Monday, June 27, 2016

What I Learned Abroad.

It’s been a while since I've written something like this.  (Try a little over three years.  Though, this one is much more personal and less generic.)  However, I promise you this is not going to be some stereotypical response about how I re-discovered myself while traveling.  I don’t write that.  Here are the lessons I learned on my travels abroad (as well as some relevant accompanying tunes of course).

1)  You never know how reliant you are on your cell phone until you can’t use it.

This is one of the things that most surprised me because I am not one of those people constantly on their phone.  I study underground in the stacks at Rochester simply because there is no cell reception down there.  I thought my life would be basically unaffected with no cell service for a few months.

However, you come to find out how reliant you are on cell service when you make a wrong turn walking back from the Blue Mountains to the train station and end up wandering through middle of nowhere Australia for almost two hours.  You don’t know where you are or where you made your wrong turn, and after a while, you start to think, “This is honestly a murder’s dream.  I’m out here in the middle of nowhere.  Lost.  I have no cell service, and I didn’t tell anybody I was going here today either.”

***Here’s a tip for travelers that I discovered though: If you download the area on Google Maps, you can use it offline.  But the best part is that Google can guess your global position on the map (very accurately) by determining which Wi-Fi networks are around you, even if you cannot connect to them.  So, in the Blue Mountains, I would have still been screwed, but in the city, I was able to navigate very easily with this feature.***

It became amazing to me just how many times I would be out and wanted to Google something, but couldn’t.   Or, remembered I needed to check directions, but couldn’t.  Or, just needed to check the weather, but couldn’t.  Just put your phone in airplane mode for a day, and you will be so surprised by how many times you so naturally go to do something, but can’t - especially in a place unfamiliar to you.

With that being said, it was also a great experience to be able to be like "I am off experiencing whatever I am at the current time, and nothing will distract me."  While the transformation of being constantly connected to no service did take some time to get used to, I would get lost in the world sometimes (literally), and I became much less reliant on the technology and more aware of my surroundings.  Some of the best adventures are those where you get lost in the world - like wandering onto Butt Street on your way to an NRL game.

Everyone's connected but no one is connecting
The human element has long been missing
Tell me, have you seen it?
Have you seen it?
Or are we alone?

2)  The Brevity of Life.

Yeah, it wasn’t all sunshine and koalas down under.  (There aren’t really koalas anywhere here.)  I don’t remember what instance sparked it, but for some reason, my mind just started to think one night about how little time I had left here and how I may never see these people or places ever again in my life.  (I guarantee plans to return.  And with the election, maybe sooner than I think.)  Then, that led to wondering how many people in my life I had already seen for the last time.  And to make a long story short, this existential crisis ends with my life already a quarter over, and I haven’t really accomplished anything truly meaningful with my life yet.

I thought I was here to have fun too.  I didn’t know this would lead to me questioning the purpose of my existence.  Now, I love data science and economics, but all I can say is that through the college experience, I have drifted into a “survival” mode – how I can make some money doing something I like.  Now, I imagine and ponder and what-the-hell it a little more, and you never know where that can lead.  It was a good kick in the right direction.

I won't forget all the ones that I love
I gotta take a risk, take a chance, make a change
And breakaway

3)  I need sunshine to be happy.

Everyone from the Northeast knows that we can get slightly irritable and jittery come February, and I always attributed it to the cold weather I’m not a fan of.  However, I discovered that it isn’t the cold that makes me miserable; it’s the lack of sunlight.  Even on those cold early mornings when it could be in the upper 40s, I found my mood was so much improved.

I need my vitamin D.   Therefore, I cannot live in the Northeast.  I have to head South and possibly West if I want to have a much better quality of life.  I also noticed I sleep better and am a much more pleasurable person to be around (if you’re acquainted with the extremely cynical me that comes out every Winter.)

I’m going to have to relocate my life (again) to be happier.  (Don’t worry mom and dad.  When you finally retire, I’ll find you a nice place far away from the cloudy skies of Western PA, and you’ll love it.)

