Tag Archives: rants

Pardon the Politics

My heart goes out to those victims of the recent Las Vegas shooting, as well as their friends and family. I’ve said a couple prayers when it has occurred to me to do so. Now normally I may hint at this or that as far as politics go, and in person I can often get frustrated with many things that happen in our government, but I want to try to address at least one of the things that has personally bothered me deeply.

First off, no disrespect, I am always willing to have a conversation about philosophy and government, I don’t hate people with dissenting views, if anything, I encourage these discussions to be civil and plentiful. This is how a democracy works, with open minds and willing compromise, learning, and engagement.

Okay, so following that bit about the shooting, until this tragedy occurred I had not known President Trump kind of quietly signed legislation that removed a policy President Obama had made close to the end of last year.  This law was making an effort to database people that are mentally ill to make it more difficult for them to buy guns. Notably gun advocacy groups and lobbyists such as the NRA are promoting their interests and philosophy and believe that mentally ill people have the right to buy guns just as much as the next guy.  Why? Why would you even want to consider that? Granted “mentally ill” is a broad term, but it isn’t as if anybody seeing a psychologist, psychiatrist, or some other doctor for treatment cannot own a gun.

Here’s the thing. I have legitimately met a person who refused to seek help for his mental illness because he was concerned about how it would impact his ability to own guns and conceal carry.  This should not be the culture at all. I have mental health issues and I would want to be prohibited from buying guns.  If I bought one in a manic state and suddenly dropped to one of my suicidal depressive states, I might not have been taking just me when I pulled that trigger. Now I’m healthy enough to be honest with myself and others.  There have been many points in my life, particularly when being bullied and treated like shit, that I fantasized about the sort of things I could do with guns to other people.  And that isn’t okay, the fact that an administration is willing to let us (people like me or some other significant mental health issue) legally buy these guns is awful.

I also have despised the rhetoric that both parties claim the other side is doing, but when you are rolling back legislation like that, it’s kind of hard to justify in my opinion and when your view is that it’s better to have bullets flying in both directions in the event of a mass shooting, it’s hard for me to respect your ideas, because at that point it seems more shady, something along the lines of quid pro quo more than actual interest in public safety.

One of the arguments I have heard from people when discussing gun control is that if a person can’t get it legally, then they can get it illegally, we might as well let the citizens within the law stand a chance against the ones outside of it. This also is strange rhetoric, I would not have the connections available to me to really buy a gun on impulse illegally, but it if it is as easy as walking the 2 blocks to that nearby gun store, that’s a different story whether someone wants to admit that or not. I’m not saying guns are bad, I’m saying stupid people and mentally ill people with guns have the potential to be bad and I think we need to develop a culture that addresses these things better. I wish laws could fix these things and they don’t always do that or it takes a while to see the effects, but if you are removing sensible legislation like this, how do you defend that?

If the rhetoric is allow these militarized guns to be owned and fired by private citizens in order to protect their homes. Where do we stop loosening gun control? Where do we stop justifying actions by saying it would be worse if people could only do certain actions illegally so make them legal.  Granted this is a unique example because many justify that their homes are safer if they can access guns, this same logic doesn’t apply to illegal drug trade or something similar.  Should people be able to get guns faster and easier? Maybe they don’t need to be registered right away, just in case they don’t like it and want to return it. Maybe they don’t need an in depth registration at all. Let’s just have serial numbers and someone’s address, if it’s used illegally they will dispose of the gun anyway, so why waste the time? See these arguments don’t really hold water. And that’s my point.

Maybe some homes are safer with guns in them, maybe some people just feel safer in their homes with guns in them. But me? I would be liability. Just a bad day away from death, and maybe not even just mine. But I guess I should be entitled to that right? I mean I could kill myself other ways, why not let me do it with a gun so I can have my second amendment rights. Anyway, long winded I know, but there is no justifiable reason to roll back such efforts to limit the access of weapons from the mentally ill.  And this isn’t about me being a democrat, there’s been plenty of smart gun legislation brought forward from Republicans too, including our last Republican President, President Bush.  I just think we need to legitimately pause and consider the actions and motivations of moves like this and this one hits very close to home for me.

