Bernie’s revolution will continue without him

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After having a good, active day today, I heat up a lentil and vegetable soup and have a couple beers. I browse my news feed to find Bernie Sanders giving a speech in Washington D.C. as well as the white house.

As of today, 10/June/2016, Sydney time, Hilary Clinton is the presumptive party nominee. And President Obama, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Vice President Joe Biden have endorsed her. Naturally this leaves a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth.

I am an unabashed Bernie Sanders supporter. Every issue his campaign is built on is my opinion on the issue. He is a candidate for the optimist. In his speech he reflected on his historical campaign. His campaign was the largest ever funded by single donations. It was paid for by the people, not the million or billion dollar companies.

Bernie Sander’s platform is built entirely to help out the average little guy–on the fundamental problems that hurt the common man from getting ahead. Growing up we often lived paycheck to paycheck, without healthcare for long stretches of time.

Now save for a morbid turn of events, the only way Bernie Sanders will become President is by the grace of persuading super delegates to change their votes to him instead of Clinton

Naturally I think they definitely should vote for him. I truly believe he is what will be best for the country going forward. Maybe they’ll see that–however unlikely.

I will vote for Hilary Clinton if it comes to that. For me she inspires no great cause. No major quest than the quenching of a madman out for his ego apposing her.

*Above was a draft that never made it to post–it remains as it was then. I’ll finish it with an update below.*

It’s now February and this is long been resolved…to a degree. The madman got his ego stroked to the highest office of my nation. I did what I could. I voted for Hilary Clinton from the other side of the world. And a democratic congressmen and senator. Unfortunately only my senator was elected. We got clobbered. But it doesn’t end here.

After the devastation, the resolve mustered. As Bill Maher has said ‘We are still here.’ The revolution Bernie started is going forward, full steam ahead. It’s been heartening to see protests and marches in response to this regression. It seems like liberals and progressives finally have a Tea Party. Hopefully this fervor has longevity.

I was never a Hilary supporter. To a much lesser degree, I was in line of the general criticisms of her. Besides that email scandal–that was just a ridiculous distraction that didn’t amount to anything. We expected her to perform perfectly and she pretty much did. Her opponent was, for some reason, allowed to stumble in like a buffoon and people rewarded him for it.

I still stand by my support for Bernie Sanders but Hilary Clinton deserved better from us. I think she would have made an alright president, at the least. She could have been pulled to the left more. More reasonable, more stable, less, if any, embarrassment. It would have been a much better situation than what is happening now. I have empathized with her and it must have been truly difficult for what she had to do. If anyone can go through such opposition and criticism and keep their sanity I admire them for that.

I don’t think by any stretch she deserved the amount of hate she got but that’s how it went. I’m intrigued by politics and her enough to want to read her biography eventually. I’m sure I’ll have a much better understanding at that point. I hope she doesn’t run again, just because I don’t see her winning a race pretty much ever. But I thank her for what she’s done, wish her well and hope she finds some peace from the chaos she’d had to endure.

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Rejuvenation, Resolution, Revolution

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Extraordinary events occurred in 2016–2017 seems hellbent on following it into the toilet. Events which I am diametrically in opposition to. This world is taking the eerily uncanny step towards the Orwellian dystopia described in the book 1984. This step comes on the legs of alt-right movements across the globe. I feel it is a moral duty to do all I can to stand up and stop this catastrophe from solidifying in earnest.

I will make no qualms about my opinions as I write more and more. As they are informed by and change according to the evidence, logic, reason, science and truth. Being a philosophy major, I am primarily a truth-seeker, before anything else. Truth. Real, flesh and blood, truth. This word still means something to me. It means a lot to me. And if it means something to you, take this to heart–the death of truth will lead to the death of us all.

I feel truth is my largest political issue. Defending it now is more important than ever before. I will forever be an enemy of actions taken due to prejudices, irrationality, fear, and incompetence; these qualities in positions of power will cause the deaths of people subject to them. Instead we must demand and support candidates who exemplify the qualities of skepticism, humility, and gravitas.Since they seem to be in short supply, we must seek them out or become them ourselves.

As an American living abroad, I have been dismayed with how our political parties have been representing themselves; lacking these important qualities and often basic authenticity and integrity. I admit to feeling helpless at times, being so distant and watching my home country come undone at the seams. Nationalism had never been very strong in my personality but seeing Donald Trump sign executive orders made me realize the reverence I feel for the oval office. His mere presence there feels akin to the destruction of the Library of Alexandria personified.

