Hope

“Hope? Let me tell you something about hope,” the chocolate bar said. “This old man, eyeing me with his sun-drenched eye. In his home. The only one that’s known him. Webbed windows. Ceiling spitting on his crumbled shoes. Fridge hums every time he claws a can from its near-vacant stomach, as if inching toward warm silence. The chairs he speaks to are wordless. Only thing he has is me: a candy bar akin to something he had digested 50 years ago, when skies were deeper and balloons didn’t pop, but tailed the sun. His mouth, willing to break itself on the few almonds encased in my flesh. His faded stare centers on me. There is no hope for a proxy of love.”


A pretty dumb thing I wrote in response to a couple of prompts: One-Word Prompts and the Daily Spur.

The Appearance of Progress (Reupload)

So, you probably didn’t notice, but I deleted a post yesterday. It was a response to a political post. I originally deleted it because, well, I thought it was kind of shitty. I don’t think I articulated my points all that well and I come off as kind of a jerk (well, cause I am one for the most part.) However, I’ve decided to change some things and reupload it. It’s not my best work, but I think there might be some benefit that can be derived from it, mainly from the last paragraph. This post, however, is not going to really convince anyone that Sanders is better than Biden or whatever. But I didn’t write the post with the intent on convincing people. Maybe I should have. Because, after all, I think, at least politically, one of the issues Bernie Sanders and other progressives are having is that they’re not doing a good job assuaging the fears and frustrations of moderates who want a return to the pre-Trump days and are more comfortable with slow progress. No, I wrote this with the intent of, well, opening-up about something I find frustrating myself. I probably should have articulated things better though.

I should also mention that, after deleting my little “rant”, today I saw that the author of the original post I responded to had commented. I didn’t realize she had left a comment, so, at the end I will include her comment and my response). Anyway, here’s the thing that I deleted with some edits. Enjoy?

Recently, I came across this blog post on my feed, entitled, “TWO OLD WHITE GUYS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT? WHAT A SHOCK!” which was uploaded following Super Tuesday. Now, I know you might be thinking, “Ohhh boy. Ohhh geez. Finally, a political post. Here we go. Just what we need.” Which I get. No one wants to read this kind of crap, especially on a blog that has avoided such topics, but I just thought this particular post was interesting, and you might soon see why. Here’s how it opens:

“Everyone wants change,” said Garry, “until they get to the polls and then it’s the same old game all over again.”

We were both bummed at how poorly Elizabeth Warren did, how far Bloomberg’s money didn’t take him, and that in the end, we are going to have a battle between two old white guys. Well, that never happens in America! Oh, wait, that’s what usually happens. Sorry.

Basically, the author, Marilyn Armstrong, is bemoaning Elizabeth Warren’s performance in comparison to Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden both of who, after Warren dropping-out, are now the two remaining candidates for the Democratic nominee. Now it is a “battle between two old white guys.” This is true. Both Bernie and Joe are in their late 70s; Trump is also in his 70s, and they are all pretty white. But notice how this fact seems to imply an equivalence between the two Democratic candidates, as if age and race are the only pertinent factors. But, I get it. People want a woman to finally become President and it’s pathetic that it hasn’t happened yet. It shows that the US still has a long way to go in terms of gender equality. However, at the end of the day, the #1 thing that matters is policy. A woman can be just as destructive and egotistical as a man, see Margaret Thatcher. That isn’t to say Warren is anything like Thatcher, but it’s strange to me that someone who supported Warren would be so disappointed in the prospect of a Sanders nomination. After all, Warren and Sanders were the two candidates running that were “progressive” at least in comparison to the rest of the field. But, maybe it’s not so strange. Also, “bummed at how poorly…how far Bloomberg’s money didn’t take him”? Um, what?

Garry said it better than me. I said I had read that a lot of people didn’t vote for Warren because they didn’t think she could win. He said we never think anyone different can win until they do win. You can’t make changes without voting for change.

This may or may not be true. People could have been afraid to vote for Warren, believing she wouldn’t have a chance and, therefore, voted for Biden because he’s “safer”.

