A blog for my writerly ramblings, my rambly writings, and all things in between.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Why This President is Different

I get very agitated when I see people- especially Republicans- saying, "Okay, so you're 'scared' about Donald Trump's presidency. How do you think I felt the whole eight years Obama was in office?"

Let's get one thing straight: this is different. You might have been worried, concerned, maybe even anxious, but don't tell me you were scared.

You want to stop reading now, and I get it. But please don't. Please read this, and please prove me wrong. Please give me some actual evidence that what I'm saying here isn't true. Because, in all honesty, I wish it weren't.

Every single other recent president, including Obama, had some sort of government experience, whether as a senator, lawyer, governor, or in military.

Donald Trump does not.

Every single other recent president was considered to be a fairly likable person, calm under pressure, diplomatic and careful in their dealings.

Donald Trump is not.

Every single other recent president has openly released their tax returns for public review prior to taking office, demonstrating their transparency to the American people.

Donald Trump has not.

Every single other recent president took the time to review potential national security threats with daily intelligence briefings.

Donald Trump has not.

Every single other recent president has drawn clear boundaries between his business dealings and his presidency.

Donald Trump has not.

Every single other recent president was one I would have happily welcomed into my home for dinner, would have been glad to work with professionally, and, in most cases, would have even invited to join me at a church gathering, no matter their political party.

Donald Trump I would not.

This is not about politics. This is about the person, the individual who is representing our country. Up until this point, all U.S. presidents have behaved professionally and courteously, even to their enemies. And every single thing I've mentioned here has just been assumed to be part of the job, and for good reason- they are all very, very important parts to being President of the United States.

But not to Donald Trump.

And that, more than any political agenda, scares me to death.

I did not vote for Obama, but I was not devastated when he took office, because despite his political views, he seemed to be a decent guy. I knew that policies and programs might change, and I prepared myself for that, but I did believe he understood the office well enough to represent all Americans, not just those who voted for him. I knew he would take counsel from intelligent advisors, and again, while he did several things that do not sit well with me, I do believe it was his intent to better our country, and I respect him for doing his job honorably and professionally.

I wish I could say the same will be true for Donald Trump. But if past and current behavior is any predictor of future behavior, (and in my experience it is) I can't.

This is not about people not "getting their way." This is a genuine concern about the fact that our nation will be run by a man who is known to be impulsive and explosive, who has no government experience, who intentionally hides pertinent information from the American people, who refuses security briefings, who is blurring the lines between his profits and his presidency, and whom I would not even feel comfortable meeting, much less working with on anything.

So yes, I am scared.

This is different. This is different, and if you can't see it, then you are intentionally turning a blind eye, and that might scare me even more than Donald Trump as president. Because if anything is going to keep our nation safe, it's having citizens who demand professionalism, accountability, and respect from their president. Unfortunately, right now I'm not seeing that.

I don't expect Donald Trump to agree with me on everything. But at the very least I do expect him to listen- to me and to others who might disagree with him- and I do expect him to respect his office and this country.

I can only hope you would expect the same.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Why I Can't Stand Commercials With LGBTQ Characters

It happens pretty much every other day now it seems: a company puts out a commercial in which there are two dads, or two moms, and then somebody gets offended and complains, and then half the planet loses their minds going up in arms in defense of this company, and it's a social media frenzy, and so on and so forth.

It's all done in the name of acceptance and equality, but there's one problem with that:

It has nothing to do with acceptance and equality.

It has to do with money.

And if you're one of those people who will get all up in arms in defense of these companies "promoting equality and acceptance" then you, my friend, have just been played.

Here's the deal. Do you know how many people in America identify as gay or lesbian?


If you're a big, moneymaking corporation, does it make sense for you to gear all of your advertising dollars toward 3.8% of your consumer pool? To spend the millions that it costs for a 30-second time slot in a commercial break to make sure that 3.8% of your customers feel comfortable shopping at your store?

This is not a hard question. The answer is no. It makes no business sense at all.


Unless that 3.8% is getting a lot of controversial attention. Unless that 3.8% has a big fan club. When that happens, it makes a lot of sense to gear an ad toward that group, because it means that ad is going to become a flag that will be raised on the moral battleground. And that means people are going to start waving that flag by sharing that ad on social media! And talking about it, and talking about your business and, if you handle it correctly (which you are obviously planning on doing, because you're not stupid- it's all part of the marketing plan) and you reply to the "haters" with some sort of fantastic "drop the mic" response, then your company comes out as the hero and everyone loves you and comes and shops at your store!

