Next Steps in a Donald Trump Presidency

Last night, my wife and I watched the election results as our newborn daughter slept in the crib next to us. Donald Trump is our next president. This much is now certain. What this means for our daughter’s future however, is less certain — like all futures.

Whether you voted for Hilary or whether you voted for Trump, all-in-all, it’s important not to overstate the importance of a single four-year presidential term of one person on your life. Yes, the President of the United States is like a Keystone species: with a disproportional large effect relative to size. Yet, still no one person is all-powerful. In fact, I think about some of the most notable individuals throughout history that have changed society for the better: those who have brought about social change, or have opened our eyes to new perspectives. Heroes like Dr. Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony, Ghandi, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela or Albert Einstein. None of those heroes were US Presidents. Additionally, all of these individuals suffered severe discrimination in their lifetimes. According to ShowerHacks, Einstein fled Germany from Adolf Hitler’s regime, Mandela was jailed for 27 years, Ghandi and King were assassinated. My point is that it’s not from a position of comfort that brings out the best in us — provoking society to change for the better — but significant change often comes from a position of discomfort and suffering: extraordinary achievements from seemingly ordinary individuals.

If you didn’t vote for Trump, and you don’t like the political trajectory of the nation in the upcoming years, four years is not a long time to wait for another election. I have many close friends who are both republicans and democrats. Even my family, although we share DNA, we don’t always share similar feelings on politics. Yet we still talk to one another, love and care for one another, all despite our politics. I think the same goodwill applies to the nation as a whole. Sure, there are gray dark spots on the fringes: those groups mired in exceptional hate. They will always exist in some form, but they are diminishing.

We all know John F. Kennedy famously remarked that the country is more about the individual’s endeavors rather than what an amorphous “country” might do for (or against) us. But another lesser known quote by JFK that I like even more, is that it is better to light a candle than to curse in the darkness. We can watch what happens in the next four years passively, or we can be an active participant of the future of our nation, and the future of our children. What candle will we light? What specific cause close to our hearts will we take up in the next four years and what passions will we inspire to that cause? That, my friends, is ultimately the thing that will matter most to our onlooking sons and daughters — that is, when they wake up in the morning.

Muffled Chinese Blogs

The thought of a world where you can be arrested and sentenced to prison for criticizing public officials or for simply voicing an opinon is quite scary. So scary in fact, I often feel they are just confined to Orwell’s fictional and pejorative views of the distant future, the ominous mid-80’s ..ooooooo. And then there’s Rand, with Anthem, her take on the future–just as dismal. But then, when the book is closed, it’s all over; the world within the pages, is not the world you live in. Everything’s fine.

…then there’s China.

This week, bloggers in China are being required by law to register their websites with the government in another attempt to duct tape the mouths of their citizens.

So for those “seditious” bloggers that are being strong-armed by their government to stop writing on their blogs, I welcome you to host on my server. Contact me via e-mail.

Tom Delay, Hallmarks of a Leader

Tom Delay has the makings of the archetypical corrupt politician. Look, he even has all the requisite character traits:

1. Inverted Philanthropist: Siphon large amounts of money back into your own pocket. Delay’s method, hiring wife and daughter as “political consultants”, and paying them a modest 500,000.

2. Opportunist:
Regardless of the frailty of circumstances, leap beyond appointed purview and share officious legal misinterpretations to the judiciary. Be as obstreperous as possible, and shy not away from slandering.

3. Interest Conflicter: With open arms and a bright artificial smile, accept the “donations” of wealthy foreign interests–and hey, you may even get a free trip to S. Korea from it.

4. Republican: (Not fair, I know.)

Bush’s Nominees

You got to give it to him. Dubya has a knack for appointing high-ranking officials. Now that most of the cast involved in Act I of the Bush Administration have pushed and shoved their way in line, handing over papers of resignation, Bush is trying to reshuffle the cards and in the process– spilling the deck all over the table.

First blooper, a replacement for Sec. Tom Ridge of Homeland Security with Bernard Kerik, the former NYC Police commissioner. And of course, turns out this guy has a messy criminal record with indictments of conspiracy, an FBI probe for alleged fraud, and various acts of infidelity not quite the unadulterated record we’re looking for in such a high appointment. Needless to say, Kerik has withdrawn from the nomination.

