More Post-Election Thoughts…

I’ve seen people complain about how tired they are of all the political posts since the election and how everybody needs to drop it and move on. I get it; I’m trying to wind it down, myself. But whenever I feel compelled to say something about current events, I will; you can take it or leave it.

I still don’t get what people mean when they say we need to “come together”. That’s easy to say when your side won. I just think everybody simply needs to be cool with each other. That’s all. Just be cool.

All the people complaining about the Electoral College and how it sucks and needs to be abolished in favor of the popular vote: Where’ve you been the last 16 years? You weren’t worrying about it when Obama won two terms. Don’t just complain when it works against you(Gore in 2000 and now Clinton in 2016); changing such a fundamental aspect of our electoral process is something that will take years to effect, including elections when your side wins. Don’t just forget about it if a Democrat gets back in the White House in 2020.

Someone reminded me recently of how strongly I felt when I voted for John McCain in 2008. Oh, that surprises you, does it? It’s true; in fact I’ve voted for both parties plus independent (Ross Perot) since I’ve been old enough to vote. In 2008, I was very wary of the cult of personality and this sort divine hero worship that had built up around Barak Obama, and I was instinctively repelled by that. I never thought him to be anything other than just another politician, and I mistrust the notion of that Hero archetype who’s going to come and save us. I call it “chasing JFK”.

I eventually came around on Obama, once he took his licks and was humanized, so to speak. I believe him to be a good man who did a good job as President. (And before any of you take it upon yourselves to interject about what a “disaster” he was and how “horrible” a president he was, SAVE IT. Like Negan on the Walking Dead, I WILL SHUT THAT SHIT DOWN. This isn’t a post debating Obama’s success as president; it’s entirely and solely my view on him in general. Got it? I WILL SHUT…THAT…SHIT…DOWN.)

Anyway, my larger point being, I’m naturally wary of the Hero/Savior archetype. I mistrusted it about Barak Obama in 2008 when everybody was just gushing over him being this “transformative” figure who was going to Heal the World…and you can DAMN WELL be sure I mistrust it about Donald Trump today in 2016. I haven’t yet begun the process of re-following most of my Trump FB friends just yet, but the ones I retained all along, some of them have expressed that exact notion of Trump the Demigod, our “Leader”, who only wants “what’s best for all of us” (exact term and quote I’ve seen), and implying how everybody who’s upset that he won are somehow being disloyal in addition to being sore losers.

You know what Hitler’s official title was? Fürher. You know what Mussolini was called? Il Duce. You know what those titles translate to from German and Italian, respectively, into English? LEADER. North Korea’s ruler is called “Dear Leader”, for that matter. Trump will be our President…but he is NOT our LEADER. The term has strong fascist connotations in this context. I know some of you will scoff, but I feel very strongly about this. He will and should only ever be merely Mister President. I’m giving Donald Trump a chance, but I WILL remain skeptical and critical of what he does until proven otherwise.

Election 2016

Just a few more weeks until this clusterfuck of an election is over. Hopefully. I mean, hopefully it’s clear cut and indisputable, and HOPEFULLY the loser—AHEM, cough, cough—concedes and doesn’t incite violence acts—AHEM, cough cough. I was talking to some friends at a party last week, and something got said that was very profound: If it was ANYBODY else but Trump, the Republicans would probably have this election in the bag.

Despite some who claim I’m a liberal—on the apparently damning evidence that I don’t like the Tea Party faction of the Republican Party, nor do I like Trump—I am actually pretty moderate in my politics. You don’t get to define me, jackass. I’ve said this before, but 20 years ago my politics would have been solidly center-right; remember there was a time when Colin Powell was considered a legitimate contender for the Republican nomination in 1996. That’s my round about way of saying if the Republicans had nominated someone like John Kasich, or even Marco Rubio (Ted Cruz remains a stretch for me)…I’d seriously be leaning into the Republican column.

I’m sure some of my reasonable friends on the right will now try to sway me with Trump’s policies being similar to Kasich’s or Rubio’s, etc, yada yada…save it. Bottom line is, I can’t trust him not to fuck this country to holy hell, nor rely on the “grown ups” in the Republican Party to rein him in. I don’t even think he really WANTS the job; it’s just one gigantic ego trip he’s been on and I doubt even he thought he’d get this far. Now he’s too far in it to quit, but since he doesn’t really want the job, he just keeps playing to his base without even trying to bring swing votes in. At least with Hillary, I feel she can actually do the job competently, flaws and all. Not the most resounding endorsement, but there you have it.

