Poli-tick-tock-tick-tock-tick-tock. Boom!

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“Hello darkness, my old friend”

If people hate America, it should be because over 40% of us allow less than 60% of us to elect our president and that’s an optimistic election year.

It’s usually closer to 50%.

“Because a vision softly creeping, left its seeds while I was sleeping”

I accompanied my stepmother to the polls during the 1984 presidential election. While she waited to cast her vote, I stood by the entrance of the school and asked people who they voted for as they exited.

As she walked out, she heard me. Immediately, she cut me off, told me my question was inappropriate, and apologized for me.

I asked her why? I was under the impression one candidate was far superior to the other and I just wanted to see if people made a bad decision.

She told me politics are personal.

Turns out, one was far superior that year according to voters. Only 53% of US voters showed up that year. 59% of them elected Ronald Reagan to a second term. He beat Walter Mondale 525 electoral votes to 13. Minnesota and Washington D.C. chose Mondale.

“And the vision that was planted in my brain, still remains”

My grandfather defined Republicans and Democrats for me.

He said Republicans teach a man to fish and Democrats give a man a fish.

While there were other easily digested anecdotes, religion was never part of it.

“In restless dreams I walked alone, narrow streets of cobblestone”

I’ve known I was gay since I was in first grade; I did not choose this supposed lifestyle.

I played hockey for 10 years. In those locker rooms was where I heard the word faggot.

Every time I felt I needed to be interested in a girl, I chose someone unattainable, sometimes from another school.

I began to think I was sick, but the thought of a girlfriend gave me anxiety because it would be a lie and she would be a tool.

I never told anyone until after I left Alaska to attend college.

I was 37 when I realized someone else in my graduating high school class was gay.

To this day, politicians waste money fighting basic workplace protections preventing harassment or discrimination against me.

They tout job creation.

I thought we’d be beyond this by now.

“People talking without speaking, people hearing without listening”

We act like life is black and white, and nothing could be further from the truth.

Today’s headlines would have us believe life is simple and matter-of-fact.

We, the people, are divided by absolutes and armed with free speech.

Follow, share, repeat, but whatever you do, don’t think.

“Silence like a cancer grows”

Spoon fed and distracted, we’ve become stoic and desensitized.

We are not malnourished.

“Hear my words that I might teach you; take my arms that I might reach you”

Screw baseball and football; America’s favorite pastimes are manipulation and hypocrisy.

Forget everything you’ve heard because today’s party names are labels and nothing more.

The first and second amendments should be honored, literally, and handled responsibly.

Neither are going away, no matter who is president.

Lump separation of church and state in there too.

Knitting needles have put more religion than the constitution permits into the fabric of our nation.

Freedom to think you’re right isn’t the right to define freedom.

Every citizen of this country should be able to form and build a family.

Every citizen of this country should be protected at work from any form of harassment or discrimination.

When you hear something scary from anywhere but the source, you’re being manipulated by fear.

Fear equals desperation and is the lowest form of manipulation.

So long as we can make each other feel stupid, scared, or insecure, we don’t have to admit what we don’t bring to the table.

Hate perpetuates fear and fear leads to war.

You have a choice to be part of the problem or part of the solution.

Fear causing hate will never produce a solution.

We have a lot to fix and it won’t happen over night.

It may not happen in your lifetime.

We shape a better future by being better people.

Love thy neighbor.

People will die no matter what.

“But my words like silent raindrops fell, and echoed in the wells of silence”

We all agree opinions don’t matter, except the opinions we agree with.

It’s easy to feel right when everyone tells you you’re right in the safety of your very own chamber of echos.

“And the people bowed and prayed, to the neon god they made”

The United States isn’t mentioned in the bible.

7.3 billion people are on this planet and less than 5% live in the United States.

There is no war on Christmas.

There is no war on Christianity.

Anyone who tells you differently is a war monger, looking for a fight.

The Pledge of Allegiance was originally written by a socialist minister in 1892 and did not contain the words ‘under God.’

‘Under God’ was added in 1954.

‘In God We Trust’ first appeared on US currency in 1957 followed by coins in 1964. Personally, that doesn’t bother me so long as our currency is strong.

Religion is good, but can be dangerous in the wrong hands, especially a government.

Freedom of religion is not going anywhere and neither is my right to say that.

It’s time to rip off the tape.

There are no official presidential candidates, but we’re seeing the dress rehearsal.

Believe it or not, we are in a safe phase of our election process. The rubber meets the road after the primary elections.

The vitriol you hear today is between leaders fighting for supporters to represent their parties and is not representative of the American population.

First world problems.

We live in a world of ‘do as I say, not as I do.’

One party wants to raise taxes to fund programs while the other believes there are plenty of tax dollars for what they care about.

Lobbyists pad the pockets of both parties as our tax dollars are astronomically wasted with little effort to fix.

We have a financially irresponsible government and we face ongoing tax increases, yet there are plenty of sources they aren’t collecting from.

