Friday, August 5, 2016

Ranting About 2016.

It's been a while since I've gone on a rant, but after those conventions, there's just been too much that's pushed me over the edge.  So, here's my rant on 2016.

After that Republican - or better known as Trumpkin - Convention, I had a thought that maybe, just maybe, Trump had the potential to become a somewhat serious candidate.  How stupid I was to believe someone reading off a teleprompter.  Trump is still the egomaniac wrecking ball he always has been and will always continue to be.

He continues to word vomit the first thought that passes through his head - which calling it "controversial" as I have been for a while now has become the biggest understatement of 2016.  It's like the man sits atop Trump Tower day-dreaming of offensive statements that will ruin his campaign.  But this isn't a campaign because anyone with half a mind running his campaign would have blocked Trump from creating his own tweets over a year ago.  This isn't a campaign; it's a flaming car wreck that America and the world cannot cannot take their eyes off.

I don't even know where to begin with this whole Khan family indecent because it is so abhorrent and disgusting on all levels.  It makes me cringe that this man has the potential to be sitting in the Oval Office and frankly, scares the shit out of me.

Still, Trump has the potential to be the leader of the free world only because Hillary Clinton's campaign is so robotic and inept at addressing the American people that she may lose.  How this woman, a pathological liar with a political career that so reeks of corruption it makes Frank Underwood look like a softy, can seriously lie to the American people straight up and with a straight face sickens me just as much as the Trump comments.  And then she wonders why people don't trust her as she continues to repeat the same lies.

But as terrible a human being she is, her campaign is almost as bad as Trump's.  First and foremost, I would rather watch paint dry atop growing grass than listen to Tim Kaine speak ever again.  Forget waterboarding, I have found the new method of torture.  He was the absolute worst choice she could have made and deserves to lose solely on her ineptitude to surround herself with good people.

Yet, Clinton has made an even more terrible move this week.  In an attempt to discredit Trump, Clinton brought out Mark Cuban and Warren Buffett to campaign for her.  No.  You need to immediately fire whoever developed that feckless and ham-handed decision because it shows how out of touch the Hillary campaign is with the average voter.

I don't understand how, but Trump has branded himself as a low-class working person's voter who is pissed at the wealthy and well-connected even though that's who he is.  The American people are angry at the Mark Cubans and Warren Buffetts of the world because they feel cheated by the wealthy and well-connected.  They feel like these people are the ones pulling the strings in Washington to help themselves on the backs of the average American citizen, and they're not going to take it anymore.

By bringing out these billionaires, it only shows the American people how entrenched Hillary Clinton is in the system - how "Establishment" she is.  The smart move - so not the Hillary move - would be to continually bring out average Joes in every city to make the case for Hillary.

And this is what pisses me off most about this entire election: nobody is giving me any reasons why I should vote for him or her; the only thing I'm being told is why I shouldn't vote for the other person.  That's because America has chosen the two biggest slime-balls to run for President in the entirety of the 300+ million people we have living here.  Great job America.

And here's why you should be pissed: because neither one of them care about you or making America great again.

Trump is in this for himself.  It's for his ego.  He wants the power and the title of President of the United States.  And if you think he actually cares about your life in any way, shape, or form, he's playing you for a sucker.

Hillary is no better either.  She wants the power, but even more importantly to her, she wants to be known as the first female President of the United States.  She has been willing to say and do anything to get to the position she's in.  And if you think, after all those other high profile people the Clintons have thrown under the bus to save themselves, that Hillary actually cares about your life, then she's playing you for a sucker.

I will make a prediction right now that whoever wins in 2016 will lose in 2020.  The economy sucks.  Terrorism isn't contained or receding.  Median household incomes are down.  Obamacare is costing families an arm and a leg.  Debt continues to grow astronomically.  Entitlement program trust funds are about to run out sometime in the 2020's because both parties have taken IOUs and spent the money that was supposed to be going into the trusts on other things.  Nothing seems to be getting better.  For the first time, the American dream, that by working hard you can have a better life than your parents, seems to be unreachable for a generation.  Gridlock will continue.  And neither one of these two will do one damn thing to fix anything in this flaming dumpster fire we call a government.