Trump vs Clinton: Or, the lesser of two evils

In all fairness, I still accept people’s sincerity in maintaining their support for Trump. The way people who don’t like Hillary for all her faults think she’s still a better option than Trump is effectively no different than those who continue to support Trump despite his lechery because they think he’ll still be better than her. That’s where we’re at this election. To each their own; but I’m not going to burn bridges with people for their decision/perspective on this matter. #Election2016

Trump “hot mic” Access Hollywood video

Wow…just wow.
Look, I get that a lot of my friends out there in Facebookland hate, hate, HATE Hillary Clinton; you don’t like her, you don’t trust her, you think she’ll be bad for the country. I get it, if that’s your view. And I also get it if that’s your basis for supporting Trump…
But MAN…shit like this video being par for the course with Trump has just GOT to be driving you up the wall. THIS is the person you’ve anchored yourself to? At the very least, watch the video in this link of his “locker room” talk about women before forming a response to this post. I don’t expect this to change your mind about Trump; if you still consider this “better” than Hillary, that’s your prerogative. I’m sure there’ll be a lot of, “But, but, but, BILL CLINTON!!” responses as a “defense”. But just stop for a second and think about how sad that is that you’re reduced to debating whose sexual indiscretions are worse.

Colin Kaepernick: The BPR Take

Sigh. I wasn’t going get involved in the Colin Kaepernick debate; I haven’t posted much politics online for a while, and life is always exponentially better when I avoid it, so why ruin a good thing? But people are raging on and on about this and talking frankly racist shit and spreading frankly racist lies on social media and…well, I’ll just say that some of what I’m seeing explains perfectly Donald Trump’s viability as a presidential candidate. I’ll also say that everyone has a right to their opinion and I’m not going to waste time trying to change what anybody thinks. I just have to vent that I continue to be disgusted by some of the things I’m seeing, not just over Kaepernick specifically but in our politics at large.

But no, I’m not disgusted by Kaepernick himself. He has a right to his own views, and reading his direct and specific comments on the issue, I have to say I TOTALLY and COMPLETELY understand and RESPECT his position. He’s made it clear he’s not anti-American or anti-US military. He’s highly intelligent with a 4.0 GPA in college and scored impressively on the NFL’s Wonderlic test that measures intelligence. And he’s willing to engage his critics as shown by his invitation to former Green Beret and NFL player Nate Boyer to discuss the issue after Boyer penned an open letter to him, and the conversation left Boyer impressed. And he was willing to change his protest in last night’s game from sitting down to kneeling as a show of respect for the military. In short, Kaepernick came to this decision after long and serious thought, not out of some narcissistic need for attention (ahem, Trump, cough cough).

And of course, the alt-right is out in full force, darkly accusing Kaepernick of converting to Islam for his Muslim Black Lives Matter girlfriend, blah blah blah…apparently, his is dating a Muslim woman, and it’s only natural for people to be influenced by their significant others, so if she’s caused him to think about issues he’s never considered before, fine. But to this point he hasn’t announced whether he’s converted or not, and unsubstantiated claims that he has are just more xenophobic bullshit meant to create and widen the gulf between the “Us” and the “Them”. But given the history of black athletes converting to Islam, they’ve nearly always made it public, so if he has why would he keep it a secret? It’s not like being a Muslim is illegal in this country. Yet.

And I don’t think he’s a hypocrite because he was raised by adoptive white parents. He said in his initial interview on the topic that he wasn’t protesting anything that’s happened to himself specifically, but at society at large. But that’s a bit too nuanced a point for people these days to comprehend, apparently. Good or Bad. Black or White. Us or Them. There’s no room for being in the middle, in between, or a shade of grey. Too much thought and empathy required for that.

