Friday’s Random Tater Thoughts

In an effort to avoid doing something productive on my day off , but with no one topic I want to address, I bring you another random collection of Tater Thoughts. I know you are excited.

Powerball:  Unfortunately, I did not win the Powerball this week. This means I have to continue trying to be a productive member of society with a job and stuff. I do have a plan if I ever win, though. I wouldn’t quit my job right away. That would be too suspicious and people might figure out I’m rich and want money. I would keep working for a little while and then one day overreact to something, go on an epic rant about everything that has ever annoyed me over the past 20 years and storm out. Of course, now that I’ve posted this everyone will know if I do this then I have become wealthy. Time to come up with a new plan.

Weather: I know that 70 degree weather in February should be a reminder that global warming is real and a serious problem, but I can’t help being very happy about it. The older I get the more I hate the cold and the snow.. I would happily move somewhere where 70 degree February is the norm, but I also don’t want extremely hot summers. I fear, though, that I will be in Maryland forever.

Political Stuff: This week the Trump administration ended the Obama guidance that schools should allow transgender students to use the restroom that aligns with their gender identity.  A good portion of the people out there who agree with this move somehow believe the untrue assertions that this will reduce the rapes that have or will occur if transgender students are given the right to use the restroom they want. I have yet to see any reports of any rape stemming from these policies. Many people also applaud the move because they hate, fear or don’t understand the transgender community. What you need to understand is that other people’s’ rights should not depend upon your personal feelings, your religious beliefs or, really, anything to do with you.

Civility: Lastly, let’s talk about civility. This election season and the first month of the Trump administration has been marked by a lot of harsh words, insults, etc. I know that people are angry about the election and about most of what the Trump administration stands for. I know people on the other side feel empowered by the win and think the rest of us should just shut up already. Passion about your beliefs is great and I’m all for protests, calls to Congress, posts on social media, etc to make your voice heard. I will continue to post when I have something to say about political issues. I hope my friends continue to post their thoughts as well, from both sides of the issues. What I would like to see less of is –

posts from incendiary/slanted news sites(Infowars, Breitbart, Occupy Democrats) designed to make people mad instead of inform

name calling. you can get your point across better and get people to listen more with reasoned debate without insults.

dismissive comments – if you just tell me to shut up and deal with it, call me butthurt, sheep, etc I will stop caring what you think. This does not help at all. feel free to disagree, but disagree with facts and debate, not this stuff.

hate – this one most of all. Way too many people out there saying Muslims don’t belong in our “Christian country” that people in the LGBTQ community are mentally ill, unnatural, etc and don’t deserve to be treated equally. Too many reports of racist and anti-Semitic violence and vandalism. Too many attacks on people who aren’t like you. Please stop. You say we are a Christian country, but then you act like the complete opposite of a Christian.

Disagreement is good, but we will get nowhere if we can’t learn to disagree and debate civilly

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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.

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 who 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.

Inaugural Thoughts

As we enter this inauguration day it is hard for many of us to find hope. I know that some of my friends and family are supporters of the new president, but I have seen nothing from him or any of his appointees that gives me hope that anyone in Washington cares about the average American. So, what do we do? If you can’t find hope in the new administration, find hope elsewhere.

Find hope in the fact that people, in general, are good and will step up if there is a need. Find hope in the fact that there are some good people in Washington, on both sides of the aisle, who will not sit quietly while disastrous legislation is passed. Find hope in each other. Find hope in your children and in how you are teaching them to grow as people. Find hope in the churches that are welcoming to everyone. We have been through bad times as a country and we have survived, not because of the people in power, but because of the people as a whole.

Also, be the reason people have hope in the future. Stand up for those who are marginalized and bullied. Speak out against hate. Volunteer, march, call your congress person, write letters, run for office. Be kind, even to those who have different views. Love one another.

 

Another Message to America

Four years ago I wrote this message to America. Obviously, America didn’t listen. Let’s try again.

Here we are. Election day is finally here. It’s almost the same feeling as high school graduation. It seemed like it took forever to get here. We are relieved it’s finally here, but we can’t help being anxious about what the future holds. We celebrate the end and hold out hope that tomorrow will bring success.

When the election is called for a candidate tonight there will once again be people on the winning side celebrating and disappointed people on the losing side. If you win, please win graciously. Take the time to listen to the other side. There is a reason they voted against you. Don’t just label them as the enemy and move on without considering that they might have some good ideas. They are still Americans and you are supposed to represent all of us, even the ones who voted for the other side. Work with the other party. Try to reach consensus on issues. Don’t be a dividing force.

