Call Me English

A little corner of the world where I talk about what I want.

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Inauguration Day

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Dear abstaining voters,
The day is here! Today is the day your man Trump takes office and starts filling in some of the many blanks over which I’ve been worrying myself stupid since the night of the election, without exaggeration one of the most frightening nights of my entire life. What’s that, you say? You didn’t vote for Trump? How could he be “your man?” Oh, won’t you allow me to explain…
See, I was never going to change the mind of anyone in my life who was planning to vote for Donald Trump anyway. I was never going to change the mind of anyone who can’t be bothered to learn the difference between socialism and communism. I was never going to change the mind of anyone who finds the echo chamber of social media an appropriate platform on which to gloat over an election result while coining charming political slurs with “tard,” “fag,” and “Jew” stirred into them. I was never going to change the mind of anyone who witnessed Trump’s malignant narcissism, his rampant sexism, his petty need to win, or his pitifully short fuse and STILL thought he belonged in the same breath as Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt. And those who put imagined or desired little economic benefits (or their guns!) ahead of things like education, peace, or my rights did not by voting for Trump lose anything of any real value in their lives, just my friendship and my respect.
They’re not really the ones I’m taking an issue with today, however. It’s you.
Trump is lying through his teeth today while uttering that oath of office because of you. There are not enough loyal Democrats or Republicans in this country to outnumber those who do not participate in the process at all. And before you tell me why you didn’t vote, (didn’t have time, had work, the weather was bad, hated both candidates, the system is rigged, making a French bread pizza, and forgot…) allow me to share a little unpleasant reality with you. You don’t get to complain about your loss of health coverage or your employee protections anymore. You can no longer say you’re a supporter of LGBT rights or the rights of women or the rights of non-white people. Inequality is greater because of you. News is faker and more poisonous because of you. The world is less safe, the environment less healthy, and the economy less stable all because of you.
And you WILL be held accountable.
Although you’re not one of those “change” voters with the memory of a goldfish or a “temporarily embarrassed millionaire” who has to touch the stove more than once before he understands that it’s hot, you still saw and heard everything there was to see and hear about Trump and didn’t vote. The details were everywhere; they were unavoidable. Your apathy, your cynicism, your selfishness all came together at the right moment and led to a thorough and unquestionable repudiation of my values, the values my family raised me with. It’s impossible for me not to take that personally.
What you will need to do to make it up to me and to make it up to those other poor liberal bastards in your life who don’t even recognize their country anymore let alone feel welcome or secure in it is educate yourself and observe. Observe every single thing that Trump, his team, his fans, and his appointees do, and act when ANYONE is threatened. Write out your own beliefs on the issues the nation and the world face. Get your news from at least three different sources, every single day. (Real sources, please.) And then just close your eyes and hope to whatever or whomever you believe in that there will still be a midterm election or even an America for you to vote in by the time November 6, 2018 rolls around.

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Written by Dave

January 20, 2017 at 12:02

Posted in complaining, Politics

Tagged with , , , ,

President Trump

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I really don’t even know what to say. I scrapped much longer remarks expecting a wholly different result tonight.

The truth is I am absolutely terrified. I have never been so terrified in my entire life, and I want nothing more than to leave this retrograde country as quickly as possible, a dangerous country that could somehow put a reality TV bully with cartoonishly poor impulse control in charge of a nuclear arsenal on a platform of hating people who are different simply because “at least he’s not a corrupt insider.” Are this rage and this vile bigotry really who we are as a people?

There is no place for me, for my partner, or for my family in a country as hateful as this one.

When your home tells you it doesn’t want you anymore, what other way is there to feel than like less of a human being?

I have never been more thankful for my Canadian citizenship than I am right now. All I learned tonight is that America was never great.

Written by Dave

November 9, 2016 at 02:39

September 11

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I can’t believe fifteen years have gone by since that day, since the deadliest and costliest single terrorist attack of its kind on non-military targets in the history of the world, since cowardly and murderous heretics decided senseless chaos and indiscriminate killing were the only ways to redemption. I can’t believe people born after the attack are in high school now. I can’t believe there are people voting in this upcoming election, where we are still dealing with the divisive ramifications of terrorism and national security, who may be too young to remember when this event even happened.

And I know many probably mean well when they brandish the flag and loudly tell us all to “never forget.” In reality, though, what almost all people saying “never forget” need to do is… STOP.

Stop saying “never forget.”

If you are not an actual victim of this attack, if you are not the relative or friend or colleague of someone who is or was a victim of this attack, if you didn’t spend hours or days after the attack struggling to make contact with everyone you knew from the four fateful flights or from the New York or Washington areas where these murders actually occurred to be certain everyone was accounted for, please stop saying “never forget.”

You have nothing to forget.

Those this profound tragedy directly touched would like nothing more than to forget, and yet how could they ever?

Everyone in the world with access to media on September 11, 2001 shared the experience of watching with utter confusion after the first plane, American Airlines Flight 11, impacted the North Tower.