There’s no one “proper” way to be an American. It takes all kinds. Colin Kaepernick’s view on the National Anthem/American flag may not be yours…but that doesn’t make him any less of an American. (By the way, if you’re going to be pissed off at Kaepernick, then you should be pissed off at baseball legend Jackie Robinson for expressing the same exact sentiment.) He’s just as much a “real” American as Nate Boyer. Or any of us. There’s a certain segment of the population that considers themselves “real” Americans (I’ll let you guess what color they are) to the exclusion of everyone else…guess what: we all are. Try taking the time to actually LISTEN to what he’s saying instead of getting all Facebook-Outraged because he’s not behaving in what you consider to be the “proper” manner expected out of an athlete, actor, or musician: Just play your sport/say your lines/sing your songs and shut up. Just entertain me. Don’t make me think about complicated issues.

Recommended links if you’re interested:

A Message to Bernie Bros…

I have something to say to the Bernie people who are still gnashing their teeth in lamentation over Hillary’s nomination. This is something I commented on a friend’s thread and have been meaning to post on my page, so I figured I’d paste it here with some additions:
RE: Anger at the Democratic Party for screwing over Bernie Sanders.
The fact of the matter is that the parties can select their candidates in whatever way they so choose; they’re not accounted for at all in the Constitution. Binding popular selection by the public via the primaries is actually a relatively recent development dating to the sixties. Before that it was basically the kind of backroom dealing among party bosses that I see a lot of people (mostly Bernie people) lamenting about today regarding Hillary’s nomination (see: Super Delegates).
My overall point is that Bernie chose to run as a Democrat…which actually probably enabled a higher profile for himself than he would have gotten if he had ran as the independent he’s always been throughout his career. But in running as a Democrat, he simultaneously ran into the “rigged” party system that was almost explicitly designed to keep someone like him out. Is it fair? No. Is it democracy? No. But we’re not even a true democracy as it is; we don’t even elect the president by direct popular vote. Undemocratic? Maybe, but in any case that’s how the Founders DESIGNED the system.
I guess the ultimate question Bernie followers need ask themselves now is, is the progressive movement (i.e., the policies Sanders’ espoused) in a better position overall now than if he hadn’t ran as a Democrat. Hillary was forced to pivot left in order to accommodate him. That’s something right there. You can say she’s lying to get votes, but Sanders’ profile is exponentially higher now and he could be in a position to influence things via the Senate if Hillary wins. Just a thought.
Oh, and who would you rather have choose the make up and character of the Supreme Court for the next generation? Chances are the next president will get to nominate as many as three or four new justices since so many current ones are in or are about to enter their 80s (to say nothing of the current empty seat that one particular party refuses to hold a hearing for). Roe V Wade, gay rights, voter laws, environmental laws, health care laws, gun rights…those worth giving over to Donald Trump just because you don’t feel like you were treated nicely enough by the DNC?

White People: Things You Need to Hear (from a fellow white person)

I have some things to say to white people (but black people and other minorities are welcome to join in). I am indeed writing this as another white person, myself (though I have some ethnic heritage, my upbringing and outlook is white). This may be one of the more controversial and potentially offensive posts I’ll ever make, but they’ve been swimming in my head for a while and I just haven’t gotten to a point where I felt compelled to write it all out.

In no particular order:

• Black Lives Matter is NOT about black lives mattering MORE, or black lives mattering EXCLUSIVELY, or black lives mattering to the detriment of white people. Black Lives Matter is about how black lives matter, TOO. Black lives have historically been devalued in this country, to the point of them counting as 3/5th’s of a person before the Civil War era. They’ve also been devalued in a myriad of other ways since then, too, from lynchings to segregation, to being denied access to the GI Bill after World War II and being denied bank loans to buy houses because they lived in so-called “red line districts” (aka black neighborhoods) that were deemed “too risky” for banks to issue loans on. This perpetuated black poverty and continued well throughout the 20th century. Electing Barack Obama did not settle any “white debt” to Black America.

• Stop insisting that the way black people were treated in this country is “in the past” and that they should “get over it”. It wasn’t that long ago when blacks couldn’t even share the same water faucet as whites. As in our parents’ lifetime. Jim Crow laws were still in effect, too. And slavery? A mere two human lifetimes back to back. My own direct family heritage is proof: my paternal grandfather—not great-grandfather, but my father’s dad)—was born in 1877 (yes, you read that right; he had my dad in 1939 when he was just a few months shy of his 62nd birthday). That’s just 12 years after the end of the Civil War. Two generations of my own family line takes me within a stone’s throw of slavery.

