Would the sane people please stand up?

How in the hell did we get here and how do we make the stupid stop? This isn’t ok. This isn’t fine. This, ALL of this needs to stop. It needs to stop now. Not next week. Not next year. Now. Period. Full stop.

But before I get in to that, let’s make a few things very clear…
 
1.      Racism and bigotry is 100% wrong 100% of the time in 100% of situations. It matters not what race/color/creed/religion/etc. the racist is or what race/color/creed/religion/etc. the recipient(s) of that racism or bigotry is. Calling for the death of or violence against Jews, blacks, whites, Hispanics, etc. is always wrong regardless of who is doing it. Period.
2.      Yes, you are free to march for (as permits allow) and hold disgusting beliefs in this country. However, if you turn to violence you are 100% wrong. If you’re a good little brown shirt wannabe that is marching for white domination and turn to violence, you are 100% not allowed to do that. If you are marching/protesting against those sad little Hitler loving morons and you turn to violence, you are 100% wrong. Period. I would love nothing more than to start beating Nazis and Commies with bats, but we can’t do that in a civilized society. (this does not apply to self-defense)
3.      Stating that one side’s actions are wrong, (e.g. “Those little Nazi pukes were 100% wrong and none of them were “fine” people) does not mean that one supports the other group’s 100% wrong actions. For instance, in Charlottesville the disgusting racist morons that marched their obese and unwashed “superior”  white asses whilst yelling racist things and beating an innocent black man in a parking garage were 110% wrong. I do not need to follow up with a statement regarding how the anarchists and commies morons (note I am not saying that everyone counter protesting fit in to one of these groups) that were counter protesting and blocking streets and starting fights were also 100% wrong. Nor does it mean that I support those equally shitty people by not stating their wrong doings. They both suck.
4.      Defending one horrible group that is 100% wrong in their actions, just because they are either committing those 100% wrong actions against a group that you hate, is also 100% wrong. Period. Also…No ANTIFA is not like the brave men that stormed the beaches of Normandy. Here’s a spoiler…both ANTIFA and the other groups like it AND the Alt-Right are both pro-totalitarian regimes. They are both bad…very, very bad.
Now that those points have been established…
 
We as a country are so unbelievably divided and it is only going to get worse. Politicians, the media, race pimps, fear mongers, sycophants, useful idiots, partisans, and just downright bad/evil actors want us divided. These people seek clicks, cash, votes, and animus. They prey on fear, angst, and the lowest common denominator. They are all actively working on a daily basis to widen the chasm between all of us…and IT IS WORKING. The fact that seemingly intelligent people can’t even have a conversation any more that involves nuance and differing opinions without it devolving into screams of racism or calling people commies or Nazis or libtards or whatever, is beyond infuriating. That is what these evil people want. We are doing exactly what these morons want us to do. SO STOP.
 
The worst part is that we brought these monsters to life. For decades we have fed the beast and over the last two years we have ramped that up to the thousandth degree. We have elevated and legitimized morons like Cernovich and Milo. We have given hundreds of hours of screen time and oceans full of ink to give white nationalists, anarchists, and communists a platform. We have moved them from mildew infested basements and shitty coffee joints right in to the middle of Main Street. They existed before, but they were nothing. They were tiny groups of fat dudes huffing and puffing through fake battle drills in the backwoods of Michigan and Arkansas. They were authors of books that sold tens of copies and websites that had almost no traffic. But we had to vilify political enemies. We had to tie Clinton and Trump and every other politician and, even worse private citizens to these evil people and organizations. So we elevated and legitimized these troglodytes to be something to fear. Now they are growing. They are beating and killing innocent people in the street. They are destroying private and public property. They are doing what they never could have done on their own. We made them. We… WE… need to end them.
 
I am so beyond tired of this never ending tit for tat, you did it first, and everyone else is to blame mentality. I don’t give a rat’s ass which party Lincoln or MLK were affiliated with. I don’t give a damn which party fought against civil rights or founded the KKK. I DON’T CARE. IT DOESN’T MATTER NOW. I don’t care which faction of totalitarian seeking morons started the fights in the streets…THEY ARE BOTH 100% wrong. They are not fine people. Fine people do not realize that they are marching with Neo-Nazi or Communist wannabes and then continue marching with them! Fine people do not associate with people that want to kill Jews or cops or white people or black people or ANY people. Fine people speak out and when necessary fight those people.