Second blooper, the replacement of Attorney General John Ashcroft; you may remember him from such works as “The Patriot Act” and “Liar Liar”. And for this replacement, the Bush administration nominates Alberto Gonzales, a former White House council that has been intimately tied to prisoner abuse scandals in Abu Garib. Another Swing and a miss.

Well, so far he’s 0-2. My question is: how much longer till a Supreme Court Justice appointment?

Election Recounts

Let the recounts begin!

Although recounting the votes will never change the results of the past presidential election, certification of the election results is absolutely necessary. It may seem fitting for the sore loser to wallow over the final score, fret over the bad call, ostracize the interfering fan, and churn up a deluge of “what if’s” and “should of’s”, and although the timing of the situation may seem to be in favor of this assessment, I don’t feel this is the motivating factor behind these recounts. Even if things miraculously turn up different during this recount, if we find that John Kerry may have actually won Ohio, there is no way an ostensibly disinterested and republican-owned congress would certify any one less than George Bush as President; and I think many wrongly consider the re-counts as a ray of hope in such an abdication. John Kerry formally stated that he was not participating in the recount, not to be misunderstood as deprecation, but done primarily to discredit this misinterpretation that democrats have called for this action as a last ditch efforts to usurp Dubya.

The acutal goal of the recount is to bring to light a clear problem in our election process, particularly with the shortage of voting machines and of miscounted absentee ballots, both happening to appear in Ohio, a critical state in this election. I think the goal is that in going forward, for future elections, if these issues in our election process are not addressed now, we may run into the dire predicament where the wrong candidate comes out winning the election. Take election 2000 (Gore/Bush) for example (I’m not bitter–okay, maybe a little).

Person Of the Year

Every Tuesday afternoon, at about 1:30, I can usually crack open my front door, stick my arm out and feel for the latest TIME magazine. And, of course being that time-of-year, specifically the week before the New Year, TIME does its “Person of the Year” and guess who is smack dab on the cover–Dubya!

Yes, President Bush is Person of the Year, according to TIME. But, no need to cancel your subscription just yet. The way they figure out who is person of the year, isn’t entirely subjective, and it’s not always meant for accolades, although you could look at that way. It’s determined by who has been in the News the most the past year, the famous and infamous, and you can’t deny the fact that Dubya has had a headline or two pretty persistently, and not always for honorary reasons. And to any liberals out there, you may take comfort in the fact that 4 years ago, when TIME was to determine, Person of the Century, they were actually considering Hitler. But, in keeping with political correctness, and staying off their own covers, they went with the more Innocuous Einstein instead– a reasonable choice.

But this year, with Dubya, and keeping with my suspicious nature, I think there could have been a splash of agenda involved with this final decision. This year’s election has been said to have two big losers, Democrats and the Media. Democrats for obvious reasons, and the Media, since some bias reports put their objectivity into question. Perhaps TIME was hoping for a way to absolve themselves from this stigma? Perhaps.

Either way, Person of the Year, I can understand it.

Dubya!

Moral Issues

Curiosity prompted me to type in marriage in the mirriam-webster online dictionary, and the result was pretty interesting:

a (1) : the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2) : the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage

Now, It has been speculated that moral issues were the biggest reason why Bush won reelection. But among this subset of issues, one in particular seemed to harbor the most dissenting opinions, Gay marriage.

The bible is the primary reactionary tool that opponents cite when bashing gay marriage, which for me does not seem relevant. Soon, these hot-button issues that have polarized our nation will have to be addressed, but governmentally, is it sound to base our rationale on the spiritual teachings that represent just one of the myriad religions practiced in this country. In India, Hinduism and Islam are dominant religions, would it make sense for that country to simply pick one of these religions and base law simply around the more popular of the two, without any representation for the others? Would this be fair? Sure, I am Christian, and I do believe in the bible and it’s spiritual merit, but I just don’t feel that my beliefs should be forcibly imposed on another of differing convictions. Recently, I had asked my friend Nick about his opinion on these issues, and he brought up a really profound, rhetorical point, “Wasn’t this country founded for religious freedom?”.

As Chief Justice Reinquest’s deteriorating health condition, threatens vacancy in our supreme court, let’s pray Dubya does the right thing.

