Donald Trump In Three Acts

As we all (should) know, Pelosi has announced that there will be a formal impeachment inquiry happening in reference to President Trump and his activities regarding Ukraine.

Of course, this has set off a storm of controversy from all sides. Many Republicans, even the ones that don’t like Trump, think this is the wrong move. Many Democrats are either happy or skeptical that anything will truly be accomplished in the way of impeachment. Then, you have the people like me who are somewhat ambivalent and believe that the Democrats will either drag this out so long that it will end up not mattering or that they’ll never get the 2/3 vote they need from the Senate to uproot Trump.

As of yesterday, the White House and those with close ties to President Trump have officially dug their heels in and decided they are not going to participate in the inquiry by refusing to submit documents or answer subpoenas.

I could take a more academic stance on these events but fall has finally hit Texas and for the first time in months, I don’t feel like I’m in Satan’s lair every time I step outside so without further ado, I’m presenting my creative take on the three ways I think this impeachment situation could play out.

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Donald J. Trump in Three Acts

I. Trump is formally impeached and removed:

He goes on every media outlet, even the ones he claims are “fake news,” and has two-hour-long interviews with the same journalists he claimed were unfair and incompetent during his presidency and the interview is rife with conspiracies that have absolutely no basis in fact.

Interviewer: Mr. Trump, did you truly believe that you’d never be found out about your Ukraine interactions?

Trump: Find out what? Nothing’s been found out. The president of Ukraine has been known to forget things. He got me mixed up with someone else. And I know for a fact…I’m not gonna’ reveal my sources…but I know for a fact that Nancy Pelosi used her government credit card to order a voice actor from Impossible Impersonators exactly 48 hours before I called…I mean before the president of Ukraine received the call.

Interviewer: So, you’re saying that wasn’t you who spoke with the president of Ukraine?

Trump: And let me tell you, that government credit card has a $1 million dollar limit. ONE MILLION DOLLARS! And the accountant is Nancy Pelosi’s nephew. He didn’t even get his CPA. Before he worked for the government, he worked at Target in the back office balancing returns.

Interviewer: You’re saying that-

Trump: He’s a goof. That’s why I’m against nepotism hires. All they do is push an agenda. The agenda has been from day one to sink me. Sink Trump. Cause they know I’m brilliant. So brilliant, people would want me for a 3rd and 4th term.

Interviewer: You’re against nepotism but you hired your daughter and son-in-law in some key positions.

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Trump: No, I didn’t. Listen, Troy (fake interviewer name I just made up), if you’re just going to repeat what your fake news organization told you, I’m not going to sit through this. I’m very busy. I have other places I could be. I didn’t come here to be accused by the liberal media. From day one, I’ve been targeted. Nancy Pelosi, Melania, and Ben Carson all wanted me out of the White House. They get paid. I haven’t taken a dollar! I became POTUS because I love America! And that Ivanka girl ain’t even my daughter!

Interviewer:  Are you saying your own wife conspired with Nancy Pelosi and Ben Carson, who you appointed to HUD, to put you out of office?

Trump: Listen. All I know is the impersonator had a little soul in his voice and the maid in the background sounded European. The president of Ukraine told me that when I called him about Biden.

Interviewer: So, you did, in fact, contact the president of Ukraine to talk about Biden?

Trump: More fake news. It never happened. I’ve never ever spoken to the president of Ukraine. I don’t even know him.

Interviewer: (silence in contemplation of whether or not it’s too late to go to medical school instead)

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II. Trump is convinced to resign a la Nixon:

In his resignation speech, he blames everybody. And I mean EVERYBODY.

“It is with much DISpleasure that I, Donald J. Trump, resign from the presidency of the United States of America. This is not something I want to do, but the constant harassment from the Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi and those 4 new colored women who aren’t even citizens, has forced me to leave this office. I would stay, but because of Twitter posting everything I tweeted, the bias against me that began since day 1 of my presidency has gotten worse. If the creator of the internet had never been born, “they” would have never had the opportunity to misconstrue my tweets. The fake news stations, CNN, MSNBC, PBS, CBS, ABC, NBC, and public access station 431 in Mousetrapper, Mississippi have all worked to place a stain on my presidency like Monica Lewinsky’s dress and interrupt the good work I was doing for free to make this country great again. In addition, whoever invented recording technology conspired with key democratic leaders by allowing my phone calls to other leaders to be captured.

Sasha Obama attempted to get the Kremlin to do me harm when she was 12 due to her psychic ability and knowing that I would succeed her father. I merely became friends with Putin when he realized that Sasha’s claims and attempts were baseless and that I’m a good person. Yet, the media does not want to focus on that.

Though my intentions for this country were pure, bloggers like The Wayward Daughter refused to not have an opinion and prop me up anyway. She’s one of the African-Americans and though they are known for incredible innovation with chicken and pork, they don’t generally know what’s good for them. I have endured relentless taunting for my orange visage on account of my tanning salon keeping me in the tanning bed for too long, and Mc Donald’s has wrongly discounted the price of many of their burgers and chicken products making them hard to resist and causing me to be fat-shamed in the press even though I’m a svelte 175lbs. at 6’2. Further, the White House chef would constantly add extra potatoes to my fries even though I asked him to. His obedience to my orders has brought great embarrassment to myself and my children.