I'm gonna soak up the sun
I'm gonna tell everyone to lighten up

4)  Pick the weeds, but keep the flowers.

I am completely stealing this line from one of my all-time favorite songs.

Picked all my weeds, but kept the flowers

(A lot of Kelly Clarkson here.  Not intentional.)

This was probably the most valuable thing I learned abroad.  Even though I’ve grown up listening to this tune for almost a decade now, I think I finally connect with it and understand the message on a personal level.

I have met some amazing people abroad.  People that make me want to be a better person in certain aspects of my life.  Then, I’ve also met some not so great people.  I’ve always been a believer that you can tell exactly who a person is by whom he surrounds himself with, and it was amazing to be in the position of basically standing on the sidelines observing how people interact with each other.

So, when it came to interacting with these individuals, I thought about who I wanted to be like as a person when deciding what I was and wasn’t going to do and with whom.  Pick the weeds, and keep the flowers.

That’s something I want to continue once I get back.  I understand now how important it is to look at all relationships and say, “Does this person bring out the best or the worst in me?”  And this extends much farther than people: behaviors, habits, etc.  It’s time to cut the crap.

5)  Everything's not life or death.

One thing I observed (maybe I'm wrong) is that Australians don't seem to study as hard as their American counterparts, which surprised me considering the stereotype of how we're such a lazy generation.  For almost 3 years at Rochester, I have been a balls to the wall studier, especially when it comes to finals, and I didn't do that this semester.

For example, if I knew I had an essay on an exam based on papers we read throughout the semester, I would memorize author names, names of datasets, and any trivial detail like that that could possibly make the essay just a little bit better.  Does this contribute to my knowledge of concepts?  Absolutely not.  Does this contribute to my grade?  Possibly marginally.

I didn't do that this semester because my grades don't contribute to my GPA, so I wasn't too worried if I marginally went up a point or not on an exam.  I think I still wrote the same damn good quality essays on my exams that I always write, even without this information present, because I learned the important stuff, and that's what matters.

If I may digress for all economic nerds, this is like the debate over the human capital and signalling models.  If you believe the human capital model, then this won't effect employment at all because no employer cares if you know the names of the authors that wrote the paper such and such.  However, if you're a signalling model person, you believe that the effort shown in learning all the trivial information shows how good of an employee you'll be.  Personally, I believe it's a mix of both.

I think one of the most valuable things I learned here was to stop putting so much pressure on myself.  Look, if I'm on the margin between an A and an A-, like I've been a few times, I'm going to be working my ass off for the A.  But I think now I won't go to the same extents to which I've gone in the past because I do have a tendency to put too much pressure and too much weight on trivial things such as those when there are much bigger fish to fry in the world.

Don't be so hard on yourself, no
Learn to forgive
Learn to let go

6) Goals.  Goals.  Goals.

Thanks to what I'm dubbing my first of many quarter-life crises, I decided it was time for me to make my bucket list.  My goal for almost 2 years now was to study abroad in Australia and be able to graduate on time.  Somehow, through one of the most extensive Excel spreadsheet sessions you could ever witness, I was able to achieve that goal.  And with my graduation less than a year away now (and most likely another one in the year to follow), I realized that in order for me to make my life as meaningful as it can possibly be, I needed to set my life goals and achieve them over my lifetime.  Hence, the bucket list.

It ranges from all the places I want to travel, such as my dream trip to my cultural roots in Italy, to my ultimate vacation of a cross-country road trip to things I always say I'm going to eventually do, like ring in the new year in Times Square, to the wacky world of zorbing.

It's my list.  Meant to be expanded, but full of documented goals of mine.

What was truly amazing though was after documenting my major goals, I looked through other online lists to see others' ideas.  It's hard to see just looking at your own life, but looking at other people's lists, I saw a great deal of things I have already accomplished in my life.  There are so many things we experience in our lives that we take for granted - even the simplest of things.

