A friend’s rant

A friend of mine from college posted what follows recently. It captured the attention of the Executive Staff here at The Frustrated Americans, and after an emergency board meeting, publishing rights were soon procured. Now, my friends, please read Robert Kirby’s words – I think you may enjoy them.

I probably shouldn’t even be saying this, and I’ll probably regret this later, but some things are bothering me. I’ve been seeing posts all over Facebook by many of my friends concerning Donald Trump’s upcoming inauguration and presidency. Several of my liberal friends were obviously anti-Trump throughout the election, and my conservative friends were predictably very anti-Hillary. Hillary seemed to be leading the pack, so to speak, so on November 8th, I believe folks from both camps were surprised when Trump won more than the required number of electoral votes to win the presidency. In my opinion, this is when the wheels fell off.

The Electoral College process is actually written into our constitution. One of its purposes was to base the election on the will of the states rather than on the popular vote. I’ve heard it said that if not for the Electoral College, a few large cities, such as New York and Los Angeles, would essentially decide our next president every four years. I don’t know if that’s true or false, and I’ve had doubts about the process of using the Electoral College for years. Nevertheless, it is our current process. Trump was elected LEGALLY by our current system. I realize Hillary won the popular vote by a long shot, but under our current system, the popular vote is irrelevant.

Now I have a few confessions to make. I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat. I tend to have conservative leanings, but to most of my conservative friends, I would be considered a liberal. In the past few years, I’ve voted across party lines. To me, the party itself doesn’t matter. However, I’ll admit that I was never a fan of Obama. (I am not a fan of Hillary or Donald either for that matter – I believe they are BOTH corrupt in their own ways.). Now when Obama was first elected in 2008, many of my conservative friends threw a Facebook tantrum, saying they would never accept him as their president. Some of you may remember that there was even talk around the nation about states seceding from the union again. ABSOLUTE SILLINESS!!! I decided then that, while I didn’t agree with much of Obama’s agenda, I would pray that he would be the best president this country has ever seen. I decided to put politics behind me and pray for our new president – not for Obama’s sake, but for the sake of our nation, because at the time, we needed the best president ever.

Looking back on his presidency, I don’t believe he has been the president we needed. That’s just my opinion, and only history will tell, but I don’t believe I’ll “miss this guy”, as I’ve seen others posting on Facebook. If you loved him as a president and think he did a great job, and if you will miss him when he’s gone, I TOTALLY respect your opinion. I just disagree with you – that’s all. I believe we can still be friends and not agree on everything.

Now for another confession… I am a selfish voter. I vote based on which candidate I believe will benefit ME and MY FAMILY the most. I know… very self-serving and self-centered, but I guess that’s how I roll. So for me, Obama wasn’t a good president. His policies tended to help other folks at a cost to me. Health care for those with steady jobs became more expensive and lower in availability and quality. Race relations have declined, and police officers have been demonized. Police shootings have resulted in all-out riots. Lots of folks blame these things directly on Obama. I don’t believe he’s directly to blame… cell phone cameras, social media, the news media, a few bad cops, and individuals and their are to blame. But I don’t believe Obama has done anything to help the problem, and has, in fact, only added to the divide with some of his own statements, actions, and inactions.

I have no doubt that many folks have benefitted from “Obamacare” and other initiatives started by Obama. But the fact is that most of his programs end up punishing those of us who work hard to earn a living. It’s that whole Robin Hood storyline. Take from the rich and give to the poor – only the working class are not rich – most of us are just squeaking by. And while I have no problem with the government helping those who are UNABLE to work, I have a HUGE problem with the government helping those who WON’T work! I have a problem with the government helping people who have as many babies as they can and then get a government check, but won’t raise their own kids, or send them to school, or teach them how to be decent human beings, or be otherwise involved in their life. There are men out there who impregnate as many women as they can, moving on to the next woman each time rather than sticking around and being a father to their kids when they are born. Our country doesn’t need sperm donors – it needs fathers! And there are just as many women who welcome this type of behavior and then don’t teach their kids right from wrong. I have a problem with the government supporting people who can’t buy food without food stamps, yet they can rent a flat screen TV that is bigger than they are. I have a problem with rewarding a few people who are too lazy to get a legitimate job to bring in a steady income, yet they have the energy to prostitute, or sell drugs, or gamble all day at those machines in the convenience store, or buy lottery tickets with their welfare money, or steal what others have worked to acquire, or join gangs, or rob and shoot one another, or lie to the police, or run from the police, or fight with the police, or shoot the police, etc. There’s the argument that many folks are set up for failure from the start by poverty, and maybe that’s partially true. And yet, I know many folks raised in poverty who rose out of it by choice and by determination. They took their FREE PUBLIC EDUCATION seriously rather than squandering it, and then found a way to move on to bigger and better things. Through choice and determination, we can make lemonade out of lemons! But I digress.