I reported this bullying to several HR Assistants but received no help whatsoever. I am upset bigly that I had absolutely no support as the leader of this country. I am by far the most disrespected president that this country has ever had, even though I undoubtedly have done more for everyone…the African-Americans, the Latinos, and the LGBs included. I even helped families grow by helping to relieve Planned Parenthood of their Title X funding. But nobody appreciated it.

In closing, I’d also like to express my disappointment in all the people who voted for me for not running for House and Senate positions immediately after to save me from this fate and in my wife for not telling me that running for president would be a total disaster.

Thank you. And may God Bless America…even though America betrayed me.”

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III. Trump is impeached and found not guilty:

He throws shade at the Democrats, repeats that he won by the largest margin in history, and talks on and on and on about his plan for the 2020 campaign, and makes idle threats.

Journalist: Mr. President, how do you feel about having successfully gone through the impeachment process?

Trump: I knew they had nothing! The Democrats have been after me for yeeeeears. Even before I officially started running for president, I was a threat to them. Listen, I beat Hillary by the biggest margin in history. The jealousy was clear. They just wanted to take Donald J. Trump down.

Journalist: Mr. President, what would you say to those who claim that you weren’t removed because the Senate didn’t have the 2/3 votes but otherwise you would have been removed because you are guilty?

Trump: If I were guilty, they’d have had the votes. This just proves that Nosy Nancy and the rest of the swamp have too much time on their hands and instead of trying to help the American people, they spent almost my entire term in office trying to dig up dirt and gossip about me like little school girls. I’m thinking about suing them all. I may even impeach THEM. I’m going to look into it.

Journalist: Mr. President, what are your plans going forward?

Trump: Obviously to win the 2020 election. This country looooves me. I’m the hardest working president in history. This economy is the best it’s ever been since Reagan. We’ve got to keep that going. The African-Americans are showing the best job numbers since before Lincoln. And this guy….(points to new Black guy he hired in the mailroom)…that’s Jerome. He knows the truth. I am not racist. I pay him very well to deliver my mail. The post office wouldn’t even hire him but I did.

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But anyway, we’re gonna’ get that wall finished! I just contracted with a LATINO-owned wall-building company…you hear that folks? LATINO-owned and they support my vision for THE WALL! They believe in it so much, that they are doing it at a discount. I know them from Mar-a-Lago. One of their cousins used to work in the kitchen washing dishes. They do good work…within budget. Anyway, the wall’s gonna’ be YUUUUUGE!

Journalist: Mr. President, do you plan to change anything in terms of staffing for your administration since so many people resigned?

Trump: I don’t know. I guess I have to hire new people. Ivanka and Jared are still here. Maybe I won’t hire new people. I’m smart enough to do it all. You know, those people were loooosers and I never should have given them a chance in the first place. I’m currently talking to Kanye about being my Homeland Security guy but I don’t know yet.

I’ll be at Mar-a-Lago for two weeks because I deserve to relax after being victimized for the last three years. I’ll make sure the Press Secretary briefs you all soon. God Bless America!

(Trump exits and stays in Mar-a-Lago 4 weeks and America is left dumbfounded)

Fin.

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Then What? The Bad News For Boycotters

A couple of days ago, it was revealed that one of the owners of Soul Cycle and Equinox was holding a Trump fundraiser. As celebrities and regular degulars alike took to Twitter and Instagram to urge people to give up their memberships, the companies released statements saying that the fundraiser was being thrown with the owner’s own money, that he only owns a piece of the companies, and that the companies do not condone or promote bigotry of any kind.

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Kewl.

As we all know, Chik-Fil-A is another company that we’re supposed to be boycotting because of its owners’ history of donating to charities believed to espouse anti-LGBTQ sentiments. Then, there’s Wayfair, Hobby Lobby, ABC Supply, HSN, etc… The list goes on and on and on and most of it has to do with owners being Trump supporters, Trump merchandise being sold (HSN), or the owners having an ultra-conservative stance on hot button issues.

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It seems like many of these boycotts are actually just performative for social media. I mean, I haven’t eaten at Chik-Fil-A in years but the one closest to where I live, in a highly Democratic area, consistently has two lines that spill into the street. And to be honest, me not eating Chik-Fil-A has more to do with me staying sexy and refusing to sit in a drive-thru for 30 minutes than the owner thinking that there’s something wrong with being gay or abortion.

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I still wear New Balance because I’m not going to worsen my plantar fasciitis and buy Nikes because the owner of New Balance is a Republican.

I think people are missing a few things in their zeal to boycott.

  1. Very few owners of multi-billion dollar companies don’t have a right-leaning stance about something. Remember when the light bulb illuminated during 2007 and Millennials realized that the people with real money were helping to call the shots and actually loved Republican leadership? Okay. Well, yeah….that. Even if they don’t care about abortion or queerness, they are at least fiscally conservative which is another way to say that they are into controlling costs (ie. keeping a low minimum wage) and getting and staying as rich as they can (ie. curiously beneficial tax codes). It doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with Trump for them. They’d have voted and donated to the guy who plays the trombone on the street corner if he were to become a Republican president.
  2. The racial aspect. White people are in a position to play around with their politics and kind of pick and choose at their leisure what they are and aren’t going to do and who they are and aren’t going to boycott. White people are also able to be shocked and appalled. Black people haven’t had the same ability to be socially daft or unconscious. First of all, we have to presume that all these rich white men are some kind of –ist. Actually, we have to presume that white people, in general, are some kind of –ist. History suggests it. Our survival, since we’ve been in this country, has always depended upon us analyzing the prospect that the white people we come in contact with for any reason could actually hate our asses. When you live with that as part of your default, you tend to not be as reactionary when you find out that the white owner of your favorite pizza joint doesn’t like Black people. What’s new? Chik-Fil-A isn’t open on Sundays. Common sense tells you why. So then, if they are clearly Evangelicals, is it really a shock that they think anything but heterosexuality is a sin? Not really. Just like we ate Sister Williams’ peach cobbler knowing that she also thought being gay was a sin, we’re gonna’ go get that 8-piece nugget meal. Basically, if we boycotted every business run by people who don’t like us, there’d be almost literally nowhere for us to go besides the local Black-owned BBQ and catfish joints and our beauty salons or barbershops.

