A Return to Reason

Month: December 2020

Am I Rand Paul?!

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I honestly haven’t thought about Rand Paul much in the last 4 years. But this morning I watched his interview on FOX News and was like, ‘Wha…? We agree on stuff?’ 

I had written him off years ago once he, like too many Republicans, went from a logical loathing of Donald Trump to defending his every move. In fact, the last real memory I have of Rand Paul was laughing at this hilarious tweet, featuring him and 45 way back in 2017:

“Rand Paul Mustering the Courage To Get Through the Day.” Do yourself a favor and click play, he can’t even look at Trump.


But back to the Fox News interview and our similarities. Firstly, he mentioned Festivus several times, and apparently writes a Festivus Report detailing questionable spending in the federal budget every year. It seems we both love airing grievances, as I also wrote my own Festivus post just last night. I would love to duel him sometime in a Feats of Strength to determine who’s actually more fiscally conservative.

Secondly, he echoed what I wrote in that post, saying people who are well-employed don’t need a stimulus check at all, but that unemployment benefits need to be increased. It was good to hear that the obvious is going through at least one person’s mind in the Senate. 

And thirdly, he mentioned that in order to get back to reining in spending we need new people in Washington. I couldn’t agree more with this and find it so frustrating that we have people in their late 70s and early 80s refusing to give up their seats term after term after term.

I do find Paul’s trivialization of science funding to be gauche, short-sighted and dishonest in his delivery. This is the entire government budget after all, and I shouldn’t have to say this, but science is important. And let’s not forget that the bill matches up with the President’s proposed budget. It’s super shady of Trump (or highlights his incompetence), that he would send off a proposal with the Secretary of Treasury and then criticize it after the bill has passed as if he had no knowledge of what was in it. Too bad he was never able to use his amazing deal-making skills to work with congress. Hashtag sarcasm.

And at the end of the day, Paul said that the only way he would vote to increase the stimulus check was if they restructure the spending bill as well, and we just don’t have time for that. It’s so infuriating that Trump would leave town without settling this. If he really cared about the $2000 he would have spoken with every Republican and made sure it happened. Or he could have perhaps dealt with this before it passed. This is just another stunt so all attention is on him. And because he hasn’t actually vetoed it everyone’s hands are tied in the meantime. A true 2020 Christmas gift for the people who really need help. Here, have some more anxiety and uncertainty. Love, Trump.

CNN vs. Fox News

Lastly, I just want to say that watching Fox and Friends was ick. I only watch it every now and then so I can try to understand how the Trump supporters in my family think, and what they are actually hearing. I’ve noticed in the past that if Trump does something really egregious Fox might not even mention it, or if they do it will be a one-liner before they move on. I think it would be a game changer if there was the option to watch CNN and Fox News spliced together. As in the 6 o’clock hour of news just toggled back and forth between segments and showed both shows in their entirety. This would have the dual benefits of A) letting people get a broader view of everything that’s going on, and B) possibly shame the anchors into being a little less biased in their reporting. Not that I’m trying to diss CNN, they are my preferred news station after all. I find their coverage to be pretty even and their personal interjections to be totally warranted, lol.

Also, I just want to drag one of the reporters on Fox and Friends, who for some reason brought up Kat Von D and twice referred to her as a man. He went on to say that she was leaving L.A. because of the egregious taxes, etc. But a simple instagram search will tell you that although she did say that and is fed up with California government, she’s actually keeping her kick-ass mansion and will continue to work in Los Angeles. She’s simply buying a second home in Indiana. And it’s historic. And they’re renovating. So it’s not exactly like she was run out of town by socialism. She’s doing so well that she can afford to pay taxes there and still have a second home in a completely different part of the country. So what was his point again? This is the silliest of examples, but it’s a basic illustration of how Fox News likes to use half-truths to push a narrative, which I find totally unacceptable.

Alright, time to zen out on egg nog and watch A Christmas Story!

Until next time,

A Festivus for the Rest of Us

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Happy Festivus ya’ll. What a crazy, disastrous and sad year. 2020, more than any other year, deserves a massive Festivus, because grievances need to be aired. In lieu of ruining Christmas dinner with my complaints, I shall leave them here, for you, on the interwebs.

I thought about curating a list of my top 100 grievances against Trump, but at the end of the day it all boils down to one all-encompassing issue. He ruined Republicans and what the party stood for! No individual Republican in this country was left unharmed by Trump these last four years. If you fell in line with him and joined the Trump Train, you’ve probably had to compromise your morals many-a-time trying to defend the man and his unpresidential behavior. You’ve probably gotten into fights with your loved ones and co-workers. And you’ve probably gotten genuinely more racist in the process. 

And if you didn’t fall in line, you were deemed a RINO and dismissed as a Democrat. This has been my personal hell: still desperately holding on to my original party affiliation and my fond memories associated with it, praying that things can go back to normal, and all the while internally freaking out, wondering if I might actually be a Democrat. But no! I truly haven’t changed at all. It is the make-up of the party and what is now tolerated, which has changed. Trump has infected the party with fear, racism and ignorance, and now it is diseased.

