Third Party Myopia

Voting for a third party candidate this year is myopic.

Odds are you want to vote for a third party candidate because you don’t like the two other options.  Same here.  But let me be clear, I don’t like Hillary in the way I don’t like cheese pizza.  It’s bland, but I’ll eat it if my options are cheese pizza or misogynistic, racist, xenophobic, sexual assaulting pizza.

Hillary will, at the least, change little from what we are experiencing now.  That doesn’t sound great, but Trump will likely cause change in a Hunger Games sort of way.  I can work with little to no change with time so I can seize the day at the opportune moment, but I would die in the Hunger Games.  I’m from the Midwest where the top weapon of choice is passive aggressive comments.

The worst that can happen with Hillary is that you have to wait four years when, hopefully, her competition being in the White House isn’t a serious threat to every human breathing (I’m being optimistic that the conservative party will implode as it should).

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Not a Patriot

I am not a patriot.

How can I take pride in my country right now?  Money talks loudest in politics.  Progressive changes are viewed as unrealistic and slow to come by.  Citizens are addicted to a reckless excessive consumer economy.  One of the major political parties vows regression and is blind to their hypocrisy.  Racism lives on.  Public education is subpar.  The list keeps going and growing.

Do not get me wrong as many would.  I know I’m lucky, and for that I am grateful.  I still live in a place where there is freedom to speak one’s mind.  I still get to participate by voting.  I live in a country where my middle class life is one of luxury on a worldwide scale.  I have access to quality medical care, treatment, and education.  I had a life largely absent of strife that corrupts the mind.

But this doesn’t deserve patriotism.  It was a fluke.  I was born white into a upper-middle class family, I had (and have) an unfair edge.  Even the luxuries listed above are not experienced by all in this nation.

I know that others suffer, and largely because of the lifestyles my country has adopted as our “right” or that we have “earned.”  The United States became great at the cost of others.  A cost we cannot justify or claim as earned.  Our history is tainted with plenty injustices we sweep under the rug.  We did great things and became a leader to the world, but only for the few born in the right place at the right time.  Squelch the rest.

It is time to recognize that we need to change in the United States, and not just for our nation, but for the world.  We are Americans by default, a lottery birth in arbitrary borders.  We are also human, and if we fail to develop sympathy for all people of all nations, we fail to live up to our own rhetoric.  It’s time to stop looking after ourselves, and start thinking about how we can serve others.

We need to lead by action, not by delusional chanting without regard to reason.  The cries of many, if not most, self-proclaimed patriots are far from the American proclamations of freedom and liberty.  How else can we explain Trump’s nomination?

Patriotism is earned, should never be static, and should never interfere with the progression to a better world, and life, for all.

Bernie Sanders Was Never Your Candidate

If you were a Bernie supporter and plan to write in Bernie, vote for a third party, or (somehow) Donald Trump this presidential election, Bernie Sanders was never your ideal candidate.

I get it.  He was the first (or few) candidates that truly moved you, that you had trust in, who you felt would do the right thing.  You feel that votes should only be cast for someone you truly support.  He has integrity, passion, and truly seeks the best for all people.  You loved the idea of him becoming president, you were actually excited to vote for him.  You supported his policies.  His policies were policies you wanted.

But to boo him when he called to support Hillary?  To claim “Bernie or Bust”?  To refuse to support Hillary under any circumstance?  Listen, this is not a game, and he knows that.  He conceded to reality and gave you advice on the best longterm option.  All of our lives are affected by the policies enacted by the government to varying degrees, so you cannot, for one second, think that the candidate whose stated agenda is the closest to Bernie’s (regardless how far from) as the last option.

Bernie wanted change.  So did you.  But if your response is “Well, I’m going to vote for Donald Trump, because he’ll change things up.”  Yeah, well, you know what else was change?  The rise of the Nazi Party in Germany.  Look how great that change turned out.  What else?  Brexit, the moment when everyone who voted out started to Google what was Brexit after the results.  Anything else?  Biff Tannen’s Pleasure Paradise Casino & Hotel, except we don’t have a damn DeLorean.  Change can lead us numerous directions, so you best think long and hard about what change you really want.  Do you have to wait four, maybe eight more years?  It’s worth the wait in this case.  Unless you’d like your children or grandchildren to be the ones (still) waiting.