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3. After the boycott, then what? These people are clearly unapologetic about their political stance. Chick-Fil-A is still poppin’, which is a sign that not even the boycotters are on the same page. And as of yet, I’ve not heard of any actual policy ideas that boycotts are supposed to spark. For example, the bus boycott during the CRM was done to end segregation on the buses. But, from what I can tell, all the boycotters want is for people to stop liking/supporting the Trump campaign or stop being racist/homophobic, etc. That’s not how that works. Boycotts should focus on policy change, not likeability. You think all those Republican millionaires really like Trump? No. You think you not buying a pair of shoes or a biscuit meal is going to change those millionaires internally? Not likely.

Nothing is wrong with boycotting. Hell, I’ve been boycotting Ross since 1997. But, I feel like while you’re boycotting, your eyes need to be on a prize and like it or not, when you finally break and get some waffle fries, Trump will still be president.

The Week-In-Review With The Wayward Daughter

This week, a lot of good, ridiculous, interesting shit happened so I decided to do a quick rundown. Plus, I’m trying to do two entries so this is just to tide you over.

In no particular order:

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Macy’s Plates:

This week, someone snapped a pic of a plate set at Macy’s. There were concentric circles drawn on the plate with the inner post circle labeled, “skinny jeans,” then, “favorite jeans,” and finally, “mom jeans.” Basically, the size of the meal was indicative of which jeans you were trying to fit into. Of course, white feminists took the opportunity to tweet the situation to hell and Macy’s responded by pulling the plates.

My thoughts: This didn’t even register on my meter. I wonder how we are going to raise well-adjusted children when trite things like this are what get us in a frenzy. It was clearly a joke and what’s more, it actually lends to common diet advice to watch the size of your plate if you are watching the size of your portions. The way I see it, if you don’t like the plates, frown in disgust and don’t buy them. The magic is that people who eat a lot won’t give a fuck that they are eating in the “mom jeans” range and people who eat frighteningly little won’t feel the need to eat out of the “skinny jeans” range.

Forever 21 and Atkin’s Bars

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Apparently, many Forever 21 shoppers received free samples of the new Atkins bar flavor, lemon something or other, in their order. Of course, that’s no big deal until someone who shops in the plus-size section receives a low-carb delicacy and takes to Twitter to let everybody know. Turns out, even “straight-size” customers received the bars but that’s not salacious enough, so….*shrug*

My thoughts: Atkins bars and candies are delicious but lemon? Yuck! Seriously, this is a new breed. People being upset about receiving free food is a new one to me. If I were a plus-sized shopper that was really that concerned about it, I might have first asked Forever 21 how they decided who did and didn’t get one and then weighed my option to blast them on Twitter. But, I must say I admire the courage of those who wear Forever 21 clothing. I’ve been in the store and the clothes look like they’ll be no-good after one wash.

Jeffrey Epstein

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He was reportedly found injured and in the fetal position in his cell this week causing speculation that he had attempted suicide. As of the 25th, the situation is still being investigated by jail officials.

My thoughts: I, for one, am glad to see a sexual predator who exploited dozens of teen girls send himself to his final judgment. I just want his client list first. He was selling it. Someone was buying it. He’s known to have rubbed elbows with the rich and powerful and I’m in favor of as many of the depraved as possible getting their just desserts. I’ll never cry over an abuser. Matter of fact, I’m in favor of public guillotine.

A$AP Rocky

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Trump allegedly tried to negotiate something for this rapper who went overseas and got in trouble. At first, Swedish officials were denying they ever spoke to Trump. Then, they let Trump know he wasn’t finna’ mess with the Swedish process of justice. As of yesterday, A$AP Rocky, who was at first just being held until an investigation was completed, was formally charged. So much for Trump calling. Trump did, however, tweet about the situation cause that’s his shizz.

My thoughts: The Swedish jail photos I saw were more like a dorm. I’m not familiar with this dollar sign person but it’s a good thing he wasn’t in China, or North Korea, or even the USA. If he can’t deal with that set up, IDK that he can withstand much. On that note, I feel like Trump overstepped. There are enough people wrongly incarcerated in this country for him to be worried about a wealthy rapper who may or may not be guilty. I guess he thought it’d get him points with “the African-Americans.”

Mueller

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He testified this week. He was asked if Trump was able to be charged of a crime once he leaves office. Mueller said yes.

My thoughts: This was actually the first time I heard Mueller speak (no, I didn’t watch the press conference). His voice surprised me. It was more…feeble than I expected. I always pictured that someone who was in charge of finding fuckery receipts and spilling fuckery tea on a sitting president and his homies would have a more booming voice. Anywho, I wasn’t shocked. Now, I’m just waiting on Trump to try to enact a rule that ends term limits since he can’t be indicted while in office. Leave it to him to get out of trouble by riding the presidency until his final chariot comes to get him.