However, Warren’s numbers were falling before Super Tuesday. And despite being “progressive,” I think many voters saw her as an unwanted compromise of the things Sanders was/has been proposing for awhile. While Sanders is an FDR-style democratic socialist who believes that the system needs to be changed, Warren has described herself as a capitalist. As well, Sanders might be the country’s most popular senator and has been running a strong campaign. People were disappointed when he didn’t get the nomination 4 years ago and have been hankering for the change he represents. This isn’t a knock against Warren so much, but Sanders just better represents that change that people want/need.

People are dying and drowning in medical debt while billionaires run fraudulent presidential campaigns and fling cars into space. The US has long been involved in endless wars that have only further destabilized parts of the world, resulting in countless deaths. And the people who are supposed to do something about it are in the pockets of lobbyists. Many voters realize this and have been upset by the corruption and incompetence of their representatives. When it comes to these issues, Sanders is uncompromising. However, Warren is basically “Sanders-lite,” at best. I’m not saying Warren wouldn’t do well as president, but, overall, people who want true, structural changes are more confident in Sanders than in Warren.

I don’t much like Bernie and I doubt he can — should he win — get much done. He doesn’t have numbers, doesn’t have a plan, and worst of all, he doesn’t have allies in the Senate. He’s a great rabble-rouser, but is he going to find a way to “sell” his plans? Or is he going to just make everyone even more discontented and overwrought? Can I survive another four years of overwroughtness? Of endless battles between the supposedly “equal components” of our government?

So, as you can see, this is when things start going downhill. Yes, Sanders, if he wins the general, is going to have a lot of resistance in the Senate, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. We need change now. And once Sanders wins, progressives will likely become more emboldened to run for congress. In addition, Sanders clearly does have a vision, and it’s one that is necessary in order for the US to survive. Healthcare, global warming, money in politics, wealth disparity: Sanders has the correct views and policies on all these issues. Out of all of the major candidates left standing, Sanders is objectively the best. No, it’s not going to be chocolate chips and rainbows once he wins, but, Jesus, we need to at least try, for once, instead of hoping moderates will, one day, twist things to the right path. I think Sanders could actually make some real change. It won’t be easy, but he will actually make the attempt, unlike most. And, even if he doesn’t fulfill everything, I would much rather have that than another moderate or conservative who doesn’t do anything to address the fundamental flaws in our system.

Also “Or is he going to just make everyone even more discontented and overwrought? Can I survive another four years of overwroughtness?” I’m sorry, but who gives a shit? People are literally dying because the government isn’t doing its job, and the author cares about “overwroughtness”? I wonder how someone who can’t afford insulin feels about this as well.

Biden is old. Bernie is old. Bloomberg is old. Even Warren is no spring chicken. My favorite loser was Yang. I really liked him. He’s smart. He makes the numbers work. He has a grip on what the future looks like.

But what we have are two old white guys. A big surprise, isn’t it?

Yang was a one-issue candidate so it shouldn’t be a surprise Yang lost. Universal Basic Income is a good idea, but not if it means making cuts to social programs.

But note the false equivalence once again in that last paragraph. Sanders and Biden might be old and white, but they are radically different and in the ways that matter.

A final note: Owen talked to a lot of people yesterday. A lot of them said (and this is a quote): “The election is rigged. What difference does it make?”

If anyone is rigging these primaries, it’s us. We are our own worst enemies.

I agree. When it comes to voting, we are our own worst enemies. People say “vote the lesser of two evils,” but that mentality is why we are here. People thought voting for Clinton was the safe bet despite thinking she sucks, but, guess what? Trump won. People need to stop voting based on “electability” or along party lines, and start voting based on policy and for who they really want representing them. Candidates need to actually deserve our vote, not just be entitled to it because they’re not “the other guy.” See, Sanders may be some old, crusty white guy who yells, but, despite this, his vision is the one that young people want.

I understand the author’s frustration, but it also shows what happens when you focus on one thing, such as identity, and wipe away the rest of reality.

However, we’re not done yet. Let’s read some of the comments that were posted in response.

Why hasn’t anybody risen with a vision and a mission? Where’s the fire after all this? Can I say that this is a dangerous and disturbing situation? Can I say this is the cream of America? Why hasn’t somebody special emerged or stepped forward? Isn’t there anybody special out there? I can’t believe that. I guess their just too scared? Is America going to get what it deserves? Again. What happened to the ideal/idea that anybody could become president? Because there has to be a ton of anybodys that are better than this. I’m not saying these are bad guys, but this is sure not very inspiring.