  • I have traveled outside the borders of my country.
  • I have seen the Great Barrier Reef.
  • I have seen snow.  (Way too much.)
  • I have met a Supreme Court Justice.
  • I have been to Disney World.

And that is just rattling off the first few that came to mind.  Life is amazing, and with goals, there is only more to experience and enjoy.

I'm just beginning
The pen's in my hand
Ending unplanned

And so, this is my ode to Australia, my home, and Rochester, wherever my life carries me next on this journey...

I'll see you again
This is not where it ends
I'll carry you with me
'Til I see you again

Sunday, June 12, 2016

There's a Problem...

We have got a problem, America.  If you're an American, you're probably no stranger to the feeling that our once great nation is heading down a terrible path, and with everything happening, we feel powerless to stop it.  We have got a problem, and we need to fix it.

So, where did we go wrong?  I, personally, think we can trace this back to the aftermath of 9/11.  Through most of American history, Republicans and Democrats have never really liked each other, but have put their differences aside to do as they saw best for the nation.  (See Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill, Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich, etc.)  However, something happened in the aftermath of 9/11 that this nation really never saw before: our political parties, acting in their own self-interests, put their desires ahead of the American people.  Democrats undermined Bush, and Republicans countered with Obama.

However, what was worst about this situation was the rhetoric being flung from both sides.  Democrats have called Republicans "terrorists", "arsonists", and "murderers."  I'll spare you the litany of names Republicans have sent the other way, and Trump (whatever he is) has verbally assaulted every individual under the sun.  In an attempt to drive ratings, news organizations have gladly played these comments on loop for the past decade.

Here's how I see it: words do have meaning, and when you hear people preaching hate for years and years on end, it has hardened all our heart and made us forget who we really are.

When everything is portrayed as Republican v. Democrat, conservative v. liberal, black v. white, Muslims v. Western world, urban v. rural, North v. South, Hispanic v. white, blacks v. cops, gay v. straight, Christian v. secular, young v. old, it starts to take its toll on the way people perceive the world around them.

I will be the first to admit to you that I am part of the problem.  I have written some things that have been extremely polarizing in the past and should not have been written, but I have consciously attempted this year to change that "am" to a "was" because I want to be part of the solution.  We have to realize that we cannot do this in our segregated groups.  We can't survive as just Republicans or just Democrats or just whites or just blacks.  We can only survive as a nation under one label: "American."

People point to guns or Hollywood's portrayal of violence or video games when blaming our recently increasing murder rates and devastating news.  I don't personally weight those arguments too heavily because it's always been this easy to get a gun and media has always been violent.  Those things haven't changed in American culture, but murder rates and tragedies have.

I think we are angry and lost and despondent as a people.  We've given up on hope and turned to anger, and in anger, violence breeds.  And where there's violence, tragedy follows.

It's time for all of us to accept our responsibility in this problem, and since we've seen from our leaders no desire to end this crisis anytime soon, it's up to us to break the cycle.  It's up to us to listen instead of talking past each other.  It's up to us to put ourselves in another's situation.  It's up to us to reach out to those who we see need help.  It's up to us to look past the barriers and labels and stereotypes currently set in society.  It's up to us to just be better people.

Three virtues to live by going forward: faith, hope, and love.  Faith that all is not lost, and our nation will pull through these tragedies.  Hope for a better future.  And Love of thy fellow countrymen.

I don't have all the answers or pretend to, but I know one thing that never hurts is being kind to one another.  Words mean a lot, but I believe our actions can shine brighter.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Millennial Republicans - A People Without A Party.

So, I've come to a sad conclusion - I'm a person without a party.  I'm a Republican at heart, but I don't really like to identify as a Republican due to the ideological differences I currently have with the Party.  It's a problem I've noticed with a lot of Republicans my age.

What's at the heart of the problem?  Well, to put it very simply, the country has shifted positions on issues and we've grown up in a different time, but the Party has not moved on or tried to really understand us.  And while millennial Republicans have started to make inroads at the lower levels, such as Elise Stefanik, the older Republicans continue to hold unwavering in their positions, which can be off-putting.  As a result, these individuals haven't really been accepting, or even listening, to people my age, simply because we disagree on some issues, and it's become extremely alienating to people my age.

