Tiny Bubbles

My wife has a migraine and went to bed early, and my best friend’s phone is going straight to voicemail, so I’ll try to blog even though it’s been eight days and I still don’t have anything in mind to blog about.

We have a new walking program, and we’ve been doing good with that, we’ve taken a walk every day for the last week or so. Also have a new meditation program. That’s been a little more hit and miss–we’re doing the meditations when we lay down at night, and some nights we’ve just been too tired to do them. But I have noticed, in the short period of time we’ve been meditating, that my worrying and ruminating seem to have gotten a bit better. I’m not thinking about being homeless as much for sure. Part of that may be that I haven’t been paying attention to the political news. I did note that the Democrats lost that special election in Georgia, which doesn’t surprise me. Nothing about them has changed since last November, why should they start to win in red districts? Now personally, I don’t understand how anybody other than a billionaire could be a Republican, but I’m sure Republicans wonder how anybody could be a Democrat.

We all live in our own little echo chambers, our own little bubbles where the only news that gets in is the news we want–or at least, ask–to hear. On my Facebook feed I get everything from Bernie Sanders, Liz Warren and Jeff Merkley, and nothing from any Republican. Why would I bother? Nothing they could ever do or say would make me change my mind or my opinion of them. Why let them poison my news feed? But the problem is, we’re all like that these days. I’m the only person I know whose political viewpoint has ever done a 180. I voted for W. in 2004, to my everlasting shame, and it wasn’t until Katrina in 2005 that I woke up and realized that the Republicans were nothing but a sham. That was before iPhones even existed (I think), and before I ever heard of Facebook. But I started out as a Democrat (I voted for Clinton in 1992, the first election I was allowed to vote in) so I guess I’ve just come back to my roots. But still, my family is loaded with Republicans, and we seem to have a mutual understanding that I will ignore their posts if they ignore mine. I’ve unfollowed most of my family, and I assume they’ve either unfollowed me or chosen to ignore me when I post some of my pro-Bernie propaganda or something about how the government is bought and paid for by billionaires.

Nobody ever talks anybody around anymore. Everybody I know has their political viewpoint, and it’s set in stone and nothing can really change it. Now granted, I don’t know a whole lot of people, but I sense this is a problem in our larger society. Nobody can even agree on facts anymore. We used to be a country that believed in science. We still seem to believe in technology, but I don’t know that people believe in the science behind it. In my opinion it’s because we’ve become a nation of morons. I saw some poll on CNN the other day, where 48% of American adults don’t know where chocolate milk comes from. 7% of them thought it comes from brown cows. When I hear shit like that, I just lose all faith in humanity. Well, not humanity in general, but Americans in particular. Most of Europe seems to have its shit in one sock, especially the Scandinavian countries. You know, all those rotten “socialist” countries who have the happiest populations in the world? But can we use them as an example and do things they way they do? Oh, hell no, I don’t want my tax dollars going to this program or that kind of people or whatever. Jesus wept.

We’re never going to get anywhere as a society when 48% of the country is so stupid that it doesn’t know where chocolate milk comes from, and thinks electing Donald Trump as President is a good idea. Our problem isn’t the politicians, it’s that people in America are so goddamn stupid they’ll vote for whoever puts the most commercials on TV. That’s the truth. If we had an educated and informed population capable of critical thinking, buying elections wouldn’t work because everybody would be following the money and know that Congressman X only thinks Bill Y is a great idea because Corporation Z donated a million dollars to his re-election campaign. But instead we have Republicans sitting on mountains of cash (and corporate Democrats too) and shooting down any and all potential opposition by just throwing money at an election. It shouldn’t be this way, it’s not SUPPOSED to be this way, and the only reason it ever got this bad is because a ridiculously high percentage of American people are just plain fucking stupid and/or ignorant. If that burns, it’s because it’s supposed to. The truth hurts. We’ve got a country that’s 45% Democratic, 45% Republican, and 10% undecided–meaning they think so little about politics and what’s good for the country that they can’t even be bothered to have a goddamn opinion. And it’s the 10% undecideds–the lowest common denominator–that decides 95% of our elections. Reminds me of an old quote I’ve heard attributed to P.T. Barnum: Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

And it’s not just the school system–otherwise the millennials would be the worst of the bunch, since most of our schools had already gone to shit by the time they got to them. It’s our whole fucking society. This anti-intellectual, anti-science, hate-the-smartest-guy-in-the-room culture we have permeates every aspect of American society. Trump is not the disease; Trump is the symptom that the disease has progressed to the point of being potentially fatal. Everybody and everything is to blame, from the media, Wall Street, and the big oil companies right down to you and me who aren’t calling our Senators and Representatives every single day and bitching to high heaven about damn near everything they do. It’s all of us. It’s modern-day America. Our nation has a cancer, and that cancer has metastasized into every limb and every organ. There is only one answer: the patient must die in order to live.