 

 

 

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Dear Democrats: What The F*ck Are Y’all Doing? Flea Market Part II

The last time I wrote about politics, there were 8-10 Democratic hopefuls. At the time, I called the race a flea market because there were so many people running and a lot of them were randos who came out of nowhere.

Well, it pains me to say that it’s gotten worse. At last count, according to this article, there are 21 hopefuls. I don’t even know what to say.

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Remember the show West Wing? Even though I only started watching it well after it was off the air and on Netflix, I love that show. Same thing for House of Cards and Madame Secretary. Do you know why? Because every political move was written as if it was all planned. Politician A promised politician B a seat on some committee if politician B could convince politicians C-E to vote a certain way. The best part was when party A put up politician C to run for POTUS and talked politicians D-M out of running for POTUS for the benefit of the party.

I loved these shows because I could clearly see the parallels between real life and the drama that was written “for entertainment purposes only.” I was convinced that Hollywood, that had managed to um…”predict” so many other political happenings, had the inside scoop.

But, I swear….this Democratic race has disabused the fuck out of my conclusions.

As I’ve said many times, I’m a Centrist. I actually wouldn’t mind seeing Mitt Romney primary Donald Trump. I’d even like to see Kasich give it another try.

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But when I read articles like the one I posted above and this one that talks about Democratic hopeful #47753037 selling bumper stickers so they can get on the debate stage, I become a tad perplexed at whether the Democrats even have a plan for lunch this Thursday, let alone their nominee or the direction of the country.

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Yes, I know that anybody who meets the criteria to be POTUS (and has the donors or cash to sustain a campaign) can throw their hat in the ring. I just wonder if the “top” Dems have stopped to look at what’s happening with the party right now long enough to realize that they’re going to have to use actual strategy this time around instead of just hope that Millennials will be so touched by student loan cancellation and Medicaid for all that they’ll rush to the polls to put whomever the Dems settle on into office.

Because you see, they did that last time and we all saw (and are seeing) what happened.

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Let me back up though.

In my opinion, the Dems have tried to engage in a sort of political foreplay. They got their constituents hyped about Russia, Russia, Russia. They’ve spent (and still spend) inordinate amounts of time pointing out every spelling mistake Trump makes on Twitter. Then, they pretended to take the ADOS Movement’s demand for reparations seriously.

But what happened?

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No penetration. You can forget about an orgasm.

They knew good and damn well that they had no real intentions of pursuing impeachment. Instead of organizing or drafting some type of substantive and REALISTIC policy initiatives, they wasted time pointing and laughing trying to make Trump look like a clueless illiterate buffoon (ie. the 3 months of “covfefe”). And last I heard, many of the hopefuls say that they agree with reparations but (in the words of Iris Murdoch) between saying and doing, many a pair of shoes is worn out.

Then, they trotted people like Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez out as the progressive voice that they know they will never support en masse because they know Millennials love that shit.

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I never thought I’d say this but Republicans seem to have more sense at this point than Democrats.

How?

They are backing one person. Even though many (if not most) of them think he’s the wrong choice for POTUS, they are putting the party above their own personal feelings simply to have the GOP rule the roost another 4 years. They are closing ranks; and although I take issue with many of the things that GOP’ers do and say, I must state that they are doing what’s logical when you want to win.

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I suggest the Dems do the same. I’m no political pundit but I think they need to all…ALLLLLLL…sit down and have a come to Jesus (that’s HAY-SOOS, not your Lord & Savior) meeting and choose 3-5 nominees to put up that they truly think can compete and defeat Trump. Then, those chosen can get busy strategizing and forming a sound set of policies that they can easily support during the debates and beyond.

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But this thing they’re doing now where everybody and their cousin is suddenly running is simply too many cooks ruining a broth that, to be quite honest, wasn’t that good to begin with.

Nevertheless, I’ll end this the same way I ended Part I. I wish all the candidates luck.

 

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Who Is He? The 2020 Election Cycle Is A Flea Market

Well, it’s that time again! The time that, these days, never seems to not be “that time.” Elections. I can remember before He Who Shall Not Be Named won the 2016 presidential election, everybody was excited about the fact that Hillary was a sure bet to win.

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Here we are again but this time I think the collective excitement has waned.

I feel like how I felt when my AP English teacher had a heart attack on the first day of school and was temporarily replaced by another English teacher in the school who made us read and report on the longest books she could find. Eventually, we all found ourselves wondering why we couldn’t have just had a regular substitute who didn’t give a damn and at the 3-month mark, many of us became awfully religious and started praying that our regular teacher would recover. It wasn’t because we thought she would have been so much nicer but because she wasn’t the tyrant with whom we were stuck.

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Fast forward (way forward) to the 2020 election cycle, and just as I suspected, Tonald Frump’s (not an error) victory has convinced everybody who ever had more than 20 “likes” on a FB post that they, too, can be president.

Now, we have the regulars. The people we figured would run. You know, current politicians.

Elizabeth Warren, the white woman who did what every white person does when they want to make sure they aren’t a target of conversations about racism: claim Native American heritage.

Bernie Sanders, the guy who would have beat Trump in 2016 had it not been for…nevermind.

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Cory Booker.

Some white women politicians I don’t really know.

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This isn’t them…I don’t think. But they’re white so they’ll do.

