A Return to Reason

Author: ENJ

Trump Strikes Again

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There are really no words for what went down today.

Photo by Roberto Schmidt

I was about 17 when I got to visit the U.S. Capitol. My Dad had written a letter to our representative John Mica to ask if we could have a family tour of the Capitol Building. We got to meet Representative Mica in his office where he welcomed us and gave us mini U.S. Constitutions. Then he sent us off with his aide for a private tour. We got to walk through the tunnels that connected his office to the Capitol and were lead throughout the building, exploring as we went. Seeing the beautiful architecture and all of the statues and portraits throughout was inspirational, my favorite being the statue of Hawaii’s first King. Afterwards we got to meet back up with Representative Mica on the floor and he let my little brother and sister push the button and cast his vote for him.  My brother was about seven at the time and my sister was ten. I wish I could remember what the vote was for, but regardless it was a very cool moment. 

I was reminded of that happy time with my family today when I saw inside the Capitol again, but my feelings were much different. Watching a bunch of ‘protestors’ file through the rotunda with zero respect, and no apparent understanding of the gravity of their actions, was jarring. It was surreal to watch, and it makes it even harder to call myself a Republican if that means I am in the same company as these people. I’ll say it again that Trump is not a Republican, and anyone who went to the lengths of breaching the Capitol today aren’t true Republicans either.

The Toxicity of Trump

Trump is a toxic force in every American’s life. Whether he is creating anxiety and fear in people who are worried he will successfully change the outcome of the election, or he is creating anxiety and fear in people to the point where they storm the Capitol, there is the commonality of anxiety and fear throughout. He has led so many astray, and today he is the force behind one of the worst moments in modern American history. And how did it happen? Because he deals in lies and fear. 

Today was Trump’s fantasy come to life. The mass of supporters he wished for on his inauguration day were finally there in D.C. and ready to rain down revenge on Mitch McConnell and the rest of Congress in his name. His little reaction video on Twitter was pathetic and demonstrates that he is in fact not of sound mind.

I believe he is fully living in his lie and is not fit to lead any country, let alone The United States of America. There is real irony in the fact that he has been suspended from both Facebook and Twitter and yet he is still the Commander-in-Chief of our military and in possession of nuclear codes. He is rightly censured by social media platforms for inciting violence and spreading lies, but the United States Government does not have the protocols in place to do the same? His video today and phone call over the weekend are clear signs that he is completely divorced from reality. He is unfit to be President.

Give up the Ghost

After Trump’s behavior today, how could anyone in the Senate or House still be advocating for him to remain in office? Why would anyone want four more years of his bumbling and ineloquent self-serving speeches? Speeches completely lacking in substance and truth. Completely lacking in good-will or inspiration? Why would anyone want him to continue on when he hasn’t even been doing the work before him for months now?

And if Josh Hawley thinks he ever has a chance of becoming President, to that i say LOL. I mean, he used ‘irregardless’ unironically today. That alone should disqualify him, no matter the fact that he has no respect for democracy. Josh Hawley reminds me of ‘that guy’ in college who maybe isn’t the dumbest kid in your class (that would be Matt Gaetz), but the guy who always interrupts to offer up his unsolicited opinion on the topic at hand. A topic that he has a fundamental misunderstanding of. And once he finally stops talking he sits back and smiles in self-satisfaction while everyone else in the room rolls their eyes and the professor continues on without acknowledging him. Josh Hawley is a joke. 

Where are the Ghostbusters when you need them?

Sometimes I think about Trump as a purple slime generator. Remember in Ghostbusters 2 where that evil picture man somehow covered NYC in negative vibes and everything was terrible? (Sorry for that poor description but I haven’t seen that movie in years because, frankly, it was terrifying and I’m still scarred for life by whatever was going on in that refrigerator.) 

But anyways, Trump is that awful Vigo the Carpathian dude. He’s put everyone in a bad mood for 4 years and counting. Democrats and principled Republicans see his every move as at best unpresidential and at worst unethical and super suspicious.

And his supporters are the ones covered head-to-toe in purple slime…

  1. They’re being manipulated into a life of fear: Socialism, ‘Antifa’ and the outside world are coming for their way of life, according to Trump. 
  2. They feel attacked regularly by ‘the left’, and always have to be on the defensive. It can’t be a good feeling to always feel like everyone is against you, but that’s what happens when you constantly have to defend an irrational man and his delusions.
  3. And now for a final hit of negative ectoplasm, they’re being told tons of lies about the election that simply aren’t true. If there was an iota of evidence for any of Trump’s claims they would have had some traction in court, and William Barr would have presented them. 

Today was a riot of mostly middle aged white guys, doused in purple slime. They broke into the Capitol and they brought the Confederate flag with them. A flag which is a symbol of hate and represents a deep fracture in our history.

Photo by Saul Loeb

Trump said he loved the poorly educated and today he weaponized them. I hope the people who pushed their way through the barricades and broke their way into the Capitol, bypassing security checkpoints along the way, are all identified and prosecuted. If a lone person had breached the Capitol in that way they’d be sitting in FBI custody right now. I hope everyone involved feels the gravity of what they have done and are shamed.

And in the end, Trump has once again commandeered the story of the day. Instead of headlines about Biden’s victory being certified by Congress and Georgia flipping blue, the only name we speak is Trump.

January 20th could not come faster. I am not concerned that Trump will run for President again in 2024. He is clearly losing it. In four years time I’m sure he will be sitting in a fake office, making fake phone calls, while Ivanka and Donald Jr. create fake tasks for him to do, which will be ignored in favor of yelling at the news people on his tv. Which is sadly exactly what he is doing now, only his office is oval and his phone calls have consequence. 

Until next time,

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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