Did I say lobbyists earlier?

Global warming enthusiasts fly around on private jets and contribute as much, or more, to the carbon footprint they shame others for denying or even caring about. Do nothing or deny, neither contribute to the solution, just make sure to throw your aluminum in the blue bin, okay?

Some people perfectly understand the second amendment, but twist the first amendment to accommodate their own selfish interpretation. Mostly, this affects other people more than it affects themselves. 

The people who want to do away with the second amendment altogether, expect literal compliance with the first amendment, while their gun carrying bodyguards protect them.

Neither are willing to negotiate because any mention of being responsible is an all or nothing argument.

People waving the flag of ‘family values’ get exposed for infidelity, adultery, or same-sex shenanigans. They’d rather risk keeping a secret and destroy the family they value so much than deal with their own unhappiness.

Self proclaimed pro-life loyalists only care about the moment a sperm penetrates an egg, but do nothing for the life the embryo eventually lives.

People who identify as ‘pro-choice’ don’t often approve of people who choose to think differently.

The party ruling the executive branch of our government cannot gain the population’s confidence to simultaneously rule the legislative branch, thereby causing an endless stalemate, all while we foot the bill. These are our leaders.

The stuff that gets done becomes campaign fodder for the next election cycle to undo.

States start their own controversies that require intervention from the judicial branch of our federal government.

Both sides have taken notes on the legal acrobatics of defining what the word ‘is,’ is.

It used to be obvious when a headline was from The Onion or an actual news source. 

Polarizing hypocrisy is more common than bullet holes in this country.

We are better than that.

Baby steps.

Today’s parties are two different degrees of unappealing with two fundamentally different strategies.

Power, greed, corruption, hypocrisy, narcissism, and complete disrespect have beat the living crap out of politics and have filtered down to how we act toward one another. They pander to us for our votes enough to not disturb the base.

That doesn’t mean don’t vote, if even reluctantly.

New leaders with new ideas and unifying messages will emerge if we are willing to accept them.

I believe in a passionate majority.

We can change politics in America.

Be part of the solution.

Pay attention.

Vote.

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The County Worker on the Soapbox and What I Thank God For

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SusanBAnthonyJust when I thought her 15 minutes were up, BAM! There she was again, occupying headlines like a child crying for attention.

Who uses a once-in-a-lifetime meeting with the pope to get attention and airtime? An opportunist, that’s who.

I don’t know what kind of soap she believes cleansed her soul and is trying to sell, but the box is empty and upside down. Someone told her she smells good and now she’s standing on it. It won’t be long before that poor box busts into bits under the weight of  all of God’s work she thinks she needs to do.

Lady, please step down. God can do His own work.

I won’t type her name. Her name doesn’t matter. She doesn’t matter to me.

She’s a figurehead, by default, holding a megaphone. The minute she stepped out of prison, her puppeteers gave her a hug and attached the harness. They are pulling her strings and keeping her in the headlines while trying to capitalize on the business of hate and business is good.

All that nonsense about her meeting the pope was thrown out there this week without one good intention. It was selfish, vindictive, and divisive. Her team are master manipulators and they love hate. Hating her only fuels the fire, extending her reach, and keeps them paid. She’s so busy basking in the spotlight that she doesn’t feel their fangs in her neck.

I refuse to click on headlines with her name anymore. I won’t engage with those stories. I won’t be part of encouraging them. I have no interest in either the lost battle, or the minority she represents. If nobody clicked, her voice would be gone.

I don’t hate her, but I think she is dangerous. She twists and bends her religion, like Play-Doh, into a mold where she’s above the law, right, and a victim, all while carrying a personal list of sins a mile long. Sound familiar? That’s because she’s not the first and she won’t be the last.

She’s not worth my time. She’s not worth yours either. She is in my rearview mirror where she looks good right next to other garbage I need to forget about. 

She and Huckabee can go be righteous together and discuss their vengeful God ad nauseam. That is, until they stop talking to one another once neither of them have anything left to gain from each other. She has already met the pope and Mike won’t be inviting anyone to the White House for dinner, so that love affair could already be over.

Anyway, enough about her. She can go on living by or breaking the law in her own world. Kentucky can deal with her and I don’t need the play-by-play.

As for the pope? I don’t know. It’s like when I lived in Wisconsin and I rooted for the Green Bay Packers. I did that because that’s what you do when you live in Wisconsin. When they won, life was good. People were happy. However, when they lost, especially a playoff or Super Bowl game, the level of upset in their true fans was something I just didn’t feel. It was a reminder that I was never fully vested in the sport to begin with and I was glad.

For the record, I am not anti-religion. This isn’t about religion, it’s about common decency. However, the county worker’s lawyer dragged the pope into the discussion so I wanted to tell you a little bit about the Christians that I know and what I thank God for in my life.

Catholicism was a presence in my upbringing and is a big part in the lives of many of my immediate and extended family members and friends.