The author didn’t respond to this, but I thought it was interesting. I mean, just a cursory glance at Sanders and his platform shows an immediate vision and mission. And while Sanders is a career politician, he is closer to this “anybody” than Trump or Biden or Bloomberg or Yang. 

Here’s another comment:

It’s my hope that Biden will get us back to where we should have been for the last 3 years. There is plenty of time for the younger group to move the country forward, but there has to be some healing first!

People are dying and this person cares about “healing first” as if the only thing that made Trump noxious was his foul language. “There is plenty of time for the younger group to move forward”? Healthcare. Global Warming. Real issues that need to be addressed. Now. And all this person cares about is the “good ol’ days”. But, guess what? Part of the reason why we’re here is because Obama didn’t do enough and broke his promises. There were no good ol’ days. And it’s this mentality that either slows down progress to crawl, or halts it completely.

But, let’s see how the author responded. The author basically states that we can’t go back to the past (which is true) and that the Constitution needs to be changed (which is also true) but then she drops this gold nugget:

Regardless I’d rather see Biden in office than Bernie, if I have a choice. It’s not because I don’t agree with Bernie on issues — it’s that he’s far too much like Trump for my taste. He won’t heal us and he won’t accomplish anything either. I had really hoped we got for Yang or Warren. We say we want change, but when we get to the polls, we wimp out. No one really wants or likes change. We all want the security of the past.

How in the world is Bernie like Trump? Because he isn’t pleasant? I’m starting to think this might be the real issue against Bernie, not his age or skin color. Meanwhile Biden has no real vision. He’s running on the fact that he’s not Trump because he has nothing else. Oh, well there’s that whole “no malarkey” thing, which I guess people are falling for. It’s not really about helping young or poor people, but about “healing” and “less yelling.”

There are more comments, but I don’t have the strength to go through them all. And plus, I think you get the picture. Basically, the author and many of the commentators live in a bubble of their own biases. I’m not crazy about Sanders’ personality and sometimes I’m skeptical about whether or not he will be able to fulfill his promises. But I know he’s going to try, and if there is anyone who is going to succeed, it’s him. Of course, I could be wrong. And maybe, I am biased myself. …

The author represents this desire for progress but without the potential dirt and ugliness. Or, maybe, the author doesn’t really want progress, but an idea of progress. Warren is a woman, but she is also safer than Sanders (even though if Sanders was a politician anywhere else he would be considered a moderate.) And despite mentioning how voters tend to wimp out on voting for candidates who represent change and not disagreeing with anything Sanders says, she admits she would rather have Biden in the White House than Sanders. It’s crazy. If you liked Warren, but prefer Biden over Sanders, then maybe you liked Warren for the wrong reasons. This also shows what people have to contend with. We need change, but when the opportunity finally comes, the vessel just isn’t perfect, or the time isn’t right, or it’s too hard.

So, if there’s anything you can get from this rant it’s this: what matters most is what is best for the country and the world, even if you may not like its package. It’s a shame that we probably won’t get a female president anytime soon, but you also have to look at what is going to benefit women and men and minorities and the working class the most. Because, at the end of the day, this is what’s pertinent. Because progress isn’t just appearance. It isn’t always pleasant or unintrusive to one’s own bubble. You want progress, but if Bernie Sanders being a “rabble-rouser” is too much for you, yet a man who supported the Iraq War and cuts to Social Security is your guy then maybe you’re talking about something else.

So, yeah. That was the post. Some of you might think “hm, that wasn’t so bad.” Others might think “hm, you’re kind of a dick.” And well, I would say the truth is somewhere in the middle. Though I’m probably still a dick. But, as mentioned before, here is Marilyn’s response in full and my response to her response.

Marilyn Armstrong:

In a country where diversity matters and anyone who isn’t white has been insulted and abused by our so-called president. Meanwhile, we show no evidence of trying to nominate someone who isn’t just like all the other guys, minus one. Two if you count Kennedy, but he got shot so who knows if he would have accomplished anything?