It is time for the SANE people to take over. It is time for all of the people that are tired of this to stand up, speak out, and fight. We will not all agree on policy or politics or which bear is best, but we must agree that enough is enough. We must agree to speak with each other, debate ideas, discuss policy, and anything else in an adult and respectful manner. We, the sane ones must not let differing opinions bring us to castigate others as evil just because they have a differing, yet sane opinion. We must use that diversity of thinking and perspective to broaden our own understanding of things. Then we must utilize that combined front to fight back against the actual Nazis, racists, thugs, evildoers, partisans, charlatans, etc., etc. etc. AND then maybe actually fix some of the real issues that need to be remedied.
 
We need to be able to have productive discussions on memorials, building names, civil rights, and a mile long laundry list of other things. However, if the adults in the room do not stand up now and shepherd those discussions through productive means, we will continue to end up with one faction screaming “kill the police”, one screaming “string up the blacks”, another screaming “kill whitey”, and more blood will be shed, an no progress will be made. Politicians aren’t going to fix it. The people that thrive off of upheaval aren’t going to fix it. The companies that make their money off of viewership and readership aren’t going to fix it. Only we can fix it.
 
So stand up and be counted. Raise the voice of reason. Fight the stupid hyperbole and ignorant vitriol. Talk to your neighbor, your friend, your political foe. Get past stupid political affiliations. Have productive discussions. Stop spreading stupid one meme or contrived talking point at a time. Do something productive. Speak out against injustice in a factually based and respectful manner. Educate people with facts and reality. Break bread or share a drink with someone that thinks differently than you do. And LISTEN.
 
I fear the world my young son is growing up in. I fear what new feigned outrage will spurn the next violent outburst. I have no faith in the abilities of the people that we have (continuously) chosen to lead. The onus is on you and me and every other person that hates what these idiots are doing to our country, to actually do more than just casting a vote, complaining on social media, or remaining silent. We must act. We must speak out. This has to start in our homes. This has to start in our communities. This has to start now.

May sanity and strength take over and may these cockroaches either change course or slither back under the rocks from whence they came.

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My Cold Black Heart Cares

This week hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children will once again gather to protest. No, this isn’t another “woman’s march” or another march against our new President, and you probably won’t see much news coverage of this nationwide event. Every year, around the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision people of different religions, races, beliefs, and social status partake in The March for Life as a public protest against abortion and every year people that are for legalized abortion call out these people as hypocrites. Truth be told, as someone that is pro-life, I semi-agree with the people that say Republicans, Conservatives, and other people that are anti-abortion are somewhat hypocritical. A common statement is that, many that support the Pro-life movement are pro-life, but only until the baby is born. While I disagree that these people don’t care about people after they are born, or that this statement includes everyone that is anti-abortion, I do believe that many on, what is generally the right end of the political spectrum, do fight for babies to be born, but then fail to support politicians, legislation, and programs that support what it should truly mean to be pro-life. This is obviously a touchy subject for many; it is not a black and white issue and has a whole lot more than fifty shades of grey involved. But, I think that it is important for us, me being one of you on the Right to take a more holistic, compassionate, and yes fiscally based approach to truly be pro-life.

As Conservatives and Republicans, with our cold black hearts we often times lose sight of the facts that surround the hardships that people endure throughout their lives. In the 80s and 90s we fought back against the “welfare queens” that were perceived to be milking the welfare system. Today we fight some of the same battles of decades past, but also new ones, such as the nuanced issue of illegal immigration and more specifically the children that were brought here by no fault of their own. We tend to be supportive of things like capital punishment, a very tough judicial system, and the war on drugs. We too frequently view these issues in a vacuum, sans the understanding of the causes and effects. We view things as right or wrong…black or white. However, we don’t live in a black and white world. And right and wrong are often times not as clear cut as we would like them to be. We can alter our perspective on many of these issues without losing sight of our ideals and foundational beliefs. In fact, I would argue that altering how we seek to “remedy” many of these issues would better support the conservative ideals and for many, religious beliefs. Yes, we live in a country where anyone can pull themselves up from their bootstraps and, through hard work become successful, but we can still believe that while, at the same time realizing the many people need a little help along the way. We need to realize that we can support measures that help people that are built upon conservative ideals and that are fiscally sound.