Over the past 20 years, Trump has changed his party affiliation 5 times. He tried out Republican, Independent, No Party Affiliation and Democrat. Coincidentally, he has also been working towards running for President for just as long. One can only assume he was testing out the waters, seeing where he had the best chance of success. And unfortunately, the Republicans lost. Trump hijacked the GOP and completely flipped what it means to be a Republican, because he isn’t a Republican. How insane is it that he is now doling out RINO status to life-long Republicans, while he’s never shown allegiance to the party at all, or the people who work for him. The only allegiance he has is to himself.

It’s scary how easy it was for him to manipulate so many people so quickly, and create a cult-like following. And it wasn’t long before people were referring to me as a RINO, much to my surprise. I hadn’t even heard of the term at that time, (which means Republican In Name Only btw), but apparently it has been around for over a century. In fact, here’s a fascinating article on the history of the term, written back in 2015, after John Boehner complained that he was being described as such.

I’ve always identified myself as a Republican, and although my parents were Republicans too, I always felt that I made the decision on my own, not just blindly following their lead. I’m proud of myself for not voting for Trump in the past two elections. To me that is putting country over party, and at the same time, putting my party over the candidate. I didn’t want my party associated with Trump and his ignorance, racism and alarmingly sexist behavior. 

One of the worst parts in all of this is my own shame in remaining a Republican. I have to caveat my political status with a quick, ‘but I didn’t vote for Trump and I’m not racist,’ because without the hasty addendum I will be served a noticeable and harsh look of judgement from most people. And I can’t even be mad because at this point I also assume that anyone who voted for Trump the second time is at least a little bit bigoted. In 2016 they had the Clinton excuse and that they hadn’t seen him in action, but this time around they’re actively condoning a million different terrible policies, executive orders and general remarks he’s made.

So why not just be a Democrat, you ask? Because I don’t want to! And I shouldn’t have to.

So no, I am not a RINO. Mitt Romney is not a RINO. John Kasich is not a RINO. And neither was John McCain. Trump is the actual RINO, along with any and all of his supporters who deal in racism, hate and bullying, or use the Bible to somehow justify his behavior. Because as we come upon Christmas, let us not forget the words written in red. Flip to any page in the New Testament and none of them will support Trump’s behavior, in fact they’re literal lessons against it. 

Here’s a meme to fully articulate my feelings on this matter. 

P.S. This is the very first meme I’ve ever made, and I’m super proud of it.

And now to the latest drama. Trump posted a twitter video earlier tonight, lobbying for $2,000 stimulus checks instead of $600. I have to think even the hardcore MAGA people are going to be scratching their heads at this spectacle. Exactly how does this stunt showcase leadership or rationale? He could have been active in the negotiations and made his preference known from the very beginning. Why wait until after the bill has passed to say anything, with only 2 days until Christmas and deadlines looming? 

As a person whose entire career vanished on March 16 of this year, I am 100% down for this $2,000 check to happen. But my check wouldn’t be going to stimulate the economy. It would immediately be put into my savings account, because as of now, I’ll need to save it for future bills and rent until my industry is allowed to resume.

But the fact that Trump couldn’t distinguish between the government funding bill and the covid relief package is both disturbing and laughable. “It’s called the covid relief bill, but it has almost nothing to do with covid,” he said. For better or worse he has been POTUS for four years, so at this point he really should be able to make the simple discernment. Even the cameraman most likely knew enough to have corrected him, and should have paused to do so. And if not the cameraman, does he not have a single intelligent advisor left? Or… is he once again intentionally manipulating people and banking on the fact that some people aren’t paying attention to congress and will take his misinformation as fact?

Most of what he listed off as frivolous spending only made him seem anti-science and racist. And while he might be right that some of those funds should be diverted to domestic covid relief, if not frozen entirely for now, he failed to mention the $1.375 billion dollars for the border wall that made it in there. And lets not forget his cringy ending, reminding us all that he is actively trying to overturn the election results. 

I only wish I could have been there to see Mitch McConnell’s reaction in real time as he watched that video. I’m imagining his face going from deathly white to tomato red, followed by a whispered, ‘What the heck’. It’s probably almost as hilarious a reaction as I imagine he had that time Trump basically said voter suppression is the only way for Republicans to win elections. (More on this later, as I have THOUGHTS.) Back then I literally imagined McConnell morphing into the blond, face-palm emoji.

And why are we sending any money to people who still have their jobs and are making over $45k a year right now? $600 dollars is only half of rent in a mid-priced city, so $2000 really helps someone who is struggling and unemployed or underemployed. But $600 to a person who has had their job this entire time? That won’t do much to stimulate the economy, while $2000 to that employed person is just wasteful on the part of the government.

Instead of $2000 stimulus checks, Trump should be lobbying for at least $500-600 per week in unemployment insurance, and it should be approved through at least May, since that is the earliest they’re predicting 80% nationwide inoculation. As of now it is only $300 per week and is only approved for ELEVEN weeks, which is a joke. Where are the economists in all of this? Why am I the only voice of reason?! lol

Dang, Trump totally ruined my Festivus post with his crazy yet predictable late-night drama. Guess I’ll have to leave it to future posts to tell the Republicans all of the many other ways they have disappointed me in the past four years, Festivus or no. 