Diversity, creativity, and intelligent promotion of ideas matter. Bernie is a great rabble-rouser. He shouts at everyone, but he doesn’t have a grip on numbers or how he could possibly get any of his ideas accomplished. I don’t think he even CARES if he gets anything done. He’s like a leftist Trump: he just wants to WIN. At least he isn’t a bigot, but he’s no great thinker, either. He has no friends in the senate and he is politically ossified. Can we afford another four years in the political quagmire? And what about Biden? He’s okay. He isn’t inspiring. He’s a kindly old soul who I suspect just wants to take us back to where we supposedly were, but really, we weren’t there.

Obama made mistakes. Who didn’t? Who won’t? If we have to endure four more years of a stuck government who won’t make decisions, we won’t have a planet that most people can live in. It won’t affect everyone equally, but it will affect many, many people. We need healthcare and we need it to be cheap and available to everyone, young, old and in the middle. How we get it done? I frankly don’t care as long as we GET IT DONE.

We need to make college cheaper, but we also need to rethink the meaning of education, that something other than a four-year college degree is also education. Maybe, after all, we don’t need a million more business master’s degrees. Maybe we need a million more people who can fix things when they break so we don’t have to throw everything away and can, you know, repair stuff.

I’m tired of the world never changing. I’m tired of male politicians telling women what they can and can’t do with their bodies. Personally, I think erectile dysfunction shouldn’t be a major medical issue. Go limp. I do not care.

I’m tired of old white men permanently in charge. Call me crazy, but neither of these guys is going to take this country where it needs to be. I loathe our government. I think it’s been heading in this direction for a long, long time — long before Trump became a candidate. He’s just the final result of consistently poor choices. We didn’t notice because we were cruising along. No problem on THIS planet or in THIS country.

Neither of these men OR Trump is going to benefit the American people. I don’t care about the package either and I didn’t say I did. I didn’t like Elizabeth Warren because she is a woman. I like her and have always like her because she is humorous, intelligent, educated and willing to change her mind when it seems the sensible thing to do. You seem to think changing your mind is a sign of weakness.

HOT NEWS FLASH: Changing your mind proves you still have a mind. Do you REALLY believe any of the candidates will greatly or even nominally benefit the world or the American people? Seriously? Based on WHAT?

Marilyn Armstrong hardcore dunking on Bernie. Here is my response:

In a country where diversity matters and anyone who isn’t white has been insulted and abused by our so-called president. Meanwhile, we show no evidence of trying to nominate someone who isn’t just like all the other guys, minus one. Two if you count Kennedy, but he got shot so who knows if he would have accomplished anything?

Diversity, creativity, and intelligent promotion of ideas matter. Bernie is a great rabble-rouser. He shouts at everyone, but he doesn’t have a grip on numbers or how he could possibly get any of his ideas accomplished. I don’t think he even CARES if he gets anything done. He’s like a leftist Trump: he just wants to WIN. At least he isn’t a bigot, but he’s no great thinker, either. He has no friends in the senate and he is politically ossified. Can we afford another four years in the political quagmire? And what about Biden? He’s okay. He isn’t inspiring. He’s a kindly old soul who I suspect just wants to take us back to where we supposedly were, but really, we weren’t there.

Basically, Marilyn believes Sanders is disingenuous and is like Trump. But, she doesn’t really state why. And it would help, because I just don’t see how the two are alike, at all. Their rhetoric and ideologies are at odds and shows a gulf in personal and political philosophies. Trump is a businessman who has made money off real estate and ripping off people with casinos. Sanders was arrested for protesting racial segregation and wants healthcare for all. Just because Sanders shouts doesn’t mean he is the same as Trump.

Obama made mistakes. Who didn’t? Who won’t? If we have to endure four more years of a stuck government who won’t make decisions, we won’t have a planet that most people can live in. It won’t affect everyone equally, but it will affect many, many people. We need healthcare and we need it to be cheap and available to everyone, young, old and in the middle. How we get it done? I frankly don’t care as long as we GET IT DONE.

You don’t care how we will get healthcare just as long as we get it? Cool. Vote for Sanders. But seriously, the reason she won’t is because she believes Sanders won’t get things done. He would contend with a congress that’s against him. This is a definite possibility, but, again, I would much rather have someone who actually gives a shit, tries, and fails, then someone like Biden who will be a lesser Obama. And plus, Sanders’ policies are popular. In comparison to the rest of the world he is a moderate. It’s congress that is behind, and we need to start changing the tide, and I think electing Sanders would be a good way to start.

