Okay, so busy is a relative term in this case. The first two months of the year, slow months work-wise, were mostly spent engrossed in video games. Having never played much of anything past a Wii (Mario Brothers and MarioKart, for the most part), and the odd Xbox Kinnect (hello, Rise of Nightmares), mostly because of lack of ability...it was a surprise when, shortly after Christmas, we picked up a controller and suddenly it all clicked. So, after spending the better part of two months engrossed in Halo ODST and Borderlands 2, it was time to come up for air. Work picked up, it's time for (continuing) training for our first 10K, and gardening season is right around the corner. Not to mention finishing the new garage and studio space so we can work on adding something to the growing collection of paintings. Then there's the matter of this blog. This poor neglected blog.
And Hey. It's election season, in case you hadn't noticed [that it never ends, really]. And what an election season it has been, eh?
While we have not bothered to write anything here regarding thoughts and feelings on the current political climate, you can be sure to find the Twitter and Facebook account riddled with thoughts and opinions like the bullet spray from an uzi.
This past week we came across a Facebook status written by a social media buddy Sean Swanson, and it pretty much summed up one of the concerns that had been rattling around in the back of this brain with all the usual garbage. So, instead of coming up with our own post that basically reiterates what he said, we asked if we could post what he wrote as a guest blog post. He happily accepted the offer.
Sean is a super guy, by all accounts a great father and husband, who, despite serious health issues, turned his life around a year ago and since then has lost a massive amount of weight. He works hard at maintaining a healthy lifestyle in order to mitigate the symptoms of his illness. Witnessing his transformation has been awesome. He has been an inspiration to those who strive to stay fit, and meet their personal workout and health goals. He also supplies his Facebook friends with very hilarious memes and entertaining content, in between the serious intellectual bits. He is appreciated.
In a private conversion Sean made sure to mention that what he wrote here also applies to mental illness, which we agree with wholeheartedly.
A vote by the people, for the people.
Without further adieu.
I had a thought which frightened me this morning, and like most frightening thoughts it led to more frightening thoughts.
I have blood family who have told me to my face that if it's a choice between Clinton and Trump they will vote Trump. They say they don't support his hate or his rhetoric and I believe them, mostly. They say they support his views on this treaty or oppose hers on abortion, etc.
I get that. In more normal or reasonable times I would think that individual policies are legitimate reasons to vote for one candidate over the other.
But let's call it what it is. This man has a list of undesirables. Black people, Mexican people, Muslim people, gay people.
And then there's that other category, the one I'm in.
People with disabilities.
I don't look much different than an able bodied person, 9 days in 10 you couldn't tell the difference. But it's there. In my genetic code, I have cerebral palsy and substantial hearing loss and historically, people like me don't make it through the vetting process of men who espouse fascism.
Neither will my kids. They're both perfect. No disabilities of any kind. But they inherited my genes. They can and will pass down my weird mutations and undesirable traits to any children they might have.
So they go on the list. Can't have those pesky differences getting passed into the gene pool.
You might be thinking "Wait, Trump hasn't made mention of disabled persons."
But he has. Maybe not in a by line of his speeches but he has mocked disabled reporters at his rallies.
And does it matter?
He doesn't have to name off every person to hate to his supporters. They get the point. They know the Other.
"What is the cause of a pogrom? Land, domination, pre-emptive attacks - all just excuses, mundane justifications that do nothing but disguise the simple distinction.
They are not us.
We are not them."1
The fact is that if we have to choose between Clinton or Trump it is absolutely a choice of the lesser of two evils. But it's an evil of a magnitude greater than the other.
It's a choice between an opportunist who has often changed her moral standing with the siren call of the day, at best behind the times and at worst feckless, and a man who wants to label the Other.
Lots of other republicans I know have said they just won't vote if Trump is nominated. They'll abstain. In an election like this, a choice not to vote is an approbation of men like Trump. If enough people choose not to vote because they don't like either candidate much they're essentially handing the election the candidate who has so inspired such a furor of hate and his hard inner core of supporters who finally have a standard bearer for their hatred.
You will sanction him with your silence if you choose not to vote on Election Day.
Others might say "he can't change the structure of the United States, the president doesn't have that power."
Of course he can. Presidents pull in majorities for both the house and the senate every four years. It's called the coat tail effect. Essentially, congress people who wouldn't normally be electable gain office because they are in the same party of the presidential candidate and most voters vote straight ticket these days.
If you don't think a president can effect fundamental change in our nation with the backing of the house and senate just look at what President Obama accomplished in his first two years in office when he had a supermajority. Think of the harm he could have wrought, had he chosen to.
And think of that list of your neighbors, your friends, your acquaintances you chat with over the coffee pot at work, who all fall on the list of undesirables.
What makes America great is the diversity of her peoples. We are the melting pot. The bootstraps nation. The nation of refugees and outsiders effecting real and lasting change.
We are not homogenous. In point of fact, the founders of the nation came here to escape the homogenous old countries. Who only a handful of years after our nation's founding saw the rise of death camps in those old countries. And to those death camps went the list of undesirables, almost indistinguishable from the list of undesirables that Mr. Trump has presented time and time again.
We are better than this. We must be better than this.
"We are contrary creatures, us humans, but that isn't something we need be afraid of, or even much troubled by. And if you make a list of those people who worship consistency, you'll find they're one and all tyrants or would-be tyrants. Ruling over thousands, or over a husband or a wife, or some cowering child. Never fear contradiction, it is the very heart of diversity."- Steven Erikson
"We are not enemies, but friends, we must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it's must not break our bonds of affection." - Abraham Lincoln
1 quote from The Malazan Boo of the Fallen Series