Next, is Kamala Harris. Black people loved her when she was giving people the business in congressional hearings but now they hate her because when she was a prosecutor, she favored laws that punished criminals (or something like that…I’m still not clear about why we’re supposed to not like her). Also, she’s not Black anymore, her husband is white, and something about Wakanda.

There are a few other notables but then, we have random people who have decided that they are worthy of the Oval Office. We have a woman whose official job is “spiritual guru.” Apparently, she used to hang out with Oprah. Allegedly she’s down for reparations although I wouldn’t be surprised if she just wants to tell Black people to use Law of Attraction to get the back pay for all the work our ancestors did.

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There’s another guy who is a tech startup dude. He announced his candidacy before 2017 was up so he’s ON IT! He wants to give Americans $1k/mo. of guaranteed income as reparations for machines taking over jobs. That’s cute.

Then, there’s the mayor in Indiana that nobody (but the people in his city) have ever heard of before. He’s young, married, and gay. Kudos on your ambition and may the odds be ever in your favor, sir.

Let’s not forget Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks. He hasn’t officially announced but I don’t want to hear shit from him until he makes sure ALL of his baristas know what “breve” means and that handing someone one Splenda packet and no stir stick (I guess I’m supposed to stir with my middle finger) is a violation.

Lastly, there are all the famous people who have “toyed” with the notion of running for president like The Rock and Kanye West (whew chile).

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While there’s nothing wrong with self-confidence, the fact that a short-order cook screwed up my eggs doesn’t mean I’m ready to jump over the counter, throw on an apron and start whipping up Hollandaise sauce and doing flambé.

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Further, I think that most of these people are in crisis mode and think that if someone doesn’t save us from  Eonald Rump (again, not a typo), we’re all set for the mass graves conspiracy theorists say exist. But, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that doing major shit out of fear is almost always a bad idea.

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Exclusive footage of the 2020 Democratic field of nominees.

Nonetheless, I wish the candidates luck.

 

 

 

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A Forgotten Principle: How Otto Warmbier’s Death Highlights a Common Problem

Almost two weeks ago, Otto Warmbier, the man who visited North Korea and committed a crime while there, died due to injuries sustained in the North Korean prison where he was being held after being found guilty of his crime.

By now, we all know that the white American public, including the acting POTUS, Donald J. Trump, has expressed sadness, outrage and offered their sympathy to his parents. Trump and Warmbier’s father have even gone as far as to blame former President, Barack H. Obama for Warmbier’s fate. Many white amaericans were even angry at people who refuse to care about Warmbier around the same time that many of them sat stone-faced as the officer who killed Philando Castile (Jeronimo Yanez) walked away with a “not guilty” verdict after shooting him for doing nothing wrong – really.

This entry, however, is not about the bright pink elephant defecating in the corner of the room. This blog is about the forgotten principle that most of us (should have) learned in our formative years: actions have consequences.

I don’t know how Otto Warmbier was raised and I don’t know what kind of person he generally was, but his situation gives me a base to form a series of presumptions about both issues. Maybe he missed the lesson on reading and following directions (the poster was on a floor for employees only). Maybe he missed the lesson about not touching what doesn’t belong to you without permission. Maybe he missed the lesson about not stealing. Maybe he missed the lesson on respect for other people’s property. Maybe he missed the lesson on respect for other cultures/societies’ rules. Maybe he missed the lesson on thinking before you act. Or maybe, he missed none of those lessons but just didn’t care to take them seriously while he was under the jurisdiction of another country’s laws. Who knows? It doesn’t matter.

 

Otto Warmbier’s story is a great example of the fact that once a decision is made and acted upon, all the consequences that come with that decision are set in motion. Perhaps the hardest part of dealing with that fact is that we never know all the consequences that are attached to our actions and we don’t know if or when they’ll play out. According to a fellow traveler, when Warmbier was arrested, he had a “semi-smile” on his face. He never thought that what he thought was a benign action would lead to arrest, conviction, imprisonment, likely torture, and ultimately, his death. Oftentimes, we dance around that truth in the name of political correctness or in the interest of self-esteem, yet it’s still one of the inalienable laws that govern the universe.

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In a larger context, we should all be able to see how our choices often determine our trajectory. Many of the people who have taken the “he shouldn’t have done that then” stance have areas in their own life where they are making wrong turn after wrong turn and try to blame their undesirable location on some wicked overlord destined to crush them. While it may not lead them to Otto Warmbier’s fate, they are still going nowhere fast.

I will neither dance nor mourn the death of Otto Warmbier, but the people blaming former POTUS Obama or Kim Jong-Un or the tour company or anybody else but Otto Warmbier for his death are missing the part where a grown man elected to misbehave and paid the ultimate price. If only we could all consistently apply that simple principle.

When Seeds Become Plants: Betsy DeVos As Karma

Betsy DeVos, the new Secretary of Education has caused quite a stir. I watched her confirmation hearing and it was awkward. If her confirmation hearing were a sound, it’d be the snapping of a limb as it hits the concrete and breaks. Question after question, she struggled to give answers that were relevant to what she was asked, let alone satisfactory. I watched as senators representing several states each took their turn passing and spiking the football that was Betsy DeVos. If I were Betsy DeVos’ friend, I would have offered her some Sleepytime tea and Vick’s.