We can no longer hold back and let ‘Alternative Facts’ hold any sway in our national or global discourse. It is my hope that truth prevails. The truth of Climate Change is the most important truth of our age. It is the largest threat to any nation’s security and well-being. This is it. This moment. It’s now or never. If Climate Change isn’t fought tooth and nail on an individual to global scale–it will end us. I’m not ready to give up. The best way I am fighting this is by living a vegan lifestyle as animal agriculture is the leading cause of climate change. I urge you to watch the documentary Cowspiracy on Netflix. And commit to the most important action you can take against climate change by adopting a vegan lifestyle for the all animals (including humans), and their future vitality, on this planet.

My other major, outrageous problem in the world is income inequality. The 85 richest people in the world have as much wealth as the 3.5 billion poorest. That is completely INSANE to me! We need to hold the rich accountable. Them having it all is causing immense suffering all over the world. When it all comes to a head,  I’m sure they’ll repeat the infamous words ‘Let them eat cake.’ I will repeatedly state that I care not for the woes of an excessively rich person. As the pockets of the richest individuals deepen so to does the suffering on this planet.

There are so many issues and topics to explore. Kindness instead of hate. Falsehoods to rebuke. Moral failings to change into proud moments of moral action. The goal is simple. Progress instead of regress. It is a hard path to walk. But it is the right one and at this exceedingly precarious point in our history…it’s the only path remaining.

Ramblings on Embarrassment -Writing Prompt #3

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The Daily Post’s Writing Prompt- Embarrassing 


I’ve never had a truly horrific embarrassing moment. I’m just reflecting trying to think of one. But the evidence that I have to think about it says I didn’t have a terrible incident. Least none that have shocked me to my core.

In second grade I think I peed my pants while going through the lunch line. Obviously embarrassing but I don’t recall scars of torment from other kids.

There’s always the potential embarrassment when you see someone reveal their inner imperfect-self through an accident of some sort, when we’re suppose to give a facade of perfection.

Just this evening while chit-chatting to pass time with the man cooking my spicy potato roti, I saw a lady with a kart tip her tote boxes off the side.

I hear the breaking glass and saw the broken clear plastic. Her face was more red then the wine pooling on the cerement. I felt for her. To help her through the moment best I decided to not give her my attention, as another passerby was already helping her clean up.

This anguish is common. We try to act normal and sane in front of a crowd or an individual and if something goes awry we blush, stay still and quiet. I try to be accommodating and help people through the embarrassment.

Coincidentally this can also be rather adorable when a women’s demure presents itself. In a nervous chuckle, red cheeks, small grins followed by looking away. Always brings a smile to my face.

Being Connected-Writing Prompt #2

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The Daily Post’s Writing prompt of the day.


And another lazy day passes. With a stretch and a sip of tepid water, waking with the sun this morning I was at odds with myself yet again. A drowsy mind that just wants to waste hours on my phone, than do something productive like writing, preparing healthy meals, or exercise. Not that I’d describe it as a permanent state of war within myself, it’s more like an insidious disconnection.

What a conundrum to be in … I have to have a giant will to be productive. I have to fight myself to read. I have to fight myself to play video games.  And these are things I like to do.

For the moment, the solution I can see is becoming connected with what life I want to be  living. It must be a constant reminder for me unti a habit forms. As living in the now, or moment, has a lot of wisdom but it can also distract from strategy that forms my future.

Being connected starts internally. This yields decisiveness. And without that, nothing, good or ill, ever goes forward.

Her Smooth Skin – Writing Prompt #1

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The Daily Post’s writing prompt of the day.


Smooth. My first thought to this was the feeling a woman’s soft, smooth skin. I’m not exactly sure what that means. I know it’s one of the first things I think about with a new potential partner.

I daydream about getting to feel her vibe–not just her skin. The harmless musings of yet another hopeless romantic.

I’m happy with myself that it is something I care and daydream about. It’s nice moment. For me it’s about the little things like that. A gentle squeeze of my hand. The adorable little sneeze a girl can do. Captivating eyes looking into mine.

If I linger on it long enough I start to get lonely. But also hopeful I guess. Hopeful for life to happen when I least expect it. A chance to sweep an amazing girl off her feet.

I Want It!

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The demanding words we all utter. It is the fourth cup of coffee on the other groggy morning that week. The extra veggies, black beans and guacamole on a burrito bowl. *drool* Or that mammoth of a computer we’ve been dying to have for years now. *drooling intensifies*

Consume. Consume. Consume. The guttural grunts of an insatiable monstrosity. It dominates and devours, finding only temporary satisfaction. Forever doomed to drone on to the next vain attempt at fulfillment.

The allure of an intriguing book or game is all too salivating to pass up. *Caah Ching* And what little money I have goes away, in small, harmless spurts of innocence.
This leads to nothing more than a shelf full of unread books,  a backlog of games that would make the most seasoned of players cringe merely adding up to an empty wallet.

‘I may as well get it now.’ The trickery. ‘I’ll read this later.’ The folly. ‘It’s like five dollars’ Ha, oh past me. The nerve of you for thinking such things.