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Why You Are Better Than Me

The author weaves a story with voices, both in out of the characters awareness. The narrator may bring much to the table, lest the characters exclusively take his role.

Even so, the character’s mind brings more to the scene than we might in our own. Are we the characters in our story? The heroes and champions of our novel like non-fiction? Or are we the writer, putting much of our heart into what happens, subtly manipulating events in hopes to achieve a goal. Do we reach that goal? Or perhaps our audience misunderstands and under-appreciates our efforts, instead casting their own ideas, blanketing all that we prepared. Or. Perhaps we ARE the audience, interacting with this entertaining display to reach our pleasures. Or, perhaps we feel the narrator is more in keeping with who we are someone else dictating our thoughts and impulses, feelings and motivations.

Maybe we like move around. I think people are fluid like that. But even so, when we change from author to audience, how much really changes? Don’t we have something characteristically “us”? Don’t we bring our own inescapable perceptions with us no matter the role?

I’m…. inadequate. I have an inferiority complex. I need to show others why I am smart, and then act humbled when I am complimented on my efforts, ideas, and results. I need that constant validation to remind me that I am who I want to be. I don’t look down on others, most of the time I truly feel that they are worth more than me. When I dissent with people, I am frustrated, but often relent, both because that feels the right thing to do and because they may have more value in this world than I.

An example: We have a very strong-willed and agitated neighbor. She has a couple of children, one of which is autistic. I don’t rightfully know the age of these children, but the autistic one seems to probably be around 3 years old. We ran into a huge confrontation with our neighbor, our yard was continuously being flooded. This was because the water would run in their yard directly from the faucet for hours at a time on occasion. It did not appear our neighbor was consistently watching her kids, seeming to rely on the older child to keep the younger one safe.

During our first confrontation with our neighbor, we did not know the child was autistic though we had suspicions he might have some sort of special needs because of the sounds he made while playing. Finally when we were enduring the immense flooding (our entire yard and spilled across to the opposite side into our driveway, hard to really explain, but it was an extreme amount, not just along the fence we shared) for the fifth time I think I politely asked whoever was out there to keep the water in their pool because our yard was being flooded. My glasses were off because I had just finished setting up a bed frame and was under it, I could not see who was out there clearly but I got a nod and thanked them. When I first started requesting the water be turned off, I had not reached the fence either and was instead assuming an adult was out there watching the child (at the time I also did not know there was another child). So I go inside and say to my fiance I am not sure if that was an adult or an older child, but the water was turned off and I felt relieved that a solution seemed to have been reached.

A few minutes later our neighbor, the adult one, walks up to the fence we share and starts shouting at us, and yes we are inside at this point. She yells about how dare we talk to her kids that way and how they can run water all the way to Japan if they would so like. My fiance went to confront her after enduring a few minutes of verbal abuse and the situation didn’t really improve. I freaked out because I felt like I did something wrong. “How dare I talk to her children. She’s right, I didn’t even CHECK for an adult first. Shit, I messed up.” My brain is stuttering trying to right itself, reminding me that I was extremely polite. “But I really messed up, fuck.” “No, children are just easily intimidated, I you remember being a child right?”

All this time of this panicking and mixed dialogue, my fiance is engaging this wrath. I finally realize that I need to go address and say something, anything. I can’t leave her out there. That’s also messed up. I go out and the first thing I say is an apology that falls apart because I start tensing up again. I try to explain I didn’t know an adult was out there. The situation de-escalates a smidge and we go inside finally. Following day, my lovely fiance delivers cookies and little plush cows, “mini moos”, from chick-fil-a. They seem to be accepted and so we feel our olive branch mended the situation.

