Think, Part 2.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a big fan of “Madam Secretary”. The show is in its fourth season, and is on CBS on Sunday evenings. The show hit its stride early in its run and is continuing to offer up compelling storylines. This past Sunday featured the episode “Sound and Fury”.

I’m not going to get too far into spoilers of this episode, but they may be sprinkled here and there in the rest of this blog entry, so let’s say you’ve been warned.

Yes, you’ve been warned about potential spoilers.

This particular episode of Madam Secretary should be required viewing for high school civics classes. It examines how the 25th Amendment works, why it would be considered and what is really involved with invoking the 25th Amendment of the Constitution. A temporary medical issue comes into play here, but the result of the medical concern feels very familiar if you’ve been paying attention to the news at all since the latest administration took office. Phrases like “overwhelming force and ferocity” are bandied about without consideration. Diplomacy is set aside in favor of ‘tough guy’ displays of strength. On the show this is very uncharacteristic for fictional President Dalton. I wish the same could be said about the man in the Oval Office today.

The scenes around debating invoking the 25th Amendment are very honest. It all felt very believable. If anything, it made me think of how that debate would carry out in the real world today. Are there meetings taking place in D.C. to discuss this exact thing?

I’m inclined to think so.

The are two lines in particular that struck me rather hard (and I’m paraphrasing): 1. “We have the greatest system of government the world has ever known, but it’s only as strong as its people” and 2. “We took an oath to uphold the Constitution, not our political party”.

If only the folks in Washington would get on the script.

The tribalism, and the divisiveness behind the tribalism, is what’s deeply hurting our country, and I fully believe the news media continues to pour gasoline on this raging dumpster fire. Tribes saw one candidate as a movie villain and reacted as if they were watching a WWE tournament. The tribe continues to do this today. Trump purposely stirs up the tribe to keep a “villain” in the news. And the news outlets eat it up. It’s the tribalism that is killing objectivity. A good number of elected officials are putting party over country. I have little faith in most of our elected officials; the charade of “serving the people” died years ago.

If you haven’t had the chance to see Madam Secretary or if you don’t even have the interest to follow the show, I still recommend that you watch the episode “Sound and Fury”. It works pretty well as a standalone episode and I think the mechanics are sound to help one understand how the 25th Amendment works.

And how officials should always honor their oath to uphold the Constitution.

Comparison.

I just tweeted that one of the most frustrating things about 2017 is knowing Republicans that are much better people than those that are controlling things in Washington, D.C. today. The Republicans I know, friends from all facets of my life, family members, etc., are good people. What we see today from our leaders is not compassion. It’s not about doing what one believes is right for the country, it’s about winning. And not just winning, it’s about annihilation. Win at all costs. Party over country.

I’ve struggled with blogging in 2017. There’s so much I want to say, so much I want to share, but the fact of the matter is, the state of our country has consumed way too much of my life in 2017. What I have to say seems so insignificant to the constant struggle, turmoil, and chaos that we are fed via every possible avenue. Social media, the news, conversation with friends, overheard discussions in a restaurant, people screaming at each other on the road, the chaos has consumed us and this frustrates me. And part of that frustration is the anger and sadness I feel when I see how much a reality show television host has influenced my existence. I venture to say that I have cared too much for the welfare of the United States. I want to see people thrive, all people thrive. The wrong people are making sure the wrong people get ahead. It’s frustrating to see so many people blind to that fact. The tribes of the political parties are killing our country.

Long ago I gave up trying to change people’s minds about politics. Heck, given another GOP candidate on that ballot back in November 2016, I could have easily voted for a person that showed at least a little bit of compassion. I believe in many of the GOP ideals my father’s GOP believed in. And honestly, I will be the first to admit that I’m a pretty selfish person, but I don’t believe in taking things away from other people. Everyone should give more than they take from their community, their city, their country, but we shouldn’t make it impossible for folks to find their way through life. Everyone deserves a chance.

Everyone deserves a _fair_ chance.

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Abysmal.

My brain continues to hurt from the rampant stupidity in our country. I’ve been desperately trying to avoid politics for the past week and the truth of the matter is you just can’t escape it. If you sit down to watch a football game, the vice president is staging a political stunt about players kneeling during the National Anthem. If you turn on any given sitcom, there’s jokes about the idiocy of Trump. If you mute his name on Twitter, he still creeps into your timeline under a wide variety of alternative names. Luckily, my timeline is skewed enough to keep the alternative names from being in any way flattering.

This country is in a state of constant chaos that just can’t be escaped. Stupidity is en vogue. Ignorance is celebrated. You can’t trust the news. You can’t trust what you read on the Internet. People are purposely spending false, damaging information to feed this state of chaos. It’s a fire that continues to rage, slowing consuming everything.

My original 30 day challenge for the month of October was to blog at least once a day about something other than politics. I wanted to spread a little bit of light out into the world. A light that would somehow consume even the smallest spark from this raging dumpster fire. But then the Las Vegas shooting happened and my attempt at blogging felt futile. How can I talk about a grand life in Chicago when there is so much strife going on?

The Trump Administration is trying to destroy the United States of America and rebuild it into a white male dominated domain. If you’re not a straight, white man you’re considered a “less than”. The number of people that continue to support this man astounds me. I can not and will not forgive anyone that cast a vote in his direction. I won’t try to understand and I’m certainly not going to tolerate it. The man is an idiot, a moron, a charlatan. And his supporters are just as stupid.

The “greatest country on Earth”. Yeah, right.

Ignorance.

There’s some sort of saying about a frog in a pot of boiling water that doesn’t realize he’s being boiled to death and just sits there until he dies. The water just keeps getting warmer and warmer and he’s comfy and then he’s dead. Done.

