With Thanks, my countrymen, my loving friends

images

Back in 2009 I wrote a quick blog post that I titled, “Things I am thankful for”. Though some things have changed since I wrote it, I have to say these are things I am still grateful for.

2016 has been a rough year, both personally and socially. Once again I had to have heart surgery, and we’ve seen an election year that has brought out the worst in people. But upon reflection there is a lot to be thankful for.

I’m thankful that I work with a wonderful group of people who support each other and the community at large. As the support staff for state law-enforcement, it is our job to ensure that those whose job it is to keep our streets safe have the resources to do so. It is not always easy but the staff’s ability to maintain grace under pressure is something I am truly thankful for.

I am thankful for my core group of friends who offer love and laughter, even when times are tough. This has been a rough year for a few of my dearest friends; too many loved ones have been lost this year. Yet, through the year we have demonstrated what friendship really means by being there for each other. I cannot imagine what life would be like without these friends.

As we get ready to spend the day together I am thankful for my family. We may not always agree on politics, but we hold to our motto “family is everything” and keep to our common ground.

Being a rough year, I am thankful that 2016 saw the coming together of the Shakespeare community as we celebrated him, even if it was the anniversary of his death. I am thankful that between the Internet and broadcasting technology this was a year that saw a wide range of Shakespeare productions. I think I saw more plays this year than I did when I was studying him in college. I think many people share my thanks, as this is the year we saw Benedict Cumberbatch as Hamlet. That right there is enough reason to be thankful.

And, as contrived as this may sound, I am oh so very thankful to you who are reading this. I am thankful that modern technology has brought us together. You are among those I call friend. You have made me a better writer and in some cases, a more informed reader. We’ve come together for many reasons some being a passion for Shakespeare, a passion for reading other points of views or finding a voice we have learned to appreciate. But mostly we come together because we share the common need to reach out beyond our physical community and expand our circle further, in order to expand our minds. I am thankful for your blogs, your books, your comments and your friendship.

So even if you are not celebrating the American holiday of Thanksgiving, please know that you a large part of what I am thankful for, today and everyday.

With ‘Thanks, my countrymen, my loving friends. Richard II  William Shakespeare

Why I’m having a hard time processing what just happened

What I see is insanity. Whatever happened to humanity

Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Power of Equality

 

 

 

 

A few days before the election a friend and I chatted about the outcome. In an unfortunate, and utter disregard for those who have a lot to lose, I shrugged and said it didn’t matter who wins. I have come to regret that statement and worldview that formed it.

In the days following the election I did a lot of soul searching, and questioning of our American values. How did a self-professed billionaire with deep racist, and misogynistic views win the election? How could so many good people possibly think Trump was the answer to our economic and social problems? I asked a lot of questions of my friends and listened to their fears in order to make some sense of what the hell had just happened. And while I understand and empathize with many of the frustrations my fellow Americans feel, it has become increasing clear that a vote for Trump was a reaction to a personal angst, either towards his opponent or towards an injustice that they erroneously feel is the current leaders fault. And because of this, they played right into the hands of a man who lacks experience and the temperament to fix our problems.

I offer this piece, not as a platform to air my grievances, but as a way to make you, my Trump loving friend, understand why so many of us are shocked, sickened and scared over the election. As much as I want to understand your take on the state of our country I need you to understand my take on what you voted for and why so many people are still protesting the vote.

And while we are on the subject of protesting, may I kindly point out that your decry of the “whiny liberals” is mind-blowing, considering our country was founded on protest and violence; in fact many of the same feelings felt by today’s protesters were expressed by the colonists. The Boston Tea Party comes to mind. This was a protest that involved looting because a large group of people felt they were being taxed with out representation. Today’s we see people marching in the street in part, because they do not feel represented; keep in mind Clinton won the popular vote by over 1.5 million and counting. So spare me your outrage over the current protesters, they are only following the example of our founding fathers.

btp

But I get many of your other fears. Would you believe liberals and conservatives share many of the same views, we just see the answers differently. I have no problem saying this election was between two of the most flawed candidates we have seen in modern history. Hillary had far too much baggage (though, most it manufactured) while Trump cannot go a day without embarrassing himself, and now our country. I get too, that many of you feel the government in recent years has let you down and has done nothing to increase your way of life. Jobs are hard to come by and it seems that Wall Street has been given a free pass even after collapsing our economy. Your hope now is that Trump will correct our economic course and give you the opportunity to increase your financial situation. You also hope he will do something about crime and defeat ISIS. But, as much as this all sounds good, it is time to look at reality and come to terms with what just happened and how it will effect your life. I listened to you, now it’s time to listen to me.