• White people: Think twice before using the word “thug” when talking about black criminals. There’s a legitimate argument to be made that “thug” is the new code for the N-word. Now, I’m sure some indignant person is about to fire off a link to the dictionary definition of the word to counter me, but that’s not what I’m talking about; I’m talking about how the word is used in a specific context. Would you ever use the word “thug” to describe a white criminal? Oh, NOW you would! Too late; doesn’t count. Any of my friends who are black are welcome to comment on it and correct me if I’m wrong, but it doesn’t take long for me to see comments about a black criminal devolving into descriptions like “thug”, “savage”, “monster”, and “animal” in a way that I rarely see applied to white criminals…who often seem to be described as merely “mentally ill” or at the most “sick”.

• The only time it’s okay for a white person to use the word “negro” any more is when you’re talking about the old baseball league and its associated museum. Don’t complain; you probably never use it as it is, and regardless, you don’t need to use that word in any other context, anyway.

• It’s easy and seductive for us to apply our own personal experience to the world and say, “well, we turned out okay!”, while refusing to understand why black people can’t seem to “get their act together”. If all we’ve ever known are police who are at the most inconvenient when issuing us a traffic ticket while we cooperated with no problem, we can’t really correlate that to a similar situation for when a black person is pulled over. We didn’t grow up in their situation; there are things about the Black experience in America that we just cannot ever truly grasp. The best we can do is acknowledge that fact and try our best to empathize and be fair.

• In my experience, white people and black people view the concept of what it means to be “racist” differently: white people tend to think it only applies to those who view minorities as inferior and are not worthy of the same rights and privileges as whites. So by that definition, whites are being completely sincere when they insist that they are not “racist”. Black people, in my observation, tend to apply it to all facets of the American experience, overt and subtle, including stereotyping and things like locking your car doors when a black person walks by. We each have two different, distinct definitions of that word and what it means. Again, my friends who are black are welcome to correct me or elaborate on that point.

• White people are deathly afraid of being called racist. (Especially considering the above bullet point.) Want to fluster a white person? Call them a racist. Within two sentences they’ll be stammering about how they have “lots of black—er, I mean—African American friends!!!!”. Speaking of which…

• Nobody cares how many black friends you have.

• Having black friends does not mean you can’t be a bigot. Neither does dating a black person. (And yes, the reverse applies, too.)

• Yes, I use the word “black” instead of “African American”. It really is okay, trust me. I prefer it simply because it’s easier to say as a one syllable word.

• Stop quoting Martin Luther King, Jr. to a black person when you’re debating social issues in this country. Just don’t. Seriously. At least try finding a different quote than the “go to” one every white person seems to have memorized from his “I Have a Dream” speech about content of character. You know, probably the ONLY MLK quote white people actually know. He gave many more speeches than that one in his life.

• On the other hand, white people do need to be allowed to articulate their views even when they may be offensive or off base. That’s a huge part of the Trump phenomenon, I think. There is a significant portion of the white population who feel like their views and way of life are mocked and that they can’t say what they think needs to be said without being shut down by the “R” word (“racist”). They resent what they see as being blamed for everything wrong in this country. The one remaining group of people it’s safe to mock are white people (especially rednecks). So then Trump comes along and tells them that there’s nothing wrong with them, that their views matter and that they are just fine the way they are. THAT’S why Trump has had the success he’s had. I think the best way to deal with uncomfortable issues in this country is for everyone to be allowed to be as frank and honest as they are capable of, without fear of being condemned for not being “politically correct”. If that means saying stereotypes about minorities, then accept their views as sincere and engage them on the subject to show them they are being heard.

• We are all prone to stereotyping; it’s just human nature. And not just exclusively other races, but even other groups of people within our own race; be it rednecks or hipsters; jocks or nerds; artsy types or fraternity guys. We all do it. The difference is in our ability to see past it when it happens and to be openminded about the likelihood that we’re mistaken.

