Yet Another Political Post

There are a lot of troubling news items coming out of DC recently. So many that a lot get lost in the shuffle.Someone created a website to help people keep track of the happenings.

https://whatthefuckjusthappenedtoday.com/

I know some will be offended by the profanity in the title, but it isn’t any more obscene than some of the news listed. So, with all of this going on I decided to write about the three recent things I have found most troubling lately.

  1. Trump is more concerned with the fact that there were leaks than the fact that the leaks revealed his National Security Adviser had lied about his phone call with Russia. Flynn lied to the FBI. Flynn lied to the Vice President. Trump knew this and only fired him when it was made public. He’s not angry that Flynn had inappropriate talks with Russia. He’s not angry that he lied to the FBI(a crime) and the Vice President. He’s angry that the press reported it. That’s like a cheating husband saying his adultery is not the problem and that the real problem is that the wife looked at his phone and found out he was cheating.
  2. Trump adviser Stephen Miller made the rounds on the TV talk shows and his performance was praised by Trump. During these appearances he said the following “the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.” This was in response to the judiciary ruling the travel ban illegal. Apparently the Trump administration believes his power should be absolute and the system of checks and balances in place should not be recognized. This sounds like a dictatorship, not the United States. The president(regardless of party) should be questioned by Congress, the judiciary, the public and the press. Being elected president does not give you absolute power to do whatever you want without question.
  3.  Representative Lamar Smith,  the Chairman for the House Committee on Science said in a speech on the House floor that it is “Better to get your news directly from the president. In fact, it might be the only way to get the unvarnished truth.” This, along with Trump’s constant use of the term “fake news”, is an attempt to get the public to disregard any negative news regarding the administration. If the public ignores the news and only listens to the glowing reports from the president himself then he can do whatever he wants with no repercussions. The cowardly GOP congress will do nothing to stop him so if they can get us to disregard the press and the judiciary they have absolute power. This is scary.

Do your part. Stay informed. Support the press. Subscribe to newspapers. Question what you hear from any source and get multiple opinions. Speak up. We the people are what makes America great.

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Happy Birthday to Me

As I started thinking about what to write in my very narcissistic post wishing myself a happy birthday some lyrics from a new Ryan Hamilton & the Traitors song popped in to my head: I’m still not clean, and I’m not sober, I’m just a little bit smarter and a whole lot older” While I am clean and I am sober(usually) I am pretty smart and I am a whole lot older. 

A lot has happened since my last birthday. I changed jobs, leaving the place I had worked for 15 years. I lost my mom. I went to California and went para sailing and lived to tell about it. The United States lost its mind and elected Donald Trump as president. Only two  of those things listed(I said a lot and listed a few. Maybe I’m not so smart) are a  positive and one of the positives(the new job) had some negatives(leaving friends). Hopefully, this upcoming year will be one where the positives outweigh the negatives.

It’s hard to believe that it’s now been 30 years since I turned 18. My 30 year high school reunion is this summer. How did that happen? I don’t feel like I could be 48. Sure, I’m tired more now. I go to bed earlier and wake up earlier. I spend a lot more time at home and hardly any time at all “out on the town.” But I don’t feel old. I just feel boring. Maybe in my case they are the same thing. Maybe I should work on that.

I am inching closer and closer to an empty nest, 50 years old and soon after, retirement. I hope I am inching closer and closer to being a 50 year old empty nester/retiree who spends his time doing fun, active things and not one that watches a lot of TV alone. So, my goal as a 48 year old is to be a 48 year old who does more fun things out of the house. My goal is to be a 48 year old who makes the effort to see his friends he left at his old branch so they remain his friends(if y’all are reading this let’s have coffee/drinks sometime). My goal is to be a 48 year old who is an inspiration and not a cautionary tale. But, my immediate goal for my 4 day weekend(thank you HCLS for birthday leave!) is to eat a lot of free food I got for signing up for restaurant email lists.

 

Expectations

via Daily Prompt: Expectation

Along with the weekly photo challenges, there is also a daily one word prompt for writing. I have not participated yet, but I thought expectation and Valentine’s Day go hand in hand, so today I will make a stab at it.

What are your expectations for Valentine’s Day? Is it a big deal to you? Is it just another day? Has it changed over time? Do you feel more strongly about it than your partner? Do you resent the expectations? Do you hate the day because you are single?

This should be a big week of celebrations at my house. My wife’s birthday is February 12. Valentine’s Day is the 14th and then my birthday is the 16th. Because we are an odd couple and the gender roles are swapped a lot in my house, I feel like I get off easy on the holiday. I would like to do do one big night out to celebrate all three events at once. My wife would rather just do something easy and cheap. Last year we went to Qdoba because you get a BOGO entree if you kiss each other after ordering. This year there is a Kentucky basketball game at 7 so we will likely stay home, eat leftovers and watch basketball.  We do simple cards and a small gift and that’s pretty much it. On our birthdays we go out to eat at the restaurant of the birthday person’s choice, but I generally don’t pick where I would really like to go because my family is picky and I don’t want to go where they won’t be happy. So, the week will not really be anything special. We might eat out more than usual, but that’s about it. It does make life easier this time of year when the expectations are lower.

