anxiety, aspergers, autism, changes, culture, depression, health, ideas, living abroad, philosophy, politics, psychology, travel

Big Boys Don’t Cry

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Lebron James Crying

No More Gutterballs, Grandpa

When I was 9 or 10, my maternal grandma and his second wife came to visit us in Houston from Missouri. They took us bowling two days in a row. That was one of their favorite activities. We’d go to their local bowling alley whenever we’d to see them. There wasn’t much else in the Ozarks to keep us occupied. Often I’d get frustrated and cry because I wasn’t performing well. I was only a child who didn’t know better. All I wanted was to make strikes and spares. The frequent gutterballs took their toll on my pride. Grandpa would always scold me for my outbursts. Crying was forbidden under his watch. I remember the last time like yesterday. I was about to have a meltdown when I noticed Grandpa staring at me and shaking his finger.

Avenge Me, Boys

The point I’m making is we live in a society where it’s not acceptable for boys or men to express their emotions in any way, shape, or form. A prime example comes from the 1984 classic Red Dawn. That movie is about a backdoor Soviet invasion of the United States. A group of teenage rebels led by Patrick Swayze called The Wolverines after their school mascot fight back. Swayze and his younger brother played by Charlie Sheen encounter their POW father portrayed by Harry Dean Stanton opposite a chain-linked fence. They know he’s about to die. Stanton tells his sons he was tough on them for a reason and orders them not to cry. The character implies they’ve gone soft for exhibiting emotions. One of the last things he says before they leave is, “Boys, avenge me!” In other words, the only things they were allowed to feel were anger and rage. Remorse and sorrow were verboten. I’m not reviled by the disposition of Stanton or my granddad. I chalk it up as them being relics of their time from a different generation where men were expected to be Alpha males and toxic masculinity was unheard of.

Nice Guys Pay; Bad Boys Lay

Much of this sentiment surrounded me every day I was in military school and the Coast Guard. I’m not a big fan of third and fourth wave feminists. Some of their ideas I find a bit extreme, but I agree with them upon the fact that toxic masculinity must be addressed head on. It’s detrimental in the long run. This I surmise is why there’s more male sociopaths and hardened criminals than female ones. There’s too much of it in professional sports as well in my humble opinion. America has become a society where the dating culture has told us nice guys who show compassion are weak while bad boys who display aggression are strong, dominant, and what women want. Sensitivity and social awkwardness equal creepiness whereas cockiness and brash behavior equate to confidence the latter of which makes the ladies drool and cream. Too often I see this has seeped its way into the dating culture. Everywhere I look without fail, dating gurus male and female say nice guys finish last while bad boys win the girls. By the time the girls catch on and realize bad boys are harmful, it’s too late. We’re told they’ve hit the wall and are no longer marketable. I’ve grown so cynical; I don’t know what to believe anymore.

Suck it Up, Buttercup

The media makes it seem like we can control our emotions 24/7 like Vulcans. The human race hasn’t evolved to that point. It was no secret I was suffering from anxiety and depression in the military. I didn’t get sentimental, but it made me bitter and harbor loads of resentment. I stated in my last note why I hate everything about the East Coast of the United States and the military. Doing everything the exact opposite of how I was trained in the services like wearing the complimentary colors, starting off with the other foot, hanging and folding my clothes the other direction, growing facial hair, and living in other countries the GOP demonizes were my coping mechanism from the trauma. I’m not allowed to discuss my feelings because nobody wants to hear it. Everyone thinks you can snap out of depression which is anything but true. To forgive and forget is easier said than done. The first part I might be attainable, but I can’t envision myself ever doing the latter. Once trust is lost, it’s almost impossible to gain back.

Explore Your Sentiments

One stereotype about Asperger’s especially males is that we don’t feel empathy or exhibit emotions. This is one of the primary reasons we’re mistaken for sociopaths. We’re not allowed to show it because that’s what the media has told us. All I’m allowed to exude is anger or joy not fear, guilt, or sadness. Last year, I remember watching Interstellar on Netflix. It’s about a farmer turned astronaut played by Matthew McConaughey who travels into space to find a planet to terraform as Earth becomes uninhabitable. Anne Hathaway plays his co-pilot and one of three scientists. Before the mission, McConaughey achieves the insurmountable task of saying goodbye to his children. He mentions to his daughter they may be the same age when he returns. The viewer disregards this in the beginning, but then it starts to catch on. There’s a scene where McConaughey retrieves his daughter’s messages on the intercom. Later you see she’s grown up. His adult daughter, played by Jessica Chastain, gives him the rundown over what happened over the years. That scene broke me in two. I couldn’t help myself because it hit too close to home. It made me reflect on my own life.

