s attention span…I’m trying to keep it simple and concise.

Personally, I am concerned about social issues.  I need to broaden my scope and understanding of economic issues, such as budget and taxation, but I’m learning…slowly gaining in knowledge.  I believe in some hybrid form of a single-payer healthcare system.  No system is perfect or without its problems but I do believe healthcare is a right not a privilege.  I believe strongly that taking care of the poor and the marginalized is a very clear Christian mandate.  Jesus wasn’t selective about who he invited to the table.  The table was open for EVERYONE. I believe knowledge is power and truth is vital to our democracy.  I’m not going to be fed information or told what to believe. I’m invested in investigating and seeking out information from a variety of sources. I personally use the following:

The New York Times, the WSJ, The Washington Post, BBC, NPR, The Economist, The New Yorker, The Associated Press, Reuters, Bloomberg and Politico, just to name a few.

I’m certainly open to suggestions.  I’m not big on conspiracy theories, so there are certain news organizations that I will never frequent.  I won’t list them here.

I am a huge fan of the podcast.  (#friendofthepod) I love the Crooked Media podcasts: Lovett or Leave It, Pod Save America, With Friends Like These, Pod Save the World and Pod Save the People are my faves.  These particular podcasts are definitely in the #nevertrump camp so you’ve been warned.

I also love true crime podcasts but that doesn’t really fit the scope of this blog post, so I’ll leave that discussion for another day :=)

I would label myself a progressive, and I do have a certain set of ideological perspectives that I consider non-negotiables. I’m not ruled by the almighty coin.  I care about people.  My passion is for social injustice, the problems of mass incarceration and our broken criminal justice system, women’s issues and social issues concerning race and sexual preference.  I’m learning the difference between cultural appreciation versus cultural appropriation and my role in the conversation.

I’m currently reading two really remarkable books right now that specifically address issues I’m concerned about in today’s political and national landscape:

“Does Jesus Really Love Me? A Gay Christian’s Pilgrimage in Search of God in America” by Jeff Chu

and

“The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander

I’ll have much more to say about both books when I’ve finished them, but boy have they changed my perspective, challenged what I thought I knew and shined a spotlight on the deepest darkest parts of me and my personal fears and biases.

You may not agree with me and that’s okay.  I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind. I’m encouraging people to stay informed, seek out knowledge and stay open to civil discourse and dialogue.  Don’t let anyone tell you what to believe.  Truth should never be the enemy.  Be thoughtful.  Be introspective.  Be respectful.  My hope would be that with increased knowledge comes increased action and with action comes change.  We all want a better world for ourselves, for our children, for our grandchildren.

I would take it one step further though.  I would propose that instead of wishing and waiting for the world to change to fit our individual perspectives, circumstances, or worldview, that perhaps we seek to instead transform ourselves, change the way we think, the way we interact, the way we feel.  Challenge ourselves.  Be open to change.  Be available to the presence of transformation and new ideas.  Ghandi said it best, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”  Whatever that means for you.  Embrace it.

There is so much more I feel I could write about, but I’ve used my words, hopefully in a considerate and thoughtful way and hope to share more as I learn and grow.

Love one another ❤

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado                        http://www.bakinginatornado.com

Cognitive Script                         https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com/

The Blogging 911                   http://theblogging911.com/blog

Sparkly Poetic Weirdo                  http://sparklyjenn.blogspot.com/

On the Border                           http://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/

The Bergham Chronicles                  http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Southern Belle Charm                    http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Bookworm in the Kitchen                  http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/

Part-time Working Hockey Mom         http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

Climaxed                                        http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

 

My Brain Has Left The Building…

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.

My words are:

Ferris wheel ~ shortage ~ Saturn ~ collectibles ~ iron-clad ~ catchy

They were submitted by: http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

I’ve been staring at these words for over a week now, and I still don’t know what I’m going to write about.  The struggle is real.  I even tried to get inspiration from man-child.

Me:  “Help me write my blog this week using words like Saturn, Ferris wheel and collectibles.”