I can tell you right now that if Trump is the Republican nominee, I will not be voting Republican this November for President of the United States.  I can also tell you I know a lot of other Republican millennials who feel exactly the same way.

The problem isn't that the Party doesn't agree with us on the issues.  The problem is that the Party isn't even listening to us on the issues of disagreement.  The Democrats have a major advantage because at least they listen to people our age.  That in itself will lose the Republican Party an entire generation of voters because I know people who do not agree with a lot of the Democrat positions (especially on the economy), but they like the Democratic Party because they are at least willing to acknowledge the opinions of younger individuals in America.  The Republican Party doesn't appear to even care to hear from the younger people within their party, let alone the young people of America.

And being abroad, I have to say, it is quite a shock just to see how much the Liberal Party (Republican equivalent) cares about the ideas of their younger members.  They seem much more interested in the concerns of younger Australians, and I don't think the Republican Party understands how much the perception of caring can impact future voters.

So, where do we disagree...

1) Gay Marriage.

It's over!  I don't believe the 14th Amendment made it Constitutional either, but it was going to become legal anyway.  Millennials, including Republican millennials, support same-sex marriage.  I've even seen it in myself - evolving over the past few years to the point where I would now support same-sex marriage if I had to vote on it.

There is no going back.  It's done.  We think this is an area in which you need to evolve and move on as well.  You and your religion may not agree with it (and that's perfectly fine), but just evolve to the point where you recognize it in the eyes of the State.  That's all we're asking.

2) Marijuana.

Look, I have been unabashedly pro-marijuana legalization for as long as I can remember.  I can tell you that even though I favor drug legalization, I have no intention of ever trying any substance.

The typical millennial answer is to tax it and regulate it.  Our proposal is simple: impose a tax the same way we do for cigarettes and alcohol, and then use those funds to help the addicted through substance-abuse programs.

Not trying to be alarming, but marijuana is going to be the next gay marriage.  It's coming.  The question is whether you will see, understand, and acknowledge our position before it becomes legalized.

3) Climate Change.

Here's all we want you to do: acknowledge that climate change is real, man-made, and scientifically proven.

Here's what we don't want you to do: continue to deny proven science or agree with the Democrats and destroy our economy.

It's okay to acknowledge that climate change is real.  At that point, you say that it is no longer a scientific argument, but an economic one.  Give yourself home-court advantage.  Even operating under the assumption of climate change, many economists believe a very valid solution is to do absolutely nothing.  This is because of the discount rate at which we weight events 400 years into the future and other factors.

It's okay to say you want to invest in research for renewable energy sources.

I convinced my parents when they had to buy a new car to buy a Prius, not because it would be better for the environment (although a plus), but because the car's technology, which allowed it to be so fuel efficient, would end up saving money in the long run.  We should be the Party of technology and innovation because the Democrats certainly aren't.

4)  Immigration.

Look, we understand the frustration that comes when individuals illegally enter our country.  We don't like it either.  What we also don't like are ridiculous proposals to round up millions of individuals to kick them out of the county.

Here would be my stance: the people should be allowed to stay as long as they don't commit any crimes.  There should be a "One Felony, You're Out" rule.  Secure the border.  After being secured, allow individuals illegally in this country to come out of the shadows and register with the US government.  If they don't register in the time frame and are found, then you can kick them out, but we won't be actively hunting them down.  Once registered, individuals will have to pay back taxes and will be placed at the end of the queue for immigration.  When they finally reach the front of the immigration line or after 10 years, whichever comes first, then they can take a citizenship test to become an American citizen.

In addition, we need a complete revamp of our immigration system.  It's too hard for individuals to immigrate to the US.  We should be taking in more people, especially highly skilled individuals.  Why is it so hard for people to immigrate to the US from Europe?  It makes no sense.

5)  Millennials Ourselves.