Family is All in the End

One of my biggest regrets is not spending more time with my niece and nephew between the time I left Thailand and went home before my next assignment in Vietnam in spring 2016. I’d been gone and hadn’t seen my family in person for two years while watching Interstellar. The background music compounded the situation. Luckily, it was in the privacy of my own home. I would’ve been embarrassed had I let it out in public. I went into the bathroom and took a shower to cleanse myself afterwards. I could count on one hand the time number of times I conversed with my family via Skype and Facebook not including when we spent Christmas together online. My niece, who was in elementary school last time I’d seen her, was now the same age as my middle school students. It still bothered me the next day at work, and my coworkers asked if I was okay. I was going to travel to Australia with a friend during the summer of 2018, but I cancelled those plans. Not only was I low on funds, I feared I would never to get to see my family again. I can always venture to Australia or wherever later on, but only get to see the kids grow up once.

Beard Away the Sorrow, Hair’s a Tissue

I don’t know if anyone else notices, but you almost never see a man with a beard or facial hair get upset and break down on screen. It’s as if Hollywood and society have told us it’s even less forgivable if a bearded man exhibits emotion. They’ve placed a higher standard on him than his hairless counterpart. He’s supposed to be strong and dominant and show zero weakness. The only time he may get a free pass is if someone in his immediate family dies. I mentioned before I never grew a beard until after I moved abroad, but luckily I was clean-shaven when I watched Interstellar. If you think long and hard enough, when was the last time you ever saw a man cry with a beard? I’ll bet the readers can only count that on one hand if not one finger. This is why I feel it’s imperative that Hollywood activists address this issue and stop dispensing the message that it’s not okay for grown men or boys to express their emotions the same way women and girls do. Ridding society of the stigma towards mental health, therapy, and the need for antidepressants and anxiety pills would be nice, moreover. If Donald Trump isn’t an expert on politics or economics, I’d say it’s a safe bet neither is Tom Cruise on behalf of psychotherapy.

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anxiety, aspergers, autism, changes, culture, depression, education, health, ideas, philosophy, psychology

Autism vs. Narcissism

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Certain Misconceptions

There’s a common stereotype about folks on the spectrum in that we lack empathy. This I suspect is why the general public mistakes us for narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths. The difference between us and them I’ve explained is auties and Aspies are egocentric whereas the latter three are egotistical. I’ve elaborated not all narcissists are sociopaths or psychopaths but all psychopaths and sociopaths are narcissists. Folks with autistic spectrum disorder want to relate to others but don’t always know how. Those with narcissistic personality disorder are cognizant of their actions, but they don’t care. How do I know? My father and two oldest siblings have NPD. I’m the polar opposite from them. Both of my sister’s grand prizes of husbands as well as my oldest brother’s long-term girlfriend and now wife also have NPD. Narcissists tend to attract one another. My stepmother is self-important like Dad but not as bad. To protect their privacy and because I’m too embarrassed to mention certain names, I’ll only refer to them by their connections towards your truly.

A State of Denial

I have another brother who’s somewhat deficient in empathy but he means well. He and I were raised by our mother. People think those with ASD are hoggish because we sometimes require accommodations. Dad, Sister, and Brother One believed I was a spoiled brat who needed extra discipline. All three were in denial that I had anything wrong. To this day, I’m convinced neither three will ever accept it. That’s one of many reasons we’re not on speaking terms and why I have limited contact with them. They’re absolute flakes and wholly unreliable. They think the whole world revolves around them. They never plan ahead and always expect everyone to drop what they’re doing to cater to them. That’s not the same as requesting certain consideration. They’re also great bullshitters. They’re never around when you need them. The only time either of them come around is whenever they want something. They manipulate people and put on their superficial charm pretending to be everybody’s best friend.

A Sister From Another Mother

All of these are why Mom, Brother Two, and his wife are the only ones in my family with whom I I have any relationship. People often ask me what they do for a living. My father is semi-retired, but he works part-time for Brother One who owns a landscaping company. Sister is what I call a snake oil salesperson. She preaches about positive energy and sprinkles her pixie dust on other people’s personal problems. She’s of those pseudo-life skill coaches who promises if you do this and do that, then the whole universe will open up. If you just drop $200 down, she’ll give you all the answers you need and the same platitudes you’ve heard all along. If only her clientele knew how Sister treated her family, they’d see her true colors. I confronted her about it and told her Sister-in-Law (Brother Two’s wife) was more of a sister to me than she’ll ever be. Sister-in-Law at least trustworthy and dependable.