 

Life sucks sometimes. Sometimes it sucks because we make bad decisions. Sometimes it sucks because, by no fault of our own, we are borne in to a bad situation. Sometimes it sucks because we fall ill or for a myriad of other reasons. That is life. We can’t fix that, but we as conservatives, as Republicans can support measures that mitigate the ramifications of those situation and foster an environment that allows for people to better and more easily pull themselves out of bad situations.

 

Let’s start with welfare programs. Is there fraud, waste, and abuse? Absolutely, yes. But is it necessary? Absolutely, yes. If we are truly pro-life, we cannot sit by and let children go hungry and homeless. Welfare should be a temporary safety net that enables able bodied adults to get back on their feet. It should be a means to help provide food and shelter for the disabled, elderly, and children. This is both a moral and a fiscal issue. Morally it is wrong, and definitely not pro-life to let a child go hungry. From a fiscal perspective, if we don’t provide a means for that child to grow and learn, we will more than likely, foot the bill to take care of someone that is unhealthy, addicted to drugs, incarcerated, or all of the above later in life. Welfare programs are wildly mismanaged, fraud is rampant, and there are many able bodied people of working age that should not be permanently on these programs, but doing away with all of them is not the answer. Pulling the rug out with out establishing the infrastructure to set people up for success via education and jobs, isn’t the answer.  Fixing them is the answer.

 

On the right we quite often vehemently support law and order. We believe that if you do the crime, you should do the time. We must still support punishment for wrong doing, however the current system is broken and perpetuates a cycle of children being born in to poverty, then they don’t get an education, then they turn to crime or drugs, then they end up in prison, and then they have their own children that follow the same path. If we truly care about the sanctity of life we must do what we can to push and pass legislation that helps end this cycle. We must also work with communities and people to help end this cycle by taking an active, face to face role in the people and communities around us. I remember finding out that prisoners were getting “perks” like free educations and being outraged when I was in college. “Why are they getting a free education while I have to pay for mine?”, I thought. The fact is that we need to stop putting the emphasis on punishment and instead focus on rehabilitation. From a moral perspective, locking people away and throwing away the key is wrong and does neither society or that person any good. It tears up families and fosters an environment that has only negative results. Fiscally, the recidivism rates alone are reason enough to push for both justice reform and an alternative approach to rehabilitating people. In North Carolina alone, if even a small percentage of released inmates did not return, but instead moved on to be productive members of society, the savings would be tens of millions of dollars per year. Yes, people should be punished for doing wrong, but the way we are approaching justice only perpetuates this vicious cycle that is neither morally or fiscally sound.

 

“Oh you’re pro-life? I bet you support the death penalty!” Many on the left love to state some variation of this to expose their perceived hypocrisy of pro-lifers. The reality is they do have somewhat of a point. When you see someone like Dylan Roof it is difficult not to say “let him fry!.” Hell, he deserves it. But the fact is that we as humans are flawed, therefore our justice system is flawed, and as a result the decisions cast down are sometimes flawed. Without even arguing the religious aspect of this topic, even if the verdict is right 99 times out of 100, is that one innocent man/woman that was put to death worth it to end the life of the 99 others? I have toiled with this issue for a very long time. My belief now is threefold. From a religious perspective I no longer believe that taking the life of someone that no longer poses any threat to society is right. From a moral perspective I don’t belief that wrongly putting to death one person out of a hundred or a thousand in order to punish others, that no longer pose a threat to society is right. From a fiscal perspective, it is ridiculously more expensive to put someone to death than to put them away for life. I am not judging anyone that supports the death penalty. I get it. I really do. But I believe that if we are truly going to be pro-life, we must stop utilizing capital punishment.

 

One of the main topics of this last election was illegal immigration. I fully support securing our borders and requiring people to follow the legal path to gain entry in to this country. I do not support rewarding those that are here illegally with a “get out of jail free” card. However, as with every other issue, this issue does not have a cut and dry, one size fits all solution. There are hundreds of thousands of children that live in this country that were brought here by their parents. The reasons their parents came to this country generally involve wanting to provide a better life for their children. Can you blame them? Can you blame the Syrian refugee that wants to escape war and bloodshed? I struggle between whether or not it is our job to take care of them, whether it is fiscally right, whether it is safe for us, whether I could look one of those kids in the face and say…Nope go home!, and many other questions. The internal debate between emotion, logic, facts, and right vs wrong is natural and healthy. Cognitive dissonance is not a sign of weakness, but rather it is a sign of strength. If we are truly pro-life, I believe we must find a solution that balances all of the concerns with what is right. I don’t think it would be right to send a 17 year old kid, that was brought here when he was six months old back to a land that he has never known. I don’t think it is morally sound to rip apart that family. From a fiscal perspective I think we would see certain industries take a huge hit if we rounded up 13 million people and sent them from whence they came.