Finally, there is no bigger turnoff from the Party than someone trying to tell us how we should live our lives and acting as if they know us better than we know ourselves.  We aren't you a few decades ago; we are our own generation.  The world is much different from when you were our age, and it would nice to hear someone acknowledge that instead of always trying to compare us to the world in which you lived when you were in your 20s and 30s.

Don't try to give dating advice.  Don't try to tell us how to use technology.  Don't be condescending to the music we listen to, the movies we watch, the clothes we wear, etc.  And please, I beg you, don't try to use millennial slang or try to create a meme or gif.

Those things just aren't you; they're us.  We don't need you to be one of us, but we also don't want you to come off as hating us either.  The best thing you can do is listen and understand us because we do differ, but we want to be part of the same party.  The question is whether you will acknowledge our concerns and at least advance a dialogue with our generation or leave the Democrats an open playing field for an entire generation.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

When You Sell Your Soul To ...

So, this has been one of my favorite hashtags I’ve made up for this election.  I’ve been using #WhenYouSellYourSoulToTrump for a while now, originally intended as an attack on Sean Hannity for his ass kissing of Trump.  My hashtag has now morphed into my response for any Republican who simply goes along with what Trump wants.  The most recent victim sadly being Marco Rubio.

However, I’ve been thinking lately.  There’s easily #WhenYouSellYourSoulToHillary and #WhenYouSellYourSoulToBernie people out there as well.  So, what does this simple hashtag say about us as a nation?

I read yesterday a new poll showed that if Hillary Clinton was indicted by the Department of Justice, 50% said she should continue to run for President.  Donald Trump has encouraged violence, and then when it has happened, he and his supporters have said he cannot be held responsible for it.

It shows how pathetic and spineless we have become.  It shows that we really don’t care who you are or what you do; as long as you put that D or that R after your name, it’s all good.  And that’s just sad.

During the Nixon impeachment process, six Republicans out of 17 on House Judiciary Committee at least had the guts to vote based on their integrity.  Today, I don’t think I’ve heard one Democrat even question whether Hillary Clinton did anything wrong, even after that scathing internal investigation by the State Department.

The system is so partisan and so corrupt, there is no integrity in Washington.  And slowly, but surely over decades, that has begun to bleed out into the media and into the American public.

It’s honestly sickening to think about.  Just to see the Hillary and Trump apologists makes most Americans roll their eyes.  And the worst part is that it keeps getting worse, and very few make an attempt to try to stop it.

God help those people when they try to actually work to get anything done because the people who have sold their souls to these extremists just attack you relentlessly.  Take Paul Ryan for example.  He declined to endorse Trump, and the Trumpkins have just been going for the guttural ever since.  They’re even trying to pump in money to his unknown primary challenger so that he would possibly lose his seat in Congress.  Why?  Paul Ryan has one of the most conservative voting records in the House, he has proven he’s able to work across the aisle, and if memory serves me correctly, Paul Ryan was viewed as this savior in 2012 for the Romney/Ryan ticket by these exact same people.

I just don’t understand how you can love somebody one day and hate them the next, not for anything they’ve done, but simply somebody else’s opinion of them.  For people who claim to be so ideologically pure, there is a drastic lack of integrity.

Here’s the thing: I don’t compliment Bernie Sanders ever, but at least the guy is one of very few in Washington who has his integrity.  He disagrees with Republicans and Democrats alike, and he’s not afraid to call people he disagrees with out on it because they have an R or a D after their name.  I wish more of Congress could have the integrity that Bernie Sanders has.  (Obviously not his economic policies.)

What’s really frustrating about the whole system is that you’ve got young people, such as myself, who would maybe consider two or three decades from now to run for public office.  Then, you see all of this going on, and you’re like, “No thank you.  I have no interest in playing a character in this season of House of Cards.”  And what happens is people with good integrity and who would actually get stuff done are lost from the policy making because the only people really willing to run are the slime buckets, like the ones running for President today.