Tales of the In-Laws

Sister has a long track record or picking out losers thinking she can fix them. Her late husband was a real piece of work. Brother-in-Law must have sniffed a lot of paint fumes when he was a kid. He was a blowhard. None of my family or friends liked him. He’d always talk smack about us. The guy had the nerve to call me a closet pedophile. Brother-in-Law was one of those right-wing nutjobs who listened too much to Infowars and thought everything was a conspiracy. He’d put on his chest puff routine and act like could walk on water, eat bullets, and shit ice cream, but he was a coward deep down. Brother-in-Law had never been outside the state of Texas that I recall except to Vegas to attend Brother Two and Sister-in-Law’s wedding. He was too afraid to board an airplane because he worried about germs. The guy tried to convince me he was an Alpha male and that I was a cupcake. One way I saw through him was when my mother needed a bag of concrete lifted. Brother-in-Law whined that his back was sore. I worked at Lowe’s then, and knew the proper procedures. Thus. I obliged and lifted instead no problem. Then I called him out and asked him, “Where’s your brass balls now, tough guy?” Sadly, he passed away four years ago. What’s more, my nephew, their son, has his late father’s smart mouth. I tolerated Brother-in-Law, but I never cared for him. Her current boyfriend sounds like a real tool, but that’s another story. I’ve never met the guy, yet I know the kind of men to whom she’s drawn.

Gaslighting and Denial

Sister is the same-centered person she was when Brother-in-Law as alive. Granted, she got worse since they got involved, but she’s eight years my senior. She knows better, but she refuses to change. She wasn’t much better when she was involved with her first hubby, a two-bit musician. Sister hasn’t improved since Brother-in-Law met his demise. Dad, Brother One, and Sister never take responsibility for any of their actions. Everything wrong is always someone else’s fault. I know gaslighting is every narcissist’s favorite tool because that’s part of their compendium. Too often, they never gave me credit for anything original. Anytime I said something with merit, they would accuse me of reverberating someone else’s words. They had a penchant towards making me second guess myself and question my own judgment. Neither three have never been diagnosed with NPD, but they share certain traits. They won’t get therapy because they think there’s nothing amiss about them, and they’re without shame. I’m certain Brother One is a full-blown narcissist. He’s the worst of the three.

Cheap Gifts and Bogus Apologies

Skeptics often doubt I have Asperger’s because I have some people skills and bullshit detectors. Little do they know, I acquired these traits growing up with three narcissists. I’ve been battle-tested many times, and I caught onto their ploys. Recently, I celebrated my 40th birthday. Dad came to my party and gave me four brownies as my gift. That’s how cheap he is. Dad lives in an $800K house, but he couldn’t afford to get me a present. I wasn’t upset because I knew that was typical. I adopted the same mindset with him after living in Vietnam. If I ever expected anything to happen, I had to assume the outcome would be absolute garbage. I anticipated he’d put on his Father-of-the-Year act and smile at me through his teeth though I could count the number of times I’d seen him the past few years on one hand. Brother One thought it was my 39th birthday, or at least that’s what he claims. He and Sister were too busy to be bothered and came up with lame excuses not to come. Then they said we could meet up another time, but I told them don’t bother. If it’s too much for them to remember their youngest sibling’s 40th birthday, they’re not worth the time of day.

There You Have It

One of the key contrasts between someone with ASD and those with NPD is that we’re brutally honest while they’re pathological liars. Every time I tried to discuss an issue with them, they’d dance around it and claim plausible deniability. Dad had a penchant towards answering questions with other queries. Narcissists polish themselves as something bigger than they are. Brother One enamors himself with accolades that he has the best landscaping business in Austin. I’ve seen his work, and it’s mediocre at best. There’s nothing earth-shattering about it. Dad and Stepmom think they’re more sophisticated than everyone else because they lived in New York for 17 years. Stepmom was an assistant editor for the gardening section of Newsday, but she acts like she’s some Pulitzer Prize winning journalists. She thinks she’s intellectually superior towards everyone else because she has a Master’s Degree and the ability to recite every other ten-dollar word in the Oxford Dictionary. My uncle who’s known her since he was in middle school mentioned this. I gave up on all of them and have minimal contact because I knew that was the only way I could maintain my sanity. Blood may be thicker than water, but it can still be toxic. To put it bluntly, that’s how I know the difference between someone with ASD and a narcissist.