Donald Trump’s change will not benefit you.  Nothing he has said or done is even close to what Bernie Sander’s was an advocate for.  The man is deplorable.  Regardless of what you think of Hillary, she is your best shot to maintaining a future that may resemble what Bernie envisioned.  You want change for the sake of change? Ask a cashier to break a one dollar bill.

Oh, and Gary Johnson?  You might have lost it (maybe as much as him).

What Stops Atheists From Doing Terrible Things?

What stops an atheist from doing terrible things?  Nothing.

There is no threat of punishment.  There is no promise of eternal bliss.  No heaven.  No hell.  All they have is the knowledge of this life on this rock floating through space where life can be snuffed out with little to no warning (with little effort on the Universe’s end).  So why give a damn?

Because of love.  Love is what I live for, and frankly the only thing I know is worth living for.  I cannot love with hate.  I cannot love if I hurt others.  I cannot love by taking what is not mine.  I cannot love with any action that leads to genuine suffering.

I don’t need a lot of love as long as it’s genuine.  Nor do I want love from everyone.  I don’t expect it, but try to earn it.  Some love I give will never see return.  My love of nature.  My love of culture.  My love of science.  My love of reading.  My love of thinking.

I only have this brief life, so I am told to enjoy it.  It’s hard sometimes as I watch, hear, and read of the march of humanity.  The stories of hope sometimes seem few and far between.  I was born into a privileged life, only to feel guilty the more I learned of this world.  People better than I subjected to horrible conditions simply because we were born to certain parents.

So do not expect me to be quite when it comes to important issues of our lives.  Politics.  Religion.  Economics.  Education.  Culture.  Many of these issues have no absolute “right” or “wrong”, but they certainly deserve everyone’s attention as globalization spreads.  Our actions truly affect the world.  I do not speak to agitate.  I do not speak to upset.  I simply join the discussion in hopes that we can learn from each other so that we can find a means to love in a life, no, a world worth living.

I am an atheist, and love stops me from doing terrible things.

Trump is Only a Symptom

Any American that looks to the future with the hopes of taking steps towards global peace and prosperity likely abhor a Donald Trump presidency.  We have lost count of the number of times he has shamelessly insulted and denigrated groups of people that share a common characteristic.  He has repeatedly demonstrated ignorance of policy and procedure, lack of sound judgement, and apathy towards the common good.  When his ignorance is pointed out, he responds with denial.  His lies?  Dismissal (and denial).  His insults?  More insults (and denial).

Yes, we need to keep Donald Trump out of the White House.  But it is vital that we understand it doesn’t stop there.  Dodging a Donald Trump presidency may seem like dodging a bullet, but understand the gun would still be pointing at us cocked and ready (quite literally all over America it seems).

But Trump is only a symptom of the true sickness in America: the ideology and thought process of his supporters.  These supporters will still be around after election day believing the same things they did before election day.  The sickening truth behind his supporters was revealed relatively early in the Trump campaign by Trump himself when he stated that he could shoot somebody on the street and he wouldn’t lose a vote.  The sickening part of that statement?  Turns out he could be right.

Trump supporters do not seek peace or prosperity for anyone beyond themselves and are blinded by Trump’s vitriol to see the threat he poses to them.  These supporters do not care for everyone’s freedom from oppression, they wish for freedom to oppress who they wish.  They don’t wish to have the freedom to do the right thing, but have freedom to do wrong without consequence.  They fear progress of society out of fear of losing their unearned privileges from being born in a certain place or with certain genes.  Worst of all, not only do these supporters not use reason with their decision making, they don’t want to.  Evidence and logic means nothing to them.

If we are to save ourselves from a Donald Trump presidency or any future candidates like him, we need to desperately focus on the systemic failures in America.  We need to focus on fixing the education system.  We need to work towards a fair and equitable market system.  We need to champion intelligence and community over individual indulgences.  We don’t need to “make America great again,” we need to change America into something better than it has ever been.