 

My personal belief is that if we are truly going to be pro-life we must work to protect people throughout their lives. We must address health care, unemployment, education, income, and a whole, seemingly never ending list of other issues. I believe we can do that in a holistic manner that is founded in conservative ideals that are fiscally sound, morally right, and compassionate (which is not an evil leftist word, for the record). The point of this piece is not to demonize pro-lifers, in fact I believe that most of you should be celebrated. I just think we can be better. I think that we as a group, as a political party, and as a people need to reassess our perspectives and the means in which we are currently addressing some of these issues. You don’t even have to agree with me, but we at least need to talk about it. 
 Also, do not take this as stating that the detractors of pro-lifers aren’t hypocritical. Democrats and progressives castigate pro-lifers as hypocrites, then they actively push legislation and champion programs and regulations that are anything but conducive to helping people. At every level of government onerous regulations are put in place by supposed progressive elected officials that create significant barriers for entry that impede the ability of, specifically minorities and women from creating their own success. Instead of utilizing resources and tax payer dollars to fund things that would actually produce tangible and positive results, they fund feel good measures that in turn do nothing productive besides getting them re-elected. Many Democrats complain about the status of education but then refuse to give parents options as to where they can send their children to learn. When parents in the progressive, skinny jean clad mecca of Brooklyn were faced with having their children, from gentrified areas bussed to “poor” schools (pretty much the only thing that has shown to elevate poorly performing schools), they fought tooth and nail. Why? Because it became real. It wasn’t some abstract support of helping the poor and minorities anymore; it was no longer just words on a sign, it became tangible and it actually impacted them. Many of these same people cry for gay and women’s rights, but then ignore or actively defend people that beat women and stone gays in other countries.  Those people are hypocrites.

 

We live in a cultural and political landscape that has so very many divides, land mines, and mountains between us. We often times push back on ideas and statements, if for no other reason because the perceived “other team” is pushing/saying them. If we as a movement, as a party, as a people, and as a country are to move forward; if we are to better ourselves and truly embody the beliefs that we espouse to stand for, we must support all life, from the cradle to the grave, and do it in a manner that still holds true to our ideology and beliefs. I think we can do it. It will be hard and it will be painful, but I think at the end of the day it will be worth it, because, if for no other reason it is the right thing to do.

 JH

#MarchForLife #ProLife #GOP #Republicans #Conservatives

We were all wrong…so…very wrong

I was wrong. I was very, very, very wrong. I spent the last year and a half emphatically preaching that Donald Trump would never become President of the United States of America. I have spent the last year and a half making fun of the “rubes” and “uneducated” that so proudly supported him. The term “Trumpkin” has replaced the word “moron” in my lexicon. I have made case after case after case as to why he was not a conservative, a Republican, or a good person. I was completely and utterly wrong. Not because I think he is a Conservative or a Republican or a good person, but because he, his supporters, and those that accepted the lesser of two evils did what almost all of us that were “paying attention” said he couldn’t do.

How amazingly wrong we were. The polls, the pundits, the data all told us that what happened on Tuesday was almost impossible. In the span of a week the Chicago Cubs, Donald Trump, and people like Bill freaking Mitchell made us all look like fools. And do not get it twisted…most of us were in fact fools. We were not fools because we believed the polls or the pundits or the data, we were fools because we refused to see what was happening right in front of our eyes.

While pollsters, pundits, and prognosticators have a whole lot of explaining to do, that is not what is important right now. The fact that most of us were completely blindsided by something that has been festering for decades now and what that actually means is what we need to look at, assess, and remedy.

Our bubbles, echo chambers, personal perspectives, and inability to understand our fellow Americans is why most of us never saw this coming. The belief that Trump’s base was nothing more than an Alt-Right, nationalist, bigot filled movement is why we never saw this coming. The belief that those “poor white bumpkins” wouldn’t be enough to carry Trump to Pennsylvania Avenue is why we didn’t see this coming.

