Some thoughts on this year

I don’t think I even need to do much talking about 2016 except for thank fuck it’s over and done.

On one hand, I’ve seen a lot of people arguing how it’s really not that relevant anyway and it’s not changing anything – I beg to differ. It’s all about the mindset, and while I don’t buy into the “think up your own reality” a la Rhonda Byrne and The Secret, I am very much a supporter of the thought that at least 1/2 of the possibility of success depends on the attitude a person has in approaching the goal. And hope counts for a lot!! of things.

You can’t expect humans to not be human. Hope, cycle, ritual, and motivation are all very human things. So seriously, can you just please STFU about how “it won’t make a difference because calendar and whatever”? Seriously. STFU. It may not matter to you, but to a lot more people, it does.

My friend Andrew brought up a question: What’s worse, false hope or no hope at all? The answer is thus: having no hope is infinitely worse because it drains the person to a hollow shell. False hope, however false it is, is still a motivator. No hope has the polar opposite effect.

Motivation is something we are going to need.

In 2016, we lost a lot of our favorite cultural icons. Carrie Fisher, whom we knew best as Princess Leia, and her mom, Debbie Reynolds, whom every child who has ever seen Charlotte’s Web will recognize by voice, died within a day of one another. And Prince. David Bowie. And Alan Rickman, our beloved Alan Rickman. And on and on… and it was a deeply wounding experience. Like it as not, we will always mourn our icons, because they helped us learn more about ourselves as people and about the world through their art. But they have left us, and left us with…

…well, having to face a President Donald Trump.

These words were typed with the worst contempt I can feel towards a person. This election has been a prime illustration of the child being put in charge of the nursery. The metaphor is even more apt if you consider that his Twitter tirades all show the basic manners and maturity of a toddler; if you think any part of what he’s doing is “presidential”, then I question your own maturity. Sorry and not sorry.

Unless Congress’s Hail Mary attempt today pays off, we’re looking at having this lousy excuse for a human being sworn in on January 20th, and ladies and gents, that motivation I was talking about? This is where we are going to need it. Because unless we are ready for a long and exhaustive battle, there’s no telling just what sort of damage we are going to have to undo down the line.

Already, they’re talking about repealing the ACA and in the same breath, defunding PP (more on that later). Already also, the coal miners who now have insurance thanks to ACA for their pre-existing black lung are now waking up and realizing that hey, the “Obamacare” they were brainwashed to hate is actually something they benefit from! They’re all going to be kicked off their insurance! So now they’re all gung-ho against it because it never once occurred to them that the ACA that they benefit from and Obamacare are the same damn law.

Mitch McConnell deserves a new title: chief hypocrite. After years of proudly blocking every Supreme Court nominee that Pres. Obama put up for approval, he actually turned around and said that the American people wouldn’t stand for such obstruction as the Democrats blocking the GOP nominees. I guess McConnell has no idea where hypocrisy or irony are in the dictionary, never mind being completely unaware that his picture is next to both as an example.

Yes, it’s a false hope that Trump will be ousted, even though constitutionally, there’s ample grounds for his impeachment  already. But it’s hope enough to motivate everyone to fight back against this bullshit excuse of an “administration”.

What amuses me, and by “amuse” I mean “dishearten”, is the talk about the how the Dems and the liberals need to be more “understanding”. Wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong some more. The liberals already understand the rural white America. It’s rural white America that insists on clinging to the middle of the 20th Century when the world at large is well past ready to dive into the 21st.  We know what motivates them to feel as they do – they do not want to even stop to think about changing where they are. Their rules and laws are rigid to the point of where there are more than a few similarities with cult mentality.

The “coastal elites”, or basically, anyone who either got out of the rural white America or left the mentality of rural white America, already see and understand it. What we are seeing is an entire swathe of the country not seeing the forest through the trees. They don’t embrace any change even though that change just might give them what they really need: employment, education, independence. If it means they cling to their glory days, people are prepared to bury their heads and play the ostrich, grossly unaware – or unwilling to acknowledge – that their arses are still exposed, and in a much better position for reality to kick it.

The real problem, honestly, is education – or better yet, lack thereof, and lack of people being taught to think critically. This is what we get when we encourage children to pick on the nerdy kids at recess – and to note, not punishing them does count as encouragement. This is the direct result of people using intelligence as an insult, or as a demerit. I’ve heard, often, the question of “Why do I have to learn algebra if I’m never going to use it?” – because it teaches you to think, if you actually pay attention to the material. There’s a reason it’s taught in schools since the dawn of math education, and if one is just not able to grasp the material, or the concept behind the material, how’s it the fault of the material itself? Algebra, like critical thinking, didn’t do anything to the person who’s unable to grasp either of the two.

After a certain point, the understanding and the compassion just plain run out, and we all collectively say, “You made the bed, now go lie down in it”. That’s more or less where I am right now. That’s where a lot of us are right now in regards to politics and in regards to everyone who’s voted for this guy and is slowly waking up to the reality that they’ve gotten conned. You’ve done it – and you’ve done it to yourselves. You’ve shot yourself with the foot, and only now are realizing that you’ve packed buckshot in that instead of a measly little nine-mil. The problem is, you’re taking the rest of the people around you as you go crashing to the floor, and that right there I have a problem with. If you make a decision, etc. – that’s fine. What’s not fine is when your choices have an effect on the innocent bystanders. And unlike whatever you believe, no, you don’t get to escape the “I told you so” when your choices backfire on you after people warned you it would. Action = consequence.

Just right now, as I’m writing this post, guess who’s really paying for the Mexican wall: the US taxpayer. The rich still get a tax cut. The rest of us pay up, regardless of whether or not we can afford to. And we all knew it was going to go that way – but who listened to us?

As we’re heading into this year, I can’t say it’s going to be all rosy. We entered this year just relieved that the Grim Reaper put the scythe away for a moment. But now that the mourning reprieve is over, we have to stand up, square our shoulders, tip up our chins, and go to battle. This isn’t the time to get complacent.

Personally speaking – I am glad for the new year to be here, because it gives me the opportunity to take a deep breath, reassess, and prioritize. And there’s ample room for new adventures, which means that I can, once again, consider a trip outside the country. Mallorca is calling. Maybe Algarve – for the jazz festivals. Hell, maybe even Rio de Janeiro because why. the. hell. not.

It’s a personal thing for me; there’s a saying I’ve grown up with that I’ve shared here a few times: how you start a year is how you’ll live it. I started it with music and telling the previous year to firmly fuck itself with a double NY Salute. I’d like to think that, if not as great as some recent years have been (prior to 2015-16), I would at least have a half decent turn at this one.

At least I may grow some basil this summer. Tasty bruschetta.