So, is there a point to the above rambling? Not really. I will say that as someone who is likely going through a midlife crisis and feels like he’s in a rut, some higher expectations in all aspects of life would probably be a good thing. Easy isn’t always a good thing. Easy can make you complacent and boring. Easy can make you take things and people for granted. I shouldn’t wait for someone to have higher expectations for me. I need to have higher expectations for myself.

In the Shadows of Alcatraz

via Photo Challenge: Shadow

So, the photo challenge that I found on Friday moved to Wednesday.  I think they are trying to avoid me. Now that I am following them and will see when the challenge is posted I will try to take a new photo that fits the theme. Since I’m a day behind I decided to use an old photo again. The theme this week is Shadow. I had several pictures that I considered. Some from the mountains, some in the city, but I decided on my “cellfie” from Alcatraz. When The picture was first taken, I was disappointed that it was so dark, but thinking about it I think it fits. Alcatraz is not a bright, fun place. The picture fits what I’m sure the mood would be if I was incarcerated there.

shadow

Writing the End of My Book

This past weekend I went to the ROCK Conference in Ocean City with the youth group from my church. One of the bands that played the conference was Sidewalk Prophets. One of their songs, Prodigal, had some lyrics that really struck me.

Wherever you are, whatever you did
It’s a page in your book, but it isn’t the end

I have always had a problem with dwelling on my past mistakes too much. Sometimes this can lead to a fear of moving forward because you are afraid of making the same mistake again. It can also lead to self esteem issues and a belief that you aren’t good enough because you have made mistakes in the past.  I’ve gotten better about this recently, but I still occasionally let past mistakes creep back into my mind. I joke a lot about how great I am, and sometimes I actually believe it, but deep down I’m always afraid I’m not quite good enough. I need to forget the old stuff and focus on making sure the end of my book(I hope there are many more pages) is a good one.

I’ve been thinking a lot already this year about living life with no regrets. ragrets

I think these lyrics fit right in with that philosophy. Where I am now does not have to be the end of my book. I need to keep myself open to new experiences and new opportunities. This might mean a change soon. It might mean a new direction when I retire(less than 9 years away). So, I’m going to keep writing my book hoping it will be a book that is an inspiration to others or, perhaps, a comedic cautionary tale.

Solitude

So, I stumbled upon a weekly photo challenge which is perfect because I have been struggling with the writing process recently(some readers would say this I always struggle). This week’s prompt was solitude and the photo they used reminded me of some shots I’ve taken of my kids while we are on vacation. It’s weird that I am not a big fan of the beach and water, but I always feel at peace when I have a nice empty view of the water. This photo of my son captures the beauty of the solitude of an empty beach.

 

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On Marches and Life

Last weekend was the women’s march in Washington. I had a lot of friends go down to march and I support them and their right to march.. I had other friends who did not support the march because pro-choice organizations and people were involved. Today is the march for life. I’m sure I have friends who are in Washington for that as well.I also support them and their right to march. I hope that regardless of how you feel about either march you understand that the right to march is a fundamental part of America. You can disagree, but you have to support the right to free speech.

Now, the next part has been in my head for a day and I have hesitated  writing and posting it because I think people will be angry with me. I am operating on 5 hours(split into two 2.5 segments with 9 hours awake in between) of sleep and my judgment is impaired so here goes:

I respect the idea of the pro-life movement and agree that in a perfect world there would be no unwanted pregnancies, no dangerous pregnancies and no reason for anyone to consider an abortion. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world and even if abortion were illegal they would still happen, just in a more dangerous and life threatening manner. I also believe that there is a fundamental flaw in the thinking of a lot of the pro-life movement. I don’t think everyone who is pro-life fit the following, but enough do o make it troubling.

I am pro-life – unless you are a refugee trying to flee a war zone and then I will refuse to help because your religion is scary to me. I am not pro your life.

I am pro-life – unless you are an African American man who may or may not have committed a crime and may or may not have a weapon. If the police shot you, you probably deserved it. I am not pro your life

I am pro-life – unless you have a pre-existing condition and can’t get insurance once the ACA is abolished. I am not pro your life.

I am pro-life – unless you committed certain crimes. I don’t care that the system is flawed and innocent people have been sentenced to death. I am not pro your life.

I am pro-life – but don’t ask me to support my tax money going to welfare programs for poor single moms to be able to support the child once they are born.

I am pro-life and family – but I support tearing families apart to get rid of all of those brown people who have invaded my country. I’m not pro your family.

I am pro-life as long as we are talking only about an unborn baby and then ho cares after that. I believe it was Trevor Noah who compared it to collectors. It is priceless until it is removed from it’s wrapper and then we don’t care any more.

Be pro-life. Just be pro everyone’s life at all times of life for every life regardless of who they are, who they worship. who they love.