If anything can go wrong, it will.


Haven’t Written In A While: Here Goes.

I have always joked that perhaps I was never meant to be born an American; that my sense of humour was a little bit too dry and sarcastic; that I have always enjoyed a nice cup of tea a bit more than the average American.  I have not, however, usually found myself ashamed of being an American.  And then came the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November 2016.

On that day We, The People, of the United States elected Donald Trump as President.  I cast my vote, not for Trump, but even so in the end Trump won.  Hillary Clinton had the popular vote, but not the necessary 270 votes in the Electoral College.  So, it is what it is, and I am not writing to talk about how the Trump campaign succeeded or how the Clinton campaign failed, or even how third-party candidates are barely spoken about.

What shames me, what leaves me feeling embarrassed to be an American right now is that, although technically Clinton won the popular vote, and therefore that means that a majority of Americans did not vote for Donald Trump, it was a very narrow margin with which she won that popular vote.  And that means, nearly half of my fellow Americans supported a racist. A bigot. A misogynist.

I had thought that it couldn’t possibly be quite so many as all that.  Surely, not as many of half of us could find enough political worthiness in Donald Trump to excuse his shortcomings as a person.  And yet, half of us did.  

I am not saying that Clinton is a shining example of all that a human being should be.  Hell, at one point prior to the results of the Election, I quipped that I had cast my vote for Cthulhu, because why should I vote for a lesser evil, after all?  But I had thought that a lot more of us were better than this.  Better than to cast our votes for someone who would say that he could shoot someone and it wouldn’t cost him voters.  Better than to cast our votes for someone who would speak so shamefully of women, and excuse it as “locker-room talk”.  Better than to cast our votes for Donald Trump.   Clearly, I was wrong because just near half of us did exactly that.

America, I really hope you can get your shit together by 2020, because honestly, I am ashamed of you.

Love Is Love

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down bans on same-sex marriage throughout the country as of 26 June 2015 in a five-to-four vote.

Writing the majority opinion for the court, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy had these words to say:

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.

By the time that I sat down at my computer yesterday, the news was everywhere. People were celebrating in streets, and some were ready to tie the knot in states that had been holding out against same-sex marriage. In my own home state, one of the thirteen that were still holding out against same-sex marriage, the first marriage licenses for same-sex couples were issued immediately following the decision.

I have tried, despite my strong feelings, to listen to both sides of the debate. I have tried to understand why and how any person, or persons, could be affected in any way, by who other people choose to marry. I have heard those who say “Well, for example, my health insurance costs may rise because all of a sudden more people are eligible for coverage”. (As in benefits for spouses). Are you kidding me?

What I have not been able to work out is how any of the opposition to same-sex marriage is based on anything other than a religious or spiritual belief. To deny someone the same rights, liberties, and privileges as you, based on a religious or spiritual belief is, in my opinion, wrong. If you believe marriage should be between a man and a woman only, you are entitled to that belief – what you are not entitled to do is insist that everyone else believe it, or live their lives according to that belief. Not everyone believes as you do, and that is their right.

I have heard the arguments that people (as in members of the clergy) may find themselves “forced” to participate in weddings that they do not agree with or condone. I have heard the arguments regarding churches and other religious facilities being required to allow same-sex marriages to take place within their confines. I do not think that the two things are inextricably linked. As an individual, I believe that you have the right to refuse to provide a service you are uncomfortable with providing, whether you are clergy, a baker, a wedding planner, or what have you. (Let’s not be idiots about this, folks, honestly!)

I also believe that there are not that many individuals out there who would even want those services provided by someone they knew was not wholly at ease with the circumstances. Even if that were not the case, though, I believe that no court would force a person to participate in a wedding that they did not support.

Allowing same-sex couples the right to marry is not synonymous with stripping away the rights of the religious, or those that don’t agree with it, for whatever reason.

As someone recently engaged I can only imagine the heartbreak if I had said yes, but then been denied the right to follow through.

Godspeed, Mr. Spock

Spock in "The Wrath of Khan"

“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.”

Leonard Nimoy has passed away.

I’m a little too young to have grown up on the original “Star Trek”, but I did get hooked on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” as a kid.  And it was because of ST:TNG that I played catch-up on the original series. I must confess that I quickly grew rather fond of Spock. In fact, I can’t watch “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” without sobbing uncontrollably at the scene pictured above.

I think a Star Trek marathon is in order.

Farewell, Mr. Nimoy, and Godspeed, Mr. Spock.

Not In My Back Yard

My neighbourhood, situated in what is reputed to be a fairly rough section of town, is mostly quiet.

On the left of my house is my landlady’s home, and while there’s still plenty of spring in her step, she’s definitely outgrown any delinquent tendencies she may have had in youth. She tends to her garden, says hello to everyone she passes on her daily walk, and is friendly to all the neighbourhood cats.

On the right, there’s a young couple with three kids, and while the noise sometimes gets overwhelming, it’s never anything more than the morning fight about going to school, or siblings arguing over games & toys.

Across the street there is a church with a congregation full of immeasurably kind folks. The kind of people that will greet you warmly and genuinely care about your well-being, whether or not you are in church with them every Sunday.

One block east of me, there is a busy four-lane street, lined with businesses, that stretches for miles and miles. The businesses nearest me consist of a café specialising in Bohemian cuisine, a charming little niche bookshop, and a barbecue joint that’ll knock your socks off.  It’s as if my little neighbourhood is a pocket of quaint in an otherwise very urban environment.  And I like it this way.

For the life of me, on Monday night, I could not figure out why the mass amounts of traffic that usually cruise down that busy four-lane were coming down my little cobblestone street, barely wide enough to allow two cars to pass each other going the opposite direction. Why the slow route? Why all the noise in my quiet little pocket of quaint, keeping me awake far later than I really wanted to be?

On Monday, Omaha police officers shot a man just down the street from my house. Reportedly, officers attempted to help the man before paramedics could arrive on scene, but to no avail. He died that night of his injuries. He was unarmed.

For years I’ve lived in this neighbourhood, and the worst thing to happen right here was when one of the kids down the street was bitten after teasing a dog.

Shootings don’t happen here; not right in my back yard.