“Oh, no. That looks awful. Maybe a news helicopter lost control or something.”

Everyone in the world stood and screamed and swore aloud when they saw the second plane, United Airlines Flight 175 – a nearly fully fueled Boeing 767-200 aircraft with registration number N612UA, hurtling over Staten Island and plowing into the façade of the South Tower at nearly 600 miles per hour (950 km/h).

That initial dose of almost cinematic dystopia, along with perhaps giving blood to help victims that never emerged from the rubble, digging out an old American flag to display out front, and being glued to cable news coverage for the next year, two years, fifteen years… that’s about where the shared elements of this event end.

Answering the question of “Where were you when you first found out about the attacks?” with a sheepish “I had just finished wrecking the toilet at the Starbucks in the strip mall down the street from my house” eternally disqualifies you from telling anyone never to forget. The best thing someone like that can do is keep quiet. Keep quiet and step aside and allow those whose lives really were permanently altered by this crime to do the best they can to get through this day for one more year.

The last thing the surviving victims, families, friends, and colleagues need is to be reminded of the senseless, violent, and painful manner in which their loved ones died. The last thing they need is to be bombarded on traditional media and social media with 9/11 specials and 9/11 retrospectives and, perhaps tackiest and most heartbreaking of all, 9/11 sales. (Shame on that former mattress store in Texas for ever even considering such a thing. I hope the responsible parties never earn another dollar.) Why can’t people express their respect for the losses of others by giving them space? Why can’t people honor a terrible day by doing something other than making it about themselves?

The September 11 attacks weren’t perpetrated against the suburbs or against middle America or against capitalism or against “our freedom.” They were committed against visible symbols of American hegemony abroad by the brainwashed followers of a morally bankrupt group of lunatics who wanted nothing more than to get the attention of our government. It was never meant to be a rallying cry for those who’d been longing to score political points against “others” for decades.

There is no need to say “never forget” because how could anyone involved ever forget? I just wish the people who’ve been shouting “never forget” for the last fifteen years could say with confidence that they have ever learned.

Written by Dave

September 11, 2016 at 12:35

The scourge, the cancer, of politics

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I always knew in the back of my mind that I wouldn’t be able to post here as much as I wanted. Work, life, sleep, and reality all come between my brain and this blog. Even despite all those distractions, I still love coming back and sharing my thoughts. I just have to accept and own any gap of time between posts.

What I do have a problem with, however, is how politics has so saturated our lives in this disgrace of an election cycle that it feels like there is nothing else to talk about. Politics is everywhere. Politics is divisive. Politics is tiresome, frustrating, and pointless. It rips families and friendships apart. It turns words like “compromise” and “disagreement” into displays of weakness. It is among the worst of human traits.

And it’s inescapable.

The truth is I had not planned to avoid the topic altogether. I believe in being very transparent about who I am, about what my values are, and that includes going into detail about my personal political views and what experiences I have had in my life that have informed them. I even began to post about these views one by one until life interfered. However, when you combine the relative infrequency with which I have been able to post with the relentless, nauseating coverage of this election and all its gaffes and finger-pointing and angry tweets and the occasional cold-blooded gun massacre, it has left me wanting to hide with my fingers in my ears in a fort made of pillows.

As days pass and we think not about whom we want to vote FOR but rather whom we want to vote AGAINST, whom we need to make sure stays out of office, I get to wondering if this is really the best we can do. As a world superpower almost in spite of ourselves, what we do and how we do it comes under everyone’s scrutiny the whole world over. A country that likes to pat itself on the back for how great it thinks it is and that makes a sport of “exporting democracy” to the areas of the world it self-righteously deems most in need can’t run an election without mud, without pitting relatives and friends against each other, without fighting a cold “civil” war over issues on which there will never be any true agreement.

The truth is this is not one nation, no matter how often politicians of both major political parties may say otherwise. E pluribus unum – “Out of many (things), one (thing)” – is nothing more than a rhetorical device used to force unity among several very different groups at a time when it was expedient to do so. We are maybe six or seven different nations, culturally speaking, divided by things like education, religious adherence, whether we live in cities, and whether we have an actual desire (not just a stated one) to help our fellow citizens. I wish I didn’t have to share a country with the people who espouse views that turn my stomach and make my skin crawl, but I do, and I have to make sure I am a reason people end up in political office who either change the minds of those who would take us back to the awful “good old days” or, at the very least, render their views and the hypocritical, bullying noise they spew on TV and the internet not even a little bit relevant.

My life is at stake here. All our lives are.

So until the election is over and perhaps even after, no matter what I may talk about or think about, politics will always be on my mind. I will think of it every time I get a news alert on my phone. I will think of it every time I ride the subway on my way to work. I will think of it when I foolishly dip my toes once again into the degenerate echo chamber of social media where the stubborn, sanctimonious, spineless, and stupid have a platform to spread their poison like never before. I will think of it when I wring my hands wondering what to do about a friend who almost proudly announced recently that he was intent on cutting out of his life those who believe in a lot of what I believe in. I may even still be thinking of it as I look for a place to live in Canada.