Of course, despite being a clearly unqualified candidate for the position, she was confirmed. People were and still are upset. I’m not. I’ve been mulling this over in my head and at some point, I think it’s time to admit that there’s merit to the notion that the value you assign to something is the value that other people will assign to it as well. What if Betsy DeVos is karma?

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I know that some of you may call bullshit but let’s sketch this out. It’s no secret that America has become pretty anti-intellectual. I’m sure we can all remember the video where the white teen in Duncanville, TX stands up and rants against the teacher about the fact that they ‘don’t do anything’ and then he storms out. Teens and adults all over the internet cheered him on. I think the teacher (she may have been a substitute teacher by some reports), was suspended. People were all amped up about this student who became a modern-day Norma Rae and performed that small gesture in favor of students everywhere (I guess).  I’m willing to bet though, he didn’t proceed straightaway to the library and go on a quest for the knowledge of which he believed he was being deprived.

What we also see are statuses and graphics blaming the US education system for not teaching people a myriad of things from how to do taxes to how to fill out a check. People can no longer write complete sentences without confusing simple homonyms. Watch Judge Judy for a week and you’ll hear “tooken” (as opposed to “taken”) at least 4 times followed by Juditha’s (my name for her) admonition that “TOOKEN IS NOT A WORD!” If that’s not enough, this country, the self-proclaimed “greatest country” in the world, elected Donald J. Trump, a man with absolutely no political background or governmental knowledge (obviously) whatsoever, to be president.

At some point, we’ve started to believe that it’s somebody else’s job to give us everything, even the knowledge in our head. Society claims over and over again that education is important. Parents swear that they want the best for their children; but as someone who has worked at various schools, public, charter and private, I’ve seen some of these same parents argue with teachers and administrators about the expectation that their children come to school with the minimum level of preparedness. I’ve found myself on the phone with a parent wanting an explanation as to why the school doesn’t provide pencils, paper, colored pencils, and everything else on the annual school supply list while her child regularly showed up in the latest popular threads. I’ve had one too many exchanges with parents who swore that a ¾” binder or $5.00 safety goggles were out of reach while rapidly fluttering their perfectly done eyelash extensions and wagging their expertly manicured fingers. The free tutoring was either too early or too late or on the wrong day. Guess who wanted conferences at the end of the semester when their child basically needed a magic wand to pass though?

***Pause for accusations of shaming, classism, elitism, and three-headed kitten scenarios***

There’s a lot of worry about what DeVos’s intentions towards public schools are. Public schools are known to be resource-deficient in comparison to private schools. They are also known to show poorer academic performance results amongst the students than those of private schools. Many believe the former and the latter are correlational, if not causational. People are concerned that public school students will receive even less education if DeVos has her way. That’s not necessarily an irrational fear, as you get what you pay for and public school is free. I’m concerned, however, that people haven’t figured out that it’s unwise to lay the whole burden of becoming educated on school (of any type).

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Despite what the tenets of the modern SJM may suggest, many times what you get is a mirror of what you give yourself. We’ve argued (absurdly) for years about whether or not teachers get paid too much. We started hiring unqualified post-teenagers at lower salaries to teach and that pissed us off too. We pretty much force teachers to fill in the financial gaps that the districts, government, and parents won’t. We tried to make teachers responsible for students not performing well on tests. We tried “no retention” policies so that students who were ill-equipped were passed on to the next grade anyway in favor of their (and frankly, their parents’) self-image. We created free assistance programs and then blamed poverty for people not taking advantage of them. We decided that homework was too cumbersome for students and that it was too much to expect parents to actually help their children with it. Parents blamed their children’s teachers for not teaching them…everything. Students blame the education system for not teaching them things their parents should have taught them, (all while being pissed that they can’t use their cellphones in class). The curiosity that is supposed to provoke people to learn enough to be able to think through a question has turned into a quest to be given the answer in 0.42 seconds.

We whine about it. We feign outrage about all of these students getting out of high school and having to take remedial everything in college because at best, they memorized just enough to get through the tests they had to take from K through 12. And after that, we turn around and do the exact same thing: decide that the school system we just ranted against is 100% responsible for making sure the next generation of students don’t become the next crop of Fredo Corleones.

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In that vein, is it any wonder that a country that constantly devalues education ended up with the head of the Department of Education being someone who is unclear about the difference between growth and proficiency? Does it matter when we don’t care about it either? Maybe all of those years of being totally ambivalent about education has come back to bite us in the ass.

Glossary

Three-headed kitten scenario©: (coined) a usually fabricated event that is used to make someone’s actions seem less ridiculous than they actually were.

Ex: Jane said condoms failed when each of her three children were conceived. That sounds like a three-headed kitten scenario to me.  

“You are responsible for your life:” The Best Sentence Oprah Ever Uttered

 

About a week before Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th POTUS, the trend of Black people criticizing former President Obama for not “doing enough” for Black people while he was the sitting POTUS re-emerged. When probed, the things that President Obama should have done for the Black people range from reparations to solitarily ending violence in Chicago to increasing funding for inner city schools to turning crack houses into 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom middle-class bungalows.

I won’t mention the fact that these very people will acknowledge that the government has been screwing Black people over since we arrived here so it makes no sense to think that we’d all walk away with back pay plus interest just because the person in our highest office shared a phenotype. I won’t mention the fact that it’s not the president’s job to make sure that people know that it’s unacceptable to kill random people by the time they are old enough to independently navigate society. I won’t even mention the fact that local government has a lot more to do with city policing and that citizens would be much better off taking their concerns to their mayor and councilmembers.  Though I do not agree with every move President Obama did or did not make, you’ll never hear me say that any critique I have of him is due to the fact that he didn’t “do enough” for Black people.