• I’m half-jokingly wondering if I’ll be unfriended by people after posting this 😉

• I say that last tongue-in-cheek, but I am concerned this post has something in it that might potentially offend everybody, white and black. I’ve been called “pompous” in my posts, and maybe this is true. I’m not trying to be, and I’m not trying to be holier-than-thou or condescending. These are just things I feel need to be said.

• I’m sure there’ s more thoughts floating around in my brain on this topic, but I might add them later as they come to the surface. You don’t have to agree with any of the above, but try to be openminded and consider whether or not there’s some merit to what I’ve said.


Over the past few years I’ve unfollowed (but not unfriended) many FB friends whose posts have become tiredly predictable, if not occasionally outright offensive. And yes, they are typically Tea Party/Trump supporters. I’m not even sure most of them are aware I’ve unfollowed them, or whether they’d even care if they knew. The thing is that I know most of them personally, and I genuinely like them and respect them; they are smart, bright, and they are in fact good people. These are not loonies or racists. They are sincere in their beliefs. Hopefully they realize that I am sincere in mine.

But, man, some of the things they post, share, or like are just downright disheartening when they’re not outright ridiculous. I don’t say this to be condescending or holier than thou; it’s just how I feel. But I’ve come to realize that it’s better to avoid being tempted to engage them in the first place, because that will only lead to bitterness, so that’s why I’ve unfollowed them. (And not, as I’m sure some of them would claim, because I “can’t handle the truth”…as they see it.)

I’ve stumbled upon several posts and memes that they’ve shared since Orlando, and I’ve read the comments of their likeminded companions…and I genuinely despair over how wide the gulf has become between the two sides in this country, and it’s only growing wider. It’s like this whole other country that I’m having trouble even relating to anymore. Some of the things that are espoused and accepted as fact in that community…man, I can’t even begin. I’ve almost come to the conclusion there’s no point in even trying to bridge that gulf anymore; just leave everybody to their own beliefs and hope that the side that my political leanings favor has enough numbers to outvote them.

I can’t vote for Trump. Even well into the primaries I was actually leaving the door open just a crack, both in the interest of open-mindedness and in case he started to turn toward the middle once he secured the nomination, as is common with presidential candidates; I joked that he would start saying things that even I would agree with…but to say he’s doubled down on his incendiary remarks that are completely calculated to fan the flames of bigotry is an understatement. I think he’s a charlatan, an insecure bully, and a xenophobe, among countless other things that have been well documented. And I’m convinced he’d be a disaster for this country. Not that my vote will matter in the Electoral College, since Trump as a Republican will carry Kansas easily. But the popular vote has its own moral value, and I want to be counted in that.


Orlando Mass Shooting

Been trying to decide if I should comment on what happened in Orlando. I’ve “been there, done that” on that round-about of futility that I call debating/arguing over the pertinent issues/controversies surrounding tragedies like this. Being in a line of work that takes me to countless amazing public events, I occasionally reflect on how easy it would be for somebody to commit an act like this anywhere. And not just an event, but any bar or club where people gather. But ultimately I get immersed in the event and do my thing and have a good time. Just last week a colleague and I shot a band at KC’s own Pridefest, and at the time my colleague expressed concern about a wackjob opening fire there. I understood his concern, but in the end, we can only live our lives.

It’s maddening that the dynamic of the narrative is almost completely predicated on if the shooter is white (“He had MENTAL ISSUES!”), or Muslim (“His religion MADE HIM DO IT!”), or black or hispanic (“DRUG DEAL gone bad!”). Be honest, when the news broke, how many of you were hoping it would turn out to be the scenario that fit YOUR political viewpoint? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

So far, it seems like it’s the second one, which sets its own tone of debate away from gun access to religious motivations and how we need to “do something” about “those muslims”. Yeah, let’s persecute people based ENTIRELY on their religion (and let’s dig up Muhammad Ali’s remains and burn them while we’re at it). The fact is, any of those scenarios are possible and all have happened, and not always with the attendant motivations attached to the ethnicity of the perpetrator. I happen to think assholes like this will use anything that conveniently rationalizes their actions because what they really want is a sense of power and agency in a world where they’ve never had any, whether it’s a religious verse in a book motivating them, or something as mundane as not being able to get laid (or sometimes even both).