Look, here’s how I would run a campaign if I was running, and this would be a person I would vote for regardless of their ideological differences from mine.  I’d tell the people straight up where I stand on the issues and wouldn’t lie to try to get votes.  I wouldn’t make promises I couldn’t keep.  I’d tell lobbyists that they can give me all the money they want, it still won’t influence my vote.  I’d read and respond to every constituent’s e-mail, letter, or voicemail.  (Come on, there aren’t that many people trying to talk to their representative.)  I’d promise to read every bill before voting on it.  (It just makes sense.)  And I’d tell people they would finally have a politician they could trust because even if they didn’t agree with me on everything, at least I would never lie and disappoint them.

In other words, I, or this candidate, would be any political party’s worst nightmare.

The sad reality is that this selling of souls isn’t just happening between Republicans and Democrats.  It’s also happening within parties, within different organizations, and is not just a phenomenon constrained to the US (if you catch my shade).

I really don’t know what will make this change or if it will ever change.  I’m sorry to end this on such a defeatist tone.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Liberal Insanity - Bathroom Edition.

How do you know Obama and his liberal cohorts are trying to push anything they can in his final year through government agency strong arming?  When Obama, his Justice Department, and his Education Department send a letter to every school district in America telling them that they will let students enter the bathroom or locker room of their choosing or so help you God, they will cut your federal funding.

To sum it up more clearly: the same people who say teenage boys are just raging with hormones and there is a rape epidemic across the country want these same individuals to be able to enter the girl's locker room at any time by simply stating they "identify" as a female.

According to the Justice Department:
"The guidance explains that when students or their parents, as appropriate, notify a school that a student is transgender, the school must treat the student consistent with the student’s gender identity.  A school may not require transgender students to have a medical diagnosis, undergo any medical treatment, or produce a birth certificate or other identification document before treating them consistent with their gender identity."
In other words, no proof beyond simply taking somebody at his or her word is required.  And if you deny someone, despite how ridiculous you know the claim is, and they bring a lawsuit forward, God help you fight this in the courts as the federal government takes away all the funding you receive.

So now, your daughters not only could be peeing next to a man in Target, they could be changing or showering in front of boys their own age in the locker room after gym class.  And the Obama administration is sending a clear message: lather up.  Thanks Obama.  And the same goes vice versa, but I think I should apologize for assuming that boys will use this decree more pervertedly than girls will.  I guess that's just the female privilege talking.

But, let's get back to those federal funds.  As you probably know, most of the school system is funded by property taxes and state funding.  So where do federal funds go?  You know, only to those programs that provide free and reduced lunch prices to students of families that are either poor or struggling under the weight of the sluggish Obamaconomy.  So if your school gets its funding stripped, it's most likely going to be the poor and needy kids that suffer the most because of the Obama policy.  Remind me again how Obama is fighting for that poor black child who lives on the South side of Chicago.

I remember the Obama administration telling us college students quite repetitive and unceasingly that #ItsOnUs to end the "rape culture" on campus.  (This was done through the use of highly misinforming statistics that my econometrics professor went on a diatribe about last semester for a good 10 minutes. Yes, the female, minority professor - best professor so far, bar none - went on about how biased the results were in the survey because of leading questions.  I believe the exact words were along the lines of: they lead you on so much that by the end of the survey, if you've even been touched by another person, you've been raped.)  But getting back to the main topic on hand, #ItsOnUs to prevent rapes and sexual harassment.  #ItsOnUs to disregard this absurd order by Barack "I've got my pen, my phone, my executive actions, and my Justice Department" Obama.

This order by the Obama administration is ludicrous and deserves to be rightly laughed at, followed by no action by the school districts.  I can pretty much guarantee you with 99% certainty that my school district is going to completely ignore this entire absurdity.  I mean, we were one of the first schools in PA to stand up against common core.