One of your biggest fears centers on economics; the lack of jobs and who has them. I get this too. I am a product of the era of the middle class; when manufacturing jobs created economic growth and stability in our country. But, as some one with a degree in history and love for it, I know that this time was short lived. That before World War II there was no middle class to speak of, and that the ere many of you want back only lasted for roughly 30 years. To be sure, there were a lot of jobs created for the working class during the Industrial age, but these were not the types of jobs that led to millions of people being able to afford homes and or offered healthy retirement packages. These were labor intensive, often hazardous jobs that put food on the table, but little else. Let’s not forget this. What you are asking for is no longer possible, and was only possible due to special circumstances. We had just gotten out of a war and quickly became the leading manufacture of cars and technology.

We no longer hold that title. But I get it, you want the title back and Trump has promised it to you. But in reality, he cannot will this to happen, and even if he could force American businesses back to America, you wouldn’t want these jobs, as they are low paying and tedious. They will never allow you to increase your lifestyles. And if Trump doesn’t get them to come back he is talking about gutting our global trade deals. China has just come out and said if this happens, they will impose a tariff on us, which means Walmart will no longer be able to offer you goods at low, low prices.

But just for the fun of it, let’s imagine what would happen if Trump somehow forced or enticed American manufactures back to America, and let’s assume the wages were living wages (by the way, Trump is against a national minimum wage, so don’t think he is going to fight for your right to live beyond the poverty level). If tech manufacturers came back to America we would see an increase in consumer cost. Your smart phone and smart TV prices would double, and just like the first laborers who made cars and TVs, there is no guarantee you will be able to afford them. Besides, even if they did come back, technology is now replacing workers. As robotics becomes more and more advanced the only jobs available will be to a select few who have the know-how and engineering skills to keep the robotic machines working. It is big business, not the government that is taking jobs out of the human hand and putting it into technology. If the trucking industry gets its way, soon there will be driverless big rigs hauling goods across the country. This is all part of capitalism, something Trump is powerless to stop.

mi-cm998_coalwo_p_20151126173912

And speaking of jobs, Trump has said time and time again he is bringing back the coal industry, implying that the current administration shut it down. And while it is true a lot of restrictions went into place, thanks to wanting save the planet from mass extinction (thanks Obama!) it is not true Trump can jump start the coal industry. And if he could, is this a job you would want for your loved ones; dangerous and often life shortening jobs? Is this what he means by making American great again?

Coal is dead thanks to the innovations in natural gas extraction. Fracking and the discovery of deep gas pockets has made natural gas much more cheap to produce. It would take government incentives (corporate welfare) to get coal back on a level playing field with other types of energy. Here is a Forbs article on why Trump will never fulfill his promise. http://www.forbes.com/sites/rrapier/2016/03/18/whats-killing-the-coal-industry/ – 503740305281

My big fear with Trump in the White House is that trade with other countries will become a power struggle because of his ego. Trump says he is a good negotiator but we have no proof other than his word. But if his business record of four bankruptcies& multiple settled lawsuits are any indication of how well he does in business then I am afraid we will see a rise in consumer goods.

Speaking of rising prices, you know how you hate it that illegal workers are taking your jobs? Well, you might want to rethink your stance.

But first, let me ask, why are politicians like Trump decrying the illegal worker without once mentioning the guy who employs him? We have laws right now that if enforced would place economic hardships on those who either knowingly hire illegal workers, or refuse to do their due diligence to make sure they are not hiring documented workers. Why not focus on these people rather than make scapegoats out of people who come here in order to secure a better life? Let me be very clear, if American employers did not offer them jobs, the undocumented workers would not be here.

But let’s keep playing our game, shall we? If Trump somehow manages to deport millions of workers we will all pay for it,one way or the other. This is what the Wall Street Journal had to say about the loss of immigrants as agricultural workers.

Higher wages sound great, assuming enough Americans would pick berries and tomatoes. But they haven’t in the past. More likely is that many of these jobs would vanish as farmers grew less here, moved more production overseas, or shifted to crops that can be harvested with machines.

Government studies have shown that if wages were higher for the agricultural sector (it would if Americans had to do these jobs) produce prices would raise by 3%, which doesn’t sound like much, but if you are typical family that pays around $6000 a year on food, even a few hundred dollars could stretch your budget to the breaking point. And that is assuming we would find enough workers to pick our produce. But as the WSJ points out, the past shows us that Americans are very adverse to this type of backbreaking work. Instead we would see production move overseas, meaning we would pay more to import our produce. We have no idea how much this would increase our food prices or the quality of the food we get. As other countries shoulder the burden of feeding us (assuming they have the resources to do so) we will have no control over what pesticides or water they use to produce or food. To be sure the government could try to regulate certain products, but we would have no real idea what we are eating. If you think our historic outbreaks of e-coli and salmonella are bad, wait till we start eating fruits and vegetables from countries that don’t have agricultural restrictions in place.

cxgzascvqaa-clc

You said Hillary is a crook and used her influence as Secretary of State in order to secure money for the Clinton Foundation. The foundation by the way is a charitable organization. Trump on the other hand owns a company that has holdings world-wide. He says he will let his children run the business, rather than put it into a blind trust. In the last few days we’ve seen him and his daughter (who will run the company) meet with the leader of Japan. And, just this morning it has come out that Trump just met with some Indian business leaders. While the Trump team will not comment on the meeting, the Indian businessmen had plenty to say.