If you lose, please lose graciously. Don’t claim the election is rigged. Don’t threaten or carry out violent protests. Don’t “take up your musket.” Don’t spend your days complaining, insulting and working to undermine the “enemy”. They are not the enemy. They will be your president. Treat them with the respect and dignity the office deserves. Work with them. Don’t work to block their agenda, their nominees, etc. The last thing we need is for the country to again grind to a halt over political differences. Be adults and work to find common ground.

A country divided is a country at risk. Don’t be a part of the problem.

Tired Monday

Don’t worry, only the first paragraph is politics:

As I was scrolling through Twitter and Facebook this weekend,  I saw several people posting that a “conscience vote”, a “protest vote” or any 3rd party vote is a wasted vote. I was thinking how tired I am of hearing this every election. I might agree that the protest votes are dumb, especially if you are voting someone with whom you don’t agree on the issues. I don’t agree, however, that any 3rd party vote is a wasted vote of that voting your conscience is bad. If you truly believe that a 3rd party candidate is the best candidate then it is not a wasted vote.

Other things that I’m tired of:

Betty White – I know everyone loves her and her feisty old lady act, but I just find it tiring at the point. I saw the news that she will be on Bones again for the final season and I feel like that just means a large part of the episode will be wasted with her “I’m an old lady who talks about sex” routine.

Quitters – People who declare they are never watching a show again because an actor left or a character was killed. People who declare they are leaving Facebook or Twitter(and then inevitably return). People who stop watching their team because they have a bad season. Quitters never win.

Nerds and Introverts – I’m both, bur I’m still tired of the “celebration” of both. Big Bang Theory, Scorpion, articles about how great introverts are, celebrities and random people declaring they are nerds or introverts. People who aren’t either pretending they are because they are being celebrated. Just stop already.

Bandwagon Jumpers – Since my team was not in the playoffs and my second team(the local one) lost I had two things I cheered for in baseball – a Cubs win and a Nats loss. I got both of them. I was happy the Cubs won, but now I go back to being a Braves fan. I’m not going to buy a t-shirt or be a Cubs fan until they are bad again. One good thing about the Braves being bad for a while is that we shed all of the bandwagon fans who once laughed at me for being a fan of the worst team in baseball. There is nothing worse than someone who is so desperate to feel like a winner that they latch on to winners to feel good about themselves.

Complainers – people who make lists complaining about things they are tired of. Also, people who end sentences with of.

Edit: I’m also tired of me forgetting to add a title to posts before I hit publish. That’s really dumb.

We Are The Problem

We are about a week away from election day. Early voting has started and I hope to vote tomorrow before work. I think I am not alone in being happy that this election season is almost done. Unfortunately, I think the division and anger we have seen will continue on. Many people blame the candidates. I agree that this election is the epitome of the lesser of two evils and we all know the lesser of two evils is still evil.. I disagree that the candidates are the only problem. We are all part of the problem.

There is no such things as civil discourse in regards to politics these days. I scan Facebook and I see posts calling people idiots, morons or worse because they plan to vote for the “wrong” candidate. I’ve been called stupid for saying I would be OK with refugees in my town. It was also implied that they hoped refugees raped and murdered my daughter so I would see how stupid I am.This is Facebook. These are people we know in real life in some form.. We are calling family, friends, classmates and coworkers these things. Then there’s this photo from Adam Goldberg where someone tells him they will “save him a seat in the oven” because as bad as we are when speaking to people we know, we are much worse on Twitter talking to strangers. People are threatened, reporter’s families are stalked, revolution is threatened. We’ve all gone crazy.

There was a time when we were able to disagree politically and still be friends  We might disagree on the issues, bur we got past it and moved on. We learned to just avoid the topic. We didn’t insult each other. We didn’t threaten each other. We didn’t end friendships or refuse to talk to family members because they voted for the “wrong” candidate. Actually, as I typed that last part, I started thinking that maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I just didn’t notice it because it wasn’t plastered all over Facebook. Maybe I was just naive before and people really did hate each other because of their politics.I hope not.

So, how do we stop being part of the problem? The obvious: stop calling people idiots and morons if they don’t agree with you. Maybe actually have a civil discussion with them about the candidates where you each calmly state why you are supporting your candidate. Another one that should be easy for rational people: don’t threaten people, don’t wish them dead or raped, don’t tell Jewish people you are saving them a spot in the oven. Seems easy, but some people obviously have trouble with it. For the keyboard warrior out there: top and think about the fact that these are real people on the other side of the Twitter feed. If you realize this and still want them dead – seek therapy and medication. Also, vet your news sources. A lot of the more extreme rhetoric I see is accompanied by news sources that are skewed extremely left or right. Before getting angry and sharing that article so some research. A lot of what is making us angry is not even true. Before discussing politics in person or online take a deep breath and think before you post/speak or, perhaps, just don’t.