The Obama administration says nobody should feel uncomfortable when going to the restroom.  I believe this obviously should extend to females who identify as females and males who identify as males.  What is the point of having two separate bathrooms if you're just going to let anybody use whatever restroom they want?  #ItsOnUs to use common sense to prevent adverse outcomes from occurring.  It's not the transgender students we're worried about; it's the other ones who will use this mandate as a shield for their devious plans.  I don't want high schoolers to feel uncomfortable changing for gym class, and I certainly don't want to hear any stories of someone being raped in their high school locker room.  It's just common sense.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Always #NeverTrump.

Never.”  An adverb.  Meaning “at no time; not ever.”  Never.

That is the extent to which the discussion is now.  How never is never?  I firmly pledge never.  I will never vote for Donald Trump; I do not care how terrible the other option is.  Because to justify voting for a xenophobic, sexist, misogynist Democrat over a lying, corrupt, valueless Democrat is not democracy.  When given the option of voting for anyone in the world to be president, I can never justify voting for someone because I am voting against another, especially in a situation where I’m being given the option of whether I’d rather be poisoned by arsenic or cyanide.  

Never means never.

The rhetoric is now, “You either vote for Trump or you’re helping Clinton.”  I could never live with myself if I voted for Clinton; yet I could never live with myself voting for Trump.  The monstrosity stands against everything I believe in.  The egomaniac has supported everything from universal healthcare to rolling back the 2nd Amendment to anti-trade policies.  The man has behaved with the decency of a monkey flinging its feces as he hurls insults on Twitter at women, Muslims, minorities, and even those with disabilities.  He is an un-principled, disrespecting, entitled elitist with an ego big enough to redirect the orbit of the Earth.

Never.  Never could I justify giving this baboon the office of Washington, Lincoln, and Kennedy.  And most certainly, I could NEVER aid this man in his attempts to destroy the party of Ronald Reagan for his own self-gain.

Here’s what most people have forgotten.  Donald Trump has never understood what it’s like to be the average American.  Trump has never had a clue what we actually care about.  All Donald Trump has ever thought about his entire life is Donald Trump.

Either one of two scenarios is going to play out in the coming months.  The first I suspect is the less likely of the two – where Trump continues his crazy, hard, rigid policy stances that don’t appeal to many Americans.

The second, and what I believe will happen, is that Donald Trump starts running way to the left of where he already is.  He will say he’s “reconsidered” his positions or that after talking to experts, he is “evolving.”

Funny.  So the two options are that wacko Donald continue to be wacko Donald or the Trump Grump starts saying and doing anything to get elected.  You know, Trump turns into a politician – otherwise known as Hillary Clinton.

Either way, I will never be part of those options.

My one consultation prize is that Trumpsters will eventually come to a shocking moment of realization when either (1) they lose the presidency in a landslide or (2) they realize Trump was being a politician and never cared for them at all.  I picture the scene where their mouths will hang open for a minute or two; then all the Trumpsters down in Trumpsville will all cry boo-hoo-hoo.

I’ve gone into Dr. Seuss mode again.  Must have been another Sarah Palin speech or that stuff that Trump supporters have been smoking finally made its way across the Pacific.

Here’s the hard reality.  If Trump is a Republican, then I am not.  I and many others are willing to pick up our resources and time because we will never be involved in such a foul smelling load of cow manure.  Never really does mean never.  And you can’t win the presidency without us.  You can’t win the presidency without talk radio and grassroots activists on the ground.  It just won’t work.

Either get your act together or lose it all.  You lose the White House, the Senate, the Supreme Court, and potentially even the House.  More importantly, you lose people like me.  You lose an entire generation to the Democrats.  I will be done fighting for the GOP.  I will be done defending the people of the party.  Most importantly, many will be done voting for you for decades.

Think about what you’re doing because once people walk out that door, they have no intention to return.  Never means never.  Don’t expect my vote in November.  Don’t expect my vote ever.  Goodbye GOP.  Maybe forever.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

...But Before the Convention.

A few weeks ago, I had an idea of what a GOP therapy session would look like at the convention through a montage of hilariously selected songs (if I do say so myself) and some (intentionally) bad images to go along with them.  Well, I had so much fun putting that together that after my midterms finished up last night, I decided to put together a playlist for the highlights of the election session thus far.