 

anxiety, aspergers, autism, changes, culture, democrats, electoral college, gangs, health, ideas, philosophy, politics, psychology, republicans, violence

Living in the Wild, Wild West

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The Need for Gun Control

One of the primary reasons I no longer live in America is gun violence. I’m tired of turning on the news and hearing stories about school shootings and deranged gunmen mowing down several people. The NRA is a terrorist organization in my humble opinion. They have more blood on their hands than the IRA. Of that I’m certain. At least the latter has a righteous cause. The National Rifle Organization cares nothing about the lives they’ve destroyed. The Irish Republic Army wants to repatriate Northern Ireland back to the Republic of Ireland. The latter had the audacity to disband after 9/11. The NRA fills people’s heads with hogwash in that they’re convinced we’re safer when everyone carries firearms. Funny how they ban guns at their headquarters. Nutjobs like Alex Jones exacerbate the dilemma when they pontificate nonsense about the government coming to take our guns and enslave its citizens. The Sandy Hook parents had every right to sue that jerk. Wackos who listen to that tripe are convinced they stand a chance against a platoon of Marines donning kevlar, a regimen of armored tanks, or a squadron of drones.

Shoot ‘Em Up There, Partner

In spring 2016 after my return from Thailand, I heard on the 6 o’clock news about a gunman in West Houston who wounded and killed several people at a Conoco gas station. The perpetrator was a military vet who served in Afghanistan. I’m surprised the media didn’t blame it on Asperger’s, but that’s another story. I suspect battle stress had something to do with it. How does this relate to gun control? The last guy he killed was carrying a concealed handgun. I wasn’t there, but I know what happened. I know Texans and how they think. Rather than run for cover, the dumbass was trying to be a hero and engaged the gunman in a showdown. Then the shooter offed him like a fly. The moron learned the hard way he was outmatched. That doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out. Though he may have fired his handgun at a range, I’m positive the guy never saw any action like the gunman. It never occurred to him the police and SWAT team are trained for these situations. These idiots watch too many movies. That’s another part of the problem.

I Dub Thee Unforgiven

Speaking of which, one of my all-time favorite films is Unforgiven. There’s a reason why that flick is only one of three westerns to win the Oscar for Best Picture. The other two were Cimarron and Dances with Wolves. I liked Unforgiven because it de-romanticizes all the spaghetti westerns Clint Eastwood and others made during the earlier part of the 20th Century. It debunks all the myths we grew up believing about the Wild West. It’s one of the few movies I liked the antagonist more than the protagonist. Clint Eastwood plays the antihero Will Munny, a retired bounty hunter traveling to Montana to kill two outlaws who mutilated a woman. The main antagonist, Little Bill, portrayed by Gene Hackman is the sheriff of the town where Munny is headed. Somewhere in the movie, English Bob, played by Richard Harris arrives for the same reason. He travels with a writer from back east named Beauchamp who’d never ventured out west before. All the while, Beauchamp is drafting tall tales and urban legends he’d heard about English Bob and such.

Debunking the Myths and Legends

The part that caught my eye was that firearms were banned in the town. Little Bill roughed up English Bob and arrested him for carrying concealed firearms. Most people by default would cheer for the protagonist but not me. I liked Bill because he demystified all the legends about outlaws being the fastest draws in the west. I admired Little Bill because he not only was good at his job, but he had excellent bullshit detectors. The viewer could tell the man was way before his time. After awhile, Beauchamp put two-and-two together and ascertained English Bob and the rest of those guys were full of beans. Unforgiven gave a real life depiction of how life was in that era. People didn’t walk around carrying six-shooters and have duals periodically. Most of the cowboys were either black or Mexican not white guys settling on the frontier. The majority of firearms they used were shotguns and rifles to defend their livestock from predators or hunting. The only people carrying pistols were the sheriff or the outlaws, and we all know how much the latter respected the law. Even when the sheriffs had to engage them, they wouldn’t go alone. They’d organize a posse full of trained gunmen.

Draw Partner!