Oh, and you just got a ton of free publicity thanks to all those LGBTQ supporters and that handy little "share" button.

Seriously. Anyone who thinks a big company puts an ad featuring two moms out there and that the company expects it to be received just like any other ad is simply naive. These companies aren't "brave." They aren't doing this to promote equality and acceptance. They're doing it to drive sales! They know exactly what will happen when that ad hits the airwaves- and not only that, but they're banking on it! 

So this holiday season, if you want to promote acceptance and equality for your LGBTQ friends, then stop sharing these ads and the stories about who said what about them and how the company handled the haters. Instead, then invite your gay friends to dinner. Treat them like the nice people they are. But please, please don't get sucked into a corporate marketing scheme that uses them as bait to make their business more money. 

Because, hopefully, you're smarter than that.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Let's Pretend

Okay, so it's the night before Election Day. The country is divided. Few people actually like their options, but they claim there are no other options.

I feel like a lone voice in the wilderness saying, "What about Evan McMullin? He's the conservative we've all been looking for- one who is actually honest and honorable and humble and respectful, who will represent our country with dignity and integrity. What about him?"

"No!" everyone yells. "No! There's no way he's gonna win! We have to pick someone who at least has a chance. If he had a chance then maybe, but he doesn't."

 Okay. Let's pretend.

Let's pretend that suddenly, a new poll emerges that shows Evan McMullin making a massive surge in popularity. Suddenly, people ARE voting for him, suddenly he's actually a real threat to Trump and Clinton. What then? Would you change your mind then, once you saw he actually had a chance?

If you say "Yes, if I saw that he had a chance, then I would," then I need you to recognize something:

You have just told me that you are the kind of person who can't make a good decision unless you see others doing it first. You are a follower. You are a sheep. You want to do the right thing, but you don't- not unless others are doing it too. You wait until you see what everyone else is doing and then you act.

You are the one who waits for someone else to raise their hand and say, "Um, excuse me, I don't think this is right." Then you look around and wait to see what everyone else does. Then, if you can rest assured you will be nicely hidden among the masses, only then, do you raise your hand and add your voice to theirs.

That might be a hard truth for you to hear, but it's the truth.

In this pretend poll-flipping scenario, Evan McMullin is still Evan McMullin. Donald Trump is still Donald Trump. The only thing that has changed is what everybody else is doing. 

Do you really want to be that person who only acts after they wait to see what everybody else is doing? Because right now, if everyone who says they would vote for Evan McMullin if he only had a chance to win would actually vote for Evan McMullin, you know what? He might actually have a chance to win, or at least throw a big enough wrench in the system to make a significant statement to the nation about what we as Americans expect from our leaders.

But they won't vote for him. Because they're scared. Because they're looking around at everyone else and seeing which way the crowd is going and quietly sliding in amongst the masses where it's safe and comfortable. They won't move away from the crowd unless someone else- a LOT of someone elses- do it first. And that's just sad.

If this is you, and you are just going along with the crowd, I urge you to think about who you are and who you want to be.

I can tell you that I won't be that person waiting for everyone else to make my choice for me. I will stand with Evan McMullin, even if it means I'm standing alone. I refuse to hide in the crowd and wait to be told what to do.

I hope you'll do the same.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

I Don't Stand In Line.

With the total train wreck that this presidential election has been, I can at least say that it has taught me something about myself, something that I don't think I really knew in a concrete way before. And that is this:

I don't stand in line.

Something that drives me crazy about politics is the number of people who blindly follow. They swallow whatever narrative their party is giving them, or whatever narrative the media is giving them, and they just obediently follow along, trumpeting the merits of their candidate and vehemently denouncing the other. If you were to ask these people why they were doing what they're doing, why their candidate is good and the other is bad, I can guarantee you that only a small percentage would be able to do anything more than parrot whatever it is they've heard people say on TV or social media. The majority flood social media and their friends' (and enemies') ears with emotionally-charged rhetoric that they cannot back up with facts:

"Hillary is a criminal!"