Therefore, this is my prequel to the GOP therapy session.  This is ...But Before the Convention.

Event: Donald Trump announces his candidacy.

Song: "Wrecking Ball" by Miley Cyrus

I think this is appropriate on many levels.  Donald Trump came to destroy the GOP, and he's run an attention whore campaign.

Event: Donald Trump gives out Lindsey Graham's phone number to the world.

Song: "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen

Hey, you're running for president
And this is crazy
But Trump just gave out your number
So destroy your phone, maybe?

Event: Donald Trump begins attacking Megyn Kelly after the first debate, suggesting she had "blood coming out of her...whatever"

Song: "Bad Blood" by Taylor Swift

Just too perfect a song to pass up for the situation.  Trump officially began his war on Megyn Kelly and, to a lesser extent, Fox News.  Next month, they will sit down for an interview for the first time since before he announced.  Expect headlines.

Event:  Donald Trump criticizes Carly Fiorina's face.

Song: "I'm a Believer" by Smash Mouth (this version for obvious reasons below)

And then he saw her face, now he's a believer ... that she shouldn't be president?  Who are you to judge on looks Trump?  He's like an orange ogre that lives in a tower.  Speaking of ogres... it's appropriate that this song was used for the film "Shrek."

Event: Trump attacks his opponents for being beholden to donor wishes.  (It's an ongoing event.)

Song: "Government Hooker" by Lady Gaga

The title of the song is pretty explanatory, but I would like to thank the early 2000's remake of "Lady Marmalade" for not making me search for hookers on Google.

Event:  Dumb (Sarah Palin) endorses Dumber (Donald Trump).

Song: "Team" by Iggy Azalea

And since the endorsement was done in such a sing-song form - like something Dr. Seuss would write...

Event: Marco Malfunctions.

Song:  "Mr. Roboto" by Styx

I think the Republican Party really missed an opportunity here.  I mean, the opportunity to nominate the first Hispanic cyborg.

Event:  Donald Trump says he can shoot someone on 5th Avenue and not lose any support.

Song:  "Bang Bang" by Jessie J, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj

I think we all know Trump's butt boy who'll end up being the one getting shot.

Event: Chris Christie has his moment.

Song:  "Bad Day" by Daniel Powter

I think we all felt a little like Chris Christie that day.

Event: Trump once again retweets white supremacists and receives the endorsement of David Duke.

Song: "Oops! ... I Did It Again" by Britney Spears

Trump's surrogates were forced to painfully dance around the topic during brutal television interviews.

Event:  In a last ditch effort, Marco Rubio goes full Comedy Central on Donald Trump - even going as far as insinuating something about Trump's hands and something else.

Song: "It's a Small World" by Disney (Curse You)

Because hearing this song is almost as painful as hearing Donald Trump describe his "Donald" on national television during a debate.

Event:  And then there were three.

Song:  "Survivor" by Destiny's Child

I think it only appropriate that this election season's motto be: "outwit, outplay, outlast."

Event:  The Cruz-Trump partnership from early on in the election is dissolved and a Cruz-Kasich partnership is announced.

Song:  "Since U Been Gone" by Kelly Clarkson

Because I totally see a Trumpertantrum when the Trump Grump found out about the alliance.

Event:  And through this chaos, the white knight known as Paul Ryan has been floated as the savior at a contested convention - which I am 100% behind.

Song:  "It's Gonna be Me" by *NSYNC

Let me break down the chorus for you...

Every little thing I do (Like run as VP, then Speaker of the House)
Never seems enough for you (Now you want me to run for President)
You don't want to lose it again (Yeah, I know Trump and Cruz are losers)
But I'm not like them (But, I'm not a loser like them)
Baby, when you finally (When you finally come to your senses)
get to love somebody (And see which candidate you really want)
Guess what, (Here's the kicker)
It's gonna be me... (I'm going to be the nominee)

Well, there goes my mind again...

Find these and many more appropriate songs that correspond with other events this election cycle below.