Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain


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In Defense of the Indefensible

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I’ve made it no secret that I do not support Donald Trump.  I don’t think he’s the savior that his supporters obviously do.  Perhaps I’ve missed something, but I just don’t see it.

What I do see is an opportunist.  Here’s the thing:  I don’t think he “created this toxic environment” in America.  No, it was already here.  The disdain with which people who are fortunate enough to have jobs view those who receive government assistance is at an all time high.  The superiority that many whites feel toward people who are browner than they are is at an all time high.

Many of these whites want the world and the rest of America to believe that this disdain is only toward those who are here illegally and those who are “too lazy to work”.  But what I see on a daily basis belies something different.  Sure, they might look down their noses at those who don’t work and who “pile their shopping carts with steaks and crab legs” while they, themselves, are forced to buy chicken and mince more than their darker counterparts who work for a living, but make no mistake, they still look down their noses at them even if to a lesser degree.

Donald Trump didn’t create this atmosphere, though he exemplifies it.  All he did was give his supporters the shot in the arm they needed to bring their baser nature out of hiding and into the light.  In this way maybe he’s done us a favor.  Instead of people making racist jokes in their inner circle they now feel free to let the whole world know just how racist they are.

You see I thought that because I live in the south and we lost the civil war we were just wallowing in the pit of sour grapes.  But now I’ve seen that this attitude pervades our entire society.

Let me make this very clear: I do not now, nor have I ever, condoned suppression of speech.  That includes those I disagree with.  I don’t agree with Donald Trump’s platform, but I also do not agree with suppression of free speech.  As I watched the madness that unfolded in Chicago last night I was appalled and dismayed.

I will now and always uphold the people’s first amendment right to freedom of peaceful assembly.  Peaceful assembly.  I will never condone mob rule.  I will never support disruption of peaceful assembly of a group I disagree with. People are responsible for their own actions and words.  While Donald Trump has contributed to the scene, he hasn’t forced anyone to do anything.  Both sides are at fault.  Violent protests are not the answer.  Make your voice heard and your protest known at the ballot box.  Get out and vote!

I guess I’m just wonder out loud here;  did Donald Trump create this atmosphere or did this atmosphere create Donald Trump?  He’s saying out loud what his supporters feel in their hearts.  He doesn’t make them feel those things and if they didn’t feel those things he would have faded into obscurity long ago.

His supporters believe that in supporting him they are “sticking it to the man”, they are shaking up the establishment, they are breaking up the Washington Cartel as Ted Cruz likes to call it.

What they seem to have forgotten is that he is partially responsible for the creation of the Washington establishment.  How many pockets has he lined to get something he wanted?  Do we not think that he is still lining pockets?  Do we not think that if he’s elected he’s not going to continue to line pockets?  Why are people so convinced that he gives one hoot in hell about the middle class? They aren’t the ones frequenting his luxury hotels and golf courses, they aren’t the ones buying his expensive clothing line made by the good people of China.

I propose that if we elect him president there won’t be much that changes.  There truly is nothing new under the sun.  The rich will continue to get richer and the poor will continue to get poorer.  It takes money to make money.  If I had a million dollar loan(though that isn’t the entire story) and inherited a real estate conglomerate I could take a lot more risks and have successful business ventures, too. I’m not begrudging that he was born into a wealthy family, just pointing out that it doesn’t hurt that he was.

Donald Trump is telling it like it is on some fronts.  On the ones where he’s not his supporters are either willing to put theirs heads in the sand or they’re really naïve enough to believe that he’s telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  They believe they’re getting someone who isn’t a Washington insider.  It shocks me that people can believe that when he so deeply entrenched in Washington.

His supporters who love him because of his bombastic rhetoric and strong arm tactics should truly be careful what they wish for.

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Weakness Thou Art a Woman

During his speech at a New Hampshire rally Donald Trump entertained yet again.  And, yet again, demonstrated why he is not, in my humble opinion, presidential material.

I don’t want another establishment candidate, nor do I care for having my ears tickled and being told just exactly what I want to hear, nor am I particularly politically correct. However vulgarity, misogyny, and a lack of conscience are not exactly high on my list of qualifications for the next Commander in Chief.

