America Dies in Apathy

It’s been said that democracy dies in darkness, but America is more than just a democracy. It’s a country, albeit stolen, that was founded on principles of freedom, tolerance, the melding of different cultures, and balancing forces.

As I’ve watched the country I was born in, and mostly took for granted, slide downwards on the same slippery slope Germany did when they let authoritarian tactics gain legitimacy, I fell into a depression so deep I pulled back from everything.

In the past I’ve been very clear on how I feel about the current president and his administration. I never shied away from stating that I think we (collectively) all need to do better, stop letting fear dictate our actions, and be willing to embrace the differences in one another. Yet as things have gone from bad to worse in America I stopped speaking out. Part of that was the depression, part was because of the personal drama I was dealing with, but part of that was just the idea that my voice doesn’t matter so there wasn’t a point to continually rallying people against the actions of Trump and his supporters.

Except that’s the trap. Feeling like there’s no point in trying.

As each new story broke many Americans felt like they should be outraged and something needed to be done. Except, nothing has been done, save for the desensitization of the general population about actions that were priorly unacceptable. People cry out “that’s not right, that’s not ok” and congress ignores the will of the masses. Democrats are virtually impotent in their ability to stop anything, therefor there is no ability to check or balance anything. For everyone who doesn’t like the direction the country is going in, there’s the very real danger that we let things get too out of hand already and that only makes it harder to believe we can do anything about it.

At this point some of the horrifying realities Americans already have to face are that we have a Muslim ban the Supreme Court just upheld, we have hateful racists called “fine people” by our political leaders, we have been pulled out of the Paris Climate Change as well as some trade pacts which only causes the rest of the world to be far less willing to want to work with us, we are told not to believe our own eyes by Trump and his administration, we have people in the same administration brazenly engaging in unethical behavior, allies are insulted and ruthless dictators treated with respect, and now we have concentration camps for children and the people running them have no desire to help reunite the families torn apart.

WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK PEOPLE!

How do we come back from this? Can we vote our way out of it, because I am not sure we can. However, we can’t continue to sit back and hope that someone will come save us.

This shit isn’t ok. I don’t care who you are, if you think what is happening in America is acceptable and doesn’t need to be stopped right now then you’re an insecure coward with no empathy and no investment in a sustainable future and I am not afraid to state that. If we’re picking sides than I am on the side of democracy, of decency, of truth and of a future I’d actually want to bring the next generation into.

Those that don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it and I don’t particularly want to repeat WWII. I’d rather there be a whole new civil war.

 

 

 

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Liar, Liars…

Before net neutrality rules were adopted the United States didn’t rank in the top 10 countries for internet speed and had 75% of the population using it. Since the rules were enacted the US has broken the top 10 for speed and is up to almost 89% using it regularly. So…help me understand how net neutrality was “killing” the ISP’s abilities to expand?

Dark Tower

Normally I don’t discuss movies, or books, for that matter, but I’ve never been more disappointed in a book to movie adaption ever in life.

Since I was but a wee child I’ve indulged in the epic saga that was the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. It has been my favorite, the one I’ve most identified with, since I was a youngun. I waited forever for it to be completed and always thought it would make an excellent anime movie series. I’ve really wanted it to be a movie since I was a teenager.

Finally it was turned into a motion picture. I should have been ecstatic. Until I read that Idris Elba was picked to be Roland and then I felt a twinge of unease settle in. Don’t get me wrong. Iris Elba is a fantastic actor. Truly skilled in his craft. He doesn’t fit the narrative description of Roland Deschain of Gilead in the slightest, however.

I tried very hard to keep an open mind. I refused to read any reviews and I went in to opening day with as much of a hopeful attitude as anyone could have. It was the worst book to movie adaption I have ever seen in my life. It took every ounce of willpower I had not to point out every mother fucking mistake, every contradiction to the story line that I saw, and every painful reminder of the liberties that were taken in this adaption, to the person next to me.

They even changed the sole purpose of Roland’s journey, which was, to me, the most egregious of travesties that they committed in this “adaption” of my favorite book series.

Point being, this movie hurt my heart. It is the loosest adaption of a Stephen King novel to date, and that includes the disastrous TV series, The Mist.

I don’t even understand why they would do this. There were 7 books in The Dark Tower series, they could have made a massive fortune in the box office by doing one movie per book. Instead they destroyed the entire series by trying to cram it into one movie that excluded the majority of the main characters and only took the barest of elements from across the seven books and crammed it into one hard to follow shitty fucking movie. The writers of the script have forgotten the face of their father and we all suffer for it.

Seriously?

Recently a MPLS cop shot 2 dogs (pit bulls) when responding to a call. The dogs lived. The owners were outraged. The cop claimed he feared for his life and that is why he shot them multiple times. There was video that showed a different story. There was public outcry and within a week money in the budget was allocated for new training for officers on how to better interact with pets. I saw this news story and I thought to myself. Hmmmm.