Fast forward a couple weeks, the yard is flooded again. HUGE confrontation. Way worse than last time. At this point we are informed by the woman that her child is autistic and this is the only way he really seems to have fun. Although that information is disseminated quite violently and with a great deal of vulgarity. I somehow remained calm, I don’t know how, God gave me some sort of stillness in the moment. Our neighbor seemed to punctuate her insults and exclamations by pounding her hand on the brick wall. She insisted she was pregnant or she would be “beating the shit” out of my fiance. Also if my fiance’s man (that’s me) weren’t here, same thing. I keep trying to return to the issue of compromise. We don’t want to take her son’s playing in the water away, but she will interpret this conversation as nothing else. Amidst her rantings and screaming about how my fiance should be “fucked up the ass with no Vaseline” she laments that she doesn’t have the money to regularly take her kids to the pool.

Rationally I feel that was a deflection, because that water bill can’t be less than trips to the pool. My fiance storms off while I try to calm our neighbor down. But afterwards I felt like I still owed my neighbor something. Rationally I knew this not to be true. Anyway, to shorten the story, I bought summer passes to the city’s pools. $100 out of my pocket to give to this lady who may not even use them. But it brought me peace of mind. I felt I went out of my way to right a wrong, which didn’t even exist. We truly did no wrong. But also, it felt like I was called to do that, as Christian/good person sort of thing.

But in the end, I remind myself, she’s just a person, like me. I laugh about how my neighbor is crazy. And then internally chastise myself for saying (and thinking) that. We are all the same I force the idea on myself, sometimes more easily than others. We are all the same, except that I am a little less.

I am the author, not the hero, I have an active role in the story, but I have no glory. I merely aim to keep the character’s stories alive. I don’t like sad stories, but things often turn to sorrow. It’s the little details that I cherish and make it worth it, the ones that other characters don’t observe or understand. The intent behind the writing, the motivations, not the actions. I aim to fill my heart with goodness and love, and spread that to others. I find myself relying on the author more and more. It’s okay that the characters are better than me, I enjoy this part of life more often than not.

Accountability

Accountable is a positive word right? People like to hold someone accountable when the person takes on a responsibility or error. But so few like to be held accountable.  Something simple like that can make a large difference.

If I own up the blame and don’t deflect it, what am I compromising? The fear is of loss. We don’t like being held accountable because in the event of mistakes, we fear the worst, not the reasonable.  I’ve done a lot of jobs. I’ve seen a lot of pointing fingers and a lot of people never say “that’s my fault”. Even I avoided it when I felt intimidated.

But in the workplace we fear demotion, loss of respect, and even termination. Scary things, and there’s more than that too.  But people hear me more often than not approach them with two things in mind. Honesty and integrity. I’m in sales now and my trainer more or less wants me to hide things. Some call it lie by omission. For me if it’s relevant, I will bring it into play. No job will compromise my integrity. If you tell me to have integrity and honesty as part of our cultural values, you better be ready when I call you out for not doing it.

In the job area, when I have made a mistake and fessed up or even volunteered info before it was discovered, I’ve never been rewarded, but honestly the largest reprimand I’ve ever had is being told to fix it, and chances are I already have or have a plan to. But then I work for a company (previously) where I wear a name badge and on the back is our culture statement, our values. And when we screwed over our customers (and boy how we did) I became a customer advocate over whatever they actually wanted me to be. And I would challenge them. I would tell them how our integrity shouldn’t be compromised or at least not touted as a value when no one values it. That’s when I got face to face chats about how we do screw people over, but that’s “above their head” and to be fair a lot of it was. But they were still taught and programmed to try to divert me from calling them out on not following company values, so I should hold them accountable. But just face to face chats, no email or instant messenger trail, that might be dangerous.

Maybe that’s why we won’t be accountable. It’s a thing people say they value, but then don’t embody themselves. We all like to hold others accountable, but not be held ourselves. I know I frequently get complimented by those observing my accountability. Whether it’s the customers I help or the observers of such. But no one above you ever thanks you, they just tell you to be. I’m frustrated and philosophical tonight. I want to be the change I want in the world. But I also know that our cultural values as a whole are headed in the opposite direction.