We need to make college cheaper, but we also need to rethink the meaning of education, that something other than a four-year college degree is also education. Maybe, after all, we don’t need a million more business master’s degrees. Maybe we need a million more people who can fix things when they break so we don’t have to throw everything away and can, you know, repair stuff.

I agree. And so does Bernie Sanders who believes in making trade schools free.

I’m tired of the world never changing. I’m tired of male politicians telling women what they can and can’t do with their bodies. Personally, I think erectile dysfunction shouldn’t be a major medical issue. Go limp. I do not care.

I’m tired of old white men permanently in charge. Call me crazy, but neither of these guys is going to take this country where it needs to be. I loathe our government. I think it’s been heading in this direction for a long, long time — long before Trump became a candidate. He’s just the final result of consistently poor choices. We didn’t notice because we were cruising along. No problem on THIS planet or in THIS country.

And so are most people. And progressives like Sanders are what is needed in order to reshape the government for the people, so that we don’t have future Trumps. He and other progressives want to get money out of politics. Maybe you think it’s just empty rhetoric, but, other than Warren, what does the real thing look like?

Neither of these men OR Trump is going to benefit the American people. I don’t care about the package either and I didn’t say I did. I didn’t like Elizabeth Warren because she is a woman. I like her and have always like her because she is humorous, intelligent, educated and willing to change her mind when it seems the sensible thing to do. You seem to think changing your mind is a sign of weakness.

HOT NEWS FLASH: Changing your mind proves you still have a mind. Do you REALLY believe any of the candidates will greatly or even nominally benefit the world or the American people? Seriously? Based on WHAT?

Changing one’s mind is not necessarily a bad thing, but one should consider what it’s being changed to, and the reasoning behind it.

But, to answer Marilyn’s question, I believe that Bernie Sanders will benefit the US and the world, or at least has the best shot. And I’m basing this off of his numerous policy ideas and beliefs which are more progressive than any major candidate we’ve had. Warren wasn’t bad, but she didn’t go all the way, nor do I think she was interested in doing so. As mentioned before, she sees herself as a capitalist. But, I could be wrong, of course. However, to say that Sanders is merely a “leftist Trump” is silly.

The Origin of Loss, Part 22 – The Hunters

“Yep. That’s him.”

“Should we call it in?”

“…Nah. I think we can handle this one ourselves.”

Officer Newhall smirked. “Barns isn’t going to like this.”

“Well,” Officer Shins replied, “why should he get all of the glory?” Their police car rolled up behind the parked car, silently, and the two officers stepped out into the rain.

“Come on,” Jimmy said, “where is he?” But then, in the side mirror, he saw a police officer approaching the car. “Shit.” Officer Newhall tapped on his window and made the motion to roll down the window.

“Um, I don’t know how. The car isn’t running. I don’t–”

But the officer kept tapping the window.

“Sir, please step out of the car.” Jimmy turned and saw another police officer at the other side of the car. Looking mean.

Biscuits started barking. Jimmy sighed. But as he was about to open his door, he heard a familiar voice.

“Yo, officers. What seems to be the problem?” The driver approached Officer Newhall. Newhall smiled while Shins stayed in her position, just in case Jimmy tried to escape from the driver’s side.

“Is this your car,” Newhall asked calmly.

“Yeah. What’s it to you?”

“Did you know your car contains a known criminal?” Officer Shins asked the driver whilst continuing to glare at Jimmy. Biscuits continued to bark.

“Yeah. So? Am I just supposed to refuse service cause of some guy’s colorful past?”

“His past is a little bit more than ‘colorful.’ Where were you two going, if I can ask?”

“No. You can’t. I know my rights.”

“Well,” Newhall said. “Jimmy here is supposed to be in school. He apparently beat-up a security guard to an inch of his life. Now, is that something you want to be associated with? Helping him escape–”

“Hold-up. You’re telling me–”

“What do you got there?” Newhall motioning toward the wrinkly, white bag the driver was holding.

“None of your damn business.”

Jimmy listened as the two battled it out verbally. He tried to not glance over at the other police officer who lingered by the car. He could feel her glare. None of this was good.

 


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