To me, Obama was unsuccessful because he refused to budge and meet others halfway. You might say, “Good! He stuck to his beliefs and refused to lower his personal standards!” But that is the problem. Personal beliefs and standards don’t really work in government – you have to be willing to listen to others and play nice in the sandbox if you want anything to last. Worse, when Obama couldn’t get Congress on board, he just signed things into law by executive order. Nice and easy – except that when somebody else becomes the president, they can rescind the executive order with another executive order. If you can’t get others to believe in your cause and you make it happen anyway with just the stroke of a pen, it only takes the stroke of a pen to do away with it when you aren’t around anymore. How temporary!

Folks say how awful Bill Clinton was, and he certainly had some scandals when he was in the White House. But the man was a genius at getting support from others. He was a great negotiator and would meet people in the middle of the road. Overall, I think history will judge Bill Clinton as successful. Obama should have taken notes. Will Trump be any better? I’m very doubtful. Maybe if he would shut his mouth so that everything coming out doesn’t sound like a belligerent middle schooler, his chances would improve. I realize he’s a businessman who has worked with thousands of other businessmen, but if he doesn’t tone it down, my fear is that he will have no more cooperation than Obama – only Trump will be much louder, boisterous, and embarrassing about it. After all, he won’t be dealing with businessmen. He will be dealing with politicians and their agendas. So I’m doubtful, yet hopeful.

The bottom line here is that the folks who were happy about Obama being elected were astounded that conservatives didn’t want to accept him as their president. Fast forward to today. Now conservatives are astounded that liberals refuse to accept Trump as their president. Liberals tried to derail Trump’s election by starting a movement to push the Electoral College to vote against Trump. Now they are boycotting the inauguration and refusing to recognize him as president (John Lewis, for example), which is a rebellious symbolic gesture, I guess, but still totally irrelevant. Heck, I’ve already seen Facebook posts from some of my friends that talk about impeaching Trump his first 100 days in office. REALLY? That’d be like sending someone to prison because you BELIEVE they might commit a crime. Hell, let’s just throw out the whole constitution and start all over because somebody didn’t get their way. And while we are at it, if your team loses the Super Bowl, just call “DO OVER”!!! Example: I don’t like the results of this election. DO OVER!!! And then the entire country would have to vote over and over until you get the result you wanted.

That’s not how this works, folks. And before conservatives point fingers, they should remember that they acted similarly when Obama was LEGALLY elected by the same system as Trump. And let’s not forget that both sides acted this way all through the election. I guess BUTT HURT can make anybody act like an ass. Trump couldn’t guarantee that he would accept the election results – until he won. And Hillary’s side criticized him for this – until she lost. Now HER side won’t accept the results. Everyone is pointing fingers at their fellow Americans, saying how horrible anyone must be to vote different from them. My God, I’ve never seen hypocrisy on so grand a scale. I tell you, it makes me sick to my stomach! Debate is a healthy thing. Tantrums and finger pointing and hatred towards your fellow man are not.

Look, it’s a free country. If you didn’t accept Obama, that was your prerogative, and if you don’t want to accept Trump, that’s also your prerogative. But this isn’t a productive approach – it does NOBODY any good. Accept him or not, like it or not, next Friday Trump will be THE PRESIDENT – yours and mine. Not happy? I’m not thrilled about it either, but that is the situation we are currently in. Rather than bitching and griping, or crying and wailing, or cowering in fear in your safe place, or planning to violate the principals of the Constitution of the United States of America, or even rather than triumphantly beating your chest in triumph over your liberal neighbors, why don’t you constructively join me in praying that Donald Trump will be the best president we’ve ever seen – just like I did when Obama was elected. Not for the sake of Donald Trump, but for the sake of our country. Because just like last time, that’s what we need our new president to be.