I feel like that’s the current state of the United States of America. “I can watch my reality shows, I can be appalled by the airlines and other media driven outrages, I can eat my McDonalds, I’m good.”

While traveling last week I was able to steer clear of social media for a bit, especially during the work portion of my trip. When crashing for the night at the hotel after a long day of work in an isolated conference room, I didn’t really have the energy to go through to see what Trump and friends had been up to so I used the barometer of, “well, I’m still alive and I don’t see missiles in the air, so he must not have found the button yet” and figured I’d live another day and probably get home to see my husband and family.

Once back in Central New York I started catching up on the latest political and other news and I’m finding myself feeling depressed. At least when we’re in Chicago or when I’m in Greenville for work there’s enough going on around me to keep my mind occupied enough to not focus the shenanigans in our government.

The president has the lowest approval ratings in modern history of any new president in their first 100 days. He has accomplished little to nothing, despite the fact that all the chips (Republican Senate, Republican House, etc.) are all on his side. Demonstrations of historic proportions are taking place all over the globe. The man can’t put together a coherent sentence or even contiguous thought but there is a sizable number of people that would vote for this idiot again without question.

Take three minutes out of your day and watch this.

In the mid 1980s I had nightmares about Nuclear Armageddon and similar scenarios. When the Cold War calmed down those nightmares went away for the most part. They were replaced by environmental disaster films in my head that, while scary, were somewhat survivable. With the election of Trump and his apparent need to seek out some sort of disorganized attack on someone in the world, coupled with his constant screeching about beefing up the military, I’m now losing sleep on a regular basis wondering if civilization is going to survive another day with this man in the White House (occasionally) and the nightmares are back in full force.

All because people are content with being ignorant. And petty. And honestly, just plain stupid.

While there is bliss in being ignorant of the current political climate and what’s going on in the world, I can’t bring myself to turn a blind eye to what is happening around us. I refuse to boil to death in a pot of hot water when there is some opportunity, any opportunity, to jump out.

Here’s a transcript of Trump’s interview with AP White House Correspondent Julie Chase. If you can translate it into something coherent and not be concerned about the man holding the highest office in the land, then there’s probably not going to be any reason to read this blog or associate with me any longer. We have nothing in common.

Transcript of AP interview with Trump.

Patriotic?

Trump supporters are always hootin’ and hollarin’ about how patriotic they are. They are Making America Great Again. They are bringing ‘Merica back to her core values, embracing the Heartland, draining swamps.

In actuality, Trump supporters are doing their best to rid the United States of any sort of decency, education, intellect or quite frankly, class.

If you find any part of this picture appropriate for the White House, please cut off any and all ties you have to me. I don’t want to know you.

Hillary Clinton has done some amazing things for the people of this country, but by God we’ve done everything we can to make sure the small percentage of bad choices she has made are first and foremost discussed constantly.

Mama always taught me to take my hat off whenever I’m in the house. I guess these two didn’t get the memo.

I wore a sport coat and slacks to tour the Washington Monument. I’d probably wear a tie if I knew I was going to visit the White House. The White House is worthy of the respect of all citizens of the United States and should be treated as such. I wouldn’t let a man walk in with a hat and I certainly wouldn’t let a woman walk in Monster Truck Rally attire. The afghans and whore heels would stay home.

There are a lot of people in this country, in this world, that I don’t agree with, but I would still treat them with respect. What I see in that photo is unbelievable to me.

My God, how far this country has fallen in less than six months. Horrible.

We are better than this.

Dear Donald Trump.

Dear Donald Trump,

I can’t bring myself to put the words of “President” and “Trump” adjacent to each other because I don’t think you really wanted the job as much as you wanted the notoriety, so please understand when I refer to you as “Mr. Trump”. I still respect the office of the President of the United States, probably more so than some of the folks in your administration. I also have respect for when I’m visiting a location other than my own home and I don’t put my feet up on their couch. But I digress.

I want to thank you, Mr. Trump, for kicking my apathetic little butt and helping me find my way to education, protest and standing up for my beliefs again. Because of your empowerment to those that enjoy and embrace being racist, homophobic, religious-phobic and the like, I no longer tolerate people telling off-colored jokes about minorities in my presence. I reject those that make homophobic remarks even though “they have gay friends”. Instead of being silent, I speak out. I speak up. You have empowered me.

My internalized self-homophobia, something that I have lived with for much of my life, has dissipated. At 48 years old I am no longer afraid to be a gay man. I won’t be bullied. I won’t be afraid of who I am. I won’t be ashamed of who I am. I am the gay man that God intended me to be and anyone that can’t give me or my family the respect we deserve has no place in my life. I’m no longer afraid to say “no”. I’m no longer afraid to sever ties that were damaging, lest I settle for second best. I’m worthy of top prize, and you made me realize that.

I care about the LGBTQ community again. I no longer see gender as binary. I care about us and what will happen to us, all of us, under your administration. I’m not going to sit on the sidelines and let others speak for me. I will not tolerate my rights being determined by a bunch of old, white men who have no interest outside of monetary gain and power. I have found my voice. I will lend my voice. I have found my passion again. I have found my fire. The weekend after your election I participated in a protest for the first time in nearly 30 years. I’m sure it won’t be my last.

But most importantly, I know what the United States of America can be and I will fight and do everything I can do to make our country of the people for the people. All people. I have no fear. I am not afraid of being heard. I will do everything I can to keep you in check. I will join the chorus of voices that proclaim that we should be building bridges, not walls.

So thank you, Mr. Trump, for making me realize I can’t sit back and just let things happen. It’s time to bring this folly to an end and I believe those wheels are fully in motion.

And I’m going to do everything to make sure those wheels turn faster and faster.