This post isn’t about President Obama or any other political leader, though. This post is about responsibility. Contrary to 2017 logic, personal responsibility is not about denying the social maladies that we all loathe. It is not about blaming people for the problems they face. This is not the “bootstraps” theory. This post is about taking inventory and dealing with life in consideration of reality. I am talking about a serious examination of where we are, how we got there, and how we can excel in spite of the obstacles we may face individually and as a people. I am talking about not allowing issues, be they social or otherwise, keep us in a perpetual state of misery.

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Let me back up a minute. One of the definitions of responsibility is independence in decision-making. In other words, responsibility is a kind of freedom. I’ll go further and say that I believe responsibility is a form of intelligence that must be cultivated so that we are able to exercise it in a variety of situations throughout life. With that in mind, it doesn’t matter who helps you or what assistance any governmental entity offers you; if you don’t understand that your life is your responsibility, it won’t matter.

You will eventually spend all the money and be back in poverty.

You’ll neglect the bungalow and within 5 years, it will become the distressed property it once was.

You won’t take your schooling seriously and end up just as under-educated as you were before the shiny new schools’ doors were opened.

You could be given everything you ask for or everything you think you need and still find yourself in a situation that requires a magic wand if you don’t wisely take advantage of the freedom that is implicit in responsibility.

There are things that only you can do to enrich your life and set you on the trajectory that you desire, and doing those things takes the will to do so. Waiting on the government is a waste of time. By the time the government steps in, you could have saved yourself, your family and a few others. Sometimes, we are our own worst enemy because we don’t think or act responsibly, and then we abuse ourselves further by pretending that our mistake is someone else’s to handle.

I said on my personal Facebook page Wednesday that 2017 is the year of being put on notice. I could actually say that we were all put on notice the night of November 8th of last year. We are now sitting under an administration that could be described in a number of ways; harried, unprepared, ignoble, and erratic. If there were ever a time for us to thrust ourselves headlong into the practice of personal responsibility, now would be it. We may not have a crystal ball or political prescience, but I posit that we don’t need either of those things if we are willing to be the chieftain of our own journey.

 

It’s Official! Trump Is The Next POTUS and I Don’t Particularly Care

***Note: I began writing this piece the day of the Electoral College’s final vote, hence the first paragraph. More interesting things to write about came up so I’m just now finishing it.***

National Public Radio (NPR) and several other news outlets just confirmed that the Electoral College has cast its votes for Donald Trump to be the next POTUS. The process of counting the Electoral College votes is usually presided over by the sitting VPOTUS, in this case, Joe Biden. There are a couple of ways that lawmakers can object to their state’s choice but according to an informational write-up by the New York Times before this final vote took place, that hasn’t happened often in this country’s history and per the NPR article, it’s safe to say that it’s not going to happen this time around either.

Now that that’s out of the way, I have to repeat what I’ve been saying all year on my FB page: I am totally unafraid of a Trump presidency. I’ve read and watched people lose it and express all kinds of fear about a Trump presidency. Most of the white people I’ve heard outside of the internet talk about the diplomatic repercussions of a Trump presidency. Most of the people of color I’ve heard express concern talk about the prospective loss of various social programs. People have mentally constructed a future America that looks something like the Hunger Games at best and The Purge at its scariest.

While I intellectually understand those concerns, I don’t share them.

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Let me preface this by saying that I am someone who has had a lifelong battle with panic and anxiety. I know what it’s like to be afraid of everything and nothing all at once and not even be able to articulate what exactly everything and nothing may be. I understand the fear of uncertainty. I understand having to operate in a space where you are unsure if everything will work out the way you need it to. Yet, throughout the campaign cycle, election night, and today (Inauguration Day), nothing in me has said that I should fear Trump being the 45th POTUS.

From your average internet commenter to tenured politicians, Trump has been repeatedly called a “bully.” I don’t have much experience with bullies but what I do know is that they feed off of fear. The few bullies I’ve encountered were nothing without the power that comes from their targets being afraid of them. Knowing that they can cause terror in people’s minds only emboldens them to continue their treachery. Frankly, I believe that Trump never would have made as far as he did without the panic apparatuses running at full speed 24/7 to take every Tweet and use every statement he’s made over the last two decades to further excite an already fretful electorate. I saw him as the class clown out of the GOP nominees and if the media collective had done a better job of ignoring his foolishness, he may have faded into obscurity. Of course, I never underestimate the racism that fuels this society. Calling Blacks lazy and Muslims terrorists will always appeal to a certain pathetic segment of society.

Nevertheless, despite the shitshow that was the confirmation hearings of Betsy DeVos (candidate for Secretary of Education) and Dr. Ben Carson (candidate for HUD Secretary), and the fact that Donald Trump seemingly has an unholy bromance with his partner in narcissism, Vladimir Putin, I still feel confident that we will be just fine over the next four years.

I haven’t deluded myself into believing that Trump has somehow punked us and will keep every policy that our beloved 44th POTUS enacted for our benefit. I don’t believe that the GOP-led House and Senate will suddenly see the 8-year error of their ways and suddenly start to operate with the bulk of the American constituency in mind.  I’ve simply decided to trust that no matter how much of a trainwreck the new administration may end up being, I will always be secure. Our parents, grandparents, and beyond survived much worse than an unfit leader and a merciless law-making body. Surely we can too.