That’s the problem with Hollywood and gun culture. All the charlatans out there like Alex Jones only know what they see on screen. The reason Wyatt Earp was so famous was because he was calm, steady, and collected. The guy had nerves of steel. The same was true about Wild Bill Hickok. Most of those ‘cowboys’ would get drunk saloons and get themselves hurt or killed doing something stupid. We all know how brave and bold men are when they’ve had too much to drunk. I’m sure they never puffed themselves up as the meanest baddest sons-of-bitches who ever lived. Even if you read about Wyatt Earp, you’ll learn they had gun control back in Tombstone. During the shooting at O.K. Corral, Earp, his brothers Virgil and Morgan, and Doc Holliday killed the brothers Tom and Frank McLaury, Billy and Ike Clanton, and their compadre, Billy Claiborne. The latter refused to bequeath their firearms upon arrival in Tombstone and tried to challenge the former. It cost them their lives. Most of those famous outlaws we hear about like Billy the Kid and Jesse James killed their victims when they were most vulnerable. Sometimes they’d shoot them in the back. They wouldn’t dare challenge the town sheriffs in a draw. Wyatt Earp or Doc Holliday would’ve wasted Billy the Kid or Jesse James in no time.

In Cold Blood

There’s more to a gunfight than the ability to aim and pull the trigger. The military and police are trained to dodge bullets, take cover, and handle stovepipes and misfires. There’s even breath control which was snipers must master. That’s not so easy when you have a target shooting back at you and your heart rate is jacked. Will Munny in Unforgiven knew these things which is why he an effective killer. Sadly, most viewers only see action in these films and never see the substance within the storyline. Towards the end, you finally see the guy’s true colors realize how evil the man is. In a nutshell, this validates my argument about gun control. I can promise the readers if they learned about the outlaws in the Wild West, they’d realize they were cowards who killed their victims in cold blood like the Orlando nightclub and Las Vegas strip shooters. When was the last time you heard of anyone trying to rob or shoot up a police station? Never, right? The Fort Hood shootings were committed in gun-free zones, and the second one blew his brains out like the spineless fiend he was. Gun control isn’t about taking away the firearms of ordinary citizens who wish to defend their homes and businesses or go hunting. It’s about background checks, thorough vetting, and keeping guns away from criminals and the mentally ill. It also entails banning automatic weapons. Nobody needs an AK-47 or an AR-15 to defend oneself. If we have no gun control, we might as well have no law enforcement.

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Be Gone Daylight Saving Time

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Photo by Ayush Nishad on Pexels.com

Ben Franklin Wasn’t Always Right

As an Aspie, I’m finicky about certain things. One is time changes. Daylight Saving Time is one of my biggest pet peeves. Most people credit Benjamin Franklin with its genesis. Franklin spawned something similar, but the concept was in fact postulated by none other than George Hudson, a New Zealand entomologist. I get the purpose for which it was intended at the time, but that’s obsolete. They didn’t have streetlights most places when Ben Franklin thought this up. Those were also few and far between during the time of Hudson. Cities like New York, London, and Paris had only gaslights with limited range. Times have changed since 1895. Not only do most cities even in developing countries have sodium lights. Many are graduating unto LED’s which have greater visibility and use less wattage. If LED’s are unavailable, there’s always compact fluorescent bulbs as in the case with France. Even in Paris, they replaced every halogen bulb in the Eiffel Tower with CFL’s to conserve energy. Yes, you read this correctly. There are plentiful ways to save electricity without Daylight Saving Time.

Shine On, Shine Down

Without further ado, most people don’t live in farms or rural areas like they did in the 19th century. Even in Asia, Latin America, Africa, and the rest of the developing world, most folks reside in urban areas where there are no farms. No matter the rhyme or reason, you can always make hay while the sun is shining. That’s what alarm clocks are for. The sun will always be up the same amount of time regardless of what methods are induced. Nothing we do can slow down or speed up the rotation of the earth on its axis. If parents are worried about their kids going to school in the dark, there’s no reason why the faculty can’t schedule the school day for later times. As I mentioned, that’s what streetlights and headlamps are for. So far as I know, no vehicle comes without headlights and tail lights. Even bicycles have reflectors on them. Therefore, school buses can still operate no matter the altitude of the sun.