Happy Festivus, Merry Christmas and good luck in 2021.

Until next time,

My Vision for a Viable Republican Party

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This is the story of a once proud Republican who, in the year 2020, found themselves voting against their party, not only at the top of the ticket but down the ballot in its entirety. 

The last four years have been rough. I’ve been disappointed more times than I can count by my chosen party in that time. But unexpectedly, nothing has been as bad as the weeks since the election, when my faith in Republican leadership and its everyday members have truly begun to waiver. From spreading conspiracy theories about the election (which are not backed up by any evidence, and have been summarily refuted by officials at the county, state and federal level), to people like Rush Limbaugh suggesting secession, I have to wonder if I’ll be willing to ever associate with the Grand Old Party again.

I want to. Believe me, I want to. I chose to be a Republican at 15; the tenets of the party naturally aligning with my personal beliefs. I liked the ideas of small government, lower taxes, states’ autonomy, Christian values and personal responsibility. I still believe in all of those things! 

But the party is different now and things will have to change significantly for me to rejoin its ranks in good conscience. With Trump in charge for the last four years, I’ve seen the foundational Republican principles completely neglected, replaced by obnoxious and harmful rhetoric of divisiveness and otherism. He has also engaged in a war on truth and the free press. These concepts are un-American and will ultimately lead to the end of the party, if not checked.

In this blog I intend to explore what is necessary for a Republican party to be viable moving forward. As younger people enter the voting pool, a majority of them will not choose to be a member of the Republican Party as it stands, tainted by the bigotry and merciless lack of empathy exhibited by Trump and his more ardent supporters. In recent history, Republican Presidential Candidates have a track record of losing the popular vote in the national election, and in order to change this we need leaders who expand the base, not repulse even their own members. Continuing with the dogma of Trump is not the way.

And yet more and more Trumpian candidates have popped up in the last three years. Fearmongering and demonization of other countries, immigrants, minorities and the Democrats only creates more conflict and negativity in our country. Why would we support leaders who actively create a more fearful and unstable environment? It is a manipulation of the electorate, and ultimately only serves to benefit them, as they gain power by stoking fear.

The Way Forward

In order for the party to heal and grow, we need to first go back to basics and check our own behavior. We need to look to the good in our fellow American instead of the negative. We need to focus on our original platform. We need to elect candidates who represent the best of us, both in character and intellect. 

Let’s spend the next four years eradicating the toxicity from the party. This can be done, not by ejecting people, but with strong leadership demonstrating solid morals and ethics, which in turn can help lead people onto a more enlightened path. 

Let’s get back to being fiscally conservative and stem the insane national debt that has grown significantly each year Trump has been in office. This failure has left us vulnerable during the pandemic, unable to provide assistance without creating an even more insurmountable debt. Perhaps in future elections we choose representatives who will prioritize working towards a balanced budget and reducing debt. Oh, and I don’t know, passing a spending bill BEFORE the government shuts down? …just saying.

Let’s not punish law makers for compromising across the aisle to get things done. And even better, let’s encourage them to do so. 

There is also the problem of the stereotypical Republican stance on social issues. Women’s rights, LGBTQ discrimination, environmental protection, etc. These were all issues where I diverged from the party, always describing myself as fiscally conservative and socially liberal. As I didn’t feel for the most part that they were issues that the federal government should even be involved in, I ignored them. This is where my idealism fell into naivete. I grew up in a fairly inclusive town, never seeing any discrimination, racism or negativity towards minorities or gay people. I didn’t realize that the federal government does need to step in and enforce equal rights where people are being infringed upon or harassed. Trump has shined a light on how far we still have to go to fully realize the ideals of our Nation’s founders. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all

I really think there are many, many people in the Republican Party that do in fact support equality and science, Trump has just given oxygen and airtime to those who do not. And putting these issues aside will help create a welcoming environment for new members and really let us define ourselves in terms or our conservative theories on governance, which is the true point of the two party system.

To wrap up, it’s been frightening and heartbreaking to see so many respectable and good-hearted people in our country fall victim to the conspiracy theories and lies that the current President tells. Many people truly believe him. Two months ago I assumed that if Trump lost the election, then people would start to turn from him. I would never have imaged that a portion of the country would genuinely believe that the election was rigged despite the lack of evidence, yet here we are.

But as an idealist, that means by nature I’m also an optimist. I believe that Trump’s hold on the party WILL eventually fade, or that maybe they’ll form their own party separate from Republicans. And the sooner the better. I hope that more honorable and steadfast people run for Republican seats, and that we can argue for a more conservative and efficiently run government without vilifying others in the process. 

The great Abe Lincoln was our first Republican President. Let’s work towards re-implementing his inspiring vision for our incredible country: the longest standing democracy in the world!

Keep following as I air my many grievances with Trump, lament my subsequent political identity-crisis and share my thoughts on the path forward for a more progressive Republican Party that isn’t afraid of change, but governs conservatively. 

Thank you for reading and let me know your thoughts in the comment section below! 

Until next time,

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