Well the Trump train plowed through America and it still has a full head of steam and it isn’t only filled with people that look and sound and think like the Wild and Wonderful Whites from West Virginia. It is filled with people that have felt unheard and lied to for decades. It is filled with whites, blacks, browns, gays, Christians, Atheists, etc. It is not a monolithic base, but it does have one thing in common…it is angry. And it doesn’t matter if you believe that they have a right to be angry. It doesn’t matter if you believe that their “white privilege” disqualifies them from feeling neglected or mislead. It doesn’t matter if your Facebook feed supports every belief about these people that you have. What matters, just like with people in the Black Lives Movement is that they do feel that way and no longer can we ignore them.

I too have fallen in to the trap of ignoring them. I too, a white conservative that grew up poor have ignored them. Not intentionally, but because I didn’t understand. We can no longer sit in our respective comfort zones and pretend that if we ignore them that they will just go away. They, just like those that feel oppressed by police and the view the justice system as anything but just, won’t just go away.

The crazy thing to me is that the Left and the Right both have this issue. Many on the Right refuse to acknowledge that minorities have experiences, many legitimate that have formed their perspectives and fueled their outrage. Many on the Left refuse to believe that these ardent Trump supporters have real problems that have driven them to follow the song of a pied piper. We, all of us have to stop.

Over the last 24 hours the meltdowns and hot takes and knee jerk reactions have been epic. People were literally in the fetal position bawling their eyes out and threatening to kill themselves. Public figures, actors, musicians, and every day people started to scream about the end of the world, that gays and Muslims and people of color would soon be enslaved again. The very same people that only days earlier found it so disgusting and unfathomable that anyone would question the electoral process have been protesting and screaming “He’s not MY president!” and calling for change to the whole process. Schools like Harvard, Cornell, Yale and others actually let students out of midterms if they were “upset” because of the election. Special snowflakes scream of triggers and victimhood. And of course, half of America, to include Hispanics, Blacks, Gays, etc. that voted for Trump were called racists, xenophobes, misogynists, Nazis, dumb rednecks, and every other name in the book.

Don’t get me wrong, as I have stated repeatedly over the course of the last year there is a faction of Trump supporters that fit in every single one of those categories. And we should call those people out, ridicule them, and send them back under the rocks they crawled out from under. However, most of those that voted for Trump do not fit in to any of those categories and acting as if they do makes these social justice warriors, pundits, famous people, and everyone else, no better than those that actually are full of hate. Not only that but it minimizes the people that actually have real issues we must come together to fix.

When we act as if those that chose to bubble in a different circle are evil, solely because they, for a wide array of different reasons chose differently than you, we do absolutely nothing to bring this nation together. Our collective moral superiority does nothing to bridge these chasms between classes and races.

So, get through all the stages of grief. Accept the new reality. I, like most Americans am worried about what a Trump presidency looks like. I understand the gut punch that many feel. After Mitt Romney lost, I felt physically ill, but after the beer and depression wore off I accepted that President Obama had four more years. I decided to be optimistic and hope that he would exceed my expectations and be the leader that this country needed. Choosing to allow your emotions to take complete control of you does, neither you nor this country any good. The divides between us will not be fixed by castigating all those that disagree with you as an enemy. So take a deep breath. Get over yourself. What’s done is done and Donald Trump will be our next President. Give him the opportunity to do what is right. Call him out when he does what is wrong. But for the sake of the country, and I know it is hard…trust me…I really, really understand…for the sake of us as a people, our children, and future generations, stop the hyperbole and vitriol. Try to understand each other. Listen and actually take heed of what you are hearing. Only then can we come together. Only then can we fix the ever-growing list of problems we face.

We are not enemies. We generally want the same things for our country. We can disagree with how we should get there, but we cannot act as if we are on a battlefield, ready to spill the blood of those we disagree with.

May God bless this country. May President Trump far exceed our expectations of what a President can be. And may this country and its people be greater than it has ever been.

HullaBaloo 2: You’re Being Played. 

By hoop or dupe, you will be made to care. 