In other words, we have to scrap the present system, write a new Constitution that’s up-to-date (version 2.0, if you will), and restart the whole goddamn government from the ground up. This time we have to make it not only idiot-proof, but money-proof. I mean, the Founders did a great job and I love the Constitution as much as the next guy, but what other document never needs revision and updating? Hell, they even reword the Bible every now and then. I’m not saying we need to scrap the whole thing, just that it needs a solid rewrite to be in line with the 21st century and the problems and challenges we face as a people and as a nation. The government the Founders gave us worked pretty well for over 200 years–longer, I’m sure, than any of them ever dreamed it would last–but the system is broken now. The rot is too deep, the cancer is too widespread, and there is no way out of this except to rewrite all the rules from scratch, making sure the corporations and billionaires and lobbyists can’t rule over the people. It’s SUPPOSED to be WE the PEOPLE. We the PEOPLE are the ultimate authority. We the PEOPLE are the ones who have inalienable rights. We the PEOPLE are the court of last resort, and the government is supposed to work to OUR benefit. Right now, it isn’t. Love Obamacare or hate it, it’s wrong to take insurance away from over 20 million people, causing an extra 30k or so deaths every year. But it’s going to happen, because it’s what the billionaires want. All the phone calls and letters to the editor in the world don’t matter when there’s a guy on the other side giving out million-dollar checks.

So what is it going to take to make this happen–to get a new Constitution, or at least a new Amendment saying corporations aren’t people and money isn’t speech? I don’t have the answer to that, but what I think is this: it’s going to get very bad in America, and it’s going to happen faster than we imagine. We’ve been on top for a long while, and our fall from grace isn’t going to be a gradual decline. We’re going to fall and fall and fall until we hit rock-bottom and the people, even that 7% who think chocolate milk comes from brown cows, get so sick and tired and fed up with everything that there’s open rebellion in the streets. It’ll happen when people can’t find homes and can’t feed their kids. That kind of desperation has brought down governments since the beginning of time. And it will again. But unless we wake up of our own accord, which I don’t believe will happen, it’s going to come to that. It’s going to come to people rioting in the streets and hanging effigies of their Congressmen from every lamppost and tree they can find.

Maybe I’m being unduly pessimistic, although I don’t think I am. Maybe we can elect Bernie and he can lead us to the Promised Land. But right now I can’t see it. All that money will pour in against him and everything he tries to do, and the people aren’t awake enough yet, by and large. That’s going to be the hard part, the awakening. I’m not saying it’s going to happen tomorrow…things may continue to sputter on as they have for quite some time. But when we hit bottom, we’re going to hit hard, and we’re not going to get up for a while.

Well, I guess I found something to blog about after all. Finishing just in time, because my wife’s migraine got better and she’s awake now, so I’ll stop here. Thanks for reading. =)

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Streaming, Vol. 2

Well, my wife is going to bed early, leaving me to my own devices, so let’s see what kind of trouble I can get into.

I take online surveys to make a little extra cash, and I had a survey today asking all about my feelings about Trump gutting Medicaid. That put me on tilt a bit and I haven’t quite been right the rest of the day. I know his budget is not likely to pass, but just knowing that Trump is gunning specifically for disabled people just makes me feel vulnerable. I don’t know what we’d do if we lost our Medicaid. We can’t afford to pay for our meds out of pocket. I guess we’d end up going without meds and just letting the chips fall where they may, showing up at the ER every time we needed to see a doctor. I’ve lived life that way before–I’ve spent much of my adult life with no health insurance–and I’m not eager to do it again.

As a matter of fact, Trump’s entire budget can be boiled down to a series of cuts to the very programs my wife and I rely on for survival. Affordable housing? Gonna cut that. Disability? Gonna cut that. Medicaid? Food Stamps? Heating assistance in the winter? Cut that, that, and that. It’s nothing less than a war on poor people, but nobody’s calling a spade a spade except for Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Well, Jeff Merkley is doing a pretty good job too.