Election Over, November 3rd?

Guest Blogist: Chris Simpkins

6 – number of days until the general election
270 – number of electoral votes needed to win
– number of lies told by Bush in the past four years
3 – sequentially ordered number of this guest blog entry

Todays question, posed by Derick, is “Will this election be over on November 3rd?”

While I’d like to say ‘yes’, the teachings of 2000 tell me ‘probably not’. In the great spirit of America, both sides have lawyers at the ready (maybe I should say ALL sides, since I somewhat expect Nader to declare himself the righteous winner after a post-election tirade about the illegal, discriminatory two-party system). Both John Kerry and George Bush are ready to challenge whatever results come out of this election.

The ‘experts’ predict a close race. I think if the race actually is close, say within 2%, then we will see another drawn out period of legal battles (think Lord of the Rings, only in court). Last time, it took until December 13 for Gore to finally concede the election. And we only had problems in one state! This time, multiple states are already facing legal challenges regarding election practices… and the election hasn’t even begun.

If the race is outside 2%, I think we can expect a quicker official declaration of the winner. Although, I’m pretty sure if Bush wins by any margin greater than 2% the Democrats will have a hard time believing the election was legit.

Whichever way things go, there will be huge emotional upset for one side. Honestly, I’m worried about this country’s short-term stability after November 2nd.

As an added bonus, check out these real people making the switch from Bush 2000 to Kerry 2004

Bias in the Media

Guest Blogist: Chris Simpkins

Hello again. Chris here for the second installment of guest-blogorama. Today’s topic, chosen by me, is Bias in the Media.

Since I started paying attention to what’s going on in this country a few years ago, I noticed that the distinguishing line between news and entertainment has become so blurry that it’s nearly impossible to see.

Talk radio (yes, the shows on those fuzzy AM frequencies) is a good example. The two main AM competitors in Rhode Island both feature taglines promoting themselves as news stations:

“news talk radio” – 920 WHJJ
“news radio” – 630 WPRO

Yet the majority of their programming lineups feature unquestionably partisan commentary on the news. Sure, they have special ‘news jockeys’ come on for five minutes every hour and spout off the AP’s headlines. But how can they, in good faith, call themselves news stations when 92% of the air-time is dedicated to commentary and advertising? One might make the argument that “news talk radio” means talk radio about the news… but the real problem is hidden further below the surface.

Take Fox News, for example. They have personalities who come out and present the news during the week and then host partisan talk shows on the weekends. Fox will often cut from news segments directly to commentary about the news. And as Fox’s ratings go up-up-up, other stations have begun to adopt similar strategies.

People are more trustful of news coming from someone with whom they agree. Which is why Fox has done so well. People see anchors who clearly express their opinions on the issues. And when people agree with those opinions they are more likely to trust those anchors as valid news sources. Fox continually beats out the other news stations in ratings because their viewers trust them. And what is that trust based on? An agreement of opinions. It’s sneaky… and it works.

For specific examples of bias: Media Matters for America
For a beer drinking robot: The Bar Bot

A Critical Election

Guest Blogist: Chris Simpkins

Hello Ariyam.com loyalists. This is Chris from millsplace.com. You might remember me from such events as Halloween 2002 or as “the guy who used to live at Greenhill before Derick.” As previously mentioned, Derick and I are guests on each other’s blogs for the week. The topic chosen (by Derick) for today’s guest blog was “Why is the outcome of this election so critical?”

After thinking about it for a while, I began to realize that everything I came up with was very partisan. I thought of countless things George Bush has done that I simply disagree with. And then I realized what the real problem was.

The country has not been so divided in a looooong time. For many years democrats and republicans disagreed on the issues, but they always found some common ground. Today, I fear our country is no longer trying, or able, to find that common ground. This administration has turned a blind eye to anyone with a viewpoint differing from it’s own.

And who was to stop them? The republicans have control of the House, Senate, and White House (and arguably, the Supreme Court). What ever happened to checks and balances?

Only bad things can come from a situation like that… and only bad things have. This country has been taken down a dark path. I worry that November 2nd may be the only chance we have to get back on track before it’s too late.

And while I’d like to launch into a condemnation of nearly everything that’s taken place over the last 4 years, I’ll end it here instead.