Regardless of what side of the House Bill 2 (HB2) debate you fall on, put that aside for a minute. This is not about the actual bill (which, for the record I thought was a horrible idea from the get go). This is about how this whole fiasco was plotted out and continues to be carried out, by a group of people, not to “protect” anyone, but solely for political gain. This is yet another example of people that are supposed to be doing what is right for constituents, doing the exact opposite, for no other reason than getting the butts that they like in the seats they want. So, before you start feverishly telling me how Republicans want to put the gays back in the closet or how the Democrats want to force everyone to be gay…hear me out. This discussion is not about the bill, but about how we got here and what you need to do about it.

As some background, let’s go over the timeline real quick like…In early ’16 the City of Charlotte decided they were going to pass an ordinance. The State legislature and Governor (who in case you didn’t know spent quite some time sitting in the Mayoral seat of Charlotte) caught wind of Charlotte’s intentions and decided to reach out to City leadership. In fact Governor McCrory called Mayor Roberts to inform her that, as per the North Carolina Constitution, Charlotte did not have the ability to pass this type of ordnance. During this call Governor McCrory and Mayor Roberts had a very constructive conversation about the proposed ordinance, pig pickins, and the Dillon Rule. Just kidding. Mayor Roberts, reportedly abruptly hung up on Governor McCrory and then went full steam ahead with the train wreck that we North Carolinians are a part of today. After Charlotte passed the ordinance, the legislature debated about how to respond. They decided to call themselves back in to session in order to pass a bill to nullify the unconstitutional actions of Charlotte. While in session they wrote and passed HB2. Then bovine excrement started to hit the fan, people started freaking out, the sky started falling, and even our pet’s heads were falling off (ok, maybe just the first one).

That is the basic timeline, but let’s rewind a little before that. In a very contentious election cycle, it looked like NC Republicans were going to be able to hold what they had. As one could assume, that did not sit well with NC Democrats or the DNC. But, what could they do? Well, they needed a controversy. So the NCDP, Charlotte Officials, Roy Cooper (current NC AG and candidate for Governor), DNC, and others got to conspirin’. Please note that I cannot say that this is exactly how this all played out or that I have my events in the correct order, but through leaked emails, history, and common sense, it is pretty easy to piece together what really happened. So, here is my semi-educated opinion of how this all went down in addition to the timeline I wrote out above…Seeing their chances at returning North Carolina to Democrats slip away, Democrat leadership pushed Charlotte to pass the ordinance, because they believed that the ordinance would result in Republicans acting foolishly and in turn return control of at least the Governor’s mansion to them. Knowing full well that the ordinance went against NC law, Democrats pushed a very willing Charlotte to act as bait to lure in the GOP. The risks they took were that 1. The GOP would act smartly and only go the legal route (which they should have done, in my not so humble opinion) and 2. That people wouldn’t care enough. Well the GOP went after the cheese, but the trap only snapped down on their collective tail. They were still alive and after the initial uproar, it was evident that the vast majority of people didn’t care enough. But, as often happens the NCDP, DNC, and Roy Cooper decided that the citizenry would be made to care. So, behind the scenes Ol’ Roy and company were corresponding with businesses to push them to make it hurt. A few companies played their part in this dirty little game, so did washed up artists like Boston and a bunch of people that I have never heard of. People started caring again! But, Americans will be Americans. The short attention span resulted in dwindling levels of outrage, McCrory and GOP polling numbers started rebounding and it was back to the well for the Democrats. So, the Democrats, yet again worked behind the scenes to inflict pain on the hearts and wallets of North Carolinians. The NCAA (probably one of the most hypocritical organizations in existence) kowtowed to the pleas of the Democrats and took away sporting events. Then the ACC followed suit (there is also a Carolina blue link between the ACC commish and Cooper, but we will leave that Tar Heel conspiracy for another day). In the land of Michael Jordan, Jimmy V, and Dean Smith, you don’t get round ball taken away without repercussions. People were/are pissed. What started as an ordinance written by a convicted sex offender in Charlotte, NC, was now world news. The plan was working. North Carolinians be damned; Democrats need control. The ends justify the means.