Now if you want to unfriend me for my comments, please feel free to hit the button. I will remind you though, that if you are reading this, I never unfriended you – even if I strongly disagreed with what you were saying. If you’d like to engage me in debate, please feel free. That is the TRUE American way – although I will warn you that it is unlikely you will change my opinion. My empty wallet can speak louder than your mouth can!

There. Rant over.

Context Matters

In my opinion, few if any aspects of human behavior are more weaponized by media than the first impression. An example could be made from the title of our blog, The Frustrated Americans. If all one did was read the title, a derogatory response could be formed by simply dismissing us as just some angry old guys yelling “…get off my lawn!”. There would likely be no lack of those eager to jump on that bandwagon with much more vituperative criticisms. The issue, you see, is the next sentence: “Voices of reason and logic in a world often lacking reason and logic.” Read a little more, look for the author’s intent just a bit, and context is established. We’re not angry – we’re frustrated by the frightfully small amount of reason and logic in our national discussions. One more sentence, and one could avoid an incorrect assumption. If you haven’t heard the old saying about what happens when you assume, it is easily found and very appropriate here. That tendency, exacerbated by our excuse for an education system, is very much weaponized by modern propaganda to craft desired responses rather than report truth.

Derogatory information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.

One need not be a Mensa member to see this has been the primary focus of American media for many years now. Quoting out of context is but one of many techniques which are used. My aim with this post is to illustrate how one might learn to recognize it and be less subject to being mislead.

EXAMPLE ONE: Ben Jacobs is a reporter for The Guardian, which is a British newspaper. “Latest US news, world news, sports, business, opinion, analysis and reviews from the Guardian, the world’s leading liberal voice” is how they describe themselves. On 6 NOV 16, he tweeted the following:

       “We are going to deliver justice the way it used to be in this country”

Those who didn’t bother to check the source of the quote responded in a predictable fashion, with dire predictions of violence, dictatorial behavior (behaviour?), and accusations of various ‘-isms’. Here are his words in context:

       “We are going to deliver justice the way justice used to be in this country,

at the ballot box on November Eighth.”

In my opinion, Ben Jacobs intended to mislead readers and malign Donald Trump. Take note of the day he sent this tweet. Mere days before the election, he is irresponsibly and purposefully spreading misinformation. It is remarkably clear what was actually meant by the comment when taken in context. It is also remarkably clear words were taken out of context in order to forward an agenda.

EXAMPLE TWO: Lest one think me a fanboy of The Donald, he has been accused of doing the same. The Hill accused him of quoting Michelle Obama out of context when on the campaign trail he said this:

       “I see how much his wife likes Hillary, but wasn’t

       she the one that  started the statement: ‘If you

       can’t take care of your home, you can’t take care

       of the White House or the country’?”

Trump was accused of implying Michelle Obama was saying Hillary is incapable of running the White House due to the well-known domestic issues between her and Bill. Here is her full quote:

     “Our view was that, if you can’t run your own

       house, you certainly can’t run the White House.

       So, so we’ve adjusted our schedules to make

       sure that our girls are first, so while he’s

       traveling around, I do day trips.”

The Hill is alleging it was deceptive on Trump’s part to use those words in that fashion because Mrs. Obama wasn’t talking about Hillary, she was talking about her own family. Yes, she was — about how her family is run better than Hillary’s, don’t you think? Isn’t Trump’s implication the same as Michelle Obama’s in the big picture? This was more about The Hill stretching to make an accusation than anything else, if you ask me.

It would not be hard at all to cite dozens, if not hundreds of additional recent occurrences of this practice. My aim with this post was not to exhaustively document examples, but to hopefully open a few eyes and spur some thought. This American is frustrated because this phenomenon should be the exception, but it seems more and more to be the rule.

Question what you read. Anytime you are being presented the words of an individual from any source other than that same individual, I advise a little research before forming an opinion. Don’t be fooled by today’s ever more present propaganda.