With that in mind, stay focused. Take care of your business. Make wise decisions and if you don’t know what to do, get good advice from someone who does. Try to be as prepared as possible for what these next four years may throw your way. Be your own rudder and do not leave yourself defenseless. Do not exchange fear for folly. If you choose to fight, to be a revolutionary, remember that you and yours are the most important beneficiaries of your work. Take time to live life and even enjoy it when you can.

“We Are Not Our Grandparents:” Yeah, That’s Pretty Clear

About the last month or so, there has been this theme floating around social media. It has shown up on t-shirts, sweatshirts, caps, mugs and probably underwear too. It has become even more popular in the wake of Donald Trump’s election.“We Are Not Our Grandparents” seems to have become the new rallying cry to tell whites of all ages that the overt racism that has begun to re-rear its ugly head will not be met with chants of “We Shall Overcome” a la 1962.

Before I go on, I want to jump into the “Way Back” machine. My grandparents came up in a harsh era. They came up before DNA evidence was used to exonerate a Black person of a crime they were falsely accused of at the whim of a disgruntled white person. There were no cell phone cameras to record racist encounters which could then be posted on worldwide platforms in the hopes that the racist of record would be shamed into obscurity; or at least a half-hearted apology. The only “safe space” they had might have been a Black church if they were lucky. There were no “trigger warnings” before reading a racist diatribe in the weekly gazette.

My grandparents were also hard workers. My mother’s father came from a line of land owners. Post-emancipation, they worked for nobody. My great-great grandfather built one of the first schools for other children of color in the county. They farmed their own land and sold their own yield. My great-grandfather was an acclaimed agriculturalist who somehow managed to transform the soil quality and teach others his techniques. They had 12 children and sent all of the living to college. My grandparents had 8 children and sent all of the living to college as well.

They knew that nothing was free and everything required either money, work, or both. When they or their children needed something that may have been a financial stretch, there was no Go Fund Me; there was Go Get An Extra Job. Sacrifice was not a problem for them because they knew that what they needed outweighed what they wanted and waxing tragic about people who had more than they did and how that wasn’t fair was a waste of time and literally does not pay. They always took care of business and always had more than enough.

I know that many people interpret, “We Are Not Our Grandparents”, to mean that the non-violence angle of the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s is no longer an option to which the current generation is willing to subscribe. The truth is that the non-violence stance took a level of maturity, wisdom, and discipline that this generation simply does not have.

This is a generation that shuns wise advice as “shaming.” This is also a generation that will become frustrated because the same people with the wise advice won’t help them. This is a generation that will write 3,000-word “think pieces” on the evils of capitalism in rapid succession and then, after spending their last $10 on a Marvel movie (and you bet’ not say nothing to them about it), will set up a Go Fund Me asking the public to use the money potential donors earned through participating in capitalism to help them pay for anything from rent to a vacation because work is traumatizing.

As an aside, the founders of GFM sold a majority stake in the company for several hundred million dollars. They’re chillin’ off a percentage of the money you had people donate to you for rent in the name of circumventing “the system.” Death to capitalism, right?

I have said and will continue to say that without the election of President Obama, these same people who have become Tumblr scholars would still have been walking around ignorant to how insidious racism is. Our grandparent’s generation had to learn that lesson early and down to their bones. Their life depended on it. Yet, they managed to survive and progress at the same time that their churches were being bombed and the KKK was at their front door. Many of them had to sit vigil with shotguns just to keep their family safe. There was no keyboard behind which they could hide.

Contrary to what Millennials say, previous generations did NOT have it easier. They realized that life is what it is and in the face of that reality continued to work, fight, and push on knowing that standing in one place with their proverbial bottom lip poked out and being mad about their parents and grandparents or even society at large, got them no closer to where they wanted to be in life. As “trigger warnings” go, our parents and grandparents should hardly be able to leave the house let alone have raised us.

Maybe some of the political moves the Boomers made caused economic trouble for Millennials. That happens throughout every generation. In 30 years, people will be pissed at Millennials for the fact that nobody knows the difference between “there”, “their”, and “they’re.”

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Oh, and that non-violence thing? On an almost daily basis, we see and read accounts of this generation coming in contact with overt and even violent racism (and other –isms/-antagonisms) and doing nothing more than posting about it on Facebook and getting their friends and followers, who ain’t gon’ do shit either, emotionally riled up for 20 minutes. This generation, that pats itself on the back for its ability to “drag” people for 90 minutes on Facebook and Twitter, doesn’t have the fortitude to offer the same wisecracks they furiously type out on Facebook when they’re face-to-face. Then, there’s the assertion that “silence is violence” and that someone calling you a name is violence. Yet, a huge part of the “dragging” people luuuuurve to do is…calling names.

With that said, George Zimmerman, the one that you who are not your grandparents guaranteed would be in hell by now, is still alive so I don’t think our generation really wants to have the non-violence discussion with our noses in the air.

Enjoy your caps, t-shirts, sweatshirts, and whatever else while they’re fresh out the box. Just remember that the major reason that you even have the luxury of walking down the street wearing a t-shirt alluding to an (idle) threat of retaliatory violence without having to let everyone know that despite your “dragging,” you ain’t about that life is because of the work of the grandparents whose work you derogate.

We are not our grandparents. We make that clear every single day.