Intellectually I know all the graphically endowed games that I could play won’t ever bring me true lasting happiness … but I still want them. In a way the idea of fun is more fun  than actually having fun. If I were a stereotypical old lady this would be my sewing, crocheting and bargain escapades at yard sales. I just go out and make a day of it.

I don’t think it’s wrong of me to want to play DOOM or Total War: Warhammer, which would melt my current laptop .Getting that large almond latte, over a lovely conversation, can be a real boon to a crappy day. The issue lies in the normality of wanting. The insidious pattern that develops.

The only weapon I can muster is vigilance. An awareness, by its definition, removes the mindlessness of incessant wanting; to pick and choose correctly. Maybe one new book/game for every two I complete – What a thing to master, right?

A Struggle for Modern Masculinity

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This has dominated my thoughts the past few months. I’ve been wrestling with the big questions…‘What does it mean to be a masculine?’ What does it mean to be a man in our modern world?’ Naturally, these questions arose from wanting to date and understand women better, but I’ve really started to live in my masculinity instead.

I call myself a feminist; it’s a given to me that women should be treated equally under the law in society. Society, the unsexy logistics of gender neutral society. But in dating the very thing that attracts me to a women is her femininity, not her neutrality. And I’m willing to wager a woman wouldn’t be attracted by me acting neutral either.

Growing up with two sisters and my mother most of the time, thanks to my dad travelling for work, I feel I grew up in my feminine not masculine. Not that I was raised poorly or anything, in reflection this just seems to have played a part in this masculine murkiness of dating I’ve had. Though my father is the pure embodiment of masculine I was not offered lessons on how to act from my own masculine core. So I often felt an imbalance of not acting on my masculine.
Once I got to high school, most of my peers were dating. Time after time I struck out. Never getting anywhere. I resigned myself as being terrible with women, that dating was something you’re born with and I just don’t have it. I gave up and just hoped to fall into a relationship one day…which of course never happen. Years went by with nothing but it did however happen for me when I decided to take masculine action.
I’ve taken action for the first time in my life to put myself out there and go after the things I want. It’s masculine to ask the girl out.  That’s why they want us to ‘make the first move’.
It’s like saying ‘I’m going this way, I want you to come with me.’ Instead of ‘oh I’ve been nice and maybe you’d think about letting me go with you.’  It’s simple confidence versus cowardice. Having the resolve and integrity to choose a path, even though I might fail – will likely fail anyway – and stick with it and fail with some personal flair, get back up and do it all over again.
Masculinity is having the fortitude to participate, despite not being good, and giving it your best shot. To own the shit out of who I am and embody it everywhere I go. The ability to take the reins of a situation and guide myself and others through to safety. To have a clear path, and not let anyone talk you out of it, because you know what’s right and what’s wrong.

This has been difficult to conceptualise, let alone put into words. The truth is that I am likely not the only modern man who is unsure of how to act from his masculine or to even question its relevance anymore. I’m likely wrong or off about something…or a few things. I showed up though, I’m having the conversation. I feel it is bold to ask these questions and demand answers for them. What are your answers?

The answers to simplify masculinity into something practical for us guys. It would benefit us immeasurably, as well as the women we pursue.

*Disclaimer. This article originally appeared in the Tertangala and has been republished with full permission.

Discipline

‘Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy.’ ~Lao Tzu

This blog was meant to have been filled up with posts by now. That’s how it always has gone with me. With a clear, glossy picture in my mind of some beautiful thing I want to achieve; I set out, chin held high and dive into it. After a time I lose that drive, the motivation is drained from me. I fizzle out.I suppose this is normal to some degree. But not like this. This isn’t quitting so much as losing purpose. It is forgetting why I started.  

I’ve lamented in the past, and I’ve been lost in my fantasies of the future. Now is the time to be accountable. When the real action must be done at this moment. Not someday, today…everyday.

I’ve had this ever-present struggle, this conflict between idealism verses pragmatism. In other words I’ve had the interesting ideas, or queries if you will, but not always fulfilled into the action that follows those initial thoughts.

The goal is to act with purpose instead of constantly overthinking. I found I have not been conducting myself in the way I wish. To act effectively on my values.  I want to be the best version of myself. To be whole. To be authentic. To make the thought with action.

I will prove to myself I can be competent. Discipline is what I need. I’ve started a personal development journey. I am done being the old version of me, who reads half a book. Who didn’t keep his word when it meant a lot. I will strive to find, and embody, the values I care about. To choose the wholesome meal and remove the fluff.

It won’t be easy but it’ll be worth it.

Why I do Philosophy?