The three Indian executives — Sagar Chordia, Atul Chordia, and Kalpesh Mehtahave been quoted in Indian newspapers, including The Economic Times, as saying they have discussed expanding their partnership with the Trump Organization now that Mr. Trump is president-elect.

Sagar Chordia did not respond to a request for a telephone interview. But in a series of text messages with The New York Times early Sunday, he confirmed that the meeting with Mr. Trump and members of his family had taken place, and that an article written about it in the Indian newspaper, which reported that one of his partners said they had discussed the desire to expand the deals with the Trump family, was accurate.

Washington ethics lawyers said that a meeting with Indian real estate partners, regardless of what was discussed, raised conflict of interest questions for Mr. Trump, who could be perceived as using the presidency to advance his business interests. (New York Times)

Don’t think for a moment your newly elected president will not use his office for economic gain. He has shown us otherwise. Remember, this is a man who shrugged when talking about how many people lost their homes during the housing collapse and said, “Well it was good for my business”. What else is good for his business but bad for the country? I am afraid only time will tell.

These are just some of your economic fear, but as you can see, Trump cannot force business to bring back good paying jobs to America, but he can most certainly make our situation worse.

And speaking of making things worse.

Many of you have been led to believe that the Affordable Care act has been a complete disaster and by gutting it, Trump will replace it by something better. This sounds good except for the fact that his plan is no better (actually, he has no plan) and the Republican led congress really just wants to repeal it and let things go back to the way things were. This should scare the hell out of you. If this happens we will once see insurance companies refusing to insure those with “pre-existing conditions’, impose limits on how much they will pay your medical costs, and start charging higher prices for life saving medicine. We will once again see people forced into bankruptcy or homelessness because of the insurance industry. How soon we forget what it was like before the dreaded Obama Care act.

Oh and speaking of medical costs, thanks to your vote and those who voted in a Republican led congress, Paul Ryan may get his wish; Medicare as we know it may be a thing of the past. As someone who once worked in the insurance industry I have first hand knowledge about Medicare and how it keeps insurance prices low. Without Medicare in place, insurance rates will rise, as will all medial costs. Thanks to your vote, when many of us retire we not be able to afford insurance and find that even if we could, insurance companies will not have to insure us.

You also voted for someone who the KKK and White Nationalists endorsed. I don’t know what that says about you, but it speaks volumes as to why so many feel scared. I am not comfortable with a president with whom the KKK feels a kin to. I am pissed that you did not consider what this will mean for the nation as a whole.

I wonder what Jesus would think of this?
I wonder what Jesus would think of this?

I don’t get that as a Christian, you feel Trump, a self-professed billionaire and adulterer was your guy. Didn’t Jesus say; “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth” (Matthew 6:19). Jesus preached against materialism. How do you square this will what Jesus taught? Jesus also said to turn the other check, but Trump seems to think he said, “Turn in another Tweet”. Seriously, you just elected a man who spends more time on Twitter than he does reading about world affairs. We know this because the one complaint his team has, is that Trump is unwilling to sit down and learn or prep for anything.

Trump is a known liar. He lies about his taxes, he lies about what he says, he lies about other people, he lies about his business dealings, he lies so much I don’t know if he even knows the definition of word truth. Does a lying, money-loving adulterer really reflect your Christian values? He can’t, not if you are a true Christian.

In case you have forgotten. Here is a link to 101 lies told by Trump.

http://www.dailywire.com/news/4834/trumps-101-lies-hank-berrien

I could go on, but I this is now the longest post I’ve written yet. In short, I am scared because you elected a guy who does not have your best interest at heart. You elected a guy who ran on hate and division. A man who wants to round up citizens, a man who openly said he would engage in trade wars if needed and wonders why we don’t use nukes anymore and wonders why more countries don’t have them. A man who has no record of being charitable, or of helping anyone else improve their lives. As I write this Trump has been ordered to pay 25 million dollars to people who were scammed by Trump University. There are a couple of more lawsuits about the school pending.

Because of Trump we don’t know what the Supreme Court will look like in the coming years, or what they will do. Gay rights and women’s rights are no longer secure. Most of the country is unsure what will come next or if their rights will be protected. This is why people are protesting and why my friend, why I am having a hard time processing what just happened.