This cancer can’t be gone soon enough.

Written by Dave

July 31, 2016 at 10:52

Independence Day

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I can’t make any apologies for the fact that real life has gotten in the way, as I knew it would, over the last several weeks and prevented me from posting in this space with the frequency I always intend. As much as I enjoy writing and sharing my thoughts, real life and work must come first.

And it’s not like the news has been silent during this time. Everywhere you look, it’s been one deadly terrorist attack after another, one political gaffe after another, and Brexit, the dreadfully misguided and xenophobic “Dear John” letter from the United Kingdom to the rest of the European Union that pissed on the world economy for no reason and proved for posterity that dimwitted, uninformed voters aren’t just confined to one country.

So where’s the positive in any of this? How can we take an occasion like the Fourth of July when people in this country like to dress in the colors of Old Glory and loudly proclaim how great America is and how if you don’t like it, you can get out?

The way to do it, the way to get past negative news of any kind, is to focus on the society we live in, the cities, countries, and planet we call home as merely works in progress. This is a world and a life that, naturally, will be filled with steps forward and steps back, but no steps back can undo the fact that time goes on and we all have much to celebrate and much to fix.

Our world is a work in progress, and WE are the ones expected to deliver the results. However, we must be doing something right because immigrants have over the centuries and even to the current day risked their lives and livelihoods to make better existences for themselves and their families in countries of opportunity and liberty like this one.

I always think of “The New Colossus,” Emma Lazarus’s 1883 sonnet to raise money for the construction of the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal and now inscribed forever within it:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

 

Speechless and heartbroken

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I really wish that my first post back after a rotten week at work that took my time away from writing and breathing and sanity did not have to touch on a tragedy as painful, destructive, and avoidable as the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting, a terrorist attack that targeted the already marginalized, the already vulnerable, the already oppressed LGBT community.

More than 100 people were killed or wounded early this morning by a radicalized excuse for a man whose pathetically easy access to gas-powered rifles of mass destruction was the real root cause of this senseless public health emergency. Yes, it’s a fact that we don’t take mental health seriously; yes, it’s a fact that radicalized Islamic terrorism is a real threat facing the entire world; however, there is no argument that ease of access to guns is the real problem here.

I’ll ignore for a moment the despicable reactions across social media, news comment sections, and out of the mouths of our moron politicians and focus entirely on this country’s gun fascination… its gun obsession… its apparent desire to bring back some chauvinistic Wild West fantasy that never existed.

It is my belief that the Second Amendment should have been altered when it was first written to state that the right to keep and bear arms applies only to citizens actively serving in militias. Since it doesn’t say that, and since case law has seemed to state that people have a right to own guns for any reason, it is not feasible at this point to ban guns outright. There are just too many out there. As a result, the process of buying a gun should be as difficult as possible to stem the embarrassing numbers of firearm homicides, accidents, and suicides in this country, numbers that disgracefully dwarf most other industrialized nations. Thorough background checks, training, psychological testing, and the closing of loopholes are all minimums for the gun purchase requirements I believe should exist.

Why is life, especially for those who love to bloviate about its so-called sanctity, less important than the anachronistic Second Amendment? Why are there so many people in this country who believe that killing with a firearm is a right so sacrosanct, perhaps bestowed by God, that it has no room for limit, common sense, or change of any kind? I have asked anyone who is connected to me on social media and feels this way to just unfriend or block me and save us both the pain and trouble the next time dozens more innocent people are cut down for no reason.

Can you hear my frustration? Can you hear my anguish?

What in the world is wrong with us? Why does nothing ever change?

CME Political Platform 1: Euthanasia

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This is the first in a series of posts that explains my political beliefs in greater detail, and I thought I’d start with a topic that can’t ever be called easy: assisted suicide.

I believe terminally ill patients (or anyone who so wishes) should be allowed to end their lives with dignity via assisted suicide, but only after a psychological examination to show they fully understand this choice. Banning euthanasia is a prohibition based on religion, which has no place in public policy of any kind.

You’ll notice a trend across the entire spectrum of my political beliefs, and it’s captured in the last sentence of the statement on euthanasia. Religion has no place in public policy of any kind. No faith or faith-driven values in a country where people share more than one religious background (including NO religious background) can be used to prohibit any behavior by law.

The permanent and pronounced separation of church and state is the most important political belief I hold.

Assisted suicide, which should really be called “death with dignity,” affords terminally ill patients (or others) the option to end their lives on their own terms. The reason I stipulate that a psychological examination should be required is because non-assisted suicide (also known as suicide) is the result of mental illness in some form. If a doctor determines that a person is compos mentis when deciding to end his or her life, why in the world should the government say otherwise?