To these actions, I call BS. I scream BS. You should be just as outraged. Before you respond with, “well Republicans are to blame!” or “Republicans do it too!”, please take a deep breath and stop. I am patently against any elected official doing anything that harms the citizenry, with the sole purpose of winning elections. Period. Full stop. While reports of economic impact have been widely over inflated (never trust an economic impact “study”), the state has been negatively impacted by this chain of events. The state will continue face negative impacts from this whole Charlie Foxtrot, until it is resolved. The Democrats are not only ok with that, they are actively pushing for it to continue. The Governor and Legislature had the votes to repeal the bill if Charlotte would repeal their ordinance, as per multiple news sources and conversations that I have had with legislature members. According to news sources, Charlotte’s city council was leaning towards playing along until NC Democrats pushed them to stay the course. Why? Because they wanted HB2 to remain in play. They wanted a pissed off citizenry. They wanted people to still be feeling the squeeze, because all of those things increase the chances of their own reelections and picking up important seats at the table. Forgive my French, but that is utter bull shit. If you aren’t pissed off about how you are being manipulated, well, bless your heart. For those of you that have a pulse and more than two brain cells to rub together, this should be a party agnostic issue. This shouldn’t be red or blue outrage; this should be purple outrage.

As I said, I was against how the GOP handled this. I am, yet again infuriated by their lack of foresight (some Sun Tzu would do them well). I have held that opinion from the very beginning. And unlike many people I do not live in an echo chamber, I have friends that span the spectrum of politics. I also believe that if the shoe were on the other foot, I would be as outraged at Republicans if they were carrying out an abomination like this. I would like to believe that you too are able to take a step back and take a look at this situation, void of party affiliation, or opinion on the actual bill at hand. Why? Because we continue to get manipulated by politicians, whose only aim is to increase their ability to gain power. They continually use us as emotionally driven and uneducated (meaning uneducated on the issues, not just in schoolin’) pawns to serve their selfish purposes. WE let them. Hell, WE encourage it many times. WE, not just Republicans or Democrats or Libertarians have to end the cycle. When Republicans pushed the idea that gay marriage would lead to bestiality or polygamy! WE should have stood up and said “No!” When a certain President’s administration wanted to make it hurt in order to curry favor of the plebes by shutting down open air memorials unnecessarily and placing the blame on the opposition, WE should have said “No more!” When politicians and the media spread outright lies as if they were fact to increase their chances of expanding their “kingdoms”, WE have to say “Absolutely, no more!”

 While this specific example is about the actions of one specific party, the overarching issue should not be partisan and our response should be bi-partisan. But, until WE as a citizenry decide that enough is enough and WE as a people decide that politicians and pundits will no longer get a free pass and stand up as one against them…WE will continue to feel the pain. WE will enable this despicable cycle to continue. WE will continue to feed the beast. And WE will be made to care.

So, instead of allowing yourself to be manipulated, try and look behind the curtain. Question the motives. Fight back. Don’t fall prey to the belief that, no matter what, the ends justify the means as long as it helps your “team.” We are better than this…at least I would like to believe that we are. 

 

Close your mouth and open your ears. 

We live in the same house, but look out different windows in to the same world. What I see from mine, is not what you see from yours. 

I am tired. So. Very. Tired. I am tired of people getting killed needlessly. I am tired of racism. I am tired of uneducated, emotionally driven people acting like fools. I am tired of safe spaces, triggering, and weak minded people. I am tired of finger pointing and an utter lack of personal responsibility. I am tired of people putting their political affiliations, demographics, and unfounded opinions above what is right. I am tired of charlatans, demagogues, and grifters preying on these people to widen the divide. I am tired of self-centered drama queens taking the opportunity to get their 15 minutes of fame without worrying about the real world repercussions. I am tired of weak, so called leaders kowtowing to ridiculous demands solely out of fear of what would happen if they don’t. I am tired of bullies creating an environment of their way or the highway. I am tired of hearing that we need to have this honest conversation that no one actually intends on having. I am tired of people being called racists, xenophobes, sexists, etc., just because they have a differing opinion. I am tired of the insistence of “treating” (which more times than not is actually just toothless reactions) the symptoms and failing to figure out and treating the actual disease. I am tired of cities burning and lives being shattered. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Does anyone actually want to fix these issues? Should we just get down to business and start a race or class war? Should we all just start shedding blood in the streets? Or should we come together as people and figure out the real issues and the real solutions to those issues?

Maybe I am naïve. Maybe I am completely misguided to believe that we as a people have the strength to come together and fix what ails us. But, I refuse to accept the alternative.

So what do we do? How do we do it? I will not pretend to have the whole answer. I am not even going to lay out here what I think are some solutions. What I am going to do is layout what I think we all need to do to help us get to those solutions.