“The other night in the debate,” he told thousands in Manchester, “they asked Ted Cruz a serious question: what do you think of waterboarding? Is it OK? I thought he’d say absolutely, and he didn’t. And he said, well, he’s concerned because some people –”

A woman near the front of the crowd interrupted. “He’s a p—-!”

Trump admonished her for saying “a terrible thing”.

“You know what she just said?” he asked. “Shout it out, because I don’t want to say it.”

“You’re not allowed to say that,” he continued. “I never expect to hear that from you again.”

Trump paused, looked out at his election-eve audience and leaned into the microphone: “She said he’s a p—-.”

The audience cheered – shouting “Trump! Trump!” – before he gave the woman a mock admonishment and returned to his rambling, more than 45-minute speech.

Let’s forget for a moment that what he’s discussing here quite possibly qualifies as a war crime.  That he would waterboard and “a hell of a lot worse.”

No.  I can’t.  I can’t forget that.  He knows waterboarding isn’t okay.  He’s quite well aware it’s tantamount to torture and he’s okay with that.

Yes, ISIS is cutting off the heads of those who dare to oppose them.  Not only those who oppose them, but those who just don’t quite believe the same way as them.  It’s barbaric.

So, in an effort to stem that tide we’ll, what, become barbarians ourselves?  But I digress.

What else might we expect from a candidate who would like to punch a protester in the face? He might be the biggest supporter of the Second Amendment, but the first one can go to hell.  I’ll admit that protesters can be rude, obnoxious, and annoying.  That’s kind of what a protest is.  But it doesn’t sound like he’s too keen on people dissenting.  If he has protesters removed and wishes to punch them in the face now, what is going to happen to our right to disagree and protest his actions if he’s President? Twice, I digress.

Trump has clearly demonstrated his sexist tendencies.

Let’s get something perfectly clear, just because you aren’t opposed to women working and even not opposed to them earning a lot of money doesn’t mean you aren’t sexist.  Women, as demonstrated by the female rally-goer, can be sexist, too!  Because isn’t that funny?  Hilarious, actually?  Ted Cruz is the equivalent of the slang word for the female genitalia he’s so weak.

I’m watching all of this unfold in disbelief.  I understand that a lot of Americans are angry.  I get it that many people don’t feel like their government is working for them anymore.  I’m just hoping against hope that people don’t let that anger cause them to vote with their emotions instead of logic.  That desire for a savior has cost us too much already.


40 Comments

Solidarity, Unity, Humanity

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I don’t watch a lot of news.  Just enough, usually, to catch up on the day’s events.  But much like during the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on America I have found it compelling to watch the news following the attack on Charlie Hebdo.  I grieve with the French, the Jewish, and Muslims who have suffered great losses.  I grieve the lives of those snuffed out by an ideology which tolerates no other.

If you’ve read much here you know that I am not a believer.  I don’t believe in any kind of deity.  However, I will defend the right of others to practice the faith of their choosing. Up to a point.  When that practice crosses over to extremism, violence, and abuse I feel we all, every one of us, has a duty to oppose it.

Having watched much of what is transpiring in France – the prevailing attitudes and multitudes flooding the streets I am inspired as I was after 9/11 that the future is brighter in spite of those who would have it another way.

“Go on doing with your pen what in other times was done with the sword.” – Thomas Jefferson

“The tongue is mightier than the blade.” – Euripides

“The pen is mightier than the sword.” – Edward Bulwer-Lytton

There will always be those who seek to silence those with whom they disagree whether by might or by intimidation.  There will always be radicals who take their ideals to extremes.  There will always be bullies.  They only win when they have achieved the silence of those with whom they take offense.  There is freedom of speech but clearly it is not free.  It comes at a great price.

I hope the time has come and will not fade away, as is the way, to unite in solidarity against this radical extremism.  I hope the time has come that people, regardless of race or religion, will stand together as humans.

No, I am not a believer, but je suis juif, je suis France, je suis Charlie Hebdo, je suis muslim.  Today I am human. Today I am a humanist.