Man-child:  “Saturn is a nice planet.  Wanna see my crocodile pushups?”

Me:  “That’s it?  That’s all you got for me?  Saturn is a nice planet?”

Man-child:  “I can’t do your homework for you mom, that’s what you always tell me.”

Usually I feel like I’m always writing stories in my head, so it completely blows when my head is empty.  Well not empty exactly.  It feels like being stuck at the top of a Ferris Wheel.  The whole world appears stretched out before you, but you can’t make out details.  Everything looks small and far away, and instead of a clear picture, you’re left with vague impressions and an overwhelming sense of how truly small you are in the big scheme of things.

I’ve got a million thoughts floating around but can’t get a firm grasp on any of them, and some of them I’d like to forget altogether.  I think the current political climate of our country is turning my usually clear and concise thoughts and ideas into a jumbled mess of mush.  There seems to be a shortage of common sense among my fellow Americans.  I’m not going to make this a political post because that’s just not in my wheelhouse, but the whole process has left a bitter taste in my mouth, and I’m so over it.

I saw a news story about a new dating website called Maple Match, where you can find a nice Canadian and settle down in your new country if you don’t like our next President and want to flee the U.S.  I kinda wish Adam Levine was Canadian. You can also resettle on a low-pop island in Canada should you choose to do so.  Canada has produced some very yummy eye candy, not gonna lie.  Men like:  Ryan Gosling, Taylor Kitsch, Scott Speedman, Drake, Nathan Fillion, Justin Bieber…okay well, I could have just stopped at Ryan Gosling, let’s be honest.  And so you men don’t feel left out, we have Rachel McAdams, Elisha Cuthbert, Evangeline Lilly, Nina Dobrev…  Every time I turn on the news, I seriously consider just relocating to Saturn and starting my own colony. I mean, according to man-child, it’s a nice planet.  Those rings are sexy.

I do enjoy this spotify commercial, it’s catchy.

Honest and open dialogue doesn’t seem to exist anymore.  I sometimes have the overwhelming sensation that the whole world has lost it’s collective mind.  All of our tiny brains sitting in tiny jars, lined up from one end of the universe to another, sold to aliens as collectibles, evidence of our folly and arrogance.

Somehow in my ramblings, I’ve managed to use almost all my words.  I’m channeling my inner Donald.  Over 600 words, yet I didn’t really say anything.  No matter who we end up electing, is it possible to get an iron-clad prenup?  So, if we wake up and realize what a huge mistake we’ve made, no matter which side you find yourself camped on, we can extricate ourselves as painlessly and quickly as possible?

At least Jon Snow is alive (for you Game of Thrones fans).  And Adam Levine is back to his super sexy self on The Voice.  And I’ve got a Kindle full of great books to lose myself in.  All is not lost…  Excuse me while I fall back into my #showhole and finish watching all the episodes of Criminal Minds (I’m on season 8).

I wish I could have done my words better justice, but at least you have these other incredible writers to peruse at your leisure and help fill the void I’ve left you with today ❤

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

http://www.bakinginatornado.com

http://www.southernbellecharm.com

http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com

http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html

http://dinoheromommy.com/

http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch

http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com/

Oh Pet, Thy Name Is Peeve

Guess what time it is?!?!  It’s time for the Secret Subject Swap: 2nd Edition and it’s bigger than ever!  This time twenty brave bloggers participated and today is our big reveal!

This fun post idea comes from my friend Baking in a Tornado.  We both do our best to survive Kids: The Teenage Years.  The only difference is that she bakes to cope and I eat to cope…sounds like a friendship made in heaven!

I waited in breathless anticipation for the subject of my swap to arrive in my inbox.  I was nervous and excited about this challenge.  Nervous that it might take me out of my comfort zone or I would draw a complete blank and post a hot mess of awkwardness.  Excited because I love a challenge, and as a self-proclaimed writer, I never want to stop stretching my creative muscle.

Imagine my excitement when I opened by e-mail to find the topic of my angst sitting in the top spot complete with flashing strobe lights and confetti!

