Personal

Giving Money to Strangers

After watching the shit-show that was the first Presidential Debate, I visited the Joe Biden campaign site and donated money. At the age of 37, this was the first time I’ve ever donated money to a presidential or any political campaign. During Obama’s first campaign, I didn’t have a steady job, working odd writing gigs here and there. For his 2012 re-election, I was working part-time and a new father. I don’t want to talk about Hillary Clinton – I voted for her and believe she would have handled the position better than Donald Trump has and I’ll leave it that.

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Books

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff

8 November 2016: I attended an artist reception for Ruben Rios that night. I’d already voted during the early voting days, so the election news could wait that night while I partook in celebrating a friend. Though there was a deep dread in the air. I felt it. So did my friends/coworkers. Midway through the night, we were all checking our phones. Google News alerts kept me up to date that MAGA 4chan fanatics weren’t aware they had to register to vote. Things looked good, even though Hillary Clinton (whom we weren’t exactly enthusiastic for either) wasn’t even in the lead. Fire-and-Fury

I stayed up late that night as I normally do. I’ve said this before, actually. So let’s fast forward.

5 January 2018: A little less than a year into Trump’s presidency, Michael Wolff was slated to release a book about the first 100 days and beyond. In all true Trumpian fashion, DJT tried to keep the book from being released. This prompted Wolff and the publisher, Henry Holt and Co., to release it four days early. The Trump lawyer’s call to cease and desist gave the book added notoriety which led to it being sold out on its first day. As I entered Barnes and Noble that night, it didn’t surprise me in the least that people were being turned away. And that night, I did something against my philosophy: I paid full price for the e-book.

The book offered no surprises. If it does anything, it solidified my fears and assumptions about the Trump campaign and its presidency. It also caters to the conspiracy theorist type bullshit that lingers in the back of my mind about Trump, Pence, Ryan and the GOP at large.

It offers some insight into Trumps life. From his need to gain approval from his father, the media, and other rich people in the country and the world. How he treats his sons in very much the same manner: “[…] Don Jr., thirty-nine, and Eric, thirty-three, existed in an enforced infantile relationship to their father […] Their father took some regular pleasure in pointing out that they were in the back of the room when God handed out brains—but, then again, Trump tended to scorn anyone who might be smarter than he was.”

It touches bases with the Russian collusion. Underlines how Bannon controlled Trumpism and Trump himself. How Ivanka and Jared (happily referred to as Jarvanka) tried pulling the strings of presidency. How the Republicans in Congress had no idea what they were getting themselves into when decided to back the loose cannon candidate. And, of course, how Trump thinks of women: “Trump liked to say that one of the things that made life worth living was getting your friends’ wives into bed.”

There are some things that I question about the timeline provided in the book, how much is the author’s opinion, and how certain typos go by the editors. (If the title of Stormy Daniels tell-all memoir isn’t entitled “Ferocity and Pubic Venom,” then I’m going to be upset. Michael Wolff offered up a wonderful title!)

It’s a must read for those curious enough to see the going-ons of the Trump presidency. And for those who need some evidence that Trump never actually wanted to be president: “Donald Trump and his tiny band of campaign warriors were ready to lose with fire and fury. They were not ready to win.” But I don’t see this convincing any die-hard Trump supporters to jump ship (even though, several of his staff were wise enough to do so). And if you do read it, do it cautiously. Question things before accepting it as gospel. But, to be honest, there is little about this book that I don’t disbelieve.

Until next time, keep on huntin’.

Personal

“Groan silently; make no mourning for the dead”

I stayed up late, knocking out a quarter or so before one a.m. I kept my TV on with the volume lowered to just above a whisper. I do this whenever there is a major storm brewing outside my window—natural or political. It’s almost reminiscent to the 2004 election. A part of me wanted to deny the truth that had set into my heart early on in the day. John Kerry wasn’t the most likable or charismatic candidate, but standing next to Al Gore the man was a marching band. And standing next John Kerry, Hillary Clinton was an orchestra on the rise of a crescendo. Obama? Don’t get me started on Obama. I love the guy. A great speaker, well-learned. Standing him next to any of the listed candidates is unfair.

I turned off the TV before any results spilled in. Hillary Clinton was losing, had lost. I knew it the moment I woke up in the morning. A sudden dread had cast itself upon me. I read all the polls. Read all the blogs. Read tweets and interviews and political insights. Everyone—well, nearly everyone—all agreed, Hillary could take this election in a landslide.

Sleep reminded me to check my phone at 4:20 a.m. to see what I had already knew. The country had elected Donald Trump as its next leader. And while it seemed like a nightmare in the making, there was nothing I could do about it. Nothing anyone could do about it.

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As expected, the social media backlash was astounding. Names were called. People broke down on their Twitters (I was one of them). We called out Jill Stein and Gary Johnson as spoilers (which they were, but not enough to actually affect this election). People exclaimed that the Electoral College is an outdated system (an argument I’ve made several times in the past even when the vote was in my favor). Hillary, like Al Gore, won the popular vote while failing to secure the electoral one.

And now we play the blame-game, seeking out who is most at fault. The under educated? The Alt-right? Republicans for allowing this charade get out of hand?

I’m comfortable blaming the Alt-right for now. And maybe the Democrats. And the far-left liberals. Who knows?

Joke as I may about moving to New Zealand and starting a new life there, I will not abandon my country. And neither should you. This election was our Brexit. It is our monster and we must tame it before it continues to poison our waters. This isn’t just a Democrat problem, it’s everyone’s problem. And no, this country isn’t doomed. It may be in shambles, and it may get worse, but it isn’t over. It isn’t dead. It’s united by division. It’s our separate opinions that make us strong. Forgetting that will only make us weak.

So grieve, yes. Cry, sure. But don’t you dare give up. Don’t you dare stop keeping tabs on those who are in office. And don’t you dare forget to vote in two years during the mid-term election.

And for those of you whining and protesting about how the system is broke, letting your vote go to waste by not casting it like so many did last night—I have this to say to you: Grow the fuck up.