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‘I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think.’ ~ Socrates

I always had certainty. In what was and what was not. How it should be. How it should not be. I was determined and sure of myself. I just knew I was right. That’s how I was…until I came to learn philosophy. And ended up making it my major. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard, ‘What can you do with a philosophy degree?’. Or seen someone conveying a literal or figurative rolling of their eyes at a Bachelor of Arts. Well,  it’s not a trade. I’m not going to have a typical job, producing a generic consumer product. It doesn’t lead me into a specific job, so it’s not clear what I’ll obtain. Generic is not what I want from life. Money is not the most important thing to me. The ‘product’ of philosophy is ideas and teaching people to think better. I follow my passions. And they’ve done well for me so far. I once had the plan of working towards being a history teacher; with no doubts. As I’ve learned it’s important to have confidence in yourself, but not excessive confidence. Philosophy has taught me doubt, and doubt is humble. An invaluable lesson. that I will always cherish.

I had a spot to fill in my schedule, at community college in mid 2011, and was given a choice between philosophy or psychology. I knew Socrates was a philosopher in ancient Athens, one of my favorite historical periods, so I figured it would supplement my history degree. But I was completely blown away by the information I was exposed to in that Intro to Philosophy Class. Nothing teaches you such profound lessons like philosophy does. The Meditations of Rene Decartes, the writings of Bertrand Russell on Realism versus George Berkeley’s Idealism, the dynamic between the two main ethical theories, of John Stuart Mill’s Consequentialism  and Immanuel Kant’s Deontology discussing how to make the right decision. What is right? Why is right good? How do we determine what is good? These and other examples made me think like I never had before. Suddenly the definitive sureness of nearly everything I had known, was drawn into question.  What’s really true? How do we know what’s true? What is true? Such simple, deep and beautiful questions.

philosophy-LRG

I do philosophy because it is evocative, innately meaningful and valuable. It makes you think, begs you to question and, at least with me, awakens an urge to know the answer. As my first handout, I was given on day one, says ‘Philosophy is the rational attempt to formulate, understand and answer fundamental human questions.’ At one time or another, in all of our lives, we ask such questions. It is an intrinsic part of the human condition. I’d consider my life a good one if I could spend it in discussions and helping others analyse such questions and ideas, cultivating our minds. Just enjoying the ability to do so. Studying these ideas has helped me clear my mind of contradictory beliefs, as well as remove those I’ve determined to be wrong. It has bolstered the positions and opinions I still hold. It has lowered my defenses by being open to alternatives and has taught me to empathise. To see an issue from two points of view; knowing full well that I could be wrong in any belief I hold. In other words; it has reined in my arrogance by teaching humility. That is the ideal, and I have far from mastered it in all areas. Yet overall, philosophy has changed who I am for the better and continuing to learn as much of it as I can will only make me an even better person. I am eternally grateful for having such a valuable path to learn and evaluate information as well as the profound effect it has had on me. I highly recommend philosophy to everyone; it can supplement anyone’s life and education immensely.

Why Do I Write?

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As a kid, everyone knew what they wanted to be when they grew up. Once we arrive at university though, the general consensus seems to be that no one has any idea what they want to be. Any job you end up doing is helping at least one another person in some way. Choosing a job is deciding how you can help others in the best, most enjoyable way. We all work together. For each other. And can find meaning in that. So naturally I feel like writing will be the most enjoyable way for me to help others…but why? It is the catalyst to voice my thoughts and ideas. It allows me to communicate and engage with others, as well as potentially entertain. Speaking of entertainment, I usually think in movie and TV show quotes. And this is one, from Picard on Star Trek, is what I have used to choose a job path that I’ll enjoy.

‘We work to better ourselves and the whole of humanity’.

Idealistic I know, that’s a general tone I have. So I’ve thought of this quote as a guide. My issue has been that I have too many ideas. I want to be a writer, a filmmaker, an astronomer, a teacher, a journalist, an editor, a philosopher, a politician, a policy writer, work for the United Nations, a member of an international charity, a chef, a public speaker, an activist.  How best can I better myself and the whole of humanity? All these options and one life to live. Despite this existential crisis, the days keep going and we choose one or the other for a myriad of reasons. As I’ve recently learned, some focus goes a long way. By choosing to write, I am focused. And in a sense I am choosing all of them, by being able to write about anything I want, by putting words to a page.

Writing (as well as reading and watching) stories allows me to create and experience the fantasy of living another life. To imagine and play in a life that I won’t be able to live; just as we did as kids. This is why writing has come to the front of my interests. Writing is so open ended, so many opportunities to explore and engage every topic and interest; be them frivolous or serious. Doing so is rewarding and therapeutic to me. Even if no one reads my personal journal it helps me condense and collect my thoughts. Not to mention with every piece of writing I do I get a little bit better at it. It improves me, and I hope others can benefit in some way from my writings as well.

Simply put I write because it can be what I need it to be.