I love animals, I don’t condone violence against them, I also don’t value their lives any more or less than I do that of people or the environment. To me, life is life. What I found interesting about this is that while this story was going on they were also discussing part of the Philando Castile civil settlement which allocated funds specifically so that training could be set up to educate police on how to better interact with people of different races without feeling the need to shoot them. Philando was shot over a year ago. Was there no money in the budget for training on this issue? Please tell me I am missing some information.

2 innocent pit bulls get non-fatally shot and the police department takes steps to change things for the better. An innocent black man was fatally shot in front of his family and the police are offended the governor had the audacity to suggest that the settlement training fund be named after him.  WHAT THE FUCK?!!!!! You really want to still say that there isn’t a race problem?

That Wasn’t Justice

Usually I feel like MN is a state that celebrates diversity and embraces justice for all. The jury’s decision in the Philando Castile case is a step backwards and not befitting of the state I know. Every time fear and division are allowed to dictate actions, everyone loses. I wonder what influence the current govt had on the jury’s decision. I wonder how desensitized we’ve all become to vile and despicable behavior that complacency has encouraged to thrive. By perpetuating stereotypes, buying into racism, and allowing yourself to live in fear instead of love the mistakes of the past will continue to be made over and over again. We should be a planet united instead of a divided society squabbling amongst one another. Work together to advance as a species without destroying everything we touch. There’s so much capacity for good and amazing creativity inside us so long as we don’t drown it in fear. Fear doesn’t justify shitty actions and we need to stop letting it.

Airport Bathrooms

Why am I posting a picture of a tile mural from the entrance to a women’s bathroom in the MSP airport?  Because it’s become symbolic to me. I blame my awesome boss for that, by the way, he pointed out how nice the bathrooms are there in a meeting and now I can’t help but notice, appreciate, and compare all other airport bathrooms to them. I get that they’re just a bathroom in an airport but think about it. You’re traveling, which can be stressful. Plane bathrooms are tiny and gross. These are large and clean, bright and well designed. There are hooks and shelves, well lit mirrors, an area to tuck a stroller in… plus those murals. The whole airport is nice actually. Wide seats, free charging stations everywhere, a good variety of stores and food and it all makes traveling easier and more enjoyable. My hometown airport has set the standard by which I judge all other airports. It helps me appreciate coming home. It reminds me that my motto “do better always” needs to apply to everything, not just the big things. It needs to apply to the small, usually overlooked, things too…like bathrooms. Because those small things are often the unifying factors of humanity. When you do that people notice and they appreciate it and hopefully it inspires them and they can go off and inspire others.

Throwback Thursday (The New “Middle Class”)

I questioned who was benefiting from this shallow society we now live in. Pondered what the cushion between the haves and have-nots was, now that the middle class has all but disappeared. As I was debating this topic with another person the answer suddenly presented itself.

The new cushion between the rich and rest of us is the entourage and handlers who make their living suckling at the teat of wealthy individuals. Take for example one of the major players, Jonathan, of Village Green Properties. He is a millionaire (he has an F150 Ferrari hanging from his ceiling…just because) who continually makes poor design decisions and wastes money on ill-advised projects. He has an entire executive staff who will stomp down upon one another to get in his favor or impress him so they can climb ever closer to him on his corporate ladder. They refuse to say no to him out of fear he will cast them aside. They do not share the valid concerns of lower employees about issues that arise at his properties. They will ignore cost-effective/ethical solutions brought to their attention by anyone lower on the totem pole than they are. They would rather chew people up and spit them out in a pattern of failure than address the idea that the process Jonathan has put in place, or their own terrible ideas aren’t successful. Anyone who appears to be willing to offer Jonathan a different opinion/option is seen as a threat and kept at bay or let go. The hard workers who would ensure continued revenue at rental properties are continually sacrificed to balance mismanaged budgets and take the fall for mistakes of the entourage.  I have seen it happen at several companies I work for as well.

This isn’t only applicable in the business world. Society in general treats wealthy people as if they deserve more respect and less accountability than non-wealthy people. It usually has nothing to do with a winning personality either. It is the hope that by being nice to, and doing favors for, rich people, they will bestow some of their wealth and protection to the people surrounding them. It is the collection of people hoping to get close enough to the money tree to break themselves off a branch or two that form a protective bubble of delusion around those rooted in prosperity. They are the ones who keep the rich safe from the outrage of the poor.

As the pool of super wealthy consolidates to a smaller and smaller number, will the entourages of each rich person left also dwindle? At what point will people stop chasing the almighty dollar and open their eyes to the dysfunction of planetary management. Money has an arbitrary value which means we ultimately control what it is worth. The fact that so many people sacrifice ethics, integrity, time and even lives for a made-up commodity is pretty ridiculous if you stop and think about it. Greed has already been the downfall of many people and civilizations, yet it appears that too many people have not learned the lessons of our past. If we don’t stand up to greed and put an end to its reign it will also be the downfall of our entire population.