I thank God that I have a diverse sample of Christians in my life hailing from different denominations as well as non-denominational evangelical Christians. The Christians I know are nothing like the county worker. They are kind and loving and I’m fortunate to have them in my life. Granted, we might not see eye-to-eye on certain issues, but they don’t treat me like a lesser human. I’m pretty sure that’s quite the opposite of what Jesus taught and a true Christian knows this.

They hold strong to their convictions, but they don’t assert their views or beliefs on others. They are open to discussions and I’ve had my share. What I appreciate most about the Christians I know is that they live their life by their faith.

I thank God that my family supports me in who I love which I didn’t think was possible 25 years ago. It wouldn’t be fair to say it was always easy, but the process was a journey and an incredible learning experience, albeit work. I currently benefit from closer family bonds with open lines of communication.

I was able to witness my grandparents on my father’s side evolve their views after learning I wouldn’t be making them great grandparents. Despite any thoughts they had prior, they accepted me for who I am.

Our visits during my trips ‘back home’ were something special and my partner was always welcome. They began addressing Christmas cards to both me and my partner. I’m so thankful for this simple act, especially now that they both have passed. These were the two people I thought would be most disappointed in me, but that was not the case.

I thank God that, in some small way, I have been able to impact opinions and/or behaviors within the microcosm I reside. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the individual level.

On a greater scale, we aren’t where I thought we would be when I left home for college in 1992. I live in a state where people can be denied work or be terminated based on sexual orientation. When company policies put more parameters on the company’s behavior than state laws, it’s time to take a step forward. We are, as Miranda from The Devil Wears Prada would say, moving at a glacial pace.

To pretend that the county worker was within her right to not sign those documents is absolutely ridiculous. She found God and scrubbed her sins and is claiming to protect her rights as she infringes on the rights of others. It’s a real shame that the Christians who make headlines have as much impact causing a divide as they do. However, there’s money to be made in controversy. As long as we can be pitted against one another, we will continue to be.

 

 

 

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Gwen Stefani Lost it on ‘The Voice’ Premier

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If you watched ‘The Voice’ premier on September 21, you saw the blind audition of contestant Jordan Smith from Harlan, KY. He performed Sia’s ‘Chandelier’ and pretty much nailed it for the first round.

A small town kid with the talent to hit complicated high notes, he won the judges over. All four turned around before he finished which is what every contestant aspires to accomplish at this stage in the competition.

Blake was the first to turn. A few notes later, Gwen and Pharell looked at each other, threw some side-eye, and turned around simultaneously. Pharell acted normal. Gwen lost her shit.

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Gwen’s freakiest experience ever in life right before your eyes.

Gwen’s reaction to seeing Jordan’s appearance after hearing his voice was cringe-worthy. Her whole spasm caused me one giant face-palm.

At first glance, all she could do was be confused, throw her leg and hands up and twice exclaim, “Whaaaaat?!? WHAT?!?”

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First ‘Whaaaaat?!?’
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Second ‘WHAT?!?’

It’s one thing to be surprised when you look at somebody. It’s a whole other thing to be incessantly hung up on how shocked you are about their looks and persist with your blown mind. I expect a four-year-old to act this way, not a 45-year-old.

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Gwen really thought Jordan wouldn’t look like this.

Adam turned around after just enough time passed for Gwen to contain her leg. Gwen turned to her right and threw a “What?!?” Adam’s way as if to ask, ‘Do you see what I see?!?’

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Third ‘What?!?’

Adam intently listened to Jordan as he finished his performance. Gwen stared and looked like her head was going to explode.

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As quickly as the audience and the other three judges gave a standing ovation, Gwen rushed the stage to touch Jordan to make sure he was real.

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Gwen needed to hug Jordan to see if he was real.

Sure enough, he was! Then she had to tell him herself just how shocked she was.

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It was a sweet moment, but damn Gwen. Calm down! We get it!

After all that, she still continued to be blown away. Climbing back in her chair she turned to Pharell and said what? You guessed it.

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Fourth ‘What?!?’

Everyone sat and the judging began. Gwen didn’t ask for Jordan to join her team (or at least they didn’t air that). She did, however, say the following:

GwenFinalQuote
You don’t say.

She did. She threw the “FYI” in there. Pharell interjected over Gwen’s ‘freakiest thing she experienced in her life’ and explained what she was trying to say in other terms.

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When the other judges are swooping in on the heels of your comments, it’s time to shut your mouth. Her best compliment to this poor kid was how surprised she was that he didn’t look like she thought he would. Gwen’s better than that. She’s just been an L.A. girl for too long.

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OMGwen

But it was Adam who Jordan chose as his coach. The other judges (Gwen) can learn from Adam. You see, Adam listens. Adam relates. Adam says all the right things and he’s a good coach. It took me a few seasons, but I’ve grown to really like ‘The Voice.” It’s still early on, but wishing Jordan and Adam the best of luck this season!

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Can’t wait to see what these two do this season.
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