What are the answers to stopping things like this? The pointless debates everyone keeps rehashing seems to assume there are straightforward answers that will fix problems like this, IF ONLY the other side got their heads out of their asses and complied. But the thing is, maybe there ARE NO answers and this is just something we have to accept as being a fact of life in the 21st century. Tighter gun control laws wouldn’t necessarily have stopped this; if the asshole who did this was determined, he could’ve acquired a gun illegally with only a little effort. Monitoring and profiling muslims also wouldn’t have necessarily stopped this; a lone wolf actor (like this guy probably will turn out to be) is very difficult to identify and, despite Donald Trump’s assertions to the contrary, often times his own family doesn’t see it coming (as the asshole’s father has already issued a statement on).

I’ve said this before: nearly all of us drive a car or truck everyday, and many of us fly on airplanes on a regular basis, each with its attendant risks from accidents and crashes (car crashes alone accounting for a far higher death total in a year than mass shootings/terror attacks). But we still do it, because we accept the risks and take the best precautions we can. I’m sure there are people reading this ready to come after me for coming across as being callous, insensitive or “blind to the facts” or some other bullshit that will fit their political vantage point. Fine, whatever. I hate what happened in Orlando. And I hate what happened in San Bernadino and in Paris. I also hate what happened at the movie theaters in Colorado and Louisiana. Not to mention the black church in South Carolina. We need to do the best we can to prevent things like this from happening, but with the full understanding that nothing we do can really end it, only mitigate it and perhaps prevent as many such incidents as possible.

I realize this may sound fatalistic or even depressing, and for a lot of people who are convinced that this is a problem that can ultimately be “fixed” if only we executed the solution of their choice (banning guns vs banning muslims), it probably sounds ludicrous and tantamount to throwing my hands up in surrender (more like futility). But it’s really not. I believe that when you accept the world as it is, you begin to live you can begin to make the best choices for your own life personally, and also to promote change in more effective ways. Say a prayer for those who lost their lives and their families, and give thanks for the blessings we do have.

Merrick Garland

BPR Political Post:
(Uh oh, I’ve been gradually posting more of these recently; need to keep tabs on that…)
It’s eye-rolling that the Republicans are stone-walling Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court. From everything I’ve read, Merrick Garland is a superb choice who is a moderate, and frankly a more palatable pick for the Republican Senate to live with than what they can expect from a President Sanders or a President Clinton. There’s no legitimate reason to block him.
But I “get it”; Republicans want to hold out and see what happens if Cruz or (GULP) Trump get in and can choose a conservative justice. Fine, so be it. As long as they’re honest about why they’re stalling. And for all the Democrats and liberals up in arms over this move, let me tell you, if the tables were turned and it was the last year of George W. Bush and a liberal judge’s seat came open, you would be doing the EXACT. SAME. THING. And giving the EXACT. SAME. EXCUSES. And you know it.
It’s all just political bullshit.
#supremecourt #supremecourtjustice #merrickgarland #Obama
EDIT, March 18th, 8pm: In response to comments conservatives made on my FB page asserting Garland “voted against the Second Amendment”, this was my response:

Interesting. I got curious to find out more regarding both of your assertions that Garland “voted against letting citizens own firearms”, so I decided to research the subject, reading both what would be considered “conservative” and “liberal” websites. 

I’m assuming you’re both referring to Parker vs. District of Columbia, which in 2007 ruled a Washington DC handgun ban was unconstitutional…it was a 2-1 decision, but it turns out that Garland was NOT involved in the ruling; he merely agreed to the city’s request to have the entire court’s judges reconsider the case, not just three of them. Ultimately the court denied the request with a 6-4 vote, Garland being one of the four “yes” votes that included both a liberal judge named David Tatel, but also a renowned conservative judge named A. Raymond Randolph. There’s really nothing in such a vote—voting to reconsider the case—to indicate hostility to the Second Amendment, especially considering Randolph’s vote. Perhaps if they had reheard the case and voted on it, we would know something more definitive.

The other thing I’m finding is that in 2000 he voted to affirm that the FBI could hold on to gun purchase records for six months for auditing purposes in order to make sure background check systems worked…which the NRA asserts amounted to an “illegal national registration of gun owners”. Garland’s vote disagreed with that assertion. Your interpretation may vary.

My take on this is that conservatives are grasping at straws.