I just can’t believe that in the year 2017 we find ourselves in this kind of shape, with Republicans in control of every aspect of the government. On the other hand, I guess I kinda can. The Republicans have a clear message: we hate change and we hate everybody except for “normal” white people. The Democrats no longer have a message. They take almost as much money from Wall Street as the Republicans do; how can they be the party of average people when they’re all bought and owned by bankers and lobbyists? They can’t, and so they end up chasing their own tails trying to come up with a message that resonates with the American people.

How about this? We believe in fair pay for a hard day’s work. We believe in decent health insurance for everybody. We believe in the right to form a union. We believe we have to start fighting climate change NOW. We believe that the billionaires and the corporations should be paying their fair goddamned share of taxes. We believe in good schools. We believe in free tuition and a $15 minimum wage. And we believe in being fair and just to EVERYBODY.

That sounds about right. That sounds like something that might work for the American people. Sound familiar? It’s practically stolen word-for-word from Bernie Sanders, who, just by the way, happens to be the most popular politician in America right now. And yet the Establishment Democrats still don’t want to listen to Bernie. They are so goddamned stupid and insulated in their own little bubbles that it’s hard to believe. They just don’t get it. And if you’re thinking that in 2018 there’s going to be some miraculous Democratic wave election to save us from these goddam Republicans, then you’re dreaming. It ain’t gonna happen on its own, not unless the grassroots decides, “Fuck it, we’ll just run it all ourselves.” But the Establishment Democrats haven’t hit bottom yet. Trump in the White House, GOP running Congress, a Supreme Court that likely will be killing us for a decade if not a generation, GOP running most of the state governments, and the typical Democrats still just don’t fucking get it. They don’t understand that they are seen as nothing but shills, up for and available to the highest bidder. At least the Republicans are straightforward about it; they’ll tell you with a straight face that a corporation is a person and should have the “freedom of speech” enabling them to shovel money at any politician they choose. The Democrats give lip service to overturning Citizens United, as if we had no problems before 2010. Does anybody remember before 2010? I sure as hell do, because I got suckered by a young man by the name of Barack Obama, who promised to put paid to all these lobbyists and change the way Washington works. Yeah, what a laugh riot that was. I don’t hate Barack Obama, but he was selling nothing but snake oil. Yeah, we’ll change the game by letting Goldman Sachs and Citigroup run the economy, just like they always do. The Democrats let Trump get ahold of the “change” mantle, and he ran with it. Every election, every single election between now and whenever we fix this clusterfuck of a government that we have, is going to be a “change” election, because everybody you meet on the street knows that the government is corrupt, the government has been bought and paid for, and the government is out to help the billionaires and the giant corporations and out to screw the little guy. That sound familiar? More Bernie Sanders. It’s like I’m channeling a 75-year-old Jewish Vermonter. The reason Bernie says all this shit and the reason he’s so popular while saying it is BECAUSE IT’S TRUE AND EVERYBODY KNOWS IT’S TRUE. Trump won because everybody hates politicians and Hillary is the dictionary definition of a politician. Obama pegged her in 2008: “She will say anything and change nothing.” That’s all you need to know to understand why Hillary lost. Hillary is the Establishment, the very embodiment of the Establishment, and your average Joe, whether in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin or California, hates the goddam Establishment so much they can hardly stomach it. My father-in-law practically blows a gasket spewing vile invectives every time a politician of either party dares show their face on his TV screen. And there’s millions more just like him. Most of them didn’t vote for Trump because of his policies, they voted for him because they thought he would throw a monkey wrench into the system. They voted for him, many of them, out of sheer desperation that somebody, ANYBODY but the same old crew be put in charge to see if they could do any better.

Well, we see how that’s turning out. Because Trump is a sociopathic, narcissistic pathological liar, as anybody listening to the better angels of their nature now knows to their core. But next time–and I mean 2020 here–next time somebody gives you a choice between change in the form of Bernie Sanders (or, maybe, Liz Warren) versus the Establishment in the form of Joe Biden, Cory Booker, or God save us, Hillary Clinton again, you better pick Bernie Sanders, because if you don’t you’re liable not to see the back of Trump until January 20, 2025. Or even worse, Mike Pence.

All of that from one little online survey? Jesus, I need a chill pill.

Thanks for reading. =)