***DRUMROLL PLEASE***

My topic:  “My Biggest Pet Peeve”

This. Is. Awesome.  I am peeved by so many things!  Peeving is like my hobby!  I started making a list right away, and it went on and on.  And on. And on.  I get annoyed so easily, this is the perfect topic for me!  I was born to write it!  And do you know what’s even better?  The topic came from the awesome Sorry Kid, Your Mom Doesn’t Play Well With Others.  The title of her blog suggests all the reasons I love her!  She has the best sense of humor and the funniest family I’ve ever read about.  She makes me wish she was a reality TV show or my next-door neighbor.  Seriously, read her blog.  You will laugh until you cry.  I totally imagined discussing our pet peeves over a few beers and laughing until we pee ourselves.

The only difficulty I faced was deciding what qualified as my BIGGEST pet peeve.  An intense battle was waged inside my mind as the peeves faced off against each other fighting for dominance and control.  In other news, my “Adam Levine Diet Cleanse” (the diet I began on November 1st which will turn me into a stunning super model before I attend the Maroon 5 concert next March where Adam Levine will find himself mesmerized by my captivating smile, flawless beauty and stunning figure only to be devastated when he finds out I’m happily married with 4 kids, yet still he will pursue me until the end of time, never marrying another, pining for me until his last breath) started creating an epic bodily drought which forced my peeves to stage their very own “Hunger Games.”  The Crimson Goddess reared her ugly head and threw mayhem and murderous rage into the mix.  Shit got real.  However, one peeve emerged as champion…

MY BIGGEST PET PEEVE WINNER:

FACEBOOK/TWITTER POLITICAL POSTS/RANTS

  • Nothing brings out the stupid like political campaigns.  If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say they were moving to Canada if so and so wins the election, I could buy Canada.  Trust me people, right now Canada is tightening their borders and trying to figure out effective measures to combat an infestation of stupid.  Just in case these are more than idle threats.  Mark Twain said, “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt.”  People on Facebook and Twitter would do well to remember this and act accordingly.  If you want to discuss my political views, invite me to dinner, serve a nice Chianti and let’s discourse and debate.  Intelligently.  With actual facts.  Listen up people, here is your public service announcement for the day, just because it’s written on an e-card or a meme doesn’t make it true.  Posting it on Facebook or Twitter just allows you to fist pump and chest bump people who already agree with you and makes everyone else mute you.  The only thing worse than stupid is ignorance, and there’s plenty of that to go around!  I fail to understand these personal nuclear attacks that are being launched on both sides.  Whichever candidate has the cleanest dirt wins?  Is that the message?  Be smart people!  Just because you read it on the internet doesn’t make it true!  Just because it fits your personal narrative doesn’t make it factual.  As Gandhi said, “Be the change in the world you want to see.”  Based on some of the comments/posts/commentary I’ve seen, I’m pretty certain the zombie apocalypse is already here.  November 7th can’t get here soon enough, then I guess we will see if riots break out or half the population tries to migrate to Canada.  It’s enough to drive you crazy, and I was already half-way there.

Man-child and I discuss politics:

Man-child:  “Mommy did you hear the news?”

Me:  “What news?”

Man-child:  “Obama won the president.”

Me:  “You mean he won the election to be President?”

Man-child:  “yeah, that.”

Me:  “Well, no actually the election isn’t over yet.  Unfortunately we still have a few weeks before voting closes.”

Man-child:  “nuh-uh.  He won.”

Me:  “Where did you hear this?”

Man-child:  “Nickelodeon.”

True story.  Nickelodeon let the kids vote online for President.  Sadly this is probably the most intelligent conversation about the election that’s been posted on the internet lately. 

I’ll leave you with this thought: 

and another personal favorite:

 Now, who wants to go out with me on November 7th and drink to celebrate the end of this election!  Drinks on me, and I don’t care which candidate you picked!

Check out the other awesome bloggers that participated in this challenge! 

Baking In A Tornado: Second Secret Subject Swap