Power to the People

One thing I love about Southeast Asia is they don’t observe Daylight Saving Time. As you can see, the economy here is red hot. As ridiculous as some of their customs seem to me, I can’t deny I’m glad they left the clocks alone. I remember when there was a power outage in California during the summer of 2001. I lived there during that crisis. I was stationed in San Francisco with the United States Coast Guard. California had to borrow energy from Arizona, the one state that doesn’t observe Daylight Saving Time. Obviously, they had enough energy in the Grand Canyon State to supply their populous neighbor. Having the sun up one hour later made little to no difference in the Golden State. It was later unearthed Enron was behind that. I don’t know all the logistics, so don’t ask me. All I can say is it pertained to Enron Energy in Texas. Regardless, the neighboring state that doesn’t observed Daylight Saving Time was able to provide a service.

One Day Equals 24 Hours

The United States, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and a few other western countries are the only places I know that adopted DST. Neither Japan nor any other Asian or African country obliged, and they don’t consume even half the energy America does. Studies have shown Daylight Saving Time causes health detriments like depression, insomnia, and heart attacks. The likelihood of plane crashes, traffic accidents, workplace injuries, and even miscarriages increase. But what do those in favor care as long as they get what they want? This is why I have another solution. I think they should replace Daylight Saving Time permanently what I believe is called Decree Time. Not only am I an advocate of Decree Time; I think we should replace a.m. and p.m. with the 24-hour military clock. I would have noon and midnight be at 1:00 and 13:00 rather than 12:00. The days would thereby crossover at 1:00 in lieu of 0:00, which would now be 24:00. Lastly I declare there should be 48 time zones with half-hour differences to attenuate all issues caused by Daylight Saving Time. If India has its own time zone and manages fine, I don’t see why the other 195 countries can’t function as such.

Welcome Decree Time

I remember watching several Astros games on TV in Austin. It would be nightfall in Houston while it wasn’t yet sundown in Austin. I recall another time in Chicago when I was with AmeriCorps watching a Bears game. They were playing a road game against the Chiefs. It was dusk in Chicago yet broad daylight in Kansas City though they’re both on Central Time. It made no sense to me, but that’s how it was. Earlier this year, I flew to Kuala Lumpur during Tet. Malaysia is in a later time zone than Vietnam though its farther west longitude. It seemed odd to me that the sun in K.L. would set well after 7 p.m. when I was accustomed to it descending not long after 6 living in Bangkok and Saigon all these years. There was a time I liked it better when the sun went down earlier, but I’m vice versa the older I get. Thus, the reason I’m an advocate for Decree Time with either 48 time zones with half-hour intervals; 72 with 20-minute differences; or 96 with 15-minute changes. To avoid confusion, I’d go with the 48 as planes and trains have schedules to which they must tend. I’m thinking like a geographer considering the altitude of the sun and the overall health of the general public.

Good Intentions, Bad Policies

A few years ago, I had a heated debate about this with some narcissistic idiot on Facebook who always had to argue and be right about everything. She insisted we keep the current system. She tried disputing that China is the size of the United States yet has only one time zone. China is also a communist country with a human rights violation record that could stretch around the globe. Most of their population lives in on the east coast. The Chinese government also has a penchant towards marginalizing the Tibetans, Uyghurs, and the rest of their population in the western provinces. I wouldn’t place much credence towards a government that allowed 70 million citizens to starve, has children working in sweatshops, and is responsible for the greatest amount of pollution on Earth. The woman was using a strawman argument. It made no difference when I explained India does well with their own time zone. Her rationale was everyone should be on the same schedule. Finally, I lost patience and told her, “Sure, why not! Hell, while we’re at it, why don’t we all go by Greenwich Meantime worldwide? That way the sun won’t come up in Texas until noon or go down until midnight. They can even use the same schedule in Australia. That way midday in Sydney will actually be midnight while noon is the darkest part of the day. But hey! What do we care as long as the oligarchs get what they want and the whole world functions around their schedule?”

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Changing the American Elections

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Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

The Trouble With Voter Expectations

Historically, the United States has one of the lowest voter turnouts of all developed nations. One reason I’m convinced the Republican Party is still in power is voter apathy. Beto O’Rourke came close to defeating Ted Cruz in 2018. He gave the liberals hope, but it was short-lived in the long run. Only about 41-percent of eligible voters went to the polls. There’s no doubt in my mind Donald Trump was elected in 2016 when he shouldn’t have even made it past the primary is because of low turnout. States like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan went red because Bernie Sanders supporters behaved like petulant children over him not winning the nomination and opted to stay home or go third-party out of spite which helped Trump win. Their cynicism did little more than show immaturity and selfishness on their behalf. Indeed Hillary Clinton was far from perfect, but there’s no question she was the more qualified candidate. Too often I hear people lamenting over the questionable things Hillary Clinton may or may not have done. If the reader knows any politician who hasn’t done anything extralegal or controversial or at least lied about something, do tell. That’s part of the game. If you want to plant seeds, you have to get your hands dirty. Even Saint Bernie has done lousy things like voting no on the Brady Bill. I’m sure that man has taken kickbacks somewhere, too.