It's about time America just called a mulligan on 2016.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Primaries...Explained by My Twitter Feed.

Twitter is quite the amazing invention - the power to spout off quick thoughts like a stream of consciousness at any given time.  What's even better is that it gives us the power to look back and see what people were thinking in real time.  So this is the 2016 election explained by my Twitter feed.

Let's go all the way back to where it first began...

Just to give you a hint of how far back we've actually gone...

And then a movement was born...

Well, on to the conventions now.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Australia Votes: What I Haven't Said.

I tend to avoid political issues that are non-American because I usually find it inappropriate for those who wouldn’t be effected by the result to try to influence the opinions of those who would.  However, seeing as I’ve followed Australian politics for over a year now, have been in this country for almost 5 months, campaigned up to the vote, and held my tongue until the votes have been cast, I think I’ve now earned the right to comment on the election – mainly as it relates to the Liberal Party.

To recap my understanding of this entire situation: Malcolm Turnbull blind-sighted Tony Abbott about a year ago to become Prime Minister under the assumption of the Liberal Party that Tony Abbott would lose the election, whereas Malcolm Turnbull would lead the party to victory. 

In my opinion, Tony Abbott is very much like a George W. Bush figure – but not in the sense that he comes from a political dynasty.  He could be a loose cannon at times, but he was relatable to the Australian people because he didn’t act like a politician.  He seemed very much like a normal guy, and for that reason, middle class Australians really responded positively to Abbott – especially in the Western Sydney suburbs.

Malcolm Turnbull is more like a Mitt Romney – but a much, much worse politician.  Turnbull comes across as the guy with the silver spoon in his mouth.  The feeling seemed to be that he couldn’t relate to the struggles of many Australians.  What made him worse than Mitt Romney was his use of this pompous diction, where he used these long, lofty phrases to saying something that could have been said in a simple sentence.

I thought Turnbull ran one of the worst campaigns I’ve ever seen – verging on McCain/Palin bad.  He had a great platform: “jobs and growth.”  However, that was really all he had.  He ran the safest campaign you could have imagined.  Combine Mitt Romney’s 2nd and 3rd debate performances with Hillary Clinton’s avoidance of the press, and you’ve got Malcolm Turnbull’s handbook for how he ran this campaign.  Then, when he did speak, it was the most boring thing you’ve ever heard, especially for people who don’t give a damn about finances.  It was like being in a tax session every time he opened his mouth; you just want it to be over as soon as possible.

However, what I found most surprising was that liberal commentators were stunningly flabbergasted when the results started to pour in about 50-50 after preferences when the polls showed it was going to be 50-50.  I’m actually surprised it wasn’t worse considering Bill Shorten ran a smear campaign the last few weeks, and Turnbull brushed it off like it was nothing instead of counter-punching.  Turnbull stood there as a human punching bag for Shorten, and only did he punch back when he realized that he performed terribly on election night.  What was he waiting for?

Overall, Turnbull was promised to the Liberals as an election win despite their support of Tony Abbott.  Anyone who does not keep their end of the bargain should face penalties.  Turnbull has not kept his part of the promise and therefore, should not keep the title of Prime Minister.  His mandate has failed.  He accomplished nothing but losing the majority of Liberal seats and has only caused more infighting in what seems to be a fairly fractured Liberal Party.

I’m not saying Tony Abbott should be returned as leader of the Liberal Party.  I think it's bad form for political parties to look backwards, so I think neither of the two should lead the Liberal Party going forward.  I have no preference as to who that leader should be, but I think it only fair that that leader not be Turnbull.  I believe Tony Abbott would have performed better than Malcolm Turnbull did in the election.  It’s time for Turnbull to go. 

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.