"Trump is sexist!"

"If I vote for anyone else it's a total waste! The bad party will win!"

And if you dare to question them, if you dare to ask them to back up their statements with something so outrageous as facts and reason, you will be kicked to the curb and labeled an enemy.

A friend posted this in response to something I wrote on Facebook, and it is so appropriate to how I feel:

I don't stand in line.

Recently, I saw a video of an experiment that was performed to see how people behave under peer pressure. Watch it below.

When I watched this video, I tried to put myself in that position and I asked myself, "Would I do the same? Would I just go along with everyone else?" My honest answer was a resounding no. And not just because I don't want to be labeled as a "sheep". It's because I am well aware that there are pointless things that go on around us every day and one of my personal principles is to not get sucked into those pointless things. I want to be in control of myself and what I do, not hand over my will to someone else to decide for me.

If I were in the situation in the video, I would be the one asking, "Why are we standing up?" And if no one had a good answer, I would ask the receptionist. And if she didn't have a good answer, I would be perfectly happy being the only one sitting down, knowing that everyone else was making a fool out of themselves. I would have no qualms with being stared at, or even harassed, because I would know that I could defend my position and they could not defend theirs.

Just to give another example, I was recently at a Back-to-School night for my middle-schooler. We were following our children's schedule between classes, and at one point we ended up outside the gym. I had been talking to another mom when I noticed we seemed to be in a line of people waiting to get into the gym, which was our children's next class. I peered up ahead, wondering what the hold-up was. I couldn't see anything, so I said to my friend, "Wait here, I'm going to check and see if this is actually a line or not."

I stepped out of line and walked up to the front where I saw indeed, there was no reason for the line, and so I went back and got my friend and we walked around the rest of the people and headed inside the gym.

I don't stand in line- literally.

One more example: my husband and I decided a few years ago that we didn't want to spend 30 years paying off our mortgage. We knew how much interest we would be paying on it and it simply didn't make sense for us to pay for our home twice if we didn't have to. So we cut back our expenses and started throwing money at it. Which means that usually we are driving the oldest car in the parking lot (but we own it outright) our clothes are all secondhand (and cost a tenth of what they'd cost new) and we don't eat out. Pretty much ever. When we've shared our pay-off-the-mortgage plan with others their response has been, "But you get a huge tax break with a mortgage!"

Er...so you're telling me that I should hand over $100 in interest to the mortgage company so the government can give me $20 back? When I could be keeping all $100?

This is the narrative they've been fed by the mortgage companies and the government, so this is what they parrot. Which is fine. They are welcome to stand in a 30-year-long line handing over thousands of dollars, smiling about how much they're saving. I'm 34, and in less than a year I'll be walking over to the bank to deposit my thousands of dollars into my own account.

I don't stand in line.

I will not make blanket statements about a political candidate without being able to back them up with fact, as near as I can get it. I need to know for myself.

I will not vote in the same way as people who are culturally and spiritually and intellectually similar to me just because they say I should. I need to know for myself.

I will not blindly follow a media-written narrative about a "crisis" that our country is facing without checking the statistics to see whether or not it actually is a real problem, no matter how many people are holding protests in the streets and no matter how much airtime the media devotes to it. I need to know for myself.

We are such a media-driven society, and it's become such a part of our daily lives, I don't think many of us stop to think about how much it influences us, how much power the media has in deciding what to make us care about.

To be honest, though, I am horribly saddened and disappointed in the vast hordes of people I see standing in line as I'm figuratively walking past it. Because you know what happens when you stand in line?

You are stuck.

You must wait for someone else to move before you do.

You hand over your control to some unknown entity, someone who does not care about you, someone who has an agenda that has nothing to do with you and your values, morals, and ideas, and everything to do with theirs.

Why? Why is so much of America still standing in line?

I am not writing this post to say, "Hey, look at me! I'm better than everyone else!" I'm not. There is a ton that I don't know, but I'm willing to learn. But if you want me to take you seriously, to understand your beliefs and to respect your position, then you have to earn it. You have to be able to give me facts. And if you don't have facts, if you're just going with your gut, then that's fine. I can respect that, as long as you're honest about it. But don't act like you know what you're talking about when you don't. Because that I can't respect.

America, please. It's time to get out of line.