Overhauling the System

The entire system must be overhauled in my humble opinion. First and foremost, I think Election Day should be moved to a Friday. I’m thinking Black Friday of October should be sufficient. That way more people would head to the polls. The reason they’ve had it on Tuesdays all along was to purge the votes. Back in the 1800s, they had it on Tuesday, a weekday, because people had to work and couldn’t make it to the cities from farms. I’d have the primaries the last Friday of March to select candidates from each particular party. There’d be no more superdelegates and whatnot to confuse the voters, and it would all be the same day so they couldn’t drag it out. Then I’d have a secondary election conducted either the last Friday of May or June to eliminate third-party candidates from spoiling the elections from not dropping out sooner. The national conventions would be conducted in July. First, I’d have the challenging party have theirs ensued by that of the incumbent candidate/party the following week. Last but not least, I’d eliminate the electoral college. There’s no question the candidate with the most popular votes should be the winner not the one with the most electoral ones. That I’m certain is another factor towards low turnout. Anyone with a physical mailing address would be registered automatically through the post office and not have to re-register on a continual basis. I’d even allow people to vote online with their social security numbers and a PIN assuming there’s ways to safeguard that. Or I’d allow anyone to mail in their votes if they don’t wish to face the crowd. Early voting I’d allow 24/7 an entire fortnight before Election to mitigate the latter.

Why We Need Compulsory Voting

Most importantly, I’d induce compulsory voting across the board. That’s how I think it should be. Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador enforce compulsory voting. That’s where everyone who’s eligible by law must vote. I know what some of you are thinking. But isn’t that violating people’s civil rights? Not in my book it isn’t. In Australia, anyone who doesn’t vote has one’s passport revoked until the next election unless one has the reason dismissed by a judge. Because Australia is surrounded by water, the only way off the island is either by plane or ship. Anyone who stays home on Election Night can’t board. If it were up to me, anyone who abstains from voting would have to forfeit one’s income tax returns until the next election. My mantra is you play, you pay. All of that revenue would be geared towards deficit spending. Therefore, if somewhere between 50 and 60 percent of eligible voters only show up, the other 40 could pay off large chunks of the national debt over the course of two or four years. They may even make Uncle Sam debt free. Imagine how quickly there’d be change under this system.

Why We Need Term Limits

This leads me to my last point. I would induce term limits on all politicians not just presidents. Were it up to me, governors, senators, representatives, mayors, and everyone else in office would be limited to two four-year terms per position. For supreme court, state, and local judges and justices, the max time they could serve would be two presidential terms. The idea is to cut through the red tape and prevent people from becoming complacent after being in office too long. The voters would ween them of their addiction to power and lower government corruption big time. The only way anyone could become a career politicians would be by running for different offices once they were term-limited and win the elections. Therefore, a two-term governor or senator could run for president during one’s second term whereas a two-term mayor could campaign for state senator, governor, or whatever. While politicians are only human, I’m certain the three main reasons America has a gridlocked system are the electoral college, low voter turnout, and lack of term limits. People who have deadlines and more to lose tend to get more done.

The Younger, the Better

History has shown some of the best presidents were the youngest ones whereas some of the worst ones were the oldest, moreover. You’d think it’d be the opposite, but it makes perfect sense if you ponder long and hard enough. A man in his 40s has a better idea what it’s like raising a family in today’s society. Not only can he connect with the younger voters more; he’s more familiar with pop culture. The younger candidate probably has more energy and is more enthused about his job. He has newer and fresher ideas. A man in his 70s may be convinced he knows everything because he’s been around longer. Many of the older men want the world to be like it was thirty or forty years prior when they were younger, and that’s not how it works. They’re probably out of touch because they’ve been in politics too long. Last but not least, older presidents know if they do a terrible job, they have nothing left to lose because they won’t live long enough to see the damage they’ve caused. Alas, this is why I declare there should be compulsory voting, term limits, and the other changes in the electoral process I discussed in this entry.