I am a 30 something, white, Republican male that was raised in a semi-diverse D.C. suburb. I know what it is like to fear losing the roof over our head, because we we’re months overdue on the mortgage. I know what it is like to have my father leave us. I know what it is like to see my mother struggle to raise three hell raising boys, mostly on her own. I know what it is like to be embarrassed about getting free lunch in school, to scour the church food pantry for our next meal, and to be one of those “Angel Tree” kids. I also know what it is like to have people along the way that supported me and made it possible for me to succeed in life. That is my experience (well, a much pared down version of it). I am not a black person and outside of my junior high years I have never pretended to be one. I have no idea what it is like to grow up as a black man. I don’t fully understand firsthand what the trials that black people encounter in this world are. I can’t. However, I do want to try and understand better. We all should.

As humans, we have a natural instinct to be very tribal. We have clubs, teams, and cliques. We gravitate towards people that are like us. There is nothing inherently wrong with that. However, when that natural occurrence manifests itself in a manner that produces negative outcomes, like a widening divide between races and classes…that is an issue. When that natural progression insulates us from the reality of others…that is an issue. We are facing that today (as we have throughout most of history). So to bridge that gap we have to break down those silos. We have to find common ground and gain a deeper understanding of each other in order to develop solutions to stamp out the cancers that cause so many issues in our society. 

The other day before my beloved ECU Pirates performed abysmally on the football field, some of the marching band members decided to do their version of the Colin Kaepernick (no not sitting on the bench) instead of playing the national anthem. I have my thoughts on this, but what is important to this discussion is what happened next. Grown adults, on both sides of the argument acted like idiots. The band members and people that supported them were called pieces of bovine excrement. People that were angered by the band members’ actions, even the respectful ones and members of the band that, instead kneeling held up flags, were called racists and fascists. This is why we can’t have nice things, people. If we are going to fix the actual issues we need to be able to have conversations like actual grownups and not spoiled toddlers. That also means we need to stop giving the mic and spotlight to those that only want to spew hate and stupidity.

We also have to stop the finger pointing and pretending that our “team” is completely innocent of contributing to the issues that brought us here. This can’t be about blame. This can’t be about finding a scape goat. Not to spoil the movie for you, but the race and class issues that we are facing today were set in motion long ago. Along the way white people, black people, Republicans, Democrats, and a bunch of other groups all made the problems worse in some way. In all honesty, who did what doesn’t matter nearly as much as how we come together to fix it. So, white people stop pretending this is just a black people problem. This issues didn’t start and they won’t end in Chicago. Stop pretending that the idea that white people may be put on better ground, to any extent than black people in life has zero merit. At the same time black people need to stop casting all the blame on white people or Republicans, or cops. If we are to fix the cultural, economic, and education issues, both sides need to realize that the blame is shared, the solution must be shared as well.

This is an emotionally charged state of affairs. Therefore, many of the reactions are emotionally driven. That is understandable, but we need to stop letting emotions alone drive us. Anger and feckless, feel good “solutions,” don’t help. Fact based, logical, open discussions that lead to actionable and measurable solutions need to occur or we will never make progress. We need to stop allowing knee jerk reactions, often times based on little to no evidence drive our actions. We also need to stop allowing the media, pundits, politicians, and other bad actors drive the narrative and further divide between us. For people like Sean Hannity and Al Sharpton strife and unrest is good for business…and business is good. It is time to shut them down.

I am just a middle class white guy in North Carolina who wants to help foster change, because I want my children and your children to live in a better world. That change is going to require much more than just me. That change is going to take entire culture shifts and generations of work, and involve many hurt feelings and a lot of pain. We need to step outside of our respective echo chambers and take it upon ourselves to work together to make things better. We need to have open discussions, void of hyperbole and vitriol to get to the root cause. We need to elect politicians that care less about getting re-elected and manipulating voters than they do about pushing policy that will help make this country what it could and should be. We need to cross aisles, streets, and neighborhoods to meet as Americans to gain insights from different perspectives. We need communities, faith groups, and other organizations to work together to drive change. We need to call out those that wish to further divide us and remove their power. We need to view each other as Americans first and all of those other identifiers second.

So that is my view/lunch time vent. That is some of what has been weighing on my heart. That is my invitation to start a conversation…with me at least. Take it or leave it, but we have to do something. The alternative should not be an option.